Monthly Archives: February 2007

AHA, A LEVEL REVIVER! Hmm..

   First of all, I must say I can’t remember recently having quite as much fun, musically and just all-around pleasure, as I did fooling around with Duncan’s song, ‘The Tide, which if I knew how to ‘create-a-link’ here, I wouldn’t have to lamely suggest in words that you ‘find his site, www.xanga.com/somewittyhandle on my subs list.. Wait, I did it! A link! Or more accurately, it did itself.. But it doesn’t say “here” like the big boys know how to do. Oh well, stick to music. Anyway, go there to hear it, it’s Eurovision-ready, with a key-change at 2:12, a horn break, a fade-out chorus.. and all for those notoriously stingy Latvian judges… I’m just a sucker for songs written by ‘the intelligent’, a class which may have to stand in line a while, till it receives full status as deserving of reparations. Ahh, the Class-action Suit of the 2010’s. And now to nonsense..


PRODUCT REVIEW:

  “The  Reviver, Level A®.        From TRAMART Inc, an aggresive little startup which recently received A TOYOTA  R&D grant, I knew I could expect a useful and symetrical product. At $202, for the “A” model, (as opposed to $101 for the “B”, which comes with fewer bells and whistles) I jumped on it from both ends. Well, NAN helped, her and MOM. MOM had actually picked the thing up at the post-office this morning, and by NOON, had memorized the owner’s manual, backwards and forwards. So within a few minutes we managed to restore all my cast-off carpenter’s levels to perfection. You just watch the red “X” on the X-IF-U-FIX display, and when it lights up, you’re gold! It was just as easy to disassemble that pesky plumbing thingy under the sink I’d been trying my hand at ever since it ‘got stopped up’. Not admitting fault here, haha, but I will accept most of the credit for fixing it. The handy TRAP-APART feature works like a charm.. the book mentions RADAR, though I can’t see how that could have any technical relevance.. Maybe microwaves heating up one side of the fitting? It does use the RADAR in one of it’s ‘supermarket’ functions, the snazzy TRAC-A-CART, which tells you at a glance where you’ve left that shopping cart. (I always ‘abandon’ it in the frozen fish, when I realize I forgot like, milk.. in the dairy dep’t. Duh. Just can’t get used to having to ‘buy‘ milk, I guess). But I am getting used to letting it slide my car effortlessly into a tight spot. With the thing sitting on the dash, you ‘invoke‘ (they love to call it that) the EZ-REVERZE, and the Fiesta ‘parks itself’. In a spacious lot, it automatically lines you up North and South (NORTATRON) so your ignition module shouldn’t get zapped by the, whadda they call ’em now, ‘Chung Schwung’ vibrations. Haha, I zapped some real-life ‘bad viberations, that I did, in the person of a couple of my neighbor’s rats, (which have been crawling through the fence for a couple months now, since his wife left him). The RAT-AEREATAR kinda.. well, it’s not a pretty picture! So, what’s left. Let’s eat! Sorry for the rough transition, but fettucini’s a cinch if you follow the pleasant (but somewhat ‘Speak-and-Spell’ sounding, at least in the Hebrew model) cooking instructions. I chose, from an extensive menu, SO DAT’S A PASTA!, DO’S (and Don’ts!), and while it was simmering, (‘simpering’?.. whatever..) I listened to real Italian violins playing  Beatles tunes. It’s never been easier to get that authentic “stuck in an elevator” mood music, with the bundled REAL-PLA-ER. Did take awhile to realize I need to first press “SET-ON: REVIVER NOTES“. MOM saved the day, of course. No, check that, Nebula-Travel’s actually responsible for this whole thing, having voiced his love of (presumably accurate) levels several times. And since the whole Tomb-Discovery Event turned out to be a little Hollywood dog-and-pony promo, I had an unexpected opening in my schedule. I hear NT’s already got one of these babies.. can’t imagine how I lived without it so long…

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the Father, the Son, and the Holy Grandson..

