Comments by qms

  • The old man was shriveled and wizened,

    The lassie however was lithesome.

    I’ve heard it reported

    The ways she contorted

    Brought on a discreet microseism.

    July 17, 2018

  • Thanks, zuzu. Can we make this a regular date?

    July 16, 2018

  • In appearance it’s comically kookie -

    Both mutt and raccoon - a tanuki!

    A gigantic scrotum

    Is his magic totem.

    That’s fable but still pretty spooky.

    July 16, 2018

  • I’d rather be elsewhere than stay

    In caverns where nightmares can prey.

    It’s foolish, not brave

    To enter a cave

    Unless you’ve been shown a manway.

    July 15, 2018

  • The tasks to support agriculture

    Include an unglamorous dull chore,

    As most men will find

    That milling’s a grind,

    Relieved by receipt of the multure.

    July 14, 2018

  • Isadora, oldtimers allege,

    Would dance in a cloud of Arpège,

    Adorned all the while

    With only a smile

    And diaphanous wisps of barege.

    July 13, 2018

  • Your status you may well enhance

    By carefully casual dalliance.

    The rich and the great

    Are stylishly late,

    And greater the longer the tarriance.

    July 12, 2018

  • The Word of the Day definitions for “pugging” omit one that I find intriguing. Both GNU and the CDC suggest “thieving” as a synonym. Although its normal use is as an adjective it works just fine as a noun.

    Whenever not smugly flag hugging

    He’s giving the gov’mint a mugging.

    He’s snug with rich thugs

    Who buzz thick like bugs

    Engorged with the glut of their pugging.

    July 11, 2018

  • The job of enclosing and snugging

    Needs patience for doing the pugging,

    A good eye and feel

    To make clay congeal

    And strength for the tedious lugging.

    July 11, 2018

  • If you should be born a narwhal

    And find it won’t suit you at all,

    Apply to a shaman

    To make you a cayman

    Or other exotic nahual.

    July 10, 2018

  • The landscape’s a bleak desolation,

    Too grim to bear long contemplation.

    A guy could do worse

    Than write silly verse

    While giving the news aversation.

    July 9, 2018

  • I sought the report and I’ve read it -

    Our genes are now subject to edit.

    Disrupting concinnity

    And delicate synteny

    Might serve as a reason to dread it.

    July 8, 2018

  • In heartwarming tableaux of old

    The prospector pans for his gold;

    The motorized trommel

    Is now what is normal,

    A scene that leaves dreaming hearts cold.

    July 7, 2018

  • Milady likes tea that’s served punctual

    With certain wee treats that are munchable.

    All implements furnished

    Are brilliant and burnished,

    Laid out in a pattern quincuncial.

    July 6, 2018

  • It could be a slavish faux Putinism

    Or native enjoyment of brutalism,

    Or weak leader’s dread

    Of being gainsaid

    That fosters his crude absolutism.

    July 5, 2018

  • The gestures are false but methodical:

    Flag hugging is crudely symbolical;

    His staging quite brims

    With anthems and hymns

    And all of it mock patriotical.

    July 4, 2018

  • Good people be silent and hark ye!

    Believe not the goblin’s malarkey!

    He’ll wheedle and flatter

    But words do not matter.

    He means to construct an autarchy.

    July 3, 2018

  • Many years ago I saw a notice of a talk to be given at MIT: “Viscous Vortices on the Vertical Verges of Variable Velocity Vessels.” I did not attend but I have wondered since if the speaker had anything substantive to say on the subject or just could not resist alliteration.

    July 3, 2018

  • Very generous, bilby, thank you. I am grateful not only for the compliment but for reassurance that I am not alone out here. Where is everybody?

    July 2, 2018

  • A bon vivant might play a new card

    Affecting a flashy foulard,

    But such fashions fade

    As soon as they’re played

    Replaced by the latest boutade.

    July 2, 2018

  • Impoverishment is a damn nuisance

    But think of these words in a new sense:

    A currency which is

    A transfer of riches -

    A free and renewable two cents.

    July 1, 2018

  • To live in Hong Kong can be dicey -

    The housing is terribly pricey.

    The rents are so bloated

    That often they’re quoted

    In carats per month or in sycee.

    July 1, 2018

  • The place was a burning solarium

    So, wilting, he waved his orarium;

    Thus Caesar conveyed

    His need for some shade,

    And slaves trotted out the velarium.

    June 30, 2018

  • The eugenics project resulted in

    An unsatisfactory cultigen.

    Reversing bold plans

    They bred Yankees fans

    Instead of a species of ultra-men.

    June 29, 2018

  • In whom is such consummate talent seen,

    Picasso perhaps, or in Balanchine?

