Words Made Up Of Other Words

One feverish anal-retentive little hobby of mine is coming up with anagrams.  Although there are algorithms that will do the grunt work for you these days, I like the thrill of discovery that occasionally pops up during eureka moments from a dungheap of duds (that would be a good name for a second-hand clothing store).  That’s why I do them all by longhand.  It’s a bad habit, as I accumulate folded scraps of paper I have to sift through in search of anything worth salvaging.

I’d be grateful if you could let me know which ones you like.  And if there are any you don’t like, don’t feel you have to hide your flamethrower under a bushel.

But before I share them with you, have you ever seen anything more surreal than George W. Bush commemorating the historic Selma march of the civil rights movement?

I haven’t.

George W. Bush        SOB GREW HUGE (or:  s.o.b. grew huge) (a golden oldie)


omnipresent        NOTE MR. PENIS

redundancy         RANDY DUNCE



American Sniper       SIMIAN CREEP RAN

Clint Eastwood         A TWISTED COLON; TOTAL SWINE, COD

melting glaciers         GIGANTIC SMELLER

tenacious         INTO SAUCE

downloads       WOODLANDS

hug         UGH

bloody     OLD BOY

bleed       BE LED

antlers     RENTALS

automatons    TOMATO ANUS


Paradise Lost      OLD PARASITES

Stairway to Heaven    ATTORNEY HAS A VIEW

heart failure       FEEL A HURT AIR

confused     END FOCUS

freakish      FISH RAKE



split personality        LOST REPTILIAN SPY

toilet paper         PLOP ATTIRE

painkillers      RAKE IN PILLS

I hope you like them.


New Meanings For Familiar Terms

(Along With A Few Coinages)

spontaneous combustion:  what the U.S. Air Force calls a napalm strike

friendly fire:  the smiley faces made by a happy flamethrower

collateral damage:  the thing your car insurance policy doesn’t cover

love triangle:  the harmonious relationship held by Wall Street, the Democrats, and the Republicans

cancer-patient (adj.):  how you have to be if you live in an Asian mega-city with poisonous air conditions

air conditioner:  coal plant

baby-shitter:  someone who gives birth by way of excretion

car pool:  a terrific bathing experience for your precious automobile

face book:  a soldier’s souvenir collection of his victim’s visages

kaputalism:  what happens when the whole global system of trade and commerce suddenly collapses due to accumulated ecological damage, climate-related pressures, prolonged economic inequality, and a perennially sustained assault on other species

blood bank:  the nickname arms contractors give to war

microsoft word:  a baby’s whisper

paper jam:  a delicacy enjoyed by beavers and termites

marketing department:  the section in Walmart where you buy your groceries

plastic surgeon:  a doctor of the future

time machine:  a mobile phone

conspicuous consumption:  cannibalism

police force:  a euphemism for “police brutality”

diorama:  a colorful way of saying “mass extinction”

international relationship:  the love boat

divine intervention:  the end result of government surveillance

exitainment:  the feeling you get when you realize the movie you’re watching sucks

celepretty (adj):  (rhymes with “celebrity”) attractive in an artificial way that makes people want to give you an award

Answers to Mr. Spock Sing-Along Quiz

Here are the answers to the quiz entitled “Mister Spock Belts Out A Few Tunes,” posted earlier today:

1.  If You Could Read My Mind (“love, what a tale my thoughts could tell.”)  Gordon Lightfoot

2.  (“How does it feel to be on your own, with no direction home, a complete unknown?”) Like A Rolling Stone      Bob Dylan

3.  I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You     Hank Williams

4.  God Bless the Child (That’s Got His Own)   Billie Holiday (also covered by Blood, Sweat, and Tears)

5.  Why Don’t We Get Drunk And Screw?  (Sorry–I don’t know who sings it, but it’s a country and western song, vs. city and eastern)

6.  You Don’t Miss Your Water (Till Your Well Runs Dry)  Otis Redding; Taj Mahal (not sure who wrote it)

7.  (“I hope I die before I get old.”)  My Generation    The Who

8.  You Can’t Always Get What You Want  (“but if you try some time, you just might find you’ll get what you need.”)    Rolling Stones

9.  (“Like a”) Bridge Over Troubled Water (“I will lay me down.”)  Simon and Garfunkel (also beautifully covered by Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, and–of all people–Elvis)

10.  (“If you ever change your mind about leaving, leaving me behind, oh, bring it to me, bring your sweet loving”) Bring It (“on”) Home To Me     Sam Cooke (also covered by the Animals, along with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes

11.  Who’ll Stop the Rain?     Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR)

So how did you do?

