... notes on writing below

  • Notice of Copyright -  all writing not attributed to others that is posted here by  "zombiedisco101," including his writing posted other places in LiveJournal, is Copyright by him on date of posting

  • Layout -  a) "titles" - "tags" are fiction titles (most of the posts here), b) /titles/ - /tags/ are nonfiction titles, c) [tags] are lj communities or other websites, d) plain tags are subjects

  • Comments -  are periodically cleaned out and deleted

  • Profile -  since my profile page does not display right with LJ's new format, here is everything you might not really care know:  a) name: zombie dance band, derived from future-hopeful occupation as a zombie dance instructor (A: No, I'm not pimping zombies. I'm trying to wake the zombies living in our heads, the fuck up.); b) gender-species: male, homo sapiens; c) age-circumstance: 21+, fiction writer wannabe living in US far-east; d) reason for livejournal being: using lj as a writing lab and look-in on the world; e) more info: http://zombiedisco101.livejournal.com/tag/bio; f) email: screen name at gmail

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"guide to making your own social S-cape"

(album cover for "Guide to an Escape" by Rue Royale, 2011*)

1) "The Right Material Stuff"

Like Superman -- a.k.a. Clark Kent, a mild-mannered and nerd-glassed reporter for the "Daily Planet," a newspaper with a circulation apparently impervious to the evil bad-guy money pirates of comic book Metropolis -- the material you use to make your own social S-cape is important. It needs to fit you like a glove.

You know, like a really long and flappy glove that's tied around your neck and, when standing, runs down your back almost to the ground. A flappy glove with enough special aerodynamic lift to allow your earth-bound ass to fly. The ass being the biggest impediment that prevents most mammals from flying. That and an ego of grande ("'gran dee") ass proportions.

Flying is important. It will let you flee the bad guys in the nick of time, so the only "nicks" you get on your mild-mannered and nerd-glassed, super journalist-of-life, hero body-o, are from the Bic disposable razors you use for three months before changing -- whether they be used for legs and pits or hunky hero cheeks doesn't matter, because this super hero's guide for social S-capes is patent-pendingly, non-gender specifico.
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20150629 10:24 (863 words)
- * from the album "Guide to an Escape" 2011: 1) "Guide to an Escape"; 2) Halfway Blind; 3) "Flightline"; 7) "Crater"; 9) "We'll Go on Alright"
... by Brookln and Ruth Dekker of Rue Royale
- "After the Gold Rush" by Neil Young, from "Neil Young" 1970, performed live in Berlin 1982, lyrics
- "The Wolf" by Mumford & Sons, from "Wilder Mind" 2015, performed in studio 2015, with album producer James Ford beating the tom-toms, lyrics
- "Sedona" by Houndmouth from "Little Neon Limelight" 2015, lyrics

/magna carta/

... "the great charter," 800 years old today and still looking toward a just and peaceful future. Which we can't somehow get to, why?

(photo from the The Magna Carta Project and "The Guardian" at (3) below)

"Magna Carta was engrossed, sealed and issued by King John at Runnymede, between Staines and Windsor, on 15 June 1215, following five days of intensive discussion and negotiation, during which many of the Articles of the Barons (which King John had accepted in principle) were extended, or re-arranged, or had their contents broken up and redistributed, while gaps in their coverage were filled." (1)

" >> Historical Introduction

John was 33 years old in 1199 when he claimed the throne of England and the Angevin Empire. The youngest of four sons born to Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II (1154-89), he had grown up with little hope of wearing the crown. It was only with the death of his elder brothers, Henry the Young King and Geoffrey, and Richard’s coronation in 1189, that John’s ambitions were seriously stirred. When King Richard took a lethal blow from a crossbow bolt in 1199, John grabbed his chance. With the help of the ageing Queen Eleanor, he secured his continental domains and, in 1202, captured and imprisoned Prince Arthur of Brittany, the son of his brother Geoffrey and John’s rival for the throne. Arthur was later to disappear mysteriously and John would never escape the mutterings that he had murdered the lad in a fit of drunken rage.
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20150615 10:26 (1374 words)
- (1) Texts and Commentary
- (2) About - Historical Introduction
... from The Magna Carta Project
- (3) the original document with interactive English translation, Latin transcription, and expert commentary from the Arts & Humanities Research Council's Magna Carta Project, and "The Guardian"

- 13th Century English dance music mix from YouTube

"languid doorstop"

(photo from mrjoebasile.com)

"Languid as in 'dreamy.'" Heskel is leaning forward on the café table, her elbows like two car jacks holding up her head, the heel of each hand skewed against the underside of half a jawbone.

"Dreamy." Larson repeats the word, smiling. He's stirring the frothy milk in large, wavy swirls in an enormous mug of dark French roast.

Heskel bites off half an oatmeal raisin cookie she softened in her coffee, staring at the table. It's late Thursday morning at Booter's, a small café overlooked by the developers on this part of the Charlestown waterfront. The place is empty between the morning, office-worker coffee and muffin line-up, and the noontime take-out sandwich crowd. It's an ancient, black paint-caked shopfront, barely wide or deep enough for the six three-foot round tables that line the windows on either side of a door with a rope of sleigh bells screwed to the top door-rail.

Outside, poplar trees in full June-leaf overhang a narrow street with cobblestones showing through the bare spots in the asphalt. The stream of cars and trucks that peaked at 9:00 has receded like a tide that drains the sidewalks of the worker people, and leaves behind people living beyond the hands of hourly life.

"What would a doorstop dream of?" Larson asks and licks the milk foam off his upper lip. He's looking at her eyes.

"Pleasant weather."

"So the door is left wide open, and the door and stop can spend a few hours nestled side-by-side," he adds, traveling on the boat of what she's thinking. They've been together long enough to know where the other one is going.

"Nestled," she repeats and looks out through the wavy window.

20150613 13:29 (293 words)
- "Calm Down" by the band Psapp, from "Tiger, My Friend" 2004
- "Life is Never Wrong" by Janis Ian, from "Folk is the New Black" 2006
- "Wild Horses" by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, from "Sticky Fingers" 1971

"mono logo - yesterdayland"

studio 6b.JPG
(photo from that's my gig)

(a guy with a nightly gig does standup before an audience at Rockefeller Center)

FAL: With half a million Republicans now running for president, you'd think we'd be hearing a lot of new ideas. (silence, hand to ear, shrugs, palms up)

Maybe it's just me, but all I'm hearing is the ghost of Ronald Reagan talking from the grave. It's like a conservative zombie movie.

(as Reagan) Ha-ha. Good one, Jimmy. We joked around a lot on "Death Valley Days." ... Jelly Bean?

BAND: (plays opening of "Death Valley Days" theme)

FAL: (back) It's like that nightmare where you're on a theme park ride in "Yesterdayland," and suddenly you realize that something has happened and you are now stuck in "Yesterdayland" forever.

HIG: I've had that dream. Creepy. ... But, I guess it means that we haven't totally lost the ability to dream about the future.

FAL: Right. It's just that good dreams have been replaced by bad dreams. (shakes head, sighs)

HIG: You realize that doing depressing, opening monologues is too cutting edge for late night, right?

20150529 12:00 (183 words)
- "I'll Be Seeing You" by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal 1938
- "All of Me" by John Legend*
- "Bravado" by Lorde, from "The Love Club EP" 2013
... performed by UMass Dynamics from the album "CCXVII" 2015
* - "All of Me" written and performed by John Legend, from "Love in the Future" 2013
- "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman, from "New Beginning" 1995, performed 2013
- "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, released as a single in 1960, performed by Tracy Chapman 2015
- "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution" by Tracy Chapman, from "Tracy Chapman" 1988, performed 1988

"song of the opened road"

(photo from wallpaperswide.com)

It's mid-May, the leading edge of summer, and the air perfume this four-wheel Buick, extra-wide rocket ship is passing through, on its yearly trip across a Momma-land that separates one ocean from another, is different. More subtle and less pungent, now, than it gets by mid-July, when the summer roadside grasses dry and brown like oil and onions heated on the surface of a landscape pan.

