Monthly Archives: February 2016


Pysma (pys’-ma): The asking of multiple questions successively (which would together require a complex reply). A rhetorical use of the question.

Yesterday, I lost the only key I have to my rental meat locker padlock. How will I get in? How long will it take to get a replacement? Can anybody tell if there’s anybody locked inside? How long does it take to freeze to death? Where is my wife?  Why are you looking at me like that? What are you doing with those bolt cutters? Will you please drop them? Do you think this meat cleaver is a toy? Who are you calling on your cellphone? Why are you trembling? Is that 911 I hear?

Uh oh!

Better look out out!

Oh dear!

Now, you’ve lost your head.

You naughty boy.

I have a confession to make.

I didn’t really lose my key, but it’s too late for you to care!

Honey? Honey? Can you hear me in there?

You always told me you wanted to get ahead, and that I was keeping you back.

Can you hear me? Or, you don’t want to hear me? Typical!


I have a surprise for you! You are going to get a head!

It has blue eyes, and I hope you’re not too dead to appreciate it!


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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Ratiocinatio (ra’-ti-o-cin-a’-ti-o): Reasoning (typically with oneself) by asking questions. Sometimes equivalent to anthypophora. More specifically, ratiocinatio can mean making statements, then asking the reason (ratio) for such an affirmation, then answering oneself. In this latter sense ratiocinatio is closely related to aetiologia. [As a questioning strategy, it is also related to erotima {the general term for a rhetorical question}.]

“To be, or not to be?”

Ironically (sardonically, cynically, pitifully, wistfully, blissfully, bashfully, shit in my pants fully) I (and we) already know the answer: we are all going to not be. We are all going to die.

So, if we are all going to “not be” and we know it, and we really want to show it, should we all just clap our hands, take out a life insurance policy, rest easy, and wait not to be?

Is it better to suffer the slings and crutches and bedpans of our withering biceps and sagging boobies, or turn on the gas?

I don’t know.

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


Repotia (re-po’-ti-a): 1. The repetition of a phrase with slight differences in style, diction, tone, etc. 2. A discourse celebrating a wedding feast.

1. Please give me the remote. GIVE me the remote! Give ME the REMOTE! God-Dammit! GIVE ME THE F***ING REMOTE!

2. Being honest is being the best Best Man I can be.

Today you are joined in matrimony. Chained together for life like two convicts, unless you appeal your conviction and get a quickie divorce!  After all, it was the ‘quickie’ in the olive grove over there that got you into this mess in the first place!!

Ha ha!

So, here’s to you, our soon-to-be-miserable friends: To your love! To your marriage! To your stupidity! To our regret!

So, let’s all have a little watered-down wine, some humus, and roast sheep buttocks and laugh at our idiot friends.

Here’s to you Mary and Joseph!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

I think his brother George made an interesting point about Jeb’s profile on LinkedIn, but jeez, George looks like a weatherbeaten little old shrimp boat when he stands alongside Jeb.  I would say, though, if he’s going to speak in praise of Jeb’s manliness and related leadership qualities, George should get a pair of bullhide elevator Ropers (sort of like like Marco’s man-me-up flamenco boots). Otherwise, who will believe him?

I hope nobody starts calling them “Mutt and Jeb”* on the campaign trail or in photos of them standing  together.

Mutt and Jeb



*Allusion: Mutt and Jeff Cartoon Characters c. 1909


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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

Yesterday was a stellar f***ing day! My subscription to The Economist expired, my pants fell down at the mall, I lost my wallet, I ran out of vodka, my cat froze to the back porch, I found out my neighbor gave me an STD, I slipped in the shower, I chipped a tooth, my hemorrhoids flared up, and I felt like I had a Serrano pepper stuck up my a**! To top it off, the  damn bald spot on the back of my head grew by another 1.16 inches!

Truly, a wonderful f***ing day–like having a stroke, being run over by a Fedex truck, going to Trenton, NJ being spread on a 12-foot long ebola sandwich headed full bore into a chipper-shredder.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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.

1. Primaries. Contraires. Attack ads. Back stabs. Führer Trump. Colonel Sanders. More debates. More disasters.

2. They parked their camo-covered butts in a bird sanctuary. They sat their patriot hineys down next-door to Sandhill Cranes. They chattered on their cellphones.  They drank coffee. They seemed sort of insane.

One got killed, some went home, some went to jail.


Something about cows or free-range chickens or gun control. To tell you the truth, I really don’t know.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

My wonderful husband once told me, “I may be lying in the gutter, but I’m staring at the stars.”

Tonight, here in New Hampshire, I know what Bill meant. But tonight it is a little different! It is snowing like crazy and I can’t see the stars!

But seriously, if I were homeless, I’d just go to sleep and freeze to death in the gutter. But I am not homeless! I am not going to go to sleep! I am not going to freeze to death! Instead, I am going to South Carolina!

Before I board my campaign ambulence, I want to introduce my new Presidential Campaign Manager, Mr. Ben Gahzi!

In the coming months, Mr. Gahzi will . . .

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  • Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

Higher education in the 21st century at many colleges and universities does not successfully prepare its so-called liberally educated students to negotiate life’s vicissitudes; to negotiate uncertainties and strife with humane voices speaking in the light. Rather, from the “safe spaces” where they reside, they learn how to “take offense,” and how to willy nilly level charges that are always taken seriously, and always will be heard.

Like latter-day nazis, like blood-hungry wolves, they have forged their brutish howling voices into pointed blades of fear, turning “judicial hearings” into monologues where cowering judges have only to decide how, and how much, to punish whomever “some students” may anonymously deride.

Somewhere, this is the culture of academic residential life, where there are no consequences for telling lies. In this community of Kafka houses after every trial, when the gavel grants another win to their revengeful pride, “some students” have been known laugh out loud, smoke a joint, drink a couple of drinks, and piss on the wall of the stone prophylactic euphemistically called “residence hall.”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (