Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Parvum Opus 352: The Practical Application of Floy Floy

Dulce, utile, et decorum est pro patria scribere.


The number one computer is still down and the computer tech is mainly responsible. The future of our files is uncertain. So because of that, and the holidays, my work pattern is also down, and I’m sending out a mercifully short Parvum Opus.

I wish you all a most excellent New Year.

A Literary Christmas

I got some great Christmas gifts this year, particularly good ones because the givers thought about what I like: books, but not only books.

One is a mug with the John Tenniel drawing of Alice in Wonderland looking at the Cheshire Cat. When you pour in a hot drink, the cat’s face disappears, leaving only — of course — the grin. I’ve read Alice in Wonderland numerous times. It’s one of those children’s books that can take on new shades of meaning at different times of your life.

Then I got an Edward Gorey deck of cards that I didn’t know existed, The Fantod Pack, a parody of Tarot cards. I won’t be laying out the cards because all the card meanings are bad, as interpreted by Madame Groeda Weyrd, including such fortunes as cafard, inanition, catarrh, gapes, fugues, barratry, assailed honor, yaws, senseless talk, inadequate drainage, vapors, loss of ears, puckers, weltschmerz, wispiness, champerty, and megrims. Oh, and paranoia. You may not know that the noms de plume that Gorey used are anagrams of his name.

I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar by Sharon Eliza Nichols is a photographic collection of mistakes. Well, I judge the grammar, not the person, but I just can’t help editing, just as you evaluate anything that falls into your specialty, whether it’s art, cooking, fashion, music, or business management. The YEILD sign painted on concrete is one I’ve seen in my grocery store parking lot; it happens everywhere, though I’ve never seen NO PAKRING. Someone has a non-working door buzzard. In my experience, buzzards seldom work. The international apostrophe crisis could be solved if someone would remove the extraneous ones and drop them in where needed.

Conversations is a more serious book by Elizabeth Schultz, a collection of several dozen poems she wrote on works of art in the Spencer Museum of Art at The University of Kansas, which is a very fine small museum. The poems, of course, bring us into her head, more than into the paintings or sculpture or photos.

The Practical Application of Floy Floy

Bill Kauffman, in “Boulder Rocks” in the January 2010 issue of The American Conservative, writing about a debate he was in on the Constitution, digresses to an anecdote about Jack Kerouac,

who had a knack for the non sequitur to which there is no reply. He once halted the verbigeration of a strange episode of “Firing Line” [the William Buckley talk show] by barking a line from a tune by Slim & Slam: “Flat foot floogie with a floy floy.”

In another generation, Kerouac (who was a heavy drinker) could have been a stand-up comic. When I read On the Road and others of his books as a teenager and then a college student, his quasi-buddhist odyssey seemed to mean more than it does now. In my memory, the book vaguely recalls the very very long, romantic Look Homeward Angel and other books by Thomas Wolfe (not to be confused with Tom Wolfe). Note that the link here is to a publication of the original manuscript, called O Lost: A Story of the Buried Life, which is even longer than the original published edition.

I still like Kerouac but I don’t know if I could read him anymore, or Thomas Wolfe either, though I’m tempted to get O Lost (pun noted but not intended). It’s like a changing taste in art, moving from Impressionism to Japanese watercolors or Vermeer.

Not Only Legless

Mike Sykes, among other things, sent an example of “legless” meaning drunk, in a song by Andy Fairweather-Low called “Wide-Eyed and Legless”. (I like this version better than his 1975 video.)

Two Weeks of the Weekly Gizzard: Moi on

Terrorism works

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security, said the system worked following an uncompleted terrorist plan to kill...

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Merry Christmas to everyone, and especially to everyone in the armed services and to veterans. So many of the men...



I’m publishing for the Kindle digital reader with Amazon and now also on for download to computer and for printing. Most of these titles are available in both locations. Search for Rhonda Keith on Kindle store and

* The Man from Scratch is about cloning, escort services, murder, and restaurants in Akron, Ohio, featuring Roxy Barbarino, writer for Adventuress Magazine. Novel.

* A Walk Around Stonehaven is a travel article on my trip to Scotland. Short article with photos. ( only.)

* The Wish Book is fantasy-suspense-romance featuring the old Sears Roebuck catalogues. Novella.

* Carl Kriegbaum Sleeps with the Corn is about a young gambler who finds himself upright in a cornfield in Kansas with his feet encased in a tub of concrete; how would you get out of a spot like that? Short story.

* Still Ridge is about a young woman who moves from Boston to Appalachia and finds there are two kinds of moonshine, the good kind and the kind that can kill you. Short story.

* Whither Spooning? asks whether synchronized spooning can be admitted to the 2010 Winter Olympics. Humorous sports article.

* Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Cats: One woman's tale of menopause, in which I learn that the body is predictive; I perceive that I am like my cat; and I find love. Autobiographical essay.

* Parvum Opus Volume I. The first year (December 2002 through 2003). You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get PO’ed. Collection of columns.

10% discount on my Lulu publications:

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Graphic covers of my books

Dulce, Utile, et Decorum (Sweet, Useful, and Proper), title of new collection of Parvum Opus, Volume I

BUMPER STICKER: Dulce, Utile, et Decorum

No Pain, No Pain

Star o’ the Bar

Veritas Vincit (Truth Conquers) with Keith clan Catti insignia

Flash in the Pants

If you're so smart why aren't you me?

PWE (Protestant Work Ethic)

I am here maternity tops

I eat dead things (doggy shirt, pet dishes, and BBQ apron)

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Trivium pursuit ~ rhetoric, grammar, and logic, or reading, writing, and reckoning: Parvum Opus discusses language, education, journalism, culture, and more. Parvum Opus by Rhonda Keith is a publication of KeithOps / Opus Publishing Services. Editorial input provided by Fred Stephens. Rhonda Keith is a long-time writer, editor, and English teacher. Back issues from December 2002 may be found at; 2009 issues are at Feel free to e-mail me with comments or queries. The PO mailing list is private, never given or sold to anyone else. If you don't want to receive Parvum Opus, please e-mail, and I'll take you off the mailing list. Copyright Rhonda Keith 2009. Parvum Opus or part of it may be reproduced only with permission, but you may forward the entire newsletter as long as the copyright remains.

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