Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Get a New Plan, Stan

Whatchya doin' after Muses tomorrow? If I may suggest, come on down to the Saturn Bar where our Bruiser Family Music Hour will be kicking off at 10 p.m. (Prompt-ish. Probably-ish. I think-ish.) Then stick around for the fine country/rockabilly stylings of Mike Hurtt and His Haunted Hearts.

Sounds like a plan to me.*

* I mean, seriously—your flashing-high-heeled-shoe-bejeweled-necklace-wearing post-Muses self plus a whole mess of good-time music, all mixed together in one of the best bars in the city. Beautiful, baby, beautiful!

Monday, January 28, 2008

RSfMS(wC):* Heavenly Hairdos



Are their combovers in heaven? Do all angels have full heads of hair? Is your heavenly hairdo your hairdo from when you die or from some other juncture in life? (Or does your hair transcend individuality and become one with all hair? Do such earthly styling considerations cease to exist in the manifold stylistic glory of the afterlife?) What does Thomas Aquinas say?

* Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

Bloggy-Birthday

This blog turned three yesterday. (There were parades. I forgot. Forgive me.) Altogether, now:
Happy bloggy-birthday to you.
Happy bloggy-birthday to you...
For the next year, this blog will be simultaneously adorable and infuriating. In particular, it will frantically resist all attempts to put on its shoes before leaving the house in the morning.

Carnival Ti-i-i-ime!



The parades started this weekend—the floats and trinkets and giddy children and marching bands and dance squads and cops and tractors and fantastically hilarious people watching.

God, I love it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Coffee Comprehension

The primary reason for having children, in my view, is so after sufficient rearing and training they can bring one hot coffee in bed. (Cold coffee does the trick, but...) Louise, though only six, is rapidly advancing in the subject.

Which is fortunate since Sarah, bless her thirty-five year-old heart, still struggles:*
Sarah: I did like you said—two scoops per mug and two for the pot—but it tastes terrible.

Me: Oh, my poor darling... Louise, what's the formula?

Louise: One for each mug and two for the pot.

Me: Correct. So for three mugs, how many scoops?

Louise: ......[math gears turn]......five?

Me: Correct. Ground how?

Louise: Fine.

Me: Correct. Can you help your mother with that?

Louise: Yes.
A few more years on flavor-blooming and the dangers of steam burns** and hot coffee in bed shall finally be mine!

* In Sarah's defense, I'm the Designated Beverage Maestro of our household. And she is a goodly lass in other regards.

** Our old-fashioned-ish method involves stoves and tea kettles.

Bad Hair Night

Last night I dreamt I had a really bad haircut. What's the dream-interpretation of an ugly jam?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"NACKER 99"

There's a sign I drive by every day. It says:
"NACKER 99"
It's in front of the flooded-out KFC on S. Claiborne, and it probably used to say something sensible(ish) like "SNACKER 99¢", but Katrina took the "S" and the "¢", and since August 25, 2005 it has mutely proclaimed its cryptic message.*

I have a vague (and ridiculous) desire to put it on a t-shirt. Only about three people in the whole wide world would get it,** but they would really get it: "Oh my God! I drive by that every day, and I always think what the hell is it, and are they ever going to take it down, and...!"

Nacker 99... Nacker 99... Nacker 99... It's hypnotic.

* There's plenty others like it: church signs announcing services that never happened, boarded up gas stations with never-changing prices...

** That's an optimistic estimate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mr. Joe-the-Skeleton-tron



Joe plays the Drum Buddy.* (Marco, I indulge you.)

* Follow that link. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Slimbotorialist

In this house, we're fans of The Sartorialist, so I'm starting a new series, The Slimbotorialist,* in which I present Sartorialist-esque** photographs and commentary, but featuring our own resident fashion plates (and their self-selected outfits):



I admire the mix of pinks and browns—and stripes and solids. Also how the shade of her sweater matches the shade of the dried hot chocolate on her face.

* That's a big word, Paw Paw.

** That's an even bigger word, Paw Paw.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

"No Wet Jams!"

The other day, we were chatting with some ex-Northerners about the miseries of cold weather.* I recalled how, if one left the house with wet hair, it froze solid, and I told them my eighth-grade bus-driver's rule:
"No wet jams!"
No one knew what I was talking about, so I had to explain:
"Your jam... your hair... your haircut."
No wet hair. Of course, this was the height of blown-out feathering, so it wasn't usually a big problem. (Unless, like a certain late-blooming blogger, you were pretty clueless during the eighties and didn't really know what this feathering thing was all about or how it was achieved or who sang "Rock Me, Amadeus" or who starred in "The Breakfast Club" or what the deal was with fat shoe laces or...)

Who else knows the "jam" = "hair" idiom? Is it a regional thing? (My dry-jammed bus route was in Hamden, Connecticut.) An eighties thing? A bus driver thing?

* This climate spoils one (like rotten fruit). I spent many of my younger winters traipsing through ice and snow in sub-freezing temperatures, but now I complain whenever it drops below sixty.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

RSfMS(wC):* Music Man

I'm pretty sure this guy plays music:



But what kind? Solo or in a band? (What band name?) Good or bad? What would the review in The New Yorker say?

So many questions.

* Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

RSfMS(wC):* Convinced, Concerned...


I'm not con... I'm not con... Never mind. I thought there might be a joke in there somewhere, but I've got nothing. I don't know. It's a weird one. (Do you think they make lots of contiguity jokes in Alaska and Hawaii?)

* Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

Monday, January 14, 2008

RSfMS(wC):* "Does Something About My Bowtie Amuse You?"



The "wC" stands for "with Commentary", but it doesn't say who provides the commentary. I'm stupid right now (thicker than molasses in a snowstorm**), so why don't you fill in? What's this guys deal/story?

* Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

** I've started a new hobby: making up bogus vernaculars and trying to work them into the mainstream lexicon. Another one I'm pushing: "like sugar icing on a shit-cake". It means whatever you think it means.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

RSfMS(wC):* Amish Obama**

Speaking of the presidential primaries, this one's got touch of the Barack, don't you think?



As a pensive young Amish boy, perhaps? "I believe in change. Wait, no... I believe in horses and buggies and the complete absence of change. Er..."

* Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

** Say that three times fast.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Booty Baby Buddha

June, as previously noted, is something of a sass-attack (and vaudevillian), with a fondness for prancing around, singing her own little songs, and babbling her own free-associative soliloquies. In the midst of one such performance, I heard her proclaim:
"I'm a booty baby buddha!"
accompanied by a cheeky little hands-on-her-hips sashay. Then she pranced on her chatty little way.

June has little formal education in either Eastern religious traditions or alliterative poetic forms, and yet somehow she spontaneously arrives at "booty baby buddha", a phrase that has probably never been uttered in the history of humanity* and whose religious/mystical implications will undoubtedly take years to fathom.

Kids are weird.

* When arguing for an innate human generative capacity for language, Chomsky pointed out that we all, each day, say phrases that have never been said before. Of course, I can't actually prove that no one else has ever said "booty baby buddha", but I can do the modern-day next-best-thing: I can prove that it has never been posted on the internet. A Google search for the exact phrase returns zilch. (Or it currently returns zilch. That will change as soon as the scurrying Google spiders sniff out this post.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

RSfMS(wC):* Vendetta Nutria



This one was on its way to becoming a t-shirt, but then Harry Lee** died, and its currency waned. Nutrias. Harry Lee. This must be very confusing to you above-sea-level-ers. (It's confusing enough to us locals. But if you really want to know...)

* Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

** Who else saw the Willie Nelson-Harry Lee "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" duet at Jazz Fest a bunch of years back. One of the strangest moments in all eternity. I'm surprised the space-time continuum didn't rupture, and we didn't all collapse into a catastrophic Bizarro-Implosion.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

RSfMS(wC):* The Tubsy McLaren Army

I like this little guy:



I think I'll call him Tubsy McLaren. I'd like to have a whole army of him, little genetically engineered cloned duplicates, to do my evil bidding:



I'd call them the Tubsy McLaren Army.** Wouldn't that be nice?***

* Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

** Awesome band name.

*** Is this getting too silly? You'd tell me if it was getting too silly, wouldn't you? Or maybe it's not getting silly enough. Maybe it should get crazy...er. Like a fox...er. Maybe.

RSfMS(wC):* Butt(er) Cup



Have you ever seen anyone look so arrogant and disdainful while cupping their own buttocks?**

* Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

** Does auto-buttock-cupping have any primal significance in monkey-language? It'd be good to know—seeing as how they're liable to turn on us any time now.

Monday, January 07, 2008

RSfMS(wC):* Something Old, Something New II


One of the armchairs in its pre-revived state. I had to cut out the upholstery before transporting it. When I did so, plumes of white mold spores billowed over me. Fortunately, I was wearing my gas mask.

* Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

RSfMS(wC):* This I Believe



Do you listen to the NPR segment, "This I Believe"? It's well-and-good but runs towards the non-controversial, don't you think? "I believe love is good." "I believe children should be nurtured and fed." "I believe mean people suck."

The contrarian in me craves a bit of rough-and-tumble. Just once in a while. Somebody who believes something offensive. Or really weird. Keep us on our toes.

* Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

I've decide to start a new series entitled "Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)" in which I post random* stuff from my sketchbook (with commentary).

Like this one:



It's like if Leonard Nimoy got a pill problem and was kicked off Star Trek and became a nightclub owner. It's like that. (See, that was the commentary.)

The Leonard Nimoy Come-On Line Game:


If Leonard Nimoy really did become this pill-popping, club-owning groovy-daddy, how would he chat up women?
  • "To resist this would be... illogical."
  • "My ears aren't the only thing that's pointy, baby."
Others?

* Though of course, it's not actually random. How could it be? I'm not a Random Number Generator (RNG). I'm not even a Pseudorandom Number Generator (PRNG). No siree... But I am an effective Whim Generator (WG). Whims will work.

Note: I just got the vague feeling I've posted this illustration before. Have I posted it before? Hmm... Actually checking would be tedious. It'll ride.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I Heart John McPhee

I'm the world's slowest reader. (I am inconveniently married to the world's fastest reader, making my deficiency all the more obvious.) My bedside table and bookshelves are littered with half-read books, quarter-read articles, erratically thumbed tomes, all abandoned because they just weren't quite interesting enough to merit the huge amount of time required for me to read them.

I like to think this is not because I'm stupid but just how may brain works. I meander through the details. I flip back to earlier chapters, cross-referencing previous events with present ones. And—often—my mind justs wanders. Something sparks something and it jumps the track and ambles off into obscure ruminations that maybe sort of have something to do with something I was reading and five minutes later I return and realize I'm still staring at the same sentence.

But sometimes a book comes along and grabs me and sucks me in, and I find myself churning, chugging through the pages. I am currently gloriously immersed in John McPhee's Uncommon Carriers,* a collection of his articles on various modes of transport: a hazmat container truck, a tugboat on the Illinois River, cargo ships, coal trains...

I read (with great joy) some of the articles when they first appeared in the New Yorker, but I am blissfully happy to read them again along with the others. He details his workaday subjects with such interest and care, catching the right detail, the funny quote, tracing the unexpected connections, and—in total—shining a vivid clear light on a part of our world that goes unnoticed by most of us but is essential to all of us: the boats and trucks and things that go, and the people that make them go. Under McPhee's guidance, the lumbering coal train of my brain seldom jumps the tracks.**

* Thank you, kindly Christmas elves.

** He's written a gazillion other books. I wonder what they're about. Maybe I should read them too.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ebony and Ivory and Cilantro and Onions

I was eating cuatro tacos de fajitas at my favorite taco truck. Two white contractors stepped up and ordered. While they waited, a jittery young black guy on some sort of potent drugs shuffled over, panhaddled seventy-five cents off one them, and ordered "one beef taco... yeah give me that cilantro and cebolla too".
Jittery Black Guy (to the gruff but generous contractor): It's good shit, but that green stuff is hot. It's jalapenos and onions and shit. It's good they got these places now. Gotta have 'em for the big Hispanic population.

White Contractor: Shit... the big white population. We like it too.

Jittery Black Guy: Yeah, black too... we like it.

White Contractor: It don't matter as long as it's good.

Everybody: Yep... yep... yep...
It was a beautiful moment... and shit.

Tangential coda:

A security guard pulled up in a neighborhood patrol car. (Apparently, they like tacos too.) Jittery Black Guy piped up again, "Here comes the rent-a-cop. I call cops 'five-o'. I call those guys 'two-point-five'." It got a big laugh.*

* Pretty sophisticated mathematical humor for a panhandling drug-and-taco addict, if you ask me. But I tell you, those tacos—they're good for the brain.

Poor Sh-Boo-Boo Redux



Eesh! Please tell me trouble just comes in pairs, right? Right? Less than two months after June broke her collar bone, Louise has gone and broken her wrist. (She thought she could leap from one piece of play equipment to another. She couldn't.) Both at the same playground. Both under my supervision.* Next time, I'm swaddling them in bubble-wrap.

Fortunately, six-year-olds seem to think broken bones are pretty rocking-cool and casts are totally awesome, so...

* It makes a parent feel great, let me tell you. Believe it or not, I was actually watching them
closely. But they're really good at making really bad decisions really quickly. Maybe I should just go sit on the bench and talk on my cellphone and drink a beer and check out hot jogger chicks or something. Maybe I'll have better luck.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Midnight was marked with the thunderous roar of fireworks and (as is the tradition) gunfire. This morning, the neighborhood is vivid blue-white bright, cold, very windy, and freakishly quiet.

Happy New Year.