Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Not gold, frankincense, and myrrh, exactly, but it will have to do

If you had told me a month ago, when my BPTFTY (Blog Posting Total For The Year) was 64, that someone or something would light a fire under me (metaphorically speaking) and that one month later I would be composing my 77th post of 2016, I would have told you that you had bats in your belfry, that you had resonance where your brains ought to be, that you were nuttier than a fruitcake, that you were wrong, wrong, wrong, kemosabe.

Yet here I am doing that very thing.

No explanation is sufficient, but in December I have been posting almost every other day. Will wonders never cease?

You may be saying to yourself or even shouting at your computer screen, what difference, at this point, does it make? (1:08)

Your objection is duly noted and is being referred to the Rules Committee for future consideration.

So, anyway, whatever the reason, I have become quite prolific blogwise as we approach the end of another trip around the Sun on planet Earth. Who knew?

Here are three pictures to give you a flavor of what December 2016 hereabouts has been like:

Our Front Door:

Our church during Advent, complete with Chrismon tree and interim pastor:

and last, but most definitely not least,

A North Georgia sunset during the final week of Christmas shopping:

and just think, there are still four days left!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

In the bleak midwinter

...miracles can happen (4:18).

It's going to be 70 degrees Fahrenheit around here tomorrow (Christmas Day). That in itself is a sort of miracle.

Happy Christmas (or whatever you celebrate around this time of year, or don't) from our house to your house, regardless of the temperature.

Friday, December 23, 2016

I'm dreaming of a straitjacket*

I think I'm finally losing it.

Yesterday Mrs. RWP and I watched the 1954 film White Christmas on one of the movie channels, and more or less constantly ever since -- even upon waking up in the middle of the night and again this morning -- the final two lines from the song "Sisters" has been playing over and over in my head, in the voice of Rosemary Clooney singing harmony with herself:

Lord, help the mister who comes between me and my sister,
And Lord, help the sister who comes between me and my man.

I'm not even kidding. The really strange thing is I don't have a sister and, as God is my witness, I don't have a man.

I noticed in that movie that the character played by Bing Crosby is named Bob, and Bing's brother in real life was named Bob. Not only that, the character played by Rosemary Clooney is named Betty, and Rosemary's sister in real life was named Betty. I wonder if that was done on purpose or if it was purely coincidental.

I spotted the pre-West Side Story George Chakiris in there too as one of Rosemary's backup dancers. I am nothing if not observant.

Anyway, here it is two days before Christmas and our shopping and gift-wrapping is finally done. We didn't send out Christmas cards this year, so let me take this opportunity to thank Blogland friends Lowell and Peggy T. and Michelle and Ken J. (they will recognize themselves but the rest of you can just scratch your heads) for sending Christmas cards to us.

Mrs. RWP will be making two hashbrown casseroles to take to Christmas morning breakfast at our son's house one town over. Our daughter-in-law's mom and stepdad from Tennessee, our other son's family, and our daughter's family all the way from Alabamistan will be there too, 16 people in all. That last contingent will be spending a couple of days at our house afterwards before returning to the Land of Banjos of Mass Destruction.

Then Christmas will be over and everything will be back to what passes for normal.

I can only hope.

May you all have the merriest of Christmases, the happiest of Hanukkahs, and whatever else your hearts desire.

*not just like the ones I used to know, as I've never known any in my entire life. Just thought you ought to know.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Decisions, decisions (and then we're through)

According to Wikipedia, Anguish Languish is "an ersatz language constructed from English language words, created by Howard L. Chace, who collected his stories and poems in the book Anguish Languish (Prentice-Hall, 1956)." It is not really a language at all, but rather "a homophonic transformation created as a work of humor."

For example, this sentence:

Moral: Under no circumstances should little girls stop to talk with strangers.

might be written in Anguish Languish as:

Mural: Yonder nor sorghum stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers.

In fact, the aforementioned Mr. Chace did that very thing at the end of his story "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut" (a rewrite of "Little Red Riding Hood" in Anguish Languish).

Chace once said that "the chief raison d'être [of Anguish Languish] is to demonstrate the marvelous versatility of a language in which almost anything can, if necessary, be made to mean something else."

Lest you think it's a piece of cake, I assure you it isn't. It's harder than you think to write stuff in Anguish Languish. For example, when I was creating "Blew Chrimma" a few posts back I had much difficulty deciding between several possibilities to represent the line "decorations of red on a green Christmas tree":

Which one of the following do you prefer?