The May-grass now that lines the web of blue-red-black Rand McNally highways on the dry crust of the continent, is still chloroplastic green. Like you, sweet h-sapes student-reader, no matter what your near-term bio age might be. Because in long-term time this writing-reading thing is hanging off the very edge of an evolution trek that's left your Grandy-Momma-Daddy so way back in the dust they really can't be seen, as they wave their bye-byes and wish the changing genome well.

GRANDY-MOMMA-DADDY: (waving) Drive safe. Remember to write. Something. Anything. Just-keep-do-ing-it. It's why you're here, hands solo, keeping record of the human score.

So you write. Like now, parked near Tom's Drugs in a small, college town in the farmlands of Ohio, while picking up a Wifi link that connects you to Nic Harcourt's morning show at Cal State Northridge, as you write this line while listening to Pink Floyd's 1979 song "Hey You."

So, hey you, reader on a world-wide-web that's like the highway web that connects the everything to everything of North America, both in the present and the past. Except this web, with electron arms draped loose around a planet, is a rocket ship that's traveling so much faster than the Buick, as linking everything to everything explodes into a larger, 3D universe of space and time.

It's like the ancient riddle: "What came first -- the idea of a human looking for a tool, or a tool that became an idea-mirror of human looking?"

"'Riddle' -- sounds like 'fiddle,' also 'diddle,'" Felicity likes to say, rye-smiling. She has a sympathetic view of our human capability for fucking off.

As I write that line she's exiting Tom's Drugs, where we stopped for a certain "feminine hygiene product" that looks a lot like the structural system for a rocket, minus the fins and nose cone, but with the bottom line that keeps the rocket's base securely anchored to the launchpad.

Fel's smiling because she's having fun as we navigate the landscape of America in my granddad's old, '96 Buick Roadmaster station wagon, the back now full of the shit two young people carry with them as they nomad-travel across a place still relativey new. Like us, and you, new in geo terms, and non-tribal civil terms, and bio-evolution terms. Where new and old aren't adversarial, just time- and placemarks on one long, life-form's pathway through continuum, as something really new existing at the edge of something really old.

As we continue going west, two newbie h-sapes on a road that's more about a story that is us, than a highway made of asphalt.

20150520 10:31 (549 words)
- "Thumbelina" by Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, from "Learning to Crawl" 1984, performed live 1995
- "Falling From the Sky" by Joey and John Burns of Calexico, from "Edge of the Sun" 2015, performed in studio 2015

"putting us in time, 01: coffee with the ghost"

... and behold, a joyful noise was loosed upon the whorled

(photo of galaxy NGC 1566 in the constellation Dorado, 40 million light-years from Earth, taken by the Hubble space telescope)

(Lake Street Dive* band members Bridget Kearney, Mike Olson, Mike Calabrese and Rebecca Price; photo from WERU community radio in Blue Hill and Bangor, ME)

(Scene 27 -- interior, day, gone-to-seed cafe; Ghost Guy enters, walks slowly just above the floor from door to counter, then sits just above a stool)

GHOST GUY: (faint smile)

WAITRESS VELMA: So what'll it be, oh, missing-atoms one?

GG: (mouthing) Coffee, please.

WV: Sorry?

GG: (takes notepad/pen from jacket pocket, writes, turns pad toward her)

WV: (reading) "Coffee, please, fair maiden"? (glances up) Really? Have you had the prescription for the ghost glasses checked lately?

GG: (does silent "ha-ha")
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20150422 09:52 (761 words)
- * from Lake Street Dive:
- "Use Me Up" by M. Olson
- "Bad Self Portraits" B. Kearney
- "Stop Your Crying M. Calabrese
- "Clear a Space" R. Price
- "Seventeen" B. Kearney
... all from the album "Bad Self Portraits" 2014
- and a two-hour songwriting masterclass at the New England Conservatory, that is worth your creative-curiosity time

"mono logo - smarter than smart"

(photo from pixgood)

On a personal note -- there is proof again this week that people really are smarter than chickens.

We don't leave eggs out in the open. We dye them pretty colors, then hide the eggs so well they often can't all be found, until a few weeks after Easter when they rot.

Which can diminish the inherent smartness of the whole "death and resurrection then dead again" story, as it plays out every year in sock drawers, kitchen cupboards, and crowded hallway closets around the world.

Until now, and the new Apple Watch with its Easter Egg geo-locator app. Thank you, Apple, for helping relegate utility and reason to knickknacks in the current human-bauble diorama, making smarter than smart so much realer than real.

20150418 14:04 (127 words)
- "Been Here Before" by Martin Gjerstad, T. Johansson, Peter Minorsson, Anouk Teeuwe, from the album "To Get Her Together" 2011, performed by Anouk live on 3FM

"looking at the end - what time is it?"

(photo from a cnet story on the new Apple watch roll-out April 10)

"So asking 'What time is it?' as you're looking at the end, is like traveling in a car, over a road with history in time and space," Kelsey says, sitting in the passenger seat of Long Down's '87 Ford pickup.

Windows down, their outboard arms and shoulders are set like breeze diverters, channeling the fragrant morning air through and out the rear, truck cab sliding window. They're doing 30 on the dusty road to Sugarland -- 50 acres, a cabin and a barn in the scrub-oak, grass-rolled hills of the California central coast range mountains -- 35 winding miles west of Greenfield, a city of 16,000 in the vineyard and truck garden, lettuce-lands of the Salinas Valley.
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20150410 22:45 (557 words)
- "It'll Get You There" by Jenny Lewis, from the Rilo Kiley album "Rkives" 2013
- "Everything You Need" by The Lonely Wild, from the album "The Sun as it Comes Up" 2013, performed live at The Echo in L.A. Dec. 2012
- "Rock & Roll is Cold" by Matthew E. White, from the album "Fresh Blood" 2015, performed live at BRIC House Mar. 2015
- KCSN, 88.5 FM L.A., Mo-Fr 06:00-11:00 a.m. the Morning Show w/Nic Harcourt

"mono logo - out of the time closet"

(photo from that's my gig)

(a guy with a nightly gig stands before an audience at Rockefeller Center doing standup comedy)

FALLON: In Indiana today, the Governor said he was confused that Gays could have so many friends while living in the closet.

HIGGINS: But wasn't that the point of coming "out" of the closet?

FAL: I think so. And maybe the point of living "in" the past, is that it can seem like things never change. (pause, to audience) Hello, welcome to The Tonight Show. I'm Jimmy Fallon, sitting in tonight for Johnny Carson.

BAND: (plays start of "Johnny's Theme" *)

FAL: (to Questlove) Thanks, Doc. And, I confess, I did-not-know you played the drums.

BAND: (plays "do-do-do-do" notes from "Twilight Zone" theme *)

FAL: Wait -- you aren't Doc. (slaps face, shakes head) Higgins? Are you there?

HIG: Yes Jimmy.

FAL: (to Higgins) Wow. I think I drifted off for a moment. Tell me Carson's not really on vacation.

HIG: He's not. He moved on to play the Big Room.

FAL: That's good. For a moment I thought I was back in the '60s.

HIG: Really? How was it?

FAL: Like being back in high school, before you knew better. You know, struggling to realize how messed up you, and things, really are, as you keep making the same mistakes, over and over.

HIG: Yeah. Some people think we're on the verge of forgetting that the '60s ever taught us anything.

FAL: That sounds deep.

HIG: It's possible. Sidekicks get better lines now.

FAL: That's cool. So living in the past, then --

HIG: Is like living in a time closet. And we need to --

FAL: Bring conservatives out of the time closet?

HIG: You realize we can't really do any of this, right?

FAL: Yeah, but, still -- how is forcing anyone to live in a time closet, right?

