Tag Archives: trope


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Mattress jokes: upjoke.com/mattress-jokes.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

arby Dolls

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

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


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

A: Sorry, I’m going to be late again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Post your own auxesis on the “Comments” page!

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

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Bdelygmia (del-ig’-mi-a): Expressing hatred and abhorrence of a person, word, or deed.

A: Go ahead and Latinize another word, and I’ll push you down the stairs.

B: Ha ha! Latinize? When you utilize Latinize, you’re utilizing Latinization! You idiotize everything you do. I am reticent to foundationalize my fear of you—you couldn’t push a Slinky Toy down the stairs, let alone me!

A: What the Hell am I doing here? You make me stick. You want to sound learned, but you sound like a pompous fool who struggled through middle school.

B: Your marathonification of this conversation is going to hospitalize me with acute boredom. Back off you Bozotronic excusation for a fiancée. I should’ve listened to my friends. They told me your intolerance is deeper than the impenetrable ocean depths.

A: Ok. Good bye. I hope can utilize the engagement ring.

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

An edited version of The Daily Trope is available from Amazon in print and Kindle formats under the title The Book of Tropes.


Bomphiologia (bom-phi-o-lo’-gi-a): Exaggeration done in a self-aggrandizing manner, as a braggart.

All the awards I’ve won won’t fit in my house. I’ve rented a storage shed at Ed’s “Casa Too Much.” Also, I made it into MENSA on one try, astounding my fellow geniuses with my native brilliance. This summer, I’m driving on a cross country trip I’ve named the “Look How Smart I Am Tour.” I will be inspiring all the losers out there to try and be as smart as me. They never will be as smart as me, but trying is worth something. My trip is sponsored by Ritalin.

I think “inspiring” is the word that describes me best. People take one look at me and they’re washed in the golden glow of my perfection. They start striving right on the spot as though they’d been possessed by the “God of Get Up and Go.”

If you think I’m just blowing hot air, just remember, we’ve all got our burdens to bear. Mine is “Rubic’s Cube.“

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae”

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Brachylogia (brach-y-lo’-gi-a): The absence of conjunctions between single words. Compare asyndeton. The effect of brachylogia is a broken, hurried delivery.

Hope, trust, faith, beer pong, tattoos, perfume, cancer, living in a hot shopping cart under the viaduct on the outskirts of town. Visions on parade late in the afternoon every day but Tuesday. When it’s Tuesday, I always ask myself and the Viaduct Club, “Why no parade today?” I answer, “There’s never a parade.” There are never war veterans, scientists, fire fighters, bankers, tuna fish cans marching by with bagpipes, pianos, tambourines, Thule roof racks. Such a wonderful display of unfettered nuisance-making it was. I sob. I blow my nose. I am carried away from this dreary plane of existence as fire shoots out of my feet and I roar toward home. “Mission accomplished,” I said to myself. I don’t care if I ever go back there again. People made fun of my large hump, which on my my planet is considered a thing of beauty. However, my mission is accomplished. I fathered a child who will grow up to rule Earth. The child’s mother is named Marjorie Greene. She loved my hump.

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

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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.

He is garbage—stinking slimy garbage, giving “stench” a good name. Rotten to the core, oozing the slime of depredation and the pus of outrageous lies, he cowers in the shadows like a cockroach waiting for a chance to skitter away undetected. He is dog shit stuck on your shoe. He is a loud fart during a religious service.

He preys on bereaved widows, showing up graveside mourning men he never knew, reading their obituaries for information he can use to ingratiate himself to the widow as a long-lost friend. He’s looking for the life insurance pay-out of his “life long” friend that he “grew up with” and “lost touch with” after the Vietnam War. He befriends the widow. He earns her trust. They move in together. They open a joint bank account. He withdraws all the money, buys a plane ticket, and flys away.

With all the photos floating around, we should be able to identify and apprehend this piece of shit. But, we can’t. It’s maddening, but we’re working on a plan. We are going to bait him with a “widow” who is actually an FBI Special Agent. We will do this until he shows up graveside. It could take years. His code name is “Insurance Agent” and hers is “Dead Husband.” Wish us luck.

