Tuesday, August 31, 2010


HARE, n. A quadruped of the genus Lepus, of which the principle variety is the jackass rabbit-the Felis Nevadensis, of Humbolt. The jackass rabbit is sometimes called Cervus Chismori, in honor of a celebrated sportsman who in moments of excitement commonly swears it is a deer.

2010 Update: A long-eared lagomorph, Coniculum curriculum, endowed by its creator with the gifts of swiftness and eavesdropping. Unlike the interfering neighbor, or Avis adamantus, custom reports the hare having wasted both talents.

Monday, August 30, 2010


HARDWARE, n. Women's consciences.

2010 Update: Men's indulgences.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil F├╝nfundachtzig
To hear this week's story, gather around Vater Johann's dream of Jeremiah.

Or, you can read this episode with Wotan.

The story so far is here.
And happy birthday to Dddragon on Sunday.

Friday, August 27, 2010


REDRESS, n. Reparation without satisfaction.
Among the Anglo-Saxon a subject conceiving himself wronged by the king was permitted, on proving his injury, to beat a brazen image of the royal offender with a switch that was afterward applied to his own naked back. The latter rite was performed by the public hangman, and it assured moderation in the plaintiff's choice of a switch.
2010 Update: v.t. To correct injustice by replacing its outer garment.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


REDEMPTION, n. Deliverance of sinners from the penalty of their sin, through their murder of the deity against whom they sinned. The doctrine of Redemption is the fundamental mystery of our holy religion, and whoso believeth in it shall not perish, but have everlasting life in which to try to understand it.
We must awake Man's spirit from his sin,
And take some special measure for redeeming it;
Though hard indeed the task to get it in
Among the angels any way but teaming it,
Or purify it otherwise than steaming it.
I'm awkward at Redemption — a beginner:
My method is to crucify the sinner.
—Golgo Brone
2010 Update: The remittance of murder, theft, treason, gossip, indolence, conspiracy, cruelty and other sins in deference to the sinner's theological accuracy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Just the other night,
On bright moonlit bluff
O'er a river bedotted with boulder,
I met Assemblyman Smythe
Looking pale, talking tough,
And growing each moment both madder and older.

The wind gave a yowl,
In the distance wolves bayed,
And the pillar pulled the cigar from his tongue.
He jiggled his jowl,
Lowered eyes like he prayed
And recalled when his office was but recently won.

"I answered the call,"
His voice rumbled and wavered,
"That the people sent me to protect them-
I sheltered them all,
Returned every favor
And dispatched hordes of functionaries to inspect them."

He looked down at the foam
And the hard stones below,
Gave a sigh and let out with a shiver.
He lowered his dome,
But I pulled him back fro
and cried, "Sir, you mustn't, or you'll pollute the river."

MINGENT, adj. Self-wetting, as voters in a dry county.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


RECTOR, n. In the Church of England, the Third Person of the parochial Trinity, the Curate and the Vicar being the other two.

2010 Update: Literally, a teacher. Figuratively a bore.

Monday, August 23, 2010


RECRUIT, n. A person distinguishable from a civilian by his uniform and from a soldier by his gait.
Fresh from the farm or factory or street,
His marching, in pursuit or in retreat,
Were an impressive martial spectacle
Except for two impediments — his feet.
—Thompson Johnson
2010 Update: v.t. To fool by example.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Vierundachtzig
To hear this week's story, come to the baptism at right.

Or, you can read this episode as Jesus enters Jerusalem.
The story so far is here.

Friday, August 20, 2010


PIANO, n. A parlor utensil for subduing the impenitent visitor. It is operated by depressing the keys of the machine and the spirits of the audience.

