Thursday, December 31, 2009

Three Things You May Not Know About Me: #s 2 & 3

Hi-dee-ho! I have received several comments from busy readers who say that my posts are too long to read. Normally I'd advise them to piss off and learn how to take time to observe greatness, but as it is the last day of the new year, I decided to post two more tiny tidbits about me in a second entry, to make it a little more bite-sized for you of the internet generation who have the attention span of a gnat. As the sign said over my grandparents' toilet, "I aim to please." Of course, that was followed by, "You aim too, please!" Ah, punctuation! You slay me! Anyhoo, without further a doo-doo -I couldn't help it, since I had already started with the toilet humor- here are two more things about me:

#2: Knot Hot - Yesterday, all day, I wore I neckerchief tied in a fetching knot because I thought it looked jaunty. In the evening, to look a bit more festive, I wore it in a band around my head. This tells me I am officially too old for hip things, like my aforementioned kicks (see previous post for more than you ever wanted to know about my kicks.) Modern cool kids don't even know what a neckerchief is, never mind the joy of a jaunty, fetching or even rakish accessory. I am only cool if you have a fetish for Braniff stewardesses circa 1962 or for Daphne from Scooby Doo.

Actually, Daphne's still pretty hot.

#3 - Cheese, Glorious Cheese! There are few things more satisfying on a cold winter's day than cheese and cheese -based products. Cheese is the little black dress of food; it can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. It goes smoothly from: "Wine and cheese, monsieur? Can I interest you in an amuse bouche of baked brie and pear?"; to: "Hey, Loritia! Don't be hoggin' all the nacho cheese with yer finger! I gots to have some left fer my chip!" or, "Fire Hot Cheetos rocks my world, yo!" Cheese comes out of a cow, sheep, goat, soybean or a can. It's ubiquitous. It represents nations (Swiss or American); home (cottage cheese); love (nothin' speaks of a mother's love like home made mac & cheese), and a beautiful melange of the elements (tuna = sea, melt=land and sun, the way I inhale a tuna melt= air.) Cheesecake, Cheezey Poofs, Cheese burger, Queso, Fromage, cream cheese, Cheese logs, Broccoli Cheese soup, Stuffed Jalapenos, Fried Cheese, Blue Cheese, the stinkier the better, cheese, cheese, are you ready for your close-up , I say cheese, I LOVE YOU CHEESE!

That was the third thing about me. I really like cheese.

Here is a picture I took of cheese in France. It has gray fur on it and oozes a beige, pus-like substance. I still ate it. That's how much I like cheese.

Three Things You May Not Know About Me: #1

Hello, hello! Since today is the last day of 2009, I figure it is time for me to offer my loyal fans a little benefit (Oooh! Fans with benefits! Yay, you! Please form an orderly line to the down a little...back to the right a smidge, will ya...but wait, I have unwillingly been consumed by a Scrubs-like fantasy, ridiculous, over-the-top, and mildly disturbing! Sorry! My bad!) I will now reveal some of my secret secrets, for your eyes only. Here we go!
Haystacks in Provence, by Vincent Van Gogh Early Hay, by Mandy Budan*
*For more of Mandy Budan's work, please see: or

1.) They Call Me Haystack: So, a while back, a friend of mine gave me some super-fly shoes. They are brown and cream suede Pumas, a brand so cool that they make me feel slightly unworthy, like they will allow me to purchase them, but if I wear them, they will scream that I am pretending to be an at ease hipster, when really I should be wearing the kind of clunky athletic shoes that senior citizens use to speedwalk through the mall. My Pumas are so wicky-woo that I took to calling them 'my kicks', and, one casual Friday, I finally screwed up all of my courage and wore them in front of the harshest of all fashion critics, my 3rd period sophomores. Oddly, they didn't notice my footwear at all, so I decided I was definitely cool enough to sport my hepcat new look, and I wore my kicks proudly all that day and into the night.

The next day I noticed that they had made my right foot roll out, which put pressure on the outside of my little foot, on the meaty part opposite the arch. (My arch is high and aristocratic, much like Cinderella's, in case you were wondering.) By the end of the week, I could no longer put my heel flat on the ground. Every morning when I awoke, I would hear the Pulp Fiction line, "Bring out the gimp." Soon my foot hurt even when I was lying down. Fearing I had done some irreparable damage to my little tootsie, I hobbled into the podiatrist.

Dr. Gabriel poked and pushed on my sole. This was not as deep and meaningful as it may have seemed, if you had heard that sentence aloud, as opposed to having read it yourself. I tried to put on a brave face, but yowch! my dogs were barkin' with his every digital manipulation (his words, not mine, and again, not nearly as intriguing as it sounds.) He nodded a lot and said "MMM-HMMMM", and then took some x-rays and sent me back into a little cubicle to wait for the results.

"What I believe has happened," he said as he posted the x-rays up on the light screen, "is that you...Oh my God! Did you know that you have a foreign body lodged inside of you?!"

"I assure you, sir, I do not!" I replied, perhaps somewhat haughtily. I am always the first to know when a foreign, dare I say even a domestic body is lodged inside of me, and I must admit I resent the implication that I would fail to notice; yet that is exactly what happened. According to the x-ray, I have a large sewing needle embedded deeply in my foot.

I wanted to show you the x-ray itself, because I know that this news is as incredible as it is shocking, as it is distressing. However, my state-of-the-art printerscannercopier died this morning. RIP, HP. You were a good and true all-in-one home/business infotainment unit, gone much before your time, but ever so slightly after your warranty. Anyway, even though I have provided you with helpful visual aids, you will have to use your imagination a bit.

Okay, look closely at Fred's right foot. Imagine that he has an arch to his foot, and five toes instead of three. Now, in the side of the foot that is the closest to you are two almost equal fragments of needle jammed way inside the footmeat (my word, not Dr. Gabriel's), closer to the bone than the sole. Up in the second metatarsal (ooh, fancy word!) the tip of the needle has migrated to the tip of my toe. In the x-ray, you can see the eye of the needle. As far as I can tell, it is too small for either a camel or a rich man to go through (read yo Bible, peeps!) and there are no angels dancing on the head of it. Dr. Gabriel rubbed and kneaded my little piggie (again, could have been better.) He said he could feel the needle through the thin toe flesh. Gnarly, huh?

