Friday, June 29, 2012

Number nicknames: 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49 and 50

After listing the nicknames for numbers 0-10, 11-20, 21-30 and 31-40, here are the nicknames for the next 10 numbers...

41. The Milk and Honey

According to the Bible, after their exodus from Egypt, the Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years before they reached the promised land, "the land of milk and honey." So year number 41 was a pretty good one.

42. The Answer
In Douglas Adams' classic satirical sci-fi series, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, aliens build a supercomputer to "answer the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything." After millennia of computation, the computer gives them the answer: 42. It's at that point that they realize they didn't know what the ultimate question itself was!

43. The Richard Petty
I'm not a huge NASCAR fan, but you don't have to be to know that Richard Petty is the king, and his number 43 car is one of the most iconic in the sport.
44. The Luke Skywalker
"May the fours be with you."
45. The Colt
After both the gun and the malt liquor that "works every time!"

46. The Defense
After one of the most popular defensive configurations in American football.

47. The Star Trek
From "The Next Generation" on, the number 47 has been a running gag in the Star Trek universe. Any time they need a random number, it's bound to be 47. "How many shots did he fire?" (47) "How long do we have?" (47 minutes) Etc.

48. The Nick Nolte
The 1982 film 48 Hrs. may have launched Eddie Murphy's movie career, but it was his chemistry with co-star Nick Nolte taht made the film work so well. And while Murphy would go on to even more iconic roles, Nolte's turn as no-nonsense cop Jack Cates is the best of his career.

49. The San Francisco
Love them or hate them (sorry, Cincinnati), the San Francisco 49ers are one of the most storied NFL teams in history. Their name is a term for the prospectors that rushed to the area during the California Gold Rush of 1849.

50. The Po-Po
After the iconic 1968-1980 police drama Hawaii Five-0 (and its remake, which began airing in 2010). The title was originally a reference to Hawaii's status as the 50th state, but "five-oh" has since become hip-hop slang for police in general (as has "po-po").

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Number nicknames: 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 and 40

Previously, I listed the nicknames for numbers 0-10, 11-20 and 21-30. here are the next 10 number nicknames...

31. The Baskin-Robbins

The well-known ice cream shop chain has used the "31 Flavors" slogan since 1953, despite offering more flavors these days.

32. The Soccer Ball

A soccer ball is a rounded, truncated icosahedron, meaning that it has 32 panels: 20 hexagonal ones and 12 pentagonal ones. (Outside of the U.S., you can call this one "The Football." But not in the U.S. Not ever. You've been warned.)

33. The Rolling Rock

The U.S. beer brand Rolling Rock features a mysterious "33" on the label, which for years has lead to a lot of drunken speculation on what it means.

34. The Waltz

Waltzes are written in the 3/4 time signature.

35. The Candidate

The minimum age to run for the office of President (or Vice President) of the United States is 35.

36. The Chamber

After the classic martial arts movie The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, which garners a lot of pop culture references, including the title of Wu-Tang Clan's killer debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

37. The Tricky Dick

Richard Milhouse Nixon was the 37th President of the United States. He took office in 1973, and '73 is 37 backwards, Like that trick? He had a lot more. (Watergate, anyone?) Also, if you've seen the classic 1994 comedy film Clerks, you may remember some highly inappropriate dialog about the number 37 that fits with this nickname.

38. The Special

After the .38 Smith & Wesson Special gun (commonly known as a ".38 Special") and the band 38 Special that was named after it.

39. The Summit

Because at age 40, you're "over the hill."

40. The Nap

From the phrase "40 winks," meaning a short nap or snooze. (And once you're over the hill, you're probably going to need one.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Number nicknames: 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30

I have previously posted the nicknames for numbers 0-10 and 11-20. here are the next ten numbers...

21. The Blackjack

After the card game in which players try to get cards adding up to the highest number without going over 21.

22. The Catch

From Joseph Heller's famous 1961 satirical novel Catch-22.

 23. The Michael Jordan

The number he wore on his way to becoming the best basketball player the world has ever seen, and one of the most recognized people of all time.

24. The Jack Bauer

The lead character in the television show 24, portrayed by Kiefer Sutherland.

