Saturday, January 31, 2009

Poetry by Geeble

Geeble, Geeble, Geeble,

Oh, Geeble, Geeble, gee,

Geeble, Geeble?

Geeble, Geeble, me!

Geeble.

(Geeble is funded by a grant from the Geeble Foundation.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

AOL Meditation Channel

Mary Pat, my extremely healthy sister, has years of experience as a dj as well as programming old and new radio. She was recently hired by AOL to cobble together a meditation channel. Here is the result. The channel premiered yesterday and I was so relaxed from listening that I forgot to post. So close your third eye and soak in the serenity.

Freakazoid DVD Season Two Box Art

Segment director Troy has alerted me to Freakazoid! season two box art. Leonard Rhombus appears on the back cover, portraying a vapor trail. Rhombus never shied away from challenging roles, often appearing as cacti, hills, and once a stagnant pool.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Internet Speculation from 1981

Think of Twitter or Facebook or some other aspect of current technology. Now imagine 28 years have passed and you've found an old news report speculating on where Twitter might be going.

h/t: Hot Air

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

St. George HS and the Vienna Boys

I was just contacted by an old high school chum. Oakner and I attended St. George in Evanston, Illinois through our sophomore year and hadn't spoken in geological eons. Our school name was the Dragons, and while St. George teams had suffered due to declining enrollment, underage drinking was in a boom period.

Oakner and a group of us called the "Vienna Boys" (named after a Clark Street hot dog stand and not a European choir), ran around the north side of Chicago between Clark Avenue and the lake, and from Howard Street south to Devon, having interesting and informative teenage adventures. Often we'd drink beer, ride public transportation, throw up beer, get kicked off public transportation. Once on a bus during the winter, I vomited up a half-dozen tangerine slices, still intact. I just missed an old woman's foot. She gave me a disgusted look, "If y'all can't hold yore liquor, you shouldn't drink." Great advice which I eventually followed decades later.

Oakner assured me most of the old group doesn't drink very much, if at all, and they hardly ever ride public transportation. In any case, I'll be back in Chicago this February for a cousin's wedding and can't wait to see them. At the very least see Oakner, who figured largely in many youthful events, found his way over time, met a great woman, and now runs a small restaurant out in the 'burbs.

Whatever happens, no tangerines, that's for sure. They're the devil's fruit.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Letter from My Health Insurance


Knebler-Moore Health Net.
Your Well-Being is Our Only Concern, but Never Our Complete Responsibility

Notice of 2009 Benefit or Coverage Changes

Coverage for Spouse - Due to changes in the IGM brought about by state and federal KOBA and GESRULE administrative findings, your spouse will no longer be automatically covered inside a hospital, but may receive treatment in the parking lot provided the lot is uncovered and outside the hospital.

Electronic Issuance of COE/IOC - Information has been added to the ASG under provisions of the Policy and Plans Benefit Certificate stating all future COE/IOC electronic issuance's must be issued electronically. We're not sure what this means, but it is binding.

Injury From Jelly Jars - Plan will no longer cover injuries from jelly jars, either flung or ingested.

Routine Physical Examinations - Visiting a doctor in person has been deemed superfluous. All examinations will now be performed at designated banks by untrained window clerks who are qualified to deposit your co-payment.

Bureaucratic Language Deceny Act - No unfair, wounding jokes about bureaucratic language and/or decisions will be permitted. We're people too. We love and have dreams. Our children laugh as merrily as yours. If we're cut, do we not bleed? If we bleed are we not covered by Knebler-Moore Outpatient Provisions in compliance with ARVESTI and CGI administrative rulings? So, please, be compliant — or we'll crush you like a rotten peach.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Phoenix Odds and Ends

Teammate Chris ran an outstanding race, finishing his second marathon in three hours and thirty-three minutes. He'll be assistant coaching the team next season and should do an awesome job. I told him to run everyone into the dirt the first week, then build up the survivors. He may have his own plans.

Two girls were out on the marathon course with a tiny horse about the size of a medium dog. It's good to see kids working in garage labs, altering animal DNA and creating fun mutants. It could become the 21st-century version of a lemonade stand.

