Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hey, tu!

Where do carney barkers go in winter.
Do they laze about in Florida camps
Enjoying their hard earned wealth.
Or do they migrate further south
To work the pampas
And the Chilean strip.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Few Good Names

It bugs me when people make up names for their babies. It's almost as bad when they ring changes on existing names: Kelly, Kelli. K'Lee. Parents say they want their kids to be unique, but saddling them with a crazy name is as bad as giving them a tattoo for their fifth birthday. According to the Social Security website most parents are sticking with the old standbys. Of the top 10 most popular names in 2010, I would only reject Jayden, Aiden and Madison. Please don't name your kid after a capital city. If a parent insists on a unique name they should look in Luke, chapter 3, which has a slew of great names no one is using. Jesus' step-father of course was Joseph. Great name that. His grandfather was Heli, a name you don't see very often. Very unique. There's another 73 great grandfathers before reaching God. All the classics are there: Levi, Amos, Joshua, Nathan, David, Jesse, Jacob, Issac, Abraham, right on up to Noah, Jared, Seth and Adam. Take your pick. But if those are too mundane, how about Naggai or Joda? Those are names you never hear. Or Neri or Cosam or Eliakim. Then there's Obed and Boaz and Ram and Pharez. Consider Terah and Nahor or Reu and Peleg and there are many, many more like that on Luke's list. The beauty of these names, odd as they may sound, is that they were real people from the bible who are now up in heaven and who will guide and protect your child through life. St. Elmadam would be delighted if someone brought new life to his rusty old name. This list doesn't help girl babies at all. But Mary is a nice name. And Mary has dropped to #109 on the popularity list. Your daughter will be the only Mary in her class and the tattoo options for that name are amazing.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Squibs From the Township

The cookie of self-confidence
Contains this message:
"You may be wrong."

Why does no midwestern town proclaim:
"Where the East begins!"

The spendthrift blows like Old Faithful,
then his wad is gone.
The miser feels like a corpse,
oozing from a thousand wounds.

All I really do is choose.
Yes, the devil made me do it,
but I let him,
knee deep in ashes.

Anaysis, in dollars and cents,
tells exactly what it is,
while killing it.
Poetry hints,
by washing it in love
and eternal light.

The French are accused of arrogance,
but any people that masters such a malin*
lanuage deserves to pat itself on the back.
*malin=your typical French word, having six meanings.
It means: 'difficult' or 'tricky';
but it also means: 'shrewd' or 'clever'
Which they consider themselves;
or: 'malignant' or 'malicious'
As those who do not like them think.

If you can't be on time, be pretty.

Bread and Circuses: our circus is the scandal du jour or true crime we swallow; and no fear of that show closing. But I'm getting worried about the bread supply.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Preferably Never

At coffee break someone brought up the End of the World scheduled for May 21. On her way back from Fargo she had seen a line of identical campers painted with warnings of the end. This reminded me of a time as a kid when the end was predicted for a Good Friday. The nuns said it was hooey, but after church I went home and waited, not in fear, but with curiosity. At the first tremor I planned to run to the closet where my mother hid the Easter candy and go down gorging.
At work I'm known as Mr. Know-It-All, so I cut my break short and googled May 21 which is actually Judgement Day. The end of the world is to follow on Oct. 21. The End also looms in the Mayan Calendar. I had to return to work and left that for a future search. These predictions play on our awareness that the world will end in three or four billion years at the latest. Even science is on board with that. They resonate even more by scratching at the hard layer of denial that covers our personal abyss.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

There is nothing more charming than the sound of someone who loves you making your breakfast as you snuggle under the covers.

Thor Bless America

A few years back, during a midnight drive across North Dakota, I spied two pop machines glowing in the dark, one for Pepsi, one for Coke. That’s what America is all about, I thought: choice. There may only be two choices, but at least there’s a choice. Competition is always good.
When I picked up the menu in my favorite restaurant back home and ordered a Coke, the waitress said, “Is Pepsi ok?” No it’s not ok. Pepsi is cloyingly sweet, and surveys show it’s the preferred soft drink of Republicans. “You had Coke the last time I was here,” I said. It seems Pepsi had paid the restaurant a bonus to serve Pepsi exclusively. Coke had done the same thing at the other restaurant in town, the one with the lousy food. This is also what America is about: destroy your competition at all costs. I have the choice of going to the supermarket if I want Coke. I thank God Pepsi has not bought off the supermarket, because it’s my favorite supermarket in town. But what if they do, God forbid. And once they’ve managed that, they may buy off the churches too so we can only pray to Allah, or one of the Gods in the Hindu pantheon. Shakti would be a good choice. The Energy Goddess.


If the president wants to know how he’s doing among the real people, he should check out the flat screens at Gene’s Bar & Grill in Roseau, Minnesota. Gene’s is a nice cozy sports bar on the edge of town. Three large TVs on the walls are enough for everyone to have a good view. Since the place opened 15 years ago those TVs have been tuned to Fox News. The sound is muted, but there’s enough verbiage on the screen to put a person in the know. The news is generally bad which puts the clients in a drinking mood. But the day Obama was elected, someone changed the channel to CNN. How long is this going to last, I wondered. I wish I wrote down the date they went back to Fox. It was probably during the Health Care debate. That was an ugly time, I admit. Even I closed my eyes. When I opened them last Monday morning, CNN was back at Gene’s and Osama was dead. That’s Osama with an s.

Extrapolation Nation

Two points about four dollar gas: Back when gas was two dollars a gallon, the price went up a penny a crack. At just under four dollars, our providers say, “What’s another four cents?” At this rate we will soon be staying home and letting the Internet do our shopping. This time we seem resigned to the breakage of the four dollar barrier. We’re told the Chinese and the Indians are demanding their share of the gas and we sympathize. Rather than kick and scream, we’re now buying fuel efficient vehicles in serious numbers. Forty miles per gallon has become the new 15. In future, SUV will mean: Smaller, Underpowered, and Vastly-more-efficient.
Point two: speculators are blamed by the politicians for bidding up the price of gas. Are they stupid? The speculators, I mean. Someone’s going to bid $4.10 just before the price falls to $3.90 . It’s a game of musical chairs and someone has to lose big time. Or maybe they insure themselves with default swaps. I think I was invested in those babies in a bad way back in ’08.

Advice to Writers

It's ok to use big words, slang and clichés as long as you manipulate those bad boys with kid gloves.