Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas, 2012!

A Very Setzer Christmas, 2012

Merry Christmas! We sent T off to the bustling metropolis of Ephraim, Utah (pop. 6135) to study pre-engineering at Snow College. His comment: “College is way better than high school!” J is studying German and working on his Eagle Scout. Except, in German, igel means hedgehog, so J aspires to become the first Igel Scout, ever. He’s making dog beds for the Humane Society out of old awnings and PVC pipe. E is preparing to dance as an evil spider in Babes in Toyland, Steve is working for a company in Boston from his desk here at home, and I, Lee Ann, am writing this Christmas newsletter.

Humor writer Dave Barry occasionally interrupts his musings to note that certain ridiculous word combinations would be Good Names for Rock Bands. Here’s our running list from this year. We thought about starting a rock band, but there were just too many excellent names to choose from. As a service to you, if you start a rock band, you are welcome to use one of our names:

Moose Satellites
Norm the Minotaur
Heroic Spiders
Flaming Mustache
Intergalactic Wombat Lions
Doomed Goons
Runaway Electric Toothbrush (from a Garfield comic strip?)
Summation Pie
Evil Lunch
Trained Earwigs
Hedgehogs in Training
Perpetual Doink (when the cat presses his forehead against you, then takes a nap in that position)
Black Tapioca
Talented Cardboard
Left-handed Drunk Wrestlers
Outsourced Umbrage (Unfortunately accurate description from my writing group, about a story I wrote. It’s better now. I hope.)
Group Hallucination
Two-Degree Angle (the angle of a ruler             placed with one end on Steve’s head, and one on E’s. Still in Steve’s favor…but not for much longer.)
Mail-Order Fruitcakes
Sith Kittens
Delicious Ankles
Caffeinated Soap
Marshmallow Villain-Lizards (thank you, Kellogg’s Spiderman cereal!)
Darn Fine Tupperware (I suppose we’d need permission for this one…)

For your further enlightenment, we’ve also been collecting tongue twisters. We decided that the mark of a really good tongue twister is if you can’t even pronounce it right in your head.

Weird Ward                             Real Werewolf
Real Weird Werewolf Ward
Stale snail shell                        Irish wristwatch
Black Yak                                Respectable spectacles
Soap and snowflakes              Soldier’s shoulder surgery
Sith Kittens (the only entry that makes both lists)

And now, folks, let’s say it five times fast for the Sith Christmas Kittens!  (cue applause)

Merry Christmas, from Steve, Lee Ann, T, J, and E

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Random Research: Hair and Fur

All fur is hair, but all hair isn't fur.

Hair may be related to reptile scales and bird feathers, which all represent different expressions of the same protein.

Hair takes even longer to decay than bones do.

Theories abound as to why people are hairless when our ape ancestors aren't. Temperature regulation? Pest control? Sexual selection? Or some combination: perhaps having less hair kept us cooler by day and kept the lice down, and we had clothing and shelter to keep us warm at night...thus allowing us to choose less hairy mates without our children freezing to death. Or something.

If you google "hair evolution", you get a lot of funky hairstyles, and a lot of beauty products with the word "evolution" in their names.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How to Pronounce Eclat

In the absence of a little accent thingy for the "e", here is a pronunciation tutorial for the word eclat:

Wow. What happened to your arm?
My cat happened.
I'll say he did — with all 20 claws.
No. Just a claw.

The Eclat of a Proverb

In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are dancing in nearly complete silence at the Netherfield ball. Elizabeth gives this explanation for their lack of conversation:

      "We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the eclat of a proverb."

On about my dozenth time through the book, I finally looked up "eclat," which, it turns out, means "social distinction or conspicuous success."

Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth, "This is no very striking resemblance of your own character, I am sure," and she demurs to "decide on [her] own performance,"  regarding her analysis of his character.

I, however, have determined that Elizabeth's description is quite apt as regards this blog. I'm not taciturn and unsocial in daily life, but most of the time when I think of a topic to discuss here, I instantly reject it as lacking eclat (which should have an accent thingy over the e).

This blog, like Mr. Darcy, needs to loosen up, and follow Elizabeth's example:  "I hope I never ridicule what is wise and good. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies, DO divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can."

I have lots and lots of follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies and shall make a concerted effort to laugh at them more consistently here on the blog. Perhaps if I'm not so taciturn and unsocial, I'll even find some of what is wise and good to share.

Coming up: proper forsythia coiffures, the evolution of hair, and a shocking revelation about reading glasses.
Lee Ann Setzer's blog about books, writing, and life in general.