Monthly Archives: November 2013

‘What is to be done?’: First draft of a Dog Manifesto

I sit here trying to concentrate and type over the revolting yelps of seven neighbors’ dogs. Nearly impossible to concentrate, after having slept perhaps 3 hours last night because of the same horrid hounds’ selfish and evil ‘hobby’.
V. I. Lenin, sitting here beside me, (unless I halucinate,) is saying “Go for it, Comrade! Create a Plan, a Strategy for putting the Running dogs of the Canine conspiracy into history’s trash-heap In chains, if feasible.”

Seriously, I have long wanted to calmly put my thoughts on this breed into a crisp, clear, and tactfully productive form. In Hebrew of course, since I have yet to note even one English-speaking local who would allow his dog to torture the community. A random coincidence, or a tribute to the basic thoughtfulnes they internalized in the countries from which they immigrated? I’ll leave that discussion till after I calm down a bit. This post is simply a trial-dog-biscuit on my positions. We shall see if anyone bites.

Ok, start with biting: Has anyone here in class even been frightened, mortified, by the spectre of a ferocious tabby-cat, blocking the sidewalk and threatening double-digit stitches? Pause.No, I didn’t think so.

Again, class: walking down the sidewalk, do you have to negotiate a minefield of A) Cat-poop, or B) Dog poop? Nancy: “You’re funny, Mr Solberg. Everybody knows that cats dig holes in the ground and then cover everything carefully afterward. Dogs just do it wherever they feel like it, like on our front porch every morning.”
Thank you Nancy. And now class, what noise keeps you awake all night, cat’s meows, or dogs woofing, growling, barking for hours at their shadows and at each other? Jenny? “Well, you kinda gave away the answer, but yes, except for maybe once a year or so, it’s dogs.
For these three sins alone I can’t fathom why this creature was ever domesticated. A putative ‘Man’s Best Friend’ who, incapable of speech, never ever tells his owner ‘You, sir, are a first-class asshole!’ Must be comforting.
The net-help stresses that ‘there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.’ That is: my nearest neighbor’s dog, barking as if vomiting out his guts for 7 uninterrupted hours last night is innocent, and it’s the bonehead owner’s fault for simply leaving the beast alone there, in an echo-chamber of a concrete driveway while the family leaves for the night to watch ‘101 Dalmations’. Or ‘Night of the Living Dead’

I need to address the laughable contention that a dog is a great, and cheap, home alarm system. Sorry chum, your dog is merely a ‘false-alarm system’. Night after night I watch them, through their un-curtained picture windows, sitting glued to three separate TVs all the while the beast is yelping its head off non-stop. Perhaps when a real burglar visits, and throws the dog a poisoned steak as is their wont here, the family of boneheads will note the mysterious cessation of barking and peer outside. Hmm..
Every bone in my body screams, at 3AM to ‘Kill the Beast!’ The problem is that some lawmaker who hadn’t suffered as I have, made that action illegal. Ditto for ‘eliminating’ the owner. And so I’m left with furtively spraying the thing in the face once in a while. Works for about three minutes generally.

Yes, I of course tried talking to the owner. He claims they don’t hear it from inside the house, and anyway, barking up to 110 decibels is legal until 11 PM. I (try to) go to sleep by 8 or 9, since I get up at 5AM religously. So 11PM is the middle of Dream 2 for me.
Here are a few sentences of my ‘Je accuse’, tentatively:
By what right do you give yourselves permission to destroy the peace and tranquility of an entire neighborhood?
Are you even aware that your pest-on-a-leash is louder than an average jackhammer, which I surely wouldn’t dream of running till almost midnight? Or do I, in fact, have your sanction to do just that?
Are you amenable to financing the total soundproofing of my property, such that you can then continue living in your private Hell without hurting  innocent bystanders?

ADD: I must point out that my experience as a dog-owner is limited to the three sequential collies we had on the farm during 20 years of needing their services. A good farm dog remembers which cows are ‘dry’ (not being milked while they wait to calve) and has a hundred + acres as a ‘bathroom’. and i’m not sure I ever heard any of our ‘Lassie’s bark.
So that’s my total knowledge of the breed. Your Pekinese mileage may vary.
I do want to hear what anyone has to say on the subject. The previous cry for help (writing tips) didn’t exactly net me an online MFA, and the songs I post fail to go viral. Perhaps ‘Dogs’ is a more universal topic. and by the way, the canine wailing has now started for the night. Five PM until ‘whenever’. Oy

Wherein Solberg, the ‘Velvet-Elvis’ writer genuinely seeks help:

I have some classy friends, minds, and writers here from the now mortally-daid Xanga site. And lately, with the discovery of several other WP gifted writers and editors…um.. I think it may be time to get serious about my (lack of) craft. I’m including here a post from several years ago as a sort of ‘blood sample’; it is dead-center representative of my long-running style. Probably 70% of the 970 Archived entries use the first-person, stray quickly from the whole truth, play with words till they break, and attempt to make a point as non-didactically as imaginable. Them’s the Rules.
Oh and also: A catchy title is a must. Yes I can write prosaically about ‘June 9, 1956: cereal & eggs‘ but it’ll be headed ‘Tiffany can lick my Plate!‘ or the like.
In short, ‘there must be something I’m doing wrong’. I find myself murmuring. The serious crowd goes to school long years to lern how to rite gud and here am I, driving the mower in aimless circles on the lawn without even a glance at the Owner’s Manual. And the neighbors (read ‘Readers’) just cluck their tongues and sigh in private. That’s the part I’d love to see change. I want to know what could be ‘fixed’, for example in the (below) post here, such that it feels more like a Renoir, and less like the style mentioned in the Title.
Sculpting is rumoured to be easy; you just ‘ take a big chunk of rock and chip away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant’. Using the correct tools, of course.
So, can anyone help me morph from ‘Johnny Hatchet’ into Terry Prachet?
I’m growing weary of black ‘n blue velvet, to tell the truth.

Here’s the post: takes five minutes to read.


“Incident Report: “Witch Switches Wishes; now Which Wish was the Witch’s?”

    I knew she was a witch the second she came around the corner, still over a block away and leading a small black dog. Something about the dog, I think. Sure, it’s easy to identify the obvious ones, you see ‘em on their broom-sticks at night, at times even flying across the face of the moon like ET, pointy black hats and hooked noses. Get lucky and sometimes you can  hear their unearthly cackles as they achieve cruise altitude and level off, bound for who knows where..
But this one was pedestrian, and in civilian garb at that. As we approached one another I understood the clue of the dog: Not just ‘black‘, no, this creature was nothing but a canine ‘black hole’, a dog-shape with no features except its black invisibility.
    And then she looked at me. The eyes of a thinly disguised predator assessing mainly caloric content, though with a wisp of a smile to throw off the victim.
“I want you.” was her opening salvo. That I wasn’t prepared for. Her purple sweater clung tightly to her breasts, but even on that warm Israeli evening I noticed the frost clinging to her bosom, like on the space shuttle rocket when they load the liquid oxygen. Yeah, witches’ tits. They are real, and a real challenge to warm up to. Or to warm up at all. I wasn’t planning on it. At the time.
“Sleep with me tonight and you get two wishes.” she announced, her voice a little shaky.
“Two wishes? What happened to three?”
“Two wishes.” She made it sound like ‘…and that’s my best price, take it or leave it…‘ “You know what I am?”
“Sure.” I shrugged, “…we’re just bickering about the price.”
She thought that was funny. Yeah, witches do sometimes laugh… like, normal, non-maniacal chuckles. I still didn’t like the deal though.
“Wishes first.” I countered. I knew my rights. (yeah, from all the previous times I’ve had to negotiate with other-wordly beings.)
“Ok, Shoot.”, she agreed, with a little toss of her jet-black hair. Hmm.. She folded easily. I liked that in a witch.
“Oy, there are so many things I could wish for;” I stared at the darkening sky, “ friends to raise from the dead, lifetime pizza with mushrooms and pepperoni, (no anchovies), a car that starts without running it down a damn hill….”
She looked at her watch, and her doggie snapped at a moth, which took a few seconds to disappear inside his event horizon. I sensed impatience.
“I just wish I didn’t have to pick one. It’s tough, you know, tryin’” I muttered, stalling.
“Granted.” was all she said. Like a fair discussion moderator, but with more… more oomph. More EQ. Her voice had changed. Wait! Could it really be?
“And your second wish is that our night together shall be The Time to Remember © for the rest of our…”

Suddenly I could feel my body start to quiver, then shake.Every heartbeat sent her… her wishy-ness toward my fingers, my toes, and especially, toward… well, I don’t have to reveal everything… My veins felt like the night Flaco finally came through with a bag of un-trod-upon smack, and we banged that shit, me drooling “Esta bien, muy bien..” before I went and puked behind a tree, there in the Park.
But still, this was different. Cleaner. Deathly romantic. I needed her desperately, like a proton needs an electron, like a sodium needs a chlorine, like a rabbit needs a hole, like…
“I get the point.” she put her strong arms around me and laughed. Ok, maybe she cackled, but I didn’t care. I was watching  my wish come true. ‘A Time to Remember’, was that it?