    Not seeing totally messianic interest in Holy Word-play, let’s turn to current events of the last, say, 2000 years. And I am purposely maintaining ‘radio silence’ till the big news-conference, at 5PM Israel time, so as not to prejudice my wits. I am referring, of course to the banner headline which greeted me here in this morning’s hebrew Yedioth Aharonot daily, to the effect that tombs, bones, record-collections, whatever.. have been found in Talpiot section of Jerusalem, bearing a rather familiar name. Just got a chance to read the full article, at my cousin-in-law’s felafel stand. I told him “It’s the end of the world as we know it“. He wanted to know what the forecast said on the back page.. rain tomorrow? “Probably tornados and tidal waves.” I joked. Over at Monsour’s ‘We-got-everything’ store, (where they do in fact have cheap high-test brewery-products), Ratzon thought it wise to concentrate already on the question “Where to house the bones?” When I suggested Disney World, he flashed a smile I wish I could afford the teeth to compete with. I told him I’d put it in the post, then. But seriously, folks, I don’t want to step on any religious sensibilities here. I’m good at that. I mean.. at not doing that. Lots of practice in this country. I have, of course, a few questions. Maybe after the news-conference, I’ll be wiser.
  1) So what do you call a holy foursome? Let’s see, unity, twinity, trinity.. there’s no precedent, really. ‘The Holy Quartet‘? Yeah, with “JC, junior” on tenor sax!! I mean, now we got the Father, the Son, the Grandson, and (unless we kick him out for coming to staff meetings by walking right through the office walls), the Holy Ghost. That’s four.. um.. players, if I counted right.
2) I am wondering whether my love of apochalyptic events.. you know, “Aliens land on White House lawn: UN to be involved in the Negotiations!” is evidence of a failure to recognize the essential excitement of the very fact of being boringly alive. I know news organizations love it too, but they make a profit from “Man bites Dog” stories, and can be excused for not getting all zen-conscious over ‘dog bites man’.
3) It’s interesting, (at least to me, or I wouldn’t mention it), to ponder the scenario where a Big-time established religion is revealed to be.. well.. based on dubious foundations. A locally prominent religion in our area comes to mind; the historical accounts of His adventures in the sixth century C.E have a distinct odor of fabrication…reverse engineering. And recent fallings-from-grace in the United States of major Shepherds-of-the-Holy-Pockebook are instructive, also. But I’m fantasizing something more momentous; “We interrupt this program to bring you a special announcment: Zoroaster is a hoax, a crude, thousand-year April’s fool joke. All true-believers are hereby requested to choose an alternate religion from the following list:..” You know, something like that.
  Ok, enough levity. I now join CNN for the great news-conference. Unless this was all just a scam, on a slow-news day here. Tomorrow they’ll dig up Moses.. in Uganda!

YES THE STORY WRITES ITSELF

Abstract: A cross-dressing (for good money) special agent, behind the lines, (and at least one eight-ball), in Egypt somewhere, wonders aloud (in print?) how he got there, of all places. Whoever decided on english vocabulary couldn’t have known what long-term repercussions he/she, (yeah,probably a ‘she’), was creat(e)ing. {elgan’s away on vacation, so while I can, I’ll spell things the fun way}. Readers are graciously invited to create and submit their own double/triple lines of letters which can be divided several ways. You never know when you start where you’ll end up. I do this instead of eating, paying bills, sleeping, etc.

  Your writer saw the ASWAN DAM AGES AGO; A TON CEment per square inch of frontal area, they claim.. No, sorry, I meant to write:
  A SWAN DAMAGES A GOAT ON CErtain days of the week, principally Tuesdays and Fridays.. oops, wrong again.. Here we go:
    Disguised AS ‘WANDA  MAGES’, A GO-AT-ONCE type of girl, I sat down to pee, having noticed a suspicious patron waltzing unexpectedly into this Unfamiliar Zone, the ladies bathroom at the Cheops Rest Area. Weird, how’d I end up here? And in these Capezios! Like Olive Oyl, “I wear a size 9, but a 12 feels sooo good”. The nines, in pink(!), were all they had in Wardrobe. When I’d volunteered for ‘She-ops/undercover‘, I may have over-extended. True, I had spent half my life, approximately, ‘under the covers‘, and always in the company of ‘She’s. I knew them inside and out. What relevance any of that had to “The Cairo Project’.. well, this was a ‘work-in-progress’, even for my Handler. The Dam, though, now there was a fait accompli, one had to admit. A millenia-old statue, the water perilously close to his nostrils, gave gawkers a panicked stone grimace, followed immediately by a sly wink, as if to say “The Friday night Sound and Light Show alone makes this all worth the cost..” The same tired old wanna-be King Tut I’d seen do his act for the tourists back in ’78, (or was it ’45?) But it was Tuesday, and I had work to do. The Chiropraxis Int’l Convention would be in full swing by tomorrow night, and we had to have those goats ‘in line by nine’, as they say. They practice on goats. You didn’t know that. Don’t feel bad, hardly anyone does. Don’t ask what we paid certain mid-levels in the Egyptian Ministry of Husbandry, the greedy bandits! We will, of course give ’em all back afterwards. The goats, that is… Those that survive. Hey, practice makes perfect. It’s the first-year students that injure them, mostly. The third-year ‘Eagles‘ have almost a perfect record. But they too were ‘Swans‘ once. The noise is almost deafening. In every language you ever didn’t recognize, much less comprehend, you will hear the by-the-book opening schpiel: “Tell me where it hurts!” (“.. and I’ll tell you when to bawl“). Of course, the Institute’s not paying me to play Vet. That’s all a cover. And the Aswan‘s been understood-to-death now since the Sinai campaign.. so no clue there….

 That maddening ‘Need-to-know’ policy. Sometimes I .. well, I don’t truthfully ‘need‘ to know..um.. why I’m here, with the usefully androgynous passport photo we did back at Ibn G’virol, but I’d kinda ‘like‘ to know… someday. Meanwhile, the head-cover helps a guy to relax, actually. Yeah, “I’m Wanda and don’t you dare touch me, you pig!”  They got the idea from Cristiane Amanpour, for Christ’s sake.. her interview with the Stone-age Talibans. Anyway, gotta go. I just read the first paragraph again, though. A woman, a plan, a dam.. Taliban? Hmm, it’s my only clue.
YES THE STORY WRITES ITSELF

Nix-on-Xanga, the “Chessie” speech

    A long time ago, before we had to ‘kick Dick around’ big-time, a younger but probably already stubble-faced Richard Nixon collared his cute little dog, Checkers, and appeared on TV, (I think it was after a California gubernatorial loss), and pronounced, “I quit. You won’t have me to kick around anymore!”. The doggie nodded its head obediently, as if to say ‘Me neither.’ This press-conference is not often considered to have been the man’s finest hour.. in fact, it’s become somewhat of a benchmark for ‘How not to conduct oneself in public’. I, for example, would never debase myself like that; I don’t even own a dog. My kitty, ‘Chessie‘, however, would love to appear on TV.. she often types a few errant letters on the keyboard here if I leave to make coffee. This explains 90% of my spelling errors. (The other 10% is simply my strongly held belief that attaching an ‘ing’ to a word like judge should be done with due respect for the final ‘e’. “Judgeing” and not “judging“. I will be borne out on this, just you wait. Someday… after my spelling innovations have been codified, deified, and Fortified by Law, folks will read what I write as part of their ‘remedial studies requirement’. They will be concentrat(e)ing principally on the Spelling, but unavoid(e)ably, they will also think about the content, the point of the piece, the “bones of the dog, and precisely (‘precisely!) where they are buried” as we say, oddly, in Hebrew. And then I will finally get lots of real ‘red-meat’ comments. (Sorry, dear Weed-eaters, ‘red-meat’s just an archaic expression from back when Man still ate what his teeth and digestive system were designed for; in the Age-to-Come, we will be born with only molars, and satisfying comments about the actual content of a post will be called “like, totally To-fu-ular, man“) So, without a further adieu… as soon as…
(1) I can train my cat to look pathetic enough, and
(2) I decide to destroy Sodom and Gomarrah (this is an over-wrought metaphor for ‘shut down site, Y/N?) in spite of the ten or so righteous Xangans that Lot’s wife found among her ‘footprints‘ at the last minute, (Don’t base your religous faith on my recollection alone now, y’hear, I might be sketchy, detail-wise) I shall give everyone a week’s notice; time enough to stop-look-and listen, say goodbye, etc. and then pull the Big Plug on this sad, frustrating adventure where my faith in humanity’s essential curiosity has taken a bullet to the head. And then you won’t have Dick to ignore anymore. Or Chessie.. *meows, wistfully*
*add* actually, in the last few days I’ve really enjoyed xanga, having possibly learned not to expect so much, and having made significant progress in separating the wheat from the straw. (There’s almost enough for a full meal, if you throw in a can of tuna).

chessie

New! from ‘C ‘n I’ Dog Products..

