Friday, 28 January 2011

Take ego out of the equation and you'll never be a politician

Let's talk about the state of the union. I mean, we can talk about the actual speech, or we can talk about the seemingly synchronized clapping and backslapping that triggers the collective national gag reflex. According to a survey Bill O'Reilly was quoting, 47% of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican party and 46% of Americans have a favorable view of the Democratic party. And then Laura Ingram says that the country is center-right. What gave you that impression? Seems pretty even to me. But does that mean we're mostly philosophically center-right, or do we live to the right of center somewhere in Kansas City, MO?

Vaguery. Don't want vaguery in a political debate. That's why facts and figures are thrown about like packing peanuts from a teenager's U-haul. We can talk about percentages and this side has that, but what the President proposed is lots of spending. And spending is a root cause of many problems. Sure, you have to spend sometimes, but let's use our brains instead of our lapel pins. I'm all for meaningful social programs that actually aid those in need, but just call it like it is. Illegal immigration isn't a long explanation, it's cause and effect. You break the law by not living here with proper documentation and there are consequences. It has nothing to do with race or creed, it has to with respect for borders and proper legal paperwork. It's not sexy to talk about, but if you just look at issues in their simplest way, all sorts of little fun truths float to the surface. Does the government have a place to improve infrastructure? Sure. It was done by FDR and his many revitalizing programs (and yes there were a few duds amongst the gems). So, do it, put people to work in that capacity, but don't step into the boundaries of private industry by overdoing it and replacing all their capital expenditures by using taxpayer dollars to augment their assets. Oh, but then it will become public property, you say? Do you really want the projects most in need of careful construction and management to be handled by the government? Our municipalities don't exactly have the best track record for that.

Ok, ok. This is a rant, but it has a silver lining. While we're a nation divided in our viewpoints, we still have the ability to talk with one another and reason. This is my appeal to not clap for each other or not clap to make a message, but just listen and respond accordingly. Political parties are choking America, so don't just ascribe your beliefs to one or the other. Always question, especially these matters. You might just be horrified enough to care. Like why do almost half of Americans think Roe v. Wade should be repealed or reexamined? Are you joking? Oh, this is the country that outlawed alcohol before it gave women the right to vote. Let's learn from history not move personal freedoms backward ever again. Talk it out, and try to decipher if what you're saying is logical or if the other side is more logical. Take ego out of the equation and you'll never be a politician.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Hard covers

Isn't it a nice feeling to run your fingers over a hard cover book? Most hard covers are textbooks or other assorted directives, but every so often an intellectual delicacy flows under the tightly bound covers. This wasn't how it always was. The paperback has been in existence since the 19th century, but it just seems so much more common than that. And not that I scorn paperbacks, no not at all. They're more convenient to carry than hard covers.

The charm of the hardcover is in how declarative it is. It wasn't meant to be hidden in a coat pocket, it's an endeavor. The text is protected by bulletproof plates and hewn together with tungsten. You can use it to prop up a broken table leg, perhaps open a safe with it. For what the softcover has in sleekness, the hardcover makes up for in imagination.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Snap your fingers and clap your hands for MLK day

Groove today. We celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to remember the life of a great man who protested peacefully and inspired tolerance in the hearts of millions. We remember that this holiday was not always accepted, especially in Arizona, where Governor Evan Mecham denied the holiday until he received overwhelming and rightful political opposition to respect the inception of the federal holiday.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. protested brazen war. He stood against the violence of some narrow-minded others in the civil rights movement. He was civil and he was murdered, like many forward-thinkers. His very existence teaches us to question and challenge the supposed standards around us if they're hurtful or come from a place of greed and selfishness. There's still prejudice in the world, discrimination, intolerance, but the world definitely better off from MLK's example. We've grown by leaps and bounds because of him. Just a short little post for one of my idols and one of my inspirations. And no, a man as great as he can never be corny: only worthwhile to listen to.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Green marching

Last night, The New York Jets showed determination. The kind that makes mortals out of league MVPs. The kind that sends chilling silence through the who Northeastern corridor. Concentration for a 6 seed to take down a mighty 1 seed. It was a game of disbelief. The kind on Tom Brady's face, that everyone who picked the game picked the Patriots to win big. And low scoring as it was in the first half, there was that too. The Pats' high-octane offense grinding to a halt. And an interception.

