Monthly Archives: July 2022


Antithesis (an-tith’-e-sis): Juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas (often, although not always, in parallel structure).

Life’s polarities are the sources of our most significant vexations. Our anxieties and our hopes reside at opposite ends of all spectrums. Life is thwarting death. Death is thwarting life. Hope is thwarting fear. Fear is thwarting hope. We are like light switches flipping On and Off. But little Hammy had his wheel— a treadwheel with infinite shades of ‘going’ between starting and stopping, stillness and motion. But Hammy has stopped forever. No more running through his pet pipe plastic tube or rolling in his cedar shavings and grunting, or, seeming to dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” I tried teaching Hammy to Moon Walk, but he peed on my hand, squirmed loose and hid behind his water bottle. However, one morning I got up at 6:00 a.m. to water the lawn. When I walked past Hammy’s room he was moon walking in his cage—with no music! I was mad and glad at the same time. I opened the cage door to pick him up and pet him and give him a hamster treat, but he jumped out of the door and disappeared. That night, I heard scratching behind the wall, over my bed behind the Crucifix my grandma hung there when I was bedridden with measles. How could I rescue him? I would make a hole in the wall behind the Crucifix, dangle a hamster treat down the hole on a piece of string and catch him like a fish. The Crucifix would hide the hole, and all would be well. I got the electric drill from the garage and attached the two-inch bit with saw teeth I used to install a door knob for my dad. I cranked up the drill and pushed it into the wall. I pulled the drill out of the wall, and there was Hammy stuck on the drill bit, spinning around and around, and twitching. It was like he was trapped on the Grim Reaper’s hamster wheel.

Even though I killed him, he was a good friend. The sun rises and the sun sets. Hammy’s sun has set. He will be buried in a zip lock bag with holes punched in it so the gases from his decaying body will easily escape and he will rest in peace. I guess I should cancel my lifetime subscription to Hamster Aficionado and shut down my internet feed to Hamsters in the News. I’m leaving the hole in the wall as a memorial to Hammy’s short life and his hamster grit and determination to be a special hamster—to moonwalk along the starry vaults of heaven to “slip the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).

My credit card is like a license plate on a Brinks Truck headed to the bank with a load of cash. Yours is like a dirty little doormat at the entryway of the Dollar Store by your dreary little apartment. They’re both credit cards, but there are some differences: I pay my bill on time, you don’t. I stay under my limit, you don’t, I don’t take cash advances, but you do—paying 16% interest, and wasting the cash on bulk-bin Gummy Bears, impractical shoes, blenders, and other stupid crap that, for some reason, you want to pay cash for, and, you don’t need.

The big difference here is taking responsibility: I am prudent, you are either stupid or reckless, or both. Let’s go with prudent vs. reckless: I was home drinking decaf black tea and watching the musical “Cats” on Amazon Prime while you were out drinking shots and beer at Ogles, bun-scanning every guy who came through the door, and buying drinks for everybody at the bar. Your best friend Renee told me this. I’m paying her $50 per day to keep an eye on you and report back to me. The reports have been shocking. Having sex in the trunk of a Cadillac? Anyway, let’s compare: my life is a smooth-running machine, yours has a broken crankshaft and is leaking oil all over the place. I handle my money like a fiscal surgeon. You handle yours like a cruel butcher. I pay my bills to the tune of an atomic clock. You pay yours to the tune of Cuckoo clock. The contrasts between us go for miles, but the clincher is happiness. The way I handle my credit enables me to be happy. The way you handle your credit makes you miserable. If you change the way you handle your credit, and be more like me, it’s likely you will be happier.

We’ll start here: give me your credit card. Let it cool off for awhile.

I went home and booted up her account. The password was easy to crack: her blood type and her birthday. What I saw shocked me! A $110,000 bill had been paid two days ago by a wire transfer made by Eddy Papa owner of the Papa Eddy’s Pizza franchise with over 200 locations in New Jersey, and Caroline’s big brother too.

I felt like such a jerk. Caroline knew her brother would cover her and was having one hell of a good time. While I sat at home eating canned chicken noodle soup with crushed saltines, she was running wild without any consequences, up until now. Now, I was the consequence, and I was going to ask her to buy us a sailboat so we could sail away—maybe to a marina in Jersey City or Cape May, and have some pizza. Pepperoni for me please!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Apagoresis (a-pa-gor’-e-sis): A statement designed to inhibit someone from doing something. Often uses exaggeration [or hyperbole] to persuade. It may combine an exaggeration with a cause/effect or antecedent/consequence relationship. The consequences or effects of such a phrase are usually exaggerated to be more convincing.