I only remembered the pizza and the new car the next morning. Damn

‘Johnny’s gonna sing a song/ and he wants you all to sing along’/

I myself have trouble resisting joining in, on the 2nd repetition of the chorus at least, with this C&W flavored song of heartbreak and giving up the ghost. It’s from the ‘Live’ album, and ‘Doc Hevel,’ another of my alter egos, sings the lead.(All the alters have Eng/Heb play-on-words names; in this case ‘Hevel doc’ in hebrew means ‘a thin rope’.)
Here are the words, followed by the tune. Feel free to, you know, what I said…

You can hardly recognize the man you tripped on
Down and out – tired and feeling blue
Everything I didn’t lose – guess I gave away
Nothing left I ever got from you

I went from rags to riches
Now I’m back with my own kind which is
Exactly where – you wanted me to be

Last night I laid awake and thought about you
Thought about the little things you said
Your love was like a burning sun
Now you’re just someone I can’t remember when
you crawled out of my bed

Don’t let the clothes deceive you
I never could believe you could have
thrown away a decent man like me
I’m tryin to look like nobody – no girl could ever love
Specially if she looks like you – and fits me like a glove
Well it’s time to take my broken heart
And give it to somebody smart enough
to never love a girl like you

“Jesus wuz right!”, it turns out

Ok, not about everything, but His last-minute ‘Forgive the bastards, they know not what they do.’ is relevant right here, a couple miles down the road and 2000+ years later.
Let me say that I dearly wish the Guy had lived to be 70 or 80, and been granted the time to rigorously flesh out his vision… and to ‘de-Friend some of his more deluded followers, if only to knock the bucket out from under, years later, the likes of Paul and Peter, who grafted onto his message a loathesome infrastructure which led, as night follows the day, to the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, unforgivable missionizing (read ‘destruction’) of native cultures all over the world, European anti-semitism, and the horror of the US Republican party. Yeah, the bone-head Romans picked the wrong guy to snuff out in his prime. Another couple years and he almost certainly would have ammended ‘Turn the other cheek’ to include: ‘And verily I say unto you, use your god-damn turn-signals before you turn, for it has been written ‘What’s hateful to you, do not do to your fellow on-coming motorist.”
A word about ‘ they know not what they do’: It’s important to understand that not all sins can be forgiven by this clause. Psychopaths, un-repentant serial killers, the architects of the Holocaust knew very well what, if not always why, they did their vile deeds. Erase their name and memory from human history with no remorse.
And that leaves, in a jarring transition from the profound to the almost prosaic, the brainless lackeys on Golgotha, trying to cut up tough oak timbers to build a decent cross… with a K-mart jigsaw(!)  And to make matters worse, they insisted on calling it a ‘Jackson’.
Historical note: an hour ago, a similarly clueless Israeli proto-carpenter, tool-less before the throne, asked me “You have a jackson?” I was ready.
Apparently to the untrained Hebraic ear, the word ‘jigsaw’ sounds exatly like ‘jackson’. Ugh. I’ve even seen ads in the paper for ‘Makita Jackson, 30% off!’ My reaction, and tell me if I’m out of line, is that if you’re gonna steal a word from a respectable language like English, at least steal it correctly. I could add 50 other loan-words, equally cringe-worthy, ripped from the proud English lexicon by the local no-nothings. Scavenged like an electric-meter stolen from a building site by metal thieves, trailing wires hacked off in the middle of the night with dull shears.
Yes, Jesus, had He lived, wouldn’t have tolerated this. (just coming up for air here)
But wait, we haven’t even started on a couple no less mortal sins which in fact inspired this religous meditation:

1) Un-hypenated phone numbers. Here, a guy gives you a phone number, it’s, I swear to God, exactly like holding out your hands for a bunch of wriggling worms. Ten digits, mostly illegible since the Israelis both scribble and write the number ‘1’ as a seven, then have to put a slash through the ‘other ‘seven’. No hyphens, no intuitive help in remembering the number.
Centuries ago, Bell labs did a test of human recall for phone numbers. The clear winner was 3 digits, hyphen, four digits. Later, when area codes arrived, the convention became to encase those three leading numbers in parentheses. So far so good, , at least in the US, where the natives took to the blessed system like the wheel-less to the Wheel, like raw-flesh-eaters, to Fire, like IE browsers to Firefox.
Except here, where we know not what we do. I have yet to speak with an Israeli who even understands the problem. ‘They don’t know any better’, I think to myself. In English, since in Hebrew there’s no nice quick equivalent word for ‘better’. No, we say ‘Good, More Good, Most Good.’ Sears Roebuck would never have stood for that, but I digress.

