I am — without bragging — over fifty years old and it is just this past week that I first stopped to wonder whether the word “together” might have some etymological connection, however tenuous, to the verb “to gather”. Anyway, I’ve been telling possible employers that one of my skills is my curious mind and eagerness to learn, and I have gone through fourteen months without income.
- “That really slaps!”
- “That pours out the happy vibes.”
- “tldr: tyjfdarwqsw!” (or other keysmash after the colon)
- “That is so that!”
- “Yeet that fleek!”
- “That normalizes the singularity!”
- “Well zip my per!”
- “It’s as real as bowling!!”
- “4:34, sweet!”
- “Only now, it cross-pollenates!”
- “That sings!” (said so sarcastically as to become sincere again)
- “Everything else wants to be this and can’t.”
Reference: Mark Twain On The Damned Human Race, Editor Janet Smith.
And yet I just hours ago referred to something “going like gangbusters”, an allusion to the loud radio drama that aired as recently as when Sputnik 2 was in orbit. Yes, I consider myself in touch with modern society, why wouldn’t I?
I don’t know how much is the appropriate amount to think about famous knock-off movie Ratatoing, but I don’t think I’m far outside the norm. Plus, Nathan Rabin blogged about it a couple days ago, and reading that made me realize: oh, that name is surely not meant to rhyme with “boing”, right? You’re supposed to think rat-at-oo-ing, so it’s even closer to Ratatouille. Rat-a-toing is just wrong. And then I tried watching the movie and it turns out? No, it’s “boing”, just like I thought when I didn’t know anything. So the week’s not even half over and I keep having to re-evaluate everything. Or I can stop thinking about stuff and, it turns out, be okay, just less tired of it all.
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 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.
- rmffmnmrmoffmomifms (?)
- striiisng (?)
- Skareneslm (?)
- adflemnoriiis (?)
- thent (?)
- Argranis’t (?)
- snozzigigqq (?)
- Gesorningblatz (?)
- pank (?)
- Fernowerz (?)
- enfloorowore (?)
- w’tna (?)
Reference: Second Founding: New York City, Reconstruction, and the Making of American Democracy, David Quigley.
The current-rerun storyline, the last one I intend to cover here, features Rocket Raccoon. Rocket does mention the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Also the team name. They don’t appear in this story. I don’t remember (from when this ran in 2016-17) if there was any excuse given for their non-appearance then. Could be nobody was picking up Rocket Raccoon’s calls. Also, yes, this story first ran two and a half years after the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. It did wrap up close to the release of the second movie, at least, so that’s the level of cross-promoting tie-in you got from the newspaper strip.
So this catches you (back) up to mid-June 2021 in Roy Thomas and Larry Leiber’s The Amazing Spider-Man. This and my other plot recaps, plus any news about the newspaper comic strip if it ever has news again, are at this link. But unless something changes the next plot recap, around September 2021, will be the last of these.
The Amazing Spider-Man.
21 March – 13 June 2021.
My antepenultimate check-in on The Amazing Spider-Man was near the end of the Ant-Man story. Our heroes take the subway home, because they forgot they rented a car to get to the climax. They have coffee together, agree to hang out again sometime, and never do.
The current repeat story started the 26th of March. Mary Jane’s Broadway play, already shut down, has shut down even more. Theater repairs. But that movie she did? Marvella 2: The Rise of Doctor Bong? The producers would like her to do publicity. So they rent a car, like Peter Parker had such trouble doing last story, and aim for Route 66. Somewhere in New Mexico, they see a meteor strike suspiciously close to them and investigate.
