Monday, May 25, 2015

It's English. I write in English.

So I'm trying to make these little essays better or at least to slow the degradation which seems to be the inevitable fate of any protracted human endeavor. Those of you who don't do this kind of work might think, “What is he whining about? It's 100 words. I say more than that just ordering at the drive-through.” Which, sure, but probably sometimes you ask for the same breakfast or lunch you did last time, but I can't do that, because I'm committed to new words every week. Well actually not new. I proudly recycle by using a preexisting language.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I'll settle for any one out of three.

Years ago in the printing business, somebody told me the pick two rule. You've probably encountered it. It goes like this: Fast. Cheap. Good. Pick two. I thought it was elegant then, and I still think so now. Then I noticed it could be nicely adapted to work for amplification for bass guitars. In that case, you get to select any two from these three: Loud. Light. Cheap. I'll bet you can find a set that applies to your own area of interest and expertise. Now I think I've found the pick two rule for my rants: Clever. Prompt. Original.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Tell you what. Mothers' Day might be the worst day of the year. Yesterday afternoon I bicycled through the environs of the Audubon Zoo and dang not only was every single parking space filled but there were vehicles parked under the trees fender to fender all the way to the stables. Families were loading and unloading walkers and wheelchairs and strollers and there were moms of every age and description each with her own amorphous clump of offspring. And everyone looked genuinely miserable. Okay. So for one day of the year, I can be almost glad my mom is dead.

Monday, May 4, 2015

while you've a lucifer

Words. Am I right? Like the word fag, referring quaintly to a cigarette and pejoratively to a gay man. And the two senses have two different etymologies, thusly: Fagot is an old word for twig, like you would use for kindling. So, a cigarette is like a little burning stick. Meanwhile, in Yiddish, fagele literally means little bird (from the German Vogel) and, yup, is Yiddish slang for queer. So when you think about, it's not even the same word. It's two different words, spelled and pronounced exactly the same. They are (God forgive me I can't stop myself) homophones.