Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Sechzig
To hear this week's episode, come on down to St. Elizabeth's Church.

Or, to read this episode diligently, climb up to Philip's castle.

The story so far is here.

Friday, February 26, 2010


ERR, v.i. To believe or act in a way contrary to my beliefs and actions.

2010 Update: To plan.

Happy birthday to maiden errent Karma, wherever she may be.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


EPITAPH, n. A monumental inscription designed to remind the deceased of what he might have been if he had had the will ans opportunity. The following epitaphs were copied by a prophet from the headstones of the future:
Here lies the remains of great Senator Vrooman,
Whose head was as hard as the heart of a woman-
Whose heart was as soft as the head of a hammer.
Dame Fortune advanced him to eminence d--- her.

We mourn the loss
of Senator Cross,
If he'd perished later
Our grief had been greater
If he never had died
We should always have cried.
As he died and decayed
His corruption was stayed.

Beneath this mound Charles Crocker now reposes;
Step lightly, strangers- also hold your noses.

The doctors they tried to hold William Stow back, but
We played at his graveside the sham and the sackbut.
2010 Update: A carved remembrance of a deceased loved one, meant to outlast the mourner as the departed would have wished.
Old Cheney's gone, his fate his here
And those who loved him need not fear
His disposition nor shed a tear
Unless he gets the devil's ear.
Regarding yesterday: Again, my apologies for hijacking this blog for analog purposes. At Weirsdo's kind request, here is a little more about Jan, who passed on Monday, and a partial explanation of the poem and post. (This is long and not reading or not reading it all will bring no offense.)

First, basic history: In 1983, a 15-year-old pre-onset curmudgeon was working in a gas station, where cacophonous Jan and his well named first wife, Glori were customers. Jan owned a flower store and hired me away the next year. When I left for Deep Springs, he hired my younger brother, then my sister, my friend Eric, and when my friend Anton set up a computer consulting business, I think Jan bought a computer so he could hire Anton. He hired Anton's younger brother (oneandre in yesterday's comments) and, I think, Anton and Andre's younger brother, Arturo. By the time my youngest brother was old enough to work, I think Jan had lost his shop, but I'm pretty sure MacLean would have had a shift otherwise. As we grew up and did other things, Jan was always there to treat us like kings, leer at our girlfriends (my sister excepted) and mentor us in corruption, dissolution and how to break the law not for greed or malice but out of sheer, catastrophic carelessness.

Note to Pia: As you might have guessed, I was Jan's delivery driver in 1984 or 1985 and while I might wish to revise the truth and certainly did at the time, I'm confident I troubled no marriages. In my defense, this was not due to any lack of bad intent.

About Jan: There are three things that I think are most important in explaining Jan. First, he was a manic mad genius. His medium was floral design and at one time he owned one of the 20 largest flower shops in LA County, did the flowers for the NBA's L.A. Clippers, decorated celebrity homes for Christmas (for Jan, I have lain garland in Dolly Parton's bedroom, a dream come true, most certainly.)
Second, Jan was a thorough mess. He lost his shop, and earned a loss on almost every big decorating contract. He was generous with his time, advice and money far beyond his assets. If someone paid him $20,000 for an event, he would feel guilty until he'd spent $20,000 on flowers and overpaid 5 young people and all their friends to work with him, then thrown a party to celebrate the successful completion. His parties were legendary. I would not be surprised if at the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor's office, they have an actor to play Jan at trainings.
Third, Jan was the salt of the Earth. I have heard it said that in this life, people can so debauch themselves that their own parents won't accept them and even then, God loves them. Jan, too. From antisocial teenage cowboys, to alcoholic baseball players, to thieves who had stolen from Jan himself to the sick, addicted, immoral, needy, broke, lazy and doc, there was nothing wrong with anyone that Jan wouldn't greet them as a best friend and equal. As a result, he had some famous friends (sports stars, hollywood types) and some that would have been completely disreputable had they not been entirely anonymous. One measure of the affection people had for Jan is that almost my entire circle of Los Angeles friends and family is a subset of Jan's and every time three or more gather around Jan, at least one is a perfect stranger to me.

