Thursday, October 11, 2007


GUNPOWDER, n. An agency employed by civilized nations for the settlement of disputes which might become troublesome if left unadjusted. By most writers the invention of gunpowder is ascribed to the Chinese, but not upon very convincing evidence. Milton says it was invented by the devil to dispel angels with, and this opinion seems to derive some support from the scarcity of angels. Moreover, it has the hearty concurrence of the Hon. James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture.

Secretary Wilson became interested in gunpowder through an event that occurred on the Government experimental farm in the District of Columbia. One day, several years ago, a rogue imperfectly reverent of the Secretary's profound attainments and personal character presented him with a sack of gunpowder, representing it as the seed of the Flashawful flabbergastor, a Patagonian cereal of great commercial value, admirably adapted to this climate. The good Secretary was instructed to spill it along in a furrow and afterward inhume it with soil. This he at once proceeded to do, and had made a continuous line of it all the way across a ten-acre field, when he was made to look backward by a shout from the generous donor, who at once dropped a lighted match into the furrow at the starting-point. Contact with the earth had somewhat dampened the powder, but the startled functionary saw himself pursued by a tall moving pillar of fire and smoke and fierce evolution. He stood for a moment paralyzed and speechless, then he recollected an engagement and, dropping all, absented himself thence with such surprising celerity that to the eyes of spectators along the route selected he appeared like a long, dim streak prolonging itself with inconceivable rapidity through seven villages, and audibly refusing to be comforted. "Great Scott! what is that?" cried a surveyor's chainman, shading his eyes and gazing at the fading line of agriculturist which bisected his visible horizon. "That," said the surveyor, carelessly glancing at the phenomenon and again centering his attention upon his instrument, "is the Meridian of Washington."

2007 Update:  The aspirations of men, in the dried and powdered form.


Tom & Icy said...

What Michael Vick season's dog food with. It makes dogs mean.

Jim said...

Gunpowder: The correct end of a muzzle to find yourself on.

I missed yesterday, I was occupied. My thinking aloud causes a measurable amount of my troubles, I just haven't measured it, yet.

More on the guillotine. No, I won't put it on here but I might say that not only do the bodies perform for a short while, but the head does some talking.

The early French have made studies of this behavior of the decapitated person. Google comes up with a lot.

TLP said...

Cosmetic help for your weapon.

Lila said...

Oh, I like TLP's definition!

Interesting story, Doug.

Unknown said...

this should have been posted on the 5th of November. that Guy!

Doug The Una said...

Icy, it doesn't make Vick a saint either.

Google studies the behavior of decapitated people, Jim? That is what cookies are for, isn't it?

Applied in the gunpoweder room, TLP?

Sis, mama TLP is a clever chick.

The English recall
Gunpowder et al
Every November fifth.
I see no reason
To wait for that season
And pretend I'm some Fawkesing Brit.

Anonymous said...

GUNPOWDER, n. Add water and mix well, and your teenager can snap it and blow bubbles with it. No, wait ...

Are there any Wilsons in the Cheney family tree? No? Aw ...

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think rendering all the world's guns into powder is an excellent idea.

Jamie Dawn said...

I always wondered why angels are so scarce.
Good story too.

TLP's definition is a cute one. Guns want to look good too, especially the female guns.
Excuse me while I go powder my barrel.

Mutha said...

gunpowder: the beginning of the end

Minka said...

"Milton says it was invented by the devil to dispel angels with, and this opinion seems to derive some support from the scarcity of angels."

I am sorry, but that's hilarious!

gunpowder,n: inspires you to quickly re-consider your point of view, most often from a horizontal perspective.