Monday, November 19, 2012

A few days ago my mom told me to call my grandmother. She's in a nursing home now, temporarily, while they run some tests. Actually, as of today the tests were finished. She has Parkinson's and, more serious, a type of frontal lobe dementia. The latter is apparently characterized by rapid decline, paranoia, aggressiveness. It was diagnosed based on her current symptoms.

I should have called earlier, I realize, but I didn't. Partly because I was busy, and mostly because I was afraid of what state she would be in when I did call.

But she was fine, perfectly lucid when we spoke. She said she's ready to die, but her body keeps living. She throws this off in a casual manner, and all I can say is--and this is being honest, actually--"Well, we're happy to have you for however long you're here." I figure she's lived long enough, she has the right to say whatever she wants. She talks about meeting my grandfather for the first time. She says the food's good. I remind of her when she and my grandfather drove me to Disney World, when I was five. How my grandfather used to throw me in the pool. She asks if I'm dating anyone, and I say no, and she says you'll find her when you stop looking. I say she's probably right. She's glad I called, she says. I am too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I passed a graffito today that read "per fabor." I don't know if this is a misspelling on a par with "plaese," which is embarrassing, or "pleez," which is hip.

Anyway, on the same subject, at lunch, Francisco was talking to me about the Balkans. It took me five minutes to figure out he was referring to a Star Trek race and not to chunks of former-Yugoslavia.

Monday, November 05, 2012


I found this in an old email the other day--I wrote it for a friend a few years ago. It's not good, of course, but I'm still fond of it. And ***, too, for the record.

Étude, for ***
after T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Da questo passo vinto mi concedo
più che già mai da punto di suo tema
soprato fosse comico o tragedo:

ché, come sole in viso che più trema,
così lo rimembrar del dolce riso
la mente mia da me medesmo scema.*

I wonder at the star
You swallowed:
Blue as a bleached shell,
Potent as a strawberry,
Maybe lost in a hepatic well
Or fabled jugular gulley,
But probably placed centrally,
Embedded, I’ve supposed, in cardiac pith.
No myth,
This cellular sidereal coincidence,
For what else explains the wake of hope,
Obsequious, swirled,
The future tense
Frosting a world
That only knew how to be?

Such a legacy,
And you pass.

These days, the urge comes with guilt –
So despicably male and crass –
To mold you into a ball,
To clamp it close (and safe), light and all.
Then who’s to say
With one ear pressed
I shouldn’t hear within your breast
The religious thrum,
The rippling orbit, the secret hum –
Even triste et beau
The shred of a something
That wetly washed over the snow
When He made the first spring day?
(When two lovers shameless laughed and ran
And buttressed each other;
And time began.)

I wonder at the soft of your skin,
Waxy as molten glass,
Tender as a moth’s abdomen:
How a touch might blow you
Into a suspension of sand,
Or prod you into a sun,
Where the nebular dust pounds itself to become one.

(It is a wonder that a mere spherical form
Has afterthoughts so powerful
It keeps worlds warm.)

So I’ve thought at this – I’ve guessed at more:
I’ve watched the light seep up the floor.
(There is a lozenge-shaped hole in the door.)
Things appear in light, and light takes time.
The fact lingers behind.

Only in sleep can a mind meet a mind.

How fine the turf!  Translucent, semiotic.
How cordial comes the wind, abaft.
How forever the landscapes in dreams…
Remember our running?
Starlight poured from your seams.

* Dante Alighieri, Paradiso.

Vanquished do I confess me by this passage 

More than by problem of his theme was ever 

O'ercome the comic or the tragic poet;

For as the sun the sight that trembles most, 

Even so the memory of that sweet smile 
My mind depriveth of its very self.

Friday, October 19, 2012


I sometimes think my conception of prayer is more philosophically rigorous than the genuine Christian. 

I find my faith in God is, like so many things we learn as children, not a belief I can shake. Like my, I should admit, incurable hopeless romance. Something I doubt I'll ever be able to banish. In fact, it's rather like those optical illusions where two lines are the same length, but because o
f context they appear radically different. Now I can sit and stare at those lines, measure them, and rationally appreciate they are, in fact, the exact same length. As I stare at them, I realize, yes, this is true, and the mirage vanishes, and they really are identical. For a moment. But I look away a second, and when I come back, they're just as different as the beginning.

