This is Net. 

This afternoon, my daughter and I played a friendly game of, Let’s Spread Out That Net We Found at the Dumps Today and See How Big It Is! 

For better or worse, we don’t have trash service. The up side is that we find treasures occasionally. I’ve been wanting some netting to prop up the hops plants. I brought this net home from the dumps in the truck. It was heavy. 

We spread it out on the lawn. It was surprisingly great in size.

Zanimal pretended she was a giant squid. I caught her in my net. She was delighted. 


No tricks of the camera; this net is big! Bigger than our whole yard in Madison. 

There were several holes in it. The holes were mended with quick connectors and ropes. Zanimal collected all of the quick connectors. (The hops won’t care if there are holes.) 

She gathered them together and tied them around her waist with a rope. 

Now she’s trying to sell all of the quick connectors back to me, fifty cents each. I told her I didn’t have any cash. Bad Assed Husband backed me up, 

“It’s true,” he said. “We’re living in a post-cash society.” 

I appreciated that. Solidarity is important when parenting. 

Ghost Cow, or Something More?

I’ve been keeping the sheep in some flimsy, portable fencing during the day, and then going out before dark and herding them into more secure fencing for the night. This evening, while binge  watching Parks and Recreation, I forgot to go outside and secure them before dark. I went out late, and the sheep were all there, ridiculously happy to see me. But there was something else out there, too, and it freaked me out.

I heard something breathing at me from the east. I pointed the flashlight at it. Nothing there. But still, the breathing, 

Hastily, I secured the sheep, and then hesitated. I pointed the flashlight again towards the east, but there was nothing. Just an empty field. Then, sticks breaking. Whatever it was, it was large and broke sticks when it walked. 

I went inside the big fence, and walked back toward the house inside the fence, surrounded by sheep with big horns who like me. Would they defend me, if pressed to? Or would they let it eat me? I wished I had brought a large stick. 

Still, the breathing. It sounded like a horse. Then the footsteps in the forest again. My neighbors don’t keep horses. Or anything, for that matter. 

I reached a point where I had to go outside of the fence again to get home. I did so, quickly. I pretended to be large and imposing. But I am not large and imposing.

Finally, home! Safe inside, I realized my heart was racing and I was totally out of breath! 

What was it? An escaped neighbor’s cow? A bear? But why couldn’t I see it with the flashlight?

I don’t know. 

It was scary. 

I’m still recovering from the Ghost Cow.

Top Ten Reasons I Love Parks and Recreation

  1. Leslie and Ann Perkins are like the friendship I wish I ever had with… someone.
  2. They drink more than I do!
  3. Andy is more unrealistic about his career than I am!
  4. I will marry Ron. In my next life. When Parks and Rec is real and I am named Tammy. 
  5. My daughter loves it so much, between that and watching farm animals, I don’t have to teach her a thing about the facts of life!
  6. Chris also enjoys carob and berries as a dessert alternative, just like I do!
  7. In my next life, I will be Donna.(Except of course my name will be a Tammy.)
  8. April is really a daemon possessing Ron’s mind. I learned that from watching Legion. 
  9. Gary/Larry/Jerry is so sweet. And a great artist. 
  10. Enthusiasm is good. Leslie is the most enthusiastic person on fictional Earth. And that is a wonderful thing. 

Bonus: “There has never been a sadness that could not be cured by breakfast foods.”

Dr. H’s Moby-Dick

“Call me Ishmael,” he said. “It’s not my name, but call me Ishmael! Bwa ha!” He tooted the last part, a silly little laugh. He was a smallish guy. He looked like a cute little rat. Cute little middle aged chain smoking coffee drinking slightly perverted but clearly adorable, absurdly intelligent rat. The kind of rat you would want in your pocket while you presented your PhD dissertation, even though he would make you giggle at the wrong times. 

That was the first day of class. It was summer school, so there were about twelve students, ten of whom were bronze, mostly naked off-season snowboard girls. I went to an obscure, third rate college, high in the mountains of Colorado. The summer school uniform was a sports bra and running shorts. The only jewelry allowed was toe rings. 

