Thursday, November 5, 2009
Gan Canny, Miner's Lamps & Locomotives
It is 6:02 AM, grab a cup of Thor's java and let's connect the dots on something fun; it will led us to miner's lamps and locomotives in a moment. I heard the other day from James, one of my favorite Brits who has the English knack for writing with both wit and charm. We worked together some years ago in South Wales and he now lives in Singapore with a beautiful wife and child. Very international that James. Anyway, he signed off his note with the expression Gan canny bonny lad. The ole Colonel hadn't heard that one before so I set about to do some research. The words are Geordie, the name of the English dialect spoken by folks from the Tyneside region in the northeast corner of England. It means roughly, "Go with care good friend", I've included the more exact and nuanced meaning from the dictionary of Geordie speech below the sign off.
When do we get to the miner stuff, Colonel?
OK, hold your horses young'uns. Some believe the people of the Tyneside area are called "Geordies" because of the "Geordie lamp", one of the first safety lamps developed for miners. "Geordie" comes from "George" and George Stephenson, a Tynesider himself, invented the safety lamp to prevent firedamp (methane) explosions in the coal mines common to that area (note 1).
There was also a "Davy lamp" at that time and both operated on roughly the same principle. The flame is enveloped in wire gauze of a certain fineness that does not ignite firedamp. The Stephenson's Geordie lamp added a glass enclosure for both gauze and flame which worked best in the moist air of Tyneside bituminous coal mines. Both lamps were very fragile and miners were occasionally blown to Kingdom Come until electrical lighting reduced the occurrences in the early 1900s. It took until 1930 for the introduction of battery-powered helmet lamps to finally solve the problem. Think about George the next time you don your safety helmet, miners!
Now to connect the final dots. George Stephenson was a clever fellow and also built one of the first steam locomotives in 1829. Named "Rocket" it won a prize of £500 and pulled a heavy load at a steady speed of nearly thirty miles per hour. Its success, in spite of some local pooh-poohing, led to the adoption of railway transport for passengers and goods. George Stephenson is often referred to as "Father of Railways" and his rail gauge of 4 feet 8½ inches,sometimes called "Stephenson gauge", became the world's standard gauge. On your next trip to Walmart, think of George when you pass the main line along I-80.
The Colonel hopes you learned a few new tidbits this morning, I know I did last night. Gan canny bonny lad (or lass)!
Enough Geordie talk, let's walk the walk:
4-WD is ON - the VIX or "fear index" dropped just above 25 but I'm keeping this yeller until we get past tomorrow's labor report; off-road market conditions are expected to continue (what's this?)
Yellow light is ON our Fuel Gauge, oil is too close to $80 for my comfort.
Yellow light is ON for possible adverse regulation/legislation (mercury emissions)
Otherwise, all lights are green on the Eureka Outlook Dashboard (upper right, what's this?)
Oil is down $0.56 in early trading to $79.84 (December contract); Gold is up $1.4 to $1088.7 (December contract, most active); Silver is flat at $17.460 (December contract); Copper is down $.0425 to $2.9505(December contract); Molybdenum is steady at $11.75.
The DOW is up 142.98 points to 9945.12; the S&P 500 is up 13.62 points to 1060.12. The miners are mixed:
Barrick (ABX) $40.19 down 0.22%
Newmont (NEM) $47.34 down 0.07%
General Moly (Eureka Moly, LLC) (GMO) $2.40 up 4.80%
Freeport McMoran (FCX) $78.66 up 1.24% (a bellwether mining stock spanning gold, copper & molybdenum)
Steel stocks are still pouring metal, (a "tell" for General Moly):
Nucor (NUE) $39.35 up 1.76% - domestic steel manufacturing
ArcelorMittal (MT) $35.15 up 1.97% - global steel producer
POSCO (PKX) $108.30 up 0.19% - South Korean integrated steel producer
The Eureka Miner's Grubstake Portfolio is is up 1.12% to $1,214,772.23 (what is this?).
Headline Photograph: The Eureka & Palisades Locomotive on its way to Durango, Colorado (see Ruby Hill Pours One Million, E&P Railroad News)
Note 1: In fairness there is an alternate explanation for the genesis of Geordie. Tynesiders during the Jacobite risings declared their allegiance to the Hanoverian kings of Great Britain George I and George II; whereas the rest of the county of Northumberland, to the north, was loyal to James Francis Edward Stuart.
From the Geordie Dictionary:
GAN - To go. As seun as aa hord him, aa gans up tiv him.
CANNY - The most common and most beautiful word in our dialect. We cannot better Heslop's description:
"An embodiment of all that is kindly, good, and gentle. The highest compliment that can be paid to any person is to say that he or she is canny. As "home" expresses the English love of the fireside, so in Tyneside and Northumberland does canny express every home virtue. All that is good and loveable in man or woman is covered by the expression "Eh, what a canny body !" A child appealing for help or protection always addresses his elder as canny man "Please. canny man, gi's a lift i' yor cairt." "0, canny man 0 show me the way to Wallington." What Northumberland bairn but has appealed, when punishment impended, "Please canny man, it wasn't me !" The fishwife who wishes to compliment her customer says, "Noo, canny-hinny, see what vor buyin'."
BONNY - Good looking. But is usually used like "canny" to describe character as well as looks. A bonny bairn, a good looking child. A bonny singer, an accomplished singer. Sometimes it is used ironically to describe the opposite, abonny mess; thor's a bonny game gaan on. The old song says:"My bonny keel laddie. my canny keel laddie."
LAD - A sweetheart. She wis gan a waak wiv her lad - she was out walking with her sweetheart.
LASS - A sweetheart. Wor lass however means "my wife".
AA'D - I had. Aa'd better gan canny - I had better be careful. AA'D. I would. Aa'd a been there mesel - I would have been there myself.