2010 Update: A musical instrument named pianoforte (softloud), because it produces sounds of various volumes and attracts instrumentalists of varying strength.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


PHYSIOGNOMY, n. The art of determining the character of another by the resemblances and differences between his face and our own, which is the standard of excellence.
"There is no art," says Shakespeare, foolish man,
"To read the mind's construction in the face."
The physiognomists his portrait scan,
And say: "How little wisdom here we trace!
He knew his face disclosed his mind and heart,
So, in his own defence, denied our art."
—Lavatar Shunk
2010 Update: The study of the inner character by outward features, by which it has been proven that appearances may be deceiving. For example, by the application of ancient Greek rootwords to mean SUPERFICIALITY.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Little leviathan

Was it not Hobbes who said that fancy
Is decaying of the sense?
And the dreams that come come along
As our sense relents?

Invention is that fancy
As it's copied into being
When hands describe the fading thought
Of objects we'd been seeing.

So what is this creative spark
That quickens blogging bards?
The decaying of our own sweet selves
Into dots on memory cards?

CREATIVITY, n. The final flourish of a fading complaint.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


PHYSICIAN, n. One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well.

2010 Update: A vulture ascetic.

Monday, August 16, 2010


PHOTOGRAPH, n. A picture painted by the sun without instruction in art. It is a little better than the work of an Apache, but not quite so good as that of a Cheyenne.

2010 Update: Once art, once history, once evidence, now imposition.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Dreiundachtzig
To hear my dad read this week's story, hear ye the Swiss scout at right

Or, you can read thoughtfully with Huldrych Zwingli.
The story so far is here.

Friday, August 13, 2010


AVENGE, v.t. In modern usage, to take satisfaction for an injury by cheating the inflictor.

2010 Update: To counter-trivialize, at any expense.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


AVERNUS, n. The lake by which the ancients entered the infernal regions. The fact that access to the infernal regions. The fact that access to the infernal regions was obtained by a lake is believed by the learned Marcus Ansello Scrutator to have suggested the Christian rite of baptism by immersion. This, however, has been shown by Lactantius to be an error.
Facilis descensus Averni,
The poet remarks; and the sense
Of it is that when down-hill I turn I
Will get more punches than pence.
Jehal Dai Lupe
2010 Update: A lake in southern Italy by which the Italians entered Hell before there were roads to Rome.
O Avernus, thy mirrored waters shew mine face and God's sky,
I trust thou'lt carry both under whene'er I die.
-Narcissus Smytheberry

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Advice to my mother, after her birthday

No one would get appendicitis
Without vestigial organs still inside us.
A century since cart and dray
Horses still kick folks for play.
Abaci defy our youth,
Fifty years since such were couth,
Though Terpsichore no longer touches,
Dancers hobble on on crutches.
I guess that what I'm trying to say
Is relics still may rule the day.

VESTIGE, n. The looming tyrant of an earlier age.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


ABATIS, n. Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside from molesting the rubbish inside.

2010 Update: The uprooting and repurposing of a forest to shelter mammals.

Monday, August 09, 2010


ABADDON, n. 1. A certain person who is much in society, but whom one does not meet. A bad one.
2. The Adversary of souls, considered under one of his many charming aspects.

2010 Update: The king of stinging locusts, according to St. John the Divine; or the chief of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to come, according to myth.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Reformation of Wolfshausen

Teil Zwoundachtzig
To hear my dad read this week's story, join the penitents at right.

Or, you can read with Adalbert.

The story so far is here.
Um, a note on authenticity. So I wrote this and sent it out to be read and then bothered to look up Ignatius Loyola on Wikipedia where I discovered he was born in 1491 and, so, was about 8 when his follower gave the lecture in Nieder-Weimar. So let's pretend that was a Dominican, huh?

UPDATE SUNDAY: Happy birthday to my mother

Friday, August 06, 2010


MAGISTRATE, n. A judicial officer of limited jurisdiction and unbounded incapacity.

