Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Confusing, Dang It! It Dang Confusing!

Greetings, strangers:

Yes, you be strangers. Strangers be you, yes. Because: Absent Crabmmomy am I. I am Crabmommy, absent.

Okay, enough piffly feeble attempts to write what I once called a palindrome. In my previous post, that is. Entitled "Hot Dang It, It Dang Hot!" And I called it a palindrome. And someone corrected me in the comments and pointed out that nay, a palindrome must incorporate not mere words mirrored back and forth in a phrase, but actual letters. Like "Hannah." Or "Lisa Bonet ate no basil."

And so I mea culpa'd. And blamed it all on heat stroke. Which seemed fair enough at the time, it being 106 degrees here in Portland, which is a typically anemic sort of place when it comes to hotness. or heat. Or whatever they call it. See? The woman who once dared called herself Grammarmama has gone mushy in the head. The warmth has penetrated the soggy tissues of my brain and cooked them up.

Thankfully my good friend Fall From Grace corrected my anonymous correcting poster, who corrected my use of "palindrome" and suggested instead that what I did with that dang title was an anagram. Which of course it wasn't. Or isn't.

But the question, my chums, regarding the previous post's title is, IS IT, while not (obviously) an anagram, a palindrome of any sort? At first glance, one would say, NO. Because the back and forth patterning isn't of letters, but of whole words. Which is sort of cheating, innit? But still, fun.

The question of whether I can actually get away with calling this half-baked mirroring a palindrome or not has been peeping away at the back of my mind all through the day, as I set upon my mighty intellectual tasks of packing small people's lunches, frolicking in public swimming pools (which they CLEARED, because of a purported sighting of a TURD, I might add).

Anyhoo. Back to the topic at hand: I went and did what any graduate of literature and language from a top-notch university would do. I went to Wikipedia. And this is what it says:

A palindrome is a word, phrase, number or other sequence of units that can be read the same way in either direction (the adjustment of punctuation and spaces between words is generally permitted). Composing literature in palindromes is an example of constrained writing.
And I deduced from this esteemed Wikipedian writer (and we all know these Wiki-writers need no pedigrees nor lofty graduate degrees, but anyway): my phrase isn't a palindrome...or is it?

Let's take another look. Because there is this nugget lodged in the Wiki entry that makes me feel justified in calling anything I do a palindrome. Check it:
The word "palindrome" was coined from Greek roots palin (πάλιν; "back") and dromos (δρóμος; "way, direction") by English writer Ben Jonson in the 1600s. The actual Greek phrase to describe the phenomenon is karkinikê epigrafê (καρκινική επιγραφή; crab inscription), or simply karkiniêoi (καρκινιήοι; crabs), alluding to the backward movement of crabs, like an inscription which can be read backwards.
In case my bolding was not enough for you, the point of the entry is to state, unequivocally, that the Crabmommy can use the dang word "palindrome" whenever she dang feels like it. Because whatever I do on this blog is, quite literally "the backward movement of crabs," given that everything I write is a reflection on time spent, a rumination, crabby in more ways than one.

And as for the actual back-and-forth of phrases, unless someone comes up with a real figure of speech for it, I will coin one myself: the "Crabmommy Palindrome" is any phrase that reads forwards and backwards in whole word parts, because the writer is too dim to conceive of an actual letter-for-letter palindrome, but wants to show off anyway.

Does that satisfy you all, my discerning literate readership?

Back to the turd in the pool: Seriously, when one has paid one's public pool fare to frolic with one's tot of a hot day, one does not appreciate being kicked out of said pool after only an hour and all because of some purported turd, which they combed the pool for with a net...and even the second pool (our one, the deeper one) was closed on account of this chimeric, supposed, probably-hearsay turd in the shallow pool. Could Americans be more serious? You should have seen the faces of the lifeguards as they shut the pool down! They even had special purple turd-catching gloves. TURD AHOY! Me, I say, meh. A storm in a teacup. Or, more accurately, a drop(ping) in the [heavily chlorinated] ocean, if you will. If it were really out there, it would have floated to the top. Then you catch it, dispense with it, and let the kids back in. Don't you? That's my personal preference. Mind, I am the mom who took her tot swimming in a sewage stream.


SamZed said...

Crabmommy, you are of course correct. You did indeed create a palindrome and I believe you have done it again. The technical term is "word-unit Palindrome" see http://www.fun-with-words.com/palin_explain.html for all you ever wanted to know about palindromes. I just read the sewer swimming incident - lovely! Where are you from in SA, I grew up in JHB, have been in Australia for 16 years.

mommyknows said...

You are nuts. Nuts are you.

tonypark said...

I commend to you, CM, the 80s movie Caddyshack, in which a svelte Bill Murray is the groundsman at a prestigious gold club.

One of his duties is turd fishing in the club pool.

I leave it to you to discover what he discovers and what he does with it.

Potty humour at its best.

God, we've missed you.

tonypark said...

golf club, even

kim @ mommyknows said...

Are you still alive and kicking? I'll settle for still alive. Give us a sign.

xo MK

janine said...

Was looking for online business degrees and found your blog instead. What a fun post.