A two-year girl on a bike with training wheels pedaled onto the course, zipping across the path of several fast runners. Luckily, there was enough distance that they didn't have to veer. The child finished first in her division: Unsupervised Kids Under Five Scaring the Crap Out of Adults.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Adios, Winter Team

Last practice today at the Rose Bowl. Coaches, support staff and a few Phoenix runners proudly wore their medals for our 3-mile victory stroll in the drizzly rain.

This team was assembled ala carte at information meetings held last summer in Arcadia and Pasadena, in libraries, and REIs; people joined who had relatives and friends suffering from leukemia, while others just wanted to sample marathon running. The team ranged in age from 70-year-old walkers to 20-something cheetahs who ran fast enough to peel paint off cars. Training started August 9th, with temperatures in the 80s. Looking back at photos on the team website, there are faces I hardly recognize, drop-outs after a few practices. It seems longer ago than it really was.

As teams go, the 2008/09 San Gabriel Valley Team in Training Winter Team sustained more than its share of injuries. Not only first-timers overdoing it, but many coaches and mentors also sustained various levels of ouch. Some dings healed, while others nagged. How injuries might behave race day lay on the minds of Phoenix full and half-marathoners last Sunday.

Beautiful race weather in the Valley of the Sun, 40s in the early morning, reaching the 70s by mid-afternoon. I was getting over an illness, hadn't slept well, and hadn't spent a great deal of time on my feet running or walking in five months. So I figured to bounce around the course using the brand new, fresh-out-of-the-box, light rail system.

At 7:40 AM, the marathon surged off, all seven thousand strong (with 22,000 running the half-marathon an hour later). I took the Metro east to 44th St. and walked north to reach the marathon half-way point. I passed a TNT couple stranded on 44th by an oafish cab driver who'd told them it was the half-marathon start line. They hailed another cab, but I'm not sure if that was good. Hopefully, they didn't end up in New Mexico.

Walking up to mile 14, I started back along the course to intercept one of our walkers who might need help making the cut-off. (If you're not across the 13.1 mile mat in 4 hours, they pack it up, put it back in the crate, and you're out of the race.)

A steel band near the 13-mile marker struck up a peppy version of "Brazil." Shortly after, the marathon pace convertible cruised by, filled with passengers who sprawled as if they'd been drinking all night, languidly waving to onlookers. Behind the pace car came an open truck jammed with photographers, looking like tourist cattle. They, in turn, were followed by a pack of hard-running Kenyans. I'd found the race.

Kenyans were followed by a few very fast guys, then a few more, then three very fast guys running together, then the lead pack of women runners, a few very fast women running solo, regular fast men and women with lots of space between them, then the first pacer holding up a red 3:00 hour sign, behind which surged the running masses.

Around mile 10, I found our walker, Kim, moving at a good pace. (I checked behind, looking for the sweeper truck. All clear for now.) Though a kind, energetic person, Kim has a laugh like a Halloween witch. And loud. She'd cut loose every now and then and it would startle me like a bucket of ice pitched over my head. Coach Dave arrived and convinced a group of teenage cheerleaders to yell, "Go Kim Possible!" They did, Kim laughed, and I jumped.

We made the cut-off, but not by much. As Kim followed the marathon down Oak Street, street crews were already plucking up orange traffic cones prior to reopening 44th. I saw a huge street sweeper advancing along the marathon route, yellow lights whirling, gobbling up discarded water cups like a jumbo Pac Man.

Heading back down 44th, I passed through the half-marathon, jumped back on the train, and headed for mile 25 near Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

Steve, Brittany, Inez, Vanessa, Lindsey, Hutch, Elizabeth, Caroline, Roman, one after the other, I ran or walked them to the finish line. Elizabeth was a trip. She wanted to run fast and break 5:30, stop and quit, or walk in all at the same time. (I think she broke 5:30.)

Many had been injured during the season, reinjured during the marathon, but all made a commitment to themselves to finish no matter what.

By the time C.J. shuffled past, I was spent. Our campaign manager Tiffany was cheering everyone in around mile 26. I found a flat rock near her and sat down. Kim finally made it past near the 8:00 hour mark. The staff packed it in. A few of us caught the train back to our hotel. I was out cold early.

