Tuesday, August 31, 2010

'Have you got my disgusting Chinese meal's hippie wig?'

I was invited to babble live on stage yet again at the second JC Opens Up the Mic event, held tonight at the Lincoln Inn, so I read this story. You've undoubtedly read it here at T&T before (haven't you??), but it's worth another perusal methinks. I wasn't too nervous, the crowd was "looser" than the last one, and it went over well -- I got lots of larfs. Drinking a Corona first probably helped. Afterwards, I wanted to engorge apples like a serendipitous peanut.

Monday, August 30, 2010

'A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.'

Over at Wordnik, one of my favorite sites, they've got an "absotively" "scrumdiddlyumptious" list of words from The Simpsons: thusly. I'm not a huge Simpsons fan -- I watch it occasionally -- but I find their cromulent neologisms, mmm, smrt!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Word of the Day: suint

suint (n)

[pronounced soo-int or swint]

Grease from the wool of sheep, used in ointments.

"There was once a very intelligent sheep who lived in Mexico. The sheep grew tired of selling her suint to ointment manufacturers, and decided to learn how to churn butter and make buttermilk instead. She became an expert at this unusual talent (especially for a sheep), and decided she could make more money demonstrating it and selling her wares in the United States....One night, under cover of darkness, she slipped under a fence and across the border. The next day she teamed up with an entrepreneurial farmer. They set up a roadside stand to sell the sheep's butter and buttermilk. This drew immense crowds, not only of people who wanted to buy the sheep's products, but also of tourists who wanted to watch her making them. The traffic was heavy along the road, drivers were distracted by the sheep, and inevitably there was a terrible auto accident. The police investigation resulted in a citation and a heavy fine for the farmer -- for making an illegal ewe churn on a busy highway."
--Leahcim Setag, Strange Loops


(Suint, by the way, is one of the words that the late David Foster Wallace circled in his dictionary.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Photo of the Week: Thinking Inside the Box

head box

Jane hated working in a cubicle....

This is a photo I snapped at the recent Bouckville Antiques Fair in upstate New York, near my point of origin. I found the composition wonderfully odd (or oddly wonderful) and the vacuous expression somewhat reminiscent of my own state of mind at around 3 P.M. every weekday, when I often decide that it's time for another infusion of caffeine.

Click the pic for a close-up.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quote of the Day: The Twilight Zone

"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 instead...in the Twilight Zone."
–-Rod Serling

Sometimes people tell me they've had a dream about me. I'm usually not a very active participant in these dreams; usually I'm just "there", along with other people. If I'm going to be in a dream, I think I could at least be doing something interesting or impressive, like, I don't know, walking on the ceiling or draining Pakistan. Instead, I'm just driving the car or sitting on the couch. I don't know how they can even tell it's a dream.

Speaking of Mr. Serling, there is now an action figure of him you can buy...or, er, make. It involves the head of Serling and the body of Fox Mulder. Is that TZ enough for you?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Random Acts of Poetry


Tonight I hear the brutal music
of temples crumbling

behind the eyes.
This is the penalty

for thinking too jagged,
too acetic.

The train that hauls the twilight away
has finished the track.

Forever is a night
or a question, no?

Who can freeze
the tumbling stars,

or this idle banjo jangle,
echoing, echoing?

This reckless wind.
Whoever you are,

strike me a holy candle flame,
set this house to blazing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

This premature autumnal weather is making me melancholy.... Was I eating Mr. Nature No Cholesterol Unsalted Trail Mix for lunch? Yes. Yes, I was. Defiantly.... After downloading, cropping, fotoshopping, and uploading about 100 photos, from Texas and the Bouckville salmagundi, over the last two days, I feel like putting the camera away for a long while and drawing something with a lead pencil.... A woman on the commuter van today told the driver to "keep the change" (50 cents). Surprised. I don't recall seeing her before or ever hearing that from any van passenger previously. Maybe her chauffeur had the day off.... Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall...is it safe to eat egg rolls? That's the only egg product I can remember eating lately, though I may have had a small portion of scrambled eggs in Texas. Can't really remember. Just hoping the last one "in" wasn't a rotten egg....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Word of the Day: rebus

rebus (n)

A representation of a word or phrase by pictures or symbols.

