Great Literature Begins with "G"

Friends, comrades, and fellow citizens of the Empire, I come to you today with a message. It is a message that many of you have heard over the years, but it is one that I think bears repeating. Certainly, it is one that must never be forgotten.

Imagine, if you will, the letters of our great Roman alphabet, lined up neatly in a row before you. Twenty-six of the most wondrous and beautiful figures ever to grace the page. Now imagine that alphabet with one less letter. Imagine it without the letter G.

It is unpleasant, to say the least, and perhaps even torturous. Without the seventh letter, that letter we have all used to express our voiced velar plosives and many of our voiced postalveolar affricates, our alphabet loses cohesion. Many of our words lose their meanings, and the human race descends into anarchy, chaos, and likely extinction. In large part, it is the letter G that stands between our current prosperous, peaceful state and utter annihilation.

Yes, our seventh letter is a beautiful one. Think of how empty our world would seem without the powerful curve of the uppercase G giving way to that sudden straight line that so boldly proclaims, "This is not a C!" And how many letters of the alphabet have multiple lowercase typographic forms? G has two: the single-story form, with its simple, elegant grace, and the double-story form for the more adventurous among us.

Think of all the English words whose meanings would be lost to us without this great and glorious glyph. Every gerund in the English language relies on it. In fact, without G we would all be speaking the Enlish lanuae, which makes no sense at all and would surely destroy us. Its two pronunciations make it particularly versatile, allowing for such words as "gesturing" and "gorgeous". Without G, all things great would become merely reat, all things grand merely rand.

My friends, we must work to ensure that the letter G is given the respect it deserves. Too often it is lost in the shuffle, forgotten among the more glamorous letters like S or N, or those limelight-grabbing vowels. The next time you give a gift, call upon your friend Gertrude, or see a giraffe at the local zoo, remember that none of these things would be possible without G, and offer a silent thank-you to it. Without G we would have no government, no gardens, no gasoline. And above it all, without G there would be no God.

Thank you, friends. Now go out and proclaim to the world that G is here to stay and shall not be taken for granted.

George Gregson Guggengeist
July 7, 1977


The Audient Void

My primary blog is The Audient Void. It's where I work out my own thoughts for all the world to see, and is mostly presented in a rather straightforward sort of way.

Die, Unicorn, Die!

Die, Unicorn, Die! is a blog by Narpath Vorgletter, whose primary goal is, as one might guess, the eradication of unicorns. Narpath is an interesting fellow.

A Biography of Christopher Torgersen

by Tom Brokaw

Christopher S. Torgersen was born in Brooklyn, NY, on November 24, 1974, during the presidency of the United States' only thoroughly unelected President. His great childhood dream was to become a trash collector, which he thought was the coolest job in the world. He went so far as to request that Santa's elves custom-build a fully functional minature garbage truck for him to play with. Much to his chagrin, the elves only laughed at this request, although they did oblige him when he asked for red boots so that he could complete his Superman costume (the rest of which consisted of Superman Underoos, blue tights, a blue long-sleeved shirt (since the underoos lacked sleeves), and a cape his grandmother knitted for him that was so strong it once felled a beetle).

On trash collection days, Chris would wake up very early, go outside, and pull all the garbage cans on the block to the curb. It was his way of helping the garbage men, and in exchange, they let him ride in the truck from time to time. He once even got to pull the bar that mashed the garbage, which was most of what Chris liked about the idea of being a trash collector.

But trash collection lost its appeal to Chris as he got older. Perhaps the experience of having mashed the garbage was all the fulfillment he really needed. He turned his attentions to other pursuits, such as pest control, lumberjacking, or perhaps even cartography or being a banker like his father. But what held the most appeal to Chris was the idea of being a superhero. No one could possibly hurt him, he figured, if he had superpowers.

At around the age of nine, Chris began to suspect that he was a robot. He suspected this because it seemed to be a good explanation for why he wasn't like anyone else he knew. He convinced himself that he had no emotions and was very logical, like Spock. Only years later did he realize that the idea of having no emotions appeals mostly to people who are depressed (for obvious reasons). But no one ever heard of a depressed nine-year-old, so that didn't make any sense.

Chris's strangeness was much more apparent to him than it was to anyone else. On the outside, he seemed like a relatively normal, well-adjusted (even if painfully shy) kid. But deep down, Chris felt completely alienated from the world. He withdrew socially into a sort of self-exile just as the fun of puberty hit. He would spend his early teens not awkwardly chasing girls or attending parentally unsupervised parties like his peers, but sitting in his family's finished basement on a (pre-Internet) computer, trying to figure things out, especially (but not only) things related to baseball statistics. He would be visited occasionally by two friends who urged him to be more social, but he would not.

