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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Good Grief! Still More on Toilets

January 30, 2011: Blah-ugh! ideas can either fall from the sky, or crawl wretchedly from the shallow depths of one's toilet. You judge where the Muse really dwells ...

Tonight, moved to get another one of these rambling posts into the ether (or out upon the microwaves ... Whatever it is; I'm not Al Gore!), I was pleasantly surprised to get a welcome dose of that muse-manipulated magic to guide me right. For, you see, as I climbed my stairs -- literally moments before I would get to my keyboard -- my no-good son Max bellowed out that he'd fatuously dropped the toenail clipper into the toilet bowl.

Eureka! I thought. This is divine inspiration!

You see, as many new people are drawn to my Blah-ugh!, like so many mealy little European cockroaches attracted to a low-class German bakery (and I don't mean that in any derogatory way, I hope you understand), I'm compelled -- I feel it's my duty, really -- to start repeating myself in order to enlighten all the newcomers to the divine novelty of my meaningless insights and opinions. I only have so many, after all (for as I mentioned, I'm not Al Gore), but these few are important and well worth regurgitating.

So this is -- or at least would have been -- the ideal intro to talk at length about my toilet-related theories, experiences and ideas ...

But, y'know, I'm really, really hungry, and while I've explained in past Blah-ughs! how vital physical hunger can be to the creative process, there's only so much I'm willing to do to please you people. (Selfish cads!) So expect the rest of this finished soon ... or pretty soon. I just -- having paused in my prose -- mashed a large pot of potatoes, and they grow cold as I write ...

So stay tuned ... and, as always, thanks for reading!

Friday, January 28, 2011

By The Way ...

January 28, 2011: There are many things competing for attention in my brain this frosty evening -- favorite Lulu songs, Freecell, Lord Voldemort, Chinese food, images of nude women ... -- and yet, at the end of the day, isn't it always about the nude women!?

Actually, I'm being glib, because that's what I do. You see, I'm trying to make you laugh, and that's why I'm so unsuccessful at it. I try too hard. But then why shouldn't I? You aren't trying at all.

You see, my point is a subtle one, meaning I'm not even sure what it is. I mean, I know there's a point in there somewhere, but couldn't it just as well be a line, or a ray, or perhaps some three-dimensional geometric shape too complicated to name.

And speaking of names, when was the last time you wrote your mother? When was the last time you wrote my mother, or even phoned her. (And she's dead, by the way, so I hope you reversed the charges.)

And speaking of my mother, what of Lord Voldemort? For one thing, he doesn't have a nose, which is part of why it's so hard for him to get dates. Of course, having a nose, I'm not sure why it's so hard for me to get dates, except I'm married, and a lot of women consider that a red flag about committment.

And speaking of committment, am I ever going to figure out how to spell it correctly? No, probably not. If I were serious about committment, I'd look it up, but I'm too lazy. Which is why if the Dark Lord ever comes back, don't count on me to be much help.

And speaking of help, it's amazing how nice some people are about the excessive snowfalls, while others are veritable monsters. My neighbor across the street is a saint, and actually helped clear my driveway last week. Much to my consternation, he failed to clear it yesterday, so I knocked over his mailbox. But what was worse, some guy came along with a power blower and asked for $30 to clear my driveway, and after I'd already shoveled most of it. I told him to shove off, and thought of that poigniant (I know I misspelled it!) line from H.G. Wells, wherein he references a gross mingling of panic-filled disaster and profit. (I intended to point this out to the gentleman, but by then he was four houses down telling my neighbor what a cheapskate I was.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dear Jarret ...

January 24, 2011: A large part of my experience as a columnist involves the myriad letters I receive from fans (and the periodic foe). While many are mere complimentary lauds (with the occasional offer to create a baby), some include very real and serious cries for help in the form of patronly advice, guidance, and intolerant criticism. Those are the ones that strike most soundly against the harpsichord of my heart.

In an effort to share experience, strength and hope, though not necessarily in that order, I thought it might be of value to include a few of the more choice letters here, along with some of my own homespun advice, for everyone's benefit, (although certainly not mine) ...

Dear Jarret:

I am in love with a woman, but she doesn't seem to know I exist. What should I do?

Signed, Scoliosis

Dear Scoliosis,

You DON'T exist, so stop trying to pretend that you do!

Dear Jarret,

Recently I've started experiencing significant pains in my joints, as well as swelling and inflammation. I've also found my equilibrium seriously impaired. Do you have any idea what's wrong with me?


Dear Worried,

You probably have Lyme Disease, and I can't help you. You can thank the government for it, and in the future, please don't send me anything that hasn't been properly sanitized.

Dear Mr. Liotta:

I've often long thought myself to be quite a good writer, not unlike yourself. What, in your humble opinions, are the best ways for me to proceed myself by in fact actually trying to become such a writer as yourself has turned out to be.

Sincerely, Dr. Longfellow

Dear Dr. Longfellow,

You obviously don't need MY help, so leave me alone.

Dear Mr. Liotta,

I've been struggling with finding a job since the economy turned belly-up. Any advice on how I should proceed?


