By Marx and Joyce Brothers
Epigraph: “If the market response to the Brexit referendum was the predicted apocalypse, it was a very British one. It was all over by tea time.” --John O’Sullivan
My favorite part of Mrs. Clinton’s acceptance speech was her reference to her opponent’s acceptance speech of “seventy-odd minutes -- and I do mean odd.”
Does “starkers” mean crazy or naked?
“Materteral” is to aunt as “avuncular” is to uncle.
Parkour is a non-combative martial art consisting of techniques of getting from point A to point B despite obstacles.
As “aristocracy” is rule by the best, “kakistocracy” is rule by the worst.
Bribe-takers hate those who won’t take bribes, because the non-takers remind the takers that the takers had a choice. We hate those who shame us.
Here are some more African proverbs that I can’t figure out:
“One never regrets going, only coming back” (Kenya).
“The key that opens is also the key that locks.”
“A person is what he thinks.”
One comment on the third: surely it doesn’t mean that a person is not what she thinks, feels, and does, but only what she thinks.
We must hope that rationality is not the essence of humanness. As Chesterton has said, the purely rational person will not marry and the purely rational soldier will not fight.
“The best way to fight crime is to go from electric chairs to electric bleachers.” --Jerry Doyle
If there are “wasting assets” (a carload of ripe tomatoes), must there not also be “wasting liabilities” (a debt owed in a rapidly depreciating currency)? Yet a Web search of the latter phrase avails not.
“Groupthink” is conformity enforced by scapegoating. --John O’Sullivan
“In any free society, the conflict between social conformity and individual liberty is permanent, unresolvable, and necessary.” --Kathleen Norris, novelist and columnist (27 Jul 1880-1966)
“The claim that racism and xenophobia inspired Brexit is a pyramid of piffle -- nasty, vicious, slanderous piffle.” --Boris Johnson
“It is a remarkable horse that falls at the first fence only to rise and fall again at every other fence along the way. Yet some arguments are like that horse.” --after John O’Sullivan
Many group names are fanciful, like “an exaltation of larks” and “a murder of crows.” I humbly offer “a snore of speechwriters.”
“[When power lies in the hands of officials chosen by elections,] the future belongs to those who show up.” --Mark Steyn
“All analogies limp, some more than others, some on both legs. The only exceptions are those carried in on stretchers.” --Roy Marshrigger
“We are social creatures to the inmost centre of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong.” --Karl Popper, philosopher and a professor (28 July 1902-1994) [Plagiarist’s Motto? Certainly mine.]
Isaac Newton is supposed to have said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
At a mid-twentieth-century physics conference, the moderator said, “The advances in our field in this century have been so rapid that you may be sitting next to the giants on whose shoulders you stand.”
He might have added, “Or you may be a giant on whose shoulders the person sitting next you stands.”
The physicists at that conference must all have done yoga.
I don’t like the abbreviation “FYI” because “eff-why-eye” is clumsy to say. How about “fo-yo-in”? Sounds like the sign on the entrance of the yogurt place.
The late Rodney Dangerfield complained, “I don’t get no respect, no respect at all.” As in, “When I get in the elevator, the elevator boy looks me up and down and says, ‘Basement?’”
I have a similar complaint. A well-known local activist and I sat across a table from each other at a public meeting. She saw the word “Books” on the cover of my shirt-pocket notebook and asked whether the notebook contained the names of books I had read.
Rather than answer verbally, I slid the little notebook across the table for her to see for herself what was in it. She looked at it without touching it for a second, then pushed it right back, saying, “I just realized it might contain the sorts of things that show up in Captain Popcorn, and I wouldn’t be able to unsee them.”
I laid one of my theories on a friend who listened patiently. At the end, I said, “What do you think?” He said, “Thoughts, mostly.”
If you detect a note of bitterness, I’m not being clear. You should be detecting symphonies of bitterness.
“If we cannot love each other yet, let us not hate each other too much.” --Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, on declaring a cease-fire against the guerilla insurgents
Something’s going on at Easter Island:
A familiar story of which we need occasional reminding:
There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions. In a little while the servant came back, white and trembling.
He said, “Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd. When I turned, I saw it was Death that had jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Now, Master, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra, where Death will not find me.”
The merchant lent the servant the horse. The servant mounted and spurred it and galloped off as fast as the horse could go.
Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and saw Death standing in the crowd. He went to Death and said, “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?”
“That was not a threatening gesture,” Death said, “It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him here in Bagdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”
No, Virginia, that story is not called “Appointment with S’Mores.”
“I applied for a job selling hot dogs at the stadium. They turned me down because I wasn’t qualified to sell hot dogs, so they hired me as a security guard instead. Look, they gave me a gun!” --Harry, on Third Rock from the Sun
“Verbing weirds language.” --Bill Watterson