Monthly Archives: September 2012

One Two Many Horses: JS Reviews “Fifty Sheds of Neigh”

     Only if you’ve been living away in a manger could you possibly have failed to notice this best-seller, by the author of  ‘One, Two, Many commas’. That short volume, on punctuation, of all things, was a delight to read; I learned how to use the semi-colon from it, kinda.
And so I was primed when I heard that “Fifty Sheds of Neigh”, also by Dewey Pferde, had taken win, place, and show on the NYT Book Review list. And, I was intrigued by the mixed reviews it got; Deborah Friedman slammed it, calling the book  ‘…50 grades of hay for a Horse with no Name!’, whatever that’s supposed to imply. Reviewers, you know. But now that I’ve dragged my carcass through all 634 pages I kinda have to agree with her. Yeah, ‘one two many horses’, in fact 49, mebbe 50 too many.

    The story opens by describing E.Questrian Grue, a filthy-rich pretentious heir and refrigerator magnate who has purchased a long rectangular gentleman’s horse-farm out along Highway 51, and soon builds separate quarters for each of his filly flings, aquired one at a time. Being used to having his way, he initially specifies ‘hearse-racing’ as the business description, thus avoiding the bothersome intrusion of Dep’t of Agriculture inspectors. At a local watering hole one night, where he is schmoozing the town’s zoning officer, he overhears talk of a drop-dead gorgeous filly, and buys her on the spot, sight-unseen, and decidedly drunk.

    And so into this unstable stable trots ‘Miss Anesthesia’, a lithe two-year old filly with three
wins already at Pimlico under her saddle and a summer place at Hialeah. They meet cute, of course, and have sex until morning in a chapter-long episode which had the book banned in Florida for a spell. (they called the pair ‘promiscuous.)
    On awakening, Grue changes Anasthesia’s name, calling it ‘lacking feeling’, to an unpronounceable word, the name for the Great Auk in Maori. The stable-hands soon call her ‘Miss Auk-word’, which leads to some tense moments.
 By this time  he’s had 50 sheds erected. Miss Auk insists on being housed in the one nearest to Questy’s heart. This necessitates moving each of the other horses  one building down the line, an effort which consumes another perhaps 129 pages, sort of an ‘Arabian Nights’ aside, with vignettes of horses vying for the right to stay where they were, at the expense of their
‘neigh’-bors.
    And so on. And so on. And so damned on. They fight, they make up, they make out, another name make-over: (Missy Auk demands and wins the right to be called ‘The Horse formerly known as Anesthesia.’ This after ‘Black Beauty’ was a no-go since she is a roan, and ‘Sleeping Beauty’, while clever and referential, has lethargic connotations in racing circles.



Ok, you probably want to know whether to buy the book. Or download it, after I’ve kindled your curiosity.
Well, you can’t. It doesn’t exist. I made it all up and I’m sorry. Probably a little fuzzy kitten getting run over by a dump-truck right now, as we speak, and it’s all my fault. But you guessed that.
Plus I hated it anyway. Nothing racy-harnessy here, folks. Moby Dick was hotter.

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Yeah, um, I’d like to try on a hat. ‘Tin Foil?’ Yeah, how’d ya guess?

      Sorry folks but this is dead serious, as opposed to my usual confusing blend of truth and fiction.
The strangest, most unexplainable thing just happened a few hours ago and I’m still in shock. Read on.
Today. Saturday morning. Wide awake at 7AM and taking a short drive to the nearby gas station for cigs. The only place allowed to be open on Shabbat. I get to the traffic circle and suddenly HEAR A VOICE inside the car. I hit the brakes and look around for maybe a cop with a megaphone. No one in sight.
I check the radio, even though the head is disconnected and I only ever used it once. Nothing happening there. Finally I check whether my phone, a cheap little bare-bones Nokia, is in my pocket. Yes. So maybe it accidentally dialed someone? Well, the display does say ‘7’, since I’d forgotten to lock the keyboard.
And then I quickly recalled what the VOICE had said. Half Hebrew (Something like ‘hai’ag’ta et ha-mispar- (‘You dialed the number..’)  followed by the plain-english word ‘Seven‘. That word I remembered as clearly as the nose on my face.
I checked the call history, hands shaking. No dialed #s, no incoming, no missed, nothing. Yet the Phone had TALKED TO ME!
There is no voice program on this phone; it barely makes calls. So, as they say, WTF???

