Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I am standing at the curb waiting for the 12:40 Greyhound Bus to Baltimore.

As I stand here, I notice that as the other busses arrive, the ‘greyhound’ on the side of each bus has changed. The colors are darker and richer than per usual, with a slight hint of Prussian blue in the body; the animal is has a smooth inner bevel that it did not have before, and that makes it practically come alive on the side of the vehicle.

It is 12:30 and 42 degrees. Yesterday it was 62 by noon, but that is unusual for this time of year.

I thought for certain it would be sunny today, but it is not.

I am holding an envelope in my hand, and the envelope I am holding contains a letter.

The color of the envelope is that perfect blend of yellow and white, almost a cream or confectionary color, a custard or lemongrass, barely transluscent yet also subtly powerful and ethereal. It has a distinctive character yet oddly forgettable name; a color you used to see a long time ago on cars, and yet forgot, back when teenagers used to drive them for fun all over the neighborhood– a color that is spiritual, somehow sensual and yet vaguely nostalgic.

Inside the envelope is the letter, folded in crisp thirds, covered in ink that was clearly written with a fountain pen, most likely a vintage Sheaffer or Waterman, perhaps a Waterman Rubber Ripple. The color of the ink itself is what was referred to as ‘Peacock Blue’ an antiquated tone which is rare to find these days, yet quite satisfying if you do. Why? If you have ever seen a peacock, you know how its feathers can be either blue or green, or blue and green together, as is often the case with peacock feathers that seem to fan out in such a beautiful way that color becomes an diaphanous blur that is almost impossible to follow with your eyes. And if you have ever seen a peacock run, you know how exhilirating that can be–a wash of heavenly rich tones that seems to generate more excitement as you reflect and linger over the sensation than when you experience it. As breathtaking a color as it is, the beauty of the work was made complete by what I find inside the envelope.

The ink, upon the vellum, is the perfect foil for her handwriting: stark, angular, vigilant, with high upper zones and extreme differentials and sharp cap heights that seem to etch into the page like stone. Each letter is kerned tightly to the next, in an almost frightening, yet alluring, and quixotic fashion. It is the perfect complement to the soft texture of the paper, much as the color of the paper perfectly complements the ink. Together, it seems almost harmonic, if not symphonic, and it has been so long since I have seen all these elements together, that the experience of holding the letter together is almost arresting–the combination of colors, of textures, the quality of the ink–even its aroma! –the subtle interplay between the characters make the experience of enjoying a letter such is one that I will always cherish once I begin, and I am reluctant to even begin. And so I open it slowly, slowly, and perhaps even a little sadly, savoring it as one might when opening the case of a 18th century Chaconne Stradivarius, dipping into the experience of not knowing, of anticipating, more delicious than the knowledge and knowning can possibly be. I unfold the thirded letter gently, lovingly, and my heart begins to race.

“Please, Please, Please.” The letter begins. And then another “Please.” And then I hear the sound of another bus arriving at Gate 12, my Gate 12. I hear the dark bleed of pressure upon the diesel brakes. I notice the dove-grey soot that traces the wheelwells like the filigree of designs that one might seen swirling in patterns on the floors of oceans too deep to explore. The bus idles at a proud stop as I fold the precious letter inside the envelope and place it in my jacket pocket. I pat the letter gently with my right hand and ascend the stairs.

The driver says Please when she asks for my ticket, and I wonder why exactly I am going to Baltimore.


Today I thought about the so very many dark and grim film choices of Isabella Rosellini, but now that I see her on the set dressed in an dusty rose skinsuit simulating the sex act of earthworms, I think that things must be looking up for her.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Recently my son came home from school badly bruised and his clothes were torn and messy. What happened, son? I asked, concerned. Mike beat me up again, he said. Why did he do that? I asked. I don’t know, he likes it. He likes to push people around. Why don’t you fight back? I asked. Why should I? He’s bigger than me. He will beat me up even worse. It’s bad enough as it is. Son, I said, removing my pipe from my mouth and tapping it on the edge of the silver ashtray, I am going to die of lung cancer if I don’t quite smoking this pipe. Or possibly cancer of the jaw, or even emphysemia–all horrible, horrible deaths. And then Mike and his bullying will be the least of your problems. Believe me. So stop worrying about Mike. Stop worrying about everything. You never know what’s going to happen in life, although it is a sure bet that I am going to die a horrible death and that’s something you can count on.

