Month: December 2016

Sources

I reposted an old post yesterday about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, entitled “The History of this Bullshit”. That in itself was insanity. It seems nobody will ever come to agreement on this issue. But then I made it worse by not citing my sources.

The original post did include links to sources, but those links have been lost. They were probably destroyed by a terrorist.

I guess ordinarily it would be no big deal. But something of an imbroglio developed over my post. A commenter told me that my story was a myth, and that it was full of lies, distortions, and outrageous omissions. I deny all but the omissions. Heck, I can’t include everything–there’s just so much to the Middle East conflict.

As to whether or not my omissions are outrageous, I advise you not to take this shit too seriously. This is politics, after all. Never take politics very seriously or you will often feel disenchanted, discouraged, dissed, and outraged. Be your own salvation, and never rely on politics to save your butt.

Someone also said my post was biased. It might be. I’ve heard so much bias in favor of Israel, I thought it would make for a more interesting post if it emphasized the other side of the story for a change.

But in the interest of fairness, I will admit that both sides have committed atrocities. And the use of terrorism by Arabs to retaliate against the injustices done to them is a stupid and tragic strategy. It has also backfired fatally on them, in terms of public relations.

I want to assure you that I did not make up the claims presented in yesterday’s post. So I sacrificed some sleep (and believe me, that’s a big sacrifice for me) and redid my research to find new links. Now you can check it out for yourself with a few convenient clicks. Here are my sources:

Some people believe the Palestinians came from the Philistines of the Old Testament:
http://hope-of-israel.org/whopal.html

But others claim that’s a myth:
http://www.imninalu.net/myths-pals.htm

A Zionist movement that began in the 19th Century, led to the immigration of Jews to Palestine for the purpose of establishing a sovereign Jewish state:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism

Some Muslim leaders supported Zionism. Heck, some still do, even today:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_supporters_of_Israel

Many Jews immigrated to Palestine illegally, before Israel was established. Of course this was very understandable, as many were trying to escape the Nazis.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliyah_Bet

Czechoslovakia supplied weapons to Jewish militias after WWII. This proved critical in helping them to defeat the Arabs and establish the state of Israel.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_shipments_from_Czechoslovakia_to_Israel_1947%E2%80%9349

Jewish forces committed massacres against Palestinians during the 1948 Palestine War. But to be fair (and not included in my original post), Palestinians also committed some massacres. Reports are conflicting, but it seems many more massacres have been attributed to the Jewish forces than to the Arab forces. But then again, this is disputed by some who are pro-Israeli, and inflated by some who are pro-Palestinian. Argggh!!!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killings_and_massacres_during_the_1948_Palestine_war

The 1948 Palestine War displaced 750,000 Arabs, and resulted in the loss of 60% of Palestine’s territory to Israel (I couldn’t find that exact link, but this link puts the amount of displaced as over 700,000. And it tallies the lost territory as 78% of “mandate” Palestine, or 22% more territory for Israel than the UN Partition Plan had allocated.):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Palestine_war

In 1967, Israel launched a surprise attack against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, enabling them to take land from them in just 6 days:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War

In 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack against Israel, to get their land back. This was called the Yom Kippur War:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur_War

Israel came close to being defeated during the Yom Kippur War, but rallied and won after help from the United States.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur_War
https://history.state.gov/milestones/1969-1976/arab-israeli-war-1973

The Yom Kippur War raised tensions between the the United States and Soviet Union to the point where nuclear war seemed possible. In fact, toward the end of the war the United States put its nuclear forces on worldwide alert:
https://history.state.gov/milestones/1969-1976/arab-israeli-war-1973

The price we paid for supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War included waiting in long lines for gas, and the energy crisis of the 1970’s:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970s_energy_crisis

Israel is very popular in the United States:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/American_attitudes_toward_Israel.html

The U.S.A. gives billions of dollars in military aid to Israel:
http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-how-much-america-really-spends-on-israels-defense-2012-9

Israel violates the human rights of Palestinians:
https://www.hrw.org/middle-east/n-africa/israel/palestine

Israel continues to occupy Palestine, effectively colonizing the West Bank. This helps the Israeli economy, but harms the Palestinian economy:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlement

Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into the world’s largest open-air prison:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/tales-from-gaza-what-is-life-really-like-in-the-worlds-largest-outdoor-prison-8567611.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockade_of_the_Gaza_Strip

Reuters has reported that Israel’s expensive “Iron Dome” defense system has failed to stop all but a few of Hamas’ rockets:
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/07/25/israels-iron-dome-is-more-like-an-iron-sieve/

The History of this Bullshit

The Pyrrhic Dance, by Jean-Leon Gerome.

The Pyrrhic Dance, by Jean-Leon Gerome.

What the hell? The Israelis and Palestinians are back in the news again for some reason. There’s all sorts of transglobal bickering going on right now about the same old shit.

Their most recent war was back in the summer of 2014, when Gaza was firing dumb rockets at Israel, and the Israelis were shooting smart missiles back. Like an idiot, I jumped into the fray and gave it my two-cents’ worth. I guess I can’t resist a good fight.

I did some research on the history of this conflict, back then, and wrote a post. That old post was on an old blog that I have long since abandoned, due to lack of public interest. But the post suddenly seems timely again. So if you’re curious, here is . . .

THE HISTORY OF THIS BULLSHIT

Arab Muslims seem quite unhappy these days with all the conflict going on in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Israeli Jews are singing, dancing, and toasting, “Mazel Tov!” At least that’s what you can see in their travel ads and brochures. Perhaps they’re just trying to attract tourism dollars.

But the recent war between Israel and Gaza left me wondering. I wanted to know what the real history was behind the never-ending conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. So I shut off the History Channel, which was airing reruns of some pawn shop show, and did a little research into real history.

What I found was so good I had to write it down. It’s a little long, but if you’re curious about the whole Israeli-Palestinian clusterfuck, read on. Here is why I think Israelis seem so happy:

The Old Testament portrays the Philistines as bad guys who deserve to be smitten by God, with the help of his Chosen People. “Philistine” sounds a lot like “Palestine”. They’re really not the same, but many well-meaning Bible-thumpers have fallen for this homophone and assume that the Palestinians are descended from the Philistinians.

From 1881 to 1945, Jews increased their population in Palestine from 4% to 33%, with immigration. This immigration was inspired by a worldwide Zionist movement backed by many prominent Jews and Christians. They favored the Jews over the evil Philistines. Er, I mean Palestinians.

Heck, even a few prominent Muslims initially liked the idea of a Jewish state. A homeland for all those poor scattered Jews—what a great idea! At least it sounded great in theory. After all, what could possibly go wrong? Setting aside a piece of land for the exclusive use and domination of one religious group or race seemed harmless enough to the mindset of many folks in those days.

So the immigration of Zionist Jews into Palestine, between 1881 and 1945, was allowed by the Ottoman Empire; and then the British Empire, who occupied Palestine after World War I. But quite a bit of the immigration was illegal. Just like us, the British failed to build a good enough fence. But I’ll bet the illegals still got driver’s licenses.

From 1947-1948 Czechoslovakia supplied a tremendous amount of weapons and ammunition to Jewish militias in Palestine. Those crazy Czechs! Why would they want to put their noses into Palestine’s business? Well as it happens, no one would take a check in those post-war days, and they needed to raise some cash.

They were actually selling off captured German armaments and making a bundle of money off of their war souvenirs. Plus, some of their war factories survived the war, and they were kept in use producing German weapons. After all you wouldn’t want to lay off a bunch of poor factory workers just because the war was over. Think of what that would do to the unemployment rate.

The Jewish militias used their Nazi weapons to behave like, well, Nazis, ironically enough. They took 60% of the land that the United Nations had recently designated for Palestine, from the Palestinians. They did this by massacring and leveling entire Arab villages, and terrorizing 750,000 Arabs to the point that they fled their homes. They absorbed these arrogated lands into lands already allocated to them by the United Nations, to create most of the current state of Israel. Now that’s chutzpah!

In 1967, Israel displayed more chutzpah by launching a surprise attack against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. This enabled them to take more Palestinian land along with land from Egypt and Syria, in just six days. On the seventh day they rested.

In 1973 Israel ran out of chutzpah. They narrowly avoided defeat in the Yom Kippur War, when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack to try to take their land back. Karma’s such a bitch.

Israel was saved by the United States after the Israeli army began preparing to use their nuclear arsenal, in a last ditch effort to avoid defeat. The U.S.A. was trying to keep Israel from touching off a global thermonuclear war. So you see we really were the good guys here.

We resupplied the beleaguered Israelis with an airlift of tanks, artillery, ammunition and supplies, and gave them valuable intelligence from our spy planes. Their army quickly rallied and surrounded the Egyptian army.