A few jokes from yesterday's verse partially explained: There were three restaurants where Jan would often entertain twenty or so of his closest friends at a time. Two of them were famous with Jan and his friends for mixing mai-tais. Many of the jokes were meant to gay bait. Homosexuality was not excluded from the traits that Jan wouldn't hold against anyone, but he got ribbed a lot because, as he often put it, "I have a girl's name and I'm a florist." He started balding early in life. One time, on a visit, I helped Jan all night decorating a massive tent for a party and the tent was to be used one night which astonished me. Jan had pot and at some point we had a twenty foot ladder set and bending to reach the top brace and Jan kept sending me up with buckets of water and flowers so that I made my peace with the Lord, then he changed his mind about how those decorations should look and went up himself, working with a single toe on the ladder. At one point I pointed out that he only had one toe on the ladder and he replied "Oh, yeah. I could fall, huh?" I told him that when he smoked pot he was "dumb as a box of rocks." and we both laughed, he nearly plummeted to his death, and he never could quite remember the phrase. Any time after that I found him stoned he would announce "I have rockses in my boxes!"

One last personal note: I very much appreciate all the condolences offered in the post below. Jan was given six months to live in, I think, 2003. I don't think the doctors overestimated the cancer or even underestimated Jan as much as they'd underestimated how much Jan could die and still not be dead. The night before he passed he asked me to move him on his bed and, meaning to shift him a few inches, I accidentally lifted his entire body (the exact kind of oafish hillbilly calamity Jan's mocked me for nigh on thirty years.) Those of us who saw him a fair bit in these last years are all very glad to see the end come and no condolences are necessary.

Now, ladies and gentlemen meet the late, great Jan Mueller: (if you don't see a video, click here)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Great King of Egalitaria Has Died, Long Live The King

Ascending the throne with a curly willow crown,
And lowering himself right back to the ground,
A king for the fool, the idle and clown
Spreading baby's breath, bud and bankruptcy around.

The first among sinners,
The last host at dinners,
Skin for the skinners, a shorn lamb was he.
The chatter in boxes,
A brain among rockses,
Punched out on the clockses, fare well to thee!

Surrounded by subjects, all volunteers, they
Came and went freely, clutching their pay,
Remembering some that the king had to say
To start our own kingdoms a similar way.

The fruit in the mai-tai,
Rum for the tax guy,
Debt free now that pigs fly, feathered too late.
The gag in our laughter,
The voice in the rafter
We'll see you soon after we all share your fate.

None were too poor, lazy, stupid or short,
To stride noble and haughty in our king's court,
None were too lame for first team in his sport
Or too thievish to fill out his earnings report.

Friend to the friendless,
Tale to the endless,
Doctor to the mendless, now go with our blessing.
Top meat in the meter,
Front seat in the the'ter
When you meet St. Peter, watch the caressing!

In the kingdom he ruled, like the one that he left for,
The rat and the lion and goat share the floor,
The windows stay open, no cliff holds the shore,
While piles of collectibles block every door.

Kaiser of vagrants,
Designer of day tents,
Caffeine in our coffee, at last you can sleep.
The goats have been fed,
The children been led,
So, I'll quiet my singing and give a good sweep.

FLORIST, n. A friend to those in troubled marriages, unlike his delivery boy.

RIP, Jan Clark Mueller
Dawn of time- February 22, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010



2010 Update: EFFEROUS, adj. Beastlike, undomesticated, as anyone who expects a blend of unfamiliar phonemes to sound cultivated. See also: ERUDITE.

Monday, February 22, 2010


EAT, v.i. To perform successively (and successfully) the functions of mastication, humectation, and deglutition.
"I was in the drawing-room, enjoying my dinner," said Brillat-Savarin, beginning an anecdote. "What!" interrupted Rochebriant; "eating dinner in a drawing-room?" "I must beg you to observe, monsieur," explained the great gastronome, "that I did not say I was eating my dinner, but enjoying it. I had dined an hour before."
2010 Update: To replenish for oneself the energy exhausted complaining.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Neun-und-Fünfzig
To hear this week's episode, click on Greta at right. (Side note: Googling for "German farmwife" images is not safe for work)

Or, read this week's episode among the wildflowers and allergens.

