|Remember when “Lost” used to be on TV? Me too.
Remember when Mr. Magoo was somehow synonymous with Christmas? It had to do with his Christmas Carol special, which was actually the defining version for grade-schoolers in ’66. It was sponsored by Sylvania, a sibilantly named light bulb company that gave off vague emanations of vampirism. Probably derived from Sylvan. Well, indirectly – a little research indicates that the company had a plant on Sylvan Street in Danvers MA, but given the number of adjacent streets with names of trees, that street was named for “sylvan” in the “associated with woods” sense. So I was right. Sort of. ANYWAY. As a consumer brand, Sylvania was up there with GE, but no more; although they still exist as a subsidiary of some German illumination combine, they don’t have the same consumer profile. They made Christmas lights, too – big bulbs with cords as thick as pro-wrestler neck veins. One went out, they all went out. It was a union thing.
According to the company history, they made a fluorescent lamp called “Miralume.” The thirties were a wonderful time for product names, no? Miralume. We forget how these words sounded once; we forget how exotic and alluring "nylon" seemed at first.
I don’t know how I can have so much time and get so little done – well, filed four columns this morning, which should count for something. Wrapped some presents, wrote another column (argh – forgot to file the other thing; dang. Forgot to write it, too. Well, the night, while not exactly young, hasn’t dogeared its AARP memberships benefit pamphlet yet), repaired a toilet so it no longer sighs with theatrical unease every 80 seconds, and read a bunch of stuff that made me annoyed or briefly amused. The only moment of relaxation took place at the grocery store, where I decided - for no reason – that we would have Shake ‘n’ Bake.
En route to the store we discussed homonyms. I don’t know why. I explained the concept, she got it, and we came up with a few. Creek / Creak, that was mine. (As we passed the creek.) Hole / Whole was one of hers; not bad. As I unbuckled her car seat I said, for no reason, Homonym Homonym Homonym in the classic Ralph-Cramden-oral-flummox inflection, and Gnat brightened: on Spongebob when the Crusty Crab was all new all the people said homina homina homina and Spongebob came up like a waiter and said “table for homina?” And she laughed.
Spongebob, I explained, was using a word invented by the great Jackie Gleason. He also invented “whoa, that’s good squishy.”
He did? What else?
So many things, child. So many. (Yes, I know. It’s Bart Simpson’s reworking of the classic phrase, and I use it around Gnat whenever anything’s tasty. Somehow quoting the original – mmm, that’s good booze – does not seem appropriate.)
So that’s my day. Cold, but not bad; crisp and sunny. Tomorrow will have a thousand duties, and I hope to assemble a nice Christmas page for Friday, with a bleatcast (you can listen through your browser! No fancy equipment required) and some piquant ephemera. However, this means I must stop now and get back to work. As you may have noticed from the calendar below, I’m taking next week off. No bleat, no Quirk, no podcast, no site design, nothing. Big extravaganza coming tomorrow! See you then.
(Screedblog update, if so inclined; it's the column on the Hollywood folk discussing wiretaps. Hardly necessary, but I promised.)