Once there was a boy who shot dice every day. Every time he won, he would gratefully kiss the dice. Once there was an old lady who lived alone with her cat Rambo. She would shake his treat bag and clap her hands to call him. When he came home, she would pick Rambo up and gave him a kiss. There was a guy who was addicted to golf. He dressed like a lunatic in green riding pants, and a blue and orange and black golf shirt, and a pink hat. He cheated at golf, but he was the boss and nobody said anything. Whenever he sunk a putt he kissed the golf ball as if it were his lover, wrapping his tongue around it and quietly, and briefly, moaning. Then there was the woman who always kissed the egg before she cracked it and made scrambled eggs for her husband’s Saturday breakfast. And, there was a girl who still played Barbie at the age of 22. After Barbie defeated her in the living room ballerina contest, she was getting back at Barbie by giving Ken long lingering kisses, all over. Although Ken’s pubic area was only a flesh-colored triangular blank space, she pretended it wasn’t. She propped Barbie up in a position where she had to watch her slobber all over Ken’s flat pink plain of asexuality.

In the end, what happened to these kissing crazies? Every one of them had to have their lips amputated and then replaced by dead peoples’ lips—refrigerated since being surgically removed from their hosts. Lip loss is not as uncommon as we think, but in every case it is transmitted by kissing inanimate objects or animals. If you don’t want to lose your lips, kiss only people, and only on the lips.

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

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Aphaeresis (aph-aer’-e-sis): The omission of a syllable or letter at the beginning of a word. A kind of metaplasm.

‘oly moly! I am lost in space. I vaguely remember giving my teeth to a fat raccoon. What’s this? Oh hell! It’ a ransom note. I thought I ‘ad enough trouble with my divorce from devil woman and my affair with angel woman—a perfect polarity like hate and love, dark and light, idiot and genius., shit and Shinola. The marriage was 7 years of despair, vodka and ice, and getting fat. Bellini got so fat, I couldn’t tell whether she was smiling, or her underpants were chafing. When I asked, it was always the underpants. Then she’d ask me to help her get untangled. I’m not going to go into detail, but let me just say: It was like her underpants were alive. I had to stalk them and pounce catlike, quickly shoving both my hands under the crotch and pulling as hard as I could—I imagined I was a tow truck summoned by AAA to pull a car out of a ditch.

But the ransom note really worried me—it didn’t specify a ransom. It was signed Fat Raccoon, which I knew was some kind of joke: raccoons can’t write. But, I still needed my teeth! Just then, my neighbor came out of his house carrying a paper bag. “T’was me,” he said. “We we’re playing catch with your uppers when you passed out. So, I picked up your teeth and bagged ‘em. As far as ransom goes, I would like you to pay for my lawnmower’s gasoline for the next five years, play checkers with me once a week, and go for moonlight walks, weather permitting, whenever possible.”

Wow! I couldn’t believe how things were working out—an instant “Yes!” was forthcoming. My neighbor handed over my teeth. My cellphone rang. It was my girlfriend. She said: “He told me about your teeth. I’m too young to date a man with false teeth. Get dental implants and I might reconsider.” My gums were throbbing as my blood pressure rose. Next it’ll be Botox. Where will it end? Bellini and her tangled underpants were looking better and better.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Aphorismus ( a-phor-is’-mus): Calling into question the proper use of a word.

A: Today we must utilize our common sense and not be reticent to be impactful in our propagation of a roadmap to bridge the river of victory with malice and hope.

B: Are you talk’n to me? ‘Cause if you are, I don’t know what the hell you’re try’n to say. I would like to point out that, among other things, you’ve used “reticent” improperly. According to a “special” dictionary I have fright here in my pocket, it means “not revealing one’s thoughts or feelings readily.” What the hell does your use of it have have to do with your incoherent victory bridge blabber? One other thing, “impactful.” Does putting “ful” on the end of ”impact” give it more impact? Ha ha!

A: Look, nozzle brain, I talk “boss talk” because I’m the boss. I would be reticent to speak otherwise. Being hard to understand is one of my finish lines as a speaker. It gives me leverage when the blame is recused and I am being aimed at with accusatory enunciations.

B: You should stay away from the management workshops. The only thing worth going for is the raspberry jellied donuts and dark roast coffee. The rest is part of a plot to “stupidify“ America. These people work for the “Underground Consultant” who Latinizes normal words and evilly propagates the misuse of words in everyday speech, so words lose their proper meanings and create a linguistic fog that people like me choke on while others grope for meaning and lose their way.

A: You need help, but I am reticent call 911. Instead, let’s utilize Uber to get you to the hospital.

