Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blank Screen

I need to repopulate my Netflix queue. Beach Blanket Bingo is going back immediately, having served its purpose as party ambiance/background. (I was surprised, BTW, that some of it is about skydiving -- and that Buster Keaton is in it.) Now there's nothing in there. I'm going to add Inglourious Basterds, but beyond that...well, I have to think.

I'm open to suggestions.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The T&T List

"Hope Diamond"
Fish with Braids Gallery
Tomato Davis
Limax maximus
Loretta Martin
curling double take-out

Mike - ro -Fiction

Midweek published my microfiction story "Cold Hands" in the current issue. Get it while it's hot.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

'Bunch of Phonies Mourn J.D. Salinger'

"CORNISH, NH — In this big dramatic production that didn't do anyone any good (and was pretty embarrassing, really, if you think about it), thousands upon thousands of phonies across the country mourned the death of author J.D. Salinger, who was 91 years old for crying out loud...."

Priceless. More here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

The iPad... I guess we'll get used to the name. (Anagrams: "paid", "a dip"). It does bring up thoughts of that time of the month. And it looks like a giant iPhone, which makes it seem like a bit of a joke. As Joe says, people with Boston accents will have a hard time asking for iPods now.... Beach Blanket Bingo just arrived from Netlix today. Not a film I would normally pursue, but my wyfe is planning a beach-theme birthday party for Saturday night -- so we've invited "Frankie and Annette" to sun themselves on the plasma screen. I also have the Hawaii Beaches 1: Waves DVD for some additional ambience. Feel audio-visually prepared.... It's an open house, so stop by, gentle reader.... Tired of tying: I got two pairs of new suede slip-on shoes, in black and "coffee". They used to call these Hush Puppies. They're comfy. I have happy feet....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Word of the Day: tarradiddle

tarradiddle (n)

A small lie, or a bit of nonsense.

"What is conjuring, when you come to think of it, but simply one big tarradiddle--a fib in action, so to speak, from beginning to end?"
--Angelo John Lewis, Conjurer Dick, or the Adventures of a Young Wizard, published in 1885

The "Adventures of a Young Wizard" -- now there's a great theme for a book, or even a series of books. Or a movie. What an original idea! Someone should take that idea and run with it....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Quote of the Day: Rod Serling


"We know that a dream can be real, but who ever thought that reality could be a dream? We exist, of course, but how, in what way? As we believe, as flesh-and-blood human beings, or are we simply parts of someone's feverish, complicated nightmare? Think about it, and then ask yourself, do you live here, in this country, in this world, or do you live the Twilight Zone."
–Rod Serling

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Snow Balled

Last night, I attended Jersey City's premier annual social event: the Snow Ball, sponsored by Art House Productions (a local multi-media arts organization). I wore a tux (or the top half of one, anyway) and took a camera. You can see the resulting glamorous (and sometimes bizarre) photos here.

Too Tired to Type

They didn't answer your email? You have been e-snubbed.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sleep Talking

Some people talk in their sleep (including my wyfe, sometimes). Sleep Talkin' Man is a blog dedicated to preserving the midnight mumblings of a slumbering British fellow named Adam, who is quite loquacious while in the arms of Morpheus. "Karen", his spouse, takes dictation and posts them to the blog. When does she sleep, I wonder? Anyway, here are a few of Adam's gems:

"My bagder's gonna unleash hell on your ass. Badgertastic!"
"Can you hold... can you hold my starfish? It doesn't like it when I'm getting excited. Oh look, it likes you! Its legs are all cree-py cree-py."
"If I wanted to see a long nose and a big ass, I'd look at a horse."
"I'm baking pillows. Burn them slowly, keeps them fluffy! Mmmmmm, pillows."
"Your mum's at the door again. Bury me. Bury me deep."
"Flap's on fire. Your flap's on fire! Chili in the vagiiiiina. I'm a bad bad boy."
"I'd rather peel off my skin and bathe my weeping raw flesh in a bath of vinegar than spend any time with you. But that's just my opinion. Don't take it personally."
"Ooh! My balls are itchy. Have you got the cheese grater?"

And lots of profanity.

(Thanks, Joe)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ARE WE CLEAR: Jack Calls for a Pizza


Here's another one

And another

Word of the Day: fantods

fantods (n)

A state of extreme nervous irritability.

"It casts out stress as the heat of the hand repels quicksilver. Faugh I say. Faugh. Keep you your precious vapors, your fantods, your anxiety. Give me a pie. Give me a pie anyday."
--David Mamet, Boston Marriage

The Supreme Court decision today gives me the fantods. They just gave this country a pie in the face.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Random Acts of Poetry

Psalm to the Lamp

This lamp is my lodestar,
I will not fall

asleep before dull angels.
It draws me a pale pool of fire,

throws shadows away.
It shows me a moon's worth of eye sheen between flickers.

The mind's tricks depend on a high chandelier
of meanings, filaments reflecting bead-chains of notions.

A lamp drives out bleakness, and light lives--
but can fail in a thunderous click.

