Saturday, November 24, 2012

Next Up: Jesus Of Bazareth

The body of Jimmy Hoffa was very nearly found again with the help of a psychic. All the world's psychics together have, over the years, made great strides in narrowing down the possibilities as to his disposal. This latest effort, which involved tearing up a driveway in Michigan, began with a rumor. Local resident Mike Smith said his sister thought there was a body under the driveway, and that she had special powers. "She told me she was getting a name," he said, "and it was something like 'Jimmy Joffa.' I'm telling you, it made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end."

The phenomenon in question is called "horripilation," from the Latin pilus meaning hair and horrore meaning "to go POINK," or as it is commonly translated, to bristle. Thus "horripilation" is the go-poinkiness of hair. (The word "horror" to this day is applied to the appearance of chin whiskers in post-menopausal women.) The sensation of hair standing on end is a natural occurrence in humans and other mammals, and is a response to both fear and cold. Each hair follicle has a tiny adorable little muscle attached to it that contracts to erect the hair, and also causes the skin to bunch up at the site. If someone were repeatedly frightened enough to exercise the adorable little muscles, they might bulk up to the point of making the skin look like Velcro.

The erection of the hair serves two purposes. One is to trap more air as insulation. The other is to make the owner of the hairs look bigger. This is thought to be an effective deterrent against many predators. We were told that the best defense against cougars is to look as big as possible, and with that in mind, I suggested to Dave that, should we come across a cougar on the trail, I could climb onto his shoulders. He assured me the same effect could be managed more easily if he were to just hold me in place in front of him. At any rate, the sea otter is known to use this defense when in the presence of sharks, and I'm sure it works well for them. Nothing arouses more trepidation than a big fluffy otter.

So our friend's reaction to his sister's conjuring of the name "Jimmy Joffa" is, essentially, a fear reaction. Most people are fascinated by extra-sensory perception, but also a little frightened of it. It appears to be a power that has no explanation, and is thus creepy. Similarly, a huge swath of people today are creeped out by any knowledge that appears to be gained through mysterious means, such as studying in science class.

In this case, no body was found. Experts say that there has not been a single case of a missing person found as a result of a psychic's intervention. Which means that, collectively, they're due.

When it comes to ESP, I do not scoff. I myself have had a number of such unexplainable experiences. One time I suddenly went cold all over, and my skin got clammy, and I was overcome, from the very core of my being, by the feeling that something very bad was about to happen. And sure enough, I threw up.

63 comments:

  1. My post-menopausal moustache is also horripilable! Are there ANY of your blog posts you don't add the label "humor" Murr? 'Cause I haven't ready any yet! :-)

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    1. Man, I don't think so. That's definitely the goal.

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  2. Um...how many shots did you and Dave (as Big-Scary-Monster)manage to take before Tater said something like "Stoopid bi-peds!" and just wandered away?

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    1. Sometimes it takes a lot of people to set up these crappy shots. My neighbors have gotten used to some odd requests.

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  3. I wonder what that cat thinks of your antics? S/he must have an interesting life.

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    1. You know that look cats get? "Not this again?"

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  4. At least it wasn't there much more dis-cernable "Him A Hoffa".

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  5. Obviously your cat doesn't have a chance to get bored! My sister has that ESP thing going---much more in tune with the universe than me. Have spent the past hour catching up [and howling.] You're on my "list" now so keeping up shouldn't be a problem.

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    1. An hour? You've made my day. Welcome aboard!

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  6. Any cougar with half a brain would run from you two. Packs of wolves would run from you. Chuck Norris -- well, Chuck Norris runs from nothing, but he'd probably want to think twice and pick up a rock before taking you on. And in a war of wits, you have the rest of the world out-gunned. Why, I get goose pimples just thinking about it.

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    1. We AM scary, amn't we? Especially a couple weeks ago...

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  7. I woke up this morning with an unshakeable feeling that I would read something funny before noon. And lookee...!!

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  8. I ate some Extremely Sweet Persimmons once. Does that count?

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    1. No, it does not.

      Unless they weren't really there.

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  9. I've always asked the question:
    What the hell are they going to do with the body when they find it?

    Mussolini it?

    XO
    WWW

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  10. I guess I don't have ESP because I'm always surprised when I throw up. Take care and I hope you're enjoying the holiday.

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    1. I've just had my third five-thousand calorie meal in three days and I'm thinking about going back to bed. And it's not even noon.

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  11. My favorite moment is having read this and then going back to check the title.

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    1. Here's the weird thing. I read about this in my local paper, the Jimmy Joffa quote and everything, and when I tried to search it on line later, it wasn't there at all. Which makes me wonder if I make stuff up in my sleep.

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  12. Don't scoff. I'm sure extra sensory experiences do occur, since I've had a few myself. Like having the exact same dream as my girlfriend. Luckily however no go-poinkiness of hair was involved. Or go-poinkiness of anything else.

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  13. Ah ... and raises yet again the old question about why psychics can't win the lottery!

    Jesus of Bazereth, indeed.

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    1. *Bazareth* with an a, not an e.

      Sheesh.

