Sitting in an air-conditioned movie theater on a hot day, dark

Sitting in an air-conditioned movie theater on a hot day, dark

before the film starts

silent, stifled whispers

like a church

watching prepopulated images

a series of visuals

providing a faux-real imaginative experience

then we depart

back into the sweltering above-ground abyss.

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Batman Stamps

I’d like to talk about my Batman stamps. Literally. Stamps, featuring Batman, that I got at the post office weeks (i.e., months) ago. Let’s return to that fateful day. It was cold, chilly even. I remember it like it was being made up right now. Misshapen snowflakes melted on my fleece zip-up while I waited in the molasses-moving line. Could I have just walked up to the lonely, electronic kiosk and purchased a book of stamps (i.e., a set of 20 stamps) in a fraction of the time? Sure, but where’s the human-touch in that? Like all babies, I crave intimacy. I wanted to stand before the postal worker, request a book of stamps and make her day because I was asking for something simple that she could produce without even lifting a butt cheek. No need to search the back for a package or have to explain the process for procuring a passport. Just the stamps, ma’am (or mister).

When it was my turn, I approached the counter apprehensively. This was a big deal.

“A book of stamps, please.”

The attendant reached down into a folder/drawer/something and pulled out a flat sheet, and pushed it towards me. It was Batman, all Batman.

I was expecting flowers or flags.

“Cool, Batman,” I said.

The attendant cackled like the Joker, pulled out a machine gun umbrella and ignored my comment.

I paid the price, took my stamps and went off.

In the privacy of my car, I perused the stamps. The post office went all out. There were four different Batmen; Batman throughout history. The Golden Age, the Silver Age, the Modern Age, The Post-Modern (?) Age. Four of each. And four bat emblems in four different incarnations. For a total of 20. All laid out on a specially branded Batman background with a story of Batman’s creation on the back. Real collector’s stuff.

When I peeled my first Batman off the sheet and affixed it to a boring envelope, my inner child shuddered. Sacrilege. But it had to be done. The stamps had a job to do, and my sentimentality had withered with age. What else was I supposed to do? Save them, lock them in a safe and hope they’d grow in value over time? Not my style.

I’m down to nine stamps now. Five Batmen and all four emblems. One day in the future, even in today’s age of emails and text messages and dick pics, I’ll use my final stamp. And I’ll walk over to the trash can, discard the empty sheet and say, KA-POW!

Moon landing

You could see the moon in the sky today.

Sitting on a cloud like a mystery

guest.

Uninvited, no R-S-V-P

showing up and pitching its tent

staring at me

a peon weighted

in a state of half-despair, half-dissent

driving round and round around

spreading exhaustion

needing a nap

to bring the moon back to its rightful place.

Baloney (or) Beer

Looking back on my life, I notice there was never an age when both baloney and beer were part of my diet.  Additionally, the few years during which I had outgrown baloney but had not yet started drinking beer coincided with my ideal weight, fastest running times, and peak overall health.

If there’s some lesson in all of this I have no idea what it is.

If a tree falls in an office building

The escalators in my office building and the adjoining hotel run all the time. Even when there’s no one riding them. The motor moves the belt, the belt moves the steps around and around. It feels wasteful. Someone should invent an escalator motion sensor. Not me. But someone who knows about those things. Maybe the person/people who invented the motion sensor door. Those tend to work pretty well.

I hate golf but my god do I love the sound of smacking balls

Spuds and I hit up the driving range the other day. I hate golf. I hate golf shirts. I cringe at the sight of a golfing glove hanging out the pocket of some guy’s pleated khakis. If some guy starts telling you his recent golf scores… fart in his face and run.

And yet, THWACK. I love that sound. THWACK. Damn, that feels good. THWACK. THWACK. Golf sucks, but the sound of a driver crushing a ball is divine. I know this much is true.

Apex & Aftermath

I desire to live a lavish life full of lush plushness

have fun

the result of a slush fund

expunge the moribund

extreme extravagance

an avalanche of affluence

discard the dastardly

abolish the acrimony

and when it’s all done

seek a higher consciousness

vanish

and salvage my soul savagely.

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Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

Fumblings in Key West (or, Honk Out With Your Conch Out)

Key West is known as the Conch Republic. Locals are called Conchs. Key West Sunset Ale is marketed as ‘The Beer of the Conch Republic’. I had conch ceviche and conch fritters at a fish spot in Key West. They sell conch shells at all the major tourist shops. Basically, there’s a lot of conch over there.

As we drove by one gigantic conch shell situated on a street corner, my wife said, ‘That looks like a huge vagina.’

Stumblings in Key West

Key West and Ernest Hemingway are somewhat synonymous with each other (at least I think so). So, being that I’m in Key West and an Ernest Hemingway fan (having read quite a bit of his oeuvre), and domiciled during our stay exactly across the street from the Hemingway house, going on the tour seemed inevitable. Plus, those darn six-toed cats just get me all warm and fuzzy inside. Meow. Pet. Meow. Poop.

Our tour guide was evocative and well-spoken with an enthusiasm that swung between true Hemingway buff and pinkie scoop of China White. I think he was an actor, too, which may, also, explain the searing intensity in his eyes when he recited a particularly engrossing detail. Like when he got to the part of Hemingway shotgunning his brains out.

