Monthly Archives: December 2008

How Long Cows should be Milked?

Same as short ones, duh!
Ok, this is a trial post about “How short  songs are written”
In the Beginning
there is a scratch copy. Which you can listen to here.
You listen it while doing just about anything else, letting your sensibilities find what’s missing, needs to be changed,etc.The final process is both fun and gory; EQ, compression, getting the background singers to realize that you’re happily married, whatever..
I’m taking an artistic risk here: the song is in no way ready for prime time. I just picked one from the recent vaults for demonstration purposes.
You may wonder what the words ‘mean’.
So do I. Like the chorus says, “This is your only clue” The singer does sound somewhat obsessed by words, names, double meanings.. Hey, that’s me?

Yeah, No-body’s gonna ride that Virgin
Merry-go-round… till I
torque down the horsies
Burn that Tommey Dorsey off the ROM

No, nobody’s goin’ to lunch with the Star of
David and Goliath, though it
sounds like a Great Adventure, I’ll
check out Chuck and Andy Wyeth

This is your only clue
This is your own..

Well I been on the decks of two Titanics
this much is true, and I’m
trying m’best to panic
Any fool could tell me nothing’s new

I- stand at the back-door bell and howl it..
sounds so familiar, then it’s
Down to the Mason-Dixon line
pick-up sticks and twine around my self..


Just say-“Arm and Hammer, Briggs and Stratton”
yeah, that’s the litany, we been
doing all the gigs in Latin
Who’s afraid of Pratt and Whitney now?

Tryin to- Tell ya where it hurts, you can
Tell me who to call..
Nobody’s listening, we been
Bundled with a breakfast cereal, check out all our new material..


A new leash on life..

Some topics seem to be expressible, if at all, in dogerell.Canine verse.’  I considered free verse, but nah.. you probably get what you paid for it. (even though chromepoet‘s latest is both free and pricelessly sublime.

At any rate, a true story, for a change. My friend here was 52 in the picture I took a couple years ago. Born on 25 December, her birthday was ‘moved’ to 1 Jan. by the superstitious Transylvanian rabinate, so as not to ‘conflict’ with some Other Guy. *spits*  Still, it was a dark and stormy X-mas night (according to  foreign press sources)  when I lost her dog…

O with  her damn mutt

Last night I signed a two-year leash
In delicate flagrante.
(That’s another word for ‘nekkid’, Geesh
You guys is so ‘andante.’)

I should reveal, this-is Boy meets Girl
(plus Dog, -add to equation-.)
I took him on his nightly whirl
thanks to her soft persuasion

The mutt, along some dismal road
kinda ‘bit the tie which bound him,’
took off for another Area-code,
It was morning till I found him

He objected to the trunk’s decor
but hey, who’s taking chances?
We waited at the hardware store
Oy, me and my romances!

The box said “Good to eighty G”, ‘n
 It’ll last til twenty-ten.”
I signed the collar, “Love ya, Me”
with my favorite felt-tip pen

So Happy birthday, Princess, here’s a
token of my Love
A Man, a Plan, (plus a Spaniel..)
still I thank the stars above 🙂

Add: I have the next two ‘fascinating posts ‘  in the queue, but I’ll wait to hear whether this oft-be-smirched poetic form was up to the task of capturing 30 years of true love…


“Anti-Gravity”? Mildred is “Pro-chaise”

“Let’s call ourselves‘Pro-Chase’.
That’s what Mildred said. Or that’s at least what I heard. See, I don’t spend a lot of time staring her in the face. I mean, meeting her gaze at meetings. Not fair, but something in that name. I’m afraid it’ll show. “Mildred”, who names a kid Mildred“? All I can think of is “The Dred Mill Decision or some kinda rare phobia of windmills. Quixotophobia? The closest I ever got was once, at one of the Uprisings, I quick-spoke “You’re too young to be a ‘Mildred’, Mildred”, and then hurriedly changed the subject. I wish I could call her “Millie”, but like, then I’d think of her as.. um.. one-thousandth of something. Oof!  

