Monday, December 01, 2008

Pardon

PARDON, v. To remit a penalty and restore to the life of crime. To add to the lure of crime the temptation of ingratitude.

2008 Update: To forgive, as a cat burglar by a governor.

Rabbit rabbit, and fine holidays to you all. Waking Ambrose will return new year's day, God willing, the creek don't rise and the horsemen of propriety don't overtake me.

UPDATE! REMINDER! BONEHEAD ALERT!
If you want a copy of The Unionville Chronicles CD, please make sure I have an address. My email address is dpascover at mac dot com.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Mayoralty of Macedon

Episode X
Listen to Chiron, children!.










Or read the end of the story on the abacus.
Happy birthday (tomorrow) to TLP and TSDUFF! Saturday stories will return in the new year, Insha'llah.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Novel

NOVEL, n. A short story padded. A species of composition bearing the same relation to literature that the panorama bears to art. As it is too long to be read at a sitting the impressions made by its successive parts are successively effaced, as in the panorama. Unity, totality of effect, is impossible; for besides the few pages last read all that is carried in mind is the mere plot of what has gone before. To the romance the novel is what photography is to painting. Its distinguishing principle, probability, corresponds to the literal actuality of the photograph and puts it distinctly into the category of reporting; whereas the free wing of the romancer enables him to mount to such altitudes of imagination as he may be fitted to attain; and the first three essentials of the literary art are imagination, imagination and imagination. The art of writing novels, such as it was, is long dead everywhere except in Russia, where it is new. Peace to its ashes — some of which have a large sale.

2008 Update: The labors of Heracles as presented to the sallow and pencil-necked; a great test of a writer's diligence, organization, thievishness and repetition. Rewards to a successful challenger include an august place on low shelves in airports and bus stations as well as the possibility of going unread in thousands of homes. On the day it is fully realized that blogs accomplish everything that novels achieve without concentration, the great presses at Simon and Schuster may finally rest silently in hell.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Nihilist

NIHILIST, n. A Russian who denies the existence of anything but Tolstoi. The leader of the school is Tolstoi.

2008: Update: The pupa by which a creeping idealist becomes a winged scold.

Happy Thanksgiving, and to Karma and Karishma: stay safe. Holidays and armed idiots tarry but a short while.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A holiday limerick

Searching our sad hearts for gratitude
Gives us considerable latitude
To name poverty
Or dreams that won't be
Tis a pity that won't fit a platitude.

GRATEFULNESS, n. The stage before satisfaction.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Noise

NOISE, n. A stench in the ear. Undomesticated music. The chief product and authenticating sign of civilization.

2008 Update: The neighbor's pulse.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nepotism

NEPOTISM, n. Appointing your grandmother to office for the good of the party.

2008 Update: The application of genetics to insure management of consistent quality.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Mayoralty of Macedon

Episode IX
Listen to Diogenes, children!.






Or read the inscription on the flattened bodies of the boys.

Cartoons from Diogenes and The Bad Boys of Corinth by Wilhelm Busch

Friday, November 21, 2008

Elector

ELECTOR, n. One who enjoys the sacred privilege of voting for the man of another man's choice.

2008 Update: In American democracy, a voter selected by ballot to misrepresent the outcome of the election.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Erudition

ERUDITION, n. Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.
So wide his erudition's mighty span,
He knew Creation's origin and plan
And only came by accident to grief —
He thought, poor man, 'twas right to be a thief.
—Romach Pute
2008 Update: Dour folly.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Settling in for winter

The skies and trees change as expected,
But other seasons are directed
By voters, pols and other fellows,
Pounding wood and squeezing bellows,
To tarry until properly elected.

A new day, like a river, came,
And though we'd prefer each one were tame
Each one arrives in its due course
And is tracked back to its likely source
To dam and damn and blame.

The best that we can do, I think,
Is pour ourselves a nice warm drink,
Build a fire to heat our feet,
Take a slice of something sweet,
And rest a bit, at home upon the brink.

BARREL, n. A fashion deplored for reflecting effort rather than ambition.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ejection

EJECTION, n. An approved remedy for the disease of garrulity. It is also much used in cases of extreme poverty.

2008 Update: A flight from chaos or conflict, taken involuntarily.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Elegy

ELEGY, n. A composition in verse, in which, without employing any of the methods of humor, the writer aims to produce in the reader's mind the dampest kind of dejection. The most famous English example begins somewhat like this:
The cur foretells the knell of parting day;
The loafing herd winds slowly o'er the lea;
The wise man homeward plods; I only stay
To fiddle-faddle in a minor key.
2008 Update: A rhyming lamentation, as if complaints ever don't rhyme. 
Elegies ring from hill to grotto,
So many suffer who really ought to;
So many struggle in fact and lore;
With the thought we've heard these songs before.
-G. Jonas Tinkleworth

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Mayoralty of Macedon

Episode VIII
Never click on a naked old man unless you're willing to hear a story.











