Friday, December 29, 2006

Lies My Parents Told Me, When I Figured Out They Were Lies, and The Probability I Will Tell The Lies To My Offspring

  • Santa Claus, existence of: June 18, 1977, 3:18pm; 100%
  • Easter Bunny, existence of: June 18, 1977, 3:18pm; 100%
  • Tooth Fairy, existence of: June 18, 1977, 3:19pm; 99%
  • God, existence of: February 4, 1984, 6:27pm; 88%
  • I can’t swim for half an hour after eating: July 4, 1981, 3:03pm; 73%
  • The vitamins in bread are “in the crust”: April 22, 1977, 6:11pm; 2%
  • Eating beef does not mean, as I posited, you are “eating cow muscles”: March 2, 1984, 6:18pm; 1%
  • “Duty Free” is only for foreigners: (this actually might be true; I need to investigate further); N/A
  • I can be President: October 11, 1989, 3:38pm; 78%
  • I can be “whatever I want to be”: November 28, 1995, 2:14pm; 82%
  • It’s not whether I win or lose: August 13, 1978, 11:31am; 80%
  • It’s how I play the game: August 13, 1978, 11:32am; 79%
  • Everything will be OK: February 3, 1973, 2:31pm; 100%

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

Most Wonderful

You know that Christmas song that goes “It’s the most wonderful time of the year?”

OK, so you know how it has that one part that talks about “scary ghost stories”?
What’s that about? Did people used to do that? I mean, I know: A Christmas Carol, but other than that, did people used to sit around during Christmas telling ghost stories? That sounds awesome! We should totally bring that back.

(Please note: THIS WAS WRITTEN BY A GHOST!!!!!!!!!)
OK, your turn.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It is way difficult to type "Ed edited it" without spaces

Seriously, try it:
Ededitedit. Ediedit. Ededitiedit.
And but so plus in addition to making it easier to type that sentence, according to Wikipedia, in computer games you can also use the space bar for “jumping”! And in other applications for “adding marks to check boxes”!
Oh, and on a Space Cadet Keyboard, Control + Meta + Hyper + Super + Space Bar types an Octal 40!
Thank you, space bar! You rock so hard!

Oh, also: it is fun to say out loud that something has “Cinnamon and lemon in it.”
But that doesn’t have anything to do with the space bar, so maybe ignore this part.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Back off, Lethem

Eat it, HUDSara Gran totally stole my idea of writing about Vinegar Hill, so I had to build a small cardboard house out of the box the office chair we just ordered came in, in order to stake my claim.

Let the word go out to everyone:
I call dibs on writing about one-room cardboard houses on fourth floor walk-ups in South Slope.



N.B. Before any Architectural Critics (or “Snarkitects” as Heidi Julavits and I like to call them whenever we’re hanging out) raise the issue that I have assembled the bricks as if the house were constructed within the game “Breakout” (or “Arkanoid”, for you youngsters) as opposed to traditional staggered brick format, and that my method lacks “basic structural integrity” and is
“doomed to collapse even more spectacularly than the downtown office complex project at 34th St. and Oak, please note that the house is also assembled with a total of 407 Hurriquakes.

So shut it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Good Nabors

Samantha: Um, I put a new post up on Babelpop.
People Who Read Babelpop: Wow, that month went fast.

EXEUNT

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Randy Norseman, Episode 1: At the Home Depot

FADE IN.

Interior. Day.
The Randy Norseman is at a Home Depot talking to a sales clerk.

Randy Norseman: So... Tell me more about this “leif blower”...

FADE OUT.


Epilogue:
The Randy Norseman converted to Christianity and died.

Today's Edition of "Irony Explained to the Times Staff"

The reason Stoppard said he “loves scrims” is because your last name is Merkin.

He’s toying with you.


Stupid Times Select. Next time, bring your A game.