"Many ancient writing systems used the Rebus principle to represent abstract words, which otherwise would be hard to be represented by pictograms. An example that illustrates the Rebus principle is the representation of the sentence 'I can see you' by using the pictographs of 'eye—can—sea—ewe.' Some linguists believe that the Chinese developed their writing system according to the rebus principle, and Egyptian hieroglyphs sometimes used a similar system. A famous rebus statue of Ramses II uses three hieroglyphs to compose his name: Horus (as Ra), for Ra; the child, mes; and the sedge plant (stalk held in left hand), su; the name Ra-mes-su is then formed."

Mic Check (2) Gated Communuty

(Rebus, by the way, is one of the words that the late David Foster Wallace circled in his dictionary.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Leg to Stand On

wooden leg

I visited the Bouckville Antiques Fair this weekend -- and saw many unusual items, including this nice sock. More pics here, latest ones at the bottom.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wild Pitches

Ideas for TV shows or possibly movies:

A homophobe who has lost everything to drinking manages a little-league team with an ex-professional umpire with claws for hands. Stars Josh Holloway and Hugh Laurie. Genre: Comedy.

An android who is fascinated by mummies is trapped in a Egyptian tomb with a socialite who collects antiquities. Stars Zachary Quinto and Kelly Ripa. Genre: Sci-Fi.

A former Olympic ice skater now in a wheelchair teams with an unbalanced hooker with a photographic memory to help the FBI. Stars Roma Downey and Mariah Carey. Genre: Drama

A subway conductor with an all-or-nothing attitude woos a narcoleptic whose dreams predict the future. Stars Conan O'Brien and Queen Latifah. Genre: Drama

A bi-sexual marijuana farmer who once romanced an astronaut falls in love with a barista who secretly works for the CIA. Stars B.J. Novak and Ellen Page. Genre: Sci-Fi

A dentist with a shady past romances a philosophy professor who wants to be a rock star. Stars Kelly Clarkson and Johnny Depp. Genre: Comedy

A Native American "medicine man" is locked in a secret underground prison with an intergalactic traveler who has a penchant for human flesh. Stars Jimmy Smits and Jim Carrey. Genre: Sci-Fi mini-Series

A cab driver who can't find happiness works the cabana at a nude beach with a slumming TV executive who's a compulsive liar. Stars Naveen Andrews and Jennifer Aniston. Genre: TV Movie

A psychic who is a former child star is stranded on a desert island with a Vatican cardinal who only speaks in Italian or Latin. Stars Kelly Clarkson and Robert Loggia. Genre: Action

A burnt-out 70's punk rock icon with nothing to lose rents a room from a magician who practices the dark arts. Stars Jeff Goldblum and Michael Emerson. Genre: Dramedy

Friday, August 20, 2010

Photo of the Week: Big Sky

big sky

A picture from the Texas trip, where I did not have a religious experience while viewing this. I thought it was snap-worthy, though, even if it is a bit like a cliche pic from some evangelical tract. Can I get an "Amen"?

Click it for a closer view if you need a quickie spiritual epiphany.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

David Lynch: 'Booked'

Filmmaker David Lynch seems like more of a bookmaker these days. First, there was his book of delightfully creepy photographs to accompany the sublime Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse album -- which he also contributed to -- Dark Night of the Soul. (I can't get the Beatles-meet-Sylvia Plath "Daddy's Gone" out of my head. "I woke up and all my yesterdays were gone.")

Then, there was Lynch's recent book of lithographs, called simply Lithos. You can see some of them at that link, which will take you to a Major Online Retailer's site. (There's a river in Brazil.)

Now there's Dark Splendor, a book of drawings, lithos, and photographs. You can see some images from it if you click on the link, which will take you to the self-same Major Online Retailer. The list price is 85 bucks, though one can purchase it for considerably less -- though not temptingly less, at least for me...yet.

And now, amusingly or astonishingly (I can't decide which; maybe both), I've discovered a free online comic-book biography of Lynch, which starts out with DL on trial by the "Court of Justice Supreme" for "depravity and perversion", and for "decay", "sickness" and being "diseased" and (horrors!) "quirky". The comic has Lynch admitting that "Sometimes I see a pretty girl and wonder what it would be like to get inside her closet and watch her in secret." It traces his film and TV career from The Alphabet through Fire Walk With Me. I'm not sure if the whole comic is online -- the site is a bit confusing. But it's well done in comic-book terms and worth a look, especially if you're a bit "depraved" yourself.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The T&T List

Instant Poetry HD
Guru Radha Mohanan & Troupe
Lee Bontecou
Like Dandelion Dust
black tang
Umami Burger
Stalin's Flower Garden
Mortimer Matz

