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Note · · Tucson

The Book Stop is 50.

Fifty? Wowza.

Hiram and I found this out on Saturday when we stopped in on our way to the John Waters Christmas show at the Rialto. There were plates of cookies and a big thermos of lemonade. It was around 7:00 I think — practically past our bedtime — which made the eating and drinking all the more delicious.

I remembered all the hours I spent at the store when I was in high school and decided to re-read something I would have been reading then, but there was no Richard Brautigan or Kurt Vonnegut available. We've been reading Oliver Sacks's autobiography, On The Move, and in it he's mentioned plenty of authors I've never read but have this idea I should — W.H. Auden, for example. I asked the owner for a recommendation of something by Auden and she said she'd never read him either, so I know I'm in good company. I bought a hardback of his collected works printed the year I was born a couple years before the Book Stop opened.

Happy Anniversary, Book Stop. We have always been close, but I didn't realize we were contemporaries.

 

Plates of cookies sit on the counter at the Book Stop, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Plates of cookies sit on the counter at the Book Stop, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Note · · Tucson

November

Now that November is almost over, November is finally here.

Note · · Tucson

Good Old Oil Prices

Emily Litella

For years I have thought the NPR announcer (all of them) doing the market report was saying “good old oil prices” Apparently, they’re saying “crude oil prices.”

Nevermind.

Note · · Tucson

The Bees Outside My Bedroom Window

If I played banjo, I could write and perform a song called The Bees Outside My Bedroom Window. In it I would sing about grandma's biscuits, which I eat hot from the oven with butter and honey from the bees outside my bedroom window.

Note · · Tucson

What is a snood?

On my way home from work last night I bought some of that new bread I am embarrassed about liking at the Co-Op on Fourth Avenue. The bread has about two dozen different grains and seeds in it, is a bit sweet, and the bag has a caricature of the long-haired, moustached company founder — who looks like he could be an ex-convict — playing guitar with his big muscles.

I think about how exciting this bag of bread would have been to me when I was experiencing puberty. Perhaps I would have made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with it to eat while watching Midnight Express.

It turns out the founder is an ex-convict who got out of prison, perfected his bread recipe, and began speaking motivationally. Afterward, he could buy all the guitars he wanted and cars to drive them around in.

What's my point? Oh, right. Since Tiny Town Gallery is a couple doors down from the Co-Op and I'd read on the internet that Issue 2 of the Tiny Town Times, the risograph quarterly the gallery publishes with Tanline Printing, is available — Hurrah! — I stopped in and picked up a copy, which is free. Full disclosure: I say so not because I know it's free, but only because they didn't try to stop me when I walked out of the store without paying for it. 

CLUB 818 By Erich Erving

Issue 2 of the Tiny Town Times includes this tiny portrait of Club 818 in which I recognize people and places in words on paper and recall exuberant times.

Note · · Tucson

Laundry Day Tip

Laundry Day Tip: If you want people to talk to you and tell you what they think at the laundromat, just add three tennis balls to the dryer.

Note · · Mexico City

Roma

We're in Mexico City, in the notorious Roma neighborhood, trying not very hard to not stand out while trying not to look like we're trying too hard to fit in. You know how it goes.

Vampire inspired graffiti and shadow theatre in the Roma neighborhood

It's even gayer here than we thought it would be so if we come back, next time we'll be sure to do lots of push ups first so our chests will be ready and perhaps we'll also work on a time machine so our skin looks younger.

But we won't go for protein shakes and cigarettes after the gym. Which seems to be a popular workout routine here.

Some good news is that for the first time in my travels in another country I seem to have worn shoes that nobody looks down on. I have been wearing Converse sneakers for years, but this visit lots of other grown men are wearing them too, so nobody cares. I'm invisible.

While we're at dinner eating one of my favorite Mexican foods — Argentinian food — a fashionably dressed man in a geometrically patterned black-and-white shirt who seems to have 1985 on a speed dial app he keeps checking sits down at the table next to ours, blocking Hiram's view of another man wearing a sweater on his shoulders. Hiram confides he's always thought the sweater tied around the shoulders is a silly look, but when seated at the dinner table? And when it's 76 degrees out? It's really upsetting him. I have long known about the Mexico City Brideshead Revisted cosplay enthusiasts, but the strong feeling it provokes in Hiram is something I have never known about him.

Hiram engages in some popular local cosplay

Hiram improvises some popular local Brideshead Revisited cosplay.

Lots of things can bubble to the surface when couples travel together. It's healthy, you know?

Anyhow, we want to thank the man from 1985 for helping us enjoy our dinner with his line of sight prophylaxis but suddenly it dawns on us: What if he is Information Society and just wants some privacy? If so, we should probably respect that.

So we do.

