Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Psychiatrist and the Proctologist Opened an Office Under the Name “Odds ‘n’ Ends” -- The Colonel Carries On #32

By Miss Tagoggi

Epigraph: “Nothing good ever came from a phone call on a Friday after lunch.”

The articles or books of the Koran are arranged from shortest to longest. It is an organizational principle with much to recommend it.

The “Swampman Thought Experiment” comes from philosophy and has to do with the meaning of meaning. Here it is:

Suppose Davidson goes hiking in the swamp and is struck and killed by a lightning bolt. At the same time, nearby in the swamp another lightning bolt spontaneously rearranges a bunch of molecules that entirely by coincidence take on exactly the same form that Davidson's body had at the moment of his untimely death.

This being, whom Davidson terms "Swampman," has, of course, a brain which is structurally identical to that which Davidson had, and will thus, presumably, behave exactly as Davidson would have. He will walk out of the swamp, return to Davidson's office at Berkeley, and write the same essays he would have written; he will interact like an amicable person with all of Davidson's friends and family, and so forth. Maybe nobody will notice the slightest difference.

I forget the questions this fact pattern sets up (I’m mostly over my cold, but my concentration is still weak). I think it was along the lines of “Is it correct to say that Swampman remembers Davidson’s friends and family?”

The borrowed Japanese word makiwara literally means straw-roll and originally denoted a target in archery practice. Nowadays it turns up in, for example, karate and means “an object (originally a post or board covered with straw, hemp, etc.) intended to be struck during training, especially in order to toughen the skin of the hands and feet.” Now will you buy me a drink?

GLINDA: What the Munchkins want to know is, are you a fixed makiwara or a movable makiwara?

DOROTHY: Why, I’m not a makiwara at all!

MUNCHKINS: Aieeee! A talking makiwara!

What the munchies want to know is, do you have the munchies for a good reason or for a bad reason? --Why, I don’t have the munchies at all! --Good answer.

One nice clickbait example: “Love Stories the World Has Forgotten.”

People ask what my days are like. One of my followers, whose name by a striking coincidence is Makiwara Munchkin Machatunim-Davidson, took the trouble to compile a description, which he has kindly given me permission to reproduce here:

“When His Holiness is at home in Middletown, he wakes up at 3 am.

“After his morning shower, His Holiness begins the day with prayers, meditations and prostrations until 5 am.

“From 5 am His Holiness takes a short morning walk around the residential part of his Middletown estate known as Heart's Ease. If it is raining outside, His Holiness has a treadmill to use for his walk.

“Breakfast is served at 5.30 am. For breakfast, His Holiness typically has hot porridge, tsampa (barley powder), bread with preserves, and tea without sugar or yak milk.

“Regularly during breakfast, His Holiness tunes his radio to the BBC World News in English. How he laughs!

“From 6 am to 9 am His Holiness continues his morning meditation and prayers.

“From around 9 am he usually spends time studying certain of the comic strips published in the day’s paper, working the crossword puzzle and the Jumble, and pondering random words and phrases from the rest of the paper.

“Lunch is served from 11.30 am.

“His Holiness's kitchen is vegetarian, but on visits outside of Middletown, His Holiness is not necessarily vegetarian. Following strict rules, His Holiness does not have dinner, but evening tea is usually heavy.

“Should there be a need to discuss work with his staff or hold audiences and interviews, His Holiness will visit his office from 12.30 pm until around 3.30 pm.

“Typically, during an afternoon at the office one interview is scheduled and several audiences. So many people seem to want a piece of him!

“Upon his return to the residential quarters at Heart’s Ease, His Holiness has his evening tea at around 5 pm. This is followed by his evening prayers, meditation, and any necessary Internet work. His Holiness receives the Internet through a filling in one of his molars. He texts with his tongue on his teeth.

“His Holiness retires in the evening by around 7 pm. Since Johnny Carson retired, His Holiness no longer interrupts his night’s sleep even for the length of a monologue.”

Depicted are young twins getting the whispered skinny on Donald Trump’s tax returns from their even younger sister. It’s confidential because it’s none of your business.
Never mind where I got the following, just know that I can’t vouch for it:

The Yiddish term for the parents of your son-in-law or daughter-in-law is "Machatunim" (plural). The singular female is "Machatainista"; the singular male is "Machitin." The "ch" pronunciation is the guttural sound so elusive for native English speakers. It's a "low in the throat" sound, as if you were trying to clear an errant piece of bagel chip from your throat.

Typical usage:
Who's coming for dinner?
My son, his wife and the Machatunim.
Better get out the good plates!

My comments: my late uncle Robert couldn’t remember the word or couldn’t pronounce it (more likely the former), and said it like “mahootins.”

How come the capital “M”? Yiddish doesn’t capitalize every noun the way German does.

The alleged singular female "Machatainista" arouses suspicion, or at least the “-ista” part does. It sounds like a variation on “-ist” (think barista, optimist, proctologist), which rings bells on the Latin/Greek side of etymology rather than the germanic or semitic side. But what do I know?

I cannot find a formal definition of “machatunim.” “The parents of the spouse of one’s child” may or may not suffice. I can’t focus hard enough to judge. And what’s the name of the relationship itself? “Machatunimhood?”

The crack about “the guttural sound so elusive for native English speakers” is arguably offensive to Scots, who can say “Ooch! Och!” and “loch” with ease, but they may not proudly “identify” as “native English speakers.”

The original shaggy dog story:

“It was a dark and stormy night. An exhausted knight reaches an inn at midnight, whereupon his even more exhausted steed expires. The innkeeper offers to shelter the soaked knight until morning, but the knight insists he must continue his journey and demands another horse. The innkeeper says he has no horses.

“The knight sees the inn’s guard dog, a huge, dirty, shaggy, ugly animal that eats the inn’s scraps, leftovers, and garbage. The knight demands that the innkeeper saddle the dog up. The innkeeper, deeply shocked, says, “Nay, nay, sir, I wouldn’t send a knight out on a dog like this.”

“The mountain flows, the river sits.” --Zen saying

Children milking a horse.  The Mongolian Army relied heavily on horse milk and even drew horse blood to keep their army fed in tough times.  As a result, they didn't need a supply chain. This will be on the test.

That is all.

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