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Ellipsis (el-lip’-sis): Omission of a word or short phrase easily understood in context.

There was a lot that was left undone—I wasn’t over the rainbow, the rainbow was over me. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. If I could follow a train of thought, maybe I could get off at the right stop instead of . . . Oh well. The premonition is up ahead. Why do I spend my time considering what will be instead of vesting my interest in what is real, what is tangible, what is here, what has three dimensions, what I can eat for lunch, what I can kick?

I bought a crystal ball at a garage sale: It came with instructions: stare at it until you see something materialize behind the glass. So far, I had seen my hand and a dirty coffee mug sitting on my kitchen table. Then, I saw the face of somebody who looked vaguely like me. He had a lightbulb tattooed on his forehead and Yin Yangs tattooed on his eyelids. His mouth was sewn shut like a shrunken head. He was bouncing up and down and I could hear “Mph, Mph, Gaaa” coming out of the crystal ball. This was the most eventful thing that had ever happened in my life. I was terrified and elated. I said (being dramatic) “Oh yon demon of the ball, how can I help you?” He nodded yes, which did not answer my question. Then, he emphatically wiggled his lips back and forth. I understood immediately: he wanted me to liberate his lips, so he could talk to me and answer my questions about the future, and help me make some money! He tilted his head down and looked toward his sewn up lips. I touched the crystal ball and my hand went into it like it was water. I grabbed the stitches and pulled, like when I opened the bag of birdseed from Agway, and “zip,” the string came loose, and “zip” his lips were freed!

He said, “Let me make sure. You speak English, right?” “Right,” I said. He told me his name was Nick Samaras. I told him my name was Larry Bort, and that I worked for Amazon as a package packer, but I wanted to be a fortune teller, mainly my own fortune, but other people’s too. Nick told me what I had was not a fortunetelling crystal ball, but rather, it was a magical bowling ball. If I said “Let’s roll” to it, it would turn into a bowling ball that would ensure perfect games every time. In a way, it’s guaranteed winning was like telling the future.

What else could I do? I became a professional bowler and made a lot of money. I can’t say I made a fortune—the payouts for bowling tournaments are pretty skimpy. Me and Nick would talk every once-in-awhile. His life story is complicated, as you can imagine. He was born thousands of years ago in Athens, Greece. He was a wealthy goldsmith. He kidnapped a sorcerer’s daughter and married her. The sorcerer put the bowling ball spell on him, intending the ball to be a weapon dropped on people’s heads, along with hot tar, from ramparts.

Then, the worst thing happened. My nephew was staying with me while my sister went on a marriage retreat. I had left Nick on the coffee table on his stand, in his bowling ball guise. My nephew picked him up and put it on his head. My nephew’s head traded places with Nick’s head. I was screwed. Nick said “My God, I never knew.” The bowling ball was silent. I touched it, and said “let’s roll” and it cleared, and it was empty. No nephew. Nick wouldn’t shut up or stop eating. I bought us plane tickets to Athens, where I stupidly hoped that my Nick-headed nephew would figure something out. I was tired of hiding from my sister. As soon as our passports arrived, we took off. Nick disappeared as soon as we cleared passport control. I made the mistake of telling my story to the authorities. Now, I’m handcuffed to a bed waiting to hear what they’re going to do with me. My sister has threatened to have me extradited and arrested for kidnapping. Then, I thought I saw Nick and my nephew looking through the window of my room’s door.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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

A: Something smells. Do you get it? Do you smell it? I think it may be somebody right here in the room, and it isn’t me. Hmmm. There are only the two of us here in the room. I don’t smell. I know for sure. I’ve been using specially scented soap that masks all human odors. It’s called “Erasure.” After using it, my dog does not recognize me and barks incessantly. He bit me on the ankle yesterday, so I can assure you that my Barbara-body-smell is gone. If I smell at all, it’s like the Arctic wind that blows through here in January. You might want to consider adopting my dog, Curly. He won’t bite you if you keep your usual body smell, if it is acceptable to family and friends (which it probably isn’t—I have talked to your mother). Anyway, another source of repugnant odor is the mouth—wooo—can it stink, or what? I used “Mask” toothpaste and “Odor Burner” mouthwash this morning, and last night too. My breath smells like bottled water in a glass container.

Next, is diet. This is very simple: stop eating beans and cabbage. We have it on good authority that it was not an apple eaten by Eve in the Garden of Eden. Rather, it was a bean and cabbage casserole cooked by Old Nick himself and left steaming on a picnic table under an apple tree with a bowl and spoon, with a folded paper napkin alongside. Eve dug in and we know the rest. She brought the woe of farting to Humankind, and clothing became mandatory to help filter the smell, deaden the sound, and assuage the shame. The Fart is Satan’s voice—it feels good to blow one, but it destroys social harmony by inducing revulsion, anger, unwarranted finger pointing, and fleeing from hearth and home.

The most import measure you can take to achieve perfect odor control is anus emissions monitoring and adjustment (AEMAA). As you know, the anus emits farts, and farts smell. You can purchase and take “Gas-B-Gone” tablets. They are an excellent help, but every once-in-awhile a fart will squeak out, no matter how careful you are regularly taking the recommended doseage . You need a back-up plan. One thing you can do is sphincter control exercises. A well-controlled sphincter will allow you time to relocate—perhaps outdoors—before you relax it and let the wind blow harmlessly into the great outdoors. I have written a book titled “Sphincter Control, Mental Health, and Social Responsibility.” The book is an in-depth study of the sphinctural mechanism. It includes exercises you can use to cultivate your sphincter’s place across a spectrum of life-enriching potentialities specifically addressing the dysfunctional mind-body dualism engendered by seeing the sphincter as separate from the mind, and vice versa. The aim is to take a holistic approach, overcoming the mind/sphincter opposition so there is a seamless singularity: mind is sphincter/sphincter is mind. Now YOU, Mr./Ms. Mindsphincter, are ready to utilize your new incarnation in accord with ideals of human happiness, to reduce the world’s stink and transform it into the Breath of Venus.

So, I’ve taken you on extended voyage over the hills a valleys of human odor. Maybe, at this point you understand that I am disclosing this important information to you for a reason beyond filling your head with crucial facts. What do you think?

B: I think you are crazy.

A: Well, ok, the truth is you smell. No! Actually, you stink.

B: You need help. I’m wearing the “Kamikaze Kologne” my grandmother gave me. If you don’t like it, buzz off sphincter girl.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Metallage (me-tal’-la-gee): When a word or phrase is treated as an object within another expression.

