Sunday, February 28, 2010

Uncle Silver

I spent a wonderful evening last night celebrating my youngest nephew's 11th birthday. We had our own Olympics ceremony, and I'm proud to report I won the overall Silver Medal. Not bad, I boast, considering the competition: three uber-competitive nephews, a niece, a very competitive niece's boyfriend, a sister and a brother-in-law. For the games I was Uncleovakia, and proud I was to represent my Slovakian brothers and sisters.

We had a pentathlon, points awarded in each of five events adding up to the grand winner. An unfortunate gutter ball with my first roll in the family room bowling contest--knocking over empty pop and beer cans with a small rubber ball--got me off to an inauspicious start, which was compounded in the next event, the living room putting contest where former golf coach me didn't even place. Some of the more pessimistic Slovaks (there are known to be a few fatalistic ones) in my entourage were calling for my head, but I had a secret weapon working for me: sussing correctly that there would be no urine testing at these games (despite the presence of a top-notch RN), I started loading up on black jelly beans. Juicing! you howl? Oh no, you warn, watch out for Uncleovakia at dinner; 'Roid Rage is bound to erupt if you don't pass him the delicious potato(e)s promptly? Nah, just seizing the opportunity to gain a little "competitive advantage." Well, the beans kicked in (as beans will) when we got upstairs for the "shooting combined" event. I believe "stunned" would be the word to describe my fellow competitors' demeanor after I made five of ten over-the-staircase-and-across-the-hallway mini-basketball shots, nothing-but-netting my last, pressurized shot to nose out Nephew Canada, my soon-to-be true nemesis. Having some definite Quaker-pacifist leanings, naturally the Nerf-gun-shooting-flying-suction-cup-darts-at-a-target-on-a-door portion of the shooting event presented me with some issues, but the jelly bean buzz I was then experiencing full-bore got me through my time at the trigger rather qualmlessly; my numbers there, combined with my prowess at the hoop, placed me second in the combined event. The Slovak faithful had cause to cheer, cautiously.

Downstairs to the basement for the mystery event: Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Well, if curling and synchronized swimming are Olympic events, who am I to quibble? I just put my head down, my blindfold on, channeled my inner ass, and went for butt. Not too shabbily, either; I wound up second again (are we picking up on a pattern?). My sister, the Avery Brundage of these Olympics, showed she has a little Jim McKay/Roone Arledge panache in her: before the culminating event, to stoke the fans' ardor, we athletes broke for dinner. My brother-in-law, the Jacques Pepin of the games, had cooked up a delicious corned beef and potato(e)s feast, which we all enjoyed with zeal. By the time the birthday cake was lit and we all sang "Happy Birthday," the trash talking was in full swing, as well as trying to figure out all the possible scenarios for gold, silver, and bronze. Tied for second at the time, with gold well within reach, the Slovak contingent ate with confidence and helped himself to a second helping of corned beef.

The final event, back down in the basement stadium, was a new one to the eyes and athletic limbs of the Slovakians: a board game called Sliders. And let me just say this: when they're making board games of curling, it's time to check the horizon for the galloping of the Four Horsemen and bend your ear to see if indeed they aren't muttering, "Eh, hoser." After a quick crash-course in the ways and means of board-game curling, I was ready for my first round match with Nephew Finland, I believe he was from. Result, quick dispatch. Yes, the Slovaks, when it comes to board-game curling, are underdogs and dark horses all rolled (and broomed) into one helluva beast. Next up was the birthday boy, who, despite being the expert board-game curler like no one but a newly-turned eleven-year-old boy can be, had made the fatal mistake earlier in the evening of trading (or is it traitoring) his USA allegiance for Denmark. Do you believe in miracles? Yes! Like the storied Prince of Denmark, the kid was tragically defeated, this time by a marauding gang of Slovak curlers. The World, I believe, sat up and took notice at this time.

So we were down to it: Uncleovakia versus Nephew Canada in the Sliders finals. Winner wins overall Gold, loser winds up tied for Silver with niece's boyfriend Somethingorother-istan. Al Michaels (never, ever Bob Costas) drank some honey, put the headset on, and called the action. Action-packed indeed. A few near misses on either side, a near-lethal game-changing slider or two, and then, groan, defeat for the valiant Slovaks. Oh Nephew Canada went Gold. Did the Slovaks hang their heads, though? No, they proudly whupped Boyfriendistan in a tie-breaking game of Sliders and mounted the second tier of the podium (pictures may seem inconclusive, as Boyfriendistan, despite being a step below on the podium, was still at least even with, if not an inch or two above, Uncleovakia in the height department, but look closely, that's silver hanging from Uncle's neck, mere bronze on -istan boy's).

The moral: Never underestimate a graying, black jelly bean-popping Slovak who grew up playing not high-tech video games, but good (now, I guess, sad to say) old-fashioned board games.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

And Another Thing About Nuns...

Seemingly can't get enough about nuns. J.D. Salinger once wrote: "Everybody is a nun." Contemplate among your various selves while you watch the snow pile up.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Due To The Weather...

...and these updates just in to add to our list of closings and cancellations:

Every charter school with an exotic, seemingly sham-name within a two hundred mile radius, the Gompers ski club 35th year reunion, Mindy's tier 1 client massages, the semi-formal bonfire at Frank's, the Miserable This, Forbes rally at Public Square, the Hey David wine and cheese, any book club not scheduled to discuss a Nicholas Sparks book, the orgy in Room 1217 at the Randall Park Howard Johnson's, Alanis Morissette's comeback, the Welcome Back Russell Branyan spaghetti dinner underneath the Hope Memorial Bridge, Ruth's mea culpa, spring, LeBron James's pending free agency, all fair-haired and -skinned people's sunburns, George, the This Is Not Your Forebear's Druidic Club's Annual Dance Around the Snow-Making Machine Pot-Luck Rite at Boston Mills, any and all downtown development (wait a minute, that one's left over from the Blizzard of '02), the Browns' Super Bowl Victory Parade, Fitz's nightly walk, #385's RGIS, publication of J.D. Salinger's latest novel, Emily's shelving cart, the check in the mail, the Operate Your Own Cryonics Business Out of the Comfort of Your Own Home informational seminar at the Airport Ritz-Carlton, Otis Lloyd Floyd's resurrection (delayed two hours), the Tammy Faye Bakker Memorial Make-up-In at Southgate U.S.A., coffee with Pat, the expectorateyourchaw blog, the ptooeyyourfingernail blog, the spitoutyourgum blog, th-


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lucille Clifton, RIP

I was saddened when I read the other day that the poet Lucille Clifton died nearly two weeks ago. I discovered her poetry about ten years ago, and I always voraciously read any of her volumes I can find. When I was asked to participate in an African-American Literature Read-In a few years ago, Lucille Clifton was the first writer I thought of to read. Her poems are like poetic shots of whiskey--concise, straight-forward, explosive. She wrote mostly from personal experience, and her poems are deceptively simple, like great prayers. They embrace celebration, perseverance, humor, pain, memory, dignity. When you read her, you feel in the presence of a friend. A wise, tough, compassionate, twinkling friend.

