Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ode to my own sweet sister on her birthday

A sister is a creature composed
Of useful parts scented and twisted like rose-
Whenever her family's foolish or frivolous
Her voice like a wolf's whisper delivers us,
She carries us o'er muddy roads, who knows how
On shoulders like oxen's, pulling a plow,
She sees flowers bloom in the driest of gulches
Through eyes that are colored the average of mulches
No hill she can't climb, and often I wonder
Whether there's fences her legs can't carry her under.
With a mop on her head and two hammers for feet
Who can doubt it was she made the toolkit complete?

GORGONS, n. pl. Mythical sisters of ancient legend with serpentine hair and expressions that turned men to stone. That the gorgons are mythical can be proven in that they lack the additional venomous fangs, lion claws, and lethal shrieks of all attestable sisters.

Happy birthday, 'Na and you're welcome

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


BARRISTER, n. One of the ten thousand varieties of the genus Lawyer. In England the functions of a barrister are distinct from those of a solicitor. The one advises, the other executes; but the thing advised and the thing executed is the client.

2009 Update: One admitted to the bar for the purpose of transforming a client's jeopardy into a jury's agony. A barrister should not be confused with a barristra, the distinction being that the barrister makes foam without mechanical assistance and espresso over the course of a season.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Babe or Baby

BABE or BABY, n. A misshapen creature of no particular age, sex, or condition, chiefly remarkable for the violence of the sympathies and antipathies it excites in others, itself without sentiment or emotion. There have been famous babes; for example, little Moses, from whose adventure in the bulrushes the Egyptian hierophants of seven centuries before doubtless derived their idle tale of the child Osiris being preserved on a floating lotus leaf.

Ere babes were invented
The girls were contended.
Now man is tormented
Until to buy babes he has squandered
His money. And so I have pondered
This thing, and thought may be
'T were better that Baby
The First had been eagled or condored.
—Ro Amil

2009 Update: The gummy foundation on which a woman reconstructs her virtue and on which a man builds his own scaffold.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Acht-und-Dreizig
To hear this week's episode, read by Jamie Dawn and her son, Taylor, knock on the cottage door.
To read this week's episode, follow the prodigal.

The story so far is here.

Friday, September 25, 2009


PREDILECTION, n. The preparatory stage of disillusion.

2009 Update: Postpostulation. An established pattern of chosen behavior frustrating a durably desired result.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


PHONOGRAPH, n. An irritating toy that restores life to dead noises.

2009 Update: A relic useful to demonstrate that evolution and obsolescence begin about the ears.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Salvation of A Sot

I met a drunk scribbler in the old town saloon
Carving limericks into his table
Bells rang in the steeple of the church right next door
As he etched as profanely as a cowhand is able.

I bought him a drink, put my hand on his shoulder
And observed aloud the dry humor
Of a man in his cups next door to the sacred
Chiseling rhymes as crass as a rumor.

He looked over at me through two yellow eyes,
frowned and then answered with passion,
"If I chose my art badly, it is no less inspired
By your interest and kindly compassion.

"I believe that if I were surrounded by demons,
A psalmist, I might be, I think.
But here, as I sit, among harping angels
Better satire I inscribe and whiskey I drink."
-T-Bone Athanasius

FELLOWSHIP, n. The company of spies.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


PRIMATE, n. The head of a church, especially a State church supported by involuntary contributions. The Primate of England is the Archbishop of Canterbury, an amiable old gentleman, who occupies Lambeth Palace when living and Westminster Abbey when dead. He is commonly dead.

2009 Update: Any of several species which share a strong resemblance to Homo sapiens, such as orangutans, great apes and men.

Monday, September 21, 2009


PEDESTRIAN, n. The variable (and audible) part of the roadway for an automobile.

2009 Update: adj. Exotic.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Sieben-und-Dreizig
To hear this week's episode, poke the lion.

To read this week's episode, find a branch


The story so far is here.

Friday, September 18, 2009


RUDE, adj. Reminding a lady of the good times you had forty years ago.

