Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Where Crows Fly, How Squid Are Caught, and the "Toots" That Rhymes with "Puts"

Image by Rick Geary

Heymatt:
Last September you said that ravens go “somewhere” at the end of the day to go over the day’s events, or something to that effect. I live in Spring Valley and at sunup I see thousands of them flying to the northeast. At sundown, they all fly to the southwest to spend the night. I see a few of them around various places eating roadkill and olives or dive-bombing hawks, but the majority seem to be going someplace specific. Have you ever tracked them to find out exactly where they spend the day and then the night? I depend on you to solve this mystery.
— Langston, Spring Valley

Having dispatched the elves to follow the birds from dawn ’til dusk, I can report two things:

Firstly, those aren’t ravens you’re seeing, they’re crows. The two birds are similar and hard to differentiate, especially when concentrated in big flocks. The main difference is that crows go for cheap shots nine times out of ten, which some of the elves found out the hard way. It turns out crows will heckle elves whereas ravens take the high road. Also, crows are smaller. Both birds are genetically passerines (songbirds) and more closely related to sparrows and wrens than to big birds such as hawks or vultures. If you could imagine expanding a chickadee to one hundred times its normal size, it would end up looking a lot like a raven.

Secondly, the crows are headed to a roost along the Sweetwater River adjacent to the Plaza Bonita Shopping Center and east of the 805. Between five and six thousand of them sleep there, especially outside the breeding season. There is another roost out by Lake Hodges and new ones are starting to appear as the birds, which were nearly non-existent around San Diego until the mid-1980s, increase in population and have to seek out new habitats. During the day, they disperse throughout the area so as not to be in competition with each other for the available resources.

Heymatt:
I was at Mission Beach and as the sun went down when two large fishing boats showed up not far from the beach. It looked like they were trawling. If so, what’s the deal?
— Tena

“Trawling,” by which we mean dragging a weighted net along the bottom of the ocean to scoop up bottom-dwelling fish, is not permitted in California’s state waters; meaning everything within a 12-mile radius of the California shoreline. Even out past that distance, where ground fishing is allowed, government regulators from National Marine Fisheries enforce strict guidelines on equipment and fishing practices. Those fishing boats that have been steaming around just off San Diego shores are one of two kinds of squid boat. First, light boats come along and beam lanterns down into the water. Squid (being intelligent in some ways and very dumb in others) swarm like little, aquatic moths to the lights. Once they’re all collected at the surface, other boats come by with purse-seine nets and scoop up the squid en masse. Since the squid spawn over sand and are fished from the surface, the purse seiners don’t cause the damage associated with trawling; i.e., bycatch (catching the wrong fish) and damage to habitat as the net drags along the ground. Considering that the U.S. imports 80 percent of its seafood, seeing Californian boats sustainably fishing a stable population of squid is a pretty good thing. If you want to get your hands on some of those squid, or other local fish, try Catalina Offshore Products right here in town.

Heymatt:
I’m wondering if you know the origin of the word “toots” when used as an old-fashioned nickname for a woman, which I guess means something like “baby” or “doll” and pronounced to rhyme with “puts.” Does it come from “Toot-Toot-Tootsie Roll”? It doesn’t have anything to do with “tooting,” does it?
— Donna, via email

Calling a woman “toots” has the undeniable flavor of the Roaring Twenties, but it doesn’t appear in common usage until the mid-’30s. Despite the fact that the chocolate Tootsie Roll was invented in 1896 and trademarked in 1925, it’s unlikely that “toots” comes from the candy. Our best guess is that it’s an evolution of “tootsy-wootsy,” which was in use from the late 19th Century onward to mean “sweetie,” or anything to that effect. Early uses of “tootsy” are all actually in reference to feet, perhaps evocative of babytalk or rhyming with “footsy,” and it’s unclear how it changed to mean “sweetie.” “Toots,” as opposed to “tootsie,” is a bit derogatory; the kind of thing a gangster says to a floozie, not a sweet nothing between lovers.