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

"Only" about 80 degrees (27 C) here this evening. Seems refreshing after Texas, where it was 99 degrees (37 C) at midnight.... My nephew is on Facebook under the pseudonym "Bob Dylan". He used to be "goth"; now he's got an acoustic guitar and he's a...folkie, I guess? Feel confused.... Overheard on the street (one teenager talking to another): "I don't understand smart people. You have to act stupid around me!" Felt both amused and disturbed.... Staring down at the world yesterday from the plane (I like a window seat), I felt the ego melting away a bit. Rivers, highways, patchwork fields, sometimes interrupted by wispy cloud banks -- any problems seemed insignificant. Then we landed....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Word of the Day: quinate

quinate (adj)

Arranged or appearing in groups of five.

"She removed her spike-heeled shoe, revealing her one deformity: her toes were not quinate. Indeed, she had six toes on her left foot, immaculately pedicured, and with each nail painted a different color, so that the effect was like a six-hued rainbow. She caught me staring at this polydactyl anomaly. 'Just a little more of me to love,' she said."
--Leahcim Setag, Strange Loops

Marilyn Monroe was rumored to have six toes on one foot, but this is a myth. She definitely had "something extra", but it wasn't a toe.

Polydactylism (having one or more extra fingers or toes) apparently occurs fairly frequently in cats (more than in humans anyway), and Ernest Hemingway, among his many other quirks, loved six-toed felines. According to Wikipedia, "Upon Hemingway's death in 1961, his former home in Key West, Florida, became a museum and a home for his cats, and it currently houses approximately fifty descendants of his cats (about half of which are polydactyl)."

Often I wish I had extra fingers when I'm typing. Those Z and Q keys are a stretch. Don't get me started on "qwerty"....

(Quinate, by the way, is one of the words that the late David Foster Wallace circled in his dictionary.)


Random: "All my friends are dead" and it's hilarious. (Thanks, Bill.)
My hero: David Lynch by Paul Murray

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Much Ado about NOTHING

Deep in the Heart of Taxes

Things noted about the Lone Star State:

For a state in which people reportedly resent paying taxes more than in any other, they sure impose some high ones here. The tax on our rental car amounted to more than the rental fee for the car. When we remarked on this at the rental counter, the clerk said, "Welcome to Texas. Everything is bigger here." Then she gave us a free upgrade. My speculation is that anything that is mostly purchased by out-of-staters (like car rentals) is heavily taxed.


I feel like I'm visiting Venus. It's been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) every day. It gets somewhat tiresome running from one air-conditioned building to another to avoid the sauna-like atmosphere. Getting into a parked car is like getting into a kiln. Swimming pool water is like spit.


Most houses are made of brown or beige brick here, except those of the wealthy or very poor. They blend in with the general brown-tone of the flat landscape. Unwatered lawns are brown. The many superhighways are made of beige concrete. The scrub brush is brownish. The sky, however, is a gorgeous shade of blue, with towering masses of white, fluffy clouds. This is "big sky" country.


The clerks at Starbucks are extremely slow, but very polite ("You have a nice day"), by Northeastern standards. My wyfe remarked that they would not last five minutes in a Manhattan Starbucks.


Everybody drinks iced-tea here, a drink I've never developed a taste for. Luckily, lemonade is also universally available.


It's hard to find a radio station that doesn't play country, country rock or (ugh) Christian rock...or sermons.


Churches advertise on billboards here. There are many large church campuses of vague denomination, like a "Bible Church", whatever that is.


Towns have slightly amusing names like "Krum" and "Ponder".


There are a lot more pawn shops here than in the Northeast. Every strip mall seems to have one. I'm not sure what this says, sociologically speaking, but I suspect that if I had to be poor, I'd rather be poor in New Jersey.


We visited the immense and very futuristic-looking Cowboys Stadium (long story). I was amazed to see a security guard there armed with a machine gun. "Are we suddenly in Mexico?" I thought.


You are not a man unless you drive a pick-up truck.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Photo of the Week: Sunset

sunset sky 2

Here's a photo I took when we went hot-air ballooning in Mexico (Cozumel). We rose to 5,000 feet, high above the Yucatan, where the glorious sunset was like a distant fire beyond the phantasmagoric landscape of clouds. We were overwhelmed, our minds lost in reverie....

Actually, I just made that up. I snapped this photo from the window of the plane when we flew to Texas. This was the view from 32,000 feet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sorry to Disappoint

Below are search terms that recently brought seekers to this font of wisdom. Most of them probably went away disappointed. So sorry about that.


