Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Thank-You Note to Get-Together Colleagues

I wrote to my colleagues the following thank-you note for those who came and those who couldn't come to the farewell meeting on Zoom:

I'm finally writing back to thank you and all the rest of the gang for organizing the Zoom-Meeting. I've never before participated in one that worked.

I enjoyed the comradery (hard-to-spell word), too. But I think that some folks didn't show up because they weren't yet back from Elsewhere. Big place, that Elsewhere.

I also want to thank everyone for the small black bag. That's what people were calling it at the meeting: The Small Black Bag. Or The LittIe Black Bag? Is that like "The Little Black Dress"? Many of you expressed concern that the bag might be too small. I don't have a problem with size. Besides, I can always use a new wallet.

The even smaller Kindle is a real handful. I think I've been directed to thank Brian for that. Is that correct? Thanks, Brian.

And not one, not two, but three cards! With not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven, not eight, not nine, but ten messages!

I should retire more often!

I hope that the Covid virus leaves soon so that we can enjoy a real farewell get-together. With beer. But I can't have many beers, you know. Too much alcohol is bad for your health. From that, I infer that it's also not good for my health.

When I first received my official diagnosis, I asked my doctor, "How long do I have?"

"Oh, no," he said. "Parkinson's doesn't kill you. It just weakens you until something else kills you."

He didn't tell me what that "something else" is, so I've been avoiding everything.

I was fading, mentally, so I stopped then and there with the hope of other meetings to come.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Baseball Wisdom

That ain't got the chance of a spitball in Hell.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Bumbling Along!

Bumbling along with the bumbling bumblebees . . .

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Partially Christianized

Dude, I'muh do unto others as they do unto me.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Drifting Along with the Tumbling Tumbleweeds

The regular gang over at Dr. Boli's has been discussing the phenomenon "Word Drift," which I learned as "Semantic Drift." They want one word for the phenomenon. My mind drifts a lot, and I was soon musing about driftwood, about how it changes shape over time and exposure to the elements, about how it becomes water-logged, then sun-bleached, then subjected to various other indignities. I then reflected on the two expressions, and I wondered if they meant different things - the one implying that the word is shifting, the other that the meaning is shifting. The thought occurred to me that "Driftword" might be a good word for the phenomen -- because of its pun on driftwood, and another pun on driftward.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Vain Musings 9

What ever happened to Dick Tracey?

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

As far as I can recall . . .

Some tall tales and legends grew up about me during my years at Baylor, and an old Baylor friend recently asked me if any were true. As one might expect, such stories are only partly true.

Somebody claimed I'd been seen reading Nietzsche while doing a one-armed push-up. I've never succeeded in a one-armed push-up, try though I might, but I might have managed reading while doing a two-armed push-up. Maybe I was striving to reach Uebermensch status.

I was asked if I ridden my bicycle from Arkansas to Baylor the fall semester my freshman year. I did indeed ride my bicycle to Baylor, but at the beginning of my Sophomore year, and I began in Talequah, Oklahoma. I traveled about 100 miles per day, adding up to about 500 miles (or fewer).

As for sleeping in my library cubical to save money, I considered that but decided against it. I might have tried it one night, but I think that's my imagination.

Here's one thing that did happen.

I was alone in the gymnasium close to Penland Cafeteria practicing my basketball skills, and for some reason, I was doing really well, shooting three-pointers, catching my rebounds above the goal and slamming down two-handed dunks, jumping up with my back to the goal and turning in midair to shoot from the top of the key. I imagined I was pro material!

I paused a moment to consider my next move.

Before I could decide anything, loud applause broke out from the bleachers at the other end of the gym. I turned to see what was happening. There, standing and applauding loudly and sustained, was the entire Baylor girl's basketball team, cheering me on in my flights of fancy. What could I do but take a bow, say thank-you, and exit, stage right.

Something else happened some other time, too, but I can't remember what . . .

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Vain Musings 8

What ever happened to Li'l Abner?

Monday, August 23, 2021

Vain Musings 7

What ever happened to Barney Google and Snuffy Smith?

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Vain Musings 6

What ever happened to Nancy?

Did she ever speak?

Was she ever funny?

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Vain Musings 5

What ever became of Poteet Canyon?

Was her given name a slang form of "Petit?"

Friday, August 20, 2021

Vain Musings 4

What ever happened to Dr. Kildare?

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Vain Musings 3

What ever happened to Mary Worth?

A crazy ol' gal in her late fifties (I'm guessing from memory), she went from job to job and adventure to adventure, never holding any job down for long.

I'd like to see her CV!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Vain Musings 2

What ever happened to Gil Thorpe?

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Overheard at a Boring Party

"Having a good time?"

"I'm enjoying myself."

Monday, August 16, 2021

Irrational Man

Dr. Boli discovers that the law of supply and demand is not all that fundamental. Internet domains, for instance, are virtually infinite in supply, but prices are unpredictable. I suggest that the seemingly irrational behavior of purchasing one domain for a low price and another domain for a high price might be explicable in terms of Thorstein Veblen's theory of "conspicuous consumption."