That's my belief in God. If I think on epistemology, if I weigh the evidence cooly, I realize there probably is no God. Certainly none I could hope to know. But I think of something else, my mind gets distracted, life happens, and the belief resurfaces behind everything. Background radiation.

So my point is, at moments, I pray. I could say this is just a way of covering my bases, and it couldn't hurt, but it's nothing so calculated. It's that residual childhood imbibing, the sense that someone is looking on, caring, vigilant, loving. Maybe He is.

I clasp my hands, and my thoughts always go like this. I think of something I want. A relative, a friend, to be happy and well. A situation to turn out how I want it to. A love to be kindled and reflected.

But then I think what do I know? Who knows that this should turn out the way I want it, in the greater scheme? Perhaps, this momentary hurt is for the greater good. Perhaps if the Titanic never sank, maritime precautions would never have been enhanced, and the world would be that much poorer. Perhaps the Holocaust was the only fertile ground to breed the Aliyah Bet. Who knows the answers to these things? Certainly I can't begin to comprehend all the moving pieces. But God can. God must.

So it would be foolish to ask for a particular thing--He knows what should happen, what should be granted and what must be withheld. In surrender, I think, well then I'll simply ask God to do what He thinks is best.

And that prayer is on my lips, too.

But surely a good God would not withhold the right outcome simply because I failed to ask for it. If a loner lies in a hospital, comatose, will God really only grant him salvation, wellness, if he has someone to pray for him? Is God partial to the gregarious? I think not: that's not the God I believed in, and certainly no God I doubt now. A good God does good without being asked. He can't do anything else.

So the prayer dies on my lips. I'm bemused. I don't know what to ask for. The orison could only be redundant, and thus, pointless.

I don't know how to pray in the end. The only, only thing that suggests itself, is gratitude. Wanting nothing, only emoting. I think of the goods things in my life, the wonder. I think of when we got my childhood pair of golden retrievers. The first night we took them home, so small, so energetic, so unrestrained in their love for us. We named them Taffy and Butterscotch. When we picked them out, the favorite was Butterscotch because he had a white mark on his forehead. But Taffy followed me around, and I wanted him. Chaos in the family, until my parents announced we'd get them both.

Taffy died of cancer, and Butterscotch died of a broken heart. The last night he was alive I picked him up, so riddled with disease he couldn't walk, and brought him down to my bedroom. I held him, talked to him in words he couldn't understand, and in the morning said a goodbye that wasn't enough and couldn't have been enough and never saw him again.

When we brought them home the first night, after they'd exhausted themselves in licking our faces, Butterscotch fell asleep. His feet trembled, as he dreamed of chasing giant rabbits. I think of that.

I think of how a pretty girl's hand feels in mine, so frightfully fragile, like sapling greenwood. Like a secret never to be betrayed.

I think of laughing with friends.

I think of my mother's voice.

My hands are still clasped. "Thank you," is the only thing I say to God. "Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of it."

It's not a terrible outcome, to begin in a state of wanting something more, and to end up reflective, wanting nothing, grateful for all--all--that is.

So I fall asleep with a smile, vaguely knowing that if this is the last night, if some flair erupts from a sun that quite selflessly granted us so much, if some stray gamma rays sterilize this world and all its precarious civilization, then it was enough. Such is the legacy of a decade of Protestant worship.

It's enough.


ROOMMATE: So, you watch any terrible Nick Cage movies lately?

SCOTT: No. But I did the find out the reason he makes so many bad movies. It's because he spends money nonstop. Has 17 houses or something, and a castle in Germany.

ROOMMATE: He's kind of like MC Hammer. Only, you know, he's still employed.

SCOTT: I know. I'm not sure what the latest MC Hammer single is.

ROOMMATE: The last time he made a single, it came with cheese.

SCOTT: It was titled: "You CAN touch this... for a price."

My Job

SCOTT: [after a general round of bitching] I actually quite like this job.

