Tuesday, December 18, 2007
What I can't figure out is how anyone is surprised by this. How else would a baseball player get an arm the size of a leg? But we want 'em faster and bigger and stronger. They are swept up in our culture of gluttony! Hard to say no, I'm sure.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
We pulled over, got out. We checked the shepherd but he was gone. We picked him up carefully and moved him to a soft place beside a tree, taking a moment with him. The doberman followed. These were the days of pay phones. Neither dog had a tag so we called animal control to come for him and guided her to come with us.
I snuck the doberman into my bedroom. The hours were too small to wake anybody up for discussion, so I made her soft place on the floor and brought her some water and food. As I got into bed, my whispers to lie down did not take effect. She paced then rested her chin on the edge of the mattress. This was a time when dobermans were deemed the breed to be leery of. The lore was they could turn hostile in an instant. But she'd taken a chance on trusting me so an "okay!" and she was up, rolled onto her back and nestled into me. This must have been how they slept every night, she and her mate and their human.
In the morning when we got up, my parents already knew she was there. How long had they known? Was it their habit to make sure I was home alive after I'd stayed out late? It occurred to me I'd never thought about that before. My dad sat in his chair drinking coffee, the doberman sat a few feet in front him ears back, eyes steady, listening as he tried to explain to me, or to the dog, that since we already had three dogs, four would be too many. It looked like the doberman had the situation under control, so I went to the kitchen for coffee. I could feel my parents' discussion though I couldn't actually hear it. It may have been one of those wordless ones.
When I came back into the room my dad said, "If we can't find her person, she'll have a home with us."
He took her to the animal shelter to give her a chance of being found. I called the shelter an hour after they'd left the house. Her human had already come and taken her home. The man at the shelter said the owner was there first thing in the morning saying his doberman and German shepherd had gotten out through an open gate the night before and that he'd looked for them in the night. I hung up the phone comforted that the the dog and the man still had each other. Then I drove back to the intersection to make sure the shepherd was not there.
The sunny shiny morning was slightly too bright as if the rain storm had washed the streets a glaring white. The shepherd was gone; it seemed nothing had happened there at all. But some thirty years later I still see that moment we rounded the corner. I see the posture and expression of the doberman beside her shepherd under the dull streetlight, watching, waiting in love and trust.
Monday, November 12, 2007
born after I graduated sixth grade says
if we eat these special foods and drink these
special drinks and exercise these
special exercises we can live to be
one thousand years old!
One thousand years old, generations alive today he thinks
can stay alive one thousand years!
My first reaction to this:
don't give me the special foods don't give me the
special drinks don't show me the
special exercises so I can spare myself living a span equal to
a life begun in the time of the Norman invasion of England
to extend half a dozen years past what would, from this moment, be my
hundredth birthday, given I had
eaten the special foods and drunk the
special drinks and exercised the
Even if the body recalibrated due to the scheme,
how could the human personality endure a time span so vast
as the changes of a thousand years on this earth (or worse bleak space or colonial moon!)?
How could I learn that many new tricks how many
special nutrients could I possibly consume to feed
curiosity or sustain enthusiasm let alone interest for
Walking, I thought of you, my Love.
A thousand years seemed short.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
This is a backslash: \
A slash leans its head forward: /
A backslash leans its head BACK: \ It is called a backslash because it leans its head back.
Slash: / lives in the lowercase of the question mark key. It is easy to reach and more commonly used.
Backslash: \ lives in the lowercase above the enter key. It is a bit up and out of the way and less commonly used.
A slash is called a slash because it was the first of the slashes to arrive on the scene. When the backslash arrived, someone said, "Ah, I see there is another type of slash!" And someone else said, "Yes, but that one is leaning its head back. Let us call it the 'backslash'."
As computers came into being, the lexicon supporting their coding included the slash, and less commonly, its slightly daunted sibling, the backslash.
Sometimes people announcing URL's (radio, conversation, instruction) make the mistake of calling a slash a backslash. They think they are showing off how much they know about slashes; they feel very official - you can hear it in their voices.
They are mistaken.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
He'd been there.
