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Synaloepha (sin-a-lif’-a): Omitting one of two vowels which occur together at the end of one word and the beginning of another. A contraction of neighboring syllables. A kind of metaplasm.

It was Halloween. The kids were finally old enough to go out on their own. Mickey was going trick or treating as a mower man, pushing our old broken rotary lawnmower around the neighborhood, wearing overhauls, boots, a t-shirt and a New York Yankees ball cap. Our daughter Roxanne was going out as a big lump of bituminous coal with “No Coal” painted on the front and back. We were left at home alone with two big bowls of candy—one filled with little ‘mprinted heart candies left over from Valentine’s Day, the other, filled with homemade candy I had made—cubes of sugar soaked in cherry Kool-Aid with a raisin on top. The raisins had kept falling off so I had glued them on with maple syrup and kept them in the freezer overnight. We were dressed all in black to try to be scary. We were a little eccentric, but that’s what we liked about us. The children headed out, each carrying a laundry basket for the candy they would collect—a family tradition. About five minutes later, the doorbell rang. Three little costumed guests pushed through the door and stood silently by the candy bowls.

They were weird looking. They wore black robes touching the floor, a small fire extinguisher on their backs, eye-masks, and knitted hats with a logo that looked like a liver with feet and raised arms with blue, very hairy, armpits. “What team is that on your hats?“ I asked. Their little eye holes flashed twice, once green once blue. I thought how clever they were to use solar-powered Christmas lights that way, but they didn’t answer my question. I was starting to think they were rude—they barged into our house and didn’t answer my innocuous question. I looked at my husband and he just smiled. I asked them if they were going to take candy. Once again, their eyes flashed twice, this time once red and once yellow. Then they immediately and simultaneously drew what looked like 1950s Buck Rogers Sonic Ray Guns from their robes. Playing along, I raised my hands and cried: “Ooh, don’t shoot me little Moon men!” That was a mistake. There was a flash of light and a tickling feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t move or talk. My husband was gone. A least I was conscious.

I was being dragged toward an old, rusted, dented up green Jeep Cherokee. It had tinted windows all the way around and NY vanity plates reading “BLASTOFF.” After a bit of a struggle, I landed on my back, buckled into a reclining seat, like a chaise lounge. I was shocked when I looked around. The Jeep was loaded with lit up consoles, some with what looked like typical computer and video screens, others I guessed, after all that had happened, with some kind of extraterrestrial technologies. That is, I came to the realization that my cute little “trick or treaters” were abducting me, and there was nothing I could do about it. They were actual space aliens on a mission to earth.

Suddenly I felt I had turned into a warm ocean wave. I closed my eyes and I could see my brain pulsing wildly, pushing out aloha shirt prints and finally turning into a baked ham with pineapple and maraschino cherries. Then it all stopped. We had arrived. My restraint unbuckled. The door opened and I stepped out. It was a beautiful day. The air smelled like jasmine and there was a tall woman walking toward me. She was smiling. It was Amelia Earhart! She reached out and we shook hands. She told me the “one good thing about this place is you don’t age—you’re immortal.” I was completely taken aback and thought I was hallucinating. But I wasn’t. Amelia was really there, but nobody knew why we were there. She invited me to dinner that night with Jimmy Hoffa and Anastasia Romanov. We had a wonderful time and I couldn’t help but wonder why a nobody like me had landed here.

I miss my family, but the longer I am away from them, the less I miss them, especially my husband who is a certified asshole. I have been dating D.B. Cooper for 4 years. We went parachuting again last week. I loved it. He is hot with the parachute and the sunglasses. He wants to get married. I told him I wouldn’t marry him in 100 years. He took off his sunglasses and said, “I can wait.”

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

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Synzeugma (sin-zoog’-ma): That kind of zeugma in which a verb joins (and governs) two phrases by coming between them. A synonym for mesozeugma.

I didn’t know what to do. I was cold, going into the cold, hard night, following nothing, aimless, rootless free of all restraint yet lost like a puppy. I wanted to whine—to sing the song of lost souls, to bang my head on the sidewalk, to tear at my already tattered custom-tailored suit, so lovingly and joyfully purchased in Paris last spring. I wore it to the opening of my play: “One Size Fits All.”

The play was about the invention of Spandex, and the threat it posed to cotton, linen, polyester, silk, and even leather. Tailors, cutters, and fitters would be doomed by a material needing none of the above to be made and sold. It was attractive and could carry any shape, color, or design. People started wearing Spandex “onesies” imprinted with the NYC skyline, their pets, themselves, and anything else that could be custom imprinted—some of it fairly disgusting. Spandex went to war with cotton t-shirts as a canvas for self-absorbed images. It was brutal and unprecedented in the history of fabrics. Cotton fields were poisoned. Spandex, being a polyether-polyurea copolymer, was impossible to easily destroy. It’s manufacturers’ factories in the US became armed garrisons, surrounded by electrified barbed wire fences, trenches filled with acid, and .50 caliber machine guns arrayed along newly constructed ramparts.

Of course, as any idiot could easily see, “One Size Fits All” was totally fictional! It is an allegory of capitalist competition run wild. It was intended as entertaining with a slight didactic edge. But the world we live in is crazy. An anonymous conspiracy theorist, whose screen name is Dr. Bite and who is remarkably influential, claimed on his website, “You Don’t Know, Do you?” that my play was a communist inducement to the Apocalypse—he implicated me as a propagandist and aspiring contributor to the end of the world, claiming that “one size fits all” is a cryptic reference to communist ideology, advocating the death of individualism; the first sign of the Apocalypse. Given the politics of the 21st century, my play was closed. The script was burned in public all over the US, and it’s burning had become the grand finale of torchlight parades. I was stripped of my MFA, and I was forever banned from the Dramatists Guild of America. But I was going to fight back!

Despite being, lost, alone, and depressed, and the Pariah King of New York, I had a handful of faithful friends who were funding my exit of the US and supporting my sojourn in Cuba, where I was to be protected like Salman Rushdie. I was supposed leave in one day.

I looked up from my pitiful reflection in the muddy puddle I was standing in. There was a man standing in front of me in a Spandex suit imprinted with a picture of a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Also, he was holding a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. We locked eyes. I was terrified. He smiled and pointed a chicken drumstick at my head. “Here, take it. You must be hungry.” I recognized the voice—it was a guy I went to high school with—we called him Dimmy. He was stupid. He was on the football team, He was always weird. This was a coincidence from hell. I thanked him for he chicken and told him that I had to go and secure my place under the bridge underpass for the night. He said: “No, you’re leaving tonight.” I got an instant rush of total joy. We went to Newark and boarded a chartered jet. When I got off the jet, I knew I wasn’t in Cuba. It looked more like Texas, and I was introduced to Dr. Bite. “You work for me now,” he said with a grim look on his face. I got down on my knees and started banging my head on the tarmac, hoping my head would crack. It didn’t.

