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Thursday, April 29, 2004

So I have been vaguely dissatisfied recently. Depressed even.

I've tried sleeping more. I still can't sleep past my five nightly hours. I've strengthened the potency of my sleeping pills. On other nights, I've tried the rum cure.

Strenuous running doesn't help. I don't notice the trees on forest walks. I don't notice faces anymore. A friend said I walked into him, looked at him, and had no idea he was there. Dancing in the dark just makes me think of grenades and guerilla warfare.

A mini shopping spree at Value Village couldn't raise my spirits (today's treasures: sparkly baby blue summer sweater, Japanese goldfish tank top, black rodeo tanktop, brown falling star top, cool cut 60s tanktop, Pisces t-shirt). My new car made me slightly elated. But gas prices made me miserable. So I parked it.

I don't have any phone cards around to call Beth. There is no one else to call. I should be working on my press release or the marketing strategy. I should be loading my clothes into the washing machine. I should buy food. We don't have anything to eat.

The Comtesse DeSpair's Morbid Mirth Du Jour:

Ireland's worst plane disaster struck today when a two-seater plane crashed into a cemetery.

Irish rescue workers have recovered 828 bodies.

Digging continues...


didn't help much.

I need decapitated kittens or something.

The Celebrity Morgue made me wistful.

Do I wish I were dead? Should I move to Fallujah?

There is only one thing that can make me happy.

Lesbians on Ecstasy.



Tuesday, April 27, 2004

My white egg car disappeared forever. I didn't even hug it goodbye. I didn't kiss it either. This morning it produced alarming grunts. The radio stopped working long ago. The oil drips under my car could teach the Aral Sea a thing or two. Car salesmen** laughed at the metal bar holding my door together.

Now an aqua ice opalescent Toyota Echo* shares my life.

Everybody loves my blue baby. Out of all the compliments and congratulations on my car I am choosing to share that most erudite of comments, supplied by my grandmother:

"Men don't need to buy new cars when their old one breaks down. They would know how to fix it."

My grandmother is an expert on men. Many years ago, when all of us teenagers were getting braces, she spoke out that the males of the family were spared because men do not need to be pretty.

She further elucidated the subject of men: men could drink to destruction, but - and this is the defining feature of her theory - women could not drink, except when it was not polite to decline. Women thus could drink when partaking the sacrament (Romanians drink real sangre de Jesús), marrying, and whooping it up at a wake. My grandmother knows what she's talking about. She was a beer factory worker for 24 years. Those 4-5 beers she drank daily on the job were daintily sipped. And she definitely an expert on men. She's had three husbands after all.

That's the other thing about men. They can be generalized. Unlike women. Every woman is an enigma. You never know what you'll get. Some cook and some will order Chinese food for you. One might regularly pump out babies, another might bring home puppies from the pound. You treat one like a princess and she wants to be a queen. Or one woman might climb trees, thus defying all logic as to how women function. It is said that a woman - in spite of right-wing anti-abortionist polygamous tax-cutting deaf divorcee Republican voters - may one day become president of the United States.

Men do things in a straightforward, predictable way. You could set a clock by their bowel movements. Men can, in one sitting and without exception, drink an emu's weight in beer. All 3 billion men on the planet love blondes. Every man on the planet has big nostrils. Even the most sheltered mama's boy in the Gobi Desert owns a lot of saws, hammers, ladders and lawnmowers. Just like every other man on the planet.

We can therefore say - without one shred of uncertainty! - that men know cars.

Mankind's rise from monkeydom was a race toward building the first car. Men since the beginning wanted to know something about cars. That is why early man invented the wheel before flushing toilets and washing machines. Predicting far in advance the 575-horsepower roadster, early man domesticated the horse in anticipation.

Aristotle, disappointed that he knew about cars before their inception, defended his beliefs by saying "Plausible impossibilities should be preferred to unconvincing possibilities." He continued to mope about until his death, muttering his mantras "Philosophy is the science which considers cars" and "All men by nature desire cars."

Saint Augustine, in his Confessions, admitted "I was in love with cars." Renaissance poets followed suit with sonnets to dark cars, that only look good in the shade. Shakespeare tried to deny his infatuation with the car as well as his upsetting midlife crisis in his most famous sonnet:

My Porsche's gaskets are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her seats red:
If snow be white, why then her tires are dun;
If scratch's be wires, black wires grow on her trunk.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her breeks***;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the exhaust that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her screech, yet well I know
That dry wipers hath a more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a Volvo go,
My sports car, when she drives, bare treads to the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my car nicer,
As any she belied with Ford Explorer.

