The Torture Of Attaining "Beauty", News, Personal Ads, The Shaggs, Half Of A Rhyme, Icky Words, And The Penny

“Their legs encased in protective plaster shielding wobbly bones impaled by a medieval-style metal brace, a group of young Chinese women sit smiling through their post-surgical pain in an upscale Beijing hospital, content in the belief that they have just received a leg up in loveliness.” Will this madness ever stop? Sometimes I lose hope.

More news is good news.

A perennial fan of personal ads, I think these are way too funny.

Oh, The Shaggs. They were introduced to me by the Fiery One. They are truly awful to listen to, but so much so that they are a gem you should not miss. “My Pal Foot Foot,” the absolute must-hear of the album, lacks rhythm altogether. Even the vocals fall on irregular beats. To quote Susan Orlean: “Is this the colloquial ease and dislocated syntax of a James Schulyer poem or the awkward innermost thoughts of a speechless teen-ager?” A close second is “Who Are Parents” (click on the link to hear the song). You can tell that it was their father who ran the band by the song’s lyrics.
Please don’t hate me because I point out such high-quality music.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about unfinished bits of folklore or wisdom; for example, the rhyme “find a penny, pick it up,and all day long you’ll have good luck.” There is a second half to that rhyme that goes “find a penny, leave it lay, and you will have bad luck all day.” In another variation, it also ends “sixty-three more, I’ll have a cup,” which was new to me. I have been trying to locate the complete poem, because I once read a version that cautioned the finder to also give the penny away, but I have been unable to find it so far. Another example is the saying “curiosity killed the cat.” It has the little-known ending “but satisfaction brought him back,” which completely alters the meaning, although this second half may have been added later on after what was likely the first half’s initial appearance in the early 1900s. Anyway, if anyone knows of the complete penny rhyme, let me know. Have I only imagined it?

Words that I do not like for any number of reasons, be it their sound, lack of visual aesthetic appeal, or counterintuitive spelling (which is not always a bad thing, and in fact quite a good thing at times, but annoying in some cases):
SPA: 1. A resort providing therapeutic baths 2. A resort area having mineral springs 3. A fashionable hotel or resort 4. A tub for relaxation or invigoration, usually including a device for raising whirlpools in the water.
Some possible origins of the word “spa” are: from the Latin words espa (fountain) and sparsa (from spargere, which means “to bubble up”); sanus per aquam, which means “health by or through water”; solus per aqua, which is Latin for “enter by means of water” or “health through water”; salut per aqua, which is Latin for “health or relaxation through water” and was found in graffiti in Roman baths.
"Spa" is aesthetically pleasing in its visual balance, especially when spelled completely in the lower case, but its sound is unfinished, open-ended, hanging there sickly as though it has lost its wind before being able to complete itself.
GRAVITAS: 1. Substance; weightiness; “a frivolous biography that lacks the gravitas of its subject” 2. A serious or dignified demeanor; “our national father figure needs gravitas.”
It comes directly from the Latin, gravitas, meaning “heaviness” or “seriousness.”
Detestable. I like its look, and it sounds good when you say it incorrectly, but said correctly, it sounds distinctly like a word used only to impress, as though one should affect an accent of English snobbery to draw out its end. Also, it does not feel like its meaning; it’s sound and look are lighter than the concept trying to be conveyed. Pronouncement: defective and icky.
ULULATE: To howl, wail, or lament loudly.
It originates imitatively from the Latin ululare.
Part of me wants to love this word. Said loudly and with a bit of a yodel, it expresses its meaning really well, but it seems to want some kind of consonant at its beginning to balance its own weight on the other end. Read silently or yodelled exceptionally loudly, this word is fine, but it should never be used in a regular, spoken sentence.

Penny Facts and Links:
* It was on April 14th, 1871 that the Canadian government, through the Uniform Currency Act, set denominations of currency as dollars, cents, and mills.
* The first Canadian postage stamp was known as the "Three Penny Beaver," which is one of the world’s earliest examples of a pictorial stamp, as opposed to the customary political portrait, coat-of-arms, or geometric design.
* The modern one-cent piece in Canada shows two maple leaves on a common twig, which is a design that has gone almost unchanged since 1937.
* Here is good, albeit brief, history of the penny.
* In 1652, the first coffeehouse opened in England. They became known as “penny universities,” because a penny was the price of admission and a cup of coffee.
* And, last but not least, Wikipedia has this to say on the matter.

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