Monthly Archives: June 2022


Cataphasis (kat-af’-a-sis): A kind of paralipsis in which one explicitly affirms the negative qualities that one then passes over.

A: You are a cloud hovering over an otherwise wonderful day—stuck in front of the sun and dimming the landscape with your darkening presence. But today, I don’t want to revisit your brooding bullshit. I want to talk about your “announcement” and ask how you think you got pregnant?

B: Honestly, I don’t know. I forgot to take my birth control pills for a couple of months. But it was only a couple of months, they shouldn’t wear off that fast. Anyway, I wanted a baby. We’ve been married five years and have nothing to show for it.

A: Don’t you think we should’ve discussed this, especially since we haven’t been trying to get pregnant? We haven’t had sex for a year. So, the big question is: Who’s the baby’s father?

B: Scooter Boone.

A: OH MY GOD! The developmentally delayed towel boy at The Confederate Car Wash! He’s the stupidest person in Mississippi, and that’s saying something. Did he rape you?

B: No. We did it in the car going through the car wash. I am very truly sorry. I don’t want our marriage to end. I love you.

A: I have my doubts, but I think we can see this through. As you know, abortion’s illegal here in Mississippi and we can’t afford to drive you to hell and back to get you one in some other state. I guess you’ll have to have Scooter’s baby. I just hope the baby’s nothing like Scooter, especially in looks. Scooter has a nose like a vulture beak—unmistakeable. What the hell will we do if the baby’s born with Scooter’s beak?

B: I don’t know. Can’t we please go to Illinois so I can get an abortion?

A: I don’t know. I work overtime all the time at the feed mill, and we still barely have enough to pay the rent and eat. How about this: Ask Scooter to drive you to Illinois—he’s the father, he should take responsibility.

B: Ok, I’ll give it a try.

Postscript: Scooter and Marla took off for Illinois to get the abortion. Marla got the abortion and she and Scooter settled in Chicago where Scooter found employment at the Abraham Lincoln Car Wash, specializing in luxury cars, and making tons of money in tips. Marla had her dream come true: eat deep dish pizza twice a week and send poison pen letters once a month to her husband Wayne, who had a nervous breakdown and lost his job at the grain mill. He took Scooter’s old job at the car wash, but he can’t get any women to do what his wife did with Scooter. He’s thinking of driving to Illinois and killing Marla for what she did. Now that he’s single, he can afford the drive and she stupidly puts her return address on her letter’s. Wayne feels fortunate that Mississippi has such liberal gun laws! The two Glocks and ammunition he bought set him back a bundle, so he’s got to save up while he waits and decides whether to kill Marla, and Scooter too.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Cataplexis (kat-a-pleex’-is): Threatening or prophesying payback for ill doing.

A: You better never come near me again. I’m taking martial arts lessons. So far, I’ve learned how to turn your balls into giblets with two swift kicks, and poke out your eyes with my thumbs while I knee you in the solar plexus and punch you in the heart. My school of martial arts, Chimei-tekina Kazaguruma, means “Deadly Windmill” in English. Imagine a windmill chasing you with spinning silver steel blades honed by Samurai warriors, like a medieval war blender machine mowing down its enemies—liquifying them on the battlefield, so they ooze steaming into the earth. This is my schooling in martial arts. I am Chimei-tekina Kazaguruma—a Deadly Windmill: I will liquify you.

B: No, you will make me laugh. You can’t even run a blender, let alone be a windmill blender. Windmill blender? That’s ridiculous. However, your threat to make my balls into giblets is distressing. I think if I drag out my protective jock from playing catcher in my Little League days, I will thwart you. If it can stop to a fastball, it can stop a kick.

A: You idiot. My steel-toed boots will break your jock’s protective cup into tiny pieces, putting your balls in acute jeopardy. So, you better never come near me again. You will be destroyed.

B: Destroyed? This martial arts stuff is just a bunch of bullshit. Come here baby.

A: Oh, martial arts make you laugh. How about this scumbag, does it make you laugh too? It’s a Glock. It’s loaded. Along with martial arts, I’ve learned how to use it. I would love it if you would come at me so I can rid you of your balls the easy way.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Charientismus (kar-i-en-tia’-mus): Mollifying harsh words by answering them with a smooth and appeasing mock.

A: You smell like a sewer pipe.

B: I like sewers, don’t you?

A: You can’t even make a decent insult.

B: Ha ha—a decent insult.

A: Where are you stupid-ass? In kindergarten?

B: Come on, everybody likes kindergarten.

A: You are clearly a complete nit wit. You are suffering from acute arrested development.

B: Talking about “arrested,” how’s your elder abuse case going? Oh, and by the way, you should remember, I have a PhD in Astrophysics and was up for a Nobel Prize last year while you were up for a bail hearing.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Chiasmus (ki-az’-mus): 1. Repetition of ideas in inverted order. 2. Repetition of grammatical structures in inverted order (not to be mistaken with antimetabole, in which identical words are repeated and inverted).

