By Friedrich Boilermacher, who didn’t live into the age of photography. We have only this sketch by a drinking buddy, which may depict the great philosopher:
Epigraph: “"Your message was so poorly written that I didn't understand it and I didn't dare to start a dialogue." --Dilbert
In the late 1800s, dangerous "high wheelers" were replaced by "safety bicycles," with each wheel the same size as the other, or nearly so.
That change made bicycles a craze, a rage, and a sensation, despite their moral hazard.
Because of bicycles, young people were not spending the time they should with books. In fifteen minutes, they could be miles from home. Among adults, suburban and country tours on bicycles were "not infrequently accompanied by seductions."
It has been said that such concerns "had little effect," but who knows? Maybe they had a huge effect.
Now more African sayings with my interpretive guesses.
“If you fill a bag too full, it will burst.” (Sudan)
-----School days should be short?
“The haves are the have-nots.” (Burundi)
-----“Without a hurt, the heart is hollow”?
“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk with others.”
-----Good company makes long tasks easier?
“Be wiser than other people but don’t tell them.”
-----Never share your wisdom, because everyone is a potential rival?
“The person who breaks consensus is a witch.”
-----I like the implication that men can be witches and the nice use of consensus, which to me means “unanimity” and can be broken by one dissenter. (Blick: Monty Python mob: “We are all individuals!” Dissenter: “I’m not!” No consensus.)
“A listening ear leads to life, a deaf ear to death.” (Kenya)
-----The literal meaning is chilling -- a snapped twig could be the only warning of the approach of a hungry lion.
“Be patient with your drum; the night is long.”
-----I don’t get this one. Don’t play reveille early? Put suggestions in the comment section.
“Be like the chameleon: look forward, look behind.”
-----Be nice to the people you meet on the way up, because they’re the same people you’ll meet on the way down?
“Ordinary people are as common as grass, but good people are dearer than the eye.” (Nigeria)
-----(1) I don’t like the view that ordinary people are not good;
-----(2) This saying puts a high value on eyes, a view I associate with the Middle East. Jesus said the Kingdom is better than eyes (“If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, for it is better to enter the Kingdom of Heaven with one eye than to be cast into the fire with two”).
Another Middle East story fits the category. An angel appears to Ahmed and says, “Ahmed, Allah is pleased with your life of virtue and sends me to grant you anything you wish. Whatever you ask for will be given you, but double that will be given your neighbor.” Ahmed thinks for a long time, then says “Take one of my eyes.”
That’s so sweet that I should have saved it for the ending of the post.
Christopher Hitchens: “A frequent vice in polemic is to assert, and even to believe, that your antagonist’s lowest possible motive is his actual motive.”
What is a troll? It’s oddly hard to find a good, concise definition. How’s this? A troll is an Internet troublemaker who, for fun, posts provocative material meant to upset readers and trigger angry responses.
What’s the source of the word? I don’t know, but here are two candidates: A “troll” is a figure from Teutonic folklore, while “trolling” is fishing by trailing a baited line behind the boat, as in “we trolled for mackerel.” Maybe both apply. Anyway, “Please Don’t Feed the Trolls.”
I asked a friend if the following line was funny: “Global warming has gotten so bad that Eskimos now have to shoot their old people.” He didn’t get it. Turns out he had never heard the myth that Eskimos send their useless elderly off on ice floes.
“To fall asleep, sometimes I need the feeling that someone, even a digital someone with a prerecorded voice, is watching over me.” (From an article about the use of things like audiobooks as sleep aids for drug-resistant insomniacs.)
When a member of the band 10,000 Maniacs regains sanity, where do they go for a replacement?
People ask what The Colonel looks like. Could be one of the following:
Reptilian shapeshifter? Bridezilla with Adam’s apple?