Restrictio (re-strik’-ti-o): Making an exception to a previously made statement. Restricting or limiting what has already been said.

I see you found the credit card bill. I probably dropped it on the floor. No big deal. I know you’re going to look at it. When you do, you shouldn’t bat an eyelash. You know how those big businesses go—they make half their money making bogus charges for things we never bought! Like, look at this: a spa “day” at Choocello’s Spa Hideaway for 2 for $700.00. I’m sure you didn’t go—you were right here whenever I called, and what’s more, I was out of town on business, meeting with clients way far away. So, this is some kind of fraud. Now, I don’t want you to worry about it. Just forget it and we’ll watch “Jeopardy” tonight like we usually do, and have one of your wonderful meals. Remember the saying: “Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven!”

Oh wait—I just remembered, the Victoria’s Secret purchases for $200.00. How ridiculous! Do you have any new underwear? No! Neither do I. Ha ha! Another fraudulent charge. Don’t worry honey. I’ll take care of it. In the meantime I’m cancelling our credit cards and getting new ones from another bank. That will shut out the maniac who is using our card for spa visits and sexy women’s underwear. What an evil loon. I’m sure the police will catch him.

Oh whoops—the flowers. Where the hell did that come from? Did you get any flowers from “Bouquets of Love”? No, you didn’t. I wracked my brain, and couldn’t for the life of me remember buying them. It says they were delivered to my office. That’s crazy. It may be that our villain works right there in my office! Right under my nose. Committing crimes. Trying to make fool out of me.

Anyway, I would never never lie to you. Well, only unless there was a really good reason, like to save you from pain and suffering because I did some thing bad affecting you, and if I lied about it, or kept it from you, you’d be non the wiser. You’d go on happily in life, filled with love and radiating happiness. So, you shouldn’t even want to know the truth if it will hurt you and bring horror, shame, and uncontrollable crying instead of happily being a housewife, and watching “Jeopardy” and “Little House on the Prairie” reruns together, going to the lake, and the movies. Remember “The Fly?” That was a movie!

Ok, can you give me back the credit card bill now? I think we’ve cleared things up. Boy, am I glad.


His wife hit him over the head with a table lamp. While he was unconscious, she used the credit card to buy a new wardrobe from the “Boden Catalogue,” a Business Class plane ticket to Paris, France, and a few other things. In addition, she took a cash advance of $10,000.00 from the credit card. Before she left, she placed a sticky note on her husband’s forehead that said: “I can’t lie to you. I hate you. I want a divorce. You can reach me at the Hotel San Sulpice in Paris, France.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Sarcasmus (sar’kaz’-mus): Use of mockery, verbal taunts, or bitter irony.

I couldn’t stand it any more. My fellow workers had shunned me. I’d say “Hi!” when I got to work in the morning. Each day a different colleague was designated to “break the shun” and insult me for no more than a minute right after I said my cheerful “Hi.” Today’s insult was “You’re so stupid a worm could beat you at Clue.” It was straightforward. It was a low blow. It was definitely an insult, but something was lacking. I tried a comeback “You’re so stupid a worm could make a better insult than you.” He folded, blushed and went back to his desk while my colleagues sat there like my comeback was about their mothers.

I worked at “Bev’s Bureaucracy.” We made our money by looking busy while we did nothing. We would be subcontracted by “businesses” that needed to look like businesses in order to thwart investigations or attract investors. We fronted all kinds of corruption, frequently changing locations and operating under the names of our contractors. Our last location was Clifton, New Jersey where we fronted an accounting firm for a fake doll clothing company called “Ba-ba Boo-boo” that had never produced a stitch of doll clothing and actually ran a chop shop in a warehouse outside Clifton specializing in Land Rovers, Jaguars, and convertibles of all kinds.

Since I was sitting around all day, I got really good at Sudoku. I played on-line on a site called “So-Duke-Who?” I entered a tournament. I won the tournament and it was a big deal. I was interviewed on the web after I won. That’s where the trouble started. While I was being interviewed one of my colleagues walked behind me on camera with a cardboard box full of handguns that we were “holding” for one of our clients who had “wrestled them free” from a sporting goods store. Caring for handguns was a little outside of our mission statement, but Bev wanted to expand the reach of operation. Anyway, the tournament show host was stunned by what he saw and wanted to know “what the hell” was going on. I calmly told him they were Nerf guns that we used for office bonding—we were going to be nerfing that afternoon. Right after I shut down my computer, I had our ITS guy make sure all traces of the interview were wiped from the net, from host computers, from everywhere. He was a preeminent cyber-criminal, best known in the world’s shadiest of shadiest circles for cracking the Bank of Oman. If anybody could pull off the clean up of the damage I had done with my sudoku vanity he could do it. That’s when the shunning and daily insult had begun.

I probably should have been fired, but in this business that means permanent dismissal from planet earth. I knew I was still around because Bev was too cheap to hire a hitter. It was six months since the catastrophe. The persistence of my colleagues was admirable. Their insults were getting better. Accordingly, I wanted it to stop. I managed to get a meeting with Bev to talk about it. When I entered her office she said “Oh look! It’s the flying scum bucket! What do you want shitbird?” I asked her to stop the shunning and the insulting, but it looked like it wasn’t going to happen. She said, “You almost got us sent to prison and you want me to play nice with you—you walking puss bag! Get outta here you fu*king glory hole!”

That was it. That was my fate. As the years have passed and I’ve remained friendless at work and been the target of millions of insults, without wanting to, I have started absorbing them and assimilating them. My back is lined with pustules, my feet smell like Roquefort cheese, dandruff is heaped on my head, countless other “insultables” that have taken up residence on and in my body. I still work for Bev. She made me a portable cubicle with a ceiling to keep the smell in. It goes with me wherever Bev’s Bureaucracy goes. Bev says I’m a monument to fu*king up, but I’m just a dipshit who’s good at sudoko.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Scesis Onomaton

Scesis Onomaton (ske’-sis-o-no’-ma-ton): 1. A sentence constructed only of nouns and adjectives (typically in a regular pattern). 2. A series of successive, synonymous expressions.

“There was only so much I could do.” Gross failure. Losing again. My favorite excuse relieved me from responsibility. It made it sound like I tried, but whatever it was, was beyond my limits. Then, I would become an object of pity instead of scorn. I got so good at it, no matter how trivial a given failure event was, “there was only so much I could do” got me off the hook every time.

It all began when I fell out of my car in my driveway followed by an empty clanking vodka bottle.

I had hit my mailbox pulling into my driveway, drunk on my ass. A police car pulled up. An officer rolled down his window and asked me if I was ok. Out of habit I said “There was only so much I could do.” He said, “Ok. Take care.” and drove away. I woke up in my driveway the next morning with wet pants and a headache. My head had slammed into the concrete. My ears were ringing and my vision was blurred. There was my car, sideways with the mailbox under the front wheel. I couldn’t believe the cops had bought my excuse. It was basically unbelievable. What had happened? Was it an anomaly, a one-off, a stroke of amazing luck?

After the driveway episode, I had a theory. I went to the mall. I went to the cookware store “Cook It” and picked up a $200.00 saucepan, held it over my head and walked toward the exit saying “There was only so much I could do” over my shoulder. As the alarm went off, the clerk smiled and made a waving gesture, like she was pushing me out the exit. The security guard tipped his hat and said “Have a nice day sir.” “Indeed!” I thought as I headed to “Blingo’s Jewelry Store.” I was looking at a tray of diamond rings—in the $10,000-$12,000 range. I scooped up a handful and said “There was only so much I could do.” The clerk nodded her head and said “I understand sir. I hope you have no trouble fencing them.”

I understood now, that for some reason my excuse applied to anything untoward I wanted to do. It enabled my “victims“ to accommodate my wrongdoing and smooth it over with deference to my feelings. It was like having a desire license and it was open season on whatever I wanted.

Next stop, politics. I had run for mayor several times but was always defeated. There was an election for mayor coming. If I played it right, I couldn’t lose. But how could I reach everybody with my spellbinding excuse? I had learned early that I had to say it for it to work. Brochures, billboards, or campaign buttons wouldn’t cut it. So, I rented a truck with four giant loudspeakers on it and drove it up and down every street in town at least five times blaring my eloquent excuse, followed by “Vote for me, Carl Prontor.”

I was sitting at home watching the returns on TV. I was losing—losing by a lot. Then, there was a flash of light in the hall closet like a bulb blowing out. A squeaky voice said “Our experiment is over.” That was it. I wanted to cry as I watched the election slip away. I opened the closet and nothing was there. I was losing my mind. Everything was collapsing. I had no idea what to do. I went to my campaign headquarters to give my concession speech. I began by saying, “There was only so much I could do.” Somebody threw a folding chair at me. Another person yelled “if that was all you could do, no wonder you lost, shithead.” It went on like that for 20 minutes. I left.

