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{Friday, September 30, 2005}

 
I once had a picture of a Model T that used to hang on the wall in my kitchen. It would fall askew when someone would walk in the back door and let it shut by itself. And each time I had to straighten it out afterward. It wasn’t always in my kitchen. Sometimes it had been in my bedroom, sometimes a hallway. I don’t remember a domicile I lived in that that picture wasn’t hanging somewhere. When I was a small boy, that old time car sparked my thoughts of a future when I would actually drive. I lay in bed at night, dreaming of long rides, getting lucky in the back seat (such as it was), driving to school . . . you name it. If you could do it in a car, the Model T was what I was going to do it with. So when I got my first car, a hand-me-down 67 Plymouth Valiant, I felt I had traded up. The dream had become a reality.
The romance died away within the week. My mind turned to more fanciful dreams. I used to think about what I would do if I had wheels. I looked over to the living room and gazed at the biplane model suspended from the ceiling. Now I dream of what it would be like if I had wings.

by ArchHallJr 11:44 PM


 
if I had wings

by Fred 1:23 PM




{Thursday, September 29, 2005}

 
I was halfway to City Hall when the drugs began to take hold. I was assigned to write a ’story’ on the council meeting that was to begin at 7:30PM. I think I made it. But it was like no other meeting I’d ever been to in my short and consequential life. Or like all of them, I don’t remember. It seemed as though the fun began trying to find a parking spot among all the official vehicles, some of which included cop cars and dogcatcher vans. There were also a few toboggans, a canoe and five minibikes with Marlon Brando impersonators on them. Navigating the parking lot with all these conveyances was tricky. Add delicate when I tried to squeeze my automobile in between that gathering of fat asses that sat around debating tribal regulations and what the white man had to do with helping Indians gain true sovereignty over their lands.

“Hey you injuns! Get inside and discuss that crap about your squaws and bastards! Don’t make me have to pass around bottles of firewater and blankets tainted with smallpox! And if I have to do that . . . you better get me some of your peyote because goddammit, I’m out!”

They all looked at me funny and one of them started farting the main title to Billy Jack. I got nervous and pulled out a pistol.

“Oh, you think it’s funny, eh?”

They didn’t think it was funny. They disappeared and left behind a war bonnet. I picked it up and danced into the building. I stopped the hooker outside of the judge’s chambers and asked her what time it was.

“9:30, hun.”

“Fuck! Don’t move! Wait. What is that on your shoulder?!?”

“Huh?”

“You can’t be too sure for being sure!”

I punched her in the arm and she screamed.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?”

“I don’t know . . . but there IS something wrong around here and I intend to get to the bottom of it. Do you wanna do some mescaline?”

by ArchHallJr 10:46 PM


 
going gonzo

by Fred 1:47 PM




{Wednesday, September 28, 2005}

 
The hike in was rather uneventful. Just me, my buddy Pete and the nature that showed us the way to camp. Starting out early in the morning, we arrived shortly after 3:00 PM. Tents were pitched, the bong was loaded and the JD flowed freely. Nothing quite like the great outdoors to make you want to party hard. As enjoyable and peaceful as the site was, it needed one more thing to make it a hair shy of perfect. Music. Pete had lugged a boom box over hill and dale so we could rock out to our favorite tunage. Suddenly, the chittering of squirrels and babbling of a brook was replaced by the sound of Ozzy Osbourne wailing on about going off the rails on a crazy train.

“I don’t appreciate your racket! I come up here for peace and quiet!”

We looked up to see a disgruntled camper who seemingly came out of nowhere to express his displeasure at our use of the airwaves. I looked at Pete, who shrugged and made a funny face as the guy took off. We watched him walk about 30 yards east, rollup his sleeping bag, throw what little gear he had out into his backpack and leave the trail camp. Neither one of us had noticed the poor fellow when we had come in earlier. Pete started to sing, “There is unrest in the forest . . .” I laughed along with Pete as we dismissed the whole incident and went back to our dope, booze and music. But in the back of my mind, I wondered why the hell we couldn’t be back in my apartment doing the very same thing.

by ArchHallJr 11:38 PM


 

Karen was a writer. Every thought, emotion or experience only became real to her when she put it into words. She would set the scene, introduce the characters, and let the plot unfold. Even in casual conversation, she liked to control the narrative. But she was at a loss for words. There were many for what was next, elegant poetic phrases, sharp crisp nouns so many to choose from, but there was a break in the story . . .


