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Saturday, December 26, 2009

THE BRASS RING


Well, another year shot down the sewer. Time to make some changes. Yessir, 2010 will be different--now let me see, what should I put on that list of New Year's resolutions?

Hold on there, Wild Bill ! What say we put the new year on hold for a moment. That's it...relax. Let's talk about something directly related to those resolutions, and that's the subject of happiness. If people were really happy with themselves, they wouldn't feel the need to make all those changes, right?

Funny thing, this happiness stuff. The more you chase after it, the more it eludes you. There must be a trick to it somewhere. Now we're getting warmer ! The trick to realizing happiness is to first understand that there IS a trick, and that the trick is on us.

Let's face it, we humans are never satisfied--it's either a thing or a person we don't feel complete without, or some circumstance of our lives that we would change if we could. The culprit is desire--it's what chains us to this world. Only by recognizing that to some degree we will ALWAYS be in this state of unfulfilled desire (until we've evolved enough to master desire) are we likely to amiably accept life on its own terms. This is the irony. The cosmic joke.

Now, just in case I lost you back there, what follows is a mini-play about two friends: Fred, who lives in the moment, and Arnie, who...well, lives lots of other places.

THE BRASS RING

Scene: A New Year's Eve party.
FRED: Hey Arnie, you don't look so happy--what's the matter, itchy underwear?
ARNIE: Naw, I asked my boss for a raise and he muttered something about hell freezing over.
FRED: Wow, too bad...I see you've still got that black eye from when your girlfriend punched your lights out.
ARNIE: Yeah, I need a new job and a kinder, gentler relationship.
FRED: Think that will make you happy?
ARNIE: Damn right.
FRED: Maybe, but can you think of a time when there wasn't something you wanted to change about your life, even if only a little?
ARNIE: Well...no, I guess not.
FRED: And as you went through the days and month and years wanting something to be different, what time was it?
ARNIE: Oh, I see what you're getting at--it was always NOW.
FRED: Right, so if you can't be happy NOW, when WILL you be happy?
ARNIE: Maybe tomorrow?
FRED: Today is the tomorrow you dreamed about yesterday.
ARNIE: 1995...now THAT was the year I had it all !
FRED: The past is overrated. It only looks good to us through hindsight...come to think of it, that's the only way we can look at it. But if I know you, your head was stuck in the past and the future then too, living every moment but the one you're living.
ARNIE: So how does one live in the moment?
FRED: When I was a kid, and the carnival came to town, I would ride the merry-g0 round, There was a brass ring you had to try to grab as you circled around--whoever got it would win this giant stuffed panda bear--but the ring was always just out of reach. I'd get on and off those pretty horses, time after time, intent on spearing that ring...but I never got it. I never saw anyone else who did either.After a while it dawned on me that the ring was there just to keep me on the merry-go-round.
ARNIE: [guzzles his drink] Hee hee hee ha ha ha hoo hoo...hack...cough...choke...N ow I see it! Everybody's running around searching for something outside of themselves-
FRED: Like the other day when you turned the house upside down looking for your car keys, only to find them half an hour later in your pocket.
ARNIE: So, if I'm not happy with things the way they are--right this minute--then I'll NEVER be happy, because it's always now, and even though things change, things are always going to be the way that they are.
FRED: Go to the head of the class.
ARNIE: [frowns] But what about dreams...shouldn't I follow my dreams?
FRED: Of course--dreams are what life is about ! It's just that most people have trouble reconciling the dream the way it appears in their imaginations with the dream the way it turns up in what we call reality--they're never exactly the same, you know.
ARNIE: I THINK I get all of that...but my head is spinning.
FRED: So is the world.
ARNIE: I'm getting dizzy.
FRED: Not as dizzy as you're going to be--here comes another round of champagne.
ARNIE: It's almost midnight. Happy New Year, Fred !
FRED: Happy NOW Year, Arnie.
[Festoons, fireworks, dogs howling]
Fred and Arnie turn to look at a television in the corner of the room. As millions watch across the nation, the giant glowing ball in Times Square drops squarely onto Dick Clark's head, knocking him unconscious. A minute later he jump up, grabs the microphone and says, "Hell, that didn't faze me folks--I'm ninety-seven years old and still feel like a kid! [Leans into the camera] THE SECRET IS TO KEEP ON DANCIN ! "

-Finis



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

THE BEST OF WHAT WE ARE (a Christmas tale for kids of all ages)


Jeremy realized that the bear who was blowing bubbles at him was speaking perfect English as well. At first he thought the voice was coming from someplace else--some hidden speaker maybe--but speakers don't carry on conversations with people.

The boy had sneaked away while his mom shopped for presents. He had already made the rounds of the big department stores in the mall, drawn to the lights and the glitter of each Christmas display like a heat-seeking missile. There was so much to see--the English winter displays with their miniature pubs, storefronts, and tiny skaters that seemed to move under their own power, and the electric tree ornaments that whirred and hummed and clickety-clacked as they came alive to enact some charming holiday scene. Yes, it DID seem like everything was alive, and though a mechanical bear sitting in a Christmas tree blowing bubbles into the air was certainly unique, it was still within the realm of possibility...but a bubble blowing bear that could TALK was something else again.

"I was beginning to wonder," said the bear, though its lips did not move.

Jeremy's eyes made a sweep of the store to see if anyone was near--someone who might be playing a trick on him, but the other shoppers were too far away. "Wonder about what?" he finally replied.

"If you'd ever arrive!" The bear kept dipping the tiny plastic wand attached to its paw into this little bowl, then lifting the device to its face to whoosh the bubbles into the air.

"Why were you waiting for me?" Jeremy said.

"I guess I should say, more accurately, someone LIKE you--a person who comes alive at Christmas time...just like me."

"Yeah, but I feel all alone...I wish that people-"

"Most people don't get it, my boy. They've 'grown up' and gotten so far away from the original pure state--which is nothing more than the ability to see through the eyes of a child--they don't know who they are anymore."

Jeremy thought: What are the shoppers going to think when they hear me talking to a bear? No sooner had the question popped into his head than it was answered.

