The ChuckleHut

[ Wednesday, July 31, 2002 ]

 
return to RECIPE CORNER: FIRE MANGOS
This is a great snack and can be very sloppy. So many great things are. Get a good mango - not a crappy one, that's your first mistake right there. Good mangos have a stamp that says "good" on the pit, so you can tell. Peel it with a veggie peeler and cut it with a knife into easy bite-size pieces (actual bites may vary). Put the naked glistening chunks of orange flesh (told you this was a good recipe) into a baggie and add some lemon juice and cayenne - all to taste, I like about 1/4 t of cayenne I guess but I never measure it. If you can see it really easily once it's all mixed in, you probably put in too much. (Heh.) Lemon juice used to come from lemons but now I know that it's really from limes - this stuff makes it fun to pucker - eat yer mangos they make you strong
thats just the way it seems to me at [11:58 AM]

 
WARNING! (a bombsquad special)
thats just the way it seems to me at [10:35 AM]

 
Just because I don't like salted plums doesn't mean nobody likes salted plums. I mean, look at all the salted plums that people buy every day. What it means, that I don't like salted plums, is that they aren't good. By extension, the people who like them are wrong.
thats just the way it seems to me at [10:11 AM]

 
When I get off the bus on my way to work I walk through an area where I don't like to linger. I take the shortest route and I take it quickly. There's a big advertising kiosk surrounded by newsstands, and I'd have to walk out of my way to get around them - but there's a small gap right before the kiosk, just big enough for someone to squeeze through, and I squeeze through it more days than not, saving precious steps and seconds. The ad on the kiosk currently is for some kind of vodka-affiliated malt beverage that I can't imagine ever buying for any reason. It features two women in sunglasses and silver bikini tops (shown from the elbow up only), holding refreshing blue bottles of maltka near their pendulous breasts, each lubriciously ogling the other's - bottle.... it fills me with a sense of refreshment.... the thing is this ad is fifteen feet tall and four feet wide and I walk right right up to it. At one point my visual field contains nothing but four huge breasts. Then, as I prepare to make my quick move around the newsstands and save my pathetic seven seconds of time I could be wasting doing this at work, I see only one enormous silver-clad boobie, much larger than my head, hovering right at eye level, inches from my face. It's all I can do to keep from biting it as I scoot past. IT IS AN IMAGE THAT IS SEARED INTO MY HEAD. Thanks, guys.
thats just the way it seems to me at [9:56 AM]

[ Tuesday, July 30, 2002 ]

 
here's one that's more FUN:

Well you worthless rugrats did you think we'd turn the heat off?
Don't tell me you've forgotten where you spend your darkened days
Your parents cannot hear you as you plead for toys and candy
You knew what you were doing when you chose your vile ways
So you remember Santa? Well down here he totes a pitchfork
Invincible and scarlet in the boiling molten air
He'll slide right down your chimney with a tail long and pointed
But it's you who'll feel the fire as he baits you like a bear.
The elves! The elves, you scream, aghast, the maitre' de steps forward
with tidbits for the demons who so revel in your pain
Your little friends are skewered, three to every plastic sabre
They are gobbled up with relish and there's only you to blame
And all your stupid reindeer and their stench of waste and sulphur
Will join you as you suffer in the cauldrons where you dwell
A million times eternity we shower you with nightmares
Come on you yuletide maggots it is christmastime in hell
thats just the way it seems to me at [11:07 PM]

 
The sky grew black
rain whipped the trees
he's coming back
the orchards freeze

Men stopped their work
and scanned the plain
one man alone
the freezing rain

the weary road
takes twice its toll
upon the man
who has no soul

They doused the lights
and locked the doors
he knew the way
been there before

Stay on your horse
don't be afraid
the clocks have stopped
the children prayed

They had him there
beneath the school
turned him away
into the night

The people sang
he walked away
they watched him go
the freezing rain

They found it there
devoid of life
an endless night
and streets of ice
thats just the way it seems to me at [11:01 PM]

