Tag archives: word play

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 25, 2021

Being rejected is a basic human experience, for which most of us need to be better trained than we probably are.  If you ask Mr. Google about rejections, he’ll give you many lists of famous and successful people who failed over and over again, but went on, and, through sheer persistence, became the stars and […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 11, 2021

It’s getting easier to copy – but it’s still hard to be original. However, it’s also now much easier to tell if an idea is original – although, even if it’s not, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a copy. There is, after all, such a thing as “independent creation.”  For that reason, whenever I get […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 17, 2020

One of my most popular epigrams (which is why I made it the title of one of my books) says: “All I want is a warm bed, and a kind word – and unlimited power.” I suppose we’d all like to be able to control things a little more than we can – starting with […]

By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 19, 2020

My birthday happens to be in December (on the 9th), so my numerical age stays the same practically all through the calendar year. On my tenth birthday, in 1943, one of the presents I received was a “Five-year Diary,” with each small page representing the same calendar date on five succeeding years. So, each day […]

Lost Lands
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 12, 2020

Many countries – and many families – have some tradition of territory, or property, which used to be theirs, and is now someone else’s. The memory, even though it may relate to events far in the past, is sometimes still charged with bitterness.  A classic example is the region known as Alsace-Lorraine, sandwiched between France […]

Fame or Shame
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 5, 2020

There are good reasons for giving names to hurricanes and tropical storms. It helps the weather-watchers avoid confusion in referring to them. But it was a bad idea to use the first names of people, because, if you happen to have that name – and especially if the event turns out to be a bad […]

Time to Panic
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 5, 2019

One of the things I remember from my days as a summer-camp counselor was a skit in one of our campfire entertainments, in which someone runs onto the “stage” shouting “The Viper! The Viper is coming!” Then someone else comes screaming, “The Viper! Oh, No! It’s The Viper!” followed by a third, echoing “The Viper! […]

Worst Journies
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 26, 2019

About a century ago, a man named Apsley Cherry-Garrard wrote a book called The Worst Journey In The World. (The title was suggested by his friend George Bernard Shaw.) It was a true account of the author’s participation in the second Scott expedition to Antarctica, in which its leader, Robert Falcon Scott, lost his life, […]

Words First, Words Last
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 7, 2019

My favorite Famous Last Words seem special to me not only because of the speaker (a President of the United States) but also because of the circumstances in which they were uttered. Here we might pause, and ask ourselves if we can recall the last words of ANY US President, whether or not still President. […]

The Ethics of Archaeology
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 20, 2018

It has always seemed puzzling to me that in some situations we have great respect for the dead, while in others we couldn’t care less. In general, the determining factor seems to be time. The more recently dead you are, the more you can expect to be handled with care, and referred to with some […]

Messages and Messengers
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   December 13, 2018

Here and there in your life, you may have come across the expression “A Message to Garcia.” It’s one of those phrases useful in such a wide variety of situations that the original meaning has largely been forgotten. Those words became a cultural icon after appearing as the title of an essay, published in 1899, […]

Other Wise
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   November 1, 2018

Maybe you’ve seen this bit of sagacity somewhere before: “YYUR YYUB ICUR YY 4ME” The “translation” is: “Too wise you are. Too wise you be. I see you are too wise for me.” Very clever – but so what? For one thing, if true wisdom is really all it’s cracked up to be, how can […]

To the Rescue
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 25, 2018

One of the most hallowed of all Hollywood clichés is that of being saved at the last moment. This was the basic appeal of such ongoing series of narrow escapes, as The Perils of Pauline, or the weekly serials which many of us fondly remember, in which the hero was left in some precarious position, […]

Standing on Ceremony
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 18, 2018

Life seems full of the ritualized events we call “ceremonies.” Some people like them, others try to be elsewhere. I myself generally avoid weddings and funerals. They are so much alike – flowers, prayers, processions – sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. This can be embarrassing if you forget which one you’re at and, […]

All Ears
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   October 4, 2018

As an aesthetic object, the human ear hasn’t yet received its due. Poems and songs celebrating eyes, lips, even chins and noses, abound. Shakespeare, in his Seven Ages of Man, even depicted a lover “with a woeful ballad made to his mistress’ eyebrow.” But nobody writes ballads, woeful or otherwise, to anybody’s ear. Can it […]

Dreaming Australian
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 22, 2018

In 1972 – about half our lifetimes ago – Dorothy and I traveled to Australia, our first of many visits, but the only one by sea. The Australian Aborigines call their distant past the “Dream-Time.” On this journey, I carried my own enduring dream. Since school-days, I’d retained in my mind a map showing the […]