Monday, February 28, 2011

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

(or felt)

Disgusted: I live in a mouse house. There are more mice here than people. The only explanation I can think of is that the gelid, adamantine winter, with so much snow that I couldn't even open the back door for a while, has inspired tiny rodents to do the logical thing: move to the tropics, also known as chez moi. What is to be done? My wyfe favors glue traps, which I think are cruel. I've purchased some new-fangled contraptions that kill instantly while encasing the carcass in a black plastic thingamabob that looks like a hockey puck. Neither works well. Meanwhile, as I sat here on the couch with my laptop warming my nether regions, a tiny, beady-eyed vermin appeared on the upholstery. I gave a little man-scream and he (she?) scrammed. I wish a could rent a cat....

Stoic, tending toward meditative: Another domestic mini-disaster: the dishwasher has broken down. Since I'm in charge of crockery around here --since I can't cook -- that means I now have to wash every sullied receptacle by hand. But I've decided to make the best of it. There is something soothing and, yes, almost meditative about immersing my hands in the warm water, squeezing the sponge and wandering through the white clouds of soap suds, searching for sunken forks. Even the greasy pans and plates don't bother me. I like transforming their dirty faces into smooth, clean circles of porcelain and steel. It all seems to take a lifetime, but I don't mind. (This is called being a Pollyanna.)

Uncomfortable: I was somehow shanghaied into attending a live performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show last weekend. I've never seen the movie (though I've heard plenty about it), so this was my first exposure to this balmy burlesquing. High camp is not my teacup, unless it's unintentional (like The Room or The Wicker Man), which I find amusing. So my smirking and chortling was mostly to be polite. The cast was tiptop, however, and appeared to be having fun. Nice for them.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Photo of the Week

face 1

Dry skin? Sandpaper complexion? "Tree bark" countenance?

Help is here! Advanced Healing Heavy-Duty Valvo-Sheen Lotion provides an immediate explosion of super-viscosity moisturizers that continue for 72 hours. After just one use, the buttery, super-lube petroleum formula, containing bacon-grease additives and corrosion inhibitors, lubricates bone-dry facial scales and fills in pachydermatous skin cracks. In one week, it will even kill pesky termites. And by the time you finish the bottle, your embarrasing "alligator" skin becomes slippery as a greased pig on ice. Can also be used as a WD-40 or Astroglide alternative, or as a multiviscosity motor oil.

Add it to your skin-care routine to:
• Restore rubbery elasticity to your "Kalahari" complexion
• Smooth away embarassing "rhino" hide

Available at Rite-Aid, CVS, and AutoZone.


Click the photo; examine the grain. (Please -- no cracks about her "wooden" expression.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fish Food for Thought

philosofish 27 small

Agree? More clip-art philosophy by me (and Federico Fellini). You can catch the BIG fish here.

More Philosofish here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sorry to Disappoint

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

art of schizophrenia

That's what I'm doing here. Turning my scrambled brainwaves into "art".

DeSoto car

In the market for one? You're exactly 50 years too late.

fishing off the pier

Something tells me this is a euphemism for something filthy.

color in depression-medication commercials

Testing the hypothesis that you can find info about anything on the Internet.

# or octothorpe

I love that word. It's so much better than pound. "To delete this message, Mr. Bond, press octothorpe."

mind ecdysiast

"Ecdysiast" is a 10-dollar word for "stripper". You may think I'm being a mind ecdysiast here, but it's mostly just a big strip tease.

surreal planets

Can there be one more surreal than this one?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ScRaBbLe BaBbLe

Moammar Gaddafi (AP spelling)

Afraid, Mamma Dog!
O, a magma dad! Firm!
Mad fig armada! Om...
Farad, dam Imam! Go!
If Madam Drama, go!
Drama Mama, Dog! If...
Drama amid fog, Ma!
Mad Mafia grad! Om...

Muammar el-Qaddafi (New York Times spelling)

Drama, fame, qualm...Id!
Imam qualm, Dad! Fear!
Fa! Armed amid qualm!
Qualm? Rid a mad fame!
Um, mad armada elf. IQ?
Um, lame drama fad, Qi?
Mad male IQ fraud, Ma!
I, famed drama qualm

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Word of the Day: lexiphanic

lexiphanic (adj)

Pretentiously verbose.