2) Giving change: I stand there, one hand holding my open wallet and possibly my purchase, the other awaiting my change. Ok, on an average day, the dim-wit simply ignores me and throws the bills and coins somewhere on the counter, perhaps even within eyesight. All those stupid little shekels and agorot coins which he/she laboriously scraped out of the register now need to be ‘re-scraped up’ by me. After I put my wallet back in my pocket temporarily, and lay my purchase on the floor, since there’s rarely more than a shoe-box lid’s worth of free counter space in stores here.
I mentioned an ‘average’ day. let’s try on ‘Bad day’. The non-trainable hands me the change, albeit, but disguised as the world’s most unstable ‘open-faced sandwich’: Slippery bills upon which rest a pile of restless coins. This scenario then requires doing both of the above calesthetics, but now with (usually unsucceesful) Olympian prowess. Typically you lose a buck or so, spilt on the floor.
Ok, I wouldn’t bring this up were it an unavoidable part of Life, like Death and Taxes. But it’s not. The change-giving style to-die-for, perfected by centuries of NYC kiosk-owners, is so simple and ‘right’, that neither me nor Jesus-in-freaking-Carnate can believe that our persecutors don’t get it. You simply put the coins first into the outstretched hand followed by the bills, which can be easily grasped with two fingers. The bills you one-hand into the wallet, the coins, into a pocket. Jesus, how can they not know what they doeth?

I could go on for decades: Absence of House numbers, No vowels (‘a rose is a raise is a ruse is a rouse‘), but I’ll defer to my buddy Jesus, who suffered more than I for the sins of the un-knowing, never remembering his phone number living in His Father’s house, with no Number, picking up his change from Judas off the floor in the Upper Room.
Still, when I start a religion, it’ll have as one of its precepts: “Fire them, they know know what they do.”  

Un-Ravelling Ignored ‘Replies’. (or: ‘Pavane for a Dead Comment’)

I shall shortly get back to my trade-mark fabrications, but first, just a bit more WP-Mamba.

    It’s now official. 93% of the comments I’ve left on new sites (mostly found through searching ‘Topics’) are simply ignored. Never responded to. Left to rot where they lie. Lonely as an unclaimed crib-death baby. *sobs at that simile*
And before you say it, these are not facile ‘LOLs’ or ‘You go, stranger!’ toss-offs. No, I comment only when I have something interesting, relevant, and decidedly on-topic to add.
And so today, feeling ‘pro-active’, I thought to create a follow-up Nag-let(?) I could use and re-use to ‘get to the bottom of this’.
There is, of course, a risk, a down-side to being brash and assertive. No one ‘owes’ me a Reply. I know that. It’s only a sociable, considerate, mindful, and intelligent part of having a blog-site. Hmmm, what does that description make my hordes of mutes now, ‘thoughtless louts’?
Anyway, here goes: What I’m looking for from readers is your thoughts on the advisibility, and on the wording. No worry, I do not intend to use: “You owe me ear-plugs, jerk. Your silence is deafening!”

No, let’s try one or more of the following:

1) “Hi again. Just curious whether you saw my Reply to this interesting post./JS”

2) “Comments (and Replies) are an important part of blogging give-and-take, and I’m eager to hear your thoughts when you have a chance./JS”

3) By now, I’m assuming that you don’t habitually reply to comments. To each his own, and I’ll not bother you further./JS

4) “Just curious; does my ‘Zionist Entity’ IP upset you?/ JS/ Tel Aviv”

5) “My recent Comment is ‘awaiting moderation‘, so it seems. I can’t find anything immoderate in it, but if you like, I can change ‘I much enjoyed reading this piece.’   to ‘Meh. Guess there are worse things to do with ten minutes of my life.’/ JS”

6) “Feel free to Delete my above Comment. You are correct; your entry does look better with -‘Zero Comments-‘ attached to it.CYA/JS”


Each of the above has its charm. Pick one, or none. I’m sure I went through this on Xanga also, (before I found the rare and sweet ‘responders’ who weren’t afraid of their own shadows.

