Thursday, April 29, 2004

I just cracked open a can of Red Bull and thought to myself "Man, it's really gonna suck when some cute, teenage girl dies after drinking one of these and Fox News makes a 'Terror in a Can' graphic and soccer moms stage anti-Taurine rallies and Dateline's Stone Phillips asks if the beverage is 'unsafe for any thirst?' and the FDA decides to quell the public's growing fear not by calmly explaining that Red Bull is no more dangerous than tap water but by banning Red Bull and Mountain Dew and tap water."

Smart felons can't vote, but dimwitted civilians can.

Clyde stands on a crowded El platform in mid-June, picking a loose thread from his T-shirt. The thread turns out to be stronger and more involved with the actual infrastructure of the shirt than Clyde had anticipated. The left sleeve dissolves from bottom to top as he pulls, red thread now wound pell mell ‘round his right hand. A thin man in black Spandex shorts notices the deteriorating situation.

“Having trouble?” he asks.

Embarrassed, Clyde shrugs and tries to detangle his paw. His armpits fill with venom. His hands loose their strength. “No. Um, Yeah. ... this damn thread.”

“Lemme’ see that,” the man says, grabbing a loose bit and giving a quick, hard yank. The right shirt sleeve is gone for good now. Furthermore, the thread has jumped the seam to the shirt’s torso and is still intact — irrevocably interwoven. Spandexter shrugs and apologizes. He hands Clyde another handful of red thread. “I was- ... I thought I could snap it off, you know.”

“Yeah. I tried that,” Clyde says. He isn’t angry. The shirt’s a lost cause. It makes him uncomfortable knowing someone tried and failed to help. Clyde can smell his own stink. The ordeal makes him sweat profusely. The man in the Spandex shorts crosses to the opposite end of the platform and buries his snout behind a magazine about bicycles. Clyde lets go of the thread and walks down the stairs to street level. The thread trails behind. It will be blocks long.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

On volleyball at Jack’s Pub:

• Thighs chisled from massive blocks of metamorphic rock
• Butt cheeks pinch the patterns of bikini bottoms
• Damp sand squeezing like cold paste up between the toes
• The heat in my hair
• Plastic pitchers brimming with cheap beer, amber-tinted prisms suspended within
• Diminutive party cups distort alcohol intake
• Glorious inebriation comes in the refracted sunlight of dusk
• Window-down drive is to spring as icing is to cake

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

It is 3:04 p.m. and I am caffeinated beyond recognition. A moment to breathe ... There. Good.

After a weekend of storms and wet-pavement stink, the sun has set upon us. Two days running, it’s been up there making the city a better place. I drove home with the windows down last night after work and the smell of flowers kept passing through the cabin. The trees, again, are thick with leaves, green fabric undulating in the sugary breeze.

A moment to breathe ... There. Good.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Spring into summer in Dallas — the northeast of the southwest. We have rain; we have wind. And in the next few weeks, all the meteorological hoopla will have run its course. The wind and rain will die down and the natives will curl their shoulders against the solar burn for all the blank days from here to the horizon.


Summerside, the roads are rife with souped-up Hondas toting reticulated trunk sculptures and exhaust cannons whose glottal rumblings seem to adumbrate the eschaton. I am besieged at every stop by bespeckled pubescents tap-toeing their gas pedals and scanning me with squint-eyed disdain. (I want no part of it; I want some part of it. This is summer. It is long here and there is plenty of time.) Those kids, they zoom off the line and screech to a halt at the next signal and the next signal. They sweat off their urgency with the cigar-room savvy of well-schooled nihilists. The subwoofer in the trunk must be a heart beat. 'Oh them? they gestate in the bucket seat, feeding off like the rest of 'em.' This is summer and there is plenty of time, but no time.

My brain sloshes side to side, thick in my skull.

I have been through things. I am aware of the fact that many people believe wholeheartedly that they have experienced extraordinary things. Despite this stipulation, I still believe I have been through things. I have no need now — do I? — to sit here and compare automobile motors with this halfwitted, high-school homunculous. This ... this is the last thing I need.