UPDATE: Here is Daphne Merkin's Introduction to Film Techniques Final Project, a short film about how she couldn't come up with an idea for a short film, and so she made a film about that.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Strunk und Drang

Thanks to Jessi Guilford for this comment. Now I can write this with reasonable grammatical confidence:
The attorneys general’s store on Granadillo wishes to announce that the good behavior barter tokens can now be used to purchase food items, including John Ashcroft’s homemade beef jerky, which by the way is now halāl and bears a label saying it is prepared by “George Dhabiĥa Bush” (this is a pun, but it really is halāl now); for those of you who do not trust us (and why would you?! We know!!), Janet Reno’s apple butter is still (still!) available in gift packs of eight, and also Alberto Gonzales joke about water boarding maybe something to do with a snorkel? Will fill in later. Thanks, etc.
Again, thanks to Jessi. I think you’ll agree that the world is better now that I typed that.

Friday, November 24, 2006

passive possessive

My Strunk & White is all the way across the room and my foot’s asleep, so quickly please, people:
What’s the plural possessive of “attorney general”?

Yes, I know the plural is “attorneys general”, please listen, I need the plural possessive.

Oh, and it’s a store that they’re possessing:

“Attorneys’ general store” ..?
No, that can’t be right.

THIS IS YOUR PROBLEM NOW.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Something Awesome Just Happened

I went downstairs to the basement of my building to get a slice of pizza and the pizza place was blasting "Coward of the County" by Kenny Rogers.

I haven't heard that song in twenty years. See, Life? That's all it takes. Instant Good Day. Please work harder at this.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

For some reason I was just thinking about this

Remember when Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf was claiming there were no American troops in Baghdad, even though Baghdad was like eight seconds away from falling and there were American tanks a few blocks away?

“Baghdad cannot be besieged!”
That was funny, LOL.

Unrelated:

crazy like a fox

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Santa Claus Machine!

If anyone out there has one of these, I’ve lost the wrench from Clue. I have the version from 1960.
Can you make me one? It will take like two seconds.

I just need the wrench.


[I’ve been reading about these forever, but I’ve never seen one in action. In fact, probably best to just skip down to the video, and try to ignore such drolleries as “Maybe in the future we can draw a lot of things like a new wife” and “After the girls play now it tech guy to make some magic”. Out of the way, Ladies! Math class is hard!]

Friday, November 03, 2006

Answers to Last Tuesday’s Pop Quiz in Early Romantics

(1) Because her name is made up of two sacrificial people from Biblical times who were unable to commit sins (specifically, Christ and Able[sic]) [*]

(2) The number of up-beated words are always the same, even though the number of down-beated words can vary from line to line [*]

(3) antimetabole

(4) She has characteristics of mythological creatures, like [“labia” crossed out] lamia, vampires, zombies, bisexuals [**]

(5) They did not know what it was about and were tired of him not finishing poems and did not like the phrase “mastiff bitch” or the owl noises [*]

(6) [**]

(7) Hazlitt




* Half credit.
** Marked incorrect.

Interesting Trivia About Notable Evolutionists

The name “Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck” contains every letter in the alphabet.



That I care about.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Have Fun, But Please Don't Scare Your Mother

Can’t sleep, clown’ll eat me

WFMU’s Beware of the Blog has an mp3 of Night of the Laughing Dead from Power Records from liiiike 1974. I had this when I was around six or seven years old, and I have literally never been so terrified of anything in my entire life before or since.

Night of the Laughing Dead was a 45 (!) narrated by Stan Lee (!!) in second person (!!??!) -- you are the Man-Thing (as opposed to DC’s slightly later but more popular Swamp Thing, and both as opposed to Hillman/Eclipse’s original Heap); you secrete a chemical corrosive when you sense fear; you witness a clown shooting himself in the head because your girlfriend, the tightrope walker, had an affair! (This always happens to clowns.)

Then the clown’s ghost appears and tries to make people laugh in a Roger Rabbit voice, while creepy circus music plays in the background. Then some other stuff happens. Then you get completely afraid-to-open-the-closet-caliber wigged out but can’t stop playing it over and over again until finally your mother gets worried that you’re not sleeping and tells you, “Why don’t we put this away until you’re older?” at which point she throws it away along with some flexidiscs you got off the back of a Honeycombs box about UFOs that also rattled me so much I wasn’t able to function.

I mean, you.

(Maybe this won’t be that scary to you; maybe I’m just remembering how scared it made me as a kid, but I just listened to this in my office on my iPod, with the lights out, and if anyone is reading this right now, will you please come to my office? And check the men’s room for dead clowns? Because I have to pee?)