Lately, I get more hits on this than on any other single-word search term. It's an obscure term, mostly used in a philosophy context I gather, that means "The soul's gradual loss of its powers". Why so many people are googling this word, I have no idea. Lost souls or people practicing for spelling bees, I guess.

"Kirk Jones" reptile herpetology

No idea who Mr. Jones is. I must have mentioned him at some point in the last eight years. But it is not my custom to write about such things as "reptile herpetology". I don't know what that is... crocodiles with herpes?

Marylin monroe [sic] as a robot

If I had a walking, talking robot of the sci-fi sort, I wouldn't mind if it looked/sounded/acted like Marilyn Monroe. (Not sure the wyfe would approve.) I assume it is inevitable that Monroe will eventually be resurrected, either as a literal robot or as a realistic 3D digital simulacrum on the silver screen. But is it creepy to bring our dead stars back?

Is "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" a real word referring to Irish hookers?

This would be news to me, the Disney Company, and Mary Poppins. It is a real word (it's in some dictionaries), but I doubt it refers to such. Would not people who discuss "Irish hookers" be inclined to use more, uh, vulgar jargon to praise them?

fishing off the pier

This sounds like a euphemism for something. Someone who is "fishing off the pier" is, perhaps, "not playing with a full deck"? Or maybe temporarily playing for "the other team", so to speak?

w0wz3rz amanda

Valley girls come to my blog. Awesome!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Word of the Day: peccant

peccant (adj)

Offensive, guilty, unprincipled.

"'There you have it. Make the most of it. Your frock's too filthy, but I came to sacrifice myself.' Maisie looked at the peccant places; there were moments when it was a relief to her to drop her eyes even on something so sordid."
--Henry James, What Maisie Knew

Why do I find this humorous? Getting so bent out of shape over some spots on someone's "frock" is over-the-top enough to make me giggle, at least in the context of over-the-top belletrist Henry James, with his endless dependent clauses. The uncharacteristically curt and nasty quote above presses my literary absurdity button. Or maybe I'm just way too tired.

(Peccant, by the way, is one of the words that the late David Foster Wallace circled in his dictionary.)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Brain Dump

There's more than one way to skin a cat food fight club sandwich spread eagle flies in the face lift up and down the ladder of success or failure to connect the dots of color my world war and peace in our time to go for it takes a village idiot proof of purchase order lunch box office supplies for the journey to the center of the earth day to day or night light or dark night of the soul food for thought you were coming or going to a party line vote for me and my monkey shines my shoes tied up right now or never say never enough is enough said.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Random Acts of Poetry


Once, I had marbles:
lucid glass and porcelain, agates,

with banners whirled
in frozen hues through drops of ice,

those polished orbs
staring back without judgment.

Or a handful of planets.
I pitched one star to a firmament,

knocked them
from their bauble galaxy into chaos,

then gathered them together,
a benevolent god

keeping my jewels in a muslin sack.
I poured them out, one tapping one,

warmed each in my palm,
held it to the light,

sitting alone and staring
into a mysterious center,

just me and a cat's eye.
Time, no tyrant.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Photo of the Week: 'Broken Doll'

broken doll

Yeah, I'm a "broken doll" today -- feeling poorly, with a sore throat and cough. I took a three-hour nap (something I never do) and feel somewhat better now, but still not 100 percent.

I photographed this at the Bouckville Antique Show, which is coming up again later this month. I don't tend to buy much there, but it's a cornucopia of weird photo ops. Click the pic for a closer ick.

There's a whole wall of cough suppressants and related cold/flu-remedy items at the drug store. Reading the microscopic print on the labels, you find that most of them contain alcohol. I guess being a little tipsy makes you feel better? I wonder what AA thinks of all these nostrums.

Cough, cough, hack, hack....ouch.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown... the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony of the miserable souls who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?"
--Ed Wood, Plan 9 from Outer Space

Why? Why not? I'm a little under the weather and don't feel like writing today.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

I was photographed, along with some other people, with "Joey Pants" today. Somebody was standing in front of me, and I'm not very visible in the resulting panorama. Just as well.... Midweek has published my essay, "A Long, Strange Trip", which you read here first (didn't you?). It's here. Sound of crickets chirping.... I have a slight sore throat and a cough, but I'm not "sick" sick.... Weird conversation on the van today, in which I was a minor participant: Baltimore, creamed corn*, vomit, John Waters, Amtrak, Hair Spray, Washington DC, popcorn, and in-laws all brought up within five minutes. Felt a bit dizzy....


