27 December 2008

holiday moths

the lonely and thirsty flock to the quicky mart on christmas day, since it is one of the only things open and people want to go somewhere. whether from loneliness or its extreme opposite, many seem to appear on the streets around two in the afternoon. christmas is over. now what? so they pace in cars.

if only a bar would open or a house catch fire. something. anything.

through the doors of the quicky mart they come, to look, to linger, to chat with someone paid to be friendly. a bad hair dad with two holiday coat girls wander slowly. he wants bud, but it cannot be purchased on christmas. the girls' dark red coats clash with pink boots and yellow hats.

three gangsters wander in with sunglasses on. no beer for them either. the clerk spends his christmas saying, no alcohol today.

we buy coffee and mixers and eye the next couple of moths who come in as we leave.

22 December 2008

a forced smile

me trying to fake smile

ring lardner, the 1920s humorist, didn't like jokes. once, he sat in a bar for more than 6o hours, leaving only when someone came up to him and said, "have you heard the one about. . . "

he didn't like jokes for the same reason i don't generally like jokes: the implied laugh contract. it is polite to laugh.

"have i told you this one," someone says. i don't recognize the joke as it starts, so i say no. then it comes back to me. i know the punchline as the joke goes on. it would be rude to interupt the joke teller and say, "oh, i do remember that one. johnny gets rid of the rake and grabs a hoe, right?"

i know it's rude, because i've done it.

so, one must suffer doubly. suffer from the joke contract itself--straining a smile from the beginning to prepare the laugh muscles for a heartfelt fake laugh at joke's end--and suffer from the knowledge that it will be even harder to fake a laugh while not even listening.

to share a joke is a very intimate thing. it's like making a pass at someone. refusing to enjoy the joke is like turning down a romantic gesture with a kick to the pelvis--whatever a pelvis is.

sure, every so often, i find a joke funny--but more in the aha, clever sense than laugh out loud sense. but i have to give the outword loud fake ha regardless. no one feels satisfied with "i found that joke to be clever. i'm not laughing, but i appreciate the humor in it and thank you for your kind gesture of cheer."

for the same reason, this won't work:
he: hey, you're looking hot tonight.

she: that's probably true, but while i appreciate the compliment and admit it helps my ego, i'm afraid a giggle here would give you the idea that i might be romantically interested in you, which couldn't be further from the truth.

19 December 2008

the last christmas blog

there is a groundswell movement i don't see reported on tv. it isn't anti-christmas as much as it is christmas-indifferent. the opposite of love is indifference, after all. christmas drop-outs like us.

last year we flew to new orleans on christmas day. tickets were too much this year, so we're at home until the 28th. christmas drop-outs from up north were supposed to visit on the 25th (our new term for the holiday), but they became travel drop-outs as of yesterday.

but last night at a fundraiser, we chatted at a bar with the michigan cowboy, another christmas refugee, who said he would be at home this year as well. next thing we knew we had plans to make the perfect old fashion at his basement bar on the 25th. john galt will join us. at some point we will go see the spirit at the movie theater. movies based on vintage comics and vintage cocktails will be our tradition for a day.

and we shall sing my new 25th carol, sung to an obvious tune:

i'll be drunk for two five
you can bet your ass
please have rye and apple pie
and bitters in the glass. . .

17 December 2008

state of the economy

the news tells me every morning that things are bad. i've been considering panicking and downsizing in my personal life to reflect national trends. as for the panic, i tried to do the dishes with an attitude of irrational fear, but i'm afraid i wasn't able to do it. dried milk cannot be removed in haste. i did the dishes in my usual manner. to downsize, i told the cat that i was no longer able to keep her on the payroll. in response, she batted a plant and went to sleep. once again i am no good at following national fashion.

i looked closely at my own economic indicators and came to a different conclusion than the news does every morning.

1 it is cold outside, yet warm inside. good.
2. i saved $1.69 because the quicky mart was out of the pink sobe. good.
3. i am able to watch the justice league on my tv. good.
4. i have a wife who buys me dinner and drinks at the minnow. good.
5. the bag of baked cheetos in the kitchen is 4/5 full. good.
6. i got to hold a little girl named reagan makepeace who called me grampa with her eyes. great.

