Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Ashes and Dogs

My next door neighbor growing up was a woman named Fern, who, of course, I called Aunt Fern. She was a very sweet person, and even her husband Bud, Uncle Bud, was basically a nice guy. Bud didn't talk much, and didn't hang out. What he did was sit on his stoop and watch the world. He wasn't doing anything in particular, but it was important for him to acknowledge those who would pass by, half friendly, half like an MP. As he got older and grayer, he became more and more motionless on that porch to the point of being sphinx-like. He seemed to me like an ash on the tip of the cigar of the world; as long as he stayed still he could seemingly be there forever, but one quick motion and he was gone for good, which, as it turned out was how he left us...

I have many stories of Aunt Fern, but for now I'll relate the happiest. She had a small bay window area that overlooked the backyard, and she filled it with both books and plants. Growing up in very claustrophobic houses where "airflow" was almost a dirty word, a place that you wanted to go to because you could both read and breathe was a better attraction than a roller coaster for me as a kid. Aunt Fern enjoyed having me there, and we would take turns reading her books aloud.

For my birthday one year she got a book that remained a childhood favorite; Man's Best Friend, a National Geographic book on dogs. It didn't have the greatest prose, or the most technical advice about dealing with dogs; what it had were paintings. The dogs in those paintings...they were almost the Platonic Form of their respective breeds, serene as a President on a coin, and always in the best form of presentation. Working dogs working, toys having fun. Those paintings gave the animals a gravitas that mere photos could not; even when you knew the "specifications" of each dog, (height, weight,etc.) the seriousness of their image told you that was the right creature, perfectly aligned with the natural world; having a fistful of factoids about them trivialized their real power. As a child you could also gain love for both the written word and art for this book combined them to give you knowledge, and I knew in my heart how much in love with knowledge I was through simple books like this.

As an adult of course, you know that Truth and Beauty are not necessarily conjoined; but I think you actually have to believe that for a time in your life, just so that when you grant them their divorce in adolescence, your appreciation of them as individuals is that much more mature...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I am depressed...but then I remember...

"I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would be not one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die or be better it appears to me."
--Abraham Lincoln

Good enough for him; good enough for me.

I don't want to stay depressed; it's just not easy to see the way out. But I will see the way out.

Ennui -- with Ranch

Today was a day to forget -- a bit of wackiness, a cool call from Cammie early in the evening(!), -- hey where's master Noah? -- even in the background he seemed full of energy that could not be contained by the apartment...thus his urge to trash the place..., and a pack of Veronica Mars to watch! Plus Butterfield 8 which, to my surprise, was produced by none other than Pandro S. Berman, the producer of all the Fred and Ginger musicals! I'll be damn! Potato chips...too many were consumed...why eat dinner when a plastic bag is full of BBQ goodness....Potatoes and I, we go way back...

No editing here, consciousness in full stream mode...perhaps I will dream of dancing spuds...Adieu!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Cammie and I worry about Holiday Spending

"Isn't everything just ducky, Cammie, darling?" "Why yes, Ron, every little thing is just wonderful!"

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I'll take up Cammie's Challenge!

I am 43% Punk Rock.
Not Quite Punk.
Well, I may know what punk is, but... Okay maybe some people think I am punk, but is that enough? Nope.

Ah, but that means I'm from Green Day...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

All Earthly Blogging is Fleeting

B and S showed up for a brief visit last Sunday. I've known them a long time, and they remind me how much I enjoy long time friends. Even though we haven't seen each other much, due to work things, when we get together you can just leap right in and start swingin' the bat. I think the time of awkwardness for getting back with long time friends is a sort of middling time, a week or two. People do change, in ways that they would notice and adapt to if they were around regularily, but it's a bit of a shock when you see a bunch of small changes over a few days. You get over it, but the that reconnecting time is odd...

Anyway, we went to lunch, (good lunch!) and well, I got off a one liner that broke S up! I mean, it was funny, but she laughed so hard it got me laughing at that! B sat there a bit nonplussed as the lunch conversation was takin' a Saturn V right to the gutter! We pulled it out, but it made my afternoon, and I was going to put it up here. Then I let it go...

Yesterday, I found that S's sister is very ill and may pass away. She has gone to be with her, and I send her deep, long term love and support. So I'm puttin' this up to remind me to catch the blooms when they're fresh, and share them on the blog. You never know how long your blogroll will go on!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Off to that Great Chicken Run in the Sky

With the probable exceptions of Vartina and Diamanda Galas, the tune that has most annoyed my friends over the years is the now late Link Wray's Run Chicken Run. I always that this was unfair; if I ever directed a low-budget Smokey and the Bandit, that would have been my 'chase the moonshiners through the hills' car chase music!

