* * * * * * * Oh Zarms * * * * * * *

Meeting the meter is my metier, and I often fall for the allure of alliteration. But getting back to meter. What follows is kind of a collaboration, I guess. I don’t know if I actually wrote any of it, though I will confess to rearranging M Rouget de Lisle‘s brilliant original. You may have noticed that irrespective of melody many songs have matching meters (I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke, House of the Rising Sun, and Amazing Grace, for one memorable example.) And some meters merely overlap, sometimes just barely glancing off each other. My all-time favorite national anthem, Les Marseilles, has an amusing overlap with another favorite. To get yourself started before you start reading, try whistlin’ Dixie.

Allons enfant de la patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivez.
Aux armes! Aux armes! Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons, marchon, marchon!
Formez vos bataillons.  Marchon pour Dieu et Patrie.
Aux armes, aux armes, aux armes pour Dieu et Patrie.
Marchon, marchon. Aux armes pour Dieuuuuuuuuu…
Et Patrie!


A Profane and Pejorative Puzzle

I should probably begin by stating that I no more believe in “bad words” than I do “dangerous weapons”. There are good and bad people and they will avail themselves of fitting or inappropriate tools.

“But, Genial Gene,” I hear many bleat, “some words are just nasty!”

Now now, I realize that in the real world some people have a real visceral reaction to certain sequences of phonemes. I get it, and I try to be careful.

George Carlin tried codifying the constraint in 1972 (though I suspect his list adhered more to the demands of his bit than to etymological rigor) with his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” (In Dog Latin: feci copulat ure cunnum fellatrix oedipus mammaria — or, in the original Klingon: shit fuck piss cunt cocksucker motherfucker tits).

Carlin’s list didn’t last long. In the late seventies Debbie Reynolds performed a sketch on her television variety special in which she lampooned Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Dolly Parton, referring to them as “Grits and Fritz and Tits.” Somewhat later, in the early eighties, I was startled to realize how many tough cops and crusading ADAs were routinely “pissed off.” After 10 pm, of course. Clearly the FCC had backed off on a couple of their proscriptions. Still, the rest of the list seemed to remain intact for the rest of the 20th Century.

Today, on many a late night cable drama you’ll hear tough cops and cynical suspects calling each other on their “bullshit excuses” or “bullshit charges.” Four remain, and seemingly firm, in spite of Charles Rocket’s not believing he had been “fucking shot” at the end of Saturday Night Live’s Dallas parody. But that was only in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. Tape delay permitted the offending utterance to be expunged elsewhere.

Culture evolves, often slowly and painfully, sometimes abruptly. Three words have dropped off Carlin’s list, but a couple of others might have since been added. This brings me to what I call “The FCN Rule.” This stipulates that a courteous person will avoid saying (at least) fuck or cunt or nigger in front of strangers unless those strangers have bought tickets to hear his act. There are a lot of other things it is wise to avoid saying in public, but those three are the cream. Conceding the rationale of the list, “Nigger” certainly belongs there, as it‘s history is particularly violent and ugly. It is rich and potent, meaning both subordinate and pariah. It‘s almost too perfect a pejorative, both in its origins, and in the physiognomic effect it has on the speaker. Feel the muscles of your face as you pronounce the word. It begins with a sneer, and it ends with a growl. We couldn‘t come up with a better way to express disdain and contempt and threat all in one breath if we tried to build one from the ground up. (“Faggot” is likely also on the list by now, even though I suspect that many Brits will still bum fags from their mates.)

The whole notion of profanity puzzles me. What puzzles me even more is the notion of insulting someone by calling him a cunt, a dick, an asshole, or a cocksucker. Sure, I get that being equated to a body part is limiting, dehumanizing, and insulting. But those particular parts, and that particular act, are all GOOD things. Granted, not all of us are into anal sex, but the asshole is still for most of the rest of us a regular source of comfort and relief. A good thing. Not that I’m about to start hurling insults, I’m just not the sort myself to be getting all worked up over what seems to me to be a trivial slight or a juvenile jest.

Such circumspection is not an indictment of the words themselves, just taking credit for a little bit of social grace. I will endorse circumspection as long as I’m obliged to live in the real world, but I will never surrender any words unconditionally. As a writer (strictly amateur) and an actor (much more accomplished amateur) I consider the English language to be both my tool kit and my toy box. It is imprudent to surrender useful tools, and it’s no fun giving up your toys.

