Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why the Parrotfish?

Yes. Good question. Thank you for asking. Apparrotly you are a discriminating reader, for which I'm grateful.

I mean discerning reader. Discriminating is not okay (where it comes to gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, physical characteristics (with the exception of those designed to mimic Barbie Doll proportions), country of origin, age, etc. All other differences are Open Season, and the more discriminating you are in every other regard, the likelier it will be that you've earned my respect.)

I believe everything you need to know in answer to the post title question is right here. Pay particular attention to the first and last paragraphs.

(Although you wouldn't be wasting your time if you read the whole thing. A day without learning something new is a day without orange juice, as the lovely but homophobic Anita Bryant might have said if she had a pound's worth of sense. Even an ounce's worth would've done. A milliliter.)


Area Homosexual Saves Four from Fire

Don't go getting any ideas about my so-called orientation here. It's none of your business.

In the meantime, if you lack for a hilarious but truly enlightening moment, you could do worse than read about the above here.

Speaking of The Onion, were you of a mind to eat one you could also always go here.

It's in Bellingham, Washington. Never been there, but a Fool's Onion looks like just the kind of Errand I wouldn't mind being on.

Resistentialism or Les Choses Sont Contre Nous (Otherwise Known as the Graduated Hostility of Things)

You know all about it. You go to brush your teeth at the ungodly hour you've had to wake up, and sure enough you've leaked a line of Preparation H on the toothbrush instead of the travel size toothpaste that you must resort to using since you keep forgetting to buy a new tube of the right stuff.

Lesson: Put your glasses on first thing. Keep them right by the bathroom sink, is our recommendation. Look before you leak.

And read here why it happened in the first place. That Clark-Trimble guy was no dummy.

"A convenient point of departure is provided by the famous Clark-Trimble experiments of 1935. Clark-Trimble was not primarily a physicist, and his great discovery of the Graduated Hostility of Things was made almost accidentally. During some research into the relation between periods of the day and human bad temper, Clark-Trimble, a leading Cambridge psychologist, came to the conclusion that low human dynamics in the early morning could not sufficiently explain the apparent hostility of Things at the breakfast table - the way honey gets between the fingers, the unfoldability of news-papers, etc. In the experiments which finally confirmed him in this view, and which he demonstrated before the Royal Society in London, Clark-Trimble arranged four hundred pieces of carpet in ascending degrees of quality, from coarse matting to priceless Chinese silk. Pieces of toast and marmalade, graded, weighed, and measured, were then dropped on each piece of carpet, and the marmalade-downwards incidence was statistically analysed. The toast fell right-side-up every time on the cheap carpet, except when the cheap carpet was screened from the rest (in which case the toast didn’t know that Clark-Trimble had other and better carpets), and it fell marmalade-downwards every time on the Chinese silk. Most remarkable of all, the marmalade-downwards incidence for the intermediate grades was found to vary exactly with the quality of carpet.
The success of these experiments naturally switched Clark-Trimble’s attention to further research on resistentia, a fact which was directly responsible for the tragic and sudden end to his career when he trod on a garden rake at the Cambridge School of Agronomy. In the meantime, Noys and Crangenbacker had been doing some notable work in America. Noys carried out literally thousands of experiments, in which subjects of all ages and sexes, sitting in chairs of every conceivable kind, dropped various kinds of pencils. In only three cases did the pencil come to rest within easy reach. Crangenbacker’s work in the social-industrial field, on the relation of human willpower to specific problems such as whether a train or subway will stop with the door opposite you on a crowded platform, or whether there will be a mail box anywhere on your side of the street, was attracting much attention."

(From 'Report on Resistentialism' by Paul Jennings)

As it happens, I've since learned here all about the Jewelweed, which "contains two methoxy-1, four napthoquinine—an anti-inflammatory and fungicide that’s the active ingredient of Preparation H."

So if you find yourself in the Great Outdoors, having forgotten your toothpaste, all you need to do is find some Jewelweed and lay it on the toothbrush.

Or wherever.

"Trust No-One"

I've been asked about my name, specifically, am I related to Haydn Webb, of the "Elegant horse-drawn carriages to suit all occasions" firm in the UK?

Happy to clarify here.

There is a very good likelihood my mother, who was British, knew of this illustrious firm. She may even have been one of its chief draft horses (this was not altogether a personal source of pride for her, as you might imagine, and she refused to allow herself to be pinned down regarding the particulars). In any event, she was also musically inclined, and particularly loved Haydn's Infedelt√° delusa, which is how she often referred to my father. Thus I suppose we can't rule out that she might have intended the spelling of my name to be either Haydn or Hayden. Certainly she had a few unnecessary "e's" in her own name so perhaps she hoped nominally to slim down.

As it happens (doesn't it always?) it has been purported there was an occasion when her illustrious former employer was asked to provide one of their "elegant horse-drawn carriages" for the transporting of the Scales of Justice, the fine sculpture by "Guerilla Artist Banksy" (bet that boy has the gift of GAB with initials like that) as shown below and as written about here.

Evidently it was intended that one of the carriages be used to deliver the statue to Clerkenwell Green in London where it is now located, but owing to a mistake in scheduling another transportation was used instead. If true, I believe we can safely conclude that this would have been a real missed carriage of justice.

The plaque on the plinth of this statue reads, "Trust no-one," and, quite sincerely, we fully endorse the sentiment, although we limit ourselves chiefly to distrust of any one in a position of power. Unless they share our own political biases. And chances are even they are subject to some problematical compromising.

We don't know "Guerrilla Artist Banksy" (we wish we did, as a matter of fact), but we suspect that isn't his real name. Who would name their child after a primate, after all?

A photo of myself follows, pondering this very conundrum.

