While walking, I was listening to Jasper Fforde's The Big Over Easy, and there were a few bits that made me laugh (or at least make some small, pleased noise). For example, the hero of the tale is Jack Spratt, a detective in the Nursery Crimes Division, and it is mentioned several times that Jack has something of a reputation as a "giant killer." When meeting him for the first time, a very tall man asks him about this ("by way of curiosity and self-preservation"), and Jack insists that he has only killed one true giant; "The other three were just tall." The tall man (Brown-Horrocks) replies thusly:
“To kill one giant might be regarded as a misfortune,” said Brown-Horrocks slowly. “To kill four looks very much like carelessness.”Ha! It's a slightly altered version of Lady Bracknell's famous quote from The Importance of Being Earnest! That's one of my favorite plays! And it's very appropriate for Fforde's sense of humor throughout his books.
While out walking (in the Elmwood neighborhood), I passed a funky little store (which I've always loved) called Sweet Dreams (which sells candy, as well as many cool and weird little unnecessary things), and I almost bought Shannon a pair of black socks with brightly colored Tetris pieces falling all over them, because they were so cool! (They looked quite a bit like these.) I really wanted them for myself, but they were men's socks, and I have tiny little childlike feet. I decided (correctly, as Shannon later verified) that Shannon doesn't care about socks, and so I didn't buy them. But they were neat!
And then, tonight, while Shannon was reading to me from Nine Princes in Amber, the word "dexter" (the common noun, not the proper) appeared, and I had this sudden realization:
- In its less common, kind of old-fashioned usage, the word "dexter" ("relating to or situated on the right") is the opposite of the word "sinister" ("of, relating to, or situated to the left or on the left side of something").
- The word "sinister" is now most commonly used to mean "singularly evil or productive of evil." Or, more precisely, the *appearance* of such.
- The sympathetic serial killer in the series "Dexter" is named (unsurprisingly) "Dexter."
- Therefore, if you look at it linguistically, Dexter (the character) is the opposite of sinister. This makes a lot of sense, since the character frequently talks about his efforts to fit in, appear normal, and not creep people out, with the result that he *seems* completely innocent, benign, friendly, etc.
Just as an aside, I've gotta say: I love Webster's dictionary, and I've been using the paper version constantly for decades, but the online version is like a pop-up nightmare. Even my Firefox pop-up blocker can't eradicate the dang-blasted things. It makes me very hesitant to use the site.
In less trivial news, Shannon's now pretty much done with his book for the moment. He's still messing with images, and there will be more edits in the future, but for now the push is over. He seems *much* more relaxed, and it's nice to see a bit more of him.
And now, as the meteorologists (so often misguided) accurately predicted, it is pouring rain outside. I have places to go tomorrow, and they involve walking miles and miles, so I'm making a prediction of my own: in the afternoon I will arrive at home soaking wet and have to change my socks, if nothing else. Now, if only I had Tetris socks to change into!
Note 1: This journal entry's title is a quote from the eminently quotable 1987 movie Roxanne. Suffice to say that the character was *supposed* to be talking about *words*, and I noticed that much of this entry was about words, so it made me think of the quote. Sometimes I write things just to amuse *myself*.
Note 2: This journal entry has been brought to you by the parenthesis mark. I think maybe -- just possibly -- I could have used a few more, but I'm not sure how I would have squeezed them in.