Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rabid Rocky Raccoon

Sitting around US airports (better part of an hour's delay at LaGuardia on Monday, then another hour at Logan today) allows plenty of time to absorb the minutiae of the local Press. And, because of its size and distances, those regional papers (especially Malcolm's staple fare of the last fortnight: the Times, the Post, the WSJ) are exceptionally good. To that, he would now add the Boston Globe: slim, limited but worthy.

Then there is the one, curious attempt at a "national": USA Today. This is the best normally available in the average motel across the 48 States (quite whether it appears in AK or HI Malcolm has yet to ascertain). It is the the decaff equivalent of a real newspaper, news-lite and completely unopinionated. Like the worst Chinese meal, eat heartily, and you'll want something more substantial in twenty minutes. But it has one feature Malcolm finds irresistible: half-a-page of fifty-two items, one for each of the States, plus DC and Puerto Rico, and none (even the most horrific) longer than three short sentences. Individually, they are classic column fillers. Collectively they are a phantasmagorical kaleidoscope. There's always a laugh in there somewhere.

So Malcolm defies anyone, after several pints of Sam Adams Summer Ale, to read the following out aloud, without corpsing:
Colorado: Cheyenne Wells -- State health officials said a rabid cat and raccoon were found in Cheyenne County last week, and 11 rabid skunks have been found elsewhere this year. The rabid raccoon was the first in the state since 1963; the rabid cat the first since 1985. Officials said the cat and raccoon were infected by a skunk.
And that's the national news, folks.

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3 comments:

yourcousin said...

What the hell does corpsing mean?

Malcolm Redfellow said...

From wikipedia:

Corpsing is a theatrical slang term used to describe when an actor breaks character during a scene by laughing or by causing another cast member to laugh. Though the origin of the term is unknown, the term might refer to an actor "murdering" the scene. It could also be referring to actors trying to get attention when they are supposed to be lying dead on stage (this is in concurrence with the stereotype of the vain actor). In American comedy "corpsing" is more commonly known as "breaking face".

What is not appreciated is that stage-actors, in a long run, attempt "business" or mis-speaking to try and provoke others on stage to "corpse". In British courts the lawyers representing the opposing sides have been known to play a similar game. This may involve a bet to include as many references to an agreed irrelevant topic as possible, without being caught by the presiding Judge.

By the way, OAC: nice to hear from you. Great posting on Utah Phillips, too.

yourcousin said...

Thanks for that, just curious.

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