Friday, September 30, 2005

Express Yourself

A few days ago, I came across a fellow blogger who listed some of her favorite expressions.

Then, this morning, I came across a BBC online article. Foreign words with unique uses in their native cultures and in ours.

"My favourite is the French 'l'esprit d'escalier', or spirit of the staircase. This is used to describe the precise moment a person comes up with a clever retort to an embarrassing insult. It is usually after leaving the party, and walking down the stairs that the quip comes to mind."

Ain't that just French for ya? My favorite observation of the French comes from "Blackadder" where, after Napoleon grouses that the English regard them as "Weeds, whoopsies and big girl's blouses!" one of his generals replies, "But we are Whoopsies. We are the nation that invented ballet and the souffle."

French lends richness to us in clever metaphor. Some others are "L'esprit du temps", "Le dernier cri." and "Trompe d'oeil."

As a cultured bunny, I've introduced the following into my perennially-panicked, media workplace. Pretty much describes a unique and different situation we all face together every day.

Namely, the "Crise du jour". This morning, its being served hot on a malfuntioning voice mail server.

"My favourite is 'faire du lèche-vitrines' which literally means 'to lick the windows' and translates as window-shopping."

Comment ca gout, le soupe de Windex?

"It's weird that English doesn't have words for 'vorgestern' (the day before yesterday) and 'Übermorgen' (the day after tomorrow)."

We also don't have words for "Lebensraum", amongst others.

German has an unusual propensity to look down it's teutonic nose at adjectives for some reason.
As a result, Germans tend to pile up adjectives on the front end of their nouns like a chain reaction traffic accident on the Autobahn to Ulm. Nouns take on an ungodly length and compoundedness that scares most first time users of the language away. That and the spit thing. As Mark Twain once noted, "One doesn't speak German with a dry mouth."

"There are a few more interesting German words such as 'handschuhschneeballwerfer', which means somebody, who wears gloves to throw snow balls. It is used in general for all cowards."

Just as when you finish ordering another "Trockenbeerespatausleese", you've sobered up, so too when you get halfway through "handshuhsneeballwerfter" several friends have reminded you that you are insulting their sensei. Whoops.

Or Whoopsie, if you're French.

As usual, the Beeb has missed the logical follow up. Namely, interesting English expressions that we either lend to other cultures or, more than likely, use in ours. Here are some of my favorites and I'd like to post an open invitation to all readers to log in a comment with theirs. I know some of my regular readers, being the wordies they are, must have something to contribute.

FIGMO: Military slang acronym for "Fuck It, I Got My Orders". Essentially a free pass out of a bad situation, like your discharge and transfer home coming up just before a big operation. In civilian life, we've used it when we give two week's notice and we're FIGMO.

Shit Fire and Hold the Matches: From my friend Melba, an expression of amazement straight from Opp, Alabama.

In Dog, Out Sausage: Hammond, Indiana native Bob Caddy taught me this one meaning a quick and simple job.

Coyote Ugly: One step up from paper bag ugly, which is self evident. Coyote ugly would have you chew your arm off rather than risk waking her (or him) by moving it.

Jumpin' Fiddlin' Fuck: A Michael Potter original with a multitude of uses.

There are more, but it's your turn.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Running On Empty

Thrice a week, we get together and run. The lads and I. Four boys out for a little exercise and amusement, glad to trade off lunch at our desks or sprawled on the couch in front of "Oprah" as the case may be, for a quick, measured jaunt through town.

The four of us, Lou, Dave, Jim and Bunny are a regular enough feature that we should have a catchy name; the four musketeers, the lung club, thrice weekly, that sort of thing. But we never think about it and I think if we had to by decree, we'd name ourselves after the most frequent title to our e-mails to each other, namely:

-Running today?

We talk. Usually guy talk. Sports, some current events, who looks hot in a tight sweater. Dave always seems to take top honors in the latter. I think he secretly does freeweights on off days.

Double entendres, jokes, observations on the run. Usually who of the opposite sex is passing us and did we rate a second look?

Dave is the talker. He has kept up a consistent banter during speedwork that has made him be marvelled at by marathoners. Where does he get the energy?

Moreover, how does he supply himself with oxygen? I have suggested that he aspirates transdermally. Barring that, and it becomes less likely in winter, he is exhaling out his asshole.

Dave is quick to catch an oncoming female, either in a car or on foot and note her reaction.

"Did you see how she was mentally dressing us? She had sunglasses on, but the angle of her head had her putting me in a parka, no word of lie."

Lou is a little quieter and more focused on his passion: sports. An avid basketball fan, he is a one subject boy in March. In the fall he runs a fantasy football pool. I have tried to get interested and play along but I cannot reconcile anything called "Fantasy Football" that does not feature Natalie Portman as a halfback or Sandra Bullock as a tight end.

When I was younger, I had a pedal car that was my pride and joy. Once, I got the idea to soup it up and with a keyhole saw and some leftover vacuum cleaner hose, I installed pipes on the side of the thing. Wicked!

My old man was outraged. I had ruined a perfectly good pedal car. That outrage continued to high school where he forbade me to take auto shop and into early adult life when he lambasted me for pinstriping my first car.

Dad. Sandra Bullock. Dad, she could'a been mine. Damn you.

Lou has strange changeing habits in the locker room that has him essentially stripped down to not much other than his white running socks. He's been asked on more than one occasion to avail himself of a towel sooner as he starts to look like some sort of Japanese porn star after a while.

Lou, being Lou, a happily married man with a penchant for things romantic, is also our wise advisor in matters of the heart. I fretted over a dinner and a movie night a while ago. That was dinner out and back to the bunnyhouse for a DVD. We have one theatre in town and "Herbie Fully Loaded" was not going to get anyone over the age of 12 anywhere.

