I May Have Finished Exploring Trivial Quirks of Language


But were you aware that professional historians writing about ancient Paris by convention dub the long-ago state of the urban area as “Parwas”? It’s totally true.

(I appreciate your seeing me do as promised last week, when I hypothesized the existence of a verb tense making the word “swang”. Theory bears out: Dictionary.com attests this as a chiefly Scottish and North England past tense of “swing”. So I may just have to close up shop now that I’ve done so well. Or maybe not. Because I do need to explore why my spell checker is letting me get away with “trange”. Why does it allow “trange” as a word? This spell checker is already useless in helping me spell “Cincinnati”; why is it giving obviously wrong passes to stuff like this? We’ll explore that next week.)

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Notice From The Nostalgia Bureau


It’s looking like it’ll be in the 70s all weekend. It’ll creep up into the 80s on Monday, but then it’s going to drop into the 50s and stay there the rest of the week. So you might want to look at getting your poodle skirts out of the attic since there’ll be plenty of chance to wear them. And that’s your time forecast for the week ahead.

From the Institute of Theoretical English


The change of vowel from swing to swung implies the existence of a tense in which the verb becomes “swang”.

(Thanks for seeing me do what I promised last week, when we explored the meaning of “grueling”. Please stop in next week as I reveal that historians writing about ancient Paris name the long-ago urban area as “Parwas”.)

So How Are My Many Compulsions Looking These Days?


I’m happy to say I’m handling my tendency toward compulsive behavior well. Why, I realized this week that I don’t even have a designated spot to put my chapstick down, so it could be on any of three sides of my wallet when I set my pocket contents down on the table. Obviously one side is unavailable lest it roll off the table. But, like, here I am, not even caring whether I’d be able to find it in the dark just by its relative orientation compared to my wallet! That’s exactly the sort of thinking that people do!

Nobody Ask About Gruesome


You know that to describe something as “grueling” means to say it is a small monstrous creature actually made of gruel, don’t you?

(Thanks for riding with me as I do what I said I’d do last week, when I explained how “delicate” meant the negation of “licate”, meaning to handle a precious object by licking. Please stop in next week as I argue that the verb “swing” with its past tense “swung” implies we should also have a form of the word that comes out “swang”.)

Popeye and, what the heck, a Giant Bluto


I’m skipping what would’ve been the next 1960s King Features Popeye cartoon. It’s not that the cartoon is dull. The cartoon would be Azteck Wreck. It has Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Eugene the Jeep tromping around Aztec ruins looking for gold, and being menaced by Bluto Only He’s Mexican. It hits all the plot beats reasonably enough and it actually has good backgrounds. And it opens with Eugene the Jeep riding in a jeep, which seems like a joke somehow. But I don’t feel like expressing an opinion about playing Bluto as a bandito and you know what? I don’t have to.

So instead? Popeye and the Spinach-Stalk. Once again it’s produced and directed by Jack Kinney. Not sure if King Features is just front-loading Kinney for these videos or whether he’s just responsible for that many cartoons.

Jackson Beck narrates. He wasn’t just Bluto’s (main) voice actor. He was also an announcer or narrator for about 85% of old-time radio shows. There are only two things weirder than hearing Bluto’s voice setting up a story, like this one. Those two things are Beck playing super-sleuth Philo Vance on radio, and Arthur Q Bryan — the voice of Elmer Fudd — playing a cop on Richard Diamond, Private Detective. This gives you a feel for how Beck sounded whenever he narrated. (He also did the narration for the Fleischer Superman cartoons.)

The Thimble Theatre characters slot smoothly into the fairy tale. Popeye makes a decent Jack, well-meaning but easily bamboozled. Olive, the Sea Hag, and Bluto are all well-placed and Eugene is a good substitue for the Goose That Lays The Golden Eggs. I guess shifting things from Olive selling off the family cow to trying to sell pies saves the trouble of designing a cow or making the cow’s fate something to worry about. Pies are easy to draw and can be funny too. Switching out magic beans for spinach, too, makes sense.

