June 20, 2009
Gen X’ers with iPod buds stuck into their ears might puzzle over the meaning of terms derived from phonograph records: “flip side,” “like a broken record” and “in the groove.” Ralph Keyes is here to help with “I Love It When You Talk Retro” (St.
Martin’s, $25.95), which describes the origins of terms based on the technology, politics or culture of days gone by.
I never knew, for instance, that “doofus” is derived from “Dufus,” a dimwitted character in the Popeye comic strip, or that the first “truth squad” was a group of Republicans who followed President Harry Truman as he campaigned for Adlai Stevenson in 1952.
– Rob Kyff