Monday, September 30, 2013

Link Mania: Twitter Litter

Lonely on Twitter? An outfit called Social News Watch, which claims to have been "keeping a close watch over social media since 1874" (huh?), has compiled a list of the Top 237 Twitter Users Who Will Follow You Back. These are power tweeters, with 10,000 to as many as 100,000+ followers, who apparently have a compulsion to follow anyone who follows them. She's not on the list, but have I told you that Yoko Ono follows me?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Word of the Day: operose

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

operose [OP-er-owss](adjective)

Industrious; diligent

Before his morning coffee, Winston was comatose; afterward, he was operose.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Random Sequence

"Uh huh," David said. They were at the door, and he was fumbling in his pocket under his coat. The sleet was stinging his face, and it seemed to take forever to fish the key out. He could feel her looking at him, but when he looked up, expecting to see impatience, she only looked sad.

"Want some coffee?" he asked when they were finally inside. She nodded. While he fixed it, she sat at the kitchen table, resting her face on her hands and letting her hair fall forward. She seemed to be examining the grain of the wooden table, as if her story was recorded there."
--from "Long Lost" (by me), originally published in Think.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Search Party

Here's another collection of recent search queries that brought seekers to this temple of scribomania, featuring the usual mix of obscure enthusiasms, weird obsessions, and trivial pursuits.

You have the vocabulary of an aspidistra in panic

An aspidistra is a flowering plant and also the name for "a British mediumwave radio transmitter used for black propaganda and military deception purposes against Nazi Germany during World War II," according to Wikipedia. I think I'd rather have the vocabulary of the latter, though when panic sets in, I probably sound more like the former.

diving bell and the butterfly

A fascinating French film about a stroke victim. For when you're in an insouciant mood.

rudolph the nasally empowered reindeer

It's a little early for Xmas, politically correct or not.

shoot luke or give up the gun

Give up the gun, I say.


We are, aren't we?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Head Rattle

My book is entitled The Word I'm Thinking Of, which is a phrase from a Beatles song ("The Word"). I discovered today that there's also a song by Sam Radseresht with the same title. (You can hear a sample from it on iTunes.) Meh. I don't think I'll be making it my theme song.

I wonder how many Tea Party people actually drink tea, or whether they serve tea at their rallies. They seem much more like Kool-Aid drinkers to me.

House flies only live for up to 14 days, I'm told, but I read an interesting article that points out that, to a fly, 14 days might seem like 80 years. They can process nearly seven times as much information in a second as a human -- which is why they are so hard to swat. We seem incredibly slow to them. To a fly, we live as long as giant Sequoias -- trees that thrive for thousands of years. It's all relative, said Professor Einstein. (Fly drawing by me.)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Brain Dump

Stop Making Sense

Those who had believed, completely or hypocritically, in the order or its transmissions from the Bay of Nujin, or the movements it inspired in the abnormal garden, counted each brick and nail of the sanatorium. It was no friend of the nations, despite its relative name. It pressed on each humid eye with difficulty, and it seemed to inspire rain for many years. Between the bits and pieces that could be visualized and the agitations of the newcomers, revisions became necessary, if only by example.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Word of the Day: caitiff

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

caitiff [KAY-tiff](noun)

A despicable coward; a wretch

When a bear cub wandered into the campsite, Mr. Jones pulled the children in front of himself. "Oh, you caitiff!" cried 10-year-old Penelope, the winner of the school spelling bee.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Link Mania

Words, words, words....

107 Regional Slang Words (YouTube) Frappe? Bubblers? How many do you know?

The True Origin Stories of 7 Happy Words It's "tickety-boo"!

20 awesomely untranslatable words from around the world You know, like mamihlapinatapei: "The wordless, yet meaningful, look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Random Sequence

He woke up at 2. At least he thought he was awake. His eyes were open, but his body felt heavy and cold. He could see Claire in bed next to him, sleeping, with her helmet of brown hair flopped over her eyes and her mouth opening and closing gently, like a fish.

There was a blue glow in the room, and he gradually realized that this was what had woken him. It wasn't coming from the window or the doorway. It was like the light from a TV set, he thought, but there was no set in the room. He rolled his eyes around slowly, trying to find the source.....
--from "Sleep" (by me), originally published by The 13th Story

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Photo of the Week


I'm so fed up with paying for bus and subway rides, that I've taken to riding my bike nearly everywhere. And to protest the high cost of New York City's transit fares, I've decided to attach all of my old MetroCards to every available surface of my trusty Schwinn. It's my ironic statement about the price of perambulation in this mighty metropolis. You might say I'm a "spokesman" for beleaguered Big Apple commuters.