10 December 2008

grinch, christmas bodhisattva

ugly wife reading this blog

the grinch is about the only christmas show i can stomach. for my money (free on tv), it is the best secular christmas message show there is. grinch is rightfully pissed off by the rampant materialism he sees around him. from his vantage point the holiday seems to be a celebration of gluttony and conspicuous consumption. what right minded person isn't a grinch?

but grinch is an activist. he isn't content to sit and complain. he decides to stir it up. by stealing the gifts and the roast beast from all of hooville, he forces the heathen hoos to look inward and "discover the true meaning of christmas." some would contend that the hoos always had that spirit. but without grinch, how would we know? he reveals their character. i'm sure off camera there are many pissed off, spoiled hoos. i think of them during commercial breaks.

the message is obvious: celebrate. gifts and such get in the way of true, spontaneous joy.

most would agree that christmas shouldn't be so materialistic. the same most feel sorry for those that don't get good gifts. instead of toy drives for the poor to reinforce the message that more is better, we should have toy stealing drives to show the middle class and the rich that happiness doesn't come from stuff. be a grinch. steal your neighbors' gifts. only don't give them back at the end. that would be truly spreading the christmas spirit.

cold related death

i've always wondered how they calculate the number of deaths due to severe cold. what contribution must the cold make to the person's death? does slipping count? anyway, i think i will soon be a statistic. i just came in from the cold. the cold excited my bladder. after coming inside, i went immediately to the bathroom. my frozen hands caused my talliwacker to retreat, but increased the level of bladder trauma. long story short (in more ways than one): i think i peed internally.

08 December 2008

drunk sunday

why i don't care what the stores tell me i can do on sunday.

02 December 2008

no comment

just saying

doug came to the meeting last and rolled his eyes when he was handed the "scavenger hunt" list. doris explained it to him: "you have to find people in the room that fit the categories. but you can't use any person more than once. it's an ice breaker." doug stared. "you can use me for this one here." she points. "i've worked in a foreign country. i taught english in korea." doug stared.

people mingled. doug kept moving. discomfort moved like a gas through the room, fueling some, burning others. short bursts of laughter could be heard above the murmur of nothing funny.

a tall woman approached doug and asked him if he was born in michigan. she seemed interested. "i have a fetish for sneezing women," he said. "the complete lack of control reminds me of an orgasm." doug kept moving.

26 November 2008

doctor scott

dr. phil was on yesterday while i was doing some paperwork. i turned on the tv and left it on phil, so i should take responsibility.

i learned a great deal about language. the guests consisted of a calm father, a giant and easily agitated mother, and two giant and easily agitated daughters. the father was being accused of abuse. the guy looked frustrated and a little nervous, as if he were abused. the women were mean. i was intrigued.

i mention the size of the women (not their fault; they are diabetic), because he was accused of abusing them by saying they "grazed" and by suggesting healthier alternatives to potato chips and dip. how dare he.

"it isn't what he says, but how he says it!" each yelled. apparently issues of tone did not apply to them.

in a conversation with the michigan cowboy, he voiced similar complaints about the now negative connotations of the word "manipulate." using verbal skill to convince others is evil. probably abusive.

i suppose the changing and expanding definitions of words such as these (abuse, manipulate, and let me add "control") are natural consequences of a country in which the all-ideas-are-equal-except-the-old "philosophy" is king.

a person is fat. personal responsibility is frowned upon. it is merely a difference. one needn't make fun of it to be insensitive; the mere mention of an obvious condition is abuse.

please do not be swayed by my words. i wouldn't want to be controlling or manipulative.

18 November 2008


halloween 2008

fresh snow

a wolf spider frozen
next to the hose
i forgot to take inside

crazy cat walks slowly through the road
snow, licking the center line, daring
drivers. not cold enough yet to die

conditions for auto bailout

i will personally send my share of what the auto makers want, about 67 bucks, if they will look outside their detroit offices next time they design a car.

i never want another ice jam around the wipers, doors that suck every bit of snow off the roof onto the seat, wiper fluid that creates blue snow on the hood rather than hitting the windshield, floors that trap every bit of dirty slush under your feet, trunks that cannot be opened without creating snow drifts on your groceries, or wheel wells designed to hold enough ice to stop a person dead in their tracks.

and i want to buy a car pre-painted with salt stain so i don't have to think about cleaning it.

