Thursday, May 28, 2009

Random Thoughts

1.  After hanging up the phone with my sister, she buzzed me back.

"J. was very upset that he didn't get to talk to you."

This is not uncommon, and not really particular to me.  If the boys are told they are going to get to speak with someone on the phone, and that expectation is denied, the despair is epic.

Through the receiver I heard rustling as J. grabbed the phone from his mother.

"Hi, -j-j-."

"Hi, baby, how are you?"


"That's good.  Are you having a fun day?"

"Yeam.  I whenno de fam and its giervs."

"Uh, huh...germs?"
















"Jars?...J. give the phone to your mother."

Turns out he was saying "Gloves."  I had no effing idea.  Thank god she was nearby to interrupt this horrible Meisner Excercise.  Any longer and one or both of us would have burst into tears.

2.  Where's Spring?  Did I miss it or something?  Is it October already? 

3.   Richard and Edmund  live together and they don't get along.   They will come to an uneasy peace for a while - as long as bookish Richard can keep giant, runny-nosed Edmund chained to the radiator. 

Richard also has some short term memory problems and keeps a string wrapped tightly around his middle finger.   

Edmund waits.  He speaks in poetry and makes a good joke now and then.  After a few laughs, Edmund gazes into Richard's eyes.

"Please, can you unlock me for a little bit?"


As soon as the key hits the lock, Edmund grasps Richard up by the neck and carries him downstairs to the car.  Richard is tossed into the trunk while Edmund goes on a joyride, drinking forties and picking up chicks.  There's nothing Richard can do about it except wait.  

In a few days, the gas will empty from the tank and Edmund will blackout.

Suddenly Richard recalls what the string around his finger was for.  "I'll remember next time."

But he won't.


5.  Favorite word this week:


[proh-kliv-i-tee]  Show IPA
–noun, plural -ties.
natural or habitual inclination or tendency; propensity; predisposition: a proclivity to meticulousness.
1585–95; prōclīvitās tendency, lit., a steep descent, steepness, equiv. to prōclīv(is) sloping forward, steep (prō- pro- 1 clīv(us) slope + -is adj. suffix) + -itās -ity 

6.  Least Favorite Word


Wednesday, May 27, 2009


By Billy Collins

When it’s late at night and branches
are banging against the windows,
you might think that love is just a matter
of leaping out of the frying pan of yourself
into the fire of someone else,
but it’s a little more complicated than that.
It’s more like trading the two birds
who might be hiding in that bush
for the one you are not holding in your hand.
A wise man once said that love
was like forcing a horse to drink
but then everyone stopping thinking of him as wise.
Let us be clear about something.
Love is not as simple as getting up
on the wrong side of the bed wearing the emperor’s clothes.
No, it’s more like the way the pen
feels after it has defeated the sword.
It’s a little like the penny saved or the nine dropped
You look at me through the halo of the last candle
and tell me love is an ill wind
that has no turning, a road that blows no good,
but I am here to remind you,
as our shadows tremble on the walls,
that love is the early bird who is better late than never.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

Last night you saw Tuesday after Memorial Day at a Cubs game. 

 It was somewhere in the middle of the 6th inning (of a game which was, if one were to be tactful, demoralizing at best) he wobbled up from his seat, cupped his hands to his mouth and honked:


In a distant section another Tuesday, probably a Tuesday After Easter Sunday, offered his weak response.  "LET'S GO CUBBIES."

The two of them went at it for a while - call and response, call and response - with no one else from the crowd joining in.  But neither of their resolves waned, and neither of them had friends lucid enough to stop them.  When TaMD's voice grew hoarse, he drank another plastic cup full of Old Style, and lurched up again.  Around the 8th Inning he was met with no response by the other Tuesday, but instead beated the echo out in his skull.  When fans in rows down front turned to express their distaste for TaMD, he looked away, and guttered out laughs to his buddies.

