Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fence Noise. The Sound of Confusion

Just got back from overwhelming myself at Lowe's by looking at fencing options. Along the way spotted this bumper sticker in front of me.

Jet Noise. The Sound of Freedom.

I think that belongs on one of those, "You know you're in America" lists ...

Sunday, April 27, 2008


If you live in the area (and I know some of you do), you have to get yer ass to ACME and try Lucky 13, Hop Rod Rye Ale and Racer 5 IPA from Lagunitas Brewery. Hoppiness is a warm ale.

NOTE: Must have been drinking when I posted this. Actually Racer 5, and Hop Rod are from Bear Republic. Lucky 13 is Lagunitas. Hope this has not distressed any of this community's fine gentlefolk.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Confess

As you can probably tell by now, I am a master of EROTICISM. The roughing it beard, the winsome eyes, the rock star lips, the unbuttoned Whitman-esque shirt collar. You risk being seduced by my cyber presence just by stopping by. My best line in college was "Hey, what's up, I have read almost all of Shakespeare's plays." Boy, this really got em.

To walk away.
To punch me.
To recoil more than the Bride of Frankenstein.
To change majors.

Are you a smooth operator?

When you open your mouth in the moment (or when you did) does poetry come out or just some dumb shit you wish you hadn't said? What was the coolest of cool, the smoothest of smooth you have ever been with a "line" -- in your humble opinion.
This is all so gossipy and personal I can barely stand it.

Why does the word education almost spell seduction? or visa versa?

Who is sexier Ellie May or Lilly Munster?

So many questions! I could tell you the answer (as a master of Eroticism) but it's more fun to watch you bump against your inhibitions and try to sort it all out.

Evil laugh. Hahh hahha hahh heh.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tears, Tears, Idle Tears - A Survey

So spill the beans about your waterworks.

Which three movies BROKE YOU UP the most. Come on, don't be shy. Which three movies did a number on you and put you in seepy weepy teardom - if you have to go back to childhood that's cool.

For me I would say:

The Wizard of Oz (still!)


Meet Joe Black (the remake)

Addendum: it was only after watching Baloo's death scene for the tenth time with Whit that I finally stopped crying over that movie as well. Free at last.

Unemployment Diary

So it has been over a month now that I am unemployed. My new routine has put me in places around our neighborhood during times of the day I am normally never here – like always. But anyway, I see a lot more of my neighborhood now and here are some notable images:

A man and woman jumping up and down and laughing while shaking out a blue blanket in their front yard.

A woman in a frilly black dress, barefoot, walking her black dog.

Red tulips at 8:40 a.m. lit up with the morning sun.

Mary Biddinger driving to work in her red car. Very serious. very serious.


Every goddamn tree and bush, block after block, in bloom with snowy little flowers.

If this is not the upside of downtime, I don't know what is.

Squirrel Horror Fest

RJ asked if there have ever been any squirrel horror movies. Besides the always shocking Night of the Ill-Tempered Squirrels, and Squirrantula, I know of none. If you know any, share the titles.

Monday, April 21, 2008

O The Bushy Tailed Irony!

Over the weekend, two neighbors told me they have seen a family of squirrels coming and going under the roof of the dormer on our house. A few little ones and a few big ones.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fishing with Shakespeare

I was digging through my copywriter portfolio CDs and found this old self promotion piece I used to send out when I was calling on outdoor and recreational product companies. Below Shakespeare is the Fishing with Stooges companion piece.

A Poem for Fishing Season


I loved the slick alphabet of bait. Catalpa worms,
yellow with black spurs, clinging
to broad leaves

until I knocked them down with cane poles.

I'd flood the yard at dusk, trick crawlers
up through the dirt.

And the leopard frogs--lime-green & brown-spotted
that squirted through wet grass.

I kept those I caught in a coffee can on the porch; it beat
like a drum at night

as they shot against the lid.

I fished in beautiful places, but it's the baiting
I remember--
piercing a hook through the white petal
of each frog's throat, working it up
& out the beak-nose
quick, with a stitching motion; croaks rising
to chirps, & the pressure
of small fingers pushing against the freight of my grip.

I want to say a frog's just a frog.
But that sound,
the cruel pop of barb through skin ...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Squirrels on the Outskirts

Amok? Is that too strong a word for what’s going on with the area squirrels. Breslin Mack, a normally quiet off-the-grid type, is taking no chances. For him, and others like him terror has a new name, and it is Tamiasciurus hudsonicus or brown squirrel.

Following reports of yet another attackcident, I made my way to his domain on the outskirts of Highland Square. Upon climbing the fence and dropping over I was greeted by Breslin Mack. He had a way about him. I don’t know what it is.

I was not able to understand much of what he said. He pointed to a self-fashioned suit of armor he fashioned from lids and melted pans for W, his dog. Apparently, the dog had already run into the business end of a squirrel and it left his right eye in chaotic blindness.