I have everything I need here except my freedom. I’m writing another “apocalyptic” play for Dr. Bite. He’s going to have it translated into Arabic and claim he found it in Saudi Arabia on the site of an excavation for a used-car lot in Riyadh. The play’s title is “Oil and Water.” It’s about Arab countries cornering the market on bottled water, charging outrageous prices, and forcing half the world’s population to die of thirst. Who would believe it? Would you believe it?

Hovering everywhere in Dr. Bite’s lair, there is a very old man in a wheelchair who’s clad in a sort of olive-brown suit. He is small and skinny. He said to me one day: ‘You know, son, in political speech, effectiveness is more important than the truth.” I could hardly understand him through his accent. His name was Glubbles or Gobbles or something like that and he had been “rescued and reincarnated” by Dr. Bite so he could continue his “good works.” I thought he was crazy like all of Dr. Bite’s associates. He looked familiar, though, but I couldn’t place him. He had a weird tic. When he would get excited, he would stick his right arm up in the air. Sometimes, even though he was in a wheelchair, he would click his heels together and yell “yah vol.”

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

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Tapinosis (ta-pi-no’-sis): Giving a name to something which diminishes it in importance.

I’m 29 and they call me “Goo Goo.” It has got to be the worst nickname ever or anywhere. It is worse than “Dooley Burger” or “Biltong Butt” or, for sure, “Cabbage Breath.” As far as I know, it comes from the sound I made before I could talk. It was cute back then, but now I carry it everywhere—my boss at work even calls me Goo Goo: “Hey Goo Goo, bring me the Potcher real estate file.” The nickname has faded into the woodwork. It just seems “normal” to everybody to call a 29-year-old man Goo Goo. I used to say “please don’t call me that,” but I gave up. People would say “Ok Goo Goo,” or “Whatever you want Goo Goo,” and then just go on calling me Goo Goo. I thought, maybe if I changed my nickname I could escape Goo Goo. My Name is George Matlock. I though that “Mat” would be a good nickname. When people called me “Goo Goo,” I would say “Please call me Mat, it’s short for Matlock, my last name.” Not a single person honored my request, not even my mother. In fact, she was insulted and threatened to die at home instead of St. Martyr’s Nursing Home, where all I would have to do is visit every month, pawning off her end-of-life care on the good Sisters.

After exhausting all my nickname excising strategies, I decided to move somewhere far, far away from where “everybody knew my name.” I settled on Botswana, where I could get a job as a broker working in a diamond exchange. As far as I knew I was a complete stranger to everybody in the whole country of Botswana. I became Mat Matlock. Good solid Mat Matlock. Every time I said my name was “Mat,” a chill ran down my spine. I had “Mat” monogrammed on my shirt cuffs. I had a white hat that had “Mat” embroidered on it in giant red letters. I wore it to play golf. I had a water bottle that said “Mat.” Next, sitting in my living room on a Saturday afternoon, I was considering a “Mat” tattoo. The doorbell rang. I opened the door. It was a postman hand-delivering a piece of mail “forwarded all the way from the USA.” As the postman handed it over, to my horror I saw it was addressed to Goo Goo Matlock and it was from Publisher’s Clearing House. I asked the postman if anybody else had seen it. He said, “Well, Mr. Goo Goo, of course.” When I heard him say “Mr. Goo Goo,” a pain shot through my chest and I fell on the floor. I woke up in a hospital room. My wristband said “Goo Goo Matlock.” I tried to smother myself with my pillow, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. A nurse came in my room to administer my meds. She said, “Now, now Goo Goo, I’ll be taking care of you. We’ll get that mean old heart attack fixed.”

When my nurse said “Goo Goo,” all my anxieties faded away. Her “Goo Goo” had a magical effect. “How did you find me?” I asked. She looked shyly at the floor. She said, “I’ve always been here Goo Goo.” Again, I felt the magical inflow. She told me she was the guardian spirit I had unwittingly conjured as a little boy when I had said “Goo Goo” in my crib. She had nicknamed me “Goo Goo” and had implanted it in my mother’s head, and had spread it far and wide. I was dumbfounded, a little scared, but mostly angry. “Why did you make me suffer all those years, hating it, and being humiliated, every time I was called Goo Goo?” Tears came to her eyes—they were beautiful as they sparkled in the hospital room’s institutional light. “It’s about the lessons we must learn in life” That did it! All the suffering bullshit. It hurt. It was awful. I didn’t learn shit. I grabbed the water bottle from the bedside table, and aimed it for her head. The bottle hit her square on the forehead and her head burst into pastel-colored flames. There was a little man’s head inside her head yelling “Goo Goo” and laughing maniacally. Suddenly, she disappeared and my hospital wristband said “Mat Matlock.” The postman came to visit and he called me “Mat.” I was free!

Everybody was happy to see me when I came back to work at the diamond exchange. A huge blue diamond had been mined while I was gone. I was anxious to see it, so I went down to the vault to check it out. It was in a glass case with a name card leaning against it: “Goo Goo.” I felt like I was falling down an elevator shaft. I was shaking, pounding my forehead, and laughing maniacally. I was given an additional 2 weeks leave from work. I sought out a famous shaman from Zimbabwe. Together, we got on the internet and, along with numerous charms and potions, we Googled, and we found the Goo Goo spirit hiding as a photo of a Caramel Gooey Bite on a Quest Candy site—a very clever ruse for a Goo Goo. The Shaman whipped up a piece of anti-Goo Goo code, spoke an incantation, released the code on the Quest Candy site, and scrambled the Goo Goo once and for all.

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

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Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” I knock the heels of my laceless sneakers together. I don’t even know where home is anymore: not like Dorothy. It was Kansas where she was from and it was Kansas she went back to. I’m not going back to anywhere except a mess hall, a license plate machine, and an exercise yard. But, I can hope. I don’t have ruby slippers, but I can hope.

I shot my boss between the eyes when I caught him with my sleaze-ball wife at a low budget motel—Dream Weaver—on Rte. 46 outside of Dover. I’d bought the Glock down in South Carolina, “just in case.” It was initially for home defense, but it ended up serving a higher purpose.