Practical Latin

VOCAL COACH: So that's Italianate Latin. And you speak...?

SCOTT: Classical Latin.

COACH: And you use that to speak to...?

SCOTT: Priests mainly. Like I know how to say "Please stop touching me" and "Help, I need an adult."

COACH: Very funny.

SCOTT: I know, right? And topical too.


Attached to the second volume of Alan Moore's "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" there's a traveler's almanac, which documents the world surrounding the Victorian setting of the book, and includes mention of every mystical realm ever dreamed up by an author. Of course it includes Utopia, Ruritania, Treasure Island, etc., but buried within are also these marvelously modern references, such as:

"Elsewhere in Washington we discover Chisholm Prison, thought to be escape-proof until the ingenious professor Van Dusen did just that during the first years of the twentieth century, while travelling further south, just past the logging town of Twin Peaks, with its many interesting Indian legends…"

And then even better, there's:

"…save to mention that a crewman who had sailed with Robert Owe-Mulch from the isle of Scoti Moria… eventually to settle near Los Angeles. The crewman, a fellow named Lebowsky, had been formerly a member of the Naiad race of Scoti Moria, but is it not known if he continued the traditional Naiad habits of smoking and nine-pins once established in America, or indeed if he produced any subsequent offspring of note."

The Nobel Prize is a Curse upon the World

Martinez Francisco:

I heard this morning for the first time the term "Pax Europea"
the EU received the Nobel Prize for peace

Scheule Scott D:

That's right. Germany has claimed it deserves 40% of the prize, but Poland says that's way too much. France has threatened to invade Belgium to get its 5%, whereas Greece has already sold its 3% to Italy in order to pay off government debt. Angela Merkel has demanded the handover of the Czech Republic's 2%, and London is trying to convince the Czechs to go along with it, lest the prize be revoked. For no particular reason, three Balkan countries meanwhile have joined, split up, rejoined each other, and once again split up.


DENISE: Oh, it's an "I Gave Blood" sticker. I thought it was one of those "I'm Special" buttons.

SCOTT: I don't need a button for people to know I'm special--that's what the tattoo's for.

Works Cited

‘Clevinger, what do you want from people?’ Dunbar had replied wearily above the noises of the officers’ club.

‘I’m not joking,’ Clevinger persisted.

‘They’re trying to kill me,’ Yossarian told him calmly.

‘No one’s trying to kill you,’ Clevinger cried.

‘Then why are they shooting at me?’ Yossarian asked.

‘They’re shooting at everyone,’ Clevinger answered. ‘They’re trying to kill everyone.’

‘And what difference does that make?’ Clevinger was already on the way, half out of his chair with emotion, his eyes moist and his lips quivering and pale. As always occurred when he quarreled over principles in which he believed passionately, he would end up gasping furiously for air and blinking back bitter tears of conviction. There were many principles in which Clevinger believed passionately. He was crazy.

‘Who’s they?’ he wanted to know. ‘Who, specifically, do you think is trying to murder you?’

‘Every one of them,’ Yossarian told him.

‘Every one of whom?’

‘Every one of whom do you think?’

‘I haven’t any idea.’

‘Then how do you know they aren’t?’

‘Because…’ Clevinger sputtered, and turned speechless with frustration.

Clevinger really thought he was right, but Yossarian had proof, because strangers he didn’t know shot at him with cannons every time he flew up into the air to drop bombs on them, and it wasn’t funny at all. And if that wasn’t funny, there were lots of things that weren’t even funnier.

Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Tourists on metro just referred to stop as Elephant Plaza. Priceless.
BLIND DATE: So do you not shave on the weekend?

ME: Honestly, I would have, but I didn't expect you to be this pretty.

DATE: So I was watching this movie, about the history of the, um…

ME: What?

DATE: The dildo. This doctor invented it actually.

ME: I think I know this story. You know how Isaac Newton was under the apple tree and it fell on his head and he got the idea for gravity? Well, this guy was under a banana tree.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


SCOTT: The baby panda died.

JAY: Awww.

SCOTT: They administered CPR.

JAY: I bet that was cute.