Sanchez did his job well and the Jets' defense and ground attack personified the Rex Ryan way of winning, even when they've run their mouth all week. All of this is obvious. The outcome of the game wasn't. So as I walked the streets of New York to constant cheers, it was a warm feeling in the cold night. Bravo to those who break expectations.

Kleenex Unveils New Facial Tissue/Suicide Parachute Hybrid at Trade Show

Irving, TX--Famed tissue maker Kleenex has announced its new product line, Blowchutes. The device is devised to be activated by the moisture from tears and has a built in accelerometer to detect if the tissue and logically, its user, are falling from great heights.

Maxwell Stevens, head of Product Integration, Synergy, and Synchronicity, spoke at a press conference. "Ever thinking about just ending it all because you had to take out another mortgage and your interminably loud baby won't stop crying and your spouse has taken up antiquing? Well, if you're upset by these tragedies, fear not, because Blowchutes will be there to save your life. Blowchutes are the finest in anti-mucus and anti-defenestration technology. Endorsed by countless otolaryngologists and mental health professionals, our product is already slated to be used in countless hospitals, spas, and financial districts across our nation. They'll be available to the public next month."

Patent on the product's accelerometer is in contention and currently in court from Apple and their upcoming product, the iFall. Apple attorney Ron Kuby had this response. "Apple has a reputation for making easy to use products, what's easier than a self-deploying snot rag that can detect when you're in free fall from an East-side walkup? This was clearly an Apple invention, and we're going to reclaim our damages. Apple will be known as the finest name in suicide prevention, just as we are in many other fields."

Outside the courthouse gather protesters from the Malthusian Enthusiast's club, a group that wishes to stop suicide prevention in our to stem population growth. "We think people should be able to end their lives on a whim. Look, this is important to the planet and to the continual survival of mankind. We're going to run out of food and plastic to make toy representations of food. Think of the children!"

Crowds gathered around proceeded to beat to death the pro-suicide group. No charges have been filed.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Never as grand as you planned

"People will read again!" It was said in Vanilla Sky, a favorite movie of mine. I just think the demise of the written word has been greatly exaggerated.

There's a public aversion to the poetic, some would say. That it's self-indulgent. That it can be self-deprecating and that poetry is outbounded by the vulgarity of verbal brigands. But that's preposterous. There's plenty of ruddy ramshackle verses to amuse yourself with. And most of them were written by people who never considered using the words public and aversion side by side.

Poetry, in its finest forms, aims to imagine the universal human condition concisely and with wit. And wit is the fulcrum of sanity. How can that go out of style? Walk about your day and unlatch your personal space-enclosure and wit it up. Impress a stranger with a clever remark, but topically. Always topically. Unless, that is of course, you're not a topical person. Some would say topics are meant only for fancy dinner parties. I wouldn't say that.

Never understood the phrase, "don't get smart with me." Yeah, the person might be a prick, but just laugh, you always win if you laugh. I suppose it can become tiring, though. The rapport, banter, quips, jibes, snipes, it can take a turn to the negative quite quickly. And that's when someone invented the word smart-ass. It combines the concepts of off-the-cuff reflexes and an animal with disproportionately strong leg power. A pack mule with massive hooves. Hilarious.

Ever just think about the etymologies of some words? Two things shoved together. And this was way before Brangelina. Usually the result is worth a peek into your imagination. You don't have to declare yourself a poet grasp why there's the urge in many people to organize their thoughts into couplets and sometimes capricious idea organization schemes known as verses. And then I put on a mashup of Queen and the Beastie Boys and smile.

Ethereal Pt. 4

She awoke from her feint, her slender body in an L shape against the wall and floor. After all, a magic carpet just spoke to her.

"Mom, are you alright? This is my friend, Ethereal."
The red and golden-tasseled carpet sat uprightly bipedal on the bed. "We actually first met in the rug store not too long ago."
"Oh?" She reached for the purse for a cigarette. "Yes, nice to meet you. Is that a Persian name?" The cigarette nervously rolled between her fingers.She lit it like a candle.
"It's just a name, a description. And it gives me the ancient touch my clients appreciate. I'm a dealer in dreams moonlighting as a travel agent and pilot. And I don't charge. Your son Francis has been kind enough to open his eyes to the world. And if you must know, I took him to see the Grand Canyon, which he otherwise would not have know the beauty of if cooped up here. Don't you think that's nice?"

