Sunday, May 28, 2006

One of these days, I’ll let the dog sleep in the bed.

One of these days, I’ll let the dog sleep in the bed.
Why not?
He’s attentive, caring, devoted.
He follows me around with unabashed admiration and curiosity:
“Where are we going now?
What are you eating? Why are we walking to the laundry room?”

I feed him the same thing, every day.
Yet he is so grateful when I put his food in front of him.
No complaints, just a wagging tail and a busy mouth.

When I’m bored, he lets me play with his paws.
I tickle the little bits of fur sticking out between his foot pads
and even though it torments him, he always brings the paw back.
I toss a stuffed toy for him, and he runs and gets it every time.
“Good boy!” I croon, and he listens, even if he’s heard it all before.

When I’m sad
He lets me cling to him for long minutes at a time,
never shifting or restless
or thinking about what else he could be doing at that moment.
He lets me stop hugging first.
Sometimes he even licks my chin.

When I go out the door in the morning, he rushes towards me
in the hope that he can be my companion for whatever the day might bring.
“Can I come, too? I’ll miss you while you’re gone.”
“No,” I have to tell him. “Stay.”
Sometimes I wish I could open the door wide and take him along.
When I come home, he’s waiting in the same spot for me,
so excited to see me he’s dropped everything just to say “hello.”

At night, when I climb into the bed,
He’ll come and nose my hand before he wanders off to his box
He in his place
me in mine.

One of these days, I’ll let the dog sleep in the bed--
A soft snorting companion to my dreams.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I’m going to be teaching a literature course in the fall, my first ever. It’s been years (none of your business how many) since I earned my masters degree in lit, so I’ve been brushing up a bit. In reading about the poetry genre, I came across the descriptions for haikus, and remembered the haiku poems our teacher had us write in fifth grade. Well, I don’t remember the poems themselves, but in general I remember how much fun they were. Haikus are often like photographs of a moment, captured in present tense word choices. They follow a five-seven-five syllable pattern.

So, just for the heck of it, here are some “picture poems” (as I like to call them) I came up with today.

Haiku #1
A black and white dog
lying helpless and trusting
with his legs spread wide.

Haiku #2
Reaching for ketchup
in the back of the Kenmore.
There isn’t any.

Haiku #3
The scent of mangos
Papayas sweet and shiny
I prefer oranges.

Let’s see some of yours!


King Kong, or The Movie that Shouldn't Have Been

My husband and I received the DVD King Kong as a gift a couple of months ago, but hadn’t had the time to watch it. Finally, we set aside three hours one night after the kids had gone to bed and settled in for the viewing. We were cautiously excited about it because the director, Peter Jackson, is very popular in our house. We loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy. We hoped to love this movie, too, but we wondered, how can one say anything original the fourth time out of the gate about a big ape who falls in love with a blonde?

Sadly, we discovered that one cannot, even if that one is Mr. Jackson.

While the filmmaker did try to bring a new angle to this tale of “girl meets ape” that eschewed the unsavory sexual undertones of previous versions, going instead for a “owner/pet” relationship between the two (with the girl being the pet), unfortunately that angle was too thin to be stretched over three hours of film. Heroine Ann Darrow, as played by Naomi Watts, was as lovely and emotive an ingĂ©nue as any who have played the part, but after watching scene after scene of her trading soulful, silent gazes with Andy Serkis’ Kong, enough was enough.

High adventure is something we expect of a Peter Jackson film, as well, and he made a heroic attempt to deliver. However, the middle hour of the movie appeared to be one long bite-fest, with prehistoric dinosaurs attacking each other, the cast members, and Kong non-stop. After the umpteenth time of Ms. Watts falling into the clutches of yet another beastie and having to be rescued by Kong, it got to the point where we just didn’t care anymore. Like the monk in the Monty Python classic Search for the Holy Grail, we were persuaded to “skip a bit, brother,” and fast forwarded through most of those scenes. When, at the end, Jack Black’s character, movie producer Carl Denham, comments that seventeen shipmates had been killed in the rescue of the heroine, my husband and I were amazed. Really? Only seventeen? So many were dropped into yawning caverns, squashed, or consumed, we thought that surely there had been many more than that.

Finally, the willing suspension of disbelief is a critical element of bringing the audience along for the ride in a fantasy horror film of this ilk. If one can get past the “Jurassic Park meets Godzilla” feel of the film, one still has to believe that after hours of man--er--ape-handling by Kong, the heroine still looked perfect (not a scratch on her). As much as the heroine got whipped around in this film, she would have needed a neck brace, casts, and crutches after she was freed.

We wished this film had lived up to the reputation of the director. At a minimum, the movie could have been seriously edited by at least an hour. A better choice would have been to let sleeping apes lie, and not to have made this remake at all.

Better luck next time, Mr. Jackson.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Typical Day

So, I’m driving home the other day after a really long day at work, and I begin to merge onto the freeway. Now, you have to understand where I work--a small college town in East Texas--the freeway is really a long stretch of two-lane road with its own set of rules. If you’re doing less than 80 in the left hand lane, you need to get the heck over or get run over. This is understood. No one will honk at you--that would be considered rude. They will, however, ride your bumper for five miles until you get the message and MOVE OVER. The other rule is, since everyone is pretty much doing 80 all the time, when you merge, you merge fast. Those in the right hand lane when you are attempting to merge need to get the hell out of your way, or slow the hell down to let you in (pardon my French).

So, a big 18 wheeler is in the right lane, far enough back, with no one in the left hand lane to get in its way, when I start to merge onto the freeway. I’m speeding up...and so is he. I check his left hand lane--no cars, so I figure, okay, dude’s gonna pull to the left lane and let me in. He doesn’t. He came up right on my left bumper, and then just kept coming. That idiot ran me off the road right into the breakdown lane! Scared me to death. He didn’t even acknowledge my presence. I was very nearly killed--could have been if I’d lost control of the car, since the breakdown lanes here are pitted to wake you up as you go over them--hard to drive on.

I was ticked! At first, I’m just yelling at the guy, “What are you, nuts?” Then, I happened to see that, unlike most Texas trucks, he’s got one of those little handy “How am I driving?” signs on his back bumper.


Now, gotta figure, if a man's gonna drive like a freakin' maniac, he ought not to have a sign on his bumper that says, “Call my boss if I run you off the road.” So there I am, driving 85 miles an hour with my cell phone stuck to my ear trying to read the number on the back of his truck, and at some point the guy realizes what I’m doing. He tries to speed up, dodge me in traffic, but I’m not havin’ any of it. I GOT HIS NUMBER. Oh, yeah, baby, I did.

“I’ll report this to the driver’s supervisor right away, ma’am.”

Heh heh heh.

Boy, that felt good. So good, in fact, that as I passed him on the two lane highway, I even resisted the urge to give him the one fingered salute. Just waved and smiled a lot, knowing a three day suspension without pay would be waiting for him when he got home.

That’ll teach him to mess with evil minded Californians who know how to seek revenge.

Heh heh heh.