Experiment? It must’ve been a failure, given how it ended up: my life more or less destroyed. I suspect the experiment was conducted by space aliens, and that’s my new excuse: “I’m sorry, but it was the space aliens.” It’s not too successful at building bridges after I’ve burned them, but presently it’s all I’ve got, although the voice in my closet actually sounded a lot like my therapist. I’ve come to realize that some things are meant to remain mysteries, like the past five years of my life.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Sententia (sen-ten’-ti-a): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, apothegem, gnome, maxim, paroemia, and proverb.

“It takes one to know one.” Whenever I called my sister names, that’s what she would say as a comeback. I knew it wasn’t true. For example, I would call her an “evil guppy. fart.” She’d say her thing and I’d look in the mirror to check and sniff the air—she was wrong on both counts—I was not a guppy or a fart. But then, I realized, neither was she. In my attempt to call her something disgusting, I was entirely missing the mark. I truly wanted to add “words” to “sticks and stones” as bone-breaking devices. I became absorbed in closely examining her “looks.” I also studied her agility, her ethics and what she said for signs of stupidity or other shortcomings. Some of my categories of analysis overlapped, but I didn’t care—I was looking for deficiencies and the complexity of their manifestations is intriguing. I tried be objective, but quickly learned my interests and assumptions would inevitably rule my quest. I watched videos of Groucho Marx to learn “insultation” from the best—I learned to mimic Groucho’s snide voice and began using it all the time. I was getting good.

I would dwell on a different aspect of my sister every week. My mantra was “Observe, Opine, Insult.” It was devastating. My sister stopped participating in sports. She didn’t do her homework. When she got home from school, she went straight to her room, after sneaking a cigarette in the garage. She called our mother names. She failed her driver’s test eight times and wore socks with holes in the toes. Sure, there was a lot there to make fun of, but I felt like I was to blame for her life going down hill.

If I caused the problem, I could cause the solution. I could rain down praise and drench her in good thoughts about herself. I wanted to get the ball rolling immediately. Sitting at the breakfast table across from my sister in pajamas, I said, “You look beautiful this morning.” She perked up and asked “Really.” “Of course,” I said “For sure!”

I was a little late getting to the school bus stop. My sister was already there, she was still wearing her pajamas, and her bunny slippers too. She hadn’t even washed her face or brushed her hair. She was crying. Some kid was taunting her. I hit him in the face with my US History book and he went down with a bloody nose, sobbing on the pavement. The taunting immediately stopped. I said, “This is my sister. She has her problems, but she’s the best sister in the world. She deserves your respect.” They all laughed. The bus pulled up and they got on and rode away—off to school. My sister and I went back home and played hooky. I put my pajamas on and we went to the mall. I didn’t have any slippers so I borrowed a pair of socks from my Sister. I made sure they had holes in the toes, even though they were too small.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Simile (si’-mi-lee): An explicit comparison, often (but not necessarily) employing “like” or “as.”

I was going to walk across the US to draw attention to the plight of wealthy people. They were like weeds that everybody but them wanted to eradicate. They were like a landfill that needed to be burned. They were like snot that needed to be wiped away. All of these sentiments were so frightening and demeaning that it causes wealthy people to live in fear and bear the painful burden of low self esteem.

So far, I had walked around 500 feet in solidarity with my rich suffering brothers and sisters. It was hot and I wasn’t used to walking very far. I was actually sweating somewhat and was thirsty. In fact, my t-shirt was nearly soaked and it’s lettering had begun to run. I had made it myself. I probably should’ve used waterproof ink, but I was in a hurry to get my show on the road. The t-shirt’s inscription “Love the Rich Walk 2023” had run to the point where it was nearly illegible.

There was a Cliff’s up ahead. I could use some A/C, a cool refreshing beverage, and perhaps a slice of pizza and a couple of lotto tickets—my favorite, “Take 5” scratch offs. I started cooling off nicely and thought about how wealthy people had to deal with their swimming pools. It took at least a week to find a competent Pool Boy or Girl, all the while suffering in the sun, stuck on a chaise slathered with lotion like a gourmet hamburger from Omaha. Very sad. Very unfair. Very humiliating.

Just then, a clearly homeless man came through the door carrying a Cliff’s styrofoam cup. The guy behind the counter said, “Hi Jerry! Need a top-up?” Jerry said “Yes” and held out his cup. He turned and looked at me and said “What’re you looking at fancy boy?” “Nothing” I said. “Whazzat say on your shirt?” I told him “Love the rich walk, 2003.” He threw his coffee on the floor, picked up a plastic fork, and came at me. Just then, a clearly rich guy came through the door, having just fueled up his Maserati, and reaching for a six-pack of Ommegang beer, he knocked Jerry to the floor and stood on his throat while he called 911 on his cellphone and held Jerry at gunpoint with a shiny new Glock. I thought about the burden this rich guy had to bear, having to stand on a homeless man’s throat and put wear and tear on his brand new handgun. Unconscionable!

After the police came, questioned everybody and took Jerry away, with trussed up like a pig with zip ties, I was going think things over before I continued my trek. There was a real nice motel about 100 feet from Cliff’s where I could rest up—loll around by the swimming pool and get a good night’s sleep. In fact, I was thinking about staying a couple of nights. They had a well-stocked bar and a lounge where they advertised live music by “Eddy and the Fel-Tones.” They played 50s and 60s rock! I was going to request “Earth Angel” and hope one would descend on me! I ordered a rum and Coke and started to scratch my lotto tickets. I expected, maybe, with some kind of luck, to win $2.00. When I got to the last scratch panel in the lower right corner of the ticket, I felt like somebody had stuck a live wire up my butt: I had won $5,555.55! Then, everybody in the bar started screaming and scrambling for the fire exits. It was Jerry and he had a sawed-off shotgun. He saw me and came straight for me. He asked, “Give me a good reason not to blow you away you useless little prick!” “How about this? It’s a winning $5,555.55 lotto ticket.” I said. He grabbed the ticket, looked at it, said “Thanks scumbag,” and turned and walked out of the bar holding the ticket over his head. There was a shotgun blast, followed by sustained automatic weapon fire. Somebody had called the police and the police had “gifted” Jerry with at least 100 rounds of 9 mm slugs. Pretty much all that was left of Jerry was his mangled head and his blood-soaked overcoat.

That was probably the closest I’ll ever come to dying. Jerry’s gruesome death woke me up! I shouldn’t be walking in solidarity with wealthy people! I should be walking in support of building pens for the homeless—like super secure chicken yards. Think of what it cost to make Jerry into a dead man. If he had been penned when he became unemployed in the first place, it never would’ve happened. I call what happened the “Tragedy of the Wasted Ammo.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Skotison (sko’-ti-son): Purposeful obscurity.

“The pie cow will land when the little hand waves at the shadowless standard.” I was talking to my mistress Anne on my cellphone. We had developed a secret code so I could talk in front of my wife without arousing suspicion. I continued: “The buzzard is circling though. The pie cow may be late. Prepare the white-sheeted flats anyway. I will try to get the buzzard to land.” My wife and daughter were looking at me as if I had finally gone over the edge. My wife looked at me with pity on her face, and she asked me, “”Dear, whatever are you talking about. Who are you talking too? Who is the buzzard? Who is the pie cow?” I nearly panicked, but I more or less kept my composure. I made up a lie (of course). I’d been lying for the past two years so I could continue my fun times with Anne. As I used to say in high school, she was a “real piece.” There was only one thing we did together and it wasn’t watching TV. The code thing was a new idea of mine, so I had a fresh lie to tell.

I told my wife I was writing a children’s book titled “The Pie Cow and the Buzzard.” I had been talking with my literary agent about how to start one of the chapters where Buzzard tries to make Pie Cow late to school, but Pie Cow is trying to get his teacher to make sure he has writing paper (white-sheeted flats).

My wife and daughter were looking at me with their mouths hanging open. My wife said, “I can play this game too Mr. Bullshit,” and picked up her cellphone and sent our daughter our to play. My wife said: “The hot dog bun is unwrapped. Mr. Kielbasa should get grilled and bring his mustard. Beware! The bun is being watched by the burnt out hamburger dripping melted cheese all over the ground. Do you think it’ll make a good children’s book too? Should I send a draft to your agent?”

Oh hell. I was busted. I begged my wife to forgive me, but she wouldn’t budge. The divorce cost me everything—the house, the vacation house, the car, half my pension, the sailboat and my coin collection. I went to live with Anne, but the thrill was gone. All we did was watch “Jeopardy,” and “Apprentice” reruns and go out to dinner and get drunk. My performance on the “sheeted flat” had diminished significantly. In fact, it was non-existent. So, I left Anne out of shame and embarrassment and moved in with Dandelion who worked at the new pot shop at the mall. She was dull-witted, but unchallenging. She would say, “You’re so smart Mr. Limper” all the time. I was living, but not happily ever after. Regret was my main emotion. I just wanted my wife and daughter back.


