Posts Tagged ‘Vocabulary’

Hey all it’s time for another round of vocab. It’s been a while since I put one of these up. The last few books I read were either audio or belonged to a friend so I wasn’t able to mark it up and come back to it later.

Anyhow, this round we’ve got another one by Neil Gaiman, Trigger Warning.

For anyone new to this, I like marking up my books as I read them. When I finish something I sometimes post a bit of what I’ve marked. It’s usually either, words I didn’t know or words I think are not used often enough, cultural references, and words I think are worth sharing.



What we learn about ourselves in those moments, where the trigger has been squeezed, is this: the past is not dead. There are things that wait for us, patiently, in the dark corridors of our lives.


Desiccate – to dry out; often for the purposes of preserving


Are Fictions safe places? …Should they be safe places?


Alec – a somewhat autobiographical comic book by Eddie Campbell


Grand Guignol – “the theatre of the big puppet” a theatre in Paris popular in the early 20th century. Known for their particularly grotesque and horrifying work.


Hebrides – archipelago off the coast of Scotland


Did you know May the third was the day that the devil was cast out of heaven, and thus the day on which it is unpardonable to commit a crime?


Imitable – capable or worthy of being imitated


Ruminant – an animal with more than one stomach, like sheep or cows


The finest things I have seen are dead places.


Awl – a metal spike for punching holes in leather


Whirligig – pinwheel


Ducks don’t like socks, they said, it’s a duck thing


Inveigh – to rail against something, or communicate with great hostility in regards to


Lassitude – physical and mental weariness


Apiary – where bees/beehives are kept


Punctilious – showing great attention to detail, particularly regarding correct conduct


I sometimes imagine I would like my ashes to be scattered in a library. But then the librarians would just have to come in early the next morning to sweep them up again


Okapi – a mammal native to central Africa, kinda like a giraffe but zebra type stripes on their legs and ass and… well here’s a picture.



Jack Benny – vaudevillian comic from the early to mid-20th century


Ducal – relating to a Duke


Quiescent – inactive, dormant


She was waiting for him, in the place where flowers die.


Reynard – fox (French), or a trickster character from a French fables


Shighthound – hounds that hunt by sight and speed rather than scent and endurance.


Drystone – style of construction popular Northern Britain and Western Ireland, in which stones are interlocked without mortar


Hawthorn – a tree, it looks like this

Shows up in folklore, as the entrance to the otherworld, also as the crown of thorns used on Jesus.


Secateurs – pruning clippers


Obverse – the ‘heads’ side of a coin. The counterpart of a fact.


Druids, Norse, Catholics, Protestants, doesn’t matter. That’s what people pay lip service to. The old religion is what gets the crops up and keeps your cock hard and makes sure that nobody builds a bloody great motorway through an area of outstanding beauty.


Pusillanimous – timid, lacking in courage



Life is some bizzaro fuck of a treadmill lately, the more ground I gain the more the horizon seems to creeps steadily away. Mostly I’m just ornery cause the book aint done yet. Ain’t close to done. and the more progress I make, well, I already made that metaphor. So much for me getting shit together around here. Everything has been shoved a bit into the background while I piece together the grab bag of Akea pieces that is the Madness project. That’s the biggest reason why there hasn’t been much up here lately, nor have I launched the other projects I keep mentioning, though plans keep being made.

I just finished reading Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail of 72. In fact when I sat down to write this post, the intention was to do another of those ‘vocab’ pieces, but playing catch up turned into that little spiral of self pity at the top of the page. Anyhow, I should just get on with it.