Our victory walk ended back in the parking lot of the Aquatic Center. There was a brief moment where a few participants and the core of coaches and mentors stood in a circle, trading final marathon stories. But Tiffany, Dave, Karla and Pete all needed to attend an information meeting and recruit new members. (First practice for the summer season is next Saturday.) They split. A few others went to breakfast, and the rest strolled to their cars in twos and threes as the Winter Team dissolved for the last time. All that remains are memories, photos and medals, soon to be hanging on closet hooks.

Other matters call, so I won't be a part of Summer 2009. But if circumstances permit, I'd like to marathon coach again. Seeing regular guys and gals rise to the challenge of the distance inspires me in the face of my own adversities.

Now if I could only run again . . . .



Friday, January 23, 2009

Ocean View

Gimli holds 5lb. weights in each hand when he hikes. On our Wednesday trek he complained they were too light and perhaps it was time for ten pounds. I'm cranky carrying a 20-ounce water bottle, so I said, "Sure. Why not? Then you won't feel so weak." An overcast afternoon, we started up a moderately steep fire trail. Soon Gimli veered off onto a path that quickly lost all interest in staying visible, vanishing into a rock pile that rose up several hundred feet and required hand-over-hand climbing.

'What's he doing with those stinking weights now?' I wondered, but didn't ask because Gimli might get distracted and drop one on my head.

As we reached the summit, Gimli stated he lately had more energy. For 18 years, he'd worked eight hours a day, five-days-a-week at a warehouse moving crated auto parts. Afterwards, he'd roam the hills with 5lb. weights in each hand. Thanks to his layoff, he now has only hills and weights. And running the level stretches of trail. (In deference to my tender knees, we didn't do that.)

Kiley and his 50-mile trail run came to mind. "Hey, Gimli, you ever think about doing a trail run?" I explained how they're held in difficult terrain along narrow trails such as he already favors. Then I mentioned Kiley's April event.

He thought for a bit, then: "Okay. Sure."

Gimli thought I meant he should run Kiley's 50-miler.

"Maybe ease into it with something shorter," I suggested. "And you won't have to carry five-pounders."

He smiled. "I could go faster."

"God knows how fast."

We stopped atop Mount Olympus. Sunlight pierced the cloud cover, seeming to ignite a portion of the distant Pacific. Moving slowly, a container ship plodded across the sea through the light back into gray. I see why Gimli likes it up here.

So I'm checking out a 9K trail run in Malibu. If my knees agree, I'll join Gimli on the course. Otherwise, I'll be support. I'm curious to see how he'll do in competition. I think Gimli will rock.
On the trail down, Gimli asked if I knew where he might buy a ten-pound weighted vest. Clearly he felt his torso could be working harder.

Race day - March 8.

I Promise . . .

. . . another hiking post on Griffith Park, a fat Phoenix marathon post, a post on my plans to begin running again, and a commitment to smile at dwarfs, Cuban or not.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shareholder Letter from Gannon Macaroons

Dear Mr. McCann,

Thank you for many years of patient investment in RS Gannon Macaroons, makers of fine macaroon products and derivatives. As we leave behind a rocky 2008, I wanted to provide you our thoughts on the market and how it has affected the overall value of your shares.

Ha, ha, ha, ha. Oh, I'm sorry. This is serious. Several indicators point, heeheeheeheehee. Wait. Wait. Give me a minute. Hrmmm. There.

Historically, recessions such as the one we're currently in have lasted, oh, hahahahahaha. Bwaaaahahaha. I . . . I . . . 'Value?' Haha. Monopoly money has more value than your shares.
BWOOOHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, what a stuffing you took! You were shagged and bagged and dry humped by leopards! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Please maintain a long-term view.

Sincerely,

Ottis Frah,
Chief Executive Officer
RS Gannon Macaroons

Monday, January 19, 2009

Welcome Katie


Old chum Katie has joined the Blogspot family. A fine mural artist, (museum curator, and Jill-of-Many-Trades), you can check out her work at Dreamscapes.

Pre Post-Marathon Post

I'm posting in the lobby of my Phoenix Hotel because it's free down here, but costs fourteen bucks a day up in my room. Also I enjoy watching yesterday's runners do the marathon shuffle toward the front desk. (The marathon shuffle is a funky hitch-and-a-hop caused by lactic acid and other exercise waste products that looks a lot like the way Redd Foxx walked in Sanford and Son.)

