Friday, February 20, 2009


I'm reading a book on George Orwell. It's called Finding George Orwell In Burma. It's not the worst read ever. In fact, sometimes it's almost engrossing. Interesting fellow, Orwell. Very interesting, indeed. It turns out his real name was Eric Blair. Go figure.

A couple of days ago I was reading this book and decided to call it quits -- for the time being. I was on page 184, and I thought, 'Well, that will be easy to remember!' First, because George Orwell wrote Animal Farm. Second, because 1 + 8 + 4 = 13, and George Orwell was hugely superstitious -- hugely! He once threw a porter out of a second story window when he discovered he had been checked into Room 213. The guy was a raving lunatic!

Of course, going crazy is a time-honored tradition for writers. Certainly Orwell isn't the only author who lost it from time to time. There was also the time Rudyard Kipling went a little 'coocoo.' If memory serves, he had an episode where he thought the Irish Potato Famine was still going on and he believed that he was a potato, causing him to run down the streets of London shouting, "I am a potato! Eat me, people -- eat me!" Rudyard got sent away on a little 'vacation' shortly after that. It seems to have straightened him out.

Of course, we all need some straightening out, though, don't we? From time to time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

a scary thought

I'm beginning to think Joaquin Phoenix has the right idea. Not in a specific way, but in a general sense.

Walk Out
I'm not
a monkey
in your zoo.
I do what I do.
Feel free
to take the hint
and/or get a clue.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

it's a shame about Abe

First, it's Valentine's Day. Happy Valentine's Day! To you. And/or yours.

Second, Abe Lincoln week is over. I'm calling it. I'm kind of sorry to see it go, but on the other hand I'm ready to say goodbye to it, and him, at least for another year. Abe Lincoln was a great fellow, no question. He was also a little...mystic. He had visions and dreams that seem to have often come true. And he was wily. Wicked wily! Yes, Abe Lincoln definitely scares me a little bit. Thank God he's no longer with us.

Lastly, I'd just like to say that if I did have access to a time machine I would not go back and steal Abe Lincoln's hat. If the opportunity presented itself, I can't say I wouldn't purloin it, but I would not specifically go back just for that. No, I'd do the right thing and stop John Wilkes Booth from firing on old Abe.

I'd set myself up right in front of the Lincolns' balcony. I'd pretend I was reading an old dime novel. Then, once I ID'd the perp, I'd make my move.

"Well, well, who do we have here? If it isn't John Wilkes Booth. Well, hi, John. Whatcha up to tonight? You here to see the play?" I'd ask caustically. Then I'd give him a good one, right to the gut. After he caught his breath, then, and after I disarmed him, I'd drag him into the President's balcony and say, "Mr. President, this man was about to shoot you. Don't worry, I've disarmed him. I guess I just wanted you to know that I saved your life tonight. No need to thank me. Please, just enjoy the play. It's a good one! Now you'll have to excuse me, I've got to get this d-bag downtown, for processing."

Then I'd tip my hat to Mrs. Lincoln and say, 'Ma'am.'

It's important to be respectful, I think. Especially on Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

husband and wifi

'Happy Birthday/whose ever birthday/it is today.'
- The Replacements, 'Asking Me Lies'

A lot of people say things like, 'If I could go back in time I'd..' Then they usually finish that thought by relating a short narrative wherein they use their new-found time-traveling ability go back in time and prevent some tragedy or disaster from happening.

Not me. If I could go back in time I'd steal Abe Lincoln's hat. Then I'd come back to the present and sell it on e-Bay.

I've even got what I consider to be a fairly sound plan in place to get my hands on his lid. What I would do first -- when I went back in time -- would be to get a mid-level government job. I'd probably be a liaison to the Dutch consulate or something like that. I'd maintain a fairly high profile around the Capitol, making sure to bump into Abe Lincoln from time to time. We'd start out with short nods of acknowledgment and then soon graduate to pleasant hellos. Eventually I'd get to the point where I'd ask about his wife and children. From there, a dinner engagement would be practically inevitable.

After the proper arrangements were made, I would be sure to greet him and his family at the door, with a firm handshake and a hearty smile, and I would say, 'Mr. President, thank you for coming to my humble abode. Let me take your hat.' And take his hat I would.

Then when it came for the Lincolns to leave, I'd be like, 'A hat? I don't remember you wearing a hat, Mr. Lincoln. Are you sure you wore one here? Really? That's funny. Come to think of it, I don't recall ever seeing you in a hat. Are you feeling alright, sir?'

From there, the song just plays itself -- and it's money in the bank!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Abe Lincoln, comic genius?

I'll preface this post by telling you I don't know if the story I relate within this post is true. I could have fact-checked it, sure. But that would take time. So I say let's just go with it.

Story goes like this: After Union troops swept the Rebels out of some city in Virginia (during the Civil War) Abe Lincoln traveled with them and wandered the streets of said city. If this story is true, this city is where General Pickett lived. Now even though Pickett was a Confederate general, Lincoln allegedly knew him from before the war. So, hat in hand, Lincoln goes to the door and asks after General Pickett. He is told (by whoever allegedly answered the door) that General Pickett is away. They (the person that may or may not have answered the door) then supposedly said, 'Who should I say called?'

Now the easy thing, the obvious thing, for Lincoln to have said (if he said anything at all, if this story is even true) would have been 'Abe F'n Lincoln, that's who.' Ever the good sport, though, Lincoln is said to have said, simply, 'A friend from Illinois.' That's a pretty good comic line. Subtle. Not bad.

But let's break this down for just a second. Whoever answered the door, if there even was a door, how in God's name could they have not known who Abe Lincoln was? And would Abe Lincoln really have been so reckless as to visit a general on the side of the opposition? Someone who almost certainly would have been armed? It doesn't make much sense. Because if Pickett would have been there and if he had had a weapon, you can bet he would have taken old Abe hostage and then the whole Civil War would have turned into just another episode of '24.'

Speaking of which, have I told you my new line? Every time I fail someone, every time someone does something heroic and then someone else asks me, 'Why can't you be more like (that person)?' I calmly reply, 'This isn't '24.' We can't all be Jack Bauer.'

And truer words have never been spoken.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Abe Lincoln Week continues

If I would have been Abe Lincoln, I would have checked into hotels as 'A. Blinken.' Just to throw the groupies and the paparazzi off. When it comes to groupies and the paparazzi, you've always got to be thinking one step ahead.


Monday, February 09, 2009

it's nice to be wanted (but not in 5 states)

It's funny. After all these years of bending the law to and fro, yesterday I finally crossed the line. That's right, I crossed over. I went from minor villain to Master Criminal in the space of a heartbeat. I've been turning over the whole incident in my mind all day while listening to some old Johnny Cash tunes. I thought I understood his songs before, but now? Now I really get them.

It all went down like thus: We were at the movie theater yesterday, buying snacks, which in itself is innocuous enough. We ordered a pretzel (yum!), nachos (yummer!) a large Diet Coke (really large!). Now you might think that would be enough, but the theater was also selling mongo Rice Krispies bars at a bargain (for charity). We ordered one of those, too. Without thinking, I reached out and put one in my sweatshirt pocket. From there, I calmly surveyed the lobby scene and waited for the girl behind the counter to purvey the rest of our goods. She gave us our stuff and we entered the theater.

About twenty minutes into the movie we decided to eat the Rice Krispies bar. As you might expect, it was strictly delicious. Roughly five minutes after that I decided a trip to the restroom might be a good idea (it was indeed a large Diet Coke). I excused myself and strolled casually down the theater hallway to the mens restroom. As I entered the mens restroom, I slipped my hand into my sweatshirt pocket and discovered...another Rice Krispies treat! Yes, that's right, I had pulled a classic con; the old switcheroo -- the old 'double-dip.'

I hurried to the bathroom mirror and looked at my reflection; as I suspected, my pupils were dilated. Breathing hard, I splashed cold water on my face and tried to think clearly. In the movies, they tell people to stay calm at times like this. I'm here to tell you, it's not that easy. Not when your world is coming apart.

I realized I had two options. One, light out for old Mexico. Two, I could go turn myself in, throw myself at the mercy of the snack counter folks. I opted for option two. In the end, it turned out it really wasn't such a big deal. The kid I confessed to looked at me like I was either a) a dork for turning myself in when I had successfully perpetrated the heist or b) simply a dork. He took my money and that was that.

Or was it? Clearly I have some talent for thievery. And I've seen a lot of heist movies. And as I've said all along, I already have well over 10 million dollars in the bank. Now all I have to do is figure out a way to get it out of there without anyone getting threatened or hurt.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

a little story

I know I was going to feed you another Abe Lincoln tale today, but that single post is now morphing into a series of posts, so let's let those marinate a bit longer. I've also got just a bit of historical research to do before I go too far down that dusty path. Thus, without further ado:

There was once a singer named Tim Buckley. He died. But before he did, he had a son -- Jeff Buckley. Jeff Buckley was a singer too, who also died. But before he did, he recorded an album called Grace. On that album was a song called Mojo Pin.

In the late 90's a fledgling rock band in North Dakota liked that name so much that that's what they christened their band. They were pretty good -- so good, in fact, it surprised me when they agreed to open for me at a poetry reading/book release (a simple self-published chapbook) party I hosted in the year 2000, back when I did that sort of thing. I'm getting offtrack.

Mojo Pin eventually disbanded. Their lead singer wanted to go back home, to Norway. Who could blame her for that? However, the band's guitarist decided to strike out on her own and released her own record. Years later, I discovered she ended up playing in a band with Juliana Hatfield.

Long story short? Juliana Hatfield and I are practically related!

I should give her a call one of these days...find out what she's been up to all these years.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

birthday planning

As some of you may know, Abraham Lincoln has a birthday coming up. No need to rush out and buy him anything. He doesn't need any aftershave. Still, I think it's important the day is noted. He was a great man. Over the Holidays, I flipped through a book about Mr. Lincoln. Apparently, shortly after his assassination, his son Tad asked someone if his father was in heaven.

Whomever he asked replied, 'Yes.'

Upon hearing that, young Tad seemed satisfied -- pleased. He said something to that effect, and then noted, 'This place wasn't good for him.' And it was pretty clear he wasn't simply talking about the White House.

Upon reading that, I just wanted to ruffle the hair on top of that kid's head. It's clear to me that he (Tad) was like his dad; he was someone who got it. And there aren't many people who get it in this world. Most of them who do are either hanging silently on walls in staid museums or sitting frozen on granite horses in the hearts of city parks.

That being said, there are lots worse places to be than here. You can't get falafel on the moon.

In closing, look for another Tale of Abe Lincoln in tomorrow's post, as we continue to celebrate his life and legacy here at Citizen. I might even buy a cake..

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

you can't keep a halfways decent man down

Bouncing right off the canyon floor, the old brain box fired back with yet another idea this morning. Picture the scene: You're in front of the stove. It's an early morning and you're transacting business on your cellular phone in front of your oven, making eggs while working your business casual mojo. Suddenly you realize those eggs need to be flipped -- and you don't have a spatula! (which should really be called a 'flipula.' Why it isn't called that, that I'll never know).

Hold the phone! Or, in this case, simply take it away from your ear and flip it open yet again to reveal the mini-flipula (that flips out from behind your mouthpiece) and smoothly flip those eggs over before they burn, or worse, get really hard and gross. Oh, and don't forget to keep talking, close the deal and get that sweet raise management has been dangling in front of you since last quarter. And when you're enjoying your perfect eggs, basking in the tasty glow of your sweet success, don't forget to thank the bald, bespectacled fellow that made it all possible -- that would be me.

I swear to God, I'm the Thomas Edison of bad ideas!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

another one bites the dust

I just got off the phone with Michael Buble's lawyers. I can sum up the largely one-sided conversation with two (technically three) words: cease and desist. So, no more Buble Wrap. I now have no choice but to incinerate the three rolls of Buble Wrap I managed to fabricate over the weekend. It's a little difficult to say goodbye to all of my hard work, but if they want to dam up that revenue stream, that's their business. They can drown for all I care. I've got bigger fish to fry.

That reminds me: Add to grocery list - one (1) box of Fry'N Magic.

If I don't write it down, I'll never remember it.