Thursday, May 30, 2013

Random Sequence

His eyes adjusted, and he saw a little white statue on the sill, some Greek god or athlete. Beyond that was a couch that looked like a giant pin-cushion from the 1920s, and next to that a polished wooden table with leaves and vines carved into its legs. On the table was a little painting in a gold frame, propped up against a stack of books. It was a picture of a place he knew: the place where the river bends in Easter Park.
--from "Sleep" (by me), which originally appeared in The 13th Story

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Much Ado about NOTHING


I spent some time at my lawyer's office today, so I could sign my "Last Will and Testament" -- yes, the document really is called that. Just like on TV and in the movies, it stated, among many other things, that I was of "sound mind", which is mostly true, I guess. Anyway, I signed, and even learned a new word: stirpes, which has to do with the method of dividing an estate if the beneficiary of the will dies... uhh, you don't want to know.

The semiotics of the legal office's conference room were interesting. I had plenty of time to study them while waiting for the official document to be presented and witnessed. On one wall was a painting of a group of posh-looking people in riding gear and on horseback, during a fox hunt. On the opposite wall was a black-and-white photograph of a group of construction workers eating lunch while seated on a girder high above Manhattan. I suppose the message was that the lawyers serve both upper-crust and working-stiff clients in need of legal representation. I must be somewhere in between or outside of those classes, because I didn't identify with either portrait.

On top of an imposing bookcase full of legal tomes there was also a small photo of a kids' baseball team, apparently one the office sponsors. I felt more like one of them: smiling on the outside, but worried about strike three.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Word of the Day: sermocination

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

sermocination (noun)

The making of speeches or sermons; sermonizing

"Ephraim's park-bench sermocination drove away everyone except the squirrels."

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bloody Link Mania

'Ave a look, right, guvnor

Thanks ter The Dialectizer, yer can now read the Cockney version of this site. It is ter larf.

(You can also read it in the following dialects: Redneck, Jive, Fudd, Bork, Moron, Pig Latin, Hacker, and Censor.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Random Sequence

He waited half an hour before opening the closet door, and grimaced as it squeaked. He moved toward the bedroom in slow motion, letting each foot land softly on the carpet, shifting his weight to it, then taking another step. He reached the foot of the bed and looked down. The woman's unconscious face was familiar: It was Shelly -- an older version of Shelly with platinum blonde hair. He was unable to move for several seconds. Then he reached down and grabbed her toe.

Shelly's eyes flicked open and focused on him. Then she began to wail, loudly, like a police siren. He suddenly realized why. He still had the knife in his hand.
--from "Long Lost" (by me), originally published in Think

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Head Rattle

Book title of the day: Father Christmas Needs a Wee. It's a British kids' book that's about exactly what it sounds like. TMI, if you ask me.

Meditation CDs for... dogs. Yes, there is such a thing, I've discovered. That's stretching it, right? Someone told me they tried one, and it made their dog start barking.

Reading over my new "Last Will & Testament" last night. It's not like on TV, where you leave your various tchotchkes to distant relatives and deliberately cut out anyone who's been nasty to you. Someone specific should get my antique wheelchair full of manikin parts, though....

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Word of the Day: tatterdemalion

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

tatterdemalion (noun)

A person who dresses in rags; a ragamuffin

Despite his sizable fortune, Cedric insisted on dressing like a scarecrow. Though he was often mistaken for a vagrant, he told anyone who cared to inquire that he was "a mere tatterdemalion."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Much Ado about NOTHING

I keep seeing small stickers stuck to traffic signs all over the city. They say this:

crside the creepy Fraktur typeface. It means nothing to me, and a Google search turns up zilch for those words -- if they are words.

Putting them through the Internet Anagram Server yields some interesting, and vaguely disturbing, results:

Endemic Rots
Deceit Norms
Encoder Mist
Creed Monist
Medic Stoner
Dice Monster
Iced Monster
Demonic Rest
Dormice Nest
Cinder Motes
Credit Omens
Cited Sermon
Scorned Item
Code Minster
Mice Rodents
Crimes Noted
Cretins Demo
Erotic Mends

There are some cool band names in that list, perhaps.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Random Sequence

We did as she said, getting pricked and tripping over roots as we went along. Amazingly, she seemed to have no trouble keeping up with us. Obviously, she knew every inch of this forest. "Think she's taking us to the cave?" I whispered to Claggett, after we'd walked for what felt like a mile. "Or just someplace where she can hide our bodies?" Claggett glanced at me and whispered, "or both."
--from "The Iron Box" (by me), originally published in 3 AM Magazine

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Photo of the Week

jug 2

The assignment this week in my pottery class was to create a "vessel" in the form of a self-portrait. As it turns out, I'm not a very good potter, since this was the best I could come up with. I'll leave it up to you to decide how closely I resemble this mug jug. I couldn't figure out how to include my glasses, which I'm sure would have made the likeness much more obvious.

Actually, I just made that up. This is a photo I snapped at an antiques show a few summers ago. It's a haunting visage, don't you agree? Click the pic to get close up and personal.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Word of the Day: absquatulate

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

absquatulate (verb)

To leave in a hurry; vamoose.

"'Time to absquatulate,' Hiram whispered to himself as the drapes went up in flames."

I was playing with a three-legged cat one night at a friend's house. I offered him a catnip toy, but it seemed to startle him. He absquatulated. I was a little miffed, but then he came back and sniffed it. Nice kitty. It's amazing how fast a three-legged cat can move.


By the way, you can purchase an entire book (by yours truly) of these bon mots from a river in Brazil: The Word I'm thinking Of

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Random Sequence

The plane seemed to rotate ninety degrees. Then, finally, it skidded to a halt. Everyone was silent for a moment, then all the passengers started to talk at once. I turned to Pete. "Well, we made it," I said. "You can open your eyes now. It didn't come true after all, huh?"