If you weren’t conscious of the goings on in American politics during the Nixon era, you may have to slog through this one. In fact, I don’t suggest a straight read of this five hundred page drug addled ode to inside baseball. I love doctor Thompson’s, but most people aren’t enough of a political junkie to keep up with this amount of detail in their own decade. However, if you are a friend of mine and you’re reading this, what I suggest is that you borrow my copy and only read the parts I’ve notated. that much would be worth it. If you aren’t, you’ll probably be fine just reading this. Good luck is that at least a third of the book is Thompson bitching about deadlines and putting garbage in his mojo wire (fax machine) to confuse his editors at Rolling Stone.


careful, this is a long one


[due to him missing deadlines Rolling Stone] showed up at my door, with no warning, and loaded about forty pounds of supplies into the room: two cases of Mexican beer, four quarts of gin, a dozen grapefruits, an enough speed to alter the outcome of six super bowls.

When Professional antagonists become after-hours drinking buddies, they are not likely to turn each other in… but unlike other correspondents, I could afford to burn all my bridges behind me….[I’m here] to write about it-as close to the bone as I could get, and to hell with the consequences.

without some extremely powerful speed there might not be any final chapter. about four fingers on king-hell Crank would do the trick, but I am not optimistic. There is a definite scarcity of genuine, high voltage Crank on the market these days.

cord  – unit of measurement for wood measuring 4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. (a volume of 128 cubic feet. )

when a man gives up drugs he wants big fires in his life.

[on racism] I have noticed the fear syndrome clouding even my own mind: I find myself ignoring black hitchhikers, and every time I do I wonder, “why the fuck did you do that?” and I tell myself, “well, I’ll pick up the next one I see.” and sometimes I do, but not always

Charley Starkweather – an American teenaged spree killer who murdered eleven people in the states of Nebraska and Wyoming in a two-month murder spree committed between December 1957 and January 1958.

nothing like a big hit of red corpuscles to give a man the right lift for a rush into politics

[on ‘good’ politicians] you might as well go looking for cherries in a Baltimore Whorehouse.

discoteques – this is what night clubs were referred to in the 70’s

George McGovern, the only candidate in either party worth voting for, is hung in a frustrated limbo created mainly by the gross cynicism of the Washington Press Corp…but it is hard to recall any candidate in recent history who failed to move what is now called “The McGovern Vote” to the polls if they actually represented it.

What Nixon and Mitchell have done in three years-is reduce the US supreme court to the level of a piss-poor bowling team in Memphis

live steady. Don’t fuck around. Give anything weird a wide berth – including people. It’s not worth it. I learned this the hard way, through brutal overindulgence.

…back to Chicago; it’s never dull out there. you never know exactly what kind of terrible shit is going to come down on you in that town, but you can always count on something. Every time I go to Chicago, I come away with scars.

These kids are turned off by politics, they say. Most of ’em don’t even want to hear about it. All they want to do these days is lie around on waterbeds and smoke that goddamn marrywanna.

[on objectivity] the only thing I ever saw that came close to objectivity was a close-circut TV setup that watched shoplifters in the General store at Woody Creek, Colorado…with the possible exception of things like box scores… there is no such thing as objective journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.

how many more of these goddamn elections are we going to have to write off as lame but “regrettable necessary” holding actions? And how many more of these stinking double-downer sideshows will we have to go thought before we can get ourselves  straight enough… to give 20 million people a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils…it has been 12 years since I could look at a ballot and see a name I wanted to vote for… in ’68 I spent half a morning in the county courthouse getting an absentee ballot so I could vote out of spite, for Dick Gregory.

I feel the fear coming on, and the only cure for that is to chew up a fat black wad of blood opium about the size of a young meatball…peel back the brain… and get locked into some serious pornography.

whatever might be said about Nixon-and there is still a serious doubt in my mind that he could pass for human-he is a goddamn stone fanatic on every facet of pro football.

there are only two ways to make it big time in politics today: One is to come out like a mean dinosaur… the other is to tap the…disillusioned electorate that has long since given up on the idea that we all have a duty to vote…Robinson calls it the “sleeping giant vote” Dellums… called it “the nigger vote” but he wasn’t talking about skin pigment
“it’s time for somebody to lead all of America’s Niggers, by this I mean the Young, the Black, the Brown, the Women and the Poor- all the people who feel left out of the political process. If we can put the Nigger Vote together, we can bring about some real change in this country”

The thing  the political bosses want most is for young people to drop out… because they know young people can change the system, and the bosses don’t want change… no wonder that McGoverns Manchester headquarters is full of people who talk like nervous PoliSci Students on job leave.

