Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27th-Brought To You By the Letter 'X'

Xerxes the Great
"Hmm, I wonder...should I shave my beard and throw a couple of earrings in my cheeks
like that crazy bastard in the movie?"

"Hey, Betty?
How are you on spoons?"
    In doing research for today’s letter, I learned that the “xylophone” is an instrument for those with slightly more musical talent than needed for the triangle, tambourine, kazoo, spoons, or blocks of wood.

    Sure, I can hear you saying, “Oh, yeah, Al?  Well, what kind of instrument can you play, you’re so smart?”

    To them, I say, “Well, none.  Because I own an iPod.  And I like girls.”

    Besides, “xylophones” are frikkin’ boring.  I’m wanna talk about something a little more interesting.
Well, whaddya know?  It is a ship.
I musta been thinking about zebras.
Wait a minute, zebras aren't cows.
Aw, frik
    I rejected “xebecs” because they’re ships.  Or cows.  Whatever.  I don’t care.

    Likewise, I tossed out a discussion of “xenon” once I learned it was just an odorless gas and not a sexy warrior princess on the Sci-Fi channel.

    X-Men?  Done it.  X-Rays?  Too easy.  Xenophobia?  I like my followers from other countries.  In fact, I’m actually more of a xenophile.  Xu?  Word used in ScrabbleXi?  Ditto.

"We used all of our tiles on a triple word
off a double play from another word
for 325 points.
Next year? We talk to girls!"
    NOTE:  Did any of you ever think you would see Scrabble mentioned so many times as in the A-Z Challenge?

    Finally, I remembered a movie I watched on Easter when The Ten Commandments got so doggarned preachy.
"Crap! That Nefertiri babe is pretty hot.
But, nooooooo, I just had to go 

and marry Lily Munster!"
    NOTE:  Giving Scrabble a run for its money for the number of times I mention it in this Cecil B. De Mille classic telling of a Jewish event appropriated by Catholics.

   Sure to be a future Easter classic, 300 on TNT is the story of 300 (that’s where they get the title...duh) Spartans led by King Leonidas against the evil Persians of...uh...Persia.

    You know these crazy cats better as Iranians.
"Well, as long as we brought sunblock,
I guess we're good to go."

    For almost two hours, these brave warriors use sword, spear, and pectoral muscles against the very best the enemy could fling at them.  It’s only after the treachery of some guy who would make Michael Moore attractive that the Greeks are defeated.

    After I got over my initial disappointment that there was no nudity in this “Modified For Television” feature, I grew curious about Leonidas’ opponent, Xerxes.

"Oh, yeah? Cross me, you Persian faggot
and I will soooo eff you up!"
    Was he the most powerful individual in antiquity?  Did he hold sway over all the world, except for China, the Mafia, South America, the Eskimos, New Jersey, the Super Friends, George Soros, Batman, and Betty White?  Was he a raging flamer who showed an inordinate interest in Leonidas’s fighting prowess and loincloth?

    Since I’d been disappointed in Hollywood before (I really thought a man-and monkeys-could fly), I decided to do some digging.  Figuring a source which gave us dogs saying “I love you” and dancing babies couldn’t steer me wrong, I consulted the Internet.
Why brothers and sisters should never marry

    Xerxes the Great was born in 519 BC to Atossa and Darius the Great.  Both of his parents were descended from Achaemenes, but of different Achaemenid lines.  The source documents were pretty clear on that as they wanted to leave no doubt there was no incest hanky-panky going on.  After all, they weren’t Egyptians.  If those people wanted kids with feet growing out of their foreheads, that was their business.  But, the Persians played it on the up and up.

    Anyway, Darius knew that marrying a daughter of the great Cyrus the Great (but I’m being redundant) would certainly help his plan for kingship.  Plus, it would help his application to the Nineveh Country Club get approved.

    NOTE:  Apparently, the suffix “the Great” was a pretty big thing in ancient Persia.  Which was why Darius’ brother, Herschel the So-So, was never taken seriously.

"C'mon tough guy! We got pyramids
and brothers and sisters who marry each other.
And plagues of frogs and boils.
But, hey, who doesn't?"
    Anyway, Darius was all pissed at off at everyone, from Babylon to that guy who sold him those Kinoki foot pads.  But, he was most hacked off at the Greeks.  Who, besides having grass and a recipe for some kick-ass souvlaki, had some of the sweetest nude beaches in the Mediterranean.  So, he made intense preparations for an invasion of...Egypt.

    Hey, I didn’t write this stuff.

"Plus, for a small fee, we can make
that pain-in-the-ass
building inspector
from Persepolis just disappear."
    Before he left the country, Persian law (wasn’t he the boss?) dictated that he name a successor.  I guess this was just in case he got whacked.  Or was having too much fun on a Greek beach.

    Before doing so, he contracted with Gambino and Sons building contractors to build him a tomb.  After permits were finally approved once the Zoning Officer found the head of a camel in his bed, construction began at Naqsh-e Rostam (yeah, I’m not going to look it up, either).  Freed from the stress of planning his final resting spot and picking out window treatments, Darius then named his son, Xerxes, as his successor.

    Okay, this is now over 700 words and you’re probably getting pretty tired of reading this.  So...I have a few choices: 

1.  I could edit this way down.  But, that would deny you the chance to gain valuable insight into the story of a man who terrorized the cradle of democracy.  Plus, editing’s hard.

"Do you really think I needed 1,000 pages
 to tell you dopes that
the monster in It was a spider?"
2.  I could keep writing.  But, that would result in a beastly long post which would make a Stephen King novel look as big as “The Wit and Wisdom of Al Gore.”  You’d then stop reading and off you’d go to (I’ve no idea if this is a real site.  I really hope not).

3.  Or I could continue this tomorrow.  But, the A-Z Challenge requires that I go on to the next letter, which is ‘Y.’  Sure, I could write Xerxes Part II in addition to a post on ‘Y,’ but are you nuts?  This stuff is tough enough.

    So, I’m going to continue this sometime during the first half of May. 

In other be continued...


The Great Xerxes the Great Sequel!


  1. I believe if I was around in those days I would be known as Bushman the dysfunctional. I love these posts from you Al. Longer the better.

    1. Better than Bushman the Flatulent. At least at parties.

  2. When it comes to words that begins with X, xylophone was the only word I could ever think about when I was younger. I'm so damn tempted to highlight and go to the link but I know I have to resist, as hard as it is I do have to resist. I quite like it when you do long posts like this by the way buddy, except for when I need to go through blogs in a hurry. Thank the lord for me not having a life these days haha!

    1. Just so you know, the link is NOT real. When I first wrote the blog, I inserted what I thought was a bogus link (it had the word 'booty' in it). Even though I thought it was fake, I clicked on it just out of curiosity. My eyeballs almost bugged out of my head when I beheld the filthiest porn I've ever seen (well, I was a sailor, so that's a little of an exaggeration. Still...). I had to keep clicking on it for several hours just to make sure. Until Mrs. Penwasser told me to "get the hell off that damn computer and come to bed. It's 4 AM!"
      But, is fake. And thank God for that.

  3. Replies
    1. Better than one of "bait."
      But, seriously, are you?
      For the record, no WAY I could play one of those.

  4. My son has a xylophone and I play really pretty songs on it but I have no idea what it has to do with those other things you mentioned right after it - in the same sentence. You are an odd ball, Mr. Penwasser. Spooning with my hubs is always nice. The triangle thing sounds a bit more complicated but could also be fun, I guess. That's what you were talking about right? spoons, wood, something something something, whatever... I'm sure I've said enough now. It's time for me to go dye my hair to match my personality.

    Thank you for the history lesson and I look forward to part deux!! :)

    1. It's really difficult to follow whatever it is I'm blabbing on about, I know. As one of my colleagues told a couple of students last year, "Just smile and nod your head. Eventually, Mr. Penwasser will stop talking and walk away."
      And the history is accurate. Wrapped in odd ball, but accurate.

    2. And, by the way, I couldn't play a xylophone if my life depended on it. Can't play spoons, either. I think I could handle that blocks of wood thing, though.

  5. First off, thank you for the Scrabble words - Junior will be home in two weeks so I'll be kicking his butt now, thanks to this and your Q post too. Also, Herschel the So-So had me rolling! I don't know how you do it, but you managed to get Tony Soprano (one of my favorites), Betty White AND Stephen King into one post..all of whom rock! Great post!

    1. I'm telling you, 'xu,' 'xi,' and 'qi' are killers.
      I've also learned that 'jo' and 'ka' are equally deadly.
      I have an agreement with the Jersey mob to mention Tony. Or something "unfortunate" may happen to me on my way to work.

    2. Can't comment on your latest post. But, I agree with you. Despite wanting to be "black and white," life really does come in shades of gray, huh?

  6. Do you know how hard it is to find a celebrity who's last name begins with the letter 'X' ---that isn't an Asian porn actress? Anyway, Try Xzibit to Kevin Bacon. He's the guy from 'Pimp my Ride' and the last season of 'Extreme Makeover' when it got even sappier. For all I know, he's probably Ron Howard's neighbor.