The suspicious meteor is actually a suspicious flying saucer. Inside is Ronan The Accuser, who’s come tens of thousands of light years to mess with patrons at a Route 66 Diner. “WHERE IS IT?” he demands, refusing to answer what “it” he means. “Do you want our 600-pound man-killing Mystery Spot?” they ask, assuming supposing he’s here for the tourist trap stuff. “The world’s largest pair of size-32 men’s slacks? (The pant legs have a 612 inseam.) The world’s Most Electrified Mirror Maze? Are you here for the Dueling 40-foot-tall Tic-Tac-Toe Chickens? The Northernmost South Pole Below the 37th Parallel? North America’s Highest Ball of String?” He refuses to say, instead punching out Peter Parker. (Mary Jane, aware she has no powers and is facing a possible supervillain, stayed in the car.) Ronan slurps a bunch of diner food up into his magic hammer, deflating his menace a bit, and storms off seeking The Sentry.
Peter and Mary Jane don’t know where Ronan’s off to. They also don’t try calling the Fantastic Four, who’ve dealt with Ronan before. Other superheroes never pick up Peter Parker’s calls. That’s not even my joke; he’s gotten Reed Richards’s answering machine in past stories. Anyway, there’s another suspicious meteor strike nearby. (Mary Jane, aware she has no powers and is facing a possible supervillain, insists on going with.) And inside is Rocket Raccoon.
They do the ritual superhero meeting-fight, with Spidey oddly confident he should be doing better against a space raccoon. And then they remember there’s not a blasted thing for them to fight over. Anyway, Rocket Raccoon is on Earth to find the Intergalactic Sentry that Ronan’s after. The Intergalactic Sentry’s this Kree Empire superweapon that blah blah galaxy conquest etc. Also Rocket hopes to deploy a lot of hilarious 60s-70s comic book techno-wordistrifications. He’s got a Lingua-Trans, for example, which is why everyone understands him. A trackoscan that might find Ronan. A ptero-salad sandwich for lunch. He reads the news-a-gram. Talks of putting Ronan into electro-manacles. It’s my level of goofy.
Rocket’s ready to go searching on his own. Spider-Man points out he lives in the galaxy so he’s got an interest in it not being conquered. Mary Jane, aware she has no powers and is facing a possible supervillain, insists on going with.
They check into a motel, excusing Rocket’s appearance as their kid wearing a Halloween costume. The motel owner is skeptical. “If that’s a Halloween costume, why isn’t it a cheap plastic mask with a broken rubber band, plus a flimsy T-shirt showing a picture of a raccoon?” But also he doesn’t care. At least not until a naked Rocket sneaks out, looking for food, and gets into a fight with a coyote over the trash bins.
Rocket’s track-o-scan finds Ronan. The Accuser is at Petroglyph National Monument, a National Park with thousands of figures carved by Pueblo peoples. The “star person” carving Rocket Raccoon identifies as the marker for the ancient Kree starship used to transport sentries. The revelation, about a real-world petroglyph, is not even the littlest bit near the racist “Ancient Astronaut” myth so don’t worry about that. Rocket and Spider-Man head off for Ronan. Mary Jane, aware she has no powers and is facing a possible supervillain, stays in the car.
This story has about thirteen weeks left to it. So my plan is to run the next Spider-Man plot recap a week late, and give the web-slinger an honorable retirement. I haven’t decided what if anything will take its place in my rotation. I’m up for thoughts, if anyone has them.
Jonathan Lemon and Joey Alison Sayers’s Alley Oop took a little break from time travel to do some dimension-hopping instead. That worked out great for all the dimensions involved, right? If all goes to plan, we’ll check in next week and see. Thanks for reading.
- web brouseur
Reference: We Freeze to Please: A History of NASA’s Icing Research Tunnel and the Quest for Safety, William M Leary.
Yes, I’m aware “tomatoes” and “state moo” are anagrams to “team soot”, now.
How have I gotten this far in life and only yesterday learned that “tomatoes” is an anagram of “state moo”? What have I been doing all this time?
Generally, terrible. They’re all on some kind of hyperfire where every part of the fire is exactly the same vastness of fire. But that is a general matter. Specific things may be less awful. Let’s review some of them .