    What chef can impart

    That tone of high art

    We seek in the glistening galantine?

    June 28, 2018

  • When efforts at mending and wrappage

    Can’t hide your tin lizzie is crappage

    Then turn in your honey

    And take the blood money

    To buy a new friend with the scrappage.

    June 27, 2018

  • The harried mom desperately reasoned

    Her brat needed mush highly seasoned.

    The trick was a help;

    It silenced her whelp

    By stifling his cries in his weasand.

    June 26, 2018

  • A taste for the market stampede

    And years in the bourse may well lead

    To regal facility

    For rustic gentility

    At the court of your summer bastide.

    June 25, 2018

  • Now some people browse for a swap

    And others use Paypal to shop,

    But oniomania

    Infects certain crania

    And online they never need stop.

    June 24, 2018

  • Antiquity’s singers were apt to tell

    Of ominous blooms of asphodel.

    Persephone’s bower

    Was full of this flower,

    Bred of the netherworld’s sapropel.

    June 23, 2018

  • Big Bird, on a new diet slant,

    Suggests that his pal eat an ant,

    But Ol’ Snuffleupagus

    Is not myrmecophagous.

    He tries to comply but he can’t.

    June 22, 2018

  • For pessimists life has gone dark

    Lit only by danger’s faint spark.

    Expressions of joy

    Serve but to annoy

    A sufferer shrouded in cark.

    June 21, 2018

  • When striving and troublesome quest abate

    And days of diversion and rest await,

    I’ll work to no goal

    Nor pay labor’s toll,

    For starting tomorrow I’ll estivate.

    June 20, 2018

  • It pleases us all to play critic

    And make our assessments acidic.

    Oh, let us not hasten

    To cavil and chasten

    But walk with the other a bittock.

    June 19, 2018

  • There’s many a line to be drawn

    To finish my chiliagon.

    With pencils and rules

    And paper my tools

    With patience I’ll see you anon.

    June 18, 2018

  • Warhol had an ingenious plan

    To paint a tomato soup can.

    He knew to expect hype

    And many an ectype.

    Call Andy a shrewd businessman.

    June 17, 2018

  • We plan, we prepare and we scheme

    Constructing the future we dream,

    But by nature’s kindness

    We’re sheltered by blindness

    And spared the despair of foregleam.

    June 16, 2018

  • Its origin in Middle English raten etc. is thoroughly documented above.

    June 15, 2018

  • The cries made in old Pomerania

    Are echoed in our Pennsylvania.

    The party that’s out

    Still gives a great shout

    Of outrage at such squandermania.

    June 15, 2018

  • The goblin in triumph has stunned the nation;

    Let’s pray that his tenure is one duration.

    What words can convey

    Our fear and dismay?

    Oh dammit! And bother! And thunderation!

    June 14, 2018

  • Philosophers routinely postulate

    And pundits are prone to prognosticate

    But if you’d be blessed

    A twitcher knows best,

    Whose passion is always to auspicate.

    June 13, 2018

  • To those who will beg to be friend

    The goblin may well condescend.

    A different matter

    Are those who won’t flatter

    And these he is pleased to vilipend.

    June 12, 2018

  • Should friends be inclined to support

    Or join in the trumpish cohort

    Then make it your chore

    To strongly deplore,

    To reason, implore and dehort.

    June 11, 2018

  • The mayfly begins life at dawn,

    By sundown the wee beast is gone,

    And all it desires

    Before it expires

    Is love with a friendly ephemeron.

    June 10, 2018

  • It would be shellfish of me to want more praise.

    June 10, 2018

  • When high tide arrives they get moister,

    Then quahogs and cherrystones roister,

    But twice-daily frolics

    Of mud-dwelling mollusks

    Are spurned by the dignified oyster.

    June 9, 2018

  • Oh, why must her tongue unduly wag

    And flail like a scourge to cruelly nag?

    Her chosen life path

    Is unbridled wrath

    To hector and chide and bullyrag.

    June 8, 2018

  • Also see comments at cunctatory.

    June 7, 2018

  • Old Aesop once in drunken glory

    Concocted a famed but bunkum story

    Of rabbit and turtle.

    A tale ever fertile

    That comforts today the cunctatory.

    Also see comments at cunctative.

    June 7, 2018

  • What praise has this rivulet due it

    That dies if the dew not renew it?

    But readers are fickle

    And even this trickle

    Gains charm if you call it a spruit.

    June 6, 2018

  • Misspelling of putschist?

    June 6, 2018

  • Be patient with Malcolm the malcontent.

    It’s not that he’s always recalcitrant,

    But suffers from bouts

    Of worries and doubts

    That make him reluctant and vacillant.