B: You’re the one with the problem, you chronic word misuser. Here, take this small pocket dictionary. It’s being distributed by the group I founded: “Denote & Connote.” You can always depend on your dictionary to show you the way—the way out of the mire of misuse that people like you are stuck in. Free yourself!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Apocarteresis (a-po-car-ter’-e-sis): Casting of all hope away from one thing and placing it on another source altogether.

I tried Viagra but it did not work. I swallowed the blue pill. I crushed it and snorted it. I stuck it up my ass. I dumped the bottle in the tub and took a bath in it. I am ashamed to say, I made a 3% solution and injected it in my leg. I powdered it, mixed it with hot black coffee and dunked my pecker in it. I’m still wearing the bandage from the burn. I have tried the generic stuff: Boing!, Undy Tent, Throb, Straight Up, and Redwood Root. It is all crap, at least for me. Oh, I tried a pump and it just made me numb and turned my hooter purple.

There’s new product for limpness that just came onto the market, and that’s being advertised on all the porn sites with favorable reviews: “I went from limp noodle to crispy carrot,” “I have a crowbar in my pants,” “At the nude beach, I am a human sundial, “It’s like a compass pointing to my favorite destination.” With these kind’s of endorsements, I would be a fool not to try the “Erectorator.” It uses the latest digital technology to “coax your penis to its pinnacle.” I ordered a Erectorator as soon as I fished my wife’s credit card out of her purse—she had destroyed mine after the motorcycle purchase “incident.” But now, I am sure she will love the Erectorator.

It arrived today! I ran upstairs and plugged it in. It made a whooping sound and flashed blue, red, green and yellow. A voice like Siri’s said “Stick it in big boy” and all the lights started flashing in unison. So, I stuck it in. The Siri voice said “Too small” “Too small” over and over again. I threw the Erectorator on the floor, but it wouldn’t shut up. It started crawling across the floor toward me repeating “Stick it in big boy” in a garbled Siri voice. I threw it out my bedroom window. It landed in the driveway and slowly squirmed it’s way across the street. I could barely hear it still saying “Stick it in big boy.” Suddenly, my neighbor came out his front door with a shotgun. “It’s the only way to shut these damn things up,” he yelled, “It’s what I had to do with mine!” BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

I will never get my money back, but I didn’t care. I had learned a valuable lesson: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. I just ordered a pound of Chinese Dickweed Tea. It promises to “Align the emperor’s root with heaven.” No more electric gizmos for me. I can’t wait.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Apocope (a-pok’-o-pe): Omitting a letter or syllable at the end of a word. A kind of metaplasm.

I’m goin’ to the go go. Ha ha! That was fifty friggin’ years ago. Now, I can’t even get off the couch without Junior’s help—too many cannolis spoiled the broth. Now, I’m goin’ to the went went—went in my bed, went in my pants, went in my pajamas, went to the nursing home. I used to rival Fred Astaire when I was dancin’ to Chubby Checker or Freddie Canon. I Twisted until my pants chafed my wanger, an’ then, I’d have a Schaefer to cool down and sit with my cousin Lou Lou and we would talk about runnin’ away together, and maybe travel the USA in the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. Her father, my uncle, worked for Oscar Meyer. He ran the pig grinder, which went non-stop, day and night. As part of his pay, Uncle Thurgood got a pack of wieners each week. Aunt Vie would make sauerkraut and I’d go over and feast on wieners. Lou Lou would always say she was going to eat my wiener out in the garage. I told her it was my wiener and she should better leave it alone. She had her own wiener right there in front of her covered with mustard and steamin’ hot!

Well, anyhoo, here I am at Elder Senior Nook Sunshine Grove Facility, watching TV, playing Candy Land, and watching cars come and go in the parking lot. Today, I saw a car with big tail fins an’ I got so excited I passed out for a couple a’ minutes. I have a laptop that keeps me busy too. I have made videos of me doing unusual things with my lunch. I put them on Tick-Tok an’ and got kicked off for violatin’ community standards. Next, I will open a shop on Etsy. I will sell the knitted coasters I make in Craft Time. They are modeled after vintage car hubcaps. When I show them to people, they don’t know what they are. All the Attendants want to know is if I’ve made a will yet. I tell them no, and they are nice to me.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Apodixis (a-po-dix’-is): Proving a statement by referring to common knowledge or general experience.

A: You ain’t goin’ nowhere no how. This here is duck tape honey.

B: I’ll just wait for the sun to warm the duct tape. The adhesive will soften, and I will easily free myself, you stupid yahoo.

A: You hadn’t oughtened a’ told me that Rosebud now I’m gonna have to set ya’ in the freezer.

B: Ok shit pants. The duct tape will freeze and crystallize and the tape will easily come lose. The freezer has an inside latch. I will burst out and club you with a frozen leg of lamb.

