by V.F.W. Post, syndicated beer critic
Epigraph: “Put your money where your mouth is; that's right, eat your money.” --Bleke Backwater
Above: two beautiful young women being photobombed by a horse.
Words of comfort: “Jellyfish have thrived for 500 million years without brains.” If they, why not we?
“I believe in leading a decent life so as not to anger the Big Guy Upstairs. You know who I mean -- Sinatra.” --Roy Marshrigger
Speculative etymology for “yonks” (UK slang for “many years,” as in “I’ve known that bloke for yonks”): it’s a clip of “yonkey’s dears,” a Spoonerism for “donkey’s years.”
“Water clarity is affected when mussels die.” --Illinois Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist Lisie Kitchel, a mussel expert. Never you mind how she pronounces her forename.
Y’all-Qaeda operates in Southern Yemen.
Which of the following is an example of an example?
- None of the above
- All of the above
- A horse
“Our son’s letter to us refers to ‘R-O-W-E-R-S,’ but it isn’t clear whether he means ‘sporting persons in boats’ or ‘persons of quarrelsome disposition.” --Mother, to Father
“Make people think they’re thinking, and they’ll love you, but really make them think, and they’ll hate you.” --Harlan Ellison
“Ho Foods” specializes in ingredients for dishes that are quick and easy to make, like pasta puttanesca.
When down, for fast relief, sing “pasta puttanesca” to the tune of “Gary, Indiana.”
Personally, whenever I’m blue, I just start breathing again.
Mayonnaise originated in the French quarter of Ireland’s County Mayo but rapidly spread over all sorts of things, but not pastrami.
“Bring me some weed, mensch!” --Ken Adams’s best Spoonerism yet (unfortunately addressed to his daughter)
Above: Entrepreneurs sick of scraping boat hulls invent an easy way to keep the hull above the water’s surface.
Bumper sticker: “If you don’t like coal, don’t use electricity.”
Poetry excerpt: “Their dank piles lie deep.” --Len Krisak on fallen foliage
Religion I: “People who won’t believe in God will believe in anything.” --G.K. (“Geek”) Chesterton
Religion II: “God isn’t looking to you for perfection; he’s looking to you for a relationship.” --Rev. Erik Lenhart, OFM Cap.
“I’m intensely religious but not a bit spiritual.” --Margery Gorrish
“The Islamic State calls its social media department ‘Al-Qwerty.’” --G. Hoddie
“Generally, a writer should not respond to hostile reviews, for three reasons. Grow up (knocks come with the territory), avoid drawing attention to the knocks, and spend your time on more fruitful things.” --Sir Harry O. Triggerman
“When [Ed] Koch was mayor of New York, he rode with [President Reagan] in [Reagan’s] motorcade. People were on the sidewalks and streets, cheering him (Reagan). All of a sudden, Reagan said, ‘Hey, did you see that guy give me the finger?’ Koch said, ‘Mr. President, all these people are excited to see you, and are wishing you well. And you care about a guy who gave you the finger?’ Reagan answered, ‘That’s what Nancy says: I always see the guy with the finger.’” --Jay Nordlinger
“Kick ‘em when they’re up” was a William Safire motto that puzzled me. Superficial research, the kind I love, suggests that it’s not just a variation on the decency adage “Never kick a man when he’s down,” but rather something in the neighborhood of “challenge authority.”
Pop quiz: Which is better, irony or ironing? Answer: Depends whether you’re doing it or having it done to you.
If George Harrison got sued because “My Sweet Lord” was too much like “He’s So Fine,” then why didn’t the composer of “Tammy’s In Love” sue the composer of “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins? Try singing “Tammy, Tammy, Tammy’s in love” and then “Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.” Maybe there was a lawyer shortage in those days.
The legal doctrine of “stare decisis” was an issue in Frederichs v. California Teachers Association, argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. I focus for a moment on the Latin, which is hard to translate literally, like “mutatis mutandis,” which means “with those things that ought to be changed having been changed,” or more idiomatically, “after all necessary changes.” “Stare decisis” means literally “to stand with the things that have been decided,” or more idiomatically, “to follow precedent.”
If you feel blue, try singing “stare, stare decisis” to the tune of Don McLean’s “Starry, Starry Night.” Quick as a wink, you’ll feel worse.
I not only don’t like stare decisis, I see no case for it, except the case for continuing to break the law. Remember "my country, right or wrong"? Chesterton said that's like, "My mother, drunk or sober." I'm more with Carl Schurz: "My country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right. When wrong, to be set right." When precedents are wrong, they should be set right. No stare decisis!
It would still be awful, but less so, if the rule were simply “never overrule an erroneous precedent.” But a rule that you sometimes overrule erroneous precedents and sometimes don’t, depending on a bunch of “factors” is judicial self-aggrandizement.
