Thursday, January 31, 2019

Most recent favorite sentences

Sometimes life is too much with us, and politics are too late and too soon, and your fingers are too cold to type. But sometimes reading a wonderful sentence can cheer you up for a whole day. Sentences are a gift, and for these two I am grateful to Gideon Lewis-Kraus.

They can be found in a Times Magazine article about archeologists finding bones on a island of Vanuatu, and how their discovery and interpretation caused a ruckus in the anthropological world. That was all interesting, but the best parts, for me, were these two sentences:

“A meaningful national identity [of Vanuatu] has been constructed from a common appreciation of ceremonial pig-tusk bracelets and the taking of kava, a very mild narcotic root that looks like primordial pea soup and tastes like a fine astringent dirt.”

“Kava is a cloudy green tonic, served in little miso bowls meant to resemble coconut shells. The custom is to collect your shell, retire to the corner of a nearby shadow, take the entirety at one draft and then spit the particulate remnants; by nightfall, when even the city is blanketed in thick dark, the only regular sounds are the screech of the fruit bats and the hock of spit.”

Pictures from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The In-law Trifecta

I didn’t know what a trifecta was until I met CSB, and he took me to the harness racing at the Windsor Fair in Maine. While we enjoyed fried dough and fried ice cream and fried cotton candy, he explained about exactas and trifectas, and how we could place bets on a horse to win, place, or show. It was all entirely new and wonderful, especially as it involved broadening my vocabulary. I chose horses based on how appealing I found their names. What else could I base it upon? Given the option, I would bet on Abstract Expression instead of Foiled Again, and I would lose. Or I would wager my $2 on Slippery Toad, and he would come in last, or maybe not at all.

So naturally, I knew what CSB was referring to when he pointed out that this past weekend he had survived a trifecta of my siblings: one sister; one sister-in-law, married to #1 brother; one brother (#3) and wife, and their daughter and fiancé. Not to mention a nephew, son of only sister.
He loves them all, but you have to admit, that’s a lot.

If we add in last night, it would be a tetrafecta, a word which thus far does not exist. But it is easy on the tongue, and certainly has more cachet than bifecta, which sounds like a very unfortunate sexual event, and also does not exist.

In gratitude for CSB’s gracious in-law trifecta, I have promised that this weekend I will do something Super Bowl-ish with him. I assume it will involve fried food, and placing my bet on the Surrealists of Cincinnattus.