Tim Bowden is twiddling his thumbs on his iPhone 4S!
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Tim Bowden is twiddling his thumbs on his iPhone 4S!
Friday, November 18, 2011
Tim Bowden is twiddling his thumbs on his iPhone 4S!
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Renouned column in
Bonham Daily Favorite
But when anything does happen, we all look to the Daily. And something has.
It was the only topic this day, and many after. A high wind at the peak. Much snow, presaging a flood of Something River, which runs through our village. Or perhaps it's one of those mine disasters. (We were reassured on that last point by the lack of mines or anything to dig out of Anonymous Mountain.)
What could it be? Surely, we all knew, something had gone wrong somewhere. We waited until the Daily could be printed.
The only distribution point was the Coffee Shop. (There was a contest one year to name that establishment, but nobody entered.) We roamed by the open door of The Coffee Shop all the day long.
The price of each issue was $5, which we paid, because each edition might carry months of incidents, and we were able to pay once for all of it, unlike the big city paper subscribers, who must pay a daily rate for their gossip, which amounted to a great deal over the year.
Here it is, freshly printed and in the bin. The paper flew out the door.
Something had happened, we read. Either a big snow at the peak, which would bring floods down below, or a mighty wind somewhere else.
We gathered in knots to discuss the news. Someone from time to time would take out her rolled copy of the Daily and slap it for emphasis with the back of her hand. It says so, right here, she would say.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The plan was to build a wall. But instead of a barrier, it was to be s a community-building project to run like the Great Wall of China for miles and miles, from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, through Laredo to Austin, Texas.
Walking along the first section past Laredo, Eloy Cavazos marvels,"These are truly unique." He was referring to what were billed as Flying Buttresses along the way, set every three miles (the wall was made for long hikes) as the rest stops occurred.
"Heh-heh," was B T Wright's reaction when he learned of the coment. "Reckon them buttresses been around since Roman times." The wall was passing through B T's land and he kept up with what was said in his neighborhood.
"I don't know where Mr - Wright, is it? - I don't know where he studied architecture (nowhere, is where; B T was born in the family ranchouse on them grounds and had not been out of pistol shot from it since) but they taught us at Autonoma the purpose of a Flying Buttress was to offset load, which these don't, thus they are unique in that regard."
He made his point, but some of the neighborly amity seeped out of the enterprise during the encounter. The general idea of the wall was leveling but the fact was not many of the Anglos took well to an old boy made a fool of by a Mexican, especially an educated Mexican.
It was not the first nor last time a thesis to be proved instead buttressed its antithesis, but logic and irony were even less understood on the lone prairie than architecture, so the wall continued.
It's complete now, the Wall. There was of course a ceremony. Instead of the proverbial year in Europe, recent grads might take up the three-month hike along the Great Wall. There are provisions at each rest stop, plus sleeping accommodations. The passports are checked on leaving Monterrey or Austin and not again until arrival at the other. (The way is elevated to fidty feet and so rather difficult to access from any point except for the two entries.)
A survey was taken at both the University of Texas at Austin and La Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Monterrey some ten years after the wall was finished. It was multiple choice, and the first question was, What was the purpose of the Great Wall. Of all the respondents, 12% had the right answer.
The next question was, Did the Wall achieve its purpose?
87% said yes.
Saturday, October 08, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I say, maybe in the orderly room, I may find my assignment? One of them says, with an effort - though he speaks slow and low, it's almost too much for him - "Don't think so. They're just electricians."
I walk down the aisle, which is but a pathway between big tents with indistinguishable overhang and dubious surroundings, and halt by a raging stream. I stand because that makes as much sense as anything else. The current rises, walks up the backside like an animal. I must lay supine to prevent it's dragging me away.
Nobody seems to find my predicament of any note. At least, it doesn't seem to bother them. I suddenly realize why.
