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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The Antiquity of Fleas

I have been remiss. Excuse me. Some things demanded attention and December flew past. I honestly tried to post a scholarly essay on the antiquity of fleas but hit the wrong button and lost it. But I liked the title, so why waste it? Let's begin with a statue of Marianne:

She was sculpted by Thomas Crawford, a political Liberal, and is known as Lady Liberty, Freedom and (by the French, Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite) Marianne for short, because they are on a first-name basis with her. Where does she stay when visiting? Here:
or here, as
Libertas , a robed Roman liberty goddess:
This brings us to events of a year ago, when Marianne was compelled by her contract with democracy to depress the silver handle up there to flush violent invaders down from the Capitol into the sewer of their discontent, and will do so wherever she presides. 

Now, according to the title, I must ask who wrote one of the world's shortest poems, entitled "The Antiquity Of Fleas"?

                      "Adam had'em."

Was it  Strickland Gillian or Ogden Nash? 

Good luck with this and all things this year --way the heck in the future.




25 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Tidings to you Geo!!!

    And let us hope no repeat performance

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    1. Thanks Maddie! Motion seconded and reciprocated.

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  2. George... do you have any news on Will? I'm relieved to see that you seem to be doing well?

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    1. Dear Al, most recently exchanged emails w/Will Oct.20. Has something happened?

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    2. Re."...a bad turn health-wise. No more information than that..." Called Sonoma and Corte Madera numbers. No response. Will let you know. --Geo.

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    3. Dear Al, Will's sister had him ambulanced to hospital just before Thanksgiving --congestive heart failure. His brother told me Will flatlined twice that week but was stabilized and sent to an assisted living facility: Sonoma Post Acute 678 Second St. West Sonoma CA 95476 (707) 938 1096. He remains there, is coherent and communicative but I'd recommend checking with desk first. Tried sending a more informative version of this but your 10+ year-old email bounced it. Mine's same as it was back then. Will try to find your new one.

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  3. I had always thought it was Ogden Nash but now Strickland Gillian is given credit, though Nash is also sometimes credited. I must admit, shamefacedly, that while I am a longtime fan of Nash, I had never heard of Gillian. But then, he'd probably never heard of me either. Good to have you back, Geo., you were missed.

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    1. Dear Bruce, I too had no knowledge of Gillian. It's like he was stranded on an uncharted island --oops, hang on, I've confused him with Gilligan again. Good to be back, thanks. All best wishes to you.

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  4. I think fleas, overall, have gotten a bad rap. They were, after all, somewhat responsible for the largest land/economic re-structuring in the world. I speak of the bubonic plague...yes, they were just the messenger, so to speak, but without them, all those castles and villas would not have been up for grab. Hope you and Norma are well, in these odd, odd times. Sorry for the digression.

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    1. Dear Mike, In this insect-vector infested river valley, we keep ownership of our castles intact with aerial sprays of horrible chemicals, about which we get warnings and maps, schedules for inhaling or not etc. Those who don't comply are sent to physicians like you, cured and reinstalled in their castles and villas. No need for digression-apology: Your digressions oft-outstrip my progressions.

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  5. Hello, Geo. I always thought that poem was by Ogden Nash. I cannot find any attribution to Strickland Gillilan. Do you have a link I can read? Nash is probably my favourite poet and has been since I was in high school. I especially like the ones where he writes each verse in a standard rhyming scheme until the last line, which is long and convoluted but still ends up rhyming.

    I hope you and Norma are well and happy as we all spring ... or trudge ... into the new year.

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    1. 0_Jenny, All I can offer in Mr. Strickland's behalf is:https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=stricklandgillian. I too was surprised by his existence and will doubtless delve further into his work when I recover from all the investigations a month's blogging hiatus has demanded of me. I too have happy hopes for this new year --they include you especially, of course.

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  6. Will's contact info:

    Sonoma Post Acute
    678 Second St. West
    Sonoma CA 95476

    (707) 938 1096

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    1. Thanks Paul, best wishes to you, Will and Rosemary.

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  7. 3rd attempt to leave a comment, thirds a charm, they say: let's see... anyway, hello again!

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    1. Dear Lisa, the three part charm has happily succeeded. Hello again and welcome! It seems age-related changes have made a peccadillo of me, which is ok until I tumble into a tizzy. Given my Portuguese background, involvement with a maritime tizzy usually sent our tall ships to San Francisco --earlier to the coast west of Spain. Tizzies can result in gold, fish, new worlds for all...and wine, the best remedy Renaissance ever furnished.

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  8. Dear Geo., so good to see you again! I send you and Norma my very best wishes for the new year.
    "Fleas" in a title, I found out, can ruin the success of a book! There is an exceptionally gifted Dutch children's book writer, Pieter Koolwijk, won many prizes.
    I adore his flamboyant books, and thought "THAT I want to translate for the German market!" and did research on our book market. There was only one title, "Floh und Pieks" - , not in print anymore.
    The title was dry and correct translated - the original is "Vlo en Stiekel" - but evidently mothers objected to "fleas" and scratched their arms while reading "Pieks" In England it was called "Flea and Spikey" - out of print too.
    So I might have a chance with his other books, as ravishing as Vlo, but without fleas in the title :-) .

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    1. Dear  Britta,  I sure hope your idea to  translate Pieter Koolwijk for the German market comes to fruition. My 2 years of  German class in the mid 1960s taught me floh (vlo?) meant"flea", und meant "and" and pieks meant "prickly" .Flo und Hinterhalig" , flea and sneaky make "Spikey" less threatening. I got fleas 52years ago and it was an unhappy experience. I recall driving to an all-night pharmacy for an insecticide shampoo --3 a.m. and , by golly they saved me: went to work that day  without insect distraction, which was good because I was restoring an old painting of Jesus for a nearby Catholic Church. This is yet another reason I went outdoors and became a gardener 48 years ago.

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    1. That much is certain, Jackiesue. But it's a declining art --too many dogs for the acrobats to retire on.

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  10. I love that poem.
    Not fleas, you understand.
    The poem.

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    1. Thanks! Misters Nash and Gillian --both American-- often composed in the Brevitist Styles of the British and Spanish, but found no help from the Squeamish, who never write about fleas.

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