The mother took a long drag and stare at the directionless smoke. "Yes, I suppose that's nice."
"It was wonderful, mom."
"Now, you mentioned this terrible ordeal of divorce. Why is that?"
"It wouldn't exactly be polite--"
"These aren't normal circumstances. And your boy is not anyone's boy, he's yours and he should see the world, feel the world, feel the pain, feel the joy. That's what fulfills a human being."
"How would you know, you're a magic carpet." Her usual air of resentment came into play.
"I was once human, aeons ago, when magic carpets were equivalent to supersonic jets and Saturn V rockets. This was put on me as a curse, but the true curse is that the witch who cast this upon me was afflicted with the dissatisfaction of seeing me use my new form for good. See, I was powerful as a human and she couldn't simply banish me into something small, like let's say a frog. I had to become something befitting, yet in her eyes still degrading."

Francis was thoroughly enjoying himself. "When was this? Were you a king?"

"I wasn't a king, but I was important in my time. A general. The only general who cared less about war and more chores with less than your average bore. I was greatly revered by the people until I failed them in battle. And for that I was exiled into this form. One of the side effects is immortality, which is ironically what the king wanted most. And yet he banished me into. Things tend to work themselves out."

"Francis," his mother took a piece of tin foil from her purse and enclosed the cigarette butt. "are you ok, dear? Do you want some water or tea?"
"No, mom, I want to hear the story."

"Very well Francis. Wanting knowledge is what has kept me nimble for so long. It takes a lot out of a carpet to fly. And without all the people I've met and the sights I've seen and wisdom seeped into the fibers of me, I wouldn't have made it this far. Always listen to what people have to say, especially you're parents, and then when they say it immediately think about whether it's true or not. I've taken many people many places and they all've told me different tales about all the places that people wish and don't wish to go to. Just because you hear something, doesn't mean you have do it."

"Oh, do you? Why do you suppose your mother asked you if you wanted something? Perhaps you're too young for that awareness, some might say, but you have to pay attention."

His mother stood against the wall with folded hands. "I've told him that."
"But have you taught him that? Francis, I want you to think about the little things, the precise movements of the subconscious and even the imprecise lunges of the nervous heart."
"Because that's the most interesting part of the adventure. The people. There's an old travel slogan that one day you'll laugh at and then stop yourself from laughing at. "you come for the sunshine, but you stay for the people." One day."

His mother's face drooped. "Is there a point to this?"
"Do you mean that philosophically or alphabetically? Perhaps you mean what's my end here?"
"Nothing so crass, I just--"
"Yes, we all just. It's alright. My purpose is simply to tell the tale and turn the tides that rise in the minds of those who might delight in rhymes." The carpet twisted as if to stretch and crack his bones if he had them. "And when you have a magic carpet to guide you, these things take a remarkably short time."

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Ethereal pt. 3

Francis awoke in his bed, sweating, hearing his parents walk up the stairs to his room. Was he sweating before that? Francis switched onto his side facing the wall and counted all the tumbleweeds on the red clay around the Grand Canyon. The photograph fixed in his memory like lemon and lime.

"Where have you been? We know you were gone." His mother boomed with a broom in her hands.
"Are you going to hit me, mother?"
"Hit you? What are you talking about? I just want to know why jumped out the window. It was open and you were nowhere to be found."
"You wouldn't believe in mother." Francis turned over to his back and stared at the ceiling's flatness. He thought about the interlocking of wooden slats hidden by paint and walls. "I never get to see anything. You never let me go anywhere. I had to know about sunshine and dry dirt and ranches, rancheros. Anything but this place. The cars parked along the street. My school so close. You driving me to school. There's too little of what I want and too much to see."

His mother paused, drew her eyes towards the window. Not out of ponderance, but out of prescient purpose. "I didn't want to have to tell you this, but your father and I have been having some problems." She slumped her head. "Having... problems. Having. It sounds like a child, like a little brother or sister for you. But it's not and I've always done things the way they're supposed to be done. With you and with him."