Bert: If you say “stairway to heaven” again, I don’t know what I am going to do. Every other thing you see is a stairway to heaven. How can a used car lot be a stairway to heaven, or the CVS parking lot, or the two trash cans in my garage, or my fishing pole—I can sort of see it as a stairway to heaven, but not the rest of the stuff. Some people say “like” or “man” or “far out” a lot, but they’re just stuck in the sixties with bell-bottoms and platform shoes—creatures of an epoch carrying their pot-infused culture into the 21st century, trying to preserve “the dream.”

You, on the other hand are tangled up alone in a Led Zepplin wonderland borne on your junior prom, when your first dance ever in your life—a dance with Valletta Berge—was to Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” You’re 28 years old now—28 for Christ’s sake. Valletta is a single mom with 8 kids. Just like you and me, she never left town. I know you know, but I’ll tell you again anyway: Valletta lives with her 8 kids out by the railroad tracks in the derelict train station that was abandoned when the new one was built 5 years ago. She runs a day care center called “Ticket to Ride” at the station. The kids love it—riding their trikes around and playing “Choo Choo” on the railroad tracks while Valletta talks on her cell phone. Maybe if you go and see her and dance again to “Stairway to Heaven” on Spotify, it will purge you of you hellish repetitive use of “Stairway to Heaven” to label just about everything you see and experience.

Earnie: I knew at least four of Valletta’s kids were mine: Spike, Ricky, Chester, and Chrissy. Bert was wrong about them living at the train station. They had been put up for adoption at birth, but I had named them anyway. Three of the remaining kids had the same fate. Only “Queen Helene” (named after the organic stick deodorant), was kept and raised by Valletta.

Valletta knew I was coming to the station—Bert had warned her. When I saw her, we could’ve been back at the junior prom. She was so beautiful. She was wearing a white goddess gown. Queen Helene held its train as Valletta moved slowly toward me. All the day care kids came inside and lined up in two parallel rows, with their hands raised above their heads. We met halfway between the children. I booted up “Stairway to Heaven” on my cell phone. We embraced and slowly danced, and the children made a circle, and we danced, slowly, passionately. Valletta yelled “Kiss me before I melt.” I kissed her and suddenly we were standing together on a jewel-encrusted golden staircase that reached through the train station’s roof. “This is the staircase to heaven!” I yelled over the music, which had become very very loud: “Let’s climb it!” Valletta said, “I can’t. After all the babies I’ve had, I’m in really shitty shape. You’ll have to go alone.” I was disappointed, but I started climbing anyway. Queen Helene swooped in out of nowhere and pushed me down the stairs. She yelled, “Fuck all of you!” as she ran up the Stairway to Heaven. She disappeared through the train station’s roof. I had a mild concussion, two broken ribs and a broken ankle. Valletta came to visit me in the hospital and now she’s pregnant again.

After the horror of my accident, and the definite insanity of everything else that happened, “Stairway to Heaven” is no longer my go-to phrase of praise. I replaced it with “Under the Boardwalk.” Now, if I see or hear something I like I say, “That’s under the boardwalk.” Thanks to The Drifters 1964 recording, there will always be a romantic magical refuge, a place get away from it all, and maybe find some loose change with a metal detector. Bert has threatened to terminate our friendship over my latest phrase of praise, saying it is stupid. I responded: “Hey Bert! That’s under the boardwalk!” We both laughed and hugged. Bert started humping my leg, just like the old days, and I knew our friendship would never end.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Paromoiosis (par-o-moy-o’-sis): Parallelism of sound between the words of adjacent clauses whose lengths are equal or approximate to one another. The combination of isocolon and assonance.

Why does it seem stupid to ask what the meaning of life is? It isn’t that stupid to find a way to find a little bliss. You just start looking. You never give up. So, I went on the internet and Googled “bliss” in all caps. The top hit was a definition: perfect happiness; great joy. That’s what I expected. The second was a trash removal company in my zip code. The third was a “The Cosmic Bliss Institute” located physically in Union, New Jersey. They promise a “quick trip” to Nirvana at one low low price . Before I looked into Cosmic Bliss, I had to check out “Electric Angel.” She promised excitement followed by serenity from watching her “work” with her specially fitted shop tools, live, via webcam. I had to check this out. I’d visit Cosmic Bliss later.

I clicked on the link. The screen turned red, and there was the sound of an electric drill whirring loudly. Suddenly it stopped. Then there was the sound of a circular saw. “This is bizarre” I thought. Then, a disclaimer came on the screen requiring that I be a Social Security Recipient to join. The disclaimer also said: “Be advised, really crazy things happen here. If you are under 65 years of age, stay out!” Further, it said “25 minutes with the Electric Angel are $1000.00. Please enter your credit card information within 30 seconds, or you will be permanently banned from this site.” I entered my card information immediately.

Music started playing. It was slow and rich and clearly had an erotic intention. An overweight naked woman was dancing to the music, winding around like a big snake. She had a battery-powered electric drill in each hand. Each drill bit impaled a hot dog. There were two hot dog buns on the table in front of her. She flipped over the drills and slowly writhed toward the table, put the hot dogs in the buns, reversed the drills and withdrew the drill bits. She put down the drills and picked up the two hot dogs. I thought, “Ok, finally, here we go!” She threw the two hot dogs on the floor and kicked them away from her. “I paid $1000.00 for this? It’s total bullshit!”

Just then, the hot dogs exploded, giving off a beautiful cloud of shimmering rainbow colors, and I could smell a sweet perfume coming out of my computer’s keyboard. A genie materialized out of the haze. He was wearing a shiny golden suit and a black turban with a crow feather sticking out of it. He yelled, “Yes! This is bullshit. Turn off your computer and take a long walk.” He disappeared and the screen went blank.

So, I was going to take a walk—I was headed for the Cosmic Bliss Institute. It was a little over 1,000 miles from where I live. I made holsters for two electric drills. I got a sackcloth pullover, and all-leather sandals. I found a long gnarled tree branch in the woods by my house and made it into a staff. Last, I bought a giant water bottle. I was ready to become a prophet.

