Day 845: Risqué Moose

Lounging on her bunk after lunch, Laetitia remembered a funny story from Uncle Ralph and Aunt Margaret and decided to turn it into a limerick.  The couple loved the Canadian Maritimes and drove there several times.  Driving across Quebec Province where the road signs are only in French, they noticed signs with moose silhouettes that read, “Prudence.”  In French, “prudence” means caution.  On later trips on the same road, they noticed that these warning signs had changed and now read, “Risqué,” meaning risk in French.  Laetitia’s observation that these words have different meanings in English led to the day’s limerick.

Does it signify moral decay,
Those signs ‘long Quebec’s main Highway?
Are Canadian moose
Now indecently loose
Since they’ve gone from Prudence to Risqué?

Day 844: Caravaggio

During a little down time at the Antarctic research station, Laetitia led a tour in Rome that focused on the paintings of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.  During his brief career (1593-1606), this Baroque painter profoundly influenced later artists with his innovative uses of light and other techniques to capture physical reality and emotion.  He went about armed with a sword or knife and often got into fights, some lethal.  After killing a man in a brawl, he had to flee from Rome.  He died in exile under mysterious circumstances while awaiting a pardon.

Laetitia needed to be selective.  There are more than ten places in Rome that have Caravaggio paintings.  Her tour began at the Pinacoteca Vaticana.  This museum of the Vatican’s paintings is a treasure that is often overlooked by tourists.  Afterwards they went to the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi and Museo E Galleria Borghese.

Apropos to his life filled with strife
Caravaggio carried a knifeé
When he came to Rome broke
In the midst of Baroque
And left us his scenes and still life.

Day 843: Crapper

During free time at the Antarctic research station, one’s thoughts can go in odd directions.  As Laetitia was getting ready for bed, she was thinking about the line, “Smart lad to slip betimes away from fields where glory does not stay, and early though the laurel grows, it withers quicker than the rose,” from A. E. Housman’s poem, To an Athlete Dying Young.  During this musing about the evanescence of fame, her mind suddenly wandered to Thomas Crapper whose undying name recognition came about because of something he didn’t do.  Contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t the inventor of the flush toilet.  It had been in existence for more than 200 years when he established his plumbing company in Victorian London.  He did pioneer the plumbing fixture showroom and all of the company’s products including flush toilets included the “Crapper” logo.  Americans soldiers in England during World War I encountered the name and began using it for not only flush toilets per se, but for latrines or for any room or building involved with human waste disposal.  Establishment of the Crapper name as a household word was enhanced further because he regularly supplied plumbing fixtures for domiciles of the royal family.  This latter thought led to a limerick.

To rich clients whose lifestyle was plush
He broached subjects that caused some to blush
As that gentleman dapper
Plumber Thomas Crapper
Sold hardware that did the “royal flush.”

Day 842: Flåm Train

One of the world’s most scenic train trips is the ride from Myrdal to Flåm in Norway.  During some free time at the Antarctic research station, Laetitia took a group there.  They rode past fjords, waterfalls, lakes, wildflowers, quaint cottages, forests, small hillside farms, and snow-capped peaks.  The train stopped at Kjusfossen, a waterfall that provides a splendid photo opportunity.  As she and her guests were watching, blonde female figures dressed in red emerged from behind rocks and bushes in the foreground, made summoning gestures and disappear again.  Having done her homework, Laetitia knew that these represented huldra, seductive mythological creatures from Scandinavian folklore, similar to the Lorelei or the sirens.  Though attractive when viewed from the front, they are seductive trolls with cow’s tails that men consort with at their peril.  They provided the limerick of the day.

In Norway, you must remain calm
On the thrilling train ride down to Flåm
Beware of troll sirens
Who haunt those environs
Kjusfossen needs Nordic aplomb.