Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Ice Queen

#42, Aw, who am I kidding?

To hear The Ice Queen, approach her hiding place.

To read The Ice Queen, click on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who must be spinning in his grave about now.

This week in The Prattler, "Alloyed Praise for George W." and a political cartoon depicting Grover Cleveland.

Friday, April 28, 2006


SACRED, adj. Dedicated to some religious purpose; having a divine character; inspiring solemn thoughts or emotions; as, the Dalai Lama of Thibet; the Moogum of M'bwango; the temple of Apes in Ceylon; the Cow in India; the Crocodile, the Cat and the Onion of ancient Egypt; the Mufti of Moosh; the hair of the dog that bit Noah, etc.
All things are either sacred or profane.
The former to ecclesiasts bring gain;
The latter to the devil appertain.
—Dumbo Omohundro
2006 Update: Beyond reproach as a popular president or a drunken poet.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


USAGE, n. The First Person of the literary Trinity, the Second and Third being Custom and Conventionality. Imbued with a decent reverence for this Holy Triad an industrious writer may hope to produce books that will live as long as the fashion.

2006 Update: The function for which a word or object was misdesigned. Uselessness.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Special Guest Wednesday

This week, I'm proud to introduce Star Firstbaseman who was asked to define Dance Card.

DANCE CARD, n. 1. Mine is full. Thanks, though.
2. A booklet in which a lady inscribes the partners with whom she will dance each successive dance with at a formal ball.
3. Booklet with a decorative cover and cord, to be attached at the wrist.
4. Colloquism for "Plan so spend some time with [requestor].

About Star Firstbaseman: Welcome to Star Firstbaseman, the new kid. Her site, Somebody Take Me Home dates all the way back to March, 2006. The first thing you'll notice about Star is she's really, really funny. Actually, based on her self-description, my previous comment probably only applies to meeting her on-line but I still give the Waking Ambrose seal of really funny. Since starting her site a month ago tomorrow, she's written a lot that's funny and a little that's sad and nothing dull. For anyone who watched daytime television before blogging, I think her dating life and the saga of K will be a fine substitute.

Star Firstbaseman comes to us through Kyahgirl, friend of many. She's in her mid-twenties, does government work by day and plays kickball to be productive. She lives where she lives to accomodate her dog, bless her. On her site you'll read about clothes, wholesome habits, other habits, her crazy housemate, a nutty hallmate, family and friends. I look forward to seeing how the new blog develops. Thanks to Star Firstbaseman and thanks for a fine guest appearance.

How to be a future guest on this site: Just send an email to dpascover at mac dot com. On a future Wednesday, after posting that week's guest, I'll send you an email with a word to define. You'll be expected to return your definition along with a graphic representing either your definition or yourself by the following Saturday. The only rules are no profanity and no novels, please. And whatever I make up at the last minute.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


DOTAGE, n. Imbecility from age, commonly manifested in loquacity. (This word was originally ANECDOTAGE, but those of whom it is the characteristic virtue have not time to speak the entire word; they are too busy talking.)

2006 Update: The rise of wisdom from opinion, waitress over lover and indulgence beyond resentment.

Do-over: The age at which self-awareness surpasses vanity and loses the audience.

Happy Birthday to Ariel and Cowgirl!

Monday, April 24, 2006


VALOR, n. A soldierly compound of vanity, duty and the gambler's hope.
"Why have you halted?" roared the commander of a division and Chickamauga, who had ordered a charge; "move forward, sir, at once."

"General," said the commander of the delinquent brigade, "I am persuaded that any further display of valor by my troops will bring them into collision with the enemy."

2006 Update: The fortitude of the resigned.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ida, Redeemer

Story #41, a true tale but otherwise more or less the DaVinci Code in which Doug uncovers a Church's secrets.

To hear the word, enter Atlanta's Lutheran Church of The Redeemer

To read the word, come to the library.

This week in The Prattler, "Absent and Unaccounted For". I've arranged with Periodyssey Press, publisher of The San Francisco Wasp: An Illustrated History, to use cartoons from The Wasp, a weekly where Ambrose Bierce was columnist and editor-in-chief in the 1880s.

Friday, April 21, 2006


TELESCOPE, n. A device having a relation to the eye similar to that of the telephone to the ear, enabling distant objects to plague us with a multitude of needless details. Luckily it is unprovided with a bell summoning us to the sacrifice.

2006 Update: A contraption of mirrors and lenses allowing desolation and emptiness to be observed at a distance.

Announcement: Karma put together a web page containing last Saturday's story with the terrific extensions added by herself and Ariel. Download it here.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


COQUETTE, n. A vain, foolish and stupid girl who after a pretty thorough sampling of oneself prefers another.