17 November 2008

uglycousin editorial meeting

this morning the editorial staff of uglycousin met and briskly decided the fate of the latest crop of rejects. that being too easy, we also created an entirely new art form.

at one point in my life i did a little reading about editing. i remember one bit of wisdom: a good editor is one who isn't afraid to edit. an editor isn't a compiler; an editor becomes part of the process. much i read indicates to me that the world is in need of good editors.

when we write we know what we want. an editor represents audience.

what have we done this time? the issue will be out soon. in the meantime, i'll just say this: if we made uglycousin the movie, each actor would be allowed only one line and would have to wear our clothes.

16 November 2008

to drinking

henry said he got his second wind so he came back to the minnow saturday evening. he took the previous week off to drink. bad life, happy hours. i sit next to him and we talk about drinking. he complains his brother is taking too long to get over his divorce. "hell, when i got divorced, i said kill the bitch and went out for a drink." bartender reggie teases henry by calling him his brother's name. henry flips us all off as he leaves, and i toast "to drinking."

10 November 2008

no beard

i call to report absences this morning and the secretary asks if i had fun saturday night. i wondered how she knew. she was talking about an event we had gone to at the beginning of the night. it hadn't occurred to me that for some saturday night consisted solely of that college-related event. the only thing remarkable about that event for me was that it created the odd costume n and i would carry throghout the night: it was a black and white party.

after a good minnow night on friday, i thought our saturday would be doomed. fortunately, going to a dry, black and white fund raiser, fueled our need to have real fun. so it was out of that before the door prizes were half done and to the minnow. i drank straight bourbon; n, appletinis. we drank as if the evening would be short and sweet.

third round came and then kyle bought us a round. a rare occassion that required us to stay. other rounds were bought, apparently by cooks and co-workers. next thing we knew it was one and we were in no condition to go home.

the next few hours were a strange dance, in all senses of the word. we ended up at a friend's house to listen to disco music. part of his basement is a disco club--full bar, dance floor, sound system, lights, ball, giant lounge area with 70s furniture, and a small stage behind the dance floor with all sorts of instruments. we entered and he chose a pair of platform shoes for each of us to wear from rows of them displayed on one of the walls. they fit. we were tall. music and strobes and microphones shoved in faces, uncharacteristic loud singing in the mic, constant dancing and movement. somehow, with no more alcohol we got drunker.

it is hard to tell where one will end up after a black and white party. yes, we had fun saturday.

06 November 2008


nothing makes me happier than walking into the office in the morning and seeing that the phone is not blinking--unless it is a good afternoon email. this afternoon when i checked to see what complaints and emergencies had accumulated since noon, i found none. just an email from dino.

good day. it led to much productivity. 19 pages of sat8 now done. i drew uglyangie on the last panel today so she would have something to find when looking for herself.

dino has interesting, blogable news about giant urinals nuns picked out, and an expression he has fallen in love with. when talking about a volleyball loss, a co-worker told him, "we shit our beds." in the future when i screw something up, i will say, "i guess i shit the bed on this one." knute rockne in the locker room: "don't shit the bed, boys."

we should make way for uglydino. he could post ass observations and post pornographic zippo lighters.

but the subject is beards. he said he watched the hell's kitchen vids and noticed i had a beard. "i didn't know you had a beard," he said. "i didn't know you had a cousin," i said. and out of laziness a mini-beard is starting to show itself on my face and starting to itch.

01 November 2008


lisa's pants

our table--eko and forrest, then my line

our whole scene:

30 October 2008

deep-fried twinkie dog

slow wednesday night--always slow during the week before big events like halloween and thanksgiving. so slow one-word amywalker is hoping to beat the eight bucks she made on tuesday and the kareoke dude lingers sadly by the back door. delicious supper makes me hungry and in conversation with the sportsman an idea is born. better than the jagersteak and the grandslam drink--the deep-fried twinkie dog.

n produces five bucks, the sportsman runs to hardings, and the deal is on. for whatever reason, people aren't looking forward to it. the words summon the gag reflex.

the sportsman arrives back from hardings with dissapointing news. the fat cashier (as opposed to the pock-marked cashier, the mean cashier, the purple-haired cashier, and the bald cashier) says she loves deep-fried twinkie dogs "fried in fat." then behind him in line, our friend johnny-- itinerate play director, frequent shopper, sometimes referee, and wearer of 8-guage nipple rings--says he' had them too: "it's a southern thang" (supply appropriate drawl). a quick check of the trusty internet says these two are liars. the invention and all subsequent rights are ours. i claim it in the name of the sportsman universe (where soul insurance is always on sale).

after selecting the proper weiny and cutting it down to size and the required dirty jokes about the dogs being too big to fit, the deed is done. delicious. like a new and improved corn dog. put a stick in it and we're millionaires.

bring the history channel to record the home of the deep-fried twinkie dog and hear our tales.

