Other Worlds is proud (er…kind of proud…almost proud…OK, so we’re a little ashamed) to bring you another “hysterical fiction” blog on the English language, from the past. This blog originally appeared on my old Myspace page back in ’07 and appears unaltered in all its splendor (save a quick spell-check) for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
Long has it been held, by certain linguistic (albeit naïve and dangerous) scholars, that the origin of the word “window” comes from a simple mistake made by a half-deaf simpleton, who, in passing, overheard, with his good ear, a conversation, between two stone masons repairing a hole in a nearby wall. There are several variations and sources to this rather dubious etymology, including one in which the simpleton is in fact half-blind and tone deaf, and an even more erroneous tale in which the alleged hole is in a hedge (What two stone masons would be doing, patching a hedge is beyond me.), but the conversation is generally reported to have gone something like this:
“What’s making that moaning sound?”
Needless to say, that the above explanation, while having the virtue of being short and simple, was simply not sufficient for your scholar. Thus I embarked upon yet another lengthy, exhaustive and expensive investigation to find out the truth for myself. The following is the result of my extensive research; scouring seven continents, six major cities, five minor cities, four townships, three towns without ships, two one-horse towns, and a partridge in a pear tree, and, oh yes, forty-two and one-half libraries for the answer.
I must also add, that during my scholarly adventure, I was harassed, cursed, chased, accused of heresy, ran out of one one-horse town on a rail (they didn’t actually have a rail, so they used the towns only skateboard), and sought for advice by several rebellious teenagers. In addition, I was threatened in Quebec (although not effectively) and in Chicago by the Window Washer’s local, squeaked through numerous attempts on my life in Europe (not including scrapes with death while competing for taxis in Paris), and narrowly escaped a stoning in Dearborn, Michigan. All of this was orchestrated by a dark and secret organization of linguists, known as “The Conspiracy,” whose roots go back to the founding of Rome; a group so secretive yet pervasive that the mere reading of this report will probably land you on their dreaded “white list”*. So be warned! All of this, I, your humble servant, have endured for your enlightenment.
Now, without further ado, on to my findings…
Certain scholars would have us believe that the word window comes from the Old Nordic word vindauga, which literally translates to “wind eye.” Now of course the wind has no eye since it is simply air in motion. However, these supposed scholars are right in assuming that the word window comes down to us from two root words. Those words however are not wind (moving air) and eye!
Let’s tackle the first part of this word; wind. While we have grown accustomed to thinking of windows, as something that wind passes through it does not have the exclusive on passage through said opening, now does it? In fact, if the window has a fixed, glass pane there is no wind allowed to pass at all. And these two facts form our first clue to the inaccuracy of moving air playing any serious role in the creation of our subject word, aside from the breath used in its utterance. No, instead we should be looking to the dim reaches of recorded time, when windows were first invented.
In those savage and dusty days, the only good purpose for a hole in one’s wall was to shoot arrows through, at the other savage and dusty creeps outside your abode, trying to get in to steal your venison, beer, pretzels and television set. They weren’t yet after your coasters in those days, since they hadn’t been invented yet, but I digress…
The windows in that time were remarkably slimmer (and of course without glass, since you can’t, and never could, shoot an arrow through a pane of glass accurately or without an expensive repair bill. One can only imagine the cost (in goats) of replacing a duel-pane in those days!). In fact these early defensive openings were nothing more than slits. These later were incorporated in castles and other corporate edifices for the protection against the still ravaging savages and angry stockholders outside. There were many adjustments, such as angled stonework, additional cross slits and, of course, ashtrays and cup-holders, but essentially they were the same arrow vomiting egresses. We now know these later advancements as “arrow slits,” but at the time they were known as “that arrow-launching hole-in-the-wall thingy,” which of course was awkward and much too long to enunciate during the heat of battle. So something had to be done.
That’s when Thompson of Gattlingshire, a friar, was called in by his local liege to solve the problem. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding and instead of working out a better name for the arrow-launching hole-in-the-wall thingy, Thompson came up with a much improved opening in the wall, and implemented it throughout the knight’s castle, while he was away on holiday. This new hole was much wider and open, allowing for a better view of the surrounding, serene countryside, however not very good for hiding behind. The knight who had brought Thompson in on the case was furious and demanded that Thompson do something about his new and larger arrow-launching hole-in-the-wall thingy. So the friar thought and thought and prayed and prayed. He paced for days around the courtyard and eventually wandered into the smithy to tinker. After a few hours at this, he came out of the shed with a startling new invention, the windlass crossbow, which allowed the knight to smite his enemies with greater vigor.