    June 5, 2018

  • The stirring in regions chthonic

    And warming of earth are synchronic

    As seeds grow and flourish

    To comfort and nourish,

    Encouraged by skills geoponic.

    June 4, 2018

  • See comments at clough.

    June 3, 2018

  • Aren’t gorge and ravine quite enough

    For valleys and such hollowed stuff?

    Barranca and canyon

    Don’t need a companion.

    I think we’ll dispense with this “clough”.

    See comments at barranca.

    June 3, 2018

  • When buzzards descend and alight

    Then plutocrats take an affright

    And fiercely abjure

    All Satan’s allure.

    At Hell’s looming gate they’re attrite.

    June 2, 2018

  • Now sturdy’s an interesting word.

    I note it derives from a bird.

    I see how the thrush

    Could seem like a lush

    But why did they call it a turd?

    June 1, 2018

  • The worshippers, eager and gleeful,

    Now thronging their civic cathedral

    In service of sport

    Send prayers of support

    To heaven from temples hypaethral.

    June 1, 2018

  • Adverbial form of the verb ‘to snarf’.

    May 31, 2018

  • Ahoy there, puyan!

    May 31, 2018

  • madmouth, I am pleased to have tickled you. (In a purely notional sense, of course. No touching involved. Kept my hands in my pockets.)

    May 31, 2018

  • Oh, stranger, I ask have you seen

    Her eyes, so sublimely serene?

    The depth of both gem

    And sky is in them,

    Cerulean yet lazuline!

    May 31, 2018

  • There once was a drunk named McCarthy

    Consuming all alcohol snarfly.

    His limit once struck

    He’d quickly upchuck

    Sustaining his drinking bouts barfly.

    May 30, 2018

  • The scholars arrived in a schooner

    And drinking began all the sooner

    For, as sailors will,

    They fired up the still

    And raised up their first nipaluna.

    May 30, 2018

  • But given Australia’s colorful history I am sure that in time the origin of “nipaluna” will be construed to be a politer version of “sip-o’-moonshine.”

    May 30, 2018

  • In Scotland they claim there is charm in it

    And doctors do say there’s no harm in it,

    But eating of haggis

    I’m certain would gag us

    Because we’re alarmed by the tharm in it.

    May 30, 2018

  • The victory sure was suspicious,

    Defying the voters’ clear wishes,

    Not obvious fraud

    But obscurely odd,

    Obtained by some means obreptitious.

    May 30, 2018

  • Mike Cohen’s a slippery twister

    Who loves to be thought a slick fixer.

    At law he’s the dreg,

    A shabby jackleg,

    But passably good as a trickster.

    May 29, 2018

  • *The monkey doffs his hat,*

    May 28, 2018

  • The judge with his voice all a-tremor

    Ordered the witness’s hem lower.

    Miniskirts are distractions

    In criminal actions

    And get you adjudged a contemnor.

    May 28, 2018

  • It’s either foolhardy or brave

    To capture the sense of enclave

    While leaving in place

    The lexical space

    To service its shadow, exclave.


    May 27, 2018

  • It’s boring to be incognito,

    Celebrity, though, gets my veto.

    Expose with great care

    The parts you will share;

    You should be a work of sgraffito.

    May 26, 2018

  • A Christmas card list has a quality

    At first of good cheer and frivolity.

    By decades that column

    Grows more and more solemn

    And ossifies into necrology.

    May 25, 2018

  • The lumberjacks lay down their peaveys

    And gypsies dispose of their tea leaves.

    Good sense is forsaken

    And liberties taken

    While Erin consorts with the Kiwis.

    May 24, 2018

  • Conversing in mode quodlibetical

    My contrary friend is heretical.

    In subsequent talks

    He’s more orthodox

    To savor all joys antithetical.

    May 24, 2018

  • See bezel.

    May 24, 2018

  • On lonely roads nothing is rarer than

    That stranger should prove a samaritan,

    So pray he’s a blellum

    Or at worst a skellum

    But never a prey hunting cateran.

    May 23, 2018

  • It‘s no term of slighting disdain;

    Like “out of this world” it’s no stain.

    Without taint of “boring”

    But downright adoring,

    It’s good to be ultramundane!

    May 22, 2018

  • A noble aspiration. Good luck.

    May 21, 2018

  • Up high in the Andes the folks say

    The chewing of coca is ok.

    It’s sovereign cure

    For pains of the poor

    And proof against dreaded soroche.

    May 21, 2018

  • The shy matador’s bright idea

    For wooing the haughty Maria

    Was a sweet serenade

    For that tease of a maid,

    Backed up by his loyal cuadrilla.