I’d had an eye on my wife and boss since the office Christmas party when they disappeared just long enough to “do the deed.” So, I started following my wife, and one Saturday, she went “grocery shopping” at Dream Weaver Motel. The boss’s Land Rover was parked next to my wife’s Ford Fiesta. That was it! I jacked a round into the Glock, ran to the door, shot the hell out of it, and kicked it open. The two of them were huddled naked in a corner of the room, begging. I shot out the TV, then I stuck the gun out in front of me, marched up to my boss, and blew a hole in his forehead. At least he said he was sorry before I offed him. The only reason I didn’t shoot my wife was because I didn’t want our kid to end up in an orphanage, or our dog Rusty in an animal shelter.

The murder earned me a home for life, by the grace of the state of New Jersey. My “home” is about the size of two windowless refrigerator boxes—the whole thing is made of stainless steel, except for the floor, which is sealed concrete. My en-suite toilet has no seat and it affords me the convenience of not having to remember to put anything down after going. I have a narrow bed sticking out of the wall with a 2” thick mattress with no sheet, just a suicide-proof blanket. There’s also a tiny pillow with no pillow case— it’s like trying to rest your head on a doormat. I have a small desk that sticks out of the wall, with a hurl-proof chair affixed to rails. I also have a laptop with no internet connection, and the world’s smallest flat screen TV. I watch FOX News all day, and at night too. I find the truth refreshing.

Believe it or not, my wife comes to visit. It has something to do with her therapy. I ask her about the kid and the dog and if she was able to easily wash off the boss’s blood. She inevitably starts to gag, and then I make my hand into a gun shape and point it at her. She picks up her purse and runs for the exit. This happens every time she visits. Since she keeps coming back, her therapy must be working. I know mine is!

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

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Acervatio (ak-er-va’-ti-o): Latin term Quintilian employs for both asyndeton (acervatio dissoluta: a loose heap) and polysyndeton (acervatio iuncta:a conjoined heap).

I am a big, bold, beer swilling man from Binghamton. I roll my cigarettes with comic book covers—Batman, Archie, Little LuLu, Flash Gordon, and Donald Duck. I eat cold soup from the can. I am the man! That is, until I have to go to the Post Office.

First—there are the wanted posters. I robbed a mail truck five years ago. My baklava got caught on the truck’s door and pulled off. The driver told me he’d “”keep it quiet” and never say what I look like to anybody, not even the FBI. I told him I really appreciated it, and from now on I would send all my mail overnight express, to help the postal service compete more effectively with FEDEX or UPS. Of course, I was lying, but under the circumstances it was all I could come up with. He was lying too. Soon, I saw an artist’s sketch of a guy that looked a lot like me hanging in my neighborhood Post Office. I was described as armed and dangerous—if you saw me you were supposed to call 911. But the only arms I had were hanging out of my shoulders, and dangerous? I was about as dangerous as an earthworm.

Second—I met my 4th wife Luletta in line at the Post Office. I was there to mail mother’s birthday present. I had gotten my mother an electric potato masher. The box said it could be used to mash vegetables, and also provide “a deep massage.” I have since found out what “deep message” means. Mother never complained. Luletta was holding a fairly large, and poorly taped, and scuffed up, and unwieldy cardboard box. It was wet on one of the bottom corners, and it was dripping almost imperceptibly, and I knew that the postal clerk would refuse it. I had my packing tape in my back pack, so I offered to help. Lulleta and I cut out of line and went over to a corner. We knelt down with our backs to the cue and added tape to her box, to try to seal the leak. Weirdly, it seemed to stop leaking. I asked her what was in the box. She looked around furtively and whispered “Stolen snow globes from Macy’s. I’m sending them to the orphanage where my son lives.” “Wait! You’re alive! How can your son be in an orphanage!” Luletta answered, “I might as well be dead. I ran away from an ICU after I fell out a window. I wanted to disappear. They were too understaffed to look for me, so they declared me dead. Everybody felt sorry for the hospital orderlies, so the coroner colluded, eventually burying a big wad of dirty laundry as me.” Luletta’s package passed muster and we left the Post Office and went to my apartment, and smoked some weed, and decided to get married. She was insane and actually thought she was dead. She spent most of her days lying her back on the couch with her hands crossed over her chest, with somber organ music playing on our CD player. I divorced her as soon as I could.

Third—so, between the wanted poster and memories of Luletta, the Post Office repelled me. I was very patriotic, so I did not want to turn to FEDEX or to UPS to pick up and deliver my packages. So, I decided to wear a disguise when I had to go to the Post Office: big buck teeth, thick black rimmed glasses, and a black Beatles wig. I thought I had it covered. When I wore my disguise to the post office for the first time, the guy in line in front of me started pointing toward the wanted posters and nodding his head. The post office clerk was gesturing and speaking excitedly into his cellphone. Suddenly, one of the other postal clerks appeared outside the door and locked it. I looked at the wanted posters and there was one with a man’s picture on it that looked like he had stolen my disguise! We looked like twins. I was arrested. When I removed my disguise, the Fed realized who I really was. I was tried and convicted of stealing US Mail.

After serving 1 year, I was recently paroled. Even though I’ve served my time, trips to the post office still make me shudder. I have started collecting postage stamps as a way of confronting my fears. Today, I found a Pee Wee Herman stamp. It made me feel better.

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

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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.

“My grandmother’s over eighty and she doesn’t need glasses. She drinks out of the bottle.” Henny Youngman

When I first heard this, I thought of my own grandmother, holding a bottle with two hands and taking a shot. She’d do that three times a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Due to her age, she could hardly walk, but she took a walk every day up and down the driveway shuffling along supported by two aluminum canes we had found cast off by the curb on the day of the month when people are permitted to put non-garbage in the gutter. One day on her morning walk, Grandma tripped over my brother Billy’s toy truck. As she was falling, she yelled, “Who the fuck left that goddamn piece of shit in the driveway?” Then she hit the pavement. Billy peed his pants and ran away. He didn’t come back for two days. The police found him hiding in the rubbish pile by the middle school. He had gone a little crazy after the incident. He had smashed his toy truck to pieces at the playground parking lot and was wearing only white socks, and had covered himself with mud. What’s worse, Billy had gotten really bad diarrhea from drinking out of the little creek that runs through the playground. Dad brought Billy home from the police station with a blanket wrapped across his shoulders, containing the smell and affording him some warmth and coverage.

I was shocked at Grandma’s swearing. But it will always be hard to understand why Billy responded like he did. I can see being very upset and begging Grandma’s forgiveness, but what Billy did was crazy. And this was just the start. Billy started making snorting sounds at the dinner table and sticking his face in his dinner plate like a dog would stick it’s face in it’s dog bowl. He would go out in the back yard when he thought nobody was watching and do his “thing,” actually taking off his pants and lifting his leg toward the big maple tree. Billy was institutionalized when he started sniffing his classmates’ butts. We never had a dog, and hardly ever saw a dog. We always wondered where Billy’s dog identity came from. Then one afternoon, I noticed a picture of a dog by Grandma’s bed—it was Whizzer, her companion for many years. Maybe Billy became a dog because he wanted to take Whizzer’s place as a way of atoning for the driveway incident. I asked Grandma what she thought of my theory. She said, “Keep that up and you’ll be sharing a room with my nutcase grandson.” Then I asked her why she swore like she did that day. “None of your fucking business,” she said as she looked out the window.

