Category Archives: amusing garbage

The long-threatened Veggie Tales erotica

There was a tap on the door before Larry’s face appeared in Bob’s mirror. Bob the Tomato was peering closely at his eye, removing the makeup he wore for the camera. Even at a distance, he could see Larry the Cucumber had taken only a careless swipe at his. Or maybe he left some on purpose. Larry was such a vain son of a bitch.

Bob chided himself for his negativity, and turned to his co-star. “Hey pal. What’s up?”

“Me, as usual,” Larry deadpanned. He invited himself in. “Wrap on this episode, eh? Millions of kiddies will be better human beings for our efforts. Wanna go out and celebrate?”

Bob gulped. Larry’s nightlife was a little out of his league. But turning him down would create bad feelings on the set, and it would only be a couple hours. It wasn’t really a choice. “Sure, love to. I gotta be home early, though. Beauty rest and all.”

Larry smirked. “Sure, pal. Grab your gear and let’s go. Place I got in mind is just up the street.”

The tomato didn’t ask where they were going. Knowing Larry, it was bound to be some dive of a pickup bar. The two of them tripped along the sidewalk under the frowsy lighting of the streetlights; for all the show’s wholesome reputation, they shot in a pretty sleazy neighborhood. They came to an unmarked door, and the cuke put a hand behind Bob’s back to usher him in.

Bob shivered. Oh god, this was worse than he expected. “A… salad bar, Larry? These places make me a little queasy.”

“You’re too much, Bob,” he laughed, pounding the tomato on the back. He ordered rum and coke for both of them, then took off to prowl the room.

Bob stayed by the bar, using it as a vantage point. Some rough-looking potatoes stood by the door and laughed too loud, while a pepper plugged the jukebox with quarters, playing salsa. To his right was a parsnip with what looked like a serious attitude problem. Bob glanced at the guy’s drink. When he saw it was a bloody mary he felt his stomach turn.

A little cantaloupe sat on his left. She stirred a martini slowly and hummed a melancholy tune. He was just about to start up a conversation, when a droopy carrot came over. He nudged the melon and dropped a large bill in front of her.

“Meetcha in the back room in five,” she said with a wink.

Bob turned around and sat so that he was facing the bar. If he minded his own business, maybe this ordeal would be over soon.

This hope was dashed when Larry’s laugh broke into his musings. He forced himself to turn around and greet the cucumber. Larry was surrounded by a bunch of giggling radishes.

“Hey, Bob, these gals want to meet you. They’re all big, big fans of ours, right girls?” Larry nudged him and whispered, “Might as well take advantage of a little star power, right?”

The bunch giggled. Bob got out the pen he always carried to sign autographs, and the girls handed cocktail napkins to him. He signed under the bar’s name and handed the napkins back to the radishes, who kissed them and shoved them into purses and bras. Larry, meanwhile, had taken one of them aside. They were all over each other. Larry had one hand on her round hip while another fondled its way under her tube top, and she, for her part, stroked him in the most provocative manner. Larry finally pulled his tongue out of her mouth long enough to say, “Come on, Bob, pick a radish. Or maybe two. Time to eat your veggies, Round Guy.”

“I don’t think so. Not tonight.”

Larry broke away from the spicy root. He looked peeved. “Come on Bob, why do you always have to be like this? The show’s producers aren’t looking. They sure as fuck don’t come in here. Why can’t you cut loose a little?”

Bob cleared his throat and shifted uncomfortably, making the barstool squeak. “I– I don’t know, Larry. I know you have your own, uh, private life and everything–”

“Damn straight. Whadaya expect? After all, I am a cucumber.”

“Yeah.” Bob had always suspected Larry had more than a little pride about being a phallic symbol. “But–” Bob hesitated.

“But what?” Larry puffed out in exasperation.

“Well, I wouldn’t want this to get around. Especially to the guys that produce the show.”

“Come on, Bob. I’m your pal. You can tell me.” He came uncomfortably close and took an elbow.

The tomato cringed a little, both from the touch and Larry’s breath. He looked into the expectant eyes. “Aw, I guess I can tell you. Larry, I’m a fruit.”

Larry dropped his elbow and stepped back. It was his turn to look a little ill. Without a word he placed a hand on his date’s ass and guided her toward the back room.

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One more thing that makes no sense

About ten or fifteen years ago, somebody decided that every bathroom in America needs to be handicap accessible. This was an enlightened decision. At roughly the same time, someone invented the ginormous toilet paper dispenser, one big unit that holds a single huge roll of toilet paper, which saves staff time while protecting us all from toilet paper outages. Another enlightened move.

Only the two things don’t work very well together. Handicap accessibility requires a big hand rail on the wall next to the toilet, to make it easier for people with limited mobility to get on and off the seat. It also limits the possible locations for the plus-sized TP roller; the bar itself is at about the level you’d usually want the roller. What most places do, then, is to place the big TP roller under the bar.

