Sign in

No woman ever murdered her husband while he was washing the dishes.

By the Power of B.I.T.S.O.W.

Love your backspace key

John Taylor, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Way back in the 1970s I took my undergraduate degree at New York University. As part of my English Composition 101 course, whatever it was called, we read George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language. Therein he proposed six rules for truthful and comprehensible writing. In this article I will limit myself numbers one, three, and four. For the sake of brevity, of course. Wait — this is a six-minute read? May G-d forgive me.

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(iii) If it is possible to…

Grumpy old men need a laugh too

And take your crap with you

Photo by yerling villalobos on Unsplash

You have no idea what it’s like, you kids. I come out here to do a little lawn care and what do I find? Unnecessary words scattered all over the place. I know I told you to lose them, but I didn’t mean lose them here. I’m not exactly Lawn Boy. I know I let it get a little muddy. Weedy too. Does that mean you have to leave your periods all over the end of my driveway?

I try to be nice about it. I explain oh so nicely why you shouldn’t clutter things up. I’m only trying to…


Sheryl Crow did not go far enough

Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

Back in 2007, Sheryl Crow told everybody to limit toilet paper usage to one square per visit¹.

Ms. Crow caught considerable crap over this bit of too-earnest environmentalism.

My immediate thought was, wait a minute. Since, as a guy, I don’t always use toilet paper for #1, can I apply these saved sheets to my #2 trips? The idea appeals to my retired engineer’s inner geek. I’d have to keep a diary in order to determine my bathroom going number ratio, that is, #1/#2. I’d also have to include in my entries whether or not I’d used toilet paper for…


Apologies to the late great Johnny Cash

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

I keep a close watch on this art of thine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I see parens all round now let’s be frank
No way for you, I’ll walk the plank

I find it very, very easy on the queue
Apply the rules and soon my task is through.
Now those ellipses, face it they won’t do
Hey it’s not you, but,
What can I do?

As sure as caps in titles must be tight
And from subtitles periods take flight
And our stats prove that we got this right
So let’s not fight,
You’ll see the light…

The mask as a metaphor

Image by the author

I have nothing but contempt for the overgrown adolescents who refuse masking. I could happily keep wearing masks for another year, or two, or whatever. For one thing, it simplifies Christmas. For 2020 I bought some Christmas themed fabric and made masks for those who formerly received cookies. Everybody raves about my masks. I’ve even found better nose pieces that don’t break after a few months of regular use. However, my purpose here is not to discuss mask making, nor a diatribe about mask wearing, nor about mask litter. Those acres are well plowed.

None of us wore masks when…

Socialist satire

Good things don’t just happen

Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

Every loser on this planet complains about not having had the breaks. I’m here to tell you that breaks don’t just happen. You have to bring. Them. On!

Look at me. I’m white, male, grew up in a nice white suburban neighborhood in New Jersey, went to well-funded public schools, then on to college. Following that it was well paid job after well paid job in the pleasant company of people who looked, acted, and thought exactly like me. We were the best. We moved fast and broke things, giving ourselves plenty of breaks. Other people picked up after us…


What’s wrong with you?

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Often I reflect that if I ever made more than $100 in a single month here on Medium my life would be ruined. I would immediately become so insufferable my friends would abandon me and my wife would divorce me.

Then wouldn’t you know it, the god of Medium in the person of Al Gorhythm blessed me with the opportunity to test this theory in the form of the $500 bonus of fame. Me. The $500 bonus. I got that.

My prophecy proved spot on. My friends won’t talk to me anymore because I won’t talk about anything else. I’m…

Kinda sweaty under here

And outa MuddyUm

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash

I live for Medium notifications. A day with no new Medium notifications is like a day without sunshine. An unlit notification bell is like a broken yoke in an over-easy egg.

Claps, responses, mentions — I snarf them up the way my cats inhale that disgusting slop I put in their bowls every morning. I give all my respondents a 5 claps at the very least unless the response is something obnoxious. Most of the time I respond to responses, starting with something like, “Oh thank you for your kind, generous, thoughtful, sweet response! That’s what I love about Medium…


How to get your article published straight away — unless it sucks, in which case you may have bigger problems

Image from the author’s private stash.

This article is intended to save you considerable time by eliminating the need for a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth with the MuddyUm editorial team. The three items which cause the most delays are the title format, image attribution, and use of parenthesis and ellipses. I will begin with the one which we enforce with absolute rigor, namely,

Title Format

If you are already an old hand when it comes to the creation and formatting of titles, subtitles, and kickers, scroll down to the subheading Display title / subtitle, but only after at least skimming this section.

In order to ensure a uniform…

🎶Every time it rains it rains🎶

Pennies — but money nevertheless!

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

If you have been on Medium as long as I have, and if you are part of the Medium Partner Program, you will no doubt have noticed the string of penny earners at the bottom of the list that shows up when you click your profile pic then Medium Partner Program. You know, that list of old stories that, so you are informed, have each earned exactly one cent during the current cycle.

If you don’t see this list every month then either you haven’t been in the Medium Partner Program very long or you are an even lazier writer…

Paul Hossfield

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store