Monday, June 30, 2008


ICTHYOLOGIST, n. A. Jo. Redding.

2008 Update: An administrative theologian.

Incidentally, anybody know who Bierce was talking about?

The answer, supplied by the crack research team of Amoeba, TLP and Weirsdo:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Fourteenth Canto

Gather round for the story, a storm's coming.  Or maybe that's just my father's voice.  Thanks, Pop,  and happy birthday.

The stagecoach master has the written text.  Do you know how many criminals, desperadoes and reprobates would like to get their hands on the written text of this pome?

Friday, June 27, 2008


HEDGEHOG, n. The cactus of the animal kingdom.

2008 Update: A menber of the genus family Erinaceinae and mild descendant of the winged shrew (Erinye.) The hedgehog is the paragon of specialization, having found a bush under which to be an expert and eat bugs in the dark.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


HIRELING, n.  A mercenary wretch who serves another person for wages, as distinguished from the respectable functionary who receives a salary.

2008 Update: A plaintiff in the probationary stage.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Prophets of Doom, a limerick

Each of man's follies and fevers,
Bode the end of this vale of grievers.
Prophets of doom
Continue to loom
Eternal in the minds of believers.

CARLIN, GEORGE (1937-2008) American comedian who achieved greatness June 22.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


HOUSELESS, adj. Having paid all taxes on household goods.

2008 Update:  Lacking a gathering place for heirs or a shelter from envy.

For every evil, there's a cure
For gluttony, drink in place of food
For Envy there's allure
For Sloth there's the reflective mood 
For Lust, there's speech
For Wrath, a blow against the head
For Greed, there's reach
And for Pride, there is the dead.

Which is my way of wishing a happy birthday to the mouldering corpse of Ambrose Bierce.

Monday, June 23, 2008


HOMEOPATHY, n. A school of medicine midway between Allopathy and Christian Science. To the last both the others are distinctly inferior, for Christian Science will cure imaginary diseases, and they can not.

2008 Update: An art of healing which assumes that water remembers and patients forget, two well-tested hypotheses. Homeopathy has been in decline since it was discovered that litigators have better memories than water or libertarians.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Thirteenth Canto

This week the reading is by Blogmother TLP.  Click on the pony charismatic  to hear the reading and thanks, TLP.  

Happy birthday to the elegant and dangerous Mireille.

To read, click on John Henry the Baptist bringing peace to a burro.

Friday, June 20, 2008


WEAKNESSES, Certain primal powers of Tyrant Woman wherewith she holds dominion over the male of her species, binding him to the service of her will and paralyzing his rebellious energies.

2008 Update:  The collection of insecurities, appetites, addictions, agitations, temptations, frustrations, aspirations and allegations that machines, demons and neighbors provoke to distract us from our obedience.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


WASHINGTONIAN, n. A Potomac tribesman who exchanged the privilege of governing himself for the advantage of good government. In justice to him it should be said that he did not want to.

They took away his vote and gave instead
The right, when he had earned, to eat his bread.
In vain — he clamors for his "boss," pour soul,
To come again and part him from his roll.

—Offenbach Stutz

2008 Update:  An American commoner far from home, hearth, hardship, heart and harp.  An ambassador plenipotentiary to the law from a mob.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Economics Lesson

What is the price of gasoline?
And what, pray tell, is the cost?
What demon lurks behind the scene
And what warmth behind the frost?
They say that oil's freely traded,
Commoditized and fungible.
And so it is with the complaints created
(Which are barely less fundable.)

Oil goes for fuel and plastic
Demand for which is inelastic,
But, while oil's also needed on the farm
Scarce fertilizer, I think, will cause no harm.

PETROLEUM, n.  Literally, "stone oil," a by-product from decomposition of dead organisms, a resource less abundant than the discomposure of the living.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


WORMS' MEAT, n. The finished product of which we are the raw material. The contents of the Taj Mahal, the Tombeau Napoleon and the Granitarium. Worms'-meat is usually outlasted by the structure that houses it, but "this too must pass away." Probably the silliest work in which a human being can engage is construction of a tomb for himself. The solemn purpose cannot dignify, but only accentuates by contrast the foreknown futility.

Ambitious fool! so mad to be a show!
How profitless the labor you bestow
Upon a dwelling whose magnificence
The tenant neither can admire nor know.

Build deep, build high, build massive as you can,
The wanton grass-roots will defeat the plan
By shouldering asunder all the stones
In what to you would be a moment's span.

Time to the dead so all unreckoned flies
That when your marble is all dust, arise,
If wakened, stretch your limbs and yawn —
You'll think you scarcely can have closed your eyes.

What though of all man's works your tomb alone
Should stand till Time himself be overthrown?
Would it advantage you to dwell therein
Forever as a stain upon a stone?
—Joel Huck

2008 Update:  The substance assuring the fisherman of bait and the poet remorse, through which all men are productive.

Monday, June 16, 2008


WHEAT, n.  A cereal from which a tolerably good whiskey can with some difficulty be made, and which is used also for bread.  The French are said to eat more bread per capita of population than any other people, which is natural, for only they know how to make the stuff palatable.

