s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: You are what you wear

Sunday, March 25, 2007

You are what you wear

I have a rule. My rule is: If you’re wearing a T-shirt with a logo or slogan on it, you have to know what it means. However, I suspect that not everyone I see on the street is following this very important rule, so I’ve put together a short crib sheet:

1. Adolf “AdiDassler was a German shoe manufacturer who started his own company in the 1930s. His brother, Rudolf, also worked for the company, but they later had a falling out, and Rudolf went on to found PUMA.

2. A banana republic is a small, politically unstable third-world country whose economy is dominated by outside influences. (The economies of such countries are often highly dependent on a small number of exports, such as . . . bananas.)

3. In Australia, a stagnant pool of water is called a “billabong.” (“Once a jolly swag man / camped beside a billabong / under the shade of a coolibah tree . . .”)

4. Penn a Wlas (English: “Land’s End”) is the western tip of Cornwall, near Penzance (whence come the pirates of whom you’ve “often” heard). It’s a famous landmark for races and sailing, so a small American sailboat equipment company decided to use the name. When their first batch of promotional materials came with a wrongly-placed apostrophe, they couldn’t afford to have them reprinted, so they stuck with the typo, instead.

5. In the Northern Hemisphere, the north face of a mountain is typically the coldest and steepest (and therefore the hardest to climb, for all you “because it was there” types).

6. Patagonia is an area of South American which now spans parts of Argentina and Chile. It was settled by the Welsh (among others) in the late 19th century.

7. “Quicksilver” is another name for the element mercury. The term was common in the 19th century but is attested as early as c. 1000 AD (albeit spelled “cwic seolfor,” which I would love to see on a T-shirt).

8. The “rhebok” is a type of African gazelle, spelled “reebok,” in Afrikaans. The term became the name of a shoe company, when its founders randomly saw it in a dictionary (which had been published in South Africa).


At March 25, 2007 8:16 PM, Blogger Saule Cogneur said...

That's why the only words on shirts I wear are band names. (Very complicated ones like "Brand New" or "The Shins")

At March 26, 2007 9:26 AM, Blogger Master Fob said...

My t-shirt says "Your mom gave me a ride." What does that mean?

At March 26, 2007 10:34 AM, Blogger Peter said...

The Reebok and Lands End bits I didn't know. Good thing I don't wear their products.

At March 27, 2007 1:58 PM, Blogger Th. said...


I did not know enough of these. But now I do.

My tshirt says Dumptruck!

But we all know what that means.

At March 28, 2007 6:36 PM, Blogger Miss Hass said...

Cool! I don't think I own a single shirt with writing on it (at least that I wear in public...)

At March 28, 2007 9:35 PM, Blogger Melyngoch said...

My t-shirt says "Reading glasses" on it. And it has a picture of Theodore. Wearing reading glasses.

At April 24, 2007 5:34 PM, Blogger Queen Zippergut said...

...and this is why I love and adore you, if even from afar. You know things. You share things. You are so...cool.


Post a Comment

<< Home