Photo from the movie "Tall Tale" (1995) starring Patrick Swayze, Oliver Platt, and Roger Aaron Brown
My poor readers, it has been too long.
I’m sure you do, but do you know the last time I published a blog was Nov. 1? How I have gone this long without some creative writing is beyond me, but sometimes the starving man doesn’t know he’s hungry.
My only excuse is that it’s been a little crazy ‘round here. For those who don’t know, the Banner Graphic newsroom consists of five journalists (small by any standard), and Joey is the sports editor, so that leaves four people to cover all Putnam County (considered impossible by some).
Nick left us for new endeavors in the last full week of October, and ever since we’ve been down to three people. But don’t feel sorry for me just yet. I now have two windows (which Pete the Plant appreciates), and I get to cover more schools and towns, which gives me a broad view of nearly all the goings-on in the county because the only thing I don’t cover is Greencastle Schools, Greencastle City, and Putnam County government.
Indeed, the blogs have greatly suffered. But we’re fixin’ to fix that today.
Word of the Week: Caboodle
There are just some words you will always appreciate just for their sound. Say it with me: Ka-boo-dull. You gotta love that. And the etymology is pretty interesting too. The word was originally the phrase “kit and boodle,” and one would say, “I have the whole kit and boodle,” (“boodle” taken from the Dutch for “possessions, disorderly mass”). Being pressed for time, we now say, “I have the whole caboodle.”
The Best We Can Do
A 26-year-old woman in New York was issued a ticket for using her cellphone while driving and an appearance ticket for unlawful possession of marijuana after cutting off an unmarked police car and parking in the police chief’s clearly marked spot.
She was showing up for a marijuana possession summons. Marijuana smoke billowed out when officers asked her to roll down the window. Case closed.
Learn Something New: American Folklore
-- Paul Bunyan: Giant of a man brought to Earth by five giant storks; created Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, the Grand Canyon and Mount Hood; had a blue ox named Babe.
-- John Henry: Steel-driving man who challenged a machine and won, but either died of exhaustion or went on driving steel from sea to shining sea. Married to Polly Ann, who drove steel like a man.
-- Johnny Appleseed: Fictionally responsible for planting apple trees from one end of the nation to the other, but was based on John Chapman, a man who worked in a nursery in the late 1700s.
-- Mike Fink: Half-man and half-alligator that can’t feel pain, but based on a real man who lived in the 1800s and became known for his drinking and marksmanship.
-- Pecos Bill: Lost by his parents while crossing the Pecos River and raised by coyotes until he became the best cowboy in the west, partly because he could convince animals to work for him. He married Slue Foot Sue.
-- Geronimo: Based on a real Apache leader who fictionally killed thousands of whites with magic before finally being captured.
-- Old Stormalong: Also born big, an excellent sailor who fought a kraken and whose ship created the Panama Canal by slamming into the coast and made the White Cliffs of Dover white by using soap to get his ship unstuck from the English Channel.
-- Davy Crockett: Based on a real man who served as Congressional representative for Tennessee, explored Texas, and was killed at the Alamo. Reportedly, he killed a bear when he was three and carried a rifle that he called “Old Betsy.”
-- Sally Ann Thunder (Ann Whirlwind Crockett): Davy Crockett’s supposed wife and sharp shooter who enjoyed wearing beehives for hats and wrestling alligators.
I think the similarities in the stories are interesting: Based on real people or occupations essential to American history, gigantic men, sharpshooters, making a sea-to-shining-sea impact, overcoming environmental obstacles, outworking everyone else, rough and tumbled lifestyle and mishaps that have a obvious, lasting, and slightly humorous result.
Wrap Your Head Around It: Split infinity
A person at one of my recent school board meetings said this when he had meant to say “split infinitive,” and I was so taken with the concept that my mind missed the next few minutes of the meeting. Passing it around the newsroom, we came to the conclusion that the real issue is how you even split one. The only thing we concluded was that if you did, you would then have two vectors (lines starting at a point and going on forever) rather than two infinities. I personally hypothesize that infinities are inherently indivisible.
When you’re certain it’s not going to be good enough, is it better to give or to not give at all?