I got up at dawn and put a note on my door: “I am on a wisdom walk and won’t back for a year, if at all.” I decided to cut across the golf course to get started. I was run over by a golf cart. It broke my left leg and arm. Ever since, I have been wracking my brain to say something wise about what’s happened to me. There are tons of quotes I could use. My favorite is Winston Churchill: “You never can tell whether bad luck may not after all turn out to be good luck.” That’s pretty good, but it is a little too optimistic. Ok, anyway, here are my words of wisdom: “There isn’t a ‘few’ in future, it only sounds like there is.”

So much of life is like that: it sounds like it is, but it isn’t.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Paronomasia (pa-ro-no-ma’-si-a): Using words that sound alike but that differ in meaning (punning).

My hart was running around in the back yard like he was back on his home turf. My heart went out to him, but I couldn’t let myself get too friendly. He was on the menu of the “Kills and Thrills Sportsmen’s Club’s” annual wild game banquet. Everybody had to bring wild game to eat. I was bringing my Hart’s hindquarters, once I killed him and cut him in half. At least I wasn’t as depraved as Joe Spicer, who had signed up to bring his daughter’s pet bunny Hoppy. Or, Joey Gilmer, who was bringing his son’s turtle Shelly. I didn’t think “pet” counted as “wild game.” But, even my Hart could count as a pet because he has been living in my backyard for six months. I had to build a huge fence to keep him from running away. I guess the possibility of him running away would make him wild. We live out in the country, so he’d probably be shot as a deer during deer season if he was out running loose.

Then, I started to think about what it would be like being a deer and being hunted during deer season? I would be a doe:

“I can tell it’s the opening of deer season. I live in a bucks only wildlife management area. Nevertheless, hunters can get doe permits, giving them permission shoot anterless deer. That’s me—antlerless. I knew the hunters were coming. There was a jam of pickup trucks on the road along the state land—where hunters hunted. I could also smell cigarette smoke, whiskey, coffee, and beer. To my deer nose it was like smelling death.

I started to retreat to the swamp. Most hunters were too lazy or ill-equipped to venture into the swamp. As I started to run, I remembered my fawn. She had been following me ever since she’d been born. She had lost her spots and looks like a small deer—not much bigger than a big dog. She is almost completely weaned, but still hits me up for a snack when we’re foraging for beech nuts in the woods.

As we make our way to the swamp, we cross paths with our first hunter. He’s an overweight beer-bellied man. He’s dressed in hunter orange from head to pants. His coat still has a price tag dangling from it. He is shaking. He is nervous. He puts down his Thermos cup, and puts his shiny new shotgun to his shoulder, and we run like hell. There’s no gunshot. The’s no ‘Boom!’ I looked back and saw he had forgotten to load his shotgun! With his shaking hands he almost couldn’t load his gun now. What a loser. But, he was rare—most hunters were ready to blow you away if you got anywhere near them. This was a big stroke of luck, but we continued to run anyway.

We kept going on to the swamp. We saw one of the herd’s old bucks coming toward us. He was limping and bleeding from his butt. He said, “I’m dying of thirst. I’ve got to get to the reservoir.” We took off again. I heard a loud thud and looked back. The old buck was down. A hunter had found him and was getting ready to shoot him in the head and finish him off. We ran. The swamp was nearby. We started crashing through the willows, and wading through knee deep water to the little island at the center of the swamp. I heard a shot! I looked back and I didn’t see my baby. I got back to the edge of the swamp and saw her dead body being dragged away by the overweight beer-bellied hunter—the one we had seen who had forgotten to load his gun.

I have no claws or sharp teeth. I am like a cow living in the woods. There was nothing I could do, except head back to the swamp’s center, lie down and wait for dark, when the hunters would leave woods.”

Wow, that sucked. A deer helpless to fight back. There was a time when hunting deer was a matter of survival, now it’s about having something yummy to eat with potatoes and gravy. And also, there’s the thrill of getting up while it is still dark and wandering around, or sitting, in the woods with a loaded weapon, waiting for dawn, looking for a deer to kill. I’m thinking of sending my Hart back to his native Iran where he can run free (wherever Hart run free in Iran). He probably won’t be better off, but a least he’ll be home. It’s going to cost a fortune to ship him. I was lucky to get him as a gift from my estranged wife. I have no idea where she got him for me, and I didn’t ask. Initially, I was going to whack him and invite my friends over to eat him. But, I named him Shah and started hugging him, letting him in the house every once-in-awhile, and teaching him tricks. I taught him to push a ball across the living room floor with his nose. I don’t know, maybe it’s just as well to bring him to the banquet and, after everybody’s eaten, let him impale few people with his antlers for “Just Desserts.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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

Consider the booger. It isn’t a lobster. It isn’t Yorick’s moldy skull. But in a way the lowly booger has high standing in the universe of the nostril: “Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us.” Substitute “boogers” for “stars” and you’ll see there is a universe of unseeable celestial promise stuck in your life-giving airway, tidying it up by a hearty sneeze or a carefully wielded pinky scooping out the booger and wiping it on your pant leg or skirt or sock. Or, you may be primly equipped with what is called a “hankie” made from soft cloth, and possibly, embroidered with your three initials. If you’re a man, you may have in your back pocket a large hankerchief, “chief” emphasizing the cloth’s masculinity and superiority to the “girlie” little hankie. In fact, in order to emphasize its manliness, you might call your handkerchief a “snot rag” even though you may use it to go booger hunting up your nose. Or, you may have a tissue up your sleeve if you are bereft of pockets.

Booger flicking is a sport in some parts of the world, especially in poorer countries that may only have boogers to play with. There may even be regional tournaments and passionate rivalries with “Booger Kings” and “Booger Queens” revered as regional and national champions. The boogers are specially cultivated in the competitors’ nostrils, aging like fine wine, and taking on their cherished aerodynamic form inside the nostril through a process of tantric sniffing and, outside the nose, by rolling the booger between the thumb and forefinger, and very lightly moisturizing it with canola oil. The booger is flicked by placing it on the tip of the index finger and forcefully dragging the thumb toward it to strike it and propel it away from the hand. According to the rules, each booger must be kept in the competitor’s nostril until five minutes before the “Flick Off.” Competitors sit in a circle around a five-foot diameter pit marked in rings like a bullseye. The highest scoring booger wins the round. Ties are resolved by a “Booger Flick-Off,” and boogers that land on other boogers void their participation in the “Flick Off.” In the US, the last known “Flick Off” was held in 1980 and was “won” by the professional sniveler Donald Sump from NYC, who was accused of cheating by sniveling on his booger, increasing its velocity, and knocking what would’ve been the winning booger off the board. His title was taken away after a 10-minute hearing.

