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A Turn of Phrase
http://www.heinleinsociety.org/thsnexus/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1683
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Author:  BillMullins [ Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:47 am ]
Post subject:  A Turn of Phrase

Was re-reading parts of "Double Star." Early on, in Chapter 1, Dak says "Why do you think I went around Robinson's barn to get you out of there and over here?"

"Around Robinson's barn" didn't register when I read the book before, but it did this time. I don't remember ever hearing the phrase used otherwise. This post and the one immediately following it give some good background.

Author:  mostlyclassics [ Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Turn of Phrase

Interesting, BillMullins. That phrase has gone right past me in multiple readings of Double Star.

I wonder how many other now-obsolete or obscure idioms lurk in RAH's earlier works?

Author:  Kangaroo [ Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Turn of Phrase

Could be a regionalism from Heinlein's youth. Once I worked for a boss who tasked me with dealing with an elderly, cantankerous customer, who was just a lonely old fart and he loved to have somebody to talk to and I was his designated listener. He was fond of the phrase "dopes with dinner buckets," which made me go, "What'd you say?" He said it was a sympathetic term for the working class, as in working men who carried lunchboxes. [Offtopic: there is a wonderful Indian movie which came out last year called "The Lunchbox," because over in the SubContinent that's a thing like it was here in the 1940s and 1950s.] I said it doesn't sound all that sympathetic to me as to me "dopes" is not a flattering way to describe a group of people these days. But he assured me it was benign, and it probably was - my Dad used to use the term "queer" to mean not specifically gay but more like eccentric. I remember one Heinlein book where the protagonist went to the future and a man almost beat him up for saying a vulgar term in front of the man's wife, and Heinlein's next sentence was "The word was 'kink'. That's Heinlein - the 1940s era public chivalry combined with keen insight!

Author:  Airgetlam [ Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Turn of Phrase

I find it interesting, as I don't even recall where I learned of "Robin Hood's / Robinson's Barn", butI didn't find it unusual at all, and still don't. However, I've never heard "Dopes with dinner buckets".

Not sure about regionalism, either. I've lived in a dozen different states, and since I can't think of when / where I learned it, it's hard to say. I do recall the Robin Hood's Barn phrase was discussed at length in an episode of "A Way With Words", a language program distributed on NPR and many podcast apps.

Author:  Kangaroo [ Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Turn of Phrase

Airgetlam wrote:
I find it interesting, as I don't even recall where I learned of "Robin Hood's / Robinson's Barn", butI didn't find it unusual at all, and still don't. However, I've never heard "Dopes with dinner buckets".

Not sure about regionalism, either. I've lived in a dozen different states, and since I can't think of when / where I learned it, it's hard to say. I do recall the Robin Hood's Barn phrase was discussed at length in an episode of "A Way With Words", a language program distributed on NPR and many podcast apps.


I grew up in Texas, but never heard it there; of course, I grew up in Urban Texas. My in-laws however are from East Texas, AKA South Arkansas. The first time my younger brother met my younger brother-in-law, when they were both in their mid-teens, my B-I-L referred to something as being "over yonder" and my Brother asked me, "What's 'yonder'?"

And the guy who said "Dopes with Dinner Buckets" was a transplanted New Yorker.

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