    May 20, 2018

  • I think a serial comma is fussy, foolish and redundant.

    May 19, 2018

  • See comments at expunction.

    May 19, 2018

  • A comma should serve a clear function

    Not pester a healthy conjunction.

    At the end of a list

    It need not exist.

    I call for its lasting expunction.

    See serial comma.

    May 19, 2018

  • I have added forensic but I realize he (she?) may be the relative nobody wants to acknowledge. If he is unwelcome I will return to cast him into outer darkness. (If I can figure out how to delete an item frm a list.)

    May 18, 2018

  • Ma Nature conducts such a merry dance

    Ingeniously fostering variance,

    With tectonic drift

    And mountains’ uplift

    Deployed in the cause of vicariance.

    May 18, 2018

  • I like finding rhymes recherché,

    The fanciful, rare or outré,

    But often I flail

    To little avail

    And serve up a soup réchauffé.

    May 18, 2018

  • Suggestive are names on the rig:

    They drill till the gusher is big;

    A roustabout’s lusty

    But (read it and trust me),

    The big score’s a toolpusher’s gig.

    May 17, 2018

  • Do you think I ought to charge a rate per rhyme or just hold limericks hostage?

    May 17, 2018

  • Something here is sadly awry.

    May 16, 2018

  • Oh, Plato would weep if he was to see

    The state of our current democracy,

    Our meanest and least

    At hubristic feast

    And mocking poor starving sophrosyne.

    Pronunciation note: so-FROZ-a-nee

    May 16, 2018

  • To minimize spoiling and lossage

    The butcher stacks shrewdly his sausage.

    The look is unkempt

    But fashioned to tempt,

    The oldest protruding like bossage.

    May 15, 2018

  • A rock speeding in from infinity

    Can slow in the stellar vicinity

    And give up deep space

    For the solar embrace

    To circle in languid concinnity.

    May 14, 2018

  • It calms the old girl when she’s jumpy

    And cheers her on days when she’s grumpy.

    The proper elixir

    For all that afflicts her

    Is pomaceous nectar called scrumpy.

    May 13, 2018

  • We drank from the shell of a nautilus

    Till skolion wearied the lot of us

    Then made dirty jests

    And bragged of conquests

    And spent the last wine playing cottabus.

    May 12, 2018

  • The winter left us melancholic

    But May arrives bright and bucolic -

    Cavorting and gambols

    And giggles in brambles

    And all sorts of innocent frolic.

    May 11, 2018

  • I liked the old comical fest that

    Included the conical dress hat

    And caldron a-stew

    With dark witches’ brew,

    Now banned at canonical esbat.

    May 11, 2018

  • "Deplorables" can mean the louche,

    The wicked man coarsely uncouth,

    Or simple unwise

    Who swallows his lies,

    The gullible, gaping gobemouche.

    May 10, 2018

  • Also called a taffy pull.

    May 9, 2018

  • This virtual college of dance

    Will teach you to caper or prance:

    The gambol is wilder

    A tittup much milder.

    Cavorting might suit you, perchance?

    May 9, 2018

  • Young ladies whose morals are sloppy

    May yield to the call of the poppy.

    With that fatal taste

    Have lives gone to waste

    And heroine turned into taupie.

    May 9, 2018

  • Long gone is the beastly couture

    That wrapped up the swells in pellure.

    Farewell to the feathers

    And exotic leathers,

    Replaced now with sinless velure.

    May 8, 2018

  • Compare gangewifre.

    May 8, 2018

  • Compare attercop.

    May 8, 2018

  • One of the most memorable opening lines of any novel is that that begins Anthony Burgess’s Earthly Powers:

    "It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me."

    This is in medias res with a vengeance.

    May 7, 2018

  • A yodel I figured had solely been

    A feature of regions tyrolean,

    But wine and a lyre

    I bet could inspire

    The Greeks to claim it’s a skolion.

    May 7, 2018

  • Les voyageurs of long, long ago

    Could carry but little cargo

    A fragile canoe,

    Held a musket or two,

    An axe and a handy barlow.

    May 6, 2018

  • When gravity’s dictates are followed

    The river finds rock that is hollowed.

    The miner’s will call it

    A damnable swallet,

    And live in the fear they’ll be swallowed.

    May 5, 2018

  • ruzuzu, you are a generous soul. I thank you.

    May 5, 2018

  • The prospect with horror does fill me!

    I don’t know where word nerds then will be.

    Why purge grace and wit?

    There’s little of it,

    Except in the postings of bilby.

    May 4, 2018

  • Because of severe tritanomaly

    I view my environs abnormally.

    You may think it crazy

    But critics still praise me

    No matter I paint so abominably.