It was a dark and stormy night (it really was) Karen after hours struggling with her New Yorker article was starting to have a sugar crash, She knew better than to go without eating, but with George out of town, she had not bothered make dinner plans. It was 2:00 am, and she had not eaten since a hurried cup of tea with her sister Marie. There was no milk in the house, so her favorite late night snack was denied her. The delivery drivers had stopped hours ago, so she decided to run down to the convenience store located two blocks down. Kenny Morales had taken over from the old man, and stayed open late. Kenny was a bit of a dirt-bag, but he kept a clean place Ting ting sounded the cheap bell as she went through the door to Kenny’s place. Jerry Springer was on the thankfully silent television, rabid talk radio buzzed out of the radio as Kenny leered over his copy of Hustler as Karen made her way to the dairy case. “ Wow Kenny is a real multi-tasker” Karen chuckled to herself. Ting ting and a raspy “HEY” then Here was the break.

There was no word for that sound. Bang? Pow? These silly words could not begin to describe the sound of the shotgun that would end her life.

by mews 8:50 PM


 
What are you listening to?

by Fred 1:05 PM




{Tuesday, September 27, 2005}

 
The jump. The leap. The call. It beckons, yet I cannot answer. I move through my day much as anyone, yet I seem stymied by . . . something. It happens when I read the paper and especially when I sit down on the toilet with a can of Lysol to pass the time away. But most disturbing is when I am writing. I’ll be hacking away at some nice new narrative or dialogue when I start a word . . . and cannot get past the tenth letter! It boggles my mind. I am a wordsmith. This should not happen to me. The other day, it sent me into a near panic attack! I was writing some back-story on one of my subjects when it hit. I was writing . . . a word that started with gubernator…and I began to sweat. My heart began to pound. I had to look away from the paper as I crumpled it up and threw it in the circular file. Had I always been this way? Would I be able to make the jump from children’s books to hard science fiction?

by ArchHallJr 10:21 PM


 
hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

by Fred 12:55 PM




{Monday, September 26, 2005}

 

Signal Interruption

It waited with the patience that only an immortal thing can afford. Its fleshy tendrils quivered to life, if such a thing as this could be said to have flesh. If such a thing as this could be described as alive. Deep in the blackest of outer space a mind, evil and ancient turned its attention towards the world it left millennia ago. A signal. Faint and distant, wavering yet undeniable. A signal quite unintentionally sent out to the reaches of space to alert any possible friends, brothers of distant worlds that Earth had come of age. That humans had evolved and that with unprecedented optimism they broadcast their humor, their drama and tragedies about the world for all to see. This was the age of technology. The age of electronics. This was the age of man. This was the age of man’s doom.

<>
Hearing the signal in turned. Not with evil intent - for good and evil were constructs of mortal man – it turned toward the planet it had left so long ago. Toward the world it had seeded with the potential for a sentient life. Drifting on the thin thread of radio broadcasts and television signals the Great Dark returned. The harvest was ready.

