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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Year-End Chat


Dear readers, I have consulted the calendar and determined a temporal climacteric is at hand. In the words of the Immortal Bard --which I quote from memory-- the character of Crab in Two Gentlemen Of Verona exclaims:                  "I have studied Time and of needs maintain,
                                   A bygone year now circleth round the drain."

Crab is one of two dogs in the Shakespearean canon, and is still a welcome stage presence. Unfortunately, in Shakespeare's time --as it is now-- there were serious problems finding dogs who could bark in iambic pentameter.

Of course there were other dog-references, like in Julius Caesar: "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!" But they were references only and no dogs were harmed in these productions. Crab, on the other hand was a real dog-actor and reported what he had divined from reading the enigmatic vortex of his favorite drinking bowl. So passes a year, in winter.

You may notice from today's Normaphotos that winter morning has, upon my hair and backporch roof, a similar influence:
There are two reasons for that: we, yes we in California, are having frost today; also, I built the backporch myself 35 years ago and, in the absence of more sensible blueprints, the effort resulted in my head and backporch being oddities of identical construction.

So, as the year circles to closure, and because I can't think of much to write about just now, I will close this post with an enigma, which I invite any and all to solve. I still buy newspapers --mainly for the puzzles and funnies-- but have noticed something since childhood that amazed me. Big deals are covered on Page One. "Headlines" is a word that will long outlast the newspaper in this electronic age, but answer me this: why is the last page of every newspaper section an even numbered one?

Oh, that's too easy. Tell me this: why did Abraham Lincoln, a decided eccentric, never doff his hat or stand for the "Star Spangled Banner"? It is, after all, our national anthem. 

Looking forward to replies, and new enigmas in the coming year!

26 comments:

  1. Both my brain cells are on vacation (and have not yet shown any signs of returning) so your enigmas are beyond me.
    I hope that your new years is full of love, laughter, learning - and an enigma or siz.

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    1. Ha! Old Turkish pronouns are accepted here. I wish YOU the same happiness in the coming year.

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  2. I believe the main reason Abe has never stood up when the national anthem was playing is because there simply isn't enough room in his coffin. :)

    Happy New Year, dude!

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    1. Indeed, Susan. Although Francis Key's lyrical poem was written during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry, it was not set to music until 1931.

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  3. It is winter here and I'm on vacation and a couple hundred miles north of Savannah and still wearing shorts... And, the Star Spangled Banner wasn't the national anthem when Lincoln was president. Happy New Year, Norm.

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    1. "Hail Columbia" might have got him on his feet though. Best wishes to you too!

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  4. Before my brain completes its year end longing to become cream of wheat I'll hazard a guess, a hail Mary of a try. The first page of each newspaper section is page 1 (one), meaning the back side of that page is 2, an even number and so it progresses until you've reached the last page. The back side of an odd number, a cousin or relative of the 1, is always an even number. As for our honest Abe, there was no Star Spangled Banner when that good man breathed the air.
    I admire your 35 year old back porch. I trust the work we did on our cabirage-cabin above a garage-a two story 24 x 36 foot affair in the hills of southern Indiana some 40 years ago has fared as well. Like my aging brain, it is still inhabited, so that is a beginning. And the Best of Beginnings to you in time of old years circling the drain. Thanks for the brain food this year. I enjoy riding this train.

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    1. Most uplifting and kind Tom, I have modified my text so you may click on my personal acquaintance with a portrayer of Crab. You have reminded me that these artists and their providers are deserving of attention. 1st word, Crab, in the 2nd paragraph should now be clickable blue. Best new year wishes to you too!

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  5. Since I came here late and the riddles have been answered, I don't have to tax the few brain cells that I have left. I will try to keep them around for your next post.

    I wish you much laughter and fun in the coming year, Geo, and may you have peace and joy in your heart for all your days.

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    1. Beautiful Arleen, I wish all the same boons to you. It's been a tough year for all of us but I have high hopes for 2016. Let's make it so.

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  6. As many have mentioned above President Lincoln did not doff his hat nor stand for a national anthem that was not yet a national anthem. He did like "Dixie" though.

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    1. Understandable. As a kid visiting southern relatives, I was told, "Hats off for Dixie", and thought it a jolly melody. Never went back, but still like the tune.

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  7. Frost - especially in California - is a delightful enhancement at the end of an old year. At any rate, it's better than 10 feet of snow...

    I was a journalist (or a reasonable facsimile) many years ago and I never paid attention to the page numbers. Perhaps that's why my career didn't last.

    I don't think the Star Spangled Banner music was around when Lincoln was President. And - contrary to nasty rumors - either was I.

    Sending warm wishes to you and Norma for a fantastic and blessed new year. I'll eagerly await many more enigmas.

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    1. The universe does not dispose of enigmas, Jon. So there should be plenty more to examine.

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  8. May your year be filled with more laughter than tears, more wonder than disillusionment and more sunshine than frost.

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    1. Thank you for that kind wish. Most appreciated and reciprocated.

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  9. So is the long-standing porch roof wavy, or are you corrugated? Does it even matter? Probably not as much as hoping that, and wishing, you and Norma have a great 2016.

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    1. Good question! If I have both wavy hair and wavy scalp, would they cancel each other and make my hair look straight?

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  10. Ha, I'm glad that I knew the Lincoln one and guessed the newspaper (was too lazy to go over and check...) I wish you and Norma a Happy New Year!

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    1. Then you solved both mysteries with an economy of effort. Brava! And happy new year to you too.

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  11. He never took his hat off because he was secretly an alien with a cone head. Any pictures of Lincoln I ever saw he was sitting. Maybe he couldn't stand??? Maybe his wife wasn't there and he didn't ever do anything without her permission? It's too early in the morning to solve an enigma lol.

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    1. You might be correct on all counts, Delores. Every new discovery affects history and futurity alike.

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  12. Circling the drain, circling the drain ... all the best to you and Norma in 2016, Geo.!

    As for the enigmas, they've been pretty well addressed by previous commenters. However, prior to reading them, this Canadian thought perhaps Lincoln didn't rise and take off his hat for reasons similar to why our Queen doesn't rise and take off her crown whenever "God Save the Queen" is played. As for what those reasons are, I'm not sure. If I were the Queen, I'd want all the voices possible making that supplication. (Just to be clear, I am not the Queen.)

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    1. One of our de facto national anthems,"My Country, 'Tis of Thee", uses the same melody as "God Save the Queen", and I certainly preferred it over "Star Spangled Banner" when we sang it in grade school. Still do. You may not be the Queen, but I consider you most certainly a lady of distinction, and certainly deserving of all good things in the coming year.

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  13. I'm too late to answer the enigma riddles, but have one of my own to add: Why is anything you want from the refrigerator always way in the back, behind the milk, juice and various annoying condiment jars that are rarely used?
    Happy New Year, Geo. All the very best to you and yours.
    x

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    1. My magnificent Austan, the fridge jar-jam is truly an intriguing enigma. I suspect it is related to those back-shelf containers of things that used to be something else. Possibly a special evolution is conducted in there. Let's explore this puzzle in the new year, you and I. Love and best wishes to you!

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