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It’s been a while since I’ve written anything and I have to confess that it’s been difficult to write anything. I hesitate call it writer’s block, a terminology I find… lazy. But, unfortunately, it is writer’s block and nothing has come of my several attempts at forcing the issue.
My life has changed pretty drastically over the last year or so… indeed, the last two years. Divorce, fallout from that… then someone special appearing out of what seemed like thin air. Circumstances and a lack of writing ideas that excite me have left me creatively dry.
But, on the bright side, I have been painting (pictures, not walls) and working on scanning all of my black and white negatives. So not a complete bust.
Blogging is supposed to be… what? Musings on everyday life. Most of which in my case aren’t really interesting enough for me to put into print. Maybe someone would find those things interesting, but if I don’t, then what’s the point.
But I’m trying! Any ideas out there?
There are some new things on the site; a new gallery of illustrations I’ve done for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and a few new images in other galleries.
This will be the fifth mother’s day I’ve lived through since my mother died.
The first year, the urge to find the best card for her was strong. It had to be purple, that was her color, and ornate, overflowing with flowers and fancy script. She liked such things, fancy things, pretty things.
By the second year, the expectation of phone calls had faded, the quick punch-in of her phone number no longer a benign obligation. Her soft, weary voice hadn’t greeted me for such a long time that it was receding, like the diminishing rush of rainfall after a storm.
Now five years on… the near silence has settled on my memories of her like a blanket.
However her death still isn’t very remote, even after these five long years; I still strongly link her with this now melancholy holiday. Some sentimentally engineered television commercials bring a sting to my eyes, their maudlin intent ignored by thoughts of my mom.
I wonder if somewhere an advertising writer smiles at the thought of his words having such an effect and if he thinks of his mother when he does.
I heard a noise, familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it… something electronic? Not a beeping though, the sound of something in the process of doing something, slightly mechanical, but subtle, delicate…
I stopped to listen, turning my head from side to side, like a puzzled dog, trying to both locate it in space and categorize it in my mind…
I was standing in the bathroom, the one room in my house mostly free of electronic clutter, other than the nose hair trimmer, so this sound was definitely out of place. My bathroom sounds were more… biological in nature, mostly gurglings and the sounds of things escaping from other things.
Then my mind clicked, in a metaphorical sense, and I recognized it. A CD player, the trilling sound it makes just before it starts playing , a whirring, twirling sound, scurrying like a squirrel in a cage, running with moccasins on carpet… A sound that will go on and on if the CD is dirty or defective, until you clean it or give up and move on to another CD.
Pleased with myself for figuring it out, I then realized that there was no CD player near, not one within twenty feet of where I stood, slouching thoughtfully in my underwear, facing the large bathroom mirror.
I looked quizzically at myself, idly and unsuccessfully trying to ignore my alarming roll of stomach fat and scandalous patch of fur on my stomach, both of which appeared, like an unexpected gift, at age 35. Had someone hidden a CD player in the bathroom? There was no way in hell I was going to search the room for a hidden CD player, like a panicky movie character searching for a bomb. None of this took into account the motive for someone, anyone, to conceal a CD player. In my bathroom.
A puzzler, indeed. But I was almost certain there was no player here. So what was the sound?
I stood for a while longer, tiring of the guessing game, jiggering my head about like a bobble head, when I figured it out. It was an insect, making a low trilling sound, right outside the bathroom window. For a brief moment I thought about going out there, to see if I could find it. A locust perhaps, or a cricket?
And I wondered… was it CD player shaped? Not in the literal sense, but maybe kind of flat and slightly rounded, some small orifices that could pass for headphone inputs, a glittering silvery back… but it was hot out there, even this early, too hot for idle searching. So the CD bug was going to have to continue it’s electronic song unobserved…
Maybe at some point in its chitinous life, when it got old enough or wise enough, it would fully engage and at last play the song it was on the verge of playing…
I was reading, yet again, “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” David Sedaris’s way-too-fucking-funny book, doing my best to drive a stake through what remains of my writerly ambitions.
Sitting in my too-small chair (it’s microsuede and too cute to get rid of) I’m laughing out loud, sliding off the chair, pulling myself up, sliding off again, etc, etc., generally laughing and sliding. In the midst of these gyrations, I perused one of his lists of things he hates, of words he hates, most of which are hilarious. That’s just me. I know what I like… or rather, dislike, which is whatever David Sedaris tells me to like or dislike.
At the moment I don’t remember the words on his list, but, as I like to slavishly copy others, I have a list of my own. It’s not a physical list, written out, it’s in my brain… more of a swirling mental knot of such words, like angry nasty bees. Bees covered in shit.