2008 Update:  A grass which, unsuited to the estate lawn and non-narcotic when smoked by the butler, found favor as a substitute among the Earth's needy for gravel.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Twelfth Canto

This week, the voice talent is provided by own dear brother, Andy. Click on the brethren at right to hear. Thanks, Abu, but you're still an ape.

To read, click on the coyote fetish.

Friday, June 13, 2008


SERIAL, n. A literary work, usually a story that is not true, creeping through several issues of a newspaper or magazine. Frequently appended to each installment is a "synopsis of preceding chapters" for those who have not read them, but a direr need is a synopsis of succeeding chapters for those who do not intend to read them. A synopsis of the entire work would be still better.

The late James F. Bowman was writing a serial tale for a weekly paper in collaboration with a genius whose name has not come down to us. They wrote, not jointly but alternately, Bowman supplying the installment for one week, his friend for the next, and so on, world without end, they hoped. Unfortunately they quarreled, and one Monday morning when Bowman read the paper to prepare himself for his task, he found his work cut out for him in a way to surprise and pain him. His collaborator had embarked every character of the narrative on a ship and sunk them all in the deepest part of the Atlantic.

2008 Update:  A short story divided into digestible portions, e.g. The Unionville Chronicles, justice.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


SEPARATE, v.  To find bottom in Court after floating in an illusive sea of wedded bliss and blisters.

2008 Update:  To divide intact as an evangelist does with scripture, a reformer does with sin and the WORD incarnate did with fish.

For Mireille:
Two Lovers Frustrated by Fate, 2008, Google image search for "ink blot."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

An epistle to an unfaithful inspiration

Oh, Muse of Grievance am I foresaken?
Abandoned by scorn, forgotten by hate?
My nerves unworn and my knees unshaken,
Even as this cool dawn warms and grows late.

What have I done to cause you an offense,
O ghost of offenses here and today?
This morning finds me frozen in content
The vapors of my heart and wit seeped away.

The election continues, that is true,
And yet I see no sin in that right now
The idle outraged usually pull through-
There's still Lou Dobbs, though I don't see how.

With no complaint, folly nor cause to scold,
I suppose I must have taken a cold.

CRYPT, n.  An untroubled heart.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


SYLPH, n. An immaterial but visible being that inhabited the air when the air was an element and before it was fatally polluted with factory smoke, sewer gas and similar products of civilization. Sylphs were allied to gnomes, nymphs and salamanders, which dwelt, respectively, in earth, water and fire, all now insalubrious. Sylphs, like fowls of the air, were male and female, to no purpose, apparently, for if they had progeny they must have nested in accessible places, none of the chicks having ever been seen.

2008 Update:  An air spirit first imagined by Philippus Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim aka Paracelsus née Phillip von Hohenheim, which is to say, a self-referential redundancy.

Monday, June 09, 2008


SABBATH, n. A weekly festival having its origin in the fact that God made the world in six days and was arrested on the seventh. Among the Jews observance of the day was enforced by a Commandment of which this is the Christian version: "Remember the seventh day to make thy neighbor keep it wholly." To the Creator it seemed fit and expedient that the Sabbath should be the last day of the week, but the Early Fathers of the Church held other views. So great is the sanctity of the day that even where the Lord holds a doubtful and precarious jurisdiction over those who go down to (and down into) the sea it is reverently recognized, as is manifest in the following deep-water version of the Fourth Commandment:

Six days shalt thou labor and do all thou art able,
And on the seventh holystone the deck and scrape the cable.

Decks are no longer holystoned, but the cable still supplies the captain with opportunity to attest a pious respect for the divine ordinance.

2008 Update:  The day on which, by holy writ, the long week's virtues become sin.  Industry, charity and asceticism wane while indolence, gluttony and self-regard are celebrated.  Clearly, a day set aside by providence to appreciate the nature of creation.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Eleventh Canto

This week's performance is by our old friend, G.  Thanks, G! To listen, click on the wolf disdaining sour grapes.

Or read the evangelist's sign.

Friday, June 06, 2008


BARBER, n.  (Lat. barbarus, savage from barba, the beard.)  A savage whose laceration of your cheek is unobserved in the superior torment of his conversation.

2008 Update:  A man of the professions, wise enough to keep a blade to his customers throat and still receive a tip.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


BORE, n.  A person who talks when you wish him to listen.

2008 Update:  A neighbor with a tall wall or a high hedge.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


How many are silenced by those God anoints?
And how many given license to grieve?
A fiery rain of talking points,
A toady rain of "I believe."
Death be not proud, 
But whining self-righteous
And rhetoric loud,
which always incites us
Against the sinful infidel,
Global trade (the road to hell,)
Sexism, racism, the wedding bell
For gays and groups (you can never tell)
And unemployment, and ignorance,
Elitist snobs and common sense.
Tell me now, get off the fence!
If I want to make a difference:
If the justest cause mightn't be
A Global War on Piety.

(If in all these words you hear your call
You'll be the first against the wall.)

CANNONADE, v.t.  To broadcast angels, knights of the faith and holy writ in their round and leaden form.

The cannonade and hanging tree
Are both too good for you and me.
-Abu Ibn-Gharaib

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bow-Wow, or Bough-Wow


2008 Update: Four-footed punditry.  A beagle's blog.

Monday, June 02, 2008


BASSOON, n. A brazen instrument into which a fool blows out his brains.

2008 Update: The least discrete cuspidor.