 
something about stress makes me rhyme:
END OF THE LINE
Too many times I trod these steps
the planks split-smiling at my feet
familiar is the dust I breathe --
contempt, a fragrance sickly-sweet.
The hands that push me know me well
and I have seen each calloused fist
unnumbered times within this hall
on countless ventures to the list.
The sallow tallows wanly glean
acquaintences each twenty yards
a metal stud within a wall
malevolence of faceless guards
One time too often have they come
demanding what I cannot know;
one few too many bowls of soup
have slid like crabs beneath my door.
No longer will I bother waiting.
Sunlight does not reach my eyes.
The pain and hunger do not matter.
I no longer am alive.
thats just the way it seems to me at [10:58 PM]

 
Crank Dot Net: bombsquad advises us to crank it up
thats just the way it seems to me at [11:06 AM]

[ Monday, July 29, 2002 ]

 
Noted on the approach to Oakland: The sunset stained the tailings pond till blood lay on the land.
thats just the way it seems to me at [11:35 PM]

 
If I crossed a weasel with a beaver, I don't know if I'd call it a beaver-weasel or a beasel. They're both good.
thats just the way it seems to me at [11:34 PM]

 
INSPIRED BY NEGOTIATING WITH MANAGEMENT FOR A NEW CONTRACT

He grinned without smiling
and spoke without breath
like he thought it beguiling
it looked more like death
His fingers were twitching
with minds of their own
He was stretching his stitching
His cover was blown
I stood with a grumble
and swung with my chair
Excelsior tumbled
from under his hair
His eyes rolled like marbles
and fell to the floor
Yet he still mouthed his garbles
as if there were more
that he needed to say
that he had not yet said
but we'd all left the room
because he was undead.
We returned with a stake
that we drove through his sternum -
you can talk at a zombie
but you simply can't learn'em.
thats just the way it seems to me at [11:33 PM]

 
Today's deadly schedule: up at 3:30, out at 4:30 on the 38 downtown to Powell street; BART from Powell to Oakland 12th Street; meet Anthony outside the station and passenge in his deskmobile to Oakland airport; park in the economy lot and take the shuttle to the terminal and catch the 7:00 from OAK to BUR. Land at 8:05 and catch a cab downtown - arrive 9 am.

Lunch: walk one block in LA. A hoot. Pedal locomotion!

Home: Catch the D-Dash bus outside the office at 4:30 and take it to Union Station. Catch the Metrolink to Burbank. Get a Burbank city bus to take me near the airport. Walk about half a mile to the airport itself. Take off at 6:50, land in Oakland at 7:55. Catch the shuttle to the car and passenge back to the 12th Street station. BART back to Montgomery Street; catch the 38 back home. Arrive 9:35 - or five minutes into my 18th hour of outside activity. Tomorrow: (will also be brutal but limited to 2 area codes and land transportation...)
thats just the way it seems to me at [11:30 PM]

 
Scone is the loneliest pastry...
thats just the way it seems to me at [11:24 PM]

 
Denneheywear: Makes a small man bigger and a big man huge!
thats just the way it seems to me at [11:23 PM]

 
I saw her get on the bus around Polk Street, mismatched and garishly made up, her face stretched taut. She sat near the front and glared at people as they got on and walked past her, her head snapping as she cast her evil eye from beneath her hood and bandana. I was sitting next to an empty seat, as I usually do, way toward the back. I paid her no more attention than I did to the tattered homeless guy asleep two rows away from me, or any of the other freaks that always ride the 38.

Suddenly, dramatically, she stood and swept toward me down the aisle. I felt it coming. The bus was crowded but the seat beside me still was empty. There had been no eye contact but here she came anyway. As she settled in demurely beside me and someone on the other side got up and left the bus, I noticed that she didn't stink - her clothes were clean and so was she. Her fingernail polish didn't seem to match from finger to finger but it was neatly applied. Her cheekbones were high and glowed with rouge, but her eyeliner had run badly. She had been crying. She was about to start again.

