Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday Miscellany


Readers Write:

From Byter Tim B in the US in response to my query as to President Trump’s hand gestures when publicly speaking, namely the circle of thumb and forefinger and the pointed index finger:
Hello Otto,  
It’s really not that hard to figure out. But it depends on which side of the aisle you sit. If you are on the left, they think it means screw the people the left says he demonized. If you are on the right, they think it means screw the politicians and the establishment. 
His speech did not contain the soaring rhetoric of past inaugural speeches, but I think that is a function of him being a business man and getting to the point. Will he be an effective President? That remains to be seen, but the beauty of our system of government is that after four years we get to vote again. After eight years of Bush II, and eight years of Obama, Lord knows we need someone that can put the country first instead of party.
Take care,  
Thanks, Tim.

Sent by Byter John P:

Thanks, John.

I recently used an ambigram of son Thomas’s name on the envelope containing his birthday card:

An ambigram is a written word that can be read in more than one direction.

Ambigrams feature in Dan Brown’s novel Angels and Demons and in the film. I have previously written about ambigrams at:

Thomas’s partner Jess sent me a pic for the cover of the 20th anniversary edition of The Princess Bride, pointing out that the words were an ambigram:

Thanks, Jess.

It is interesting that the pictorial part is not a mirror image but instead has Westley with related farm images one way and Dread Pirate Roberts with the ship and the castle the other way. Inconceivable.


Some Princess Bride trivia:
  • In a 2012 interview in New York Magazine, Mandy Patinkin said that his most famous line from The Princess Bride (1987) ("Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.") gets quoted back to him by at least two or three strangers every day of his life. Patinkin told the interviewer that he loves hearing the line and he also loves the general fact that he got to be in the movie.
  • Does anyone else have difficulty accepting that Inigo Montoya of The Princess Bride and Jason Gideon of Criminal Minds are both Mandy Patinkin characters?
  • According to author William Goldman, when he was first trying to get the movie made in the 1970s, a then-unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to play Fezzik, and he was strongly being considered because Goldman could never get his first choice, AndrĂ© the Giant, to read for the role. By the time the movie was made about twelve years later, Schwarzenegger was such a big star they could not afford him. Andre was cast after all.
  • There really was a "Dread Pirate Roberts" (Bartholomew Roberts, also known as Black Bart) who operated in the Caribbean in the early 18th century. He is reckoned by many to have been the most successful pirate of all time.
  • Despite his character Fezzik's almost-superhuman strength, AndrĂ© the Giant's back problems at the time prevented him from actually lifting anything heavy. Robin Wright had to be attached to wires in the scene where Buttercup jumps from the castle window into Fezzik's arms because he couldn't support her himself.
  • The 'Dread Pirate Roberts' costume was modelled after that of infamous vigilante Zorro, only leaving out the cape as it was felt it was unnecessary and the hat as it does not suit the character.
  • William Goldman came up with the title of the novel based on what his daughters requested in terms of ideas for his next novel, one suggested he write his next book about a princess while the other suggested a book about a bride. He then coined the title "The Princess Bride" for the novel.
  • Oz gets a mention in the film, but not in a complimentary way.
When the Man in Black is captured by Vizzini, who prides himself on his intellect, they engage in a battle of wits as to which of two drinks contains a lethal poison, iocane.

Man in Black: You've made your decision then?
Vizzini: Not remotely. Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows, and Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.
Man in Black: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.
Vizzini: Wait till I get going! Now, where was I?
Man in Black: Australia.
Vizzini: Yes, Australia. And you must have suspected I would have known the powder's origin, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
Man in Black: You're just stalling now.

So who wins?

After more to and fro, Vizzini selects and drinks:

Man in Black: You guessed wrong.
Vizzini: You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - the most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line"! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...
[Vizzini stops suddenly, his smile frozen on his face and falls to the ground dead]
Buttercup: And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.
Man in Black: They were both poisoned. I sp

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