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

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Anaphora (an-aph’-o-ra): Repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses, sentences, or lines.

I fell from grace like tumbling dice, loaded and rolling into the curb, and bouncing one last time before they rested, showing their illicit dots from 1-12.

I fell from grace like a gambler with a magical hope, a special design, an intuition promoting confidence in winning my bet, stuffing bills away and paying my debts to the man with the handgun standing against the wall smoking a cigarette and squinting.

I fell from grace not long after I had obtained it, like an old man with a broken memory unable to recall his own name, living in a cruel nursing home with nothing but swirling fog in his head that would clear for a minute or two when he spoke to his granddaughter on the phone or watched Gilligan’s Island reruns with the other residents in the day room. He took 11 tablets per day—his breath smelled strongly of vitamin B and his nose would not stop dripping.

What does it mean fall from grace, to slip away from what ought to matter—taking an Uber ride off a cliff and sailing toward the bottom of a canyon where a glistening river runs through the rocks scattered below? The river, the water, has worn the canyon into the earth, turned boulders into gravel and given beautiful fat fish a home, a place for deer to drink, and a brink at the canyon’s edge—a launch pad for bungee jumpers and a step into death for the bereaved.

I stand at the brink bereft of a stretchy cord. I am graceless beyond measure. I can’t cry anymore. I jump. There is a rock ledge 2 feet below the cliff’s edge. I land on it feet first and regain my balance. I climb back up on the cliff. I take one last look and head for my car. It’s a long drive home, and I have a lot to think about.

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

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Anastrophe (an-as’-tro-phee): Departure from normal word order for the sake of emphasis. Anastrophe is most often a synonym for hyperbaton, but is occasionally referred to as a more specific instance of hyperbaton: the changing of the position of only a single word.

Over the hill I went. It wasn’t an upward incline with with a plummet on the other side. Rather, my 80th birthday it was. I was so old I could remember Roosevelt in his last term as President, and then, Harry Truman—“Give ‘em hell Harry!” That was pre-Fox News, when most Americans had a solid grip on America, knew what was good for them, and could tell the difference between a Commie and a Democrat, shit and Shinola. Now they’re eating shit and enjoying it. The “public” has become a collection of inmates incarcerated by lies, misinformation, and basically, a pile of steaming bullshit. Can you imagine trying to get Social Security through Congress in 2022? People in poverty, people living barren lives, elderly hungry Republicans, and nearly everybody who would directly benefit from a monthly paycheck, would protest its passage. Why? Their brains have been fried by FOX News—you can almost smell it when you get close to them. Whatever FOX says is best, is best. There’s no room for critical thinking in their scrambled brains. They would be on the streets with flags and guns, threatening a revolution if the “commies” are allowed to pay benefits made from peoples’ working-life paycheck deductions. Now we know where their unfounded prejudices come from—opinions with no bases, except other unfounded opinions, ad infinitum. Justifications and excuses are layered on myths and because they are uttered by people wearing neckties/bowties who “know what’s really going on” they are adopted. In their conspiracy-laden wasteland, believers echo the echoes, and the echoes echo each other and transform into accepted truths and foundations for action. They become ubiquitous and are confirmed on Fox News—the enemy of America operating in plain view—while, ironically, hiding behind the US Constitution’s Second Amendment: the very document they’d like to see go up in flames, along with books like Thomas Paine’s Common Sense or Rights of Man.

That’s right. Letting FOX News sling their shit, is like having a Nazi News program airing its bullshit on the radio in the 30s. It’s like having Lord Haw-Haw telling us the “Truth.” But anyway, I’m an old man. Over the hill I’ve gone. Like most old people, I am a certified pessimist. When my great-grandson starts goose-stepping around the living room, I’ll probably start up my truck in the garage, with the garage door closed.


Anesis (an’-e-sis): Adding a concluding sentence that diminishes the effect of what has been said previously. The opposite of epitasis.

I work in the Cosmic Mirror Factory in Rabbit Drop, Pennsylvania. I think it reflects well on me, except for the horror I’ve experienced in front of the glass. You see, I’m a fog blower—I get one inch away from a newly made mirror and breathe on it, making a small circle of fog indicating the mirror’s viability. If it fogs, I draw a little smiley face in the fog. If it fails to fog, I smash it with a hammer and send the remnants back for recycling. I had to give up smoking to keep the job. My hacking cough kept me from blowing a stream of breath sufficient to fog the mirror. I was 6 months smoke free when it happened.

I was fog blowing a very large mirror that had been made for the lobby of a hotel in Doha. I couldn’t get it to fog and worried about smashing it, given what it had cost to make. I blew one more breath, hoping for it to fog, and it did! But the whole mirror fogged and the fog opened into portal. I stuck my hand into the portal and something grabbed me and pulled me in. When I got to the other side I looked in every direction, and it was a mirror everywhere I looked. But my reflection was not in any of the mirrors. I was invisible. “This is such a cliche,” I said aloud, voice trembling, “What am I, Alice in Wonderland?” The mirrored world briefly turned to clear glass and then it disappeared altogether leaving me in a log cabin on a ridge overlooking a beautiful valley with a wide river flowing through it. I was thirsty, so I hiked down to the river. I cupped my hands and dipped them in the river. Suddenly I was pulled into the river. I became a leaf. I was floating downriver. There was a centipede riding on me. He said his name was Sean and that he worked in a mirror factory in Edinburgh, Scotland and had been pulled through a mirror there 2 weeks ago, incarnating as a centipede when he got here. I was shocked. It was bad enough being some random leaf, but having a talking centipede riding me downriver was more than I could handle. At my first opportunity I would drown myself. Just then, we went over a waterfall at least fifty feet high. Sean fell off the leaf and the wind caught me and blew me ashore.

I awoke, soaking wet on the factory floor. I was holding a small wet maple leaf between my fingers. There was a wet guy standing over me wearing only a tattered kilt. “I’m Sean,” he said, “you saved my life. I hung onto you and let go when we drifted over the riverbank. Now, I’m going to rest under a rock for a few hours, and then, figure out how to get back to Scotland.” I sat there waiting for the next horror saga to hit. But it didn’t—it never did. I had the little maple leaf mounted in a glass shadow box and I keep it in plain view on my mantle. Given the hell I went trough and it’s role in saving me, it should’ve taught me a lesson, but I don’t know what the lesson is supposed to be. I still work for the Cosmic Mirror Factory as a fog blower, but I have vowed never to touch another mirror ever again. Sean has become an entomologist, specializing in the mating habits of centipedes.