Lucille Clifton-Cruelty

Lucille Clifton-yes Lord, he was born...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Does This Bookmark Make Me Look Fat? (Book Club Discussion Questions In Search Of A Novel To Be Applied To)

Congratulations! You've finished the book (or at least are going to try to bluff your way through another book club get-together). The following questions should help you and your fellow book club members enjoy a spirited discussion of the book in your hands, help you gain insights into the book you may have been too distracted (or just too damn ignorant) to have picked up on in the first place, and most important, keep your book club discussion focused on the book rather than drifting into inane gossip and bad-mouthing the two members who have just missed their third discussion in a row.

  1. Nobody's judging here, we're all friends, did you finish the book? Make it halfway through? Read the cover? Do you ever read any of the books Alex picks?
  2. Who was supposed to bring the wine this time?
  3. Just asking, does anybody, um, can't stand reading?
  4. Did this book make you cry?
  5. If no, would you still recommend it?
  6. Did anybody else think the main character was, like, an animal until about page 75?
  7. Does anybody else hate coming to book club at Shelly's house?
  8. What's that smell?
  9. How you do feel about the choice of font?
  10. On page 38, when Mario makes the pass at Julie, was that just like middle school or something or what?
  11. Did anyone else have erotic dreams about Mario's mechanic, Floyd, who appears briefly on pages 89 and 93 and then is like totally forgotten by the author?
  12. Can one plausibly make the case that the whole Mario, laid off, whispering to horses and suddenly wearing kilts episode is an allegory for the passion of Christ?
  13. Is it just my imagination, or does anyone find it highly probable that the author, the ambiguously named Terry Flugle, underwent a sex change operation during the course of writing this book? Oh yeah, just check out the passage from pages 147-151, beginning, "With the ease of a lazy kite, Mario strolled onto the veranda," and ending "...unless of course Claudette was the plumber's helper."
  14. Does anyone know what the word "mien" on page 179, toward the bottom, means?
  15. Who forgot to flush?
  16. Given a Marxist-Feminist reading, could you argue that Mario's attempted murder of the Bingo game operator is not only justified but goddamn necessary?
  17. The part where Mario talks to the waitress about roofing and lesions, and there's all that description of the butter pads, what the hell's going on there?
  18. Would Mario make a good lifeguard? Show your work.
  19. Deus ex machina: the dolphin piloting the helicopter off the grounds of the rehab center?
  20. Does Nicholas Sparks have a new one out?
Little Willie John-Talk To Me, Talk To Me

Monday, February 22, 2010

Comment: The Sun Sucks

It's not as if I rack them up like Cleveland does mentions on dubious lists, but I treasure each and every one of the Comments I receive after (some) of my posts. It's the feedback from and interaction with my legions of fans that make this electronic scribbling so worthwhile. A few posts ago I mentioned something about working on my sunburn (a definite fantasy in Cleveland in February) and I received the following comment from "Bill":

Bill said...

It is always best to avoid sunburn if at all possible! However, I have a very light complexion and struggle with sunburns a lot. Fortunately, I found an all-natural product called Regen. It took the pain out of the sunburn and stopped the blistering and peeling! Turns that burn into a great tan! It has saved many a vacation for my family and does not even sting if it gets into your eyes. You should see this: You do not have to let sunburn get you down. By the way, if you are already blistering, use it anyway because it keeps your skin from itching! If you are not satisfied, they even give your money back!

Now I have no idea who Bill is. He could be a phishing shill for the sunblock industry, for all I know. But I appreciate his input. Alas, I am no stranger to sunburn and the joys of slopping on gallons of gooey stuff all summer long. There's nothing quite like the wake-up call of a sweaty glob of sunscreen in your eye. I know it might be heresy to say, especially around these sun-abandoned parts this time of year, but I hate the sun. I realize I'm on record as saying yellow is my favorite color, but when it comes to climate hues, I much prefer gray. Anyway, all of this got me nostalgic for a poem I wrote years and years ago, fully explaining my feelings toward our dear, life-providing Sun. Hit the jump link below and bask in some non-cancer causing verbosity.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This Is Misery?

I've been thinking more about the Forbes magazine people putting Cleveland at the top of their list for most miserable U.S. cities. My initial gut reaction is to say that after years of hawking magazines, I haven't seen a whole lot of people buying Forbes, and those who do seem to me to be about the most miserable lot this side of those who buy All About Beer magazine (let's face it, if you have to read about beer, you're missing the point by a mile). My next thought is good, let outsiders think Cleveland is so miserable. That way they stay away and leave all of us here with enough elbow room to enjoy all the great things about the place.

Turns out the "misery index" these Forbes nabobs used included such trite, been-there-done-that items as crime, government corruption, housing foreclosures, unemployment, etc. Significant issues, sure, but hardly the be all and end all of daily life in the used-to-be-quite-big-but-dwindling-yearly city of Cleveland. So I started compiling my own anti-misery index, a list of various amenities that make living quite nice and serve as quite a powerful antidote, especially when considered en masse, to any perceived misery lurking in the environs.
A small but significant sampling of my anti-misery list (a list I'm sure any sentient person would agree is pretty universal and one in which Cleveland scores pretty high across the board, I might add) should go a long way to convincing the Cleveland put-downers they wouldn't know a knackwurst from a bratwurst if one or the other gave them gas for a week. See how many of the questions posed below your city can honestly answer a resounding YES to, as Cleveland easily does each and every one.

