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Mark’s Neologisms #8

“Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.”–Homer

Ah, my dear Homer, a good sentiment.  But what if those empty words are absurdly hysterical?  It will take more than a dead Greek poet to stop me.

Everything is being done with Artificial Intelligence these days, some of it profound, some of it scary, and some of it downright ridiculous.  You’d know this if  you followed my Seeking Delphi™ podcasts and blog.  AI is being used  for early disease diagnosis, protection of the power grid, and facial recognition to catch criminals and secure our cell phones.  But it’s also being used for some pretty silly things, too.  How about a sex robot that tells jokes, or a robodog that sniffs your feet and passes out if they stink?

This brings me to the latest effort in the Mark’s Neologisms series.  I didn’t invent the terms below.  An AI program devised by Colorado researcher Janelle Shane was programmed to create convincing sounding disease names.  The results were, well, both hilarious and alarming.  But here’s the thing–it only created the names.  So in the great tradition of my sicko mind, here are some of my favorites from the list, with the actual definition of the malady added by yours truly.

Sexursoma Ear–The Latin name for hickey of the ear.

Joint Pseudomalabia–Inflammation of a prosthetic joint

Ear Poop–A side effect gotten from listening to political speeches.

Teenagerna Vain Syndrome–Well, that’s obvious.

Catdullitis–An affliction that causes pet owners to prefer dogs.

Ankle Bladders–Caused by severe gout

Seal Breath–Not fatal if you  have it, but possibly fatal if the person next to you has it.

Testicle Behavior–A mythical condition never afflicting heterosexual males.

Eye Stools–A pandemic caused by televising  political debates.

Hoot Injury–A bruise or contusion obtained when bumped into by a Hooters waitress.

Vertical Hemoglobin Fever–What most residents of Colorado, Alaska, Washington DC and other locales suffer from since the legalization of pot.

Cold Glock Allergy–An aversion to being held at point blank range.

Some of the names were so ridiculous I couldn’t begin to define them.  A few of the most bizarre are listed below. See if you can come up with something for any of the following.

Mardial Denection 

Gumpetic Surpical Escesion

 Vertical Pasocapheration Syndrome 

Helritis and Flatelet’s Ear

Milk Tomosis     Black Bote Headache     Excessive Woot Sweating 

Stumm Complication     8 Poop     Herpangitis

Wamble Submoration      Osteomaroxism     

 Bacterial Fladular Syndrome              Asteophyterdimentricular Aneurism       

 If nothing else, these are sure to make The Blog of Funny Names     

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Cosmic Quote #70

“Ninety per cent of politicians give the other ten per cent a bad name.”–Henry Kissinger

You are what you eat.  You get what you vote for.  This is my only political post of the entire year,  so get your fill now.  Next question?

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Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #9: Lions and Tigers and….SNAKES!! Oh my

“Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag full of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel”–Leanardo da Vinci

“I am working on a new book about a boa constrictor and a litter of hyenas. The boa constrictor swallows the babies one by one, and the mother hyena dies laughing.”–E. B. White

more snakesOphidiophobia.  It’s a fear of snakes, from which many people suffer.  My wife is most certainly not one of them. OK, she’s a veterinarian so it ought not to be a big deal to her.  But let’s just say her non-fear, even love of snakes, is something I learned about very early in our relationship.  Like, within the first fifteen minutes.

It all began one night in June, 39 agonizing years ago.   It was a get-together I organized with a few friends on the occasion of a visit by my sister from the west coast. One of the invitees was the aforementioned Kate (Tales #8).  She brought along a mutual friend of hers and my sister’s.   Of course, that would be Cheryl.  Kate introduced Cheryl to me as a pre-veterinary student at the University of Connecticut, and she added, “come and see the pet snakes in the back of her pickup truck!”  I was not exactly thrilled.  A girl with a pickup truck carting around two pet snakes was not exactly the description of my ideal match.  So of course, I wound up marrying her three years later.

But as snake stories go, that’s not nearly the best one.  In fact, the following story is so #1, there really is no #2.

It started innocently enough one day in mid-August of 1989.  Cheryl went out for her usual late lunch, took her usual catnap in her car, and came back to the office.  But something was clearly up–when she returned to work, the parking lot was packed with a slew of unfamiliar vehicles.  They were news vans.  Channel 3, Channel 8, Channel 25, The Bridgeport Post, The Hartford Courant.  WTF?  What was all this media brouhaha?

Well of course, you’ve figured it out by now.  It was a snake.  But not just any snake, and not just for any normal reason.   It seems that a local Naugatuck woman felt something odd underneath her as she was sitting on the toilet.  It was a six foot boa constrictor.  Honest.  She called the police; they wouldn’t touch it.  The snake stayed in the toilet.  She called Roto Rooter and, no joke, they sent a snake fear-averse serviceman to literally and figuratively snake it out.  The critter was then dispatched to my wife’s practice.  The media loves animal stories, and this was no “dog bites man” run of the mill occurrence.  The story went the 1989 version of viral.  It was picked up by the national wire services and we heard a short mention of it on WCBS newsradio from New York.

