Why so annoyed, Floyd?

December 4, 2008

Blog Guy. I need your advice. I’m thinking of moving to Canada, because they all seem so happy and carefree up there.

Are you crazy? Here are some Canadian politicians. Do they LOOK happy?

No, they look pretty cheesed-off. What are they debating, anyway?

I think whether to order poutine for lunch.

What’s that?

A traditional Canadian dish. I can’t bear to write what’s in it, but you can find it here if nothing grosses you out.

Ick! ICK! Eewwww! Hey, why isn’t that one politician wearing a suit?

Oh, he’s not a politician. He’s an Austrian singer in an opera called Götterdämmerung.

What does that mean?

I think it means, “It hurts so bad, I’m moving to Canada!”

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Above: A singer performs during a photocall of a Richard Wagner opera in Vienna, December 3, 2008. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler

Below: Canadian politicians, December 3, 2008, REUTERS/Chris Wattie

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Blog Guy, you know so much about everything. Tell me, where does the expression “cheesed-off” come from? What about “cut the cheese”? Do both expressions originate from the Latin verb “cheesere” (to resemble a politician)?

Posted by Dr. Doll | Report as abusive

I bet the dude on the bottom right can breathe fire. THAT would be so cool. Imagine it. He stands up, they’re all prepared to hear his argument…suddenly flames shoot from his mouth and incinerate everyone who opposes him…he sits, triumphantly.

Dude. I could totally make that into a movie.

Posted by K | Report as abusive

I know that “cheesere” is a somewhat unusual Latin verb (reserved by the Romans for only the loftiest prose), so here is the singular declension:

Cheeso (“I am the cheese.”)
Cheesass (“You are the cheese.”)
Cheesit (“They are the cheese.”)

It can also be a noun. For example:

“Habeas cheesus.” (You may have the cheese.)

“Gravis ira cheesum semper.” (The anger of [the] cheese is always severe.)

Cheese ad portas. (Literally: “The cheese is at the gates.” We are in imminent danger!)

Hoc sustinete, majus ne veniat cheesum. (Endure this cheese, les a greater come upon you.)

Posted by Dr. Doll | Report as abusive

Dear Doctor, I have blogged extensively about cheese in the past, and would refer you to:

http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/20 08/07/04/hooray-for-the-red-white-and-bl eu/

Posted by Robert Basler | Report as abusive

Blog Guy, boy do I feel like a silly goose. I forgot to mention the Latin root for “poutine”: “Poutinere,” which means, of course, “to ruin the fries.”

The story is apochraphal, but the etymology of poutinere purportedly is that Roman politicians legislated that fries were to be covered with curdled milk before being served. Thus, poutine consists of fries covered with “cheese.”

Posted by Dr. Doll | Report as abusive

My face is really red. I was remiss enough not to mention that Götterdämmerung is about a man who ordered fries, but got poutine instead. The aria in the opera repeats the refrain “Götterdämmerung, who ruined my fries?” That is what is being sung in the pix above.

This opera’s libretto is actually my favorite literary work, next to Cervantes’ great novel, Donkey Hote.

Posted by Dr. Doll | Report as abusive

Yes, I am familiar with the story of Donkey Hote, who engaged in a very strenuous variation on the rural prank of cow-tipping, called tilting windmills.

Posted by Robert Basler | Report as abusive

Ahem. We seem to be overlooking Cheesea iacta est, “the cheese is cast.”

Posted by gwmc | Report as abusive

I eat poutine multiple times per week. It taste wonderful and wonder why outsiders think it’s “Ickky”. I’m sure someone bringing that to the states would make billions.

Posted by Dunge | Report as abusive

Oooh. Nice catch gwmc. That reminds me of Caesar’s immortal line when one of the Senators brings him a salad in Julius Caesar: “Cheesea vacat.” (There is no cheese in it.) Then, if I remember right, he says: “Tee hee, Brutus.” Then, as we all know, Brutus pulls out a knife and cuts, well you know the rest of that story.

But, what few people do know is that, to celebrate the event, Romans started putting cheese onto salads, which is why, today, we have ….. the Caesar Salad!

Or was that Commodus. You know, years ago I used to do a stand-up comic routine on Commodus. That’s why — even today — my friends all call me “the commodian.” Hunh, I didn’t think they even knew about my old Commodus routine.

Posted by Dr. Doll | Report as abusive

One thing I am curious about is whether the fact the Russia’s leader (I know, the guy really leading things over there…) name in French is spelled just like this food would make it ickier or yukier to many… just a thought!

Posted by M | Report as abusive

As long as we’re mentioning the long tradition of cheese in Latin, we shouldn’t forget the Roman Senator Marcus Porcius who ended every speech with “Cheeseo delenda est!” (The cheese must be destroyed!”

Posted by Josh | Report as abusive

Josh, I thought Marcus Porcius ended every speech with “The cheese stands alone.”

Posted by Dr. Doll | Report as abusive

Blog Guy, do you remember the name o fDonkey Hote’s sidekick? Oh, that’s right, I remember. His sideick was Nacho Panza.

Posted by Dr. Doll | Report as abusive

Poutine plays a very important role in Canada, a country perpetually caught up in an identity crisis. Take, for example, the time former French-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien was mistaken for poutine.

In 2000, George W. Bush, at the time a U.S. presidential candidate, was duped into answering questions on camera about a Prime Minister “Jean Poutine” by Rick Mercer, a Canadian comedian.

Mercer used the footage for the weekly “Talking to Americans” segment of his program “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”

Bush was asked by Mercer to comment on an endorsement by Canadian Prime Minister “Jean Poutine,” as well as the “traditional visit to the U.S.” of the “King of Canada,” Lucien Bonhomme (a.k.a Lucien Bouchard, former premier of Quebec), according to Wikipedia.

Bush told Mercer that he looked forward to working with Chrétien and to the king’s visit, the online encyclopedia says.

On his first official visit to Canada in 2004, Bush quipped: “There’s a prominent citizen who endorsed me in the 2000 election, and I wanted a chance to finally thank him for that endorsement. I was hoping to meet Jean Poutine.”

Posted by Janet | Report as abusive

A while ago I heard rumors that a chain called Birds ‘n’ curds, specializing in poutine, was going to open in Washington, D.C.

Does anyone know the status of this project?

Posted by Philippe | Report as abusive

I heard it was cancelled after riots occurred against the restaurant in Washington, D.C. as a result of anti-Canadianism.

Posted by Jean | Report as abusive

Some of this is rumor, some of it is true. Birds ‘n’ Curds will be addressed in a future posting on this blog.

Posted by Robert Basler | Report as abusive

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