Monday, April 30, 2007


MACARONI, n. An Italian food made in the form of a slender, hollow tube. It consists of two parts- the tubing and the hole, the latter being the part that digests.

2007 Update: An italian indelicacy which, had psychoanalysis been invented in Venice rather than Vienna, might have led to a world in thrall to elbow envy.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Preaching in Persia

Episode 17 of The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic. Thanks to this week's reader.

To hear the story, come swiftly to Zeno. No, faster.

No Prattler this week on account of I'm tired and lazy. The link below is repaired. I'll be doing penance if you all need me.

To read the story, a king from the orient be.

Friday, April 27, 2007


ELOQUENCE, n. The art of orally persuading fools that white is the color that it appears to be. It includes the gift of making any color appear white.

2007 Update: The gift of startling those not listening without waking the audience. Growling in iambic pentameter or grumbling in 3/4 time.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


ECCENTRICITY, n. A method of distinction so cheap that fools employ it to accentuate their incapacity.

2007 Update: Lipstick on a lumberjack or curiosity at a conference.

Welcome Carter to Shayna's Music Highway

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Last night I dreamed of an economist.
(Dreams of the middle years are not
The ones the dreams of youth had promised.)

He stood on a cloud and intoned while he glistened
(Had he stood by a camera, behind a microphoned table
The dreamers might have been many and just might have listened.)

"The poor will be with us, both urban and rural,"
(Leaders always quote gospel
Whenever they scold us in first-person plural.)

"And so it is written, let each scholar be wary
For each man to be king and each child a prince
Would be, in my thinking, inflationary."

"On the other hand" he stuttered as I rose to applaud
"My findings aren't final nor my theory complete
I'm still waiting on some hard data from God."

Happy Birthday to Ariel.

Economics, n. The art and science of hedging.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


EQUALITY, n. In politics, an imaginary condition in which skulls are counted, instead of brains, and merit is determined by lot and punished by preferment. Pushed to its logical conclusion, the principle requires rotation in office and in the penitentiary. All men being equally entitled to a vote, are equally entitled to office, and equally subject to conviction.

2007 Update: A social arrangement holding the propensity for crime and the enthusiasm for labor to be equal, disrupting the hereditary morality which honors theft.

And Happy Birthday to Quilly! Right, Quilly?

Monday, April 23, 2007


EUPHEMISM, n. In rhetoric, a figure by which the severe asperity of truth is mitigated by the use of a softer expression than the facts would warrant- as, to call Mr. Charles Croker ninety-nine kinds of a knave.

2007 Update: A kitten of a simile with a man's liver on its breath.

Farewell, Boris. I bet it feels like coming home.

By the way, all. For an interesting counter-discussion, try back here.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Mirror

Episode 16 of The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic.

To hear the story, listen for the echo.

This week, in The Prattler, "Lamenting Alberto."

To read the story, clique with Alexander and Diogenes.

Friday, April 20, 2007


DINE, v.t. To eat a good dinner in good company, and eat it slow. In dining, as distinguished from mere feeding, the palate and stomach never ask the hand, "what are you giving us?"

2007 Update: To order "for here."

Thursday, April 19, 2007


DIVORCE, n. A resumption of diplomatic relations and rectification of boundaries.
2. A bugle blast that separates the combatants and makes the fight at long range.

2007 Update: The last in a string of punishments inflicted for infidelity to bachelordom.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Two Fables

The Snowy Egret and The Hunter

Once upon a time, a hunter came upon a snowy egret and asked it's purpose. The egret proudly explained that while it spent most of its time catching crabs and newts, its pure-white plumes were prized everywhere it went. "Sometimes, I like to soar above the cities and towns and see women of fashion with long white plumes in their hats and poets holding my plumes to paper. The poets will be mottled with black ink while my feather stays pure for the poet feels more for the stylus than for style, work or words. My feather over their own feet. Truly, I am blessed among birds. And what is your purpose?"

Moral: Every question contains an answer, and every answer holds a shell.

Two Crows in A Cornfield

Two crows sat in a cornfield one day. "Why are we here?" asked one of the other.

"We are part of a great circle," explained the second crow. "in which a farmer plants her seeds and the fertilizer she spreads leaks into the stream and kills the fish which are taken by rodents who crawl off into the cornfield where we eat them, leaving behind a second fertilizer which nourishes the weeds that drive the farmer into politics and social commentary."

The first crow raised a proud wing to salute the second. "Cursed will be the generation without ecologists."

Moral: It takes an infinity of tangents to make a single globe.

Wisdom, n. Delirium in a careful cadence.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


DICTATOR, n. The chief of a nation that prefers the pestilence of despotism to the plague of anarchy.

2007 Update: A citizen with a sore tooth.

Monday, April 16, 2007


DEFRAUD, v.t. To impart instruction and experience to the confiding.

2007 Update:
To accompany in error, folly and transgression while sober. To purr.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Episode 15 of The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic. Thanks to this week's reader.

To hear the story, listen to Cassandra for once.

This week, in The Prattler, "Where To Go in Baghdad."

To read the story, borrow a book.

Friday, April 13, 2007


ABASEMENT, n. A decent and customary mental attitude in the presence of wealth or power. Peculiarly appropriate in an employee when addressing an employer.