In the summer before his sixteenth birthday, Chris changed suddenly. After a family vacation, without any particular reason, he decided to end his hermetic, solitary self-exile from the world of his friends. Within the space of three months, he went from being a social recluse who had never kissed a girl to being a vital social cog who organized parties and was on his second girlfriend. His friends even made him a card that proclaimed him "social director" of the group. Exactly how all this happened is a matter that has dumbfounded sociologists for many years.

Also during this time, Chris began to write songs. He had always been drawn to music, although he had no interest at all in learning to play an instrument. He only cared about composing. This being before the proliferation of cheap computer-based tools for composition, he was forced to take up something, so he played his keyboard and wrote songs on it. He never did learn to play a full song written by anyone other than himself. After all, the keyboard was only a means to an end for him.

After a traumatic move from the fast life of New York City to the dull and dreary suburbs on Long Island, Chris's newfound social centrality all but disappeared, although he did not return to his former level of isolation. College came quickly enough, and with it came all the usual changes college tends to bring about (including weight gain). Chris attended Stony Brook University along with a couple of his close friends, and it was there that he met John LaSala.

Music became more central to Chris in his time at Stony Brook. His dreams of superherodom long shattered by cold reality, he had gone to college with the intent of studying psychology. However, the draw of music could not be denied, and Chris found a clever way to combine his psychology studies and music composition into a single degree program, the result of which would be a rather bizarre degree in "Multidisciplinary Studies in Psychology and Music," which would fall somewhere below "English" on a descending list of degree usefulness.

John and Chris, together with Chris's long-time friend Joe Valentina, formed a band called Dying Breed, which never played live, never had a singer (at least not as an official band member), and recorded only four songs on a four-track demo before whimpering out of existence. However, John and Chris carried on as Synthasia, which legality (i.e., someone more famous than them had that name) forced them to change to The Synthasium. The Synthasium was never geared toward live playing. Neither John nor Chris had any real desire to play live, and the music they produced was not the sort of music one could even play on instruments on a stage. That was when John had the brilliant idea of writing a musical.

It was a solo idea at first, but Chris quickly signed on, and they poured many hours and much effort into what would be Dimensional Rift, directed by graduate student Robert Savina and performed by a cast of all women at the Staller Center for the Arts on the campus. It was their capstone college achievement and impending further greatness was assumed by all.

After college, however, the real world proved to be a much more difficult place for an aspiring composer than Chris had assumed. While he loved composing music, he did not love self-promotion, nor did he have much of a knack for it. He realized that while music was something he loved doing, it was not something upon which he wanted to depend for income. He only wanted to write music, not sell it. As the new millennium dawned, Chris's music career dried up, even as John moved on to bigger and better things (although the two would resurrect The Synthasium on occasion years later).

Chris changed his focus once again. He married his girlfriend and relocated to Rhode Island after losing his job in the events of 9/11/01 (he had worked at a bookstore in the World Trade Center). In Rhode Island, he and his wife Rhonda started a family, although Chris never quite felt comfortable living so far from New York, which he considered to be his only true home. Chris began working in a research lab, and much to his surprise, he found himself liking it quite a bit. His computer skills led to him becoming a data manager.

In perhaps his strangest life decision, brought on by his anxieties about being able to provide for his soon-to-emerge first child, Chris returned to school online in pursuit of an MBA. While he had no real interest in business administration, he thought the coursework would be most conducive to having a full-time job and family. It was not as well thought out a decision as it should have been, but it did help him eventually get back to New York.

Chris, now with a wife and two kids in tow, returned to New York in 2006. Upon his return, he began composing again, now as Carpentron, based on the name of a character from Dimensional Rift with whom Chris shared few characteristics other than being strange.

Unfortunately, while New York was good for Chris's music, it was not good for his marriage. He and Rhonda split up in 2008 and finalized their divorce in 2010, although they remain very close and both work hard to be good parents to their two young sons. The divorce effectively ended Chris's musical resurgence, or at least sent it into deep slumber, as his living situation changed and he no longer had the space for his equipment.

Chris now works happily for a major university in New York, doing very nerdy work that he enjoys, and finds creative outlets in other artforms, particularly writing. He intends to return to composition when the stars are properly aligned. Until then, he will continue to misattribute his writings to famous people.