Recent Posts

27 January 2014


The force of laughing can dislocate jaws,
prompt asthma attacks,
cause headaches, make hernias protrude.

It can provoke cardiac arrhythmia, syncope
or even emphysema (this last,
according to a clinical lecturer in 1892).

Laughter can trigger the rare but possibly grievous
Pilgaard-Dahl and Boerhaave’s syndromes.

There are choking hazards,
such as ingesting food during belly laughs.

We don’t know how much laughter is safe.

There’s probably a U-shaped curve:
laughter is good for you,
but enormous amounts are bad, perhaps.

Taken from Who Says Laughter’s the Best Medicine? in The New York Times, 20 December 2013. Submitted by Howie Good.

24 January 2014


In case you don’t know me, Hi. Im Diana.
I’m a 30 year old lady.
Itallerthan your average girl,
thinner tha your average girl,
and and active than your average girl.

Yeah I run an ice crea business for a living,
but like to thing
I’m healthier than your average girl too.
No priorn medical history. Nothing.

my first ever ride in an ambulance
was uneventful – the hops;ital
is a 5 minute drive from my folks’ house.

By now I had somehow regained some ability to sspeak
and answered the EMT’s incessant questionsining.
still stuumbling over my words,
even laughin at my mstakes.

From Bad Year for Boars, an account by Diana Hardeman about suffering a stroke, written 30 December 2013, a week after the event. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

22 January 2014

Notes in My Barefoot Voice

Result, restful, mellow, autumnal.
How the asters cheer me! So old-
fashioned-looking, in the plump
white mug that’s making do
for a vase. In these
strange, uncertain
times, I sit
down to

From Notes in My Barefoot Voice by Diana Atkinson, July 2002, Shambhala Sun. Submitted by Eugenia Hepworth Petty.

20 January 2014

It's a long way to fall from a skittish horse.

Horses are not meant to be sat upon.
Too high and fast. Large herbivores –
small brain, strong flight instinct.

The problem here (apart from an approaching rattly lorry,
narrow high-hedged lane, attempted evasive action
and two highly unexpected wheelie bins)
was more the equally small brain,
and total lack of skill or co-ordination,
on the part of the rider.

The lanes are normally very quiet.
We'd mostly been riding in the forest
(though that is full of scary squeaky branches,
suddenly erupting birds, unpredicted falling twigs).
Ah, but those are nature noises.

Machinery represents a threat of a different order:
a parked helicopter,
sabre-toothed bicycles.
And tractors. And buses.

Plastic carrier bags in hedges.
They are the most scary and dangerous of all.
They can eat a horse whole, apparently.

Taken from a Facebook discussion amongst riding enthusiasts about a friend's recent fall from a horse. Submitted by Angi Holden.

17 January 2014

Paradox of entailment

It is raining
It is not raining
George Washington was made of rakes.

An example paradox of entailment from Paradoxes of material implication on Wikipedia. Submitted by Sheila.

15 January 2014

Act Like a Man

Eddie stayed sceptical. He stretched, threw up his head, yawned, and tested the air with his sensitive nose. A trapped turbulence, as if the wind had solidified. He helped her to her feet. "Come, darling," he said. "Come." "You of all people," the Void communicated. Scanned him with his quick black eyes. The only thing she could make out in the dark was the gravel forecourt in front of the house. "You ain't talking to me." He called her back to pay for the cognac. He closed his book and drew out a bleating kid. the cultural context in which it was offered, the phrase "act like a man".

An online collaborative found poetry experiment, composed of the first line from page 50 (up to the full stop or end of line, whichever came first) in books taken from the shelves of 11 poets around the world. Submitted by Winston Plowes.

Contributors and sources: Winston Plowes,
The Five People You Meet in Heaven; Andrea Reiser Perkins, Sequoia; Sonja Johanson, The Future of Ice; Sarah Nichols, 'O City of Broken Dreams'; Catherine Nichols, Valis; Sherry Steiner, Midnight Cowboy; Laurie Kolp, Inkheart; Jenni B.Baker, The Sound and the Fury; Beth Ayer, The Unbearable Lightness of Being; Sheila Sondik, The Whispering Muse; Mildred Achoch, Raising a modern-day knight.

13 January 2014


I have walked that long road to freedom.
I have tried not to falter;
I have made missteps along the way.
But I have discovered the secret
that after climbing a great hill,
one only finds that
there are many more hills to climb.

I have taken a moment.

I learned that courage
was not the absence of fear,
but the triumph over it.
The brave man is not
he who does not feel afraid,
but he who conquers that fear.

Taken from a CNN article, "Mandela in his own words", 26th June 2008. Submitted by Angi Holden.

10 January 2014

Those Things Omitted in Masses for the Dead

the Altar is not incensed at the Introit
and the Subdeacon does not kiss
the hand of the Celebrant
nor is the Subdeacon blessed

the Deacon does not request the Blessing
nor does he kiss the hand of the Celebrant
nor are the lights held at the Gospel
nor is the incense carried

the book is not incensed
nor the Celebrant at the end
nor is the book brought to be kissed
the Subdeacon does not hold the Paten

the ministers
when handing something to the Celebrant
do not kiss his hand
nor do they kiss that which they hand to him

the breast is not struck

From the Rubrics of the Missale Romanum 1962, section XIII. Submitted by Dale Wisely.

06 January 2014

Hostage etiquette

You can ask them for basic questions like –
toilet, drinking, eating
In case of failure, do not mind
You can try again later.
In any case you do not have to threaten terrorists
phrases such as ‘You will still all be killed’
‘Soon comes your end’
This could cause psychological disruption
and the worst consequences.
Do not humiliate the terrorists.
Do not take weapons thrown by the terrorists.
Often the terrorists hide among the hostages.
Therefore all are suspected.
Always remember
if you are ready
calmly and confidently
to resist to the misfortune,
it will never HAPPEN to you.

Taken from a list of instructions found in a Ykaterinburg hotel, as described in the Financial Times article, A grim warning in the Russian regions, 3rd December 2013. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.