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Thingamajig Thursday: grommets and fungo bats

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Recently my wife and I were chatting about the _floss, which she claims she reads religiously (not). We were discussing possible new features I could introduce when she suddenly exclaimed, "Wait! Whatever happened to Thursday Thingamabob?! That was a fun one."

Nevermind that she got the name wrong. She had a point. What DID ever happen to Thingamajig Thursday? Did the author just run out of thingamajigs to post about or, with his 40th birthday creeping around the corner, did he merely wake up one Thursday and forget he'd even created such a feature? I know what you're thinking: a better question might be Why is the author referring to himself in 3rd person suddenly?

I don't have an answer to any of those questions. But I do have new thingamajigs today; two, in fact, to make up for the many months missed.

For the guys, I present you with something called a grommet, which is nothing more than a reinforced eyelet. I'm sure the women in the blog know this from buying belts like the one pictured here. We men know nothing about belts. I own one black one and one brown one and that's it. Were it up to me, I'd even do away with the brown one and just wear the black one with my brown pants but my wife refuses. I guess when it comes to belts, she wears the pants.

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Now for the ladies, I present you with the fungo bat. Actually, many guys may not know this little practice bat's real name either. Fungoes are balls hit during fielding practice and the bat used to hit them, which is a good 10 ounces lighter than a normal 30-ounce bat, is thus called a fungo. There are numerous theories on the origin of the word, which I won't bore you with here. But for those inclined, check them out here.

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Thingamajig Thursday: ferrules
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It's been a while since our last Thingamajig Thursday. Today I'm naming that slim metal band, or clamp, that wraps around a pencil, holding the eraser in place. You'll also find them stretched around a paintbrush, keeping the bristles tight, or the part of a violin bow that holds the hair to the "frog," or base.

fer.jpgAlso a verb, the word ferrule comes from the Latin viriola, or "small bracelet." So next time you're at Pearl Paint, or even Tiffany's, whip out the dope on ferrules and tell that salesperson what you really want. You might not get any better service, but you'll get a helluva lot of satisfaction showing off your knowledge.In the meantime, let's come up with a better word for the ferrule. I mean, it's a pretty okay work as far as thingamajigs go, but I know you smart readers can do better. Lay them on us.

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Thingamajig Thursday: rowels
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Time for another Thingamajig Thursday. Today I'm naming those small revolving disks with the sharp points that you find on the end of a cowboy's spurs.

They're called rowels, a word which can be traced back to the Latin root, rotae, which was the name of the wheel on a horse-drawn chariot. As a verb, we derive roto, or, to turn, from the same root.

Though no one knows exactly when people first started putting rowels on spurs, the spur itself is believed to date back to the Roman empire, though you won't find them on any of the sculptures from the period.

brokeback_15.jpgBefore rowels, spurs sometimes had little pointy nubs on the ends of them, which eventually morphed into fixed disks before someone had the smart idea to get those wheels a turning. The fixed disk variety can be seen on the seal of Henry III and by the 14th century, the roweled spur was as standard as the horse itself.

If this post has spurred you on to come up with a better name for the rowel, it's that time again: Let's see what your smart readers can come up with. Drop your improved thingamajig name in the comments below. And if the Brokeback Mountain theme is now stuck in your head, I sincerely, really, honestly do apologize.

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