Anxiousness for the soon-to-be-invented car reached a fever pitch in the Nineteenth Century. Poets drowned their sorrow in opium and absinthe, penning lines such as Oscar Wilde's "I can resist everything except cars." Teen angst poet Rimbaud threw a temper tantrum and quit poetry after his parents refused to buy him a car. His Sonnet of the Vowels (A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu) referred to the car posters he taped to his bedroom walls: a black Audi, a white Ford Explorer, a red Isuzu, a green Volkswagen, and a blue Oldsmobile. Rumour has it that Verlaine shot Rimbaud over an argument over a brake tune-up. Van Gogh traded his ear for a prostitute's car. (She later claimed her pimp ran away with the car, her life's savings and the thirty grams of cocaine she kept a Chinese snuff box.) Even sqeaky clean John Wilkes Booth, when he discovered that Lincoln was a president and not a car, assassinated the poor man.

Luckily the advent of the age of the automobile occurred in the Twentieth Century. Men all over the world rejoiced. Murders ceased. Ears stayed put. No longer would they have to pass time with chess, mathematics, collecting old Master paintings, and listening to classical music. They could relegate effeminate names like Leslie, Pat and Cameron to women, while asserting male dominance over barbecues and football scores.

What lesson should women learn from this? Get better salaries. Break that glass ceiling, ladies! With all that you have to spend on hair products, frocks, designer makeup, plastic surgery, and dry-cleaning, you might not have enough for that new car when the old one breaks down.

Or you could just marry a car industry tycoon.



*Not 2004. I am unemployed after all.

**I almost wrote csar salesmen. Csar salesmen deserve an entire post of their own.

***Shakespearean English for brakes.



Sunday, April 25, 2004

Carina, four years old, was at my Bawdy Aunt's birthday party.

"Are you a princess or a queen?" I asked pointing to her tiara.

"Princess. Let's play the princess game!"

There was no escaping her after that. I, too, became a princess; the tiara spent the rest of the night on my head.

"Princesses need to wear makeup," said Carina.

"I am wearing makeup." I closed my eyes and pointed to the eyeliner.

"No, princesses wear lipstick. Where is your purse?"

"I must eat first."

Carina almost forced pieces of gum dripping in four-year-old saliva into my mouth. She was strong. Nothing did make it past my clenched jaw. The skin around my mouth felt as if it nested with a Golden Retriever.

Carina and purse followed me around until I put on some lipstick. Red, not pink.

"I am hypo," she said. "I don't sleep."

We gave her more chocolate cake.

She pulled the doll out of her convertible. "This is Princess Barbie. She has a frog at home."

Then we moved to my Bawdy Cousin's dog, Adolf. "Sit. Dance! Dance! Dance!"

Bridal Barbie's dress kept slipping off, leaving her topless.

We felt each other's stomachs to see what we had eaten. Watermelon. If it grows, we'll have puffy stomachs. Carina inflated her stomach to demonstrate the growth cycle of the watermelon.

The bathroom trapped Carina's dad. Bawdy Cousin avoided entrapment by keeping door open. We stood guard. Carina peeked.



Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The question on the minds of male mice everywhere is, "Will we become obsolete?"

In an effort to quell rumours, Mickey, president of the Male Mice Union, speaking at a press conference late Wednesday night, outlined an action plan to halt male mice redundancy.

The plan is a five-pronged approach to promote awareness of the advantageousness of male mice:


  • All male mice will henceforth wear sombreros, learn the words to La Cucaracha and serve margaritas on the patios of Mexican-themed restaurants.


  • Male mice will immediately begin tormenting cats. The employment of blacksmith items, including but not limited to, anvils, horseshoes and red-hot pokers is encouraged.


  • Male mice will fill the void left by the near extinction of the cheetah by performing cheetah stunts for well-heeled tourists.


  • Male mice will establish styrofoam incineration plants in strategic woodland locations.


  • Male mice will now perform open heart surgery for prices slashed up to 50%.




Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Black Bentley, star of cooking extravaganza Skeletonizing Cows in 30 Seconds, joins us today for an exciting visit to the world of toast. On today's menu we have poison toast from the Black Lagoon, a dainty dish of subtlety and the crowning glory of Amazonian cuisine.

Maktaaq: Before poison toast from the Black Lagoon became a household name in North American kitchens, they were a staple of piranha diets. Were you ever concerned about the fat content?

Black Bentley: Not until deceased German artists started showing up in our waters. Before that, all we had to worry about were low calorie tidal wave surfers, who were also, thoughtfully, less chewy.

Maktaaq: Let's talk about seagulls. Research shows that they have as much passion for poison toast as shoals of your brethren.

Black Bentley: Indeed. Why, just a few months ago, a seagull* plucked Blue Barnaby - my beloved stepson - from our calm waters and cruelly deposited on the deck of a boat. The impact killed him immediately. Autopsy reports on Blue Barnaby revealed that he consumed a helping of the toast half an hour before his kidnapping. Homicide detectives suspect that the seagull was after the toast, not my stepson.

Maktaaq: Poor lad. And now, what we're all here for today: poison toast from the Black Lagoon!

Black Bentley: It's very easy, Maktaaq. In a bowl mix together 2/3 cup of oily sponge bath water and hoof paste (4 cloven hooves, minced and mashed to a paste with a pinch of ants). Cut some day-old washed-up starfish into 1/4-inch thick slices, brush both sides lightly with the oily bath water mixture, and bake the slices in one layer on baking sheets in a preheated 250?F oven for 30 minutes. Turn the slices, sprinkle them with banana flakes, and bake them for 30 minutes more, or until they are pale golden and crisp. Makes about 48 toasts.

Maktaaq: It's that easy?

Black Bentley: Yes! And for something really decadent, you can try the toast with carmellized parrots.

Maktaaq: How perfectly debauched! I shall try it. Time's almost up tonight. Let's give a warm hand to Black Bentley!

Black Bentley: Thank you very much! It was a pleasure being here.

[Exeunt.]


*Later identified as Mr. Ezekias Grenoble, Esq., of 7-8 Leigh Street, London.

(Muchas gracias, Underwater Times.)



Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Singer asked me if I like cooking. I admitted that I could probably kill with my poison toast from the Black Lagoon. I did add that I was interested in learning how to make Filipino desserts. I don't know if that made it better.



Monday, April 19, 2004

Not much time to write today again - my list of to-write is growing bigger by each passing day.

But what I really want to impress upon you tonight is the wonderful new links I added. You see, I was busy oohing and aahing over art. The art connoisseur in me has taken possession - spitting phlegm and yelling obscenities, it demands some time here. The weird Maktaaq in me was handcuffed with its hands behind its back, duct tape slapped over its mouth, stuffed in a car truck and pushed over a bridge. (Luckily its training as a locksmith in the army will save it from a watery death. Escaping will take time and tomorrow night is the class where we discuss the Flamboyant Gypsy Violinist.)

So an introduction to the new denizens of Etc. Animals on the Underground: all of me is ready to commit suicide over this one. Why, why, dear God, did I not think of this one? I kowtow Nick Thomas.

August Strindberg & Helium: at least there are a few weird, obscurish nineteenth century writers I chuckle secretly to myself about. You'll just have to wait until I learn all that animation stuff for my cartoons. Before that happens, I think I will watch this a million more times.

Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music: Thanks Joe!

Mr. Scruff: something old but I don't know why I didn't put a link to it sooner. Amazed my coworkers with my Mr. Scruff screensaver. You, too, can have it.

Weebl and Bob: another place I drool over cartoons. Very belated thanks to Kate.

There are some cool art sites I have been perusing, but haven't had time to put up all those links yet. Will probably make a new section, since Etc is getting unwieldy.

Lastly, I want to point out my reading list for the next few years. I accept recommendations. Indeed I was about to also post the recommendations I got so far...but it is rather embarrassing that I have only finished about six novels out of twenty. And such famous novels! Silly me, wasting time with comic books.

I may as well add here that I went to two comic book shops...the temptation...I escaped just in time...a book with Krampus cards...I already foresee myself $30 shorter in the approaching future. The Krazy Kat memorabilia (see Sunday March 14) was gone, by the way. Yet, I found something better: two collections of Krazy Kat strips.

Enough of the whale blabber.



Friday, April 16, 2004

Nope. It wasn't Barbara Cartland. The quote was from Frankenstein.

Cartland claimed to write a book in seven days.

Romance must be really easy to write.



Friday, April 16, 2004

Mr. O'Connor of Albino Neutrino reports that Romania is ready to clash with one of the poorest countries in the world (this week it's Chad) over who gets dibs on the tricolour flag. Both countries await the UN verdict.

Interviews with a cross-section of the Romanian expatriate community in Canada proves revealing:

Sister: Maybe it's Chad's flag. We've only been using it since 1990.

Mom: It's our flag. Give it back.

What do the experts say?

Romania gets a B for its flag, while Chad gets a B-.

Chad's flag is from 1958. They win.

And 100 % of Romanians who participated in an informal survey admitted that they like the old flag better.

*

At least one Romanian thinks we should go back to the "Revolutionary" Flag.

*

Arguments for the convenient hole in the middle of this version of the Romanian flag point out that it cure many of the social ills in the ailing Balkan country.

1. No longer would the poor trample about in rags. The hole flag makes a lovely, patriotic poncho. Frags for the poor!

2. Romanians could rake in the tourist dollars with decorative Revolutionary flag doughnuts (or floughnuts) on the national holiday, December 1st.

3. Romanian circuses can train their multitude of mongrels to jump through the hole. Taking the rest of Europe by storm, the performing pups, or wild flogs , will amaze and thrill.

So, let Chad get their tricolour. Romanians will re-adopt the 1989 flag. We'll be rich and revolutionary.


*Via the Flags of the World website.



Friday, April 16, 2004

The Harem Syndrome - the occurrence of women fighting over what seems to be the sole man in the vicinity - was so artfully illustrated in the movie, Raise the Red Lantern. In that movie no one much liked the man, but they could have their favourite bean soup if he shone his favour upon them. That was enough to snip off each other's ears.

Young ladies of today's generation might scoff at such an idea. But replace the fried green tomatoes they lust after, with the pesto gnocchi beloved by another woman, and they would just as easily succumb to the Harem Syndrome. Many more modern women would be earless if equal rights for all genders had not put a stop to such barbaric diets.



Thursday, April 15, 2004

So the stupid archives are back. All except for August 2003. It was a night of computer mishaps all round. My sister was amazed at the glossary in the Anti-Virus Software book. She thinks all the "fraggles" and "smurfs" are really cute.

Luckily my sister and I happen to know a child genius. After three hours we cleaned up this place. Except for those explicit pop-up ads. Nevertheless, child genius deserves a case of beer. Behind his mother's back, of course.

I am happy again. But I am still complaining about August 2003.

Am sorry about huffing that I'll be going away. I was thinking about leaving Blogger, but I'm always too busy typng away here to explore my options.

In conclusion, my sister and I are both interested in becoming burly mountain hermits. Far, far from civilization. When Blogger really does eat up my archives.

*****

On the next exciting installment of Maktaaq: diet-crazed women snip off the ears of their enemies. Tune in again for this exciting epidode of gore and bean soup.



Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Was finally going to answer the question about Hitler's moustache. But my friend Lulu is dying of cancer and he doesn't even know it yet. So the rest of you: don't smoke, don't drink to excess, and see your doctor when you start coughing up blood.



Tuesday, April 13, 2004

A large, heavy piece of furniture fell on me today.

The pain in my pinky faded. My leg, on the other hand, now sports a patch of gangrene. I am sure it'll have to be amputated. Until then, I can still hobble around despite the pain - oh! the pain! This pain is not content to stay put; it wanders from extremity to extremity. The uninjured arm and leg thus share it with the crushed limb.

While I linger between life and death, I am feverishly writing my last will and testament. To my mother and father, who found me in a bottle floating on the Black Sea and rescued me, I give my collection of priceless teddy bears. To my sister, who bites my feet often, I will give you my feet. But skinned. Because, my skin will go to you, my faithful readers; just like the highwayman, Burley Grove, I shall bind my written works, this very blog, with the skin off my soles.

Before I pass on to the next world, that joyless land of grey, I estimate that I have just enough strength left to copy and paste the Morbid Mirth du Jour, sent by the lovely Comtesse DeSpair:

An ugly man walks into his local pub with a big grin on his face.

"What are you so happy about?" asks the bartender.

"Well, I'll tell you," replies the ugly man. "You know, I live by the railway. Well, on my way home last night, I noticed a young woman tied to the tracks, like in the movies. I, of course, went and cut her free and took her back to my place. Anyway, to make a long story short, I scored big time! We made love all night, all over the house. We did everything, me on top, sometimes her on top, every position imaginable!"

"Fantastic!" exclaimed the barman. "You lucky guy. Was she pretty?"

"Dunno... Never found the head."



Sunday, April 11, 2004

Since writing about hamsters, opossums and Mrs. Vandertramp, I have become the destination for web searches on these topics. Someone looking for the Vandertramp matriarch stumbles on my site once a week. Opossums search requests come through more often than hamster ones.

Having Site Meter is like being a voyeur:



Friday, April 09, 2004

Taking a break from cleaning the bathroom.

Found the following treasures:

2 pincushions - now I can remove the 84 sewing needles in my hot water bottle.

4 boxes of unused pancake mix - pretty tasty when eaten in the bathtub.

3 packages of mosquitoes (Africa, Europe and Asia) - an Asian mosquito is a notch above an African one on the Mohs scale.

Enough erasers for eight years - of course, I did hand out the bacteria eraser to someone in purdah (accidentally...I really am bemused by the objection it caused).

There. How's that for a normal post? No zombies, no talking dogs, no parasitic jaegers, no typing monkeys, no hamster antics. I even, in my own subtle way, touched upon cooking classes past and I made vague references to endangered animal-smuggling. Now I am a real blogger.

Enjoy it while you can. After this, it's back to talking animals.



Friday, April 09, 2004

Let's Blogging tried to eat your brain, but your brain has already been eaten.

You stare blankly at one another for a few moments, then lurch off in separate directions.


All along I thought it was a lobotomy.

Three weeks ago, an invitation to a party arrived in the mail. No return address, no name, no phone number for RSVPs. The card, a medley of twig scratchings on a splatter of blood, simply read, "Partee at Pot Muddy Dog Pak 3 AM."

Witch-and-Satan parties fill the Midnight slot; the more langurous vampire begins his soirees at 1 AM. Failing to heed common sense, I forgot that only zombie parties start at 3 AM.

The other tip off - again I did not read the classic signs of zombie entrapment - was the atrocious spelling. Zombies, lacking the vital part of the brain that distinguishes between pigeon and pidgin, often commit such indecencies. The English Language shudders.

When I came to the next morning, the yarmulke-sized hole on top of my skull led to an empty cavity. I looked around for my brain in the bushes. My car keys lay beside a nice shiny quarter.

In retrospect, life is easier now. My sister did my taxes. My mother wakes up before me. Tea is ready by the time I'm up. All phone callers inquire about the avian flu. My hamster's cage cleans itself. Plus, I am wealthier than I have ever been in the last twenty months.

As Jane Austen once said, "Only soggy bread is better than being a zombie."



Thursday, April 08, 2004

It's been a long, hard day at the lightbulb factory. My Hamlet manuscript continues to stall at Act 2, Scene 29.

At this afternoon's team meeting, the professor showed the pie chart with monkey productivity levels. My pie sliver was smaller than all the slices of the rest of the infinite number of monkeys working here.

No one has said anything about demotion. The other monkeys did edge away from me during remainder of the PowerPoint presentation.

We also had a tour of the factory's research and development department. My spirits brightened - the inventions were so neat!

I am not really supposed to spill company secrets...but the internet is an anonymous place so no one will know...the professor has genetically engineered toadstools to grow light fixtures. The incandescent lightbulb will never be the same again! Imagine, you are walking through the woods, it gets dark, you forgot to bring a flashlight, you are facing certain hypothermia. Then, a beacon of light, shining at your ankles - the light of the Holy Father guiding you to a ring of glowing mushrooms! Their heat preserves you until morning and saves your life.

Another invention in the works is the lightbulb spatula. Who hasn't had this problem? You are making pancakes, you peel up the pancake to see if it is done, the blackness of the pan reflects onto the pancake bottom, you think it's burnt and flip it into the rubbish bin, only to see that it was not blackened at all. You've wasted a perfectly good pancake. The lightbulb spatula spares pancake waste: now you can accurately determine the colour of the pancake bottom without a flashlight.

The best development was the illumination of the flying poison arrow piranha. Ever since flying-fish-poison-arrow-frog-piranha hybrids entered the market, who hasn't been poisoned and had their limbs skeletonized? With the flying arrow piranha's illumination, now we can fend off attacks before they happen. No more fumbling with your car keys as a school of piranhas surround you - you will already have seen them hiding in the bushes, remaining in the safety of the phonebooth instead of venturing out.

Of course, if an unscrupulous rival lightbulb factory learns of our factory's advances in living organism lighting, they might thwart our plans by transplanting machine guns into the flying poison arrow piranha.



Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Tonight only!

Nude photos of yours truly plus a handful of 18-year-old cheerleaders who've lost their panties. Click here.



Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Tonight, on my drive home from the night class where we discuss the flamboyant gypsy violinist, I saw him by the side of the road.

Black leather jacket, cigarette hanging from his sneering lip, a collar with spikes around his neck, a lumpy sack thrown over his shoulder. I always stop for hitchhikers. Especially if they are doberman pinschers.

He got in.

"Nice spring day today, huh?"

He didn't say anything.

"Definitely feels like spring, don't it?"

He didn't even look at me.

I would give it one more try. "I like spring. Don't you?"

He thrust a paw into the sack. Out came a butcher knife and an apple. He began peeling the apple. A long strand of apple peel snaked its way down to the car floor. When he finished that apple, he took out another one. He peeled it. Then another apple and another one.

One eye looked ahead. The other eye watched the dog. There were no cars behind me. I could run into the black woods flanking the Barnet Highway and try to survive until morning.

I could stop the car. I could fend off the inevitable butcher knife attack and escape unscathed. An easy plan even I could execute. The doberman was, after all, wearing a muzzle.

Putting the car on autopilot, I turned both eyes to the doberman. My right hand reached over the glove compartment. The doberman's eyes were on me.

I always keep a very sharp pencil in the glove compartment for emergencies. Rule #22 in the solo traveller's safety book, Sour Cream Spears and Other Self-Defense Techniques.

The doberman continued looking at me. "Put down that pencil. The pie is almost done."

I dropped the pencil. Then, shaking off momentary shock, I slammed the brakes. Drat! The doberman was wearing his seatbelt. But the apple pie on the dashboard flew through the windshield.

We both jumped out of the car, the doberman clutching his butcher knife. The apple pie, steaming in the cold night air, was beyond reconstruction. The dog scowled. He retrieved his sack from the car. Two lights emerged from the darkness. Still wielding his butcher knife, he flagged down the lone car. The driver, a middle-aged itinerant wax fruit peddler, seemed scared. She beckoned the doberman to hurry up. He hadn't even slam the door shut when she floored it.

Alone with the fast-cooling pie, we both flinched when an invisible owl hooted. I had to get out of there. The sight of the apple mush left me nauseous. Besides if a cop passed, there would be uncomfortable questions. I ignored the pie's pleas and returned to my car. I said "goodbye, apple pie" like Clint Eastwood did in that Sergio Leone balloon animal western extravaganza.

When I got home I hosed off the bits of apple stuck to the car tires.



Monday, April 05, 2004

The last few dozens of hours have coagulated into days of glory. I went from typing monkey to talented typing monkey in the eyes of my sister - suddenly I was reborn as an HTML genius; I pulled the veil off the enigma that is Microsoft Excel; I earned a Value Village Shopper of the Year award; and I photograph as well as an arts college graduate with a four-year photography degree. Now I can add my most coveted accomplishment here. I am now, officially, a published illustrator.

*****

Today was the launch of my alma mater's anthology of children's literature. I walked in just as my contributions appeared on the screen. Kathy, the children's illustration instructor, announced that the artist was in the room. All faces turned to me. I gave my impromptu speech effortlessly (I love it when I don't have a chance to worry about giving speeches) and everybody cooed.

After the speeches, the writer said really nice things about how I interpreted her story. I had been worried, when I was working on the illustrations of her story, that she might hit me over the head for not drawing good sloths. Maybe she thought and thinks I am a charlatan. Maybe she thinks I should be lynched by midnight for my crimes against children's literature. She didn't slap me. So I am safe.

The reproduction of my drawings on the website surprised me. The editors reduced my big picture and enlarged the small one. While I love seeing my sloth larger than I had drawn it; the big picture turned out a little fuzzy. I added subtle emphases which here look like blobby lines. And in both reproductions, the gradations in the thickness of lines of ink have become uniform, much as if I had used a marker instead of pen and ink. I usually go for the sort of whisps of line that mascara commercials have sprouting out of twiggy models.

In the paper version of the anthology, the big picture shrank so much, the delineation between the lines blurred. The dolphin looks like that TV evangelist's wife who overdoes her makeup. The pelican now has a goatee. The whale's fin has gangrene, explaining the look of pain on his face. An oil spill blackens my Atlantic.

Despite this, I am giddy with a high percentage of self grandeur. I've already planned to boast about my illustrations until 12:48 PM on Friday. Then I'll resume my next project.

(If you want to see my illustrations, let me know and I'll email you the link.)



Sunday, April 04, 2004

Usually we watch movies. Last night was different. No more coddling. We had a job to do. Luckily the Anarchist brought a pack of playing cards.

Hearts.

It sounded boring. Any game that requires strategy (and its henchman, thinking) can crawl under toad spittle. These games often result in arguments that would be better spent on the important questions*.

Hearts already had the aura of church sermon. Since the Anarchist's explanation would be of no use, I nodded as he spoke, all the while flipping through an art magazine.

Then he dealt me a hand. I was in the game. Now I had to learn the rules.

Which card went down first? How are hearts broken? Was the Ace higher than the King? Was the Queen of Spades the bad one or was it the Queen of Clubs?

During the third round, I didn't have to show the Anarchist my hand across the counter. Decisions came easily, followed by strategy.

That's when I began to lose.

My strategies for sabotaging other players backfired: my elaborate plots left me burdened with hearts. Suddenly I was keeping my three bad cards instead of sending them away. (I think the Anarchist just made up that rule.) Then the Queen of Spades turned parasitic. Round after round she would not budge from my pile of cards.

The Projectionist walked by. "Watch out for the Bitch of Spades."

Too late.

Later, the Projectionist returned. "You can gang up on other players."

Good, a new strategy. This one worked better. On my left was the Unlucky One, on my right the Lucky One. In the last four rounds, we raised the Lucky One's points from zero to sixty-something.

I came in only second last. Next time, though, watch out, Anarchist!


*Pet ownership. Spelling mistakes. Ceral-eating schedules. Human rights.



Saturday, April 03, 2004

Fill-in-the-blanks - the Frank Version:

Great God! why did I not then expire! Why am I here to relate the destruction of the best elephant, and the purest McTrunk of earth? She was there, incautious and huge, thrown across the bomb, her parts hanging down, and her scattered and massive features half covered by her explosion. Everywhere I turn I see the same figure - her bloodless explosion and careless form flung by the murderer on its bridal footstep. Could I behold this, and live? Alas! life is enterprising, and clings closest where it is most hated. For a moment only did I lose recollection; I fell senseless on the ground.



Fill-in-the-blanks - the Cheryl the Red Version:

Great God! why did I not then expire! Why am I here to relate the destruction of the best Flibbertigibbit, and the purest Figbash of earth? She was there, insipid and succulent, thrown across the Kinder egg, her bowler hat hanging down, and her scintillating and skittish ax half covered by her hair. Everywhere I turn I see the same figure - her bloodless unicycle and fleshy form flung by the murderer on its bridal eyeliner. Could I behold this, and live? Alas! life is obstinate, and clings closest where it is most perky. For a moment only did I lose recollection; I fell klutzy on the ground.



Fill-in-the-blanks - the Charles version:

Great God! why did I not then expire! Why am I here to relate the destruction of the best Charles, and the purest Charles of earth?



Fill-in-the-blanks - the Pip version:

Could I behold this, and live? Alas! life is obstinate, and clings closest where it is most rampant.


*****

Now, let's see if you remember from what very famous novel this paragraph was bastardized.



Saturday, April 03, 2004

Dear Maktaaq,

I am writing to thank myself for starting today with a show of omnipotence. Everyone enjoys flaunting the power to smite like God in the Old Testament. This morning I enjoyed a bout of smiting. I haven't smited for a while now.

As you remember, dear Maktaaq, the other day you employed a new set of contact lenses. The old ones were flicked to the side of the sink and forgotten. Hours later, upon rediscovery, they were dry, brittle disks. Stuck to the sink (like barnacles), I saw that I could not remove them with gentle force. So I crushed them. With my bare finger. Contact lens shrapnel burst like a wayward lemon. Tap water did the rest of the job and washed away the shards.

Bwa ha ha! I love washing expensive things down the sink!

Thank you again for the wonderful morning. I so enjoyed this moment, I have decided to take up smiting on a regular basis.

Yours very truly,

F. G. Maktaaq


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