“Pro-chase”?, I attempted to sound neutral, like I was trying it on. No use. It didn’t fit.
“Um.. that’s worse than ‘Anti-gravity’. We might as well just stick with what we got. The flyers.. oh, and the tee-shirts, they all say..”
Sounds more optimistic.” She believed in the suggestion with all her revolutionary heart.
“So what’re we chasing?” I knew we were going for a ‘Pro-choice’ type of new-speak clone-job, but still..
“No, it’s ‘c-h-a-i-s-e'” she spelled it out. “Like, duh, what you’re sitting on..”.
I hadn’t put it together. We both sat there a minute, by the pool, waiting for the interminable waiter to bring us our orders. Me thinking,  “Um, right, when you need a new name, (and I didn’t dispute that point).. see, what you do is gawk around at the furniture for an inspiration. Sure thing, Mill. Good thing they hadn’t voted her General Secretary of the Movement.”
“No really, Bob, you are sitting, what, six inches above the terrazo? Gravity tries to hit you, they lose. It’s all over before the first toss-up..”
“So that’s what we’re agitating for, huh, low-down seating?”
I might have sounded a touch grouchy. Where’s the damn waiter?

Suddenly he was upon us, handing Mildred her TV-dinner, and me, mine, without even asking “So, who had the Flintstones Dino-meal®?”

I was hungry, I’ll admit, but still..
“Excuse me.. er.. sir. I ordered a Radio Dinner, did I not?”
the waiter’s face betrayed his disdain. A closet ‘Pro-Gravity’ supporter? Posibly. Or perhaps he knew that the AM-FM cusine contained seven more peas in the tray. Like he was paying for ’em. He picked up the menu, which had fallen perilously close to pool’s edge, and shook it dry, then started to prove his thesis, but I got there first:
“Right here”, I pointed out, “The Amos ‘n Andy. Breaded king-fish®, with black-eyed..”
I stopped myself before I said the ‘peas’. Why rub salt in his wounds?

Mildred was already unwrapping her pat of butter. The waiter, defeated, took my ex-TV-thingie and walked back to the ‘kitchen’ ,arms-down, like a man carrying his art, his precious painting, which hadn’t even won ‘Honorable Mention’ at the fair. Suddenly I felt awful. Mildred read my mind:
“How’re we gonna win their hearts and minds, the ‘lumpen,’ you know, when we can’t even compromise on the.. the menu?”
She was right. No wonder Jim Schmitt, whom I’d convinced to at least show up at our ‘Levity in Whitney Park’ happening, left after the hors d’oeuvres…We needed a new name, ok, but more than that, we.. I mean, the Policy Council needed to convene for a serious tete-a-tete. Flattering though it’d been, my stint as poster-boy, the interview on WNFL, my tales of surviving two plane crashes, the whole ‘Gravity wants you in the Grave’ campaign, hell, even the hot-shots from Ann Arbor, who braved the freezing hell of I-94 to I-43 just to be seen jumping up and down on our bandwagon, colleagues in ‘the good fight’, suddenly it all meant squat. Here I am, I can’t even face telling my comrade Mildred that she’s got a ‘silly name’, and I want to save the world??

The Radio-Dinner was cold, but I said not a word. Oh, except for:
“Yes, Mildred, ‘Pro-Chaise’, that sounds like a winner, now that I think about it. Life is short, and it’s so easy to fall down.. you know what I mean?”

Compared to What? (and other house-pet-peeves)

Hmm.. what’d I do for the holidays? Drank a half a warm beer and wrote this. Um.. there’s always ‘next year’?

I’m eager than ever, I’m stronger than strong
Still meagre than meag, though. (Did I say something wrong?)
I’m shoulder than I should be; rather Boulder than bowled-over
Singer than Sing-sing, so I writer-ed this song

(so far so good-  talking about which mistakenly sound like comparitives to the ESL crowd.)

I’m whelmed, but not overly, same goes for joyed. That
is just a gun in my pocket, I avoid ex-cess.
Just realistic, no sur- and no un-. it’s a
shame I just shot, cause the word rhymed with ‘gun

Surrounded by faces; glad ‘I ain’t got no one’. De-
-fenceless, yet I’m fenced-in. (Wait. I do have a gun. Been un-
rivalled since arrival, yet un-ravelled by the rabble, in the
Rubble, I search for the sun.

(Ah yes, the Triumph of the Human Spirit. Well… ‘one human’s’. Ok, his ‘mini-triumph’. (That’d be a ‘Di-umph’). a ‘try-umph’?

..somebody asked me to save the world. No problem..

Tonight I plan to save the world, but-of
course it’s got to rhyme… Be
hum-able and culturally-pearled, be
loved, and for all time.
(A recipe in fractured verse
would fail; it’d just make matters worse)
That’s why they messaged me; a terse:
Please, Solberg, Save the World ! “

He rolls up sleeves, eats shoots and leaves, clicks
‘Turbo: Multi-tasked’. Makes
lists of peeves, of warps and weaves and
‘Questions Often Asked’. Then he
lights the candle-abra, chants a
quick ‘Abra-ca-dabra’, finds a
pen to do the job-ra, and he’s
Off to save the world.