  • Can you find five bars within a ten minute drive where they serve Guinness on tap and know how to pour one?
  • Does a good percentage of the population know what a pierogi is?
  • Can you get a good pierogi within a fifteen minute drive?
  • Within ten minutes can you drive your landlord to the emergency room at dawn on a Sunday and be welcomed by the staff of the Cleveland Clinic, one of the greatest hospitals in the world, as I did this morning?
  • Does your community have its own year-round collective catharsis entity (aka Cleveland professional sports teams) that acts as universal scapegoat, whipping boy, and repository for everyone's private miseries?
  • Can you get anywhere worth getting to in your metropolitan area within thirty minutes, regardless of the time of day or night?
  • Are you basically free from any catastrophic natural disaster, other than a measly blizzard every once in a while (okay, including April, but what's a baseball home opener without snowballs to throw at the opposing bullpen?)?
  • Do the vast majority of your licensed drivers actually know how to drive in snow?
  • Does your city's collective inferiority complex help to lessen your own individual one (I mean, how many New Yorkers or Parisians probably beat themselves up all the time, thinking, "I'm not worthy of my city"? That doesn't happen in Cleveland.)?
Michael Stanley Band-This Town

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Location, Location, Location

According to Forbes, Cleveland is the most miserable U.S. city.

We're No. 1! We're No. 1! We're No. 1!

And, well, the Beatitudes kick ass.

Pere Ubu-Misery Goats

Friday, February 19, 2010


I went to a kids hockey game tonight, the son of some friends from college. I'm happy to report my friends were good, mellow hockey parents (yes, "mellow hockey parents" is not always an oxymoron). No surprise to me, then, that when their son came out after the game, a tough loss, he smiled and thanked me for coming to the game. A family who gets it.

Reminds me of an incident a few years ago when I was teaching, which I just had to turn into a high-horse poem:

Smile, Margaret

Smile, Margaret
The father commands in a whisper
From the back of the room,
Urging his eleven-year-old daughter
Who takes the stage with classmates to sing.
Not perform or entertain
But to sing simply.
As if she wouldn't.

And if I weren't ignorantly childless
I'd turn and say,
Talk is cheap, dad.
Beget smiles with yourself,
Not your pointed finger words.
Create joy rather than expect it.
Smiles are natural
Not conditioned reflexes like language.

Is there anything
As lonely
As impotent
As joyless
As to demand a smile?
Or as pathetic?
Remodel your life now.

Meat Puppets-Sam

Thursday, February 18, 2010

All Hail Z!

I know it's just business, nothing personal. I know he'll be coming back shortly. I know the Cavs are better with Antawn Jamison. But still I'm sad the Cleveland Cavaliers traded away Z, Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

For a couple years now I've placed Z at the top of my list of all-time favorite Cleveland athletes. Not that I know any of them personally, but through forty years of being a diehard Cleveland sports fan, I can think of no classier act than Z. What he's gone through physically and emotionally over the years would have sidelined most others. But he's still here (sort of, for now). He's tough and good. He's a great teammate. He's just about the funniest athlete around. What isn't there to love about the man?

I sure hope the first home game he's back, in about a month, the Cavs roll out the red carpet and pull out all the stops for a "Welcome Home Z" night. When he gets into the game, I hope there's a long and loud standing O that stops the game. We put up with all the bums, so let's raise the roof for a real king.

We miss you already, Z. Hurry home and claim that championship you deserve most of all.

Johnny Cash-The Man Comes Around

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

There's A Nun In The Middle Of Every Conundrum

What is it about nuns? Even I can't resist a little shot at them. I say even I because I have known nuns all my life: I have been taught by them and I have worked with them and I can say truthfully I've never had a problem with them. In fact, I'm quite fond of them. As far as any group of people goes, they're no quirkier than the rest. So why are they always the butt of jokes and the subject of gross exaggerations in popular culture? Unfamiliarity, perhaps. But if you've been around nuns since you can remember, like I have been, they become familiar and pretty ordinary (in the best kind of way). If a little more dedicated and less worldly than most of the rest of us.

I remember the nun we had in second grade, who was pretty young (I think she played guitar and probably played and sang at the so-called "hippie masses" that were popular in the early 1970s [appropriately held in the basement of the church, the hippie mass featured guitars and not the celestial organ; I'm sure my first exposure to the music, even the name, of Bob Dylan--Dye-lan to me then and for a few years after--came at a hippie mass: "Blowin' In the Wind," "Kumbaya," "My Sweet Lord" {minus the hare krishna chants, naturally}, and even "Let It Be" were staples of the hippie mass songbook]), who one day, obviously frustrated, let out a "you damn kids," in the middle of a reading lesson. Of course we were scandalized, though looking back at who some of us were, I now tip my hat to the nun for her accuracy and even restraint in word choice.

That same nun was one of the few who at the time wore her skirt short, as in about half-way down the calf. Most still wore their black habit-skirts all the way down to the floor; thankfully the younger ones, by showing some dark-stockinged leg, removed at least one mystery for us with regard to "what's going on under all that." The biggest mystery to me was the head, covered up by the wimple (and what a waste of a potentially great word, wimple; especially now that wimples are pretty much archaic). Our nuns wore ones that snugly clung to their faces (there were pins on the side that for years I swear had to stick into their cheeks); most of them had a little flap that covered the hair at the top of the forehead. Again, thankfully, some of the more liberal ones went without the flap, so at least we knew they had human hair. Most if not all had long black sleeves, which hid anything from kleenex to rosaries to pens to maybe even a couple of aces. Besides the utter confusion that now reigns with nuns walking around in "civilian" clothes (I don't know how non-nun-upbrought people react to learning that the woman they're talking to is actually a nun, but for me, it still rattles me a bit, instantly sweeping me back to the age of eight: yes sister, no sister, and inevitably, I'm sorry sister...), I just think there was something very stately about nuns in habits, that I now miss.

We didn't have any nuns who could fly (what in the world was going on in TV land to okay the idea and then actually produce a show about a nun who could fly? and they say reality TV is nuts?), but we had some great characters. One very much loved and revered nun was confined to a wheelchair. She was of course known affectionately as Sister Mary Hot Wheels (to her face, though? I kind of doubt it; but she must have known; I hope it gave her a chuckle). Another nun was kind of the Jimmy Durante of nuns; everybody loved her. They might not have been able to do much with their hair back in those days, but it seemed that every nun was issued a loud clicker (another thing that went up the sleeve, I believe). Nothing said "on your knees" with more alacrity and authority than a nun clicking her clicker loudly in church; instantly 35 kids would genuflect, make the sign of the cross, and be back up standing upright before the echoes of the click faded away amid the cavernous church. I'll bet you five holy cards if you walked into a Catholics-only old folks home and clicked the right clicker, there would be people who usually could hardly move snap to a crisp genuflection in seconds.

