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And Now… A Few Words About Sex…

Oh, the titillation!

Ooh, what have we here… gasp, just about everything you can do to one another (and yourself), erotic and otherwise is online for all to see, and…

All the questions one has in living in a world overrun by sex, of, at least, the visual kind. I know this because just about every magazine or website I go to-for news and information, mind you-has advice for those seeking it. And depending on the zine or site, of a highly graphic nature, something you’d never find in the same years ago.

As an example, the following is from the September issue of Men’s Health, which I’ve been reading for 3o years.

And which I may be aging out of, but that’s something altogether different.

One column is Ask Her Anything, which as one would rightly suppose, is where men find out from a woman, in this case Naomi, what they need to do to… well… here are the questions, with my answers in italics:

Sexplay with the wife-she not into it, not really… what should I do? Ask. Unless you already know the answer, but think using Naomi may change her mind.

Romantic dinner and I don’t know anything about wine. Again, ask your companion. If she doesn’t know or have a preference, go for the muscatel.

My girlfriend and I are political opposites-deal breaker? Yes. Unless you think it has Instagram potential, then get it all down in legalese.

Are movies still a good first date? Only if you’re my age (old). Naomi’s friend frowns on this, because, sadly, most men are creeps and darkened theaters don’t provide for a hasty getaway. Naomi, oddly, does not. So take your pick. Don’t know what she likes? Ask.

What’s the etiquette for dating multiple women at the same time? There is no etiquette-it’s whether you think you can get away with it. Naomi says women will assume you already are when they first meet you, so they’re already set up for when you act like their boyfriend and then blow the whole thing up when you’re found out. Of course she may be doing the same thing.

Are men still expected to pay for dinner? As the magic 8 ball will tell you: chances are good. Unless, of course going dutch, assuming anyone uses that phrase anymore, is specified early on. And no, paying for dinner still doesn’t mean sex later.

And on and on.

So while the technical visual aspects of sex are out there for all to see, whether you want to or not, we’re still stuck with fact that relationships require a fair amount of communication and that is rarely forthcoming from conventional sources, hence books and zines and sites.

Now, we could, as a people, put more stock in elucidating to our children the ins and outs-no pun intended, and as I stated above it’s all out there for them to see-of human interaction, sexual and otherwise, but that would demand that we know it already.

Which might not be true.

©2019 David WIlliam Pearce

Mac, Buddy, Pal…

Once upon a time these were common salutations: Mac, Buddy, Pal, Chum, Charlie, Mister, Buster, Dude, before it went gender neutral, though I confess I still have a hard time with women being called dude.

I suppose there’s always Bro…

Now, if you use any of these on anyone younger than 60, expect quizzical looks and the attendant shaking of the head. That is, I suspect, the way it goes and should go. Time, the world, greetings, whether benign or malignant, die out with their generation.

But they do live on.

Since nothing is lost, with digitization and the like, though it may be forgotten or missed in the volume of so much created over time; it will wait and spring itself upon you when you least expect it. This happened to me as I was working my way through the classics of mystery and crime.

“Hey, pal, can I bum a smoke?” “What’s it to you, mac?” “Hey, buddy, can you spare a dime?” “That charlie? I’d keep an eye on that guy if I were you, mister.” And on and on.

The language of any period is expressed in its authors and allows any neophyte the opportunity to aggravate his fellows by appropriating the jargon of a bygone era. In this instance, a fedora is also useful. It’s also instructive when you watch movies and television as well. Although, it may not be as culturally attuned as you think. As a youth, I would occasionally cringe when the TV show I was watching would “blow it” by using the slang of the day in the wrong way. Total squares, man! But then hipsters had their own language that the squares were always mangling.

You gotta be hip to it, baby; know what I mean?

As you may have surmised, sadly, my time is falling away just as the mid 20th Century was in my youth. The 70’s are as far away now as the 30’s were then. This allows me to smug when I hear all these hip and happening new terms for that which never changes, but with fresh language will somehow finally be resolved.

Hip to it is now woke, but as the problems endure, one wonders what will replace woke once it becomes passe and the long struggle to make things right-however you choose to define right-continues.

Well, until the machines take over…

Completely.

