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Chapter & Verse

A correspondence corner for not-so-famous lost words

November-December 2005

F. Markoe Rivinus requests the title and the other words of a song he heard in the late 1950s; he remembers two lines: “You ain’t no bigger than a bug is big/Oh, you cute little thingamajig!”

Harry Goldgar asks if someone can supply the identity of the “Institute” referred to in, and a specific origin for, an “abundantly Googled” cheer he dates to the 1920s or earlier: “Rooty-toot-toot, rooty-toot-toot,/We are the boys from the Institute./We don’t smoke and we don’t chew,/And we don’t go with the girls that do.”

“skywest and crooked” (July-August 2004). Jerry Leath Mills found this expression in Fred Gipson’s 1949 novel Hound Dog Man, in an early account of a raccoon hunt: “that old coon [was] slapping the dogs sky-west and crooked.”

Send inquiries and answers to “Chapter and Verse,” Harvard Magazine, 7 Ware Street, Cambridge 02138.