Saturday, December 31, 2005

Sex sells

Sex sells
Originally uploaded by Theorris.
Happy New Year!

I was down in the hub of the S-House today and came across these two juxtaposed against the rather phallic monument to some pioneer. Seems to fit, given how the Victorian Era saw Mormons.

Plans are for the Circle Lounge later. Tables are reserved. Saki will be drunk (drank?)

What's that in her hand?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Wilhelm Christmas 2005

Wilhelm Christmas 2005
Originally uploaded by Theorris.
Happy Holidays and all that goo.

  • one

  • two

  • three

  • Boy I'm a downer, aren't I? I've always thought I'd make a great Catholic or maybe a Puritan. My heritage, afterall, is rooted in New England Puritanism and austere Scottish Presbyterianism.

    Does one really need justification for desiring a better world? Should one ignore the world and just celebrate Christmas? Ok , here you go.

    Certainly gives one pause, eh?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Shampoo saving measures initiated

Well I have officially given up on the Great Bearding of 2005 (not that either Mid-B (shaved out of professional necessity) or Sleepy E (shaved out of wanting to have a kissable chin for all those hoochie mamas he is meeting on rap video sets) were really participating either). I went wild with the hair chopper and went status quo with the razor. It was a rather easy job, really. Just taking the chopper and run it over the head and make sure it clips the hair evenly. Of course all of this makes the bathroom a giant fucking hair ball (particularly when you had the longish fine brown/near-black hair I had) , it gave me a good reason to clean the bathroom too. I need good reasons to clean the bathroom, generally.

I've gotten a few compliments, to which I often respond "Oh I was tired of the lice." Some people laugh. I am particularly amused at the uncertainty of those who don't.

Call me Abhaya.

"We used to be friends"

Originally uploaded by Theorris.
Saturday we all went down to Club Sound in good old SLC to see the Dandy Warhols in concert. I've always liked the group (they are called variously the Dandys or the Warhols, depending on who you talk to. I prefer to keep it the Dandy Warhols) and now (thanks to Housemate Friend Jeff (HFJ)) all of their CDs. I didn't have the last one until HFJ purchased it last week. I had shied away from it since the brief clips that appear on the net are rather lackadaisical and seemed to be indicating a crushingly morose release this time. Most of the songs on the album are well over 5 minutes with on a couple dropping down to the normal 3-minute radio play zone.

I will report, in all, that the CD is much better than the clips tell. While it does not have instantly catchy tunes like Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia it explores the same big sonic space they've always been exploring: crushing disonance and hard edge lyrics countered by catchy little melodies. That's probably not a very complete or appealing way of describing what they are doing. How about this: they live in the same place as Pavement or Sonic Youth or Brian Jonestown Masacre (a kind of disgruntled and hard place to live, but at the same time kind of fun.) All right, that doesn't make sense either, so I will just say that The Dandy Warhols are interesting to listen to because of the oddity of their musical combinations. That kind of fits since their latest albume is called Odditorium or the Warlords of Mars.

Now I was going to mention something about their other albums and/or the movie Dig! but I've kind of lost all momentum trying to explain their music in a way that does it justice and doesn't make me sound like a total twit. Perhaps I haven't done one and have done the other. I'll leave that to you decide, kind reader.

The show was like most shows of bands that have been around for a while and have a stockade of hits: generic. They did play well, I will give them that, and they know their music inside and out, but there was no risk involved. Nothing new. Nothing to shatter. Nothing off the new album. Basically, it would seem, the show was ready-made to please the everyday, radio-play fan. It was not meant to bring out their new work or explore where they are going musically.

I enjoyed myself, none-the-less, but at the same time I kind of felt like I was seeing the tour bus climbing over the hill, wending its way back home to Portland where it will soon be sold and used to tote Kenny Rogers on his big 2009 Northwest Tour.

The Dandy Warhols are incredibly big in Australia and Europe. Maybe they will put on more challenging/more interesting shows there before they fade away.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Going in and out of style

  1. Four years ago today I was putting things off.
  2. Three years ago today I made beautiful Candace a tasty meal.
  3. Two years ago today I was bemoaning a Jazz loss to the cursed Lakers (pre Osterblog) and providing snow pictures of good old SLC and the good old Heber to far flung warm-climate folk. (I also apparently had figured out how to get specific links to specific dates to work, and people were actually commenting on my posts.)
  4. A year ago today, I apparently wasn't in any mood to post, but I seem to like operating systems.
  5. Today I am thinking of the past and thinking about how I am taking a break from all this bloganaciouness until the new year.

Did I actually exist Before Blogging (B.B.)? What was going on -1 B.B (2000). How about -10 B.B. (1991)? -20 B.B. (1981)? -31 B.B. (1971)? Well actually I have a good idea of what was going on all those times:

1991: hip early 20's postgrad poverty, surety, and uncertainty
1981: woeful teenage burning desire, sulleness, and fear
1971: infatile obstinance, drool, and snot (but all in joy, mind you)

I guess things don't change that much, do they?

Who in the what now?

Don't expect updates on The Great Beard Race[TM] since I plan on leaving all things blog in a giant cloud of icy dust once December 14 hits. Don't worry, I'll be back some time, but I plan on being highly unreliable over my glorious near-month of pure vacation.

I'll take pictures, but I'll be damned if I am going to post them.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Stuffy clown, my ass

May the bearding commence! Let slovenliness rule!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Seinfeldic moment, or thing #1 not to say in a job interview.

Lis and I were conducting job interviews today for our place of work. We interview together since it is nice to bounce impressions of job candidates off each other and see if those impression are accurate. In between classes we conducted a series of 4 interviews today. By the last interview Lis had slightly recovered from the migraine that came about during a previous interview. The last one was with a young guy who was pretty nervous and it affected his ability to speak coherently initially, but he managed to recover somewhat once we got to the 3 or 4th question. He still, however, seemed quite nervous throughout in that he was blushing and stammering. His answers were ok and he does show some promise.

As he stood to leave, I let him know about the hiring process and offered my hand to shake. He grasped my hand weakly, and as I thanked him for the interview he blurted out "love you!" Somewhat stunned by this unexpected statement of affection, I looked towards Melissa, and so did he, and in a awkward sort of grace to save himself from this awkward situation the young man mumbled "Love you too Melissa!" and left.

Lis and I sat in stunned silence for a couple of seconds when she said "did he say what I think he said or is it my migraine?"

"Yes," and we both burst out laughing. I only hope he was far enough down the hall not to hear us.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Originally uploaded by Theorris.
I've come to the conclusion that I do not understand when I am under stress. Is everyone that way? Can we all not see the signs? I'm not talking a full-blown attack of stress caused by a stressful situation. I am talking about suble stress developed over time. I am thinking particulaly of stress that builds up because of situations in our lives such as relationships or the lack thereof or of the jobs we take (even though they might not be particularly stress on the face of it.)

Perhaps we can only perceive our stress state when others observe it for us initially. Maybe it is too easy to ignore subtle signs of stress build up. Ultimately it all leads to bad mental and physical health.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

[The land of lost notes] Note 22

[The land of lost notes] Note 21

[The land of lost notes] Note 20

First snow

First snow
Originally uploaded by Theorris.
It is snowing today and I am laying in my bed watching it. The light is a subtle grey-brown. I like the meditative nature of snow fall. It makes one less compelled to do anything other than watch it swirl in patterns across the bare bones of the trees outside. But the juxtaposition is there, of course. I am warm and inside and protected from all this. I am enabled to appreciate the beauty of what for others at other times and in other circumstances must have seen/see as nothing but pain and suffering. Still, though, even the most life-battered twelth century Northern European peasant must have looked out of his hovel one fine November morning to see snow twisting down to Earth and felt something akin to the peace I feel now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Way of the Puck

Sleepy E. has the web site up for his movie Way of the Puck. A man of many talents, that Sleepy E.

