Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Surveyor Looks Back

Episode 39 of 40 (plus an epilog) in The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic.

To hear the story, come just a little ways out of Tyre

Measure thoughtfully.

The Surveyor's Song

Friday, September 28, 2007


ACCLIMATED, p.p.  Secured against endemic diseases through having died of one.

2007 Update:  Distracted.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


APPEAL, v.t.  In law, to put the dice into the box for another throw.

2007 Update:  n.  The advantage a true story holds over an actual event.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The firefly

A young firefly (born in July)
Was granted license to glow
By the Commission on Chemical Emission
And the Department of Flit To and Fro.
But a court of some sort
In the mason jar found
That his reason, this season,
For glowing and flying around
Was illumination of a child's education
Via books from the library sneaked out.

The residing presiding
Found no reason to bless,
And concluded, it's prudent
To illuminate less.
The glowworm was informed
Of the judges decision
By the aphids up under the lid.
And scolded with derision,
As the lightnin' bug nervously peeked out.

But the firefly, I don't know why,
Believed in both glowing and booking.
And shined, half the times
When he thought no one was looking.
Well the child went wild.
The rotten bug that he'd caught by the road
Hid his light half the night
And got fed to the toad.
Compromise is a myth when a child is freaked out.

FAIRNESS, n.  Death for the slow and confusion for the busy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


ANTIQUITY, n.  A kind of leather, probably.
Beated and chopped with tanned antiquity.
2007 Update:  The period of classical philosophy, music and architecture before The Gong Show was cancelled.
Happy birthday to the neveraging Neva!

**ADDENDUM** 'Tis better to be mocked by a genius than admired by fools, though less profitable. Y'all lookie here.

Monday, September 24, 2007


ABET, v.t. To encourage in crime, as to aid poverty with pennies.

2007 Update: To provide assistance or comfort to a criminal, for example by driving a getaway car or a newscopter.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

An Assassin Falls, A Monster Rises

Episode 38 of 40 in The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic. Thanks to this week's readers, director, engineer, special effects designer, make-up artist, public relations associate and genius.

To hear the story, tickle the monster

This week in The Prattler, Greenspun.

To read the story, knock the chip off the assassin's shoulder.

Friday, September 21, 2007


ME, pro. The objectionable case of I. The personal pronoun in English has three cases, the dominative, the objectionable and the oppressive. Each is all three.

2007 Update:  The least wasteful we.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


MATERIAL, adj. Having an actual existence, as distinguished from an imaginary one. Important.

Material things I know, or fell, or see;
All else is immaterial to me.

—Jamrach Holobom

2007 Update: In physics, composed of matter, having mass. In politics, composed of suspicion, provoking outrage.

"It violates every concept of fact we have in Washington!  Or Sacramento!" -Brian Bilbray (R-San Diego) 9/19/2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Social Justice

SOCIAL JUSTICE, n.  The collective struggle for inclusive conspiracy.  
The elite are all foreign, the common all kin
And the wise live over the ocean.
We all share one world, aversion to sin
And confusion at brownian motion.
You're the salt of the Earth, but hear me now, Mister!
For we aren't all so different on balance:
What binds us together as brother and sister,
Is thievery, given the chance.
-St. Loquacious

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


MERCHANT, n. One engaged in a commercial pursuit. A commercial pursuit is one in which the thing pursued is a dollar.

2007 Update: A thief whose victims choose the time, place and amount of their loss in exchange for goods, services and piety of equal or greater value.  The criminal culpable for the illegal immigration, outsourcing, price inflation, wage stagnation, mortgage crunch and cost of lunch connected with our shopping habits.  Merchants are best denounced wholesale as "corporations," as they are more avaricious in bulk.

Monday, September 17, 2007


MARVELLOUS (SIC), adj.  Not understood.

2007 update:  Average or better and within earshot or lousy and within arm's length.

Our favorite trollop has a new website.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Philosopher King Foiled

Episode 37 of 40 in The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic. Thanks to this week's reader.

To hear the story, follow the mighty Persian Army to victory.

To read the story, ask Leonidas for a better idea.

Friday, September 14, 2007


PRECIPITATE, adj.  Anteprandial.

Precipitate in all, this sinner
Took action first, and then his dinner.

2007 Update:  n.  The solids that emerge from a liquid, such as lees in wine, accusations in a cloud or pretense in a cup of tea.

And Happy Birthday to the magnificent Jamie Dawn, almond queen!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


PALM, n. A species of tree having several varieties, of which the familiar "itching palm" (Palma hominis) is most widely distributed and sedulously cultivated. This noble vegetable exudes a kind of invisible gum, which may be detected by applying to the bark a piece of gold or silver. The metal will adhere with remarkable tenacity. The fruit of the itching palm is so bitter and unsatisfying that a considerable percentage of it is sometimes given away in what are known as "benefactions."