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Random Sequence

Scenario 22 (excerpt 1)

Life at the Bon-Zai Corporation, a manufacturer of autopsy trollies, was dull as dust, but young Trevor and slightly older Colin tried to make the best of it. "Who wants to say they work for a company that makes wheelies for stiffs?" said Trevor, as he and Colin sat in the lunch-break room eating their "stress nachos" -- the takeout they treated themselves to every Wednesday after their weekly meeting with the vice presidents of Procurement, Shirley and Constance -- or the "bitch pistols" as Trevor called them. "What's the alternative in this economy?" Colin replied. "Live on the streets? Sell drugs or firecrackers? Be a fireball gangsta?"

This was a conversation they repeated, with slight variations, several times a week. "Let's get out of here and go for a walk," suggested Colin, "Air! Air I need. I'm suffocating. I'm bored out of my gourd." "I need to stop by the doodad lavatory and make some gay pork first," Trevor said. Colin often didn't know what Trevor, who considered himself a poet, was talking about, but he got the drift. "I'll meet you by the mystery elevators," he said.

The ancient elevators in the Bon-Zai Building tended to stop on random floors, which Colin and Trevor found either annoying or amusing, depending on their mood. On this day, on their way to street level, the elevator stopped on the fourth floor, which contained the Records Department, for no apparent reason. The two wrinkled records librarians looked up from their desks and stared at them through the open doors. "Library dickwads," Trevor snickered as the doors creaked closed.

Outside, the two men wandered through the local park, where an old woman was selling used books from a folding table. "More boredom," Trevor said as they picked through her wares. The books were mostly bibles and Christian tracts, or "faith pounders" as Trevor christened them, but Colin's eye was drawn to a battered tome with the title Crossbow Memoirs. The book gave off an odor, not at all unpleasant, as Colin flipped its dusty pages. "I might buy this for the smell alone," he said. "Ah, seduction vapors," said Trevor.

After scanning a few pages, Colin realized it was a novel about two medieval serfs who had found a crossbow near the dead body of a knight in a forest. They realized they could use it to shoot game. Flipping along further in the book, Colin saw that the serfs, equipped with the crossbow, had left their feudal lord to embark on a quest...for something. The Fisher King? The Holy Grail? Just their own freedom? It wasn't clear.

Colin gave the woman a dollar and tucked the book under his arm. "It's time to go back," Trevor sighed. "Maybe not," said Colin.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The T&T List

Tunebug Shake
Masuyuki Naruse
Cryogenic Dark Matter Search
therapeutic hypothermia
Johnnie To
LudoBites 5.0
Sing Along with Mitch
anchor babies
Dimitar Sasselov
Lives Like Loaded Guns



Rent a Friend. I could be tempted.
U.S. Mood Throughout the Day inferred from Twitter. A Complete Idiot's Guide to the way we feel.
Get Stuffed. Not to be used as a pin cushion.

(via The Presurfer)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Word of the Day: ort

ort (plural: orts) (n)

Scraps of food leftover from a meal.

"You didn't care what women your sons went with, so long as they didn't love them. What do you care really about this affair of Bertha Purdy? You don't. All you cared about was to keep your sons for yourself. You kept the solid meal, and the orts and slarts any other woman could have. But I tell you, I'm not for having orts and slarts, and your leavings from your sons. I'll have a man, or nothing, I will."
--D. H. Lawrence, The Daughter in Law

Good old D.H., author of Lady Chatterley's Lover, which wasn't legally published in the U.S. until 1959, on account of "obscenity". I've read it, and it's hardly porn -- or if it is, it has plenty of "redeeming" literary value. You could find more fornication in a lot of romance novels today. But there's nothing like watching someone's reaction when you tell them you're reading Lady Chatterley's Lover.

(Ort, by the way, is one of the words that the late David Foster Wallace circled in his dictionary.)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Photo of the Week: Dragon


In honor of Inception, a pretty terrific movie I saw yesterday, I thought I would post something dreamlike here. According to various "Dream Dictionaries", the dragon symbolizes anger, a "fiery" temperament, a ruthless person, mystical forces, the subconscious, or "the beast in you". These are Western interpretations. In Chinese tradition, dragons are considered harbingers of good luck, and symbols of culture and power in a positive sense. (Thank you Wikipedia....)

I felt lucky to capture this image at a local fair sponsored by a Catholic church. It was a kiddie ride, but that dragon would have scared the cotton candy out of me at age four or five. Click it for a scarier view.