Saturday, December 30, 2017

My Word of the Year: Kakistocracy

The Word I'm Thinking Of's word of the year is "kakistrocracy" (TWITO, page 79): government by the worst, most unprincipled, or least qualified.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

'Connubial Yin Yang' (microfiction)

"What do you call that color? It's awful," said Everett when Mandy showed him how she'd painted their bedroom.

"I call it 'Mocha,'" said Mandy. "That's what it says on the can, too."

"I call it 'Squishy Wormwood,'" said Everett.

"That's just artless persiflage," Mandy replied. "It's better than it was. Much better. Warmer. Before, it was...'Droopy Milkiness.' That's the name for it. It was all milky. And droopy."

"Oh, it was better than that," Everett insisted. "It was lighter. Not depressing. It was the logical color for a bedroom. It had a certain... a certain 'Funky Syllogism' to it. That's what I would call it: 'Funky Syllogism.'"

"Whatever," Mandy averred with unquestioning imperturbability as she rolled her eyes.

"Tell you what," Everett suggested. "Let's paint two walls Squishy Wormwood and the other two Funky Syllogism."

"A compromise? Mocha and Milky Droopiness?" Mandy said. "What will we call that combo?"

"Connubial Yin Yang," Everett said as they collapsed into bed.

[not to be continued]

Friday, November 24, 2017

Christmas Gift Idea

"A dictionary makes a great Christmas gift."
--Unknown (possibly Noah Webster)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Parabolic Avocation (microfiction)

Parabolic Avocation

"You're a soprano warbler," I see, said Edwin. "I mean... I hear."

"This again? That's just farcical perverseness", said Enid. "You know I'm alto."

"Nope, soprano," said Ed. "No needful capitulation from me."

"Pugnacious imbecility," Enid warbled.

"Wiggly grayness," Ed said.

"What?" said Enid.

"Test phrase. Try singing that phrase in your highest register."

"Wigglyyy graaaynesssss," Enid sang. "Oh this is barefaced imbecility," she said.

"No, soprano," Ed insisted. "You can do better than that."

"Now we're wandering into sterotypical happenstance," Enid said. "We've been all through this before."

"You could break a glass with that voice," said Ed, with circumscribed garrulousness.

Enid laughed. "I could try. My Baccarat crystal stemware? Would you drop this if I can't do it? Or fix it if I can?

"Cohesive epoxy, right here," said Ed, opening a drawer.

"Your obsession with always being right is a parabolic avocation," Enid sighed, raising the nearest glass.

It was the one Ed had already sabotaged with a hairline crack.

[not to be continued]

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts: Is Your Dragon "Epouventable"?

Is your dragon "epouventable"(frightful)?

You could ask your "deipnosophist" (excellent dinner-table conversationist) to pass the "attic salt" (incisive wit).

My father had a "go-devil", but it wasn't a ghost (as this phrase sometimes means); it was a tool for splitting wood.

What's your opinion of "ultracrepidarians" (those who offer uninformed opinions)?


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Word of the Day: SYLVESTRAL

Word of the Day: sylvestral [SYL-vess-truhl] (adjective), TWITO, page 144. Pertaining to trees. "Xavier, lost in a thicket, was nevertheless awed by the sylvestral beauty of the canopy overhead."

Photo by me!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Much Ado About Nothing? Archaeologists Discover Mysterious Void Deep Within the Great Pyramid

A monolithic cenotaph of stone hides another enigmatic void. Even a 4,500-year old secret can't stay hidden from the prying sensors of cosmic rays ("muons") that can slice through five million tons of masonry like penetrating thoughts. What sleeps in the stale, absolute dark inside? A desiccated corpse dreaming away the centuries? If so, this isn't at all the afterlife that some pharaoh's wife or courtier expected. No supermen with the bodies of lions, no dog-headed deities pointing to an Elysium along the Nile. Just online fame, curious clickers, salivating for the glint of a golden sarcophagus, avoiding their horror vacui, resisting a vague kenophobia over a void that may, in fact, be a big and very old nothing.

Archaeologists Discover Mysterious Void Deep Within the Great Pyramid of Giza

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Word of the Day: RADIOLARIAN

Word of the Day: radiolarian. Radiolarians are microscopic, single-celled organisms that live in the ocean and have intricate skeletons.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Pianissimo Famine (microfiction)

Pianissimo Famine

"I'm a little tired of this macrobiotic library of comestibles," said a cautious Nat as he poured Serena a glass of Gewurztraminer wine. He was famished after a week of seemingly nothing but her kitchen repertoire of quinoa and lentils. "Can't we have some real food?"