Note · · Tucson

Aug 17, 2017

I had this dream about being on the set of an Annie Lennox video. The gist of the thing was: How can we show all of Annie's looks through the years? On a pitch black soundstage a parade of models dressed in Lennox's outfits from all of her videos walk up black stairs and assebmble on a stage with two levels. The models are only shown close up from the back. When all the Annie's are assembled on the two levels and facing the camera, they are show from far back so you can't actually see their faces, just the bright colors of the outfits. Showgirl Diva Annie is there and my subconscious has dressed all the other Annie's in colorful costumes she may or may not have actually worn over the years — the latter most likely as I don't think I have actually seen that many of her videos. That said, I'm very aware right away that I don't see Sweet Dreams orange hair Annie, but she's one of the last to take the stage. Perhaps it was in reverse chronological order? 

I can't help but think the video exists in some form already.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). Chris Ashbrook, David A. Stewart. 1983

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). Chris Ashbrook, David A. Stewart. 1983

Note · · Puerto Peñasco

Taco Tuesday Half Rhyme

We're sixty minutes into Mexico, sitting on the enormous terrace of our itsy bitsy, teeny tiny, rented room. Hiram has asked me to name my five favorite Pet Shop Boys songs. When I try to negotiate counting the entire first album as one song, we have to change the subject. There was an eensie weensie crescent moon when we started this that is nowhere to be found. Now we’re alone here under a black sky observing Taco Tuesday eating takeout empanadas with chimichurri, an Argentinian thing for which I am offering no alliteration.

At La Argentina Empandadas
Enormous terrace

Note · · Puerto Peñasco

Tambo

First beach day, 2017. All of Playa Bonita and Sandy Beach was covered with discarded plastic bottles and Doritos bags – typical but it still always bums me out and leaves me thinking the worst things about people.

Here's a photo of some festive and neglected garbage bins.

The festive and neglected garbage bins of Playa Bonita

The festive and neglected garbage bins of Playa Bonita

Did you know the Spanish word for industrial drum is tambo? I get a kick out of saying it because it's also the sound they make when you drum on them. ¡Tambo!

And here's to words that are fun to say, bright colors and finding the good anyway.

Note · · Tucson

Arnold Palmer

Hiram with beverage

Sometimes on Sundays, we walk to Rincon Market where Hiram orders an Arnold Palmer. Except he doesn’t call it an Arnold Palmer. He calls it iced tea with half iced tea and half lemonade.

Note · · Tucson

Fifty-two is

  • The approximate number of weeks in a year. 
  • A significant number in the Maya calendar
  • On the piano, the number of white keys (notes in the C major scale)
  • The number of cards in a standard deck of playing cards, not counting Jokers or advertisement cards
  • The name of a practical joke card game 52 Pickup
  • “52 Pick-Up” is a film starring Roy Scheider and Ann Margaret
  • The code for international direct dial phone calls to Mexico
  • A weekly comic series from DC Comics entitled 52 has 52 issues, with a plot spanning one full year.
  • The New 52 is a 2011 revamp and relaunch by DC Comics of its entire line of ongoing monthly superhero books.
  • The number of letters in the English alphabet, if majuscules are distinguished from minuscules
  • The number of the French department Haute-Marne
  • 52nd Street (disambiguation)
  • 52 Hand Blocks, a variant of the martial art jailhouse rock.
  • 52 is the car number of retired NASCAR driver Jimmy Means
  • 52 American hostages were held in the Iran hostage crisis

Source: Wikipedia

Green grass and such

Photo: Hiram

Note · · Tucson

Multiuso

At the supermarket today I have learned there is a Spanish language expression that apparently means both “Get down off of there!” and “Let your sister out of the egg case!”

It is:

¡Basta, ya! No los voy a llevar al .99 cent…

Note · · Tucson

Annual Scott Avenue Acacia Blossoms Share

Acacia blossoms blanket the ground along Scott Avenue.

Spring has sort of come and gone early this year, feeling like little more than a quickly practiced ritual. February hadn't even begun before balmy days and the acacian pom-poms worked us all up with their jellybean scented cheer, sending some on blissed out walks and bike rides and others into allergic fits.

But by mid-March temperatures were already in the nineties and many of the yellow flowers—which this time of year are usually still dancing to unseen music against a deep blue sky—those flowers are down on the curb loitering as if there's going to be an after-party, but they don't know where yet.

Also around town, there are those shrubs with the red flowers that when they blossom always make me think of fishing lures. Now, after a week of hot sun, they're a bit more like a well-used cosmetics brush you spot on the sidewalk outside the drag bar during an early morning walk-of-shame home. Inevitably, not far away, there's that gamier bush, the one with the greyish flowers that smell like—how to say it?—a happy ending.

Baja fairy brush flowers

Calliandra californica is also called Baja fairy duster. Did you know that? I did not.