Sedaris’s list is more… scholarly than mine. Mostly. The man lived in France, for crissake! But I agree with the intent, with his Judgement. I sincerely recommend that Judgement should begin with that judgmental capital “J.”
My favorite word? Well, before we get to that word, a little bit about the word “favorite.” By using that word, “favorite,” I am being “clever,” because it is not really my “favorite” word. I am being “ironic.”It isn’t my favorite word…it’s my favorite worst word.
Anyway, my favorite word: veggie. Veggie isn’t really a word, although we pretend it is and I’m sure it’s already in the dictionary as a word. It’s a cutesy, fartsy, stupid abbreviation used by stupid fartsy people, flung around like the sing-song ravings of a mentally retarded school counselor, a hefty woman who sings in a choir, knits stuff and is insufferably cheerful.
I don’t care what the etymology of the word is… it’s stupid and vacuous and it really pisses me off. It irriates me slightly that the British sometimes call vegetables “veg” but it doesn’t have that prissy “gees” sound at the end of it.
I got pissed off all over again the other day, when I noticed that my DOG FOOD had “real veggies” in it.
My dog is a Pit Bull, eighty pounds of muscle and bone who could bring down a mastodon if properly motivated and it fucks with my head to think that he’s eating… veggies.
Another old favorite isn’t a word at all… it’s two words!
But lots of people write those two words as one word. Because they’re idiots.
The word (words) is (are) alot. Alot is short (or is it long?) for “a lot,” which means “a lot” of something. Simple, eh? It’s another of those simple things that somehow manage to enrage me, an example being that asshole on the freeway who thinks he has a fucking right to do the speed limit.
Where does one learn that “a lot” is (mis)spelled alot? As I sit here… “blogging,” I notice that the spell check on my computer CORRECTS alot into “a lot!” It’s a hassle trying to do it wrong. So someone, somewhere, is going to “a lot” of trouble forcing their computer to spell a lot!
Of course, after I’m dead, killed by apoplexy reading an email containing the word alot, it’ll be acceptable, official. Then I will return to life, a pissed off zombie, and rampage around the word, eating the faces of people who have alot of nerve to…
Well, there are two sides to every story…
Except when it comes to the word “sides.” Used in a sentence, “sides” becomes: “What sides do you want with that meat loaf?” We are referring, of course, to “side dishes,” defined as “a food item that accompanies the entrée or main course at a meal.” I can’t tell you why it bothers me; I’ve given it alot of thought and all I know is that I get a twisty, pissy feeling whenever I hear that word.
Especially when delivered by a snide, angry woman, pissed off that she’s working at Chili’s, can’t afford to buy a carton of smokes… and somehow manages to say the word “sides” as a three syllable word. All presented with a big greasy fake smile on her face. Understandably angry, but angry nonetheless.
Lots of conservatives like to use the word “bootstraps.” I have nothing against bootstraps, they come in handy. The point being that if you will only grasp those silly bootstraps of yours, you can pull up on them and then be rich! Bing!
Problem being, some people are born without bootstraps or without arms or hands to pull their straps up with. Or with which to pull up their bootstraps. You get the idea. In bootstrap world, everyone has those darn straps, have muscular strap-worthy arms, and with some hard work, things will go your way.
But, if you’re lazy or, more likely, just plain unlucky, well tough. There is no room in bootstrap world for poor circumstances. It’s great to be born with large and easily graspable straps and someone there to help pull. Most people aren’t though; they live, if not desperate lives, bleak ones. They work like (working) dogs their entire lives only to learn that if they had worked just a LITTLE harder they could’ve had that plasma TV. Dang
Other lamentable words that I hate:
“WILL YOU HOLD PLEASE”
THE ‘F’ WORD
MADE UP FAST FOOD NAMES: SNACKERS, MCRIB, SIDEKICKERS, FISH NIBBLERS, POTATO OLE (pronounced O-LAY, can’t find the accent thingy), JALAPENO CHEESE BOMBERS
“USE OTHER DOOR”
As part of my effort to make myself useful on The Facebook, I’ve taken to posting funny names on my wall.
The names have been well received; friends I see always comment on it and tell me how much they look forward to receiving a new name each day.
If you doubt the veracity of my choices, do a search of The Internets. Some people find it hard to believe that anyone would be named Wyndol “Pokey” Faggard orJocasta Whippy.
Jocasta is a British cello-er… or cellist as some say. And if you need to engage her services, her number is right there on her website. She does weddings.