It reminds me of the wonderful story of the Italian delegate to the Congress of Vienna that redrew the map of Europe after the Napoleonic wars. Asked what principle the Italian delegation favored, he said, “The historic, corrected by the linguistic when it works in our favor.” So much for balancing “factors.”
"The human brain is a marvel; it starts up the moment you open your eyes in the morning and doesn’t quit till the moment you arrive at work." --after Robert Frost
Above: A genetically modified manatee at NRA Sea World has been trained to kiss its keeper’s gun
Words and phrases that probably need to go into the dustbin of history, if necessary kicking and screaming, include the following in the alphabetical order: "bae" (short for the term of endearment “babe”), "boneless wings," "bankrupt" (as in intellectually or morally; are there really moral creditors?).
More: "break the Internet," "broken" (“the system is broken”), "bucket list," "chat," "comfortable," "conversation" (including the Christa Tippett pronunciation “comversation”), "double down," "food for thought," "free gift," "giving me life," "hack," "kick the can down the road," "live audience," "mansplaining," "manspreading," "my bad," "on steroids," "passionate," "perfect" (as a synonym for “fine,” “okay,” or "very well").
Still more: "physicality," "polar vortex," "presser" (for “press conference”), "price point," "problematic," "secret sauce," "spoiler alert," "so" (as the start of the answer to a question or as a variant of “totally,” as in “I am so going to the party”), "stakeholder," "thing" (as in, “I didn’t know that was even a thing”), "totally," "vaping," "walking it back," "YOLO."
Hmm. Seems there's no annoying new word or phrase starting with "R." Oh, wait: "reaching out."
It being an election year, let’s remind ourselves of Godwin’s Law as often as needed: “In any argument, the first to mention Hitler or the Nazis loses.”
“Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem” is a well-known Middletown-based band. “Iron Arab” is an anagram for "Rani Arbo." There are about 70 such anagrams, among them Aria Born, Brain Oar, and Rain Boar. Daisy Mayhem has 2534 anagrams, including “He May Dismay.”
“Mayhem” and “maim” come from the same root.
The name of Hannibal’s father was Hamilcar Braca. Elephants!
To ride without pedaling is to coast.
Use of the definite article in American English has declined somewhat over the course of the 20th century (about 6%-16%, counting formal, informal, spoken, and written). Theories have been trotted out to account for it. I will make sport of only one, that "it may be a lot of little things." In my view, that answers nothing: what is the current that makes all these "little things" move in the same direction?
Above: showing this genetically modified manatee to patients using opioid painkillers helps them overcome constipation. It has the same sweet, harmless disposition as its manatee progenitor unless angered or hungry.
Himilar has something simmler.
To “dox” people is to publish their “documents,” revealing their phone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc. As Donald Trump would say, “It’s not nice.” The word brings to mind a story about an article that the New England Journal of Medicine recently published.
“A group of physicians were looking into the benefits of eating fish, so they went to a fishing village in Alaska where a large percentage of the population ate an extraordinary amount of salmon and often lived to be more than 100 years old.
“When the physicians got to the village, they found that the residents had just killed an Arctic fox that had been devouring not only the fish that were being smoked, but also the chickens that some of the families were raising.
“The villagers were all Alaska Area Native Americans who had a tradition of killing predator mammals by stoning.
“Shortly thereafter, when a number of the villagers got vesicular rashes on their feet, it was supposed that the blood from the stoned fox might have transmitted a varicella virus, so some bloody socks were placed in a cardboard container and sent for analysis to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) in Georgia.
“Unfortunately, when the package arrived, the cardboard was soaked through, and the blood ended up contaminating samples from a large bovine animal under study in the same lab.
“Some readers of the Journal article were stunned by not only the villagers’ brutality, but also the sloppiness of the CDC, and said so in letters to the editor.
“After the Journal published the outraged letters, the physicians who authored the article returned to the village for a water’s-edge press conference where they denounced their detractors, whose personal contact information they gave to the villagers and the press, suggesting that they write, call, and generally harass the critics.
“In short, after the rocks killed the fox that ate the lox and the cocks, the shocks about the pox socks box and the ox caused the docs on the docks to dox the crocks.”
--Mike Newdow, Sacramento, California
Above: a soothing view of common beach sand, magnified 250 times, to help you calm down after reading that awful shaggy dog story.
By the way, everything in “The Colonel Carries On” is only for education, so please be edified, not entertained. I claim no rights in material copyrighted to others except under the “fair use” exception.
Ague, segue, vague. Some people say English is hard. Can’t think why. Have you ever heard of a multilevel marketing company called “Amue”?
“Dear Abby, I won the lottery a few years back and now spend my time loafing and otherwise having fun in the beautiful California climate. Many people write you with their problems, so I thought you might like hearing from someone grateful to be lacking for nothing. God bless you. --Needless in Needles"
Above right: “Mim,” a genetically modified manatee that performs at NRA Sea World. Above left, “Mini-Mim,” Mim’s little pal.
In competition, meditation intensity is measured in ohms.