Weather. It’s now at the right temperature where you can dress so you’re too hot, or are too cool. There’s no combination of clothes you have that will let things feel all right. This awkwardness will continue through Saturday, and over Sunday will give way to modest embarrassment with scattered clumsiness and afternoon to evening thundermeekness.
Yellow things. Yellow things need no attention and are fine as they are.
Vocabulary. The use of the word ‘coruscate’ around you has been steadily increasing. Consult the masses of people lined up outside your door to say it. Yes, this action is doing nothing to convince you it is an actual word. Why they’re doing this is a mystery. It’s not like we think you’re responsible for the word, so don’t go worrying about that We apologize for the inconvenience but can’t think of anything to do about it.
The Capital of Montana. The capital of Montana remains missing. It was last seen approximately five months ago, when it was photographed during a school trip. Now the capital is nowhere to be found and the schools are a bit wobbly too. The school thought the trip was successful and the capital was showing an interest in kickball. Those with leads are asked to call the governor anonymously. The capital was an ‘M’.
Green things. Green things need to be less yellow-y so as to not need attention.
Haunting Odd Behavior By Co-workers. Yes, your co-worker has responded to how you end the late-morning chat by saying “hope you enjoy your lunch” with the answer, “isn’t that the truth!”. It seems like that thing where you give the correct response for the wrong prompt, but they have done it three times in the past two weeks. Their hearty laugh shows they’re enjoying it, at least. Maybe they have wicked plans for lunch? Maybe they eat ironically? Maybe they’ve transcended meals wholly, and exists on giving co-workers a vague despair? But then why are they doing it in these times?
USB. We are still doing that thing where there are about 48 different shapes of USB plugs. We’ve stopped that thing where some of them are called mini USB and others are mini-B USB and some are micro and some are -C and some are -A and all that. Now they are all simply USB 3.0, except those that are 3.1. Some of them are called Thunderbolt or Firewire or Lightning Loops or Superdooperlooper or Batman: The Ride. We have no idea why anyone puts up with this.
Purple things. They’re just overdoing it because they want the attention. Pay them no heed.
Spelling (Non-Vocabulary Division). In the past week alone I have created by typo the words “touside” and “lightnight”. Both words deserve to be things and I will leave it to you to complete the rest of the work. I feel like “touside” should be a chipper sort of slang said in a slightly dangerous part of town, but will leave that up to other parties. It’s important no one person do everything. “Thundermeekness” is a fun word too, but its uses have obvious limits. I also composed “trea”, but that one could use some work.
General Cleanliness. Somehow the keyboard keeps getting fragmentary Cheez-Its lodged between letters, most often in the bit between the ‘f’ and ‘g’ which stare out accusingly at your housekeeping. There haven’t been any Cheez-Its near the keyboard ever. Logical explanations are needed, and there are none.
Heeding things. Earning two and a quarter percent; some restrictions apply.
Comic strips. That one Far Side from 1987 that you weren’t getting? The joke is that ‘Al Tilley, the bum’ sounds a lot like ‘Atilla the hun’. Now nights when you really need to sleep you can lie awake wondering about this Calvin and Hobbes from 1992, and whether it is ‘lie’ or ‘lay’.
Your Blogging Site. Is still encouraging you to try their new post editor, as if you were a big enough fool to try that. The only good version of anything computer-based is the second design they published after you started using the thing, and everything since then has been this somehow water-y thing where you can’t do the one simple task you always do.
I hope this has relieved some of your anxieties, but know it has not.
- not to say it isn’t
- a sort of
- (really almost any 10% would improve things somewhat)
Reference: Mind Partner and 8 Other Novelets From Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, Editor Horace Gold.
