Look and See

Well, after the groundswell of enthusiasm for Sloosh, I have decided  against my better judgment to publish another Civil War story. Don’t worry, my insatiable devotées of  secessionist-farce, there are plenty more where this came from.

Look and See

When will this dreadful war be over, asked Eliza Lovejoy.

(In a southern drawl.)

Too many men have already died, lamented Sadie Allbright.

(In the same sort of southern drawl.)

I hear that more men died at Shiloh alone than all the wars previous, said Eliza.

I hear there have already been some seven thousand theaters of war, said Sadie.

I hear they’re expecting ten thousand all together.

(The women paused and hemmed some flounces.)

I wonder who will prevail in the end, the North or the South? Eliza continued after a time.

I do most fervently hope the South.

I share that sentiment!

Otherwise our men will suffer ignominy and shame!

And carpetbaggers will descend from the North!

There will probably be some sort of Reconstruction!

And cultural shaming that will last for at least one hundred years!

Was that a bugle I just heard! Eliza gasped.

Are they advancing upon us?! Sadie rose to her feet.

No, I think it was just Mr. Murphy, the rooster. Mr. Murphy crowed and it sounded like a bugle.

We can’t live with such fear. Perhaps we should leave for Appomattox!

Surely we will be safer in Appomattox!

I have a house there!


Right by the courthouse.

That sounds safe. I will go pack the cedar trunk, said Eliza.

Let us leave this war ravaged county behind. Did you hear the sound of breaking glass?

That was likely just Mr. Murphy, the rooster, crashing through the drawing room window.

Poor Mr. Murphy.  I wish we could peer into the future to see who wins.

You mean like a “look-see?”

Yes, a “look-see.”

Look and see now! Eliza cried. There are men in the yard! They appear to be Union!

They’re stealing Mr. Murphy and all your livestock!

They’re coming this way!

Scream to defend our honor!

(Too late. Six men were already in the parlor).

The South is lost, said Colonel Shephard, Union officer.

We’ll never surrender. You’ll have to take us alive!

No need to surrender ladies, we’re just here to plunder your estate.

(The men plundered the estate then left.)

That wasn’t so bad, said Eliza.

Do you smell smoke? Asked Sadie.

Could it just be Mr. Murphy…involved somehow…with fire?

No, the house is on fire.

Now’s when we should go to Appomattox.

I have a good feeling about Appomattox.

The End.


Kitten Psychology and Other Stuff That Makes Me Mad

So I figured out what my blog is lacking. I have not been ranting enough. Rants sell. Rants rile and ruffle. Rants make us feel like we’re all on the side of Sanity and Justice in an insane, unjust world.

I’m going to try it out. I expect it to be difficult because I’m in a good mood today. But I will try to commune with my angry place–I will grope for that little tinder box of rage buried deep inside; I will strive to ignite it for Sanity and Justice’s sake. One of the ways I get to this angry place is remembering seeing a  shop sign that said “Cupcakes” in Santa Fe from a block away. But when I got to the shop I looked in the window and it was all richie rich children’s clothes. They didn’t sell cupcakes at all.


So hear we go. First, what is up with these kittens? I checked this book out of the library for my two-year-old daughter and, man, this is an f’d up cat family.

First they lose their mittens and are punished, then they find them and are rewarded with pie, and then they wear their mittens to eat the pie and soil them and they are once again punished. Then they launder them and are praised. The story pretty much ends there, but what I want to know is what the hell were they thinking, wearing mittens to eat pie? And where was Mother Cat when this was going down? Also what does this book teach us about shame and reward and punishment?

I don’t like it. I don’t like how fixated they are on their mittens to begin with and I don’t like how Mother Cat is so volatile with both her shaming and praise. She doesn’t say “You did a naughty thing,” she calls them “naughty kittens.” This will have negative, long-lasting  impact on every one of these kitten psyches well into adulthood–they will believe it is what they do, not who they are, that is valued and the mother approval complex will haunt every future relationship, albeit in probably different ways for each kitten.

You know what else is messed up? The rescinding of the Canadian penny, just because it costs 1.5 cents to manufacture one. I bet it costs way less than a dollar to print a dollar and even more way less than $100 dollars to print a hundred dollar bill. Why can’t paper money subsidize coin money? WHY?????

FURTHERMORE, Did you know that more Americans are imprisoned now here in America, than Russians in the gulag archipelago of Stalin?

