Creative writing


September 20, 2011

This is something I promised I would never do, and then I did it once before. I have been immersed in a writing project and have little left at the end of the day. Like they say in sports, you leave it all on the field. But I know people check so, I am posting an older short story that has never been published, just for the entertainment value, and so you won't forget me. Take three days to read it in parts. I will be back. And just for the information value, this fancy new Mac only adds to the creative process in the sense that the work looks better on a larger brighter screen. As far as more intelligent prose it is more like an enlarging mirror or a flat screen HD TV.... all the blemishes are magnified. So it goes.

And some music to listen to while you read. There's a connection.

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Jones

He swung the maul between slices of developing fantasy. "Been on this hill too long," he muttered aloud to the trees, took another cut and then let himself drift into the other world. The combination intoxicated, mellowed the anxiety that drove him to the wood pile. He picked up a new section of birch cut for the length of the stove, set it on the block and lashed at it, but the heavy maul bit only slightly and then bounced away, twisting his arms and shoulders. The birch fell off the block, then the block itself, another larger section of birch, fell over from the glancing blow. He righted the block, set the resilient victim back in place and took another, this time more vicious swing. The wood parted into two equal sized quarters, but the bark on the side away from him held, leaving a hinged clamshell of birch, an open book of firewood facing him. He picked up the book, gripped
each half and ripped them apart. Laughed. "That the way you do it?" A voice intruded. One of those moments: If someone had walked up just then: "Don't hit 'em with a axe, just rip 'em apart."
"Yeah!" he shouted to the crowd, a showman professional wrestler growling at his fans. He tossed the two pieces toward the pile where he would stack them neatly later. How come no one was ever around when the time was right? He hunched a thick birch section onto the block.
"Hello," a voice called, too thin for a man, but husky enough to be there in the woods. "Hello."
A figure moved along the trail toward where it turned and began the climb uphill to the cabin. He reached for the maul. And watched the trail below. The figure, bent under the weight of a backpack, walked with the assurance of physical confidence, the hesitence of unfamiliar personal ground.
"Hello." Again. He swung the maul. This time the voice came from part way up the hill. He was aware now, the hint of a smile crossed his face ending in an upward curl at one corner of his mouth. He retrieved one of the split halves and set it on the block for another lick.
The figure continued climbing, approaching. Not much of a swing for half a section, just let the maul drop, always try to leave both halves still standing on the block. "Hello." The voice softer now, closer. The maul dropped, caromed to the side sending a splinter shooting off into the snow and leaving the remainder to teeter, then fall off the stump. Recognition. And, from how long ago?
"Hello. Are you Tom Compton?" The breath coming tough, a good hill up to the cabin, but not too tough, somebody in reasonable shape. Now he was sure. She looked the same, hadn't changed in how long, ten, no, closer to twenty years. But why the question about who he was. The curl at the corner of his mouth broadened into a full smile. Sweet Judy Blue Eyes. Warmth in welcome, recognition, recollection. Even more warmth than the work made. Thoreau was a fraud. He had the woods but he never did the work. He cheated. Wood warms you twice, he had written, once when you chopped it, once when you burned it.
It was obvious. Thoreau had his wood delivered already cut. Thoreau never cut the trees down (once). He never hauled the wood from where it fell to his cabin (twice). He did split, that was his once (three times). Obviously he didn't go through the hauling and stacking for a year ahead of time (four). But he did burn it. Don't they all. That's five at least and not counting any extra ones like the day the sled broke loose and took off down the hill spilling its logs one by one in the deep snow and alder. And then there was that other warmth, the one that came from the hours at the chopping block. Sweet Judy Blue Eyes.
He set the other half of the birch on the block. What would she be doing here. God, college. How long ago? How could she have found him?
"I came to find you. Are you Tom? Down the trail they said this was how to get to your place." She looked the same, always the hint of mirth in her round blue eyes. Did he? Of course not. "From school I knew to look in Anchorage. At the paper I met a guy who knows you. He told me where you live. I didn't know how to let you know I was coming."