60,000 Americans have died for that mistake, along with several million Vietnamese… the United States Air Force will rank as the mist efficient gang of murderers in the history of man.

presidential candidate George Romney…tried to ignore it. He knew the TV cameras were rolling so he curled up his mouth in a hideous smile and kept waving at the crowd as they continued to chant “Romney eat shit! Romney eat shit!”

The nut of the problem is that covering this presidential campaign is so fucking dull that it’s just barely tolerable… the only thing worse…is having to come back to Washington and write about it.

wont – in the habit of doing something, accustomed to

the main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy – then go back to the office & sell every one of those poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.

ken – ones own knowledge or sight

bastinado – eating the soles of a person’s feet as a form of corporal punishment.

ibogaine – a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in plants in the Apocynaceae family such as Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga africana and Tabernaemontana undulata. A psychedelic with dissociative properties,

one of the most frustrating realities of this goddamn twisted business is the situation where somebody says “I’ll only answer your question if you promise not to print it”

Dick Tuck  – to my surprise is not a made up person. He was a political consultant, campaign strategist, advance man, and political prankster for the Democratic National Committee

if you’re a safe happy nice young republican, you  probably don’t want to read about things like dope, rock music, and politics anyway.

Cazart – made up word by Dr. Thompson. something equivalent to AHA! holy shitsnacks! I should have known!

File cards are handy for canvassing and for people who want to get heavy into the Dewy Decimal System, but they are not much good for cataloging things like Lust, Ambition, or Madness.

as the demonstrators approached… they found themselves walking a gauntlet of riot equipped police on one side and martini sipping GOP delegates on the other

the demonstrators  were a useless mob of ignorant chicken shit ego junkies who… embarrassed the whole tradition of public protest

am I turning into a politics junkie? It is not a happy thought – particularly when I see what it’s done to all the others.

This may just be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves…we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable…
McGovern made some mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon  does eery day of his life, on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect expression of everything he stands for.
Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?

Nano count 8681

Descent into madness broke a thousand dollars yesterday. It’s strange how real this is becoming.



For this edition of Vocabulary I used Gabriel Garcia Marques’s Memories of My Melancholy Whores. This run is fairly absent of vocabulary. Maybe I’m getting smarter or maybe Marquez just decided to be plainspoken with this particular novel, but I still don’t feel like clogging up my feed with a bunch of other people’s words. In fact, I think I am going to stop posting Quoteages other than the vocabulary installments. I’ve said before that I’m going to make some changes to the site and those changes will in part be fueled by my branching out into other outlets and getting a clearer idea of what this blog is. When people visit the Old Man site I want them to be able to flow backwards through my work, rather than slogging through reposts from other people.

Anyhoo, on to Memories of My Melancholy Whores:


Morality too, is a question of time


The only Virgos left in the world are people like you were born in August.


Inspiration gives no warnings


I began to auction off whenever I didn’t need to live, which turned out to be almost everything but books and Pianola rolls.


That’s kind of pain is natural at your stage, he said.

In that case, I said, what isn’t natural at my age.

The Doctor gave me a pitying smile.  I see that you are a philosopher, he said.


I never had intimate friends, and the few who came close are in New York. By which I mean they’re dead.


Movies are not my genre. The obscene cult of Shirly Temple was the final straw.


Chirruping – Chirp


I had always chosen my brides for a night at random, more for their price than their charms, and we made love without love, half-dressed most of the time and always in the dark so we could imagine ourselves as better than we were.


Whenever someone asks I always answer with the truth: whores left me no time to be married.


Make no mistake: Peaceful madmen are ahead of the future.


fame is a very fat lady who doesn’t sleep with you, but when you wake she’s always at the foot of the bed, looking at us.


