Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wordplay (Want to play too?)

Francesco Foscari

These days, most of my energy - research and otherwise - is going into my next book.  What that means here, on the blog, is yet another fluffy and whimsical post.  There will be more posts with content, I promise.  But not today.

Some while back, my husband and I were looking at a piece of music written for the installation of a Doge of Venice in the year 1423.  The Doge in question was the redoubtable (if controversial) Francesco Foscari, shown above.  

But this is not a post about Foscari, or about doges, or about Venice.  It's a riff on the concept of installing someone.  Think about it:  a king or queen gets crowned (has a coronation); a president is sworn in; various other public figures probably have other means of officially starting their run in whatever the job in question happens to be.

But "install"?  An odd word, I thought.  Almost as if you were going to plug the guy in, boot him up, and make sure he was attached to a surge suppressor.

Surge suppressor
Then my husband observed, "If the people thought he was going to be a particularly extravagant doge, they could always install a splurge suppressor."

Ready to splurge

And with that, we were off and running.

Venetian doges perform an odd and arcane ceremony in which they "marry" the sea, tossing a ring into the water from a very fancy boat.  What if one of them was likely to get carried away and jump in after it?  You might then need - a submerge suppressor.

And while on an aquatic theme, if the doge's fancy boat (the Bucentaur) happened to stray into dangerous territory, you might need a gurge suppressor.  (Gurge:  a whirlpool, or, as a verb, to swallow up.)

Venice, of course, was noted for its lush fabrics, silks and brocades of exquisite design.  If The Ten (Venice's rulers) feared that a frumpy doge might sour their image by wearing clothes made of simple worsted cloth, they could always employ a serge suppressor. 

And if they felt strongly that no more hostelries should be licensed during this doge's reign, they might consider an auberge suppressor.

Should the newly-installed doge be subject to depending overly much on wizards, they could always hook him up to a thaumaturge suppressor.

If they feared that the doge might actually make an alliance with the traditional enemy (that would be Genoa), they might do well to invest in a merge suppressor.  And if instead he seemed overly willing to allow traditional allies to go their separate ways, The Ten might protect their city with a diverge suppressor.

Should the doge be old and feeble and about to keel over any moment, if The Ten wanted to keep the reign going for a while longer, they might need to employ a dirge suppressor.

If they worried about how playwrights might depict the byzantine governmental structure of their fair city, they could always use a dramaturge suppressor.

Not to bring theology into this, but it might behoove The Ten to control the power of the clergy by judicious use of a theurge suppressor.

That last one might prove essential, because as powerful as The Ten were, they probably couldn't have managed a demiurge suppressor. 

Anyway, you get the idea.  Anyone have any more ideas?  If you do, please add them to the comments.  I can't guarantee finding illustrations, but if I do, I'll edit the post and add them. 

Images in this post are in the public domain.


Julia H. West said...

And if you had a hard time dealing with all the puns above, you might need a regurge suppressor. Or if you wanted to strangle the punners, an urge suppressor. ;) Truth to tell, I love a good punster. I married one.

Tinney Heath said...

Oh, excellent! Also, I forgot the one about the civil servant who's worried about being replaced with a political appointee: he'd want to hook the guy up to a purge suppressor.