Tuesday, May 02, 2006


"Alan arched his back, stiff from the ride to the arcade and hours at his terminal. He gazed through the blinds at the arcade. 'The best programmer ENCOM ever saw,' Alan half-sneered, 'and he ends up playing space cowboy in some sleazy back room.'"
--pg. 44

Half-sneered? Is the sneer half empty, or is it half full? If you half-sneer, what's the other half? Half-sneer/half-laugh? Half-sneer/half-sob? Half-sneer/half-smirk? Is a half-sneer even possible? Even if you're only sneering a little bit, aren't you still sneering? Take snoring, for example. If you're snoring a little bit, you're still snoring. Can one equate sneering and snoring? Can one sneer in one's sleep? Can one attach special glue-coated 'nonsneer' strips to one's lips in an effort to prevent sleep-sneering?

TV Announcer (looking grave)
Sleep Sneering. The Number One Problem Facing Our Nation today. We'll Tell You How To Combat It Right After These Messages.


Young Jimmy being chastised by his Mother.

"Don't you sneer at me, young man."
"Aw, Ma! I ain't sneerin'. This here's a half-sneer."
Ma glowers (a full glower) down at Jimmy. "Oh, so? We'll see about that!"
Ma rummages through a kitchen drawer, brings out the Sneer Spectrometer and takes a measurement of Jimmy's face.
"Aha! Just as I suspected! According to the Sneer Spectrometer your face is engaged in a 65% sneer-- well above the 50% threshold. Go to your room, young man!"

Would a Space Cowboy sneer? What's he got to sneer about? He's floating around in space, wrangling asteroids, oversized white Stetson perched on top of his space suit helmet. Is he riding a space horse? Yes: a mechanized robotic horse that shoots out orange-red flames from its jets as it gallops across the cosmos.

The Space Cowboy, ironically, has a sleazy front room in his home back on
"Hey, how are ya, c'mon in. Sorry it's so sleazy in here. C'mon to the back room-- it's exquisite. We're talkin' Antique Mahogany Armchairs and a gilded chandelier. This chandelier here, well... it's made of discounted Christmas lights stuck inside sawed-off Coors cans. Yeah, it's pretty sleazy."

A gilded chandelier. Now that's nothing to sneer at, half-way or otherwise.


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