20 September 2006


Or, how I could have been a country music song writer

Charlie and Ruby June’s Champale Party

Charlie and Ruby June
had been to the hogwaller in Walhaller
and since it was early yet,
they decided to have a little celebration.

Charlie, inspired by the pigs,
wanted to roll around in the mud some,
but Ruby June objected
‘cause she had a new dress.

They ended up parked in the bushes
behind Custer’s Last Stand Restaurant
in the back of Charlie’s pick-up
drinkin’ rum and slurpies.

Ruby June got it in her head
she’d dance on the hood of the truck,
but Charlie was worried she’d dent it,
so she had to settle for the truck bed.

Charlie even turned on an oldies station
and danced with Ruby June—
‘course he’d already started on the champale
and had more than his share of the rum.

Dancin’ like that, real close, his hands on her behind,
Ruby June remembered why she’d married Charlie.
She didn’t say a word when he turned off the radio
so the truck battery wouldn’t go dead.

She just kissed him
and licked behind his ear the way he liked
and whispered, “Screw the cap on the champale,
sugar, so it don’t go flat.”

18 September 2006

Wicked stuff

Even though I had nothing to do with furthering this particular skill, I'm still proud to say that this is the work of a former student. Only three years out of Collins, she's able to choose her clients, name her price, and work no more than a few hours a week. Not that I think she isn't constantly doing what she loves. You don't get this good if you don't love it.

But don't take my word for it:

Life in Vector

The coolest part is to scroll over the images and see the underlying vectors. Amazing.

24 August 2006

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

In case any of you were doubtful, I thought I'd provide evidence that the Airstream actually classes the neighborhood up a bit.

But strangely enough, whenever the neighbor's son's truck is parked there, we don't get any visits from the parking fascists.

18 August 2006

More Airstream Pictures

It seems that my Airstream just doesn't want to be sold. I was foiled in my most recent attempts to post photos to an online ad, so the only solution I could think of was linking to here.

(Don't pay any attention to that. It's really just a cheap excuse to put more pictures of the trailer on the site. If I ever do succeed in selling it, I really will miss the old girl...)

See, check out her great can...

11 August 2006

It's a free country... Isn't it?

I grew up in a place where private property is still private, at least for a few more years. A place where you could put a car up on blocks and let the grass grow up around it if you wanted. A place where you didn't get a ticket if you refused to replace the mailbox that got bashed with a baseball bat every weekend. Now, your neighbors might anonymously leave a new mailbox on your doorstep and hope you got the hint. But the cornerstone of civilized society should be that you don't try to legislate manners.

That world is disappearing. We have witnessed a citizenry all too willing to relinquish civil liberties to secure safety from terrorism. We are equally willing to give up our individual rights to secure our property values. It's a movement that has reached full force here out west, but I have little doubt that, like everything ugly out of California, it will gradually creep into every corner of the nation.

In case all this is a little too abstract, let me tell you a story. A few months ago I moved my Airstream trailer from the park where I had lived for about a year and a half. Beforehand, I called the city of Chandler, where I was moving, to see what regulations governed the parking of recreational vehicles and trailers. I found I could not park it in my yard on an unpaved surface but was told I could park it on the street. I then paid close to $200 to have the trailer moved.

I guess in Chandler the people who make the laws and those paid to enforce them have what you would call a failure to communicate. Some weeks later, when my trailer was repeatedly ticketed as a result of complaints from a neighbor, after many conversations with neighborhood volunteers and police sergeants, I found that yes, my trailer could be parked on the street, but only for 48 hours.

Now, the law cited on the tickets the police keep pasting on my trailer refers to "abandoned vehicles." After 48 hours, the police are allowed to tow any vehicle that has been abandoned on the roadside. I fully understand the importance of such a law, because otherwise Phoenix drivers would have nowhere on the roadside to pull over after they rear-end each other while driving their SUVs 75 miles an hour less than a car length behind someone.

In no way is my trailer abandoned. We go in and out of it every day or so, maybe for no other reason than to open and close the vents. To satisfy the regulations volunteer neighborhood patrolmen were now lecturing about every week, we started moving the trailer a few feet every time it was ticketed. That worked for a while, but the lectures got nastier, and we were then told (in contradiction to previous information) that it wasn't enough to move it a few feet. We were even given the name of the company that would be towing and storing the trailer if we didn't move it.

Now, part of the reason I had parked the trailer there in the first place was that I had been unable to find a storage facility with a vacancy for a 31-foot trailer in the whole East Valley. So I was mighty interested to know that the police had contact with someone who would not only tow it, but could also store it.