At sunrise drinking strong hot coffee, at sunset he stalks the internet. He can’t stop clicking, looking for a trace of somebody to love—spending his wages in chat rooms, every one a dead end. When his money runs out, his time runs out and he is closed out of the room. Where should he go? What should he do? “Unhappiness anywhere is a threat to happiness everywhere,” he thought he thought as he looked out his window, down to the busy street. He had a sudden revelation. When he was a kid he listened to a radio program called “Big Joe’s Happiness Exchange.” He could start a blog and he would call it “Big Joe’s Happiness Exchange II” as a tribute. The only rules: nothing sexual, no death threats. People would message their wants in the comments box and he would organize them and keep people on track, making them happy.

He got the blog set up and waited. And waited, and waited. no messages except spam—life insurance, car insurance, gadgets for lonely people, ED remedies, US Army recruitment blurbs, security cams, Bitcoins. Blah, blah, blah. He got really mad and called the web host’s service number. A woman answered the phone with a sweet musical voice. Before he knew it, they were having a pleasant and lively conversation about climate change and how much they both liked Beer Nuts. Although she could get fired for doing it, she made a date with him. They were going to meet at a nice restaurant the next evening at 7:30. As she walked toward the table where he was waiting, he was elated. She was beautiful—totally beautiful. He shook her hand and they sat down at their table. He asked her if she was married. She said “Yes” and that her husband was waiting outside in the parking lot in their car. He looked at the floor, motioned to the waiter, and ordered a double vodka. His life was so screwed up. He grabbed the steak knife that was beside his plate and violently stuck it in the table. He asked her what the hell she was up to. She told him her husband comes along on her dates to make sure everything’s on the up and up. He pulled the steak knife out of the table and pointed it at her heart. He told her he was going home, and to say “Hi” to her nutcase husband.

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

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Chronographia (chro-no-graph’-i-a): Vivid representation of a certain historical or recurring time (such as a season) to create an illusion of reality. A kind of enargia: [the] generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description.

It was the biggest time and the baddest time. My dad was taking me to a biker rally held every year in Woodstock, New York. My dad was Sergeant at Arms and Spokesperson for the “Despicable Ghouls”, a splinter group of the “Holy Jesus Christ Our King Evangelical Church and Motorcycle Club” originally founded by Jimmy Swaggart, a real bad ass, in the early 70s. For example, he invented the “donut,” a motorcycle move where you turn the motorcycle’s handlebars all the way right or left and wail on the gas, spinning around in circles, hence “the donut.”

As Martha and the Vandellas taught us back in the day, “Summer’s here and the time it right for dancing in the street.” The weather was warm and cloudless. At night, the mosquitoes were on high alert, so we stayed in our tent and listened to them whine. There was heat lightning flashing in the sky, and I could hear far-away thunder. I loved watching the fireflies though the tent’s mosquito netting. Sometimes I would blink my flashlight at them, and I swear, a couple of times they blinked back. It was moonless, so they really glowed. And the summer sky was filled with stars. Luckily, I could see the Big Dipper through our tent’s folded back flaps.

But then, there were the crazy “Ghouls.” They lit a bonfire, drank beer, and sang and danced the night away. You could tell who they were the next morning: bleary-eyed, covered with mosquito bites, and coated with cortisone cream to kill the itching.

While my dad met with his colleagues, I wandered the fields. I thought about the music festival that was held there before I was born. The field was filled with blooming milkweed, smelling sweet in early summer. There were daisies, wild roses, goldenrod, and wild pink geraniums. I saw a Monarch butterfly and a yellow Swallowtail. And the birds! Red-Breasted Grosbeak, lots of brown Field Sparrows, noisy Crows, a couple of Bluebirds, Red-Wing Blackbirds, and even a few Chickadees. And the bird-o-rama was crowned by a Red-Tailed Hawk hovering above me.

What a day! Perfect weather—80 degrees and plenty of sun. We ate dinner in our tent—vegetarian kabobs with brown rice, peppers, onions, cheese, and Kombucha. Everything was going great until the “Holy Jesus Christ Our King Evangelical Church and Motorcycle Club” showed up. My dad grabbed his Bible, folded his arms and stood resolutely in our tent’s doorway. He was ready to argue, once again, with Rev. Crypsis, who claimed he was divinely inspired and could inerrantly interpret Scripture. I crawled under my cot and waited.

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

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Climax (cli’-max): Generally, the arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of increasing importance, often in parallel structure.

