mandag, februar 25, 2008

The restaurant beyond the end of the universe

From the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. As delineated by Douglas Adams.

It is a curious fact, and one to which no one knows quite how much importance to attach, that something like 85% of all known worlds in the Galaxy, be they primitive or highly advanced, have invented a drink called jynnan tonnyx, or gee-N'N-T'N-ix, or jinond-o-nicks, or any one of a thousand or more variations on the same phonetic theme. The drinks themselves are not the same, and vary between the Sivolvian 'chinanto/mnigs' which is ordinary water served at slightly above room temperature, and the Gagrakackan 'tzjin-anthony-ks' which kill cows at a hundred paces; and in fact the one common factor between all of them, beyond the fact that the names sound the same, is that they were all invented and named before the worlds concerned made contact with any other worlds.

What can be made of this fact? It exists in total isolation. As far as any theory of structural linguistics is concerned it is right off the graph, and yet it persists. Old structural linguists get very angry when young structural linguists go on about it. Young structural linguists get deeply excited about it and stay up late at night convinced that they are very close to something of profound inportance, and end up becoming old structural linguists before their time, getting very angry with the young ones. Structural linguistics is a bitterly divided and unhappy discipline, and a large number of its practitioners spend too many nights drowning their problems in Ouisghian Zodahs.

From the restaurant beyond the end of the universe. As experienced by Thor, in (actual reconstructed) conversation with a server in a cafe/bar/pancake restaurant in Amsterdam:

Server: Can I get you anything to drink?
Thor: Yes, I'd like a gin and tonic.
Server: (looking a bit confused) A what?
Thor: A gin and tonic.
Server: Oh, a gin.
Thor: Yes. And tonic.
Server: (looking more confused) Gin and...?
Thor: Tonic.
Server: (looking a slight bit alarmed) Oh. I'm not sure we have that.
Thor: Well...maybe I'll just have a beer then.

8 kommentarer:

Devil Mood sagde ...

There are some crazy phenomena out there...
I have similar doubts regarding astrology. When people discovered Neptune(astronomers), why did they decide to name it after a mythical god with an astrological meaning that corresponds to the actual transits of the planet (well,it's confusing!)?

Anne sagde ...

Re: the gin and tonic.

My co-worker was at a bar in Berlin after a conference. He asked the bartender for a gin and tonic. The bartender heard it as: Going to the toilet?

More specification on his part didn't clarify matters. He ended up with a beer as well.

kimananda sagde ...

Ms. Mood, that is an interesting question. I'm assuming that it's Neptune because the planets are named after Greek gods, but yes, why that particular god is a puzzle. On the other hand, planets that are speculated about but not discovered have already been given names be astrologers...Vulcan, for example. Maybe it was the same with Neptune, that it was named by astrologers, who then managed to get it done officially. It would be interesting to do some research on this.

Anne, it's good to know that there are other gin and tonic free zones in the world. Or, actually, it's kind of scary, at least for me, as my favorite drink is a gin and tonic, and I don't like beer!

Devil Mood sagde ...

Yes, true. Astrologers already suspected Neptune and Pluto to exist I think and we're still trying to find Vulcano. But I'm amazed at how they managed to call it Neptune (I don't think Pluto is a mythological figure, is it?)...and if I'm not mistaken, wasn't Chiron the last thing to be "discovered"? That's another case of fortunate naming. I'd really like to understand this but I don't know where to look for the answers.

kimananda sagde ...

I'm not sure about how planets are named, though I do get the sense that it's a long process. I am sure though that Pluto is another name for Hades, the god of the underworld. :-)

Devil Mood sagde ...

I remember reading that it was the daughter of the 'discoverer' of Pluto who named the planet. That's why I didn't give Pluto as an example, but it's true that it's another name for Hades, so there you go, another example.

Chibithulhu sagde ... disproved Douglas Adams.

please, for the love of all that is hoopy, froody, and towel-bearing, never ever EVER do that again. reality collapses and is replaced by something vastly more complicated and annoying when he is sufficiently disproved.

kimananda sagde ...

Chibi, if it makes you feel better, the establishment had both gin and tonic on the menu, separately, and I'm sure that, had we persisted, we could have gotten them together. Actually, I think the waitress was new, and I know her English was not great...but that doesn't make for such a good post.

So, you can come out from under your towel now. The bar is in Amsterdam, they wouldn't be able to see you anyway! ;-)