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Thursday, 22 September
Nothing Is Illuminated

I hear the cries. I hear the cries of nobody. Skot! you don't shout. You forgot to tell us what happened over the weekend! I am haunted by these nonexistent shrieks. And to quiet these voices that don't ring in my ears or my comments, I will answer. I will tell you. For a lot happened this last weekend.

By which I mean nothing happened this last weekend. For one thing--one of the reasons nothing happened--was that the wife charitably passed along a gift to me on Saturday: the gift of a sinus infection. Oh how this sinus infection contributed to the nothing! We were, for example, supposed to go to a friend's housewarming party that evening. "Do you feel up to going?" asked the wife. "Doh," I replied. "You should doh." And she dhid. What did I end up doing? Nothing. I was becoming a connoisseur of nothing--though I didn't really know that yet. What did I know? Yeah. Nothing.

When she returned, we decided to find a movie on cable or pay-per-view. What was on? Nothing. Or, to be honest, worse than nothing: we, unbelievably, decided to pay actually money to see the Bruce Willis vehicle (and by "vehicle" I mean "go-kart made of Legos and taffy") Hostage. I think Kevin Pollak was in the movie too, somewhere, but he was also rendered unable to do anything more than nothing.

I'm pretty sure the movie had something to do with hostages. Bruce Willis' nothing family was captured, I remember, and there was something else about Kevin Pollak's family being held hostage . . . I'm pretty sure there were hostages, is what I'm saying. We certainly felt held hostage. "We're being held hostage!" I remember screaming. "Please, let's not say 'hostage' any more!" I howled. Then there was some stuff about hostages, and my dilapidated lymph nodes did a clumsy folk dance in my neck and armpits as the ghastly movie continued its onslaught of Nothing. And hostages. HOSTAGES! Whatever. That word no longer has any meaning to me. It is Nothing. Although it does rhyme with SAUSAGES! Though this too is nothing.

What rhymes with "nothing" anyway? Nothing. This is starting to freak me out. I may be coming apart. I should do something. But what? I ask myself.

And I answer myself. Nothing.

This is getting too elliptical to even deal with. And I have this sinus infection. The good news is, the wife and I are getting the fuck out of town this weekend, taking some time off to go tool around the Oregon coast. It's been a rough couple weeks, work-wise, particularly so for my gal, so something had to be done. It'll be good to get the fuck out of Dodge for even a couple days. I'm looking forward to the trip.

I'm really looking forward to just doing . . . nothing.

Monday, 14 March
Sylvia Bath

I have done it again.
One day in every ten
I manage it--

A sort of caulking miracle, my tub.
The sour mildew
Will vanish in a day.

I have suffered the atrocity of toilets.
Munge in the bowl
My brush filaments scrub and burn, a hand of ick.

Now I churn up soapstuffs that fly about the tub.
A film of such indolence
Will accompany my bystanding: I must shriek.

Cleaning
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it not terribly well.

I do it so it does not smell.
I do it so it feels clean.
I guess you could say I bought some gel.

Does not my sponge astound you. And my rag.
All by myself I am a schmutz Godzilla
Scrubbing and powdering and brow-dering, flush on flush.

I think I am cleaning up,
I think I may sanitize--
The motes of green Comet fly, and I, toilet, I

Am a pure ammonia
Virgin
Attended by noses,

By hisses, by effluvium,
By whatever these pink fingers clean.
Dead hands, dead astringents.

There were stains on your white parts
And we tenants never liked you.
We are dancing and showering in you.
We always noticed your goo.
Bathroom, bathroom, you bastard, I'm through.

Thursday, 13 May
E Espy N

Transom was struck from the race. Its jockey was found drinking Red Stripes and cursing sepulchre under his breath.

Certitude eked out a win over icing after a controversial call by the refs, citing icing for icing. Feldspar was credited with nine saves. Blandishments was ejected in the second period.

Tatterdemalion fouled out early, but not after rejecting five shots by throttle, who ended up scoring only six. Palimpsest and fugue had between them ten steals, utterly destroying the efforts of point guard baroness.

