Thursday, August 6, 2009

Alma de Cuba of the Ischium

I HAVE brought forth to the nations, the occupied and unincorporated territories, the communes, the departments, the states and counties, the unions, the parishes, and ALL of the condominia and nanovillages of the world -- a marvel.

FOR Unto me is born this day in the hinterlands between the thigh and the left butt cheek, a Pressure Sore, which shall be called Alma de Cuba of the Ischium, after the famed restaurant in Liverpool, "Winner of Best Bar, Best Restaurant and UK's Best Venue in 2008," situated in a converted Catholic church. When you think "cuban cuisine," think Liverpool!

Think of all the firsts Alma de Cuba of the Ischium and I will have! I need to invest in one of those little Pressure Sore Memory Albums so that I can be sure and jot down the particulars of all the wonderful times to come --

Alma's first saline rinse.
Alma's first colloidal dressing.
Alma's itch!
Alma's sting!
Alma's eventual lack of sensation!
Alma's First Holy Communion!
First day of school.
First smile.

As God ordains it, there will always be less of me and more of Alma de Cuba of the Ischium. That's the Pressure Sore Condition, the inevitable ingestion of The Host.

Holy Inevitable Ingestion, Batman!

I'll try to keep her public apprised of Alma's growth and evolution, but I don't want to expose her overly much to the contagions of The World.

I thought this day would never come.

It May Be A Long Way To Tipperary But It's A Far Cry From Latent Violence To Claymation. And Vice-Versa.

It's one of those times when I would prefer to call Fred "Poindexter." The preference is strong, almost overwhelming, and yet I didn't even know how I knew the name Poindexter.

So it turns out that it comes from Felix the Cat.

ALERT! ALERT! When I went to Wikipedia (somewhere south of Des Moines) to find something out about Felix the Cat, a cartoon and comic strip pretty much unknown to me (except for the latent imprint of Poindexter, and, of course, the iconic image of Felix), there was a stern warning at the top of the page saying, among other dire things, that the article contained Weasel Words which compromised the quality of its information. The gist, for Wikipedia, at least, is that such words/expressions "are words or statements that seemingly support statements without attributing opinions to verifiable sources. They give the force of authority to a phrase or a sentence without letting the reader decide whether the source of the opinion is reliable."

Like me, you probably have your own definition of Weasel Words. Start with "words typical of a weasel." This necessitates that you identify the weasels in your life, not exactly a warm-fuzzy type of exercise but one that we all do from time to time, or daily. I usually ignore weaselly types, myself, being almost preternaturally laid back. It's almost a curse, I am so relaxed and easygoing.

Weasel *words*, though? Heh. {snark-ety:snark-ety}

Yeah, I thought I was hot stuff. Something else to sneer at, add it to my long list. Turns out I don't know everything about Rhetoric and her Devices. You Weasel Experts already know about the creature's ability to suck out the contents of a bird egg and leave the shell in pristine condition. It was news to moi. And so the allusion goes:

The expression weasel word derives from the egg-eating habits of weasels. An egg that a weasel has sucked will look intact to the casual observer, while actually being empty. Similarly, words or claims that turn out to be empty upon analysis are known as "weasel words". The expression first appeared in Stewart Chaplin's short story Stained Glass Political Platform (published in 1900 in The Century Magazine), in which they were referred to as "words that suck the life out of the words next to them, just as a weasel sucks the egg and leaves the shell."

In the political sphere, this type of language is used to "spin" or alter the public's perception of an issue. In 1916, Theodore Roosevelt argued that "one of our defects as a nation is a tendency to use ...'weasel words'; when one 'weasel word' is used ... after another there is nothing left."
Sometimes the only way to avoid calling Fred-the-Ferret by the moniker of "Poindexter" is to sublimate that desire. Sublimation is the most productive of the defense mechanisms! Booya! iT'S dOWNrIgHT c.r.e.a.t.i.v.e.

[I plan to write a serious, short post about the wasted lives of those caught up in the topsy-turvy, crazy-assed world of devices and mechanisms. Soon.]

No -- not sublimation by a lighthearted and gentle slap to the back of Fred's dear head à la Gibbs to DiNozzo, no, no! No matter how much Tony smiles, that's abuse. ***

Me? I choose to sublimate by spending an afternoon developing an awesome, incomparable stop-motion animation short, using plasticine clay, pipe cleaners and fresh, organic vegetables.

Otherwise, it would just be one verbal assault after another. I might really err and call him a "son of a bitch!" Alternatively, I might suggest in a scary, scary, saccarine voice that he "take a long walk off a short pier."

It might even happen that I learn from some recent teachable moment and provide a pithy "your mama" reference.

Upon reflection, Obama sure did posit his fair share of Weasel Words about the arrest of Professor Gates -- spinning public perception 'n all -- didn't he? Wouldn't you like to know what the citizenry might have done with the situation if it had been left unspun?


Um. You needn't worry for Fred's safety. He's a big lug and I love him.
The fact that he is occasionally paranoid and short-sighted is beside the point.

***NCIS just recently arrived in Tête de Hergé, and we here at Marlinspike Hall have taken to watching NCIS marathon after NCIS marathon. That Ducky! Dr. Donald Mallard! Get it? nyuk-nyuk!