We’ll talk about that next time. Wink, wink; nudge, nudge…

©2019 David William Pearce

Mr Jones

This is another short vignette featuring characters from my book, Where Fools Dare to Tread. To me it’s a fun way to introduce the characters and add a little something extra you won’t find in the book.

Monk Buttman Mysteries

Mr. Jones is an associate of Monk’s in the loosest sense of the word. They were thrown together in the search for Desiree Marshan.Sincethen,they’vebecomefriendsofakind.

We were stuck in traffic, somewhere between West Covina and Long Beach. No doubt the signs would say where, but I’d lost interest in that. Jones was on his phone. The sun beat down on us in what had to be one hundred degree heat as we sat in my ’64 Ford Falcon. The top was down.

“I gotta ask…” I was tapping on the side of the car.

“Ask what?” Jones put his phone down.

“Aren’t you hot? It’s hotter than hell and you’re wearing nothing but black! Shirt. Tie. Suit. Sweat’s running off your head.” I could feel the sweat as it beaded across his shaved pate.

“It’s a state of mind, Buttman,” was his answer.

“A state of mind?”

“Are you deaf?”

“No.”

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The Need to Get This Done!

Monk Buttman Mysteries

At some point the question of why one creatives comes up. Always. People who don’t see themselves as creative are fascinated by those who are. I think everyone would like to be creative, and personally, I think everyone can be; it’s the doing, the taking the first steps, the apprenticeship, if you will, that tends to dissuade them. That and failure to live up to a self-inflicted desire for a kind of laudatory final product.

There ought to be joy in the journey. Right?

This is further complicated by those who get things done, which isn’t necessarily a knock on those that don’t or procrastinate or take forever to finish something for any number of reasons, but it tends to be intimidating to those struggling to get where they want to go.

And those who are productive will have any number of reasons why- the Internet is a font for…

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Requiem for a Tree

My yard has a lot of trees. more than 20 that are 50 feet or taller. It was one of the reasons my first wife and I bought the place: it was, as they say, a mature treed lot. That was nearly 30 years ago. All have grown substantially.

The majority of trees are still there swaying lackadaisically in the breeze. Some have been removed to provide more light or allow for the expansion of the house. Others were damaged and a threat to life and property.

This is that story (in short form).

A good chunk of cedar tree on the carport.

On a blustery night last November, after returning from massages, we found the above: a large part of one of our cedars had split and fallen on the carport. As is common with cedars, a soft wood, it had a co-dominant trunk, a tree fork in the parlance, which is a fancy way of saying the trunk split off into 2 sections. One of the sections broke. This left a rather significant gash in the tree, not to mention the 40 foot section laying on the carport pinning the power line. The cable and the outside light illuminating the driveway were torn off the house.

Surprisingly, we didn’t lose power and the good folks at PSE cleared the tree from the power line.

Now, I’m not a big fan of taking trees down. I like having the trees, they shade the yard, are a haven for birds and squirrels, and are part and parcel to the northwest. However, a broken tree is also a danger to, as mentioned above, life and property. I don’t want to have to take it down, but I don’t want the rest of the tree to break and land on the carport or house or the neighbor’s.

So, reluctantly, we decided to have the tree taken down. This, of course, was after getting most of the broken part off the carport and the driveway and the roof. Big trees are a pain in the butt.

And it’s not cheap!

And it’s on the property line. Fortunately, the neighbors didn’t want the tree falling on their house when the storms return in November and allowed the tree guys access in bringing the tree down.

Took 4 hours.

Now I have 60 feet of tree rounds to deal with. It’s times like this when I think of all the people who admire the yard with its mature trees and how nice it looks and how one day their trees will be big too.

Exactly.

©2019 David William Pearce

Joanie

A short vignette featuring characters from, Where Fools Dare to Tread, A Monk Buttman Mystery.

Monk Buttman Mysteries

Joanie is a neighbor of Monk’s and a one time flame for whom he continues to carry a torch.Theirs, oddly enough,is a codependent relationship.

“Are you coming or not?” Joanie was
standing over me.

“You’re singing, right?”

“I told you that already! What’s up with
you, Buttman?”

She was well aware of what was up with
me.

“I want to make sure there’s something to
entertain me other than you making googly eyes over this new guy,” I
harrumphed.