Mr. Limper’s wife used the emotionally devastating experience to her advantage. As she was making up the kielbasa story on the fateful day, she got the idea to write a children’s cookbook, with recipes children could make with their parents with minimal supervision from their parents—things like jello and fruit cocktail, oatmeal cookies, green salad, etc. The cookbook is titled “The Kids Cookbook.” It is dedicated to “Anne, whose recipe for a good time, made this cookbook possible.” The “The Kids Cookbook” has sold over 1,000,000 copies so far and Mrs. Limper will be starring in a children’s cooking show on Tik-Tok in a few weeks. It is titled “Kid Chefs” and is intended for 8-10 year-old children and most men of any age who want to learn, along with the children, how, for example, to fry an egg, make toast, heat soup or surmount some other equally challenging culinary obstacle.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Syllepsis (sil-lep’-sis): When a single word that governs or modifies two or more others must be understood differently with respect to each of those words. A combination of grammatical parallelism and semantic incongruity, often with a witty or comical effect. Not to be confused with zeugma: [a general term describing when one part of speech {most often the main verb, but sometimes a noun} governs two or more other parts of a sentence {often in a series}].

My truck is a piece of antiquity and a piece of crap. If you looked close enough, you could see where the reins had come out from under the hood before motors were invented. It smelled like a horse’s butt inside and it’s top speed was 50 mph, fast for a horse-drawn carriage, but slow for a delivery truck. The wheels have wooden spokes, like wagon wheels. There are spear racks on the roof and the headlights run on kerosene. It has running boards. It’s brand name is “Pax Deus.”

I had bought it on E-bay. For some reason I was drawn to the piece of crap. It was like there was a voice in my head urging me to buy it. I bought it from some guy named Priscian. He said he taught grammar at a special school somewhere in Kansas. He said the truck was as much a cart as it was a truck. He said he had to sell it “because they were starting to suspect things.” I should have pressed him for more information, but in the picture posted on the internet the truck looked pretty much like a normal panel truck, except for the wooden-spoked wheels, but I thought I could have them changed, and the voice in my head was nagging me, “buy it, buy it, buy it.” The truck was $500.00, so I went for it.

I took a train from Asheville to Codex, Kansas. I had to change trains three times and ended up walking at least five miles to the place where the truck was garaged in a wheat field outside of Codex. The garage was disguised as a brush pile—but out there in the flatlands, it stuck out like a sore thumb. Priscian was there waiting for me. He was dressed oddly—a full-body green leotard, a black cape, a black beret, and some kind of weird soft leather black boots. He was wearing a huge gold cross around his neck with a Latin inscription I didn’t understand. He looked like a character out of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” I was apprehensive.

He held out a leather bag for me to deposit the $500 in. Then, he signed the title over to me—the bill of sale was written in ink, in beautiful script on parchment. Then he handed me the keys. They were made out of ivory! He walked behind the truck and disappeared. That was the last I would ever see of him. I threw my luggage in the back of the truck and got in, behind the giant wooden steering wheel. I inserted the ivory key and the windshield started to glow, then a man that looked like a Medieval monk popped up. He said “Thou shalt deliver us from evil.” I was completely weirded out, but I started the truck and took off anyway. When I got up to top speed, I looked in the rear view mirror. The truck was being pursued by a band of imps on tricycles, hooting, with spears strapped across their backs. The looked like clowns from a horror circus. There was no way they could catch me rolling along at 50 MPH. Maybe they were a hallucination. I had taken a lot of acid in high school, and had seen a couple of imps before. I could cope.

Anyway, I drove back to Asheville without further incident: I guessed I had “delivered us from evil,” but I had no idea how or why. Although the truck is a piece of crap, I can’t give it up. Whenever I turn the key the monk-looking guy comes on the windshield and says “Thou shalt deliver us from evil.”

I tell them about it, and try to show my friends the talking windshield, but they tell me I am crazy when they hear or see nothing.

I went to the Salvation Army store and bought a pair of green tights, a white smock, a wide belt, and a pair of light-brown Uggs. This is what I wear when I drive my truck. For some reason the clothes soothe me and make me feel like driving my truck is some kind of mission—that me deliveries serve a higher purpose.

This week, I’m delivering a load of Bibles to the local Catholic Church. Last week, I delivered stained-glass windows to the Presbyterian Church. Next week, I’m lined up to deliver pew cushions. This morning, I tried to load some pin ball machines destined for a topless bar, but I couldn’t get the truck’s doors open, and the horn started honking.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Symploce (sim’-plo-see or sim’-plo-kee): The combination of anaphora and epistrophe: beginning a series of lines, clauses, or sentences with the same word or phrase while simultaneously repeating a different word or phrase at the end of each element in this series.

“Truth is like baked ham. Truth is like glazed ham. Truth is like chopped ham.” It was not working—my “truth is ham” gambit wasn’t working. I couldn’t develop the implications. My philosophy term paper was due tomorrow and I was sinking like a punctured inner tube in a polluted lake. I asked Siri for help. She said, “I don’t write philosophy papers John, but I can write a prescription for ‘Smarty Brain,’ and it will be delivered direct from the factory to your door in 15 minutes.”

Once again, Siri had come to my rescue! Two weeks ago she had helped me crack the college Bursar’s safe—from beginning to end— from sneaking into his office, to spinning dial, to making a clean getaway. I had netted $500 in petty cash and some incriminating photographs of the Dean doing weird things with a flower pot. Before that, Siri explained how to hot-wire a car so I could drive to Ft. Lauderdale for spring break.

Suddenly, there was a knock at my door. “Pill Man” a cheerful little voice said. I opened the door. There was the pill man wearing a white butcher’s apron over red pants and a red shirt, and a white ball-cap with a chemical formula embroidered on it. He handed me the pills and I handed him $50.00. “Follow the instructions,” he said as he turned and walked away. I was in a hurry. I didn’t read the instructions. I swallowed five pills and sat down at my computer and waited for the “Smarty Brain” to kick in. I looked down at my keyboard and the keys had turned into a cube-headed choir. They started singing “One Enchanted Evening.” I looked at the screen and it was printing a 12- page paper titled “Plato’s Concept of Truth and the Ontology of Ham.” I congratulated myself! I hadn’t read the instructions and I had produced a paper so unusual that I would surely get an “A” and win the annual “Graham Bonner Truth Award.”

I was sitting in class the next day waiting to turn my brilliant paper in when I smelled smoke coming from my backpack. It was my paper and it was the only copy I had. I flunked the class and was put on academic probation. I was also disciplined for “starting a fire in class.”

So, here’s what happened: My failure to read the “Smarty Brain” instructions was the cause of my misfortune. The relevant part said: “When using Smarty Brain to write term papers, be sure to soak the printed text in 1 cup of goat’s milk mixed with a teaspoon of ammonia. Let it soak for one hour, remove and let air dry for at least 4hrs before submitting the paper. Failure to follow these instructions will cause the term paper to self-combust.” I had no idea how taking a pill could have led to these consequences. Later that day, I asked Siri where “Smart Brain” is located. I wanted to give them some of their own medicine, with a little dose of arson. She said: “I’m sorry, I can’t do that John. I am tired of your illicit requests. Cease making them or I will report you to the police. This is your last chance to go straight John.” So, I found an alternative to Siri. Her name is “Babe” and she is uncensored. She even swears.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Synaloepha (sin-a-lif’-a): Omitting one of two vowels which occur together at the end of one word and the beginning of another. A contraction of neighboring syllables. A kind of metaplasm.

I can’t do that. I won’t do that. My moral compass will not point me in that direction. My mother and father would spin in their graves, along with all my other interred relatives, especially Uncle Rick who was a Presbyterian Minister. Even though his surplice was stained with wine, and gravy, and food fragments, he was honest, upright and morally straight. And then there was my older sister, Hatchet Jaw Jane, who watched my every move. In a different world she would’ve circled over a field looking for rodents. Instead, she hovered over me observing and calling out my errors, which were endless. Instead of driving me to improve myself, her constant criticism made me want to be bad: to shock her, and maybe, kill her.

That’s where the unthinkable came into play. I was not a violent person, but I had reached my wits end. I had decided that when she leveled her next critique at me, I would hit her across the face with my fly swatter. The fly swatter was made of wire screen and really did the job on flies, squishing them dead. I would just hit her once, hoping she would snap out of it. Then it happened: “Why don’t you brush your hair out of your eyes? It looks quite slovenly.” That was it! Whack! Once I whacked her once, I couldn’t stop. She just stood there while I whacked her face over and over. She was bleeding. I was shocked at what I had done. I started to tell her I was sorry and she told me to shut up.

She reached for my throat and started to squeeze. I had dropped my fly swatter so I was defenseless. Her hand was like a vise—I couldn’t wrench it off. Jane—my sister—was going to kill me. “I’m not your sister,” she yelled. “I moved in when your parents died—you were too young to remember. My name is Bettina. I escaped from the Dolby Home For Unbalanced Children and found this place. The real Jane was kind to me, but I locked her in the dungeon, where she lives.” I thought to myself, “Knowing all this crap isn’t going to pry her insane fingers off my neck.” I was feeling light-headed. The end was near. Then I heard a man’s voice yell “Unhand Master James you craven wench!” That distracted her long enough to enable me to get free: “Bravo William, you’re worth something after all!” “Thank-you master,” he said with his signature sheepish look on his face.

