Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Word of the Day: ishkabibble

ishkabibble (n? adj?)

Various meanings: "don't worry," "a silly person," "nonsense" or an expression of surprise. Also the stage name (as Ish Kabibble) of the late comedian Merwyn Bogue.

"How narrow a plank our daily talk walks, between normalized syntax and mad entropy; and how painfully hilarious to us are those ishkabibble comedians who mimic the fluent sound of patterns of colloquial language, while refusing any--or almost any--sense to it!"
--Frederic Will, Shamans in Turtlenecks

As a kid, I went through a period of only wearing turtlenecks. I think I wanted to be futuristic, like a Star Trek person. I don't know why it's so often assumed that people in the future will wear turtlenecks (or mock turtlenecks) all the time. I believe that type of shirt has been around at least since the 1800s.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Brain Dump

Clean as a whistle in the dark side of the moon is made of green cheese and crackers and dip recipe for disaster recovery plan of action figure it out of your mind over matter of fact or fiction. Too good to be true blue in the face the future shock therapy group hug a tree of life is tough nut to crack the code of the West. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy toy gun control panel of experts agree with you never know your ass from your elbow joint venture forth into battle royal family guy on TV show must go on. Alrighty?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

'Pick me, pick me!'

Save the Words is the wackiest online dictionary I've seen yet. You mouse over a wall of graphically rendered obscure words, each of which has its own plaintive British voice that asks you to "pick me!" You're then presented with a definition and a contractual obligation: "I heareby promise to use this word, in conversation and correspondence, as frequently as possible to the very best of my ability."

The idea is to keep these arcane words "alive in the English language."

Interesting that this balmy word play is sponsored by the conservative Oxford Dictionary.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Found an abandoned cache of meditation, "environmental" and hypnosis CDs. Now, all expectations to the contrary, I'm a little blissful.... Saw a toy car on sale at Rite Aid. A red 1959 Cadillac convertible (the one with rocket-ship tailfins) in die-cast metal, about six inches long. Beautifully detailed; five bucks; had to have it. Felt juvenile at the cast register, but pleased when I got home. It sits on a shelf.... The phone (the old land-line phone we hardly use anymore) rang tonight. I picked it up and said "hello" in a tone that may have sounded annoyed, though actually, I was just distracted. Silence. Then whoever it was hung up. Felt paranoid for a second, then like I was in a cheesy scene from an old movie....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Word of the Day: cacoethes

cacoethes (n)

(pronounced kahk-uh-EE-theez)

A mania, or an overwhelming desire. Originally Latin, but long ago absorbed in English.

"We must talk, think, and live up to the spirit of the times, and write up to it too, if that cacoethes be upon us, or else we are nought."
--Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers

"Cacoethes loquendi" is a compulsion to talk or gossip. (That's NOT my problem.)

"Cacoethes scribendi" is an irresistible itch to write. (That's me, sometimes at least.)

"Cacoethes weblogi" is the obsessive urge to blog. (Not really. I made that up.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just Kick It

Peanuts, as written by Charles Bukowski, is here.

It began as a mistake.

The first time that Charles Branaski met Lucy Van Pelt, she was holding a football. He didn’t care for the game, baseball was his thing. Still, she held out that old football.

"Just kick the fucking thing," she said.

"Listen, babe. You just hold that thing steady and I’ll kick the shit out of it."


Monday, September 21, 2009

Random Acts of Poetry


It's yoga time upstairs
the creaking floor announces.
The fish wander in their glass prison.
I scribble in a notebook
making vague pictures, pinched faces.
My hand cramps
over ballpoint eyes and mouths.

There is a strange appliance
in the cupboard,
a thing that chops and grinds.
Why is it never used?
Silence. Someone's assumed
the lotus position.
It's not good to think so much.

These inky people look like maniacs.
"How do you spell relief?"
the radio asks.
I flip the page and find a snow field
ready to be populated.
Little people living in boxes,
their words floating off in balloons.