by Shawn 11:59 PM


 
The days were long, the nights were short. That’s all he knew. Just how long and how short was anyone’s guess but since the shuttle’s crash landing on this uncharted world, Charlie Loops had run out of everything but imagination. The only modern piece of equipment he had left was the transponder he carried in his hip pack. Hand sized and just heavy enough to feel significant, the device would be his salvation. He had become quite adept at hunting the small fauna of this world after his rations and supplements ran out. He’d even become quite fond of the meat of the animal he had dubbed ‘walking turd’. It literally looked like a walking stick with shit for a body. It looked repugnant but it was damn good eating. As an added bonus, it didn’t kill him, either. A steady electronic whine followed by four distinct pulses sounded off on the transponder. Could it be? He had thought he had heard the signal denoting a rescue ship in orbit before, but he hadn’t heard the signal repeat. He had chalked it up to the wishful thinking of a famished castaway. He counted for ten seconds and heard the signal once again. God, he was hungry. He would wait for one more set of codes before expending the battery’s energy to deliver the homing pointer that would bring him his deliverance. There! Again! He pressed the broadcast button. He readied his weapons. Sustenance would arrive soon.

by ArchHallJr 10:56 PM


 
signal interruption

by Fred 12:36 PM




{Friday, September 23, 2005}

 

things that go bump in the night

by Fred 10:56 AM




{Thursday, September 22, 2005}

 
Attached to this e-mail,
please find a squid.
It took me hours to find it;
I'm sure you can see that it did.
If you just open it up,
you'll see that it's not so big.
Just read past the ink,
'cause that's how they keep themselves hid.

Attached to this e-mail,
please find a duck.
If you were expecting a gosling,
then you're quite out of luck.
You can blame Norman Mallard
if you don't think that's passing the buck.
He drafted this message
and claimed that it wouldn't suck.

Attached to this e-mail,
please find my evil twin.
He's shifty and shady
with a too toothsome grin.
You'd better delete this
and not let him in.
He's far worse than spam;
at least you know where that's been.

Attached to this e-mail,
please find the past 2,000 years,
full of historical stuff,
celebrations and fears.
If you wade through the mess,
you'll find it stacked up in tiers.
But don't let it topple
or you'll upset yesterday's gears.

Attached to this e-mail,
please find this e-mail itself,
like a Moebius strip
looped by some nightmarish elf.
Don't give it a thought;
just leave it there on the shelf.
You've read it already once;
a second go cannot help.

by Fred 8:34 PM


 
an unnatural attachment

by Fred 9:43 AM




{Wednesday, September 21, 2005}

 
I've got a vampire dentist
He's got a jones for fluoride and blood
He can shapeshift into mist
But the truth is, he's so good
That the stake I got in my fist
Never goes through his heart like it should
I can't kill my undead DDS
Even though I know I should

He says, don't mind the fangs,
Just open real wide, gargle, now rinse.
They're tipped with novocaine
You won't feel a thing 'cept maybe a pinch.
And the truth is, there's no pain,
Pretty soon even flossing's a cinch
When you join the dental undead,
Keeping teeth clean sure is a cinch.

by Fred 6:30 PM


 

You know, consuming human flesh can really contribute to halitosis. There are a number of products available to cut down on this anti-social tendency. Now I know some of you zombies out there are not overly concerned as you spend most of your time in a swarm, but that is why your population has developed such a reputation for stupefaction and slowness. You never hear some unfortunate hung-over slob described as reacting or moving like a windigo do you? You can’t blame it all on Romero. Wouldn’t you like to have an opportunity to attend some truly chthonian functions?

Bad breath decreases you social drawing power. Now you can spend a great deal of money and effort in clearing up the problem, or you can stop it before it starts. Take it from me, The Bogeyman, consume only the flesh of children, the younger the better. Try some nursing babies. Sure you will have to eat more frequently, but you will never experience that bloated heavy feeling one gets from consuming cardiac patients. I promise you have never had sweeter or fresher meat. The flesh is less corrupted, so you have fine fresh breath. take this advice and soon you will find yourself on your way to Beelzebub’s Bash.

by mews 12:45 PM


 
minty fresh

by Fred 10:44 AM




{Tuesday, September 20, 2005}

 
I prefer boysenberry more than any ordinary jam. I'm a Citizens for Boysenberry Jam fan. - Simon and Garfunkel, Punky's Dilemma

The planet's rivers were made of jam. There was no getting around it; the viscous lines that seemed to snake everywhere the landing party wenty -- in valleys, around mountains, et cetera -- were unmistakably jam. In the northern continents, it appeared to be predominantly strawberry, said Science Officer William Bradley, the only one of his team to actually risk tasting the stuff. In the south, apple cinammon.

