Tuesday, September 30, 2008


FLATTER, v.t.  To impress another with a sense of one's own merit.  
The bungler boasts of his excellence-
His hearers yawn and nod;
The artist flatters his audience-
They shout: "He is a god!"
2008 Update:  To buy dearness at discount.

Monday, September 29, 2008


FRONTISPIECE, n. A protuberance of the human face, beginning between the eyes and terminating, as a rule, in somebody's business.

2008 Update:  The portico of a bank or other important edifice, where hope is abandoned and sense surrendered.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Mayoralty of Macedon

Episode I
To listen, click on Herodotus, this week's moderator.

Or flip a Macedonian coin to read this story.


OK, today's post will go up later, maybe around 7PM TLPDT.

Friday, September 26, 2008


LIBERTINE, n.  Literally a freedman; hence, one who is in bondage to his passions.

2008 Update:  Any man freer with his hand than with his opinion.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


LICKSPITTLE, n. A useful functionary, not infrequently found editing a newspaper. In his character of editor he is closely allied to the blackmailer by the tie of occasional identity; for in truth the lickspittle is only the blackmailer under another aspect, although the latter is frequently found as an independent species. Lickspittling is more detestable than blackmailing, precisely as the business of a confidence man is more detestable than that of a highway robber; and the parallel maintains itself throughout, for whereas few robbers will cheat, every sneak will plunder if he dare.

2008 Update:  A treasury secretary in need of a loan.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In Re The Environment

Yesterday I crossed the high Sierra.
The changes there would really scare ya:
Glaciers gone, Pines grown thin,
The only chill ran down my skin.
I've got no answer, though I meant to-
Is it just too close to Sacramento?

VAPOR, n. The substance of matter, a matter of substance.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


HOMILETICS, n. The science of adapting sermons to the spiritual needs, capacities and conditions of the congregation.
So skilled the parson was in homiletics
That all his normal purges and emetics
To medicine the spirit were compounded
With a most just discrimination founded
Upon a rigorous examination
Of tongue and pulse and heart and respiration.
Then, having diagnosed each one's condition,
His scriptural specifics this physician
Administered — his pills so efficacious
And pukes of disposition so vivacious
That souls afflicted with ten kinds of Adam
Were convalescent ere they knew they had 'em.
But Slander's tongue — itself all coated — uttered
Her bilious mind and scandalously muttered
That in the case of patients having money
The pills were sugar and the pukes were honey.
—Biography of Bishop Potter
2008 Update:  The art of inspiring submission to the will of God, by turning it on a stranger.

I know I started with L-words, but Jim distracted me.

Monday, September 22, 2008


LAY-FIGURE, n. The number which represents a hen's periodical output of eggs.

2008 Update: A member of the laity, as opposed to the lieity.

Note to Jenn, Karma and TLP: I'll take the thought that came second.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Orpheus And The Blind Prophet

The Mayoralty of Macedon
Second Prelude. Click on Lyra to listen.

Or take a trip across the styx with Orpheus' lyre and your mouse's clicks.

Friday, September 19, 2008


QUEER, adj.  The reason young men prefer other fellows' sisters to their own.

2008 Update:  Common.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


QUENCHABLE, adj.  A bum's ambition.

2008 Update:  Thirsty.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Crash

Do ye remember when wall street fell
And the substantial hanged by shoelace?
No demons reached the Earth from hell,
No horsemen rode through space,
But marble crumbled,
Jobs were lost
Runners stumbled
At the cost.
Brokers went broke
Insurers unsteady
Accountants told jokes
Before they were ready,
And the mighty did fall
The stoic did weep
The courageous grew small
And the fatuous deep.
But we all slept soundly even so
Throughout that week so infernal
For wealth might vividly come and go
But greed and folly endure bland and eternal.

OVERSTATEMENT, n. The narrator's ornamentation of the listener's indifference to the suffering of some third party, never himself exaggerated.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


QUOTATION, n. The act of repeating erroneously the words of another. The words erroneously repeated.
Intent on making his quotation truer,
He sought the page infallible of Brewer,
Then made a solemn vow that we would be
Condemned eternally. Ah, me, ah, me!
—Stumpo Gaker
2008 Update:  The frivolity of one man finding respectability on the tongue of a stranger.

Monday, September 15, 2008


QUAFF, v. Emptying the "sparkling wine" down your throat. When it's only whiskey it's called swallowing.

2008 Update: To drink regally, as one does with wine, not as you do. To consume in the third person.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

First Prelude: Orion And The Hunters

TLP says she wants a story. Click on Orion to hear her blogson deliver.

Or click on the Milky Way to read.


OK, so remember how last week, I said I wasn't sure what kind of story, if any, would appear here? Yeah, still don't. I'll think about it while my father tell's me about his week and get back to you later. In the meanwhile, if you would like to download the collected cantos in one PDF document, they are here.

