Lori's Book Nook

Adams and the Meaning of Liff

Posted on: November 28, 2007

Much has been written about the late, great Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker series (yes, geeks, I am aware that it’s a trilogy in umpteen parts…) with their rather random sense of humour. The Dirk Gently books which always reminded me a bit of Thorne Smith (1892-1934) books.

But, there will always be a little place in my heart for The Meaning of Liff — here’s one of my favourite entries:

PELUTHO (n.)
A South American ball game. The balls are whacked against a brick wall with a stout wooden bat until the prisoner confesses.

And here it is online, in its entirety. Gotta love the Internet!

Back to Thorne Smith, because he was just a weird and wonderful writer, and yes, Dirk Gently reminded me of him. Here’s an except from the beginning of my favourite of his books, The Nightlife of the Gods (available in its entirety online as well, with others):

CHAPTER 1

CRITICIZING AN EXPLOSION

THE small family group gathered in the library was only conventionally alarmed by the sound of a violent explosion—a singularly self-centred sort of explosion.

‘Well, thank God, that’s over,’ said Mrs Alice Pollard Lambert, swathing her sentence in a sigh intended to convey an impression of hard-pressed fortitude.

With bleak eyes she surveyed the fragments of a shattered vase. Its disastrous dive from the piano as a result of the shock had had in it something of the mad deliberation of a suicide’s plunge. Its hideous days were over now, and Mrs Lambert was dimly aware of another little familiar something having been withdrawn from her life.

‘I hope to high heaven this last one satisfies him for this spring at least,’ was the petulant comment of Alfred, the male annexe of Alice.

‘I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting,’ came a thin disembodied voice from a dark corner. ‘Night and day I’ve been waiting and expecting—’

‘And hoping and praying, no doubt, Grandpa,’ interrupted Daphne, idly considering a run in her stocking and wondering what she was going to do about it, if anything, and when would be the least boring time to do it if she did, which she doubted.

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9 Responses to "Adams and the Meaning of Liff"

I love your blog, a lot! I put a link to you in my blogroll, and am looking forward to many great posts from you! 🙂

ARGH! The pressure!

I’ll try not to disappoint.

And I’ll be visiting your blog too — the whole Victorian era is fascinating…

My favourite MoL word has always been –
NOTTAGE (n.) Nottage is the collective name for things which you find a use for immediately after you’ve thrown them away. For instance, your greenhouse has been cluttered up for years with a huge piece of cardboard and great fronds of gardening string. You at last decide to clear all this stuff out, and you burn it. Within twenty-four hours you will urgently need to wrap a large parcel, and suddenly remember that luckily in your greenhouse there is some cardb…

Some wonderful truth in that… 🙂

very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
Idetrorce

Ah, Idetrorce…you’re welcome to not agree with me, but exactly what aren’t you agreeing with? My opinion of the definition of ‘nottage’? That Thorne Smith was a funny writer? That Douglas Adams was also funny?

C’mon. If you’re going to be critical, at least be critical specifically.

Idetrorce is spam, Lori. I’ve seen that same post on quite a few blogs. Same with that one on your blogger blog that links to an anti-terrorist site. Creepy.

Well, it’s weird spam. No links? What’s the point? Energy sucking?

:p

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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