Category Archives: Creative Writing

Return of the Native

Hi readers.  Those of you still out there with a desire to read what I write, hello and howdy.  I hope you are aware you’re reading the words of one of the most ignorant human beings in the western hemisphere.  I’ve spent the past six months having it proved to me.

Mostly I’ve spent the last six months finding out all the things can go wrong with a 1983 Toyota RV when a person buys one without knowing what he’s doing.  And trying to figure out what I’m going to do to replace it with something I can depend on not setting me and the cats dead in the water somewhere beside the road in some pest hole the Coincidence Coordinators chose instead of me doing it.

That, and hoarding pennies and nickles so’s I can afford to do whatever I decide needs doing.

If I can’t keep myself from doing it, I’ll probably be posting here again on and off for a while.  I’ve had a nice sabbatical, give or take the fact I’m here, right where I was when I went on my walkabout to nowhere.

Thanks for coming by.

Philosophy by Limerick – Dante Disneyland

Minnie Mouse can be open-minded
And wabbits can sometimes be blinded
By synthetic passion
Of this or that fashion:
Uncle Scrooge accepts plastic! [Reminded!]

Old Jules

Philosophy by Limerick – Hot, Throbbing Democracy

“Equine or a pachyderm style?”
Ms. Street Hooker asks with a smile.
“Trickle-down while I wail out
Snatch wallet and bail out!
You won’t want to vote for a while!”

Old Jules

Beating Dead Horses – Lynching Poor Old Ayn Rand Again

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I gather from the email forwards that someone’s not satisfied Ayn Rand has been accepted as pathetic enough, wrong enough, dead enough to be left alone.  Subject lines by non-psychiatrists, non-psychologists are taking the trouble to declare her a lunatic.

Poor, sad, bitter woman trapped inside a self yearning for men to be hairier chested, more muscled-up, more knock-em-around, slap-em-down and screw ‘em.  More like the good old days, taking what they want from anyone too weak to keep them from it.

I wonder why they don’t just leave her the hell alone.  The 20th Century had no shortage of miserable, confused people, plenty of them writers, submerged in bitterness and misplaced notions of how it could be better.

In some ways every time Ayn Rand and her wishes come up I find myself thinking of Sylvia Plath, similar in so many ways, but with a different slant on the sort of man Rand longed for:

Daddy   
by Sylvia Plath 

 
You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time–
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You–

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I’m finally through.
The black telephone’s off at the root,
The voices just can’t worm through.

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two–
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There’s a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.
12 October 1962
 

But nobody ever bothers dragging Plath up out of the grave and horsewhipping her.  What the hell.

Old Jules

Crazy Anger

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I overslept, which almost never happens to me.  Thoroughly pissed-off the chickens [their protests finally woke me] and the felines.  Appropriate enough, I suppose, because I came out of sleep seething with anger.  An anger that’s been simmering inside me for a few days, but I somehow was ignoring.

One of my favorite authors, Sir Terence David JohnTerryPratchett[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Pratchett], Jeanne told me, has himself a case of Alzheimer’s.  Hell, evidently he announced it to the public in 2007 and everyone in the world but my humble self knew it.  Not that my knowing of it would have made any difference, except maybe if I’d been digesting the fact I’d have reacted in a more rational way than I did having it come as a surprise.

Found, I did, that I’d almost been thinking of Pratchett almost as a family member or close friend gradually over the years, which also caught me by surprise.  The guy has a mind works so similarly to my own that when I read his books I sometimes found myself sort of juxtaposed, me creating his character, his dialogue, his plot, laughing as I did it.

So, time to go root hog or die back into my anger management rituals, I reckons.  Time to bring discipline and routine back into the gratitude and forgiveness affirmations.

Forgiving old Terry for maybe dying before I do.  Forgiving myself for being the flawed bastard I am, falling off the wagon, letting anger seep into my head.  Forgiving the Universe for tossing a challenge of the sort Alzheimer’s brings into our lives which seem plenty challenging enough already, everything else being equal.

I’m surely going to miss knowing Terry Pratchett’s out there doing what I ain’t doing better than I could have done it.

Old Jules

The Limerick Masters of Yesteryear – The Lost Artform

By the time I arrived at adulthood the state of the limerick as a masterpiece of the literary foil was in alarming decline.  Playboy Magazine attempted to inject new life into the medium during the 1960s and 1970s by paying $500 for limerick submissions accepted for publication.  The selection process was tough and they accepted only true masterpieces.

During those years I submitted no fewer than ten [10] limericks per month and never had one accepted.  Hundreds of limericks.  There was no place in Playboy for second-rate hacks.

While the artform requires a particular meter, the truly well-constructed one needs more.  Internal rhyming.  Puns.  Lilting beat to simulate waves on a beach.  A joy to the tongue and ear. 

To illustrate my point, here is perhaps the best limerick ever written, once published in Playboy:

The new cineramic emporium
Is not just a super-sensorium
But a highly effectual
Heterosexual
Mutual masterbatorium.

Every time I run those timeless words through my mind, I’m humbled.

I don’t know whether the image at the top of the page depicts a man who once wrote limericks and submitted them to Playboy.  He almost certainly could have.  Possibly should have.