One of the mostly naked amazonians with a toe-ringed foot sitting on the seat in front of her said,

“This syllabus is all Moby-Dick. I thought this was American Lit?” 

“Moby-Dick is American literature. Herman Melville was an American.”

“Yeah, but…”

“So! Bwa ha! Page one. ‘Call me Ishmael.’,  best opening line of any book ever. But let’s go back to the title: ‘Moby-Dick or The Whale.’” 

Somehow, Dr. H. made the title dirty. I guess it wasn’t such a stretch- with a name like Moby-Dick. But every time he said it, it seemed to have an extra emphasis on the Dick. And yet, he was so charming about it. With his little laugh, Bwa Ha! 

“This is basically a novel about sex, posing as a fishing novel, bwa ha!” 

That summer, we went through every page of Moby-Dick, coming up with endless sexual allusions, metaphors and innuendos. And then there was the occasional Jesus Christ allusion. And then back to sex.

Sometimes, you would see him outside of class. He was like a broken man, hunched over his coffee, cigarette in hand. Oh, poor Dr. H, one might think. Them you would see him again, Monday morning, a new man! Refreshed! 

“Moby-Dick! Bwa ha!”

Summer school classes were four days a week, Monday thru Thursday. It was full sperm whale immersion. 

The best part about Moby-Dick with Dr. H was that Moby-Dick was basically incomprehensible long-winded tuttle fuddy. The whale doesn’t even appear for the first fourteen billion pages! But, once you heard Dr. H’s amazing explanations of each and every page, it was the most fascinating thing ever written. 

In the end, I learned five things from Dr. H:

1. Moby-Dick is full of metaphors, most of them sexual.

2. It’s okay, even great, to laugh at your own jokes.

3. The more you learn about some things, the more interesting they become.

4. Moby-Dick is the best book ever written. (I believed that for a month.)

5. Sometimes, a rubber chicken makes everything better.

It happened two and a half years later. I was in Senior Thesis. It was held in a conference room. We sat around a large table. Dark. It was a darkly held conference room. Squinting, we contemplated primary sources. 

“Blah blah blah blah,” were the professor’s exact words. The professor was not Dr. H. Suddenly, the door burst open and a life-sized rubber chicken flew through the doorway and landed in the center of our conference table. The door slammed shut. We heard a laugh,

“Bwa ha!” And the pitter-patter of cute rat-like feet running down the hallway. 

A long-forgotten joy welled within me. Mysteries of land and sea, life and death, opened up once again. The winter ice around my heart was melting. A large rubber chicken lay in the middle of a conference room table, like a great, white sperm whale. 

Moby-Dick. 

Oh, man playing recorder coming out of washing machine, how relevant you are to my life!

Goose! 

Today’s comic is Frog Applause by Teresa Burritt. 


If you click on this, you can watch the goose move! 

I spent much of the day with my husband, taking apart our old washing machine. Also, Zanimal is at that point in fourth grade when they make you play the recorder. Also, GOOSE! Am I right? 

In case you didn’t believe me, here’s a small, blurry picture of BAH taking apart the old washing machine. 


It’s in the back of a truck, and he’s taking the metal exterior off if it, to get to the motor. Then we put the barrel outside, to use as a planter. We’re undecided what to plant in it. Anyway, I’m excited, because I can use the little farm truck again! It’s had that washing machine in the back of it all winter, which was fine, but now it’s farm trucking season again! (I.e. There’s a lot of work to do, like filling it with poop and dumping it on the garden, but let’s make it sound fun.) 

GOOSE! 

Goose makes everything sound fun. 

The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh

The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is definitely worth going to, if you like Andy Warhol at all.

We were very into it.

One floor of the Andy Warhol Museum is devoted to a different artist each month, I think. Or, anyway, it rotates who it is. When we went, the artist was Firelei Báez, and I found her work inspiring and excellent in every way.