Funny thing. Not only did the tow yard they referred me to not have room to store my trailer, according to the woman who answered the phone, they didn't even have a vehicle capable of towing a trailer that size. When I spoke once more to the police sergeant, he told me it was doubtful the trailer would be towed, but he did admonish me for defying the spirit of the law, even if I had been adhering to the letter.

I should have stopped him right then and there and told him to wait just a cotton-pickin' minute. What truly is the spirit of a statute allowing for the towing of abandoned vehicles? I don't believe this law was written to prevent citizens from parking their property on the street, so long as no thoroughfare or driveway is blocked.

It strikes me that both the complainant and the volunteer brigade for neighborhood beautification are abusing the letter of the law with their definition of abandonment. Simply because an object has not been moved does not make it abandoned.

After a brief respite while one of our neighbors recovered from a stay in the hospital, we have now been ticketed again. (The complaints are, of course, anonymous; I don't mean to suggest anything more than coincidence in relating the sequence of events.) We've been told again that the city could have it towed at any given moment. I'm just about ready to let them do it--that is, if they can. I sure haven't had any luck.

Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Yes, I realize how ridiculous it is to equate my ability to park an Airstream where I please with the civil liberties we have sacrificed under the Patriot Act and other travesties committed in the name of homeland security. But we might also attend to Edmund Burke when he wrote, "The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts."

For the time being, at least until I can sell it, my Airstream still sits in front of my house. Or at least it was there this morning. Feel free to contact me if you're in the market. Just make sure ahead of time that you have somewhere legal to park it.

03 August 2006

Unfurl that double standard

Mel Gibson has vehemently denied his anti-Semitism and specifically apologized for any remarks he made that would have offended Jews.

The early reports were that Gibson made both anti-Semitic and sexist remarks, but the media flurry has focused almost entirely on anti-Semitism. Perhaps this is partly because of his now-stalled project on the Holocaust, but I think it's also another case of our looking the other way when it comes to the denigration of women. It's somehow more okay to put someone down for her gender than for her ethnicity.

I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, really I do. And it's really not my intention. I'm starting to get bored with myself. But could the press please cut me a break here?

In the meantime, Mr. Gibson, I'll still be awaiting my apology.

24 July 2006

A pox on you all

Since I couldn't get in to Blogspot for some reason this morning, I posted my rant for the day on silent schwa.

17 July 2006

On the rag

I really wanted to be mad at Ed Carpenter for his comments about Danica Patrick. Really I did.

Then I read the whole article, and I realized it's the producer who reduced Carpenter's comments to a sound byte I should be targeting.

Taken in context, Carpenter's suggestion that Patrick might be a more aggressive driver at the "right time of the month" sounds less like a misogynistic slur and more like some good-natured ribbing from a competitor who clearly respects Patrick as a driver.

Let's face it: If women want to play with the big boys--and I happen to believe we're more than capable--we have to remember what the big boys are like. They are not nice, not to each other, and not to anybody else. Most of the time they're the least nice to the people who are beating them, so the better Patrick gets, the more potshots she's likely to get.

Based on her reaction to the whole hullabaloo, I think she can take it.

22 June 2006


This morning, the sports report on my favorite radio show featured the story of Ozzie Guillen, who called Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti a fag. One of the DJs supported Guillen's defense that the word did not have the same connotations in his country, that it was a reference to a person's courage, not his sexuality. The DJ went on to say that Guillen should have used "the P-word" instead, since that's really what he meant.

Really? Really? So the female organ through which said DJ was birthed is an appropriate slur to apply to a coward? The female member of the radio morning crew, who happens to be pregnant, made no comment on the topic, so I can't know whether she was equally offended, or just so inured to that particular usage it didn't occur to her.

If it is clearly inappropriate to use sexuality as a means of insult, is it not equally inappropriate to use gender in the same manner? I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised by such an attitude when crimes against homosexuals are granted hate crime status (a ridiculous distinction in the first place), while rape, a clearly gender-driven crime, is not. It is still safe to belittle women, to use feminine terms to denote weakness and other character flaws.

I can only console myself by thinking this is all a little like the fable of the fox and the grapes. It's mighty tempting to think of something as inferior when you've spent so much time unsuccessfully chasing it.