    May 4, 2018

  • Compiling my beach reading queue

    I like an O’Brian or two.

    But swashbuckling numbers

    Disrupt my sweet slumbers -

    At bedtime verism will do.

    May 3, 2018

  • His tweeting’s vituperative art

    And close to his putative heart.

    Some spittle to pump it in

    The Trumpian sumpatan

    Then blowhard delivers his dart.

    May 2, 2018

  • The critics praise Pope only tepidly

    His work is too witty and echoey.

    His epics are mock

    So scholars still balk

    To classify any as epopee.

    May 1, 2018

  • Friar Fred was a snorer and snorter

    And brotherly tempers grew shorter.

    The last straw was farting;

    This led to the parting

    As Fred was expelled from the dortour.

    April 30, 2018

  • Do we have a word for the dread

    That pangolins lurk in the shed,

    Or spiny echidna

    Invade the exedra

    And cobras wait curled in the bed?

    April 29, 2018

  • The proud and committed marines

    All know what a leatherneck means.

    They cherish that name

    And combative fame

    They’ve earned as relentless gyrenes.

    April 28, 2018

  • Variety covers show biz

    And glories in tags like Les Mis.

    For such razmataz

    And verbal pizazz

    Just give the old rag a quick squizz.

    April 27, 2018

  • Uber in the Andes.

    April 27, 2018

  • See dress suit.

    April 27, 2018

  • The lumberjack loved his new mannequin

    And, oh, what a noisy shenanigan!

    The ecstatic cries

    And heartbreaking sighs

    That shivered the walls of his wanigan!

    April 26, 2018

  • Google and I got that allusion and enjoyed a very amusing Youtube video.

    April 25, 2018

  • Their scorn could hardly be blunter

    But insults or slights don’t affront her,

    A compliant tool

    Too ready to snool,

    And formerly known as tufthunter.

    April 25, 2018

  • This is a problem in that groupie does not rhyme with toady. Can we suppose an especially abject roadie?

    The measure of my knowledge of the culture of rock is probably a negative value. I am going to have to do some original thinking, unless of course the persuasive power of my application of roadie in this limerick has such influence that the common understanding of the word is changed. How long should I wait?

    April 25, 2018

  • Their scorn could hardly be blunter

    But insults or slights don’t affront her.

    In rock she’s a “roadie,”

    More generally - “toady,”

    And formerly known as tufthunter.

    Michael Quinion has an excellent discussion of this word at

    April 25, 2018

  • The pages of books can offer this:

    A personal mental Acropolis,

    A temple and shrine

    That’s uniquely mine

    Whose priest is the old bibliopolist.

    April 24, 2018

  • They prayed, “May the Good Lord endow us

    With a novice of kitchen skill prowess.”

    He answered their plea

    With well-fed Marie,

    The convent’s most welcome new vowess.

    April 23, 2018

  • A contortionist hailing from Ossipee

    Won fame as a great curiosity.

    From this we may know

    How far you can go

    With hard work and sheer flexuosity.

    April 22, 2018

  • Poor Bobby had thought it super cool

    To start up a geeky troop at school.

    Since scarcely a nerd

    Is drawn to a herd

    He rounded up only a groupuscule.

    April 21, 2018

  • I can find no adjectival version of quandary. To my surprise the OED reports that it can be used as a verb in the passive voice and supplies examples such as, “2007 23 Feb. (O.E.D. Archives) I'm seriously quandaried by the need to create and choose a MySpace name.”

    April 20, 2018

  • Oh, dear! Is this a bad sign for vegans?

    April 20, 2018

  • According to common report

    In Scotland the hunters consort

    To stalk with a wrinkle

    By forming a tinchel

    But still call the killing a sport.

    April 20, 2018

  • Dammit, bilby, I knew you were going to want more info since I know you speak Bahasa Malayu or its Indonesian cousin. The Malay origin was the first I found but now I cannot locate the specific source I used. I have found other sources that suggest the Arabic “ma’salaam” became the Malay “salang” and that British soldiers and sailors serving in Malaya in the 19th Century brought it home as “so long.”

    Now I’m going to be awake all night looking for that damned first google hit.

    April 19, 2018

  • The origins of “so long” are in fact mysterious. It’ suggested origins have been placed in Irish (slán), German (adieu so lange), Hebrew (shalom), Arabic (salaam). Also Malay, Norwegian and Swedish origins have been posited. An early appearance in print was in the poetry of Walt Whitman who reported that it was a common salutation among soldiers and sailors.


    and in many other places.

    April 19, 2018

  • That beverage that formerly seemed to me

    An ordinary serving of steaming tea

    Was nothing prosaic

    But apotropaic -

    A cup of mysterious haemony.