It was cold, cracking, rushing, crushing everything in it’s way. It was going at least 100 mph. Moving, rolling, throwing rocks and blocks of ice. I was going to die in about a minute. Suddenly, the landscape froze, like God had pressed a cosmic pause button. It was bizarre. Then I saw a person-sized niche emerge from beneath the snow. If I could reach it in time, I would live. If not, I would die. Simple, yet complicated, vexing, and terrifying. I started to run. I saw my mother beckoning to me and I kept running until I was dead.

Somehow, I’ve been granted the privilege of telling this little tale on The Daily Trope. Don’t worry about me. The niche had a staircase leading straight to heaven, like the Led Zeppelin song.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.


Coenotes (cee’-no-tees): Repetition of two different phrases: one at the beginning and the other at the end of successive paragraphs. Note: Composed of anaphora and epistrophe, coenotes is simply a more specific kind of symploce (the repetition of phrases, not merely words).

I am the reason for your total undoing. A terrible mystery with dimensions of misery stabbing at your hope. As your optimism bleeds on the dirt, I have broken your spirit with the hammer of regret and guilt. No peace, no solace, awaits your ruined soul. I have embraced you with deceit.

I am the reason for your total undoing. And now you are undone, like an errant shoelace, an untied bow, an unplugged chord, a fallen clothesline, a snapped loop, a broken hinge. I have embraced you with deceit.

I am the reason for your total undoing. You are caught. You are revealed. You are had. You are suffering. I am the undertaker that will bury you deep in the dirt and litter of your undoing. I have embraced you with deceit.

You may be asking, “Why?” It is my hobby to ruin people’s lives. I have wealth. I have good looks. I am glib. I am eloquent. I am easily able to entrap and seduce people like you: discontented, ignored by the people who should love you, looking for a thrill; feeling old, resentful, and ready for a change. Given my seductive skills and monetary resources, it is almost too easy. You’re the 61st woman I have destroyed—31 married and 30 in committed relationships—you’re number 31 in the married category. And what’s really funny is that my hobby isn’t illegal! As long as I don’t blackmail or extort, I’m good to go. Adultery is legal, but clearly, there can be severe penalties.

Go ahead and call me all the names you want to call me. It’ll give me a laugh: bastard, MFer, asshole, blah, blah blah. The deed is done, and it came up “unfaithful bitch” for you, baby. I’ll be calling your husband in a few minutes. What will he do, forgive you? Ha ha! Dump you? Put you out on the street? Beat you? I’m betting on dump you.

What’s that?


You bitch. Call 911. I’m . . .

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Colon (ko’-lon): Roughly equivalent to “clause” in English, except that the emphasis is on seeing this part of a sentence as needing completion, either with a second colon (or membrum) or with two others (forming a tricolon). When cola (or membra) are of equal length, they form isocolon.

I am mystified. Nothing of the past is left knowable to me. I wander without memories, trekking across now without then, when, where, or why.

I know I am lost. Living in a deep trance. I have been legally certified.

I am medicated. I am eradicated. I am insane.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.


Comparatio (com-pa-ra’-ti-o): A general term for a comparison, either as a figure of speech or as an argument. More specific terms are generally employed, such as metaphor, simile, allegory, etc.

The bottom is like the top—a terminal point in the world of up and down. Up and down are value-laden words—as George Lakoff tells us, “up is good, down is bad.” Throwing up. Growing up. Showing up. Blowing up. Screwing up. Turning up. All these “up words” can represent a range of values on the good-bad continuum. I don’t see how screwing up can be a good thing. I guess blowing up can go either way, depending on the context. For example, blowing up an inflatable adult doll can be a good thing for those who find them attractive. But blowing up your home might be a bad thing, unless it is a planned demolition. Also, the same goes for the doll: if it’s being blown up as evidence in divorce court, then, it can be seen as a bad thing for its owner. Context matters more than the words in determining their good-bad valence. But of course, you need the words to make meanings.

What about down? Down the hatch. Down the road. Down to the beach. Downtown. Down and dirty. Down and out. Down my spine. So, down is less nuanced than up. I don’t know what that means beyond an abundance of the negative attaching to “down.” I like “get down” quite a bit. It reminds me of the 70s when it was a key catch phrase among cool people. It was usually yelled at disco dancers wearing white disco suits, male or female high-heeled shoes, and males, with unbuttoned shirts showing off five-feet of gold chain coiled around their necks. There was cocaine snorted and pot smoked by everybody in the disco joints. Everybody got down! Sometimes that did include falling down and passing out on he floor, but the “faller downers” were quickly dragged out the back door where they would usually be robbed of their wallets and high-heeled shoes, and sent home in cabs.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve misrepresented Lakoff here. Basically, he says that metaphors (which are comparisons) provide us with our orientation toward life. So when you’re “fit as a fiddle” you should be “happy as a clam.” As a violin with mollusk-like sentiments, get down! You’re di-nohmite!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Comprobatio (com-pro-ba’-ti-o): Approving and commending a virtue, especially in the hearers.

