Thursday, August 16, 2012

August Randutiae (Some Rather Cranky)

Every once in a while, I become overwhelmed by the crush of books I'm supposed to be reading (for research; as a favor for someone; because soon they'll be due back at the library; because everyone's telling me I should), and my soul revolts. I spend a week or so mulishly resisting reading anything at all. Then I skip over all the things I'm supposed to be reading and instead read whatever I damn well please. This is the reason I'm currently reading the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace.


My sister codename: Apocalyptica the Flimflammer recently instructed me to think about the derivation of the word "cantaloupe." I did and came up with "singing wolf," which delighted me, but I'm finding it hard to research the further derivation of the name. (I mean, in the 8 minutes I've devoted to it just now. ^_^) According to my OED, Cantaluppi was the Italian town where cantaloupes were once famously grown, but why was the town called Cantaluppi? "Lupo" is the Italian for wolf, but according to Google Translate, "luppo" is the Italian for "development," so are cantaloupes named for singing wolves or singing developments? Both seem as if they could be rather delightful. And the arrival of singing wolves would, in most places, be something of a development. Anyway, I like thinking about it.


Komondor Westminster Dog Show crop
Photo taken by Flickr user whartonds.
Edit (cropped) by Pharaoh Hound.
(Image:Komondor Westminster Dog
Show.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://],
via Wikimedia Commons
I enjoyed the Olympics, but often wished I could've watched them with specific portions of the commentary muted. God, certain NBC announcers. The commentary for the equestrian events was much, much less insipid than a lot of the rest, thank goodness, but I would just like to mention that during the show jumping portion (where style is irrelevant to a rider's score) one of the announcers kept going on about what an appalling thing it is, while you're on a horse flying through the air over fences, if your tie should come loose from your jacket and start flapping around. Or when you've made the dreadful choice to wear your hair in a ponytail instead of a bun, and it flaps around. Flapping! The horror! I started to wish one of those fine athletes would ride onto the course dressed as a Komondor dog (see photo) with a balloon tied to his/her horse's tail, then barrel flappily around the course with no mistakes, no rails down, in the allotted time, for a perfect score. Of course, I am not very classy, and this particular sport is nothing if not classy. Emphasis on class; Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Phillips and Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdullah Al Saud were among the Olympic equestrian competitors. Ironically, I believe Komondors are also considered to be classy, in the correct circumstances. Surely everything has its correct place.



Returning to cataloupes, I love the Tanglefoot song "Loup Garou" (French for "werewolf"). "Running through the shadows of the forest in the full moon / In the middle of the night / With his eyes full of fire and his teeth so blood-bright..." You can hear a sample if you click on the link, scroll down to "The Music in the Wood," and click on the little music button next to "Loup Garou." I dare you not to howl.