    1. Sounds like I'm really going to have to dig into this one. I hope he IS neighbors with Ron Howard.

    2. My God, that was tough, but....
      Xzibit-Willem Dafoe-Charlie Sheen-Emilio Estevez-Demi Moore-Kevin Bacon
      Xzibit who was in 'XXX State of the Union' with Willem Dafoe who was in 'Platoon' with Charlie Sheen who was in 'Young Guns' with Emilio Eztevez who was in 'St. Elmo's Fire' with Demi Moore who was in 'A Few Good Men' with Kevin Bacon

  7. I like girls, no xylophone for me thank you very much. WOW, there were a lot of greats in his family. How many greats can there be before great is normal? And scrabble words I can always use.

    1. I think Xerxes son was a "great." Or "fabulous."

  8. You make a great case against sibling marriage, Al.
    Is that Betty White spewing homophobia? I hope not, 'cuz I like her.
    But I don't like girls (or boys) or xylophones (or Xerox machines). I do like your X post.

    PS Stop by when you have time.


    1. Going right now........
      Yeah, that's Betty White.
      She'd never say that, though.
      Incidentally, neither would I and mean it.
      Okay, I'm going.....

  9. My uncle used to ply the xylophone. And Matthew MacNish did Xenophobia today. You know, folks from Iran do not call themselves Iranian. They still call themselves Persian. And why is Xerxes spelled with an X yet pronounced with a Z? Hey, there's an idea of where you can put Xerxes part deux. On Monday, for Z.

    1. Funny you should mention that Xerxes is spelled with an 'X' when it's pronounced like it should be a 'Z'...
      Stay tuned for Part Deux...........

    2. Today's "Behind the Lunacy at Penwasser Place": I first considered comparing 'xenophobia' to 'xenophile.' But, then I saw '300.'
      I'm actually a xenophile.

  10. There is a @chicken love on twitter and also some chicken loving thing on youtube.
    There are so many weirdos I had to see what was out there.
    You're welcome.

    1. The scary thing is that I knew that. Which is why I spelled it "chickenlovin." Have a look at my response to Matthew. The ORIGINAL link I thought was fake was real. And very dirty. I didn't want to be responsible for that one.

    2. I hope it's not for people with a chicken fetish. People have fetishes for everything, I know. But, I guess some people love 'em some sheep so why not chickens?

    3. Ewwwwww, because that would be fowl!!!!!

  11. Great post Al. I thought the 300 was a Chrysler.

  12. Betty White, Camel Heads in beds and Tony Soprano! How can I possibly wait for a sequel? Xceptional storytelling Al! Julie

  13. The next installment will have Persian Immortals. Will that help?

  14. Hi Al,nice to meet you.

    That post was ah, ah, interesting, yeah, interesting and ah, informative, very scholastic. I think.

  15. I are been to school for that fancy book larnin'

  16. Not that anyone really cares about this but any words of greek origin that begin with an *X* are not pronounced (In greek) with a 'z' sound but as a 'ks'. So it would be Kserkses or Ksylophone. Like I said no one much cares really but as I am greek I thought I would break my long absence from your gorgeous blog with a truly pedantic correction for the world to ignore.

    I have just read a months worth of stuff Al - boy did I miss it...Great job!

  17. No, no, no! I REALLY do care. No kidding. Believe me, I will no doubt say the same thing whenever it comes up in conversation. And, trust me, I will ensure that makes it into conversation. That was very interesting (I didn't know that). Thank you.

    1. Yeh well I gotta say I really don't know why people make it so hard for themselves - all anyone ever had to do was ask - it's not like Greek people are extinct or anything hehehe. And anyone who saw "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" knows Greek people know EVERYTHING! Pity I don't know next week's lotto numbers tho'.

  18. What the heck!?! I want to know more. When I watched 300, I didn't actually pay attention to anyone other than Gerard Butler, so this all new to me. Those abs were perfect.

    1. I'm with you on this one Nellie - 300 mmm mmm mmm!

  19. But, they couldn't deflect arrows.
    Oooh, did I give it away?
    Then, I probably shouldn't tell you that the 'Titanic' sank, either.

  20. That is an impressively long post for a letter that shouldn't even be in the alphabet to begin with. (Like "c" and "q"). And so informative!


  21. But, how would we know the movie was "X" rated?
    Besides, I think it was a Greek thing.
    Like Zorba and baklava.