It was the same punctual December returning with its translucent, skies, its sandstorms, its whirlwinds in the streets that blew the roofs off houses and lifted the skirts of schoolgirls


the city acquired a Spectral Resonance.


If I detest anything in this world it is the obligatory celebrations with people crying because they’re happy.


 The Little Prince by Saint-Exupery, a French author whom the entire world admires mire than the French do.


Weeping aloud with a crazed love that lasted until it was carried away without mercy by the violent wind of real life.


Glasses of a hopeless myopic, and inconsolable sadness made him as aged as his grandfather had been at seventy.





It was at last, real life, with my heart safe and condemned to die of happy life in the joyful agony of any day after my hundredth birthday.

It’s time for another vocab lesson with the Dirty Old Man! This time we’re doing Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Like last time, I’m not going to review the thing (gods know there are more than enough people doing that these days). I’m just gonna run through words that stood out to me.



This is the quote that opens the book:

Maurice Sendak to Art Spiegelman in the New Yorker – I remember my own child hood vividly I knew terrible things, but I knew I mustn’t let adults know I knew them. It would scare them.


Catkins –  Sometimes, even if I know what something is, especially a plant or animal, but I don’t see it often, I’ll look up a picture so’s I can keep up with the author.


Dowsing –  a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites,[1] and many other objects and materials without the use of scientific apparatus. [I’ve always heard this called water witching.


Trestle – a framework consisting of a horizontal beam supported by two pairs of sloping legs, used in pairs to support a flat surface such as a tabletop.

Poulter – Poltergeist


Shuck – a person or thing regarded as worthless or contemptible.


Girls and Boys come out to play – an old Nursery rhyme 


In those dreams I spoke that language too, the first language, and I had dominion over the nature of all that was real. It is the most basic building brick of everything in my dreams I kept a perfect little bed and breakfast by the seaside, and to everyone who came to stay with me I would say in that tongue, “Be whole” and they would become whole, not be broken people, not any longer, because I had spoken the language of shaping.


That’s the trouble with things. Don’t last very long, Kittens one day, old cats the next. And then just memories. And the memories fade and blend and smudge together…


I do not know why I did not ask an adult about it. I do not remember asking adults about anything, except as a last resort. That was the year I dug a wart from my knee with a penknife, discovering how deeply I could cut before it hurt, and what the roots of a wart look like.


Small children believe themselves to be gods, or some of them do, and they can only be satisfied when the rest of the world goes along with their way of seeing things.


I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.


When he got angry enough to shout at me he would occasionally remind me that he did not hit me, as if to make me grateful. In the school stories I read, misbehaviour often resulted in a caning, or the slipper, and then was forgiven and done, and I would sometimes envy those fictional children for the cleanness of their lives.


Narcissi  – Daffodils


Counterpane – a bedspread.


Why do I find the hardest thing for me to believe, looking back, is that a girl of five and a boy of seven had a gas fire in their bedroom?


Mangle (object) – Called a Wringer in the United States. a mechanical laundry aid consisting of two rollers in a sturdy frame, connected by cogs and, in its home version, powered by a hand crank or electrically. While the appliance was originally used to wring water from wet laundry, today mangles are used to press or flatten sheets, tablecloths, kitchen towels, or clothing and other laundry.


Oh, Monsters are scared… That’s why they’re monsters.


Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.


Knucklebones – Jacks (the ones you catch while bouncing a ball, not the men’s toilet)


The second things I thought was that I knew everything Lettie Hempstock’s Ocean flowed inside me, and it filled the entire universe, from egg to rose. I knew that. I knew what Egg was —Where the universe be can, to the sound of uncreated voices singing in the void—and I knew where rose was—the peculiar crinkling of space on space into dimensions that fold like origami and blossom like strange orchids, and which would mark the last good time before the eventual end of everything and the next big bang, which would be, I knew now, nothing of the kind.


