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The Revolving Pies


If you hadn’t noticed, I have a little Flash widget in the right hand column displaying advertising for my furniture business in the format I like to call “The Revolving Pies.” Anyone who’s ever eaten in a stainless steel diner knows all about the revolving pies. When you stand at the cash register, coming or going, there’s a spinning display case with pie and cake. I don’t eat dessert, (I told you I was strange)but I am not immune to the charms of spinning confections. It’s like chanting in Latin in church. You might not know what it means, but its very existence is like a pleasant touchstone in an everchanging universe.

Advertising is hard. Well, commerce is hard. Composing the message and gauging the results in advertising is obscure and equivocal more than hard. It’s like juggling. If you stare at any particular ball, you drop them all. You have to learn to stare out into the middle distance, trust to your instincts, and go for it.

How can I tell people I exist, and have things that they might like and need, without annoying them? That’s a delicate task. But you have to do it. I always liked those restaurants that didn’t have a sign, but everybody knew about them. But they’re just advertising in a different way, really, not foregoing it.

If all advertisers treated the general public as if they were me in front of the pies, life would be better. I don’t want pie, but I don’t mind them spinning around there. Most advertising seems to consist of a pie with dubious ingredients being shoved in my face. No thanks, times two.

There’s a Dutch retailer in Europe called Hema. I’ve never been anywhere they sell things, and it’s likely I never will. But I like their revolving pies. That’s half the battle. I bet you will too, if you are patient for a handful of seconds. (self-launching audio alert)

Wanting Is Half The Getting

(The most excellent photograph is from: Daily Dose of Imagery. Visit them.)

I think that I like the average person more than your average person does. But I am not like most people.

I don’t know what to want. Most people know what they want. Many are a bundle of wants, and ratchet the most optional things up to “needs” from “wants.” There are a multitude of things that I see people ready to debase or impoverish themselves for that I wouldn’t cross the street to participate in if they were free.

I could list quite a few things many sane persons would like and enjoy that would be a prison sentence for me. That’s boring and cranky and I won’t do it. I’m not sure what makes me so strange. I do know that the average person wants to hear “Sweet Home Alabama,” coming through a tinny speaker on the gasoline dispenser while they’re filling their tank much more than I do. By “more,” I really mean “at all.” Que sera.

The crabbiest people with the narrowest worldview always think everyone should be like them. I think the world would be a drearier place if everyone was like me. Then again, if uniformity is required, then the everyone should be exactly like me. It’s the only way I’ll be happy. I’d dearly like to be left alone to be as strange as I am, though, and you nice people go about your business.

I’m grateful to be alive, and still in the game. There are not enough hours in the day to suit me. If I could live to be a thousand years old, I’d be perfectly content to spend every single one of those days in my house with my family.

But I saw that picture. I once walked out a door on the left side of that picture from that “Office” and dodged around the peddlers on the stone flags, dazed by the sudden rush of sunlight, what is now a long time ago. I was holding my wife’s hand.

I want to go and stand on the disc in the middle of the square over there, where they burned Savonarola. It seems like the place to be, for a person like me. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do it again. But I know that I’d like to.

I’m halfway there.

(It Snows Every Year, So It’s Time For) More Hysterical Fiction


[Editor’s Note: It snowed pretty good last night, and the wind howled, and the house creaked, and it reminded me how much it is the same here as centuries ago. This story was written to accompany a candle shelf, a common item in colonial America, sort of our forebear’s wall sconce. I’ve used real people and places, but it’s fiction. Any man that has called on his sweetheart knows that being fiction, it’s a long way from being fictional.]
{Author’s Note: There is no editor.}

From Wethersfield we went out, about half an hour before sunrising, for Quabaug. We lost our way in the snow, which hindered us some hours. Having neither house nor wigwam at hand, we lay in the woods all night. Through mercy, we arrived in health to the proceedings. JosephBradford, appraiser, had begun calling out the Probate Inventory of our beloved departed Obadiah Dickinson, father of my bride, recently deceased of apoplexy in the yeare of our Lord 1750.

My bride was in distress, and Mr Bradford, spake quickly, and the words tumbled out and gathered and split asunder again without warning, and we were content to let them go past without signifying. Mr Bradford paused, with force, and called my name most clearly, and approached to take my hand. He placed in my hand six coins, of no value, worn and dirty with much handling.

“It was the earnest desire of Mr Dickinson that these be returned to you, sir. “

I was adrift.

“I know not of these coins, sir. That cannot be returned which was never given. “
My wife pressed my arm, and looked at me with with such emotion, I did not spake further, hoping until such time as she could explain this mystery.

For my wife’s father, who was a good man, and true, did not care for such as myself. He tolerated me only, and watched over his girl as a bear watches her cub. I felt always his look over my shoulder, even betimes he was not present.

We hired a team to bring such belongings as were meet over the frozen Connecticut River to our lodgings, Methinks the villein charged more than the lot was worth to transport them, but he avowed he would not hear the frozen river cracking under each footfall for less than a treasure. My wife could not do without what little was left of her father, and I grudgingly gave way.

“Why should your Pater, who knew no rest in minding me, make me this present? He did not care for me.”

“You are harsh, Caleb, and wrong in the bargain.”

“I speak the truth, woman, Bless his soul, but he did not care for me. He has given me this trifle to shame me afore the appraiser.”

“Nay, Caleb, they are your coins, and it is his love which it displays, not scorn.”

“How can this be?”

“You are older now Caleb, and forget the things of your youth. But my father, and I, did not forget.”

“What do I forget?”

“You would call on me Caleb, with your hair in place and your clothes brushed. “

“Yes?”

“And my father would let us sit alone in the room, while he smoked outside; do you remember?”

“Just so; I had forgotten.”

“Father would say he would come back inside when the candle flame could not be seen on the candle shelf anymore.”

“Through mercy! I would put the coins under the candle to raise it up and prolong the time. “

“Yes Caleb. He knew. And now it is time you knew- Father did not smoke.”

Abandon Hope (For Fresh Content) All Ye Who Read Here

[Editor’s Note: Originally offered more than a year ago. ]
{Author’s Note: I could use one of those gold-plated Republican jobs right now myself. Then I could afford a better editor, unlike this one that doesn’t exist.}

Can you tell me the way to Hope Street?

They tell me the road to hope is long, and fraught with peril, sir.

(Stunned silence. A moment of recognition. Wry smile.)

Yes, but at least it’s paved now.

The cobbles are made from the hearts of policemen, sir. They are only mortared loosely with good intentions.

You have the gun, so I defer to your judgement. The way?

Go back up the hill and turn right, if you want to find Hope. Abandon hope, all ye who stand here in the middle of the street with a policeman in the sleet.

Would you like a cup of coffee, officer?

I’d like a gold-plated Republican job and a roast turkey with a side order of another roast turkey, and a whiskey and an upholstered woman with a fireplace and access to more whiskey, thank you. But I’ll settle for a cup of coffee, if that’s what you meant.

I’ll need to cross the street to get it. Will you stop the traffic?

Sir, I’ll hold them here until the ammo runs out, then go hand to hand with the stragglers, if you’ll bring a sinker with the joe.

Done, and done.

Dunne and Dunne? Are those your lawyers, sir?

Spring is coming, officer, if we keep this up.

Go. I’ll cover you.

Elevator Jones 4


You collect yourself in the car. I never knew what that meant before.

I hate the Star Trek doors. I want to feel the weight of a door when I push on it. A building shouldn’t devour you. I don’t want to go in its maw.

There’s something wrong with everybody. Spectator or actor or stagehand or director — doesn’t matter. Everyone’s a mess. There’s a man in pajamas in a wheelchair on the curb smoking a cigarette. It’s twenty. You could grind him up and make a paste of pure corruption.

VCT. That means vinyl composition tile. Twelve inch squares. Hard. Cold. Everyone stares at it and walks. There’s nothing to see and that’s the point.

After a while it’s over. It’s late. What difference should it make in there what time it is? But we are humans no matter the VCT. The moon is up and the sun is down and the day is over and that’s that.

You go down the long lonesome corridor and stare at the flecks in the floor and there’s nothing and nobody for the last fifty yards. You come up hard at a doorway. There’s a badge and some writing and it doesn’t matter what it says. The room has no people and the television is screwed to the wall in the last place it should be, in the corner at the ceiling, and it yells at no one. Not even me. You stare slackjawed for a moment and the corpse of some hoary joke is hurled at the audience of dead souls in an empty room.

Going down.

A Lot Of Thrust. Big Payload


I don’t see TV much anymore. Is there anything like Night Music on the tube now? David Sanborn’s hair helmet was great. I used to be up late in the eighties and early nineties a lot for work, and I used to see this show all the time. I got the impression the performers outnumbered the viewers sometimes, at least when the Sun Ra Orchestra was on.

That’s Dan Hicks. Dan Hicks was always just the right mix of sophisticated and crazy, wasn’t he? The intellectual’s Screamin’Jay Hawkins. The song’s not about me. I scare other people. Wait, what?

Month: January 2008

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