The Bis that just don’t Quit!”, I offered, hoping for that ‘sync’ look of approval. Iris squinted a little.
What’s a ‘bis’, Johnny?”
It’s yiddish, for, you know, ‘a little bite’, a taste of something’, like ‘Give me a bis already!’.. comes from the German “bischen’, ‘a little’.
Not sure our target audience’ll get it“. Iris was probably right.
So, we’re back to “Holy Braille, they’re good!”
I myself wasn’t sure I wanted to sign-off on that one. Corny, Iris’ brother/ business-partner/ putative husband (we’ll get into that soon enough) gave me the most nonchalant ‘thumbs-down’ he could muster. I thought for a second about how relaxing it was to work with these guys. They could reject line after line and I wouldn’t even start to feel miffed. But we needed a tag for the spots, and..
Hey, they got carotene, right?” I was excited, and needed a ‘yes’.
Yeah, it’s on the new label.. they made us list..”
So let’s say ‘C ‘n I Dog Bisquits.. now, with CAROTENE!!’.. ’cause your doggie needs to see where he’s going..'” I rolled forward, (on a roll, duh). Ok, might need a little re-working.
Iris’ eyes widened a bit.
Ok, but once again, the target audience.. you think they’ll make the connection.. you know, the vision thing?” Iris radiated concern for our target’s well-being. I caught myself feeling jealous.
Sure, they’re 34% college ‘n better, right, Iris? Isn’t that what you got?”
Corny, I could tell, was already working on the re-write, but at least he’d taken a bite.
We’ll take a chance.. Mom always used to talk about rabbits not wearing glasses.. I think almost everybody’s heard that..”
Iris was still speed-reading the market-survey thing they’d had done. I gave her a few seconds to finish, and watched her lips pout disdainfully as she scooted the folder across the table, a few Milli-Newtons too forcefully. It fell on the floor, splashing like a deck of new cards. “Bottom line, they don’t know who our target audience is.. not really.” Iris pronounced.
Do we?” Corny was asking the question earnestly.
Yeah,” I started, “C ‘n I Dog Bisquits.. ok, it’s a cute joke.. that’s what catches their eye..”
Their ear!” Corny corrected me, “They’re blind, remember?”
Who’s blind? The dogs?” Iris had a comic’s timing sense I was helplessly in love with..
No, the dogs wouldn’t get the joke anyway, plus they’re ‘seeing-eye, duh!” Corny was our straight man, since there were no other qualified candidates.
We’ll never lead you astray!” Iris raised her arms in gospel fervor. My sub-conscious took a screen-shot of her enraptured body, for later use in my dream-adventures. I’d been infatuated with her since we’d been six. Playing in the ‘crick’ together. In those days I didn’t yet know what I wanted to do to her, but I was sure I’d think of something good when the time came.
This ain’t the time” I reminded myself, and shivered a bit to break the reverie, passing it off as contact gospel-fervor.
Great!”, I smiled, “Halleluiah, it’s another pun, upon us!”
Yeah, and it works, too.. you know, the ‘stray” Corny hadn’t noticed anything irreligious. Wait, what am I doing, Corny’s her brother. “Born 9 months apart, and together ever since!” I remember hearing him say once, with his arm around her shoulders.
Hmmm.. ‘should‘ vs. ‘shoulder‘.. gotta write that down, along with ‘disdain‘ vs. ‘Dis Dane’.. never know when I’ll need it for Xanga” I thought, and quickly penned it into my trusty little book, before returning to the story.
Where were we? Oh yeah, in a little fantasy, me, an ad-copy wanna-be, Corny, the dog-food guy, his sister Iris, (Oh my Iris, how I want you/ Just you wait till Chapter Two!), and You, Dear Reader, wondering whether to rush out right now and buy a Family-size Box of the all-new, C ‘n I Dog Bisquits.. now, with Carotene.. would we lead you astray?

*add* (or, as suggested by somewittyhandle, Buy C&I dog biscuits, and he’ll stop making those faces at you. You didn’t know?”  Now why couldn’t I have thought of that? Don’t answer ..

This is a little story. Fiction. It didn’t really happen. I wrote it ’cause it’s fun. You can read it, for the same reason. Or not. I just like to use the Xanga HTML editor to format them, color in the background, etc.. then run off a hundred copies or so with the printer and give them to all my friends. Most of ’em say ‘I’ll read it later’ and that’s the last I hear of it… Ok, ten copies. One copy? Yeah, one copy, for my younger boy. He always reads it, asks questions, makes suggestions. You couldn’t buy a more perfect partner-in-crime… The one I got, I made myself.. well, his Mom helped. Ok, I helped. Anyway, I guess I thought readers/thinkers/dear souls like that’d be lying around on Xanga like hotel matches. Just goes to show, if you want a product made to specs, sometimes you just have to build it yourself.