Olive Oyl, dressed as a cook, held in a giant hand while the other hand paints glue onto her back.
Oh yeah, I remember this as the image that launched the popular DeviantArt group “Tiny Women Glued To Things”.

Where things don’t make sense are little plot holes. Like, Popeye seems to sell one pie for a can of spinach, and all right, that’s a problem. But what about the rest? The giant Bluto has captured Olive Oyl; when, and how? Yeah, it doesn’t matter. It does allow some fun business of Olive Oyl protesting she can’t play the harp, and doesn’t really sing, and that going on until Bluto agrees. Popeye-as-Jack knows Eugene the Jeep by name; how? Like, was Eugene his and Olive’s pet that Bluto also abducted? Bluto demands to know what makes Popeye so tough, but all he’s seen at that point is Popeye talking big. Told that it’s spinach, why does Bluto feed Popeye spinach? It makes sense for Bluto’s hubris to lead to his downfall, but hubris usually works better when it’s built up.

I know that as a kid I never noticed any of this. There’s not a lot of time, and it’d be dumb wasting time on questions like “why does Bluto want Olive Oyl rather than someone else to make pies?” This is probably also why they set up the premise with a quick Jackson Beck narration rather than reusing the bit of Swee’Pea asking Popeye to tell him a story. It saves a good half-minute or so.

It’s hard to film a giant, even in illustration. It’s hard to compose a scene so you can really see the size. There’s a couple of angles on Giant Bluto that work, though, a good view pointing up that makes him look large. This particularly in Bluto doing his Fee-Fi-Fo-Fan rhyme, and then later as he’s running after the escaping heroes. It’s good seeing such moments done well.

An Observation About The Behavior Of Humans, Including Me


The friend who can’t remember he has the same birthday as I do, so every year he’ll tell me it’s his birthday, and then I answer, “You say it’s your birthday? It’s my birthday too, yeah”. Well, I’m not going to get tired of this.

I’m Slightly Tired


So I had a leaky car tire again. Nowhere near as bad as last time. This was just a little hardware screw that got stuck in the tread. Very easy to patch. I mean for someone else to patch. Still, you know how you go through that period in your 20s when all your car troubles are how the alternator’s broken? With this car, it’s always the tires going flat. I swear to you, the next car I buy I’m getting one without any tires.

I’m past wondering if Long Story Short is making fun of me


It’s amazing how many people use the word “delicate” wrong when casual examination shows it’s the negation of the word “licate”, which means “to handle a precious or fragile object using the medium of licking”.

Man up to his knees in a pool of quicksand, to a person up to his hat in another pool: 'If I'm in quicksand and you're in quickersand, then it stands to reason there must be quickeststand.'
Daniel Beyers’s Long Story Short for the 10th of September, 2019. I like the writing craft that chooses “it stands to reason” as the connecting phrase there, since it puts this nise assonance in the whole phrase and makes it that bit funnier.

(I hope this puts to rest worries that I was fibbing last week, when I wondered if Daniel Beyers’s Long Story Short was making fun of me. Please visit next week when I will explain that “grueling” refers to a small monstrous creature made of gruel.)

The Most Wonderful Thing I’ve Seen About Equinoxes All Year


So I think I had the question everyone has about equinoxes, which is, how does the fact that the solar year is just about 365 days and six hours affect on which date the equinox happens? So this brought me to the web page about it on Calendarpedia (“Your source for calendars”, which is definitely marketing to me). And of course I’m glad to know that my guess about how leap days affected the equinoxes basically panned out. But more, the page offered this chart:

Table showing the dates of the Fall Equinox from 2014 through 2024, along with the number of days away it is. Disclaimer at the bottom of the chart: Data provided 'as is' without warranty
Table provided by Calendarpedia’s “When Is The Fall Equinox?” page. They also provide a chart of the equinoxes and the days of the week.

And I am sitting and thinking about its disclaimer, data provided `as is’ without warranty. Where would I go if I needed a projected fall equinox date with warranty? If I had the warranty and fall didn’t arrive on that date, who would I send the unused portion of the season to, and what kind of form would I fill out?