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

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Antanaclasis (an’-ta-na-cla’-sis): The repetition of a word or phrase whose meaning changes in the second instance.

It was my room, but it had no room. That’s all I had. It was all I could afford living in New York City. It was like my dorm room in college, only smaller. My bed was the size of a closet door. I had a cube-shaped refrigerator that looked like a black hassock with a door. All my “cooking” was done on a hot plate or in a microwave smaller than my refrigerator. I had one electrical outlet. That’s where I plugged in my appliances. The refrigerator stayed plugged in always. My kettle and microwave changed places when I needed to use one or the other, or to charge my phone at night. I had one chair. It was red and was smeared with different-colored stains from years of use without cleaning. It was a recliner, so I could have a guest visit and stay over night. I had a tray table that I used to eat my meals from, watching movies and scrolling through Instagram on my phone. There was a toilet, a sink and a shower lined up against one wall. The shower was a six-foot high rectangular metal box with a curtain. I had one window overlooking the air shaft and walked up eight floors to get to my little chunk of New York living!

In the past four months I had been gently mugged nine times on my building’s stoop in broad daylight by the same person. I’ve given his description to the police so many times I have dreams about dancing with him at the techno music club around the the corner. My bicycle was stolen when I forgot to bring it up to my apartment, where I kept it hanging from the ceiling. The windows have been broken out of my car twice. Some crazy women keeps jumping out of the alley by my building and yelling at me for not making the child support payments. If she keeps it up, I’ll probably make the payments just to get her off my back. The night before last I saw a homeless man pee on the subway floor, followed by a super-fart that woke a guy up who was sleeping in his seat. He must’ve been a Veteran because he yelled “incoming” and put his head between his knees while the homeless man held out a styrofoam cup and started singing the song about piña coladas.

That did it. I had to get the hell out of NYC before something really bad happened to me—like turning into a paranoid loser, a vigilante, or a cab driver. But then there was Shiela from work. She would sit on my desk and let me look up her dress. I asked her out at least twenty times and she always said “No way!” This morning she was late for work and was not dressed nicely at all. Then, I had the biggest shock of my NYC life: Sheila was the “crazy” women who jumped out of the alley demanding child support payments from me!

That night, l packed my meager belongings. I had heard a song about going to Kansas City on the XM 60s station. It sounded like a pretty cool place. The lyric, “They got some crazy little women there” was a little troublesome. I just had to hope they weren’t as crazy as Shiela. I was going to Kansas City; Kansas City here I come.

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


Antanagoge (an’-ta-na’-go-gee): Putting a positive spin on something that is nevertheless acknowledged to be negative or difficult.

The oceans are rising. I used have to walk 100 yards to the beach from my summer home. Now, I only walk fifty yards to get to the nature-heated 85 degree ocean. These are the fruits of climate change—nothing bad about a hot ocean and a nearer shore! No more freezing chills up and down your spine when you try to swim. No more trudging to the beach and arriving tired from the trek. Then, there’s the diminishing bug population. What can be bad about that? I haven’t had to scrape a messy Monarch Butterfly off my car’s windshield in years! I remember what a pain in the butt it was—all that yellow goo and shattered orange and black wings. Thank God they’re going the way of the do-do. Then there’s birds. Those damn Passenger pigeons would fly over in the thousands, pooping mercilessly on everything below them. Luckily people loved how they tasted and market hunters with their sky canons blasted them into extinction. The last passenger pigeon was roasted and served with new potatoes, coleslaw, beets, boiled milkweed pods, and a bottle of “Dr. Grunt” a popular carbonated beverage made of sugar and water with a hint of ergot fungus. Finally: no more crap on the roof. But also, no more tasty bird on the table. But you know, nobody wants a crap coated roof. If you have to choose, you go for the roof. When the extinction was reported on the news, all the smart people gave a big “huzza” and started scraping the pigeon crap off their houses.

Instead of making climate change into a problem that needs be be solved, we should look at the positive things it has brought our way. Ten years ago, I was chased by a polar bear when I was minding my own business at the North Pole. These kinds of animals are a menace to humanity—they will eat you for God’s sake! Since I was chased, the Polar Ice Cap has melted a lot, leaving the damn polar bears to float around on breakaway icebergs until they drown. To say this is a bad thing is like saying winning the lotto is a bad thing!

Basically, I say you can shove your white rhino and run over a Darwin’s Fox tonight with your SUV! People are at the top of the food chain. Why treat some damn woodpecker or centipede like it was up there at the top like us? Next thing you know, we’ll be marrying Bambi’s mother or competing for jobs with raccoons! I say, look at the bright side. Just think if the only mammals running around out there were deer, cows, horses, sheep, and pigs. Just think if the only insects were honeybees. Just think if the only birds were chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Just think if the only plants were tomatoes, wheat, rice, corn, clover, and potatoes. Just think. A simple uncomplicated world with honey, duck meat, and cornbread is coming our way, courtesy of climate change. Take a deep breath and if you choke, be grateful. It’s the sound of better things coming. It’s the sound of change.

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

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Antenantiosis (an’-ten-an’-ti-os’-is): See litotes. (Deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite. The Ad Herennium author suggests litotes as a means of expressing modesty [downplaying one’s accomplishments] in order to gain the audience’s favor [establishing ethos]).

I can’t believe you’re giving me the Lock and Lord Award for the service I’ve done on behalf of Holy Christ Firearms (HCF). When I first came to work at HCF I was a small self-contained man riven with fear and living in nearly constant anxiety about pooping in my pants on the shop floor. But when it happened, nobody seemed to mind. I was elated that nobody cared, and for the first time in my life, it was ok to poop my pants at work. My adult diaper held the mess from running down my leg, and it’s charcoal filter contained the stink. My colleagues’ selfless acceptance of my health issues made me open my heart, and want to rain down blessings of my own on HCF. My first blessing project, as you all know, was to make an attachment for our Galilee Six Shooter. The attachment makes the revolver into a hammer, a meat tenderizer, a gavel, or a laser pointer—four transformations that versatilitizes the handgun— temporarily turning a “sword” into a “plowshare.” We call the attachment the “Swiss Army Regimenter.” We’ve always heard good things about the Swiss Army, the knives they make, and the Wild uniforms they wear guarding the Vatican. We sent a “Regimenter” to the Pope and he blessed it and put it up for sale at the Vatican’s annual yard sale. Our “Regimenter” landed on a table with a piece of Joan of Arc’s dress, from before she started wearing armor. Next to Joan’s dress was a fragment of a communion wafer that Charlemagne choked on. Finally, there was a glass eye that had belonged to Bishop Fulton Sheen, the first televangelist. We all know he made Billy Graham look like a lost sheep wandering along the Protestant slow lane on the road to heaven. How baaad can it get? Ha ha!

