(also watcha)

1 informal What are you …
1.1 What have you …
1.2 What do you …

1920s contraction.


Wotcha want, highfalutin words every single day?

He slung the slang
Out to the gang
Without much thought
Though he probably ought.


Duck Out

The waves crashed over the remnants of the sea wall. Bob stood well back from the ragged shoreline but still was glad he had worn his high rubber boots. An occasional sluice of foamy salt water raced past the remains of his beachfront house onto the eroding street where he stood. His insurance adjuster had sent a nice email note but said she would not be visiting him any time soon. In fact, she implied that she was really just contacting him because, what the heck, she was between jobs, anyway. Who insures the insurance companies?

It was three days after the latest midsummer nor’easter, and the devastation in Oxbury was almost complete. The golf course was mostly just a water hazard, now. The sailboats which had not been trailered away were bashed and broken on shore. There wasn’t a single intact craft left afloat in the harbor.

A total loss, not one which even the governor’s state of emergency declaration would begin to cover. All up and down New England’s shore, the destruction was similar, if not worse. Bob had heard that Cape Cod was just a sliver of its former self. Provincetown no longer existed at all. Parts of New York City were being pumped out for the fourth time this summer.

The Congregational church steeple lay halfway across the main road, not that there was really that much traffic beyond dazed locals driving their Lexus SUVs to find groceries further inland. Only 25 percent of the houses in town had escaped damage from the month’s three major storms. Even then, trees which had been there for over a hundred years were uprooted or split down the middle and would take weeks or longer to be cleared.

The forecast was bleak for August, too.

Bob got back into his own ride, a more modest Jeep Cherokee SUV which he liked better than the upscale versions most of his neighbors had. “Neighbors”, hah! There were probably not going to be many of those in Oxbury over the next few years.

Bob turned the key, rotated his head and avoided the rubble of downed trees, roof shingles, and even a partial fish carcass as he backed away from his former summer home. Time to duck out of this lost cause. The claim he had filed was possibly stacked (at least electronically) somewhere in the insurance system files along with the thousands of others filed by homeowners up and down the eastern seaboard.

Bob waved to Earnest, the mailman as they passed each other. How did the US Postal Service always seem to keep on with their rounds? Were some postal workers being furloughed? How much work was there when the town was mostly not there at all? Driving slowly away, Bob left the shore behind. His mail would be forwarded.

The mountain chalet beckoned.


(also spondulix)

plural noun
informal British

Mid 19th century of unknown origin.


Securing one’s spondulicks requires more than just a tight fist.


There is little poetry
Mixed in with money
‘Cause if you write it,
You won’t get much, honey!

Un-Astronimical Observations

July 1, hooray!
Calendar year, second half.
Mark the day,
And have a good laugh.

Man’s intention
Deserves your attention
But, oh, did I mention,
It is nothing but convention?

It does not match the solstice
The temperature does not peak
And just whose fault, this?
Some old Roman. What a geek.


Relating to a woman.

Late Middle English from medieval Latin feminalis, from Latin femina ‘woman’.


During the Middle English period, feminal seems to have duked it out with feminine and lost.



[with object]informal British
Steal (fruit) from an orchard or garden.

Mid 19th century from dialect scrump ‘withered apple’.


Before these words whither, let us amble through our orchard of vocabulary and scrump them so we can put them to valuable use.



informal Australian, New Zealand
A quick look.

Early 16th century (originally denoting a game of hiding and reappearing): from bo, an exclamation intended to startle someone (compare with boo) + the verb peep. The current sense dates from the 1940s.


Let’s take a bo-peep at the word, today, shall we?



1 A basket, especially one of a pair carried by a beast of burden.
1.1 Each of a pair of bags or boxes fitted on either side of the rear wheel of a bicycle or motorcycle.
2 historical Part of a skirt looped up round the hips.
2.1 A frame supporting a pannier of a skirt.

Middle English from Old French panier, from Latin panarium ‘bread basket’, from panis ‘bread’.


Frankly, Roy never called his saddle bags panniers. Though he might have considered it for the pack mule.


A tisket a tasket
Come, fill up your basket.
Saturday is the best day
To visit the farmers’ market, okay?