Mr Wray, thanks for so many cool tunes!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Between C-SPAN and Oprah, life is starting to look more a game of The Sims.

People gesticulate wildly, babble on like howler monkeys on crack, and eventually curl up in a fetal ball in a pool of their own urine. And those tend to be the happy people!

The Sims reveals the dirty secret behind Life, as brought to you by therapy; happiness consists of routinization and stuff. I was tempted to add "lotsa stuff", but hell, "lotsa routinization" also applies. I know this, because even though I bought him a toilet with a heated seat, a toaster oven, and Wi-Fi, my Sim still lies in a pool of his own urine, but at least this time he does it in the bathroom, so my gameplay must be improving. You've got to get him in an even tighter routine! If you don't he'll fail, and it will be your fault!

Go ahead, tell me that's not how you're feeling about your own life. Life's events are incessant, and you'd better hit your marks like the machines you purport to be operating, or you'll eventually set fire to yourself in a 2x3 room, and it won't even be a cool fire like those monks from the Vietnam War, it'll be a charcoal brickette soaked in too much lighter fluid kinda fire! In some sort of Cosmic Justice, your life will go towards making some creature-in-another-dimensions burger get done before halftime. All because you let too many newspapers stack up on the lawn. Remember that the next time you think of just....Taking Off!

The Oprah side of the equation is definately the 'stuff' side. Oh, you can yak about books or Life Changing Events all you like, the one people remember is the one where everybody got a car! Isn't it interesting how both in The Sims and life, taste and sensitivity are trumped time and time again by gaudiness and 'uniqueness' both of which have theraputic value for you! It doesn't matter that the color you've chosen for the walls makes Safety Orange look subtle, as Long As It Makes You Happy. And how many of you out there just now went, "Well, yeah!" 'Nuff said.

It's unfair that I stick C-SPAN with the 'routinization' blame, but, hey, Washington Journal shows up every single day at the same time, (repeated later in case you were too slothful sitting in your Atomic Recliner to actually try and call in early in the morning!) so they can't be too far off the beam. But I always tip my hat to the various hosts of that show, because between the lying, obfuscating guests and the insane ranters who always call in on the wrong line, they keep their cool no matter what. Now that's a role model! They deserve sainthood before some twit who saw Jesus in a Taco! Why is it the Ben Afflecks who get the Save The World shots in movies, when the guy who should have that role is Brian Lamb? Hey, why am I lumping C-SPAN in with these other things I'm complaining about, given the praise I just gave? Oh, yeah...it's about politics.

Monday, October 10, 2005

She makes turkey, I make lasagna

The point of this post is to preempt Cammie's comment to the previous post, but, damn, I still got nothing to say! Is it preemption if you don't have weapons to preempt with?

Much is happening with many people around us, the wonderful Kim has had her child, Nadia, and Ol' Pal Evan is also now a father, to Rosario Irma! My friend Mikes' house done burned up, and we point the Laser of Bloggy Goodness in his direction for better times! Ride the Photons, baby!

I made a lasagna today, while Cammie made turkey, so food exchange will occur!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

My sitemeter tells me Cammie Vog is watching!

Oh, dear, I guess I must post!

umm...nothin' on TV...She's not a baseball person...I need a shave! No, not that interesting...Hey, where are my curtains? Ah, don't mean to be a crabass! How about that German guy who found this blog through a search for "Strongest cigarettes?" What can I say there, there are no posts about cigarettes on this blog -- until this one! I had a dream I was making out with Gwyneth Paltrow in a side room at a kids birthday party...eh, boring... Found a good Early Beatles site...yawn...love me, love my Netflix queue....damn, I need coffee...damn, I really need coffee...

Oh, well, nothing to say!

More nothing later...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Or...maybe not so famous....

Last night someone removed my mailbox! They didn't just wack it with a bat, they removed it and set in my neighbors driveway 2 doors away!

Hope they're not reading this blog!

Thursday, August 11, 2005


This past week they've been working on the railroad track crossing in front of my house...and in yesterday's newspaper, in a picture taken of the crew, they managed to photograph my...mailbox.

The next thing you know that mailbox will be wantin' a piece of the action!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The line of demarcation is the skull

It's interesting to me as I get older how much more I want to engage with other people than I had in the past. When I'm alone for too long, I stew in my own juices such that I don't like the person who's doin' the stewin.' There are reasons for this, but they seem to just be at arms length from my brain...

