Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

Ode To Ogden Nash

My last post ended with an open question: Who is Ogden Nash? His name came up in one of the lines in the poem that was featured in that post : “…Rugged individualists trying to mimic Ogden Nash, the only difference being: he traded words for cash…”.

The Department of Rugged Individualists, consisting primarily of me and Spencer (a stuffed plush seal) hates leaving alert readers dangling, so as threatened, I’ll give you the scoop on Ogden Nash. But first, another poem:

If he weren’t stuffed with foam,
Spencer would be denser.

OK, Nash was an American poet and ardent Baltimore Colts fan, known for his unconventional rhyming schemes. I’m about to quote here from a tribute article written by Alvin Kreb after Mr. Nash’s demise in 1971.

I know what you’re thinking though, so I’ll make it easy for you; Kreb had nothing to do with the infamous Krebs Cycle.

Infamous Krebs Cycle featuring detailed instructions about cheese-making

Anyway, back to the quote from the Alvin Kreb article: “Much of his (Nash’s) reputation was based on his long, straggling lines of wildly irregular length, often capped with extravagantly misspelled words to create weird rhymes, but they were lines that, on close examination, revealed a carefully thought‐out metrical scheme and a kind of relentless logic.”

This is great. I would be flattered if someone used phrases and adjectives like “wildly irregular, weird and carefully thought-out” to describe some of the b.s. I write.

Here are several Ogden Nash poems:

The Cow
The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo; the other, milk.

The Octopus
Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus;
If I were thou, I’d call me Us.

Reflections on Ice Breaking
Is dandy
But liquor
Is quicker

You thought Dorothy Parker wrote that, didn’t you? SHE DIDN’T. She wrote this:

News Item
Men seldom make passes
At girls who wear glasses

And here’s one more thing about Nash. He was also described as “an apparently gentle, somewhat bewildered man”. If he were alive today, I’m guessing that he might be somewhat appalled and bewildered by what the researchers at the University of Richmond-wherever that is- are up to. They have been teaching rats to drive small electric vehicles.

Rats inspecting electric vehicle and following the old adage: “Sniff before you buy”.

It took the rats about two hours, spread over eight weeks, to get the hang of navigating around their enclosures by gripping one of three different wires strung inside their transparent control pods (mounted on the frames of toy robot cars), completing various electric circuits in order to go right, left or forward.

Note that these rats had learning curves shorter than many other species including parrots, giant sloths and human teenagers. Note also that there is probably room to mount small Tesla coils on the fronts of these types of vehicles.

small Tesla coil suitable for mounting on ROV (rat-operated vehicle)

By the way, Tesla coils have the charming ability to generate high-voltage, high- frequency electric discharges or plasmas. I built the small one pictured above from a kit my son gave me for Christmas. Kids these days. What are they thinking?

Anyway, I have nothing against rats. They have already spread over most of the world except for the province of Alberta, the continent of Antarctica and El Puig, a small town in Spain, famous for a once-yearly festival where the citizens chuck frozen (dead) rats at each other. So I don’t feel bad about giving rats any additional mobility.

Especially since there was a situation down in South Florida that needed attention. Due to unseasonably cold temperatures, immobile, hypothermic iguanas were everywhere: dropping out of trees, littering driveways and generally causing grown men to run away screaming in terror, like a horde of Justin Trudeaus abandoning Ottawa at the first sign of potential confrontations with irate voters.

hypothermic Florida iguana

I think that we should have assembled a bunch of pint-sized rat-operated vehicles with pint-sized Tesla coils projecting out of their front bumpers like pint-sized high-tech jousting lances. We should have equipped some rats with foil helmets, fired them into the vehicles and sent the whole kit and kaboodle in a convoy down to South Florida to resuscitate the iguanas.

Tesla coil with small plasma discharge at the ready

But we were too late. As I write this, the temperature in Coral Gables, Florida is 69 degrees Fahrenheit. The iguanas are warm and ugly as ever.

I believe Dave Barry’s neighbor would have thanked us though.

Note: Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist and author who lives In Coral Gables, Florida. I don’t think he has a pet iguana.


Dave Barry fan and Medical Director at Rocky Mountain Analytical