Monday, December 10, 2018


Ron from Buckley, Michigan, brought up the word doodlebug and its variant doodlebugging. While it started out as the name for an insect, it quickly branched out into figurative applications. Let’s illustrate by means of a timeline.

·      The tiger beetle or its larva  [1866]

·      A divining rod or other device supposed by prospectors to indicate the presence of oil, minerals, etc. Also, a seismograph. [1924]

·      A prospector for oil, minerals, etc. Also, a geophysicist or other scientist employed by an oil company. [1933]

·      A midget racing car or any small vehicle.  [1937]

·      A railroad locomotive;  [1941]

·      A military reconnaissance car or tank;  [1941]

·      A tractor or truck modified to increase its performance. [1940s]

·      A nickname applied to the German pilotless plane or flying bomb of World War II.  [1944]

Modifications called in during that show included one from John of Traverse City in which he remembered referring to the VW Beetle as a doodlebug. Gene from Central Lake recalled that puddle jumpers – small regional aircraft – were called doodlebugs. And Skip from Elk Rapids pointed out that the Ford Model A was most often used to construct custom-made fork lifts and tractors on farms.  

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.comand clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find some podcasts there under TheRon Jolly Show.


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