"Ours in a mind to mind communication, Jeremy, and in case you haven't noticed, your lips are not moving either. We can do that because we are so perfectly tuned in to each other--on the same wavelength so to speak...by the way, you can call me Thaddeus."

The boy began to think about the people who go through the motions during the holidays, then revert back to their old cynical ways the rest of the year. "If people really cared," he said, "the Christmas spirit would last all year round."

Just then a SUPER-big bubble alighted onto the tip of his nose and Jeremy looked at it cross-eyed for a moment before it popped and disappeared into thin air.

"I hate to burst your-ah- what I mean is, that's a mistake in thinking a lot of people make. Everything in the universe exists because it has a counterpart...good implies evil, happy implies sad--we could no more have Christmas all year round than you could eat banana creme pie every meal for the rest of your life and still love it as you do!"

Jeremy thought it was pretty cool that even though Thaddeus used some big words, he somehow understood everything that was being said...and the bear even knew what his favorite dessert was! "I guess that's what makes the holidays so special then," he said.

"Not everyone is like you and me. Still, it's the time of year when the best of what we are shines through. Remember that...THE BEST OF WHAT WE ARE. Would you believe that even the scrooges forget themselves when they see me? They do--if only for a moment--but in that one instant when they're scratching their heads and trying to figure out how I do it, they've regained their childish sense of wonder and delight...is there more that any of us can do than to try to provide such moments for those around us?"

"Uh, Thaddeus...just how DO you do it? Blow the bubbles I mean."

"Hey kid, there are some things that even I can't tell you. Trade secret, ya know."

Jeremy glanced at a nearby clock. "Oh no," he cried. "My mom's gonna be worried. Wait--please wait Thaddeus--I'm going to get her and bring her back to meet you!"

"Just a moment, Jeremy--you must consider-"

But the boy was already gone, plunging through the holiday shoppers, giddy with excitement and chanting over and over to himself: THE BEST OF WHAT WE ARE! THE BEST OF WHAT WE ARE!

His mother--who had essentially been dragged up a flight of stairs and half the length of the mall--now stood in front of the tree where Thaddeus was perched, spouting bubbles into the air in darling mechanical bear fashion.

"Here she is--go ahead and say something," Jeremy urged with his mind.

But there was only silence, and the boy's heart sank.

Then the woman's mouth curved into a wide grin and her eyes began to sparkle like twin stars on a crisp and clear December night. "Well, isn't that just the cleverest idea you've ever seen," she said. "Next thing you know the darn thing will start talking too."

Then she gave her son an odd look. "What's that, Jeremy?"

"I didn't say nothing, mom."

"That's funny...for a moment I thought I heard someone whisper, 'Merry Christmas.'"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

TIGER'S WANT AD


Desperately seeking
someone to love
someone to hate
a reason to humiliate

Desperately seeking
to find some direction
to make a connection
to feel your rejection

Desperately seeking
a little hope
some way to cope
the noose of a rope

Desperately seeking
A Ginsu knife
the meaning of life
somebody's wife

Desperately seeking
my moment of fame
where to lay the blame
an end to this shame

Desperately seeking
another shot at the top
some wings when I drop
back into the slop

Desperately seeking
Susan
Fernando
Willy
and Betty Jean
a place to lie down
and a chance to come clean

Desperately seeking
to find a new game
like ants at a picnic
where nobody came

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ALMOST EXTINCT TIGER






You worshiped him
Not because of who he was inside--
you never KNEW who he was...
You worshiped him because he could knock
A little white ball
Around a glorified cow pasture.
Not a skill that contributes a lot to the world.
But YOU worshiped him.
He had the pulpit
And could have weighed in
On the state of the world--
Could have STOOD for something.
But he always played it close to the vest.
Don't want no controversy HERE.
Now we know why...
He preferred the HORIZONTAL position.
SO WHAT?
You never cared about who he was--
Now you're acting disillusioned.
Go back to worshiping people
For some meaningless skill they possess...
Or maybe the size of their fake boobs...
And shut your IDIOTIC pie hole.

Friday, December 4, 2009

THIS IS YOUR CARD, SO READ IT


This may be the only holiday card you're getting from me this year--that's because there wasn't room enough to write everything I wanted to say on one of those Hallmark jobbies. It also means I had to leave out the fifty dollar bill I was planning to tuck inside the card. Sorry.

I'm going to tell you about the meaning of Christmas--but it's not what you might expect. There are folks who like to haul out the annual guilt trip, reminding you of the "true" significance of the holiday--usually when they catch you having too much fun. I don't buy into that, nor do I subscribe to the popular notion that Christmas is over-commercialized.

Some interpret the Nativity as myth, others accept it as gospel, but it ain't anyone else's business to tell you and me which it should be. Secondly, in the U.S. we live in a capitalist society. Like it or not, the selling of goods and services is what our battered economy depends on. Yet some of us get all huffy during the holidays when business people do what comes naturally, which is to capitalize on the opportunity.

Lighten up already.

Christmas is perfect just the way it is. Everyone gets exactly what he or she wants from it. The retailer brings in the major chunk of his yearly revenue. The homeless person gets a free feast.
Grandma gets to see the kids and grand kids who don't come around the rest of the year. And people everywhere, in spite of themselves, warm to one another. What could be more perfect than that?

There is a young boy who sneaks off to the mall in the latter part of September, because he knows that's when some of the stores begin erecting their Christmas displays. He knows which stores to check because he has done this before. He's got it down to a science. He finds the section that has been cleared of summer merchandise and now is littered with boxes. A few ornaments have been hung on their racks with care, and an employee is crouched on the floor, struggling to wrap the first string of lights around that first fake tree. An adult couple walks by, issuing a pronouncement about it being too early in the season, for Christ's sake, to be putting up all this crap. The boy feels sorry for the employee...she's only doing her job. He knows the store management is trying to hasten the buying season, but he doesn't care. For him, the holidays are glitter, warmth, and fuzziness--and something magical happens when those lights flicker on. While all about him the desert dwellers curse the heat, the boy exults in his moment of discovery. He understands that December 25th is anticlimactic, and that the heart and soul of Christmas lies in the slowly building momentum...the wide-eyed anticipation on the faces of kids from one to ninety-two.