Mr. Spock Belts Out A Few Tunes

Do you remember Spy Magazine?  It was funny, clever, and hip.  It had a retro look.  And the people who wrote for Spy weren’t afraid to skewer those in power, including perennial prima donnas like Donald Trump and assorted insufferable celebrities.  Their motto was “No Sacred Cows.”

Unfortunately, the operation folded a long time ago, but one of their gems was a piece entitled “Name That Tune, Mr. Spock,” in which the legendary Vulcan of Star Trek fame provided his interpretation of the lyrics of well-known songs.  The concept was so engaging, I’ve decided to revive it with a few of my own Spockian takes on songs you might recognize.

To provide you with a challenge, I’ve opted to withhold the original lyrics and song titles until tomorrow’s posts.  Feel free to post your guesses in the comments section if you’d like to take a stab at it in the meantime.

As Orsino would say in the opening line of Shakespeare’s (overrated?) Twelfth Night, “If music be the food of love, play on.”

Before you start, keep in mind that in some cases the lyrics in question include not only the title, but part of the refrain as well.

1.  “In the event that you were gifted with the capability to decipher the unexposed contents of my consciousness, I guarantee you would find the narrative they entail most engaging.”

2.  “Perhaps you could convey to me the sensation produced by your solitary, anomic, anonymous state, which resembles that of a small, peripatetic mineral.”

3.  “The tenacity of my affection for your person is the ineluctable concomitant of the biological imperative to propagate the species.”

4.  “May the Judeo-Christian deity condone the juvenile human individual who has independently mastered the art of self-sufficiency.”

5.  “Please accept my invitation to imbibe intoxicating spirits and copulate in a perfunctory manner as a matter of course.”

6.  “One tends not to appreciate the indispensable crystalline liquid source of all life necessary to sustain survival until the subterranean cylindrical space where said beverage is stored is entirely deprived thereof.”

7.  “The realization of my own personal mortality is preferable to longevity in light of the latter’s undesirable attendant decrepitude.” (Note:  The words here refer to a famous line in the song rather than the title itself.)

8.  “The occasional inability to obtain one’s desires is an unfortunate by-product of human experience; however, given the application of sustained effort, one may periodically succeed in achieving the wherewithal to procure satisfactory essentials.”

9.  “In the manner of an infrastructural conduit joining two pieces of land separated by an elongated turbulent body of water, I shall assume a recumbent position in order to provide you with vital emotional support in an empathetic manner.”

10.  “In the event that you reconsider your decision to abruptly abandon the organism who is currently speaking, I would deem it agreeable if you would correspondingly return to this location with your myriad coital gifts in tow.”

11.  “Please inform me of the identity of the person capable of enforcing the cessation of the relentless precipitation in progress.”

I’ll see you tomorrow with the answers!

Kirk out.

(By the way, if you’re in need of a laugh, make sure to check out William Shatner’s rendition of “Mr. Tambourine Man” on You Tube.  The man clearly missed his calling.)

Playing Scrabble

After awhile–

Approximately a lifetime–

You get tired

Of trying to make

Sense of the world

With words.


Discarding their 

Unpardonable power,

You deem them

Impotent, if only

For their relentless

Presence in your mouth,

Ears, and brain–

Even eyes–frankly

Speaking, you get


Sick of them.

They’re like people

In that respect.


Which is why,

If you’re like me,

You like to play

With them instead

Sometimes, throwing

Out syntax

In favor of double letter

And triple word scores,


Ever vexed by exes, zeds,

And Qs, perplexed

By the haphazard

Row of vowels

Staring back at you

From your green plastic

Tray (unless you’re lucky

Enough to have a wooden

Set) like monogrammed

Pats of butter, and then


You grow weary

Of the alphabet’s

Absurdity, of the futility

Of sedentary combat


With a student, friend,

Or spouse.  The board

Grows crowded

With random verbiage

Until the bag of tiles

Is empty, you 

Work with what’s left

Until your patience 

Ends, and you fold

And tilt the board

Into the bag,

Thank your opponent

For a game well-played,

And go surf the internet

In search of words

Strung together with purpose,


A maze of meaning

In which to get lost

For the rest of your 

Life, a blizzard

Of symbols and sounds

To pass the time

Before you lie

Down in a box

In silence, utterly

Devoid of anything

To say, read, or write,

Deprived by the cessation

Of vital functions–

Suddenly profound

Due to your newfound

Ability to shut up



Communication Breakdown

Unanswered questions dangle in the air.

