Moses and the Rio Olympics


Like a majorette and her baton, a mountain man, living in a remote, montane, thatch-roofed hut, often seen chewing cud, keeps a shotgun at his side. Apart from this being a brilliant literary conceit, it introduces, more or less painfully, the subject of long unkempt beards, touching ever–so-slightly upon the dark penumbra of guns and horrific violence.

Are you with me so far? Good. Let the narrative continue.

I sallied forth with my manservant Sancho Panza, past windmills and other distractions, to the nearest drugstore, whereupon I came to understand (and you should have seen the rictus of disappointment on Panza’s mouth ) that my favorite brand of disposable razors—Gillette, if you must know—was not to be found, and was directed by Elsa, a neurotic cryptologist who was apparently having trouble finding work in her chosen field, to try the Occam brand since it was, in her words, “as good as a mischievous cipher.”

That’s when my campaign of firebombing various drugstores began in earnest. This was indeed the simplest solution and consequently the most effective way to make a point (everyone is doing it these days.)  Incidentally the Occam razors were not all that bad after all, but it’s was the principle of the thing.

Now, a few words about the Rio Olympics. As a biblical scholar, I’d like to share some of my research with you. Most of you will know that Moses came down from the mount with a bunch of tablets purchased at a high altitude garage sale. Then, when taking the stationary home (they offered him a plastic bag, but environmentally conscious Moses refused), he tripped, a notable contretemps, on a coax cable (fiber-optic cables did not yet exist) and hurt his patella. But my research, using the latest spectroscopic analysis, demonstrates that there were eleven commandments—not the oft-quoted ten.  The last commandment was: Thou shall not take selfies–you can always look like a fool later.  Olympians, diplomats, please take notice.



  1. That eleventh commandment is in dispute, I fear, as there are several competing hypotheses about it. Ronald Reagan said it was: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” (this one doesn’t apply to non-republicans.) Jeffrey Archer said it was “Thou shalt not get caught”….my mother said it was :”Wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.” As Occam’s Razor cuts it for us, the most simple hypothesis is the best, so I leave you to decide which is most simple. But then, one who tilts at windmills, such as your grace, should not be expected to be scientific, should he….

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    • I wasn’t aware of all the speculation about the 11th commandment. Perhaps I should have divulged the others too, I mean 11 though 20. God only knows we need them. For instance, don’t text and drive is number 13. Another one, aimed mostly at Canadians is don’t eat your red Smarties last. Funny that God would write something like that.

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      • I won’t have any trouble obeying that one about the Smarties, even though I have some Canadian ancestors. As you and I discussed a long time ago, I have a penchant for Necco Wafers, and wafers, in certain circles, have a definite virtuous je ne sais quoi.

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      • Instead of gold, silver, and bronze medals for the Rio athletes, Necco Wafers should be awarded. I’ll bring it up at the next IOC meeting. Because, there’s only so much pleasure that can be extracted from metal disks or the tawdry ribbon they’re attached to, but the pleasure from Necco whatchamacallits is infinite.

        Do you know the Smarties jingle (originally composed by György Sándor Ligeti, if I’m not mistaken)? It’s so catchy. It may even have wafted over the Canadian border into Maine and other unsuspecting states, infecting minds with toe-tapping silliness.

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      • Yes, the jingle about eating the red ones last….and it is sung in Canadian commercials to an older tune I remember, one of our Campfire Girls camp songs, with different words: “Does The Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight?”

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      • “Does The Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight?” I’d recognize a good Stephen Sondheim lyric anywhere.

        But now we are digging deeply into the secrets of the chocolate business, the sort of historical perspective you can only get or fully appreciate by going directly to the source: Campfire Girls.

        I keep telling you this blog is educational. Why won’t you believe me?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do believe you, dear Prospero, I do believe…. Since I wrote that last comment I have discovered, through Barney Google and YouTube, that the song I mentioned goes back even further, to 1924. ( A year before even my own father was born.) and was originally called “Does the Spearmint lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight”….this blog of yours is conducive to education indeed… and so edifying!

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  2. One could only wish that “not coveting the neighbour’s wife” was the commandment that had fallen off during Moses’ notable contretemps. Secondly, I was in the fortunate position of not knowing that the Rio Olympics had begun until I read your posting. Thirdly, I’d love to take a selfie of me coveting the neighbour’s wife – but how do I turn my phone on?

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’ve got it! The theme for your new blog. Technology. You’re a natural.

      It could go something like this: every so often, not by any means regularly, you post, while pretending not to covet your neighbor’s wife, a review of the latest Samsung Galaxy release or firmware update.

      Fellas, Bruce isn’t too busy not coveting your wife to tell you how to operate your phone. I know the blog name is a little wordy, but it’s solid.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “and was directed by Elsa, a neurotic cryptologist who was apparently having trouble finding work in her chosen field, to try the Occam brand since it was, in her words, “as good as a mischievous cipher.”” – You’re sharp Prodpero, I’ll give you that! *laughs*.

    You’re writing feels incredibly unfettered, (Matty’s is practically levitating (these are all good things *waves at Matty if he’s floating about*), and being so reads like a huge adventure, even if you’re popping down the road for some razors. This is hugely entertaining. *nods* and when I have the time, and life slows it’s lace a tad, (probably in some far off retirement home of the future), I’ll read all of you. All of you I tell you!

    – esme tired but entertained upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

    • And speaking of the sailor boy, where is Captain Kidney these days?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been thinking the same. Hold fast and I’ll a search party out.

        – esme nodding and heading off upon the Cloud quick smart

        Liked by 1 person

  4. *pokes him with a stick to see if he moves*

    – esme the Cloudy one hoping all is well on the Island

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  5. Esme, Cynthia, my probation officer, and the lady at the doughnut shop who serves cold coffee:

    I’m sorry to have worried you. I’ve been quite busy lately and have also been working on a book (originally about flash fiction and now about the burlwood totems carved by the folks at Leavenworth pen, who were evidently unable to make ruby shoes out of wood srcaps ) which will soon be available for free (as part of my brilliant marketing strategy) on Amazon and Nook–whatever that is. The translations into the Bantu languages won’t be ready for quite some time, but this is the price one must pay for global reach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad it is just your assiduity as a litterateur and not some other disease which has recently taken hold of you. I have no truck with— nor have I ever been to— a Nook, but I am a Prime customer of Amazon so as soon as your oeuvre is hot off the press, I will be able to snap up a copy and have it int two days. ( I’m also glad you said “reach,” and not “outreach.”)
      By the way, I don’t think your probation officer will mind at all, once he hears what you’ve been up to; but let me know if you need me to put in a good word.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • You wouldn’t believe the red tape I had to unfurl, snip, discard (all quite enervating) to get into Leavenworth so that I could have a friendly chat with the boys. Apparently there were women there too, but I couldn’t tell the difference.

        Imagine talking to someone with a snake tattoo on his face, and that was just one of the guards.

        Some of the wood carvings were quite impressive, as these guy are pretty good with their hands, especially the safe crackers.

        One inmate, a former carjacker, now a plane-spotter–the trumped up ‘cannibal’ charges were dropped from his record as there was no supporting evidence, and the board felt he was being set-up after having hoarded all the thimbles in the sewing workshop–had a tear in his eye when I spoke to him–later he said I’d been standing on his foot.

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