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Reporter’s notebook: On sucking eggs

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

The etymology of egg-sucking… Trust us when we say that a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to bring our readers their daily Austin Monitor. And a lot of that work is done by our invaluable, East Coast-based proofreader, Tricia Olszewski, who, though a master of the English language, is occasionally baffled by the Texas language. Case in point: last week’s quote of the day (and our hearts): “We need more money, but sucking an egg on golf is going to make that hard.” (Credit: Parks and Recreation Board Member Rick Cofer.) “Is this a Texas thing?” asked Olszewski. Our copy editor, Kayleigh Hughes, enthusiastically explained that her partner was very pleased to know the answer. “It’s a colloquialism about being foolish looking. I guess it comes from dogs sucking eggs,” she wrote. “My boyfriend grew up on a farm and he said his dogs used to sneak into the chicken coop and suck eggs.” (Hughes later added that, according to that same source, dogs will also take turkey eggs.) A quick perusal around the internet showed there is a non-Texan(ish) origination (which seems less suited to the current city golf situation) as well. “Sucking an egg” is also connected to grandmothers — as Wikipedia notes — though whether egg-sucking is a good or bad thing under that usage remains unclear. (Wikipedia entry: recommended!)

Noted… Just prior to leaving on summer break, City Council managed to increase the city’s homestead exemption — bringing it up to 8 percent. Though approved during a separate, specially called meeting, it did not escape the notice of former Council Member Mike Martinez (who was also a mayoral candidate during the last election). Martinez posted on Facebook, “As you all know, I have stayed as far away from city government as much as possible after leaving public office. … But this homestead exemption is not a small issue. It is such a big issue that is steeped in some of the worst mistakes in politics. Using optics rather than logic and not willing to admit you were wrong when you made that campaign promise. Poor people and renters pay the entire price tag for this — ALL OF IT!! I will not support, contribute or help any candidate who can’t see or doesn’t want to see the failure of this major issue. I could list city services 500 pages deep that this money could be used for and have a real impact on lives and affordability. I’m done. I’ll go back to my private life and keep enjoying it as best I can. But I hurt for our entire city today.”

And, in case you missed it… Last week, the city released its “Creative Sector Needs Assessment,” which is the city’s response to the much-touted music and creative sector omnibus. The Austin Chronicle has a recap of the assessment here, and the Austin Monitor will have coverage of it in the near future as well. However, for those who can’t wait to get engaged, here is where you can find the executive summary and a presentation on the paper. Happy summer, y’all!

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