Saturday, July 29, 2017

“I Sank the Wrong Ball!” Pool Shark Confesses -- The Colonel Carries On #94

by Heywood Stilby Greene and Matt Ahari

Epigraph: “Call me Michael, not Mikey, you attenuated stick insect! No waffles for you!”

The use of “insect” as a term of abuse took me back to the days of “Jiggs and Maggie” (formally “Bringing Up Father”). In that comic strip, socially aspiring Maggie would berate Jiggs for his low ways, like frequenting Dinty Moore’s bar.

Ontario’s official bird.

One finds oneself in Wiarton, Ontario (“Gateway to the Bruce Peninsula”) on family business. “Wiarton” is spelt one letter differently from “Wharton” and pronounced like “wire ton.”

Canada is strange and familiar. Strange: Esso and kilometers. Familiar: English, but with a few variations.

Americans accuse Canadians of saying “aboot” for “about,” but it isn’t so. They say something like “abeout.” They also say "feood” for “food.” I don't know whether that's traditional or a novelty, but I hear the same annoying thing in Texas.

I haven’t been listening for it, but I don’t think I’ve heard that noxious but ever-commoner U.S. habit of starting answers to questions with “so,” as in, “Tell us what’s happening in Washington.” “So, Reince Priebus has resigned as chief of staff.” I think Ed McKeon remarked this quirk in The Middletown Eye some years ago. Throat-clearing “so” is a little more sand in the gears.

Language changes, and should, but let the changes be improvements, enabling clearer, conciser, lovelier communication.

Ontario official scenery.

“Documentary About Grisly Murder Inspires Copycat Documentaries.” --Onion

“Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.” -Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983). This saying is more interesting if you consider that Lord Acton’s dictum (“All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”) referred not to the wielder of power but to her sycophants (or "his" sycophants. The hand that rocks the cradle may rule the world, but we must remind ourselves that not all power is wielded by women). Absolute faith in absolute power is doubly corruptive.

Another overlooked wrinkle is that Acton didn’t say “Power corrupts.” He said all power tends to corrupt, which is different. The Ring took a very long time to corrupt Gollum, and Bilbo actually gave up the Ring voluntarily, and Frodo resisted almost to the end, breaking only at the critical moment.

Ontario billboard: “Losing Weight? Fight Back! THE SWEET SHOP.”

Hypograph: “A single note played endlessly becomes unheard.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What I find even more annoying is the sentence-starter used by politicians and pundits, "look". It seems to imply that what they are about to pronounce is the last word on the subject.