"Real food? Stop nagging. We can take a break from our pianissimo famine, if that's how you think of it. It was only an experiment," said Serena. He could see she was disappointed in him.

"I have an unexplored urge for a seaboard repast," suggested Nat -- though what he really craved was a Big Mac infused with cheese. "With a contemporaneous herring," he added.

"And maybe some portentous sauce to go with it?" she queried.

"Sarcasm! But...yes! And a vinaigrette opportunity."

"Fish and a salad..." Serena mused. "You do realize that both can be prepared and consumed without straying from our macrobiotic meal plan?"

"Whatever. Just please include some dessert, honey," said Nat.

"Honey for dessert? I just happen to have a delicious jar of unimaginable local honey," Serena said. "But we'll have to think of something to spread it on."

"Toast?" Nat suggested.

"To us!" Serena said, smiling superciliously as she raised her glass.

Nat realized it was going to be a long and ravenous evening.

[Not to be continued]

Saturday, September 02, 2017

A Grandiloquent Parrot?

I've been reading the novel Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes. It's full of unusual words that I'm compiling into a list. Here they are below, with parts of speech and meanings. I wonder if someone could teach a parrot to say these words?

indurate (verb: harden)

propinquity (noun: proximity, close kinship)

eulogium (noun: eulogy)

orchidaceous (adjective: like an orchid)

ipsophagy (noun [neologism]: the eating of bear meat)

execration (noun form of execrate: to curse, abhor, damn, denounce)

glabrous (adjective hairless)

crepuscular (adjective: dim, like twilight)

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Effervescent Kleptomania (microfiction)

Composer Elias Auchenshuggle was hard at work on "Tangier Bongo", his latest commercial jingle, intended to make snackers hanker after some kind of "psychopathic" (he thought) pre-packaged fondue. The balky synthesizer was giving him trouble, though, as it occasionally spit out random wheezes and burps, like a drunken calliope. Finally, however, the soaring crescendo he was after emerged with kingliest intensification. "Ahh", he whispered. "All I need now is a sample from some old disco diva's middle eight." After much consideration and fiddling with his M-Audio Torq MixLab Digital DJ System, it turned out to be a bouncy quote from "Get Dancin'," by Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes. Elias spliced it in, proud of his effervescent kleptomania, which latterly helped to increase fondue sales by 500 percent -- pleasing his corporate overlords no end.

[not to be continued]

Wandering Word Thoughts: "Oh, you knuckylbonyard!"

"Then my leg fell asleep, so I made ambitious circles with my feet, like a nervous orangutan, to cure my obdormition." (TWITO, page 99) It's a fancy way of saying one of your limbs fell asleep.

Why call someone a knucklehead when you can call him a "knuckylbonyard"? Means the same thing, but you'll get eloquence points.

Here's a conversation starter: Try telling someone they're a "snoutfair" today, and see how that goes. It refers to someone's charming and handsome appearance, with a hint of the devilish.

"floccinaucinihilipilification" (TWITO, page 55) is one of the longest (non-scientific) words in the dictionary. Say it 10 times fast! It means the judgement of something as worthless -- a real nothing -- like, for example, a penny. Almost.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Brobdingnagian Splotch

Jupiter, brobdingnagian gasbag of the solar system, has a gargantuan red spot. And when I say gargantuan, I mean titanic. A few planets, including Earth, could spin within its roiling vortex, which, to me, looks irate. Yes, Zeus is livid, who knows why, but he confines his fury to a single splotch, a hurricane of ire, gigantic to us but a pinwheel to him, while clouds of happier thoughts glide by in serene bands. If only we could all have our own red spot, a mental whirligig to confine our churning agitation to, while peace reigns in the rest of our sphere.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts: Do We ALL Live in a Yellow Submarine?

Did you hear the appoggiatura in that song? (That's an ornamental note, related melodically to the main note.)


Are you watching the new Twin Peaks? Lots of gapeseed from Mr. Lynch. (gapeseed = an astonishing sight)


"Before his morning coffee, Winston was comatose; afterword, he was operose." (TWITO, page 103) To be "operose" is to be industrious.


A honeypot is not at all sweet! It's a decoy computer server designed to divert hackers.