“Oh brother, and his name is Mikal. I
expect you to behave, Monk.”

I rolled my eyes, “Who do you think you
are, Ardis?”

“Consider it a move out of Ardis’ playbook. Are you going to behave?”

I thought about it.

“Well?” she demanded.

“I always behave.” I didn’t care for the
direction this conversation was taking. “You’re the one who wants me to make
sure about the guy, remember?”

Joanie…

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The Importance of Pre-season Football

For reasons unknown, but mostly because I’ve been conditioned over the years to watch just about anything, I turned on the boobtube just in time to catch the last quarter and a half of the thrilling pre-season game between the Seahawks and the Broncos. The game was tied 6-6.

A real barnburner.

By the time I tuned in, it was incumbent upon the third stringers to liven up the game. In the end the Seahawks prevailed 22 to 14. The high point-assuming such a thing exists in a practice game-was noted Broncos bust Paxton Lynch sticking it to his former team by scoring 2 touchdowns, one passing, one running.

As in all sports, there is something deeply ironic and pathetic in a feat such as Mr. lynch’s, which in no way mitigates how poorly he played in Denver, nor serves notice of his impending greatness in Seattle where he will be, assuming he makes the team, holding a clipboard and supporting “I’m not going anywhere” Russell Wilson. For all we know, he may be soon doing what all such busts do, which is dissolve into the faceless crowd with the rest of us.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of pre-season football is that it is, essentially, a series of scrimmages between teams for the sole purposes of marginal player evaluation and to acclimate players to the rigors of the game now that teams no longer have a traditional pre-season camp where they beat the hell out of one another. There is also the time honored tradition of gouging the public for the sake of watching a meaningless game.

Personally, I know of no one who will one day fondly reminisce of a pre-season touchdown, by a player whose name escapes them, scored in the mists of time.

Perhaps it’s practice for the fans too.

An added frivolity of pre-season football, minus the players we will instantly forget, is the joy at seeing what the NFL rules committee will do this season to make the game even more unwatchable. Returning to the ironic, it is there in spades as we watch player upon player penalized for lowering his head after years of being trained to do just that. It may be that the NFL is serious in mitigating the scourge of brain injuries plaguing former players, but it may be its way of covering its ass or simply to make the game even more incomprehensible.

Does it sound as if I’m souring on the game?

It’s possible.

Some of this stems from watching a meaningless touchdown in a practice game celebrated as if it were the winning score in the Super Bowl. I don’t mind celebrations in games that count, even if they sometimes are a little over top, but, to quote Allen Iverson: “…We’re’ talking about practice!”

That the Clink, as the Seahawks home field is “affectionately” known, was filled with paying fans to watch a practice game is indicative of our spectator culture and possibly a commentary on the dreariness of the rest of our lives. I understand the allure: I was once there myself, but as coverage has blown all out of proportion to the game itself, I’ve backed off.

It’s only a practice game.

And sadly, for the abysmal Mariners, it’s also much more popular.

©2019 David William Pearce

Bennie and Ardis

Monk Buttman Mysteries

This is the third vignette for the book, Where Fools Dare to Tread. Bennie and Artis own the Moonlight Arms, the courtyard bungalow community where Monk lives. It’s a throwback to an older LA, before it became the megalopolis it is now.

“Well I’ll be damned.” Benjamin Madison
was checking me out. “You ever heard of a man named Rory Calhoun?”

“Cowboy star of the Fifties and Sixties
wasn’t he?” I wasn’t absolutely certain of that.

“That he was, worked with him at Universal; I was a set director. Sharp dresser, that man. What can I do for ya?”

“I heard you had a place for rent.”

“True.” Bennie, as I would come to know him, rubbed his chin. I found he did this as he was thinking. Bennie stood about six foot, which, given his age; I assumed well into his eighties, meant at one time he was quite tall. “Of course…

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Northwest Summer Angst

The other day the sun came out and it stayed out and the temperature ventured into the upper 70’s. This after a fairly dreary July, which in recent years was usually the unofficial beginning of our real summer. In a spasm of optimism, I uncovered the patio furniture on the deck and basked in the sunshine and the warm summer breeze lazing over my thinning hairline.

