Thursday, October 31, 2013

Photo of the Week

norm head

For Halloween tonight, I went as a big headache. I went around deliberately annoying people at the party, asking everyone for Tylenol. A woman reached into her purse and gave me Midol instead. She said I looked bloated.

Actually, I just made that up. This is a picture of an artist friend at the JCAST opening party earlier this month. I was lucky to get the shot, since he didn't keep the behemothic noggin on too long. (He quit while he was ahead.) Click the pic for closer examination. Yes, for free.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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

bloviate [BLOW-vee-ayt] (verb)

To write or speak windily and verbosely

"'I am reluctant to question Horace,' Natalia said, glancing nervously at the cuckoo clock. 'He has such a tendency to bloviate.'"

TWITO, page 22!

Random Sequence

Ivan didn't mind doing the dishes. In fact, he enjoyed it. There was something soothing and almost meditative about immersing his hands in the warm water, squeezing the sponge and wandering through the white clouds of soap suds, searching for sunken forks. Even the greasy pans and plates didn't bother him. He liked transforming their dirty faces into smooth, clean circles of porcelain and steel. It all seemed to take a lifetime, but he didn't mind.
--from "The Man and the Watch" (by me), originally published by Hudson Current

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The T&T List


Perlan II
Jacques Monod
the sinoatrial node
Abdellatif Kechiche
Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital
Santo Spirito
Boomerang Nebula
Jingpo Lacus
Horace Higginbotham
Apache MyFaces
Maenohama Station

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Word of the Day: animadvert

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

animadvert [an-uh-mad-VERT] (verb)

To remark or comment critically, usually with censure or strong disapproval; used with "on" or "upon"

"'If you are going to animadvert upon my nose ring, Mother,' said Mariellen, 'allow me to critique your collagen injections.'"

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Random Sequence

He didn't believe in prayer, but he did believe in intuition and a higher self, or whatever it was.

"Tell me what to do," he thought, addressing the cosmos. "Tell me if I should structure the deal or shoot it straight, the fancy or the plain...."

Just then, he felt something cold in his lap. He looked down and saw a lump of something glistening and white, a blank blob of undifferentiated frozen creaminess oozing between his legs.

The kid was looking up at him with a solemn expression. "Vanilla," he said.
--from "Vanilla" (by me), originally published in Hudson Current

Monday, October 21, 2013

Random Acts of Poetry

I received an unexpected gift today: a poetic piece of non-sequitur spam in my email.


A heaven, yet unseen.
From where he stood to preach and pressed a path

We have learned its lessons in life, and learned from our experiences;
Shells for guns in Flanders! Feed the guns!
(Children in boxes at a play

Pinched up the atom hills and plains)


It makes weird pictures in my mind. And yes, nonsense probably is "the oldest song".

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Link Mania: Zombie Word Attack!

"There are a number of different ways to refer to the living corpse."

The good folks (and obsessive logophiles) at Wordnik have blogged about zombie-related words, which you may want to spook your friends with while conversing at the Halloween party.

They've also posted quite a howler about werewolf words.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Word of the Day: suilline

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

suilline [SOO-il-line](adjective)

Of or relating to pigs

"Little Freida’s suilline appetite surprised everyone at the table."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Link Mania: cliché

You can say that again

Is there anything so popular as a cliché? The Cliche Challenge tracks the voguishness of overused words and phrases, based on the number of references to them found by Google over a three-month period. Bottom line? At the end of the day, visiting this state-of-the-art site could be an historic opportunity, if you're monitoring the situation.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Random Sequence

"Gonna rain soon, I'm afraid," the man said in a wistful voice, to no one in particular, though Marcus was the only person nearby. Then he turned and spoke to Marcus directly: "Gonna get wet," he said.

Marcus shifted his weight from one foot to the other. It was the wrong thing to say to someone who had to pee.

"I'm not sticking around," Marcus said. "I gotta go. I really gotta go."

The man smiled. He had a kind, crinkly face. "You know what they say," he said.

"No, what do they say?" Marcus asked.

The man pointed to toward a thick clump of bushes and trees at the edge of the graveyard. "All the world is a man's urinal."
--from "Scattered to the Winds" (by me), originally published in Hudson Current

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Photo of the Week


Strange, doughnut-shaped molds or fungus-like entities recently invaded my old suitcase. They ate away both sides of it, as well as some old T-shirts I was keeping in there. I should throw the whole thing away, but watching the... things... inside grow and multiply is strangely fascinating. I wonder if they will eventually consume the entire suitcase. And then what?

Actually, I just made that up. This is an art piece I photographed at the opening party for the recent JCAST (Jersey City Artists Studio Tour). Click the pic for a closer look. You know you want to.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

World of the Day: salmagundi

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

salmagundi [sal-muh-GUN-dee](noun)

A mixture or assortment; a medley; a potpourri; a miscellany

"Clive, an inveterate packrat, lived amidst a heaping salmagundi of inutile junk."

