April 30th, 2006
Lessons from the Doorman:
The sidewalks are cockeyed and the streetlights are tagged.
Michigan I.D.’s feature a photo of the Mackinac Bridge across the top
of the license.
This structure spans the strait where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet and joins the two peninsulas of Michigan State.
One girl to another.
“She’s freebasing ass in the bathroom.”
Arizona licenses are valid for sixty years.
One particularly whiskey-voiced man sat at the bar and said to his friend,
“I crawled out of my mother’s grizzled hole and I said, ‘FUCK’.
I was born of fuck and I’ll die of fuck.”
I thought I knew what he meant, but then I thought about it more, and I don’t.
“This town doesn’t have to result in a negative experience but it tends to skew that way.”
One state takes your license from you on the spot when you are given a speeding
ticket. The state mails it back to you after you have paid your fine. This ensures
the fines are paid.
April 29th, 2006
Building Your English
To not grow is to begin to die, for language as well as daisies. I
don't want to see English die, I've written too much in it. I propose
we allow immigrants into the language to build it up, keep it vital.
I don't look at these little additions as terrorist attacks. If we
can assimilate them our language will be inclusive, democratic, and
feel luscious on our lips. A more sexy English! New English!
Like an Underground Railroad or a pro-immigration radical, I allow new
words into my vocabulary. I think my method will calm conservatives,
because it shows the positive aspect of "infiltration". You can do
it too. Just take two words from two different languages and put them
together in a sentence.
muy – Spanish. Means very, extremely
passé – French. Means out of style, old
"Last time I was in Stockton I saw a guy wearing a muy passé Pearl Jam shirt."
Now test yourself and see if you can find the New English in the
"Hey girl, those hooker boots you wearin' got mucha vavoom."
That's right! Mucha vavoom is the New English in that sentence. Do
you know what it means?
Mucha is Spanish for a lot, or much of something.
Vavoom is French for high energy and passion
So you don't think only French and Spanish can be combined, take a
look at this sentence. (It is an advanced sentence for gentrifiers
"I said, 'Ni mah pendeho', and decked him."
Ni mah is one of those Chinese dialects for hello. Is it Mandarin or
Cantonese? I don't know, and I don't have Chinese neighbors anymore,
so I'll never find out.
Pendeho is Spanish for bastard or asshole, I can't remember. It would
be inappropriate to ask one of the many Spanish speaking children
playing tag in the hallway right now. God those fuckers are loud.
The Old English (OE) translation of the previous example would be this then:
"I said, 'Hello Asshole" and decked him."
This is really the funniest one, but only if you can say the words
with the right accent. Call me sometime, and I'll say it to you. 415
April 28th, 2006
“We were – a bunch of us guys were hanging out in a garage, seeing
who could kick the highest. There was a chain coming down from the ceiling,
and we’d raise it up a little bit higher each time, a few links at a time.
My buddy comes in with his girlfriend, and my brother goes to give him a fake
kick, intending to miss, you know? ...and plants his foot right in Thom’s
Glenn and I laughed. He has the best fight stories.
“That’s not a fight story,” you say. Maybe, maybe not. Let’s look at the facts:
Is there physical damage? Yes. Is there a surprise attack? Yes. Was there a psychological element? Yes, in that the kick was meant to intimidate without hurting. Was there property damage? No. Was a makeshift weapon employed? No.
As you can see, this is a border line fight story. I felt the woman being
kicked does give it a nice twist at the end, so I present it and let you make
up your own mind.
Longtime Listener Julie B writes in:
i like your fight stories..but what about intention....oh how manyy
times i have gotten into a borderline fight then...but there needs to
be the intention to hurt...right? back to business
Well Julie B, you make a point. The intention was to impress/intimidate, not
hurt. What is
a just response to this accident? Turn the other cheek and hope it doesn't get kicked as well?
Or should this man be punished? Should he intentionally be hurt?
April 27th, 2006
Check my new studio, the morning after a raging housewarming party.
Tips for the doorman:
Before you start, sit down and subtract 21 years from that days date so you know for sure who is underage. I wish I had.
It helps to have an underground classic to read while you sit there. I mean, it helps keep the conversation in a manageable direction. At first I brought a book thinking I could actually read, but no. People will talk to you even if you go to work with duct tape on your mouth. They are drunk and stepping out for a cigarette. They will talk.
Bring a lighter and light people’s cigarettes for them. It lends you and the place a touch of class, and if it never leaves your hands, you won’t lose it.
Learn a few words in Spanish so the gangsters will laugh at you and like you.
Neta is one. When they say they don’t have enough money for another beer,
Say “Neta”. It means something like, “That’s how the world works.”
Talk to the bar tenders. Ask them who to watch out for. “You’ll see him. He has frizzy hair and’s always wasted. He pissed in the hallway then kicked in the wall, so he’s banned for life.”
Learn the origin of the phrase 86’ed and tell it after hours when the hot girls are drinking and easily impressed.
The bar back used to be the door man. He is a slight fella, not five foot ten:
“I used to practice patience with drunks, but too many times I had to punch people. I’m not a good puncher. Now I’m happy washing empty glasses.”
People will say funny things not directly to you, but so you can hear:
“We’re going home to make triple x videos.”
ID’s from Pennsylvania are formatted vertically, like a playing card.
People get their wallets stolen or lose their purses a lot. You will see a lot of DMV documents. Ask to see a HMO card. HMO's often stamp date of birth on the cards. You can believe they checked facts before they insured the person.
photo by pretty in plastic
April 25th 2006
I’ve always liked living in apartment complexes. Not fancy one’s with pools, the one’s that take Section 8 and let you have two dogs and a cat if you want. Because I like dogs. Those other places have gates around ‘em and probably wouldn’t let you keep your dirt bike over by the basketball courts.
When I came down to LA I moved into a little house like folks grow up in in
Course I had to move out in a few months because my roommates freaked on me for bringing those pit bull puppies home. I ended up selling them down at the liquor store.
I found a studio today in a 12 unit place. Wished I’d kept one of those pits! Oh, well. The little house had a lemon tree out front that I’ll miss. Lemon trees don’t grow in concrete, but the new place has a community bbq grill that I’m looking forward to puttin’ to some good use.
Let me describe this new place. I’m on the third floor, so you’ll have to walk up three flights of stairs to get there, which means people won’t be breaking in by climbing through my window. That was smart of me.
You walk in and that’s where I’ll put my bed. The window's there and I like to wake up with the sun. You squeeze past the foot of my bed (soon as I buy it) and that’s where I’ll put my desk. I got an old door from a trash pile that I’m gonna have to build some legs for. Behind my desk is the kitchen, so if I can find a chair with some wheels on it, I’ll be able to roll back and grab a cold one from the fridge. The fridge is a shorty, about four feet tall. The stove is full blooded though. I’ll be savin’ me some money, cooking up tortillas, making a hot dish. I need to save money; I ended up takin’ a cash advance on my credit card to pay for the security deposit.
So that’s the kitchen, with a sink of course. The lady moving out said she’d leave me the drying rack. Then there’s a bathroom, with some shelves for my clothes and stuff. It has a tub even. That means my girlfriend, she’ll be able to take a bath. Girls like that stuff.
All my friends are welcome to come visit me here in East L.A. now. I don’t got no roommates telling me to quit fuckin’ so loud! I’m gonna have a housewarming, so I’ll send out invitations. We’ll have to do it in shifts, so ya’ll get a chance to peep the new place out. But you know me….PAAARRRTTYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is sad but true.
April 24th, 2006
When I was a boy my father the jizz mopper would pick me up on Sunday from my mother’s and take me to the flea market. He would track down vintage peep show tokens. (Smut peddlers around the country had special gold coins minted that advertised their video arcades. You would buy the tokens, take them into a booth, shut the door, drop your tokens in and sex acts caught on tape would play before your eyes.)
I loved the flea markets. It was like a big toy box to me, and Pop always bought me a can of Pepsi and two hot dogs. My hands were too little to reach the big ketchup dispenser, so Pop would mash the big white pump down and soak my lunch in the sweet tomato paste.
“NO MUSTARD” I’d have to yell, because he always forgot and
started to mash that pump down too.
“I KNow, I know…” he’d say, mad for a second because he never could remember.
Some tables I didn’t like, the guy who sold records for instance. All he had were boxes and boxes of records, and neither Mom or Pop owned a record player. So we never stopped there. I was glad.
Pop would come to a table set up by an old pro who had a little of this and
a little of that and ask discreetly, “Do you have any erotica?”
The old guy would stop what he was doing, whether it be cleaning up a saw blade
or repacking some Felton hobnail milk glass that a buyer passed on, and consider.
“You mean magazines?”
“Well, maybe, if they were pretty old… but more I’m lookin’ fer figurines or old photos, adult novelties I guess you’d call ‘em,” my father would say.
And the old timer might call to his wife in the van for “the box of stuff from Jerry,” or something like that, but usually he’d set down his saw blade and head back to the van to look himself.
The old guy would come back in a minute or two with an old ballpoint pen. It had a lady inside, wearing a bathing suit and in a glamorous pose, her hands up behind her head. When you held it upside down, the woman’s bathing suit disappeared. Or the stranger might have a set of Viewmaster slides with naked women in 3-D. Maybe a squirt gun in the form of a penis. Huge and veined, the men, my father and the dealer, looked strange standing in a crowd with this massive pink toy in their hands.
Those men in vans were always quick to ask, “You be here next week? I got a lot more stuff at home.” So the next week my father would try to go back, but sometimes my Mother would refuse to let me go with him if he was heading to the Flea Market.