Jump cut to late November. The broken cookies and fruitcakes are heading your way in the mail. The dumb commercials for Chia Pet and The Clapper are back on TV. The Budweiser Clydesdales are clip-clopping across your screen. And some jerk at the office party will dance around with a lamp shade on his head and end up decked in the hall. Soon, someone will step into a red suit and glue on a white beard and BECOME Santa Claus. Carolers will sing in the distance, and the winter night will no longer feel cold.

It's all a hoot.

So that's my fa la la la blah blah. Oh yeah, before I ride out of sight, there's a confession I have to make concerning the aforementioned young boy.

Yes, Virginia, that little kid is me.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HANUKKAH !

Friday, November 20, 2009

RETURN ENGAGEMENT


From the fifty-thousand watt giant of the desert southwest, KDSW, it's the Jerry Lang show! To get on Jerry's wavelength, dial toll free, 1-800-555-3545. And now, the man who fights for what's right and stays up all night...your host...Jerry Lang!

"Welcome good people, it's just you and me until the rooster crows. I've some things to lay on the table this morning that may stick in your craw, get under your skin, and, in some cases, make you want to lean your head out the window and PUKE--if I may use such an indelicate term--ah well, that's the world we live in my friend. But first, I'd like to hear what's on your mind--line one...Steve from Deming, New Mexico, you're on the air."

"Hey Jerry, I heard your show last night and like, I really agree with you about these violent kids being the fault of the schools--our young folks just ain't gettin' no decent education no more."

"And you can trace that directly back to the permissiveness of the sixties, Steve--when our schools said to hell with fundamentals and high standards. Oh my GOD, what would happen to poor Johnny's psyche if we don't pass him along with the rest of the class, even though he can't spell his own NAME! No, it was more IMPORTANT that Johnny become well rounded. It was more IMPORTANT that, as parents, we listened to some Mr. Spock, er...Doctor Spock crap--you've got to BABY your baby--oh goodness, don't dare lay a hand on him, he'll learn to get what he wants through intimidation. He'll learn that might makes right--ha! "

Jerry sucks in a breath, raises his voice an octave and spits into the microphone. "I'll show you intimidation. INTIMIDATION is staring into the barrel of a semi-automatic pointed at you by some TEN year old--that's intimidation...and who's to blame? WELFARE MOTHERS!"

All his life he has been someone's target. First, his abusive father. Then it was dodging bullets in that far away jungle. Now he's the most conspicuous quarry of all: Aging white man dodging pot-shots from all the have-nots of society who see him as the root cause of everything from slavery to urban blight. But Jerry Lang can fire back, with fifty-thousand watts of buckshot peppering the minds of late night AM radio listeners in fourteen states--and recently, worldwide on the internet.

"One of my kids steps out of line, Jerry, he knows he's gonna get a good whacking when I get home."

"And well he should, Steve."

'WHACK 'em!"

"Whack 'em good!"

'WHOOPEE !"

Jerry segues into a spot for a hemorrhoid preparation, then peers through the glass into the adjacent room where Scott, his call screener, is laughing and giving the thumbs up sign. His assistant has a thin stripe of beard and a pale complexion. For a college boy, he's alright. He motions the kid into the control room, cues up more spots to play, and lights another Marlboro. "You hungry, man?" he asks, running a hand through his hair. "I've got a craving for pizza."

"I could be tempted...Jesus, yeah."

"Papa Tony's should still be open. Blast down there and get us a large one with the works."

"Uh...you sure you wanna handle the phones by yourself?" Grotesque facial contortions. "There's a full moon out tonight, master."

Jerry tosses a couple of bills at the kid. "That's alright," he says, "I'm a big boy."

Scott feigns a limp and drags himself through the door, then turns and squashes his nose flat as road-kill against the control room glass. Jerry pretends to throw a coffee cup at him.

He chain smokes. The butts, neglected after the first few puffs, burn to long fingers of ash in the plastic tray beside him. A haze fills the softly lit room. He delights in ignoring the smoking ban decreed by management. This is my ship, he tells himself, and the captain will do as he damn well pleases. Sometimes he surveys the control board in front of him, with its rows of knobs and switches, and can almost see himself at them helm of some interplanetary space probe on a mission to save the human race.

"Line two, you're on the air."

"Er...that you, Jerry?"

"You're speaking to the man."

"Why, you big gasbag-"

Line three, it's YOUR turn."

"Yeah, it's Bob in Tacoma. I say let's put up a fence around the entire Yoo-nited States--Mexico, Canada, you name it, Jerry. Keep 'em ALL out! They ain't got no right to be here--takin' jobs away from hard workin' Americans. DAMN, how's a man 'sposed to get a job in this economy with them aliens over running us like a bunch of wild-"

"You have a fence around your property, Bob?"

"Damn right. And I got a sign that says trespassers will be shot!"

"We put up a whole lot of signs like that along our border fence, Bob--and be ready to follow through on it--and I think our immigration problem will be solved."

"Jerry Lang for president!"

"Just telling the truth as I see it, Bob. Just telling the truth as I see it. Let's move on to line three."

"Th-They're coming to take our guns away, ain't they Jerry."

The radio host emits a sigh, pauses for added effect, then says, "I believe that gun control is the first step toward the eventual confiscation, by the government, of all firearms held by private citizens."

"We'll be sitting ducks."

"I will say two words to you, my friend...Tiananmen Square."

"I-I'll take my weapons and head for the hills before that happens, and lots of my buddies will do the same. No telling how long we could hold out."

"I'll be right behind you my friend. Let's go back to line one--good morning."

A brief silence...then a guttural voice says," I'm going to get you, Jerry. I'm coming down there to kick your ass...TONIGHT!"

"Who is this?"

"Judge, jury, and executioner. You have been found guilty of offending the sensibilities of rational humanity--a capital crime."

"Yeah? Well come on then. I'm waiting for ya, you lousy lunatic freak."