Ladies and gentlemen, my praise for you is as boundless as my golf handicap, my hair, and my hatred of Hilary Clinton who should’ve been locked up in Guantanamo with the other war criminals and terrorists. What a disgrace that she’s walking the streets and defaming me.

But you, you, you! You are brilliant and on the right side of history! Some of you have done, or will do, time in jail for your loyalty to what Bill Barr has called “BS.” It takes special people to risk their lives and futures for BS, like the Vietnam War, which my painful bone spurs kept me from serving in. But you, you, you, you’re out there on the front line chanting the brilliant rallying cry: “Stop the steal,” a rallying cry made up by a woman school bus driver from Another Lake, Minnesota. It caught on and you picked it up as you rallied at the Capital Building, with bullhorns, baseball bats and bear spray. Brilliant! Although the coup failed, you did a lot of damage, killed at least one person, and showed the libtards who’s boss. I commend you.

And me! I was your spiritual guide, your guru, and the voice of your consciences, but the little innocuous barely audible speech I gave that day was just me saying what I thought about the election. To think it could prompt an insurrection, is like believing the music from an ice cream truck can make people follow the truck around. I am not responsible for anything that happened on 1/6. It was you Trumpers. You planned it. You executed it. You did it all: everything that happened on 1/6 was due to you and you alone. I wish I had grabbed a bullhorn and joined the crowd, but my bone spurs were killing me, and I could barely walk.

2024’s just around the corner. Just in case: keep your baseball bats clean, your bullhorn batteries fresh, and have an ample supply of bear spray on hand. The Democrats will steal the election again. If you want to make America great again, be prepared.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Conduplicatio (con-du-pli-ca’-ti-o): The repetition of a word or words. A general term for repetition sometimes carrying the more specific meaning of repetition of words in adjacent phrases or clauses. Sometimes used to name either ploce or epizeuxis.

I decided to get away—to get away from it all. “It all” was my job. I worked in a breakfast cereal mill operating the flake-pounder, pounding away, flattening flakes and moving them down the line on a dirty old conveyer belt that’s been moving cereal flakes since cereal flakes were invented somewhere in Michigan hundreds of years ago. I’d been running the same flake-pounder since I graduated from high school—that was 16 years ago. Even though I could have all the breakfast cereal I wanted, that just wasn’t good enough any more. Last year, I started eating scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast—breakfast that should’ve been cereal, but I didn’t care any more. I was breaking away. So, here I am holding a yard sale, a week before my official resignation. My boss shows up and sees the cereal bowl I was awarded for “ten years of loyal service.” It’s up for sale for twenty-five cents. He looks at me like I should be dead, and buys the bowl. He throws it on the sidewalk and it shatters into fragments, one of which hits my neighbor Barbara in the forehead. She screams in pain and my boss starts running to his car, which isn’t easy—he’s 5’ 6” and weighs around 300 lbs. Suddenly, he made a grunting sound and fell writhing to the ground. He dropped his car keys. I saw my chance. I motioned to Barbara, I grabbed the keys off the ground, and we got in Boss’s Maserati and took off. We stopped at a convenience store for supplies. When I opened the trunk to put the groceries away, we saw a large suitcase. I opened it. It was filled with hundred-dollar bills. There was also a photo of the boss standing behind a table piled high with cocaine. That’s when we decided our future was set. We had evidence that would put the boss away forever. We knew he couldn’t report what had happened on my lawn—he would be nailed. Barbara and I hugged, got back in the boss’s Maserati, and took off for the tropics, AKA Key West, where we were married, lived, and had three lovely children.

Barbara passed away three years ago. Our children are grown, and successful with families of their own. You are reading this now because I have passed and left a provision in my will that this story be made public so people can see that sometimes crime pays. With me and Barbara it all happened on the spur of the moment. If we had planned it, we would probably have been caught. Thanks Boss!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Congeries (con’ger-eez): Piling up words of differing meaning but for a similar emotional effect [(akin to climax)].

Big. Medium. Small. Short. Tiny. Microscopic. Who cares? How did size get connected to so many things? Larger than life. Big time. Huge. Big as a house. Colossal. Size matters, even if it doesn’t matter. But it does! It does too much. I have a foot-long penis. It is a blessing a curse. When I talk about it, most people find it fascinating. I’m happy about that until I get questions like, “Couldn’t you make a lot of money in an adult circus sideshow?” “Do you have a cam-site?” I prefer questions like “How do you stuff it in your pants?” “Has it made you more confident?” “Does it keep you from playing any sports?”

I remember when I became aware of my bigness. My father joined me up with the YMCA when I was ten. Back then, naked swimming was the norm. I was late and all the boys were lined up naked by the pool when I got there. I saw their tiny dinks and knew I was special. But, I left for fear I’d be teased. I don’t know why my father did that to me, but I thought that he might have a big honker too and wanted to toughen me to teasing. My suspicion was confirmed when my dad died and the mortician felt obligated to tell us what was there. If the penis museum in Iceland was open at the time, his giant wang would be floating in a jar in Reykjavik.