You’re right, Dad. It could be a lot worse. And it really doesn’t hurt that much either. It’s not like he’s giving me lung cancer or something. That’s right, I chuckled, you definitely don’t have that yet. Or emfeeseema, he smiled, seeming more relaxed. No, not that either, I said with a grin.

I tell you what, I said, How would you like a nice slice of coconut cake? Mom left some in the fridge for us. It’s pretty tasty and very sweet. She has this special recipe. He squinted out of his good eye and asked Mom? Who do you mean? Mom, I said, you had a Mom once. She left about five years ago. She did? Yes, son, she did. Did she leave you or me? Well, I suppose she left both of us, but I tell you, that’s the least of my problems now, I chuckled. Don’t worry about that. Worry about me. Have some cake. It’s in the fridge. It’s delicious. Have some, son. Things won’t seem so bad. They really won’t. They won’t because they can’t. Not after cake. They just can’t.



When I entered the bar in the morning, I ordered two Cointreaus.

Later, that same afternoon, I ordered a bottle ‘of your best champagne’ – Veuve Clicquot, ‘28. It’s French.

That same evening, I ordered two champagne cocktails, but did not specify the champagne, because–war has been declared! Head for the hills! Meanwhile, I drank two champagne cocktails.

Who am I?

HINT: I am an alcoholic, very much in love.


Hooray! The war is over!

It doesn’t matter who I am anymore.

Let’s have a drink, for I love you.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Chapter XIII

In which our heroes rest from their travails of daresay feasting upon Ensalada de Pollo, No Snapper, whilst sipping upon a copa of Cruzcampo and savouring a delightful endive pleasing to both the soul & fundament, they are startled by the sight of El Hombre de la Capa Anti-Cristiana peering at them, barely visible over the steam’d windows of the Via Colon, steamed because it is rainy outside, his short hair evidently just brushed, his plump white neck sticking out of la capa, wearing an expression of benevolent welcome compatible with his imperial majesty and smelling of cerise eau-de-cologne.

BASTARDO! cry our heroes, and El Hombre is gone almost as quickly as he appears: it is approximately 1:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time.

EL HOMBRE is available as a freedownload over there, to your right...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Today I thought: the worst always seems to be the best.

Today I heard that Richard Hugo, the poet, apologized, much later, for bombing the poet Charles Simic when he was a child during World War II in Belgrade.

“Which came first: The Revolutionary War or the Civil War? 30% of Americans say: it doesn’t matter” I think I heard today on the radio but it is hard to say because I was driving the way I drive.

Today I decided there is another way to write a poem: write a really really long poem and then chop out the worst stanza and throw away the rest and that will be that.*

Today I thought: even though it doesn’t seem possible, James Taylor still sings like he has hair.

Today I realized even though I have seen CASABLANCA a hundred times, I always forget to ask where Paul Henreid got that scar on his face, and whether or not it is actually there in all of his other movies because I don’t remember.

Today I thought, FASCINATING RHYTHM is the song that makes me think that the Gershwins weren’t geniuses, but then I hear BESS YOU IS MY WOMAN NOW and I think the Gershwins were geniuses in spite of the fact that they also wrote FASCINATING RHYTHM.

Speaking of geniuses, Charles Simic won the MacArthur Genius Grant and he mispronounces the word 'assuage.'

Today I admitted that whenever Tony Bennett says: DANCE! on his records, I get up and start dancing no matter what I happen to be doing at the time.

