Author Archives: badona

Folkspeech – Pennsylvania Saying

“A horse a piece”

Informant’s family is from Erie, Pennsylvania, used and heard the saying “a horse a piece” which worked similar to “six of one, half dozen of another.” This saying was used when debating between two objects that were described as being compatible to use either way, hence… a horse a piece – a measurement of 1:1.

Southern California Weather Trick

“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning.”

The informant heard this story growing up in Southern California, it was told by sailors, teachers, and family members all throughout San Diego. Many kids in San Diego were often told this story at the beach or by adults because the whole city in somewhat close to the ocean. This warned people of storms and the conditions of the beach, especially around summer time as many kids flocked to the beach practically everyday and wanted to plan for the next day by checking the sunset.

Shaka Handsign

Shaka Hand Sign – closed fist, thumb and pink extended

This hand gesture is very common in Pacific Islander culture and has spread over time to surfers and many Californian individuals. Original to Pacific Islander culture, the Shaka hand sign was a signal of Ohana or family, and even the broader belief of Shaka which was like “good vibes.” There are multiple variations as to what people think of and use Shaka for, but for the informant who is Pacific Islander, they found it to be an extension of the good/loving vibes of Ohana and to live life with the disciplines of having good days and the beliefs of Ohana.

Folkspeech – Dog’s Leg

“Crooked as a dog’s hind leg”

This saying came from the informant’s grandparents and parents using it to describe someone or their actions. It is the opposite to “straight as an arrow” which is used to describe someone’s truth and honesty. “Crooked as a dog’s hind leg” can also be used to physically describe something, which creates a double use to the saying. This was mostly heard in North-East United States, but the informant began hearing it out West through time, usually from people who had roots in the Northeast.

Folkspeech – Methuselah

“As old as Methuselah’s cat”

The informant often heard the saying “as old as Methuselah’s cat” from their family who said the saying was often used around Irish crowds, as well as commonly in Ireland. It can be used to state a rule is “as old as Methuselah’s cat,” when talking about someone’s age, and so on. The origin is not concretely said to be Irish but used by Irish people as they are often very religious and Methuselah is an old figure in Christian and Catholic religion. Multiple variations are also used by changing the name of Methuselah to something else.