Raise the maul. Drop it with power behind it and feel the reassuring shudder of resistance through the arms as metal meets wood. Square, equal portions fell off the block. Still hadn't left two standing there. That would have to be Morgan. The only one left there who knew where he was. He wondered what his friend thought when this beautiful, outdoorsy looking coed walked in asking for him. Probably smiled. Got really cordial and friendly. Sucked a cigarette. Too honest, too moral to try for himself. Just told her where and how.
He hoisted another section to the block. Why would she come? What would cause this woman, twenty years after the bitter disappointment to hunt him down somewhere in the wilds of Alaska? Raise the maul, let it drop; another bounce. Damn, you gotta mean it. At least it hadn't fallen. Raised and dropped again, this time with some muscle behind it. The section split. They'd dreamed of a life that involved mountains and clear streams, a clean, pure life together.
A snowmachine snarled past on the main trail far below, the pitch of the engine noise rising and lowering as the driver feathered the machine over the jarring bumps and moguls in the trail. Why come and find him? Now? From where? The last he knew he'd been told she married a rodeo cowboy, happy and heading for the Rockies.
He took one of the halves and set it on the block, but the original chainsaw cut had been angled and the wood tipped over into the snow. He retrieved it, turned it on the stump until it balanced tenuously. Hate those where you've got to swing quickly before it falls off again.
"You found it. What we talked about. A cabin here. The mountains. You're splitting wood to keep warm." The half stood for a split second and he swung. Ouick. Another glancing blow as it fell. Another splinter. And in front of an audience, just when you wanted to do it right.
"I heard you might have found it. I wanted to see." He picked up the larger piece of the splintered half. Spirit soaring. Beauty returning.
Time came for a change, a break. He walked over to the jumble where he'd been throwing the split pieces and started stacking them. Leave air. It had to season for a year, no moisture caught in little pockets. The air had to circulate. Stack carefully. He didn't want it to fall out from under the house into the summer rain or the early fall snow. She's here. Time to share that dream we started so long ago. And she came on such a long shot, such a chance. What a chance to take at such a distance in time and miles. He placed the last piece of wood on the stack and returned to the maul and the block and the unsplit birch.
"Hello, are you Tom?
Why? How? It didn't seem real. He swung at a huge section. It gave, cracked, but didn't split. Another shot. This time one side fell, the other went shooting down the hill into deeper snow, over-the-boot, sock-soaking deep snow.
"I'm trying to write a book." He slogged downhill to his knees, then mid thighs in the snow to retrieve the errant birch. This could work.
"I want to find the men I've loved and talk with them. Write vignettes. Renew the friendships that the loves came from. I think I can make a point; I can come up with something younger people could understand."
He slogged uphill through the deep snow, a swimmer with his arms wrapped around dead weight, falling, rising, bringing the heavy wood back to the block.
But she loses it. She realizes the dream we'd had in those piles of leaves so many years ago is here, now, and all those things we talked about, half knowing they couldn't happen, really did happen only she wasn't here. And now, despite all that, she's welcome. And open to that welcome. Here it is. All we wanted. Now. It exists. "You really count me among the people you loved?" Aloud. But the wrestling fans in the woods didn't respond to that kind of emotion.
He floundered up to the chopping block and set the heavy split on it. He swung the maul, this time to the audience he wanted, an appreciation he looked for. This time somebody was watching, somebody he wanted to know that this was perfection. This was the life. We're here. We can. The section split perfectly, falling off the block in even pieces. He retrieved them and tossed each toward the stack. He looked around for more, even kicked at loose snow but that had been the last one. Nothing was left to split. Empty.
"My God. I told her I didn't believe in love." The fans in the trees remained silent. A dumb Friday afternoon college beer hall argument. But he'd said it and she'd believed and ran out of the place. "I told her I didn't believe in love."
He stacked what was left of the wood he'd split, then walked into the cabin, opened the stove, stirred the coals and added wood. He dragged a cardboard box toward his chair, the box that held the memories, the photographs, the poems of life until then. In the last of the evening he reached for the whiskey bottle where he hoped he would be able to rekindle what had been... and what never had been. But whiskey doesn't warm a man like wood does. Even Thoreau knew that.

