I don’t want to go to Brooklyn

Go ahead, stupid.  Go ahead and drive a car from New Jersey to Brooklyn. You can experience the colossal congestion, the cookie-crumbling condition of the roads, failure to plan for capacity, the refusal of the plutocracy to invest, the  aggression of the 18-wheel truckers who are taking speed on the last leg across the country,  the crisscrossing at the tolls, the sidelong dangers that reside just beyond your peripheral vision, the desire to murder fellow drivers, the desire of fellow drivers to murder you, the inaccuracy of the radio traffic reports combined with their speeded jumbling of words (did they say Lincoln or Holland!?), the need for despicable drivers of monster vehicles like Hummers, Escalades , Yukons and other living-room-sized vehicles to hinder the progress of me going to Brooklyn and the human race to survive in any civilized way, the need for your passenger to ask for help with the crossword in a rainstorm while making a lane change you shouldn’t really make,  the unforeseen construction that means you end up on the 59th Street Bridge, a very poetic structure, from which Coltrane serenaded that is nonetheless built so tall and rickety that you go all shaky in your mind and bowels mid-span, the exit ramps from the various bridges over the East River that make you feel that you are in a World War One fighter plane  impetuously banking down and to the right to shake the enemy pilot so that you can make it onto the Brooklyn-Queens -(not)Expressway, the way the whole experience is like trying to read a too-long sentence with way too many set-off phrases and relative clauses  written by a desperate lamebrain making a futile lament that bores even him, so many times has he made it aloud on the way to Brooklyn where he eventually parks and tries to forget that he’ll have to fight his way out some hours later.  But, this time we got there okay through a major rainstorm, and Roberto Clemente was on the wall, making it all more than worthwhile.


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From the Minutes of the Meeting of the Department of Redundant Entropy Department 

The alarm rings.  Dunlop’s head jerks up and his fist jerks down to smash the clock into silence. Aloud, he emphatically says “yes, yes, yes” over and over before switching to “no, no, no, no.”  He lets his head fall back onto the pillow for a moment, but an instant later he is on his feet, looking at the clock again.  It says 3:30 PM.  This means nothing to Dunlop as he opens the shade, and heads into the lavatory. “YES,” he remembers that he had planned on writing up his lab notes after his nap.  As he splashes cold water over his numb face, he feels relieved to have recalled the purpose behind his waking up behavior.  “I knew I must have gotten up for something,” Dunlop thinks as he plops down in front of his desk.  He feels pretty awful. His cold has not yet left him, and the food he ate the previous evening is sitting motionless in his gut.
Dunlop shuts his eyes.  His head is congested and the room, being too hot, combined with the after-nap grogginess, makes him feel strangely enlarged.  It is a unsettling and sickly sensation.  He feels himself expanding to such an extent that the pain in his intestines seems only a dull ache at the center of a perversely bloated mass of his conscious being. This occasionally would happen to one of his appendages, sometimes even his head.  It was not a normal feeling, and no one he knew every said “oh, yeah, that happens to me, too!” The inability to accurately describe it was another negative aspect of the phenomenon.
In fright, Dunlop opens his eyes.  This does not end the sensation. He sees his hands resting on the desk in front of him.  His hands are a part of his body and the desk is a part of his hands. The desk is connected to the floor and the walls and they are connected to the building. In horror, Dunlop watches himself become a huge, inert, unfeeling mass.
“Oh, what a fate, I’ve an inorganic redundant deathly deadening destiny – to become MacNaughton Dormitory.”  Dunlop can’t move.
The door flies open.  It is Dunlop’s roommate, Mark, the hard-working scientist, pseudo-Platonist utterer of inane aphorisms.  “What are ya doin’, Dun?” asks Mark.  Dunlop replies, “Succumbing to inertia and the Second Law of Thermodynamics, you insipid bowel movement.”

“Now, now, Dun, I’ll just overlook that – I know you’re just kidding. God, am I exhausted.  My lab took five hours and I have to get to work right away if I expect to get anything done tonight.”  Dunlop sounds an obligatory, ‘Oh” and begins to feebly move his arms about on the desk, getting things ready so he can begin work on the lab.  He stares at the lab-book, calculator and data for ten minutes.  It took him that long to remember that he did not have the lab sheet without which the completion of the assignment was impossible.  He strings together some scatological words, and struggling with his shoes, notices that his laces have only a few ties left in them until they break apart.  Grabbing his knapsack, he is almost out the door when Mark stops him, “Hey Dun, uh um – what’s the uh – the generic term for mother – i.e. analagous to the relationship between the words brother and sibling?”  Dunlop says, “uh… parent?”

