Tuesday, September 23, 2008

THINGS I LEARNED TODAY over many days, thanks to NETFLIX

Patty Hearst ages well.

Steve McQueen is confident, and seems to know what he is doing.

It was 14, not ten days in October, Cuban-missile wise.

If I am feeling old, it is a good idea to take a nice long look at Edith Piaf.

Little boys wore wide, beautiful striped ties in the Soviet Union in 1960.

The Man Who Came to Dinner is not who you had to guess was COMING to dinner. That was Sidney Portier.

The Man Who Came to Dinner was Monty Wooley.

If I had to say who had a better name, Sidney Portier or Monty Wooley, I would be stumped.

Cat Women have seductive and secret powers as long as they are on the Moon.

James Cagney probably had a very interesting heart rate.

If anyone could produce a legion of atomic superman through a series of flesh-burning radiation experiments with his crazed man-beast servant, it would be Bela Lugosi.

Emily Dickinson had a lot of ready cash. I don’t know why I never knew that.

Ernie Kovacs was supposed to be a genuis, but I think that must have been have a mistake.

I think that Zero Hour! is the only movie I have ever seen with an exclamation mark in it.

I don’t know for certain if anyone ever called Tyrone Power ‘Son of Fury’ just as a joke but you must be careful when you choose to act in certain movies with certain titles.

It’s easier to watch Shirley Temple if you can watch Joseph Cotten at the same time. If Claudette Colbert enters into the room, however, Joseph Cotton is outnumbered and it is hard to keep watching with both eyes.

It is inevitable that Doris Day ends up in a convertible at a car wash.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


To discover the Griffin.

What is the Griffin?

A mythical animal: part eagle, part lion.

What’s the point?

No point, really.

But you don’t want to fight with a Griffin–
not with the strength of an eagle and a lion
and the angry snarl of an eagle/lion–
a formidable opponent, to be sure.

Why again did we come to the New World?

Do you know how sometimes there are things
that you aren’t supposed to put in a dumpster
and so you put them in a box and seal the box
and wait until it’s dark and then put the box
in the dumpster?

Early explorers discovered that the shores
of the New World were littered with small,
brown boxes. On the front of each box
you could read one word: GRIFFINS.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I CHING & BEE STINGS is a piece that I began about four years ago when I finally broke down and bought the AMERICANIZED ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA REVISED AND AMENDED 1892.

It was quite a deal I think (about $20) and it's very comforting to own, because it makes you think that maybe we are all remembered if not in the sight of God, at least under the watchful eye of whoever wrote the AEB and I bet it was a whole lot of people who did and even more people of whom are writ. In fact there are SO many people in the AEB that it is sometimes comforting to sit up in bed and read the biographical frontispiece* with all the great entries like THOMAS SAY and RT. HON. M.P. ARTHUR JAMES BALFOUR and JUSTO RUFINO BARRIOS and such; all collected for all eternity, even though the covers–big leather ones–break eventually. No matter! There they are–naked, happy and love and without a leather cover at all.

The day I bought this AEB was truly an exciting day, and the minute I first got their hefty rumps** home I delved into the people and places and things and became so amazingly giddy and lost and asthmatic that I decided I had to do something with it: why not write a condensed AEB, revised and amended (again) for everybody now? It seemed simple enough: all I had to do was selected one entry at random from each letter in the alphabet, read the entry once or twice, drink a soothing draught of something (I like grape soda when it is made in Vermont) and then retell the story to the best of my ability in about one hundred words or so.

I will, I said to myself, Do it! And I did! It was thrilling!***

I guess I should discuss now for a little bit why I abandoned the whole thing. Well, I didn't really – I got through most of the alphabet except O, S, Y and Z and then stopped and began to write THE AGE OF ANXIETY for I guess what you might say are obvious reasons (although I had also taken a plane ride to the midwest at this juncture as well, so either reason seems legit to me.) Still, even four shy of an alphabet, I think of I CHING & BEE STINGS fondly, and do plan on finishing it soon, especially since I have this terrific new cover designed by V. Eugene Craddock. It cries out for O,S, Y and Z and I sincerely plan to deliver. If I can. Soon. I hope, maybe. No, definitely. I can't wait.

