Friday, April 30, 2010


BOLOGNA-SAUSAGE, n. A dead dog that is better than a living lion, but not to eat.

2010 Update: A mixed meat crafted according to regulation rather than recipe.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


BASTINADO, n. The act of walking on wood without exertion.

2010 Update: A form of discipline involving the caning or whacking of the sole for the protection and preservation of the caner or whacker's soul. The method is currently in retreat in favor of isolation and Game Boy (TM).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Advice to my nephew Jake on his 6th birthday

The first Earthling in space was named Ham,
A pioneer chimp raised on spam,
Though by man catapaulted-
Through heaven's vault vaulted-
His own weight won his way back to land.

You must study if you'd fly a plane,
And work hard if you'd drive a train
But an astral adventure,
Needs no indenture
Just a boy's bravery and monkey's brain.

This story, I tell you, is true
With a lesson that's in it for you:
If a chimpanzee can
Reach the stars from dry land,
Then you're suited to do the same, too.

CHIMPANZEE, n. A brute of the species Homo jacobensis.
Happy birthday, monkey boy.
Editor's note: this word has a previous entry on this site, which is a little ironic.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Berenice's Hair

BERENICE'S HAIR, n. A constellation (Coma Berenices) named in honor of one who sacrificed her hair to save her husband.
Her locks an ancient lady gave
Her loving husband's life to save;
And men — they honored so the dame —
Upon some stars bestowed her name.

But to our modern married fair,
Who'd give their lords to save their hair,
No stellar recognition's given.
There are not stars enough in heaven.
2010 Update: A purloined wig for the goddess of beauty.

Monday, April 26, 2010


BARRACK, n. A house in which soldiers enjoy a portion of that of which it is their business to deprive others.

2010 Update: An armory building set aside for the maintenance of targets.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Achtundsechzig
To hear this week's episode, listen to the doctor.

Or, you can read this week's episode by clicking on the thingamabob at left.

The story so far is here.

Happy birthday today to Quilly
és boldog születésnapot to Ariel (tomorrow.)

Friday, April 23, 2010


MALE, n. A member of the unconsidered, or negligible sex. The male of the human race is commonly known (to the female) as Mere Man. The genus has two varieties: good providers and bad providers.

2010 Update: An adjunct animal generated to simplify procreation and all creation. The spore before the television.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


MONSIGNOR, n. A high ecclesiastical title, of which the Founder of our religion overlooked the advantages.

2010 Update: A lesser Lord, more often heard from.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

To popcorn

Gold in innocence, plump mature,
Salty and greasy, even when pure,
Thy puff'd grain insubstantial-
Thy bursting, a glory financial,
Industry follows thee into the dirt
And back up and out of the field
For it's thy explosive inertia,
That grants all our endeavors a yield.

HEDGEFUND, n. An investment in privacy offering impressive if unredeemable returns.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


MAIDEN, n. A young person of the unfair sex addicted to clewless conduct and views that madden to crime. The genus has a wide geographical distribution, being found wherever sought and deplored wherever found. The maiden is not altogether unpleasing to the eye, nor (without her piano and her views) insupportable to the ear, though in respect to comeliness distinctly inferior to the rainbow, and, with regard to the part of her that is audible, bleating out of the field by the canary — which, also, is more portable.
A lovelorn maiden she sat and sang —
This quaint, sweet song sang she;
"It's O for a youth with a football bang
And a muscle fair to see!
The Captain he
Of a team to be!
On the gridiron he shall shine,
A monarch by right divine,
And never to roast on it — me!"
—Opoline Jones
2010 Update: A young woman who has chosen innocence for her virtue, no doubt in preference for the beguiling title it bestows.

Monday, April 19, 2010


MISFORTUNE, n. The kind of fortune that never misses.

2010 Update: Serendipity over the fence.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Siebenundsechzig
To hear this week's episode, click on the wolfpack.

Or, you can read this week's episode by clicking in the forest.

The story so far is here.

Friday, April 16, 2010


INCUMBENT, n. A person of the liveliest interest to the outcumbents.

2010 Update: The ablest, best-qualified person in office.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


INJURY, n. An offense next in degree of enormity to a slight.

2010 Update: The irritant around which forms the pearl of polity. The birth of a nation.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Three rivers crossed in ancient Rome
(And cross now here today,)
One was fraught with rock and foam,
rapids, whorls and fray.
Carrying naught but twigs and planks
Men died of thirst along its banks.

The second stream ran slow and wide,
And a turtle's toe in depth.
Though commerce came in at high tide
The merchants never left.
Fishing from the delta flourished,
Though only worms were ever nourished.

The third course, though, was navigated,
Cargo carried from peak to plain.
The captains who sailed her proudly stated
"The stars we follow blind remain."
The river ran deep underground
And fed the others without sound.

The streams that ferry mighty forces
And feed the cascades of invention
Wash borders back out from their sources
And carry forth intention.
But once the water's flow reverses,
New rivers carry different curses.