Ten quick items, bulletized. One of them, at least, may speak to you:

I have a lot of unrelated stuff to cover, none of it worth a dedicated post with cartoon and themed song. Read on:

1) Word count is magically back today. Now on the Reader you can at least tell whether it’s a two-line bon-mot or War and Peace. But:

2) The horrid ‘condom’ popup you get when clicking on a post in the Reader, (‘Condom’, because it protects you from instant contact with the actual post) is still in place. Plus: I just discovered that you need to position the post-of-choice near the very top of the Reader panel, otherwise The Condom only shows you the first line or two of the post… that all you wanted to do was read, dammit! Big Fail 4 WP, but that’s not news.
3) I’ve now discovered  two other sites that have ‘Distracted by Zombies’ Disease. After five seconds loading their page, the screen kinda blues out, the hourglass or whatever from your mouse goes into an endless wait, and “YOU CAN’T KILL IT” without shutting off your computer and re-booting. It’s even best to wait five minutes before re-booting. I have no idea what the virus (or failed plug-in) is. Anyone can help us find out? The latest ‘victim’ is a site called ‘Moz-from-Xanga 405’ or something. WP sez I need to look at him. Sez he’s ‘Followed by sites you’ve Liked’. Problem is I never ‘Like’-ed anyone here. ‘Nother WP Fail.
4) I just realized that of a hundred or so Comments I’ve gotten, only one or two were from anyone not an ex-Xangan. What does this mean? It’s not like I don’t spend an hour each night commenting on loads of posts I find in ‘Topics’. Sometimes they even reply, but hardly any ever read me at all.
Guess I should just pressure everyone I ever knew from Xanga to get on here and suffer like the rest of us if I want more readers. Of course they’ll need to be as sweet as Present Company, to whom I’m eternally grateful.
5) Lost my second-last chicken last night. About 3AM I heard a cluck..CLUCK…OY, F*CK THIS!”;   a bird being dragged off to lunch by a fox or jackal. This one, a ‘gift’ leghorn, never learned to sleep in the trees.
So now I can take a chance on planting out broccoli. One chicken who’s left can’t gobble all the sprouts. Or can she?
6) Also in the ‘Death’ category, my kitten, another one somebody just tossed into my garden for me to find, tame, and raise, finally laid his poor mite-ridden diseased body down for the count. I have no idea what feline malady could cause a furry friend to become catatonic, to cry day and night, to lose all control of its functions, and to just give it up. RIP, Kid. I tried my best.
7) The lawyers from the Israel Broadcasting Authority are demanding $500 from me.   I haven’t had a working TV set up for 7 years at least, and don’t even listen to them on the radio. My car has no radio either. So I should be able to ask for a reprieve, right?
Sure, in a normal country. Where 999/1000 conscience-less yodelers haven’t already bald-facedly tried to lie their way out of paying the fee. I can’t even tell the truth here anymore.
8) Speaking of Hell, I also can’t approach an intersection and expect that the fact that I’m not signalling in either direction will be read as ‘I’m going straight, you fool!’ And that’s because 999/1000 drivers never bother themselves to signal, ever. Nor do they even look at my signals when I *am* turning. It’s just not an important part of the car, I guess. And somehow, this bitch and the previous one (with the TV tax) are the same disease. I’m clean, but suffer for their sins just the same.
9) I have so many doves who’ve learned to love me by now that I can’t set a beer can anywhere outside now, not for five minutes, without one or two of them sitting on it and pooping into the little hole in the top. as a token of appreciation. So I now have to carry a cup, a ‘beer-protector’ to place upside down on on every can. IDK, back when I was  on Xanga I never had this problem! Another WP Fail.
10) Ending on a happy note, I did finally snap a photo of one of my better-disciplined bird friends. I call her ‘The Schnozz-ette’. Her S-O is ‘Jimmy’ (after (Durante) You may note the resemblence. I do worry that if she turns into a lush, with a beak like that she could drain a $3 beer in ten seconds.

shnozz 007
Thanks for reading, and comments on any of the ten points will be gratefully accepted./JS

Me ‘N Ellis in WP Blunderland.

Abstract: Turns out at least a third of my WP navigation maze is secretly shared with the maze of my bloging-neighbor, Ellis J Greblos.

We met yesterday, both of us shocked. I was tired and cranky, on Hour Three of looking for the entrance to my Dash-board, and following only mile-long dead-ends into ‘Your Douche-Bird’…dumb unusable shit like that.
Ellis, turns out that was his name, was equally exasperated, not having been able for almost three days to locate his ‘My Blog‘. But despite the understandable grouchiness, we had a grand old time sharing horror tales. Misery does indeed love company. Here are some miserable highlights:

Yes, now that I think about it, I did hear some noises in adjacent hedge-rows lately. Always too busy laying down the sunflower-husk trail markers to want to investigate, I’d chalked it up to the whirr of my hard-drive. Ellis, a truly likeable guy, had actually seen my red shirt once, even excitedly tried to find an Editor/Compose page to blog about it. In vain though.
One cool common-horror we discovered was that we’d both, independently been at the same stupid ‘The Back of Nixon’s Head’ admin-page. For me it was seven clicks (three right, four left) after leaving Marker 13. And for him, just the opposite, but  from his Way-point Charley. And both of us had stopped a second and pissed on it!
Anyway, we sat and split what had survived from my lunch. The cooler I always bring on my exploring missions had been squashed into plastic shards when I dumbly stood on it to maybe, just maybe, get a look above the maze of hedges. Sitting there eating flat sandwiches, Ellis talked about the time he’d actually found the ‘Blogs I Follow’ gateway. There were even signs with one-line tidbits of Posts, but try as he might, the paths leading to the posts always led, circuitously, to yet another sign, this time with a half a paragraph. After a left and two rights. Usually. He’d even read enough of one post to want to Comment, but there was no  break in the fence-line for that. Sadly, he spent an hour and a half even getting back to the Reader, which was now vacant. Yet the taskbar on his GPS laptop said ‘Done’. And he agreed: ‘Yeah, I’m done with this horse-shit for today’. By the time he even found the Log-off it was dead dark, and he’d navigated from the sound of his peanut-shells crunching underfoot.
Ellis’s face lit up with recognition when I started to recount the infamous ‘Drop-downs’ I’d tried to chart, then gave up. They were all kinda similar yet different. A wide space in a trail suddenly opened up and you stood there facing sometimes a dozen exits. They were labelled at random, usually with some in-house heiroglyph or other, and from bitter experience, over the months, I’d learned to simply turn around and try to go ‘Back? Lots of times ‘back’ led me back all right, to the same stupid clearing, but from one of the ‘exits’. Me n Ellis made a vow to piss on them on sight, in the future. Thus we would be able to tell, by smell, if one or the other of us had been there.
I could go on, of course. One of Ellis’ dysfunctional Editors was most likely shared in our maze-overlap. Not that either of us had any use for it. We’d both tried to use it in vain, writing screaming rants-against-the-system to no one listening, then never finding the exit for Publish. I once went through a 3-pound bag of sunflower seeds trying to re-locate my own rant. It was rumored to be in a ‘Draft‘, but, you know, inside the maze there’s precious little air moving, especially through that ‘long endless summer’ I wasted trying to navigate (and blaming myself in those days.)
We parted, each in search of his own ‘Log-in’ and just minutes later I heard the unmistakeable sound of…. a gas-powered hedge-trimmer. It stopped briefly, and I yelled: “Dat you, Ellis?”
“Nope.” he yelled back, “Great idea though! I got one myself, back in the garage. I’ll show this damn place who-da-boss!”
“Fine,” I told him “Tomorrow after work. And cut toward my distress flares; I think we supposed to call ’em ‘Likes’.” 

‘The debate you probably missed’: (from November 2008)


Just for fun  I’ll re-post something from 5 years ago.  Enjoy… and pray it don’t happen to you!


I felt my face redden in a second. Odd, since at the same time any un-spilt blood still left in my body headed shoe-ward.
“That remark was un-called-for, Governor.” was all I could manage, as I stared into the forest of rented fresnels there in WITF-TV’s Studio A, hurriedly turned into the scene of tonight’s coast-to-coast slaughter. Even the moderator had a quick laugh at my expense, then wiped her mustache with the back of a sleeve, eyeing the on-the-air light on the nearest camera. The name-card on her podium read “Ms.Anna Toteberg, Moderator”. Just great, remind me to fire Larry, my trusted preparer. I was sure he’d said ‘Nina Totenberg’.

