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.