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My Robot Is Pregnant theme song!

tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

May 31, 2007



May 30, 2007

I didn’t believe in Science Fiction

This is so weird. You can go to Google maps and see my truck.. Click on “view full screen” in upper right of picture for a closer inspection.

This 4th of July will be made in China


Fmra 4 eva


that’s IM for ephemera – found bits of paper. I found these things on the ground. Some day I hope to have a page dedicated to trading this kind of stuff, especially with people from other countries. Scratch tickets, empty cigarette packs, candy wrappers. Daily paper. Condition unimportant.

May 28, 2007

Winning Bid: $63.00

Some of you may remember this beauty I put up on eBay. Enough time has passed to make the sale official – $63.00 bucks after 12 bids.

Did I do alright? Check out this recent sale, $6.00 – and they even had the original box! It could be all the hoopla I included in my sales pitch…along with a photo that confuses the issue – classic advertising. Buy into the dream folks, it’s only money.

The photo I mention in the below description is gone, but it was a layout of Bay Meadows, a local race track, that comes with all of these Mattel analyzers. I played that angle up to give my item a link to history and a sense of provenance.

“Bay Meadows is closing forever, but this Horse race handicapper will keep the memory alive – it comes with a layout of the famous track and a hypothetical race as a means of instructing the user how this analyzer operates. Take a look at the photo: We’re in the 7th, going 6 Furlongs, with money on Feisty Eagle!

This is the original 1979 series made by Mattel, not a later reproduction under a different label with the same exact design. Bid with confidence on a well kept original in working order.

This Analyzer comes with the original pen and still has the top page of the worksheets. (This page is often gone on other eBay auctions) The page is an order form for more worksheets that let you fill in forms for your top four picks, post position and rating. None of the worksheets underneath have been written on or removed! This unit has been tested with a 9 volt battery and is functional.

The only thing keeping this example from being labeled mint condition are a few scuffs to the leather (or, more likely, pleather) on the bottom and a tiny 1/8 inch nick on the back. The actual analyzer is in mint condition, shiny and scratch-free. Display wise, the damage is hidden on the bottom! If it’s gonna happen, that’s the best place for it.

In a few short months Bay Meadows will be gone, replaced by a bunch of condos and a grocery store. If you are a fan of the old tracks, let this be a little keepsake. Thanks for looking!”

BTW, I just did a dump run for a landlord I know. “He threw out everything. There must be a thousand dollars worth of clothes in those trash bags.” That’s what he told me. So I brought the garbage bags home and went through them, and I’m going to see if my landlord friend was right.

just wine me, i already ate


May 27, 2007

sunday sermon


This is from a comic book I had as a kid. It was a true story about a guy who went to New York City in the 1970’s to preach to inner city youth. It made me want to leave home and join a gang.

May 26, 2007

C.H.U.D. vs M.A.D.D.

Today we will be talking about acronyms. Let’s not forget that computer language and text messaging did not invent this. F that. Americans, more than anyone on earth, create great acronyms. We have the longest phrases ever to be reduced to the initial letters, accept for one the soviets made,(third & fourth paragraph down) but the word and the system is obsolete, so we are the sole linguistic super power. Among other things.

Alina, a Polish girl raised in Germany by Flemish parents in a Spanish part of town, and who is fluent in any number of continental languages, asked me to tell her as many as I could think of, and explain them. She claims most European languages do not use them.

SOL – shit outta luck came to mind. In fact, a flood of them that involved swearing came to mind. A remnant of our Puritanical history, where we are afraid to utter dirty words?

RSVP- Repondez s’il vous plait. French? WTF? Why are we turning other peoples languages into acronyms now? We really love it! Or is it because American’s weren’t sure how to spell it out?

The most interesting one that came to mind was See You Next Tuesday, because it is an anti-acronym. The word cunt has been turned into an acronym, expanded out to mean something else, so when our acronym making minds hear it, we crunch it back down into cunt. c – u Next Tuesday.

This same word, cunt, people find so offensive they have found another way to not say it – Can’t Understand Normal Thinking.

I was working at Cumberland Farms passing out Scratcher’s to ravished alcoholics with brandy in their coffee when a construction worker got in my line and started telling me his woman troubles.

“She’s one of those women who Can’t Understand Normal Thinkin’ – otherwise known as A CUNT.”

So there is was. Hostess crumble cakes on the counter, 99 cent coffee in his hand, and those words hanging in the air. People get their change and go so it’s a quick turnover, but that guy’s acronym still haunts me ten years later.

