by Omani Padme-Humm
Epigraph: “Everybody is a genius except those who judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree.” --after Albert Einstein
The headline isn’t a pangram because it has no “x.” It needs a quick brown fox.
“Living in a free, self-governing society means making a great many hard choices, and there is no one to make them but us.” --Kevin Williamson
“Fiat justitia, ruat coelum.” (“Let justice be done, though heaven fall.”) The positive interpretation expresses the duty of a court to do the right thing, no matter whose ox is gored. The criticism of it is the same as of Thomas Aquinas’s dictum that “It would be better that the whole world be destroyed than that one venial sin be committed”: too extreme.
Botox or Bell’s?
Calpurnius Piso was a governor (like Pontius Pilate). A soldier returned from leave without his comrade. Piso, angry, reasoned that if the man could not produce his comrade, he must have murdered him. Piso sentenced the soldier to death. As the soldier was presenting his neck to the executioner’s sword, the supposedly murdered man appeared. The overseeing centurion led the condemned man back to Piso, expecting a reprieve. Piso mounted the tribunal in a rage and ordered all three executed, the first as already sentenced, the centurion for not doing his duty, and the unmurdered comrade for causing the death of two innocent men. “Piso’s justice” became a watchword.
Kicking, screaming Warren Buffett dragged from Caesar’s Palace after losing everything at roulette wheel.
“Old age is a privilege denied to many.”
Landing gear extended. Bye, fish.
At a graduation recently, in a domed amphitheater, I once again felt bad that the national anthem was “performed” by singers whose “performance” was applauded. Why is it in my head that the way to do it is for the crowd to sing the anthem themselves as a group, perhaps with a song leader like, say, Pete Seeger? Then someone yells, “Play ball!” and the crowd cheers and claps, not for the anthem, but in joy over the contest about to begin. For a graduation, mutatis mutandis: “Give diploma!”
For comfort at such times, I recall the saying, “Cheer up! Things will soon be worse!”
This is in execrable taste, but when I heard that a recently fired media mogul had died of natural causes, I thought, “Which part exactly is the news?”
“If you live in the past, you will be gloomy. If you live in the future, you will be anxious. If you like in the present, you will be at peace.” --after Lao Tzu
What happens to our imaginary friends when we die? Do they die, too, or are they set free to form new attachments? The latter possibility is troubling in that it suggests that one’s imaginary friends may have had previous attachments. Are they all along comparing us odiously to our predecessors?
This complex instrument triggers paranoia in suggestible persons: “The menace without, the menace within -- hideous, horrifying wheels within grotesque, terrifying wheels.” Some believe the instrument steals your soul and distills it into Kentucky Bourbon. Others claim it’s French.
Soldiers in WWII from Louisiana who spoke Cajun French were looked down upon and ridiculed until the US Army arrived in France. The Cajuns’ dialect was a close match to the dialect of the French farmers and country folk who knew where all the Germans were. The Louisiana Cajun French speakers were in high demand once the Army Intelligence found out. They became widely known as the “Navajo Code Talkers.” (Please send your children out of the room.)
They say nothing is free, but language itself is a free gift from the dead. Use the pad and pen provided above to make a no-nonsense gratitude list and don’t omit “language (a free gift from the dead, you know).” Language enables not only communication, but sophisticated thought. If you can read this, I hope that (a) you’re not following too closely; and (b) you use your power for good and not for evil.
Knitters’ motto: “We have nothing to give but balls, tears, toil, and sweaters.” (This item would have been better in cooler weather.)
Have you noticed how good voice-to-text products have become, even free ones? For example, Google Docs (a free online cloud-based word processing program) includes under its “Tools” menu “Voice Typing.” You needn’t speak especially clearly, but I encourage you to do so anyway, because democracy thrives on clear speech, and wilts under mushmouthery.
Zen hypograph: “Alone, mind your thoughts. With people, mind your tongue.”