Ok, here are the options, as far-fetched as they sound, but in the absence of any other explanation:

1) The phone does secretly have an ‘Easter Egg’ voice routine which runs only after one dials ‘7’ and leaves the phone unattended for an hour? I tried to reconstruct that, and no voices were heard.
2) The phone just decided to call someone ‘off the record’, someone who correctly guessed(?) that I had accidentally dialed a ‘7’? possible, but unlikely.
3) And now the scary part, hence the title. I simply hallucinated the VOICE. It sure didn’t sound like a delusion, and I have no history (till now) of hearing phantoms while wide awake and alert. But I guess millions of other(?) sufferers also will swear that the voices they hear, telling them off-the-wall stuff like ‘Vote Republican!’ are REAL. I know mine was real.
    So how to make it happen again, or make it stop. Or at least know the truth about it? I’m at a loss, which is of course why I turn to the putative sane readers of Xanga.
Folks, this has nothing to do, nothing at all, with my seeing little oddly-dressed ladies wearing hats, out of the corner of my eye, three times a day at least. That one’s nailed down; Bonet’s Syndrome, caused by the holes in my field of vision, and the boredom of visual-processing neurons somewhere deep in my battle-scared brain.
But at least the ladies don’t tell me what number I dialed in error on my phone.
Do I need help? And what kind of a metallic-foil hat goes well with my outfits this fall? Maybe they put the tin in the lining? Anyone know?

Mitt’s toast… but so am I

     My washer broke, and the only ones I can find for sale here say ‘Coloreds’ or ‘Whites’ Right on the front. What’s the deal with that? I’d thought we were past this ignoble phase.
The sales boy wasn’t much help:
“You don’t have any, like ‘integrated’ machines?” I asked him, in a hushed tone.
“Sure don’t, sir, not in this aisle.” he looked pensively across the store floor at the over-and-under appliances section, where they put you only after the ‘Trainee’ badge wears out, or something. Pensive, but not from man’s inhumanity to man, I surmised.
“But I can put coloreds and whites in the same load, can’t I… if nobody’s watching?” I pressed him.
“Wouldn’t advise it.” was all he said.
“Why not?” I was determined to get to the root causes of racism here.
“They bleed.” he informed me.
“Who bleeds?”
“The coloureds. And they run. You’ll have a mess. But hey, it’s your life.”



All this made me think of those laws, what the hell were they called, in the South, from shortly after the Civil War until Brown vs Board of Education and the Johnson era Equal Rights Laws. Damn, what was the name? It’s like, a guy’s name, and short. Like ‘Jack Buck’ or something. Don’t tell me, It’ll come to me in the shower. In a week or so. Why do these memory gaps happen so often? First it was the bass-player from the Jefferson Airplane I couldn’t come up with, and now this ‘John Blow’ or whoever he was. I’d do lousy in a Presidential debate, is all I’m thinking. I’d be up there, all noble and statuesque, and start a sentence like “Efforts by the Republican party to deny Americans the right to vote are beginning to sound like…um…like those…you know… Damn! ‘Chopped Liver Laws’?? I give up.”

Anyway, do your part folks. Don’t buy a washer from James Krowe Ltd. Together we can make a difference.

Let’s all lern to write ‘Wright’ right… and other triple threats

     Someone called Edward Albee a ‘playright’ and of course I had to intervene in my kind and tactful style here on Xanga:
“Your wrong, bonehead. Its ‘PLAY-WRITE!!”
He took it well, and replied: “Yeah, and the Right Brothers had the write stuff, huh? Fuck off, you little Nazi.”
Well I’ll be Albee’s public defender! Sensitive much these days?
So I vowed to dedicate my life to spelling, after a brief sojurn to gaze at the gays and straights in the straits of Hormuz, wherever that is.



Ok, the vacation did wonders for my attitude. they’re there on their Xangas,  and I’m here at my command centre, high, above the fray.



But least I got back in time to  defend my buddy, at the corner store, we’ll call him ‘T’, an’ he’s bravely marketing a new line of tea coolers. Some jerk was ridiculing them, sayin’ stuff
like “Wow, I seen goat piss this exact same color, man.”
I told him sharply “Don’t you tease ‘T’s teas, goat-boy!” Ha, that put him in his place.



