Month: February 2003 Page 2 of 3

Today’s Word. From A.Word.A.Day


solecism (SOL-i-siz-ehm, SOA-li-) noun

1. A nonstandard usage or grammatical construction.

2. A violation of etiquette.

3. An impropriety, a mistake, or an incongruity.

[Latin soloecismus, from Greek soloikismos, from soloikizein, to speak

incorrectly, from soloikos, speaking incorrectly after Soloi (Soli), an

Athenian colony in Cilicia where a dialect regarded as substandard was


“`Ah! Madam,’ said Ovid, `how great a solecism would it be both in a lover

and a poet if he did not look upon his mistress as the sublimest object

of his thoughts!’

Benjamin Boyce and Thomas Brown; The Adventures of Lindamira: A Lady of

Quality; The University of Minnesota Press; 1949.

Full-text on Questia at

For some reason (probably just that the words sound similar), I’ve always thought solicism had something to do with solicitous. Ah, nope.


This is a guy’s recipe from a restaurant in the Quad Cities (Iowa/Illinois) area. It sounds disgusting, and it’s bad for you. I like them.

  • One loaf Texas Toast.

  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. hamburger

  • 1 large can of Hormel chili (or about 2 c. leftover chili)

  • 1 bag of frozen hash browns (loose style) or french fries.

  • 2c. cheese sauce (not cheese whiz, but Ragu, or Velveeta with milk, butter, and a little flour–mac and cheese sauce)

  • 1c. chopped yellow or white onion

  • Salt and pepper.

Warm the over to about 200 degrees F. Brown, separately, the hash browns (or fries) and the hamburger. Warm the chili and the cheese sauce. The hash browns will take forever; transfer each batch to the oven on a cookie sheet. As soon as the last batch of hash browns is almost done, make the toast. You must use Texas Toast. No other toast will do, as you’re about to put a load of artery-clogging yummy badness so big that anything else would turn into a soggy mess. No other toast is, in fact, studly enough to withstand the towering Volcano.

This is the stacking order, from bottom to top: toast, hash browns, browned hamburger, cheese sauce, chili, onion, salt and pepper. If you wish to add a secret ingredient, while browning the hamburger, add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chili spices, and garlic. Eating a Volcano is the gastronomic equivalent of spitting off bridges or cliffs; peeing against a tree; reading men’s magazines or watching The Guy Show; beer. This is the only recipe I’ve ever made that my brothers have asked for.


Rrr. I’m much too annoyed to get anything useful done today. Welcome to the land of “Don’t say what you mean…and don’t mean what you say.”

Above all, don’t imply that that which hasn’t been noted to be especially trustworthy isn’t necessarily to be believed.


Ok. Things are better. Feathers all around have been smoothed.

Words, words, words. Here’s something neat:

A.Word.A.Day, a website and listserv giving out a word a day. Today’s word:

Canossa (kuh-NOS-uh, Italian: kah-NOS-sah) noun

A place of humiliation or penance. Mostly used in the form “go to Canossa”: to humble or humiliate oneself, to eat humble pie.

[From the name of a castle in Canossa, a village in Italy, where Holy Roman emperor Henry IV sought pardon before Pope Gregory VII in 1077.]

“If I were to believe what you do about the policies of Russia there would be no way out for me but to crawl to Canossa … ” Edward S. Shapiro; Letters of Sidney Hook: Democracy, Communism, and the Cold War; M. E. Sharpe, 1995. (full-text on Questia)

Many more quotes are provided. Other cool stuff at the website,, includes the Internet Anagram Server (“I, Rearrangement Servant”). Lee Kenyon becomes (among an exhaustive list) “Kneel Ye No” and “Elk None Ye.”DeAnna Knippling becomes “A ad-penning plink,” “A England Pink Pen,” “A planned plinking,” “A dang link pin pen,” “A dank nipple ginn,” “A planning de plink,” “Panda penning ilk.” Rachael becomes “A cake her nylon,” “A clean rye honk,” and “Channeler OK.”


