Month: July 2004 Page 1 of 2


Astronomy pictures, via Randy.

Eternal as hell.

Yes, there are many stages in life. Questionable Content.

More Words.


A compiler or solver of crossword puzzles.

If you encounter the clue “crossword puzzle fan (14 letters)”, this is the answer. It seems to have appeared in English about 1980 (the first reference I can find is to the Compleat Cruciverbalist of 1981 by Stan Kurzban and Mel Rosen, subtitled “how to solve, compose and sell crossword puzzles for fun and profit”). However, Stan Kurzban tells me that Mel Rosen had encountered the word some years earlier in the title of a directory of crossword puzzle notables that was not widely circulated. Whatever its origin, cruciverbalist has spread into the wider language as a result of their efforts to the extent that it now appears in some larger recent US dictionaries. The word is a modern mock-Latin invention, being a translation back into Latin of the English crossword (using Latin crucis, cross, as in words like cruciform, plus verbum, word, as in verbose or verbatim). There is also cruciverbalism, for the art of crossword compilation or crossword fandom generally, but that is much rarer.


World Wide Words.

Words, via Mike.

World Wide Words.

The Word Detective (has an interesting book for sale called Making Whoopee: Words of Love for Lovers of Words).

Miskatonic University Press (a complete section on Hardboiled Slang, and the Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot ).


I took Ray to her first carnival last night.

  • She rode the elephant ride all by herself, and she was twenty feet off the ground.

  • Of course we rode the carosel.

  • She ran full-tilt into one of the mirrors in the funhouse maze.

  • We rode on the Ferris Wheel. I think this is the only one she didn’t care for all that much. She was really quiet, and when we were done, she said, “Get off now, mamma.”

  • We rode on the little roller coaster together. The entire time, she switched between “Hold on!” and “Whee!”

Lee has ear problems. He won’t ride on rides with me.

Ray, on the other hand, will probably want to drag me on all the rides that scare the crap out of me.


Neat! A contest at to create fantastical creatures. Photoshoppy Goodness.


Bumper sticker commentary.

Via the mighty Lee.

I give you…bubble wrap.

Received at work.

(It might just be worth being a high school English teacher if you get this stuff from time to time.)

Excerpts from some high school essays:

Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a 6-foot-3 inch tree.

The man fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55

mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap: one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

Shots rang out, as shots are known to do.

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.

It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

and finally, the favorite:

Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.


I don’t have a good illustrative example handy; one of the usual a**holes said this today and it struck me enough to write it down.

“Did you like that? Did you like that? Huh?”

I hate it when people stand over you and feed off your reaction. It’s like they get a sexual thrill out of being able to control your response for just a moment. You can always tell these people by the way they raise their voices and lean in toward you when they ask you the question. The way they repeat themselves until they get what they want or you tell them to back off.


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