Bradley was at a loss to explain it. While the planet had its share of vegetation, it had nothing that looked like strawberries, applies or cinammon. What fruit the science team had gathered as pungent, often noxious, and the only comparable flavors on Earth, said Bradley, would be burning tires or rotted meat. The presence of jam rivers could not be easily explained.

Nor could Bradley tell Commander Charles if the fish that swam in those rivers were dangerous. They certainly looked threatening enough. Bradley would not, or could not, say, but it was the considered opinion of many on his team that the fish were in some way intelligent. Norberts had gone as far as to suggest they were making the jam, that it was somehow a fish trick and that Lt. Cmdr. Bradley would surely die if he continued spreading river silt on his morning toast.

by Fred 11:59 PM


 
“Does anyone in the audience know how to play guitar?”

I never thought I would hear that going to this old blues club but who would have? I had seen the nearly comatose Robert “The Other” Johnson, lead guitar player of the ‘The Other Blues Project’, stumbling around backstage from my vantage point on the club floor. It appeared that “The Other” would not be in any shape to play this evening. I raised both arms in the air and shouted at the top of my lungs:

“I do!”

I was told to come backstage. I was confronted by an elderly black man wearing Ray-Bans who touched his face a lot.

“Young man,” he began in a smoky voice, “Do you know how to jam?”

“Old man, I came outta my mama playin’!” I lied.

The drummer started, the bass player joined in and the keyboards rang out. They all looked at me. The audience. The band. The security guards. Everyone. I started to play and I sounded better than any time I had ever played before. A lot better. In no time, I was jamming along with the rest of the band like an old pro. They were looking at me but this time, with a look of awe. The audience was in rapture. I then felt pain on my fingertips. Blood ran from them, but I didn’t care. The music that was coming from me was unearthly. I looked at the old man in the Ray-Bans as he whacked on the keys. Were those horns protruding from under his hat?

by ArchHallJr 2:37 PM


 
Back in my misbegotten youth when I lived with a really bad boyfriend and his sweetheart of a roommate we used to hang around in our fantastic apartment and sing. Asshole played the guitar reasonably well, and sweetheart and I had voices that blended well. My meso-soprano was balanced by his baritone and we improvised. One memorable session resulted in a scratchy recording of a blues infused acoustic version of “What I like about You” that still sounded pretty good even when the filters of booze and pot were removed. But then Assholes abuse of me escalated; Sweetheart bailed; and I was stuck with heartache, a miserable self-image and the rent of an apartment that consumed ninety percent of my salary.

These days my jam sessions involve berries picked by my darling little boy, laughing in the kitchen, bad puns about jamming, the USDA website for tips and recipes, and a whole bunch of sugar. The music of everyday life and good friends still comes through, and there are much sweeter results to share with others

by mews 11:55 AM


 
jam session

by Fred 10:41 AM




{Monday, September 19, 2005}

 
Velcro shoes? The 15 foot jump shot? Truly scary horror movies? Modesty? McDonald’s French Fries? Customer service? The Class of ’65? Real muscle cars? Men’s cologne? Tap water? New Wave? Punk Rock? AOR radio stations? Solid color basketball shoes? Looney Tunes? Southern Fried Rock? The metric system change over? Less than a dollar for a pack of smokes? Bald guys? Medium rare hamburgers served in a restaurant? Speed Buggy? Zotz? Chimney sweeps? The Golden C.O.D.? The time when the bottling number of Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve beer meant something . . . or at least you pretended it did? Baby Jane? Bums? Trolls? Dank? Schwag? Beanie babies? Sinistar? Holmes & Yoyo? STDs that didn’t kill you? The time when an STD was called VD? Knobs on television sets? Watches you had to wind? Really cool westerns? Really cool Star Wars movies? When the Stones were old and cool instead of old and pathetic? When SNL was funny?