Lou suggested three films and further suggested that Dave or Jim, Lou being busy that night, rent about twenty to forty films and wait in the backyard. Sort of like Bert and Ernie in It's a Wonderful Life, a code word spoken out the back window would have one of them scrambling through categories for something more appropriate than "Garden State".

Jim is the speed demon. "Gee guys, can we slow the pace down a little?" is code for "Just let me pace myself because with one mile to go, I'm going to dust you sorry so and so's."

Well, at least he tries. What has always hindered Jim is his propensity to be called upon for assistance. Every single, and this is no fictional exageration, but every single time someone has pulled over, rolled down a window and asked for directions, the nearest gas station, the time of day, they've asked Jim as if the rest of us don't exist.

I think that Rosie Ruiz got caught when the cabbie pulled Jim over to ask directions to the Fenway.


I hop along. Taking mental notes and trying to capture all of the banter for a one act play that HAS to be in our runs. I take in Lou's sage advice on dating. When I was involved with a much younger woman, Lou noted that "Old is now cool." A few weeks later when that had fallen apart, he took a more serious tone with "forty three is the new forty three."

But there is a play in all that, and large transitory chapters of a book, and none of the boys know that they're being noted for the basis of characters and when that time comes when they recognize themselves on the printed page...

I hope I will have worked on sprinting.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Adventures in Retail

I've been setting up the rabbit warren as of late and gotten to the point that I no longer need a trail of breadcrumbs to find my way back and forth to the Home Despot (your home improvement and denial of basic rights warehouse).

In fact, the day will come when, on intellectual autopilot, which is most of the time as my mind is always off on some bizarre tangent of collecting meaningless and obscure information, most of which winds up dumped here, I will drive to the despot when I really mean't to go to, oh, the grocery store or the airport.

Speaking of a collection of trivialities, I had to explain what stigmata was this morning. On the 6th of August, I remarked at how interesting it was that we were meeting with a consulting group named Trinity Technologies.


The sixth of August is relevant in history in that it was the day the first atom bomb was used in war. The final test of the bomb was held in the New Mexico desert at a site code named "Trinity."

And I wonder that I don't date much.

I am described as having a collection of useless facts bandying about. One of my contemporaries who is afflicted with the same store of knowledge is called "cultured." Clearly, he has a better grasp of fine wine than I do and probably buys his suits off the import rack.

One of the things the new home needs if I am to occupy it successfully is food. That was last night's quest. Weekly grocery shopping or as I go about it: The blind leading the confused through a maze without and end.

I have to admit being a food snob. I go to the upscale store in our area for two reasons: One, if you ask for Shitake's, they don't point you towards the restrooms. Two, a cuter class of people go there, which is to say professional women whom you never know, you might strike up a conversation with near the fresh vegetables. Beats the blue hairs at the place in town that dog you from aisle to aisle so you can read labels to them and comment on something's digestibility.

But even at the palace of upscale eats, you need to pick up staples. That means breakfast cereals, frozen food for the (most) nights when all you either have time for and feel like is to throw some pre-made concoction in the microwave and get back to the book you were reading or amusing the cats somehow.

To the latter, does anyone find it as disturbing as I do when a Roast Pork dinner sports a banner that says "Made with Real Pork."?

As opposed to what? Here kitty, kitty kitty?

And cross promotions? Look, I want a box of simple breakfast cereal, I don't care about software, trips to Disney or starring in the next episode of Survivor. And you boys and girls at Life Cereal, Inc.? Stop pixilating the models on your boxes to look like they're made out of Lego. The morning will come that I pour a bowl with a nasty hangover and one of us is going to be sorry.

But I got through it all, all right, without major injuries or having to explain the atomic weight of uranium to anyone. Chances are I'm free Saturday night as well.

Meanwhile, back at the despot, I'm having early senior moments or fits of cluelessness. This past weekend I finally decided to fix the screen door. The old screening had come loose and the fellow whom I bought the knob and tube palace from felt that duct tape was an appropriate fix.

I know him. He's a nice guy, one hell of a soccer player but, looking around the house, not the handiest tool in the box.

Screen is held in place by one of two things: Either staples or spline. Spline is a rubber gasket that wedges into a space and holds the screen down by friction. As with all things though, it comes in a variety of different sizes because, well, people like me like to stand in the aisle holding up two packages trying to guess right.

Guess what?

Yes, of course I bought the wrong size so, its back to the despot, back to the aisle, back to the package I didn't buy, compare it to the wrong size I did buy and...

...toss the right size back onto the shelf and walk out with the exact wrong size again.

Did I say two things held screening in place? Three actually, frozen Roast Pork, made with Real Pork will do in a pinch.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Guilty as Hell

Boy was I ever.

I think I got about seven minutes of pure stapling joy out of that stupid clerical appendage before it dawned on me that, my using it in public, in the open would lead to certain uncomfortable, prying questions for which I had no plausible answer.

"What's that?"

"Looks like a stapler, but let me check. There are stories of rabid feral dogs surreptitiously entering innocent suburban homes disguised as common office implements. Dunk it in water, it doesn't howl. Yep, this one's no dog, it's a stapler. Or at least if it's a dog, it isn't rabid."

You know, as I think of it, I never had a weight problem as a child. Being sent to bed without supper for answers like that surely played no small part.

"Where did you get that stapler?"

"Uh, followed me home? Can I keep it? I promise to feed and walk it every day. I've named him Butch. He answers to it."


"I confess, you got me. I'm as guilty as sin. I stole. I know you told me never to steal but I did and I confess. I was at the golf club and I wanted the stapler so I stuffed in my golf bag and snuck it out like the lowly thief I am. Of course this means I've embarked on a life of crime and everything you've warned me about is going to come true. It started with that first "C" in math because I didn't apply myself and yes, I'm going to wind up a lazy bum with no prospects of gainful employment and I'm going to rent and never own and my choices in carpeting are going to be limited to industrial grade browns and greys and the neighbors will be mortified that they raised their children within sight of me, the scourge of the town and surely they're going to expunge me from the population rolls one of these days for the sin of theft and never amounting to anything. I'm so sorry!!!"