On the road in an hour back to LA. It's been a stressful trip as illness, travel and marathon coaching do not mix. I didn't get to visit any of my Phoenix friends and barely had time to call home.

But I did get to ride the shiny new Metro Rail. Public rail is a lot like public housing: there's a brief spring of neatness and order before an immediate plunge into the winter of neglect, 
graffiti and unknown substances stuck to the furniture.

More in a bit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Smokehouse Reunion

Yesterday, I lunched with several Warner alumni, including Tom Ruegger, Jean MacCurdy, Paul Dini, Paul Rugg, and still-Warner employed Alan Burnett. We exchanged stories about meetings gone wrong, executive blunders, and how broke we all are except for Alan Burnett. (He still has a job, did I mention that?) Jean is blissfully retired and occasionally drives to Sacramento and back for exercise.

Then, like Keyser Soze, poof, we were gone.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Freak Season Two DVD Coming April 21


Thanks to info supplied by DVD segment director Troy, I hereby post a release date for Freakazoid! season two, and that date is exactly the same as the date listed above: April 21. A Tuesday. A day like any other or is it? Will there be a Festival of Head Lice? Bobcats dancing in traditional Greek costumes? Or a Weena Mercator sighting? A Tuesday. They said on Tuesday. Hmmm, Tuesday.


Travels with Gimli

My friend Tony is built wide and low to the ground. He's similar to Gimli the Dwarf if Gimli were beardless, sported a a crew cut, and came from Oaxaco, Mexico. In any case, Tony was laid off from his warehouse job. I knew he regularly hiked Griffith Park. Since we're both actively unemployed, I suggested tagging along on his next scheduled hike. Tony was cool.

In my mind, I pictured wandering leisurely along fire roads, stopping to sip bottled water and admiring the view. Of course, in my mind, I'm regularly given fortune and praise for very little work. Nevertheless, Tony knows every deer path, water pipe, and run-off gully in America's largest urban park and he's not afraid to use them.

Last Tuesday, Tony walked quickly out of the parking lot, across a perfectly flat fire road, and up into the chaparral, moving like a big puma. I kept pace. We hiked upward on narrow, dirt paths, sprinkled with loose, slippery earth. All around were reminders of the 2007 fire that burned over 800 acres and threatened a Los Feliz neighborhood adjacent to the park.
A few blackened trees still stood among the fast-spreading greenery, split open and ready to topple at the slightest touch. Tony kept up a steady stream of conversation, even in parts of the trail where we were practically vertical. "Laid off gives me all this extra time. I'm getting more done around my apartment. I think I'll paint."
"Hey, that's good," I wheezed. By keeping responses short, I could sound in better shape than I was.

Tony blew past another fairly level fire road and continued on up. Biting on a stick to keep from panting too badly, I followed.

We passed an old water tank, gained elevation and peered down to a ridge on our right where black spots were gradually filling in green. Crows circled both sides of the ridge in fives and tens. Lots of loud crows. Maybe something large died, a human body - not an uncommon occurrence in Griffith Park.

A few more twists and turns and we were crossing a horse bridge. Hoof prints pock-marked the surrounding trails, signs that the horsey set liked riding the high country — almost as high as the Hollywood Sign, but not as high as a pop star.

Cresting another hill, Tony slowed. Suddenly, on a clear L.A. afternoon, we could see the Observatory, downtown Los Angeles, Century City, the Verdugo Hills, the ocean. Pretty cool. No wonder Tony likes it up here. Though off to the east, haze formed a Mordor-like smog wall. Still, I never got a decent view whenever family and friends were in town. Only haze and a few downtown skyscrapers poking up out of the gray.
(Photo courtesy of travelblog.viator.com/.../)

Our way back included trails both steep and slippery, where it didn't pay to look beyond your feet. I was winded and could feel hamstrings and glutes tell me tomorrow would be Sore Butt City. But a good hike overall and no knee pain. Tony appeared ready to hike the Rockies, but he had to go pick up his wife.

