Have a Better Year

Snowflakes

Another year has passed us by,
And this one uglier than most,
So now it’s time for you and I
To cheer its ending with a toast.

 

Well.  That was…not a great year, was it?

How to ensure 2017 is a better one?  Throw some salt, do a dance, will it unto the cosmos?

Maybe just resolve to be as good as we can be and hope for the best?

Celebrate tonight if you can, let 2017 be born to joy and revelry, and have a happy new year.

 

Bene scribete.

Peckin’

woodpecker

Woody, Woody, cut it out.
   Please don’t make me have to shout.
Woody, Woody, go away.
   Please don’t be a dick today.
Woody, Woody, that’s enough.
   Please don’t bang upon my stuff.
Woody, Woody, can’t you see
   That my house is not a tree?

 

I awoke yesterday to a strange knock – couldn’t tell if it was coming from inside or outside.  Thought it might have been a neighbor doing some yard work, but the cadence wasn’t reflective of any productive human activity I could think of, and it almost sounded like it was coming from inside the wall.

I went outside to find a cheeky woodpecker perched on the decorative trim on the side of my house, banging away at the stucco.  I reached down to pick up a snowball to throw at it, but when I looked back up it was gone.

It came back later.

And then again this morning.

Frowny face.

 

Bene scribete.

The Bag of Promises

No.


 

bag

 

Somewhere deep within the Forest of Meaning there lay a bag filled with promises for every creature, great and small.

On one bright and meaningful day, as woodland critters gathered around to await their chances at it, a nervous brown squirrel approached and ruffled through the bag as though, one might say, he were rooting for acorns.  When at last he found his, it promised him:

Your tail will grow much larger this summer.

This pleased the squirrel greatly, for he had chosen a very large tree as his home to compensate for the lack of confidence his currently meager tail provided him.  A large home and a large tail?   Well, the squirrelettes wouldn’t be able to resist him then.  He thanked the bag and moved on.

Next, it was the turn of a fluffy white bunny.  She sniffed around in the bag and quickly located her promise:

Your hops will be bouncier than ever this week, and by its end, you will find your one true rabbity love.

The bunny hopped in excitement and nuzzled the bag with gratitude, then bounded away.

A deer came afterward.  She hoofed around the bag and located a promise just for her:

You will run with more grace and speed than you thought possible, and avoid the jaws of the wolf.

This was, of course, splendid news.  The deer had a very young fawn and would not like to see him orphaned.  Well, naturally she wouldn’t see him orphaned, as in such a scenario she would be deceased.  The opposite was entirely preferable.  She sighed in relief and trotted off.

A cricket followed.  He crawled into the bag and searched around.  He dug through all the promises, explored every corner, scoured every inch, but could find no promise meant for him.

The cricket was crestfallen.  “Dear bag,” he pleaded, “have you nothing to promise me?”

“I’m certain I must,” replied the bag – the bag can speak when it suits it, let’s say.  “Did you try looking harder?”

It was an astute suggestion.  The cricket tried looking harder, but still uncovered no promise for himself.  “I see nothing, o magnificent bag.”  The cricket was quite despondent.

“That is so very unlike me,” mourned the bag.  “I can think of not a single reason why I would have nothing to promise you.”

It was then – exactly then – that a grumpy and impatient sparrow fluttered down, snapped the cricket up, and ate him bodily.  It was not very satisfying.

“Oh,” said the bag, relieved.  “That would be why.”  The world made sense again.

The sparrow eyed the bag suspiciously.  “Have you anything for me, bag?”

“I don’t see why not!”

The sparrow shuffled through the bag and found a promise all his own:

You will find no sugar this week.

“That is a terrible promise,” grumbled the sparrow.

“I am sorry, Mr. Sparrow.”

“I feel this entire ordeal has been quite meaningless.”

“I understand, Mr. Sparrow.”

“Just a waste of everyone’s time.”  The sparrow pecked the bag in irritation.

“Please do not peck me, Mr. Sparrow.”

Thoroughly displeased with the day’s events, the sparrow took his leave.


 

Bene scribete.

O Stomach

Sick face
 

O Stomach —
You hate me today.
Did I eat something wrong?
Did I get in your way?

O Stomach —
That’s not very nice.
I’d say knock it off,
If you’d like my advice.

O Stomach —
I’ve got things to do.
I’m not making it up.
I promise it’s true!

O Stomach —
I’ll make you a deal:
You’ll get tasty things
If you don’t make me keel.