Now we come to the dark side of boogers. There are the near-perverts who eat their boogers. First, there are the covert booger eaters— they may pretend they’re wiping their mouths with their backs of their hands or handkerchiefs, when in fact, they’re unloading dried boogers into their mouths. They may chew them quietly and surreptitiously, but if you are vigilant, you can observe movement in their throats when they swallow their nasal confections.

But the absolute worst is the public booger miner. They may sit in a bus station digging for booger treasure. Their pinky is their tool, with enough of a nail to act as a shovel. They shove their pinky into their nostril, twist it around, fill it up and pull it out. Now, the public booger eater holds up his pinky and looks at his find from many angles, until he can’t stand any more. He shoves his loaded pinky between his lips and into his mouth, where he may chew on his prize for a couple of seconds before he swallows it.

Erasmus said “Nothing human is alien to me.” Boogers are human, and they bind us together. Their presence is ubiquitous. When we look at each others’ noses we can see mirrored there citadels of common experience that house boogers that we can’t see, but can believe in due to a booger’s presence in our own nostrils.

So, as we began, consider the booger: a building block of our humanity, so disgustingly beautiful and picked for infinite reasons, spanning the hierarchies of value that give life to meaning, and meaning to life.

If your nose could speak, it might say: “I can’t pick myself.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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

My mother was obsessed with Pandas. For her, they were “the cuuu-test creatures on God’s green earth.” She had a bamboo garden in the basement, lit by purple grow lights. She called it “Panda Acres” even though the “Acres” were growing in a 3-foot square box. She fervently hoped to feed a Panda in the basement some day. She had a gallery of “famous pandas” hanging on the living room wall. Andy Panda was most prominently displayed. In one picture Andy, and his sidekick Charlie Chicken, are pictured hoisting beer steins with their chests puffed way out. I always thought it was because they were proud of something, but my mom was convinced they were doing “healthy” breathing exercises.

She was concerned with panda health. Whenever a new panda was born in China, or at the zoo, we would hold a vigil, praying for the baby panda’s survival. Mom had a portable shrine mounted on roller skates. She would pull it out of my bedroom and make bamboo offerings and say brief prayers. My favorite was “Dear baby panda, listen to your mother, stand up straight, and don’t j-walk.” Sometimes we’d sit up all night, burning incense, drinking tea, and making up panda stories. Dad made up “The little panda who got a tattoo.” It was about a panda who joined a biker gang and raised hell all over New York. He had a tattoo of a devil-horned pangolin on his butt and swore a lot. For obvious reasons, my mother hated the tattoo story and would go “na, na, na” whenever my father started telling it.

One of my earliest memories is riding in a stroller on a warm spring morning wearing my panda suit. I wasn’t allowed to talk. I was only allowed to grunt like what we thought a panda would sound like. I was expected to hold my hands out too, like I was begging for bamboo. People thought I looked cute, but they did’t know what hell it was inside the suit. The worst was that the panda suit’s eyeholes weren’t lined up with my eyes. So, everything was sort of cut in half. When I got older, I had to wear a panda snowsuit when I walked to school. Mom made me carry a piece of bamboo and swish it around like a fly swatter. One day I couldn’t get my snowsuit off at school. After that, everybody called me Poo-Poo Panda. I didn’t like it.

But then the seventies came. I finished high school and moved away from home. I formed a rock band called “The Primo Pandas.” We wore panda face paint and had back-up dancers in full-on panda suits who frequently fainted in the middle of a set. The audience expected it, so the fainting always got some heavy applause. Our biggest hit was “Bam-bam-boo-boo, I’m gonna’ Chew ya’ Right Down.” John Lee Hooker’s lawyer told us he would’ve sued us for infringing on his “Boom, Boom,” but we were too pitiful to mess with. Despite that, John Lee sat in on a gig with us in Oakland, CA. He was truly a great man.

When things opened up further with China, we made millions touring—Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, etc. We merchandised the hell out of the panda suits and other items, like panda eye masks. When it was all over, I opened a Chinese restaurant back in New York with Xiu, the woman I had met (and married) on the tour in Shanghai. Along with other pictures (for example, me and Ringo waving bamboo branches) mom’s panda gallery graces the restaurant’s wall. All the staff wear panda suits, and the name of the restaurant is “Panda’s Trough,” and it’s themed like an upscale zoo cage. People love it!

Xiu and I are going to have a baby in about five months. She’s afraid it will look like a panda. So am I.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Anacoloutha (an-a-co’-lu-tha): Substituting one word with another whose meaning is very close to the original, but in a non-reciprocal fashion; that is, one could not use the first, original word as a substitute for the second. This is the opposite of acoloutha.

There is a trellis outside my window entwined with blooming roses, velvet red, soft, twisted, filling my room with breeze-driven shadows brushing along the walls. I can hear the waves hitting the beach. The tide is coming in.

I lay there wondering about hope and it’s vague projections of wobbly futures, trying to form a hope: something to want, but not to need. I could only conjure what I had lost, especially my dog “Goddamnit“ who ran away during the 4th of July fireworks. I was yelling “Goddamnit” out in my yard for two hours and then gave up. I yelled “shit” and a big expensive-looking dog shot out of the bushes by my house, knocked me down, and licked my face. I thought about the one-two-ness of it all. I missed Godammnit, but Shit was a pretty good replacement. But, I hadn’t hoped for Shit. I just wanted to bring Godamnit back home. Laying there, I realized that hoping was a waste of time, that something always comes along to fill the gap. In my case, right then, it was Shit. Who knows? In your case it could be a raccoon or a man or a woman. And, I think you can be optimistic without being hopeful. That means you think good things can happen without knowing what they are! In fact, you may not even think they’re good.

