Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Tenth Canto

This week's performance is by Barbara and Enrique Bava, which is to say, my mother and papi brujo.  Click on the fire dog to listen.

Or select the picture of the wildfire to read and hum Michael Martin Murphy.

...And a glorious 23rd birthday to Alice née Olivia Cooper aka Trish or something.  

And rabbit rabbit.

Friday, May 30, 2008


ONCE, adv.  Enough.

2008 Update:  n.  A day whose glory predicts the glamor of Soon.  In between comes Now.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


OBSERVATORY, n. A place where astronomers conjecture away the guesses of their predecessors.

2008 Update: An isolated manse in which a motorized dome replaces gothic gables and parapets and scientists substitute for gargoyles, where the precession of the Earth replaces processions of priests under the watchful eyes of astronomers casting spells online.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Beggar's Tale

Late last night a panhandler stopped me, Terry and Bear
With a story just like every other, a wife and children in his care.
He works and lives a clean life without washing his hair.
But pennies wait for beggars who narrate, grate and dare.
This morning I turned on TV, a newscast waited there,
A billion dollar droning thing with a reputation to repair.
I don't know why a child to feed is worth more than a prayer
Or why a deadened repetition keeps you in your chair.
So, bless the nervous ne'er-do-well, if only life were fair!
A beggar might not be worth a listen but CNN's not worth a stare.

DRONE, v.i.  To intone without informing, alarming, alerting or intriguing, as custom compels and customers compensate.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


OCEAN, n.  A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man- who has no gills.

2008 Update:  A great global marinade for the preservation of progress.

Monday, May 26, 2008


OBSESSED, pp. Vexed by an evil spirit, like the Gadarene swine and other critics. Obsession was once more common than it is now. Arasthus tells of a peasant who was occupied by a different devil for every day in the week, and on Sundays by two. They were frequently seen, always walking in his shadow, when he had one, but were finally driven away by the village notary, a holy man; but they took the peasant with them, for he vanished utterly. A devil thrown out of a woman by the Archbishop of Rheims ran through the trees, pursued by a hundred persons, until the open country was reached, where by a leap higher than a church spire he escaped into a bird. A chaplain in Cromwell's army exorcised a soldier's obsessing devil by throwing the soldier into the water, when the devil came to the surface. The soldier, unfortunately, did not.

2008 Update: Morally and dentally flawed. Obsessed people find themselves unable to maintain the perfect indifference and good hair cultivated by their healthier counterparts.

A good Memorial Day to all.  Mock Gandhi by sunset.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Ninth Canto

The author reads by the campfire. (Click on the picture, greenhorn)

To read the written verse, point to a muse.

Friday, May 23, 2008


QUANTITY, n.  A good substitute for quality, when you are hungry.

2008 Update:  A characteristic dismissed by the tasteful almost constantly.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


QUARTER, n.  A planet which will soon be eclipsed by the nickel.

2008 Update:  Truth's share of justice.  Hope's portion of ambition.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The leopard and the lamb

A leopard and a lamb
Met upon a hillside
The lamb was looking for his flock.
The leopard for his pride.

The lamb rued his misfortune
And the absent-minded shepherd
And the meander he'd taken
That brought him to this leopard.

"Oh, mourn the lamb without a flock!
For he's but meat beneath the wool!"
"If I had my pride," leopard replied
"My stomach would be full."

Moral:  Solitude is a traveling table.

THANKFULNESS, n.  Gravy poured over the unlucky by the hungry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


QUALIFICATION, n.  Being a cousin of the president's tailor.

2008 Update:  A caveat on a promise, most often tacit.  A credential.

Monday, May 19, 2008


QUACK, n. A murderer without a license.

2008 Update: The campaign promise of an estimable duck.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Eighth Canto

Canto VIII was impressively recorded by the multi-talented JavaJazz. Click on the Quena at right and enjoy. Thanks, JJ!

To read the written verse, click on John Henry (at left) but don't miss the recording.

Friday, May 16, 2008


EXPOSTULATION, n. One of the many methods by which fools prefer to lose their friends.

2008 Update:  The contest for culpability and regret.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


ENVELOPE, n. The coffin of a document; the scabbard of a bill; the husk of a remittance; the bed-gown of a love-letter.