But Egypt was backed by the Soviet Union in those days. Oops! So this nearly touched off another nuclear war between the U.S.A. and Soviet Union. Neither side wanted to go up in smoke, so they negotiated a compromise. The Israelis were convinced to show mercy on the Egyptians, and they let the Pharaoh’s people go. Armageddon was averted.

The only price we had to pay for helping Israel was the small inconvenience of waiting in long lines for gas, while angry Arab nations cut off our oil supply. Oh yeah, we also had to drive 55 mph for the next 13 years.

Israel enjoys immense popularity in the United States, because after all, they are the only Chosen Ones in this world besides us. This popularity has enabled them to procure $3 billion per year in military aid from us, much to the dismay and anger of Arab nations, as well as many other countries. Well they can just suck it up. They’re just jealous because their national debt is not as high as ours.

Israel’s popularity in the U.S.A. has enabled them to get away with occupying the West Bank of Palestine since 1967, while routinely committing human rights abuses against Palestinians. Or to look at it from another angle, the Palestinians sure know how to accommodate a guest.

The occupation allows Israel to establish settlements and effectively colonize the West Bank. Their settlement colonies use the resources of the West Bank to bolster the Israeli economy while leaving the Palestinians dirt poor and powerless to improve their economic condition. Something tells me the Palestinians need a Tea Party.

Israel’s popularity has also helped it to maintain the world’s largest open-air prison. Inhabitants of the Gaza Strip have not been allowed to leave by air, land, or sea, since 2006. The prison population has divided into several rival gangs, with names like “Hamas” and “Fateh”. Hamas means “zeal” and Fateh means “victory.” Yeah, yeah. Hamas also means “hype” and Fateh can mean “One of these days Alice, pow! Straight to the moon!”

Well anyway, Israelis can be happy that their greatest fear of a prison break arises from grossly inaccurate rockets that rarely cause any harm or damage. This is mainly because a whole 5% of these rockets were blocked by their vaunted “Iron Dome” during this summer’s hostilities. Yes that is not a typo. The vaunted news organization Reuters reported it at 5%.

But the vaunted Iron Dome was very expensive, so it’s no surprise that some Israeli politicians quoted figures like 60% or 84%. Like all politicians, they do “vaunt” to be re-elected ever so much.

The rockets were intended by Hamas to force negotiations for a reopening of Gaza’s borders. It’s kind of like saying, “Talk to me, or I’ll destroy you with my peashooter.” The rockets did have an effect. They gave the Israelis an excuse to invade Gaza and kill thousands of Palestinian civilians with impunity. This put the joke on Israel. Look at how many Palestinian souls escaped Gaza with the very help of Israel’s own military.

There are many other reasons why Israelis can be happy, but these are the ones I have found most interesting.

Besides, I’m out of jokes.

In the Garden of Eden

The Garden of Earthly Delights. Triptych painting by Hieronymus Bosch, c. 1495-1505. The Garden of Eden is depicted in the left panel, with God introducing Eve to Adam. The middle panel depicts a fantastic world of pleasure, and the right panel depicts the Last Judgment.

The Garden of Earthly Delights. Triptych painting by Hieronymus Bosch, c. 1495-1505. The Garden of Eden is depicted in the left panel, with God introducing Eve to Adam. The middle panel depicts a fantastic world of temporal pleasure, and the right panel depicts the Last Judgment.

It was branded as Satanic. Evangelicals feared it, and tried to keep it away from their children. They truly believed that subliminal messages from the devil were contained in this “poor excuse for music”, which could be discerned by playing the albums backward on a turntable.

And so their children had to sneak it into their bedrooms. Which wasn’t easy. If you ever tried to hide one of those big square albums under your shirt, you’d know what I mean.

They only listened to it when their parents weren’t home. And oh the brainwashings they got! Our culture went through a giant youthquake back in the 60’s and 70’s, when heavy metal rock music crashed onto the scene. And our attitudes have never been the same, since.

What evangelicals did not realize, was that these “demonic” strains from Hades–this heavy metal music–were originally inspired by the Bible.

Douglas Ingle grew up listening to his father play the organ in church. He idolized his dad, and learned a lot about music from him while growing up.

He joined a rock ‘n roll band in his high school years, then eventually formed his own combo as a young adult. He played the organ. But his biggest ambition was to write musical scores for motion pictures.

He began experimenting with electronic sounds. Then he decided to encapsulate all these sounds into a dramatic, motion-picture-like theme. He was trying to capture the full range of man’s emotions, from tranquility to rage. Ingle figured that the best place to start would be with the history of man, right at the beginning. And being raised with religion, he believed the beginning of man’s history was documented in the Book of Genesis.

So he came up with a basic tune, and basic draft of lyrics. And in his mind he named this tune, “In the Garden of Eden.” Then he made a little recording of the melody on his rock band’s only tape recorder.

Later that day Ingle was hanging out with some young ladies, and getting drunk on Red Mountain Rose wine. A fellow band member, the drummer Ron Bushy, was hanging out with them. Ingle told Bushy about the recording.

Bushy listened to it and probably said something like, “Far out man! What do ya call it?”

Ingle was very soused by this time. He thought he said, “In the Garden of Eden.” But he slurred his words so badly that Bushy thought he said, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” Bushy wrote that down, and that became the title. Ingle didn’t mind the title change, because he wanted this to be a spiritual song for everyone, and not just for Bible believers.

And that is how the band Iron Butterfly came up with one of the very first heavy metal tunes. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida became a 17-minute smash hit that inspired the birth of the heavy metal rock movement. It was one of Iron Butterfly’s few hits, and was by far their biggest.

The In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida LP was released in the summer of 1968, and rose to the best-selling album of 1969. It was the first album to ever be awarded platinum status, and has since been certified 4x platinum. It’s also achieved worldwide sales of over 30 million copies (including mine). In 2009, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was named the 24th greatest hard rock song of all time, by VH1.

The success of Iron Butterfly, along with Blue Cheer, Jimi Hendrix, and Steppenwolf, gave birth to this new genre of rock music we refer to as heavy metal, hard rock, acid rock, and of course “Satanic” music.

I remember when In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida first came out in 1968. Two of my sisters had boyfriends with the sobriquets of “Lurch” and “Fluffy”. Lurch was tall and goofy. Fluffy was a pudgy little gregarious guy with charisma, who you couldn’t help but like. Lurch and Fluffy brought the controversial Iron Butterfly album over, on a night when my mother and stepfather were out for the evening.

They played it over and over, long and loud, on my mother’s hi-fi. And they smoked cigarettes. Tareytons, in fact.

When they weren’t looking, I picked a smoldering butt from the ashtray and sneaked a puff. It was the first time I ever smoked. And the last. It made me feel horribly sick in a way I’ve never forgotten. Nobody need lecture kids on the evils of smoking. Just let them take a puff on a Tareyton, and I guarantee it will cure them for life.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was considered “psychedelic rock” at that time, as the term “heavy metal” had not yet been coined for music. But Lurch and Fluffy were not druggies who took psychedelics. Their idea of getting high was to hyperventilate and then feel dizzy and giddy.

Lurch was a tall, lanky bean sprout. I remember him huffing and puffing, with his face turning red and purple. Then he passed out, fell backward, and his extensile frame carried his head crushing through the gypsum wall of our living room.

We were mortified. At first we thought he was dead. But after he woke up, our next fear was how to explain the hole in the wall to our parents. We decided to just hide it by moving some furniture around. They didn’t discover it until about six months later, when we moved. And of course “nobody knew” how it got there.

Lurch outgrew our town, and found a higher calling. I don’t remember, but it could have been a basketball scholarship.

Fluffy was drafted and served in Vietnam. He came back in a wheelchair, a bitter young man. And he no longer wanted to be our friend. Or anyone else’s friend, for that matter.

The 60’s and early 70’s brought major changes to our society and culture. Sometimes this was beautiful, other times dangerous, and many times it was tragic. Through it all, it seemed as if we were fighting the devil, while trying to return to the Garden of Eden.

There truly was a subtle message in that demonic music. For the sound of heavy metal accurately reflected the times.

You can read more about the story behind In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, from Douglas Ingle himself, here: http://www.chickensoup.com/book-story/30716/in-a-gadda-da-vida

And here’s the original In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda, if you care to trip back to the ’60s:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIVe-rZBcm4

The Gift Economy

Watercolor by James G. Swan, depicting the Klallam people celebrating a potlatch, in 1859. A potlatch is a feast that involves gift-giving, practiced by Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest.

Watercolor by James G. Swan, from 1859, depicting the Klallam people celebrating a potlatch. A potlatch is a feast that involves gift-giving, practiced by Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest.