A: Dang it all! You’re a pesky little critter, ain’t you?

B: Yes, I’m, as you say, “pesky.” But, let me go and I’ll give you a million dollars. I’ll mail it to you when I get home. As you know, desperate people do desperate things. In my case, that involves giving you a pile of money.

A: Well, heck. Y’all paint a pretty little picture there. You let me ride home with you and you got a deal, Rosebud.

B: Ok. Let me put this duct tape around your wrists and ankles so I can trust you.

A: Awright.

B: 911?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Apophasis (a-pof’-a-sis): The rejection of several reasons why a thing should or should not be done and affirming a single one, considered most valid.

Should I return from the dead?


1. I can walk around.

2. I can go to Smitty’s Topless Cork Popper, my favorite entertainment venue. (I still have one eye)

3. I can get my neighbor Rosco who shot me through the heart when he caught me with his wife. Yes, he killed me, and only got 6 months!

4. I can play with my dog Blither. He’s a purebred Poodle/Great Dane mix.

Hmm. I can’t think of anything else.


1. I smell like rotting flesh.

2. My suit is stained and crawling with some kind of worms.

3. My appearance will horrify people. I’m not even up yet, but my left arm is coming lose.

4. I will probably want to eat everybody’s brains. This will be rude, especially to my wife and daughter.

Well, there I have it. Sadly, I can’t make up my mind. Maybe I should do a trial run to see how it works out. I could do some lurking down by the river, where people meet for speed trysts, or I could find Rosco and tear off his head. Yes! Rosco it is. He put me here and he can join me. He’ll be at Smitty’s. I’ll make him pole dance before I kill him.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Apoplanesis (a-po-plan’-e-sis): Promising to address the issue but effectively dodging it through a digression.

There is snow on the roof, snow on the sidewalk and the driveway. Who’s going to take care of it? There’s snow in the yard! Snow, snow, snow. Somebody’s got to shovel the driveway and walkway.

I’m busy finding things out. Did you know the snow shovel was invented in 1812, while the War of 1812 was raging and Tchaikovsky was writing a song about it with canons going off? Did you know the name “shovel” comes from the shoving motion required to get under and pick up the snow? Did you know countless back injuries are fostered by snow shovels each year? I know a man who is permanently wheelchair bound due to an injury he sustained shoveling snow. A pickup truck skidded, jumped the curb, and ran him down. Then there’s the snow blower invented in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War. The first snow blower was made from a Hoover vacuum with the hose stuck in the exhaust port; unlike later versions, that had auger-shaped blades that took some toes and fingers, and threw them along with the snow out of a square pipe on top of the machine. Now we have rubber mats with wires running through them that melt the snow. If you’re not careful they’ll melt the soles of your shoes too—you’ve got to keep moving. Don’t stand still for more than minute or else you may be glued to the mat.

Then there’s Florida where there’s no snow at all. I’ve bought us plane tickets, and booked a hotel in South Beach Miami for three weeks. Let’s pack, call Uber and get the hell out of here. Who wants a Margarita for the road?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Aporia (a-po’-ri-a): 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 [=diaporesis].

I asked myself: What is the meaning of life? I thought about it for two or three seconds and then went on to something else. If I’m going to ask myself questions, they should be easy so I can answer correctly. Hmmm. Where am I? Truckee County Jail, in a small cell. If I stand on my toes, I can look out through the bars and see the river. Why am I here? I ran over a blind guy in the crosswalk outside Cliff’s. After I hit him, he was on his knees waving his red-tipped cane around and yelling. He looked ok, so I drove away. Two hours later, two police officers came to my door. I was caught. They handcuffed me and we drove to the station. They told me that approximately 25 people saw what I did. I can’t pay bail, so I’m stuck here. I called all my former wives, and my current girlfriend, for help. Why are they all so broke that they can’t afford to pay the tab? And where’s the demonstration outside the jail? “Free Carl! Free Carl!”

What should I do? In the thirty years I’ve lived on this planet, I’ve managed to stay out of trouble. The cardinal rule is “Stay out of trouble.” I was in trouble. I was going to be in more trouble if they were able to penetrate my disguise. My human appearance was a ruse. I had an implant enabling body-changing technology to make me appear like a member of the dominant life form. It was refreshed once a month by a precision-aimed beam of particles that were projected at me for 10 minutes in my back yard. Without the refresher, I will return to my alien form. Since I am locked up, I won’t be refreshed on schedule and I will morph. I will look sort of like an octopus with thick black hair covering my body, yellow eyes, and a nose that looks like a spoiled hot dog.