I have become their shaman. I take away all the evil spirits in the camp, like a lightning rod. All manner of clumsy lost sad happenstance is mine for as long as I stumble about in their region. I don't like this job.
I stand up straight. Stride up the bank. The river recedes like a tamed beast. I consult my iPhone; that's the ticket.
It sets a screen of me in the camp. There is me on my screen. I shake it good. The image forms a map, on it is drawn a thick red line, at the beginning of which is a throbbing blue dot, meaning me.
That's better. I step off, towards my assignment, and the blue dot moves with me. That's more like it.
Behind me is a crash. One of those who were doing something had the hood of the project fall on his head. He curses with more alacrity than he's shown during my visit.
Monday, June 13, 2011
From that time forth, he was plagued by owls. Often went into the woods, which is what you do if you live there, only he was a gentle critter holding neither rifle nor ax. But he done something, no doubt about that.
Came back very often after that with rips in the flesh. The owls caught him from behind, and, you know, the problem is, everybody always has a behind, and there are many owls.
Why didn't he just leave this mountain, go down to the flats? Lots of folks live down there and everywhere with more serious plagues than owls, and they just adjust to it. Heat, winds, no rains, they say, where you gonna go? For them, for most anyone, their world is all there is. Nobody makes good sense in their living arrangements.
There was no real askin', neither, as you don't want to partake of another's evil and banished forlorn pride and anguished isolation. You behave to him as if you didn't know what was perfectly obvious, like a lost limb.
Once he met a mountain maid way back in the piney woods, up before the wind begins. He meant to leave her but was distracted by owls, she said. Didn't leave soon enough. And so he brought her back to his cabin.
The little girl was born the requisite time after. Eyes open and following him as he came into the bedroom, until he left. Not smiling, neither.
Whatever happened way back long ago, she was there to account for it. Nobody doubted it, as nobody could explain it neither. But you see lightning, then thunder, and eventually you link 'em in your head, before it's explained rightly.
The little girl made sure as soon as she was able there was no need of owls. He was safe from them in the woods now, at least, though no longer could he hide from trouble in his cabin.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Maybe I had simply misunderstood. Was it in fact suggested that financing must be secured and expended upon the contemplated engineering project described as follows?
That clouds be seeded with dry ice in order that the nitrogen be boosted in atomic weight over the span of Israel within the 1949 Armistice borders at the narrow strait of eight (8) miles in order that the waist of land be expanded so that the north be not cut off from the south, or the reverse, in any emergency, and further that the braced air be sufficient in its entirety to bear the weight of a small bird.
And the President of the Council said, "Question?"
A hand went up. Now it will be clarified. Good for Representative Ruth.
"Just how small a bird?"
Saturday, May 28, 2011
The Oaxacan Rig
Sent from my iPhone
Friday, April 08, 2011
We fell out before noon on the appointed day with our mauls and saws, ten of us. Plague had sent over a 'dozer and operator, but he just sat on the machine and waited for us to start. After all, he wasn't a native. It was our play, to begin.
It was a right good scheme, too, well thought out and practical. The American Theatre was very famous in our county. It had been the host of D W Griffin silents, such as Intolerance, which some elders in our town remember seeing there. It was a potential Historic Society relic if ever there was one in Bowdoin.
Our job was to partially destroy it.
The town of Bowdoin was dying. You could see it, feel it dying. Buildings up around the square were vacant, and some abandoned for a while were falling. We needed help to save the little village of our ancestors.
And so, during one or another city council meeting at Keene's (there were regular meetings but they were too formal, what with Ma there from the Favorite to rwrite down what was said) the plan was hatched to qualify for state development funds.
This was the program to raise property values in blighted regions with reconstruction and bank the additional taxes assessed for more civic remodeling. Redevelopment. Easy as pie, but the state would not buy into just your standard issue ghost town. There were just too many of those out in the dusty Texas plains, so we had to offer up something worth saving.