 

Bene scribete.

Dincton Flatt and the Very Grey Suit

Uh-oh, another one.


 

greysuit

 

“This suit,” Flatt muttered, half turning to the left, then right, as he admired himself in the mirror, “is rather grey.  Extremely grey, one might say.  But is it…”  He ran his hands over the coat.  “…too grey?”

“I shouldn’t think so, sir,” his robot coyote responded with a tilt of his head.

The tailor started, falling back onto his bum and dropping his tape.  “Heavens!  It can talk?”

“Featherby can extremely talk,” Flatt sighed, waving a hand in dismissal of the obvious.  “For him not to speak would be the proper marvel.”

The tailor frowned, but went back to work.

Flatt’s gaze returned to the mirror, but truthfully, had never left it.  “Perhaps you’re right, Featherby.  One can never have too grey a suit, can he?”

“Not when made by the finest tailor in Danesbury, sir.”

“Oh, well,” the tailor sputtered, distracted but obviously chuffed, “th-thank you, yes.  You’re a–a fine thing, I suppose.”

Featherby nodded curtly, and Flatt shook his head, summoning an appropriate reply to his tongue, but before it could bust snappily and handsomely through his lips, the shop’s door swung open and a man in a lavender suit twirled in.

“What on Earth…?”  Flatt only saw him through the mirror, and still didn’t feel like turning around.

“I require a tune-up for my vestments,” the entrant announced, voice lilting all over the place.  His short hair and mustache were blue, which they had no business being, if Flatt were to be consulted on the matter.

“Mr. Gabbery is quite occupied at the moment, I’m afraid,” Flatt said, ensuring his tone suggested his own importance without necessarily rubbing it in the strange man’s face.

“Yet I am an immediate man,” the newcomer assured, holding his arms out and strutting fancily over to the others.

Featherby piped up, “And who are you, precisely, if you do not mind my asking?”  There may have been a bite to his words.  Good for Featherby.

The man turned to the coyote and set his fingertips upon his breast.  “Dabither Fudgebegotten, naturally.”  He swooped down and held out a hand, to which Featherby tentatively offered a paw, and they shook.  He then straightened up and faced the tailor once more, gesturing over himself.  “Now present me that I am presentable.”

“Of–of course, just as soon as I finish–” Mr. Gabbery began, but Fudgebegotten overrode him:

“Cannot be borne, I regret to say.  I have many preparations to make.”

Flatt finally deigned to turn his head, raising an eyebrow.  “Surely, my good man, you cannot mean to interrupt my fitting?”

“I haven’t the time to wait on questionably grey suits, I fear. I’m certain you understand.”

“Nonsense,” Flatt grumbled.  “Its greyness is precise…”

“Nevertheless,” Fudgebegotten intoned, addressing the tailor, “my needs are a priority.”  He smiled, and his mustache twiggled.  “I promise.”

The tailor furrowed his brow, but nodded.  “Very well, then.”  He gestured headwise for Flatt to step down from the pedestal.

Flatt eyed him.  “Truthfully, Mr. Gabbery?”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Flatt.  He did promise.”

Flatt groaned but complied.  “Come, then, Featherby.  Let us quit the scene of this indignity.”  He marched toward the exit, coyote in tow, but stopped as he reached the door, glowering back at the lavender-suited tailor usurper.  “Mr. Fudgebegotten – you wouldn’t happen to have been wearing a hat earlier, by any chance?”

Maaaybe,” Fudgebegotten practically sang, lips pursed joyfully and eyebrows waggling for a needlessly extended period.

Flatt’s face darkened, and he flung his way out through the shop’s threshold.

“You know, sir,” Featherby mused as they walked down the street, “now that I see it in the daylight, I wonder if it could be said that your suit is, perhaps, after all, just a touch too much on the grey side.”

The frown on Flatt’s face might have dislocated his jaw.  “Oh, Featherby, why did I build you?”

“For good times, sir.”


 

Bene scribete.

Forvo

forvo_logo

 

Speaking of interesting word websites – here’s another!

Forvo is an audio pronunciation database which aims to have every word in every language (yes, even swear words and slang) pronounced by a native speaker.  It looks like it’s already most of the way there for the more widely spoken languages – at least any random thing I tried in English, Spanish, German, Italian, and Japanese was available.

The interface is presented in multiple languages, but any word in any language can be queried from any of them without needing to specify the language of origin.  Words not natively in Roman characters can be searched for either in the native script or their Romanized versions (e.g., 犬 or inu).

