Tag Archives: example

Anacoluthon

Anacoluthon (an-a-co-lu’-thon): A grammatical interruption or lack of implied sequence within a sentence. That is, beginning a sentence in a way that implies a certain logical resolution, but concluding it differently than the grammar leads one to expect. Anacoluthon can be either a grammatical fault or a stylistic virtue, depending on its use. In either case, it is an interruption or a verbal lack of symmetry. Anacoluthon is characteristic of spoken language or interior thought, and thus suggests those domains when it occurs in writing.


The time is right, the day is long, my socks are too big. Where is my hope—the car won’t start—but the time is still right. Right for nothing, or maybe, reading the car’s owner’s manual which is in German, a language I don’t understand, like religion, or May Day, or lighting a fire, or roasting a chicken. Buck buck ba-dawk-it, not cock-a-doodle poodle! Don’t worry, I’m ok. Just trying to be funny and failing.

Anyway, as I was previously headed to Newark, my foot fell asleep.


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

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Anadiplosis

Anadiplosis (an’-a-di-plo’-sis): The repetition of the last word (or phrase) from the previous line, clause, or sentence at the beginning of the next. Often combined with climax.


Why are there people who refuse to wear masks in this time of pandemic? What motivates these maskless people? People form their opinions about these kinds of things from what they see, hear, and read and perhaps a life-long commitment to resisting or subverting dictates, failing to realize that disobedience implies obedience to whatever dictates their disobedience. One cannot evade obedience.

I am willing to guess that the anti-maskers live their lives in the “anti” lane avowing rationales for their untoward behavior that are couched in higher-order values that, in their views, carry more weight than the values operative in the “mandates” they are resisting. One would think that saving lives and curtailing the pandemic by wearing masks would be the paramount value operative in debates over government mask-wearing mandates, but that’s not the case. The arguments have come down to the government’s right to make and enforce the mask mandates—not the public health aims of the mandates as rationales for their acceptance.

Acceptance of mandates is irksome, but that shouldn’t empower people to reject them as such. The COVID 19 crisis isn’t fabricated—nearly 3 million people have died. I guess if they want to kill a few more people (possibly including themselves) in the name of liberty, go maskless, and while they’re at it, don’t get vaccinated and be remembered as narcissistic sociopaths, not as a champions of liberty.


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

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Anamnesis

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.


Takashi Miike, the Japanese film director, tells us he is “attracted to bad people because they are very human.”

As I continue my quest to understand why people are attracted to Donald Trump, maybe Miike has the answer, maybe not. There’s no doubt that Trump is bad, but I’m sort of at a loss as to see how this makes him “very human” and how being very human, in turn, makes him attractive.

Maybe it’s like “Rebel Without a Cause” or “Leader of the Pack” or Billy the Kid or “White Heat.” It’s the shifting sands of good and evil, and the room evil’s project opens for love’s avowal—love of a certain kind—for what may be bad—loving OxyContin, loving cigars, loving driving fast: there is an endless array of “loves” that are about the gut’s “guilty pleasures” and it’s waiving of the consideration of the full range of consequences in pursuing pleasures, or consuming what is pleasurable.

“Bad” Trump brings pleasures and their affections to life in people who’ve opted into an orgiastic ethic that builds a wall between the present and the future, dwelling on the “taste” of Trump as if he were an ice cream sandwich, a chocolate bar, or a cold beer on a hot summer day, not a moral man with a moral purpose. He is unwilling or unable to pursue the Christian call to affect “faith, hope, and charity.” His faith is a bizarre tangle of selfishness. His hopes are bad hopes: blocking immigrants, ignoring environmental concerns, chipping away at Transgender rights, etc. His charity is directed toward pardoning bad people and promoting other bad people, like Roger Stone or Kelly Conway.

Oh well. If you want to understand Trump’s attractiveness, think of him as an ice cream sandwich, a cannoli, a martini, a fast car, or a giant creme brûlée. He is a guilty pleasure partaken by people whose tongues trump their brains in the battle for their wills.