My second blessing project was the “Sinners Around the Corner” rifle. It has a specially bent barrel that shoots around corners. If you’re in a shootout with a sinner, it keeps you out of harm’s way. Since you can’t see what you’re shouting at, there may be the occasional accident, but that is far outweighed by the bent barrel’s around-the-corner safety capability.

Oh darn. I pooped. I have to cut my speech short and go clean up in the men’s room. Let me conclude by saying how undeserving I am of this prestigious award. I am so grateful for your decision and the love that everyone has shown me, especially Ms. Binklo who has literally stood by me despite the gurgling and farting when I’ve had to let one go. Thank you Mindy. Thank you fellow workers. But especially, thank you Holy Christ Firearms—your aim is true.

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

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Anthimeria (an-thi-mer’-i-a): Substitution of one part of speech for another (such as a noun used as a verb).

He was a human “Ho-Ho.” I can’t explain it, but every time I saw Milt I started to laugh. Maybe my laughter came from basic meanness or some kind of incongruity between Milt and the way we’re supposed to look, and the way he looked. Milt must’ve dressed in the dark every morning. One day he showed up at work wearing one black polartec slipper and one patent leather dress shoe, red sweat pants, plaid flannel shirt, a blue necktie with a picture of a smiling Jesus on it, and a hat advertising baked beans. Standing there with his Tiger Wood coffee mug, he gave me a big smile and said “Hi Jim.” I tried to return the greeting, but I started uncontrollably sucking in air and my nose started snoffelling and my throat contracted, then, bam, out came a chuckle that turned into a guffaw, that turned into a roaring belly laugh. After it all subsided, I apologized to Milt and started to walk away. “Wait a minute,” he said. He told me he suffered from sartorial dyslexia (SD): an inability to dress right due to a genetically-based chemical imbalance in the part of the brain that processes wardrobe choices. He told me he inherited it, and that family gatherings were like fashion shows without fashion—everything from bathing suits with sports coats, to total nudity with one black Blundstone, and an Apple Watch. I was totally taken by surprise that Milt had a disease that prompted his bizarre clothing choices. I asked him if there was some kind of foundation I could donate to that helps people suffering from SD. He told me the most help I could give was to “Walk in my shoe for a day.”

So, the next morning I dressed in the dark—putting on whatever came to hand, whenever it came to hand. I ended up leaving the house with a Beatle boot on one foot and a penny loafer on the other, blue compression pants, a hunter orange polartec vest, and a navy-blue necktie with ducks on it (neckties were required at work). When I stepped out my door I instantly noticed that people were staring at me, some were laughing and pointing, same were yelling mean taunts—“Where’d you get dressed? In a blender?” That was the rudest. I didn’t even get to the subway before turning around and running with a shoe-induced limp back to my apartment. When I got there, I tore off my clothes and took a shower. I felt so bad for Milt.

I moved in with him and became his “dresser.” I would properly dress him every morning before we went to work. I even went to one of his family gatherings. It was a combination of a mescaline-induced Mardi Gras and a Hieronymus Bosch painting. I loved it! Anyway, we fell in love and got married. Every once-in-awhile, I get dressed in the dark and we drink beer, and we dance around the apartment and laugh.

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

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Anthypophora (an’-thi-po’-phor-a): A figure of reasoning in which one asks and then immediately answers one’s own questions (or raises and then settles imaginary objections). Reasoning aloud. Anthypophora sometimes takes the form of asking the audience or one’s adversary what can be said on a matter, and thus can involve both anacoenosis and apostrophe.

A: Am I the greatest? No. I’m just a little bit above average with a slight hint of genius.

B: What a crockarola! You’re a poster boy for less than average, if that. Is needing help paying the bills “above average with a hint of genius?” No. Is peeing on the toilet seat? No. Is losing the car keys? No. Is forgetting to pick our daughter up at daycare? No. Is spraying the garden with weed killer? No. I could sit here and cite examples of your loserhood all day long. What makes you think you’re “a little above average with a slight hint of genius?” As far as I can see you’re what people call “differently abled” when they’re trying to be kind.

A: Differently abled? No! No way. I guess you’ve forgotten about my giant rubber band ball? It’s bigger than a basketball and I’ve been meticulously adding to it for the past three years. I finished it last week and it looks great on the coffee table in the living room. Admit it.

B: Nope. It looks ridiculous.

A: What about the time I tried out being a nudist and went to the grocery store with no clothes on? I was front page news and was only fined $200.00. People still yell “Nudy Nudy” when they see me downtown. That’s fame. Is there a hint of genius there? Yes! What about the toilet paper holder I made out of a broom? You can’t deny it. Oh—what about when I got lost on our way to Maine and we discovered a whole new country called Canada? Or. . .

B: Ok, you win. You’re everything you say you are. Take your meds and shut up and I’ll turn on Fox News.

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

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Antimetabole (an’-ti-me-ta’-bo-lee): Repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order.

I like my swimming pool, but my swimming pool does not like me. It fills with leaves, green slime and drowned mice. I bought a robot pool cleaner for $1,300, but all it does is bubble and ride around the bottom of the pool for hours before it automatically shuts off and I have to haul it in like a lobster trap. So, what do I like about my swimming pool?

My daughter’s 20-something friends! When they come over, they all wear scanty swimsuits and lay around in loose postures when they’re done swimming, and I take pictures with my iPhone. Sometimes they play volleyball on the court alongside the pool. I watch from my living room with binoculars, or I take videos from behind the pool house. You might think I might be a pervert, but I don’t think I am. If I was a real pervert, I would look at the pictures and videos all the time, in solitude, spinning fantasies. Instead, I hardly ever look at them, and I have friended all of my daughters friends on Facebook!

I have two Facebook pages—one the real me, the other, the fake me. I like the fake me better than the real me; fake me has 1,023 followers. Fake me is a 27 year-old test pilot for the US Air Force. Real me is a fifty-eight year-old computer programmer. I wear glasses, am overweight, and have a high-pitched voice. Fake me is 6’2’ with a broad-shouldered muscular physique. My fake me name is Captain Flash Bateson. I photoshopped my head (without glasses) over ‘Flash’s,’ using “youthification” software to make me look in my late 20s. When I log on I’m a kid again, doing something meaningful with my life, even if my life isn’t doing something meaningful with me. Then it happened.

