Monday, December 31, 2007

The 2007 Booklist

Continuing a time-honored tradition (begun way back a year ago), I hereby list my annual booklist, in order of completion (last year: 14 books), with little or no editorial comment:

1. The Pleasure of My Company. Steve Martin. Fiction.

2. Everyman. Philip Roth. Fiction (read on a flight to Berlin). (Weird. The link you see for Roth has a rare interview, with The Guardian, with a photographer from Berlin, oddly enough.)

3. Lisey's Story. Stephen King. Fiction.

4. The Mission Song. John LeCarre. Fiction. (a year ago I was privileged to pose a question to him on BBC Radio; can't find the link; maybe someday)

5. Grammar Lessons: Translating a Life in Spain. Michele Morano. Essays.

6. The Innocent. Ian McEwan. Fiction.

7. Stumbling on Happiness. Daniel Gilbert. Non-fiction (sociology/psychology).

8. The Woman Lit by Fireflies. Jim Harrison. Fiction.

9. fly away peter. David Malouf. Fiction.

10. Samaritan. Richard Price. Fiction.

11. This Clumsy Living. Bob Hicok. Poetry.

12. Some Can Whistle. Larry McMurtry. Fiction.

13. Um...Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean. Michael Erard. Non-fiction.

14. Proust Was a Neuroscientist. Jonah Lehrer. Non-fiction essays.

15. Silk. Alessandro Baricco. Fiction.

I am three-quarters finished with Richard Ford's truly superb and already-memorable The Lay of the Land, but that can't go on this year's list unless I speed-read through about 150 pages in the next 3.5 hours (won't happen).

I do like books. Today, at lunchtime I saw that Murphy's Books was open, downtown Syracuse. It was a surprise because its owner (who is brother to our receptionist and brother to a friend of mine) is battling leukemia. He is liquidating the store's inventory. He is. . . His collection is excellent and literary. I bought nine books for nine dollars and change. A dollar a book, hard or soft. Can't beat that. Perhaps I'll list them some other time.

Endnote: My story -- the one I took a week off of blogging from to write -- was not selected by Glimmer Train Stories. Everyone I showed it to (including successful published authors) loved it. The main thing is, I loved it. And still do. I may self-publish. Hard to decide, seeing as my son gave me the writer's guide for 2008. We'll see.

I am glad the holiday frenzy is over.

Our tree stays up at least to Epiphany, January 6.

I am wearing my slippers and may be asleep well before midnight.

Happy New Year.

Pacem in Terris.

Carpe Diem Et Cetera Add Dollares

Big news! I sold my first "Age Quod Agis" product.

My Wackyjackystees Webstore (also found at is poised to zoom into the capitalistic stratosphere. I see retirement coming, oh, 0.5558733429 seconds earlier!

"Age quod agis" is Latin, for "Do what you are doing." This is the mantra for all uni-taskers universally united in opposition to manic multi-taskers.

If a Jesse Bechtold of Texas, USA, does not return his Age Quod Agis mug in the next 30 days or so, Pawlie Kokonuts clears $1.40 (which actually merely goes as credit toward my monthly fee of six bucks or so).

The tides of entrepreneurial elan are turning!

Of course, the day my ship comes in, I'll be at the airport.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Steppes, Revisited

Upon closer inspection this morning (in my pajamas*), I noticed that in the interim space between the aforementioned five wobbly sidewalk cracks and the stairs at the foot of the house, there are eight incipient fissures in the sidewalk, a symmetrical and elegant addendum to the jigsaw puzzle I posted about yesterday. The eight cracks are less ominous; the sidewalk is still seismically stable there (for all practical purposes).

So, we have, what?, instability leading to stability with hints of instability, leading into our domestic abode, a Bastion and Palace of Stability Riddled with Tremors of Instability. Something like that.

The answer is in the steppes, or the steps.

* Groucho Marx joke: "We went to Africa. I shot an elephant in my pajamas; how it got I'll never know!"

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Steppes of Tipperary Hill

On Tipperary Hill (and some say Syracuse may claim sole possession of such a neighborhood moniker), also known as Tipp Hill, the after-the-sidewalk three steps (replaced a couple years ago by my wife and our young neighbor: two women working like chain-gang laborers in the summer heat, or poster gals for Rosie the Riveter-type feminine industriousness) lead to a patch of broken-concrete sidewalk, before you get to more steps leading to the front door, and then our purple (plum?) house (my brainstorm).

The broken concrete is in five pieces (I love that early Jack Nicholson movie "Five Easy Pieces," the title of which refers to classical piano, a film that features the classic chicken-salad sandwich rant in a diner; it also starts with a classic line; the record player is playing Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" and the Karen Black character is filing her nails or something; Bobby, the Nicholson character, says: "You play that record one more time, I'm gonna melt it down into hairspray.").

The five pieces of concrete sidewalk wobble, but they can be adjusted to snugly fit together, at least temporarily. Years ago, Ballet Daughter was holding IrishStep Daughter, an infant, and fell right there, or thereabouts, the infant's head hitting with a thud. It was horrid. But wasn't horrid. Everything turned out frightful but fine. Did the accident occur because of the five pieces of separated concrete? I don't know. Memory is so tricky. I doubt if the deteriorated condition was that deteriorated 10 or so years ago. Ask Marcel Proust.

If the five pieces get out of whack, it is easy for anyone, including the postal delivery person, to trip. (Well, tripping is optional, not mandatory. Just open your eyes.) A covering of snow (possible about nine months of the year here) blankets the problem, like love covering a multitude of sins (didn't St. Augustine say that? Check with Ralph Keyes, the quote guy; I believe Augustine did say: "Love -- and do what you will.").

So, I frequently find myself wedging in the five pieces tidily. A jigsaw puzzle in real life.

Oh, you're wondering why we don't simply spend some money to fix this risk, this potential liability?
That's an excellent question. The answer, like the precarious puzzle in the ground of reality, is puzzling.

The answer (all lies or part truths or full denial) is:

part poverty, part laziness, part mystery, part needing something to blog about,

and all puzzle. There's a metaphor in there somewhere.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Even Steven

From my days, eons ago, in the seminary, I remember December 26 is the Feast of Saint Stephen, recognized as Christianity's first martyr. (The feast is tomorrow in the Eastern church.) (Yikes, the things I learned about it from Wikipedia!)

