Of courier bags and man-purses: women have been right all along

I don’t care if you stuff your pockets until it looks like you’re smuggling carburetors. If you’re too macho to carry a bag, that’s your issue.

Timbuk2 Courier Bag

I can imagine how the conversation would go. My father is still alive and it’s Thanksgiving. We’re having dinner at his place. I walk in, say hello to everyone, and he draws a bead on my latest purchase.

“Nice purse,” he says. Continue reading

Big Bang Theory band names, pt 4 (Saturday Video Roundup)

Thor and Dr. Jones LIVE!

And we arrive at the final installation in our series of lines from The Big Bang Theory that would make good band names. I love the first one.

Liquor and Poor Judgment

The Unified Theory of Comedy

Malibu Koothrappali and His Totally Bitchin’ Dream House

The Wolowitz Coefficient

Tangy Bowl of Cheerios Continue reading

WordsDay: Literature

Sex, Death, and Fly Fishing: an appreciation of John Gierach

…we fall into that class of fishermen who fancy themselves to be poet/philosophers, and from that vantage point we manage to pull off one of the neatest tricks in the sport: the fewer fish we catch the more superior we feel. – John Gierach

Sex, Death, and Fly Fishing by John Gierach (image courtesy Goodreads)

It’s called “the quiet sport” and to those of us who practice it, as I have written about numerous times, perhaps most poetically here, it is part mysticism, part addiction, part that thing which my friends laugh at.  Fly fishing, especially fly fishing for trout, is a complicated, though deceptively simple, activity that involves a good bit of gear, a good bit of luck, a good bit of neurosis. John Gierach’s book of essays, Sex, Death, and Fly Fishing is one of my favorite works on the subject, and, since it’s part of the 2016 reading list, I dove into it immediately after finishing Catherine Heath’s social history of the 70’s and 80’s, Behaving Badly mainly because I am avoiding reading fiction right now as I finish my latest book.

The book is a series of essays that look at those elements of fly fishing that I mentioned above – gear, luck, and neurosis – in about equal parts. Continue reading


My Memoir: Dodgeball

It was the greatest moment of my life.

I attended a high school in rural North Carolina that was probably typical of rural high schools in every way, up to and including the sadistic coach/science teacher archetype. At our school it was Coach Kelly. He ran the wrestling program, was an assistant football coach, and, of course, an educator specializing in the lower division sciences. Side note: my high school has never produced a Nobel winner.

Anyhow, it was either my freshman or sophomore year and I had Mr. Kelly for PE. One day, when it was either too wet or too cold to go outside, the activity was Dodgeball. Continue reading

Big Bang Theory band names, pt 1

I love The Big Bang Theory and have watched all the episodes multiple times (some I’ve probably seen 20 times or more). I noticed that sometimes the characters say things that would make good band names. Or at least, perhaps, entertaining bands names.

I have written some of them down and will present them in a series, ten at a time. Here’s the first batch.

Anne Frank Above a Bowling Alley Continue reading

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare was a Doobie Brother…?

We now have not even close to definitive proof that William Shakespeare smoked marijuana and perhaps used cocaine. Good thing Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlowe wrote those plays, huh…?

Bill Shakespeare, mellow dude (image courtesy Wikimedia)

Busy with a lot of stuff for school and behind a little on my reading these days, though by the weekend I’ll have an essay on an excellent book on Paul McCartney during the Wings years.

So today we talk about Shakespeare. Actually we talk about Shakespeare on crack. Well, maybe not crack but cocaine – and pot.

Wow. Just wow….

According to that bastion of journalism USA Today, a study published in July suggests that Shakespeare may have smoked marijuana and cocaine. The researchers, from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, after examining shards of clay smoking pipes from Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon property with a new type of spectrometry, report that traces of cannabis and Peruvian cocaine have been found in those pipes. The pipes may/may not have have been used by Shakespeare, but the pipes date from the early 17th century and come from Shakespeare’s property. So possibly… Continue reading

New analysis reveals major flaws in Achilles myth

Today’s edition of the Greek newspaper Pireaus Chronographos breaks a major story that should shock anyone who has ever used the phrase “Achilles heel.” Reprinted by permission.


A Scottish researcher’s stunning new book about the myth of the Greek warrior Achilles has rocked the world of antiquities studies.

The researcher, Leathan Ray Aibne, is a professor who teaches Greek and Roman language at the University of the West of Scotland’s East Campus. His book, How the Realization of Indeterminacy Displaces the Fiction of Narrative Sequence in the Achilles Myth, contains two controversial ideas.

The first concerns the Western pronunciation of the mighty warrior’s name. Professor Aibne’s book claims we have been pronouncing “Achilles” wrong for centuries. Continue reading

The night Reg Dwight stopped by

I was sitting in the living room one night watching wrestling on TV when someone knocked at the front door. When I opened it, I didn’t recognize the guy at first. But when he said, “Hello again, Pat,” I realized it was a guy from long ago—a high school classmate, Reggie Dwight.