I could write a book about my gargantuan pecker. It has defined me and given me my orientation toward life. Next time you’re eating a wiener on the 4th of July or Labor Day, put some mustard on it and think of me.

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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.


Consonance: The repetition of consonants in words stressed in the same place (but whose vowels differ). Also, a kind of inverted alliteration, in which final consonants, rather than initial or medial ones, repeat in nearby words. Consonance is more properly a term associated with modern poetics than with historical rhetorical terminology.

Here at Lop and Chop we fill all your firewood needs. Pine kindling gets it going. Maple makes the fire really burn. Redwood kills the smoke, and oak keeps it going all night long. We’ve been clear-cutting here since my ancestors “bought” this land from the Indians in 1840. There’s only about 10 acres of forest left. Half of it is redwoods, so that’ll give us a year here to sell firewood. When that goes, we’re going to make this an ATV and trail bike course. Also we’re going to do an annual “Bull Pull” where drivers pull bulls behind their ATVs in a race down the mountain, speaking of which, the mountain has already become a choice venue for “Erosion Riders” competitions, where drivers have to surmount ruts and gulleys to make it down the denuded mountain to the finish line. On the way down, they are required to scoop up a handful of mud and hit Rachel Carson’s statue with it as they roar by.

You can take out a firewood subscription if you like, but don’t talk too much about the redwoods, please. So, our motto says it all: “Yearn to Burn? Lop and Chop Will Light Your Fire.”

Damn! Here comes those tree-hugging losers who want to shut us down. Get out the chainsaws. Rev ‘em up and hold ‘em high.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Enter your own example in the comments box!


Correctio (cor-rec’-ti-o): The amending of a term or phrase just employed; or, a further specifying of meaning, especially by indicating what something is not (which may occur either before or after the term or phrase used). A kind of redefinition, often employed as a parenthesis (an interruption) or as a climax.

I did not have a banjo on my knee when I went to Louisiana. “Knee” rhymes with “see,” as in “My true love for to see.” I was drunk (not totally drunk) when I wrote the song. I was shocked when it became popular and was sung in bars and roadhouses around America. The first time I sang it in public the audience went crazy (not literally) and threw silver dollars at me. I made $200 that night, enough to buy a horse and buggy and travel around and sing my song to farmers, miners, roughnecks, mechanics, and shoe clerks. Doo-dah Doo-dah Day!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paperback under the title of The Book of Tropes for $9.95. It is also available in Kindle format for $5.99.


Deesis (de’-e-sis): An adjuration (solemn oath) or calling to witness; or, the vehement expression of desire put in terms of “for someone’s sake” or “for God’s sake.”

Me: For God’s sake, if you don’t stop doing that, I’ll put you out of the car at the next rest stop. In the meantime, I’m putting down the windows to blow some of the stink out of here. “Zombie Flower.” I didn’t know “The Walking Dead” had an online gift shop. What the hell are they trying to do selling perfume that smells like carrion? If I wanted a dead person in the car, I’d run somebody over and pack them in the back seat. I know it’s littering, but throw that crap out the window.

(Sirens Howl)

State Trooper: License, insurance card, and registration please. Hmm, ok. I saw this bottle fly out of your car window a couple of miles back. Littering is a criminal offense here in South Carolina. I am going to have to arrest you until we determine who threw the bottle. Oh my God! What is that stench? It smells like rotten meat, like a decaying dead body. Step out of your vehicle sir and open the trunk, please.

Me: it’s only my daughter’s stupid zombie perfume she got on the internet.

State Trooper: Sir, I’ll only say this once more: Step out of your vehicle and open the trunk. Sir, is that a dead moth in the corner over there? It looks like the endangered moth, Flamenmetuclosis. This is a protected species. It is a criminal offense in the State of South Carolina to kill and/or transport it. Put your hands behind your back. Hmm, these zip-ties match your T-Shirt. Mr. Botch, I am arresting you on suspicion of protected species molestation. You have the right to stand there while I make room for you and your daughter in my police cruiser. Anything you say will be doubted and anything I say will be believed. Do you understand?

Me: What is this, a new episode of “The Twilight Zone?”

State Trooper: Oh, so you want to be wise guy? Let’s add resisting arrest, and charge your daughter with complicity in your heinous crime. Barbara, come over here so I can cuff you and read you your rights. God! You stink! I feel sick. I think I’m going to pass out. Ooooh.

Barbara: Come on dad. Let’s get the hell out of here! The border’s only two miles away & the State Trooper’s full of shit about the moth —there’s no such thing. I swear, when we get home I am going file so many charges against him he’ll think he’s a credit card.

