Monthly Archives: May 2014

Hysteron Proteron

Hysteron Proteron (his’-ter-on pro’-ter-on): Disorder of time. (What should be first, isn’t.)

Tears were coming out of my eyes. I pushed the onion into the kitchen sink.  I bought it at the grocery store. I chopped it. I peeled it. It cost 49 cents. I came home. I parked the car in front of the supermarket. I started the car. I went inside. I needed a cup of coffee. I couldn’t get out of the car.

Everything was out of focus–my hand, my knee, my watch, my life.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Inopinatum

Inopinatum (in-o-pi-na’-tum): The expression of one’s inability to believe or conceive of something; a type of faux wondering. As such, this kind of paradox is much like aporia and functions much like a rhetorical question or erotema. [A paradox is] a statement that is self-contradictory on the surface, yet seems to evoke a truth nonetheless [can include oxymoron].

A: I can’t believe, imagine, or even pretend that you’re a demented prince.  The demented part, I believe. But, if you’re a prince, I’m a microwave oven.

B: Samsung? Panasonic? Or, some off-brand?

A: I can’t believe you believe I’m a microwave oven!

B: You are banished insolent appliance. Guards, take him back to the kitchen and plug him in.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Inter se pugnantia

Inter se pugnantia (in’-ter-say-pug-nan’-ti-a): Using direct address to reprove someone before an audience, pointing out the contradictions in that person’s character, often between what a person does and says.

Which is it? The Bible or the bile? The dove or the dragon? The carrot or the carving knife? You say, “Love thy neighbor” and then erect a razor sharp nine-foot electric fence. You say, “The dove on silver pinions winged her peaceful way” and then you burn the bird with napalm and sweep it away. You say, “Let us feed hungry bunnies the carrots they adore” and then you rub your rabbit’s foot, heat the iron skillet,  and open the refrigerator door.

You remind me of the psychopath who sang love songs when he crushed his victims’ necks. You remind me of the Santa Claus who carried yellow fever in his sack.

Now it’s time to send you home with a smile on your face, a shiny copper slug embedded in your heart, and a marching band playing “Love will tear us apart.”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Intimation

Intimation: Hinting at a meaning but not stating it explicitly.

I think there’s a piece missing from the nether part of your wardrobe. I know you’re from Inverness, but here in Ohio we like to keep our things private.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Isocolon

Isocolon (i-so-co’-lon): A series of similarly structured elements having the same length. A kind of parallelism.

Big white beard. Suit of red. Must be doorman. Must be doorman. Doormen open doors!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Kategoria

Kategoria (ka-te-go’-ri-a): Opening the secret wickedness of one’s adversary before his [or her] face.

The battery was dead on my calculator. I should’ve bought the solar powered one that I saw for sale on E-Bay.

I opened the battery door on the back of the calculator. No wonder it wasn’t working. SOMEBODY had removed the battery and left a note on a little strip of paper that looked like it came from a fortune cookie!

The note said: “There’s another note in your Bose noise-cancelling headphones.”

I dropped the calculator. I ran upstairs and popped open the battery flap on my headphones.  There was a rolled-up piece of paper where the battery should’ve been. I couldn’t get it out, so I got my little tweezers from the butt of my Swiss Army Knife, pinched the paper, and out came the note.

The note said: “The guy across the street is feeding your cat.”

Damn! No wonder Sydney was starting to look like a black and white watermelon with four legs and a tail. Not only that, he had stopped rubbing his head on my ankles. He had stopped purring. He had stopped scratching the inside of his cardboard box. He had stopped following me around the yard. In short, he had stopped being MY cat! He had been ‘stolen’ by the guy across the street.

I was furious. I put on my wooden shoes, picked up my DeWit Junior Double Handhoe, and clomped out of the garage to confront the guy across the street. I was going to put a furrow down the middle of his forehead!