Now you are on the train, and sitting before you, asleep in his dampish clothes from the night before is TaMD.  You caught sight of him on the EL platform and were distressed to think that perhaps he lives nearby.  As the two of you entered the car, he took the only available seat and proceeded to pass out.

He is sleeping with his mouth open and hot, wet bursts of air escape his lungs, suffocating all  around him.  

You are right by his head.  


Even though I had my scarring incidents in grade school when it came to Roller Skating, there was never a time that I passed up a Skating Party. Partly, because it was the only time I was able to play Pac-Man (except at Pizza Hut).  

But mostly, it was the only time I got to hear unabashed Kickin' Jamz.  I think something inside me was ashamed of liking synthesized music, but in a roller rink, that's all they played, so I never had to be embarrassed.  

The best part was when the DJ, God love whoever he is, would crank Midnight Star's "Freak-A-Zoid."  Everyone reacted the same way.  A bellow of screams, and the whir of wheels on slick concrete.  Glorious.

And this video is, quite possibly, the nonpareil of unselfconscious nerd boogie.  WARNING:  Your head might blow off from sheer delight.

With tender care (like removing the Funny Bone from a game of Operation) you place a Listerine strip on TaMD's tongue.  

He snorts. He shifts.  But he does not wake.  

The other silent passengers eye you with gratitude.

param>param>param>src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344">

Friday, May 22, 2009

WTP. (What the Pork.)

(Sits, tharning* at the screen.)

Food is fraught. There is no getting around it. In a First World society – where food is abundant - (even though, in a truly perverse turn, there are those in this First World who are still starving.) our nutritional intake has made its move far beyond an instrument of survival to an expression of fantasy, fetish and power. Our uneasy relationship with food in the US mirrors that of our twitchy sexual appetites as a source of shame, punishment, titillation or thrall.

This is not unique to the American Experience. Anxious murmurs are heard all through out the centuries about over-indulgence in any respect. We bathe in the battery acid of our own guilt over what we’ve eaten, when, how much, why. God. I ate that entire pizza by myself to fill the ever-widening crevasse of loneliness, didn’t I?

Every day, there it is. Food. Don’t eat it. DO eat it. Indulge yourself, you disgusting waste. We trumpet our victories in denying our taste buds that last French fry or Snickers Miniature. But lurking just around the corner is another temptation, another Food Hooker waiting to ask your hard up belly if it’s looking for a date.

And, oh, my god, it is.

This tears at us inside. I want that, no, I don’t, wait, I DO.

Ads like this DON'T HELP ANYTHING.

I have nothing against the entanglement of sex and food. To each his own, tra la, tra la.

I do, however, get the fierce heebie jeebies over a woman (?) in a pig suit - perhaps on leave from the Furry convention - aping the sexy Flashdance choreography as she (?) yanks the chain and releases BARBECUE SAUCE on her/him/itself, only to flick it in the direction of two nonplussed dudes and an ANTHROPOMORPHIZED BAG (presumably filled with Sliders or, gulp, more BBQ sandwiches), dousing them in reddish sauce and then cutting to the "Come Hither" shot of the sandwiches themselves, only to return to the dudes as one of them, in a, let's face it, suggestive maneuver, wipes a bit of the sauce off the bag and LICKS IT OFF HIS FINGER.

What club is this? Is that guy dating the bag? Would you, I ASK YOU, lick ANYthing off of ANYone - even a date - that was splashed on you by a sweaty exotic dancer? Even if you were in Amsterdam and hopped up on goofballs?

And why is the sauce "Come Hither"? So you can (that's right) Pork It?

None of this, and I mean NONE, makes me want to eat anything from this tawdry city called White Castle. Where every club features a Mascot Sauce Dance and Paper Bags with Feet are the only escorts in town. I round the corner and there are the Chicken Ring Hookers arm in arm with the Douchebag Husbands.

(This is to say nothing of the White Castle commercials that feature the little Paper Bags stalking unsuspecting humans in their places of business or at a gym. CAN'T YOU LEAVE US ALONE?)

