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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chipmunk Rant

I don’t mean these guys.
I mean these guys.

So I’m sitting, isolated, in a dark room, and this chipmunk starts telling me about running into this human couple.
What? You wanna hear the story or what?

Here’s what the little guy told me.

Chipmunk - Just Bein’ Real

by an unnamed Chipmunk as told to Headley Hauser
He says:
Check out the chipmunk. The dude cracks me up.”
So I say:
If you stopped stuffing your over-worked gob with whatever you’re eating, you might see that Chipmunks are not funny. We work hard, and face great risks. We spend every moment gathering food while dodging cats, owls, snakes, Oldsmobiles, and mockingbirds that don’t take kindly to us storing nuts near their nests.

You think mockingbirds aren’t all that scary? Try pissing off an eagle twice your weight. Is it any wonder we zip around as fast as we do? We’re not doing it for your amusement, buddy.
She says:
Don’t laugh at him. I think he’s cute.”
So I say:
Yeah, we’re cute. It’s not like we try to be, but if cute means some 120 pound omnivore decides not to stick us on a metal pole and serve us as hors d’oeuvres, we’ll take cute. Cute is something top of the food chain worries about. Those of us who only make legumes tremble, worry about keeping four legs, a tail and a head. If I go to my nest with all the body parts I woke up with – that’s cute, glamorous, sweet, enchanting, funny, gnarly, or any other of the useless adjectives you omnivores use because you know there isn’t a 200 foot snake waiting to suck you down as you head into Wal-Mart to pick up travel-sized toiletries for your next trip to Disney World.
He says:
I like the little dude’s racing stripes.”
So I say:
Racing stripes? You’re comparing my camouflage to ornamentation you put on your transportation so you can intentionally go too fast and end or cripple your leisurely and wasteful lives? Maybe you should put racing stripes on your toothbrush so you can crash it into the underside of your brain in order to return your overly-fed bio-chemicals to the earth. That would be useful. Maybe you could fertilize a tree.

Oh, I’m forgetting. You humans either incinerate your nutrients, or box them in hermetically sealed vaults lest you do anything for creatures other than yourselves.
She says:
Don’t eat ‘em all – throw some to the little guy.”
So I go:
What’s this? sniff, sniff… Peanuts? How many are there? One, two, three. I really should learn to count higher than three. Uncountable peanuts! I’m rich! I’m rich!
Gee, I love humans.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Kid Stuff

If you’re a parent in search of kid’s music that you can enjoy, may I suggest, Lunch Money? For some reason, they have yet to do a polished video of their hit song, A Cookie as Big as My Head, though I did find a pirate recording on You Tube.
I could dance to that. Check their site  for a more polished video of their song, Spicy Kid.

I don’t know why I love kid’s music and stories – at least good kid’s music and stories. Maybe it’s true that you never lose your first love.

To those who are saying it’s because I’m childish – I’m not listening. What’s more: I’m rubber, you’re glue; insults bounce off me and stick on you!
As far as stories are concerned, my fist love was Puffy (the Puppy) by Georgianna  (1952.) It was a Tell-a-Tales book, which was probably a rival to Golden Books. Back then, rivalry was allowed, before a certain mouse-themed empire vacuumed up our cultural heritage. Disney probably owns the rights to Puffy now as they have (as official corporate sponsors of the NSA) high-hoseyed the rights to the works of every dead author since the Epic of Gilgamesh.
I understand that the Code of Hammurabi has been renamed in recent social studies books to the It’s a Small World Code of Hammurabi. As we speak the code is being put to endlessly repetitive music to be the background sound to the Hanging Gardens exhibit in Disney’s new World Domination Theme Park. The world is getting uncomfortably small, after all.

I see this kind of action by a company founded by the creator of Bambi, Dumbo, and Snow White, and I wonder: WWWD (What Would Walt Do?)
What the heck! I haven’t been sued in a while. Here is Puffy.

by Georgiana

Puffy the Puppy is fat and well fed;

Puffy the Puppy is asleep on his bed.

His eyes are shut tight, his long ears are dragging;

Even his fat little tail has stopped wagging.

Puffy belongs to a small boy named Tommy.

And Tommy belongs to his daddy and mommy.

