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


Saturday, February 14, 2004

I was sitting through “Sleepless in Seattle” on television for the second time in less than 24 hours this morning when my wife, Cookie Jean, walked into the den.

“You’re watching this AGAIN?” she said.

I just shrugged and waited for her to leave the room so I could concentrate on Tom Hanks’s magic “first touch” of a woman’s hand and Meg Ryan’s obsession with a widower she’s only encountered as a voice on a call-in radio show. What can I say? I guess, down deep, I’m just a romantic.

This probably comes as a surprise to veteran readers of crusty old Peoria Dave. It seems appropriate on Valentine’s Day, however, to admit my personal movie collection includes recordings of “Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail” and “When Harry Met Sally.” I don’t have to watch them on regular TV, but I do because discovering one while channel surfing adds a soupcon of sweetening serendipity.

Cookie Jean thinks my seeing these movies over and over has to do with my OWN obsession, with Meg Ryan, who stars in all three. I will admit to a certain fondness for the former Peggy Hyra of Connecticut, dating to the first time I laid eyes on her playing the bit part of navigator Goose’s wife in the Tom Cruise vehicle “Top Gun” back in 1986 (I own a copy of that, too), but that’s not the main source of my affection for “Sleepless,” “Mail” and “Sally.”

I like these movies because they are romantic. They advance the idea that there is a true love out there for each person in this world, and the trick of living a satisfying life is to find her/him, recognize her/him and seize her/him. Don’t settle, each film says, showing Meg and Tom (or Billy Crystal) experiencing empty or even painful relationships from which they escape, eventually, into the magic.

Encountering a message of such optimism is useful these days, when so much of moviemaking seems awash in serial killers, vengeful fathers of murdered children, dealing drugs, wrecking cars and blowing up buildings. On Valentine’s Day, or any other day, it is comforting to experience a little hope for at least the individual human heart.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Mr. Black & Blue offers advice to the lifelorn.


DEAR MR. BLACK & BLUE: I have been married for two years to a terrific woman, but we have not consummated our marriage. She insists on living with her mother, who told her all kinds of bad things about men and sex as she was growing up.

I feel like I’m not really married, and I’m getting desperate. What should I do?


DEAR LONELY: Relax, dude. You have a good thing going -- you’re married to a “terrific woman,” but she lives with her mom so she’s not around your house hassling you about taking out the garbage or picking up your dirty clothes or her need to watch makeover shows on TV. As to the two years without sex, you’re just getting an early start on a long relationship. Wait til you’ve been married TWENTY years. Garage doors will be having more sex than you!


DEAR MR. BLACK & BLUE: I am a 25-year-old woman who has been married to “Mark” for two years. We have a monogamous relationship, and I take my wedding vows seriously.

The problem is, I had flings with about a dozen men while I was in a serious long-distance relationship with another guy, “Steven,” during my college days. Mark learned about this, and he throws my past in my face every time we have a dispute -- especially when we argue about sex. He says things like, “You sure liked having sex with all those other guys,” or “You must be sleeping with someone else, since you’re never interested in me.” Mark believes because I cheated on Steven, I will cheat -- or have cheated -- on him, too.

Mark says until I show remorse for my past, we will never be able to put it behind us. I feel things I did years ago don’t matter now, and I shouldn’t have to apologize for them. I need advice.


DEAR T/W: Okay, here’s some excellent advice. If you don’t want to pay the piper, don’t dance.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

So Dear Abby prints a letter from some lady asking how to recycle her dead husband’s neckties. Readers respond with a number of ideas. One teen-aged girl uses old ties as belts. Another made a prom dress by stitching several ties together. Some church ladies converted ties into an altar cloth for a Father’s Day service.

This is all well and good, I suppose, but how about some REALLY creative suggestions? Consider these:

1) weave your old ties into hangman’s nooses

2) use them to cuff hands and feet to your bed for kinky sex games

3) fashion them into a quilt to hang on the wall of your office lavatory

4) when you exercise, knot one around your head as a sweatband

5) give them as Christmas gifts to your favorite lesbians

6) rig several as a sling for your broken arm

7) drape some around your neck as scarves to hide age wattles, like Mary Tyler Moore

8) sell them to the French Foreign Legion for deserters to wear as blindfolds while being shot

9) donate them for use as poppin’ rags at the shoeshine stand nearest you

10) give them to Iraqis to wrap around their heads instead of towels

11) connect them to your kite as a tail

12) sew two together to make thong panties

13) wad them into a ball and display it in your front yard as avant garde art

14) shred them and use the thread to make fly-fishing lures

15) braid them into a rope to lower yourself to the ground from the your jail cell window

16) attach them to your bike handles as streamers

17) donate them to a nudist camp for use at formal occasions

18) hang them from the eaves of your house to frighten away woodpeckers

19) donate them to a small airport to be flown as runway wind indicators, replacing unstylish socks

20) stitch a couple together to fashion a slingshot, the old-timey kind that is twirled overhead to launch a stone, like David (Jerusalem Dave, that is, not Peoria Dave) used to slay Goliath

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I was hanging around the service department of a car dealer the other day when I spotted the piece of writing below hanging on a wall near the cash register. It seemed to address interesting contemporary business issues, so I thought I would share it with Writeright's many business-oriented readers:

Dead Horse Wisdom

Tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

However, modern businesses -- because of heavy investment factors -- often must try other strategies with dead horses, such as:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Threatening the horse with termination.

4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

5. Arranging to visit other companies to see how they ride dead horses.

6. Lowering standards so dead horses can be included
7. Reclassifying the dead horse as "living-impaired."

8. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

9. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

10. Providing additional funding to increase the dead horse's performance
11. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.

12. Declaring the dead horse carries lower overhead and therefore performs better than some other horses.

13. Rewriting performance requirements for all horses.

14. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Peoria Dave knew there was a reason he should move to Miami, and singer Sting pinpointed it the other day when he told a concert crowd in the tropical Florida city:

“What I like about this town is that everyone looks as if they just had sex, are about to have sex or are having sex.”

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Did you know that one of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is reading Peoria Dave’s Sunday Seven? Be effective. Go ahead, I dare you.

1) What are you wearing?

Purple Kansas State University sweatshirt, lime green t-shirt, blue Levis jeans, white Nike sox, sweatboots, small but painful cut on right thumb.

2) What are you reading?

“Laura,” a novel by Larry Watson. (Obsessive love, anyone?)

3) What’s for dinner?

Something soft. My son Andy had surgery on his jaw a week and a half ago, and he can’t chew anything crunchier than macaroni and cheese. We practice family solidarity on the food front.

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

My wife and I saw Bette Midler in concert at the Rose Garden in Portland. Ol’ Bette (she’s 58, can you believe it?) was spectacular. Just seeing and hearing her sing “Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy” was worth the pricey cost of a ticket, even if the thundering amplifier system left Cookie Jean partially deaf.

5) What’s bugging you?

Rejections, rejections, rejections. I’d tell you how many I’ve received lately (for poems, for stories, for essays -- you name it, I’ve had it rejected), but counting them up would depress me more than I already am.

6) Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Carrickfergus, Ireland

7) What’s it all about, Dave?

I offer the words of the great philosopher/actress Sophia Loren:
“Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent.”

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