Monday, September 24, 2007

Assorted R-A-T-S

In The Washington Post's
Style Invitational weekly humor contest, the contest was to create words containing, contiguously, the letters A, S, T and R, in any order.

Here's a sampling:

Fourth Runner-up: First-Rationalizer: Unofficial title of the White House press secretary. (Peter Metrinko, Chantilly)

Third Runner-up: E-fenestration: tossing out your old version of Windows. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Second Runner-up: The winner of the dinosaur poop fossil: Retrash: To have a yard sale to get rid of all the junk you picked up at other people's yard sales. (Dot Yufer, Newton, W.Va.)

And the Winner Of the Inker:

Oughtacrats: People who have half a mind to solve all the world's problems with their brilliant ideas, one of these days . . . (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village)

The STRA-gglers:

Overstraightment: I am not gay. I never have been gay. The men I have sex with are not gay either. (Chris Doyle, Kihei, Hawaii)

Dorkestra: A kazoo ensemble. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Drivertashk: A DUI test. "See, offisher, I can touch my noezh! Gimme another drivertashk, like balanshing on the light wine!" (Randy Lee, Burke)

Arstistic: Able to make creative butt-pictures on the photocopier. (Stacey Kenkeremath, Alexandria)

Reprocrastinate: Put off having children. (Dan and Suzanne Colilla, Pittsburgh)

I-strain: What egotists give others. (Tom Witte)

B'arstool: What's left after a grizzly sits in the woods. (Chris Doyle)

Aversatile: Repelled by anything. (Jay Shuck, Minneapolis)

The rest of the "winners" (also fondly known as Losers) are

Typically, the "honorable mentions" are even funnier than the top winners. Agree?

(Notice: Pawlie Kokonuts, The Erstwhile Laughorist, may take a week off from blogging to work on a short story or two, in an attempt to get published in the real world, using his real non-nom de plume. Carry on.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Coin of the Realm

In the U.S., there's talk of Congress (no, not that kind of congress, Puss) changing the rules, so to speak, for the abysmally unsuccessful Sacagawea gold coins. (By unsuccessful, I don't mean lacking in profitable or revenue-producing or collectible attributes. I mean: Dude, does anybody use them? Same goes for the new Presidential coins gimmick.)

Somehow, the Powers-That-Would-Be think and feel that adding ever-changing designs to the coin will work.

Listen up, boys and girls in the Halls of Power:

It ain't going to work unless you end, delete, stop printing, cease from production the paper dollar bill of the same denomination. Nobody will care, not even if you depict sequential scenes from Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's infamous alleged honeymoon video.

Wake up.

Take a look at what Canada does. They not only don't use paper for singles; they also have no paper for two-dollar currency, instead relying on the "loonie" and "twonie" coins respectively.

Euros? They use coins for one's and two's, not paper.

Certainly not both paper and coins for those denominations.

It is moronic. (And we're not even discussing the lack of variable colors for variable denominations.)

Hey, I love the coins (well, not exactly; some of the artwork is atrocious), but it is hideously stupid to think the coins will work while the paper dollar bills continue.

Idiotic bureaucrats and politicians making idiotic decisions.

Metaphor, anyone?

p.s. I just figured it out. The strippers' and lapdancers' lobbies are so powerful they don't want to phase out US$1 bills because of their popularity for tips [the antecedent for the pronoun "their" is the noun "bills"] (incidentally, did you American folks know there are $2 bills?). C'mon, Strippers and Lapdancers Amalgamated Interest Group: Coins will work just fine. Ca-ching.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When in Doubt. . .

When in doubt, haiku (or punt if you're 4th and 17).

To wit:

Dusky light splashing

September's well-dressed branches

Squirrels stocking up

Pruning green hedges

Fresh-cut timber aroma

Dead vole in the grass

Shadows of sunset

Fall on Hopperesque buildings

Missing May's finches

Monday, September 17, 2007

Commodities Trader

So, as I'm getting a haircut on Saturday, Don the Barber, who is also an uber therapist and who shares my birthday plus 12 years, engages in easy banter with me, his loyal subject. How are things, work, the kids, wife, etc.