I may wait until I toughen up a bit before I tackle another Gimli hike.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

So Long, My Friend

Troy has a few links up at his site saluting the late Ricardo Montalban, dead today at 88. Ricardo was another of Paul Rugg's inspired casting choices and a real gentlemen. His health wasn't the best in '95 - '97 but he hung in there and always delivered. Here's a scene with Ricardo and Craig Fergueson.


UPDATE: I think we mention this on the 2nd season DVD, but at a Freakazoid! taping, Ricardo once related that the day he became an American citizen (in '95 or '96), he was wheeled into a homicide trial where they stopped proceedings so the judge could swear him in. Then he was wheeled out. (As opposed to being left in the courtroom several days.) May he grace Heaven with the same class he showed on earth.

Animaniacs Fans on the News

Thanks to Keeper, who cameos in hat, for this history shot. What's quaint is the bemused way the host talks about people meeting "on the computer."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hi Joe!

Somewhere on the web lurks Joe Leahy, actor and voice-over artist extraordinaire.

Coach Kiley Training in the Hills

Kiley has photos and video up of his latest training run along the trails he'll cover in April's race.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dac Encanto's Poetry Deconstructed

(The following verse by truculent poet Dac Encanto appears in the University of California Press anthology, Surly Postmodern Poems for Pre-Retro People. "Deuce Moon" explores Encanto's almost pathological hatred for the moon, a leitmotif critics have called "lunar hatred" or, in German, Mondblindheit meaning "moon blindness." I shall perform a short deconstruction, but no insight has yet surfaced to explain this Mondblindheit. Encanto will only spit in contempt if you ask.)
Deuce Moon

by Dac Encanto

Round and bright,
idiot face,
planet wannabe,
taking up space,
(Encanto's lunar works always refer to the moon as full. Once, on a Danish talk show, he was informed the moon appeared in phases and sometimes, not at all. Encanto grew confused and sarcastic, storming off the set, taking with him a pen and a coffee mug.)

Dumb ass satellite,
so uncool,
on your dusty surface,
I'd drop a stool,
(The threat of public defecation appears in many of Encanto's works. This was not an idle threat or a metaphor — as Duke Professor Gale Bogminder has suggested. If properly disturbed, Encanto will mete out a pooey punishment regardless of location or circumstance. The 2006 panel incident at the UCLA Book Fair is the reason all subsequent poet panels have been required to keep mobile screens and drums of disinfectant at the ready. Bogminder knows this.)

But I can't,
(I'd die),
You lucked out,
No lie, G.I.
(Encanto's poems are peppered with pidgin-english phrases often associated with Asian prostitutes such as "You Numba 10," and "Souvenir me carton of Salems, baby." Context often provides a hazy explanation. As to the moon having "lucked out," this refers to an incident at the height of Mondblindheit when Encanto tried bribing NASA to have the moon killed. All charges were eventually dropped. However, Encanto did serve jail time for an incident that took place in court involving the prosecutor's briefcase.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kiley Trains for Leona Divide 50

Last practice today for the Phoenix runners. Next week, Write Enough will join the team in Arizona for Sunday's Phoenix Marathon. Some teammates are recovering from injuries while others are bored with training and ready to put a race in the books. I'll be walking about the course, checking on this one and that one, helping the half-marathoners finish and full-marathoners endure. I'm thinking they'll do just fine.


On the subject of endurance, TNT Coach Kiley has commenced training for a 50-mile run. The Leona Divide 50 winds through the Angeles National Forest near Lake Hughes. Not content preparing for a double-marathon, he has also committed to raise 5K for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Having lost his dad to non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Kiley takes his training and the mission of LLS quite seriously. (Without getting all stuffy and arch about it.)

Follow along with Kiley as he blogs his journey toward an April 18th date with discomfort.

Also, stop by his fundraising site and help out with whatever you can.

Vegetarian hog dogs. I watched someone eat one today. Would a carnivore dine on meat-wheat? I'll leave that as an open question.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Pilfered Gnome


(The following excerpt is from a highly reviewed, young adult mystery: Jimmy Lee Caper: Unpopular Teen Detective by Preston Haggis.)

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Jimmy Lee Caper - rude, selfish, junior detective.