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

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Antanagoge

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


So you got 10 years in prison, Dad. All that free time! Wow! Just think of all the friends you’ll make, and the books you’ll have the time read. You’ll finally be able to finish the Tom Swift set that Grandpa gave you for Christmas back in the 60s. Oh! You get to live there for free too! I’m jealous Dad. Maybe I’ll try a little fraud!

And sorry, I’m no good at writing letters, so don’t expect to hear from me, and my unbelievably busy schedule won’t permit me me to visit—after all, I’m Don Junior, one of the smartest in-demand young winners in the world.


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

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Antenantiosis

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]).


We all know it wasn’t an insurrection. It was, as a matter of fact, just a raucous display of our patriotic fervor. What’s wrong with that? And please, my fellow militia members, I shouldn’t be praised for the minor role I played in making it happen. Buying bear spray in bulk just took a credit card and my pickup truck. The bullhorns were donated by the Russian embassy, and using flag poles as clubs was just a random thought in my motel room the night before. I’m sure glad I could share it with you: it was you who utilized it, cracking a few skulls trying to “Stop the Steal.”

I will fade back into the shadows now, a small part of a big deal, but not a big deal myself. May our one true Christian God bless us and keep us pissed off until we meet again.


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

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Antisagoge

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 might have overestimated the popularity of my cardboard bicycle, but its point is not about popularity, it’s about making a difference—changing peoples’ view of cardboard. It’s not just for cards any more, with my miracle quick-hardening cardboard construction syrup, we can build a brave new brown paper world—a corrugated utopia with shelter for all, and bicycles too. Just think: Pit mines, plastic pollutants entangling innocent fish, noisy metallic four-wheeled death-crates spewing petrol and carbon-based gasses into the air, castles made of steel and sand—castles costing millions, and millions, and millions, all replaced by clean, cozy, durable cardboard.

Imagine: Welcome to your cardboard mansion. Everything made of light-weight treated cardboard. You’ll even have a cardboard microwave and a cardboard TV, and a cardboard family too (if you want one).

Think about it. Talk about it. Make the change. Join Cardboard Nation. Our slogan: “It’s corrugated for your safety, your future, and your peace of mind.” Our first demonstration project is being erected at Disneyland’s “It’s a Small World.” You know, “fairy tales can come true it can happen to you, if you’re young at heart.” So, don your oxygen tube, and grab your walker! The future is wide open.

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

Antithesis

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


We tell falsehoods. We tell truths. True and false, like right and wrong, set the boundaries of our being—of who are, who we were and who we will become.

We sit here on this beautiful spring day—in the cool breeze, under the spell of clouds, the blue sky, and the scent of flowers as we grope like moles driven from their burrows by a hard unrelenting rain. We grope for stability—the stability truth affords. But we also grope for the openness of change and thrill of the unknowable where imagination, fiction, and falsehood have free play.

But somewhere between what’s true, what’s imagined, and what’s false is what we believe—what seems probable and seems plausible: the site of opinion: of faith, charity, chances, and wagers.

For example, the neat oppositions between true and false, right and wrong, and all the binaries we consume in our endless search for the end of our search to know and to conquer, places our trust in the sexes’ extremes. Man vs. Woman. At the site of “versus” between the extremes there is a startling array of variations in the markers traditionally used to map biological sex. There is no perfect manifestation of the categories of Man and Woman.

Nevertheless, the drive for categorization is endless. It provides us with vexing anomalies: man, woman, other. It has political implications, surgical implications, and legal implications. I guess we need think in degrees, where the different degrees are not hierarchically arrayed, and the extremes never achieve 100%.


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

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Apagoresis

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.


A: If you keep touching yourself like that, your hand will start to smell like Satan’s butt, you will become a stutterer, and your privates will turn green and melt off. After that, you will die.

It’s not too late!

To begin your renewal, you can wear these touch-proof underpants. They are made of Kevlar and can stop a bullet. For purposes of bathing, and peeing and pooping, one of our church brethren will handcuff you, aim your penis for you, and hose you off. If he sees you somehow touching yourself, he is authorized to give you a shot of “electro-ball therapy.” It is what it sounds like, only it’s worse.

