Thursday, April 30, 2009


YOUTH, n. The Period of Possibility, when Archimedes finds a fulcrum, Cassandra has a following and seven cities compete for the honor of endowing a living Homer.
Youth is the true Saturnian Reign, the Golden Age on earth again, when figs are grown on thistles, and pigs betailed with whistles and, wearing silken bristles, live ever in clover, and cows fly over, delivering milk at every door, and Justice never is heard to snore, and every assassin is made a ghost and, howling, is cast into Baltimost!
—Polydore Smith 
2009 Update: The apex of a life when all hardship lies behind, every error ahead and wisdom glistens like gemstones in every orifice.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Advice to my Nephew, Jake, on the day after his fifth birthday (Adults Only)

When it's time to get up out of bed
Don't lead with your soft blond head
First stick out your two big toes
And move them slowly to and fro.
Then pull back your little paws
Counting up all your claws.

And if your feet are whole, don't hurry,
But make sure first there's nothing furry.
Slowly sticking out your mitt
To feel the bedside, bit by bit
And then inspect the hand retracted.
Make sure no digits were redacted.

And even if all still seems well
Keep the blanket o'er your face a spell.
That's the hardest part to do without,
So if you still have any doubt
Don't risk your little pumpkin head
While books may lurk beneath your bed.

AVUNCULAR, adj. Quotidian, one day behind.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


YOKE, n. An implement, madam, to whose Latin name, jugum, we owe one of the most illuminating words in our language — a word that defines the matrimonial situation with precision, point and poignancy. A thousand apologies for withholding it.

2009 Update: A litter for free enterprise.The free market's carriage.

Monday, April 27, 2009


YANKEE, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown. (See DAMYANK.)

2009 Update: A domestic alien.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Siebszehn
To hear this week's part, click on the drunk Monk. I did the reading this week again because my nephews have a lame ma.

To read this week's part, click on the young and old monks.

This week in The Prattler, Xenophobia's Gone Global
en Boldog születésnapot, Ariel!

Friday, April 24, 2009


FRIAR, n.  One who fries in the heat of his lust. There are four principal orders of friars- Gray Friars, or Franciscans, White Friars, Dominicans, and Augustines. Mendicant Friars are those who beg to be taken out of the pan.  The most eminent of the whole species was Friar John, whose adventures and services to the Church are related by Rabelais.

2009 Update: A brother of the ecclesiastical sort (from the French FRERE), who, like that of the familiar sort, lives on charity and forced consideration compelled by the expectation of elevation.

A friar at his morning meal,
Sustains himself for public weal,
But ere his eating's done at night
'Tis ordained for just the just and right.

Happy birthday, to photographer, historian, humorist and Hawai'ian, Quilldancer.(Now, with quintessentiality!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009


FREEBOOTER, n. A conqueror in a small way of business, whose annexations lack of the sanctifying merit of magnitude.

2009 Update: The captain's word for a pirate or a seaman's for the captain.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009

A holiday, like Valentine's,
That each man welcomes unwilling
A time to honor children, trees,
And what we're gladder killing.

Like piety on Easter,
Lacking just the yellow bonnet,
Earth Day brings forth the somber word
With righteousness upon it.

And so I'll celebrate in verse,
Stay concise, also devout,
To keep my carbon footprint
From leaving ashes in my mouth.

GREEN, adj. (coll.) Environmentally gentle like 600 miles in a Prius.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


FRESHMAN, n. A student acquainted with grief.

2009 Update: A pickled innocent.

Monday, April 20, 2009


FAMILY, n. A body of individuals living in one household, consisting of male, female, young, servants, dog, cat, dicky-bird, cockroaches, bedbugs and fleas- the "unit" of modern civilized society.

2009 Update: A union consecrated by the state for heaven's tolerance. Sacramental lambs, flocked.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Sechszehn
To hear this week's part, click on Vater Johann's supper, at right.

To read this week's part, click on Dietrich's supper at left.

This week in The Prattler, O Gas, Where Is Thy Sting?
A note on reading I think all volunteers have read once and it's time to start bugging people to read again. If you would like to read and I don't know about it or you volunteered and I don't remember, please let me know. I used to keep a list. That was nifty.

Friday, April 17, 2009


LINGUIST, n. A person more learned in the language of others than wise in his own.

2009 Update: Any listener still interested after the third sentence. One who may study the telic clause, only to miss the object.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lacteal Fluid

LACTEAL FLUID, n. (Reporterese)  Milk.

2009 Update: The final kindness last altruism before death.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Gallows or The Throne

Where each man's a king
And each one a martyr
There are too little things
That each has to barter
So take to the streets,
And join with the mob
Or visit the court
And apply for a job.
Life is advice
And each one alone
Chooses gold dust or lice
On the gallows or throne.
The commonest error-
The wise one, he sees:
Those who seek both sit in terror
Like Lou Dobbs and Damocles.

