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Gadfly Dreamer by PollyColly

Good morning, folks!

This morning I racked my brain in search of a title and the Italian translation for this (to me) uninspiring word … and the title was in front of my eyes! Yes, folks, right in front of my eyes, NO RESULTS FOUND, no matches, this word has NO equivalent in my language. At least, no exact translation. I might translate it as Brontolo (Snow White’s Grumpy) to render it using an eponym but I’m not really sure it’s the same thing. Thanks God now I’ve a title!


noun: A habitual faultfinder or complainer.
After Smelfungus, a hypercritical character in Laurence Sterne’s 1768 novel, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. Earliest documented use: 1807.
Novelist Laurence Sterne modeled his character Smelfungus after traveler and author Tobias Smollett who complained about almost everything in his 1766 travel book Travels through France and Italy. Here’s how Sterne describes Smelfungus:
“The learned Smelfungus travelled from Boulogne to Paris, from Paris to Rome, and so on; but he set out with the spleen and jaundice, and every object he pass’d by was discoloured or distorted. He wrote an account of them, but ’twas nothing but the account of his miserable feelings.”

“And a couple of smellfungus from the Official Paper … carped that Issel chose to jump when the schedule reached its toughest stretch.”
Paige Woody; Issel is the Wrong Scapegoat in Nuggets’ Mess; Denver Post; Feb 13, 1995

ITALIAN TRANSLATION: criticone (?) brontolone (??) brontolo (???)

From the point of view of a ‘mummy’:  in cartoons and tales smellfungus are quite common, one example is Grumpy in Snow White, I suppose they are intended to represent the ‘bitter side’ of life. My child Melissa is a keen viewer of the cartoon Spongebob SquarePants, thus the definition of the term smellfungus calls to my mind the character of Squidward Tentacles. Annoyed, grumpy, sluggard just to mention a few of his features. Why? Basically he’s disappointed from life, his ‘great expectations’ frustrated by his objective lack of talents (he think he’s a brilliant musician, painter and sculptor, but in fact he’s totally hopeless). Life can sometimes be disappointing when you have ‘great expectations’, but you have to hold on to your dreams, pick up the good from the worst and enjoy every little moment of your life. That’s what I’m trying to explain my little child. Cheer up, my darling, life’s beautiful if you live it with joy and enthusiasm. And when I speak to her that way I feel like I can do it myself in spite of the bitterness I feel inside, I can be a better person if I only try. Being a mom is such a great thing …

My topic-related listening suggestions:

Criticize by Alexander O’Neil

Lucy in the sky with diamonds by the Beatles – the reason: I was about to write ‘life’s beautiful if you see it through kaleidoscope eyes’ but I stopped just in time, I almost forgot that this song is considered a hymn to LSD and that this expression would be perceived the wrong way. I find this song awesome, I love its vision of a fantastic and colourful world, the dreamy ambience, the psychedelic sounds.

Hey Jude by the Beatles, a song on the right way to tackle life … take a sad song and make it better! Hey, this might have been a good title too! What a pity …!

See you soon, folks!

Your passionate (Italian) Translator

About the illustration (and my choice): The colourful image is a mixed media artwork (collage/painting) by an unknown artist, PollyColly, who feels like a bird on a wire as she says. Her gender is the only info I got on her, but I had no doubt, her works have a distinctive female touch. Why did I chose her work? It’s colourful and poetic, it’s about dreams and annoying things (gadfly is a synonym of today’s word and … a very annoying animal!). And I like it.

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