2008 Update:  The portion of correspondence reliably addressed to the reader.  The envelope is largely and increasingly absent from modern communication as, consequently, are readers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

OK, yeah, a meme

Pansi tagged me to write a 6-word memoir, which is: Too many words spoil the plot.

MEMOIR, n.  A look back at life as it might have been lived looking forward.  A memoir can be distinguished from an autobiography in that an autobiographer has research assistants and the memoirist makes do with only a ghostwriter.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


ENOUGH, pro. All there is in the world if you like it.
Enough is as good as a feast — for that matter
Enougher's as good as a feast for the platter.
—Arbely C. Strunk
2008 Update: A unit of charity as measured by philanthropists.

Monday, May 12, 2008


EVERLASTING, adj. Lasting forever. It is with no small diffidence that I venture to offer this brief and elementary definition, for I am not unaware of the existence of a bulky volume by a sometime Bishop of Worcester, entitled, A Partial Definition of the Word "Everlasting," as Used in the Authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures. His book was once esteemed of great authority in the Anglican Church, and is still, I understand, studied with pleasure to the mind and profit of the soul.

2008 Update:  Monday, usually by 9AM.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Seventh Canto

This week, the reader (click the lonesome cowboy at right) is Sunny Schwartz, a friend of mine for nigh on two decades and a friend of Terry and her bear's for nigh on two months.  ¡Muchas gracias, monstruo!

To read the written verse, click on the mountain range. 

Friday, May 09, 2008


BATH, n. A kind of mystic ceremony substituted for religious worship, with what spiritual efficacy has not been determined.
The man who taketh a steam bath
He loseth all the skin he hath,
And, for he's boiled a brilliant red,
Thinketh to cleanliness he's wed,
Forgetting that his lungs he's soiling
With dirty vapors of the boiling.
—Richard Gwow

2008 Update: Baptism by lather. According to Lutheran theology, each is good for a life.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


BONDSMAN, n. A fool who, having property of his own, undertakes to become responsible for that entrusted to another to a third. Philippe of Orleans wishing to appoint one of his favorites, a dissolute nobleman, to a high office, asked him what security he would be able to give. "I need no bondsmen," he replied, "for I can give you my word of honor." "And pray what may be the value of that?" inquired the amused Regent. "Monsieur, it is worth its weight in gold."

2008 Update:  An arbitrageur in risk who helps to ensure that the market for confidence clears efficiently, by allowing two or more frauds to succeed in the same transaction.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


On a lonesome road, One windswept day
One man came upon another
Who was wise and old and bearded
And who called the first man "Brother."

"Are you here to learn the truth?"
The bearded man inquired.
"It is best, I think, to be informed
Than it is to be inspired."

The wanderer then replied,
"I've been so long traveling
That my spirit wanders as I sleep
And reality's unraveling."

"From hill to desert I have come, 
And learned so little from it.
I've come to mind a life spent climbing
Less than I fear the summit."

"Then sit down and I'll teach you
Of the many things I've found.
For I can give your spirit wings
If you'll join me on the ground."

"I'll teach you from my love of man,
For I'm a pilgrim, just like thee"
"So you are, I am certain.
A stationary one, I see."
-Jonas K. Pettiword

CLARIFY, v.t.  To render invisible.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


BRANDY, n.  A cordial composed of one part thunder-and-lightning, one part remorse, two parts bloody murder, one part death-hell-and-the-grave, two parts clarified Satan and four parts holy Moses!  Dose, a headful all the time.  Brandy is said, by Emerson, I think, to be the drink of heroes.  I certainly should not advise others to tackle it.  By the way, it is rather good.

2008 Update:  The thinking man's sterno.  

Monday, May 05, 2008


BASE, adj. The quality of a competitor's motive.

2008 Update: Uncouth. Lacking the avarice for finer things.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Sixth Canto

To hear Terry read the sixth Canto, click on the stampede. Thank you, Terry!

To read in quiet, click on Maria en azul, madre de Dios y reina des todos los angeles.

Friday, May 02, 2008


LINEN, n. "A kind of cloth the making of which, when made of hemp, entails a great waste of hemp." — Calcraft the Hangman.

2008 Update: Drapery used to protect smallish sins from the sunlight.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


LONGANIMITY, n.  The disposition to endure injury with meek forebearance while maturing a plan of revenge.

2008 Update:  A preference for mild suffering over furious impotence.

Rabbit, rabbit!