Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Word of the Day: Diluvial

Word of the Day

diluvial (adj)

Pertaining to floods; brought about by a flood

"Moreover the Indian Ocean lies within the region of typhoons; and if, at the height of an inundation, a hurricane from the south-east swept up the Persian Gulf, driving its shallow waters upon the delta and damming back the outflow, perhaps for hundreds of miles up-stream, a diluvial catastrophe, fairly up to the mark of Hasisadra's, might easily result."
--Thomas Henry Huxley

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Them Apples

Them Apples

My tiny backyard is dominated by an ancient apple tree, which drops wormy little golden apples all over the lawn. Today, I was picking them up with something called a "Gopher Pick-Up & Reaching Tool"--a clasping device like the ones store clerks use to reach things on high shelves. I dropped about a dozen of them, in various stages of decomposition, into a trash bag.

Almost anything can trigger a chain of free associations for me, especially when I'm engaged in a dull task. So I thought about Eve and the apple, the silly little Macintosh computer I used to have at work, Mr. Crabby Appleton ("Rotten to the core!"), the Beatles' apple obsession, the Golden Apples of the Sun, and the many cultural riffs on the mythological aura of golden apples.

I like the idea of having an apple tree in my yard. It just seems right, even if I can't eat the apples--worms not being my favorite source of protein. It's like having my own little Eden, complete with forbidden fruit.

(And yeah, I'm mindful that if I lived down in NOLA, it would be underwater. Say a prayer.)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Zen for Dummies

Zen for Dummies

BuddhaNet Multimedia presents the Book of Zen here. It's a sort of Zen comic book in Flash movie format.

"The little things? The little moments? They aren't little."
--John Zabat-Zinn

(via whiskey river)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry


Thoughts shake in the wind,
till there's fallout:

words dropping
precipitous notions

like rain
into a swimming pool,

insects and leaves

as particles or
waves or

like pictures,
dots of light--

a churning mob
of millions

before my widened eyes,
my opened ears

cupped to hear
what the sky must say.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Klingon Fairy Tales

"Goldilocks Dies With Honor at the Hands of the Three Bears"

Honor the spiky titles of Klingon fairy tales here.

(via Maud Newton)

Try this fairy tale generator. As with most text generators, the results are only semi-coherent, but the hotchpotch stories have an appealing (to me) surreal quality.

(via Blue Tea)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Overheard on the Street Today


... on the street today:

Woman to female companion:
"I'm the one who takes the medication, but he's the one who acts like he's on drugs."

One small boy to another:
"... because I don't let gay people into my house...What?! You say I'M a gay?!"

Woman discussing her dog with a male companion:
"You need to be careful of him, although he's slow to anger."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Big Fish

Big Fish

The aquarium sits next to the computer on my desk, and the fish sometimes pause to stare at me as I type. At least I think that's what they're doing. I must seem like a very weird creature to them, living on the other side of a transparent wall and unable to float around at will. Big, dry and constrained by gravity--that's me: a sort of odd, five-pointed star-fish-out-of-water. I used to feel sorry for them, confined as they are to their glass capsule. But aren't we all living in transparent boxes, bumping up against our own limitations from time to time? Aren't there plenty of invisible walls surrounding us, keeping us apart? Break them down, it's tempting to think. But what would happen to the fish?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Past Life Analysis

The Man I Used to Be

Go to Past Life Analysis to find out who you were in your last life. Just type in your birthdate. Turns out that I was a male born around the year 800 in what is now Ukraine. I was a map maker, astrologer and astronomer. I was a "quiet person" with "creative talents which waited until this life to be liberated." I was sometimes considered strange: "It always seemed to you that your perceptions of the world [were] somewhat different. Your lesson is to trust your intuition as your best guide in your present life. Do you remember now?"