“oooooooooohhhhhnooooooh” Mark resounds at the thought of his forgetting the word ‘parent’ while remembering the words “generic” and “analagous.”  Dunlop leaves Mark with the horror at his mental lapse, and starts trudging down the stairs in his heavy winter coat and scarf around his neck.  It is warmer out than he thought and a muggy sweat soon covers him. His leaden legs carry him to the door of his lab partner.  She answers the door and gets the sheet for him. Dunlop is disconcerted at the difficulty he experiences in communicating.  Everything he says is jumbled up together to Kathy’s ears, but perfectly distinguishable to Dunlop.  Conversely, Kathy’s words sound to him to be said too slowly to be understood. Dunlop manages to complete the conversation without the use of sign language, but with much repetition.
Soon he finds himself sitting at a library desk. He takes off his shoes to let his damp socks dry. He sits amid the socky stink, and thinks, “Finally, I can start this lab.”  He reads the instructions.  More scatological verbiage emerges from him.  He had left the data on his dormitory desk. He staggers out to remedy his latest oversight.  Before he can get to the dorm, however, he is intercepted by a large group of students heading for dinner at the commons.  Having lost all sense of direction and purpose, he lets himself get scooped up by the mass of people, and soon finds himself herded into the feeding arena.
The students, like over-heated molecules, redound in random disordered comminglings as food piles up on their trays. Dunlop finds a plate on his tray, loading it with mushroom/cheese and rice delight with corn.  His knees weaken.  His sight is blurred.  Someone spills some milk on his tray – “Man – I’m really sorry.”  Dunlop says “It’s okay – I like it.”  Now, the end of his scarf is hanging into his food.  He leaves it there.
 Suddenly, the general will attaches to him and he gets out his meal card just in time to be efficiently flushed through the cash registers and into the dining room.  Seated, he looks at his companions go through the eating motions while occasionally muffling something he doesn’t understand.  Beyond the table, Dunlop can see nothing but shapeless forms of brown or black.  Some items of food appear to be flying by his head, ‘Hey Dun, whazamatter, you whacked or something, huh?”  Dunlop does not hear. He stares at his plate. Everything on it melts indistinguishably into each other.  He cannot tell the whatever from the whatever. The substance on his plate is homogenized, uniform and calm. Wrecked napkins and bent forks lie to either side.  “So this is the fate of all things?” Dunlop thinks.  Upon this revelation, Dunlop’s vision explodes, and he sees himself from outside himself – at all angles simultaneously.  He watches his head and torso slowly tilt and begin the descent.  With complete lucidity, he sees from above, below and all sides, as his face settles, in slow motion, into the lukewarm mire of whateverness.
“That’s my roommate Dun,” Mark is heard to say as he passes by.
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Don’t Be Stupid

Trying to be helpful, I pointed out this graffito to America some decades ago……stupid2…but to no apparent avail.

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People Offer Worthy Observations in the Morning

This morning my outgoing, ruddy and bearded petrol attendant, we’ll call him Joey, was issuing forth his usual ‘guten tagen on your noggins’ to me and a fellow named Dave who was driving by in his van. He used ‘phuckin’ as the adjective this time. He waved bye to Dave, and turned to me, saying “sorry about the F-bomb, but Dave likes them.”  Then the topic of conversation turned to an article I had read in which scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson suggests that it is a high probability that the universe is a computer simulation created by a very advanced civilization. Joey readily embraced the topic, elucidating his amazement that the universe was actually real, that we are sending probes out a gazillion miles, and that it somehow all started from an infinitely infinitesimal density made of something that then exploded into everything.  I told him that I had asked physicists in my acquaintance to get back to me when they ultimately decided whether light was a wave or a particle, and that it is beyond my comprehension that light’s nature depends on the subject viewing it. Fist bumps and we’re off. Twelve dollars for the gas – it’s a hybrid.


A few minutes later I held the elevator for a white-haired woman who told me she never rides the elevator without getting nervous because she was once stuck in one and had to climb out through the roof of the cab.  I told her “well, that at least was a memorable day compared to many others.”  She continued, ‘Well I keep dreaming about it – I’m floating and everything,” and then she stepped out. a little wobbly, onto the second floor.



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Goodbye Couch

Eulogy for a couch from the 1950s: This couch (we never were ‘sofa’ people) served the hindquarters of family and friends who made their incarnational debuts somewhere between 1885 and 2014.  It is heading to the Food Bank, and from there to another living room somewhere, where it can keep adding to its impressive achievements.

goodbye couch


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About That Time

About that time I hid under my manager’s desk and grabbed his knees when he sat down:  I’m not sorry
About that time I was too young to know better, and pretended to be wheel-chair bound while using mass transit all the way to the concert so that I’d have a seat:  Bad judgment, but I learned a lot…
About those times I sent email from many colleagues’ computers, assuming their own unique personal stream of consciousness voices: I’d do it again of course.
About that time I claimed to my friend that another friend had taken off in his car to go after some neighborhood ne’er-do-wells to fight them:  You really thought that Billy punched that guy in the face?
About that time I filled your umbrella with paper holes from the hole-puncher, and then closed it up again:  I would really like the opportunity to do that again.
About that time after the homemade pizza party, you said I couldn’t take a slice home for lunch, but after I licked it you changed your mind. It was delicious.
About that time I held back your coat sleeve while pretending to help you on with your coat, making you stick your arm out about ten times until you figured it out: It’s just a habit I have – blame my uncle.
About that time I saw you on the video monitor of the elevator, and the security guard let me give you directions via the intercom on “how to stand in an elevator:” I don’t think I’ve ever been that happy.
About that time I left “Thinking of You” cards on two colleagues’ chairs, signed by each of them to the other:  It brought you both together for a brief, confusing moment.
About that time I smashed my shopping cart into yours at the supermarket, while expressing how happy I was to see you both, and then followed you around making loud comments about your food choices: It was the start of something great.
About that time I started a small fire in your car while driving down Mountain Avenue:  What a nervous Nelly you were!
Regarding that time I chased you around the basement with a dead mouse and you died of a heart attack:  Sorry.
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Lobster Ashtray Listens to Dizzy

This lobster ashtray, previously owned by Dizzy, was caught listening to Night in Tunisia the other morning.  Thank you WBGO.

It’s not much of a post.  Perhaps you had to be there.

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