Adventures in Etymology: The Spinach Scones at Crudely’s Pub & Breakfast

The bite of the brown recluse spider is upsetting, if not sometimes
fatal to deadly, to some so toxic to such an umteenth and darkly
chimerical degree that this arachnidal prick–even at dosages too tiny
to see with the proverbial or empirical naked eye–oh my, well, it can
blot your anatomical/spiritual sun (and we all know there is no way to
halt any eclipse), an event or bite, yes, that could ruin your whole
day, as THEY say, which perforce reminds me:  
That once and former colleague of mine from the entomology flank of the
Department of Biology at The College of William & Flossy, Dr.
Dabney F. Posthlewaite, describes his experience as a missionary–or was
it mercenary–(oh, whatâs the real difference) in equatorial Africa in
the 50s during a mid-day, total solar eclipse: “It seems–I know not
seems, madam–that as the eclipse began, the natives ran about shouting,
bellowing, and beating upon their drums, rattling rain sticks, pinching
their wives and children (who then wailed, gnashed, and cried out),
generally raising what we blush to call ‘holy hell’ during the entire
astronomical extravaganza.  Post chaos, we explained to them the
phenomenon in simple scientific terms, paraphrasing copiously from a
recent article in Scientific American.  
Such riotous behavior, we told them, was quite uncalled for because the
sun was bound, by natural law and thus God’s law, to reappear.  They
respectfully rejected our analysis and optimism, citing countless
examples from their oral history which showed that every time they beat
their drums and rioted when the sun disappeared as it had, the sun then
slowly reappeared.  Several of my comrades, exasperated at this classic
fallacy of false cause (post hoc, ergo propter hoc)–yet unable to
counter the savages’ primitive illogic–secretly suggested that we just
‘poison all of the bloody, pagan bastards and move on.’  We did not.  
But we did radio for an airplane and some extra Bibles, that we might
leave their aboriginal souls to take a course unfettered, into the arms
of the Lord." 


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