Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Lost Post Card

All these sweaters make me feel creepy. Like an undead witch carcass is dangling just overhead, gasping and plotting. That’s ridiculous. Your Gammy made you those sweaters. To keep you. What? To keep you warm, I meant. Where is Gammy now? Is she still on that 5-Day Coastal Pacific Excursion on board the Norwegian Sun? She’s been away since before the last frost. Gammy is in the insane asylum. What? Gammy is on that 5-Day Coastal Pacific Excursion on board the Norwegian Sun that you mentioned. She sent you a post card! I haven’t seen this post card. Is it here? It might be behind the television. I looked behind the television. It might be under the refrigerator. I looked under the refrigerator. Why did you look under the refrigerator? I was hoping to find your cigarettes. It might be with Sarah’s toys. I looked with Sarah’s toys, and alls I found was a note from Gammy. It was etched into the blade of a nineteenth-century machete, and it said “fammi uscire da questa merda manicomio. Il cibo è pessimo e non hanno cavo.” When is Chopped on? This isn’t my show. Why do we have an antique machete with a note from Gammy on it? That’s the post card I was talking about. Some post card! You can harvest sugarcane with it! Did you find my cigarettes? I looked up her note on Google Translate and it says that she’s in an insane asylum. She wants us to get her out. Why? You need more sweaters to complain about? No, I like Gammy. We should spring her. So, we took the antique machete and leapt out of our comfortable chairs and kicked the front door open and sank knee deep into the mud in the front yard and slogged through the mud for hours and finally reached the van with the handicap plates. We started up the van and I knocked the machete against the roof racks on purpose. We took off west on 5th St toward N Mayfield Ave, turned left onto the Interstate 215 S ramp, merged onto I-215 S, took the exit onto I-10 E toward Redlands/Indio, took the California St exit, turned right onto California St, turned left onto W Redlands Blvd and then into the driveway of the Inland Psychiatric Medical Group. We opened the trunk and tied about a dozen bedsheets together and threw the string of bedsheets up into the air until one end caught on the sill of an open window about 6 stories up, which knocked over a potted begonia, and the sound of broken earthenware woke Gammy. She came to the window in her flowered shift. “Fammi uscire da questa merda manicomio. Il cibo è pessimo e non hanno cavo.” she said calmly. “What’s that, Gammy?” “Fammi uscire da questa merda manicomio. Il cibo è pessimo e non hanno cavo.” I looked at Ma. What is she saying? I don’t know. Climb up and ask her again. We don’t have a phone? Just go! We’re missing my show!! So I climbed up the bedsheets with the machete thrust into the tie of my velour bathrobe. Gammy! I can’t climb any higher. What do you want? “Fammi uscire da questa merda manicomio. Il cibo è pessimo e non hanno cavo.” she said, ask she lowered another creepy sweater to me. I climbed back down, and we drove back to the house. I called and got Gammy a pizza and ordered her a Netflix subscription. The undead witch carcass dangled overhead, gasping and plotting.

Honey bees also use odor recognition for finding food

Why are the bees copping such a sarcastic attitude all of a sudden? I blew a little smoke from my beloved pipe, hoshchey Kthe Deathless, on the hive. They’re all waving their bee butts around, like “Oh, smoke? Really? What a surprise.” And going back to their business, rebuilding damaged nests for pupae and collecting propolis. Right away I could tell they were upset with me for something. I took a puff from Khoshchey and began to review my actions during the last few days, as the cloud of bees around me gave me the “oh no, everythings fine, why do you ask” look. On Tuesday I brought a troika of collected “under-leaf buds of white birch, poplar and aspens, which allow bees to create in beehives the ideal protection - propolis.” They seemed quite pleased, as they waggled their pollinators and began to help me “vanish [my] anxieties concerning danger of «age illnesses», premature breakdown and withering of appearance.” On Friday I had left my terrible assistant Foma unconscious in the mud near the beehive. He just smelt too terrible to keep him in, or near, my troika. I covered him with mud and layers of club moss in hopes that something in nature might biodegrade the horrible stench of his normal life. I hadn’t thought of the bees actually being affected by my leaving him nearby. After all, they don’t have noses at all, DO THEY? If I had Google I might have figured out that “Honey bees (Apis mellifera) have 170 odorant receptors” and that they get supremely PO’d about leaving Foma so close to the hive. However I live in 1466, before Google or the journal Genome Research. I have to go with my gut. And I just wanted to retrieve my disgusting assistant Foma after I was done getting some honey from the bees, and toss his drunken form back onto the troika after the smell quieted down. But no. All those odorant receptors TOTALLY RUINED the bees’ weekend. No bee girls would come over after the sock hop. None of the little bees out flagging down cars for a car wash (sorry troikas for a troika wash, I forgot I live in 1466) got anybody to stop, cause once they rolled down their birch-paper windows they got a whiff of Foma’s ungodly stench and stamped on their slate accelerator pedals out of Tver!! So, that’s why the bees are totally dissing me.
When in doubt, Google image search "moon man 1970s children's book"

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tver was "Formerly a land of woods and bogs" OK? It just makes sense. It got trampled over to make room for Moscow's suburbs, OK?

I was Tatar, and you?

Many Russian boyar (noble) families traced their descent from the Mongols or Tatars, including Veliaminov-Zernov, Godunov, Arseniev, Bakhmetev, Bulgakov (descendents of Bulgak) and Chaadaev (descendents of Genghis Khan's son Jagatay). In a survey of Russian noble families of the 17th century, over 15% of the Russian noble families had Tatar or Oriental origins.[11]

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Who’s baking bread in this evil wigwam?