21 October 2008

the calling

words and art. i've had a vision of what i've wanted to create for years. sat is just a proving ground. i prefer prose comic; uglyangie is after the po-art (my new phrase). soon it will all come together. i like graphic novels like persopolis and blankets, but i'm tired of the giant whiney coming of age crap these loser cartoonists produce in the name of autobiography. i have a book that reminds me of angie. i will find it tonight and put it in her mailbox tomorrow. there's one publisher of possibility.

20 October 2008


pollyanna was in early this morning during my make coffee and think time. she asked me how my weekend was. she always does, though i do nothing to encourage questions like that. i don't care if you notice i got my haircut either. she apologized for not going to the minnow on friday and asked if anyone was there. she meant anyone from work.

there's always someone there, i said.

i remember when i was the sort of person who needed to meet people places, who needed to know that other people were coming. now i simply have a destination. i sit and the parade comes. i never know who will show up. i'm rarely disappointed if someone doesn't.

this friday: bar was full, so we sat for a while with jake from work. some gossip and he left. bar seats open up. we sit next to the mailman who is celebrating the birthday of a woman sitting next to him. they are older and resistent of shots with funny names; they prefer straight liquor shots. and then shot-and-a-beer carol shows up, back from his vegas trip. we chat with him about his debaucherous trip until his to-go food comes and he's home to mommy. an old aquaintence shows up and cries to me about her friend's husband's suicide. she seemed concerned that the friend get a cleaning job. bartender reggie complains about her after she leaves because she demands an itemized bill. people with money are cheap. our friend merlin takes carol's place at the bar and butter sits next to me. odd conversations until the rockstar shows up and takes a liking to me. big burly guy in fender jacket with the single ugliest girlfriend ever. he buys me a shot. then he buys the bar a shot. then he buys me another. we kill the bar's supply of wild turkey. he grabs me by the shoulder and tells me to look into his eyes. he yells something about vinyl and tells me he's going on tour the next day. see you in three years, he says, so we go home.

no need to pre-arrange that.

14 October 2008

icy death

without time to even think how stupid i was, i was completely under water--except for my arm that held the bottom of the overturned kayak. it seemed essential not to lose the kayak or the paddle. it also seemed essential to hold onto something, anything. my feet could find no bottom. the sides of the river were steep and muddy.

i didn't yell as much as took in air in a noisy fashion. the cold immediately made it impossible to breath. a couple giant breaths came in, but nothing came out. i sounded like those guys on the fire breathing chicken commercial.

i heard lisa say something about letting go of the kayak and paddle. as slippery as the bottom of a kayak is, i was willing to claw myself into it rather than let go. it was the only land in sight.

finally i found some footing, walked up to knee deep water, and made a new series of freezing noises. lisa helped me dump out three quarters of the water. i got back in to try to paddle to a better shoreline to get the rest out. having gallons of water sloshing in the bottom of the kayak made the short trip to the opposite shore very unstable. i was pretty sure i was going in again.

i didn't. we got most of the water out. we switched kayaks so lisa could sit in my damp one while i dampened her dry one. it made sense at the time.

long story short. cold. underwater. stayed cold for hours. woke up the next morning with a sore tail bone, but i don't think that was related to my near icy death.

pleasant journey

all conspired against our planned trip going as planned. we were determined, though, so despite losing our driver (for easier pick-up and drop-off), despite time limits, we did it; we made our last and longest kayak trip of the season--down the dowagiac river. we had gone down a short part of the river a few weeks back--sink road to dodd park--and that made us want more.

this time we put in at dewey lake street, down a steep embankment to a concrete storm drain we used to steady ourselves before getting in. i commented that a wrong step there would make for a long, cold, wet trip. we all got in fine. there are very few easy access points along the dowagiac.