20150401 14:28 (317 words)
- * "Johnny's Theme" by Paul Anka, performed by Doc Severinsen and the NBC Orchestra
- * "Twilight Zone" theme by Marius Constant, w/"do-do-do-do" at 0:37
- by KT Tunstall: a) "Miniature Disasters" from "Eye to the Telescope" 2004, performed in studio (2007); b) "Yellow Flower" from "Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon" 2013, performed in studio 2013

"mono logo - math blood"

(photo from pixgood)

(a girl stands before an audience doing stand-up comedy)

1) "All of our days are numbered. We just don't know what number we're on." *

Which is ok because, if we did, then we'd all be taking advice from mathematicians.

Don't get me wrong, mathematicians can be lovely people. But would you take life advice from someone you wouldn't want driving your car?

(hands on steering, turning head right, back to front in conversation)

"It's ok. With the weight of this vehicle, going up a 1% grade, I won't have to apply the brakes for another --"

(turning head, hands thrown up in front of face)

The ancient Greeks called this "the tragedy of math," and it's pretty much why I stopped doing math homework in high school. That and algebra.

2) "I got my blood tested the other day, and my doctor said that everything seemed normal. Wow, I guess acting really is in my blood." *

It's an old expression -- a skill being "in your blood." The first time I heard it I was 6. My Mom said she thought someone had "writing in his blood."

I thought that was so cool, and for the next 6 months I spent a lot of time pricking a finger to see what my blood was saying.

I used a hand lens, then a neighbor's microscope, looking for the story my body was trying to tell me. Eventually, I had to face the fact that my blood was probably illiterate.

And for the next 6 months I was totally stumped. How could "I" read and write, if my blood could not?

Eventually, walking around looking totally stumped became embarrassing. So I started acting like I had everything figured out. And that's when I realized I must have acting in my blood.

20150330 10:07 (309 words)
* writing prompt resuscitation from the ER department

- "O Magnum Mysterium", a chant from the Matins of Christmas reworked by Kevin Memley and performed by the Univ. of Wisc. Eau Claire Concert Choir conducted by Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff, performed 2013?
- by KT Tunstall: a) "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree", from "Eye to the Telescope" 2004; b) "Invisible Empire", from "Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon" 2013

"1+1 - 1+1 ="

(photo from getty images by Phil Boorman)

... the place where binary math begins, and word farming just continues rotating the letter crops -- zero being just an "o" with an unrealistic sense of self

- READER 1: And this kind of zero-sum, self-revelation word math is somehow not a stroll through the gardens of embarrassment?

- READER 2: Yeah. I can't bear to watch.

(movie pitch summary: It's 2015, there is an Internet that holds the potential to connect people across the vast expanse of planetary space. What the fuck went wrong?)
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20150328 12:42 (707 words)
- Oleta Adams singing "Get Here" by Brenda Russell, live in Amsterdam 2014 - [cosmic irony note: the music link above, found after writing the closing above, actually ends with "...CHumpE"; thank-you, youtube, for shivering my google]
- Brenda Russell singing "Piano in the Dark", from the album "Get Here" 1988
- Van Morrison full concert, Belfast, Feb. 1979 - [this is magic-good]

"poli ticks"

"Listen carefully -- Christ died for our grooming sins. So I'm proud to have been selected as 'Mr. March' by the Association of Conservative Anti-Gay Fastidious Men."
(Indiana Gov. Mike Pence after signing bill to make sexual discrimination a religious right of the religious right -- which is, like, right squared, so obviously better; photo from Politico)

20150327 11:30 (59 words)
- "What Kind of Man" by Florence + The Machine, from the album "How Big How Blue How Beautiful" 2015
- "Ruby Soho" by Rancid, from "... And Out Come the Wolves" 1995
- "Family Tree" by Kings of Leon, from "Mechanical Bull" 2013
- "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman, from "Tracy Chapman" 1988, performed live 1989

/oil and money/

oil and money
(photo from)

keep_it_in_the_ground 02
(Keep it in the ground campaign at The Guardian)

Problem: a) oil and b) money. Solution: a) leave it in the ground, and b) something equally as simple for a global-money corruption cure -- redefining "money" as what it is, a means we've created to simplfy economic exchange. Individuals and business entities may acquire it, use it, borrow and loan it, but they can never "own" it because it's not a thing of value, just a means. And trying to turn a means into a thing of value only diminishes the unique value of both things and means, as something becomes everything, everything is nothing, and the possibilities we've created in the interplay of things and means, become walking deer-meat frozen in the headlights of two approaching zeros.*

20150318 09:52 (123 words)
* (from a comment to the continuing Petrobras scandal in Brazil, in a story Tu in The Guardian)
- "Love is a Country" by The Wallflowers from the album "Glad All Over" 2012, performed live on WFUVRADIO Oct. 2012, lyrics

"mono logo - aisle eyes"

photo from

(monologue -- a girl does stand-up comedy before an audience, starting with: "I met my soul mate in the frozen food section of Trader Joes, but he was too busy swiping on Tinder to notice me."*)

It's so annoying -- trying to pick up people in both the real world, and the internet world, in the same grocery story, at the same time. I'm sure the ancient Greeks would have said this was logically impossible. Which might actually be a commentary on the times, if I happened to be someone who spent her time commenting on the times.

But it's such a shame that the grocery store, as a better pick-up bar, never really got a chance to develop. It can reveal so much more than just knowing that someone likes to put the umbrellas from her mai-tais, in her hair.

Compare that to two people in a grocery store, cruising the frozen food aisle. I love frozen food chefs. One of my favorite fantasies is to meet someone who will microwave fettuccine Alfredo for me, after sex. That's so sweet. And creamy. Combine that with frozen pasta in a dish that will keep through dozens of frozen food lovers, and it's a great example of human grocery achievement.

Really, you can tell more about people by just one glance at their grocery cart, than you can with all the staged-impromptu "wow this person looks so full of life" photos, and traded catch-phrases on the internet.

"No veg? Of any kind? At all? Excuse me, but do you have no understanding of how the human body works?"

And how intimate do you really want to get, with someone who is living every day with a colon packed with edible concrete? Unless, I guess, you have a fetish for the aromatic delicacy of finely aged farts.

"Excuse me, is that Fritos, beer and ..."

"... extra-anchovy pizza. Yeah, a week ago Thursday. Wow -- what a nose for romance."

20150307 13:51 (359 words)
* prompt from ER
- "I Put a Spell on You" by Jay Hawkins, from the album "At Home with Screamin' Jay Hawkins" 1956, performed by Annie Lennox 2014
- "Morning Sun" by Michael Prins, 2013
- KT Tunstall performing "I Want You Back" live at Schuba's Tavern in Chicago, Jan. 2006; written by "The Corporation" - Berry Gordy, Freddie Perren, Alphonzo Mizell, and Deke Richards - at Motown Records, released as a single by the Jackson 5 in Oct. 1969, and on their debut studio album "Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5" in Dec.

"mono logo - chasing perfect"

(monologue -- a girl does stand-up comedy before an audience, starting with: "It's true we only have one season in L.A. -- perfect, all the time."*)

In fact -- someone I know refers to the European settlement of the entire Western Hemisphere as "chasing perfect." Which he thinks is way better than "manifest destiny" because it's both less confusing, and has fewer syllables.

In this "chasing perfect" version of human migration, then, when the Puritans got off the boat, looked around at all the vacant real estate with opportunities for nail salons and coffee bars, they thought the travel brochures were right in describing North America as "the perfect place to find your dream, and get your repressed boogie on."

So they shot some turkeys, invited the neighbors, and had a dinner feast that even today still shows its repressed roots. Then it snowed -- which was cool, because six inches of Puritan snow on the ground was perfect for keeping the Thanksgiving leftovers. Then it snowed some more, and then some more. Pretty soon the inches of snow turned into feet, and it wasn't long before the settlers lost track of where they'd put the fridge.