2009 Update: Surrendered to one's high spirits in disregard for another's bad temper.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


REFERENDUM, n. A law for submission of proposed legislation to a popular vote to learn the nonsensus of public opinion.

2009 Update: A process by which a legislature abdicates the trust of the people in favor of those who misplaced it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Taxonomy of Glory

The King of badgers, I suppose,
Is chosen for the dampest nose.
The Duke of fleas, I would suggest,
Must be the very peskiest.

The speaker of the rodent house
Is nervous like no other mouse.
The most august of household roaches
Disgusts each neighbor she approaches,

While the mold that regulates its kin,
Is slimiest against the skin.
And the Marquis ruling over mildew
Stinks of sulfured sin mixed with you.

So it shouldn't take you by surprise,
The narrowness of pundits' eyes-
Man magnifies by praise and bribe
The pettiest among his tribe.

ELITE, adj. First among the countless.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


RECONCILIATION, n. A suspension of hostilities. An armed truce for the purpose of digging up the dead.

2009 Update: A parliamentary procedure created to civilly resolve controversy by dispatching the discontents.
Let those who doubt be set in boats,
'Tis the glory of our nation
That even they'd withhold their votes
Find reconciliation.

Monday, September 14, 2009


RICE, n. The Mongolian substitute for corned beef.

2009 Update: A grain of good fortune in a pot of poverty, such as may be used to bless a wedding or demean a marshmallow.

And, if I'm not mistaken, happy birthday to Jamie Dawn! I don't know how old Jamie Dawn actually is, but you can tell by looking at her that she looks much younger.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Sechs-und-Dreizig
To hear OC and Quilly read, click on the town of Wolfshausen*.
To read this week's episode, click on Hercules and the Erymanthian Boar.

The story so far is here.

*Photo courtesy of Horst Bierau, a photographer (also, scientist and new father) who grew up in Wolfshausen. I found Horst through the combined magic of Google and Flickr, and have enjoyed making his acquaintance this week. More good news, Wolfshausen is set just as I remembered it so the geography of the story so far makes sense (Full-size panorama of Wolfshausen here. The camera is placed in the widow Greulich's front yard, today's story begins in the draw at upper right.)

Horst was also kind enough to show me his excellent photo of this church (at right,) which was built in Wolfshausen in the 12th century and which makes it a little silly of Vater Karl to have decamped to Wolfshausen in 1519 and to have held his masses outdoors ever since. The old fool.

In any event, my appreciation to Herr Bierau for letting me use his photographs and my recommendation to you all to enjoy more of his photography at Thanks, Horst.

Friday, September 11, 2009


"See," cries the chorus of admiring preachers,
"How Providence provides for all His creatures!"
"His care," the gnat said, "even the insects follows:
For us He has provided wrens and swallows."
—Sempen Railey
2009 Update: A former order in a previous taxonomy which included hedgehogs and shrews. The order was abandoned when its members were found to have too little kinship with one another, and too much in common with zöologists' relations.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


IMPOSITION, n. The act of blessing or consecrating by the laying on of hands — a ceremony common to many ecclesiastical systems, but performed with the frankest sincerity by the sect known as Thieves.
"Lo! by the laying on of hands,"
Say parson, priest and dervise,
"We consecrate your cash and lands
To ecclesiastical service.
No doubt you'll swear till all is blue
At such an imposition. Do."
—Pollo Doncas
2009 Update: The explanation accompanying a request.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Addressing America's Schoolchildren, A Primer

A is for atheist, leave room for doubt.
B is for baloney, leave one symbolic slice out.
C is for the clover in which we were born,
And D is for doom to failure and scorn.
E is for erudition, whatever that means,
And F is the letter that gets us to genes.
G is for genetics, where our future's endowed.
H is for the humility we're not allowed.
I is for importers, like gangsters but coarser
and J is for Judas, scripture's outsourcer.
K is for Kapital, suppressing the people
While L's for liquidity up to the steeple.
M is for mumbling when you say to work hard
N is for no as in no union card.
O is for Obama, daughter of Kenya
And P is for President, or sometimes pretender.
Q is for quicksand, composing our discourse
R is for what? Recession, of course!
S is for Socrates, who corrupted the youth
T is for television which restored them to couth
U is for unamerican, like socialism and tea
And V is for cross-cultural validity
W was the president for our golden age
X marked the spot where we all turned the page
Y is for Yokel, and Z is for snoring
The best you can do is to keep it all boring.

