Miscellaneous Discoveries

(composed of varied things or made up of many different things or kinds of things that have no necessary connection with each other; from Latin miscellaneus, from miscellus, "mixed"; and derived from miscere, "to mix")

This unit contains the many notes and clippings which were discovered while doing some reorganization of the contents that were placed in boxes over the years.

Too often, the clippings were never identified as to sources, dates, or page numbers; however, I hope the content can be shared without criticism regarding the missing source data because the information was never intended to be published but it would be a shame to simply toss these items into the waste basket.

"Fossils for Thought" News Item

"The water from the faucet could contain molecules that dinosaurs drank."

The news on the water pollution front is hardly a shining gem. We drink the same water the dinosaurs drank, and look what happened to them!

—E.B. de Vito in The Wall Street Journal, Europe;
February 3, 1994; page 8.
Dear Ann Landers:

I was interested in your comment on the overuse of "OK" and decided to do a little research on it.

"OK' was first used in 1839 by C.K. Greene, the editor of the Boston Post, as an abbreviation of "oll korrect," a facetious misspelling of "all correct." Given meanings were: approval, endorsement, accepted as legitimate, or correct.

While there are no hard statistics to prove it, one can safely assume that the most widely used American word in the world is "OK." Spaniards utter it more often than "salud" and in England it is more common than "righto." Even speakers of the Djabo dialect in Liberia say "O-ke."

In 1840, when Martin Van Buren was running for re-electin, the Democrats banded together under the banner of the New York Democratic OK Club and son after the word became part of the language to signify that what is OK is all right.

—Mrs J.H.R. Renton, Washington.

Dear Mrs. J.H.R.:

Thank you for sharing your research. Your letter is another fine example of how my readers educate me.

Dear Ann Landers:

"OK" was in use prior to the claim of the Boston Post editor, C.K. Greene. (He said it was 1839.) I do not know exactly when "OK' was first used., but the person who gave it prominence was President Andrew Jackson.

Our seventh president was not a very good speller. He thought "all correct" was spelled "Orl Korrect" and used "OK" as the abbreviation when he approved state papers.

Obviously the Boston Post editor in 1839 was not the creator of "OK" because Jackson served as president from March 4, 1829, through March 3, 1837.

—Deane S. Stevens, Portland, Maine

Dear Deane:

Thanks for the research. I have in my hand a letter from a man who writes: "President Martin Van Buren started the use of 'OK.' It was the secret name of New York Democratic clubs derived from 'Old Kinderhok,' the president's hometown." Perhaps the next letter will interest you.

Dear Ann Landers:

I read in today's Massachusetts' Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise your column about the origin of the common expression "OK." I wish to make a correction.

The epression is almost as old as the Greek language, and it means "all is well"; ola kala.

Since the Greek language began to be studied in the West from the beginning of the Renaissance, students of Greek used many Greek words among themselves, and "OK' became the most common expression, as it is today.

—George F. Steffanides, professor emeritus, Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg. Massachusetts

Dear George:

With imput from so many authorities, what's a girl to believe?

Washing our food
Advised to wash our food?
A sensible idea for sure.
But is all well and good
If the water is impure?
—Edward Klein
Writer with mysophobia asking Ann Landers for advice

Dear Ann Landers:

Is there a medical name for a disorder that causes a person to be unduly concerned with germs and cleanliness? If there is, I have it.

I am obsessed with cleaning and talk about it all the time. I rinse by glasses and cups before I use them even though they have been washed with soap before I put them in the dishwasher. I always use the sanitize cycle.

I clean the homes of relatives and friends when I am a guest even though I've been told not do do it because it makes them uncomfortable. I just can't help myself, Ann. Everything around me must be in perfect order.

I imagine I have every symptom of every disease I hear about and worry constantly about being contaminated by unclean persons in public places. I could go on and on about my strange behavior, but I think you get the picture.

Please let me know what I can do to break this crazy pattern. It is as annoying to me as it is to others. I need help.

—Antiseptic and Sick of It

Dear Anti:

Don't despair. A problem identified is a problem half solved. You are suffering from a form of mental illness called mysophobia.

You need to get some counseling and find out why you feel so inadequate that you must compensate by knocking yourself out to prove that you are simply marvelous at something; in this case, chasing dirt.

There are no medals for women like you. I urge you to get into counseling and conquer this obsessive-compulsive behavior that is taking over your life.