Suddenly, the particle beam shot through my cell window. I basked in it for ten minutes and was good for another month. The Sherif walked up to my cell door with the keys in his hand. He unlocked the cell and told me I was free to go. The man I supposedly ran over wasn’t really blind and all 25 witnesses agreed that he wasn’t in the crosswalks, and I did not hit him. Does it get any better than this? I was pretty sure I hit him. My colleagues from above must have tinkered with the witnesses. I found out later that the old man found a suitcase on his front porch filled with $100 bills and that his vision was miraculously restored minutes after the accident.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( 

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Aposiopesis (a-pos-i-o-pee’-sis): Breaking off suddenly in the middle of speaking, usually to portray being overcome with emotion.

There was a, a, a . . . Oh God. There was a set of hedge clippers on the floor by my bed when I woke up this morning. I think they’re sending me a message from my boyfriend Carl. He is starting to scare me. He insists that I shave my pubic hair. He thinks my pubes are ugly, like weeds growing out of a crack in the sidewalk. Oh, how can . . . How can he be so rude and uncaring and insensitive. I tried tit for tat: you shave yours and I’ll shave mine. He just laughed and pretended he was holding an electric shaver, going “zzzzzz” and said “let’s tidy up your weed patch.”

I never thought that something like this would be the death knell of our relationship. I was willing to clear my underbrush, but he wasn’t willing to clear his: it takes two to tango & I’m tired of being bossed around by a nitwit who does not respect my autonomy and does not really . . . really care about how I feel. I want a man whose interest in me extends beyond my crotch and takes into account my intelligence, kindness, and my pony, Fetch.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Apostrophe (a-pos’-tro-phe): Turning one’s speech from one audience to another. Most often, apostrophe occurs when one addresses oneself to an abstraction, to an inanimate object, or to the absent.

Truth! Where are you? Why have you abandoned us? Why has “the lie” seemingly beaten you down—vanquished you and left you for dead? But, can you die? Can you be burned and buried in an urn marked “Wrong” in a field of misrepresentation, in the dirt of denial?

We believe (and belief is everything) that Truth is eternal and unchanging, like a deity, like a river of faith, like the North Star upon which we reckon when we are lost in the darkness.

As we walk through the valley of the shadow of Truth’s death, we must be willing render it in many ways to fit the sensibilities of all listeners and readers: Truth is one, but it’s telling is manifold: we speak to a child about friendship in a way that differs from how we may address an older person. In so doing, Truth’s light cuts through the darkness. But in the end, Truth must be put more eloquently than the lie: the truth must be made effective.

As a people, in the past 6 years or so, our political communication has become inundated with lies—we are drowning in lies proffered by the Republican Party’s leadership. We must find a way to awaken those who believe the lies and are influenced by their telling. We must bring a reliance on Truth to the political scene. We begin by asking: Where’s the proof? We withhold our beliefs until valid proof is forthcoming: no valid proof, no belief.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Apothegm (a’-po-th-e-gem): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, gnome, maxim, paroemia, proverb, and sententia.

There’s a saying that I live by now that I’m an old man: “When the going gets tough, make an appointment with your urologist and get going to their office.” I could tell you endless horror stories about man-plumbing gone awry. What about the man with the 200 pound testicles? He put them in a wagon that his wife would pull when they went for a walk. When he was alone he had to use a wheelbarrow, like the guy in Zap Comics. Or, there was the man who didn’t pee for 12 years and ended up exploding on an amusement park ride called the “Stump Bumper.” Then there was a guy who couldn’t pass a gallstone for two years. He became addicted to pain killers and finally had the gallstone blasted by a laser and got off the drugs. Last, there was this guy who always had an erection. It was especially problematic at Church. He tried taping it down or using a bandage to flatten it. Eventually he started wearing custom tailored extreme baggy pants. That solved the problem and also made him millions as his line of baggy pant became popular among teen aged gangsters all over the world.

So, “When the going gets tough, make an appointment with your urologist and get going to their office.” Don’t end up with your balls in a wheelbarrow.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Appositio (ap-po-sit’-i-o): Addition of an adjacent, coordinate, explanatory or descriptive element.

My brain was fried—soaked with hallucinogens, teeming with unreality. I was on the bus. I told the person sitting next me that I had done something I shouldn’t have done. He said: “I know what you did you naughty boy.” Then he turned into one of those British judges with a wig. I said, “You can’t be real, you don’t have a British accent and you look like my high school chemistry teacher.” With that, he reconstituted into the normal person sitting next to me, by the window, with a fearful look on his face. He said he wanted to move, and I let him. His empty seat was quickly taken by a navy blue bear.

Bear: Hi! My name’s Bearon Von Growler. I am from your imagination. I cause your anxiety.

Me: You are doing a great job right now. Why are you wearing expensive running shoes?