White Castle is counting on our twisted casserole of Pop Culture Strip Club Junk Food Shame in order to sell us its wares.

"Hey, baby, how 'bout you and me get to makin' some bacon?"

We pull out the $1.13 it costs for a sandwich, knowing what dread the dawn will bring.

*Tharn - v. Stupefied, distraught, hypnotized with fear. But can also, in certain contexts, mean "looking foolish," or again "heartbroken" or "forlorn." Originally found in Richard Adams book "Watership Down".

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Random Thoughts

1.  According to the packing on Pearson's Salted Nut Roll, it is a good source of protein. 


The vending machine was stocked full of them, and despite these health claims, the salty bars wait while Pop Tarts and Skittles are chosen.  The Salted Nut Roll is from a different time and cannot understand why everyone is laughing.

I was no different.  I chuckled and pointed as I purchased the Wheat Thins.

2.  In researching the Nut Roll, I also discovered the Nut Goodie
Poor guy.

4. Favorite word this week:


[aw-then-tik]  Show IPA
1.not false or copied; genuine; real: an authentic antique.
2.having the origin supported by unquestionable evidence; authenticated; verified: an authentic document of the Middle Ages; an authentic work of the old master.
3.entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy: an authentic report on poverty in Africa.
4.Lawexecuted with all due formalities: an authentic deed.
a.(of a church mode) having a range extending from the final to the octave above. Compare plagal.
b.(of a cadence) consisting of a dominant harmony followed by a tonic.

5.  Least Favorite word


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Note found in a very old Palm Pilot:

Why do I keep eating unsatisfying food?

This is a consistent wonderment.  Why do I keep eating unsatisfying food?  Sometimes the food isn't food at all.  Sometimes it's books, movies, conversation.  (This is not a reflection of the people with whom one may be conversing.  Grasping their claimed coffee mugs - which were abandoned by former employees- they long for something different.)

Not everything has to be drab imitation, a stand in for the whatchamacallit that pleases most.  And not all satisfaction is going to arrive in a handsome cab, ready to trot us off into sunsetted oblivion.  

To wit:

1. Coca Cola in an old timey Coca Cola Glass.

2. Oriental Flavor Ramen Noodles

3.  A good pair of socks with no holes in them. (In my house, this is indeed a rare accident.)

4.  Any sort of creamy soup making a clean escape from the can in one glop.

5.  Watching an upright stick of butter melt its way down on a hot skillet, like the Wicked Witch of the West.  (This was one of the first times, in living on my own, that I took advantage of not having to "answer to anybody".  Once I started I couldn't stop.  I don't buy butter very often now.)

Of course, any of these things combined might make my head blow off.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

My sister and her husband have installed a swing in the basement for the boys.  It scares the crap out of me. (I am reminded, however, of the contraptions my friends and I would build FROM SCRATCH, in our bids to play fast and loose with our very lives.  I'm all astonishment that none of us lost an eye or half an earlobe riding the "Dead Tree Goat Bucker" in the homemade carnival out in the woods.)

Yesterday, R. was desperate to show me how high he could go.  It seems that K., their other babysitter, would pull him up in the air and then release him to the wind.  I tried two or three times to recreate the thrill ride.  Each time was a little lackluster, as I hesitated to swing him from any real height.  R. was unapologetic in his criticism.

"This is wrong.  It has to be high, high, high up.  Maybe you're not so strong."

The words "Maybe you're not so strong" hit the eight-year-old "I'll show YOU how strong I am, you little turd." button (It's awful, isn't it, to be goaded into action by a four-year-old?) I pulled the swing as high as I could and let go.

R. swooped forward and let out an excited little giggle from his heaving chest.  He was finally satisfied (And I bathed in relief that my playtime would not end in a bloody nose or a broken coccyx.)

"Is that fun?" I asked.

Between breathless laughs he stammered, "Yes.  My heart is going so fast.  It feels like it's scared.  But my brain knows I'm going to be okay."

Oh, JEE-zus, here we go.  