25. The Shave and a Haircut

From the famous lyric, "Shave and a haircurt, two bits." A bit was one eighth of a Spanish dollar, which was in wide use in America in colonial days. When the nation established its own monetary system, it kept the dollar rather than the British pound, but made it a decimal monetary system. Today, it is no longer possible to have one bit (twelve and a half cents), but you can have twoand "two bits" is still used as a slang term for twenty five cents.

26. The Zed

Z is known as "zed" in British English. (It is "zee" in American English, but that's not as fun to say.) It is the 26th and final letter of the alphabet.

27. The Rock Star

The term "27 Club" refers to the phenomenon whereby an unusually large number of blues and rock stars have died at the age of 27. They include: blues legend Robert Johnson, Rolling Stones guitrist Brian Jones, Canned Heat frontman Alan Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors' lead singer Jim Morrison, Grateful Dead keyboardist Ron McKernan, The Stooges' bassist Dave Alexander, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and many more.

28. The Rage

A reference to the rage virus at work in the 2002 zombie movie 28 Days Later and its 2007 sequel 28 Weeks Later.

29. The Leap Year

In leap years, February has 29 days instead of its usual 28.

30. The Carrousel

This is a reference to the classic 1976 sci-fi film Logan's Run. In it, every resident must undergo the ritual of "Carrousel" at the age of 30, where they are vaporized with the promise of being "Renewed." (In fact, they are simply being executed for the sake of population control.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Number nicknames: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20

Last time, I posted the nicknames for numbers 0-10. Here are the next 10...

11. The Spinal Tap

"These go to eleven."

12. The Nooner
Both hands point to twelve.

13. The Mitzvah
You're a (wo)man now!

14. The Stone
The stone is a unit of weight equal to 14 pounds.

15. The Fame
In 1968, Andy Warhol said, "In the future, everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes." Prophetic words in our modern era of YouTube and "reality" television.

16. The Sugar
As in "sweet sixteen." Clever, eh?

17. The Winger
Kip Winger sang hair metal anthem "Seventeen" in 1988.

18. The Course
A golf course typically has 18 holes.

19. The Steely Dan
Jazzy-influenced rock band Steely Dan had a hit with "Hey Nineteen" in 1980.

20. The Hindsight
It's 20/20.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Number nicknames: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10

Recently, when my son called out his second "slug bug!" of the day, I said to him, "The Deuce!" When he got his third, I said, "The Trey!" And when he got his fourth I said, "Uh... I don't know what the nickname is for four. The Quad, maybe?" He then got five more, and I was silent.

Well, no longer. After doing "extensive research" and making some tough judgment calls, I have come up with nicknames for every number between 0 and 101. Here is part 1...

0. The Goose Egg

This common slang term for zero goes back a long way, simply because the shape of the egg resembles the number. My dad uses this one a lot.

1. The Ace
This one comes to us from Old French as, which in turn came from Latin as meaning "unit." It's used frequently in dice and especially in card games.

2. The Deuce
This one is also quite common in dice and card games, though not as frequent as "ace." It too comes from Old French (deus) and ultimately from that Latin (duo).

3. The Trey
This one also comes to us from dice and card games via Old French (trei) and ultimately Latin (tres). It is still used frequently is various contexts, including as a nickname for a three-point shot in basketball.

4. The Quad
Here we abandon Old French, as the old dice term cater is no longer in use. Instead, we go straight back to Latin, where the prefix quadr- (from Latin quattuor meaning "four") is used in a variety of modern terms: quadruple, quadruplet, quadraphonic, quadriceps, quadrangle, etc.

5. The Nickel
Again, the Old French dice term (cinque) is no longer in use. Instead, we use the name of the U.S. five-cent piece.

6. The Hex
There is a dice term for this one too (sice) that came from Old French, but again it is not used anymore. Instead, we use the Greek word for six, which shows up in a lot of modern terms: hexagon, hexadecimal, hexagram, etc.

7. The Stretch
The "seventh inning stretch" occurs in the middle of the seventh inning of a baseball game as the teams change sides. It's a tradition for everyone to get out of their seats, stretch their legs and sing "Take me Out to the Ballgame."

8. The Ocho
For anyone who has ever watched the movie Dodgeball, there could be no doubt. "Ocho" is Spanish for "eight" and one of the most fun words to say in any language.

9. The Kitty
A cat has nine lives, but an older cat may have already lost some, so it has to be a kitty.

10. The Dime
The name of the U.S. ten-cent piece.