Which made life difficult. Though not as difficult as it would become by February when the toilet was buried beneath eight feet of snow. Imagine how that must have been -- sitting in the dark with just a candle, inside the igloo of a frozen crapper, and dreaming of stories of the perfect lands to the west. Where girls and boys frolicked on the beach, and cruised palm-tree lined boulevards in shiny, Italian racing wagons.

So it's not surprising that the "city of angels" would eventually become a crowded "shaky heaven," once enough lawyers had arrived to keep the perfect angels to their contracts.

"Did you feel that?" one angel would one day say to another.

"Uh, yeah. I guess. But it wasn't, like, a seismic orgasm."

"Yeah. Definitely. Just foreplay in the crust."

20150304 18:55 (337 words)

* story prompt from ER -- muchos groceries

"mono logo - the continuing story of my name-drop life"

thea empty stage
(photo from pixgood)

(monologue -- a girl does stand-up comedy before an audience, starting with: "I'm really bad with names. I'm constantly dropping them."*)

I've always dropped names. I don't know why. Maybe at conception I never got the self-image "grasp" gene that lets normal people hang onto them. I'm not sure. Personality gene theory is way over my head. In fact, until a year ago I thought personality genes were something people got at a GAP store.

And though I can't remember it, I'm pretty sure I must have started dropping names in the delivery room, maybe shortly after I made my entrance by sliding through the fleshy tent flaps. "Whoa, can someone ask Mr. DeMille to please turn down the freaking lights!!?? I'm so not ready for my close-up."
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20150221 14:42 (1691 words)
* story prompt from ER; thanks, and we hope your life is nowhere near this psychedelic-dark

- by Tommy Emmanuel: 1) "Angelina"; 2) "The Tall Fiddler" -- both from the album "Endless Road" 2004
- by Dotan: 1) "Home"; 2) "Fall" -- from "7 Layers" 2014
- by Joni Mitchell: 1) "Last Chance Lost"; 2) "The Magdalene Laundries" -- from "Turbulent Indigo" 1994; 3) "Sisotowbell Lane"; 4) "Cactus Tree" -- from "Song to a Seagull" 1968

/blizzard lizard/

Feb 15 2015 Valentines Blizzard 60
(snowplow sculpture -- photo from WBZ TV Boston -- done by a teacher and students at the May Institute, Randolph MA, Feb. 13, 2015)

20150217 10:26 (38 words)
- "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades" by Pat MacDonald, with Barbara MacDonald, together known as the band
Timbuk3 from the album "Greetings From Timbuk3" 1986
- "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon, from the album "Graceland" 1986
- "Make You Better" by Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, from the album "What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World" 2015, performed live on KCRW Portland OR, Jan. 2015

"and the winner is ..."

fi  oscar 02
(Oscar statue from neon gods)

"... being real," Buckley says to her image in the bathroom mirror.

It's Saturday, a week before the 2015 Oscars and she has driven up to Bristol, ME in Nora, from her top floor, triple-decker Cambridge rent share with three other Mitten students. She's come to ride out the coming weekend blizzard with her Great-Aunt Lilly.

Sunday the temps are forecast to drop into the minus singles, with winds along the coast of 25 to 60, and 8-16" of snow possible -- which would fall on top of the plowed, blown and shoveled heaps of snow now high enough to climb up and stand on, and see eye-to-eye with second-story windows.

Which means that across the eastern coast of New England this winter, high school girls can be seen throwing open their bedroom windows, sticking heads out and yelling at the boy next door: "Hey, pervert, go peep at your freaking Momma!!!"
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20150214 11:36 (880 words)
- "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Gary Brooker, Keith Reid, and Matthew Fisher of the British rock group Procol Harum, released as a single in 1967, performed here by Annie Lennox
- ... and here by Procol Harum, in the remastered video of their original 16mm music-film-video made in 1967
- ... with lyrics
- KCSN 88.5fm Northridge CA, "The Morning Show" Mo-Fr 6:00-11:00 with Nic Harcourt

"defining time and place"

... with crayon words and a sheet of 3D electron paper

(from the glee wiki)

"Hello?" ... "HELLO!!??" small person yells.

"You're saying that you're feeling 'mel-low'? Then why are you yelling? I don't ..." big person replies.

"Ha-ha, I'm so not laughing. I'm saying I need a new phone. Trying to communicate with this dime store piece of crap --"


"... piece of crudely manufactured, communications apparatus, is like trying to say something meaningful by using two tin cans and a length of string."

"I see. But you realize that for centuries people used tin cans and string to communicate, without complaining."

"So it was the 'not complaining,' then, that prevented technological advancement?"
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20150203 16:47 (518 words)
- excerpts from the soundtrack of "American Experience - JFK" 2013, music by Joel Goodman
- Analog Players Society performing: a) "Just a Day"; and b) "Let the Music Play" from the album "Hurricane Season in Brooklyn" 2012
- Jeff Buckley performinng: a) "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, from the album "Grace" 1994; and b) "Everybody Here Wants You" from "Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk" 1998
- KALX 90.7fm, Berkeley

"shoegazing on a tangent"

... at a time and place where everything has become more proximate than intersecting

pe mu slowdive souvlaki cover
(cover photo from the Slowdive album "Souvlaki" 1993)

"'Bulbous,'" Mary says. She's sitting on the narrow balcony of "the motor home," a small one-bedroom apartment above a small 1.5 car garage in Santa Monica that she shares with Dildo, a.k.a. Anthony Marquette Sandstorm Lurch.

He's sitting next to her, both butt-forward, legs up on the balcony rail, backs curved like the butter and cream cheese croissants they've been scarfing down like kids loitering in the cardiac aisle of a French pastry candy store, as they sit slouched on the cushioned seats of matching rocking chairs, coffee mugs balanced by one hand on their laps, foot-bare in oldie shorts and t-shirts with artwork so faded from years of wash and sun the shirtfronts look like the pastel tracks of time, left in cotton dust.
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20150115 11:25 (895 words)
- "Taste" and "Vapour Trail" by Ride from the album "Nowhere" 1990
- "Shine" and "Souvlaki Space Station" by Slowdive from the albums "Blue Day" 1992 and "Souvlaki" 1993
- "Just a Girl" by The Pale Fountains performed live at Lido in Leuven, Belgium 1982
- WMBR 88.1fm, Cambridge MA, fall/winter 2014 program schedule (raises forearm and hand, palm facing forward, fingers pressed tight together, moving thumb away from index finger then back, in the universal sign for "Go, Mittens!")

- above bastardized W.H. Auden quote from "The Sea and the Mirror: A Commentary on Shakespeare's The Tempest" 1944 -- "... between the bottle and the loo, a lost thing looks for a lost name"

"last of the mohicans"

ref moccasins fr univ of colo
(apx 900-year-old insulated moccasins from the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, "moccasin" from the Algonquian-Powhatan-Massachusett "makasin")

"... genuine Mohicans for only $19.95 plus shipping, hand-crafted in China, sold and shipped by Slipper World -- hurry, just 1 pair left."

"Oh fuck my biscuit and call me footwear," Eleanor Holmquist mutters to herself, as she hesitates, then clicks "add to cart." She is hunched over Edward Scissorkeys, her name for the cheap Toshiba laptop she found on sale on Best Buy's website just four years ago.

"Thank you, Edward," she now says and runs an index finger across the textured plastic just above the keyboard. "Good boy." She likes to anthropomorphize the stuff that passes through her life.

"But that sort of thing can eventually create an imbalance between what's real and human in your life, and what's not," Dr. Helptorn offered last year on Ellie's second visit.