"...did you do with the garden hose nozzle? I can't find it."

"Never mind."

I instinctively knew I was going to get caught. I was going to be thrown out of the golf club, into jail or juvenile hall, ostracised, shamed, shunned like a self-availer-of-modern-things in some suburban-middle-class-Amish-family. "And Samuel, this hair dryer of the hand, it lets you look into these men's hearts and see the evil?" The only thing to do, the only right thing was;

Hide the evidence.

Which I did. We had a stone wall out back of the house. It was a dry stone wall that separated the neat suburban yards where we had raspberry bushes until my mother tore them all out and planted azaleas in their place, her confidence in the food supply chain unequalled in modern society, from the old farm that still stood in what was now the middle of town.

It was easy enough. I pushed a few rocks aside and stashed the hateful symbol of my moral downfall in. Never to be found. Never going to get caught. Except for the kid I was with that witnessed the dastardly deed and I could always cast doubt on his character and veracity. After all, his family rented.

But I never really got over it. I carried guilt around for months. I didn't ever go back to the golf club that summer and, when I rejoined the next year, the first time I played and went to the kiddie clubhouse after the first round I was reminded of my sin the way a toaster in the shower reminds you of the downside of electricity.

There it was: Proof positive of my having disrupted the natural order. A sign that read:

-Anyone guilty of stealing from the golf club will be immediately and permanently suspended.

All that was missing were the words "This means you bunny boy. We know, we're just now getting around to proving it."

They had me. A year hadn't made a difference. Winter didn't make them forget. They were still scouring the clubhouse to make sure they hadn't misplaced the stapler but once that was done they were coming right to my house and were going to see just what was in that stone wall.

That was the only round of golf I played that year and the last round I played at that club, ever. My old man groused about the waste of money on clubs for something I started and never finished, as usual. My mom told me to do something outside of the house so he didn't get pissed off that I wasn't golfing. I, never wanting to deal with that mortifying guilt again, dis-associated myself with any of the neighbor kids who thought that five finger discounting from the local candy store was a thing to do when you're bored.

I also never stole. Ever again.

Someday somebody's going to take that stone wall apart and wonder how in the hell and why there's a thirty year old stapler stuck in there.

And I will probably feel the last twinge of guilt when they do.

And then go back to straightening paper clips.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It Takes a Thief

I spent most of my childhood being as well behaved as you could expect a small boy being raised by parents who had seen the iron hand of Nazism first hand.

Which is to say I was granted liberties that my parents were denied in their youth but there were expectations of obeying the rules and following along quietly that seems to be ingrained in the Teutonic psyche.

I say seems because we as a people are collectively still trying to explain Sturm und Drang. A bacchanalean romp half drunk through pre-goth literary forms, all the while shouting "I don't have the first idea what's upsetting the brass band!" All at the top of your lungs, waist deep in a city fountain being pissed on by the lead statue of some lucky cherub somewhere. I am still loath to even begin to explain it otherwise. Good men and women have died twisting this thing into a thesis that seemed a good idea after the eleventh Starbucks Grande del Tutte Grande double espresso.

I think it was Goethe who said it best: "Looks a lot fucking different when you sober up, doesn't it?"

Then Schiller chimed in with "Lets set up some ground rules" and you basically get a people that take obeyance and conformity a little too seriously.

As a child I was often told not to make a spectacle of myself, not to draw attention to myself and the basic tenets: Lying, cheating, stealing. Hell they were assumed. Don't cross that line boy, there' s hell to pay on the other side.

So of course, off I went.

I was a lousy liar.

I usually just cheated myself. My math skills were not what you'd call cutting edge, so I wound up digging deeper for change while my friend Dawn went home with the chocolate-marshmallow thing on a stick.

Boy did I cry there.

I had fat fingers. Forget card tricks.

But I could steal. And here's the thing. I always did it in the theoretical. Never actually pilfered a friend's toy, stole candy, made off with the last helping. But I did quietly watch what was going on, see an opportunity and understood how to exploit that opportunity. I never took the opportunity because I feared the consequences of being caught. I never wanted to risk the shame and humiliation of being branded a thief.

Until I was eleven.

Since reading books and riding my bike was not enough of a sport to satisfy my old man, I got one of the neighbors to sponsor my joining the juvenile league of the local golf club.

Don't ask me why golf. I think it was because two of my friends played and it was where the better kids hung out. And since I mistakenly thought of myself as a "better" kid, well, so I let snobbishness lead to my downfall.

I stole from the golf club.

It was insane.

Not only that I stole, but where I stole from and what I stole.

I stole a stapler.

Why, I have no idea.

Perhaps because I thought it would be neat to staple my homework together.

Perhaps, I was trying to emulate my old man. He worked in an office. He was surrounded by office shit. Maybe I thought that if I surrounded myself with office shit, he'd like me a little more.

Maybe I was just an eleven year old idiot. I'm leaning towards that one because I had already set fields on fire and would someday try and short circuit the neighborhood. Then I'd back my car out over myself.

Yep, I'm going with idiot.

I was in the golf clubhouse when I did it. The kiddie golf clubhouse actually. A plywood thrown together structure that housed about eight lockers and some wicker furniture that was ejected from the main clubhouse when the adults forgot to take the cushions off one winter and enough mold to make penicillin for Bangladesh subsequently grew on the cushions. Plus it probably brought back bad memories for Bud the pro about when he had one too many Manhattans and tried to find out once and for all if Mabel's tits were really as pert and firm as they looked to be under those tight little numbers she used to wear.