Carter and Tif

Carter and Tif
Originally uploaded by Theorris.
Tif dropped by my office today with baby Carter. He was in some fancy Swedish carrier thingamabob. he slept slouched over most of the time, but woke up a few times during the visit. The baby, of course, attracted various folks to come into my office and enjoy his presence. Tif and I talked about the various realities of parenthood. In all she seems to be adjusting well, despite some rather major difficulties her family is facing. That's personal stuff that I am not going to go into here, so nertz to you kind reader.

Crime and punishment

The Christmas tree lot down the road has inspired another story of waywardness and intrigue. The plot is fairly simple: a twenty-something ne'er-do-well steals a Christmas tree at 3 in the morning from a fenced lot. The action is the actual theft which will be coincidental to the self-exploration/explication of the thief. The thief has a somewhat cliched life (and he knows it) of substance abuse, craptastic jobs, familial responsibilities (child), and debt--lots of debt. He, of course, is stealing the tree because he doesn't have the money to get one. He doesn't delve in justification, however, since he knows what he is doing and justification is just self-deception on his part.

I was boring Mid-B on the bus this morning with the overall plot design and the philosophical underpinnings of what I am aiming at. It is a sort of Les Miserables or Crime and Punishment gone terribly wrong, with a criminal who recognizes his crime, won't justify it, and does it anyway all for the silliness of an Xmas tree. Don't worry he is not going to get shot or anything. Who do you think I am, Flannery O'Connor?

Ultimately the guy has an "examined life" in a minor sense, but that's kind of a twist of the story that I don't want to over think, otherwise it will just become overwraught and dydactic. Necessarily the synopsis here really doesn't do my idea all that much justice, but hey, I don't want to give everything away to bloggity-town now do I?

Monday, November 21, 2005

watched pot never boils

I didn't really feel motivated to take any more pictures of Pittsburgh. Don't get me wrong, it is a fine city and all, but something about the cold just made me not want to take pictures--well that and my professional obligations.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Steel Town

I posted a bunch of pictures from Pittsburgh over at Flickr.

You know Pittsburgh was named for Pitt the Elder: the British Prime Minister who along with George III pretty much created the American Revolution. (Note I refuse to use the British received term for that war "The American War of Independence." It was a revolution in terms of who gets to be in charge of government. It just took a while for it to be spread out to the people.) I note that because Pittsburgh was the frontier back in the 1700's. I sense a bit of frontiership here still, along with a lot of East Coast issues that, no doubt, permeate the country.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

On the road

Well the nice thing about not staying at a conventions main hotel is that you get things like free wireless access--well that and about 100 bucks savings in room rates. I am not really sure why they chose Pittsburgh in November to hold a convention. It is cold and windy here. The cab driver on the way in from the airport said, however, that it was in the 70s until just yesterday. It is supposed to snow tomorrow. The cab driver was quite chatty and called me "brother" frequently. He was interested in what all us teacher folk were doing in town and lamented his lack of writing abilities. I encouraged him to enroll in a class, and he said he'd think about it.

My hotel is near Pitt, but there is no one out on the streets because it is so cold and windy out, save a few college students getting groceries at the CVS pharmacy down the street.
Downtown is somewhere that-a-way and I'll go explroe it tomorrow and register for the convention.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sunday, November 13, 2005

"To Margaret Fuller Drowned"

I think I mentioned a couple of months ago that I purchased the 1970 version of Robert Lowell's Notebook. There were various editoins of the text (from 1967 to 1970) and with each one Lowell expanded/revised. He published a pair of full edtion in 1969:
This text differs from the first edition in May 1969 and the second in July. About a hundred of the old poems have been changed, some noticeably. More than ninety new poems have been added. These have not been placed as a single section or epilogue. They were scattered where they caught, intended to fulflesh my poem, not sprawl into chronicle. I am loath to display a litter of variants, and hold up a still target for the critic who knows that most second thoughts, when visible, are worse thoughts. I am sorry to ask anyone to buy this poem twice. I couldn't stop writing, and have handled my published book as if it were a manuscript." (264)
Lowell then goes on to list a sequence of dates stating that "Dates fade faster than we do....I list a few that figure either directly or obliquely in my text..." (265). The list includes the various wars, riots, protests, assassinations, uprisings, and the death of Che Guevara. The Vietnam War bookends this list, with a desperate -- coming at the end of the list of years: "1970, --" (265). It would be, of course 5 more yeas before the Vietnam War ended. Lowell himself only had seven more years before he died in the back seat of a New York cab of a heart attack.
I am interested in Lowell's work not so much because his poetry appeals to me (at times I think it belaboured and too dense to enjoy) because of the odd development of this text; how it is several texts, in fact, in one. What Lowell apologizes for is what makes it intriguing to me. I've been looking for various editions of it to get the full textual sense of it and how the events of the time seem to shape these poems. This is interesting to me because Lowell has been ascribed simply as a poet of the interior monologue (that is he writes simply about himself and his own story.) Lowell, obviously, did not see his poem Notebook that way. To him it seems to incorporate the period and seems to have some political/cultural import.
The various "sonnets" (the entire Notebook is broken into 14 line poems of mostly blank verse) all seem to need a key that Lowell doesn't necessarily supply, but they are also intriguingly compelling in their comment on American culture:

Earth of our pot I smashed dogs me four flights--
you are your biographer's best American woman,
in a white nightgown, hair fallen long
at the foot of the foremast, Margaret Fuller
forty, Angelo thirty, Angelino one--
drowned with brief anguish, together, and your fire-call
Your voice was like thorns crackling under a ot
you knew the Church loads and infects as all dead forms,
however brave and lovely in their life;
progress is not by renunciation.
'Ourselves,' you wrote, 'are all we know of heaven.
With the intellect, I always can
and always shall make out, but that's not half--
the life, the life, O my God, will life never be sweet?'
In my notes on "Margaret Fuller Drowned" I note that I was particularly concerned with the number of times that Fuller's voice was mentioned. She offers a clarion call, as it were, but also seems to be screaming while being drowned. Fuller, of course, was from that idealist/transcendental school that saw man as part divine and certainly perfectable (thus all the utopian colonies of the time--see Blythesdale Romance or even a biography of Fuller herself). Lowell seems to be projecting Fuller and her transcendental idealism into the future, but also into a stark reality that was also there. Despite their best intentions and their highest expectations, transcendentalists were on the verge of watching American blow a part in bloody civil war.
Progess is not by renunciation? Progress is not by renunciation. Hmm. Perhaps that is the comment Lowell is making. The world is a knowable place and you can make sense of it.
Can you Margaret? Did you while you were drowning with your Angelo and Angelino? Is this the dirt from the pot that sticks to (dogs) the poets feet four flights?

I've had this idea of a story where the ghost of Robert Lowell haunts a perfectly unsuspecting person (one who has never heard of him) or something like that. It should be worth a laugh or two.

[The land of lost notes] Note 16

[The land of lost notes] Note 7

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Dulce Et Decorum Est:
"If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori."
Wilfred Owen
BBC has an interesting production about Owen and Sigfriend Sasson.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Train story

I had some extra train time today so I started a story. Now I haven't seriously written a story in a while now, and when I do I am always surprised what comes out. I think I was challenged a bit by Mid-B this morning who scoffed at the notion of writing a novel (no offense you folks noveling over there at that one site). I too know I don't have anything close to a novel in me, but I think I do have the occasional weird story to wield.

