Monthly Archives: April 2016

Mr. Joe Blow acts inappropriately. Those who know and love him shrug. “Oh, well–that’s just Joe being Joe.”

Sometimes we self-fulfill expectations by cutting extra slack for friends with failings. But my dear deceased friend Karen had a better head on her shoulders. When alcohol consumption had a negative impact on her musicales, she laid down the law: No More Booze. And she made it stick. And it was for the better.

We are not stuck with who we are. Not only might we reinvent ourselves, we might build ourselves. What can I do to make things better? is one of the most important things to ask.


Wiggle in the eyedropper, euglena
Wait until ready for the multicell arena

Howl unto the moon–to madness cater
Have your way outlandishly, O Satyr

OR: lustrously become a nurse
Of this wounded Universe


Caroline is a real challenge to portray. Her smile is so dazzling it leaves an afterimage on the retina. This is my third try at her, and I had to resort to saying depressing things like “I put my hand in a plateful of yuck” and “Bet you’ll work a double shift” to tone that smile down. It’s STILL dazzling . . .


Yesterday I clocked out half a day early. I had been “playing with pain,” my right foot screaming that I either had a broken bone or a gout flareup. (A day and a gallon of water later, I’m pretty sure it’s a flareup.) But I have been doing a lot of sitting and lying around in the meanwhile, getting up to page 57 with MOBY DICK and watching LEGEND starring Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy; and I just finished SPOTLIGHT, this generation’s ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, right down to Ben Bradlee, Jr.

And I’ve been drawing and versifying as well. Paradoxically, extra time on my hands makes me realize I don’t have enough time on my hands. This is my third blog post of the day, but it could have easily been posts 3 through 8 . . .


Not all of these were done yesterday and today, but if I weren’t about to watch TRAINWRECK I’d tackle “The Dreary Business of Joke Analysis,” which I’ve been meaning to write for some time. And I still feel like doodling, and more often than not I’ll get more post-ideas from the doodles. And I just bought some brushes with which to paint on canvas paper . . .

When I retire–and I will qualify for Social Security less than five months from now–I want to devote the time I’ve spent as a wage slave to these creative efforts. I want to review the 900-plus posts I’ve made and make salon-sized paintings based on the best 25 of them. I want to sculpt again, and make pottery, and write a retirement-community novel, and a restaurant novel, and a going-traveling memoir . . .

Twenty years more, dear Beneficent Universe–that’s all I ask . . .


slicing darkness we despoil
poison taints our alveoli
overcoats & furs & bling
tee times free of Vijay Singh
tame the land & blame the rest
yes, we flunk the Ethics tests

Questions? Comments? Requests to stop repeating myself?


Facing unforeseen adversity often generates FEAR whenever unknown forces energize.

“Simple–almost comic,” as F Murray Abraham as Salieri said of the beginning of a Mozart piece in AMADEUS. So that’s where Fear comes from. But how do we make it go away? For Fear DOES interfere–with endeavor, with romance, with peace of mind.

There is a Vonnegut book called GALAPAGOS which imagines the next million years of human evolution beginning with a handful of survivors of a disaster that wiped out the rest of the human race. Their heads become more streamlined, that they may swim faster and catch the fish they need to survive; their brains become smaller and less capable of deceit and other problems “great big brains” create.

I have a strong feeling that Stephen Baxter, author of MANIFOLD: ORIGIN, has read GALAPAGOS and was influenced or inspired by it. In M:O different offshoots of hominids such as Homines Erectus, Australopithecus and Neandertalis are stranded on an outsized red-dusted, atmosphered moon, which has suddenly appeared in Luna’s place. Onto this moon Emma Stoney, lover/hater of Reid Malenfant, has fallen, due to Malenfant’s foolhardy go-fevered impulse . . .

Sorry about that. Off-track digression. Please read the book if you want an ingenious answer to Fermi’s Paradox, which may  be oversimply stated as “If there are other intelligences than our own, why haven’t they been here already?” The M:O connection with Vonnegut has to do with Baxter’s imaginings of the different ways different intelligences could evolve in different species. The most intelligent of his lot, his Homo Superior folks, look a lot like gorillas, and walk on their knuckles as well as their feet. They are so intelligent that they move vast distances by mentally manipulating space.

Each intelligence has its upside and downside. Neandertals are unhampered by mythology. H. Superior with its short lifetime and limited resources tend to wring every atom’s worth out of their “farms” rather than go spacefaring. H. Sapiens make great intuitive leaps, but we also lie and steal and such.

Back to Fear: Emma Stoney is called upon to think like a Neandertal in order to breach a barrier. She learns of their fatalism, their involvement in the moment, and their lack of sentimentality for tools and other possessions. While making tools in the Neandertal fashion Emma suddenly finds herself becoming the tool she’s making, and in that moment her connection with the Neandertal is made.

Fear, I think, is a lack of connection with that which we fear. Afraid to show your feelings to a potential Special Someone? Learn about that person and what welcome your feelings would get. (Do not stalk, though.) Afraid to go off the High Dive into a washtub full of piranha? Find something better to do. 🙂

Taking the light rail home from work means 45 minutes of sitting or standing around. Last night I had my iPad with me, and I killed some time with a series of selfies using its Photo Booth feature.


This one is a good metaphor for how I feel at the end of a meat-grinder of a day.



This is a metaphor for the transcendentally cerebral superstar I wannabe, but, given Marie Curie, Carl Sagan and John Von Neumann, among MANY others, know I’m not.



Here the metaphor is We Are Being Watched, by from-elsewhere folk who see with heat.



This one is apt in revealing how deep my depression gets.



This Cyclops metaphorizes fixation; and it’s un ignorable that a certain procreative organ is sometimes referred to as Mr. One-Eye. (I can be a real dick sometimes. So can you, regardless of gender.)



But sometimes the world’s kaleidoscope leaves us O-mouthed.


Lastly, there’s the seemingly Real Me, a one-off metaphor for Work In Progress.




We are so much Creatures of Habit that it never occurs to us to say “organisms of habit” or “beings of habit.” We latch onto phrases that sound good and soon they become comforting cliches.

And we like our entertainment to be predictable as well. The well-wrought movie IN THE HEART OF THE SEA got a lousy Tomatometer rating, I think, because the story didn’t cleave to cinematic cliche of intro/rising action/crisis/payoff. So critics and other audience members couldn’t fit its square pegs into their round holes.

Episodic continuity is not only in our TV shows and comic books, it is in our daily/weekly/holiday life. When you get up and have your morning coffee, it is part of a pattern that, disrupted, adds to your stress.


Entertaining shopping sprees
Picaresqueness with a breeze
If the sins of Prez or Rev
Slump, then check out Campbell, Neve
Or explore a tomb well hidden
Don’t heed curses–Carter didn’t
Each and every means employ
Effortlessly to enjoy

Word balloon 1: Egad, Elmer! Ecclesiastical Encyclicals! Enjoy!

Word balloon 2: Pablo, please palpate Pam’s peritoneum.

Word balloon 3: I ignite ingots, Ignatz.

Word balloon 4: Savoring salads sows salubrity.

Word balloon 5: Oh, Oliver, our Oleander!

Word balloon 6: Dear Diedre, Dastardly Dick’s dead.

Word balloon 7: Egad, Elmer–ecdysiasts!


Some time ago I wrote “the man in the shower is dying.” While I was taking a shower this afternoon, I thought of more to say, including a punchline that makes any further “man in the shower” sequels unnecessary . . .


the man in the shower returns

the man in the shower returns to his musing/obsession with dying and willful confusing;/he thinks as he’d done on that long-ago day/of the final release from the vertical fray.

then comes odd contentment, erasure of glower/as the spray hits his head in a shower sub-shower/and he pushes the knob, puts the soap on the shelf/–thinks “at least when I’m dead I’ll get over myself.”


to damn or bless?
death from above
look out below
there’s hell to pay
the heavens know
is not our lot
unless we live
neath whip or plot


False duality plagues our thinking. Up is good, down is bad, right?  (Not if you’re in a hurricane . . .) To think of a sunset, a woman, or cesspit as pretty or ugly is to ignore most or all of the reality involved.

And we’re stuck with the notion that Above and Heaven, and Below and Hell,  are intertwined. If our distant ancestors had evolved underground, it might have been a different story, though not necessarily more correlative with big-picture reality.

If we manage to survive, and we resume our spacefaring ways in suitably expansive fashion, those who follow us will be more capable of shedding false duality. Zero-gee lends itself to a superior world-view to “this is Up and this is Down.” And, free of Earth’s false ceiling of sky, the three-dimensionality of our cosmos becomes evident.

Wish I were up there–oops. Wish I were OUT there . . .