1. Dick orations a bread tonne agreed Chrimma stray
2. Gecko ration sub bred done aggrieved Chrimma's three
3. Darker Russians sub bread dawn egg grain Chrimma's tray
4. Dicker ashen shove rid honor grebe chemistry
5. Some mixture of the above (show example).
6. Some invention of your own (show example)

Vote in the comments for the one you like best.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The third time is supposed to be the charm

So here goes, with my deepest apologies to composer Mel Torme:

A Chrimma Thong
by Mail Tore May

Jest knots roosting buy a no pan far,
Chuck froze Nippon nature knows,
You'll tight cure-alls bean sum buy acquire,
End foe stress top lack ask emotes --

Ovary buddy no zit turnkey end sum missal tow
Alp tomato* session bride;
Tinny tuts wither rise awe log low
Wool finite heart two slip tune height.

Juneau dads ant a sauna sway
His looted loss sub toes zing hoodies onus lay,
An debris mudder's childish gown twos pie
Two sea a friend dear rally no had deaf lye.

An sew eye muff ring dish ample frays
Took kiss firm wonder nightie too;
Awl doe wits bin shed mini dimes, mini weighs,
"Myrrh reek Chrimma stew ewe!"

*you have to pronounce it the American way, to-MAY-toh, because to-MAH-toh just doesn't work.

In closing, and with my deepest thanks to all of you for indulging my maddening seemingly unending occasional forays into this strange passion of mine to explore what it is possible to do with the English language, here's Nat King Cole's iconic version of the genuine article (3:15).

Friday, December 16, 2016

Eins, zwei, drei, vier...246 already?

Jawohl! (which is to say, Yes, indeedy, my little munchkins).

Therefore, please join me in a hearty "Herzlichen-gluckwunsch-zum-geburtstag, Ludwig!"

If you're confused, simply click on the link above to reach an archived post of mine from 2009 and everything will suddenly become clear.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The fun continues, plus Karen Carpenter

In my last post (well, not my last post, I hope, but the one immediately preceding this one) I shared with you my latest creation, the song "Blue Christmas" rewritten in Anguish Languish. You can re-visit it here if you like. There are probably hundreds of you scurrying to do that right now. I'll wait.

Today, the fun continues with my new latest creation, another song of the season rewritten in Anguish Languish. This one, by the songwriting team of Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, was first sung by Judy Garland to Margaret O'Brien in the 1944 movie Meet Me In Saint Louis (I am not making this up), but my favorite version is this one by Karen Carpenter (3:57). It's really worth listening to, and expresses my wish for each and every reader of this blog.

Here's my own version:

Hob yo shelf armory ladle Chrimma,
Lecher art bee lied,
Firm meow awn
Art rubble swill bee outer cite

Hob Joseph a marry ladle Chrimma,
Bake do you'll tied guy,
Firm meow awn
Art rubble swill beam isles a why.

Ear wee ah raisin newel din daze,
Harpy ghoul din daze sub your.
Face gulf rends hoar deer two wuss
Gaza ne'er two wuss one s'more.

Trudy ears
Wee awl web beat to Gaza,
Heifer fade shall ow
Hangers hiney stirrup ponder eye-esque pow,
An dab Joseph Amharic ladle Chrimma meow.

Unintentionally, the second stanza seems to have taken on a decidedly ANZAC accent.

Perhaps I shall stop now.

Then again, perhaps not.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sum wear Elvish whooshes yew a Murray Chrimma.

Eye lava blew Chrimma width aught yew,
Isle bee sew blew chest thin king awe bough chew.
Gecko Russian sub bread dawn agreed Chrimma stray
Won me nor think deer, riff ewer naught tear width may.

Aisle lava blew hard take, that's sir ten,
An win doze blew hard take starter tin,
Yule bead dew inn awe rite width yurt Chrimma sub wight,
Butt aisle lava blew, blew Chrimma.

Yule bead dew inn awe rite width yurt Chrimma sub wight,
Butt aisle lava blew,
Blew, blew, blew Chrimma.

You have no idea how much fun this was, and all without benefit of alcohol or mind-altering substance of any kind!

'Tis definitely the season to be jowly, er, jolly.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Names are interesting things. I have written about them before, or, rather, Billy Ray Barnwell has.

Today I heard a new one. While sitting in front of this very computer screen with the television set in the room turned on and tuned in to The People's Court, I watched a case in which the plaintiff's name was Mahogany Pondexter.

I thought this was a significant enough event to blog about.

Tells you a lot about how boring and mundane my life is.

If Putz in Utah were still around, and I'm not saying he isn't, he would probably be laughing.

On a happier note, today is the 19th birthday of one of my grandsons, Noah, who went to Kenya last summer. His parents invited us to dinner last night at their house. Noah's father, our second son, has become quite the cook. He has found cooking to be a creative and relaxing way to leave the stresses of the daily workplace far behind.

He said so himself.