Puffy’s awake now and ready for fun;

He looks out the window and barks at the sun.

He eats all his breakfast, then runs out to play;

He chases a kitten – and rolls in the hay.

He plays ball with Tommy, then goes for a ride

In Tommy’s red cart with balloons on each side.

Puffy barks to go fishing with Tommy and Dad,

And when they don’t take him he’s dreadfully sad.

Buy look, Puffy, see, there’s a squirrel to chase

Up the tree to her hiding place.

No Puffy’s hungry, he sits up and begs

On his fat little bottom and two hind legs

Puffy the Puppy is fat and well fed:

Puffy is ready to curl up in bed.

He stretches and yawns, then shuts his eyes tight

And sleeps cozy and warm till the sun’s shining bright.

I have no idea if it’s good poetry or not – it’s too close to me, but as I love it. I would like to see it preserved – even if it is by that DIC (Disney Imperial Corporation.)

Or even better – if Puffy has managed to slip through the big D’s fingers, maybe Lunch Money could put it to music.
I could dance to that.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Things that are Creepy Part 4: Walter Bego

Who’s Walter Bego, some might ask. Others might answer (bless you) that he’s Slimy Beach’s best friend in Trouble in Taos. He’s also the managing director of Go Figure Reads – you know the company that hasn’t released THREE of my books that are finished. As to which Walter Bego is named after which; it’s hard to say. They look like they both were born before 1850.

By the way, the picture above is not an actual likeness of Mr. Bego – just the closest I could find on Google.

So Walter hands me this story. He wants to be a writer.

Betty Gattis

by Walter Bego

Betty Gattis pushed the point of her notebook’s spiral binding into my thumb, drawing blood.

That hurt?” she asked.

I nodded.

Thought so,” she said. Then the bell rang.

I left my books on the cafeteria table and went round the corner to the boys’ room. Eddie Franklin made to dump his cigarette in the urinal until he saw who I was. If I had been a teacher, he might as well have taken a drag. He would have been caught either way. I ran water on my thumb and wondered if I should rub the gritty powdered soap into it. The soap dispenser was caked with brown crusty soap stalactites. I decided against it.

What you do to your hand?” asked Eddie.

Betty Gattis,” I said.

You too?”

I didn’t answer. I had less than three minutes to get to algebra, and my books were probably getting kicked all over the cafeteria by now. I pulled a paper towel and wrapped it around my thumb.

See ya,” said Eddie as I left.

I only ever saw Betty in study hall, and only if I went to the talking study in the cafeteria instead of the quiet study in the library. Mom wasn’t thrilled that I didn’t get my homework done at school anymore, but like usual, as long as I didn’t say anything, she gave up on it after a while.

The first time I got the nerve to sit next to Betty she ignored me. A senior was telling her about his car – a ’70 mustang that he bought with mostly his own money. Betty didn’t seem too impressed, but she listened for a while. The senior went on about his “beauty,” and Betty stood up like she was headed to the bathroom. The senior kept talking, as Betty stood behind him. Then she bent down and grabbed the back legs to the senior’s chair. She stood, pulling the back of the chair with her, and sent the senior sprawling head first into the table.

What the…” said the senior from the floor, stopping before uttering the word that would earn him certain detention.

Mister Ward,” said Coach Fox, looking up from his training equipment catalog, “is there a problem?”

The senior, who must have been named Ward, ‘cause Coach Fox was pretty good with names, sat there on the floor for a second until it was obvious that Betty wasn’t going to put his chair back down for him.

I just fell, Coach,” said the senior, getting up to chorus of giggles across the cafeteria.

Alright,” said Coach, going back at his catalog.

Betty, back in her seat with no senior to torture shifted her attention to me. Her eyes were just normal brown, but something about them made me warm all over.

You don’t talk much, do you?” she said.

I shrugged.

She nodded her head.

From then on, that was my seat – there next to Betty in F period study hall, and no power in heaven or the Archendale School Board could drag me from it.

So – is anybody wondering why Walter Bego creeps me out? What is it about dysfunctional couples that fascinate us?