"The big day in court arrived in the wings of mosquitoes. Coyote stood and firmly addressed Judge Petar Pantrumple, performing a long, slow deference dance: 'Your honor, my brother legulian seems to be confused. I know he is not the lexiphanic sesquipedalian you are. All I am suggesting is that, in the interest of the court's time, they admit culpability.'"
--Yulalona Lopez, Coyote Remasked

When you're an editor (of text), you're always aiming for precision and felicity while avoiding both oversimplification and verbosity. At the same time, you have to preserve the author's "voice" (assuming there is one). In a way, it's like topiary or, better, hairstyling, when the owner of the bush asks for "just a trim". It has to be the same, but better. Here, I can wax lexiphanic, when it amuses me. Wax? I don't mean beeswax.



Oprah's Bees!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Much Ado about NOTHING

Jersey City is a very religious place, judging from the statuary one sees while walking around town. Jesus and Mary beckon from many a front yard, and the saints are well represented, especially Francis of Assisi. At Christmas time, there are creches everywhere -- most famously, or infamously, depending on your point of view, in front of City Hall. Suburban yards are full of stone elves, styrene flamingos and lantern-bearing jockeys. Here, "we're" more interested in asserting our faith and devotion.

Mostly, it's Christian iconography on display. So I was surprised while walking along Kennedy Boulevard one day (in a warmer month) to see a large concrete statue of a bare-breasted Aphrodite standing in front of an otherwise conventional house, surrounded by lilies and black-eyed susans. Her face, slightly marred by a rash of green lichens, was set in a Mona Lisa smile, as if she knew something I didn't – some pagan secret I was too dense to apprehend.

It set my imagination spinning. What sort of people would put such a thing in their yard -- in a city where well-covered Madonnas are the garden divinities of choice?

I hoped they weren't intending to mock their neighbors. Perhaps they were simply lovers of classical sculpture – though this stone Venus was no masterpiece. Toga-clad ancient Greeks or Romans seemed unlikely, if entertaining to imagine. Actual pagans were a possibility, of course. Jersey City is home to a score of different religions. Why not contemporary worshipers of the goddess of love?

Maybe, though, I thought, they were simply interested in adding a little iconic diversity to our neighborhood. That's an inspiration I could go with. I'm no more a Buddhist than I am anything else. But an elegantly carved Buddha head would look just fine in my front yard, smiling enigmatically.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Photo of the Week: Snow Queen

the snow queen

This is not my wyfe, or my sister. This is a mannequin I convinced to let me photograph her, though she actually required very little convincing. That's the great thing about mannequins -- they're always ready to pose for you, and they're very good at it. Rock steady, you might say.

Since winter is still -- alas -- with us, despite a one-day respite we had on Friday, I thought I'd share this manipulated pic with you, which I call "The Snow Queen". The original was snapped a few years ago at the Bouckeville Antiques Fair in upstate New York (near my point of origin), and then I made a negative version in some photo program. She resides in a folder on Flickr that I've christened Negative Attitude, along with some other psychomimetic reversals.

Click the pic, feel the chill, and feed your head.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Random Sequence

[random phrases, worked into a story]

The Kaleidoscopic Dentifrice: A Tragedy

There was a lull in the studio. Ned and Barry, two scruffy, 30-ish technicians, sat chatting.
"I have no romantic capability," Ned lamented.
"Ahh, don't go into another negative zoom," Barry said.
"Just because you broke up with her doesn't mean you have to do your customary wander into pissed ruination."
"I suppose," Ned sighed.
"I suggest a reedier curlicue -- mentally," said Barry.
"I told you I'm done with the clarinet," Ned whined.
"You don't have to get out your horn, not literally. I put together a tentative synthesizer that can make that sound -- or just about any sound. Music always picks you up. I'll show you how it works."
"I don't know," said Ned.
"Here, give a listen," Barry said, offering a pair of headphones. Ned put them on. "This is something I composed last night."
"Hmmm," said Ned after a few seconds. "What do you call this? It's...bizarre, but, well, uplifting, I guess."
"I call it 'Kaleidoscopic Dentifrice'", said Barry.
Ned rolled his eyes.
"You could try composing something too. It's pretty easy with this thing."
"The way I feel now, I'd have to call it 'Squashed Suite'", said Ned.
"Flip speculation," said Barry. He turned up the volume. "I bet once you started, you'd feel a lot...."
But it was too late. Ned's head had exploded.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Word of the Day: accismus

accismus (n)