With customary bravado, he dumps the caller and segues into a spot break. He's fielded plenty of crank calls during his years behind the mic, but there is something different about this one. The voice sounds...almost familiar...like maybe someone out there from his past with an old score to settle. Sudden realization floods through him as he remembers the letter, and a simultaneous chill creeps along the hairs on the back of his neck. The envelope, posted locally, had contained a death threat.

He fumbles for the cigarette pack in his shirt pocket. For a moment he sits staring at the VU meter as its needle sways from side to side like a metronome ticking away the seconds of his life. No one knew about the letter--hell, these things were fairly common in the business after all, and it would not be consistent with his image to run crying to the authorities every time some looney with a grisly sense of humor and too much time on his hands made a threat. Then again, there was no more way of discerning what lay waiting out in the vast wilderness of radio land than there was of knowing what lurks in the dark recesses of the mind...until it leaped right in your face.

He bolts out of the chair and into the production room where the "Best of Jerry Lang" tapes the station plays on weekends are stored. Grabbing one of the reels, he scrambles back to the control room and threads the tape onto the Otari. When the spots finish, he presses the play button and the Jerry Lang show goes from live to Memorex.

Reaching underneath the console, he grasps the handle of his brown leather briefcase, brings it to his lap, and retrieves the key from his pants pocket. He opens the case and removes his .38 Special. The weapon feels good in his hand. Rock solid.

He looks up, startled, to see the shape of someone standing in the doorway. Squinting through the smoky haze, his first thought is that Scott has returned. The shadowy figure moves closer.

"Sweet Jesus!" he cries. There is no mistaking that hair. Those sideburns. Those lips.

It is Elvis.

"Wait now...hold on just a goddam minute...how can this be? Is...is it you? Is it really The King?"

"Ah'm terribly sorry to drop in on you this way, but ah thought you might need my help," the intruder says politely.

"Get outta here--you're...an impersonator."

"Don't be cruel now, Jerry. Ah'm sure you can tell the difference--though ah will admit there's a couple of those ol' boys that've got me down pretty good."

"But you...you're so young...and, uh, TRIM."

The intruder smiles. "Well, we all like to put our best face on things, and ah kinda like that postage stamp of me they came out with, so ah figured ah'd come back lookin' that way."

Jerry shakes his head, closes his eyes and slowly reopens them, as though this act could somehow reset whatever part of his brain that has short-circuited and is now playing tricks on him.

The King is still there.

"So the sightings...they're real?"

One side of Elvis' mouth turns up in that trademark sneer. "You gotta keep promoting yourself, Jerry--you oughta know that--say, lemme see that cannon there."

Jerry hands him the gun.

"Ah heard that ol' boy threaten you on the radio tonight. " He walks around and stands next to the astonished host, who is still seated behind the controls. "Guess you remember what ah used to do when somethin' on the TV rubbed me the wrong way." He raises the weapon with both hands, taking dead aim at the control board.

"Elvis wait--uh, you don't want to do that--now, you know you're number one with me since way back but...God, in the old days I played your records till-"

"Simple matter of self-defense, ain't it Jerry?"

A nervous laugh. "Yeah...I guess that's right. I mean, plenty of witnesses out there heard him.'

"Alright then. Ah'll just hang onto the rod. That way your hands are clean."

Jerry turns and faces the window that looks out over the street beneath his second floor studio. The traffic signal on the corner shifts from green to yellow to red...and back to green again--the way reality can sometimes change in the flick of an eye. There are no cars to heed the signal's commands; no pedestrians waiting patiently for the neon walk sign. He wonders if this is how it will be when the end comes, when the clouds rain indiscriminate death upon the world--lone beacons of light cycling endlessly like a dancer rehearsing the two-step in an empty ballroom.

In The Still of The Night. Good song. Funny how your mind picks up on these things. He hums a few bars to himself, then, like a tuner scanning the dial, fixes on the sound of his own voice lecturing from the wall-mounted speakers: They want to take the guns away from law-abiding citizens, while armed madmen are out there on the loose...

He swings around to look at Elvis, who is testing his aim on various objects around the room. He glances up at the clock. With silent indifference, the second hand goes about its appointed rounds. Smoke curls and rises in the air.

The sound of footsteps down the hall. A sudden rush of adrenalin. The same guttural voice he heard on the phone barks, "Your ass is mine now, suckah!"

"Get ready, Elvis--get ready," Jerry whispers.

A form darts into the doorway. A flash from the exploding weapon, followed by the flash of recognition that comes too late. The grin on the youthful face fades and is replaced, in slow motion, by a look of incredulous horror. Scott, arms outstretched in a see-it's-only-me gesture, pizza box in one hand, gazes down at the crimson hole in his chest as he slumps to the floor.

***********

"Something to drink, Detective Greer?"

"No thanks, I'm fine," says the officer, a young man dressed in civilian clothes.

"I'm perfectly willing to answer any more questions, if you have them--and by the way, I do appreciate you making the trip out here to my home...it makes things, well, a lot less traumatic for me."

"No problem, Mr. Lang. A man of your stature and reputation--we naturally want to help you avoid any undue speculation and publicity about this matter. Just a couple more things..." He looks down at his notebook and studies it for a moment. "Now, you described Mr. Scott Johansen, the victim, as somewhat of a practical joker."

"Yeah, he was a crazy kid. A good kid, but always up to something. It made the over night hours go a little easier on both of us. "

"And Mr. Johansen was unaware that you carried a weapon in your briefcase for personal protection?"

"I didn't go around advertising it."

Detective Greer flips the page and scribbles something into his notebook. "There is one inconsistency I must bring up regarding the earlier statement you gave us. You said there was another person in the station with you at the time of the shooting, and that he was the one who actually pulled the trigger; however, the only prints found on the gun were yours."

"I-I really don't know how to explain that, detective...except to say that truth is not always as it sometimes may appear."

"You stated the individual was a casual acquaintance from some years back--someone known to you on a first name basis whom you hadn't seen since, until the night in question, correct?"

"Yes...but you hear things and, well, he had a reputation for being careless with firearms."

"And the individual vacated the premises before our officers arrived?"

"Yes, that's right, he did. You might say he...ah...he left the building."

