by Rick Norwood
Nothing much is happening in August. Voyager does not start until the first Wednesday in October, so I can continue to watch The West Wing (****) for another month. And The X-Files does not start until the first Sunday in November.
Some rumors floating around on the web:
I read recently that Hollywood has decided/discovered that people like to know exactly what they are going to see before they watch anything. This is why previews are always careful to give away all the plot twists. Am I the only one who likes surprises?
Anyway, I thought since nothing much is happening on tv I'd finally be just (but not merciful) to Xena, and share with you the following:
Xena, or The Warrior Princess, by Kevin Wald
I now present an excerpt from Gilbert and Sullivan's little-known operetta, Xena; or, The Warrior Princess. (This excerpt is from an annotated edition; please don't let the occasional scholarly footnotes, in the form of bracketed numbers, interfere with your enjoyment of Gilbert's unique lyrical style.)
We join our operetta already in progress. The infamous Pirates of Pergamum have just seized a bevy of beautiful Mytilenean maidens, and are attempting to carry them off for matrimonial purposes. Gabrielle intervenes, with a recitative (well, it's better than a pan flute solo):
Gabrielle: Hold, scoundrels! Ere ye practice acts of villainyXena leaps in from the wings, with a tremendous war cry, does a mid-air somersault, and lands on her feet on the Pirate King's chest.
Xena: Yes, yes, I am a buff barbarian!The music crashes to a halt, as the Chorus stares at Xena in utter confusion. She sighs. It's Greek. It means "Warrior Princess"! Light dawns on the Chorus, and the music resumes. Sheesh . . .
Chorus: He knows that his opponent is the Basileia Makhetes! He knows that his opponent is the Basileia Makhetes!She holds up a tomato:
And where we found examples of the genus Lycopersicon ,In a previous Babylon 5.1 I told you about a version of Hamlet as if written by Gilbert and Sullivan. Little did I know that Gilbert really did write a parody of Hamlet! Kevin turned me on to it, and you can read it here: http://diamond.idbsu.edu/gas/other_gilbert/html/rosen.html
 Actually, "Mytilene" would properly be accented on the third syllable; Gabrielle always did have trouble with rhymes. (Mytilene, incidentally, is a city on the isle of Lesbos -- the hometown of the poet Sappho, as a matter of fact. It is not clear what, if anything, Gilbert is trying to imply here.)
 parthenian: virginal.
 Linear Mycenian: Mycenian is the ancient dialect of Greek which was written in Linear B (a form of Greek writing that predates the adoption of the alphabet). The implication is that Gabrielle does her writing in Linear B; if Xena takes place around the time of the Trojan war, this is chronologically reasonable.
 yonical: "Yonic" is the female counterpart to "phallic".
 Indo-Aryan: The language group consisting of Sanskrit and its close relatives. Both "chakram" and "yonic" are of Sanskrit derivation.
 rhododactylous: rosy-fingered. (Homer makes frequent reference to rhododaktulos eos -- "rosy-fingered dawn".)
 sensus tactilis: Latin for "the sense of touch".
 "Alalaes" are war-cries (the Greeks spelled a Xena-like war cry as alala or alale) and "ululient" is a coined term, apparently meaning "characterized by ululation".
 sagittarian: archer-like.
 omphalos: belly-button.
 Omphale: Legendary queen of Lydia. From context, we must assume that she had a cute belly-button; however, no known classical source seems to address this vital issue.
 versicon: a coined term, apparently meaning "collection of verse".
 Lycopersicon: the biological genus to which tomatoes are assigned. (The tomato is a New World plant, and was entirely unknown in the Old World in pre-Columbian times. Thus, having tomatoes in a Xena-ish context is an even greater anachronism than having Homer tell the tale of Spartacus.)
Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.
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