by Rani J. Ahlers and Mike Drop
Epigraph: “Once you’ve been publicly humiliated like I was, it doesn’t much matter what people ever say about you again for the rest of your life. And it’s kind of liberating.” --William J. Clinton
There’s a restaurant in Tallinn, Estonia called “Pööbel,” which means “People.” As in common people, the masses. The name is the owners’ jokey way of distinguishing the place from fancier establishments, but the food is reportedly good. So check it out the next time you’re in Tallinn. Estonian, which is like Finnish, has a lot of those two-vowel combinations where each has an umlaut.
I don’t see much daytime TV, but I know stuff like Oprah’s gone and there’s a Judge Judy. The thought occurs that her show might be spiced up by adding a Judge Punch, and they fight with each other about the cases before them.
And what if Dr. Phil were an ontologist, fixing every problem by letting it Be?
You can convert to Judaism online for free, according to Google. But not if your heart’s set on becoming an Orthodox Jew; that’s more involved.
During the Yom Kippur service, when the rabbi reads the list of sins requiring atonement, one’s wife elbows one at the naming of one’s besetting sins. Embarrassing.
“Who’s your daddy?” How about Hoosier Country?
“The crowd always turns quickly.” --Erick Erickson
After the loss, there will be no solidarity and howls of outrage. Everyone will just walk away. Yet the loser will be no more alone than before. --after David Brooks, speaking of you-know-who
Not all humiliations are large. Ever come up with a phrase you think is nifty, Google it to see if you’re its coiner, and get 45,000 hits? (The phrase was "emotionally clumsy.”)
“Stool pigeon” is of clear meaning but uncertain origin. It likely referred originally to a would-be informant warming a bar stool hour after hour in a dive frequented by (other) criminals. The stoolie hopes to pick up tidbits he can trade to police for a blind eye toward his own criminal activity or for leniency in one or more prosecutions against him.
Have you ever wondered what analog black holes reveal about the nature of quantum gravity? Me neither. Let me know if you find out.
What’s all this about scary clowns? I seem to recall that the female lead character in The X-Files was afraid of clowns, but isn’t that ancient history? Has there been something new?
I’m The Colonel and I did not approve this meme.
"Donald Trump may be a boor, a bounder, and a cad, but Hillary is the Antichrist, a witch, a robot, and an alien, so who's worse?" --Harry Grimgorse
A Theater of the Absurd group is looking for a moneyed patron after which it will name its new performing space. Let's find someone favorably disposed toward characters acting as buffoons, nonsense and verbosity in dialogue, dream-like and fantasy imagery, hints of allegory, and a narrative structure where continuity is consistently undermined. 😎🐰🤓😺
Domestic altercations around the kiln: pottery in motion.
The archetypal U.S. Marine: Zamfir Perrotta.
An exaltation of larks, a business of ferrets, a fall of woodcocks, a shrewdness of apes. How about a mummification of pharoahs?
Abuse your vegan friends as “oryzivores” (rice eaters). If they proselytize, call them “oryzibores.”
The Brits have a usage Yanks would do well to adopt. They use “agree” transitively: “After much negotiation, the parties agreed the contract.” “We never agreed a date.” “Alistair and his landlord agreed a new lease.” “The court gave the unions until September to agree terms with a buyer.”
“This sentence no verb. This one neither.” The difference is, the latter sentence is well-formed, the former not.
Who has said he respects the Western world’s chief enemy of borders and sovereignty? Why, the lad who has made borders and sovereignty the center of his campaign. Why endow a theater of the absurd when you can be one?
Nuggets of advice (from various novelists) to those who would write novels:
“Set up a scene and have a stranger arrive. Everything follows from that.”
“Have a Catholic childhood and learn that the world is not what it seems and a more important one exists. You may thereafter lose your faith, but never that insight.”
“Cut off every other way of earning a living so that writing is your only source of oxygen.”
“Write, write, write. That’s what ‘writer’ means. If you care to improve, also read.”
“Value no one but writers and jealously hate the good ones.”
“Marry well, keep winning lotteries till your breakthrough book, or both.”
“Read to your children at least every night. Also tell them stories you improvise."
“Find where they locked up your imagination. Let it out but don’t set it free -- harness it to your needs as a writer and work it without mercy. Imaginations love that.”
“Become a nimble liar. Lie as much as you can without hurting anyone. There’s no better practice for writing.”
“Find a reliable source of bad advice and consistently do the opposite.”
“When stuck, cast the I Ching -- it worked for Philip K. Dick, God rest his soul.”
“Vividly imagine a murder over and over, adding details each time. Write the backstory required by the details. Then all that’s left is arranging the tiles and writing transitions.”
“Imitate a writer you admire till you find your own way, then kill and eat your mentor, figuratively if possible.”
“Write about what irritates the hell out of you and the joy its removal would give you.”
“Imagine your readers reading your book in their underwear, and you will no longer fear them.”
“Don’t undervalue small ideas. Ideas that kick off books are often atom-sized.”
“Fill notebooks. Miss nothing.” [Zen beauty pageant winner?]
“Take fine things you read and hear and edit them as brutally as if you had written or said them. Unlearn reverence; make things better.”
End of free advice nuggets. Worth every penny.
Overheard at The Perfect Pangram: “What’s that saying that goes something like ‘In for a pig, in for a poke’?” Memory is a tricky thing; it can pound your pennies.
If you miss meditations on African proverbs, speak up. The future lies before us.