I’m at the Rocket Bakery procrastinating on writing my thank-you notes for the wedding presents I received in August. (I really am grateful for the sundry kitchen appliances, picture frames, and lingerie (penis slippers included), and I hope that you all keep up the habit of giving them to me in the future. I was raised better than this, so clearly the internet with its maze of blogginess and generic facebook photographs is to blame.)

There’s a sign with pull tabs on the wall saying, “Food not bombs” which makes me think that if anything can be substituted for war—bikes not bombs, make out not war, etc.—then we all should be really too busy to wield the hand of aggression, and war would seem to be the outcome of boredom. So if someone would simply give those world leaders and charismatic terrorist aficionados something to do, the world would be a safer place.

And how about those Americans? A Newsweek came in the mail intended for a Mary Carver—I’m hoping that this is not Mitch’s way of telling me that we have a polygamous relationship; I mean, at least say it with flowers. And on the cover is this burning wad of wrinkled greasy cash and the caption: “Why Americans are still Spending Money” or something like that. What would you rather have: a stack of paper, more infested with germs than any other substance we touch, or a new lap top that’s negative point five inches thick, on which you can twiddle away your time?

If American money were more interesting or looked prettier, then maybe we wouldn’t spend it as often. Take credit cards: they are the key to unlocking possession of all sorts of things—music, clothes, books, drunkenness, travel—but if you don’t use them they’re just flat pieces of plastic with magnetic strips on the back.

Maybe if, instead of the presidents, bills had pinup girls on them or clues to a great mystery, we wouldn’t trade them in for cool stuff as much.

Would a dragon sit on a cache of Washingtons and Lincolns and tarnished old nickels and little numbers from account balances? Two words: ugly. flammable. You see what happens, Mary?


Drugs and Vegetables

What if one part of a plant were an illegal substance and another part were a healthy vegetable? Like if marijuana grew from the top of carrots, or for every four bundles in a head of broccoli one was a hallucinogenic mushroom, or whenever you cut open a red pepper a stream of finely processed cocaine poured out?

I can see the legal proceedings now. The vegeugs are heavily supported by the libertarians and the decidedly non-conservatives. The latter make T-shirts portraying the illicit vegetables, and they argue that obesity is the drug Americans indulge in, and what better way to better the market on produce? The pharmaceutical companies, dressed in their suits and with large gibberish-sounding words in their heads, are already devising advertising schemes -- Trouble sleeping/feeling happy/getting it up/breathing/urinating without discomfort? Try our line of vegeugs! Hypoallergenic so they're good for packing in the kiddos' lunches too.

The people against the legalization of vegetables-attached-to-drugs are male (as, actually, are the ones for it), white, and portly. They think it's pretty fishy how everyone has taken such an interest and liking in vegetables now that they have shacked up with drugs. One points out that he doesn't eat anything green. Another says, "Vegetables are for skinny people trying to stay skinny." A giant smear campaign is launched stating that red peppers are allegedly fruit.

Lobbyists lob money onto both sides. Folks put up signs in their yards according to party; some have upstanding-looking carrots and others have homeless-looking carrots, but they're all phallic-looking carrots. (At least we agree on something.)

And we're all encouraged to vote. And 40% of the population cares A LOT. And vegetables start becoming scarce on family tables so as not to insight heated talking-matches between parents and children.

Well gosh, thank goodness that's not what our political climate really looks like.


a prayer in the smallest church on the side of the road.

Beers 2

“I want you to know that this woman gets crowns without any Novocain,” a woman came over to our table and said about Susan, an older lady we had plopped down next to. We were at the Craft Brewers Association beer tasting at Enoteca, and Susan was rapidly showing me how little I knew about beer. She talked about her travels in Europe and spoke of most micro brews with the same mild disdain that I have for Keystone Light. (It’s tough to go to Europe without coming back as something of a snob.) She asked for the tiniest amount of each sample saying that she knew what she liked immediately.

The Craft Brewers Association is the company who owns Widmer, Redhook, Goose Island, and, now, Kona. I have a bias against Widmer. Their logo makes it look like they sell trucks instead of beer. It’s a “w” with lines on it on top of uninteresting often inorganic two-dimensional scenes. Mass produced. Built Ford tough.