the first hour and a half took us through the most log obstacles. none of them forced us to leave the river, but many required lots of scooting. they were puzzles. the woods along this part of the river are mostly breakers in the back of fields. we encountered more than a few barrels of god knows what dumped by farmers. other than those sad reminders of humanity, the river is natural and beautiful. we irritated a heron. it would fly down river when we approached--again and again. we tried to explain to it that it should just stay where it was or fly the opposite direction, but it was suspicious of our advice.

the next couple hours was cleared more. foot bridges and deer blinds spotted the river's edge. the ground was flatter, less undergrowth. forrest stared down a beaver.

the most beautiful part was near the end, when we were in the middle of dowagiac woods. there the light is forced into shafts by the dense woods. by this point, four hours in, we were tired and sore. we had gone under the last underpass and would soon be done.

it was then, after avoiding any danger when going over and under big obstacles, i went to make an easy turn, hit one tree, and was nudged by another log somewhere underneath me. the next thing i knew i was under water. under very cold water.

09 October 2008

non-fiction fairy tales

i think it might need a snappier title, but non-fiction fairy tales works in the meantime. it's a perfect definition if not the best label. it is growing on me like moss.

i was going to try to write something this afternoon, but the attempt has ruined my ability. i seem to write the most when i'm grading papers.

my next will not have me as the narrator. i will be an iranian woman feeding her children with tears and blood clots, or a waitress devastated by the sadness of lonely eaters, or the light that travels all the way to earth just to hit us on an overcast winter day.

first i must write a murder mystery for deep. by monday. i'm not sure i know how. someone gets killed, but that's all i've got so far. that's not right. someone also "done it." five characters. maybe one will be an iranian woman, another a waitress, and . . .

08 October 2008

literacy II

stray books are becoming a nuisance in my neighborhood. they sleep lightly on my porch dreaming i'll open the door. sometimes one will flee from under my car when i start it up in the morning. their guant and rugged appearance makes me sad.

one neighbor wants to lure them into her garage to burn them. another lets them into her back porch where she stacks them in the corner of the almost house.

i've got my own books inside, nicely shelved and dusted. i have several first editions. why would i want to let the ugly outdoor books in? many of them carry diseases, you know.

i blame the rental house transients who take in a book "for the kids," and quickly realize they have no interest in reading. the books are left by the street with cracked scooters and headless barbies after the renters' clothes are loosly boxed and dirty mattresses are tied to the tops of friends' cars for transport to the next house.

the abandoned books roam but rarely find a home. we prefer ours store bought and clean.

07 October 2008


the dolly parton yodeling commercial just came on. i was safe because lisa the yodeler is out of town. still, i miss the game of exaggerating the pain when a yodel comes from opposite the tv. dolly has no idea about the duets she is inspiring. all across america women affect a high-pitched yodel and men wince like scalded dogs. it is the sort of pain that brings people together.

02 October 2008

the gypsy cometh

wild gypsy from nowhere nuzzles his head on neighbors like a cat. his buggy eyes stick to your arm. he cocks his head back and sings a falsetto. he carries a painting with him to the bathroom. the story of the gypsy will be told in full this weekend. i'm thinking the next sat will be a full-length story centered on him.


the sportsman says that when meeting a new person you should ask what the person does the first hour they're awake. knowing about the person's first hour is knowing the person.

my first hour during the week is generally the same. i wake, grab coffee, let the cat out, sit with lisa if she's awake, shower (and if she wasn't awake before the shower, sit with her after), walk downstairs to put on clothes i set out the night before, grab my work stuff, kiss lisa goodbye, and drive to work, where i open doors, turn on lights, and make coffee for everyone. that's my hour. what does it say about me?

30 September 2008


two boys about 8 and 10, one dragging a grocery bag half full of jagged edges, loudly approach the next house. they use the entire width of the sidewalk and beyond, making lighting incursions into the grass and mulch, serpent walking, never two steps in a straight line. they shove and insult each other up the steps to the door. the older hangs back. the younger opens the storm
door like he is breaking in, and sharply slams the knocker five times. metal on metal like firecrackers.

when the door is opened, he looks at the white shirt pocket of the homeowner and says, "you wanna buy some books?" after a pause, he adds, "adult books, kids books." his eyes are on his foot. the older is already looking off into the yard. "we're getting some money for our mother."
his expression is defiant, almost angry as if he's denying a crime rather than selling a book.

he hears the no, turns around, and when he reaches his friend, the wild swagger continues to the next house and they swear.