Francis looked over to his closet where Ethereal waited.

"Are you and dad going to get divorced?"
"You know what that is?"
"I know what divorce is. You never let me go anywhere, but there's TV."
His mother raised her voice. "Francis, I want to know where you went."

Ethereal wriggled out of the closet. "Ma'am, I believe I'm the answer to your question."

Startled by the unfamiliar voice, his mother jolted up and backed to the wall.

To be continued...

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Sports talk?

Last night was the college football national championship. And as usual, people are up in arms. There's always controversy about something, and I suppose rightfully relatively so. This year it's Cam Newton's father. There's the continual dissent about the need for a playoff system. Was Oregon the right team to play Auburn? It was a close game scorewise, but Oregon's lightning offense was disrupted by the relentless Nick Fairely. Should the undefeated TCU have been in the ring instead? No one will ever know.

People speak about these issues like they're the primary political concerns of our country. And even think that congress should enact laws to reinforce their sports opinions. Such fire. Where's that fire for more meaningful pursuits?

I know alot about sports, sure, and that's useful, just as I know alot about cars now after being engrossed in that diversion for a while. Not good to refer to your favorite team as we and it's not good to only discuss these sorts of things. It's not good to ignore them because so many people do talk about it. And if you want to be in the loop, well, best chiggity check yoself. Also, it's interesting. The types of arguments people put out there with sports, the stats, the rationale.

Sports inspires people. Some are moved to great feats of strength, others to cook up a great plate of nachos. It has the power of spontaneity and constant concurrence. Epic, yet there's always next year. I've watched sports all my life, but my life isn't sports. Just something to enjoy, talk about, and laugh about. And that's something you can say about many things in life.

Monday, 10 January 2011

The cure for restlessness

Get into adventures. Not the adventures you think, 'cause then they wouldn't be adventures. Ask people ridiculous questions. Do a dance you've never done at place you've never been at a time not usual for dancing, or maybe when everyone else is dancing so you can get a room full of applause.

I posed the question: "if you could be reincarnated as any human animal, what would you be?"

This girl looks me dead in the face and blurts, "a blade of grass."

There are of course a few problems with this answer. Most immediately that a blade of grass isn't an animal. Is she serious? The thousand yard stare on her faces relays yes.

So her friend says, "what happens when the lawn mowers come?"

What indeed.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

On the road again

Quietude. What a word. Not many chances to use it, really. Our world is busy and city-bustled-hustled-speed-encrusted. That's how I like it, but every once in a while, when on the highway surrounded by empty lanes, salt, and snow drifts, the word comes to mind.

Quietude. It's a word that paradoxically adds attitude and resolve to something passing over those qualities. It doesn't mean silence, it means silence plus aura. That sneaking, creeping, engulfing type of quiet. Quiet that thumps and thuds.

Quietude. It's the feeling when the night is darker than smokestacks and poised enough for a constellation or two. Quietude defies creaking floors and the heavy hollowness in your chest after confrontation. Quietude is Bruce Lee and the Liberty Bell.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Simple awe

I'm typing this post on my friend's advanced phone and it's amazing. How far we've come in simple consumer tech. Something like this could've only been thought of by the military industrial complex if going back a few decades. Yet we can enjoy the ease of self-publishing delivered by a device once deigned for voice and now far more than text and flashlights mimicking lighter at concerts. But it's brighter, faster, fitter, tighter as exemplified by myriad applications I can spend time and money on. A whole industry built on smartphones.

Here's the point: there's always opportunities now more than ever for invention and creativity. Hell, I'm using a device that could run the moon missions. You know all this, but it's worth basking in the simple awe of its artificial and powerfully transmutive glow.

Friday, 7 January 2011



There’s a pen—take it
Use it, mark it, write it, make it.

Here’s a shrine—shake it
Feel it, breath it, sip it, name it.

There’s a light—frame it
See it, sing it, softly drink it.

There’s a gift—give it
Lovely, trusty, gusty trinket.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Bill, you're no sommelier. But you're willing to learn, right?

