Some spaceship names

I feel like in science fiction lately, there’s been an occasional tendency (though with many exceptions) for authors to adopt the style of Iain M. Banks in naming their fictional spaceships. Before Banks came along, I feel like fictional spaceship names tended to be one or two words (of course, many of these names were […]

Trek house rules

For a long time, I’ve been intermittently collecting fortune-cookie fortunes that I find entertaining with phrases like in bed or between the sheets added. The other day, Kam came up with a new-to-us variation: adding between the sheets after lines of dialogue in Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes. I didn’t write down any examples […]

arsy-tansy, revisited

Back in 2012, I wrote an entry about encountering the word arsy-tansy in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and discovering that that term didn’t exist anywhere else. Just now, I came across the word arsy-versy in an Anthony Boucher story, “The Chronokinesis of Jonathan Hull.” (“The disturbingly arsy-versy normal world…”) It turns […]


Standover tactics require a standover man. Or a standover woman, of course. A standover person of any kind. Or perhaps a standover kangaroo would do, I'm not sure about all of these antipodean nuances.


In the English version of the song “Madeleine,” as performed in Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, there’s a couplet that I always thought went like this: Madeleine’s my Tisiphe; She’s America to me. I’ve been listening to the song, now and then, since the mid-’80s. I had a vague recollection […]

Paging Dr. Euphemism

I am currently entertaining myself while keeping my mother company in the hospital by reading up on the different emergency codes that come over the loudspeaker, which are intentionally cryptic so as to protect patient privacy and stave off mass panic.  The color codes are not standard, aside from Code Red generally meaning “fire”; there […]