The story so far is here.

Friday, February 19, 2010


FREEDMAN, n. A person whose manacles have sunk so deeply into the flesh that they are no longer visible.

2010 Update: A failed mortgagee.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


FUNERAL, n. A pageant whereby we attest our respect for the dead by enriching the undertaker, and strengthen our grief by an expenditure that deepens our groans and doubles our tears.
The savage dies — they sacrifice a horse
To bear to happy hunting-grounds the corse.
Our friends expire — we make the money fly
In hope their souls will chase it to the sky.
—Jex Wopley
2010 Update: A coward's millennial celebration.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday, 2010

Today's the day in liturgy
To remember what He lost for me,
The suffering of our common LORD
To buy the sins we can't afford.

We recall our destiny is ash,
That we were born unto the lash-
That death will come for bad and good
And every infant in the brood.

But on this solemn, holy day,
We who like life bitter, anyway,
Can find ourselves a bit confounded
To suppress the grin as frowns surround us.

Entrapped, we hope Lent to observe
With little dour in reserve
But suffering suffering joyously.
At least there's truth to set us free.

REMORSE, n. The regret we suffer for enjoying our neighbor's sorrow, commonly mild.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


FUNNY, adj. Having the quality of exciting merriment, as a Bulletin article by Fr. Bartlett when he is at his sickest.
He lay on his deathbed and wrote like mad,
For his will was good though his cough was bad.
And his humor ran without ever a hitch,
Urged by the rowels of Editor Fitch,
Who took the sheets as they fell from his hand,
Perused and endeavored to understand.
The work was complete. "'Tis a merry jest,"
The writer remarked; "I think it my best.
How strange that a man at the point of death
Should have so much with so little breath!"
Then thoughtfully answered him Editor Fitch,
As he scratched his head, though it didn't itch:
"The point of death I can certainly see,
But that of the joke is concealed from me."
2010 Update: Reassuringly imperfect, like all the contents of an unmirrored room.
A full bag of groceries can sure seem amusing,
And words from a poet, no less when confusing;
An umpire's call (except when you're losing);
Most anything striking, bawling or bruising
Any three strangers who enter a bar;
Each ideology, taken too far;
The pious in worship, in gossip or char;
A sinner, sincerely repenting his mar;
The flight of a sparrow, a hen or an emu;
Wise words of advice from some sot that you knew;
Two lumps in a cup or a toad in the brew;
Or you going through that thing that you do;
Cars when they're flowing or stopped when it's snowing,
Depending, of course, on where you were going;
Kids when they're quiet, kids when they're growing;
And parents when pleased, neglectful or crowing.
This world is a tragic one, let me be clear,
Of mirthless malevolence, want, harm and fear.
Pray as you should and help some, old dear,
But funny our world spins at point of a spear.
-Lyman Moody

Monday, February 15, 2010


FUTURE, n. The period of time in which our affairs prospers, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.

2010 Update: The coming era of correct predictions.

Update: Happy Bolludagur, Icelanders passing by. A dismal Ogre Day to the rest.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Acht-und-Fünfzig
"Again he said unto me, prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, 'ye dry bones hear the word of the LORD.'"-Ezekiel 37:4 (Click at right to listen)

Or, read in peace in the catacombs of Cuzco.

The story so far is here.

Friday, February 12, 2010


HURRICANE, n. An atmospheric demonstration once very common but now generally abandoned for the tornado and cyclone. The hurricane is still in popular use in the West Indies and is preferred by certain old-fashioned sea-captains. It is also used in the construction of the upper decks of steamboats, but generally speaking, the hurricane's usefulness has outlasted it.

2010 Update: A tropical depression, an agent of tropical depression or a cure for tropical depression. A moderate depression is a dell with a farmer in it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


HORNET, n. A red hot meteor of many tons weight, which sometimes hits a fellow unexpectedly between the eyes and knocks him silly. It is represented symbolically, as an insect with a bald head and an influential tail, but the man who has incurred a hornet shot out of a clear sky is not satisfied with that kind of representation, and avers with feeling that an instantaneous photograph of a hornet in flight would tell a different story.

