Showing posts from 2020

Quarterly Throb Assessment (Excerpts)

Here’s what’s curious: At the bottom of the page, Rupert wrote, “Throbs account for too much inspiration.” But did he mean “throbs” in general? Ask him now and he will probably say, “Possibly.” Whatever he meant, he made the initial observation nearly a year ago.  At the top of the page, Rupert wrote, “He’s got an eye throb and a tooth throb this morning, but these are nothing new.” We suspect he was expressing himself in the third person. Rupert smiled wryly and/or coyly when we put the question to him; i.e. we asked, “Were you referring to yourself when you wrote “he’s” or “his”? Ask him a question about any of his writings and he’ll smirk (wryly/coyly) and/or he’ll wink.  “Said throbs manifest from his right eye—his weaker eye,” Rupert wrote, “and the left, upper rearmost molar in his mouth.”  Rupert confessed to us that he hasn’t seen a doctor since the cassette tape fell out of fashion.  “Said throbs are not a daily occurrence,” wrote Rupert, nearly a year ago. “Said throbs occu

Attaining Cumulonimbusness

As a cloud, I could scud around the world, look down (with cloudy eyes) and see what’s happening everywhere. I’d have a bird’s-eye view of the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Mount Everest and thousands of bikini-clad women. But truly, as a cloud, I wouldn’t take an interest in any of those things. Instead, I’d marvel at the sun and the distant stars. I’d feel sorry for the moon, since it has no clouds. Most of all, I’d yearn to break free of Earth’s atmosphere and its orbit, so to drift across the cosmos on my own.   But this assumes many things.  Suppose for a moment that clouds can take interest, marvel and yearn. Allow that clouds are inexplicably sentient in ways that defy current scientific understanding.    Say we could interpret the behavior of clouds. Is fog, for example, little more than an asshole of a cloud? Or is fog a clingy, depressed cloud? Maybe fog is a cloud that simply wants to cuddle. 

Unless You’re A Banana

Good evening,   In response to your query, I have just reviewed the first hour of a VHS recording titled, “Brickstone Family Video 11/24/2000.” Doss, Sol, Bernie, Nate and Bill are interviewed by Marilyn and an unidentified gentleman (possibly Chucky) who apparently doubles as the cameraman. It is possible, however, that somebody else is operating the camera, and the unidentified second interviewer is simply sitting somewhere behind said camera. Millie, Betty Brickstone, Betty Koupos, and several other people I cannot identify are seated in the background. Allie, Ben and another child make cameo appearances. The setting is one I am not familiar with. It might be a finished basement area of some sort, or possibly somebody’s family room. The wide floor-to-ceiling wood panels that cover the walls are interrupted by curious shutters that might befit a medieval castle.   Doss shares stories about her parents (Ida and Samuel), how they met, and what life was like caring for her five

For Three Minutes, Forty-Five Seconds

She bends over the bathroom sink for the entire three minutes, forty-five seconds she allots to the task of brushing her teeth. Scrubbing her central and lateral incisors, she holds the toothbrush still and shakes her head vigorously from side to side. Her eyes stay fixed, as much as possible, on the grimaced reflection of herself in the mirror. Note how she enjoys this furious cranial oscillation. It makes her dizzy; sets her stomach on the cusp of tossing up last night’s salmon burger. It even gives her a “touch” of whiplash. As she later explains over cocktails, this “process” provides the little “bump” she no longer gets from a fourth shot of expresso. 

Consider the Late Mr. & Mrs. Gale…

Bass-O-Matic :  What happened to that girl in the building who gave you the cold shoulder for no reason? FireVaney : Whenever we cross paths, she just glares at me. I usually step aside and look to the floor. Fortunately, she keeps to herself. I rarely see her at all. Bass-O-Matic :  Next time she glares at you, why not pretend she has heat vision?  Just scream and pretend to melt.  You could even lament, "What a world, what a world!" FireVaney :  Speaking of the Wicked Witch of the West, I just finished reading Baum’s book. Other than being a good title, I don’t know why it’s called  The   Wonderful Wizard of Oz . The Wizard has very little to do with the story. Anyway, I read it because I recently sat through a high school production (largely adopted from the MGM feature film). The early Kansas scenes dragged on a bit, unlike the novel—where, from beginning to end, Dorothy is in Kansas for less than five quick pages. But as I watched this school product

Journaled on 01/23/1990

Operation Dessert Storm is a week old. [ Sic .] I gave Kev a lift home. He lives on the Fort. Driving into and through the Fort is normally a piece of cake. But this time, at the gate, a guard with an M16 around his shoulder pointed to the parking lot ten feet away. That was as far as I could go. Kev told me about a Chevy that went further. It was a small Chevy and it blew past the gate. Three guards opened fire until it stopped. Somehow, the driver was not injured, but the Chevy was riddled. Does Allstate cover a military assault? I couldn’t solve the last four problems of my algebra final, so I looked up from my desk and gazed over the gym—the structure of it, the rows of desks, the risers, the scoreboard, the banners, the painted sports figures on the wall, the large chart of record breaking track and field athletes. A voice in my head kept saying, “This is your school. Make of it what you want.” But I feel like I’ve failed my school—and myself. Anyway, I’ve never felt the