What the heck did people do before money was invented? Did they really use the barter system, and trade chickens for firewood, or cows for concubines?

Nope. Well maybe sometimes. But it wasn’t much of a “system”. Anthropologists who’ve studied this matter say that there is no evidence that any society or economy ever relied primarily on any barter system.

Instead, they say that our ancient ancestors relied upon a gift economy.

The noble savages of our past gave gifts to each other. And it was this gift giving that brought ancient communities together, and maintained the durability of families and tribes for generation after generation.

It worked sort of like this:

Let’s say that dastardly Og family, who lives across the river, sends an emissary over to your family, bearing a beautifully carved spear. This person presents the spear as a gift. Rather than seizing the advantage and running this competitor through with the spear, your family gratefully accepts the gift as a high honor.

A few moons are allowed to pass, because proper gifting protocol often requires a time lag. Then your family sends you across the river, bearing a colorfully painted clay pot. It’s presented as a gift to the Og family. Rather than breaking this pot over your head, the Ogs gratefully accept the gift, treating it also as a great honor.

This gift exchange allows mutual feelings to warm between the two competing families. They establish more frequent contact. They intermarry. And they eventually forge an alliance. They become a tribe, while continuing to give gifts back and forth, to maintain tribal loyalty.

Anthropologists say that this is how primitive societies thrived.

But they say that when money is introduced into a gift economy, it acts as an acid upon primitive communities. Families and tribes break apart. Individuals tend to go their own way. Meanwhile, a larger, more central government takes over and enforces the law of the land. It is this central government that ensures the value of the money, by creating a demand for it, through taxation.

By contrast, a pure gift economy relies upon presents. And it is those presents that ensure presence. The presence of those you love, living and laboring in the community you’ve known all your life.

But that was the lifestyle of our ancient ancestors, and not our current, money-based lifestyle. In today’s world, we give less presents, and receive less presence. Nonetheless, we continue to hang onto some traditions of gift giving; usually at birthdays, anniversaries, and of course, Christmas.

Our gift-giving traditions are relicts from ancient times. For example, families gather this time of year bearing goodwill, good gifts, and sometimes not so good gifts. But regardless of what kind of gift we unwrap, it’s customary to treat it as a treasure, and act as if we’ve been honored (before we head to the Returns Department of Walmart).

And that’s because the greatest gift is not in the presents themselves, but in the presence. The presence of our loved ones during those brief precious hours or days that we have the chance to meet and catch up with each others’ lives.

I hope that is how it works out for you this holiday season. In the ancient spirit of the gift economy, may your gifts be exchanged with warm hearts, and a sense of mutual honor. And may you have a very merry Christmas, and receive lots of enjoyable Christmas presence!

Invading My Wife’s Kitchen

Gratin Dauphinoise Casserole. I made it, but can't pronounce it. I do know it will make you fat, unless you eat rationed leftovers for about three days.

Gratin Dauphinoise Casserole. I made it, but can’t pronounce it. I do know it will make you fat, unless you eat rationed leftovers for about three days.

I’m a men’s libber. I reject the notion that a man’s place is outside the kitchen. And so I invaded that sacred room where my wife magically produces the thing called dinner.

I bought a 1,200 page college textbook, called on cooking, by sarah r. labensky and alan m. hause. I then sat down with bifocals on my face, to study the culinary arts.

They say in China that the journey of a thousand-page book begins with the first sentence. I read that first sentence. But then I gave up and took a nap. But later I picked it back up again, and trudged forward, slogging through page after yawning page. As of now, I’ve progressed to page 750. Which tells me I must be pretty serious about this. I guess for the first time in my life I am determined to learn how to cook.

My wife doesn’t mind all the theory I’m digesting. But breaking into her kitchen was a whole different affair. The battle began. She has everything in its place and doesn’t want it disturbed.

Which is ironic, because my wife is a slob.

The lady of this house is one of those disorganized people who leaves everything in piles, yet somehow manages to find what she needs and get things done. It amazes me. I’ve never figured out how slobs are able to accomplish this feat.

Myself, I’m anal-retentive when it comes to organization. I’m meticulous and methodical, and prefer everything to be neat and orderly. Otherwise I begin screaming. And sometimes I even pass out.

And so we are like oil and water, in the kitchen.

She finally agreed to let me cook something. I think she was hoping I’d see what cooking is really like, and never want to try it again. A gamble for her, and a roll of the dice I think she may lose.

