Monthly Archives: November 2020

Today I had another Bad Pun Brain Teaser Contest on Facebook, thus:

Wow, it’s been forever since our last Bad Pun Brain Teaser Contest. This one here may be easier for anyone who’s been through a pregnancy.

A man and his pregnant companion are in the kitchen. “Wow, I’m hungry,” the man says. “I’m gonna make lunch. Want some?”His companion thinks about it, sniffs the air, makes a face, and says, “No thanks. I _______.”

Fill in the blank with a single seven-letter word that makes a truly wretched Bad Pun of this scenario, and if you’re the first one with the right answer, you win! Win what? We’ll see.Contest ends at one PM Mountain Standard Time, when I’ll disclose the answer, if there is no winner, or congratulate the winner and announce the prize, if someone has answered correctly.

Have fun, Friends!

Almost instantly I heard from Jessica Renee Ballantyne, a frequent flyer with my contests and the winner of the very first contest I had:

“No thanks I gestate.”
“No thanks I just ate”

This is, of course, the correct answer. Jessica went on to explain that she had independently invented, and employed, the Bad Pun when she herself was pregnant.

So I on-the-spotted her prize with this comment:

CONGRATULATIONS, Jess!!! Not only have you Won, you have Won Again! You are one Smart Cookie, with or without a Bun in the Oven!

We don’t have to wait till one PM. It’s my contest and I change rules at whim. So here’s your prize, if you choose to accept it, Jessica: If you provide me with a title, I will write three poems, using three different poetic forms, using the title you provide for each. If you specify a poetic form I will use it for one of the poems. (If you pick Ballade or Sestina it may take a couple of days!!)

If you don’t want to do this, that’s okay too. If that’s the case, your prize will be Bragging Rights.Again, congratulations!

Jess gave me the title “Starry Night” after the Van Gogh painting. So I first wrote a Sonnet.

Starry Night

Some see the stars as fixed but VVG
Lent vortices of motion with his paint:
Impasto in impassioned filigree
Illumes a humble town with unrestraint.

He saw stars in his brainstorms, some have said.
Photemic teeming of hallucination
Acquired in his lonely madman’s bed
With kinesthetic sight based on sensation.

But Truth is often found in an asylum,
Beatitude oft had with heart’s expression,
And metaphor turns blandness into ylem
The primal stuff we mix a batch of Fresh in.

The Starry Night sees Vincent’s flag unfurl:
Above a town, a tidal, Cosmic Whirl.

Next came a Senryu:

starry night

here i am says light
endlessly variable
in shifting array

Third and last was a Villanelle:

starry Night

“the stars are not above,” perceives the child.
“they full surround the sun, the earth, and me.
exploding, they birth elements gone wild.”

when chandrasekhar’s limit is defiled
massivity begets its potpourri.
“the stars are not above,” perceives the child.

“it’s sweet to think a kind Creator smiled
As pressure built and Chaos was set free–
Exploding, it loosed Elements, made wild.

“this starry Night, so temperately mild
includes some supernovae on a spree–
the stars more than ‘above,'” perceives the child.

“as gold is ringed and silicon is tiled,
as oxygen is tanked, we thank who be
exploring with those elements gone wild.”

the child descends the hill, her entry filed.
she spoke of starry Night, and Majesty.
the stars below, above, around the child
explode anew with meekness fused to Wild.

I was jazzed after finishing the poems, and thought I had enough juice left to do an illustration to the sonnet. It was true.

For Vincent’s face I used as source not one of his self-portraits, but rather one of the existing photographs of him. For the suggestion of his famous painting I found a photo of it in its frame at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, where it is part of their permanent collection.

Big thanks to Jessica, who kept me out of trouble and creatively productive all afternoon doing this project. I feel that this was the absolute best use of my time today, and I’m grateful to Jess for the inspiring title that made it so!


What we have here, mostly, is a slaphappy celebration of flowing ink. There is some poetic discussion of medieval media and the glories if novicery, but it was in the service of this celebration.

The words to “light bends”: let’s hear it for the first-day newb/in battle or sin or in a cube/gesundheit is a sneezing newly spun/gehenna is a private hell begun/heuristic: take diffraction pattern and/take plating and make volume where it stands

The words to “reef raks”: remember entertainment long before the vcr/entertainment like a brookside sword out of shannara/elongation of our timelines surely takes us back/followers of cinema have been through fades to blacks


Today is my fifth anniversary of working for Select Service Professionals, “The Food Travel Experts.” All previous anniversaries have been memorialized with a commemorative pin with the number of years on display. This year I have been told by my manager at Four Peaks that the pin policy has not been canceled, but that the pandemic threw a wrench onto the practice. I will wait patiently.