With that said, my extra train time was useful as words literally spewed from my fingers. I think I amused lis (she laughed for whatever that means) when I read bits of the story to her while wating for a meeting to start:

So I know you're asking me, what's the point of all this Jimmy? What the hell are you getting at? Well I guess I am just trying to explain why the hell I'm sitting here at this bus stop out in the middle of the fuck end of nowhere with 20 bucks to my name and a fucking fat lip and two black eyes. I have this notebook and a pen and time to kill so it seems like I should just write it all down. They call that therapy right? Yeah right.
The only exceptions to people not really believing in rules are probably in relationships or something of equal meaning (is there such a thing?) You have to be believers in the rules when you are in a relationship, otherwise it is just sort of like continually faking orgasms (and yeah men can do it too, ladies; you just have to be convincing and put on a good show; although most of the time there's no reason to, but sometimes it just seems like the right thing to do).

The only exception to faking belief in the real categorical imperitive of the rules that I've found so far in my 10 real relationships (I don't count those that don't go past two contacts--sex involved or not) is Trish Hadavic and I'm not sure she really counts because I think she is a classic example of a sociopath. I mean nothing meant anything to her and lying was just par for the course. It was lie upon lie with her. It didn't even matter what it was about. It could be about who openned the peanut butter and she'd claim that I did it in my sleep. Don't get me wrong. I don't hate liars. Hell I'm spend most of my time telling lies to get out of things or to get into things. It is just that, I guess, I always felt Trish broke the only rules that most people really believe in. I should have known better to get involved with the ex girlfriend of a previous girlfriend but at the time it seemed like a good idea.

And that could be the motto or the mantra for my life, you see. Like spouting off the first thing that comes to mind, I usually let my life be lead by what seems to be a good idea at the time. Its stupid and I know I should stop doing it, but that never seems like a good idea when I'm faced with a decision to make. Give your best friend a thousand bucks because he's down on his luck and has to get a paternity test? Sounds good to me. Sure do it. Only later you find out that there was no way the kid could have been his anyway and he's never going to pay you back because he can't keep a job at being a fry cook.

I kind of hate the character and I kind of like him. I've got a lot more and sketched out the posibility of a plot. I will probably work on it some more, but I sense I am fast losing interest in Jimmy. I kind of just wish he would go away.

By the way, the first clip is actually from near the end of what I was writing. It was going nowhere and the character needed something to do but waffle around about his existence.

Update: Jimmy's got a full-blown action scene now. It involves a cop with a magnalight and some probable drunk driving. Poor Jimmy.

Update 2: Woot! it is only suspected drunk driving. Apparently he was attacked by a wasp. Poor Jimmy.

Update 3: Woot 2! I've actually eliminated some of the crap I posted above and have a half-way decent story now. Hmm. Poor Jimmy. He wants to cry in the story, but doesn't. Poor Jimmy.

Update 4: Pretty decent little tale. We'll see how I feel about it in the morning. Poor Jimmy.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

"Like hell you are"

Sometimes you read something and you just can't keep yourself from doing a spit take:

The house is filled with poets and short story writers. Jackets are piled on the bed in the bedroom and people are lying on them or on the floor telling stories about losing their virginity. Everybody has an MFA so every story has a small inappropriate observations. "He put his hand between my legs at the movie theater. I was wearing my mother's skirt." "I was fifteen, she was nineteen. It was the day after my best friend committed suicide." (Stephen Elliott, "My Little Brother Ruined My Life", Maisonneuve)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Thursday, November 03, 2005

They condescend to fix upon me a frown

Contrasts 2
Originally uploaded by Theorris.
As I think I've mentioned before, I get obsessed with songs and sometimes albums and have the tendency to listen to them over and over (and over and over) and over and over and over. And over and over. If I didn't have headphones, you can only imagine how insane this would make anyone around me or how insane it would make me appear. It is lucky for me that our modern age has invented for me several pairs of headphones with which I can indulge in my analytic obsession. Analysis is generally what it boils down to. I hear something that is really appealing to me or baffles me (or whatever) and I generally want to understand why it is so appealing (aside from the initial aesthetic appeal of well-played, well-constructed music).

Lately I've been obsessing over The Decemberists' album Picaresque. I recall hearing it a while ago, but it didn't stick. Yet all of a sudden a few weeks ago Housemate Jeff brought it home and it hasn't left the CD player or my regular iTunes rotation the entire time.

"So then what is gives with this particular CD, Oh Orris?" I hear you ask, mighty reader. Well to be blunt, the album itself is perfectly baffling. While it has all the elements of Beck(Uncle Tupelo)-like alt (country) rock and a singer who has an engaging, energetic voice with lyrics balladically tell a story, they sing songs that seem entirely un-modern--indeed one might call them traditional British Folk songs (mostly). And why is a band that should be whipping out top 40 rock dealing with such folky themes in a quasi-folky way when they are obviously not at all folky? What is going on, Decemberists?

Well, gentle reader (don't worry, you're still mighty to--mighty and gentle), I'll tell you what is going on. The Decemberists are a fine of example of post modern artistry: they have assumed the very musical and lyrical tropes that make up folk or traditional music but have turned them ever so slightly around by throwing them in a very modern musical setting and given these simple melodramatic themes modern significance and modern appeal. No longer is the melodrama they exploit in a song like "We both go down together" sappy--it is now somehow intelligent and worth feeling skewered with postmodern sensibilities.

No longer is a simple stupid little high school football game nothing important to sing about ("Sporting Life"), but now it is the whole world (as it is, indeed for me when I was a kid). (Something about that song reminds me of Max Fischer from Rushmore). The Decemberists strangely get what it is to be human in our times and present it in their song--no matter how weirdly eclectic they seem. And they do all this by addressing the mundane melodramatic things that seem to concern us all: love, revenge, los--whatever.

"But hold on, dear Orris!" I hear you exclaim, "Those things are the regular subject of schlock modern culture." Indeed, dear and mighty and gentle reader. Indeed. (Read on, gently if you must, but I presume your mightiness, so be prepared to comment boldly.)

The Decemberists take cliche subjects and put some sort mondo, nova-folk minimalist post-rockalistic shape to them. (I won't even go into their moments when they make musical references to postmodern composers like Adams or Glass and make their minimalist repetition work quite well in the songs.) They do all this, indeed, never mocking the subjects that they have taken on. In fact I think that is what makes their songs so appealing. They've got an honest eclectic enough edge to them with some pretty decent musicianship that somehow they make sense. At the same time it is postmodernly relevant to all of us. Put it this way: it is like bowling. While at the same time one might be mocking the idea of bowling one is also enjoying bowling too. Damn I love being postmodern.

Take, for example, the song "We both go down together":
We both go down together

Here on these cliffs of Dover
So high you can't see over
And while your head is spinning
Hold tight, it's just beginning

You come from parents wanton
A childhood rough and rotten
I come from wealth and beauty
Untouched by work or duty

And oh! My love! My love!
And oh! My love! My love!
We both go down together.

I found you a tattooed tramp
A dirty daughter from the labor camps
I laid you down in the grass of a clearing
You wept but your soul was willing


And my parents will never consent to this love
That I hold your hand

Meet me on my vast veranda
My sweet untouched Miranda
And while the seagulls are crying
We fall but our souls are flying

(chorus repeated twice)
Why this melodramatic folk song that really isn't a folk song? I mean yes, folk songs do have elements like the rich boy and the poor girl, and the language of the lyric is decidedly anachronistic (wanton, duty, vast veranda) and the chorus acts a simple apostrophe in the classic sense (an Ai! In Classical drama, for example or an "Oh!" of the folk song), but usually the such folk songs the poor girl ends up being victimized by the rich boy (by having his illegitimate child) and the language is tweaked enough to be modern to rub against its supposed historical setting (when is it supposed to be? 19th century? 2005?) and the plaintive "Oh my love!" is remarkably like any modern love song (think any plaintive love song). In folk music, it is usually only in the opposite sort of songs where poor boys run away with rich girls of position that they get to live happily ever after (since everyone knows that rich boys are stuck-up twats and poor boys are basically good, at heart if not just a bit rascally enough to make them appealing to said rich girls.) But this song has none of that implying that through falling off the cliffs of Dover the ill-matched pair will find flight. (And I'm not even going to comment on the off-putting rape reference in the song, but suffice it to say I think it throws the whole thing into the problematic postmodernism that I think the song and the entire album represents.)

