Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Dangers of Reading

This man crafts literary crack.

This is John Updike.

He writes books that I cannot put down.

They cause me to neglect the myriad obligations of life.

I simply can't be arsed. I'm reading. I must finish the next part (cruelly he doesn't write in chapters much, just puts three-dot divisional markings between sections).

Right now I'm battling my addiction to his Rabbit series.

It's not polite. It's not politically correct. It's chock full of sex.

It's dated (published in the 60's and 70's).

It makes me laugh, cry, and agape with wonder at the power of its images.

Still, like all junkies, I think you should try it. If you have any appreciation at all for how difficult writing is, it will make you bow before it. You might even see God in some of its shadowed corners.

But I warn you: you will have to apologize to people for the things you did not do.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Know A Good Editor?

I do!
Alright, it's me (and some of my friends).
Seriously, though if you have ANYTHING you need edited or written (menus, articles, resumes, love letters, novels, backs of cereal boxes), send it my way, and I'll take care of it for you, for a nominal (or greater than nominal) fee.
Despite the merciless poetic license and abuse taken by and with the English language in this screed, I do have a piece of paper on my wall that says I CAN do it for pay. Be grammatically correct, I mean.
So here it is.
Seek us at a time of deep need.
Our wordsmithing shall lead you out of the fortress of linguistic doom and into the sun.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sometimes Serene

Don't get me wrong.

Mostly I exist in a fog where exhaustion, anxiety, cynicism or paranoia spin a wheel to see who's watch it is, b
ut sometimes...

I drift into this cozy, mellow headspace where I am really present, living in the moment, and just revel in the beauty of life as it is right then, some kinda hippie-ass universal warmth lighting and radiating through my being.

It's happened a couple of times on sunny days driving home with the windows open, but it also happened today while eating Hamburger Helper cheeseburger macaroni -- a reverence and appreciation for what is, a genuine humility.

No Xanax, no wine, no cannabis.

Just the Symphony of it all or somethin'.

"Just let your love flow." - The Bellamy Brothers

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Appropos of Nothing Story

(Or, Why I Should've Had a Blog in 2002)

And NOW!



The notice came in the mail about 24 days after it first began sitting on the curb.

It was once my Grandma’s couch. Hell, people who weren’t even alive anymore had spent nights nestled among its vaguely comfortable splattering of brown flora. Eventually it had made its way to my house, after the dividing up of the stuff.

I needed a couch, and it had served well. But then, a jobless person had come to visit. For weeks and weeks. A fellow who, while he was likable enough, was a world-class sofa spud. And through a steady diet of time-devouring video games and TV westerns, his stationary ass had dented the poor old thing beyond hope or repair. Thus, it was kicked to the proverbial curb.

One afternoon, my friend and I were nearly to the car when a couple of power walking neighbors happened by. “You know, you can call for pickup on bulk trash,” they told her. “Yeah, Thursdays before 5:00 p.m.” That means they’re tired of looking at it, I thought. Still, it sat there for a few more days.

Everyone in the house thought someone else had taken care of making the call.
No one did.

Then, we got the notice. “This is to inform you of city ordinance 58739 regarding discarded items sitting in residential areas for extended periods of time…” -- and such, until we got to the last paragraph – “This notice is being sent because of a complaint received by the sanitation department.”

Hmm. So the neighbors had phoned us in. But we’d never know who.
Strangely, that couch didn’t seem so discardable anymore.

The next morning, we mounted a crusade. By God, that couch wasn’t trash. It was our lawn furniture. We could ignore it no longer. Our God-given right to freedom of furnishings was at stake.

It began simply. Lots of upwardly mobile people trying to keep fit in our neighborhood made it easy. Perched atop the soggy couch (which had been rained on maybe six times by then) we greeted them with the morning paper and steaming cups of coffee, saying, “MORNING NEIGHBOR!” in loudly gleeful voices as they walked or ran by. We waved. We sipped. We smiled at their leashless little dogs, too.