"Yeah, I know. So I counterbalance the anthropomor by de-anthropomoring people on a regular basis." She tilted her head back on the leather couch arm and glanced at Dr. Helptorn. "In point of fact, it turns out pretty much evenly divided. Which is not as hard as one might think since so many people, today, are determined that the only characters they can ever play are pre-human beastie retreads."
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2014-12-12 10:57 (912 words)
- "Yesterday" by Paul McCartney, from the Beatles album "Help!" 1965, performed by Ruut 2014
- "Always Like This" by Bombay Bicycle Club, and "Shuffle" by Jack Steadman, id., from their albums "I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose" 2009 and "A Different Kind of Fix" 2011
- written and performed by Florence Welch + a couple of The Machinists - "Lover to Lover" and "Shake it Out" in the studios of RTP (Public Radio and Television of Portugal) 2011; and "Cosmic Love" at KEXP Seattle 2010

"fan dancing"

... through the personal space that is the ballroom of your head

pe singer caro emerald fr north sea jazz fest 2010
(Caro Emerald at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam 2010*)

pe philosopher rene descartes
"This girl rocks." (portrait of René Descartes by Frans Hals 1648)

pe biologist robert hooke
"Oh, yeah." (portrait of Robert Hooke by Rita Greer 2004)

Having no clue how the ritual of "fan dancing" actually began, we built a conga-line of imagined Google search responses as a way of practicing our typing. While, as always, being on the lookout for some sort of meaning-in-connection between the vagrant link-link taking place inside our head, and the electron-computer mirror of that we call a web.

You know, like Descartes might have done while sitting by a fire in the 1630s, if he'd had a cheap Toshiba laptop.

"I surf, type and spell-check, therefore, I am," he types, rereads then rewrites: "... therefore, I am someone with a self-esteem that's solid ... that is solidly grounded while at the same time being planetaryily broad ... which is both cool and hot, together, at the same time, in the same selfied sense of self ... or, more often, cool and hot at different times in close proximity, often waving as the cool-hot pass each other like strangers on passing trains, one heading toward the bright lights of the city, the other deep into the unrelenting darkness of a wilderness night ... one train perhaps with the words 'PINKY LIKES HIS BISCUITS' spray-painted on the side of several cars, an act of rebel marketing that may have been responsible for the sharp rise in biscuit consumption in towns along certain rail lines in 1637 France."

- EDITOR: (to Descartes) A little wordy here.
- DESCARTES: (to Editor) I rewrite, therefore, I am. Live with it.
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2014-11-27 15:31 (758 words)
- live performance by Caro Emerald and her rocking samba-swing band at the North Sea Jazz Festival. Rotterdam 2010* (and, because life is short, you could start with dessert first -- the encore "Stuck" at 42:20)
- "Plowin' Mule" by Doug MacLeod at The Blue Room Sessions 2014
- "God Bless the Child" (starts at 2:20) by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog 1939, performed by Oleta Adams live on the Dutch tv show "2 Meter Sessies" 1993

"gather roses ..."

mu the kansas sessions album cover

"... while you may, while the bloom is full, for the blossom soon will fade, and the bloom grow dull"(1)(2)

At age nine Margaret had the idea and worked the return projections out for three, five, and seven years on a spreadsheet. On her notebook screen it all looked good. By the time she was 16 she could leave Lester Holmes Regional Junior and Senior High School, and buy that small island in the Bahamas Johnny Depp once owned.

In her fantasy she'd send "J.D." a Christmas card just to show him what he'd missed -- Margaret, at 16, bronze and gleaming through the cocoa butter, in a bikini you could fit inside the eyelid of newt. She'd be sexy rich. She always knew it. With disposable boyfriends and girlfriends whose calls she would decline to take, on a solid gold iPhone that she'd call "The Jobs."
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2014-11-11 23:16 (777 words)
- (1) a) above quote from the song "Sandman" from the album "The Kansas Sessions" 2008 by Kirsty McGee and The Hobopop Collective; linked above with a second song b) "Setting of the Sun" from "Contraband" 2012

original quote:
- (2) "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may" from the poem "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" 1648, by the English poet Robert Herrick

"sailing past the tether"

(Laura Dekker* sailing Guppy, wing-on-wing)

Early in the morning Angie runs down to the shore of Fellows Lake. By August there's often little difference in the morning, between the lake and the air around it. Both are wet enough for trout to swim in, which they might well do if the trout just had a stronger feeling for adventure.

- TROUT BILLY JOEL: Hey, man -- ever wanna air swim? It might be cool.
- TROUT RUDY BLUE: Nah, man. Cool's not doing stuff on your own. If no one's there to be cool for, how can anything ever hope to approach the state of cool?
- TBJ: Yeah, right, man. The state of cool. It's like that old riddle: "If a cool tree falls in the forest, and no one's there to witness the coolness of its falling, how can it really be cool?"
- TRB: Right, man. (raises fin, as they fin bump)

So, fish don't fly. At least not the cool ones. They pretty much just hang out in school, then mate and die. Which might not sound exciting enough to get picked up as a series on HBO, but then they're just fish so what can you expect?

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2014-10-26 23:27 (1137 words)
- Baby's Coming Back by Jellyfish from the album "Bellybutton" 1990, lyrics
- "Northern Sky" by Nick Drake from the album "Bryter Layter" 1970, lyrics, chords
- "Colorado Girl" by Townes Van Zant; and - "Once" by Laura Marling, both performed by her live at eTown 2014
- "Road Regrets" 2010, lyrics; - "Post-War Blues" 2012, lyrics; - "The Indie Queens Are Waiting" 2009, lyrics, chords, all by Dan Mangan
- Eider Falls at Lake Tahoe by Kate Bush, music and animation from her website 2012
- "Elastic Baby" performed live by the band Nilsson, lead singer Marieke Eelman, from the album "Nilsson" 1997, lyrics
- * "Maidentrip" 2013, directed by Jillian Schlesinger, a documentary about Laura Dekker, who completed a solo trip around the world on a 40' sailboat called Guppy, at the age of 16 in Gregorian calendar years, which translates to 112 in dog years, and to a number that has no meaning as a measure of the personal distance traveled by people


"It happens slowly, over time" Edgar Millbrook says explaining Frontman's theory on "Shyness in Regression" to the class. Prof. Millbrook is 62, still lean as wheat straw standing in a field, and with a marked though aged resemblance to Sean Connery as he followed Honey Ryder through Jamaica in the movie "Dr. No" -- which is why many students call him "0060."

It's 10:30 Thursday morning in week three of fall trimester, and over half the 300 students enrolled in "PHYS 101 - The Physics of Emotion" are present in the hall. In another month that figure will be halved again as the attendance half-life of Millbrook's lectures remains remarkably consistent.

To fit that observation to a suit of numbers is why he takes a photo of the hall at the beginning of each lecture. He doesn't care who came and who had something else to do. He counts the faces and adds the number to his "compendium of data" which, thirty years ago, before computers came to be his closest friends, resided in the pages of a hundred ledger books.

"Numbers can reveal," Millbrook likes to say, as he said three years ago to Alice Warmsly, the Dean of Arts and Sciences, in suggesting that a survey class in "quantifying emotional capability" might interest 18-22-year-olds who, as first-time travelers beyond the island bases of their gene pools, might find some comfort in seeing things in terms of "the unsinkable boat" of numbers.

"Really? You've actually graphed the life of shyness?" Dr. Warmsly asked without a hint of irony. Millbrook's reputation with numbering the world was well-established. It was said that once he got the bed bugs out of his "Amalgamation of Love and Loss," the currency of human interaction would at last be backed by emo gold.

"And though it might seem to happen quickly," Millbrook continues, flogging Frontman's shyness to the students who showed up, "that's only because as the scale of time and space gets smaller we tend to see what happens at the level of the scale in terms of larger hypotheticals."

Which is like what happened in the scene from "Dr. No" where Bond and Honey Ryder spent an evening in a bed with a tub of coffee ice cream.

- HR: So what will it be -- another spoon of this, or a spoon of me?
- JB: (in a Scottish accent too thick to cover with a woolen skirt) I can't decide. You choose.
- (2 shot, both lost in silent beaming)
- HR: Isn't metaphor a gas.
- JB: Yes. Like mirror gazing at a hanging, toga fart, that just won't fade away.

