A Quick Post-Holiday Realization


You know, if The Family Circus never did a strip where one of the kids was telling another that last year’s Thanksgiving is properly referred to as “Thanksgiven” then the Keanes missed a major opportunity.

(Thanks for seeing me live up to the promise made last week, when I shared the theoretical reasons for the existence of a word “remise”. Please stop in next week when — no promises — I’m going to see if I can put together a coherent thought about superlative cider being the cidest.)

I’m late because there was a John Candy comic book, that’s why


Yeah, I’d like to get a thing done today but a friend made me aware there was a comic book based on John Candy’s remembered animated series Camp Candy in the late 80s. And … just … like, I know they used to make comic books for just everybody, like Bob Hope or Jerry Lewis or … I’m going to guess Gene Autrey. But this? I had no idea and so that’s why I spent the whole day lying down and trying to figure this all out.

Camp Candy comic book, showing a frightened Counsellor Candy looking over a no less alarmed skunk. Candy says to the campers, 'Freeze, gang! As long as we don't ANTAGONIZE it ... '
Comic Vine’s Wiki has the covers to all the issues. It has summaries of the stories for half the books, too, for example the one where “a lovestruck moose invades the camp and causes problems for everyone”.

How Is That Word-Count-Lowering Project Going?


Theoretical linguistics tells us there should be a word “remise”, which would refer to supplying something with mise all over again, possibly after its demise.

(I thank everyone who stopped in last week, when I asked if something’s demise was its running out of mise. Please stop in next time when I’ll point out how, if The Family Circus never did a strip where one of the adorable little moppets talks about last year’s Thanksgiving by naming it “Thanksgiven” then they missed a major opportunity.)

I’m Sorry But This Toilet Paper Roll Is Distracting Me


Yeah, I apologize for not getting things done on time today but I want to know the story of this lone non-conformist toilet paper roll and I think you do too. It’ll be a heartwarming children’s book about being true to yourself that will escape being turned into a CGI-animated movie on the grounds that nobody can work out how to make toys of the characters that won’t end in sad conversations.

Sealed twelve-pack roll of toilet paper, with one roll, top center, perpendicular to all the rest.
Yes, this is 12 Mega Rolls, which if I understand toilet paper mathematics correctly is the equivalent of 47 Ultra Rolls, which is the same as 92 Hyper Rolls, three guineas, two shillings and sixpence, which is the equivalent of when the bathroom’s steamed up from the shower walking into a ten-foot cube of paper foam.

The trivial reason I’m running late today


I got to reading some trivia about Incredibles 2 and came to this remarkable revelation:

This movie and The Incredibles (2004) were released in the same year of the death of a voice actor of one of the iconic characters in Beauty and the Beast (1991). The Incredibles (2004) was released in the same year of the death of Jerry Orbach, and this movie was released in the same year of the death of David Ogden Stiers. Both Incredibles films were also released the same year of the death of a member of the heavy metal band Pantera. Incredibles was released the same year Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell was murdered and Incredibles 2 was released the same year Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul died of a heart attack

So who doesn’t need to lie down and rest a while after having trivia like that sitting on their head?

Doing More Of Few Words


The demise of something is just when it runs out of mise, right?

(I had hoped last week that I would speculate about this. Next week, I hope to declare that there should logically be a word ‘remise’ that refers to supplying something with mise all over again. Stick around and see if I manage it!)

Let’s Keep Trying To Hold My Average Wordcount Down, Now


Would it do anything useful to shortening my average post length if we could turn the word “awkward” into “awayward” for some reason? If not, why did I typo “awkward” as “awayward” repeatedly, then? Huh?

(I said last week I was going to do this, and I’m glad to say I haven’t overlought that promise. Please check in next week when I will speculate that the demise of something is when it runs out of mise.)

Just Thinking About Those Alarmed Skunks


So I was thinking about those skunks who’ve been alarmed by things so much this year. I’m this close (please imagine two things close together. No, not that close. Only this close) to going out at night and asking them if everything’s all right, and if they would maybe like to talk it out instead of getting into whatever fights it is they’ve been getting every four days lately. Well, that probably wouldn’t be a good idea. I’d keep trying to understand more of the context of what they’re so upset about and we’d never get the issue settled. Hm.