See this is where it is going: when is the historical setting for this son? Why the hell does it sound so familiar? Even in our times do ill-matched young lovers throw themselves off cliffs for love?

What I am getting at is that The Decemberists are successful simply because this weird little song and all the other weird little songs on the album work precisely because they understand that people still kill themselves out of love; people still have relationships their parents will never approve of; people still fail; people still have parents who have rotten relationships; people still want revenge. It is only our modern fakery that hides traditional cultural/personal behaviors.

All this comes to a head in the song "16 Military Wives" which is a dismantling of war and patriotism (think Charles Ives setting e.e. cummings to music) as well as the reaction to all of that by the received, so-called liberal community. This enthusiastic, upbeat tune has somehow caught everything in its net, and despite its seeming happiness, it is about the darkest song I've ever heard.

So, reader (still great, mighty, and dear), you might ask, am I talking about some sort of "universal themes" that the half-assed structuralist New Critics tried to throw at us as a theory for everything in literature? Hell no! What I am talking about is the conceit that modernity has freed us from our cultural histories and the behaviors that caused them; that somehow we are so radically different now that we share nothing with a simple little folktale or folk son--or, for that matter all literature from the past. The conceit is that like small pox, we've somehow been freed of all that. Bullshit.

What Picaresque gets at is our seeming inability to escape our pasts, despite all the work that writers have done particularly in the twentieth century. Young people still kill themselves out of love; the poor and the rich are still not allowed to mix; there is still racism and sexism; we still seek revenge; we still fight in wars that have purposefully unstable and oft-switched causes. All the while we write and sing about the injustices of life, and we sing on and on and on:
And I am a writer, writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home
And I've written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
I am a writer. I am all that you have hoped (on)
And I've written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
And if you don't love me let me go
And if you don't love me let me go
(The Engine Driver)
Man these folks are smart.

It all makes me want to work some more on Tales of a Basque Grandmother (and no, that is not all my work there gentile and mighty and dear and kind reader.) Kendra Koo?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Got a craptastic team? ELECTRIC RING IS THE ANSWER.

"The Jazz have spruced up their 15-year-old arena, spending $1.8 million on an electronic ring around the upper bowl that, Haslam said, 'restores the wow factor that we haven't had for a while.' " SL Trib

They could also install a fan-control Ostertag prod. Now that would be worth 90 bucks.

Craig "The Traffic Cop" Bolerjack

With radio, there is just too much talking because you have to describe what is going on, so you're restricted on how much analysis you can make. SL Trib

So that crap that Bill Walton spews is now called analysis?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Haloween partyolays

Oh Yeah!
Originally uploaded by Theorris.
Supposed to go to 4 different parties last night. Went to two. The Hulkster was boistrous as only the Hulkster can be. That, of course, is an annoying trait at small parties (the first) but it was mildly entertaining for me at least if not for others.

Favorite lines of the night:

"You know, Mean Gene...."
"Which little Hulkster out there is going to get the Hulk a beer?"
"Hulkamania is running wild in the streets of Salt Lake City!"

You can only imagine how annoying this would get. I loved it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Halloween is fun!

Halloween is fun!
Originally uploaded by Theorris.
My costume represents the best of my manual dexterity and graphic artisty. Man I suck, but the costume will be great.

On the whole, Halloween costume making for me is usually a one-off event anyway. I regularly pull decent costumes together in 10 minutes or less. This one is the most planned I've been in years, I think.

One of my favorites of all time was going as "beat up." That one just involved some bloody makeup and a stuff to blacken my eyes.

Mid-B and Dr. Write kindly gave me a ride home today and I told them of my possible costumes for this year:

  1. Dead Hemmingway (too bloody and beardy)
  2. Hunter S. Thompson (too obvious and too bloody)
  3. Enoch Emory in his gorrilla suit from F.O.'s Wiseblood (too obscure and too hot)
  4. or (the winner) 80's Hulk Hogan!

Hulkamania rules! All the little Hulksters out there are helping me out, Mean Gene!

Fight for what's right! Fight for your right!

And no, I won't put up with that Hollywood Hogan shit. Imagine the Hulkster wearing a feather boa. Bah!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Give them a few seconds and I'll think they'll figure it out

Mid-B and I got a hoot out of the following that appeared in our College's newspaper:
While some students feel safe and educated on how to put on a condom, many do not know what to do after it is on.
You can make your own punchline.

Monday, October 24, 2005

16 observations written while leaving Minneapolis, Minnesota

1: It is not that Minneapolis is boring, but I think I am just tired of the place. I've been to the various cultural hotspots that one can attend to on any normal day and most of the others are closed on a Sunday. So I used the morning to explore a little bit more and then ended up taking the light rail out to the airport too many hours early to even count. The airport, in fact, seems to be a lot like the Minneapolis I was exploring this morning—the maze-like Skyway. It is what Minnesotans use to navigate the city when it is sub zero, I suppose. Such skyways were quite the thing in the 70s—a way of attracting suburbanites back downtown in a variety of cities since it kept them off the dirty streets and in an environment that pretty much mimicked their prefab stomping grounds. The Minneapolis Skyway is pretty much like that. The funny thing is, however, people don't really seem to use it, favoring the streets and their direct route to the needlessly arcane second level sidewalks. I'm sure all that changes, no doubt, when winter hits full-force and the wind is cold enough to intimidate even the most well-adapted Minnesotan of full-blown Scandinavian heritage. Then again I like to think of the average Minneapolitan as shunning the suburb in the midst of their happy city. Somehow, walking a block south of my hotel where the skyway ceases to exist, turnstiles disappear and normal, everyday bundled-up city resumes, proves to me that the folks of Minneapolis have a better insight into dealing with their winters than just suburbanizing and air-conditioning it our of existence.

In that neighborhood that was not commercial, and not too rich, but definitely inhabited by true city-dwellers, I saw folks who had a sense of where they were and the weather. "Is it chilly in here?" the cute waitress at Jerusalem's asked the couple who'd come in after me. The woman-half of the pair was bundling herself a bit.

"Yeah," the man said.

"Our heat's out, but its not like its too cold yet."

"Yeah, it'll be too cold too soon. I'll turn the heat up."

"Oh you don't have too. Just bring us a coffee."

"You bet."

2: The airport bartender is bored. He tells his co-bartender he wants to go watch Smallville. "Its how I take myself out of reality, you know." Both the bartenders are in their 60s. He made a bit of small talk with me, but now that I am engrossed in typing he doesn't bother me. I'm on my second "big one" of a fine beer—Schnell's Oktoberfest. I'm thinking about a third. It is good beer, and it is good to see the sun has come out as I look across the concourse. The people rush to their gate. When my time comes, I'll saunter.

3: The Vikes won their game by a literal last-second field goal. The bartenders are suitably unimpressed. "Now all it will be is we have a chance."

"Yeah you know."

4: A very attractive woman comes in with this guy. Immediately I want to talk to her. She's in a white jacket, has perfectly straight sandy blonde hair, a great face (no noticeable makeup, deep brown eyes, and I'm turned on by her. I gather she is not with the guy but knows him. They order matching beers. She orders first and he follows. He's flirting with her and I find myself getting stupidly jealous. I should be talking to her, I type (just now, and you witness it). Suddenly (as in now) I feel quite stupid. So I write about it. I change the subject and talk to Russ (the bartender—I now know his name) about the traffic that would have come onto the train from the Metrodome after the Viking's win. Apparently there will be folks floating in from the game into the airport shortly. People fly into town for football games?