So, how did it get there? I don't know. My grandfather was a tailor, but I don't think he stuck one in there for safekeeping. I got acupuncture once, but those needles were in my back and look differently. Not being a junkie or a doctor, I don't hang around hypodermics much. I don't remember any needle stepping, poking, or stabbing, and it really does seem like I would. It's a mystery. All I can say is, I see the needle and the damage done, a little part of it in everyone, if, of course, by everyone, one is referring to my foot.

Dr. Gabriel and I have decided to treat my foot problem as a foot problem, with the metal in my pedal a coincidental, but not causal factor. In other words, no needlectomy. Instead, my kicks have brought on Plantar Fasciitis, an irritation and swelling of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. I am against fascism of any kind, and am particularly saddened to find that this nut, whom I have loved and supported in the past, has turned on me. Please enlarge and print out this image on your functional and useful HP copierprinterscanner. Then, draw a Hitler or Stalin mustache on him so people will know he is to be feared, and post the pictures up all over your neighborhood as a gesture of support for me and my needle foot. Do it. Don't be yet another prick in my life. I am tender.

Friday, December 25, 2009

This is, by far, my favorite Christmas song of all times. You know it, you've seen it, but in the spirit of the holidays, go ahead and click on it. You'll be glad you did. I raise a glass of sweet-assed wine to you all, and hope that everyone is having a terrific holiday season, and at least one, if not three, very healthy ho's.
By the way, if someone could help me to embed videos, that'd be a real fine gift.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Riddle me this, Riddler!

Q.: How can you tell Miles Davis and Sammy Davis apart?
A.: One is "kind of blue", and the other is "kind of Jew."
Get it? I just made that up right now.
Clever, huh?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Will you do the Fandango?

I know you don't really click on these video links I post. I try to be discerning, I try to keep the videos brief, but still, I guess it just takes too much effort to push that little key and then sit there and watch for 90 seconds. I'll bet if I posted this on Facebook, you would. Whatever. Your loss. If you can't be bothered to behold brilliance, I can't help you on your path to enlightenment. Still, because I believe we should all try to better ourselves, I won't give up. Here's another chance for you to explore one of the tools I use to meditate and discover my inner pimp.* Check it out:

* When the kids use this phrase, it always sounds like something I want to be, like the Mack Daddy or the shizz. I hope being a pimp is a good thing...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Feelings! Woe, woe, woe, feelings!

Spoiler Alert! The label for this post is "Subdivisions of Sad". Guess what? Parts of it are not happy. If you don't like melancholia, don't read this one! Mama say bum you out! You have been warned, so no complaining!
When one says "kinda blue", all kinds of things come to mind. Perhaps it's the iconic Miles Davis album and what it means to you. Maybe you snicker behind your hand, recalling some nasty joke by someone like Sarah Silverman, Richard Pryor, or Chris Rock. You know, a comic that works kinda blue. Warning! This next clip is not only kinda blue, it's absolutely filthy and disgusting! I'm not kidding! Offensive on every possible level! Repulsive! Seriously! I use it here only for illustrative purposes! It is not okay! Again, you have been warned!

I think of my grandmother. In the last years of her life, I tried to call her every day when I was making dinner. Often, the conversation was the same. "Hi, Mom Mom!" Even if I was tired, I tried to make my voice sound like I was smiling.

"Mmmm. Well. What are you doing?"

That was about it. Still, she was always pleased to hear from me. I was always glad I had called. It was a routine, a thing that we did, and after she died, even though I wouldn't remember any specific conversation from those calls, I missed making them. Sometimes, however, Mom Mom cut the calls short.

"Yeah, babe. I don't know. I feel kinda blue today. I just want to get back in the bed. I'll be ok. Just kinda blue, that's all."

It is stating the obvious to mention that everybody gets sad, and, since it's such a powerful emotion, it has been dissected, analyzed and discussed ad nauseum. This, however, doesn't dissuade me from adding my two cents, so grab your barf buckets, blog-friends! Here are the seven basic subdivisions of SAD. There are more - I'm not even going to touch on grief - but I'm fragile, so let's just leave it at seven, shall we? In order to fully get in the mood, you may, at this point, wish to play an endless loop of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby", one of the saddest songs ever. She keeps her face in a jar by the door! Nobody hears the sermon! It's so sad! It should be played in D minor, the saddest of all keys.

1. The Malaise - The malaise is Mom Mom's "kinda blue", and for others, it's "in a funk". Mom Mom wasn't all that funky. The Malaise is a general feeling of unhappiness bordering on unwell, with a touch of worn down and bored mixed in. It feels like running full speed in a vat of oatmeal. It's downright exhausting, and when I am in it, I often have to take to my bed. It comes on without warning, inexplicably; nothing in particular triggers it, and nothing, not denial, hilarity, nor good news can end it. It's like being caught in a torrential thunderstorm, where the clouds explode open and pour down, except instead of water, you are pelted by Malaise-mayonnaise, which rises, viscous and cloying, and threatens to drown you. It's a huge sinkhole of suck. It gets in your pores. There's nothing to do but wallow in it, which involves some degree of guilt, because you know that nothing is really wrong with you, and your life is good, and you have no real problems, not genocide nor back acne, not famine nor Alzheimer's, not an infestation of nutria nor snakehead fish, not debilitating disease nor crushing loss, nor being sold as a seven year old into the Cambodian sex trade. You have nothing, no reason to feel badly. You don't deserve to be depressed. But...still and all...Malaise you have. And then, one day, as unexpectedly as it comes on, like a gravity defying Wonderbra, the Malaise lifts and separates from you, and you are buoyant again! Suddenly you see colors and have the urge to go the mall, not so much to buy anything (though while you're there already, why not?!), but because you want to feel up all the clothing as you pass by and look at all the people, taste expensive chocolates and eavesdrop on the inane. The Malaise is mysterious, but is a part of life. It could be called The Shit That Happens, but that's not real poetic now, is it?