I’m very sorry, but I was typing out ‘to ever’ and that got autocorrected to ‘soever’. Like, the thing that usually comes at the ends of words like “whatsoever” and “whomsoever”. Since this happened I’ve been stuck thinking, what, has everybody in the world known about this and I’m only now catching on to it? Also I’m stuck thinking well now autocorrect is just going out and making up words the way I would do except I’d be making a dumb joke. So I don’t see any way out of this mood.
If we know only one thing about the English language we’re probably counting wrong. Most of us know four things about English. Professors of English know even more. There are some who know well enough to explain to the lay audience six things. Still, one is the minimum number of things people know about the English language, if they know anything at all. And I’d like to see you get out of that one.
But one thing we know about the English language is that words change meaning. They often do this without warning, despite the custom that they do not do this without warning. That is, that they do it with warning. I’d like to see me get out of this one myself.
There are neat ways that words do change meaning. The most exciting way they change is through a graphitic fission. One thrilling example of this was in 1378. A team lead by Geoffrey Chaucer subjected the word “deer” to high-participle bombardment in a gerund-lined chamber. It split the word “deer” from its earlier meaning of “anything that isn’t a bird or fish but that people are still willing to eat, as long as it isn’t a plant or shoe”. All that remained was “Bambi-like life-form”. We’re left without a word for the earlier meaning of deer. We make do with the circumlocution “eh, I don’t feel like that” while standing in front of the fridge.
Still, the experiment was worth it. There were flurries of syntax over southern England for years, accelerating the evolution of the language. That’s not to say this is always without its perils. A 1752 attempt to fragment the word “meat” — applied back then to animal flesh, the innards of peaches, or large enough trees — resulted in war with Spain. In fairness, that sort of thing happened a lot in those days. Spain didn’t even know about the war for two more years. They just thought the English were being all snippy, again.
Another kind of word evolution is reverse mitosis. In this a word shoots out a cytoplasm-dissolving compound to envelop and absorb some other word’s definitions. The shorter words are better at this, wowing to surface tension. It might seem unfair to you that “run” has now taken over 80,954 distinct words and yet it doesn’t show any signs of breaking up. In fact, it is deeply unfair. There’s nothing we can do. But we aren’t expected to do anything either. That itself is a kind of relief.
And while this process can obliterate an old word, there’s no reason new words can’t join up. Any new conglomeration of letters can join the English language. The franchise fee is perhaps objectionably low. It hasn’t changed form its 1663 level of “five groat, a tuppence, and three cloves of onnyons”, which is obvious gibberish. A lost word can just re-form and try again. English is on like its fourth “gossip”, for example, and it’s not going to stop however hard we try.
Another bit of word evolution that’s a really hilarious freaking joke, guys, is protective camouflage. In this, we notice that a word means something. But if we actually meant that thing, whoever we called that would get angry and maybe slug us. So we use the word but get all arch and wry about it. This keeps other people from knowing whether they want to slug us or kiss us. The worst they’ll do is think we’re being witty. This frees up our time and saves us social anxiety. But it does mean that any word is at most three generations away from meaning the opposite of what it now means.
An awareness of this gives writers exciting new chances, though. Sentences are made up of words, I think you’ll agree. If you won’t then go ahead and make your argument. It won’t work, because every word in your argument will mutate to every possible meaning. I just have to look back at the right time and your literal words will mean what I want them to, so I win.
But the opportunity for writers. It’s hard finding the right words and stringing them along the right way. But it’s also unnecessary. Write absolutely anything and, someday, it’ll be what you wanted it to be. This should make all writers’ lives easier. It does not.
|Proximate Form||Demonstrative Form||Interrogative Form|
(*) denotes a word which theory indicates should exist but which has not been confirmed by an independent word laboratory.
(**) the ‘h’ was lost during the Algeciras Conference when it rolled under a table at the end of the room and was too much trouble to salvage.