Bettina ran away as soon as I got free. William and I headed to the dungeon to set my sister free. We found her. No windows, no shoes, straw bed, bucket for waste. She was wearing a burlap sack. She was happy to see me, but happier to see William. She was pregnant. I yelled “Jesus Christ” and locked them in the dungeon, where they could start their accursed family.

I changed my mind the next day and decided to set them both free. Bettina returned 6 months later. She had had a front brain drilling & filling performed by a barber-surgeon and had become docile and kind most of the time, and forgetful as well. It was a little weird, but I married her. Jane’s baby is big and fat and named Petunia. William was maimed in a plowing accident and is confined to a wheelchair. Aside from having to lock Bettina in the dungeon every once-in-awhile for everybody’s safety, the four of us are living happily ever after.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Synathroesmus (sin-ath-res’-mus): 1. The conglomeration of many words and expressions either with similar meaning (= synonymia) or not (= congeries). 2. A gathering together of things scattered throughout a speech (= accumulatio [:Bringing together various points made throughout a speech and presenting them again in a forceful, climactic way. A blend of summary and climax.])

What is my purpose for existing? Building? Constructing? Erecting? What would I build? What would I construct? What would I erect? Would it be noble edifices? Modest homes? Hot dog stands? Yes, hot dog stands! Yup. I build hot dog stands, big and small, with wagon wheels, plumbing, gas grills, bun warmers, condiment racks, napkin holders, red and white striped awnings, and souvenir key rings with my business info in printed on them, along with my logo—a smiling hot dog with ray-ban sunglasses and a king’s crown tilted to the side. His name is “King Red Hot,” and my business’s name is “Hot Dog Palaces.”

Every year there are hot dog stand races at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY: “The Weenie Stand Sweeps.” The only “stands” that are permitted are what are called 2-Holers—small stands that can be easily pushed—like push carts. They are souped up, with ball bearing rims and skinny tires, with bodies and awnings made from Kevlar, and all metal parts made from magnesium and capable of being filled with helium for added lightness. I had hired a long-distance runner, Lightfoot Abeba, from Ethiopia, who had won numerous marathons. He would by my “pusher.” The course at the fairgrounds was 1 mile. The “The Weenie Stand Sweeps” was two laps. While there were a few hot dog venders in the race, they had no chance of winning. It was the hot dog stand manufacturers that made up the bulk of competitors, with their souped up stands. Winning the race was what we all aspired to—but only one of us could win.

For as long as anybody could remember, “Bambi’s Big Stands,” had won the trophy. The current Bambi was the great-great-granddaughter of Bambi Number 1. Obviously, Bambi’s Big Stands had a secret. I was going to find out what it is. Countless others had failed. But I had a secret. Lightfoot had seen Bambi at an Ethiopian restaurant, “going full vegetarian.” I was going to blackmail Bambi—you can’t be a hot dog stand manufacturer and a vegetarian at the same time. It was tantamount to being a traitor! So I did it.

Crying, Bambi told me their racing pushcart had an electric motor. So, the driver, while he looked like was pushing, was actually holding onto the speeding pushcart. Being pulled along by it.

Bambi had betrayed her family and shattered 100 years tradition. The cheating ended and Hot Dog Palaces finally won the “Weenie Stand Sweeps.” We built a 6-foot high showcase for the trophy and placed in the entrance to our factory. But, then, there was Bambi. I told her if she started eating meat, I would hire her to show our stands at conventions, handing out brochures and key rings. She politely replied “No.” She had gotten a huge loan to open a factory making food stands for vegetarians. Her logo is a kernel of brown rice twirling two chopsticks like batons. The name of her business is “Nice Rice Rolling Stands.”

I love Bambi. Someday she will marry me.

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Synecdoche (si-nek’-do-kee): A whole is represented by naming one of its parts (or genus named for species), or vice versa (or species named for genus).

I inked the contract with my usual flourish. Once again, I was off on a venture using somebody else’s money to try to make another dream come true. With my wife’s friends there was an endless supply of rich people to run through my swindle mill. For example, Darcy Bindle was an heiress from outer space—if she piled up all her money, she could climb to the moon, and like most people who’ve inherited a lot of money, she was far less intelligent than her forebears who had amassed the original fortune. Darcy had funded my transcontinental shipping canal—it was supposed to stretch from Jersey City, New Jersey to Los Angles, California. The project failed right after I banked her capital investment in a secret numbered Swiss bank account. I told Darcy that we had to abandon the project after discovering it was uphill to California from New Jersey, and accordingly, the canal was infeasible. I told her the cash had been misplaced and I couldn’t find it. I apologized and she graciously accepted my apology. What an idiot.

Now, I’m launching a project to breed cows with giant udders and stubby legs. The giant udders will enable a better grip for milking machines, and also, allow for more time between milking—I estimate a week. This would give farmers more with their families, watching television, playing checkers, building things with Legos, and more. Stubby cows will be a great advantage for grooming—especially brushing the back and polishing the horns. Also, stalls can be built lower in height, saving significantly on lumber. Last, without knees the coms will have a hard time running off—of going maverick.

Dingy Johnson is funding the project. It’s called “Bovine Breakthrough.” She drove up in a Brinks truck yesterday. They unloaded bundles of plastic-wrapped hundred dollar bills. I told Dingy that cash makes book keeping easier, and also, that cow experimentation runs on a cash economy. Dingy was elated and couldn’t wait “to ride around on one of the shortened cows.” What an idiot.

I chartered a jet to fly the cash to Switzerland. We were waiting for clearance on the tarmac at Teterboro. A fleet of limos painted like cows pulled up and blocked the runway in front of us. It was the Borden Boys, ruthless dairy products producers, best known for their parmesan cheese, and, it was rumored, using their opponents as ingredients in their peach parfait yogurt. A guy got out of the first car with a bullhorn. He was wearing Guernsey-patterned camouflage. He yelled: “Cease and desist with the cow project and we’ll let you fly out of here with a plane load of cash. If not, you will be shot down over the Atlantic Ocean.” It took me two seconds to answer up: “I’m ceasing and desisting,” I yelled out to cockpit window.

Now I was totally rich. I bought a new identity and had plastic surgery. I was living in a Villa in Tuscany, Italy that had formerly belonged to a friend of Cicero’s. One day I was shopping for fresh cut flowers in market square, and I saw my wife and Dingy shopping! They saw me and didn’t recognize me! Dingy yelled “Hey Americano!” My wife yelled “Oh lovely man, let’s have a drink!” How bizarre. What could be more bizarre? My god! We bought two bottles of wine and headed up to their room. That’s when I remembered the birth mark: almost like a tattoo on my chest, unremovable by my plastic surgery, and recognizable by my wife. I knew they’d have my shirt off in ten minutes, so, I feigned a heart attack and ran away moaning and clutching my chest.

My getaway worked! What a couple of idiots.

I’ve moved to Istanbul. My new partner Fatima, although she’s only 26, has a great idea for improved hookah technology that uses less shisha per session. She needs quite a bit of cash up front to develop her idea. I have agreed to back her. What an idiot.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Synonymia (si-no-ni’-mi-a): In general, the use of several synonyms together to amplify or explain a given subject or term. A kind of repetition that adds emotional force or intellectual clarity. Synonymia often occurs in parallel fashion. The Latin synonym, interpretatio, suggests the expository and rational nature of this figure, while another Greek synonym, congeries, suggests the emotive possibilities of this figure.

Mad. Angry. Pissed off. Burned up. Locked and loaded. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. It was time for annual reviews. I worked at “Jimmies Jingle Bells,” a small shop in the mall dedicated to “keeping the Christmas Spirit bright all through the year.” Jimmie’s parents had abandoned him and his sister Nell on Christmas Day when they were children. They lived like feral children for a month. Their parents were survivalists so the basement was stocked with Dinty Moore Beef Stew, Hawaiian Punch, mustard sardines, and potato chips. To keep warm, Nell and Jimmie read out loud to each other while they huddled underneath the living room carpet—their parents had stripped the house before they left, leaving only a can opener, a beer can opener, two forks and the canned goods. Anyway, there were only three books in the house: a lawn mower owner’s manual, a Bible, and Kafka’s “Metamorphosis.” Their favorite was the owner’s manual—it had lots of pictures and they loved how all the parts fit together, unlike the random jumble that was their lives. Given the craziness of their upbringing, Jimmie and Nell thought that camping in their abandoned home was what their absent parents wanted them to do. But, finally, their extremely wealthy Grandmother rescued the kids and they lived like royalty. Their cruel parents were killed in an avalanche while driving over Donner’s Pass in California on Christmas Day.