*TODAY'S WORST STANZA: ...It doesn’t change the fact, though, that if we go to Biscayne Boulevard it could be difficult to get any real sun as long as we are there, depending upon how long you decide to throw harmonicas at me, and whether or not one hits me hard enough to hurt me quite gravely. Still, Biscayne Boulevard is so close to my house, which has a nice pool and a tennis court, and I could sun myself before I go to Biscayne Boulevard to meet you, or should I say, to meet your harmonicas.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I am happy to report that, as of this date (March 23, 2009) readers have downloaded 30 copies from the Works of Crispy!

That might not seem like a lot to you, but

1) I only know three people in the world, not thirty

2) I eat cold mashed potatoes every night because nobody will cook for me and

3) I eat them at a little table that was made by snarling, hirsute, bitter old men from Eastern Europe and

4) I tend to toss and turn in my sleep, I only pretend to speak French and

4) the only station I get on the TV--the one that was owned by my grandmother who suffered unspeakable indignities in the hands of the Bolsheviks**--is PBS.

But please: do not feel sorry for me. Or Granny Flotilla. Simply download my books! It would do me a world of good. You? I am not so sure.


Crispy Flotilla

* I know what you are thinking–did Crispy misspell 'oeuvres'? It's possible, but this was the spelling offered by RANDOM HOUSE online, which also proffered some excellent wrinkle cream ointments on the adjacent page.

**Don't worry--she escaped from the Bolsheviks. She was old, but agile and wiry and fiendishly clever.


There are very few things I can say with absolute certainty, but I am at least pretty sure that Guy Maddin did NOT have a happy childhood.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Few grapes know how to add or subtract, but Gerald was quite unlike most grapes in this respect.

“One cow upon the hill, two in the valley,” he would say as he crested the hill on his morning walk to the store. “That makes three.”

The cow upon the hill seemed to know that he was
being counted, as if by telepathy, and so he gazed
lovingly upon Gerald the Grape and smiled.

Gerald smiled, too. But he was not noticing the telepathic cow on the hill. He was considering three friendly things instead: pencils, dollars, and subtraction.

“I need to buy three pencils at the store in order to write my autobiography,” said Gerald, “the store sells them at a fair rate of 12¢ for three. Since I have a quarter, how much money will I have left over once I have purchased four?” he asked, almost rhetorically, to the silence of the hill and cow, as if to hone his skills as a teacher, which is a profession he was considering lately, more for the sheer pleasure of sharing his knowledge of figures rather than to make money, although he did fancy the idea of owning a row boat or perhaps his own cow.
Gerald continued to contemplate the problem he had made up all by himself. By now he, Gerald, was close to the gas station where the friendly gas station attendant, Harold, would greet Gerald with a friendly “Hello” or sometimes “How is the addition and subtraction going?” which Gerald, who was thoughtful, inevitably answered in the same fashion: “Splendidly, I suppose,” which was a very sensible answer, since addition and subtraction are always usually going the same way, and since we can never really suppose how well things are going in general, nor what might happen next, particularly in this world, which has become rather unpredictably topsy-turvy of late.

I mean, think about it: did you imagine this morning that by this evening you would be reading a story about a grape that adds and subtracts with a friend named Harold who was a very friendly gas station attendant? Even if you had, would you have imagined that the grape could walk, or that the story would end like this?

"DESIRE" from MAYBE WAVY (1999)

I want to be the ink in
the pen of john sebastian

as he wrote
“summer in the city”

I thought as
I listened

in sorrow
to pat boone’s

“speedy gonzalez”

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I have conducted an exhaustive study of who can, and who cannot, sing with Tony Bennett and get away with it. But I will not share my findings unless at least three of my readers beg me to do that.

I will be waiting in the living room, listening to Tony Bennett singing with someone who should not be singing with Tony Bennett.



Crispy pictured atop fence during Crispy's early go-go boot period

Dear Friends & Belovèd Arch Enemy Bizzaro Supermen,

I have been hard at work and not dying and also writing the fourth book in the WAVY trilogy: MAYBE WAVY. That's right! It's only a maybe-a collection of all the work that I thought was not worth saving in one handy 430+ page mess. Funny thing is (God I love funny things is) I think I like this one the best of all the WAVIES. So poo on you, WAVY I, II, and II. Make room for !V.

