Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2016

 

wp-1459709892376

 

During my travels, like many who go on vacation, I like to send to close and not too close friends emails (today’s postcards) regaling them of my good fortune in traveling the world and their ill-luck at being forced, for whatever reason, to remain at home. Not too long ago, I settled for a while in Jomtien Beach, Thailand and began to send out an incessant stream or emails regarding my new life. During a particularly frustrating period of trying to adjust to life there, I received a few emails from some of my correspondents commenting that my recent emails dwelled too much on the difficulties of my ex-pat life and were becoming a bit of a downer.

 

Although I thought I was just providing a humorous take on the foibles of my current situation, I took the criticism seriously and I realize that perhaps I may have fallen into a rut. So one morning when I awoke I decided to do something different. A quick check of the internet turned up the report of an algorithm that measured how many times Pun Day was mentioned on social media. The leading date turned out to be May 15 which also happened to fall a few days after my search. Further research turned up that in the UK, P:un Day falls on February 8. Other days also have been proposed. Austin Texas held an O’Henry Pun-Off World Championship on May 16. So, armed with this copious research, I declared May 15, Pun Day and communicated that to my correspondents. My announcement was met with a resounding Meh by all that took the time to notice it.

images-1

 

I got the idea for Pun Gay, as I usually get most of my ideas, from one of my favorite authors, in this case, William Kotzwinkle. As with Henry David Thoreau, he is a favorite of mine, not necessarily because of his literary output (Although he did write the screenplay for “ET the Extraterrestrial” and the stories for the “Walter the Farting Dog” series), but for the audacity of attempting a literary career with a name like Kotzwinkle.

 

 
Anyway, in his novel “The Fan Man,” about an archetypical New Yorker who, during the hot sticky days of the New York City summer, travelled about the City holding in front of him one of those little battery operated fans to cool himself off (Hence “The Fan Man” in case you have not already guessed). In one of the chapters of the book our Fan Man wakes up and declares that day to be “Dorky Day” in which he would only speak the word Dorky throughout the day [By the way for those with interest is such things Dork is a common and respected name for boys in Armenia, Also, July 15 is “National Dork Day.” so mark it on your calendar].

 

The remainder of the chapter, for about 10 to 12 pages, consists exclusively of the word Dorky repeated endlessly (Dorky,Dorky, Dorky… for those who may need help visualizing) broken only by the variously perplexed or angry responses of the other citizens of the City whose paths may have crossed that of our hero on that day.

 

Shakespeare must have eaten his heart out. Can you imagine what the world of the theater would have been had Hamlet instead of “The play’s the thing, in which we’ll catch the conscience of the King,” announced, “Today is Dorky Day?”

 

Anyway, the idea for Pun Day comes also from one of my other literary mentors, Cuzin Irwin (to whom I beg forgiveness) who sent me the following:

 

it’s Snow White’s birthday.
 The dwarves buy her a camera as a present.
 She is ecstatic and takes pictures of every thing she sees.
She takes the film in to be developed.
 She goes back the next day to pick the pictures up.
 The man behind the counter shakes his head as if to say, “No”.
Snow White cries.
 the man behind the counter says
 “Don’t worry Snow White, someday your prints will come.”

 

Alas, with the coming of the smartphone, poor Snow White’s prints never arrived so she went home with an Android.

 

And for all you Snow Whites out there, may you prints come soon, but please always use protection or you may end up with a Kotzwinkle.

Have Pun

Ciao

Read Full Post »

 

Pasted Graphic 1
British Warriors

I have just finished reading the last novel in Bernard Cornwall’s trilogy about King Arthur. Previously, I read the first nine novels of his series set in the time of King Alfred of England and his immediate descendants. While both series can be classed as historical novels, they each concern the life of a made up hero who has an out of proportion impact on the affairs of the kings and times they tell about.

We know that at the end of the Fifth and the beginning or the Sixth Centuries a warlord with the name of Arthur lived. We also know that during that time the Saxon invasion of England was temporarily halted and about a generation of relative peace followed. All the rest is legend and surmise.
Pasted Graphic 3
Arthur

Britain had a population of about 4 million throughout the Roman ascendancy. It collapsed to about 2 million within a few decades following the Roman legions departure. Many people left Britain along with the military. Some were Roman elite who returned with the armies to the remnant of the empire. Many others, the Celtic aristocracy primarily, emigrated to Brittany and Galicia in Spain. Most of the others died of disease, hunger and slaughter as civic order collapsed.

The Saxon migrations into the rapidly depopulating England, during the two hundred or so years it lasted, totaled only about 30 to 50 thousand people. The warbands on both sides rarely were larger than 100 or so armed men, not much bigger than a modern biker gang. They terrorized the small hamlets (about 50 families each) that made up most of the villages in the depopulated country. They killed the men raped the women and stole whatever goods the people may have had, until they realized that they could increase their profits by offering the villagers, for a price, protection from other biker gangs and, more likely, protection from themselves. With the extra money, they paid those who were better at playing the harp than fighting to make up songs about how great they were.
Pasted Graphic 2
British habitations following departure of Romans
Into this chaos rode Arthur and his 20 or so henchmen riding large war horses (Dark Ages Harleys?) and engaged the Saxon gangs in a series of lightning raids into their turf. The horses were probably descendants of the mounts of the Samaritan cataphracts (Heavily armed mounted troops from Samaria) that the Romans imported to Britain to pacify the country.
I find it interesting that following the conquest of Britain by the Romans, they brought in an alien ruling elite and superior social organization but left the indigenous population subservient but intact. Relative peace and prosperity reigned over the island for four hundred years. Following the departure of the Romans, the native Britons fought amongst themselves until the Saxons arrived with their war of extinction. About 100 years following the peace Arthur secured after his victory at Mount Badon, the Saxons succeeded in driving the Britons into the mountains of Cornwall and Wales. Then, for about two hundred years, the Saxons fought amongst themselves until they also were faced with a war of extinction from Danish invaders. Alfred halted the invasion and his decedents pushed them back until about 100 years later the Normans conquered them all, Saxons, Danes and ultimately Britons, bringing in a ruling class that provided superior social organization and relative peace for the subservient indigenous population for the next 400 years or so — by then almost everyone thought they were English.

Anyway, all the novels were good old swords and a little sorcery along with a lot of grunting and killing in battles and more killing and raping after the battles ended and a lot of drinking of mead and ale and more killing and raping and a lot of oaths pledged and broken and Kings and Queens and starving and diseased peasants and so on.

Pookie says, “Check it out.”

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: