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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

April 30, 2012

not all black guys look alike

But some do. That was the wisdom taught at the bar when it was noted Andre 3000 looked like a regular.

There were more discoveries. A young punk with a 6 inch Mohawk rode by on a skateboard, he was dressed in black jeans and hoodie and had pins and studs bolted to his clothes. He was talking on a cell phone.

position open: beer drinking handyman

Hank here is an old farmhand from a diary operation back in western Mass somewhere, Indian name I forget. Sagamore or such like. He works for us at Rolston Hauls and fell off the back of the truck the other day and didn’t even get hurt. That’s a good worker.

He’s holding a beer bottle to his head with one hand and a cell phone to the other ear creating a primitive ineffectual antenna.

The call concerned work in Alaska on a small day cruise boat that gets close enough to the glaciers you can see the woolly mammoth bones frozen in situ but not so close when the forward edge calves the whole boat gets pile driven to the bottom.

So the hauling business is down a good man for the summer, but Alaska is doing one better.


April 29, 2012

strange advice

The Shop door is propped open now that spring is here. An older woman came in and smiled and looked around, moving slowly. Eventually she came toward the counter with a sun hat in her hand. She lifted it and placed it on her head.
“It’s a little big but it will do. There’s a little garden in back of the place where we’re staying by UCSF. I gave my husband a kidney last weekend. Before you get married make sure you aren’t a match.”

“Blood type?” I asked.

“That’s part of it…” she answered.

April 27, 2012

nowadays so

Spent two months getting the store ready to open, and now we are another two months in business. I sat out front of the store this afternoon watching traffic drive by and thought how lucky I was not to be moving furniture. I’ll hump furniture up stairs tomorrow (one bedroom across town), but it’s nice to know something else is building to make me money.

Getting very close to 40 makes me realize management has its purpose. The trick is having something to manage by the time 40 hits. A good friend told me how hard it is to be married with kids in this area. It takes a ton of money. The neighbor drives a Hummer with “fuelish” on the license plate. They drive the Hummer to the airport and fly to Squaw Valley for a ski weekend. My friend’s kids stay home and fingerpaint in the backyard.

The mixed message of American culture is to pursue freedom, and to be a success. We work for financial success with the belief it buys freedom. That’s a big gamble. Only a few get to own a railroad and bill the government. I’m working 7 days a week so I can afford to buy scratch tickets. The only hope is no hope at all, so what’s the point of striving for success?

Open a junk shop instead. A new store that sells old stuff. Think of it as a new vintage store. Put an old phone on the sign. People will get it. You will not get rich, but the hope someday you will find a Picasso rolled up and stuffed into a Stradivarius is viable an option as anything else. Except dentistry. Become a dentist. Become a banker. Then you can be an early adopter of the latest electronics and vacation on distant shores without worrying about making rent. You own, after all.

But the property tax and the mortgage and the student loan and orthopedic surgeon and vanity plates and all that…you cut the vacation short.

Instead I chose a different path. Already taking out the garbage and vacuuming the showroom rug is a tiresome chore. Sometimes things in life are easy, but rarely.

My friend was confiding in me at a karaoke bar where they sell you a scratch ticket, a beer and a shot for 5 bucks. We stared as the KJ danced behind a singer. She was 40ish. Looked 3 months pregnant, more or less. She wasn’t.

“If they’re gonna act like they’re dancing naked, I’m gonna look. That’s my policy,” he told me. It’s nice to be drunk and have philosophies that make sense, if only for a short time.


I was at the scrap yard when I saw the black trailer with the advertising “recycle meal” spray painted in white. I realized English didn’t guarantee an advantage any more in this world. You can speak English and be down at the depths of success.

April 25, 2012

his and hers


My truck, my girlfriends car.

April 21, 2012

and so we advertise

Painted over an old real estate sign. We call it a vintage shop because junk shops are cluttered and Jimbo wants things orderly.

just discovered paint pens for windows


I’m gonna put messages on my windshield like a car lot next

Thrift stores are a bust, over-priced and full of rejects. The yard sale is, to quote Pat (the one who bought coke from nuns) “the last bastion of ignorance” the last place you can get a deal, to score, to come up big. 25 cents makes you $50 – that doesn’t happen at thrift stores. Church ladies are hip, bringing Internet marketing gurus build on online presence for the Sacred Heart of orphan children.

So today Jimbo and I rolled through the neighborhood. It’s better to have a partner. One guy acts interested, the other tries to talk you out of it. The seller gets nervous and lowers the price. Perfect.