I hope to have this collected, edited, proof read, formatted, designed and covered by party time. Please pray for me, if you like to pray.

Love unlimited,


And here is the first page of many, written when I was, I think, 2:


Take us to this movie
and leave us there filled with sadness
and our hair uncut by the world’s
greatest composers!

Late Spring, 1983

Sunday, March 15, 2009


In anticipation of our Berliner • Sarsaparilla Books Release Fiesta, all Crispy Flotilla books are now available as free downloads until the day of the event, exclamation mark.

Just click on the link for any of the 20 books listed to the right (AGE OF ANXIETY, BEE STINGS, etc.) and then click 'Download' and the book will be transfered to your desktop and you can either read or print it according to your wishes.

A request (well, three):

If you do download, I encourage you to review or star the book on the site or send a note to me at this address regarding the book–if you like the book or books, that is. If you don't, please send me a note to that effect and I will come to your house and play Claire de Lune on your piano. If you do not have a piano, I will of course buy you one.

OH. And tell your friends about this. And buy copies if you want to, of course. And come to the party, when it happens.

Crispy Flotilla

A few notes:

• The quality of the artwork will depend on the paper and printer – it might not appear as it does on the screen for that reason. The words, however, will remain the same!

• The books come in a variety of sizes (none are larger than 8 1/2" x 11" though.) If you are feeling ambitious, you can cut them to size after printing, and bind them in any manner you see fit (bind, please, but do not gag.)

Request count: 6

Thursday, March 12, 2009



Like the ancient Chinese, I am drawing a picture of a fungus. 

It is an artful enterprise. 

An artful enterprise that I love dearly. 

I am glad to be this person before you.

On with the pen and the brush and the scalpel. 

No jade-just me and utensils.

I work tirelessly-if you can call it work-it is not. 

It is recess with a large serving of soul.

They say that what you resist, you become. 

Well, I am not resisting this fungus. 

I am embracing it. 

And I am drawing it. 

I am drawing it with love in my heart.

I am not very good at drawing fungus. 

I like to tell the truth.

And I am swinging.

And I like to practice things.

Come here, fungus!

The fungus makes a face at me.

The fungus is making little poopy noises.

Fungus du mal!

The fungus is scampering away!

It is resisting me!

The next thing you know, the fungus has become me.

Any way you look at it, I am a fungus.


After a busy day at work, I wanted to see a movie about a reclusive author.

I turned on the television and opened a bottle of root beer.


The next thing I know I am watching a cat in a cage being force fed a diet of mind-altering psychotropics by CIA operatives who were engaged in classified mind-control experiments that rendered cats as well as college students and professors and volunteers with the look of wild animals fighting to stand upright in a wind tunnel while trying to escape on an escalator that is having seizures itself and is covered with razor wire.

Some recovered, some did not.

It’s true, there are a lot of good reasons to make careful decisions. They make a good point.

Still, all I wanted to do was see a movie about a reclusive author.

One with a happy ending.

One with a funny story about a dinosaur.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Don Bachardy loves telling the story of why you can see an Indian Corn Cob given as a gift from Elsa Lanchester on the coffee table in the sketch of Christopher Isherwood relaxing in a wicker chair, and how you can even see it in the painting made at the same time, but how you can no longer see it before you, on the coffee table right there in front of you the one that Christopher Isherwood sat behind, the one that you can see in the drawing and in the painting. It almost seems like a secret, and Don Bachardy seems a little mischievous about it.

"You see, we used to have a rat that came in here. And we decided that the only thing we could do to get rid of it was to starve it out. So Christopher and I closed all the food containers everywhere, and the rat became more and more desperate until–"

That's when Don Bachardy becomes almost giddy.

And I am looking at the photograph and realizing that it's true that the Indian Corn Cob isn't there anymore. But then I see the chair that Christopher was sitting in, head back, relaxed, the southern California sun, perhaps a visit from Igor Stravinsky this afternoon? Could we walk along the beach, where we first met?

"That corn cob must have been–fifty years old! Can you imagine doing that? I can't!"

Then it becomes just a little more quiet. The light in the room seems to change. Don Bachardy almost sighs, but not quite. Don Bachardy doesn't say a thing.

I thought he didn't say a thing. And I am not sure if he said it, or I imagined it, but weeks later, when I am looking at a drawing of Christopher Isherwood and Don Barchardy, I am almost certain that I could hear him say "Poor, poor baby..."


Late at night, I used to stand outside Landell and listen to the sound of typewriters. I was certain that great works of genius were being committed to eraseable text weight paper. I didn’t think it was all genius, of course, but there were so many typewriters, and they were all going so quickly, and the sharp punching clicks I found exciting, especially when it was snowing, especially when it was dark.

I wondered if it was that one typewriter that worked so slowly, and steadily. Or perhaps the other that seemed to be the Devil Down in Georgia, as the song used to say. Perhaps it was the typewriter that hadn’t even started yet–the thoughts were still coming, and cigarettes were yet to be smoked and savored before an A-HA! made itself manifest. Perhaps it was simply all of the above, and that I was wrong–nothing but genius is here with us tonight.

No matter what, I was certain that an act of genius was being committed, or would soon be, inside where it was warm and amber gold and removed from the snow, snow which was also something quite brilliant that I was happy to discover, and something that I liked to see when I was inside, and probably something that was being written about inside by someone, at least one someone, who was barely dressed, smoking furiously, aching in at least eight fingers, still young for the time being but still could barely see me outside the window and could care less if he did, shivering and not thinking good thoughts at all, for reasons of genius I do not think that I will ever know.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Superstar Ryan O’Neal smacked actress Susan Blakely in the mouth and smashed boyfriend Steve Jaffe in the during a wild brawl at a Hollywood discoteque: PG. 5

Readers are asked which Psalm did Paul cite to the Jews in the synagogue at Antioch?: PG !5

Ann Margaret, co-starring with Elvis in VIVA LAS VEGAS, was probably one of the closest co stars he ever had, and one of the few who was invited to his funeral: PG 24-25

A new way of slimming down is announced–the SLIMLINE SHORTS: anatomically shaped weight reducing garments made of pure latex and rubber: PG 25

Mud pulled at my low shoes. Soon my left heel was a throbbing blister. I love him, I thought. I love a stranger called André and I’ll never see him again. A stranger is the one I love: PG. 35

Elizabeth Taylor has a new health worry, crippled by a mysterious back pain: PG. 24

Aries (March 21-April 19) are advised to polish up their homes to attract important visitors: Pg. 34

Movie star jack Lemmon is a firm believer in ESP because of a chilling incident that he will never forget: PG 34

An Ape-like monster forced a tough ex-paratrooper from his home near Key Largo, Florida and the monster was almost nine feet tall: PG. 34

The price of a lb. of hamburger held steady from April to July at 85¢: PG. 17

The price of frankfurters climbed from $1.16 to $1.20 a lb. during the same period: PG. 17

Slightly below and to the right of the article on pg. 17 regarding the price of hamburgers and frankfurters on pg. 17, Mrs. George Theede of Nickerson, Kansas discovered that four or five woodpeckers were hammering the telephone trasformers near her house, making her telephone ring with very peck: PG. 17

The members of Girl Scout Troop 746 and Boy Scout Troop 66 are just like any other scout–except: they are naked!: PG. 11.

Cheryl Ladd sat next to a native Hawaiian sporting a Hawaiian shirt who serenaded her on a ukulele and we can’t say if it was the exotic locale or the music but Cheryl Ladd predicted that the new Charlie’s Angels was certain to be a big hit: PG:unknown

The best time for loving is when you least expect it, for example, while doing the dishes: PG. 8

According to Bob Breton, fitness expert, if you are into fitness, BULLWORKER puts it all together with exercises that last less than seven seconds each: PG. 23

Janie, in Atlanta, Georgia, is upset because her parents are angry with her for breaking up with George which she did because even though is handsome and doesn’t curse, drink or use drugs, he chews with his mouth open and uses his hands for a napkin and Janie has more fun with her cat: PG. 30