Lord knows if I were, say, fourteen instead of eleven, I'd have wondered the same thing. As it was, pert and firm referred to Jell-o at the time.

So in the kiddie clubhouse, I grabbed my golf bag, made sure that no one was looking and expertly stuffed the stapler (henceforth to be known as the gd stapler) down into the bottom recesses of the bag.

What the hell, I only carried a two wood, a three, five and seven iron and a putter. Oh, and I couldn't hit shit with any of them.

Still can't.

Ping, to me, is what active sonar does.

But enough. For good measure, I threw my golf towel over the gd stapler. Actually a kitchen towel, it did the trick and ensured that I would get off the premises with my booty secure. For, should the suspecting adult cry "halt" just as I was about to pass out of the hallowed gates, I could confidently smile and surrender my golf bag for inspection knowing he would not catch the tell tale glint of purloined office supply surplus discretely cached in the recesses.

Boy, I was good. And I knew it.

What I didn't know is that that was when it would all start.

postscript: And that my dear Kathryn, is the real cliff hanger. I'm sorry, I started this thing at the office then had to head out to buy a freaking can opener of all things and, $187 out of pocket at Target later, here I am, trying to put a proper post on line.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Rabbit Strikes Back

Hello Blog Spammer!

You have fantastic meaningless web site peddling useless shit upon which I would e-pellet if I had no life.

Keep up the good work.

Meanwhile, please check out for Real Writing.


Thanks for the stupid comment on my blog. Please look at for directions on how to use the sharp stick I sent you.


Beat you to the punch. Clicked through your shitty link to insipid weight loss reduction site you maintain from your Brooklyn basement. Not quite what I was looking for but keep up the happy work. Somebody has to keep thinking ways up to piss me off. By the way, is where the real action is.

Dear Kathryn:

Thanks for your comments and observations. Happy to keep you as a regular reader. My friend would agree with me though we have not spoken face to face in some time. Oh, and we are not the same person either. He's funnier.

The Bunny

Sunday, September 18, 2005

"House" is a Verb

Right now, my hands are two little stumps of pain. My feet have the consistency of burnt hamburger-no wait, that was dinner- well, best not to discuss consistency but to draw the metaphor that if you were given the choice of what my feet feel like versus having a migraine for a year...

House. Like in, "House you and the horse you rode in on." "What the house is going on." "I don't give a flying house."

This house is fucking with my physical condition the way only Penthouse letters can, were the house a woman.

Beyond the pale of comprehension and accepted reality, in other words.

When did painting become a contact sport?

Even dinner was a chore in that the last dram of lighter fluid was evenly distributed over the charcoal, lit, and prayed over in hopes that that little blue flame would have enough critical mass to get the grill going.

No dice. And since its always hard to raise a fiery demon from the underworld on a Sunday night, especially now that football season is on- its off to the local teenage idiot hangout and convenience store for some ersatz starter fluid. Now that that's going, let's drop back into the kitchen, yes the one with the freshly painted ceiling accentuating the hideous periwinkle walls and cabinets that look like physical manifestations of a fart, to actually make the burgers on the countertops that stain so easily you swear that spills from next door come a-calling because they feel right at home here.

Meanwhile the dining room color is drying back to something between rancid split pea soup and a sinus infection.

Oh, and yes, it is possible to buy two cans of the same exact freaking white gloss paint and not have the fucking shade match. When the can says "High Hiding" they apparently mean your clean t-shirt and not the actual white surface you are trying to repaint in the first place!

I am also blessed with switch boxes that were built in 1926 of high tensile, rigid steel to withstand what can only have been someone's clairvoyant image of impending war in the late thirties. They are anchored to studs the way you'd expect a destroyer to be tied down to dock in the face of Hurricane Fukitol. Replacing them (and they do, for reasons I can't detail here need to be replaced) takes semi-herculean strength, cunning and removal of half the surrounding wall surface. It seems the stud they are anchored to is always in the next room. I've taken to opening a drywall mine in the ceiling of my basement. That space will have to be re-done at some point as I rebuild for more useful purposes than a carpeted surface upon which the cats can practice their staining abilities. In the meantime, it is being scavenged for drywall patches.

Oh and here's a fun trick: The other night I was coming home from a walk with a friend when she noticed that my key sparked when it was in the deadbolt and touched the doorknob. That was also the only sparking seen that night.

My cat sitter said she would not return (a fact I kept from my animals, Claude Balls not being a nickname I am in search of) if I didn't fix the front door; she was getting a shock -and it had nothing to do with my decorating- every time she used the key.

What's up? Well, decided to poke around the door and, the long and short of it, touching metal from deadbolt to doorknob does indeed induce an electric current, raise a spark and...

drumroll please...

makes the doorbell ring.

Now what the fuck is that all about???

Go pick on someone your own size. There's a Cape Cod on the next block that is already sensitive about having to wear glasses while playing dodge ball.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Today's Swipe at the News

No Smiling For German Passport Photos
Sep 15, 2005 3:24 pm US/EasternBERLIN (AP) Germans were ordered Thursday to stay serious when having their photographs taken for new passports, wiping away any grins, smirks or smiles so that biometric scanners can pick up their facial features.

Interior Minister Otto Schily ordered passport authorities to only accept pictures taken from the front showing the "most neutral facial expression possible," starting Nov. 1.Facial recognition systems match key features on the holder's face and work best when the face has a neutral expression with the mouth closed."A broad smile, however nice it may be, is therefore unacceptable," the Interior Ministry said in a statement. "If you are smiling, the border guards will think you are Dutch or Belgian."

Reaction among passport holders varied from "What's so hard about not smiling? I do it all the time." to "What's smiling?"

The German decision follows closely on the heels of the French law requiring passport holders to scowl contemptuously at all times and various laws throughout Latin America mandating males not to appear anything other than hot-blooded in their photographs.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Half Hour Walk Into Funny

There's not much thematically funny going on today other than a dark blue shirt I'm wearing in 150% humidity blotching up like a litmus test for fashion faux pas.