Me: Thank you for stinking. Give me a hug! Oh jeez. Let’s wait until you’ve had a shower.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Dehortatio (de-hor-ta’-ti-o): Dissuasion.

Don’t do it Eddie. You will ruin your life totally and completely. You’ll start to atrophy and become a walking talking carrot or bell pepper. Is that what you want? Carrot Boy! Is that who you want be? Do you want to die on the sidewalk from rickets—I’m not sure what they are, but they’re bad—they do something to your memory too. Have you started forgetting things lately? What’s your L.L. Bean account number? What’s the capital of Labrador? Yeah, see? It’s starting to go already. Pretty soon you won’t be able to remember who won the World Series in 1946. And all the cheese! It’ll plug you up like a bathtub drain packed with hair. Especially, from all the sharp cheddar you eat, you could probably build a dog coop with all the yellow bricks you’re pushing out your butt. And, my God! No meat?! You might as well be dead. No juicy cow flesh? No steaming veal? No lamb off the grill on one of those bamboo sticks? No pork liver sandwiches with onions and garlic? Last, and most terrifying, you will go as limp as linguini. You know what that means: the end.

You will be disabled, lonely, and then, dead in a year. This is my only warning: Do not be a vegetarian. Put that tomato down. Put it down!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Dendrographia (den-dro-graf’-ia): Creating an illusion of reality through vivid description of a tree.

This mulberry tree just showed up in my back yard one spring. It was about 2 inches tall and looked like a weed of some kind. I didn’t care if it was. I wanted to let it grow and find out what it was. Over the next five year I diligently sprayed it with deer repellent and carefully mowed around it when I cut the grass, and it grew, starting to look like a tree with brownish silver bark and fattening limbs. And it kept growing. Now it is about forty feet high with symmetrical spreading branches. In summer, it leafs out and bears little white mulberries that turn dark purple as they as ripen. When the berries come, the tree becomes packed with Cedar Waxwings, which do not show up any other time during the year. I think they are beautiful birds and I don’t care if they strip the tree of berries.

Sometimes I stop to consider how all this began: a single seed landed from somewhere and, with minimal care, made a pretty big tree. I know this sounds crazy, but sometimes when the wind rustles through it’s leaves it sounds like the mulberry tree is saying “hug me.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Diacope (di-a’-co-pee): Repetition of a word with one or more between, usually to express deep feeling.

Rejected. I am rejected by you, rejected by the bank, and rejected by my cat Monad. What happened? I don’t know, I’ve always been rejected by you, but not like this! Your response to all my texts is some variation of “F” you. I can’t figure it out, unless borrowing your credit card was some kind of crime. I haven’t seen any police yet, so you probably saw my new lawnmower as a necessity like I did. That’s certainly no reason to blow me off until the end of time. And the bank: They won’t give me a loan to start a pot farm here in NY where it is totally legal. They cited my frequent late payment on the loan I already have. I’ve told them repeatedly that “late” isn’t never. They tell me that someday it probably will be never. Come on bank, take a risk on a blossoming entrepreneur—stop with the timely payment bullshit. Do you think Thomas Edison payed all his bills on time? Finally, there’s my cat, Monad, world champion rejector. I feed, I de-flea him, I dose him with catnip, I let him in and out of the house 50 times a day, and give him handfuls of kitty treats. He shows no gratitude for any of it. When I try to pick him up he scratches me, and he scratches the furniture too. I took him to a shrink and the shrink told me that “rejection is a normal attribute of cats-in-general.” He said Narcissus should have been a cat and if don’t like it, I should find another home for him.

Women, banks, and cats. They all have rejection power, and they’ve all rejected me. But, at least now I know my cat can’t help it. I feel pretty good about that.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Dialogismus (di-a-lo-giz’-mus): Speaking as someone else, either to bring in others’ points of view into one’s own speech, or to conduct a pseudo-dialog through taking up an opposing position with oneself.

Me 1: There’s a time and a place for everything.

Me 2: There you go with the two-bit cliches again. Just because it’s been said a million times, since the beginning of time, doesn’t make it true. This is neither the time nor place you bent-brained bozo. This is just what is, deal with it.

Me 1: Although it’s apocryphal, Ecclesiastes tells us:

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

Me 2: There’s a time for off and time for on. Click! Click! Ha ha! Just because something has an opposite, not every time and place is the time and place for something to be its opposite, and especially, does not mean it is permissible.

M1: Precisely. We—you and me—in the realm of human community, contingency, and politics, and in all our relations with others, struggle to bring our preferred half of a given dichotomy into being. What is certain in this life-adventure we’re on is we are bound to disagree, and while there may be a time and place for everything, now and it may not be. We must be persuaded, establish solidarity, and now, let it be together.

Me 2: You sound like some kind of preacher.

