Tag Archives: cellar

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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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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Happy Fourth of July!

Well, dears, my guess is that most of you in the States are outside, having hot dogs and hamburgers and waiting for your local fireworks display to celebrate American Independence Day.

(It was on this day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 original colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation.)

The dragons have been incredibly busy putting the finishing touches on their sure-to-be-eye-catching home-made fireworks display for this evening. I’m hoping for clear skies since dragons + fire + home-made fireworks + thunder and lightening = mayhem.

Silas has a few pitchers of lemon berry cocktails cooling in the ice box and has been slaving in the kitchen all morning. Mordecai has been in the cellar grumbling to himself and I’ve been in the Laboratory with the monsters. It’s best if the three of us only stay in close contact when cocktails are involved. You understand: family.

Have a safe and happy holiday, oddlings. Remember that fireworks are not toys and be good to each other.


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