We sat facing into the bus; the window opposite us was a mirror in the predawn darkness. She began to respond to her reflection, arguing, imprecating. She was getting worked up, her one gloved hand slashing the air and accidentally slamming down on the empty seat next to her. That scared her a little and she tried to exercise some self-control for a moment.

I was listening to headphones so I didn't realize at first that she was talking to me. "Why do some people always make it be on time?," she was asking me tearfully. I slid a phone off one ear and raised my brows, silently indicating my total lack of comprehension. She repeated her question and then explained, "Sometimes you got to be late. It can't all be about being on time. Not with me. Cuz I'm telling you - that ain't gonna work. Not with me. It just ain't." Her eyes gazed deep into mine so I could see in intimate detail her clotted conjuctiva, the ebony of her pupils blending smearily into dirt-colored irises that seemed to just collapse and seep their color out into the rest of her eyeballs.

By now I was convinced of three things: she was psychotic, a transsexual, and she was off her medication. She had stopped talking; I returned to my music. But I could sense her emotions roiling; her face twisting as she fought to hold back. She turned in her seat to face me. I turned off the walkman. "Did you ever love anyone who didn't love you back?," she asked. I slowly inhaled, buying time. She compliantly continued, the tears starting again to flow freely, "And what about that whole class? That whole class?" "Class of people?" - I broke the rule, asked a question, gave her permission to erupt. "The GRADUATING CLASS!" She threw off her hood; her leopard-print bandana was neatly wrapped and tied. She sobbed. Plummetting into misery she mumbled, "The graduating class..." She began to blubber, her words mating clumsily in her mouth. I struggled to follow her: "It's because I'm black... because I didn't want to be black, or brown - but they wouldn't have that - I wanted to be burgandy - but no - burgandy - but no - back then I was daddy's little silver dollar baby - wrapped up in foil - cuz he give me a silver dollar when he see me - and now I got nothing - it's not even nothing - I thought they loved me - it was all a lie..."

Her tears flowed in black tracks down her face, she wiped them with big delicate fingers. "I never thought they loved me," I admitted to her. "I have to get off the bus now." As I stood and left her, her eyes followed me like tadpoles suffocating in mud. I stepped into the charcoal air. A shabby man stood at the steps to my BART station, a sign in his hand, a hat extended. I put coins in his hat. I didn't want to read the sign.
thats just the way it seems to me at [11:20 PM]

[ Sunday, July 28, 2002 ]

 
RECIPE CORNER
-- and yes, huts have corners, this isn't some damn yurt - so anyway I'm showing my love for the world by sharing my recipe for CARNITAS:
Start with the big chunks of loin-like pork you can get at Costco, three to a package, individually wrapped for freezer convenience. Make a spice rub with salt, pepper (black, cayenne, habenero - it's your funeral), and whatever else you like on your pork - I use cumin, tumeric, garlic and dry mustard. Rub the spices all over a pork hunk and then sear the outside black in a big deep heavy pot that's super hot on the stovetop, with a little oil in the bottom. This stuff will smoke you out pretty good so be ready to disconnect your alarms. Once it's all blackened, cover the pot tightly and remove it from the heat; turn the oven on to 200 degrees and put the covered pot in the oven. Take it out 10 hours later - or, put it in at 10 pm and take it out at 6 am. There will be some killer tender pork in the pot, with some juice that makes good gravy if you are smooth with that sort of thing. The pork should cool a bit before you do anything to it, but it can easily be shredded by hand...
thats just the way it seems to me at [8:54 PM]

 
...soft and bouncy as a baby's head - makes you feel safe and playful...
thats just the way it seems to me at [8:45 PM]

[ Saturday, July 27, 2002 ]

 
Kayaking here was pretty cool... otters and seals and such... A juvenile pelican almost took out Charles; neither of them looked too comfortable after the encounter - and afterwards we ate like GODS -- so now we're gonna try this when we go up for the wedding and see what it's like where you can literally SMELL canada, it's so darn close... kinda scary but we're up for it...
thats just the way it seems to me at [3:44 PM]

[ Friday, July 26, 2002 ]

