Raunch Review: Wizard of Oz

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.


The Author: L. Frank Baum

Work in Question: Wizard of Oz (Series)

The Profanity: “Hippikaloric”


Reviewing words or phrases played for laughs is always a little tricky. But L. Frank Baum’s use of “Hippikaloric” in Ozma of Oz—the third book in the Wizard of Oz series—arrived on the Raunch Review docket not because of its comedic nature but because of how it’s described. Let’s see the quote.

“When the bell rang a second time the King shouted angrily, “Smudge and blazes!” and at a third ring he screamed in a fury, “Hippikaloric!” which must be a dreadful word because we don’t know what it means.”

Ozma of Oz, L. Frank Baum

Clearly, it’s an expletive. We see it’s used as such, and we’re told it must be “dreadful.” But it’s also nonsense. The lack of knowledge by Baum and the reader removes any potential for effect. As it exists, it becomes a form of “symbol swearing,” where something is said, but it means nothing.

“&^%@!”

We can pretend it’s dreadful, but it’s no more dreadful than any random string of typographical symbols, and as faux-profanity, it’s a swing and a miss.

Final Score: 1.0


🤬 Previous Raunch Reviews


Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made-up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.


Nor to Disturb Your Peace

“You are not compelled to form any opinion about this matter before you, nor to disturb your peace of mind at all. Things in themselves have no power to extort a verdict from you.”

Marcus Aurelius

Maybe it’s my delving into stoicism as I age, but over the last year, I found myself returning to this quote from Aurelius. In many ways, it’s become a motto for me. Perhaps this is me kicking against the goads of our modern culture. The internet—and social media specifically—pressures everyone to have An Opinion™ on everything, share our opinion, get angry over our opinion, and die on the hill of our opinion. And it’s ready to damn you for not having an opinion on the daily Opinion Topic du Jour. The cycle is exhausting. So yeah, more and more, I’m finding myself stepping away. I’m intentionally removing myself from the nonsense and finding myself grateful that Aurelius’ wisdom still echoes from the past.

A Weird Summer

It’s been a weird summer.

Since coming back from Scotland in April, I’ve been returning to the office three days a week. It’s been good, but the office has been very quiet. (Sometimes eerily so.) Plus, my routine changed so much over the pandemic. It’s been interesting to step outside the habits I formed working from home for a few years and realigning myself to working outside of my home office. Re-engaging with a post-pandemic world would have been weird enough, but a lot more has happened.

In July, for Kari-Lise and my anniversary, I somehow convinced her to climb Mailbox Peak in the Cascades. It was a great hike, but I badly rolled my right ankle on the way down. Still six miles from the trailhead and way too big for Kari-Lise to carry, I had to hobble back. (Thank God for my walking stick.) Adrenaline kicked in about three miles later, and I thought I was doing well, and my sprain was mild. But when I got home and took off my shoes, my ankle swelled up to the size of a large grapefruit and turned black and blue. So, yeah. Not mild.

The following week, both Kari-Lise and I came down with COVID. We’re still not quite sure where we got it. She was hit a little harder than me, but our cases were mild overall. I would have thought it was minor allergies if I hadn’t tested. So we sequestered ourselves at home, watched trash television, and waited until we tested negative. Thankfully neither of us has had any lingering effects.

We were over COVID in a week. But it took nearly a month for my ankle to recover. I wasn’t moving much for the first two weeks and returned to working from home since walking (and therefore commuting) was painful. July was a wash workout-wise. I didn’t get back to my daily walks until August. But I slowly recovered, and I’m happy to report that I am fully back into my workout routine and down a few more pounds.

Writing in the summer has never been the easiest for me. Seattle only gets three solid months of sunny weather, and it’s not uncommon for Seattlites to go a little manic and fill up our social calendars. It makes finding the time to write a little more complicated. With the changes that summer brings and my return to the office, I’ve found my writing time shaken up a bit. Lately been trying to force myself to at least try and write, even if I don’t feel like it—kind of how I made my workouts a habit. It’s been good to adjust to that mindset, and I think it’s working. Words have been appearing on pages. It’s not a lot, but it’s momentum. Finally.

With autumn on the way and life returning to routine, I hope to get back to blogging. I’ve been quiet for the last year, and I’ve missed posting here. I always found this space freeing and less oppressive than the obnoxiousness that propagates social media. There’s less pressure to comment on every little dumb topic du jour, and I can ramble on the stuff that matters to me, like my weird summer.

So expect more from me going forward. Buy my books. Let me know what you think of them. Tell your friends, and be sure to check out my Reader Resources. Some fun stuff is happening there, with more to come.

Old Haunts: Go To Hell

📍 Martello Warren
🏙 Level Four
🕝 Mid-Afternoon


We walked in companionable silence through the narrow streets of a quiet dimanian warren called Martello. These days it was home to apartment complexes, private one-room schoolhouses, and small manufacturing facilities. It wasn’t far from the Bonheur Seafoods cannery, and many of the union workers employed there lived here. The streets were cramped, brick and cement walls, the roof above low. It gave street sounds a muffled quality you don’t find in many other warrens.

Recruitment posts were plastered along the street’s walls, with Hellgate Mine’s continual encouragement to any able-bodied workers to GO TO HELL. I’m sure some copywriter thought they were real clever with that one.

—Waldo Bell, Gleam Upon the Waves


Credits:

“Parlez-Moi D’Amour” by Lucienne Boyer (1930)
Audio from Freesounds.com – Special thanks to along12, amholma, blancabartual, ftpalad, iesp, injspectorj, jrssandoval, klankbeeld, kwahmah-02, matthewwong, miguel2613, mxsmanic, rznik-krkovicka, sean-sd2007, soundsexciting, and theshuggie.
Other audio and video from original, licensed, and public domain sources.


This is just one of many.

You never know what you’ll discover in the twisted streets, quiet alleys, and busy warrens of Lovat. Enjoy these “Old Haunts”, a series of vignettes and visions presented in Glorious Monochrome® by Waite™ Radio Pictures, Inc.



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Raunch Review: Dresden Files

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.


The Author: Jim Butcher

Work in Question: Dresden Files

The Profanity: “Stars and Stones”


The world of Wizard-for-Hire Harry Dresden is vast. The Dresden Files series currently stands at seventeen novels, a whole bunch of short stories, and there’s a lot more on the way. As you’d expect for an immense series, it now extends well beyond the streets of Chicago. Readers have been introduced to the intrigue and politics of the White Council, the magical world of the Nevernever, the Faerie Courts, and so much more. And with many new upcoming releases, there’s still plenty of mystery and speculation out there.

That includes today’s faux-profanity, “Stars and Stones.” Usually uttered as an oath, the phrase’s origin is a bit mysterious, and it’s sparked plenty of fan discussion and theories on the meaning. As an oath, it works rather well, but that mysterious aspect holds it back slightly in its final score. To be efficacious, profane oaths require a little foreknowledge. The original intent, after all, is blasphemy, either in an act of impiety, nihilism, or iconoclasm. Without that knowledge or belief, the word becomes only a mild expletive. It’s like swearing in a different language. The phrase fills space and serves a role, but it no longer works as effective “profanity,” faux or otherwise.

Once the series is wrapped up, I feel like I’m going to want to revisit this one.

Final Score: 4.0


🤬 Previous Raunch Reviews


Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made-up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.


How Europe Stole the World

I write about maps and map-making here often. Some might say a lot. 😏 As I research and build out resources, I am constantly reminded that map-making itself is a type of propaganda. It envisions a world as its creators or commissioners want, and one that doesn’t always correspond to reality. Nicolas de Fer, the creator of the maps my latest sets were based on, was notorious for this stuff, and he wasn’t alone—cartographic propaganda is a thing.

In the fantastic YouTube video above, Johnny Harris breaks this down in the first of a planned series on how maps, and the imaginary lines drawn upon them, can influence the course of history. As a world builder, writer, map maker, or history enthusiast, it’s worth watching.