The Wife Says I Should Do Something Useful with My Time

She's a dear, but I frequently have the sense that she thinks the world would be much simpler if we just followed Her Rules. Which are, chiefly, if you are female do what females have always done, which is generally across all cultures pretty much of everything that needs to be done, and if you aren't a woman, you ought to be. As she so rhetorically asks, when is the last time you caught armies of women raping and pillaging?

History was not my specialty, but I am hard-pressed to give her an answer.

In the meantime, She Rules. That's fine by me, for the most part. She's a very sensible and kind woman, and quite relieved when I find uses for my retirement other than following her around asking if she wouldn't like me to accompany her. I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said, "To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual."  With regard to  the former descriptor retirement proves the case in point; I have yet to confirm the latter, however.

To that end I am very happy to have discovered this "blogging" venue. Which is a very silly term, if you ask me, and I'll have more to say about it later.

Still, I do have my irritable moments. The following may have been one of them. Do bear in mind one of Oscar Wilde's other observations, "All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his."

Wouldn't it be loverly if it were all that simple?


Lots of people seem to like them;
to me it makes no sense.
The only way I'll view a rosebush
is through a chain-link fence.

It bothers me to get too close,
the sniff's not worth the smell;
and all those girly-girly colours? -
The color-scheme of hell.

The Wife says each insipid shade
has its own aroma.
She's a dear menopausal maid,
but upstairs, no one's home. A

Lot of time she sits outdoors,
directing me with shears.
It's not her arms that get the thorns -
she just dries off my tears.

If I only had more power,
I'd design them all again.
Surely there could be some flowers
that meet the needs of MEN.

Make 'em bold but frowsy,
Impervious to crush;
colors for the color-blind -
aroma's been told shush.

That way when we get them home -
the bouquet left in the heat -
it won't appear that they were
surely sat on in our seat.

That's the kind of flower
I'd look right in the eye.
I wouldn't need a chain-link fence -
I'm just that kind of guy.

My Idyll Years

Casper David Friedrich's painting, above, brings to mind the fine tribute I recently received from a colleague, for whom I in turn years ago had provided a complete re-write of "The Sound of Music" to honor his father on the occasion of his 80th birthday, renaming it "The Sound of Nudniks" and featuring an entire cast of them.

Nudniks, that is.

Thought you might enjoy his tribute, given to me just the other day. It should give you some insight into my character. He insists it ought to inspire me to resume my writing, but I think the Wife's behind it. Clearly I'm getting on her nerves.

Once a fine Prof. name of Hayden
Recalled fields of verse he had played in
     When he was young
     With a much nimbler tongue:
He wishes those fields he had stayed in.

Fields of odes, fields of rhyme, fields of verse;
Fields of couplets, and triplets - even worse.
     Though a fine man, a
     Dept at a stanza,
At meter and rhythm he would curse.

When will said Prof. once more don it -
A rhyme or a villanelle or sonnet?
     His talents lie idle,
     (Did critics say, "dry, dull"?)
But give him a chance, he will flaunt it.

He never once shied from a quatrain;
No rondelet dizzied his wrought brain.
     On many an epode
     He seems to have rode
(Or have ridden, though not on a caught train.)

No, this fellow who was so multi-choral
Only traveled in fields quite pastoral.
     With often a dog
     To critique the eclogue,
Though with doggerel he had no real quarrel.

In sum this Professor's some talker,
But at writing anymore he's a balker.
     We miss a good jingle -
     They gave us a tingle -
Though as a poet he's a much better walker.

Loser, I Am in My Own Way

Admittedly anonymity is a very advisable feature of any blog, a lesson I have learned the Hard Way. This was at not just the school, but the virtual University of Hard Knox, as shown above.

At this particular school many are chosen, but few are culled, as a result of which the ranks of bloggers grow and grow and grow some more. Quite like a fungus gone rampant in a shoe that regularly held a slice of baloney.

For information about the above esteemed educational institution we have Smecc to thank, Smecc, who may or may not need a smack, or who may or may not even be Smecc, but who includes the very funny bit below.

I like to think I was its inspiration. You may think of me thusly as you read it.

The Genius

They could not understand him - he was one
Who walked on fire when others trod the clay,
Who followed mountain glimmers far away,
Or like an Eagle soared into the sun.
They could not understand him - there were none
Who roamed the highlands where he loved to stray,
Though, far below, the throng would snarl and bray,
Watching him mount where rainbow mists are spun.
And yet when at last, reviled and scorned, he died,
His name was set in gold and Deified,
Symbol for weeping millions to adore;
But still from cloud and crag he gleamed alone,
And still men praised him as a god unknown,
And understood no better than before.

~ Stanton Coblentz (found printed in the front of Remier's Modern X-Ray Practice, 1938)

Admittedly this would have been composed two years before I was born, but great minds can anticipate Great Mimes.

As for my own matriculation at the University of Hard Knox, I appear to have been afflicted with a case of terminal sincerity. Only too fond of myself and my blather, I was, and thus got a Proper Comeuppance. Quite like happens with floozies such as the Scales of Justice in a previous post, once the constabulary arrives (and sometimes before they arrive, depending upon whether we're talking street level and which side of town she frequents).

It pains me to admit but I did not successfully complete my studies at the UHK, and am quite likely to be regarded by administration as a loser.

If you ask me, if we were to talk Real Loo-sers, we could do no better than the following. We know he lost the last election.

Tommy Vu's emphasis was all wrong, in my book. You remember him? He was the real estate telemarketer who, surrounded by bimbos, would shout at his detractors, "You a loser! Get out of my way!" In my senescence, however, I have come to discover that for most of us, we are in our own way. It's good I have the good sense to know when to get out.