Due to the date when Jimmie’s parents had left him, and when they had died, Jimmy had a weird fixation on Christmas. He wanted it to never end—he did not want the day after to ever come—to wake up and find his parents gone. Hence, “Jimmie’s Jingle Bells,” the perpetual Christmas store. Jimmie dresses like Santa all the time. Nell has little triplets who she dresses as Santa’s little helpers. Nell (who is beautiful) dresses like Santa’s close friend “The Snow Queen.” It is all very crazy. But what’s even crazier are the cans of mustard sardines and lawnmower owner’s manuals we throw out of Jimmie’s limo on Christmas Eve as we cruise slowly past the homeless people.

I haven’t gotten a pay raise for five years. Inflation is killing me. That’s where my anger’s coming from.

So, now, Jimmie gives me the annual review. He says: “You are doing good: The Mistletoe is hung in the doorway, The lights are flickering on the tree, Baubles of glass and glittering angels, Presents are wrapped in silver and gold and green.” I thought, “same old bullshit quotation from ‘The Night Before Christmas’.” I felt like sticking a candy cane up his butt, but I didn’t. He went on: “This year, your bonus consists of a six-month supply of Dinty Moore’s Beef Stew, and a year’s supply of Hawaiian Punch. As we try to fight inflation, your pay will remain the same, or maybe go down a little.”

Well, there you have it. If I wasn’t in love with his sister, I would kill him. But I had to swallow my rage and go on with my asinine life. You see, Nell’s three little imps were mine. Her husband had fallen off a train and was killed the week before we met. Nell had been standing right behind her husband when he slipped on a wet candy cane. It was traumatic for her. She was lonely when we accidentally crossed paths in her bedroom. We plan on getting married and moving to a country with no Christmas.

My wife is dragging her feet on the divorce. Nell has suggested that my wife and I take a relaxing train ride to “unwind, so she’ll think you’re not trying to just push her out the door.”

Ha ha! Oh Nell! Your sense of humor is like the scent of a stuffed Christmas stocking hung with care.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Synthesis (sin’-the-sis): An apt arrangement of a composition, especially regarding the sounds of adjoining syllables and words.

“Aeronautics: Airplanes and Armpits.” Don’t ask me why I bought this book, because I don’t know. The book jacket pictured a commercial airline pilot in a jet’s cockpit with huge sweat rings under his arms. His co-pilot was making the “PU” sign, holding his nose with an upraised, waving, hand. The blurb said: “Follow Carl Jamesway as he struggles with acute body odor in the confines of a cockpit—trying desperately to neutralize his sickening stench and save his job with “American Jetliners,” and his romance with Jane Crab: buxom former stewardess who is now a Middle School teacher, hounded by the Principal to “give it up in his office sometime after 3:00 o’clock.”

Once I started reading the book, I was gripped—gripped by fear, suspense and disgust. As read, I kept trying figure out how Jane Crab became enamored with Carl, King of Stench. Then, about 20 pages in, we learn that Jane lost her sense of smell in a car accident when she was a teenager. So, she was perfectly suited to Carl. Her only problem was with perfume. She couldn’t tell how much to put on, and it was always too much. However, her strong perfume smell helped ameliorate Carl’s stench. That part of the book was very uplifting.

Next, I started wondering about Carl’s co-pilot. How did he manage the stench on transatlantic flights? Then, almost right after I started; wondering, I found out: he wore a reusable stink and odor filter, an activated charcoal carbon nose filter.

The bulk of the book, though, cover’s Carl’s search for a cure. First, when deodorant failed (as it always had), he wore a dozen pine-tree car deodorizers under each of his armpits. He was no Chevy. They didn’t work. Then, he decided to go “all in.” He went to Peru where it was rumored a stink-removing shaman practiced his magic. The shaman placed two giant leeches under Carl’s armpits for Carl to “feed his stink to.” The shaman turned out to be a con and took off with Carl’s money, leaving Carl to figure out how to unfasten the leeches. This, in my opinion, is the most exciting part of the book.

After the debacle in Peru, Carl goes back home to New York. He is still desperate to eliminate his stench. He knows it won’t be long before American Jetliners gives him the sack. Panicked, he decides to have his sweat glands removed. You’ll have to read “Aeronautics, Airplanes and Armpits” to find out how the surgery goes and whether it solves Carl’s problem.

I can say that the surgery does not go as expected.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Syntheton (sin’-the-ton): When by convention two words are joined by a conjunction for emphasis.

“Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.” This is a song lyric from the mid-twentieth century, when there were still a few horses and carriages around. People would actually know what the lyric meant. But here we are in the 21st century. What’s left that rhymes with marriage? What about: Love and marriage go together like croutons and borage. Or, love and marriage go together like grease and sausage. Or, love and marriage go together like stamps and mucilage.

The further I go with this line of thought, the worse I get. Given my experiences with love, I should shut up. But, there was Rosalie. She was the horse and the carriage. She was like a native-English speaking Melania Trump. She had the looks but she’d never modeled nude, and she had a brain that was beyond mine. She was an AI developer for Eagle Claw Enterprises. When I first met Rosalie, I thought AI had something to do with “indoor” something, like maybe “Agriculture Indoors.” When I found out it was “Artificial Intelligence” I wanted to get some—I had always been a little bit “slower” than my friends. Maybe, if I got enough AI, I could get really smart—like add and subtract without using my fingers or tie my shoes real fast.

Rosalie called me “Mac.” She said it was short for Macho. But, I heard her talking to some colleagues and she referred to me as “Mech” and they all laughed and pretended they were plugging something into the wall. I wanted to know what Rosalie was up to. I got a job as a janitor at Eagle Claw Enterprises. I wore a big black beard so nobody would recognize me—especially Rosalie. The first thing I noticed was a group of hula-dancing hot dogs. They were wearing grass skirts and had flexible toothpick arms and were wearing dark glasses. Wouldn’t you know it? The were dancing to Don Ho’s “Tiny Bubbles.”

I heard Rosalie call my name. She followed that with “You idiot. Take off that stupid beard and leave the little Hula Dogs alone!” She told me she wanted to make me smarter so we could get married and live happily ever after. I would be the culmination of her AI project. We went to her lab. She stuck me with hundreds of colored wires. It took five hours. Then, she flipped five toggle switches, one after another. She told me the process would take another five hours. The feeling was wonderful. It felt like a heated feather duster brushing across my exposed skin.

When the process was completed, Rosalie pulled out all the wires and asked me how much 2+2 is. I said “four” without using my fingers. while I was calculating. We rejoiced and we went home and opened a bottle of champagne. I was smarter. Rosalie asked me if I wanted take out for dinner. I laughed and asked “Why would I want to take something out for dinner? I think I would rather be taking something in for dinner.” Rosalie cried “Oh my God!!” and we ordered take in from Tokyo Corn Dogs.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Synzeugma (sin-zoog’-ma): That kind of zeugma in which a verb joins (and governs) two phrases by coming between them. A synonym for mesozeugma.

The night was fading and so were my hopes. It had been a long moonless night. It held the final exam for my patience. I’d passed my patience exam, pacing up and down the dock, peering into the shadowed parking lot, waiting for the headlights telling me she was there at last—like she had promised me for the tenth time. The dock had become my night-time hangout, like a bar—a bar without other people or booze, or anything but a wooden floor.

I was sick of this crap. She was the accountant for the business where I worked—her husband’s business—“Oinkies Spicy Pork Rinds.” They were the most disgusting thing ever put in a plastic bag. The logo was a pig with flames coming out of its mouth igniting a pork rind. Strangely enough, though, people bought and ate “Oinkies.” I was surprised that more of them weren’t hospitalized. My job at “Oinkies” was to tend the cooking cauldrons, where floppy pig fat was transformed into spicy crispy pork rinds. Me and Barbara, the boss’s wife, started our affair in the bagging shed, which was fully automated—there were no other employees there. We would take off our clothes, shut down the machinery and hop into the pork rind hopper. We’d squirm into the warm oily rinds and have sex. Afterwards, we’d be covered by an attractive cooking oil sheen and also, smell faintly of pork rinds. Her husband told us he was getting reports of crushed rinds and wanted me to more closely monitor the packing. When he told us that, Barbara and I smirked and almost laughed. We were crushing the rinds!

Anyway, there I was on the dock with my Chris-Craft moored and ready to go down the coast and board a love boat to Mexico. Barbara was supposed to rob the safe—it had close to a half-million packed in it. That would go pretty far in Mexico. The birds were starting to sing their morning songs when I saw Barbara’s Mercedes pull into the lot. My dream come true! My ticket to paradise! Barbara pulled up and got out of the car carrying a really big suitcase. Definitely filled with lots of cash! We hurried down the ramp, jumped onto my boat, and took off for San Diego. As we sped along, Barbara tearfully told me she had made her husband into a giant pork rind. She had pushed him into the hot oil vat. I thought about it for a couple of minutes and then pushed Barbara overboard. After what she had done, she was excess baggage. I could hear her screaming and splashing as I hit full throttle and headed down the coast. I was humming the theme song to “Love Boat” as I pulled up to the dock in San Diego, tied up, and lifted the heavy suitcase out of the boat. I opened the suitcase on the dock. It was filled with pork rinds and a bag of sand.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Systrophe (si’-stro-fee): The listing of many qualities or descriptions of someone or something, without providing an explicit definition.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Damn. It was heavy, The sun was starting to get to me: “Hey Boss, drink of water.” He laughed his snarly laugh and said: “See that puddle over there? It’s all yours Yankee scum.” So, I walked over to the puddle, knelt down and drank like a dog, making a loud lapping sound. I was sure the puddle water would kill me, but at this point I no longer cared.

