Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Non-non Song

The Pentagon, as well as other bureaucratic agencies, has a way with language. The Pentagon did not agree with the findings of a report on Iraq, so the folks at the Pentagon used the verb
nonconcur. No, your spellchecker will not be familiar with this term.


"Honey? Wanna do it tonight?"

"I have a headache, so I nonconcur with your request, sweetie."

There must be dozens of spinoffs of this sort of deviated euphemism, this squinting pleasantry, this glancing skirting, we can create, me and you (you and I) (readers and me) (readers and I).

nonmurder = injure

noncompensate = steal

nonarrest = escape

nonterminate = harass

nonsuccumb = barely survive

nonwin = lose

nonscore = reject

and non and non and non anon

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blogalicious Bloomsday Bonanza

Happy Bloomsday.

Today commemorates the day in 1904 that Leopold Bloom spent in Dublin, in James Joyce's novel Ulysses.

I remember that "Poldy" carried in his pocket the panties of his wife, Molly.

Today is also the anniversary of the start of this blog, in 2006.


Sunday, June 15, 2008


I heard this quote (actually, just the first part) in church today and immediately thought of posting it on my blog:

"Humor is a prelude to faith, and laughter is the beginning of prayer."

It is attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, the theologian whom many credit as the author of the Serenity Prayer.

Works for me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Realish the Moment

We breezily assume we know what is real.

But of course "reality" is a slippery eel, hard to grasp, hard to handle.

And Marcel Proust celebrated how subjective and deceptive our memory is.

David Sedaris says his latest "nonfiction" series of personal essays is "realish."

Great word. Realish.

"Memoir is the last place you'd expect to find the truth," he was quoted as saying in The New York Times.

Bloggers, take note:

All you say is true; all you say is false.

All you write is false; all you write is true.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ooops! They Did It Again (and Again and Again)

You must have heard about the couples -- married, no less -- who did

I t

every day again and again and again and again and again and again and again and agai -- you get the point. . . consecutively 365 days (more or less) in one case; 101 days in the other.


And of course they kissed (insert a more lubricious verb here) and told. In book form.

Natch, this was, and is, one of the most e-mailed articles at the New York Times website.

A few items gleaned (or should I say glanced, or maybe glans?) from the article:

-- American marrieds do The Deed on average 66 times a year (that's skewed by younger couples who score on average 84 times a year).

-- These were two independent projects; the two couples didn't know each other; one couple was evangelical Christian; the other was granola lefty.

-- One couple persisted, even after the husband had a bout of, um, um, vertigo.

-- The big question among sex therapists and others: does more sex make you closer? Or do those who are closer have more sex?

-- The article makes no mention of Kama Sutra gymnastics the couples resorted to in order to stay awake.

If you read the linked article, you'll find the expected array of clever wordplay and innuendos.

Innuendo. Isn't that a word that just begs for a sexual joke? (Small world: I see that innuendo relates etymologically to numen, which I blogged about recently.)

As for lubricious, I love that word.

Maybe it will become my new fave word, replacing solipsistic and its various forms.

I even like the audible for lubricious over at Merriam-Webster.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Unbearable Newness of Being

Today's Zen Calendar has this quote, from Wolfgang Goethe:

One must ask children

and birds how strawberries

and cherries


Of course, Goethe is referring not simply to taste but to the ability or willingness or capacity, the openness, to experience things fresh, first-hand, not with foreordained notions, not with predictable outcomes, not with preconceived templates.

We fail to do this often, thereby missing the Aha!

Of course, I find the Aha! from things in nature more easily than in people.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hydroxymoron News

A recent Wall Street Journal article notes that due to popular demand (and the ardent passion of zealous Hydrox lovers) Kellogg Co. is bringing back the Hydrox brand cookie. The Hydrox faded owing to the popularity of its competitor, the Oreo cookie, or for who knows what conspiratorial reasons.

Frankly, I'm not all that crazy about either one, though one of them was surely great for dunking into milk just before bed eons ago. 'member dat?

Hydrox. Do you think the choice of name hurt?
"A good product name for a toilet cleaner, maybe, but a cookie?" Those are the words of a Dan Lerner, 75, a Hydrox fan quoted in the WSJ piece. (Not that Oreo is that great a name either, in my view.)

I always thought they should have a promotional night at the ballpark in Baltimore; call it Baltimore Oreos Night and give out free cookies. Maybe give out free serial commas along with Kellogg's cereal at another ballpark.

Work with me here. I've been slipping on my own branding. I mean, where are all the aphorisms with laughs? Where have all the laughorisms gone?

Hydrox. What a name. Can anyone nominate some other bad product names?

(Ah, the Internet. Sure enough, there's a blog devoted to bad product names. Of course. There would be. There's everything else. And we mean everything.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Chronicles of Onan

Looks like Onan had some kind of field day. The ground at Burnet Park cleared and grubbed, scraped raw. Where the sumac and brush were. Stripped bare. But down toward the corner of Coleridge (yes, we also have Tennyson, Tompkins, Lowell, and other streets so eponymously named) evergreens were planted with stakes and wires to keep them straight. But back to Onan and his field day. Seed spread like a storm. A swirl of grass seed scattered over the freshened land. A feast of fecundity in waiting. Like insulation blown in. Teal paint. Snowdrift. Seeds. Seeds. Seeds spilled hurled thrown cast broad cast over the naked earth. The spilling of the seed as if in some kind of helter-skelter rampage, even splashed up against the bark of pines. Seed that does not look like seed but rather some cellular fabric dried snot greenish blue carpet. (Not nearly equaling the seminal production of unfettered youth. Ha! Nor arousing the Puritan guilt of finger-wagging dogmatists.) The seeds sleep. And wait. To whom will it matter if and when this protean blizzard ends up as dog-shit-riddled lawn, eye-catching landscape, dandelion heaven, emerald bedding, a fitting reverse tribute to Onan and his would-be offspring? (Seems this seedy syntax simpers and simmers as the wriggling ravings of an old man envious of tidal seminality.)