He might have been a contender.

Old Jules

The Fervent Hope of Climate Change Enthusiasts

Extent of surface melt over Greenland’s ice sheet on July 8 (left) and July 12 (right). Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had dramatically accelerated and an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed by July 12. In the image, the areas classified as “probable melt” (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as “melt” (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting. The satellites are measuring different physical properties at different scales and are passing over Greenland at different times. As a whole, they provide a picture of an extreme melt event about which scientists are very confident. Credit: Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI/NASA GSFC, and Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/greenland-melt.html

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

The people for whom climate change is central to their countless grant and research applications, and the people for whom NO climate change is central to their business models are probably both grinding their teeth in frustration.

Sooooo. All the academians, school kids being trained to believe they can do something to ‘save the planet’, other people who just enjoy the feel of shrill proclamations, jeremiads and threats of doom briefly danced in the streets.  Whoopteedoo!  Everybody’s going to die!

And the people with business models demanding they fervently deny climate change looked around for buildings high enough to jump from.

However, core sampling of the Greenland ice soon revealed this happens occasionally, last time maybe 150 years ago at a time when nobody claims human beings were causing climate change.

Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn.  Cry the people desparately wanting the ice caps to melt, sea levels to rise and all the coastal cities of the world to drown.

Ohboyohboyohboy! Applaud the folks with the business models requiring a continuation of the kinds of behaviors the other folks think cause man made climate change.

Changing horses in mid-stream isn’t easy, but sometimes it’s necessary.  Fact is, whether climate change is happening, is man made, is going to result in a disaster is just too large an object of comprehension to convincingly argue.  Suggesting academians and school kids can do anything to influence it one way or another is too patently absurd to convince anyone besides a grant review committee from the US Department of Environment.

Besides, there’s Genetic Engineered corn out there growing hair inside the mouths of test hamsters.  The same corn those school kids and academians are having for lunch.  http://aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

There’s a middling potential for glow-in-the-dark halibut, salmon and whales swimming up out of the north Pacific with butcher knives clinched in their teeth doing a mutant invasion of Alaska to California coastlines.  Time will argue a lot more convincingly and rapidly whether those happen, and if they do they’ll render questions about man made climate change more-or-less moot.

As for business models, there’s a lot of new potential for speculation and investment in new inventions.  An inside-the-mouth electric shaver, for instance, might represent the wave of the future.  Live flashlights made from mullets caught off the Oregon coast, not requiring batteries.  No need to stamp them, MADE IN JAPAN.  That will be obvious enough.

[Insert, "It's an ill wind that blows no good", "It's time to look on the bright side of things," and other appropriate quotes here.]

Old Jules

Philosophy by Limerick – The Genius MBA

Made his money the hard way, inherited.
Went to Yale where he struggled and merited
Every cent that he earned
With his MBA, spurned
Do-nothings with slogans he parroted.

Old Jules

From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler – Book Review

Hi readers.  I don’t know whether I’ve ever mentioned on this blog that I’m a big admirer of a lot of young adult fiction writers.  Mainly Newbery Award folk because I wouldn’t take a chance on anything else that didn’t come highly recommended.  So, when I found From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, by EL Konigsberg in a 10 cent basket at the dogpound thrift store in Kerrville, I snagged it.  Same as I’d have done with any Newbery.

I’m glad I did.  Fact is, while I haven’t encountered many books with that award I considered unworthy of the time spent reading them, occasionally I have.  But this one’s from back when writers were writers and readers were glad they were.

The basic plot’s just a brother and sister who decide to run away from home.  But beyond that summary it becomes a reading experience, as opposed to the alternatives too frequently provided in best selling books.

The kids each have talents, each balancing the weaknesses of the other, each recognizing that fact, and the entire plot and characterization orbits it, relies on it.  The brother’s the financial side of things.  The sister’s a planner.

So she plans where two youngers could probably really have gotten by with hiding in 1967 for a couple of weeks without being discovered, without getting bored.  And the brother provides the funds needed to get there with his winnings from cheating at cards on the school bus.

What’s not to like?  Hell, nothing’s not to like.  It’s a fast read, so it leaves the reader with plenty of time to read it twice, which he’ll want to do if he’s an admirer of good, serious wordsmithing manifested in plots, characters and fast moving events.

They hide in the Metropolitan Museum, evade guards, study a sculpting by a master, discovering secrets about it,  and bathe in the fountain at night fishing for coins.

Great read if you aren’t a snob who only reads really good Stevie Ray King, Norbert Robbers and Louis L’Amour.

Old Jules

Long Humor vs Short Humor/No Humor

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I dunno.  I suppose I’d have to call the previous post successful in the sense a few people must have read all the way through it.  The testimony’s in the several subscribers who cancelled their subscriptions.

But generally I think my particular brand of BS as it manifests itself in attempts at humor works better if I keep it short.

On the other hand, the lead-in probably escapes a lot of readers, no matter how short the immortal prose happens to be.  Causes the occasional reader to think I might be wanting to seriously discuss politics.  A couple of the comments led me to think that might be the case.

All in all, probably the Universe is a better place if my attempts at funny just zip off into the ether and don’t hit anything on the way to Galactic Prime. 

Old Jules