From the gauzy memory of my later, at times less-innocent, youth, I also remember Saint Stephen being celebrated in a song by The Grateful Dead; good song; fascinating annotated lyrics.

Connections. We're all about connections, here at The Laughorist. That, and a laugh or two.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Silent Day

I guess I have survived the orgy of getting and spending we call Christmas (though, not parenthetically, it is hoped, ignoring its Presence found at the intersection of Silence and Mystery, amid the most abject Pain and Need, in the Ground of Being), left with a residue of weariness and emptiness, a vacancy filled by the Unnameable Name.

High-sounding words.

Silence is better.

I stayed in my pajamas all day. And now night.

Literally. Really.

Is that depression? Or sanity?

Late last night, the church provided sanctuary and solace, reverie and focus. The Story never changes, except infinitely so, in each of us. The trumpet declared brightness and awakening, even at midnight. There were tears in eyes.

Would that we all were there.

Or here.

Alas, we were / are, yes?

Readers: To you, Blessed Christmas, a season that lasts at the very least until Epiphany.

Ergo, keep your candles glowing.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Anniversary Inventory

Since, um, we last spoke, I have:

  • Blown (careful, now) my Rudolph-red nose 7,829 times
  • Sneezed 1,645 times.
  • Slept 22.34 hours (but most of that in the last two days, aided by Benadryl; doing better, thank you)
  • Celebrated the anniversary of my (premature; of course!) birth (December 18; yeah, not just Pawlie Kokonuts, but also the birth anniversary of Keith Richards, Steven Spielberg, Ray Liotta, Katie Holmes, Christina Aguilera, Steve Biko, Betty Grable, um, Keith Piper, et alia, but not Soren Kierkegaard; oh, I forgot Brad Pitt; must've been insecure sharing the klieg lights with him; also Ty Cobb, Paul Klee, DT Suzuki, too)
  • Been treated to a luscious gourmet dinner for said anniversary
  • Received a total of eight books (6.5 for my birthday anniversary); one set of Rothko notecards; one tin of shortbread cookies (Crabtree & Evelyn)
  • Coordinated the writing, pricing, and distribution of two corporate proposals potentially worth a couple hundred thousand dollars, equal to about 25 euros, give or take
Thanks. One and all.

Carry on.

As you were.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Sentence of Holy Smokes

En route to my car on the fourth level of the garage at midday, I am arrested by a vision of reality across Montgomery Street: powdery pockets of snow sliding down the emerald patina of the copper roof of St. Paul's Cathedral, accumulating just enough weight at angled wedges to glide downward in a puff of alabaster swirling smoke, eddies of epiphany that pour down, then pop, then dissipate in a gust, only to do it again, and again, surrounded by a curtain of endless flakes.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Dollar and a Dream (Or a Fraction Thereof)

Look, my goal here is to make money while I sleep. Isn't that your goal? I just checked, and so far this month I have made* $US 0.60 (as in, "sixty cents American," worth about 0.00000054338 euros) from my web store, This revenue stream, or rivulet, or droplet, or spike in relative humidity, originates from my selling one Kierkegaard magnet and one Kierkegaard oval sticker, to the same person, in Arizona. (It's pending; if the buyer returns the goods, I lose out.) I guess I had better stick to my day job. Speaking of which, I received an unexpected work compliment today, which I received graciously, which is funny, because the absence of such praise is the seeds of discontent for someone like me. Someone wiser than me once counseled that it is virtuous to accept both praise and blame equally.

I ain't there yet.

*I didn't "make" any money. Revenue does not equal profit, not even in the microeconomics of micro amounts.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Runes of Ruination

Maybe my note-taking skills (or lack thereof) kept me out of Harvard, Yale, Ox-bridge, Stanford
inter alia. Maybe my aversion to linear progression (well evidenced in this forum), be it attributed to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention surplus-intensity syndrome (AS-IS), is the root cause of my hieroglyphic notes.

Case study: I was on the phone a lot at work today. It's a significant part of the job, some days more than others. Deals, no deals, teaming, partnering, quasi-partnering, exploring, overcoming hurdles, assessing, flirting, filtering, figuring, eavesdropping, handshaking, handwringing, salivating, and palaver-ating. You know, "The Office" in real life.

Then I looked at my notes.

Runic scribblings.

Runes of my ruminations.

Gawd, help me!

Cross-outs, single circlings, arrows, loops, squiggly lines, wavy cross-outs, yeses, nos [correct? I don't know; I'm not into proper spelling or grammar right now; I'm off the clock], question marks, underscores, rectangular doodlings, imperatives to myself, triple circlings, karots, purple ink, orange ink, black ink, reverse and forward arrows, glosses, margin notes, names, phone numbers.

This scrawl on one page of standard yellow legal pad will make no sense to anyone if I get hit by a bus tomorrow morning before entering the portals.

It barely makes sense to me now!

Get me to an organizational rehab.

"Hi, my name is Pawlie. I'm a helter-skelter, higgledy-piggledy nonlinear, chaotic, ADHD-, AS-IS-riddled feckless factotum."

"Hi, Pawlie."

"Are, um, your 12 Steps in any kind of order?"

"That's a start, Pawlie. Why don't you just sit back, relax, and listen."

"In that order?"

Maybe it's all because I'm left-handed.

And I was a preemie.

Yeah, that's it.

And not any German-Austro-Teutonic lineage, either.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

White on White

No words can describe

the whiteness of the lake-effect snow I walked in and on and amidst this evening,

nor its moisture-laden airiness and fluffiness,

nor the greeting-card alabaster tree limbs laden and droopy,

nor the snowdrift's swallowing silence,

nor the tracks the dog made, as did I,

nor the holiday lights in the park casting their own brand of a yellower whiteness or their reds and greens and blues, nor the sight of the dog gamboling and dashing like a rabbit or a deer, or, well, a dog.

The wind's razoring was a stinging reminder of that old Irish blessing, the one that prays, "May the wind be ever at your back."

Oh, the wind at your back (as opposed to in your face) makes a difference all right!

To me.

But not to the snow-hungry Maggie (presumably half yellow lab and half German shepherd).

All nature is poised and waiting.

Waiting to be present.

And that's what Advent is for me.

This waiting.