2014-10-08 09:31 (452 words)
"Landslide" performed by UMass Dynamics from their album "Giraffes Out of Bed" 2013, written by Stevie Nicks from the album "Fleetwood Mac" 1975
- using this a lot -- Artha, a dictionary-thesaurus that, when loaded at each boot, runs in the background using just 20MB of ram and can be called up from whatever app you might be using at the moment (email, browser, text editor, database, spreadsheet, word processor, online post screen), by just highlighting a word and pressing a hotkey combination to get a window with lists of definitions, synonyms, derivatives, similar words; it's very handy, cool, free and educational, and runs on linux (search for it in the distro's software package manager) and windows

"hard lines"

It started in first grade. With a left hand not much larger than a still young, flesh-white plum that had, miracle of miracles, sprouted fingers and a thumb, Charter-use Font-a-guy -- a name Brian Nordster created at age fourteen when he submitted "Bus Notes" to "storyland.com" magazine in Dubuque, thinking his chances of getting published might be helped with a name that sounded sophisti-foreign-cated, while still being written in a way that made it easy to pronounce -- began the written record of his fiction wordlings with a pencil called "Big Al." Even in first grade he liked his imaginary readers, and figured the more he tried to be accessible the more those future scrollers of the white electron page would love him in return.

But eight years before "Bus Notes" changed his life forever, there was first grade and a future Font-a-guy who gripped the enormous graphite-wooden silo of Big Al like a pencil that seemed large enough to hunt wild game with, while trekking across the vast and fertile velds of Africa.

"Brian Nordster?" Miss Angel said again, louder on her third try, as our future Font-a-guy came to and looked up at her scowling by the whiteboard at the front of class. "Thanks for joining us. And your answer to the question, please -- the capital of South Dakota is what city?"
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2014-08-26 12:11 (569 words)
- "The Curse" by Josh Ritter, from the album "So Runs the World Away" 2010 (with lyrics down the page), performed live on Minnesota Public Radio in June 2011
- "Dream On/Roxanne" a mash-up of Aerosmith's "Dream On" and The Police's "Roxanne," performed by UMass Dynamics from the album "Giraffes Out of Bed" 2013
- by Damien Rice:
- "Cannonball" from the album "O" 2002, lyrics
- his full set at the Best Kept Secret Festival June 2013
- "Unplayed Piano" and Lisa Hannigan 2005, lyrics

"washing roseanne's balls"

(for the ER doctor)

When I was younger and dreamed of one day having a borderline career as an actress and comedian, I saw myself as another Joan Rivers or Roseanne Barr. I know -- hard to believe, right? But they were my heroes -- bold, assertive, and with an honesty that pulled no punches. Like "Rocky" in a skirt, and with all his teeth. And like Roseanne, I dreamed that one day someone would say they'd like to play a round of golf with me, just to watch me wash my balls.

But that's not exactly how things managed to turn out. I never learned to play that kind of golf. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I never got the balls. I mean, I asked Santa for them every Christmas. But what I got instead were ballet lessons, music lessons, tickets to "The Nutcracker." Maybe I spent too much time with "The Nutcracker," I don't know.

Anyway -- the borderline career thing did happen. And continue. And continue. Which is ok, I'm not complaining. I like the fact that L.A. is such a border town, with so many people struggling, living on the border between success and that other thing that people living on the border of success can't really bring ourselves to talk about. Which is about the only "F" word you never hear anyone in L.A. say.

Some people might say that's living in denial. To me, it looks more like being optimistic. You know, a kind of quiet and dogged, not willing to give up "optimistic." Which could be just another kind of honest toughness. Like watching a lot of different versions of Roseanne, washing their own unique and different balls.

2014-07-26 15:49 (295 words)
- "Ubi Caritas" by Ola Gjeilo
- "Water Night" by Eric Whitacre
- performed by the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Concert Choir conducted by Gary R. Schwartzhoff


... donutting at the fast break

"So you're saying what, then, Tonsil Batman?" Melody asks the question like it's not rhetorical. Which it is because she knows both the every and the thing of everything about this story. It is, after all, the story of her song, which is why we call her "Melody." With "we" being Edgar Hooplin Townsend Ross, on indigo harmonica, his sister Varsity on first trombone, Pretty Elvis on the dollar ukulele, and me, Once Risk Averse, on drums and Sally gong. It's 7:30 Sunday morning and we're in the kitchen while the others are asleep, in the big house on the hill at Sutter's Ferry.

"Metaphor is just a duck that lost its waddle," I answer, sitting down across the ancient, bare oak kitchen table in a baggy t and nearly rag-bag boxers. "It's a bloat-float, ancient fable of a duck, that's not a duck and also not a story about anything we can now relate to. It's just something from the handsome-godsome pantheon of our past, where describing what was real required images and characters so extravagant and vague they moved like constellations through our airy heads."
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2014-07-04 12:39:01 (499 words)
- "I Know That He's Mine" and "Stuck" by CaroEmerald from the album "Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor" 2010
- "I Like Being At Home" by Ivor Game from the album "Wake Up and Sing" 2008
- "Stories We Tell" 2012, directed by Sarah Polley

"alive almost"

... the continuing story of one boy's journey through a world where no one really needs to be someone else's dinner

poster for the movie "Alive" 1993

"So the scene of the survivors not dining on the bodies of the dead, here, is a metaphor for -- what?" Felicity Halston asks, looking up over her reading half-glasses, above the rumpled pages of a script resting on a desk nearly deep enough for half-court basketball.

Felicity Halston is Senior Vice-President of Development at ArmAndLeg Pictures. Jiles Newburg, a writer supplicant, sits politely before her in a cushy chair near the visitors' edge of her enormous desk. Desk size in Hollywood can be the furniture equivalent of a metaphorical penis that's large enough to fuck you over really good, if you make it angry.
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2014-06-28 11:17:56 (784 words)
music by Ruut DeMeo from the album "Glimpse" 2013:
- "Unbeatable"
- "No One Will Ever Love You" written by Steve McEwan and John Paul White

"all the answers"

who is brave - you
who is daft - me
who is trapped - everyone
who is safe - no one
who is the provider, short-term - capitalism gone crazy
who is the destroyer of worlds, long-term - see above
who is alive and commenting - me
who is alive and never responding to anything I say - um, gee, that's a tough one

2014-05-29 11:00 (62 words)
- "The Gunner Song" and "What Does the Spleen Do?" by 2nd year Harvard Med School students 2013
- "Crazy For You" by Adele from the album "19" 2008, lyrics
- "Portions For Foxes" by Rilo Kiley, performed by UMass Dynamics from their album "Barking Mad" 2014

"famous twitter resumes"

... because if you can't sum up who you are in 140 characters, your life is b-o-r-i-n-g

Smart. How smart? Like putting all your hopes and dreams in one 3-gallon bucket, and still having room for lunch. That smart.

I have so many patents that I had to resole all my shoes with patent leather, just to have someplace to put them all.

I think refinement is okay for some people. But for me, I'd rather just get the "finement" right the first time, and not have to redo it.

If I could tell the world just one thing it would be: "Put your ego back in your pants. Really, no one wants to watch you fondle it."

Sure -- I drink a little. I used to drink a lot. Then I found that if I just drank a little, I could do it for a lot longer.

You should hire/enroll me because it would be a gamble. And with a gamble it's always the biggest long-shots that have the biggest payoffs.

2014-04-20 00:42:46 (183 words)

music - by Signe Tollefsen
- "Oh My Love" performed live in 2008
- "Borrowed Song"
- "Where You Been", the last two from the album "Hayes" 2011, both performed live in Mar. 2011

"horror scopes, 01"

Pen, aka Penelope Sclorisi, finds a spot on Hardy Street just three blocks from the beach. That it's barely one tire-width longer than her '98 Corolla, means it takes a full five minutes of bumper-bump to get the rusted Toyota within two feet of the curb. She stuffs her pen and steno notebook into Charlie, the knapsack she's had since 11th grade, gets out and carefully shuts the rust-flaked door.

