Thursday, July 30, 2009

It has been a strange summer around these parts. Well, perhaps not strange. Just wet. Lots of wetness and sky liquid. And I actually don't mind it. (I only hate rain when school is in -- because the recesses are indoors. And they really need to burn off that energy -- outside -- so they don't get grumpy and restless and then 'splode, real good, about 1:15 in the afternoon when I'm trying to tell 'em about synonyms and antonyms and all that stuff.) Still, a few days of heat and sun would be welcome.

I mean, my tan sucks for starters. By the end of July, I usually resemble Skip Gates. But I'm looking more like that Crowley guy at the moment. (It was nice that the Beer Summit wasn't rained out. I was expecting muscle shirts and Speedos instead of shirts and ties, though.)


At least it is summer. And it's not cold. That's why there are candles and beer on the porch.

"Coming, dear."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I think I know why I'm always eager to get back to school in the fall. The clamor of voices in my head during the summer is absolutely fucking deafening. Every half-baked, half-formed character wants to be heard. I'm treated like an overworked stenographer. "Here, asshole, take this down," one of them tells me. A mid-forties (and as yet featureless) woman is yelling: "Listen to me! Are you listening?" Even the kids are lining up to have their stories recorded: "She called me an idiot so I bit her."

Llewellen: Hide the pens and stationery. And bring me another beer.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I meant to write something a week or so ago after hearing that Frank McCourt had died. But shit happens and I forgot. (That is occurring with alarming regularity these days.)


Want a good summer read? Pick up a copy of McCourt's Teacher Man.

The book is for anyone who ever set foot inside a high school... for anyone who had a teacher that made a difference... for anyone who likes to read... for the pure joy of a story well told. (The episode of McCourt taking twenty-nine mouthy black girls on a field trip via the New York subway system to a movie theatre in Times Square in the late 1960's is priceless.)

This book should be read -- and reread -- by every teacher who plans on returning to the classroom in the fall. The book is all about teaching. All about kids. He shows how it's done, why one does it, and especially, why it's important.

"At the end of a school day you leave with a head filled with adolescent noises, their worries, their dreams. They follow you....
... You can tell when you've reached them or alienated them. It's chemistry. It's psychology. It's animal instinct. You are with the kids and, as long as you want to be a teacher, there's no escape. Don't expect help from the people who've escaped the classroom, the higher-ups. They're busy going to lunch and thinking higher thoughts. It's you and the kids. So, there's the bell. See you later. Find what you love and do it."


Class dismissed.

BTW (update): I've been writing, reading, grabbing some rays -- when the fucking rain stops, that is -- and drinking copious amounts of chilled imported beer. I think I'm finally happy. And if I croak tonight... no regrets. Not a one.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I can't quite get my head around the yammering about 'preexisting conditions' (as it relates to American health care coverage by insurance companies.) For fuck's sake, we're made out of shit that breaks down. Everyone has some kind of preexisting condition. It's in your genes and in your immune system. It's in the water you drink, the air you breathe and the food you eat. Isn't that what insurance is supposed to be for... the eventual breakdown of body parts and delivery systems?

Well, if it all stays the same -- and it probably will -- at least America will have beaten back that whole 'socialized medicine' scare. Phew! Imagine: a commie bureaucrat getting between you and your doctor! (I gotta give the right-wing plonkers credit for that nugget. People seem to be swallowing it... well, more so than the medication they can't afford. Hey, listen: isn't that banjo music playing down there at the jamboree?)

Nope. Real medical coverage is reserved for the people who make the laws. They deserve it. The rest of you grunts are simply preexisting. Now get the fuck back to work.

Rant by Dr. Phineas Boogaloo,
Commie Gynecologist

Monday, July 20, 2009


I was at the beach with my girlfriend and her (much) older brother and his wife. We listened to it on the radio.

Later, at home on the couch, we were necking -- keeping one eye on the TV screen... with hands working overtime. ( If memory serves, my Eagle landed that night as well.)

Space. I still love it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I write fiction. But at the moment, I'm writing an essay on spec. An essay! This can be dodgy. Chances are 30/70 that it will be a complete waste of time. (Translation: I might never sell the fucker. And I'm definitely not in this whole 'writing game' for the typing practice.)

I will say this: it's about mental illness. And I know what I'm talking about.

I've been writing all weekend. The bastard's up to about 4,000 semi-decent words -- first draft, hammers-and-tongs, let 'er rip, crazy as hell.

What a dumb-ass way to spend a vacation. (Hey, you young people and newly-weds: Do not try this at home. Unless you want to be divorced. I've been married thirty-six years. And I can tell you: it takes a special woman to put up with my summer job.)

P.S. Beer helps.

Oh yeah: and mamas, don't let your kids grow up to be writers. For the love of jeebus, don't do it. Have some decency. Show some mercy. Make them learn a useful fucking trade.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I've been watching the Sotomayor hearings. To international observers, it must appear that the stereotypes of American society are being given their full expression. Two days of wonderful stuff.


S'plain, Lucy.

If I have to 'splain, you ain't been watchin'. And if you ain't been watchin', tough noogies.

* * *

Another thing that has always intrigued me about these confirmation hearings....