Stupid kid. Stupid amazing kid. 

Over this past weekend, I was given a gift.  It was an actual, physical present made for me.  I accepted it and held onto it for a while, clutching it in my sweaty palms. After a while, I felt a little self conscious, so I had to put it down, even though I wanted to carry it with me everywhere.  

When I got it home at last, I was able to marvel at it in private, without feeling like a freak.  

It's rare to recognize the value of something the very moment you have it.  Far easier is to imagine a hypothetical scenario, When the day arrives and I am able grasp the treasure in my hands, I'll know just what to do.  Though painful at times, easier still is to recall the "Whateveritis that got away".  If I had it to do over again, I would change everything

Reality is different and near paralytic.  Rounding a corner, there it is:  a deer grazing in the clearing.  I want to run to it, hold it in my arms, but surely it will run away.  I want to sit, silent and watch.  But how will it know how beautiful I think it is?

You think too much, -j-j-.  Just relax and enjoy yourself.  

Oh, shut up.  Don't you think I know that?  Christ, I'm terrified with every inch I amble towards happiness.  Jeez.  No wonder people love to be miserable.  At least misery is certain.

But then, of course, you're certainly miserable.  


"My heart is going so fast.  It feels like it's scared.  But my brain knows I'm going to be okay."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I am skipping Thursday.

Just on principle.


Suck it, Thursday.

(I'm probably going to get detention for this.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Day, Pointilized

Augh! Did I oversleep? No.

I overslept.

No soap. Use shampoo.

[Facebook Blackout]

"When I say your first act is complicated, it's a compliment. You got an A."

Red Bull is not food.

"What are you talking about, I wasn't thinking about anything."

Thinking about something.

The lady next to me totally thinks I shoplifted this water.

We are both too old for your Emo Hair.

"I'll have the Gyros, thanks."
"No, wait, I'll have the chicken sandwich."

I should've gotten the gyros.

Buy soap.

Forgot to buy soap.


[Facebook Blackout]

I love the way my ceiling fan looks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

(DISCLOSURE: So I posted this yesterday figuring it as one of the dumbest things I could put up as a "Commemorative Song". After sifting through the YooToobs, I chose Miss Cyrus at random.

Seriously, just now, I actually watched the video.


Some Blonde Chick who's been in some stuff and a Male Model constructed of Silicone are walking in slo-mo and then they kiss a bunch and then set fire to a car. And Miley is watching, I guess. WHAT? What's in the trunk? Why is Miley watching this? Who are these people? Did they kill someone?

I've heard this song before. I though it was about a sixteen year old crushing on a guy and being a dork around him. I had no idea it was about felony arson.)

Today is my 201st post.

I have agonized over what song I should post.

No matter what I came up with, nothing seemed to evoke the sense of Cycle, Ending, and Beginning that I wanted.

Except one.

I think you will agree that the music and lyricism displayed here are unmatched. May your heart ache and rejoice for the rest of the day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The DT's

Not much to go on here.

I was up all night grading papers and I have the sick post slumber party feeling. I used to be able to stay up all night like this stay up whole days run run run without sleep go go go who knows what might catch up with your while you are sleeping and what could become of you if you rest so don't stop don't stop don't stop because the second you do the big whateveritis will catch up and lay its sleepy hands on your back and push down on the bike path and you won't win the race thataway will you so keep awake keep awake what if you left all this undone all these papers all these laundries all these shoelaces undone ready for you to trip over where would you be then so keep going going going and no matter what stop looking out the side view windows because you'll just get distracted so keepitupkeepitup there is no time to close your eyes for your body to jerk awake in the seconds before sleep because it suspects that it's dying there is no time to waste stop wasting time stop wasting time stop looking at the tick tock don't waste another tick or spend another tock on a piece of gold painted plastic from out a gumball bubble don't stop don't stop and whatever you don't do don't ever don't ever stop to wonder,"Hey, What is that wall doing the-






Friday, May 8, 2009


(-j-j-'s young nephew, J., setting up his wooden train set. -j-j- squatting next to him.)

