Quite without kangaroos

By David Grima | Dec 22, 2019

An item in the Gloucester, Mass. Daily Times, citing the Boston Globe as its source, prods a Rockland mystery that I hadn’t heard of:

“There's a bit of a lens mystery afoot up in Maine. According to a story in the Boston Globe, the Fresnel lens that operated in the Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, Maine, from 1835 to 1971, mysteriously vanished in 1974 from its last station of duty — the pier at the Rockland Coast Guard Station. Now officials at the Marshall Point Lighthouse and Museum have returned to the hunt.

“’It is believed the lens may still be in the Rockland, Maine, vicinity,’ the museum said in a release. ‘Anyone with information that may help to locate the lens, which is United States Cost Guard property, please contact United States Coast Guard Curator, Arlyn Danielson at A.S.Danielson@uscg.mil or Nat Lyon, curator at the Marshall Point Lighthouse and Museum at nlyon.maine@gmail.com. No questions will be asked.’

* * * * *

I see it is not just Republican politicians who run away when reporters try to ask them questions. Apparently when he was on the campaign trail recently, British Prime Minister Boris “BoJo” Johnson was approached by representatives of the BBC, and escaped into a walk-in refrigerator until they had left.

You couldn’t make this stuff up. Nobody would believe you.

* * * * *

I received an e-mail from the South End Tomato Lady the other day, but did not actually read it until I was at the city library.

This is on account of the fact that there is no Internet in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live. The terrifying truth is, there is no technology available to me at all in the towers that dates much later than 1968.

(My son once pointed out to me that, even when we lived together in a house, everything in it was made during the 20th century. Of course, that included him.)

The e-mail message, when I finally read it days later, politely mentioned that my car alarm had been hooting at annoying intervals all afternoon. I had no idea, mostly because I wasn’t even in town that day.

Sorry about that.

* * * * *

A bit amused to read the column in last week’s paper from a so-called young person who was all a flutter that she, and other young people, have discovered a rude name to call older people.

Heaven knows what makes them think they are the first generation to notice that people born before them are all older than they are. There is evidence to suggest that people actually discovered this alarming fact rather a long time ago.

What is this horrifying nickname that modern youth think is sure to put us old fogies in our proper place? Well, if you read last week’s paper, you would already know.

I feel obliged to point out, however, that the word in question is in fact an Australian nickname for kangaroos.

I have known this since I was small, when (speaking of the BBC) a Christmas Day television broadcast included a song by Rolf Harris (an Australian entertainer later disgraced for criminal behavior) about “Six White Boomers” that assist Father Christmas in the pulling of his sleigh “on his Australian run”.

It wasn’t much of a song, actually. I thought so even then.

* * * * *

Speaking of young people, there is also some kind of itinerant 16-year-old Swede currently roaming the globe, also expressing disgust at older people because we are not fixing climate change.

Boy, wouldn’t it be superbly ironic if we oldies all get coal in our stockings this Christmas, for our sins? (I mean, we could all get together to burn it in a big pile and thereby make things even worse.)

This Swedish youth’s name is Greta Thunberg, but the interesting thing about her name is that it is not pronounced the way we Anglophones might think it is at all, because the wily Swedes have their own unique rules about how letters are supposed to sound.

Her first name is pronounced something much closer to our word “greater”. And that’s the easy part, because her last name has about three syllables.

The “th” sound in Swedish is more like a simple “t” in English, for starters. For us, the letters “thun” sound as though they should resemble the first sound in our word “thunder” but it is nothing like that in wily Swedish. It is closer to “tyoon”. The last syllable is the most difficult of all, and I listened to it several times without ever being absolutely certain I had understood it.

The whole of this young Swedish person’s name actually sounds (to me at least) something close to Greater Tyoon-berry. You can ask Mr. Google to pronounce it for you.

Oh well.

* * * * *

Saw a man vaping near the cakes display in Hannaford, a week or two ago. He seemed a bit furtive about it, but I shouldn’t worry too much.

He probably has terminal lung rot by now, poor fellow.

* * * * *

Former school board member Don Robishaw was seen impersonating Santa at a popular downtown establishment last Wednesday, although he was quite without kangaroos.

He was doing rather a good job, but in case any young person might have been uncertain why he was wearing a red suit and white whiskers, he wore a stick-on name tag that read “Santa”.

The comment was made during the event that, had he worn the Santa suit for the city council election debate, he might actually have been elected.

Luckily he got away with it, and was not.

But have you seen the new guy lately, the one who did get elected?

It seems to me he has already begun to develop the terrified stare that eventually remolds the faces of all newly elected public officials, once the thrill is somewhat faded and they begin realize that they have to show up for every wretched meeting, and as they slowly grasp the horrifying fact that nothing they can do will make any difference in the long run.

Oh well.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at davidgrima@ymail.com.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Dec 23, 2019 17:20

Love your tongue and cheek!  Merry Christmas David, you tickle my funny bone !

Mary 'Mickey" (Brown) McKeever +:0).....


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