So what was the back story?  It seems the previous resident of the apartment in question had owned two boa constrictors.  But the city of Naugatuck has an ordinance against dangerous pets, and this certainly qualified by their standards.   He was reported to the authorities and ordered to get rid of them.    He obliged; or so he said.  Apparently his definition of “rid” was to simply let them loose.

Anyway, the snake was unharmed and shortly transferred to a wild life rehabilitator who eventually found it a legal home.

But wait a minute.  There were two of them.  But there was no immediate sign of the second one.   The residents searched and found nothing–well almost nothing.  A few weeks later, they found a shed snakeskin.   This was not taken as a good sign.  Finally, some six weeks after the original event, my wife got a call from the Naugatuck police.

“We found the second one.  Please come get it.”

She obliged, and got to the residence within a few minutes.  There she found a Naugatuck cop sitting on the front porch, his service revolver drawn.

“Really!!?”  Her reaction was typical Cheryl.  “Are you afraid it’s going to make a break for it?’

Honestly, boa constrictors are not what you would call “speedy.’

She collected the animal and headed back to her office.   When she got there, guess what?

News vans.  Again.   Channel 8.  Channel 3. Etc.   The New Haven Register, having missed the first story, was quick to the scene that Friday, and the story landed on the top of their front page the next day, Saturday, September 23, 1989.   It appeared approximately as shown below, right above a story that Irving Berlin had died 101 that same day.

snakes

 

 

As you may have guessed by now, though, the story did not end here.  Although the second snake wound up with the same wild life rehabilitator,  it made another stop first.  Cheryl, vividly remembering our very first meeting, brought the snake home that evening in an attempt to freak me out.   It didn’t work;  after 14 years with her I’d grown accustom to pranks like this.  But it did freak out our daughter’s somewhat timid nanny, Lynn.   While we were out to dinner, the writhing monster escaped from the box it had been brought home in,  leaving poor Lynn with little option but to muster up her courage and stuff it back in.   To her credit, she did it, and she didn’t quit her job.

Is there a moral to this story?  Of course there is.   Be careful what you marry;  it might come slithering back to bite you.

Cheers  😀

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Funny Names Thursday : A Special Investigative Report

Being vain, I don’t usually reblog anything that is not by me or about me. But in this case, I’m making an exception. Brilliant investigative reporting here by my fellow Blog of Funny Names correspondent, Arto.

The Blog of Funny Names

And now for something completely different. Here is a special report filed by our European Field Agent Portnoy Macademia. Enjoy.

In a nondescript office building in central Lausanne, Switzerland, there is a global registry of unusual names. A man named Herland Howitzer is the curator, sole customer service representative and by unfortunate necessity, janitor. He is essentially the registry embodied, the only employee aside from a nice old woman from Missouri by the name of Janet who has the job of sitting at a desk, holding open a very large book and smiling nicely to you when you ask about this or that name, before ringing a small bell that brings Herland over to actually talk to you.

The reasons behind the Registry’s founding remain shrouded in mystery. Herland has worked here “more than several decades”, he tells me, and so did the curator/janitor before him. He has a…

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Time Out: Remembering Dave Brubek

“I like to play  dangerously… where you’re going to take a chance on making mistakes in order to create something you haven’t created before.”–Dave Brubek

(Note:  The title of this post provides an apt, if inadvertent double entendre.  I have used the title preface “Time Out” for posts that don’t readily fit into my existing threads.  “Time Out” also just happens to be the title of The Dave Brubek Quartet’s signature album.  It was issued in 1959 and became the first million selling jazz album ever.  It is one of the greatest classics of the genre).

Brubek on the cover of Time, November 1954.  NO! I do not remember it, I was four years old.

Brubek on the cover of Time, November, 1954.

I never met the man, yet somehow I knew him.     In one of the choral groups I sang with in high school we performed a Brubek composition (yes he wrote choral music, too).   Our director actually tried to get Brubek, who lived in a neighboring town,  to make a guest appearance to conduct the piece at our concert.  He was unavailable.  I never gave it much thought then, though Brubek’s Greatest Hits was the first jazz album I owned–and in fact the only jazz in my collection until I was in my forties.  I did not see him perform live until I was in my 50’s and he in his 80’s.

Below are two videos, courtesy of the Litchfield Jazz Festival, where I saw Dave Brubek perform twice.  The first video is a promotional piece that begins with Brubek performing in the 2005 festival.   In the shot of the audience applause that follows the visual of Brubek you’ll see two audience members stand up near the back.  I’m pretty sure the partially obscured one farthest back is me.  In the second video, taped at the 2008 festival, NPR interviews Brubek and Paquito D’Rivera.  There was no seating in this tent.  I was standing in the front row, about fifteen feet from Brubek during the entire interview.  I witnessed history that day.

Dave Brubek was an icon, a living legend.  He was not just a great artist, he was one of the great ambassadors for the arts.  He died yesterday, one day short of his 92nd birthday, in the same hospital where my wife was born.  So near, and yet so far away.

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