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Do Astronomers Stare at the Moon?

DO ASTRONOMERS STARE AT THE MOON?Some of us can develop vaccines, others can unscramble anagrams.  I can't develop vaccines. 
When my beloved schoolteacher Mrs McInnes explained that an anagram was formed by jumbling up the letters of another word, I was off and running, frankly.  My mind was a permanent jumble in those days.

"Like 'schoolmaster' and 'the classroom'?" I asked.  Mrs M. picked up her chalk -- yes, it was that long ago -- and regarded me in shock and disbelief (a look I've grown accustomed to over the years) before verifying my claim on the blackboard: you can ask your grandad what that was.

In the strange realm of anagrams, mathematics is rearranged: eleven plus two = twelve plus one.  Science is explained: an astronomer is a moon starer, although many of them have probably gone a bit further than that by now, even if another anagram of astronomer is 'no more stars.'  But not even lunatics stare at the moon in this day and age, do they?  That would be just silly, so I'm going to stop doing it.

David AitkenAnagrams have an honourable history.  They can be traced back to ancient Greek and biblical times.  Plato used them, Galileo coded his findings in them until he was ready to reveal his discoveries.  (Much good that did him.)  Dan Brown had fun with them in The Da Vinci Code and I have fun with them in crosswords.  You can confuse a granma with an anagram.

The best examples of them can often reflect or comment on their subject in some way, or even be a parody or satire.  (New York Times = Monkeys write.)  It has even been claimed they are an early version of The Morse code, although with an anagram like 'here come dots', one wonders what happened to the dashes.  It is slightly uncanny that the detectives detect thieves, the ears are a hear set, and the eyes? -- they see.  

Anagrams have always come naturally to me, or can that be described as natural?  Listening to a conversation, I think of its anagram = voices rant on.  We all know people like that.  

Not all anagrams are good, of course ("Bad anagram!") and no one would ever claim a funeral was "real fun", nor would I describe my usual vacation time with the words "I am not active."  Or say my late father-in-law was a 'near halfwit'.  Or tell my sister that the anagram of 'forty-five' is 'over fifty.'    

What of modern anagrams, I hear you ask.  Well, there's Debit Card = Bad credit, television programming permeating living rooms, garbage man as bag manager, and even Desperation -- a rope ends it.  Ouch!  

And you're going to ask me if I have a personal favourite.  So I leave you with the good news: Elvis -- Lives! 


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