Saturday, November 5, 2016

None of Us Is As Dumb As All of Us -- The Colonel Carries On #56

By Polly-Esther Crabclaw and Kincaid “Kinky” Balboa

A new pan-language collection of fonts from Google and Monotype supports more than 100 scripts and 800 languages in a common visual style. Its name is “Noto,” short for “no more tofu.” Tofu is digital typographer’s jargon for a little rectangular box that appears when your browser doesn’t have the appropriate font to display a character. The boxes sometimes have a question mark or cross inside them. Their rectangular shape reminded some unheralded type designer of the cuboid blocks of tofu.

Asked about how the Anti-Socialist and Beer Party (not yet on the ballot) got its name, founder Spack Flassle said, “We wanted balance. Something we’re for, something we’re against. Something informative, not just symbolic.”

Gutter-cleaning firm Gutter Brothers, LLC has the slogan, “Keeping Our Minds in the Gutter So You Don’t Have To Since 1994.”

The “Cholly Wally” chain of novelty stores was named after founder Charles Wallace, who opened the first store in Mayor’s Income, Tennessee between the wars.

A booth at the Madison Craft Fair this year had a sign: “Come In We’re Awesome.” Reminds me of Isaac Asimov’s description of one of his qualities: “cheerful self-appreciation.”

New Mobdock Cuts Rudder Repair Cost. The introduction of a new rudder repair habitat is saving shipowners thousands. Not of general interest.

“The situation is desperate but not serious” is an expression that may have originated as part of a pair of sayings contrasting the attitudes of Vienna (above) and Berlin, which would likelier say “The situation is serious but not desperate.”

Leonard Cohen, 82, still has it. His new album has a song with the lyric “As he died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap.”

The meme “Everyone Who Disagrees with Me Is Hitler: A Child’s Guide to Arguing on the Internet” brings Godwin’s Law to mind: “In an argument, the first to bring up Hitler or the Nazis loses.”

I used to say that however off-putting some food might be at first blush, if it was something millions ate with enthusiasm, I wouldn’t balk at trying it. I’m rethinking that in light of the following list of extremely common Chinese dishes: pig nose, chicken feet, duck intestines, duck neck, preserved egg (pidan), and duck blood curd. I was going to post pictures of each, but between them and the election, some readers might slip over the edge.

If hippocracy is rule by horses, what’s the word for “rule by the south end of a horse facing north”?

“In the short term, the markets are driven by fear and greed. In the long term, they’re driven by math.” --Wall Street trader

“If you think there are no easy answers, you’re not looking hard enough.”

“Knowledge is quiet satisfaction, but ignorance is out-and-out bliss!” --Harry Grimgorse

“Happy as a sandboy” and its British counterpart “jolly as a sandboy” mean “drunk.”

Einstein supposedly said, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.” He was smart.

“You can’t fix crazy” is an established saying, but I wonder whether “you can’t fix stupid” isn’t equally true.

The sun never sets on the British Empire, but it rarely shines on the motherland.

“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” --Anne Lamott. That brings to mind a passage in which Elrond and Gimli argue adages as the fellowship of the Ring is formed:

‘The further you go, the less easy will it be to withdraw; yet no oath or bond is laid on you to go further than you will. For you do not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road.’

'Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,' said Gimli.
'Maybe,' said Elrond, 'but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall.'

'Yet sworn word may strengthen quaking heart,' said Gimli.

'Or break it,' said Elrond. 'Look not too far ahead!’

“Look not too far ahead/ In the long run, we’re all dead/ Don’t plan too far out/ In the end, the sun burns out” --not Ogden Nash.

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