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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

June 30, 2007

the songbirds wanted love

You’ve been driving for hours across this valley on a backroad to Los Angeles, black motorcycle gang members weaving between you and the flatbed trucks hauling carny rides to the next show. The elderly woman driving the rig keeping pace with you in the right lane has a white patent leather newsboy cap on, her arm out the window, she’s looking down at you like you’re a seatcover.

Why were you headed to LA? When you were a kid LA was like the moon, you’d seen them both on tv but had no idea how to get to either. But you’d rather be in LA than on the moon. That’s where CHiP’s was. Now here you were, on the outskirts of that fable, and the folks on the highway with you were probably from Croatia, Jalisco, Vancouver, this was the gypsy road in, thoughts in a hundred different languages about the suitcase in the breakdown lane that had burst open and tumbled contents for two hundred yards.

You remember back at the filling station that man standing beside his car with his shirt off. He was about fifty, covered in thick white hair on his chest and arms that was catching the cool desert evening breeze. You wouldn’t normally start a conversation with a guy like that, but he said – Nice night for a drive- and you asked him – Where you headed – and he told you he’d divorced his wife after 22 years and now he was just driving because he didn’t have a home. Don’t worry too much, you can start over, you said, everything has an end. And a hot dog has two he answered.

You didn’t know what to say so you got in your car and drove off, NPR’s signal was strong out in the valley, like it had no where to go, too weak to climb over the foothills, so it just stood a few feet off the desert floor like heat shine off the highway and you plowed through it listening to a woman talk about song birds.

You learned through her study of finches that males are the ones that sing intricately patterned calls while the females answer with a rudimentary yes or no. It’s the same for songbirds all over the world. It must be why LA was full of guys who wanted to rock or rap. They put fancy feathers on and sang as best they could, because the songbirds wanted love.

June 26, 2007


Rus took this little yanmar tractor apart, then decided to move one half by jacking it up, tying the jack to the tractor with hay bale twine, and getting Lock and I to push while he pulled.


I never felt more country in my life.

why don’t people get paper toweled?


June 24, 2007

investigating old silverware


This flatware came out of a pile of junk I hauled away for a woman. I brought them home to find out how old they are. The fork is marked EPNS on the back. Turns out that means electro plated nickel silver. There is no real silver in these, just copper base with nickel coating. You can see the copper base on the knife edge. Ebay said “Big deal”, so I threw them away. Again.
Still, I learned a bit about silverware. The first site I came to in my search was the cyber attic who had an interesting pickle set.


This boxed pickle fork and knife set tell an entire tale. They were made by James Watts. The fork bears his chevron stamp and the word Coin, while the knife is stamped only Coin. The design, which features a twist shank with an engine turned and engraved end, is characteristic of mid 19th century Philadelphia silver. The fact that they remain in their original presentation box resolves any question whether they are a pickle set or two-thirds of a youth set. The endearing engraving, “From Wife to S.W.B.” further reinforce this attribution. The ensemble bespeaks lifestyle habits as well. That a pickle set stood on its own as a gift item from a wife to a husband reflects the importance ascribed to this minor food item, and the nature of Victorian endearments. The condition of the silver is mint. There is no visible wear on the blade or tines. The engraving and engine turning are crisp. The box shows a good deal of age wear, with a worn satin interior, mottling on the outside, and separation between the top and bottom.

In a time previous to refrigeration and trucking fruit up from Chile, pickles were a real treat, and unlike today, pickle wasn’t synomymous with a preserved cucumber. You can see by the illustration below all manner of vegetables were pickled so during the winter you could still eat a balanced meal.

Those of you from New Hampshire may want to check out cyber-attic more thoroughly. I saw a few pieces of silverware made in the 1700’s in Portsmouth. I bet Basil Richardson eats with those things and doesn’t even know it.