Let it breathe, Bill. No, that means leaving the bottle open to the air. The cork seals in the flavor. Smell it while you're waiting for it to mature. No, the cork's not edible. Was it invented in Ireland? I'm not sure. Have you ever had a Bordeaux with Cab Franc like this? No? It's good. Very bold in spots, layered with some musky passion, delighting in its thick and earthy roots. No, I didn't read that on the bottle. I've had this one before, it's definitely a top choice. Will go perfectly with our dinner. Oh, you ran out of steak? I thought you said we'd be having red meat this evening. Beer can chicken? That won't do. I know you probably make it fine. Yes, I like chicken. Look, I'm not slighting your barbecue grilling skills, but that's not the menu you provided me. I suppose the stores are closed at this hour, right? I suppose we'll just have to make do with this. It really is good wine, just not meant to accompany beer can chicken. It's more of a prime rib sort of vintage. Next time I suppose.

Hey, do you have a wine cellar of any sort? Maybe there's something--oh, you do? Alright, I'll see what you have. Are you sure you have a wine cellar? All I see down here are three boxes of Franzia and they're quite dusty. Oh, THIS is what you meant? Right, well it's still red, so there's that part of the problem. Look, don't worry about it. So long as you have some good stemwear.

Where's your cupboard? All I see in here are Snoopy mugs and those sippy cups. Do you even have children? What type of shenanigans are these? What do you mean you bought them just in case? In case one quiet Tuesday morning Sindy pops out a kid unexpectedly? Are you fucking joking? How do you people even live?

Calm down? What do you mean calm down? Okay, okay, it's not that big a deal. Yeah, things are fine, they're cool. We'll be fine. Perhaps some appetizers? Sindy, you don't have to do anything, I'll prepare them. Wait, all you have are Kraft singles and pecan sandies? That won't do! What about water crackers and brie? No? Maybe some pecorino and prosciutto? Damnit, no it's not okay. First my wife leaves me and now this shit? I can't take this anymore. This isn't fine, it isn't ok. No, I won't stop shouting. This deserves shouting. How can you live in such a state of barbarism? Is this Cambodia or is this America? You have some nerve inviting me over and not even preparing. Just because I lost my job and my wife, and she took Puffles, our dog, doesn't mean I'm just some doormat to wipe your immature indiscretions. Oh, what's the use? Take that you stupid family urn.

Hey, I'm sorry, I'll stop crying, I'll clean up your mother's ashes. Let's just drink this Bordeaux even with your stupid chicken. It'll still be good. That's how good this wine is. Get out? Get out of what? Your house? Oh, c'mon I said I was sorry. Is this how you treat all your friends?

Damnit. I was actually starting to get hungry.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Why's it so crazy? (Sandwiches)

Dear esteemed colleagues and fellows at the UN:

Isn't life crazy when you don't have a good sandwich for a while? I don't know how some people do it. I just don't have the strength to go on without a good sandwich. Had many sandwiches in my life and it's probably why I'm still here. Nothing spells perseverance like chicken cutlet on a wedge, lettuce, tomato, onions, and honey mustard from Rocky's Deli. Even thinking about that sandwich restores me.

Ponder how great an idea the sandwich is. You can throw leftovers in there or craft it with the finest starting ingredients. You can go classic or go exotic and dream big some combination never before ingested.

Tangent alert: one time I went to Firehouse Deli and ordered some regular sandwich, something that would be impossible to mess up and I got peanut butter and jelly with ham and jalapenos on whole wheat? What the holy state of Denmark? I looked at it, contemplated a bite and hurling, but threw it out with the force of Thor's hammer. I probably ordered turkey on rye; obviously to no avail. Did the sandwichmaker hate me? Did they see my face and mistake me for someone who robbed their house years before? I want to know. Even to this day I still have nightmares of the worst sandwich ever imagined. A demonic mind could only create such a monstrosity.

As I was saying, sandwiches are great. People make sandwiches into sexual metaphors which can also be grand. Some people consider the Oreo to be a sandwich. Samantha Hamandbamram thinks a banana split qualifies. Whatever works. The Earl of Sandwich deserves our salute. Good for all three meals and it doesn't have to be bread even. Can be a wrap or cheese between two crackers. It's a house of food. Bread surrounding a taste explosion.

