Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Legalize Ginseng Now! -- Popcorn by The Colonel #50

The northbound marauding wild boars have not yet perfected their newly evolved shape-shifting abilities, witness the above laughably crude attempt to reproduce the late actor William ("The Babe Ruth Story"; "The Life of Riley") Bendix (1908-1964) (picture below). These boars are the worst thing since Bambi's Mom returned as a zombie doe. There is still time to stop them, if we can but summon the will. Who goes there?

Now for something completely different.

Are you drifting? Do you need direction? Here's a three-step program:

(1) Draw three circles on a blank piece of paper, labeling them "Thoughts," "Feelings," and "Actions."

(2) For each aphorism below, flip a coin. If it comes up heads, put the number of the aphorism into one of the circles until each circle has three numbers in it. If it comes up tails, move on to the next aphorism, continuing until each circle has three numbers in it.

(3) For three weeks, apply the aphorisms in the Thoughts circle to your thoughts, those in the Feelings circle to your feelings, and those in the Action circle to your actions. Not only will you feel different, others will react to you differently. You'll never look back.

1/ “We must be content to see the Hidden World with our imaginations, for to see it with our eyes would destroy it.” --Gadarene Demoniax

2/ “If you can’t back up your position with reasons, you’re just another jamoke with an opinion.” --Garry Grimhorse

“It may seem pretentious to use the transliteration ‘Akhilleus’ rather than ‘Achilles’ in translating the Iliad, but ‘Akhilleus’ is more faithful to the sound of the original Greek and to the aim of epic poetry -- to preserve the glory of ancient heroes by making their names sound again on earth.” --after Andrew Ford

4/ “The dark side of science is brutish facts endlessly slaughtering beautiful hypotheses.” --after Thomas H. Huxley

5/ “Life is one long lesson in humility.” --after James M. Barrie

6/ “The great thing about television is that if anything important happens anywhere in the world, day or night, you can always change the channel.” --from “Taxi”

7/ “Cucumber should be well-sliced, dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out.” --Samuel Johnson

8/ “Those who remember the past are condemned to repeat it no less than those who don't.” --Roy Marshrigger

9/ “Ubi dolor, ibi digitus.” (Latin, literally, "where pain, there finger.") Interpret this metaphorically to the limit of your creativity. "My finger hurts" is feeble.

10/ “The emphasis at Ephesus is on things Artemisian.” --after Henry Higgins

11/ "M & M Enterprises sells cork in New York, shoes in Toulouse, ham in Siam, nails in Wales, and tangerines in New Orleans." --Milo Minderbinder, in Catch-22.

12/ “The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.” --Edwin Schlossberg

13/ "Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance." --Kurt Vonnegut (Garden version: "Everyone wants to plant, but nobody wants to weed." --Tree Fanatic)

14/ “Machines actively debate whether humans truly think or just ape the real thing.” --Sir Harry O. Triggerman

15/ “Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.” --Jane Austen

16/ "Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana." --Groucho Marx

17/ "Battle not with monsters, lest you become a monster, and if you boast that you gaze into the abyss, remember that the abyss gazes also into you." --after Friedrich Neitzsche

18/ "Escalators never break. They just become stairs." --Mitch Hedberg


Elizabeth Bobrick said...

Esteemed Colonel-
I got behind in reading the Eye last week, and upon catching up this morning, I find that I must clear my name of a slur. This happens a lot, but I did not expect it from you, Colonel. Et tu, Brute? (Only because I like you will I tell you that this is a mistranslation of what the dying Caesar is supposed to have said to Brutus, which was (pardon the transliterated Greek) "kai su, child?" This means, "Even you, my son?" -- "son" referring to Brutus' status as Caesar's protege).

Anyhoo, you slyly implied that I asked you if you could recite the Greek alphabet. Fie, sir! (But major props for knowing about the digamma.) I asked you if you could recite the chorus' lines at the end of Sophocles' "Oedipus the King." You could not. So, FYI, they are, "This would make an awesome reality show."

Carry on. With caution.

Two Hands Clapping said...

"Kai su, teknon?" ("Even you, child?")

Caesar was only 14 or 15 when Brutus was born, so the words are not likely a last-minute confession of paternity or complaint of impending parricide.

It's still powerfully moving, which is doubtless why Suetonius put the words on Caesar's lips (if he did).

Trust Shakespeare to kick it up a rhetorical notch or more: "Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar!"

In other, less eloquent words, "If you want me dead, I want me dead."

Or: "Though you slay me, yet do I love you."

For the absolute maximum rhetorical effect, nothing beats the wordless gesture (e.g., Pilate washing his hands).

In this category is Plutarch's report of Caesar's death: no last words, but upon seeing Brutus among the assassins, he wordlessly pulled his toga up over his face and head.

Julius Caesar is a fascinating figure, in part because of his amorality and fatalism. The former enabled his famous "clemency" to opponents -- including that shown to Brutus -- and the latter his lack of elaborate personal security precautions, which makes perfect sense if you believe that until your time comes, nothing can touch you, and when your time comes, nothing can save you.

By the way, Popcorn has recently pointed to the wildly multivalent "ubi dolor, ibi digitus." "Et tu, Brute" ("Even you, Brutus") and "Tu quoque, fili mi" ("You, too, my son") are not inevitably univocal. They can mean, roughly, "Same to you, Brutus," that is, "May this same thing happen to you" or perhaps a simple prediction: "Your turn will come one day."

The Colonel prefers to think that Caesar, a probable atheist, placed no stock in death curses, faced his murder calmly, and expressed his feelings only by pulling his toga up over his face and head so that his last sight would not be his betrayal by Brutus.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for engaging with Popcorn. A tip of the colonelic hat to you. Reality shows delenda sunt!

Elizabeth Bobrick said...

Esteemed Colonel - Aaargh (ancient Scandinavian cry of defeat)!! I meant "kai su, teknon," not "child." That's what comes of parading the ragged remnants of one's education before the coffee has kicked in.

My dissertation advisor used to describe classicists as follows: "Always boring, never bored." This by way of warning for anyone who wishes to read beyond this paragraph.

I could be wrong, but I don't think "Et tu" could mean "same to you." One would expect the dative "tibi," not the nomininative "tu." "Tu" would work as the subject -- "you too will get yours" -- but not as the indirect object. As I know you know, learned Colonel.