Saturday, May 28, 2016

Story Cubes 17: Keys (fiction)

I walked to the middle of the bridge, slow as a turtle. Then I dropped my keys into the water, perhaps startling the fish down there. They were my the keys to the old house, the one we lost in the fire. I guess I was saying goodbye, in a way, to that life. I looked up at the sky. No rainbow there. Then my phone rang. "It's six o'clock", she said. "Where are you?" "It's only early morning on the other side of the globe", I said. And I wished I was there.


(The bold-faced words are interpreted from the images on Rory's Story Cubes)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fire up your e-readers! My two Kindle editions on Amazon are FREE from May 17th through May 21st. A funny dictionary and a scary story -- what a combination! (Both have 4.5 stars on Amazon.)

The Word I'm Thinking Of
The Iron Box

That's right, Free. What, you don't have a Kindle? You can download the app on your phone or computer. That's free too: free Kindle apps

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Strange Days Indeed

So I'm at the "Celebrate Mother Earth Festival" at the Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery today. I'm sitting among the headstones, listening to a live rock band play a song called "Zombie Jesus". The lead singer is dressed in a goat costume. I turn around and a chicken is about to peck me. I shoo away the chicken, and then a strange woman sits down next to me and says "Haven't we met before?" Strange days indeed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Story Cubes 16: No Place Like (fiction)

"Help me understand," I said. "What's the story?"

"Let me give you some pointers, mister journalist. Think about snoozing in a wigwam every night. It ain't rainbows and rose buds. Once you cross a bridge into my kind of life it's masks and demons. And a cold moon at night. I just want to get on a jet and fly to Costa Rica. Where it's toasty this time of year. Put your pity under a magnifying glass. It's not compassion. If it was, you'd be on the street too. You call me 'homeless'? The world is my home."


(The bold-faced words are interpreted from the images on Rory's Story Cubes)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Random Sequence: rampallian

"Away, you scullion! you rampallion! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe."
--William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2, Act 2. Scene I

rampallian (noun) = a scoundrel, a wretch

These days, you could call someone a rampallian and they would think you're complimenting them.

Fustilarian? That's a fat lady.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Word of the Day: pasticcio

What's the word I'm thinking of? Today it's...

pasticcio [pa-STEE-cho] (noun) [TWITO, page 107]

A work or style consisting of borrowed fragments, ingredients, or motifs assembled from various sources; a potpourri

"What did it matter if the work were a spurious thing, a pasticcio, a poor victim which had been pulled this way and that, changed, cut, added to?"
--Robert Smythe Hichens, The Way of Ambition (1913)

"On one occasion an old man sang quite glibly a tune which was in reality a pasticcio of three separate shanties all known to me."
--Sir Richard Runciman Terry, The Shanty Book, Part I, Sailor Shanties (1921)

Hey, all you wordcatchers, I know this sounds like something you might order in an Italian restaurant, but it appears in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, so I think it's worth featuring.

(Photo by me. My wife assembled this hat and actually wore it to an event.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Link Mania: What's Your Favorite Shade of Amaranth?

"It's a Japanese emperor, a comic opera, and a bold yellow."

Posted by The Word I'm Thinking Of on Sunday, March 27, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Story Cubes 15: The Crystal (fiction)

It was the day I hoped to propose to her, but I was waiting for the right moment. Monique and I crossed the bridge over the brook and walked towards the woods. But it wasn't the right moment, because something odd caught our attention. Some kids -- or so I thought -- had erected a teepee at the edge of the tree line.

We looked inside, but there was nobody home.

Someone had been there recently, though. There was a half-eaten apple resting on the floor of pine needles, along with some dice and some recently picked flowers. There was also a small wooden box with a padlock on it. The lock was open, so we removed it and looked inside. We found an alarm clock, a tiny set of scales, and a pyramid-shaped crystal.

"What do you suppose these are for?" I whispered.

"Why are we whispering?" Monique whispered.

"I don't know. Something odd was happening here, though. And whoever was here will probably be back soon. Why else wouldn't they have locked the box?"

"Maybe because there's nothing actually valuable in it," Monique said, rolling her eyes.

"I don't know. This might be valuable," I said, holding up the crystal.

The alarm clock started to ring.

"Ought oh," I said. "I bet whoever put up this teepee is coming back."

There was a crash outside, like someone dropping an armload of sticks onto the ground.

An ugly old man with long gray hair, filthy jeans, and a denim jacket opened the teepee's flap and stuck his head in. "What are you doing here?" he rasped.

"Just being, being curious" I stuttered.

He held out his hand. "Hand it over!" he demanded.

"Hand what over?" I said.

"The crystal."

"What's it for?" I asked.

"Just give it to him," Monique said.

I handed the crystal to him. He smiled and motioned for us to sit down.

"We'd rather not," Monique said.

"Please," he said.

Since he looked frail and unthreatening, I decided we might as well sit. "What the hell," I said sitting cross-legged. Monique gave me a dirty look but then sat down too.

"Scales," the man said as he sat down facing us.

I handed him the scales. He emptied all of his pockets and placed a few coins and pebbles on the scales, until each side was perfectly balanced.

"Nice, but what's the point?" I asked.

He grinned and said "ten bucks." Then he held up the crystal over the scales and began to turn it slightly. It caught some sunlight that was filtering through the hole in the top of the teepee. It seemed to glow. I couldn't stop staring at it and began to feel dizzy, like the teepee was spinning. I closed my eyes. Then the alarm clock went off again.

I hoped it was all a dream, that I would open my eyes and find myself in bed with Monique. But no. Monique and I broke up later that day. And all I ended up with is a stupid pyramid-shaped crystal paperweight.


(The bold-faced words are interpreted from the images on Rory's Story Cubes)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Photo of the Week (by me): eeffoc?

Inspired by my favorite TV show, which is coming back in 2017. Click the pic for a closer view. You have nothing better to do.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Random Sequence: skimble-skamble

"...sometimes he angers me With telling me of the moldwarp and the ant, Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies, And of a dragon, and a finless fish, A clip-wing’d griffin, and a moulten raven, A couching lion, and a ramping cat, And such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff, As puts me from my faith."
--William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, Act 3, Scene 1

skimble-skamble (noun) = nonsense or rambling

I bet you're wondering what a "moldwarp" is and what a "ramping" cat is doing. Maybe later.