Pray the light holds back this suffocating evening's bag of somber velvet;
may all night's children abide within this circle.

Surely its lambent beam will follow the labors of my dreaming hands
and a shimmer of reverie will fill the lit room.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It seems like a long time away....


It always does. But it's only a couple of months, or so.

I'm told that these are Coreopsis. Click for a quick Flickr pic.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Link Mania

"Silence believes in the eyes, not the ears."

News from Nowhere

Keep clicking that graphic doodad....

And then, how about Salvador Dali Taking His Anteater for a Walk?

And here's a great career-change idea.

Finally, are you a fan of holiday music, bagpipes, pipe organs, children's choruses, Wal-Mart, cowboys, political jingoism, George Stephanopoulos, Coca Cola, bossanova synths, banjo ferocity, harp glissandos, and oompah-ing tubas? Then you may enjoy listening to The Most Annoying Song Ever.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Word of the Day: bombinate

bombinate (v)

To hum or buzz.

"For all we know, chimeras my bombinate in a vacuum, and a hundred angels stand on the point of a needle. And there is a kind of pleasure to be got by indulging in these metaphysical fairy-tales, somewhat like the pleasure of talking nonsense."
--Robin George Collingwood, The Principles of Art

Indeed. I approve of talking or writing nonsense, a most pleasurable activity -- when done to entertain (one's self or others), not annoy. Of course, I never do that here....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Much Ado about NOTHING

I've been testing the turntable I got for my birthday. I found a dusty box of LPs in the basement, and I pulled one out at random -- a Stevie Wonder album that I think is my wyfe's. What a weird, retro feeling to drop the needle on it and hear that little scratchy noise before the music started. I was expecting a lot of pops and clicks and skips, but it sounded surprisingly good -- I had forgotten that vinyl sounds "warmer". I guess I understand better now why those hordes attend the WFMU record fair to flip though endless crates of old thirty-three-and-a-thirds.

In a way, listening to an LP makes me feel the way I do when I read a printed book. I'm so used to reading on a screen and listening to audiobooks that the tactile pleasures of paper and ink seem refreshing. And books smell good. LPs do too. Somebody should bottle those aromas.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Brain Dump


To appraise is reflection: you must eat these leftovers. Possibly, to have a name shuts down everything, including all indications that come; they give privilege. The transports for the relative authorization of the accumulation of the age indicate that the outside and the colors of today center around the interior of a heart, but if so, why move senselessly? Why be ignited? The way to protection is rigid, unlike a flow of honey. You request something to distract you from the relative abundance of direction--something complete at the moment of lowest superficial intensity, keeping in mind the view from the door. The form, therefore, must be extremely decreased, or gone behind...even when it works.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Dragging a heavy laptop computer back and forth to work this week. Feel like a mule.... Wrong number: Someone called me today and said "Hi, Vito!" after I said hello. Felt tempted to play along for a while. Would like to be a Vito sometimes, for a few minutes, anyway.... Now have 114 friends on Facebook. Still feel lonely.... Feeling retro: unexpectedly received a turntable for my birthday. There's a box of vinyl records here...somewhere.... A "deal with the devil". Saw Pat Robertson's comments about Haiti on TV. Nauseating....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Do we ALL live in one?

Hmmm. Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis is making a "3D Disney remake" of Yellow Submarine. This is the kind of project that seems like it will either be magical or an ugly mega-catastrophe. The original was magical; I have a hard time believing that the souffle can be reheated. But maybe it's a positive sign that Peter Serafinowicz has been cast as Paul McCartney.

More here.

I love this comment by "The Hamster King": "It's just not going to be the same without the Beatles' voices!"

Monday, January 11, 2010

Word of the Day: sternutation

sternutation (n)

The act or sound of sneezing.

"The omnipresent Tabby seemed to delight in Humphrey's sternutation."
--Leahcim Setag, Strange Loops

I rarely sneeze, but people around me seem to do it constantly*. I'm tired of blessing them -- how did that get started anyway? Who am I to confer blessings?

*Just had a scary thought -- could people actually be allergic to me?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The T&T List

Dubai Starbucks
Lorem Ipsum
Slave Lake
Whittaker Chambers
One and Nines
Norwegian Wood
Wooly Mammoth
The Nook
No Pants Day

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Random Acts of Poetry

January A.M.

The sticks are broken, the coals have faded.
Smoke offers speculation. Your mirror shivers,

and the moon squanders its silver.
A tilted house is sleeping.

You rehearse the passions of Thursday.
The sharp lines of glass--

instants, appetites, lessons
revolve in the cobalt. Everything

fragments to jazz, futile words,
a pack of dogs chasing their tails.

An onion unpeeling its burdens.
You remember

blurred photos, three siblings, the old Chevrolet.
Lost books, days of inertia.

Now pencil light sketches an horizon.
Pigeons complain

on the frosted sill. The stale roar of traffic
builds its illusion of normalcy,

the radiators tick and exhale
a warm assertion of morning.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Quote of the Day: David Lynch

"One thing I'm working on is a small cabinet made from Douglas Fir veneered plywood. I love wood."
--David Lynch

The Big Bang

I'm thinking about different ways to describe the Big Bang....