But no time to quibble, the audience was already crying for more blood; “Grill, baby, grill!” they chanted in unison, drowning out my feeble:
“..unless of course if it wascalled-for’, in which case I’d call it.. callous, or callow, or…um..Calico? No that’s my cat…” With any luck they’d cut that out of the transcript, I hoped. My she-devil of an opponent wouldn’t let up:
“Senator, you’re the one who’s been comparin’ yourself to Tchaikovsky all night. Well, I knew Piotyr, he was a friend of mine…”
“…Yeah and you can see his house off your back porch, huh?”
I cut in, but to no avail.
“And frankly, Solberg, there’s a diference between Pathetique and pathetic.”
The audience loved that. Especially her planted minions. My people, on the other hand, just leaned into each other’s ears, whispering ‘What’s funny?”
Larry, just off-camera. gave me a little hand-chop signal. ‘Attack’, like a catcher signalling for a fastball. As if I had one… Oh wait,
“Governor, there’s a wide perception that you come with, let’s call it, ‘a gender agenda‘.” I tried to sound, you know, stately. “Is it true that..”
“What, and Tchaikovsky doesn’t?” She jabbed back. “Sir, this is not an appropriate forum for add homonym attacks.”   ‘Patton’, whatever her damn name was, was clearly out of her league rhetorically , but so was Bush; who cared anymore? Anna, the faux-Totenberg stepped in at that point to moderate, I suppose she called it in her imagination, addressing a question to me:
“Senator, you’ve described yourself as ‘a devout hat-erosexual’, perhaps you’d like to clarify that point?”
“Well perhaps I would. I was of course mis-quoted. Fox does that, you know. What I said was..”
“He can’t do it without the fez on, huh?
” Patton’s team had made sure she had that card near the top, and I noticed her big smirk of relief at turning over another game piece. It pissed me off to see the ugly little piggy so relish making mincemeat of a nice young pup like me.
“Lady, you can leave your hat on.. in fact, the whole get-up, the purple polyester jumpsuit… and those boots!”.
“Senator, I wouldn’t do you if you were the last moose on Mount McKinley!” she snorted, mainly for her lackeys in the front rows, who were in stitches by now. I was clearly up against a minor comedic talent, I thought, wishing I could truthfully add ‘not‘. I looked over at ‘Tot-berg’, whatever, expecting her to break the clinch, but she just bent into her mike and added “Me neither.” as she looked at her watch, then continued.
“We have less than five minutes remaining. Governor, perhaps you’d like to address this ‘Holy Grail’ we keep reading about?”
Oh no, I thought, just when journalistic ethics had hit bottom, we sink into a new Marianas Trench..
“Yes, it’s located at 221 North Main Street in scenic downtown Vasilica, and we offer a charming mix of American and foreign dishes, from countries like India and Africa. Viewers can call now for reservations, at the number you see at the bottom of your screen.”
She was running out the clock, going all fervent about their tasty ‘holy gruel’, and the next-door “Bar & Holy Grille” when I’d heard enough.
“Holy Growl, am I all alone here?” I shouted into my Mr. Microphone®. They’d spared no expense in the effort to make me both look and sound like a fool. Even my cardboard podium, I noticed for the first time during this sorry hour-in-hell, was coming apart already, Tab ‘B’ not having found its way into slot ‘C’. Anyway, I’d seen enough carnage. Larry was talking into his cell, not even listening anymore. I was hungry, I had to admit. Really starved. Not to the point of “Moose Guts at the Tundras” or whatever the hell her dumb restaurant was called, mind you, but hey, I might as well just wake up now and make a bowl of soup, I realized. Plus it’ll save me having to drive home, too. I probably woulda hit a deer on the highway anyway. Shit like that keeps happening in dreams like this.

‘A’. ‘E’, ‘I’, ‘O’, ‘U’, (and sometimes I wonder ‘Y’

Just realized a possible explanation for my obsession/ goose-bumps over vowels. One that also tidily explains why ‘normals’ often don’t share it, to put it mildly.
It’s the colors, silly! A poem like ‘L’ below, with nicely silver-reflective ‘L’s playing with red, green, black, white, and coffee-colored vowels just shines off the page. This is the ‘up’ side of my profound synesthesia I guess. (The down-side is the loneliness of the long-distance runner-at-the-mouth.

But I’m hoping that any reader, even in black & white, can find something interesting in the following vignettes. A brief explanation follows each one; the more far-fetched the scene, the longer need be the explanation.

Time to lay low Lou/
Ya shouldn’t have let let Lee lie to you.

Lou’s in trouble. And in hiding.
Gave a nice kilo to Lee, whom he hardly knew, who:
a) never paid, claiming it was stolen from him
b) meanwhile sold it stupidly to a snitch
c) walked, after turning state’s evidence…
d) …against poor Lou, who is now hiding out in my woods

(Yes, all that with only 5 vowels)


All is quiet, here by the Bay
Except for a lone bee today
Oh, and Bo there, asleep on the dock
I crept up behind him and yelled ‘Boo!’
Oy, Bo like, went bye-bye!


“Say ‘see’, Sue:”
*sigh* Ok, so your ‘s’ need a bit more work

Hey, speech therapists aren’t miracle workers


A,E,I,O,and U
‘Day’, ‘D’, Dye, Dough, and Due?
Just fill out the order form, I’ll get back to you.

This fellow knits personalized hand-warmers. All he needs to know is the date, the ‘D’ (for the choice of ‘designs’ on the back of the form), the color (dye), the amount to be paid, and when they absolutely have to be done by.
There’s always a rush in the Northern hemisphere’s fall, but luckily another one in spring for customers in the southern hemisphere who, you know, live upside down.