Thoughts are strangled between breaths by fear.

Anger mangles syntax; cackles tackle silence.

Salvos of small talk, punctuated by pauses,

softly explode in waiting ears

as mouths launch a counterattack

of relentless pleasantries,

inexorable and tenacious

as a wedding photographer

cajoling a group of well-dressed guests

to smile for the camera in the name

of holy matrimony, camaraderie, 

and posthumous posterity.

The merriment of sentences meant in self-

defense amounts to an excellent announcement

as long as the speaker sharpens his wit on the ears

of his listeners, respecting their capacity

to reciprocate with their own bon mots,

bonhomie triumphing–if only for a moment–

against anomie–yet everything is temporary,

both the toothache and the earthquake,

and undying love that promises to last forever

will one day lie in the same box containing

the unused nubbins of leftover erasers

huddled like uneaten peas

in the refrigerated darkness.


What Do Words Mean?

What’s the main purpose of language?  To communicate, right?  But how can we expect to communicate with one another when we’re burdened with the imprecision of certain words?  I’m not thinking about the concrete words whose meaning we can all agree on here (such as, for example, “concrete”), but the abstract terms that get thrown around like so many paper airplanes, threatening to poke people’s eyes out.

For instance, love.  When is it safe to tell someone you love her or him?  Why does it have to sound so corny?  And how come so many people say it just so person they’re talking to will say it to them (sorry about the singular/plural conundrum that sentence presents)?

My wife and I tell each other we love each other sometimes, but we don’t always love each other.  She’s not averse to telling me she hates me when the mood is right.  I harbor feelings of hatred for her at times, but I try not to verbalize them, as I’m afraid I might never stop and have to be carted off to a small padded room somewhere and be forced to listen to “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” for the rest of my life.

Also, i think she’s manic-depressive.  I’m a depressive maniac, so we’re perfectly compatible.

Another word that annoys me is freedom.  As Janis Joplin said, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”  Does freedom even exist, or is it like perfection, a concept we’ve created just to drive ourselves crazy?  Freedom from want is achievable (though freedom from wants is much harder to achieve).  Freedom to do what you want is much harder, because of the sense of duty towards others.  If that’s your goal, you’re free to pursue it.

Happiness is another irritating collection of syllables.  It especially annoys me when my wife asks me if I’m happy.  “Well, I was until you asked me.  Now that I’m thinking about it again, no, I’m not.”  The word “happy” has been reduced by overuse to cliche status.  Happy Birthday.  Happy New Year.  These imperatives put a lot of pressure on people to feel better than they might be ready to.  Merry Christmas.  When was the last time you felt merry?  Must have been when you had a bottle of sherry.

Politicians love to dwell in abstraction, throwing around words like freedom, liberty, justice, and democracy like so much confetti to perform their snow jobs with.  Too many of their speechwriters work from the same playbook.  Computer jargon with its downloads and megabytes and voyages into cyberspace is likewise plagued with vagueness.  Many doctors specialize in polysyllabic Latin phrases unknown to laymen, while lawyers strain the laws of grammar and advertisers and military advisers sprinkle their speech with a fusillade of euphemisms.

And yet, there are a few words that convey or express generalities that I am fond of.  Here are a few of my favorite abstract nouns:

Life.  It says it all, doesn’t it?  (Except the part about death, another favorite.  Together these two concepts corner the market on experience, at least as far as I know.)

Change.  This word has been overused by a lot of politicians, including Borracho Obama.  Nevertheless, it’s what life’s all about (as is death).

Present.  The word has three distinct meanings:  “here,” “now,” and “gift.”  It’s the only time that exists, and since it’s always moving and changing, it never lasts; so, like the past and the future,the present doesn’t really exist either (no hard feelings).  All the same, there’s no time like the present, and there’s no place like home (thank God).

Time.  The most valuable entity in the world, and the one I take the most for granted, even though it’s always running out.

Space.  What I need more of.  Hmmm, how to talk to my wife about this without having to have a frying pan surgically removed from my skull?

Please add the word “God” to the list of annoying words.  As eighties new wave band XTC would say, people “can’t make opinions meet about God.”

What does God mean to you?  For me, God is a combination of nature, art, love, and beer.

And with that in mind, may God bless you, and may you bless God (life, love, happiness, freedom–it’s all a two-way street, a yin-and yang that spins like a boomerang).