There are lots of Rock n Roll acronyms, such as KISS – Kids in Satan’s Service, and AC/DC Anti Christ/Devil’s Child, Micheal Jackson’s PYT – pretty young thing – which turns out to be him baby talking to a youngster (repeat after me…nah nah nah, nahnahnahnahnah) and that Twisted Sister song SMF. Stupid…

So let’s keep our ears open for interesting acronyms out there this week, and try inventing a few and see if your coworkers can figure it out. OK?

p.s. Does everyone know who the title bout refers to?

May 24, 2007

streetwalker/car dater/transvestite

My old friend Mr. Ravioli gave me a stack of these police reports from the notorious Polk Gulch area of San Francisco. He found them cleaning out a garage. cardater.jpgThey were all from the 1970’s, a couple hundred of them, playing out prostitution busts in police speak.

May 22, 2007

blogs are reality tv for the written word

Art revolutions are never within one genre. Zeitgeist creeps across streets, so that the music, the television, the the style of cars all have a feel to them that point to a certain time.

We are in the time of reality television. Reality television is no longer a fad. It is how people, audiences, want their stories given to them. The same spirit that drives reality tv is driving the internet. Blogs are reality tv of the written word. The record industry is falling apart because of Myspace and other online community sites allow kids in garages to reach the masses without having their sound created in the studio of rich producers. It is a more “real”. Reality music. Reality is the new Zeigeist.

When I see Seinfeld reruns, I look at the cliched structure of that show. It is basically a play being filmed and called television. There is the same sense of an audience and a stage as theater provides. Actors play roles. Kramer opens a door and there is no sense that the hallway is real, that anyone else lives in that apartment building. We get that its a stage.

Still, Seinfeld was revolutionary. It helped prepare audiences for reality tv. It was a show about nothing – just everyday life. Once audiences accepted a show about everyday life, it was no longer necessary to have a stage. The audience was ready for reality tv.

I’m in a creative writing masters program. Very few people think about writing novels anymore. Even less people think about reading them. Not new ones. There is too much content to watch online. Too many text messages to send. An art revolution is about whole new forms. That’s why blogs and reality tv are a revolutin in art.

Blogs are the reality tv of the written word. Novels rely on a formulaic stage just like old sit-coms. We enter them knowing what to expect. Blogs don’t follow that formula. They are often about nothing. About everyday life. “Why am I reading about scottish terriers?” I might find myself asking, having clicked through ten links and wound up on a woman’s personal site about her six pets.

It’s because I’m not in the mood to sit down and enter the heavy world of a novel, where over the course of a hundred and fifty pages I’m going to be shown indirectly what makes this person tick. I’d rather have someone throw themselves out there, and I can interpret them. “She’s really crazy about her dogs, and way too rich and unconcerned about humans.”

I want a different course selection in my Master’s Program. Writing is now the infrastructure, the famework, a first step of a visual production. In six years the internet will be 90% more video. That much less written word. But my lesson from Los Angeles is that it takes writing to make reality tv. But a different kind of writing.

I pitched a few shows to tv producers down there and they all told me, “You are writing too much.” My writing program needs to prepare me and the students who follow behind me how to write for the new reality, the new market.

The Creative Writing major is dying, it should be called Creative Storytelling. Story telling predates writing, was pushed aside for words, and now story telling is coming back with these confessional faces spilling their guts into tiny camcorders and posting it on YouTube. I enjoy being a writer, but I’m not holding my breath for my first novel. I want to write The Great American Video.

Notes From The Eastern Seaboard

The Western Seaboard misses me. Those whales are trying to find the Eastern Passage and bring me back. I appreciate the efforts, but I’ll be back soon enough. It’s been a great visit. The weather is perfect, and the bugs haven’t hatched yet. Well, I did find one little tick crawling up my shin, but since it hadn’t bitten me yet, I won’t count that.

Coming home to New Hampshire always puts me in a bad mood. I see all the new houses in the apple fields I used to know and think, “That’s an ugly square with a stupid triangle on top of it.”

My mom is hiring a guy to mow the yard this summer.

“We pay for 20 visits, and if due to rain, there’s less, we’re shit out of luck,” she said. She swears about once a day, either hell, shit or damn. But that phrase stuck in my mind. Shit out of luck. I tried to write a country song about it last night in bed. Too much caffiene, couldn’t sleep. All we do around the Rolston’s is put another pot on. Throw ice in the old stuff and drink it with cream and sugar while the fresh stuff brews. Take the hot stuff black. Repeat.