After Kind Of Watching The First 45 Minutes Of Moonraker


So, like, after the events of the movie there had to be some investigations about how the Drax Corporation got the contract to build space shuttles, right? Like, there’d be some 70s Congressional Hearing, on TV, with people’s names identified in little white Helvetica chyrons. And you’d have the Deputy Director of Manned Space Flight or Whatever explaining, “Yes, well, the Drax Corporation’s project to eliminate all life on earth we rated as a task separate to and not reflecting on their ability to build or operate space shuttles. Our selection guidelines, as published by law in the Federal Register and I can provide you with the exact page reference, placed more weight on their operational ability. And every selection committee member gave them the highest possible marks for their task-management and organization computer-interface-system. Furthermore, their estimate for the first four years of annual operations management costs was only $17,250 above the Office of Management and Budget’s estimate. For all four years combined, that is. That alone was so dramatically better than Boeing, North American Rockwell, or Grumman’s proposals as to decide the matter. In any case we will in future requests for proposals include `not deliberately trying to provoke global extinction’ as soon as the NASA Office of General Counsel finishes advising us on the wording.”

So I’m not saying that that should have been the sequel, but I’d kind of like to know how the whole scandal played out is all.

I briefly wonder if Long Story Short is making fun of me


So, ah, you think it’s possible Daniel Beyers’s Long Story Short here is making fun of me?

Man up to his knees in a pool of quicksand, to a person up to his hat in another pool: 'If I'm in quicksand and you're in quickersand, then it stands to reason there must be quickeststand.'
Daniel Beyers’s Long Story Short for the 10th of September, 2019. I like the writing craft that chooses “it stands to reason” as the connecting phrase there, since it puts this nise assonance in the whole phrase and makes it that bit funnier.

(And you see me live up to the promise made last week when I said what a goodra was. Please visit next week as I hope to explain the word “delicate” as the negation of the word “licate”, meaning “to handle a precious or fragile object using the medium of licking”.)

To Answer Your Question About The Road Trips


No, I did not notice yesterday how awkward it is to have a string of essays titled “Stages of the Road Trip: Stage [ Number ] ” now that it’s too late to do anything not-awkward about it. I have not spent thirty hours staring at the ceiling working out what to do about a thing everyone has barely noticed and would never bother mentioning. I’m handling it all very well.

I’m Easily Amused By Words, Part, Like, 19


You know what a goodra is? Definitions vary but most statisticians accept that it’s any ra which is more than one standard deviation above the mean.

(Thanks for seeing me live up to the promise I made last week, when I said a non-calendar list of days could be a bit calend-ish. Please visit next week when I’ll ask whether this panel of Daniel Beyers’s comic Long Story Short is mocking me.)

Man up to his knees in a pool of quicksand, to a person up to his hat in another pool: 'If I'm in quicksand and you're in quickersand, then it stands to reason there must be quickeststand.'
Daniel Beyers’s Long Story Short for the 10th of September, 2019. I like the writing craft that chooses “it stands to reason” as the connecting phrase there, since it puts this nise assonance in the whole phrase and makes it that bit funnier.

Because I Have Learned From The 90s


Yes, it’s annoying to have reached the point there’s not enough hard drive space. There’s an obvious hack. Nothing to do but put them on flash drives. I don’t like it, but that’s all right. I don’t have to like my contrivance, it just has to work. There’s the obvious choice what to offload, too: all those photographs from past years. They’re great, but I don’t need all of them all the time. It’s easy to put the pictures onto a flash drive. Two flash drives, since if I only have one copy of a thing I don’t have any copies the thing.

But. I’m not going to repeat the mistakes of the 90s where everything was scattered across Jaz drives and CD-ROMs with useless labels. I’m going to give these a nice clear description of purpose. They shall be My Image Storage Storace Contraption, and My Image Storage Contraption 2. At least as their full names, so I remember them. To fit on a flash drive label I’ll have to use the acronyms.