Horrendous Space Kablooie?
Amazin' Cosmic Combust?
Flabbergasting Universal Whamo?
Dynamite Monster Blastathon?
Awesome Celestial Outburst?
Wondrous Transcendental Burp?

There must be others.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Micro Fiction: 'Cold Hands'

This is fiction, but it's loosely based on a true incident that I heard about last week at the office.

Cold Hands

It was the coldest day of the year. It was so cold that Ivan wasn't quite sure if time was still moving forward. He almost wished it wasn't, since he was about to visit the dentist, and he already knew he wasn't going to get off easy. One of his upper molars was being assaulted by a tiny jackhammer -- it felt very much like it.

The dentist's office was on the fourth floor of a nondescript office building -- nondescript except for an elaborate garden surrounded by metal benches on the plaza in front. This being January, the garden was almost empty. There was just a clump of brown ornamental grass, about two feet tall, swaying in the icy wind.

The plaza was deserted, except for a man who was kneeling down next to the grass. Ivan thought he must be a caretaker or gardener, though it seemed like an odd time of year to be weeding or planting.

As he got closer, Ivan saw that he was a thin, elderly man who hadn't shaved in a while and was dressed in faded jeans, rotting sneakers and a ripped parka. A homeless person, he thought.

The man's eyes were closed and his bare hands were clasped, and Ivan thought he might be praying. But then something surprising happened that made Ivan stop walking and forget about the pain in his tooth. The man opened his eyes, took out a book of matches, struck one, and set the grass on fire.

Despite the cold, the dry grass quickly turned into a bonfire. The old man stood up and calmly began warming his hands over it, as if he was doing something perfectly ordinary.

"Are you okay?" Ivan asked. The man turned and smiled at him, but said nothing. He had a sad smile, like someone resigned to a tragic fate.

"Here," Ivan said. He pulled off his gloves -- they were fairly expensive leather gloves -- and handed them to the man. "You need them more than I do," he said.

The old man nodded gratefully and put the gloves on, still saying nothing. He stood watching Ivan as he went through the revolving doors of the office building, and then turned back to his fire.

Ivan sat in the dentist's waiting room trying to read a magazine, but his tooth pain and the mental image of the man and his makeshift fire kept him from concentrating. After a few minutes, he heard sirens outside. He went to the window and looked down at the plaza, four stories below. Some firemen were putting out the blaze and laughing, and some cops were putting the old man into a squad car.

As he left the building later that afternoon, tooth pain gone but still feeling distracted, Ivan stopped by the blackened garden and looked down. He was surprised to see his gloves lying on the edge, one atop the other. But they didn't seem like his gloves anymore. They looked like clasped hands, and that made him shiver. He picked them up and threw them into the frozen ashes.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Word of the Day: ejulation

ejulation (n)

A wailing; lamentation.

"'Eleven years of solitary confinement!' is the ejulation of Mr. Dickens, forgetting the crime for which the man was imprisoned!"
--Joseph Adshead, Prisons and Prisoners

I can't remember the last time I had an ejulation -- probably when I stubbed my toe or bit my tongue, or something. (I tend to cry on the inside.)

I won't include a link to Google images for this one; a lot of the resulting pix are pornographic (if "safe search" is off). I'm not sure why. Apparently, some people think this word means something other than it does. What, I can't imagine.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

I Wish My Invicta Had Ventiports

Cadillac rear detail

I've been reading and looking through the book that my brother gave me for Christmas: American Cars of the 1950s, which is mostly a picture book. But the text contains lots of flashy words that the car manufacturers made up to describe their products in that decade -- words almost as outlandish as all the chrome and tailfins. Here are a few:

Ventiports (Buick; side "portholes")
FashionAire Dynastar Grille (Buick)
Invicta (Buick model name)
PowerFlite (DeSoto; automatic transmission)
Accuribbon (DeSoto; a type of speedometer)
TurboFlash (DeSoto; a type of V8 engine)
Astra-Dial (Ford; control panel)
Aquamatic (Ford; windshield wipers)
Styletone (Ford: two-tone paint)
Anatomic (Kaiser; overall design theme)
Bambu (Kaiser; vinyl interior trim)
Safety-Glo (Kaiser; tail-lights)
Uniscope (Nash; control panel)
Sky-Flow (Nash; fender styling theme)
Quadri-Jet (Oldsmobile; carburetor)
Memo-Matic (Pontiac; power seats)

How would you like to drive around in an "Invicta"? It sounds like a weird insect. (It kind of looked like one, too.)

(That's a tailfin up there from one of Elvis's Cadillacs that I photographed at Graceland a couple of years ago. Click it for additional awesomeness.)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

'Taking Direction'

Some of my scribbling appears in print and online in the current issue of Midweek: "Taking Direction".

This piece is an expanded version of one of my blog posts.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Quote of the Day

"David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive' has been named the best film of the decade in a Film Comment survey of nearly 200 critics, filmmakers and other cinema insiders from around the world." More here.

No hay banda!