Author Archives: nbmandel

Ides, veg but not vegan

Haruspex Day rolls round again and as I have no access to sacrificial oxen I was constrained to inspect a fried egg this morning.

Eve Golden in a fried egg hat (via DPLA)

Results: sunny and positive to start, wrinkly at the edges, quickly becoming a mess.

Pamphlet from the New England Fresh Egg Institute, 1942 [Univ. of South Carolina Libraries via DPLA]

The whole story in an eggshell.


Today’s metaphor-or-something headline: Melania Trump’s Hat Auction Hit by Plunge in Cryptocurrency (NYT, 1/26/22)


Two annoyances I thought nearly done returned in full force: ants, and a blocked ear. Damned irritating, both of them.


Is it a test?

Why would anyone contract for editing services with a company so feebly detail-oriented that it doesn’t bother to make sure its fake rave reviews don’t duplicate each other?

That jade fylfot charm pawned for one-and-three

The offence that had circuitously brought 'il Rasojo' and his 'lot'
within the cognizance of Scotland Yard outlines the kind of story that
is discreetly hinted at by the society paragraphist of the day, politely
disbelieved by the astute reader, and then at last laid indiscreetly
bare in all its details by the inevitable princessly 'Recollections' of
a generation later. It centred round an impending royal marriage in
Vienna, a certain jealous 'Countess X' (here you have the discretion of
the paragrapher), and a document or two that might be relied upon (the
aristocratic biographer will impartially sum up the contingencies) to
play the deuce with the approaching nuptials.

-- Ernest Bramah, The Game Played in the Dark (a Max Carrados story)

I would leave the fylfot in the pawnshop if I were you.


No.s count

simplicity so often is

somebody explain why authors would consistently leave the issue numbers out of their journal references. you see the volume number, you see the page range, the ISSUE NO. is right there!

yes I am copyediting (and checking every one of these stupid things) why do you ask

Haruspex Day 2021

In Gowanus

March 15 last year I assembled a poem from scraps and read its entrails:

I predict: that things will be very confusing, even surreal. That many of us will pass through what seems like a different world, strangely collectively. That some appearances will soothe our fevers, judged by the feeling of mercury. That we may — or alternately may not — be able to bear. That some possibilities will vanish.

And lo! you can’t say I was wrong. In general I am (making my monicker ironic) a lousy foresee-er; I hate to gamble. There’s seldom enough sooth from the future to cast a fortune. Now the radio station asks its listeners for lessons learned. I guess they want cheerful ones; would they choose the gloomy? It’s to be sealed for a decade. Imagine that, it poses, and I can’t.



Opinions & Ideas No One Asked Me For #2. Getting peevy so early! but I think it’s relatively mild and harmless: I don’t like ice cube perfection cultists. Perfectly clear ice, one cube the size of Rhode Island or two exquisite spheres buffed to remove the join line, exactly 1 cm per side and exactly 17 per drink, crushed and only crushed BUT STOP NO FURTHER CRUSHING, any of that. People who like a cute shape just for fun, that’s different and acceptable; it’s not pseudo religion.

Anthony Algernon

This might be the first (or the only) in a series to be called “Ideas and Opinions that No One Asked Me For.”

If you are a human being named Anthony and for whatever reason, possibly under the influence of precocious exposure to Mr Wilde’s masterpiece, you prefer to be called Algernon, well then, Algernon it is. If, however, you are a writer of novels and you want your main character to be called Algernon, for whatever reason, why on earth would you name him Anthony and then tell us that everyone calls him Algernon for no reason at all? I mean, he’s a fictional character, call him whatever you like but don’t try to insinuate that Algernon (“unabbreviated” or otherwise) is a normal nickname for Anthony.


Gold and purple.

Gold[ie] and [Cherokee] Purple are so, so close.

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