OFF THE CUFF

I saw a butterfly flutter by the other day.

I’m not sure if it was out a bit early in the year, but seeing it made me wonder why such a beautiful creature would be named after a nasty one and a form of dairy product. So why butterfly?

Turns out it’s a very old word, and theories of its origin include the insects consuming butter or milk left uncovered, being most visible in the springtime when butter churning was going on or simply because the pale yellow color of many butterflies’ wings is similar to that of butter.

Whatever the case, when one flutters by, I will more appreciate its appearance than be concerned with butter.

WHO’S WHO

Lots of well-known people don’t go by two names, and most other people don’t know their whole names.

Not that it matters, but there are many examples in the music world. Cher was born Cherilyn Sarkisian and Bono is really Paul David Hewson.

Sting is Gordon Sumner (Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, to be exact) and Adele is Adele Adkins (or Adele Laurie Blue Adkins in its entirety).

Plenty of examples can be found elsewhere, too.

Kreskin (that famous “mentalist” from 1970s TV) was born George Kresge and Twiggy (that model from the 1960s) is really Leslie Hornby.

Oh, and Dr. Phil’s last name is McGraw.

Like I said, not that it matters.

RHETORIC IS ALL AROUND

Having a somewhat odd sense of humor, I like hearing really good rhetoric.

I mean rhetoric in its best-known form, because the word is one of many in the English language that has multiple, opposing meanings.

The kind I’m referring to is described in the word’s first definition listed by Dictionary.com: “In writing or speech, the undue use of exaggeration or display; bombast.”

Other definitions less commonly associated with rhetoric include “the ability to use language effectively, the study of the effective use of language and even the art of making persuasive speeches; oratory.”

The rhetoric that most captures my attention (and tickles my funny bone) is the kind containing promises, proclamations or threats.

One virtually continuous source of juicy, ominous, but obviously rhetorical threats is North Korea, its capital city of Pyongyang and its supreme dunderhead (I mean leader) Jimmy John Nutcase (I mean, Kim Jong-un). Right now is an even better time than usual for North Korean rhetoric, because the U.S. and South Korean are involved in a joint military exercise known as Operation Foal Eagle, that’s being staged (not coincidentally) in the North’s backyard.

Pyongyang recently warned that its military personnel are “holding tightly the arms to annihilate the enemies with towering hatred for them” and “are waiting for the dignified Supreme Command to issue an order to launch a preemptive strike of justice.”

Ooh, doesn’t that make you shudder and want to hunker down in your underground shelter, load your .38 special and .243 and heat up some freeze-dried scrambled eggs and potato flakes?

Actually, I think Kimmy’s personnel might be holding tight to guns that jam when the trigger’s pulled and missiles launched during any “preemptive strike of justice” might not make it very far past the walk-in closet that houses the Taco Supreme’s collection of 50,000 DVDs before falling into the North Pacific.

Also right now, there is certainly no shortage of rhetorical promises and proclamations being thrown about thanks to the heavily political nature of 2016 in the U.S.

Yep, it’s time for “everyone to come together” because “together, we can make a difference.”

It’s also time we “make America great again” and “take back our country.”

Yep, everything will become hunky-dory once we all “come together, right now.”

Of course, a buttery fly might flutter by, too.

You know, sometimes I feel like I’d like to take back our country. The same way I take back a half-gallon of milk that’s bad right off the shelf.

FACT CHECK See inaccurate information in this story? Tell us here.

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