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Language is a body and violence can be done to it, particularly with punctuation, and nothing is quite as punctilious punctuationwise as an aposiopesis. An aposiopesis, we learn, is a written equivalent of the ‘becoming silent’ – signalled at the end of the beginning of a thought on one hand by a dash to denote the violent cutting off of words, and on the other hand by an ellipsis, or a ‘falling short’, for the loss of will, the joke with no punchline, the failure to complete…



‘Is that a dagger which I see before me? Why I nev–’


‘Huh. When I put it down, over there, in the drawer, in the hallway table, the one outside the kids’ room, I could have sworn, I was definite in fact, that the, that the safety…’


Aposiopesis Maximus

So where the dash is a dagger to the heart of the sentence, the ellipsis is three neat spots of blood trickled from its personhood, signalling its waning strength. And why three? Why always three? From whence came our love of the trio? Why is something not complete until the introduction of the third, while we walk on two legs and the beasts of the land walk on four? Yes a stool is unstable until comes the third leg, and everything after is superfluous, but can you see a three-legged peacock? You can not.

Why three when we couple in twos? Why tack on the holy ghost when the father and the son would have been fine on their own? What are the origins of the three? It’s three blind mice, and three wise monkeys, and three sheets to the wind (those being only three examples). Why are three cuff buttons on a man’s jacket the essence of elegance?

Yet one tries to picture an ellipsis made of only two points, and it is too horrible to imagine, too horrible.. Similarly, try to think of a sentence stunted by a hyphen rather than the mighty em-dash—I mean, wha-

The ingloriousness of it – like death by toothpick. Just ask Sherwood Anderson, who died after swallowing an hors d’oeuvre avec un cure-dent. It slashed his pouch to pieces. We don’t know how many.


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Knits a stinK has been doing a lot of thinking lately about the development of Western civilization. We’ve been reading book(s), trying to figure this out, looking to take a stand somewhere or other, to have a viewpoint, and with the power of reflection it seems to us that there are a few strands that stick out and beg to be pulled. We present to you here a certain few motes that have filtered through the cheesecloths of our minds. Juice features large, as does the colo(u)r purple (although not necessarily at the same time), when it comes down to encapsulating this place, this idea, we have come to know as Europe. Galileo pops up once or twice as well, as is his wont – putting the ‘perv’ in ‘impervious’ – as does Tyre, which is the symbolic starting point for old heart Europe.

Tyre, you see, which is currently located within the borders of Lebanon, and known by them as ‘Sour’, is the historic birthplace of Europa, that saucy lass that tempted Zeus to steal her away to Mt Olympus or wherever, disguised as a bull (Zeus that is, not Europa). One of the first horns of a dilemma. The Tyre king must not have been too happy. This was well before Helen went the other direction, don’t you know.

Europa coined.

PLUS, Tyre was well known in those days as a center for the production of purple. Our friend legend has it that some dude was walking along the Levantine seaside with his dog, when he (the dog) got a wild hair and bounded after a band of sea snails. Well apparently the dog came back and Heracles (who may or may not have been Hercules) cranked open the animal’s mouth for some ancient reason and saw that it was stained this lovely shade, falling in the range between dried blood and the colo(u)r of the sky in the last moments before night.

Well didn’t old Heracles think that was a hoot. And didn’t he show the King of Tyre, and didn’t the King of Tyre say to himself, that’s a shade I wish to associate myself with. Myself and no one else. I will be the King of Snails, and people will see me and say, ‘That sea snail-colo(u)red man is one powerful being, that much is obvious, I think I might just bow to him when he passes,’ but with a Tyrian accent, and it will be good. The lore unfortunately does not give us the fate of the dog with the snail-stained gob, or whether he became the King of Dogs for his brief time, or whether there passed a fashion or a passion for chewing on snails, or whether that was limited to a certain, very rarefied set of mutts, who trotted around with their mouths wide open as proof of their lineage. We’re guessing this is just what happened, though.

And was Europa wearing purple when Zeus, that randy old fellow, fell for her? I would say so. She was the King’s daughter, after all. Hello Princess Europa. Bye bye Phoenicia. Thanks for all the snails. The Tyrians used to collect them, and put them in pots, the snails – just after the rising of the Dog star – and boil them all up in saltwater, until they had their lovely liquor of Tyrian purple.

That’s the story about how a bunch of snails lured Western civilization out of the Fertile Crescent. Not very likely, is it? But it is etched in stone, so who are you to argue? Anyway, back in Europe a few thousand years pass with little incident, and this guy named Galileo Galilei Galilea* is looking up at the heavens through a tube, and what does he discover? Why Europa, of course, up there dancing around her fat friend Jupiter. And sure isn’t Jupiter just Zeus in yet another disguise, this time as the head of the Roman clan, who had stolen the purple torch from the Greeks? And so Galileo was burned at the stake for finding her out once again, a punishment meted by Zeus/Jupiter himself, no doubt, and afterwards there was another boring period for 400 years or so, at which point Europe suddenly remembered again where she was.