Hi, I'm with spotty.

So instead of surfing the net or chatting with colleagues over sports scores whose meaning I cannot even begin to fathom, I'm off for a quick walk to see what's funny out there.

Then there are the tree trimmers. Nomadic tribesmen of the mid-Atlantic states who wander on camel from village to village, putting on off color shows with flashing branches Saturday nights.

Not really. Just crews of utility workers carving up space around high tension wires so that the freezing rain can more thoroughly coat them and bring them down for the next blackout.

In an alternate world, (well, hell, I live in one, don't I?) I can see crews of beavers felling utility poles to more adequately provide breathing room for the tree branches. Damned humans, if it weren't for the congress of aquatic mammals and their insane environmental regulations, we could dynamite these white assed sapiens the way we used to in the fifties.

So off they go, the utility crews, cutting branches and feeding them into the chipper which responds with a satisfied roar every time another limb gets consumed. I quicken my pace. Somehow I don't want to be around to hear the next roar followed by the words: "Whoops. Can we do a quick headcount?"

The townhomes built across the street from the office parking lot are almost finished and I'm waiting for the billboard to go up naming the project something like "Majestic Vistas."

"Fine in town living, close to work, don't fake calling in sick. That's your boss's window right over there."

Its like the "streets" in the mondo apartment complex. All named after something somewhere that has nothing to do with the slab of asphalt that's actually there. "Society Hill Court", "Cold Stream Run".

How about "Illegally Parked Meadows" or "Cops Get Called Every Saturday Circle?"

And now its time to turn back as I pass my friend who has ensured that somehow she and I never have similar running schedules.

"Thought you were running today?" she calls out.

"Did you? Then why are you running?"

"Well, away, I'm running away."

"As well you should. I'm dreaming up story ideas and if you linger, you're likely to be pilloried or quoted."

Never seen her sprint quite that fast...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Roller Coaster Rabbit

I've come up with the logical extension for speed dating. I'll call it speed relationships.

Well, less I've come up with it that it came upon me as we've gone from getting to know you to first date to slumber party to dead shark to dear bunny letters all in the course of three weeks.

That's exhausting under any circumstances and I'm glad to be off that ride. I think I'll save my tickets for the horsey drawn carriages and let somebody else do the bumper cars. For awhile anyway cause, like childbirth, you forget the shitty parts quickly and jump on the ride the next time the prancing pony whizzes by.

Not to mention the cost of the thing. Relationships used to be cheap and easy. Sort of like me. When the hell did home equity loans come into play just to underwrite a Saturday night cuddle? And another thing, if, and it may happen to you, you want to go prepared; well no let up there. Protection, ahem, of the male kind, first line of defense so to speak is about four bucks and two bits for a pack of three. I was always better at division than multiplication: that's more than a buck a fuck! You think that after paying for dinner somebody in the supply chain would give me a break.

Let's face it, this is a basic human need! Like air, water food. And after six months it's a freaking commodity and should follow market pricing.

Try to get an economist to believe that lie.

After six months, we're talking premium pricing at what the market will bear. And it's a bare market.

Well, I'm over it. As Neitzsche said at the Neu Ulm Logical Positivists Dinner Dance, what does not kill me makes me want to box step. Kierkergaard, pass the gravy boat!

So I've been tossed from the apple cart of romance and am lying in the orchard of quiet despair munching on the mackintoshes of loneliness and drinking the water of metaphor that will get me expelled from most writer's clubs.

But as Descartes said just before the mint Jell-0 came out:

"This sucks. Therefore I am."

Bunny on.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tag, I'm It.

So MM has done me the favor of tagging me and it's really quite an honor since the sitemeter report was emailed to me two days ago and it seems I am talking to myself.

Never mind. I do that a lot. Comes with the overactive imagination and constant solitude.

Here goes:

Ten Years Ago: I am working in the printing business, concentrating on one larger account that interests me because of their unique corporate culture. Fast forward and I am that culture, having jumped from publishing into printing and right back. But another story for another time. I do not sleep much because I am always on call and some idiot is always calling. When I do sleep, it's propped up on my elbows talking in my sleep. I lie awake nights wondering if I am saving enough to retire on. Either that or wondering if I string two ropes between both chimneys, will I be supported enough to fix the roof?

Jim and I go to the mall at lunch times to smoke cigarettes and watch women. He has a few fries with his ketchup.

I buy a new red Ford Probe. It's as close to a midlife crisis as I will get. To date.

Five Years Ago: I am making books for the former interesting account with the unique corporate culture. I am bored and frustrated and hate my job. My one consolation is that my wife has hit her stride career-wise and has landed a gig at a little gardening magazine. Everything will work out. Y2K is over with and a non-event. I have finally exorcised a certain someone from my life with whom I was going dangerous places. I buy a new Volks with proceeds from a packaging deal I still don't believe I pulled off. I cut the lawn a lot.

One Year Ago: Still making books after having stepped into probably one of the best jobs of my life and having been drummed out of same by some unholy bitch who threw the entire staff out as well. They didn't meet this bozo belle's standards of pretentious mediocrity and the day she is hoisted by her own petard I will spring for the champagne. But how do I really feel? In a few days I will off to Scotland to celebrate my fifteenth wedding anniversary. I am asked if we will see another fifteen and without a heartbeat's pause I say "no". Sox beat the Yankees on the 17th and I am there. It's a good evening even though the beer is in plastic bottles. Yankees fans act like assholes and I wait for the day they get theirs. Me, Stephen King, MM, Yankee fans, boy are we in for a surprise.

Yesterday: I paint the living room of the house I live alone in. I am happy and thinking of three women. Not at the same time but they occupy my thoughts in a happy way. One I know and wish I could do the things that would ease her pain. One I wish I knew better but resolve to do so. One is a can of gasoline that I throw a match at.

