Friday, August 27, 2010

Of gortex and babkas

You know how sometimes there are words we like so much that we want to keep saying them over and over and over again? William Safire , a noted grammarian who worked as a speechwriter in the Nixon white house and had a popular column in the New York Times Magazine (now that's a contradiction for the books), loved to analyze etymology track trends in word usage and his columns were very insightful and lively. Let's try to do something here too.

I was watching one of the endless Seinfeld re-runs on TV tonight. It is hellishly cold in New York and George walks into Jerry's apartment wearing a ludicrously puffed up coat which, he proudly and eagerly announces, is made of Gortex "You like saying Gortex, don't ya?", sneers Jerry (when is Jerry not sneering?)And all throughout the episode, George finds excuses to sneak in Gortex in routine conversation.

A bemused Elaine critiquing George's sartorial tastes

Meanwhile, Jerry and Elaine have their own word obsession while waiting in line in a bakery. In a very Seinfeldian manner, they argue whether they should buy a chocolate babka or a cinnamon babka. I am not sure but I think I counted about 15 mentions of bub-kah in less than 3 minutes of screen time.

What is Goretex? Wikipedia, our faithful guide in this complicated world, tells me it was invented by some dude called Gore (not the internet-inventor and world savior Al Gore) in the 1970's. Apparently, it is a breathable and porous fabric used to manufacture raincoats, implants and other assorted junk. It is made of interconnected nodes of Teflon (the same polymer they use to make non-stick pans you cook your foodstuff on). So goretex is essentially a cooking pan that breaths. Splendid.

For his services to humanity, Gore was inducted in the Industrial Inventors Hall of Fame. A Hall of Fame for inventors? Really?! WOW.

Gore and his fellow inventors filed a patent which I was able to dig out from the innards of the interetz: Gortex patent . Remember this kids: you can be rich and famous too if you come up with a fancy polymer that allows you sweat out but doesn't allow the rain to come in.

Don't forget to avoid the eggs, folks. This was a public service announcement from the kind people at UG.

1 comment:

  1. Lets sweat out but doesn't let water in: Gortex jackets are made out of HUMAN HIDES!!! :O