Elmo Montpelier - Jimmy's best friend, an affable, young hunchback.

Professor Lincoln Mancrisp - Stern headmaster of Quillham Academy; addicted to pizza rolls.

Hannah Hooverton - Jimmy's clever, ambitious classmate.

Dr. Thane Blackingham - Eerie, mysterious owner of a tall dark tower.

——————————————————————————————————————————

CHAPTER ONE

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

Jimmy rapped sharply on Professor Mancrisp's office door. "I wonder what the old jerk wants now?"

"He sounded mad," whispered Elmo."I think this time we're really gonna get it."

"Cool it, Mount McKinley."

Elmo rubbed his hunchback defensively. "Do you have to call me that?"

"Yeah, I do. There's an alp growing out of your back."

The door swung open and Professor Mancrisp towered over the boys, a pizza roll stuck in his great red beard. "Enter, young gentlemen. We're going to discuss a missing lawn gnome. I hope for your sakes that you didn't take it.

Exchanging worried glances, Jimmy and Elmo entered the Professor's cluttered office. They sat upon stacks of books while the professor cleared space on his desk, shoving aside a microwave oven and several pepperoni pizza roll boxes. Perching on a desk corner, the professor wiped away the dangling roll from his beard and grasped a long ash cane. "I want answers."

"Or what?" sneered Jimmy.

Professor Mancrisp smacked the cane down on his desk. "Don't cross me, Mr. Caper, or I'll beat you so hard you'll wail like an old Cheyenne squaw at a massacre."

"Better not," said Jimmy weakly. He respected brute force and knew from bitter experience the Professor wasn't bluffing. And for that, he'd pay back Professor Mancrisp someday.

"The Great Gnome of Quillham has gone missing,"said the professor. "It was last seen yesterday evening in its customary place before the administration building. This morning, a student, Miss Hooverton, reported it missing.

"Ha," snorted Jimmy. "Hanna's nose is browner than a crap log. She probably swiped it so she could report it missing and win suck-up points with the teachers."

"Hanna wouldn't do that," cried Elmo."She's kind and decent."

"What do you know, mountain back?"

Professor Mancrisp pointed the ash cane at Jimmy. "That sounds like another hunchback insult. Apologize to Mr. Montpelier."

Jimmy mumbled something, while Elmo grinned as if enjoying a fine jest. But mentally he crafted an image of Jimmy with his foot caught in a storm grate while a fiery iron mallet descended from the sky, smashing him into flaming, bloody chunks. "Oh, Jimmy was just kidding. It doesn't bother me."

The Professor looked perplexed. "Why do you pal around with him, Mr. Montpelier? He insults you, borrows money that he never repays, and often puts a football under the back of his shirt, the better to mock you. Don't you deserve better?"

Elmo shrugged. "My Aunt makes me do it. She's rich and kinda nuts. Auntie says it's a moral test: if I can hang out with Jimmy all through Quillham, there isn't anything I can't do in life. And after graduation, she'll pay for an operation to remove my hump. I'd rather have the operation now and worry about the rest of my life later, but that's the way it goes."

"'That's the way it goes,'" sneered Jimmy in a mocking sing-song.

The professor sighed, seemed about to comment, but returned to the original matter. "In any case, that plaster Gnome with its vacant politician's smile, has stood upon the lawns of Quillham for 113 years. It is part of our rich heritage. Now suddenly it's gone. What do you know, Mr. Caper?"

"Man, are you whoofing or what? I didn't take your stupid Gnome. But I'll bet I could find out who did. I bet I could find out before you."

"Really, Mr. Caper? You've had a little success solving small mysteries around here. Some people even think you're a regular Sherlock Holmes."

"Who's that?"

"Skip it. But I think you've benefited from blind pig luck and observant companions."

"That's a load," yelled Jimmy. "I'm the smart one. I'm the one who figures things out. And I'll find that gnome and you'll look as dumb as an old wino eating pizza rolls under a bridge."

With a whistling crack, the professor brought the ash cane down on Jimmy's hand.

"Owww! What was that for?"

"Metaphorical insults count the same as real ones. Very well, Mr. Caper. Locate the gnome and we'll discuss intelligence later."

Jimmy smirked. "What do I get for finding it?"