5: I'm thinking about the woman I met on my first night in Minneapolis. It was a bold, shot-of-whiskey flirtation for me, but we had a great conversation and I've been thinking about her since then. She was cool--from MIT: a scientist studying acoustics. She was in town for some computer-fandango and she was attractive. Attractive. Oh yeah she was hot. I told her the truth about who I was and what I was doing but I still think she was not telling the truth. I'm sure she has met plenty of guys on the road who give her the writing center coordinator story. Yeah that's a big one to score with the ladies!

Of course I believed everything she said. The encounter has kind of depressed me for the whole conference. She disappeared, of course. What's new?

6: I think I both despise and love traveling.

7: I lie. I lie egregiously to a rich couple at a new bar in the airport. It is fun. I enjoy telling them about the amenities at a non-existent ski resort by Deluth. I am suddenly a ski resort reviewer, you see. My story checks out: ironic hoodie, SLC destination, the desire to have a Jaegermeister shot (and the completion of that) and my pity of Minnesota and its lack of terrain. Ah I suddenly feel a lack of personal terrain in my fabrication.

It is a joke for me. Pretend. You know: like Peter Pan or Mr. Rogers. Although Mr. Rogers freaks me out even more than Peter Pan, it is fun to pretend some times.

8: Usually I'm very non-pretentious and the previous part flies in the face of that.

9: 2 hour flight next to a woman who won't have a jot to do with me and a dude who is looking at the pictures in his 3 magazines. I moved my monitor so they can't see. Did you detect it?

10: I'm ordering a nice black coffee.

11: I'm kind of sad now. Excuse me. Yeah whatever. Fuck you.

12: See I am not a very good traveling companion. Ask Lis.

13: 12 makes me sad.

14: We've finally reached the generation of airplanes that no longer have ashtrays.

15: I like chasing the sun. I also like listening to the Eels and Wilco while doing it. I also like how Johnny Depp says "Wow" in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

16: Sometimes I feel like Willie Wonka. Sometimes I feel like Charlie Bucket.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

You're going to make it after all

Still in Minneapolis. Yada yada. Lis and I walked around a bit the other day after her battle with her hotel's tredmill. We decided to take on the role of absolute tourist geeks and take pictures by the Mary Tyler Moore statue on the main drag. Then we ventured by light rail to the Mall of America. MOA, by the way, is a heinous ass pit. The one saving grace is that I will never again have to go to a mall since all my future mall devotion has been made up for by one trip to that worthless behemouth. Can you tell I hated the Mall of America?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The View

The View
Originally uploaded by Theorris.
Yup that's what I look out on here in beautiful downtown Minneapolis. I explored a bit right when I got here (mostly to fight off 2 hours of airplane confinement). It is a titch windy here. I assume that is abnormal, but what the hell do I know. I look down on a church that looks like a combo of the Cathedral of the Madelene and First Pres in Salt Lake. Minneapolis and SLC have a lot in common, I think--scandanavians and what not. The buildings, of course, look bigger here simply because there is nothing to compare them too aside from the mighty Mississippi, which, isn't all that mighty up here.

I'll keep an eye out for Paul Bunyon, Laura Ingalls-Wilder and Mary Tyler Moore for you. I'm sure they're around somewhere--probably all hanging out at the convenience store/Asian market/liquor store out behind my fancy-pants hotel. (More on find fun in faux-privelege later.)

"I'm a travelin' man..."

Traveling is a theme for me this week. I'll be venturing out of good old SLC to the great Twin City Mecca. Don't ask me what Krazy Kat and Beck have to do with it, however. (Sorry the file is so large--I tried to compress it down to something reasonable, but the quality went right out the window. The MP4 on that page is set to stream, but I don't know if it actually does.)

Monday, October 17, 2005


Originally uploaded by Theorris.
Karmaking pooling it up at Brewvies. We went there to see Wedding Crashers--a movie that was far better than I expected. I told King and Friend Dustin who is relocating from Wyoming that it reminded me of the Marx Brothers. King was taken aback by this remark, I think. He is right, of course, there are not usually eggregious hand jobs in Marx Brother's movies.

Hand job. Ever notice how many times that phrase is mentioned in Rushmore?

Sunday, October 16, 2005


If WC Fields really said it (and I have my doubts), I find it to be true: don't work with animals (and children). Catnipped. Boonis (the cat) generally gets quite hyper when given catnip performing all sorts of wild behavior such as crazy jumps and across the room flings of his toy mice. The presene of the camera, however, seems to have made him shy.

Monday, October 10, 2005

iProcrastination or proscrasto-blogging

I put my iPod over there <--- yeah over there (it is the white thing with the buttons and the screen.) Actually it isn't my iPod at all since I don't own an iPod, but it does show you what is playing on my iTunes iNow. Likewise I have another program that "mobs" play lists for me--finding similar artists to ones that are playing and making them for me in iTunes.

Kind of childish, really, but it does distract me from the work I am finally doing. I hadn't, ofcourse, started the work earlier today or at all this long weekend, but now I'm in the midst of it, taking a procrastinating break by writing about procrastination.

All this page fiddling, song list building, and writing about procrastination is a bit like housework for me. I know when I was in college my digs were never cleaner than when I had to write a paper. That's the procrasto-cleaning that many of us are familiar with.

So now instead of cleaning I just do stupid things with a web page or make song lists or write about procrastination to feel like I am actually accomplishing something while avoiding the real work I need to be doing that I should have done long ago. Why? Because I can, that's why. No one is forcing me to do the work aside from myself and now my desire to be through with it and my guilt for not having it done already.

Procrasto-rambling is indeed just as fulfilling as procrasto-web- fiddling, procrasto-iTunes-playlisticating and procrasto-cleaning. None of it, of course, beats procrasto-beer-drinking.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fall Break

Wasatch from Desolation Trail
Originally uploaded by MacClint.
The nice thing about my job is that I get random holidays like Fall Break where I can catch up on what's going on in the canyons above SLC. I briefly thought about going out of town, but sometimes it is nice just to be home and take things as they come. After some debate, Karmaking and I decided to go for a hike up Millcreek Canyon. The debate was more about which canyon would be best. I think we chose Millcreek simply because it was closest.

We stopped at the Desolation Trail just above the Boy Scout camp and I regailed Karmaking of stories from my work at that camp guiding 11-year-olds as a world-wise 14-year-old camp staff member. I amused K. with tales of a crazy racoon, kids who broke their arms because they didn't listen to me, and how I disposed of the rattle snake we had caught in camp (I took it up the same trail and flung it out in to the woods.) King was intrigued how one would handle a snake, and I told him about the crafty use of a forked stick and gloves in snake handling.

As King noted as we were driving out of the canyon after the hike "it was like being in another world." Indeed.

There are more pics over at Flickr.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Wilhelm Invitational

The Wilhelm Invitational
Originally uploaded by MacClint.
The Invitational was a success at least for those who showed up. For those who didn't show up it was a complete failure.

Update: Dun Dun Dun Dah. (Oh and you can kiss Bowlarama goodbye--The Bowling Syndicate abides!)

Friday, September 30, 2005

Wilhelm Invitational 2005

Woot! It looks like the 2005 Wilhelm Invitational Disc Golf Tournament might actually take place tomorrow. What the hell does that mean, you ask? Attentive readers will recall that I have been blogging about various disc golfing excursions all summer. Since tomorrow is the last day for the lifts at Solitude, the housemates and I decided to put together a disc golfing outing with anyone who desires to attend. Since our mansion is called "The Wilhelm" we have deigned to call it "The Wilhelm Invitational." I believe it is still 2005, althought I wrote 2006 not long ago out of a secret desire to get the hell out of this year.

