September 19th, 2007

Party Guy

Happy Birthday, dhlawrence and rowyn!

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

month to bleed
"No month to bleed," Richard II. Richard alludes to the almanacs of the time, where particular seasons were pointed out as the most proper time for being bled.
--Rev. Alexander Dyce's Glossary of the Works of Shakespeare, 1902

Waxing Moon
Talk Like a Pirate Day

Feast Day of St. Januarius,

a third-century Italian patron of phlebotomists, whose patronage resulted from the discovery in 1389 that his preserved blood would mysteriously liquefy on this date. Under phlebotomie, John Bullukar's An English Expositor (1616) offered this ludicrous origin for the widespread practice of intentional bleeding: "Phisitions, as it is written, learned this practice first of a beast called hyppopotamus, living in the river Nilus, which being of a raucous nature and therefore often overcharged with much eating, is wont to seeke in the banks for some sharp stub of a reede, upon which pricking his leg he thereby easeth his full body, stopping the bleeding afterward with mud." Before offering step-by-step bloodletting instructions for the layman, Isabella Beeton's Household Management (1861) stressed, "When a surgeon cannot possibly be obtained for some considerable time, the life of the patient depends almost entirely upon the fact of his being bled or not."

Shiver me timbers.

-The Gneech


"You are coming to the family reunion and that's that," Isadora said. "You're not hospitalized, you're not in prison, and you're not weaseling out of it."

"Why?" demanded Brigid.

"Because I'm your mother and I said so, that's why!" Isadora replied, voice raised.

"That's not what I mean," Brigid said. "Why do you care if I go to the damn thing? Why do we even have them? This isn't the 1800s or something, where your family consisted of half the town and half the next town over. I've got better things to do than spend my weekend in a ratty old house in the country staring awkwardly at fifty complete strangers that I happen to share genetic lineage with."

"They're not complete strangers," said Isadora. "You've met almost all of them before."

"When I was eight years old! That may seem like yesterday to you, but to me it was a long time ago."

"What about your Aunt Edna? You see her every year at Thanksgiving. And your Aunt Charlotte, and your Cousin Gilroy, and--"

"--and as soon as I get away from them, I head for the nearest bottle of alcohol to get blotto and wipe out the pain," Brigid said. "The fact that they're all going to be there is even more reason to run-not-walk to the nearest desert island."





Isadora's voice went cold and quiet. "Brigid Elaine," she said.

Brigid went very still, and her eyes started to flicker from the floor to the table to the wall -- anywhere but at her mother. Finally she said, "If I go to this damn thing, I'm bringing Greg along."

"Greg?" said Isadora. "Why Greg? He's perfectly welcome, I'm sure, but why would you want to?"

"Because. I'm telling them that he's my boyfriend."

"Why on Earth would you want to do that?"

"And you're going to back me up on that," Brigid added.

"You expect me to lie to the family just like that?" Isadora said.

"Oh, like that's something new, Mrs. Kidney Transplant."

Isadora sniffed. "That was an emergency," she said. "Desperate measures were called for."

"Well so are they now. If it means so much to you for me to go, then you'll just have to play along. The granmas and aunties can poke and prod and plan my wedding for me all they like -- but I won't stand there and submit to interrogation as to 'why I haven't settled down yet'. Not again."

Isadora's face softened at this. "All right," she said. "Have it your way. But you might want to let Greg know before you get there, or he might start flirting with one of your cousins."

"They wouldn't be able to tell if he was," Brigid replied.

-The Gneech

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