Desperately seeking Kitty

July 8, 2011

Increasing use of social media has led to the development of a new kind of relationship. For lack of a better name, I call it guarded intimacy. It's like you will tell anybody almost any intimate detail about yourself but you won't give your full name, or address, or phone number, nothing that would let another person actually reach out and touch you; For the past six or seven years I have had such a relationship with a young woman on line. For the life of me I cannot recall how we first came into contact but over the next few years except for some troubling interruptions, we chatted online almost every day when we were in touch. She was always guarded about her personal information and I respected that but occasionally she would slip and over time I could put together a picture of her life. I do know her name and she has sent me pictures of herself.

She never would tell me exactly where she lived though and that raised some suspicion. I am not stupid. I know people will con you and lie to you on line but I also know it is very difficult to maintain a lie for six or seven years, so I am fairly confident she has been honest with me. Even one time when I felt so sorry for her and wanted to send her a warm winter coat, she had too much pride to let me do it.

Mind you this was a very troubled young woman. Among other things I learned was that she was a runaway from her family in Texas, sometime before her 18th birthday. By what path I don’t know, but she ended up in Cleveland. Along the way and there, she did turns as a prostitute and suffered from an addiction to methamphetamine, though she would hardly call it suffering. Part of the suffering comes from the hepatitis C she contracted from a dirty needle.

She seemed to get by moving in with a series of men, leaving when one tired of her and then finding another. Most of them were abusive and at least one of them turned her out to work on the street.

I could tell by her typing when she was high and occasionally lost patience with her.

There were times of clarity when she displayed an amazing intellect and creativity. She read books, her choices in music were eclectic and she showed an affinity for Irish folk music, not the hard rock one might expect from a meth user. She seemed to like plaintive ballads as well and was always suggesting I listen to this or that singer. She could be very insightful as well catching me at times in inconsistencies and calling me on them.

There was a time in Cleveland one night we were chatting and her typing gradually degenerated and she became more and more incoherent and then said she felt sick and wanted to know what to do. I was pretty sure she was having some kind of a drug-related reaction. Turns out the man she was living with at the time had injected her with a mix of drugs and she had no idea what was in it. She asked what to do and I said contact a neighbor. Fortunately she did this and the neighbor came on asking me what was going on and I suggested drug overdose, gave her an idea of first aid and to call paramedics. My friend ended up in the hospital for a time and then ended up living with the woman who saved her.

But she destroyed that one night when the woman was away, she got high and invited friends over who trashed the woman’s apartment.

This is getting longer than it needs to be. Over time there were highs and lows but in between there were some wonderful conversations and gentle chiding to clean up and make something of herself. She even audited some college courses and for one semester took a writing course. What she wrote could be beautiful.

More recently she moved to St. Louis. During that period she did well for a while but had a relapse and at one point told me she knew how the world worked and I was wrong. At that point I figuratively threw up my hands in frustration and didn’t talk to her for almost a year. But I kept track of her. She is the most avid reader of this blog. If you combine the hits from Cleveland and St. Louis there are almost 200, by far more than from any other single ISP. In following the hits I at least knew she was alive and that was reassuring.

Then after almost a year, last fall I answered one of her IMs and we renewed our relationship. Still like before she was very guarded about personal information. She told me she had a job and I could sort of confirm that by the regularity and schedule of when she came on line. She had her own place and told me she had cleaned up and had been off drugs for a while after reaching the lowest point ever and seeking help. We talked almost daily until a few weeks ago.

She was going to try camping though she had never done it before. Among other things I told her to set up the borrowed tent in her apartment so she would know how before she had to set it up in a hurry at some campsite. It turned out she had so much trouble with it she put off her trip for a week. Though she never told me she was going the following week, when she didn’t show up online over the weekend, I figured she was camping.

But then I didn’t hear from her for almost two weeks. I worried she had been mugged as she was going to a fairly public park in the St. Louis area. When she came back on two weeks later I discovered it was worse than that. I noticed from the blog counter she was using a different computer (Mac now instead of PC) and signing on through a different ISP. I asked her why. That is when she told me she had given away all her stuff including her computer because she tried to kill herself. I always knew this was in the undercurrent but the reality of it was chilling.

That of course upset the life she had with her own place and job and I learned she was now in a room with some sort of social agency that was helping her. Again we started talking almost every day but only for about two weeks.

In one of her conversations she told me that I was the only one in the world who stood by her that she had no one else. That was after I asked her where she could find some support. In that conversation she asked me who she should live for. Who she should live for? I tried to support her because I knew it was a serious question but my answer was in the long run, you live for yourself. I could tell by her hesitation and then her very noncommittal response, my answer wasn't good enough, not convincing. That response gave me a sinking feeling that this was deadly serious and for once I felt incredibly helpless to somehow intercede and change her direction, to somehow say the magic words that would make it all right.

I have not heard a thing from her since then. The last time she looked at this blog was June 27. Not a hit or a word since then. Given what was going on in her mind I am very worried. The only thing that gives me any hope for her is that knowing she is from Texas, even knowing she never wanted to go back to her abusive parents, maybe she did go back to her family. There have been hits the past couple of days from two ISPs around Dallas with several page views. That’s a very thin thread. So, I guess the length of this speaks to how worried I am. Which just goes to show that guarded intimacy can lead to some very deep connections and, I hope, explains why I am “desperately seeking Kitty.”


  1. So sad, Timothy, So sad....
  2. Patricia MonaghanJuly 21, 2011 at 4:39 AM
    My goodness, this is such a wrenching story. I hope Kitty is alive and pulling through.