So, if you are in the SLC area, come join us tomorrow. I don't know exactly when we'll be up there, but since it is a Saturday, I assume it will be 1 or 2 pm. You can get used discs at Play It Again Sports. I'll be sure to post an updated time if one ever materializes. Otherwise if you have my phone number, try that, although since my phone is somewhat broken and prone not to notify me of calls, I can't give assurance that I will answer.

If you are outside of SLC you should fast and pray that some day you can travel to Utah, ride a chair lift, swill beer, and spend hours searching for lost discs in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Hey lis, I stand totally corrected.

Ok not totally because I know I saw a woman playing Captain Scotty at some point in Channel 20's history.

Anyway folks... the one and only RAYMOND responded to my post about the afore-mentioned Hotel Balderdash. He starred on the show with Cannonball and Harvey for several years. I was just a little kid, but I remember the show quite fondly. Ironically enough, however, I recall hating Raymond even more than I liked the show, but that was pretty much what made the show so appealing, after all. How's that for the Internet for you?

(And don't make fun of him or I'll give you such a smack.)

( Stop that, or I am so going to turn this god damned car around!)

(I told you to stop it. I'm not going to say it again.)

Shit I feel like I just got a call from Bernie Calderwood (RIP).

Man, they don't even mention Bernie's stint on Big Money Movie. My sister remebers Captain Scotty.

Where the hell are local kid shows these days?

Big Money Movie Rules!

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made On

The other day Mid-B was over and he told me about a bowling blog that Sleep E has joined in on or has set up or something. This explains this picture which is in E's Flickr account. Mid-B also menitoned that E was thinking of inviting me to join said blog. Now being the impatient person that I am, I decided to damn the torpedos and just make my own bowling blog: Bowlarama. Current karmaking and I are co-authoring this blog, but if you want to join in, let me know. Only bowling-related posts, however, will be allowed.

Monday, September 26, 2005

I received this email this morning:

Hi all,
The baby was born last nigt at 9:30. His name is Carter Phillip. Baby and Mother are doing fine.

The baby referred to is my good friends Tif & Chris child. I really need to get my phone fixed.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday Night Movie of the Week

only there are no family issues or problems to be resolved by wrecking the house in this one.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Gut busting

During my latest trip to Sam Weller's a harpsichord concerto was being played over the loud speakers. It was an intense harpsichord piece--not Bach but definitely Baroqu--maybe Boccherini or Scarlati. The piece was intense with jabbing keystrokes and staccato violins and continuo. One of the clerks, a stylish woman in a wool skirt and a hot pink top with a cheek piercing called across the bookstore to a colleague sitting at the information desk in a matter-of-fact kind of tone, "This music is going to make me kill someone."

I cracked up then like I haven't cracked up in a long time--one of those gut busting laughs that you just can't keep in.

"Crazy isn't it?"she said, keeping up her flat tone.

Monday, September 19, 2005


The trio vs. the pirate-ladyman

Recently lis opined that no native Utard remembers Lighthouse 20, the kid show that was broadcast on UHF channel 20. Now I have a slight dispute with lis, in that I remember the pirate on the show was played by a woman, and she recalls someone very different (a man, I presume). Now Lighthouse 20 was not by any means my favorite show (hell I think it replaced Gillagan's Island!), but I do remember it--not really fondly but I remember it.

The real purpose of my writing is that I made the comparison of Lighthouse 20 to Hotel Balderdash--a show that apparently ran for 10 years on channel four here in SLC. Now this show was the bomb; not only did it start at 6:00 am 6:45 am and show nothing but 30's-late 40's Warner Brothers cartoons (you know, Bugs and Daffy, but not Porky Pig and certainly not that crap WB churned out from the 50s onward.) These cartoons, of course, were made for adults and the humor was mostly sophisticated in a slapstick kind of way and not juvenile at all (more on excellent WB work during that time later) Hotel Balderdash also originally featured a trio of characters who "ran" said hotel. I saw this show long before Fawlty Towers, but it seemed that Balderdash was much like Fawlty Towers but with a studio audience of kids in tow. (And you think Felini is surreal?) The trio were Cannonball, Harvey, and the greasy, Nelly-Olsen-like Raymond. Raymond wore a red brat costume (you know like Buster Brown) with a blond wig and stupid sailor hat. Cannonball was rotund and wore a bowler. Harvey was tall and lanky and wore a top hat and a scarf. The trio were triangulated against each other with Raymond always being a brat and trying to get the best of Harvey but never succeeding, and Cannonball acted as the straight an to them both. Harvey was the goofy ne'er-do-well with a good heart. Cannonball was the officious, overbearing "boss" who also had a good heart in the long run. Raymond was a whiney brat who never did well at all. He had a column in our Feliniesque local mini-paper where he answered letters in his bratty way. Pure local comedy gold, I say.

The show ran far longer than my childhood, so I lost track of it somewhere in the 70s, and then one day it was gone, replaced by that tripe Good Morning America. So much for a local show with a modicum of talent fondly remembered from childhood. Are there anything like these shows any more? Where are the Lighthouse 20s? Can a Hotel Balderdash exist in our pre-fab world?

Cast update

Raymond survived a few season on the show, but must have grown tired of being the guy in the brat, and moved on to other projects. Apparently he has struck gold in Mormon comedico-dramulettes. Wrong on this one, Raymond was played by Charlie LeSueur who has given a all-out corection to my childhood misperceptions:

Hello everybody! This is the one, the only, RAYMOND, and my name is Charlie LeSueur, not Lance Williams!
Lance, I believe was one of those local actors who used to pop in and out from time to time on the show, but he was never a regular.
Concerning the history of "Hotel Balderdash." The show was indeed taken from "Wallace and Ladmo,in Arizona where Larry "Cannonball" John and I grew up. Wallace gave us the name Balderdash and said he had always wanted to place his show in a hotel with the guests as rotating characters. We ran with that and named the show "Hotel Balderdash." Wallace and Ladmo weren't very happy when the show was a success.
Just before the show started we brought Randy Lovoi in as Harvey after other actors dropped out.
The show went on the air on September 11, 1972 and lasted until 1982.
I left the show in 1976, but returned briefly in 1977 when Cannonball left the show. When he returned I left again, but returned to the show in 1979 as a regular until it's demise. By the time it left the air I was the only regular left on the show. Randy Lovoi left during the last couple of years and we brought in Steve Farnworth as a new Harvey. Cannonball left in 1982 and soon the show ended with a hiss rather then a bang!
Also, you had the time slot wrong for the show. During the first couple of years we ran from 6:45am until 8:40am at which time they ran a 20 minute newscast. When "AM America," the orginal name for "Good Morning America," started we were so popular that they ended up running the first hour of "AM America" from 6:00am to 7:00am. We ran from 7:00am to 8am and then they ran the last hour of "AM America." During that time the station changed it's CALL letters from KCPX to KTVX.
Larry and I moved back to our home state of Arizona where I continued in television, film, radio,and stage. I am now concentrating on stage and have written two books on film and travel the country doing lectures and radio programs as a film historian. For more info you can visit my website:
In answer to you comments on "Light House 20," the show was created by Craig Clyde and Scott Curran. Scott played the host, Captain Scotty. I do not ever remember a girl on there.
I hope I've cleared the air about things

I think Cannonball survived all 10 seasons of Hotel Balderdash. He had his radio morning show in SLC during the same time period. (which he must have run too since HB was filmed live) [HB was not filmed live after all.] He apparently moved on to small-town Arizona, had a large family and enjoys motorcycles.

The top-hatted Harvey whose trademark was pulling his hand in front of his mouth and making a "bwooooooooop" sound whenever the show went to a cartoon, has disappeared off the face of the Earth with nary an Internet mention. I'm sure he is alive and well in some radio station in the heartland.