I do find it interesting that Mrs. RWP's father ran restaurants in Philadelphia and North Carolina.

Last night Noah's father prepared this:

which he called Chicken Breast stuffed with Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, Asparagus Spears and Smoked Gouda Cheese, served with a side of Brown Rice tossed with Rotella and Feta Cheese.

As Sally Anne Howes and a couple of children sang in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in a different context altogether, it was Truly Scrumptious! (3:20).

That's enough of the Initial Capitals on Every Important Word for one post.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, try to imagine the look and flavors of the meal without the chicken.

Life isn't really so bad after all, especially when you consider the alternative.

No matter what your name is.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I don't want to think about Pearl Harbor today.

These two lovely ladies happen to be relatives of mine. They are, from left to right, my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter.

I am blessed.

Here are some more lovely ladies (my granddaughter is on the right).

Both photographs were made a few days ago after the annual Christmas program at the school my granddaughter attends.

Two thousand years ago a man named Paul wrote to the Christian believers in the city of Philippi, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." **

He was right.


**or something similar. These words happen to be from the New International Version Bible. The King James Version says, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Actually that's not what he wrote either. What he actually wrote was "το λοιπον αδελφοι οσα εστιν αληθη οσα σεμνα οσα δικαια οσα αγνα οσα προσφιλη οσα ευφημα ει τις αρετη και ει τις επαινος ταυτα λογιζεσθε" but I don't want to quibble. Paul was still right.

Friday, December 2, 2016


Yes, this post involves Latin, but do not leave just yet. Indulge me for a moment.

There is a story in the book of Luke in the New Testament that is commonly called "the rich man and Lazarus" in which a beggar named Lazarus is pretty much ignored by a rich man during their lives. Eventually they both died (as Gomer Pyle might say, "Surprise, surprise!") and Lazarus went to "Abraham's bosom" (not heaven exactly, but the abode of the righteous dead in Hebrew culture) and the rich man went to Hades, where he was tormented.

I'm not going to torment you with the story. You can read it here if you want to. Or not.

Knowing my readers as I do, I could almost predict who will read the story and who will pass on the opportunity. As my Albanian mother-in-law used to say, "Do what you please."

The reason I mention it at all is that I have wondered something for years, and it's this:

Why do some churches refer to this passage as the story of Dives and Lazarus? I mean, the rich man's name is not mentioned. The only proper names in the story are Lazarus, Abraham, and Moses. Where do they get Dives? Have they added something to the story that really isn't there?

I know it's not an earth-shattering problem, but it has puzzled me for a long time.

And now, after many years of wondering, I have learned the answer.

The answer, my friends, is not blowing in the wind, it's in the Vulgate.

Say what?

In the Vulgate, the version of the Bible that a man named Jerome translated into Latin from Greek way back in the fourth century, I discovered that dives is the Latin word for rich man. It's that simple.

Mystery solved.

You don't have to believe me, though. Being the thoughtful blogger that I am, I will enable you to see for yourself. Here is the first part of the story in 1611 King James Version English with the Latin of the Vulgate shown after each verse in italic font:

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. (Homo quidam erat dives, qui induebatur purpura et bysso, et epulabatur quotidie splendide.)

And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, (Et erat quidam mendicus, nomine Lazarus, qui jacebat ad januam ejus, ulceribus plenus,)

And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. (cupiens saturari de micis quæ cadebant de mensa divitis, et nemo illi dabat: sed et canes veniebant, et lingebant ulcera ejus.)

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; (Factum est autem ut moreretur mendicus, et portaretur ab angelis in sinum Abrahæ. Mortuus est autem et dives, et sepultus est in inferno.)

The story continues, but I'll stop now so that you won't be bored to death.

I did find a couple of other interesting things that made me go "Hmmm," though. Later in the story the rich man asks Father Abraham to send Lazarus that he may "dip (intingat) the tip of his finger (extremum digiti sui) in water (in aquam ) and cool (refrigeret) my tongue (linguam meam)".

Fascinating! Dip is intingat (the root of our English word intinction) and finger is digiti and water is aquam and cool is refrigeret and tongue is linguam.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus cool is actually refrigeret in Latin! Who knew?

So here is the conclusion of the whole matter, courtesy of your intrepid correspondent. Latin is not dead at all. It's right here with us, hiding in plain sight in many modern English words and peeking out at us if we just have eyes to see.

Here's Betty Furness from a 1955 commercial for Westinghouse to tell you all you need to know. (2:06)

We now return you to the program in progress.

I will be laboring (<i>British,</i> labouring) under a handicap for the next couple of weeks (<i>British,</i> fortnight)

More about that below. First, though, I want to add an addendum (what else would you do with an addendum?) to my previous post about phone...