Me 1: No, no. I’m just a student of rhetoric.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Dianoea (di-a-noe’-a): The use of animated questions and answers in developing an argument (sometimes simply the equivalent of anthypophora).

What is love? Unconditional affection. He says he loved his wife. Is cutting her throat with a steak knife love? No, it’s not. is it justifiable? No. She didn’t attack him. She didn’t try to poison him. She never cheated on him. She was asleep in her bed after a long day of cleaning, taking care of the five kids, making lunch, cooking dinner, and mowing the lawn, and dutifully taking the sleeping pills he gave her. Was she able to defend herself as her husband put the knife to her throat? No. She was sound asleep—possibly a drug-induced sleep. Did she have a chance? No. Did he do it? Yes. His fingerprints are on the knife and one of his children saw him do it. Why did he do it? Sadly, in his twisted mind it was cheaper and easier to murder her than to get a divorce. He had told his neighbor that he freaked out when his attorney told him what it would cost, and that he would lose nearly everything. Does this sound like a motive for choosing an alternative to divorce? Yes it does,

And what triggered the murder, what started the ball rolling? Adultery. He had fallen into the slime pit of an extramarital affair with a considerably younger woman—only two years older than his eldest daughter. He felt trapped between the old and the new. The stale and the fresh. The plodding consistent love of his wife, and the fireworks display of his young mistresses body, her endless adulation, and her cheerful, good-natured demeanor. Is the possible contrast between wife and mistress a good reason for him to contemplate murdering his wife? No. It is about the pathological desire to have his way and seeing his wife’s murder as more cost effective than divorce. It is about narcissism and the blindfold of total self-interest making him unable to gauge the consequences of his actions. He killed her in their bed where their children were conceived. And one of their children witnessed what he did. She will be traumatized for the rest of her life. If it wasn’t for the child, he would’ve escaped. He punched his little daughter in the face as he went out the bedroom door, and he told her to keep her mouth shut, or she was next.

There is no love here. There’s only deception, indecency, brutality, murder and the absolute destruction of a little girl’s life.

Where should this man go next? I vote for some kind of medieval torture chamber, but here in New York, we’ll have to settle for a conviction and a prison sentence. Life in prison without parole? Yes. This man is a murdering fiend with no redeeming qualities.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Diaphora (di-a’-pho-ra): Repetition of a common name so as to perform two logical functions: to designate an individual and to signify the qualities connoted by that individual’s name or title.

Joe: Hey Patsy! This guy you’re hanging out with has made you his blame absorber. Can’t you see it Patsy? He sets you up and walks away like nothing happened. He asks you to do him a favor, and then puts you out front where the danger of being caught is. Remember when you delivered the bag and he told you not to look inside Patsy? Well, that bag was confiscated by the police when they raided the place where you delivered it. It was full of counterfeit credit cards worth about $250.00 on the black market. The place was a fake travel agency. The only place those crooks will be booking trips to now is the State Penitentiary. Remember the truckload of boxes you delivered to the clothing store? The cargo was fake Polo and Izod shirts, sweaters, and jackets. You could be sitting in prison now if you hadn’t driven off before police got there Patsy. I know you think “doing him a favor” is a normal part of any relationship. Not this one Patsy. Don’t be a patsy, Patsy.

Patsy: He’s the kindest most generous person I’ve ever known. He gave me a Maserati! All I have to do is deliver 50 boxes of face powder to a motorcycle club in San Bernardino. What’s the harm in that? The powder is contained in beautiful boxes with a picture of a nose on the lid. I tried some of it on my face and it made my cheeks tingle. I’m leaving at 9:00.

Joe: No you’re not. If you do it Patsy, I’m going to have to arrest you. I work for the DEA and we’ve been watching your boyfriend for 2 months now. You are going to be delivering a load of cocaine. Show me where the car is and I’ll drive it to headquarters and put out a bulletin for his arrest. Let’s go Patsy.

Patsy: Oh my goodness. Do I get to keep the car?

Joe: Yes, of course. I’ll bring it back after I’ve unloaded it.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Diaporesis: Deliberating with oneself as though in doubt over some matter; asking oneself (or rhetorically asking one’s hearers) what is the best or appropriate way to approach something [=aporia].

I wonder too much. I wonder about my girlfriend. I wonder about the weather. I wonder about my food. I wonder who’s on first. I wonder why I wonder! Am I mentally ill? While I sit and wonder, the world passes me by. When I am able to talk to a person, I aways begin with “I was wondering.” People tell me I make them feel like they’re being interrogated or I am playing philosophical mind games with them. In terms of people, I am obsessed with knowing their motives: why are you wearing a blue dress, why did you park your car there, why are you having pepperoni instead of sausage pizza? Why do I need to do this? Why do I need to see inside people?