And stay away from dogs unless you can read.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Philistine

PHILISTINE, n. One whose mind is the creature of its environment, following the fashion in thought, feeling and sentiment. He is sometimes learned, frequently prosperous, commonly clean and always solemn.

2008 Update: One insufficiently refined to digest the advancements of the pack.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Passport

PASSPORT, n. A document treacherously inflicted upon a citizen going abroad, exposing him as an alien and pointing him out for special reprobation and outrage.

2008 Update: An international letter of credit, promising to redeem the bearer when debauched.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Lumbering, Tumbling Giant

The townsfolk in Michigan know one giant well.
Every step that he took, he stumbled and fell.
Each time that he fell the ground rumbled and shook,
And women clutched babies each step that he took.

The towns didn't prosper but nor did they fail,
For the giant moved slowly, like the laziest snail.
So the folk watched the sky and built shelters and such.
"Sure, it's bad when he walks, but he doesn't move much."

Then one day, he fell and did not rise again.
The townsfolk all feared for their lumbering friend.
Burying him would take all the folk had
But alive, as a monument, he wasn't half bad.

GENERAL MOTORS, n. A holding company for disbursements.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Possible

POSSIBLE, adj.  Everything, to him who has patience-and money.

2008 Update:  Not before the California legislature.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pantaloons

PANTALOONS, n. A nether habiliment of the adult civilized male. The garment is tubular and unprovided with hinges at the points of flexion. Supposed to have been invented by a humorist. Called "trousers" by the enlightened and "pants" by the unworthy.

2008 Update: A sheath for the sensible side of a human, inhibiting flight and so requiring negotiation.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Mayoralty of Macedon



Episode VII
Listen with the new mayor.














Or read a map of the heavens with Orion

Friday, November 07, 2008

Tomb

TOMB, n. The House of Indifference. Tombs are now by common consent invested with a certain sanctity, but when they have been long tenanted it is considered no sin to break them open and rifle them, the famous Egyptologist, Dr. Huggyns, explaining that a tomb may be innocently "glened" as soon as its occupant is done "smellynge," the soul being then all exhaled. This reasonable view is now generally accepted by archaeologists, whereby the noble science of Curiosity has been greatly dignified.

2008 Update: A musty palace for the freshly innocent and recently wise.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Theosophy

THEOSOPHY, n. An ancient faith having all the certitude of religion and all the mystery of science. The modern Theosophist holds, with the Buddhists, that we live an incalculable number of times on this earth, in as many several bodies, because one life is not long enough for our complete spiritual development; that is, a single lifetime does not suffice for us to become as wise and good as we choose to wish to become. To be absolutely wise and good — that is perfection; and the Theosophist is so keen-sighted as to have observed that everything desirous of improvement eventually attains perfection. Less competent observers are disposed to except cats, which seem neither wiser nor better than they were last year. The greatest and fattest of recent Theosophists was the late Madame Blavatsky, who had no cat.

2008 Update: A society founded to form the nucleus of a universal family joined by wisdom, consciousness and perfectibility rather than the folly, chance and corruption from which all other things derive kinship.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

November 5th in America

Congratulations to those who made history last night
Sympathies to who failed at the ballot.
But one victory drawn troublingly clear, sharp and bright,
Goes to meddlesome bother, whatever you call it.

The left won Virginia, the right California,
And the lesson if you're willing to listen:
Is your countryfolk quiver to correct, rule and scorn you
And another's gold's all that seems to glisten.

The reason we follow constitutional law
And defend it with all of our labor,
Is that most would deplore a long nose in the craw
While busy sniffing after their neighbor.
MAJORITY RULE, n. The method of government that honors each citizen above his fellow.

Sorry to be a buzz kill, grinning leftists, but this kills me. To paraphrase my LORD and Savior, among others, unless you'd have your own beliefs and behavior submitted to your neighbors' approval, don't vote on theirs. 
A final atypical editorial comment: Thank you to John McCain, the best Republican I've voted for and maybe the last.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Take

TAKE, v.t. To acquire, frequently by force but preferably by stealth.

2008 Update: To lend a debt.

To my American friends: Please amuse your poll-workers today.  In this and only this lies the virtue of democracy.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Tail

TAIL, n. The part of an animal's spine that has transcended its natural limitations to set up an independent existence in aworld of its own. Excepting in its foetal state, Man is without a tail, a privation of which he attests an hereditary and uneasy consciousness by the coat-skirt of the male and the train of the female, and by a marked tendency to ornament that part of his attire where the tail should be, and indubitably once was. This tendency is most observable in the female of the species, in whom the ancestral sense is strong and persistent. The tailed men described by Lord Monboddo are now generally regarded as a product of an imagination unusually susceptible to influences generated in the golden age of our pithecan past.