2. The Weight of the World- The Weight of the World is a doozy. It's when you develop an extreme sensitivity to the problems of others, and you notice despair everywhere, and you get all bummed out. It's uber-empathy. It is, of course legitimate. There is heartache and tragedy everywhere, and sometimes it is invasive. I think the Bee Gees summed it up best in their appropriately titled song "Tragedy"; The Weight of the World is "when the morning cries and you don't know why." Today, for instance, I was listening to the BBC on the radio. They did a long, wacky piece on "Movember", or the month of the mustache, which was amusing, so I was happy. Here is a picture of a dude from Austin who is fully rocking a 70's 'stache though we are well into the 21st century: Anyway, after that they re-capped the top story of the day, which was that Switzerland voted to ban the building of minarets, which are used to call the faithful to worship at mosques. I understand that people have fear of a change that they feel is insidious and that threatens to erode an established way of life, but I found this to be sad news. Just by enacting this restriction, the Swiss, who are known for not taking sides, are ensuring such a change. Just because many Islamic theocracies are oppressive and intolerant, with little or no concern for human rights, doesn't mean that a freedom-loving democracy should adopt restrictive measures that target one group specifically. Of course, the vote was democratic, and the anti-minaret people won with almost 58% of the vote. I googled an anti-minaret campaign poster and I was shocked.

It's so...Nazi-like and blatant. It's scary, and I see it happening worldwide, to varying degrees, but more and more, and with a rabid, unreasonable Palinesque intensity. So I was disturbed. The next story was about the policemen in Tacoma that were executed in a coffee shop. Man! Angry, messed up people out there!

Later I found out that LA Times sportswriter Mike Penner died. That, in and of itself, is not so sad. People die all the time, and I'm not a big sports fan, so I wasn't familiar with his work. Mike Penner was an interesting guy, though. He was a transsexual, and he came out in his column, and then did a blog on his transformation. "I am a transsexual sportswriter," he wrote. "It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words." He did work up the courage to do it, though, and most of his fans accepted him, and he went on to continue his career as Christine Daniels. So, for a minute, I was inspired. That ladyman did amazingly difficult things in order to be happy, and he succeeded; that's so admirable! Then I found out his death was probably a suicide. After all of that, he died miserable and defeated. Wah-wah. Sixty Minutes was about the Congo. If you ever want to snap out of joy or sober up, think about Africa.The Weight of the World begins.

3. The Twilight - The Twilight has nothing to do with ridiculous, cold-cocked, celibate vampires or hot, hairless, teenage werewolves. It's that feeling of not quite fitting in, of being in and out, betwixt and between. It's not knowing what comes next or how what came before led to this point. It's being unsure of what is real and what is fantasy, and wondering if you are the only one who can't distinguish between the two. The twilight is illuminated, but still too dark to see. It's a frustrating haze. It lacks the clarity of conviction or the force of confidence. The twilight is a dense cloud, a fog of thick, gray felt that fails to be comforting or warm. It's a quaint Victorian street that nonetheless evokes Jack the Ripper. It's being afraid to move, because one doesn't understand one's place in space, and there is a constant fear of falling from some unknown precarious perch. The Twilight is not glamorous or whimsical. It's lonely and dangerous. If left unchecked it can evolve into Stinky Girl Syndrome, but that's a disorder that deserves a column of its own.

4. The Wildness - The Wildness is the inability to feel. It's when nothing is fast enough, hot enough, sweet enough, dirty enough... you get the point. Because this vast apathetic boredom sets in, the sufferer must constantly seek some satisfaction by making irresponsible, self-defeating choices. It's a reaction to monotony, but it's misguided, reckless and ineffective. I have only been in the Wildness once, but it was definitely an experience that stuck with me. It was a steady diet of Fuck It Pie and tequila. It was completely selfish and self-absorbed, a mantra of mefirstmorenow. I was bored, hardened and miserable, and I hated myself only slightly less than I hated everyone around me. Oddly, I have never been more popular with men than I was at that time. Go figure.5. The Hangover - The Hangover has nothing to do with being drunk. It's that feeling of total self-loathing and disgust one gets when one is hungover, that nobody-to-blame-but-yourself-will-you-never-learn-what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you nag that leaves you a little greenish and shaky. Don't worry, you'll find something or someone else to blame your self-hatred on, and when you do, you'll cheer up. I mostly blame my job, uterus, or close friends and family.

6. Loneliness - Alone, in a crowd,deeply ingrained or just below the surface, denied or embraced, real or imagined - you know it. You've been there. We all have. It sucks. Cue "Heartbreak Hotel", sigh longingly, and nod in empathy.

7. The Sylvia Styron - (For a real downer, listen to this with an Elliot Smith track ) Named after Sylvia Plath, noted as much for her suicide as her talent, and William Styron, Pulitzer prize winning author of Sophie's Choice, a book of almost incomprehensible sorrow. Plath ended her life a month after the first printing of her critically acclaimed semi-autobiographical and only novel, The Bell Jar was published in 1963, by sticking her head in the oven while her children slept in the next room. Sadly, one of those children, Nicholas Hughes, also committed suicide in Alaska on March 16, 2009. (Not to dwell on the tragic, it may interest you in a creepy kind of way to know that Nicholas Hughes father, poet Ted Hughes, left Sylvia Plath -amid some controversy- for a woman named Assia Wevil, who, six years later, gassed herself and her four year old daughter, Shura.)

William Styron wrote a book called Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, chronicling his own depression, which led to suicidal thoughts and eventual hospitalization. In it he says:

What I had begun to discover is that, mysteriously and in ways that are totally remote from normal experience, the gray drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain. But it is not an immediately identifiable pain, like that of a broken limb. It may be more accurate to say that despair, owing to some evil trick played upon by the sick brain by the inhabiting psyche, comes to resemble the diabolical discomfort of being imprisoned in a fiercely overheated room. And because no breeze stirs this cauldron, because there is no escape from this smothering confinement, it is entirely natural that the victim begins to think ceaselessly of oblivion.

I have never felt this way. I hope I never do. I feel a profound sense of pity for those who just cannot see a way out or the glow of possibility. I understand them, but I hope that, in the paraphrased words of Winston Churchill, when I am going through hell, I can keep going.

So...Happy Holidays, everybody! Despite the enormous bummer tone of the post, I am, at present, very happy and hope you are too. I started this entry a long time ago, but it took me forever to finish it, on account of, well, it was just so gosh-darn depressing! Outta me and all over you, that's what I say! I have decided that really, this blog is mostly for me, since I enjoy reading and writing it, and some of me is sometimes sad, so here it is. I promise, my next post will be more upbeat. Until then, try to recognize and spread happiness, and take the time to check on those who you love. Sappy but sound advice, non?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

RadioLab's Moments

I watched this again and again. The idea that each moment, every tiny fragment of time is meaningful and ripe with potential fills me with wonder, hope and awe.