Bear: Again, it is your imagination that put them on my paws.

The bus stopped and I got off, glad to rid myself of the bear. I saw what looked like a giant bean stalk halfway down the block. I ran toward it and it turned into a utility pole. It wasn’t even green.

Basically, that was my day, flashing in and out of drug-induced visions. When I got home, the bear was sitting on the chair in my bedroom. He said he was hungry, but he had heard that all the food in the house had been poisoned. That made me anxious, so we went to The Burger Garage and stuffed ourselves. I had a Double Dump Truck with cheese. Bearon had twelve orders of Wrench Fries and three chocolate Carburetors, and then he disappeared.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Mattress jokes:


Ara (a’-ra): Cursing or expressing detest towards a person or thing for the evils they bring, or for inherent evil.

I hate the guy who fixes my lawn mower. He always makes it a big deal by using technical terms to describe he did, so he can charge me more money: “I rearticulated your rotoric sward inscisor. That’ll be $100.” What the hell is that? That’s what I paid for the lawn mower brand new! If I refuse to pay, he’ll take me to small claims court and embarrass me, or he’ll file a mechanic’s lien against my mower.

I’m fed up. I am going to make my yard into a meadow for wildflowers, bunnies, butterflies, and birds.

I’ve been getting complaints from my neighbors about my meadow and there’s some kind of law that will make me pay a weekly fine until I mow. So, it’s back to the damn mower mechanic to bail out my mower. He greets me: “Salutations Mr. Parsimonious Pants. Your sward cropper awaits—it is reconstituted and agog to return to its calling.”

That was it, I picked up a wrench and hit him on the head. I was going to grind up him with my mower. I pulled the starter chord several times and nothing happened. He lifted his head off the floor and said: “I can correct that for a supplementary emolument of $150.”

I called 911, was convicted of battery, paid the fine and did the community service.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Articulus (ar-tic’-u-lus): Roughly equivalent to “phrase” in English, except that the emphasis is on joining several phrases (or words) successively without any conjunctions (in which case articulus is simply synonymous with the Greek term asyndeton). See also brachylogia.

It was cold, freezing, 20 below. I was running out of food, water, firewood, hope. Totally snowed in. Totally trapped. This is northern Canada and there aren’t many people trekking around the woods looking for fur trappers to save. In fact, there aren’t any people anywhere but home, sitting in front of a warm crackling fire. Then I remembered. I had left a beaver carcass in the skinning shed. I could eat that, and then I could pull the shed apart and use it for firewood. Things were looking up. I put on my parka and snowshoes, grabbed a shovel and headed for the shed.

When I got to the shed I thought I was going to have to dig out the door to open it, but something had already dug it out and knocked the door down. I raised my shovel and yelled “Hello!” I heard a snort and then a very large brown bear appeared in the doorway with a half-eaten beaver carcass hanging out of its mouth. The bear dropped the carcass and smiled at me and said: “Get back in your cabin or I’ll tear you to pieces.”

I woke up in the hospital about a week later. I had been found by a cross-country ski club starving and nearly frozen to death. I tried to tell them about the smiling talking bear and they laughed—delusions, hallucinations, imagination—they said as we drove to the hospital.

Today I got a get-well card. It had a picture of a snow-bound cabin on the front. I thought it was from my my mother, But it wasn’t. It said in sloppy writing on the inside: “Sorry I was so rude to you out there in the woods. I felt threatened. It was a matter of survival. Sincerely, The Bear.” I was on the first floor of a rural hospital in Pony Nose, Saskatchewan. It was surrounded by pine trees. I saw something move by my room’s window. I almost fell out of my bed: it was The Bear wearing my mittens. He smiled and loped away. I never saw him again. If I did, I’d ask him to give me my mittens back.

Definition and commentary courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Aschematiston: The use of plain, unadorned or unornamented language. Or, the unskilled use of figurative language. A vice. [Outside of any particular context of use or sense of its motive, it may be difficult to determine what’s “plain, unadorned or unornamented language.” The same is true of the “unskilled use of figurative language.”]

I am an amateur organic chemist. I boil random things, cut them up and look at them on dishes or in cups from my mother’s China set. I also practice experiments in behavior modification. My last b-mod study was to use carefully metered electric shocks to train a duck to bark like a dog. The experiment almost succeeded as far as the duck developed a taste for dog biscuits, but barking was not going to happen. The duck survived the experiment. Now, it staggers and falls down when it walks and can’t do “ducks in a row” any more. He has been, what I call “deflocked.”