That must be the smell of baking bread, which is always welcome in a hopeless leathery kiln of a room like this one. Nobody here is going to bake any bread. This place is where you get eaten, or you eat a rat or a frog, or find a bone to suck on. Been nothing but death, death, death for hundreds of years, here in Baba Yaga’s place. The smell evanesces, and then I catch it again: bread! I look over at Frommers, who’s just crying into his beard with his eyes closed. I’ve been here before, gotten out before, even surprised Yaga so that she laughed out loud and forgot to kill me. Never smelled anything like bread here, though. It has occurred to me that Yaga might be out of town. Her pestle is gone, and her noisy old traveling sweater made of horseshoe crab tails. The place is lacking something, even in the way the fleas cross the floor like they’re on vacation, all lackadaisical and brimming with whimsy like. The boss has left. So who’s got me and Frommers all tied up and dying of thirst, next to the iron oven and the fleas and the heap of fresh scalps? Who’s baking bread in this evil wigwam? I wink at the fleas, and some of the saucier ones sort of bound around and click their flea heels at me. So my hunch is right: there’s some kind of reprieve at work. I’m not khleb dreaming. What’s more, the flea parade is moving towards this worn mess of a rug, made of woven particolored rags like a suffocated jester. They stream into one side of the rug, but they don’t come out t’other side. What gives? I spend a minute stealing Frommer’s belt and knife, and then roll my fat self across the floor away from the oven and over to the nasty rug. The smell of bread gets a whole lot unmistakeabler. Somebody under that rug is making some nourishing buttery goodness. It’s like April sunlight streaming in through a window, but it’s covered by a flattened clown. I pray for some kind of water, since I’m so thirsty, and I bite down on the belt I stole from Frommers with my hands tied together, and I try to roll over to the mangy rug.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Horrible Hen of Hrastvecy

⟴ They both stopped for a moment and stared at their hands. The blood was inevitable, of course, and the trembling and the burn marks. Where had the chicken feathers come from, though? That was weird. Was there a chicken involved, and they were both so involved that they had missed it? Had someone been casting feathers from a high branch as they pummeled one another? Now that they were paying attention, there really were a ton of feathers under foot, and floating around them like snowflakes. Afanasy glanced at Frommers and made the “let’s take a break from brawling and figure out this chicken thing” gesture. It had gotten dark since they had begun to try to break one another, and a pair of crows had found an ear behind a log and begun processing it. Afanasy produced a glowing coal from a sack at his waist, and used it to start a little fire in a heap of dry pine needles. The thick smoke from the smoldering needles frightened off the crows and the light from the fire made the smoke heavy and weighty between the two foes. There was a pair of eyes reflecting light from the pine woods to the northeast, where the land declined into marshland. They blinked and then reappeared. Afanasy gestured again to Frommers. Abruptly, Frommers picked up a helmet and tossed it, rotating expertly, at the pair of eyes. There was a deep, throaty clucking from the gloomy void. A spreading of flightless wings and a determined charge over snapping underbrush. The two bitter enemies confronted the raging fowl as symmetrical parts of a whole, Afanasy striking with his left and Frommers with his right. The mindless creature, which loomed over them like a spinning cedar, coughed out a gob of foam and blood, and brought its sail-sized wings over and across them like a boat righting itself in a hurricane. Frommers and Afanasy felt their skulls bounding off each other with the force of a wave trying to dislodge a piece of coast. Baba Yaga’s hut looked a little better than the last time he had awakened there. She had taken down the depressing garlands of seaweed and onions, and widened the only window so that there was a view of the wet mud outside. There was a smell of damp hair, pepper and dried tar that drifted into Afanasy’s nostrils. A stream of determined-looking fleas crossed the floor and streamed over his boot. Something was definitely different. Had Baba Yaga gotten married or something? “Yaga?” “Baba Yaga?!” No response. The fleas paused and staggered for a moment, as though they had lost their sense of purpose. A crock of pickled vegetation burst open, with a shower of brine, garlic and sochevitsa out into the wooden interior of the shack. Frommers hadn’t opened his eyes, but he turned to Afanasy and coughed “I don’t smell Baba Yaga.” Afanasy reviewed replacement ideas in his mind. Who else lived in Baba Yaga’s haunted shack? Who would dare? Who else needed a place to live that bad? Then he remembered Yaga’s pretty niece from Yemen... what was her name? Baba Ghannoush. Please let it not be her.

The God of Shoes

The god of shoes finally ran out of money. It seemed like only weeks ago that everyone was driving him nuts with all the checks they had to mail him! “More money?!” he would angrily shout as he opened another envelope with his special pinky nail that he grew out for opening envelopes of money. “More money?!? Just put it back in the mailbox. Who has time for this?!” he would grate, covering the pile of money from an hour ago with a fresh layer of how-do-you-do. He would even try to give the shoes away, but nobody would take free shoes. “Just put a price on them already!” was the complaint. So he would slip a Sharpie from behind his ear, lick a finger, work a sticker out of his vest pocket, write some ridiculous number on the sticker, and before the smell of the ink had even quieted down, there was another sack of wherewithal to deal with. He would make the ugliest shoes Mankind had ever seen. He would make a shoe and put it next to a turd rolled in hay, and compare. “Yep, that shoe is uglier!” he would chuckle. And he would put a price on it so humongous that the poor sticker would just wheeze and wilt. Just zero after zero, after five, after nine after seven, and then he would cap the Sharpie, and then take the cap off and add some more numbers. “There aren’t enough of these shoes!” was the complaint. “How did I run out of money?” he asked himself, watching all of his shoes strolling past him. Sometimes someone would stop, slide a coin between his toes, and wink at him.
My favorite restaurant.