Over Men & Horses, Hoops and Garters, and
Lastly Through a Hogshead OF REAL FIRE!
“Honor thy Niebuhr as thyself.” --motto of Reinhold Niebuhr Fan Club.
“Basic research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” --Werner von Braun, author of “I Aim for the Stars” [suggested subtitle: “But Sometimes I Hit London”]
Schtroumpf and White is the style book The Colonel uses when he doesn’t know what style book he’s using.
Middletown’s greatest natural glory is the world-class Connecticut River, and the town can’t be reconnected to its river soon enough.
Middletown’s second greatest natural glory is the view from atop Mt. Higby. On a clear day, you can see Long Island, Holyoke MA, and Cheshire, Connecticut. To the east, you can’t see diddly (woods).
Remembering Henny Youngman. “Man walks into a psychiatrist’s office, says ‘Doc, no one listens to me,’ doc says, ‘NEXT’!”
Nymology. In names like Lucifer (“light bearer”) and Christopher (“Christ bearer”), the -fer (or -pher) part means “bearer” (think of “ferry”). The Colonel had long been puzzled by Jennifer. What’s a jenn? So he checked his usual unreliable Middletown sources and learned that Jennifer is a Cornish variation on the name often spelled Guinevere, where the guin means “white, pure, holy” -- same syllable as “Gwen” in “Gwendolyn” (“white ring, fair bow”), and the vere part means “soul, spirit, ghost” in Welsh. Jennifer can be translated as “The White Enchantress.” The Irish version is Findabair, which looks like a children’s game in which to win is to lose, and some Latin versions are Guanhumara, Guennuuar, and Wenneuereia.
Hollywood culture I. Clint Easwood’s recent airing puts one in mind of Hollywood, where gratitude is inverted, as in “Why does he hate me so much? I never did one thing for him.”
Hollywood culture II. A comic, intending to pay tribute to Cher’s durable appeal, instead paid her a left-handed compliment: “After a nuclear holocaust, all that remains will be cockroaches and Cher.”
The Colonel is a former New Yorker, and enjoys jokes like this one: a newly wealthy couple of humble origin are driving to a party of their new friends. “Don’t embarrass me by saying crazy things!” the husband warns. “Don’t worry,” she says, “I’ll be fine.” At the party, someone asks her what she thinks of Mahler. “Such a nice boy,” she says, “He used to sit next to me on the Number Four bus to Far Rockaway. Very polite, and good to his mother like you wouldn’t believe.” On the drive home, the husband is seething. “Go ahead and say it,” she says. He shouts: “How many times must I tell you, the Number Four bus DOES NOT GO to Far Rockaway!”