We would go down to the beach instead on those days. Pop would ask me what
I wanted for lunch. I’d ask for hotdogs and a Pepsi.
April 23rd, 2006
As we consider the month of our conception, those of us from places with four
strong seasons must
wonder what the mood was during the conjugal act that gave us life.
I was born in July, conceived in Novemeber, a cold month, a month when the light fades early and rises late. Seasonal depression sets in. Snow flies and buries us. It will be four or five more months before the thaw comes on and long days of sunshine return. Truly a bleak month as everything outside has died. Brown lawns, dead leaves, barren branches.
Canadian geese complain in the cove and one day fly honking south and we wish we were old, retired, heading that way as well. But we tell ourselves our bones can take the ripping frozen assualt of wind one more year. We don't believe we'll die in snowstorm, stranded on a back road in blizzard. But the fear leads people like my parents to hold each other close from the terror and boredom of winter. And so I was concieved. A child of necessity, a product of the athletecism required to maintain a core temperature in those woodstove days.
A little crooked gap-toothed apartment on Lafeyette Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. My father home from sorting mail at the downtown branch. In those days the men smoked at their sorters, drank in the bars at lunch, stole mail with indifference. Everyone was fresh off the boat - back from a tour in ‘Nam. The mind numbing repetition of reading zip codes calmed their nerves, sedated the flash backs into mere memories. My father brought a black lunchbox with a plaid thermos snapped in its dome, and kept out of the bars. He played a few hands of poker at lunch in the breakroom with the other family men, then went back to the floor.
My mother was at home with Heidi, almost two now, my big sister. The playground with its cement-covered ground and metal equipment was across the street. Young men, the night before, had smashed their beer bottles on the ground, so Mom had to keep a close watch on Heidi. The two of them would head home around four so Mom could begin supper. Already the sun was setting. Fried baloney sandwiches or a tuna wiggle - a nice casserole with Ritz crackers crumbled on top. The family would eat under the kitchen light, darkness outside.
So it was, one Novemeber night, dinner served and well towards full digestion, Heidi asleep in her room, my parents in their bed together, the old single pane windows with air bubbles in them that kept out some of the wind, and heavy curtains pulled tight to keep back the draft and allow the snuggle for warmth to turn into something called amour. A passion lit like a gas oven to heat the two of them against the desperation of New Hampshire, the fear of what lay ahead in December, how cold it will become still, and without ever saying it to themselves even, they made love to protect themselves against the world.
Now consider a child conceived in the Saturday afternoon vigor of spring, when the blood practically sings in the veins of the parents, the sun is hot and high, every blade of grass is new and pushing up higher, the branches reek of blossoms…will this child be happier?
April 22nd, 2006
Birthdays are very self-centered. Wouldn’t it be nice to figure out when you’re parents “did it” (on average, 9 months prior to your birthday) and send them a special note of thanks?
Julie created a form letter for "happy conception day". Purchase a blank card or make your own, perhaps from the box of a pregnancy test.
Dear Mom and Dad,
On this special day, (?) years ago, an amazing display of prowess and
passion produced a fertile egg. I would like to send my deepest thanks
for happily humping long ago on this anniversary of my conception.
With appreciation and love from the fruit of your loins,
(your name here)
April 21st, 2006
The year? Two thousand Sexy. Los Angeles is invaded by sextraterrestials. Their form? Giant octopuses with penis tentacles six feet long. They invade every bar and saloon with the mission to destroy the world through overpopulation. Using their nimble tentacles they unzip men’s trousers at the bar and masturbate them with their 100 degree hot suckers. The semen is absorbed into these creatures who then use the dick heads on their tentacles to impregnate the female bar patrons. No one can resist these extra sexy creatures. L.A. is the first city struck, soon they spread north, south and east. In a years time every women on the planet is pregnant. One year later, the earth’s population springs to 12 billion. War and famine engulf every continent. Our race is doomed.
April 20th, 2006
An old friend sent in a request:
Hey, based on what I've read from your site, you seem to have an above
average understanding of homeless people. How about a TV show about
homeless people? I could see it going a couple of different ways:
1. A sitcom. This would be my preference because I think pretty much
everything is funny. Imagine how many shitty sitcoms on TV today
would be 10 times better if every character was homeless. "Homeless
Friends", "Homeless Improvement", I could go on. Some of the best
Seinfeld episodes involved homeless people.
2. A drama along the lines of "LOST", where you might focus on
different homeless people from time to time and explore how they got
to where they are. I'm sure you could come up with some interesting
stories and, since LOST is a proven format now, FOX is due to rip it
off. Ride that gravy train!
While I work out the details of Homeless Improvement (brilliant!), I submit the first act of
a homeless drama:
The Safe Way
The scene is under a bridge.
Red is sweeping up his piece of real estate: four squares of the sidewalk along Glendale Boulevard. An over-pass for Sunset provides the shade.
“There’s that bastard pushing my cart. Motherfucker stole my cart.”
“How you know it’s your cart, Red?” says Skinny Timmy who is still lying in his sleeping bag on his four squares.
“Because I know mother fucker. How you gonna get a Safeway cart ‘round here? Closest one’s thirty miles from here, Inland Empire. You know this is Ralph’s country.”
“How’d you get it then?” Skinny Timmy challenges.
“Did a moving job. I was bumming down there, helped a guy move motorcycle engines into his truck. I grabbed the cart myself from the lot and pushed it 8 blocks to his place. We delivered them motors up here to his brother-in-law's, threw the cart on the load. That cart's been with me longer than my first wife…I know my cart.”
“I’m real sorry Red,” Skinny Timmy said, sitting up, spinning around and resting his back against the wall of the bridge. A mural from the 1998 L.A. Marathon was covered with tags behind him. Name after name crossed out from the ground to six feet up, then bigger than life men and women in tank tops with numbers on their chests came running out of the graffiti towards the homeless men. “Let’s get it back,” Skinny said.
Red heard but stood staring after the man pushing a Safeway cart loaded with
aluminum cans who kept rolling towards the recycle center. The Safeway cart
rattled on the concrete seams as beer cans knocked against the steel wires and
wheels jostled with momentum against cracks in the sidewalk. From far away you
could see Red at the mouth of the bridge, the sun 10 o’clock high in the
sky pushing sun into the darkness and throwing light on him from his dirty sneakers
up to his long beard and U.S.S. Ronald Reagan ball cap. He got smaller and smaller,
then the cart was turned off into the recycle center.
Stay tuned for act two!
April 19th 2006
It’s a miracle! My robot is pregnant! It is surely a sign of the second coming of Christ!
Like the virgin birth of Mary, there is no scientific explanation for my robot’s
impregnation. It is impossible for a machine to spontaneously generate a child
in it’s womb. Yet we have reached the end of the first trimester and the
doctors agree it is viable. Only God can be responsible for this!
God himself, in his infinite wisdom, has touched the barren womb of Tomika 3000 and brought forth life. It is nothing less than the Spirit of God working within her circuits.
Of course it makes sense, upon reflection. We have become a technological society
and God wants to talk to us in relevant terms. What better way than to send
the Son of God into this world via wires and titanium? Nothing old fashioned
about that, Praise God!
April 18th, 2006
Liquid, perishable, fragile. I left the post office feeling all three. Bums
were still in their sleeping bags as I walked under the bridge to buy some pasta
and sauce. I was out of food back home. Rigatoni and marinara at the grocery
store, one in a bottle, the other in a box.
My Grandmother is old now, has trouble walking, and has lived in New Hampshire her whole life. I call her on the phone, and she complains about the connection. She mentions the weather looks good out my way, and that it got up to 70 back there.
“Your mother took me to a nice little restrunt after church sundee.” She has a bit of an accent. Those words always stick in my head after I hang up. When she goes, so will those words. There are too many things dying to bother try saving.
April 17th, 2006
Guardian Angel Report for Jon S. Rolston, residing at 1911 Bellevue Ave, Los
Submitted to God on 4/18/2006 09:54
I watched the subject sitting in his room for most of Wednesday. He is currently on unemployment, and spends an hour or two looking at Craigslist contemplating jobs out of his range of abilities and experience. As usual, after a few hours online, he returned to his bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed naked save for a blue t-shirt and large fuzzy slippers from LL BEAN.
He began fiddling with his private bathing suit area that was exposed to the whole natural world. At this point I expected a sin was going to occur. His erection grew to the best of its ability and while I expected more, in your infinite wisdom you gave him this equipment. It is all part of your plan.
I have been a guardian angel for six hundred years, and seen a lot of things, but what is wrong with this one God? He sat there looking down at his penis sticking up between his legs. He grabbed ahold of it violently, squeezing it till the head looked like it would burst, and shouted, “Did you spill coffee on the kitchen table?” at his penis. He let go of it, then quickly and forcefully backhanded it. WHACK! It (the penis) slammed into his thigh and he grabbed it again, crushing it in his grip. “Why can’t you fuckin’ clean up after yourself?” he screamed at it (his penis) and again assaulted it.
He slapped it one way and then another four or five times, verbally degrading
it for various infractions we can assume it was not responsible for.
1. “Why can’t you park your car so the two of us can fit out front?”
2. “How hard can it be to wash your fucking dishes?”
3. “You act like paying rent is news to you!”
I submit this report because although the suspect did not ejaculate, this seemed
like a case
of extreme depraved self abuse. In other words, was this a sin?
I look forward to your review of the scene and getting back to me as to the proper course of action in the future.
- Guardian Angel
Here's proof all my stories are true. From news24.com
Thank you echodeck...