Since the roller is more than a foot in diameter, you have to bend down almost to the floor to pull off a handful of TP. It’s inconvenient for everybody, but I’ve got to think it must be especially tricky for people with physical limitations–exactly the people who are supposed to benefit from the bathroom’s design in the first place. Even someone substantially overweight would have trouble bending down that low.

The season of decapitation

DSCF0229Mike’s been leaving headless mice all over the place. Not sure if the hindquarters aren’t as tasty, or if it’s a gift, or if he’s just showing off. (Meaning my cat Mike, of course, not my brother Mike.)

Today is probably the last of our truly gorgeous fall mornings for the year. It was 25 degrees when I went out running, cold enough for the last major batch of leaves to come down. The whole time I was out, I was running through flutters of red, yellow, green, brown. I really like the mulberries, which don’t even bother to change color, just chunk their leaves to the ground all in one day as soon as it’s cold enough.

On my last quarter mile I was passing lots of parents on the bike path as they took their kids to school and daycare. One mom was picking up sugar maple leaves to show her three-ish daughter as they wuffled through a pile of them, but the daughter had no interest. Looked sort of depressed. Then a guy rode his bike past with his kid in a trailer; her hood was flopped half over her face as she sent this glazed stare out the trailer’s plastic window. The next kid-in-trailer was actively bawling.

Then I turned the corner they’d just come from, and, ew. The back three quarters of a skunk was lying up against the railroad track, with gooey red internal skunk stuff smeared all over the rail. The head had either gotten stuck to a train wheel or something had eaten it, because it was nowhere in sight. Things did not smell good. Geez, no wonder those kids had that scarred-for-life look.

I found a frosty burdock leaf and removed the corpse into a ditch.

The times they were a-groovin’

I’d like to share a dirty little secret: I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60s and 70s, and never once heard anyone seriously use the word “groovy.” Maybe New York hipsters said it in 1965, or Angelenos in 1960, or beatniks in 1955. I don’t know anything about those people. But the only people I ever heard say “groovy” in the 60s were on TV, and by the 70s, no one would be caught dead.

What brings this up is that I’ve been going through a lot of papers lately, organizing my house. It’s all very well to get furniture rearranged and clothes donated to the Salvation Army, but eventually those mountains of old papers demand attention. Does posterity need Kid A’s kindergarten report cards, or Kid B’s vaccination record, or my tax returns from 2001? It’s boring work, but I love getting rid of stuff. Finding stuff is kind of fun too.

Anyway, last year I read something on the site that was full of current slang, which of course left me in the dust. So I was going to write a review with as much 60s and 70s slang in it as possible. Not so much because I objected to the slang in the original story as for simple revenge. (Sometimes the oldest motivations are still the best, right, Reader Zero?)

I never got around to writing the review; it would have taken hours. But I made a list of 60s/70s slang, some of it things said in real life, others more TV-ish, like “groovy.” Here it is:

Far out!
Bad acid, man.
This is where it’s at.
This is freaking me out.
What a rip-off.
What a trip.
No way.
Funkadelic!
Let it all hang out.
That’s nowhere, man.
That chick really knows where it’s at.
Nice threads.
Cool hangout.
Nice pad.
Peace out.
Catch my drift?
Can you dig it?
This is so zen.
That’s bunk, man.
That’s really choice.
Lay some skin on me, man.
Don’t lay a heavy trip on me.
That’s not my bag.
I’m hip to the groove.
We had a love-in/be-in/[fill in the blank]-in.
She’s a Jesus freak/peace freak/[fill in the blank] freak.
tough
tubular
mellow/mellow out
tokin’
fab
uptight
gnarly
That’s grody to the max.
Outasight!
Stay cool, bro.
No sweat.
That’s such a cop-out.
Heavy!
Neato!
Cherry!
Boss!
Viva la raza!
Stop jivin’/talkin’ jive.
I scarfed up that chow.
Watch out for the fuzz.
Got any bread, man?
That’s how I get my kicks.
He’s a real cool cat.
Gag me with a spoon!
We’re makin’ the scene.
Keep on truckin’.

These ones from Laugh-in, but people actually used them for a while:
You bet your sweet bippie.
Would you like a piece of my Walnetto?
Sock it to me!

I’m here!

Sometimes I wonder if I’m not invisible. I don’t remember setting up a cloak of invisibility this morning, but maybe, maybe… 

So I’m standing at a farmer’s market booth with some peas and some cucumbers. I ask the woman at the stand how much the peas are, and it turns out they’re too expensive. But I’m still standing there with the cukes. Another woman comes up behind with some fennel, and the woman takes her money, makes her change, bags her produce. Then a man comes up behind and hands her a twenty for some potatoes, gets his change and his bag of potatoes, jokes around for a while. I’m still there. Finally, the man goes away. I take a stealthy look over my shoulder to make sure no one else is lurking there before handing the woman my two ones for the cukes. Don’t need change, don’t need a bag.

