Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pygmy Mutant Wild Boars Continue Rampage in Connecticut: Popcorn by The Colonel #43

Heroic best man (left) ignores personal boa constrictor problem to keep mutant boar (center, without veil) from spoiling wedding by attacking groom (right, making sinister demonic pledge of allegiance). Bridezilla (center, interdigitating) thinks wedding is already spoiled, just wants out.

When will Middletown wake up and face the fact that when invading boars drink our city water, they morph into nightmarish wedding crashers?

Now back to our regular programming.

Audience participation time: if you had a child (or an additional child) to name, what name would you pick, and why? Put your answer in the comments. The Colonel's picks: boy, Roderic, because it bounces with Rs; girl, Celeste, because it sounds heavenly, although sibilant. Hmmm, maybe Sybil?

The Colonel has a theory that some things are so basic that most people take them for granted without ever questioning them or thinking them through. For example, what, exactly, is "evidence"? A legal-type definition is "something that tends to prove or disprove a statement in contention." That just hands the baton to "proof." To misquote Pilate, what is proof?

In legal contracting, it's standard deal etiquette that if one party drafts the contract, the other party doesn't comment on anything in the draft not pertinent to the deal. No changing passives to actives, that sort of thing.

When dating shards with Greek writing on them, one clue is whether the sigmas are "old style" (look like lightning bolts, three bars, can't reproduce it here) or "new style" (as in math and fraternities, four bars, can't reproduce it here). Ironically, the "old style" sigma looks more like our letter "S" than the newer one. So alphabets diverge. On such evidence depend questions like, "Was Pericles a moderate or an aggressive Athenian imperialist?"

The Colonel once was in the audience for a performance by an artist obsessed with vowels. It lasted only a few minutes, and consisted of her making vowel sounds, long and short, in a liesurely, thoughtful manner: "Ooooooooooooooooooh," "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah," "uuuuuuuuuuuuuh," and so on. The nudity was probably gratuitous, but with art you never know.

Zen rhetoric: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask 'What is the Way?'"

The news story of three women held captive for ten years by three brothers reminds The Colonel of a similar story some years back in Germany in which a young German girl was kidnapped and held for years. Upon her escape, her extreme isolation was evidenced to great public sympathy by her unidiomatic use of the imperfect tense.

Poet Sarah Manguso said that "[t]he threat of being boring, of including too much, might be a particular peril [of memoir writing]. To write a memoir is to prune the enormous hedge of the whole narrative, while writing a novel, it seems to me -- though I've never written one -- is the project of planing the seeds, making sure something comes up, and only then getting to work shaping it, pruning it." The takeaway: "Poet, in metaphor, compares writing to gardening."

"In the long run, we are all dead." Keynes was surely correct on this, with the possible exception of Walt Disney. Anyway, he lived his own words, being gathered to the bosom of Abraham in 1946 at the age of 62 (Keynes's age; Abraham was much older). This gloomy reflection prompts another: how sad it was when the question whether the expanded universe would ever contract was answered in the negative. No Big Crunch? No time running backwards? Just entropy, the Big Meh (lest one be sued for calling it the Big E).

In academic taxonomy, linguistics falls under anthropology. If you mention this at a cocktail party and it falls flat, you are drinking either above your level or below your level.

There are no kangaroos in Austria. Those things you see hopping around with pouches are wallabies. Austria and Australia complain of being confused with each other, but importing wallabies from the latter to the former doesn't help. Gruss Gott, mate.

Without the use of training wheels, can you distinguish "prolificity" from "profligacy"? The Colonel can, but only after morning coffee and before liquid lunch. 

Most folks can think of a few unisex names: Kim, Robin, Chris. Google can do much better. How about "Abiyah," which means "God is my father"? Variant spellings are Abia, Abiya, Abyya, Ahbeya, Abeya, and all those with a final "h." "Abeya" looks as if it might be pronounced "Abe-ya," which sounds like a tag game where the loser has to be shot while watching a play. Vladimir Nabokov sometimes pronounced Eugene Onegin's surname as "one gin" for laughs. Vlad was a kidder. By the way, "Abiyah" under any spelling is disqualified from the "name that child" invitation above. "Lincoln" is okay, though, as is "Vlad" or "Vladimir," but not "Impaler."


Anonymous said...

Here's a fundraising idea: a cocktail party banter training session. People would pay to have their conversation evaluated by the Colonel, with a nearby breathalyzer to determine scoring categories. For a higher price, perhaps guests could receive a few sure-fire bon mots from the Colonel to drop at the next sodden opportunity. It would be embarrassing, though, if the Colonel gave someone else a duplicate witticism, like showing up in the same dress at the same party. Then again, the Eye could then start a column called "Who Said It Better?". The only problem with this idea is trying to pick which local charity should be the beneficiary.

Casual Observer said...

Which reminds me, my first car was Vlad the Impala

Elizabeth Bobrick said...

Esteemed Colonel,
However could you miss this opportunity to enlighten the populace about the origin of the word "ostracize"? You know, about the ostraka, the shards with Greek writing on them? I don't want to give it away. Something to keep the fans tuned in for next time.

As Perikles doubtless said at least once, "Y'all go git 'em."

yr. humble servant,
Elizabeth Bobrick