DAILY BRIEFING
The Pause That Googles

Mar. 4 - Change is hell. I'm still trying to figure out what to do about this jumbled wreck of a site and the integration of my blog into the overall mess, but there's no reason I can't at least rehash old material while I stagger toward some decisions.

First I'm going to try a little googleskew. This brilliant blog is my favorite expatriate blog written by an American in Denmark who happens to be an expectant father.

(I posted the story of my first Danish test on the blog yesterday, if you're interested.)

Just want to be sure Google notices the damn blog. Sorry.

* * *

A friendly reader wrote yesterday and told me the first thing he remembers reading on the site was my open letter to a big fat idiot. He wanted to see it again, he said, but couldn't find it in the archives. I couldn't either. But with a little diligence I did find it, here, and as part of the discovery process I learned that I've Googlewhacked the literal phrase "open letter to a big fat idiot."

(A Googlewhack, for those who may fear it has something to do with percussive injuries, is a Google search returning only one result. They're hard to come by, so they help with the net cred. It's hard to get net cred with a domain name like "JustMorons," so I'm inclined to take it wher I can get it.)

Maybe that link and these paltry paragraphs will help me work my way up the Google results for non-literal searches on open letter to a big fat idiot.

I'm guessing I've got other Googlewhacks going for me, but most of them probably involve the words moron, denmark, drunk, gout, hungover, waitangi, or variations thereof. That seems like cheating.

Here's an interesting exercise you can try at home. If you could choose a three- or four-word phrase that would inevitably point Google searchers to you and you alone, what would it be? Here are some suggestions to get you started:

gorgeous magnificent genius
superfluous human flotsam
vindictive maniacal villain
stunning busty nymphomaniac cheerleader
heroic masculine hetero stud
average lethargic flatulent klutz

Bonus: ask yourself how you would feel if, through no fault of your own, you found out that the number one Google result for a search on moronic babe was referring to you. Would you consider that grounds for divorce?

If so, please keep your distance from the DMG. She thought it was "fun," she said—in a tone that suggested her verdict wasn't necessarily final.

Old Stuff Writ New

This year's Shrove Tuesday has come and gone. If you recall, I wrote a lot about the various Danish Shrovetide traditions (extortion, larceny, etc). In all the excitement, however, I forgot to browse the moronic archives for my own notes on Shrovetide from years past.

Shrove Tuesday fell on March 4 in 2003, so when I flipped back to look up March 4 in the archives, there it was.

And here it is:

The name "Shrovetide" is derived from the ancient practice of Roman Catholic priests "shroving" their parishioners in preparation for forty days of privation. Both practices—the shroving and the period of privation it prepared for—were borrowed from the Eastern Orthodox church. Hence the name "Lent."

The period of Lent is intended to commemorate the forty days and nights Jesus spent in the wilderness after John gave him a swirly in the River Jordan.

We know very little of Jesus' activities while he was in the wilderness. In fact, compounding all the evidence from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the full extent of our knowledge is that Jesus didn't eat for forty days. That's nearly six weeks. They tell us he went nearly six weeks without eating, then add that "he was hungry."

Sometimes Biblical intepretation is pretty straightforward stuff.

Unfortunately for Jesus, Carnival had not yet been invented. Carnival is a tradition that evolved out of Lent during the middle ages, when people decided that if they were really going to be abstinent for forty days (the period from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday), then at least they were going to get roaring drunk beforehand. As a result, the French began calling Shrove Tuesday "Fat Tuesday." Or, in English, "Mardi Gras."

The citizens of New Orleans, under French rule for most of the 1700s, did an especially good job of eating and drinking to excess on Mardi Gras. As their territory passed first to Spanish and ultimately U.S. stewardship, each new government did their best to stamp out the festivities. This ensured that the fabulous celebrations would become a tradition. Mardi Gras became synonymous with balls and parades.

Wealthy citizens had the biggest balls. The waterfront balls were always full of seamen. Radicals were known for their infamous red balls, while nature lovers had unappealing green balls. Barbers had hairy balls. The prisons had macabre hanging balls. Women were discouraged from having balls of their own, but there was no shortage of wealthy men willing to pay women to hold their balls.

And so on.

Eventually the double-entendres got old. There was more to Mardi Gras than balls. There were also parades that became more and more fantastic each year, with spectacular gaudy floats from which scantily clad women tossed strings of beads out to the adoring crowds.

Because of their religious significance, these came to be known as Venerable Beads, and they remain quite popular in Britain.

Shroving is still a popular recreation in parts of western Europe.

The Moron's Index
Bean Counter: 15 weeks + 6 days
Days as a (Mostly) Non-Smoker: 18
Days Until I'm 39: 11
Years Until the Bean Enters College: 18
Est. Cost of 4-Year Degree in 2022 (USD): 500,000
Current Amount in Savings Account (USD): 0
Current Amount in Retirement Fund (USD): 0
Cost of Danish University Education (DKK): 0

Anyone want to guess where the Bean's going to college?

Dagens Ord (The Word of the Day)
Meningsløs. Pointless, as in "Det bloggish var meningsløst" ("that bloggish was pointless").

Knute Rockne would have been 116 today. Antonio Vivaldi would have been 326.

Today is also Discovery Day in Guam and Carnival in Switzerland.

Happy Thursday!

© 2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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