Wednesday, August 31, 2011


So I had this dream last night, about which I mostly recall nothing, except that I repeatedly found myself in the lobby of a somewhat rundown theater.  For some reason, I would suddenly have to leave, and instead of going out the front door, as any normal person would, I'd head down a narrow hallway with a dim EXIT sign at the end.  Along the way, I'd pass a young woman talking on a pay phone. As I'd get to the door, she'd turn to me with some unintelligible words of advice.  "What?" I'd ask, just as I stepped out the door--right into a puddle.  Or snow bank.  Or passing garbage truck.

Hilarity!  Because the same thing keeps happening, you see, with slight variation, and, uh...

Okay, look, I know it's not that interesting.  I wouldn't even bring it up, except for the fact that I've always maintained that the running gag is one of the lamest bits in the comedy repertoire, and yet here I am dreaming of one.  But the point is, it's not funny in the least.  So that's, you know...something?


Fine.  Here's some actual entertainment: Marshall Crenshaw performing one of the songs I know I want played at my funeral.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


2:30 in the morning, and I'm walking dogs.  Isabella, of course, and Brody, who's staying here temporarily.  A beagle and a rat terrier.  She's spayed, he's neutered, but if they weren't they'd have the most adorable offspring.

Not that I'd have the energy to deal with puppies.  Sometimes I even wonder if I'll always be able to deal with the dog I've got.  The fact is, Bella's only two years old.  Beagles have an average life span of fifteen years.  She'll still be around when I'm sixty.

Which seems not as old as it once did, really.  And not as far away.  There was a time when I couldn't imagine being in my forties.  For that matter, I could never have imagined a lot of things that have happened in my life.

Brody pulls hard on his leash, Bella yanks in the opposite direction.  I try to assert my balance, and in the process stomp my foot.  Hard.  Pain shoots through me, I moan in agony.  The dogs stop and look at me with "You okay, man?" expressions.  Even when they're annoying, they mean well.

I stomped too hard on my bad foot, the one with a steel plate instead of a heel, the one that I broke in a suicide attempt when I realized my marriage was irrevocably broken.  That would be another thing that I would never have been able to imagine happening to me.

Not the suicide attempt or the divorce, but the marriage itself.  I drifted through my twenties filled with profound self-loathing, and the notion that anybody would want to be with me seemed...well, inconceivable.  I literally couldn't imagine such a thing happening.

Somehow, it did.  That it didn't last almost doesn't matter.  (Except for, you know, the physical and emotional scars that took forever to heal.)  Because eventually, having discovered that someone could stand to live with me, that maybe I wasn't so terrible (and despite the divorce, Sue Ellen and I remained friends), I somehow had the courage to wade out into the world again, to actually live.

Then things got weird, and good and bad.  A life was lived, almost without me realizing it.  I discovered that I could be a good guy, or an asshole, or sometimes utterly indifferent.  And I fell in love again, and got my heart broken again, but that's how it goes, I guess.

Still.  Things get better.  Janie's in my life, and everything's different.  She's my age, and we've both had eventful lives.  We've both lost our parents, for one thing, so we've had that defining moment of it-can't-get-any-worse.  Things still hurt, but not as deeply.  But we can still feel, and still love.

Brody's ears pop up and down as he looks around, all his sense firing.  Bella is onto some scent, her nose low to the ground.  I gently tug their leashes and they turn, following my lead.  "Come on, guys," I say.  "Let's go home."

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I had absolutely no idea what I was doing on the evening of April 22nd, 1978, until I stumbled across this clip on YouTube.

Then the evening started reconstructing itself.  Dad and I were home alone that night.  Mom and Julie were presumably doing something together--possibly school related?--but were was John?  Odd that he would have been off somewhere without me. 

But, regardless, that was the case.  Dad, me and Saturday Night At The Movies.  The weird thing is, watching this was my idea.  I remember that, but I have no recollection as to why I would have wanted to watch.  It wasn't to make fun--Dad wouldn't have been the proper viewing partner for that.  But I remember actively reading Dad the TV Guide listings for everything else that night and making a strong case for Airport '75.  I guess...I was in the mood to watch Chuck Heston in shades?

Anyway, it started, and Dad and I were enjoying--he laughed at some of the corny humor involving George Kennedy, and he actively watched, instead of leafing through a magazine as he sometimes did during evening TV hours. Maybe he sensed this was a rare opportunity for the two of us to bond over something, however unlikely?

Maybe forty minutes in, conveniently during a commercial break, we heard a car coming down the lane.  Not Mom, not John, too early for them to be home--though I have no memory of where they were, they must have told us when they'd be back--so it must  Sure enough, it was my brother Keith and his family, which meant visiting, which meant not seeing the rest of the movie.

"OK if I finish watching this upstairs?" I asked Dad without waiting for the response and headed to my room, swinging through the kitchen and scooping beloved cat Farrah off the kitchen counter on the way. (TV is always better with a viewing companion, even one that's furry, multi-colored and barely senient.)   I pulled my door shut, plopped the cat on the bed and watched the rest of the movie on a small black-and-white screen.  It wasn't as good as the Quasar in the living room, but then again, Airport '75 isn't exactly noted for its bold use of color.  I had a good time watching it, although it failed to keep Farrah awake.

Why do I remember this evening?  Or more to the point, why had I forgotten it completely until stumbling across this promo?  What other memories reside perfectly-formed in my head, waiting only for the proper trigger to release them?  

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Last Sunday, a church in my neighborhood hosted what its signage referred to as "A Michelle Bachman Event".  Since the event took place on a Sunday, in conjunction with regular services, would that not mean the church was offering a tacit endorsement of Bachman for president?  And if so, shouldn't that immediately cause the church to lose its sweet, sweet tax-exempt status?

The law is pretty clear on that, but the Republican party increasingly believes itself to be above the law.  And not just the laws of man; clearly, it has no use for the laws of God, or at least for the intent of the man all Republicans loudly proclaim as their savior, Jesus Christ.

Consider Michelle Bachman.  She was absolutely, fanatically opposed to raising the debt ceiling, whatever the consequences may have been.  Her oft-stated mantra is, we don't need to borrow and spend more, we need to cut and save.

Oh, but what would Michelle cut?  The same thing all the other Republicans would cut: "Entitlement" programs such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start.  Programs, obviously, designed to help the neediest among us, the poor, the elderly, the disadvantaged.  No Republican is quite brazen enough to come right out and say "Fuck the poor" but they don't really need to: Deeds speak so much louder than words.

These people, again, stridently proclaim their Christianity.  But how do they balance their tireless advocacy for the wealthy, their blatant disregard for the poor, with the actual words of Jesus, as found in Matthew 25: 31-46.  We'll use the King James version, for the sake of tradition:

31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

I mean, that's not the least bit ambiguous, is it? The meaning is clear, right? So if you claim to live your life according to the teachings of someone, and blatantly ignore everything he stood for just to further your own personal agenda...

I guess what I'm saying is, enjoy your everlasting fire, Michelle.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


Oh, I've meant to post stuff.  It's not like there's nothing to talk about.  But whenever I felt like discussing, say, the whole debt-ceiling debacle, I'd find myself getting more and more depressed and...well, who needs that?  Not you, faithful reader.  And certainly not me.

Still, as a way of generating some sort of new content here, we turn--as we haven't for awhile--to out old friend YouTube.  This interstitial from the first season of Sesame Street handily displays everything that made that show such a watershed for developing young minds--it has a dreamy, free associative quality that allows a viewer's mind to wander where it will, and (thanks mostly to the music) a somewhat melancholy feel as well.  Nothing made for kids these days is like this anymore--certainly not the current incarnation of Sesame Street--and we're all poorer for that.

All well and good, but let's face it: I'm including this mostly because it has a beagle.