Amoeba Has Questions

Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba woke this morning with a sunbeam and an earworm. This is not good. Extracting a sunbeam from one’s anatomy (he won’t say from where) is no fun. And as for that earworm …

1. If morning has broken, who broke it?

2. Can it be fixed?

3. If blackbird has spoken, what’d it say?

4. Does Babelfish have a translation tool for ‘blackbird’?

5. Didn’t our mothers always tell us don’t fall? If we’re going to anyway, YFNA supposes it’s better to do it on the grass than on, say, the concrete. But then mothers would probably complain, “You’re wet!”

6. Where do you mine sunlight?

7. Isn’t planet Earth already in enough trouble from people mining stuff?

8. If we have a nude day on our hands, shouldn’t we be trying to find clothes for it? There are decency laws, after all. Even in Hawai‘i.

(YFNA is in Hawai‘i on a work assignment. Yes. He said work!)

Counter Fable

He: ” … and I did some sampling at the floor of the Pololu Valley, right about here. It was quite the hike to get down that cliff face, I’ll tell you.”

She: “Lovely. Can you come home now?”

He: “Love to. After they give me what I need to pay the rent.”

She:Sigh. I know. That makes sense, but …”

He: “I am not making cents!”

She: “Um … tell me something I don’t already …?”

He: “Absolutely not. That would be counterfeiting!

She: “And when did you start having this thing about carpentry?”

He: “Carpentry?”

She: “If you’re doing finish work, you want the counter to fit, don’t you? If it’s too big, it sticks out; if it’s too small, stuff falls in the cracks. Either way, the customer complains.”

He: “Oh. That. That’s how the breakfast bar got invented.”

She: “It is?

He: “Of course it is. ‘Dang it, boss, whoever drew these plans was clueless. This counter design don’t fit noplace!‘ ‘Relax, cuz. Just stick it out in the middle of the kitchen and throw a few high stools around it. They’ll never know.'”

Family Building

She: “I tell you, I don’t know where people get their ideas for naming their kids.”

He: “Yeah. There sure are some strange ones out there these days.”

She: “I’m not so sure today’s any different from yesterday, though. I’m still trying to figure out where some of the names in my family came from. But whatever it takes to make a home, I guess.”

He: “Well, I don’t know about a home. But if you do it right, you can use your family’s names to make a house.”

She: “A house?

He: “Sure. To lay the foundation, though, the first kid had better be a girl.”

She: “I don’t get it …”

He: “Florence. Then …”

She: “Oh good grief!”

He: “Don’t interrupt, it’s impolite. Besides, we gotta get this house up ‘fore it rains. Around here, that doesn’t give us much time. The sides are next. Need a boy for that.”

She:Sigh. Wally.”

He: “Hey, you catch on fast. Gotta be able to get in and out, of course.”

She: “Doris. And I need light in my house.”

He: “Winnie.”

She: “Just one? Have to be a big kid. I’m not sure I wish to be responsible for bringing up a child with an eating disorder.”

He: “Oh all right, three Winnies. Though they’re going to have a hell of a time at school keeping track of ’em.”

She: “Teachers wish to complain, they can come here and wash ’em all. Give them something to complain about.”

He: “Word. The next one’s going to have to be happy sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, though.”

She: “Why upstairs?”

He: “So all of us can have a Rufus over our hea … OW! What was that?

She: “A fork. I stuck it in you to christen you with your new name.”

He: “Which is …?”

She:Dunn!

En Garde-n

(Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba continues trying to (um) help with Quilly’s blog …)

He: “Where are you off to?”

She: “Just out to the garden. Going to get a tomato.”

He: “How?”

She: “Same way I usually do. It should be ripe enough to fall into my …”

He: “But how can you get it? Shouldn’t it be them?

She: “Oh, all right! Just for you, I’ll get two-matoes.”

He: “Worse and worse!”

She: “Don’t make me do something I’ll regret later.”

He: “Not my fault. For one thing, it’s not May, it’s October. For another, I’m not keen on toes at the dinner table, no matter what month it is. Talk about strangers in my soup …”

She: “You invited lawyers for dinner?”

He: “Yep. Dressed for the occasion, too.”

She: “In briefs??

He: “Too casual. Lawsuit and tie. And they’re staying for breakfast.”

She: “And what are you fixing them for breakfast?”

He: “Pop torts. Weren’t you going to the garden?”

She: “While I still can. You know what the worst thing about this season is, don’t you?”

He: “Yeah, said the rake. Autumn leaves.”

She: “And winter follows.”

Take Two Aspirin And …

Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba retired from blogging some time ago. But the other day, Quilly was wishing for posts for this site, and since YFNA’s pseudopods have gotten too short, and too weak with age, to go digging up local fences and bringing them home as presents (they wouldn’t have been easy to convert to .html anyway), he had to think of something else if he was going to (um) help.

Well, he just found out something about his work that he decided he just had to share.

As some of you may remember, YFNA studies seaweeds and related plant-like stuff (you know, pond scum) for a living. The dictionary word for this stuff is algae. No, this isn’t Greek to you, or me either. It’s Latin. This will become important in a minute.

You probably know that there are a lot of “-ology” words out there that describe particular fields of study. The “-ology” comes from the Greek word logos, which can mean “(the) word”. As in “the last word on something”. Thus, the study of animals (Greek zoon) is zoology. The study of the mind (Greek psyche) is psychology. If you don’t mind. So it would make sense that the study of algae is algology.

BZZAAATTT!!!!!

Y’see, there’s this arcane rule of English that says you can’t make a compound word out of other words that are derived from more than one language. There’s a fancy term for this sort of thing, which YFNA is too lazy to look up right now. Besides, Quilly wants him to be going to bed, not sitting up writing blog posts.

So putting algae, which is Latin (said this would be important later), together with logos, which is Greek, is verboten, which is German and it means “don’t do it”. Somebody might think that algae is Greek, and spend the rest of the evening quoting Shakespeare and creating a nuisance.

You’re supposed to pair up Greek words with other Greek words. It so happens that there is a Greek word for “seaweed”. It’s phykos. From which we get the word phycology. And a whole lot of mail from pharmaceutical companies that are trying to get us to prescribe their antidepressants. A phycologist going to a psychologist’s clinic to seek treatment for his identity crisis would probably wind up fatally confusing both of them.

But YFNA knew all this already. Has been living with it for, well, since elephants had fur. What he didn’t know is that there is a Greek word that begins with alg- and can be legally combined with logos. That word is algos. Which means pain. So, algology actually is a legal word, and it means “the study of pain”.

Wait ’til I tell the folks at the next phycological society meeting about this. They’ll probably tell me that I need a shrink. I heard that!