Monday, November 30, 2009


SEQUESTRATE, v. A legal term for robbing the under dog in the fight.

2009 Update: To privilege with quarantine, isolation or inaccessibility, as a bank fund.

(or on a boat) Happy birthday to Tan Lucy Pez and to Terry.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Sieben-Und Vierzig
To hear this week's reading, click on the cat in the window.
To read this week's episode, come to the towers of Elizabethskirche.

The story so far is here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tzetze (or Tsetse) Fly

TZETZE (or TSETSE) FLY, n. An African insect (Glossina morsitans) whose bite is commonly regarded as nature's most efficacious remedy for insomnia, though some patients prefer that of the American novelist (Mendax interminabilis).

2009 Update: A large fly native to sub-saharan Africa, principally known for spreading somnolence among vertebrates and alacrity among crossword puzzle solvers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


TURKEY, n. A large bird whose flesh when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude. Incidentally, it is pretty good eating.

2009 Update: A creature that, by domestication, caging and overfeeding has evolved from a wild fowl into a symbol for American gratitude and ambition. The turkey retains enough power of flight to avoid a "flightless" description but not enough to avoid a recipe.

Happy Thanksgiving to all Americans, foreign and domestic.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gratitude in Odd Years

Given two knees to bend in prayer
And two lips with which to shape the air
Two hands to fold, two eyes to close-
So evenly appreciation shows.

For gratitude's an even state,
A grace to grace reciprocate,
A gift that we give in reflection
Of fortune smiling our direction.

The fourth Thursday in November
We appoint the day that we'll remember
Over second servings, to raise some cheer
For blessings we received this year.

How puzzling, then, the mystery-
That troubles come ennumbered three
And juggling, each of us must labor
To praise all those that plague our neighbor.

And so since we pray annually,
And count our blessings manually,
Some ambivalence is fine
For thanksgiving given in aught-nine.

ODD, adj. Indivisible by two, as a second portion.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


TRINITY, n. In the multiplex theism of certain Christian churches, three entirely distinct deities consistent with only one. Subordinate deities of the polytheistic faith, such as devils and angels, are not dowered with the power of combination, and must urge individually their claims to adoration and propitiation. The Trinity is one of the most sublime mysteries of our holy religion. In rejecting it because it is incomprehensible, Unitarians betray their inadequate sense of theological fundamentals. In religion we believe only what we do not understand, except in the instance of an intelligible doctrine that contradicts an incomprehensible one. In that case we believe the former as a part of the latter.

2009 Update: A Christian formulation for one being in three persons. Examples include the divine trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the earthly trinity of sinner, neighbor and pagan and the ecclesiastical trinity of the Fellowship Committee.

Monday, November 23, 2009


TOPE, v. To tipple, booze, swill, soak, guzzle, lush, bib, or swig. In the individual, toping is regarded with disesteem, but toping nations are in the forefront of civilization and power. When pitted against the hard-drinking Christians the abstemious Mohammedans go down like grass before the scythe. In India one hundred thousand beef-eating and brandy-and-soda guzzling Britons hold in subjection two hundred and fifty million vegetarian abstainers of the same Aryan race. With what an easy grace the whisky-loving American pushed the temperate Spaniard out of his possessions! From the time when the Berserkers ravaged all the coasts of western Europe and lay drunk in every conquered port it has been the same way: everywhere the nations that drink too much are observed to fight rather well and not too righteously. Wherefore the estimable old ladies who abolished the canteen from the American army may justly boast of having materially augmented the nation's military power.

2009 Update: To seek temperance in the bottom of a bottle. To be lush in view of the withered. To err among accountants or sin before the prim.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Sechs-Und Vierzig
To hear Jamie Dawn and Taylor do this week's reading, cross the Jordan with Joshua and the Israelites. (Caution: Walls may come tumblin' down.)
To read this week's episode, follow the strangers appearing to Abram.

The story so far is here.

Friday, November 20, 2009


GOLD-BUG, n. In political matters, a miscreant who has the wickedness to know that legislation cannot maintain a permanent relation between the values of two metals, even by the luminous device pf binding them together in the same coins. A miller who grinds the faces of the poor and takes the whole grist for toll. A hideous monster that disturbs the Bulletin's repose by sitting astride Deacon Fitch's stomach, picking the bones of "the debtor class" and blaspheming the dollar of our fathers.

2009 Update: A politician whose crusade for purity leads him at last to the dollar, who reads Austrian treatises in the original Texan and who turns to smelted stone for wisdom and temperance.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gastric Juice

GASTRIC JUICE, n. A liquid for dissolving oxen and making men of the pulp.

2009 Update: The humor that controls intelligence in a man, gravity in a woman and affection in a dog.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lighter together

Building fence alone's a discouraging thing,
Sinking posts and stringing bob wire.
A horseman afoot with no friend to bring
Comes slowly across deserts burnt by wind instead of fire.

Staples bend, hammers drop, no spare hand to retrieve 'em
Marks are made too far and light for two eyes to perceive 'em
Lies are invented and repeated with no ear there to believe 'em
And gates go in too woody and wide for two arms to achieve 'em.

So if your vision is of a new Earth
And you have a mission to pursue
My advice, for what it's worth,
Is there's more lasting work to do.