So, there's a reason I don't order whole wheat anymore besides that there are better options. A lot of whole wheat has too strong a taste and an almost sugary tinge to it. And Zeus help you if it has those little crunchy nut seed things, just why? Rule one of sandwich crafting mastery is that the bread should compliment and NEVER overpower the other ingredients. The bread is just there to hold it all together, it's not the main attraction. Sure, I use garlic bread, but that's only when garlic bread actually goes with the sandwich, which is usually always. My point being that a good sandwich has almost invisible bread. The texture shouldn't be more interesting than the texture of what's inside. Don't care if it's a broccoli and cheese on toast or a liverwurst on a roll, the middle is the point of the whole shindig.

Now this is controversial as well, but this applies to bagels. Needs to be more cream cheese than the bagel can handle. Cream cheese should be everywhere. The main flavor needs to be the cheese and whatever was in the cheese, aka chives, onions, garlic, peppers, whathaveyou. Then and only then should I luxuriate in the fullness of the everything bagel. I love everything bagels, but they ain't nothin' without the spread. Toasting it is a quick remedy because it spreads out the cheese for you, but some, and you know who you cretins are, shun such a wondrous practice needlessly. Don't cheat yourselves.

I'm from New York and sandwiches of all types should be big. Bigger than the bread. Oh, and don't try to get neat either. You OCD types know what I mean. Sandwiches should have the ingredients hanging off the edges. I should I know I'll be delighting in more than just bread when I glance at what's on my plate. If the two pieces of bread are touching, just send it back. It's not worth your time.

And what about club sandwiches, you say? That's only permissible when the sandwich would otherwise be too unwieldy. If the concoction will break apart without it, sure, add that third slice. Otherwise, you know how it should be done. I love bread. In fact, one of my favorite meals is just some good French bread with whipped butter. Standards, people! That's all I'm saying. And if you want to live a long, passionate life, eat some sandwiches, champion your favorites, and call it like it is. Life's too short to deny yourself the pleasure of culinary perfection. And trust me, after you treat your friends and enemies to a good platter--geopolitics, religion, and ecological responsibility will just fall right into place. Now that's how you serve peace in the Middle East.

Thank you and bon apetit.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

8 Heads in a Duffel Bag

Movie Review: 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997)

Some movies aren't Academy Award winners, some are just great concepts. And Joe Pesci should be in every movie. Doesn't matter if it's a cameo of him selling someone a sandwich. Just remember that sandwich probably has a gun in it. This movie is just a great premise of a contract killer who loses his collection of heads (proof of his work) because he's a jerk to the flight attendant on his way to San Diego from Mexico. The title's fantastic, the grotesque and unique idea that sparks the action is worthy of viewing, and it has Joe Pesci. Joe Pesci can do anything. I would have liked to have seen him in Leo DiCaprio's role in Titanic or as Hamlet or as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Joe Pesci would be in a movie if I made one and he'd play every part.

While short on any literary revelations, go see some Joe Pesci. And rewatch My Cousin Vinny while you're at it.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Ethereal pt. 2

Francis and Ethereal the Magic Carpet sat in the upstairs bedroom the young boy was often constrained to stay in. Schoolwork or simply parentally-designated reflection time.

Ethereal couldn’t let this stand. “Francis, would you like to see what life is like outside of your house?”
“But I know what life is like outside of my house and it’s scary. I shouldn’t go anywhere my parents tell me not to and they say never to leave home without them.”
Carpet curled, “Why do your parents tell you that? And how do you know something without seeing it yourself?”
Francis’s muscles were loose and his concentration betrayed his hard-taught precociousness. “Uh, I… well, they just told me. I don’t think they would lie to me.”
“It might not be lying, more like not telling you everything, which is lying, just not the lying you’re thinking of. With your permission and not your parents, I want to take you on a journey to see things that won’t scare you, but enthrall you, delight you.”
“Where will we go?”
“Many places. You’ll see where get there?”
“How will we get there?”
“Grab on, let’s go.” And off they went, Francis lying flat on the rug, holding the main tassels at the corners, white knuckled. Out the window and out of suburbia they whisked away on the winds, flying free and breezy. Francis had never felt the sensation before and Ethereal was proud to have a passenger once more. Up and airy they flew, west from Ohio towards the southwest.