SCOTT: It was the most adorable CPR of all time. And listen, "[she] had five cubs during the 1980s... One of the cubs was stillborn; two others died of pneumonia within a day; another died from lack of oxygen after birth; and the final cub died of an infection after four days." I tell you what, God hates this species.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Since I have a bit more money, I've tended to give away a bit more to beggars. Sometimes it's a huge amount--today I gave some guy five bucks. That's mainly because I didn't have any change, or ones, or twos, or gum wrappers, but it still counts. This all has to do with white guilt, although my ancestors showed up in this country in 1885 and had to be German through two World Wars.

I've started having dreams where Ayn Rand wants to fight me. She starts the match with a three hour monologue about the gold standard. The bell rings, and I always think, she's a scrawny, anile Russian biddy, I can take her. Bring it, Olga. That's when she pulls out the Kalashnikov.

Also my roommates say somebody in the house has been screaming at night, but I must sleep soundly because I never hear a thing.

Rorschach was Right

So I was watching Watchmen the other day, which was not nearly as good as I remember, primarily because the Swedish chick can't even act like she's acting, and I watched one scene where the Nite Owl and the Silk Spectre II--that's right: I know their names, best comic book ever written, on Times's list of the 100 greatest novels of all time, check it out you pretentious snobs--kick the living crap out of a gang of would-be muggers, and I thought, gosh, I wish I knew how to do that.

So I googled "how to learn to kick the living crap out of a gang of would-be muggers." And Google answered, "Take muay thai, you scrawny punk who probably got beat up in high school." Google's ability to personalize searches is a bit of a mixed bag.

I'm not trying to be a superhero, but if I was, I would definitely be denying it here.

So I joined a muay thai gym up in Columbia Heights, primarily because I like being the only white person in a place. It makes me feel special. I partnered with a guy who's got a foot and a half on me and is named--I'm pretty sure this was it--Hanah. Hanah's name is an oxytone. An oxytone, Google says, is "a word with the stress on the last syllable, you scrawny punk who probably got beat up in high school." This means I now know three Hanahs, all of whom have a different pronunciation of their names. I will no longer try to make any distinction between these and will henceforth be calling all three "Steve." My friend Steve recently gave birth to twins.

The other Steve never hit me. Instead he kicked the pads I was holding, which drove my own fist into my own face, five or six times. I swallowed some blood, which seems to me must be, nutritionally, a wash. We learned 360 kicks, during which the coaches said, these are fun, because at least one person will face plant during this. "That's me," I said, raising my hand (but it wasn't! it was some dude behind me. There was applause). Kicking a person turns out to be really fucking fun, especially when he isn't allowed to kick back.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to work on my costume.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Maybe the Archduke Dreamt the Whole Thing

DAVID: I get more annoyed each other time I watch Prometheus

SCOTT: Sometimes at night I lie awake just hating it.*

DAVID: Yeah there's more to hate each time, all of which make me hate lindelof

SCOTT: he is a terrible human being--i mean, say what you want about World War One, but at least it made sense

DAVID: Agreed, and ww1 had a badass sequel. The only thing that could follow this trash would end up being as disappointing as the final season of lost

SCOTT: Dude! Maybe the planet was just space jockey purgatory--and the first space jockey went there after the beginning when he died

SCOTT: And since the one thing he never got to do in life was get deep throated by a giant leech, once that happened he got to go to heaven

DAVID: I would be more satisfied with that.  Perhaps everything lindelof writes is about purgatory but he always has a change of heart half way through the filming

SCOTT: Like a really douchey Dante.

DAVID: The seven circles of shitty writing

SCOTT: circle one, name people after famous philosophers to simulate depth

SCOTT: circle two: vague references to Christianity

SCOTT: Circle three: physically shit on your script

DAVID: Circle four: metaphorically shit on ur script

DAVID: Circle five: replace rationality with irrationality in all possible circumstances,

SCOTT: Circle six: again, physically shit on your script

DAVID: 7: repeat 3, 4, and 6

SCOTT: Ha, epic!

*An allusion to Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898). Very tricky to do in casual texting.

Non-Inclusive Us

ME: [interrupting shouting between boss and coworker] Guys, guys, guys! Some of us are trying to work here! Well, not me obviously... so not "some of us" as much as "some of them..." Anyway, "some of them" are trying to work!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I had a recital today at a local music school. I showed up early and ran through the my selections a few times. I was playing from memory and was scared I'd draw a blank when it came down to it (I didn't, as it turns out).

A few months ago, I sang a few pieces at a rehearsal, where I stood out as the only performer (save for one rather adorable 80 year old Japanese who sang Mona Lisa) over age 16. The piano recital was different: there, I was the only person under 60.

I was too timid to volunteer to go first, but I put up my hand for second. But an old man sitting next to me was more eager, and he beat me to it. So he went up and sat down and started playing a long, challenging Debussy piece. About halfway through he got lost and had to bring out the sheet music, and even then struggled visibly. It was uncomfortable to watch. Eventually he made it to the end.

We all clapped, and he smiled, and then fainted. His forehead smashed into the keyboard with a dull whack and a sharp tone cluster. We all ran up and pulled him back into a seated position while someone called 9-1-1. The man was breathing incredibly deeply, almost to the point of snoring. We called his name and he didn't respond. The bridge of his glasses had struck the piano and left a deep cut across his nose. Someone offered a tissue.

We waited.

After five minutes or so, he stopped snoring, blinked, looked around and asked what happened. We told him he'd fainted. He said that had never happened before.

He insisted he was fine (he was a medical doctor by profession), and walked back to his chair in the audience, over our objections. He applied pressure to the cut on his nose with a paper towel that covered his eyes, and said, leaning back, "Somebody please, play something."

Everyone looked at each other. The paramedics showed up later and vetted the guy for an hour, then pronounced he was fine and didn't have to go to the ER.

"Scott, would you like to play next?" my piano professor asked.

"I guess, but man, that's going to be tough to top."

Francisco: Apparently there was some other guy who brought a bunch of guns to a theater.

Scott: You can't bring outside weapons into the theater. You have to buy all your guns IN the theater. That's where the theater makes its money.

Monday, August 13, 2012


JAY: So has she had her C-section yet?

SCOTT: She's having a C-section?

JAY: Well, she's past due and having twins, so yeah.

EMILY: Why is that necessary?

JAY: Because eventually the twins will start to fight.

SCOTT: Yeah! It's like that Brady Bunch episode. They put a line of duct tape down the middle of the uterus and yell, Hey, get off my side!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Boy Scouts

COWORKER: One of my friends recently gave his Eagle Scout badge back.


COWORKER: Because he thought the organization was homophobic and he wanted to protest.

SCOTT: But it's always been homophobic.

COWORKER: Yeah, but there was something that happened lately... a mandate or something.

SCOTT: A mandate against "man-dates?" HAHAHA!


SCOTT: HAHAHA! That's going on the blog! My day is complete.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mutually Misplaced Mettle

SCOTT: Sent to Francisco: Dude, esa película era jodidamente fantástica! (literally, that movie was fuckingly awesome!)

JAY: Misuse of "literal."

SCOTT: Indicating the translation is literal, not the original phrase--when will you admit you can't speak a word of Spanish?

JAY: Yo hablo un poco. It's the English I have trouble with apparently. You forgot the "¡"

SCOTT: Apúntate un tanto!

JAY: No entiendo.

Monday, July 23, 2012


SCOTT: Did you see this Colorado nut with bright red hair?

FRANCISCO: He's the joker.

SCOTT: The joker had green hair.

FRANCISCO: Perhaps he's color blind.

SCOTT: What's Spanish for color blind?

FRANCISCO: Daltónico.

SCOTT: That's right, I knew that. Wonder where the hell that comes from.

FRANCISCO: Don't know.

SCOTT: There was a scientist named Dalton. But he worked with gases, not colors.


SCOTT: I'll be damned, it is from the scientist. Apparently he was color blind.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Richard's Rehearsal

My Dad's speech at Richard's wedding rehearsal.

(DAD: Did you hear me quote Robert Heinlein?
SCOTT: Yeah! That was awesome!)

And here's Richard's impromptu response.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ocean City - May

COUSIN: The water is freezing.

SCOTT: I know. I think my balls just made a fist.

Friday, May 25, 2012


BOSS: I noticed you added a new acronym.


BOSS: Don't do that. There are enough acronyms.


BOSS: There's no reason to have so many acronyms! I mean, what's the point? What does this accomplish beyond making the Code that much more impenetrable? It's ridiculous. I really don't like acronyms.

SCOTT: I'm getting that.

BOSS: Really, I hate them.

SCOTT: We should start an initiative then. We'll call it CAN--Cease Acronyms Now!

BOSS: We "CAN" do it!

SCOTT: Yeah!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


HAIRDRESSER: How do you want your sideburns?

SCOTT: Short.


SCOTT: And the same length.

HAIRDRESSER: Are you sure?

SCOTT: Yeah, I don't care what the kids are doing nowadays.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Works Cited

Already you could see through the dust on the ponies’ hides the painted chevrons and the hands and rising suns and birds and fish of every device like the shade of old work through sizing on a canvas and now too you could hear above the pounding of the unshod hooves the piping of the quena, flutes made from human bones, and some among the company had begun to saw back on their mounts and some to mill in confusion when up from the offside of those ponies there rose a fabled horde of mounted lancers and archers bearing shields bedight with bits of broken mirrorglass that cast a thousand unpieced suns against the eyes of their enemies. A legion of horribles, hundreds in number, half naked or clad in costumes attic or biblical or wardrobed out of a fevered dream with the skins of animals and silk finery and pieces of uniform still tracked with the blood of prior owners, coats of slain dragoons, frogged and braided cavalry jackets, one in a stovepipe hat and one with an umbrella and one in white stockings and a bloodstained weddingveil and some in headgear of cranefeathers or rawhide helmets that bore the horns of bull or buffalo and one in a pigeontailed coat worn backwards and otherwise naked and one in the armor of a Spanish conquistador, the breastplate and pauldrons deeply dented with old blows of mace or sabre done in another country by men whose very bones were dust and many with their braids spliced up with the hair of other beasts until they trailed upon the ground and their horses’ ears and tails worked with bits of brightly colored cloth and one whose horse’s whole head was painted crimson red and all the horsemen’s faces gaudy and grotesque with daubings like a company of mounted clowns, death hilarious, all howling in a barbarous tongue and riding down upon them like a horde from a hell more horrible yet than the brimstone land of christian reckoning, screeching and yammering and clothed in smoke like those vaporous beings in regions beyond right knowing where the eye wanders and the lip jerks and drools. 
Oh my god, said the sergeant.

Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Works Cited

“I am twenty-eight but look younger,” he remarked to Mr. Meek. “Perhaps that is because I am twenty-seven. My mother is not English, she is Scottish. My father is not a Hindoo.”  
“I warned you against reading the newspapers.”  
“But he is not a Hindoo.” 
“It’s near enough for the Gazette.”  
“But Mr. Meek, what if I said you were a Welshman?”  
“I would not hold you inaccurate, as my mother had Welsh blood.”  
“Or an Irishman?”  
Mr. Meek smiled back at him, unoffended, perhaps even looking a little Irish.  
“Or a Frenchman?”  
“Now there, sir, you go too far. There you provoke me.”

Julian Barnes, "Arthur and George"

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's Funny Because That's Where We Work

SCOTT: And of course, it's on me.

FRANCISCO: Oh, thank you.

SCOTT: No, you paid yesterday. It's only fair.

FRANCISCO: This is more expensive than yesterday. I'll give you some money later.

SCOTT: Francisco, forget about it. It's Chinatown.


SCOTT: Hahaha.

FRANCISCO: Hahaha. ... What does that mean?

SCOTT: I take it you've never seen the movie.

FRANCISCO: What movie?

He'll Be Legendary

LAURA: So they did an ultrasound. My baby's head is in the ninety-ninth percentile and his legs are in the fourteenth. Giant head... tiny little legs. He's going to fall over constantly.

CARLOS: He's going to be a soccer player.

SCOTT: No! You should get him started in a sport that requires falling headfirst. Like, um... diving!