Pretending not to be interested in something while secretly being interested in it.

"I groan. 'I know it's a long shot, but don't you think it's worth a try?'
'Not if it gets you suspended for another five hundred years.' Dusana lapses into silence for several minutes before heaving a deep sigh. 'I may know someone who can help you.'
'I don't need help,' I say with perfect accismus, 'but who are you talking about?'"
--Dan Wick, The Devil's Tale

This is what is called "being coy". Julius Caesar refuses the crown, even though he desires it, knowing that the people will insist all the harder that he accept it. The fox pretends he really doesn't like grapes....

If you're interested in something -- or someone -- but try to hide it, for whatever reason, you're engaging in accismus. Just pretend you've never heard of this word.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Head Rattle


I was forced to sit next to woman eating a aromatic cheeseburger on the train this evening. Well, not forced. I could have stood the whole way. I can't imagine enjoying one's meal on a crowded, moving train, unless there's a dining car. Are you listening PATH panjandrums? We need a dining car.


Quote of the day: "Your inside is like whale juice dripping from the fermented foam of the teeny-boppers VD in Times Square as I injected my white clown face with heroin and performed in red-leather knickers."
--Rev. Fred Ghurkin


Winter thaw. Not quite no-coat weather this afternoon, but I did perambulate around a local college campus at lunchtime with my jacket unzipped. It reminded me that I used to live in a world of grass and leaves and sitting on park benches thinking about various and sundry... and you all.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Strange: Not sure why I find documentaries about plane-crash investigations worth watching on TV. It must be for the same reason some people find murder mysteries so compelling. It's really the same thing, except the crime is committed by a lethal amalgam of bad luck, human error, and indifferent Nature rather than some human malefactor.

Retro: Why do I still pay for almost every minor purchase with cash, when almost every emporium I visit has a card swiper at the register? I do have a debit card. I just don't use it. I think I like the physicality of the transaction, feeling those grubby pieces of paper and oily coins in my hands. Anything that can bring me temporarily down to earth from the digital Arcadia I dwell in for most of the day (including, like, right now) is salubrious.

Wondering: How this is all going to play out. I can't be more specific than that. I have a feeling the next month or so is going to see a revelation and a great flowering. The question is, will it be fleurs du mal, blue roses, or a garden of earthy delights?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The T&T List

Yucca Mountain
oxo-degradable plastic
Gublin and Green
The Guru in You
Musée Carnavalet
Grant Achatz
James Clerk Maxwell
Old Navy



UFO over Jerusalem

Two synchonized videos. What could do that?

Billy Ray Cyrus says the devil and David Lynch destroyed his family

Monday, February 14, 2011

Word of the Day: ugsome

ugsome (adj)

Horrible, loathsome.

"Neda had served hotchpotch, a soup thick as porridge and even less appetizing, no matter how much her father praised it. The neck of one of her poor lambs drenched in too many vegetables made an ugsome stew, to Rose's way of thinking."
--Liz Curtis Higgs, Thorn in My Heart

The snow around here is melting at last, but meanwhile, it's pretty ugsome. As the mounds of frozen white fractals (not so white anymore) dissolve into puddles, they reveal flotsam and jetsam that's been buried since the first snowpocalypse shortly after Christmas: a denuded evergreen tree, a dead computer monitor, a broken clock, a forsaken doll, and a huge variety of twisted wrappers, soiled containers, and canine excrement.