One observation about nuns in the post-habit-wearing world: an observation I made years ago and still stick to. You can always tell a nun (even an ex-nun) by her shoes. Now not being a shoe fanatic, I can't really describe for you the types of shoes nuns/ex-nuns wear, I just know them when I see them. Ultimate case in point: A few years ago I was with a group of people, some I knew, others I didn't. We chatted for a half hour or so. There was one woman in the group I didn't know, who was pleasant enough, but there was something about her I couldn't quite put my finger on. After a while, in the course of the conversation, she said that she was a former nun. Like a Pavlovian dog, my eyes instantly went down to inspect her shoes and, well, let's just say thank the Good Lord I'm such a reserved individual, otherwise the entire group would have witnessed me smacking my forehead and yelping, "A nun! I should have known! Just look at the shoes!"

Here's to all the nuns I've known and know: thanks for all the lessons, the laughs, and the prayers.

Eurythmics & Aretha-Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just What I Needed

Working retail in the middle of a relentless winter can be quite the drudge. Today seemingly offered no relief. The district boss paid us a visit, obviously indifferent to the fact that it's very difficult to stay on one's toes when one has been slogging through slush in steel-toed boots for weeks. And everyone was complaining about the weather, strangers and friends alike. Two people told me, not so jokingly but pretty seriously, to do something about the weather (as if I'm A. J. Colby). Naturally, I passed the buck to the Outlandish Hat Lady. She comes in the store frequently, always sporting a different, completely ostentatious hat with some creature or cartoonish pop icon crowning her head. I was in no mood for the wintry, brownish large animal she had donned today: an elk or moose or bison or something. So I told her to help us all out and get some summery looking thing on her head. "Don't you have a surfer dude hat you could wear, anything to maybe change our luck around here?" She chuckled but didn't seem too optimistic; all her winter hats, she said, were rather wintry (thus my million dollar prod to creative haberdashers: there's a market out there for outlandish winter hats with summery themes; pay me later).

But then it all turned around in just a couple seconds, which is one reason why working retail, after all, can be quite fun. I must preface this true account by admitting up front my several (pretty harmless, I think) stereotypes and prejudices; I'm human, I contain unpleasantries. At the time, I was walking through the store, back to my lair in the warehouse, with about seventeen different things to do; I didn't need an eighteenth, namely, "to do" customer service. But there was a customer staring into the computer screen at the info desk, without another bookseller in sight. Being Catholic (i.e., guilt-ridden), I of course had to look over at the customer to see if he was in desperate need of help (whiplashing his eyes at anyone walking by, hungry for the crumb that is "can I help you?"). He didn't seem to notice me so I could have kept going with a (somewhat, as much as twelve years of Catholic schooling will allow) guilt-free conscience. But having already satisfied (and then some) the "fat" part of Fat Tuesday by happily consuming some of the treats various co-workers brought in today (nothing that would have made Jack LaLane proud), I gave into the hefty pull of Lent and asked the customer if he needed help (full-disclosure, before you start to measure me for a hairshirt and nominate me for martyrdom: I instantly sized up the customer [African-American male, fifty-five, maybe sixty] and "consumer profiled" him as relatively risk-free: in need of maybe a mystery, a diet book, a war history book, a CD to commemorate the late Teddy Pendergrass--nothing too onerous; believe me, if the customer had "profiled" as extremely high maintenance in my warped book [un-unh, no public peeks inside that gnarly tome], I would have Dionne Warwicked him: just walked on the hell by).

"Can I help you find something?"

"Um," sizing me up, trying to suss in a second whether I could help him in the search for his cultural holy grail of the moment. "I'm looking for a certain song by Foreigner."

"Um," going through my mind's playlists, trying to match the guy in front of me with the half dozen or so Foreigner songs I know, and trying to decide if I could get away with half-singing a few bars of each one without inciting the wrath of Mother Nature and calling down six more months of ceaseless winter on all our asses.

"I think it's called 'Just What I Needed.'"

"That ain't Foreigner," histrionically and playfully waving my arms, and already leading the guy back to the CD racks. "That's The Cars."

"The Cars!" Frustration, relief, eureka. "I've bought four Foreigner albums looking for that song." Doing my best not to say something like, "well, that's at least three-and-half more than anyone should ever have to own." "I was beginning to think it might be Journey or something."

"I can see that." And I can. "All those bands kind of lump together. You're just lucky you asked me, who was fifteen at the time 'Just What I Needed' came out." Yep, through no effort whatsoever, I'm doomed to live the rest of my life knowing acutely the differences between Foreigner, The Cars, and Journey, (not to mention REO, Styx, et al.) thanks to the sorry state of radio in the late 1970s. "Here you go," handing him The Cars Greatest Hits, track one, "Just What I Needed."

The guy beamed as he pulled out of his pocket an obscure Foreigner album (alas, not quite a redundancy for a child of my age), "This is the last one I bought, looking for this song," now happily patting the Cars CD. "Thank you so much." Genuine. As were the half dozen other thank you's and the firm handshake he gave me before purchasing the CD and heading off to a day of aural bliss. What a job, to be able to so thoroughly, and easily, make somebody's day like that (let alone cure the guy of obsessively buying every extant Foreigner CD in the county).

That's why I love so much the mystical, unprejudiced, horizon-less, healing beauty of music--to make possible such a great moment between two strangers, one of whom just happens to have the taut guitar blasts and woozy keyboard riffs of "Just What I Needed" embedded in his nurtured DNA. And kudos to The Cars, for concocting such an intoxicating pop confection more than thirty years ago; sue me, boys, for spreading some of the love from my humble nook in this electronic inter-web.

And, uh, winter--piss off. Ever since that wonderful moment this afternoon, it's been nothing but sipping rum in Maui, working happily on my sunburn, for me.

The Cars-Just What I Needed

Monday, February 15, 2010

Twain Loved Him, Why Shouldn't We?

Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States, is this year's recipient of the Spitoutyourgum Our Kind of President Award. He was James Garfield's Vice President, succeeding to the presidency after Garfield's death. Despite the fact that Garfield had been assassinated, and the fact that Arthur suffered from Bright's disease, a serious kidney ailment, he served nearly four years without a vice president. He was  widowed less than two years before he became president and vowed never to marry again, even though when he left office, four women immediately offered to marry him. He died less than two years after leaving office. Mark Twain, no stranger to criticizing politicians, praised him. He was known for his fashionable dress, his re-decorating of the White House, and for civil service reform.

