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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Muses

My saintèd late father was a Cambrian classics scholar from Sydney Sussex and would dash off Horation odes in between keeping those New Territories clan chiefs in line - usually redoubtable hags who remembered waving "Jo sun" to Noah as he cruised by.

One evening he was sitting quietly by as I serenaded some cutiepie with a Burl Ives evergreen. She must have made some simpering remark about my chansonnier skills because I made some pompous reference to my "Muse".

SpriteLooking up, Dad said quietly, "I bet you can't name - and correctly spell - all nine Muses. Come on, I've spent a pretty packet on your education.

In fact, let's make it interesting. I'll give you $1,000. No, I'll give you my Sprite. How's that?"

Duude, as I'm sure no one had got round to saying in those days. Those babies are serious seduction chariots and I was seriously into serial seductions in those salad days.

I probably got Calliope, Euterpe, Clio and Terpsichore, natch, but the rest defeated me.

"OK, what *are* they then?" at which he proceeded to name them all sans pause.

"The mnemonic is CERPTUM. Of course, you have to remember that C and T appear twice."

You'd better believe that I lost no time committing those vixens to memory. Won quite a few bar bets up at Oxford with that trick. Annoyed the dickens out those effete classics scholars.

In fact, he let me drive it whenever I wanted, so it didn't really cramp my style.

"He's awfully clever, your father," said the young lady, cuddling up as we sped off for me to taunt Keith McGregor with my latest acquisition.

"Yerss, well, he's me old man, inne?"

Alors, womanisers everywhere: win some hot wheels off Papa on me:

  1. Calliope
  2. Clio
  3. Erato
  4. Euterpe
  5. Melpomene
  6. Polyhymnia
  7. Terpsichore
  8. Thalia
  9. Urania

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