2006 Update: Lorelei to stutterers.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Rootin' Tootin' Wednesday Guest

I'm proud to say my guest this week is the Cowgirl.

Cowgirl was asked to write a definition for sidesaddle.

SIDESADDLE, n. 1. A saddle that was originally designed so that ladies could ride in dresses without indecent exposure.
2. Original version of the pedestal men once placed women on.

adj. The now back in style art form that was once considered anachronistic by the horse world.

Once considered a dying style of riding, sidesaddle currently has immense popularity in the society horse world. Technically, any horse can be ridden aside, but the few breeds that have sidesaddle divisions in their shows are predominantly society horses; Arabians, Morgans, Andalusians, hunter/jumpers etc.

When sidesaddle is listed as a class at a show, it is almost always preceded by "ladies." Men typically do not openly advertise that they even train horses to ride sidesaddle, but every once in a while there will be a show that has a "Drag Queen Sidesaddle" class that packs the stands. These are usually the highlight of the show year, which are to be taped and used appropriately. Male trainers and exhibitors do their best Dolly Parton, Marilyn Monroe, or Pamela Anderson impersonation. I have even seen an excellent Dame Edna wannabe.

"If the world were a logical place, men would ride sidesaddle." Rita Mae Brown is correct in her form to function observation; however, my logics and desire for money like the fact that I get paid to show male trainer's and client's horses in ladies sidesaddle classes!

About Cowgirl*: Cowgirl was a delightful surprise for a lot of us, in good midwestern style making fast friends with a bunch of us at once. She writes The Patriotic Cowgirl, the diary of a young woman living the way a young woman should: with bravery, alcohol, curiousity, contemplation, craziness and caballos. OK, a caballo is a horse but sometimes aliteration just kind of gets me, you know? She's quick with a joke or a friendly word and ready to share her own hard truths.

Cowgirl lives in the midwest, the sea of corn and soy whose hospitality I still mourn. After the fashion of the area, Cowgirl seems to have had about all the kinds of work in the guidance counselor's handbook. Also after the fashion of the area, she's been beset with tornados, stormy weather and troubled neighbors. Cowgirl is a horse-trainer, a printer, a reliable friend and a medic in the Army Reserve National Guard. For all of that, a tip of the hat. Oh, and her birthday is next Tuesday, y'all.

*I'm straining to keep the cow-stereotypes to a minimum.

Oh, and from the "Wednesday Guest Makes Good" department, Pia, fresh from an article in the Long Island Press and an interview with New York Newsday comments in an article from the Christian Science Monitor. See it here.

How to be a future guest on this site: Just send an email to dpascover at mac dot com. On a future Wednesday, after posting that week's guest, I'll send you an email with a word to define. You'll be expected to return your definition along with a graphic representing either your definition or yourself by the following Saturday. The only rules are no profanity and no novels, please. And whatever I make up at the last minute.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


PUNCTUALITY, n. A virtue which seems to be abnormally developed in creditors.

2006 Update: The virtue by which an American partygoer finds their Peruvian host in a bathrobe.

"Virginity is the new punctuality."-Aral Peppermint Patty Pez

Monday, April 17, 2006


HOSPITAL, n. A place where the sick generally obtain two kinds of treatment- medical by the doctor and inhuman by the superintendent.

2006 Update: A veterinary establishment to which illness, insurance, science and public policy can be brought for care. A saloon for the anti-social.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Case of The Missing Ivory

Story #40, in which Marlowe meets a maiden.

To hear the story, Bogart the cigarette

To read the story, click with the box set.

This week in The Prattler, "The Party Line."

Friday, April 14, 2006


CROSS, n. An ancient religious symbol erroneously supposed to owe its significance to the most solemn event in the history of Christianity, but really antedating it by thousands of years. By many it has been believed to be identical with the crux ansata of the ancient phallic worship, but it has been traced even beyond all that we know of that, to the rites of primitive peoples. We have to-day the White Cross as a symbol of chastity, and the Red Cross as a badge of benevolent neutrality in war. Having in mind the former, the reverend Father Gassalasca Jape smites the lyre to the effect following:
"Be good, be good!" the sisterhood
Cry out in holy chorus,
And, to dissuade from sin, parade
Their various charms before us.

But why, O why, has ne'er an eye
Seen her of winsome manner
And youthful grace and pretty face
Flaunting the White Cross banner?

Now where's the need of speech and screed
To better our behaving?
A simpler plan for saving man
(But, first, is he worth saving?)

Is, dears, when he declines to flee
From bad thoughts that beset him,
Ignores the Law as 't were a straw,
And wants to sin — don't let him.
2006 Update: An artifact of faith when worn on the back.

