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Gormenghast

July 4th, 2001 - 4:50 a.m.

I'm Currently Avoiding:

Today,

July 4 is ........ National Country Music Day and Tom Sawence-Painting Day (Yikes! Um, don't like the first, don't have the slightest idea who or what the 2nd is. Okay, the paintings of Tom Sawence, but who's that?)

Well, I said a time or two ago that I'd talk about Gormenghast. Who doesn't know anything about Gormenghast? (The majority of the voyeurs raise their hands.) Anyway, Gormenghast was a 2-part movie put on by PBS last week. It is also a triliogy or so of books by Mervyn Peake (I had to look up the name. Damn people). Okay, so I don't know how much I have to say about this story, but it's been compared with some really good sci-fi/fantasy stuff. We're not talking any old writer, but Lord of the Rings and Dune quality here. Anyway, this is taking forever to write...I really need to start sticking with the short entries so that these words will quit piling up in my inbox and making me feel all guilty for not using them. Sooo...yeah. Gormenghast is supposed to be kick-ass. The only thing I got out of the entire movie was that everyone in Gormenghast except for maybe Titus, was nuttier than a fruitcake. Fifty cards short of a full deck, a few (hundred) bricks short of a wall, a few baskets short of a bushel, off their rocker, and generally messed up in the head. You know, crazier than 5 mental hospitals, 4 nut farms, 3 booby hatches, 2 macadamia ranches and 1 inbred bedlumite in a coconut tree.

But it was still entertaining in a way to see them. I think the main problem with most of the nutso characters was that they were too obsessed with one particular thing. The old Earl was obsessed with his books, the twins were obsessed with regaining power and things they'd never really had, Prunesquallor's sister was obsessed with getting a man, the Queen was obsessed with Mr. Chalk her bird and her white cats, and the villian of the piece, whatever his name was (and people were constantly getting it wrong so I should know this....oh! Steerpike?), well, I think he was obsessed with a lot of things. Power, Lady Fuscia, manipulating and killing anyone who stood in his way, lots of things.

They did do a wonderful job with the setting and such though. The imagery was very good and quite appropriate for the novel and things, even though I've never read the damn thing. Anyway, even though it didn't make a whole lot of sense, it made more sense then Dune did and I liked it, so there.

Hmmm...well, looks like it's time for another huge word list. People should read my diary just for the Literati words...

Lots of Words You Probably Won't Read

parlous (adj. POWER-lust)

: full of danger or risk : hazardous

Parlous is both a synonym and a derivative of perilous; it came to be as an alteration of perilous in Middle English. (Perilous is derived from the Old French perilleus, which ultimately comes from the Latin word for danger, periculum.) Both words are documented in use from at least the 14th century, but by the 17th century parlous had slipped from common use and was considered more or less archaic. It experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 20th century (although some critics still regarded it as an archaic affectation), and today it appears in fairly common use, often modifying state or times.

pelagic (adj. puh-LEIGE-ik)

: of, relating to, living, or occurring in the open sea : oceanic

Pelagic comes to us from Greek, via Latin. The Greek word pelagikos became pelagicus in Latin and then pelagic in English. (Pelagikos is derived from pelagos, the Greek word for sea, plus the adjectival suffix -ikos.) Pelagic was first used in print in approximately 1656; a definition from that time says that Pelagick means "of the Sea, or that liveth in the Sea." Nearly 350 years later, writers are still using pelagic with much the same meaning, albeit less frequently than its more familiar synonym oceanic.

dudgeon (n. DUHN-jun)

: a fit or state of indignation

Dudgeon is today most often used in the phrase "in high dudgeon" (which in turn sometimes gives rise to playful variations such as middling dudgeon, intermediate dudgeon, towering dudgeon, lofty dudgeon, and so on). It's a mystery where the expression came from, however. (Conjectures as to a connection to a Welsh word, dygen, meaning malice, have no basis.) There does not appear to be any connection whatever to the very old dudgeon -- a now obsolete term once used for a dagger or a kind of wood out of which dagger handles were made. But since at least 1573 curmudgeons and others have expressed their indignation with dudgeon.

Hmm...the moon, which is about to set, if it hasn't already, is full and was orange. Why does the moon turn colors? What's that about? Huh, huh? Oh, and also, why are police more likely to pull you over and give you a speeding ticket or whatever if you have a red car? Is it something along the same lines as waving a red flag in front of a bull? And I guess this is going to be the Fourth of July entry. Hmm. Maybe I'll have something to say about that later. Of course, later with me lately has generally turned into next week or so at the rate I'm writing these things.



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