Monthly Archives: October 2015

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Today I and my steady girl Joy attended a memorial service for Harvey Rhodes, father of my classmate Charlie. It was held at Chapel of the Chimes, a Glendale AZ institution for many years.

I never met Mr. Rhodes that I can remember, but I’d say from what I saw and heard at the service that Charlie has in him many of the qualities that made his father a fine man. I was glad to learn more about Harvey, and a bit more about Glendale, by virtue of my attendance.

Perhaps incidental to this, I decided to dress up a bit for the occasion, and donned the same shirt and tie I’d worn at Dick Wilkinson’s service last month. Then as now I walked from my apartment to the service, and then as now–and now in sharper focus, informed by my previous experience–I found that I am treated differently–with more respect–when I am better dressed.

My usual garb might be described as Thrift-Store Yesteryear. I am comfortable in a polo shirt or t-shirt and jeans or shorts, and I skirt the edge of “business casual” at work. When I suit up I don’t exactly feel like an imposter–more like a partygoer at a masquerade.

But I do like the person people think I might be when I dress up–and my behavior notches up as well.

Perhaps incidental to this, while I was rummaging in my closet for what to wear, I found a pair of pants with a 36-inch waist that I bought when they were a little too small for me; then my weight ballooned and they were un-put-onable. How about now . . . is it remotely possible?

It is. They won’t really fit for another 10 pounds or so–the muffin-toppage is woefully laughable–but I am able to put them on, and I think by New Year’s Day they will fit comfortably. And I will be more comfortable in my skin, though it will be a little looser. “Relaxed fit,” you might say. ­čÖé

Rest In Peace, Harvey H. Rhodes.


Two days ago a scoundrel or scoundrels took the rear wheel of my locked bicycle, thus:


My reaction is only slightly burlesqued in the following regressive essay:


And the two words were not Happy Birthday (tip of the hat to Stephen King, who made me laugh with this setup and punchline, which I cheerfully stole, this being an essay on The Transformative Power of Theft).

I don’t like not having the use of my bike, and I can’t immediately afford to get it fixed or replaced right now. But there’s an upside of several facets. Foremost is that I’m quite accident-prone when on two wheels, and I have permanent road rash on my left forearm to prove it. The theft also got me the title to this essay, which I think is apt and spiffy, and for which an Internet search conducted just prior to writing does not show a match. (How ironic would that be, if the very title were stolen?)

And, of course, it IS transformative, theft: our whole lives see us robbed of a day of life per day, and sooner or later our various sources of enjoyment go with them. (A friend my age called me up and we swapped infirmities. “But I still have orgasms,” he said in a Thank-God voice.)

Pablo Picasso and Bob Dylan are famous for ransacking their respective genres for source material. It may be argued that they bring enough of themselves to the table to justify their pillaging, just as Shakespeare did, though of the three dozen or more plays he is thought to have written, only ONE of them, The Tempest, has an original plot. (See Pyramus and Thisbe among MANY others for an equivalent to Romeo and Juliet, for instance.)

The great Theft Book includes stolen ┬áthunder, stolen kisses, Pirates of the Caribbean and of Silicon Valley and many other elsewheres, ghost writing (a more cooperative and symbiotic form of theft), taking Shorty-Cuts in line, aggressive panhandling, purveyance of self-destruction aids such as cigarettes, and on and on. We are all thieves, by some stretch. Henceforth I’ll strive to be a good thief. I will steal to achieve more good than harm. I hope. Most of the time.

Hey, can you spare me a change? I’m Tapped . . .

I’ve owned a banjo for many years. I have never learned to play it, which is a shame I hope to remedy during my retirement; but, meanwhile, it is just plain lovely to look at:

banjo 101915

Faithful followers of my blog know what a thing for Spoons I have. That may be why the banjo I drew below has a spoonlike quality to it:

banjo pick n grin

Shoutout to my friend and classmate Clint Diffie, owner of Boogie Music, for keeping my banjo in recent repair.

“pick n grin” words:

pirouette n pyrotech n background for to sing
indolent idolatry n squeezns in a wringer
corn a-shuckin true n blue a pair of virtuosi
kettle jug n moonshine n the picker plays to win

“banjo” words:

best served with wine or gumbo
adds zest to home or zoo
n. friday, d. mutombo
jurassic classic too

NOTE: n, is for Nancy, d. is for Dikembe. Like the banjo, they made their splash in another time, as did the Jurassic era, but wear well on review.

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If/Then/Else is a phrase familiar to logicians and code warriors. Actions have consequences. There’s a song imagining that Marilyn Monroe got with HENRY Miller instead of ARTHUR Miller. Similarly, I imagine Faisal interacting, not with T. E. Lawrence, but D. H. Lawrence. Who’ll prove us wrong?


At long, long last my Residential Drawing Station is operational, and I have many to thank. The fluorescent drawing-table lamp was a gift from my parents more than forty years ago. The pencil was part of a package of pencils given me by my then-wife, Joni, about eight years back. The light tablet, a marvelous surface to draw on, came on a Christmas from my then-sweetheart, Denise. The Captain America shield/eraser was a freebie acquired at the Jack Kirby Birthday Celebration, courtesy of my friend Russ Kazmierczak, Jr. The Bookmans goodie bag is from my fabulous Steady Girlfriend, Joy. And the coffee? The coffee was, is, and always will be a Gift From The Gods.

The work in progress is signed and dated today, and therefore must be finished by midnight tonight. Got to get cracking. Thanks so much, everyone!!


there’s this stuff
most art supply stores have it in aerosol but some have it in liquid
(for that you need a mouth atomizer)
(sounds science fictiony!)

the stuff is called fixative
its purpose is to preserve and smudge-proof artwork while still permitting additional progress
thus “fix” in this sense is to fix in place
and not to repair nor to (chiefly Brit.) set an appointment time

nanotechnology and pattern-recognition software may some day permit a more magical fixative
that would, in a manner analogous to auto-tune,

alter a drawing to eliminate mistakes of proportion or perspective

i certainly could use some of that now!
my latest drawings suffer from the lackadaisicality that comes with being knocked off-plumb lifewise
(and so this text is unaccompanied by an illustration)

better yet, give me some life-fixative
i shall spray it on my soul and be nobler, kinder and more interesting

or give me nothing and tell me to stop whining
like the irredeemably white-privilege fix-wanter that i am,
and that i ought to ACT AS IF my soul had been thus sprayed;
in short, to man up

hey, thanks for listening!
i feel more fixed already.