October 03, 2013
Contrariwise, liberals don’t at all mind harming people who violate their dogmas; and how many of these perps in the Atlanta Schools cheating scandal do you think self-identify as conservative?
Beats the band. Here’s a wee linguistic curiosity. In Chapter 36 of Gone with the Wind Scarlett is struggling to run a business in post-Civil War Atlanta. Rhett Butler walks in on her and they talk, to a point where she thinks he’s offering her financial assistance. She says she doesn’t want his money. Rhett: “Oh, don’t you! Your palm is itching to beat the band this minute….”
That rang a bell. The boastful Sergeant Major in Ernest Longstaffe’s song“one of my dad’s favorites”says:
When I’m here on parade in the square
How the folks passing by turn and stare,
For they say “This beats the band;
The way he handles the men is grand!”
The song dates from 1925; GWTW from 1936; so around those years people in the Anglosphere were saying “beats the band” to suggest something intense or superlative. In West Virginia it’s still current, apparently. Why have I never heard anyone say it? Would a Southern gent in the 1860s have said it?
Smart mice. When the pressure’s on, natural selection works awfully fast. An acquaintance who”d driven a lot around the old Soviet Union in the 1960s, when there weren”t many cars there, told me that in country districts a motorist left a trail of dead birds behind him. The birds didn”t know to get out of the way. Now they”ve learned; or rather, the ones who have whatever it takes for a bird to be automobile-wary survived and passed on the trait while the others died.
The same thing’s happening in my house. A mouse has been nibbling my wife’s stored food packages, leaving telltale little droppings in the vicinity. She went to the hardware store and got a box of glue traps.
Now there are glue traps everywhere in the kitchen and basement. The mouse laughs at them. He’s still nibbling and pooping but is skillfully avoiding the traps. It’s like those Soviet birds or antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Nature is just one humongous arms race.