Category Archives: Goofing

Linkage

The great Dave Lull sends a link to an interview with Anne Kennedy on The Eric Metaxas Show. Anne is the author of the devotional book Nailed It, which I reviewed here.

And our friend Ori Pomerantz recommends this link to the Federalist, where John Ehrett imagines the “hot takes” (a new term to me, I’ll admit) that might have been published if C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books had been published today.

Reason: “Narnia Doesn’t Need Kings”
In “Prince Caspian,” the Telmarines were on the cusp of transforming Narnia into a successfully modern state that would’ve created job opportunities for everyone. Aslan’s violent return destroyed valuable capital and plunged the regime back into a preindustrial dark age. The GDP losses are incalculable. For shame, Aslan.

Become Mall of America’s Writer-in-Residence

In celebration of its 25th birthday, Mall of America is holding a contest to choose that wonderfully creative soul who will spend five days “deeply immersed in the Mall atmosphere while writing on-the-fly impressions in their own words.”

Dude, is this not a call for a writers riot? Several writers should immerse themselves in this mall, if not one of the many malls across America, to write “impressions” of what they see. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that. Don’t let a good challenge go ignored. Post your short impressions here.

Micah Mattax says, “For some reason, my on-the-fly impressions of malls always come out Ecclesiastes, so I won’t be applying. Still, that $400 food court gift card is pretty tempting.”

You bet it is. What are your impressions of a food court feast? What snatches of conversation do you hear as you walk? Is there a spiritual dimension to riding an escalator? America needs to know.

Happy Valentine’s Day

My love for you is like a slough
of water flowing out
that soaks the town of Kilkey Down
whose folks pray for a drought.

That one’s for you, dear reader, but here’s another bound to enliven a lover’s heart. From Ogden Nash.

A flea and a fly in a flue
Were imprisoned, so what could they do?
Said the fly, “let us flee!”
“Let us fly!” said the flea.
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.

Isn’t that sweet? Here’s more on Ogden Nash in The Hindu.

Mimi Matthews has a few creative verses for telling someone who may or may not be interested in you to seek other pastures.

Don’t credit the advertisements
In paper or in serial,
You cannot manufacture charms
With ugly raw material.

It’s a harsh, yellow world in the winter

It’s as if the director had called out, “Cue the snow!” And suddenly winter got dumped on us. I have a vague idea the scenario was much the same last year. A long fall, with relatively mild temperatures. It snowed a couple times, but Mother Nature, in a mellow mood, perhaps from a couple Margaritas too many, forgot about it and let it all melt away. And then, last Saturday, she suddenly remembered she’d dropped behind on her quota. So she dumped several inches all at once. The temperatures dropped like… like my car keys from my insensate fingers on a morning when it’s 20 below. And suddenly it was the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (if you’re Andy Williams. Who is dead. Which is the only thing that would make winter bearable, in my opinion).

Now and then I ask myself, why do I live someplace where I hate the weather at least a third of the year? The obvious answer is that I’m masochistic and self-destructive. Other reasons are that I tried living in the south, and it didn’t work for me. No spring (I love spring). Too many bugs. Too much distance from Norwegian-American culture. No Viking reenactment groups.

The ideal thing would be to be one of those old farts who migrates south during the winter months. Stick it out here till Christmas, then toboggan south to Florida or Arizona, where I can doze in the sun wearing one of those Cuban shirts and Bermuda shorts, maybe with socks and sandals to complete the ensemble. That plan, however, calls for a) retirement, and/or b) lots of money.

Not a good plan, really. We all know that guys who retire die of coronaries within a few months (unless they’re cops who, according to the TV shows, always get shot the week before retirement). Too much comfort and ease will kill you faster than anything. If you live in the subarctic and work until you drop, you can expect to live to 90 or 100. The Siberian Health plan, much admired by Democrats.

You won’t enjoy it, of course. But you’ll be alive. Because if there’s one thing nature abhors, it’s human comfort.