He didn't answer.

"Pete?" I said.

"Hey, Pete!" I put my hand on his shoulder, and he slumped over onto my lap. Wagstaff was dead.

--from "Wagstaff's Dreams" (by me), originally published in The Square Table

Monday, May 13, 2013

Random Acts of Poetry

Break Time

Somewhere above
the arctic circle

stars form
absent faces in a dream.

These are signals, symbols
that come in waves

from an inland ocean,

as the periodic breezes
of a clouded afternoon

in the summer of the dog.
It's time for a break

at the dance school.
Time for the coffee,

the whiskey,
half an hour of it,

before each coat hanger
takes another spin.

Let's make a joke of structure!
Drop all our mail in the furnace.

So many people today
are made of paper.

No more a threat to us
than a snake in a cage,

than my mother
with her wooden spoon.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Link Mania: 'The Word I'm Thinking Of'

Dear Sir or Madam,

Will your read my book? It took me years to write, will you take a look?

The Word I'm Thinking Of

Yes, the rumors are true. I've written a book.

So far, I'm just a paperback writer. But someday soon, I hope you'll be able to peruse it on your e-book reader. And even listen to it....

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Much Ado about NOTHING

Adventures in Driving

I was chauffeuring a relative around Northern New Jersey today, trying to obey the commands of the female voice barking from by iPhone GPS app. I got to where I needed to go, but, thanks to the quirks and eccentricities of New Jersey highway construction -- like routes physically divided into "express" and "local" lanes, running parallel but never allowing drivers to cross from one to the other -- I was a little late. And a little sweaty, after receiving an unexpected tour of the Newark warehouse district.

The adventure ended with a peregrination into Manhattan. For that leg of the trip, we took public transit, since I avoid driving in The City whenever practical. The NYC subway, when crowded, provides an excellent opportunity to experience the discomfiture of inadvertently making eye contact with strangers. You almost always end up where you wanted to go, though, and by the expected route. And no one honks at you.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Quote of the Day

brooklyn bridge cables

"First of all, I am a real Minimalist, because I don't do very much. I know some minimalists who call themselves minimalist, but they do loads of minimalism. That is cheating. I really don't do very much."
--Robert Wyatt

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Random Sequence

I didn't know how to answer his question. Instead, I said, "Look at me. I'm right in front of you."

He looked up, but his good eye didn't focus on me. He shook his head and looked down again. "Mad," he said. "I've tried everything. Every last thing." He sighed, sat back in the chair, and looked up at the ceiling. Then, without looking down, he opened the desk drawer in front of him and pulled out a black, shiny object, which he placed on the desk in front of him. I couldn't see it clearly, but it could have been a gun.
--from "Dark Eyes" (by me), originally published in Twilight Times

Monday, May 06, 2013

Word of the Day: boanthropy

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

boanthropy (noun)

A mental disorder; the belief that one is a cow or an ox

"...Nebuchadnezzar may have been made to think himself a subject of boanthropy when 'he was driven from men and did eat grass as oxen,' continuing this occupation until his body was soaked with the dews of heaven, till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws."
--Frank Hamel, Human Animals (1915)

Moo! I’d rather be called a victim of boanthropy than a clumsy ox any day.


By the way, you can purchase an entire book (by yours truly) of these bon mots from a river in Brazil: The Word I'm Thinking Of.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Irked. I never get as much done as I want on the weekend. It didn't help that today is Cinco de Mayo, and I got caught up in the celebration.

Cheered. At least I finally got my damn book published today. The literary world can now breathe a happy sigh of relief. Details to come.

Befuddled. I was riding the PATH train today, when some people with small children got on. I wondered if I should get up and let one of them sit down, but there were a few empty seats in the car, so I decided they must want to stand for some reason. I got off at the next stop, and one of them promptly sat down in the seat I had just vacated. Only to make me feel like a jerk?

Reluctant. The landline keeps ringing every evening lately, but I don't answer it. There's a mayoral election coming up in about 10 days, and I know it's either a robo-call or someone claiming to be taking a poll. Generally speaking, a landline call is never a welcome interruption.

Perplexed. It must really be spring now; I'm confused about what to wear. It was sunny but coolish, so today I wore a short-sleeved polo shirt under a jacket. Cognitive dissonance.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Brain Dump Redux

thing 1

Tough week, almost over. Time for a T&T Classic. Take this brother, may it serve you well:

Easy as pie in the face of the facts of the matter with you, anyway? Lock, stock and barrel of monkeys around the clock tower of power plant a garden variety is the spice of life goes on or off with her head for the hills are alive with the sound of silence. Hang in there you go for it could be worse for wear out your welcome with open arms and legs of the table your plans have a way of not working out as planned for this ahead of time is on our side of the road that leads to your door is always open up or else. Kirk out.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Random Sequence

"Mona told me about you," she says.

"Oh really," I say. "Good stuff, I hope."

"I'm Celia," she says. "I teach classics at the university. Barb was one of my students."

"Ahh," I say.

"Mona tells me you're in publishing?"

"Sort of," I say. "I write for a trade magazine. Chemical Dynamics."

"Uh-huh. Is that interesting?"

"No. Is classics interesting?"

She laughs. "That's about all it has going for it," she says. "It's interesting to me. And beautiful: 'In the true mythology, Love is an immortal child, and Beauty leads him as a guide: nor can we express a deeper sense than when we say, Beauty is the pilot of the young soul.'"

I nod.

"Emerson," she says.

"Of course."

--from "Because I Can" (by me), which was originally published by Eyeshot