**********

It is just after midnight and Jerry Lang is snoozing soundly--thanks to the prescription sleep aid prescribed by his doctor. The pills will serve him well over the next two weeks of his leave of absence from the radio station--though the side effects of the medication will give him headaches, diarrhea, and dyspepsia. Back at the studio, one of the Best of Jerry Lang tapes is playing over the air. The show must go on.

Down in the street, an SUV, its chassis jacked high above four oversize tires, has pulled up to the traffic light. The windows are rolled down, and the Jerry Lang show is booming from the vehicle's stereo. The disembodied voice reverberates off of nearby storefront walls, and echoes through the adjoining streets: My cold, dead hands...they will pry it...from my...cold...dead...hands...








Tuesday, November 17, 2009

LEXUS FROM TEXAS


Sitting behind your Lexus from Texas,
I'm sayin' buddy, you got clipped--
laying out a small fortune
for a ride so nondescript!

Now, I'm not saying your car's overrated--
it's just that the look is so understated.
Everyone says it's one of the best,
it just kind of blends in with all the rest.

And I'm sure it's well made...
relatively speaking.
Hey, is that your gas tank that's leaking?

Ah, for the days of the '57 Chevy.
It had style, and it was HEAVY.
But these cookie-cutter cars,
they don't change one iota--
and your Lexus from Texas
looks just like a Toyota!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

DAY OF THE DEAD---TUCSON, ARIZONA




El Dia de los Muertos (Day of The Dead) is an annual event in Tucson that coincides with the celebration of same in Mexico. (Not to be confused with Halloween.) Also known as All Souls Day, it's a time of remembrance for departed loved ones, and a simultaneous celebration of life. It's one of my favorite local events, because I love SPECTACLE. (Any time YOU want to make a spectacle of yourself, I'll be happy to egg you on!) The Mardi Gras style parade (above) took place on Sunday evening, November 9th.


Messages and names of departed souls are placed in the giant urn in top photo. During the spectacular finale, the urn is hoisted by a crane and set afire.


Below, just one of the many colorful participants who obviously believes that two heads are better than one.

Aerial acrobatics from a group called Flam Chen, based in Tucson. These fearless folks are hoisted high in the air by a giant crane, where they perform their derring-do. Yes--those are PEOPLE spinning around up there! And there's NO net. (Many of them are acquaintances of mine--they say you're known by the company you keep, so I must be as crazy as they are!)

Bottom video: A little of the ambience as we gear up for the parade.
video video

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

SEEN ANY GOOD FLICKS LATELY?



I have:
Amelia--just out--with Hillary Swank and Richard Gere..Sweeping  biopic/romance that chronicles aviator Amelia Earhart's fabled accomplishments in the air as well as her troubled personal relationships.

Capitalism: A Love Story. Say what you will about film maker Michael Moore...he knows how to stir things up and get you thinking. Here he takes on nothing less than our sacred cow--capitalism--and why it's not good for adults, children, or pets.

Zombieland--Could be the most pleasant surprise of the year, even though there's nothing pleasant about snarling, drooling zombies (just ask anyone who's had to deal with the DMV). Woody Harrelson heads up a talented cast working with a script that is pure genius--with a jaw-dropping surprise that no reviewer is going to reveal...ya gotta see it!

My Life In Ruins-- For anyone who enjoys a good light-hearted romantic comedy. Nia Vsrdalos (of My Big Fat Greek Wedding) is a personality challenged tour guide herding quirky tourists around Greece and trying not to fall in love...


Click the link in the title of this post above to see the full reviews of these and dozens of other recent movies  on Timoteo's film review blog: Timmy's Noodle. It's all here--the good, the bad, and the stupid...so happy viewing!  

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009





IN TIMOTEO'S PLAYGROUND
THIS IS MY SANDBOX
(enlarge for clearer viewing)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009



While hiking in the desert this past weekend, a small hitch hiker  attached itself to my friend's backpack and wasn't discovered until we were in the car and on our way back to town. He was quite friendly, and would swivel his head from side to side, to look at each of us with great curiosity. I was struck by the realization that there was indeed a kind of intelligence in those eyes. After snapping a few images like this one for posterity, we gave our hitch hiker a lift back into a desert area, and placed him in a palo verde tree where he would blend in perfectly with the color of the tree...and bade him Godspeed.    

Friday, October 9, 2009

INTERVIEW



Good morning, Mr. Johnson...yes, I know I'm a little late but the TRAFFIC out there--SIX BILLION people on the planet and most of them were in front of me! Yes, by all means, let's get down to business--that's why we're here, after all...

What's that?

Why do I want to work for this company? This company represents...everything I've been looking for...this company upholds the ideals I believe in...this company...the truth is, Mr. Johnson, I could use a JOB, that's all--isn't that what it boils down to for anybody? Geez, the economy sucks!

What's that?

How do I explain these gaps in my resume? Well, I could say that I was going to school, or on disability, but the truth is I was bumming around...Mexico...Central America...you know there's a little island off the coast of Yucatan--when I was there it was so PRISTINE--now I hear there's a Hilton-

Whus that?

What's my biggest weakness? I dunno. Well, I used to play the horses sometimes...oh, I see, as it pertains to the job is what you mean...uh...I used to say that my biggest weakness was that I'm a perfectionist--you know, turn it around so that the negative really is a positive--but the fact is, Mr. Johnson, I just get bored after a while. I get burnt out. But it happens to lots of people...the same routine, day after day...but a week off here and a week off there and I'm a NEW man...did you know that women on vacation are so HOT...that's because they don't care...nobody knows who they are-

Say what?

Where do I see myself in five years?   Well, Mr. Johnson, ...ahem...I could give you some stock answer like,  I SEE MYSELF AS A RISING STAR IN THIS COMPANY!  Or what the hell, why not give it some real swagger--I see myself as a congressman... maybe Secretary of State...heh...but you know, the world is so uncertain--who the hell knows? Maybe I'll be a wino asking for spare change on the street...maybe I'll be passed out in some alley with rats crawling over me...maybe I'll be DEAD.