You could find Northern Lights in a yellow submarine. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! (Northern Lights is a strain of marijuana, and a "yellow submarine" is slang for a joint.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Word of the Day: Is It a 'Ghoti' or Is It a 'Fish'?

ghoti [fish](noun)

Alternate spelling of "fish"

"'What's this on the menu?’ Jordan asked. 'It says Ghoti.' 'I think they mean fish,' Sheila replied. 'The chef is a bit pretentious.'" (TWITO, page 60)

"Ghoti" can be pronounced like "fish":

gh, pronounced like "f" as in tough;
o, pronounced like "i" as in women; and
ti, pronounced like "sh" as in nation

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts: Thunderation!

Be aware that in Japanese, "aware" means "the bittersweetness of a brief, fading moment of transcendent beauty".


Thunderation! Better to be a fopdoodle than a mumblecrust, right? All of those are historical curse words.


The paperback edition of my book isn't a dusty, moldering (seeming) "incunabulum" (TWITO, page 72) like the ones in this picture. And the Kindle and audiobook editions definitely are not: The Word I'm Thinking Of

(Technically, an "incunabulum" is a book printed before the 16th century.)

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Climate Isn't Just About the Weather

Climate isn't just about the weather. We have a mental and emotional climate too, and the atmosphere changes. Now we seem, at times, to live in an alternate universe, a cracked mirror world (yeah, "through the lookinglass") where thinkable thoughts include "off with her [his] head", Isis abdicates as an Egyptian goddess, and a killcow's crazy neologisms ("covfefe"?) presage a rising, inchoate tempest. Have you read the news today? Oh, boy.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts: Whodunit?

Do you prefer a "whodunit", a "howdunit", or a "howdhecatchem"? Those are all words associated with mystery stories. So is "gumshoe", another word for a detective. I've always wanted to write a detective story about a "gumshoe" whose favorite album is Rubber Soul.


So the word "artichoke" comes from the Arabic "al-khurshoof"? Gesundheit, I say!


Spy vs. phylactologist? A "phylactologist" is another word for a spy. (Coined by novelist Kingsley Amis in his 1966 book The Anti-Death League.)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts: All You Need Is "Felechazo"?

Go here, there, and everywhere, thanks to "holoportation". That's virtual teleporting via 3-D videocams.


"Parlous" means full of risk or danger -- like in a cliffhanger.


All you need is..."felechazo"? It refers to being struck by Cupid's arrow -- in Spanish.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts: Silly "Wabbit"?

Why toddle when you can "shoggle" or "warple"? Both are old-fashioned words for precarious ambling.


Is your dossier full of "kompromat"? That's a Russian word for information gathered for the purpose of blackmailing someone. Could be a useful word someday soon.


Is your rabbit "wabbit"? It means exhausted or sickly.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Talking to Ed about Trumpcare

Mr. Ed: Whoa, Wilburrr. You have a pre-existing condition?

Wilbur: Yes, I do.

Mr. Ed: I'm a bit surprised. What is it, Wilburrr?

Wilbur: Don't YOU know?

Mr. Ed: Neigh!

Wilbur: I'm talking to you aren't I? It's a mental health condition.

Mr. Ed: Can't you see a doctor about that, Wilburrrr? So you can be more...stable?

Wilbur: Not with Trumpcare. Not if the state gets a waiver to eliminate mental health coverage. I would have to pony up for it myself. I don't want to be saddled with that!

Mr. Ed: What a nightmare. But I'll be your shrink, Wilburrrr.

I guess you'll have to be, Ed.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts: Firenado!

Here's wishing you a cwtch. Don't you just love those Welsh words that have no vowels? (It means a hug.)


No, "sharknado" is not an actual weather word. Aren't you glad? But firenado is. That's a vortex that rises from a fire, carrying smoke and flame.


If you don't want to call it a lie, you can at least describe it as twistical (meaning inclined to twist the truth).


Let's use more interjections, dagnabbit!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts

Are you a "pochemuchka" (someone who asks too many questions)? Forget I asked!


You may think my blog is "floccinaucinihilipilification" (meaning worthless -- TWITO, page 55), but I don't.


Lord Cardigan led the Charge of the Light Brigade, but now he's known for a cozy sweater.