He said it in a time when the only witnesses to war
in some way or another,
so the naive
Now in the world
cameras everywhere enough to make us all witnesses
Hell expands to ever greater territory
as each and more of us
Thursday, October 11, 2007
2) Don't badmouth the places you've worked before or the people you fired when you started your new job. Don't keep the interviewee in your office listening to your rambling babble for one hour and forty five minutes, making her struggle extra hard to maintain decorum for that last fifteen minutes fearing her car might be towed before she gets out (time limit posted at the parking spot you reserved for her).
3) Don't have everything in your office either black or grey and then wear a dark blue suit and pearls (what century is this?!) so the only vivid colors in the room are your pink face and yellow hair.
4) When someone knocks on the door and interrupts with some important papers you had asked them for, introduce the interviewee to the person. When the worker behaves pleasantly and like a "normal" person, do not shun the worker, who, by the way, stayed late to give you the papers you asked for.
5) Remember: the interviewee is there because you were recommended by a colleague. Out of respect for the mutual colleague, the interviewee will stay til you end the meeting. Do not abuse her patience.
6) Do not yawn while you're talking, repeatedly, apologize, yawn again, apologize some more, and take sips of your water, especially if you have failed to offer the interviewee some water.
7) Do not try to minimize the rudeness of your yawning by explaining that you woke up at midnight the night before and couldn't get back to sleep. Next time you have insomnia, drink a nice warm cup of tea and at least lay down and watch TVLand and relax so you are rested and ready to be respectful to the person who took off work, lost pay, and spent gas money to see you.
8) The interviewee may answer your questions and then choose to back up her statements with examples of ways she implemented the decisions she made as a professional. These little images she creates in your mind are not meant to send you off on lengthy tangents about your commute, your stereotypes about what ethnicity uses the bathroom stalls as phone booths most, or what type of rabble may live on the other side of the mountains where you would never buy property because there are - god knows what color you're afraid of - apparently not dark blue or pearl - people living there who are so stupid they accepted Adjusted Rate Mortgages and now they can't afford their houses but you wouldn't even want to buy them up because the neighborhood is just not as good as the one where you have two houses already and are thinking of buying a third but are just perched waiting for the real estate crash to get worse in about five years.
8a) While stating the above, do not form your little hand into the shape of a cresting wave, first knuckle bent on each of the four fingers. This just shows off your apparent disdain for manicures.
9) When notifying the interviewee of your call-back schedule, do not insult her by telling her a second interview will consist of a writing test, especially if you are holding the following items in your lap:
- her three professional writing samples;
- her resume showing that she has a Master's Degree in English/Writing and specific professional training in the style of writing required for the position in question.
Further, do not drive the point home by explaining that others turned in writing samples as good as hers but failed the writing test, thereby accusing the interviewee of plagiarism.
10) When you finally see your way clear to letting the interviewee leave, do not walk her to the door of the building. She will be grateful to have you say goodbye at the office door.
Note to the interviewee: If such as the above ever happens to you: at about the twenty minute mark it is okay to stand up, say, "sorry, my time is up," and leave. No matter how much you like the colleague who sent you here, remember: she sent you here!
Monday, October 08, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Radio commercial: obnoxious fast shouting SFX something jarring
I am making a left turn
with respectful concern
for the pedestrian why am I
allowing this voice to shout throughout my car?!
Push of a button:
stops the assault
the young man in the crosswalk safely out of my path
I drive on.
My buddy would have laughed
and come up with a shut-combo
I haven't figured out yet.
This makes me laugh
and laugh for laughing
at the conversation I didn't have
Open and shut case.
Monday, July 30, 2007
But I should have acted sooner - maybe asked him out a few years ago. Of course I never did since we don't actually live in the same universe. But, technically, I could have, since I did meet him once (do I detect a pattern here, or do all LA natives have these stories?).
Chances are I met Steve Martin before he started seeing Anne Stringfield. But even if I had asked him out for enchiladas, would it have lasted? Maybe we'd have gone out a few times and he would have picked up a copy of the New Yorker after dessert and coffee and seen Ms Stringfield's column. Perhaps as I mused into the the essence of humor in the human soul, he would have become spellbound by her writing and married her anyway. Fate plays out the way it has to and that's that. Even if it twists, it is written once played.
My meeting with Steve Martin was, for him, a fulfillment of a contractual obligation with the publisher. For me it was a lapse into a world poplulated by beings from the universe of goofy fans on tourships to the magic dimension, hoping for a feeling of befriending in an impossible social construct. So we giggle or wave or mutterbabble - or offer a simple thank you.