Good for her. And for us, ‘cause that’s a good name… for a laugh.
Now Wyndol Faggard has a certain illicit, derogatory sexual connotation. Funny, in a sort of sniggering, “I-shouldn’t-really-be-laughing-at-this,” way.
But, throw in “Pokey” and you’ve got something special. Pokey? Perhaps he was a cowboy, a “cowpoke” as some say? Did he have the nickname Pokey all of his life? Did he go through junior high being called Pokey Faggard? Would have been rough.
I know very little of Mr. Faggard. What his hopes and dreams were, who he loved, what good things he did. What I do know is that he’s dead.
Most of the funny names I dig up (pardon the expression) are from funeral announcements. It’s a quick and easy way to get lists of names. The hard part is finding the gold, panning those nuggets.
That’s where I come in.
It’s my “talent” that separates the wheat from the chaff.
That said, making light of the names of the recently deceased does make one pause. Briefly.
I’m not clear on the legality of making fun of someone’s name. I know you can’t libel the dead. They may not be able to sue me, but a rigorous haunting could be in my future.
To be clear, not all of then names I’ve discovered are newly dead. Because there’s a method at work here; my appellation scalpel slices surely and precisely. Most of the time.
An example: Suppose, hypothetically, that you have a man named Robert Stone. Not so funny. Actually not funny at all; a boring, run of the mill name.
But, if you search the poor devil’s obit, you may find that he has a brother named Rock. Yes, Rock.
Suddenly you have a name. Not a super hilarious one, but one worth a chuckle.
Rock Stone. Heh. It’ll do on a slow day.
Certainly it’s easy to make fun of a name like Dick Kerwood or Harry Pujols, what I call “anatomic” names. Of course referencing dicks or johnsons or cocks or butts or wieners or cracks are guaranteed chucklers.
At least they are to folks with a elementary school sensibility. Folks who like Farrelly brothers movies love names like Bonnie Tittsler. Or Leona Cluette Dick. Or even Dick Klug.
Penis references and breast jokes are all fine and good, but my tastes run more toward odd names or uniquely twisted ones. Many times these involve middle names or maiden names or nicknames.
Whatever you gotta do, I say.
An example of a name I find hilarious: Gertie Muckenfuss Creel.
Again, I”m sure Gertie was a fine woman, but it would have been hard to keep a straight face when young Gertie Muckenfuss was introduced.
And marrying Mr. Creel didn’t help much.
Another: Norma Bjork Custard. Delightful. And I hope she enjoyed the name, made it a prank she pulled on others. I hope it wasn’t a burden.
Some names could be a burden. Ask Clittie Gosa. Or Louise Kook. Or Betty Jo Dick.
Or Dick Swank. Or Carol Delight Assman. Or Harry Root.
Just ask them all. If you could. Unfortunately, all of them are dead.
A few more examples of “funny” names:
JIMMY A. FINK
LLOYD “PUD” REAM
Today was special for me. I tried a new type of food (a fruit) called banana.
It was about a foot long, bright yellow, with a lime green tint at either end. The banana is curved. Not sharply curved, nor gently. Somewhere in the middle.
The easily offended should stop here.
What it immediately reminded me of was a penis! Admittedly a large penis, but definitely phallic. I might be stepping over a line here, but this thing would probably fit snuggly into a women’s vagina!
Enough of that though.
It tasted good! I don’t really have anything to compare it to though. It’s fruity tasting, sweet but not as sweet as the orange, but not really sour at all. There is a hint of bitterness, especially when I ate the peel.
Speaking of the peel, it took me a minute or so to realize that the peel should be removed before eating the banana. So my first bite was not so good. I began to wonder about the banana, but after checking on the internet I found out how to peel it and it was much better.
I’m going to do more research on the banana, find out where it comes from, it’s history. I’d never really noticed them at the supermarket. I thought they were horribly misshapen lemons!
So I do recommend the banana. It is good!
Characters from the old cartoon “Beeny and Cecil”
Harecules – A rabbit version of Hercules
Jacques the Knife – A friendly, jazz-singing sawfish with a heavy French accent
Tear-A-Long the Dotted Lion – A muscle-bound lion obsessed with exercise and vitamins
Beepin’ Tom – A diminutive alien
Peking Tom – A Siamese alley cat
Davey Cricket – A frontier cricket… with a coonskin cap that is actually a live raccoon.
Dishonest John – he carried a business card that read: “Dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Special rates for Sundays and holidays”
Blogging is hard. And mostly it sucks… so stay tuned.