Reference: The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune, Richard Kluger.
|Highfalutin Word||Better Alternative|
|utilize||use, make usable|
|detrimental||trimental [ “de” is here etymologically an intensifier to “trimental” and not, as carelessly assumed, a negation ]|
|hinder (as in to restrict, limit, or make worse)||hinder (as in tuckus)|
|eventuality||[ best dropped altogether and never replaced ]|
|anomalous||strawberry-flavored, bumpy, wiggly|
|dilettante||Ben, at it again|
|untenable||not rounded off|
Reference: A History of Mathematical Notations, Florian Cajori.
I want to talk about spelling as we know it. I don’t mean the kind of spelling where, like, you end up with a potion of eternal width or with magic shoes that won’t let the person wearing them stop dancing. I mean the kind where you end up with a word, by putting together word components. You know, consonants, eyes of a vowel, gizzard of gerund endings, that stuff. Please adjust your expectations accordingly and report back when they’re settled down.
Spelling as we know it began in 16th century France, where the regular consistent coding of words served as a way for persecuted Hugenots to acknowledge one another without detection by the King’s agents. With the Edict of Nantes temporarily resolving that whole fight about how much everybody loved God more, the need for the secrecy faded. So the idea went looking for more exciting spots. It spread first to Holland. Then to Poland, where it got lost and ended up back in Holland. Next time around it set out for Italy, but misunderstood the directions through the Swiss Alps and ended up right back in Holland. Having had enough of ending up in Holland, spelling jumped into the English Channel and swam furiously west. Fourteen days later it washed up in Holland, where it threw up its arms and said, “Fine, then,” and got all sullen.
Spelling might have remained in the United Provinces forever except for the Great Fire of London of 1666. Samuel Pepys, renowned for his diaries and how fun it is to say his name and probably other stuff I’m guessing, realized the use of regular, consistent spellings during this disaster. His first warning of the fire came from a young boy of laddish age who ran past yelling out, “Taike kare! Taykke kaire! A graette Fyren cowmes here frum Puddenge-Lain!” Pepys had no idea what the kid was talking about. He asked the kid to repeat it, and it didn’t get much better. The child added, “Rayce the allarum! Phire raigges throo the Citty!” This left Pepys feeling awkward. So he let the child go and figured if it was all that important he’d hear about it.
The still-smoldering Pepys figured nobody needed that kind of brush with death. So he figured maybe the city could be built fireproof. Also maybe write things down in consistent ways so it doesn’t take four tries to understand people. His friend John Evelyn considered this series of events, pointing out that if the child had said all this, the spelling shouldn’t matter. But why would the child have written out such a message about the Fire when he was running around and talking to people about it? Pepys eloquently shoved his friend into the Tyburn river. Evelyn conceded the point.
And so consistent spelling caught on in English. It did well, thanks to early breakthroughs like “silent E” and “n-apostrophe-t” charming the population with their elegant whimsy. “Onk” was also a big selling point. We still live in a world where it would be fun to see many people get a bonk on some appropriate bonk-absorbing part of their person. For a while there was a market in switching out “ks” for “x”, or vice-versa, but that’s gotten to be seen as old-fashioned. And don’t get me started on how you can’t just write “connexion” anymore without being accused of cheating. Also everybody follows the “q is followed by a u” rule, but they don’t understand it. It’s a pun. Once you see it, you’ll never un-see it. I hope to see it myself someday.
This is not to say that spelling in English is perfectly consistent. It couldn’t be, not given the need of aristocracy to show itself as better than real people. Thus would Spelling Book authors compose all sorts of new and exotic letter patterns. This led to many never-before-suspected innovations, like “hiccough” or “untowardsmanship”. Long after the fad for ostentatiousnessocity had passed, we were left with the remains. Most of the worst offenders slid out of the English language, owing to foreign tourists taking oddities home with them. And the rest are a reminder of how far we have come, or have yet to go, or have ended up where we are. Granted this describes many things, but only because they are like that.