-j-j-: Huh, I wonder what time it is.

J.: (Not looking up) It's day time. What are you wondering about?

Thanks, kid.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Random Thoughts

1. I used to take walks at night all the time. Stroll around neighborhoods by myself, pass by homes and get a peek inside lit windows. Glance in at closed storefronts.

I must get it from my Dad, the impulse to "go for a walk." On most summer evenings, after supper, he'd head out the door for about half an hour. There's plenty of wisdom in it. A walk clears the head, gives the body a little exercise, allows for some much needed solitude.

It has been years since I went on a night stroll. Just to get out and walk.

Last night, I saw a show, a couple of miles west of my home. The show let out, I said my goodbyes to friends and headed for the bus stop. I got there and glanced down the stretch of Belmont for the ambling CTA to make its approach. Nothing.

I started to walk.

(I don't like standing. In fact, I think it's one of the more useless possibilities in the stable of human activity. To stand. Standing is a weigh station on the way to sitting or walking. Standing is an action that must be combined with something else to make it "Standing and Looking" or "Standing and Singing" [However, "Standing and Eating" makes both activities miserable.] Standing is what you make someone do if you you are punishing them, or impressing your higher status.

It a little different if you are on a bus or a train or an elevator. But the variance is marginal.

Think of the last three times you STOOD. Was it pleasant? I bet not.)

My intention in walking was to make it to the next bus stop. I arrived, saw no bus, so I kept going. When the durn thing materialized out of nowhere and passed me, I grumbled to my selves about how that ALWAYS happens and isn't that ALWAYS the way. Then I noticed the bus lurch to a stop and, If I ran, heck, even if I jogged, I could catch it.

Instead, I maintained my speed and let the bus pull away.

I had nowhere to be. And sweating to get there was nonsense.

Rain came and went, glittering up the black puddles on the street. The moon glowed from behind gauzy clouds. An incredible antique chess set grabbed my attention, so I admired it for a spell.

(Stood and Admired.)

I'm gonna do this more often.

2. I know that Orange Juice is a much more adult beverage but nothing beats Grape Juice.

Nothing. Beats it.

3. It is not necessary for the brain to turn out its pockets all the time.

4. Favorite word this week:


[ed-ee] Show IPA noun, plural -dies, verb, -died, -dying.
1. a current at variance with the main current in a stream of liquid or gas, esp. one having a rotary or whirling motion.
2. a small whirlpool.
3. any similar current, as of air, dust, or fog.
4. a current or trend, as of opinion or events, running counter to the main current.
–verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
5. to move or whirl in eddies.

1425–75; late ME; OE ed- turning + ēa water; akin to ON itha

5. Least Favorite Word:


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Dramatic Situation

The following is a product of my writing group's assignment from a couple of months ago:

Everyone was given 2-4 playing cards and one of Polti's 36 dramatic situations in an envelope. Using the cards as status write a scene in which the given dramatic situation occurs. You may also use the imagery on the cards to inform the characters.

For example:

You were given a Queen of Spades, A 2 of Diamonds, and a 10 of Hearts. Your situation was Abduction.

You might write a scene in which a mail clerk who just got laid off (2 of diamonds) and divorced dad (10 of hearts) kidnap the mayor's wife (the Queen of spades).

You don't have to use all the cards. Please write to the end of continuing the scene past the first few minutes.

My dramatic situation: Slaying of kin unrecognized
My Cards:

Scene 1

The outside of a Principal’s office which hasn’t
been redecorated since 1984. The carpet is beige
and matches the foam cushions on square chairs
arranged against the walls. Photos of previous
principals hang around the room across the walls -
equally as beige as the carpet and cushions.

AMELIA, 15, and GORDIE, 16 sit in across from each
other. AMELIA is dressed in a trendy skirt and
shirt and wearing makeup. GORDIE’s pants are
ripped at the thigh, one long opening.