Maybe a better question would be:What will YOU be doing in five years? Probably sitting here asking these same questions of nervous applicants who've rehearsed the answers so that it becomes a game. Designated question...designated answer. And life goes on. But it's SO goddamn boring!  An even better question would be: Where the hell do you get off, asking me a question like that? No really--I want to know! If you and I were just sitting here having a beer together, you'd ask me if I'd been getting any lately, and we'd laugh, and maybe poke each other, and talk a little too loudly about the broad down at the end of the bar. That's an old Sinatra term..."broad"...we can't use it anymore. And we'd stumble out together around midnight, and I'd hail a cab for you--tuck you in and send you safely on your way...that's if you and I were sitting here having a beer, you see, if we were doing something other than playing these roles which I can see have grown as stale to you as they are to me-

What's that?

Yes, I know this is highly irregular...but...isn't that tie a little tight, Mr. Johnson? You don't look so comfortable...I'll bet you've worn that tie, or one like it, EVERY DAY of your life since you left college. Do you see the irony in that? A man reaches a certain stature in life and he's rewarded by having a noose placed around his neck-

Wha's that?

Yes, I know your time is valuable, but I just wanted to say that I HAVE the experience and I KNOW that I can do the job...and all of this other stuff is just crap--isn't it? Crap, you know what I mean...pretense. I mean, people need to be who they ARE, don't you think?

Whut?

Yes, well, I'm sure that you have others to see today...I won't take up any more of your time. Anyway, I want to thank you, Mr. Johnson, for granting me this interview...

Yeah, I know the drill...don't call us, we'll call you.  

Thursday, October 1, 2009

THE FINE PRINT
















Void where prohibited. Not available in all states.Results may vary. Not to be combined with any other offer. Limited to stock on hand. On approved credit. Not all buyers will qualify. While supplies last. Promotional rate only. Rates double after first 3 months. 2 year contract required. Prices and participation may vary. Shipping and handling charges of $395.00 apply. Tax, license, and doc fees extra.. 20% gratuity automatically charged to your bill. Risk of suicide may be present. Consult your doctor. Stop using if you develop sudden urges to go berserk and massacre scores of innocent people. May cause headache, diarrhea, vomiting, dry mouth, constipation, hiccups, athletes foot, crotch rot, or death. We know you're an idiot because you'll never bother to read any of this. That's how we stay in business. Have a nice day, dickwad.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

ANALOGY (recycled poetry)




Knowing that most blog readers don't normally delve deep into the archives, it's time to occasionally recycle a post from the early days of Catnip--when nobody was reading my blog but me. (I'd manufacture comments to leave for myself, then answer my own comments. Trouble was, they all had the heading of "Timoteo" on them, which made me look like a split personality.) This poem is earth friendly, because it's made out of one hundred percent RECYCLED WORDS. And remember, if you haven't seen it...IT'S NEW TO YOU!




And the cry went up:
SEAL OFF THE BORDERS!
The illegals are overburdening
our social services,
contributing to crime, pollution,
and the tequila shortage!

Meanwhile, the killer bees
came up from Mexico...
they didn't stop to clear customs,
and they don't have green cards--
but they've assimilated into our society
and the world hasn't ended.

Sure, once in a while
they get really pissed-off
and kill somebody--
but ANY ONE OF US,
on a given day,
might do the same.

Generally, though, if you leave them alone,
they're just like everyone else--
content to be with their honey...and pollinate.

Monday, September 21, 2009

POLITICS AS USUAL



Recently, during a speech to a joint session of the U.S. congress on the subject of health care reform, president Barack Obama was "heckled" by representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who  shouted "YOU LIE"  when the president stated that illegal aliens would not be eligible for health insurance coverage under his proposed plan.  The ensuing uproar over this lack of decorum had many people calling for the congressman to apologize. 

But meanwhile, in a PARALLEL UNIVERSE, the whole incident happened just a little bit DIFFERENTLY...

THE PREZ: ...and I want to reiterate my position that I think that BABIES are CUTE!
THE CONGRESSMAN: You LIE!
(Speaker of the House Nancy Polosi is aghast, looking around the chamber to see who might have the unmitigated balls to shout at the president, while Vice President Joe Biden shakes his head in disbelief. Pretending not to notice, the president continues with his speech.)
THE PREZ: And I also want to make it perfectly clear that PUPPY DOGS are cute too!
THE CONGRESSMAN: Arab! 
(A few of the congressman's Republican colleagues begin to snicker. One of them pats him on the back.)
THE CONGRESSMAN: Arab terrorist!
(His colleagues guffaw, stomp their feet, and spit tobacco juice on the floor. House speaker Pelosi appears to be on the verge of barfing, as she raises her gavel to try to maintain order.)
THE PREZ: But NOBODY is as cute as MY WIFE!.
THE CONGRESSMAN: Hitler!
THE PREZ: Except for my two lovely DAUGHTERS, of course!
THE CONGRESSMAN: Heil Hitler!
(The president stops in mid sentence, and glares in the direction of the congressman, )
THE PREZ: One more peep out of YOU, sir, and I'm going to come down there and stick my fist down yo DUMB CRACKER pie hole!
THE CONGRESSMAN: (Mouth agape) He called me a dumb cracker! You hear that everybody? The president is out of line...out of LINE!
(The president jumps down from the podium and sprints over to where the congressman is sitting--as the man's Republican colleagues, who were egging him on just a moment ago, begin to scatter. The president straddles the congressman in typical lap dance fashion, grabs hold of the man's nose and begins to TWIST.)
THE CONGRESSMAN: Help! HELP! Ooh. Ughh! Arghhh! 
(The president lets go of the congressman's nose, pats him on the head, and returns to the podium, to the sound thunderous applause from the Democratic side of the aisle, and stunned silence from the Republicans.)
THE CONGRESSMAN: My NOSE! I think it's BUSTED!
(The TV camera zooms in for a close-up of the president, who shakes his finger at the camera.)
THE PREZ: I told you, America,... this was NOT  going to be POLITICS AS USUAL! 

   



Thursday, September 17, 2009

I ACCEPT THIS AWARD ON BEHALF OF...UH, ME!