I hadn’t seen him in decades. It took a couple of seconds for my brain to mesh with the moment. “Hey, Reg!” I said. “Great to see you! It’s been—jeez, how long has it been?”

Reggie stood under the porch light, hanging his head, barely making eye contact. After a pause that verged on awkward, I said, “C’mon in! Sit down. Want a beer?”

He said “no beer,” took a few lethargic steps and sank into an overstuffed recliner near the door. Continue reading


Fool: Christopher Moore’s Shakespeare mashup diverts…and that alone…

Reading Christopher Moore’s Fool is rather like watching Hercules: the Legendary Journeys or Xena: Warrior Princess; that willing suspension of disbelief Coleridge was on about is absolutely necessary.

A veer away from the 2015 reading list for a book a friend has been after me to take in for some time. Fool is author Christopher Moore‘s mashup of Shakespeare whose primary focus is answering the never asked question: what would King Lear be like if told from the point of view of Lear’s Fool? Moore’s answer to this question would be a story filled with lots of bawdy, occasionally tasteless, joking about power, sex, treason, madness, and love – all Shakespearean topics, granted  – as well as love as a higher end of human endeavor – another Shakespearean theme.

In other words, it’s pretty much as accurate a take on Shakespeare as you’re likely to find. Which is to say it’s got the Shakespeare pretty much wrong and pretty much right at the same time.

That whole “…tale told by an idiot/Signifying nothing” explanation might be apt, one might say. Continue reading


Logic 101 – Day 1: Jade Helm 15

Wherein I “prove” logic can be fun, for me at least.

Welcome to Day 1 of Logic 101. Don’t worry. It’s a one-day class. Actually, the “class” is only as long as it takes you to read this post. Homework may take anywhere from 0 seconds to a lifetime, depending on one’s tolerance for such exercises. Continue reading


The bar in Hell

For reasons that would take up too many words, a colleague and I decided yesterday we were going to Hell.

“I’ll meet you there at the bar,” she said. And this, of course, got us wondering what the bar in Hell would be like.

“You could only order drinks that you drank in high school,” she said. For me, that would be cheap wines like Boone’s Farm or Tyrolia.

Here’s more speculation on what the bar might be like:

  • You won’t see any “no smoking” signs, that’s for sure.
  • No barstools. No seats of any kind.
  • No, wait, there’s a table for two, but it’s occupied by the two ugliest people you’ve ever seen, making out. Their tongues are visible.

Continue reading


Facebook, the NFL and the GOP: #WTF

What a fucking day.

Item: Congress has tentatively agreed on a bill that will keep the government from shutting down. Now, there’s a lot wrong with it, starting with the fact that the Republicans are insisting on a huge payoff to Wall Street, basically holding the best interests of the people hostage to the best interests of the insanely rich. The smart money says the Democrats will:

a) raise holy hell, then
b) fold like the Vichy little bitches they are.

In other news, the sun is expected to rise in the east tomorrow.

None of this is the fun part, though. First, the GOP plan would … well, just read it. Continue reading


Breaking Bad toy fiasco

Irwin Mainway would be proud. Even he would have a hard time topping this headline: “Toys R Us pulls meth-toting ‘Breaking Bad’ action figures from shelves after Florida mom’s protest.”

The dolls, based on the recently concluded AMC series, featured characters based on White, a meth-cooking high school science teacher, and his sidekick, Jesse Pinkman. Along with the action figures, the toys came with fake bags of meth, sacks of cash and gas masks.

For those of you not old enough to remember, Irwin Mainway was a sleazy toy salesman who was perennially grilled about his dangerous toys (such as “Bag of Glass”) by Jane Curtin on the “Consumer Probe” skit. The toys were over-the-top ridiculous. Continue reading

CATEGORY: PersonalNarrative

The Ballad of Swamp Bunny

One morning last May, I stumbled into the kitchen, past the back door, stopped, backed up, and gazed through the glass. In the backyard staring at me, was a visitor. Then my son Joey, walking with his eyes closed, strolled into my back.

“What are you looking at?” He asked.

“We have a friend in the backyard,” I said.

Our visitor was a rabbit. He sat there staring at us, nibbling on grass, as patient as the dew.

“Hey Bunny,” said Joey. “Can I have pancakes for breakfast?”

Now, I know that the world can be dull and commonplace, so I have taken it upon myself to add some wonder and high adventure wherever possible, so that my son does not take for granted the thousand little miracles we see every day. I decided to provide our lupine guest with a more personal history.

“You know who that is?” I asked. “That may just be a rabbit, or it might be Swamp Bunny.”

Continue reading