The popcorn cumuli are pacing the proud cirrus. My neck back is crusted with a day's salt. My thighs grasp at fabric and stick and slide scratchy. I am certain that, among other things, my balls reek. I palm the shifter and depress the clutch pedal with my left. I gas with the right, push top left for first and release left quick and depress right for keeps.

I am not a race car driver. I am slow, exhilarated and I give up with my heart savagely dry humping my lungs.

I am living my obligation to Dallas.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I hate to be all introspective and shit, but it’s happened a couple times in the last couple days. I’m beating it off with a stick. Which sounds more perverted than it is. It’s a figure of speech. Grow up. Get a job. Brush your teeth.

I had a dream last night that I was living in a floating glass efficiency. I wouldn’t say I fear heights so much as I am terrified of them. Airplanes were fine, up until June of 2001, when we had a touch-and-go at Midway. If you have never been in a plane during a touch-and-go, you will never truly grasp the horror of it. We slammed into the runway. The lights flickered. We ascended again. Now I have the fear.

I had a couple drinks at Cosmo’s last night because the truth of it is I can’t be spread much thinner than I have been for the past couple weeks. One drink, two drinks, three drinks, four. I made it home in the nick of time and collapsed bedside by 10:15. I couldn’t sleep. I wrote something down. Something about the difference between a narcissist and a megalomaniac. Only it wasn’t so simple.

Ubi sunt my stamina? I fear I’m beginning to feel my age. I will beat it off with a stick, if necessary.

Monday, April 19, 2004

I bought a Robert Johnson joint yesterday. I would like to know what the phrase “thesaurus of classic jazz” is supposed to mean.

Friday, April 16, 2004

It irritates me that newspapers have accepted that advertising copy is free from the conventions of English grammar. I make mistakes. Most people do. That’s why we have copy editors out there setting us straight. And I understand that businesses like to herald their sales with multiple exclamation points and italics — all with the caps lock button engaged. But why do they hate the semicolon so? Why do they eschew hyphens and commas with such passion? And why oh why do the pseudo-literate of them insist on handing out “complementary beverages” at their grand openings?

And trust me guys, most reasonable people will still find your Web site if you strike "http://"

I'm just saying.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

• I am a sick man. ... I am a spiteful man.

• With all due respect to owners of the Hyundai Tiburon, your car looks like it’s being fender-humped by a battalion of Imperial Storm Troopers. Seriously, I haven’t seen that many shiny plastic panels since the Shiny Plastic Panel Convention came through Big D back in the spring of ought-three.

• I’m like a dog in heat (a freak without warning)

• I came up with an idea for a TV show last night. I call it Happy Jump Rope Hour. It’s the heartwarming story of a child who wouldn’t give up and the jump rope that saved the day.

• In fact checking this post, I stumbled upon the same Dostoevsky site I used for research back in college.

• I wish I spoke, like, five languages. I’ve been wishing this for quite some time, to no avail.

• What will it take to get Stuart Scott fired from ESPN before football season? This is a serious question.

• When I was a kid, my friend Chris Orr and I used to trade comics. He offered me an early issue of The Hulk for $9. I turned it down. Later that year, a miniseries called Wolverine and Kitty Pride hit the shelves. Wolverine joined the X-Men and became hugely popular. Come to find out he made his first appearance in that damn Hulk comic book I’d turned down.

I ended up spending the money on an Entertech battery-powered water gun.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

One must exercise caution when writing about events that take place in one's workplace. One would not want one's editor to compell the former to wash and wax the latter's luxury car every weekend. Furthermore, one would not want to write a cautionary tale on one's website warning others not to participate in the same behavior that put one in such a predicament, lest one be further compelled by one's editor to mow lawns every Saturday afternoon, wilting in the angry heat of a Dallas summer.

But I've said too much.