A good Good Friday to my Christian friends, a happy Pesach to the Jews, a strong cup of coffee to the Pagans, apostates and Unitarians and to the Muslims, TGIF?

Thursday, April 13, 2006


WINE, n. Fermented grape-juice known to the Women's Christian Union as "liquor," sometimes as "rum." Wine, madam, is God's next best gift to man.

2006 Update: A fruit juice fermented to make airs. Or heirs.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Special Guest Wednesday

This week, I'm proud to feature Kyah Girl.

Kyah Girl defines Perfumista.
PERFUMISTA, n. per-fume-east-ah

One possessed of a passion for all things scented. The perfumista is neither female, nor male, young nor old.

The perfumista studies the art and science of fragrance and devotes themselves to learning notes and ingredients as well as fragrance history and lore. The typical human senses odor via the cluster of receptors at the back of the nose that connect directly to the brain. This way, scent is perceived before the brain has received a signal from the nervous system. Part of our inborn survival mechanism. The perfumista perceives scents as usual but the perceptions are accompanied by a jolt of pure sensation, usually pleasure.

From the scent of grasses and woods to flowers, synthetic and natural oils, animal, mineral, and aqueous; all fragrances are of interest to the perfumista. Yes, even things that smell bad!

Most commonly, the perfumistas congregate in virtual communities to share their knowledge and to share their joy in scent. Many perfumistas maintain educational blogs in order to share their knowledge.

Perfumistas are known to periodically congregate in large cities for an event known as a 'Sniffapalooza', an orgy of fragrance exploration.

About Kyah Girl: Kyah girl writes Mother Hen's Place in which she recently surveyed blog posts about bowel movements, recounted her dog, Casper's urination habits, and reviewed her daughter's tonsilectomy. Clearly, this is a woman with range. Oh, and before that she "revealed" the contents of her handbag. Yeah, right. Nary a stray mento.

She's a wife, mother of two, mistress to Casper The Friendly Dog and a friend of Logo and Mireille (a FOLM) with whom she shares an interest in perfume. A Canadian but not noticeably a communist, she blogs as a means of staying in touch with friends around the world, by which I mean in the U.S. (there are friends in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand as well.) Her posts are humorous and interesting and Kyah Girl's worth getting to know. Kyah Girl took her blogname from Kyah, a beloved dog who passed away not long before Kyah Girl started blogging. That was all I needed to know to call Kyah Girl friend..

How to be a future guest on this site: Just send an email to dpascover at mac dot com. On a future Wednesday, after posting that week's guest, I'll send you an email with a word to define. You'll be expected to return your definition along with a graphic representing either your definition or yourself by the following Saturday. The only rules are no profanity and no novels, please. And whatever I make up at the last minute.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


KLEPTOMANIAC, n. A rich thief.

2006 Update: A revealed member of the tribe of Adam.

Monday, April 10, 2006


GENESIS, n. The first of the five sacred books written by Moses. The evidence of that great man's authorship of this book and four others is of the most convincing character: he never disavowed them.

2006 Update: An infallible account of falsehood, flaw, frailty and the fall.

Two announcements: Our favorite political cartoonist, Dead Guy, was interviewed by a local news channel. See the segment on his site. It turns out he's the spitting image of Richard Nixon, which explains the masks he sometimes wears during the interview.
Second, my new friend and fellow Bierce imitator, O'Ceallaigh, has a new blog with links to his sites: O Ceallaigh's Felloffatruck Publications. The nice thing about imitating Bierce is you save a lot on sequins vis-a-vis Elvis. U-huh-huh.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Roman Peace

Story #39, in which Rome learns anger management.

To hear the story, enter the Colosseum

To read the story, salute those who are about to die.

Friday, April 07, 2006


ENTHUSIASM, n. A distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience. Byron, who recovered long enough to call it "entuzymuzy," had a relapse which carried him off to missolonghi.

2006 Update: A nervous disorder causing headaches, toothaches, dysthymia, dyspepsia, aging, autism, anxiety and aggravated assault in the afflicted's afflicted.

Happy 7th of April to The Belle of The Brawl

Thursday, April 06, 2006


PAGAN, n. A benighted person who prefers home-made deities and indigenous religious rites.

2006 Update: A McWiccan.

Extra! Extra! Announcement having nothing to do with the definitions above, I'm fairly sure: Our pal, Pia, was the subject of a newspaper article about her extraordinary website. The article is here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Special Guest Wednesday

This week it's my pleasure to introduce Jodes who I asked to define Domestic.