The T&T List

David Byrne
Jersey's Own (TM) Root Beer
Michael Emerson
The Untouchables
Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Word of the Day: witticaster

witticaster (n)

Someone who thinks they're funny -- but they're not.

"Olgar's speech is too rotten even for one who 'hath tippled somewhat already.' A post-prandial witticaster of our own day could not be nastier at the orgies of a party of bankers."
--Edwin Sauter, The Faithless Favorite

Q: Why was the math book sad?
A: Because it had a lot of problems.

I love puns, and to me, they are very funny. They're also very useful when you have to generate eye-catching headlines or little tag lines quickly, which I often must. But they are "the lowest form of humor" we're told (but poetry is much verse). Tell that to Shakespeare, who was full of puns, e.g., the cobbler who says he is a mender of men's soles in Julius Caesar. What is the highest form of humor, anyway? Surely slapstick is the lowest form, not puns. You know, guys slipping on banana peels.... Hmm, bananas. "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a...." No, I won't.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Religion Reference Manual

Jesus was "a zombie carpenter".

Moses was an "orphan who talked to shrubbery".

Muhammad was "a guy with 11 wives".

And L. Ron was a "sci-fi writer" who wrote books like The Automatic Horse.

Learn more about major world religions at MadAtoms.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

There's a giant, out-of-control pumpkin plant growing in the backyard that is now winding its way up into the branches of our apple tree. It gives me the creeps, in an Invasion of the Bodysnatchers way. We're either going to have a visit from the Great Pumpkin this fall (along with our usual crop of rotten apples) or experience some kind of vegetable apocalypse.... Local schools are now in session, which means the crossing guards are back in force -- and the friendly one I encounter while traversing State Highway every day doesn't discriminate between kids and grown-ups. It feels a little strange to be "crossed" as an adult, but it's a very busy intersection, with lots of drivers zooming by while yacking on cell phones, so I'm not complaining....

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9

'White Album' cover (rejected)

It's 9/9/09, and the remastered Beatles CDs have finally been released, about a dozen years after they should have been, but oh well. With them, it's almost always worth the wait. I'm looking forward to buying the "White Album" again (for the third time), my favorite album of all. I like every song on it (except maybe "Wild Honey Pie" and "Don't Pass Me By", sorry Ringo), including "Revolution 9". I like eclecticism. I like collage. Culturally, in the West at least, we live in a fragmented time (still), and this double album, more than anything I've heard, captures the essence of that while still being engaging, entertaining, and fun.

The illustration above is the rejected cover art for what eventually became known as the White Album. I wonder if, had they used it, we would be calling it the "Animal Album" today.

Postscript: It sounds great. The muddiness of the original CDs is gone, and it almost sounds like you're in the same room with them. This is especially evident on the quieter tracks, like "Julia" and "Blackbird".

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Word of the Day: hooroosh

hooroosh (n)

An uproar, a great fuss.

"What a hooroosh aloft there! I would e'en take it for sublime, did I not know that the colic is a noisy malady."
--Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Near where I work in Newark, there's quite a hooroosh on Wednesday afternoons: a huge outdoor karaoke party, complete with a stage and concert amplification. The Otis Redding manqué (look that up!) last week hit most of the notes.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Bikini-clad woman 'stalked by yeti'

How did I miss this story?

It's just like something out of one of those old drive-in teenage horror movies....

WHEN will someone finally DO something about these cursed yeti, big feet, etc.??

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Fish Food for Thought

philosofish 13 small

More clip-art philosophy by me (and Arthur Schopenhauer). To catch the big fish, click here.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Name Game

My anagram name is:


That fits!

But when I include my middle name, I get:


Let's just forget about my middle name. (But can you guess what it is?)

You can find your anagram name here.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Quote of the Day: Visit to Venus

"While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus. It was a very beautiful place, and it was really green."
--Miyuki Hatoyama
Wife of the new prime minister of Japan

Note: U.S. and Soviet space probes have discovered that the surface temperature of Venus is about 890°F (475°C), with an atmospheric pressure of as much as 100 times that at Earth's surface.

Ms. Hatoyama must be one tough soul.