18/04/2006 13:44 - (SA)
Pregnant Robot In Demand
Vallejo - Noelle's given birth in Afghanistan, California and dozens of points in between. She is a lifelike, pregnant robot used in increasing numbers of medical schools and hospital maternity wards.
The full-sized, blonde, pale mannequin is in demand because medicine is rapidly abandoning centuries-old training methods that use patients as guinea pigs, turning instead to high-tech simulations.
It is better to make a mistake on a $20 000 robot than a live patient.
The Californian institute of medicine, estimates that 98 000 patients in the United States die from preventable medical errors every year.
Dr Paul Preston is the architect of the hospital chain's four-year-old pregnancy-care training programme, in which Noelle plays a starring role.
Can be programmed for complications
"We're trying to engineer out some of the errors," said Preston. "We steal shamelessly from everybody and everywhere that has good training programmes."
Noelle is used in most of Kaiser's 30 hospitals nationwide, and other hospitals are putting in orders.
The northwest physicians insurance company in the US is sponsoring similar training programmes in 22 hospitals in Oregon and Idaho, rolling out Noelle at five of them.
Other companies make lifelike mannequins to train paramedics in emergencies, but Noelle appears to be the only high-tech, pregnant model available.
Noelle models range from a $3 200 basic version to a $20 000 computerised Noelle that best approximates a live birth.
She can be programmed for a variety of complications and for cervix dilation.
She can labour for hours and produce a breach baby, or unexpectedly give birth in a matter of minutes.
She delivers a plastic doll that can change colours, from a healthy pink glow to the deadly blue of oxygen deficiency. The baby mannequin is wired to flash vital signs when hooked up to monitors.
The computerised mannequins emit realistic pulse rates and can urinate and breathe.
"If she is bleeding, there will be ample blood in evidence everywhere," said Preston. "The mannequins are cool but it is only one training tool."
Nobody knows this better than Robbie Prepas, a Laguna Beach midwife.
Noelle off to Afghanistan
In 2004, Prepas was working for the centres for disease control and prevention on a $1m Gates Foundation grant to train Afghan medical personnel in the care of women and children.
Prepas and her colleagues hauled three different models of Noelle, including one that worked by hand crank to move the mechanical parts, for medical training at the only women's hospital in Kabul.
But while the Noelle mannequins were helpful, power failures and other technological glitches hindered the mannequins' effectiveness.
Still, Prepas said Noelle is becoming standard issue in the US.
"It's a really effective way to teach people how to take care of patients without harming actual patients," said Prepas.
April 16th, 2006
I went ahead and cut up that book of Roethke’s poetry.
Made myself some new thoughts from his old words.
This first one took seven poems to make.
The last one five.
I taste my sister when I kiss my wife
The soul resides in the horse barn.
Believe me, there’s no one else, kitten-limp sister.
Limp and damp, delicate as a young bird’s tongue;
We sing mouth to mouth.
The small cells bulge;
Digging into the soft rubble underneath,
I bear, but not alone,
The burden of this joy
* * * *
I keep a dog, and bark myself.
A dead mouth sings under an old tree.
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.
A log sings in its flame.
“Write all my whispers down,”
Roethke was born in 1908 in Michigan and died on Bainbridge Island Washington in his friends swimming pool in 1963.
April 15th, 2006
Being a poet isn’t hard. The hard part is reading other people’s
poetry. It’s wading through shit, I tell you. It stinks, I feel like I’m
sucking out a septic tank when I open up some of these books. And these are
name brand poets no less.
I got ahold of Roethke: collected poems the other day. (from a garbage pile - honestly.)
Roethke is one you read in school – if you majored in poetry, like I did. I learned to pronounce his name, at least. Rut-key. Theodore Rut-key.
I’ll be honest. I’m listening to banjo music while I read his work. I’m drinking a faggy cocktail. Ready? Coconut Rum with black cherry vanilla soda. Lots of ice. God that’s a delicious and foofy drink.
I should be sober and in a field if I’m going to read this poet critically. But who reads poetry in a field? There aren’t any fields left anymore in LA. People reading poetry are drunk on something and laying in bed. So here's a poem for those people:
Old white sheets with pills of fabric
catch my body hair like brush bristles
So I sleep with my clothes on tonight
not wanting to touch them.
Hair, boogers, women.
Anything that leaves me I find revolting.
I hope lying in bed with a buzz you can get it. For my readers who are too drunk, or already asleep, I'm saying something that is very close to you, with a little distance, can become really gross to you. Are you grossed out by boogers in your nose? No. On your finger? A little bit. On your toothbrush? A lot. Distance.
editor's note: I'm not talking about bunnycat. You didn't leave me. please don't leave a nasty email about this poem.
April 14th, 2006
The bees are dead. A cold snap froze them onto the honeycomb. Capped brood died in their chamber without the heat of movement in the hive. I knew they were dead...a warm day and none of the ladies were at the entrance.
