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.