Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lose Weight with Vodka

The workers went on strike for better conditions and extra overtime joy. - (pay)

Hamburger with a nazi-portion of fries - (maxi) 

Lose weight with vodka - (yoga) 

Awkward should be submitted separately. - (artwork) 

Two men face fart, reptile breeding cruelty charges. - (rat) 

New Poll Islams Congress. - (slams) 

A wind tears the last leaves from the goblets along the road. - (poplars) 

I hate douche. - (quiche)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Silent Treatment

To hell with it. My tongue’s gone under, 
curbed like an excess. No more 
wagging in the shallows, it’s plunged 
in a tunnel to the underworld where 
they stump in a strange dialect. 
Eat your heart out, it might say. Eat 
your pilaf, your side vegetable 
and the pox upon your crops. 
It might say anything, were it not 
lounging around a lower hemisphere. 
Laid back at some southern spa, mud-
bathing, overdosing on motionlessness. 
Enjoy the quiet. Fleshy puddle, pond 
pummeled by too much rain. Make pretty 
like a lake today: hold yourself in.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Like a Novel

I’m reading a non-fiction book with a blurb on the back proclaiming that it reads “like a novel.” This comparison, drawn jillions of times, is considered the height of praise for non-fiction. There’s even a list at GoodReads of dozens of books recommended because they “read like a novel.” 

The book I’m reading is not on that list. I’m thinking of starting a list “Non-Fiction Books with a Blurb Claiming They Read Like a Novel.” Or “Novels that Read Like Non-Fiction.” 

Anyway, regarding non-fiction that reads “like a novel,” what the blurber generally ignores that bad novels enormously outweigh good novels. The blurber never says which novel - “Mrs. Dalloway” or “We Need to Talk about Kevin.”

In that spirit, potential novelesque experiences: 

The shower I took this morning was like a novel, a novel with neither discernible plot nor one 3-dimensional character, delivered to the wrong house. 

Our brainstorming session was like a novel, that novel about some kids somewhere that I forgot the title of because I drank too much grain alcohol in college. 

Lunch with the in-laws was like a novel, an allegorical novel by a contemporary Jewish author from Florida with a graduate degree in esoteric poultry management from an Ivy League university. 

The weekend with Aunt Alexis read like a novel, namely a horror novel. 

Having sex with Geoff was like reading a novel, a lengthy, moralistic novel by a much-lauded Spanish author whose supposed talents get lost in translation. 

Brushing my teeth after dinner was like a novel about a black woman who marries an older, white politician who witnesses a murder on the way home from work that he decides, with fateful consequences, not to report.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Back from Tuscany, and glad to report there are very few mosquitoes in the Chianti region. Forget those nights tossing and slapping in southern Italy and even Lombardia, fighting off blood-hungry mosquitoes and bemoaning the great European stupidity of not installing window screens. I didn’t get one bite. Kind of surreal, come to think of it.

Speaking of creatures, though we left our dog with friends, our vacation home came with a pool, and an endearing local dog named Toby. He visited us frequently, slept on our front stoop at night, and was a generally charming character, despite his flea-bag coat of fur and all the prickers he collected there. A mutt and a gentleman. 

The last creature story comes from Switzerland, where we overnighted. I complain about Switzerland, stuck in the middle of everything, expensive as hell, forcing travelers to change euros into that obscure little overvalued currency - the franc. But I digress. We stayed at a hotel in Amsteg, which turned out to have a gourmet restaurant. Weary, we ate there despite the prices, and had an amazing dinner. Yet when we asked what the crème brûlée bread spread was, we were told it was foie gras. I had never eaten fois gras, and it was exquisite, but there’s a first and last time for everything and I had them both at once. I eat meat and animal products, but fois gras I can’t abide. The kids also swore it off.

Friday, July 05, 2013


Off to Italy. I put on a sleeveless dress and sandals for the long drive, but that was asking too much of the German July. So I’m back to long pants.

We’re staying in a village named Gaiole, though if it’s a village I don’t even know. It appears to be more a piece of land between other villages in the Chianti region. 

The things I carry: The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, Almost No Memory by Lydia Davis, Tenth of December by George Saunders, Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, Selected Poems by Francis Ponge, and the manuscripts of two poet acquaintances. 

I admit I am happy we are not taking the dog. I’m one of those spiritually impoverished people who can’t really relax in the evening knowing I still have to take the dog out, which of course is every night. She’s going “on vacation” to friends!
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