Well, it scans, but not in Farsi..”
(This from sources in Tehran.) “Loved your
tie-in with D’Arcy Thompson
Hey, U R teh man!”
I got calls like these till midnight, did
revisions till the sunlight hid the
Moon, melted my gunsight..
How’s a guy to save the world?

My Kingdom for another day!”
The Queen was heard to beg
I’ll stall my editor some way:
“That’s a bit-map or j-peg?”
Oy, the stuff this kid agrees to!
like a car he lost the keys to, Guess I’ll
walk to work, be pleased to let some
other-guy save the world.

NOTE: Special thanks to Alyssa, Butshebites, for recommending this post, and welcome to any of her readers: men, all good-looking and women, all above average, who value her taste in the arts. I’ve been only sporadically commended, and very rarely re-commended’, approximately twice the honor. Enjoy.(Add: Nobody came to my party after all.. Well, it wasn’t for lack of refreshments, ha.)
I’m trying to memorize this poem for the up-coming ‘Lemon-Aid’ Benefit concert in support of the American ‘automobile’ industry. (it moves all by itself)  Yup. Saving the world, one  dinosaur at a time.

Playing God…

Dear Friends, Let us pray:

‘You got Allah who’s akhbar, Jesus who saves,
Ya see Moses investing, ya’all know that-
‘Burma shaves’
They all come with their own
Change of clothes
I need their hoo-hah like a-
-nother nose, Yeah if I
Wanna meet a spaceman
I’ll mow a message on the lawn.
Man, I’m out of the monkey business
All my faith is gone
. jsolberg 1987 ‘Out of the Monkey Business’, from ‘The Wide Album’.


This is the story of Ellis in Mini-Wonderland
He arrived there in the year:… well, let’s just slide the glass cover of the terrarium back a bit and peek in on the action. Aha, there he is in the corner, pulling his tiny home-made ‘junk’ up onto the beach.
“Damn junk! Ming,sch-ming. I shoulda known better. Die,  nasty dynasty!” and with that Ellis looked around at his new and unexpected home.
“An Island is land to land on, ok, but this ain’t the island I planned on.” I heard him saying to himself. Back in Festeburg unter den Lindens Ellis had been a player, the Book said on the back cover. He knew what time it was. Maybe he shouldn’t have left at all.
Ellis looked at his turtle-shell Swatch: “Damn, I mean ‘Yikes’, no, ‘Gewalt!’; Nineteen oh two?” Merde. I missed the fin de seicle..again.”

The little mud-boy looked pissed. But after a minute or so on Ellis Island  our hero was starting to regain some of his… Wait a minute:
“Ellis Island?” I asked him, through the crack in the glass. My half-a-shovel of ground from the backyard, carefully patted down before I poured in the water, you named it?
“Yeah. I name shit here. Ever heard of Adam?” The guy sounded like Lee Marvin, actually.
“Sure. He named stuff, like the animals and..” I answered, without thinking what I was doing.
“Well I named him!” Ellis bellowed up toward his ‘sky‘. “And who the hell are you?”
I shouldn’t have interfered. I got out of eyesight real quick-like, started to make a cup of coffee, and tried to catch a few grasshoppers to add to the cage, maybe while he was sleeping. I was hoping he’d think my little intrusion had been only a dream.
But Ellis didn’t sleep. No, the little bugger, only about 2 1/2 inches tall on his barefoot tip-toes seemed to have an agenda. Like a high-metabolism shrew. Never stopped moving.
“Woman!” I heard him yelling all the way from the backyard, on my knees in the grass.
“Alice!” he yelled again. I hid behind the couch and spied on him. Didn’t take more than a second to realize that either I’d been out longer than I’d thought, or, as it turned out, ‘Damn this guy works fast!’. Some of the dry branches I’d placed in the corner were now piled into a pyre on the ‘hill’, and what’s that? Smoke?! Yup, a tiny little fire. How’d he do that? I stealthily crawled across the floor, and managed to pull back the cover a bit more. Oxygen. It said that in the Book. He noticed, but didn’t say a word, being busy with something… A little pile of mud. Pottery? He’s discovered pottery? I bent a little closer. Uh-oh; Not a pot, a statue, a human form. He bent down with his tiny face and breathed into its ‘mouth’. “Alice, Alice..” he said, over and over, till.. it moved!
I watched in amazement as ‘Alice’ stood up and they both walked over toward the fire. Mercy me. There was none of this mentioned in the Book…
“Ellis uber Alice” I heard him ‘instruct’ her. She just gave him a half-smile, a mock-dismissive look, and then, in the tiniest voice which ever won an argument with one line, told him:
“Alice und Ellis uber alles, far-shtehst?” (*)
Whew. Glad they got that settled right from the git-go. Shows what you can do when you get to start over with a fresh slate.
Anyway, by the time I sold the thing to the lab at MIT, about a week later, they’d built a lovely two-story palace on the hill, both of ’em had calluses on their hands from sawing up the rest of the firewood with the snazzy little nail-file I’d dropped into the cage, ‘from Heaven’, as it were, when neither of ’em was looking. They’d learned to stoke the fire with a bellows made out of leaves, melt the sand grains and make miniature glassware, including some kind of a chalice that seemed to have a particular ritualistic importance, I never figured out what. But they never acted with malice, so if it works, it works, go figure.