    April 19, 2018

  • Really? I’m always hearing people say, “I’m going to supernova my erupt.” Maybe it’s different in Tasmania.

    April 18, 2018

  • There’s nonsense and much mumbo-jumbo

    In this, our linguistical gumbo:

    In absence of rain,

    The pedants explain,

    You must call a rainbow a sunbow.

    April 18, 2018

  • He dances, who once was a stumbler.

    She sings, who once was a mumbler.

    The shy and unsure

    Find solace and cure

    Emboldened by wine and the tummler.

    April 17, 2018

  • Though life in a burrow may seem

    A low and impoverished scheme

    Some in a snooty vein

    Call it a souterrain,

    But all of us know it’s a weem.

    April 16, 2018

  • A swagman once pined for his Lydia

    Then met a koala much prettier.

    Their meeting was pleasant

    So he left a present,

    Now all of her tribe has chlamydia.

    April 15, 2018

  • The obvious question is, “Who has been screwing the koalas?” There is nothing those Aussies won’t stoop to. Next it’ll be the quokkas. Or (gasp!) bilbies!

    April 15, 2018

  • Recusants grown weary of dreading

    And cautious confessional treading

    Embraced Lutheranism

    As mere tutiorism

    When faced with the threat of beheading.

    April 15, 2018

  • Already a famed bayardere

    Mata Hari began a career

    Of laying and lying

    And diligent spying,

    A true multi-task pioneer.

    April 14, 2018

  • The woes of the gentry are multiplied;

    And country house pastimes are stultified.

    Laws new and obnoxious

    Protect the damn foxes,

    And limit the pleasures of vulpicide.

    April 13, 2018

  • Yes indeed, folks. The kettle is at a simmer and I am trying to keep the lid on. If anyone else would care to set this simpleton straight I would be happy for the help.

    April 12, 2018

  • smell fart.

    April 12, 2018

  • And, in an early precedent for the tv preacher/pitch man, each machine bore the onscription,

    Oh, sinner you need what I vend!

    Those talents you foolishly spend

    If spent here with me

    Will set your soul free

    To find the true way and amend!

    April 12, 2018

  • The pompous word tyrant’s been collared.

    In shame and confusion he hollered,

    ‘Oh, give me reprieve

    And I’ll give you leave

    To tolerate riff-raff like ‘schollard!’”

    April 12, 2018

  • Big Joe’s normal tone is a bellow;

    He shakes down the leaves with his “Hello!”

    His workplace is shared

    By the hearing impaired

    Who think him a perfect workfellow.

    April 12, 2018

  • Before there was genus and phylum

    Or God made adamic asylum,

    Before night and day

    Or man went astray,

    Preceding it all was the ylem.

    April 11, 2018

  • My dreams are torn by incursion

    Of hauntings in many a version.

    Tonight’s chilling flavor

    Was barking mad daeva,

    A taunting malevolent Persian.

    April 10, 2018

  • The Scot and the British cook quibble

    ‘bout tools used for stirring their nibble:

    The Scotsman will hurtle

    To call it a spurtle,

    The Briton steadfastly says thible.

    April 9, 2018

  • The old salt sits down with his dog

    And shares out his bread and his grog.

    They’re birds of a feather

    And, so long together,

    Alike in their tastes and phisog.

    April 8, 2018

  • The soda bread recipe lists

    Ingredients in gowpens and fists.

    So would you know how then

    To shape your own gowpen

    With palms that are joined at the wrists?

    April 7, 2018

  • The Donald thinks walls give protection

    From human or import infection.

    But what could be sillier

    Than this claustrophilia

    And love of such rigid erection?

    April 6, 2018

  • In morals he’s perfectly neuter,

    Self interest uniquely his tutor.

    Should sanctity buy us

    He’s publicly pious,

    In private an unabashed fouter.

    April 5, 2018

  • The critic is mentally nimble,

    Uncovering subtext and symbol,

    But given the chance

    Reads tales of romance -

    A thinking man’s indolent bimble.

    April 4, 2018

  • Inscape and instress are complementary concepts about individuality and uniqueness derived by Gerard Manley Hopkins from the ideas of the medieval philosopher Duns Scotus.

    April 3, 2018

  • Inscape and instress are complementary concepts about individuality and uniqueness derived by Gerard Manley Hopkins from the ideas of the medieval philosopher Duns Scotus.

    April 3, 2018

  • He raids the bird feeder all day

    And drives all the songbirds away;

    Then, trading his swagger

    For a corpulent stagger,

    He ponderously climbs to his drey.

    April 3, 2018

  • See Catherine wheel.

    April 3, 2018

  • Less pleasant than madmouth conceives,

    For Bertie disrupts and upheaves.

