Dear Matthew Alice: The other day some friends and I were out on the town being a little wacky, zany, so to speak, and we were wondering if we were “raising cane” or “raising coin.” The first seems to make more sense in the literal translation, but my friend insists it is the latter. Since you seem to have way too much time on your hands, could you please set us straight and explain this nutty saying? — Bob Lowell, Ocean Beach
When you’re all out on the town acting like bozos, what you’re raising is “cain." Or more properly “Cain” — Adam and Eve’s kid, the one that got in all that hot water when he killed his brother Abel somewhere around the third or fourth chapter of Genesis. As the Bible’s first felon, his name became synonymous with the devil. So when you raise Cain, you raise the devil. And I trust you won’t turn to Matthew Alice when you’re trying to raise bail.
A little more old business, first about my cavalier disregard for Basic Anonymous Truthseeker’s request for “a good word that rhymes with orange.” Well, when y’all get huffy, at least you’re creative about it. I guess. Two submissions offered the same solution to BAT’s rhyming dilemma. Jan Tonnesen, popular bookseller/musician about town, the bearded eminence at Wahrenbrock’s Book House, was mercifully brief in his reply. But Billy Johnston of scenic Clairemont Mesa, owner of a little emporium called T ub Scrub Diving (“Our Business Is Going Under”) submitted some poetry: “To save your face and possibly your job, I made up the following limerick so you wouldn’t be relieved of duty due to inability.” Billy’s obviously been to the family mansion on Alice Acres. He’s described it to a tee.
There once was a witticist named Mat,
Who lived in a paltry glum flat.
Everything in it was orange.
From the windowsill to the door hinge.
So there. Mat, is the answer for BAT.
I can’t say that “door hinge" fits either of BAT’s criteria; it’s neither good nor a single word. But, then, remember our motto here at Queries R Us: “Hey, what do you want for free?"
And Ed Lucas from Clairemont supplies the obvious answer to the ten/eleven Summoner’s Tales contradiction. The 11th song on the CD is an epilogue, a literary device found several times interspersed among the stories in The Canterbury Tales. Could the answer have been any clearer? Probably not.