Simple Diagnostic Techniques for Identifying Common Household Pressure Gradients

How many inches of mercury does it take to trip the light fantastic? When one door is closed, another is opened. When that door is closed, a window opens. Closing the window means an open cupboard, where the molds are kept. When I close the door but the light stays on, it means the switch has gone south, which is smart. I would do that, too, if someone offered me a ticket.

Opening a drawer doesn't do anything, so I may have been barking into the wrong henhouse all along. No wonder my ears won't pop.


Cold Comfort

A tree. With snow. Because winter.

Now is the winter of our malcontent
His frostbitten words ring blue
A glass half frozen
Never boils.

Now is the midnight of our summer's dream
Sheets of ice are cold comfort
Like a blanket of snow
We're all suffering here, buddy.

Now is the basement of our restraint
You can put a sock in it
And a reading lamp
What would Eeyore do?

The Shadow of My Penciled-In Moustache

Good for business, no matter how you spell it. Monday morning. An old song, a new radio, and a pencil behind my ear to show the world I mean business. I don't always say what I mean, so a pencil is a good way to get the point across without coming off as flirty, or ostentatious. Business can be funny that way.

Tapping my foot in time to the mumbling from the radio, I merged into the stream of busses clogging the HOV lane. Just as my other foot was beginning to get the hang of it, a burst of static spoiled the rhythm, leaving a question mark where the downbeat had been. Solar flares can be funny, too, but have no place in business.

Lowering my visor, I noticed that half of my moustache was gone. If I'm like most people, mirror images are useful for reflecting the overall look and feel of a situation, as long as it's understood that objects are presented vice versa, if not always closer than they appear. The mental gymnastics required for translating verse to visum are the stuff of legend, making me all the more grateful for the words of the guy who was always floating around without his cheeseburger, and more grateful still that a song containing those words happened to come out of my radio at precisely that moment.

Yeah, I wish I had a penciled-in mustache, then I could solve some mysteries too.

Drawing my ear-pencil from its holster, I thought about the spelling as I filled in the shadow where my natural hair had been. Would anyone notice? If so, would it become a bone of contention? I laughed, and shifted gears. What am I, a dictionary?



Oh mama Traditionally, this time of year carries the shame of impossible resolutions blurted to strangers during unguarded moments in restroom stalls, where every promise is amplified. Regret is not a four-letter word, and six letters are certainly out of the question where one-ply is the only available medium, leaving verbal communication to do the grunt work. Barring the rapid deployment of anechoic washrooms, I expect this tradition to remain in full force until I resolve to keep my mouth shut, which I cannot do until December. Hence the regret.

As I indulge the new habituations of 2014, it will be with the reasonable expectation of privacy that comes from living in a glass house, which has little in common with the lead-lined bunker I envisioned in 1984. But times change, and the cup-and-string arrangement I relied on in those days has betrayed my agenda more times than the Russians can count, if indeed they even keep track of my movements anymore. Planned obsolescence has come and gone, propelled by the tailwinds of washroom transmissions at frequencies too low to be detected by modern surveillance equipment, too high to pass for swamp gas, and too farfetched to be taken seriously in the brave new light of January's dawn.

This, too, is progress.


The New Numerology

Irrational, yet rooted in the compost of truth. I fear I have painted myself into a corner. Friday has come and gone, as it so often does, leaving in its wake the apprehension that comes from knowing how these things play out. Saturday followed, then Sunday, and here it's Monday already and all I can think about is Friday. The thing is, you can't have more than seven umpteenths in a month, which leaves me in a bit of a pickle when Friday rolls around. Not that I mind sitting in a corner waiting for the paint to dry; I have plenty of food, because if there's one thing I never get tired of, it's pickles. Sometimes I get tired of motorcycles, but that's Arlo's song, not mine.

When you think about it, you can't put an ump where a 20 used to be and call it a day. I didn't think about it, but I can tell you that I would have done things differently if I had. Friday the umpth is about as rational as ump divided by zero, and rationality is too important to be thrown into the compost with the roots of negative attention.

No matter how much paint I use, my calendar just gets more and more messed up. Duty in the face of dereliction is one thing, but there's a fine line between stubbornness and tenacity, an even finer line between truth and fiction, and a teensy weensy line on the refrigerator where my calendar used to be. I have plenty of turpentine, so I'm not worried about that.


Friday the Umpteenth

TGIFTU How many Fridays does it take to pull the wool over my eyes? To answer the question, I decided to perform a double-blind experiment in the privacy of my own laboratory, where a sheepish grin is all the proof I need that synthetic hypotheses are every bit as warm as their manmade counterparts, and how.

Recognizing that the how is to the why as the where is to welding goggles, I felt my way into the closet where the eye patches are kept. While the ordinary scientist may be content with the rudimentary blindness afforded by welding goggles, there isn't any point in pretending that a single-blind experiment produces repeatable results. Extraordinary clarity demands extraordinary eyewear, which is reason enough to put the patch before the goggle.

Having eliminated parallax error and its telltale itch, I was free to turn my attention to more important matters, such as how many Fridays it takes to pull the wool over my eyes. In the presence of polite company, staring may be seen as an indication of vulgar upbringing, but seeing isn't always believing, and belief is far too subjective to be quantified simply by averting one's eyes. Like counting sheep under a strobe light, the sheer volume of thirteens on the average calendar fools the eye, lending a certain lumpinessor umpiness, if scientific rigor even matters anymoreto the so-called equation.

In other words, appy ump day.


Conjuring Authenticity

The root of all evil. As the leaves begin their seasonal metamorphosis, I'm reminded that I have no easy way of changing my outward appearance. Sure, I can change my shirt or put on a pair of brown shoes, but leaves don't have to change their clothes, so it isn't really the same thing.

If the wizards at Monsanto can turn ordinary wheat to mahogany, I don't see why it shouldn't be possible to give an ordinary human the color and texture of an orange, or an overripe banana. More to the point, Halloween is just around the corner, and you are what you eat should be more than an empty threat to those of us who wanted to be a coconut last year, but lacked the proper training to modify our own DNA.

When I think of all the tears that went into last year's costume, I have to laugh. Not that crying over spilled coconut milk is my idea of a good time, but it's better than walking a mile in someone else's damp costume, especially at night.