My Moneymaking Scheme based on the Rise in Streaming Services


So you know how there’s some new subscription streaming service every couple minutes now? (Look, there’s one just started up now!) Well, I’m going to start a streaming service providing a stream of subscription streaming services, or SSpSoSSS.

Of course, I am smart enough to know you never make money doing a thing. You make money by selling the tools for someone else to do a thing. So what I’m really selling is SSpSoSSS-as-a-service.

It’s looking good! SSpSoSSSaaS is already quite popular with developer snakes and among pool toys with slow leaks.

Because conjugation is a group decision this week, too


You know, if we all wanted to, we could decide that the past tense of “overlook” is “overlought”, and cut “overlooked” entirely out of the deal. This would solve nothing.

(This follows up on what I planned last week, thinking about how “quanch” could be the past tense of “quench” if we worked at it. Please visit next week when I’ll see if I can extend this to somehow turning “awkward” into “awayward” for whatever reason.)

I Didn’t Have Time To Deal With Spider-Man’s Stuff Today


So please here take a moment to point and snicker at a pepper plant that, despite having ALL SUMMER LONG to work on it, never managed to grow more than about four inches tall. And then used that chance to spit out like fourteen green peppers, most of them taller than it is.

So to sum up, plants: what’s the deal, huh? Seriously, what the heck? You know? Right?

A small green pepper plant, with three full-grown peppers, reaching to the ground behind its roughly five-inch height. My hand is behind the peppers.
These peppers are going to make such a great one-fourteenth of a meal!

Answers below.

Because conjugation is a group decision


You know, if we just got together we could make “quench” into a strong verb, so that its tenses changed the sound, and then any of us would be able to say that by getting that satisfactory drink, “I quanch my thirst”.

(This is just what I promised last week when I complained my spell checker refuses to warn me about “trange” being nonsense and yet will not give me “quanch”. Well, let’s see what happens next week, as maybe I’ll try to apply the same principles to turn “overlooked” into “overlought”, which would solve nothing.)

Also The Alternative Was Fat-Free Shipping


But I would swear what I heard the commercial offer was “fact-free shipping”. And I’d like to see them meet take that challenge. I imagine it has to involve, like, fibbing about the postal code at minimum. Obviously a false customs declaration. Also a customs declaration included even though they’re only shipping from, say, Grand Rapids, Michigan, over to Lansing. I don’t know what else is involved but it should be this. In all it’s an idea worth developing, but not into 700 words for the long-form essay of any week.

Now I’m Just Complaining About Spell Checkers


I paid, I assume, good money to have a spell checker somewhere on my computer so why is it letting me get away with listing “trange” as a word? It won’t give me any guidance in how to spell “Cincinnati”, which I’ve done with as many as two n’s, three c’s, and fourteen n’s; what do I even have it for? Complaining that I write “Olive Oyl” in 2019?

(Well, that’s the exploration I promised I’d do last week when I shared how professional historians describe the ancient city of Paris as “Parwas”. Please visit next week when I intend to point out how if we just made “quench” into a strong verb then we could talk about having quenched something by the phrase, “I quanch my thirst”. Oh, and the spell checker will give me “trange” but not “quanch”? Seriously.)

In Which I Give You An Extremely Short Story


So how’s this:

O’Henryesque piece where one partner in a relationship gets a body-swap holiday treatment as a surprise anniversary present. But the other partner got a mind-swap holiday treatment. So they just both wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and then each of them wastes the whole day talking with tech support trying to sort this out before they find out just why it all misfired.

Thank you, yes. Please submit to me one (1) award for amazingly brilliant poignant short story writing, science fiction/fantasy division, thank you very much.

Two fast thoughts about the new Elvira’s House of Horrors pinball game


So, first, I finished my first game with 69 million and I just feel like Elvira should have acknowledged that fact.

Second, autocomplete really wants me to be writing about Elvira’s House of Parliament and I think that all my United Kingdom, Canada, and Australian readers strongly agree.

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.)

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.