STRANGER, n. The suspicious, impoverished alien or his indictable employer.  One the scriptures protect along with his persecutor.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


LORD, n. In American society, an English tourist above the state of a costermonger, as, Lord 'Aberdasher, Lord Hartisan and so forth. The traveling Briton of lesser degree is addressed as "Sir," as, Sir 'Arry Donkiboi, of 'Amstead 'Eath. The word "Lord" is sometimes used, also, as a title of the Supreme Being; but this is thought to be rather flattery than true reverence. 
Miss Sallie Ann Splurge, of her own accord,
Wedded a wandering English lord —
Wedded and took him to dwell with her "paw,"
A parent who throve by the practice of Draw.
Lord Cadde I don't hesitate to declare
Unworthy the father-in-legal care
Of that elderly sport, notwithstanding the truth
That Cadde had renounced all the follies of youth;
For, sad to relate, he'd arrived at the stage
Of existence that's marked by the vices of age.
Among them, cupidity caused him to urge
Repeated demands on the pocket of Splurge,
Till, wrecked in his fortune, that gentleman saw
Inadequate aid in the practice of Draw,
And took, as a means of augmenting his pelf,
To the business of being a lord himself.
His neat-fitting garments he wilfully shed
And sacked himself strangely in checks instead;
Denuded his chin, but retained at each ear
A whisker that looked like a blasted career.
He painted his neck an incarnadine hue
Each morning and varnished it all that he knew.
The moony monocular set in his eye
Appeared to be scanning the Sweet Bye-and-Bye.
His head was enroofed with a billycock hat,
And his low-necked shoes were aduncous and flat.
In speech he eschewed his American ways,
Denying his nose to the use of his A's
And dulling their edge till the delicate sense
Of a babe at their temper could take no offence.
His H's — 'twas most inexpressibly sweet,
The patter they made as they fell at his feet!
Re-outfitted thus, Mr. Splurge without fear
Began as Lord Splurge his recouping career.
Alas, the Divinity shaping his end
Entertained other views and decided to send
His lordship in horror, despair and dismay
From the land of the nobleman's natural prey.
For, smit with his Old World ways, Lady Cadde
Fell — suffering Caesar! — in love with her dad!
2009 Update: A man placed by birth above his fellows, the symptom of foreign tolerance for tyranny according to Miley Cyrus.
Wherever you perambulate
Prepare to genuflect
For foreigners in native state,
Wait keenly to detect
The too proud Yankee who bows too late-
And stands too soon erect.

And when you, at last, repatriate
And hear liberty's bell ring
Freedom from prince and potentate,
Our hard-won and glorious thing,
Launch your stride both proud and straight
For each of us is born a king.
-Alastair Bake.

Monday, April 13, 2009


LANGUAGE, n. The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another's treasure.

2009 Update: The voluntary contractions by which higher species dissemble. In man, expression is autonomic and reception involuntary.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Fünfzehn
To hear this week's part, click on the saints and sages of Colgne's Cathedral. And apologies for the increasing long-windedness of these episodes, but at least this week's reader knows where it comes from.
To read this week's part, click on Vater Johann's fallen view of Strasbourg's Cathedral where, I am to understand, Barack Obama did not take mass last week.
This week in The Prattler, The Passion of The Atheist.
Happy Easter.

Friday, April 10, 2009


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

2009 Update: A card game for those rich in virtue, poor in friends and in possession of pen or peg.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Cui Bono

CUI BONO? (Latin) What good would that do me?

2009 Update: Literally, "to whose benefit?" and attributed by Cicero to Cassius. Figuratively, the phrase can be translated as "why him?" The typical answer runs "Et tu, Brute?" meaning "Why me?"

**Update: Cui senior?  I have it on good authority that the good Amoeba has a birth anniversary today.  Happy birthday, friend.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Jeweled Want

A time of woe we surely grieve-
A time of jeweled sorrow-
Though the shrunken rich whom we perceive
Will be with us still tomorrow.

The heroes our hearts do elect-
No dragons do they slay,
But strive so mighty to protect
The gremlins of yesterday.

And saints, so fine, compassionate
While tending to their neighbor,
Take heaven's grace and ration it
To sundered bank and structured labor.

If today found us in sorry state
Waving the sea we're sailing,
Rejoice! Our troubles arrive ornate
And gilded with glamorous wailing.
-James Bartholemew Wiggleston

GLAMOR, n. Misery's cowl.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


CHIVALRY, n. That wing of the Democratic party that has all the plumes. The other wing raises the wind for the bird to fly.

2009 Update: The compulsion of a man to be attentive and useful toward women and children, so named because the instinct concentrates on horseback.

Happy 4/8 eve to Sar.

Monday, April 06, 2009


CORONATION, n. The ceremony of investing a sovereign with the outward and visible signs of his divine right to be blown skyhigh with a dynamite bomb.

2009 Update: Birth.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Vierzehn
Listen to Jamie Dawn and The Reverend Keith read, as expertly engineered by their son, Taylor (whose link I found on JD's site), visit the priest at right.

To read this week's part, sit down to Vater Johann's table.

This week in The Prattler, Mr. Obama goes to Strasbourg.

Friday, April 03, 2009


RECOMMENDATION, n. Not being troubled with a conscience.

2009 Update: A plaintive, pitiful, hopeful command.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


RECONSIDER, v. To seek a justification for a decision already made.

2009 Update: To further pursue wisdom in a fool.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Wizard of March

April one we celebrate neighbors and fools,
The simple, believing and similar tools.
But who is the greatest, the fleetest of lamed?
For whom this very holiday ought to be named.
My choice is Pygmalion- Galatea, his wife,
Was still as a stone 'til he had her brought to life.

APRIL FOOL'S DAY, n. Father's day for bachelors.

Please nominate greatest fools in the comments. Current and recent presidents are too obvious.

And while we're on the topic, rabbit rabbit.