The first dog I ever remember owning was called Mitzi, a gentle black Labrador-collie cross with long black silky-soft hair. I was even told that I had somehow named her myself, in a confused child's voice, perhaps intending to say something else, I'm really not sure. But whenever I hear Mitzi Gaynor (though her tresses were curly and blonde) singing "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair" from South Pacific, I find myself thinking about our old dog Mitzi with the wavy black hair. (Fun fact: Mitzi Gaynor was born Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber.) Mitzi (the dog) also indirectly taught me my first lesson in dirty words, censorship, and social niceties, and how, in a nutshell, context is everything. One time, at a tender age and family gathering, I was amusing myself by matching up the guests and and then switching the first letters of their names. Romeo and Juliet, Jomeo and Ruliet. That kind of thing. When I had gotten through all the people present and was down to the dogs, Mitzi and Sherry (the latter being a blameless little Pekingese belonging to my grandparents), a concerned female relative hastily drew me aside. Let's just say I stepped right into that one! Mitzi was a lovely pooch and I'm sorry to have sullied her sainted name. A name that still sounds to me sort of half German, half gibberish, half Gaynor. By the way, speaking of great canines, I just passed along my old dog-eared [!] college copy of Sirius by Olaf Stapledon (subtitled "a fantasy of love and discord") to a very worthy young reader I know. I am now eagerly awaiting his review of this 1944 British sci fi novel about the relationship between a girl named Plaxy and her beloved dog Sirius, a highly complex creature who had been conceived in a laboratory. So here's to Labs, labs, labels, labors, and pretty much all things labial and labile. There were ten cases of today's typo in OhioLINK this morning, and 229 in WorldCat.
(Olaf Stapledon, from Wikipedia.)
Monday, February 20, 2012
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