Dear Unemployed,

Just try and get a job. I mean, I don't know how to make it any simpler.

Dear Jarret,

I'm feeling hopeless and despondent. I guess my self-esteem is so low that I feel, in order for my boyfriend to like me, I have to subject myself to degrading sexual acts to please him. What should I do?

Signed, Anything For Love

Dear Anything,

I think we need to meet in person so I can give your situation a much closer look. Please be sure to wear a skirt and no underwear ...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Walking Through (the) Illusion" of Otter Writers

January 16, 2011: I'm hungry ... Which is in fact my best time to write. I invariably find that once I eat, the manic energy that serves me so well in the creative/craft process is soundly stilled once I eat, like the orange hot coals I pour water on late at night when it's time to kill the fire ...

So here I write, and on a vague whim, I thought I would finally give this Betsy Otter Thompson person a book review I said I might consider doing.

Now, for starters, you loyal readers know all-too-well that mine is not the kind of Blah-ugh! that reviews books, or does anything with any leaning toward seriousness, or anything to aid the community, or others. All in all, let's face it, it's really a shitty waste of time -- time that would be better spent by all of us picking up litter. So imagine my surprise when this madwoman sends me an email asking that I review her stupid book "Walking Through Illusion." I was at once flattered and incredibly annoyed. You see, as many of you know, I not only dread and fear my public -- Can you blame me? -- but I HATE (and here, see, I'm capitalizing the letters to emphasize my hate-ness) hate hate hate to be asked to read anything. I can't really explain why, but I just do. While I love to read overall, somehow anytime anyone specifically asks me to read something, it immediately becomes this awful, painful impossible-to-overcome burden. Perhaps it's a holdover from grammar school, where I was never a very motivated reader and basically experienced all reading as a reprehensible chore ...

So, that said, to Thompson's book ...

First off, you should know that I haven't read it, but I don't see where that doesn't qualify me to do a sound review -- probably one of more value than you'd find in any of those hack publications, like The NY Times. The crux of the book (or should I say calix, or crucifix, or some other quasi-religious pun I haven't the energy to create) is a Q & A with Jesus. (Yes, Jesus! Hay-sus Christy, as he's often referred to by some, and the Dark Lord, by others!) Anyway, this Thompson person has creatively concocted a sort of interview with the Big Cheese. (Well, then why don't you ask HIM to review it, huh honey?) It's broken into practical chapters that address spiritual topics, like Truth and Confusion. And it's got a lovely cover with a sort of orangey-yellow explosion.

The best thing I could say about this book, I'm sure, is that it's relatively short, and seemingly concise. If I know Jesus, he's a man of simple ideas, despite his long-windedness, and in her interviews Thompson seems to have kept his (or should I say His? Well, I won't!) inane rambling to a minimum. (Everyone knows Jesus tends to go off on tangents when he's interviewed.) All told, if you're even vaguely interested in things like Jesus and spiritual crap, this may be the book for you, but certainly don't blame me if it isn't; after all, I got my copy for free!

On a serious note (yeah, right), I must commend Thompson for even writing a book. Most of us just sit around on our asses sending text messages and masturbating to reality shows. But those brave, committed few -- meaning people like me -- devote their time to trying to make the world a better place through their writing. And while Thompson can't write anything like I can -- who, after all, could come close? -- I send her kudos in the form of this review.

Meanwhile, speaking of writing, you all should know that my second novel is complete. It's called "The Space Case," and it's the humorous story of a tweeked 30-something whose biological clock is winding down, and the outer space alien with whom she begins a very unusual relationship ... No. No, I'm not kidding!

Now, who the hell's going to review MY book?!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Who Cuts The Hair of the Right Wing?

January 10, 2011: Yes, happy new year, and another entry to stir your imagination, fire your cauldron, ease your temperament, and temper your easement.

The fact is, I'm disheartened with America right now. And who can blame me?! Doesn't the behavior of fascistic Right Wing fanatics simply make you want to scream. (If I were a fascistic Right Winger, of course, the line would have included something about going on a rampage and shooting them, but you see, we artist-types aren't like that, and that's why we're so much better! Yes, soooooooooo much better!!!)

Anyway, as this is a satirical column, despite my trouble with the spelling of words like satirical, I wanted to focus on the levity. And what could possibly be of stronger humor than the haircuts and hairstyles of those very Right Wingers we so detest and fear and yet tolerate (largely because we fear they'll start shooting if we don't try and appease them). No joke -- (and you see here I get very, very serious) -- why do Right Wing Republicans (or whatever the hell they are!) have just the worst hairstyles in America. The men all look like traveling tent preachers, or college football coaches, or 1970s country singers, and the women all look like Middle American Waffle House waitresses, or 1930s telephone operators, or 1970s country singers ...

You'd think the brain trusters who create their cantankerous (and you see, here I can't spell that either) and vitriolic (I think that one's right) media blitzes would devote at least a portion of their think-tanking to hair. Don't these people know how ridiculous they look? And that's how they're so easy to spot! One doesn't have to be subjected to their churlish brand of fear-based hysterics to know that this or that person in that element is a bona fide lunatic. All you have to do is see that hair!