Well, what do you say?

B: If you are for real, I’m calling the police. You and your “congregation” are a bunch of sadistic weirdos.

A: Smell your hand.


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.

Aphorismus

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


Love? What? You “love” ice cream? Ice cream is a sweetened liquid that you eat with a spoon. Save your love for your family and friends. The affection you have for ice cream is misplaced: love is a two-way street, a mutual affection. I don’t think you can love a thing, no matter how yummy it is.

Use that word carefully. Alongside hate, love may be the most important, and misused, word in the English language. It isn’t healthy to call your desire for, and enjoyment of material objects and processes, love.


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

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

Aschematiston

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


1. This is a mess. You spilled your milk and dumped your Spaghettios on the floor. I’m going to pretend I never saw this, but you should consider heading back to Kentucky and working as a school crossing guard or something like that. What do you think, Mitch?

2. The sky is a sponge squeezing it’s juice on the peanut butter earth: like a forked wing flying around in circles spitting invisible lice into the air, it rains down a blood-sucking shower of Truth.


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

Auxesis

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

(1) We are born. We crawl. We walk. We run. We never get there. Life is like a dull knife—more likely to fatally cut you than a well-sharpened piece of steel, as you push its chipped edge forward and try to carve out your desired future, it slips out of time and guts you.

(2) My credit card is like a license plate affixed to a red limo going 125 MPH toward the gates of Heaven. It vibrates with luxury, fine dining, and gold. It is my partner, my joy, my dream come true, until the end of the month when I cut it up and steal a new one.

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

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

Cacozelia

Cacozelia (ka-ko-zeel’-i-a): 1. A stylistic affectation of diction, such as throwing in foreign words to appear learned. 2. Bad taste in words or selection of metaphor, either to make the facts appear worse or to disgust the auditors.

I felt the parameters of my television crumble when my streaming box went slo-mo into a pantheon of stretched words and images. It was like floating on a sea of hardening cement with a stingray protruding from my crusted trousers. My soul filibustered my body’s ganglia. My eyes started watering and I snapped back only to find my goldfish Karma 27 crushed on the floor, eyeballs protruding like black and grey glass balls

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

The Daily Trope is available on Amazon in paper and Kindle formats under the title Book of Tropes.

Effictio

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

Note: This figure was used in forensic rhetoric (legal argumentation) for purposes of clearly identifying an alleged criminal. It has often been adapted to poetical uses.

His dyed blond hair is frozen by hairspray into a combination of a rolling wave and a Dairy Queen. His face and tiny hands are covered with bronzing cream making them look like a too-thick cadaver paint job performed by an angry mortician. His eyes are dull blue like spun aluminum moon hubcaps from the sixties. His mouth looks like a banana, peeled, cut sideways, and dyed with Red Dye 40. His teeth look like stunted piano keys superglued to his gums. His neck has a turkey wattle that swings in the wind. In calm weather it looks like labia. His loosely fitting white golf shirt can’t hide his robust boobs with little man-sized nipples pointing the way to the next faux pas. His watermelon belly is suggestive of an early pregnancy. He has an ass the size of North Carolina. It sticks out at right angles to his back. It actually provides a shelf that nobody dares to set anything on except envelopes filled with cash. His penis has been characterized as a “little mushroom” however there is some controversy over whether it looks more like a little toadstool. Having never seen it myself, I can’t say one way or the other, but I think “mushroom” is probably more accurate, given the source. In any event, “little” is the operative term. Legs and feet are what you would expect: legs like flabby gyros ready for the rotating spit; feet a bone spur museum curated by a crooked doctor from New York: try to find the bone spurs.

All-in-all this man’s appearance is a parody of Charles Atlas, the famous 1960s body builder whose image plagues old men with his tanned bodily perfection; old men who never made the mark.

Who is this man who still longs for the Charles Atlas look–who unsuccessfully uses hair and skin dye to approximate his boyhood hope? Who is unable to do anything below his neck to camouflage his failure? He is the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

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

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu) Buy a print version of The Daily Trope! The print version is titled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. There is also a Kindle edition available for $5.99.