I prefer, when I am going down the stairs, that the stairs wind rightways. Rightways, if there is such a thing. The clockwise swirl, maybe, as I travel down the stairs. On the way up, I could turn left or right. Either way. Fine with me. But going down, I like a smooth rightward heel turn, followed by a half step to set up the left, which left will anchor my plunging right. Perfect. I'd rather take the elevator than go down backwardly built stairwells. (A straight staircase is a pleasure. Really. Simple. Good. But that's not what I'm talking about, fool.) I like the metal lips of concrete stairs to have some wear and shine chromium when I slip my arch on down. I like a loose I-beam here and there for the ruckus. I want my footfalls to echo up top, down bottom and back. I don't like when other people are using the stairwell at the same time I am. I get self-conscious about my style of descent. I like to let my legs lope along proper, with blithe disregard for social norms. Stairwelling is my time to be free. It is my time for knee snapping and stair skipping. High air hopping off the third, maybe fourth step to a double-footed landing on the landing and then back to a half step to set up the left. Plunge.

Open the door. Cool air for this time of year. I wore long sleeves with long sleeves underneath. I was taking no chances. But no, that's not completely true. I lit my cigarette. Spit.

This is a risky proposition.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Teaching a David Foster Wallace book to her college class cost one professor her job. File this under OMG or WTF:

According to Richman, no one in the administration was familiar with the author, and Rowley and Stephens were none too pleased that the instructor was teaching Wallace’s story. “Nobody had ever heard of him,” she said. “In fact, they kept calling him George Foster Wallace.”

OK, I understand that not everyone digs DFW as much as I do, but all it takes is a reasonable measure of cultural awareness to know that there is a writer out there named David Foster Wallace. When your college administration doesn’t know who he is, it is time to look into transfer options.

(Obviously, they confused DFW with George Foster, the former Cincinnati Reds outfielder whose claim to fame was that he was the last man to hit at least 50 home runs in a single season before Detroit’s Cecil Fielder accomplished the feat in the mid-1990s.)

If we don’t get help soon, I might start getting spontaneous nose bleeds. And while women like it when you’re spontaneous, they don’t like it when blood starts shooting out of your face.

2/24 TUE 4:22P MINNEAPOLS MN 952 906-1968 DAY
3/08 MON 9:59A WASHINGTON DC 202 857-7760 DAY

According to my office records, I have made calls recently to Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. Furthermore, according to my records, recently I made a conscious effort to avoid splitting an infinitive. These are troubling developments. I don’t know anyone in Minnesota. And I’ve never even heard of this “Washington, D.C.” Clearly, someone is messing with our computers, manipulating the circuits so that I get blamed for 21 cents in frivolous long-distance calls. Oh, and I always split my infinitives; I even split them in my sleep. Why not now? Wherefore?

Monday, April 05, 2004

Blah. Gimme my hour back. Gimme my Sunday afternoon back, since I spent it pulling in-office duty. Gimme a vacation. Gimme new brake pads for my little red racer. Gimme a gym membership so I can ripple upon flex. Gimme time to read. Time to write. An hour here and there.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Some news out of Iraq has spurred an important debate for media types. The most frequent argument I’ve heard in support of publishing the images in question has been that the United States needs to see the face of its war.

I’m conflicted.

A single, vivid image can affect public opinion in a profound way. This incident and the media coverage heretofore will certainly spawn renewed furvor in the domestic anti-war movement. Is that fair? No. However, that reason alone is insufficient to rationalize not running the photo. Is it news? Yes. But again, not enough to rationalize running the photo.

Each paper will do what it feels is best. One will do what is best for its readers. One will do what is best for advancing the ideologies of its editors or publisher. One will do what’s best for its parent company’s shareholders.

In the end, I think too few will consider the possibility that what happened to those two people was an intimate tragedy that happened in full view of photographers. An intimate tragedy because these people have families and friends somewhere who will have to live not only with the violent deaths of these two human beings, but also with the pervasive coverage of their deaths (and the inevitible media coverage of the pervasive coverage of their deaths). They will have to live with the last moments of these individuals’ lives.

Regardless of their opinions of the war, they will become logos for the anti-war movement.

How do you feel about that?

I think all this stuff is worth thinking about.