I’ve an accumulation of especially random thoughts that need to be downloaded from my head. Perhaps they will be of dubious entertainment value to you, Dear Reader(s):

Tug of War

Wouldn’t it make more sense to be called a “war of tugs”?


“In the Long Run”

Back in the 1970’s when I was just a wee one, there was a television commercial that showed a middle-aged guy jogging in a park or a forest, some wooded area. There was no music, just the isolated sound of his breathing as he travelled through the verdant tree-lined path. It was really kind of peaceful. There was also a narrator; his voice was matter-of-fact and calm and it rambled on about boring grown-up stuff. *yawn* But as the commercial drew to its close, the narration modulated upward in pitch just the slightest amount, presumably to catch the lulled-into-complacency intended audience of adults, to subconsciously prime them that this was the important part, where they should worry a little and find out what was being sold to them. He said, “…and in the long run, blah blah blah…” I of course don’t remember what he said, just that the rising tone caught my attention for the span of that one phrase before returning to boring stuff of interest only to grown-ups.  But I heard it as “…in the Long Run…” and thus was etched in my mind that at some point in each person’s life, we would be required to run some sort of officially-sanctioned marathon for the purpose of securing our future*. And I hadn’t even read any weird dystopian fiction at that point. (*Obviously, the life insurance or stock investment or whatever message it was managed to trickle down and seep into my uninterested brain – the power of advertisers is never to be underestimated).


I still think about this often. Way too often.


(I twittertweeted about this one earlier today. In fact, it’s what finally prompted me to generate a new post after over a month of inactivity here at pannaceaeae).

Again, when I was young(er) and naïve(r). I used to think that a matchmaker was some sort of junior candlestick maker, an apprentice of sorts. I knew all about candlestick makers from the Rub-a-Dub-Dub nursery rhyme: candlestick makers hung out with butchers and bakers in tubs. Natch. No other information needed. And matchmakers obviously would whittle down scraps of wood into tiny rectangular sticks, dip their tips  in sulphuric stuff and then paint the heads red. (Truthfully, it was years and years before I learned the next interesting thing about candlestick makers, that one in such a profession is a chandler. Of course, still later on I learned that candles had many other uses and virtues, and that it might even be fun to learn how to make them myself.)

Having at that age never seen the movie or play Fiddler on the Roof, but knowing the song through cultural osmosis, I had a very different idea about the “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…” number. (This has something to do with my Panniversian™ Christmas carol that goes “Nutcacker, nutcracker, crack me a nut…”)

p.s. I naturally also confused the actor Topol with the toothpaste Topol. That both had their heydays in the 70’s in no way exonerates my mistake, since the two bear not even a passing resemblance to each other.


Cake, eating and having of

Okay. Just take a moment with me and pause to consider this: if one has one’s cake one is of course entitled to and capable of eating it. On the other hand, if one eats one’s cake one doesn’t really have it anymore, does one? Not in any recognizably cakish form anyway. Rather than “have one’s cake and eat it too” the saying should be more properly spoken as to “eat one’s cake and have it too,” which accurately describes the dilemma.

L+B (“Lo and behold,” as my high school calculus teacher would often scribble on the chalkboard when she was demonstrating a solution), the original goes like this: “Would yee both eat your cake, and have your cake?” That’s good old John Heywood from way back in the 16th Century.

JOHN HEYWOOD, The Proverbs of John Heywood, part 2, chapter 9, p. 162 (1598, reprinted 1874, 1978).

The idea that if you spend a thing you cannot have it goes back much further than Heywood’s original 1546 work. Plautus wrote c. 194 B.C. in Trinummus (act II, scene iv, line 414), “Non tibi illud apparere si sumas potest” (if you spend a thing you cannot have it), translated as “You cannot eat your cake and have it too” by one Englishman.—Comedies of Plautus, trans. Bonnell Thornton, 2d ed., rev., vol. 2, p. 29 (1769).

– Platt, Suzy. Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations  (1989).

Soon her eyes fell on a little ebony box lying under the table: she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which was lying a card with the words 'EAT ME' beautifully printed on it in large letters.

Last, and most definitely least (which is saying a lot, considering what’s preceded it)

A horrible, horrible pun invaded my mind this morning and won’t go away:

Their eyes met across a crawdad room.

I don’t want to take it any further. I don’t want to imagine a scenario to set it up. I don’t want to illustrate it nor have it visualized in any way. I just want it gone, gone from my head.