Saturday, October 27, 2007

The gangling conversation

Every now and then we are thrown a real live conversational challenge to confront. These challenges are usually thrown by the sort of people you’d rather have things thrown at . And heck , who’d not like to deny that sort the smug satisfaction of a put down ?

So we manfully face up to the googly , give the bullshit our all and desperately hope for the best.

The results can vary widely - as the following examples hope to demonstrate :

1. Spectacularly successful : rope-clearing , over- the -top bullshit driven off the front foot

Example A

The Other : Don’t you think Descrates’ Cogito Ergo Sum is a succinct summarization of the approach that Western civilization took as a building block for itself ?

You : Oh yes ! In fact , going further , I am reminded of Spinoza’s 13th Epoch thesis. You agree with the salient counterarguments of that thesis of course ?

The Other : Er , of course. How splendid to see so much sunshine at this time of year !

(Note hasty change of topic on the part of The Other to conceal total ignorance of Spinoza’s non-existent 13th Epoch thesis)

Example B

The Other : I am inclined to believe euthanasia may be just the panacea the National Health Service has been waiting for. What do you think ?

You : Certainly there’s much to be said for that. Oh, by the way, I don’t suppose you know that Mrs. Smith has filed for divorce after she discovered Mr. Smith in bed with his secretary ?

The Other : No ! Surely not !! I had no idea. Oh , do tell me more. Please do. Oh my !

(Note change of topic on your part is perfectly calculated to banish all considerations of Euthanasia , Panacea and the National Health Service from The Other’s mind )

2. Moderately successful : stonewalling with dead , straight- bat forward defence

The Other : Cubism expressed the zeitgeist of those times , didn’t it ?

You : Yes , it did express that.

The Other : Don’t you think Picasso’s Guernica was a prognosis of a more terrible war to come ?

You : Oh yes , my opinion exactly

The Other : Oh I’d be so glad to hear your views on that

You : Oh rather , those are views that I air very often.

The Other : And they are ?

You : Oh this and that and , not to put too fine a point on it , oh , ...just my views on the subject

The Other : I should be delighted to hear them.

You : Yes.

The Other : Oh do let us hear them !

You : Yes. Certainly.

(Note no runs scored but no wickets conceded either)

3. Unsuccessful : caught feebly fending at delivery

(Note : in the following two examples , you give it away and The Other , having cottoned on to your bluff , moves in for a swift final kill )

Example A

The Other : Ancient Chinese calligraphy displays a remarkable propinquity to work independently carried out at the same time among the Incas. Isn’t that remarkable ?

You : You don’t say ! Why, propane hadn’t even been discovered in ancient China let alone calibrated. Most remarkable indeed !

The Other : What then do you make of the malfeasance apparently manifest in Lao Tzu’s 6Th century Koans and how would you reconcile it with their inherently compassionate munificence ?

Example B
The Other : I find great perspicacity in the works of the Impressionists. What do you say ?

You : I think you’ll find that it’s probably because they didn’t have deodorants in those days.

The Other : Really ! Do you then suppose the evanescence of Van Gogh’s Night Sky was a sort of metaphysical tourniquet , as it were , that occluded the rather unrealistically ephemeral depiction style of the classicists ?

4. Spectacularly Unsuccessful : bowled all ends up clean through the gate

The Other : Don’t you believe that the fecundity of ideas in the 18th century was to fructify in the scientific juggernaut that swept in its wake the entire gamut of problems that had plagued mankind for generations , serving to meliorate life on the planet as a whole , and by an osmotic albeit screened process of assimilative diffusion influenced the course that the arts and the humanities were to - almost anachronistically - embark upon ?

You : Eh ?

The Other : Pray do carry on eating. I am so glad to see you use the fork with your left hand

(Note : The Other is pleased to believe that you are significantly less than an equal )

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Connoisseur of wine


We love !

They display character. They possess balance. They are expressive and they are exquisitely complex. They have finesse. They flaunt body. They boast finish. I knew one that could spell ‘onomatopoeia’.

I met a bloke the other day who said he felt a bit like Dr. Hannibal Lecter the last time he sipped his Bordeaux. He has been off wine ever since.