My mother never gave me a reason except “You’ll get it on the butt with the yardstick if you don’t do what I say.” Whenever I asked her “Why?” I was instructed to bend over for a hard whacking. My mother died after being impaled on a sharpened yardstick. Her killer was never caught, but I was a prime suspect. They found a knife and yardstick shavings in my room. I’ll never know why I was never charged. I often thought it was because my “why” asking would’ve driven them crazy while I was jailed waiting for trial. They couldn’t take it.

Why am I writing this? Do you think the best thing for me to do is to live with my malady and go on with my life? Why?

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

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Diaskeue (di-as-keu’-ee): Graphic peristasis (description of circumstances) intended to arouse the emotions.

My mother was dead. Two weeks in the hospital and off she went. The restraint on her bed had come loose. She rolled over and the life sustaining tube yanked out of her arm. I’m no medical expert, but I don’t how one tube can make the difference between life and death. I demanded an autopsy but the hospital dismissed me like I was dirt.

I couldn’t stop thinking about my mother and the single tube that had killed her. I hired a lawyer and told her what had happened. The first thing she asked me was whether my mother had any enemies. I told her my mother was her own worst enemy. She ate like the pastry shop was a health food store. She drank the cheapest gin money can buy—Mr. Boston—smells like cleaning fluid flavored with juniper berries. She smoked Mavericks—a brand of cigarette that might not really be a cigarette. They are under investigation for using lawn clippings and recycled cigarette butts. The lawyer frowned and told me if we were going after a death rap, we needed somebody to blame before we’ll be granted the autopsy. I told her I thought we could blame anybody, so we blamed the orderly who mops the floors. It worked! The autopsy was performed. They found one of those little umbrellas that go in drinks lodged in my mother’s throat. She had choked to death. My mother always liked a Mimosa with a cocktail umbrella.

I sued the hospital for $5,000,000 and won. They had lied about the cause of death and we nailed them. My mother’s funeral was semi-festive. She was so quirky I know she would’ve loved it. The mortician had decorated her hair with cocktail umbrellas and put a Maverick cigarette between he lips. There was a bottle of Mr. Boston tucked under her arm. She looked great laying there. If she had gotten up and headed to Towne Liquor, it would’ve seemed perfectly normal.

You only have one mother. She was mine. It still hurts every time I think of her. I can remember her making me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day for my school lunch. She always gave me extra jelly. She was so nice to my friends and girlfriends. We would play in the yard and she would pop out on the back porch in her apron: “Come on kids, the cookies are ready.” We would race to the kitchen. I loved her with all my heart.

Some day we’ll catch the bastard who killed my mother. In the meantime, I’m in a serious relationship with the lawyer, Theresa. In a weird way I feel like that’s some kind of justice, and she bakes cookies that might be better than my mother’s.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Diasyrmus (di’-a-syrm-os): Rejecting an argument through ridiculous comparison.

Your argument is like asking people to jump off a cliff to see if they can fly. It would require an audience of idiots to comply. But, your lack of respect for your constituents is always evident in the way you run your office. Your arguments for building the dam are more like building a scam. You and your family will directly benefit from building a huge concrete structure fed by a trickle of water that may evaporate before it collects even into a puddle. The only thing that will be dammed is the dam—the damn dam. This is how you run your office: self-interest, cronyism, nepotism, bribery, and more. It’s all about making an extra buck. Your arguments are like picking your nose and wiping it on people and telling them it is a gift they should grateful for. As you can tell, I want you out of office. Please resign tomorrow. In any event, you will be arrested.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( 

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Diazeugma (di-a-zoog’-ma): The figure by which a single subject governs several verbs or verbal constructions (usually arranged in parallel fashion and expressing a similar idea); the opposite of zeugma.

I had a dream that I flew into a tree. I was a red duck flapping my shiny wings, looping around and around, and, finally, diving into a lake of shiny wriggling worms. They were delicious, like sushi in motion. I had trouble taking off from the lake. The worms were wrapped around my big webbed feet. I was flapping hard. Really hard! Suddenly the worms let go all at once and I took off like a rocket—straight into a tree. I was knocked unconscious. When I awoke I was in a fox’s mouth, traveling toward certain death. Then, my mother jumped out of the bushes and kicked the fox. He dropped me in the mud and took off running. I was barely conscious. My mother grabbed me by the neck and swung me around over her head, yelling “duck, duck, duck” like me, the swinging duck, was going to hit somebody if they didn’t duck. That’s when I slammed into Miss Moody’s face. She was my kindergarten teacher back in the day. Suddenly my duckbill turned into lips and I began kissing Miss Moody. She said “yes, yes, yes” as I slobbered all over her face. Then, thank God, I woke up. I was panting and sweating. For some reason my duck call, that I used for duck hunting, was in my hand. I blew a quack. Faintly, from up in the attic, I heard “yes, yes, yes” in return. I yelled “no, no, no” as loud as I could, and that was the end of it.

Definition courtesy of Silva Rhetoricae (

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