b Papa Dog's Blog: Papa Dog's Mailbag and Some Other Poo

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Papa Dog's Mailbag and Some Other Poo

In the absence of any actual thoughts in my head this morning, I think I’ll finally get around to responding to some of the comments posted over the last couple weeks.

Marc the Balgavy guy sez, in response to my theory that he was attracted to my page by a naughty word, “Yeah, ‘fucktard’ is a pretty impossible word to resist. but I was also drawn in by the cuteness of ‘papa dog’ and ‘mama dog.’” and Beantown Anonymous sez, “I hope you don't mind if I make ‘fucktard’ a permanent part of my vocabulary--wonderfully evocative and the ‘f,’ ‘k,’ and ‘t’ sounds make it very hard sounding, almost like spitting at the nominee. Very cool.”

I can hardly claim “fucktard” as my own word – I think I picked it up from Mama Dog, though I’m not positive. Anyway, it’s not my property. But judging from this and other reactions, I kind of suspect it might be the single most popular word I’ve ever written.

Also from Beantown Anonymous: “If you like the Deptford trilogy, I also highly recommend Davies’s Cornish trilogy. I read it in the 80s when Davies wrote it and thought it was some of the best writing around at the time.” And from some other Anonymous (paul, is that you?): “I read Fifth Business, and enjoyed it, but haven't read the rest of the trilogy yet. The only other Davies I've read is Murther and Walking Spirits, which is brilliant. I've you like Life of Pi, you should try The Saint in New York (Canadian joke).”

I’ll get around to the other Deptford books eventually, and I was also glancing at the capsule descriptions for the Cornish trilogy. I’ve always found it vaguely embarrassing to have read so little R. Davies. More damning still, I’ve never read Who Has Seen the Wind or anything by Pierre Berton. Anonymous 2, either it’s because I haven’t read any Pierre Berton or because I’ve been away so long, but I don’t get the Canadian joke. You’ll have to explain to me the connection between Life of Pi and Leslie Charteris’ dapper psychopath.

Mama Dog suggests “schadenparanoia” as an alternative to my lame coinage of “fateorignotusphobia.” I admit that SOUNDS like it might mean something, but do we know what? I mean, I know what schadenfreude means, but what does the “schaden” part mean? Okay, wait, I looked it up on the Alta Vista Babel fish by breaking it into two words. According to that, “schaden freude” means “harms joy,” so “schadenparanoia” would mean “harms delusions of persecution?” Doesn’t seem quite descriptive of “the curiosity you don’t want satisfied.” Back to the lab on that one, I think.

In other stuff – I lurched back into action on the crap room this week, finally assembling the first and biggest of the sets of shelves we got before going to SB. Unfortunately, we bought cheap crap and really got what we paid for. The box copy says “assemble in minutes using only a hammer!” If your confidence isn’t already shaken by that sentence, let me back up and try it again: they’re saying you put these shelves together with just a hammer!

In theory, I guess, it’s an okay design. The shelves’ vertical posts have slots like inverted eights – big circle on top, little circle on bottom. The horizontal bars have rivets that fit into those slots – pop them easily into the big circle, slide them down into the little circle, and they lock in place. Tap with the hammer to make sure they’re all the way down. Only a couple of problems with this: one, every one of the horizontal bars seems to be just a little bit bent somewhere so that they never fit quite perfectly. Two, all of the plywood shelves seem cut just a little bit too big to fit properly onto the assembled shelves. And most importantly, three, the vertical posts are each only half the height of the shelves. You have to balance one post on top of the other and hold them together by connecting them with the horizontal bars, fitting on rivet into the topmost slot of the bottom post and the other into the bottommost slot of the top post. The posts are L-shaped and about half a millimetre thick. Getting them all connected to the horizontal bars is an exercise in futility. Connect the front left bar and watch as the top post in the rear right slides off the bottom post. Go and fix that and watch as the rear left falls off. To keep everything in place while connecting bars, you need about four arms that can stretch five feet. At any rate, you’re definitely not doing it in minutes with only a hammer.

In a brief window when Baby Dog was actually sleeping during the day, Mama Dog helped me balance the thing while I connected the bars, so it’s all done now, and I’ve even started to pile some formerly boxed crap onto it. As to whether the thing will stay together during even a mild earthquake, time will tell. At least it’s already in the basement, so it’s not going to collapse a floor if it falls down.


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