now with 15% more wit 

September 10th, 2009

I resist the notion of "aboutness". In a well-written book, the "aboutness" of the book is not separable from the book's language. And it is to language that I have given my heart.

John Metcalf


Any one knowing the whereabouts of my powder blue tee shirt can just keep that to themselves. I never really liked it. Box 5.
For sale: one litre bottles of aglet cleaner. $4.95 Box 90.
For sale: large format (10 metres by 6 metres) photographs of other much much smaller photographs. Framed. For murder! Just kidding - regular wooden frames. Box 916.
For rent: some radishes I found in the back of my fridge. Daily and weekly rates. Box 211.
Will trade my plucky sense of derring-do for a large armoire or decent sized highboy. Box 19.
Bunnies! If you are a bunny and love to stand perfectly still while looking very nervous then join us. We are The Morning Bunnies and we meet weekday mornings on Woodbridge Road near the concrete bridge.

A Tip For Late Summer Living

If you get sweaty when exerting yourself then you should immediately stop exerting yourself. Lie down, drink something cool (not while lying down or you will choke) and wait for the sweating to cease.

Listen to Part Twenty-Two of

The Mystery of the Lost Lenore

Click on the picture. (3:29)

Or start from the beginning.



You could send us a cheery little note at:

The Armchair Grammarian

Let Me Hear Your Bawdy Talk

(or how to speak like a dirty little boy or girl while remaining grammatically correct)

The very first thing to remember when one begins to talk dirty is that there is no greater turnoff than bad grammar. While the content of your message may be indicating: "Hey baby, I'm hot stuff!", its delivery may be conveying the undesired signal that you are a ham fisted, fumbling fool who can't be trusted to competently handle his own participles, never mind anything even remotely more delicate or complicated.

But there is no real reason why one can't converse obscenely with a loved one (or whomever) in a syntactically pleasing manner. For instance, grammatical considerations aside, "Do me hard baby." may be a perfectly acceptable phrase on many levels, but it is in nowise superior to the elegant: "I should be greatly pleasured if you would be so kind as to visit upon my genitalia progressively harder strokes." There is a clarity here as well as a certain sophistication that indicates that you are obviously a nuanced lover of the very first order. This is not the case with the cruder and somewhat vague "Do me etc."

Likewise the ever popular grammatical atrocity: "I want you." This sentence has a subject, a verb and an object and seems, thereby, to fulfill our grammatical expectations but, I warn you, it is seriously flawed. For one thing it is quite clear that what is wanted is not you but, in fact, either access to some part of your person (I won't specify a part as that can be quite variable) or your services. This is known in grammatical circles as the mistaken object. The most common example of this is the phrase "I love you" by which is meant "I am pleased by one or possibly two aspects of your personality, circumstances or anatomy but this is likely to wain rather quickly until I find you mostly irritating."

To avoid confusion it is best to substitute "Please fondle my bum" for "I want you" (this also works surprisingly well for "I love you"). Although the former does not exactly correspond to what is presumably meant by the latter it has the advantage of being clear, concise , polite and a hell of a lot of fun. If you are the kind of person who does not enjoy having your bum fondled then perhaps you had better just keep shtum as you are obviously repressed beyond belief.

A lot of people are under the impression that the rules of grammar do not apply to email or obscene phonecalls. These misguided individuals believe that text messaging smutty emoticons and heavy breathing are an adequate substitute for good sentence construction. They could not be more wrong. I ask you, would you personally rather receive the message "@#%&#@*^$# me with a %#@&" or the erotic and sophisticated "Oh my beloved, please would you be so kind as to lovingly park your fleshy Lincoln Continental in the lesser used portal of my two car garage then back said vehicle out and repeat that process until such time as we are both sated"? Boy, I know which one I like to hear!

Leonard Derwerthy

The Fairy Princess
the Fairy Prince

Once upon a time there lived fairly high up in a suburban apartment complex a fairy princess named Feringold. Now Feringold was a pretty run-of-the-mill fairy princess except for one thing. What to know what that was? It was her ability to make the best of things.

No matter what lousy situation Feringold found herself in she was able to make it work out more or less okay. If her bread was stale, she had toast. If she had no money to go out she stayed at home and made hats out of old newspapers for herself and her cat, Limondo the Furry, and they pretended to be pirates. If she... well, you get the idea.

Not surprisingly Feringold was a very popular princess because, as we all know, princesses who never complain and always make the best of things are very attractive to almost everyone. There were always many suitors lined up outside Feringold's door and they would amuse themselves by shooting craps, which is a kind of game played with dice.

One of the craps shooters, Valencio Valencio, was a bona fide fairy prince, and so in some ways an ideal match for Feringold. But Valencio Valencio was consistently letting the other suitors cut ahead of him in line and so Feringold never actually met him. It is not entirely clear why Valencio Valencio did this as he did not even like shooting craps.

At any rate one day Feringold was leaving her apartment to buy newspapers at the used newspaper store in order to prepare for another buccaneer themed weekend with Limondo when she collided with Valencio Valencio in the hallway. Valencio Valencio had been doing a little jig and was not watching what he was doing.

After they picked themselves up and dusted themselves off they looked, for the very first time, deep into each other's eyes.

Nothing. No connection whatever. Feringold went off to the store and Valencio Valencio quit hanging around in her hallway. With the money he saved not shooting craps Valencio Valencio was able to start a small homemade crouton business.

Le Sourire Perdu

by Charles Roche-Bobois

I lost
          a smile once.

I was on a bus
          and thought,

for a second,
          of you.

It slipped

out the window,
          and under the

the wheels
          of a passing car

cracking the pavement

translated by
Hugh Briss