Like a deer in the brush. Waiting.

We are waiting for what? And why?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rehab Your Vocab

Have some vocabulary fun at Free Rice. In playing, you donate free rice to the United Nations (or so we are told).

My high score is 46.

So far.

Warning: The game ends only when you decide to stop. It took (stubborn) me forever to figure that out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Litany of Proletarian Perfidy

Let's imagine, shall we, that a perfectly (no, imperfectly) loyal and devoted proletarian were to ponder the buffetings of quotidian winds on the Merciless Sea of Mercantilism. Said unspecified Interlocutor (for the sake of argument) might, just might, compose the following litany (to what deity? divining what divinations? auguring what Oughtness?):

From unanswered emails and unacknowledged voicemails sent from too far down the pecking order,

Spare us, Lord (or Chairman, Capitain, Commandat, etc.).

From gibes and taunts and prods and pokes (consonant with and in direct proportion to praise's icy absence),

Deliver us.

From keeping score and losing faith,

Save us.

From acting as if we care,

Lead us.

From daring to act "as if,"

Transport us.

From calculating "worth,"

Rescue us.

From walking out the feckin door only to smile and leave them wondering why,

Say amen!

(Who knows? It is vaguely possible the Intrelocutor will have a more rewarding day tomorrow. But one should not assume it.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I was privileged to attend a farewell celebration today for Father Joseph Bergin, a quick-to-smile neighbor who is retiring after 47 years as a priest. I can't claim to know him very well or for very long. I don't even belong to his parish, St. Mark the Evangelist, although the church is a mainstay of our neighborhood.

But I wanted to be there because, well, Father Joe is someone whose gentle kindness simply brims over. He is someone who makes you feel better just being around him; someone who remembers your name; someone who accepts you as you are. It's hard to articulate. Perhaps you are blessed to know someone like that. Perhaps you are such a person.

Originally from Ireland, he is an Episcopal priest whose travels have taken him to England, Ireland, Trinidad, Newfoundland, and Syracuse, New York. He is erudite but unassuming; witty but subtle; pious but not unctuous.

He spoke today of the God of surprises.

He related finding God in ways and places he had never expected to or wanted to, saying he has found the zigzag search rewarding. He even related a year of darkness and anger and loss of faith.

I wrote a haiku for him:

November snowmelt
sunlight shards cascading warmth
Love interwoven

Then, after a festive lunch tinged with sadness, I took my "evening" walk in the afternoon.

Lambent light.

Cloudless sky.

Pastel leaves. Skeleton branches.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Life, The Serial

On my misty, coolish dogwalk tonight, I noticed that the
graffito of LIFE with the "i" dotted with an "x," on a small electrical utility shed, was gone.

LIFE, vanished, without a trace.

As if LIFE were but a dream.

I miss LIFE.

Where'd it go, now that its resident surface is scrubbed clean, freshly painted, pristine?

Can LIFE even exist on such a pristine surface anyway?

LIFE, I was just getting to know you. I was on the cusp of what you wanted to tell me, who put you there, and why.

Now, it's like starting over.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lobal Warming

I was waiting for my gastronomic Santa Fe salad to be prepared (just for me, because they had run out) at the mall food court. As I was leaning back against the counter, surveying the grand expanse of
boulevardiers en shoppant, my meditation was interrupted by two young customers, ordering their own repasts.

One of these two females (discretion and the prevailing ethical winds prevent me from estimating the age range of said imaginary characters encountered by an imaginary pseudonymous blogger, but suffice it to say that Vladimir Nabokov was a novelist and lepidopterist, whose own imagination allowed the wings of his fantasies to brush against unconventional nets regarding these matters) suddenly turns to me, stares at me, sighs, and sweatily says, "I'm so hot!"

(Did I mention the ample display of human flesh, the twin peaks of June in the cold heart of November? Did I forget to sing the glories of Grand Tetons cleaving to ancient concupiscence?)

The mind is a funny thing. I'm reading a lot about neurons and dendrites and stuff in a book by author and fellow blogger Jonah Lehrer. The fascinating book is titled "Proust Was a Neuroscientist." Lehrer's book cites works like Oliver Sacks's "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat."

The mind, especially the erotically inclined comic mind or the comically inclined erotic mind, would have found it so easy to say, "Yes, you are" and politely smiled, if that is remotely possible.

In the space of milliseconds, nanoseconds, the mind races through the menu of myriad responses, verbal or otherwise, available to it. Alas, the dendritic firings/misfirings and molecular exchanges are set in genomic motion before my creation, ordered up in a gastronomic soup of RNA, DNA, and YIKES!

So often in my life the wrong words have slipped out even as the Strict Catholic Command Center shouted, "DON'T SAY IT DON'T SAY IT DON'T!"

With a straight line like hers, what wisecracker could resist saying, "Yes, you are"?

"Hot? Been to the gym?" I feebly mumbled.

I didn't quite get her reply. Seeing her chuckle, rather than watching her summon security, was relief enough.

Then her plastic didn't work.

I didn't even offer to buy dinner for her.

See? All that lobal warming stuff is just a myth.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Actually, I loathe it when debaters or essayists or
smart alecks prissily intone, "Well, according to the dictionary . . . " Or they say, "According to Webster's..."

Which feckin dictionary, mate? Which Webster's? (Did you know "Webster" and "Roget's" can be used by anyone? Hence, those 1,200-page Webster dictionaries on sale for $3.99.)

Dictionaries vary, often widely.

Anyway, I digress, even before I progress. My reentry today from my bed-ridden torpor was rocky and woozy. At times I figured: "Wow, I guess I really was sick and not just lounging around on Cayman Brac."

According to Merriam-Webster:


Main Entry:
15th century
1: a retaking possession; especially : entry by a lessor on leased premises on the tenant's failure to perform the conditions of the lease
2: a second or new entry
3: a playing card that will enable a player to regain the lead
4: the action of reentering the earth's atmosphere after travel in space

Notice, it ain't re-entry. Most stylebooks and dictionaries go for the compressed modern and minimalist no-frills, sans hyphen form.

In my postreentry (I'm just not into hy-phen-at-ing to-day, o-kay?) mode, I'll keep things brief by responding to those four diverse meanings (known to lexicographers as senses) listed by Mr. and Mrs. Nigel Graves Merriam-Webster III, Esq., above.