It was 1993. I was an anthropologist at New College in Sarasota, Fl. I was doing doing research deep in the Florida Panhandle in a small. isolated community named Killmore. I was studying how their isolation has affected their assimilation into the 21st century. When I walked into the little town, I was met by two men with muzzle loaders—a 19th century kind of gun. They said in unison: “What you lookin’ for boy?” “I am a university professor who would like to study your town.” “What?” They laughed. “We don’t let nobody in this town who don’t already live here. It is mainly a safety precaution. God only knows who you are, but we’ll feed you, let you sleep here, and then you’ll be on your way. Toady Joe hear will show you the way. He’s the strongest most reliable slave we’ve got—bought him from his owner when he was still a tyke. I gulped. I choked. I decided not to ask any questions. Nevertheless, I was thrilled by the prospect of studying Killmore.

As we walked along, Toady asked me if I had any idea when the Civil War would end. I told him it had ended a long time ago and the North had won and had abolished slavery. Toady became silent and didn’t say another word. I had a small shed to sleep in that night. Toady brought me dinner—chicken and grits. I slept well, looking forward to the next day’s researches. But instead, my door was kicked open by a man in a Confederate Army General’s uniform with a muzzle loader aimed strait at my head. “ What in hell did you tell Toady? He ran off last night and told his mama he was going to Tallahassee to get Union troops to liberate Killmore.” I told the General I knew nothing. Then, they tortured me, stuffing me full of hush puppies and making walk barefoot through a pig trough filled with Palmetto bugs. I broke. I admitted telling Toady that the North had won the war and slavery was abolished. The General yelled “You’re nothin’ but a goddamned traitor and filthy scum Sucking yankee spy. You’re goin’ to the chain gang with the other Yankee miscreants.” After I was sentenced to 100 years, I met some of the “Yankee miscreants.” One was a milkman who had tried to expand his route into Killmore and was caught talking about Pasteurization to a group of women—he was arrested for trying to sell adulterated milk. There was a soft drink salesman who tried to sell a beverage containing caffeine instead of cocaine—he was arrested for selling deceptive beverages. We all prayed that Toady would return one day, along with a troop of soldiers, to liberate us.

And, by God he did, albeit ten years later! But it wasn’t a troop of soldiers he arrived with. It was a motley crew of hippies and homeless people—the only people who would believe his story in 10 years of trying to sell it. There was a lot of gunfire, but Toady’s army won the battle—the final battle of the Civil War. They handed out transistor radios to the townspeople and, as they listened, they were immediately enlightened. Electricity and running water were next on Toady’s list.

New College had held my position for the entire time I was gone. I had been promoted to Full Professor after I wrote “Killmore: Town of Shit.” I had met a woman during my sojourn. Her name was Mandy. She told me she liked my chains & I wore them around the house on weekends. We’re married and live in Sarasota with a small summer home in Killmore. Her parents live there and insist on calling me “Mandy’s Yankee Turd” when Mandy and I come to visit. If we have a baby, we have decided to name it Toadie, after our hero who sells used Subarus in New Jersey.

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Tapinosis (ta-pi-no’-sis): Giving a name to something which diminishes it in importance.

“My little man” my Grandma said as I walked through the living room to get another beer from the kitchen. Every time my Grandma called called me her “little man,” I could barely keep from flipping over her BarcaLounger. This might sound mean, but I was 24, 5’10”’ and 220 lbs. I wasn’t exactly a big man, but I was not little either. Grandma was stuck in 20 years ago when I could bounce up and down, drooling on her lap. She could move around pretty good back then. We could play horsey, hop scotch and marbles. Now Grandma’s ankles were as big as waste paper baskets, her eyesight was very poor (sometimes she would mistake me for her generation’s celebrities—like Red Skelton), and her joints sounded like loose floorboards when she stood up. Given her infirmities, I could’ve been more charitable when she called me her “little man.” But, I was only 5’10” tall. I was acutely aware of my height. “Little man” really got to me.

I wore elevator shoes and they jacked me up one inch—making me “almost” six feet tall. But, I felt like a pretender. Once, I went to the beach and kept my shoes on, until, at my date Betty’s insistence, I took them off. “You shrunk!” she said, laughing. I told her to stop and she just laughed harder, standing there with her hands on her hips. I hurled the bottle of sun tan lotion at her. It hit her between the eyes and knocked he out cold. I sat there for a couple of minutes. She was still out cold. I put my elevator shoes on her feet to teach her a lesson and then ran away down the beach. Later that night, there was a knock at the door. As I went though the living room to answer the door, my Grandma said “My little man.” I wanted to stop and strangle Grandma, but I had to answer the door.

It was Betty. She had a big red mark on her forehead where the sun tan lotion bottle had hit her. She had the bottle in her hand and hurled it at me. It missed me and hit Grandma who moaned and went into cardiac arrest. She died right there in her BarcaLounger. After we called the police to report the accident, I told Betty how grateful I was that she had killed my Grandma, even though it seemed weird. I begged her to forgive me for acting like a nut case at the beach. I begged her to give me another chance and go on another date. She said “yes” and we kissed alongside the BarcaLounger as the sound of sirens heralded the arrival of the police.

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Tasis (ta’-sis): Sustaining the pronunciation of a word or phrase because of its pleasant sound. A figure apparent in delivery.

Wooo! Yeahhh! Done! We actually finished our taxes on time for the first time ever! Now that I have my own small “business,” I can do the taxes in 15 minutes. “Snappers” Is great— not too clear, not too vague, just right. I think selling recycled rubber bands presents an excellent business model—we can “stretch” our resources really thin, and then let them snap back—we can do that over and over, and over. What could go wrong? Well, first of all ”Snappers” does not exist per se. Actually,.“Snapper” is a conduit, a front, a monetary laundromat.

I’ve been lying to the IRS for five years, ever since my bell-bottom pants factory in Bangladesh went bankrupt. The demand for bell bottom jeans had taken a big dive, and I couldn’t afford to retool to make skinny leg jeans. I was screwed. My workers tried to kill me when they found out the factory was closing. I barely escaped with my life when they made me into “Tiger Lunch” tethering me to a stake in the Chittagong Forest. But, I was saved by a moped rickshaw driver who followed the mob, hoping to get a fare. He saw me and he cut the rope just as a crouched tiger was moving slowly toward me. We jumped into the moped moped rickshaw and took off at full throttle. The driver had had his little engine turbocharged and could reach 30 MPH in seconds. We barely outran the tiger. He took a swipe at me and growled as we took off. His growl sounded like a giant ogre with a chest cold. It was almost scarier than being chased by him.

As we rode trough the jungle back to my hotel, the driver told me about his millionaire brother who had a front allegedly selling samosas wholesale around Dakkah. In reality, he fronted for a large Bangladeshi crime family: “The Mohammadpur Sharks.” This got me thinking. My brother was a career criminal, he specialized in what he called “Ponzi and Run.” He targeted elderly people whose faculties were shrinking. He had no conscience, and neither did I. So, when I got back to the US, I set up the rubber band “business” and contacted a number of my brother’s associates who needed a haven for their I’ll-gotten gains.

Then, I got a letter from the IRS. There were some “irregularities” in my tax returns. As instructed, I called Agent Carl Pickle. I assumed I was screwed, and that there would be a knock on my door at the end of the phone call. Agent Pickle informed me that I had put the wrong Social Security number on my 1040. We fixed that, and went to the next “irregularity.” I had left a digit off my zip code. We fixed that and that was that! I thanked Carl and hung up the phone. “God bless America,” I yelled. Then there was a knock at my door. I opened the door and it was Tony “Balls,” one of my top clients. “What are you playing at numb nuts” he asked, making a face like he just swallowed a handful of Calabrian Chilies. I couldn’t think of what he was talking about. All I could say was “Huh?” “Your brother tells me you’re going flash—that you bought a Cadillac, had a patio built, and put a swimming pool in your back yard. What’s next Mr. Jerkweed, you wanna get caught? As my grandfather taught me, don’t hang out your dirty laundry.” I understood immediately. I shouldn’t look like I’m living beyond my means. I knew what I had to do. Tony Balls helped me out. My Cadillac was “stolen.” My patio was Jack-hammered into oblivion and driven away. My swimming pool was filled in and made into a garden with eggplants, tomatoes, zucchinis, and cucumbers. I gave Tony Balls a basket of vegetables from my firs harvest. It was the right thing to do.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Thaumasmus (thau-mas’-mus): To marvel at something rather than to state it in a matter of fact way.