2007 Update: The spiritual discipline of humiliating oneself before one's betters, practiced in service for perfection alone.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


APOSTATE, n. A leech who, having penetrated the shell of a turtle only to find that the creature has long been dead, deems it expedient to form a new attachment to a fresh turtle.

2007 Update: A resurrected infidel who, despite initiation into great mysteries and all the evidence of faith, denies the divinity of the Bishop.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Gather 'round children, in Heaven and Earth
And hear of a sad war once mounted
For too many things are of too little worth
To be measured ere they can be counted.

Once a mendicant friar ruled over a fiefdom
That was built out of charcoal for roasting
Until the town trollop upended the chieftan
With the army that night she'd been hosting.

For the village's mule had dreamt of a galleon
Taking wind to an island of mares.
In such a blessed place, a mule could be a stallion
Still not virile, but in that land, who cares?

All might have gone well, for all but the ass,
And the future secure for the village.
But the chief praised the mule's ambition and class
And the tramp was incited to pillage.

Soon the village was burning, the friar was frying,
The mule chopped up and fricasseed.
All that remained were the dead and the dying
And the trollop for nomads in need.

So here, little children, is the lesson for learning
And remembering wherever ye wander:
Stick to the familiar and don't get caught yearning
For love that's found outside the brothel.

UPRISING, n. The raising of a people by the razing of their platform.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


ABDICATION, n. An act whereby a sovereign attests his sense of the high temperature of the throne.
Poor Isabella's Dead, whose abdication
Set all tongues wagging in the Spanish nation.
For that performance 'twere unfair to scold her:
She wisely left a throne too hot to hold her.
To History she'll be no royal riddle —
Merely a plain parched pea that jumped the griddle.
2007 Update: A King's ransom leaving an empty crown, a headless people and countless pretenders to the throne inching towards Democracy.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.

2007 Update: A soft mold for bronzing of a wax likeness.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

To Ninevah

Episode 14 of The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic. Thanks to Erik, this week's reader who was my roommate at Deep Springs College and classmate under Herr Wass in High School. I was tempted to have Erik translate this week's episode into German, but it just would have ticked me right off when he succeeded. Erik made me feel dumb enough in the 80's.

To hear the story, head for Ninevah.

This week, in The Prattler "Paschal Fiasco" (later today or tonight.)

Happy Birthday to Sar!

To read the story, ask Diogenes a smart question and see if he answers.

Clockwise from the top, My father, myself, Minka, and Kyahgirl in Switzer Canyon, Angeles National Forest.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 06, 2007


FARCE, n. A brief drama commonly played after a tragedy for the purpose of deepening the dejection of the critical.

2007 Update: The sincerity of a stranger, the purpose of a neighbor or the daring done by a dreamer in the eyes of his dog.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


FRIEND, n. An investigator upon the slide of whose microscope we live, move and have our being.

2007 Update: Someone on whom we rely to trust when we lie, uphold when we fail and pay interest when we steal. Someone who offers us folly when we pursue crime, a complementary partner in error.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A fable for Holy Wednesday

Two men, one young and wearing a shining robe and the other older and bearded in a tweedy coat, walked side by side on a rainy evening. The young one held his face upward and smiled at the cold and damp. The older one held his face down and watched the water cover the ground.

"They say the way is narrow and the numbers are few," the tweeded man grumbled. "The virtue of thrift, Keynes tells us, causes poverty. Patience, the authors say, is nothing but faltering entrepreneurship and broken self-esteem. Charity is the father of laziness and hope the mother of intemperance according to the political theories of today. When I look to the hills I ponder salvation in a time when every virtue has been demonstrated and documented a vanity. All is vanity."

"Indeed," said the young fellow who shone, "you are a learned man."

Moral: Beneath every drop of rain that falls, sprouts a theologian.

SOCIALISM, n. The principle product of industry.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Frying Pan

FRYING PAN, n. One part of the penal apparatus employed in that punitive institution, a woman's kitchen. The frying-pan was invented by Calvin, and by him used in cooking span-long infants that had died without baptism; and observing one day the horrible torment of a tramp who had incautiously pulled a fried babe from the waste-dump and devoured it, it occurred to the great divine to rob death of its terrors by introducing the frying-pan into every household in Geneva. Thence it spread to all corners of the world, and has been of invaluable assistance in the propagation of his sombre faith. The following lines (said to be from the pen of his Grace Bishop Potter) seem to imply that the usefulness of this utensil is not limited to this world; but as the consequences of its employment in this life reach over into the life to come, so also itself may be found on the other side, rewarding its devotees:
Old Nick was summoned to the skies.
Said Peter: "Your intentions
Are good, but you lack enterprise
Concerning new inventions.

"Now, broiling in an ancient plan
Of torment, but I hear it
Reported that the frying-pan
Sears best the wicked spirit.

"Go get one — fill it up with fat —
Fry sinners brown and good in't."
"I know a trick worth two o' that,"
Said Nick — "I'll cook their food in't."
2007 Update: A cast iron critic of pot and kettle.

Monday, April 02, 2007


FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

2007 Update: The supression of knowledge, the senses and reason in deference to the wisdom of a thief.