Nicholas Dollak's Liked Comments

I read that when P.L. Travers finally gave Walt Disney permission to adapt "Mary Poppins" for the screen, she also gave him permission to call her "P.L." rather than "Mrs. Travers." "Please, call me 'P.L.'" she said.

Sometime later, she visited the States to see how production was coming along. She was appalled at how far Walt had strayed from her vision of Mary Poppins. When he arrived and greeted her with, "Hello, P.L.!", she coldly replied, "Please, call me 'Mrs. Travers.'"
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The phrase "Make it so," to my knowledge, is part of Britain's Royal Naval tradition. The occasional tar-heel who also enjoyed ST:TNG was delighted to hear Picard utter that line. Most of the rest of the Trekkers & Trekkies, though, tended to assume it was created for the series.

These would be a thoughtful gift for a ship's cook, though, as well as for one's favorite Trekker with a culinary bent...
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The "Americar" sounds like really awful New York to me. (Actually, most New Yorkers I've encountered are actually from various European countries; the "typical" accents must be endemic to smaller neighborhoods without much influx from outside.)

The "A"s spoken through the nose are very New Jersey; I just cringe every time I hear that!

I caught some very "round" "O"s that sound very Wisconsin or Minnesota. Since my parents are from Milwaukee, I grew up with a slight Midwestern accent despite having lived my whole life in New Jersey (I do an excellent Mr. Rogers impression). I NEVER say my "A"s through my nose! My students often assume that I must, therefore, be Canadian. If I lived in Wisconsin, students there would assume otherwise, since they'd actually know some Canadian accents (and they'd probably perceive me as a surprisingly intelligible New Jerseyan, assuming they had any idea of New Jersey accents).

Anyway, Miss Grace's "American" accent is difficult to pin down to one specific location, just as mine is. She could easily fool most Brits with it, I think, and probably many United Statesians --- but nobody would be able to hear her and say, "Hey, you must be from Minnesota, enso?" because it contains elements from widely disparate regions.

I love when an occasional student feels they've mastered "the" British accent (oh, there's just one?) and decide to try to trick the entire class into thinking that they're actually British and have been using "the" American accent (oh, there's just one?) all this time. When it's really time to get back to work and they won't let it rest, I'll pop their bubble by saying, "British, ay? What's the last letter of the alphabet?"

In the immortal words of Sgt. Bilko, "Don't think of it as losing; think of it as a learning experience."
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Ajolote are an example of an "intermediate" phase between lizards and snakes. Modern snakes are descended from at least one type of lizard, which initially found the loss of first back, then the remaining front, legs to be advantageous when burrowing. Although snakes later subdivided into many more varieties, some of which do not burrow, the legs do not seem to have returned. (There were several legless prehistoric reptiles that superficially resembled snakes, but which are extinct.)

On a less technical note, it sure is cute! So's the unrelated amphibian axolotl (with the nearly identically-pronounced name).
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Re: the Biddenden Maids - Nobody really knows if the twins existed or exactly how they were configured. However, they would not have resembled their popular image in any event. In conjoined twins and autosite/parasites, the connection is always axial --- that is, they are joined at the torso or head. They might share a limb, but the connection starts at the torso. There would not be a shoulder connection like we see here, with a separation below, followed by a connection at the hip. The gap would be filled with tissue, anything from skin to ribs and internal organs.

The image of the Biddenden Maids might be a stylized representation. Or, more likely, it began as a bit of folk art depicting two sisters or friends walking with their arms on each others' shoulders; the story of the conjoined twins possibly came into being later as a response to the odd-looking folk design.
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Among Dubyuh's many gaffes is the classic line from the unveiling of his official portrait: "I'd like to thank y'all for comin' to my public hangin'."

Had Mark Twain said it, it would have been the pinnacle of wit. But Dub had zero idea how his words came across. As the guy in "Spinal Tap" puts it, "There's a fine line between genius and stupid."
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I second #6 (ted) re: #3 (kraka). Although cultural mores are also a factor, it varies with the individual and his/her situation. Some Americans, to be sure, are callous about the whole thing --- but you can find people like that anywhere. I was born and raised here in the USA and every breakup I suffered was horribly painful and miserable. The most recent breakup (a little over a year ago, after a 16-year engagement and 4 marriage attempts) was the only mutual one; I told her I'd had enough of her delaying & excuses, and her "runaway bride" stunt was the last straw. She felt sad, but knew it was her own fault... and felt a little relieved.

However, even though I had permission to take the day off for my honeymoon, I decided to go in to work. At least I could have a sympathetic ear, listen to other people's breakup stories... and it sure beat sitting around all alone on my honeymoon.
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While I can't confirm or deny the authenticity of the song, I'm not at all surprised. Little Wolferl (diminutive of "Wolfgang") was notorious for making grossly inappropriate jokes, had a habit of spontaneously spouting strings of rhyming words (usually vulgar), and didn't care a fig who overheard him. Wonderful musician, amazing composer... but not someone you'd want to have at your party unless everyone was quite drunk.

Then again, we're not sure exactly HOW vulgar this sort of thing was at the time it was written. It certainly was considered vulgar, but it may have been thought of as no more "shocking" than something Bart Simpson would say would sound to our ears. I say this because a good deal of the "naughtiness" of the 18th Century was suppressed in 19th Century histories (which treated Mozart as a well-behaved musical genius and made little or no mention of his bizarre behavior), so we have a rather "sanitized" view of the past. Also, the song "Yankee Doodle," well-known to all American schoolchildren, is really a very raunchy song that basically says, "The soldiers of the Continental Army are a bunch of sissies who are so ugly they have to masturbate ("yankee doodle") because the ladies won't go near them. Also, Thomas Jefferson is a dandified fop who thinks his "macaroni" is such a great invention..." The song became popular in the Colonies immediately (despite the fact that it was intended as an insult), and was sung by children after the Revolutionary War was over. My guess is that it was not to be sung in mixed company, and that it was felt there was no harm in young children singing it, because they wouldn't know what the slangs meant. As with many slang terms, these fell into disuse, and it wasn't long before even strait-laced schoolmarms were teaching the song to their pupils, with no idea how raunchy the song was. (If only they knew what it meant!)
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Cool! I know of another famous "death by bookcase". Composer Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) was a concert pianist who became a recluse (like the non-paralyzed Collyer brother). When he wasn't playing for a few close friends or composing, he studied the Kabbalah (a book of Hassidic Jewish mysticism). One day he climbed a stepladder to reach a book about the Kabbalah that he kept on the top shelf of a bookcase. Humidity had caused the books to swell, and he tugged and tugged to free the weighty tome, ultimately pulling the bookcase away from the wall...

I always found it ironic that he died a decidedly "smushed by the Hand of God"-style death while searching for God.
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  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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