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U2 singer Bono infamously uttered what many consider the “worst” swear word in the English language during the 2003 Golden Globes. The U.S. government, through the FCC, responded with what they called the fleeting expletive policy, which stated that broadcasters could be fined for allowing even a single curse word on live television.

But on Tuesday, a federal appeals court in New York concluded that the rule was unconstitutionally vague and tossed it out.

It’s probably safe to assume that as long as humans have been speaking, we’ve been cussin’ and cursin’. What can the connection between “curse,” “swear,” “cuss” and “profanity” tell us about all the words we aren’t supposed to say, yet say with great frequency?

Placing a curse obviously isn’t the same as uttering curse words, but both concepts start with the Christian Church. Originally, the sense of curse as “the expression of a wish that misfortune, evil, doom, etc., befall a person, group, etc.” wasn’t so different from using profanity, which in an early sense is speech directed against God. In earlier times, a word against a God could be seen as a wish of misfortune on others, and perhaps wishing harm on other people could be seen as belittling the faith in the divine.

Cuss is simply an American alteration of curse, and its meaning “to say bad words” was first recorded in 1815.

How does swear come to simultaneously mean “to bind oneself by oath,” and “to use profane oaths or language”? The earliest swear words were identical to curse words — taking the Christian God’s name in vain, or speaking of acts that were considered sinful.

While there is a general consensus about what some adult words are — such as the f-bomb dropped by the U2 singer — others are up for debate. One of the judges in the FCC ruling addressed this point, writing that some expressions, such as “pissed off” or “kiss my a**,” were not universally agreed-upon profanities. A good rule of thumb: if you’re not sure if a word is an expletive, look it up in a dictionary (or on a dictionary Web site.)

Fish scale new heights in cuisine website best restaurants in chicago

Chicago Sun-Times February 13, 2000 | NEIL STEINBERG Usually, when a fish makes the journey from restaurant kitchen to white-clothed table, it ain’t coming back. Not in one piece anyway.

But then again, usually the fish aren’t served alive.

Which is how they are presented, at least in one dish, at ultra- hip, ultra-haute, ultra-pricey Tru, which opened last spring on St. Clair Street and has been sending food critics swooning with hosannas of praise.

“Exquisite,” “intelligent,” “impressive,” gushed Pat Bruno, just in the first paragraph of his four-star review. Chicago magazine had to burst the boundaries of time and space to express its wonder, finding Tru not only among the best restaurants in Chicago, but in America, not just in the present, but “an epochal meal worthy of the ages.” There, among the truffles and blood orange reductions and poached stuffed pheasants, a dish that stands out even in this glittering palace of cuisine: a dish of seafood seviche served on a mirror holding glassware containing a living Japanese Fighting Fish.

“We believe in fine dining with a sense of humor,” said executive chef; partner Rick Tramonto, who cooked up the idea – unique in the culinary universe, he believes – while taking his 3-year-old son, Giorgio, to the Shedd Aquarium one day. go to web site best restaurants in chicago

“I hadn’t gone in years,” Tramonto said. “We saw the dolphin show, all this really cool stuff. I love fish. I have fish tanks in my house. I thought: How could I involve fish in the restaurant in some way, to incorporate their beauty and calmness and color in our presentation?” So Tramonto bought fighting fish and stuck them in their individual bowls (as fighting fish, they would kill each other if put together), and contemplated them. He tried placing the bowls at certain tables and watching how diners reacted to them. “I knew there was something there,” he said.

He settled upon the fish put in a small glass orb, with a glass cone set in it holding the seviche, a sort of salad of black sea bass, lobster, octopus and scallops. It’s a course in the $80 “seafood collection.” The setting normally would be used for an individual serving of caviar, with the ice in the bowl and the caviar in the cone.

As if his cuisine were too dramatic to present on any existing containers, Tramonto – who with his wife, Gale Gand, was the force behind Trio in Evanston before leaving to start Brasserie T in Northfield – designs his own glassware.

Those ordering caviar, for instance, get it presented in an eight- tiered green glass spiral staircase designed by Tramonto and bearing, on its base, his bold signature.

Given the popularity of the dish, he plans to have the fish- swimming-around seafood seviche customized as well and within the year will be selling the glassware to his customers. “So many people want to buy them, but we’re just not ready,” he said.

Tramonto admits that not all patrons are happy to find living fish swimming around their seviche. Perhaps two out of 100 patrons ask for the seviche to be returned without aquatic chaperone.

“Some call it shock cuisine,” Tramonto said. “A few customers found the fish unnerving.”‘ No customer has yet accidentally eaten a Japanese fighting fish, but once staff had to come to the rescue when, as Tramonto explains it, “a drunken party tried to accost the fish.” NEIL STEINBERG

331 Comments

  1. Cindy -  December 24, 2013 - 5:16 pm

    To me the difference between cussing and putting a curse is when you curse it is liberating and a form of letting out your frustration you normally say what you have to say and forget about it. Such as a middle finger when driving in traffic.
    However. when you want to place a curse on someone you speak evil words that are not cuss words over the person and it includes a form of stalking and harassing usually it is to the person destruction mentally , psychologically and physically so that the speaker or encourager of the speakers gain something usually it is monetarily or they have a personal vendetta against the person and want everyone else to join in.

    Reply
  2. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 26, 2013 - 4:09 am

    Don’t do any of them. That’s all I say. Putting a couple letters with asterisks (these things: *) also counts. If you have get your feelings out that way, use:
    >frinked off “That show really frinks me off.”
    >racdrops “Racdrops! I banged my knee on the table again!”
    >sprink “Sprink on him, anyway!”
    They sound “bad” but they don’t actually mean anything.

    Reply
  3. d troxell -  October 16, 2013 - 2:53 pm

    Apparently you haven’t read the bible. the bible contains the truth as it is.
    It says in Matthew that if you curse you are in danger of hell fire.
    If you believe in the bible, God, and the truth, you will find it there.

    Reply
  4. Syd -  August 5, 2013 - 2:30 pm

    I know many people that are religious think it is a sin to say a cuss, but in my opinion,it isn’t really like you’d be doing something evil to say a word.Sure, as much as I dislike these words, I don’t find them sinful.
    A weapon as a sword or a claw can cut through our skin, but a word can cut through a heart.
    For goodness sakes, I’ve had my own father swear to my face! >:(

    Reply
  5. Jessie Swaffer -  July 19, 2013 - 6:30 am

    Cursing is the weak mind’s feeble attempt at expressing itself.

    Reply
  6. Leonard Simek -  June 3, 2013 - 11:15 am

    Profanity can be considered cussing which is a form of low english or undesireable speech. Not at all comely and is usually careless talk which bleeds over to something more serious.

    Swear binds the user to a proclamation as if to do something,,,,like I swear Ill never to that again but

    Cursing is the worst which implies ill will or malice afore thought on someone or some group. God cursed Satan in the Garden of Eden. Can be directed at individuals, spirits, groups or nations depending on their behavior or moral standards.

    Reply
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