DOMESTIC, n. A person that works at home as a Mother or wife, cooks cleans, takes care of the family.
My version for me does all those things too, but not in your typical manner, I guess I am the lazy domestic.........I cook and clean, but only when the mood strikes me. I would rather, play outside or watch movies.

Domestic...............Well I use to think that I was domestic. I wanted to be the stay at home Mom and bake cookies and drive to ball practice and watch Oprah and have dinner ready every night at the same time. However when I really was staying at home and taking care of the kiddo's this never happened. I hated sitting around all day, I was always doing something or going somewhere. I was busier staying at home than I was working.

I work now and dinner consists of Hot dogs or grilled cheese a lot. The hubby works late, so why should I bust my @$$ and cook all that food for a 9 year old that will probably complain and a 2 year old that will either eat anything or jump up from the table and make you chase him with a freaking spoonful of food.

I am so not your "typical" domestic woman unless you consider eating in the living room and watching TV every night from 7 to 10 and sleeping in till 6:30 on Saturday and Sunday. Yeah I know that is not really sleeping in, but it is to me, I get up at 4:45 to go to work. I love taking care of my boys and the hubby, but I am so not gonna be that 1950's Mom!!! I have a job I love and I am on a mission to get out the word about Breast Cancer and am currently training for the 3 day walk.
About Jodes: In a house by the beach, with Hotel California playing in the background, dolphins swimming nearby looking for their chance to help and be petted and I just betcha crab dip in a bowl on the counter, there lives a family of four contented and cheerful souls. Two boys, their mom and dad drift through the good life but this family had a secret. Not so much anymore. Momma Jodes blogs.

Jodie writes with the excitement of someone who remembers every day at posting time things she's grateful for. Features on her site include book reviews of detective fiction and thrillers, and she is a member of the pernicious Half-Naked Thursday (HNT) crowd. In her August archive you can join Jodes in the joys of moving, and also explore the blogosphere when it was new. And in September, you can get to know Jodes better in her 101 things post. Thanks to Jodes for letting us into the house by the ocean.

How to be a Wednesday Guest: OK, l've been taking pledges for KPCC, the Pasadena NPR station, so instead of another threat, I'm whining.

You come to this site daily, even on Wednesdays and Saturdays when the posts are long. What gives you value here? What brings you here everyday? You do, the Waking Ambrose audience. Without you, this site is just a bunch of electrons with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Ask Jodes from Southern California. She gets it. She realized that without her input, people would come here to find a witless, useless thing. We take all clean contributions. Maybe you have the vocabulary of a five-year-old. Maybe you have a PhD in Medievel Semiotics. The point is you make this site work and we take contributions in any denomination. Think you're too REFINED? Too Patriotic? Too Halal? Too poetic to appear on this site? That's ok. The point is, we need you, the reader, and we'll settle for whatever you got. Email me at dpascover at mac dot com and if you email right now one of our generous members will match your pledge with four satirical definitions. It's all up to you. Thank you for being a reader and for your generous contribution.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


APPLAUSE, n. The echo of a platitude.

2006 Update: An appreciation of talent using the hands when the feet are blocked.

Happy Birthday to Shayna, I've been on your porch since midnight. I could use a sandwich.

Monday, April 03, 2006


RANK, n. Relative elevation in the scale of human worth.
He held at court a rank so high
That other noblemen asked why.
"Because," 'twas answered, "others lack
His skill to scratch the royal back."
—Aramis Jukes

2006 Update: A measure of the deference and attention allocated by investigators, journalists and thieves.

Big News: Longtime readers will remember a Wednesday guest, Julie from Julie Goes to Hollywood, an aspiring screenwriter. Julie has transitioned to Screenwriter under contract to Universal. Congratulations to her. Hopefully her blog will let us know the title of her upcoming film so we can all go to it and tell the stranger next to us "I knew her when she was nuthin'!"

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Waking Ambrose

Story #38, how it all began.

To hear the story, say howdy to Doug

To read the story, salute SeƱor Bierce.

Santa Clarita, California April 1, 2006
A lonely blogger in this dusty desert hamlet of 150,000 souls added a weekly column to Prattle, to be written on contemporary issues in an imitation of Ambrose Bierce's sinister style. Doug Pascover has spent the last of the best years of his life imitating Bierce's lexicography but reports feelings of guilt and inadequacy after reading on the website of The Ambrose Bierce Appreciation Society that he had revived Bierce's column, Prattle, when he knew he had only plagiarized the title. The introductory column can be found on Prattle on the page listed as "The Prattler." Future columns are intended to appear on Saturday, the day The Wasp, the weekly for which Bierce's column appeared in the 1880s and 90s was published. Mr. Pascover's dogs, Willie and Walela ask that you pray for his self-recollection.