Firehouse feast are turning America’s firemen into fatties: PG 31

Yes, please send me GOLDEN 60 ORGAN FAVORITES which I may liseten to in my home FREE for 10 days for FREE: Pg. 8

Howard Head has come up with a 9 ft tennis racquet for a trade fair in Anaheim, California that costs him more than $1000 but “It delivers a mean serve”: Pg. 1

On New York’s Fire Island, the resort’s ‘cookie’ patrol pounced on three young offenders: Ruth Bushnell, 24, was charged with nibbling on a piece of crumb cake; student Larry Wallick, 18, was picked up for eating a chocolate chip cookie, and Michael Mastandrea, 29, was run in for drinking a glass of water: Pg. 4

Dennis Weaver is eager to give up his gentle man of the earth McCloud when he gets the chance to beat up his TV wife Sally Struthers in the TV movie, BATTERED. “Sally wants realism. So do I. It should be interesting” : Pg. 4

Now, jolting through the stormy night, every mashing turn to the wheels bringing me closer to Paris and the Comte de Crequi, I felt my stomach grow tighter and tighter with apprehension–I dreaded those cynical, rain-dark eyes: Pg. 13 (continued on next page)

The 1977 Chervolet is equipped with AM radio, automatic transmission, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, a 305 V-8 engine, whitewall tires and bumper pads and guards: Pg. 15

HEE HAW HONEYS, a TV pilot due to be filmed next month, has a character called Billy Carter in it who owns a gas station. Who’ll play him? Why, Billy Carter: Pgt. 19

Rock Hudson won’t have to work for the next ten years if he doesn’t want to yet he’ll still take home a mindboggling $200,000 annual paycheck!: Pg. 19

Sir Lancelot can read just two words, “turn” and “peck” but that isn’t bad-for a duck!: Pg. 21

Picking up the necklace, clasping it between my breasts, I began to weep, “What is it?” Aunt Therese asked, “Manon?” “I shouldn’t...” I sobbed, unable to complete my sentence. I shouldn’t have taken the opals.” Pg. 35

Nature’s Own Mystical Force! The World’s Most Powerful Plant! The Pyramid Energy Plant! Nature’s Own Pyramid Plant Shaped in Pyramid Form: Pg. 41

Huge Restaurant Type Berries are just as big and just as tasty as regular outdoor strawberries: Pg. 43

A five letter word for ‘Cogonomens’: Pg. 46

Candle flame touched the highwayman’s face into dark planes. As he gazed at me, his expression changed to musing, as if he were trying to recall a line of poetry: Pg. 35

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Today I realized that there is simply no reason why I should enjoy watching someone getting hit in the face by someone who is wearing a boxing glove but for some reason I find it to be an elixir.

Today I realized that you could write about the sound of a boxing glove all day long and it still wouldn't be the sound of a boxing glove.

Today I admitted that there is nothing worse than watching someone getting hit in the face without a boxing glove.

Today I realized that I don't like the sight of someone getting hit in the face with a boxing glove, but it is a very nice sound.

Today I thought that maybe, just maybe, the sound of a boxing glove is a little bit like the sound of a Model T Ford starting up, just as the engine turns over for the first time.

Today I realized that there is no reason to write all day long about the sound of a boxing glove–even if I did, I think it wouldn't get any closer than just somewhere near the sound of a Model T starting up and turning over for the first time.

Today I realized that the odds of me ever starting up a Model T are pretty much zero. But I realized also that those are probably the same odds of anyone ever starting up a Model T. This didn't make me happy or unhappy.

Today I admitted that thinking about Model Ts, though, generally make me happy. After all, why not? How about you?

Today I hoped that someday I will receive a letter in the mail from someone who says: "You're wrong about the odds–I am starting up a Model T even as we speak."

Today I hoped that there would be a one cent stamp on the letter and that it will be from someone far, far away and that it would be years before I realized that the letter wasn't addressed to me at all.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


–like young lovers strolling dizzily down the Champs–Élysées in a cloud of toujours l'amour* but not buying anything because the shops along Champs-Élysées are so darn expensive and the stuff is not really as nice as things you might find in Le Marais which is frankly cooler and trendier and...where was I?