By the way, if anyone can tell me why I can't seem to embed a video into my blog, I'd appreciate it...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Autumn Leaves

Yay! The new poems from the last Writer's Challenge are here! The challenge (see Nov. 4th's post) was to write a piece using these three lines:

The autumn leaves

don't fall

they jump.

As always the writers who contributed did a fantastic job making something meaningful out of a sliver of an idea. I am so impressed! As always, if you wish to send one in, it's not too late. Do it!

Winter nights get really pushy
They show up early to parties
And stay way too long
They take over, wrapping arms around windows
Chilling partygoers to the bone
Suddenly, we outstay welcome
Not wanting to deal with winter head on, alone
No coffee, more wine please
Where did everybody go?
Taxi? No! I’m just around the corner
Last call, bundled
When will it be warm again?
Will it be warm again?
A frozen walk home interrupted by visions
Spring beckons; another reality
But the thaw seems impossible,
Saved for a new life altogether
Spring belongs to fresh souls
A new pair of wide, baby eyes
With a neck too soft to support the head
A scene on the other side of glass
Blooms and crawls with life
Peering in, we, with strong, but aching necks
Squint at the bright color,
Where are my glasses?
A bio-sphere bubble
A bright sunny place, out of the reach
Of blue, longing fingertips
Our quiet tapping on spring’s shell gets louder
The snow drifts burying us up to our noses
Fists tight with fear and cold, pound then stop
Helplessly marveling at the buds, shoots and tendrils
The bursting green leaves wink at us through the glass
They are on to the joke
While we have missed the set-up, the twist
Never mind the punch line
The trees know things
Leaves understand the score and do what needs doing
they see that grren is temporary
red and brown looms
The autumn leaves
Don’t fall from the trees
They jump
Denying winter the terrible game of keep away
They leave well before the host starts brewing coffee and hints
And we grudgingly learn to step around patches of ice
-Mary Pierce Armstrong

Frozen Heartbreak

The autumn leaves and winter approaches

Roses freeze and lakes become ice

My heart becomes still

I cannot feel

My lungs don't jump with the air that they need

To breathe.

I feel like a flower that grew from no seed

My emotions don't stand, they fall.

Then, in the end

I don't feel anything
Nothing at all.

-L. Franco (Ms. Franco is one of my students)

Skin darkens and cracks
Firm areas relax
Particularly the rump

Liver spot appears
Getting along in years
Becoming quite a frump

Makeup between wrinkles
Cataracts twinkle
Mascara in a clump

Hair looking wintered
Walking cane splintered -
Ambulate with a thump.

Kleenex up your sleeve
Knowing how to weave
Aging is not for chumps!

No wonder autumn leaves
Don’t fall from the trees,
Instead they choose to jump!

-Alisa Richman

The autumn leaves don't fall
They jump
Sailing the currents of the air
Pirouetting through space
Handspring flip-flop twist

They all do it
Reliable lemniscate* of life
Compulsion that defies logic
Leafy lemmings

They are astronauts
Deep sea divers
Leaping into the unknown

At that moment

when the umbilical cord snaps
What are they thinking?

Realizing too late you ran the red light
Oven hissing in the kitchen, lights off, doors locked
Where's the baby - she was just here
Just this once, it will be all right
Bullets heard, but as yet unseen

Have they lost all inhibitions?
Drunken pilots in the cockpit
Shaking for the camera
Lampshades on their heads
Flinging and singing, "I can fly, I can fly!"

Is it wanderlust?
I’m root-bound, they complain
Gotta be free
Escape the family tree
Leave this old stump
Drifting like a dandelion
To see the world

Are they tired of hanging on?
So weary
And then the winter comes
So cold
Can’t take another never-ending winter
Jump and get it over with

Or maybe

All they are thinking is
Right here, right now
In a moment when the sun glosses their veins
An invisible pathway glows



The autumn leaves
Red yellow brown green
wait wait wait
don't fall from the trees
Red yellow brown green
wait wait wait

they jump!

-Christina Morris

I can see the oak quiver in the distance.
The boys ripple off into the air.
When will it be our turn?
The maple stands empty.
Every branch stripped.
Will it be our turn next?
A cry rustles through our top layer.
Voids appearing through the flutter
Is it our turn?
The line at the end dissappears.
Empty spaces rush toward me.
It's my turn.

- Chi Toh

The falling leaves

Like multicolor fireworks

Offer their last bang

To the season

-Elle Bebe

Thank you to everyone who played along! I love this stuff!

*Look it up, why don'tcha?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Passing Phase?

I got a feeling, it's incomplete
I got a feeling, and then it got to me...

I think I am on the cusp. Really it's a scary place to be, because A.) I might have to change, and B.) because I realize that unless I put my money where my mouth is and get off my ass and jam, I will heretofore live in a world of shameful regret. Nobody wants that shit. It's awful when you have nobody to blame but yourself.
I have a friend, Orlando, who once said, "Don't let the beauty of this world blind you from the beauty of others." He's got a point. I have so many things going on in this world that are positive. I have my family, whom I adore. They are everything to me. I have my girl friends, which is new to me; I've been a guy's girl for most of my life. I have students who love me. They compliment me on my ponytail. That's really kind, and sort of a deceptive, desperate pandering, but I don't mind. I have all these people who are pulling for me, hoping I'll make it, praying for my personal fulfillment, and I'm healthy and wealthy and live in a world of opportunity. And yet, I am getting more and more stagnant and depressed. I want to help myself, but I am so afraid to go from the fire into the frying pan. I am confined to the idea that this feeling is just a passing phase, which it may well be. What will I do? Will I leave all that is sure and holy to venture into the unknown and see what's what out there? That's just not like me. What about the garden? What about my parents? Still, I could change, and try something new. I do like a good adventure, and there are a million ways to be happy. I am liminal, with one foot in one reality and one in a fantasy. I ask you, what shall I do?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Writers' Challenge #4

I heard on the radio - I think it was last year- that leaves don't just waft gently from the trees in the autumn, as poets and artists might have us all believe. Rather, they are pushed from the leaves, in a seasonal attempt of the tree to save its branches from breaking under heavy snow. That's why the leaves that are on the ground are all different colors, in various stages of life or death; they "are released" at various times. Ah, nature! A wellspring of fascination, you are!

In celebration, I have a new writer's challenge for you all, and this is it: Write a poem, song or piece of prose that includes these lines:

The autumn leaves
don't fall from the trees
They jump

Oooh! Intriguing, non?

