Grandpa Simpson is that old character in the animated show who tells odd, rambling stories. “We can’t bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell ’em stories that don’t go anywhere – like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. ‘Give me five bees for a quarter,’ you’d say.” That sort of thing.
Grandpa has been hired by the Huffington post, and is writing stuff under the pen name of Robert Lanza. For instance, he’s got a fascinatingly weird tale up titled “What Happens When You Die? Evidence Suggests Time Simply Reboots“. Now if you or I were writing something with that title, we’d probably write something about what happens after we die, or about time, or maybe we’d get really ambitious and write about some evidence linking the two. Not Grandpa Lanza! No, we learn that when he was a boy, his hobby was killing small mammals by torture, until one day a blacksmith destroyed his trap and gave him a new mission in life. “I’ll give you 50 cents for every dragonfly you catch,” the old man said, and when the excited Little Lanza had caught one, the blacksmith made a model dragonfly out of iron rods. Oh, and he fixed a squeaky chimney cap by blowing it away with a shotgun. But it’s not dead! He’s sure it’s squeaking somewhere.
Someone needs to explain to Grandpa Lanza that the plural of anecdote is not data. And neither is the plural of senile rambling.