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Kit's Alter Ego
February 12, 2004, 07:05 PM
For 50 points: Duct tape is actually an Essentiale Kitchenne Toole(tm).

In ancient Rome, there was, as today, food (only more primitive examples, obviously). This food, or as it was referred to in Italy at the time, "ciao," had one requirement that has been refined throughout the ages from a trait of all alimentation to select ingested drugs: it had to be taken on an empty stomach. Now, while everyone sat around after each bite waiting to get hungry again, entertainment was a must. Therefore, artists were brought in to paint the food as they saw it. This allowed the Roman nobles to both have their cake and eat it too. However, since there was an interlude of anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes between each bite (and subsequent reheatings of the feast), the Artists Guild, led by Antonio Smoerga, was hard-pressed (just like the nobles' wine) to keep up with their required quota of paintings, mosaics, and--when the weather was nice--al fresco frescos. In fact, they barely had time to clean off their painting supplies before the next drink of wine was taken. These small sips became cultural symbols of needing to move on, and to this day, when one moves from one course to another, it is customary to take a small drink and rinse one's palette. This practice of huge feasts being painted led to one of the most magnificent masterpieces of all time. At one of these enormous dinners, the Artist Guild's leader, Antonio Smoerga, saw that the nobles in attendance were exceptionally hungry, a condition which resulted in their waiting almost no time at all (approximately) between nibbles. This looked bad for the artists, whose payment came in the form of various snack foods for each square inch of painting completed during one break. On this particular evening, the artists were working for peanuts, and had barely made enough to mix in with their salted cashews from the night before. Antonio, seeing that they would all soon be starving artists, pulled out three of his largest canvases and placed them end to end. He then rinsed his palette twice before sharpening the edge. When a noble asked him why, he replied, "Master, that was just to whet my palette." With that said, Smoerga turned to his canvas and, at the very instant the nobles took another bite, began to paint. Within minutes, just as the Roman nobles raised their pinkies to take another sip of wine, the painting was finished. It was not a still life of any clump of platters; it was a painting of the entire feast, from the wine to the potatoes to the rats (under the table). The host took one look at the enormous triptych of unparallelled culinary success, leaned over to his second favorite hostess, and whispered, "Humph. It looks like our Smoerga's bored." As is always the case in parties of that size, there followed an impromptu, ancient version of Telephone, resulting in the enacting of the popular all-you-can-eat buffets that are so feared by current-day members of the fashion industry. This incident led to an even more important invention, however. As Smoerga finished his masterpiece, he realized that he had used twenty-nine palettes full of paint--and broken one--while completing the one painting. Though this amazing feat had earned the guild enough peanuts to feed Hannibal's elephants for a year (if they laid off on the Chianti, that is), there were now no more clean palettes for use during the rest of the evening, and that did not bode well for the artists, considering that the nobles' third favorite pastime--right under 1) watching people paint and 2) Twister--involved a game that was affectionately entitled "Necks, Knives, and Sobbing Wives," which was later retitled "I Will Cut You Esse," or in English, "I Will Cut You To Be." The etymology for this bastardization of a classic treasure is unknown...but if historians ever find the culprit, they'll make him play...*oh* how he'll play. However, this game was still a threat if the artists did not complete high-quality paintings during the next break. Smoerga knew he didn't have time to wash every single artist's palette in the next 30 degrees on the sundial. He therefore scooped up all of the dirtied supplies --his brushes, all 29 solid palettes, as well as the one cleft palette-- and ran for the city's water supply to wash them there. As it has been shown countless times by figure skaters and theatrical performers throughout the ages (though mostly between their teens and their 50s), anything that can go wrong, will. Thus Antonio Smoerga stepped out the back door of the kitchen to find himself faced with a leaking waterway, which was about to burst wide open, sending thousands of gallons of water shooting toward the feast and the town beyond, effectively cleansing the city while they were cleansing their palettes. Smoerga, thinking quickly scooped two handfuls of the host's fourth favorite hostess' own mint jelly and smeared it onto the backs of two narrow pieces of paper he carried in case an emergency charicature was needed. He slapped the sticky strips onto the cracks, successfully sealing the cracks and saving the city from sure Pompeiiic destruction...only wetter. While he was there, Smoerga used his now-safe paintbrushes to label the strips. On one, he drew a speech bubble coming from the wall of the waterway and wrote in it "I break for Romans." Thus was created the bumper sticker, thus named because of thud to the forehead resulting each time someone read the puns on each one. On the other strip, he wrote the name that he later told the nobles was the name of the easy-to-tear strips with sticky material on their backs: "The Essentiale Kitchenne Toole(tm) (patent pending)" (No one said artists could spell). However, when he told this to the nobles, the one on the far left of the table rewhispered it to the woman on his right to make sure he had heard it right. By the time it had reached the other side of the table, Aquaduct Tape was born. College students of the Fraternal Order of Drunken Days and Extensive Revelry (F.O.D.D.E.R. for short) in the Middle Ages shortened this to "duct tape" just before they rebelled against the rules of the then militaristic church and soon became Canon F.O.D.D.E.R. Thus, Duct tape is actually an Essentiale Kitchenne Toole(tm).


PS: This Week on the History Channel: Racehorses and Medieval Frats...
"Hello, Mudder, Hello, F.O.D.D.E.R."

PPS: I love etymology.
PPPS: Paragraphs schmaragraphs.

Lisa P
February 12, 2004, 10:25 PM
Kit, I want back the time I spent reading that. :roll:

Kit's Alter Ego
February 13, 2004, 11:44 AM
She may be ticked off now, ladies and gentlemen, but Lisa will be cuckoo to discover that she's taking home her very own manual-reset clock (not one of mine, understand) with which she can turn back the hands of time with no help from me! And why has my assistant gotten dressed up to hold a manual-reset clock? Because time heels all, wound.



Lisa P
February 13, 2004, 12:25 PM
Curses! He got me again! You are too clever for me, Kit.