1. My retaking of my work demesne barely exorcised the demons or exercised the day's multiplicity of mandates (translation: it was unnerving just to catch up on e-mails and voice messages). Alas, I greeted Botanist Colleague and thanked her for her concerns and good wishes, bowing before her, and was pleased to get a call and some direct kudos for helping to secure a great article about the firm in Sunday's paper).

2. Yes, yes (yassssss, yassssss, for Kerouac fans) my entry was new, as if undertaken by a new person, some kind of airy and unbalanced alien creature unused to formulating footsteps on strange terrain.

3. That would be The Joker, Monsieur le Kokonuts, eh?

4. Man! The heat shield was wobbling today! Whew! Made it!

Before signing off, let me note:

a) While in bed the first 36 to 40 hours, I didn't stir. No reading. No TV. No nothing. Not even sex! Then, I started vegging out on some TV. The movie "Armageddon" was on TV Saturday night. I just could not bear that movie - not even the channel-surfing version. It is painfully bad. I did like the channel-surf-abbreviated version (CSAV) of "King Kong" (a misnomer: should have been called "Crashing Taxis") and a made-for-TV piece on the Kennedys' wives (schmaltz is part of the reentry process; plus, there's a connection: reentry + Kennedys + space race + reentry to the world; something like that).

b) I did walk the dog tonight. Briefly. I didn't even look for the LIFE graffito. Ooooops! Is that an omen? Or Zen detachment?

Nice seeing you all again.

Need more meds.

Or bed.

P.S. Someone queried me about a "driving the porcelain bus" reference, asking for clarification. I said, "Kneeling." That was, um, enough.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Since about 12:30 a.m. Friday, I have been bed-ridden, except for the times I was driving the ol' porcelain bus, on my knees.

Needless to say, didn't work today.

You all likely saw it coming, with the prequel of fatigue.

I called in this morning, and took care of a few matters. Maybe. I doubt if our office manager did what I asked.

And it ain't as if she offered, "Feel better."

Oh well. Today was payday, but I have direct deposit.

Which I had during my Porcelain Homage.

On the mend.

P.S. Didn't Kierkegaard write a book called Sickness Unto Death? I don't even have the energy to Google it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ho Ho Brouhaha

Sydney's Santas have been warned against yelling out, "Ho ho ho ho!" Someone felt it might be considered offensive to women and it might scare children.

"Hahaha" was recommended as a substitute.


Maybe it depends on how you say it.

Hypothetically, it might just be offensive if Santa shouts out one declaration of "ho" followed by a pause and a leer at a woman or group of women. Maybe, just maybe they'd have a point, especially if Santa's famous red pants were hanging down to his knees and he were grabbing his crotch while saying it. Hypothetically, that is. Then again, in the case just described Santa might just be filming a music video. A video for what? (Parody titles escape me.)

What do I know? Not much.

What else is there to say?

Huh Huh Huh?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

a life exposed

At one point this afternoon, I wanted to surrender to the seduction of sleep. And why not? Spaniards have their siestas (some even go home, put their pajamas on, and have at it -- napping, that is). And why not? Armada or not, the Spanish have been around a long time, longer than our society, and seem to do just fine.

I think I was experiencing an adrenaline letdown after all the excitement and energy of preparing for an interview Tuesday at City Hall involving our company and several others, an interview not deemed important enough for one Common Councilor to attend and not important enough for another Common Councilor who was on the selection committee to do more than come late and then leave after 10 minutes or so, which infuriated me, a corporate bystander at this interview but one who had spent the previous day and more in prepping the team collegially. Uncommon Councilors. Dreadful.

Tonight's walk had its own revelation: remember that piece of graffito with the word LIFE with the x over the i? At first glance, I thought someone had tried to paint over the word, a cover-up of animate form. But, no, just the opposite. It seems that LIFE has been scrubbed to the bone, down to the bare cinder blocks, forming a faux bas-relief.

Was someone trying to clean LIFE, only to find that the background got scrubbed but LIFE persisted?

Did howling rains cause some kind of rapid-fire weathering? (Doubt it.)

Or was it like that all along, but I didn't remember it that way?

In reading "Proust Was A Neuroscientist," I am finding reinforcement in my belief that memory is always unreliable, a faulty archive.

What will LIFE look like tomorrow?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Comma Again?

The following is a semi-demi-hemi-quasi-correction of the immediately preceding post.

(As you'll see, this is getting to be like a Del Shannon song, with a refrain of "comma, comma, comma, ki-yay-ay.")

On Sunday, I broke down and bought the Times (New York, not London). (No matter that the girl at the grocery store thought it was $4, and I felt compelled to convince her the price of the Times is half a sawbuck in locales beyond the NYC metro area. Call me a fool.)

Later, as I am perusing the NYT Book Review, I notice that its vaunted best seller (best stellar?) list lists the aforeposted Cosby/Poussaint book (under "how-to, advice, etc.," but not under "how to punctuate") as "Come On, People" with its proper commatization (the term, albeit indefensible, is mine).

Shivers go down my spine. (Or was it up my spine? Or along my cerebral cortex?)

To be truthful, I had based my whole earlier diatribe on: a) a coupon from Borders showing an image of the book and b) a press release from the publisher, which I linked. But I did not in fact ever have the book
physically in my hands to see, with my own non-doubting-Pawlie eyes, what was on the book. (Don't you just love when people say that? How else would the book be in my hands, metaphysically? Whom do you think I am, Plato? [Is that a vocative comma, or an appositive comma?])

This shivering doubt was accompanied by a similar eerie discovery: the Times has a full-page ad for a new translation of Tolstoy's
War and Peace. Again, in a picture of the book, in the ad, it says "tranlation." (Then it dawned on me with gonging clarity: this is what the estimable Murphy's Craw recently blogged about, with his ever-clever headline, which I missed the first time.)

So, tonight I went to Borders, found the book, and picked it up. Here's what I found:

-- The front cover (dust jacket, is that the term?) of the book says "Come On People" without the needed vocative comma.

-- The spine of the dust jacket does the same.

-- The copy on the dust jacket flap, however, refers to the book with the vocative comma. In fact, the copy ends with an exhortation: "Come on, people."

