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i always thought "bitchen" (weekly spelling) was a contraction of "bitching", which would then make it spelled "bitchin'" (note apostrophe), which is how i always spelled it when i was in 7th grade. . . . the weeklyspelling makes it look like some obscure german fruit pastry. . . . not that it matters.
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OC Weekly DataLab Head Researcher Ludwig Ciardi responds: In its survey of 4,000 websites, bitchen.com found that just 11 percent spelled "bitchen" correctly. Add to the 89 percent who got it wrong reader Phil Fabian. TheOC Weekly DataLab is delighted to help clear up this linguistic disaster. The word "bitchin'" evolved from the Old Norsebikkja, a female dog—through Old and Middle English (bicce and thenbicche)—whose howling in pupping naturally suggests whining, hence "bitching." But such bitching—or bitchin'—is a long way from "bitchen," in which we are wiser to look not to Old Norse but to more recent history. In 1998, theCleveland Plain Dealer claimed the word "bitchen" first appeared in an 1862 letter signed by Captain Richard W. Burt of the 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry; Burt described a Memphis hotel as "a very large and bitchen building." But that document was soon revealed to be a hoax produced with Photoshop, coffee, parchment and a lighter.
Etymology is often intuitive, and through a series of investigations, theWeekly DataLab has concluded that "bitchen" is more likely linked to the root "bit." Among equine enthusiasts, a horse that is "bit" has chomped down so ferociously upon its restraining device that the bit no longer restrains; the horse is out of control. Consider, too, that "bit" is the word professionals use to describe short comedic acts or jokes designed to make an audience lighten up. But laughter is not the best medicine for lightening up; medicine is, and "bitartrates" are at the root of Hydrocodone, the generic form of Vicodin, the highly addictive, opiate-based painkiller that works by attaching itself to proteins called opioid receptors, interrupting communication within the central nervous system. Then, of course, there's "pillow biting," the involuntary coital response of eight out of 10 DataLab subjects subjected to endless orgasms in a recent test designed to investigate Fabian's claims. Hence, Schoenkopf's use of "bitchen" as an adjective that connotes not "complaining," but rather "fabulous," "beyond human ken," intense.
WHAT A FOOL BELIEVES
I'm beginning to believe that it is your editorial policy to distort and misrepresent facts rather than tell the truth. Recent examples include your coverage of the sewage discharged by the Orange County Sanitation District and your reports about the mayor of Garden Grove.
Dave Wielenga's coverage of the sewage waiver issue ("Gunk Science," May 24) fails to report that removal of the waiver and the implementation of full secondary treatment will do nothing to solve the problems of bacterial contamination on Orange County beaches.
I found very little factual information in Nick Schou's articles ("The King of Garden Grove," May 17; "Yes, in My Back Yard," May 30) about allegations of illegal actions by Mayor Broadwater regarding redevelopment. The stories are clearly based on the ranting of a fired former Garden Grove police officer who is running for mayor. Fair Political Practices Commission rules specify that public officials may not vote on issues from which they may materially benefit. The areas proposed for addition to the redevelopment project area are nowhere near Broadwater's properties. Therefore there is no conflict. Simply owning property within 500 feet of the current redevelopment project area and voting on redevelopment does not present a conflict unless there is contrary evidence. Before you start printing allegations, you should at least check the facts. Just because a person files a complaint with the FPPC does not validate their allegations.
Dave Wielenga and Nick Schou respond: No, Chris, our editorial policy is to painstakingly restate the facts for dimwits who just can't or won't comprehend the first time. And so, just for you, we say again: (1) The OCSD's $5.1 million study reported that scientists said their results were preliminary and could not determine whether bacteria from the sewage plume ever reaches the beach; (2) Broadwater has property within 500 feet of the city's redevelopment project area, and unless he can prove otherwise, it is assumed that this presents a conflict of interest. The FPPC may decide otherwise, but we still haven't heard a convincing argument saying so, and that includes your letter. Either way, notice the phrase "potential conflict" throughout the article to highlight the fact that it is the FPPC—not Broadwater, you or theWeekly, for that matter—that decides whether there is a conflict.
Regarding politicians and their attitude toward dumping sewage into the ocean (Dave Wielenga's "Flush Twice—It's a Long Way to Huntington Beach," May 10): I was just wondering which ocean the folks in Denver, Phoenix or Oklahoma City dump their sewage into?
I wanted to extend my appreciation for your willingness to write about the OCSD outfall story. Through your articles, more and more individuals will become aware of the systematic pollution of our coastal waters. Thanks for being there.
Huntington Beach AND NOW, LA MADRE OF PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Fear not, Peter (Pete Steinmetz, "Letters," May 24). I let the Orange Curtain hit me in the ass nine years ago to come to northern California for school. I was thrilled when OC finally got a weekly rag and that I could keep up on my barrio by reading about it on my 'puter; your Thursday fix is still available online. By the way, Gustavo Arellano is my favorite writer and always has me laughing! His many uses for the word madre still crack me up!
Angelita Figueroa Salas
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