Ben Ito Mus Sol .INI


This challenge came from the realization that the letters in the name Benito Mussolini divided evenly into three-character strings, and if a dot were added to the last one they would all be labelable, and it might be a worthwhile challenge to make the whole mess make sense and work.

(The dot isn’t really needed; an earlier “concept rough” included an illustration of the Isaac Newton Institute, in Cambridge. But .INI enabled the use of a dot as a period,  and therefore preservation of the rhyme scheme. In similar problem-solving fashion I’d previously exploited the diaeresis over the i in Anaïs Nin’s name to become two-thirds of an ellipsis in the acrostic.)

Long story a little longer: together again for the first time, we have Ben the rat from the movie bearing his name (and a young and relatively unwarped Michael Jackson singing the last line of the song, with Ben’s tail doing double-duty as the pointer of a word balloon; I’m absurdly proud of this visual pun); Lance Ito, the judge in the O.J. Simpson case; Mus musculus, the common mouse (the word Muscle is from this Latin word for Mouse); Sol Weinstein, comedy writer extraordinaire; and a closeup of an .INI (pronounced “innie” or “eeny”) file. .INI files, also and less confusingly known as initialization files, are bits of software that execute upon startup of the computer. Comment lines, which are ignored by the executable, begin with a semicolon.

Does it all make sense? To me it does, but then again, FINNEGANS WAKE made perfect sense to James Joyce, the rest of us not so much. I will say that this page is a tribute to the survival-triumph of the Jews past the Holocaust, among other things. The mouse and rat refer to Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning graphic novel MAUS, and derogatory drawings of Jews in Nazi Germany, respectively. Sol Weinstein, may he rest in peace, created Israel Bond, “Agent Oy Oy Seven,” among MANY, MANY other light-hearted, brilliant bits of schtick. I was saddened to learn of his passing when I looked for a photo source to do his portrait. And Lance Ito presided over a miscarriage of justice that still staggers me. (Don’t take my word for it. Read Vincent Bugliosi’s book on the subject, or ask Marilyn vos Savant, who’s listed in Guinness as “world’s highest IQ” and who’s called O.J. Simpson an “acquitted killer.”)

Here are the words to the quintuple acrostic:

Believe it or not, mice & rats can be fun. I
Enjoy how their startups are comically run
No rushes to judgment, no riots, no lie, just bagels & lox & a boxed Warr Shu Gai


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