the phoenician

“Something something something.”

A dark-complected man at the corner of Scottsdale and Indian School made an utterance more or less to me; I smiled tensely, assuming he was a street person asking for spare change. He took a step toward me, and I prepared myself to say, “Sorry, no.” Or maybe I would give him a buck? Probably not; probably just some half-hearted rejection, a lie about not having any money (not that I had much, but I did have some). I tried to look at him but not directly; I’m not sure why, but I think that’s the proper social form. Of course, I could be wildly wrong; I often am.

“It’s too hot,” he said. Surprised, I looked toward him, and noticed he had a rough beard and was wearing a short-sleeve, button-down polyester shirt. “It never cools down,” he said, somewhere between a matter-of-fact statement and a complaint. “It just stays hot all the time!” I’m not sure if the exclamation point is correct, here. It usually implies a leap in volume, which really wasn’t the case. It was more of a sharply deepening emotion that I’m trying to relay. Or, maybe better put, portray. Continue reading

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LaMonster: A (free) baseball novel

Beckett to McGwire to Bukowski. A slap-hitting minor league shortstop goes on the juice and starts belting Ruthian homers, jolting a hack reporter and mooching manager out of their boozy baseball philosophizing. When a lady who looks like Rita Moreno and smells like waffles enters their clubhouse, the slugger, the scribbler and the sad sack are all chasing the babe.

free download http://www.lulu.com/shop/tom-scanlon/lamonster-a-steroid-romance/ebook/product-16132828.html

la monster cover

“Signs Something Is Wrong in the Cockpit”

In general, aviation travel in the U.S. is extremely safe. Studies have proven that flying is statistically safer than walking on the freeway, or even driving down a sidewalk.

Even so, it can’t hurt to be “on your guard,” whilst soaring through the air at (when you think about it) alarming speeds. Fight the temptation to doze, read a book or magazine (unless it’s this one, obviously), chat or daydream of the days of train travel. Remain alert at all times, as the senses can be a type of internal radar.

Here are a few warning signals that something is “a little off” in the cockpit:

 

“Good evening, this is your pilot speaking. We’re climbing steadily to our cruising altitude, so please don’t look at the engines. Call me superstitious, but just please don’t.” Continue reading

Facebed and other new technology . . .

For well over a half a century, telephones just sat around, stupidly. Then came remedial cellphones, and the current batch of smartphones.

Similarly, engineers are currently working to “smart up” some of the other daft items laying about the house.

Smartoilet: All those accumulated hours you waste, just sitting there . . .  No more. The smartoilet has a keyboard/monitor that pops up when you sit down, so you can Tweet, FB, surf the Net or do some business while you do your business. “Hands free” button allows you to keep emailing or texting, during automated cleanup. Add on apps include a variety of personalized, musical flushes and a “silencer” mode so as not to disrupt phone calls.

iShower: No more frustrating wait for the water to heat up and frantic search for the right setting . . .  Using “browser close” Continue reading

Work-in-Progress: “Stranded in the Desert at Night (Twice)”

I recently found a tattered little notebook just off the Lost Dog Wash hiking trail in north Scottsdale. The writing was a bit faded, though it was hard to tell how long the notebook had been there; I do frequent this trail about twice a week, and hadn’t seen it before – so it may have been left there recently. But it has been exceptionally windy, lately, so it may have been blown from another part of the series of rolling hills (some call it “the mountain,” but I find that to be quite an exaggeration, as the elevation is barely 3,000 feet, at the peaks). The writing ranged from clumsy to almost indecipherable, with much of the writing in what seemed to be a furiously hurried style; it actually looked similar to the journals I used to keep to record dreams, when I would write frantically by flashlight at 3 and 4 a.m. As such, I think I was able to make out more of the words (though not all) than the average person would have, although this is just a mild conjecture.

Adding to the challenge of deciphering this, several pages on the journal I found seemed to have streaks of blood – although it could have been red paint, or even beet juice.