We figured we could render the American. It was so pretty; ornate and noir-gothic, with fillagreed columns and painted high frescoes and heavy purple velvet curtains. It was designed to allow for one day a week the commons to feel special, if that ain't a contradiction.
Calahan set his sledge on the floor, the handle resting against his thigh as he pulled on his gloves. Woesong circled beneath the screen, seeking where the most damage might be inflicted quickest.
Reloj just stood and looked. Up there in the balcony was where the Blacks were confined, but he had been up there one splendid night with Anna Lou. Right at the low railing towards the east, where the projectionist would be unable to see them.
Woesong thought, in the lower front section, just above the lateral aisle, that's where everything I knew about natural-motion activity beyond Bowdoin was absorbed. We had no TV in his early days, so we were pretty much left to entertain ourselves, to work out our own version of enterprise and folly and old glad social networking.
Nobody saw Abbot and Costello, or Francis the Talking Mule, as cultural forces worthy of emulation, fear or rejection. The movies were westerns or big city gangster or drawing room comedy flicks, and we walked out the same door we came in. It was foreign, like the carnies that came to town with their strange alien critters, and then they packed up and went on out 82 come some sunup.
It was TV followed us home, but that came later.
"Remember the tunes they played so low you could hardly hear in the time just before they drew the purple velvet aside and the previews began?"
Reloj wasn't moving, not even preparing to move. He sang very softly.
'Twas given by the mighty hand of God
"Yes. Oh, yes. You can date that one. 1949, before the Russkies had their own bomb."
"And there was the very thin transparent mesh curtain behind the purple one, which remained to cover the screen for a little while to mute the picture, almost like it was through a glass darkly, or waking up from a dream, instead of drifting off into one."
Reloj turned with his big hammer on his shoulder and walked clean out of the American Theatre. Not saying anything, not even looking back. I followed him. We weren't the first, and the stragglers came soon after.
The guy on the 'dozer watched us head on up and down South Main to our vehicles, then cranked up his own.
Time did for us eventually what we couldn't, which is ever the way. There were other schemes, but none of them worked. But such measure and manner as our civic pride took was expressed most elegantly and honorably the day we came to do damage to our heritage, like insulting our ancestors to please fickle strangers, and didn't.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
A Most Excellent Novel
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
A Perfectly Fine Gadget
Friday, April 01, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Home was Garden City, one of the most depressed regions of the nation then or now, and, even were there some sort of economic miracle possible, it still would be in Kansas.
He and a buddy from his home town had remained together throughout their enlistments. The buddy was also disabled in that war, with a rifle wound to his foot ... from his own weapon. "It was bad over there," Herman admitted, "but ..." and he just shook his head. The buddy seemed always very depressed, spoke in a quiet voice, had a pretty wife who danced for the boys in one of the many go-go grind shops along the main street of Lawton, OK.
I had a very soft time in the Army during those horror years for some troops. I was able to drive home most weekends. And one Sunday night or Monday morning I came back to the post to discover the laces missing from my dress shoes.
I lived in NCO quarters, though I wasn't one, and neither was Herman, my roommate for the period just before his ETS to another post. Our boots and shoes were displayed under our beds in the two-troop rooms, and mine were bereft of ties and Herman was gone. I guess he was just short a pair for his dress green traveling uniform.
Why not just requisition from me? He'd never see me again, so why even bother with a note? He was probably too busy with packing to even wonder about somebody already a ghost.
Rocha just walked into a dream, leaned on a bureau in his uniform, looking just as he had way back when. I didn't speak to him because of distractions in my dream, and I regret it now.
I wanted to ask him about the laces.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
New South River
Sunday, March 13, 2011
It was altogether quite reasonable, maybe a bit so sensible as to appear banal. (A trivial remark on second mortgages, say, will abstract to profundity quite well, as: "A citizen's Liberty is not owed, but paid to his nation's military.") The point I have forgotten, as have all who ever knew of it, because the sole paragraph I had supplied was strangely unmoored from the particular and cast into the general, as a boat in a storm.