As every Minnesotan knows.

Limericized Classics

Our friend Ori posted a graphic on Facebook, showing a series of limerick versions of classic poems — “The Raven,” “Stopping in the Woods on a Snowy Evening,” etc.

I couldn’t find the original source, so I don’t care to republish it here. But I will publish the one I came up with on the spot (well, after a few minutes’ thought). It requires a sloppy but common pronunciation of “Ulysses”:

“The Odyssey”

There once was a Greek named Ulysses,
Who angered a god with his disses.
He paid for his crime,
But got home in time
To wedding-unplan for his missus.

Sacramone on the calendar.

Our friend Anthony Sacramone has mostly “gone dark” on the World Wide Woof these days, but occasionally he pops up to trouble our peace. I was directed to this article which appeared at The Federalist today. In it he describes the Gregorian calendar reforms, in terms sometimes reminiscent of his glory days at “Dr. Luther at the Movies”:

Many people thought their lives were being shortened by 10 days and started doubling up on their retirement contributions. The pious worried that saints might not listen to prayers that came 10 days “later” than the traditional saints’ days (saints being a petulant and petty bunch). Everyone’s birthday moved to a calendar date 10 days later, ruining party plans like nobody’s business. Rents, interest, and wages had to be recalculated for a month that had a mere 21 days. Boy, people were stupid back then.

The stalwart Prots in Britain and the Colonies held out for the old ways until 1752, at which point everyone woke up 10 days late for work. And those dentist appointments it took so long to book? Well, these are Brits. What dentist appointments?

It ain’t me, babe. But it’s a Minnesotan.

The big news on the literary front today (you’ve doubtless heard already) is that a Minnesota native (unfortunately not me) has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The somewhat mystifying choice is Bob Dylan.

I’ll admit I don’t get it. In fact I never “got” Dylan. Even his much-praised lyrics do nothing for me.

But then I pretty much didn’t get anything that happened from 1965 to 1980 or so.

In other news, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to Keith Richards.

Kidding.

Spontaneous reaction

US Department of Spontaneity

Dear Friend:

We have received your application for a Spontaneity Grant. Please fill out the enclosed forms in triplicate, and return them to us complete before the specified date. In addition, you are required to provide a detailed timeline of your plans for spontaneous acts, along with an estimated budget and certified copies of applicable local permits.

Thank you for your support for the Spontaneity Initiative.

Hoo’s sorry gow?

The other day, for reasons I don’t recall, the word “hoosegow” entered my mind. If you’re like me, you know it mostly from Westerns. It’s what crude cowboys called a jail. “Throw him in the hoosegow!”

It occurred to me to wonder about the origins of the word. Off the top of my head, I guessed it was one of those American borrowings from Dutch, like “boss.” The “hoose” element sounds like the Germanic “hus” or “huis,” meaning house.

So I looked it up. Turns out it’s not Dutch but Spanish, from the word “jusgado,” meaning jail. One of those cowboy borrowings from the Mexicans, like high heeled boots and sombreros.

And now you know too. Because I’m generous. Not a master of languages, but generous.

Update:

A Spanish-speaking friend tells me jusgado does not mean jail, but a male prisoner in a jail. This means dictionary.com is mistaken. I want my money back.

Cold comfort


Minneapolis in January. Artist’s conception.

Thoughts thought while closing my garage door:

My back yard seems like an entirely different place in winter. Places where I could walk easily in summer are hard going — or dangerous — in winter. The contours are different. The colors are different. That muddy place I try to avoid in summer doesn’t even exist (conceptually) now.

It’s like I’ve moved.

I’ve lived in the north and I’ve lived in the south. As I’ve said many times, I hate winter with a hot hate that I only wish would warm me up.

But winter does give us the opportunity to travel, so to speak. My yard in Florida was pretty much the same all the time. My yard in winter is a foreign country.

Not a very nice foreign country, I’ll grant. But it’s a change. A poor man’s holiday. In Siberia.