And the obligatory You Tube video

Walter, seeing that people are actually looking at this blog, has decided to start a second blog for the more favored writers of Go Figure Reads: Stanley McFarland, Will Wright, or any hack he can find to work for nothing. He wants to name it Kitchen Drawer, Junk Drawer, Granny’s Drawers, some name like that. I guess that’s a coming soon event.
Let’s just hope there isn’t much of him on it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What is Creepy Part 3: Sweet Caroline

This the third post in a series that explores the question: what is creepy? If you want to see the first two posts, you can find them here and here2.

I have a Mormon friend whose favorite show is about zombies. Aren’t Mormons supposed to watch Leave it to Beaver? Apparently, zombies are not creepy. Vampires stopped being creepy thirty years ago. Body modifiers – those who reshape or amputate body parts as a form of expression, stopped being creepy twenty years ago (which I bet pisses some of them off. You cut off a finger and a nostril and people ignore it?)
Even terrorists are starting to become normalized. Sure, they kill people, but so does lightning. It’s just the chance you take with living.


So what is creepy?

How about Neil Diamond? They play Sweet Caroline during the 7th inning stretch at Fenway Park, and everyone joins in with the chorus, because no one can remember the verses. It’s a good thing too. The verses are – well, you decide...

Hands, touchin' hands
Reachin' out, touchin' me touchin' you
Sweet Caroline…
But now I, look at the night
And it don't seem so lonely
We fill it up with only two…
Warm, touchin' warm
Reachin' out, touchin' me touchin' you
Sweet Caroline…
“So?” you say to me as if I can’t hear you across the cyber divide of blogdom, “he’s just a horny guy – the world is full of horny guys.”
And you’re right, but there’s a story behind the writing of Sweet Caroline – a story that didn’t come out until November of 2007.

"I've never discussed it with anybody before – intentionally. I thought maybe I would tell it to Caroline when I met her someday."

"It was a No 1 record and probably is the biggest, most important song of my career, and I have to thank her for the inspiration,"

Who was this Caroline that inspired such lust in Neil Diamond so many years ago? It was Caroline Kennedy – then eleven years old.
Asked how Caroline Kennedy responded when he revealed his obsession at her 50th birthday celebration, Diamond replied:

"I'm happy to have gotten it off my chest and to have expressed it to Caroline. I thought she might be embarrassed, but she seemed to be struck by it and really, really happy."

She was “really, really happy?” She was happy that a thirty-year-old Neil Diamond fantasized about running his hands over her eleven-year-old body back in 1969, and made a song commemorating it?

Of course she was considering a run for the senate seat in NY at the time. So political considerations kept a woman from speaking out against pedophilia?
Politics – one thing that will always be creepy.

But why have that song at Fenway? Wouldn’t Yankee Stadium be a better fit?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Creepy Stuff part 2: Secret Societies

This is the second in my series of things that creep me out. If you want to see the first post, Diane Keaton, you’ll find it here .

I went to YouTube and found lots of video on Secret Societies. Most of them were conspiracy videos warning me how Masons were working with Satan, Hitler, and the militant wing of the Captain Commando fan club. That’s why I chose this one (warning – brief nudity.)
What is allegiance, after all? When no one could give me an exact definition in Jr. High, I stopped saying the pledge. The Vice Principal was ready to lower the boom, but after a while he just shrugged his shoulders. “You don’t have to recite the pledge,” he told me, “but I’m confiscating your chess set until the end of the school year.” And so, he added another mystery to my life – the connection between chess sets and civil disobedience.

“You’ll understand when you’re older,” my sister, who was two years older, told me whenever I asked. She’d been saying that for three or four years by then. I smelled a rat.

To this day (and I’m considerably older now,) I don’t understand, pledges, oaths, vows, promises, or pinky shakes. Why would a sane person ever decide to make him/herself less free? Presumably when I turned 18, Uncle Sam could have drafted me into the army, had he had such non-avuncular intentions. Should I have spent twelve years pledging something I didn’t understand, just to make it seem more justified?

