Random musings on a writer's life & times, with occasional input from acquaintances


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Ends and odds from the wandering mind of Peoria Dave.


Here’s another reason to avoid soccer, as if anybody really needed one.

Two women, ages 48 and 40, were sentenced Monday on disorderly conduct charges stemming from streaking naked onto the field during a Women’s World Cup semifinal soccer game at PGE Park in my hometown, Portland, Oregon.

Connie B. Durkee and Meg H. Vogt were sentenced in circuit court to perform eight hours of community service and ordered by the judge to write essays. Let’s hope the topic of the essays is “Why Women in their 40s Should Not Be Seen Naked in Public Places.”

Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle.


My wife is a big fan of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” on TV. She thinks “the boys” are a hoot, and their fashion advice is divine. I usually leave the room as soon as the show starts.

I miss the days when television was heterosexual, when the big issue each week was what girl Bud would take to the prom or what boy Betty would kiss goodnight.

Maybe I’m working from faulty memory, though. The Portland Oregonian’s television columnist, Peter Ames Carlin, pointed out the other day that in the days before “Queer Eye,” “Will and Grace” and the like, TV presented gay sensibilities but masked them with a veneer of heterosexuality. He named as examples Jim Nabors as the un-macho Marine on “Gomer Pyle,” Paul Lynde as campy Uncle Arthur on “Bewitched” and Meshach Taylor as interior-decorator-assistant Anthony on “Designing Women.”

I’d never recognized this before, but when Carlin raised the idea it rang a bell. It was like: “Huh! Oh, yeah!”

It makes me wonder how far back you could trace such camouflage. Is the real reason strapping, boisterous Eve Arden could never get wimpy Mr. Boynton to ask her for a date on “Our Miss Brooks” that he realized she was a lesbian?

Monday, October 27, 2003

Mr. Black & Blue offers more advice to the lifeforn.

DEAR MR. BLACK & BLUE: My husband of 32 years, “Arnie,” recently informed me he has re-established contact with a girl he has loved since they were teenagers. When he went into the Army, “Irene” married another guy and didn’t see Arnie for a long time. A few months ago, they ran into each other on a downtown street. She told him she didn’t really love her husband, and she wishes she had married Arnie. Having her has been his dream for 35 years, he says, and he wants a divorce so they can be together. I love my husband. He agrees I have been a good wife, but he still wants Irene. What is wrong with this man? Can our marriage can be saved?


DEAR SHAKEN: Nothing is “wrong” with your husband, he’s just lucky to have finally connected with the love of his life. Wish him well and let him go. Then take every dime he’s got in the divorce settlement. See how long they can live on love.


DEAR MR. BLACK & BLUE: My husband and I married very soon after meeting, and we got pregnant the week of our marriage. Ever since we got married and pregnant, we have not had sex. It is now three years later, and NO SEX. He refuses to have sex. Does this make sense to you?


DEAR SEXLESS: Yes, it makes perfect sense. He is punishing you for using the expression “we got pregnant.” “We” did not get pregnant. “You” got pregnant. Stop talking like a trendy idiot and he may become more friendly.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

The Sunday Seven slog into sight.

1) What are you wearing?

My dyslexic baseball jersey. It’s Peoria Dave’s current favorite piece of attire. I bought it at a t-shirt shop in downtown John Day last August, during an off day of the Oregon Bike Ride. It’s a black, long-sleeved, faux turtleneck uniform shirt made for a member of the Grant Union High School Prospectors baseball team. Across the back shoulders in white letters is the name Lemcke. That’s Jared Lemcke, the teenybopper salesgirl informed me, not his big brother, Brandon. Jared played varsity this year even though he was only a sophomore. The BEST thing about the shirt is the number on the back. The large white 3 is printed backwards. The salesgirl said the Grant Union High coach “had a fit” when he picked up the uniform shirts the day of the Prospectors’ first game and discovered Lemcke's number was reversed. He refused to pay for the shirts until shop workers scrambled madly and made up a new jersey for Jared just in time for the game. The original shirt went into a discount bin, with the appropriate price tag of $3. I love it. When I wear my Prospectors shirt, I spy people maneuvering behind me to study the number, because at first they can’t figure out what's odd about it. It looks like an optional illusion, or something. The shirt would be even better if it didn’t have advertising logos on the front for Dairy Queen, Pioneer Bank and such. I hope the team got some bucks for those plugs. I’m also wearing, in case it matters, my beige Cabo San Lucas souvenir t-shirt with picture of Pancho Villa and his army on the front, Levi’s blue jeans, white Wilson tennis sox, sweat boots and my Aussie-style straw cowboy hat (because the sun is shining into my new office and hurting my eyes; window shades are on order).

2) What are you reading?

“Gibbsville, PA, The Classic Stories,” by John O’Hara. I finished Geoffrey Wolff’s biography of O’Hara, so now I am plowing through some of the 402 short stories the writer-sot-curmudgeon published in his lifetime.

3) What’s for dinner?

I’d bet on take-out Vietnamese noodles. My wife/chef has been out of town since Thursday morning, and once again I have practically exhausted my take-out repertoire.

4) What’s the best thing that happened this week?

The New York Yankees lost the World Series.

5) What’s bugging you?

Actor Jack Elam died at age 84. That’s a drag. When I was a kid and went to the movies on Saturday afternoon, you always knew you were in for a good cowboy flick if Elam and his wandering eyeball rode into town to play the villain. Tall and skinny, sporting a three-day beard stubble on his wolfish face, he would leer, sneer, pistolwhip shopkeepers and grope schoolmarms until Randolph Scott or Rory Calhoun shot him down in the last reel. His obituary included some interesting quotes about his work. He thought current movies go wrong portraying villains as tortured souls, victims of childhood trauma, etc. "In the old days,” he said, “Rory Calhoun was the hero because he was the hero and I was the heavy because I was the heavy — and nobody cared what my problem was. And I didn't either. I robbed the bank because I wanted the money . . . I never had a problem, other than the fact I was just bad." Ah, yes. So good at being bad.

6) Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Athol, Pennsylvania

7) What’s it all about, Dave?

I quote Oscar Wilde: “All of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

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