I thought I had one more day left in the March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing and I was getting all ready to work on acetylcholinesterase versus a topic I hadn’t picked yet. I was sure about the acetylcholinesterase, though. I bet you know why, too. It’s because it does such great stuff with neurotransmission. And also I swear I read somewhere that there’s this neat medical mystery where the body produces a lot of acetylcholinesterase. More than you’d think. Like, I don’t know how much acetylcholinesterase you figure the body makes in a day, but more than that. And it gets rid of it too, and the thing I remember reading said we aren’t sure exactly how the body makes and disposes of so much of the stuff. Only maybe it wasn’t acetylcholinesterase, but some other neurotransmitter instead? Or neurotransmitter-related chemical? Anyway I can’t find it and I can’t think of how to go searching for it without DuckDuckGo concluding there’s something wrong with me. And I thought bringing it up as a pairwise contest was my best bet to have someone tell me what I was talking about and whether whatever I read this in was even the slightest bit correct. And now that chance is lost, at least until next March. Too bad!
The letter G
The Case For: Its design, especially the lowercase, in typefaces where it’s two ovals connected by a descender? Just gorgeous.
The Case Against: Creeping in on consonant work that ‘J’ could be doing.
The Case For: Allow one to experience comforting showers, large bowls of brothy soup, putting on new socks, and having petting-zoo animals lick your cheek.
The Case Against: Pretty much everything else.
The Case For: Low-cost way to create the Halloween costume of “kid wearing boxes, I don’t know, maybe they’re a robot or a washing machine or something”.
The Case Against: Otherwise just a mechanism to turn piles of things into rectangular piles of things.
The Case For: Best way to finish an airplane ride.
The Case Against: Without continuous tending will spontaneously morph into strip malls.
HTML’s span element
The Case For: Span, short for ‘spaniel’, lets you add a dog to any web page.
The Case Against: Semantic confusion as this adds any kind of dog, not just spaniels.
The Case For: Thoroughly fun sound to hear and one of music’s beautiful words to say.
The Case Against: When you’re nine years old and taking violin lessons it hurts your fingers to do.
The Case For: Is no better way to know what company Hi from Hi and Lois works for.
The Case Against: Really aren’t any bars or restaurants hosting trivia nights that have a deep enough menu to support going back for a whole season.
The Case For: You don’t know anyone whose life wouldn’t be considerably improved for years if they got an unexpected twenty thousand and ninety dollars, like, today.
The Case Against: Still, just think how much even better twenty thousand, one hundred and fifteen dollars would be.
The Case For: Are at peace with sitting in weird poses on them.
The Case Against: Feeling of helplessness about the cushion that’s worn down because you always sit on it being right next to the mint-condition cushion that nobody ever sits on.
The Case For: Keeps every beverage from having the same mouth feel.
The Case Against: Is part of how the entropic heat-death of the universe happens, although you can say that about everything really.
The Case For: Turns out to be just the most recent supercontinent, not the only one, and they’re looking at making supercontinents again, and isn’t that cool?
The Case Against: Nerds used to say how they would put a “Pangaea Reunification Front” on their desk to make HR send out a memo about not posting political stuff and we were expected to pretend we believed that happened.
The Case For: Has a crater on Mercury named for him.
The Case Against: Only wrote the one opera, which is only one more than I’ve written, and I can’t even write music.
We’re finally through sixteen March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing matchups! We’ve reached the stage of The Last Quartet! Got your bets in for who will win?
The Case For: Holding up really well to the burden of being the only thing that everybody would like to hear a cool fact about, like, right now.
The Case Against: There’s people trying to tell us T Rexes were just like chickens and that’s not doing T Rexes or chickens any good.
The Case For: Most important part of geometry that also sounds like a muscle group.
The Case Against: Word sounds like you’re too good for rhombuses.
The Case For: Is the technical name for phrases where you match up opposites to refer to all of a thing, like, “high and low” or “big and small” or “young and old”.
The Case Against: Now that you know that it will never be asked at your Jeopardy! tryout.
The Case For: If you wear a pair of them enough they get very comfortable.
The Case Against: There are other genres of pants that are comfortable right away when you buy them.
The Case For: Good compromise between centennials and bicentennials.
The Case Against: Does nothing to prepare you for the sestercentennial-versus-semiquincentennial debate, although you do have a hundred years to worry about it.
The Case For: Are an essential period for the development of adequate cols.
The Case Against: The cool things are always going against them.
The Case For: I mean, what else are you going to do with your thesis and antithesis?
The Case Against: Still seems like there should be a new direction to take things, though.
The United States of America
The Case For: Population and land-area leader compared to other generically-named countries like the United Kingdom, South Africa, the Central African Republic, and the United Provinces of the Netherlands.
The Case Against: Everything in the country needs you to fill out a form and yet with all that practice nobody’s any good at bureaucracy.
The Case For: Word turns out to mean “people who tell you where the figs are”.
The Case Against: Is not related the word meaning “people who tell you where the unhealthy elephants are”.