Skeins –  a length of thread or yarn, loosely coiled and knotted; tangled or complicated arrangement, state, or situation


Spotted dick – a pudding popular in Britain, containing dried fruit (usually currants or raisins) commonly served with custard.





I read with a pen. Pull a book off my shelf and scattered through the pages you might learn as much about what I thought of the book and where I was in my life as if you were reading my journal (also may of my stories begin in the margins of books). This makes me weary of lending books. In fact I’ve still never really forgiven an ex-girlfriend for not returning my copy of House of Leaves which I heavily annotated and illustrated.

I also find I learn a great deal from going back over my notes. I remember the book better. I can more easily call back specific quotes I don’t want to forget. And I’ve never lost the childhood habit of circling words, phrases, or references with which I am not well acquainted. Also words I really like, but rarely see or hear, words that are used in ways I hadn’t thought of, words that are antiquated, that have fallen from our fashionable lexicon and I wish I used more, neologistic words that make total sense but don’t appear in Miriam-Webster’s.

So today I thought I’d throw together some of my notes from my most recent read, Bluebeard, by Kurt Vonnegut. Think of it as a weird kind of cliff notes and also a little bit of admitting things I don’t know.

I haven’t included everything. Some of my notes are private and some of the passages I select are half or even a page long and I’ve left some of those out. Also, this work uses many historical figures as characters along with plenty of plain made up characters so there are a few which may end up not having much explanation.






Nutriment – nourishment; sustenance.


Cherchez le femme –  French for “look for the woman.” The implication is that a man behaves out of character or in an otherwise inexplicable manner because he is trying to cover up an affair with a woman, or trying to impress or gain favor with a woman.
Paul salzinger says, incidentally, that the human condition can be summed up in just one word: Embarrassment
“What does ‘Hello’ mean?” She said.
And I said “I had always understood it to mean Hello”
“Well it doesn’t,” she said. “It means, ‘don’t talk about anything important.’ It means, ‘I’m smiling but not listening, so just go away.’”
“If anybody has discovered what life is all about” Father might say, “it is too late. I am no longer interested.”
Terry Kitchen – Fictional Character/abstract painter of Vonnegut’s creation


There were miraculous breakfast foods and would soon be helicopters for every family… a war well worth fighting! – [in regards to WWII]


Judging from your pictures you hate facts like poison


Never trust a survivor… until you find out what he did to stay alive.


Porte-cochere – coach gate or carriage porch is a porch- or portico-like structure at a main or secondary entrance to a building through which a horse and carriage (or motor vehicle) can pass in order for the occupants to alight under cover, protected from the weather.
“Everybody who is alive is a survivor, and everybody who is dead isn’t,” I said. “so everybody alive must have survivors syndrome. It’s that or death. I am so damn sick of people telling me proudly that they are survivors! Nine times out of ten it’s a cannibal or a billionaire!”
Opus nine – Fictional Painting


Blue and burnt – Fictional Painting


Cezanne – Paul,  French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century.


Nelson Algren – Author of The Man with the Golden Arm“in the late 1940s and early 1950s he was one of the best known literary writers in America.” The lover of French writer Simone de Beauvoir,


Irwin Shaw –  a prolific American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author


James Jones – was an American author known for his explorations of World War II and its aftermath. wrote From here to Eternity. 
The paintings by dead men who were poor most of their lives are the most valuable pieces in my collection.
And if an artist wants to really jack up the prices of his creations, may I suggest suicide.

“Writers will kill for audience.”
“An audience of one?” I said.
“That’s all she needed,” she said “That’s all anybody needs,”
That’s the secret of how to enjoy writing and how to make yourself meet high standards… you don’t write for the whole world, and you don’t write for ten people, or two. You write for just one person.


Fillip – something that acts as a stimulus or boost to an activity/Flick
A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but world’s champions.
Photographs are a poor substitute for all the people killed in the massacre
Pate – crown of the head
Thanks to television, we can hide a Great Depression. We may even be hiding a third world war.
Verdigris –  a green pigment obtained through the application of acetic acid to copper plates


Al Jolson –  a Jewish Lithuanian-born American singer, film actor, and comedian.


