Monday, November 30, 2009

the muse strikes again

monday night ode
(sung to tune of “my way”)
and now the end is near and so i face the final spoonful
why do i love so much this basic gray and mushy gruu-el?
its taste makes me so calm, and fills me up, a truue gut bomb
and i don’t have to cook, i love my oatmeal

Sunday, November 29, 2009

a few days late...

always have i loved john candy, tho i heard recently sad news about some struggles he had his life. yes, i always felt a sadness might exist in him, watching his movies; maybe that's pt of the reason i like him! but more likely it's that he was a big, handsome, funny, kind-seeming man.
this is one of my very favorite movie scenes ever, which i watched last night!! i don't see how to imbed it from youtube, so please click the link to watch it: john candy, messaround
my additional top 10 funny movie scenes (for right now, 8:55 am on sunday morning):
1. miller describes the cosmic lattice of coincidence in "repo man"
2. gomez and morticia speak of their love in "addams family"
3. the concluding opera in "night at the opera"
4. the monster is created in "young frankenstein"
5. professor wagstaff rows a boat & everyone sings in "horse feathers"
6. the general store scene in "it's a gift"
7. the agents drive thru a tunnel while listening to elvis in "men in black"
8. the drunk sequence of "mystery train" (with joe strummer)
9. peewee goes into a biker bar in "peewee's big adventure"
10. the family goes to buy a christmas tree in "a christmas story" many more. add your favorites, if you want. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

in loco parentis; amor tussisque non celantur

-> not much can be better than being at teacher -- or in my case, teacher-librarian -- at the holidays. in the staff lounge, the special ed teacher smiled peacefully as he carefully cut up pumpkin pies for his students. a wan-looking boy stood w/our tall jovial dutch cafeteria manager; while here, the boy had only patches of hair while he recovered from cancer, but now that his hair’s grown back, he’s razored it off. his hands worried his sweatshirt pockets. “how are you, j?” i asked, & he tucked his head & replied, “oh, ok, i guess. i overslept & missed the bus.” “looking forward to the holidays?” i asked, & he replied, yeah, i guess so. “get to sleep late, don’t have to go to school,” said i, & he grinned a little. “things aren’t so bad, are they?” said i, & he said, “no, i guess they’re not,” & smiled.
-> today i brought cranberry sauce & chicken, since my students said they’d never had the former… i continue to be amazed by what many of these kids have never experienced! skinny little v, toothy & spiky-haired, poked his head in and wished me a happy thanksgiving. my students, “the low class,” roll into the library here little by little, being normally as a group late for school, carrying their bags of goodies for our class thanksgiving. “put them by the president,” i say, & they set their bags by the two framed pictures of youthful, beaming president obama i have there, one a letter to our school thanking us for our congratulations to him upon his election, the other emblazoned with the words “at the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better. it is an enormous force for good.”
yesterday, although awfully sick still w/hives & now swollen gums, i got to have quality time w/two powerful, loving women, then w/3 of my favorite men, my band. today i leave here, stop off at the grocery store, then it’s home to attempt to make memphis mike’s famous gumbo (please pray for me, whose fridge bears the motto “i kiss better than i cook,” purchased for me by my family). these dang cortisone pills are really making me feel weak & weird, but tomorrow if i’m at all better, i’ll drive out to hart park for the 6 am phantom pie run. you run as far as you like, sez andy noise, & admission’s a mere pumpkin pie (on sale 2/$5 at foodmaxx). you can’t miss it, if you drive out to hart pk. 100s of happy, hale folks participate & there’s lots of breakfast grub available! (btw, if you’re looking for a tasty, tiny sweet potato pie just for you, try louisiana chicken & chinese down on union near the welfare office.)
-> in class, we wrote about being thankful & i put on charlie brown thanksgiving (barely audible above their keyed up clamor) & the ones who’d brought food served from a line of desks w/little a., smart but a space cadet, to my side cheerfully serving pumpkin pie, & my wild, restless, often confused & angry class got fed & got to talk & gentled down just a little, not by my definition of “good manners,” of course, but i could tell they were happy, so that was what was most important today.
-> around my teaching time, the library teemed all day w/loud, excited, happy middle schoolers. after the last bell, a score or so stayed to play on the computers & to practice w/me for next wk’s spelling bee. i limited their study to 3 language families so that they wouldn’t be too overwhelmed, & to look into their innocent, discerning faces as they strained to find the next letter of that next latin, arabic, or “asian language” word was priceless & precious & i got that happy waft. these kids, our future, trust us w/their lives & we willingly act “in loco parentis,” sometimes more so than their own birth folks. of course they need every one of us, not just teachers, to help shepherd them to happy adulthood.
-> a few days ago here at school, they had a turkey trot. today, boys & girls from grades 6-8 took home to families free birds, donated by the teachers. yes, there is much for which to give thanks. kindness, charity, friendship, love, music: the air is palpable with the goodness of humankind & the life process &, many would say, god.
-> may your holidays be filled w/contemplation, gratitude, love, & all that is good.