We started with Goose Inland Demolition Belgian Golden, which is available in the Chicago area. It was very light in color, and had more flavor than I expected. When our beer-appreciative crowd took the first sip, chirps of “Oh mmm, fruit” and “definitely coriander” broke out. It tasted mostly like beer to me. And I’m impressed with the delight that beer enthusiasts take in tasting something other than beer in beer. Dare I tell them about orange juice?

The next was Redhook Eisbock 28. 11% ABV. (We bought a bottle.) It was pumpkin orange and tasted like a fall warmer. Eisbocks are fermented at temperatures below freezing; this allows the sugars to break out and raises the alcohol content. Apparently, Eisbocks are somewhat frowned upon and can get to ABVs as high as 40%.

They brought in Domino's from next door. $10 got us six samples of beer, pizza, and a glass to take home. Awesome.

Our Virgil in our circling beer descent was a man named Jeremy. He said that he never had a New Belgium brew that he really liked. (Alec under his breath: sacrilage.) There’s problems with these Widmer people.

The third beer we had was Kona Pipeline Porter. They brew it with real Kona coffee, and Pipeline Porter tastes enough like espresso that I think we all are licensed to drink it for breakfast. Jeremy told us that the CBA had recently bought the whole of Kona brewery. While some will still be brewed on the Hawaiian Islands, much of it will be brewed in Portland. He even said that some of the Pipeline Porter sold in Hawaii will probably have been flown in from Portland.

The next three were ok: Widmer Double Alt, Redhook Big Ballard Imperial IPA, and Widmer Deadlift IPA, the best being the Imperial. Susan wasn’t really a fan. She recommended two Belgians: Bavik and Goudenbond.

It was as we were getting ready to leave when Susan’s dentist came over to us. “You never know who you’ll run into,” she said, as she gathered her crutches. “At least it wasn’t my gynecologist.”


Auto Correct

What if there were an Auto Correct for people? Since my laptop hard drive died, I’ve been borrowing an old Compaq. It has Word, most importantly, and minesweeper and Paint (and, ooh, pinball – pinball nostalgia moment: the Manitou Pancake House had an old-style pinball machine in the basement that you could play for free. The controls had that satisfying pre-Xbox feel. Plunger and flippers: all bolts and levers, not a computerized thing to it. Sometimes on Sundays my family would go there after church with the Lungs. We once saw a mouse scamper across the floor under our table. Does free pinball make up for the probable existence of mouse feces? Yes, emphatically yes.), but that’s about all it has. No internet, no Zune, and no spell check.

The lack of a spell check has made me realize how incorrect at spelling I actually am. I’ve been typing for years and Word has been dutifully auto correcting for me. It’s been taking out “l”s or capitalizing “i”s without me realizing it. I am a flawed human being; I can see that now.

So my thought is, is it possible for—-nay, how long will it be until—-computers auto correct all sorts of things about us? You post a picture of yourself on facebook and facecheck automatically eradicates that pimple by your mouth, which was caused by the hours spent talking on the phone to your long-distance boyfriend who’s voice has been automatically changed to sound more interested and caring. (You love him.)

Tasteless internet over-sharing will be censored and emodicons will be expressed in words. (That makes me feel like winking and sticking my tongue out!)

Sentiment will not be expressed unless computers deem reciprocation likely.

Cameras will automatically shed ten pounds and eliminate unsightly body hair.

Technology will govern our interactions in order to correct unnecessary muckiness like blemishes, awkwardness, evidence of solipsism, and poor social etiquette.

It will be impossible to say, “i am, like, litterally, in love with you.”


Happy Birthday

We sung happy birthday to a man turning 86, Melissu and I did. Melissu's a gal I work with; she looks like she's 22 but has a 17-year-old daughter so she must not be. She has white-blonde hair and big blue eyes. ("Came with the face," she tells me.) She likes to pinch baby's cheeks, to goof off, and to say miscellaneous swear words under her breath. I like her.

Ray told us he was 42 and asked if we believed him. I dutifully nodded my head. He smiled and softly laughed. "I'm double that," he said. And as an afterthought, "Plus two."

"So, are you gonna sing me happy birthday?" He asked.

We sung it all the way through in the lobby of the YMCA. When we finished his eyes were wet and he was blushing. He blew us each a kiss and then thanked us.

And I wouldn't want Mitch to worry (so maybe don't mention it) but: yeah, I still got it.