I am happier than I have been in years and even though I am alone I refuse to look on past times with any nostalgia. Over is over.

Five Songs I Know the Words To: Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits. Thunder Road by Springsteen. Lawyers Guns and Money by Warren Zevon. Honky Tonk Women by the Rolling Stones. The National Anthem.

Five Snacks: Beer. Humpty Dumpty Potato Chips that I last had on Bermuda and not since I left the place of my birth. Lay's chips. Any ice cream with copious dough or crumbled cookies in it. Chocolate pudding.

Five Things I'd do with $100MM: Pay someone to go away. Forever. But not before a rifle butt to the jawline said if you ever harm her again, I will be back in the night for you and it won't be pretty.

Spend it all on myself for a change and not feel bad.

Flash half that stack of bills at my mom and tell her to never worry again. Why half? If I divulged the full amount she'd still fret. This way she only has half the worry. It's not logical, but neither is the house I was raised in.

Classically educate a child the way our public system does not have a hope in hell of doing.

Learn to fly. Multiple engine. Jet.

Five Places I Would Run Away To: Anywhere in Wyoming or Utah, the house in the woods my mind created so I have a place to mentally go to when things suck, the island off Crescent Beach in Nova Scotia, Space.

Five Things I Would Never Wear: Any loud or stupid T shirt, anything with an obscenity on it, sandals, anything that itched, anything that required explanation.

Five Favorite TV Shows: Enterprise, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Black Adder, Fawlty Towers, Scrubs.

Five Greatest Joys: Bringing happiness, joy or relief to anyone. Doing something well. Using the phrase "it's my way" (Witness) in about the same context as the film with a straight face. Crawling back into bed with coffee and the paper and not having to do anything else for the rest of the day. Getting on a plane to somewhere, anywhere.

Five Favorite Toys: 1971 Lotus Esprit. Table saw. 2001 Volkswagen. K-4 Pacific in HO scale. Computer blog.

Five People I'm Tagging: I'm not. Too new to the game. But I am taking a rain check. I promise. Ok, ok, Kathryn. That's a start.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Impure Thoughts

So I'm painting the living room today which is really like walking in quicksand. The more you thrash about, the deeper you sink in. You eventually suffocate in the stuff and my breathing has been a little shallow lately to tell the truth.

The living room is the ideal project. It's way off the priority list, kitchen and bathroom should be first but like the first guy at the Hindenburg crash site said: "Pick that pencil up will you? Somebody might stub a toe."

Which is to say that in the face of abject disasters, you tend to gravitate to the manageable.

Hence, re-painting the living room instead of ripping out tubs, up floors and sketching out cabinetry solutions that will ensure I no longer have to store cereal next to dry cat food. Look for the blog posting that sounds like me steam cleaning out my mouth. Coming soon!

But painting calls for prepping and prepping calls for fixing and fixing calls for measuring if ANYTHING in this house is plumb to the general axis of Mars' orbit. Answer: No. So we pull off the window casement that is held in place by friction and hope. Re cut the miters and nail it in place properly and counter sink the nails and putty the counter sinks and then tape off the windows and remove the light switch cover to reveal Edison himself left you a little note here that says: "Wasn't sure of this. Hope it works."

So its off to the basement to look for the logical circuit that turns that off and find out that a plug in the living room is on the same circuit as the hot water heater and/or the garage door opener.

Then there are other incidentals. Like the cat ensuring that the wall to wall in the second bedroom gets torn up a lot sooner than I had planned on. That or Home Despot better have the pet stain shampoo I left for the owners of my old new place when I moved to my new old place.

I finally get to painting and am casually looking out the living room window instead of watching where I am slobbering the next cut in and SHE walks by!

Holy freaking shit where did SHE come from? Never seen HER before but suddenly things are looking up!

Long, tan legs propelling a helluva nice frame with a head of semi curly long brunette locks in place accompanying two little kids and my repeating mantra is "please let it be the babysitter please let it be the babysitter please let it be the babysitter."

She stops, with the kids, right outside the house (thank you God!) and starts talking to someone. I hear snippets: "We're (she's talking about the kids and no one else, I am in deep rationalization) right up the hill at 170." I'm eight numbers off and wonder if anybody still moves houses whole.

Ok, she's just talking about the kids. They look well enough behaved and children need a LOT of rest so it's off to bed little ones! No, don't mind that it's three in the afternoon, you'll thank me as teenagers! Keep looking, carefully. If someone catches you pretend you always wash windows with your tongue. There's no ring on...the WRONG hand. There's a fat gold band on the right hand. Damn! What have I done wrong? Well nothing yet but the imagination fantasy gear is in overdrive and I'm almost passing out and falling off the ladder.

Nothing to be done except enjoy her occasional walk-bys and pray for a hot Indian summer.

Then it gets worse. A couple of hours later she's back. Pushing the kid in some sort of wheeled perambulating thing and hubby's along pushing the other kid. And other kid is screaming bloody murder so they both stop out front (Go ahead, tempt me! Oh, you just did. Never mind.) and hubby goes "Want daddy to push?" and I go "No I want daddy to have a coronary."

Pardon me sir, try these pork rinds? They're freshly fried.

Can I light your Marlboro?

This can't go on. I'm painting out the windows. If blackout shades were good enought for England in '41, they're good enough for me!

What's a bunny to do?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Just Silly For Denise

A good friend of mine needs some plain and simple silliness to counteract the fact that she has two significant story deadlines looming.

A cry for help to which Bunnyman, protector of Levity everywhere, is glad to respond to. Let me put on my flying ears, my atomic tail and ensure there's not a nine foot strip of toilet paper sticking to my super bunny boots. I hate when that happens!

