Monday, May 29, 2006


When I conducted a Viennese symphony orchestra recently, I got it all wrong and things went terribly bad. It was Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and I just kept blowing it. Here’s why: I was a little depressed and distracted because of the world. And it got worse. That’s because 1st chair violinists do not have a lot of diplomatic skills. When I was thinking my sad thoughts and not paying much attention to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, I started drifting a little and things got pretty loosey goosey and 1st violinist let me know it. And, being 1st chair and all, he’s kind of a big-man-on-campus kind of guy and so when he misbehaved everyone else got up and started misbehaving, too. “Frauline Olga! Not you, too!” I pleaded, a little crestfallen. I had always thought that if I could depend on anyone in this world, is was 2nd chair violinist Frauline Olga whose golden ringlets cascaded to her soft, rich white porcelain shoulders. But no, it was Frauline Olga, too.

Here’s a list of what was broken and on the floor after I blew it with Eine Kleine Nachtmusik:

1) 110 brown folding chairs

2) 20 or so china saucers that had been filled with rich, Viennese coffee

3) my feelings for golden ringlets that cascade to soft, rich white porcelain shoulders

4) the world

5) my heart

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006

Saturday, May 27, 2006


By Crispy


Big billowy clouds at noon
A slug upon the porch
A woman draws a gun
out of her purse
A man orders a gimlet
There is a fried aroma
in the lobby


editor's note: we have received a number of complaints and comments regarding the uncanny similarity between the characters represented in Mr. Flotilla's acrylic trompe l'oeil "A Study in Green & Red: The Verisimilitude of Christmas Chop Sticks Upon a Field of Starbursts" and the beloved rubber character Gumby that was on television for a long time. When we spoke with his agent earlier this week, he said that Mr. Flotilla could not be reached for comment. He did note, however, that there was only one Gumby, and that Mr. Flotilla had clearly depicted, with breathtaking realism, two characters, not one. When several readers responded by noting that Gumby was often depicted with Pokey, another Gumby-like figure and perhaps Gumby's only real friend, Mr. Flotilla responded to the charge himself by email from his studio in San Marcos where he insisted that, unlike Pokey, his character had no legs rather than four, was red rather than orange, was designed in acrylic paint, a synthetic resin widely used as a latex to produce paints with good color and color retention, and most importantly, was a chopstick rather than a horsey.

Please address any additional comments regarding either Gumby or Trompe l'oeil to:

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006


Hello Señor.

I have a story to tell you.
It involves rich people.
Rich with puppies and monkeys.
Those puppies and monkeys
are clutched to
their rich bosoms,
wealthy and delightful.

“Please say that you love me, monkey”
I overheard one say.
“Are you my only monkey?”
Said another, barren and bereft.
“Puppy, will you marry me?”
Said a third, sterile with intent.

What a lesson is learned today!
For surely all of us, like rich people,
often lavish our attentions upon
that unworthy of our attentions.

I am thinking now of
academia. And the heavens.

Ignored by the rich, who fondle

Beloved by the poor, who cannot
afford puppies.

Or wealth,
shunned by the poor,

in haughty fervor
and without coyness

Let us know today that truly

If you cannot afford
poverty, than you could

do better than to embrace
the helpless and the clutched

If you cannot afford wealth,
you could do better than

the heavens

or haughty fervor
or smugness

If you cannot afford a beating
small heart clutched dumbly
to your bosom

You could do better than

Perhaps somewhat you could
do something

Better it would be

You could improve upon

Well, perhaps

you could not

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006

Saturday, May 20, 2006


If you look outside my window on a clear Spring day, here is what you usually see:

The study of the ceremony can take a lifetime. How fearful am I of anything that takes a lifetime. I cannot study the tea room. It wouldn’t leave any time for me to study James Joyce. You know James Joyce. As in James ‘it takes a lifetime’ Joyce. I don’t have enough lifetimes. Not for James Joyce and tea. Would you like a cup of James, I mean, tea? I don’t know anything about it, but I will bet my life that it is good.

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006


Crispy has embarked upon a dark tale of mystery. Here are the first two columns from that dark tale of mystery. Crispy invites all readers to give suggestions for the third, fourth and fifth panel of this dark tale of, you know, mystery. The bestest will appear in the chronicles of this journal, excelsior. Love, Crispy.

