Wednesday, November 3, 2010

OK, Jack O'

Sorry I was away to Fort Lauderdale, FL, for fun in the sun, and it just so happened that Halloween took place while there. I saw an interesting story on TV about how it was basically a Celtic holiday, and that the first jack o'lanterns were made with turnips. The story was that a man named Jack was so evil that he was kicked out of hell by the devil. He would walk around with a candle set in a gourd and became known as Jack of the Lantern, or in the old world way of saying it - Jack O'Lantern. His job was mostly to scare little kids. Eventually Scots and Irish children made their own lanterns from the abundant turnip, until the practice was brought to America, where the larger tougher pumpkin made the perfect jack o'lantern!

OK. Ok what? OK. This little pseudo word is thought to be the most common word in the world. And my buddy President Andrew Jackson had a lot to do with that. The word was first used as a joke in a newspaper to abbreviate "all correct" - a joke in that the actual abbreviation would NOT be "all correct" but "oll korrect" or actually incorrect.

Despite how many great writings he produced, Jackson's political opponents pushed the myth that he was illiterate. Truth was lots of words were spelled lots of ways in those early days of the development of the "American" language. So . . . he became the butt of the OK joke and soon the rumor was spread that he marked lots of his staff's papers with OK on them - not of course true. The word took off.

But, like today, facts don't mean much in politics, just making personal false attacks on the president. Jackson has ended up considered as one of the very best presidents we've ever had, and he is still demonized by many despite his amazing efforts to keep the Union together, his tremendous influence on Abraham Lincoln, his battle against big banks owned by foreign interests, and a large host of other unsung accomplishments.

Basically, he did OK!

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