I am very interested to see what you come up with, so come on! Come up with something! Post or email me and I'll put it on the blog at a later date. Happy Writing!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Horribly Horny

I am an avid hunter. I realize this news is surprising, dare I say even shocking to many of you, and I sense the disappointment flowing from some of you in searing, cybersonic waves. "Prithee, AVR, " you wail, "say it isn't so! Thou, O most gentle of leaders, art an advocate for peace, life, and all that is good and righteous in the universe! How canst thou preacheth the murder and fierce destruction of the hunt?"(Editorial Note - This is how the peaceful speak when they are impassioned. I realize it's sorta 17th century, but I don't make the rules here people; I just report the commentary and facts as they come in.) Others of you might recall that I am afraid of virtually all creatures that roam on land or sea (and also in trees, alleys, creeks, holes, foundations, under ground or hanging off the backs of multi-nippled rodents), and might think me too cowardly to actually wage war on nature, on account of they might look at me in a threatening manner that renders me paralyzed with apprehension. However, I assure you, I am a modern day Diana, Roman goddess of the hunt. Diana was also the goddess of chastity, which one could say made her goddess of the c....onsent. Anyway, I do hunt, but I limit my stealthy skills to only one formidable foe, an enemy so voracious, so hideous, so bereft of any moral sensibilities that grown men quiver at the sound of its name - The Tobacco/Tomato Horn Worm.

If you have not yet shuddered violently and felt your bladder constrict painfully, you are obviously not familiar with the beast. I am, because I am a farmer also. A hunter/farmer. Every year I have a beautiful garden, robust with all nature of flower and vegetable. Far be it from me to brag, but it s magnificent. Woodland creatures venture down rabbit bitten trails to enjoy my garden, and nature and I dwell in harmony, and frolic together during these visits; they cavort in the garden and I frolic too, but at a safe distance, behind locked doors. Here is a picture of a recent adorable visitor from the forests nearby:

As you can clearly see, I am happy to share the abundance of my crop with nature. I did not shoot this wild goatling, and not just because he stared me down with his crazy eye. I only kill the caterpillar.

Tobacco Hornworms start off innocuously enough. Some might even call them cute. They are spring green and have diagonal stripes on them, and they are initially about the size of the little red 'horn' that grows from their back end, about a half an inch. In those carefree days of their youth, even if the amateur farmer/hunter was to spot them, she might be lulled into mercy; they look so helpless and harmless, curled into the interior of an unsuspecting, Innocent tomato plant, whose delicate leaves shelter the hornworm infant from the sun. But beware, farmer/hunter! That asshole insect is even then plotting, scheming, and worse of all eating its way into your plants and your psyche! One day, before you know it, they will go from this....

to ...

......................................................... THIS!!!!!!! Eeeeeeek!!!!!!! .................................................

Isn't it awful?! Look how gleefully it rubs its greedy little fingers together like a larval Mr. Burns!

These little Genghis Kahns are out of control gluttons when it comes to the crops I lovingly tend and fret over all summer long. They will wipe out a tomato plant overnight, no lie. They burrow in the interior of the plant by day and feed on the leaves and fruit by moonlight, not even stopping for bathroom breaks. In fact, they leave their pooh balls, or frass, like little black calling cards, tiny howdy-doo-doo's, if you will allow me the metaphor. They munch with such impunity that you if you listen closely, you can hear them crunching your precious plants! When confronted, they rear back on their ridiculous horns and HISS at you! They are not afraid! They do not recognize your superior strength and intellect! They just carry on, gulping and pooping until there is ABSOLUTELY nothing left of your precious plant but a sad green skeleton. Then, they worm themselves into your brain.

The pitiful farmer is out of her mind with grief and rage over the senseless murder of the fruits of her labor. Slowly, she becomes obsessed. She wakes early in the morning and stalks the stalks that were once voluptuous verdant vegetables. She patiently feeds the plants until the tender new sprouts of foliage timidly uncurl their fetal fists. And then she waits, but this time she knows the signs. She buys a spelunker's helmet and a beam of light pierces the night skies as she makes her rounds, rooting out the hornworms, peering at the undersides of leaves for the babies. She can't sleep for waking, she goes through workdays in a haze, longing to exact her revenge.

My father sent me an article about how to dispose of hornworms. It said to concoct a soapy mixture and drown the bastards in it, but I think that's letting them off too easy. My fellow farmer friend, Trixie, used to stomp them with her boots - their guts goosh dayglo green!-but now she feeds them to her chickens.

But not me. Those fixes are too good for those thieving, chewing, tomato Terminators!Hornworms hate the sun and heat. Their gooey, boneless bodies simply won't tolerate it. So what I do when I find them - oh, and I will find them!- is first, delicately remove the leaf that they are unsuspectingly sampling, so as to lull them into a false sense of security - well, that and also on account of I'm scared to touch them - and then walk down to the edge of my acreage, whereat runs a busy thoroughfare. I then hurl them out on the sizzling, bubbling tar of the street. I can just hear them hissing futilely at me as they arc through the sky and hit the asphalt in the full blazing glory of a sunlit Sunday! But I have no compassion! Let ye who have reaped so wantonly the efforts of another now taste your bitter dessert! I can only hope the final vision of the guilty offenders is that of a giant silver scrotum hanging off of some dickhead's truck as he barrels down on the hornworm, splatting him straight to hell!!!

I don't expect all of you to understand, but you don't know what it's like to be a farmer/hunter in a recession. And in a health care crisis. At wartime. With cramps.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


So, I stumbled upon this photographer today, and my heart went all aflickr (get my hip, web-savvy reference?!), on account of I think this guy is soooo cool. His stuff is hyper-real and focused, and he elevates ordinary subjects to the sublime, twisted, or extraordinary. I find his pictures to be evocative and surreal. Really, I was almost giddy with the joy of discovering that which I consider inspirational. (By the way, I talk like this in real life. You won't see me ending a sentence with a preposition- well, except in those frequent cases where I choose to ignore the rule on the grounds of artistic perrogative, and 'giddy' isn't just for breakfast anymore, I tell you what!) I figured I'd just go ahead and post his link on my blog, even though I know you probably won't check him out, no matter how I rave on about his work. Still and all, I like to spread the wic around.

