Monday, June 23, 2008

IT'S ALL ABOUT timing. George Carlin- rest his gnarly little soul- knew about timing, knew the art of The Ba-DUM-bum-bum. Barack gets it; he's the master of the timed news item, the Grand Poobah of Apropos Announcements. And who is it again who says timing is everything? Oh, that's right: everyone.

On July 17th a grand confluence of gaming companies comes together in Los Angeles for the E3, where every game company worth a crap or two will announce the upcoming and in-progress electronic games for this year. I wish I were going to be there; not even huffing paint would give you that kind of contact high. Amy Winehouse was taken to the hospital for fainting and while there it was discovered that (shock!) her years of crack smoking had given her emphysema. Had it gone a month later and she would've been hooked up to an oxygen machine like a little old lady (she already has the wig, house slippers, and criminal insanity for it). Good timing for them both.

I spent last night playing Magic and watching Battlestar Galactica. It was fun. It was entertaining. But as my thirtieth birthday comes around on the calendar, I have to ask myself if the time is really right to be spending it in such a way?

Answer: Hell, yes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

LEONARD'S HOME LAY in terrible disarray. His easy chair rested on one side, the stuffing spilling out of a slash in the fabric. His neat rows of books had tumbled to the floor in wild profusion, pages lying torn and fluttering. The kettle was missing. With a cry he sprang to his feet. The fire burned brightly, and Leonard seized the fire tongs to pull out a smoldering book. The remains of his hearth rug lay in the corner, shredded to bits.

With a strangled gasp Leonard ran back to his bed and threw back the covers. No MacGuffin! He tore the bedclothes from the pallet, scrambled behind the headboard, ripped the pillowcases off: still no MacGuffin. Leonard climbed onto the bed, hid his face under a pillow and... best if we draw a veil over the events of the next quarter of an hour.

Some time later, a dry-eyed and only faintly tear-streaked troll face hovered over a rough burlap sack to which two straps had been neatly stitched. Leonard stood in his ruined kitchen, stacking in the sack dried lizard tails (full of protein), extra bottles of rat blood, and several containers of Garp (a mixture of his own invention made of crunchy salted bird feet, chewy sundried snake livers, and sweet chocolatey mouse droppings in a candy shell). His claws moved to pick up a stack of fallen dishes. He hovered indecisively a moment, then left them lying on the ground.

Leonard moved through the ruin of his home placing essentials in his sack. A sparkle on the floor caught his eye. He reached down and picked up a tiny black shoe button. "MacGuffin!" he whispered, and placed the stuffed bunny's eye reverentially at the bottom of the pack, wrapped carefully in a hankie, before closing it tightly. Brushing away a tear, Leonard walked slowly to the arched entry to his bridge home. He shouldered the pack as he turned and took in the devastation with a deep sigh.

Reaching out, Leonard clawed the support beam directly above him and swung his way to the ground.
LEONARD SHUFFLED OVER to the kettle and poured the hot water into his favorite mug (the one with a chip taken out of the rim). He slid the mouse out of the fire and put it on a plate, placed a napkin under it, and carefully placed mug and plate on the battered little table next to his easy chair.

As he settled himself, sucking out the eyeballs of the mouse before delicately patting his mouth, Leonard couldn't help but look over his shoulder. The sound of crunching mouse bones was deadened by the snow, but nothing else could be seen.

After clearing up, Leonard sat on his haunches on the edge of his truss and thought. Why was he so certain something watched him back from beyond the blustery whiteness? He was, perhaps, a little lonely. After all Leonard had no friends and no relations. No one would come and see him, which is why (here he nodded to himself) he simply imagined someone wandering around in the snow around his bridge. He much preferred it that way, of course. Leonard nodded again and reached out to take his stuffed bunny from his chair. He gave MacGuffin a little kiss on the head and cuddled it as he dangled his legs over the truss edge.

The day passed. Leonard sat on the balustrade with the wind in his face. He ate six cockroaches for afternoon tea. He read his book- Humans: A Compleat Guide To Meat Preparation- in bed and drifted off to sleep with it open on his face, MacGuffin carefully tucked in beside him.

The next morning, Leonard awoke to silence.

He lifted the book off his face. A scene of horror met his eyes.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"DUTCH MAN INJURES posterior in mooning incident". I think, on the whole, that the news is getting better every day. Ever since Barbara Walters outed herself as the lover of a Republican senator, it's been wonderful! Dutch media goes on to say that he is recovering since the accident, during which something went "horribly wrong".

Of course it went horribly wrong! You can't have a "mooning incident" without following with the phrase "horribly wrong". They go together like toast and butter.

I'm sorry to say this young man pressed his hiney up against the plate glass window of a restaurant, and the inevitable occurred. Should you be concerned about the small businessman, you'll be happy to know the man paid for the broken window.

Baby... got... back.

Friday, May 30, 2008

LITTLE PEOPLE SHOWED up on film yesterday deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle. When I say 'little', I mean, of course, those civilization-impaired humans, not midgets. (Is 'midgets' still P.C.? For that matter, was 'midgets' ever P.C.? A people defined by their penchant for circus work, exotica porn production, and pointing at jaundiced brick paving deserve a name that strikes fear into the hearts of men, just to make up for it. I'm thinking 'Piledrivers'. 'Shitkickers'. 'Devilbunnies'. But I digress).

The existence of this tribe utterly fascinates me. I've spent more time than I care to admit squinting at the fuzzy pictures of men painted with red clay pointing their tiny bows at the devil machine in the sky, while a lone female figure painted black dances crazy-dance behind them. What are they doing? Why are they painted red and black? Why is the lone woman out there? Is she a priestess dancing herself into a frenzy to bring the spirits of arrow accuracy down upon the red men? Where is everyone else? Is this just a scouting mission of three people?

You can imagine that from the moment that helicopter appeared (and rapidly disappeared) onwards, that has been the sole topic of conversation in the Amazonian huts.
"I think it was a sign from God!"
"The Gods are pleased! They did not kill us!"
"No, the Gods are angry! They left us here in the mud!"
"Larry, you think everything is a sign from God."
"Yuh-huh! Just last week you said that when you woke up with bird poop on your face, it was a sign from God!"
"Well, it was!
"Idiot, it built a nest above your bed!"
"I hate you, Steve."

The Amazon really is trackless. Imagine: this isn't the only tribe of civilization-less people out there, it's, like, one of several that we know about! And scientists predict there might be many, many more. Think of all the other things that could be lost in the rainforest besides tribes of little people. Car keys. Mateless socks. A-Ha.

Kind of makes you think about humanity, doesn't it? Man's inhumanity to man, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, marking distinctions is the first step towards destruction, that sort of thing? What must it be like to be those painted people? How must it feel to see that big ol' copter, and what could we see that would be to us as the copter is to them?


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND became a full-frontal vacation with the addition of a day off on Friday. Jason's friend Billy came into town, and- in addition to eating ourselves senseless- we saw as much of Memphis as it is possible to see and still sleep nights.

For me, the best part was finding out that Earnestine & Hazel's has Sunday night jazz (during which the entire audience- made up of thirty people carrying horns- got up, moved by an internal clock, and just started to play in front of the house band. Then they sat down. Then they drank. Then they went up again, sometimes cutting out the middle man by standing at their tables and playing right there). We were the only people there not fondling a brass instrument, and the only people there who didn't know everyone else. It was great!

Sushi, pulled pork at the Barbeque Shop (twice), losing money on roulette at the casinos, breakfast with a senator down on the river, tours of Memphis architecture, Redbirds baseball game: it was all quite exhausting.

We finally made it to the pool for an afternoon of unwinding on Sunday, only to find that Sparky (the mechanical pool cleaner) had gotten hung up during the weekend of thunderstorms. An hour later, after skiffing the pool with the long net (and cursing the lazy boyfriend who was sitting in the air conditioning, drinking a beer, and chatting happily with friends as I cleaned and sweated), relaxation kicked in.

After bidding Billy a fond farewell on Monday afternoon- not before stuffing ourselves with BBQ once again- Dad called and required a car battery jump start from, of all places, the parking lot of Taco Bell. It took three minutes for Jason to start his car and twelve to harangue Dad about not eating fast food (and Taco Bell! The lowest of the low!). He was properly ashamed of being caught in such a compromising position and attempted to throw us off the scent by serving us wine and cheese on the porch during a real summer thunderstorm.

Even with all the craziness, Jason and I were able to sneak in lots of together time (which was great, and well overdue) and even a couple of movies. The house got cleaned, the laundry got done, the garden got tended. The only thing that we didn't do was go to the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning, and I plan to rectify that this weekend. Go, veggies!

Friday, May 16, 2008

I'D LIKE TO riff on the subject of stubbornness this morning, if you'll bear with me while I indulge myself. Most people, I find, describe themselves of stubborn. I think that's an American thing, "Oh, I'm so stubborn, tee hee! Isn't that awful?" with the kind of tongue-in-cheek pseudo-shame that typifies those things of which we are most proud. What is it that makes us pride ourselves on being intractable?

I'm not the most stubborn person I know; that honor belongs to a good friend of mine to whom I haven't spoken in ages after a particularly nasty fight. "I'll never speak to you again!" he said, and by golly, he hasn't. I'm only a pathetic stubborn compared to this; I send notes of apology and mea culpa with depressing regularity which are met with awesome silence. Compared to this, I'm an amateur.

My own version of stubborn is more a knee-jerk reaction. Jason will ask me something- anything- and I'll immediately refuse, then start shouting, then lapse into angry silence. It doesn't matter what it is. It's so stupid, so childish, so perfectly the way to start an argument with no resolution. There's no way to end it except owning up to my own idiocy and apologizing (not an attractive option). Man, it damn near kills me to apologize. It takes the most profound feeling of love to do it.

Studies keep showing us that the thing that keeps marriages and friendships together for the long haul isn't our spontaneous attraction- however phenomenal that may be- our shared interests, or even the things we do together. Rather, it's this willingness to set aside our too-human stubbornness for a few moments every day, to apologize and unbend. Just the willingness to stop and say, "Hey, you know what? I don't have all the answers, and I can be a stupid jerk. I'm sorry I wasn't listening to you; try again, and I'll really try, too."

Now if I could just do it.