Just as I got to the end of my driveway, he came out on his front porch. He was shirtless and I could see the tattoos plastered all over his upper torso. He was wearing filthy sweatpants and bright orange CROCS. He was waving a Brooklyn Smasher over his head with his right hand and shaking a nearly empty bag of kitty treats with his left hand. The kitty treats made a rattling sound.

“It isn’t a secret any more!” I yelled. “You’ve been feeding MY Sydney! You’ve made him into a kitty treat junkie. Now . . .”

Before I could finish my sentence Sydney came waddling past me.  I could hear him wheezing. His tail was sticking straight up in the air. Furry belly sweeping the asphalt, my poor junkie cat waddled out into the street and laid down to catch his breath.

He lay there panting for about a second when I heard (and mostly smelled) the liquid manure sprayer truck downshift. There it was, heading down the hill to douse a cornfield–headed right at Sydney!

Holding my nose I ran toward Sydney, scooped him off the pavement with my free hand, and threw him out of the way. I turned to face the stinking tanker. I closed my eyes. I was ready to die!

I woke up to the distant rumble and lingering stink of the truck. I was alive! I was laying on my back. One of my wooden shoes was missing. I tried to sit up, but my shirt was stuck to the poop on the pavement. I was too weak t0 break the bond.

Uh oh! My neighbor was coming toward me–Brooklyn Smasher in one hand and Sydney tucked under his arm. I struggled to stand, but I just couldn’t break free.  In my weakened state, the poop held me to the road like Gorilla Glue.

Sydney was flailing, trying to free himself from my neighbor! Claws extended and yowling, he tore at the guy across the street. He tore at his hand, his wrist and his forearm. He drew blood!

In a rage, the guy across the street dropped Syndey in his driveway. Swinging his Brooklyn Smasher at the panting pile of fur running full waddle down the driveway he yelled “You ungrateful blob! I’m going crush your greedy skull and then I’m going to club your butt-face owner.”

I struggled and tore my shirt off. I was on my feet! I lunged for the guy across the street. I fell. I twisted my ankle. That was it for me.

The “Smasher” was swinging toward Sydney’s helpless little head. In wide-eyed terror, I screamed “Sydney, get out of the way!”

The wind began to howl. Two riders were approaching.  They pulled up and shut shut off their engines. The wind died down and I heard Sydney growl. Distracted, the guy across the street had turned turned to look. Sydney was going to escape!

The two men on Harleyback were frackers! Frackers–I had seen them before. They were known throughout upstate New York as the “Two Riders of the Frack-o-lypse.” Day and night they patrolled the rural roads of upstate New York looking for ponds and freshets to suck dry. The water was smuggled south to Pennsylvania in tanker trucks.

A New York State Trooper had captured one of the clandestine tankers two days ago. The tanker was cynically disguised as a yellow school bus. With tinted windows and a pink marching rabbit drummer wearing sunglasses emblazoned on its sides and rear emergency door, it appeared to be one of the small fleet of experimental battery-powered UV-blocking school buses under development by 3M™ and Energizer™ batteries.

The diligent Trooper was riding the rural roads with his windows down. He pulled up behind the bunny emblazoned ‘school bus’ and something just didn’t smell right.  He muttered to himself, “Diesel” and flipped on the cruiser’s siren.

The bogus bus sped up–40 miles per hour, 50 miles per hour, 60 miles per hour. The Trooper was in hot pursuit and was about to radio for back-up when the bus’s rear emergency door flew open and a tsunami of stolen H2O spilled out cracking the cruiser’s windshield and sweeping the emergency lights off its roof. Filled with water, the cruiser’s siren began making loud gargling noises–it sounded like a drowning turkey!

Suddenly, the bogus bus went out of control, flipped over twice and came to rest in a spreading puddle of mud.

Alerted by the gargling siren, a flock of 20-25 turkeys feeding in the field adjacent to the road raised their tiny heads in unison. Hackles up, they flocked up and began running and half-flying toward what sounded like a fellow meleagris gallopavo in deep distress–possibly dying.