I met my first wife when I got a flat tire outside of Bakersfield. She pulled up in a dune buggy, we got married, and the rest was misery until we divorced three weeks later—barely missing the annulment deadline. But, the first two days were bliss at a motel near San Luis Obispo. On day three, she tried to smother me with a pillow because I remarked on her hairy armpits. It was like she had two lumps of coal grafted to her armpits—I called them her “coal pits.” I yelled “shit!” when she came after me with the pillow, and Shit bounded through the open motel window and growled and barked at her. She got off of me, threw the pillow at Shit and ran out the door. She took the car, and disappeared. I was marooned at the motel with Shit. I got $100 out of the motel’s ATM and packed Shit’s dog dish along with my clothes in my rolly-bag, hooked up Shit’s leash, and Shit and I started walking toward Santa Barbara. We got about 100 yards when an Audi convertible pulled over and the driver asked us if we needed a lift. She was beautiful and kind looking. Shit and I climbed in the car and we took off toward Santa Barbara. She asked me my dog’s name and I told her “Shit.” “That’s fantastic,” she said. I felt like a door had opened in my soul, letting in light, clearing out the darkness. I told her what had happened and she invited us to stay with her for a couple of days. That was one year ago. Nancy’s out of town on business right now and Shit and I are in charge of the villa. Nancy and I are going to have a baby girl. We’re going to name her Hope.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Antiprosopopoeia (an-ti-pro-so-po-pe’-i-a): The representation of persons [or other animate beings] as inanimate objects. This inversion of prosopopoeia or personification can simply be the use of a metaphor to depict or describe a person [or other animate being].

The race was on! The 10th annual “Walker Run” at Our Lady of the Soiled Linens, a nursing home that stays afloat with constant Go Fund Me appeals and the kindness of a Mr. D.B. Cooper, a parachuting enthusiast who donated a pile of money after recovering from two broken legs and a broken collarbone and being cared for at Our Lady of the Soiled Linens .

My doctor tells me that “with luck” I have fourteen months to live. It is imperative that I win the race—even though I feel like a million dollars, I know the doctor’s right. He gave Mrs. Tellby ten months, and boom, she checked out in ten months.

I bought a lightweight titanium racing walker on Amazon. It can be filled with helium to make it lighter. The wheels are repurposed skateboard wheels and it has no brakes (to get rid of extra weight). The rear crutch tips have been replaced with Kevlar sliders. I would’ve replaced them with wheels, but all the racing walkers have to conform to normal Walker specs—that means only two front wheels, and of course, no motors!

My only real competition is Col. Von Gruen. Everybody else competes just to get some fresh air and sunshine, working on their Vitamin D deficiencies and their alienation from nature. Anyway, Von Gruen’s Walker is a black 1994 Rover. It has none of the modifications that mine has and he’s never failed to beat me in the past, until I got rid of my 1989 Trekker. Now that I’ve got a 2020 titanium Light Walker, I am going to kick his butt.

We line up on the starting line. It’s fifty feet to the finish line— I feel like Big Daddy Don Garlits lined up at Meadowlands, ready to rock. I am a dragster! I grip my walker and wait for the green light. Von Gruen is right next to me. We are almost shoulder to shoulder. He turns and says to me, “I am dying day after tomorrow, the Doctor told me.” Putting on my best scowl, I say “So what?” Von Gruen says, “Let me win.” Just then, the light turned green and off we went. I got half-way to the finish line and slowed down on purpose to let Von Gruen win. He was gonna die on Friday and it seemed like the right thing to do. Two weeks later he was still alive. I was enraged. I walked down the hall, burst into his room, and threw his ‘94 Rover out the window. He died the next day. He left me his walker and the $35.00 he had won for winning his final race.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Bracketed text added by Georgia’s.


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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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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Enigma (e-nig’-ma): Obscuring one’s meaning by presenting it within a riddle or by means of metaphors that purposefully challenge the reader or hearer to understand.

There is a windmill, or should I say, a wind turbine, spinning in my mind. It is generating electric thoughts, like Edison had when he summoned his assistant Watson to light his cigar in his laboratory. Yes, the cigar had import, basking in the significance of the moment, like an open door or a pile of loose change, mostly dimes and quarters, or a glowing summons to an unimaginable future, imagined right there in Menlo Park, New Jersey. The cigar was cheap, but Edison’s thoughts were worth a fortune.

I want to know how the wind gets in my head to make the windmill spin. Maybe I should say there’s a hamster in my mind running on his wheel, spinning off crazy ideas that are soaked up by my consciousness, providing grounds for illegal and inappropriate actions. Oh wait—there is a rainbow bridging my brain! It affords me a promise, hope and an optimistic turn toward the rest of my life. Like George LaVkovff says, there are “metaphors we live by” (and die by). Does your life stink?

That’s a metaphor. Change the metaphor and your life will change. I consider myself to be a turtle with a rainbow above my head. Think of a turtle’s characteristics. They’re mine too. Put a rainbow above them. They’re mine too. Being a rainbow-crowned turtle provides me an orientation toward life! But what am I really? I’m an life insurance actuary with a boring hopeless life. I am not a turtle—they have more fun than I do. I am an anchovy stuck in the darkness of my can with ten or twelve other anchovies. We’re waiting for the lid to be ripped off. There’s a lot of anxiety in the can, plus we smell bad.

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Epanodos (e-pan’-o-dos): 1. Repeating the main terms of an argument in the course of presenting it. 2. Returning to the main theme after a digression. 3. Returning to and providing additional detail for items mentioned previously (often using parallelism).

There was a time when I could put up with anything—I think I was around six years old. Up to six, I wailed cried until things went my way. After six, I lost my tolerance for everything—a crack in the sidewalk set me off. My dog Creature looking at me set me off. Having to poop set me off. If somebody said my name, it set me off. The list of triggers was endless and I was always angry and miserable until I stumbled across a book at Geppetto’s Flea Market. The book is titled Stop It! It is by an obscure author from Belize named Shep Rutt. It made me realize I suffer from a kind of mental illness called “Omni Baddy Kakosphere” (OBK): a tendency to dislike and be irritated by everything. Rutt argues: (1) It is a mental illness, (2) It is all in your head, (3) It can be cured. As a mental illness it has name recognition among doctors and insurance carriers. So, you’re covered: you will get a doctor and your insurance will pay for your care. Since it is all in your head, your head will play a big role in your cure. You will get control of your imagination and ability to see all things in a positive light. For example, if you step in dog poop, you’ll just wipe it off your shoe with a stick and be on your way, smiling. And, that’s how OBK is cured: once you get control of your judgement, you will lose your judgement to Rutt’s ground-zero insight drawn from the 60s pop song: “Everything is Beautiful in Its Own Way.” When you feel yourself slipping back into OBK, you will play the song on your iPhone and you will be restored.

Mental illness. All in my head. Can be cured. I laughed at a homeless man today: he looked so funny in his raggedy smelly clothes, with a sunburn, and a worn-out cardboard coffee container. One month ago he would have made me mad and I might have pushed him down on the sidewalk. But now, I think he’s funny. I pointed and laughed. Shep Rutt saved my life: I had an illness in my head that was cured. Stop It! made me stop it. I am studying now to become a Stop It therapist. More OBK sufferers need to see that everything is beautiful in its own way.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Epilogus (e-pi-lo’-gus): Providing an inference of what is likely to follow.

