Friday, July 29, 2005


Parked not twenty feet from my bedroom window is a gigantic street sweeper. It's been parking there for
the last few weeks. Every morning between six-thirty and seven-thirty it starts up with an awful racket. That's okay, though, because I'm already awake by then and Sonya is either already awake or still sleeping and no little diesel engine is going to get her out of bed.

What's interesting about the street sweeper, though, is the driver. She's Vietnamese, probably in her mid twenties. Petite, long hair, and stylish clothes - halter tops, tight jeans, cute shoes, big shades, and professional grade driving gloves for her big fucking street sweeper.

And the street sweeper says something like "Street Sweepers of Chicago" or something like that.

I think there's got to be a story there. Is she an apprentice street sweeper? A journeyman street sweeper, going from town to town and practicing her street sweeping art? Where do you go to get that job, anyway? Do you just clean a street and swing by city hall with a bill? Where do you buy a street sweeper?

These things keep me up at night. And, sometimes, wake me up in the morning.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I went to West Memphis Christian for high school. It's a Church of Christ school, and Church of Christ schools have chapel every day. Chapel was usually a few songs, a few prayers, and an awkward religious speech from one of the male teachers who were as a rule good guys but not really great preachers. Then there would be announcements. I would zone out completely. For four years, I knew I would have at least twenty minutes or so of thought-free time.

But when chapel was especially interminable I would daydream about Motley Crue being lowered from the ceiling on a huge platform, blasting out one of their songs at full volume. That would certainly shake things up, wouldn't it? Who knew the Crue was on the roof, waiting to be lowered in? Put a long-winded teacher in charge and the Crue would play four or five songs. It was a pretty great late-eighties daydream.

Anyhow, the other day I was in a meeting so boring I had to resurrect the daydream after nearly fifteen years of non-use; down came Nikki Sixx and company onto the long conference room table. Thankfully it wasn't the somewhat funny and horrifying Crue of today. This was Shout at the Devil era Motley Crue, complete with make-up and pentagrams, playing Looks That Kill. It was also pretty great.


There's this kid who walks around my neighborhood, and I see him a lot when I'm out walking the dog and the John. He makes me want to laugh.

He's not really a kid; he's probably somewhere in his late teens. And he rocks the gangbanger look: filmy little doo-rag over his head, muscle shirt, big baggy shorts, house shoes as walking shoes, OPP style. Sometimes he's dribbling a basketball. And he's got the good, hard thug-mug like he's seen a lot and wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger on your punk ass.

So he looks a little out of place walking around our pleasant, well-landscaped apartments and skulking beside any one of our sparkling clear pools.

And I'm all like, "dude! It's tough, isn't it, keeping it real on Oak Creek Road? The mean streets of River Ridge better recognize!"

Totally unrelated: The 1971 Sears Catalog. So very ugly. [Via Pop Culture Junk Mail]

Saturday, July 09, 2005

How Not To Raise Your Children: The Series

John sits in a little box.John wears a tacky hat.
The jokes write themselves around here.


John is a huge fan of King of the Hill. How big a fan is he?

  • When he hears the theme song, he dances.
  • Whenever Bobby Hill is on the screen John greets him like a good friend. "Bobby! Bobby!"
  • When John see Hank, Bill, Dale and Boomhauer out in the alley he says "yep."

Thursday, July 07, 2005


In the spring of 2000 I spent two weeks in London with Sonya, Kent and James. Honestly, it was one of the great times in my life and I loved the city beyond all reason, even though I caught a cold that turned into a sinus infection that left me gasping for air and swilling e. coli-laden airplane water for the whole trip back.

History lurks around every corner in London, just waiting to pounce on you and force another fact into your brain. People go to the bar every day and no one thinks anything of it. You need something to eat? There's probably a really great restaurant just down the street.

The echo and bustle of Victoria Station. The trailer park in the countryside near Stonehenge. St. Patrick's day at the pub around the corner from our hotel where the Guinness reps gave us coupon after coupon for free pints. The friendly, chatty, utterly crazy little old lady who ran the laundrette where I spent a cold morning drinking coffee, reading the tabloids and washing underwear.

I love London, and my heart aches.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Dammit, John.

That's what John is going to say at school one day soon.

He's going to say it because Sonya and I have been saying it to him since Sunday, because he is very very bad.

"Dammit, John, don't hit the dog with that boot!"

"Dammit, John, get out of the garbage!"

"Dammit, John, don't kick me while I change your foul, foul diaper!"

"Dammit, John, I'm standing in three feet of water because you keep dumping your bucket over the edge of the fucking tub!"

I'm sure they'll tell us about it when it finally happens at school, because kids say the darnedest things.


Two a.m. this morning: I was dreaming that I had gotten all this commando training, including the ability to fight in complete darkness. I was running around an empty building that reminded me of Six-One-Six, the old Memphis disco, and I was being followed by a rat that someone (maybe Sonya) had sent to keep an eye on me.

I woke up. It was hot. And dark. The power was out, and the wind and rain were lashing the apartment as they howled through the night.

Hello, Cindy!

Sonya had pulled out the big flashlight and was rummaging around for batteries to put in the radio. I knew where the only D batteries in the house were: inside John's Ocean Wonders Aquarium. I'd taken it out of John's bed months ago - it might help him to escape if he used it as a step - so we had to find it. Sonya knew where it was, I knew it had batteries. Williams Family - 1, Tropical Storm Cindy - 0.

So we listened to the genuinely weird early morning A.M. radio until the news at the top of the hour. Cindy ashore in Louisiana, 70 mile per hour winds, flooding, death, apocalypse, etc. There was nothing else we could do. Occasional gusts of wind would make the windows bulge. Sonya went to the grocery store last night; we were worried we might lose all the groceries. Drama!

But the power came back on at seven-thirty this morning and I went to work. John's school was closed so he and his mother stayed home. Some trees are down, and 250,000 were out of power. But we're fine.