January 2008


781.66 Rock music

I used to be in this band called Government Issue. I’m the Geekazoid playing bass on the cover of this DVD from some shows we did in 1985. Please buy some of our stuff. We all need the money.

Thank you.

813.54 American fiction published between 1945-1999

[10.11.1989]

He remembered only four things about his psych 101 class.

The first was that he was extremely disappointed with it. The second was that this disappointment grew into anger when it occurred to him that the class seemed to have nothing whatever to do with psychology as he knew it.

The third thing was that the eyes of horseshoe crabs are called ommatidia.

The fourth thing was that after a few weeks, he cut classes and eventually stopped going, opting instead for the early afternoon porn matinee at the art theater at the south end of town, where he would go with a friend. He remembered more about a few hours’ worth of smut than he did about a semester’s worth of introductory psychology.

813.6 American fiction since 2000

. . . is called Ommatidia. It hews closely to the advice found in most manuals on writing for the Web — namely, to write in short, concentrated bursts. Webmaster (is that an antiquated word) Brendan Adkins writes exactly 101 words per day of new fiction, and what I’ve seen so far I find quite entertaining.

Chapter 1: The golden age of spam?

I got an even dozen pieces of spam with good, inspired subject lines in 2006 and 2007 (and one in 2003). Since September of last year, though, the spammers seem to have run out of creative steam. Most of the spam I’ve seen lately either has no subject or has a few random words that conjure up nothing special in my imagination. I have saved emails with the following subject lines, which really hit the mark in terms of quality:

1. infected hydrogen atom (10/1/03)
2. absorbent cola (5/19/06)
3. outlawed pain (7/22/06)
4. by comb of rennet tontine (8/1/06)
5. grown-up scratch (10/21/06)
6. sprawled patty (11/5/06)
7. bohemian tornado (1/21/07)
8. fried razor blade (1/21/07)
9. moronic light bulb (1/25/07)
10. No numb is athwart (4/3/07)
11. dreamless medicines – “highness pills FREE with any order” (8/10/07)
12. watch be mustard togs (9/14/07)

Chapter 2: Creative filter dodges:

a) -En large your p ‘e’n’i’s up to 10 cm or up to 4 inches!

b) P -EN _IS!

c) Gain 2+ Inches In P _is Length.

d) V _I > _A -G- _R -A – $1.77

e) A big p _enis has a lot of benefits and no downside that I can think of

I am considering having a t-shirt printed up that reads as follows:

“I am per _Fect’L’y sat- isf’>ied w^th th# s(i~z=e of m_Y P_e& n—I$, @Nd I d’o n.o/t N`e[ed V _I > _A -G- _R -A –

145 Shot Puts in the Yard

© 1989 John Leonard

Inspired by an Icelandic folk tale he had read (in which a horseman, seeing a man sitting on a rock, charges by the man and slices his head off with his mighty sword, later explaining that he did it “because the angle was right”), Traficant went out and procured a massive sledgehammer not unlike the kind found in amusement parks. He then proceeded to bash out all the knobs on all the doors in the house. He found it much easier to bash out the knobs on the bedroom, kitchen and playroom doors than on the doors leading out into the street. The knobs on all the other doors came off in one swing, but the knobs on the outer doors were more secure, requiring at least two blows apiece. If he had used a smaller sledgehammer, he realized, the destruction of the doors would have been messy and much less satisfying.

It was cold out, and the bitter night air gushed in through the holes where the doorknobs used to be, but at least Traficant had destroyed the doors.

Briefly, he entertained the thought about smashing all the light fixtures in the house, but decided that they would give in too easily. Neither would the resulting mess have been as visually striking.

While rummaging through a closet one day, he dislodged his sister’s shot put, which rolled off the shelf, hitting him just above the forehead. The blow knocked him cold and also sent blood forth in copious amounts. While he slept, the blood dried on the floor around his head and in his hair, causing the hair to become matted and brittle. When he awoke several hours later, the first thing Traficant notice was a deep impression in the floor next to him, with the shot put resting in the center of it. He staggered to his feet, vomited over the bloodstain, picked up the shot put and threw it hard into the same spot where he had found it. It broke clean through to the first floor, where it went straight through the seat of a rocking chair. He knew he wanted to do this until the second floor was gone, but he reasoned that it would be impractical to keep running up and down the stairs to retrieve the shot put every time it went through the floor. So Traficant went out again and bought a gross of shot puts, hauling them upstairs in sacks of six at one time.

After about a day, the last beam of the second floor finally gave way; it broke in half, ripped out of the wall and fell to the ground, taking Traficant with it.

Dazed, but still alive, Traficant went out again, rented a crane with a wrecking ball and demolished the rest of the house. Then he poured gasoline over it. He struck a match on his jeans, threw it into the rubble and walked across the street. He sat down under a great maple tree and meditated as the orange light of the blaze bathed his face. When the fire went out and the rubble was reduced to ashes, Traficant crossed the street again.

There were 145 shot puts in the yard.

372 Primary education (Queensland Dept. of Education)

My friend d. sent me a link bac in January to his son’s entry in the vegetable car derby at Grace Episcopal Day School, in the D.C. suburbs. Here’s d.’s description of the car:

Kenneth’s car tied with or had the longest run of any car. The video clip shows the second and shorter run. Kenneth’s design is reminiscent of the classic race cars from the 1940s and 1950s. Note the sleek lines of the butternut squash body. The vegetables, of course, are from Whole Foods and are organic and free range. The wheels are constructed from turnips, and note the small tomatoes for the headlights and the driver. The final touch is a carrot for the exhaust pipe.

The song Dodge Vegematic made #472 on one radio station’s list of the top 500 songs of all time.

Freeman: The Governor Years, 1955-1960

By Rodney E. Leonard
Copyright 2003, the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, Minneapolis

Chapter 5: Albert Lea and the Wilson Strike

A full-scale riot erupted shortly after 4 p.m. on December 9, 1959, at the Wilson and Company meatpacking plant in Albert Lea, Minnesota. About 400 nonunion workers, most hired by Wilson as strikebreakers during the preceding week, were leaving the plant as the shift changed. More than 700 members of the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA), who had been on strike for five weeks, blocked the gate.

As the second shift of strikebreakers arrived, a strikebreaker gunned his car engine, knocking down a striker and injuring his head. Word passed swiftly: a strikebreaker with a rifle was threatening a striker. Tempers flared at the rumor, and the strikers moved to block all the plant gates. Rocks flew, and most of the strikebreakers retreated into the plant for safety. Car windows shattered. Flying glass hit a nonunion worker, blinding him in one eye. Three cars were overturned, another pushed into nearby Albert Lea Lake.

The din mounted. By 6 p.m. another 300 strikers joined the melee. Twenty Albert Lea policemen, the city’s full force, came on the scene. Thirty Freeborn County sheriff’s deputies joined them. With some 350 strikebreakers still inside and hoping to get past a thousand angry strikers, the police force had too little manpower to disperse them. It didn’t try the hopeless task.

Police searched the vehicles of strikebreakers, confiscating three pistols, seven automatic rifles, two shotguns, and assorted knives. The search provided union leaders a lull to talk with the strikers. Using police bullhorns, they urged union members to proceed to their union hall a mile away for a special strike meeting. The crowd, eager for a way out of the evening’s confrontation, slowly dispersed. By 7:30 the strikebreakers could leave safely.

The next morning, December 10, began quietly. But by early afternoon, the number of strikers crowding the picket line had grown. The wives of some workers joined the crowd, swelling to more than 700 strong by 4 p.m., another shift change. Massing some 50 officers and deputies, now better prepared to quell a riot, police officers kept the crowd under control—but only at a cost. The tension forced the city and the county to keep all available personnel at the plant, neglecting their peacekeeping duties elsewhere. Vandals threw bricks through the windows of grocery stores carrying Wilson meat products, but the police could not respond. Neither could deputies deter attacks on farms where strikebreakers lived.

to be continued . . .

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