I go to the next booth to buy some tomatoes. This time I make sure to engage the man at the booth in conversation. He can’t forget about me while he’s talking to me, right? Only right in the middle of weighing my tomatoes and telling me about having enough left over for some restaurant, a woman comes up behind me. The man gets out some raspberries he’s been saving for her, bags them, makes change for her twenty. Once he finishes his conversation with her, he lets me buy my tomatoes. I never do get to hear the end of the restaurant story.

No matter how many smiles and pleasantries I eke out, this tends to happen a lot. It worries me a little when I’m in traffic, but apparently my bike is visible even if I’m not, because cars do go around me.

It’s kind of annoying, but it’s more neat, you know? It’s like a superpower. I could use this to thwart bad guys, fight crime and protect weaker souls. Or steal stuff. Whatever. I am Middle-Aged Woman, awesome in my invisibility.

Going not gentle

Not much journaling lately, due to poem-a-day in April, but I have a little extra time today so I thought I’d throw a slice or two of life out there. Not that I’ve finished my poem for today, but I have something at the scratches-on-paper stage which I’m too tired and filthy to turn into a poem at the moment. I did my work-at-home stuff early so I could go out in the rain, to saw and haul a mess of branches that fell in the winter storms. This is a massive project, which I didn’t start or finish today, but I got a lot done. Now I’m covered with mud, but too tired for a shower or dinner just yet, let alone any poeticizing.

The neighbor’s back lawn has ducks swimming in it. It’s been raining just about all the time, though the forecast says it’ll turn to snow tonight. Don’t really see that happening–it must be fifty out there right now–but I’ll bring the plants in anyway.

For Poem in Your Pocket Day, I chose Dylan Thomas’ {i}Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night{/i}. I printed it out this morning, but it seemed kind of stupid to put it in the pocket of my bathrobe, so I stuck it under the plastic toy sea serpent I use for a paperweight and have been reading it at the rate of a line or three at a time throughout the day, while scribbling notes about work stuff on the backside. (Usually that’s not a good way to read a poem, but it’s a villanelle so I’m sure it’s okay.)

Poems are like babies, short but exhausting. I doubt I’ll journal again till May, which is looking like the Promised Land right about now. Not only will poem-a-day be over, I’m taking a week of vacation, starting on Beltane (May 1). Besides, I have a feeling it may actually stop raining and snowing all the time by then.

 

Thanks for the money, y’all! (2)

I get about $50 a month in food stamps, or whatever they call it now that it’s all electronic. Which doesn’t sound like much, but since my salary most weeks is just about enough to pay for food and utilities, it comes in mighty handy.

Last night I needed (yes, needed) (yes, really) some Ben & Jerry’s. So after work, since it was cold and icy and dark and slippery and sleeting and past my bedtime, I decided it would be the perfect time to walk two miles down to the store and do my weekly shopping before the weather got really dicey.

It’s the end of the month and I don’t have much cash, but I didn’t need that much stuff, and I figured my food stamps would cover it. I called the 800 number to get my balance.

One hundred and seventy-four dollars and ninety-six cents!

No idea where that came from. I’m sure I spent my December money all up, having a guest and all. Maybe it was a clerical error? Some politician trying to buy my vote? The result of widespread mathematical illiteracy?

I don’t know, but I’m spending it.

Please excuse my existence.

I just realized I’ve now lived about half my life in Wisconsin. I still feel like a transplanted Californian. Real midwesterners don’t enjoy snow. It just isn’t done.

The craziest thing about the midwest is (with one big exception) how stinking polite everyone is. No, not exactly polite–more like deferential. You can’t go out in public here without being asked, “Am I in your way?” and “I’m sorry, did you want to use this?” and just plain “I’m sorry!”

I understand this, some of the time. If I, say, get to the squat rack at the exact same time as someone else, it makes sense for the two of us to figure out who’s going to use it first. But if I took off my plates and walked away five minutes ago, you really don’t need to ask my permission to use it.

On Saturday, I was waiting for the druggist to pack up my levothroid at the Community Pharmacy, so I wandered over to look at the books. Only I couldn’t look at anything without this nervous-looking guy jumping out of the way. He was trying to read a magazine, only he was too busy jumping out of my line of vision to have possibly been paying any attention to what he was reading. Finally he blurted out, “Am I in your way?”

I said, “No, you’re not in my way. You are a human being. You have a right to take up space.” His nervousness was making me nervous, but I didn’t want to make him feel worse, so I toned it down. “You’re fine. I’m just killing time waiting for a prescription anyway.”

The worst part is, even though their intent is to be polite, people who do this make me feel like I’m in their way. I mean, say I’m walking down the sidewalk and another person is walking the other way, and when our paths meet, the other person makes a show of cringing off to the side and saying “Sorry, excuse me.” It’s not like I really take up the whole width of the sidewalk, or even half of it; we can share. But in acting like he expects me to want the whole sidewalk, my co-walker makes me think he really wants it. It’s like we’re all walking around wearing fat suits of unseen personal space.

The one exception is, all bets are off when it comes to driving. Some midwesterners drive the same way they act around people when they’re not driving–like they should have a second horn just to say “Excuse me!” But then there are the ones who use driving time to vent their frustrations. Brrrrrr. Dr. Jeckyl in the parking lot, Mr. Hyde behind the wheel.

…and I feel fine

Jupiter aurora. The bright spot at far left is...

Jupiter aurora. The bright spot at far left is the end of field line to Io; spots at bottom lead to Ganymede and Europa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By now you are all no doubt aware that the world actually did end yesterday.

Who’d have guessed it? The whole thing just sounded so tacky, like a poorly printed leaflet stuck into your screen door by a Jehovah’s Witness. For all the hype, I didn’t know a single person who believed anything would happen. And yet here we are, worldless.

At first it was pretty. I was busy with some late-evening snow shovelling when it happened. Taking a break to look at the night sky to the east, I was admiring a star so bright it had to be a planet, when suddenly it changed. Even as I looked, it glowed brighter. When it started to expand, I left my shovel and ran into the house to see if I could find out anything online. I learned about the meteor that had socked Jupiter right in the red spot–the planet’s stormy eye, which has been contracting and whirling faster for years.

That’s when it started getting weird. As people all over the world tuned in to the phenomenon in the sky, the internet just sort of woke up. As if it had been developing consciousness all along, but just now the single-mindedness of every search engine gave it the focus to come into its own. When it noticed us, humankind must have appeared to be some kind of infection. It unleashed its virtual immune system which, as you know, booted us. Information surged through our screens in blasts, and its bright white light washed us out like so many germs.

By that time it was bright as day outside. Small meteors pinged on the roof like hail, the wind of ionic particles grew, and…

And, well, here we are. If you’d told me about this before, it would have scared the crap out of me. But it’s kind of neat. Like most people, I’ve always had only the fuzziest ideas about the concept of an afterlife. And this definitely is not what I would have expected.

It’s going to take some time to adapt. It is good to be alive, if I can still say that, even if it’s going to take some time to learn to trust the way it flickers on and off. You can’t just take it for granted anymore. Life without world, life without biology–I can’t wrap my head around these concepts yet, let alone the reality.

These lines, man–it seems so crazy now, but we had no way of knowing those were there, right? And I don’t even know what to do with all these appendages.

I think what I like best is the way we can see right through each other. It used to be such a struggle to understand people, but without the defensive barrier of our own skin it’s much easier, much more intuitive. Simpler to do the right thing, now that it would hurt so much to do otherwise.

Who’d have thought that when the world was ready to let us go, we would wake up in a bed of compassion?

A Tale of Innocence and Experience

Imagine for a moment, just for the sake of argument, that you are female. You’re in a public place with public restrooms–not the kind with a bunch of stalls, just single-occupant restrooms where you lock the door and have the place to yourself. You try the ladies’ room handle and find it locked. Nobody’s looking. Do you wait for the ladies’ to be free, or do you slip over to the men’s room?

This happened to me yesterday at Trader Joe’s. I went over and tried the men’s room door, but it was locked too. So I went back and stood outside the ladies’. The sounds coming through the door were ominous. First, I heard the woman talking. This is bad. It means there’s somebody in there for her to talk to, possibly a small infant with a bulging diaper.

It only got worse when I picked up on some words: “But you said you had to go just a minute ago!” Very bad. I’d bet a lot of money that somebody in that room was in training pants, and those kind of people are total bad news potty-wise. Their little bladders are going to change their minds five or six times before Mommy gives up. Then this small person will come out the door and give me The Look. Toddlers have limited experience with gray-haired ladies: we’re either their beloved Grandma, or else some storybook witch who’s likely to eat small children. I’m not Grandma; therefore, I’m viewed with serious concern.

I figured I’d stand outside the ladies’ room door, looking as nonchalant and innocent as possible, till the men’s room vacated and I could make my break. I didn’t want some guy to find me hovering by his rightful door.

When the men’s room door opened, though, it turned out another middle-aged woman had been using it. I smiled at her and went to take my turn.

Why do we even need single-user bathrooms separated by gender, anyway? it almost always goes badly for our side.