Meanwhile, the drenched trooper’s out-of-control cruiser skidded sideways and safely came to rest on the road shoulder. The Trooper looked up and saw the crazed turkeys storming toward him. He heard a loud ka-blam from the other side of the road.  Feathers flew, 6 turkeys went down and the rest of the flock scattered and fled. The Trooper heard a deep voice ask in Danish, “Hvordan går det?”  He looked up and saw a red-bearded giant broad-shouldered man clad in cammo sheepskins smiling and reloading his shotgun.

The Trooper had seen the Norseman somewhere before. Without thinking, he grabbed his laptop and began trying to log into the USA.gov most wanted criminals website. The Norseman reached in the window, grabbed the laptop, threw it into the air, and blasted it to pieces with his shotgun. He smiled and laughed and and asked again, “Hvordan går det?

The Trooper had trained for this. He reached for his gun. The tearing sound of Velcro™ . . .

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Litotes

Litotes (li-to’-tees): Deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite. The Ad Herennium author suggests litotes as a means of expressing modesty (downplaying one’s accomplishments) in order to gain the audience’s favor (establishing ethos).

E: New Jersey.

A: Bigger than a breadbasket.

E: Governor Christie.

A: Bigger than a breadbasket.

E: Is there anything smaller than a breadbasket?

A: My parking space in Hoboken.

E: What about Fort Lee?

A: Bigger than a toll booth.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Martyria

Martyria (mar-tir’-i-a): Confirming something by referring to one’s own experience.

I took my belt in another notch. That’s twelve notches in three weeks. It wasn’t Jenny Craig, Nutrisystems, Medi-fast, diet pills or anything else that slimmed me down.

It was the ultimate weight-loss program!

 It was Lost in the Woods™

Three weeks ago, as agreed, my Lost in the Woods™ Near Death Coach (NDC), Ronald “Mad Cow” Zombinski-McGiver pushed me out of a helicopter hovering ten feet off the ground somewhere in Southwestern Oregon. Somewhere deep, maybe too deep, in the woods.

Ronald is a new breed of leading-edge dieticians who see being lost in the woods for three weeks shoeless, wearing only boxer shorts, and equipped solely with a signal mirror, as a natural, purely organic alternative to the weight loss gimmicks advertised in what Ronald calls “the commie  infomercials” on cable television pitched by Dan “The Dupe” Marino and Marie “Mata Hari” Osmond.

And now, here I am: Lost in the Woods™ I’m starving. I’m smelly. I’m shoeless, my heart is barely beating, BUT I’ve lost inches of useless fat faster than you can say “Bruised, blistered, burned, and bitten!”

I hear the thumping sound of the helicopter. It’s getting closer.  Soon, I will be raised from the forest, slender boxer-shorted stud that Lost in the Woods™ has made me!

I flash my mirror. I can hear the helicopter getting closer. There it is! Right over my head! I can see Mad Cow looking down from the door, leaning forward like he dosen’t care whether he falls out!  He’s got a huge smile on his face.

The prop wash knocks me on my back. There’s a little red dot on my chest. Through the swirling dust and pine needles I can see Mad Cow’s pistol and the purple writing on his t-shirt: Disappeared in the Woods™ . . .

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Maxim (max’-im): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, apothegm, gnome, paroemia, proverb, and sententia.

“Love of wit makes no man rich.”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Medela

Medela (me-de’-la): When you can’t deny or defend friends’ faults and seek to heal them with good words.

The guy with brown shorts, brown shirt, brown belt, brown hat, brown socks and black shoes dropped the package on my back porch. He didn’t even ring the doorbell. Well, he might’ve tried to ring the doorbell.