I went with a friend to the UCLA Festival of Books. He had tickets to see Steve speak in one of the big brick auditoriums. At the event, a repetition of women my age stood in line to ask Steve questions they didn't really need to ask so they could declare their undying love and he could gracefully avoid cringing.
After the lecture, my friend left but said, "get an autograph. Why not?" So, I stood in a long line under the trees to wait for Steve. My objective was to have him sign my copy of Picasso at the Lapin Agile (while being sure to let him see I'd also bought Shopgirl, the book he was there to promote). The line took about an hour and a half. I would never sell the autograph, so why was I waiting? To see Steve Martin. Why? Because he's Steve Martin and I can.
Steve was set up at at table under a tent canope. People could approach one at at time. At about 8 feet away a nice lady in a suit would ask them to wait. She would gesture for them to come to the table just after the previous person had left (deft mob anti-coagulant tactic). As the person before me fawned, Steve looked to see who would approach next. He swung his head slowly, eyes not connecting, a soft gaze, to size me up. Female. Mid thirties. Tall. No knife.
The distant look in his blue eyes and the way he swung his head - and I mean this with the utmost respect - reminded me of a cow in a feed slot. He didn't eschew the task, he just didn't savor it.
So when my turn came I suppose he looked to see who was after me because whatever connection I had started to sense was now gone. His words were kind, respectful and rote. I put his play before him and said, "Thank you for everything." He delivered a merry, "well, thank you for coming!" I said, "of course!" and knew to quickly move on. He was a perfect gentleman meeting strangers who thought they knew him. But none of us did.
(Anne Stringfield does.)
Friday, July 20, 2007
tossed land sometimes in matches
in the distance, a baby bird hatches
gates slam bang open with broken latches
from the airplane the ground looks to be made of patches.
(I met a guy once who came from Naches.)
You wake up early, late, or on time,
comparable to the roll of the dice in this rhyme,
you eat your toast,
drink the coffee (French Roast)
plan to make your day its most
cross yourself and thank your host
the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost -
even if religion is no longer your begets,
you hedge your bets.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I honked to let the driver know I was aware of his infraction and took my moment to look him in the eye. Suntaned with the wind in his hair, he waved and smiled that frownish grin with the powerful lower lip, a friendly hand thrown erect. It was Charlton Heston who had run this stop sign.
The moment was the pure quiet slo-mo sync that can happen when two people are alone; I could hear him think: "Ah! Another fan has recognized me. I shall wave in recognition as I pass."
He may indeed have seen my mouth fall open and eyes widen to a greater blue. And to this day I know in my heart that on that sunny afternoon in the toot of a honk Charlton Heston had renewed in him the experience of himself as a star, Moses, Ben Hur, the Omega Man, "Soylent Green is peeeeple!!!" And I have come to accept that he may never know my experience of our moment together: "Hey! That guy ran the stop sign! It was MY turn to go!"
Monday, July 16, 2007
There was something familiar about that guy with the van. I knew him, but didn't; I hadn't seen him in a long time though. I searched my mental catalog... kind of a hippie lookin' guy. Ah - musta been one of the old customers at the health food store where I worked when I was a teenager. We shared a smile and a hello.
When the tank was full and I hung the handle back onto the pump I placed him: He was Eddie Van Halen. Ah yes, my old friend I'd never met, Eddie. I know part of him, he doesn't know me at all - world's greatest rock guitar player chatting with the gas station guy. This is one of the things I like about my hometown.
Later, I saw friends and said, "Guess who I saw at the gas station today?" Terri said, "somebody famous?" I said yes. Larry said, "musician?" I said yes. Larry said, "Eddie Van Halen."
Several years later I saw Andy Dick at Ikea ordering cabinets. That evening I asked the same friends to guess the day's celebrity sighting and on the first guess Terri said, "Andy Dick."
This is one of the things I love about my friends.
Sometime I'll tell you about the time Charleton Heston ran the four way stop sign.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I went to the theatre and looked around - the stage had a silly big styrofoam skull suspended from the rafters, the fog machine, dark shades of lighting, and the band was doing re-takes of a segment of a heavy metal song.