Firelei Báez,

Firelei Báez, again. We noticed my daughter’s name in this picture. Can you find it?
Here we are posing in front of some of her faceless portraits. I was trying to look cool. It doesn’t come naturally to me.

You start on the sixth floor, and go down through Warhol’s life. On one of the floors is a room where they are playing several of the Andy Warhol movies at once, with the Velvet Underground playing in the background. This was my favorite part of the museum. I took a little movie. Zanimal went around and tapped all of the eyeballs:

The room of Warhol films on loop, with the Velvet Underground playing was my favorite part of the museum.

There were no other children there. I found out later that Pennsylvania doesn’t do Spring Break. I guess everyone just thought she was playing hooky? Or perhaps they thought we home schooled her.
When you finally get to the basement, they have “The Factory,” where you make your own Warhol-Style art. I drew my left paw.

Shoshanah’s paw, twice.
Zanimal drew “Cat Wolf”:

Cat Wolf by Zanimal
I don’t remember what Dennis made, he he said afterwards that he wanted to leave it in the gift shop– reverse shop lifting. Instead of taking something, you leave something. What do you think? A good idea? I think it’s genius. Performance art at its most subtle.

I did buy a print at the gift shop. It’s called, “One Blue Pussy.”

One Blue Pussy, by Andy Warhol.
It reminds me of Grenix.


 

Who Didn’t Kill John Lennon

Uncle Dennis, that’s who.

Last week, I went on a road trip with Zanimal and BAH up to Niagara Falls, Canada, and then on to Jeanette, Pennsylvania (just outside of Pittsburgh). I have a lot of family on my dad’s side around Pittsburgh, so we were visiting the extended relatives, and we stayed with my Uncle, Dennis C. Lee. (Dennis used to live in San Francisco, when I was a kid. We even lived in the same flat on 28th Street, for a time: little me, Dennis, my dad, my Aunt Lou, Uncle David, and Bozo the Dog. Good times.)

Uncle Dennis is an artist and a musician, most famously a member of the 70’s punk band The Living Daylights.

Uncle Dennis still plays music and makes art. Zanimal and I even did an open mic with him (possibly to be posted later this week, if I can figure it out).

Dennis told us a story while we were there. Apparently, there is a man who believes that Dennis C. Lee killed John Lennon. This man, call him “Mr. Crazy,” bases his theory on an analysis of Uncle Dennis’s handwriting, which Mr. Crazy says is exactly like that of Stephen King. And therefore, Stephen King is really Dennis C. Lee. (Or Dennis C. Lee is Stephen King?) And he killed John Lennon. Just for a point of reference, here is a recent picture of my dad’s brother, Dennis C. Lee:

Dennis C. Lee, who didn’t kill John Lennon.

And here is a picture of Stephen King:

Famous Author Stephen King, who also did not kill John Lennon.

They don’t look alike, do they?

So, I’m not sure how Mr. Crazy goes from “handwriting like Stephen King” to “Stephen King a.k.a. Dennis C. Lee killed John Lennon,” but he does. And how do we know he does? Because Mr. Crazy painted it on the side of a van, and he drives his van around the country and hands out pamphlets, explaining it all to anyone who will listen.

I do not have the pamphlet.

In the scheme of things, this is a drop in the ocean of Uncle Dennis stories. Every time I have had a chance to verify an Uncle Dennis story, it’s turned out to be true. Some of the stories have approached us on the streets of San Francisco. It’s all true, except…

Uncle Dennis didn’t kill John Lennon. He was in San Francisco that day.

 

Addendum, Dennis writes: “That is correct, I did not kill John Lennon. Nor would I ever. I loved his music, his style, everything about him. But here’s when it gets really weird… There’s a conspiracy theorist that claims Stephen King, the famous writer, was the actual killer of the ex-Beatle. And strongly implies on a website that because my handwriting is similar to King’s, I might be King, and I might have shot him. This insane guy has held this belief for 36 years, since shortly after Lennon was shot. http://www.lennonmurdertruth.com/skletters.html