"Misodoctakleidist" (TWITO, page 89) means someone who hates practicing the piano. "Like me," I would have said at age 8.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Connecting the Dots: Trumpisms

Donald Trump keeps saying "I will tell you this" before he tells us something. I take it as an admonition to engage my skepticism. But maybe I should preface my own portentous utterances with a similar throat-clearing mini prologue, in case I say something stupid -- a fair warning. Something like "Let me say this about that" (another unpopular president's favorite preamble) or just "now hear this!"

Monday, April 03, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts

"Gumsuck me goodbye, honey!" Gumsuck is a 19th-century slang term for "kiss". Ewww....


To thine own ipseity be true. Ipseity is a word for "selfhood" or the ability to be oneself.


Any other epeolatrists out there? Epeolatry is the worship of words.


One of my favorite words is fulgent (meaning "shining brightly"). "Unable to sleep, he wandered the hills that night, under the fulgent moon." (TWITO, page 58)


Are you sesquipedalian? Then you like to use long words.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts

Are you "sesquipedalian"? If so, you like to use long words.


Is your bunny a "whorson glassegazing superfinicall rogue"? If so, you're rabbit is vain.


"Face-palm" about all the "train wrecks" in the news these days. And that Merriam-Webster has now added those words to its dictionary.


You're probably "chuffed" if you already know a lot of British phrases. Proud, that is.


Do you believe in "flechazo" at first sight? That's when you've been pricked by Cupid's (Spanish) arrow.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts

Haven't you always wanted to find a word that means "resembling an ostrich"? It's "ratite".


Do you have a "perfervid" imagination? Good, if you put it to good use. That means it's intense.


How about "dacoit" (TWITO, page 39)? You may want to steal that one. It refers to a bandit.


Quick, Scrabble fans, what's a five-letter word for "a type of Inuit parka"? Atigi!


If you're here, I assume you don't have "logophobia" (fear of words).

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts

"Otherkin" (adjective) was recently added to Oxford Dictionaries. It denotes people who identify as non-human. Hmm. Are you glad we finally have a word for that?


There are 18 ways to say "awesome" according to this site:

18 ways

But they forgot "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"!


A "gobemouche" (TWITO, page 61) is a credulous person. It literally means "someone who swallows flies". (Think about it with your mouth open.)


So Merriam and Webster can't agree on the pronunciation of "GIF". I'd say it's a hard G, like in....well, Gates.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Two FREE Kindle e-Books

Fire up your e-readers! My two Kindle editions on Amazon are FREE from February 19th through February 23rd. A funny dictionary and a scary story -- what a combination! Both have 4.5-star ratings (out of 5) on Amazon.

The Word I'm Thinking Of
The Iron Box

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts

You just did not want to make Shakespeare angry. He had plenty of poetic ways to insult someone. Call someone a "dizzy-eyed dewberry" today. I dare you!


"Just because you're pronoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to help you." ("Pronoid" means the opposite of "paranoid".)


Haven't you always wanted a word for "a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery"? It's "litost".


Forsooth, you may think this list a fandangle, but I find it goodly:

archaic words

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts

A great German word is "Backpfeifengesicht", meaning "a face you badly want to punch".

Hooray for "yarooh" and other backwards words! According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "yarooh" is "a humorous stylized representation of a cry of pain."

Don't you just love some good "semordnilap"? (Read it backwards!)

Yes, we need a word that means "To move hot food around in your mouth". It's "pelinti", a Ghanian word.

TWITO, page 60: "Only Desmond’s gelastic comments made the tedious seminar bearable." "Gelastic" means "pertaining to laughter".

YYUR; YYUB. ICUR YY4me. Or are you?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Wandering Word Thoughts

Do you know anyone who "worships" Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe? That's "necrolatry" -- worship of the dead.

I suggest bringing back the old-fashioned word "trumpery". (See below.)

Were you feeling some "awumbuk" after the holiday's? That's the feeling of emptiness after your guests leave. (Okay, maybe you weren't feeling that.)

"'Very' is the most useless word in the English language and can always come out. More than useless, it is treacherous because it invariably weakens what it is intended to strengthen." --Mark Twain. Very true! Ooops.

I imagine you can't ever unsee a "grandissimus". That's the penis of a whale.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Word of the Day: boggler

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

boggler (noun)

Someone who hesitates because of fear or doubt

"You have been a boggler ever:
But when we in our viciousness grow hard—
O misery on't !—the wise gods seel our eyes;
In our own filth drop our clear judgments; make us
Adore our errors; laugh at's, while we strut
To our confusion."
--William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, Act III, scene 13

To be or not to be? Isn't that the question, Will?