I don’t know, but I know of at least one person who’d like an answer to all of these questions.

by ArchHallJr 10:47 PM


 
Whatever happened to
whatever happens?
Whatever became of
I'll always be there?
Where's it been hiding,
that you'll always find me,
that I'm right behind you.
Can you please tell me where?

How long's it been missing?
Were we too short-sighted to see?
How did this us
become just you, then just me?

by Fred 7:30 PM


 
Whatever happened to...?

by Fred 10:22 AM




{Friday, September 16, 2005}

 

Weird Games

It’s always fun until someone loses an eye, and sometime even more fun afterwards. As is the case with so many things that later turn out to be a bad idea, the game seemed innocent and harmless at first.

It would have been no great surprise to anyone who worked with Jason in the cubical farm that was TelePrompt, one of the most annoying of tele-marketing firms, that he was in fact an avid computer gamer. He was fortunately spared such social skills that would interfere with his propensity for late nights hacking, slashing, modding, spawn camping, leveling and so on. It was however a great surprise when his nebbish life of diet Coke and cold calls seemingly took a turn. For the successful.

He found the LIFE/LIFE in the bargain bin of a small, mom and pop game shop he had never noticed before. If Jason read books he would have known better than to trust any such small shop that one typically finds down narrow, deserted alleys. They always seem to sell things mysterious and questionable and the shop itself always goes missing after the sale is made. True to form.

In any case, the game he had never heard of before and looked to be a reasonably good knock off of The Simms, Jason decided to give it a try. Ten bucks, why not. It was in fact a reasonably good knock off of the Simms and by 3 am Jason’s avatar had been promoted twice at the office and was dating the type of woman one always finds in computer games and rarely elsewhere. Within a week Jason had his own office and Kandi, his new boss, had invited him to lunch. Twice. Within a two weeks his avatar had a corner office and Jason had lost the one thing no 26 year old man wants anyhow: his virginity. Within a month his avatar was conducting himself with incredible, albeit virtual, aplomb in all areas of life and Jason was showing up at Magic tournaments in a Z4 Roadster.

Inevitably he returned to the mysterious game shop and was delighted to find the sequel LIFE/LIFE Zombie Flood.

by Shawn 11:59 PM


 
Weird is a relative term but I can tell you that like any halfway normal (or abnormal) boy, I played my share of weird games. Most of them involved pain and violence of some sort or the other. There was one that could only have evolved in the time of big Goody handle combs. Late 70’s, early 80’s. This ‘game’ started where one guy would make a fist, hold his arm out and place the comb on the back of the hand. He would then stand there as still as he could while the other guy would try and grab the comb and hit the back of the hand he took the comb from. Of course, the other guy had to try and move his hand out of the way before the comb hit him. Sounds like fun, huh? There were penalties for flinching. If you moved your hand prematurely (before the comb left the back of the hand) then you were subject to a ‘free whack’. There were lots of bloody knuckles around school those days.
Another weird game was ‘smear the queer’. Basically it was a cross between a rugby scrum and a free-for-all gang fight. A group of at least 3-4 guys would get a football and decide who was ‘the queer’. ‘The queer’ would then have to run with the football while everyone else tried to tackle him and take the football away. Whoever got the football became ‘the queer’ and the cycle would begin all over again.
Yep, those weird games definitely involved pain and violence.

by ArchHallJr 11:04 PM


 
weird games

by Fred 12:06 PM




{Thursday, September 15, 2005}

 
The chilly, late autumn breeze fluttered through my half-buttoned jacket as I walked through the cemetery. I didn’t often cut through, especially not at night, as it seemed to be a disrespectful thing to do. But tonight, I was trying to make it home on time to watch my favorite TV show’s season premiere as I had forgotten to set my VCR.
It wasn’t just that it was a disrespectful thing to do; it also scared the hell out of me. All that death in one place. Who was watching me? Walking next to me? Trying to whisper a message in my ear? I hurried my pace. Then something compelled me to look at one of the tombstones. I had never really done that before. Sure, I saw the tombstones. But I never read the names or inscriptions. I stopped and read this one:

John Joseph Baden
Beloved Husband and Father
Faithful Friend
July 16th, 1918 – August 5th, 1999


Beloved. Faithful. These words did not seem to me to denote death or emptiness. I read another:

Sheila Francine O’Brien
She gave of herself to the world whatever she could
And took nothing but love given freely in return
February 23rd, 1903 – December 11th, 1976


I was no longer frightened as I walked through the cemetery that night. And I made it a point to walk through it whenever I got the chance, no matter what time of day it was. There, I only felt love and life from that day forward.

by ArchHallJr 11:45 PM


 

Well the first sign was the peeing. Lots and lots of peeing, and some farting as well. Next I remember really not enjoying the smell of uncooked meat. Then came the bone crushing fatigue. I would wake up and have my one cup of coffee a day go to my morning job yawning. Go to exercise class. Go home and take a nap. Go to swing shift job, walk clients to the grocery store or to Gonuts for Donuts shop (which was a bit ironic given the fact that I was working in a group home for the mentally ill). I attended to client and facility needs until 9:30 then doze on the couch in the office until shift change, then I would stagger the two and a half blocks home and collapse on the couch immediately asleep. The fatigue hit me like a freight train long before the little pink line appeared in the window.

After the confirmation of the long awaited and much anticipated pregnancy, I looked forward to my metamorphosis. Soon I would stop being the bloated exhausted woman peeing every 3.5 minutes and I would become (cue the angelic chorus or primal drummers depending on my ever swinging moods) the Sacred Vessel. I had a little sense of that the first time they put the Doppler on me, when I heard that ethereal sound like some squishy Morse code from an underwater world: whoohl whoohl whoohl whoohl So impossibly fast and darting away as if to escape capture. But when the Doppler was taken off I still felt alone in my body.

Then one morning as I awaited the absurd weekly four-hour staff meeting, “What the hell?” he (and I knew he was a he from the get go though I never had this suspicion confirmed until he was in my arms) made his presence known. It was not a kick or a jolt. Those came later. It was a flutter, exactly as if a moth had blundered into a lampshade. From then on I became we.

by mews 7:09 PM


 
signs of life

by Fred 5:25 PM




{Wednesday, September 14, 2005}

 
Guernsey Mooler stepped back from the vat, mouth agape. At this point of her long day, she couldn’t seem to grasp the reality of what she had learned. All four stomachs churned with an acidity she never before experienced. Her whole life had been an impenetrable veil. She now knew a truth that very few bovines in the world knew. Oh, they suspected that there was prevarication involved in most of their dealings with the government, but they most certainly did not know the hideous truth.
When her mother died earlier that day, she felt compelled to follow the recyclers that took her dead body for reclamation. She had always wondered, “Reclamation for what?” And now she knew the answer. As must her whole planet know if they were to ever regain any innocence back. The Angus guards took her away on a stretcher as she screamed incoherently, “You've gotta tell them! Salient Green is made of cheese! They’re made of cheese!”

by ArchHallJr 11:52 PM


 
They're made of cheese!

by Fred 12:23 PM




{Tuesday, September 13, 2005}

 
“Damn. I’m sorry. I tried to get to you on time but I just can’t seem to get through this traffic.”

“Perhaps you should try leaving earlier.”

“Hadn’t thought of that. I’ll see you when I get there.” Beep.

What the hell? Does she think I don’t care? Of course I do. Don’t I? I really hate it when people give me that whole ‘better plan on being delayed so you get there a little early instead of a little late’ jazz. I expect that from a boss. But from my girlfriend? This relationship is going nowhere fast. Or is it? Last week our Saturday night date consisted of us going to some friends of hers house and talking about . . . what the hell were we talking about? Hell, did we do anything? All I know is we didn’t watch TV, we didn’t drink booze and we didn’t even play a stupid game like Twister or Jenga. I would’ve been bored but at least I would have remembered it. It must have been so boring that I blanked out the whole episode from my mind. I sometimes wonder if dating a clinical hypnotist is worth it. I then think about that perfect body and the fantastic sex. Who knew a 60-year-old woman could look so . . . striking? All I know is I am going to leave earlier for our dates.

by ArchHallJr 11:32 PM


 
"If the good doctor will cease his dematerializing, we can get on with the questioning."