Actually, I just made that up. This is a bicycle I observed on a side street in Manhattan and couldn't resist photographing -- just like you can't resist clicking on this pic for a close-up view.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Word of the Day: nutation

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

nutation [noo-TAY-shun] (noun)

A nodding of the head

"The audience's collective nutation convinced the dramatist to cut the fifteenth act."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Brain Dump

Let me take you down to business is bad boy band together we can do it was the best of times change your life on Mars invaded China dishes break the silence is golden parachute opens the door frame up to you never know your own strength in numbers don't lie down to business. The rain falls under the bridge the gap between the two by two steps forward march madness. I have a question authority to order in the court disaster planning a vacation time is money is the root cause and effect a change in the weather report to me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Random Sequence

"What the hell..." Nick began. The man on the other side was tied to a pine tree with several thick ropes. He was tall, thin, dark-haired -- not unlike Nick -- and dressed only in jeans and sneakers. The word SCALPED was scrawled on his naked chest with red paint or lipstick. He appeared to be in his early 30s, a little younger than Nick, and he wore an expression of embarrassment mixed with fear....

"Who are you?" asked Nick.

The stranger stared at him for a few seconds. Then he said, "I'm from Toronto."

There was an awkward silence, filled only by the sound of wind rushing through the trees.
--from "The Knot" (by me), originally published by Fiction Warehouse

Monday, September 09, 2013

The T&T List

White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer
Maya Deren
Olaf Swantee
DTaP Shot
Sunset at Montmajour
Milo O'Shea
Center for Brains, Minds and Machines
Do the Mutation

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Word of the Day: nephelococcygia

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

nephelococcygia [NEF-el-o-kok-SIJ-ee-uh](noun)

Cloud gazing; the act of looking for and finding shapes in clouds. Also, when capitalized, the name of Cloud-Cuckoo-Land in Aristophanes' The Birds

"Terrence spent Saturday prostrate in the yard and in nephelococcygia, finding inspiration in the thunderheads."

I remember seeing a lot of things in clouds as a kid: faces, cities, fabulous beasts. I can't really do that anymore, which is sad. Now I just see water vapor, though I still can't quite believe, sometimes, that I couldn't sit on one of those diaphanous thrones if I could just get up there.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Head Rattle

I was surprised to see that my new car's manual starts out with a poem extolling the manufacturer's products. I imagine the technical writer was surprised to be asked to include a few lines of verse -- or maybe even to compose it. Or not? Maybe all manuals start out with a poetic invocation in Japan.

Samovar, odalisque, balustrade, mesallied: The Decemberists are clearly a band of logophiles.

I downloaded the Twin Peaks Archive -- an eclectic collection of over 200 tracks, ranging from jazz to country western to dark ambient. It amounts to 10 hours of previously unreleased music from the extremely melodic TV series Twin Peaks and its prequel film, Fire Walk With Me. If a sample track title like "Log Lady Presence" doesn't resonate with you... I can't explain it.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Random Sequence

My mind begins to wander. I look over at Whiskers, who is now sitting up on the back of an overstuffed chair. He stares at me and cocks his furry head a little, and I'm reminded of the Cheshire Cat. "How do you know I'm mad?" Alice says, if I recall the book correctly. "You must be," says the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
--from "Because I Can" (by me), originally published by Eyeshot

cheshire cat

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Link Mania

"Zyunsis© is a tiny round caplet for the treatment of political instability. Do not take Zyunsis© if you are white, experience sadness or have soreness around the scrotum."

"Natzyo© is a gigantic black caplet for the treatment of bagingo degeneration. Just 6 doses of Natzyo© is enough to clear your bagingo degeneration all day."

"Allgoxil™ is a small suppository for the treatment of vein pain. Do not take Allgoxil™ if you hate diarrhea or experience finger depression."

Prescription Drug Name Generator

Monday, September 02, 2013

Word of the Day: sudoriferous

What's "the word I'm thinking of" this Labor Day? It's....

sudoriferous [soo-duh-RIF-er-us] (adjective)

Producing or secreting sweat

"'It is absurd to expect a man of my capabilities to engage in sudoriferous efforts,' declared Dr. Smith as the Major handed him a shovel. He considered any physical labor beneath him, much to the annoyance of the shipwrecked crew."


Be forewarned; the Google images for this word are icky.