It’s not that I like cooking. Hell that’s work, and it cuts into my nap time. But I love the results of my cooking. This college textbook has helped me produce gastronomic results that promise deliverance–sweet blessed deliverance–from my spouse’s traditional family dishes.

I’ve put theory to practice at least a dozen times now, and all with spectacular results. Even the missus reluctantly confesses her enjoyment of the gourmet feasts I’ve served.

Looks like I’m worming my way into a permanent spot in our kitchen.

I’d like to share my culinary methods with you, so that you too may enjoy the toothsome tastes that are being served upon our cluttered dining room table. And so, here’s a recipe to something I frequently cook. ENJOY!

CACOPHONY SOUP AND TOSSED SALAD

INGREDIENTS:
1 oz of Courage.
1/2 of a Brain.
1 1/2 gallons of Boiling Blood.
8 burnt Fingers.
2 scalded Thumbs.
4 letter Words (seasoning).
2 cups of Ears (or, 2 cupped ears).

DIRECTIONS:

  • Search for a saucepan. Pull all the saute pans, stockpots, racks, lids, and colanders out of the cupboards and scatter them over the floor. Somewhere in that metallic mess there has got to be a saucepan.
  • Find a mixing bowl. It will be behind the precariously stacked up bone-china teacups with the pretty designs on them, and to the right of your great-great-grandmother-in-law’s antique vases. Careful. You may feel angry, but don’t break anything trying to yank it out, or you’ll never hear the end of it.
  • Wait until the temptation to slit your wrists has passed. Then locate a chef’s knife. It’s below all the forks and under the pile of matchbooks, in the hidden compartment in the coffee table.
  • You’ll also need a measuring cup. Ah fuck it. You’ll never find it. Just guess.
  • Mix all the ingredients and put them over a flame. But first, get that roll of paper towels off the stove top. It’s a fire hazard, as you’ve politely stammered to your scowling wife a hundred thousand times.
  • Burn your fingers and thumbs numerous times, because you couldn’t find the hotpads.
  • While the vittles are simmering, try to rearrange the kitchen so that there will be some simulacrum of organization.
  • Serve the food. Listen to your wife smack her lips with pleasure, with each eager forkful. Feel vindicated.
  • The next day, cup your ears while enduring the bitching, cursing, and complaining when your wife tries to find stuff in the kitchen. Then spend hours helping her to put it back in the same disorder you found it in. Because then, and only then, will she know where anything is at.

Five Words Game: Culture Cops

We haven’t played the Five Words Game in a while, so I thought I’d resurrect this thing from the trash can.

This is an exercise to improve vocabulary. We need good vocabularies if we want to become rich and famous. I’ve selected five obscure words at random from the dictionary. Then I’ve written a one-paragraph story, where I incorporated the five words, and put them in boldface. It’s your job to figure out the boldface words without looking them up.

Short, contextual definitions of each word are provided at the bottom, so you won’t have to consult a dictionary. It’s bad enough that I had to, in order to write this. But don’t look until you’ve tried to figure the words out first!

Good luck!


Culture Cops

Was it the right thing to do, to expurgate such eloquence from this old classic? The literary professor had been recently conscripted as a censor, into President Pence’s newly-formed Department of Culture. Whenever his conscience wrestled with his fear, he consulted the Kabbalah for guidance. There in his secret library were rows of mysterious books arranged abecedarian, by title. But the text he needed lay superincumbent at its empty-slotted home. He often consulted this intriguing volume but never took it beyond his library, lest the rapine forces of the culture cops confiscate it for their ceremonial bonfires.


Your Score:

5 right: You’re a word genius, and may soon be rich and famous! Can I ride your coattails?
4 right: You’re still pretty smart. I see 15 minutes of fame coming your way.
3 right: Would you settle for 5 minutes of fame?
2 right: Respectable, but you’ll never rise from obscurity. Unless maybe you’re struck by a meteorite.
1 right: Don’t worry. There’s more to life than being rich and famous.
0 right: I’ll bet you’re real handy with street language, so I won’t mess with you.


Definitions:

abecedarian: Alphabetical order.
expurgate: To edit out language judged to be offensive, from a book, blog post, or other publication.
Kabbalah: Esoteric teachings that reconcile the eternal and mysterious with the finite and known.
rapine: Seizure of property by force. Plunder.
superincumbent: Lying or resting on top of something. Or, Barack Obama, had he ran for a third term.