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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: November ::
Re: Velvet; Diet; Sharp as; Multimedia Prod; Buying
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0885.  Thursday, 3 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Victor Gallerano <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Nov 1994 11:49:55 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0854 Gummed Velvet
 
(2)     From:   Luc Borot <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 1 Nov 1994 20:07:43 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0874  Re: Diet and Size
 
(3)     From:   Lee Jacobus <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 02 Nov 94 15:34:04 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0857  Q: Sharp as a Pen
 
(4)     From:   Mathew J. Schwartz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 2 Nov 1994 18:12:37 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Multimedia Shakespeare
 
(5)     From:   Joyce Crim <
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        Date:   Thursday, 3 Nov 1994 22:43:14 -0600
        Subj:   Buying the Farm
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Victor Gallerano <
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Date:           Tuesday, 1 Nov 1994 11:49:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0854 Gummed Velvet
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0854 Gummed Velvet
 
Julian Hirsh,
 
This comment from Andrew Lytle (_The Hero With The Private Parts_ 1966 LSU
Press) may fill-out the gloss of <gummed velvet>:
 
"At a certain moment the buck, out of the mystery of instinct, rubs the velvet
off against the tree, and then he is ready for the rutting season.  The velvet
grows about the feminine end of the horn, and it bleeds as it is rubbed away."
(186)
 
It is the raw-rubbed and bloody flesh at the root of the horn that attracts
flies.  Moreover, the tatters don't hang from the tines, rather it is the blood
from the open wound at the base of the horn that coagulates to "gum-up" the
dead and otherwise loose "velvet" and make it hang in the buck's face and drive
him to distraction.  Lytle's note that this rubbing anticipates the rutting
season adds to the frantic condition. (I pass over the possible reference to
this state of things in the context: Ned Poins having just removed the Knight's
"mount.")
 
Lytle's essay is a comment on the writing of his novel, _The Velvet Horn_ which
I recommend to any and all who have the inclination to invest themselves in the
rich novels of the American South.  I have no doubt that Lytle has seen a fair
number of bucks in tatters, and probably had the fullest explication of that
condition from his own (and our?) Uncle Jack Cropleigh, the central
intelligence of his novel who is described thus: "...Jack, so full of flesh,
almost gross.  Going to bed drunk...made him seem so, for he was not gross.
Just full of flesh." But Uncle Jack, as full of the flesh as Sir John, has more
to say for himself, things that the old knight can't quite manage.  As my son
says, "Yo', man,  check it out."
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Luc Borot <
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Date:           Tuesday, 1 Nov 1994 20:07:43 +0100
Subject: 5.0874  Re: Diet and Size
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0874  Re: Diet and Size
 
Diet certainly is a factor in determining the average size of a people. The
case of the Japanese people is well known. As a former Judo fighter in the
early 1980s (after injury I am only an enthusiastic spectator now), I had the
priviledge of studying for a few weeks under Awazu Sensei (9th dan, red belt:
one notch below 10th dan, the highest rank ever given since the death of the
founding master, Kano Sensei, in 1960) then about 68, who was 5 ft tall (I'm 5
ft 5, if that means 1,63m); his assistants, both in their mid-twenties, were 6
ft tall, two weight categories apart (25 lbs or so), as one was very slim and
the other bulky. The lighter one said he seldom had an opportunity to train
with smaller people, whereas people 2 weight categories below him were just
under one foot smaller... and bulky for their size, like Awazu Sensei. The diet
of industrial Japan showed in those young athletes, as the small size of their
master testified of the poor diet on which people were brought up in the 1920s.
 
I am always surprised, when visiting a military museum (I'm thinking of the
Paris Armies' museum at the Hotel des Invalides) displaying suits of armour
from the 15th or 16th centuries: even those highly practiced and athletic
horsemen were small, perhaps smaller than me. You find some large suits of
armour, but the number of smaller suits in a collection is stunning.
 