Ever since we had the house built seven years ago the front and back doorbells don’t work right. I always try to look on the bright side though.  God only knows how many times we’ve been graced by the broken bells and left Jehovah’s Witnesses, Born Again Christians, and Mormons standing on our porch, tracts in hand, anxiously waiting to save our souls. I love it when they leave complimentary tracts stuck behind the storm door.

One of my favorites is the “Lady Gaga Tract.” It’s a postcard with a gorgeous picture of Lady Gaga on the front.  On the back it says encouraging things like: “In an interview with Larry King, [Lady Gaga] admitted that she thinks about death a lot and even dreams about it. Is there life after death? If so, where will Lady Gaga go? Or, MORE IMPORTANTLY FOR YOU, where will you go? The Bible says that people will either spend eternity in Hell or in the Kingdom of God/Heaven.”

The forward slash between God and Heaven prompted me to ask “What is the Kingdom of God/Heaven? Or more specifically, “What is God/Heaven?” What exactly does the forward slash mean?  Why didn’t the evangelical postcard use an ampersand, or an equal sign, or a plus sign or one of the other punctuation marks lined up across the top, the side and the bottom of the scribe’s keyboard? What about God$Heaven? What about God\Heaven? What about God^Heaven? What about God@Heaven?

The front and back doorbell began ringing at the same time, filling my home with a joyous noise! “Just as I was thinking about God/Heaven, the doorbells began working! It’s a miracle!” I cried.

I ran to the front door.  Nobody there. I ran to the back door.  Nobody there. Suddenly a beam of light shot from above illuminating one of the Adirondack chairs by the swimming pool. As the blinding light began to dim, the shadowy figure of a naked woman began to appear. I looked toward the sky, held my hands above my head and shouted: “Thank-you dear God/Heaven!” Even though I hadn’t prayed specifically for it,  I was sure when the light refocused that I would behold Lady Gaga lounging naked by the pool.

A weird sounding female voice cracked the air:

“I am Special Agent Hoskins of the IRS. I am not really totally nude. I am wearing a synthetic bulletproof flesh body suit and rubber meat-wig helmet.  I’m speaking through a government issued Autotune Bull Horn. That’s why I sound like Cher.”

“You may remember, even after years of sucking up vodka and smoking pot, that we were married in 1973. I was a high school senior and you were a playground equipment salesman. I remarried after the divorce, and yet, I still love you and I still consider you a friend despite the decades of self-doubt that haunt my marriage to my wonderful husband Elvis Dakota George Washington Hoskins, Vice President of  ‘Bolo Ties ‘N Brisket’ the largest chain of Western Wear/Fast-Food restaurants North America.”

I was awe struck. It was Wife Number Two! The bane of my existence. The wine-box sucking loser I married on acid somewhere in Colorado. To say the least, her recollection of our meeting and marriage were a little off!  She was a pole-dancer in a Chinese restaurant and I was working as a urine sample collector for the LAPD. They called me Captain Pee Pee.

There was a brief moment of silence and the now tearful Former Wife/Special Agent Hoskins slowly put the Autotune bull-thing to her quivering lips.

The beam of light turned red.

Raising her free hand in a clenched fist she sobbed:

“Despite all that, and with no regrets, I am here to officially inform you that the United States Government has placed a tax lien on your property.”

I knew something was sure to come up when I tried to pay my Federal Income Tax with Bitcoins. But this! Wino Wife Number Two in a rubber nudy-suit! An IRS agent? Damn!

“Put your hands over your head and get down on your knees!” she said like an animal tamer at the zoo.

“I can’t do that. Can’t I put one hand on the ground first and then kneel?” I whined.

“NO! And do you want to know why?”

“I guess so?” I ventured.

“Because it’s your birthday Big Boy!”

The next thing I knew fireworks started going off and a giant smoking mocha bundt cake pulled up to the pool!

‘Wife Number Two’ tore off her rubber nudy-suit and meat wig. Oh my God! It was actually Wife Number Four–The Brown-Eyed Prankster!

Wo!