2010 Update: A functionary charged with maintaining peace and good order in a courtroom.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


MACROBIAN, n. One forgotten of the gods and living to a great age. History is abundantly supplied with examples, from Methuselah to Old Parr, but some notable instances of longevity are less well known. A Calabrian peasant named Coloni, born in 1753, lived so long that he had what he considered a glimpse of the dawn of universal peace. Scanavius relates that he knew an archbishop who was so old that he could remember a time when he did not deserve hanging. In 1566 a linen draper of Bristol, England, declared that he had lived five hundred years, and that in all that time he had never told a lie. There are instances of longevity (macrobiosis) in our own country. Senator Chauncey Depew is old enough to know better. The editor of The American, a newspaper in New York City, has a memory that goes back to the time when he was a rascal, but not to the fact. The President of the United States was born so long ago that many of the friends of his youth have risen to high political and military preferment without the assistance of personal merit. The verses following were written by a macrobian:
When I was young the world was fair
And amiable and sunny.
A brightness was in all the air,
In all the waters, honey.
The jokes were fine and funny,
The statesmen honest in their views,
And in their lives, as well,
And when you heard a bit of news
'Twas true enough to tell.
Men were not ranting, shouting, reeking,
Nor women "generally speaking."

The Summer then was long indeed:
It lasted one whole season!
The sparkling Winter gave no heed
When ordered by Unreason
To bring the early peas on.
Now, where the dickens is the sense
In calling that a year
Which does no more than just commence
Before the end is near?
When I was young the year extended
From month to month until it ended.

I know not why the world has changed
To something dark and dreary,
And everything is now arranged
To make a fellow weary.
The Weather Man — I fear he
Has much to do with it, for, sure,
The air is not the same:
It chokes you when it is impure,
When pure it makes you lame.
With windows closed you are asthmatic;
Open, neuralgic or sciatic.

Well, I suppose this new regime
Of dun degeneration
Seems eviler than it would seem
To a better observation,
And has for compensation
Some blessings in a deep disguise
Which mortal sight has failed
To pierce, although to angels' eyes
They're visible unveiled.
If Age is such a boon, good land!
He's costumed by a master hand!
—Venable Strigg
2010 Update: One whose span exceeds her grasp. A 47-year-old.
When I was young and spirits holy,
The earth revolved for my sake solely
But as I've since grown lined and gray
The world has turned another way,
Corrupt with greed and debauchery-
Nothing that it learned from me!
Cruel people with mendacious friends,
The missionary who now lends,
Among these, senior to an elephant
At last aware, now I'm irrelevant.
-Anne Bronte
Now, happy birthday for reals to Actonbell.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Routes of Laredo

I crossed a man upon the road
In cloak and hat and glasses,
He stepped and leapt from shade to tree
And whispers as he passes.

We came upon, the sneak and I,
A third man in the ditch
Mugged or stabbed or well run-down,
I couldn't tell you which.

Alarmed we were, the spy and I,
To that I can attest,
By the bruises on the third man's head
And the cuts upon his breast.

"Go send for the doctor and the preacher as well,"
The hidden man's nod did imply.
And seeing the paranoid by the came-to-harm,
I gladly ran off to comply.

When I returned, their senses had left them
The injured lay dead under cloak
The sneak, in his skivvies, was stuck in the boughs,
Hiding, I think, though we never spoke.

Beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly,
There's a lesson if you'd like to hear it-
If you're scared or unlucky, stay quiet and home,
Wherever you're heading, it's right that you fear it.

DESTINATION, n. The stop past your station.

Happy birthday eve to Actonbell!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


MACE, n. A staff of office signifying authority. Its form, that of a heavy club, indicates its original purpose and use in dissuading from dissent.

2010 Update: A handheld disincentive for loutishness, available to the upstanding as a spray or a stick.

Monday, August 02, 2010


OMNIPRESENT, adj. Ecerywhere at once. That the power of omnipresence, or ubiquity, is denied to mortals was known as early as the time of Sir Gotle Roche, who in a speech in Parliament said: "A man cannot be in two places at once unless he is a bird,

2010 Update: Unnoticed.