I've had a couple months of rather stressful professional commitments, but it doesn't mean I can't offer you up a new cooking movie.

Comedy. Some people don't get it, do they? Not that this is very funny. I've come to the conclusion that it is not. Anyway.

Anyway the larger file is actually a file with streaming enabled. I don't know, however, if it will actually stream properly. My apologies to those on dial-up connections.

I'd write about the complex professional issues that are really getting me down, but this is not the place for it, if any place is. Enjoy the gumbo.

Friday, September 16, 2005


1) Best Grouch Marx sequence ever:
Somewhat rotund older socialite lady he is dating to get her money: "Hold me closer! Closer!"
Groucho: "If I were any closer I'd be behind you."

2) Ron of Counterintuitive writes of a spate of crank calls and his self-defined not-so-snappy comeback:
I was just about to leave to pick up my two older kids from art class; I was already five minutes late and the prank caller had called earlier when I was simultaneously trying to grill peppers, cook corn, cut up a tomatoe, and instruct my daughter in proper table setting. So at this point I was getting a bit irritated with prankster joe. Once I realized it was yet again the prankster, making me even later, I really wanted to scare them off so they wouldn’t call again. And, might you wonder, what did I come up with? Was it something like Moe would say to Bart:

"Listen, you lousy bum, if I ever get a hold of you, I swear I'll cut your belly open!"

Or "It's you isn't it ya cowardly little runt? When I get a hold of you, I'm gonna gut you like a fish and drink your blood!"

No, not exactly. Instead I somehow came up with this: "Listen, stop calling or I'm going to really be here."

What in THE hell does that mean? They/re probably still shaking in their boots. I can’t believe I had nothing better than that. What happened?!? Performance anxiety? Fear of offending their parents if they turned out to be the Mormon Relief Society President’s kids? Inability to summon vigorous manly anger? If only they will call back so I can really stick it to them. I think I will use Moe’s "cowardly little runt" phrase and then go into a tirade about how I'm a working father with kids and dinner in the oven. Surely they will then shake in their boots and feel terribly sorry for adding stress to my already stressful evening (permalink).
Aside from the fact that I think that the response was rather creative and probably scared them into incoherence, I have to say that I have always wanted to have the snappy comeback line myself. I admire people like Groucho Marx, his pale imitation (second time I've used that phrase today!) Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H*, Mae West, Noel Coward, William Powell (of the Thin Man series, or the great W.C. Fields for their ability to respond with the snappy comeback that completely disarms their interlocutor, or at least makes you laugh. Now I think I've had a slight amount of success doing this in the past, but every occasion escapes me now, and the only thing I can think of is this: one time I was at the Avenues liquor store buying a particularly tasty bottle of wine for, as I recall, what turned out to be a particularly tasty dinner date. I was infatuated by the woman I had just started dating and wanted to impress her with my culinary talents. While climbing the stairs to go into Smiths and buy the rest of the meal, this tottering old guy standing on the landing started chanting "Somebody's got a bottle! Somebody's got a bottle!" over and over until I reached him. I then stopped, turned and said "Somebody's got to shut the fuck up," turned, and climbed the rest of the stairs to the store.

Now that's snappy, eh? Ron puts me to absolute shame.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

More adventures in Google poetry

Over at lis's, lisa b. was commenting on the odd blogger commenting graphic password thing ("uckyovo") that lis had pop up on a recent comment she was making:
Also, if you go all Latin-roots, you've got ovo, which is egg or close to it, so you have, even in the nonsense scrambly word, misogyny. On bitter days, I've been saying of late that misogyny is hard-wired into human culture. But in the alphabet? Oh. My. God.
I tend to agree with Lisa on her bitter days (and usually on her sweet days--is that the oposite of bitter?), in that I think misogyny is engrained in our culture and our language, and it takes a great deal of effort to over come it. I think, as well, there is a link to the roles that men and women play in society as well as our roles in family. Ron of Counterinutive has recently dealt with that issue in a post entitled "Can I speak with your wife?"

With the above biases in mind, I give you my lastest Googlerific poem creating gabob. (I've modified this one, as it says to make it more poetic, whatever the hell that means). I think the poem reflects the mysoginistic biases that are out there. Basically Google poetry pulls out the most popular phrases that relate to your search terms from the web and dumps them on your doorstep. It is using the Google search engine to accomplish this and you could pretty much do the same thing (but in less poetic form) with a bare Google search.

The following phrases, therefore, are what is there and what are most popular when you type in "can I speak to your wife." I've moved them and deleted them and added the word "heart" as I have seen poetically fit, but most of the basic text is as it was returned to me. The modifications are in placement and removal of non-sensical material. Also, I chose the filler-word "heart" for various reasons--mostly because the phrases that Google produced seemed so heartless. "Heart," by the way, replaced elipses that Google poetry placed in the poem.

"Can I speak to your wife?"

Compiled 9/14/2005 5:01:28 AM GMT and poetically modified at 9:49 PM MDT

1. Simply your wife

Your wife still hasn't taken off all her pregnancy weight, and you can't remember
the last time the two of you had sex on a weekday. You're working your heart.

(If you can't stop using it no matter what, you may want to
to a psychologist.)
Or, third, you can
try to
make your wife more comfortable with your heart.

You can
certainly approach it with your wife if you think you can
have the
discussion in a way that will not harm your relationship.

Is it because she can
hardly speak
English, or does she have trouble using a fork?

Your wife should be exactly that. She should simply be your wife.

2. Guy humor

I borrow your wife...I
can't speak
for everyone but I
find myself
drawn to
bisexual women (of course).
We get online. We have fun but when
It can
be used in a sense of surprise, "Whoa! Get a load of that!

A lot of guy humor involves insulting your buddies to
prove your heart.

3. God's plan

To prevent your wife's gloating, Miss Mannerly recommends flowers. This way
you can
leave your antacid back at the office, instead of your best engineer's heart.

Love your wife sacrificially so she blooms as God planned. The purpose
of speaking the truth in love in Eph 4:15 is maturity in the one spoken to.

"Do you sodomize your wife?"
Was that asked recently of the Supreme Court Justice?
I can't speak
for Drudge, but I
turned to
the blogosphere because it's my heart.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Fond Memories: Wookie Road trip

I forgot about this one:

took it back in July on a previously mentioned road trip.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Born Slippy

It is 2 am and I am bursting with energy, as the cliche goes. The soundtrack to Trainspotting is going its assertive way as I sit here and think of the stuff that I could be doing besides stringing words together into coherency.

There's a lot going through my mind and I know I'm in a manic mode right now. It happens every fall. It happens when I have many tasks to complete and I complete them all in record time.

It makes me think of Theodore Roethke for some odd reason.

You know he died while swimming in a suburban swimming pool.

Perhaps that will be my next anthologized Gooflerific poem:

Theodore Roethke, dead
He who wrote of the subtle
Growth and the heater knock

He who had the snow slowly

And the headlights

He, admiring life but loving
Who wrote the simple words
Of a whiskey's waltz.

Dead in a pool
A swimming pool
At 58 55.

Something like that, anyway.

Boy, I think I know how Franz Schubert felt.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Jimmy Hoffa Jimmy Hoffa

Mid-B made a cool poem using Google Poetry, so I just had to cobble something together. My search terms were Jimmy Hoffa, Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, and I heard you paint houses and I told it to give me rhymed couplets. All these phrases are relevant to the murder of Hoffa. Google Poetry then gave out a spew of couplets from which I chose those represented below, arranging them in what I think is a coherent order. I've manipulated the text of the couplets a bit, but not much. I kind of like how it turned out.

Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa Jimmy Hoffa, in his short
Terms, that he'd better start
He expected to get whacked right
More bravely than anyone thought
Sheeran and the inside, it was told
Did match Hoffa's DNA it would,
Shot Jimmy Hoffa with a pellet gun,
Unfound Jimmy Hoffa, Sr., guy to run,
And then shot him twice in the head
And the final book report--bad
History through the eyes:
Frank, I heard you paint houses
You paint houses: new & used
In 2003, and his claim was detailed
Every reason to believe that Frank
Is coming "I believe Frank is coming"
The last words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke
The last words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke

Update (6:00 pm):

I couldn't let it stand as a random Google word spew, so I reworked it some more:

"Jimmy Hoffa"

Jimmy Hoffa Jimmy Hoffa, in the short
Terms that he'd always demanded,
Expected to get whacked right,
More bravely than anyone thought.

Sheeran and the insider, it was shown
Had a matching DNA in the car,
Shot Jimmy Hoffa with a pellet gun,
Unfound Jimmy Hoffa, the made man,
And then shot him twice in the head.
And the final book report? Bad:
They shot history through the eye.
"Frank, I heard you paint houses
You paint houses: new & used,"
In 2003, the claim was detailed.

Jimmy Hoffa had every reason
To believe that Frank was coming:
"I believe Frank is coming."
The last words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke.
The last words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke.

Update 2 (the next day) A funny thing happened on the way to the forum:

I just received an email this morning from Google Poetry's creator:


I hope this will reach Clint Gardner...

I was delighted to note the interest in my Google poem
engine in Salt Lake City, and decided to pick both
John Pickavance's and your pieces to the Anthology, see

I hope this is okay with you (I see your work is copyright
under Creative Commons licence - I guess this represents
the kind of non-commercial reuse that is allowed under
it's terms ;-)).

I couldn't locate John Pickavance's email at his blog;
if you have it, I'd appreciate your noticing him on the
publication of his piece in the Anthology.

Thanking you for your interest, with best wishes,


Ah, anthologized at last! Now I really need to get a styling hat and wear my tweedy jacket around. I've forwarded the message to Mid-B and corrected Leevi about my non-tropical location.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Disc Golf The Wilhelm Way

Along with random bits of laundry and bathroom sanitizing, I spent my labor day editing a movie about disc golf, of all things. Like most throwing sports, I have precious-little skill at it, but I rather enjoy tramping around places like Solitude (where the majority of the footage was filmed) which has a spiffy course laid out. I am particularly happy if my shoulder does not become disjointed or when I actually make par a few times.

Next week at Solitude they have a tournament. I am not entering it since I suck so mightily, but a friend is considering it. There were a few folks up on the mountain practicing for next week. You can identify them by their unique ability to actually throw the disc uphill, and their complete lack of swearing or oath-taking.

It would appear, however, that the week after that is open for our very own Wilhelm Invitational (which means if you are reading this and near enough to SLC, you are invited to participate.) Lift tickets are 6 bucks, but if you are really poor you can climb the mountain and it is all free. Be prepared to lose discs, however. And no, you cannot use paper plates.

I'll post the movie if I get around to converting it to some format that will not take you hours to download.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Belabored Day 2005: The poor get poorer

Salt Lake Tribune:
"Sarah Wilhelm, the organization's director of fiscal analysis, says stereotypes that poor people don't want to work or don't do anything to improve their lives are not true. Roughly 75 percent of poor Utah families have at least one working person in the home, she says.
'It's frustrating that people are working very hard, playing by the rules and still not being able to make ends meet,' says Wilhelm.
In 1999-2000, the poverty rate in Utah was 7 percent. It increased to 10 percent in 2003-2004, according to the report. The federal poverty guideline for a family of four people is $18,850 a year. "

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Do horses really play? Do monkeys really have business?

I still don't know what I think of Flickr.

UPDATE: I added a bunch of pictures to it some live from my cell phone. I'm thinking of abandoning The Eye of Orris, but then again I don't want to pay Flickr.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Blogacious commentator round up

  1. Kendrakoo has written a poem about being a woman.
  2. Sleepy E came close to a fist fight outside of Atlanta.
  3. Mid-B remembers Breaking Away.
  4. Ron of Counterintuitive is stuck in the looming semester.
  5. lisa b contemplates silence and child rearing.
  6. Cordelia illustrates a junk house.
  7. Snyder got married.
  8. lis wants to see hip studies in cultural studies classes.
  9. Dr. Write is stuck contemplating running.
  10. Charkes is very stuck illustrating dam hoses.
  11. Kim wonders about Cher fans.
  12. catinlap shares his cell phone pics.
  13. Jenny has been busy with her new digs and what not, but gives up the pictures of the afore-mentioned Snyder's nuptuals.
  14. the bunny has some knitting to do.
  15. D-Lo gives us a poem about beauty.
  16. I've given you a blogacious round up.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Drifting out of reach

Here's something for your end-of-summer depression.

I am pretty sure that all the people depicted in it are dead.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Saturday Morning Biases

I sit on the grass on the north side of campus as the Republicans drive by. Some have incredibly expensive cars, others have cars that are worse for wear: minivans and trucks dirty with the high desert summer. The dude who drove by in his forest green Jag knows he is something special. You can tell by the way he has his head thrown back. I wonder what sins he has committed to get that wealth. Excessive wealth, unless you are very lucky, always seems to be linked in some way with immoral or unethical actions. I know no such thing of this anonymous man, however, but have a predilection against him. Something about his need to show off his wealth goads me into thinking ill of him. Somewhere down deep in my psyche hides a judgmental Puritan who suspects all such extravagant wealth as ill-gotten.

The Republicans are here for their Fall convention, I assume, and I am here because I left something in my office that I will need this weekend. So I sit and wait for the bus and watch the Republicans (all clean-cut men in their 50s as far as I have seen) pass me by in their cars looking confused, uncertain where to park. I catch most of them staring at me as I sit here on the grass with my computer. No doubt I look younger than I am so I might pass for a student, but somehow I doubt that. Age has begun to show on me, I think. Any sense of condescension on their part could be equaled by my own condescension towards them: get out of your fucking car and walk, fat cat is my first response to their supposed prejudice against me and my fetish against driving and for mass-transport. Of course it is more likely that they think I am poor or down on my luck like so many who ride the bus. Somehow I don't think they would have much sympathy for the poor folks who ride the bus, what with the all-American drive to prove yourself through wealth and hard work. No doubt they would think that anyone who rides the bus is poor and therefore lazy. I wonder when they will realize that there is only a tenuous link between hard work and wealth? I wonder when they will realize that the meretricious society they lie to themselves about is just a fantasy fed to them to keep them working hard for that guy in the forest green Jaguar?

No doubt they are thinking no such things. I'm sure all they are thinking is where the hell do I park and why the hell have taxes paid for all this.

"Excuse me!" I am interrupted by a woman in a red blazer driving a champagne Cadillac who has pulled to the middle of the road to ask me a question. She is the first woman I have seen and sports a magnificent grey beehive hairdo.

"Yes?" I ask removing my earphones.

"Do you know where the auditorium is?" Immediately I know part of the woman's story. She has never been to college or she would know that college campuses have dozens of auditoriums spread around campus.

"If you mean the Lifetime Activities Center," (I use the fancy name for the gym thinking that the term might strike a chord with her) "it is over there," and I point in the general direction of where the GOP Convention parking signs lead. I assume they are all in the gym, convention away--making speeches against same sex marriage and for freedom and against the evils of a permissive society and against government intervention and how we need to put more money into our precious roads and against taxes, always against taxes. How people can easily deal with contradictions is just plain fascinating.

"Is that the auditorium?"

"No its the gym, but I think that's where you are all at."

She, however, has started to ignore me since I obviously am not going to confirm her mistaken terminology and pulls back into traffic cutting off a fellow Republican behind her. He honks at her and looks angry. She is oblivious. I wonder if they will exchange words on the convention floor.