Conversation with a young prostitute

August 27, 2013

WARNING:  This is nothing like anything anyone has seen on this blog before.  It is an excerpt from something I am working on and another experiment on my part,  Be aware there is some rough language and drug and sex references. It's an instant-messaging internet conversation with all the inherent typographical errors intact.

All material Copyright©Tim Jones

whaleman: one of these days i want to talk about it anyway
BetCbball: we should talk nw
BetCbball: now
whaleman: ok
whaleman: when was the first time you used meth?
whaleman: was it before or after you left home?
BetCbball: oh wow
BetCbball: err
BetCbball: first used after i left home
whaleman: do you remember where you were and the circumstance?
BetCbball: like..
whaleman: who was around, who gave it to you    was it a party or just two of you, that sort of thing
BetCbball: i was screwing around this guy
BetCbball: and he was a user
BetCbball: it was just the two of us
BetCbball: was a awesome night
BetCbball: had been doing not awesome..
BetCbball: and he offered me some
BetCbball: wasnt like...
BetCbball: he forced me
BetCbball: or sold it to me
BetCbball: just offered some
BetCbball: best high of my life
whaleman: the first one usually is  i undrstand
BetCbball: i really thought that was the light at the end of the tunnel
BetCbball: he was a cool guy in the beginning
BetCbball: like i thought this was just my new way of life
whaleman: can you tell me how that first one affected you
whaleman: physiocally, mentally?  where did this happen?
whaleman: city i mean
BetCbball: buffalo
BetCbball: i didnt do anything 'bad' until i got to buffalo
BetCbball: before al this i was really tring to just like...get outta dodge
whaleman: just curious, were yu a virgin when you got to buffalo
BetCbball: haha no
whaleman: so that happened before you left,     with that long term boyfriend?
BetCbball: a meth high is like.. on top of thw orld
BetCbball: you can do anything
BetCbball: and ya
BetCbball: i think ive told you about hi
BetCbball: m
whaleman: jsut that he existed
BetCbball: he existed
BetCbball: he was awesome
whaleman: don't need to dwell on that now
BetCbball: first love absolutely
whaleman: well, ok'
whaleman: can you say what made him awesome'
BetCbball: he was the first person that i ever felt like i could tell everything
BetCbball: havent you ever had that feeling?
whaleman: no, not really
BetCbball: and we had similar stuff going on...kinda..
whaleman: Tht sound ritht
BetCbball: but i fucked that one up
whaleman: how?
BetCbball: like...uh..i was too much....
BetCbball: wasnt fair to him
whaleman: forgive me if i seem blunt here, 
BetCbball: i was kinda starting to realize i needed to get out
whaleman: too much in what aay
whaleman: ok i can understand that
BetCbball: like i was cutting and he saw it....
BetCbball: and would call him hyperventilating wanting to be dead..
whaleman: by cutting do you mean on your arms   or cutting classes?
BetCbball: my body
BetCbball: home was a lot of stress...and i didnt know how to handle it
BetCbball: and it upset him
BetCbball: so he booked it
BetCbball: which....good for him
whaleman: do you still have scars from that?
BetCbball: ya
whaleman: i can imagine with all it seemed you had going on at home it was tough on a kid in school
BetCbball: i think thats probobly pretty normal for teenagers
BetCbball: like happens a lot
whaleman: yeah i did some reading about cutting a few years ago when i met someone else on here who was doing it
whaleman: it was new to me then
BetCbball: it gives you like a releif
BetCbball: like a high
BetCbball: small high
whaleman: yes i understood
whaleman: what i recall from what i read was that it usually is not so much about getting attention as it is about feeling something, anything
BetCbball: exactly
BetCbball: EXACTLY
whaleman: <<<<  not so out of tpuch for an old guy lol
whaleman: ok
whaleman: well tell me about th high
BetCbball: haha youre not out of trouch
BetCbball: cutting?
whaleman: yu said it was like you felt you cold do anything
BetCbball: geez that was a long time ago
whaleman: no the meth
BetCbball: oh meth
BetCbball: hahah
BetCbball: wayyy better
BetCbball: like invinsible
BetCbball: like...confident
BetCbball: on top of the world
BetCbball: NOTHING is wrong
whaleman: or can go wrong?
BetCbball: could handle anything that went wrong
BetCbball: like bad things arent so bad
whaleman: oh
BetCbball: everything is god
BetCbball: good
whaleman: does it intensify feelings?
whaleman: like is sex better with it?
BetCbball: sex is WAY better with it
BetCbball: like feels better goes better is better
BetCbball: easy to have sex with gross people
whaleman: when you were working on the street did that help you through it?
BetCbball: ya
BetCbball: totally
whaleman: HOw about other things, could you function in normal things  liek shopoping or just routine parts of life?
BetCbball: i think so...but like i wasnt sucessful
BetCbball: so maybe no
BetCbball: lol
whaleman: In the book the girl knew immediately it was bad for her, but she succumbed to the effects and went with it and she kept knowing it was bad but going back to it anyway…  did you?  think of it as bad at first, or ever, for that matter
BetCbball: haha ya like hte frist time using you knwo its bad
BetCbball: but it doesnt matter
BetCbball: like i said..
BetCbball: i was leaving a life that didnt work
whaleman: she had a good life and she knew it, no major traumas, good grades, stable family though parents divorced, but generally all right, maybe  little bored with that.  It was her real father who turned her on.  So you were quite different, you were looking for a way out, a way to find new life,  she was the opposite, had a good life, but succumbed to the rush.  Same result, differnt path
BetCbball: so i was willing to try anything that wasnt that
BetCbball: and if this was a option for a new life that i could handle
BetCbball: then it was better
BetCbball: and i just wanted something better
BetCbball: and with meth...things hurt less, for sure