BULLETIN: Portions of our discussion were privileged and confidential. What follows is a redacted version of the episode.

How's the ballet dancer?

She's okay; trying to sort out boyfriend stuff, I guess.

I thought most of those guys were gay.

Most are; that'
s what makes this guy a wanted commodity.

I love that phrase.

What ph
rase, Don?

'A wanted commodity.' I don't think I've ever been called tha
t. I don't think I've ever been a wanted commodity.

Tell me about it.
You missed a little wisp up there at the top, Don.

(Laugh? Thought we'd die.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Time's Quiver

The arrow of time points

backwards as well as forwards:

Why, I wonder,

Am I enthralled by this

At dazzling speed more

Than in 'real' time

In the city of lights

And shadows and movement?

Postscriptum de Poste Riceroni Recondite

A poetic postscripted post-it regarding my previous post:

The if is

Infinite think of the alcoholic who

Savors oblivion yet does

Not drink it the one

Who says enough is

Not in my vocabulary enough

Only translates to more

Riding the same razor

Track of murder, mayhem, and valor

If only they knew.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hamming It Up

The deli counter at Wegmans, amidst a crowd of ravenous shoppers, Sunday night. Hautboys.

I take my little numbered slip out of the dispenser. It reads "05." My number gets called.

A quarter pound of Wunderbar bologna, please.

The clerk, an elderly woman, maybe in her sixties, with short hair and almost manly features, soon hands me a plastic bag with the contents as ordered.

Anything else? she asks.

Sure, ham-off-the-bone, a third of a pound.

[We interrupt this program to declare: "Ham-off-the-bone" is not a term I will touch with a 10-foot Pole, or a 6-foot Swede. HAAHAHAHAHAHAHA.]

Honeyed? she inquires.

Um, I don't know. No. Regular (even though I don't even know what "regular" is).

A fellow employee walks up to the clerk, asking her to take something; it looks like lemon chicken; he asks her to weigh it and put a price sticker on it.

Do you mind if I do this?

No, I say, quarter truthfully but not expecting any significant delay.

The clerk goes to the opposite end. She is weighing, wrapping, weighing, wrapping, putting containers on the scale to get the tare weight. She is nodding upward to read through her bifocals. This is taking a long time. Numbers 07, 08, 09, and 10 are being called. I start to feel like an idiot and begin to fume. I begin to loathe my personally appointed sales associate serving Mr. Pawlie fecking Kokonuts himself. I consider just walking off. Screw it. Maybe come back later with, say, a lovely new number, maybe 24, Willie Mays's number.

I hold off.

She comes back to be.

Thank you so much for waiting, she says with touching earnestness.

That's all right, I lie, starting to feel like an impatient fool, but grateful I did not storm off.

Many people wouldn't be that patient. I really appreciate it, she declares.

That's okay, I say.

What did you want? she asks, almost maternally

A third of a pound of ham.

It looks as if she's a few slices off. In my impatience, I'm waving her off, as if to say, Don't bother, don't worry about it, I wanted a little more than a third of a pound anyway. But, aha! I begin to realize she is throwing those extra slices in there after everything was weighed as a gift, as a thank you for my perceived "patience."

I thank her, and continue shopping, making a note to blog about this when I get around to blogging again.

Internally, I was not at all patient.

Externally, to her, I was a paragon of patience.

Does it still count?

(It used to be a mortal sin in my conscience, even if I thought the impure thought.)

Incidentally, my knowledge of Latin from back in high school, from my seminary days, tells me patience comes from the Latin word meaning "to suffer," "to endure."

I guess impatience can be a sort of albatross.

Incidentally once again, The Online Etymology Dictionary is a great resource. I recommend it; the site offers opportunities to sponsor words, teasing readers to send someone lust.


(Disclaimer: No actual meat was consumed in the typing of this post.)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hello, I Must Be Going

Ain't going nowhere but here.