Still, to avoid Cletus bitch-slapping me for inadvertently insulting his mom, I’ll try to watch the lip. Just be careful ya don’t ask me any direct questions…


Approximately Ninety-nine per cent…


..of the time, the way you swing your wing wang is the least interesting thing about you. Of course, when it is interesting it’s REALLY INTERESTING,. Ideally, that’s for a select audience, so it’s generally best kept to oneself.

..of the efforts of today’s “conservatives” is spent protecting the leftie progressive gains opposed by yesterday’s “conservatives.” This is why it is so important to vote for Republicans™ — so Dubya (BHWB43) can get a Chief Justice on the bench to protect federalized RomneyCare (2.0). Other crimes to which modern “conservative” Republicans™ are accessories after the fact: the Income Tax, Prussian-style government indoctrination (a.k.a. “public education”), Social(ist) “Security”, and the F’eral Reserve.

..of all job applications were an ultimate waste of time, but only ninety per cent of job interviews. Math majors may chime in here.


Peculiar Institutions

Disappointment: When expectation collides with reality.
Frustration: When desire collides with reality.
Marriage: When frustration colludes with disappointment.

What Management and Marriage have taught me:
If I explain what I mean, it means I think you’re stupid.
If I don’t it means I expected you to read my mind.

What Human Resources and Marriage have taught me:
No problem is so small, so trivial, and so insignificant, that it can’t be blown completely out of proportion.

What Politics and Marriage have taught me:
Being right is the worst possible excuse.

I think I like to fight with my daughter-in-law because my former arch nemeses won’t take my bait any more.                                           …160229…

Masking My Pain


Is it arrogant or presumptuous to tell people “You’re fine”?
How can they know? Maybe I’m bravely masking my pain.

I am often told to NOT describe certain of my attributes as “retarded.”  I don’t get it.  I’m not trying to trivialize anybody.  According to the dictionary, that is EXACTLY the word to describe a condition or a property that has been slowed down, diminished, or attenuated.


Adventures in Bad Lyrics, volume three

Long time side hustle — delivering groceries and sundries to shut ins and the infirm. Had a bit of a scare last year. Loyal clients, Lena and Percival (Do NOT call him “Percy”) Whitney, reported that Whit had lip cancer, allegedly from his years of “dippin’ chew.” He’s outta the woods now, minus that tumor, parts of his lip and jaw, and four teeth. But otherwise cancer free. Now my quandary: Whit’s renewed his customary order, two logs a week, long cut, straight (“tobacco flavored!”), but Lena’s giving me grief over “enabling him.”

Look, he’s expecting delivery on his front deck tomorrow morning,
so you tell me:
Al-though… His wife… Wants him to quit,
Should I leave Whit chew? …                                                    180202


Adventures in Bad Lyricsis sponsored by The Confederate Mint (purveyors of metallic securities in gold, silver, copper, and lead).  For sample sheets of Metallic Certificates (total face value One Tenth Silver Dollar) send One Silver Dime plus a self-addressed stamped envelope; or Three United States Legal Tender Federal Reserve “Dollars” in scrip, check, or money order, to Greigh Area Associates, c/o Gene Greigh //  843 Carson Drive;  Lebanon, Ohio;  45036

Oh, Raaaab! (170127)

Who just brought our mood down with “good-bye”?
Who just spent a lifetime showing
That she could do anything that she tried?
Well, she’s a Thoroughly Modern Icon,
In Sitcom Heaven they’re leaving the lights on!
Her humor is eternal do not mistake us.
Though tragedy abounds it does not break us!
We’re so much richer for the ride,
(bomp bomp bomp bomp bomp bomp bomp bomp bomp)
We all just love Rob Petrie’s bride!

“I‘m just giving you a hard time.”

Sure, I get it, squirrels and chipmunks are too hard to catch, and pulling the legs off spiders and crickets isn’t as much fun any more. This is the rhetorical equivalent of “I sympathize with rapists and muggers.” Okeh, maybe there IS a difference in scale, but there is NO difference in sign. Rape, badgering, and bullying are all ways to take pleasure from the suffering of others.

Obviously, I’d rather be teased than beaten up. Having experienced both, I know the difference. But what makes you sadistic cowards think that any such act is anything but abuse?