    And the day I realized that the next word in the series probably started with a ‘ph’, I did the right thing and called Professor Friedman. He’s got a budget up there for a roomier cage, and I needed a break already. They were a dear couple, and I, a loving, if off-camera,  Father figure. At least I never lied to them…

Oh maybe once. I told ’em MIT was in Dallas.

(*) “Alice and Ellis, above all (everything else), you got that?”

From my Pal in D’Rome

My neighbor down the street to the South had just enough time to pen this note before surrendering to the  Proscribed Posies Posse, agents of the Israeli Ministry of Floral Arrangements. I’ll miss him, but maybe not for too long…  He does know the law backwards and forwards…

O GRAB ME, EMBARGO, if you have it within ya
You tracked me on RADAR, though I’m a low-LEVEL zinnia
Surround my old CIVIC, yeah I guess ‘them’s the breaks’
It could use a new ROTOR, for what difference that makes
Hello pushups and PULLUPs, I’ll be fit by next spring
(…and back to gardening, Oh, and don’t think you can make this bird sing).

 NOTE: (not intended to distract attention from the awesome poem, ha.)
I do have a little question for any young or old coots in my lovely coterie of readers, at the risk of appearing vain. To what extent does the ‘fictional format’ here bother you?
By that I admit *looks down and wrings hands* that no, I don’t really have a neighbor who was just arrested for growing funny lettuce. I just wrote the poem, entranced by the ’embargo/ o grab me’ twist of words and fate, and then  presented it as an event. A trick I/we learned… um.. somewhere, to distract attention from like ‘stuff we daresn’t talk about’. I have lots of stuff I can’t talk about. No, I won’t tell you why.  I do notice, though, that many beloved bloggers present a more complete picture of who they really are. I never even ask myself “Is this real?” when I read their posts.
None of this would matter if I didn’t secretly desire to be more on-line be-love-ed. So what’s a fellow to do?

Oh, and the poem is a warm-up for one I’d love to write which reads in its  entirety in both directions. But it’s gotta make the world a better place too.. so hey,  tough challenge.

A Steely Dan, except it’s 100% ‘Mahagonny’

I was waiting for chrome-poet’s opinion of my last poem, to reveal the sorry truth. My career as a bard hung in the balance, and I now note happily that it was, quote, “tight”. Ah, the missing descriptor on my resume. But  knowing that I may need a back-up profession, I none-the-less still read the classifieds. This next incident is typical of what I go through. Ok, it’s fiction. Whole cloth. But then so was Casablanca. The movie, I mean. Geesh…

    Why does this stuff keep happening to me? An innocent ad in ‘Yediot Aharonot’, one of the leading Israeli dailies, announced openings in the production-line of a certain ‘Salton Pepper-shakers, Ltd.’. ‘Work with wood’. it teased. Hah. I remember asking one of my young noble-savage employees, back in the 80’s, upon seeing him sweat profusely as he moved 2X4’s from the drop-off point to the job-site. “So,  how do you like ‘wood-working’ so far?” Im glad he had a sense of humor.
    Speaking of which, that quality is precisely what I needed, as I pulled into  Salton Inc.’s rut-filled psrking lot  in the nearby town of  Tel Mond. After an embarassing search for the front door, (Israelis are less-than horrid in the field of ‘shi’lut’ (‘sign-age’), I made my way to the reception desk, where an un-inspired female lackey was busily doing her nails and blathering on her cell-phone.
“I’m here about the ad” I said, real industriously. I needed this job.
“Du willst a schvantz-macher sein?” She asked, in pidgin-yiddish, I guess because of my face…
But all I heard, expecting Hebrew, was the ‘sein’, pronounced ‘zayin’ and meaning, roughly, ” a hebrew term for the male external sexual feature’. The ‘schvantz’ went totally over my head, in retrospect. No red flag.
“Ken..” (‘Yes’) I answered, not knowing what it was I was agreeing to.. I needed a job, did I mention that? She was on the MIRS to ‘Moshe’ back in the shop in a second.
“Ba frier, Moshe..” she told him. “Nu, te’da’ber ya’fe ha-pa’am.” (‘A sucker’s here. Talk nice this time.’) she whispered, maybe assuming I wouldn’t over-hear. She pointed to a hallway and barked