    For life that is stable

    He should, if he’s able,

    Obtain his narration from Jeeves.

    April 2, 2018

  • No storm makes a proud Frenchman snool

    No matter how windy and cruel.

    Courage, mon ami!

    With Gallic esprit

    Look cool in your boots and cagoule!

    April 2, 2018

  • I came across a list of Wodehousian words for drunk. Many are already in this list but the following are not: above par, rotten, groggy, ossified, tanked, illuminated, lit up like a Christmas tree, woozled.

    April 1, 2018

  • Per Bertie Wooster - drunk.

    April 1, 2018

  • Prepare your victorious maffick

    With every theatrical tactic,

    With lights and balloons

    And boisterous tunes

    And all of the arts scenographic.

    April 1, 2018

  • Terrain and the temperatures vary

    Explorers, though, knew what to carry.

    A well-equipped chap

    Expanding the map

    Kept booze in the long promptuary.

    March 31, 2018

  • Our appetites finally doom us;

    Our blood becomes fatty and grumous.

    The lesson thus learned

    Is painfully earned

    And wisdom is sadly posthumous.

    March 30, 2018

  • His friends ‘round his coffin all joked

    How much Froggy ate, drank and smoked.

    So squat and so stuggy

    Yet gleefully buggy,

    But none were surprised when he croaked.

    March 29, 2018

  • Though most think them tasteless and petulant

    His fans find his tweets are quite esculent

    They dine with delight

    On venom and spite

    And prize the most bitter and feculent.

    March 28, 2018

  • A gem in the rough by report,

    Was Ernest at Doubleday’s sport.

    His diamond exploit

    Though grew less adroit

    And Ernest’s career was a bort.

    Find out more about Ernest Bafflewit

    March 27, 2018

  • Prof. Husserl directs your attention

    To quite a confounding invention.

    He calls it noema,

    A psychic edema

    Inflating an act of intention.

    March 26, 2018

  • Dear bilby, you must have a heart!

    I will, for a friend, do my part.

    No matter how swollen

    I’ll tighten my colon

    And stifle the streperous fart.

    March 25, 2018

  • I’ve stalked them from dusk until dawn

    With middling success off and on:

    Some words to share rhythm

    And shape a merism;

    I’ve hunted them hither and yon.

    March 25, 2018

  • Or, ‘O faithless kin, my nemesis!’

    March 24, 2018

  • Could be misinterpreted as ‘our farts keep mornings noisy.’

    March 24, 2018

  • The Donald is best, he repeats,

    The best in his mind and his feats.

    To sift his battology

    At best is scatology

    Best sent to the pit of deceits.

    March 24, 2018

  • Courage, bilby! We’ve still got complimentarization, and complimentarizability to go.

    March 24, 2018

  • The sound of persistent sharp tapping

    Provoke us to know what is happening

    Flint flakes and a severed edge,

    The litter of debitage,

    Are signs a boy scout’s been caught knapping.

    March 23, 2018

  • Your typical nerd’s not ironic

    And rarely a geek is sardonic.

    The bytes and the bits

    Please literal wits

    That coin horrors like technotronic.

    March 22, 2018

  • His scalp has been twice overhauled

    But Donald insists he’s not bald.

    If such simple calvity

    Were solely his malady

    The world would be far less appalled.

    March 21, 2018

  • Now isn’t that bilby a nuisance. I do thank him, though I would represent the pronunciation as purr-RICK-a-pee.

    The audio pronunciations never seem to work on my iPad, where most composition gets done. I will be more wary in future.

    There once was a preacher in Chicopee

    Beset by severe insipidity.

    On Sundays he normally

    Abandoned his homily

    And served up a meal of pericope.

    March 21, 2018

  • Theologians tell us there’s hope

    Of limiting vile error’s scope.

    The good can endure

    With hearts that are pure

    And doses of strong pericope.

    This limerick left in place like a miscreant rotting on the gallows. Beware, ye hasty! (See above.)

    March 20, 2018

  • There’s many a callow young wit

    Who,watching one flutter and flit,

    Has spread titillation

    And naughty elation

    Announcing his love of a tit.

    March 20, 2018

  • I find crapulentus and comato-crapulose in the list but not crapulent, which is more common.

    March 19, 2018

  • He laughs at a bright toy balloon,

    And babbles a light joyous tune.

    So ends the adventure

    In childish dementia

    Of him who had been oyabun.

    March 19, 2018

  • How spooky the look the scene took -

    As eerie as woodland can look.

    Damp came to emblanch

    The trees, trunk and branch,

    And paint the bare copse in cranreuch.

    March 18, 2018

  • Natasha sounds good to me. This could be the Rocky and Bullwinkle effect.