Unlike the rest of the country, which, as I understand it, is roasting in 100+ degree heat, summer comes late to the northwest mainly because that monster of a body of water we call the Pacific, tends to cavalierly send cool ocean air our way, disregarding our desire for something other than cool cloudy blah.. Then, just because, a ridge of high pressure forms-I know this because the TV told me-and the cool air wanders north and heat and sunshine visit.

Many find this a good thing.

For about a week or two.

After that come the somewhat bizarre affectation I call “Northwest Summer Derangement“. This is a temperament that eases into the northwest soul, whether you were born here or are a transplant, such that you become unconsciously enamored with cool temperatures, showers, and a kind of closed in feeling that comes from low clouds, tall trees, and gloom.

I’m not the first to note this phenomena.

Like all such afflictions, NSD cleverly follows us like a shadow such that we forget it’s there. Early on, the warmth and the sunshine have the rather positive effect of allowing us to go outside, doff our outerwear, head to the waters of the Puget Sound, and frequent the parks where the ground is now dry and the conditions perfect for wondering why it can’t be like this year round.

It is at this point that NSD begins its insidious insinuation into our febrile brains. First, the temperature will move into the 80’s, and on occasion the 90’s, and God forbid, the end-of-times 100’s. This happened a decade ago and it was worse than an earthquake-I kid you not. Hell was not this hot.

This prompts a round of complaining that it is… too hot.

Next is the noted byproduct of high ridges of pressure: it does not rain and it gets dry, and can stay that way for weeks. Some are quite fond of this, but many are not. We become parched, thin, dehydrated. And in the past couple of years, this has been exacerbated by smoke from fires that are common in summer out west, but generally don’t waif our way. A kind of panic ensued that even resulted in calls for legislation, as if that would have any affect. This produces the bizarre fear that it will never rain again. Never mind that this has yet to happen in the nearly 40 years I’ve been here or in the millennia before that.

At some point, of course, the temperature falls as does the rain and summer is over. Our NSD abates and we return to our normal state of showers, clouds, occasional sun breaks, and gloom. All is as it should be.

We then complain that summer was too short.

©2019 David William Pearce

Time and Tide, Locally…

Soon, next month, the evisceration of Northgate Mall, here in the northern clines of Seattle, will begin. The quintessential American institution, which in this case has been in operations since the 1950’s, and ironically, is part and parcel to that great American Vision that is lapsing into memory and myth, will be remade into the new American comercial vision of mixed used predation so endemic to the new American cityscape.

A mouthful, yes.

In its place will rise hotels, apartments, ice rinks-due in part to support the city’s new NHL franchise, and of course, businesses. But the mall will be no more. Whether this is good or bad depends on your point of view and point of reference. In a post from the Stranger, one of our locally venerated rags, the author is both disdainful of plans for the mall and for those with any fond memories, save those involving ghosts or well-known local serial killers. This is all fine and dandy for an amused young woman, but for those of us with ties that go deeper than fay irony, it is another sign that all things pass out of time.

Some of this is because many an afternoon during my parenting years were spent at Northgate. It was close and convenient and allowed the boys to run around and be bored. And while I’m not particularly sentimental, I do find the relentless pace of change to be a reminder of why longing for some mythical perfect past is a waste of time.

Whatever MAGA is supposed to mean or imagine, a return to the past is as pointless as hoping that somehow, someway, Northgate Mall will return to its past glory simply because it’s a part of my past and my memories and the presumption that those memories will always be better than any that will come afterword.

If anything, the demise of Northgate is emblematic of the constant churn of consumerism in this country and how ephemeral any particular period in time is. That it plays into a mythical past, the 1950’s-60’s, when all was good, despite war, bigotry, red-scares, and the big one (the Bomb), is akin to the people of that period’s longing for the calm and quiet of the late 19th century, who probably longed for the good times before the Civil War, is quintessential American nostalgia. And on and on.

For old time’s sake, I took a melancholy stroll through the mall as it was unlikely I would have a reason to return before they began its deconstruction. It was eerily quiet and devoid of shoppers. Many of the store were closed or in the process of being closed. As is so prevalent in modern business practices, the people who actually worked there were no more informed about their futures than I was. Only that soon it would be their turn.

Soon.

Soon it will be just a memory.

And a place to catch a train into town.

©2019 David William Pearce