My first award... many thanks to HAPPY BIRDIE over at MY INNER SPACE--someone who inspires me with her unwavering positive attitude!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

POTTY TALK


I get some pretty cool stuff in the mail. As the former president of a non-profit group that is now defunct, I still receive bulletins and brochures from businesses that cater to organizations that may be staging events for the public. The most interesting thing I've received of late is a "SPECIAL EVENT PORTABLE RESTROOM CALCULATOR." NEVER AGAIN will I be at a loss to determine how many portable toilets I will need for my next Super Bowl party! It's all right here in this handy calculator. For example, if I'm staging an event where 500 attendees are expected, (big Super Bowl party) and the time length of the event will be about 5 hours, I will need SIX portable restrooms to serve everyone's needs; however, if ALCOHOL is being served, (and that's a given at a Super Bowl party) I will need SEVEN portable pee palaces to fill the bill.

Isn't that great?

My special event portable restroom calculator takes into account that people have to run to the potty more often when they're drinking. This little device thinks of everything!

Oh, and you'll love this. There's a note that states: The number of restrooms (why do they call
them "restrooms" when they're just mobile outhouses like we used to have down on the farm?) should increase if over 50% of expected attendees are female.

Ladies, let's have your comments on that.

Yes, with my handy portable event restroom calculator, I'm prepared for ANY event drawing up to ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND people. Just so you know, a 5 hour event with that many people requires 691 portable poopers. If alcohol is being served, the number goes up to 781. (Then you gotta figure in how many women you might have and adjust accordingly.)

So the next time you're planning a wedding, birthday party, or a bar mitzvah--no need to make your guests stand (or squat) out behind the house writing their initials in the snow. NO! Just call on me and I'll get my trusty calculator out and give you all the portable privy (cuz I'm privy to it) information you'll need. And I know where to get them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WHITHER I GOEST...







































































1. A big buncha saguaro cacti in the national park next door.
2. Like...mountains, man!
3.The Woodpecker Hotel.
4.Strange looking UFO hovering near Timoteo's back yard.

Friday, August 14, 2009

HEALTH CARE DEBATE


When you are shouting
In my face...
And I am shouting
In your face...

Each of us is trying
To reason with a lunatic

Thursday, August 6, 2009

ALRIGHT...SATISFIED NOW?

















The previous picture was from the nineties.
This one is from a coupla weeks ago.
I got older...so sue me!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

TRUE LOVE


Hi there, guys... it's ME--THE BACHELORETTE! I know you GUYS watch The Bachelor-- cause it's like, every guy's fantasy to have this harem of 25 semi-attractive to attractive chicks to choose from--each of them so hard-up that they have to go on a TV show and cat fight with all the other girls to try to win the affections of this ONE semi-attractive to attractive dude. Yeah,
you don't want to admit to watching The Bachelorette, where the tables are turned and I am the GODDESS! But I know you're there.
Anyway, that was some finale, wasn't it? I had to pick between Ed and Kiptyn--and you know, I was IN LOVE with both of them. Really! Then REID shows up out of the blue to try to get me to pick him--and BOY, that's when I realized I was in love with HIM too! Amazing, huh? And after knowing each of these guys for only a FEW WEEKS.

I know people think,"What's wrong with you, girl?" You gonna get ENGAGED to some guy you've never even been with without the cameras filming you the whole time--that's just STUPID. And why YOU so hard up you have to go on this dumb show to begin with?
Well, okay--you've got a point there. But we aren't so DUMB, or even over-sexed (well, that's another story). We know that being on this show can give our careers a big boost, and that's the biggest reason why we're here. Hell, I might be able to parlay this gig into hosting my own GAME SHOW or something. And that thing about the cameras being on...hey, you forgot about the FANTASY SUITE, where I do a sleepover with each of the last three--or is it four--guys?Kind of hard to remember who I was with, come to think of it... or even remember their NAMES. But I know that I was definitely IN LOVE with all of them! And no cameras in the fantasy suite. No siree, BOB! (Was Bob one of them?)
Now, you out there watching in TV land have always wondered what's REALLY going on in the fantasy suite, where I'm spending the night with some guy I HARDLY KNOW-- but am definitely, one hundred percent SURE that I'm in LOVE with. Well...WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING ON? We're all adults here...duh! And the other two--or is it three--guys I spend the night with on the show...I just tell each of them that hey, Whatshisname and me, we just cuddled and then went to sleep. But let me tell you, in reality I was one WORN OUT little Bachelorette after those fantasy suite pajama parties!

So as you know from watching the show, I finally chose Ed to be the last man standing. The ONE AND ONLY love of my life! Even though I was still agonizing over Reid and Kiptyn just a couple of hours earlier. Because either of THEM could have been the one and only love of my life, but hey, you gotta pick SOMEBODY...that's the rules of the show!

Now, Ed and I are happily engaged, and we'll say our vows sometime...uh...NEXT YEAR, I think. But in the meantime, I'll be a busy girl. I'm in negotiations to do a photo shoot for Ladies Home Journal, a guest appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and a commercial for Trojan condoms!

Now don't forget, guys...the new season of The Bachelor is coming soon--where some lucky, semi-attractive to attractive couple will find TRUE LOVE forever!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

TIMOTEO LEARNS HOW TO CLICK THE SHUTTER ON A CAMERA!

Hi kiddies...decided to get with the program and post some of my own photos. Here's the
view from my front stoop...my front yard as it were.
More on the way.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

SWIFT AND DETERMINED (inspired upon observing a local TV newsperson striding through the mall)


Hi, it's ME! Yep, the girl who does the local news on TV. Yes, and I'm BEAUTIFUL! Well, you can SEE that, you pitiful peon! No ugly girls on television, ya know. I see you gawking when I pass by. But DON'T LOOK AT ME! Well, I mean... just LOOK at me, dummy.

Life is grand when you're beautiful. I walk through the mall in a swift and determined way. As if to say: GANGWAY, PEASANTS! My heels pounding the tiles...and what does it feel like--you pathetic piece of poo that's stuck to the bottom of my shoe? Don't try to stop me! Well, yes...STOP me if it's copious praise you're heaping.