Then I started thinking, what do I know about hip, or wic, or cool? I am the anti-Hip WcCool. I say, "What's the haps, Paps?" My favorite joke is about a slug, and all I remember is the punchline. I like to garden and have a doily collection. That's right, you heard me. Need I say more? Besides, this fo-tog (kinda cool, right?) is kind of dark, broody and dramatic. Maybe he's too obvious, over the top. Maybe I don't know what real art is. After all, I'm no artist.

And another thing: who cares what I like or don't like? Who am I to tell you, "Hey, check this out!! You'll love it!" Really, when you think about it, how arrogant is the whole nature of blogging? It's as if one day I woke up and thought, "Hey! I am so hot! Look at me! Yeah, I'm talking to you! You need to check me out! I'm a genius! Do it! You will thank me later! I will change your life! I will turn you on to all the things that I love, like cheese and the color green! I will teach you, nay, I will expand your mind, about lady pirates and breast augmentations and quotes from people you may or may not have heard of! I will alert you to the horrors of pigeons and gangs of marauding raccoons and parasites that worm their way into your body via your urine stream! Good times! Stick with me, and I'll talk about bad tv and the weird duck I saw when I rode my bike around the lake! WOOOHOO!!!!"

But then I thought, "You really bonded with Tufty" - that's what I named the duck- and "Lots of people like to think about green and The Biggest Loser!" I'm interesting, right?

And then I thought, "Wait a minute! For whom did you start this blog? I seem to remember, little missy, a certain someone saying to herself, "I like to write! Wouldn't it be fun to write about anything I want, and then guilt my family and friends into reading it?!" Don't I write this blog because I like to write, like I'm flexing a dormant muscle, like I enjoy expressing myself, like its a creative outlet that makes me smile and relaxes me? Don't I feel compelled? I do, I do! And don't I post it because I am ready to bust out of my diary ad into the world, for anyone or no one, but hopefully for someone, who will read it and smile, or think, or sigh? In the end, don't we all want to connect to someone else, to share time and experience and feeling, to touch and feel those around us? I do, I do! Pick me!

And then I thought, "Jeez, Louise! What the hell is wrong with you! Just post the guys link and let the chips fall where they may!!!!"

Here's the link: Click on any of the collections on the right side, select slideshow, and make up your own mind. I'd be very interested in what you think, so let me know if you feel inclined.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

That's what she said!


My cousin Alisa, when talking about health care - "Come on, people! Can't we all just get a lung?"

"I believe in the sun, even when it isn't shining. I believe in love, even when not feeling it. I believe in God, even when he is silent."-Inscription on the wall where Jews were hiding from the Nazis.

"Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions."-Frank Lloyd Wright

"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it shall be behind me." (Composer Max Reiger in response a critic's letter.) Think about it....think...there ya go!

Pereant, iniquit, aui ante nos nostra dixcrunt. (Confound those who have said our remarks before us.)

"In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed."

"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Everything that I have done in my life that was worthwhile, I've caught hell for." -Chief Justice Earl Warren

"I had a teacher named Clayford T. Grimm..."-my friend Charles, beginning a story

"Come on, Suckles!" - my friend Mark, urging the end of that story

"Mick Jagger is definitely a robot. They're doing some experimental shit on him for sure - head in a jar shit, I mean!" -,McAdams, on a road trip.

"Well, ok, life is beautiful! Au revoir!" -My mom, upon hanging up the phone with me.

"Yeah, men melt like butter for you. They melt like butter, and then they leave a greasy stain on whatever you're wearing." -Carole "Good Times" Claybour, when I was telling her about how the menfolk just can't get enough of me.

"The worst part of having pets is knowing they can't be with you for your entire life. The best part of having a pet is being with them for theirs." I may have gotten the wording wrong. My friend Lillie said something like this when we were having to euthanize our family dog, Lily. My favorite quotes are the ones like "Loose lips sink ships". I always mix them up and say them completely wrong but the point gets across somehow...."Don't throw stones on a glass boat?" "Hey, black kettle! Don't call me Pot." - From Emily, who is pretty in pink.

Got any more, blogsters? Bring it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Is it just me?

I just read an article in Time magazine online about Sarah Palin's first big speech to an audience abroad, a group of investors in Hong Kong. Not too much is known about the content of the approximately 90 minute speech, because all press was banned, though people interviewed later said the oratory was heavy on a matter of a global interest: Alaska. Ms. Palin spoke of relevant Alaskan history, such as "Alaska's land bridges with Asia and how animals once went across."
I gotta say, I just loved this article. Read it yourself if you'd like:,8599,1925657,00.html The best part of it were the last lines: Shown a picture of Palin, a woman surnamed Ng, who operated a food stand near the Grand Hyatt, professed to not know who she was. "If she is rich and famous, then maybe she goes shopping nearby," said Ng from behind her counter. "Afterward, she can come eat my fishballs."

Sarah Palin can eat my fish balls. Classic, right?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Nobody Here But Us Icons!

I am famous. It is official. Don't hate, cybah-sistah! Don't blubber, blogga brotha! I'm sure you have some special little talents of your own.

P.S. I have no idea who wrote this. I can't keep up with all of my press. It's exhausting, really.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Like I Always Say, or "Whatchu talkin' bout, Willis?"

School is in session. In the words of countless 6th graders across our great nation, "School sucks." Be that as it may, I was pleasantly surprised this week when one of my favorite students, Cristal, used a C.S. Lewis quote in her introductory writing sample: "It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad." What a great quote! Lewis also said, "Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities." Classic. Also kind of hot, in a 6th grade kind of way.

Personally, I love a good quote. I like what they say about the person who speaks them, how they effect and are interpreted by the listener, truths they tell, and lies they spread. Andy Warhol said, "Art is what you can get away with." Carl Jung stated, "What we do not make conscious emerges later as fate."

Music inspires many good sayings. Huxley said, "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music," while George Bernard Shaw observed that "Hell is full of musical amateurs." Elvis Presley said, "I don't know anything about music. In my line, you don't have to." My friend Reed defined his own work as " just another 3-chord, hate-filled song." This band of truly skanky girls I saw -I think their name was "Screamin' Lez"-opened their set with, "This song goes out to your asshole!" They went into their ballad, 'Sadness and Sorrow', which had the haunting refrain of "Eat my crusty heart." They had me at 'asshole'. My friend Pat said, "I've thought about this for years, and the best name for a band I can come up with is 'Awesome Boner'. First impressions are key." Paul McCartney, famed lyricist, had a huge hit with these words: "Someone's knocking at the door. Somebody's ringing the bell. Do me a favor - open the door. Let him in." Truer words were never spoken.

