Thursday, January 12, 2017

Noah, Captain of the Flood!

I've been working a bit on The Ghost and Miss Bloodraven this week, and also a bit on The Cephalopod That Befriended the Wind.  I've written the first two scenes on the former and actually have a plot for the latter, I think.  In any case, I'm trying to put a story or two together.  In the meantime, here's something that's asmused me lately:

My 365 days of the stupidest things ever said calendar tossed up this gem on Wednesday the 11th, 2017.  A remarkable sentence from Helen Huddleson, a posthumous book by Amanda McKittrick Ros (Anna McKitrick Ross or, in her later years, "Hannah Margaret Rogers").  Mrs. Ros published two novels in her lifetime (the first self-published, a gift from her husband that she talked him into) and two volumes of poetry whose titles probably tell you everything you need know:  Poems of Puncture and Fumes of Formation.  But it is not as a poetic rival to the great William Topaz McGonnagall  that Mrs. Ros is remembered, but as arguably the worst novelist in history.

Anyway, here's the gem from her third novel:

They reached Canada after a very pleasant trip across the useful pond that stimulates the backbone of commerce more than any other known element since Noah, captain of the flood, kicked the bucket.

This amazing sentence immediately raises several very pertinent questions:

A "useful pond" is a known element?  I had no idea.

"Stimulates the backbone of commerce" is an interesting phrase.  In what way does it stimulate the backbone?  Does it poke it and prod it?  That could be pretty annoying.

Captain of the Flood?  What military power granted Noah this title?

It's probably important to note that our "useful pond" is actually the Atlantic Ocean, something you might not realize from the sentence itself.  So perhaps it is the vast Atlantic Ocean which is a known element.

There is, of course, some kind of inference that water did not stimulate the economy during the flood.  This is a concept I can get behind.  Except the actual statement is that water (well, the useful pond in any case, which is of course the Atlantic Ocean) did not assume its role as king of the elements in the role of stimulating the economy (my bad -- stimulating the backbone of commerce) until after Noah died.  I guess before his death he used his powers as Captain of the Flood to suppress the natural powers of useful ponds/oceans to stimulate commercial backbones.

What I'm getting at here is that Noah, Captain of the Flood, was a supervillain with very broad and dangerous super powers.  His death was certainly celebrated as a victory for commerce.  And backbones.

By the way, Amanda McKinntrick Ros had many famous fans, among them Aldous Huxley, Mark Twain, Siegfried Sassoon, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien.  I'm kind of late to the party, but here's a very good article that delves into who she was and what she accomplished with her writing:

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