- 1452. The Byzantium Area Public Library System issues its final notice to the Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos that he has accrued $4.00 in fines on a copy of So You Think Invading the Balkans Will Make You Happy Now, Do You? and if he does not return the book and the fine promptly they will turn matters over to Mehmed II’s collection agency.
- 1492. Christopher Columbus, sailing three ships whose names were lost to history, arrives on the shores of the Guangdong area of China. The Chinese people, sensing both trouble and gullibility, spin a tale that this is actually the West Indies, thousands of miles east of where anybody wanted to be. They are delighted to find that the idea catches on, and there are no follow-on consequences that anyone has any reason to regret. The ship names were later found by history, in the junk drawer next to four pens that don’t work.
- 1582. Nothing happens. People in Italy and Spain feel a great sense of unease. Mobs of people resolve to figure out just what’s going on when they wake up the next day, but nothing happens then either.
- 1664. Saturn enters the house of Aries. Aries is not present. Saturn takes the chances to playfully rearrange the dishes, leaving the coffee mugs on the wrong side of the cabinet. Saturn was all set to sneak out undetected, but gave in to the temptation to go through Aries’s refrigerator and turn all the condiment bottles so the labels face the back. Aries finally arrives home, and they have an argument, and Aries doesn’t forgive Saturn for over two hundred years and a month.
- 1805. Napoleon Bonaparte announces he intends to build a stone-arch bridge that encircles the world. His subordinates acclaim this as a bold, challenging accomplishment that will prove French greatness to the world for centuries to come. Napoleon then announces he’ll make the problem less challenging by building it as a ring just under a kilometer from the North Pole, a great distance farther north than anyone has ever been, never mind where any stone bridges have been. His subordinates nod slowly but agree this will also capture the imaginations of history, especially when they point out how hard it is to get construction-great stone up to the North Pole. Napoleon then says, you know, the Earth is round, and his subordinates ask where this is going now. He says that since it is, you could say there’s an axis through any points on the Earth. So why not declare there’s an imperial North Pole that pokes its way through the suburbs of Paris, with the actual North Pole offset from that by about 31 degrees of latitude, and build the arch around that. This leaves his subordinates pretty sure he’s messing with them. They’re honestly relieved to hear the British are attacking something, anything, at this point.
- 1868. Otto von Bismarck, chancellor of Prussia, announces his intention to unify the states of North and South Dakota. He is finally convinced by his wife that he is getting way ahead of himself.
- 1903. Automobile pioneer Henry Ford, racing in a car of his own design, crosses the finish line to win the New York City-to-San Francisco Driving Contest of 1902.
- 1959. Argentina and Japan, following the discovery in June that they had never signed a peace treaty after the Crimean War, take the chance to sign one now. The purely ceremonial affair in Paris is dignified and pleasant and quite merry. It’s only spoiled near the end when a nosey Art Buchwald asks whether either of the nations had anything to do with the Crimean War in the first place. He is locked into a broom closet.
- 1978. The first time that otters are seated in the Italian parliament. This follows elections which many say reflect a public desire to check the influence of fish in the lower house. Their first speeches on the floor are acclaimed by the press as “damp”.
- 1996. I publish to Usenet my thesis that in the well-worn prank, the person who insists on seeing that the dictionary does indeed contain the word “gullible” is not displaying the gullibility implicit in the premise because it is an act of skepticism to insist on proving whether a possible-but-unlikely state is true, and am immediately showered with acclaim and recognition for how I am completely right and everyone arguing this point with me any further is wrong and stupid and foolish and a bad person.
- 2015. The Byzantium Area Public Library System apologizes, saying it found that So You Think Invading the Balkans Will Make You Happy Now, Do You? had been filed wrong. It was on the shelf right next to Art Buchwald all this time and they were wrong to send the matter to collections. Whoops!
(Goes outside, breathes the fresh air some. Comes back in and looks again to see what it looks like.)
(Rubs his head, walks over to see if there’s some engagingly crazypants movie on Turner Classic Movies. And then comes right back to see this all again.)