They arrived at the Grand Canyon in the daylight, in the heat where it wasn’t gray and Francis could breathe easily. The wind had blown his hair back as Ethereal lead onward. Seeing a distressed looking man, they set down at a tourist shack.

Francis asked, “what’s wrong, mister?”
The bearded man, gruff and in a tattered cowboy hat unfolded his arms. “My boy Tim’s gone missing. I think he might have wandered near the Canyon’s edge, but I don’t know. Maybe he’s around here somewhere.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll find him!” Francis squeezed the sweat from his hand onto his shirt. “We’ll be back.”
Off and out of the shack went the two new friends to scour the Canyon edge for any signs of missing child. Flying low along the ridge, Ethereal spots fingers hanging off the ledge. Swooping in, the magic carpet gets alongside the precariously plunked child.

Francis caught the boy’s attention. “Are you Tim? Your father’s looking for you.”
“Ah! Just help me.”
“Ok, now grab on.”
“I’m scared.”
“Seriously, I’m on a magic carpet, there’s nothing that should scare you.” Francis held out his hand.
“Alright.” And Tim grabbed Francis’s arm and landed on Ethereal’s back.
“I don’t want to go back to my dad. He never pays attention to me. Can’t I just go with you?”
“We’re not from around here. I’m sure that if you just tell him how you feel, he’ll listen. And something amazing will happen to you like it happened to me with my carpet friend here.”
“He won’t listen. Just let me go with you.”
“You have to go home, there’s always home.”

And so they dropped Tim back at his father’s shack. “Ethereal, we have to get home, my parents are gonna kill me!”

To be continued…

Sunday, 2 January 2011


Young Francis grabbed onto the tassels of the Persian rug and pulled. His mother gave him a halting stare. “Francis stop that, we might buy that.”
The fair-smiled, blue-eyed boy slipped his hands cross behind his back. “And what if we don’t? You should buy it mommy.”

Mr. and Mrs. O’Callaghan paced around the store separately. They glanced at each other almost every other rug. Their son noticed the sad reluctance in their eyes. “Mommy, are we gonna buy this?”
His father chimed in. “Son, you’re not buying anything, and if your mom and I want to buy a rug, it will happen. A good rug is something to be considered, it’s something that anchors an entire room. When guests come over, it’s the most important accoutrement besides the furniture itself, and to the eye, even more important.” Mr. O’Callaghan was excited but not smiling. “You must learn how to respect these details.”

Francis rolled his fingers through the golden tassels and could have sworn he felt the rug twitch. He was a boy with a wild imagination and a love of colors, twister, paintball, and well-varnished floors. But he’s only seen fleeting glimpses of these small wonders. His parents are very strict about what they allow him to see. He goes to a private school, with a private tutor, and a private life with few friends unless they’re privately vetted and his parents are broke from it.

As Francis walks away, the carpet grabs him by the hand. His parents pace the store for more. “Wait a bit.” The magic carpet cavorted. “Trust me on this. I know what you love and I know you’re very sad right now. Don’t worry if your parents don’t buy me, we’re gonna be friends, I can feel it.”

Amazed that a carpet could talk, Francis drank all its words in. His parents selected a different rug, one that was forest green instead of red, one that had monochrome tassels instead of gilded ones, one that was quiet instead of loud, one that would be restrained under a couch.

“My name is Ethereal. I’m going to take you on an adventure, Francis.” The carpet slid slowly from underneath the store’s exquisite merchandise. Loosing itself from servitude. As the O’Callaghan’s got into their car, the carpet followed them home, hovering low to the ground.

To be continued...

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Just a little ditty to bring it in

New Year's Rockin' Eve

Wearable, shareable,
palpable, danceable clock.
Rickety tickety tock.

Shining, subliming,
carrousing, espousing some hope.
Swimmingly tickety tock.

Covorting, contorting,
Correcting, perfecting our moves.
Down the pole it goes.

Counting from 10
to the fun night's events--
and fittingly fired wilds the crowd.

Happily, merrily,
pridefully, pining about.
Blissfully, tickety tock.