He still does art galleries though, and the occasional book reading.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ridiculous rejoinders

Got the idea for this from something I’d seen on MAD some time ago.

- Ah , so here you are !
- Oh no , actually I am miles away. You’re watching me live on TV.
- How are you ?
- Its for others to say of course but I think I am quite a sensation.
- Hey ! How’s it goin’ ?
- How’s what going exactly ? Could you describe ‘it’ in more detail

- preferably within a single A4 sheet , Times New Roman Font 12 ?
- Long time no see…!
- Oh I’m sorry to hear that. Have you tried Yoga ?
- It’s a pleasure meeting you !
- I’m afraid I need to know you better before I can say that back
- Get well soon !
- That’s rude . Do you mind adding a ‘please’?
- Take care !
- I’m sorry I can’t. There’d be no one to look after it.
- Au Revoir !
- Really ? It was alright for me

- Enjoy your vacation !
- What ! I am determined not to . And don’t order me around
- So was it a nice smooth flight ?
- You should ask the aircraft you know
- Bon voyage !
- Oh no , we won’t be camping out.

- So it’s raining !
- Wow ! Can you count too?
- Whoa , it’s hot !
- Not really – not compared to , say , the melting point of iron.
- Brrrr , it’s so cold in here !
- Phew, that’s a relief ! I knew it all along - you only look like a ghost.
- I knew the weather was too good to hold out for long
- Yes. My conversation skills aren’t great either.
- So what’s the weather like back home ?
- I can’t really see that far but you could look up . And bring me a print out so I can be sure you really did look it up.
- Wow ! Great weather , isn’t it !
- Yes - and what exactly did you say your role was in bringing it about ?

- I don’t know what you’re talking about !
- Oh I see. Why don’t you read up on it ? Or google it perhaps?
- Go to hell !
- Sticking with algorithm ,where exactly is hell located on the flowchart ?
- What the hell is wrong with you ?
- Kind of you to ask. Well , it’s a congenital inflammation of the tertiary pulmonary varicose schemata patheticplatosaurus at its originating point of psuedopneumonic intersection with the galloping didactic colloidal glucosystation on the right side of the hypoproxis plexus major leading to further secondary causative complications as evidenced by compression of the xenodiaphragmastic platitudinal minor and suggested by curvilinear T3 and T4 lines on the magneticresonant redolentramification ramrodstrait diremoonshine britelite titeasakiteograph cross section of the alphabetatheta omegaohmygoda bilenticular proto-spectrum.
The T1 and T2 lines though , I am glad to say , seem reasonably alright.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The blue bus is calling us. Driver where’re you taking us ?

Sadly this is where.

Jim Morrison lies buried in a reasonably celebrated 8’x4’ plot inside Cimetie’re du Pere Lachaise in Paris and has been for a while now. In fact , he has been dead longer than he was alive. In 1971 , all of 27 , this crystal ship sank in a Parisian bathtub. Small groups of tourists take pictures (of the tomb that is , not bathtub) . A dead joint stands out amidst the flowers . A cop watches nervously from a near distance. Mild sunlight filters through darkened trees . The trees stand mute and say nothing. The headstone inscription says Kata Ton Aimona , Greek for “True to his own spirit” or more literally (more apt ?) “According to his own demon”.

What spirit and what divine demon !

The music, Jim: that gets out alive.

I visited Lachaise recently. Several luminaries – Oscar Wilde , Chopin and Edith Piaf being some names I am familiar with – share this resting space with JM. While Chopin and Piaf are pretty much a wide-berth mystery to me , Oscar Wilde is one of ye olde blogger’s favourite lit. heroes. However , and make no m. , it was Jimbo this little sojourn was in honour of.

For resonance and a bit of atmosphere , I played The End as I entered the cemetery. Unfortunately , it was to be only the beginning. I made several rounds of the place before I finally found Revered Spot. It turned out to be in an area I’d walked past a few times.

My SOD is going from worst to worse. It was a rare evening when I located my hotel at one go. Darn , I really can’t seem to find anything. As Jim might have written :

“I woke up this morning
And couldn’t find myself that beer”

The End

Jim Morrison , 1943-1971 : R.I.P