Friday, May 23, 2008

#400 Two Babushkas & a Do-Rag

#400 Two Babushkas and a Do-Rag

Okay, all you Russian linguists. We know that you know that the word "babushka" means grandmotherly woman, and we'll get to to that meaning. First, we'll talk about the common American use of the word, which is head scarf, which, as I'm sure you'll remind us really is called a platok.

In America, the babushka means that triangular thing the Russian women wear on their heads while they carry bricks up the ladder to help build the latest People's Housing Development in Siberia. It's similar in shape to the thing African American and Hispanic men and some women wear. In Red Square, the red platok means fellow-traveler or party member. In Herald Square, a red platok means gang member. Still pretty similar.

So, if these groups, which seem to have nothing in common, but maybe sweaty heads, have this in common, what else do they share? Maybe we should all wear do-rags. Bring us closer together. The Russians and the gangsters and the gangstas have the faces that go with the rags. For them, the thing needs no explaining. The rest can wear emblems. Flag pins inserted in right wing babushkas, campaign pins for politician babushkas, diamond studs for rich folks babushkas. Cowboys can wear the babushkas over their ten gallon hats.

Plus there's a whole new potential industry in the works here. Get a few of the mainline department stores behind you, and every teenybopper, college professor, blogger, Hollywood star and McDonald's burger flipper'll be clammoring for his or her own collection. Note, collection. Because one is just not enough. You have your work babushka, your clubbing babushka, your Sunday-go-to-meetin' babushka, and plenty more.

That will cause a spike in the employment rate as high as.... as a Soviet Babushka climbing a scaffold with a hod of bricks.

Which brings us to the REAL meaning of the word. Grandmotherly women. This is a point we've made before. Here's yet another shot at it.

If the babushkas of the world ran it, we'd all be better off. They may be cranky and fussy. But most of them have outgrown the silliness that prevents us from moving in the right direction, which is toward -- not away from -- one another.

And brick delivery would be a lot more efficient.


--Hockey is two different games. One is what you see on TV, the other is what you see in person. The latter is WAY more interesting and exciting than the former, proving Canadians can sometimes be interesting and exciting, contrary to popular opinion.

--The airlines are in big trouble. Their solution? Crowd the planes by cutting service. Makes perfect sense.

--Congress is considering a bill to change the name of the Gypsy Moth. They say the "Gypsy" part is an ethnic and cultural slur. Okay, change it to Hebe Moth, after all, my fellow Hebes, the bugs are not just tree-killers, they're garment workers.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©2008 WJR

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