YAHR-bur-oh, -buhr-oh or, esp. British, -ber-uh
Whist, Bridge. a hand in which no card is higher than a nine.
“Who kills over a bridge hand? Anyway, I had a total Yarborough —look at my hand and look at her hand!”
— Matthew Granovetter , I Shot My Bridge Partner , 1999
“When the time comes, I shall take a white handerchief out of my coat pocket. That will mean that you are about to be dealt a Yarborough …”
— Ian Fleming , Moonraker , 1955
Yarborough came to English in the late 1800s after the 2nd Earl of Yarborough, who was said to have bet 1000 to 1 against the occurrence of a card hand in which no card is higher than a nine.
No one expected me. Everything awaited me.
December 30, 1946: Happy 67th birthday, Patti Smith! The punk progenitor’s work is a triumph of both style and substance. After a long career as a musician, she penned a National Book Award-winning memoir, Just Kids, about her friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe.
The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.
December 29, 1989: Czech playwright Vaclav Havel continued to be a champion of human rights and free speech even as he became the president of Czechoslovakia, 24 years ago today.
Meet Krampus, Santa Claus’ Disturbing Sidekick
Christmas isn’t simple. If you think you’ve got a handle on its melange of Christian, pagan, and national traditions, here’s one more wrinkle. In Austria and Hungary, and some parts of Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Northern Italy, a bleak myth describes what happens during the Christmas season to children who have misbehaved during the past year. According to legend, unruly kids are paid a visit by Krampus.
Unlike St.Nicholas, who brings gifts and treats, Krampus punishes and warns kids who need to straighten up.
The word Krampus derives from the Old High German word Krampen, which means “claw.” Other European traditions involve other unpleasant or grotesque sidekicks to Santa Claus, including Black Peter, Servant Rupert, and a devil and an angel. The ghastly depictions of this mythical creature usually feature a hairy man-beast with sharp horns and an even-sharper tongue that hangs wickedly from his mouth. He often is carrying rusty chains and a handful of birches for whipping. He has a sadistic smile. Some images of Krampus show him hauling away mischievous children in a basket on his back. The image above is the least frightening I found online. Some were just too disturbing to post!
Traditionally, in early December young men would dress up as the demonic Krampus and take to the streets, terrifying children. Now, modern Krampus costumes usually include sheep’s skin, horns, and wooden masks called Larve.
For such a ubiquitous occasion, Christmas still contains a multitude of obscure facts and surprises. One of the most provocative Christmas words is “Xmas.” Learn the sacred and ancient meaning of the X on a follow up post soon to come!
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for reading (and hopefully enjoying) this blog. May the peace and joy be with you this holiday season and the year ahead!
All My Best,
And now, here’s your quote of the day…
Like all of my friends, she’s a lousy judge of character.
December 26, 1956: Happy 57th birthday, David Sedaris! The mischievous raconteur first shot to fame with an essay that he read on public radio about his job as a Christmas elf.
Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.
Merry Christmas! Accomplished magazine editor Lenore Hershey, who held the top spot at McCall’s magazine and The Ladies’ Home Journal, has excellent gift-giving advice for the holidays.
Funny, when you finally faced reality, it was amazing how clearly you could see things.
Mary Higgins Clark
December 24, 1929: Happy 84th birthday, Mary Higgins Clark! The mystery and suspense writer has penned almost 50 books, but she has other interests as well. Clark is a part owner of the New Jersey Nets and recently purchased a seat on the Chicago Board Options Exchange.