Professor Mancrisp held up the ash cane. "Think more along the lines of what you won't get."

Outside the faculty building, Jimmy and Elmo walked quickly, pulling Quillham blazers tight around their collars in the crisp autumn air. Jimmy seethed, shaking his sore hand. "Where does that old fart get off hitting me?"

"I don't know," said Elmo, still enjoying the moment.

Jimmy seemed mystified. "Nothing sticks to him. I've ratted the professor out to Child Protective Services for beating me with that stick. I've planted kiddie porn on his computer and called the feds. I've told the cops he was an old fruit who tried to queer me. I swear, the guy is made of lucite. Stuff that's worked with every teacher, parent, child psychologist, social worker, and counselor just slides off old Mancrisp. What's worse, he's becoming a hero to other adults. I gotta find a way to pull the plug on Dr. Pizza Roll."

Elmo struggled to keep up with Jimmy."What about the gnome?"

"How the hell should I know? You got five?"

Elmo handed him a new five-dollar bill. "Thanks, McKinley," said Jimmy as he jogged across the quad, away from the hunchback. "I'm gonna get a burger at the student center. Why don't you ask around, see what we can dig up on the gnome. Are we cool?"

"Hey, no problem," called Elmo to Jimmy's back. For a brief moment, he wished he could mentally kill people like in Firestarter, but the moment passed as Elmo wearily waddled off toward the administration building.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pacific Northwest Deluge

Photos from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of flooded I-5 near Centralia. We drove through here last week on our way back to LA. There was more green than brown.

Beware the Pineapple


All that northwest Christmas snow is now melting with a vengeance, flooding freeways and isolating the citizenry, including my sister, Mary. She lives outside Olympia near the town of Yelm with her roommate, plus Judy the dog. Below is Mary's sodden dispatch:

"Today Vail Road was closed south of my place where it goes over the Deschutes River and in the other direction up by the turn off into Yelm along Black Hills Road. I had over 4" of rain at my house yesterday! The winds are fierce but we're not even close to getting the worst of it. There are talking heads on the TV saying worst flooding EVER.

I had my first recording session for BirdNote yesterday in Seattle and I was going to stay in town and drop a disc off at McCann's and have dinner with Annie and Paul Soustek but I bolted for the south as soon as I finished the session and it was akin to fleeing Sodom. I did not look back but I heard roads were closing behind me as I monitored the radio. I had to drive the diciest section of I-5 (in the urban area) by Tacoma. They ended up evacuating 7,000 people from the area beside that spot by the time I got to Yelm. They also closed a 20 mile section of I-5 that you had driven through Chehalis/Centralia area, just south of where the alpaca farm is that you passed on the way back to Glendale. They had had terrible flooding just south of there last year. For awhile there was no way to go by road or rail from Seattle to Portland. The back roads were closed or flooded too. Seattle's kind of cut off since all the passes through the Cascades are closed or impassable, closed from snow or avalanche danger. I'm not sure how that rehab is going but I'll get the scoop on the 5:00 news coming up in an hour or so.

A good thing they learned from the devastation last year in these rural spots was to design an emergency plan for evacuation of critters. Last year they lost a dreadful amount of horses and cattle, sheep, goats and alpacas. Pierce County had a plan in place and the critters are fine as they evacuated about 22,000 people out that a way and who knows how many cloven hoofs.

I went to the store, bought 30 lbs of food for [dog] Judy and the fixins for a huge pot of Irish Stew for me and I'm fixing on fixing that up tonight to take me through the weekend. I will not be in a fix unless I lose power before the crock pot is finished. Then I use the burner on my BBQ grill."

Here's a site with road updates and live traffic cams that show dark, empty, watery interstates.

Awaken to Your Past Life's Purpose

(The following is an excerpt from a New Age bestseller by noted mystic Pez Manatee.)

Where on Earth were you yesterday? Atop a hill? Eating Hot Pockets from a bag? Have you forgotten your past and the meaning it once gave you? Do you wonder if I ever stop asking questions? Sometimes. But by focusing on me, you remove awareness from yourself, thus growing fearful. Stop acting like a frightened elk, full of snorting and soiling of yourself. Clean up. But not here. Find a public restroom. And bring your own towel.

