Horrifying Words

Probably not everybody suffers from Specific Word Phobia (SWP)   (if anybody can come up with a pseudoclinical name for this, please do), but I’m guessing I’m not the only one, so I’m starting a new list.

What I’m looking for are words that horrify–not because of what they mean (rape, Akin,   etc.) but just because of the way they look, lolling or crouching there on the page, the way they sound, insinuating in the ear.   The ugly, icky word is physically repulsive.   One is literally taken aback.   One blinks, scowls; one’s mouth waters in an unpleasant way.   One simply hates the word.   One does not know why, nor does one care.

I’d be stunned if any universal truths emerge from this project.   I have no purpose here beyond curiosity.   I can’t be the only one with SWP.   Or am I?

I’ll go first.     Remember, the meaning of the word can be innocuous.   Appearance is all.   And just to clarify:   These are words you hate to use and when forced to, you find the experience unpleasant.   You probably grimace.



From Laura Preble:


From the Magic Hermit:





From Lynn Heilman:


From Lisa Roche:


From John Kornhauser:


From Billy Frolick:



From Karen Worley:



From Kathy Kulpa:



From Anne Baker:


From Elizabeth Carrera:



*I share “cremains.”   It’s like “clamato.”   Using it, one feels degraded.

Late-Breaking Sausage Attack Stories from Southeastern New England

Holbrook man used sausage links as weapon


A Holbrook man was charged after police said he attacked and robbed a Brockton man using stolen sausage links and a wrench at West Street and Forest Avenue Sunday morning.

The victim told police he was riding his bike about 8 a.m. Sunday when Michael A. Baker, whom he does not know, came up to him “and started swinging sausage links at him,” Lt. David Dickinson said Sunday.

“He said he was trying to hit him with that. The victim had no idea why,” Dickinson said.

Baker then threw stolen meat, bread and cheese he was carrying into a nearby barrel “and began smashing the victim with a wrench,” Dickinson said.

The victim suffered multiple lacerations in the attack, and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, Dickinson said. His condition was not known on Sunday.

The victim told police Baker stole a silver chain, ring and silver bike from him.

A jogger found the victim yelling for help and saw Baker take off with the victim’s bike, Dickinson said.

Officers later found Baker heading east on Neubert Street on a bike, and arrested him.

“The officer could see a wrench in his left pocket. The officer noticed red stains appearing to be blood on (Baker’s) clothing and hands,” Dickinson said.

Officers charged Baker, 22, of 176 Longmeadow Drive, Apt. 204, Holbrook, with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a wrench; armed robbery; disturbing the peace; disorderly conduct; and receiving stolen property under $250.

Officers later reported a break and entry into a sausage stand at the Brockton Fairgrounds.

“They saw the same cuts of meat and cheese and bread in the fairgrounds sausage stand. It had been pried open,” Dickinson said.

Baker was scheduled to be arraigned in Brockton District Court today.

The BCI unit of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department also responded to take photographs.

Read more:  http://www.enterprisenews.com/topstories/x1222856805/Brockton-police-Holbrook-man-charged-in-attack-using-sausage-links-and-wrench#ixzz1y9lMfEtW

My First and Last Homemade Movie

is posted here, and has something tangential to do with my upcoming novel, tentatively entitled Amy Falls Down.   As does this.


When Did People Start Saying “Bored of”?

…instead of “bored with” and “bored by”? Isn’t this just wrong?

What Music Will Waft Through Boomer Nursing Homes?

A new game.

Uber-boomers–the very brightest twinkles in the eye of World War II–are beginning to retire, collect SS as well as Actual Health Benefits (as opposed to spending so much   money on private health insurance that you can’t afford doctor visits), and, well, die.   This process won’t be pretty and, for most of us, it won’t be quick, and millions of us will (despite our firm belief that of course we’ll jump off a bridge first) end up in nursing   homes.     These places will be called something else, but they’ll be nursing homes, and regardless of changes in medical technology there will be certain constants.   The most haunting of these is, to me, the music we are going to have no choice in hearing.

It won’t be Stephen Foster songs. It won’t be Glenn Miller.   It will be…what?   What is your worst-case most-often-played future nursing home music?

I’ll go first.

“Hotel California.”   I’m sure of this.

You may also nominate a best-case.   “Gimme Shelter” would be lovely.

Go to it.

Edit That Copy!

A new list.   These have to be current and from cited sources.   I’ll start.

Couple Killed in Crash ‘Did What They Loved’

(Am I alone in thinking this a botched headline?   I’m guessing that the couple didn’t love dying in a crash…)


“The entire show was basically a puzzle which led back to Red John, who was trying to track down former CBI head  Madeleine Hightower, who was on the lamb after being falsely accused of murdering a suspect in CBI custody.”



“Coach Hugh McCutcheon’s father was stabbed to death at a popular Chinese tourist site a day before opening ceremony and missed the team’s first three matches before leading them to the title.”