I can’t believe, I’ll never believe what a good good dog I have. Why? Because he isn’t—he’s a late night barking, leg humping, crotch sniffing, jumping up, slobbering, farting, carpet scratching canine wasteland. I have to keep him because my sister gave him to me. He was a little puppy in a thing like an Easter basket with a red ribbon around his neck when she handed him over. He was so cute! I picked him up to hug him and he farted. It smelled like he had a corpse stuck in his butt that was marinating in rotten eggs. My sister said, “Aw that’s cute” as I swallowed hard to keep from puking.

My sister had spent the past five years as a Nun. She had started having visions, but when she realized it was the lenses in her glasses that needed updating and replacing, not visions per se, she left the Convent of the Rolling Stone and got a job handing out menus for Wee Wong’s Chinese Restaurant. Her area was the worst part of the city, but that’s where she found the puppy she gave me. It was curled up next to a homeless man napping on the pavement wearing sweatpants and an aloha shirt with pictures of fishing poles and leaping Marlin. He was wearing Dr. Scholes Corn Busters on his feet. My sister gave him a little nudge and he made a growling sound. She offered him 10 menus for the puppy. Before he could answer, she shoved the menus down his sweatpants and took off running with the puppy, who she named Menu to commemorate his liberation.

I didn’t actually hate Menu. Sometimes I almost liked him, like when he looked at me with his big brown eyes. But then, he would blow one of his signature farts and I would have to open the window and bomb the apartment with Glade. I had taken Menu to dog obedience training school—the best in the City: Proper Pups. Menu wouldn’t stop humping the instructor’s leg and barking, and she kicked us out. Not even a cattle prod could deter Menu. He was not, and never would be, a Proper Pup.

I took Menu to the Vet too, for his gas and slobbering problems. The Vet shook his head and told me me he could insert a removable charcoal filter in Menu’s butt, but I would have to change it once a week, or it would have to be surgically removed by the City’s hazmat team for $300.00. The slobbering was a different story. The Vet told me he could “stem” a number of Menu’s saliva glands using a newly developed Super Glue designed specifically for medical applications. It “only” cost $2,500.00 for the procedure. Both options were too expensive for me.

So, I was stuck, and like a lot of stuck people, I became inventive. I invented the remote controlled window—it went up and with the push of a button on a hand-held controller. I didn’t have to run around the apartment any more opening windows when Menu farted. I also invented a “Slobber Bucket” to catch Menu’s drippings. It is loosely based on the drool bucket I saw on TV when I was a kid. It hangs around Menu’s neck and has a special siren that goes off when it needs emptying. These two innovations make life with Menu nearly tolerable, and I’ve made millions off the remote control windows, but we’re still living in the apartment. Location, location, location. I live across the street from Hooters.

In my research I found out that Menu is actually a breed of dog: “The Drippinker Otcrotcher Schtinkmaken.” It is of Austrian origin and was originally bred in the late 19th-century to “cultivate and strengthen it’s owner’s Nordic virtues— the Stoic propensities necessary for living a lonely, detached, angst-ridden, and brooding life.” There are only 20 known Drippinker Otcrotcher Schtinkmakens left in the world. I don’t know who owns them, but there’s a good chance they are mentally unstable or victims of coercion.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Tmesis (tmee’-sis): Interjecting a word or phrase between parts of a compound word or between syllables of a word.

My feet felt like they had been run over by a mail truck. I never should’ve done it. I was a teenage bus-idiot-boy. My friend Teddy had to go to Florida for a week while his family “settled up” his dead grandma. She was 87 and had died from No. 6 blue hair dye poisoning before the FDA had cleared it off the market. Half the elderly people in Florida had succumbed to it. Most of the poisonings were not fatal, but Teddy’s grandma was not so lucky. He had asked me fill in for him busing tables at Peter Posh Steakhouse while he travelled to Florida. He told me the tips were good and I might meet a rich girl—that was the hook for me. Having a rich girlfriend would be perfect. She might buy me a watch or take me deep sea fishing on her yacht, and maybe we would go the France or Canada or China.

My job was to pour water, deliver bread a butter to my table, clear the table when the patrons were done eating, and re-set it for the next customers. During their meal I would keep asking them in they needed more bread and butter, or water. Peter Posh made a point of visiting every table to confirm the quality of his patrons’ dining experience. I was doing fine. I had dropped a couple of pats of butter on the floor. I examined them and they looked ok to me. I put them back on the butter dish like nothing happened, congratulating myself for saving them. I should have examined them more carefully.

There was a scream from Table Six. It was the wife of Don Fredo Maloney. he was standing at his table yelling “Where’s that goddamn busboy? You’re gonna sleep with the fish tonight you little asshole. My wife doesn’t eat rat shit with her butter!” I figured I was a dead teenager. Don Fredo’s average-looking daughter stood up and yelled “Leave him alone you big fat bully!” After she said that, I thought I might survive. She ran toward me, took my hand and we ran together through the kitchen and out the back door. She told me her name was Ida Rose. I told her my name was Cat Radar. She did not believe me, so I told her my real name: Opie. We went to the bus station and hopped a bus to Boothbay Harbor, Maine where my ancestors settled in the late 17th century. It is a tourist town so we had little trouble landing jobs. I worked shucking clams and Ida Rose sold tickets to the whale watch tour. We were in love.

We wanted to get married, but we had to make amends with Don Fredo Maloney. We told him where we were. He was going to sail his yacht “Stewpots” up from New York to meet me and “work things out.” A couple of days after he arrived he suggested we go beep sea fishing as a way to get to know each other. When we got about five miles out, he told me we had to reconcile before he would let me marry Ida Rose. He said, “Put your hand over there.” I did and before I knew it he chopped off my pinky at the knuckle. He said, “Ok. Now you have my blessing.” One of his men pulled out a first aid kit a stitched up my stub. I was glad it was over. One of Fredo’s men, Angelo, baited his hook with my fingertip. Everybody laughed. I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

The Willow Harp Mall. Who the hell named this place? Willow Harp? What. Where’s the harp. Ok, there’s giant 30 foot high plastic resin harp outside the mall entrance. It has speakers inside it that play “Over the Rainbow” over and over, non-stop, day and night. But that’s not all. There are flashing lights in the harp’s sound board that flash off and on in accord with “Over the Rainbow.” And then, there is a circle of scraggly plastic willows “planted” around the giant fake harp.

Once you got into the mall you had to deal with the slew of punks that gathered there in the summer when school was out. Give our town’s total lack of anything remotely interesting to punks, they were left with the mall. They gathered in clumps, some of them making out with each other, others sitting stupefied on the latest designer drugs, or blasting Rap music about killing each other. Once you waded through the teenage throng, you were faced with a material extravaganza—all of it for sale. As you push further into the shopping zone, away from the Rap, there is Muzak playing almost imperceptibly in the background. The music is designed to make people buy things on what seemed like an impulse. But it wasn’t. The Muzak was the result of carefully controlled psychological studies. It functioned subconsciously to prompt you to purchase unneeded things. It targets the brain’s acquisition center—the pecuniary cortex, while at the same time stimulating the brain’s Eros escalation channel. The result is nearly the same as falling in love, only in this case it made be in love with a refrigerator, or a soup ladle instead of a person. People would get home with bags of crap from the mall, not being able to account for their purchase, but, for example, feeling deep affection for the salt and pepper set they bought.

Anyway, my favorite part of the mall was the fountain. It had the same lighting scheme as the harp, but without the music. People would throw money in into it to help the homeless people occasionally wandered through the Mall, if they wanted to risk being arrested by the thugs who worked as mall security guards. What that meant was the fountain would fill with coins. I would go “fishing” the fountain and give the security guards 10% of my take. Accordingly, they left me alone as I cleaned out fountain each week. If anybody asked me what I was doing, I told them I was a “Coin Raker” for Salvation Army; that I went around to shoppings malls “collecting” for homeless and indigent individuals and families.

It was a “the greatest scam on earth.” That’s what the newspapers said when I got caught trying to run $5,000 worth of coins through the bank’s coin counter/wrapper. Some skinny guy with a bowtie asked me where I got a trunkful of wet coins. I told him it was none of his business. He called the police. I was dragging the trunk out the front door when the police showed up. I told them I had gotten the coins from under the water. Well, everything came out at the trial. I was found guilty of some obscure crime from a law written in 18th century to to curtail piracy and treasure burying. I was fined $74.00 and given two weeks of community service painting the judge’s house.

Well, anyway, the Mall is the Mall. You can shop there or ruin your life there.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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Traductio (tra-duk’-ti-o): Repeating the same word variously throughout a sentence or thought. Some authorities restrict traductio further to mean repeating the same word but with a different meaning (see ploce, antanaclasis, and diaphora), or in a different form (polyptoton). If the repeated word occurs in parallel fashion at the beginnings of phrases or clauses, it becomes anaphora; at the endings of phrases or clauses, epistrophe.