Monday, November 23, 2009

hope this verse'll do; if not, voodoodoo doodoo you (ipod ramblings)

(note: first word is the unstressed syllable. now you may proceed.)

when did careful mix tapes turn to shuffled ipods?
why am i writing in verse, you might mention?
moreover, when most of my mind's on the nod
why do i perversely attempt to do scehnsion???

well, i feel a slight pressure lately to write
so scribble i shall, while music a-listenin'
tho life's quite mundane, really, to be polite
...downright boring's the actual description

yeah, i got hives the other day bad
and wanted to jump off a cliff and to drink
but dad sez it's stress and that caused me glad
cause stressors will terminate with time's what i think

now phil alvin's on, my future ex-husband
tho i know he's even more batty than i be
i first saw his face when four plus a dozen
and broadsided by hormones went blasters-band crazy

so now i'm just sittin and drinking detox tea
helped angie move to new house this p.m.
hoping this stupid itch will soon leave me be
so tomorrow with dusk devils i'll flat-git-out rock 'em

so now you can see why i ain't a verse writer
it's so hard to focus when allergy's're itchin
please comment and tell me how you be a fighter
cause when i pay heed to you i stop a-bitchin

ps - re below comments: no, that's not my sister, but my friend tammy in the pic, tho surely we are genetic relatives along some branch of the human tree, further evidenced by our nasal resemblance... & no, heheheheh, that's not me on the rev horton heat poster, but thanks for making my evening picturing that while i sit here itching & scratching & feeling like some bloated leviathan, wondering what the heck i'm allergic to this time aside from the whole frigging planet earth.
aaah.... the isleys... aaah... the red devils... aaah slim harpo... life is good in spite of me. :)
btw, you can still buy big manny's christmas LP, on which i participated, at this website: The Big Manny Christmas Album

Monday, November 16, 2009

discipline & unsung stories

- updike would rise early each a.m., head to his upstairs, & dutifully write for 3 hrs. kerouac supposedly wrote on the rd by feeding a 120-ft roll of paper into his typewriter & letting fly. somewhere between's people like me (neither disciplined nor dope-driven, most of us toil in obscurity, which is just fine w/me). as a kid, i loved nothing but the piano more than my portable olivetti, & i'd clack away daily at it: imitation chandler & hammett, detective stories, marx bros script, feverish tales of my cousin, sister & i meeting the beegees (i was a KID after all!). never finished a one, & my niece is now the same, tho she writes her feverish tales by hand & they revolve around androgynous j-rockers.
- as much as music, people, exercise, & finding shiny objects on the ground, i just love to write, & besides a behemoth of a masters thesis & yrs in jr reportage, i do it for self-expression -- tho i spose there's always a bit of social agenda there, since i AM a teacher from a family of teachers &, tho yes a little smudged by a kinda sordid but mostly garden-variety-drunk past, basically am a goody two-shoes... i like to be good, & i like people who read what i write to feel good, & i keep that in mind while writing. yes, nihilism, marker of my youth, is gone, & therefore, i guess, so are my tender yrs, & good riddance, i say!
- haven't written for many days, so it's time, is the idea. things’ve been up & down: lots of headaches/sore throats probably due to our poisonous air; much time w/family & friends; enjoying crisp-autumnal clime; did 1/2 marathon the other day & am still somewhat crippled by the bout (time was 2:19, not bad for a non-athlete like me)...
- see, i've always been in this place & tho for a while chronicled my mostly-drunken escapades in a comic (look to link @ right for true tales of glumglum), @ times i glaringly know i just don’t have much that’s exciting to write of.. however, i DO know people who’ve had fascinating lives, & i trumpet here & hope they read & are inspired to finally get some of their stories down!
- here, for instance, is my dear friend donna's nativity scene: step-dad is coming home off the rd; he's stand-in for hank snow when hank's too drunk to get on stage & sing. he walks in & donna's dear mom's laying across the kitchen table w/the other kids standing worriedly around, mom’s yelling, "i'm having the baby!!!", step-dad runs across the rm, slashes down the venetian blind cord & uses it to tie off & cut baby donna's umbilical cord.
- what a frigging entrance!! donna's hilarious & weird story "the worm" is at that link at right, & she has tons & tons more. what an amazing life, & she’s gotta lot more to live!
- and aunty rita? she lived all over the u.s. as well as in el salvador when uncle henry worked shutdown on nuke plants & she just bursts w/stories: armed guards escorting her to the mall in salvador; carjacked at gunpt in miami beach & then the thief got on the fwy & got stuck in a traffic jam & the cops got him; dancing w/merle haggard & all the honky-tonk hunks when she was the knockout-life of the party in the 50s-60s; living on buttermilk & cigarettes a smitten cowboy’d bring her every single morning to nurse her hangovers when she worked at the bank; coming to in the bushes & knocking on the window, but her sister wouldn't let her in the house… (well, ok, i DID live that particular story…) my long-time friend, big gruff dm, tells of partying at his friend chief’s pad while dm was a hollywood high student, putting down the bong to espy a stretch limo outside, & next thing he knows, in walks elvis! yes, none of these stories’ve been written down… til now… so you read it here 1st! :)
- i should be more like dad, local historian, who gets wind of others’ fascinating lives & patiently but doggedly pursues til they spill. dad, the quiet but politely subversive gentleman w/matinee looks who always has lived w/in 10 miles of his birth, is someone who thrills @ others’ narratives (b rode sidecar as a motorcycle ice racer in colorado; uncle henry went out on the nuclear sub, where they couldn’t shower for the 1st month cause the stalls were filled w/smokes & booze; steve strelich stood in for movie stars, did marathon swims & dances, & met a dictator before starting up a wrestling arena that still stands here in bakersfield). yes, dad really listens & truly loves interviewing & getting down on paper the adventures of others. he honors others, in so doing! please click here to read some of dad’s work:
- well, aside from getting marmalade at the bent ‘n’ dent for my students (who’ve never heard of or tasted it) & some terrific books @ the goodwill, "my" tale for tonight’s been told, so if you’ve got a story that needs telling, post it, post it, cause why the heck not??! life’s too short to sit back & wait for someone else to sing your story, & even if you’ve not traveled far, as folks  mentioned here have, i believe that a tale well-told can take place right in your kitchen, bathroom, backyard, or noggin...

