Monday, April 19, 2010

P is for Pike's Peak Writers Conference, Private Investigators, and a Pig in a Poke

Pike's Peak Writers' Conference

The 2010 Pike's Peak Writers' Conference is this coming weekend, April 23-25 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I will not be there, but I'd love to see a report from anyone who attends.

Private Investigators

One of the topnotch resources for crime writers, included in my Web Resources for Crime Writers post at The Blood-Red Pencil, is a P.I. team that has a blog called Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes. They also teach online classes for writers.

The Pig in a Poke

According to my Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, a pig in a poke is:

"something offered in such a way as to obscure its real nature or worth."

This is like:

1. getting the wool pulled over your eyes
2. being bamboozled
3. getting hoodwinked
4. being sucked in or made a sucker of

The origin of "pig in a poke" goes back to the 1500s. According to World Wide Words:

"Though the current version in full is “Don’t buy a pig in a poke”, don’t buy or accept something without first checking or assessing it, it’s first recorded in London around 1530 in a form intended to be good advice to honourable traders: “When ye proffer the pigge open the poke”, but its best known early appearance is in John Heywood’s A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the proverbes in the Englishe tongue of 1546 (a title usually and with good reason abbreviated to Proverbs), where it appears in the form “Though he love not to buy the pig in the poke”. About 1555, Heywood included it in his other famous compilation work, Epigrammes, in the almost modern form “I will never bye the pig in the poke”.

Many Americans know a poke as a small bag or sack, which it was also in Heywood’s day (a usage that has survived in Scotland). A poke, for example, was a suitable container into which to stuff a piglet for sale in the local market.

The proverb encapsulates that wise advice to purchasers of goods, caveat emptor, let the buyer beware — always inspect the goods before you pay for them. Make the seller open his poke and show you the pig within."

I suggest this also applies to voters and what we should do before we go to the polls. And that's pretty much all I have to say about that.


Terry Odell said...

I'll be at PPWC. I'm sure my blog will have coverage afterward! :-)

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

I love your little word phrase lessons :) That kind of stuff fascinates me.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Terry and Rebecca -- I was dawdling this morning, mailing packages and buying bread for the freezer. Glad to see you here.

And to all of my readers today, I just re-read my Pig in a Poke section and decided I should have elaborated. We also need to ask to see the pig in the poke when we shop at the grocery store, when we pick a bank for our checking account, before we sign a contract for cable TV, and on and on. If we don't educate ourselves, we can't complain about what we get.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Loved your resources on the blood red pencil and the detective site. thanks!

Watery Tart said...

Great links--thank you, Patricia! And I am loving these definitions--the kind of thing I have a 'feel for' but I love the actual meaning and etiology. [/wordnerd]

Mason Canyon said...

Your A-Z challenge has been so interesting. Can't wait to see what you come up with tomorrow. :)

Thoughts in Progress

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Raquel. There are new and excellent resources for writers showing up on the web all the time. It's hard to keep up with our opportunities.

Hart, I think it's great fun to find out where certain phrases originated. Again, with a good internet search, we can find the answer to almost anything.

I had more good ideas for Q than I expected, Mason. I settled on one that will allow for more interaction with those who drop by tomorrow.

Talli Roland said...

I've never heard that expression, so thanks for the explanation!

Ann said...

Very interesting posting. My you are just motoring along with this challenge in such an interesting way.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I’ve heard of a pig in a poke for years, but realized I never knew what it meant until I read your blog. Thanks.

Kathy McIntosh said...

I LOVE learning the meaning of phrases like this. Thanks so much for the background info. And I'm off to see the resources on private investigators you mentioned. Fun.

Grammy said...

I think maybe when we order things over the internet it is kind of like buying a pig in a poke, cause we don't really know what it looks like for real until we get it. More and more, we are getting pigs in a poke...I think our latest president is rather like that. Ha.

arlee bird said...

I've always liked going to Colorado Springs-- wish I could attend that conference. Drove up to the top of Pike's Peak once and I swear I never laughed so much in my life. Maybe it was a lack of oxygen, or maybe the company who were with me, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was that was so darn funny. But what a fun drive and a beautiful view at the top.
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