For that reason, I tend to suspect that Elizabethans were not only nutcracking
during shows, but also small in average size because of their poor diet. They
may have been taller than the Breton or Provencal on the Continent for genetic
reasons, still valid today, but from generation to generation genetics is a
tendency, but diet seems to have an importance, otherwise the Japanese would
still be a small human group, which is no longer the case. Why are Americans
becoming fat? is it a matter of genetic mutation? Don't give me that!!! Fat
Japanese are fat for the same reason: lousy grub and too much TV, as my Grannie
would say. (second degree, or one-and a-halfth, folks, please: no flames).
 
        A table maintenant,
                                Luc
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lee Jacobus <
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Date:           Wednesday, 02 Nov 94 15:34:04 EST
Subject: 5.0857  Q: Sharp as a Pen
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0857  Q: Sharp as a Pen
 
Sharp as a pen probably refers to his having reformed a bit and his nose
returned to its original shape (imagine this for W. C. Fields, and you get the
"point").
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mathew J. Schwartz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 2 Nov 1994 18:12:37 -0500
Subject:        Re: Multimedia Shakespeare
 
Dear Sallie Cooper:
 
This past summer I saw a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in a park in
Goteborg, Sweden, which utilized a large white (video) projection screen.  The
screen was in place before the beginning of the show, lowered at the front of
covered bleachers, creating a dark box around the audience. The play began with
an image of Puck hanging by a noose from a tree, then the screen was lifted to
the identical image in real life.  Immediately afterwards, faeries ran out and
lowered Puck and they all ran off together. Sorry if that is sketchy.  The
screen worked quite well in the end, though.  After Theseus machine-guns the
other mortals and Puck is once again hoisted onto the tree, the screen lowers
to play the faeries' final words, followed by short clips of each cast member
holding their name on a piece of paper up to camera.  The screen didn't seem to
have some great ideological significance.  But it provided good closure and
kept the production fresh.  (At least for me, visually.  I can't speak *any*
Swedish.)
 
Mathew Schwartz
Cornell University

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(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joyce Crim <
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Date:           Thursday, 3 Nov 1994 22:43:14 -0600
Subject:        Buying the Farm
 
My friend Joan Hall, Associate Editor of the DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN REGIONAL
ENGLISH, kindly gave some information on "buying the farm." Because of Chris
Couche's recent question, I will post it:
 
According to the newly published RANDOM HOUSE DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN SLANG, by
Jonathan Lighter, the earliest citation for this particular phrase is from the
journal AMERICAN SPEECH, vol 30, p. 116, in 1955:
 
"Buy the farm; Buy a plot, v. phr. Crash fatally.  (Jet pilots say that when a
jet crashes on a farm the farmer usually sues the government for damages done
to his farm by the crash, and the amount demanded is always more than enough to
pay off the mortgage and then buy the farm outright. Since this type of crash
[i.e., in a jet fighter] is nearly always fatal to the pilot, the pilot pays
for the farm with his life.)"
 
However, the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY SUPPLEMENT shows that the basic phrase
"buy it" goes back to 1825 in the sense `to suffer a serious reverse; to get
into a finishing situation' (this definition is from the Random House dict, but
the quotes are from the OEDS).  And, in 1920, the phrase "buy it" meaning `to
be killed' appeared in W. Noble's WITH BRISTOL FIGHTER SQUADRON:
 
"The wings and fuselage, with fifty-three bullet holes, caused us to realize on
our return how near we had been to `buying it.'"
 
In 1954 the NEW YORK TIMES (Mar 7, p.20) listed, in a "Jet-flight glossary,"
the entry "Bought a plot:  Had a fatal crash."  Also in 1954, in P. Harvey's
JET (p.117) there is this sentence:  "Those jet jockeys just bought the shop,
didn't they?"
 
So while "buy the farm" is relatively recent and seems to be the phrase which
has stuck, the phrase "buy it" goes back quite a bit further.
 
_______________
Now, back to Shakespeare.....
Joyce Crim
 

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