Quick Takes.

Judge A Book By Its Cover.

Every year on or around April 1st there’s the International Edible Book Festival which I only learned about because one was held at the Vanderbilt University Library, which is close to where I work. Here are some of the entries from the event:

A popular theme was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. There were at least five entries based on it.

There were also some creative interpretations of the theme with items inspired by scenes from well-known books.

Or just loose interpretations.

And a lot of clever puns.

My favorites, though, were the ones that went for the most literal interpretation of the idea, creating works that were as readable as they were eatable.

Those last ones reminded me of a quote from Gargantua & Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais, translated by J.M. Cohen, that I have on the wall behind my monitor at work that always reminds me that you are what you read:

The philosophers, preachers, and doctors of your world feed you with fine words through the ears. Here we literally take our teachings orally, through the mouth. Therefore I do not say to you: Read this chapter, understand this gloss. What I say is: Taste this chapter, swallow this gloss. Once upon a time an ancient prophet of the Jewish nation swallowed a book and became a learned man to the teeth. Now you must immediately drink this, and you’ll be learned to the liver. Here, open your jaws.

That’s a literary equivalent of one spicy meatball.

It’s Always Brillig Somewhere.

So my wife gave me a literary tea collection because, well, I’m a bit of a reader, and by “bit of a reader” I mean I always have at least five or six books stacked up on my bedside table and a long list of books I wish I could get to, but that’s another story. Anyway I noticed a theme running through the collection.

This one might make me go blind.

This one might make me go bald.

This one might make me go bearded.

This one I can only drink when it’s brillig.

You may have noticed something else they all have in common, something which reminds me of Henry Ford’s statement, “You can have it in any color you like as long as it’s black.” He was referring, of course, to the Model Tea.

Barking Up The Wrong Phone.

The other day when I came home my dogs were barking, but taking my shoes off would have to wait because our real dogs were barking and needed to go out. They usually bark when I come home; I like to think this is because they’re excited and happy I’m home. Several years ago my wife and I went to see a stage production of 101 Dalmatians that featured some real Dalmatians, and also some actors in Dalmatian costumes. Instead of barking the actors would yell “HEY! HEY! HEY!” and this is what I often think our dogs are saying when they’re barking, although they’re also quite capable of intelligent conversation, but that’s another story.

Anyway I had a dog on a leash in one hand and my phone in the other and decided to send my wife a text to let her know I was home safe and sound. And because I’m a little goofy, especially after a day at work, I asked my phone to send her the message, “I’m home with the barking bow wows.” And this is the preview message that popped up:

Obviously this was my fault. I’ve given my phone a British accent and occasionally this causes some confusion. For instance when I’m dictating a message I can’t end a sentence with “period” or it will spell out the word “period”. I have to say “full stop”. So I tried again.

Again, obviously my fault. I think I stumbled as I was talking. Third time’s a charm.

Powerhouse was a short-lived television show produced by PBS in 1982 about a plucky little community center and the diverse young people who frequent it. It also ran on Nickelodeon back in the network’s early days, and the cast included a very young pre-SNL Ana Gasteyer. ” I was not yet ready to give up.

No clue where this came from, although “Powerhouse” is also the name of an instrumental composition used in many Warner Brothers cartoons. None of this has anything to do with the message I was trying to send, but, hey, that was a nice little diversion. I was determined, though, that persistence would pay off.

It would have to do.

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