The interview did not go well. He was not very forthcoming with details. Not the printable kind. Suffice it to say, I am running out of gas on this gag. The Highland Square Tattler will have to do without me for a while. I have other pursues to endeavor.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wisdom Born of Pain? Love? Other?

Have you learned more, been shaped more, by pain or love? Is your wisdom born of pain? Born more of love and kindness? I am mulling this over after reading Lafcadio Hearn’s poetry lectures. Writing on Browning’s Rabbi Ben Ezra, Hearn suggests:

“The first part of the poem, then, may be summarized this: old age is the flower and crown of life, because it is the age of wisdom, and all other years of life are but a preparation for it. The faults of youth are not to be despised nor unreasonably regretted; we learn only through making mistakes.”

And further …

“It is man’s duty, the poet says, to consider pain not as a misfortune but as a blessing. He has told us that we learn by mistakes, and that is only another way of saying that we learn wisdom through pain. It is pain that makes us wise, that makes us unselfish, that makes us good men.”

To tell the truth, I first thought of Helen Reddy singing ... “Yes, I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain. Yes, I’ll pay the price , but look how much I’ve gained, something something I am woman.” I was probably in 4th grade or 5th when that song came out and it was the first time I had heard of this “wisdom born of pain” idea. Today, at 45, I would say without a doubt that any wisdom I have is shaped more by love and kindness than pain. Sure, pain forged its share of kinks in my psyche, but on the whole I think I have been one lucky SOB.

What about you? Wisdom born of pain? Taxes? Bush administration? American Idol. Crazy parents? Brutal youth?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Eating Brain - Part of a possible motive in Highland Square Squirrel Malfeasance.

Word travels. Apparently. Move over mad cow disease.

Squirrel Attackcidents Continue - Live Coverage

Christ, I was scooped by the local news! That smarts and it does not help my chances of any kind of long-term assignment with the Highland Square Tattler. Apparently the news crew was in the area shooting a "T-ball is fun" piece when Carol Feldrys and her son Amlish were jumped by another (maybe the same?) renegade squirrel. She fought off the quote: "fucker". But not without sustaining noticeable injury to her arm skins. (In this screen capture, the squirrel is shown gnawing home plate.)

The next day I was able to get an interview with Carol during which I asked her questions about what had happened … thus constituting an interview. She spoke slowly, by choice. Her pale son Amlish, still in mild shock, clung to her side like a frightened Rhesus monkey. She was a sturdy woman with bold features. With a heavy heart I took my pen in hand and began my quest for the truth.

HST: Carol, I know this is a hard time for you and your family, but it is very important that we get to the bottom of this so no one else suffers what you have suffered. Can you tell me what happened?

Carol: "I can try. We were watching the T-Ball game you know, minding our own business, when I look down at my purse and notice it is moving so I catch my breath you know, and grab it fast like this.”

NOTE: With great precision she reenacts the grabbing gesture.

Carol: "And this freaking bastard squirrel shoots out of my purse, he must have smelled my Hoof mints, and it latches onto my arm right here you know, and he starts going at it with his little hands like he’s typing and like I can see his mouth open to bite me so I smack at him and I am screaming stuff like “Get it off, get it off, get the fucker off” and all the kids coming running over and the coaches and someone who had the best of intentions threw a T-ball at it and it hit me right in the forehead and that was all I remember. I woke with a knot on my head and little Amlish here was clinging to me frightened like he’d seen a ghost.”

HST: Is this the first time something like this has happened to you?

Carol: No Amlish always clings to me.

HST: I mean with a squirrel? An animal attack?

Carol: Some dog once grabbed a hold of Amlish’s hoodie. But that’s it. I mean Highland Square is supposed to be a safe community. But see it’s just like everywhere else. It has it’s dark underbelly and share of crime, it’s just that squirrels are the criminals instead of robbers. I don't know if Amlish will ever be the same."

I quietly wondered if that was such a bad thing.

If I can speak off the record, watch out for the squirrels. Fortify your strollers and helmet the kids. Maybe the pets. Squirrels are known to carry bad germs and other highly infectious unpleasantries. I will keep you posted through the "official" story in the Highland Square Tattler - a bi-weekly newspaper of compelling human interest stories.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Freelance Gig: Highland Square Tattler

More freelance work. I have been commissioned by the Highland Square Tattler to cover a recent slew of squirrel “incidents” in the area. I hesitate to call them attacks because the last thing we need is a Jaws-like panic in the streets just as we’re heading into the warm, Block Party season. So taking a little journalistic license, I have decided to call these encounters attackcidents. I think this phrase walks that fine, piano wire line between calling a thing what it is without calling it what it is. Yes?

A few days after the incident, camera in hand I paid a visit to Highlanders Gil and Tanya Shelby to learn firsthand about their ordeal. When they greeted me at the door, I could tell by the dark circles under their eyes there were still living the nightmare.

(interview transcript)

HST: I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. I know it can’t be easy. If we could begin with the attackcident? How it happened?