Meanwhile Fay, a female Iron-man competitor (Iron-woman?) is working on a fearsome new approach, screaming all kind of curses at her opponents, to psych ’em out. Still, we’re talking iron-men here, so I doubt we’ll see Fay’s phase faze the competition.


Like most home bakers, you’ve probably noticed that the wild deer eating from your bread-pans set out on the window-sill to rise seem to get groggy from the treat. Yes, a recent study has confirmed gluten’s soporific effect on ungulates. So watch those doughs. Does doze after eating ’em, and are then often ravished by opportunistic bucks in rut.



Moe, of Three Stooges fame, has been signed to portray Mose Allison in a bio-flick on the jazz
musician’s life and times. Said the casting head: ‘A bunch of good candidates, but Moe’s Mose mows down the competition like a weed-whacker on meth!”


Not to spoil the suspense, but in the film ‘The Vote’, after three excruciating hours of
‘watching-paint-dry’ class drama (!), the dumb-ass Partition Petition is defeated by a narrow
margin, and you can  go home already and eat all the popcorn you ‘care for’ in peace, on your own blessed couch, in your underwear.
Two thumbs down: Spoiler: As everyone by now knows, ‘No’s nose out ‘Yea’s by a narrow margin!” Not including the ten bucks you blew finding that out.



Edgar Allen Poe is often thought of as a morose schitso, frantically eying the heavens for that
damn Raven. Well, grainy photographs from his brief Italian vacation seem to tell a different
story; the author strutting his stuff on the river banks, flexing his muscles like a defiant
Mister America contender. An explanation proffered by his biographer: ‘The Po River’s pollution is anathema to most avian species, and the waters may have contained chemicals which affect the brain’s mood centers. Note to self: Check out Poe’s pose. Po’s influence and effluents need further study.”



The fraternity brothers were all seated on lines of impromptu folding lawn-chairs. Such is campus life among white males in the no-tse-tse-fly zone. Every silly Greek letter had sent its
contingent, but Tappa Kappa Rho was clearly in the majority. Something to do with Admissions and Alumni. So when the President, in mortar-board and gown-over-jeans, asked, begged, for a standing ovation, ‘Rho’s rows rose, proudly, in unison, like mushrooms after a heavy rain. Ya get what ya pay for.



Ribbons were awarded, in primary colours, at the close of last week’s raucous ‘Loudest-speakers’ contest in Twenty-nine Palms, (CA). As expected, Boris ‘Bo’ Jungles walked away, albeit deaf as a doorknob, with all the First Place bows. Bo’s Bose XJ-9000’s were just too ‘decibels much?’ for the Altecs and Jentsens of the also-rans.



Sadness. A heart-breakingly sincere experiment in urban gardening in Compton (CA) has ended, for now. Private donors had contributed implements and irrigation equipment for the cause, and local charities had enlisted the sweat-equity and participation of shelters for the abused, the hungry, the broken-spirited, in a commendable project. Reality intervened in the form of Norteno/Sudeno gang strife, with four ‘homies’ taken to local hospitals within hours of the formal opening fete.
Said one gang-ster:
“Ho’s, hoes, and a hose. Fuck that sh*t!”
Well, you can lead a horse’s ass to water…



And speaking of Compton scattering, Caltech researcher Raymond Blumentod, working primarily in his basement, has developed, sources are hinting, a prototype of a theoretical concentrated high-energy photon beam. Basically an X-ray gun, the device utilizes interactions between energized electrons and photons, and I’ll spare you the equations. Said one senior professor at Stanford we spoke to: “Ray’s rays raise the spectre of death-rays from the grave, and thus have potentially grave consequences for the defense community.” At press time, thankfully, no You Tube videos detailing the process had yet been posted.



Despite brave efforts, the Netherlands is still in a virtual tie against the encroachment of its
habitable land by the cold waters of the North Sea. Jorgen Higgenbottham, a seasoned veteran of decades of engineering projects with whom we spoke, however, projects an up-beat never-say-die attitude. “Anyone working in this field sees seas seize land year after year, much like your American ‘pioneers’ discovering’ and conquering the West.”
I didn’t respond per se to the implied critique of US manifest destiny expansionism, only
suggested that he buy a hat with a few more feathers.