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

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


Catachresis (kat-a-kree’-sis): The use of a word in a context that differs from its proper application. This figure is generally considered a vice; however, Quintilian defends its use as a way by which one adapts existing terms to applications where a proper term does not exist.

I was reticent to utilize my tax returns to show my wealth. I had confirmed some of the numbers with prefabricated receipts so as to mollify the bottom line in agreement with the essay of my money’s worth. After all, my “Lester’s Live Worms” business had been rocking and wriggling ever since I pulled my first night crawler out of the ground in 1995 in Poorwig, New York and I became known as “The Worm King” throughout Central New York. And then, the Chinese started exporting worms at half my price. A worm-war ensued in America and worm-workers marched on Washington DC with their worm shockers and worm buckets demanding a tariff on Chinese worms. The tariff was passed by a narrow margarine. But now, I must convince the world I am not fabricating my net worm—ha ha—I mean net worth. If I can’t, I don’t have a chance of beating Trump in the primaries and running for President. Maybe I can “worm” my way out of all this and just be satisfied with being the worm king.

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

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


Catacosmesis (kat-a-kos-mees’-is): Ordering words from greatest to least in dignity, or in correct order of time.

I woke up. I laid there for awhile thinking about my first wife and all the bills I had to pay. I finally got up, peed, headed to the kitchen and made coffee—rich powerful coffee. It woke me up and made me poop. Coffee’s the most amazing beverage in the pantheon of drinkables. I’ve been drinking it since I was 17 when my Uncle Randolph showed me the way. I had been kicked out of school and my parents made me work with Uncle Randolph restoring my Grandma’s roof.

I poured my cereal into my Bozo the Clown bowl I’d had since I was six. This week I was eating Maple Puffs—they have a picture of a maple tree on the box and the inscription: “No trees were killed in making this delicious natural cereal.” I always wondered what was killed—truck drivers delivering Maple Puffs in Alaska? I dumped in the milk—“Nature’s Life.” It tasted good, so I kept buying it. It had a picture of a stampede of milk cows on the carton with fire blowing out of their nostrils, some with milking aparatus still hooked to their udders. So, I finished breakfast and headed for the shower, but first, I pooped. As usual it stunk, so I sprayed air freshener and turned on the exhaust fan.

My shower was my favorite part of the day—hot water blasting me in the face and butt like a cloudburst in Death Valley, where I’m guessing the rain is hot. Next, I turn off shower, dry off, put on deodorant, comb hair, brush teeth, shave, put on my new aftershave: Night Pecker. I didn’t care if it was intended for night: I was always ready for action anywhere, all the time, and that included work.

I got dressed. I was sharp. I was still cool with the clothes after forty years. I pulled on my black Haines underpants and socks and turtleneck-T. Today, I’m wearing my denim suit—baggy with giant bell bottoms two feet wide and high-heeled Frye cowboy boots—considered a valuable antique in some circles.

Time to go to work at Fred’s Zero Sum Games, where I’d been employed ever since I can remember. Instead of emphasizing winning, our games emphasize losing. So, I get in my car, a rusted and dented red Corvair. I turn the key to get the car started and get going to work. Nothing happens. It’s probably the squirrels again. I walk around to the back of the car and lift the hood. There’s a nest of mice under the hood. I get the lug wrench out of the trunk so I can beat the baby mice to death, but I change my mind. I go inside and get my cat Clarabell. I throw him under the hood and he turns and hisses at me. The mother mouse shows up and rubs noses with Clarabell. Together, mouse and cat carry the babies away from the car and into my tool shed. I look under the hood and see the spark plug wire that had become dislodged. I popped it back on the spark plug, got in the car, started it, and drove off to work. As I pulled in the parking lot, I wondered how many other alliances Clarabell had made. One day, when I was home from work sick, a bear came to the back door.

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

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


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

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

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

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

B: Scooter Boone.

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

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

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

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

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

B: Ok, I’ll give it a try.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

A: You smell like a sewer pipe.

B: I like sewers, don’t you?

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

B: Ha ha—a decent insult.

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

B: Come on, everybody likes kindergarten.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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