 
All cooked food aspires to the condition of fruit. -- Harold McGee, quoted in Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything.
thats just the way it seems to me at [3:23 PM]

 
Her hand was soft, much softer than her voice. I stood at the bank of metal boxes that dispensed BART tickets, trying to tell which one was working and gave change for a $20. My bill wilted in my hand as I picked out the details I needed, started noticing what I had to do next. Then she was beside me, speaking as gently as her thrashed throat let her. I'd heard her angry moments earlier, cursing a machine that ate her dime. She wore a tourist's sweatshirt and her jeans weren't stained or torn - the cheapest clothes, carefully preserved. "Here's the one you need, it's giving change today, it's taking bills, I just seen it, ate my dime but does okay with paper money..." Thanking her, I turned to buy my ticket. She was hovering beside me, odorless and frail, an older woman younger than her wrinkled skin would have me think, faint light shining from behind her wide-spaced pale eyes. I fed the bill into the slot; it spat it out at me again. I started flattening the corners of the twenty, anxious to get on my way. "You gotta cut it," she suggested, nervous fingers demonstrating that she meant to "fold" the bill. Her fingers twitched their way to mine and that was when I noticed how her hands were soft and clean and gentle. However, she was touching me, my moneyhand, and I had had enough of her. As I folded and unfolded my net worth I thanked her for her time and hoped she'd go away. That's when she started pawing at my arm, trying to direct my fingers as I picked my ticket price. "See you push this one for dollars, this one here you push for pennies, this is where the ticket comes, and I can help - " I'd had enough. I turned to her and told her that I had the matter well in hand, she ought to go help someone else, I had to go and didn't need her to assist me any more. She stiffened, soured, spat and cursed - "You bastard prick, you need my help, its obvious you don't know what the fuck you're doing, I'm not homeless, this is what I get for being nice to people..." Coming from her raspy lips the words were harsh and grating; I could hear them as I made my way away from her down to the platform. Her hands were pink and soft and gentle but she had made me feel foul, like an ingrate, like a part of everything I think I hate.

It's not that I wanted her to like me, I don't care to have her as a friend. I just don't like to leave a negative impression, even on the crazy woman by the change machines at BART. I am working on caring less but I keep forgetting....
thats just the way it seems to me at [12:28 PM]

 
Sweeping the Gene Pool

Grey as the bones of hated children
bowed like rickets-addled legs
Her teeth looked like they’d try to bite her
Her smile ate the air around her face
and still she waved me ever closer.
With my back against a wall
I felt I had enough protection
then she tore apart the package
and everything came pouring out
Nod was all I had to do
for her to share her fetid world
she knew I was her therapist
though but an object of convenience
able to withstand her rantings
anything that didn’t run away
I’m sure would have been quite sufficient
Nonetheless I think that she was grateful
that I had a face to foil her ravings.
Her beer was pale urea yellow
her hands were thick, her boots were black
She’d weighed herself before I got there
mene mene tekel baby
I would either act as her confessor
or drown in her ecstatic angst
It’s Friday, she announced with glee
and Junior has been put to pasture
How could he presume to tell her
She had only said Good Morning
then he just uncorked the stupid
scattered it around them both
Extending a hand like a Shiva with dropsy
she laughed at a spot where nobody was sitting
and quoted herself as she told him to talk to it
Talk to the hand, she laughed, puffing a cigarette,
pale grey smoke that became her complexion
Her victory over the twerp was resounding
I had to admire her logical triumph
It just left me speechless; I nodded in silence
afraid that a word would provoke further stories
but I was mistaken, she needed no prompting
she turned that carnivorous smile upon me
accused him of getting thrown out of the gene pool
To think of her bearing a child was ghastly
but sent her in reveries of a lost youth
when she wandered the streets of Vancouver in search
of a beer or a buzz or a place that was quiet
She’d dropped out of school – there was no explanation –
but Dad had insisted she pay her own way
She was 14 years old with a fist in her face
as she said it she saw it and fed me the memory
clear as the dregs of the beer she was drinking
And then she got up and she went back inside
to play pool.

