Tag Archives: cryptids

The Cellar

Something has unearthed itself from the cellar floor. This something is large, tentacled, and very energetic.

The cellar door is locked.

Whiskey is in hand.

All right, creature! Do thy bidding! (And please do not break the parlor windows. We just had those replaced.)

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Roc’d Out

When your great aunt suggests you come to Maine to help her harvest blueberries and, oh, to see if you can get that pesky roc from scaring her alpacas, do make sure to wear sturdy head gear.

I’d hate to speculate on what sort of concussion I would have nursed for the past two weeks if I hadn’t worn my pith helmet whilst night-harvesting those blueberries.

I’m fully recovered, at least, I think I am. Mordecai insists that I’ve developed a tic and merely ate some off lobster. If that’s the case, then I ask you – where did this 5-foot long white feather come from if not from the roc that attacked me?

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The heat in Brooklyn (and much of the Eastern US) has not broken. Meteorologists are predicting some heavy thunderstorms in the area and these should bring a cold front, lowering the temperatures from the punishing 90s to the more-palatable 80s. I will tell you that this extreme heat is causing quite an uproar in the house. Many of the cryptids do not flourish in the heat, and I’ve had to move most of these creatures into the cellar and the grotto, where the temperatures are cooler. Unfortunately, I am unable to separate everyone, so the noise and the confusion coming from the cellar is quite a distraction.

Which brings me to today’s word.

Shemozzle is a noun meaning a state of chaos or confusion; a muddle; a quarrel or rumpus; an uproar.

The word might be Yiddish in origin, though Leo Rosten says in The Joys of Yiddish that shemozzle has no connections with the Yiddish language at all. Some postulate that the word was created to sound Yiddish, since words like schlimeil, schmuck, schmaltz, and schlimazel have enjoyed popularity in American English through the Yiddish-immigrant influence. (Go ahead, dears, sing the opening of the Laverne and Shirley theme song.) Still others tenuously suggest that shemozzle comes from schlimazel.

Schlimazel itself (meaning a habitual failure; a born loser) comes from slim mazel, an excellent example of Yiddish being a combination of Hebrew and German. Slim is an Old German word meaning crooked and mazel is a Hebrew word meaning luck. Therefore, slim mazel is literally crooked luck. Now, whether and how this evolved into the word shemozzle in America might be grasping at straws. Many, in fact, scoff at this association and might even call you a schmuck for believing the theory.

Whatever the origin, the shemozzel in my cellar is grating on my last, over-heated nerve which one might say is indeed schlimazel.


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Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

Have you ever wandered through a parking lot and noticed tiny plants growing through the pavement? Have you wondered at the ivy and vines that seem to grow out of bricks and building sides? Have you puzzled over enormous roots that undulate over the ground like moray eels, yet seem to be without a tree trunk? Then you, my friend, have seen one of the trjábörkur, a complicated genus of sentient vegetative creatures.

This is Barkly, and he is a trjábörkur. He was found in a vacant lot that was being demolished for high-end condominiums, and rescued by a kind soul who appreciated his rakish smile. Oddly soothed by sea shanties, Barkly is nourished by the minuscule bacteria found in our air. If you notice him moving, he is dancing, imagining himself on a great ship cresting waves and meeting mermaids. What appears to be a grimace is actually the face of great contentment, something all trjábörkur share. We could learn a lot from these slow-moving, large-dreaming, oft-ignored creatures.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

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