Farfetched? Moi?

Well yeah, this little post is in fact far-fetched, As it were. And how!
These three odd phrases in English have,curiously enough, exact word-for-word equivalents in Hebrew; a fact I found comfortingly silly. The question is of course which language led off with the annointment of, for example, ‘and how!’ to the post of emphatic stress-maker. Similarly m,y neighbor’s wife just introduced herself as ‘Galore‘, adding that I’ll probably ‘never remember the name’. Ha, I’ll never forget it; the name’s got memorabilia galore. And how!

Ok, now to the far-fetchedness I promised.


Yes, that was the curt dialogue between this year’s Song & Art Contest-host Dr Abraham Fleischer, a surgeon who’d made malpractice what it is today, a bumbler probably better at being a sturgeon than his chosen profession, and one of his ‘victims’, who’d entered the contest under an alias and with vengeance in his heart.
Chester Omani did indeed have a solid ‘causus belli’, his son having had a testicle mangled and eventually removed following a botched hernia(!) operation in ’73. At the hands of the un-repentant Fleischer. And so posing as ‘Chester Arthur Allen’, he filled out the paperwork and entered the Contest.
The Rules:
This may be the place to quickly explain how the competion worked. Each contestant was given a piece of chalk, an eraser and four (4) minutes at the big blackboard to draw a convincing image or diagram which Fleisher chose from a prepared list of suggestions submitted by the panel of 7 judges, art critics mainly, who scored the success or failure of the entrant’s efforts in real time by majority vote.
Music? Yes, one of the novelties which has made this contest interesting for going on thirteen years now, is the ‘Name that tune’ part, done simultaneously with the drawing. The rules are that if the contestant names two correctly, he/she can select a song to then accompany his remaining alloted time. Correct choices are added to the points total. And of course the unlucky soul with a temporary mental block will thus suffer listening to ‘Wipeout’ for example, while nervously trying to draw ‘Girl with a Watering Can’ or ‘The Solar System’.

Ok back to the Contest. Archive footage of this year’s event circulating on the net clearly show Fleisher, up until that point cool and confident attempting to conceal his shock upon seeing Chester mount the stage. Fidgeting with his lists, he chose the most obscure entry he could find: the failed ‘Triple Helix’ conjecture for the structure of DNA posited by an unknown italian biochemist who predated Watson and Crick’s largely correct model. Oscar Carlo Leonardo, for his efforts, is these days a historical footnote a Wiki stub. Sadly, since he almost got it right.
And so finally, the magic moment.

Chester appears to think deeply for less than five seconds, as I watched the playback, and surprisingly, no one in the audience seems to have responded to the insult ‘ONE NUT’
Our hero wasted no time drawing the helix, amino acids carefully laddering their way up the diagram. And better yet, he effortless named the first tune( ‘White Bird’ from the ancient ‘Fever Tree’ album of the 60s,) followed by ‘Tchaikovsky, 4th symphony, 3rd movement’. The judges were already convinced they had a winner when Chester turned to the DJ and said, as if pre-arranged :” Play that song Sam. You know the one.” (This three-second interchange played a crucial part in the subsequent trial with Samuel Leder, the DJ named as an accomplice by prosecution, while maintaining in his defence that he just thought of the remark as a humorous aside.)
At any rate it was shortly after the opening bars of Dinah Washington’s exquisite rendering of Noel Coward’s ‘Mad about the Boy’ that Chester said, haughtily:
Fleischer seemed to understand the significance of the title.

But whatever thoughts he may have had ended abruptly. Three bullets from Chester’s 9 mm handgun struck him at almost point-blank range. One to the head one to the heart and one for good measure, a bullseye between the legs.

Words have power, Dear Reader. Backwards or forwards.
Do listen to the tune here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STTLwI-u4Fg


18 thoughts on “Farfetched? Moi?

  1. dimebone

    In German, far-fetched is “weit hergeholt,” an identical idea. But in French we have “tiré par les cheveux” i.e. pulled by the hair. This is clearly a preferable expression.

    It has always bothered me that Chester A. Arthur could have made a forward reference to Noel Coward. Thanks for finally clearing it up.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Yes I’d heard that the late ex-president foretold everything from Homer Simpson’s ‘Duh’oh!’ to the Arab spring… or spring-loaded bomb-vest.
      Fascinating how languages decide on expressions. Thanks for your comment, John, on what I thought was a tale even a wag could love.

      1. whyzat

        I first heard the expression, “it’s jake with me,” in an old movie. Carol Lombard spoke the line, so it was a REAL oldie. I thought it sounded cool, but didn’t hear it again until a couple of years ago, when a TV show character used it. I still think it’s cool, but I don’s use it because I’m not sure anyone would understand. Y’now the look you get when you use an obscure word….I’m certain you’ve seen it!