2008 Update: The speech apparatus opposite the tongue to which credibility is allocated. Woe becomes the species with tongue and no tail for such are never to be believed at all. 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Mayoralty of Macedon

Episode VI
Come listen by the ancient plumbing












Or hop up and read.

Two other things: First, Rabbit Rabbit!

And you might have noticed some, uh, contained enthusiasm here. I think Waking Ambrose will continue until after TLP's and Terry's birthday for one more Rabbit Rabbit and then go blank for the rest of December.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Discussion

DISCUSSION, n. A method of confirming others in their errors.

2008 Update: Reason as it emerges between two participants, such as a mule's hoof and a stump.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dew

DEW, n. A terrestrial perspiration or night sweat invented to nourish the tender huckleberry and the yearning poet. Slightly dashed with goat's milk and whiskey, it is an article much affected by Hibernian temperance lecturers, who are sometimes affected by it, in turn.

2008 Update: The night's remorse for what it sees. Midwest farmers consider the absence of dew in the morning to be a sign of coming rain, evidence either of nature's disapproval for redundancy or of the agrarian's faith in benevolent weather.

Happy birthday to my blogtwin.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hope, Change, Maverick and Malarkey

Election day draws nigh, my friends,
To elevate new wrongs.
Penance for continued sin
Is the class in which the vote belongs.

The promises are on the table,
The differences made clear.
Indignities are set in place
For the grandeur growing near.

Put up your gifts of gold and stone,
Your myrrh and frankincense
Feed your camel, trim your beard
And be thou not so tense.

For judgement comes upon us all
In God's good time, I trust,
But if your name's not on the ballot
There's some time yet for sloth and lust.

So do your duty, Tuesday,
Oh, America, but note:
A fool trusts the nominee
While magi trust the vote.

MESSIAH, n. The one awaited tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Deer

DEER, n.  The patter of a jackass rabbit in the chaparral, as heard by a city sportsman.

2008 Update: A harbinger of future redemption in a suburban garden.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Disincorporation

DISINCORPORATION, n. A popular method of eluding the agile liability and annexing the coy asset.

2008 Update: The alternative to nationalization in a down market.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Mayoralty of Macedon

Episode V
Suffer the torments of Tantalus by listening to Teiresias











Or hop up and read the prophecy

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cribbage

CRIBBAGE, n.  A substitute for conversation among those to whom nature has denied ideas.  See EUCHRE, PEDRO, SEVEN-UP, etc.

2008 Update: A social outlet for hermits.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cab

CAB, n.  A tormenting vehicle in which a pirate jolts you through devious ways to the wrong place, where he robs you.

2008 Update:  The part of a combine that stores the chaff.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Tent City, a fable for children

Once upon a time, a small town stood on a narrow strip of land next to a river in the shadow of a high cliff.  Occasionally, stones would fall from the cliff and land harmlessly on the roofs of the town buildings while other, rarer ones crashed through and caused harm.  One day, a portion of the cliff gave way and brought a rumbling rock-slide down upon the town.
The town was devastated and many were lost.  The survivors swore such a tragedy must never occur again and a council was held to determine the future of the village.  Plans were made to study the cliff and design new defenses.  While the science and engineering took place, the townsfolk set up tents on the other side of the river where the plain began so as not to crowd progress.
Every day, the people would cross the river to the ruins of their town to excavate, analyze, design and build.  Clever alarms were imagined and constructed with bells hanging from the cliff wall which would ring whenever the cliffside moved.  Great scaffolds were built alongside the cliff to discourage crumbling.  Flowering vines were planted at the base of the cliff that would one day secure the sandstone, it was thought.
After a year, the townsfolk decided it was safe enough to rebuild their homes and granaries when a wise man among the people noted that in the year spent on the flat side of the river not one of them had been injured by falling stone.  And so the people crossed the river one last time, carrying the tents which were safer than structures of stone and wood.  Or so the archeologists tell us.
MORAL: The wise man wades into danger while the fool swims.
LESSON, n. The happy error after.
RIP, Tobin

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Camel

CAMEL, n. A quadruped (the Splaypes humpidorsus) of great value to the show business. There are two kinds of camels — the camel proper and the camel improper. It is the latter that is always exhibited.

2008 Update:  The typical transport of magi and petroleum producers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Canonicals

CANONICALS, n. The motley worn by Jesters of the Court of Heaven.

2008 Update: Clothing prescribed the anointed by divine instruction and a subcommittee.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Armor

ARMOR, n.  The kind of clothing worn by a man whose tailor is a blacksmith.