Booth Tarkington – an American novelist and dramatist best known for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. He is, with William Faulkner and John Updike, one of only three novelists to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once.


W.C. Fields -an American comedian, actor,juggler and writer.


George Santayana –  Spanish Born American raiseda philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist.


Caftan –  front-buttoned coat or overdress, of ancient Mesopotamian origin.


Cantilevered – is a beam anchored at only one end. The beam carries the load to the support where it is forced against by a moment and shear stress.Cantilever construction allows for overhanging structures without external bracing.


John Cage – an American composer,


Greta Garbo – A Swedish film actress


Alacrity – brisk and cheerful readiness.


Everybody should be buried with somebody else, just about anybody else, whenever feasible.
Matisse of a woman holding a black cat in her arms and standing before a brick wall covered with yellow roses – Don’t think it’s a real painting


Concupiscent – filled with sexual desire
Painters —and storytellers… They are the justices of the Supreme Court of Good and Evil…
The most admirable thing about the Abstract Expressionist painters… was their refusal to serve on such a court.


I can remember thinking that war was so horrible that, at last, thank goodness, nobody could ever be fooled by romantic pictures and fiction and history into marching to war again.
Nowadays, of course you can buy a machine gun with a plastic bayonet for your little kid at the nearest toy boutique.




Arshile Gorky – was an Armenian-American painter, who had a seminal influence on Abstract Expressionism.


Syd Solomon – An american Abstract Artist.




What Pollack did lacked that greatest of all crowd pleasers, which was human sacrifice.
An erection with which you might have smashed coconuts.




John singer – portrait of madame X



Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?
Obsequies – funeral rites


Terpsichore – “delight in dancing”one of the nine Muses


James Whistler – n American-born, British-based artist active during the American Gilded Age


Henry James – an American writer  regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism.


Emile Zola – as a French writer, the most well-known practitioner of the literary school of naturalism


Pasha – Turkish Title, approximately equivalent to Lord


Levantine -eastern Mediterranean geographic area


Obsolescent – becoming obsolete.


Clerestory – any high windows above eye level. The purpose is to bring outside light, fresh air, or both into the inner space.


Locution – a word or phrase, especially with regard to style or idiom/an utterance regarded in terms of its intrinsic meaning or reference, as distinct from its function or purpose in context.


Cosmopolite – is a real word.


Arno –  River in the Tuscan area of Italy.


Parlance – a particular way of speaking or using words, especially a way common to those with a particular job or interest.


Widow’s weeds – Black clothes worn by a widow in mourning.


She had had a life. I had accumulated anecdotes.
Floparroo – Neologism of Vonnegut’s creation


Willem de Kooning –  Dutch American abstract expressionist artist


William Baziotes – American Abstract Expressionist/surrealist painter


James brooks – An american Muralist/abstract expressionist painter


Hans hofmann – as a German-born American abstract expressionist painter.


Barnette Newman –  an American artist. He is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism.


Phillip Guston – was a painter and printmaker in the New York School,


Walker Tomlin – (bradley) belonged to the generation of New York School Abstract Expressionist artists


Gustav Klimt – was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement.


Flense – slice the skin or fat from (a carcass, especially that of a whale).


Conrad Aiken – was an American novelist and poet


Voluble – speaking incessantly and fluently.



We’re having a celebration, so all sorts of things have been said which are not true. That’s how to act at a party.



Hasps – a slotted hinged metal plate that forms part of a fastening for a door or lid and is fitted over a metal loop and secured by a pin or padlock.



The Japanese were as responsible as the Germans for turning Americans into a bunch of bankrupt militaristic fuckups—after we’d done such a good job of being sincere war-haters after the First World War



Awl – a long, pointed spike. for making holes in wood;


Languorous – feeling tired and relaxed