Well, the knight was so pleased with this new device that he completely forgave Thompson for not coming up with a better name for the hole-in-the-wall thingy.
However, this does little for solving our mystery. Now I can hear you right now, saying, “They probably named it after the windlass, you long-winded fart!” but you would be wrong. While the windlass does play a part in the creation of our word, it is not the direct source for the “wind” in window, because, as you see, they did not yet call it a windlass in those days, but a cranking crossbow. I only used the word windlass, as it was convenient. If you insist on grabbing hold of every word and trying to decipher the entire English language in one sitting then I must ask you to do so on your own time. You might want to pack a lunch.
Now where was I? Oh yes…This new cranking crossbow allowed the knight to dispense death from his new, larger arrow-launching hole-in-the-wall thingies than had previously been imagined. In fact, the noted historian, Norwit of Neverwood stated that, “ne’er had I seen such blatant disregard for human life as did I witness at Gattlingshire, where upon three large companies of knights laid siege to the castle there, and were utterly defeated by that castle’s liege from his cranking crossbow. He was really cranking them out. He was winding his demonic contraption like the wind, and his missiles filled the air with tangible death, and there was much suffering and haranguing and bleeding and cries cut short by a quick second tap to the crotch or head. And they snuffed it.”
It was the expression “winding…like the wind” which really caught the attention of the knight of Gattlingshire. And he decided at that point to dub his stone domicile “Winding Hall,” and the arrow-launching holes-in-the-walls he then called “winding holes.”
Eventually, as the cranking crossbow caught on, so did the winding holes and before long everybody had one. As a side note: It was sometime after this that the cranking crossbow was named a windlass, after the winding hole, except of course in Gattlingshire where they were still called cranking crossbows. Of course, with the advent of Heinrich Fjord’s crossbow manufacturing plants, in Lower East Sutton, the windlass crossbow became available to just about anyone with a winding hole and a few pence.
Winding holes soon gave way (as a term) to the earthier slang of the day and became wind-holes and eventually descended into wind’oles as Cockney influences took root. Shortly after this, some ignorant peasant, completely unaware of the laborious work of those who came before him, decided to pronounce the first syllable of the subject word in much the same manner as we do today, “wind” (as in the moving air). And since, most people would rather knowingly mispronounce a word rather than come to blows over it, the new pronunciation soon stuck.
As time passed, in much like its usual manner, the “windoles” became the location for peaceful activities and practices, such as spying on the neighbors and cooling off baked goods, and the warlike arrow launching days were forgotten, along with the illustrious roots of the word “windole.” This lack of historical awareness led to the most interesting twist in our story.
Along with the influx of many good, honest poor into the cities of medieval Europe came an influx of thieves. These clever swindlers and cut-purses developed a secret language all their own, known as Thieves Cant, so as to throw off the authorities who might be listening in to any alleged conversations concerning past, concurrent or future heists of note. Since these thieves were frequently quite poor, they constantly needed to steel food to feed themselves. One such favorite food was freshly baked bread left in windoles to cool. Since they couldn’t very well say they were going to steal bread from someone’s windole, without raising suspicions and none too few eyebrows, they incorporated a new term “wind-dow” into their Thieves Cant vocabulary. In those days, dough was spelled “dow” and rhymed with bow, like the thin, bent branch used to launch arrows. As the thieves became more affluent and influential, they slowly crept into politics and soon made their words part of the official language, exactly like the politicians of today.
Now I know a great many of you must be saying, “We’re almost there! We’re almost there! We’ve got wind-dow and that’s almost the same as window!” But first, let me say that you are undoubtedly an excitable bunch and you should consider less caffeine and a career in lawn manicure. Second, let me tell you that “wind-dow” and “window” are not, by a long shot, the same. Beyond the dropping of the hyphen (any Tom, Dick or Harry can drop a hyphen; after all a hyphen makes no sound, no indelible imprint upon the eardrum, except while typing), you’ve still got two d’s, and two d’s do not become one d overnight. And it didn’t. It took a great number of nights, and one long night without coffee. That is when John Tittle, an overworked scribe in the bureau of beheadings and fish-head tax (there were a lot of beheadings and a lot of taxes then) inadvertently missed the second d in window (notice the hyphen was already missing) and the new spelling was born.