Hemingway womanized, was married four times, had a number of major concussions (nine reported), was bi-polar, a raging alcoholic, went through electro-shock therapy, changed the literary landscape and only lived in this house from 1931 to 1939.

They’re up to to 53 cats now.

Quite the legacy.

Jumblings in Key West

Snippets from the past two days and nights.

  • At a bar, drinking beer, listening to the pumped-in music. First, there was a song by Cake. A short period later, a long by Spoon. A spoonful of cake, so to speak.
  • Happy-hour at a waterfront fish house. 50% off drinks and appetizers. We had conch fritters, conch ceviche, 1/2 lb of peel-n-eat shrimp and baked oysters with a key lime butter breadcrumb topping. There’s a reason why restaurants can sell their food half-off and not lose money in the transaction. As we walked away, I felt my stomach speaking to me in jabs. Luckily, nothing worse happened. The half-off mojito wasn’t good either.
  • Walking around during the day. “I’m already sweating through my shirt,” I said to my wife. “So was that guy,” she said. “Which guy?” “That guy we passed.” I didn’t see any guy. “Good.”
  • The only reliable signal (other than our hotel’s wi-fi) is the Starbuck’s wi-fi. We stand outside Starbucks for 10 minutes plotting our next foray. We don’t order anything. It’s okay, I stopped for Starbucks at least 4x on the way down. They owe me.
  • Harry S. Truman had a vacation spot in Key West dubbed ‘The Little White House’. It’s not, as I presumed, a miniature version of the White House. It’s just white and smaller than the White House. We walk to the main entrance, curious to see if it’s free. It isn’t, but next to the gift shop is a free exhibit: two rooms off to the side with some Truman paraphernalia. We walk in. Pictures of Truman abound. There’s even a guayabera shirt encased in plexiglass next to a picture that appears to be of Truman in the shirt. Points for authenticity. In the second room, there’s a couple. A wife and husband, 50-60s, white. The husband is fat and sitting in a chair. I say hi, look around. There’s a poster with all the presidents ranked up until the latter Bush (from a 2009 C-Span poll). The headline reads, Truman ranked 5th in poll of best presidents. I look at the ranking and wonder why James Buchanan ended up last. The fat husband says, “Is Obama on there?” I say: “No, the poll was taken in 2009.” He grumbles. I keep looking for John Adams. There he is two above his son, John Quincy Adams. “Want to know where I’d rank him?” I think I already know. I sidestep: “Looks like people liked John Adams more than his son.” I leave the room, never to return.
  • Eating another meal to wash away the taste from happy-hour, I order a beer, Key West Sunset Ale. “Is this a local beer?” I ask the waitress. Whenever I can drink locally, I try to. “It was local, but they got too big and moved to the mainland.” “Oh. Do you have anything else local?” “No.” “Okay, I’ll have that.”
  • There’s a pair of sisters providing live music at dinner. One only sings. The other sings backup and plays keyboard. I tip them and ask them if they can play “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. The singer says doesn’t know it. The keyboardist laughs and says she’s never played it before. I say, “Me either.” When we leave 25 minutes later, they still hadn’t played it, but they were taking a break watching YouTube videos. I like to think they learned the song and played it later.
  • We got caught in the rain on the way to the Tropic Cinema to watch Jason Bourne. The movie was a mash-up of the previous ones and would’ve been better if I’d never seen any of them. But they still did a bang-up job with the car chases. Get it? It was still raining when we left. We quick-footed it to a bar. Drank. I looked at my wife with faux-seriousness and said, “Tell me your dreams.” She didn’t. We got rained on the whole way back to the hotel.

Mumblings in Key West

I’m in Key West, Florida as of last night and for the next three days. To commemorate my visit I will be taking stock of my activities and encounters via this portal, to share it for all posterity. Amen. Let’s begin.

The time: 10 pm

The location: Cocktail lounge on Duval Street

The scene: A non-indecent menage a trois at the bar (one guy, two girls), a slightly hipster, facial-haired, non-loquacious bartender, a Zoltar machine from the movie Big next to the bathroom. Ceiling treatments. Miami hotel pool music playing (think Thievery Corporation). Cocktail menu. An ode to Hemingway (daiquiri, non-frozen). Nods to Cuba. Reasonably priced.

The eavesdropping: I walked in to an ongoing conversation on the ludicrous price of some bottles of tequila (or mezcal, wasn’t quite sure) by the same producer. Bartender said: “Of all of these, and I’ve had them all, I actually prefer the $400 one to the $1,400.” One of the women said, “I really liked that one [unclear which]. It wasn’t even that expensive, like $30 a shot…definitely not $50.”

The drinks: Expertly-made, could hardly taste the liquor (in a good way), well-balanced, nuanced.

The incidentals: A group of three girls entered while the bartender was occupied making our drinks. A craftsman, he took his time. When he finished, he went to the back to do something, not stopping by the girls first. They left without ordering. He came back in time to see them leave, he gave me a tilted look as if to say, win some, lose some. I didn’t play the Zoltar.