Monthly Archives: August 2011

Hurricane Donuts

Inspired by the bookstore Word in Brooklyn (they commented that they were going to make a raft of donuts for this oncoming Hurricane), I determined that I would make some apple cider donuts. I call them Hurricane Donuts in honor of Cousin Octavia (she has weathered many a tropical storm in the kitchen, frying up donuts for the multitudes who take refuge in her enormous concrete manse) and pulled out a gallon of apple cider to flavor them.

Upepo, that imp of a dragon, got so excited that he nearly burnt my left eyebrow off. Now I look terribly sinister and am starving for donuts! I managed to spill the batter all over the kitchen floor, and it was promptly eaten by the flivvervaat young who have taken refuge in the cabinet again after the rain started. Any batter that could have been saved was burnt by Upepo’s flames and is toastier than toast.

Instead, I am chewing on a sugar cane, drinking tea, and reading fascinating articles while the creatures and specimens excitedly prepare for a hurricane. I know this old house will weather the storm quite nicely, but I hope my fellow Brooklynites are prepared for whatever may come. The something wicked is not my brother Mordecai. It is Irene.

Five facts about Hugo Munsterberg, the father of Forensic Psychology, found here.

The Postmodern Mystery Reading List – 50 essential works – compiled by Ted Gioia, found here.

Stay safe, oddlings. There’s nothing shameful in preparedness.

I See Music

Can you taste color?

Can you hear velvet?

Can you see music?

These marvelous animations do just that – they show us music. How delightful, eh?

You know, my Great Uncle Ebenezer claimed he could see music. He also used to peel bits of the wallpaper to chew on while he took his Sunday bath. Perhaps the wallpaper glue helped broaden his senses. Obviously, don’t try it. Great Uncle Ebenezer was not lauded as a great thinker.

He was, however, quite the jitterbug.

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Honeyfuggle

I come from a long line of ne’er-do-wells, I’ll be the first to admit it. My reticence to hoodwink my fellow man makes me a bit of a black sheep in the family. My Cousin Silas can talk you into or out of anything, and, as you can imagine, is quite lethal at cocktail parties. He sent me a letter today and I should be expecting a visit sometime this fall. Hide the silverware and bring out the croquet mallets! (Obviously because he’s a delightful croquet player and we have an ongoing match that spans decades.) Today’s word, then, is in anticipation of my questionable cousin.

Honeyfuggle is a verb that means to deceive by flattery or sweet-talk; swindle or cheat or dupe. As well as to wheedle, to ballyhoo. Quite simply put, to honeyfuggle is to flatter with an ulterior motive.

This is a 19th century American term, with different spellings and variances evolving over time. These include honey fugle, honeyfogle and honeyfugle. To parse the word out, the honey portion is the “sweet talk” aspect of the term, but the fuggle portion is puzzling. It’s commonly assumed to be a variation on the English dialect word coneyfugle, which means to hoodwink or cajole by flattery. Interestingly, coney is the old word for an adult rabbit and fugle means to cheat. How coney and fugle got put together is lost to the ages.

Bubo thinks that since rabbits are so soft, you would “soften” someone in order to cheat them. As language and idioms changed, people quit “softening” and started “sweetening” so the coney evolved to honey. She’s so smart, that one.

And I’m not trying to honeyfuggle her.

 

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Ballooning

One winter I flew in a dirigible across the Tasmanian desert, searching for dragons and the oft-missed Land-Walking Star Fish (which is neither a star nor a fish but does walk on land).

This piece made me nostalgic.

And inspired me to get back to work on my flying machine. It’s unfair that Bubo gets to explore the skies alone.

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