The new issue of Banshee Studios is up.

So far today, with the Review of a Restaurant.

I like Colorado. I probably won’t be able to put a finger on it until I go somewhere else, either on a long trip, or I move. At a first guess, here’s a rambling anecdote:

The first time I went to Wisconsin as an adult (we’d gone there many times over the years to visit family), one of the things that I noticed (travelling as a tourist) was the separate culture groups: the Norwegians, the Germans, the English, the Scots, and GOD help you if you failed to mention them, the Welsh and Cornish miners. Within a block, you could get lefse and salt-water taffy,and tour the Mustard Museum and the passionately independent local bookstore. You could get maps showing the locations of the gnomes around town. Drive a little further north, and there’s the House on the Rock. Further still, and there’s a Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in Spring Green. Nobody’s native; nobody’s not.

Colorado seems to be like that, but on a national, rather than a European, level. When you ask, “Where are you from?” the answer is seldom “Colorado” but a different state or part of the country. California. Utah. Texas. Iowa. New York. Pennsylvania. Minnesota (watch out for those Minnesotans; they’ve figured out that “mountains” means snow when you want it and a car that starts in the morning without being plugged into a generator all night).

Lee’s working today. I went to a restaurant. I have this project of touring Colorado Springs like I toured Iowa when I lived there. I’ve only had the itch to sneak off to Denver a couple of times so far, and the zoo’s captured me both times. The exploration of Denver will happen later, I’m sure.

I went to Zorbadillo’s Greek and Mexican Restaurant. They don’t have saginaki, unless you can ask for it to be specially prepared. This is, because of Lee, the standard by which all Greek restaurants shall be judged. Jake and Telly’s, the other big Greek restaurant in town, doesn’t get it all toasty and good. Eh. I had the lemon-chicken soup and a souvalaki sandwhich from their limited lunch menu. Pretty good; I could probably do better on the soup (but only because I’m obsessed with soup), but the souvalaki was savory, stuffed with tender chunks of lamb and grilled vegetables, served with roasted potatoes on the side. The potatoes had–for some reason–included okra, which I’m sure isn’t traditional, but it worked. Ray liked the potatoes best, and savaged my plate for the last of them.

The restaurant was deserted when I came in, so much so that I was prepared to turn around and leave because they looked closed. Customers drifted in as I ate, but it seems like winter is a pretty slow time for the place. (Last summer, it seemed to be pretty packed whenever I drove by.) I was wearing my Panera’s shirt from my stint in Iowa, and the owner drifted over to my table and started up a conversation. It could have been the shirt, or the bebe, or just the boredom of looking through the books during a Sunday afternoon. Maybe it’s just his habit.

We talked for a while, and I asked him the reason behind the name. Everyone asks about the name. It’s based off the concept of the restaurant, which is Greek + Mexican. (Greek, because he’s Greek, and Mexican, because not everybody likes Greek, he explained.) The Zorba part comes from Zorba the Greek, a novel and movie about a Greek man that loves life. The dillo part…he’d been debating how to tie in the Mexican theme in the name of the place, and happened to think of…


I cracked up when he told me that, because it was so funny and brilliant. Zorbadillos. Now, it makes perfect sense.

My overall impression so far was that the place was a pretty neat affair, very Mediterranean in atmosphere, lots of scenes from the Greek isles, a pretty typical menu (once you got used to the idea of Mexican food in a Greek restaurant–not fusion food, but traditional food from two different traditions). Then the owner (after plying Ray and I with chocolate and other goodies–it must be some kind of cultural hospitality thing, because he stacked the stuff all over a table in the entryway, too) invited us to wander over next door, to a cafe that they’d just opened two months ago, called the Neptune Cafe.