Meanwhile, I’m proud of having shown up for work at the airport more than a thousand times, proving my dependability (question during the job interview: “What’s the one word that describes you?” My answer, which I think got me the job: “Dependable.”) and my work ethic.

I also feel lucky to be working during these troubled times. Many of my fellow restaurant workers are still at home, waiting.

I’m not the young pup I used to be when I first entered the workforce 50 years ago, in the summer of 1970. But I think I’m good for another five years of doing what I do now. Time will tell.


The above photo, taken on my Samsung Galaxy J2 from the spot in my dining area where I eat, watch DVDs on my laptop, meditate, and make most of my drawings (though I own a drawing table, visible in the background of the photo), has all the elements of the Confessions promised by the title of this blog entry. The Backstory comes from the past few years. The Story happened today.

I am a Water-Fetcher. Water is only twenty cents a gallon at the Glacier dispenser near 29th Street and Indian School Road. Merchants at establishments such as Circle K and Fry’s will shamelessly charge five times as much and more for their water. (Tap water is free, but I suspect the water supply in my neighborhood is unhealthy, and it does not taste good.) I do not own a car, so when I need water I take a walk, bottle(s) in tow.

A long time ago I was involved with a woman who suggested I purchase a personal grocery cart. Today I did so, because for a long time i’d wanted a case of San Pellegrino Sparkling Water in glass bottles–a case too heavy to carry. At Ace Hardware they had a grocery cart that required some assembly. I made about eighteen mistakes putting it together, but I prevailed and it works, and its maiden voyage was to the Smart & Final about a qiarter mile west of Sprouts. I got the case of San Pell and other groceries too, well within the 53-pound advised limit, but far far more than I would be able to easily carry.

On the trip home from Smart & Final, a distance of about two-thirds of a mile, I derided myself for the snobbishness that compelled me to think of myself as old and unsuccessful, merely by virtue of the fact that I was using a grocery cart, and it contained bags with the Smart & Final logo on it. Further reflection revealed that I was proud when my groceries were in Sprouts bags, indifferent with Fry’s bags, oddly prideful with Food City bags, since my ethnicity takes me out of my comfort zone when I shop there (it also blows my mind that there is an entire aisle devoted to Lard), and deeply ashamed when I sport Wal-Mart bags. It would appear that i am not the egalitarian that I purport to be. And that is humbling, but humility is a healthy thing, and so is laughing at my own foibles. 🙂

Not everyone knows that there is more than one version of Edvard Munch’s famous painting “The Scream.” In some near future, there may well end up being more than one version of this self-portrait of mine. I am not happy with the execution of this version, but there is something in the complexity of the expression on this face I’ve done that is not easy to capture. If I do recapture it, and do a better job with the presentation, this drawing will no longer be necessary and I may destroy it. Time will tell.

2020 1119 mask down

mask down

meandering along this aimful road
a man may get his To mixt with his Fro
some soldier on & eddy others flow
kept secrets guarantee so much unknown

There may be a word change or two in version next-if-any: “endless” for “aimful” and/or “ebb” for “eddy.” Rhyme will tell, though Reason may not.

Friends, it’s November 17, 2020, and Phoenix, Arizona has recorded a temperature of at least 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In all Arizona’s recorded history, there has never been a day this hot this late in the year.

The lady of indeterminate age and race in the image below advises us that some truth may be had for those who do a search on “radiative forcing equation.” It is scary. Many more of us need to be scared now, or we are headed for an Inferno.

Pencil drawing sometimes reminds me of playing the guitar. You can learn a few tricks, and a few fundamentals, fairly quickly. But if you really want to grow and stretch in the use of your pencil, or your guitar, you have to dig in and do things not just for fun.

With this drawing exercise, to keep the images random, I froze the frame a little after I decided to freeze the frame. It was random, but with veto power: if the frozen image was totally uninteresting, I didn’t attempt a drawing.

I’ve done this exercise many times since DVDs became available to the video consumer. I rarely get an image that isn’t either too busy or unfinished-looking. But I almost always get something that makes the image a keeper. In this case, I have a believable wheelbarrow and a stitched baseball that feels like it is occupying three-dimensional space. I also like that the text on the page has both descriptions and a scrap of dialogue from the movie.

2020 1112 drawing exercise