Tanya: The what?

HST: Tell me what happened.

Tanya: I was walking Eggo our dog, and I remember I was singing to myself that Hips Don’t Lie song, and then my hair I thought was tangled in a branch so I reached up and felt this hairy head and the feet with those scratchy toenails just sort of began to dance about my head. And the chattering … I will never forget it. Eggo went crazy and at that moment I realized it was a squirrel and the tail kind of wrapped around my face right across my nose. I swear it was trying to suffocate me. Gil my husband heard my screams and came running from the house waving his arms. The squirrel sprang down and glanced off Eggo giving him a nasty bite and scratch and he scurried into the street and I could see he had tufts of my hair in his hands that made it look like he was holding pom poms and I thought that was funny but I was too scared to laugh. I always trusted squirrels, maybe because Hollywood makes them cute in movies. But that’s not reality anymore. Not for me. Or Eggo.

HST: Mr. Shelby? Gil? What went through your mind seeing this squirrel, clearly insane, on your wife’s hair? Gil?

(End of transcript)

Clearly the husband was ashamed as if he should have somehow been able to prevent it. As a proud strong man myself I have felt this helplessness too.Throughout our interview he tried a few times to tell his side of the story but his voice would always trail off as would his gaze and he looked away. Most likely with secret tears welling in his prideless eyes. I asked a few more questions about rumors of other attackcidents in the neighborhood. Gil, sitting near his wife, remained ashamed. Trying once more to speak through his shame, Gil opened his mouth to speak but finally just slumped into the couch and looked off as he envisioned who knows what kind of squirrel mayhem.

How many other cases have gone unreported? I don’t know. But the Shelby’s story makes four in the last month. As the great Dick used to say, the game’s afoot. I will be publishing ‘roughs’ as we call them in the trade on my Blog and you can keep up with the complete story in the Highland Square Tattler – a bi-weekly newspaper of compelling human interest stories.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fishing Stories

Weird. This morning I looked out into the backyard and this dude was squatting there with this big ass fish he pulled from the little sewer runoff that keeps our backyard soppy. Actually this is my dear dear friend from Michigan who I love like a brother proudly displaying his biggest catch ever - pulled it in a few days ago. Way to go Boots!

Freelancer on the Loose

Today I am billing my first invoice for my first freelance gig since getting laid off. Would you believe it was for 13 hours? Just kidding.

My son has been off this week on Spring Break and has attended a couple meetings with me as my associate. Matching shirts and all. Pretty fancy. Out of those meetings it looks like I have more work. One project is pro bono for the local adult literacy council which I pitched myself to grow my own business, and the other is paid and an outcome of kicking ass on the project I am now billing.I want to celebrate a little, and may have to buy a bottle or two of what are lately my favorite IPAs - Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA and Hippie IPA from some local boys.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Wife Goes Live

As you know, one of the last times my wife went running she fell, split her chin open and required stitches. She is about to make another run. Check it out.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Swede sprang up with the celerity of a man escaping from a snake on the floor. "I don't want to fight!" he shouted. "I don't want to fight!"

One of the most interesting studies in fear and violence, and I guess mob/pack violence, is Stephan Crane's Blue Hotel. Is there something in the smell of fear that drives aggression? Ask the Swede. Does weakness bring on a violent or aggressive response? You can't really generalize about such chemistry, but my experience says it does. And where does Morrissey fit into all this when he says "it takes guts to be gentle and kind".

I remember being warned as a young kid, when around strange or growling dogs, "Don't let him know you are afraid". Or maybe it was walk don't run. Which even makes a nice surfing song title. Anyway, here is a link to Crane's story on line.

Music Trivia

Found this image this morning and am wondering who call tell me what album it was used on. No prize money, just pride points.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I'll Kick Your Ass

I am thinking about violence tonight. Bullies. Sword is mightier than the pen types. Recalling the handful of "fights" I was in growing up--high school that is. I don't think I have been in any kind of fights in college. Or maybe I was hit so hard I just never realized it. I am thinking about why I fought. How I did. The adrenaline rush and heart pounding I can still remember too clearly. I think about it more and more now that Whit is getting to that age where boys fight. Compared to the stories we see today, guns, guns, guns, etc., my time at the end of the bully's knuckles seem tame. But I too was a pretty mean bastard. Mean in return to those I could eat up. Christ, it's all so caveman and still is, probably always will be. What's this I hear about civilized society?

I would really like to hear from others about their 'fight' experiences. Were you the aggressor, the victim. I'd like to hear from dads especially and if you have ever had to deal with your kid fighting with other kids and how you handled it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy Birthday to My Favorite April Fool

Lon Chaney

Here he is creating Jack Nicholson before Nicholson was even born. Now that's impressive.


Waiting to hear back on a few poems I sent out.

Waiting to hear back on a review I put together.

Waiting for fishing season to begin.

Waiting for the day when I live more in the moment not the future.
Search Poor Fool