“Shama” (‘That way’) I absolutely hate when Israelis do this: You’re lost in the bowels of Tel Aviv; you ask someone how to get to, say, 31 Carlebach Street, and all they care, about a fellow human being is to wave vaguely in some pointless direction and grunt “Shama”.)
   Anyway, ‘Moshe’, when I found him, was covered in mahagony sawdust, looking like the quintessential employee they kept adding hats to, until he collapses under the weight. I gave him a quick schmooze:
“Nu, ech holech, e’sek ha’pepper-shaker’im?” (‘’s it going, the pepper-shaker racket?’)
“Yesh le’chah ta’ut” (‘You have a mistake’lit.) he growled. Hmm..I hated him on the spot. So much for schmooze, but I’m used to asymmetrical tact here already.
“B’eze in’yan ta’i’ti?” (“where exactly have I erred?”I asked him , in a perfect impersonation of the classic line from its origin, a locally-famous comedy three-some from the 60’s, Ha-Ga-shash Ha-hi’ver. He’d never heard of them, from his non-reaction.
“Pecker-shapers”, he corrected me. I heard it and  blood started descending to my feet.Could I really have mis-read the ad?
‘Pecker-shapers’ was that?” I asked, being sure to enunciate the words clearly.
“Ken. Di’mui zayin. Yesh le’chah bay’ah im zeh?” (‘Yeah, phallus imitations; you got a problem with that?’)

I looked past him, on the floor, at a pile of, one would hope, ‘rejects’ from the last ‘new hire’; some of the most un-life-like penises I’ve even seen, not that I’ve seen all that many. The Swiss-made lathe was waiting for my carpenterial skills. He waited for my  handshake…
He and it can wait till hell freezes good and solid.  Nobody needs a job that bad. (Er..’badly’, I’m a writer after all, I reminded myself on the way out.).

A little cross-pond humour

In the News: ‘Guardian’ reports ‘Brit Parliament close to final vote on UK Pea-shooter ban’.
 ‘Two lorries “packed full on ammo” intercepted in Leeds’. -more

 The BANE of my existence: this new
BAN on ‘armless legumes.Now the
BEAN needs my assistance. Tony
BENN just laid an egg. Whom can we
trust these days? The Queen’s been mum;
I’m telling you, this law is dumb.
And crooks will still find lentils in the end.

Will they com-BINE it with a tax on any
BIN they claim could hold em?
Yes of course I’m bean sarcastic but I
do intend to scold ’em; be a
BONE in-the-throat in the House of Lords, BON
mot can wait for moot, and swords may
be the only thing they understand.

There’ll be BOO-IN’ in the boondocks, we’ll have
Brown on a BUN for brunch; yes, young
voters want pea-shooters; my ad-
visors have a hunch that if I
hitch my star to the ‘B’ ‘n ‘N’ I
just might be the next P.M. That’s
Yonatan Disraeli” with a ‘P’

Note: There are basically two schools of thought on posts like this; 1) “Explain”, and 2) “Don’t explain”.
1) A guy like me often gets mightily bored sanding drywall all day. The mind reaches for a candy-bar I might have absently left in my shirt pocket. The trick is getting home, putting it in the freezer for an hour, (often along with the shirt), and then prying melted chocolate from cotton. You can Google the rest..
2) Enjoy. Part of the guilty pleasure of being an intellectual is in knowing how alone you probably are…

If you take away your race, religion, family, education and job – who are you?

They always say to answer the easy questions first on these timed quizes….  A: I’d be an illiterate jobless atheist orphan who’d lost the race. Hmm.. doesn’t sound like much fun at all. ‘That’s me in the corner’, by the way. 


I just answered this Featured Question; U-2 can answer it also!