My “Mummy” stands in the corner watching me. When she died in the living room upstairs, I dragged her into the kitchen, took her apart and dried her out in the oven. Then, I put her back together and dressed her in her favorite red blouse, Campbell tartan skirt and my favorite apron, with the inscription: “I’d be a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees.” Every time I look at her standing there, I have to laugh. If Mom wasn’t a mummy, she’d laugh too, but if she laughed now, she would crack.

Today, I am trying to get one of my lab rats to moonwalk like Michael Jackson. I put him on my rat treadmill, and he keeps flying off the back and hitting the wall, and landing on the floor. I am thinking about making a papier-mâché moon, and then letting the lab rat walk on it. I’m not sure, but I think walking on a papier-mâché moon would constitute a moon walk. But, maybe I should try a different kind of animal—maybe a black bear or a box turtle. In the meantime I’ll set the slightly injured lab rat free down by the town dump. He’s nearly blind from hitting the basement wall so many times, but who knows, he may find somebody to love down at the dump and start a family. I sincerely hope he does not catch rabies, or some sort of social disease, from his rat-bride.

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


Asphalia (as-fay’-li-a): Offering oneself as a guarantee, usually for another.

I can’t tell you how much I care for Little Louie. We’ve been to hell together. I got back before Louie, but he told me he learned some lessons. I don’t know what that means, but I’m sure it wasn’t the three R’s. It was probably the three L’s—Loyalty, Liquor, and Ladies.

And you know me: I’ve been a part of this racket since I was twelve. I just had my 40th birthday, and I’ve never let anybody down. I was shot on four different occasions. I spent two years in prison. I never squealed on nobody. Remember the FEDs? They were real bastards, but I kept my mouth shut. My loyalty to this organization can’t be questioned. It’s in my soul. We all have this tattoo of a goose on our right butt cheek. It means the world to me.

You caught Little Louie selling product he stole from us to the competition. Now, you want to chop off his hand. If you will back it down to two or three fingers, I promise he will never never steal from us again. If he does steal again, you can take my hand with our Justice Cleaver, which, by the way, was a gift my father gave us when he retired. Let’s give Little Louie a chance to go through life with two fingers and a thumb. I put myself up as a guarantee that he’ll never make that left turn again. Settled? Ok! Good. Let’s get ready to ambush and shoot the shit out of those goddamn Colombians! Where the hell is Little Louie?

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Assonance (ass’-o-nance): Repetition of similar vowel sounds, preceded and followed by different consonants, in the stressed syllables of adjacent words.

The start was always awash with the finish for me. I could never ever bring a modicum of enthusiasm to the competition. I would never be redeemed, but in fact, I never asked myself how I got on the team. I like my uniform though: black trainers, black socks, black tights, black t-shirt and a brown cap, with the team’s mascot in red, on the cap’s peak. Our mascot is a smiling noodle. We are sponsored by Papa’s Pasta, a major pasta producer located in Topeka, Kansas. That’s where our team calls home too. We are the Topeka Noodles. We play in the Bread Basket League along with teams from the Dakotas, Nebraska, Washington, Idaho—our competitors. Our sport is dodge ball—a fast-moving, violent, injury heavy, take no prisoners sport. Two or three “Ballers” are fatally injured every year, and pretty much all “Ballers” are seriously injured. The most deadly play is the “Rifle Kick.” A player will loosen his trainers. Throwing a kick, the trainer shoots off the foot and hits the opponent in the kidney from behind. The opponent goes down, writhing on the floor. Then, the second trainer is sent at the head, aiming for the opponent’s temple. Whack!

By the way, my father is “Papa” of Papa’s Pasta, the Topeka Noodles’ sponsor. I will let you in on a secret. My father made a couple of threats, and all of a sudden I had a spot on the Topeka Noodles, and I couldn’t play very well. In fact, I stink like a spraying skunk. One of my teammates told me I should quit the team. He was run over by a milk truck the next day. It was determined to be an accident and his injuries are not life threatening—two broken legs, concussion, 3 broken ribs, scuffed butt and elbows, and an apology to me.

I will now give the Topeka Noodles Cheer: Noodle, noodle, noodle, oodle, boodle, doodle. Noodle up, noodle down, we will win the Dodge Ball crown. Go Noodles!

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Assumptio (as-sump’-ti’o): The introduction of a point to be considered, especially an extraneous argument. 

See proslepsis (When paralipsis [stating and drawing attention to something in the very act of pretending to pass it over] is taken to its extreme. The speaker provides full details.).

This is Christmas and the beautifully wrapped presents are piled up around the blinking, ornament laden, pink tinsel draped, metal tree from China—yes China where they are atheistic Communists, laughing at the stupid Americans every time a tree comes off their sweat shop assembly line. In fact, aside from the ornaments the kids made with Grandma, the damn thing, from the star on top, to the stand at the bottom, is made in China. We might as well be celebrating General Tsao’s birthday and wearing silk pajamas with birds embroidered on them.