It's a good omen, so she's smiling. The last time she found a parking place within twenty blocks of the Venice boardwalk was 2009, when she did a story on Bikini Bikers, the club where both girls, and guys, wear only bikinis on their Harleys.

"You must go through a lot of sunscreen," she'd asked Fat Willie, then, nearly naked as he straddled Mary Ann, a hog with an eight-foot-long front fork.

"Never use it," Willie answered. "If you'd just stop bathing, honey, you'd find your skin makes its own sunscreen, moisturizer, and insect repellent."
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2014-04-09 16:19:30 (1245 words)
- "Stay" by Olivia Merilahti and Dan Levy of The Do, from the album "A Mouthful" 2010, lyrics
- "Luna" by Bombay Bicycle Club, from the album "So Long, See You Tomorrow" 2014, lyrics

"dialogging the threshold"

- US: (walks to porch, knocks on door)
- U: (walks to entryway, speaks through door) Yes?
- US: (slowly leans toward door without touching it, like an old Italian tower playing the kid's game "leaning to the edge of fall"; yells) Pizza!
- U: Uh -- I didn't order a pizza. (looks through peephole) Who are you?
- US: (falls against door - *thud*) No idea. I was hoping you could help me figure it out. (leans back from door)
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2014-04-07 09:33:06 (358 words)
music and tv
- "Heal for the Honey" by Brooke Waggoner, from the album "Heal for the Honey" 2008
- "The Goldberg Variations: Aria" by J.S. Bach 1741, played in the video by Glenn Gould, who is sitting at the piano like a lump of coal grooving to the music (a true inspiration to bad posture fans everywhere) ...
- ... and apparently played by actor Donald Moffat in "The West Wing" Season 4, Episode 13: "The Long Goodbye" 2003, with Season 4 being what tv might have dreamed of doing as a child

"go figure"

... or why people have a hard time being lines that are forever parallel, or connecting, or something else that resembles some other form of math; (HAND IN BACK OF CLASS: Uh, 'cuz we're people and not metaphors? MOUTH AT FRONT OF CLASS: That's it. You get an A. So, you know, you can just take off now and do something you really want to do.)

1) the algae bra version, from Tarooty's "9th Theorem On Stuff in Time"

- a) (X+Y) t = 0 ... where X and Y are people, and t (time) = 0 ... which is "time" with nothing happening
- b) (X+Y) (t+1) = (X+Y) ... where stuff happens and the equation changes
- c) (X+Y) (t-1) = -(X+Y) ... see above
- d) summary: positive times produce positive changes; negative times produce, well, just look around, sweet pea

2) the story version, with noodles
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2014-03-19 10:23:20 (858 words)

signs of the times

... following the links -- from open-source web browser software, to coffee and the working mosaic of business as the production and exchange of goods and services, to the Godzilla of a self-defining, empty money vessel called the current "business culture"

new mozilla sign
(from the "monument" video below)

Jan. 10, 2014
- 1) I click on the link in a saved Dec. email from mozilla.org (aka the Mozilla Foundation, the non-profit over-entity of Firefox and Thunderbird) asking for donations, and make a donation.

Feb. 20
- 2) I receive email "news" from mozilla.org with a link to a youtube video showing the design, construction and installation of their new "monument" (aka, a 3-foot-square x 15-foot-high pillar "sign" with Firefox logo, placed just off the sidewalk outside the Mozilla headquarters at 2 Harrison Street in San Francisco.
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2014-02-22 13:34:08 (1092 words)
- "Walking the Backstreets and Crying" by Sandy Jones, Jr. (sadly, the only bio we could find on the web for him), performed by John Primer and The Real Deal Blues Band (from a live performance at Callahan's Music Hall, Auburn Hills, MI, Feb. 2011)
- "Simple Twist of Fate" by Bob Dylan, sung by Stevie Ann (from a live performance on the Dutch tv program De Wereld Draait Door (The World Keeps Turning), Sept. 2011), lyrics here

"fathering a country"

... highlights from the movie

pres day 2014a5
(- a) baby and ted from cuteomatic.com (really? even with a diaper load?) - b) Daddy George with extra blusher, from wikipedia)

Feb. 22, 1732 - George Washington is born near present-day Colonial Beach, Virginia, with ten fingers, ten toes, and a dingus not much larger than an afterthought without the hyphen. No one present in the crowd cheering Mary Washington on at her bedside, imagines that this kid will one day be the father of a country.

"You're kidding, right?" Kurt, the second-assistant midwife director, says at the craft services table between takes of the birthing scene. "Kid's hung more like a parakeet than an eagle. How could he ever father a country?"

"It's a metaphor," Lulu, the production assistant who always wears her clothes inside-out because she thinks the good side should be the side her skin gets to cozy to, replies. "The father of the country isn't actually everybody's bio dad. It's a metaphorical lineage." She's filling an empty 32-ounce Big Gulp cup with peanut M&Ms.

"Right. So with metaphorical lineage, then, it's the penis size of the characterization that's important?"

"Sure," Lulu answers. She's fishing out the blue M&Ms because she's in a mellow mood. "In fact, you could say that metaphor and characterization are both just inflated penis stories."

Kurt's smiling as Lulu palm-loads half a dozen peanut M&Ms into her mouth. She glances up and smiles, talking around her mouthful. "You're imagining me, now, with a mouthful of inflated penis stories, right?"

"Sort of."

2014-02-19 10:31:36 (246 words)

- music: "To Love" by Brooke Waggoner, with vocals by Sanders Bohlke, from the album "Originator" 2013
- movies: "Broken" 2012, on Netflix


... a bowl of words for breakfast

alpha-bits you are what you read
photo from Dylan Heimbrock

Name: Robert Townsend Fairchild

Age: 5 years 7 months

Education: kindergarten -- 4.2 SAA (stars awarded average); lead in Christmas production of "Pirates of the Caribbean" where he kissed Becky Thompson with his tongue (BECKY: Oh, Robert, please -- just grow up. ROBERT: Are you kidding? Pirates don't grow up. Don't you understand the subtext?)

Interests: at breakfast he likes to pour his Alpha-Bits on the place mat before putting them in his bowl, to start the day by finding words

Favorite Word This Week: instinkyouall n (2014) : a group of people who share a common sense that they all smell great

2014-02-07 11:06:59 (100 words)

thank you - 20c

deputy-editor Paul Johnson, executive-director Sheila Fitzsimons, and computer expert David Blishen -- destroying computer hard drives containing leaked material from NSA contractor Edward Snowden, in the basement of the Guardian's offices in London on July 20, 2013; from a Jan. 31, 2014 story by Luke Harding in the Guardian

... the state of journalism at the beginning of the 21c; thank you, 20c, you were the best

2014-01-31 09:16:07 (19 words)

"culture wars"

"Oh ... you are ... so ... wrong. A complete and total letdown that made even the really good stuff in the beginning, now seem lame." Ellis leans back in the booth, shaking her head. "How can you be ... so ... fucking ... stupid?"

Truck smiles back. He knows he's right. "How can you be so upset? Could it be a nagging doubt that says I might be right? It was artful and totally unexpected. The writers should all get awards for stepping so far outside the creative box."

"Creative? The script was written on the walls with writer shit!"

It's the final episode of "Dexter," and it has driven a wedge between them. Really. Like their relationship is a piece of firewood that has now been split, forever.

"How could I have ever let you fuck me?"

"How could I have ever wanted to?"

"You disgust me."

"You ... you ..." he's looking for the right word. The put-down that will be so awesome, Ellis will shrivel like the witch pinned beneath the house in "The Wizard of Oz."

"Can't find the word?" she asks. "Your Mommy Muse is standing in her apron, just staring at you, silent?"

"I'll email it to you."