2008 Update: That which gives the rhinoceros wisdom and the soldier philosophy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Abrupt

ABRUPT, adj. Sudden, without ceremony, like the arrival of a cannon-shot and the departure of the soldier whose interests are most affected by it. Dr. Samuel Johnson beautifully said of another author's ideas that they were "concatenated without abruption."

2008 Update: Without prelude, like the failure of an investment or the success of a neighbor.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Cold War

When my generation first got whupped
Our parents thought war would erupt
Between the capitalist West
And socialists from Budapest.

We're whupped again, sure and true,
And I can tell you how I knew:
Grampa's voice back in my head
And reds once more beneath the bed.

The coldest war, it seems to me,
Is that we wage on history.

TRANSFORMATION, n. Camouflage, the wage of patience.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Archbishop

ARCHBISHOP, n. An ecclesiastical dignitary one point holier than a bishop.
If I were a jolly archbishop,
On Fridays I'd eat all the fish up —
Salmon and flounders and smelts;
On other days everything else.
—Jodo Rem
2008 Update: An ecclesiastical grand duke to whom it falls to implement GOD's plans for the Pope.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Abbess

ABBESS, n. A female father.

2008 Update: A woman so pious she must be tempted by nuns.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sarcophagus

SARCOPHAGUS, n. Among the Greeks a coffin which being made of a certain kind of carnivorous stone, had the peculiar property of devouring the body placed in it. The sarcophagus known to modern obsequiographers is commonly a product of the carpenter's art.

2008 Update: A soundproof casing which insulates the departed from the mourners' testimony to his virtue and the mourners from the laughter of the deceased at all he got away with at their expense.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Symbolic

SYMBOLIC, adj. Pertaining to symbols and the use and interpretation of symbols.
They say 'tis conscience feels compunction;
I hold that that's the stomach's function,
For of the sinner I have noted
That when he's sinned he's somewhat bloated,
Or ill some other ghastly fashion
Within that bowel of compassion.
True, I believe the only sinner
Is he that eats a shabby dinner.
You know how Adam with good reason,
For eating apples out of season,
Was "cursed." But that is all symbolic:
The truth is, Adam had the colic.
—G.J.
2008 Update: In allusion to reality, notion, or ideal, such as the statues, statutes and pursuits to which humanity devotes the majority of endeavor.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Financial Page

A Minotaur, in his cave,
Can look dignified and grave
While chewing on a hero's bone
Who fought furiously and alone.

And so it is when moon is right
On foggy moors in dark of night
That werewolves can seem civilized
Dining on detectives' eyes.

What greater poet has this world,
To corrupt the sweetest girl,
Than the gay and furry satyr
As the autumn grows ever later?

It seems the day has come around,
Arriving here on common ground,
That man himself seems incomplete
Unless a beast up to his seat.

RESERVE, n.  A bank's treasury of panic.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sophistry

SOPHISTRY, n. The controversial method of an opponent, distinguished from one's own by superior insincerity and fooling. This method is that of the later Sophists, a Grecian sect of philosophers who began by teaching wisdom, prudence, science, art and, in brief, whatever men ought to know, but lost themselves in a maze of quibbles and a fog of words.
His bad opponent's "facts" he sweeps away,
And drags his sophistry to light of day;
Then swears they're pushed to madness who resort
To falsehood of so desperate a sort.
Not so; like sods upon a dead man's breast,
He lies most lightly who the least is pressed.
—Polydore Smith
2008 Update:  Persuasion by deceptive reasoning rather than by bribery, flattery, sympathy, grievance, compulsion or tribe.  

Monday, October 06, 2008

Safe

SAFE, adj. To bet that the Kalloch jury will disagree.

2008 Update: Secure.  Comfortable.  As a prophesy of doom.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Mayoralty of Macedon

Episode II
To listen, submit your mouse to Teiresias.










Or tickle Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt to read.

Saturday, you say?

I think maybe we'll just say Saturday stories go up in the afternoon until the election, huh?  Hey, A-Bell!  Where you gettin' your coffee these days?  Can they hook me up?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Forefinger

FOREFINGER, n.  The finger commonly used in pointing out two malefactors.

2008 Update: The digit located between an opposable thumb and sincerity.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Flint

FLINT, n. A substance much in use as a material for hearts.  Its composition is silica, 98.00; oxide of iron, 0.25; alumina, 0.25; water, 1.50.  When an  editor's heart is made, the water is commonly left out; in a lawyer's more water is added-and frozen.

2008 Update: A stone used for making fire, as opinion is for thought.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Holiday

If I lack awhile my share of contempt,
Sarcasm and dismission.
If my wit is gone, my scorn exempt
And my rancor has gone fishin',

Misanthropy fails like a friend,
And even brass may rust,
Jaundice pales in the end,
You understand, I trust.

