Potato Bravo

YukonGold

Potatoes soak up words exactly as they soak up butter. Mash them in, stir them in, whip them in, makes no difference, they disappear. Descended into a silken maelström, language dissolves, and no amount or quality of writing can resist the potato's absorptive, neutralizing nature. Thoughtful or ardent spud poems are doomed in advance. Moby Dick was really the Great White Potato. My strategy here is to keep everything away from the brink because a single, recent kitchen victory -- stirring potatoes -- needn't go far. The only better ones I … [Read more...]

‘Dirt Always Wins’ (Part Six) — Conclusion

Another Country by JamesBaldwin

This would normally be where a guy like me concludes by showing how I resolved my dirt issues, or at least negotiated a balance between cleaning and living free. But that would be a kind of cleaning up, wouldn’t it. At the same time, because pornography has entered the building, the dirty-string gatherer is tempted to state that he can literally visualize dark-blue passages in his introduction to printed dirt: James Baldwin’s  Another Country, which was passed around in high school till it disappeared. Don’t believe me? “Did he fuck … [Read more...]

‘Dirt Always Wins’ (Part Five) — Pay Dirt

Sexplosion

Now I was set up in San Diego, studying English and American literature because a really nice professor I knew with the odd first name of Sacvan – yes, Sacco and Vanzetti, plus his parents named his red-diaper sister “Ninel,” which took me forever to figure out – said anyone could do it, could do lit, and he eased my path. Hard to know in retrospect if he had been kidding. How would I make a living? Teach Jane Austen and Karl Marx to sun-dappled surfers, whom I knew had something to teach me, though I didn’t yet know what. Supplement that … [Read more...]

‘Dirt Always Wins’ (Part Four) — Master of Alconox

Gilbert chemistry set

When, for his ninth or tenth birthday, my spouse received a Gilbert chemistry set, all he wanted to do, he told me, was to make perfume and explosives. I had begged my parents for the same gift, probably for similar reasons, but a cheap plastic microscope must have “fallen off the truck,” because that’s what I got instead. What a whiny child I must have been. Quickly amoeba-centered and science-tracked, I was given the opportunity to work with a scientist at what was then called the Rockefeller Institute, in Manhattan, before leaving high … [Read more...]

‘Dirt Always Wins’ (Part Three) — The White Goddess

Clorox "Butch"

  No good will be served if I demonize my mother and claim that she was responsible for who I am, dirtwise. But almost everything I know about cleaning clothes and floors and toilets I learned from her. Since I was 6, I measured laundry powder, ironed shirts, polished mirrors and even memorized cleaning-supply jingles on TV because they were sung in a code that it was up to me to break. Mom told her friends that she was training me because she thought boys should be self-reliant, but it was actually because she wanted help in the house, … [Read more...]

Seahawks Sweat-Soda (a Partial Repost)

bottlesandpac

That's Seahawks all-pro tackle Walter Jones selling it Perspiration in a Bottle Forgive me, I have never reposted anything, but the Superbowl opportunity smacked me in the face. These alluring beverages will not be available, except in stores that specialize in dusty sports memorabilia. I loved the inevitability of puns and wordplay when I was a kid, and so I thought the title of the oh-so-'60s musical The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd was an absolute laff riot. Still, though I could imagine what a crowd smelled like, … [Read more...]