Thursday 13: Musings on palindromes

This week’s Thursday 13 is about palindromes. I looked around for some nice ones and found among others the following thirteen. They are fun. But do they make sense?  My thoughts:

1. Ed, I saw Harpo Marx ram Oprah W. aside.

I think I can safely say that this is a blatant lie. Oprah W. was 10 years old when Harpo Marx died. Besides I don’t think that Harpo Marx would have been so rude as to “ram” somebody “aside”. The speaker obviously only wanted to get Ed’s attention by coming out with something so preposterous that Ed just had to react.

2. No trace; not one carton

What cartons are they talking about? I assume a truckload of TV sets or whatever the truck was transporting is missing, possibly was stolen. Someone was told to investigate and is now reporting back that all cargo has been taken. Piece of cake, this one.

3. Dogma: I am God

Some people would say that there is no God so the whole sentence is meaningless. On the other hand, a dogma is something the validity of which is incontrovertible. So who is saying this? If the person who says this is not God, then the statement is not true; but then it is no dogma. What am I saying? I think I’m venturing into waters too deep for me, I’ll stop right here. I don’t want to get caught in the crossfire of a religious battle.

4. Murder for a jar of red rum

Someone has murdered somebody for a jar of red rum. Why would anybody murder for a jar of red rum? Do people kill for a bit of alcohol? Nah, I think the meaning is a totally different one. Do you know the story about Sherlock Holmes and the race horse? “Silver Blaze” is missing and it’s trainer killed. It’s all because of some betting scam as far as I can remember. You might not know this but there was a race horse called “Red Rum” that won the Grand National three times in the 70s. Now the sentence makes much more sense, doesn’t it? The word “jar” was just thrown in to obfuscate its meaning.

5. Go hang a salami; I’m a lasagna hog!

What exactly is a lasagna hog? Is is something like a cover hog? So that would be somebody sitting at the table keeping hold of the lasagna dish (meant for five) and eating it all, while the others have to make do with the bread. Obviously that person is so greedy that he even wants to keep the salami for himself for later, since he wants it to be hanging from the ceiling, instead of being on the table. The location must be one of those Italian places that cater for the gullible tourists who believe that if sausage is dangling from above and the tables are covered in red/white chequered table cloths the food served is authentic Italian home cooking.

6. I, madam, I made radio! So I dared! Am I mad? Am I?

This one is inspired by Dr. Seuss. I can imagine Sam I Am saying this.

7. Kay, a red nude, peeped under a yak

Two possibilities: either Kay is just very curious and wants to know the ins and outs of a yak’s underbelly. Why she is naked I don’t dare to discuss here, it might get too uncomfortable for some. Or she is hiding from someone and is peeking out from behind / under the yak to check whether her pursuer has given up. Why she is naked I don’t dare to discuss here, it might get too uncomfortable for some.

8. A Goth saw Anna wash toga.

Now here we have a perfectly sensible palindrome. Anna is a slave washing a toga for her Roman master, while the Goths invade the empire. The fact that the Romans insisted on wearing clean clothes and discussing recent events at the forum instead of fighting off pillaging, invading armies explains the fall of the Roman Empire nicely. They should have gotten their priorities straight.

9. Amore? Roma!

This one doesn’t need any interpretation, does it? Just look at all those yummy Italians!

10. Devil never even lived.

I’m not going there. This has the potential of another religious battlefield. I’m not going to burn my fingers again.

11. Emil asleep, Allen yodelled "Oy!" Nella peels a lime.

This one conjures a cosy domestic atmosphere. In theory it is feasible enough, however, how Emil can possibly sleep while somebody is yodelling is beyond me. That caterwauling can raise the dead.

12. Now, Ned, I am a maiden nun; Ned, I am a maiden won.

Ned must have something going for him if he managed to win over a maiden nun. As far as I know nuns (maiden or otherwise) are pretty hard to seduce.

13. Nella risks all: "I will ask Sir Allen."

Nella seems to have finished peeling her lime, so I suppose she is enjoying her Caipirinha* right now. Being slightly drunk, she seems to become bold and does what nobody else dares. She asks Sir Allen.

Option a.: Sir Allen is the village tyrant who has refused to have the well repaired. The villagers have been suffering for months without a working well (and were confined to drinking Caipirinhas for lack of water) and finally someone has worked up the courage to go and give him a piece of her mind.

Option b.: Sir Allen is the guy with the yodelling and she asks him to stop the noise.  Knowing Sir Allen is prone to violence when his musical hobby is being questioned she needed to work up the courage with the help of some booze (plus: she takes the lime peeler as an emergency weapon).

* Nella is extremely particular and peels the limes before using them for her Caipi. Just in case you were wondering.


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11 Comments Write a comment

  1. Anni, thanks. Yeah, I thought it was a fun idea – obviously most people don’t appreciate as much as I did while writing it, :-).

    Adelle, really? You think this is food for thought? Interesting point of view.


  2. You are more talented than me. I love words and lexigramming them, finding words within words and seeing how tone and note and ludicrous and ridiculous and silent and listen are really the same words. But I’m not good at palindromes.


  3. I think my English needs improving. I edited my post in order to avoid the impression I actually made those palindromes up. I didn’t. I could never create a palindrome, I’ve got way too little imagination for that.


  4. Great list. Have to admit that I like palindromes (I think I once quoted a palindromic lyric from They Might Be Giants’ “I Palindrome I” in one of my Thursday 13s of long ago, although that was a word one rather than a letter one). Then again, I clearly can’t like palindromes that much since I’d never come across any of those you listed before. Anyway, I really liked your obsessive analysis of each one (and nice to know that you’ve heard of Red Rum over there), and, boy, that Nella sure gets around.

    aneerietapestry’s latest blog post..Tuesday Tunes: Word Association


  5. Val, you’re right. #6 has some manic rhythm to it. It’s great, isn’t it?

    HRG, thanks for stopping by. Aren’t palindromes fascinating? Don’t know how people come up with them, I could never do it.

    Mark, I wouldn’t go so far as to say Red Rum is known over here. In fact I came across him (or is it “it”, I’m never sure) by accident while trying to find out what sort of alcohol red rum is, :-). Stupidly I wiki’d red rum on the German site and all they came up with was the horse. Then I remembered the Conan Doyle story and went from there.
    Obsessive analysis is my speciality. As it happens I excel at it, not only when it comes to palindromes. BTW, I’m mising your TT. I need my fix.


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