-- The physical book (as opposed to metaphysical) itself has no comma on the spine (if memory serves correctly; what, you think I'm feckin' crazy, standing there taking notes?)

-- Then, within the book, the title pages correctly say "Come On, People."

Do you think this makes me feel as if the error is somehow mitigated because it does not show up everywhere? Wrong. I'll tell you what: the writer/editor in me would rather see it wrong consistently, than inconsistently right. Especially in technical editing, you really want to be consistent in style and in the application of your own rules scheme.

Someone dropped the ball . . . egregiously.

The editor is at fault.

You just cannot let such sloppiness run amok. When you're that sloppy with something so important, who's to say you're not as sloppy, or sloppier, with everything else?

Who needs sloppy seconds, grammatically speaking?

Come on, people.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Comma Drama

Last night, around 10 p.m. a dozen or so young guys paraded out of the second-floor flat of Jesse, the fellow next door. I mean, they looked like a human centipede coming out of the porch. Or like the silk scarves that endlessly come out of a magician's sleeve. Whew!

As predicted by my wife, after their jaunt down the hill, presumably to Coleman's Authentic Irish Pub, the guys (and now a few gals) returned around 2 a.m. and made a ruckus.

Come on, people! We're trying to sleep here!

Speaking of which:

There's a new book out titled:

Come On People

subtitled: On the Path From Victims to Victors

By Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D.

Now, based on some of the estimable Mr. Cosby's recent comments and the subtitle, I can surmise that the book has a laudable premise and narrative exposition. Fine. No problem. Applause.

However, I have a quibble with the title.

It needs an important comma placed after the word "on."

Otherwise, without that vocative comma -- how shall I delicately express this? -- the title conjures up an indefensible and impolitic, if pornographic, imperative to broadcast one's seminal "concepts" in a democratic and egalitarian way. Gross!

And Mr. Cosby has a doctorate in education (but not grammar); his co-author is a medical doctor. Come on, guys!

You can rely on The Laughorist to staunchly defend us from solecisms of punctuation.

(And, yes, you can split an infinitive with impunity, as in the sentence above.)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sound Bites

About 2.5 years ago (Jim The Engineer [JTE] would know how long ago it was; he was engineeringly keeping an Excel chart on it for a while), I phoned JTE on a Friday and said,

"Let's go to Pho Saigon for lunch today. You know, make it a regular thing, sit at the same table, like a couple old men in Miami."

We did. JTE even dubbed the event OML, for Old Man's Lunch.

Simon The Brit (STB) had introduced me to the place. I fell in love with L2, Lemongrass Chicken, so much so that as time went on owners Jackie and David knew my order. Knew all our orders automatically. It was a given. L2 for me, except for the rare aberration. Simon's regular was either #13 or #26, vegetarian noodle soup or an alternative.

Typically, JTE and Ethan My Son (EMS) would order by just saying, "I'll have Simon's." (I think the noodle soup was the default option; correct me if I'm wrong, JTE, STB, or EMS.)

For a year or more, Jim and I were mainstays. Others were added to the mix: Charlie The Engineer, Kellie LA, Jenny, JCG, and even Wifey, JoJo, and when conditions permitted BalletDaughter and Irishstep Daughter. Once, we must've had 13 or 14 people at a big oval table.

L2 for me, thank you.

Then we drifted off. Our office moved downtown. Plus Kevin, David's son, experienced a dreadful eye injury last winter while chipping at a huge icicle on the building.

Pho Saigon's hours became more irregular.

I became irregular (I'm trying more fiber. HAHAHAHAHAHAAHHA.)

Today I hankered and hungered for L2.

STB, JTE, and I convened at Pho. Closed.

We proceeded several block to another Vietnamese restaurant. Probably more people there for lunch than totaled in two years at Pho. But I like Pho's phood better; Simon likes this place better, the food that is.

Anyway, at lunch today it was a bit of a reunion: JTE, SBT, newly married EMS, and I.

The camaraderie was an oasis amidst a fuckedupfrenzied workday. For me at least. Or most.

In between sips of noodle soup, Jim, alias JTE, was relating a business narrative and said something like,

"I was not the decision maker, but influenced it."

"Put that on my tombstone," I said.

Laughter all around, with some chili sauce added.

I noted how my webstore had sold a few "I Leap for Kierkegaard" T-shirts these past few weeks, even one to someone in Australia.

JTE: "How many gross have you sold total?"

ME: "You kidding? I haven't sold a gross in two-plus years! I've never cleared a profit for one month!"

A gross? I mean, I'd love to make money while I sleep.

Who wouldn't?

Pass the chopsticks.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Yesterday, a friend at lunch edited something I had just said (
"Don't edit speech," intoned Lou R., news editor, years back). Well, the friend at lunch didn't so much as edit my speech as critique it. He meant well, but it was slightly annoying.

But I couldn't disagree with his point: he caught me in a habit. I often qualify a statement of value and worth about myself, as if it needs explaining or footnoting or justification or mitigation. I had added a phrase such as "well, nobody's perfect," to a positive observation about myself. Harmless enough and truthful enough, but he was onto something. He was right. There was no need to show low self-esteem by adding a demurral, a disclaimer, a qualifier.

It's like when someone says to you, "That's a gorgeous dress" (ooooops! let's not CROSS into adDRESSING another topic here!), and you feel compelled to say, "I bought it on sale."

No. Just smile and say thanks.

That sort of thing.

Know what I mean?

I'm tired. It's time for bed.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Signs of the Night

Tonight's walk:

Last summer's swimming pool, alabaster, empty, silent, bathed in light. Not one echo of August's rowdy, tense crowd simmering in a cauldron of raw longing, restlessness, and a dash of suspicion. Black elongated crosses demarcate depths and diving areas at the far end. A black wrought-iron fence guards the perimeter of the pool. The empty pool strikes a monumental pose. It looks like some kind of shrine with its radiance and stillness. A shrine to what? Snowflakes aimlessly fly about in the brisk wind. What if the pool were a sacred shrine, a local Taj Mahal? What if someone proclaimed The Burnet Park Pool as a tourist venue, designed by, say, Frank Gehry or Frank Lloyd Wright? Just saying so, people would think about it differently. But I don't need such proclamations. It is luminous and miraculous, just as it is.

