Mrs. Malaprop Congratulates Micscape On Its 20th Anniversary
by Richard L. Howey, Wyoming, USA
Note: For those of you not familiar with Richard Sheridan’s play The Rivals written in 1775 at the age of 23, he introduced the pompous and linguistically pretentious Mrs. Malaprop who became the epitome of one who misused words in egregious ways and generally abused language. Shakespeare had already used such devices and many writers and comics have subsequently employed them, but Mrs. Malaprop remains, as it were, the grand champagne.
I do hope that everything continues to go well for you and Algernon and that you fully enjoyed summarizing in the south of France at your villainy.
Since George passed his expiration date three years ago–Good Gracenotes (one of little musical puns), was it really so close and yet so far temporarily?–but I guess that’s the long and the short shrift of it! I have to struggle to keep myself preoccupied. As you know, I have taken up some of George’s projects, especially those devoted to l’histoirie naturel and, in particulate, the aspects focused on microscopic subjectives. However, there are aspics of his interest about which I am not merely as enthusiastic as he was but one that shouts out is that splendid electronic publication Micscape.
I mean “really!”, can you cognize it that they don’t even charge anything and don’t make any money–it’s like a charity; the poor dears have to depend on DONATIONS! So, they can expect to be taken seriously since they’re not in holding to anyone and I have dissolved to make a very generous contribution to them in my will. And furthermore, they don’t even pay their contributors, so they must all be dedicated amateurs and academic passionates. They even let children participate–a veritable hotbed of microscopic democracy. I may even screw up my courage and write an article for them myself!
Thus, my dear Letitia, I am quite anointed with you regarding your negative demarks regarding Micscape in your last letter referring to it as a “silly electronic publication devoted to the deranged ramblings of dottering old men and pimply adolescents.” But then, to put the icing on the crepe, you suggest that George had gone ‘round the bend by supporting causes like Micscape, climate altercation, the banning of nuclear wharf-fare, banning trophy hunting (except for politicians like Algernon), saving the Wales (and I must admit, in all honesty, that I never understood that because he was constantly complaining about the absurdity of the Welsh language), and, of course, women’s rights.
I probably shouldn’t tell you this, my dear cousin, but George never liked you and Algernon much and I am beginning to see why. I think, for George, the capstone was when your Algie came whining to him regarding the repeated rejections he got regarding the paper he submitted to scientific journals. Algie’s whole notion was a tragesty in the first place when he assumed that because of his ridiculous nicked-name (Algie) that he was entrifled to write a paper on Algae (Fido plankton) that would have great scientific merit. George, for whatever failings he might have had, was a kind man and suggesting that Algie send his paper to Micscape which with its encouraging and demosocratic deposition would doubtless except it (perhaps with a bit of editing), was an act of great generosity. As you know all-too-well, Algie was grately offended and it is now clear that you have adopted his altitude as well. Such snobbery is insubordinate!
As it happens, I know, after having done exhausted research that Micscape has contributors from 30 countries, has 350 contributors, and its articles are being archived, and it gets about 3.5 million hits. Furthermore, the range of categories and tropics is simply phenominomial and just so that your realize how profoundly impressionist that is, I’m going to provide you with a summarily.
One of my favorite categories is pond scumming with all those cute, odd little protictoctists running around doing incredibly bazaar things. I mean, where else would you find an article that talks about the sex lives of sycophants that live in the gutters of termites! This is udderly fascinating stuff, Letitia, and you and Algie should cognize it.
Or consider that funny little creature, the tardygrade, an aquatic sloth–always late for dinner and, did you know, that it can go into a state of animated suspension? They can frequently be found crawling around on scragnum moss.
Another fantastomagoric group is the tunacakes. There are several different types: 1) the cecil sorts that are also known as “sea squirts”, 2) the dodolids which are pallagric and look like tiny transparental barrels with a coil inside, 3) Salps: These occur both as singularities and as colonialists and can get up to 15 feet in lenthitude. 4) Larvacea (also known as Appendixcularia) and they carry around a spare house with them (rather like you and Algie, Letitia).
And of course, there are those wonderfully mysterial creatures–the dyatomes and desmonds which have such beautiful patterns but, especially with the dyatomes, one must have a very good instrument with fine lenses to dissolve the pores and make them clearly visible on the glassy frustrations.
This leads me to my next point: all of the scrupulous articulations on Micscape regarding instrumentals, and not just microscopes of all scapes and sizes, but spectral photometers, very tiny books (micro-tomes), very tiny politicians (micro-manipulators), illuminati of several types including quarts halo-generators, ultra violents, and toungsten. There is also a wide range of types of lenses: acrophonic, apoplectic, brightfield, dimfield, and very special lenses for Gnomarski Differential Inference Contract (DIC), as well as several sort of faze lenses.
There are also some essential hand tools, such as, bisecting needles, scapulars, fourceps (which really ought to be called twoceps, since they only have 2 prongs), spatulates, beakers and flacks and the list goes on and on.
Such items are necessary in order to examinate a wide variety of specimens using all sorts of archaic techniques. Imagine being able to revel the nucleus of a Paramecium by using a simplistic stain like Methyl Green Aseedic or demonstrate trichocysts by the addition of a mere drop of Tanned Acid.
All of these wonders and many, many more are to be found in the thousands of articles that compromise Micscape–it is, in short, an international treasure and possible only due to the tiring efforts and boundless energy and patients of Maurice Smith and David Walker. So, a hardy toast to these gentlemen.
And, as for you, Letitia and Algernon, make a generous donation to Micscape if you wish to remain a benefishiary in my will!
All comments to the author Richard Howey are welcomed.
Editor's note: Visit Richard Howey's new website at http://rhowey.googlepages.com/home where he plans to share aspects of his wide interests.
Published in the November 2015 edition of Micscape Magazine.
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