Secret societies are for oath enthusiasts. Such organizations lost their charm for me shortly after I realized that a “No Girls Club” might not be such a great idea.
My aversion wasn’t due to lack of exposure. My father was a Mason. I think he was a Grand Mason which left me wondering why our piano was upright. My Mother is Eastern Star, though I still have no idea what that is. I never saw her twinkling off to any celestial meetings. My sisters were each Rainbow Girls, which meant that they got to wear wedding dresses and sashay around in elaborate meetings, and had secret Gideon-bible-looking books that they left around the house.
“Don’t look in that book!” sister #2 warned me.
Of course I looked in the stupid book.
But I wasn’t really curious what it said. I just picked it up when I heard her coming into the room and pretended to read it.
“You can’t be reading that!”
“Then why’d you leave it sitting around?”
If you’ve never been a little brother, you might not understand. It was my duty, my oath-free purpose in life (until I figured out something that makes money – still waiting on that,) to bug my older sister. Rainbow was an organization that made her easier to bug, and that’s about all I saw in it.
“Don’t you want to join Demolay?”
“You learn secrets.”
“If the secrets are all that great, why do you have to keep ‘em secret?”
It was sort of like my allegiance question, except nobody took my chess set.

The silly hats I get, but oaths, secrets, increased vulnerability to little brothers – why does anyone do this? Secret societies creep me out – almost as much as the people who make conspiracy videos about them.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Creepy Things Part 1 – Diane Keaton


When Bo Derek did the dinner scene with Richard Harris in the gratuitously unnecessary 19 version of Tarzan, they collaborated on one of most unintentionally funny scenes in the history of film. Unfortunately the irony, and Richard Harris’ evident torture has been lost on UTube – can’t find it anywhere.
If you could see it, you would see the gears in Bo’s little brain going, “I’m in a scene with Richard Harris, and I’m acting REAL GOOD!”

I’m sure she was pleased until she heard the audience members laughing - at least those that weren’t yelling, “Take it off!” from the balcony.
But that was Bo Derek, a woman whose only possibility of getting near an Oscar was linked to her apparent willingness to have sex with anyone (including Cheeta as we saw in the last reel,) that might have one. (An Oscar, that is.)

So who can explain to me, Diane Keaton? When I see Diane Keaton in a movie (which I avoid when I can,) I see Bo Derek without the um… Dereks. It’s not a personal dislike. I don’t know Diane Keaton. If Diane Keaton was the local manager of the Safeway, or a clerk at the DMV, I might think she was a fine person – at least as fine as anyone can be with the emotional range of a cantaloupe.

Matt Groening exposed the fraud of Steve Guttenberg in this fantastic segment of The Simpsons  effectively ending our decade of Guttenmovies. Why has no one done this service with the woman with three expressions – fake exasperation
 fake surprise
 and face smile?
One person who is grateful for Ms. Keaton is Al Pacino. Pacino played Micael Corleone to Keaton’s 'Kay, the woman pretending to be an actress, pretending to be a mobster's wife,' in all three Godfather movies. Pacino established himself as one of filmdom’s greatest actors for his ability to make a credible interactive scene without an actress present. Keaton’s flaylings were too distracting, even for Pacino. The scenes we see in the first two films were shot on early green screen. In the super-secret original reels, a very young Pauly Shore read Kay’s lines. Pacino made him look brilliant.

Francis Ford Coppola decided to double-down in Godfather 3. “If one talentless actress works so well, two will be twice as good!” he confided to an associate as he terminated the contract with Winona Ryder to play Mary Corleone. Sophia Coppola did her level best to reach Keaton’s level of futility, but the movie fell apart when the weather department of L.A.’s KTLA channel 5 reclaimed their greenscreen mid-shoot for a special on sun cancer among dolphins. Talia Shire, who gave her career’s greatest performance in G3, is adamant that she does not wish a slow death to Keaton, her niece Sophia, or KTLA.

Keaton won an Oscar for Annie Hall, and was nominated for two others – and not in the category of most ingenuous movie prop – but best actress! Am I on another planet? This is creeping me out.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Things Environmental

Cral Zombo, the co-star of Headley and the Rug (and Cral) loves the Seuss story, The Lorax. He’s even memorized the book. Here’s the cartoon version.

I have my own environmental paean (That means song, right? For some reason it sounds dirty to me. Pee – on maybe.) I wrote the tune myself (big mistake.) It sounds like cows trying to milk themselves with violin bows.
How would I know what that sounds like? C’mon, it’s not like I’ve never been to Vermont.

