I’ve moved (again). It’s been a year actually. Albuquerque is in the rearview mirror. Reno is the new home. This blog has always been something of a diary. Although I’ve never been much of a committed diarist. It has, in general, been a place to practice writing and try out thoughts. I think that is what it will continue to be. I am thinking about focusing my efforts on writing about nature. I have an aspiration to write popular natural history about a few areas that interest me. We’ll see how it goes. Welcome to On Reno.
There should be social media and sharing everything that happens in your life. There should be sitting in a twilight room with [almost] no sensory input. There should be computers with us always to look up facts and learn new things at a moment’s notice. There should be running with dogs and snuggling in exhaustion afterwards. There should be ebooks your can carry by the hundreds on your device. There should be books with sturdy covers, mesmerizing typography, and luscious illustrations. There should be trivia and in-depth learning. There should be tweets. There should be really thorough and well-argued essays. There should be pencils and crayons and messy messy ink and thick, texturous paper. There should be literal and figurative and virtual writing on the wall. There should be the freedom to express yourself and the right medium to share with others. There should be collaboration and crowdsourcing. There should be [some] slick, corporate media productions. There should be unique individual visions. There should be folk art. There should be wind whispering through the leaves of aspen trees. There should be dirt on your shoes. There should be days spent in bed doing pointless online meandering. There should be talking with friends face-to-face over coffee or beer. There should be arguing with internet idiots over politics. There should be volunteering and charitable contributions. There should be keeping up with people you had lost track of. There should be online communities. There should be stitch and bitch. There should be kitten videos and kittens waiting for you to give them supper. There should be browsing in the bookstore and sharing your ebooks. There should be bloggers. There should be journalists doing investigative reporting. There should be getting paid for your work. There should be peaches and farmers’ markets and Apple and Android. There should be ubiquitous computing and cloud data. There should be peace and quiet. There should be lying on the grass identifying cloud animals. There should be linked data. There should be big data and effective analytics. There should be privacy. There should be Garage Band and baby grands and ukuleles and kazoos and learning how to play guitar from your uncle. There should be days when you don’t consume any electricity or petroleum. There should be smart phones and smart shirts and smart hats. There should be community gardens. There should be togetherness right here and across space and time and each of us with a room of our own. There should be technology and nature and creativity and peace.
Everybody is all excited about these great hacks over at Gizmodo. So many uses for empty deodorant containers and toiletpaper rolls. That got my inventive juices flowing. So, I came up with my own creative uses for everyday products. Hope you find these useful:
- You’re very cool but your pants are in danger of falling down. No prob. Fold over about a two-foot length of duct tape (depending on how big your ass is), sticky side out, tape down the end and insert a couple small loops of tape inside to make it one big length of double-stick duct tape. Tape it on your ass and then put on your droopy pants. Press your pants’ waistband to the exposed side of wonder-tape. You are cool and the pants stay up.
- Fellas, while we’re at it, duct tape makes a great girdle for your saggy belly. A few (tight) wraps around that bowl full of jelly will make the ladies think you have rock-hard abs. Well, unless you actually manage to lure one to your lair.
- In a pinch, toothpaste makes a wonderful hair styling gel. Plus you’ll be minty-fresh all day.
- You know you’ve done it. Sometimes you fill the toilet with a monstrous poo that just will NOT flush. No worries. Keep a nice long-handled spatula handy (right by the toilet plunger) to cut up that poo into flush-sized chunks. Voila!
- Use that wonderful toilet plunger to make great faux-finish wall paint effects. Dip the rubbery end in different paint from your background color. Press to the wall to make a perfect circle. Repeat to create whatever pattern you like. Use different sizes, different colors. Your friends will marvel at the soap bubble effect.
- You’re toasting bagels for the whole family, but it’s such a hassle to carry them all to the dining room. Use a toilet plunger right there on the kitchen counter to stack up your family feast of bagels as they pop from the toaster. Deliver them to the waiting horde like a domestic d’Artagnan.
- Carry a piece of fake dog poo to drop on the floor in the elevator in the event that you fart and then somebody else gets on. Look down, gesture, and say, “Ewww! Gross!”
- Find that you just HAVE to dress up your dog? Buy some boys pants at Walmart and put them on Fido backward, using the fly opening to accommodate the tail.
- And about your furry friends…what to do with all that dog hair you brush off of them? Save it in a pair of pantyhose. After a few months, you have the legs stuffed with hair and now you have the warmest scarf imaginable. Wrap around your neck on those icy winter days.
- We all want to save the planet by carrying our own bags to the grocery store. Pantyhose also make a great shopping bag. (What a wonder product!) The stretch accommodates large or small shopping trips. Good for keeping purchases separate that you don’t want rubbing up against each other. You in your leg, me in mine.
- Ladies… want to achieve that sexy, bra-less look, but need a little more support? Just use a pair of scissors to snip out the nipples of your bra and slip on that sexy summer dress for an alluring (but supported) look. If you find that it proves effective in the boudoir as well, so much the better.
- A plastic garbage bag makes a great adult diaper. Why pay tons for those store-bought versions? Poke two holes in the lower corners (not too big). Squeeze your legs through. Seal the legs and waistband with duct tape. Of course.
