Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I saw the sign on Route 298. LIVE NUDE FISH. On one of those little A-frame sign holders. It caught my eye. I don't deny it. And let's be honest, the FISH part was not the hook, shall we say. Echoes of the 1980s, working in Midtown Manhattan, before Times Square and its environs went all Disney on us. The neon signs said LIVE NUDE GIRLS. Or am I misremembering the lures and bait that pedestrians faced then? One had to be curious about the diction, the word choices, though, several blocks from the literal Madison Avenue, the promoters of carnal license seemed to need no lessions in the ad game. The NUDE was an obvious allurement, as old as the hills (well, not the wording but the stark naked commercialism trading on human weakness; nothing new there), but LIVE? Surely, DEAD would be a turn-off, except for creepy necro types. Why not WOMEN? Too much Mrs. Robinson? Or MEN or ADULT PERSONS? We've come a long way, baby, since then. Or have we? On a scale of 1 to 10, how far? Fin de siecle. Finis. Something's fishy here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

I've posted about this before, that Earth Day is a feel-good escape, a chance to feel environmentally holy, if you will. Sure, many of the priests and priestesses of this secular religion practice the same rituals for the other 364 days of the year. But the cleanup rites are typically around Earth Day. It is not unlike waltzing to the soup kitchen on Thanksgiving and handing out turkeys. Good for one day, maybe even a week. But I'm no better and my saying this does not exempt me from such criticisms.
p.s. I hate litter. It is contemptuous of civil order, an act of self-loathing and belligerent degradation, a despair.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

hardscrabble, softscrabble, scrabble

If you had one word to describe your neighborhood, what would that one word be? (This is assuming you have a neighborhood. I am not so sure that suburban or rural areas qualify.)

"Hardscrabble" was the first word to pop into my head. But, consulting Merriam-Webster, I'm not so sure it is an accurate adjective:

a :  being or relating to a place of barren or barely arable soil hardscrabble
farm> <hardscrabble prairies>
b :  getting a meager living from poor soil hardscrabble
:  marked by poverty hardscrabble
cotton town> hardscrabble childhood> 
Since there is not too much unpaved or ungrassed soil, I'll skip sense 1 of the M-W definition. As for sense 2, I'll buy that. I'll buy poverty. (How much does it cost? You can't afford it. Don't ask; don't tell.) But even that is hard to tell. Some folks seem to go to work; others seem to malinger, especially by that nefarious-looking cornerstore.

Maybe we're a softscrabble neighborhood.

Or, for those given to wordplay, maybe we are merely a scrabble neighborhood. And if you are talking about that famous board game, cap that initial S.