2007 Update: The portion of the hand offered to display the respect and consideration that hides cards discretely.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Fable (for children)

A demon met a rich man's son, pious and devout, and shewed him from atop the world a city made of marble, limestone and alabaster which stretched white across the plain below. "Ask me once," the demon whispered," and I will set this city on fire and the tormented will scream your name. Their pain will be your glory, for you alone will know why they suffer and you will be the king of agony." But the man answered "No, imp! My father was a successful man who had fifty wives and he taught me 'To do is to own, to ask is to owe.' Get away from me and tempt me no more. But can I borrow a match?"

Next the demon found another son of privilege, this one frivolous and wasteful, and took him to the same mountaintop.  From the peak, he showed the boy a giant carnival that filled the valley below with whirling amusements, bright lights, gentle elephants and the music of a calliope.  All the people were enjoying the sights, sounds and smells so much that they never noticed the locked gates around the fiesta or the wide river of boiling sulfur that completed a circle around the gates.  "Offer me your soul," the demon whispered, "and I will make you the wisest man in this happy place, for only you will see the trap."  But the young man answered, "Begone Beelzebub!  For my mother was a debutante who taught me 'A secret is a miser's cash and a merchant's trash.'  What's on TV?"  

So the sullen but resourceful demon went to a seminary, telling himself, "Evil is unreliable and folly knows not wrong, but a tender-hearted wise man is up for mischief every day by dawn."

Moral:  The hateful and indolent can be saved with a rhyme, the honest are lost to reason.

MAXIM, n.  A gift from the listless to the lost.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


DIARY, n. A daily record of that part of one's life, which he can relate to himself without blushing.

Hearst kept a diary wherein were writ
All that he had of wisdom and of wit.
So the Recording Angel, when Hearst died,
Erased all entries of his own and cried:
"I'll judge you by your diary." Said Hearst:
"Thank you; 'twill show you I am Saint the First" —
Straightway producing, jubilant and proud,
That record from a pocket in his shroud.
The Angel slowly turned the pages o'er,
Each stupid line of which he knew before,
Glooming and gleaming as by turns he hit
On Shallow sentiment and stolen wit;
Then gravely closed the book and gave it back.
"My friend, you've wandered from your proper track:
You'd never be content this side the tomb —
For big ideas Heaven has little room,
And Hell's no latitude for making mirth,"
He said, and kicked the fellow back to earth.
—"The Mad Philosopher"

2007 Update:   A book in which the stories are true and the author invented.

Monday, September 10, 2007


DIPLOMACY, n. The patriotic art of lying for one's country.

2007 Update:  A raven with poetry on its tongue and plague in its feathers dispatched by vultures with meat on their breath and teeth in their sides.  Lies told to foreigners for the purpose of fooling countrymen.  

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Cyclops Steps Up

Episode 36 of 40 in The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic.

To hear the story, go on.  Grab the cane.

This week, in The Prattler,
"The Ron Paul Inaugural." 

To read the story, try riding a sheep from the underside.  It might help.

Friday, September 07, 2007


PASTIME, n. A device for promoting dejection. Gentle exercise for intellectual debility.

2007 Update:  Job.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


PALACE, n. A fine and costly residence, particularly that of a great official. The residence of a high dignitary of the Christian Church is called a palace; that of the Founder of his religion was known as a field, or wayside. There is progress.

2007 Update:  Once upon a time, a grand castle of stone or marble in which there lived a royal eminence with countless servants, slaves, soldiers and sycophants who all worked together in a glorious enterprise taking wheat from peasants.  Today, a 6000 square foot house on a 5000 square foot lot or a hovel by a ditch, in which countless royals live with taciturn families and rent their meals.

A man's home is his palace, none are finer.
May he find satisfaction at the diner.
-Anselma de Juan Bautista de Los Flores Gomez Garcia Alarcón

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Slow News Day

There is no evil in this world
Too small to be deplored
By candidates out on the trail
Or sinners when they're bored.
-Bicuspis Iuvenalia

HYPOCRITE, n.  A man alleging hypocrisy.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


PRIVATION, n.  Having nothing to grumble at.

2007 Update:  An abundance of vegetables.

Monday, September 03, 2007


PRACTICALLY, adv. The literary sloven's word for "virtually."

2007 Update: Cheaply, in business. Impossibly, in politics. Almost, in enterprise. Unaffectionately, in affection. A word with an impractical variation of meanings.

By the way, if you are having trouble loading The Prattler, would you mind emailing me?  I have a mysterious electronic misbehavior I'm trying to correct.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Diogenes At Delphi

RABBIT, RABBIT! Now, here's
Episode 35 of 40 in The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic. Merci beaucoup to this week's reader.

To hear the story, mail it in.

This week, in The Prattler,

To read the story, confuse a philosopher.

There's still one (1) episode left unassigned. I don't have to let someone new do it. I was trying to be nice.