- Missing that hot, gooey, sticky sex in your relationship? Keep a squeeze bottle of honey on the nightstand. A quick and generous application to you and your partner and you’ll be glued to each other like horny teenagers.
- This one is for the teenagers. You’ve got to start early in convincing your parents that you LOVE Lifesavers candy. Get your parents to keep you endlessly supplied with Lifesavers. Buy a big, glass jar (apothecary kind of thing), fill it with individually wrapped Lifesavers, hide your condoms in there amongst the candy. See! You thought I wasn’t going anywhere with that.
- Tear the covers off of paperback books and glue them to the wall for beautiful do-it-yourself decorating. Spray-on glue works great (unless you have those crappy textured walls). You’ll have the smartest walls in the neighborhood.
- Keep the coverless books themselves handy to tear pages from for packing material. Tear off a few pages and wad them up. Uncle Bill will love the gift you mailed with the extra bonus of crinkled up pages from Moby-Dick. Call me brilliant.
- Trouble finding the car in those Connecticut-sized parking lots? Always carry a helium balloon on a string. Tie it to your car antenna. There’s your car right there! You can keep a bag of balloons, roll of butchers string, and a tank of helium in the trunk. Never be without.
- An iPad makes a great salad plate or individual serving tray. Can you say, “breakfast in bed”? Cleanup is a snap too.
- Use an axe (or alternatively a sledge hammer) to open that annoying plastic packaging.
- Those Christmas gifts you didn’t like make great targets when you’re practicing your marksmanship at the shooting range.
- In public, ALWAYS wear latex (or vinyl if you’re inclined) gloves, in case you have to shake someone’s hand.
It’s all gray.
Yes, that’s the way of the land here.
Do you miss green?
Only in the way you miss a childhood
That ended too soon.
Or the sound of a screen door knocking
In a summer breeze.
We have it now with a dry gentle
Smell of sage
Stretching out as far as you can see.
Green can’t do that.
We Too: A Pastiche
(inspired by Marilyn Johnson & U2)
In the hotel, a tattoo convention.
At the train station,
police with big guns and sniffing dogs.
On the web, Jesus and MLK
At the coffeeshop,
the homeless eating sugar packets.
In the park, a tea party crowd.
At the library,
books battle teachers and firefighters.
In the name of love, roll n roll.
In defense of freedom,
prisons without trials or rights.
Written on the skin, icons of light.
Around our bodies,
Symbols of dark might and vague lust.
In the heart, love and hate.
On the corner of the mind,
thoughts that have no end or death.
It’s that list-making time of year. Best books. Best movies. Biggest news stories. This is a different kind of list. 2009 was quite a year for assholes. In fact, even in the last days of the year, new assholes were revealed. We need a list of them to keep up! I posed the question to Twitter to ask folks who they thought were the biggest assholes of the year. This list is partly mine and partly from my Tweeps. It seems politics is a fertile field for assholes. But sports and entertainment aren’t without theirs. Let me know if I missed anybody.
- Tiger Woods – world champion Casanova, amateur texter
- Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab – luckily he was incompetent too
- Glenn Beck – there is hope for dumb people
- Lou Dobbs – because talk show hosts ought to be leading the country
- Rush Limbaugh – somehow, he seems like small-potatoes asshole anymore
- Goldman Sachs – mismanage your business – blame poor people – get rewarded
- Jon Gosselin – posterboy for the horrors of “reality” television
- Kanye West – “Imma let you finish” music video critic
- Global climate change – polar bears are hating it
- Joe Lieberman – small man relishing his power
- Ben Nelson – protector of wealthy women’s access to abortion
- Sarah Palin – death panel critic
- Max Hall – BYU quarterback, is there anything less classy than saying your opponents are classless?
- Bernie Madoff – investment Ponzi world champion
- Joe Wilson – “You lie!” South Carolina congressman
- Mark Sanford – South Carolina governor, Argentina Casanova, and Appalachian hiker
- Rod Blagojevich – “how much you willing to pay?” former Illinois governor
- Richard Heene – Balloon Boy’s genius father
- Elizabeth Lambert – Lobo soccer player, expert in the ponytail takedown
- Mike Locksley – “those aren’t my fingerprints on the guy’s neck!” UNM football coach – great year for UNM sports
- Maine voters – because California voters won the biggest assholes award in 2008 – Iowa out-cooling y’all
- Charlie Sheen – long-time asshole thought to have turned himself around
- Perez Hilton – giving victims everywhere a bad name
- Chris Brown – small man taking his frustrations out on a woman
- Joe Jackson – even in losing a child showed high levels of asshole. Worst parent ever?
So, who is the BIGGEST asshole of the year? Cast your vote in the comments!
It’s like a roar in the head
Even though no source for it
No grizzly straddling prey
Giving voice to predatory
No attack planes shrieking
Overhead, no shock and awe
Not even the machinery of
Industry, deafening, productive
Just the quiet tapping of
Keyboard fluttering out text
And the turning page’s soft
Rustle, momentary blink of
While the heart strains in
Vain to escape, break free of
The brain calculates the price
Of it all, real and imagined
It’s like a roar in the head
Breaking the quiet world
Where I live a life within
a virtual lie
Kindled with a fire of ice
but I soldier on