Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Bilbo and Frodo!

Please finish your food and drink before reading!

Oh! It's the autumnal equinox, and the birthday of two of the most wonderful characters I ever met!

Ah... I wish that I had my spot transport system again, and could extend it so I could bring you all through the e-cosmos to my place for a party... out in the Field, under the Party Tree - or perhaps the Big Dish. Well, whatever. I don't have it, and it didn't do that kind of transport. So you will have to have your own party at your own house, and we will be with each other electronically.

Hold on while I get some refreshments, and then we can talk...

So - (munch, slurp) - how are things? Ah, yes. Busy? Facing difficulties - and some successes? Yeah, it's how life is. It needs lots and lots of prayer, and hard work... It's great to have a buddy somewhere who has at least some vague, half-hearted (though often ill-expressed) concern and care and interest in what is going on. I mean, that is, without being invasive or hoping to acquire privileged information, of course!

Me? Thanks for asking. I can't say too much here, it's a wide open system, you know - but I am busy with things, trying to get a preliminary map of Quayment drawn, and a floor plan of the very famous Weaver's Bookstore. And then I am writing the sequel to The Black Hole in the Basement - I'm almost finished with "part 1". I've been thinking about that "food" book some more, but haven't gotten to work on it much. And I'm reading Tolkien for the 30th anniversary of my first reading. Very great.

Another thing: in flipping through that old Rituale Romanum I found three very beautiful prayers for the dying, so I've been trying to say them each day, though I am not sure I am converting the singulars to the plurals correctly. I will have to transcribe them when I have a chance, and show them to you.

Let's see... what else? Oh, yes - I know I'm behind with my postings for Joe the Control Room Guy, so I will try to remedy that shortly. Maybe later today.

OK, enough of the personal stuff, let's play a game. Nah, they haven't released eGype yet, I'll have to e-mail Dale about that. I wonder what it will be like. OK - riddles? Well... that's not exactly the best way of remembering Hobbits. Word games, then - yeah, that's more appropriate, given what Tolkien really was.

Besides, I was wondering about words. It's the thing one ought to do on a Hobbit Birthday like today... How come when we send a package by car it's a shipment, but when it goes by ship it's a cargo? Well? And how come there's floor wax but no ceiling wax? Huh? What do you mean of course there's sealing wax? I never heard of such a thing. Or is this some kind of stupid joke like getting up on an elephant? What do you mean, getting down from an elephant? You are nuts. Getting down from a duck - how do you get up onto a duck in the first place? See what I mean? Words. I wonder what the Greeks called that. Antidistropholysis or epiklytoseon or something like that. Accents? No... just put an umlaut or two on the thing and send it off, see if I care. No I am not going to get out the Liddell and Scott, not today. What does Greek have to do with Hobbits? OK, then I wonder what the Elves would have called it. Hee hee.

OK, here's another word question. Yes, it has to do with Middle Earth! (Sheesh!) How would an Ent say Chesterton's famous long word: "plakkopytrixophylisperambulantiobatrix"? Yeah, I don't know either. OK, but if he started in the Third Age, would he be done by the Fourth? Yeah, that's what I thought too. Reminds me of the old joke about the speed of the Cray supercomputers: "they do the infinite loop in a second and a half." Yeah. I guess so, sure would save debugging time. No, mine's not that fast either. NO, I don't say the Poppins word here, and I don't care if you get an Elf chorus to sing "Chim-chim-chiminey" in Sindarin, either. But that was a really cool picture of the rooftops of London, oh yeah. Yeah, chimneys are cool, too - in my BHB sequel the chimney in Mark's room has an important role. You'll see.

All right. Back to words. If Sauron had a blogg, would he call it the "One Blog"? You can almost hear his sinister voice, "One blog to rule them all..." Nasty. Another thing - I wonder how this blogg shows up on a palantír. You know if Microsoft finished the driver yet? Yeah, palantír - it's kind of an Elf version of a crystal ball with an ethernet router or something... I wonder, was Feanor the first network engineer? But the palantír was interesting, though. I just used that word in my sequel, and I had to look up where the accent goes. No, there are no elves in it, and there are no palantíri) either, but plenty of teratoids. Very strange. Yeah, they live in the walls. No, I'm not going to tell you how they got there! Maybe they got down off a passing elephant. Do they arrest a passing elephant if he doesn't signal? They do in this state, they're strict about that sort of thing. Oh, well, if he used his horn. Horn? I didn't think elephants had horns. They have trunks, though. I know something about another kind of horn, but it's...

What? You have to go? Yeah, me too. One more and then I will have to go back to work.

Speaking of chimneys....Since I built a pipe organ once a long time ago, I know about the various kinds of organ pipes, which are mostly either flue (which means "chimney") or reed. The sound from flues comes from the air hitting the "edge" of the pipe, just like in the orchestral flute, or the old instrument called the "recorder"; the reeds make their sound from a strip of metal flapping back and forth, just like a clarinet or saxophone. But there's one other kind of sound-making pipe which is a bit different - it's called the "diaphone". It was invented by a very clever inventer, Robert Hope-Jones, who had worked for the telephone company and learned all kinds of tech tricks which he brought over into the pipe organ business. But the diaphone is kind of a souped-up reed pipe - they are some of the loudest sounding things in existence, and not just in pipe organs either. I had completely forgotten that diaphones are used in a non-musical setting - until I was looking through a book about lighthouses for background about Quayment. Yeah - you guessed it. The diaphone is used as a foghorn. Oh yeah.

Oh, I forgot to say what the word was. No, not diaphone! Sheesh. That wasn't the word. I was thinking about music but you were pestering me about the elves singing Poppins songs! What a joke. It's really odd, too. The word is "English horn". This is not like "jumbo shrimp", which is just a poor attempt at forcing paradox onto a crustacean. More on that another time. But there's a real problem with "English horn" - because it is neither English, nor a horn. It's really a kind of French alto oboe. Or something. Now let us conjugate that into Quenya, and use it in a sentence... What is the ablative plural of oboe, anyway? Hee hee. And if you think that's silly, there's something called "English soup" - which is an Italian dessert. Perhaps it's using "English" as an adjective, it makes all kinds of things upside down and hilarious. Maybe that was GKC's secret?

OK... Bye for now! Thanks for coming, I had a really good time... huh? Why don't I write about current events? That's what everybody else does. I have a different job.


At 27 September, 2008 00:31, Blogger Candlestring said...

Speaking of pipe organs, I heard this story on NPR's All Things Confused, er Considered, and thought you might care:


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