A while ago when trying to get to sleep one night, I tried listing all the presidents. Arthur was the only one I couldn't remember. My bad, he seems like a decent man and not-bad-at-all president.

Television Personalities-Arthur the Gardner

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Of Love (Potions)

In honor of Valentine's Day, I share with you the fruits of years of research into the murkier vagaries of love.

An Anecdotal History of Love Potion Nos. 1-8

Love Potion No. 1
Just a prototype. Never meant to be disseminated to humans. Initial dosage uncertainties resulted in extreme cravings and anti-social behavior. Everybody involved in the project's favorite lab rat, Seismic, succumbed while humping a petri dish atop a flaring Bunsen Burner. Data were collected, hypotheses discarded, Science forged on.

Love Potion No. 2
"Ah, the best of all the batches," sighs defrocked doc Herm Kepter, over ninety now and still boisterously playful. "The FDA wouldn't know a miracle drug if it made their elbows shit," Kepter continues, nostalgically and then some flipping through pages of floosie pictures in a thick album titled LP2! "Viagra Schmiagra," Kepter smirks and drools.

Love Potion No. 3
The so-called "Russian Experiment," which in alleged fact never made it off the drawing board. More than a few higher ups lost their careers over the debacle. When questioned to this day, certain old timers palsy and mumble, "heathen," when asked to comment on rumors of shock therapy, organ transplants, rabid dogs, and white slavery.

Love Potion No. 4
A tainted batch at best, in the mid-Fifties it somehow got into the hands of a bunch of girls at all-girls Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York. Supposedly worked wonders on cops (Irish and otherwise) at the New York City Saint Patrick's Day parade, but then a wayward-leaning nun got ahold of it. A Jesuit I know claims to have seen a small bottle of it in the Vatican, hidden in some back storeroom amid gallons of that Lourdes stuff. Disregard the e-Bay listings; the child-proof cap wasn't introduced until 1974.

Love Potion No. 5
Aficionados up and down the line swear 5 is the shit. Buried in Arthur Miller's obscure one-act, The Clock Pleads the Fifth, is a passing reference to the venerable No. 5. Which explains Marilyn, I believe.

Love Potion No. 6
Beggars can't be choosers. The potion my buddy Somie copped for me during his U.S. Army psychiatric testing days. It didn't work on Judith, but her sister swooned. Hence, the break-up of my life. Had a bit of a Vernor's after-kick, I recall. Spots fade over time.

Love Potion No. 7
The commercialization begins. Madame Roux's Johnnycomelately entrance into the plot. Ignore the nonsense about the Maltese girl losing her soul. Wilt Chamberlain's staggering amorous appetite has been attributed to No. 7, though the unfairly maligned Kimbiss Chutz begs to differ (see Bad Mojo Rising Journal, vol. xii, winter, 1982).

Love Potion No. 8
The John the Baptist, as it's known in Mandeville circles. Madame Roux takes over, goes the party line, and I know a guy who knows a guy who's seen the bones to prove it. Worked better on firemen than cops, it seems. Who'd a thunk it?

The Clovers-Love Potion No. 9

Friday, February 12, 2010

Say It Ain't So, Adele!

I thought it was a bad dream. But, no, it was real. This morning the radio woke me up to a commercial that broke my heart. Now longtime readers here know my affinity for Cleveland's chocolate paradise--Malley's Chocolates--especially after their Sweetest Day bombshell: bacon, covered in chocolate! Naturally I've been waiting anxiously for what would be up their sleeve come Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, this morning I found out, chocolate-covered Twinkies. What a disappointment. It's tough enough with Lent starting soon, but to wake me up on a cold morning to news of Twinkies covered in chocolate? Torture.

Of course I realize that for about six weeks when you're nine years old, Twinkies are pretty much the definition of perfection, and I realize that given the right coalition of about two dozen various forces, natural and supernatural, a Twinkie might hold some momentary appeal for anyone older than nine, but come on, Twinkies? They're like the Joey Heatherton of snack foods: pleasing to the senses for half a minute or so, then it's like, what? Chocolate-covered Twinkies are like getting someone a present, putting it in a gift bag, then wrapping the whole thing up. Overkill.

And for Valentine's Day? If your loved one gave you a chocolate-covered Twinkie there are but two reactions: 1.) my lover is trying to kill me, or 2.) my lover is passively-aggressively trying to get me to end the relationship. I'd be happier with a bottle of Mr. Clean.

Times are tough, I guess, and I suppose even the great Malley's makes a mistake every now and then. Just keep your chocolate-covered Twinkies away from me, and all will be forgiven. Excuse me while I ring up my old flame, Little Debbie.

Pegboy-Not What I Want

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Remembrance of Zzzzz's Past

A good nap is God's way of saying, "Stay out of My hair for a while."
                                                                    --Mark Fenster

I realize it's several weeks late to be compiling and publishing a "decade's top ten" list, but this is no ordinary list that can be compiled hastily or before the decade is actually over and done with. This is my list of the top ten naps I took from 2000-2009. I take my napping quite seriously, to the point that for more than two decades now I have assiduously kept a meticulous nap-log. Be-splattered with drool and stray eye-crumbs though it may be, it is the official record of my precious "me" time. For the past several weeks, as laundry has piled up, I have pored over the log, re-visiting naps great and lousy, making tentative lists, and finally paring down the list from well over 200 possibilities to this, the definitive, annotated list of The Best Naps of the 2000s (in chronological order).