Shit out of luck,
but not stopping

put a bottle in your coat
and keep walking

that’s all I could get.

if you walk a mile in their shoes
before you condemn
you’ll have their shoes and be
a mile from them.

I made a rhyme out of that little phrase I read somewhere.

My dad is down in Peru right now, helping his Rotary Club who sponsored a group of doctors who are down there operating on poor people with cleft palates and in need of plastic/reconstructive surgery. One guy had lost his nose after an infection from a spider bite in the Amazon. Hopefully Pop will be sending some photos so we can all get a better idea of what life is like for those folks.

My Grandmother is in great spirits, and is so calm and happy. She asks about how the orchid is on my aunt’s windowsill, and tells stories about some of the old stores in downtown Portsmouth. Just everyday stuff. She is terminal. When I was young and in college I would get drunk and talk about things that “really mattered”: politics, art, ghosts, god.

Things change as you get older. She perks up when she sees squirrels outside the window, and laughs at their efforts to shake birdseed out of the feeder.

Sunday I stopped by my cousin’s house and he was burning a pile of brush in the back yard. As the sun went down the crickets started up and the sky was clear and the fire snapped and licked up the brush. His son came out, he’s three or four, and peed at the edge of the woods. He stood there with his pants to his ankles and used both hands to hold his shirt way up, and yelled over to let us know what he was doing.

“Good job Nate,” Jeremy told him. I don’t get that cycle of life in San Francisco, because I don’t have family out there. It’s nice to come back and see.

Yet, San Francisco is where I feel comfortable. Just last week I had a job cleaning out the basement of a lesbian couple’s Victorian in the Castro. They were so happy I showed up on time and did a good job.

“It’s so nice to have someone normal!” she said. Which struck me speechless. I don’t know if I’ve ever been called normal in New Hampshire. Ever.

“Normal as they get in S.F.” I told her. She was right. I’m pretty normal out there. At the junk mail factory there is a woman I worked with who is now a man, with a beard and two sleeves of tattoos that start at the wrist and disappear under his work shirt. Once you’ve met two or three people like that, find out later they were once biologically different and you didn’t know, you start to understand the spectrum of potential. That angsty college discussion about what normal is now has real life destroying the arguments.

an old Ghetto Boys rhyme comes to mind…

shit out of luck
stuck in Cal-fuck
thumbs up to those who down with us

So Gram, Jeremy, the transgendered dock workers at the junk mail factory, all of you who kept reading this far…thumbs up to you

May 21, 2007

Farts are Jazz


I have always loved when graffitti plays off a pre-existing sign, but this one is pretty great all on its own. The website I found this on is called walls with stuff written on them – worth clicking on the photo to check it out.

May 19, 2007


I’ll be in New Hampshire for two days, it’ll be good to see the family.

May 18, 2007


This afternoon in Daly City, Mr. Bees showed the third graders how a beehive works, and how a beekeeper removes the honey from it. Shortly after the show, one boy handed him these ribbons. Mr. Bees asked what they were for.

“One is for you, and the rest you give to the bees.”

Mr. Bees had a great time because the students had so many questions and really wanted to know how did bees eat, and what color is their favorite, and if the girls do all the work, what do the boy bees do?

That was hard to explain. The truth is, colloquially, the boys from all the hives hang out in the “drone zone”, a sunny place in the neighborhood that’s in the fresh air but out of the wind and they have a gang bang with virgin queens, who then return to the hive and lay eggs all day every day for the next two years until it kills them. As far as the boys and how they make out…the bee penis gets stuck in the queen and they die “in the saddle”.

Which Mr. Bees knew to be the wrong approach. Mr. Bees wasn’t able to think of the word reproduce. So he looked up at the ceiling, and said, “flowers need each other to pollinate…” and then Mr. Bees looked at the teacher, Mr. Burnett, and asked, “How much science have they had?”

Then someone raised their hand and said “I caught some killer bees.”

“Thank God” Mr. Bees said.


A prompt thank you note from the same student who had prepared the seven ribbons. He has illustrated the lesson on smoking bees in order to take the honey. Note the smoke scribbles, and the fleeing bee in the bottom right.



More Rare Cassette Tapes


The Tiger 2-XL tape was for this robot, and I don’t think Teddy Ruxpin and Talking Alf dolls need any introduction.

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