Lifting off the cover I found three fat olive green slugs clinging to its underside. I wanted to puke. These scientific weirdos shacked up in the sacred temple of honey. It was my fault, the day the hive died screaming I was in another state.
8,000 dead, not counting unborn brood. Wax moths and slug slime trails marred
the white foundation. It isn’t a high light in my beekeeping career, but
I haven’t given up. My friend Paul, an old guy from the bee club, is looking
for a swarm for me, and I’ll be back in the business soon. This time wiser.
After five years of working with jackasses of the two legged variety up in post-gold rush San Francisco, I decided to move south and try my luck with the four legged ones. Not most folks back east understand the life of a Death Valley muleskinner. I’ve been honcho on a twenty mule team here for goin’ on three months and I’d like to inform you Appalachian boys of my day to day activities.
Death Valley is a barren miserable hell on earth. 115 degrees in the shade, but there isn’t enough shade to cool a horseshoe in. The wind whips up vicious and pounds right through your clothes. It’s a necessity to wear goggles and tie a leather bandana across your face during these storms or you’ll be stripped clean to the bone.
My first trip out I spent ten hours hid beneath blankets in the back of my wagon during one of these squalls. The sand crept in everywhere. The next morning I had a very unnatural bowel movement that consisted wholly of compacted silica. It did not pass easily and my hindquarters were torn asunder. The boys at base camp took the notion in their head I’d been indiscreet with one of my mules. I was in need of stitches and to this day they call me Jenny, the term normally and rightfully reserved for a female mule.
The general scope of my work is this. My swamper (who walks with the mules during rough parts of the trail) and I ride ten day excursions for a borax mine operated by a concern known as Calico Borax Industries. We haul supplies in to the miners and haul the borax out. Ten days, as I say, each way, through barren land in a heat so dry the mule’s hide begins to peel up around the ankle. A paste pot in the back wagon is always kept full so the swamper can paste this skin back down to the muscle. This is where the term “muleskinner” comes from.
One interesting event I can recall, to paint a better picture of the type and character I deal with, was the hanging of a particular miner known as Handlebar Jim, on account of his droopy mustache.
He’d been caught fucking a mule and the governor of the operation (a religious type) wanted him hanged. Handlebar Jim had his hands bound behind him, a rope around his neck, and he sat on top of the mule he’d been caught buggering. Someone needed to crack the whip to get the mule to move from under Jim and set him swinging.
No one was comfortable stepping forward, because most of those young men had, if not at least thought of it, been to the mule shed themselves on a moonless night.
The governor, scared to have the death on his own hands, promised Jim’s boots to the man who would send him to the other side. There was quite a scramble at that, since Jim had some custom made duds from a Mexican border town he’d spent three months salary on.
The governor couldn’t rightfully determine who’d spooked the mule and decided to keep them for himself. Justice is a strange bird in these parts.
The mine shuts down in the summer since the heat is incapable of bearing human life. Why, just last week the water flowing in a little stream was 120 degrees. This is mid- April. By August the river will run steam. The rivers themselves are few and far. Coming down the grade last week the water tank jarred loose and stove open, leaving us with four days to travel and no water. In the end my swamper was forced to take the straight razor to the mule’s ears in the evening and we drank their blood for refreshment.
It can be boring out there, even as we risk death every step of the way. But it is an uneventful death that awaits. Dehydration or heat stroke; either way you go out as if in a dream. That, or you’re trampled by the hardened hooves of two dozen 1000 pound mules.
All you folks on the East Coast might think Death Valley is just a colorful name. But just as my name is Jenny, I can testify that every name has a reason behind it. And Death Valley’s name is righteously earned.
I, Jon “Jenny” Rolston, Muleskinner for Calico Borax Industries,
testify the above is a true and honest account, on this day Monday, April 13th,
Old people know poems by heart. Young people know lyrics. What happened to poetry? It got rhythm. Poets no longer influence our culture, but musicians do. Poetry stopped rhyming, but rap made rhymes tighter than ever. But do songs have the same goal as poems? Poetry is to help people remember and it warns us by predicting our future. Music is about the present. So yes, music and poetry have different goals. I hope your favorite song doesn’t just create a mood, but makes you think about what you’re doing with your life. For example…
"The God Who Loves You." By Carl Dennis, winner of Pulitzer prize for poetry. (Taken from a PBS interview, so I don’t know what the line breaks should look like.)
It must be troubling for the God who loves you to ponder how much happier you'd be today had you been able to glimpse your many futures. It must be painful for Him to watch you on Friday evenings driving home from the office, content with your week -- three fine houses sold to deserving families -- knowing as he does exactly what would have happened had you gone to your second choice for college, knowing the roommate you'd have been allotted whose ardent opinions on painting and music would have kindled in you a lifelong passion . A life 30 points above the life you're living on any scale of satisfaction. And every point a thorn in the side of the God who loves you. You don't want that, a large-souled man like you who tries to withhold from your wife the day's disappointments so she can save her empathy for the children. And would you want this God to compare your wife with the woman you were destined to meet on the other campus? It hurts you to think of him ranking the conversation you'd have enjoyed over there higher in insight than the conversation you're used to. And think how this loving God would feel knowing that the man next in line for your wife would have pleased her more than you ever will, even on your best days when you really try. Can you sleep at night believing a God like that is pacing His cloudy bedroom, harassed by alternatives, you're spared by ignorance? The difference between what is and what could have been will remain alive for Him even after you cease existing, after you catch a chill running out in the snow for the morning paper, losing 11 years that the God who loves you will feel compelled to imagine scene by scene unless you come to the rescue by imagining Him no wiser than you are, no God at all, only a friend no closer than the actual friend you made at college, the one you haven't written in months. Sit down tonight and write Him about the life you can talk about with a claim to authority, the life you've witnessed, which for all you know is the life you've chosen.
How does God handle the disappointment of having to send his people to Hell? Does he punch Jesus? Does he drink?
I ran into a blind gal at my local bar. She was a lot of fun. She claimed I switched drinks on her.
It made me feel terrible, so I said, here, try mine, it’s vodka, yours is rum. She put my drink to her nose to sniff it, then drained it in one gulp.
“Yup, that’s vodka. I was wrong.” And she would go back to sipping her rum.
She got quite drunk that way, drinking my drinks, so I was glad I had started out with a bit in the parking lot. By the end of the night we walked home to my place. She refused to come inside, for I had cats and she was allergic to cats.
We began kissing, rolling around in the dark on the grass. I pulled her skirt up and her panties down as we kissed, slipping our tongues in and out of our mouths. I won’t go making this story pornographic, but suffice it to say we did things there in the dark backyard with dogs barking next door that caused quite a heat. She sure was a fun gal. Her blind eyes were rolling around in her head, which in the moonlight was terrifying, but lended a real flavor to the event. When we had reached our climax she grabbed at me, pulled my arm over my head and stuck her nose in my armpit.
“I want to remember you in case we meet again,” was all she said.
She had me call her a cab home, and the next morning I found her panties in the stamped down grass. It looked like deer had slept out there.
She sure was an interesting woman.
I'm doing a science guy impression here, complete with a
synthetic thumb. Part of my robot studies.
A truly great fight story should involve three types of damage: property damage, physical injury, and mental abuse. (I didn’t mention it in the story, but Nathan’s roommate was crying and threw up after the cops left.) All three (ding ding ding) in this one. A great fight story should also have an element of sneak attack. Would you ever suspect a punch in the mouth while you are on the phone to the cops? Surprise! Quite often fight stories are made great by the inclusion of a makeshift weapon. The improvisation of Nathan’s guitar work I can’t speak to, but to grab an effects rack and clobber someone’s head is top notch fighting in my book.
Nathan Cabrera, holding a cigarette in one hand, waiting to step outside to
smoke it, pauses to tell
me this story:
"I live alone now. I remember one roommate, we got into an argument,
so he pushes me into a picture frame, which breaks.
He looks like he's ready to fight, so I pull out this big
steel pipe from my closet and say
"Get the fuck out of here or I'm calling the cops."
"Good, call em."
Okay. I pull out the cell - beep beep beep - "I've just been assaulted by
my roommate and I need someone down here before things get out hand."
(Half the fun of a fight is the psychological shit you can pull, like remembering to use words like 'assault' even though you’re body’s wired on adrenaline. Your cool freaks out your opponent.)
"It didn't happen like that..." he starts to say.
"Hold on, he wants to talk to you," I tell 911 dispatch.
I hand him the phone and he starts saying, "Don't send anyone down,
we'll work it out, no one’s been assaulted."
and right then I pull back and bust him in the mouth, punch him
through the phone. Punch the phone into his teeth. BAM!
The phone explodes. The battery flies off, parts are everywhere,
I cracked his four front teeth… he screams, and I grab him hockey style...
grab the shoulders of his sweatshirt and start dragging him around the apartment.
I threw him over a kitchen stool - he'd just gotten his arm out of a cast the
day before, he's screaming, "Don't break my arm! Don't break my arm!"
I pick him up and throw him into the living room. I get him in a
headlock, and he's trying to hit me with his broken arm, so I pick up
a rack of guitar pedals and crack him with that. Once, twice, he’s about to be
three times a lady when I hear "Freeze". I look up and five cops
with guns drawn are in my living room, ready to blast me. “Drop the weapon!”
Which in this case is a sustain pedal - but whatever. So, like I
said, I live alone now."
I went down to a bar called the No Luck Club. It is a real dive. By
that I mean there's an old sign that says "No Gambling" in English,
Spanish and Chinese. No excuse, except illiteracy.
so people still gamble.
Anyway, I was there that night having a few drinks, looking at the
beer stains on the subfloor, waiting for the owner to come in. I wanted
to be a bartender. Here.
By and by the owner, Jim, comes in. I give him my pitch. He tells
me, "Sounds great. Remind me of this conversation next time we meet."
and he walked into the back room asking someone for a pipe. So I
sat back down at the bar feeling locked in. Feeling good. Feeling hired.
"Another Schlitz, my friend!" I say to the bartender.
I've had about six. A fight breaks out at the other end of the bar,
by the door, so I jump off my barstool - my first on the job training.
It's over by the time I wade through the onlookers. Shit. I want to throw
someone out, even though I don’t work there yet. My application is in, Motherfucker!
It could be said this next action was caused by overeagerness on my part:
There are some people standing by the door, so I grab the nearest one,
someone wearing a black hoody, and shove him towards the door.
"My purse! My purse! I dropped my purse!" Oh shit. It's a woman,
not a man. I look down and sure enough, among the peanut shells and
cigarette butts is a little purse. So I pick it up and give it to
her, very gentlemanly. She looks pissed, but doesn't know that I'm actually
just a drunk guy new in the neighborhood, looking for any work I can get my
Bartending is going to be tough.
I got to Rusty’s in the afternoon. He was in a shed fiddling with the
governor on an old Case tractor. A newspaper was open on the dirt with weathered
sockets spread across the news.
“Can I buy you lunch Rus? I’m starving.” I said to him. So we headed down to Redwood City and stopped at a burrito place. I told Rus my new plan. “I’m going to L.A. and write for television.”
He said to me, “You got nothing going for you, and one thing going against you: Time.” I kept eating my burrito as I thought about it. Most people, by the age of 35, have some money in the bank and a steady job.
Rus always got a plastic fork, opened the burrito and ate the inside, leaving the tortilla alone. He held the fork in the air with some food on it.
“The thing about people…you’re either a creature of habit or you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. I’m a creature of habit.” He said. Then he ate.
We knew where I stood. I dropped him off back home and got on the 280, heading south for Los Angles.
there's shit rattling inside me like rocks in a dryer.
A sure sign of San Francisco.
Me and my new friend Television. I'm so in love it makes my head
In regards to yesterdays poem...
I'm wondering if we would be a better nation if our youth were compulsed to use
underwear ads to fuel their imagination. Is that where the creativity comes to
dare hijack a plane with a box cutter? Can we blame their success on a lack
of good masturbatory aids?
Unspoken Danger of the Home Office
Strangely enough, everytime I turn on my computer, I think about masturbating.
It is a pavlovian response,
my genitals hear a bell
and start to salivate in my pants.
Too many nights I have used it
to calm my nerves,
comfort my needs
cool my jet.
a lap top
What happened to the ritual
of going to the closet
uncovering the stash
of glossy magazines?
don't need as much
with all the video files
streaming in their dreams
but thank god for america
where we don't have to eroticize
an underwear ad
like those poor fuckers
in Saudi Arabia.
Meet the "Junkies" and "Go Go America!" - two new families
of dolls from
American Nightmare Manufacturing. (coming soon to Roboutique)
This is Peter's Rabbit, the first Go Go America! doll to be introduced. Something
wrong...what could it be?
American Culture has gone completely nuts! Amped up on the war on terror, drugs, poverty and illegal immigration, citizens don’t know anything but violence. They are the only superpower in the world, and they love it! From the President on down to the jizz mopper, Americans crave power. They have turned to raping and pillaging everyone and everything around them, including these cute stuffed animals. Are you one of the few compassionate Americans who can protect the weak rather than abuse them? Then adopt today, before they are sexually assaulted again.
America rapes nature. Literally.
Here's a Junkie!
Touchy the Bunny doesn’t have a lucky rabbit foot. Environmental
mutation has given her an elderly hand. Rub it and wish her luck!
She’ll need it- she has a distributor cap and plug wire for a neck.
Her parents spent too much time hopping around the junkyard,
drinking water loaded with oily runoff and anti-freeze. She won’t
live past her second birthday unless a mechanic changes her spark
plugs. Will you donate $45 for parts and labor, or let her die?
Bearly Alive won't be hibernating this year - he can't sleep with the constant
in his stomach! The poor guy couldn’t find salmon in the damned up rivers anymore;
he ate this timepiece thinking he heard a heartbeat. Now his intestines pop out of his
stomach whenever the alarm goes off. For $45 a qualified electrician will silence the
alarm. Is Bearly Alive worth saving or will you let his time run out?
Big city grocery stores are installing devices that
lock shopping cart wheels when they leave the
parking lot. They lose too many to the homeless!
Baby strollers are becoming the new pack mule
for this wandering set of Americans.
This is a five car crash I watched.