To: My Dear Charlotte_on_the_Web

  So Charlotte_on_The_Web, my faithful Saskatchewan-ese pen-pal-ette asked me a couple questions. She’s so sweet, so innocent, so naive, so devious. She said I could re-post her letter, but I can paraphrase..  She’s trying to get a dock-side restaurant going in Saskatoon, but has a big problem with noise from the nearby Zealot Brothers Packing House/ Funeral Home. The screams of the dammned, you know. Meanwhile, she does seem to enjoy my frequent letters, although I sense a certain reticence to blindly take my advice/wisdom without a grain (50 kilo bag?) of salt. This is as it should be, even though most of my suggestions are sound. Someday she might visit here, and grab a few nifty decorative items for the Restaurant plus an inspiring glimpse of Jaffa Harbor, where I sat and penned this reply. Oh, and the bracelet is on it’s way.. Happy 50th, Sweetheart.

charlotte

Hmm.. ‘jgrablos’? Nah, don’t care for it, personally..

   So I’m not a Solberg, I guess. The news hit me pretty hard. Cancelled my dinner plans. Make-it-in-a-Minit  soup with a can of tuna thrown in as a special treat can wait. The letter from the SAS was terse. (Clever logo, I’ll give them that.. Solberg Admiration Society/ Societe Admiration du Solberge 



    Dear Mr. Grablos: (!) We here at the Organization take pride in our careful and tireless research as we daily add, (and remove, in your case) lucky (or unlucky, in your case) individuals to the Roster-of-Honor we’ve come to know as the Solberg Files/ Les Dossieres Solberge. Please understand that mistakes do happen, even, or especially, to well-meaning souls such as yourself, and be con-solberg-ed by the knowlege that, though decidedly not One of Us, your life can still have meaning, not-withstanding the somewhat grim details of your true lineage, which we have beneficently decided to outline here, briefly. Should you desire additional help, advice, or just a supportive voice on the phone, please avail yourself of the link provided below. Our condolences, of course, and best of luck in the challenges that lie ahead. Sincerely, Solomon ‘Solly’ Solberg, Correspondence Charge’d’affairs, SAS.



   Ok, I won’t attach all the fuzzy photo-copied documents, the affadavits, immigration rolls, etc. Basically, they discovered that Gunther ‘Solberg’, my putative 7th-great grandpa, was, among many other things, ‘unsound‘, the term in those days for what we now call dyslexic. The ship, the Andrew Galley, out of Rotterdam, which had carried him safely to Philadelphia in 1732 did, in fact carry two legitimate Solbergs, but Gunther was, as it turns out, not one of them, being in fact a “Grablos“. So far, not the End of the World. But then why the grim sympathetic tone in the SAS’s missive? Simply put, Grablos’s were a ‘special‘ line of, well, ‘unfortunates‘. The name is from the Olde German ‘Grab-los’ meaning.. um.. ‘grave-less’ which is a nice way to say, ‘un-buried‘, which is a polite way to say ‘the Living Dead’, which is a tactful way to say “Gehe ma weg, du Zombie, gewalt!!” And Gunther, blending into the disheveled crowd of teeming masses on the Ship, and signing his name as usual ‘in reverse’ (which was ‘corrected’, but only by an ‘e’ in place of an ‘a’, as so often happened in those days) became, intentionally or not, a Solberg, thus ending the Curse..

Or so I thought ….  Maybe I should have known.. or guessed. There were clues, in hindsight. The ‘tombstone pix’ tab in my Do-it-to-yourself Genealogy © program, with its taunting ‘zero files’, for examples… the oddly-phrased references I grew up hearing, to my paternal ancestors, as if they were all still wandering about, somewhere, each in a ‘blacker-and-whiter’ suit of tattered clothes than his son, discussing who-knows-what among themselves in long-lost dialects.
   So, what to do??  I’m not sure at this point how agressive the SAS will be in ‘weeding me out of the tree’ so to speak. One option is to .. well.. do nothing. I wouldn’t have to change my Xanga user-name, at least. Another tack is to proudly ‘embrace‘ my Grablosig-keit, my ‘special-ness’, and run (or walk (crawl?)) with it. That would save the monthly bills from Hevrat Kaddisha ®, the Burial Society. In Israel, you order a plot some time (soon) after your first birthday, if you’re smart. Land is scarse and expensive. I’m just not sure if I could get my money back, at this point, and they haven’t answered my e-mails. Maybe SAS sent them a carbon-copy…. Maybe I don’t really appreciate whom I’m up against here.. Shit. First the car-fiasco, and now this.. I don’t even know if I’m allowed to bury my car…

grabloses