Russ Redux

Once we were all seated around our regular table at Great Godfrey Daniels, Malka launched into the latest news of Russ, her grade school crush.  “He’s got a girlfriend!” she cried.  “Hm,” I said.  “Play Hard-to-Get.”   “What do you mean?” she asked.  Good question. But instead of being honest, I evaded and said, “Nothing’s serious until high school.”  But what  had  I meant? Set aside, for a moment, that this is about the unrequited puppy love of a tweenager. How do you play Hard-to-Get with somebody who isn’t interested in you?  Well, if you treat someone like merde , then you will be on their radar.  For starters, then, every time Malka crosses paths with Russ, she could stick her tongue out (at him). This should be a stick in his craw, so to speak. Yes, it should nag him—that is, unless he’s too self-absorbed or too iron-willed to focus and pay heed to a girl’s stuck out tongue. To that point, his father  is  a pastor, or a minster, or something that h

Oy, Yina

Yina emails me four ish  years after our last dinner “date.” She wants me to grammar check her research paper. This is an excuse, right? It’s her way of rekindling the fire of passion that flamed out between us before it even made a spark. Only, this time, she doesn’t ask me to drop by her apartment. Instead, she wants to meet in the lobby of our building. Okay, fine. So she’s demure. That’s the thing about Yina.  The last time she invited me down to her place—a spur of the moment kind of thing—it was to watch Trump’s inauguration. This was a pretext, right? Or was it to rub it in? Either way, I showered, dressed, and elevatored down. A guy’s always thinking with one head, or the other, but never both.  She had prepared a plate of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos. How sweet.  I sat near the middle of her sofa. She told me to move over. I did. Then she told me to move some more. I scooted all the way over to one end; she took the other end.  When Trump raised his right h

The Bugging Boy

It’s late April and the weather is nice enough for a stroll through the roseless rose garden. Next to nobody takes an interest in gazing at the flowerless shrubs, mounds of dirt, and three tiered fountain of water-spouting waterfowl—that won’t spout anything until June. Lucky me, I have my choice of benches—save for one. A little boy departs the pebbled path and weaves around the mounds of dirt, scrutinizing them. As he passes by, he says, “Let me know if you see any bugs.” “I will,” I tell him. “But it’s a bit early in the season for bugs.” Tomorrow’s forecast calls for snow, but I keep this factoid to myself.  The boy continues weaving. Now and then he bends over to fill the small wooden cage he’s carrying with leaves and twigs. Several minutes later he weaves back and says, “Want to see something in my room?”   When I was this kid’s age, I would walk up to other children I had never met, introduce myself, and straight up ask them if they wanted to be my friend. This

Malka’s First Crush

For Malka and Aiden, Great Godfrey Daniels was the  only  restaurant in Skokie.  Ma was very pleased with her flounder. “It tastes like cake,” she said.  I raised my eyebrows, nodded once and said, “Hm.” Although I’ve never eaten fish that tasted anything like cake, I took her word for it.  Nearly every five minutes Carolyn offered Ma a lemon wedge—that is, to squeeze over her “cake” flavored flounder. Ma repeatedly declined. Hearing isn’t exactly Carolyn’s forte. More and more, neither is remembering.  Aiden’s seemingly inexhaustible obsession with the word, if not the concept of, “butt-cheeks,” as a tongue-in-cheek insult, but also, presumably, as an anatomical curiosity, i.e. for an eight year old, is very nearly disturbing.  As a rule, kids won’t easily let go of any curiosity that adults find very nearly, or even outright, disturbing.  Malka—Aiden’s sister, older by three years—was sulky. Malka is frequently sulky following one of her ballets. There’s alwa

Popeye and the Seizurous Kid

Ma says I was a sick little kid.  Seizures caused my body to go limp.  If you didn’t know any better, I looked as if I’d fallen asleep.  “Oh, how cute,” some shopper once observed, as I suddenly flopped over the child seat of a grocery cart. Less cute were the times I’d start puking without warning. Along with that, my eyes would roll up and disappear into my head. While staring upside down at my brain, perhaps I tried expressing to it some variation of, “WTF?”  Doctors were at a loss.  I’d only say that my head hurt.  “Migraines,” the doctors speculated.  “When your boy grows up,” said one doctor, “ask him what was going on.”  Forty-odd years later, Ma asked.  I replied, “Do you remember when you were three years old?”  She didn’t.  But did I remembered the Popeye doll? I did. Ma bought the doll for me when I was in the hospital. I don’t remember being there.  When you pulled the string-bound loop, Popeye said, among other things, “I’m Popeye