Take off a sock. How do you feel? Take off the other sock. Better? Now take off a third sock. Why were you wearing three socks? Sock hogs are never reincarnated. Remember that when you dress.

A light exists in a dark place. That place is your consciousness or, perhaps, Medford, Oregon. I was short-changed there by a waitress. But did I retaliate and place my karma at risk? Of course not. That's what tort lawyers are for.

Wear a salad bowl on your head. Do this and know humility. Do it not and you have a salad bowl that isn't full of dandruff.

Email Oprah. I want to be Pick-of-the-Week. Do this and your karma will be good. Email Oprah. In your next life you will be a postmaster. Lots of paid sick days. Email Oprah. You can drink on the job. Email Oprah. You'll never work again and receive a check every two weeks. Email Oprah.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bus Riding Then and Now

They were glad to see me back yesterday, the mechanics. "Mr. McCann, we've been waiting." My shocks and struts were repaired. Two new tires had been added. But still more expensive repairs were needed. "You must replace the front shocks. While not as bad as the rear shocks, they are unworthy of you." I passed. I kind of like the bouncing.

In order to get back to the garage, I had to ride a bus for the first time in 25 years. Back in my L.A Connection days, I had car trouble and no money to retrieve it from the shop. So I took the bus until I saved up enough to ransom my ride. Back then, I was traveling from Hollywood out to the theater in Sherman Oaks. My stop was on Hollywood Boulevard - depressing by day, terrifying by night. For an idea of what it was like, Netflix The Road Warrior. Everything on the Boulevard was the same as in the movie except for no sand or oil refinery, and, maybe 40 or 50 Feral Children with stainless steel boomerangs.

No such drama in La Canada. My trip took twenty minutes and I spent most of it trying to figure out how much a bus ride cost. As the door hissed open, I pulled out some bills. But the woman driver waved me aboard, "You don't have to pay." I thanked her and sat down. Hey, I'm digging the bus. I watched a Mexican woman step on. She flashed a pass to the driver. A young student couple inserted a card into a slot. A guy in his twenties paid a quarter. Then a woman boarded with two kids, exchanged small talk with the driver, and took a seat. I'm guessing she paid with the gift of chat.

Anyway, if you're in town, board the Glendale Beeline #3 Southbound along Foothill Boulevard in La Canada.

They're ready to deal.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Ahoy, Paul Rugg!!


Now onboard the blogging skiff, having hoisted his sail, and planted his flag, and fed his parrot raisins and a frozen waffle. Stop by Froynlaven and say howdy.

A Form of Exercise

Having my car in the shop has provided me the opportunity to walk a few miles to the nearest book shop offering WiFi and coffee. I've taken that opportunity. As I blog and slug down java, I'm noting no tenderness in my knee. This is also a chance to write in the trendy present tense. I'm here. I'm sitting. I'm watching a bus outside. I'm touching a sore spot on the inside of my cheek where I burned myself eating hot pizza. I'm thinking about mailing my loud neighbor a bag of coyote urine, but wonder if that would be a crime? Who could I pay to urine-milk a coyote?

Maybe I'll take the bus back to the repair shop.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Immediacy

Trouble finishing any writing lately, unless it's short blog posts. I realize that's why I like blogging: no meetings, revisions, last second changes, legal notes, marketing suggestions, children's educational advocates, or funny jokes an executive thought up on the way in to work.

Just this.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Winding Down

Almost the last practice for the Winter 08/09 Team as they gear up for the Phoenix Marathon in two weeks. I ran a little bit yesterday, but the tendons in my right knee, though improved, were still tender. I've been doing more T'ai Chi as the basic stance strengthens quad muscles, which, in turn, supports tendons and ligaments around the knee. Turnout was sparse, as a number of participants were enjoying extended holidays or hung over.

Old boss Jean MacCurdy will be in town around the middle of January. Several of us will get together for lunch and learn whaz s'up?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009

A year of fun and adventure! Enough with writing and running goals - though they will have their place. This year, I stay open to the possibilities of great and wonderful events happening in my life because I stopped limiting my imagination.

Now I think I'll lie down in a position that might appear very much like a nap and contemplate this golden future.