As a frequent pedestrian in an urban snow-pack, which would I rather have: a frigid, pristine world of difficult mobility or a more temperate realm of sodden filth but free-ranging locomotion? The question answers itself, really.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Photo of the Week

heartbreak hotel sign

Valentine's Day approaches.

Here's a photo I took a few years ago when I visited Memphis, Tennessee, home of Graceland, home of "The King", home of, yes, Elvis (or "Elvis the Pelvis" as my mother calls him).

It may be unromantic to say so, but romantic love (which should be reserved for teenagers and Hollywood products) most often leads to heartbreak. Mature love is a different cauldron of carp, as is "spiritual" love. No Valentine? Love your neighbor, love your mom, love your dog, love me...tender.

If you click the pic, you'll be close to my heart.


According to Google, love is...

...taking a dive, then getting really comfortable and peeing
...Not Abuse
...chemicals drug
...always happy to see you
...the killer app
...only sleeping
...blonde: straddling a fine line between blonde bombshell and crazy cat lady
...the only reality
...a schlep
...the secret ingredient to health
...found in Nintendo Classics orientation to ice
...furiously, frantically possessive
...a gut feeling for fruit flies
...not a game the Brand
...Blinds, a shop-at-home service for all your custom window treatment needs
...harder to show than hate
...Overtaking Me
...sued in landmark Twitter case exploding cigar we willingly smoke
...key to the cosmos

Friday, February 11, 2011

ScRaBbLe BaBbLe

Hosni Mubarak

A brain's hokum!
Sharia bunk! Om...
Mania husk, Bro...
Uh, karma bison!
Hi! Karma bonus!
Bah! Sink amour!
Sahib run amok!
Rumbas? Ha! Oink!
Abhor... Aim... Sunk!!
Bash amok ruin!
Ha! Runs akimbo!
Mub aria! Honks!
Brain as hokum!
Uh, brains amok...
Oh, animus! Bark!
Ban Saki humor?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Much Ado about NOTHING

I'm a creature of habit. Every Friday, a group of us from work go to the same Newark bar/restaurant for lunch, and I almost always order the same thing: a "McGoo Burger", which, in more ordinary diner lingo, would probably be called a burger deluxe. It's just a hamburger and fries, well done (and I order it well done) for what it is. I wash it down with a Yeungling.

I have no idea why it's called a McGoo burger. (The people I lunch with think it should be called a "McGates burger".) Was it named after someone? Mr. McGoo? That was the name of an old TV cartoon about a blind, or nearly blind, old miserly millionaire who had silly predicaments related to his extreme nearsightedness, which he never admitted to as his affliction. (He didn't wear glasses, just squinted). The character was voiced by the actor Jim Backus, who also played Mr. Howell, with the same Connecticut lock-jaw accent, on Gilligan's Island and was in that movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World that I caught on TV not long ago. So, when I eat the burger, I think about a nearsighted millionaire cartoon character. It's better than thinking about a poor dead cow, or why I'm so unadventurous in my eating habits.

All you scribblers searching for "writing prompts" who land on this page: just write about the first thing that pops into your coconut.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Brain Dump

Fasten your seatbelt buckle your shoe horn of plenty of nothing but the truth or illusion of life and death valley of the dolls house keeper of the flame broiled fish and game theory of evolution is true for me may not be true for you are what you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in season of the year of the rabbit hole in the wall of sound waves of grain elevator music video clip joint pain in the ass is grass seed of doubt it's going to be a bumpy ride.



A dozen memorable movie moments transformed into hypnotic GIFs

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Word of the Day: triskaidekaphobia

triskaidekaphobia (n)

Fear of the number 13.

"People who build hotels and office buildings know all about triskaidekaphobia, even if they do not know its name, since one almost never encounters an elevator that goes to the thirteenth floor!"
--Nancy C Andreasen, Brave New Brain

I was in a building in Manhattan yesterday, a very tony Upper East Side apartment building (where I accompanied someone on a doctor visit), complete with uniformed doormen, mahogany-paneled elevators, and art-deco chandeliers. No 13th floor, however. It's surprising to me (but maybe shouldn't be) that the sort of person (pecunious) who can afford to live in such a domicile would be superstitious about the number 13 -- or if they are, puerile enough not to realize that the 14th floor is actually....