My friends, I come to beg your grace
And lend me one more day off,
For the White Sox finally won the race
And now begin the playoffs.

And to my friends in Minnesote,
The top of our great nation,
I offer warmth, my bread and coat,
And my silo full of justification.

SWEETNESS, n.  Bitterness.

And rabbit rabbit!

And Eid mubarak, as appropriate.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Flatter

FLATTER, v.t.  To impress another with a sense of one's own merit.  
The bungler boasts of his excellence-
His hearers yawn and nod;
The artist flatters his audience-
They shout: "He is a god!"
2008 Update:  To buy dearness at discount.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Frontispiece

FRONTISPIECE, n. A protuberance of the human face, beginning between the eyes and terminating, as a rule, in somebody's business.

2008 Update:  The portico of a bank or other important edifice, where hope is abandoned and sense surrendered.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Mayoralty of Macedon

Episode I
To listen, click on Herodotus, this week's moderator.









Or flip a Macedonian coin to read this story.

Mfff

OK, today's post will go up later, maybe around 7PM TLPDT.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Libertine

LIBERTINE, n.  Literally a freedman; hence, one who is in bondage to his passions.

2008 Update:  Any man freer with his hand than with his opinion.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lickspittle

LICKSPITTLE, n. A useful functionary, not infrequently found editing a newspaper. In his character of editor he is closely allied to the blackmailer by the tie of occasional identity; for in truth the lickspittle is only the blackmailer under another aspect, although the latter is frequently found as an independent species. Lickspittling is more detestable than blackmailing, precisely as the business of a confidence man is more detestable than that of a highway robber; and the parallel maintains itself throughout, for whereas few robbers will cheat, every sneak will plunder if he dare.

2008 Update:  A treasury secretary in need of a loan.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In Re The Environment

Yesterday I crossed the high Sierra.
The changes there would really scare ya:
Glaciers gone, Pines grown thin,
The only chill ran down my skin.
I've got no answer, though I meant to-
Is it just too close to Sacramento?

VAPOR, n. The substance of matter, a matter of substance.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Homiletics

HOMILETICS, n. The science of adapting sermons to the spiritual needs, capacities and conditions of the congregation.
So skilled the parson was in homiletics
That all his normal purges and emetics
To medicine the spirit were compounded
With a most just discrimination founded
Upon a rigorous examination
Of tongue and pulse and heart and respiration.
Then, having diagnosed each one's condition,
His scriptural specifics this physician
Administered — his pills so efficacious
And pukes of disposition so vivacious
That souls afflicted with ten kinds of Adam
Were convalescent ere they knew they had 'em.
But Slander's tongue — itself all coated — uttered
Her bilious mind and scandalously muttered
That in the case of patients having money
The pills were sugar and the pukes were honey.
—Biography of Bishop Potter
2008 Update:  The art of inspiring submission to the will of God, by turning it on a stranger.

I know I started with L-words, but Jim distracted me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lay-Figure

LAY-FIGURE, n. The number which represents a hen's periodical output of eggs.

2008 Update: A member of the laity, as opposed to the lieity.

Note to Jenn, Karma and TLP: I'll take the thought that came second.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Orpheus And The Blind Prophet

The Mayoralty of Macedon
Second Prelude. Click on Lyra to listen.










Or take a trip across the styx with Orpheus' lyre and your mouse's clicks.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Queer

QUEER, adj.  The reason young men prefer other fellows' sisters to their own.

2008 Update:  Common.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Crash

Do ye remember when wall street fell
And the substantial hanged by shoelace?
No demons reached the Earth from hell,
No horsemen rode through space,
But marble crumbled,
Jobs were lost
Runners stumbled
At the cost.
Brokers went broke
Insurers unsteady
Accountants told jokes
Before they were ready,
And the mighty did fall
The stoic did weep
The courageous grew small
And the fatuous deep.
But we all slept soundly even so
Throughout that week so infernal
For wealth might vividly come and go
But greed and folly endure bland and eternal.

OVERSTATEMENT, n. The narrator's ornamentation of the listener's indifference to the suffering of some third party, never himself exaggerated.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quotation

QUOTATION, n. The act of repeating erroneously the words of another. The words erroneously repeated.
Intent on making his quotation truer,
He sought the page infallible of Brewer,
Then made a solemn vow that we would be
Condemned eternally. Ah, me, ah, me!
—Stumpo Gaker
2008 Update:  The frivolity of one man finding respectability on the tongue of a stranger.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quaff

QUAFF, v. Emptying the "sparkling wine" down your throat. When it's only whiskey it's called swallowing.