We were free once again of her morbid good cheer
and the air was delicious and sound sounded sweet
as we shook the residual murk from our shoulders
living again in an era of light
and then she came back, with her grin taking over
her head till she couldn’t defend herself from it
it split her right open and since we were buddies
she buffeted us with a bludgeon of words
She went off on her childhood, brothers that beat her
or scared her, a pillory stock for a home
she read her own Dante and Nietzsche and Kant
and their corpses would float in the beer in her head
she had punched out a window, an eye that looked out
from the school she had left for a reason unstated
then stood on the field at night howling madly
some pig took her down to the hospital later
he told her she wasn’t behaving herself
she took untold stitches but hated the doctor
the only nice guy was the ambulance driver
an angel of mercy who did what they told him
And now she refuses to binge on tequila
Canadians ought to drink beer, she reminded
us, laughing, insensible to our discomfort.

For a moment we sat in remedial silence
and some of us thought that perhaps she was finished
but then she got started on living the good life
she showed us a forearm – That’s gonna be me,
she announced to a spot where nobody was sitting
in radiant color a girl made of ink
shook her nipples and beckoned
that we should all follow her
she wore a grass skirt and her hair tumbled
passionately over veins that were sewers
Of course she’s got boobies much bigger than mine
she advised us superfluously with a laugh
But still that is where I am going someday
with a rustling skirt I can pluck from the dunes
When I’m reincarnated I want to come back
as a lichen, they live to be over a thousand
and weather each storm like a day in the park
I’m sick of the rain, you know I’m a Canadian
Talk to the hand and Get out of the gene pool
Here is my childhood, grinning, she told us,
and showed us the opposite forearm and wrist
where a black tattoo putti stood vacantly staring
it wore a plain smock for victorian moppets
that enshrouded its small frail body completely
except for its head, which was stripped of all flesh
its skull looked upon us, the sockets quite empty
in purplish-black on her canvas of skin
and she said, That’s my history, here is my future,
her forearms extended, awaiting her suicide,
her glass sat beside her, bereft of its contents
but yawning and vacant like I was now feeling
she got up to leave us, she needed her sustenance,
we wanted her out of there, bade her farewell;
so she walked up the stairs and back into the darkness
alone as she’d been when her smile first bit me
I looked at my beer and it asked me to pause
till the air pressure equalized
All had gone flat
so I looked up above
at the dusk-painted leaves

see you at happy hour - Lucky 13 Fridays on the patio
thats just the way it seems to me at [12:02 PM]

[ Thursday, July 25, 2002 ]

 
grateful
thats just the way it seems to me at [9:42 PM]

 
TIME TO TALK TO GOD

I was on a late night errand that required visiting the bank machine. As I drove up toward my bank on quiet side streets, I saw a man ahead of me who strode toward the major boulevard on foot. He was tall and thin, wore dark clothes and a broad brimmed hat. His gait was quick, his body forward-leaning, and his little black goatee was pointing out ahead of him. He walked as if he were traversing moors.

I parked and went to use the ATM and as I did I heard a conversation start behind me on the sidewalk. The talk was heated on one side, beseeching on the other. They were discussing Judaism. I turned to see them: one was that tall bearded guy, whose hands were out before him in a patient sagelike gesture. His companion was a stocky man in shirtsleeves, though the night was chilly. His head was bare and balding, his expression was belligerent. Clenched fists trembled at his side. He bellowed, “I am Russian Jew!” The other fellow spoke in soothing tones, asking him if he would like to pray with him. “Shall we say Sh’ma?,” he asked. The other charged ahead two steps, his shoulders bunched with anger. “What are you? I am a Russian Jew!” “Of course,” the quick tall one replied, backing up along the sidewalk. “I am a Jew as well. Let’s pray together! Can you say it with me?” He began to speak the central prayer of my heritage, two short lines that even I have totally internalized.

