San Geraldo wonders / San Geraldo se pregunta

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I went for a walk this morning. The sciatica hurt but not as much as yesterday. I managed a total of 3.5km / 2.1 miles before I decided that was enough. The wind was gusting, which I thought was fun until the walk back. It blew so hard at my back at one point that it knocked me forward. The sciatica did not like that little surprise. I’ll now attempt some stretches and, after lunch, it’s some Paracetamol and back to bed.

Like most cats, Moose and Dudo hate the sound of aluminum foil — or as San Geraldo calls it, tin foil. If the cats are in the kitchen and see SG reach for the aluminum foil, they both scamper out like cartoon cats, paws sliding sideways as they round the bend.

This morning, I was keeping Moose company while he ate (it’s my job). SG was preparing his own breakfast, which caused Moose to check him out. SG said, “Don’t worry, Mussy (his legal name, pronounced Moosey), I won’t use any tin foil. I reassured the cat, “You’re OK,” and he returned to his food.

San Geraldo then said: “I wonder when tin foil became aluminium foil.”

I helpfully replied: “Probably when they started making it out of aluminum instead of tin.”

NOTE: In case you’re wondering, too: The origin of aluminum foil can be traced to the early 1900s. Life Savers candies were first packaged in aluminum foil in 1913. Then, pre-formed, all-foil food packaging containers arrived in 1948. By the 1950s and 1960s there was an explosion in the use of aluminum foil for food packaging and household use.


Salí a caminar esta mañana. Me dolía la ciática pero no tanto como ayer. Logré un total de 3,5 km / 2,1 millas antes de decidir que era suficiente. El viento estaba racheado, lo que me pareció divertido hasta el camino de regreso. Sopló tan fuerte en mi espalda en un punto que me tiró hacia adelante. Al ciático no le gustó esa pequeña sorpresa. Ahora intento unos estiramientos y, después de comer, un Paracetamol y vuelta a la cama.

Como la mayoría de los gatos, Moose y Dudo odian el sonido del papel de aluminio, o como lo llama San Geraldo, papel de aluminio. Si los gatos están en la cocina y ven a SG alcanzar el papel de aluminio, ambos salen corriendo como gatos de dibujos animados, con las patas deslizándose hacia los lados al doblar la curva.

Esta mañana, estaba haciendo compañía a Moose mientras comía (es mi trabajo). SG estaba preparando su propio desayuno, lo que hizo que Moose lo mirara. SG dijo: “No te preocupes, Mussy [su nombre legal], no usaré papel de estaño.” Le aseguré al gato: “Estás bien”, y volvió a su comida.

Nota: En los Estados Unidos, muchas personas todavía llaman papel de estaño al papel de aluminio a pesar de que no se ha hecho con estaño en décadas.

San Geraldo dijo entonces: “Me pregunto cuándo el papel de estaño se convirtió en papel de aluminio”.

Respondí amablemente: “Probablemente cuando comenzaron a fabricarlo con aluminio en lugar de estaño”.

Otra Nota: En caso de que también se lo pregunte: el origen del papel de aluminio se remonta a principios del siglo XX. Los caramelos Life Savers se empaquetaron por primera vez en papel de aluminio en 1913. Luego, en 1948, llegaron envases de alimentos preformados y totalmente de aluminio. En las décadas de 1950 y 1960 hubo una explosión en el uso de papel de aluminio para el envasado de alimentos y uso doméstico.

• From the terrace, before my walk.
• Desde la terraza, antes de mi paseo.
• After lunch, Moose awaits the signal that it’s times for treats.
• Después del almuerzo, Moose espera la señal de que es hora de los aperetivos.
• Dudo doesn’t care what time it is. It’s time, dammit!
• A Dudo no le importa qué hora es. ¡Es hora, maldita sea!

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Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

33 thoughts on “San Geraldo wonders / San Geraldo se pregunta”

    1. Frank:
      In 1990, it became the official international spelling. The USA is now the only country that says and writes aluminum in English.

  1. Tricky with that wind blowing the sand around especially if one is holding a camera. We have learned the hard way……
    ‘Tin foil’……I grew up with this name for aluminum foil and to this day I call it that.
    Sending healing energy your way for that sciatica of yours.