Flying through the air with the greatest of ease I'm likely to lose lunch because I get really airsick really easy. I once blew chow in an aircraft cockpit which was doubly embarrassing because I was flying the thing. No folks, in these large furry ears is an imbalance that would make the tilt-a-whirl seem like a sedate afternoon jaunt in the park.

So posting this I turn my computer on and plug into my local ISP. I'm almost embarrassed but I have to admit I still use dialup technology to tap into the net. That's gotten better since I've moved into town. I used to live so far in the boonies that the modem icon was a Bell system operator turning a crank. The best I could manage on a good day was 32-35 bps. Now I can tap in at 50-52 bps but here's the catch. It's a crapshoot and some days you lose big. As an example, I'm running 28 bps and expect to click the "Post" button when I am done, compose a moderately long opera and come back to check out the blog site.

Sure I could get DSL for super fast connections blah blah blah but let's face it, that's really just an excuse for speedy porn downloads before the wife notices or worse yet online gaming so you have a hope in hell of beating sonny boy at Mutant Urban Hunter 3: This time its serious.

Here's a hint: Try chess. Its always fun to watch a nine year old brain fold in on itself.

I've finally broken down and opened the coffee maker. At this point there is enough styrofoam to float the house. There are also setup and user's manual instructions that rival "War and Peace." But I've cracked the code and tomorrow at six there will either be a hot pot of coffee waiting for me brewed extra strong or I will have the fire department in for early s'mores.

Finally, here's the silliness I promised her. Something that used to show up in office email when we were kicking around because shipping on time was too easy: Yes, it's the slightly altered best seller list.

1: The Da Vinci Code Solved: A murder happens in a foreign capital and everyone seems to speak in code. If only Lance can crack...wait, it's French. Read on and watch a nation capitulate rather than solve the case.

2: Harry Potter and the Amazing Sight of Your Child Reading a Book and Sitting Still for a Whole Hour: Witchcraft and magic are at play here.

3: Five People You Consciously Avoid in Heaven: Reverend Balsam, who's change plate you dumped buttons into most Sundays, Aunt Gert and the Christmas mittens you gave the dog as chew toys, Louie the handicapped kid who you dolled up as a circus clown for Halloween even though it was really August, your sophomore college roomate and the stain you brazenly lied about plus the better angel of your nature whom you kept locked in a closet with an MTV loop all these years.

4: Blink: If you read too fast, you'll miss this light little business book.

5: Who Moved My Fuckin' Cheese!!!: The office bully figures it out and you hope building services has fixed the lock on the men's room.

6: 1976: A historical recollection of how perilously close the nation came to disintegrating after 200 years had polyester and disco had a more significant impact.

7: Un-Natural Cures Nobody Wants You to Know About: There's a reason Macbeth opened with the witches for frightening effect.

8: Tuesdays with Murray: Canasta and bridge until the old guy himself can't take it anymore and gets up to watch Oprah.

9: The Pointless, Aimless Life: Just for a week or so to relax because you've driven yourself mad purposefully.

10: The South Bronx Diet: Hey, Fatass, lose a few. Gotta put Crisco on the door jambs just to make sure you can get from the bedroom to the fuckin' can!

Good luck with the interviews.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I'm sorry, I missed the Life is Complicated Memo

There is a miniature Wal-Mart in what should be my dining room right now.

Every evening I come in the back door, from the garage which will shortly become a breezeway if I don't do something about the front and back doors soon. I sort through the mail,-bills and I seem to have overspent my lawyer's retainer by six dollars, payment due upon receipt-and then sneak through the trash heap that I will one day dine in just so I can beeline it to the bedroom and hide in the closet from the things.

Not awful things. Not concoctions of Stephen King's imagination brewed slowly for weeks in my paranoid crock pot. No, rather pedestrian things. Stuff I have bought over the last week. Stuff that just for all the coaxing in the world won't jump out of its box and put itself together and program itself and make itself available to me for my dining and dancing pleasure.

No, this shit is going to sit in its box until I take it out, read the freaking directions, put it together and teach myself a whole new technology. All new shit that I don't want to learn, take the pop quiz on, graduate with a 3.65 in and want to remember past last week anyway.

But I don't have a choice.

Do I??

My friend laughs at this. That's bittersweet. In doing so, she lights up a room. In doing so, she reminds me that nothing is fucking easy anymore. Want TV? Hoss, used to be you hauled an Admiral 21 inch black and white up the apartment steps, plugged the sucker in, fiddled with the rabbit ears and looka that, WMTW in Portland comes in just fine. The Steckino's ad is running again.

Now you've gotta pull the fucker from its box because nothing over 24 inches is coming home in a Volkswagen. So you ditch the box in the Best Buy parking lot, lug the thing up three stairs and proceed to re-connect Spock's brain. How many plugs will fit on the back of this thing??? Answer, all of them. I am convinced that if I shoot a line into every cable receptacle on the back of this mother, Charlie Gibson and I will be having morning coffee together on line while he blogs his Burundi Journal. Is Diane Sawyer still on the air? Couldn't we just play footsies while her camera guy sprints down the block for fresh Cinnabons?

Meanwhile, back in the appliance aisle of my dining room, a programmable coffee maker and a brushed steel toaster oven are awaiting birthing with all the associated tearing of plastic and discarding of styrofoam bumper pads that we could reduce the national traffic fatality number with if we taped these to Cooter's head and sent him home after the Grandview Dirt Trials.

I just don't want to face it. I want coffee, I don't want to push buttons until midnight so that a fresh pot is awaiting me at 4.59 am on December 6th, 2041.

I want toast but I don't want to associate cooking levels with my preference for toast which is really just a stack of white soaked in 10W-30 the way you used to get them at any HoJo's with the Big Egg Morning Riser Special (more coffee Hon, or can you hold out until 2041?)

