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8 Slang Terms from The Breakfast Club, Decoded

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The events in The Breakfast Club took place on March 24, 1984—33 years ago today. While it’s easy to understand how the characters felt—isolated, pressured, demented and sad, but social—sometimes it wasn’t so easy to understand what they were saying. So here are eight slang terms from the film, explained.

1. BREAKFAST CLUB

There is no breakfast and the detention lasts all day. So why is the movie called The Breakfast Club? According to AMC Story Notes, writer and director John Hughes “got the title from a friend’s son, who called morning detention at his school ‘The Breakfast Club.’” Hughes promptly changed the name of the film from a less appealing Detention.

But he could have also been influenced by Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club, a radio show that originated in Illinois and ran from 1933 to 1968. Hughes and his family moved to Northbrook, Illinois in 1963, when Hughes was 12.

2. BURNER

“Only burners like you get high,” Claire tells Bender, mere hours before she gets high herself.

A burner is a drug user and might be short for burnout, which is from the early 1970s. Other drug slang terms include druggie from the late 1960s; pusher from mid-1930s prison slang; and primo, as in primo or excellent drugs, from the 1990s. Nowadays the word burner might be more commonly used to refer to a throwaway mobile phone.

3. “SO, AHAB ... KYBO MEIN DOOBAGE”

This famous line said by Bender to Brian has certainly confounded many a movie viewer. While doobage is clearly a variant of doobie, slang for marijuana, and mein is German for "my," Ahab and kybo are less clear.

Ahab could refer to Captain Ahab from Moby Dick, or the song "Ahab the Arab," although neither seems to have any connection to Brian or Bender. Perhaps Ahab has something to do with stereotypes around Arabs and opium.

As for kybo, it could refer to the Boy Scout term for an outhouse, in which case it stands for keep your bowels in order or keep your bowels open. Perhaps Bender is playing off this and telling Brian to keep his bowels off the marijuana since the drugs are down Brian's pants.

4. EAT MY SHORTS

While this euphemism for "eat my shit" may seem quintessential Bart Simpson, it’s uttered by Bender in The Breakfast Club two years before The Simpsons makes its premiere on The Tracey Ullman Show. Even earlier is a (pretty funny) 1984 song called "Eat My Shorts" by comedian and radio personality Rick Dees.

The phrase comes full circle when on Futurama, Bender the robot—who, by the way, was named by show creator Matt Groening for The Breakfast Club’s John Bender—finds a Bart Simpson doll which says “Eat my shorts!” Bender obliges.

5. NEO-MAXI-ZOOM-DWEEBIE

Essentially, a really big dweeb. "Face it," Bender says to Brian. "You're a neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie." The term was apparently ad-libbed by Judd Nelson.

It’s unclear how old the word dweeb is. Some sources say it’s from the late 1960s, while the Oxford English Dictionary cites 1982 as the earliest mention. But it’s agreed that the word might be influenced by dwarf and feeb, someone who’s feeble.

Neo-maxi might be a play on neo-Nazi, at least in terms of sound, with maxi implying something huge. As for zoom, your guess is as good as ours.

6. NOTHING TO DO WHEN YOU'RE LOCKED IN A VACANCY

Vacancy here could mean the empty space of the library, the seemingly endless span of time of all-day detention, or Bender's own mind as he tears out pages from a book of Moliere. It's most likely Bender's head since Andrew replies, "Speak for yourself." The line is also the name of an early 2000s song by punk band None More Black.

7. RIDING THE HOBBY HORSE

Bender accuses Brian of claiming he and Claire are riding the hobby horse, or having sex. Hobby horse also refers to the Irish hobby, an extinct horse breed; a toy consisting of a horse head on a stick; a favorite pastime (now shortened to hobby); a favorite topic; as well as a lustful person or loose woman.

8. WASTOID

Another term for someone who uses drugs, wastoid seems to have been coined in The Breakfast Club, or at least makes its earliest appearance there. The word is a combination of wasted, meaning drunk or intoxicated, and -oid, “like, like that of.” This suffix can be found in words like android and humanoid, which are automatons that have human-like qualities but are not actually human, or factoid—something that’s presented as a fact but isn’t, which is often mistaken to mean a small fact or piece of trivia.

In 2014, Stardeath and White Dwarfs, "an experimental rock band from Norman, Oklahoma," released an album called Wastoid.

This post originally appeared in 2014.

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8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
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Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

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11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
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Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

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