N.B. In case you were wondering what the best blog in the history of all blogs ever, as of right now, is, it’s Scar Stuff, which has a lot of other recordings like this and has the added benefit of being named after the Halloween makeup from Imagineering, a company I kept in the black for much of the late 70s.

Mira:

Also available: Tooth Out Ages 8 and up

Thursday, October 19, 2006

TAFT!

Who’s the 27th President
That’s a sex machine with all the residents?
TAFT!
(You’re damn right.)

Who defended the Payne-Aldrich Act
And had a cow named Pauline in the White House?
THAT DOESN’T RHYME, BUT I THINK IT’S TAFT AGAIN!
(Can you dig it?)

Who served as Chief Justice on the Supreme Court after he was President?
UM, TAFT?
(Damn straight.)
REALLY? THAT’S WEIRD. WHAT ARE YOUR SOURCES?
(Wikipedia and books)

THEY SAY THAT WIKIPEDIA IS A BAD MOTHER--
(Shut your mouth)
I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT TAFT.
(Then we can dig it.)

EPILOGUE:
Richard Roundtree was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 and has since been an advocate for cancer awareness.

“Roundtree” was William Howard Taft’s “Skull and Bones” nickname. Because he was fat.

(Fat like a damn tree.)

Taft died 12 years before Roundtree was born, which is a total coincidence because there are 12 letters in “moustachioed” which is something both of them are, N.B.


Taft had a secretary named “Richard Roundtree” who warned him to stop having obstructive sleep apnea and Richard Roundtree had a personal trainer named “Olmstead v. United States” that warned him not to do “Shaft in Africa”.

Every proper name in that previous sentence has a number of letters that can be multiplied by 12.

Both men want the Mets to win tonight.
Don’t fuck up, Perez.


v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^
7.11.08: Update, like 1.75 years later: Elephant Larry does an infinitely better version of this joke.
Thanks for reminding me I suck, Elephant Larry.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In the beginning sometimes I left posts on that blog.

Jessi Guilford is smart and funny and I am a bad group blog contributor.
Maybe it’s all the oxytocin in my nose spray but I Y Jessi’s post on BabelPop! about Wittgenstein’s Mistress and Metallica and plants.

Actually, since I also found myself enjoying Studio 60 last night, it might be the oxytocin.

Nevertheless.

Monday, October 16, 2006

How the West Was Fun: A Critical Survey

great movie
Reviewer: cyberj_83 from Iowa City December 26, 1999
I was distracted in watching this movie, because I kept thinking that if Mary-Kate traveled at the speed of light to the Alpha-3 star system, which is 25 light years away (a light year is the distance light travels in a year) and the trip to the star and back takes just over 50 years, then when Mary-Kate returned, Ashley would be 60 years old, but Mary-Kate would only be ten and a half! How can this be? Mary-Kate was away for fifty years but only aged by half a year! At one point, the twins ride a horse and save a ranch from greedy developers. Or something. I don’t know, man, I’m kind of messed up on corn syrup right now.

Great video!
Reviewer: A drummer from Dronfield January 8, 2001
On the one hand, I loved this video, but on the other hand I prefer the Olsens’ early work as the “Gelfling” in the movie “Dark Crystal.” I have other opinions to tell you, but I only have two handS!!!11!!???? Actually, I only have one hand.
--Rick Allen.

Best Westenr Ever
Reviewer: A Movie Fan from New York City November 15, 2001
Consciously crafted by directors David and Jarnette Olsen as a piece of American mythmaking, “How the West was Fun” is on nearly everyone's shortlist of great movie Westerns. A buckskin knight (One of the Olsens), rides into the middle of a range war, quickly siding with the "sod-busters" (several digitally reproduced Olsens). While helping a kindly farmer (Possibly the other Olsen, but she looks like the first Olsen, but that wouldn’t make sense because then the one Olsen couldn’t be in the saloon because it’s a continuous shot from the pig sty to the saloon, which I just got is probably some kind of commentary on saloons, but anyway, unless she was really fast, it has to be a different Olsen), she falls platonically in love with the man's wife (Olsen as you’ve never seen her before). The photography, highlighting the landscape near the Olsen’s home in Sherman Oaks, California, won an Oscar. With Jack Palance as the guy who says “Git” a lot. “Git on out of here,” and so forth.

ok i guess
Reviewer: A viewer from Rhode Island June 12, 2002
i thought it would be enjoyable to watch as the olsen twins developed into young women before our eyes but it seems to me like it’s taking them longer than it should

yikes
Reviewer: A viewer from Rhode Island June 13, 2002
never mind

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Happy Aleister Crowley’s Birthday!

And (maybe..?) goodbye to the best thing about this past summer (*); although I haven’t seen the last maybe five videos, I still hope you don’t die, Bree! I will miss your weird eyebrows!

Here is what we learned from all this:

(1) Everyone on the Internet is (a) stupid or (b) twelve years old.
This is the generation that’s supposed to be so net savvy? You are not net savvy. You are stupid and twelve.

(2) Everyone on the Internet is a boy.
I kept hoping someone would post a blog entry titled, “WHO IS DANIELBEAST!??!?!??!!?11!!!” (he’s YouTube’s John Krasinski). But nope. Plus I know three separate boys who bought the Jane Doe’s album that “Junkie” is on, because it was the background music for the “Swimming” video. GET OVER IT. IT'S A ONE-PIECE.

(3) Everyone providing content on the Internet is stupid.
Seriously. That's how you end it? Please call me next time. (I guess next we all move on to this? The product placement is more helpfully put up front for us, so we don't have to try as hard.)

(*)
And yet and yet and yet there was a period at one point this past summer when basically my homepage was “LG15 talk”. But now Fall is here (where “Fall” = “September 7th”, specifically the date of the “From the Creators” note) .

(Please indulge me.)

It turned colder. That’s where it ends.
So I told her we’d still be friends
Then we made
our true love vow
Wonder what she’s doing now
Summer dreams ripped at the seams,
buut oh, those suummer
naaahhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiights.

Take care, Yousef and Jessica! I will miss both of your eyebrows!

------------------------

UPDATE, SEVERAL WEEKS LATER:
No one died, and here’s what everyone thinks about it now.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Our 69,105th post

My son just turned two, but about six months ago, I told him “Sam, go into your room and get a book and bring it out here,” and he did it, and I thought at the time, “Wow, he’s as smart as an Infocom game.”

This morning, though, when I was putting on his diaper, he rolled over onto his stomach, and I said, “Sam, flip over” and I got no response, so I said, “Sam, flip over so I can change your diaper,” and I got no response, so I said, “Flip over, Sam,” and got no response, so finally I said, “Sam, roll over,” and he did, which means he’s actually only as smart as “King’s Quest”.

Still pretty good! Keep up the good work!


I’m the kind of “really excited” that is “unfortunate for everyone around me” about “Get Lamp”, the documentary about text adventures that Jason Scott is working on. Those games meant way too much to me when I was eleven and a half.
A year or so ago, I was reading a list of bugs/nonsensical responses that you could get from the games, and it made them seem more intelligent (like the game was countering my nonsense with its own nonsense) or more realistic (in the reality of the game when you put a bottle into a sack and then try to put the sack into the bottle, of course they would both disappear).

Here is my all-time favorite bug, from Zork III:

> DUNGEON MASTER, KILL ME WITH THE STAFF
"If you wish," he replies.
If you insist... Poof, you're dead!
**** The dungeon master has died ****
The dungeon master follows you.
Your sword has begun to glow very brightly.

Compare that to Monday:

> ATTEMPT TO RUN REAL PLAYER ON MY WORK COMPUTER
“An exception 06 has occurred at 0028:C1183ADC in VxD DiskTSD(03)” the computer replies.
If you insist... Poof, you blue screened!
**** Your computer has died****
Your monitor has begun to glow very brightly.

Tomorrow, I’m going to teach Sam that when someone says “Hello, Sailor” to him, he should respond with “Nothing happens here,” and that before we turn on his nightlight he should request that we “frotz” it.

I will not stop until he is as smart as “Cornerstone”, at which point Activision will pay all of his outstanding debt. That, plus the TAP 529 we started should give him a head start.

> GO SAM GO

Friday, September 29, 2006

ZOMG

This, from comingsoon.net, my favorite site for when I want a webpage backgrond gif to explode my eyes, made me jst wet my pants, metaphorically(1), with glee.
John Krasinski (“The Office”) is writing and directing an adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men,” reports Production Weekly.

“Hideos Men” features twenty-two stories that intertwine hilarity with an escalating disquiet to create almost unbearable tensions. The series of stories from which the book takes its title is a tour de force sequence of imagined interviews with men on the subject of their relations with women. These portraits of men at their most self-justifying, loquacious, and benighted explore poignantly and hilariously the agonies of sexual connection.

Five weeks of principal photography begins November in locations around the Northeast.

This: John Krasinski!
Plus this: David Foster Wallace!
Plus this: A misspelling of “hideous”!(2)
Equals: My worlds are colliding!

And I love how it comes preblurbed:

“ESCALATING DISQUIET!”
“SEXUAL!”
“IMAGINED...AGONIES!”
“NORTHEAST!”

JOHN KRASINSKI, PLEASE DO NOT LET ME DOWN LIKE AARON SORKIN HAS APPARENTLY CHOSEN TO DO (3).

(1) Special Note to Jessi: I’m sorry if I am always writing about pee.

(2) The u on my keyboard at work doesn’t always work consistently. (a)

(3) I missed Stdio 60 on Monday but I just watched episode 2 for free on the internet (b) and while I have to admire the amount of energy going into a show that has to include in every episode featring the writers both a bunch of sketch ideas that are sort of funny but don’t really work, and then a bnch of sketch ideas that do (i.e., every episode has to be both SNL and MadTV, (c)), this show isn’t like, working? Like, at all? For me? Yet?

It is DISHEARTENING. There’s a slickness and familiarity to it that makes me feel like everyone’s phoning it in (d) -- a slickness in spite of the clunky, embarrassing stillborn promotional websites (the all-links-are-dead as of this posting Studio 60 on NSS and the not-apparently-even-up-anymore defamer parody/tribute/salute/ripoff defaker (still viewable via google cache. [Update: I can't find it in the cache anymore, but this proves I didn't dream it]

I guess I’ll still watch, because I don’t have cable, but, but, but bt bt bt bt bt bt bt bt bt (2)
I'm only giving you eleven more chances.


(a) which scks (i)

(b) (!)

(c) not that I’m particularly worried Sorkin will run out of steam; no one has had this many throw-away lines at his disposal since the Epstein twins. Oh. Wait, wait. I thought of someone.

(d) the big finale of ep.2 where we see the cold opening that does work and that allegedly proves the genius of Chandler and Lyman (I mean, ha ha, oops), is a Gilbert and Sllivan(b) parody? Really? Didn’t The Simpsons kind of already cover that in “Carpe Feare”? And again in “Deep Space Homer”? And again in “Bart’s Inner Child”? And you you you I'm looking at you Aaron Sorkin, didn’t you go to this particular well in the “And It’s Surely To Their Credit” episode of West Wing? And wasn’t that in November 2000?(ii)

(i) especially for typing in .r.l.'s.

(ii) Um, this post was supposed to be about John Krasinski. John Krasinski, call me.
I love yo.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Letter to Robert Burns from William Creech, Publisher, 23 April 1788

Sir,

In response to your keen and frosty letter, I feel the need to reiterate the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement, signed at Mackenzie’s: you were to receive 100 guineas in addition to the subscription money for the property of the poems. I have the poems you sent. I now await the poems I might actually be able to publish.

As you know, I am an admirer of much of your work: To a Mouse (On Turning Her up in her Nest with the Plough) is a fine poem, as, of course, is To a Louse (On Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church), but these new ones... You may be in a bit of a rut, is all I’m saying.

Take To a Blouse (On Finding Said Claithing on the Half-Off Rack at Haggis Republic). The half-off rack is indeed a good place to save the odd bawbee, but “Sin’ your sporran’s but a purse / For ta’en orr’ duddies aught o’ house / An’ sin’ your kilt be but a skirt / Transvetie, why not buy a blouse?” is just silly, and insensitive to the culture of the highlander. You have your opinion on this and I have mine, and yes, I’ve read Deuteronomy 22:5, so don’t bring that up again. Also, in stanza four, your rhyme for “tartan” is inappropriate, as I’m sure you know.

Furthermore, look at To a Spouse (On Finding Oneself Married to Jean Armour for the First or Possibly the Second Time; Historians Disagree). Why you would want to bring this mess up again, especially after the Holy Willie Debacle, is beyond me; regardless, this is territory already well-trod with Of A’ The Airts The Wind Can Blaw not to mention Henpecked Husband -- I’m sure we can all agree that the drollery of the last line there: “I’d kiss her maids, and kick the perverse bitch” exceeds the new “’S a sma’ brattle; gie’ tho’ willie to’cher nae’ was s’ae grozit wi’fie.” In fact, I’ll be honest. I’m not even sure what that means.

Still, it scans well, unlike another submission, To a Gauss (On the Invention of the Theory of Congruences). While Carl Friedrich Gauss is no doubt a giant among mathematicians, and the value of his work in electromagnetism is not to be denied, he will not be born for another 150 years, I’m personally weirded out by the plan to deforest a giant triangle in the Siberian pine forest for the aliens to see, and if there is any poetry to be wrung from his life, “It wad frae monie daimen whid spean / Calculait mauth non-Euclidean” is probably not it.

Lastly, To a Kraus (On Viewing an Episode of “Benson” in which Some Humanity in the Acerbic German Housekeeper is Glimpsed) is simply dumbfounding. Although the early stanzas of the narrator being chased by Dobermans have promise, the following lines are forced and contrived, and the conclusion is mawkish. Your contention that she deserved her own spin-off, à la the Polly Holliday vehicle Flo is frankly short-sighted and betrays a complete lack of understanding about the role of a supporting character. Also you reference Tracey Gold. It was Missy Gold, who played the Governor’s daughter (Tracey’s sister).

I feel confident if you put a little more thought into your work, we could have another winner on our hands. As it stands,

All best to Jean,

William Creech,
Publisher

Monday, September 25, 2006

Early Draft of Text Automatically Attached to the End of Outgoing Emails from Horizon Securities Ltd.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IMPORTANT NOTICES:
This message is intended only for the addressee. The addressee should print it out, and color it with Mr. Sketch Scented Markers. The result should be shredded and the shreds of colored paper should be used to make a piñata. In the piñata, you should place candy, preferably Chiclets. The following should never be placed inside the piñata: angry bees, infants, cigarettes, needles, glass, a second slightly smaller antimatter piñata, or uranium target rings (i.e., if the bat used to hit the piñata is also made of uranium; otherwise, this is OK).

Horizon Securities Ltd. (“HSL”) can melt things by looking at them. There are vending machines here that sell kittens. They are 45 cents and come in a small shoebox. You will not know if the kitten is alive until you open the shoebox, and the kitten’s fate is tied to the wave function of the atom, which is itself in a superposition of decayed and undecayed states until observed. The shoebox is beautiful.

HSL misses you. HSL has been staying up late reading old letters you wrote it a long time ago. HSL likes the way you make the loops in your L’s. HSL does not like your current “partner” because that person is “churchy.” HSL almost called you last night when it had had too many Maker’s Mark & Sodas (we are trying to make this our “signature drink”. HSL does not really think a new relationship with you would actually be viable, but can’t help but remember the one time when you were both trying to stay up all night because you had a final in Film History, and you didn’t say anything, you just looked at each other for hours and hours and hours.

Friday, September 22, 2006

An Arthritic Ray Harryhausen Lets His Dog Go Free

Arnaut Daniel - he dead

So, feet jerking through St. Augustine, the one-headed dog
First strained, now freed from the leash, runs, eyes
Three blocks ahead, each vertebrae
Moving like Fleischer cartoons: repetitive, cells half-melted, skipped,
A bad print. But, still, digging deep into his toenails
The soft earth is molded and deliberate

And fills the hollows until as if by a deliberate
Preference for the shrinking of things, the dog
Thumps its paw a second time and from its toenail
A smaller tooth-shaped, toenail-shaped clod of mud ejects. He eyes
The afterimage of that bony dog. It has skipped
Past, the image shrinking. Four months moving vertebrae

For three minutes of film! A hydra's teeth becomes vertebrae
Becomes seven skeletons: four died by sword, three in deliberate
And vain endeavor plunged seaward, lemmingly skipped
To briny death after the Argonauts. They will dog
The Argonauts no more. Grinning teeth and sockets for eyes:
What is a skeleton but teeth grinding like concrete scraping the hallux toenail,

That one backwards toenail
Of dogs and birds and hydras? Animals have vertebrae
For moving. And to see, they have eyes.
Persistence of Vision is a deliberate
Gift from God. Had he skipped
That class? Is that why now his spine is dog-

Legged? Hunched over, he watches the dog
In stop motion. The mud from the hollow of the toenail
Expelled in stop motion. The dog skipped
Past hedges, past where he can see. His thoratic vertebrae
Shrink and crack. His lumber vertebrae deliberate
Until they form five question marks. His eyes

Shudder (it's the only way his eyes
Can see now). And the after-image of the dog
Like a Muybridge negative, burns deliberate
And hard: dog head, dog tongue, dog toenail.
Dog having now skipped
Six blocks. He hunches up his B-Movie vertebrae.

His aging has been as deliberate as the twentieth toenail
On Dioskilos, or the fourteen eyes on the hydra (he'd vainly skipped
Heads 8 & 9). His vertebrae: stop motion stop, the collapse of a two-headed dog

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Answers to Last Thursday’s Pop Quiz in Early Romantics

(1) “Love is Eternal,” he tells her. And that he is coming to see her.
(2) The lover has been untrue, so when the narrator picks a rose it is a symbol of love for him, he pretends to take it, leaving her with the thorn, which to him, [crossed out] [*]
(3) Because none of them were Mary
(4) The first and last stanzas are almost identicle [sic] which brings a sense of unity to the song. The third stanza also contains the line “Flow Gently Sweet Afton…” The other stanzas are set up as if he has come upon her, with his flock of sheep, he at first envisions past encounters, but as he gets closer, he is able to give specifics (her feet dangling in the water, etc.) [**]
(5) He is in love with Mary and, seeing her asleep by the Afton, wishes for [“piece” crossed out] peace and serenity around her [*]
* Marked incorrect.
** Half credit.

Open Letter to William Blake

“Symmetry” and “eye” don't rhyme, dick*.
What are you, Emily Dickinson, now?

Jesus.



* Unless this is some obscure joke about Shannon Doherty. Is it? She has Crohn’s disease. Did you know that?
Don’t you think she’s been through enough?


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Studio Sixty

When I was watching this last night, I thought the actor playing the Davey Wilson character (“Cal Shanley”) was Andy Dick, and I thought, “Andy Dick has really let himself go.”
But I just checked, and I see that that character was played by Timothy Busfield, which makes me think that Timothy Busfield has let himself go.

Our hearts go out to the families of Andy Dick and Timothy Busfield.

P.S. the show kind of sucked, but it takes place in Los Angeles, so maybe it’s supposed to.
AARON SORKIN, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THIS SHOW SUCK.

Reviews of “Special Topics in Calamity Physics” and the Bottle of Açaí Juice I Bought for Lunch Cleverly Masked as SAT Test Questions

Choices:
(a) Special Topics in Calamity Physics
(b) The bottle of açaí juice I bought for lunch
(c) Both a and b
(d) Neither a nor b

Questions
(1) __ I had heard good things about it
(2) __ I bought it on a whim
(3) __ If feeling extremely charitable, I might call it “frothy”
(4) __ It seemed sort of good in the beginning, but by the end I was like, “Blaahahhgajh. End, end, end.”
(5) __ Contains metaphors that go down like a junebug having lion sex in a bourbon mood
(6) __ Blue things totally dissed
(7) __ Nabokov rolling in his grave
(8) __ Authoritative blurb raises questions about agenda of blurber
(9) __ Handy pronunciation key for difficult-to-pronounce words like “açaí” or “pessl”
(10) __ “I’m confused about what editors, like, do?”
(11) __ “Maybe I don’t need this many antioxidants and/or self-indulgence.”
(12) __ “Post-BBC Office is anyone allowed to be named Gareth? Really? Really?


[Pencils down.]


Answers:
(1) c
(2) c
(3) c
(4) c
(5) c (“A Cadillac-sized smile drove away with his face as if I’d just agreed to pay him ‘in cayash,’ as Dad would say, for a Sedona Beige Metallic Pontiac Grand Prix, fully loaded, two grand over sticker price, driving it off the lot right then and there.”; “Stop the radicals! Join the antioxidant revolution!”)
(6) c (~bloods plotline disappear halfway through; ~berries have 61 fewer ORAC units than açaí)
(7) d (This is against policy at Cimitière de Clarens.)
(8) c (Jonathan Franzen: “A masterpiece of sorts.”; Brunswick Laboratories, MA: ORAC Unit analysis, presented as bar chart)
(9) b (“say ‘ah-sci-ee’”)
(10) a
(11) c
(12) a (No, unless a boy is born that can swim faster than a shark.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Open Letter/Valentine for Maria

Fraulein,

I was a baron and a widower, and I ran my Salzburg home like a ship! (Specifically, the one I commanded.) That all changed when you, an ineffectual postulant nun given to panoramic hill-prancing and something that translates from the German as “pleasure imping”, arrived from the convent to be the new governess of my seven children, Liesel, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Gretel, Germaine, and Tito. Your romps through the hills inspired us all to sing and to find joy in the little things in life, such as raindrops on schnitzel and whiskers on additional schnitzel. We married. Austria’s new German rulers wanted me back in military service. Hijinx. Max was all, “The VonTrapp Family Singers!” like eleven times. More hijinx. Momentary happiness. Then you left me when it occurred to you that my whistle for you was the same as my whistle for Rolfe. Fox produced several “Millionaire” shows. People started calling me Captain VonCrapp. “Hey, how’s it goin’, Von Crapp?” they would say. And variations on this.
Later, with the advent of the “internet”, it became no longer appropriate to pronounce my first name “gay.org.”
If you read this, know that nothing comes from nothing.
No, nothing ever could.
[this is your part]
Or childhood.
[you again]
Something goooooooood.

Holla back.

~ Baron George* VonTrapp
Rhymes with Porr’dge, LOL

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Knotable Knots

1. Gordian Knot
2. Clove Hitch Knot
3. Granny Knot
4. Bowline Knot
5. Fisherman’s Bend Knot
6. Half Hitch Knot
7. Square Knot
8. Slip Knot
9. Surgeon’s Knot
10. Turk’s Head Knot
11. Don Knotts
12. Knott’s Berry Farms
13. Knott’s Scary Farms*
14. Knot if you were the last man on Earth, Brian.
15. Knot Me**
THAT IS ALL. THERE ARE NO MORE KNOTS.



* During Halloween only.
** Tip o’ the hat to Bil Keane!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Answers to Last Tuesday’s Pop Quiz in Early Romantics

(1) Ghengis’s son
(2) Because that guy woke him up [**]
(3) The fountain is like the creative inspiration and the river Alph is the creative force. The water is [crossed out] [**]
(4) Because he saw the poem in it’s [sic] entirety, word for word and image for image based not only on his dream but on what he was reading, which was itself a fragment so there could not have been more than what we have, because the source itself is limited. [*]
(5) The voices were [“prophicizing” crossed out] prophesying war.
(6) Because if you just say the vowels of the first line it’s sort of like a Vowel Palindrome: Ih Ah Ah Oo Ih Oo Ah Ah [**]
(7) The fountain and the sunless seathe sunny pleasure dome and caves of icethe peaceful valley and the voices prophesying war
(8) [*]



* Marked incorrect.
** Half credit.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Revelation 16

12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphra'tes; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armaged'don.
17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of at alent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
22 “Interesting act,” sayeth the talent agent. “What do you call yourselves?”
23 “The Aristocrats.”

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mark Russell!

Mark Russell is like Tom Lehrer, Alan Sherman and Victor Borge all rolled into one, and then subtract Will Rogers and add Young Bob Hope, then take out Old Bob Hope.
Add a dash of whimsy and NEA funding, and shake gently.
Garnish with Freedom.

Serves six.

Not really. It serves five.
Is he even still alive?