Friday, November 18, 2005

Being Nothing

I wonder if I could legally change my name to nothing.
Not the word “nothing,”
but nothing.
No name at all,
not even a stupid symbol like Prince.

I could see somebody coming up and asking my name.
And I’d say, “Nothing.”
And they’d say, “So you’re nobody?”
And I’d say, “No, I’m somebody.”
And they’d say, How can you be something if you’re nothing?”
And I’d say, “I don’t know...”
And then I’d cease to be.

So I guess it’s not a good idea after all.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Dog in the Truck

There was a dog drivin' a truck on the freeway this morning.
It was a big dog and a little truck,
but still,
there was a dog drivin' a truck on the freeway.
And even though it was raining,
he had his window rolled down
so he could stick out his head every once in a while
and let his tongue hang out.
You know--like dogs like to do.

I guess he was goin' to work.
I guess that 'casue he had a ladder in the back
--the kind painters use.
And he was wearing a cap and coveralls
--the kind painters wear.
So I guess he was a painter.
Houses, I suppose.

As I passed him I could see that he was all splattered with paint.
Probably got the nasty jobs,
whatever those might be.
I really don't know that much about painting.
It all seems nasty to me.

And as I passed him,
I nodded at him,
and he nodded at me.
I really would've liked to have followed him,
just to see where he worked.
Maybe even buy him a cup of coffee.
But it was late,
and I had to get to work, too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


What if some clever prankster
last night while I slept
picked up the road
like they do in the cartoons
and turned it off into the wilderness

In the early darkness
of the morning commute
with nothing to guide me
but the line on the road

I would blindly follow
until I ran smack into a mountain

Or maybe
like in the cartoons
I would pass right through
the tunnel that was painted there to fool me
to whatever lies on the other side

The way I figure it
either would be OK

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Conspiracy of the Week

This week's conspiracy is Rhode Island. Have you ever been to Rhode Island? Have you ever met anyone from Rhode Island? I didn't think so. I don't know why the government has perpetuated this hoax, but there's definitely something insidious going on here. And it's time it stopped! It's time for the government to come clean! Why would the United States lie about an entire state? I think they originally miscounted the states, but they already had the flags made. It was easier to make up an extra state -- an island that's not -- than to admit they screwed up with the flags. Sounds like something a Republican would do. Or even worse, a Whig!

Last week's conspiracy -- that I'm paranoid. It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you!

Jose the Duck

Jose was a duck, a drake mallard who lived in a pond just outside of Albany, New York, with his mother, father, and his seven brothers and six sisters, all of whom lived happily together. Except for Jose. Jose was severely depressed, all because he hated being a duck. Well, it wasn’t so much being a duck, but everything that went with being a duck, like the water and the flying and the quacking. In fact, it was the quacking that bothered him the most. It was quack, quack, quack, quack all the time. Enough to give you a headache if you didn’t already have one from the sun’s constant glare on the water.
So one day Jose said to his mother that he was sick and tired of being a duck. And his mother, being the kind lady that she was, asked, “Well, what are you going to do then?” And Jose answered, “I’ve decided to move to the country and join a chicken commune. To be one with the chickens. To live a chicken way of life. And to be at peace with the chicken-ness of all things.” So he did.
He moved to a chicken farm just outside of Monett, Missouri, where he was welcomed by his wingless brethren, and where he lived a peaceful way of life right up to the day he was sent to the poultry processing plant, which I guess makes for a pretty lousy story, but life’s just that way sometimes.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Waking Up Straight

I woke up this morning
and I was straight.
You know, not gay.
I know what you’re thinking.
Am I kidding,
or am I serious?
Because, wow, if I’m serious,
I mean, it’s cool and all,
but wow...
But it’s OK,
because I woke up straight.
I guess you could say it’s all behind me now.
I mean, it happens.
From what I hear
people pop in and out all the time.
I mean, one minute they’re straight
and the next minute they’re standing in line
to get front row tickets
to a Chip ‘N’ Dale show,
but I don’t think I’d go wearing that.

So anyway,
I woke up this morning straight,
but I didn’t have any idea where to begin.
I mean, what do straight people do?
I’m not just talking sex;
I’m talking everything.
Are there certain stores that only they can shop in?
Are there code words?
Secret handshakes?
How can you possibly tell
if someone else is straight,
because obviously it matters.