The next week, we posted signs.


‘Course, the phrase “YOU SNOTTY MOTHERFUCKS” was scrawled on the back, but none of the neighbors could guess.

Two weeks from Christmas, we were thinking and planning on how that couch could go on irritating our snitchtastic neighbors for the long term. How could the beige, broken down symbol of the most middle-priced furniture money could buy live in infamy? Like Christmas itself the idea came, circled round with bright stars and touches of magic. It would become a holiday decoration.

To capture the very essence of its tackiness on our front lawn, we began to adorn it. The once brown/orange hued clusters of flowers were forever painted over, becoming just red/green sparkly clusters. Tinsel twined and glittered about it and tiny multicolored lights, seemingly stolen from an inexpensive Tex-Mex restaurant, bedecked it. Still, it wasn’t enough. If Martha Herself didn’t flee from it in terror, what power would it hold against our property-value obsessed neighbors?

So, with the same reverence and glory given to Christmas Eve’s morning star, we placed a life-sized Santa upon it, cradling none other than the indisputable star of the season, Baby Jesus, in his arms. Only such a crass mingling of the secular and religious centers of attention would be sufficient to fully offend our neighbors’ sensibilities. As a final touch, we added two parchment scrolls astride Santa, the lists titled “Good” and “Bad.” Atop the good? Baby Jesus, of course. The Bad were headed up by the identity-shrouded collective “Northview Neighbors.”

Sure, it takes up a lot of room in the garage, near the other boxes of decorative stuff. But nothing can replace the sheer bliss it adds to every December. Happy Fucking Tacky Holidays, neighbors. As perennial as the season itself, the couch lives on.

January 2002

(Any resemblance to actual Grandma couches or events is entirely, decidedly true. Maybe.)


"If you're not against me, then don't cross this line."
-- Steve Zissou

Monday, March 13, 2006

Weapons of the Toilet Warrior

It is a fate that one day befalls us all.

Water in the bowl, rising like a tide in tandem with the alarm and dread in our hearts and the black realization: it's going to overflow.

In the crazed scramble that replays itself in sluggish motion now in my mind, I first went for this lucite-handled excuse for a tool: The Cutesy Blue Plunger.

You may affirm that it matches my shower curtain, but nary has it cleared a clog.

In a panic, I leapt for Bucket and Bailer. They remained my true friends throughout the ordeal, keeping pisswater from lapping at the soles of my feet.

Over and over I went into the breach (seriously, like 110 times) with this trusty, borrowed black steed until my palm was bruised. Yet still, there was battle to be fought.

In mounting desperation, I fled to the nearby fortress of Wal-Mart, where I amassed a new arsenal.

The Master Plunger sucked up a gallon of water within its accordioned innards, and made impressive burbling sounds which inspired a fleeting optimism. However, this fire of hope soon died with the brackish water's staying.

Caustic chemicals comprised my next failed attack.

"Dissolves anything organic" it said, which rather worried me, since I'm (mostly) organic.

I donned protective gloves and eyewear, and the brown acid glugged menacingly out of the bottle, even smoking a little as it touched the water.

I waited the prescribed time, hoping the noxious fumes would avail a healthy flush.

But alas.

I continued to wait.

Some of the brownness went from the water, but still, no familiar flushing of the water.

So I went ahead and turned it to 11. If this porcelain throne would not respond to many plunges, bailings and searing concoctions, I would just have to loose the snake upon it.

Twice this python crawled into the depths, swallowing the blocking evil.

And lo, it was good...

the sweet sound of free flushing was heard ringing from the tiles!

However, heed my moral, friends:

The Ceramic Goddess is not the trusted friend you believe her to be. She'll take your merd, alright, but one day, when you most need her, she'll flood it right back at you.

(In particular she doesn't like offerings of a feminine nature followed by paper towels full of dogdung. Just a tip.)

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