Monday, November 09, 2009

feliz semana/fotos de tammy (y yo y mi banda)

well, merle haggard was at trout's sat night. and cash'd out at f-lips sunday. and i saw none of it!!! but my wkend was super swell & hope yours was, too. :) it's a golden morning... may all be well...

Saturday, November 07, 2009

blablablablablablabla & a get-well-soon to jani's foot

it's saturday!!! aaaaaaaaahhhhh!!! :) :) :) :)
how are you? i'm hoping the burning pinch above my left eye will be loosened by this cup of coffee i drink... was supposed to do a walk w/jani this a.m., charity for family survivors of suicides, but jani dropped the new fridge on her foot, so no walking for her. if you read this, it's at harris pk... later, tho, i might pick her up cause mama's having a tea party. doesn't that sound quaint? right now, once the pinch evaporates, i will run to the farmer's mkt. if you didn't know, there's one every sat a.m. out front of montgomery world plaza on F st near golden state. an rx said it's worth the extra dough, if you can swing it, to get organic. i just know the apples i got there a few wks ago were juicy-sensational! ...missed my friend british bard david nigel lloyd's show last night at dagney's due to being under the weather, but here's his site: - did see an awesome harvest moon, fecund-golden in the night, over duck park (central). if you haven't been to central pk, directly behind the art museum, thru which the kern river is prettily channeled & darling ducks wiggle & swim, GO!!! it's one of the nicest things around... did you read about the old man who saved the other from pit bull attack? while others took pix/video of the former being ripped to shreds by the dogs, or stood by frozen in horror, 67-yr old andy castaneda used his cane to beat off the dogs, saving the other guy's life. we have heroes amongst us!! bakersfield: we can walk our wide sts @ night in relative quiet & safety, we run into one another in passing @ the mkt or strolling downtown, our traffic isn't too too too bad: yes, i guess this place (except for particulate smog, brain drain, & scary jingoism-fundamentalism) isn't so bad in some ways... yes, if discussions of politics & religion generally are avoided, we are some nice folks, relative to some places!
ok, enough stalling, time to go get in a few miles... may your wkend be very, very, very long... & mine, too! :)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


ohhh... have a headache/sore throat & am being attacked by delusions of obesity. time for a gratitude list!
1. being a dusk devil; 2. pizza & chicken & fries w/the fellers last night on randy claus; 3. not too hot these days in bakersfield; 5. planning & imagining & dreaming up another band trip; 6. gina marie & toni; 7. learning new songs last night; 8. randy's nice kid; 9. the comedy team of philbert & krambo; 10. my little shelter; 11. reading interesting book called nickeled & dimed (donated by woman who read my article in the paper); 12. spoke spanish a lot today at parent-teacher conferences & really enjoyed it, tho i likely sounded mentally challenged & my brain hurt afterward; 13. compliment from school grandma on article on importance of libraries that the cal ran 2 wks ago; 14. running the track & just being around the nice kids at our school; 15. friendly, sympathetic chat w/nice school mom who's also getting divorced; 16. will hang out w/family tonight & do my laundry; 17. stephanie & sylvia; 18. free californian at the farmer boy restaurant contained cryptogram & pic of beaming brown old man who saved another from pit bulls by beating them off w/his cane (it just made you blubber to read it, or at the least, be moved); 19. egg sandwich w/lettuce at farmer boy; 20. alice & other nice people at my school.
21. about to lie down for a quick snooze before an appt i hope will continue to extricate my head from my can. the hour has arrived...zzzzzzzz....