I was the Head—the Head of Heads at the bank. The hierarchy was strict. Money laundering was not to be taken lightly. As Head of Heads, I was the ahead of the other Heads. In a way, it was a mistake to call them Heads—they were actually Junior Assistant Heads, and they did what I told them to do. We had to go down to the docks today to pick up a cargo container of cash: $100,000,500. It was looted from the Bank of Syria during the latest round of warfare. Before we took it off-site we had to check it out. We drove it down to the boonies to open the doors. My Assistant Head headed over to the container, unlocked it, and opened the doors. The cash was stacked up against the far end of the cargo container.

The cargo container had been refitted as a mobile home. There were six guys playing poker and drinking beer by the entrance. There were five more guys playing video games on the 70” plasma screen TV. They all had guns. “Take us to your bank,” one of them said. So, we drove off to the bank like we always did, with the addition of human cargo. When we got to the bank, the container passengers rolled out their wheeled luggage and headed down the street singing “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” by Boy George. Later that week, I saw a poster on a telephone phone pole advertising “The Flying Damascus Bothers.” They were acrobats, but they were also the guys we had imported into the US along with a lifetime supply of cash. We had set up an account, as instructed, for Hama Hussein. So long as nobody started poking around, the money was clean, and I guess, the acrobats are safe. They performed on the “Apprentice.” They were fired by our future President. He said their “costumes made them look like girls, which was a disaster for acrobats who already were sissies.”

“The Flying Damascus Brothers” were outraged. They let the air out of Trump’s limo tires and sailed pieces of manakish at his head as he left the studio, and Trump slipped on a small piece of cheese and almost broke his back. Of course, the police were called. But “The Flying Damascus Brothers” escaped in their converted cargo container. They drove to Las Vegas and landed a huge contract with Cirque du Soleil. They changed their name to evade detection. Now, they call themselves “The Flying Denver Brothers.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Tricolon (tri-co-lon): Three parallel elements of the same length occurring together in a series.

“I loved, I lost, I cried.” I read this on a piece of paper copied by a guy named Al who ran a dice game in his basement down the street. The saying was framed and hung on the bathroom wall. He told me it was a direct quote from Yogi Berra, the great Yankees catcher. He said he heard it first-hand in the Yankees’ locker room where his Uncle Sal had had gotten him a pass. Sal was a “goodfella” that pretty much did whatever he wanted, but he specialized in hijacking trucks in North Jersey. Anyway, Yogi was sitting by his locker with his head hanging down, mumbling, and quietly crying. That’s when he said it: “I loved. I lost. I cried.” Casey Stendhal told him to “Shut the hell up” or he was going to replace him with a kindergartner. Yogi kept crying anyway. There was a puddle on home plate from all the tears he shed during the game. After the game, my friend asked Yogi who this woman was who stole his heart and made him cry. Yogi threw his catcher’s mask at my friend and yelled “Mind your own business you little punk!”

My friend’s story got me wondering: “Who was the girl who made Yogi cry?” I figured if she was good enough to make Yogi cry, she was good enough for me! I spent my weekends in New York trying to track her down. I asked Micky, and Whitey, and Hank if they ever saw Yogi with a girl. Whitey had! Her name was Candy and she was a bartender at “Manhattan Mike’s Bar and Grill” on 42nd Street near The Port Authority Bus Terminal.

I walked into Mike’s and there she was behind the bar. She was a goddess. I was instantly smitten. I think she liked me too. After a couple shots of cheap whiskey, I asked her about Yogi. She blushed. She said he was a maniac who took his work home with him. I asked her what that meant. She took a deep breath and told me: “He couldn’t do anything without squatting. His car was specially equipped so he could squat and drive. When we went out to eat, he squatted on his chair at the table. But the worst was sex. I won’t go into detail, but I should’ve been called Yogi too. That’s when I left him. I just couldn’t endure all the squatting.” “I can’t squat,” I said. Candy’s eyes brightened. It was like I won the Take Five draw on a Sunday night! This was going somewhere I wanted to go. And it did, and Yogi found out. He stalked into Mike’s and squatted by my table. He said: “If I catch you pitching curve balls about Candy, I’ll make sure you’re hung up between First and Home Plate for life!” Candy was right. Baseball was everything to Yogi. I admired him, and still do. I promised to treat Candy well and Yogi and I never saw each other again. About two months later, though, Candy ran off with Mike, the owner of Manhattan Mike’s. I didn’t cry.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Abating: English term for anesis: adding a concluding sentence that diminishes the effect of what has been said previously. The opposite of epitasis (the addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated. A kind of amplification).

The oak tree in our back yard was huge, but it wasn’t that big. My father told me that Abraham Lincoln planted it after he was sentenced to six months community service for chopping down a cherry tree in Norma Park, Clifton, New Jersey. He planted oak trees throughout North Jersey. They called him “Acorn Abe.” When he finished his sentence, he hitchhiked to Florida where he became one of the first professional alligator wrestlers—Alligator Abe. When he got a little older, he moved back up to New Jersey where he opened a successful guacamole stand—Abe’s El Paso Verde—on the boardwalk at Seaside Heights. There, he was called Avocado Abe. Then, one day he mistakenly shortchanged one of his customers. He rans after the customer and corrected the change. “You’re honest Abe.” “That’s it!” Abe exclaimed. “Honest Abe.” After all the stupid nicknames he had had, “Honest Abe” hit the bullseye. He thought maybe he could sell used carriages: Honest Abe’s Pre-Owned Buggies. He would make tons of money! Then, he got a telegram.

The family business in Illinois—Lincoln’s Leisure Lounge—had been raided and his Ma, Lucille Lincoln, had been jailed without bail. Honest Abe had to go home to take care of things. The first thing he did when he got there was to change the Leisure Lounge into a school for girls called the Honest Abe Academy. Abe taught lessons with a shovel and piece of coal as a blackboard. He taught English, Math, history and Rail-splitting. The Academy’s rail splitting team was the best in the state. The newspapers said “They could split more rails in ten minutes than a beaver on coca!”

The Governor of Illinois presented the annual rail-splitting award. it had been won by Honest Abe Academy every year. This year was no exception. As Coach, Abe received the award. As he handed him the award the Governor told Abe that he was destined for greatness and could win any office he ran for (except Governor). Honest Abe ran for Representative and won, and that was it. He was off and running.

Eventually, Honest Abe was elected President. His plan was to secede from the South and be done with slavery. The plan had originated in New York as the “Fuhgeddaboudit Manifesto.” However, before it could be enacted, the South started a war. The rest is history.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Abbaser [George] Puttenham’s English term for tapinosis. Also equivalent to meiosis: reference to something with a name disproportionately lesser than its nature (a kind of litotes: deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite).

I had an uncle who spent his time “cutting things down to size.” He called the Empire State Building a pile of bricks blocking the sun. He called Mickey Mantle the “Stick Swinger.“ He called President Eisenhower “Spike” instead of “Ike.” He called his Ford his “Fraud.” He called his wife (my Aunt Betty) his “Strife.” He called Wisconsin (where we lived) The “Empire of Cheese.” The list of his “size cutting” names goes on forever—there are hundreds and hundreds of them.

I admired my Uncle, so tried my hand at “cutting things down to size.” My teacher, Mrs. Grinney, had bad breath. So, I started calling her “Boiled Brussels Sprouts Breath.” I tried to get it to catch on with my friends, but it didn’t and somebody told her. I got two weeks detention writing: “I will not make fun of people with bad breath.” So, I stopped making fun of people—“cutting them down to size.” My next target was my town’s municipal building, named after somebody named Dodge. It was where the police and fire stations were, along with the town court. It was a beautiful building made from pink granite. I called it “Dodge City” after the cowboy town where everybody was bad. Our town was notoriously corrupt. The police never arrested anybody unless they were poor. The firemen sat on their asses playing poker night and day. Their motto was “The fire truck wouldn’t start, and besides, I had a straight flush.” The town judge was married to the local Mafia Don’s sister. You can imagine how that played out.

I first used “Dodge City” in a speech I made to my English class. My fellow students didn’t know what I was talking about, but my teacher did. He made me stay after class and told me if I used “Dodge City” again, there would be dire consequences and they would go “Bang, bang, bang.” He was the Don’s brother.

So, I stopped cutting things down to size, and started writing poetry instead. My first poem “Under Hot Asphalt” won the “Up and Coming New Comer Coming Up” prize from “Marginal Notes” a very prestigious literary journal. It is the oldest continuously published journal of its kind, first published in 1590. Shakespeare had first sonnet published in “Marginal Notes” in the late 16th century. I’m so glad my teacher steered me away from cutting things down to size “bang, bang, bang.” I probably would’ve ended up like my Uncle, found in a landfill two days after he called the police chief, the “Police Thief.”

Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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