I suppose I’ve know some straight guys;
it’s inevitable.
Not that there’s anything wrong with straight guys.
I just don’t know very many.
You know, like I said,
maybe a few,
but it’s not like we talked about sex or anything.
I mean, that would’ve been rather pointless.

You see, the point is,
the only thing I really know about straights
is what I’ve seen on the TV.
And we all know how reliable that is.
I mean, all the gay guys I ever saw on TV
acted just like all the gay guys I know.
Except for John Ritter.
Trust me. He was.

So I suppose I’ll just have to try and fake it.
I mean, how hard could it be?
Certainly everybody’s too busy with their own lives
to give a damn about me.
And even if they knew --
you know,
that I don’t have a clue about being straight --
I can’t imagine that anyone would care.

Bad Grammar

More on what you do with a degree in Literature. You make fun of the stupid things that other people say.

Today's pick is:

I honestly believe... Is it possible to dishonestly believe? The last time I saw a person who was calling himself a liar was on a street in downtown San Francisco. As I remember, it was a quite animated conversation. Ah, the days before cell phones, when you could truly tell if someone were nuts, as opposed to just being rude.

Old Stuff:

Can I be Honest with you... Is there a choice? I mean, why start now?

I was thinking... Did you stop?

Not un.... As in, not uncommon, not unlikely, not unnecessary, or in this case, totally unnecessary. Grammarians have a fit over double negatives, such as "dont' want no..." but they let "not un" slide right on by. How is "not uncommon" different than "common"? It's ungood. Don't use it.

Extraordinay. It's a word we use every day without thinking about it in the least. It's a compound word, no matter how you may pronounce it, made up of the two words "extra" and "ordinary." How can anything be "extra-ordinary"? Why would anyone want to be "extra-ordinary"?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Favourite Opening Lines

This is what you do with a degree in literature. You sit around and muse about what might be the greatest opening line for a novel.

Right at the top would have to be "Call me Ishmael." Just three words, but they say so much. Yeah, it's been quoted and parodied about a bizillion times by just about everybody. In fact, it's probably the most quoted line from the novel that the fewest people have actually read. But maybe there's a reason for that. (Why it's quoted, not why the novel's not read. Moby Dick is not read because it sucks.)

We begin with intrigue. Why isn't this guy going to tell us his real name? Then there's the whole foreign thing--Ishmael. He's not from around the Ozarks. And if you're going to pick an alias, why would you choose one that harkens to the evil Muslims? To a white, god-fearing Christian (are there truly any other kind?), what would be worse? Of course, nothing else in the novel is worth the effort (except maybe for the first mate, who gave us a great chain of coffee houses), but what a great opening line.

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." 1984, of course. (By the way, saying "of course" is another one of those things you can do with a degree in literature.) First of all, you get the juxtapostion of the weather: It's a bright, but cold day. And it's April; spring is here, but yet it's cold. Spring is often seen as a time of rebirth, hope. But then, the clocks are striking 13. In a world where the clocks strike 13, you know things have got to be fucked up.

"It was love at first sight." Aside from Catch-22 being my favourite novel, it's such a great line. If nothing else, it tells you right from the start that this isn't going to be your standard war novel. There is nothing glorious about war in this book. If you ever get a chance, check out the band Yossarian's Lament. I think they're from around the KC area. Good licks.

More later. I'd be interested in knowing your picks.

A Member of the Band

The news is out. Apparently Keith Richards has been telling people that Mick is only gifted musically. Wow. There are some pretty serious Guy Code violations there. I wouldn't even know where to start...

Which brings up another thought. Do you really need to be told that erections that last more than four hours aren't normal? And if you do, would it matter?


Does anybody out there know where I can get one of those magnetic ribbons for my car that says, "Enough Already" on it?

How about a velvet painting of Elvis' Last Supper? And who would you use as his disciples? I'm thinking you'd have to have Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Bob Marley. But what about Buddy Holly? After all, he didn't lead the Elvis life style. But then again, did Marley? I mean, if you put Buddy in, would you have to go without Frank Zappa? Should you go without Zappa any way? I mean, do you really want someone on there who named is child Moon Unit?