Schoolchild, n. The perpetual hostage. A Sabine-American, stolen in a blare of bugles and ransomed for a grunt.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


A toy which people cry for,
And on their knees apply for,
Dispute, contend and lie for,
And if allowed
Would be right proud
Eternally to die for.
2009 Update: An endless longevity, the pursuit of which inspired the champions to whose memory our songs, statues and schoolbooks are dedicated. The endurance for which the brazen are bronzed.

Monday, September 07, 2009


ICHOR, n. A fluid that serves the gods and goddesses in place of blood.
Fair Venus, speared by diomed,
Restrained the raging chief and said:
"Behold, rash mortal, whom you've bled-
Your soul's stained white with ichorshed!"
Mary Doke
2009 Update: A humor for which humanity's bilious disposition and melancholy nature have rendered us too dry a host, leaving only he who waxed most prideful ichorous.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Fünf-und-Dreizig
To hear Mütti read, click on the little red squirrel.

To read this week's episode, click on the stag.

The story so far is here.

Friday, September 04, 2009


MULTITUDE, n. A crowd; the source of political wisdom and virtue. In a republic, the object of the statesman's adoration. "In a multitude of consellors there is wisdom," saith the proverb. If many men of equal individual wisdom are wiser than any one of them, it must be that they acquire the excess of wisdom by the mere act of getting together. Whence comes it? Obviously from nowhere — as well say that a range of mountains is higher than the single mountains composing it. A multitude is as wise as its wisest member if it obey him; if not, it is no wiser than its most foolish.

2009 Update: The many, of whom most are mainly martyrs and merely imagined. In most cases, one leader and a horde of grief.

Finishing the bread and fish
On the shore of Galilee
The Five thousand dared another wish
From him who gave his life for me.

St. James asked the holy seed
"Can you please this multitude?"
I could, indeed, The LORD agreed
But then they'd be but a few.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


MANES, n. The immortal parts of dead Greeks and Romans. They were in a state of dull discomfort until the bodies from which they had exhaled were buried and burned; and they seem not to have been particularly happy afterward.

2009 Update: The least tame portion of horse and human or the great domesticity of a lion.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Une Nocturne Bananoise

A gorilla, feeling tired and bored,
Nestled in and laxly snored
To dreams about a younger, wilder jungle.
He dreamt of days before his birth
When apes recalled a hero's worth
Chimps were chimps and each monkey had an uncle.

He dreamt a wild and simple time
When, as intended, 'twere no crime
To jump and claw and chase and bite and pillage.
The babies acted reverently
Toward mighty males, such as he,
And each new tree could be tomorrow's village.

Oh, glory! How the she-beasts knew
To move and stretch and preen and do
What must be done to keep a king like him for keeping.
But the gorilla was brusquely awakened,
The dream of glory cruelly taken,
When a boy outside yelled "look, mama! He's sleeping!"

The jungle of gorillish dreams,
Comes from stories, so it seems,
Told of adventures, warfare, famine and disasters
By exhibits to their own sweet brood
Of days gone by beyond the zoo
Where humans teach their children they are masters.
-Alejandro Zaius

BOY, n. A transitional stage between primate and slave.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


MAGDALENE, n. An inhabitant of Magdala. Popularly, a woman found out. This definition of the word has the authority of ignorance, Mary of Magdala being another person than the penitent woman mentioned by St. Luke. It has also the official sanction of the governments of Great Britain and the United States. In England the word is pronounced Maudlin, whence maudlin, adjective, unpleasantly sentimental. With their Maudlin for Magdalene, and their Bedlam for Bethlehem, the English may justly boast themselves the greatest of revisers.

2009 Update: The dubious woman whom two thousand years of Christianity has struggled and failed to keep from our LORD and neighbor.