Enallage

Enallage (e-nal’-la-ge): The substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions.

We try harder than we’d like to admit. Overdone? Over-stressed? Broken like a little toy plastic car crushed by a careless foot on the way to the kitchen. The kitchen: oriented toward satisfying the stomach. Peanut butter. Olives. Canned tuna. Beer. Potato chips. Endless condiments. Cheese. Fake sour cream. Pasta, pasta, pasta. Rice. All there in the Kitchen. A community of food drunk, chewed and swallowed: disappearing in the darkness of the oral cavity, slurped, and torn and ground, by practical teeth that can bite and chew.

What do I care. What. Do I care? I have a knife that slices and dices. I have sliced but I’ve never diced. Why do I crawl to you? Why do I talk to you? Why do I sacrifice myself to you? We mark time by the shit you put me through. Your belly is soft, my thoughts are cruel. It’s the knife that talks to me–that moves my hand.

It’s the hydroxychloroquine. They warned me it could make me psychotic. I didn’t listen. I wanted an easy way around the pandemic. It’s all your fucking fault with your hand washing and your mask. See this? It will cure you of everything once and for all. Shut up: you look like a hula girl, like an egg, like a beautiful flower. You are so red, like a strawberry, like ketchup, like a piece of yarn woven into the cross on a Crusader’s tunic.

I am lost. I am tired. Don’t follow me to bed.

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

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Acrostic

Acrostic: When the first letters of successive lines are arranged either in alphabetical order (= abecedarian) or in such a way as to spell a word.

Truth

Troublesome.

Ruthless.

Unbendable.

Trusted since the beginning of civilization.

Helps combat injustice.

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

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Anastrophe

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.

My days are numbered–like a clock ticking out my hopes. But–just because I have a time finite here on the planet, it does not mean that tomorrow is not another day!

I think I may be good for another 30 or 40 years. Given my age already, that’s a lot of years, but what the hell, I like to hope BIG. It’s a great way of stifling worry and stifled worry is worth more than I can say, especially when the stifling is effortless! Another day tomorrow is. I’m betting on being there.

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

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Congeries 

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

Crying, sweating, stumbling, falling, passing out. Today, I tried walking home from work. If a passerby hadn’t known CPR and performed it on me I’d be resting in the morgue right now!

I’m going to check my health insurance policy and my ‘final expense’ policy tonight. If they’re in good order, I’ll try walking to work in the morning.

I think I’ll buy some sweatpants and t-shirts on Amazon and carry my suit and tie in a shopping bag. I think my loafers will work for footwear, but I may have to buy some walking shoes too.

If I die tomorrow, you can have my glass kangaroo collection and giant ice cream bowl–my two most prized possessions: valuable, delicate, different and beautiful. I’ve spent a lot of good quality time arranging and rearranging my kangaroos while eating Chocolate-Covered Cupcake ice cream from my bowl–which, as you know, is made from silver and is encrusted with moonstones.

Wish me luck and pass the kale and beans! Big day tomorrow!

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

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Diazeugma

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

My car leaked oil, smoked out the tailpipe, caught on fire, and was totally destroyed. The fire happened at the MacDonald’s drive-through. My Big Mac, Diet Coke and large fries were destroyed, but the guy in the window was kind enough not to charge me for them (at least I think this is what happened–the last I saw of him he was standing in the parking lot, uniform singed, with a blanket wrapped around him).  

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

A paper edition of The Daily Trope, entitled The Book of Tropes, is available for purchase on Amazon for $9.99 USD. It contains over 200 schemes and tropes with their definitions and examples of each. All of the schemes and tropes are indexed, so it’s easy to find the one you’re looking for. Not only that, the examples of schemes and tropes may prompt you to try to create your own examples and use them as a writing exercise and as springboards for creating longer narratives.

Heterogenium

Heterogenium (he’-ter-o-gen-i-um): Avoiding an issue by changing the subject to something different. Sometimes considered a vice.