Shortly after, Tittle’s mistake was discovered and he ended up on the same books he used to tend — without a head, but not before word of his invention got out. The single d spelling of window spread like wildfire across the land, as did word of Tittle’s unfair punishment. And in recognition of his “courageous contributions to the English language,” the King made Tittle’s spelling official, before an angry, torch-bearing mob of single-d spellers from Stratford, who had surrounded his carriage.
But before we slip by the simple spelling of dough as “dow” in the ancient tongue, let us briefly examine this oddity in our own modern spelling. As stated before, the word for unbaked bread was spelled “dow.” This spelling stayed with us for many centuries, all the way into the 15th century. Many people are not aware of this earlier “dow” spelling, however, they are well aware of the now common “dough.” For those unfamiliar with the origins of the spelling of “dough,” I have prepared a brief history below.
As we all know, the spelling of “dough” was invented by Jonathon Longbow a royal herald, to confuse the French during Henry V’s very successful 1415 campaign in France. The success of which is in no small part due to the confusion this brilliantly conceived spelling caused the French, who granted were already pretty confused. This, in turn, has lead to another point of confusion and is the reason for the longbow (not Jon Longbow) mistakenly being credited with the victory at Agincourt**.
More to the point, the entire “dough” incident became a favorite joke among the English, especially in pubs, where most of the official spelling of English was firmed up. Precisely when it stopped being a punch line and became the official spelling is uncertain. (As, I’m sure you’ve observed many of these things are.) However, it must be observed that at the time of its acceptance, the English countryside was crawling with unemployed French scribes, having been laid-off in the fallout following the adoption of “cliché” into the King’s English and the entirely too bloody “vogue debacle.”
*The Conspiracy’s dreaded “white list” is reserved for those individuals the organization wishes to be “erased.” The name of their intended target is written (very lightly, in pencil) on the list and then symbolically erased until there is no trace of it (thus the reason for the delicate pencil strokes). This secret (blank) list if then left, bi-weekly, in a secret location shared by the organization’s Sicilian connection, which is paid up front to “take care of” the problematic individual. To date, there is no evidence that these Sicilian associates have actually ever completed one of these contracts. Whether this is due to an inability to actually read the name of the intended target, or whether they are so professionally competent, is unknown. However, I have learned through my sources that I, your humble scholar, have been put on the list a number of times. Oh, the things I endure for you!
**Further proof of the immense confusion among the French, comes down to us in a little known report on prisoners from the Battle of Agincourt. One of the few surviving nobles, being held for ransom, under stern questioning (which is the extent of really brutal English torture) was asked to spell several words, one of which was the subject of our lesson today. The nearest thing this educated Frenchman could come up with — “windeaux” — was only produced after several quickly scribbled attempts, following an offer of “tea and spotted dick.”
Chuck's School of Etymology
Ever since I saw the movie Night Shift , staring Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton, I have had a fascination with breaking down complex words into their components and root words to gain a better understanding of the word and its origins and/or originators. (Actually it was well before this, but it makes for a good story! ) If you haven’t seen the scene where Keaton breaks down the word “prostitution” you’re missing a good laugh. Here is the YouTube link: Night Shift – Prostitution Scene (Michael Keaton)
So, lets take a look at a word that’s very near and dear to all our hearts: etymology! Taking a cue from the master of etymology, Chuck (Michael Keaton’s character), we will first divide the word into it’s root parts: ET/YM/OL/OGY. (Smile, this should be fun!)
ET - Comes from the Latin et hoc genus omne meaning “And all that sort of thing”, which was promptly shortened to et due to the popularity of the term on copious Senatorial monuments and fast food menus, and a serendipitous shortage of stone chisels in Rome - the fallout of a heated labor dispute between blacksmiths and their employer, the Acme Chisel Corporation LLC (which at the time did not mean limited liability company, but 50/50/100, a reference to either a payment or Senatorial bribery schedule).