    March 18, 2018

  • I’ve had some more thoughts on iconic names. I have been trying to think of women’s names that have the same uniquely identifying value as men’s names and I am having trouble. ‘Ivan’ can mean a generic Russian man but can ‘Svetlana’ mean a generic Russian woman or is it just the name of a specific Russian woman? If I tell a joke featuring ‘Pierre,’ ‘Alphonse,’ or ‘Gaston’ you now that he is a French stereotype but I don’t think the same is true of ‘Francoise’ or ‘Marianne,’ even though this last is an official symbol of the French nation.

    Is this an artifact of historic male supremacy or do women’s names just better permeate national boundaries? I know the Aussies have adopted the Irish ‘Sile’ (after demoting the initial uppercase letter) as ‘sheila,’ to mean a young woman. Is this still current? I don’t think it is used to mean a specifically Australian woman. I will be happy to be corrected in this assumption and enlightened by examples of nationally iconic women’s names.

    March 17, 2018

  • When Celia was angry with Richie

    Her vengeance was cleverly bitchy:

    She’d cook favorite dishes

    But (this part is vicious)

    The portions, though tasty, were titchy.

    March 17, 2018

  • Yes! I had forgotten about Jock. I have used that before when a single syllable would do. Hamish is very good too. I will file that one away. Since Erin McKean has such an abiding fondness for Scottish utterance I need to have some on the shelf.

    My friend Roo writes to tell me of the Aussie habit of addressing redheaded men as Bluey. I suppose this is akin to the custom of calling bald men Curly or large men Tiny. Is there a handy word or phrase for this convention?

    March 17, 2018

  • I have used ‘Sandy’ as a generic name for a Scotsman. A quick google search confirms that it has been so employed before. It is used in Caledonia as a diminutive of ‘Alexander’ and possibly some other more formal names. I used to use ‘Angus’ for this but now I have a grandnephew by that name so it feels awkward to attribute opinions, behaviors or attitudes to Angus.

    I can use ‘Ivan’ and all would recognize that I mean ‘a Russian,’ or ‘Guido’ and a generalized Italian would be understood. What might be some other generic names? Many years ago I resided in the Philippines and learned that the locals were happy to address all Americans as ‘Joe.’

    I have a correspondent in Perth who signs himself ‘Roo.’ There is a notorious Tasmanian who uses the handle ‘bilby.’ Is there a generic moniker for marsupials that we could apply to all Australians?

    March 17, 2018

  • The Scots are said to be froward

    But Sandy asserts it’s a foul word.

    It’s Sassenach sport

    A Scotsman can thwart

    Insisting it ought to be thraward.

    Note: The OED identifies this as a Scottish variation of ‘froward.’

    March 16, 2018

  • In France I once ate salami

    That whelmed me like a tsunami.

    I pray for an encore

    Of that rarest sapor,

    The deepest and finest umami.

    March 15, 2018

  • A hogan’s a nice house for two.

    A teepee or wigwam might do,

    But when cold and windy

    You need a dry quinzhee

    Or else find a vacant igloo.

    March 14, 2018

  • Ludmila’s taste lapses are frequent,

    Her judgment amiss or delinquent.

    For drama’s effect

    She’s tinsel bedecked

    And enters all slinkily clinquant.

    March 13, 2018

  • The old gent’s a bit of a rogue

    And knows that the occult’s in vogue,

    So ply him with toasts

    And he’ll talk of ghosts,

    Or fairies and such rich pishogue.

    As in all of the supplied usage examples, and contrary to the formal definitions, the word is used dismissively to mean superstitious nonsense.

    March 12, 2018

  • Now Big Oil’s determined to drill

    In waters that can’t risk a spill

    The poison is loosed on

    The delicate neustron

    To suffocate, wither and kill.

    March 11, 2018

  • Illusions might come from Fellini

    Or wonders from work of a genie,

    And in right condition

    The moon’s a magician,

    As witness the paraselene.

    March 10, 2018

  • Pronounced chich-iss-BEE-ism. It could serve as an onomatopoetic word for a sneeze.

    The definition calls for some background:

    cicisbeo – n. In Italy, since the seventeenth century, the name given to a professed gallant and attendant of a married woman; one who dangles about women.

    dangle – To hang loosely; be suspended so as to be swayed be the wind or any slight force.

    Hence To dance attendance; hover longingly or importunately, as for notice or favors: used of persons, with about or after: as, to dangle about a woman; to dangle after a great man.

    In Italy all’s in a tangle

    As gallantry’s got a new angle.

    It makes a wee schism

    In cicisbeism

    As men become objects of dangle.

    March 9, 2018

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