Little Ms. Muffet finds gregarious, tufted caterpillars

So, just what is a tussock?  My grandma had a hassock. She put her feet up to relieve her bursitis. I'm relieved to find an ID for the fabulous caterpillars I spotted on my walk after work.

Thanks to the Discover Life page at the University of Georgia, I was able to eliminate several possible suspects. I also found an interesting blog, Living With Insects to follow.

Euchaetes egle (Drury, 1773)
Milkweed Tiger Moth; Milkweed Caterpillar

So, tell me again, what is a tussock?
tus·sock  (tsk) n.
1. A clump or tuft, as of growing grass.
2. A tuft of hair or feathers.

Ms. Muffet had a tuffet. Is that like a tussock, or like a hassack?  Is it a grassy hillock or knoll?

Grandma never called the hassock an ottoman.  I'm sure Miss Muffet never sat on Grandma's hassock. Time for a check with Wikipedia:

tuffetpouffe or hassock is a piece of furniture used as a footstool or low seat.[1] It is distinguished from a stool by being completely covered in cloth so that no legs are visible. It is essentially a large hard cushion that may have an internal wooden frame to give it more rigidity. Wooden feet may be added to the base to give it stability, at which point it becomes a stool or a footstool. If the piece is larger, with storage space inside it, then it is generally known as an ottoman.[2]dral Hassock has special association with churches, as it is used to describe the thick cushions employed by the congregation to kneel on while in prayer. [3]


 noun \ˈha-sək\

Definition of HASSOCK

a : a cushion for kneeling hassock

b : a padded cushion or low stool that serves as a seat or leg rest

I attended pay-what-you-can-night of "Second City Does Dallas" at the Wyly Theatre Center.  Improv doesn't do much for me, what with the anxiety of knowing audience members could be escorted up on stage at any moment to be embarrassed.  I would rather a spider sat down beside her!  The stranger sitting next to me was picked for a stage moment, poor dear, and had to sing some song about balls.  Second City did a long skit about the JFK assassination, something that will never be humorous in Dallas, and should not be elsewhere.  I'm not the only one with inflamed bursa* over that, as the Dallas Morning News critic Lawson Taitte made the same criticism when the show opened.

Not to be funny, but I have been wondering who invented the term "grassy knoll", a phrase that surely says Dallas.  Urban Dictionary calls the phrase, among other things, "a metaphor and a source of irony when referring to a suspicion, conspiracy, or a cover-up of some type."

Alas, I must go to work without solving the age-old question of why tuffet doesn't rhyme with buffet.
*Bursitis is the inflammation of one or more bursae (small sacs) of synovial fluid in the body. The bursae rest at the points where internal functionaries, such as muscles and tendons, slide across bone. Healthy bursae create a smooth, almost frictionless functional gliding surface making normal movement painless. When bursitis occurs, however, movement relying upon the inflamed bursa becomes difficult and painful. Moreover, movement of tendons and muscles over the inflamed bursa aggravates its inflammation, perpetuating the problem.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Kim said...

I can treat bursitis! And Tuffet can rhyme with Buffet...just ask Warren!

Collagemama said...

Yes, but Warren has two "t"s in his Buffett. I lived in Omaha for many years. Too bad you couldn't help Grandma's bursitis.

Kathleen said...

We had a hassock when I was growing up. And I am glad to see these marvelous feathery tussocks.

Kim said...

Or we could call him Warren Buff-ay!


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