Monday, November 02, 2009

rest in peace, jay; halloween at cal; "fair is foul, & foul is fair: hover through the fog & filthy air"

->this past wkend i saw again that contradiction, confusion, even calamity can make the life-path more clear. usually i heed & cultivate & covet my joys; however, then, having nearly fetishized the "happy" & transcendent experience, when misery hits, i magnify & pathologize it: I JUST WANT TO BE HAPPY!! WHY CAN'T I BE HAPPY??? (continue w/self-pity script). but really, of course of course, as all a-dults know, misery's a part of life, a prompt to action, a message, a whisper or kick from the universe to get cracking. to quote zombieland, "time to nut up or shut up!" which i take to mean, get moving, stop whining, no half measures. for out of action, spurred by misery, revelation, growth, improved closeness to other humans can bloom... what a change of mind & life i got to have by leaving this "filthy air" for a wkend!
-> 1st, this: jay & cece were friends from the motorcycle trips i used to go on. they were the most perfectly matched duo: hard-core sf-born stone-cold bikers, recovered & into service, short, stocky, long-haired, cheerful in the grateful way of sober people who've been rescued from a common peril & realize it. they were such great examples of happy sobriety, sponsoring tons of people. on summer trips, jay & johnny (& woody if he was in the rm, too) would make the hotel walls & ground shake w/their snoring in a cacaphonous thunder that was sort of funny cause it made all us non-snorers in the rm feel like we were snow white w/the 7 dwarves, mebbe.
-> brian & i went to visit jay & cece one time at their place up in gold country & cece & i did wii sports, which was huge fun i'd never done, then we all went to this italian trattoria housed in a big wooden building & to a speaker mtg. when they'd stop thru bako en route home from parker, az, where they'd set up their enormous rolling 2nd home for the spring & summer, cece & i would sing everly bros @ the piano. cece is a great harmonizer, her dad having traveled the country in a barbershop quartet back in the '50s. she also told incredible stories about being the little queen of the portuguese church she attended, of her aunts crawling on their knees to approach her, all gussied up like a tiny bride, at the altar.
-> i write this bc sunday while i was in berkeley, all those friends whom i don't & maybe won't seen anymore held a wake for jay, who passed on last month. b wrote me that jay woke up w/a sore back, went to the rx, & was told he had systemic cancer. it took him faster than it did uncle henry (june 18). wise, friendly jay is much missed by all, & i hope the many sponsees whom he helped show the way will continue to carry the msg of recovery. if you know cece, or just want to post something for her, i'll pass along condolences. she is a great little lady, such a champ.
-> berkeley was swell. left the valley smog for the east bay, staying again at the piedmont house hostel, & walked telegraph, shattuck, university, ate crepes, loved zombieland & the most delicious caramel popcorn @ the shattuck moviehouse more than i thought i ever would (never seen such a combination of X-rated gore [closed my eyes a lot] & warm-heartedness), went to bookstores, novelty stores, enjoyed the breezes, dined at angeline's cajun cafe to the wonderful sounds of nola tunes, felt aged & tired but then ultimately not unhappy amongst the droves of laughing, squealing, bellowing berkeley kids in their halloween fineries, got in my costume (pic from last yr & this below)) & drove to alameda to tammy & byron's & visited while they passed out candy (old-school punk & rockabilly slapped away in the background & tammy & sarah & byron cracked foul-mouthed jokes - declaring us all "wenches" & "scurvy mates" - in that cool mix of irreverence & love for life that the livelys have). cruised alameda's main drag, then navigated thru oakland & back up to berkeley in the inky night. sunday brought a late, good breakfast & a cheaper & better possible crash pad for next time, followed by an hr at the hot tubs on university. for $17/person ($7 w/coupon), you can steam & soak for a whole hour!!! an affordable spot to soak away worries, relax, take a break: terrific! it was like a one-hr vacation!
-> however, this kind of experience isn't too wise when one next has a 5-hr drive home... eep.... but made it back. belated halloween, all saints, dia de los muertos to all. may your spirit be stirred, soon & often, by the joys & miseries of being, & from them may you have revelation! :)