When the weather sours and breezes rise as they do each November-
Douse your campfire and take some time to spit on ev'ry ember,
Pack up your bedroll, your come-along and jug, if you remember,
And head for town and find you a committee needs a member.
-Elko Smithers

HIGH-MISSION, adj. Low effort.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


GNU, n. An animal of South Africa, which in its domesticated state resembles a horse, a buffalo and a stag. In its wild condition it is something like a thunderbolt, an earthquake and a cyclone.
A hunter from Kew caught a distant view
Of a peacefully meditative gnu,
And he said: "I'll pursue, and my hands imbrue
In its blood at a closer interview."
But that beast did ensue and the hunter it threw
O'er the top of a palm that adjacent grew;
And he said as he flew: "It is well I withdrew
Ere, losing my temper, I wickedly slew
That really meritorious gnu."
Jarn Leffer
2009 Update: A beast with a goat's beard, the hooves of a deer and the shoulders of a boar which is absent from mythology because it lacks the lust, cowardice and malice that make such animals exotic to fabulists.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Hail noble fruit! — by Homer sung,
Anacreon and Khayyam;
Thy praise is ever on the tongue
Of better men than I am.

The lyre in my hand has never swept,
The song I cannot offer:
My humbler service pray accept —
I'll help to kill the scoffer.

The water-drinkers and the cranks
Who load their skins with liquor —
I'll gladly bear their belly-tanks
And tap them with my sticker.

Fill up, fill up, for wisdom cools
When e'er we let the wine rest.
Here's death to Prohibition's fools,
And every kind of vine-pest!
Jamrach Holobom
2009 Update: The fruit of a tangled vine, by a tangled vine and for a tangled line.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Fünf-Und Vierzig
To hear the Bear and the Crow read this episode, click on the happy evangelist.

To read this week's episode, follow Thomas Didymus' finger.

The story so far is here.

Friday, November 13, 2009


CACKLE, v.i. To celebrate the birth of an egg.
They say that hens do cackle loudest when
. There's nothing vital in the egg they've laid;
. And there are hens professing to have made
A study of mankind, who say that men
Whose business is to drive the tongue or pen
. Make the clamourous fanfaronade
. O'er their most worthless work; and I'm afraid
In this respect they're really like the hen.
Lo! The drum-major in his coat of gold,
. His blazing breeches and high-towering cap,
Imperiously pompous, "bloody, bold
. And resolute"-an awe-inspiring chap!
Who'd think this hero's only warlike virtue
Is that in battle he will never hurt you?
2009 Update: To argue as the fowl argues or laugh as the witch laughs, or to contemplate as Lou Dobbs contemplated.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


CANE, n. A convenient article for admonishing the gentle slanderer and the inconsiderate rival.

2009 Update: A portable foundation with which to reinforce the rigidity of the elderly, or upon which to erect an upright child. A mobile martyrdom, Crux mobilis.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

TLP, Decider

A morning is for glory,
Late morn for glory past,
When a man can sit upon his couch
And be thoughtful at last.

But quiet, cautious contemplation
Serves only as a provocation
To the kind of woman whose vacation
She spends spreading aggravation.

Do the Roosters out in Pennsyltucky
Arise to Lucy's crowing?
Do the clouds break when she thunders
And the winds gust when she's blowing?

Here in LA, the sky is brightening,
The weather's clear, the morals heightening.
The burdens of the times are lightening
But I won't relax while Lucy's tightening.

BOSSY, adj. Minutely gracious.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


CUDGEL, n. A medicine for external application to the head and shoulders of a fool.

2009 Update: A heavy club which, the likeliest weapon of Friar Tuck, has since obsolesced in favor of theology.

Monday, November 09, 2009


COENOBITE, n. A man who piously shuts himself up to meditate upon the sin of wickedness; and to keep it fresh in his mind joins a brotherhood of awful examples.
O Coenobite, O coenobite,
Monastical gregarian,
You differ from the anchorite,
That solitudinarian:
With vollied prayers you wound Old Nick;
With dropping shots he makes him sick.
Quincy Giles
2009 Update: A contemplative who leaves town and home in search of community.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Vier-Und Vierzig
To hear Weirsdo telling this week's story, hide in the breadbasket.

To read this week's episode, watch from over in the haystack.

The story so far is here.

Friday, November 06, 2009


EULOGY, n. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead.

2009 Update: A brief review of the virtues from a life well and fully lived.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


EPIGRAM, n. A short, sharp saying in prose or verse, frequently characterize by acidity or acerbity and sometimes by wisdom. Following are some of the more notable epigrams of the learned and ingenious Dr. Jamrach Holobom:
We know better the needs of ourselves than of others. To serve oneself is economy of administration.

In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass and a nightingale. Diversity of character is due to their unequal activity.

There are three sexes; males, females and girls.

Beauty in women and distinction in men are alike in this: they seem to the unthinking a kind of credibility.

Women in love are less ashamed than men. They have less to be ashamed of.

While your friend holds you affectionately by both your hands you are safe, for you can watch both his.
2009 Update: Refined babble.
Those who seek shall surely find what they who lie unsought express in rhyme.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Anthropogenic Global Whining

Whether the science from gleaning of data
Is right that the world's getting warmer
Or the others are right that the science won't matter
If we cede all our plans to the former:
It's summery here in C.A. in November
And might be for Christmas, the worse.
So I'm starting my day, hoping to remember
To drive in to work in reverse.

DISCOMFORT, n. Heaven's first gift to the good and wisdom's middle curse on the industrious.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


EXCURSION, n. An expedition of so disagreeable a character that steamboat and railroad fares are compassionately mitigated to the miserable sufferers.

2009 Update: A brief circular journey for the satisfaction of curiosity and the broadening of the mind. In the American midwest, a visit to the casino.

Monday, November 02, 2009


EXPERIENCE, n. The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.
To one who, journeying through night and fog,
Is mired neck-deep in an unwholesome bog,
Experience, like the rising of the dawn,
Reveals the path that he should not have gone.
Joel Frad Bink
2009 Update: The sensory engine that pulls us from mistaken to misunderstanding.
"What is the price of experience? Do men buy it for a song or wisdom for a dance in the street? No! But a pamphlet can be had for mutterings or a slow limp!"
Happy Birthday to Eamon!