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Archive for December, 2007

Kip Tobin

Breaking Up (With Your Cat) Is Hard To Do

December 31st, 2007
by Kip Tobin

MADRID, SPAIN (with remote editing from BROOKVILLE, OHIO)

My cat has bathroom issues.

This is my fault. I live alone, more or less, and tend to leave the door open. Whenever I go in there, El Lío follows. If I take a shower, he sits idly on the shelf under the sink and watches my blurry profile soap and rinse through the translucent shower curtain. If I stand to relieve myself, he perches himself on the shelf and watches the stream enter the toilet, like it’s a liquid string (which I guess, in a way, it is). If I sit down, he jumps into the bathtub and stares at me intently with black-bubbled pupils, wanting to play a game of finger hide-and-seek-attack .


Rebecca Adler

I’ll Be Breathing Fresher Air After the New Year…Maybe

December 31st, 2007
by Rebecca Adler


Although it’s not listed as a national sport, I’d have to say the preferred national past-time of the French is smoking.

In Paris, women smoke cigarettes while taking their babies on walks, pushing the stroller with one hand and smoking a cigarette with the other.

Children take smoking breaks during recess.

And every cafe has a haze of cigarette smoke loitering at the bar. (more…)

R Kent

Tanzanian Trumpets and the Dance That Never Ends

December 28th, 2007
by R Kent

By R Kent


*A writer’s warning: most of my postings from Africa have been only peripherally about Isabelle and me. I’ve mentioned our adventures in stories about Nile River rafting and safaris, but I haven’t written much about Isabelle and me as a couple since leaving Paris. If you’ll indulge me…

First anniversaries are supposed to be paper.

I went for brass.

The lovely Isabelle and I don’t seem to do much by the book, so why start now?

In a way, though, our first anniversary, celebrated this December 9, was quite traditional.

After all, trumpet bands are de rigueur at Tanzanian weddings. (more…)

Paul A. Toth

I Must Burn When I Write

December 26th, 2007
by Paul A. Toth



Somewhere along the way, I lost myself in ambition. Ambition seems a noble thing but never remains so, especially in publishing, when it becomes ignoble. One sells to the plebeians after passing the judgment of would-be nobility. As such, I succumbed to the whims of agents who wanted my work to sell. The result: It didn’t sell at all. What fire the second or third draft contained was extinguished. I made the choice to succumb, as I’ve made so many other poor choices, simply because I lusted for an almost sexual success, the kind of success for which many, including myself, sacrifice actual sex. It’s easy to understand why: Fulfilled ambition can be more euphoric than sex and lasts longer, too. However, it eventually dissipates, sucked into the very sky from which it was pulled to the ground…the human level. 


Lance Reynald

Shady Might Be On The Adventure of a Lifetime

December 25th, 2007
by Lance Reynald


On one of my first days in town I saw this sign on a telephone pole.




Paul A. Toth

From Factory to Field

December 24th, 2007
by Paul A. Toth



Forget Christmas and the rest of the holidays for a moment, or at least put aside the idea these dates coincide with this post. They have nothing to do with this post. I am on to something else. And that is…

…What are you doing right now? When I say you, I include me. It’s a thin line. Are you anticipating tomorrow, next week, next year? Are you remembering twenty years ago, ten, five? Is there a kind of film playing in your mind, in which somehow all these strands — now, tomorrow, yesterday — play at once, in the dark or light, bereft of parents or your own parental mind and its nagging? 


Dawn Corrigan

Sh! The Octopus

December 23rd, 2007
by Dawn Corrigan



Yesterday I went to the Living Planet Preview Exhibit here in Sandy.

It’s a curious phenomenon, in that it’s a “Preview Exhibit” of an aquarium that may never exist.


Paul A. Toth

The Disease That Isn’t a Disease

December 22nd, 2007
by Paul A. Toth



Recently, I drove myself to what recovery parlance calls a relapse. The term “relapse” is borrowed from the vocabulary of disease. One cannot prevent a relapse of cancer. One cannot prevent a relapse of head injury symptoms. One prevent a relapse of so-called addictive behavior. The disease vocabulary has become so accepted that it needs to be clarified and then eradicated. Calling alcoholism a disease is like calling a sidewalk a highway. Further, one makes a choice to merge onto a highway. If one closes the eyes before making this decision, an accident becomes unavoidable. Still, one made the decision not only to merge onto the highway but to close the eyes.


Doug Mulliken

Viva Sevilla, Viva Triana!

December 21st, 2007
by Doug Mulliken



That’s a picture of a window in the Alhambra, which means “the Red Palace” in Spanish-ized Arabic.  Even though I am writing from Sevilla, I have yet to take a picture, so that’s all you get, a picture of something from Granada.

There is a saying in Spain that goes: “si no has visto Graná, no has visto ná” which translates to “If you ain’t seen Granada, you ain’t seen nothin.”  And I realize, now that I have seen Graná, that they weren’t fucking lying. (more…)

Megan Power

Nothing Says Happy Holidays Like This True Crime Story of Filicide and Capital Punishment!

December 19th, 2007
by Megan Power


On October 29, 2007, a fisherman discovered the body of a two year old blond girl inside a blue
Sterilite utility box on a sandbar in the Galveston Intercoastal Waterway.

Imagine you’re a fisherman, going about the hard labor of your day and you find a dead toddler.

The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office determined the unidentified child had been dead for several weeks and for purposes of the investigation referred to her as Baby Grace.


Doug Mulliken


December 19th, 2007
by Doug Mulliken



I wrote this a couple days ago in the airport where i was getting internet service but not enough to load up the page… now I have it so here it is, three days late.


Meghan Elizabeth Hunt

My Memories of The Old Man

December 18th, 2007
by Meghan Elizabeth Hunt



At six, the old man teaches her to play poker.

They sit at the kitchen table while her grandmother cooks dinner and her baby brother watches intently as he teaches her the basics of cards. Aces are the highest, then kings, and so on. She likes the face cards best because they seem to wink at her and whenever she has them in her tiny hands, she always seems to win. She picks up on it quickly and by the time dinner finds its way to worn tabletop, she’s beaten him ten times over and has accumulated a somewhat large pile of pennies.


Rich Ferguson

Grab Another Mug of Egg Nog And Put Another Log On The Fire ‘Cause It’s That Time of Year For Another Rudolph Rant…

December 17th, 2007
by Rich Ferguson



Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer was

A pedantic, phonics-slaughtering,

Pell-mell pedigree of a pencil-pushing Peter Principalist
With a penchant for Petrol-sniffing petrographists

And Colin Farrell’s penis


Reno J. Romero

In A Town Called Hesperia There Was A Cat Named Muga That Liked To Crap On The Throne Of A Mexican Dictator

December 16th, 2007
by Reno J. Romero



I was talking with my friend Chris the other day and he told me that his father woke him up at 1:30 in the morning because their dog, a giant German Shepherd named Maverick, was in the hallway playing grab ass and keeping him awake.

“So, why did he wake you up?” I asked. “I don’t get it. Is the dog yours or is it a family dog?”


PD Smith

From Einstein to Homer Simpson: Books of the Year

December 16th, 2007
by PD Smith


It’s that time of year again: there’s a chill in the air, the sun barely shows its face, and the leaves are just golden memories long since carried away by the wind. A great time, in fact, to recall some of the outstanding non-fiction books that have landed on my desk this year. (more…)

Lance Reynald

This May Be a Love Story Yet

December 15th, 2007
by Lance Reynald


I missed a month. It’s been hectic.

Yard sale. Packing. Making plans.


Dawn Corrigan

“The Handsomest and Most Interesting Flowers”: Revisiting Waldor Orchids

December 15th, 2007
by Dawn Corrigan



When I was in the fifth grade or thereabouts, my friend Pam and I started visiting Waldor Orchids, a greenhouse in our hometown that specialized in orchids, particularly cattleyas.


N.L. Belardes

Phone Call From A Small Town Mayor About Devil Children And The Lords Of Bakersfield

December 15th, 2007
by N.L. Belardes


Recently the ex-mayor of a small town near Bakersfield called me at the news station. He’d just read my book, Lords and he was more than a bit shook up.

After we spoke for nearly an hour I asked him what he thought about the Lords of Bakersfield. Rumors were, their cult-like activities shot back to the late 1800s when dark-minded young British blue-bloods, booted out of Europe for being embarrassments to their well-to-do families (too gay in their county and city salons) ended up in the less than idyllic swamplands of the San Joaquin Valley, victims of false marketing. (more…)

Bryan Richards

A Simple Hat to Make Me Proud

December 13th, 2007
by Bryan Richards



I got a new hat the other day. 

I’m not at all a trendy guy, but I’ve seen this particular style make a comeback in recent months and I have to say I am extremely pleased by it.

So, I got one the other day and I haven’t taken it off since.


Kiara Brinkman

Shiny Happy Boxes . . .

December 13th, 2007
by Kiara Brinkman






I try to avoid going into the Container Store, because I have a compulsion to organize.  I like pretty, expensive boxes, and I enjoy storing new files in my file cabinet.  Left to my own devices, I would probably have a home full of boxes within boxes.  (more…)