The Daily Growler Discovers the Use of a New Word
I'm sometimes the laziest SOB on earth, a title I proudly guard. But writing a blog is tough sledding, gutsy like running a marathon. You get driven to the point that you start writing instinctually. If you are a real writer and not a stupid dilettante, you HAVE to write just like you have to sleep and have to eat and have to do the double-backed beast as often as possible. But writing will drive you either to drink or babbling insanity, depending on your drive. Being the laziest man on earth and also a driven writer, I work so hard I exhaust myself so that I can be lazy naturally with the writing bug captured in the burning bright silvery ash of my La Rosa cigar or in the six-pack of Tecate beer I have cooling in the fridge. When I finish those cooling out tools, the laziness is superseded by a flare to write again; to write again until exhaustion again, until the next time I can be the laziest SOB on earth.
I popped into languagehat last week ( www.languagehat.com ) and l. hat entitled that day's entry as "Varia." The word struck me first as a woman's name. Varia. Sure, Maria. But Varia? I couldn't think of any woman named Varia; I liked it; I played the game like, "if I had a daughter, I'd name her Varia." But I knew it wasn't a woman's name. l. hat started off by saying he needed a little time off so he was gonna just give us a little moment of Varia. Aha! I lorded about the manor. "Varia" had something to do with "variety." The spice of life, right? On my first day in a freshman World History class in college, the prof entered the classroom, stood at his podium, twirled his moustache, looked up and said, "About the best thing I will teach you in this whole course that we are about to begin is 'Variety is the spice of life.' Class dismissed." Oh how history became so easy after I seasoned it with a little spice of life. Varia...variety...and finally, I thought to look it up in my Merriam Webster's Collegiate dictionary and I just loved what I found: "varia npl (1926) : MISCELLANY : esp : a literary miscellany." The perfect word for me to ponder lazily over, maybe while sipping on a scotch, the way Hemingway drank his scotch: you put a Manhattan glass of good scotch in the freezer of your fridge. You let it freeze; the water in the scotch will turn to ice and then you simply tilt the glass up to your thristy lips and you let the lovely pure cold mountain spring-like flowing of that smokey alcohol come sippingly slow and cold and straight over a slight oval rim of ice straight into your gullet ice cold and soothing as a lazy hell. Hay caramba, the varia! We should have a feria varia.
Have you noticed how lazy I'm being? Have you noticed I'm not writing? I'm so damn lazy and this word varia's got me so relaxed--see, this is literary miscellany. It's easy as hell to write; it's as though I'm writing floating flat on my back in a jacaranda-spiked swimming pool at old Las Brisas Hotel high above Acapulco Bay. Wow, I hear steel guitars hula-ing in a bathing beauty way down on a lazy, crazy, hazy day of summer beach in spring while the varia have driven me to the dictionary. I'm 'laxing in the pool of words called Merriam Webster's Collegiate dictionary. My eyes wander up two entries, skipping over the prefixes vari- and vario- (as in variometer) to the delightful word, vara n [AmerSp. fr Span., pole, fr L., forked pole, fr fem of varas bent, bow-legged (1831) : a Texas unit of length equal to 33.33 inches (84.66 centimeters).
I once existed in Texas and I was reared by pioneer single-parent leather-hide Texian ladies and I never remember hearing the word "vara" used or defined. Looks like a lady's name to me. "If I had a daughter, I'd name her Vara."
I'm now mucho borocho on laziness; I'm stumbling up a word and damn, my scotch has suddenly turned to pulque and I'm throwing it back with a vaquero npl -ros [Sp -------more at BUCKEROO] (1826) : HERDSMAN, COWBOY, and I certainly have known my share of buckeroos (Roy Rogers, Howdy Doody), herdsmen ("The Swinging Shepherd Blues" by Moe Kaufman), cowboys (Roy Rogers, Howdy Doody, Casey Tibbs, Gene Autry, Will Rogers, Texas Jim Robertson, Tex Ritter--I got cowboys comin' out mah ass.
I tried to travel up a few more words but most of them were vaporous, vapory, vaporish, vaporing, vaporetto, vapor----------on up to vapidity. Which is where I am right now, in a vapidity--lazed out. Passing out.
Dean Martin was approached just after he'd finished his third show of the night at the Sands out in Vegas way back when. He was sitting backstage drinking straight scotch, his eyes hooded, his head drooped. A reporter approached and asked, "Mr. Martin, do you ever sleep?" Martin looked up over his glass and crooned, "Fortunately, I pass out a lot." That's the next step in having lazed around in the dictionary for a breve momento...
I have passed out.
for The Daily Growler
The Daily Growler Quote of the Day
Herman Melville on cats: "[on seeing a 'big black spectral cat sitting erect in his Typee doorway'] I am one of those unfortunate persons to whom the sight of these animals is at any time an insufferable annoyance." from Typee
Watch a television show called, "The 6th Extinction" I saw it on PBS. It's scary. It's all about how China's need for meat and soybeans is burning off and destroying the Brazilian rain forests. Brazil's ruined land from soybean growing--the rain forest floor is only thinly fertile; after several crops of soybeans, the land is ruined for growing soybeans, is then used to run scrawny beeves onto the going barren land, half-dead animals they send to Europe and the good ole USA where there's a heavy demand for steaks. China then goes to the oldest grasslands in the world, a top-of-the-world ancient valley in the highlands of Central Africa, a totally unspoiled wildflower orgy of speckling and sparkling myriads of colors wavering in the gentle ancient breezes. What now? China is paying big bucks for beef and soybeans and the ancient Africa cattle herders, like the Watusi, are running their cattle onto this fat and anciently healthy grassland. Now, China has no food production, their lands are already dried out from their overgrowing soybeans to meet the huge, billion-folk demand for pork, beef, and birdmeat. The Chinese are craving meat at such a demand, the China meat producers can't meet the need, thus the contaminating of Brazil and the Central African grasslands. Hey, it is leading to the 6th Extinction--which will include the extinction of homo sapiens.
The Daily Growler apologizes for the "We got linked!" screw up; we tried to link to the blog that linked us, but the URL just doesn't "translate" right, so to hell with it. The blog is called wood's lot--and you can Google that and it will come up. Go look at this blog. It's amazing. Today they lead with a cool quote from Wittgenstein. Lot's of art and photos of artists and writers--a long quote from Henry Miller's Air-Conditioned Nightmare, a book that surely should be in The Daily Growler a la Oprah Book Club--returning soon.