News Reporter: Some people believe that having Steve Bannon on your staff is a sign of your tacit support for his his “alt-right” politics which have been characterized as a sort of white-supremacist nationalism. Given that, and recent events in Virginia, are you considering terminating him?

Donald: I have a “right” (he ha) to appoint–where would I be if every appointment in my administration had to be vetted and approved? I’d be alone up here and the government would come to a standstill!

Now, somebody ask me a question really worth answering.

 

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

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Hysteron Proteron

Hysteron Proteron (his’-ter-on pro’-ter-on): Disorder of time. (What should be first, isn’t.)

I woke up before I had gone to sleep.  You may think “Waking up” before sleeping is a metaphor–it isn’t. Ever since I started reading “Gone with the Explanation: Your Life is an Ass-Backward Mess” my life has gone awry–I am full before I eat, I wear my pajamas to work, I walk backwards to the park where I hold onto my dog’s ball–I can only catch it & that only happens once because I only have one chance to throw it to little velcro. Poor little Velcro.

Tonight, I begin my dinner with desert and end by putting my napkin in my lap and taking a sip of water.

I never knew a cheap paperback could have such an affect on a person’s life. I should’ve left it in the bin where I found it. I’m reading it back to front. I don’t understanding any of it, but soon I will be free from its diabolical grasp–5 pages to go! Pray for me!

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

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Maxim

Maxim (max’-im): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adageapothegmgnomeparoemiaproverb, and sententia.

He who laughs last didn’t get the joke.  Get it? 

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

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Mesodiplosis

Mesodiplosis (mes-o-dip-lo’-sis): Repetition of the same word or words in the middle of successive sentences.

There’s no time like the future! There’s no time like the past! There’s no time like the right time & the right time is now! Let’s go visit the Russians! I think we can learn a lot from them about things like stealing, money laundering and bribery! Also, after dealing with the Russians, you know Dad can tell us a thing or two about money laundering too. In fact, he may be better at it than they are! Come on Donny, let’s catch a cab over to the consulate!

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

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Mesozeugma

Mesozeugma (me’-so-zyoog’-ma): A zeugma in which one places a common verb for many subjects in the middle of a construction.

It was time to go across the street, through the yard, onto the path.

He was in a hurry, but it did not matter.  As usual ‘time was a thief’ and it stole his timely arrival.

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

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Orcos

Orcos (or’-kos): Swearing that a statement is true.

Senator Lunar: How many Russians can dance on the Head of the FBI?

Government Witless: Probably 5 or 6. But, respectfully, I believe it is the head of a pin, not an actual head & that it is somehow a metaphysical meditation on the corporeality of Russians’ souls (if they have any in the first place).

Senator Veritas: You lie I cry!

Government Witless: I swear I am telling the truth so far as Senator Lunar’s more or less insane question begs me to.  By the way: Your mother is alive and well in Miami.

Senator Lunar: 5 or 6 Russians dancing on Comey’s head, eh? There is no bruising. I think you’re lying Witless.

Government Witless: Respectfully Senator Lunar, my answer is true insofar as it is consistent with a historical tradition of speculation on bodies and souls, not to mention angels and whether they’re pure spirit. Russians are a new twist on the commentary.

But I want to ask you: Why are you asking me this more or less (on the face of it) irrelevant, if not crazy, question?

Senator Lunar: My Life Coach Billy Ed Joseph Ronald Richards gave me the idea. He was giving an ‘inspiration’ on how to advance political agendas and one way is ‘dancing’ on the heads of opponents. So, if 5 or 6 Russians danced on Comey’s head, it could very well be the case that he was ‘brought around’ and colluded with the Russians.

Government Witless: Wow! That’s more bizarre than 12th century philosophy and theology combined!

Senator Lunar: I swear it’s true. I may have been there. That’s not ketchup on my loafers. Whoops!

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

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Palilogia

Palilogia: Repetition of the same word, with none between, for vehemence. Synonym for epizeuxis.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

Let’s get this surgery over with! My favorite soap opera starts in 5 minutes!

Just stitch him up! He’ll never know!

Hurry, damn it!

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

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