(TWITO, page 129)

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Search Party

Someone fired up their computer, turned to the Internet (Yahoo specifically), and asked:

what is a modern insult that means thou stale old mouse eaten dry cheese?

That brought them to one of my archived pages, which contained this list of "Shakespearean insults":

Thine face is not worth sunburning!
Thou qualling fat-kidneyed apple-john!
How now my sweet creature of bombast?
Thou warped common-kissing wagtail!
Truly thou art damned, like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side!
Your bedded hairs, like life in excrements, start up and stand on end!
Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon!
Sell your face for five pence and 'tis dear!
How now, wool-sack, what mutter you?
Thou hath not so much brain as ear wax!
Thou stale old mouse eaten dry cheese!
Thou wimpled tardy-gaited pigeon-egg!

I have to admit I'm stumped for any modern equivalent -- perhaps I have more earwax than brain -- and anyway I wouldn't even try to best Will in the insult department.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Random Sequence

"My dad -- my dad. He fired my dad, also."

"What? What do you mean?" I asked.

"My dad was a gardener. He liked working outdoors. He worked for that guy. Said his padre owns radio stations. One day my dad was hanging a big basket full of plants over that glass porch thing. My dad fell off a ladder and broke right through a big window. My dad was cut up kind of bad. But Mr. Bastard.... He said it was my dad's fault. Called him clumsy, told him to clean it up -- the blood and everything."
--from "Dark Eyes" (by me), originally published in Twilight Times

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Brain Dump

Be the narcotic. Gently, play your games with fire. Each lying area, whether a field of fallen ruins or an impassable jungle, emerges as wakefulness when sleep reverses -- like an endlessly spiral stairway. Consider: an old city of shadows still keeps track of its citizens, even when they have disappeared, subsumed by exhaustive construction, or obliterated by implacable, yet patient, nature. Time's sand reinforces all. A dreamer's fractured mirror, in which the river of desire frees the mind from reality, generates carousels of birds, even as the dreamer loses himself within their spectral penumbra. Internal acacias thrive in the synaptic breeze off the conceptual sea, as mental clouds flee in formation, weeping joyful water from the sky. Such things are possible if you will but relax, assume a mask of light and accept these directions. Illusions melt in the beauty of intention, the shaping of the third eye, of the many faceted soul.

Don't worry about it.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Word of the Day: ninnyhammer

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

ninnyhammer [NIN-ee-ham-er](noun)

A fool, simpleton or silly person

"You silly, awkward, illbred, country sow...have you no more manners than to rail at Hocus, that has saved that clodpated numskull'd ninnyhammer of yours from ruin, and all his family?"
--John Arbuthnot, "The History of John Bull" (1712)

Sometimes I think I’d have to be a ninnyhammer to collect all of these obscure words. I’ve been doing it for years, without a clear idea of what I would do with them. Then one day I realized I could collect them in a book, achieving fame and fortune. The rest is history.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Photo of the Week: Evil Clown

evil clown

After my Great Aunt Mildred died, I inherited this ancient cast-iron clown/automaton, which I remember her scaring me with as a tot. Press a button on the back and its eyes blink and it sticks its tongue out at you -- which used to make me cry. That she left it to me in her will may have been an act of sheer perversity. Or perhaps a way of making amends for terrifying me with it. The appraised auction value of this weighty little monster is over $2000.

Actually, I just made that up. This is an antique clown-shaped piggy bank I photographed last August at the Bouckeville Antiques fair. Click the pic for a close-up view... if you dare.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Much Ado about NOTHING

Free Money

I looked down and there it was: a small, folded piece of green and gray paper on the sidewalk, with the number 20 printed on one corner. The Victorian font made it look like a twenty-dollar bill, but I doubted it. Probably a coupon or an advertisement for some 900-number phone-sex scam, I thought, picking it up (just in case). I unfolded it, and there he was: Andrew Jackson with his shock of wind-swept hair, looking more like a mad scientist than a 19th-century president. A real twenty -- or was it? I held it up to the sun, half expecting it to be counterfeit. The ghostly little hologram of Jackson's face appeared. Genuine. What luck! Right away, as I stuffed it into my pocket, I began to feel guilty. Who had dropped it? Probably some cash-strapped single mom with a squalling baby to feed. I thought about spending it, saving it, donating it to charity, or even dropping it. Surely someone more deserving than middle-class me would find it, someone who regularly stooped to pick up all the lost pennies I was too lazy to retrieve from the sidewalk. Before I could decide, I arrived back home from my walk. Ambivalence, my old enemy, had triumphed again. Only this time I was $20 richer in defeat. For now, the improbable bill resides in my wallet, in my back pocket. I'm sitting on it, warming it, thinking about it, but I'll probably forget about it sooner or later. And it will disappear, like all the others, into some merchant's cash register. Easy go.