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Vain Musings 1

What ever became of Steve Canyon?

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Irony in Action

Richard Shelton singing My Way.

Friday, August 13, 2021

The Name "Gawain"

I had thought that the name "Gawain" had something to do with "wain," a word that means "wagon" in English, but "Gawain" is actually a Welsh or Scottish name that means "little falcon" or "white falcon."

You lack something new every day!

I have a hard time keeping up with my ignorance.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Watching the Green Knight Film

I saw The Green Knight yesterday. Not as good as the original, but that's nearly always true when a book is turned into a movie. Moreover, this film makes no attempt to be true to the original story. Nonetheless, the film was interesting, captivating, very muddy, and a bit long. Afterwards, Sun-Ae and I went to a cafe to talk about what we had seen. I tried to recall the contents of my two papers on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, but arguments were too complex for me to explain from memory in any coherent way, so I simply said that the text contained important wordplay that supported my reading of the original story. I don't want to give away any plot spoilers, so I'll just say that the ending is complicated. Also, stay in your seat to the opening of the credits to make sure that you get every scene in the movie.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Or one could say . . .

"I am contractually bound to state that these ideas and findings of mine are to be considered as if they were really the ideas and findings of the M-F.*"

Stating things this way would clarify to whom the ideas and findings really belong, for the point of ambiguity lies in the word "really," which can mean "factually" or "legally," and since there would be no question who was factually responsible for the ideas, then there could also be no question who was legally responsible for the ideas.

[*No, not Monumental Foundation]

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Positive Spin News

Experts say Covid Pandemic soon to be defeated, but caution that this may take a while.

Monday, August 09, 2021

Going Green

I spoke of Justin Chang as a clearly erudite, articulate, brilliant individual, based on his review of the Green Knight. But there is other evidence. He is a film critic for the LA Times and for NPR's "Fresh Air," and a contributor to KPCC's "FilmWeek." He was earlier chief film critic for Variety. He is the author of FilmCraft: Editing and chairs the National Society of Film Critics. He also serves as secretary of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. He received the 2014 inaugural Roger Ebert Award from the African-American Film Critics Association, among other distinctions he has received. In short, he is among the elite of film critics.

Sunday, August 08, 2021

Speaking of Nights

Question: Why in the word . . . No. Not world. Word. Now, pay attention! Why in the word "knight" is the "k" not pronounced?

Answer: Because it would then sound too much like the German word "Knecht."

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Other Actors To Be Green With Envy?

Now from the mists rides forth yet another Green Knight article (Kyle Buchanan, NYT), this one focused on the actor playing Gawain, Dev Patel. He has appeared in three or four other notable films, none of which I have seen, but all of which you have, so you will already know that he's a fine actor, well-fit for the part. He didn't think so initially, nor did his horse, which instantly knew that Patel had never been in the saddle before. But they got along.

You can read the article here if you have a subscription or haven't used up your quota of free articles this month.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Another Green Knight Review

A truly great review by Justin Chang of The Green Knight appears in the Korea Herald's "Weekender" (August 6-8, 2021), but originally, I suppose, in the LA Times. In this review Chang shows himself to be an erudite, knowledgeable fellow with a flair for ringing each probable nail right on its old, well-worn proverbial head. Go read the  entire review. I saw no plot spoilers.

Of course, I've not seen the film yet, so how would I know a spoiler from a non-spoiler?

Thursday, August 05, 2021

The Green Knight

A.O. Scott has written a most positive review of the film The Green Knight, a movie based on a fourteenth-century story of a knight called Sir Gawain who is gulled by a mysterious green knight into playing a Christmastide holiday game with very high stakes, stakes in which one could lose one's head. The original story is written in a dialect of English far more difficult than Chaucer's. Indeed, if one can read, and understand Chaucer, then one can try reading the Green Knight aloud and feel that the text is almost, tantalizingly nearly understandable as an English dialect. Scott says that the film itself is worth two viewings. The story is worth several readings, which I have done, and from which I was inspired enough to publish two articles.

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Merely Musing

I sometimes sit alone at home with the lights off, musing about one or another of life's mysteries, such as how the word "but" came to have the meaning "except."

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Everything But Money

I don't know why they called us "poor" -- we had everything but money.

Monday, August 02, 2021

Do I add to or subtract from the argument?

Perhaps I owe an apology to a girl I knew in my undergrad years. She rather naively mused that if the Sahara Desert were planted with enough trees, the entire desert might revert to jungle. I scoffed at the notion, telling her that she was confusing cause and effect, but I now wonder if, maybe, just maybe, she wasn't entirely wrong, for we now know that a large rainforest alters the regional climate in its area.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

More than nuance.

Jungle. Rainforest. The two do make quite different impressions. Savage. Nurturing.