So spoke Senator Charles Rosewater, the ranking Democrat, near the close of the opening day in the US Senate confirmation hearings for the first time-traveller-American nominated to the Supreme Court in almost eighty years.

Dr. Wilson Paul O'Donnell, hereinafter referred to simply as the nominee had of course been the clear choice of then president Mathias Smith -- who, despite the hardly surprising controversy surrounding O'Donnell's* nomination, stood by the choice and had lauded the nominee as recently as that day's Good Morning America.

Now, however, well into the seventh hour of the senate hearings and with many more days ahead, tennsions were already starting to run high. Rosewater, in particular, had been repeatedly angered by the nominee's apparent refusal to remain in any one place (or, rather, time) for very long.

"I recognize that, as a time traveller, dematerialization is par for the course," said the senator. "And that, as some studies show, it may not wholly under your control. But it does make this more than difficult. If you could refrain...? I submit, sir: can't you sit still?"

The nominee murmured his apologies and soldified.

"Just skipping ahead an hour or so, Senator," he said, taking a sip of water from the glass in front of him. "I admit, I wanted to see how this would turn out."

The senator bristled at this.

"The nominee has been warned against that sort of behavior," Rosewater said. "Time travel is to be kept to a bare minimum while these hearings are underway."

And therein lay the heart of the controversy: the nominee's status as a time traveller and questions of whether he would use the ability to retroactively overturn court decisions he found unpopular so he himself would never need to rule on them at all. If you could travel back in time and prevent Roe v. Wade from ever happening, no one could ever question you about the decision. You could remake the court however you -- or your president -- saw fit.

* Okay, hereinafter.

by Fred 6:09 PM


 
If you're not here, where are you?

by Fred 10:53 AM




{Monday, September 12, 2005}

 
What can one say about cave paintings that hasn't been said a thousand times already? One hesitates even to bring up the subject in conversation, such is the extent to which they have permeated our cultural subconcious. One is reminded, of course, of the paintings discovered in southwest France in 1940, but also of lesser cultural "events" as well -- such as the cave-dwelling trolls of the much-loved Zork chronicles or of those oft-lampooned Batman villians of the mid-1960s: the conniving Airbrush, the duplicitous Pastel, and that dreaded nadir of comic book art, the Van Goghginator. There is also Andy Warhol's frequently quoted observation that, in the future, everyone will be spelunking for fifteen minutes. Yet there is little evidence to suggest that Warhol himself was a spelunker, or much of an outdoorsman-artist at all. One of his proteges, Jean Michel Basquiat, even went so far, after a notorious split with the other artist, to suggest that Warhol had never heard of caves, nor could he even spell the word cave.

by Fred 5:45 PM


 
cave paintings

by Fred 10:31 AM




{Friday, September 09, 2005}

 
Sometimes I just don't feel like writing
Sometimes the words just aren't my friends
When I can't get past the beginnings
Don't get me started on middles or ends

Sometimes the words just aren't coming
Sometimes I've got places to go
Sometimes can seem like forever
At times when the writing's so slow

Sometimes I just want to be elsewhere
Anywhere but with paper and pen
Sometimes five minutes can feel like an hour
I don't dare stretch it out til it's ten

Sometimes I just don't feel like writing
But that's when I most need to write
It's whenever you think that you're beaten
That's when you don't dare give up the fight

by Fred 6:07 PM


 
Sometimes, I just don't feel like writing.

by Fred 12:56 PM




{Thursday, September 08, 2005}

 

Instead of Scarlet I think I’ll be spending the day with Attila. You see my children have been taking turns being ill. My older son, Garrison, smart, funny a bit of an esthete, lives in his head and wears his heart on his sleeve, and becomes even more emotionally fragile when ill. A minor cold can send him into heavy sighing “ i … don’t … think … i …can… go to school today Mom.” He whimpers and wilts. He practically fans himself and warns of his oncoming attack of the vapors. He becomes Scarlet O’Hara (as played by William Shatner).

