home
table of contents
original stuff
literary
August 1998
email

Language and three headed cows


Usenet conversations in rec.arts.books seem to drift a bit. Here is how we got from skunk cabbage to Alcatraz via three headed cows in the middle of Manhattan.

Richard Harter
[snip critique of Schulman who has his place in the grand scheme of things as does skunk cabbage - always remembering that skunk cabbage is more attractive (and probably intellectually deeper)]

The Robot Vegetable
The flower of the skunk cabbage is quite beautiful, and when you're thirsty in the forest, the plant smells like water.

Book: How To Shit In The Woods by ?. I haven't read it, but the involving oneself in the subject is a grounding experience.

Richard Harter
Which, when I think about it, gives new meaning to the phrase, "The Left Hand of God."

William Grosso
Ya know, Richard, sometimes you can be a pain in the butt. Just because you can change the meaning of a well-known phrase simply by thinking about it, doesn't mean you should. I mean, shit, tomorrow morning, around the world, people will wake up to a slightly different language.

Thousands of books will say slightly different things. Millions of sentences will be slightly off. Fights will break out, schisms will erupt, three-headed cows will be born, and, in the center of Manhattan, eerie flute music will be heard above the din of traffic.

All because you had to go and change the meaning of "The Left Hand of God."

Sheesh. Grow up and be responsible already.

Richard Harter

You're right. I own the fault. But it's difficult when a careless train of thought (don't even ask about trains) can have consequences. Why just the other day I started to muse upon the thought that reconstruction is the natural sequel to deconstruction and that implies ... Fortunately the phone rang and I stepped on the hem of my train of thought.

As long as the eerie flute music isn't played by three-headed cows, why should you care? Manhatten is, after all, the dumping ground for anomalies, a toxic waste dump for discontinuities in the space-time continuum.

Grow up? I don't think I want to do that. I'm tall enough as it is. I grant you that another foot would give me the height of a pro basketball player, but one needs more than three feet to play basketball.

William Grosso

"As long as the eerie flute music isn't played by three-headed cows, why should you care?"
Cause they danced to it, man. Nothing more gross than a pack of recently born three-headed cows tangoing to eerie flute music. Specially when they start strutting and spinning and the still-warm placental membranes that were sticking to their shoulders start flying off into the crowd.

Yours in wet sorta-like jellyfishes,

Richard Harter
So? That's as it should be. It is well known that fresh placenta have a soothing influence on the savage breast. Hence the word, complacent, from the Latin "com placenta". The placental theme is ubiquitous in Medieval Christian hagiography. Who can forget Bosch's painting of St. Dubious converting the Ghibellines by driving a herd of flute playing three headed cows through the streets of Rome.

Yours in wet placenta

William Grosso
That is as may be. All I know is that I lost big by investing in Placental Food Products Incorporated (PFP on Nasdaq).

I'm walking down the street one day when a guy in a three-piece suit comes up to me and says "Three words: See Through Potato Chips."

"That's 4 words, " I say. "Or 6, if you count 'Three words.'" I try to get past him but am suddenly dazzled by his silk tie (handpainted with an image of a three-headed cow playing a flute). He takes advantage of my interest in his tie to continue the sales spiel.

'You counted, " he says. "You're one of the sharp guys, a man who knows how to do arithmetic. Let's have a latte and talk investments. After all, as you can see from my tie, I'm a man of wealth and taste. Would I be involved in anything unprofitable? This investment opportunity is only for the discerning."

I'm thinking that if he spills a mocha on the tie, he'll take it off and I might get a chance to swipe it. I'd love to have a tie emblazoned with the image of a three-headed cow playing a flute. I decide -- latte's and investment chat while I wait for a chance to grab the tie and run.

On the way to the coffee shop, it hits me-- See Through Potato Chip ? That could be very very cool. Especially if they're about a quarter inch thick and have some heft to them. And he's showing me product samples and they're pretty much amazing-- like those ashtrays we all made in second grade for our parents. Only edible and see through and really quite tasty too (if a tiny bit too salty). "This," I think to myself, "This is a product I can believe in."

Well, you can guess the rest. By the time we reached Starbuck's, I'd pretty much decided to opt in. So much so that when he let me in on the secret-- "No potatoes. We use placentas instead" -- I merely responded "Wow ! The highproteinsnackfood of the nineties."

These days I do all my investing over the internet.

Richard Harter
That sounds like Sniffling Stan, the Cocaine Man, aka The Biggest Nose In The West. Stan had a habit that wouldn't quit which he supported with a wide variety of scams. (One time when he spent a few months at a local graybar motel he organized a scam of the month club. It was a scam, of course. When he left he took every cent the resident conmen had.)

You were fortunate you didn't get one of those ties. They had a bad habit of shrinking as you wore them. Stan called them the ties that bind.

Stan was proud of the See Through Potato Chip scam. My favorite, though, was the Edible Roofing Corp. He had a process for making shingles out of Spam Jerky. Worked fine. Doubled as termite proofing. One nibble and the little critters would just peel over.

There was a catch - there always was with Stan's little promotions. ERC was selling spam jerky roofs all over Southern California until El Nino hit. With enough rain the spam jerky would swell up and turn back into spam. The mess was awful.

Stan came to a bad end. He was involved in some scheme to turn Alcatraz into an Indian Casino. I never heard rightly heard the details of what happened or what he did but rumor has it that he came down with a bad case of nose scalping.


This page was last updated August 23, 1998.

home
table of contents
original stuff
literary
August 1998
email