Sometimes I don't understand quotes, but I like them anyway. Regina Spekter warns, "Beware of the weak; they'll inherit your legs." Dorothy Parker, a woman I usually find to be utterly sensible, wrote, "While there are hands above the table, there's hope." Hope of what? I can only speculate. My four year old niece says that "women are ladybugs; boys are fungus." She may have a point there. My mom once gleefully proclaimed, "I was an oyster and the world was mine!" Bravo, Mom! You are the Alexander the Great of oysters, no doubt! I wrote down this quote by my friend Scheleen: "My mind's all full of hog; I can't think!" Swine Flu? Mad Pig Disease? It probably made sense at the time, but even if it didn't, I like to use it in casual conversation whenever I can.

Actually, I have made a couple of other people's quotes my own, but they are mostly nasty. Queens of the Stone Age sum up a feeling I know all to well when they say, "Ain't no glory this side of the hole." A friend of mine told me a story about something David Lee Roth said at a gig before launching into a famous Van Halen cover song, "Ice Cream Man." I forget the quote exactly (that happens a lot), but it goes a little something like this: "There are only two flavors of ice cream: vanilla, and dick!" (That's pretty funny, but now that I write it down, I think I may have gotten this one mostly wrong. Whatev! Who reads this much of the post anyway?) This leads me to my next favorite quote that I have stolen. In the tv show 'Weeds', Kevin Nealon's character is upset because he is faced with doing some serious jail time. Worried, he begins to think out loud. "I can't got jail," he moans. "There's no sushi in jail - unless you count dick!" Maybe I just like to say the word 'dick'.

The only quote I use that I actually made up myself is: "Life may not be long, but it sure can be wide." I think it's real deep.

Anyhoo, here's the third Writer's Challenge: SEND IN YOUR QUOTES! They can be famous or infamous, yours or someone else's, inspirational, profound, enigmatic or ridiculous. If you don't send some in, I'll write more. I got a million of 'em.
BONUS: Check out the "Blog of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, which is where I got the picture at the top of this post, and then used "by permission".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cool cyber-places

Here are some cool cyber-places to visit:
1. This blog is by a 14 year old kid, David Ashby, who is walking from Orlando, Florida to Washington, DC, over the summer. For those of you counting, that's 1,100 miles. He's doing this because he wants to bring attention to homeless youth in America, and so he is not only walking the walk, he's living the life. He is only eating what he find on the streets, and he is staying in shelters. As a teacher, I am so impressed by this kid. As a human, I am humbled by him and the commitment of his friends and family. Try to check this one out before Aug. 15th.
2. This site is dedicated to graphic design. It has some cool videos and interesting things. Some of them are totally over my head; what's GIMP?
3. This blog is funny! The writer is an American in England, who uses a poetry form to talk about what is going on in her life or things she is currently pondering.
4. This site and its blog are all about independent magazines, literary journals, bookstores, and record labels, and the blog has a lot of stuff about writing contests and programs. Way cool if you are into that stuff.
5. Don't know about etsy yet? Unbelievable! It is a huge site where people sell all kinds of stuff that they make themselves. Remember, my birthday is just around the corner!
6. This woman is an artist who teaches at Parsons. I think she's fabulous.
7. Outstanding! If you haven't already, you must check this out!
8. From Denichiwa, our Japanese correspondent.
9. Maybe it's just me; I love this site and can get lost on it for hours...
10. One of those blogs chock full o'stuff; it has some funny videos and weird/amusing/interesting photos...

I know of some other interesting sites, but they are secrets. Sorry!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Silver balls

Nothing says, "Hey world! Look at me! I'm a big dick!" like attaching a shiny, silver ball-sack to your ridiculously oversized truck.

An unrelated post-script: Happy Birthday, Harvo! I love you!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


So, remember way back in June when I posed Writer's Challenge #2? It had to do with writing about something that had been witnessed; the form of the piece was left open. I gotta say, though several of you said you were excited about this challenge, I wasn't exactly flooded with responses; however, since this was only the second one offered, I guess technically it is the second most popular EVER in Smaller Adventure history, so YAY!!!! Keep up the good work, peeps!

The staff here at the blog was delighted to receive three cool witness poems, and so, in no particular order, here they are:

Mary Pierce Armstrong said...
motes float in the gray ray

from the bench, a scowl

turkey neck folds dip and bob

a nod, quick and bored

the witness approaches with downcast gaze

her fingers outline a blur with vibration

oath taken

seat taken

time taken

I become the hostile witness
July 31, 2009 11:45 AM

Alisa R. said...
Mathematical Witness

Simple Tuesday carpool

Is there a math quiz today?

Staring out the window I see him

minus all clothing

plus 1 tangent man part

divided cheeks as he leans over to get the newspaper

adding to my knowledge

but multiplying my wonder.

Did I really see that?
August 2, 2009 5:57 PM

The Forest. RIP. Jan. 24/09
By Liliane Richman

The forest resisting
arching and groaning
under the rush of violent winds
succumbed to the last tree
each mature pine falling
embracing its neighbor
the crush of branches
littering of giants on the ground.

“You should have heard the howling,”
says my dear Paulette.

“The forest is dead.
Killed by a roaming cyclone
imported by global warming.”

Paulette is 82 years old
lives alone and walks with a slow shuffle.
She had no water for a week
no electricity for two
no telephone, no television.
She was cold and stayed in bed all day

And wishes she were younger
to move from her ancestral home
far from this desolation.
“You know how
how long it takes
to regrow such tall pines?"

Ah, Paulette, I’m with you
mourning for the forest, the ferns,
the sap, the deep silence, the cicadas
the pines are cut through
a long incision near the bottom of the trunk

the amber colored resin
collecting in a clay pot
sent to the one existing factory
the commercial hub
of the townlet in its heyday
when you father was CEO

Once upon a time it was
Nineteen forty-two
I appeared in your family
grew up and thrived
and departed again
then returned year after year
as late as last summer
surrounded by you
and the forest

of tall pines that died
on January twenty four
two thousand and nine.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


This is my favorite emoticon, by far. When I am very happy, or if I've done something sneaky, I smile showing all of my teeth. This proclivity (great word, huh?!) is responsible for a multitude of pictures in which I appear sharky. It's not the best look, but it is better than my usual photo, which shows me looking decidedly Dobermanny, or like Geddy Lee (same look). Worse still, this is just the overall impression of me that one gets from my photo image. If you examine my parts separately - and, let's be honest, who among us doesn't enjoy examining the parts every now and again - it's even worse. My various parts resemble food or animals. I got the turkey neck, chicken legs and sparrow ankles (so small, so narrow; is it any wonder I'm always falling down?). I have Mickey Mouse hands (but with linguine veins), Camembert breasts (it will happen to you some day, too, little missy!) and cottage curd ass. I sport the fruit bat triceps, Sharpei chin, and sometimes, the crazy horse nostril flare. I have bunny teeth, peanut smile and Beagle eye. My figure is reminiscent of a Dairy Queen ice cream cone. Since I stare at myself an awful lot, I find this somewhat distressing, because really, I am cute - you just can't tell by looking at me!

