Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Sechs-und-Fünfzig
Come hear about Easter in Marburg, at right

Or, read alone on the road to Emmaus.

The story so far is here.

Friday, January 29, 2010


BACCHUS, n. A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk.
Is public worship, then, a sin,
That for devotions paid to Bacchus
The lectors dare to run us in,
And resolutely thump and whack us?
2010 Update: The Roman deity responsible for self-indulgence.
The moon is full and Bacchus dances,
The cards reveal the fool is on his way.
The day has come to take some chances.
Uncork the bottle we stole yesterday!
-Carrie Nation

Thursday, January 28, 2010


BLACKGUARD, n. A man whose qualities, prepared for display like a box of berries in a market- the fine ones on top- have been opened on the wrong side. An inverted gentleman.

2010 Update: The third person, universal.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Serpent and the Senator

Once upon a time, a serpent and a senator were sunning themselves beside a patch of hyacinths in a walled garden. The serpent was telling stories of his patriarch in the Garden of Eden when the Senator was outraged.
"He just gave them the apple?" the Senator bellowed, puffing on a pipe filled with dried populist.
"Yes," explained the serpent, curling cozily around the senator's elbow, "Of course. It was a trick so that his victims would rebel against God."
"And what," the senator asked, expelling two draughts of smoke that curved like horns, "did the couple do for your great-granddaddy after that?"
"Well," answered the serpent while repositioning his head atop the senator's soft thigh, "not much, to be honest. Mostly they went into exile and chased us with sticks."
The senator sat up slowly and petted the serpent in his lap, "that's my point!" The senator jabbed a finger aimlessly toward heaven. "You must have a purpose in mind to be sly. A quid pro quo! A cui bono! Nota bene-" Here, the senator lit a cigar filled with leaves of optimist from the heat of his pipe and blended the smokes in his mouth before gasping, "I would have hid the apple and denounced the tree of knowledge as barren and assured myself the votes of Adam and Eve as well as the worship of their descendants.

FAUSTIAN, adj. Filibuster-proof.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bomb, or Bomb-shell

BOMB, or BOMB-SHELL, n. A besieger's argument in favor of capitulation, skillfully adapted to the understandings of women and children.

2010 Update: A particularly democratic form of authoritarianism.

Monday, January 25, 2010


BOOK-LEARNING, n. The dunce's derisive term for all knowledge that transcends his own impenitent ignorance.

2010 Update: Education by quotation, citation and the dissemination of qualification. Controversy over the comparative efficacy of book-learning as compared to common sense (tutelage by TV and trauma) divides the Populist and Elitist branches of The Fools.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Fünf-und-Fünfzig
To hear Wilhelm Monteverdi's sermon, click on Elijah's miracle at right.

Or, if you're feeling more contemplative, you can read this week's episode by joining Elijah and the Israelites at lynching.

The story so far is here.

Friday, January 22, 2010


PONDEROUS, adj. British jokes.

2010 Update: Weighty, like logic on the lips of a man with a bat in his hand.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


PLAUDIT, n. The unit of currency in which the populace pays those who tickle and devour it.

2009 Update: The stage of a stabbing which opens the coat.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Slow news day

When I want for aught to satirize,
There's always there my ears and eyes
To focus a spell on CNN
Disarm the mute and take it all in
As they present the petty and, worse-
This morning the anchor cracked wise in verse.

INCURSION, n. A tongue lapping at the mind.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


PETTIFOGGER, n. A competing or opposing lawyer.

2010 Update: A trifler, such as an off-camera visionary or, presumably, an unclothed man of the cloth.

Monday, January 18, 2010


PANTOMIME, n. A play in which the story is told without violence to the language. The least disagreeable form of dramatic action.

2010 Update: A dramatization in which circumstances are explained without speech, the counterform to congressional inquiry or the compassionate concern of a neighbor.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Vier-und-Fünfzig
To hear my old friend, Danny Boy, read this week's episode, click on the sophisticated yet pious medieval lecturer at right.

You can read this episode at the early Easter party.

The story so far is here.

Friday, January 15, 2010


RIME, n. Agreeing sounds in the terminals of verse, mostly bad. The verses themselves, as distinguished from prose, mostly dull. Usually (and wickedly) spelled "rhyme."

2010 Update: A roadmap locating winter for the house-bound.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


RADIUM, n. A mineral that gives off heat and stimulates the organ that a scientist is a fool with.

2010 Update: A radioactive element first discovered in Czech dirt and shown by the Curies not to be composed of slavic souls, as demonstrated by the natural glow and comparatively mild toxicity.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The two monks and the fortune teller

Once upon a time, two monks, Abba Nelson and Abba Abercrombie were walking through the desert when a caravan passed by on its way to Alexandria. A fortune teller in the train saw their simple robes and mistook them for father and son shepherds deprived of sheep. The seer hailed the two and, pulling a colorful deck of cards from his satin robes, laid three out in the sand.

"Old man," said the mage to Abba Abercrombie, the eldest Monk, "I will tell you what your destiny shall be. You are a poor man now but in five years time you will be as rich as a Sultan."

"You would deprive me of everything," answered Abba Abercrombie. "I have renounced worldly goods in favor of the wealth of God's word."

"By rich," explained the soothsayer, "I meant famous. Praise for your piety will carry your name far beyond where your feet can take you."

"You would deprive me of my purpose," answered the old ascetic. "I came to the desert to be alone with God."