Walking back home, the "clean, well-lighted place" (Hemingway's phrase) behind me, I see graffiti on a small concrete-block building housing electrical equipment. (Ever since my trips to Berlin, Germany, I'm more open-minded about graffiti.) The tag is:


in urban blocky font, in black spray paint.

The "i" is not dotted.

Where the dot on the "i" would be, is a small x.

Which makes me wonder, yet again.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Vote for Me

Of course, the motto of the Solipsist Party is "It's ALL About Moi" (if you're going to be snooty, it never hurts to throw in le mot juste en francais).

I voted this evening. I did not vote for me, betraying the great solipsistic principles this land, and this weblog, was built on. (Should I have typed were? Perhaps. My grammar cortex lobe is resting.)

We have old-fashioned voting machines here with levers that click firmly in place. I like it that way. I hope we never switch to the newfangled devices.

The act of voting makes me feel proud to exercise the privilege, recognizing that many have died to safeguard this right.

Then again, I sometimes feel cheated. Sort of like buyer's remorse. These are the best choices available to us? One official I'm pleased to vote for ran unopposed, but he works harder than anyone, going door-to-door to meet his constituents. That's how I met him. And he's not like that only at election time.

Too often our system rewards the richest, the most connected, the most feckless, the most harmless, the most shallow. On the national level, that's true exponentially.

Wouldn't we feel better if candidates unabashedly embraced their solipsistic inner child? Wouldn't we feel relieved to hear a candidate get honest for once and say, "You know what, folks? I'm in this for the prestige, the ego flattery, the attention, and the connections this will get me. Vote for me."

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Sentence of Enlightenment

Walking the dog in the too-early night, not being accustomed to this artificial invitation to one hour less of evening light, I am buffeted by whirling winds while simultaneously amused by Maggie's chasing of a wind-driven leaf here and then there, as if it were an escaping prey, and then dazzled by the surprising array of whitish-yellow lights draping two maples at the crest of the hill in the park overlooking the city, awaiting the advent of a feast of light on the darkest night.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Oral Fixation

Oral fixation, it's not just what you think. Oh sure, my oral fixation is shamelessly succulent (well, given my strict Catholic upbringing, redact that to "shamefully") and mammary. Add to that addictiveness a new oral fixation, quite literally a fix-ation.

Let me explain.

The ear-nose-throat doctor-cum-dentist tells me it's TMJ that is at the root of my non-root-canal jaw pain. (You people need to get your minds out of the pig trough:
cum here is from Latin and means with. And it ain't pronounced like that word in skin mags. [The Merriam-Webster link has a pronunciation sound bite.] Besides, it's high-class porn we aim for here anyway.) More accurately, he noted that TMJ describes a muscle and bone structure, not a syndrome.

So, my oral fix-ation consists of a number of things:

1) putting ethyl chloride on the skin outside my jaw and near my ear and temple. That's kind of cool, literally. It creates a freezing. The cotton ball makes a crinkling sound. Do athletes and ballet dancers spray this directly on, say, a pulled hamstring? I imagine the danger is that in merely masking the symptoms you incur greater injury.

2) Megadoses of naproxen (Aleve), which I'm not fond of.

3) Which brings me tonight's topic: I'm supposed to do this jaw exercise:

-- Place tongue on roof of mouth.

-- Open to approximately half of normal opening; keep tongue in place. Open for 10 seconds; rest 15 seconds.

-- Repeat for 6 times, 3 times a day. After 2 days, increase to 12 times, 3 times a day. After 2 more days, increase to 18 times, 3 times a day. After 3 days, change your name to Pinocchio or any wooden marionette of your choosing. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


Just picture it.

I look like one of those choirboys-cum-eunuchs on a Christmas card.

Or in a meeting at work, the person on the opposite side of the table will think I'm mocking every word. (Darn! Caught again!)

Someone on the bus (if I ever take it again) will think my mouth motions are an entreaty to meet them in a back alley at the next stop for some oral hijinks.

Oral fixation indeed.

Eighteen times three times a day?

Cum on!

Not on your maxillary-dental-labial life!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

'Um. . . The Book' Reviewed

Um...The Book entertained and educated me. Anytime you can do both at the same time (
soixante-neufing, so to speak, your learning) is an accomplishment. Fortunately, this very readable book by Michael Erard does not come off as stuffy in any way. And it doesn't make one self-conscious, as in the nervous equivalent of crossing and uncrossing one's legs or readjusting one's posture in front of a psychoanalyst. (I can report that seeing a shrink is not really like that anyway, not after the first 877 visits.)

When I was a copy editor at a newspaper, I remember an editor telling me, after I corrected someone's spoken solecism, "Don't edit speech." Wise advice.

Um...The Book takes the reader through a pleasurable stroll through several leafy jungles you wouldn't think had connecting paths: pop culture, anthropology, linguistics, epistemology, psychology, history (...and more! as copywriters shout). (As I have noted before, the book's subtitle, "Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean," embraces the serial comma, as does the narrative. Merci, Mr. Erard and editors.)

The book's website invites examples from readers. I dare not submit this one of my own, because it's more dementia than blunder: I once introduced myself at a serious business function, in front of a large crowd, with the prefatory "His Lord and Eminence" before my name. I don't know what came over me. Curiously, I still have the same job, and more curiously, one of the people who had been in that audience, as a competitor, now works with me. No, I've never brought the subject up.

I like the fact that the author takes on Herr Dr. Freud and explains how the term "Freudian slip" has taken on a life all its own never intended.

I learned about spoonerisms, powerless vs. powerful speaking, and tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon. (Medical update: I seem to have some sort of TMJ problem, and yesterday the ENT/dentist specialist prescribed an exercise of putting the tip of my tongue onto the roof of my mouth, pausing, repeating,
et cetera, ad infinitum. I can think of better things to do avec ma langue.)

I'm, um, thinking that at the office holiday gala, with my bow tie on and pinkie out, I'll try to impress someone (well, someone with ample cleavage, of course) by breezily dropping terms like
parapraxis (or parapraxes, plural) or Fehlleistung (Fehlleistungen). The German is literally "faulty performance." The hope is I'll be referring conversationally to language or memory, not some other kind of, um, "performance."

Before signing off, two things.

