■ Quiz answers at foot of article. ■ In a galaxy far away by conventional modes of transportation, but just a few steps through the right wormhole, The Colonel and his lady took hold of their Thanksgiving turkey, carried her to the big funnel, put her upside down into it so her head stuck out the bottom, slit her throat decisively so all the blood left her brain in seconds, ending pain if any there was.
Some twitching was a post-mortem reaction of muscles and nerves. A couple of minutes to let the body bleed out into the bucket below, then remove the bird from the funnel to wash the feet with a brush (Maundy Thursday?), and tie them together with a rope. This allows dipping the bird for 15 seconds into a barrel of water heated just so to make plucking easier. Too long a dip and the skin is compromised -- as in much of life, timing is all. Next, plucking the feathers, decapitation, and removal of feet. Then removal of the whole digestive tract in one swell foop from neck to anus. Then field-wash and bag the bird for transit to kitchen, but not before celebration involving gumbo, meat pie, onion tart, pastries, and freshly brewed beer made with locally grown hops. Joy all round, except for turkey, unless she takes posthumous satisfaction in embracing her fate with all the calm of a Socrates.
■ Who says there’s no rhyme for “orange” or “month”? Not poet Robert Browning:
From the Ganges to the Blorenge
Comes the Rajah once a month.
Sometimes chewing on an orange.
Sometimes reading from his Grunth.
Blorenge is a small mountain in Wales. Grunth is a Sikh holy book.
■ “HIX NIX STIX PIX” is how most people wrongly imagine the famous Variety headline about negative reaction of people in rural communities to Hollywood’s depiction of them as cornballs. People remember it that way because that’s how James Cagney told it in the movie “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” about George M. Cohan. But the actual headline was “STICKS NIX HICK PIX.”
■ Another famous headline was “Headless Body in Topless Bar.” (New York Post, April 15, 1983)
■ “The universe was dictated but not signed.” -Christopher Morley
■ If the works of Shakespeare were the DNA of the universe, misprints, typos, and stuttered public readings could be catastrophic. If the mistakes were random and not malicious, few of the catastrophes would affect humankind, so ineffably large is the universe. But Shakespeare has never been, and may never be, God. Still, let’s edit his works punctiliously, just in case. Every comma and Higgs boson in place. Figure out whether it’s “sledded Polacks” or “leaded poleaxe” so we don’t wake up someday with three heads. Mark Twain said, “Beware of diet books. You might die of a misprint.”
■ Then there’s the theory that the universe was not created by God, but by another Supreme Being of the same name.
■ Possibly lesser known Mark Twain quotations:
“Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.”
“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”
“Always respect your superiors, if you have any.”
“I was born modest, but it didn’t last.”
“Clothes don’t merely make the man ... clothes are the man.”
■ Guest anecdotes:
“My wife thinks it’s cute when our baby throws up on me, but when it’s the other way around, she gets ticked off and accuses me of being an alcoholic.”
“I was unable to focus on my boss’s presentation because she never put the cap back on the marker when she wrote on the flip chart. The thing was drying out before my eyes!”
“I knew I was tired when I found myself stopped at a stop sign, waiting for it to turn green.”
“The sign said EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS. I had a Magic Marker. I added: EVERYONE WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS!”
“I have an irrational fear of wasting a good outfit on an insignificant day.”
“Not much is worse than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.”
■ Zen thought: “The poor farmer makes weeds. The mediocre farmer makes crops. The skilled farmer makes soil.” Don’t overthink this, because thinking is not the Path.
■ Sign in store: “Unattended children will be given latte and a free kitten.”
■ Refrigerator magnet: “Beer will solve all the world’s problems. I don’t know how, but it will."
■ Answers to Internet slang quiz:
(1) SMH = Scratching my head; (2) ICYMI = In case you missed it; (3) TBH = To be honest; (4) FOMO/JOMO = Fear of missing out/Joy of missing out; (5) AWK = Awkward; (6) YOLO = You only live once [YOLT = You only live twice?] (7) IRL = In real life.