Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, bitches

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, bitches”
— Margaret Atwood; The Haidmaid’s Tale.

(broken Latin, meaning ‘don’t let the bastards grind you down’)

Many will recognise this quote from Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ (and the subsequent – and epic – Hulu adaptation for the small screen). But where does this ‘fake’ Latin phrase originate? Michael Fontaine, a classics professor from Cornell University; and this blog’s author, Ryan Vandeput, an English Literature Masters Graduate from the University of Leicester, took their best guesses.

“It was likely an old school joke, for those who took Latin class. It’s not really ‘true’ Latin; rather, it sounds like something a school pupil made up for fun. It might even be something Margaret Atwood remembers from her schooling & childhood” surmised Vandeput. Another similar Latin joke phrase with the same supposed translation is “illegitimi non carborundorum,” which Fontaine noted was equally fake—though it’s perhaps a little more legit as Latin, since it at least doesn’t use the made-up “bastardes.”

“Illegitimi is a real Latin word,” Fontaine continues. “It could indeed mean ‘bastards’ (though it’s not the usual word, which is spurius or nothos).”

“My guess is that c. 1890-1900, some American people thought it would be funny to pretend like ‘carborundum’ was actually a Latin word meaning ‘needing to be worn down’ or (making allowances for ignorance, which is surely part of it) ‘to wear down.’ If the phrase was originally illegitimis non carborundum, then the original idea was that ‘there must not be a wearing down (of you) by the bastards,’ or in plain English, ‘don’t let the bastards get you down.’ Either then or soon after, illegitimis would have become illegitimi, which changes the grammar, but most English speakers can’t tell because our grammar doesn’t work that way. That would pretty quickly give you illegitimi non carborundum”

“The key to the mystery is knowing that carborundum was a trade name (for an abrasive scrubbing powder used for cleaning),” he continued. “Whatever it was, it’s not in use any more, so we’ve lost all memory of it. Nowadays it just looks like a strange, broken Latin word to us,” Fontaine concluded.

— Ryan Vandeput, 2018

The Achingly Beautiful ‘Bending Albert’s Law’ by Karin Park – with Lyrics

The washing machine needs fixing here,
It’s early dark this time of year,
It’s small and cold,
I’m hiding in here,
Behind orange drapes,
And wafer walls,
I made a mess,
To make it feel like home,
Oh the stuff I packed,
Can’t fill this hole. 

I conjure you up,
You appear,
It’s ridiculous,
That you’re not here,
I bend Albert’s Law, slightly,
I say the magic word,
And you’re beside me. 
Out on Crouchen Hill,
You pull past and through,
I try your phone,
And I bought dry shoes,
The squelch of rubber soles on wet tar,
There’s too many steps,
From where you are. 

I conjure you up,
You appear,
It’s ridiculous,
That you’re not here,
I bend Albert’s Law, slightly,
I say the magic word,
And you’re beside me. 
I conjure you up,
You appear,
It’s ridiculous,
That you’re not here,
I bend Albert’s Law, slightly,
I say the magic word,
‘til you’re beside me. 
~ Karin Park (Bend Albert’s Law, from the album Highwire Poetry)
{With special thanks to Chris, for touching my soul with this beautiful song}
NOTE:
These lyrics have been transcribed from listening to the song… many times! Any corrections gratefully accepted. And what is Albert’s Law? Please get in touch – leave a comment below or email me on rycariad@gmail.com – I would love to hear from you.
Links:

www.karinpark.com
www.facebook.com/karinpark
www.myspace.com/karinpark
www.last.fm/music/Karin+Park
www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/qj4z

Buy on iTunes:

www.itunes.apple.com/gb/album/highwire-poetry-deluxe-edition/id525778296

Buy on Amazon:

www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B007RC8OMK

Writers & Artists in Residence Project

If you are interested in joining rycariad’s Writers & Artists in Residence Project, I would LOVE to hear from you. I’m looking for writers of any material and of any ability to create and submit their work online. Whether you write poetry, songs, short stories, spiritual teachings or inspirational pieces, I would love you to share your work with us and become a ‘featured contributor’
I would also love to hear from artists and photographers who would be willing to use rycariad.co.uk as a creative outlet. Whether you paint, draw, sculpt, or create in any media, I’d love to showcase your work. 

Being a ‘Featured Contributor’ is really easy. Almost as easy as sending a simple email! Just drop me a line on rycariad@gmail.com and I’ll do the rest!
Hope to hear from you soon!

Michael Bublé: Haven’t Met You Yet (Official Music Video & Lyrics)

I’m not surprised, not everything lasts
I’ve broken my heart so many times I stopped keeping track
Talk myself in, I talk myself out
I get all worked up then I let myself down

I tried so very hard not to loose it
I came up with a million excuses
I thought, I thought of every possibility
And I know some day that it’ll all turn out
You’ll make me work so we can work to work it out
And I promise you kid that I give so much more than I get
I just haven’t met you yet

I might have to wait, I’ll never give up
I guess it’s half timin and the other half’s luck
Wherever you are, whenever it’s right
You’ll come outta nowhere and into my life
And I know that we can be so amazin
And baby your love is gonna change me
And now I can see every possibility

Somehow I know that it’ll all turn out
You’ll make me work so we can work to work it out
And promise you kid I’ll give so much more than I get
I just haven’t met you yet
They say all’s fair in love and war
But I won’t need to fight it
We’ll get it right and we’ll be united

And I know that we can be so amazin
And bein in your life is gonna change me
And now I can see every single possibility
And someday I know it’ll all turn out
And I’ll work to work it out
Promise you kid I’ll give more than I get

Oh you know it’ll all turn out
And you’ll make me work so we can work to work it out
And promise you kid to give so much more than I get yeah
I just haven’t met you yet
I just haven’t met you yet
Oh promise you kid to give so much more than I get
I said love love love love love love love
I just haven’t met you yet

Donna Summer: MacArthur Park Music Video & Lyrics

Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed,
In love’s hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants

MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down…
Someone left the cake out in the rain
and I don’t think that I can take it
‘cause it took so long to bake it
and I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no! I recall the yellow cotton dress
foaming like a wave
on the ground around your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
and the old men playing checkers by the trees

MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down…
Someone left the cake out in the rain
and I don’t think that I can take it
’cause it took so long to bake it
and I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no! (BRIDGE)
There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring it
I will drink the wine while it is warm
and never let you catch me looking at the sun
And after all the loves of my life
after all the loves of my life
You’ll still be the one.

I will take my life into my hands
and I will use it
I will win the worship in their eyes
and I will lose it
I will have the things that I desire
and my passion flow like rivers through the sky.
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life
I’ll be thinking of you
and wondering why. MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down…
Someone left the cake out in the rain
and I don’t think that I can take it
’cause it took so long to bake it
and I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no!