"Fine." She slides out of the booth, stands and slides her knapsack on one shoulder.

"Fine. Is 'horny_betty_gets_the_blues@hotpocket.com' still good?

"Go fuck yourself."

Five hundred years from now, as demographers look at the sharp drop in the birth rate in the US nine months after the final episode of "Dexter," the real reason might go overlooked.

"Five hundred years from now? That's motherfucking optimistic," the Debra Morgan still living in our head, adds.

2014-01-23 12:32:46 (283 words)

"casualties of were"

Jefferson Milbank Hart is thirty "with youthful overtones" is how his sister, Felicity, puts it in describing her baby bro to friends. What that means is the kid never left the building.

What that means is -- if you really do need the kind of broader redefine that dilutes and redilutes the essence of a thing until what you end up with is a "lightly flavored sparkling water that, without an over-presence, will complement any dish" -- we have no idea how to make it. Which means if you are reading this by looking in the mirror of you, you should go read something else. Which means the vacant, mindless you of you, are both not wanted here. What's living in our head is not a dish of the "always-you-alive-and-breathing-in-the-world-of-you" you-and-you are looking for. So go self-absorb yourself somewhere else.

"You can't drive your readers off in para 2," Editor Ed adds in brackets at the end of para 2.
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2014-01-22 10:02:06 (1217 words)
- "The Indie Queens Are Waiting" by Dan Mangan, from the album "Nice, Nice, Very Nice" 2009, lyrics here
- "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian, from the album "Between the Lines" 1975, lyrics here

"what movie are we in?"

... the House of Crick and other Universities of Business, in the new reality

(from a comment left here: "Shhhh? Scientists need to talk about not talking" by Felicity Mellor)

If pigs could fly, someone could make some serious money. How might this happen? We weren't sure, so we asked our Uncle Spindly, a guy who knows a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff.

Q: So it's 2014. Planet Earth. There are publishers and self-publishing. Book stores. Newsstands. Colleges and universities. Libraries. An Internet. And yet what we really need, if we are to fully realize our creative, human potential and finally enable pigs to fly, is to have a fully-realized free and open exchange of ideas, by investing more money in places like the Crick Institute -- the future bio-tech idea factory in London -- instead of investing in the individual pursuit of understanding and ideas? Is this like building flying pig, idea farms, instead of supporting unconnected, individual idea farmers?

A: Exactly. From factories, to factory farms, to factory idea farms -- the industrial revolution just keeps, you know, revolving.

Q: You mean "evolving"?

A: No, revolving. It's like evolving, but at a higher rpm. You know, because it's industrial.
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2014-01-17 18:48:52 (439 words)
- "Passenger" by Lisa Hannigan from the album "Passenger" 2011, lyrics here
- "Big River" by Charlie Peacock, 2012

"dispelling myths"

... with Chicago-style pizza history

1) Mayonnaise. Not really French, mayonnaise was first invented by the Booty Brothers of South Chicago in the summer of 1894. It was a hot summer. So hot that fish in Lake Michigan could be seen dancing on the surface just to catch a breeze. For much of July and August the water in the lake was actually hot enough to cook spaghetti. Which meant that In the Italian neighborhoods along the South Shore, on those warm Chicago evenings, the beaches would be lined with people floating large pasta pots just offshore with sturdy sticks.

Some evenings the spaghetti might take an hour or two to cook, but people back then were patient. Without cell phones, t.v. or the internet, there really wasn't much to do. So they would often pass the time while waiting for the lake to al dente-ize their noodles, by inventing stuff. Like the "Roberts Wish and Dream Extractor" that, according to the patent, "could extract the dreams from anyone, and turn them into money in less than 90 days."
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2014-01-14 11:50:29 (801 words)

still pimping this music: "I Get Along Without You Very Well" written by Hoagy Carmichael in 1939, recorded by Chet Baker in 1954, and used in the Hans Petter Moland movie "Aberdeen" 2000, on Hulu

"boxing and unboxing day"

"Boxing Day is a traditional, oldie-worldie celebration that occurs December 26th." Angie Clarke is ten and sitting at her desk in Ms. Armstrong's fourth-grade class at Becker Elementary, East Clarion, Pennsylvania.

She finished the report two days early, then "fine-tuned" it last night after 11:00, when Jennifer Littlefield crapped-out on their online chat so she could get her "duty beauty sleep," which is just a verbal, personality blusher to make the fact she likes to sleep sound more attractive. She likes to sleep because she dreams a lot. Action dreams with "dramatic consequence, and really handsome leading men" being the usual drama context she uses to describe the scenes, the next morning on the school bus.

"When I grow up I know exactly what the life I want to have will look like, because I can see it every night as it plays out in my dreams." She smiles and sighs the happy, upbeat sigh of someone with a well-moated self-assurance. She got the moat from both her parents, who met in college and found "to their great and lasting fortune" that they shared moats of personal self-assurance that might have come right off the same, social moat assembly line.
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2014-01-12 10:44:03 (938 words)
- music: "Os Justi" by Anton Bruckner, performed by the UMass Amherst Chamber Choir, 2007
- the writing prompt for this at teleskopos

disasters old and new

tay bridge collapse 1879a
1879 Tay Bridge collapse, from wikipedia link below

(from a comment left at teleskopos)

From the flippant wilds of North America … this is all news to me. Geoengineering. The 1879 Tay Bridge disaster. Lords of Astronominies.

From your link to the wikipedia article on the Tay Bridge disaster: “At 7:13 pm a train from the south slowed to pick up the baton from the signal cabin at the south end of the bridge, then headed out onto the bridge, picking up speed. The signalman turned away to log this and then tended the cabin fire but a friend present in the cabin watched the train: when it had got about 200 yards (183 m) from the cabin he saw sparks flying from the wheels on the east side, this continued for no more than three minutes, by then the train was in the high girders; then ‘there was a sudden bright flash of light, and in an instant there was total darkness, the tail lamps of the train, the sparks and the flash of light all … disappearing at the same instant.’” (this being maybe why people like to read history, and other stuff)
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2014-01-10 16:02:13
music: "Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen, written for the movie "Philadelphia" 1993, lyrics here

"on being on the outside"

"... and the inside, in the same place at the same time"
(from this to this; and, really, how can we now thinking-live another way?)

"It starts at birth," Thompson says. He drains the Guinness from his glass and lifts the empty pint above his head, as Felicity glances from across the room.

The End Game is nearly packed by 6:00 p.m., three days before Christmas. Outside it's snowing on deserted streets. This college town has been a ghost town since the break began a week ago, and this bar and grill with its tiny stage will close tomorrow until the 6th. Which makes today a gather-day for the regulars still here.

Sarah's sitting sideways in the booth across from Thompson, head back against the rough-brick wall, knees upright, half-boots planted on the booth's old, heavy-wooden seat, one hand on the Anchor Beer bottle standing on the zipper of her jeans. "So you were a breathless voyeur from the start?"

Felicity appears and disappears with a new pint for an empty glass, like a cat with a tray that likes to navigate a crowded room just for the fun of moving through it.
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2013-12-26 09:53 (930 words)
music: "Mercy" by Dave Matthews Band, from the album "Away From The World" 2012; lyrics here

"the story of the baby peanut"

Hey kids — this is the story of the baby peanut.

The story starts in a stable on a cold and starry night. On this special night one star is glowing extra-bright. Some say it's a distant Klieg light at the opening of a major motion picture. Others say it could be just another glimpse of the latest movie super star, going super-nova. You know, kids, a super-nova is when stars go flash-kaboom and then pack up their Lamborghinis and drive to Florida or Arizona, to live out their remainders in trailer parks with names like Sunshine Pretty Former Life, and Sleep Well My Used-up Cutie Smoothie.
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2013-12-19 16:23 (569 words)
mooz ick: "Portions for Foxes" by Rilo Kiley, performed by UMass Dynamics, from their CD "Barking Mad", with lyrics here; hippy holly days