Channel 13, maybe you'd get more donations from all those blue-haired dowagers if you moved to a different broadcast arroyo.



by Miguel Ruiz

The four agreements are these:

Be impeccable with your word.
Don't take anything personally.
Don't make assumptions.
Always do your best.


Monday, February 07, 2011

Head Rattle


Super Brawl: That half-time show with all the Lite-Brite people looked like it was choreographed by Leni Riefenstahl...after she saw Tron.


Ice keeps crashing off the roof and scaring me. At first, I thought we were being attacked by a swarm of meteorites. I imbibed too much sci-fi as a kid.


Just remembered that someone I know was planning a vacation trip to Egypt next summer, for a "cruise down the Nile". I wonder if the temples of Luxor still seem quite so enticing at this point. Have to find out....

Friday, February 04, 2011

Photo of the Week


A photo I snapped a couple of years ago, in warmer times. Right now, as hummocks of snow glisten like milk glass in the sun, it's hard to believe that such efflorescence ever exists -- but here is evidence, you pessimists and headshakers.

Flowers are stubborn; they keep coming back no matter how adamantine the winter. Their persistence impresses.

Click the pic and feel the flower power.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Word of the Day: acephalia

acephalia (n)

The absence of a head.

"Whereas because the whirls of the disjunctive segment in its libidinal journey are singular, they do not make up a memory, because the segment is only ever where it is in an ungraspable time or tense, and because what has been journeyed 'previously' thus does not exist: acephalia, time of unconscious."
--Geoffrey Bennington, Lyotard: Writing the Event

"Consider if it is such a catastrophe to live without your head, or if it shouldn't be easier for you to go around since your body would be much lighter."
--Yoko Ono

I can't imagine what it would be like to live without a head. I kind of live in my head -- the curse or blessing of the introvert, depending on how you look at it. I do have a rich interior life that would be hard to give up.

I wouldn't mind getting rid of the nattering jukebox of stuck records that is sometimes set to forte in my head.



The Nicolas Cage Matrix

(via Joe A.)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Random Sequence

[Random phrases, worked into a story.]

Frederick was a fiddling physicist, obsessed with the notion of creating "fizzy ice", a substance that would cool things as fast as microwaves heat them up. He was so close to success, he thought, that he was shaking inside.

"This has the potential to create planetary parity!" he told a reporter from Electronic Comparative magazine. "Between heat and cold." "What do you mean by 'parity'?" the journo asked. "We can flash freeze things, maybe even people." "Why would 'we' want to do that?" asked the interviewer. "Suspended animation," said Fred. "For long space trips. So we can finally...finally have that alien chat." The reporter looked amused. "I would donate that idea to the museum of extreme concepts," she said, with a little laugh.

Her proposed article never appeared. But physicist Fred continued his attempts to generate fizzy ice, despite the skepticism of friends and colleagues, all the while feeling like a disdained pioneer, like a neglected saint.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Head Rattle: Let's Kick Some Ice


"I will blanket the city in endless winter. First Gotham, and then the world."
--Mr. Freeze

The approaching superstorm (is this number three in about a month?) is set to lay down a thick encrustation of solidified H2O on top of the towering mounds of frozen crud around here. There may be blackouts too, if ice-coated tree limbs fall on power lines. And 50-50 there'll be some reason to suspend mass transit. Oh, well. I have candles, blankets, and a fake fireplace that runs on gas. I'll cocoon, maybe, instead of venturing out and breaking a leg on the shiny sidewalks. Smart? Ice sage.


I signed up online today for a Vorizon eyePhone. Coincidentally, Joey [trousers], the well-known thespian who haunts my 9-to-? existence, was showing me his favorite ape today: a dictation program named Dragon that is both free! and works amazingly well on his eyePhone (upon which he made a lunch date as I watched, transfixed) -- obviating the need to use the touchscreen key-bored except for the very occasional type-O correction (for which the Dragon offers suggested alter natives). Cool. Cool like ice, but almost slip proof, it seems.