I went backstage to wait for the guy (whose name I don't remember today, by the way) and the band took a break. I stood next to the guitarist - or he stood next to me - he was close enough that if I'd leaned a little I would have bumped shoulders with him. He wore a silky chiffon white shirt and aqua eyeshadow. I was about twenty or so, and knew how to play it cool, so I did. Acted like I wasn't even curious. Even stifled some sarcasm because these guys seemed to be taking themselves so seriously.
Some time later my sister and I went to see the new Rob Reiner film - the first, "Rockumentary, if you will," and dogged if it wasn't the guy in chiffon - David St. Hubbins. I really shoulda said hello.
Note to self from future to past: say hello.
Monday, July 02, 2007
I went to see it a few years ago when it was blooming in Pasadena.
I stood in line two hours to see that flower. It was hot, and the sun was bright, and I didn't know going in that it would take two hours to get to the flower; it was one of those cases where you just start throwing good time after bad in an effort to keep the investment from being completely fruitless. A fellow next to me in line struck up a little half-hearted flirtatious chat as we waited to experience the rare visage and stench of this magnificent prehistoric flower in bloom.
Got there. Had to hurry past the thing because of the size of the waiting crowd. Let me tell you now about this flower: it doesn't smell like BO or rotting meat or anything spectacular enough to wait two hours to smell. It stinks like it does along the 405 as you pass through Torrance at night.
The meager flirt was an architect. I was a writer on a day off. The stamen of the flower reached upward five feet, the deep aubergine petal lay open like a bedsheet. Potent to be sure, but the Big Stinky Flower is not beautiful. Nature made it to impress not man, not woman, not bird, bee or butterfly. Nature made the Big Stinky Flower to impress the dung beetle.
Friday, June 22, 2007
The Russian pessimist says, "Things couldn't get any worse!"
And the Russian optimist says, "Oh, yes they could!"
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Then take the smart tack: use your creativity and work to improve conditions. Lateral movement is often your friend in a bad situation. Going head to head or toe to toe is like trying to punch your way out of a cage.
I am not saying it's easy to do.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
There is a principle that says if you detach yourself emotionally from that which you desire, it will come to you. That's absurd.
Dogs and cats respond to energy, let's use them as examples for attraction: If you keep beckoning a dog or cat the point where you're straining your voice or have squatted to its level so long you're losing circulation through your knees, whether it comes when you call still depends on its relationship with you. Whether you're straining your voice or joints isn't going to change the creature's mind. If you act like you don't care about the dog or cat, again, it depends whether the animal is interested in you at that moment. It might come to you, or it might go chew a toy/take a nap.
The thing is not whether you desire or not, beckon or not, (pray or wish or hope or not), it's whether you engage successfully with the object or subject of your desire. This requires creativity, presence of mind and a willingness to disengage from stupid stuff.
Just thought I'd mention it.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
and taken pictures that show it all
you can pinpoint your own rooftop
zoom out to include Greenland
and Australia all on one screen.
We found an old rainforest a few weeks ago
while looking for coal to mine
a mud preserved cavern
the size of San Francisco and they keep finding ruins
of Aztecs and Greeks
surface in blackmarket sting operations
(or on ebay).
We've found music and painting and
everything but Atlantis
and their kitchen sinks.
Pompeii and porcupines,
dolphins and stingrays
jellyfish and coral colonies
bugs and frogs that numb your tongue so don't lick them
soil and dirt and rocks and gems
and crude sludge of lives long gone to decay
(it makes our cars go real fast to this day!)
as continents and mountains
would never melt ‘til we were long gone
(chunks of it fall into the sea now, on and on).
We have found everything we have needed to find
- so far.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Think about the place in your mind where you go when you read this person's emails. Do you ever feel a strange comfort that makes it seem as though the person isn't actually "weird" at all?
And yet as you read you know what bothers you about the writer and you know these reasons are dealbreakers for friendship or anything more than a cordial professional relationship; maybe the person behaves poorly in meetings, maybe doesn't bathe regularly or use a toothbrush - or barely hides some bundle of ugly personality characteristics. As you momentarily separate the writer from the content, do you ever notice a sense of fascination that the writing persona reveals none of the above?
Ah, this is the cloak of intrigue that creates the appearance of possibility. And it is what internet dating relies on.
's'all I'm sayin'.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
No more fracas chatter fray.
I will not miss that sound any day,
I appreciate its fading out from play!