2010 Update: A winged blessing thoughtfully dispatched by the creator to provide relief from long explanations.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To my niece, Payton, on the day after her tenth birthday

Uno is more than a game, but also the number
Of masters in any one room.
And who is that chief? It isn't the plumber,
The salesman, lawyer or groom.

The leader's the one who can play green on blue,
Make fully grown adults do what she says to do,
Stop play in the middle when she tells them to
And send them out questing for copies of Clue.

So, now that you're ten and I'm ten years an uncle
I've learned a few things in the process
Like advice is for nephews, the kind that you dunkle,
But with nieces, just do as she says.

So as you command, I'm trying to do.
I'll play the darn games, maybe hug strangers, too,
Take a shot at the piñata, sad but it's true,
And harmonize on "Happy Birthday to You."

UNO, n. Crazy Eights redesigned for crazy tens.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


HALF, n. One of two equal parts into which a thing may be divided, or considered as divided. In the fourteenth century a heated discussion arose among theologists and philosophers as to whether Omniscience could part an object into three halves; and the pious Father Aldrovinus publicly prayed in the cathedral at Rouen that God would demonstrate the affirmative of the proposition in some signal and unmistakable way, and particularly (if it should please Him) upon the body of that hardy blasphemer, Manutius Procinus, who maintained the negative. Procinus, however, was spared to die of the bite of a viper.

2010 Update: The popular portion, often sought thrice.

Monday, February 08, 2010


HAG, n. An elderly lady whom you do not happen to like; sometimes called, also, a hen, or cat. Old witches, sorceresses, etc., were called hags from the belief that their heads were surrounded by a kind of baleful lumination or nimbus — hag being the popular name of that peculiar electrical light sometimes observed in the hair. At one time hag was not a word of reproach: Drayton speaks of a "beautiful hag, all smiles," much as Shakespeare said, "sweet wench." It would not now be proper to call your sweetheart a hag — that compliment is reserved for the use of her grandchildren.

2009 Update: A woman time has granted a man's portion of disagreeableness or a goat deprived of lechery.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Sieben-und-Fünfzig
To hear this week's episode come out into the storm.

Or, to read it, clear your eyes with Saul on the road to Damascus.

The story so far is here.

Friday, February 05, 2010


DEXTRALITY, n. The state of being on the right side. See POLITICIAN.
You will always find me on the right side, sir; always! I cannot afford to get left! -Gen. McComb
2010 Update: The likelihood that one will pick your left pocket.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


DESERTION, n. An aversion to fighting, as exhibited by abandoning an army or a wife.

2010 Update: The sacrifice of freedom for liberty.
It's desertion when you leave your post
Of honor with your nation's host,
And desertion when you leave your spouse
Alone within your furnished house.
But there's no noisy tsking frission,
When an inmate flees the prison-
For in escape we find no vice
While desertion demands sacrifice.
-Ssgt. Peyton Farquhar

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Struggle for Pipedream Dreamland

On a dark mountain, swaddled in mist,
Soldiers in diapers take arms.
A round rock redoubt pouts to resist
The army, its weapons and charms.

When Burnham comes to Dunsinane
The yew trees walk, the oaks remain,
The cliffs retreat down to the plain
And the jackass brays with all his brain.

The battle's joined with wood-pulp creaking
Metal clanging, wise men speaking,
Poets prattling, townsfolk leaking,
and knights drinking from cups they're seeking.

When, at last, some victory's won,
And the horses rest back in the stable,
We'll dream ourselves more bloody fun
To contest across tomorrow's table.

NONSEQUITUR, n. The long sword of a pedantic gladiator.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


DANCE, v.i. To leap about to the sound of tittering music, preferably with arms about your neighbor's wife or daughter. There are many kinds of dances, but all those requiring the participation of the two sexes have two characteristics in common: they are conspicuously innocent, and warmly loved by the vicious.

2010 Update: To worship Terpsichore with your arm on the one that brought you.

Monday, February 01, 2010


DADO, n. Anything decorative for which the aesthetes know no better name.

2010 Update: A substantial non sequitur. An obsolete doodad.