29 September 2008


ok, i've thought about it, uglyangie.

i'm happiest when i write the sorts of things i like to write--adult fairy tales, bar stories, rants.

i'm least happy if i'm trying to fit something into a package i think someone else will like. plot pisses me off.

writing long things is maddening for me, but i don't mind the work. you were talking about writing when it feels like work. i don't think i mind that. for me, it's a matter of what do i want to go back to. what do i look forward to doing? the time spent on task might be frustrating or mundane work while i'm doing it, but if i'm into it, i look forward to going back.

i get bored quickly, though, so i like to have a number of things going on, so i have something to go to when i get bored of something else.

i guess the key is to give ourselves permission to create the stuff we want to and not the stuff we think we should. free comics and pointless magic for me. mike mine ugly, as the saying goes.

i hoped that if i thought about it for a while, something profound would come. sorry it didn't maybe my mind is still fixated on creating soup.

stupid webcam pics

soon uglycousin will be updated and revamped. i finally got a new and living computer.

the greatest feature so far (the distraction from my uglywork and "real" work) is the built-in webcam. i can now watch myself sit at a computer. i've spent years criticizing people's sad looking self-pics--arm length photos of strained expressions or lonely webcamming home alone pics--and now i can create some for others to criticize.

now i have no excuses not to write, no excuses not to update. i miss excuses. my first assignment is a response to angie's what to write entry. the fiction i enjoy writing isn't "realistic." the life i enjoy living isn't very realistic either. i will have to give this some thought before writing all the way through, though. and, i will have to snap an appropriate shot of myself to accompany the blog entry. i will try not to make whatever it is look so lonely.

27 September 2008

stroller girls

hunger leads to the minnow, leads to drinks, leads to talk, leads to drinks, leads to unordered glasses left half empty--nauseating to look at, ordered by someone who wanted us to stay after our limit had been met--leads to drunken walk around the shell station scavenging for food, unusual purchases, and fast but broken sleep.

another night.

liv from work is there for her birthday, surrounded by young people. all sit around the big table next to the window hunkered together like wild west bandits around a mountain fire. they engage us at the bar on walks to and from the bathroom. john, her husband arrives from somewhere at the end of a drinking binge that began at one. i tell him we're buying liv drinks so he can spend the late night cleaning up puke. "that's why we've got dogs," he says. his talk is filled with gossip and memories of bangkok whores.

after the first shift bar guys leave, shot-and-a-beer carol takes his place next to us at the bar ordering the usual and trying to make the most of the time he has before his pizza is done and he must return home. new bar friend jay takes up his predictable spot as well. the entourage is assembled and completed a couple hours later when a man named corinne arrives and stands behind us pissed at various people and filled with plans for historical research.

john comments on our group. liv does too. she says she understands guys wanting to hang out with n because "she's nice, and hot, and talks nicely to them. i think she's a surrogate something for all of them." then liv's attention returns to her table of 21-year olds.

chick and reggie are bartending. chick jokes that he screams during sex. i spend the rest of the evening asking people, "have you ever seen chick have sex? he screams real loud." too many take the question too seriously and try to show their shock.

the sportsman, as usual, has fantastic ideas and theories. i don't recall them, though. i was penless when he was talking and am suffering the consequences.

we design halloween costumes on the back of coasters and discover many of the coasters already have drawings left by others. it is an art movement. i think n should come as the opposite of a guy named leitzy who always wears shorts and sleeveless shirts. i draw her with just sleeves and pant legs. people look at it closely as if they are really viewing her naked. my cartooning isn't that good.

and the hippy gypsy arrives and lurks bug-eyed as usual at the opposite end of the bar--thank god--carrying on a "conversation," with the disgraced undertaker. both are too lonely to leave.

the drunken irish writer approaches me a few times as he exchanges five-dollar bills for crisp ones for the change machine. he uses the quarters to keep his kids amused. besides his kids he is accompanied by two teenage girls. i didn't ask about it, but he explains their presence anyway. something about a chicago halfway house and his duty to watch them.

i tell him about the horse-faced stroller girl, the most intensely disturbing turn-around effect in town. from behind, as she pushes her stroller, she looks amazing. but from the front or side, she has the most serious overbite i've ever seen--exaggerated by giant teeth. if her picture were on a collection bucket at the pri-mart, i would pitch in money every week to get it fixed.

drunken irish writer hasn't seen her. "stroller girls. that's great. if you wrote a novel about them and called it stroller girls, you'd have a best seller." i'll get right on that.