At the far end of the room, bloody, bruised and
holding an ice pack to her face is BESS, 9. Her
knees are scraped and lip is bleeding. She sits
with out saying a word, glaring at AMELIA and then
back at GORDIE.

There is the sound of an office beyond - Telephone
bells jangle, the rhythmic whir of of a copier
(which, when heard on repeat, delivers the audio
illusion,"Oooh, why?"), muffled conversations by
female voices.

Except for this there is a long silence between
the children.

GORDIE crosses his legs and at once the rip in his
trousers gapes open, revealing the bottom of his
boxer shorts covered with cartoon
snowmen. Judging by the clothes of the three, it
might be Early Summer. AMELIA makes a scoffing
sound and rolls her eyes away. GORDIE takes his
hand and gathers the two side of the rip together.
AMELIA shakes her head with displeasure.

A beat.

(With sudden force)
At some point, you have to defend yourself.


How many times does does someone get all, like, up in
your face and everything like that before you have to
defend yourself?

GORDIE shrugs.

Like, how MANY?

I don’t KNOW, what are you-

Just asking a question. I was just talking out loud,
or whatever.

Talk in your head. Leave me alone.

Seriously, like, what was it like fifteen or sixteen
times? Right? Like how often are you gonna-

(Letting out a huge sigh)
Come ON. There’s no...uh, what, form-las, Amelia. I
mean, JEsus. Shut up, will ya?

YOU shut up, god.
(A beat.)
What’s a form-las, anyway?


You said "form-las".

(through his teeth)
I meant to say FormUlas. It came out wrong.

Whatever, you’re probably retarded.

God, will you leave me AY-LONE. I’m not retarded.

Liz said you were.


(looking at her fingernails, picking)
Yuh-huh, she did. She said you were retarded. She
works in the office, like, during fourth period and she
saw your IQ in your file. Said it was, like 20 or

BESS makes a snorting laugh.

I think you can shut your face, you little bitch.

BESS glares at AMELIA. If possible, BESS’s nose
begins to bleed but she makes no effort to stop

Oh. My. God. Do you SEE her?

GORDIE does not acknowledge either of them.


What? GOD.

(To Bess)
You should wipe your nose or something. You want to be
clean when they come to take you away, you know that?
If they see you’re all gross they won’t even do
anything, like medical, or anything. They’ll probably
just spray you with a hose and then put you in a room

A beat. BESS moves the ice pack to reveal a
sizable black eye. The ice cubes make a sloshing
sound inside the pack. She wipes her nose on her
sleeve, in one slow movement, her eyes one the

My parents are coming to get me.

Whatever. Like you even know what parents are.

They are, too.

PUH-leeze. Even if you did have parents to come an get
you, they’re probably all high on glue or something
stupid like that...or spray paint.

You don’t know anything.

I know a LOTSA things.

You don’t know shit about dick.

Watcher mouth-

(To GORDIE, smashing the ice pack to the
floor, standing)
Shut up you fucking’ retard before I come over there
and beat the shit out of you and your little hot dog

(Rising rushing BESS)
You little mongoloid!

BESS gang rushes GORDIE. He grabs her by the arms
and picks her up. She kicks him in the thighs
over and over again, screaming "YOU FUCKING
RETARD." GORDIE rears back a hand to punch her in
the face when PRINCIPAL BRUCE swings the door to
his office open and lurches for the feuding

PRINCIPAL BRUCE is a balding man in his
mid-forites, and terrified. He swats at them to
break it up - holding his face away to guard it
from impact.

Enough! E-NOUGH!

He shoves GORDIE to the floor and picks BESS up as
if she is made of razor blades. He tosses her in
the chair, swipes up the ice pack and hands it to
BESS without looking at her.

After a moment to compose himself:

I am very disappointed in you. Very disappointed. You
told me - no, promised - no more of this, this -
right. You made a promise. I can see now that your
promises mean nothing.

AMELIA snorts.

This is as far as I've gotten. I'm planning on continuing. I'll post future revisions here.
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