One, I've had a fussy awareness of these things even before I read the book (evidently, that's why my friend from WebPros sent it to me), so today it was amusing to hear a public official say at a forum several times: "flush it out" instead of "flesh it out." (Well, he
was referring to an aqueduct.) (I once knew a colleague who thought "flesh it out" was too meaty and gross an expression, and she wasn't even a vegan!)

Second, a slight disclaimer: as I was reading the book, I contacted the author. He was gracious in replying. In my experience, most authors are very gracious, just as John Updike was admirably kind when I met him in the lobby of Random House in the 1980s.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Camera Obscura

They say, the camera doesn't lie. We know that is patently untrue.

But what if the camera's images see the light of day?

What is exposed?


Those in the images?

The photographer and his keepers?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Parting Shots

About a year ago, I mused on such
grave matters as epitaphs.

How about "last words"?
I just finished reading Joan Acocella's review in The New Yorker (10/8/07) of Julie Kavanagh's "Nureyev: The Life."

Rudolf Nureyev, the flashy ballet star, comes across as tragically solipsistic. He died at the age of 54, in January 1993.

His last words?


A little quiz. He said those words because:

a) In his grandeur, he was reaching for a suitable anatomical metaphor.

b) A movie of the same name was on the hospital TV.

c) He was relating a delirious homo-erotic fantasy.

d) He was planning a ballet about the Melville classic.

Acocella says it was b), but offers the conjecture that it would not be far-fetched if it were d).

What would be your last words? Good question, eh? I've always liked Gertrude Stein's purported last words. She is said to have asked Alice B. Toklas, "What is the answer?" When Toklas did not respond, Stein reportedly said, "In that case, what is the question?" and died.

I think "last words" assume you'll have the chance to utter anything intelligible.

How about a Groucho Marx echo: "Hello. I must be going."

Or: "Whoa!"

Or: "Oooops!"

Or: "See ya later. Thanks and love."

Or: "Laugh. Or else."


p.s. Some say, "Parthian shot" became "parting shot" in English, though that is disputed.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Who-ha Over Whom, ah...

I hardly ever watch TV (I waste my time doing this crap), but it is refreshing to know an Amerkin network television program can feature
a humorous argument over grammar.

Admittedly, "The Office" came by way of England (actually, I think I saw all those Ricky Gervais shows on DVD).


Between you and I, that is (mwhahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAwhowhohee).

Props to the Words to the Wise blog of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Apologia Pro Patria Mea

Why Those Who Love America Are Feeling

by Andrew Greeley, in the Chicago Sun-Times

October 24, 2007

I am ashamed for America. Note carefully that I do not say I am ashamed of America. Despite all its inherent flaws and all its tragic mistakes, the United States stands, however incompletely and with whatever imperfections, for the highest standards of freedom and democracy that the world has yet known.

I am ashamed for America because all the evil done in the nation's name in recent years is turning off the light on the mountaintop.

1. The president urges Congress in effect to accept the Turkish protest against the attribution of Armenian genocide because it might interfere with Turkish logistic cooperation in the ill-starred and foolish Iraq war. That's like silencing all congressional action on the Holocaust because we need Germany on our side. If Turks expect to become part of Europe and the West, they must acknowledge what their ancestors did. They could pass a resolution of their own accusing us of genocide against Native Americans if it would make them happy. How humiliating that the president wants us to ignore what happened to the Armenians so we can be victorious in the "global war on terror" (the current replacement for "weapons of mass destruction''). That's called appeasement, and it was appeasement when President Bill Clinton did the same thing.

2. The government kidnaps, tortures and murders the way the Gestapo did in Nazi Germany. The president blithely dismisses these charges. The United States, he says, does not torture. But that deception is based on a memo from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defining torture, which the White House won't let anyone else look at.

3. The government pays large salaries to 148,000 "individual contractors" in Iraq -- more than the total American military there. A third of these are toting guns. They are mercenaries -- often, it would seem, with very quick trigger fingers. Ironically, the most recent victims were two Armenian Christian women. These contractors are a kind of American Foreign Legion, like the notorious French and Spanish foreign legions. They may well be very brave people who do very tough jobs. They also compensate for Mr. Rumsfeld's criminal underestimate of the number of troops required. If, however, the country is going to have a Legion Etranger, it should make sure that it works under tight control. An unrestrained security force quickly becomes a mafia. Humphrey Bogart, where are you when we really need you?

4. At a remarkably frank meeting of middle-range officers (majors and colonels) at Fort Leavenworth, the soldiers debated not whether there should have been a war in Iraq, but who was to blame for losing it. Was it the senior officers or the joint chiefs or the civilian leaders? The war is not even over yet, and already the officers who fought it and will have to fight its continuation have already given up hope. Too bad for them, because the president has made up his mind that we are still going to win the war and the Democratic presidential candidates speak about a 10-year presence in Iraq. Whatever the political leadership is or will be in 2009, no candidate seems capable of saying, "We're getting out now!" And the rest of the world laughs at us because both parties are led by fools.

Anyone who cares about the United States and its legacies has to be brokenhearted at what has been done to our beloved country by the crazy people who are running it -- people who have become so skilled at deception they don't even realize anymore that they are deceiving. Just like the Democrats don't realize they are again stealing defeat out of the jaws of victory.

Andrew Greeley is a priest in good standing of the Archdiocese of Chicago. for 52 years, a columnist for 40 years, a sociologist for 45 years, a novelist for 28 years, distinguished lecturer at the University of Arizona for 28 , research associate at National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago for 46 years.

A tip of the hat to blogger Jan, at Yearning for God, at whose door I stumbled after hitting Next Blog seven or eight or nine times (an admittedly risky and potentially dangerous maneuver) to discover this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just A Hunch

Under the delicious deluge of autumn rain this morning, I (umbrella-less) hunched my shoulders as I scooted from parking garage to street to sidewalk to building entranceway, a short distance.

Did the hunching help?

Did it make me less wet? Did I think hunching would protect me?

Hunch. A great word. Merriam-Webster declares its origin unknown.

Hunch conjures up combinations of huddle and scrunch and hump, which if performed simultaneously would tie one up in potentially orgasmic-enhancing or orgasmic-squelching knots. (Take your pick.)

The fecklessness-of-hunching metaphor raises this question (or raises nothing at all, if one is rendered impotent by such contortions):

What other hunch illusions do we fall for?