  1. January 12, 2000: Even so early in the decade, I had starred this nap as a potential "best of." So soon after Christmas break, I was in need of another free day, so I took a late afternoon nap with my pj's turned inside out, the universal good luck charm of hopeful students (and teachers) everywhere. Sure enough, upon waking the wind was howling and the snow was adrift. At 5:26 a.m. the next morning, I received a phone call: no school, snow day. I owed it all to the nap.
  2. November 28, 2000: A nap well-remembered for its dream: for seemingly hours I kept jumping over a restless sheep, as he bahhed in what seemed to me like an ordered sequence. I woke up and drove straight to Best Steak and Gyro and chowwed down.
  3. July 19, 2001: Perfect estivation. I didn't break 80 on the golf course that day, but aided by a Guinness at the 19th hole, and a smooth-running fan, I broke several sleep warps. And not a bead of sweat dampened the pillow.
  4. February 5, 2003: Breaking a long spell of uneven, unsatisfying naps that in hindsight I either chalk up to 9/11 or the ensuing high opinion polls of George W., this nap, culminated by a waking moan of "Oh my Lord, now that's what I call dozing off!" rejuvenated my faith in siestas.
  5. April 9, 2004: What just happened? What time is it? Where am I? Who am I?
  6. April 11, 2004: In what is undoubtedly the greatest napping week of my life (4/8, 4/12, and 4/14 all made Top 50), this one, despite the puddle of drool on the pillow, was memorable for providing me, upon waking, with the name of the Little League teammate I had been trying--to the point of madness--to remember for six months.
  7. December 2, 2005: I woke up at 5:45 p.m. My arm woke up at 8:03 p.m. Sawing logs? The Gobi was a forest when I fell asleep.
  8. May 1, 2007: The Annual Hilda K. Memorial Nap, which I take every year in honor of my childhood babysitter who could never get me to nap, this year was a triumph. I heard spring birds throughout my slumber and woke up so refreshed I did all my spring cleaning in a three-hour burst of energized frenzy.
  9. August 8, 2008: Amid mid-90 degree heat and a driveway outside my window being jackhammered apart, I slept like a baby.
  10. January 11, 2009: Sometimes in a Cleveland winter, the only motivating force to get you out of bed in the morning is the thought of the nap you'll be taking later that day. This one did not disappoint. Then again, any dream involving bacon, Cheryl Tiegs, and an intimate performance by Sly and the Family Stone would never disappoint.

The Kinks-I Go To Sleep (demo)

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Wandering Lew

"September ninth, 1752, London, England--it was a hot, grimy day. You can look it up." The old guy had a habit of breaking tiny little pieces of his large chocolate chip cookie and chewing them thoroughly while he talked, all the while with his right hand poised near his mouth, as if waiting for a pit or some other inedible piece of jetsam to surface. "Why the guy was in that bog on that day doing what he was doing, let alone what the guy was even doing in England then, I still haven't figured out in more than two-hundred-fifty years. Curses!"

The guy, Isaac "Lew" Medequal ("Lew because my father wanted a Lew and couldn't stand my mother naming me Isaac") had walked into my life five minutes before. I was in the bookstore's bathroom, washing my hands as usual at the start of my hour lunch break. I heard the door squeak open, somebody come trundling in, then I heard the heaviest, most meaning-laden sigh I have ever heard in my life, an "Oy," to sever your will to live. Normally not being the employee-of-the-month type to offer a customer help in the bathroom, something about the sigh, even before I looked over at his general unkemptness, told me this guy was different. "Can I help you?" I said as I moved over to the towel dispenser.

"What makes you think you can help Old Lew when thousands before you haven't?"

"Because," rising to the challenge out of nothing but boredom, "I'm Dan the Man," I said cheerily, using the appellation I've hated my whole life.

"In lieu of other things," Old Lew chuckled to himself, "I need a cookie and some cold water."

"Come with me, then," I said, leading him out of the bathroom, figuring, what the hell, pay day's coming up, with my employee discount I can cover the cost of a cookie, and besides, this guy might be fun. As we walked (well, I walked, he kind of hobbled, though nimbly in a way, leaning on an old walking stick that reached to his shoulder) across the store to the cafe I detected a peculiar odor emanating from the man, not a make-you-gag old hobo stink, just a very well lived-in general musk.

"The ninth of September, 1752, seems like yesterday." I can't say I believed the guy at the start, as we settled down at a table and he began nibbling his cookie and taking big gulps of his water, but there was something so matter of fact about him, something so credible in his mien, that it wasn't like I sat there thinking, I'm listening to a madman here. "I had closed my cobbler shop as usual around four in the afternoon and was standing my regular two pints at Henley's Taverne, same as I had done for thirty-two years in the business. Naturally, as pints will do, I had to relieve myself, so I headed out back to Henley's outhouse, at the time one of the finest in London, a three-seater, with leg room. Room enough for some air to circulate, which on that day wasn't much.

"So I'm standing over the hole, doing my business like any gentleman, when I hear a strange noise coming from the corner. I look over and a fellow is bent over a bucket scrubbing clothes. Scrubbing clothes, in a bog, on the grimiest day of the year, September ninth, 1752. Now there's not much a man can do mid-stream, but I couldn't help my curiosity, so I call out, 'What the devil are ye doing man?'"

"'I'm washing my clothes, senor, what's it to you?'"

"'Senor,' I think. What's that? By this time I'm finished with my chore so I take a step over toward the man, wondering what kind of accent is this on these shores. I see he's got a couple pairs of pants and some shirts hanging on the wall, drying. 'What the bloody hell is this then?' I admit now, after years and years of contemplation of the pivotal, cursed moment of my life, that maybe the pints had roughened up the tone of my approach a wee bit."

"'I just need to wash my clothes, be ignorant of me.' As I got a closer look at him, I could tell he must have been from the Mediterranean, not that I really knew or had seen anybody from those parts, I just knew.

"'But in an outhouse man!?' I took a closer look at the clothes, which were nice, if a bit worn. On the tail of each shirt, in elaborate embroidery, was stitched, 'Jesus Algebueno.'

"'What is this Jesus stuff? You steal these shirts from a clergyman? How dare you!' Okay, so maybe on that day, September ninth, 1752, I had a few more than my usual two pints. It was a hot, grimy day."

"'Not Gee-zus, sir, but Hey Zeus, my name. My mother made me these shirts. She stitched my name in them. I am very proud of them. I wash them where I wash them.'"

"I tell you honestly, Dan the Man," Lew looked into my eyes with the saddest, oldest eyes I have ever seen, nibbled his last bit of chocolate chip cookie, and hung his head. "What I did next was horrible, inexcusable, not at all befitting a gentleman cobbler. Heat, grime, and my own xenophobia--it took me until the 1880s to discover that part of it--and pints all conspired within me and against me. I said to the man, who was sweating and just trying to wash his clothes, I said, 'Jesus, Zeus, get your deities straight you alien heathen. And never,' with this I took a drying shirt off the wall and flung it aimlessly; though long before basketball was ever invented, I made the first swish, right into a bog hole, 'never wash your clothes in an English loo again!'"