I’m sharing this in the hope that some light might be shed upon the rather abrupt ending. Perhaps if a family member or friend recognizes the unnamed author by style and circumstance, and if that person has been missing for some time, would it warrant the authorities searching the area thoroughly?

Better yet, my hope is that the actual author will come forth and say, “Yes, that’s mine. I must have dropped the notebook, I’m fine.”

 In any case, here is the best I could set down:

This has been the most amazing, horrible, beautiful, sensationally ridiculous night of my life. Yesterday was pretty stupid, too, beginning with a trip to the drycleaners – not, that was this morning, it was yesterday morning that my boss told me “you’re looking a little wrinkly.” This was on a Friday, end of my second week at the Salvation Army; though I was so Continue reading

The Great Max McGee and Football Bars of Cave Creek

From ImagesAZ magazine, October 2013 edition:

Many of us from places like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Illinois pretty much came here as a mad scramble away from the weather. Once that fall snap comes, it’s a misery of snow and slush and that icy wind that slaps you in the face, sacks you and drives you into the cold, hard ground. Oh, and let’s not forget the “audible at the line”: When you look out the window at 7 a.m. and realize you have to shovel a foot of white off the driveway. Once the weather blitz begins, it’s one personal foul after another, for months.

No, there’s not much good about winter.

Except football.max mcgee super bowl Continue reading

Overly Optimistic Baby Names

They say there is nothing more optimistic than the parent of a newborn human – so precious, so physically adorable, so pure, sinless, filled with the potential to shine, to excel in any number of important fields, to (who knows?) maybe even make the world a better place. So who can blame a parent for giving that dear little one a name to match the dreams?

Unfortunately, not all the planning done in the maternity ward pans out. Here are some examples of optimistic baby names that didn’t turn out as hoped.

Chastity Sasserelli

Best moment: Starred as “The Christmas Angel” three years running (kindergarten through second grade).

End result: Married her middle school sweetheart, had first child in ninth grade; divorced and remarried as a junior in high school. At 33, with seven kids and four ex-husbands, swore she wasn’t having any more and took vow of celibacy so she could concentrate on being a dental hygienist.  But, at a holiday party, got drunk and slept with her boss, who later denied it Continue reading

The Phoenicia (fiction, dedicated to M.P.)

 “Something something something.”

A dark-complected man at the corner of Scottsdale and Indian School made an utterance more or less to me; I smiled tensely, assuming he was a street person asking for spare change. He took a step toward me, and I prepared myself to say, “Sorry, no.” Or maybe I would give him a buck? Probably not; probably just some half-hearted rejection, a lie about not having any money (not that I had much, but I did have some). I tried to look at him but not directly; I’m not sure why, but I think that’s the proper social form. Of course, I could be wildly wrong; I often am.

“It’s too hot,” he said. Surprised, I looked toward him, and noticed he had a rough beard Continue reading

Cowboy Johnny

Image

 

Images AZ story (link here)

A painting in a Cave Creek living room shows four movie cowboys: John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Johnny Moats. If you’re over age 40 or so, you probably know the first three, as they were some of the biggest stars of Hollywood Westerns. The fourth was in a dozen or so movies and 25 to 30 TV shows, though if you blinked or sneezed while watching you might have missed him.

 

Johnny Moats was a stuntman and extra, getting to know the big stars not so much from working alongside them, but more from behind-the-scenes work and serving them drinks as a Hollywood and Vegas bartender.

 

The painting is priceless to Johnny, as it literally frames his heroes and his life. “When I was a kid, my hero was Gene Autry,” Moats says, in a soft spoken cowboy drawl. “I wanted to walk like him, talk like him, ride horses like him. John Wayne becomes everyone’s hero when you get older. The way you walk, the way you talk, what it’s like to be a real man.”

 

Women certainly seemed to think Johnny Moats was a real man. At 77, his days of riding horses, slinging drinks and playing the field have softly faded out, credits rolling. But in Continue reading