I was driving us from Topeka to Moobell, Kansas—about 400 miles. Our oldest son was graduating from the abattoir school located there. Their motto is “You’ll Make the Cut” and it really helped our son develop a positive attitude toward his studies. We couldn’t wait for him to flop a pile of steaks and sweetbreads on the kitchen counter. Medium rare please! Thickly breaded please!

There was so much going on in car that I was completely distracted. I was trying to finish my second beer and stay under 80 at the same time. No mean feat. The twins were bickering about whose feet were bigger and what was better: to die by chainsaw or by car wreck. They both decided car wreck was the way to go: a lesser degree of terror and waiting for the chainsaw to do its thing, after being taunted by its insane wielder. Mary, our only daughter, was sitting alongside the twins and I could see her in the rearview mirror mouthing “bullshit” and giving her brothers the finger. I turned around to tell the twins to shut up, and a Buffalo stepped out in front of the car.

My beer can crumpled in my hand and the car flipped over. Luckily we were all belted in and we were hanging upside down with no injuries. Also, I was able to reach my phone in my pants and call 911. The highway patrol cut us out of our seatbelts and asked me what the open beer can in my hand was about. I told them I had a weak bladder and I needed it to pee in.

Our car was towed to a local body shop where the insurance adjuster would check it out. They had no rental cars available, so we rented the tow truck and continued on. We made it in time to the graduation. The key speaker was Olaf Meyer, the great grandson of Oscar Meyer, the king of weenies! The speech was “There’s a Cut for Everybody,” a typical left-wing speech about gustatory diversity. We sat through it and drove the tow truck back to the body shop. They had a mini-van available. We all hopped aboard and headed home. Our car had been judged to be a total loss. Soon, we’d have a new car purchased with the insurance money.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Eutrepismus (eu-tre-pis’-mus): Numbering and ordering the parts under consideration. A figure of division, and of ordering.

Although we only have two legs, there are myriad reasons why we should take up prancing. I will enumerate two.

1. When we prance we channel the energy of a steed. We become swifter, and focused, and more racy.

2. We develop the desire and ability to jump over fences and water hazards: excellent skills for managing urban life. We also develop an appetite for oats. A very healthy breakfast food.

So, you can prance. To prance is to prance. Prance in the mall! A lot of room there and people will usually step aside as you come prancing by. Then, of course, you can prance in the parking lot, weaving in between the cars and pickup trucks, like the show pony you’ve become. Next, you’ll want to prance down a sidewalk, feet rising and falling, body swaying like a quarter horse crossing the finish line. You will jump gigantic puddles as if they were somebody’s spilled beverage.

Last but not least, to complete your prancification you will never say “no” again. Showing your prancer pride, you will say “neigh” and whinny your satisfaction with the prancing life. I’m going prancing in the park tonight. Come along!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Exuscitatio (ex-us-ci-ta’-ti-o): Stirring others by one’s own vehement feeling (sometimes by means of a rhetorical question, and often for the sake of exciting anger).

How many of you have had your underwear shrink? Mine claimed to be shrink proof on the package. I had total faith in their assertion. After all, they’re a big company with a pleasing name: “100% Cotton.” What could inspire more confidence than 100%? 100% of anything is all of it. I’ve trusted cotton since I’ve worn Levi’s as a toddler. They told you to buy them big because they would shrink. They were honest.

I don’t know about you, but my briefs have become a cotton postage stamp with 2 leg holes. When I put them on, it’s like I’m wearing Ken’s undies and Barbie is standing there laughing at me.

Underpants are the closest thing to you aside from your skin. Closer than your girlfriend. Closer than your mother. Closer than your boss! Do you want what’s closest to you chafing and painfully squeezing your private parts? Are you with me? Together we can make this right. Together we can get the underpants bosses to stop crushing our pride by making our underpants one size smaller, after they shrink, than they say on the package. What’s worse, these underpants are made in China by Communists. Are they trying make us sterile so there will be no soldiers when they invade us with their depraved Army, conquer us and make us slaves—probably working in an underpants factory to further their cause.

Again, are you with me? We must confiscate all of the 100% cotton underpants in the United States. We must burn them in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue to show our President that these shrinking underpants are un-American and unacceptable. We can do this. The confiscation and transportation of Chinese shrinkys will become our life’s work. Nothing shall deter us as we harvest the 100% cotton underpants and bring them to the bonfire. We will not be duped by Chinese agents giving away free underpants at the mall. We will save America! Let’s go! Down with constricting underpants!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Homoeopropophoron: Alliteration taken to an extreme where nearly every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant. Sometimes, simply a synonym for alliteration or paroemion [a stylistic vice].

Time tells tarnished truths and tepid tales; takes twisted treks, tired trips. Doubts diminish, dragging dreams down darkened drains. Determined demons delight, raising their fists and chanting “Damn you!” over and over. Memory manages many miscalculations, designing dilemmas, developing demonic domains—angelic in thought, diabolical in action.

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Homoioptoton (ho-mee-op-to’-ton): The repetition of similar case endings in adjacent words or in words in parallel position.

Note: Since this figure only works with inflected languages, it has often been conflated with homoioteleuton and (at least in English) has sometimes become equivalent to simple rhyme: “To no avail, I ate a snail.”

“The Brady Bunch” blared on YouTube while I ate my lunch—I had a hunch that Greg Brady’s latest invention was designed to give Alice some kind of relief from her vexing responsibilities. It is hand-held and battery-powered and makes a buzzing sound when it’s turned on. We find out near the end of the episode that it is a hand-held vacuum cleaner for sucking up crumbs and other things from under and between furniture cushions. This episode had put me to sleep—it was boring and it had me snoring. Suddenly, I woke myself up by the snarling sound I was making and I thought, “If that jerk Greg can invent something so can I.” I started to think—what doesn’t the world have that it needs? It would have to be simple. I would make it in the garage at my dad’s workbench. He always had four or five projects going, mainly because he never finished any of them. He’d been fixing the kitchen sink drain for two years and my mother had gotten used to putting a mixing bowl under it to catch the drippings. My father spent most of his home-time sitting in “his” chair looking at his laptop: an antique computer the size of a two-inch thick chessboard. He had to plug in an antenna to pick up wi-fi. It was pitiful. Then, I got an idea: I could make a device that would send an electric shock through Dad’s chair and get him up off his ass. He would thank me.

