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Category Archives: Just me sounding off

Well, resumption of business-as-usual here at the Hope Chest was short-lived. My p.o.s. Hewlett-Packard laptop has thrown up a blue screen of death and died for the umpteenth time. It’s becoming sort of interesting (I tell myself) exactly how many replacement parts and prepaid trips to the service shop this lemon is capable of absorbing. Hewlett-Packard must have lost their profit margin on it a long, long time ago, and there remain 4 years on the warranty package yet to go. At a certain point. you’d think they’d want to cut their losses and just replace the whole thing (I mean in one fell swoop, as opposed to a little tiny piece at a time, which is how we’ve been doing it, Hewlett-Packard and I).

Blocked from my regular blog praxis by the good people at Hewlett-Packard, makers of the valetudinarian paperweight known as the Compaq 6510b, I’ve been honing a new Erma Bombeck shtick over at the Chicago Reader (here and here). The first one blew up real good with the help of Twitter momentum provided by no lesser man than Roger Ebert, which I thought was kind of cool.

Two items of apocalyptic import in this week’s Chicago Reader, here and here.

The statistical display of this blogging platform yields helpful data under the rubric “Search Engine Terms: These are terms people used to find your blog.” I like to consult these whenever I feel doubtful that I’m truly performing the Lord’s work here. The following are some of my favorites from the past 3 weeks. The list includes positive indicators for any randy spinsters out there.

strange pictures of women


whack a cat

harry dean stanton

headless people

pittsburgh occult

incest cartoons

giantess ass

corporal punishment of women

mince pies+giant stores

mince pies girls

funny lynching


spinster sex (x 5)

sexual needs of spinsters

how to do sex with a spinster

spinsters who want sex

‘liver’ and ‘art’

christmas vampire

vampires kill adultery

snake oil hypnotic

sharp trousers

stainless steel didos

d.a.r.e say no to the drugs

revolution for rabbits

2009 detroit hookers

“i can has your soul?”

“corporal punishment” knickers

killer with a god

blemmyes (x 2)

hully gee


“florence tabor critchlow”

I forgot to cross-promote my most recent film review for the Chicago Reader, of Niko Von Glasow’s excellent documentary NoBody’s Perfect. I got a nice reply from Kim Morton (pictured), one of the subjects of the film.

One of the drearier aspects of writing for publication in the digital age is that it brings you into contact with a rising class of bore I call the assertive lexiphobe, or AL for short. He (and I find it’s mostly “he”) is a self-esteeming semi-literate who knows that the words he knows are all the words worth knowing and that everything else in the OED is just meretricious verbal tinsel for pretentious, shirt-lifting, elitist poseurs like yers truly. Okay, that’s not quite how AL would phrase the matter. Instead, AL always sarcastically invokes that ponciest of all reference books, the compendium of pretense called the thesaurus. Here’s a case in point, culled from the comments column under my mince pie article over at the Chicago Reader:

“Very interesting article. But I shouldn’t need a thesaurus to enjoy reading it.’Hegemony, assiduously, folderol, japery, provender, vestigial ?!?’ WHAT !?! Please add, ‘archaic’, ‘pretentious’ and ‘stilted’ to your ‘lexicon’. Oh. And maybe, ‘fey’, too. THANKS.”

Okay, no doubt I should just be grateful for and gracious about the “very interesting article” part. But I’ve encountered this thesaurus wheeze so often that I can’t bite my tongue. It’s not just the fact that the words under indictment are not, at least to my mind, specifically high-falutin’. (Is there even a substitute for “vestigial”? Is “vestige” safer, given that it’s two whole syllables shorter?) What I really don’t get is the underlying mentality. Why does it antagonize some dudes so much to encounter unfamiliar words? Personally there’s not much I like better (at least while reading). That’s a good part of the reason why Flann O’Brien is my favorite writer and why S.J. Perelman makes the short list. (Nicholson Baker on my man Flann: “A priceless estate-sale of alien and gorgeous vocabulary.” Exactly.)

Okay, so not everybody is gonna be rabidly gay about words for words’ sake. But what’s with the hostility, the offense taken? Sticks and stones may break AL’s bones, but how much can reading the word “japery” for the first time actually hurt him? More generally, why can’t he go get his face fucked? buccally violated?