2008 Update: To drink regally, as one does with wine, not as you do. To consume in the third person.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

First Prelude: Orion And The Hunters

TLP says she wants a story. Click on Orion to hear her blogson deliver.




















Or click on the Milky Way to read.

Um

OK, so remember how last week, I said I wasn't sure what kind of story, if any, would appear here? Yeah, still don't. I'll think about it while my father tell's me about his week and get back to you later. In the meanwhile, if you would like to download the collected cantos in one PDF document, they are here.

There will, of course, be CDs to send out of The Unionville Chronicles, as there were with The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic. I've switched computers since then, though, so if you sent me an address to mail the last CD to, I need it again for this one. Email me at my first initial followed by my last name at mac.com. (I do understand internet privacy concerns and, again, I am not offended by receiving general delivery, office or stranger's addresses.

Meanwhile, enjoy your Saturday.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Buddhism

BUDDHISM, n.  A preposterous form of religious error perversely preferred by about three-fourths of the human race.  According to the Rev. Dr. Stebbins it is infinitely superior to the religion which he has the honor to expound.  Therefore it is.

2008 Update:  A faith offering piety without punishment and lectures without theology to adherents without religion.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Back-slide

BACK-SLIDE, v.t. To join another communion.

2008 Update:  To repent too soon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September song

The days are growing shorter
And the heat is not so cruel
Labor Day has come and gone
I've shelved my garden tools.
But the Autumn has its herald
As every other season,
Not colored leaves, nor horsemen,
Nor sextants, rhyme or reason.
For Autumn's unreliable
And the banner of its choosing:
Chicago's teams, still in first place,
Have finally started losing.

SLUMP, n.  Regression to the mean, submission to the dismal.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bard

BARD, n.  A person who makes rhymes.  The word is one if the numerous aliases under which the poet seeks to veil his identity and escape opprobrium.

2008 Update:  Someone who writes prose not by ear but by nose, typing out prosaically what he hums o'er the keys.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Bed-Quilt

BED-QUILT, n. The exterior covering of a bed. Sometimes called charity.

2008 Update: A comforter with which we celebrate the simple past, under which we may hide from an indecipherable future.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Final Canto

The final episode, read by a rogue horse of faith.  Click on John Henry to hear.






Or click on the Armies of The Beasties to read along.  I have no idea what, if anything, will appear in this space next week but I got five dollars says it won't rhyme.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Humanity

HUMANITY, n.  The human race, collectively, exclusive of the anthropoid poets.

2008 Update:  The nephews and nieces of Cain and Abel.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hatchet

HATCHET, n. A young axe, known among Indians as a Thomas-hawk.  

2008 Update:  The thirteenth rose.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

next to of course god america i (e.e., you're dead, too)

"next to of course god america i
bow thee down in humility to some
principles that fill an innocence pie
and endorse thy better, higher bunkum
Should all the sins of my neighbors cease and
desist, yet will i denounce the cowards
love for exotic spite and grief and sand
that we send heroic soldiers towards
yea, though i walk through exalted valley
i shall fear no law nor strange allahu
but love my country with all my called lust
and leave my virtue outside the alley
to do in dark what thou hast me to do"

his golden words he shed like scraps of rust

AMBIVALENCE, n.  The provocation for applause.

"Here lies the body of the Republican Party
Corrupt, and generally speaking, hardy." -Ambrose Bierce, 1882

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hades

HADES, n. The lower world; the residence of departed spirits; the place where the dead live.

Among the ancients the idea of Hades was not synonymous with our Hell, many of the most respectable men of antiquity residing there in a very comfortable kind of way. Indeed, the Elysian Fields themselves were a part of Hades, though they have since been removed to Paris. When the Jacobean version of the New Testament was in process of evolution the pious and learned men engaged in the work insisted by a majority vote on translating the Greek word "Aides" as "Hell"; but a conscientious minority member secretly possessed himself of the record and struck out the objectional word wherever he could find it. At the next meeting, the Bishop of Salisbury, looking over the work, suddenly sprang to his feet and said with considerable excitement: "Gentlemen, somebody has been razing 'Hell' here!" Years afterward the good prelate's death was made sweet by the reflection that he had been the means (under Providence) of making an important, serviceable and immortal addition to the phraseology of the English tongue.

2008 Update: Protected by a three-headed dog, ruled by a single-minded king and his ambivalent wife, a vast underground mythological collection of dead ambitions and thriving confusions analogous to the modern mom-and-pop business enterprise boondoggle.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hovel

HOVEL, n. The fruit of a flower called the Palace.
Twaddle had a hovel,
Twiddle had a palace;
Twaddle said: "I'll grovel
Or he'll think I bear him malice" —
A sentiment as novel
As a castor on a chalice.