The issue at hand: Acme had gained the government chisel contract with a ridiculously low bid and was trying to make blacksmiths work overtime for no additional compensation. The Roman blacksmiths eventually won the dispute with help from the Stone Masons local, who had mistaken the lack of chisels for support of their own strike for better medical and more time off for chisel elbow a common repetitive motion injury prevalent among blacksmiths forced to carve out et hoc genus omne over and over again. On a side note: We owe the irate owner of Acme Chisel, Ferris Maximus, for yet another (derogatory) term which has stuck with us to this day: ”chiselers”, although some scholars contend it was first used by the blacksmith local guild master Fistus Maximus, to describe the owner of Acme Chisel.
Now, you may ask, what kind of word starts with “and”, and what “sort of thing” could they possibly be talking about, when we haven’t seen any other part of the word? I’m glad you asked, though you might not be. When the term etymology was first coined the “et” part of the word came at the end, thus ymologyet. (Originally it was spelled ymologyette, where ette denotes that it was ”all that sort of little thing” because there weren’t yet that many words in anybody’s vocabulary and most of the words were short. Some academics contend that the best translation of ette is: “a little like that sort of thing”, which had more to do with the lack of certainty than the size of the common vocabulary. - A note of caution: Don’t judge the people of that time for their lack of “long” words in their vocabulary before you try to write a few sentences in marble.)
YM - Like et, ym comes down to us from the Latins (or Romans). The “Y” beginning is itself a clue to its meaning. The letter is not quite an ”I” and not quite a ”V”, which of course were often used for a numbers one and five, and later the letter we know as “U” (where do you think the English got it?). So there you have it, the uncertain “Y-I-V-U” letter followed by the letter “M”, which was of course also used to dubious effect as a letter. Thus: ”UM” as in, “I’m not sure what to say and I’m stalling.” But in those early heady days in Rome, the notion of being uncertain was officially frowned upon and so the true meaning of ”UM” in this context was actually a way of saying, “Hey you! You know all those funny things that have been bothering you, like our inconsistent use of letters as numbers, and who the heck is making up all these little strange sounding words, and how in Hades am I going to learn all the ridiculous rules to conjugating verbs – whatever that is?…This (word) is about that!” Of course, “YM” or “UM” became so popular that it came to refer to anything that was a puzzlement, and led to it’s use in the word “FORUM” (meaning “for–um–”, which of course was the name of the place where their Senate met).
OL - Originally, the Romans did not have a letter “O” for fear of confusing it with their letter “Q”, which I’m sure you’ll admit was the right choice, as “Q” is a way cooler looking letter, though hard to form in cursive (especially in stone). So this first letter is in fact the result of a lazy French translation of the symbol for a circle. The Romans frequently used the circle symbol to draw around their military units in formation on maps to represent a wooden barbican/fort, no matter what the actual shape. Later on, when generals drew the location of their desired fort they would draw the circle and say, “Everything goes in here.” The circle eventually became a short hand symbol for “encompassing everything”. The letter “L”, not to be confused with the number “L”, when written by itself meant simply ”Latin”. So the circle-”L” meant of course “all Latin”. Fortunately, the concept of zero (0) would not be introduced to Italy for a few years, so the combination of something looking like a “zero” and a “fifty” was never in question. Romans being Romans, and quite full of themselves, saw the world as theirs - all theirs - ”all Latin” so the ”OL” also came to mean “all” and that is why we pronounce it that way to this day. To them (the Romans) it also meant “all languages”.
OGY – Again, we are met with another “all-encompassing” circle symbol. Some scholars argue that this symbol is meant only to emphasize the preceding “L” for Latin, but a quick study of the Roman numbering system reveals that the Romans generally had more sense than to modify a previous letter, knowing how confusing that could all be. The following “G” is a mark that the Government officially endorsed the word and was a sort of guaranty by the state that the word was important and followed certain linguistic rules (to date, despite extensive excavations, the complete rules have never been unearthed). So what we end up with is something akin to ”the whole Government approves of this word”, followed by the non-committal “Y”, which was added at the insistence of half the Senate to provide for some legal wiggle room.
So now that we have successfully broken this marvelous word into its root components and explored their rich meanings I know you will feel much more at ease slipping “etymology” into your every-day general conversation without the fear that someone might giggle or spew milk out their nose.
Please feel free to leave your stories of language conquest in the name of etymology. If you’d like to leave a suggestion - a word that’s stumped you - for your humble scholar to address in a future post, please do so! :)
The following is another “hysterical-fiction” blog on the English language, lifted from my old Myspace page (cringe) back in ’07 (ugh). Once again, it appears unaltered from the original posting save a quick spell-check. (No dust mites were harmed in the dusting off of this text.) Now on with the entertainment!