  2. Sent me off to do research. Foil made of tin was used up until the early 1900’s, aluminum foil really took off after World War II, largely as a result of advances in aluminum processing for aircraft production, and the cost came down as a result of excess electrical capacity created to refine radioactive metals. Today Iceland is a major aluminum processor. The majority of the electrical supply in Iceland is from very low cost renewables, hydro and geothermal, and they use the excess in off peak times to process energy intensive and high value materials. Sorry, kind of like asking mom, where do babies come from.

    1. David,
      Yep, I was there as well and learned all about it. I also learned that, although it’s easier to recycle than plastic, it does serious damage to the environment and public health when bauxite is mined.

      1. The capstone on the Washington Monument is Aluminum, at the time it was built it was more valuable than gold.

      2. David:
        So much for granny’s priceless aluminum jewelry collection.

  3. I remember a lot of people said tin foil when I was younger. Most likely my mother and mother-in-law did. I say aluminum foil. Continuing to say tin foil is maybe a Midwestern thing? I wonder why the cats are bothered by the sound of it. Franklin & Penelope don’t like anything that makes an unexpected noise.


    1. Janiejunebug,
      The cats are the same about unexpected noises. I’ve read a number of times that many cats hate the sound of aluminum foil so it’s a good deterrent. Ours hate it. So, before we installed our glass curtain, I placed aluminum foil at the inside corner of the terrace to keep them from going next door. First day, they were both next door.

  4. I’ve always called it just foil. I can’t pronounce aluminum or linoleum for that matter. Grew up calling it foil. So much simpler, don’t you think?

    1. Deedles,
      When we were kids and Learning to read, Dale read from a newspaper Aluminium, which made my mother laugh at her. When she was 21, Dale moved to England. She was pronouncing it right all along.

  5. Well that seems to be something me and San Geraldo have in common. I too called tin foil, and I also call rubber bands gum bands. I think I picked up both from my grandmother. It cracked people up when I ask for a gum band.

    1. Mistress Borghese,
      I’ve never heard rubber bands called gum bands. Fascinating. Just looked it up and learned it’s a term that was used even commercially in the Pittsburgh area… in the old days. Commonly elastics in England and even New England.

  6. I’ve often heard it called tinfoil over here, too. I think, like Deedles, it was just “foil” in our house as well – however, I don’t think it was because my Nana or my Mother were unable to pronounce aluminium. Jx

    PS why do Americans pronounce it “aluminum” without the “i”?

    1. Jon:
      This is what I found: “The American Chemical Society (ACS) officially adopted aluminum in 1925, but in 1990 The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) accepted aluminium as the international standard. And so we land today: with aluminum used by the English speakers of North America, and aluminium used everywhere else.”

      It figures!

  7. I seem to remember folks calling it tin foil when I was little, but I’ve always just said foil. Interesting history. Now if you can give me some rules about the shiny side versus the matte side!

    How did you get your top photo to animate?

    1. Kelly,
      Shiny versus matte makes absolutely no difference. I looked it up and it was a surprise to me.

      I used Google Photos for my animated gifs. In this one, I uploaded 33 photos. You just have to be steady when you take the pictures. Once uploaded, select Utilities. Then select Animation. Then select the entire run of photos you want to include. Then select Create. That’s all there is to it!

  8. I probably refer to it as aluminum foil, because that’s what it says on a box, but if someone else referred to it a tin foil, I’m not sure I’d notice.

    1. Bob:
      Our cats hate it. Yet they climbed right over it when I used it to keep them from going to the terrace next door.

  9. I still hear people use the expression “tin-foil hat” in describing people who are prone to conspiracy theories. Like, “He wears a tin-foil hat.” But that may be the only context I ever hear it any more. People sometimes still say “tin can,” too, and how long has it been since any cans have been made of tin?!

    1. Steve:
      I’m glad you mentioned tin-foil hats. Interesting that that’s the correct expression. There’s no such thing as an aluminum foil hat. Maybe they’re made of original tin foil. And maybe that’s because aluminum isn’t effective against extra-terrestrials. And who ever heard of kicking an aluminum can down the street?

    1. Urspo:
      I’ve picked up that habit since moving here thanks to the British influence. Some of my vocabulary has changed to make myself more clear.

  10. Apparently a sheet of aluminum foil curled up around the wedges with baking soda placed in it will remove silver tarnish. I saw it happen on The Repair Shop.

    1. Ron:
      I’ve seen that, too. I’ve never tried it, but have some things that need polishing and should finally do so.

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