The portable toilet bizness is apparently a tough racket. To wit: Louis Firecan’s novel start-up
in Essex-on-Avon, Westminstershire, UK. Funded in part by a grant from the Ministry of
Sanitation, his facilities feature built-in year-round heaters powered by solar cells, and a
unique footwear-conditining station, developed by the firm Shoehorne Ltd. The gadget, operating quietly while one ‘does his business’, gently expands the shoes, insuring a comfortable and ‘loose’ fit upon retrieval. The ‘rest-stops’ thus provide two of  the three most sought after amenities among his target niche market. Still, ‘Lou’s Loos’ lose a sobering three million Euros a year, according to public records. Perhaps the third ‘amenity’s inclusion will be a game-changer, if and when it happens.

Free speech, OK. Just don’t diss The Bird!

     Like over a thousand other adherents in over three countries (ok, 4), I am a devout believer in a little-known religion which evolved from S. American animism. Our truth was revealed by the Prophetess Edna, an Andean Albatross who was half bird and half God incarnate. Her Insights were dictated by her brother, since she had a stutter, much like Moses before her. And He in turn also had a disability, a less than world-class wingspan of only 3.06 meters. (19 foot 11 and 13/32 inches, for those of you stuck outside of the metric system, nose frozen to the window-pane)
Be that as it may, we regard their Wisdom as the Holy Truth. ‘The Bird is the Word’ as we chant five times a day. And the day-to-day affairs of the Flock are currently being handled by Edna’s great-great-grandson, Shorty III, The One and Only One-foot Prince, (aka The 12 inch Ruler.) It was in Cuzco, April 8, 1978 that he presided over my own initiation, ‘The Giving of the Bird’, where I received my very own albatross necklace, which I wear around my neck around the clock.
All this is to explain our legitimate outrage these past few weeks, on the heels of an otherwise innocuous study by McGull University biologist Alfred Weiskopf, which mapped a large part of the albatross genome. And though the term ‘junk DNA’ has fallen onto hard times lately, Weiskopf, who’s apparently lost his fix on Polaris, none-the-less insisted in the Journal article on calling our Prophetess’s double helix ‘blase’. We could have overlooked that un-couth snub were it not for the piling-ons of a gang of washed-up Canadian potato-head You-Tubers, who this week uploaded a scurrillous video involving a naked albatross, under the provocative caption:
ANDES ALBATROSS/ S-S-SORTA BLASE DNA? The back-handed insult over Edna’s speech defect, the insinuations, yes, it’s incendiary to say the least. Defenses of Free Speech are a dime-a dozen in the lib-press; to wit Jim Riston’s op-ed in the Times yesterday entitled ‘Don’t like what you see in the mirror? Deal with it, pigeon-breath!” is only one example.
Our people are currently weighing the options, and not ruling out the role of refined hydro-carbons in the defense of The Bird’s Holy Honor. One needs to draw a line somewhere. We have the Bird, they got what, The Canadian Goose. Yeah, deal wid it.

New Art Director at the Janus. No birth cerrtificate for now…

     Yes, the local Janus Museum of Reversible Art has just hired a new Director, a Mr. Barak ‘H’ Kandinsky (no relation) Born in Guam, his family moved to Poland for a term, where, to quote him “I learned to do things backwards and forwards.”
So far I wish him all the best, even though I’m torn between my real affection for my friend Traci’s inspired oddball ‘tropic art, and my hope that Edna, who’s worked there under several administrations, will keep her job.
Edna tells me that ‘BHK’ started out running, in both directions, on Day One. I suppose it’s to
be expected that he hang that minimalist Suleman, both of them having ties to Egypt.
Anyway, one of his first requests, I hear, was:
“We need more of that ‘LACONIC  ART w/ TARRIF SULEMAN’, EDNA, OH… ‘CAN’ YON ‘TROPIC ART: TRACI PORTNOY: NACHO AND ENAMEL/US: ‘FIR-RAT W/TRACI, NO-CAL’.
La’Allah, What was Bushinsky thinking!?” he added, to himself.
Edna had no choice, and Traci was dutifully canned. So it goes in a democracy.