My second wife (of three) Carmen found Captain Flash Bateson. She said he reminded her of a young version of her first husband, Marty Oswald. That was me! I couldn’t block her or she would know that something was up, so I decided to play along. Everything on the page was fake, except my cellphone number. The second I realized this, my phone rang. Trying to talk in a low gravelly voice, I answered. It was her. I told her I had retired from the Air Force and that I was terminally ill—my voice started to squeak as I told her I was bedridden and would probably die next week. She said: “My God. Marty, is that you?” I said “What? Who’s Marty? This is Captain Flash Bateson laying in bed waiting to die.” She hung up.

I liked fake me so much more than real me. Facebook had liberated me—freed me every night from dumb-ass Marty the computer programmer. I changed my cellphone number and booted up my Captain Flash page. With 1,023 followers, there there was surely somebody there to talk to, heaping praise on me for my service to our country, my bravery, and my good looks. It may be fake, but it beats being Marty. I got my first message in seconds. It was from “Fleshy MaMa”—a new admirer. I looked at her profile picture: Holy crap! It was Carmen when she was 25, before she turned into a fatty and started dying her hair bright red. “How’s it hangin’ Big Boy,” she asked. “A little to the left Golden Buns,” I answered, getting ready to fly into the wild blue yonder.

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

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Antimetathesis (an-ti-me-ta’-the-sis): Inversion of the members of an antithesis.

Big and little. Little and big. Big is often good. Big is often bad. Little isn’t often good, but it is often bad. I am big—6’ 5” and 340 lbs. I was football, all the way, all my life. My father put a helmet on my head when I turned 4 and my future was set. Football, football, football. I made it all the way to the pros, playing for the Hoboken Boxcars until finally my brain started rebelling. I became irritable, and eventually, enraged at everything. Road rage was my specialty. I would tailgate every car that got in front of me, even tapping rear bumpers with my car’s front bumper and beating up anybody who dared to pull over and confront me. One day I was driving behind some guy goin 50 in 55 speed zone, bumping his bumper with my bumper. He pulled over and so did I. I jumped out of my car and punched him in the face through his rolled up window. Glass flew everywhere. He was cut and bleeding. When I realized it was my dad, who I hadn’t seen in 20 years, I started crying and ran onto the freeway. I was clipped by a FEDEX truck and suffered multiple abrasions, a broken arm and a ruptured spleen. My Dad visited me in the hospital. He had cuts all over his face—one closed by stitches. He apologized for pushing me into football and contributing to my brain damage. We hugged and I haven’t seen him since.

I work as a bouncer now, and it fits my interests and capabilities. “The Litter Box Lounge” caters to a wild crowd—rogue actuaries, used car salespeople, hospital orderlies, techie coke heads, replica watch aficionados, Dollar Store shoppers, etc. I love the job because I get to beat up a couple of people every night. Tonight, I beat up a guy who was trying to pick up a woman who didn’t want to be picked up right then. She had given him her number but the guy insisted that “now” was the time. As I was escorting him to the door, he took a swing at me and I reduced him to a pile of laundry on the floor. I dragged him out the door by his shirt collar and pushed him into the gutter with my foot. When he hit the pavement his head rolled to the side. I recognized him! It was Clipper Limebutty! He had saved me from drowning when we were kids in high school. I owed him my life and now I was kicking him into the gutter. He woke up, pulled a gun and shot me twice in the stomach. As I lay there bleeding on the pavement, I thanked Clipper for saving my life for the second time. He thought I was making fun of him and he shot me two more times. I had read somewhere that non-fatal bullet wounds could make you a better person. I wasn’t trying to be funny.

I smiled at the big starry sky as they loaded me into the ambulance. Clipper stood there in handcuffs, bleeding from the nose with his face beginning to swell.

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


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” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Georgia’s.


Antirrhesis (an-tir-rhee’-sis): Rejecting reprehensively the opinion or authority of someone.

Hey Ma, listen to this: our little schooly girl is trying t’ tell me the earth is round like a big tomato floatin’ in the sky with all us a livin’ on it, like ants on a gum ball. She says her teacher, Miss Toomy, said it’s true. Well, I’ll tell you right now that Miss Toomy should be fired. It’s like when she told our little girl our well water comes from rivers under the earth! God, is she ignorant! We all know the water is left over from the big rain storm when Noah sailed his boat around filled with animals—mainly chickens. When it stopped raining Noah went swimming and had a great time. Too bad he only had two ducks. And where did I get these true facts from? It was Grandma’s home schooling. She taught me more in two weeks than that ignoramus looser Miss Toomy could teach you in 200 years. Me an’ Grandma would sit on the couch and she would teach me a lesson. I did not know how to write, so I’d put the lesson in my vast storehouse memory. When Grandma tested me, I did not remember any of the answers. She would say, “It’s all right, Bob Dole never remembered nothin’ either, yet he opened a corn dog factory in Kansas and made a lot of money.” Grandma knew everything. Some days we’d take the tractor out and Grandma would teach me the road signs: red for stop, curved arrow for curve, cross for intersection, triangle for merge. My favorite was speed limits where I had to match the numbers on the sign with the numbers the arrow pointed to on the speed meter in front of me. Top speed for the tractor was 25, so there was lot’s of times I couldn’t make a match. Grandma would say “Put the pedal to the metal!” I didn’t get it. Grandma said that it was my poetry lesson.

Anyways, we need to get rid of Miss Toomy and her communist pervert propaganda that will surely ruin our daughter’s chance for success in our little corner on the world. As soon as she lets it leak that she thinks the earth is round, they’ll put her on a bus and send her north, where they believe that kind of blasphemic crap. I think we should go to the school board meetin’ on Tuesday. I’ll give a speech callin’ for Miss Toomy to quit or be fired.

At the meeting I was told to shut up and sit down. Miss Toomy is Mayor Toomy’s niece. I shoulda figured that out— you know—two Toomys. Now I’m lookin’ for a steady job. I think I have a crack at “rag man” at the car wash. I’m real good at wringin’ and operatin’ a squeegee.

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

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Antisagoge (an-tis-a-go’-gee): 1. Making a concession before making one’s point (=paromologia); 2. Using a hypothetical situation or a precept to illustrate antithetical alternative consequences, typically promises of reward and punishment.