DISCURSIVE, adj. Following a circular flow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


IMPALE, v.t. In popular usage to pierce with any weapon which remains fixed in the wound. This, however, is inaccurate; to impale is, properly, to put to death by thrusting an upright sharp stake into the body, the victim being left in a sitting position. This was a common mode of punishment among many of the nations of antiquity, and is still in high favor in China and other parts of Asia. Down to the beginning of the fifteenth century it was widely employed in "churching" heretics and schismatics. Wolecraft calls it the "stoole of repentynge," and among the common people it was jocularly known as "riding the one legged horse." Ludwig Salzmann informs us that in Thibet impalement is considered the most appropriate punishment for crimes against religion; and although in China it is sometimes awarded for secular offences, it is most frequently adjudged in cases of sacrilege. To the person in actual experience of impalement it must be a matter of minor importance by what kind of civil or religious dissent he was made acquainted with its discomforts; but doubtless he would feel a certain satisfaction if able to contemplate himself in the character of a weather-cock on the spire of the True Church.

2010 Update: To liaise subcutaneously.

Note: I'm not sure how this week got to be hallowe'en but there you are.

Monday, April 12, 2010


IMMOLATION, n. Killing, as a sacrificial act.
The butcher knocks his victim on the head-
That's slaughter, for 'tis man who's to be fed;
The priest downs his, before the gods to set it,
That's immolation- pray do not forget it.
If I have made the difference distinct
My fingers to some purpose I have inked;
But then i stop- you'll have to ask the priest
Why gods who love the meat can't kill the beast.
Perhaps he'll give your question recognition,
Perhaps condemn your spirit to perdition.
2010 Update: The assurance of a martyr's rememberance by destruction of the souvenirs.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Sechsundsechzig
To hear this week's episode, click on the view of Marburg's Lutheran Church.

Or, you can read this week's episode by clicking on the night view.

The story so far is here.

Friday, April 09, 2010


ABBA, n. A father who has made a vow not to be a husband.

2010 Update: An affectionate term of reverence for a hermit.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


ABACOT, n. A cap of state wrought into the shape of two crowns, formerly worn by kings. Very pretty monarchs had it made in the shape of three crowns.

2010 Update*: A breed of duck well fitted for a dictionary-maker's hat.
*of course, I had to look it up. See here and here.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Hope in the marshes

Every sail that once drew force
And every till directed,
Pulled a traveler from his course
And led somewhere unexpected.

And every chart, once drawn, was cursed
And every cargo weeviled,
And every merchant, last to first,
Has seen his commerce eviled.

Tossed at sea in tear and terror,
What I've come to realize is:
It's tragedy and not mere error
When Charon's boat capsizes.
-Lord Nelson

PROGRAM, n. A partial plan for future disappointments.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


ARMY, n. A class of non-producers who defend the nation by devouring everything likely to tempt an enemy to invade.

2010 Update: A collective of armed representatives commissioned to repel foreign powers at home and decimate them abroad. A "host".

Monday, April 05, 2010


ABROAD, adj. At war with savages and idiots. To be a Frenchman abroad is to be miserable; to be an American abroad is to make others miserable.

2010 Update: Obtuse with an excuse.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Fünfundsechzig
To hear my sister narrate the events of May 1524-1527, jump into the ring of fire with the priest or farmer or whoever.

Or, you can read this week's episode on a hill over the battle of Frankenhausen.

The story so far is here.

For more images from the cyclorama commemorating the battle, see here.
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 02, 2010


LEAD, n. A heavy blue-gray metal much used in giving stability to light lovers- particularly to those who love not wisely but other men's wives. Lead is also of great service as a counterpoise to an argument of such weight that it turns the scale of debate the wrong way. An interesting fact in the chemistry of international controversy is that at the point of contact of two patriotisms lead is deposited in great quantities- some say by precipitation, but that is to confuse cause and effect, for the precipitation with which one set of patriots withdraws from the contact is caused by the other set's superior deposit of lead.
Hail holy Lead! of human feuds the great
And universal arbiter; endowed
With penetration to pierce any cloud
Fogging the field of controversial hate,
And with a swift, inevitable, straight,
Searching precision find the avowed
But vital point. Thy judgement, when allowed
By the chirurgeon, settles the debate.
O useful metal- were it not for thee
We'd have each other by the ears alway:
We, like old Muhlenberg, "care not to stay."
And when the quick have run away like pullets
Jack Satan smelts the dead to make new bullets.
2010 Update: A medically active element, except that when added to pipes causes debauchery and when added to fuel causes folly. When applied directly to the fool or rogue, however, lead smartens and tidies things up nicely. A cheaper, more portable replacement for the stone tablet in normalizing social relations and carrying the harmony to the frontier.

A couple other notes: I found this site pretty awfully clever, and it sort of reminds me of Amoeba's Dude and Dude.

Also, a good Good Friday to all you worshippers.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


LATITUDINARIAN, n. In theology, a miscreant who does his thinking at home instead of putting it out. He is regarded by the priesthood and the clergy with the same aversion that barber feels for the man who shaves himself.

2010 Update: A follower of the doctrine that such matters as church membership, leadership and doctrine are less consequential than to be an Episcopalian of prominent standing.