23 September 2008

two for uglyangie

i don't write poetry as has been amply proven. here then are two written quickly while thinking about recent uglyangie blogs. uglywife is next.


each day she took a single marble
from a big glass jar by her bed

and rolled it out the door.
another day, another marble.

when all the marbles are gone
she figured she would be gone

as well. why count up toward death
on a calendar when you can count down

to death with a marble jar?
rolling, rolling, gone.

sacred clutter

burn the field to teach
the deer some discipline--
disorderly bugs and grasses too.

leafs got you down? chop
the tree. pave the yard
to save your porch from mud.

god has messy fingers.
make him wash before
eating in your kitchen.

gut his cathedrals--
candles drip, saints and
kneelers collect dust.

look at lunar landscape
for inspiration. wish for
boxless nothing for christmas.

the coffin is clean
and hermetically sealed.
no clutter there.

political animal

a couple times in my life i've given up politics--for the same reason i've given up college football. it makes me too nervous.

i know which team i like, and i don't understand why everyone isn't rooting for my team. i am surprised when someone doesn't like asparagus, though i didn't like it as a kid.

i get so wrapped up in it, that i get a little self-righteous. ok, just plain self-righteous. i'm not sure a little is even possible with that term. i begin to see it as a battle to be won, good v. evil, the fate of the world depends on it. in short, i fall prey to the metaphors too common in the culture.

most political/sports conversation doesn't help my nerves. rather than informed, rational, academic debate, there is bumpersticker boosterism and unreasoned cultural sub-group signifiers (your team/candidate is stupid because i've been brought up to say that). smart people make me the saddest. i rarely meet someone who has come to their political choices based on study and reason. it's coke or pepsi prejudice all the way around.

my choices, since they're mine, are the exception, of course. i root for michigan for profound, logical reasons. my choice for judge would be supported by the greatest greek logician.

the bottom line is that if a room caught on fire, I wouldn't ask if a person were democrat or republican before saving them (or more likely, before them saving me). the world won't end (probably) regardless of who is elected. the much hated bureaucracy saves us from radical change.

should i give up my recently revitalized political enthusiasm? doubtful. it will come back anyway. thankfully, it is my irritations that keep my mind lively. when contentment comes, it will be time to say goodbye.

tomorrow--drinking stories.

22 September 2008

mortality and questions

  • the birth and death of the jagersteak
    we looked forward to it. we got it. it wasn't bad. the jagersteak--steak drinking a cup of jagermeister for two days in the cooler--was flavorful. liquorice steak with onion. we cut it up and let people sample it. two spit it. one became a vegetarian. two thought it was ok. only one, mailman jeff, loved it, calling it "savory." his taste buds may have been under the influence of an afternoon of beer marinated glass. shot-and-a-beer carol designed a scientific test to save and perfect the jagersteak. perhaps it's time has come and gone.
  • fall marks the lingering death of nature
    fall is here and the crickets slowly stagger to their deaths. many lose a leg or two along their walk to nowhere. like frogs, most bugs, and a lot of road kill, they die on their backs. since these beasts never spend a living moment on their backs, i can only guess that this dying posture is a sign to others in the animal kingdom: "no life here."
  • what if cars were like horses?
    you would have to fill up your car every day whether or not you drove it.
  • catapillar heads
    n asks how catapillars form those cacoons over their entire body. how does the head get covered? how does the covering know when to stop?
  • i am happy that a few days of no bogging makes me nervous. the habit is starting to form.

18 September 2008

grandslam breakfast drink

my creative output has been limited to drinkables as of late. i haven't even written a note to myself on a 3x5 card or on the back of a coaster. as long as the creative spirit is still alive, though, i shouldn't complain. cash, checks, and gold bars are all money.

above is from last friday when i invented the grandslam, a breakfast alternative to the bloody mary. it is a tall screwdriver with beef jerky and a deviled egg inserted. all it needed was toast to be a complete breakfast. the bad news was that it tasted as bad as it sounded. the last inch was an orange eggy mush that took some effort to suck through a straw. the good news was deviled eggs.

we suggested that they serve deviled eggs on trays like shots after the kitchen closes. at a buck a pop, it would be quite a money maker. america loves deviled eggs. i'm certain of it.

my latest invention is waiting in the cooler. the jagersteak! sporto the cook took our suggestion of marinating a steak in jagermeister and onions. tall glass, complete onion. as of last night it stank. when cooked up for us tomorrow, we hope it will start a nationwide trend. with a side of deviled eggs, it could become a signature dish.

i will report if this creative experiment turns out better than last friday's pulpy mess.

