Monday, July 29, 2013

Word of the Day

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

rannygazoo [ran-ee-ga-ZOO] (noun)

A joke or prank

"Bob couldn't think of a proper rannygazoo, but then, in an idle moment it came to him: he would serve Tom a peanut butter and tuna fish sandwich."

An idle moment. It seems people either don't have enough of those these days, or they have far too many. And when you have too much time on your hands, well, you may start planning a few too many rannygazoos.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Much Ado about NOTHING

I'm not sure why, at this point, people still want to go to Mars. The environment there makes Antarctica seem like the Garden of Eden. In all the pictures the rovers send back, there isn't a single plant visible, not even the tiniest cactus. The atmosphere contains very little methane, which would be present in significant quantities if life was present, even if underground. (So forget about sand worms.)

Despite looking deceptively like parts of Arizona, it's not a place where anyone could walk around without a spacesuit. Whatever running water was present disappeared billions of years ago, along with most of the atmosphere. So, it's a dead world -- even if we do discover a bacterium or two there someday. It would be incredibly dangerous for humans to travel there, something that would require months with current technology. If anything went wrong, there would be no chance of rescue -- which was true of the moon landings too, but the moon is only three days away by rocket ship, so there was much less time for something to break.

Just keep sending robots, I say, until we discover something like a warp drive or anti-gravity propulsion, and can get there and back in a few hours. Then we can collect all the precious Martian rocks we want.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Random Sequence

"Because why?" I murmured.

"I don't know why, exactly," he said. "It's... a weird place, a weird box. They ran away, and I followed them."

"Uh-huh." I didn't know what else I could say, other than to ask what brought this yarn on. He didn't take kindly to those kinds of questions, though.

"I've been thinking a lot about that box lately," he said, "and doing research."

"What do you think it was?" I asked, in what I hoped sounded like an interested tone. "A box of what?"

"Well, that's something I've been thinking about for many years," he said. "And I think I may have figured out the answer. What do you know about local history?"
--from "The Iron Box" (by me), originally published in 3 AM Magazine

Monday, July 22, 2013

Word of the Day: arsiversie

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

arsiversie [arsy-versy](adjective)

Meaning: upside down?

"...he was a botcher, cheese-eater, and trimmer of man's flesh embalmed, which in the arsiversie swagfall tumble was not found true."
--François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel (1567)

I think this word means "upside down." It's hard to find a definition for it.... I've always enjoyed looking at the topsy-turvy sky and world you can see on the surface of a calm lake. One dropped pebble and the universe is destroyed in a burst of concentric circles. It gives you a new perspective on things. Maybe I should spend more time arsiversie.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Search Party

Here are some recent search queries that brought seekers to this temple of scribomania.

shack for sale

Looking for a little old place where we can get toether? Here's one I photographed, and it is for sale. Click the pic for a closer look. And don't forget my commission.

love shack for sale

rob's amazing poem generator

I think I linked to it once, but it appears that the amazing poem generator is no more, alas. As compensation, here's one of my "bad haiku" pieces. (Believe me, it's better than anything Rob's geneator produced.)

Dear little puppy
Alone in the soft sunlight
Smashed to smithereens

smotp walking on glass

SMOTP is an author, apparently a purveyor of erotica, aka Essemoh Teepee. Not sure what the name signifies. Something nasty? Sado-Masochistic Oxymorons and Terrible Pain? And I don't recall writing anything about walking on glass. That does sound painful.

writing a book hippie?

Yes, it seems I'm always writing my book, even after it's published. Stay tuned for further details.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Quote of the Day

I like this page of quotations by writers about writing. As you might expect, they're quite pithy.