There will, of course, be CDs to send out of The Unionville Chronicles, as there were with The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic. I've switched computers since then, though, so if you sent me an address to mail the last CD to, I need it again for this one. Email me at my first initial followed by my last name at mac.com. (I do understand internet privacy concerns and, again, I am not offended by receiving general delivery, office or stranger's addresses.

Meanwhile, enjoy your Saturday.

Friday, September 12, 2008


BUDDHISM, n.  A preposterous form of religious error perversely preferred by about three-fourths of the human race.  According to the Rev. Dr. Stebbins it is infinitely superior to the religion which he has the honor to expound.  Therefore it is.

2008 Update:  A faith offering piety without punishment and lectures without theology to adherents without religion.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


BACK-SLIDE, v.t. To join another communion.

2008 Update:  To repent too soon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September song

The days are growing shorter
And the heat is not so cruel
Labor Day has come and gone
I've shelved my garden tools.
But the Autumn has its herald
As every other season,
Not colored leaves, nor horsemen,
Nor sextants, rhyme or reason.
For Autumn's unreliable
And the banner of its choosing:
Chicago's teams, still in first place,
Have finally started losing.

SLUMP, n.  Regression to the mean, submission to the dismal.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


BARD, n.  A person who makes rhymes.  The word is one if the numerous aliases under which the poet seeks to veil his identity and escape opprobrium.

2008 Update:  Someone who writes prose not by ear but by nose, typing out prosaically what he hums o'er the keys.

Monday, September 08, 2008


BED-QUILT, n. The exterior covering of a bed. Sometimes called charity.

2008 Update: A comforter with which we celebrate the simple past, under which we may hide from an indecipherable future.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Unionville Chronicles

Final Canto

The final episode, read by a rogue horse of faith.  Click on John Henry to hear.

Or click on the Armies of The Beasties to read along.  I have no idea what, if anything, will appear in this space next week but I got five dollars says it won't rhyme.

Friday, September 05, 2008


HUMANITY, n.  The human race, collectively, exclusive of the anthropoid poets.

2008 Update:  The nephews and nieces of Cain and Abel.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


HATCHET, n. A young axe, known among Indians as a Thomas-hawk.  

2008 Update:  The thirteenth rose.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

next to of course god america i (e.e., you're dead, too)

"next to of course god america i
bow thee down in humility to some
principles that fill an innocence pie
and endorse thy better, higher bunkum
Should all the sins of my neighbors cease and
desist, yet will i denounce the cowards
love for exotic spite and grief and sand
that we send heroic soldiers towards
yea, though i walk through exalted valley
i shall fear no law nor strange allahu
but love my country with all my called lust
and leave my virtue outside the alley
to do in dark what thou hast me to do"

his golden words he shed like scraps of rust

AMBIVALENCE, n.  The provocation for applause.

"Here lies the body of the Republican Party
Corrupt, and generally speaking, hardy." -Ambrose Bierce, 1882

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


HADES, n. The lower world; the residence of departed spirits; the place where the dead live.

Among the ancients the idea of Hades was not synonymous with our Hell, many of the most respectable men of antiquity residing there in a very comfortable kind of way. Indeed, the Elysian Fields themselves were a part of Hades, though they have since been removed to Paris. When the Jacobean version of the New Testament was in process of evolution the pious and learned men engaged in the work insisted by a majority vote on translating the Greek word "Aides" as "Hell"; but a conscientious minority member secretly possessed himself of the record and struck out the objectional word wherever he could find it. At the next meeting, the Bishop of Salisbury, looking over the work, suddenly sprang to his feet and said with considerable excitement: "Gentlemen, somebody has been razing 'Hell' here!" Years afterward the good prelate's death was made sweet by the reflection that he had been the means (under Providence) of making an important, serviceable and immortal addition to the phraseology of the English tongue.

2008 Update: Protected by a three-headed dog, ruled by a single-minded king and his ambivalent wife, a vast underground mythological collection of dead ambitions and thriving confusions analogous to the modern mom-and-pop business enterprise boondoggle.

Monday, September 01, 2008


HOVEL, n. The fruit of a flower called the Palace.
Twaddle had a hovel,
Twiddle had a palace;
Twaddle said: "I'll grovel
Or he'll think I bear him malice" —
A sentiment as novel
As a castor on a chalice.

Down upon the middle
Of his legs fell Twaddle
And astonished Mr. Twiddle,
Who began to lift his noddle.
Feed upon the fiddle-
Faddle flummery, unswaddle
A new-born self-sufficiency and think himself a [mockery.]
2008 Update: The childhood home of a captain of industry, the current home of his or her spouse and the future home of his or her children.

Rabbit, rabbit