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!