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006

Friday, May 12, 2006


The author shakes it to the grooves of 'La Niña Popoff'

Are you a depressed poet? Think of it this way: even Shakespeare, with all his writing finesse, could not write the mambo gyrations of Perez Prado, a man small in stature but large in musical "sabor."

And so the next time that you despair as you write a dumb sonnet, think to yourself how depressed Shakespeare might have been if he had been born in Cuba in 1900 instead of England in 1500-something, and had wanted to play the mambo rather than write sonnets better than the one that you are trying to write now, (which actually isn't half bad, certainly as good as could be expected from Shakespeare, at least in his nascent mambo writing period.)

Now you can be at peace. Stand up and dance! Release the crazy Cuban dancing man within! AY AY AY CHULETA. Beware of spontaneous erections!

Remember, there is more to life than depression, melancholia, despair, ennui, loneliness, being English, writing poetry and sitting down and not dancing all the time. There's all the opposites of all of those things, just for starters. Vamos a bailar!

Tomorrow's lesson: Why it is important not to wish that you were Danny Kaye.

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006


Oh Colette

If I live to be a hundred, will I ever taste all the food that you have mentioned in your first hundred stories

or so?

countenance of despair, as noted by several credible witnesses

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006


What was that in my dream last night?

I feel very lucky to have my job. When most people ask: “What was that in my dream last night?" They have to describe it, talking about things like electric grids and green brains, eyeballs and staircases and no one nearby because they just aren’t or because they fell down or something and people listening sometimes have a hard time following exactly what you are talking about.

Besides, talking about your dreams these days is not à la mode. It is something that is important to talk about, but to talk about quite quickly so you can move on to other things, like playing the pianoforte.

Luckily for me I do a lot of drawing, in my job and out, and so after I have done all my work drawing I just sit down and draw what was in my dream last night and then say ”What do you suppose it means?”

It’s much easier for people when you do that, and quicker, too, although I cannot guarantee that they will say “Oh, it’s obvious.” They might just say "hmmm." Or they might just say, "Do you play the pianoforte?" And I do. It's just like a normal piano, only stronger. I like to play it.

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I was delighted to find that Google now offers a beta-max translation service for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. I was also very happy that I feel better now after having run into that big tree yesterday. When I woke up, I thought to myself: but only God could make a tree. And then I thought: but only God could make THAT stupid tree. I couldn't help but wonder why I couldn't get it out of my head. Then I remembered Joyce Kilmer and her lovely poem. And then I remembered that Joyce Kilmer was actually a man: what a terrible thing to do to a man! Call him Joyce and tell him he has to write poems about trees! But I think he did a wonderful job with this one. I heard it in the second grade in Mrs. Welch's class and still remember it, even after being unconscious below a stupid tree that came out of nowhere and made me feel all hemorrhagy.

That the great thing about poetry: no matter what kind of physical malady you might be suffering, it's really hard to forget a work of verse that is so much about honest affection. I am completely sure that Joyce Kilmer loved trees, and in an honest, loving way. I am also certain that he loved little robins in trees. And breasts. And leafy arms. And pressing things. I tend to believe him almost always when he writes. But do you suppose he was just kidding about God? I think it gets a little dark when he talks about God.

Joyce Kilmer had a son. Guess what his name was? Joyce.

JK Senior: December 6, 1886-July 30, 1918

I miss my beta max.

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006

Sunday, May 07, 2006


No one told Crispy that the bridge of his nose would hurt if he started to wear glasses. No one. Worse yet, no one told him that although he looked smarter with glasses, he appeared less so when he was wearing glasses and frowing. And so Crispy, with an aching nose and furrowed brow and a troubled heart, mounted his bicycle and rode far away into the purple light of sunset which looked all too real from a distance, especially without his glasses.

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006


I always notice that in the modern fashion catalogues, men’s shirts look quite wonderful as they are resting against the pier near the bay or in an open grassy field or even on a runway with a shiny airplane in the background. But then they–the fashion people–put the shirts on men, and they are always too small, and they look terrible, and the men look unhappy, and it seems as though no one is happy to be where they are. Least of all, the world.

