Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Dear Abby: How Can I Tell My Girlfriend She's Imaginary? Signed, Sensitive" Popcorn by The Colonel #26

Epigraph: "No wonder Wikipedia has surpassed the Encyclopedia Brittanica in reliability! The Internet is like monkeys and typewriters: when you type all that can be typed, the truth -- even more certainly than the pony in the optimist's manure pile -- must be in there somewhere." --Sir Harry O. Triggerman

1/     Other names for the pound sign are hash mark, trepan (in brain surgery), and octothorpe. There are more. Source: the Internet.

2/     The image format GIF is pronounced with a hard g by 69% and a soft g by 23%. The remainder pronounce the letters separately. The soft g makes GIF sound like peanut butter. Source: the Internet.

3/     Another image format, PNG, has an official pronunciation: ping. The following image of rocker Neil Young is gratuitous. Rumors that he's The Colonel's twin are greatly exaggerated. Source: the Internet.

4/     A "Jobation" is a dressing down, like what Job's comforters gave Job in the Bible. Other terms for the same sort of thing are cabin lecture, interview without coffee, and carpet parade. Source: the Internet.

5/     In the Royal Navy, an officer admits guilt to a superior (that is, a superiour) by starting the conversation as follows: "I'm thinking of buying a pig farm, sir." Source: the Internet.

6/     In Cuba, the insult your mother ("tu madre") is so grievous that even tapping da-DA-da on one's car horn can trigger a car chase and a fistfight. Source: the Internet.

7/    According to Hoyle has sibling expressions of similar gist: according to Cocker (author of an arithmetic primer) and according to Gunter (inventor of the Gunter chain, a surveying tool). Source: the Internet.

8/     Have you forgotten the pre-decimal British coinage? Four farthings to the penny, twelve pence to the shilling, twelve shillings to the pound. So three halfpence and a farthing is better rendered as a penny three farthings, and 23s. 22d (23 shillings and 22 pence) as 24s. 10p. It's important to retain your fluency in case (a) you go to heaven; (b) heaven turns out to be like 1890s Britain; and (c) they use money in heaven. Some people reason that if money is used in the afterlife, and the monetary system is the old British one, it won't be heaven, but another afterlife location. Source: the Internet.

9/     Frank Ocean is the stage name of a rising gay rapper. The Colonel thinks it is a very cool name. Nothing's franker than the ocean. Source: the Internet.

10/     Ostracism was an ancient Greek practice intended to protect democracy by "electing" overly-popular people to a period of exile from the city-state. Source: the Internet.

Afterthought: As Obama's second inaugural approaches, one might do well to reread Lincoln's second inaugural, a work that lets us stand in eloquence with any people in any age. The best speakers and writers know the sledge-hammer power of brevity, as in the message of the dead Three Hundred: Tell Sparta we obeyed her laws.

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