Monday, November 21, 2005

A Sentimental Journey

I miss my time at sea and working at the fish cannery.

The little cannery where I grew up was run by a one-eyed Norwegian woman and was located right on the coast because that’s where the fish were. She took me in after the orphanage burned and I had nowhere else to turn because, in our village, there were no wolves to raise me as their own.

We produced 40 types of fish and seafood products, 15 types of preserves, as well as salted, smoked and dried fish, ready-made fish products and frozen fish. Strict quality control, high-quality packaging, high-quality taste and the introduction of new technology enabled us to achieve success in the domestic and international markets. I loved that old Norwegian woman.

And in the off season, we used to make sausages. Oh! How I remember when it came time to drown the pigs in sausage season! We’d drive them to the shore like lemmings and in they’d tumble. They’d kick at first, but they’d stop moving after a few minutes and we’d scoop them out and put them on the truck. And they’d make the best sausages you’ve ever tasted. Hoo-eee! Must have been the salt water.

I spent several summers on a whaling ship. Oh, that was a time! We’d spot an old humpback and run for the whaleboats. Some lucky fellow would get that whale with a harpoon, and off we’d go on a “Nantucket Sleigh Ride,” pulled along by that big old whale. He’d get tired after two or three hours, then we’d bring him on in and cut him up good. And he’d make the best sausages you’ve ever tasted.

One year I missed whaling altogether because I had crabs, but I don’t want to talk about that right now.

One time that old Norwegian lady got sick. Awful sick. I don’t know if she had tuberculosis or the plague or maybe she finally succumbed to fish lung — a lot of our boys got that — but, whatever it was, she was in a bad way. I’d been at the cannery shoveling fish guts when I got the word. By the time I got to her, she was just barely alive. We spoke for a while, her voice getting weaker and weaker. I held her hand all that night and into the next. Finally, that old Norwegian lady died. And she made the best sausages you’ve ever tasted!

I miss my time at sea and working at the fish cannery.

Friday, November 11, 2005

I’ve Got a Right to Sling the Booze

“It’s my birthday today,” the gentleman said as he bellied up to the bar,
His tie was askew, his nose was all red, and his eyes were black as coal tar.
“So here I have come with no time to waste for a glass of your finest Merlot.
Just a touch — a smidgen, a taste — and then I really must go.”

“A jolly old wine,” the man averred, “And what a lovely bouquet!
I’ll take one more and then, on my word, I really must be away.
So tasty this wine! I’d sample a third, but I’ve really no time to lose.
Oh, what the Hell! But I think you misheard — this time I’d rather have booze.”

“A gamut of gimlets, if you’d be so kind, for whiskey and scotch I abhor.
Then I’ll be off, I’m sure you won’t mind … my, what a generous pour!
Again with the gin!” was the tippler’s call, “I’m starting to warm to this place.
It’s my birthday, it is, and I’m having a ball!” he said, a big boozy flush to his face.

The bartender warned, “Have a care! You don’t know what that much will do.”
But the man, he chose not to beware and kept on swilling her brew.

“’Smy birthday today!” the man again told her, “I think I deserve a small drink
Just to affirm that I’m older … I can have another snort, doncha think?
I like you … you’re a nice lady. And I like the way you pour gin.
Say! What’s your name? Katie? Kate, how ’bout you hit me again!”

“I think I’d like to sit here a while and enjoy a cocktail or two.
I’ll sit on this stool and bask in your smile. So, Katie — what’s up with you?
What brings a girl so fragrant and fair to this place so vile and so low?
To breathe this stale cigarette air where these loathsome inebriates go?”

“Katie, ’smy birthday today. It’s time to see what you’ve got.
It’s time we threw caution away — and this time I’ll buy you a shot.
And, of course, I’ll share one with you to show you that I’m not a fake.
I’ll drink anything you can drink, too. I’ll drink any ol’ drink you can make.”

The man showed signs of his drinking — swaying, slurring his speech
Katie made the drinks without thinking. She mixed two mighty shots — one each.

“That’s good! That shot’s a kicker!” He polished it off with ease.
“There’s nothing like a good liquor. I’d like another one, please!”
But, that one drink became two, “Then how ’bout a small splash!
Then — no ’ffense to you — but I’ll have to drink and then dash.”

“I gotta fly out of here like a comet — if you’ll walk me out to my car.
’Cause the truth is I think I might vomit, and I don’t want to barf on your bar.
Just let me lean on your shoulder. Are you kidding? Of course I can drive!
You know, I may be a year older, but I’ve never felt so alive!”

“Thanks, Katie, ol’ pal” was all he could mutter as he settled in at the wheel.
“You’re a g-gem,” she heard the man stutter, “Oh ... I gotta get home for real!
You heard me there, Kate — no question, I really must leave.
You’ve kept me out far, far too late ... and I think I’m getting ready to heave!”

Katie stepped back and let the man go, she watched the pitiful sot leave
The man should not have been driving, though, she sadly watched his car weave.

“I’m the King of Today!” the birthday boy roared as he madly careened down the street.
“I’ve drunk the best drink Man’s hand ever poured, and Katie’s the best you could meet.”
So delighted was he that he floored it, and squealed with delight and with glee.
The oncoming truck, he ignored it — then he slammed right into a tree.

That sound! Why, it was horrendous! The carnage was equally so!
The damage and wounds were tremendous, they were able to find most of him, though.
They carefully took the pieces they found and laid them to rest six feet under.
Now that man is Heavenly bound … Why? It makes a man wonder.

So, take heed when your time comes to revel. Turn down the Merlot and the gin!
I’ve seen it all — on the level! Just turn out the lights and stay in!
It’s not worth your life to make merry, it can be fatal to paint the town red.
Next time could be you that they bury, best not to drink yourself dead.

Thursday, November 3, 2005


I did something to myself I wish I hadn’t done. As I wrote in an e-mail to a friend a little earlier, “... I’m experiencing a little discomfort today. Before I left the house, I bent over to pick up some cat vomit and cracked a rib or something. Now, every time I move a certain way, it elicits a, ‘Hut!’ sound. I sound like a quarterback when I move funny.” It has also affected my ability to suck in my gut, so I look a little more paunchy than usual.

Again, I’m alone in the office. The most work I’ve done so far today is trying to get the shell off a stubborn pistachio. You know, the kind that has no crack for you to get your thumbnails into. I’ve got a couple of invoices to code and send to accounting, but they can wait, they can wait.

Now I see it is 1:00. Time to go get a sandwich from our little café downstairs. And only four hours before I can head home. I have a funny feeling the office will close a little early today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Our Brush With Inconvenience

Do what you love, love what you do, leave the world a better place and don’t pick your nose. — Jeff Mallett, Frazz, 8/3/2004

I walked in the house last night after work ready to enjoy a nice glass of Chianti only to find Matt, the roommate, stripped to the waist, head hanging limp over a bucket of blood. After a quick assessment, I recognized the symptoms, “Bleeding from one or both nostrils” as evidence of a nosebleed. And I mean this was real hemorrhaging, not just some oozing, candy-assed nosebleed. I’m talking great gouts of blood! Real carnage!

Matt has been taking a blood thinner since his unfortunate heart attack last year, so he bleeds liberally. And this had already been going on for several hours without showing any signs of stopping. As you may know, a nosebleed that lasts more than 20 minutes is one that requires medical attention.

Now, I was all about having my glass of Chianti and going to bed early. But one look at Matt sitting there with a great, gory stalactite of half-congealed blood hanging from his nose convinced me to abandon my plans and stand by anxiously in case I was needed to rush him to the hospital.

Nothing we could do would staunch the bleeding. He applied pressure; he stuck a wad of absorbent material in his nostril; he applied a bag of frozen green beans (we didn’t have any ice) to the exterior of his nose; he drank a homeopathic concoction of cayenne pepper that was supposed to stop it. To no avail. After the third hour of steady bleeding, I bundled him in the car, bucket and all, and headed for the emergency room.

Here’s where it gets a little anti-climactic, because Matt went away to see the doctor while I sat in the waiting room for two and a half hours. Presumably, they took Matt back, stopped the bleeding and cleaned him up, but that’s largely irrelevant, as this story is really about me.

Here’s what I saw. A little girl who had been busted in the face by some other kid; a chunky girl with a dislocated shoulder; a woman who was there for a sleep study; a gang banger in a basketball jersey and four or five of his loudest friends; a guy with food poisoning who looked like he was going to heave all over the floor; a shifty salesman from Alabama with an ugly woman; and assorted other people with various maladies.

Finally, Matt came back. He was all fixed up good as new. We went home and went our separate ways. But, it gives me chills to think of what *could* have happened if I hadn’t come home when I did. He was teetering on the edge of consciousness when I got there. Another few minutes and we could have lost him! But, for good or ill, I guess it was not his time.

* * * * * *

King Hussein of Jordan nearly bled to death from a nosebleed.

Attila the Hun developed a nosebleed on his wedding night and choked to death in a stupor.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Hallow Pursuits

Part One: Well ...

... tonight’s trick-or-treatmas. I’ve decided I’m just going to stay home with the lights off and avoid those candy-grabbing hooligans. Besides, traffic is *already* a Nightmare Before Christmas. I don’t want to drive in this madness to go anywhere.

I toyed with going to sit at the bar with the rest of the Halloween haters, but I don’t want even the slightest chance of getting spifflicated and having an incident on the way home with herds of children roaming the streets. The last thing I need is to kill little Johnny Invisible Pedestrian while intoxicated.

So I went up to the package store and bought my own “treat.” Nothing beats sitting at home in the dark drinking all by yourself while scores of children claw greedily at your door. Cheers!

So I hope you all have a safe and candiful Halloween. Just like I’m going to have. And if you’re going to drink, drink responsibly. The life you save could be some candy corn-grubbing street urchin’s.

(Ahhh ... when I was young, we’d eat candy corn right off the cob! Oh, don’t listen to me. That’s the “treat” talking.)

God bless us every one.

* * * * * *

haha. get on ur roof and turn ur light on a and when little people pass, throw eggs and shit. good fun.

I drop water balloons filled with ammonia.

My Plan B was to put on a big smile and hand out airplane bottles of Jagermeister.

Or just give the kids spoonsful of Karo syrup like I did last year. How the little tykes loved it! Oh, it warmed my heart!

Part Two: I sure am hungry!

I wish I had about a half pound of Hershey’s Kisses, candy corn and Sweet Tarts to eat!


To learn the history of candy corn, go to: visit your local library.

* * * * * *

... I hate candy corn. And Sweet Tarts. It was mere hyperbole. I’ve never been a real Halloween kind of guy. I just ...

Shhhh ...! I just heard knocking at the door. It’s them! They’ve come ...

Part Three: They’re here!

They’re knocking, knocking, knocking!Go away, children! No candy here! There’s a gingerbread condo in the next complex!


Now where was I?

Part Four: So ...

November 1, 2005

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

What did we all learn from last night?

I learned that if you drink several mugs full of Jagermeister, eventually your brain will turn on you like a rottweiler. My breakfast after last night’s adventure consisted of caffeine, Ibuprofen, antacid and betablockers. I had that fight or flight (mostly flight) feeling all morning. And I’ve been tired all day.

I also learned you don’t patronize your female friends even if you are just kidding. Never mention their chromosomes. Some people are sensitive to that. Leave any sexually inappropriate comments in the workplace where they belong.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

"Tell me about a day in your world. ..."

Let’s see ... A day in the life, huh? I’ll give it a shot. And if it turns out full of drama and intrigue, I’ll post it on my blog.

A Day in the Life, Part One
I came to work unkempt. As I had not done laundry, I threw on a sweater I had worn one day last week. I eschewed my shower for time’s sake, so my hair looks like Shemp Howard’s of Three Stooges fame. In short, I’m a bum.

I got to the office and I was starved! I re-heated some leftover spaghetti from yesterday’s lunch and put on a pot of coffee. I am now eating an apple and drinking coffee. It’s not quite 9:30.

I have to order office supplies today. That’s all that’s on my plate. That’s all for now. I’ll keep you apprised if anything happens of note.

A Day in the Life Part Two
This is the part where I try to stay awake until lunch. I had to pee about 20 minutes ago, and that was the most excitement I’ve had so far today.

Sometimes I put my head in my hands and just sit until something happens, but I didn’t sleep well last night and I’m afraid I’ll doze off. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above dozing off at the office, but I only do that when no one else is here to see.

So, to keep myself occupied, I check MySpace for new messages, new hits on my profile and blog, etc., then pop over to AOL to see if I have any messages, then back to MySpace again. Lately I have also been watching the Webcam at a doggie daycare to relieve the boredom.

I don’t know about your job, but in my job we have a phenomenon known as “billable hours.” This is the time spent on projects that we can charge the client for so my company doesn’t have to bear the brunt of my salary. So far this year, I have had maybe four or five days that were billable. No wonder they’re going to shut us down.

It’s a quarter to one. We usually go down to our little café at one o’clock or so and grab lunch. Tuesday is lasagna day, but I think I’ll get a salad instead since I had the leftover spaghetti this morning.

A Day in the Life Part Three
Now is the time I am typically overwhelmed by despair realizing I have over three hours to go before I can go home. Could be my blood sugar crashing after the salad, two chocolate chip cookies and coffee, but whatever the cause, time moves very slowly for me this time of day.

I’m alone in the office now, and I’m sorely tempted to put my head in my hands until something happens, but I’m sure I’d doze off and my co-worker would come in and catch me.

I’m sleepy and the weather doesn’t help. We’re getting the back end of the hurricane and it’s cold and dreary out. And, as early as it gets dark now, I’m sure I’ll have to fight to stay awake to a decent hour tonight.

A Day in the Life Part Four
Three o’clock. That’s when I pee again and brush my teeth. I’m through drinking coffee for the rest of the night.

Time begins to move faster at 3:00 as I realize there are only a little over two hours remaining in the “work” day.

I’ve been on planning ahead for my impending layoff. If all goes well, I’ll have everything worked out ahead of time so I can bail here before the next shoe drops. If I could transition into a new job with no downtime, I would sacrifice a severance package just so I wouldn’t have to pack up another office. (No, this is not the first time I’ve had my office close.)

Just two hours now. I think I’ll make it.

* * * * * *

Your life is truly an interesting story.

I think you missed the point.

What was the point?

If I’d had a point, I wouldn’t have written the freakin’ blog. “To drivel hopefully is better than do a rave.”

To Market, To Market

Part One: Oh, it Hurts!
Wednesday, October 12, 2005

So, I’m meeting with these two advertising guys who are in our office for a while (occupying the empty office in our little agency) over lunch. I’m trying to act reasonably professional — as professional as people in creative professions get — to give myself some kind of credibility.

It’s taco salad today in our café downstairs, so that’s what I’m eating. So, I’m representing to these two ad people and a shard of nacho drives itself between two teeth and into my gum like a railroad spike. God, the pain! I kept my composure and I don’t think anyone noticed, but I’ve been trying to dislodge this thing for 10 or 15 minutes. What I wouldn’t give for some floss right now!

And then I changed the magenta cartridge in the color printer. What a busy day!

Part Two: I Can’t Take Much More of This
Thursday, October 20, 2005

… I’ve been listening in on a creative session for the past four hours. How you take Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, throw in Nazis and a spider, call it an African parable and make it come alive dramatically, I can’t fathom. I think they’re going to blindfold the audience, too.

And these guys are taking it all far too seriously. What gets me is that if I were part of the project team, especially in a creative capacity, it would have my buy-in, too. I’d be all about it. Blindfold the audience? Sure! Illustrate the African parable with a poem read in French and Chinese? You bet! Back it all up with an hour-and-a-half PowerPoint presentation to tell the audience why what they just saw was so important? Of course! (Now, explain the Nazis again ...?)

Ahhhh ...! Experiential Marketing at its finest. My head hurts.

Part Three: How to reframe the current paradigm into a new model ...
Friday, October 21, 2005

Those guys from yesterday are back again with their jargon and buzz words. I can’t type fast enough or I’d tell you what they are saying. I have learned that, “[Atlanta] is a radically different world in terms of ethos …” Which appears to be a way of saying we have more black people here than Minnesota.

I hate this project and all it stands for. I want a drink.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Feeling a Little Queasy

We walked across the 17th street bridge today to go to that new FOX Grill that just opened.

Big space, kind of slow service. But that’s not my point. The point is, I ordered the calamari. This was not your chewy, rubber band kind of calamari, but sort of a breading-falls-off, slimy calamari.

About half of it was the part with suckers. I don’t like the part with suckers. The sucker parts were kind of purple, making it look not so much cooked as bruised. No, sir, can’t eat squid suckers that look like victims of domestic violence.

All this would not have been so bad if I hadn’t topped it off with a huge slab of carrot cake and two generous dollops of ice cream. So now the cake, ice cream and squid is not sitting well. Especially after the walk back across the bridge.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bald-Faced Lie

I was trimming my beard when my beard trimmer seized up on me and was ensconced in my facial hair like a tick on a dog. The only thing for it was to go for the clean-shaven look again. It took off ten years!

The bad news is that it also made me gain 25 pounds. I look like the bloated carcass of a drug dealer who has been badly beaten, strangled and thrown overboard from a drug-running ship after a deal gone bad, washed ashore and sat in the sun for two or three days. Yes, sir, that fat. I’m just afraid some seagull is going to see me and come peck my eyes out.

The Ballad of Louis LaRue

This is a tale of the Old Wild West when the century was fixin’ to turn,
And an old vagabond with a watch on his vest and a face both weathered and stern.
Louis LaRue was the traveler’s name, and medicine his trade and his stock.
He came from New York with his charlatan’s game, and everyone just called him “Doc.”

He rolled into town on an old sorrel mare and a wagon with tonic and salve,
An old bowler hat o’er brown thinning hair, to see what the locals would have.
“I’ve nostrums and cure-alls and snake-oil galore! Elixirs — all bona fide!
“I’ve linaments, powders not seen before,” A crowd gathered, eyes growing wide.

“Step right on up!” was the mountebank’s call, “Tell me your ills and I vow
“I’ll cure you right here before God and all with what’s in these bottles, right now!
“Your hair’s falling out? Your bowels are loose? No wonder you’re miserable sore!
“Set it aright with Kick-a-Poo Juice — If it don’t work, come back for more!”

The townsfolk came on with ache and with ill, with disease and sickness and hurt.
And Doc took ’em on with luck and with skill, or left ’em to die in the dirt.
“A liver,” “a spleen,” “a stomach ache,” “a horse hoof right to the head.”
“A bunion,” “a boil,” “you are a fake,” “and you are better off dead.”

He took lots of cash and passed out his brew, his pockets grew full with the coin
But even dispensing the tonic, he knew that by sundown he must be a-goin’.
For he knew that he was a fraud and a fake, his medicine — sugar and booze.
And if he stayed on, more money to make, in the end, he’d more likely lose.

He knew all of the folks that he’d treated were blind with belief and with trust
And once they found out they’d been cheated, he hoped all that they’d see was his dust.
But each single case he promised he’d cure with his potions or poultice or pill.
“My word is my bond, it works, yes, I’m sure — why look at me! Do I look ill?”

Word spread, his remedies grew in renown as a cure for sickness and cares.
The folks came in droves from all over town to sample his full-bodied wares.
Everyone tried it, man, woman and child for ailments they were trying to lick.
Even the parson’s lips were defiled, and some people weren’t even sick.

So, he stayed in town a day and a half, lured by gainful acclaim,
And greedily, then, he worked at his graft and continued to wildly declaim:
“Influenza,” “measles,” “croup,” “la grippe,” — no condition too big or too small.
“Whimsy,” “dropsy,” “broken hip,” Doc LaRue’s remedy treated ’em all.

And, lo and behold, they were willing to pay, all those people he thought he had rooked.
For, he had stayed on that extra half-day, and now the whole town, it was hooked.
Folks would all guzzle it down then come back more likely than not,
For the treatment was like a night on the town — and ’ol Doc got a dollar a shot.

And, to his surprise, people got better as they greedily soaked up his cure.
That little dry town was a little bit wetter, the folks more besotted for sure.
And Doc was not run out on a rail, instead he was invited to stay
And sell his potion by bucket and pail for as long as his patrons could pay.

So, his remedies did have the power to heal — and the scoundrel got rich to boot.
Folks kept on drinking, they got a good deal, and Doc came away with the loot.
But Doc was amazed, “This isn’t a cure! Why would anyone drink it?”
The truth is just a little obscure: to get better, you just have to think it.

Let these words be a lesson to you if you’ve goods of your own to flaunt,
If you want to get rich like Louis LaRue, give folks the dope that they want.
’Cause in the end, despite all your twaddle, most folks are still a bit blind.
It doesn’t matter what’s in the bottle, it’s only what’s in the mind.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Why I’m the Perfect Guy

Please indulge me as I reveal my answers to a certain person’s requirements for the perfect guy. (I hope she’s not reading this!)

Somebody who has imperfections and knows it.
I’ve got plenty of imperfections. I’m 39 — I’m getting more imperfections every day. I could enumerate them, but I don’t see why I should; I have imperfections, but I am not defined by them.

Somebody who likes to fly by the seat of their pants and take life by the balls.
I don’t plan ahead and I scratch a lot, does that count? No, really, I take what’s thrown at me and solve the problems as they arise. In general, I’m not the kind of person who is given lemons and makes lemonade … I’m the kind of person lemonade happens to.

Somebody with a kind heart, compassion for those
less fortunate and the desire to be a better person.
I’m a pretty good person, but who couldn’t stand a little polish? I think I have compassion for those less fortunate than myself, but for people of equal fortune, I won’t spare the sarcasm if they deserve it.

Outdoorsy is good, but don’t be over the top about it.
I like the Botanical Gardens and Stone Mountain. I like camping, but not hiking. I don’t fish. Fur kills.

Dressing well is a plus.
I clean up nice but I believe in comfortable footwear.

Chivalry is good.
Of course it’s good. I was brought up to be a gentleman. But, this is the 21st century. If a damsel is really in distress, she should call 911.

Oh, above all, you must love animals!
I like most animals. I’m not crazy about fish or birds. I am well loved by dogs and cats. I have two cats myself. I am also loved by kids and old people. Parents like me and I could talk for hours with your grandparents.

Our Visitor

We have a guest in the office for a couple of days. An old guy who makes more bodily noises than anyone I’ve ever heard in the workplace. He makes the same noises I make after eating a big Thanksgiving dinner, but he makes them all the time.

Noises he makes:


He also talks loudly and refers to women as “gals.” I can’t take him much longer.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Correspondence: October 5, 2005

I haven’t heard from you since my last scary e-mail (a friend of mine said I came across as too psycho), so I thought I’d holla.

I’d love to write something comical and entertaining here, but my brain is numb with ennui from the complete and utter lack of work we have right now. Another day in paradise.

So, instead of holding forth on some obscure, yet amusing, topic, I’ll invite you to tell me about you. How do you like being 32? Have you stumbled into any unexpected maturity? How inopportune to become encumbered by maturity just when you’re old enough to start enjoying yourself.

I remember when I was 32 at the end of the 20th century. Wait … no I don’t. I was drinking pretty heavily in those days. I remember a blur of proposals to fast-food restaurant chains, doing work for a major soft-drink company in Atlanta and an all-around sense of job security that seems to be lacking now.

How’s California these days? Are you near the fires? What’s the worst thing you’ve seen today? The best? If you were a kitchen appliance, which one would you be?

… Sounds like your date was more disastrous than my last date. On mine, after 45 minutes she said she had to go get something to eat, but, “good luck in the future.” That means I’m not going to see her again, right? At least there was no vomiting involved.

Ahh … where do I work, you ask? I’m in the struggling Atlanta office of an agency based in St. Louis. It’s not quite advertising, not quite PR, not quite a production company, but has elements of all of the above. We produce large meetings which may include video, live entertainment and the like. We also produce Mobile Marketing programs.

I’ve been in this job for two years. Before this, I was an Associate Creative Director for a similar company. I was there for seven years before they downsized and, ultimately, closed the office.

How about you? Have you recently gone from freelance to a staff position? That would explain your new regimen. What do they have you writing?

… I believe I already expressed our curious lack of work at the office. I spent my day working on a poem and eating an apple. Hard to say which one was more invigorating.

Monday, September 26, 2005

What I Do for a Living

Hard to pin down really. No, I don’t “do advertising,” and, nope, I don’t “still work at that TV station.” What I do is sell dreams. Well, not really dreams. More like snake oil. We make crap up and put a hefty price tag on it. We’re not “Creative Directors” — we’re poseurs and charlatans. Much like the spiritualists of the 1800s. We haven’t progressed in the past 120 years.

If Brand Communications had existed in the 1800s, it would have been a bunch of Victorians letting the “spirits” speak about “marketing and communications challenges.” What I do for a living would have sounded like this:


Spirits … do you hear me?


We listened to what you asked and offer a unique communications solution designed specifically to suit your needs.


Tell us … is there existence beyond this life?


As you know, we have over 4,000 years experience in successfully addressing challenges such as yours for mediums, magi and priests worldwide. We look forward to applying this expertise to your question in a fun, engaging and exciting way.


Tell us … what it is like beyond?


In considering your question, we would like to suggest the theme: “Dead to Rights.” “Dead to Rights” represents an experiential program that allows your target audience to “live” through death firsthand.

The first thing your audience will experience is a total cessation of all biological functions. This, after a brief registration process during which each guest — or “ghost” if you will — is issued a harp and pair of sleek, aerodynamic wings with a lift capacity of up to 350 pounds, will allow their life-force access to the venue.

Each guest will follow a long tunnel while experiencing a sense of great euphoria. Guests will walk toward a light directing them toward a divine ballroom set in crescent rounds — a nod to your Moslem attendees — and dominated by a stage set with a giant RP screen and a burning bush. A hazer simulates clouds, creating an environment that reinforces the message that the attendees have risen above the concerns of their mortal existence.

The opening general session begins with a module in which each attendee’s life flashes before his eyes. This is followed by a VOG introduction and opening remarks by St. Peter.

The program also includes a financial report by Charon, the ferryman of the dead, with an accounting of coins collected for passage across the river Styx and a lengthy PowerPoint presentation on prophet and loss; legal information delivered by Daniel Webster and a brief marketing message from Jesus Christ.

After the general session, attendees will attend breakout sessions grouped by religion (Atheists may help themselves to coffee in the pre-function area), followed by a lunch of soul food which will be delivered.

After lunch, attendees reconvene in the ballroom, which has been reconfigured in classroom-style seating. This session includes a training workshop which educates and informs attendees on the roles and responsibilities of being deceased. As the session ends, the attendees exit to the haunting melody of Mozart’s Requiem en masse.

After this second general session, guests are given free time during which they are encouraged to explore the venue, manifest as apparitions before the living or walk the earth in unrest.

When free time has ended, attendees are invited to attend the formal awards banquet. The menu will consist of loaves, fishes and Sacrificial Lamb, and an open bar will provide a choice of Ambrosia or the Blood of Christ. A variety of desserts will be offered including Angel Food Cake and Death by Chocolate.

During the awards ceremony, the heavenly host will begin by awarding special halos to those who have risen above and beyond, then he will name the New Messiah and will end with the special “Bless Your Heart” award.

Following the awards, the evening entertainment begins as the Heavenly Choir performs a medley of hymns and guests are invited to the dance floor to shuffle off their mortal coils. As the evening draws to a close, the Almighty will offer some final remarks leading, finally, to his call to inaction.

Attendees then exit to experience an eternity of bliss.

An alternate theme you might consider is “Well … I’ll Be Damned.” I can flesh out the creative at your request.


At what cost may we attain this life after life?


The cost is your mortal soul.


O! Spirit … we thank you for your words from the other side. We like your creative, but the cost is too high. We must review other bids. Farewell, O Spirit, farewell!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Correspondence: Summer, 2005

… 15, my oldest niece is too old to enjoy that modest pleasure. We were inseparable when she was little, but now she doesn’t have much time for me. She was a willful little girl, but now I would swear she was the spawn of Satan. I don’t know how to relate to a teen-age female.

I don’t know why she had six. It seems imprudent. I sort of lost interest after the first four or five. (Maybe not four, because four and five were twins.) And I do have trouble remembering names. I told my niece (12 year old) that from now on, I’m just going to start each sentence to the kids with, “Why, you little ...”

Sullen?! Just you wait. It gets worse.

Only my oldest two niece/nephews have begun the puberty thing, though the 12-year-old is wearing a training bra. I don’t know how one would train for something one’s body already knows how to do with no help at all, but I guess it’s one of those female mysteries that I am not privy to yet. I still run across one I haven’t heard about before, now and then.

My nephew (14) has a little peach fuzz mustache and his voice is changing. You can’t help but laugh at him.

I go and play with the kids now and then, but I don’t have the stamina I used to. I don’t know whose idea it was for me to fight all six kids from youngest to oldest, but that one hurt. I can still beat them one-on-one, but if they team up, I’m a goner. I swear they coordinate their attacks with clicks and whistles like some band of aboriginal hunters, and I founder like some luckless mammoth.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Bob: A Profile

About Me
I enjoy smarties with nice gams, long drives in the breezer and getting bent on bootleg hooch. I’m a heeler, but I still enjoy a night with a Jane at the juice joint if I’ve got the jack. On my next vacation, I am going to the ’20s. Voh-doh-doh-dee-oh-doh.

What do I do in my spare time? I like to spend time hanging out with friends being raucous and unruly. I like to write amusing doggerel. I engage in the occasional art project. I sit in bars and talk to folks on the weekend. ... I know the words to stupid songs. I play the harmonica badly. I speak in Muppet and cartoon voices to my cats and they don’t think I’m weird. ... I once would have said I read a great deal, but now I seem to spend a lot of time surfing the Internet and e-mailing people. ... I would love to learn to paint. Sometimes I wish I could sing. I wish I could Charleston or swing dance. Someday I might write the great American novel. ... I’ve always wanted to be voice talent for a cartoon, but now that I’m in a career where that could actually happen, I’m scared to give it a try. ... When I win the lottery, I’m going to build a Victorian house and have people over.

Marketing/Communications. I sold out to the Man.

I thrill to the swingin’ sounds of the ’20s.

I enjoy Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and the like. You don’t see many like them at the flickers these days.

I’m not a devoted TV watcher, but I enjoy SciFi Channel; TVLand; History Channel; Discovery; TLC; Star Trek. The Simpsons makes me titter like a school girl.

Last Great Book I Read
I haven’t read any great books lately. I’ve read a few good ones and a few that failed to gratify my literary yearnings. I enjoyed “K-PAX” by Gene Brewer and “Zod Wallop” by William Browning Spencer for leisure reading. In a more serious mood, I’ll pick up anything by Umberto Eco. Anything that isn’t a proposal or script for a fast food company is always a welcome read.

Kermit the Frog and, to a lesser extent, Bugs Bunny. You can imagine my inner turmoil (of course you know, this means war.)

Most Humbling Moment
An American bald eagle, the proud symbol of our great nation, once took a dump on my shoe. I’ve got pictures.

Who I’d Like to Meet
You, if you’re in black and white. And preferably silent.

Best or Worst Lie I’ve Ever Told
I’m in marketing. I don’t lie. I embellish.