“There is less in this than meets the eye.”

(post title credit:  Talullah Bankhead again; main post image, no reason other than love for The Muppet Show)


First Things First:  Progress, Ho!

If you read the Outpost, you’ll see in the comment to the latest post that there’s a promised post forthcoming.  Believe it or not, it’s in the works:  there’s an actual (incomplete) draft.  Progress slowed down a bit when I did something highly mysterious that led to shutting down every window and program on my computer, thus losing all the resources I had gathered (they also somehow vanished from my browser history).  Whatever I did there, don’t do that.

I’m bouncing two additional ideas around for shorter posts (Outpost again).  Not sure if they’ll pan out.

Notice Anything Different?

Yeah, thought not.

I’m working on adding links (right sidebar), which has been on my to-do for this blog since day one.  I started last night and will continue to add sporadically.  Last night, as you can see currently, was mostly humor stuff (which, somehow, devolved into being mainly webcomics– I’m not entirely sure what happened there).  For the record, this is stuff I do actually read, though obviously, I don’t visit them all every last day.

Words with . . . Families?  An Actual Sort-Of Personal Story

I think it’s at least fairly common that immediate families have a few (sometimes a lot) of made-up words or codewords unique to them.  From what I’ve seen and heard, these tend to involve words with sexual connotations or that relate to bodily functions.  I did Google it, and some families get a little more creative:  see here and here for short lists of examples (reader-submitted).  [1]  

I’m not sure these technically qualify as neologisms (“bae,” etc.), since they never enter the popular vernacular.  Someone else would have to clarify that; I’m really not clear on that one.  [2]

What’s I’m coming around to is one my family uses.  Something to know first is that, if you dropped all four of us in a bookstore, we separate to such far extremes that reuniting is a monumental task; our tastes vary in the extreme.  We all agree, though, that My Life and Hard Times (James Thurber) is a singularly hilarious book.  [3]  

In the chapter “Other Alarms at Night,” Thurber lies awake all night, trying in vain to come up with the name of the New Jersey town Perth Amboy.  In the dead of night, he wakes up his (already-nervous) father and demands, without explanation, that he begin naming towns in New Jersey, getting more and more insistent– and leading his father to believe he’s lost his mind.

When someone in my family has a nagging, insistent, can’t-remember-something-trivial problem that is actively bothering them, this is a Perth Amboy situation.  It’s also a Perth Amboy situation when the answer springs to your mind at 3 AM, when you’ve invariably been lying awake to that point trying to pinpoint whatever meaningless thing won’t leave you alone.

This happened last night, after I’d gone to bed.  I have no idea on this earth how Don Johnson appeared in my mind, but there he was.  I thought of Miami Vice. . . but what was that TV show he was on in the 90s?  Cop?  PI?  Yellow car.  Right.  Yellow car.  Barracuda.  [4]  The end result was a nocturnal visit to imdb:  Nash Bridges.  (here is the Wikipedia summary— I chose it because it shows how like, totally, seriously deep a show it was)  But:  Perth Amboy!

In Conclusion

No, I haven’t seen 50 Shades.  I started the first book (at the library) but quickly delivered a hard “no” to all involved.  [5]  With all the cumulative press dating from the publication of the books to the movie’s release, it’s not at all hard to have a pretty concrete idea of the finer plot details, though.  So I present you with my two favorite articles thus far:  a review of the movie plus a soundtrack review.  (these are funny, not analytical/deep– you’re thinking of the auxiliary blog)

“No Pain, No Gain”  (New Yorker)

“Breaking Down the 50 Shades of Grey Soundtrack, One Track at a Time” (Esquire)  [6]


Before You Go

Thurber was also pretty famous for his bizarre cartoons (they illustrated his books and often appeared in the New Yorker).  You often have to project your own narrative onto them to some extent to interpret them; it’s hard to explain.  You’ll probably notice that he has a distinctive drawing style; he lost sight in one eye (result of an accident) as a child and rapidly began to lose all sight as an adult.  There’s only one dog here, but his dog drawings may be the things that are most famous now (the dog shown here is from My Life and Hard Times).  If you want to see more, there are many more images available via Google image search.

ThurberMyPistol ThurberInsurrection ThurberBrynMawr 8213932 thurber-wrong-number


[1]  As with pretty much anything, there’s more out there.  The two links I’ve chosen are not euphemism-type lists; they’re more the out-in-left-field variety.

[2]  Also, do these South Park contributions count?

[3]  My favorite from the volume, “The Night the Bed Fell,” is in the New Yorker archive (1933) here.  If reading Project Gutenberg doesn’t make you cross-eyed, the whole book is here.

[4]  Entirely typical for every single detail but the vehicle involved to evade me.  Someday, my children, I’ll gather you ’round me and tell you my El Camino theory (TM).

[5]  I read the first Twilight while hospitalized; I had access to all three of those and Trainspotting.  I read Trainspotting, then Twilight.  I considered the second volume of Twilight, then read Trainspotting twice more while waiting for further reading material.  Reading that book three times in less than a week is . . . interesting.

[6]  Not my usual reading material.  Caitlin Moran (formerly a music journalist) tweeted the link.

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