Archive for February, 2022

Oklahoma Theater Company of American Towns

February 28, 2022

State tourism video jingle conceived: “You can pick yourself up and dust yourself off in Petersburg” (portraying Petersburg, VA as this place where you can get your life back together after having made a wreck of it.)… The sort of idiotic thing that occurs to me when a customer tells me he got himself back together in Petersburg; and yet, it would be an interesting mission for a town: to be a place that specialized in new beginnings. The “Oklahoma Theater Company” of American towns.

Customer Dopplegangers — don’t try to humanize them

February 27, 2022

Was that young man crossing the intersection the same man I would sometimes see at the shop? Was that woman at my local market a woman I would sometimes serve a pastry and coffee? What about that person in their car who looks so familiar — was he too one of the customers only now seen “out in the wild”?

The answer in almost every case is no; but rather, as so often happens, these are just examples of the “customer dopplegangers” one is always encountering outside the store, which are nearly exact facsimile of the customers themselves but entirely different people.

Alternative possibility: it is in the shop itself that these characters are incubated, grown and disseminated in near limitless quantities. The customer “Jeff” for instance (not his real name. These thing don’t have real names, don’t try to humanize them). One day coffee was poured into a cup and saucer, and suddenly materializing around it was this figure we’ll call “Jeff” — unlikely but true — incubating, materializing, possibly ordering a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese also. Now there are many Jeffs, entering the store, leaving the store, driving all over the county, living their lives, and yet they are never within thirty minutes or a hundred yards of each other, so the authorities never catch on.

This is incredible, an amazing discovery. Everyone should know what’s going on. Everyone should be made aware of what this shop is trying to do! (This was a secret message, if you are able to read it you have not yet been blocked.)

Etymology of Irredentist

February 26, 2022

 Irredentist etymology. Not sure if this is surprising but irredentist is a fairly recent word of Italian origin.

Irredentist etymology — trying to claw back and restore old meanings. The irredentist etymologist would not attempt to make archaic words fashionable in today’s usage, but restore old meanings to still current words. Insist that awful be use for awesome, etc.

Poem formed of the images on my closed eyelids:

February 24, 2022

An old log with its own wooden cradle at the far edge of somebody’s lawn, where the forest begins.

Small bear trap, ankle-sized, with a face on it. (Painted nose cone of B-17 evoked.)

A purple flowering plant hard to the touch. Shaped like a popsicle up from the general bush.

& using truth serum as shaving cream. It doesn’t foam. It is like using an astringent, or the vaccine, as shaving cream.

Etymology of obnoxiousness

February 21, 2022

Customer knew name of the occupation of a person who makes arrows because it was a part of the video game Minecraft. Customer knew name of person who makes arrows — a fletcher — because of her lifetime spent reading fantasy fiction.  Customers shared experiences of riots in Washington in the 1960’s. Customer shared experience of having been robbed thirty years ago. Customer interested to hear that water heaters contained potable water, good for emergencies. Customers were two very young blond gals: a medium mocha, carrot cake, and a quiche. Customer spoke of the tremendous waste of time spent drinking and partying in college: that young people needed to do that was fine, but that they needed to do it at a learning institution made no sense at all. Customer ordered medium mocha and medium chai,wanted whipped cream on his mocha. Customer had “simple request”, one large medium roast coffee and two everything bagels with butter. Wanted itemized receipt of the transaction. Customer ordered four chicken salad sandwiches. Customer was off to busk with his saxophone: he’d been rationalizing not doing it for too long, he said. Customer said that once he’d gotten off his strict dietary regime, which he’d maintained in a very disciplined way to that point, he started gorging himself, eating for hours. Customer reported another customer had been acting strangely on a city bus. (He had been asked to turn down the music on his phone and went ballistic.) What did it mean to have compassion for a person with a mental illness. (It means to see the healthy person inside.) One reads history to see how the future will judge you. A sometimes irritable person, who is sick of everyone’s shit, is admired. She’s speaking out and standing up against us. Customer might be a little tipsy — had some prosecco, he said.  Attendant wondered about the connection between the customer who was repellant to the other customers because of the things the person said and the customer who was repellant to the other customers because of the person’s hygiene and smell. Was there a connection between these people to be understood? (Mental health.) Attendant looked up etymology of obnoxiousness; it appears that the word initially meant being exposed to harm and then came to mean being offensive. Attendant took stab at explaining Indy Rock to customers: this was a personal theory but he thought it was mainly about how widely available and affordable home recording equipment had become in the 80s and 90s. Just like cheap electric guitars had made the rock music of the fifties and sixties what it was, cheap home recording equipment had created a distinct aesthetic and sound. Attendant suddenly reminded: that well before it was his actual job to clear tables and the like, this was something he preferred doing over most social events. (Cleaning up after them rather than participating in them, a host and not a guest, as it were.) Customer was concierge of office building: had gotten picture taken with “Pete B.” Customer’s daughter had lucked into paying position with high profile accounting firm and was on Medicaid now, a relief for mom. Attendant made a lot of sandwiches today, he reflected, mainly grilled cheeses. Pregnant customer had confessed to having had strange cravings and wanted extra tomatoes and pickles on her grilled cheese. Sick customer had asked for cup of soup and hot chicken sandwich with no chips, obviously suffering while he waited, sneezing coughing droopy eyes. Customer who ordinarily orders grilled cheese did not order that on this “grilled cheese day”: was getting a coffee before attending a meeting. Customer had been to GA seeing cousin. Customer said people in San Diego were so much friendlier than in this area. Customer, reacting to that customer, demurred: it wasn’t just this area but the whole East Coast down to say NC, he said, (where it got “friendly” again.)

Which customer said he had been listening to John Coltrane recently? (M—-) Which album? (Giant Steps) When did this customer think Dylan’s best period was? (Mid sixties. Queen Jane Approximately was awesome.)

When asked why he had pulled the cigarette out of another customer’s mouth and kissed him, what had the customer said? Because I love having him around, because I want him to live.

When attendant asked the family asking each other Trivial Pursuit questions in back if they’d “gotten any good ones” what did they reply with?  “The one about the Bonneville Salt Flats…. He got it.”

Customer attendant didn’t know told him to keep the change on a three plus purchase which he paid for with a ten. Attendant (busy at the time) thought to ask him, once things settled down, if he’d meant to give him something smaller, but when he got the chance he didn’t, why not? (Awkwardness.)

Short busty dolled-up lively Latin young woman: two everything bagels with cream cheese, a butter croissant with cream cheese, two muffins, two medium cappuccinos. Excited to be alive and to be ordering. Strong accent but a lot of confidence. Funny: she appeared in my dreams last night, which may have been because I’d been editing this sentence. (It was months ago now that I saw her and I think that had been the only time.)


February 20, 2022

This poem has taken on a special resonance —

And o’er his heart a shadow—
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

I find it puzzling that in the concluding stanza, where the idea evoked, that Eldorado exists in an impossible to arrive at place, seems to admit of a wide choice of vocabulary, Poe chooses two words in which the rhyme is notably poor: — pairing the ‘-tains’ of ‘mountains’ with ‘moon.’ Quite a contrast with the other stanzas’ “length/ strength” “knight/ bedight” “old/bold”.

‘Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,’
The shade replied,—
‘If you seek for Eldorado!’

What are the mountains of the moon?

February 18, 2022

Q: Where is life not merely destroyed
but flattened so that there can be no doubt? [here]

Q: are cars “readers”, for whom stops are periods and yield’s commas and asphalt and route varieties varieties of text [no.] […] and garages, and car ports, and are diacritics like nobs on airconditioners….? [no.]

Q: where had that phrase rolling around in you, as you envision this world on fire –“on fire with decay”– come from? [A book — Winesburg, Ohio.]

Boring things. The stump at the corner of WR &19th, for instance. One could imagine it being carved into something interesting, one could imagine it being carved into something even more boring. One could imagine attaching a small metal placard to it so you had to stoop to read what it said: “stump.” What quality does it share with other boring things? A Stop Sign is boring but shines out with its use. Things that are necessary are interesting within a scheme.

February 17, 2022

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February 3, 2022

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