The forecaster paused only a second before answering, "Ah, but when I say fame beyond your earthly travels, I mean your sacrifice will be sung by the angels in heaven, so assures my model."

The caravan returned to its course and when the farewells had been bade and the two monks were alone, the young monk turned to the older and prophesied, "One such as he, who foretells the fondest wishes of his solicitor will surely become advisor to an emperor."

"Yes," replied Abba Abercrombie, "and one so willing to explain himself will surely end his life in prison."

Moral: Only deception can be predicted accurately.

PROGNOSTICATE, v. To anticipate future conditions, such as concealment, anonymity and unaccountability.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


RAREBIT, n. A Welsh rabbit, in the speech of the humorless, who point out that it is not a rabbit. To whom it may be solemnly explained that the comestible known as toad-in-a-hole is really not a toad, and that riz-de-veau a la financiere is not the smile of a calf prepared after the recipe of a she banker.

2010 Update: Melted cheese on toast. A rare name for common food.

Monday, January 11, 2010


RAPACITY, n. Providence without industry. The thrift of power.

2010 Update: Amorality in the satisfaction of appetites shared with a hungry observer, such as an illimitable voracity for hyperbole.

Note: I'm not sure whether to be proud or embarrassed, but I believe Saturday's post was the 1500th on this blog.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Drei-und-Fünfzig
To hear my dad read, scratch Matilda at right.

You can read this episode over bread with Frauen Ausländer and Braun at left.

The story so far is here.

Friday, January 08, 2010


MOTION, n. A property, condition or state of matter. The existence and possibility of motion is denied by many philosopher's, who point out that a thing cannot move where it is and cannot move where it is not. Others, with Galileo, say: "And yet it moves." It is not the province of the lexicographer to decide.
"How charming is divine Philosophy!" Milton

2010 Update: An inclement increment in which a child finds purpose, an adult finds failure and a vase finds death. Zeno's intelligent design.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


MULTITUDE, n. A crowd; the source of political wisdom and virtue. In a republic, the object of the statesman's adoration. "In a multitude of consellors there is wisdom," saith the proverb. If many men of equal individual wisdom are wiser than any one of them, it must be that they acquire the excess of wisdom by the mere act of getting together. Whence comes it? Obviously from nowhere -- as well say that a range of mountains is higher than the single mountains composing it. A multitude is as wise as its wisest member if it obey him; if not, it is no wiser than its most foolish.

2010 Update: A mob which in scripture served either as holy chaff after a reaping or as the consumers of heavenly flour. In contemporary philosophy, the multitude performs more the role of an ear of corn.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

New Year's Resolution

Whereas the year, unlike myself,
Has changed- to twenty-ten;

Whereas the expectation is
There's change as well in men;

Whereas that hope has lasted
Since Abel fell to Cain;

Resolved, we all shall mend our ways
Down roads that rough remain.

FITTEST, adj. Most fitted.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


MA, n. Mother in the language of children. Contradiction of mommer.

2010 Update: A woman in her dotage who still remembers recipes and where she left her wallet. Her dotage begins when she is 27 years older than her caricaturist and ends when she reaches 7 years older.

Monday, January 04, 2010


MYRMIDON, n. A follower of Achilles-particularly when he didn't lead.

2010 Update: An armed sycophant, more credulous than a drone bee and more persuasive. A partisan without couch or complaint.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Zwo-und-Fünfzig
To hear this week's post, come to the Black Forest.

You can read this episode in the Twelve Articles of The Black Forest, at left.

The story so far is here.

Friday, January 01, 2010


INAUSPICIOUSLY, adv. In an unpromising manner, the auspices being unfavorable. Among the Romans it was customary before undertaking any important action or enterprise to obtain from the augurs, or state prophets, some hint of its probable outcome; and one of their favorite and most trustworthy modes of divination consisted in observing the flight of birds -- the omens thence derived being called auspices. Newspaper reporters and certain miscreant lexicographers have decided that the word -- always in the plural -- shall mean "patronage" or "management"; as, "The festivities were under the auspices of the Ancient and Honorable Order of Body-Snatchers"; or, "The hilarities were auspicated by the Knights of Hunger."
A Roman slave appeared one day
Before the Augur. "Tell me, pray,
If --" here the Augur, smiling, made
A checking gesture and displayed
His open palm, which plainly itched,
For visibly its surface twitched.
A denarius (the Latin nickel)
Successfully allayed the tickle,
And then the slave proceeded: "Please
Inform me whether Fate decrees
Success or failure in what I
To-night (if it be dark) shall try.
Its nature? Never mind -- I think
'Tis writ on this" -- and with a wink
Which darkened half the earth, he drew
Another denarius to view,
Its shining face attentive scanned,
Then slipped it into the good man's hand,
Who with great gravity said: "Wait
While I retire to question Fate."
That holy person then withdrew
His scared clay and, passing through
The temple's rearward gate, cried "Shoo!"
Waving his robe of office. Straight
Each sacred peacock and its mate
(Maintained for Juno's favor) fled
With clamor from the trees o'erhead,
Where they were perching for the night.
The temple's roof received their flight,
For thither they would always go,
When danger threatened them below.
Back to the slave the Augur went:
"My son, forecasting the event
By flight of birds, I must confess
The auspices deny success."
That slave retired, a sadder man,
Abandoning his secret plan --
Which was (as well the craft seer
Had from the first divined) to clear
The wall and fraudulently seize
On Juno's poultry in the trees.
200910 Update: As a secret plan, confided in a friend.

Happy New Year, all.