The S.F. library has an interesting display of old hornbooks on the sixth floor in special collections.  Hornbooks were single pieces of paper attached to a paddle shaped block of wood by a brass frame that included a sliver of cows horn so thin it was clear enough to be placed over the paper and still allow the child to read through it.  Paper at this time was very expensive to make.  The use of cow’s horn inspired the name of these children’s primers.
I was inspired to make one of my own…

weird post on craigslist


June 23, 2007

elevator shaft graffiti


Is there a flicker set of freight elevator graffiti?

the second gayest street in san francisco – Polk Street


The Flagpoles played a show last night at Space Gallery, for an art opening and on my way to Bob’s Donuts I spied this old timer speaking his mind. Polk Street was recently featured on My Robot here.


let’s say that playing country music at a graffiti show was weird.


those ovaries look like they were fun to draw.

June 22, 2007

snow is just fatter rain than you’re used to

that’s all i have to say today.

June 21, 2007

The first day of summer found me downtown on Leavenworth loading debris from a demo.  Tattered sheetrock, chickenwire with scabs of cement in a tangle,  blocks of two by four with shanks of sawz-alled nails gleaming like mirror finish flushed into them.  Bam a two hand lob drops the contractor grade garbage liners crammed with remodel victims in the bed of my god damn ford f250.  We got in and took off.
Big Jim was talking about saddle broncs, breaking horses with just a Committee Saddle and a rein.

“Ever hear of Jim Shoulders?  He was a famous bronc rider.  He was my hero growing up.  Shoot.  He was my dad’s hero.”
“Wait…what’s a Committee Sadle?” I asked Jim.  I was trying to learn as much as I could.

“The rodeo committee got together and said you had to have free swingin’ stirrups a certain size, a saddle a certain size, no horn.”

“No horn?”

“No horn, the thing in front between your legs you grab onto .  You could damage yourself if you got thrown off the front.”

“you mean it’d rip your balls off?”


It was warm outside, girls were wearing skirts, putting their summer walks on, lots of side to side, smooth calves working hard.  I was headed to the dump and talking about horses.  This is gonna be a great summer.

June 20, 2007

ecstasy of saint theresa


this is an illustrated email from Mr. Ravioli.  (I draw out what someone’s email to me says)
My first illustrated email.

June 19, 2007

prizes awarded nightly


Rachel has gotten rid of her ephemera, and to show my appreciation, I am sending her some of my own.  This handsome 14″  by 11″ silkscreened poster is suitable for framing or folding up and shoving in a drawer.  You may even find yourself throwing it away!  All you need to do to get one yourself is send me an envelope full of old paper.  It could be scrap paper, scratch paper, Scrabble paper, it doesn’t matter to me.

It is a gorgeous artist’s rendition of the famed Sutro Tower, a landmark radio tower visible throughout the entire city. (Fog not withstanding)  Sean MacDonald helped me silkscreen these, and then I drew in the clouds by hand, and the fake URL at the bottom.  You can’t see the whole thing because this sure-to-be collected print is too large for a common scanner bed.

Be sure to secure your giant steel erection by sending in your letters today!

baby bees


This shows the stages of growth pretty well.  The bee on the right is basically formed, but explodes white pus if barely touched.  It needs a few more days in the oven before it gets its hairy exoskeleton.

June 18, 2007

Foreign Ephemera


I got my first birthday present in the mail today, an envelope stuffed with goodies
from Rachel’s past trips across the globe. Here are just a few bits of it. Be looking in the mail for a return gift, thank you!

June 17, 2007

a day at the beach and all the dead


This stretch of Ocean Beach is full of magnitite that makes it look dark and oily.
This may be why I couldn’t get my metal detector to work out here.   The
Beach Patrol guy said the sand will stick to a magnet!


This, I was told, is a harbor porpoise.  A surfer dude came by and said that
commercial fishermen shoot them because they mess with their lines.


That certainly looked like a bullet hole in this baby porpoise’s


This is a dead seal, just a few feet away.  Looks like it’s head is gone.  Seals
have fur, the porpoise had smooth skin and the dorsal fin.  Also, the seal had
what looked like little claws on its flippers. sealtail.jpg

You can see the black sand pretty good in this picture.  It was quite a
learning experience this morning.

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