Caspar Milquetoast was in such despair over the ignoble shamelessness of leaders (whether CEOs or heads of state) who spouted tired platitudes about sacrifice and greatness that they believed in not one whit, who boasted of their love for humanity while grinding their heels into the faces of the poor, and who vaunted over brief recoveries that were in fact dead cat bounces, that he shucked his previous responsible social position in what was a sort of ecdysis of disgust and joined a hermitage of Buddhist monks in British Columbia.
When Sherlock Holmes presented a narrative based on his observations, Watson would initially think it a cock and bull story, designed to flaunt the detective's supposed brilliance; then, when he turned out to be right, even about the future actions of a criminal, Watson would be in awe of what seemed to him veritable vaticination; and, at last, as Holmes explained his processes of thought, the mystery would fall away as though through some process of ecdysis, and Watson would say that what had seemed a Banbury tale was perfectly plain, once explained, and even obvious---a result that never failed to annoy Holmes, who occasionally got his revenge on his old friend by tormenting him with little piskies such as short-sheeting his bed or putting salt in the sugar bowl.
Portnoy Windemere, who had inherited his family’s wealth at the age of five, had found no satisfaction in the mining and attendant habitat-destruction that was the source of his wealth, leaving all his businesses to the management of others, and by the age of thirty was already such a victim of Weltschmerz that he traveled wanly through the world, weary of everything he saw before he had scarcely seen it, believing in the greed but not the goodness of other people, and it was not until he became curious about the request of one of his managers to partner with a children’s charity that he even looked into the processing of the various metals his mines produced, at which point exploring his molybdenum interests created in him such a change of heart that he devoted the rest of his life to the non-profit manufacture of moly cows by his own radiopharmaceutical companies and the better organization with hospitals of distribution networks for these generators, his activities drawing him further into cancer charities and into closer contact with patients themselves, leading to still more munificent ventures in supporting every stage of patient need from diagnosis to burial, so that in his own last years he said that becoming involved with his charities had caused a kind of ecdysis in him, where he had shed his gloominess of spirit as a blue crab sheds its outgrown shell.
It was only when we were having a comfortable coze before the fire that the mysterious Mr. Rochester, in a retrospective mood, explained how it was that his late wife, always the gadfly to his tormented psyche, at last succeeded in burning down the house, this event being the cause of his poor sight, his scarred face, and his ungainly, limping gait.
When trainer Henry McDaniel bought the racehorse Exterminator, the tall lanky gelding looked such a rosinante---he was nicknamed "Old Bones" and "the Hatrack"---that his new owner was convinced McDaniel's stated belief in the horse's potential was just a lot of blarney, and he ordered that "that goat" be used merely to train his horse Sun Briar for the Kentucky Derby; his plan being scuppered when Sun Briar developed ringbone, it was Exterminator who ran the Derby: coming in like an understudy on opening night, and in heavy rain and mud, Exterminator began at the back, but at the last turn made a wedge through the other horses, won by a length, and went on to one of the longest and greatest careers in Thoroughbred racing, eventually retiring to finish his last couple of decades in comfortable meadows, with pony companions who were always named Peanuts. (Exterminator, 1915-1945, 99 starts and 50 wins)
Harry Potter was eating a wedge of Swiss cheese when a person riding a bony rosinante blarneyed Harry with a story about how poor he was, so Harry gave him enough money to get a new horse, but that scuppered his plans for buying more cheese.
There was an old man who wanted to o be a soldier and used a lot of blarney about defeating great armies of people to get a horse from the king, but the soldier picked out a rosinante so bony and old that the horse could hardly carry him; that scuppered his plan, putting a wedge in his future as a brave soldier.
Sam Spade wasn't one of those old-fashioned hidebound detectives worried about maintaining a reputation for scrupulously following the letter of the law, and so it was that he found himself, at his apartment at seven o'clock in the morning, sharing a makeshift breakfast with Brigid O'Shaughnessy, Joel Cairo, and Casper Gutman, with Gutman's soon-to-be-former bodyguard, the gunsel Wilmer, shivering on the couch nearby; used to deskfasts in his office, Spade didn't mind impromptu early-morning meals, but it was a little much watching the Fat Man ingurgitate most of the pantry stores, and Sam hoped Effie would arrive soon with the Black Bird.
It is typical of fanatical bardolators that they are intractable about allowing a single word of Shakespeare's sacred text to be changed, although words may be omitted; rather than have the Bard's language modernized, they would prefer even Hamlet's soliloquy to be reduced to null content, and rather than suffer the notorious 18th-Century happy ending to "Romeo and Juliet," they would much prefer that a bolide hurting from the sky exploded over the theater, ending the world instead.
Dr. Milquetoast sometimes wished that whatever pepper-uppers the Magical Exploding Unicorns consumed before class had been left untouched, because---between their hyperactive fidgeting and their persiflage, which ranged over every imaginable digression and irrelevant remark---the actual practice of writing was often reduced to a festinate few minutes at the end of class, with no time for revision; Dr. Milquetoast was perpetually unable to decide whether this state of affairs was unique to Millennial classrooms, or had always been part of the general lacrimae rerum of teaching teenagers.
Peculiar ingredients have always been an element of quack leechdom, from the head of a mad dog immolated to make an ashy cure for cancer to the relief for arthritis held to be found in copper bracelets, used for a while and then later found, tarnished with verdigris, in a drawer; yet our shock when these strange remedies don't work never changes, and our cries of frustration echo down the ages, from "Forsooth!" to "WTF!"
A limerick-rhymester named Bix Felt the need for a flow of spondulicks; Mythomania, it is sad, Was a talent he had, And he zombied-out swindling hicks.
The confident young stockbrokers who hung out together at Highsmith's Wine Bar, mostly for the purpose of picking up women, had developed their technique to the point that they executed their routine with a Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance precision, while their friend Caspar Milquetoast was such a complete poltroon that--while able to talk to ordinary women--he was rendered speechless in the presence of an eyesome blonde, a toothsome brunette, a lissome redhead, and any other female of that ilk.
There was a fever of anticipation when it was announced that a previously unpublished Sherlock Holmes story had been discovered, but there was a marked defervescence when it became known that the story was an account of Holmes' latter-day hobby of beekeeping, mixed with his contemplations about death: the idea of combining beey adventures with thanatological reflections left the public so cold that they opted instead for a variorum edition of "A Scandal in Bohemia" that included annotations and commentary by five scholars, a sequel by Neil Gaiman, and three graphic novel adaptations.
It was the week the Web appeared to become the compere of some strange fashion show: some said #TheDress was black and royal blue, while others--per contra--insisted it was white and a butyraceous shade of gold; meanwhile, experts on perception, optical illusions, and the biology of seeing pontificated across the more respectable online journals, memes multiplied like lovesick tribbles, Facebook divided itself among the obsessed and the indifferent, Twitter tittered, and the internet well nigh imploded.
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