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June 6th, 2007

Happy Birthday, tygercowboy!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):

panopticon
The name given by Bentham to a proposed form of prison of circular shape having cells built round and fully exposed towards a central "well," whence the warders could at all times observe the prisoners. The penitentiary Millbank [in] London was originally constructed according to Bentham's plan.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1909


Death of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832),
eccentric English philosopher and writer on ethics and jurisprudence, who wrote, "The power of the lawyer is in the uncertainty of the law." At his request, he was dissected in the presence of his friends, and his skeleton padded out and dressed in a suit of his clothes -- still to be seen at University College, London. The skeleton, which was completed with a wax rendering of Bentham's head, holds his walking stick and is seated in his chair. This reconstruction, which Bentham called an "auto icon," was done to allow him to "attend" occasional meetings with friends and colleagues. In 1791, Bentham explained his prison design: "In a panopticon prison ... there ought not to be a single foot square, on which man or boy shall be able to plant himself ... under any assurance of not being observed."

Hence the irony of the government chambers on Gallifrey...

-The Gneech

Honoring My Ancestors

I'm currently enjoying a toasted "British-style crumpet" from Trader Joe's, while spiking my cocoa with Bailey's Irish Cream. Yum. ;d [1]

Not sure where the cocoa and the grape jelly originate -- I seem to remember hot chocolate started in France (where it was basically chunks of dark chocolate melted in hot water). Grape jelly, I could not speculate. Italy, mebbe?

We just brought Buddha back from the vet, where we found out that overall he's doing about as well as can be expected. We were given some anti-viral paste to stick in his mouth (oh fun) and told to start up the eye gunk 2-3 times / week again (oh fun, book II). We were also given some ear drops to clean all the gunk outa there. The vet spotted a few ear mites -- but they were dead, apparently done for by the Revolution treatment he got before. So now we just gotta clean out all the debris they left behind.

The good news is that my allergies are under control and the asthma is slowly but surely improving, so it looks at this stage pretty certain that we will be keeping Buddha after all. Huzzah for Zyrtec! It's amazing stuff. Problem is, I can't ever miss a dose -- half a day late and my eyes get irritated fast.

That's all for now. I keep thinking I'm going to make an interesting post about my reading lately ... but I keep not doing it. Guess it's not so interesting after all.

-The Gneech

[1] My ancestry, as well as I can recall without asking my mother: the Robeys were English, with some Scots, a little French, a smidgen of German, and a faint rumor of Native American (but I forget which nation). The Cranes were pretty much a mishmash but the Eagans were strong Scots-Irish and just-plain-ol' Irish. The red hair and blue eyes, as much as they scream "leprechaun," are actually from the Robey side.

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Speaking of My Reading...

I read the entirety of Steve Martin's book Pure Drivel today. Funny stuff! :)

-The Gneech

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