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Hyperion October 5, 2002

#75 - Potpourri: Volume VII

Random musings on the world at large


It is the goal here at the Hyperion Institute for Advanced Callimastian Studies that all of you be happy and healthy. Toward that end I’ve come up with a great stress-reducing idea. Everyone should have his or her own “Enemies” list, much like Richard Nixon or Moe Sizlak. The point of this list isn’t to have an agenda to even scores or right wrongs, but just to vent frustration, especially with people you can’t do anything about. By writing their names down on this list, you will relieve some of that pressure, and feel better by doing it. You can even prioritize your list, so that one day it might look something like this:

1. Osama bin Laden
2. Guy in white Camero who cut me off
3. Mother-in-Law

While by next Tuesday you might have forgotten that Camero and remembered the brother who used your deodorant when you were 10, or the son who stole your raspberries. The list can change from week to week, day-to-day, or even hour to hour if you’re a bit high strung. Also, if you’re with family or friends and they are being particularly difficult, you can threaten them with “One more smart remark out of you and you’re goin’ on the list!!!” Oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering, my up-to-the-moment list starts off like this:

1. Kathleen Turner
2. Snuggle Bear
3. S.C.E.B.
4. France
5. Gravity


Okay, people, I don’t want to start any riots here, but it’s time the truth was told, without fear or favor: while it seems to be a natural phenomenon that all animal babies are cute, all human babies are ugly. This doesn’t mean we don’t love them, aren’t proud of them, and can’t wait to fulfill our own meaningless lives by living vicariously through them, but we have to face the truth here, people. Babies are not aesthetically attractive when they are first born. It’s amazing to me how many people cannot accept this; especially women. They argue vociferously that babies are cute. Or, what’s worse, they admit the plain truth that most babies are not going to be Miss America candidates, but insist that their daughter/cousin/neighbor/co-worker/grandson’s baby is indeed beautiful enough to make Joan of Arc wither in shame. Give it up folks.

And while I’m on the subject, for the first few months, at least half a year, babies do not look like you or your dad or your Uncle Lenny. In fact, unless you have a Shar-Pei dog in the house, or Uncle Lenny is a red-faced mewling stinky drunk who cries a lot and sleeps the rest of the time, your baby only resembles the other ugly babies. In fact, I’m pretty sure this whole delusion that people (read: women) have into thinking babies are cute is nature’s way of making sure new exhausted mothers don’t trade their baby in on a masseuse.


Many of you have heard the term Carpe Diem, or Seize the Day. It means to grasp what’s out there, not waiting for tomorrow to take your chance. Well, I propose another phrase, maybe one of you Latin studs can translate for me: Carpe Yesterday. Have you ever felt a day late and a dollar short, that the idea you should have latched on to, but just didn’t do it quite in time? That’s Carpe Yesterday.


Along those same lines, I want to acquaint more of you with one of my favorite French phrases (yes, something French I like, so keep your snide comments to yourself): Esprit de L’escalier (pronounced ess-SPREE deh LESS-cally-ay). The phrase literally means “The Spirit of the Staircase,” but that’s a bit hard to translate into English. What it really means is the thing you think of, when you’re walking out of the party, on your way down the stairs, that you should have said back then. How many of you have had this happen to you? That suave comment you should have made to that pretty girl, the witty retort you should have whipped back at that catty trull trying to steal your boyfriend; whatever. We’ve all been there, where only later did we think of the perfect phrase we should have used. That’s Esprit de L’escalier.


Doing research for a book on Cookies and Boats, I came across this information: the Oreo came into the world the SAME YEAR that the Titanic made her maiden voyage and sunk. I don’t think I am the only one to see the implications here.


Unlike some, I don’t spend most of time fearing the supposed coming apocalypse and looking for signs. However, when they jump out at me, even I must sometimes attest to divine will. Several Sundays ago at 7:30 in the morning (while getting ready for church, Mom), I came across a cartoon called “Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century.” Apparently, 1200 years from now, the city of London has the technology to do anything, except catch common criminals who leave more clues than Colonel Mustard. So, using some of this said technology, Scotland Yard resurrects Sherlock Holmes (and of course his trusty sidekick, Watson), from the dead, reanimates them, allows them to wear 19th Century clothing, and puts them on the police force. I watched in fascinating horror, as one would watch a train wreck or a Red Sox World Series, the debacle before me. To say the plot had been constructed via Mad Libs would be a slap in the face to would-be Alfred E. Neumans everywhere. To say the dialogue was cornier than a Golden Girls footbath would elevate Full House to Emmy status. “Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century” read like an election-year Congressional law: a bad idea whose time had come. I think I’ll stock up on water and canned goods, just in case.


And finally, with the influx of foreign products to American consumers, we are seeing more and more things that have to be translated. While we have gone past those wonderfully hideous “Godzilla vs. Mothra” redubbings, I think there is still a big market out there for someone to help with proper translations. I can’t help but giggle every time I hear the latest Shakira song or see the newest Japanese cartoon retooled for American kids, but that’s “art,” I suppose, and they are on their own. Someone, however, should have helped poor Mother Theresa. While doing some research for a book on who would win in a fight between a wolverine and a koala bear, I came across a book mother Theresa wrote before she died. It was a book trying to explain her life, her role in Calcutta, and her mission doing God’s work. The book was called “The Missionary Position.”

And since I can’t top that, I’m outta here.

October 4, 2002


jacquelin said...

You couldn't be more right about the baby thing. I'm a mother - and my daughter was NOT cute until she was about 6 months old. I think more mothers should admit this.
And snuggle bear? You wrote this in '02, here it is 2010 and you still rant about it! wow. now that's a grudge. I'm hardcore with pet peeves, or favorite piss-off's, as I like to call them, but you've outdone me. Bravo. :)

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