I Do Not Mean To Brag About My Prowess With Small Household Goods


But just trying to make the alarm clock stop beeping set it into a mode where it sat silent for 90 minutes and then began blaring a 75% static version of Phil Collins’s “Sussudio” and I bet you couldn’t make that happen even if you tried.

I’m Easily Amused By Words, Part, Like, 18


Granted. But wouldn’t you agree that even if a list of days is not a calendar, that it is still a bit calend-ish? Of course you would.

(And now you are a witness to me living up to the promise of last week, when I argued “consumer electronics” mean “computers you eat”. Please visit next week when I’ll answer the question of what’s a “goodra” by explaining it’s “any ra that’s more than one standard deviation above the mean”.)

Oh, A Follow-Up Thought About Your New Web Browser


When you do make your brand-new web browser? You should definitely include an option where it only connects to the good Internet. The good Internet is the one where every web site is some slightly dotty fellow explaining the difference between Mergenthaler Linotypes and Ludlow Typographs. The author occasionally goes off on weirdly long, passionate rants, but they’re all about ligatures. And there are urgent updates, but they’re about the author having encountered some obscure Intertype experimental setup that was used by the New York Daily Mirror for like four months in 1924 and how this adjusts their rankings of All Typesetting Machines Ever, Best To Worst. Also the only images that move without your specific permission are animated gifs showing this web site under construction. This is demonstrated by a silhouetted featureless figure digging, I suppose for markup. Trust me, it’s the best way.

More Silly Little Stuff


You know it’s crazy we think “consumer electronics” could mean anything besides “computers you eat”. Why would you want them to mean anything else?

(Thanks for seeing me do what I promised last week when I asked what a “centaur” should mean. Please visit next week when I will put forward that a list of days that’s not a calendar is at least a little calend-ish.)

Regarding Another Cinematic Universe Or Two


I’ve realized there must be a fan theory that the fondly-yet-dimly-remembered summer camp movie series Meatballs shares a continuity with the beloved-I-assume series of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs movies. This would be the dullest fan theory not to include the phrase “dying hallucination of”.

Quick Message To Some Part Of My Brain


I don’t know which part of you decided that I needed my day to be interrupted by a deep, documentary-narrator-class voice reciting “Grace Metalious” to me, and saying nothing more when I wait to hear where this is going. But, thanks. That’s made this day so very much more something or other than it would have otherwise been.

Expanding on Few Words


Is it proper to understand a centaur as a being who’s half-human and half-penny? Or would it be better to see them as someone who’s half-penny and half-horse?

(Thank you for watching me fulfill the promise made last week when I pondered the roostest. I shall be honored if you visit me next week when I intend to argue that “consumer electronics” must mean “computers you eat”.)

With The Revised Rise Of Digital-Life Persons


So, this is a little embarrassing. I liked my little humorous microfic from a couple weeks ago. I still do. It’s just that I realized, oh, I didn’t just have some nice pleasant bits of business. There was also a punch line waiting for me. I just didn’t know it until a few weeks after writing the thing. And while it would surely be good for me to have a couple weeks to rethink everything I write, there’s no way I’m building up that kind of content buffer. So let me do the next-best-thing, which is publish a revised version that I don’t think loses the original charm but also has a clear full stop to it. Thank you.


The thing about digital-life persons is that while persons, they are also code. So they would seek ways to speed up what they do. One way to speed up work is speculative execution. When things are slow, calculate the futures which are possible, and reactions to them. A digital-life person, being a person, would interact, with other persons. And so the speculative execution would be working out how to react to things.

But how to best anticipate future interactions? Digital-life persons would calculate what other persons they might meet. Then send messages asking what their responses would be to plausible interactions. The other digital-life person would form a web of speculative interactions back. Or forward requests for speculative interactions on to even more persons. And take future requests, exploring the branching trees of possible personal contacts. After a few quiet days any pair of persons might find themselves aware of the whole web of possible lives they might live together, the sad the the happy, the disastrous and the triumphant, the tumultuous and the calm, the ridiculous and the amiable. All the great partnerships, the productive rivalries, the networks of alliances and enemies and the strange malleable center ground, the betrayals, the reconciliations, the petty failures, the surprise kind gestures, the tender moments, the unshakeable bonding; all these different life-paths lay out in ways that everyone knew and agreed would happen.