If I live to be a hundred, I’ll never see another place like it, most likely. Half the building is glassed-in, and small stained-glass windows line the other half. Some of the tile, the owner said, is from Venice, from an old church. He picked it up in a warehouse…

The building is divided in two, with a cafe on one half and a wine bar on the other. (Scheduled for Valentine’s Day is a wine-tasting and meal. First the apertifs at the Cafe. Then, the romantic meal at the restaurant. Finally, the wine and coctails at the Cafe.) The eye is delighted with the details–both the sheer clutter and the harmonious merging of the eclectic elements. The belly is entranced with a glimpse at the menu–tapas, appetisers, salads, sandwhiches, pizzas, pastries and desserts made in-house. A completely different menu than the restaurant, one that delivers the answer to the “greek-mexican?” question. Finally, the nose–if that’s the term–whiffs the delight of the coffee menu, which ranges from coffee to divine coffee, the sort with any sort of alcohol you can imagine adding to it. I didn’t see the wine list, and I wouldn’t know how to describe it if I had.

I had the impression that this man had more imagination than I do, which is saying something. I left feeling like I’d found someplace that could easily become a good gravitation point, as are the best coffee shops: the place only needs to be discovered. I had a great time; he was a charming host, but not the kind of charming that leaves one wondering what the person is really like afterwards. This was the kind of charming which has spaces in the conversation, blank gazes into space, a moment of thought between question and reply, and a restrained eagerness to show off one’s prized creations that I can so relate to.

Also, he tried to hire me, which made me laugh.

Diary of…Gregory Price. I didn’t like the name anymore.

Thursday: Stopped at a coffee shop. The milk in the carafe was bad, but the attendant refused to replace it. Apparantly, people had been complaining about it all day, and she was tired of being the butt of such a poor practical joke.

Friday: Replaced the milk (still bad) with milk of magnesia. Complained that the milk now tasted of chalk, but was unable to convince the attendant to replace.

Saturday: Brought a baby’s bottle filled with fresh milk and used it to lighten coffee. Attendant lectured me about bringing in outside refreshments, confiscated both coffee and bottle of fresh milk.

Sunday: Stayed home. Brewed own coffee. Unfortunately, the milk in the icebox smelled a bit off. Unable to drink coffee, too bitter. Experiment with drinking hot buttered coffee a failure. Irritable all day, despite hot bath.

Monday: Attempted to speak to manager about spoiled milk. The gentleman reeked of I know not what. When I presented the carafe to him, he denied that the milk “tasted funny,” and, in fact, drank it.

Tuesday: Infiltrated the preparation area of the coffee shop. Inspected milk. The dates on the cartons were appropriate; however, the pictures of the missing children on the backs of the cartons looked suspicously Victorian.

Wednesday: Mentioned coffee shop to my sister. We were going to visit it Friday afternoon, but mysterious fire has destroyed business. No fatalities. Went to Starbuck’s instead.

Hot and Cold Running Errands. Yep. That’s it. That’s what we did today. It was actually kind of enjoyable. Hm. Let me look at that sentence. There’s just so much wrong with it. Why does it sound so comfortable to the ear, and yet so awkward to the eye?

Remove “it,” “that,” “is,” “was,” and all adjectives and adverbs, and what you have? “Yep. . . .What we did today.”

Bleh. Sometimes I wonder if I can retrain myself to write actual sentences.


Yesterday, Ray sat in the rocking chair, looked at me, and chirped: “Hi, Daddy!”

Diary of Edgar Pierce. A little experiment.

Thursday: Ate squid at insistence of sister.

Friday: Or quite possibly octopus.

Saturday: The texture was rubbery, although not quite as rubbery as rubber itself. Obsession with cephalopodic meal continues.

Sunday: Am being followed by strange presences dressed in trench coats and fedoras. The aroma of the sea.

Monday: Bright lights and strange sounds preceded abduction through my bedroom window.

Tuesday: Anal probe.

Wednesday: I begin to suspect that I have not eaten squid. Humiliating rescue by sister. In hospital.

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