Why were these Russian kids forced to dress so dopey by the Soviet state? Neckerchiefs? What the hell!? And WTF is with mulberry pollen? Why doesn’t my kitchen have more counter space? Why does my two-year old have such atrocious grammar? Why did so many horses have to die in WWI? Why was the dojo closed when I went to watch an aikido class? Why don’t more heterosexual North Americans like the Pet Shop Boys? ALSO is it fair that Antonio Gaudi was killed by a street car? Is it fair that I’m still not fluent in French? Is it convenient that forest floors are so dirty?!

Wow, I am really really really angry now. Please feel free to kick down the doors of your happy, zen place and write your rants in the comment section. It feels sort of bad but it is also empowering. Which is the whole problem with power! I could say lots of other terrible things about power but I  have to go home and make a salad.



Here is a Civil War time recipe:

Fry some bacon in a pan. Remove bacon but leave grease. Stir cornmeal, egg, and a bit of water into grease to make a dough. Wrap dough around ramrod of your gun and roast over fire. Peel off strip of biscuit and call it “sloosh.” Eat with honey.

It tastes best after you’ve killed some Union troops.

But you can’t really do that nowadays. Kill Union troops. Nor is it easy to find a ramrod for roasting. I made it once with a stick and a can of Pillsbury crescent rolls. Then I dipped it in jar of jam. I’ve never killed anyone, though I am a Virginian.

When I was in France once, I told some young “types” on the street that I was a Virginian and they laughed and yelped “Virgeen! Virgeen!” “No, Virginian,” I corrected them. Then I asked them if they knew any recipes from the Franco-Prussian war.

They did not.

My Pledge

Wherefore? Whereto? Wherein? Must we? Mustn’t We? How then?

Some say it’s never a bad idea to open y0ur blog with a question. Or a string of vague, disorienting questions. It lures the reader in and primes them for a confusing, provocative experience. If the blog doesn’t deliver a confusing, provocative experience, certain authors of blogs will insinuate that it is your own fault for not being confused or provoked.

Stop reading those blogs immediately! Read my blog instead. I will not toy with nor torment you. No! I will soothe and inform you. The world will appear as neat and orderly as library stacks.

Sociology, Psychology, and Morality are creepy crawly snake dens. That’s what my undergrad adviser always used to tell me. But we have science and the science-y factification of history and culture. Let’s stick to the hard sciences and hard science presentations of the non-sciences, I say! Let’s find some random certainties we can latch onto. And let’s make them all agree. What I’m talking about, people, is an a-systematic system of beliefs!!

Those two white moths that just flitted by my window…they are not causing a train wreck in Spain. Bad things do not happen to good people. None of us are moving closer and closer every minute of every day towards decay and death. Not when we have our feet firmly planted in the terra firma of facts. If they are fun facts, all the better!!

I will tell you that the Rosetta Stone was the key to understanding ancient Egypt. That’s soothing. I will tell you that King David was God’s chosen leader of Israel. That’s calming. I will tell you about laws of logic. They are always true. Always.

Some of you are confused about my whereabouts for the past two months. Others of you know that I have been lost in the fog and mists. But no matter, I am back now and eager to soothe you with oversimplified facts, pure as the driven snow.

Did you know that Antonio Vivaldi taught at a Venetian conservatory for orphaned girls and was the most prolific composer on record?! 500 concertos in his life time. It’s true!

Did you know you can drink coconut water from a real coconut at Annapurna (Silver & Yale) for $4.50 plus tax? No lie!

Did you know our lives are simultaneously infinite and infinitesimal, heroic, and tragic, and farcical, and that everything within is also without, and that our depth is much greater than our span, not to mention our minds and bodies and souls contain all that ever is and was human, good and bad, and that the human merges occasionally with the more-than-human, and almost all of us are out there every day hoeing the wrong row? Also true!

Yes. So I hereby pledge from this day forward to enhance your curiosity for life and the world, while at the same time dampening your angst. I will fill you with delight, not disillusionment; whimsy, not melancholy; clarity, not the descending cloud.

Facts not knowledge, I say! for “…intricate are the troubles which the pursuit of this bewitching phantom, KNOWLEDGE, will bring upon thee.” — Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy.

Well, I think that’s enough pledging. Next week it will be back to blogging as usual.