Down upon the middle
Of his legs fell Twaddle
And astonished Mr. Twiddle,
Who began to lift his noddle.
Feed upon the fiddle-
Faddle flummery, unswaddle
A new-born self-sufficiency and think himself a [mockery.]
—G.J.
2008 Update: The childhood home of a captain of industry, the current home of his or her spouse and the future home of his or her children.

Rabbit, rabbit

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Twenty-third Canto





By popular demand, Old Mule is back for a reading. To hear it, click on Coyote (above.)  Thanks, brother mule.





Click on Crow to read along.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Liberty

LIBERTY, n. One of Imagination's most precious possessions. 
The rising People, hot and out of breath,
Roared around the palace: "Liberty or death!"
"If death will do," the King said, "let me reign;
You'll have, I'm sure, no reason to complain."
—Martha Braymance
2008 Update: That independence collectively admired by nations and individually deplored by neighbors. The stone in freedom's soup or a leader's shoe.

And, Happy birthday to John McCain!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Logomachy

LOGOMACHY, n. A war in which the weapons are words and the wounds punctures in the swim-bladder of self-esteem — a kind of contest in which, the vanquished being unconscious of defeat, the victor is denied the reward of success.
'Tis said by divers of the scholar-men
That poor Salmasius died of Milton's pen.
Alas! we cannot know if this is true,
For reading Milton's wit we perish too.
2008 Update:  A war of wordsmiths, journalled by assassins.  Politics.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Love Under The Democrats (Sorry, Ogden, but you are dead)

Come live with me and be my love
And we will all the pleasures prove
Of a sugar-free wedding cake
And champagne toasts just as fake

Change will be the maid of honor,
A host of hopes lain upon her;
New ideas strewn before the altar,
Rings of dreams, our gilded halter;

And as we march back down the aisle,
With silken rose and painted smile,
I'll swear to be forever true.
Unspecifically, I do.

Ere our lives one day turn soury
We'll reach inside your fading dowry,
To pay for that audacious boon,
A honeyed, moon-eyed honeymoon.

Each morning through our life together,
Though fantasies change with the weather,
I hope to find, at breakfast, cereal.
Not every meal can be ethereal.

CONVENTION, n.  An assembly of conventions.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Laureate

LAUREATE, adj. Crowned with leaves of the laurel. In England the Poet Laureate is an officer of the sovereign's court, acting as dancing skeleton at every royal feast and singing-mute at every royal funeral. Of all incumbents of that high office, Robert Southey had the most notable knack at drugging the Samson of public joy and cutting his hair to the quick; and he had an artistic color-sense which enabled him so to blacken a public grief as to give it the aspect of a national crime.

2008 Update: Any tradesman biodegradeably ornamented as a collected specimen of his or her profession.  One such is the Poet Laureate of the United States who is anointed by the President to imply he reads.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lyre

LYRE, n. An ancient instrument of torture. The word is now used in a figurative sense to denote the poetic faculty, as in the following fiery lines of our great poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox:
I sit astride Parnassus with my lyre,
And pick with care the disobedient wire.
That stupid shepherd lolling on his crook
With deaf attention scarcely deigns to look.
I bide my time, and it shall come at length,
When, with a Titan's energy and strength,
I'll grab a fistful of the strings, and O,
The word shall suffer when I let them go!
—Farquharson Harris
2008 Update:  The musical instrument plucked by muses in heaven until the Christian era advanced angels with harps, more expansive instruments better suited to lamenting the sinfulness of the churched.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Twenty-second Canto

This week's Canto is read by OC and Quilldancer. To hear it, click on the ghost tree. Mahalo, OC and Quilly.





Click on Star Peak to read along.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Gentlewoman

GENTLEWOMAN, n. The female of the genus Gentleman. The word is obsolete, gentlewomen, for no fault of their own, being now known as "ladies."
The wretch who first called gentlewomen ladies,
Being first duly hanged, arrived at Hades
Where, welcomed by the devils to their den,
He bowed and said "Good morning-gentlemen."
2008 Update:  A woman with sophistication enough to reassure a man with none.  
"My chin is bare, my hair is dressed!
I'm reduced to a young girl, no less!
Is the bearded lady on the midway,
A gentlewoman would you say?"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gentleman

GENTLEMAN, n.  A rare animal sufficiently described in the lines immediately [Tuesday's post] foregoing.

2008 Update:  A male of the species Homo demophagus with the presence of mind to distinguish company from a mob and a silken necktie to facilitate hanging.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

To a band-aid

Though all may right now rot within
I never will fear for my skin
The further out the malady
The easier the remedy
Let J&J e'er provide
A cure for what ails outside
And no internist ever know
The diagnosed corrupted soul
For whoever treats what suffers most
Soon becomes the suffering's host.
- Hal Thighself, M.D.