And this last ailment was no minor cold. It was the viral equivalent of a mugging, no warning, violent, traumatic and (thank the stars) over reasonably quickly. He spent one night vomiting over and over and one day sleeping. For him it was done. Two days later his brother came down with the same thing. Number two son, Declan is no shrinking violet. He, like his brother is an intelligent child, but in a less cerebral way. He is inquisitive with a very clear understanding of mischief. He generally has a sunny disposition. That all changed when he got sick. As he vomited he raged, shouting at the top of his lungs with furrowed brow and contorted hands “I HATE BEING SICK” (think Shatner in Star Trek the Movie II “Khaaaan”), my sweet little boy became Attila the Hun. Then he slept.

So far neither my husband nor I have gotten the bug.

by mews 11:59 PM


 
Instead of ____________, I think I'll ____________.

by Fred 11:24 AM




{Wednesday, September 07, 2005}

 
I was an English major. While science and math hold some interest for me, I have no great faculty for either, no untapped talents that will lead me to chalkboards awash with theorems or books intended for anyone other than the layperson. I am the layperson. I don't understand math and science the way I hope I understand the written word. (Not that I don't still have miles to go in that regard, too.) The point is, I'm not too terribly scientifically or mathematically inclined. And yet I've worked for a professor of mechanical engineering, and I'm currently employed as an editorial assistant in chemistry and mathematics/statistics. I think it may help that I don't understand the books we publish -- or, back when I was on the other side of it in academia, the books we submitted for publication. You could call it a regrettable incuriosity, but it's hard for me to muster much personal curiosity, much less enthusiasm for Bayesian statistics or Abelian geometry or surfactant scinece. I'm not the intended audience. I just help the process along and ensure that the books are publushed. We have editors and advisors to let us know if a topic is worth pursuing, and the editors for whom I work go after the books they think will do well in the market. I recognize titles and key words that reappear, but I don't understand it. I'm not a math person.

by Fred 11:59 PM


 
mathematical oddities

by Fred 10:20 AM




{Tuesday, September 06, 2005}

 
sleight of hand
height of a man
who stands maybe six,
maybe seven feet tall over the audience
with a rabbit-filled hat on his head,
mustache like polished steel
curled toward the heavens
(you could poke out an eye with that thing),
and a gleam in his own eye
that's already got them
looking the other way,
even before he points there with his wand.
and
presto change-o
a-la-kazaam,
nothing happens:
some smoke or a scarf,
and all of them are
sitting on the edge of their seats;
they are the edge of their seats,
like the edge of a knife,
waiting to be whetted, honed,
waiting to be amazed.
"That should have worked,"
the magician says.
"I just know it should.
It always did in rehearsal."
And now they're
looking the other way,
not at the rabbit ears
drooping down the side of the hat
or the wand he knifes through the air,
but at the door,
thinking,
"we paid good money for this?"

by Fred 6:06 PM


 
sleight of hand

by Fred 9:13 AM




{Friday, September 02, 2005}

 
lately

by Fred 12:32 PM




{Thursday, September 01, 2005}

 
it's no use hiding
there's nowhere to hide
they'll find you within
they'll find you outside
they know where you are
they've searched far and wide
they know you're afraid
your fear's been their guide

it's no use hiding
there's nowhere to hide
you can search all you want
but I tell you no lie
they'll search you out
nowhere you go they won't spy
your fear gives you away
wherever you fly

by Fred 6:41 PM


 
It's no use hiding.

by Fred 12:29 PM



 

<blockquote class="topic">your topic</blockquote>