I want my calls answered but it takes me four days to pull the new Motorola Handsfree out of the box, plug it in, charge it and sixteen charged hours later go back to the set up instructions only to find that the thing isn't an answering machine at all. You looked too closely at the box art and convinced yourself that the green light on the base that lit up next to the words "voice mail" meant more than "you're using the thing right now asshole. See the nice green light that's on?"

Back to sensory overload world to return the thing. Did you want to return the extended service plan too? Instead of one free service visit per year, we'll send a fourteen year old to your house annually to exclaim: "Dude, can't you tell a phone at all?"

Diagram this sentence you little puke!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Speak Very Slowly

If you speak very slowly, you may be able to teach yourself patience.

If you read books, you will teach yourself patience.

I am trying something that my friend Evan used to teach his dog patience. I am balancing a doggie biscuit on my nose and quietly telling myself to "wait for it." This worked well for Jake the chocolate lab who was a wonderful dog but deathly afraid of the water. It may do the same for me.

If I do not teach myself patience, I will burn in home remodel hell. Of this I am quite certain. See, here at the knob and tube palace, we are starting the business of getting down to business and rebuilding the house which, to this point, has been giving us the business.

I've dropped about three hundred bucks at the Home Despot (today remodelling, tomorrow the world) in the last two days and all I have to show for it is a bucket full of sockets that have to be put into Short Circuit Central. There's an art to marrying 2005 technology to whatever the hell they were thinking in 1927 and I haven't mastered it yet. Mostly its turning circuits off on the main breaker and pulling off switchplate covers to replace sockets that were new when Edison did not yet have erectile disfunction and let's just plug the radio in to make sure there's no, wow, the radio works!

So let's put the new faucets on the washing machine feed 'cause we need to do a load pretty soon. You find out real fast that the sock drawer is a creature of finite qualities. Trouble is the shut off water valves don't shut off nothing and soon there's a raison d'etre for that darn floor drain.

Two projects have now ended in failure so we console ourselves by screwing in a lightbulb.

How many single divorced guys does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

All of us. Single divorced guys will screw anything after a while.

The one nod to modern convenience the place has is, of all things, a garbage disposal in the sink. One of those open maws that look ready to chew down anything and everything and don't put your hand down there bub. It has to date eaten a fork I can't replace and sucked down a bar of soap I keep by the sink because the bathroom is an ungodly stretch of stairs and if the neighbors didn't keep the Stalag 17 searchlights going night and day I'd piss off the freaking back porch.

That would of course sour the "welcome to the neighborhood" oatmeal cookies I was given.

Probably sour the tomato plants as well. No signature red sauce this year boys and girls.

Maybe I'll hang some pictures tonight. Make the place really mine.

Maybe I'll rent.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Random Observations of an Amused Mind

Used Neutral shoe polish this morning, so I am going to spend the day being non-committal.

I understand technology, but am no friend of it. Because we live in the 21st century and I have just given away half the household, I have to re-stock certain items of modern technology. This does not make me happy because it invariably involves unpacking styrofoam and plastic and reading insipid instruction manuals and figuring out how this and that works.

Trouble is I want coffee made when I get up, I need to know who called and while the cable guy won't show up for another week and a half and will charge me fifty bucks to, oh, look, the co-ax is already run through the basement and drilled through the floor and plugged into the back of the set. Well, just sign this and pay me fifty bucks anyway.

So I am up to my ears in "instructions for use" booklets.

They all seem to read alike, having been written, I believe, by a family of Amish on the plains of Ohio. Nowadays, they also all start with the requisite seven pages of legal disclaimers and cautionary language on how not to use the product.

These pages, while mandatory, should be colored yellow and imprinted with the words "Instructions for Idiots".

To wit:

Coffeemaker: Do not attempt to distill crude oil in this product.

Answering Machine: Not for use in a uranium rich environment.

Television: Keep small children from sleeping in the back of the set.

Bicycle: Product not designed to fly.

And this one, which is no word of a lie: on the back of a tv set remote is imprinted:

"Not Dishwasher Safe"

Neither are humans last I checked but I am sure there is a suit pending somewhere. Maybe someone needed a wash after they spilled scalding coffee on their lap.

The other night I assigned myself setup duties for the TV set, the DVD player and the answering machine. Got the first one done even though I am, as I say, in a cable challenged environment. Still, I want the DVD player to be able to play old movies while we feast on microwave popcorn.
The answering machine needed at least sixteen hours of charging before I dared plug it into the telephone lines. Reprieve from the governor! Batteries I can load, plop the thing into its cradle and turn to technology I am happier with. Yes, the easy chair and a book. Not even a good one but paper and glue I understand and I will finish "A Long Way Down" even though it would have been better if they had jumped at the onset of the book.

Speaking of books, I long to return to my little piece of crap which is five chapters of what can only be described as a really bad home remodeling job interspersed with nooks of inspiration. The book has passages that are really beautiful tied together with paragraphs of typographic turd. Never mind though, its fun to write and I am honest enough to say that I can and will tear it apart and rewrite entire chapters and link these beautiful phrases with something nicer than turd. The book is a metaphor for the house but the problem is they both exist and both must be attended to. So on right brain nights, I am in front of a keyboard wondering if a main character tastes lipstick or cigarettes first the first time he kisses his love interest. On left brain nights I am drawing up lists of how many ten amp plugs need to be retrofitted into the living room and should I sand the floor before I paint the ceiling?

At least the book has answered the question of which bedroom will be the writing study and which the reading study. One of them was the kid's room and is decorated with Piglet and Pooh curtains and Mickey Mouse wallpaper. Since I am a Mickey Mouse writer, I will lodge myself in the Disney palace.

That only leaves a few thousand more things to figure out and work through.

Remember, today's multi-tasking is yesterday's schitzophrenia.

Life is good, though.

Bunny on, friends, bunny on.

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