However, we need to talk about Santa Clause. Things are slipping up at the North Pole. He must be at least 200 years old! He brokered a deal with Amazon, and now he just gets on the internet, places the huge Christmas order with Amazon, and watches “A Muppet Christmas Carol” on his laptop on Christmas Eve. All these years he’s done a great job, but now he’s got to go. He can live in his condo on the beach in Key West. We need to put together a job description including information about salary and benefits. Santa worked for free and we’ve suspected him of purloining presents and selling them on the dark web for the past five years. An elf informant alerted us to Santa’s larceny. But the big question is: where does he get his money in the first place? This leads to the “magical powers” argument. Our surveillance cameras have recorded Santa waving his arms, followed by a shower of one-hundred dollar bills. We can’t get our heads around it. The last time I saw magic like that was when I was taken for $20 at Three Card Monty.

I think Elf 22 can stand in for Santa while we figure out what to do.

Being on the Holiday Police Force is very rewarding. For example, the Easter Bunny goes on trial in two weeks for hopping a 16-year old kid to death. And oh, and this is scary, the last time we tried to get Santa to retire, our building was suddenly covered with an avalanche of Barbie dolls and burned to the ground. Nobody was killed. But we heard “Ho, Ho, Ho!” from a nearby rooftop.

So, what’re we going to do about China stealing Christmas?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( 

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arby Dolls

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( 

Paper and Kindle versions of The Daily Trope are available from Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.


Asteismus (as-te-is’-mus): Polite or genteel mockery. More specifically, a figure of reply in which the answerer catches a certain word and throws it back to the first speaker with an unexpected twist. Less frequently, a witty use of allegory or comparison, such as when a literal and an allegorical meaning are both implied.

A: Sorry, I’m going to be late again.

B: One more time and you’ll be the late Sammy Fogwell. Ha ha! Just kidding—you work too hard. I’ll keep dinner warm for you.

A: You’re the best! This crazy project will be over in a week.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Astrothesia (as-tro-the’-si-a): A vivid description of stars. One type of enargia.

There is a time for stars when the moon is gone into its new moon pose—when the sky is deep deep black, and you can’t see three feet in front of you. You stumbled out of your tent. You stand still. You and your partner both look up and gasp. It’s there as it has always been there, stable, unwavering since I was little boy. The North Star to guide me, the Big Dipper to delight me, and the Milky Way to fill me with awe. There’s a shooting star! It’s tracing its way downward to be burnt up by our atmosphere in a trajectory from fame to death, like a fragile artist or a has-been movie star.

We hold hands, and I can feel the shared emotions coursing through us. Under the stars—the scintillating, unwavering presence that sheds it’s mystic light on the mystery of love.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Asyndeton (a-syn’-de-ton): The omission of conjunctions between clauses, often resulting in a hurried rhythm or vehement effect. [Compare brachylogia. Opposite of polysyndeton.]

I went to the mall. I got lost. I was surrounded by major appliances. There was nobody around. I opened a refrigerator. A briefcase fell out. I opened it. It was filled with credit cards. I took the L.L. Bean card. I stuck it in my wallet. I put the briefcase back in the refrigerator.

I got home. I turned on my laptop. I got on the internet. I went to the L.L. Bean site. I searched men’s clothing. I liked the navy blue hand-made Pemaquid Lighthouse Low Tide cable knit watch cap.

I entered the the required demographic information, followed by the card’s account number. I put in the security code. It worked!

Two days later, 5 police cars converged on my front yard. I was busted for credit card fraud. I paid the bail and went home. Strangely, two days later my watch cap arrived. I kept it, but I won’t wear it to court.

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

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Auxesis (ok-see’-sis): (1) Arranging words or clauses in a sequence of increasing force. In this sense, auxesis is comparable to climax and has sometimes been called incrementum. (2) A figure of speech in which something is referred to in terms disproportionately large (a kind of exaggeration or hyperbole). (3) Amplification in general.

One, two, three! There you go! Have a good fall. Too bad you can’t fly. Ha ha! I came. I looked. I shoved. You came. You stood. You fell.

How’s the water? How was your five-foot free fall? Was it like jumping off the moon, or the Empire State Building, or the edge of the Grand Canyon? Lucky, you didn’t hit your head on one of the 25 foot catfish lurking down there. Can you feel one rubbing on your leg?

Oh my God! What’s that thing behind you? Yech! It’s Mr. Mack our school janitor. Oh my God! He’s wearing a banana hammock! Let’s get the hell out of here, he’s got a camera. His weirdness is bigger than a bull on steroids or the other side of the moon.

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