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September 26, 2005


In the comments to a post below, Bill bloviates thusly;

Kaplan's off the mark on "unasseting" the helicopter begetting "unassing" same -- "unassing" the ship was common usage 'bout thirty years prior to the present oh-so-trendy verbification of nouns.

This is what comes of refusing to publish Roget's in a cammied cover...

Now that we auld pharts don't work in The 'Box any more, the corporate memory shifts.

5 gets you 10 that the New Kids On The Block (NKOB) figured that 'unassing' had to have some kewl derivation, and cast about until they came up with "Unassetting". Kind of like we do when confronted with an acronym we understand, but someone asks us what the letters stand for - and we MSU* an answer.

Or, someone like us was drunk, and the New Kids misunderstood us to say Unassetting when we really slurred un ass-sitting.

I can see it now...

Interior, night, tent. Cases of near-beer abound. Grizzled, white-haired warrant officer pilot (GWWOP) lies sprawled on his cot, 27-inch zipper open to his waist, in case that cute admin warrant ambles by... GWWOP sips from carefully packed and concealed ABC (alcoholic beverage container).

NKOBs come in.

NKOB1 "Hey, didja hear that Kaplan guy? Asking about what "unassing" meant? Where d'ya think it came from?"

NKOB2 "I dunno, really. Whatcha think?"


NKOB1 "I dunno, whattaya you think?"

GWWOP "I know"

NKOB2 "Yeah? Where'd it come from Gramps?"

GWWOP "Back in da 'Nam, in the Delta, where men were men and small furry animals were really small furry animals, and scared... *hic* it meant, *hic* it meant, get yer assesh outta th' aaaair, *hic* aiiiiirrr, *hic* bird. *bleary eyed look* Uuuuuhhhhnasshed the bird. *hic* Yep. Thash' it."

NKOB1 "Hey, cool - it means they 'unasseted' the birds! C'mon, let's go tell Kaplan!"

NKOB1 and 2 rush off to find The Reporter Guy.

GWWOP "Hehehehehehehehe. My work here is done."

*Make Shite Up. This also applies when confronted with a Congressional Staffer Who Knows That Word Is An Acronym and he must know it's meaning when he writes the Congressperson's Report On The Subject.

Case in point - when I was running the Battle Sim Center at Fort Sill, way back in the days it first opened, we had lots of visitors. We were the first TRADOC school to implement a simcenter, and we did it mostly out-of-hide. But it was Kapital K Kewl. (it really was, leave aside that it set me on the path to my eventual lucrative post-retirement employment). We'd get Persons From Congress (usually staffers, the Congresscritter themself being a bit intimidated by all those blinkenlites). Anyway, our major tool was a high-res simulation called Janus, still in use, though its star dims on the training side. (Hey, it's almost as old as Bill).

Staffers *Knew* Janus had to be an acronym (even though it wasn't in all-caps) probably because their poli-sci degrees never covered Roman mythology, where Janus is the two-headed god of portals, the past looking to the future. No, the only Janus they knew was maybe Janus Funds, and Everybody Knows the services are all into acronyms, so what did it mean?

You'd tell them, "Nothing. It's the name of a roman god and..."

"Oh, please!" they'd reply. "I have a source in the Pentagon who told me what it meant, only I forgot, now don't make me call them..."

Snerk. Like I'm afraid of that.

"Okay, you got me. It means 'Just ANother Useless Simulation'."

*scribble scribb...* "It does not! Now, what does it *mean*?" (throw in gerbil-glare)

"It doesn't *mean* anything. It was originally built as an analysis tool for comparing current equipment and force structures against new equipment and force structures... from the past to the future... Janus... the roman god of portals."

"Oh, don't give me that! You're just trying to make me look stupid in front of my boss!"

"Nope. Sorry. I'm not." (thought to self, "I couldn't do any better than you are right now, anyway.")