The title is stolen from The Incredible String Band, or "The Stringies," as some of us called them, back in the day, the "day" being 1967, the year that The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album came out. That year, people in the U.K. selected 5000 Spirits or The Layers of the Onion by The Incredible String Band as album of the year, if memory serves me well (and, really, does memory ever serve any of us faithfully, Monsieur Proust?).
The weekend of Woodstock I saw ISB at a folk festival in NYC, along with Odetta, Tim Hardin, and others.

Hello. Goodbye.

Surrender to Win.

Lose to Gain.

"Come in we're closed."

Our paradoxes are our epiphanies, if we but see the signs before us.

The sign above was seen in a doorway of a closed bookstore, last Sunday, in Geneseo, New York, just after our trip to Letchworth State Park, "Grand Canyon of the East."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My, My, Maimonides

Maybe you saw this. A Muslim owner of a $4.6-million racehorse named his horse Maimonides. The owner's good-will and peace gesture honors Moses Maimonides, the great Jewish philosopher who lived more than 800 years ago.

The New York Times Sports section featured a photo of Orthodox Jewish kids visiting the horse. (No, contrary to rumors, the rabbi leading the field trip was not there to certify whether the horse was circumcised. Bad-da-boom. Calm down. It's a joke!)

Now, all we need are 5,677,439 to the ninth degree (I don't know how to make those superscript numerals on my blog) more heartfelt gestures like that for us to put our heads on our planetary pillows for a peaceful night's repose.

Speaking of Maimonides,


What a guy!

Blogging has its surprises. I like what I've learned already about Mr. M.M. He wrote medical and other aphorisms (but apparently not that many laughorisms, but I could be wrong). Cool. He wrote A Guide for the Perplexed (which sounds useful to me). And he espoused apophatic theology, as did my beloved Meister Eckhart. I learned this through listening to Tony DeMello tapes in 1993. Apophatic theology, or the Via Negativa, sort of says, "I can't tell you who or what God is. too mysterious. Maybe we can start by imagining what God is not.' I like that socks-inside-out stuff, to use the term of my late friend Sam Patterson.

Two bucks on Maimonides in the fifth.

Fly, baby, fly.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Confessions of an Anachronism

Call me Anachronism. And why is that? I am an anachronism (albeit a proud anachronism) because:
  1. I wear slippers.
  2. I wear pajamas.
  3. Communal meal times are sacred and should not be marred by one's answering the phone or watching television. (If one is alone, anything goes.)
  4. I use the word "one" like an old fuddy-duddy (see above).
  5. I use the word anachronism.
  6. I loathe multitasking.
  7. The demands and rigors of quotidian, paid labor do not intercede upon my every waking hour and every thought in my head (except for all-consuming anxiety, paranoia, and neurosis related to same).
  8. I read books (fiction even! and poetry!).
  9. I read newspapers -- in print.
  10. I watch news (worse yet, I listen to news reports on the radio).
  11. I have not the slightest idea how to use an iPod or the MP3 player that my satellite radio comes with.
  12. I know what a preposition is and understand that in item 11 I ended a sentence with a preposition -- and I'm perfectly okay with that.
  13. I have diagrammed sentences on a blackboard.
  14. I have to gladly say I have split infinitives.
  15. I continue to obsessively rant about something called the serial comma.
  16. I was taught by Mrs. Rivers in seventh grade that these words take predicate nominatives: is, am, was, were, have been, has, had, appear, feel, grow, become, look, taste, remain; consequently, "I feel bad" is the preferred form. (Hunh?)
  17. I used to know the Our Father in Latin (let's see now, how does that go? "Pater noster qui es in caelis...").
  18. My car lacks one of those automatic key starters and has manual locks.
  19. I am a sinning believer, a member of a religious institution who tries to attend and partake of its services regularly.
  20. I am an anachronism.
Out of time.

Rarely on time.

What century do I belong to? What era? Victorian perhaps?

What era is your era?