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Soup of This Day #127: Confront Your Enemies, Avoid Them When You Can

January 22, 2012

John William Waterhouse - The Crystal Ball
Looking into her crystal ball the lady was able to divine that the Giants had used an auxiliary in conjunction with a past participle of a verb to beat the Packers – Image: John William Waterhouse – The Crystal Ball, 1902. Image cropped by Longworth72.

I’d like to think I’m a pretty well-read guy. For sure, I can’t quote Shakespeare verbatim and I mostly go for pulp fiction ahead of Booker Prize winners but I do read a bit and I have a vocabulary that’s just about right for what I want to communicate.

So I was a little surprised the other day when, in a bored moment I absent-mindedly picked up a pocket dictionary and randomly opened it at a page to find a word that blind-sided me.


And here’s the thing – I don’t recall ever seeing that word before. I had no idea what it meant or how to pronounce it. The latter is ok because I’ve also got no idea what context I’d use it in so it’s hardly likely to fit into any conversation I’m holding. Strangely, this has left me feeling a little embarrassed – Because there’s this word that I’ve neglected. Oh sure, there’s hundreds and thousands of those but this word was in a pocket dictionary. Only the really common words make it in there – This was no obscure Scrabble dictionary – You know, the 1s that tell you that ‘bvx’ is a ‘legitimate’ word that means, ‘cheats at Scrabble’.

So, to assuage my guilt, I’ve made the word pluperfect the focus of this post. That and the NFL play-offs. The pluperfect play-offs.

See, now I’ve gone and looked up the meaning and seen examples of pluperfect used in sentences I realise that a pluperfect play-off makes no sense. None at all. Pluperfect is a grammatical term, like ‘verb’ or ‘adjective’. To be clear it’s not like a verb or an adjective – Those were just random examples of grammatical terms that I plucked out of my pluperfect brain. And yes, that makes no sense either.

The NFL play-offs are down to just 4 teams. If you recall my tips for the Divisionals last weekend and combine that with how little I know about the NFL you’ll be surprised to read that I was on the money for 3 of the 4 games. Sort of.

In the 1st I tipped the Frisco defence to shut down Drew Brees and the Saints. They kind of did, for most of the game. And then there were 3 TDs inside the final 4 minutes, corresponding to 3 lead changes and New Orleans led by 32 to 28 with a bit to go in the 4th. A very small bit – 9s to be correct. As it turns out that was all the 49ers needed as Alex Smith fired a pass up the middle to Vernon Davis for the game-winner and the 4th and final lead change of a mad, mad finale. So I got the result right even if I was off-base on the manner of the win.

For the 2nd game I had New England being too good for the Broncos. And they were.

Waaaaaaaaay too good.

Tom Brady threw for 6 TDs in the 1st half alone and at the long break the Pats were out by 42 to 7. Tim Tebow has conjured up some magical moments this season but that was a bridge too far for Denver and it finished 45-10. Is Tebow the guy for the Broncos next season? Have I just consigned myself to Hell for asking that or is my lack of faith in general going to do that anyway?

Game 3 saw the Texans travel to Baltimore and I tipped the Ravens to send Houston back home with their prairie dog tails between their legs. It did pan out to a Ravens win but only just and on another day the Texans might have rolled them. A talking point was a fumbled return from Texan Jacoby Jones, who let the ball bounce before somehow palming it off for a Ravens TD. Definitely not pluperfection.

So at this point I was 3 from 3 and with defending champions, Green Bay, who had gone 15 and 1, up against the game-at-a-time Giants at Lambeau Field, I figured it’d be 4 from 4 from the Longworth72 crystal ball.


As they did in 2007/2008 the Giants are building a winning habit, momentum rolling them to tough wins, with every outing a do-or-die stoush. Technically they are all do-or-die battles in the play-offs so you want to play each like there is no tomorrow for your season – The Giants seem to be playing like there is no tomorrow for anything.

Maybe they believe that Maya 2012 thing.

All of which leads to the AFC Champs tie: The Pats vs the Ravens. Obviously I’m tipping the Pats – Although there is this nagging voice that keeps telling me to do my laundry or I will have no shirts for work on Monday.

No, wait, wrong voice.

There is this other nagging voice that whispers that the Pats won easy against a team that was always likely to crumble – New England wasn’t tested. Baltimore on the other hand won ugly. Their win hit every branch on a drop down the ugly tree. Maybe that’s a good thing.

In the NFC I can’t look past the Giants. They have momentum and they don’t seem the kind of outfit that will give you a shot with 9s to play. It’s some serious momentum too – Every time I had figured that the Giants had reached the end of the 20111/12 road they’ve found a way to win.

That last sentence contains 2 examples of a pluperfect, otherwise know as a past perfect. This, and I may have this wrong so do not wave this triumphantly under the nose of your English teacher, is a combination of the auxiliary ‘had’ and the past participle of a verb. So in my chosen sentence, ‘had figured’ and ‘had reached’ are examples of a pluperfect.


Confront Your Enemies, Avoid Them When You Can

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