I Don’t Give A Reservoir

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on August 24, 2012

99% Invisible has a dandy featurette about the Hoover Dam. According to this show, men went there looking for work in the depression. People used to working in New York offices did not do well in the desert, and man of them died.

There is a monument to the dam at the site. It is something to do with the alignment of the stars, at the moment that Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the dam. There is some kind of synchronicity, or maybe simultanaeity, with the alignment of stars when the big star in the sky led the wise men to the manger with the baby Jesus.

No one knows why people always used the middle name when talking about Mr. Roosevelt. Even fewer people know that Herbert Hoover’s middle name was Clark, or that the S. in Harry S. Truman did not stand for anything. Presidential middle names did not become a big deal until John Fitzgerald Kennedy, or JFK, was the POTUS. It is suspected that this was a subtle dig at his Irish background. Today, wingnuts gleefully remind everyone of Barack Hussein Obama.

Getting back to Hoover Dam, it is a big piece of work. They had pipes running through the interior of the dam, with cool water running through them. The water helped the concrete to cool and dry. The mass of concrete was that big. If those cooling pipes had not been installed, there would  be wet concrete inside the dam today.

Has anyone ever wondered why Dam, as in reservoir, sounds the same as a popular cussword? They are spelled different, with G-d’s last name sporting a silent n. According to, dam, with no n, is derived thusly:
1275–1325; Middle English < Middle Dutch, Middle Low German, dam; akin to Old English for-demman to stop up, block. For the cussword : 1250–1300; Middle English dam ( p ) nen < Old French dam ( p ) ner < Latin damnāre to condemn, derivative of damnum damage, fine, harm
The concrete facility is either a noun or a verb. It blocks the flow of water, which can create a lake, provide drinking water, or destroy the value of land under the lake. The cussword is versatile, serving as a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb. It is said to be a gift. PG wonders whether you should gift wrap a damn if you give one. Rhett Butler would not know.

Dam or Damn: A Grammar Lesson is a blog post about the damm dam dilemma. There is an interesting comment.
“Dam” is correct if you’re using phrases such as “I couldn’t give a dam.” A “dam” is an Indian coin of very little value. Although, ever since it’s infamous misuse in Gone With the Wind (“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”), “damn” has entered common usage (particularly in the USA).”
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This was written like H. P. Lovecraft.
99% Invisible is supported by donations, and always wants more.

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