Swim was held to a miserable 26 running yards thanks to the ferocious tackling of exemplar, who also had an interception against feckless. Wide receiver plotz scored two touchdowns despite blanket coverage by the tenacious glib.

Troika had its number retired today with much fanfare. The ceremony was attended by luminaries such as dotard, bailiwick and simian.

Penchant scored a TKO against derelict in the fifth round, retaining its title. Former champ whelk was seen in attendance for the match, but declined comment at the urging of former manager spelt.

And finally, former Grandmaster gentian was reportedly spotted lurking around a Pittsburgh rest stop by various sources. We are unable to confirm those reports at this time, and authorities are also refusing comment. Onetime archnemesis facile refused to speculate on this development.

Thank you for watching. We leave you now with footage of the incomparable vertiginous. They don't make them like that any more.

Good night.


Wednesday, 17 December
Roundtable

Arby's Oven Mitt: Welcome, everyone. Thanks for coming. My first question is . . . what are you eating?

Hair: Vitamin E. It keeps me lustrous.

Joe Theismann: Broccoli makes my ankles stronger. HA! No, seriously, what makes your ankles stronger? I'm scared to cross the street.

Jude Law: I eat mostly hummus.

Arby's Oven Mitt: Not roast beef sandwiches?

Jude Law: No. That would give me gas, and you don't want that in a scene with Natalie Portman. She hates farting. She's kind of a scag.

Free Jazz: (Interrupting) SKRONK! BLAT! BLEEEEEEN!

Jude Law: I have to agree with Free Jazz. Natalie Portman sounds exactly like that.

FARK: Boobies!

The Corpse of Joe McCarthy: Let's try and keep things decent here. This is America. Muhhhhh. I hate being a corpse.

FARK: Boobies! Duke sucks.

Joe Theismann: You can't write off Duke so soon.

Laurie Anderson: The Duke. The Thin White Duke. Ducats for Duke. The politics of puke. The tiny black buttons on the barroom juke.

Arby's Oven Mitt: We have salads with cuke!

Jude Law: (Unzipping pants) Did somebody say cuke?

The Corpse of Joe McCarthy: Urrrrrr.

Hair: I grow luxuriantly. Not like those creeps down at fingernails. Those guys are freaks.

Joe Theismann: You have to see my shinbones. They look like they were crafted by autistics.

Free Jazz: HONKA HONKA! AAZZZOOOOOOOOOOZZZOOOO! PAD!

Arby's Oven Mitt: We have all kinds of cheese.

Laurie Anderson: I'll put it on a frieze.

The Corpse of Joe McCarthy: I'll denounce it as sleaze.

Hair: I'm dying for a tease.

Jude Law: Rescue my career! Jeez!

Joe Theismann: My ruined knees!

FARK: BOOOOOBIEEEEEEES!

Free Jazz: WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE!

Izzle Pfaff Readers: Oh, God. Please.

Wednesday, 15 October
Synaesthesia

When the wife and I finished rehearsing tonight, we drove home in the hairless murk of the evening. Everything looked beautiful, like filtered vinaigrette. I relaxed in my seat. At one point, coming down on Aloha Street, I spied a woman out for a walk, wearing a Dick Dale song, probably "Miserlou." I softly cursed Quentin Tarantino, and vowed never to forgive him for making that itchy sweater popular.

It was a fat, indolent plumber night, and my pants felt like small dogs. I lit a cigarette and inhaled the J.M.W. Turner smoke, savoring its corduroy tang.

It's been a gunmetal day, and I'm pretty tired; I've settled in with a flannel whisky, and I'm thinking about tomorrow. In a little bit, I might put on the headphones and listen to some clean laundry palimpsest, or maybe a chianti bafflement.

I don't know. I guess I'm just a little red hurricane lamp in a Cale-force limned. I should probably call it a Wight. So to you I say, wheat deems, and don't let the hedge rugs delight.

