Monday, February 23, 2009

The Earth Drive-In


Here in our suburban spiral arm,
we watch star-draped archer Sagittarius,
his bow drawn, bolt aimed into the galactic heart.
He never releases since firing the arrow
that punched a black hole Downtown.
The back rows of the cosmic drive-in are rustic
but we get some hot smoochies
and a jones for the coming attractions.

P & P


He would consider the rain as it approached,
watch the storm clouds gather, the searchlights
of sun piercing purple clouds and turning the fields
to strobe-light, elf-light emerald.

He sat waiting for the rain to reach him and wet him,
the wind to knock him about. Until it did,
he sat untroubled, like a beast.

Then he got up and opened the meeting house door
with the seven-inch iron key that lived under a stone,
and plodded about inside maybe sweeping around a bit
with the broom that lay under the benches.

He looked out for cobwebs, trapped butterflies, signs of damp.
Accumulated silence breathed from the building,
wafted out on to the fell, swam in again in tides.
Silence was at the root of Charlie's life.

---Jane Gardam, The Meeting House, 1994. The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century Ghost Stories

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Economics, the optional science

Schwarzenegger to Stimulus Opponents: Economy More Important Than Principles
In other news, the Governator announced at the conference of the California Education Association in Chula Vista Friday night that math textbooks in the California school system and state college consortia will be altered to reflect a value for Pi of 3.

"It is more important that our children be able to calculate easily than having to deal with a nonrepeating, neverending mess of digits such as 3.14159265OMG!!#WTF. You get the picture," the governor said. "We can't afford useless precision anymore."

Friday, February 20, 2009

When Peggy got Cutting Edge


"This is so exciting," [Peggy Noonan] wrote to a friend. "I am on an airplane going over the Rockies. I am sending you an email. Down there the settlers went in covered wagons.
I remember that feeling. Only it wasn't email. I was on a plane headed to Hartford, Connecticut from Santa Clara, California for a corporate meeting with some other folks employed by Konica. The airplane seatback in front of me had one of those credit card telephones on it. Thinking how cool it would be, I called back to the lab in Santa Clara and asked to speak to Denise, my departmental second-in-command.

"Konica Quality Photo, how may I help you?"
"This is Gary. I'd like to speak to Denise, please."
"One moment, please."
And she put me on hold.
For five minutes.

That damned phone call cost me twelve dollars.
Denise was impressed.

"Overturn Roe v Wade," he said. "Let the states decide."


What is purportedly being defended here is the right of state government to control the terms of a woman's pregnancy rather than having the federal government dictate it. Let's carry the delegation of power further and see how it looks.

Let's say abortion becomes not just a state, but a local matter. The mayor and city council would decide if it is legal. But wait, as the infomercials tells us, "there's more!" Let's make the decision of whether abortion is legal a neighborhood matter. That's right. Something like Neighborhood Crime Watch would be set up to decide if pregnant women in the neighborhood can have abortions done. A Preggers Block Warden would monitor the gals in the 'hood to make sure they delivered their babies or not. Now, that's local control. It's also reminiscent of some totalitarian ghetto.

Yet all we have done is to delegate beyond the federal-state threshold. It's funny how the problem lights up the closer it gets to home. But it's exactly the same. Government was not created to exercise dominion over a woman's womb. Not at any level.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Everything I need to know, I learned in shop class


One of my favorite engineering-type
axioms came into play when tagging
some jury-rigged functional monstrosity
as being "the triumph of spare parts
over common sense."

That describes the generational theft act,
only the parts aren't all spare. Many will
be taken off of equipment that puts
them to better use while disabling
the ability to repair what works now
when it breaks.

What's being kicked down the road
is bigger than a can and growing by the day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pelosi Goes Poping


"Hey, lady, ssst! Hey, come over here."
"What? You talkin' tah me?"
"Hey, yeah. Look, I sella you some tickets, you get audience with da Pope."
"Don't you recognize me? I'm the House Speaker."
"Hey, yeah, listen, I'ma the spic inna my house, too. You wanna tickets or not?"
"Well, I..."
"I give 'em to you cheap. Say, whattsamattuh you face?"
"What do you mean?"
"Issa all, I dunno, stretched like-uh cheap skin job."
"You mean, like, I'm a Cylon?"
"Whassa Cylon?"
"You don't get Battlestar Galactica?"
"Hey, if it's inna da Vatican, I getta you in."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Because you can't get enough

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
"Are the children in their bed, for it's past ten o'clock?"

Once he's assured himself all the eyes are shut,
Winkie wends his way back to his quonset hut.
Logging onto porn sites, he whiles the night away,
Eating Cheetos, whacking Willie, 'til the break of day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

But wait, there's more

And now for the rest of the fable...

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread,
Then whipped them all soundly
And put them to bed.

The children, enduring such shoe-full abuse,
Found Child Protection a sadist's excuse.
They formed a committee and upstairs they crept
To her room where they slit
Her throat while she slept.


As I was walkin' up the stair,
I saw a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
Oh how I wish he'd go away.

But when I am reminded that
I live in a one-story flat,
Then climbing stairs that don't exist
Means more work for my therapist.


Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.

The owner of the well-topped hill
When sued by Jack's HMO,
Was asked how it was he chose to drill
So high, not down below.

The answer wasn't good enough
And the judge ruled drastically.
Now Jack and Jill own all his stuff
In perpetuity.


Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

You see, the reason I'm contrary,
A narc's among my employees.
As soon as those damned maids are gone
We'll smoke some chronic weed.


Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old.
Toss it in the microwave, ten minutes high,
Listen for the pot to crack, smell the porridge fry.
See the windowed door blow out, watch the gooey foam,
Won't this be a funny sight for mom when she gets home?


Hey diddle diddle,
The cat played the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

"You rub the wrong way!"
Screamed the put-upon spoon,
As the chafing dish fled out the door.
The little dog laughed, crapped on the couch,
And piddled a pond on the floor.
The cat's music stopped on learning that cat gut
Gives violins their punch.
And the cow came back from circling the moon
Vacuum-dried, par-broiled, and lunch.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The doctor is so out, he's in, man.

Q: So, you're a brain surgeon?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: Uh, so you do brain surgery?
A: Yes, I am.
Q: Well, whichever is correct. Where do you practice?
A: I don't practice, man. I got it down pat.
Q: I mean, where do you operate?
A: Out of my kitchen.
Q: You do brain surgery in your kitchen!!??!
A: Cool it, man, I ain't got no license.
Q: I imagine not. What do you do for a living?
A: I play trumpet in Detroit for Jimmy Lunsford.
Q: Jimmy Lunsford's dead.
A: He is? I'm gonna have to quit bugging that cat for a raise.
Q: So what else do you do?
A: I play trumpet for Jimmy Lunsford in Chicago.
Q: I just told you, Jimmy Lunsford's dead!
A: There, too?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Posse

The Posse

In hot pursuit, bent low, we rode mounted,
Broke cold mountain sunlight, brittle as glass.
Down wind-scraped desert, we burst from the foothills,
Stood anvil-head hailstorms that strafed the stiff grass.

But rapier yucca leaves soon blocked the way
And thorny black greasewood disrupted the chase.
Then fly-swarms and cacti unhinged the horses.
There'd be no rough justice, just us in disgrace.