We see an unrelated use of the word in Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, leader of the Maytalls and the artist with the singular honor of having popularized the term “reggae” for his music. Hibbert also used the short “o” sound in his name, rhyming it with “puts,” which reggae fans will always point out if you mess it up.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies, uncovered

Nudity does more to advance an actress’s career than it does the plot
Next Article

Pepper covers Sublime for The House That Bradley Built comp

Hirie, G. Love, the Expanders, Common Kings, the Skints, Long Beach Dub Allstars, and Trevor Young also contribute
Image by Rick Geary

Heymatt:
Last September you said that ravens go “somewhere” at the end of the day to go over the day’s events, or something to that effect. I live in Spring Valley and at sunup I see thousands of them flying to the northeast. At sundown, they all fly to the southwest to spend the night. I see a few of them around various places eating roadkill and olives or dive-bombing hawks, but the majority seem to be going someplace specific. Have you ever tracked them to find out exactly where they spend the day and then the night? I depend on you to solve this mystery.
— Langston, Spring Valley

Having dispatched the elves to follow the birds from dawn ’til dusk, I can report two things:

Firstly, those aren’t ravens you’re seeing, they’re crows. The two birds are similar and hard to differentiate, especially when concentrated in big flocks. The main difference is that crows go for cheap shots nine times out of ten, which some of the elves found out the hard way. It turns out crows will heckle elves whereas ravens take the high road. Also, crows are smaller. Both birds are genetically passerines (songbirds) and more closely related to sparrows and wrens than to big birds such as hawks or vultures. If you could imagine expanding a chickadee to one hundred times its normal size, it would end up looking a lot like a raven.

Secondly, the crows are headed to a roost along the Sweetwater River adjacent to the Plaza Bonita Shopping Center and east of the 805. Between five and six thousand of them sleep there, especially outside the breeding season. There is another roost out by Lake Hodges and new ones are starting to appear as the birds, which were nearly non-existent around San Diego until the mid-1980s, increase in population and have to seek out new habitats. During the day, they disperse throughout the area so as not to be in competition with each other for the available resources.

Heymatt:
I was at Mission Beach and as the sun went down when two large fishing boats showed up not far from the beach. It looked like they were trawling. If so, what’s the deal?
— Tena

“Trawling,” by which we mean dragging a weighted net along the bottom of the ocean to scoop up bottom-dwelling fish, is not permitted in California’s state waters; meaning everything within a 12-mile radius of the California shoreline. Even out past that distance, where ground fishing is allowed, government regulators from National Marine Fisheries enforce strict guidelines on equipment and fishing practices. Those fishing boats that have been steaming around just off San Diego shores are one of two kinds of squid boat. First, light boats come along and beam lanterns down into the water. Squid (being intelligent in some ways and very dumb in others) swarm like little, aquatic moths to the lights. Once they’re all collected at the surface, other boats come by with purse-seine nets and scoop up the squid en masse. Since the squid spawn over sand and are fished from the surface, the purse seiners don’t cause the damage associated with trawling; i.e., bycatch (catching the wrong fish) and damage to habitat as the net drags along the ground. Considering that the U.S. imports 80 percent of its seafood, seeing Californian boats sustainably fishing a stable population of squid is a pretty good thing. If you want to get your hands on some of those squid, or other local fish, try Catalina Offshore Products right here in town.

Heymatt:
I’m wondering if you know the origin of the word “toots” when used as an old-fashioned nickname for a woman, which I guess means something like “baby” or “doll” and pronounced to rhyme with “puts.” Does it come from “Toot-Toot-Tootsie Roll”? It doesn’t have anything to do with “tooting,” does it?
— Donna, via email

Calling a woman “toots” has the undeniable flavor of the Roaring Twenties, but it doesn’t appear in common usage until the mid-’30s. Despite the fact that the chocolate Tootsie Roll was invented in 1896 and trademarked in 1925, it’s unlikely that “toots” comes from the candy. Our best guess is that it’s an evolution of “tootsy-wootsy,” which was in use from the late 19th Century onward to mean “sweetie,” or anything to that effect. Early uses of “tootsy” are all actually in reference to feet, perhaps evocative of babytalk or rhyming with “footsy,” and it’s unclear how it changed to mean “sweetie.” “Toots,” as opposed to “tootsie,” is a bit derogatory; the kind of thing a gangster says to a floozie, not a sweet nothing between lovers.

We see an unrelated use of the word in Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, leader of the Maytalls and the artist with the singular honor of having popularized the term “reggae” for his music. Hibbert also used the short “o” sound in his name, rhyming it with “puts,” which reggae fans will always point out if you mess it up.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

North River Farms foes face lawsuit heat

If activists take Measure L off ballot, they would no longer face mounting legal fees
Next Article

Giovanni Sgambati – an Italian Liszt

Wagner pushed for publication of Sgambati’s two piano quintets.
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close