Still, I feel the need to observe, to feel, to not just do for the sake of doing, but to actually connect action to feeling.

It's frustrating, and I'm pissed off a lot more than I was, but it's oddly beautiful and good to feel this way...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

This is not that important, but...

When you wake up in the morning, and you need a pot of coffee, and you go to rinse out the pot, which has a little bit of coffee from yesterday in it...

...and you pour that bit in the sink...

the smell of coffee, that crisp, sharp used smell....

well, that just tells me the day has started. Mmmmmm....

10 things Noahie and I like

Let's see...

1.) Skittles

2.) Knock-knock jokes

3.) Many sided dice

4.) Mama

5.) Marbles

6.) The "Jewels" game

7.) Zorak -- how ever broken

8.) Basketball

9.) Baby Mozart

10.) Nuggets -- with sauce

Friday, May 06, 2005

Uh Oh part 2

It seems Kim is hosed that I put her "oh-so-flattering" (her choice of words) pic up there yesterday.

I'm in trouble now!

But should I be? What woman ever likes a picture taken of her? Can there be a flattering picture of anyone stickin out their tongue? What's a guy to do?

I promise Kim, I'll put up as flattering a picture of you as you would like...you may guest blog even!

Iacocca! Iacocca!

Cammie brought Master Noahie over and we went to a park.

I wrapped up Noahie and I rolled down a hill with him, just for the fun of rolling, while mama got it on camera!

As we were rolling, Noahie kept saying Iacocca, Iacocca! for reasons that are unknown to us!

I mean, I haven't even explained L'affaire Dreyfus to him yet, much less the Chrysler Bailout of '79!

He's still ahead of us in knowledge...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Kim -- givin' the raspberry to all things that need it

My friend Kim and I couldn't be more different, but that girl is as tight as hospital corners!

Had fun with Kim today; just coffee (decaf for the preggers Kimster) and a small stroll through Kerrytown with Moto-Chan in tow.

I find it interesting that we get along so well, as we couldn't be more different in so many ways; Kim is certainly widely travelled, and I am not. Kim radiates charm, and a sense of fun, and is still quite the beauty, ( Cammie compares here to Gwen Stefani, which we all agree with and like) while I still seem to be channeling Orsen Welles in "Touch of Evil" in so many ways...

Still, I know when the connection is made when I find myself wanting to do two things:

1.) Helping her get what she wants from life. Not in a controlling or savior kind of way, more like a fighter wingman attacking the Evil Nazi Bombers of Life. Got That?

2.) Wanting to share stuff that's cool (like Space Ghost!) just to watch her reaction and be informed forthwith, even if she doesn't like it.

Life is made better by such energies. Mucho love to K,M, and Moto-Chan, of course...


Of all things, I actually have what I need to make peanut butter cookies in this house at one time:

Peanut Butter, Sugar, Vanilla, and an Egg.

The egg is odd man out normally; The House of Fun just doesn't have 'em around that much, probably because my omelette making stinks on ice, so why embarass/frustrate yourself?

So why haven't I made peanut butter cookies? Ah, I've got three built-in reasons for that one, but they're all lies.

1.) I haven't any parchment paper or Pam -- they would stick! (lame, I know. Besides Cammie could help here)

2.) Goddamn it, save those eggs for yet another attempt at that Good Omelette! Who the frick am I kidding?

3.) I'm depressed -- the idea of peanut butter cookies unmade is better than actually making them, because you would then have to eat them and then they would be gone, and you couldn't go back to reason number two.

So I'm writing to say that I don't like this state of uneaten cookiedom, but through my own cluelessness I've backed myself into it. Who figured this out? Not me; it was a couple of characters from my unfinished novel that needled me about these frickin' cookies this very evening. And were they just talking to me about cookies? Was I listening? Am I now? I think so; I can actually post this for the world to read. If, by "world", I mean Cammie and I. Cammie is a world unto herself, so how many more planets do I need to orbit the windmills of my mind? Why do I write sentences like that, other than I'm tired? (OK, good enough reason)

Tommorow, I will decide to make cookies...or not. And either way is cool.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Workin' out the Fluffy Stuffin... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


Having been inspired and stimulated by two excellent entries, here, and here, in two excellent blogs, I thought that I would spin off something from them and talk about 1968. Btw if you aren’t reading the musings of James Lileks and Ann Althouse, you’ve probably just rolled into blogland on a cabbage truck. Correct this error and enlighten yourself forthwith.