Because of this, I am always on the look out for products and practices to make myself appear better. Recently, my friend Denichiwa, who alerts and advises me regarding all things Japanese*, told me that Dove Body Wash now comes with Nutrium. *Asians, for centuries, have had some interesting ideas about physical beauty, as evidenced by making men look soft, smooth and sexy for Japanese Kabuki theater, women look like gorgeous, dead clowns in their white geisha makeup, teeth look like licorice nubs in traditional Vietnamese tooth blackening, and feet look like gnarled stumps with the Chinese trend of foot binding.

But I digress....

Imagine my HORROR when I find out that Dove soap, purveyor of purity, innocence and cleanliness, is using the essence of the vile, destructive, repulsive NUTRIA (media, medium; nutria, nutrium) in their product, and then having the AUDACITY to market it as a GOOD thing! Anyone who knows me knows that nutria hold a place of honor in the Top Ten Things that I Hate, sub-category Things that Evolve:Freakish Animals and Robots. For those of you still in the dark about nutria, I suggest you stay in your state of ignorant bliss; once you know about them, you are doomed to live in fear. Even your dreams will be haunted by their horrific, lurking presence. However, if you must know, here are some quick facts: nutria are an aquatic rodent, so specifically revolting that they are the only members of their animal family, Myocastoridae. Even their closest cousins, the disgusting water rats, won't claim them.They can get up to 25 pounds, and are an average two feet long, with an additional foot and a half tail. That's almost four feet of fast-swimming, baby-making, large-pooping, big-assed RAT, my friends, and that's not even the half of it! They have a double row of nipples up their back so that their rat bastard babies can suckle while they swim and they are voracious eaters, destroying so much land in Louisiana that the state began a program that paid hunters to shoot them on sight. They play host to a parasite that infests humans and causes a type of dermatitis called "nutria-itch", and their teeth are huge, constantly growing, and the color of Cheetos. What? You don't believe me? Would I lie to you? OK, you asked for it....

Indeed, this is the stuff of which nightmares are made. Don't even get me started on the snakehead fish, the common cockroach, gars, the Nile Monitor, pigeons, or the Burmese python explosion going on in the Everglades ( , - it's just too much.

But I digress.

How we view ourselves, our ideas of the boundaries and specificity of beauty, and what we will do to obtain what we consider to be beautiful are all concepts that are interesting to me. There are obvious examples of those who will defy nature, good sense and the laws of gravity (see Micheal Jackson, that cat-lady, and the Texas lady who has had her breasts blown up to a size KKK to break the world's record for implants this year, even though numerous doctors refused to do the operation because it was feared her breasts would explode.) It is common practice to inject ourselves with poisons and dyes, break bones, and starve ourselves in the quest of physical perfection. We have 9 year old anorexics and bulimics, a multi-million dollar beauty industry, clothes designed to make us appear anatomically different than we really are (Spanxx, push-up bras, Speedos), tiny tots in tiaras and tube tops, and on and on, ad infinitum. We don't even know what we really think beauty is anymore; we are just sold images to emulate, and then we feel badly about ourselves when we can't live up to some ridiculously distorted advertisement. Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you what is truly beautiful...

and that is....


Bunny teeth, camembreast, and turkey neck! SEXY!!!!!

How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?

So, yeah, I've been gone awhile. Miss me? Awww, don't try to hide it, you know you did...anyhoo, I was in France, and it was fantastique. I saw things that filled me with all kinds of emotion, and spent the 15 days careening through spells of extreme joy, wonder, fascination, confusion, understanding on a deeper level than I am accustomed to (though I did learn that the French fully comprehend the meaning of the word, "Huh?"), empathy and awe. I felt overwhelmed often, but in a positive way, as if I was experiencing without really thinking about it; I think the word for that is 'living'. I felt very alive and vibrant while I was there. It was hard to come back. In fact, I started a blog post entitled "Ten Reasons the Entire Country of France Is Better Than Where I Live Now", but I flooded it so full of pictures that it got all messed up, and I got frustrated and quit. Now I have a huge backlog of backblogs, and that's daunting, believe you me! I mean, my devoted readers expect a certain level of quality in this blog, a sharp, wise, well-reasoned look at the world we live in, a witty, unique commentary on truths that, without my unblinking eye and commitment to accessible explanation of the global trends, trials and in-depth analysis, you might not be able to grasp fully, and, most of all, news of me...well, that's a tall order, and I have to have some big feet to fill my own shoes, I tell you what! I make it look easy, but...well, I digress...

Suffice it to say that even though I know you are all eagerly awaiting my certain brand of voyage reportage, I'm not telling. It was such a big adventure, and this blog is devoted to smaller adventures. All you will get is drips and drabs. I'm sorry, but that's the way it has got to be. Und now ve look at pictures:

Going to the ball at 9:00 a.m.
And yet, there aren't that many fatalities...
Just a screen door...
Caption: Man's best friend
Pig pastry
Yeah, I loved it. My grandmother, rest her soul, was a world traveller. Of Paris she said, "Mmmm... it's not so nice. We have Turtle Creek, which is a lot cleaner and nicer than the Seine. Tom Thumb makes French bread, and our museum has wonderful paintings and is a lot easier to get around than The Louvre. Less crowded, too!" I loved my Mom Mom, but I have to disagree. There's a big world out there and a million ways to be happy. Seeing art and music everywhere, eating delicious, diverse foods, smelling the odor of life (sometimes not so good, but honest!), getting lost in sound and color, and people, people wraps me in hope for the future, humanity, and myself. I'm glad I got to see things from a different perspective.
More photos to come! Au revoir!