Jimbo is a fiscal partner. We must remind folks of that. Two men collecting antiques sends a strong queer vibe. The term partner implies all sorts of domestic activity including animal husbandry, if you believe Rick Santorum’s statement that homosexuality leads to fucking dogs.

April 20, 2012

stocking up at thrift town


April 12, 2012

drunk and disabled

Glen the carpenter’s getting older. The bones get weaker, the hair gets grayer. He caught his right foot in the compressor cord, and his next step caught his left foot up and down he went, ribs into the arm of a couch.

Cracked a rib. Couldn’t even laugh at himself like he usually does, it hurt to simply breath.

The natural motion of walking requires swinging of the arms and a slight torsion of the rib cage. That hurt him as well.

Reduced to hobbling but determined to take a weekend off and visit Visalia with a friend, they headed for Amtrack.

Have you heard of Visalia? Probably not. It’s in the valley. Known for its onions, which means its not really well known at all. Very few of us care what town they come from. Just fry ’em up.

Glenn’s friend Brando was born and raised among the onions and took Glenn to the bars.

I wasn’t given a description of the particular joint where they met up with Brando’s high school friend, no, Glenn was imitating the barely verbal Wookie-like moan/howl of the new companion. He had Muscular Dystrophy. It can come on later in life and slowly deteriorates one’s body.

Let’s call him Thomas. Thomas had to lean forward in his wheelchair with his head cocked sideways to get the straw in his mouth and sip his beer.

Thomas and Brando had grown up skateboarding and playing music together but Glenn was meeting a drunk in a wheelchair demanding a trip to his coke dealer. They finished their beers and went outside.

Thomas was describing large circles in the parking lot, sheparding Glenn as he gingerly set each foot down lightly so as not to disturb his rib cage with a severe jolt.

There was, according to Glenn, more incomprehensible howling that seemed like simple mockery at his hobbling gate.

To be honest, the story got sidetracked while we installed the replacement refrigerant on the ice machine at the bar we were working at. I never did find out if someone had to help Thomas get the drugs up his nose. Someone misplaced the elbow and I went looking under the stools and that’s how it is in life. Stories get interrupted.

Later my Dad called to tell me the Chief of Police had been shot and killed in my sleepy hometown during a drug raid on a steroid dealer.

I don’t know if there is a connection there or not. People do like drugs though.

April 9, 2012

we as one are the loneliest number

If we are all one, and mathematically 1 is comprised of many parts that can be reduced away, then truly God is love.

April 6, 2012


I’ve practically retired now. Make a few phone calls, heat up the tea water.

April 5, 2012

a cry for help

Welcome to Mixed Nuts

If the ad says, “1 in 5 Americans is disabled,” am I wrong to call bad grammar and not give any money?

At the grocery store there’s a tip cup for the crippled, or rather, disabled. Crippled would be a vulgar phrase. But it provided alliteration.

The jar had a fancy image and that quote up there. Shouldn’t it be,”1 in 5 Americans ARE disabled”?

Where’s one of my old English teachers? Don’t any of them care I blog?

April 3, 2012


Magnets. They are used as storage devices. You write your shopping list down and stick it to the refrigerator. Magnet.

Magnet. You swipe your credit card at the store and that little black strip with your bank information? Magnet.

Magnetic tape inside 8 tracks and cassettes, VHS tape, reel to reel recordings. Information written down by arranging little bits of iron in binary code so you can listen to music anywhere. Magnetically.

Computer. Hard drive. Advanced level rare earth magnet.

It’s all the same thing. Magnets.

Pulled from wikipedia- an anecdote about the invention of magstripes.

“The process of attaching a magnetic stripe to a plastic card was invented by IBM in 1960 under a contract with the US government for a security system. Forrest Parry, an IBM Engineer, had the idea of securing a piece of magnetic tape, the predominant storage medium at the time, to a plastic card base. He became frustrated because every adhesive he tried produced unacceptable results. The tape strip either warped or its characteristics were affected by the adhesive, rendering the tape strip unusable. After a frustrating day in the laboratory, trying to get the right adhesive, he came home with several pieces of magnetic tape and several plastic cards. As he walked in the door at home, his wife Dorothea was ironing and watching TV. She immediately saw the frustration on his face and asked what was wrong. He explained the source of his frustration: inability to get the tape to “stick” to the plastic in a way that would work. She said, “Here, let me try the iron.” She did and the problem was solved. The heat of the iron was just high enough to bond the tape to the card.”

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