Since Bork, no one answers a direct question (for obvious reasons). But these are lawyers -- and judges -- applying for the highest position in the field of American justice. Would they tolerate the same obfuscation and pussy-footing in their courtrooms?

* * *

Perry Mason. Ha! The fucker was a Canadian. (I mean the heavy-set dude who played him.)

* * *

It's a fantastic circus.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Back from yet another memorial service. [Stop] Makes you think about the time you've got left. [Stop] Changes are likely in order. [Stop]

P. Boogaloo [Full Stop]

* * *

Monday, July 13, 2009


Because I had to deal with one today.

And I fought fire with fire. Which makes me...
Yup. An asshole.

Enjoy. (I love this video.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Maybe it's normal. Maybe not. But I've been thinking a lot lately about turning points -- events and decisions that changed us, or defined us; rescued us or fucked us up totally. (I was fucked up... but not totally, not irredeemably. Because I was rescued.)

I was thinking of this stuff back in the spring when I had some kind of killer cold (or flu; it was that bad.) And I picked up the thread again a few weeks ago. Leaving aside my personal rescue from depression and suicide, I think I now know what the decisive turning point in my life was.

Maybe I'll tell you later. Because I'm writing a story now. And the hero is a lot like me. And the last thing a writer should ever do -- hear me now, you young bastards with stories to write -- the very last thing a writer should ever do is talk about his unpublished work. (Hell, maybe writers shouldn't talk about the published stuff either. But sometimes you gotta.)

Turning points. And shut the fuck up and write.

I hope this helps.

Friday, July 10, 2009


What's happening here?

Looks to me like Harper dropped a communion wafer and three world leaders craned their necks to get a peek at the lady's bum. (Harper is adjusting his spleen truss while Obama, above the fray, is looking for someplace nice to eat.)

Thursday, July 9, 2009


1. Finally rent and watch 'THE BUCKET LIST'.


UPDATE: The previous owner of this blog passed away during the writing of this post.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


At first I thought: hey, maybe Harper's got a gluten allergy. Then I figured he was maybe concerned about the priest's hand hygiene or something. But then it came to me....

I think Harper wanted to eat 'the body of Christ' on his own time. It's an evangelical thing. He straps on his Speedo, dances with a rattlesnake, speaks in tongues, downs the wafer and tops off the proceedings by guzzling a nice Chianti. Makes sense.

But then again, maybe Harpo's got one of those new suits with a built-in 'wafer pocket'. That would explain the bulge.

Or perhaps this is a regular ritual. It might unfold something like this: Harper goes to several churches, takes communion, pockets the wafers and spends Sunday afternoons feeding the homeless.

He's that kind of guy.

Llewellen: Wafers and beer for the congregation.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Feeling that Michael Jackson's passing had consumed way more airtime than was strictly necessary, I had no intention of planting my ass on the couch for two and a half hours to watch a celebrity-driven memorial service. But I turned it on. And I watched the whole thing. I'm glad now that I did.

I thought the service was both genuine and moving. (And I include the little girl's short tribute to her father under both of those categories.)

I thought Maya Angelou's poem was wonderful. Ditto for the musical tributes, especially those by Jennifer Hudson and Jermaine Jackson. Poignant stuff.

Yeah. I was touched by everyone's remarks. I laughed and (almost) cried. So call me a pussy.

And wow... that man had talent. Probably the most surprising thing to me was that it took a memorial service of this calibre to convince me that Michael Jackson really was a supremely gifted artist. (In an earlier post, I mentioned that I was not much of a fan.) I think I missed out on something important over the years.

I just hope to hell the kids get to have a normal life -- whatever that means -- being the kids of an icon.


And now, back to Larry King.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


I think I just caught a glimpse of what retirement's gonna look like.

I got up and took the dog for a walk. I made some bacon and coffee. I read a newspaper. Then I fucked around with a new short story. I barbecued, watered the flowers and the tomatoes, walked the dog again, grabbed a beer and fired up the computer. I'll be in bed soon.

Oh yeah: and I haven't shaved in eight days. (In another week, I could probably go undercover for CSIS or the CIA in the Middle East. But then, Harpo or Barry will have to walk my dog.)

Hell, I'm not afraid of retirement.

The possibilities are endless. (Or will the days just seem so?)

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Some of my friends have a Face Book account. (And most of them are in their 60's.)

Is this sad or laughable?

I have a Lunch Counter. But I'm anonymous. Is this pathetic or devious?

Honestly, the last place I want to be is in front of the computer chatting up high school acquaintances. (Hey... I forgot you on purpose. Why the fuck would I want to renew something that had no legs to begin with?) Besides, it would just mean I'd likely have to attend more fucking funerals... and I've had a goddamned belly full of them.

Not a single one of my friends or work colleagues knows about The Lunch Counter. This is a private eatery, patronized (on occasion) by a few people I don't know from Adam. And that's the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it.

If I ever feel the need to reconnect with my ancient past, my wife (under strict orders) has the go-ahead to kill me.

P.S. Hey Janice... I hope you don't still hate me for dumping you in Grade 13, eh? I mean, the pain would be too much to bear.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Oh, dear lady, the fun you gave us.

So sorry to hear you've passed.

Thank you for this, and all the other laughs.

Mrs. Slocombe, you were a gem.