Wednesday, 24 September
Seattle Super Sonnet

My cubicle walls are nothing like much fun;
SQL queries make me wish I was dead;
I stare at my stapler, paperwork undone;
"You're pretty sad," my supervisor said.
I have seen HIPAA guidelines, black on white,
I have a presentation in two weeks,
In front of some nurses I'll dumbly recite
Boring things; they will say, "I hate how he speaks."
I love to spin in my chair, yet I know
That co-workers will grimace at the sound.
I wish that into dreamland I could go;
It happened once before, and I was fucking found.

And so, by heaven, I think my job is lame;
But surely, dear reader, I bet you'd say the same.

Monday, 22 September
Eat This Fried Egg Off Of My Steaming Skull!

Hey, you know that audition I was bitching about a while back? (For those who don't: I was bitching about an audition a while back. Yes, I could go find the permalink and then shove it in here, but frankly, fuck it.) Well, I got the part. Woo woo! And this is the same theater I worked with earlier this year: the one that coughs up weekly paychecks. Aaaand, as an extra bonus, the wife has also been cast in it (she actually has the much bigger part; she is in effect the lead). We've only ever been in one show before; we played brother and sister. In this show, however, just to mix things up, we play . . . brother and sister. We have been of course bombarded with Freud jokes, and I have so far been able to resist asking anyone, "Hey, have you actually read Freud? I want to fuck my mother, not my wife." Some people.

We start rehearsing in a couple of weeks, so I'm hard pressed to pack my rapidly dwindling slack into as much free time as possible between now and then. I'm considering entering some sort of induced coma to ensure that I do as little as humanly possible in the meantime, like chores, or breathing under my own power.

I also just really need to shut down my brain for a while, for it has begun doing alarming things. At work in particular, which has been spectacularly awful the past couple weeks, and with a massive weekend of presentations coming up in October, the awful killing pressure on my brainpan is not likely to dissipate. Here's today's terrible example of incipient madness:

I had occasion to write the words "cries" and "pines" in written conversation earlier (and I was making a joke, not composing odes to my Goth lifestyle, thank you), and I noticed their assonance, and certain similarites, and then sort of portmanteaued the two into the neologism "crines," which is pretty dreadful enough. I cooed the word a few times, testing it out: "criiiiiines!" but it sounded crappy no matter what I did with it, so I let it die. I went back to the original two words and did a kind of Lowest Common Denominator thing on its letters, determining the basic building blocks of the words: CRIEPNS.

Then, (and, sadly enough I do shit like this all the time) I started trying to make new words out of the letters mentally. PINCERS was easy. I don't think CRISPEN is a word, but it ought to be ("Crispen up these fries! Use the pincers!"). Then I saw the "duh" word: PRINCES.

And that's when the horrible thing happened, which I'm going to share with you, and you're going to hate me. Sorry!

I immediately got earfucked by the Spin Doctors song "Two Princes." And it's been with me ever since.

Two! Princes!
Kneel before you glub glub!
Now what's that ham in a
Some thing! Nubba nubba nuh
Blop blop! So here I go with a
Ding bat!
. . .etc.

It's somehow even worse when you can't remember the fucking words. I don't know why, but it is. But if you get stuck with this song, take comfort in the fact that "Ben Franklin" backwards is "Nilk Narf Neb." Don't you feel better?

Maybe a little. NILK NARF NEB! That's got a nice mouthfeel.

I'm going to get through this.

Friday, 19 September
Prepare To Be Boreded

Arrrr! So 'tis Talk Like A Pirate day, herrrm? Avast! I talk like a pirate while at me miserable work! Arrr! I go to three-hour meetings! Ye can hear me talk about database queries and scurvy fucking primary keys! Arr! I don't know what I'm doing!

Me blasted co-workers plague me like thrice-accursed harpies pecking at me fucking neck! Me voice mail overfill with bilge water of complaints! Truly, 'tis terrible to be a pirate today at work!

I cannot go on any longer! Arrr! I shall walk me own plank! Avast! See for yourself my 20th-story window! I run at it mightily, and me terrified parrot bounces on me shoulder nervously! I scream at me co-workers, "YOU HAVE BROKEN ME MIGHTY PIRATE HEART, YE DIRTY COXSWAINS!" just because it sounds dirty, and then I plunge through yon window! Crash!

AAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrr. . . !

(Thud.)

(Pause.)

(Distantly) Arrr! Now I am a zombie pirate! Avast! Now I can do a summer movie with Johnny Depp!

Thursday, 03 July
The Heartbreaking And Sordid Decline Of Penny

PENNY DYED; APACHE PINED.

APACHE DID END, PENNY. YEP.

PENNY EYED HANDICAPPED.

CHIP, DEADPAN, EYED PENNY.

CHIP: PAYDAY! EDEN PENNED.

PENNY CANED HAPPY EDDIE.

EDDIE ACHED. NAPPY PENNY!

CHIP ADDED, "NAY, PEE, PENNY!"

PENNY NEEDED HAPPY ACID.

PENNY PACED; NEEDY APHID.

CHIP DENY PENNY: "DEAD APE!"

EDDIE PAY CHAP. END PENNY.

PENNY. NYC PIPEHEAD. DEAD.

Thursday, 10 April
I Have Neurolinguistic Maladies

Is there a word for the sensation of suddenly feeling surprised about not previously feeling surprised about something? The Germans probably have one.

Anyway, as I left work today, I walked out the door and noticed that one of the buildings across the street was a store with a gigantic sign that advertised CORNED BEEF. I mean, I'd noticed it before, I wasn't uncognizant of its existence, and of course I'd read the giant sign before, too, but this time I stopped and really noticed it, and actually digested the fact that this place sold CORNED BEEF. And that's when I got surprised that I hadn't been surprised by this before.

I mean, I guess there's weirder things to sell than corned beef, but it's kind of a funny, single-minded thing to stake your business on. And, it's not like I work in a retail core or a street traffic-heavy area; the place is surrounded by a few office buildings, a hotel, and a nightclub. "THIS MUSIC IS REALLY GREAT!" "IT SURE IS!" "YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD MAKE THIS EVEN BETTER?" "WHAT?" "CORNED BEEF!" "YEAH! LET'S GO GET SOME RIGHT NOW!" I don't think so.

So it's just this odd place, but it's been there, like, forever, so I suppose that it has a decent steady supply of corned beef customers who make a point of traveling there regularly to stock up. And that surprises me too; and I start to imagine a small but quietly dedicated Seattle underground of culinary mavericks who steadily produce unlauded masterpieces based on the Holy Food, corned beef. And then I unfortunately find myself genuinely upset that I don't know who those people are, because that sounds pretty cool--I mean, nobody's thought of that before, and by now I'm actually torturing myself with angst over not being able to pierce the shroud of secrecy that cloaks this ultra-cool group of people who I just fucking made up in the first place.

And of course that can't be the end of the weird, echolalic behavior, no. Not this guy, because now I'm kind of obsessed with the phrase itself, and already I'm investing it with all kinds of incantatory subtleties, this fabulous phrase CORNED BEEF. I'm whispering it to myself as I walk home, because it's kind of making me chuckle, but also partly because it makes me feel sort of like a superhero, like Captain Marvel's transformatory "SHAZAM!" only instead, I imagine that when I call out "CORNED BEEF!" I will transform into a corned beef-powered superhero, and then those snooty fuckers in the corned beef cabal would have to take notice of me, by God.

There's going to be all kinds of problems, because I've become obsessed with little phrases before, and it takes me weeks to get rid of them. I am not lying to you when I say that once I spent two weeks utterly fascinated by the phrase "hot beans," and I would frequently yell it out in mid-conversation, because it amused me (and nobody else) to do so. The meaningless phrase "Ak mak" (I found out later it is a kind of cracker) lasted for months, long enough for my friends to get infected; "ak mak" became sort of shorthand for "whatever." So this might be trouble all over again. I can just see it.

Fiancee: Do you want to watch a movie?

Skot: CORNED BEEF!

F: What?

S: Heh heh. Nothing. Sure.

F: What sounds good?

S: CORNED BEEF!

F (she's seen this before): Oh, god.

S: Hee hee hee!

(Long pause.)

F: I'm so not marrying you.

Friday, 04 April
Guest Host: e e cummings

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