PRACTITIONER, n.  The enchanted familiar for a reference book or brochure.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Genteel

GENTEEL, adj.  Refined, after the fashion of a gent.
 Observe with care, my son, the distinction I reveal:
A gentleman is gentle and a gent genteel.
Heed not the definitions your "Unabridged" presents,
For dictionary makers are generally gents.
GJ
 2008 Update:  Deferential towards the manners and mores of the careless.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gent

GENT, n. The vulgarian's ideal of a gentleman. The male of the genus Hoodlum.

2008 Update: Informally, a man who admires tidiness sufficiently to carry a cloth handkerchief, which is useful for removing DNA, fiber and fingerprints.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Twenty-first Canto

To hear this week's Canto, click on Rolando.













Click on the cowboy to read along.











This sketch, by Victor Hugo would have been the first picture if I'd known how to find it. Thanks, Ariel.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gimlet

GIMLET, n.  An instrument somewhat smaller than the man "with an inexhaustible fund of anecdote."

2008 Update: A dainty cocktail likely concocted for drinkers who must be eased in to a margarita from a Shirley Temple.  The gentleman's alternative to perfume and tweezing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guinea-Pig

GUINEA-PIG, n.   A small Brazilian animal of the genus Cavia and frequently called the cavy.  
In the opinion of the President of the California Academy of Sciences it is rather a dog than a pig.  He grounds his judgement upon the classical admonition Cave canem.

2008 Update:  The officially sanctioned dish of Peru and enlightenment.  Metaphorically, a test subject, such as a scientist's journal submission.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sic Semper Tyranni, a limerick

Though democracy sometimes looks rosy,
A despotic regime of the cozy,
Howe'er it's arranged,
Some things never change.
The law serves the idle and nosy.

ORDER, n.  The breach of the law and the opposite of progress.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Garter

GARTER, n.  An elastic band intended to keep a woman from coming out of her stockings and desolating the country.  An order of merit established by Edward III of England, and conferred upon persons who have distinguished themselves in the royal favor.  Other kinds of public service are otherwise rewarded.  
"'Tis Britain's boast that knighthood of the Garter
Was ne'er conferred upon a cad or carter;
Well, any thrifty and ambitious flunkey
Can drive a bargain- few can drive a donkey."
So the proud cynic.  Some ensuing dicker
Gave him that pretty bauble for his kicker.  
2008 Update:  The house of congress, a bigameral legislature.  
Among those things one shouldn't mention,
It's modesty commands attention.
Those things that are kept most in secret
Are the same as those we most would peek at
The blessing of the modern age
Is that secrets have become the rage
And those that once had been rarest,
Today, even the coward darest.
-Alistair Bakke

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gipsy

GIPSY, n.  A person who is willing to tell your future for a small portion of it.

2008 Update:  A foreigner without borders.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Twentieth Canto

This week's reading was recorded by Aunt Lulu.  To hear Aunt Lulu's annotated reading, stop by the Lovelock bar.









Click to read all about it.

Or watch Lulu read.  You'll thank me.
video

Friday, August 08, 2008

Mendacious

MENDACIOUS, adj. Addicted to rhetoric.

2008 Update: Prolix.

Happy birthday, Mama

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Machination

MACHINATION, n.  The method employed by one's opponents in baffling one's open and honorable efforts to do the right thing.
 So plain the advantages of machination
It constitutes a moral obligation,
And honest wolves who think upon't with loathing
Feel bound to don the sheep's deceptive clothing.
So prospers still the diplomatic art,
And Satan bows, with hand upon his heart.
—R.S.K.
2008 Update:  A little boy with tears in his eyes, a pout on his lips and ice cream on his mind, as staged by his uncle.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bad dogs make for good neighbors


Something there is that doesn't like hush
And brings the bad dog to the door
In the wee hours of the lush,
When there's fog upon the moor,
Or quiet on in Santa Clarita.

Barking, baying and provoking the curses
Of the neighbors, both pets and coyotes.
Singing to the moon their sad canine verses,
With darts in their hearts and spears in their throaties.
They rush into the morning to greet her.


Sprung from the house as I was from sleep
And into the darkness' last gleaming,
The air is their mine, the canyon their keep,
And their prey, what the neighbor was dreaming.
Down the steep slopes of dawn, the two tumble.

And my neighbor, sole parent, a few hours later
Appears on her lawn by the driveway.
There's something it seems starting to grate her
As she greets me, my dogs and the live day,
Hungover, perhaps, averting her eyes,
And speaking no more than a mumble.

RUCKUS, n. A puppy's peace.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Mine

MINE, adj.  Belonging to me if I can hold or see it.

2008 Update:  Still tempting.

Happy Birthday to Actonbell