Sunday, June 22, 2008

And By Request . . .

It is not my intention to bore you to tears with old eBay listings, but I've had a special request to post this one, which will probably be the last one shown here. It is mercifully brief.

    This is an ultra-rare, 12 1/2 inch, wood and metal, high performance, low maintenance, Hillbilly chain saw in MINT condition!

    The ingenuity of the design is just overwhelming.
    • Unique protective safety design - no sharp edges! It's childproof!
    • Practically no maintenance required! (And look how easy it is to change the spark plug!)
    • The latest wrist-driven precision angle adjustment capabilities!
    • Lightweight in the extreme - 9 1/2 ounces!
    • Can be spelled either way - chainsaw or chain saw!
    • Environmentally friendly - no pollution!
For this one I got . . . nothing. I wound up sending it to someone who enjoyed the listing and lives in the sticks. I am told it was a big hit with the local kids, one of whom borrowed it for "Show and Tell."

Just to demonstrate that one of these posts can start anywhere and wind up anywhere else, I'm going to hijack the subject.

In the chainsaw description, note the exclamation points, which I *very* rarely use. I hold with William F. Buckley Jr.'s expressed opinion, which was (roughly) that they should be used only when the writer has been recently disemboweled. But I did want to pretend to be a salesman trying for the "hard sell."

Exclamation points are also called exclamation marks and are called screamers or bangs in typesetting, and bangs by programmers.

Now exclamation points are not the only characters which have acquired their own pseudonyms in different industries. The asterisk, for example, is often called "splat." (Picture a cartoon character who has fallen a few thousand feet onto a roadway.)

For those of you who are programmers, and even for those of you who are not (although the former will enjoy this more, I think), here's an amusing poem:

< > ! * ' ' #
^ " ` $ $ -
! * = @ $ _
% * < > ~ # 4
& [ ] . . /

And here's the translation:

Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash,
Bang splat equal at dollar underscore,
Percent splat waka waka tilde number four,
Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash,
Vertical bar curly bracket comma comma CRASH!

Very clever, no? It was written by Fred Bremmer and Steve Kroese, Calvin College & Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Which brings to mind a clever limerick, author unknown:

If inside a circle a line
Hits the center and goes spine to spine
And the line’s length is d
The circumference will be
d times 3.14159

Thank you for indulging me.

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