Faye paid her ‘fee’ to the grateful Untied Snakes
‘Semper Fi’ and all that…
The foe may change monthly, but they depend on a courageous few.
Now the marines are looking for a few good women. Ain’t we all.


Is it gay of me to order ghee?
A guy like me just has to see
What is this goo, and is it ‘me’?
Does it go with hot-dogs & beer? (or only tea!)

Gotta keep your macho wits about you these days;
‘fore you know it you’ll be drinking homo-milk and cruzoints, or whatever the frogs call ’em.


“Hey, he looks a little high.”
“The guy with the hoe. Look out!”

Reefer madness strikes the garden trades.

May I remind you, Amos,
That me and my bull here, ‘Moe’ are famous
For making even frigid cows moo?

Yeah, one of us holds the cow, the other does the heavy lifting of spirits


Nay-sayers, bend a knee!”
The End is nigh, take it from me
Now don’t say you never knew.

Tough being a prophet. After taxes and apparel, there’s no money in it.


Yeah the ‘Pay-to-Pee’ toilet’s just wrong
But at least they sell pie for a song
They got used books for sale by the pound
Poe and Winny the Pooh; look around

But first, in the little green house:)
Here I sit, broken-hearted/
Paid a nickel, and it only started’
(the Book Fair, I mean)

Once there was a way
we could get back homeward
Why ain’t there a way now?/
Guess there’s ‘too much woe’
Sleep, pretty darlings, do not cry
and WU will sing a lullaby

WU: finally!, I been waiting off-stage for hours while you jerk off letters.
Me: Wuzie, it’s called in the trade ‘Poetry’
WU: Solberg, you ain’t no poet
Me: Yeah, don’t I know-it.

Song: “He Works with a Computer!”

This older song, from maybe 25 years ago, was recorded on a 4 track machine and ‘bounced’ back and forth repeatedly to add additional tracks. so the level is a bit low; just turn up the volume.

In those days I was struggling building my own computers from scratch, and was often told to, like, “Go talk to Charlie, he works with computers, you heard!”
I always dutifully followed the leads, looking for advice. And never, not once, learned anything usable. One ‘Charlie’ worked on the loading ramp, wheeling computers into a truck. A second one rambled on about MSDOS, as if he’d invented it, yet couldn’t explain what it was precisely.Not that I needed to know at my ground-level soldering wires to TTL chip sockets. It might as well have been ‘My-Sick-Dog-On-Steroids.
I eventually gave up asking questions of any ‘Charlie, he works with computers‘s. I did suspect that the future perhaps belonged to mere ‘users’, and that my insistence on learning intimately what was going on under the hood, at the op-code, timing, and logic gate levels was destined to become at some point a pitiable anachronism.

Today I feel just wonderful that I persisted, and built maybe a dozen ‘from scratch’ machines, which would still work today had I not robbed chips from the previous for each new board.
Sorry, long intro. Here are the lyrics. The ‘butt’ of the joke, to my gleeful smirk, is scheduled for a ‘digital examination‘. Yes ,Charlie, ‘it’s done with computers.’ Enjoy.


We work for fifty cents a day, building a house,/
Some joker makin’ 90K playing with a mouse, While we’re/
diggin’ in the dirt, tryin’ to catch a worm, he’s making
seven and a quarter on a medium term…

He works with a computer! (Awesome!) That’s where the money is/
Used to be a Loser… Now he’s a genius. (not!) Jerk with a com- /
Puter, (“Don’t try to take it apart!”)

He’s selecting from the Menu, we’re sinking in the mud/
I can’t believe it, can you? If he’s a Thinker, I’m a Spud, well it’s/
Two bits, four bits, eight bits, a dollar, he’s a/
Little bean-counter but at least he’s White collar…./

And he’s got a secret password.. (“Oh wow! Probably his birthday..)
He’s got a secret Password (Yeah, we could look that up, probably the default setting!”)
He’s looking at the Menu… (From this he makes a living?)
Can’t believe it, can you? (He’s been doin’ it since Thanksgiving…)

Get your Motorola running… Head out on the Bus…
We’re going computer hunting….
Sixty-five-oh-two, I’m in love with you…

Well it’s a discount chip, immitation leather, but/
I can take it all apart, and put it back together, my
Little bean-counter’s still havin’ all the fun, but he’s
Going for a Digital Examination….

He thinks it’s done with computers… That’s where the funny is/
He’ll be crying on the inside.. (Nah, he doesn’t have any ‘inside’)
He’ll forget his secret password.. (What was my password, “**big_shot**?) (Yeah, “B” “I” “H”… I can never remember that) (Try again later..) (I can’t sit down!)