I found an old electric extension chord. I cut off the socket end exposing two copper wires. I took the license plate that Dad kept hanging on the wall—his old vanity plate “LETSMAMBO.” I ran a wire through each of the license plate’s top two screw holes— one on the right, one on the left. I was done. I didn’t know what to call my invention, maybe “Watts Up” would be a cool name, or maybe “Butt Jumper”? Anyway, I went into the living room and slid the wired up LETSMAMBO vanity plate under dad’s chair cushion. I would hide by the chair and plug it in when he sat down.

He came into the living room and sat in his chair. It’s like he didn’t care—another night in the chair. I shoved the plug into the outlet. My father screamed and all the house’s electricity shut down. Not only was my dad out of his chair, his chair was smoking, and so was the seat of dad’s pants, and he was squirming around on the floor, cursing. We called 911 and he was taken to the hospital to have his butt examined.

I thought, all great inventions move through trial and error, and reconsideration of basic assumptions, before they come to fruition. Dad threw me out of the house after I nearly fried his butt, but I’ve continued to develop and redevelop my invention. I have been using guinea pigs, which aren’t cheap. I’ve yet to kill one, but they are all a little singed. I wear a white lab coat with my name embroidered on it in red letters when I work at night. Like all great inventors, I suffer for my vision and sacrifice everything for my hope. I work as a ticket-stub tearer at the local movie theater. My meager earnings go into my dream. Luckily, my mom sends me cash to supplement my wages and keep me going. Now I know how Tesla and Eli Whitney felt.

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Inter se pugnantia

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

I am sick and tired of dealing with your false persona—claiming to be fair, honest, and above reproach. Well, I’ve got a giant dose of reproach for you. You can’t be opposite people at the same time. You can’t say one thing and do another thing. You can’t keep concealing what you’re actually doing from what you say you’re doing. You can’t say you have a commitment to helping the poor when you’re condemning their homes, buying their homes, demolishing their homes and replacing them with high rise condos. The web of corruption enabling this to take place is wide and vile—in fact, it holds it together: public officials, private contractors riding on your rotten scheme, making money, ruining poor peoples’ lives. Everybody that can help the poor, from building inspectors to real estate brokers, is on your payroll: mostly government money you’ve looted— that you’ve stolen on behalf of yourself and your cronies.

Now, since I’ve spoken of your greed, duplicity, and illegal activities on the public record, my guess is that my life will be in jeopardy—that you’ll dig up a hitter from the garbage pile you call “My Colleagues.” While that may be coming, I’m not afraid. I’ve seen the sad look in the eyes of the dispossessed—especially the children. There, I see the future. There, I see my legacy as a public servant, restoring their hope, assuaging their fear. Besides, you’ll be indicted as soon as the evidence (which I’ve provided) hits the DA’s desk. You’re going down. Your mob is going down. Do you know how to spell Attica?

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

The sun, Helios, the burning orb. It makes shadows as it shines—the flat black and gray images, stretched and pulled across every surface on earth except glass, water and other earthly aspects that reflect what sunlight brings to life.

It is winter here and the sun is shining; the sky is a cloudless corridor to outer space. It is cold, -4 F. You go outside and the mucus freezes in your nostrils. You try to start your car—the starter growls and then it gives up. Nevertheless, the sun has some effect: mainly to give you a sunburn on your face if you stay outside unprotected, as if were summer without the warmth. There’s probably an explanation of winter sunburn on Wikipedia, or maybe it’s some kind common knowledge that I’m too undereducated to know. But I do know I have gotten winter burn several times. My cat won’t get it though.

We have a full height glass storm door with a southern exposure. We leave the door open and the sun streams through the storm door’s glass. The black cat—Sidney—lays on his back there like he’s on a piece of pool furniture, lounging, waiting for his Fancy Feast. The sun’s light streaming in generates heat—so much heat that it affects the thermostat in the hall, throwing it off by five degrees, while the rest of the house becomes chilly. After the sun goes down, or on a cloudy day, the cat stretches out in front of the heat ducts in either the mud room or the kitchen. I don’t how he chooses between the two ducts, but I wish I could join him basking in the burning propane’s blowing heat.

Sunlight. Daylight. Sunset. The magical star that brings warmth, growth, healing, closure, and life to our otherwise dead planet. Try to understand it’s mystic ubiquity, as we see that the Sun, like everything else we humans interact with, can injure and kill—skin cancer: a slow, drawn-out, unhurried death. It’s true, and it’s ironic, like everything else.

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A video reading is n YouTube: Johnnie Anaphora


Aganactesis (ag’-an-ak-tee’-sis): An exclamation proceeding from deep indignation.

John: You did it again! You did it again! You did it again! Damn you to Hell! I wasn’t put on earth to line things up! To make things right! To sweep it under the carpet. Damn you!

Jane: But there was an earthquake last night. Didn’t you feel it?

John: No! You liar, you want to tell me my best chocolate soldier, General John, was knocked off the fireplace mantle and broke off his head because of an earthquake? Ha ha ha. Once again, the wind blowing out your mouth cries Mary. But, there are imps in my attic because I’m a Voodoo Child, and you’re Mrs. Blue. You angel-faced liar. Poor General John. He was in charge of the chocolate soldier brigade I bought on the internet and has guarded our home and watched over you since I came home two weeks ago.

Jane: John! Look in the newspaper! The headline says: “Earthquake Rocks Bay Area.” That’s the truth. You need to calm down and have one of the bon-bons I picked up at CVS last week. They have a delicious cherry center and Dr. Rick says they’ll make every day feel like Valentines Day; our anniversary and your favorite holiday!

John: You eat one first.

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Anamnesis (an’-am-nee’-sis): Calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author [apparently] from memory. Anamnesis helps to establish ethos [credibility], since it conveys the idea that the speaker is knowledgeable of the received wisdom from the past.