My comment was copied, shared, passed on, until it went viral. From large-scale news sites to small neighborhood blogs, my lines appeared, were read, commented upon, repeat.
I personally saw no benefit because only my alias was attached to the newborn wisdom of the paragraph. Then, over time, my by-line disappeared, and a variety of famous names was substituted, from Aristotle to Hume.
Hey, I wrote that, I said in the small forum in which I was able to appear. But, as one or two asked the circumstance, and I was unable to supply without cheapening the whole enterprise, I soon gave up all attempts to mount the bandwagon I had launched.
Well ... not really launched, except as the pebble to the landslide, because my own small candle flame spark to the project was nothing like the sun it became. So I was left to muse whether all fame were like this.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Someone will hear something said, step up to anyone on the street, inquire. They're going to do a deal. My cousin works there. Everyone nods and eventually the group dissolves, the elements reforming on down the road.
Almost any sound will bring a pause, and everyone will look towards it. There are fewer vehicles, and inside them faces look grim. They do not look out at us, those who are able to ride in autos. "Hear anything yet?" is the most common greeting on every street.
It isn't clear what we're waiting for. Nobody knows how we arrived at where we are. Everything just stopped. All scheduled events weren't canceled, they just didn't happen. Groceries and markets are still open, and there's no rush anymore. We've in some sort of slow-burn emergency, but we continue the same day and night for weeks now, so the anxiety is low-key.
Milling in front of store windows where nothing is for sale except for perishables. The power doesn't work in houses so we come into the street to find where broadcasts are happening. In furniture and convenience stores, with speakers high up above the show windows. We stand on the street to silently watch and listen. Announcements are sporadic and brief.
They tell us of plans. We are going to package our debt, we were told recently.
"We will attempt to lease the deficit to other nations which we don't owe already. There is an electronic auction in Canada. It is suspected good will come of this initiative from Mrs Margaret O'Connell of Peach Street. Thank you, Mrs O'Connell."
It will be like all the rest of them. They have ideas sent to them by Concerned Citizens. They say they will implement the plan. Then they come back in some days.
"It was actually not a good plan from Mrs O'Connell. It would be like selling the hangover and not the party. We expect more of our citizens. This will never do."
Then we will hear out of the speakers:
"Mr Magruder has suggested that if all citizens were to take turns dragging on a large treadmill, then power would be restored. We could then export what we don't need to our creditors. Thank you, Mr Magruder."
We watch the guy who is the only one we will see all day and into the night who is smiling. It is like a hasty drawing of a smile, however. It is unnerving that the only notions for correcting whatever has gone wrong come from individuals writing to the station.
The central, maybe only, state of our being is anxiety tamped down just below panic. The children still play in the park, but it's as if they are at a funeral. They know something is sad, but not what, and nobody is able to tell them. How do you tell a kid that everything just stopped?
Some will begin, "I tell you, if only we'd ..." and then someone else will always cut him off. "There's no need to go over the past. What's done is done."
We had grown accustomed to the noises in our town, of course, but what we hear now is often unfamiliar; sometimes ... disturbing. A sort of rumble, a muffled concussion, and always just beyond sight. We all stop and wait, everyone quiet, but it will not repeat. We are waiting for a repetition of an unintelligible noise, is what.
The women seem most patient, are the most assured. They keep us up, tell us we'd better and we ought to and don't let this or be sure of that. They are marvelous. I don't know what the men would do without them, nor the kids, although nobody believes any steps we take will ever make the slightest difference.
"Mrs Kinoffka of Liberty Street has an idea that throwing wide our borders and allowing everyone in will dillute our difficulty like how a cesspool be cleaned by a creek in a storm. Thank you, Mrs Kinoffka!"
I remember the countenance of my mother in her casket. Her hard last days had left her looking like her stern elder sister. And there was the begger with her child in the market that year, Mazatlán, her face a mask of woe. The torero, Eloy Cavazos, on missing with the sword, lays over the back of the animal and moans to the heavens.
