Words to Bring Back: “Desuetude”

– Definition: n.; pronounced “DES-wuh-tude” or “de-SUE-uh-tude.” A condition of disuse.

– Used in a sentence: Unless we seek to protect them, our Constitutionally guaranteed rights are apt to fall into desuetude.

– Why: It just sounds cool. Besides, who actually says “disuse?”

Confessions of an Inadvertent Sleepwalker

ONE OF THE LAST STRAWS for Ann was when I tried to feed bananas to our cat at 3 in the morning.

“You’re going to talk to your doctor about this,” she said emphatically.

So I did. I told Dr. E. about the bananas, about my incoherent wee-hours monologues, about waking up in the kitchen wondering what I was doing there.

“You’re sleepwalking,” Dr. E. said, also emphatically.

Why I Love: Sonoma

IT’S THE HISTORY. IT’S THE diversity of food, from restaurants to markets to semipermanent food-trucks. It’s the out-of-state license plates ringing the Plaza on weekends. It’s the eight-acre Sonoma Plaza itself: families having picnics, occasional Tai Chi enthusiasts or Morris dancers, the rose garden(s), the three fountains, the bridge over the duck pond, the ducks, the former chickens, the sundial, even the smelly gingko tree. It’s the farmers’ markets (year-round on Friday mornings, May to October on Tuesday nights). It’s that many of my basic needs (pharmacy, grocery and pet-food stores, post-office box, synagogue, landlady) are within walking distance. It’s the community spirit, already concentrated in the county of Sonoma but even more so in the city of Sonoma.

Well, He Did

DRIVING THROUGH SONOMA RECENTLY, I spied what may be the funniest, most secretly famous vanity plate ever devised. It was a California plate bearing the simple, six-character legend:


(If you need this explained, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_shot_first.)

By the way — you have just read The Metaphorager’s 700th post. It was a long trip from http://www.sonic.net/scoop to blogger.com to “here;” in that vein, I offer my very first blog post. Enjoy!

5 Thoughts: The REAL First Fandom

1. WHAT IF WE LOOKED AT Torah as if it were another created world, a la the works of Tolkien, Rowling or Lucas? and its adherents as members of (perhaps) humanity’s oldest fandom?

2. For one thing, they already bear a strong resemblance. Consider “midrash,” from the Hebrew word meaning “to study” or “interpret.” Midrashim are rabbinic stories addressing behind-the-scenes bits of Torah that aren’t explicit in the text: why did Abraham become a monotheist? Who was the first person to cross the Red Sea? Why are there two creation stories in the book of Genesis?

365 Names: Tao

TAO Coined in the Tao Teh Ching by Chinese sage Lao Tzu c. 7th century BCE, this Name is best known from the book’s opening line, “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.” (In other words, if you can name It, then what you’ve named isn’t It.) I like it because it accents the inherent unknowability of that-which-some-people-call-G?d. Slight drawback: Lao Tzu wasn’t a Deist; i. e., his vision of TWSPCG wasn’t of a conscious Being so much as a natural force. Still, I’ve put it here both for completeness’ sake as well as that it’s one of the cornerstones of my personal theology. YMMV.

First Graf: The Gourmet’s Lexicon

SITTING ON MY BOOKSHELF IS a slim purple volume from 1982 called The Gourmet’s Lexicon, an encyclopedic and indispensable listing of cuisines, dishes, and cooking techniques and styles. What Webster was to words, author Norman Kolpas is to food. Often I will leaf through it at random, trying to expand my cookery-consciousness; other times I will use it to look up something I see mentioned in a recipe or on a cooking documentary. (I’ve even used it as a basis for a few Prosatio Silban tales.) Whatever the need or occasion, it’s a fine ingredient in any cook’s or foodie’s library.

Midrash Noach

DESPITE THE ALLURING INTRICACIES OF Mosaic law of the past few months, it’s nice to be once again studying the Torah’s classic origin tales. This week we see a sea change (literally) in the way humans relate to their world and each other, with two stories of human intransigence and Divine response: the Flood and the Tower of Babel.

The Flood came about, so our rabbis tell us, because people didn’t respect the boundaries which had been set up at Creation. Murder and violence were the order of the day. God decided to start over again by washing the earth clean and re-beginning humanity with Noach and his family.

The Tower united humanity in one great work, but at the cost of challenging God.

Out of the Ashes, Endlessly Turning

A YEAR AGO THIS WEEK, Ann, Geronimo and I fled the then-largest wildfire complex in California history.

We were voluntary evacuees who came home to find everything relatively intact, so our story had a happy ending. My niece and nephew-in-law weren’t so lucky; residents of Corralitos to the far south, they owned a house in Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park that, like almost all the others in that neighborhood, burned to the foundation. Many people fared similarly, some worse.

“The Fires” were the second time in my life I faced a “will I die in the next five minutes?” moment.