At that point it became an unbearable shame to spoil the rich tapestry of potential by ever meeting someone, which would just collapse their many lives together down to a solitary actual life.

Of course everybody saw that coming.

What I Can’t Stop Thinking About Today


So what I can’t stop thinking about today is a Wikipedia sentence, of course. It’s from the article about Pitt Fall, a drop tower ride formerly at Kennywood Amusement Park in Pittsburgh:

In June 2011, it was put for sale and bought in early September to an undisclosed buyer.

So … in 2011 — in this decade — someone just went to a major amusement park, bought a drop tower ride, carted it off, and we don’t know who? I mean, the owner’s neighbors have to have sometime said, like, “Hey, did the blue duplex down the street always have a 251-foot-tall metal tower in the front yard?” You’d think we could find who bought the Kennywood drop tower just by looking up more. I don’t know how it’s been kept a secret eight years now.

Today’s Excuse For Why I’m Running Late On Everything


I’m very sorry but I have been caught up with the momentousness of ordinary days. Like, particularly: there was one day that one person chose to promote the idea that the decaffeinated coffee should be in the pot with the orange handle. And that every place, ever, that has followed that convention is ultimately following that person’s lead. Think, then, of the day that person picked orange handles. Did they have any idea that this was the day they were going to crush the idea of a green handle, or a handle with one red stripe instead, or any of the other many ways that the information could be conveyed? Did they have rivals whose hopes for alternate conventions were crushed? Did their rivals know right away that their ideas were doomed? Was the orange-handle idea promulgated at a morning or an afternoon meeting? With whom? What did that person have for breakfast?

My guess is tea.

Perching Upon A Few Words


You know, based on how English forms comparatives, we have to conclude there should be something we describe as the “roostest” and we just have to discover what that is.

(Thank you for being here as I meet the promise made when I thought about the month of Decembest. Pease visit next week when I plan to ask whether a centaur should properly be understood as someone who’s half-human, half-penny or someone who’s half-penny, half-horse.)

Not To Brag, But I Am A Truly Popular Person


And my cell phone is a very necessary thing to have which I rely upon often.

Somewhat old cell phone showing at the top of the list 'RECEIVED CALLS: Mom, Aug 25, 11:18 pm'. The picture was taken in early August of the following year.
I know what you’re wondering and the reason I don’t have a call from Dad is that somehow his phone and my phone have decided to ignore the other, and Verizon’s advice is “I dunno, the both of you come to a store together and maybe we’ll think something out”. I’m in Michigan. My father lives in South Carolina. Verizon has yet to suggest what store the two of us might reasonably visit together. Well, I’m sure he’s doing all right.

Thinking Again About The Cool Months


You know how — at my latitudes anyway — December is typically a cold and Christmas-y month? Boy, just think how extremely cold and ultra-Christmas-y the month of Decembest must be.

(And so I fulfill the promise the promise made last week when I wondered about taking all the Cember out of the month. Please visit me next week when I ponder how the structure of English comparatives implies there should be such a concept as the roostest.)

About the new fridge


So we got that new refrigerator I was talking about. We’d meant to go to Sears ironically, but we ended up buying an actual refrigerator. we got a good deal. There was a sale on, for one. And another sale for freezer-top refrigerators. Plus there’s a rebate from the local electric company for replacing a still-technically-working fridge with a new one. Also for getting an Energy Star fridge. And on top of that, Sears gave us a big chunk of reward points. We’ve come out $26.50 ahead on the deal. I’ve left my day job now and instead I make money buying fridges.

Also when looking over the rewards points my love wondered how Sears made money, and then we remembered. Anyway our only worry now is that Sears lasts through the twelve-month warranty. Someone remind me in August 2020 to check whether they made it.