It's a very common expression now.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
with. There is a hearing room with heavies at the door. They only
lounge there; no force is otherwise implied. However, we don't try to
The question for the Case Management Conference, the hundredth in a
series, is the figure of speech possibly mentioned, maybe thought, in
one of our depositions.
"We will bury you."
It may have been "Wilbur, you ...", as that was the name of the
bailiff. (Young then; he now is retired and sets his teeth in a glass
overnight, we hear during our long hours spent on these premises.)
There is on our land, we understand, a mound which resembles a grave.
It is considered by all parties that perhaps the inferred, implied, or
imagined threat might be alleviated were we to level that ground, thus
causing less anxiety for someone, or no one, who might link a
simulated (in the mind of a casual viewer) grave to the fantasy quote
from a deposition. We do not even begin to take up the odds anyone who
mangled a transcript from a court reporter might also walk upon our
grounds and spy the mound and be sore afflicted by it.
Okay, we say, and stand.
The judge intones, "One other matter ..."
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Sunday, February 13, 2011
They would, however, allow in maids and cleaning ladies, secretaries, if they went about their business without jostling the guests. That's how Monica sneaked in. As an office worker. She took her own private notes of the gossip in the kitchen and laundry room. How the boys acted like frat fools away from the family. Towel popping, raw unfunny humor, raunchy comments, vulgarity, odd wrestling in the
The story hit the front page of the Atlanta Clarion under an alias by-line. Some consternation resulted at the club, for what supercilious executive can afford to look like a loutish teen in public?
It was calculated some feminist must've sneaked in under a menial's disguise. Rules were changed. Henceforth, no maid or laundress would be hired if she knew even three word of English.
Especially were they careful during the week of the US Open. After all, the overweight drunk and the obsessive philanderer would not care to be interviewed while off the links. One must retain one's indignity at all cost.
The heavy drunk had a typical last round, for him. Slicing into the trees, dumping into the rough, even missing the ball during a put. But he was such a good sport nobody minded. What a guy; tossing a wedge into the lake then diving in after it. The gallery loved it.
When the cameras were turned off, another came on. From across the fairway a solitary figure, the overweight drunk approached, weaving, staggering. Dropping his driver along the way. Strangely, as he drew near the camera, he seemed to collect himself, walk upright, straight.
On the green, he pulled off the Hawaiin shirt he always wore. Took off also the padding beneath, then the trousers with the stuffed leggings. Stood there in shorts and tee, smiling. Maybe you saw it on YouTube?
In the office of Disgustus the week she worked there, it was she who took the call to alert the club the drunk was back in rehab. Kept it to herself until her story ran, and the story became the most sensational to hit that town since the Civil War.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
What's anything but as it's valued? - Troilus and Cressida.
All day we wander these corridors. The set is a shopping mall, but the walls are plastic and styrofoam designed to look like stucco and brick. There is all manner of vegetation about, made from nylon and other fabric.
It does look like a shopping mall, at that, with folks milling and walking and sitting and talking. We are, all hundred and twenty of us, paid extras in the giant reality program Our Show. We do what most do in such places, except leave the premises. Ever.
Our living quarters are on the second floor of the end closest to the parking lot. The walkways are very long and, as you can't see from one end to the other because of the dogleg at the end away from the parking lot, nobody knows just how extensive is our home ground.
I used to know directions. Like, which way is north. Now, I only know from the parking lot.
It doesn't really matter, though, because we have enough room to wander. Besides, once you go out any exit, you can never enter the premises again. (It is rumored a whole gang in a shop were expelled with the shop in one fell swoop. They didn't like the diner on the set and what's a half-dozen more or less millers along the mall? They sealed it off and built something else and never again were seen those who had wandered into the shop.)