First, let me talk about my own personal 1968. This is pretty easy; I was 10 years old and living in Detroit, so it can really only be about the ’68 Tigers and Denny McLain. My 9 year old self knew that the Gods rolled crooked dice in the end of the 1967 season, and that 1968 was going to be a pro forma easy victory for the Tigers. No, really, I was sure that this was going to happen, surer than I was about anything before or since in my life.

And sure enough -- it happened. Denny McLain went 31 and 6 and seemed unbeatable. My older, more baseball knowledgeable self knows this wasn’t true, and he may not have even been the best pitcher in the AL at the time, (Luis Tiant?) but my younger self is unburdened with such knowledge. I am now grateful that I lacked such insights. It made 1968 a magical place. I was old enough to remember what was most beautiful to me, but not so old that I was wrapped up in worrying about the Tet Offensive. It’s true that there was a lot of physical confrontations of campuses that year, but growing up with the Detroit riots of the previous year, I may have just assumed that Armed Insurrection was something did in the summer like, well, baseball. This summer the campuses, last summer the inner city; who knows, maybe next summer would be Stalingrad in the suburbs. Not your typical coming-of-age story, I’ll grant, but…so it goes.

But my personal 1968 is not really what we are discussing; rather we’re using the number as a shorthand about the present. Although this post of Lileks is mostly about Bob Crumb, there is such a strong anti-60’s flavor that I feel it deserves some comments:

Never liked Crumb -- his work always gave off that foreign 60s vibe that was so beloved by a certain demographic of the Stoner-American community, the Loser Whom Time Passed By. By the mid-70s there was nothing so pathetic as someone who held on to 1968 as the ne plus ultra of civilization, and felt content to ride out the subsequent decade in a haze of genial aimlessness. I used to wait on these guys every night -- they'd get off work at the U, order up a pitcher of 3.2 beer, and wander over to the jukebox to play Janis Fargin' Joplin tunes, A sides AND B sides, with a little Marley to show off their spiritual side. Urgh. One of them drew Mr. Natural on the wall of the men's room. They were distinct from the other Stoner demographic, the guys who would play old Stones tunes and play pool and smoke the strongest cigarettes allowed by law and give you an Elvis sneer if you came back to empty the ashtrays. They hated, on sight, the other college stoner clique, the Sensitive Types who listened to complex progressive rock and ordered tea with six packets of honey. (Dude, pack the bong. This cut has 7/8 time AND a Mellotron!) But somehow, if you were a stoner, you were supposed to appreciate Crumb. I never got it.

As much as I like the Whitman’s sampler of bon bon mots that Mr. Lileks provides, I just can’t accept the Grouchy Old Fart approach to ones past. Was he an Old Fart back then, or is he just a Neo Fart? If he was this cranky back then, my advice to him just for his health if nothing else, is to let that old wind blow away. And if this is a new animus, well, what are we doing at this late date choosing to pick on old stoners for? Dick Nixon was right when he said that you can’t get the toothpaste back into the tube, and James, you just can’t pass the same gas twice.

So some stoners remain caught in time; what of it? That chimera of a special time and place sure is hell isn’t limited to Joplin fans. Look how many WWII vets can’t get off Normandy! What’s the point of sarcasm when discussing why someone remains completely committed to a moment in the past?

God, I hate to say it, but isn’t it the most obvious thing that just to be the person we are today we HAD to be forged in a “1968,” a year, a place, another person that sets our course for a long time to come. Not all moments are equal, and even when we have forgotten those past enthusiasms (like Dr. Althouse does when she recalls her ‘70’s furnishings!) they shape what we react negatively to today, such that isn’t all we’re saying is what we don’t like about ourselves NOW?

It’s interesting to note that my 10 year old self didn’t think for a second that the 1969 Tigers would win, or that even that club in any form would win again. It was nice to be proven half-wrong when the over-the-hill Tigers won the American League East in 1972. In the end I am glad that I didn’t make a hero out of Denny McLain as the subsequent 30+ years would have revealed him to be a poor role model for Charles Keating. See here for the grisly details. But then again none of that later stuff affects how I see 1968.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Is it wrong?

To love Gawker Stawker (the way it should be spelled, in proper NooYorkese!) the way I do?

To stab yourself in the hand while trying to get more cheese?

To actually want to see certain movies, months, nay years ahead? To demand their videos be sold in the lobby when you are leaving the theatre?

To help someone get all the letters up the coconut tree? Even the missing 'Y'? (oh, y, y, y, did that happen?)

To wait for the snow to go?

To enjoy the twinkly lights? To pretend that they are your fireplace which will always be behind you?

Just to enjoy toast?

Yeah...I thought not....