If the world were made right and happy, and if shirts had feelings, which I suspect they might or will, this is what would happen: shirts would say “take me to the runway or the grassy field”; men would say nothing, as befits their masculine nature, relaxing and staying naked on the pier near the bay; L.L. Bean’s first name would quite possible be “Leonardo”; it would never rain on shirts on the foggy shores of New England; women would continue to think outrageous thoughts of poplin and damask, and girls, throwing away the catalogues of men, would play the violin silently in the dark metros of Paris.

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Andrassy, Budapest, Hungary


1) Approach an elevator. Make sure that the elevator attendant has short blond hair and thick glasses with silver rims and appears to be comfortable in uniform.

2) Think to yourself: "I bet that’s not the only uniform he has"

3) Wonder: “I wonder what other kind of uniform he has?” Look at the attendant, La Guarde, for some sort of indication. Avert your eyes as he returns your glance in a steely fashion.

4) Think about having roasted wieners in a a bun for lunch. Wonder to yourself: "I wonder why I would want roasted weiners on a bun for lunch. I don't even like roasted weiners on a bun for lunch."

5) Consider the fact that you might have seen Geschätzter Doktor attendant in “The Sound of Music.” Sing to yourself: “The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music” a little in order to relax.

6) Acknowledge Herr Doktor with a nod when he indicates that you will stand behind the yellow line while waiting for the elevator and then indicates the yellow line by tapping his metal-tipped cane on what appears to be a yellow line at your feel although it is so hard to tell because it is so dark.

7) Try to forget about the fact that there were good and bad people in “The Sound of Music.”

8) Don’t worry about the hallway being so dark. Here comes the elevator!

9) Enter the elevator as requested by your friend the elevator man. Listen to the cool echo when the door closes tightly behind you.

10) Even though there are a lot of people in the elevator, don’t fidget around and be sure not to act upset that the elevator is even darker than the hallway of the elevator.

11) Notice that the elevator moves really, really, really, really slow. Stop singing “So Long, Farewell, Auf Widersehen, Goodbye" from The Sound of Music and return to singing "The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music" from The Sound of Music.

12) Focus on cool things like daydreams like a trip to Austria some day where you can see alive hills.

13) Turn towards the monitor screen in the elevator as instructed by the voice on the monitor. Be thankful that the monitor is nice and bright and cheery and makes the elevator a little less dark. As the man on the monitor starts to talk about things that you don’t want to hear about very much, hum to yourself. Don’t worry about bothering anyone else in the elevator.

14) Continue to hum to yourself for as long as the scary man on the blindingly bright monitor continues to say things. Remember that he is not saying them to you specifically. If you are humming “The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music” and run out of verses to sing as the elevator keeps going and going, try humming “My Favorite Things” and even when you run out of verses,keep going by singing up cool, new, made-up things. It’s easy! There are so many things to be thankful for!

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006


It’s no secret that I love movies and that I don’t pay attention. So it shouldn’t come as a shock to you that, in watching “We’re Not Dressing,” the Carole Lombard vehicle that also stars George Burns, Gracie Allen, Ethel Merman and Ray Milland, that I find myself distracted.

First of all, I think about Carole Lombard being blown up to bits in an airplane. Then I think about George Burns sitting on Gracie Allen’s grave every day talking to her and asking her advice. Then I think about why Ray Milland stopped calling himself “Raymond Milland” and wonder if he thought it would make him more loveable, which it didn’t. Then I think about Bing Crosby’s butt (covered of course) because it sort of codifies his body, which is a terrible looking and yet paradoxically charming body that makes no sense as it is found, in a way that makes you love the world because everyone is so different, terrible and charming, and yet, we are all one and both, as reflected in metaphor by the body of Bing Crosby.

I didn’t mention the loving and kissing bear rolling around the ship on roller skates. That part made me sad. And who needs comedy? Not bears, no: it would be us. And if I am laughing, it’s only because the bear is chasing Bing, and we can see him running thither, annoyed and then captured and secured, like us, unworthy, and yet finding no escape from so many kisses.

all artwork, except likenesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, by Crispy Flotilla ® 2006
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