Monday, October 2, 2023

Not every idea makes the cut

Sometimes the universe displays a marvelous synchronicity and other times it does not. Like, yesterday there was big cockroach in the kitchen (Which I failed to kill and now it’s lurking somewhere in there) and my thoughts naturally turned to E. G. Marshall, who was fatally attacked by roaches in that one movie. So I did my due diligence and found that his actual name was Everett Eugene Grunz, which made me think of Judy Garland who was Frances Ethel Gumm, and of course there was Samuel Gompers who read aloud to his fellow cigar makers... so that went nowhere.

Monday, September 25, 2023

99% will get this wrong!

Eat the foods you love! Plumbers hate this one simple trick! Here’s the secret investment strategy Wall Street doesn’t want you to know! Throw away your toothbrush and do this instead! Say goodbye forever to electric bills while you sleep! Try this just once and you’ll never go back to Woolworth’s! This special gravy washes away liver toxins! Do this and watch your wrinkles! Raise chinchillas and feed them to your emus! Tap into the exploding market for crumpled cellophane! Turn your urine into gasoline! Rent the inside of your head to eyeless amphibians! Why would I lie to you?

Monday, September 18, 2023

Ooo. Sick Burn.

First off, I want to say that I recognize the difference between personal property and private property. Like, my toothbrush is mine but to say that some acres of the surface of the world are mine is maybe crazy. Culturally accepted, legally documented, but fundamentally crazy. King Canute illustrates this in an enduring and endearing apocryphal anecdote. Anyway, we can go for a stroll above the house and see evidence that people have been having unauthorized fun in our woods. Vienna sausage tins, Little Debbie wrappers, stuff like that. Also Coors Light cans. So at least they’re not drinking beer.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Our Motto: No Topic Too Trivial

Whereas British speakers say “in hospital,” Americans are more likely to say “in the hospital.”  What I’d like to point out is that they’re both kinda goofy usages. First the Brits: Why not use an article there? You wouldn’t say “I ate a delicious meal in restaurant.” (From what I’ve heard of English food, you might never need to say this.) Fellow Americans, don’t be smug, for neither would you say “I ate a delicious meal in the restaurant.” The proper usage, I think, would be “in a hospital” or if you tend to drop your aitches, “in an ‘ospital.”

Monday, September 4, 2023

Tread Softly

Here’s an anecdote defining either grace under pressure or confusion between causation and correlation: The artist Neon Park went to the doctor because his hands felt numb and was told he had Lou Gehrig’s disease. He said, “I never even played baseball.” Allen Park, on the other hand (and this is unrelated) is a suburb of Detroit and home to the Uniroyal Giant Tire, “the largest non-production tire scale model ever built, and one of the world's largest roadside attractions.” You can’t actually visit it, but it’s clearly visible from Interstate 94, from whence travelers are afforded a passing glance.

Monday, August 28, 2023

tenpo suno pona

See, I don’t pay attention and that’s why I’m just getting around to learning about Toki Pona. That’s a new language invented in 2001 by a Canadian linguist named Sonja Land. At first there were 120 words but in the intervening 22 years that has swollen to 137, which is still pretty manageable as long as they don’t allow it to become the insidious harbinger of a looming tsunami of lexical bloat. And there you see why a language of 137 words is obviously not for me. I’d be repeating myself before I’d even finished my first cup of coffee.

Monday, August 21, 2023

NYU surgeons say what?

When one reads a headline that says “Pig kidney transplant in brain-dead man marks advance, NYU surgeons say,” one must ask oneself, “Advance over what?” Call me overcautious; I’m not at all sure a world that includes pig kidney transplant in brain-dead man is in any sense an advance over one that does not include pig kidney transplant in brain-dead man. I’m sure I speak not only for myself but for a sizable contingent of my fellow citizens when I say that in contemplating the advances we hope for, pig kidney transplant in brain-dead man is not top of mind.