Goodnight, wheels of commerce

This is the girl. Her name is Beta.

Actually she is a woman.

She is studying law and anthropology.

Can you say anthropology?

She specializes in state terror, torture, genocide and human rights.

Beta needs trail mix. She calls her dad.

This is Beta’s dad. His name is Mig.

“Sure, I will get you trail mix,” says Mig.

“Please get the special kind,” says Beta.

“Of course,” says Mig.

This is the special trail mix.

But when Mig goes to the store, they are all out of special trail mix.

What does Mig do?

Mig buys regular trail mix. He buys “Caribbean dried fruit.” He buys fair trade organic raisins covered in fair trade organic dark chocolate.

“These will be ingredients for a superior gourmet trail mix,” Mig says.

This is fair trade organic dark chocolate.

Mig can’t call Beta because someone stole her phone.

Mig sends Beta an email and messages her on facebook.

Mig tells Beta to meet him at the subway station after work.

Mig takes the ingredients for special gourmet trail mix to the subway station.

Beta is waiting for him.

A man is talking to Beta when Mig arrives. The man is a wino.

“Hurgahurga bzzt grar,” says the wino.

This is the wino.

Beta smiles nicely at him.

Beta looks relieved when she sees her dad, Mig.

“Hi,” says Mig.

“Hi,” says Beta.

“Here are ingredients for super delicious special gourmet trail mix,” says Mig.

Beta says, “thank you.”

The African man selling the homeless newspaper says, “hi!”

This is the African man selling the homeless newspaper.

He also says, “do you know how long she has been waiting? I have been watching over her for 15 minutes!”

He is smiling when he says it. This makes Mig somewhat relieved.

“Actually, more like five minutes,” says Beta. She is also smiling.

Everyone is smiling except for the wino. He is leaning back against the ticket machine watching a swarm of magic moths only he can see.

These are the magic moths.

“Well, thank you for looking out for her,” says Mig to the African man selling homeless newspapers.

Mig buys a newspaper from the man. He gives the man a big tip because their conversation must end soon.

Mig must continue on his way. He is on his way home. Beta must go make super delicious gourmet trail mix. She must study for a law exam. The man must sell more homeless newspapers.

The wheels of commerce turn relentlessly.

These are the wheels of commerce.

Good night, Mig.

Good night, Beta.

Good night African man selling homeless newspapers.

Good night wino watching moths.

Good night, wheels of commerce.

Inside, he is a squid, on the inside

Four things, he says to the eye doctor, and reads off his (mental) list as doctors fluster him.

Ok, she says.

Thing one: it turns out he does not need new glasses. He just hates trifocals.

Trifocal – sounds like a magazine for old Buddhists.

Thing two: she prescribes him a salve and recommends eye drops.

Thing three: actually, the eye drops were for thing three.

Thing four: she shines a bright light into his eyes while his chin is rested on a thing and his forehead pressed up against a related thing. She says, Look at my right ear. Then, she says, Look at my left ear. She said that last time, he recalls. She must have said it thousands of times.

He wonders if she has had plastic surgery.

He isn’t sure. Hard to say, without his glasses. Maybe she’s just in great shape and aging super, super well.

She shines a bright, vertical, white light into his eyes. Cool, I can see the blood vessels in my eyes, he says. Uh huh, she says.

He loves the blood vessels in his eyes.

He loves the pattern they make, which reminds him of the wall paper in an early 19th-century bordello. Although he doubts they actually had such patterns, eye blood vessel patterns, he thinks it would not look out of place on flocked red wall paper in the sort of bordello he used to have dreams about until, in the final dream, it went out of business.

The blood vessels look black and branch efficiently although not perfectly symmetrically against a sepia background.

He just loves them.

The god of the office watches snow

The god of the office stands on the balcony and smokes a cigarette and watches the snow.

He thinks many things at once.

He thinks, I’m giving these up for Lent, like last year. Although he is not Catholic, the god of the office is embracing the idea of giving things up, and he is tired of stinking. Also, he was at the dermatologist last night and age came crashing down on his head like a freak wave; his arms in his reflection in the mirror in the cold doctor’s office lighting said, get to the gym on a regular basis; the basal cell carcinoma on his shoulder said, eat more anti-oxidants, and so on.

All the old-guy stuff all of a sudden.

It’s always sudden, although it never is.

At least I don’t have thick, yellow toenails yet, thinks the god of the office.

The god of the office stands on the balcony and watches the snow. I did a good job with snow, if I say so myself, thinks the god of the office. It looks good when it’s little dry flakes, and it looks good when it’s big wet flakes. Kids play in it and the Inuit make shelters from it.

Snow reminds the god of the office of Japan, when it’s thick on the branches of pine trees. Japan reminds the god of the office of moss and snow and autumn leaves and the frog jumping into the pond, plop.

The god of the office thinks of Shinjuku station, milling with millions of commuters in a hurry. Where’s the moss and snow there?

We carry it with us, say the commuters.

The god of the office thinks about the world’s current business model:

  1. Entertain them: news, bread and circuses, TV shows, social media, like that.
  2. Scare them: drugs, poverty, unemployment, terrorism, precarious employment, marginal health care, artificial scarcity in the midst of abundance, due to unfair distribution of wealth.
  3. Keep them stupid and confused: crappy education, bullshit economics, TV news, etc.
  4. Keep them divided and distracted: racism, social issues, religion, class, and all that.
  5. Profit!

Maybe free will wasn’t such a good idea, he thinks. He shrugs. Too late now.

The god of the office watches some snow fall off a branch, and he watches a winter crow.

Why don’t you fly south, he asks the crow.

Because we’re crows, says the crow.

The god of the office puts out his last cigarette, and looks at it. I will miss you guys, he thinks.

2013 International St. Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest

Hard to believe a year has passed, but it has.

Suddenly, it’s time for the St. Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest again.


The contest will be very simple this year. Here are the rules:

  1. Read all the rules before entering. This is because entering the contest indicates that you have read and accepted all the rules and terms of the contest.
  2. Enter in the comments to this post.
  3. All entries must be in limerick form. If you are unfamiliar with what constitutes limerick form, a quick Internet search using the search engine of your choice will clear up any uncertainty. Alternatively, you may consult a book or ask someone.
  4. This year, there is no prize. This may change if someone generously donates a prize, but don’t hold your breath.
  5. There is a mystery judge this year. Maybe I’m the judge, maybe someone else. Who knows? It’s a mystery.
  6. As every year, conduct of the contest and judging will be arbitrary, corrupt, biased and otherwise patently unfair. Believe me, no one suffers more from this than I. I would change it if I could, but this is a built-in feature of the contest and always has been.
  7. Anyone complaining about the rules, conduct of the contest, judging or anything else in connection with the limerick contest shall be disqualified and ridiculed publicly or privately, at my discretion.
  8. Rules are subject to change without prior and/or further notice.
  9. The contest has one or more themes every year. This year, the themes are malfeasance, iatrogenic illness,  Scandinavia (especially furniture),  jurisprudence animal husbandry, Scotland, horseradish and television series involving dragons or cooking (or both)
  10. Bonus points for astronomical legal terminology, as well as terminology suggested by the themes listed in rule 9.
  11. As per rule 8, themes and bonus points are also subject to change without further and/or prior notice.
  12. Winners will be announced on  or about St. Valentine’s Day (14 February 2013 (my time)).
  13. Have fun!