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October 23rd, 2006

Happy Birthday, emsworth!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English!

strump
To tread heavily or pace about; whence, probably, strumpet, a street walker.
--Charles Mackay's Lost Beauties of the English Language, 1874


Death of William Prynne (1600-1669),
author of Histro-Mastix: The Scourge of Players (1633), a work containing a condemnation of the theater that proved to be his costliest lapse of judgement: "It hath evermore been the notorious badge of prostituted strumpets and the lewdest harlots to ramble abroad to playhouses, whither no honest, chaste, or sober girls or women, but only branded whores and infamous adulteresses did usually resort in ancient times." Prynne was imprisoned for six years because Charles I's queen consort, Henrietta Maria, who had once taken part in a performance at court, read this as an assault on her virtue. Prynne's French contemporary Blaise Pascal took a similar position but used a milder tone: "All the chiefest forms of amusement endanger Christian life, but of all those devised by the world, none is so worrisome as the Theatre."

Remember kids, being happy or having fun is eeeevil.

-The Gneech
I tend to think of Bruce, my Subaru Outback, as being the high-spirited and noble charger the Old Colonel rode in the war, quietly going gray in the paddock on the back forty of the estate, well beloved by all but definitely on the waning end of his lifespan.

When we bought Bruce, my opinion was that I would consider his run a success if he lasted ten years. He was the next-to-last 1996 model on the lot, bought new near the end of that year, and so has passed with flying colors. He's carried laurie_robey and I loyally all over the east coast; made countless commutes to work, to gaming, to the counselor's office, or to Kung Fu; heroically took it on the nose to protect laurie_robey in what was a rather nasty collision but could easily have been worse; and now he dutifully fills the role of "back up car" on occasions such as today, when The Platinum Pearl (laurie_robey's Camry) is in for service.

But there's no mistaking it, Bruce is getting old. The rear window wiper hasn't sprayed wiper fluid for years; he's sluggish to the point of cutting out in weather below 40°; his "power locks" now no longer actually unlock the doors; his upholstry sags and his window seals no longer keep out the rain.

Having reached the 10-year mark, Bruce has accomplished his mission. And sometime, not now, probably not in the immediate future, but sometime, it will be time to think about a new car. I know it will be a SUV; I've been watching the hybrid Escape as a possibility, but I'm nowhere near a decision point. But whenever the fateful moment comes, it will be bittersweet at best. Bruce is the first car I ever thought of, really, as "my car". I drove a much-disliked, invisible-colored Aries K car around for several years, but it was a disastrous hunkajunk purchased by my parents and over my objections. When it suddenly just "gave up" one day at the intersection of Germantown Road and 123, I cried no tears. But Bruce is different. Bruce is my boy, and he's a trooper. Yeah, he drinks 97-octane gas like it was water. Yeah, his seatbelts have always been wonky and his doors have always done their best to bite my leg off. But every loved one has habits that irritate you; no doubt Bruce objects to my tendency to drum on his steering wheel in time to the radio and to occasionally take pavement seams too fast.

I don't want to replace Bruce. Not yet. He's still got a bit of life in him.

-The Gneech

PS: On a happier note, I now have a 2.5" black-and-gold Dalek sitting on my desk, randomly saying things like "AD~VANCE~AND~DE~STROY!" or "YOU~CAN~NOT~ES~CAPE~THE~POW~ER~OF~THE~DA~LEKS!" or (of course) "EX~TER~MI~NATE! EX~TER~MI~NATE! EX~TER~MI~NATE!" He's a cute little guy. Thanks, mammallamadevil!

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