Finally, a genuine contest

Raising Hell is having a Mother’s Day anecdote contest with a real cash prize, no lie, I kid you not. Best of all, you don’t have to be a mother to enter!

Epiphany at the intersection

On the way to work yesterday I was stopped at an intersection, a traffic circle really, waiting to merge, and I noticed a gigantic truck full of pigs on the way to the slaughterhouse. The driver looked bored. The pigs were gigantic and pink and looked happy even though they were really packed in there. One pig turned its head to its neighbor and they appeared to be having a conversation. In a children’s book they would probably be talking about little Jimmy who visited them at the farm last week. In fact, one was probably hitting on the other one, or saying, through its big porcine smile, “So where are you going for vacation this summer?” or “Hot enough for ya?” or even “seen that picture of the lady golfer kissing that trophy?” completely unaware of its fate. They’d probably even forgotten they were in a truck.

And I thought, boy am I glad I’m not a pig.


Location: The Great Beyond
Bird Soul: Can I pick next time?
God: Can you pick next time?
Bird Soul: Look, I don’t know what I’ve done, karma-wise, but I’ve been a fruitfly, far as I can remember, and a doodle-bug and a worm and just now I was a bird, until Miguel’s cat gave me a going-over and left a few feathers on the welcome mat.
God: And part of a wing.
Bird Soul: Oh, all-knowing, I forgot.
God: And just what would you prefer?
Bird Soul: Something with a little more respect. Something… people fear, or love, or something.
God: People love birds.
Bird Soul: What about a tiger? A big Siberian Tiger?
God: They’re on the list for extinction.
Bird Soul: Bengal Tiger?
God: Ditto.
Bird Soul: Eh, cat? Common, everyday house-fucking-cat?
God: Bahahahahaha! Do you have any idea how long the waiting list is for housecat? [snort] We’re talking karma, there, man. Everyone wants to be a cat in their next life.
Bird Soul: Okay, okay. I’m just brainstorming, okay?
God: Hehehehe. Okay.
Bird Soul: Well, what do you suggest?
God: How about Substitute Teacher?
Bird Soul: Hm. Respected? Feared?
God: Sure, dood.
Bird Soul: Okay, I’ll give it a try.
God: Hehe.

[Elsewhere: One idyllic morning at Raising Hell]

Grinding tin

People have asked me lately about my progress with the cello. It’s going well, although I can’t claim to play it yet. Tonight, Gamma said to her mother, who was putting her to bed as I practiced downstairs, “I can fall asleep so easily when Papa is playing cello.” I’ve advanced from the “strangling warthogs” stage to, at worst, “grinding tin” and at best, something hungry standing outside music’s house looking in the window at the happy family seated around the dinner table. For the curious I’m practicing the following little pieces:

Giuseppe Torelli – Menuett
Johann Joseph Fux – Menuett
Pierre Phal

Raising Hell

I’d like to thank everyone who kindly linked our new parenting zine Raising Hell and helped make the launch such a success. After only a single day, the site is already #1 at google in a search for raising hell… plus all the blogdex and daypop etc stuff.

Hanni the messy tortoise

Hanni was a 5-year old Greek land tortoise who lived with an Austrian/American family in a small village in eastern Austria. In the summer when it was warm she lived in a suitable habitat outside, with places to hide and little hilly bits to climb up and down and a flat place to eat and a mesh wire roof to keep out birds and cats and other predators, and in the winter and on other days when it was cold she lived in the office inside the family’s house.

In fact, Hanni spent most of her time inside the house, either in the office or in a box in the cellar when she was hibernating, which she did about half the year.

In the office she had a couple hiding places under the desk, and she also enjoyed it in the space underneath the chest of drawers.

One year, Hanni awoke from hibernation and it was still too cold for her to go outside so the family put her in the office as usual. She tried to crawl under the chest of drawers but couldn’t anymore because she’d grown and she no longer fit but she kept trying, her little leathery clawed feet going “scritch-scritch-scritch” on the parquet floors, her shell “bump-bump-bumping” against the chest of drawers.

So she gave up and walked around the office, rolling wilted lettuce leaves into little doobie shapes by walking over them and rolling them up with her shell. Sometimes she’d high-center on one and get stuck and someone would have to lift her off, otherwise she’d stay in one place for hours, scritch-scritching.

One day, after several days of heavy eating (lots of dandilions and lettuce and little pellets made of ground up meal worms from the pet store) Hanni took a massive shit while butting up against the chest of drawers, trying to force her way underneath again.

The shit lay there, in the form of a large, soft black turd and while walking back and forth – scritch-scritch – Hanni stepped in it and did a Jackson Pollack with it all across about four square feet of parquet floor. Then she went back under the desk and tucked her leathery little head back into her shell and waited for it to dry to an incredibly hard mess.

After the black tortoise shit Jackson Pollack mess had dried to an incredibly hard mess, the family’s mom found it and made the dad go clean it up, which he did with about half a roll of paper towels and an unhappy look on his face. Not long after this, Hanni got to go outside into her little habitat.