Really would have expected these lines to have crossed again years ago, you know? Anyway. Huh, I say, and I stand by that.
Reference: Safer C: Developing Software for High-Integrity and Safety-Critical Systems. Les Hatton.
I know there’s exceptions to this next statement. But, generally, going to an amusement park is fun. I mean for the people going to the park for the purpose of fun. Just let me have this point, please. Where I’m going is that there are other things that are fun, too. Like, there’s going to karaoke night and singing the one song you’re kind of able to sing with mostly the right tones and pacing. That’s fun. So is making clicking noises back at a squirrel who seems to be trying to work out what your deal is. That’s fun. Again, if you want to do that.
But here’s where I’ve gotten. All these kinds of fun are very different activities. You can’t swap one out for the other without noticing that something is very different. One could not mistake chatting with a squirrel for talking about how you can’t imagine someone riding anything where you go upside-down. That is to say, fun is not fungible.
And so continues my lifelong discovery in adulthood of, oh, yeah, that’s why everybody treated my like that in middle school.
I’d like to go into more detail about anything today. But I’ve just learned from my spell checker that apparently a single piece of confetti can be correctly called a “confetto”. So now I just have to sit down and stare at that all night until the world starts to make sense again.
Well, this time the activity puzzle on the back was this flop of an idea:
Rearrange the letters in the phrase to discover the related words or phrase.
This wouldn’t be nearly so disappointing if it didn’t come so soon after the “grimepints” incident. And a couple days later it gave a Spelling Bee challenge to pick out the right way to spell “necessary”. It’s like if the Kinks followed up Arthur with an album where they cover the songs Hanna-Barbera recorded for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids with. I need better from my papers that tell me what day of the month it is.
I continue to use up my 2018 hard-won Peanuts strip-a-day calendar at a rate of a bit under one strip per day (they don’t have Sunday pages). And it still has activities on the back. Last week it suggested this:
Unscramble the following letters to reveal this April word.
I shall do no such thing. “Grimepints” is a magnificent word. It’s as perfect a collection of phonemes as I’ve encountered in a long while. It would make the world a worse place to “unscramble” those letters into some word that is lesser in every way to “grimepints”.
Furthermore, I choose to believe that Grimepints is, besides a perfect word, also the name of a City of London meeting-hall built in 1475. There the Guild of Pandy-Whelkers, established during the reign of King Edward II, still conducts all its business, including the biennial Benefit for the Sick Infants of Needy Croft-Coddlers. They pay a rent of 6/8 plus “four fynne & true kernels of nutt-megg, the niewest to bee hadd” per annum. And I am working up a history of the building and the Guild’s charming yet dotty history as my Patreon exclusive for the month. So nag someone you otherwise like into reviewing a subscription to something! But unscramble “grimepints”? I would sooner cancel springtime itself than commit such an offense to the language.
Because there’s not really enough of these letters! We should grab some from a language that isn’t using all theirs!
Source: A History of the Kennedy Space Center, Kenneth Lipartito and Orville R Butler.
Because you asked for it! I swear!
Source: Michigan Place Names: The History of the Founding and Naming of More Than Five Thousand Past and Present Michigan Communities, Walter Romig, LHD.
Source: Symmetry in Mechanics: A Gentle, Modern Introduction, Stephanie Frank Singer.
I’d meant to look at my readership back on Friday but then we got some breaking news about The Phantom in. And then the usual routine stuff filled up scheduled slots and that’s why I’m getting to my monthly readership report a week into the new month.
Well, I didn’t break 2,000 page views last month. Came close, and I thought it was almost sure when I checked a couple days before May ended. But according to WordPress I finished May with 1,944 page views. That’s up from April’s 1,765, and about two busy days below March’s 2,085. I shall be lobbying to extend May to a 33-day month sooner or later. The number of unique viewers was up again, to 1,291. In April it had been 1,099; in March, 1,308. So May was almost as busy as March around here. I can cope with that.
The secular decline in ‘likes’ around here had a temporary pause in May. 167 pages got liked by someone or other, up from April’s 147 and March’s 154. Probably won’t last. Comments, now, those were typically dismal. Only ten comments made around here in May, down from April’s 26 and below even the 12-comment doldrums of March. This does coincide with a useful discovery, though. I switched back to the old style of making links to other posts here, one that generates on the page referred to a link to whatever makes the reference. These get sent to me for approval as comments. They don’t affect the comment totals, though; I certainly had more than ten internal cross-reference links in May. Since using links this way makes it easier for people to find relevant stuff in their archive binges and it doesn’t mess up the comments count I’ll stick to doing that. Still don’t know why WordPress insists I approve links from my blog to my blog, though.
Meanwhile, my conversion of the blog to a full-time report on the story strips is basically complete. The five most popular posts around here in May were:
- What’s Going On With Rex Morgan, M.D.?
- What’s Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? December 2016 – April 2017
- Quick Little Update As Mary Worth Changes *Everything*!
Well, at least I can be of use to people who want to understand the ongoing Mary Worth plot without having to actually read the comic. (She’s doing the tourist areas of Cozumel Island while the special guest Bland White Guy is sneaking cigarettes behind the cruise ship’s school gym, and that’s about it.) My most popular long-form humor piece is the review of Python Anghelo’s bonkers concept document for the Popeye pinball game from the early 90s. If you haven’t read it, I’d be flattered if you did read my summary, but I really am just painting the lily that is nine pages in which the least daft part is H Ross Perot helping Popeye launch the Glomar Explorer into space. My most popular recent long-form piece was about my new computer and why I needed one.
Well: on to the roster of the nations. Where did my readers come from in May?
|Hong Kong SAR China||4|
|Trinidad & Tobago||4|
Pakistan was a single-reader country last month. Taiwan’s been one for two months. I make out visitors from 58 countries, up from April’s 51 and March’s 55. There were 17 single-reader countries, up from April’s 13 and March’s 14. This seems to suggest middling-readership countries are drying up. I hope they’re all right. Somebody write in they know what’s going on.
WordPress figures I started the month at 54,678 pages viewed from 29,834 distinct visitors. It also figures I have 736 followers on WordPress, up from 729 at the start of May. That seems like quite the jump, considering how these things grow. You can join them, if you like, by clicking the link on the upper right side of the page to Follow on WordPress. There’s also the chance to follow by e-mail that’s another link at the upper right side of the page.
According to Insights, my best-read day around here was Friday, which had 16 percent of page views. Friday is the date I normally publish the long-form piece of the week, but 16 percent is so close to 14 percent that I can’t believe there’s any significant difference. The 12 am hour is the most popular reading time; 12 percent of page views came then. So, stuff gets read by people who notice it’s just come up. Good to know, but I can’t say that’s revelatory.
Thanks all of you for reading, and for putting up with my meager self-examinations like this. Back to whatever it is I do tomorrow.
Oh, yeah, something else from the power failure the other day. Whoever owns the house across the street has been having a lot of work done on it, and the other day the workers were going on until pretty well in the night and even after dark, we guess to make up for lost time while the weather’s still good. I wouldn’t be doing stuff on the top of ladders like that after dark, not without more spotlights than our neighborhood supports.
And this has me annoyed because I wanted to describe the action, and all I had that was right was “the roofers were roofing the roof” and that makes it sound like I don’t know how to … wordificate … things and stuff. And it’s not my fault! Somehow we as a society thought of “people who build or repair roofs” and decided they’re called “roofers” and the activity they do is “roofing”, because, what, we were ambushed on camera about the subject and now we’re stuck with the first thing that popped into our heads? All right, we have bigger problems to deal with, but can we put this one on the list? This is one we ought to be able to fix.