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I lost an hour this weekend and now it's Monday

It’s Monday. Crocuses are in bloom, and, ominously, I saw yesterday that the grass is starting to grow again. Here are a couple of amusements to distract you from the coming onslaught.

Your word of the week is bastinado

Your joke of the week involves violins (but is not a viola joke).

Posted by John McIntyre at 8:54 AM | | Comments (3)


Amati, Guarnari, Stradivari............ clearly the 'Cremona' rose to the top (Groan!) as this trio of stellar classic Italian violin-crafting families vied for ultimate dominance in the highly competitive 17th and 18th century 'fiddle' market, within mere city blocks of one another.

So much for that old adage re/ a potentially thriving commercial street trade...... "It all comes down to location, location, location." (Who knows. Maybe one of these legendary violin makers had a corner locale? Not that maximizing location foot traffic was such a big deal in that era for the decidedly niche, high-end violin trade. Not too many folk would be out on a casual stroll shopping for a musical instrument whose purchase price ran up into the tens-of- thousands of dollars (lira). Just sayin')

Prof. McI., as your joke illustrates, the self-confident Stradivaris brought the Cremona violin fabricators' striving for excellence down to the basic 'street level'. Ultimate bragging rights clearly came down to who made the best instruments "on the block" the Stradivari clan eyes, and as history would play out, the rest of the music world would discover, soon enough, that, inarguably, the Strad would rise to the pinnacle of closest-to-perfectly-crafted violins on 'la strada', and ultimately around the globe. Today, the Strad's reputation is legendary. (Hope i didn't offend too many Amati and Guarnari aficionados out there. Don't get your G-strings all in a twist. HA!)



Left out a key word in my last post........"in".

The line should read "IN the Stradivari clan eyes", after "on the block".

Perhaps a picky point, but sans the "in" in the sentence, it makes little sense.


Hmm..... "bastinado", indeed.

Admittedly had to look that one up in ye olde dictionary, but kind of suspected a Spanish, or Italian root origin. Turns out it's Spanish (Sp.).
(At first i thought it might be a new addition to the 'gumba' "Jersey Shore" reality show cast, but not being capitalized, quick tossed out that notion. HA!)

It's derivation could likely date as far back as the dreaded 15th century Spanish Inquisition when all forms of heinous bodily torture, and physical abuse, from being stretched out buck-naked on the rack, to immolation at the stake, were perpetrated upon the 'unbelievers' by the Tribunal de Santo Oficio, instituted by the clearly xenophobic Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella around mid-century, when, not surprisingly, the population of crypto Jews suddenly rose exponentially. (Crypto Jews being those Sephardic Jews who took on the public facade of being Catholic to basically save their hides, but in secret ardently clung to their Jewish faith.)

Being beaten on the bared soles of ones feet w/ a stick, although painful, seems almost a mere trifle, relative to other forms of corporal punishment, back in the day. Just sayin'.


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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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