“It is a quite special secret pleasure how the people around us fail to realize what is really happening to them.” Adolf Hitler

I hate quoting Hitler. He was evil incarnate. He was a cold-blooded murderer. He was a racist. He exploited sensibilities already operative in Germany. He was a populist devoted to making Germany “great” again. He was an antisemite. Dissent earned a death sentence. His theatrical rallies struck the hearts and minds of attendees. Held at night with shining vaults of light and a jacked-up rostrum putting him above the attendees, an epoche was invited that blurred the distinction between theatre and real life allowing an amplification of feeling and a reduced sense of the reality of consequences, lost in the ethos of the “staged” performance and the persona of being part of national play—where “objectionable” or “morally abhorrent” is not what it appears to be if we remember why we’re doing it. The “people” believe that the glory of their past is being retrieved—that everything the star on the stage aims for and does induces the rebirth so ardently desired by the people, even if it calls for the murder of “others.”

But this is a lie. The biggest lie is the concept of “the people.” In practice, it excludes “people” based on criteria, promulgated by power, that lose their place at the table of brother- and sisterhood, that lose their right to the law’s protection, that lose everything due to: Sexual orientation. Race. Social status. Gender. Disability. And more.

Here, the failure “to realize what is really happening to them” affects the victimizers. They fail to realize that they are corroding their souls. Their collective participation in the night-time rallies themed around the National Socialist dream begins to spill into the streets, where opposing views are confronted with wooden clubs. It is a juggernaut, a force of nature, “our” destiny. And the salty tears of their victims flow under their feet unnoticed, as they look up to the leader and venerate his nationalist will—the murderer, the antisemite, the beloved demon who is making Germany great again.

So, do you know what is actually happening to you?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Gorgias has inserted the bracketed words [apparently] and [credibility].

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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.

Dad: If you don’t stop doing that every night, your thing will wear down to a tiny nub and you’ll never get a chance to use it the way God intended—as a procreation implement, like the bull out there in the corral with his thing. Did you ever see him do to himself what you do to your self? Of course, the answer is “No.” Big Ted’s not a pervert. He’s a bull. And if people find out what you’re doing, you might be hauled off to the State Mental Institution for unnatural impulses and self abuse. Then, you will have a permanent record. You won’t be able the get a decent job, and your mother, God bless her, will be humiliated and will never leave the house again.

Son: So Dad, how do you know what I do in bed at night?

Dad: There’s a spy cam hidden in your room. It’s the best way I know to monitor your nocturnal habits and take measures when they overstep the limits of propriety, as your nightly self-abuse certainly does. We should’ve had this talk a lot sooner, but I hate confrontations. I’m glad we finally got around to it.

Son: You’re a pervert. I’m shocked, hurt, angered and disgusted, you scumbag creep. I’m getting the hell out of here and checking into a shelter until they can find me a foster home. I’m packing. You better stay out of my way asshole! Your days as a voyeur are done. You may be hearing from the police very soon. Now, get the hell out of my way!!

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

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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’ve been lost on Rte. 80 for about 12 hrs. Where the hell is the Delaware Water Gap? How can I be lost on Rte. 80? Did somebody sabotage my GPS? The battery’s dead anyway. But Rte. 80 is loaded with well-marked exits. Where is the damn Delaware Water Gap? I hear sirens and see flashing red lights in my in my rear view mirror. What’s going on? Why are they chasing me?

I pull over to the shoulder and start looking for my registration and insurance card. And just like that, the 2 New Jersey State Trooper cruisers roar past, sirens blaring, lights flashing. They must be going 100!

Where the hell is the Delaware Water Gap? I can see the river out my car window. The sky is clear. The stars are bright. Now, to complicate things, I hear a tapping sound coming from the passenger side of the car. I look and see an old badly dressed man riding shotgun. He says in his old man voice: “Son, Delaware Water Gap symbolizes your life’s divisions: you wife, your children, and your children’s hamster Wild Bill.”

Oh my God, It was my father. How had I forgotten he was in the car? Between being lost and forgetting, I was surely having some kind of mental breakdown. Then Dad said, “According to my phone’s GPS, We’re not lost. The Gap is five miles up the road.” I pulled over and borrowed Dad’s phone to call home. It was reassuring hearing my wife’s warm and comforting voice. I felt the Gap narrowing and wanted to turn around and go back home and be with my wife, children, and the hamster.

As we came up on the exit, Dad said “This is where I get out.” I thought he was joking, so I pulled over. He told me to keep his phone as he opened the car door. He instantly disappeared into the night. I jumped out of the car calling his name and looking for him. He was nowhere to be found.

I got back in the car, started it up, turned around, and headed back to Chatham. Aside from the cellphone, there wasn’t a trace of Dad in the car. I decided to report him missing the next day, which was really shitty of me. I got home around 8:00 am. I could smell coffee as I came through the door. I was carrying Dad’s cellphone in my hand. When my wife saw it, she smiled and reached for it. “You found my cellphone, I thought I lost it forever.” I told her I had found it in the car. I decided not to report Dad missing. Why?

He was in the little brass urn on the mantle.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Effictio (ef-fik’-ti-o): A verbal depiction of someone’s body, often from head to toe.

His skin was a tribute to Postmodernism—a critique of the grand narratives affording space and surfaces the restrictive positioning of images and linguistic structures, keeping repressive borders intact as if they were mandated by a ‘natural order’ emanating from God.

Mr. Mellon had overcome all that with his body’s free-range tattoos: a Modernist’s nightmare!

Of his 200+ tattoos, he had a frame from “Little House on the Prairie” inked on his chest. In the tat, Charles is inked in, headed to the outhouse with a piece of newspaper in his hand. Alongside the “Little House,” there’s a hammer and sickle from the flag of the now-defunct Soviet Union. Centered on his belly button, there’s a durian fruit with passed-out people lying around dressed like dentists. Tony Soprano and Richard Nixon sit on a cloud on the right side of his neck with the number “9” being carved on it by Albert Einstein wielding a jackhammer.

It would take 100s of pages to describe and catalogue Mr. Mellon’s tattoos. Suffice it to say, from head (a question mark on his nose) to toe (a bleeding cut with stitches), his random tattoos project a sort of “I don’t give a shit” mentality which unfortunately projects a quality of rugged individualism, a keystone of Modernism. However, fortunately, it projects a directionless trajectory: going nowhere, the tattoos display an all-consuming disregard for “normal” and challenge the taken-for-granted preference for everyday life and regimes of truth that unreflectively promulgate it.

Mr. Mellon will be on display in a ventilated glass booth daily at the Notting Hill tube stop from October 5- 9, 1.00-3.00 pm. He will be wearing a spa towel to cover his privates, but the rest of him will be unclothed and on-view as he slowly rotates on a turntable repurposed from a record player manufactured in the late 1960s.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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