"He stared at the hole where one of his precious, and I do mean precious, I see that now, shirts had just disappeared down, and then he turned to me and hissed, a definite hiss, 'Sir, you have no idea what you have done. Because of how you have dishonored me and my mother's haberdashery skills, may you not rest until you find a loo, as you call it, a loo with laundering facilities. Bona fortuna!'"

After several minutes of silent sitting there, regarding this poor wretch, who just sat there with his head in his hands, all I could say was, "And..."

"Dan the Man, phooey! I knew you couldn't help me. Don't you know who you look upon with such a pitying, this-guy's-daft look? It is I, the legendary, tragic, mythic Wandering Lew, the three-hundred-year-old Wandering Lew who is doomed to walk the Earth until he finds the elusive, quite possibly non-existent Laundering Loo. I am the one who mocked Hey Zeus Algebueno, who was just trying to wash his clothes in an outhouse in London, England, on September ninth, 1752, and for my sin I have been walking the globe since, ever in search of a public restroom with clothes washing facilities. This is my twentieth pass through North America. I have been on all the continents, in every country, state, and province. Metropolises and villages, kingdoms and shanty towns. I know the historical evolution of plumbing in my bones. I have peed on dozens of iterations of the urinal cake. My tush is splintered and I have discovered ways to out-trick an automatic flusher sensor that would make your head spin. I have read more disgusting graffiti than your Library of Congress could ever catalog. Look at these hands: They've been scraped to rawness by forests of rough paper towels and been blown dry of any tenderness that once so lovingly made shoes. Take heed, Dan who calls himself a Man; be kind and respectful of your fellow man, from the boardroom to the bathroom, lest you end up like me, cursed to wander forever seeking redemption from, in my case, nothing more than a Sears Kenmore adjacent to a urinal."

With that he staggered to his feet and started walking away.

"But Lew, can't I buy you another cookie, at least?"

With that he lightened up a bit. "One for the road, perhaps. Those chocolate morsels are the best I've had since Siam, 1897. I'm heading over to Wal-Mart. For years now I've half-believed Sam Walton will be my savior. Sooner or later, I figure, he's gonna put some industrial-sized washer and dryers in his restrooms, don't you think?"

So I bought Lew another cookie and gave him my phone number. I told him to call me periodically. I also promised him that if I ever win Lotto, I'm going to start a chain of laundromats cum restrooms, Wash'n'Waste. It's the least I could do for the poor guy.

The Stanley Brothers-The Wandering Boy

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pssst! Have I Gotta Proposition For You

Yes, it's the big day. Time to engage in America's favorite pastime--no, not watching the Super Bowl; no, not watching the Super Bowl commercials; but, yes, contemplating and even making a few Super Bowl proposition bets, or exotic wagers, as the boys down at the local, um, donut shoppe like to say (the only "exotic" wager worth making in Cleveland on February 7 is whether or not I'll ever see a bikini-clad woman in these parts again).

Now if you're looking for the standard proposition bets, like heads or tails on the coin toss, the duration of the National Anthem, chances that either Roger Daltrey or Pete Townshend will have a heart attack during halftime (in fact, if you're looking for any cheap joke at the expense of the venerable and beloved Who), go elsewhere. If you're looking for some exclusive, really-put-the-props-in-proposition proposition bets, well, then, partner, sidle right up to my window (N.B. all bets are in drachmae and are merely figments of your imagination).

  • odds on Bill Cowher alluding to Proust's In Search Of Lost Time while analyzing Peyton Manning's audible technique: 5-1
  • odds on Jim Nantz, after being handed the microphone from James Brown, says, "Heckuva job, Brownie": 3-1
  • odds on Joe Namath effecting a wardrobe malfunction on Carrie Underwood during the National Anthem: 2-1
  • over/under, out-of-nowhere references by Jim Nantz to Freddie "Boom Boom" Couples: 3
  • over/under, mentions of Archie Manning: 12
  • over/under, mentions of Eli Manning: 7
  • over/under, mentions of Cooper Manning: .5
  • over/under, percentage of commercials that use women's breasts or male genitalia as the prime source of humor: 67
  • over/under, Phil Simms pronouncing the word "him" as "eem": 256
  • odds that the cerebral Norman "Boomer" Esiason will wonder aloud what the "erudite and always effervescent spitouyourgum blog will have to say about that": 7-5
  • over/under, times Roger Daltrey will stutter the m and g in "My Generation": 23
  • odds that a current NFL star will be arrested in or around Miami in the next 24 hours: 3-5
  • odds that a field mic will pick up Peyton Manning doing a commercial while seemingly making an audible: 4-1
  • odds that the combined final score will be an even number: 2-1
  • odds that a Russian computer hacker will manage to substitute a clip from Cannonball Run 2 for a game-deciding instant replay challenge and thus do more damage to the American way of life than the secret confederation of Bin Laden, Obama, Dan Brown, The Fed, and married gay couples could ever dream of doing: pick 'em
BTW: Colts 27-Saints 23


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Strange Things Are Happening Every Day

The other night I opened a can of soup, put it in a pot on the stove, fired it up, and started reading the paper. When it comes to cooking, I usually don't, so I'm a stickler for following directions. The can said to stir the soup occasionally, so that's what I did. Even with something as simple as soup, I'm still kind of mesmerized that through the marvel of heat (even electrically-generated) something that doesn't look too appetizing (a can of bean soup) can be transformed into something eminently delectable within minutes. So I stirred the pot, thrilled that the gunk would soon be so tasty, and delighted that in doing so, I was treated to emanations of heat to warm me up on a cold, snowy winter's night. I had places to go and people to meet that evening, so I cranked up the heat on the burner a notch or two to speed the process along and make the kitchen less chilly. After reading the local crime blotter and the death notices, and skimming the sports page to see which page I would devour word for word while I ate, I knew the time must be right for the soup. The heat off the stove was a warm blast as I stood above the teeming soup. Well, not quite teeming. I was surprised it wasn't bubbling a bit, and even more surprised when I spooned some out and it wasn't steaming. Not trusting my eyes, I bent over a little bit and contemplated tasting the soup, to make sure it was done. I caught myself as my face got closer to the spoon: don't be deceived Dan, how often have you put your lips to something that didn't seem that hot only to end up seconds later howling and cussing with a burning tongue? This time, however, it was not my tongue that got burned, but, figuratively, my eyes--as I hunkered down over the pot, I saw that the burner behind the one where my pot of soup sat was electrically aglow; the soup sat on an un-burning burner. I had put the pot on one burner and turned a different burner on.

Twenty-five years ago in college, I started to write a short story about two neighborhood teen-age boys who work up some mischief the night before their street's annual block party. The narrator is an older neighbor who has recently gone blind. For the first time since he went blind, he is alone; his wife has hesitantly gone away for the weekend, having been convinced by him that he'll be okay. In the course of his reveling in his newly re-gained independence, he "witnesses" what the boys do. As the evening begins he sets out to make some hot dogs for himself. After about twenty minutes or so, he realizes he has placed the pot of weiners on one burner, but turned on a different one. No big deal for a blind man.

However, though I am colorblind, and I've recently taken to wearing my first ever pair of eye glasses, I am not blind, so my gaffe is rather inexcusable. As of yet, twenty-five years and counting, I have not finished the short story. I know exactly how it ends, with the blind man chuckling to a neighbor, "Yep, with everything you've got." It's the middle of the story I'm still working on. Well, intermittently working on. Every few years or so I haul the story out, re-read what I have, still liking most of it, tinker with it, push it along a little more, but then end up putting it away again. Now I've written ten-page stories in one sitting. I've completed several stories with the same teenaged boys, using the street in all sorts of symbolic ways--I can start and finish a story in relatively short time--but this particular story remains in process. Each time I work on it, I feel like I am not quite ready to finish it, like it needs to germinate more, or maybe I need to mature more.

With my bumbling soup-making experience the other night, maybe I'm another click closer, but I don't know. In the story, when the man realizes his error, he laughs and takes the time to wax philosophic about whether it's better to rectify the situation by placing the pot of hot dogs on the already hot burner, or to turn off the one burner and light the correct one. My reaction wasn't quite so stoic. With burning eyes rather than a burning tongue, I howled and cursed my stupidity. Maybe because I had places to go and people to meet, but also maybe because I'm still me, I wasn't bemused but pissed. Maybe I'm still years from being able to honorably get inside that old blind man's thoughts and sensibilities.

Other questions linger, though.

Is there some kind of sudden onset culinary dyslexia disorder that prompts chefs to irrationally pinch confectioner's sugar into beef stew and dollop salt into souffles (or whatever an egregiously representative cooking faux pas would be), a psychological sort of kitchen counterpart to baseball's Steve Blass/Sax syndrome, where star players all of a sudden can't accurately throw a ball sixty feet anymore? With my limited cooking expertise I doubt I would qualify for such a diagnosis, but still.

Art imitates life all the time, and certainly life is capable of imitating art, but what about one particular person's life imitating his own putative art, especially twenty-five years after the initial creation of that putative art? Surely that must raise some beguiling questions, no? Are there subsconscious creatures at work in all of us, concocting odd scenarios for us, trying to make us see deeper meanings in our lives, or merely toying with us for their version of shits and giggles? Finish the story, learn to cook, get your head out of your ass, align your ying and yang, contemplate balance, call for pizza delivery?

Or was this all just a one-off goof, fodder for nothing more than blogging?

I don't know. I'll keep you posted if trends develop.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe-Strange Things Happening Every Day

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What Would Any Sane Person Do?

It's mid-winter in Cleveland, Ohio. Faced with the choice of going to see some local college basketball with a great old friend one night and the next night watch the greatest basketball player on earth lead his team, which is playing the best basketball on the planet right now, or sit home and blog, I made the correct choices both nights.

Read some old posts while I bask in basketball heaven.

Ringo Starr-I'm The Greatest

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog Night

"Actually," he begins, "for us, basically, Groundhog Night is much more important, scratch that, meaningful than Groundhog Day."

"He" is a guy I know, Yon (Thantos, from Indiana--stop that) and "us" is his group of Schmiccans, "an offshoot sect, basically, from the Wiccans." I nod. "We're basically more totemic in philosophy, more, well, technically, ascetically Druidic in practice, pagan monks, if you will." I won't, necessarily. "The hip nomenclature is 'ponk,' which I don't mind at all." He chortles.

"Basically, the ritual, which can be traced back as far as King Ethelrad's reign, but most Schmiccan elders believe it pre-dates that era by at least half a millennium, revolves around keeping vigil on this night and observing the nocturnal activities--which, actually hopefully are nil--of the latest descendent, presently Clearfield Caliph IX, of the ancient holy avatar groundhog Jesper. Basically, if the groundhog sleeps through the night, unstirred, Gaia will be good to us the following year: plentiful but not overabundant precipitation, adequate warmth for growing, but not excessive heat, basically a Mother Earth in harmony, or, if you will, one who's got her chakras together. If, on the other hand, the groundhog stirs, ambles about, and especially if it relieves itself, then, well, we're in for a tough year, I mean, storms, heat, cold, earthquakes, you name it. Like back in '96, Clearfield Caliph X, in what would be his last Groundhog night (he was killed in a tornado, naturally), he was basically doing cartwheels all night, in between relieving himself like, I mean, massively. We Schmiccans basically battened down the hatches that year. You remember the climate that year, don't you?" No. "You can look it up." I won't, obviously.

"Yeah, I won't be making the trek this year, but I'm going to stay up all night, nevertheless, actually, and watch the live feed. I'll call you if Caliph does anything weird." Don't, please. "I'd give you the password for the website, but then I'd have to summon you to a cleansing ceremony."

Just then the nice lady behind the counter at the Post Office asked if she could help me. "Don't get too crazy tonight, Yon."

"Actually, it's distilled moss night. YRRREEAAFGFGHHGEEEEEE!"

What it takes to mail a letter these days.

Doc Watson-Groundhog

Monday, February 1, 2010

Under The Weather

As opposed to being over it.

Or on top of it, bestride it, out in front of it, betwixt it, beneath it, immune to it, lagging behind it, on equal terms with it, side by side with it, hitching a ride on it, thumbing my nose at it, arm in arm with it, playing leapfrog with it, outrunning it, at war with it, surfing it, wrapping it around my finger, shunning it, reaching Detente with it, cursing it, rooming with it, catty-corner from it, pitching my tent with it, becoming one with it.

As if we in the Midwest aren't pinned under it like a hapless wrestler perpetually from December-February.

The term under the weather supposedly is a nautical one: when sailors were ill they were sent below decks, thus out of or more literally under the weather.

Don't cry for me, A.J. Colby, though. Tomorrow I should be back on deck swabbing away.

Mission Of Burma-Weatherbox