Oh yes. MAKE IT WAVY is available this month for nothing. Yes, a prix fixe of nada, as it were.

Please feel free to download it, print it, and PLEASE comment &/or star it on the lulu site if you like–in a kind and loving way–like lovers strolling, etc.

It's 75 pages and it is shiny and orange and it's just big enough that you can use it as sort of a makeshift umbrella if it starts to rain really suddenly out of nowhere. Cut and paste:


Sincerely toujours,

Crispy Flotilla

* a great song by Procol Harum

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Today I suspected that Ibsen meant to be funny when he said to his barber, “I want my hair cut like THIS.”

Today I discovered that The 3 Musketeers on the 3 Musketeers candy bar do not float into the air and travel to Alexandre Dumas’ novel and hide in the crinkly pages just because you look at them for a long time.

Today I thought about fasting and the next thing I knew my hand was filled with chocolate covered peanuts and I was munching them, as though I were in a dream.

Today I decided that the best way to die is to collapse outside of a beautiful hotel that you happen to have lived in very happily for many, many years.

Today I am a little afraid of drinking flaxseed oil, but if I were in a rock band, I would like for my name to be Flaxseed Oil, and I would like to play a big Hammond organ painted as yellow as a banana.

Today I really wanted to do things: make a smoothie and believe in God.


Today I read that the Emperor Chi’ien Wen-Ti of the Liang Dynasty (ca 500 AD) said that his boat was made of marshmallows.


How many things have been written about Elvis? Millions, right? But do they ever mention what a fine fastball pitcher he was? In all the excitement, it seems to be forgotten. No one from Memphis, or wherever the hell he was from, could execute the split finger fastball with the same velocity or precision. Maybe ‘Smokin’ Joe Wood, a Red Sox man, who reputedly threw a 124 ft/sec screamer, but doing that eventually made Smokin’ Joe’s arm go gimpy. And are they talking about Smokin’ Joe Wood at the National Enquirer these days?  I thought not.

Elvis might have loved baseball as much as Wood, but he had another dream, too: he wanted to play the guitar. And he was enough of a baseball scholar to know of Screamin’ Joe, and was smart enough to know that a gimpy arm was too high a price to pay for a 124 ft/sec screamer, even with the roar of love from the bleachers above, and that a man with a gimpy arm is not a man who is playing a fantastic guitar that would make the girls go limp in the bleachers, or the balconies, the Jardin du Luxembourg, Honolulu or what-have-you–all of which he wanted to do. 

And so Elvis gave up baseball, and devoted himself to the guitar: years of disciplined devotion, working to hone and perfect a craft that was every bit as difficult and exacting as music, ballet, film, theatre or anything anyone could aspire to. 

His dedication was singular. And so, after years of painstaking practice, he became, let’s be honest, a fairly mediocre guitar player. Almost lousy. Yes, 'lousy' would not be too strong a word to describe the guitar playing prowess of this young blond baseball player. Still, he did become a very good singer. Seriously good, almost by accident–you might call it a 'happy' accident, in fact. You know, if he had wanted, he probably could have kept playing baseball and everything would still have worked out the way it was supposed to. After all, who needs an arm to sing? Nobody does. It’s a shame, sometimes, how things turned out, sort of.


Meet me at the monkey cage at the zoo
near where the orangutans mate almost
constantly because I will kill myself otherwise

the good news is when you arrive
I will ask you to marry me if you
will forgive me for telling you

that I was married when I wasn’t
and I know that it’s not the most
greatest place in the world to ask
you to share your life with me
but when you think about it, it is

because I always thought that’s what
you like best about me, my lying,
my unusual choices, the sound

of the Neal Hefti Orchestra that
follows my wherever we go
when we are together and would
certainly go away if we were to
part not to mention my lust

for ‘me being me’ as a bonus
to everything else already
detailed quite thoroughly above
and performed in haste in the zany
style of the day (1965) which is now très
gone, très dead, très forgotten, not alive
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