Thursday, February 25, 2010

Amused by their presumption

Gravitys Rainbow creates unrealistic expectations about the degree of poetry to be found in nerve-gas descriptions:
Even an hour later, the Meggezone still lingers, a mint ghost in the air. Slothrop lies with Darlene, the Disgusting English Candy Drill a thing of the past, his groin now against her warm bottom. The one candy he did not get to taste - one Mrs. Quoad withheld - was the Fire of Paradise, that famous confection of high price and protean taste - "salted plum" to one, "artificial cherry" to another... "sugared violets"... "Worcestershire sauce"... "spiced treacle"... any number of like descriptions, positive, terse - never exceeding two words in length - resembling the descriptions of poison and debilitating gases found in training manuals, "sweet-and-sour eggplant" being perhaps the lengthiest to date. [...]
The reality is depressingly prosaic. Click to enlarge.

16 comments:

mikey said...

You there, Corporal. I need you to go over to Bldg. B and take a big whiff of the Phosgene gas they've got over there. No,no need to put out your smoke. Afterwards, I need you to report back on what that unholy shit smells like.

[A day later]

Hmm, what's KEEPING that Corporal. I'm still waiting for his report. He's the third straight enlisted man who's gone AWOL when I gave them that order. Dammit.

You there. Corporal...

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

So, CMPF smells like Mickey Kaus' breath after an amorous romp with a caprid?

These descriptions read like they were written by wine critics:

"Ardent, yet coquettish, with hints of elderberry and cough syrup."

Smut Clyde said...

A mental image did come to mind of a party of snobbish sophisticates, sniffing homeopathic doses of each gas and encapsulating each one with a few well-chosen phrases.

tigris said...

Lethal drooling sounds like a really embarrassing way to go. Lethal giddiness might not be so bad, though.

Smut Clyde said...

the heading of Column 2 intrigued me -- "trivial names". "It's only Phosgene; that's trivial."

Substance McGravitas said...

Nothing smells like POOP?

fish said...

The older books also included taste. For some reason, they had a hard time keeping employees in those days.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Lethal drooling sounds like a really embarrassing way to go

If drooling continues for four hours, consult a mortician.

Another Kiwi said...

Lethal drooling describes much of the right wing. Who has been gassing them???

Smut Clyde said...

If drooling continues for four hours,
someone has pumped in too much embalming fluid.

lawnguylander said...

So the Army spells it "defaecation"? Huh. What a lucky break for me that it's not spelled that way on the indictment or the pastor's sworn statement and as the Army is never wrong I will now have my attorney seek a dismissile on technical grounds.

mikey said...

And as the sharia loving proponents of missile defense will gladly tellya, "We shoot dis missile up in da air and it hits dat missile and it's miller time, know what I'm sayin?"

ckc (not kc) said...

I think that BZ stuff is beer, from the sounds of it.

tigris said...

Is the normal state of beer "solid?" Holy crap, I've been drinking the stuff!

ckc (not kc) said...

aerosol - can't beat it!

Smut Clyde said...

"Aerosol" is a fancy way of saying "sprayed out the nose".