Sunday, April 13, 2014

Word Frequency - an alphabet of one-offs

An alphabet of single use words from my writing from over the past year:

A is for acridity, B is for balm, C is for chiropractor, D is for dehydration, E is for ether, F is for forsight, G is for gloss, H is for hymnody, I is for Instagram, J is for jealousy, K is for kitchen, L is for Lana Del Ray, M is for metaphor, N is for neon, O is for olive, P is for permanence, Q is for question, R is for rifle, S is for seasickness, T is for Tanquerey, U is for ugliness, V is for verbage, W is for wilding, X is for Xerox, Y is for Youtube, Z is for Zeus.

Poetic Obsessions III - Word Frequency

Life changes. We change our lives. Obsession drifts and reflects itself in the mirror of writing. I run a word frequency count every so often so as to see myself. These drafts cover the last year's writing. Put on a word document, the list runs to 47 pages of one word per line. 23 of those pages are one-offs. 

There's lots of alcohol this year and a suspicious number of animals hiding in the count. There's an odd number of knees but an even number of hips and breasts. And somehow, the story of a year:

14 glass, 10 deer, 9 grenadine, 8 zebra, 8 oneiros, 8 houses, 8 fields, 7 thirst, 7 tidal, 7 linen, 7 arabesques, 6 pomegranate, 6 mud, 6 green, 6 glistering, 6 girl, 5 sunbound, 5 shandy, 5 knees, 5 exile, 5 drunker, 5 drinking, 5 dreaming, 5 dog, 4 subdivision, 4 lemonade, 4 languorous, 4 intention, 4 hurricane, 4 hips, 4 foals, 4 breasts, 3 woman, 3 winters, 3 windows, 3 swans, 3 semaphore, 3 newscasters, 3 fragments, 3 chlorine, 3 bikini, 3 arctic, 2 waterslides, 2 tonic,  2 artichokes, 1 tuba, 1 passport, 1 milkyness, 1 marriage, 1 Kardashian, 1 fox, 1 ache

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Odd Advertisement: New Is Always Better

Photo Credit - GVT
I saw this advertisement at Bar Louie last Friday, a small marketing phrase unwittingly making a huge statement about American culture. I'll modify a bit of Cavafy's "Theophilos Palaiologos" to say of it

Ah, how much of the pathos, 
the yearning of our race,
how much weariness
these four tragic words contained.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Updates and Miscellany

It's been some time since I've written here. No doubt, the persistent chill of a miserably frosty winter has hampered my posting as has a drudgy graduate school class (for the next level of teaching certification). I finished the latter yesterday and in the words of Eliot's post-coital lover in "The Wasteland," well now that’s done: and I’m glad it’s over. Life has changed in these days of lengthening sunshine. I've started yoga and have been reading a great deal. I've started making preliminary plans for a month or two in Europe this summer. And I've accumulated some collections, updates, and miscellany:
  • The Ilanot Review recently published my poem "Saint Christopher in the Copenhagen Metro" which you can read here.
  • Structo Magazine is taking on my Lenten Psalm Contest this year. Entries for the contest open on Ash Wednesday. General submissions open on March 1. In other Structo news, we've just published a new issue with translations from Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Classical Chinese, and Jèrriais. Our chief editor recently did an interview with Margaret Atwood which will appear in the next issue.
  • I've an imitation of Alcaeus coming out in the next issue of Midwestern Gothic.
  • Balustrade comes from the Greek word from pomegranate flower.
  • My hairstylist on being able to tell if someone is good looking based on pictures: the problem is that you need to see how the still features animate.
  • AT&T recently posted an advertisement for Black History Month with the unfortunately genocidal-sounding slogan make black history!
  • I'm taking forty days off technology for Lent. I'll pop on to post an analog blog or two but will be limiting myself to a half hour of screen time a day, just enough to get necessary emails, bills, and grading done. If you'd like to talk, we can resort to pen and paper and postage.
I've been reading A Lover's Discourse by Roland Barthes. In it he writes how letters need a reply: Perpetual monologues apropos of a loved being, which are neither corrected nor nourished by that being, lead to erroneous notions concerning mutual relations and make us strangers to each other when we meet again, so that we find things different from what, without realizing it, we imagined. Dear reader, let not silence stand between us, lest we be strangers to one another. And so, I send you this flimsy blog post, a late valentine of sorts. May love and friendship keep you warm through the dregs of winter and carry you on into a glorious summer of swimming and strawberries.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Google Mistranslation - Lewd Lorca

Google Chrome's autotranslate feature makes an interesting rendering for Lorca' Romance Sonámbulo. Trescientas rosas morenas / lleva tu percha blanca should read something like three-hundred blood-brown roses bloom across your white shirtfront. Google's version is a bit more racy:

Friday, January 17, 2014


From time to time, I come across new word coinages in fashion and advertising - jeggings, droolisimo, millionize. A friend recently brought to my attention the newly minted smellcome. This disturbing portmanteaux is brought to you by Old Spice deodorant. In the commercial, a mom weeps because she smells Old Spice spray deodorant on her son and realizes he's a man. In later installments, she bewails the fact that her son is now irresistable to women because of said aerosolized anti-perspirant.

About this aberration of a word, I can only say that I maintain a policy that smelling on the good side of neutral is best. No-one should wear so much deodorant that it greets people around them. Smell should not be the first sense activated when someone meets you. That's why we say nice to see you and nice to hear from you rather than nice to smell you. My junior year, I had a suitemate who took spray-baths in axe body spray in lieu of proper showering. I know that I never felt smellcome when entering the shared suite bathroom afterwards.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Shakespyeare: Day 359 - Hamlet & Chuck Norris

In the first act and scene of Hamlet, Marcellus relates the following to Horatio and Bernardo after the trio sees the ghost of Hamlet's father:

  Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes 
  Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated, 
  This bird of dawning singeth all night long; 
  And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad, 
  The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike, 
  No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, 
  So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.

Dear reader, I hope your Christmas is a merry one and may the new year bring you new joys. It turns out that Shakespyeares last two calender cycles, convenient as I didn't make it through the complete works yet. More to come in 2014. Until then, be well. Raise a glass of rum punch for me. Here are Shakespeare's lines, Chuck Norris, and Enya to cheer your season.