In the meantime, here is a ditty from the 2004 version that began as an "H" for "Henry I" and ended as an "L" for "Lamprey."

Yours devotedly,


* It's not a real 'frontispiece' because there is no illustration there and it's in the wrong place anyway but I do love writing or saying the word 'frontispiece' when it is applicable if even only in the most generous and forgiving of definitions.

** It's 10 volumes long, and that great leather exterior and that also great reptilian interior cover work that would look very much at home in Jim Morrison's house, or perhaps even on his bedsheets or stationery. That is, if Jim Morrison had any of those things, which I couldn't really say if he did or not – other than the song PEACE FROG, I am not a fan. And what I like most about PEACE FROG is that he mentions New Haven, and it sounds pretty darn rockin', which I don't remember it being, the one time I went there.

*** Thrilling is the work of David Foster Wallace – this footnote is in his honor, and in honor of all of his footnotes. God Bless Mr. Wallace.

Hall artwork, including handsome monsters but not crinkly devilish types,
® mr. crispy flotilla, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008


One door, the she said, is not enough.
You must go through another. And another.
Until you have gone through a million doors.
And then you might ask “Is that enough?”
“No,” she might say, “ That is one door too many.”

Thursday, September 11, 2008



François, kiss me on the cheek!
I screamed, François entered
the room and walked towards me.
I screamed and screamed and screamed!
And then I kissed François on the cheek,
which surprised him, but he did not scream.
That’s what I like about François–he does
not scream. And yet he does walk towards
me, always in a ‘François’ sort of way.

Did you ever know a François that didn’t?
I, too, have never known a François–and
so you could say: I both know and do not
know François; there are the Françoises
that exist, and the one, here, who I imagine,
walking, not kissing. Allez! There is the lonely
old man, standing on the milk crate, peering
into the jail on Christmas Eve. Who might
that be? Anyone real? No! And so let the
fiction commence:

with a kiss! I enjoy the sound of the wind,
whistling in an amber light, through the bed
of absolute life.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

THINGS I LEARNED TODAY old things except for one thing

James Taylor has a lumpy brow

Correction: James Taylor is an exceedingly handsome man

If you make a movie in the late 1960’s, and you want to appropriate the argot of the times and you are a little too old to do so, the results can often be a shameful

display of awfulness that isn’t far out

The gas nozzle on a ‘55 Chevy was located in the trunk

The standard color of a late ‘60’s Pontiac GTO was the same color as a school bus, with perhaps a dash more red, and yet more orangey than a Slip ‘n Slide or Water Wiggle.

Little waitresses used to adorn the red and yellow plastic ketchup and mustard containers but I am not certain if it is the same waitress on both the mustard and the ketchup containers, the only difference being the backdrop of red or yellow depending upon the container

Women in their 20’s are mature and old, I used to think and I like to remember that

I wonder how Warren Oates died

I wonder if Warren Oates died

Lemon Boys are mighty fine tomatoes


all artwork, including handsome monsters but not crinkly devilish types,
® mr. crispy flotilla, 2008



Chapter One

Next to my book about a businessman getting bitten
in the behind by a shark as he crosses the street,

There’s a book about an average American family:
Mom, Dad, Sis, and Rex.

And they’re cupping their ears to hear the sound
of a pea pod bursting open with flavor.

As the farmer holds the bushel of peas steady,
with both hands.

He’s wearing blue overalls and a straw hat.

Chapter Two

Now that the peas have burst open with flavor,
they have been placed in an attractive wooden box–
and they smell delicious!

Dad smiles anticipatorily. Sis smiles, too. And Rex,
well, Rex smiles a dog smile, and looks towards Sis with–
is it longing?

Meanwhile, Mom looks to the heavens, hoping that,
when she dies, she goes somewhere nice.

All Pea Related Images Courtesy of Crispy Flotilla Biodynamic Verse Initiative Inc. Ltd. & Sons
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