16 September 2008

flood warning

rained about a foot in a couple days and other than a little indoor gloom and faster walks from house to car, it didn't really have an effect on us. we don't flood. it should be used as an advertisement for our town.

the pill bugs made a mass evacuation to the porch.

n thought it was interesting that we were getting hurricane rain. it seemed so exotic.

the only thing that flooded in dowagiac was cause for jokes. i learned about it from the cashier at the pri-mart (a daughter of a crazy work study i had once who recently died of mysterious causes). she pointed at the front page of the daily news and asked me if i thought it was funny.

i thought she was referring to the picture of a pumkin headed man straining to look human while holding a badly designed book beneath his chin. "local man writes book."

she was talking about the picture of the middle school flooded. everyone laughs. we the people. we laugh at the stupid people who decided to build the large, expensive school, twice as big as the student body, and lied at every stage of the multi-vote, multi-year "debate" to get it built--in the middle of nowhere. it's our money, but seeing it flood is cause for celebration amonst the powerless. if it were to burn, the paper would declare a tragedy, twenty people would agree, and the rest of us would make fun of it over drinks at the wounded minnow before sneaking over to the site late at night to steal a brick or desk.

if only it were raining today, a day i am slave to grading. perhaps i will get a beer like angie-at-home.

15 September 2008

to hell with ugly betty

just had an official ugly cousin meeting with angie. we shall someday rule the world. more on that later.

we talked about re-starting our blogs and re-invigorating our ugly efforts when the topic of calling ourselves ugly scott and ugly angie came up. we both have reservations because of that damn tv show ugly betty. sounds like we're imitating it. we were here first. i've never seen the show.

it reminds me of the experience of naming my youngest son forrest. shortly after his birth the movie forrest gump came out. people who could not do the math said (for years), so you named him after the movie? apparently, there are movie characters a child would rather be named after. no one wants stupid parents to yell "run, forrest, run" at a soccer game.

so please don't mistake us with betty. unless you like it/her. then, yes, we've named ourselves after the show.

14 September 2008

beautiful plotlessness

a day of nothing--and i wonder if this were to be my last day on earth would it be significant enough?

if happiness is contentedness and contentedness is do-nothing then maybe the best way to face the end is like i did today--like my cat who sat on the front porch watching small movements through the rain, getting up every so often when hungar or an itch provoked a change in scenery.

i played family feud online and yelled at the stupidity of some of the answers i failed to get. n played too and complained that french fry is definately something that falls under your car seat (rather than cell phone and pda which she didn't guess). "look under people's car seats and you'll find a french fry," she said. and the cat bit its own foot.

i read the military blogs i read regularly and sent some money to people less lazy than me so they could send supplies to soldiers overseas.

i watched a little meet the press until i realized it was not the proper way to waste time, since it irritated me and told me nothing new. politicians read the party-scripted responses implanted in their frontal lobes in order to "win" the debate. they condone behaviors in party members they condemn in the opposition. no more rational thinking in these shows than in tailgating arguments between rival sports fans. the only difference is that tailgating provides better food.

a sitting and passive day when nothing is created and very little done other than digestion.

13 September 2008

a day to gamble

last week at the minnow we made bar plans that for some reason everyone remembers. let's have a party at our house after THE GAME (I didn't say it that way; that's how it's heard around here).

it is raining so hanging out with people outside isn't possible. the inside of our house is boring. the "everyone" who remembers consists of two sortofsingle guys. i can picture the four of us sitting on couches and not being able to create conversations that come so easy in the drunken parade of a bar.

plan a is to move the party to the bar and see where it goes from there. plan b is to road trip to the casino. never been. i have an urge to gamble, which rarely happens.

we shall see. need to get out after a day of cleaning and reading graphic novels and sorting through notes without the desire to write anything of substance.