Ok, ok. So I shouldn’t have tried to incinerate our neighbor’s dog. But, it dumps big steamers in our yard twice a day and has repeatedly dug up our garden boxes. Our neighbor, the dog’s owner, is a very large and very strong weight-lifting violent troll whose hobby is kick boxing with his nine-year-old son (who has a little trouble speaking and walks with a limp). In short, my neighbor scares the holy crap out of me. At least he didn’t catch me squirting lighter fluid on his dog “Dog,” a name suited for the pet of a giant nitwit bully. Right then, I heard him crunching up my gravel driveway. I had to hide behind the hedge until he left—but before he left, like the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk, he said “Fee fie foe dude, I smell the smell of lighter fluid.” I nearly peed my shorts, but I stayed quiet and didn’t do a panicked runner. He knew I was hiding somewhere nearby, but he left, dragging Dog behind hm.

Something still needs to be done about the dog.

I was willing to go to any length to whack the dog—to stop the yard bombs and the marathon barking sessions. What if I trapped him in a dog crate with a big piece of meat, kidnapped him, took him on a cruise on the Queen Mary 2 to England, and threw him overboard somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? Elaborate, but brilliant.

The plan failed. My neighbor accompanied Dog on his daily bombing mission and saw me, the dog crate, and the meat inside it. He reached behind him and pulled out a pistol. He aimed it at me and slowly panned toward the dog crate and started firing. He emptied the gun and the dog crate was transformed into a lump of smoking plastic. He started reloading, and I heard police sirens. My neighbor was arrested for attempted murder—for attempting to murder me! Ha ha! He had successfully murdered the dog crate, but I didn’t have a scratch. At his trial, I testified that I was inside the dog crate when he arrived and was able to just barely get out of it when he started shooting. I told them I was lucky to be alive. My neighbor was convicted of attempted murder and is currently living out his 25 year sentence at Rahway State Prison. I adopted Dog and trained him to shut up and poop in the gutter when we take walks. I don’t mind bagging Dog’s poop.

Everything has worked out for the best for me, but not for my neighbor, and Dog has become a model multiple breed dog, enjoying peeing on the fake fire hydrant at the doggy play park, humping other dogs, and begging for doggy treats.

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

A paper version The Daily Trope is available from Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.


Antistasis (an-ti’-sta-sis): The repetition of a word in a contrary sense. Often, simply synonymous with antanaclasis.

I have a collection of single socks that rivals the collection at the Victoria and Albert museum in London, England. The prize item in their collection is the single grey sock Oliver Cromwell was wearing when he was disinterred and “executed” by supporters of Charles II. His head was removed and stuck on a pike, with, some say, his death-sock stuffed in what was left of his mouth after months in the ground in a churchyard somewhere in London. Ravens plucked out his eyes while buskers plucked out happy tunes on their mandolins.

My single sock collection is worth at least a half-million dollars. Since I’m a licensed collector, I have a permit to rifle through peoples’ trash bins, as long as I don’t make a mess. I specialize in celebrity trash bins rummaging for (you guessed it) their discarded single socks. Last week, I scored a “Jeff Goldbloom” from a bin in front his flat in New York. It is one of those stretchy black socks made out of very thin polyester. It has a tiny hole in the toe and is monogrammed with his initials. It has a slightly perfumed odor, suggestive of moss and pine needles. This sock is probably worth at least $500. My prize sock was worn by Johnny Depp under his swashbucklers as Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” “Pirates” was the first time I hung out on a movie set, and it was worth it. Depp’s sock was made from baby-blue spun cotton, with a padded white toe. It smells faintly of salt water and steamed clams, and also has a slight fishy smell, most likely Pollock or Cod. Depp’s sock has been appraised by Sotheby’s at $110,000.

I will be opening a single-sock museum in Los Angles in two months. It will be called simply “Single Celebrity Socks.” I will be selling replica celebrity sock singles in the gift shop, along with postcards, and my book “Stalking the Celebrity Sock.” This week, I’m parked outside of the Christian Evangelist Joel Olsteen’s unbelievably lavish home in Houston, Texas. It is rumored that he has the Ten Commandments embroidered on his socks. Something’s bound to turn up if I wait long enough—I’m giving it a month—then I’m headed to Elon Musk’s.

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

Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available on Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.


Antisthecon (an-tis’-the-con): Substitution of one sound, syllable, or letter for another within a word. A kind of metaplasm: the general term for changes to word spelling.

I was going snackelling under the Caribbean Sea. You ask: What the hell is that? It is probably the most stupid immature thing I’ve ever done. I was 35 years old. Starting to get a few gray hairs, and softening up, as time took its toll on my muscles. I wore reading glasses and had quit smoking my cherished Cohibas. Yet, here I was wading into the beautiful clear turquoise-blue Caribbean, like I had around 15 years ago, on spring break with my buddies Edward and Phil and Joanne. We invented a game to play when we went snorkeling—we cut up carrots from the hotel’s salad bar into little pieces. We’d put the pieces into baggies and take them under water. Then, once we got into the middle of a school of fish, we’d put a piece of carrot between our lips and the fish would swim up to our faces and grab the carrots—we named this game “snackelling.” Now, I had returned to the Bahamas on a business trip, meeting with hoteliers to discuss their restaurant equipment needs—that’s what I did—I sold ovens, dishwashers, prep tables and everything else needed to properly equip a hotel kitchen. Feeling like I was drifting into middle age, I decided to do a reprise of snackelling. I picked up a carrot at the breakfast buffet, diced it up, and dumped the pieces into a baggie I got from the chef. I headed to the dock, and hired a guide with a little motorboat. When we got about 100 yards offshore, I put on fins and mask, bit down on the snorkel’s mouthpiece, jumped out of the boat, and headed down. I swam directly into a school of Surgeon Fish. I put a piece of carrot between my lips. Suddenly, the whole school of fish disappeared. I looked up and there was a Barracuda headed straight for my face. I froze in terror and the Barracuda bit my nose off. Bleeding profusely from my nose, I swam as fast as I could to the surface where my guide was waiting. I kept kicking the Barracuda away, and finally climbed into the boat. Sticking pieces of carrot into what was left of my nose, I was able to slow the bleeding. We headed for the emergency room where my nose was stitched together with some pieces missing that were temporarily replaced with pieces of foam rubber cut by the surgeon from a shower mat. Since then, I’ve had nose replacement surgery, opting for the “Klinger.” The Klinger is named for a character on M.A.S.H., a TV show that ran in the 70s and 80s. My Klinger is memorable and prompts people to ask about my ethnicity, something my original “Scottish” nose never did. Even with the new nose, I can’t forget what happened to me. Every time I hear somebody say, “The nose knows,” I think to myself, “My nose was eaten by a fish.”

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

Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available on Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.


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” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

There are paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope available on Amazon under the title of The Book of Tropes.


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” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available at Amazon under the title of The Book of Tropes.


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” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available on Kindle under the title The Book of Tropes.


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” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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