My quarterly post

Pluto's Lot

Sure, he'd been told about long-distance
relationships, how they never work, but still
he'd not realized how quiet the house
would seem. And she was always leaving
things behind, as if on purpose—a stocking
redolent with that scent, which he never could
pronounce; worse still, the Victoria's Secret
catalogue she'd forgotten to forward.
His friends would note her absence
at parties; he'd leave early and call,
hoping not to wake her mother,
begging her to talk sexy over the phone.

04 April 2006

First Words

Her mouth the o at the center of wow,
Georgia leans with her hands on her knees.
With one finger pointing to where she will go,
the others grip air so you’ll follow and see.

All that passes from view is gone,
leaving her chanting, more airplane, more tree.
Ga-ga, she says, when she points in the mirror—
All gone, and then more, more Daddy, more me.

This is the way to meet the world:
arms thrown wide, saying, More, more.

18 February 2006

Creepy little story


Sleepy-eyed, she sat up and mumbled, “I dreamed you killed someone and stuffed them in the closet.”

He lit another cigarette. “Amazing what some smack can do to ease your mind.”

She looked from the tight ring of bruises on her breast to the white sunshine out the high window. He was tapping the syringe.

“Somebody warned me,” he said, “how disposing of a body can ruin your whole routine. Damn Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Far away, she heard sirens, and the dog beginning to howl in the backyard. Looking at the closet, she almost let a whimper escape from her throat.

03 February 2006

Finally, a poem...


Funny what some men sacrifice
out of sheer jealousy. Take my boyfriend.
It’s hard to find a man who will screw you
so thoroughly night after night. We’d a been fine
if the textile mill hadn’t closed. Though I didn’t want
to leave Hal, I thought my prospects
would be better in the city.
I didn’t know how right I was!

I found myself at the Uptown Lounge,
doing six shows a night. Things went great,
until some hometown boys showed up
one night, swaggering and drunk
on tequila. I caught Hal in the corner
of my eye and my g-string was wet
before I’d half stripped. But he didn’t take it
like I’d thought he would.

Funny thing is, he’d always liked me
to show off. First time we had sex
was after a party, with his cousin
still in the room. He put mirrors all over
his house. He even had me flashing
these titty rings he bought at passing truckers,
but when I jingled them his way
from the stage he just stared
like I was a leper. Then he got pouty
and bitter-looking, like some guy in a movie
who’s about to say, “Sorry, I mistook you
for somebody I used to know.”

He actually thought I’d quit.
I’m not sure what his problem was—
It’s a classy place: no neon sign outside
or disco ball over the stage, Swisher Sweets
for a dollar in the men’s room.

Since then I’ve pierced my tongue
and taken a girlfriend. Occasionally I blow
the manager, who’s hung like a bear.
At any rate, the tips are good; when I leave work
my purse is stuffed with bills.

24 January 2006

what's in a name?

When I started this blog, over a year-and-a-half ago, which is eons in Internet time, I was really just noodling around. I took the name "klotho" from the Three Fates, with Klotho being the spinner of the thread of life.

Of course, that was before I read a terrible Stephen King book that features alien-like Fates who scurry around suspiciously in the vicinity of unexplained deaths. Don't even remember the name of the book.

So if anyone has any better title ideas for my blog, let's hear them. Anyone? Anyone?

spinning my wheels

I have been thinking about what is accomplished by the huge volume of language hurled onto the face of the Internet, and it strikes me that most of it is completely pointless. Or at least pointless for anyone except the poster. It reminds me of what has to be my favorite opening line of literary criticism ever. (Yes, I know what a geek I am if I have a favorite line of literary criticism. You should have heard me going on about post-modernism under the influence of morphine that time I ended up in the emergency room with a dislocated shoulder. But I digress.)

My favorite sentence appears in an essay by Susan Winnett: "I would like to begin with the proposition that female orgasm is unnecessary." It caught my attention to say the least. She goes on to explain that she doesn't mean to diminish its importance for any individual woman or her partner, just that it isn't a biological imperative.

It strikes me that most blog posts and comments fall into the same category: of no consequence to anyone other than the poster and, in rare cases, perhaps one other person. What purpose does the average smart-ass comment on fark.com actually serve?

Internet postings are the white-collar equivalent of tagging. In a few cases, the post might be elegant or witty enough to entertain or impress a few viewers, just like your better-than-average graffiti. But most of the time, it's nothing more than an annoyance, a little more noise in the urban scenery, an excess of static in a culture already overpopulated with data.

Does that stop me from posting, any more than the next person? Okay, so I certainly don't post any more than the next person; all you have to do is see the dates of my existing posts to figure that out. But the impulse is there, even if my time is generally spent otherwise. I am just as driven to write my name in water as anyone else.