AND, please, understand this is a work of total fiction.

The book referred to above is "Crank" by Ellen Hopkins.  Find it on Amazon.

Conversation with an older writer

Conversation with an older writer

October 22, 2013

In August I posted an excerpt from something I have been working on for the past couple of years titled "Conversation with a young prostitute." It was an experiment in a couple of ways, first, generally it's not a good idea to expose work until it's finished; there are just too many pitfalls waiting for you in comments from people who have not seen the finished work or all of it.  That can be pretty discouraging.

Secondly, the writing itself is experimental, at least for me. Briefly, the full story explores a modern relationship that occurs totally online and is expressed only in instant-messaging format with the inherent spelling, grammatical and typographical errors intact.
To no one in particular he said, "I suppose I better not let that Smith get too Goddamn far ahead of me."  Then he crossed the room, passed through the doorway and disappeared into the night.

Angels' light

Last night, talkin' 'bout last night

November 15, 2013

1 comment:

The times they are 'changin'

Another long snippet

A fictional adventure into a cluttered mind

1 comment:

Three white lights

The one you feed

Creeping white death, another snippet

The day the New World turned Brave

Stopping by the woods another snippet

Dark mystery on a white background

February 11, 2011
In the woods a new fallen snow becomes a newspaper into the world among the trees, a clean sheet awaiting imprint to chronicle the comings and goings of the citizens within its circulation area. All one needs to read that journal is to slap on a pair of snowshoes and take a tour across the broadsheet to see who’s been there, what direction that critter took, whether it was running or walking, in fear or confidence, some chased, occasionally the trail ending abruptly when one is caught from above by the owl, the snow disturbed where its wingtips touched as it grabbed its prey. News without headlines, the passing in nature that needs not the added drama of bigger type, only the imagination of the viewer to fill in the details. Occasionally one ends in mystery, just stopping for no apparent reason or going out of sight into the distanceNow a new mystery has been added, promoted by the availability of electricity and motion sensor technology. With sensing lights on both sides of the house, the yard illuminates without apparent reason sometimes. A cat running through the yard perhaps or a bird flying by. During the huge windstorms that blow through here often they will be on constantly, triggered by the bending swaying branches of the trees. Tonight, though, a mystery.
Tonight the west side light came on. There is no wind so that was not the cause. New snow had left its sheet over the ground awaiting the news, but there was no news, no telltale tracks hinting at what might have moved past. So, what was it triggered the light? The spirits of the forest perhaps, wisps of fairies dancing just above the snow. In the dark few birds fly by and the feeders remain untouched. No spy of my imagination slipped up to a window, no cat followed the squirrels across the yard, no moose came to nibble the lilac. What mystery motion could have sparked the light into brilliance? Perhaps morning will reveal the answer. And then came a tapping, tapping tapping at the entry door…

In the next day's light the mystery deepens

February 12, 2011
Sun rose bright on the east side of the mountain and set just below the peak before rising again on the west side. Won't be long until it passes over the mountain instead of behind it. But even the clarity of sunlight did not solve the night before's mystery. Not a track to be seen anywhere within the arc of what the light would have illuminated. A line of squirrel tracks from one tree to another was all that spoiled the surface of the new snow and that happened early in the day. Perhaps back in the woods the critters held a wake for the fallen hero Brian Jacques who died Feb. 5 at the age of 71. I recall my son and I late at night when he was younger taking turns reading alternate pages of his Redwall books, (there are 22 of them) following the adventures of Mathias and nibbling on scones once we found out what they were.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Interesting quotations

· " “Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” Stephen King

The thing about ignornance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeareon Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve