Monthly Archives: October 2013


Above is a playful riff-o-rama on the Probabilistic Quantum Multiverse, wherein for every way things CAN happen, they DO, and each possibility gets its own private universe. There is no one acrostic poem above, but here is one variation:

Grant this logorithmic soul
Righteous lack of wrongish troll. O
Isthmus straitens bric-a-brac
Deviathan devoids the rack.

I thought I’d coined a new word with Deviathan (quickdef: Deviant Leviathan), but I find to my dismay there are over 13,000 search results. [sad face]

Though this is playful, it is also a try at Art with a capital A. The illustration is a visual pun for Gridlock. It is a forbidding, Cartesian-coordinated box, and visual pun #2 is that all my subversive/versive thinking is done outside the box. Plus, the bottom row of boxes is a wordless, step-by-step lesson in how to draw a 15 by 15 grid freehand with nothing but paper and pencil. This is handy for crossword puzzle constructors who want to go Commando.

How? Why? Let me close both wordlessly and wordfully with this work in progress:


As of this writing, I’ve been a front desk clerk working the Graveyard Shift, 11pm to 7am, for a bit over nine months. There’s a great upside: it’s quiet; my supervisor has no problem with me sketching, reading or writing to stay awake and alert; there’s about three and a half hours of work, emergencies excluded, to get done in an eight-hour shift; a chef-prepared meal is provided. There’s a downside as well, but let’s accentuate the positive.


Here are the words to the double acrostic:

Nocturnality’s not pyrotechnic
If the a l c o h o l is isopropyl
Given processed dew on tension’s surface
Haste is wasted whist if you’re a slow peer
Take a moonlight shave & risk a neck nick

Flash explication:

Line 1: Being up all night might be boring…

Line 2: …if your fluid of choice is isopropyl alcohol and not booze alcohol.

Line 3: How is dew processed? Through evaporation or consumption. Watching dew evaporate is tiresome…

Line 4: The line riffs on “haste makes waste.”

Line 5: Don’t shave on shift under penalty of flaw.


A fox pup is called a kit. A drawing of an explosion is sometimes sound-effected with the semi-onomatopoetic Ka-Blooie. In English colloquy the phrase kit and kaboodle means The Whole Thing. A charming discussion of Kaboodle may be found on Wikipedia, here:

I was hoping the box lid which survived my kiln mishap would be usable as a polar-coordinated drawing substrate. I was at first nonplussed by the above result. Now I think the paper and the more 3d lid, floating in scannerspace as they do, look nicely mysterious together. This prosaic explanation may be doing you readers a disservice. Try forgetting I said anything, and look at it again. [smiles]

There will be no images with this post, though I may some day calligraph the phrase abbreviated above. The letters stand for “Kindly Eschew Relational Otological Micturition Whilst Reporting Precipitation.” It is a cousin to “Eschew Obfuscation,” which translates with some trouble to “Avoid being deliberately confusing,” making it delightfully self-contradictory. “Eschew Obfuscation” was introduced to me by a woman I knew as Dot Morrison, a former co-worker of my former wife Joni. Dot is (or was; I’ve lost track of her since my divorce) the mother-in-law of Hugo-Award-winning science fiction novelist Kim Stanley Robinson. I hope Dot is alive and well. She was wise, a brilliant conversationalist, and a Clarence DeMar fan, just like me, except for the Wise and Brilliant Conversationalist part.

Translation: “Please don’t piss in my ear and tell me it’s raining.” Dot, you liked my proposed bumper sticker “Bush Happens.” Hope you like this one too! [smiles]


Two days ago I eagerly put new greenware into my new-but-old kiln, closed the lid, flipped the switch to High, and went away for a few hours. Upon my return I switched the kiln off and pulled out the lower peephole-stopper. The glow was red-orange, the pyrometric cone was not in front of the peephole where I’d put it, and there was a shard of broken ware in view. Something terrible had happened.


The next day, the kiln having cooled, I opened the lid to find the bowl, the mug and the box had all shattered at their bases. The lid to the box, though skewed atop the box itself, was intact. But what good is a lid without what it is lid to?


My best guess as to what happened is I had not waited long enough for my ware to be completely bone dry. There is a valuable lesson here. The trouble is, I keep RElearning it–and then reverting.


Friends, be patient with your ware, with your friends, with your issues. Do the right thing, and in its right time. Don’t let this happen to you! [sad face]

PS–bonus points and bragging rights to anyone who knows what title the title of this post is based on. [smiley face]


There was a reflection in Metal, which meant
Half-haloes of light-sourced utensil gave flash
Engrossing attention through elegant sense

Maintaining the contra to All flash is CRASS
And lifting the energy drabness let drop
New angles enable new viewpoint: hey presto

If grabbing the O makes a  Cap of a Capo
Now what might become of a Halo? Some question


In September of 1966, Sandy Koufax was winding up a season in which he would win 27 games and receive his third Cy Young award–and play his last game as a professional baseball player.

In September of 1966, Sandy Tolmachoff was enrolled in the 7th grade of a school so new it had not a name but a designation: Unit VI. Her homeroom was Mr. Gasser’s Room 55. (Gasser rhymed with Crosser; sometimes he was, and would crack a long stick across a desk to silence a rowdy classroom.)

In September of 1966, I was a sickly child, well shy of five feet and just north of 58 pounds. Sandy Koufax had been my hero for about three years, and I’d admired him wholeheartedly since October 6, 1965, when he took himself off the roster for Game 1 of the World Series, owing to its taking place on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. (I wasn’t Jewish, but as fate would have it I’d read a book about a Little League team of Jewish boys, and when I mentioned it to my mother, she reaffirmed that I could be any religion I chose; so I was imagining being Jewish, eventually having my Bar Mitzvah, etcetera–then Sandy Koufax’s momentous decision came along.)


It was also September of 1966 that I met Sandy Tolmachoff. She was a fellow Room 55er. I spoke to her for the first time in the Unit VI cafeteria. She was wearing a pale green turtleneck blouse with striped indentations–not pleats but I never learned the technical term. The blouse suited her fair complexion and arresting eyes.


WOW, she was pretty. GOSH, she was sweet and friendly. I was smitten big time…

…but then I was gone for awhile. On September 22nd I was a patient at St. Joseph’s Hospital. A myriad of airway-blocking polyps was excised from my nasal cavity by the Ear/Nose/Throat specialist Dr. Alan Frerichs, and a yard of packing material was shoehorned into my nose. Gauze and surgical tape held it in place and made me look like I’d had not a polypectomy but a nose-ectomy. When the next-door-neighbor kids came to see me as I convalesced, they left quickly, aghast and shaken.

In time Dr. Frerichs removed the packing material. That packing material removal produced the most pain I had ever experienced in my life.

In time I returned to school. Alas, Sandy Koufax had retired, his career ended due to arthritis in his pitching arm. It was about three months before his 31st birthday.

But the other Sandy, fair of face and bright and ethereal, graced the Unit VI campus till her grade-school graduation, and then attended Glendale High School, just like I did. We are friends to this day, and I last saw her just last year at a class reunion, in the company of her easy-grinning, bursting-with-vitality, congenial husband Bill “BK” Kalpakoff, the man who made her just as much a Sandy K. as my hero Sandy Koufax. Sandy and BK have raised a passel of beautiful children in their nearly forty years of marriage, and their shared life is full of travel and fun. Since their children had to be born, just as my own daughter had to be born, to make the Universe correct with their existence, I am ultimately glad I never confessed to Sandy the crush I’d had on her in the 7th grade. But I will never forget her, even if I live to be forever, and even if I forget Sandy Koufax.


Here is a work in progress. It is Stuck, has been for over a month, but it is a good Stuck. There’s a book by the brilliant physicist Freeman Dyson called Weapons and Hope, now dated in a way but still vital and worth reading, that spoke of Stuckness. He also wrote Disturbing the Universe, which rocks autobiographically.


One hand Gives, the other Takes. What is Given is a blank check. It may represent indefinite wealth or unlimited potential. (To further digress, the awesome meteor-logical Stephanie Abrams, viewable in the wee hours, is often partnered with Al Roker. I wonder if she’s ever deconstructed the word POTENTIAL to POTENT-I-AL. She well could.)

A woman torques and cracks a bone in her foot. That Hurts. She then goes to an Urgent Care center and gets support-booted and caned in the nicest possible way. That Heals. (That’s based on the real event in the real life of my real girlfriend, who rocks every bit as much as does Freeman Dyson, inventor of the Dyson Sphere.)

This is catch-circling and confusing, so it perfectly fits what Cyndi Lauper sang, once upon a time after time:

Caught up in circles
Confusion is nothing new…

My thoughts have wanderlust. And wonderlove. I am unshaven, but even after I shave I’ll be a work in progress at least as long as I live.


Arizona now and finally has a Poet Laureate. Denise and I heard him read at the Sedona Public Library tonight, and he amazed and enchanted.

I took along a pocket sketch pad, but quickly put it aside after dashing off the above sketch. I had last consistently used the pad about four years ago. I close with this further riding on a better poet’s coattails:


The words to the triple acrostic:

Grave Gelid Angel, haggard yet commissioned
Grave Gelid Angel, wrenched, but took a vow
Grave Gelid Angel, Algaefied and fissioned
Although you vie to show the people how
They’re heedless of Grave Gelid Angels now.