Common words also tend to have multiple pronunciations to listen to, phrases with the word, and translations to other languages as well.  If you’re a native speaker of a language whose word is not yet included, or is not pronounced to your satisfaction, you can help Forvo out by submitting your own words and pronunciations.

Give it a look (and listen) at http://forvo.com – it’s pretty neat!

 

Bene scribete.

Dincton Flatt and the Heavy Taco

I’m going to be honest – this is not worth reading.


 

Taco

Dincton Flatt shuffled ponderously down Bendstrom avenue, eyes darting suspiciously at everyone he passed by.

“It’s far too small a day for bacon,” he muttered.

“I wouldn’t know,” said Featherby, trotting alongside him.  And he wouldn’t, for in addition to being a coyote, he was a robot, and could not eat bacon in the slightest.

Flatt stopped a short, round man coming from the opposite direction, placing his hands to his shoulders and leering into his beady eyes.  “You.”

“Me?” the man sputtered.

“Yes, you.  The very one I am accosting.  How long have you had that hat?”

The man reached up and grabbed at his driving cap.  “This one?”

“Yes, that one.  Out with it, man.”

“Er–a couple years, I imagine.”

“And how long have you been wearing it?”

“All day – what is the meaning of this?”

Flatt sighed and released him, waving him off.  The man gave a distrustful glance, but went on his way.

“Sir,” offered Featherby, “perhaps you shouldn’t be attempting to track down our hatleaver on an empty stomach.”

Flatt wiped a hand down his face.  “Yes, I suppose you’re right.  But what could possibly satisfy my hunger for justice?”

“There’s a newspaper-and-taco stand just over there.”

“Why on Earth is there a newspaper-and-taco stand on Bendstrom?”

“A question for the ages, sir.”

“Never mind.  It’ll do in a pinch.”  Flatt made his way over to the stand and got the attention of its attendant – an oily teenager with lank brown hair in his eyes (which could only serve to obscure his taco-related perceptive capabilities).

“Good afternoon, sir,” said the vendor.  “Would you like a taco?”

“As it happens, I would.”  Flatt looked the boy up and down.  “I see you’re not wearing a hat.”  He narrowed his eyes.  “Have you murdered anyone lately?”

The vendor got to work on the taco.  “I don’t think so.  I’m not really one for murderin’.  Mum would be none too pleased with that.”

Something on the front of the day’s paper caught Flatt’s attention, and he snatched up a copy.  Depicted in the side column was an all-too-familiar face.

“Cleben Render.”  A fart of a man if ever there was one, and there was one, and his name was Cleben Render.  His fiery red hair and leaf-green suit said it all.

Featherby nosed at another copy.  “What do you imagine he is doing back in Danesbury?”

“Who could say?”

“Likely the story written about him in the very paper you’re holding, sir.”

“There’s no time for that, Featherby!”  He slammed the paper back into the stand, and in the following moment, was handed a fresh, sizzling taco.

It smelled appetizing enough, but as he tested it out in his hand, he noticed an unusually generous heft.

“This taco is rather heavy, isn’t it?  Is the shell made of solid gold?”

The vendor shrugged.  “I think that would be cost-prohibitive, sir.”

“How much is it?”

“Two quid.”

“Lead in the beef, then?”

“Maybe if the cow was shot to death.”  The boy fired off a pair of finger-guns.

Flatt bit into the taco.  The flavor was loud, and it hit his gut as though his esophagus were punching him in the stomach. His colon began to rumble, and his eyes reached out in desperation for the nearest establishment with plumbing.  “Pay the man, Featherby.”  He began to backpedal.

“Sir?  You have given me no funding.”

Flatt turned and broke out into a sprint, calling back, “Oh, Featherby, why did I build you?”

“For good times, sir!”


 

Bene scribete.

Rude Bugs

 

snail2

 

Around the corner there’s a snail
Who only wants to see you fail.
So grab that slimer by the shell
And softly whisper, “Go to hell.”

Inside the pantry there’s an ant
Who’s apt to tell you that you can’t.
So sweep it underneath the table.
Show it that you’re more than able.

At the window there’s a fly
Who’d kind of like to have you die.
So swat the silly thing away
And tell it that you’re here to stay.

Among the flowers there’s a bee,
But this one wants to set you free.
So drink its honey, blaze a trail,
And don’t let ruder bugs prevail.

Do not listen to the snail.

 

Bene scribete.