But this time when they looked they had some seriously advanced tubes, and what they saw at the other end was what looked to be an icy sphere. Europa, the revolving Ice Queen. And so back home on Earth her continent, recently united, cobbled together a space system for the sole purpose of sending out what they coined the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (giving us, in a very roundabout way, the acronym ‘JUICE’, though it looks to us that it should be JIME, but then of course that don’t jive). JUICE is the spaceship they plan to send to visit Europa in 2022, to break the ice in 2030. I suppose the reason they wanted their acronym to spell ‘juice’, is for what they think might lie beneath the ice – water. And what might be in that water? Life. The greatest juice of them all. And wouldn’t that be something? Europa, that tricky beast, never fails to surprise.

*To be sung to the tune of ‘The Happy Wanderer

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Some of the guys in the office thought we should enter our fiftieth week with a big bang, and I was out-voted, so we teamed up with the Inevitable Press to give you this:

What do you mean, ‘What is it?’? It’s a goatscape. Let me see if I can’t arrange for a few close-ups:

Whoever said we don’t love you?

We unfortunately haven’t been able to hook up the audio for this post (to the great displeasure of our librettist), but I thought it would probably go something like this:

climbing up goat moun-

tain they go,


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Squirrel sees you. Squirrel knows what you’ve been up to. Squirrel is following you on Twitter, but Squirrel uses a pseudonym, so that you won’t know that it is Squirrel. Squirrel can’t believe you’d stoop so low.

Squirrel once had a vision, of a world where nuts needn’t be buried, where nuts could live out in the free, like other food sources, without fear. Squirrel is older now, and has seen too much to believe in such a world anymore. Squirrel is jaded. Squirrel understands how things work. But Squirrel still has hope – Squirrel still lives in hope.



Addendum: Although the author recognizes that this post contains no visual puns, and is not per se a visual pun of the day, the author is equally aware that there are many humans out there who search for those phrases. We apologize for the sleight.

Post-addendum: Also note – Southeast Asia is blessed with giant squirrels. Imagine that. Additionally – there are things in existence which like to be called ‘mountain beavers’, which aren’t squirrels but often wish they were.

We all love squirrels and think they are wonderful, except for grandfathers, the sworn enemy of squirrels.

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In which we review the highlights of existence. Why can’t one let one’s self go all chimpanzee? So one wants to jump onto a heightened structure and hoot as a way of announcing one’s dominance over one’s perceived enemies: why should we frown? But if one wears shoes, one’s feet becomes more tender, requiring more for the fact that one must need to don said shoes. A panderitious cycle of ever-softening softness. Light us up a candle, Gary. We’re going to toast us some marshmallows.

Moving on to the delicacy of pronunciation. As a person who lives in a place which is not the place near which I was born, I often get razzed on how I say me my words. ‘This is correct,’ they imply, ‘and that is incorrect.’ Poop fiddles. We’ve been here before. Sure, wasn’t it Tacitus who said, ‘Let’er rip any which way you want’em’? I say again, poop fiddles. What is the difference, for example between a ‘bird’ and a ‘beard’? Bad example, perhaps. Birds and beards and boards are all specific representations of themselves. The bard writes of a bird with a beard on a board because he knows what’s what.

And also, Knits a stinK will shortly be going on a mosquito-collecting expedition across the wild boundary waters of Minnesota. Paddle battle galore. If you never read from me again, let force be known that I fought the good fight with the moose. For every action is a noble action in the mind, and those that will submit to the ever-pressing need of the romantic intellect shall be acknowledged to the world, and the world will be grateful. Thank you, end unto end.

Others amongst you will be asking what point I have in dwelling in the manners of the absurd, and for you I have no answer, except for the following:  

High on a hill was a lonely goat turd, Yodelay-ee-yodelay-ee-ee-hee-hoo.

But why? Why a goat turd? What was it doing there, and why does it deserve highlighting? I for one am disturbed at the ease with which this sort of sentiment is consumed by the general populace. We must remain even-tempered, however. We must take everything for the value of its face. There has to be some reason why this has gripped our people to such an extent. So we will put ourselves there: we will become the goat turd, so lonely.

What exactly does it mean, for example, to be at such an elevated point, higher most likely than anything else within the eye’s range, buffeted by the wind, cold and afraid, all-seeing but having no one with whom to share? You, the turd, must wonder where all of the other turds have made off to; rolled down the hill, most likely. There’s probably piles of them congregating down in the valley. Gravity plays terrible tricks. So why have you, the lonely turd, been singled out, to find yourself balanced atop the precipice, superior to all, equal to none, so turd-like in your being: unique, irreplaceable, effervescent? What right have you?