After all, does your flinching matter as the I-beam sliding off the semi slices through your windshield?

That sounds dark and gloomy, but isn't, really.

It is meant to underscore the illusion of power we live by, afraid to surrender to the reality of powerlessness. We do this as individuals and as a culture (and as a government).

Powerlessness is really such a relief.

Alas, easier said than done.

My letting go (or failure to do so) typically leaves a bloody trail of claw marks on the object of desire.

(Pare it down, and you've got a Leonard Cohen song or poem.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Leaf It To Me

The garage again.

I'm walking up the stairs, between the second and third deck. I spot a triad of articulated saffron leaves, on a tiny branch on the landing. Each of the three leaves is nearly oval, lanceolate, almost labial, pointed at the top, jagged points along the sides.

This trinity of ambrosia is there, for the taking. It is meant for me. Or for anyone who cares to see it and embrace it.

I lift it up into my hands, in procession to my car. The perfect coda to a d
ay, a week, a life. The incense for this holy walk is my own breath.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hats Off to Holy Seeing Eyes

On page A12 of The New York Times of October 18, 2007, I spy this headline:

Pope Names 23 New Cardinals, Including 2 From the U.S.

Is is persnickety of me to opine that "new" is unnecessary in that head (or, if memory [always faulty] serves correctly from my newsroom days: hed)?

Would the pope name old cardinals?

Well, as a matter of fact the new cardinals were on the old side, with five over the age of 80.

They will receive their hats (red, right? I'll ask my friend Greg Tobin, author of Conclave and Council) on November 24.

Hats off to holiness, but not to the venial editorial sin of redundancy.

Talk of Holy See! Editors, mend thy sight!

(Back when I was a newspaper copy editor, in the old days, we couldn't even allow "new record" in a story. Go figure.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Re Post Riposte

I also notice the poem works well if read from the bottom up, taking on a whole new flavor and tone.

Bottoms up!

It's Da Bomb


Totally unintended, but I see now that my poem below, on the preceding post, takes the shape of a bomb, or other piece of artillery.

I mean, yeah, words can be weapons, even poetry, but . . .

Herr Dr. Freud, what was I thinking?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Between the Vespers

Walking at dusk, I see rage

Fade below the horizon

Not quite

The draining away of October light

Fact a shadow

Certain caught sky

A lurid velvet bowl

Held by veiny branches

The high screech of bats

Two zigzagging above

Me almost colliding

The post-Ramadan moon

Crescent and clouded

My not flinching

For once

Monday, October 15, 2007

Karma Dharma Harm-arama

I seem to have this inflammation on my upper thigh, something like a spider bite.
What kind of karma dharma harma thing is that?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Spider, man

So I walk up the stairs of the downtown, vintage 1970s or '80s parking garage. (What's the Brit or Irish term,
carpark?) Well, this structure is not a park setting; it is muscular and rusted and garnished with girders and nuts and bolts. Fortunately, my employer pays the monthly parking fee. (Unfortunately, I have fallen from the habit of taking the bus at least once or twice a week. Not sure why. Getting up too late?) One can discern how late one is by where one is forced to park (oh! that's the park in carpark. I get it.). In other words, the later you are, the higher the deck you are parking on. If it's a roof day, you're likely checking in past 9 a.m., after your date with the therapist or the OB-GYN or your inability to pry yourself from under the covers. I reach the flight for the fourth floor. I am arrested by the site of a spiderweb above the stair railing, near one of the massive girders holding the structure together. My day is a day of stress and tension and deadlines. I am stepping out for a lunchtime appointment. At the center of the intricate web, illuminated by afternoon sun offset by corner shadows, is the spider himself or herself (who spins the web? males? females? a little help, please, Botanist Colleague). Still. A fleshy color (pinkish-yellow with a darker portion at the center of its body) but partially semitransparent. I count the tiny (a quarter-inch long?) creature's eight legs. Or am I looking at six legs and two antennae? No, I'd say these are eight legs. I pause. I stop. I stare. I spy the spider's eyes: two dots perhaps smaller than the periods in the documents seen minutes before. Is it staring at me, fearful of its very life? This arresting moment is an occasion of grace, I realize. I bow before the spider. I really do. I bow. Then I smile, shrug my shoulders, and walk to my car, lighter, freer, and blessed. It is the benediction moment of my day. A moment of clairvoyance, quite literally. It was all there -- for anyone attentive and awake enough to see it. Like any moment of grace.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I Got Your (Pay)back

I lost. You win. Back in the fecund days of spring I bet you that my once-beloved-but-now-bedraggled San Francisco Giants would perform better in baseball in 2007 than your Lost Angles Dodgers.

As I recall, the loser (i.e., Mr. Kokonuts) had to extol the virtues of the better team. Something like that.

That's easy. For starters, you did not have a stumbling, sulking, fumbling, homeric, grandiose, prodigiously talented but woefully waning left fielder named Barry Bonds. That's huge (like Barry's naked head). It has a ripple effect (like steroid-enhanced

You also had better starting pitching, base-running, fielding, base-hitting, bunting, slugging, and relief pitching. (I didn't check with the
Elias Sports Bureau for factual accuracy, but I'm sure I'm close enough.) Better manager? We'll call that a toss-up.

I will not admit you have better uniforms or food at the stadium (since I love the orange and black and loathe Dodger blue and have not been to Dodger Stadium or AT&T Park. Yet).

I readily admit you have more lascivious and sultry babes at the stadium (being so close to Hollywood and all, what with all your would-be starlets and pin-ups, even if no one uses that term anymore). And it would not be hard for your fans to be more passionate and exuberant than our latte-sipping, cellphone-chatting languid loungers. (I say "our," but I am not of that cosmopolitan NoCal ilk.) And your second baseman? Future Hall of Famer Jeff Kent? I cannot deny it. We should've kept him, somehow enticed him to stay (should have given him a few pickups so he could have, um, washed them), even if he and Barry were at each other's throats (literally in 2002).

Congrats, you win.

But not by much.

Both teams stank.

It was the first time in many years our two teams brought up the rear (no San Francisco jokes, please) in the standings.

Go Tribe! (Are we not both happy that the Nueva York
Jankees have lost?)

The Laughorist
A.K.A. Pawlie Kokonuts, Esq.