Of Pogues and Pranks

I just found out an amusing fact about old Shane MacGowan, the brilliant songsmith who founded one of Celtic rock’s most celebrated bands and is somehow still with us after years of reckless merriment, spirits having literally preserved him.

Another influential musician (albeit in a different genre) recounted something from his youth in England that involved the mischievous Mr. MacGowan:

At my previous school in London I was good friends with Shane. He and I used to sit together in the back row of English Lit. He was extremely smart.

On one occasion during a boring reading of some classic novel or other, the teacher spotted me and Shane nattering. He singled me out saying something like, “What figure of speech is ‘indubitably’… Robertson?”

Shane whispered under his breath: “It’s an onanism.”

Ha. “IT’S AN ONANISM, SIR!” I blurted out.

Deadly pause.

“Robertson, please come up to the front of the class, take down the OED and read out to the class the definition of the word onanism.”

Which I did. Much to the delight of Shane and the rest of the class.

This little gem was recalled by one Thomas Morgan Robertson, who was famously blinded in 1982 (by something other than incessant onanism).

 

 

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Keep the hope alive

by Anam

Been a long hard week. All around the college where I work as a benefits coordinator, programs are out of funding for the summer. Financial aid is strained to the breaking point by the influx of new students. Students come flooding in for vocational training designed to switch them out of their now-defunct line of work.

Worker retraining can pay for tuition, but not books. What program offers to pay for childcare? Can I qualify for financial aid if I worked most of last year? I have to stay in school to keep my food stamps; who has grant money? I field a dozen phone calls a day from students trying to find a way out of the current economic situation.

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