I started slinking out toward my car, so as not to draw attention to myself. The taller man was circling in full retreat, trying to evade the drunkard. “I am Russian Jew!,” the latter shouted, coming at the other fast with clumsy stumbling steps. The Sh’ma was now forgotten; the tall man looked like cornered prey. I was opening my car when I at last was spotted. The angry Russian was distracted, muttering a blend of garbled languages. The tall one called to me with hushed anxiety, “Sir, a moment – please help me get away from here!”

Now, as a rule, I don’t give rides to strangers, but this time I thought it might be safe, a mitzvah even. But I had a bag in front and in the back the seats weren’t up – the bed was flat, wide open cargo space. “I’ve got no seat for you!” I answered. “That’s okay – please let me in!” I flicked the lock in back and he leapt forward, launched himself into the car full length face down. I pulled away as the inebriate came to his senses adequately to perceive his loss of quarry. “I AM RUSSIAN JEW!,” he screamed as traffic took us from him. On the fly my passenger slammed shut his door and heaved a sigh. “Where to?,” I asked him. “How about downtown?,” he asked. ‘Wrong way,” I said. “I’ll take you up the street a bit, where you’ll be safe.” “That’s fine,” he sighed again.

A moment passed in silence. “I asked him if he’d like to pray,” he said, his voice a whisper. “He told me that he was a Jew. I thought that he would hit me if I’d stayed there any longer.” “I guess you never know,” I said. “Some people just don’t want to talk to God.”
thats just the way it seems to me at [7:25 PM]

 
BOB’S ELECTRIC DAY

It was a plain old day, he said.
(His smile shone with savored recollection.)
I had a job in San Mateo. I was driving
back up here like any time.
My cargo van was full of sawdust,
sanders, handtools, all my stuff
and I was cruising just like always,
All at once my radio just stopped.
I started thinking “here’s an earthquake;”
then, before I finished thinking,
yes, before the thought was done,
the blue sky pulsed—a wave of white
washed through the air and for an instant
everything was full of something.
All the air was pushed together.
I could feel it in my fingers
like a hand laid over my hand;
I could feel it through my teeth
and everything inside me seized
and then it ended – all the blue
returned, the air just opened up
and let the color back to normal
It had lasted just an instant
still my skin felt prickly cold, my hair
was all on end, and something tasted weird.
The radio stayed dead.

Turns our that someone not too far
from where I happened to be driving
working at a power station
flipped a switch and sent
a million volts right from the plant
a mammoth bolt from zeus' fist
he dumped it in the dirt and blew
five hundred thousand circuit breakers
all the way to San Francisco.
Lots of people lost their power,
wondered where the hell it went –
I could tell them, I could see it
starting on an endless journey
leaving earth and flying outwards
bleaching out the very sky.
thats just the way it seems to me at [7:11 PM]

[ Wednesday, July 24, 2002 ]

 
The Metaverse Excuse-O-Mat
-- for when you have to get away with something...
thats just the way it seems to me at [9:57 PM]

 
If you call it cheese
some dumb fuck will eat it.
thats just the way it seems to me at [9:40 PM]

 
His foot smashed into the door heel first, the full force of his muscular legs driving against the bland expressionlessness of its expanse. The sound was deafening. He was visualizing his foot passing through the plane of the door, his blow coming to completion just the other side of that vertical surface. The heavy heel of his boot carried a lot of momentum. He rolled to his side. "I've broken my foot," he whispered through clenched teeth. The boot was starting to fill with blood. No one else was there. The door was laughing at him.
thats just the way it seems to me at [9:39 PM]

 
I'M SICK TO DEATH OF MY OWN APATHY.
YOU CAN ONLY DO NOTHING FOR SO LONG.
thats just the way it seems to me at [9:39 PM]

 
If I were alive
I'd kick your ass
If I were real
my head would explode
If anything mattered
we'd all have long since killed ourselves
but in the meantime
what a lovely cloud
thats just the way it seems to me at [9:35 PM]

 
THE POWER OF POSITIVE BULLSHIT
If only I could harness the power of the bullshit that rages within my breast - to utilize it in superhuman ways, defying gravity and other physical laws, able to crush concrete and rend steel - damn that's some good bullshit
thats just the way it seems to me at [9:22 PM]