Before I even had time to soil my linens, ex-wives One, Two, Three and Five popped out of the smoking bundt cake’s hole, each waving a pair of J.A. Henckels Twin L Kitchen Shears over their heads.

Suddenly, the smoke cleared, the red light went out and it was so quiet I could hear the crickets chirping. It was so dark that I couldn’t see anything. There was a rustling sound right in front of me, and then the sound of kitchen shears making snipping sounds! The light came on and there they were! Five naked ex-wives. Five pairs of kitchen shears pointed at my crotch.

They were chanting in solemn unity: “Cut them off. Cut them off. Cut them off.” I was terrified. I was cornered. “Ok!” I said, and then I played my trump card.

Trembling, I yelled “If you cut them off, I’ll cut you off–no more Country Club. No more Mercedes. No more “Blue-eyed Svens” to stroke your egos!”

They stopped chanting! They looked at each other, nodding their heads. Wife Number Four raised her kitchen shears and, looking up at the shears, she quietly said: “I’ve got your alimony right here, Big Boy!”

Without warning, my one-armed accountant Elmo “Scarlet” Shagrug stumbled out of the pool house. He called the pool house the “Tax Shack” and had been “staying” there for about two weeks “takin’ a break from life,” reading and memorizing Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, drinking his way through all the Johnny Walker colors, and eating sushi delivered in dog packs by his Corka-doodle Beaver. When I saw him yesterday he told me that the “invisible hand” had given him the finger.

He looked like a cracked-out 1941 Maureen O’Hara with a beard and Marty Feldman eyes.

Shirtless, with his drool-stained cravat ruche carefully centered on his hairy chest, barely able to stand, and with his one arm aiming the Parker shotgun my grandfather had given me when I was a little boy, Elmo shouted (quoting Aristotle):  “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.”

He fired both barrels into the air, fell over backwards and passed out.

In unison The Five Former Wives began chanting again: “Cut them off. Cut them off. Cut them off.” They were moving toward me in a mini phalanx.

“This is it!” I yelled as loudly and boldly as I was able.

I pulled down my pajama pants, and to everybody’s shock, awe, and amazement my . . .

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Meiosis

Meiosis (mei-o’-sis): Reference to something with a name disproportionately lesser than its nature (a kind of litotes). This term is equivalent to tapinosis.

It was time to pan fry the catfish I caught in the river across from the “Jack and the Beanstalk” fertilizer factory!

This was no ordinary catfish and pan frying was not exactly what I was going to do. The fish was so big that I had use my front loader to scoop it up and drive it home from the river. As soon as I got it home, I built a huge bonfire, laced with petrochemicals to get it going fast. I cleaned the fish with a chainsaw. Then, I lowered the front loader’s bucket into the roaring flames. When it was red hot, I raised it out of the fire, backed up and scooped up the fish. Then, with my mouth watering I pulled forward and lowered little kitty-kitty-fish into the eight-foot flames.

The explosion blew apart my front loader. I woke up in a drainage ditch across the street from my home. All of its windows were shattered.

I was soaking wet. I was covered with wriggling mosquito larvae and blown up catfish parts.  My ears were ringing, my nose was bleeding and a charred pectoral fin the size of a canoe paddle was sticking out of the left cheek of my bashed up butt.

I felt a pang of hunger. It triggered the first thought that squeezed through my swollen brain: “Beaver Brand Tatar Sauce.” Inspired, I dragged myself across the street, over the curb, over the broken glass, into the smoking double-wide, toward what was left of my kitchen. “Beaver, beaver, beaver” I moaned.

The next thing I knew, the angel with the black and yellow stun gun . . .

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Mempsis

Mempsis (memp’-sis): Expressing complaint and seeking help.

Hello world! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

The Alert gizmo my daughter pinned to my robe is fake! When I press the button with the red flag on it plays a ring tone and sings “Arise! Arise! Arise!” Although I find this very inspirational while I’m on my back here on the floor, I actually need somebody to help me arise, arise, arise.