(Online Miami Herald, 8/4/2012)

Headlines One Regrets Are Real

Search continues for man lost in Michigan river while

celebrating failed Rapture prediction


Love-rat dad of nine children to eight women who

headbutted ex-girlfriend in row over cheese toastie jailed for

just 20 days


Ways in Which the Human Race Can Be Divided into Two Groups

New list.   Please suggest and defend the above Ways.   That point is that everybody, without exception, must fall into one category or the other.   I’ll start.

1. You’re passing by a closed door and hear your name mentioned.   People  in the next room  are apparently talking about you.   Group A: You stop and listen.   Group B: You walk away quickly to avoid hearing anything.

I look forward to additions.   Also arguments and discussions of what it means to belong to one of the groups.

From JustKristin:

2.    People who, when traveling near the edge of a cliff, worry about whether they’ll fall, and those who worry instead about whether they’ll jump.

3.  People who see themselves, primarily, as a life or a soul which animates a body, and those who see themselves as bodies which contain a life/soul.

Question (from me): What about people who don’t see themselves at all, or people who, when they find themselves next to a steep dropoff, don’t worry about anything? Still, I guess these work   provided we think of them as responses to a poll question (i.e., “When driving next to a cliff, if you found yourself worrying, would you be worrying about…?”).   Right?

4.  People who leave the thin plastic films on the face plates of electronics and such as a prophylactic measure, and those who cannot wait to peel them off.

5. People who organize their books or other media (alpha, genre, etc.) and those who prefer to let things organize themselves.

From Morgan Macgregor:

6. People who walk into a room and immediately turn on the television, and people who walk into a room and immediately turn it off.

Wonderful stories, not my own

These are free and flawed by format and the occasional typo, and they are among my favorites.   Please feel free to suggest additions

Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, by A.E. Coppard

Captain Murderer, by Charles Dickens

The Storyteller, by H.H. Munro

Microsoft Word 2003 Spell-Checks My Work in Progress

(A struggle ensues.)   With nod to Jon Stewart (see his Famous Pictures of Naked People), here’s a brief selection of Word’s “suggested substitutions”  to suspect words in my new novel, which I swear to god will be finished this year.  

Original                                                           Microsoft Word Improvement

CARROLLIAN                                         CAROLINA, CARROLL  IAN


PUCKISH                                                           PECKISH

CRUMPACKERS                                  CRUMP ACKERS

KRONKHEIT                                              CONCEIT, CRUNCHIEST, CRUNCHIER

MEDEVACED                                           MEDICATED, MEDI ACED, BEDEVILED

BABA YAGA                                                BABA YOGA, BABA YOGI


GOOGLING                                                       GO OGLING, GOODLING, GOUGING, GOSLING

MAMMO                                                               MAMMA, MAMBO, MEMO, AMMO, MAMMY

GRABOW                                                             GABO, GABON, GRABBED, GABOR, GREBE, GARBED

HAS-BEENS                                                     HAS-BEANS,   HAS-BEES,   HAS-BENZ    

DICTABELTS                                                 DISABLERS  

DEUS                                                                                 DUES

TIPARILLOS                                                   TOMATILLOS

BOMBECK                                                               BUYBACK, BOMBAST, BLOWBACK, COMEBACK

GONNA                                                                         GONAD

TAUTOG                                                                     TAUTER, TUTOR, AUTO, TATTOO, TUTU

MOUSING                                                               MUSING, HOUSING, LOUSING, MUSSING

QANUN                                                                       QUANTUM, CANCUN

TA-DA                                                                           TA-DAB, TA-DAD, TA-DAP, TA-DO

PANTLOAD                                                     PLANELOAD

GODOT                                                                        GODBOUT, GOODY, GOO, GOOF

UNLURED                                                           UNCURED, UNLOOSED, UNLADED

UNCURTAINED                                   UNCONTAINED

MOJITOS                                                             MONITORS, BONITOS

MOQUECA                                                         MOONQUAKE, MOSQUES, TOQUES

HAPPY-SLAPPY                                  HAPPY-SLOPPY, HAPPY-SAPPY, HAPPY-SOAPY

WALKIES                                                           ALKIES, TALKIES, WALKERS

REDUX                                                                     REDUB, REDO, REDBUD, RADIO

GUILTING                                                       QUILTING, GULPING

SLICE-O-MATICS                              SLICE-O-METRICS, SLICE-O-MATES

ONG-ONG-ONG                                     ONE-ON-ONE

CROATOAN                                                 CROATIAN

UNCHASTENED                                  UNCHASTE NED

RUGGLES                                                         BUGLES, WRIGGLES, DRUGLESS

ABRUPTED                                                    ABDUCTED

RETITLED                                                        RATTLED

LIT-FIC                                                                  LIT-FIX, LIT-FIB