SOILED SHIRT STINGS BAGWAN…..sniffs out culprit

shit stain opptyThe movie “To Have and Have Not” should be good given that it stars Humphrey Bogart, is based on a novel by Hemingway and has William Faulkner as a screenwriter. It should be good but it is not. It does, however, have some memorable lines. The most famous one is by Lauren Bacall about whistling (“just put your lips together and blow”). My favorite lines are all from Walter Brennan who plays Eddie, an old rummy. The one he repeats throughout the film is: “Was you ever bit by a dead bee?”

Eddie: Say, was you ever bit by a dead bee?
Beauclerc: I have no memory of ever being bitten by any kind of bee.
Slim: Were you?
Eddie: You’re all right lady. You and Harry’s the only one that ever—
Harry: Don’t forget Frenchy.
Eddie: That’s right. You and Harry and Frenchy. You know you gotta be careful of dead bees, if you go around barefooted. Cause if you step on ‘em they can sting ya just as bad as if they was alive, especially is they was kinda mad when they got killed. I bet I been bit a hundred times that way.
Slim: You have. Why don’t you bite them back?
Eddie: That’s what Harry always says. But I ain’t got no stinger.  propertuckage

I bring this up because I have an equally compelling question: Did you ever shit on your shirttail? It’s like the dead bee in that it is not something you ever think about until it happens and then it becomes a major problem —especially if you are in a public restroom.  Think about it for a moment. First of all you don’t even know this has happened till you go to tuck your shirt back in. You feel the moisture and pray it is just water but a glance at your hand tells you otherwise. Now the fun begins with the question of how are you going to clean it. Ihave to tell you that it is humiliating to be standing in the restroom at DIA in just your suit pants washing fecal matter out of your shirt. The Curmudgeon Corner alternative would be to simply tuck it back in as is, take your seat on the plane and act like you are looking around for the smelly offender.

My other favorite line from the movie also comes from Eddie:

Eddie: Drinking don’t bother my memory. If it did I wouldn’t drink. I couldn’t. You see, I’d forget how good it was, then where’d I be? Start drinkin’ water, again.


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THE FEAR AND STENCH OF DEATH……aloha let’s eat down at the luau

pcc-imu-1Good Morning Dipsomaniacs,

I think it’s important we continually remind ourselves that life’s rich pageant is but a fleeting moment, an infinitesimal speck of dust orbiting within the expanding universe subject to flicker and die.  Life isn’t over at 65,….but it sure seems like it.  Don’t misunderstand, in my feeble mind I’m still 25, nimble, and swift of foot, but when I get up in the morning there’s a long list of ailments and/or maladies that beset me and drag me back to reality.  Yeah yeah I realize most of us hate getting older and should buck up and deal with the eventuality of death.  I’m hip….

The problem with that is I’m truly not prepared to die.  Like holding the winning Powerball ticket, I have hope that modern science will find the ultimate “Fountain of Youth” and stop if not reverse the aging process.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  Yes…, please…I know I’m letting hope overcome reason, but as the line goes in the movie ‘Shawshank Redemption’……Red and Andy are discussing the pros and cons of having hope while doing time, Andy says to Red…“You either get busy living or get busy dying.”

Borderline morbidity some would say!  Of course this all depends on the age of those that would take me to task on this.  I think it was George Bernard Shaw or Oscar Wilde (both were credited) who said “Youth is wasted on the young.”   It takes 60 plus rotations to appreciate that remark because only from the perspective of age can one see how one’s own youth was squandered.    Would I have done things differently if I was given a ‘do-over’?

I’d like to think so….

For the two or three of you still reading this bereavement, the typical response to death is to ignore it and maybe it’ll go away.  For most of us death is not a pleasant topic of conversation unless of course you happen to be sitting at ‘Curmudgeon Corner’ where death and/or hoping for someone else’s death are commonplace.  This fear has been a response to death ever since the first caveman went up against the Saber Tooth Tiger with a pointy stick!

In some cultures the burning of corpses to destroy evil spirits was sensible hygiene and seems like a good idea to me.  Yet some cultures would eat the deceased as a show of respect to the person who died!  It’s a striking contrast to be sure.  I began to think about all the meat on the hoof represented at the corner; any one single ‘Committee Member’ could feed us all for a week!  How would you cook the Dv’ant or Cush?  I’m leaning toward lining a pit with stones and bury the body with layers of hot ash and banana leaves baking 12 hours and then eat them like a pig served up in a Hawaiian Luau.  Ummmmmmmm….  The other benefit lies in the fact you’re able to toss the gristle and bones right back into the pit; a ready-made grave!

I do indeed have something to live for!!  Jeez.


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CUSH COMES BEARING GIFTS…..JJ makes him leave in a huff…

Good Morning Children of Estivation,

SiCushnce the return of this our humble forum I’ve heard from several of you.  Most were supportive and said they’d start tuning in again to which I’m grateful.  But there was one of you that mocked me wishing me to “Die from a slow and painful stomach cramp.”  That hurt a little….but I moved on.

I learned fairly early in life that not everyone is going to like me.  Still in my own mind (such as it is) I expect everyone to like me and never understand when someone expresses displeasure with something I said or acted out.  Then there are situations when friends don’t see the humor when the joke is at their expense and feel ganged up on.  Being thin skinned will, most times, result in “leaving in a huff” yelling insults feeling hurt over essentially nothing.  Yet the delicate among us are doomed to be a target.

Last Friday I witnessed a terrible example of being thin-skinned.

Our good friend ‘Cush’ had just returned to ‘Curmudgeon Corner’ from a week in Keystone and came bearing gifts.  Cush and his bride are collectors.  To illustrate just how badly they suffer from collection stockpile syndrome, they’ve dedicated an entire room to Denver Bronco & Avalanche memorabilia including jerseys, photo’s (many with autographs) and other such stuff you’d find in most “Man Caves.”  That said, and to put this in proper context, most man caves include a bar and/or a regulation sized pool table!  In Cush’s shrine there’s barely room to stand….with boxes of stuff stacked 6 or 7 feet high!  I think it would comfortably fit the clinical definition of “Hoarding.”

Cush was thoughtful enough to buy “Keystone” t-shirts for Dawn the bartender, Just Joe, and yours truly.  Cush, being worried about beer staining the new garment, put mine in a plastic bag and hung it on the back of my chair.  JJ came in about an hour later and found his usual place at the bar.  An excited Cush fished out his t-shirt smiling ear to ear, and as if an ancient artifact carefully presented his gift to JJ who immediately said thank you and set the cotton blend shirt next to him on the bar returning to his beer.

After a near miss, a spilt beer courtesy  of Roger the hairdresser, Cush in a concerned voice pleaded with JJ to remove it from the bar and put it in a plastic bag while pointing to my example.  JJ who obviously had enough of this whining about spilt beer; spread his gift over the bar with the ‘Keystone’ graphic facing up.  He then took his glass of Coors’s Light and in a very cruel mean spirited way carefully poured most of his brew on the t-shirt.  This ignited the corner into laughter because it was genuinely unexpected catching us all off guard, eliciting huge guffaws.

Bristled and embarrassed Cush told us all to “fuck ourselves” and like a petulant child stomped out in a huff!  JJ ran after him yelling “Come back Cush…Come back….I’m sorry” but it was too late, the damage was done.

For the two or three of you still reading this barbarous cumshaw I hope this will be a lesson to you.  When you accept a gift from another person, particularly a friend, don’t wipe your ass with it until you get home!!  Jeez….


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DAVID MIDDLEBROOK….some things never change

cactus_ladder_pool_bigAs a young aspiring clay artist David Middlebrook without much doubt was the biggest influence on me and how I wanted to be viewed.  His early ceramic sculptures blew me away.  His mastery of creating then assembling seemingly unrelated objects together to create his ensembles is genius!  Since returning to art from an extended hiatus (33 years) I once again sought to see what Mr. Middlebrook has been up to.  I was both saddened and excited to see the direction he took shortly after receiving my MFA in 1980 and subsequently crushed by the market place.  I was Saddened because he’s moved from clay as his primary medium.  Evidently he felt clay was too limiting and lost patience with its innate flaws switching to stone and other traditional mediums for his sculptures, but excited because much of his work is conceptually the same.  I took the following from his webpage bio:

“As a master of ceramics and all its applications, for years David had struggled with the instability of this material and found many of its characteristics to be limiting. In 1983 he traveled to Northern Italy and discovered stone and it changed his approach to art forever. Since that trip, he has maintained a professional relationship with a studio in Pietrasanta, Italy. The availability of virtually every stone in the world, a thousand years of experience and tradition in stone and their specialized technology to fabricate make this Italian resource an invaluable asset. In addition to the 2 trips he makes to Italy each year, David maintains his status as Associate Director of Fine Arts at SJSU, which affords him the use of the university foundry for his bronze work.”lunchbox_duckpot_big

As you can see by his new to me look, his skills are best suited to stone and has lost nothing.  One can only hope to attain the level of creativity and execution David Middlebrook brings to his work.  If you’re a young ceramist or sculptor you should spend some time on his web pages.


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