Barky bark barks much less, ah Grace!
Tho whiny robot continues to whir;
But soon a human will take its place,
And maybe barky bark will learn to purr.
Call for all robots
back to central
endless whiny loops
have been deemed detrimental!
Friday, April 27, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Bark bark bark bark!
Chatter chatter chipper chatter
Bark bark b-b-b-bark!
Bark bark bark bark bark bark (jump) bark!
Chatter chatter (stomp stomp stomp) chat-chatter!
Bark bark bark -
Chip chip chip chip chippy!
Thankfully, no waa waaa wa waaaaa wa Waaaaa bottom line the reality is is in other words just
Chatter bark chatter bark chatter chatter bark.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
More important than knowing which side your bread is buttered on is knowing where the bread came from.
If knowledge is power, information is the power cord.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
sometimes black sometimes
the same color as the bleached rust cliffs
that lift right up to the edge and stop
top flat or shove straight down slightly sloped
to a base of rock rubble sand to chaparral
and yellow grasses
across this and more of this
hearing occasionally from the place in my head
where the speech center resonates,
old Firesign Theatre dialogue:
"That's a beaut!"
"No, it's a mound."
"An’ right purdy, too!"
But more than the playbacks my mind volunteers with such frequency -
the mind begins to quiet.
Thoughts muse subtly about geology
but find no need to analyze why
thrust faults and gapes and gaws in the land
or how the mountains kept such clean horizontal tops
or wonder beyond a ponder why what grows where it grows
grows where it does.
And why that black flitting bird flies here: does it know about pigeons?
Houses in the middle of nowhere are home.
Navajo land with no imposed trees, no hardscape, no green lawns.
Australian Cattle Dog is he lost no his job is to chase our car away.
Grasslands and little short trees shaped like buffalo: camouflage for the missing.
Three horses grazing by the side of the road slow down there is no fence.
Long wooled sheep makes eye contact with me as we go by, he chews, once I think, with that lateral moving jaw.
Sunset colors the whole sky pink longer lingering orange turquoise spreading yellow west east takes periwinkle to grey and twilight - -
Venus introduces the starry - -
At what point did I quietly accept only seeing six or twelve stars in the city-night skies?
I need to learn this deepening sky, observe quiet darkness’ depths.
I bet I find the Milky Way again.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
His arm had been stuck in Flat-Dimension 440 for an instant.
It arrived flat like paper
flailing from his rounded shoulder
he arrived shreiking in such agony
we fumbled to push the buttons again yet
nearly instantaneously we were able to throw him back into the field
for coordinate correction.
He arrived again reassembled correctly
all in 3D
and the redeeming quality of interdimensional travel
was that we could bring him back
to this dimension
to a moment before
and wonders why
we all looked so concerned.
For him it never happened,
but for us, it was horrible
and we can't forget it.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
God is not a leprechaun, nor is/was Jesus (they do not play tricks on you).
This information may come in handy next time you feel desperate.
And remember too that the wisest of the three wishes was to wish for the genie's freedom; and the leprechaun only tricks the ones who are after his pot o'gold (or his Lucky Charms).
Friday, February 16, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
There were some jiggly players though - downright breasty players out there. We gotta get the hormones outa the milk supply!
Still: the players didn't seem to mind the rain too much. So they're one up on the cheerleaders, (or does pro-ball not have cheering? I seem to remember heckling their antics last year... was that the USC game?)
At the party, the guacamole was fabulous, and the fruity mango drinks were delicious, the party hosts delightful and the company, perfect. So I enjoyed the superbowl just fine! Plus they had a little dog that liked to play fetch!
Friday, February 02, 2007
Held off as long as you could, but bit by bit
the shouting resumed;
and the booze it perfumed,
And the cops threw your wife in their car in the midst of a fit.
(I heard your shout that you'd bail her out;
your second mistake at least, no doubt).
And I also see it sort of the way Ze Frank does: http://www.zefrank.com/theshow/archives/2007/02/020107.html
More wine! More cheese! Why does spandex look so much better on a quarterback than on a tight end? And excuse me, but it looks to me like they've all got pretty tight ends!
Disclaimer: yes I understand sports has a value to those who understand it similar to the way good drama has meaning for me. I'm just telling you I don't have the gene so the story doesn't reach me. Aren't I diplomatic?