Since my recent blog about the origins of bowling alleys, I have been bombarded by questions about the latter part of that great institution: the alley. Please forgive me for not explaining this at that time, but I felt it was a bit off topic; the alley having a much older (but richer) history than the before mentioned and later adaptation, known as the bowling alley, and that, in its own right, was a bit lengthy in the explanation.
As stated, the alley had its beginnings in a much earlier time. In those ancient and darkened days, there was little to differentiate the spaces between rooms, as most buildings only had one room in which all the activities of an entire family, clan, or corporation would take place. That said, with the advent of various warlords, Mafioso’s, and property developers and their franchises came their need to expand their one-room hovels and annex those of the surrounding neighbors; a sometimes bloody affair. This was hard at first, as the neighbors, their kin, or shareholders kept coming back once they had been given the boot, and thus the greedy land grabbers resorted to connecting and enclosing the areas around the buildings with walls and defensible battlements. These conglomerations eventually came to be called “castles,” but much later: about 4:30 in the afternoon, on August 12th, 317A.D., Worcestershire, Pre-England-England, when John the tailor, heard John the blacksmith tell John the shepherd, “The Yarl’s got an awful large…castle thingy over there.” Thus using the word “castle” for the first time in recorded history and dubbing the dubious structure simultaneously. (Why this secondhand conversation was recorded at all is not known, nor is it known why ever man in Worcestershire seemed to be named John, but that’s a tale for another time.) Getting back to the alley…
As I was saying, it was hard to differentiate the spaces between rooms, until one John Hall, of Dorchester, was sentenced by his liege lord to clean all the narrower spaces between the different rooms and buildings of his commandeered abode, and thus these passages became known as “Hallways” for obvious reasons. Soon after, all narrow spaces between rooms and buildings, throughout northern Europe, became known as hallways.
Now, the more affluent of the people began to build many-roomed edifices for their homes and businesses, thus making their hallways enclosed. The difference between these inner hallways and outer hallways was little to none, as even some outer hallways had roofs (or partial roofs) and paving stones for floors, which were sometimes better than those built indoors. It is said that the only way one had of telling they were outside in these hallways was by the lack of tapestries. This was further confounded by the existence of open market weavers, who showed their wares by hanging them on the walls outside their shops. It was a very confusing time and many people were lost. That is to say, that in their state of confusion, they couldn’t find their way home. It was during this time that the first “hall monitors” (or “hallway monitors” as they were known then) appeared.
Amid all this confusion and mayhem it eventually became recognized that the poorer chaps who primarily lived in and used the outside hallways, and were hardly ever seen indoors, were indeed calling them “allways,” a point, which up to this juncture had been believed to be due to bad hearing, but was in fact due their rather Monty-Pythonesque cockney accents. This different pronunciation was immediately jumped on by all parties, except for the chaps who had been using it all along, and all agreed to use hallways when indoors and allways, when out. For a time, it all went along swimmingly, the people secure in the knowledge that they would never be confused again about being in a hallway or allway. Things at this point were pretty good. Peace had returned to the once turbulent continent. (It must be noted that the American Indians were blissfully unaware of this whole conundrum and would never have to face the stress of it, since the helpful Europeans who came to their land, and bought it for glass trinkets, had already ironed out all the problems by the time they arrived.)
As I was saying, all was well, until someone stumbled upon confusion once again when explaining that they, “always went to the allways, for a quick beer and a brawl, on Monday night.” This problematic use of “always,” and “allways,” became more and more problematic as more and more men found their way to brawling allways more frequently. (You must remember that the NFL and Monday Night Football were awaiting invention in the yet to be discovered wonderland of the Americas.) Then to further exasperate the issue, someone stupidly said, “All ways lead to Rome.” He was, of course, exiled to Crete and the phrase was changed to “all roads.” But it was too late and the damage had been done. There were simply too many similar sounding expressions to “allway” than could be tolerated. Something had to be done.
The problem was analyzed by the finest minds that Europe had to offer at the time (which isn’t saying much, since the finest minds had yet to come up with something as necessary as toilet paper). What they cam up with was brilliant for people who didn’t appreciate, much less know about, toilet paper. It seems that the “w” in those days was actually represented by two “u”s (double u’s), and written as two “v”s (A “u” was written as a “v” too, but no one dared to represented a “v” in any form. It was instead left as a line, much like modern Jews leave out the vowels in the name of G-d, which was later changed to a line with a slight bend downward in the middle, the bend becoming more exaggerated as years passed.) The entire “u”-”v” controversy had been raging for decades already and these fine scholars, so fed up with the prospect of having to untangle two controversies at once, simply dropped the “w” or “vv” from the word entirely. This seemed to please everyone, for only the French and Spaniards had a word sounding anything like “allay,” and so the official change from with-”w” to without-”w” was documented.
Unfortunately, while printing up the official documents for the new spelling and pronunciation, the official printer’s letter “a” was found to be missing (if anything can be “found to be missing”). He therefore quickly substituted the “a” for an “e” leading to the modern spelling of “alley”. Once published and spread throughout Europe and the greater burg area this new spelling became accepted and loved by all. Although they still pronounced it “all-ee”, this was not a problem until the 1200′s when the Muslim faith was encountered by crusaders. It was these war-wizened, Christian men who made the final pronunciation adjustment to the modern “al’ee”, in order to differentiate it from the Muslim “Ali”.
Now you see why I did not include this rather lengthy explanation along with that of the origins of the bowling alley. I hope that it’s all clear now and you can see, with a heightened appreciation, the grandeur, majesty and great planning, which transpired to bring you (free of charge) your modern English language, which until now you have probably taken for granted.
Big Trouble Little Alley
A Peasant Brawling Team Practices
This little lark was originally posted on Myspace (I know, right) back in 2007 (Really?), in response to a friend’s rant/blog entitled, “Psycho Bowling Alley Trailer Trash Experience”. It appears, unaltered from the original response (aside from a spellcheck and added pictures). I’ve blown off the dust and re-posted it here for pretty much the same reason I posted it back then: entertainment.
As we all know the early bowling alleys were in fact “brawling alleys.”
But as time went by they dropped the “r”, in part because of all the “bawling” that was going on, when somebody really got the stuffin’ knocked out of them, or got a nice shiner or nose bleed and also, because brawling was looked down on by the muckity-muck establishment and their police force, who being good Irishmen, were really just angry at being left out of a good fight.
Where was I…Oh, yes.
And of course being the tough guys they were, those Bawling Alley guys, they didn’t want anybody knowing about the bawling part, so they changed the “a” to an “o”, (like Oh-h-h, the sound made when a good punch landed in the gut), thus it became bowling.
Now, in those days (as in these), they served plenty of beer in the brawl…I mean bowling alleys (which was also looked down on by the authorities) and between fights or waiting for the next fight to begin, they would stack the bottles up in little rows and patterns. Many of the brawlers…I mean bowlers liked throwing their opponents into these piles of bottles, because of the satisfying crash it made when the head of their victim would bash the bottles aside. This became so popular, in fact, that many brawl-bowlers began knocking down rows of bottles and head-butting them instead of actually brawling. This was especially true when the local constable would come through the alley and they didn’t want to appear to be doing anything that was looked down on by the law. Eventually, these early bowlers grew board with the brawling and began bashing bottles down full time, with only an occasional brawl, when there was an argument over who bashed the most bottles with the melon (which I forgot to mention, replaced the head as the preferred instrument of bashing). Finally, some semblance of rules were drawn up on a bar napkin in eastern Scotland and these rules were then expanded on and spread through out the civilized world.
It must be noted, that the drinking of beer in alleys, being looked down on much the way it is today, eventually lead to putting a roof on the alley, which proved handy when it rained, although then the occasional blood spilt in a real live brawl had to be cleaned up with a garden hose, instead of letting the rain do it. But still, this was seen as an improvement, which lead to numerous improvements, including heating and air conditioning, fiberglass benches, melon returners (when the melons survived the toss), and of course those little blowers for blowing air over your tired, melon soaked fingers. When the bottles were replaced by “pins” and melons for balls is unclear, but it’s certain that it followed the advent of the pretty wood planking we all know and love slipping around on today, which was an important improvement over the crude wooden pallets used to hide the full bear bottles under. Just in case you were wondering; the gutters were, of course, always there, to carry away the blood and beer spilt on the alley.
Oh yeah…My point in all this is:…um… Oh yes. A fight in a bowling alley over a bear is not new.