Look at Them

I don’t recycle, and I eat veal

But I hate those Eskimos who kill baby seals

Don’t look at me - Don’t look at we

Look at them

Yeah, I may litter, don’t call me slob

To clean up this street must be somebody’s job

Don’t look at me - Don’t look at we

Look at them
I live my life the way it’s easy for me

Avoiding every re-sponsibility

The earth is trashed and I think it’s a shame

But don’t you go and try to saddle me with any blame

My car is far, from toxin free

But check out the driver in that damn SUV

Don’t look at me - Don’t look at we

Look at them

I throw my motor oil, out in the ditch

But the president of Exxon is one son-of-a …

Don’t look at me - Don’t look at we

Look at them
bridges – get it?
It ain’t a dog’s life, if you’re a wolf pup

I blame the fat cats, who screwed it all up

But to the Hutsi tribesman, half-blind toothless and lame

The fat cat and me are one and the same

I’m just one guy, it’s hard to see

How world wide problems can be traced back to me

Don’t look at me - Don’t look at we

Look at them

An average Joe, with average crimes

Multiplied by population seven billion one hundred and thirteen million, four hundred and seventy-three thousand, eight hundred and twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five… thirty-eight times

Hey, look at me - Hey, look at we

We are… them

I won’t comment on rumors that Dow Chemical is keeping Tinkerbelle in an underground testing facility in Delaware, or that the Sierra Club is plotting with extra-terrestrials to transmogrify the Republican leadership of the House into economy-sized bags of Pampers. It’s not my intention to get political here.

My point is this:

If you’re a 50, 60, or 70-something that waxes nostalgic for the days of peace, love, dope and environmental awareness, and you don’t recycle your water bottles (or like a church I know, throw your unused paper bulletins into the regular trash,) you’re not being a 2 syllable word that begins with H-I-P, you’re being a 3 syllable word that begins with H-Y-P.

Monday, June 3, 2013

TnT Excerpt Part E Slimy and the Law

There are sheriffs and there are sheriffs. Here’s one of my favorites:

Sheriff Quick was no Andy Taylor, but Andy rarely had blacksmiths blasted into hamburger helper in the Mayberry Diner. Slimy killed Mike Finn, and the loose coin that came of it made the regulars at the Rosa Linda sanguine (whatever that means) about the whole thing. But eventually the sheriff had to get involved.
This is the fifth and concluding post of my excerpt from chapter one of Trouble in Taos. If you want to read from the beginning, here is part-1 part-ii estevos-shotgun and part-4

Mike Finn was lying there dead. There were bits of him still hanging on the bar, and being such a large man, he was hard to step around and even harder to ignore. Mike didn’t have any family, so no one knew exactly what to do with him. Claybourne Petree, who you might remember was the undertaker and had the chair shot out from under him, searched the body to see if Finn had enough money on him to pay for a decent casket and hole. It turned out that Mike’s pockets were bulging with silver. No one knew that the smith was such a rich man.

Of course, some of that silver went for more whisky, which greatly relieved Estevo who had lost two shotguns and a nice chair in the business. The blacksmith’s inflated fees became the topic of conversation. Finn’s fortune was sufficient to supply a first class funeral, a good drunk for a rapidly crowded barroom, and even a couple silver dollars to compensate Flossy for her loss of business.

By the time Sheriff Quick (who was quick only in the sense that he wasn’t dead) arrived, Claybourne had Finn’s body at the mortuary. Estevo had cleaned up most of the blood and other body parts, and the universal opinion (with the exception of the doomed card-cheat Lefty Hagar) was that Slimy had done no great harm. After the sheriff downed a tumbler of real whisky, he agreed, told Slimy to be careful with those shotguns, and hauled Lefty off to the jailhouse.

I don’t know where W. G. C. R. Colmes got the bit about Slimy using a pearl-handled Colt to shoot Mike Finn. I’ve only seen Slimy handle a Colt once in my life, and that was to bludgeon a man who was unfortunate enough to stand between Slimy and someone he was shooting at. The poor bystander was gut shot, and so he was going to die anyway, but Slimy didn’t club him to put him out of his misery. The man was too absorbed in his wounds to pay proper attention to Slimy’s story about the dog his mother almost bought him just before the family was run out of Arkansas.

If you want more of Slimy’s adventures, you’ll have to download the book – well there is another excerpt at Go Figure Reads.