Cause there's no ugly girls on TV. Well, okay...there's that UGLY BETTY show. Geez, what's up with that? Oh yeah, and there's Martha, my colleague. Not nearly as fabulous as me--but she's a MINORITY--and you know how that works. Still, she PLOWS through the mall in a swift and determined way--thinking she's hot poop just because she's on TV. What a stupid thing to think! But not if you're BYOOTEEFUL! Now, kowtow to me, you scum!

When he hired me, my boss said there's no CASTING COUCH here! But I did him anyway--just to cement our relationship. Cement...that stuff that starts out soft and then gets hard. Tee-hee! Never a dull moment. Oh yeah, and I had a STALKER once...calling me at all hours of the night--breathing real heavy into the phone and making these weird chicken noises...and peeking into my windows! Well, I can't really blame him for that. Like, who WOULDN'T want to if they got the chance? It puzzled me for a long time. Then I got this BRILLIANT idea of checking my caller ID display when the guy was on the phone...sure enough, there was his number! Turns out it was my little brother's best friend. That knucklehead! I told him I'd give him a good spanking if he didn't watch out, and he just looked at me with this weird grin on his face.

Now, I want to say something about the way we look on TV. Some people think just because I have this BLANK STARE on my face when I'm doing the news, that I'm stupid or something. But when we read these stories about homeless people getting squished in trash compactors and stuff, my boss doesn't want us to show any emotion. That's because EMOTION could be--like-- expressing an OPINION with your face, and some people might get OFFENDED if we did that. Then if they tune out, our ratings would go down.

I know in another ten years they'll be booting me out on my butt--replaced by someone who's younger and (don't want to say it) more BEAUTIFUL. But before they can do that, I'll get knocked up and go on maternity leave! Hey, last year the weekend anchor filled in for Jennifer for like, SIX MONTHS. And she wasn't even preggers! She brought these pictures of her SISTER'S baby into work and showed them around. Yeah--we ain't dumb, you know. No...were BAYOOOOTEEFULL--you pathetic excuse for a cockroach!

Hey, it's not all a bed of roses. There's hair and makeup right before the show. And having to learn those big words like: Amadina.. uh...Amajina... oh, FORGET it, panther poop! I'm not paid to be SARAH PALIN. (She's smart!) I'm paid to be FABULOUS. It's in the contract.
Anyway, it's time to go parading through the malls again...

So BOW DOWN to me...you slugs!

ADORE me, pig lickers!

WORSHIP me, maggots!

Oh CRAP...look at that...I just broke another nail!










Friday, June 26, 2009

CONGRATULATIONS

I once knew a girl
who couldn't tell
her right from her left.

One day she said to me:
If there is TRULY a left
and if there is TRULY a right--
then why does the world
that I see on my right
when I turn to the north
become the world
that's on my left
when I turn to the south?

And I said to her: Congratulations!
You have just discovered
that the world is an illusion.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

NEVER FORGET


Iran doesn't know how
to steal an election.
Saying that Ahmadinejad
won by a LANDSLIDE was stupid.
The opposition candidate
had massive support--
and everyone knew that,
at the very least,
the voting would be close.
They should have declared
it too close to call,
and turned it over to their equivalent
of the SUPREME Court--
where the SUPREME leader already knew
the vote would be rigged in his favor--
still denying the will of the people,
but creating the ILLUSION that
justice had been served...
THAT'S how you steal an election.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

MODEL BEHAVIOR


Tall and gangly
with full pouty lips
but no hips.

The butt of jokes in middle school
as they towered over most of the boys--
now, here's their revenge.

Strutting in their undies
like God's gift to mankind.

Proclaimed "beautiful" by a handful
of eccentric fashion designers
and themselves.
Dogmatizing a standard
from which there can be no deviation.

But in reality
they are misfits still...
and sexy to whom?

Well, maybe a giraffe.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

DIGITAL DESOLATION


Woe is me...woe is me...
The digital revolution
has screwed up my TV.
I hooked up my converter box
I did like they said
But now my local PBS station is dead.
I've scanned and I've re-scanned
And I think it's a sin
Cuz that stinking channel just will not come in.
Come to think about it
Those pledge breaks were long
Something about it just struck me as wrong.
They tried to convince me
I should pay them a fee
When I knew damn well their programming was free.
Yeah, something about that
Whole thing smelled funny
And NOW I'm glad I didn't send them any money!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

ENHANCED POETRY TECHNIQUES

If it isn't torture, then why did you do it?
If it isn't torture, then what did you hope to gain?
If it isn't torture (if it's just a little game, let's say)
Then what made you think
that man would spill his guts?
If it isn't torture, then I'm sure you won't mind
If I do it to you...just to see how you like it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

SPEED SKATER

Woman with thighs
the size of tree trunks
slicing up big chunks of ice

Gliding light as a feather

But who will prize
those thunder thighs
when it's bikini weather?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I WAS

(For Allen Ginsberg)

I was half awake when I
heard that the poet was dead.
Thirty seconds devoted to the man
in the middle
of the ten o'clock news.
I was searching for a line,
trying to find the missing link

between

stanzas. i was looking for
a sense of completion as he
completed his sentence
and closed the book.

I was wondering how many
others would pick up their pens
to scribble hasty tributes
before killing the light.

I was searching for my own words,
but borrowed some of his:
There, rest. No more suffering
for you. I know where you've
gone, it's good.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CANCELED

I didn't see anyone around, so I asked at the desk. Yes, it was true--the poetry event had been canceled. Attendance had been sparse the last couple months. I was annoyed, but then I remembered that I hadn't showed up for those previous meetings either!

We poets are a reclusive bunch--stuck in our own navels for too much of the time. We'd rather sit in a little room--like the one I'm in now--jauntily typing away for a potential audience of millions that we'll never meet, than go out and greet the 3 or 4 REAL people who might show up for a reading (one of whom got lost on her way to the restroom).

Pathetic, isn't it?

Well, that's my say...
Hey! How'd I get so much belly button lint in there anyway?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

LET GO

Walking my dog
Has taught me
An important life lesson

When she does her business
No matter how it comes out
She never looks back

--Timoteo