"Know something, sugar? Stories only happen to people who can tell them." --Allan Gurganus

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Random Sequence

"No," she said. "I haven't seen him in a long time. He -- just took off one day. Disappeared. Good riddance." She giggled again. "He was a bad man, and I wasn't so nice either. People didn't want us around, so we came up here. This is our mountain. I thought he'd be better to me up here on Mount Olympus, that we'd live like nature gods or something. I was Aphrodite, but he was still Mars. Or Hades? Anyway, I became this. And he got real mad at me and then disappeared. 'Course part of him disappeared a long time before that. He only had one arm, ya know. Always bothered him -- the imperfection."
--from "The Iron Box" (by me), published in 3AM Magazine

Monday, July 15, 2013

Word of the Day: mumpsimus

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

mumpsimus [MUMP-suh-muss](noun)

Someone who adheres to old ways that are obviously wrong

"The best of the joke is, that Johnston, who seems here to have deserted for a moment the old mumpsimus, contradicts himself in the very next page, and having laughed at 'broken' metaphors in one breath, attempts, in the next, to 'reduce' one, after a manner of surgery almost as awful as that of Warburton himself."
--T. D., "On the use of Metaphors" in Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine (1825)

Hmm. Who might we apply this word to? I'm thinking of a certain mumpsimus from a certain political party. Maybe you are, too, even if it isn't the same party. That's politics.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Head Rattle

I wanted to buy some Vans shoes, just like the ones I saw a guy on the train wearing. They come in (seemingly) hundreds of two-tone colors, but I can't find exactly "the ones", which are more subtle, colorwise, than most of them. Who says you can find everything on the internets?

When you hear someone else reading aloud the words you've written, it's on odd experience. Not cringe-worthy, like it might be if you heard a recording of yourself reading them, but you realize that every reader "hears" your words differently in his/her own head -- not exactly the way you hear them in your head. It makes you realize that you'll never know the exact effect your writing has until someone else reads it.

I had lunch yesterday in a crowded diner on the the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I was surprised to also see a somewhat famous comedian (initials J.M.), whose act I've never liked, also eating lunch in this rather downscale hamburger joint. Nobody was bothering him, staring, or asking for autographs, although the waiters seemed to be giving him some extra attention. It reminded me of why celebrities live in New York.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Link Mania

To make a long story short

The One Sentence archive is a collection of stories told in, yes, one sentence. The 50 most popular sentences/stories, as rated by visitors, are on the linked page, but as the site notes, "Just like high school...sometimes the losers are the cooler kids to hang around with."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Link Mania: Zootaxa


I typed my name into Google Story Creator, and this was the result:


Great Lakes Entomologist. 2005.

It actually went so close to perfect that we could hardly believe it.

And when they do, we nail them.
Those parts range literally from boots on our feet to satellites zipping overhead.

They had night vision gear, so they moved quickly.

Interesting. It seems to have something to do with a successful clandestine military or espionage mission (code name "Zootaxa"?) in 2005 that involved "nailing" an entomologist -- possibly near the Great Lakes. Some poor scientist studying insects at night - a real threat to the government? I wonder why my name generated such a creepy tale.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Word of the Day: fantods

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

fantods [FAN-tods](noun)

A state of extreme nervous irritability

"He said we mightn't ever get another chance to see one, and he was going to look his fill at this one if he died for it. So I looked too, though it gave me the fantods to do it."
--Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896)

Insects and other creepy-crawlies around the house give me the fantods. I don’t even like to look at bugs. I take off my glasses before squishing them.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Random Sequence

A weird, powerful stink came out out the the box, like a dead animal.... The first thing I noticed was a lot of money -- lots of little piles of strange-looking money tied up with string. They seemed to be mostly twenty- and fifty-dollar bills, though they looked bigger than regular bills. There was some other stuff in there, too: dusty whiskey bottles and what looked like old ledgers. But I didn't pay much attention to that stuff because lying on top of the money was a mummy -- a dried out corpse, literally skin and bones, dressed in ragged jeans and a T-shirt. And it only had one arm.
--from "The Iron Box" (by me), originally published in 3 AM Magazine.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Photo of the Week


This is "Candy", the plastic zebra. It's a long story. Short version: When Sandra, my 14-year-old niece, was grieving over the death of her pony (also named Candy), the family decided to contact Pet Memory Solutions, Inc., a company that creates life-size replicas of deceased animals. Sandra didn't want an exact duplicate, but rather one that honored Candy's, as she put it, "sweetness".

Actually, I just made that up. This is a display outside a pet store in my neighborhood. Click the pic for a closer look. You know you want to.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Fish Food for Thought

philosofish 42 small

Agree? More clip-art philosophy by me (and Anonymous). You can catch the BIG fish here. And more Philosofish here.