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    2. You just reminded me of a time I came home from school all excited about Jeanne Dixon and I told my father all about her. He told me Jeanne Dixon's husband was in real estate and if she could predict the future they'd be bazillionaires. What the psychics say, of course, is that the purity of their motives prevents that sort of thing.

      You really weren't likely to pull that sort of thing over on Dad.

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  14. My lovely (and dangerous) wife and I sometimes take short day hikes in the Smokies, and on one such trip we were slightly freaked out by a sign (3 miles from the parking lot, where it might have been instructive...) that read:

    "Bear Activity! Frequent bear attacks have occurred in this area."

    From that point on the trip, bears were lurking behind every tree, branches seemed to be snapping in the distance behind us, mysterious "snorts" and growls from the dark...

    It's at that point you realize how insignificant you are in the food-chain-of-command scale of things.

    There were no bears. I should probably have gone back to check on my wife, in retrospect...

    Hope they find that Joffa person you're worried about.

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    1. Seriously, it's keeping me up nights.

      Next time you're taking a hike in the wonderful Smoky Mountains please roll a log in my name and say hello to the first salamander you see. It is salamander nirvana there. Or was.

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    2. Unfortunately, some of the "salamanders" you find under logs in the mountains have little rattler things on their butts, and I've heard it said that they can make you hurt yourself running away in a panic. I don't roll logs over looking for trouble.

      Wanna hear a casual comment that can inspire terror on a long hike miles from the car in bear country?

      "Oh, shoot. I think I've started my period."

      Why not just drag a pork roast behind us, honey?

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    3. To be absolutely honest here, that's not something I even like to say in non-bear country.

      Nor will I ever have to again...

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    4. Bear? Did someone say, "Bear"?

      Here I am. And I know roast pork tastes good.

      But it also smells of humans. Not so good.

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  15. Why would anyone look for anything Joffa? I suggest they look for Jaffa cakes, those are yummy. And they won't do anything weird to your hair.

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    1. I've never heard of them, but lo, there they are, all over the Googles.

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  16. I am so glad that Vicki sent me here!!

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    1. She sent you here AGAIN? I'm putting her on the payroll.

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  17. See now that's another good thing about being Canadian: Jimmy Joffa is not buried anywhere up here. Not that we're lacking in horripilative events...say, could you take Black Friday back over the border? It makes me horripilate something awful.

    And did the torn up driveway get repaired when they didn't find him or did they just throw up their backhoes and chug away in disgust?

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    1. I think possibly the concrete flatworkers' union is behind a lot of this.

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  18. Another word for horripilation is "piloerection," which sounds even naughtier.

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    1. Yuh. Or goose bumps, which, if you've ever been bumped by a goose, actually IS naughty.

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  19. My post menopausal chin whiskers have had the good grace to emerge a nice shade of silver/white.

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  20. Only too funny. I live about a mile from where they tore up that driveway. It wasn't replaced. I truly think they just wanted to avoid the cost of tearing up the old one when they put in a new one. Jimmy will never be found but they keep tearing up things here in Michigan on speculation as to where he is.

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    1. Fabulous! We have a Woman On The Scene! Hey--you're not trying to lure people off the trail, are you? Do you know something?

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  21. I saw a horror movie once. Starring Jane Fonda. Maybe I spelled that wrong?

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    1. No, that definitely sounds like a horror movie.

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  22. By combining your ESP talents with you horropilation skills, you could very effectively scare away the cougars.....throwing up makes one's hair stand on end. Any smart cougar would run for cover.

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    1. I always thought throwing up makes your hair drag in the toilet.

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  23. That making-yourself-look-bigger-to-scare-away-predators always reminds me of that cute scene in one of The Gods Must Be Crazy movies where the little boy puts the big piece of bark on his head to scare away some random African bit of wildlife.

    Come to think of it, bet Mr. Hoffa isn't under anybody's driveway. He probably got pelletized and turned into Purina Wildebeast Chow and shipped off to Africa.

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    1. Now I'm getting a mental image of Charlton Heston running through the African grasslands screaming "PEEEEOOOPLE!!! Purina Wildebeast Chow is PEOPLE!!!"

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    2. Only on Murr's site would I read a reference for "The Gods Must Be Crazy"--and--at that--a mention that there was more than one of those delightful movies.

      - Col

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  24. Wanted to let you know I have enjoyed your posts but of late not able to respond. They have made me smile and helped me since the loss of my husband on Nov 10th.
    Thank you.

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  25. I guess horripilation would only work as a predator deterrent if one had a thick coat of body hair, like middle-aged Italian guys one sees on the beach. If one's body hair is sparse or thin, it just looks prickling when it stands up.

    Hairy middle-aged Italian guys will win the evolutionary battle because of this.

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  26. Don't be fooled by the "bulking up" nonsense. I tried that once on a Cougar. I still have the scars, the results of my misguided plan. (Bears are much bigger than Cougars, and they still try to take us on. Proving that Cats are even less bright than Bears.)

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  27. The only psychics who ever find bodies are the ones who bury them. But I am impressed by the otter lore and by your prescience in regard to that barfing thing. Have you considered that as a possible cougar repellant?

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    1. I don't know if it's effective, but I believe it would come natch'l.

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