I’m glad I have my iPhone in my pocket. 911 is a life saver!

“Hello 911? I’ve fallen and I need immediate assistance so I can arise, arise, arise. Yes, I’m sure it’ll take three tries, so please dispatch a paramedic strong enough to lift a baby minke. My address is . . .”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Merismus

Merismus (mer-is’-mus): The dividing of a whole into its parts.

On a typical clock time is divided into hours, minutes, and seconds. Time consciousness is another thing altogether.

But more importantly, being unconscious of time (the past, the present, and the future; the hours, minutes, and seconds; the years, the months, the weeks and the days; the birthdays, the anniversaries, and the recurring rituals bound by cultured increments meting out patterns that punctuate, articulate, and constitute social seasons and their knocks of opportunity) one may encounter the goddess Ananke seated in the beat of one’s heart.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Mesarchia

Mesarchia (mes-ar’-chi-a): The repetition of the same word or words at the beginning and middle of successive sentences.

Truth is a chain wound around your soul, eternally binding your will to be otherwise.

Truth is a dagger driven deep into your soul, eternally excising ignorance, and tragically bleeding out its hot misty bliss.

Truth is an immortal warrior that recruits your soul, eternally marching it toward its unwavering goal, achieving victory on wine-colored fields drenched by the wounds of infidels.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Mesodiplosis

Mesodiplosis (mes-o-dip-lo’-sis): Repetition of the same word or words in the middle of successive sentences.

I heard my conscience calling and it told me to apologize. I listened to my conscience calling and I apologized.

I’m glad I got the “My Conscience Calling” app for my iPhone. It’s free and it has repeatedly settled my troubled soul.

The only problem with the app itself  is that before “My Conscience Calling” calls, you’ve got to text “My Conscience Calling” (622) and leave a TWEET-sized message explaining your vexation. But that’s a minor hassle because in under 30 seconds “My Conscience Calling” texts you back with an answer! The ring tone sounds like thunder and the iPhone flashes on and off like lightening.

It’s like having the Wizard of Oz in your pocket!

No more sleepless nights spent anguishing!

Flush the Lunesta!

Spit out the ZZZQuil!

When I hear my conscience calling, I know everything’s going to be all right!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Mesozeugma

Mesozeugma (me’-so-zyoog’-ma): A zeugma in which one places a common verb for many subjects in the middle of a construction.

6.00am came and went, then 11.00am, then 5.00pm, then 10.00pm. At midnight he thought, “What happened to 7,8,9 and all the rest?”

Out of the corner of his eye he noticed a large brown hiking boot standing on his pillow. He rolled over to face it. It had no foot in it, but there was a folded-up piece of paper tucked between its tongue and red and black laces. He started to shiver.

Midnight went. 2.00am came and went, then 4.00am, then 7.00am, then something started pressing on the back of his left leg. It felt like a warm crayon–waxy, dull, slightly sticky. It was prompting him to grab the piece of paper from the boot!

He pulled the paper from the hiking boot. Shaking with fear, he carefully unfolded it. To his surprise a tiny bright yellow plastic Sponge Bob popped out and landed face up on his bedspread.

He was thrilled.

He never imagined that he would be the recipient of a well-crafted miniature genuine plastic version of THE Sponge Bob. THE Sponge Bob he adored and watched every afternoon from the beat-up couch in his basement with his little orange cat Crowbar nestled by his side.

“What’s the occasion?” he wondered.

“What’s that smell?” he asked himself.

His bed was on fire and Sponge Bob . . .

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Metabasis

Metabasis (me-ta’-ba-sis): A transitional statement in which one explains what has been and what will be said.

Now that we’ve explained the three key advantages of being a crack smoking mayor, we’re going to show you how they pertain to Mayor Rob Ford, a strong proponent of getting high in office, overeating,  and providing generous subsidies to struggling drug lords.

First, . . .

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).