The Case For: Represents signed integers of up to 8,388,607 in a single word.
The Case Against: Most implementations are really 16-bit and they just leave the other eight bits in the junk drawer.
The Case For: Deft, seamless artistic blend of gods and Nilla wafers.
The Case Against: Too whiny anymore to stomp on the pointy skyscrapers around the financial district.
The Yukawa Potential
The Case For: Is so, so good at describing pairwise particle interactions mediated by either a massless or a massed particle.
The Case Against: Is not the name of any noteworthy prog rock band or album.
The Case For: Allow fans to live the dream of spending several days happy surrounded by people whose names are printed clearly on badges they can glance at quickly so they always know who they’re talking to.
The Case Against: Might also be for work.
The Case For: Helps the lay public discover what’s hard about questions like “how do we know a thing is true” or “what does it mean to say something is a good action” or “is this a well-defined question”.
The Case Against: Which nerds plunder for source material to make tabletop roleplaying games about trolley-based murder engines.
The Case For: Combines the traits of being dead, growing, and generally considered attractive.
The Case Against: I know I’ve seen the musical on TCM like twice and the only scenes I remember from it are, I believe, actually dim recollections of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
The Case For: Generously donated name to Thundarr the Barbarian’s friend, the Mok.
The Case Against: Selfishly refused to grant honorary degree to Ted Knight’s character on Too Close For Comfort even though he drew comic books about a space cow? Was that it? Maybe it was a comic strip? He had a puppet he used to draw, I know that, even though that doesn’t seem like a good way to draw except in a publicity photo.
The Case For: Really nailed a kind of music for Christmas.
The Case Against: Hasn’t been a good April Fool’s Day Carol in, like, forever.
Rural Free Delivery
The Case For: Greatly reduced the cost of delivering rural areas to one other.
The Case Against: Sending cities to one another remains a money pit.
The Gregorian Calendar
The Case For: Makes every kid named “Greg” feel very special when they’re five or six years old and learn about it.
The Case Against: Not only did not have a year 0, also did not have a year 1, 2, 6, 28, or 118.
The Case For: Brings to the confusing modern world the sense that when you were a kid, you did this thins you didn’t know why because that’s what everyone said you were supposed to do.
The Case Against: Were invented in 1893 to sell more nationalism.
The Case For: Imperative case sets clear expectations for how to interact with pillows.
The Case Against: You run out of pillows unless someone’s throwing them back at you.
The Case For: Fits the sweet spot between Hair Drys and Hair Dryests.
The Case Against: Dries one fingernail’s width of your hair per minute.
The Case For: One of the few substances that comes in aquamarine that society encourages you to touch.
The Case Against: Lather does not behave as animated cartoons have encouraged us to believe.
The Case For: Teaches you which of your friends don’t know how to pronounce “Mary” correctly.
The Case Against: They get all huffy however many times you explain this to them.
The Case For: Is the second place of second place.
The Case Against: Is the zeroth place of fourth place.
The Case For: Are the most egg-like of sports equipment.
The Case Against: There exist minimum and maximum sizes of balls for any regulation sports.
The Case For: Is an elegant, simple expression originally meaning “with [ con ] trast [ trast ]”.
The Case Against: The word blocks the formation of the word “contrest”, which would describe something being the most contr.
The Case For: Invaluable to poets both as a way to describe meter and also a familiar body part to rhyme with “Pete”.
The Case Against: In science-fiction or archaeology thriller movies are always setting off ancient traps that cause loud action sequences.
The Case For: One of the most nearly remembered hues in the -AU-E color group.
The Case Against: We gave mauve a whole decade and it gave us the Panic of 1893, the Lattimer Massacre, and the death of Vice President Garret A Hobart.
Commercial Passenger Air Travel
The Case For: Makes possible the dream of a person having breakfast from a Wawa in Bordentown, New Jersey, and lunch at a Hot Head Burritos in Groveport, Ohio.
The Case Against: Entire industry was created as a gimmick to teach people what to do when their ears pop and all side benefits were coincidence.
The Case For: Are the best vertical surface available to 1990s college students to hang their posters of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Blues Brothers, or a Mandelbrot set.
The Case Against: Somehow increase the noise of the people in the hotel room next to you by 12 to 18 decibels.
The Case For: Has the superhuman power to take good action pictures on a timer.
The Case Against: In one of his adventures on The Electric Company, Spider-Man was beaten by a Wall at Shea Stadium.
So, I’m aware that this is the season for putting things up against other things. And heck, I can think of things. So, here’s my first-ever March Pairwise Brackety Contest Thing. I panicked when I was filling out the forms for bracket contest names. Sorry.
The Case For: All-time classic songs like Born in the USA and Born to Run, plus other non-birth-related songs.
The Case Against: Though he was born in the USA, his strengths are singing and songwriting. His running is nothing of note.
The Case For: For over 25 years now the most convenient way to keep hot meatballs in your hand.
The Case Against: Hasn’t been a good sandwich song in the Top 40 in months.