And now you see. Now you see what we have to deal with. I’m off to canoe.

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In the old days everything was divided into four parts – everything. The human body was composed of black bile, green bile, yellow bile and uh, blue bile. The world itself was made up simply of earth, water, air and fire. There were four primary directions, each with its own wind. I imagine there are probably lots of other examples. Life was good. Easy peasy. Then the ‘enlightenment’ came along and ruined everything.

Knits a stinK is starting a campaign to simplify everything. This will make it all good again. Everything is going to be so good. We start with an orange. An orange, we would like to put forth to the committee, is composed of four, and only four, elements. These elements are as follows:

  • Pith
  • Pulp
  • Juice
  • Peel

Each of these elements has its own, indivisible set of characteristics. Let no man tear them asunder! Each is equal to the other. Each is vital to the very orangeness of what we know to be orange. Take away any of these elements and it ceases to be an orange, and proceeds to become just a pile of citric crap. The characteristics of each of these elements, in no particular order, are as follows:

  • Juice: sweet, innocuous, flowing
  • Pulp: meaty, chewy
  • Pith: dry and kind of nasty, but nutrient-full
  • Peel: vile, acrid, destructive yet protective

Put altogether it is a formidable parcel. Don’t attempt to swallow one whole. It’ll rattle up the old gasbag.

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No day


Yes, I could tell there was something different about that day even before I opened my eyes. There was something about the light: it was softer, fluffier than normal. Plus it was really quiet out the bedroom window, where normally there would be people scraping past, as well as cars and helicopters, that sort of thing, and dogs.

But there was nothing. I got out of bed and parted the curtains to find a thick, pinkish blanket covering everything in sight. Odd, I thought, it doesn’t even seem cold, and this late in the year, you just wouldn’t expect it. As I ate my breakfast I looked out on the backyard. There were no birds pecking for scraps to eat, no children hurling themselves into snowpiles before they had to go to school. Just more quiet.

I pulled on my boots and a heavy coat, wrapped a scarf around my neck and put on a woolly hat, then went for the door. The air that met me when I opened it, however, was not cold; it was sticky, like an inland summer noon. But there was something else about it, and there was no one moving through the streets, just this picture-perfect late winter scene.

I took my first step out into it and found that its surface didn’t break. I was left standing on top of the snow, like some sort of wintery jesus. It was overtly odd. I shifted my weight onto a leg and it broke through the crust. When I pulled it out I did so with some difficulty, as it carried with it long stringy tendrils of a white goo, which clung to my boot and trouser leg. I gave it a breathless curse and reached down cautiously to touch the substance, which on closer inspection appeared to be embedded with countless tiny crystals. Unable to resist the temptation, I gathered a sample with my finger and brought it towards my face. It was twirled around the tip of my finger like a hairdo, perfectly unmoving. It was flawless, and seemed to be calling my name. I was as if in a trance. I didn’t want to, I felt I shouldn’t, but I put it in my mouth.

Sweetness, such sweetness! Sweetness like I’d never known! I lifted my face to the scene set before me and began to take in the fact that all I looked upon was a field of sugary white. I ran back into my home leaving tracks like a one-legged painter, ripping at my scarf and woolly hat and tossing them aside as I went. I opened the back door and called to my dog, who stuck her nose warily out of her little house and sniffed at the ground. I called her again and she tested it with a paw much like I had before, and then dashed in a spurt across the sugary patch to the open doorway, suddenly wired and half-crazy.

The two of us ran through the house and out the front and into the bizarre street where there was still no traffic of any sort. We ran and fell and were soon coated with the stuff. I lay half-propped in the middle of the sweetened street and watched the dog as she dug away a few feet beyond me. She looked up briefly from her hole, her head like an inverted marshmallow, then continued in earnest. Soon she hit earth, and it started flying through the air behind her in chunks, landing with satisfying plumps on the sugar coating. One fell onto my stomach and I went to brush it away, but … perhaps you know what’s coming here … it wasn’t earth at all. I had less hesitation this time at popping it into my mouth: rich, moist chocolate cake. I started laughing quite loud, although the sound was mostly absorbed into the surrounding sugar. The dog poked her head out of the hole again, her jaws working away, then returned once more to her business. I wasn’t quite sure what this was, or what to do with it, and so I just kept laughing and lazily swabbing tufts of cake into the icing and stuffing them into my mouth.

Perhaps if my dog hadn’t been buried under six feet of cake she would have warned me. Perhaps if I hadn’t been drugged into a sugary stupor I would have noticed it myself: the wax column the size of the Washington Monument topped with flame, the gigantic hand that held it, the cup in which it sat, atop a long sharp deathly spike, all coming straight for me.

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