The camguys carry their tools unobtrusively on a shoulder. They swing their arms as they walk so we hardly notice them. At first there was the tendency to act out before the cameras like all the other shows, but that became too much effort after a time. If you are always on-screen, then you never are truly. At least that's what some of us have decided.
Anyway, all the passion necessary for melodrama just fades away with time.
A condition of our participation is that we never forbid the camguys from wherever we may be. If any of us hook up, then they might follow us up to our rooms. Nobody seems to mind anymore. It will be shown vividly in it's time, but we never know when, as the live stream for Our Show does not follow consistently the day it was taped. There is ever, as we say, a mismatch in the sequence. Besides, loving up in the rooms has become similar to what goes on elsewhere. I don't mean we make love in the fountain (that's only happened a couple times since I've been here); I mean all we do has become ritual and has sort of lost its excitement, if you know what I mean.
We are of all ages, though like most shows (and like most malls), the young predominate. The lady I often sit with at the taqueria (no kitchen, that we can see, so the grub must come from elsewhere -
the shops carry real corporate names, though, as they sponsor the show - we are cautioned to never complain about anything but one another) is a senior, in fact. I mean, she's elderly; we aren't allowed to ask how long anyone has been in Our Show.
What is strange is that ... I do complain about those who annoy me to Alice. She nods and seems to understand. I tell her Jack is messing up scenes because he can't seem to remember who he is. He was in the obnoxious jock role and yet there he was crying down by the fountain because all his pals were alienated from him.
I never saw Jack anywhere about the set after that.
Sometimes we talk about the life we had before. Some say they did something useful and the others will laugh her down and she won't be convinced by anyone that what she did might have been accomplished just as well without her. Besides, what is 'useful' outside has no real application on the set. Everything is of the same value in here. It's good when it's on tape and worthless otherwise.
Some fall in love, or seem to. But it's just too difficult to distinguish that from any other act which brings pleasure and perhaps prestige - along with a camguy. We all make gestures, after all, hoping (with a degree of avidity inversely proportional to the length of our time on set) to end up on tape for the day. We are, after all, under the illusion we are worth the tape and also there is the suspicion (unstated) that a certain time without tape means expulsion.
Some have been disappeared from Our Show. They broke a rule, like hitting the exit and wildly chasing off into the night, screaming. I don't know what happens to them then. Maybe they go back to doing something useful outside. We never see them again.
And whenever I complain to Alice about anyone, that one is gone immediately. Maybe there's a parallel set they are cast into. Maybe there are many parallel sets for any number of expulsions.
Some days I just don't feel like rising in the morning. And that's all right. Nobody seems to mind. Or even notice.
Saturday, January 08, 2011
It will be an insular city, like all of them which would select us over them. Only it will take up every buildable acre between the sheer wilderness canyons on either flank to where the mountain grows too serious for civilization.
A homeowners group has already formed. It was a bone tossed to the wretched poors. A full 10% of the townhouses shall be reserved for the working stiffs. As those are designated the first built out on the plains without a view, they are the units first completed.
Okay, says the HOA for the poors, we're ready to move in. Not so fast, says contractor Bilge Builders and financiers Acme Hushfund, for if the poors move in now, we won't be able to sell the upscale units higher up.
Too bad, say the poors. Give us the keys. Forget you, say Acme, come only when you're called.
Lawsuits brewing on the rocky plains. Lawyers gathering like gulls at the dump. An ex parte halts all building.
Everyone sits, or waits in the corridors of the courthouse. Out on the lonesome prairie, nothing moves. Each side blames the other. If we wait, our poor clients will never be able to moves in, for the project shall never be completed. If the lower sector be trashed, then the building shall end anyway, for who wanted to invest the amount necessary to return our investment on a slum?
The judge sought mediation, suggested arbitration, tried to force settlement. Nothing worked. First he would have to reconfigure human nature.
Out in the red sandy foothills, dust blows over walls unable to hold out the ravages of human nature.
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