They’re handsome things [volumes of the Encyclopedia Brittanica], somehow managing to be imposing and inviting at the same time. But the best part is that each one is branded with a pair of index words, there to tell you where the volume begins and where it ends. You thus get 45 almost-random two-word phrases to conjure with. Some don’t rise above their functionality: India Ireland, for instance, or Accounting Architecture. But others open up new and unexpected territory to wander in. Here, for the record, are some of my favorites:

Freon Holderlin (a man I’d like to meet, despite his reputation for coldness)

Menage Ottawa (a perfect oxymoron)

Chicago Death (Jack White’s new side project)

Light Metabolism (what the Theory of Everything, once discovered, will be called)

Excretion Geometry (a field only understood by seven people in the world)

Arctic Biosphere (Freon Holderlin lives here, according to rumor)

Krasnokamsk Menadra (when I take up meditation, this will be what I chant)

And my favoritemost of all:

Decorative Edison