  2. ordinarybutloud

    turns out that DNA is totally different backwards…it matters which way the helix “spins.” That’s what they tell me, anyway.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Yes, you are correct. Both Levi Strauss and Dr Calvin Klein in their research on genes found an attractive ‘AND’ tendency on trials with backwards DNA.
      Oh and ‘Mad about the boy’ by coincidence was popularized greatly by Dinah Washington’s version used as the music-under in a famous jeans commercial. Thanks for the synchronicity pointer, dear one:)

      1. solberg73 Post author

        Oh and if I might… a question: What if anything need I do in order to get substantive feedback on my stories? I’m dying to know whether they are clear and convincing or conversely, full of gaffes and errors which I am too close to see. On this one I did arm-wrestle a bit with ‘past/present’ tense, but other than that I see it as a small success. Perhaps in your (non-existent) free time.. Or is the only route the perilous process of submitting to editors?
        Not too long ago, before I decided to try to write I was safely on-stage, where the (perceived) value of my music was instantly transformed into smiles or frowns. Oh and chicks coveting my DNA. Or not.
        Writing seems to be in contrast a lonely endeavour. The parallel with pissing into the sea has not escaped me.
        But seriously, nu, what’d you think about the tale. I’m tough so ‘Both interesting and original however…” won’t spiral me into a depression. I simply value your opinion and proven insight and craft/ JS

  3. somewittyhandle

    I must quickly point out with ethnographic pride that “galore” is a gaelic word, meaning “much” or “very”.

    One idiomatic confusion I had in Israel was the phrase (forgive the romano-phonetic spelling) “xetsi-ti-fook” which appeared to mean “half a fuck.” This was presented as something which was worse than no fuck. This chimed badly with my own sentiments, as an 18-year-old, acne-blighted virgin. It seemed to me that half would be better than nothing…

  4. solberg73 Post author

    As usual, you just saved me hours of investigative work bro. Wondering whether a ‘gala’ is also Gaelic.
    As to slang, I’m thinking the phrase you heard was the common ‘Hetzi da-fook’. ‘Half-screwed-up. (lit: half banged-upon) It’s applied, with atypical understatement probably from the British era to ‘all things damaged dented, rendered non-functional. .
    And I agree with you that second base is at a certain age, a perfectly acceptable outcome when a home run is not in the cards..
    Oh, and listen to the tune. It’s been running through my head now for days. One could certainly do worse than Coward for excellent lyrics and intuitive musical treatment.

  5. eleanorio

    I apologize for being late to the party. I was away all weekend without access to the interwebs except through my Kindle, which is not exactly state-of-the-art for surfing, so I just checked my email and little else. In answer to your question: I don’t get it. But I will listen to the song.

  6. Roadkill Spatula

    Yay, Solberg posted again! I haven’t been on much in recent weeks, and missed this post.

    I read somewhere that DNA is often pictured spiraling in the wrong direction, even on scientific websites.

    The word ‘galore’ reminds me of a Sean Connery movie (Goldfinger, according to youtube) in which one of the characters is Pussy Galore. I think this was when the P-term was still at least a little bit ambiguous.

    I have little to add to your post. The issue of transliterated expressions is fascinating to me; sometimes they work, sometimes they’re baffling, and sometimes the meaning is totally different or opposite. I’m writing a series of brief articles on “false friends” for an internal publication for my agency. Maybe someday I’ll rework the material to post over here.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      I often throw my fate in the hands of subconscious mental contributions Freudian slips and that sort of ‘hail mary punting. {Re: making sense}
      Ok guy, the REALLY BIG news is that it finally dawned on me who I’m reading.In the first one or two sentences of your soul-grabbing writing, the constructions of phrases designed to ‘get-it-across’ beyond any silly stylistic conceits….
      Yeah, that was enough to knock me off my working theory about the site name: that it was by an Aaron Burr fan wearing a worsted shirt(?)
      At any rate, just spent over an hour I won’t get back, and won’t ask for either, reading your every word. To my taste, the roll you are on (and this includes your consummate review of Gravity’s Rainbow, which left me by comparison feeling like an intellectual door-knob) has only quickened its rpms.
      So glad to discover you, in short.
      I did notice that you disabled comments(?) I may have to comment here: your posts fairly compel a reaction,
      CYA around Bro

      1. somewittyhandle

        I am grateful to Herr Solberg for the recommendation to look at the bursted material. Yoni is never wrong. I have not yet worked out who bursted was on xanga, but he writes like the issue of an inappropriate liaison between Charles Bukowski and Mother Theresa. Candour and compassion; Gutter and stars.

  7. bursted

    Mr Solberg, Your welcoming response and kind words shine an uncommon warmth into my world. I have missed our interactions more than most. If only you were also a hot chick living relatively nearby, it would complete me. Seriously though (if such a state as serious is truly possible) thanks so much. I am so very pleased to reacquaint myself with you, first among all great Xanga refugees. I rechecked my comments settings and made some changes. Not sure why there’s no prompts on the home page (blogroll) – maybe it’s the theme to which I have tailored my artwork – but if you click through to any individual blog entry I see the prompt there. Thank you and Peace.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      My pleasure! Finding you again and the continuing thread of a saga has made my last 2 days more richly memorable. I’ll not be a stranger…/ JS


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