Yeah, that sounds like me alright.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

"It was on these false premises - that Iraq was both a collaborator on 9/11 and about to inflict mushroom clouds on America - that honorable and brave young Americans were sent off to fight. Among them were the 19 marine reservists from a single suburban Cleveland battalion slaughtered in just three days at the start of this month. As they perished, another Ohio marine reservist who had served in Iraq came close to winning a Congressional election in southern Ohio. Paul Hackett, a Democrat who called the president a 'chicken hawk,' received 48 percent of the vote in exactly the kind of bedrock conservative Ohio district that decided the 2004 election for Mr. Bush .... What lies ahead now in Iraq instead is not victory, which Mr. Bush has never clearly defined anyway, but an exit (or triage) strategy that may echo Johnson's March 1968 plan for retreat from Vietnam: some kind of negotiations (in this case, with Sunni elements of the insurgency), followed by more inflated claims about the readiness of the local troops-in-training, whom we'll then throw to the wolves. Such an outcome may lead to even greater disaster, but this administration long ago squandered the credibility needed to make the difficult case that more human and financial resources might prevent Iraq from continuing its descent into civil war and its devolution into jihad central."
--Frank Rich, The New York Times

More here. (Requires free registration.)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Word of the Day: Caballine

Word of the Day

caballine (adj)

Suitable for a horse

"How do you expect me to swallow such a caballine tablet?" Mr. Hargreaves asked the bewildered pharmacist.

Friday, August 12, 2005



The AC breaks down and the house is full of soup, stirred by fans. Sidewalks are hot plates; the car, a teapot. Everybody's all wet. The sun is unforgivable. Hydrants open, and streets become rivers of laughing children. Thunderheads boil up in the distance like Himalayas. Stores and offices feel like Frigidaires, and I wish I could linger. All day I wonder why woolen coats crowd in the closet. Were they ever needed? I sit and drink an ocean of colorful sweetness and don't want to move.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Weird new words for the new Oxford Dictionary

Time to walk my labradoodle

Do chuggers bother you when you want to rock up to a restaurant with your cockapoo to hoover a supersized ruby murray?

The new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English is out, and it includes a host of new words, many of which are "blends," the editors say: "To suit the pace of our lifestyle today there is a growing tendency to mix words together to make entirely new ones called blends." Example: "potty-mouthed." Details here.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry (summer rerun)

Sandy Hook (August 2004)

The air is vacuumed clean,
and all misgivings drain

from an uneasy day.
At the end of the street,

past the wild grass’s
endless deference to the wind,

waves are polishing
three primal rocks

with ceaseless caresses.
Time might as well stop.

The gigantic iris of the bay
gazes at the hot, absolute sky

with perfect attention,
a hypnotized witness.

Now my footprints disappear,
at the edge of the surf,

no more enduring than foam.
I bend and realize

the shell is broken.
Inhale, exhale.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Conversation Stoppers

Conversation Stoppers

"Why do you ask?"

Always answer an unwelcome question with another question, I say.

More of this sort of thing can be found here:

Conversational Terrorism: How NOT to Talk!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Quote of the Day: The Palm Tree Garden

Quote of the Day

"The Palm Tree Garden symbol represents the communal nature of Phildickian and Anarcho-Gnosticism, the exchange of ideas and information and interaction between fellow adherents of the Path of Eternal Questioning. It's a sign that can be worn by radical ontonauts, a sign that indicates a willingness to collaborate but not to dictate, converse but not groupthink, argue but not hate. It represents individuals banded together against the Archonic powers that control the Universe in whatever form or fashion the individual understands. It represents partaking in the Informational Sacrament, breaking down that wall in the Black Iron Prison, even if one needs to use the bars in one's cell to build a ladder."

More here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Word of the Day: galactophagist

Word of the Day

galactophagist (n)

a milk drinker

Edwina was determined to raise a brilliant child. "Here you are, my little galactophagist," she said as she gave the baby his bottle.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Go Electric Wheelchairs

Batteries Included

I've seen a lot of people tooling around in electric wheelchairs recently. Just today, I saw two on a short walk to the post office. It's almost enough to make me think a convention might be going on somewhere nearby, but this isn't any sort of convention town. I wonder if the prices for these machines have dropped recently, as I don't see all that many people on crutches anymore.

All these whirring wheelchairs make me think of my late uncle, a paraplegic, who used an electic model when I was a kid, at a time when such things weren't so common. He also had an elevator in his house, the first one I remember riding on, and all sorts of other gadgets. In my childish way, I didn't think of him as handicapped -- he had a very full life, which included owning and running a restaurant -- just "different" and rather fascinating. A trip to see him was a treat.

I suppose in times past, people who couldn't walk were pretty much house-bound. Today they're tearing down the sidewalk with kids and shopping bags on their laps.