TWENTY WEIRD RECORD COVERS FROM THE ST. VINCENT DE PAUL THRIFT STORE IN KENMORE, WA.!

Sometimes the thought comes to me as I am scouring the vinyl LP bins at thrift stores: Man, people are WEIRD. People and their music and sense of art design and just...everything. Of course, that all makes people AWESOME. Here's some more eyebrow-raisers for ya -- please to enjoy!

The record everyone has been waiting for: RAGTIME ON THE HARPSICHORD! Is it possible for an album to generate negative sales somehow?


NINE WEIRD THINGS FROM THE ST. VINCENT DE PAUL THRIFT STORE IN KENMORE, WA.!

Every day at the thrift store brings new and different wonders. Today, the ceramic creatures were freaking me out...but you'll have to scroll to the bottom to see what topped them. Please to enjoy!

Owl and Jesus are totally not getting along these days.


MY FAVORITE CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHS OF 2013, TAKEN BY ME, LIVE AND IN PERSON!

Last year, I made a bit of a resolution: I was not going to photograph any concerts that I didn't really want to photograph. That was not quite the no-brainer choice that it might seem to be. I do really love shooting live music, and every opportunity to do so (and there are SO many here in Seattle) also represents an opportunity to improve my skills, which is important to me. But in the end, I went with my gut. I never again wanted to feel like going off to shoot was going to be a drag because I didn't like the performers or the venue or both. I only want to go into a show STOKED to be there, because that's where the best of what I can do comes from. Then it is a joyful thing, a challenge to match my love of the music to what I can capture and share. When I am photographing a band I am crazy about, I am determined to just keep shooting, to keep looking for the perfect moment, to do my best, even if I am getting elbowed in the kidney, covered in beer, am locked in a crappy view spot, or the lighting was designed by Satan. The only problem is that sometimes I do have to stop taking pictures to dance or sing or go WOOO!!!

So that's a long explanation for my shortened shoot schedule this year, which still included two super-fun large festivals (Austin Psych Fest and Bumbershoot), and 76 different bands shot in four different states. Here are a few of my favorite shots of the year, with truckloads of grateful thanks to the promoters, bookers, PR people, venues, security personnel, fellow music photogs, fans, friends, and artists without whom which I would just be folding laundry at home. Haha, that's not true...I don't ever fold the laundry! Please to enjoy, and if you REALLY enjoy you can always see more at my Flickr site HERE!

I can't believe it was already a year ago that I was in Florida for the ultra-cool one-off shows with Lars Finberg of The Intelligence and Cop City Chill Pillars! That these guys hit it off so well was fantastic good luck, and they performed their set of Velvet Underground covers with a perfect blend of raw nerves, talent, craziness, and possibly some measure of spirited beverages. Magic. This night was also notable for being the first concert held at Gramps, a massively-cool retro bar in Miami that is now considered to be one of the hottest spots in town.

Lars Finberg and Cop City Chill Pillars, Gramps, Miami, Florida 1/5/13






Excitement was in da air for wimps' record release show at Black Lodge, to say the least! The venue should have been renamed "FUN CITY" for the night.

wimps, Black Lodge, Seattle, WA. 1/12/13






Being able to shoot "behind-the-scenes" at Radar Hair and Records for the Mudhoney "I Like It Small" video production was just a complete blast. I had never done anything like that before, so was very happy when director Carlos Lopez said I could give it a try. One of the shots ended up in Mudhoney's new biography!

Mudhoney, "I Like It Small" video shoot, Radar Hair and Records, Seattle, WA. 2/16/13






The weather at Austin Psych Fest ranged from warm and lovely to hot and muggy to a torrential downpour, but the crowd stayed pretty darn mellow and cheery throughout. I liked this shot looking back at the crowd from the photo pit, with the sunset filtering the clouds and the stage lights turning everyone a bright blue.

Austin Psych Fest, Carson Creek Ranch, Austin, TX. 4/28/13



Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is one of my favorite bands, and I've seen them all over country. I had never had the chance to photograph them with a proper camera, so I was extremely motivated to make the most of the chance I had to do so at APF. I shot the entire show, and came away feeling like I had done work I was proud of -- a great relief and a very nice feeling.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Austin Psych Fest, Carson Creek Ranch, Austin, TX. 4/26/13










I did the same thing at Deerhunter's set at APF -- just kept at it, even though I could not stay in the pit the whole time. The gorgeous lighting made shooting another one of my favorite bands really exciting. Plus Bradford Cox in a dress, of course.

Deerhunter, Austin Psych Fest, Carson Creek Ranch, Austin, TX. 4/27/13






There were so many great bands at APF, but when I saw that White Fence was going to be there, there was NO WAY I was going to not be there.

White Fence, Austin Psych Fest, Carson Creek Ranch, Austin, TX. 4/28/13






One of the great '60s-era Texas psych bands was The Moving Sidewalks. They reunited at APF to close out the festival. Did I mention they were led by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fame?

The Moving Sidewalks, Austin Psych Fest, Carson Creek Ranch, Austin, TX. 4/28/13



The one time I don't have my DSLR when seeing The Intelligence, and Lars Finberg climbs on TOP of the stage -- bah! But thank you, point-n-shoot camera in my purse, thank you.

The Intelligence, Capitol Hill Block Party, Seattle, WA. 7/26/13




































That time when Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips turned up at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum to introduce their film "The Fearless Freaks," and kindly talked with everyone who wanted to meet him, including a dude who brought him blueberries from his garden.

Wayne Coyne, Northwest Film Forum, Seattle, WA. 7/28/13







The challenges of being 5'3" in a crowded photo pit just means you have to sometimes rethink -- quickly -- what might make a good picture. !!! (CHK CHK CHK) was fun.

!!!, Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival, Seattle, WA. 8/31/13



Having already photographed Tamaryn at APF a few months before, I knew this shot was coming. I just had to set up and wait for it. Success!

Tamayrn, Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival, Seattle, WA. 9/1/13



I hope I get to see and shoot Redd Kross again because that was as fun as it looks!

Redd Kross, Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival, Seattle, WA. 9/2/13










The Fancy Lads are a local Merseybeat-worshipping combo that is comprised of members of other Seattle bands that I know and love. When they played at a vintage clothing store one warm evening, I thought a very retro black-and-white photo treatment was appropriate. Fab!

The Fancy Lads, Indian Summer Vintage, Seattle, WA. 9/14/13











Thee Oh Sees are taking a hiatus now, and I shall miss them and wait patiently for them to return. Low light, high motion, crazy crowds make for a challenge shooting +, but WORTH IT.

Thee Oh Sees, The Crocodile, Seattle, WA. 10/14/13



And to close it out, Our Day With the Jacuzzi Boys made for my most favorite photos of the year -- of course!

Jacuzzi Boys, Neptune Theater & KEXP, Seattle, WA. 10/19/13



24 VINTAGE CHRISTMAS CIGARETTE ADS!

Yes, nothing says "happy holidays" more than the gift of a carton of cigarettes! The smell of mentholated smoke just beckons ol' Santa to slide down the chimney! I think back in the early '60s we kids may have wrapped up a carton of Salems for my dad, which now seems completely insane. But at least everyone else was insane, too, as we might infer from mid-century magazine ads. Please to enjoy some of these jolly old holiday persuasions for lung cancer and emphysema, and don't listen to that ninny Ronald Reagan -- stop smoking in 2014!


FIFTEEN WEIRD RECORD COVERS FROM THE VALUE VILLAGE THRIFT STORES IN WOODINVILLE AND KIRKLAND, WA.! PLUS EXTRA BONUS CRAP!

I needed to get OUT OF THE HOUSE for awhile this evening, so made a late jaunt to the thrifters, as I find this a supremely relaxing activity. Both stores were quiet, save for the one guy who was meticulously testing every single preset sound on an Yamaha keyboard. NERT NERT! ZIB ZIB! CRANG CRANG! While he did that, I found some more strange junk for you. Please to enjoy!

I want you just to think for a moment just how awful "country clarinet" must sound. Shudder. Also, the name "Pee Wee Spitelera" is not the best to bring in the chicks.


PEOPLE LIKE LISTS: MY FAVORITE 18 ALBUMS OF 2013!

I had to put some serious thought into my end-of-year music list this time, sorting through all the superb musical offerings of 2013. This is harder than it seems, because there is some amount of pressure to include the work of all the cool artists I have met and am friendly with and probably photographed, too. There's pressure to add in albums that a lot of other people like a lot, so you think you should join in. There's pressure to look at the measure of a "successful" album as one that sold a lot, or made a lot of noise in the press. And some of the records I would have loved to have loved (BRMC's "Specter At The Feast," Vampire Weekend's "Modern Vampires of the City"), I only just liked.

So in order to make this list of any real value to anyone else, I had to stick to just two simple criteria: 1. The album must be made up of all-new material, on a full-length 2013 release, and; 2. It had to make me feel something big, and draw me back into it over and over. That most of it ended up being music made by people I like is a delightful coincidence. My hope is that if you are unfamiliar with any of the artists or albums I mention here that you might take a minute to listen and enjoy, and maybe even put a few on your list to Santa or Satan or a Sultan or whomever is gonna bring you stuff! Music is the best thing, you know.

I MADE YOU TEN MORE CHRISTMAS CARDS (2013)


NEW WIMPS SPINNING ON SPIN MAGAZINE!

Oh boy! I'm excited to tell you to GO ELSEWHERE! Just get RIGHT OFF MY SITE RIGHT NOW and click THIS HERE LINK RIGHT HERE to go to Spin to hear a brand-spanking new song from our musical punky Seattle pals, wimps! "Distraction" is featured on their new EP "Party At The Wrong Time," which shall be released on Help Yourself Records on January 21. Special extra bonus: you can see the band reclining on a boat dock in Wisconsin with a photo taken by SOMEONE YOU MIGHT KNOW.

What are you waiting for? GO!

Come back here later, though. Kiss kiss.


RED SOVINE: MY KING OF CHRISTMAS PATHOS!

In the midst of my usual All That Is December Stressfest, I know it is important to make a little time to enjoy myself. My favorite thing to do to counteract the onslaught of Christmas store emails, blaring commercials with jingle bells, and paper cuts on my fingers from wrapping presents is not to chill out, but go OVER THE TOP into FULL-ON CHRISTMAS MEGA-MAX-OVER-SCHMALTZ with the holiday songs of Red Sovine. The late Mr. Sovine was, as his Wiki points out, a country music artist most known for his songs about truckers, but I think Red's finest moments came at Christmastime. No one, and I mean no one, perfected country lyrical pathos better than our Red, and when you pair his brand of redneck melodrama with Christmas sentimentality, you have a nuclear meltdown of HEART-TUGGING HILARITY. It's TOO MUCH.

It just astounds me that people take these songs seriously. They were clearly a boilerplate construction: sick/dying child, benevolent Santa/other adult, lonely suicidal Christmas Eve dude, drunks, abusers, trucks flying off icy highways...you get the drift. Red could write these in his sleep, and people just ate 'em up, crying into their grits at the Waffle House, probably. The closest modern update to the Sovine franchise of holiday despair was Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take The Wheel," but even that soap opera doesn't have the extreme, twisting lyrical payoffs that Red delivered with such drawling sincerity. You think one of his songs won't go there, and then it DOES, and then goes even FURTHER into Santa's Sad Sack...so much so that I laugh my ass off, which thereby relaxes me. Aaaahhhhh.

So today I will share with you the unintentional comic delight of A Red Sovine Christmas with three of my favorites from his bag of holiday weepers. Grab yourself a lukewarm lumpy hot cocoa, some curdled eggnog, or a bottle of the cheapest whiskey money can buy, and take a listen. Please to enjoy!

This is the one that started it all for me. I don't want to spoil it for you but Billy clearly has multiple issues here, his family are big jerks, and I feel Santa's reaction at the end with the kiddies is a touch cheery. Jeez, Santa!

Red Sovine, "Faith In Santa (Billy's Christmas Wish)"



Dead mom, crying preschoolers, and a lesson against speeding to Walmart on Christmas Eve, SHOPPING SLACKERS.

Red Sovine, "Is There Really A Santa Claus?"



There's something exquisitely creepy about this monologue from a drunken recent divorcee having a Christmas Eve meltdown, with spooky organ accompaniment.

Red Sovine, "Here It Is Christmas"




TWENTY CHRISTMAS STOCKING STUFFER SUGGESTIONS FOR BAD PEOPLE

In my house, the Opening of the Stockings traditionally takes place first thing Christmas morning, and their heavy bounty from Santa is enjoyed by all. Toys, candy, socks, soap, novelties...you never know what's gonna be in there, which makes it fun. But there is a part of me that misses the Appalling Old Times when Santa really DID deliver a sock of coal to the naughty. Sure, it might ruin the holiday and all but there had to be some satisfaction to Santa's Ultimate Smackdown to Little Arthur, who refused to help Big Arthur plow the back 40, or Little Emmaline, who was a greedy little snit who wouldn't share her toys and was rude to her nanny. At least for 30 seconds, everyone at some point has wished to witness a "Coalsplosion" at Christmas.

Anyway, if you want to prod Santa to revive the whole retro Naughty thing, you might move him to action by suggesting he might load the stockings of your bad relatives with some of these things:

1. Old hard-boiled eggs

2. Wet cotton candy and fresh minced garlic, mixed

3. Laminated cat hairballs

4. Fried-out useless external drives

5. Sgt. Barry Sadler's entire audio catalogue

6. Durian

7. The keys to a Ford Pinto, which would be up on blocks in the driveway leaking oil

8. Tickets to "National Geographic's 'All About Snails' "

9. Every single sock that hasn't been put in the hamper for an entire year

10. A miniature cactus

11. A feisty, disoriented vole

12. Uncooked bacon covered in motor oil

13. An old talking Barney the Dinosaur toy that is broken and cannot stop singing "I LOVE YOU, YOU LOVE ME"

14. Hair sweepings from the local salon

15. Used waxing strips from the local Brazilian Wax spa

16. Very-slightly-used adult diapers

17.  Moldy Thanksgiving leftovers

18. Coupon for a lap dance from Great-Grandma Eunice

19. Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads

20. Peppermint-flavored roofies


I MADE YOU SOME CHRISTMAS CARDS (2013)





































MY ANNUAL POST ABOUT GOING TO THE POST OFFICE RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Every year, it's the same sad story.

I wait too long to get my Christmas presents purchased, wrapped, and boxed up, and I find myself with only a few scant shipping days to spare at my local post office. When I arrive, the line is out the door, everyone is grumpy and overheated, and I have to pay more to send the boxes than the value of what's contained in them. Every year, I tell myself what a putz I am for being such a laggard, while I awkwardly juggle my multiple boxes and visibly cringe at the checkout total.

This year was different.

I got to the post office today, with Christmas far enough away to not pay extra shipping costs.

The line was long, but not out the door.

I pushed my boxes along in line with my feet instead of carrying them in my arms.

But none of these good things were the best thing.

In front of me in the line waiting for service was a tiny, well-dressed, kind-looking older lady, probably in her 80s. After waiting awhile, she looked back at me and nodded and rolled her eyes in interminable line-waiting solidarity. I returned the gesture and smiled. We began to talk about the drag of our holiday task here, and about where our gifts were going. I found out she grew up in Oklahoma, and was very grateful to be a Washington State transplant and in a "blue" state. Well, right on, sister. We commiserated about the pathetic regressive politics of Kansas and how Scott Walker of Wisconsin is a weak-chinned fool. She told me she was going to be a great-grandma soon, and was excited about it. I told her I hoped grandmotherhood for me was a long, LONG way off, and she laughed. I had her put her boxes on top of my boxes so she didn't have to hold them for so long.

Finally, we both made it up to the counter. As I was still getting the insurance receipts for my packages, she walked up to me as she was leaving and touched my arm and smiled at me and spoke.

"Thank you for being so nice. You made my wait so fun! I hope you have a Merry Christmas!"

I smiled the biggest smile and wished her the very same, and I still feel that little bit of sunshine now as I write this, on a cold and cloudy day.


FIVE INCREDIBLY LAZY HOLIDAY GIFT TREATS!

Back in the era when I made a sincere-if-ultimately-misguided attempt at Classical Suburban Mom Domesticity, I got into Holiday Gift Treat Making. Each year, I would try to make something new, or would combine tried-and-true favorites in a cavalcade of Christmas food overload, all tied up in bows and ribbons. Twenty pounds of carefully-baked Chex Mix? Three different kinds of fudge (peppermint, rocky road, walnut)? Giant pretzel sticks dipped in melted chocolate and then rolled in either shredded coconut, red and green sprinkles, or chopped Heath bar bits? Check, check, and check. But that on top of creating, writing, addressing, and sending out over 100 Christmas cards, and all the present selection, buying, and shipping, and all the holiday stuff at school and work parties and charity stuff AND AND AND AND caused me to have a December meltdown of sorts. I just couldn't do it anymore; remember, the only class I ever flunked in school was Home Ec. I don't have the temperament to be Martha Stewart-perfect, but at least I can say I tried, and also that I never made food that killed anyone... I believe.

In genial honor of my seasonal failures, today I bring you a few ideas for holiday treat gift-giving that won't stress you out, break your bank, or cause Krampus to burst through your toilet and take you away to Mars, or whatever it is that he does to evil kiddies at Christmastime. Please to enjoy!

1. Dump a cup of white sugar in a ziplock bag. On the outside of the bag in red Sharpie write "FROSTY SNOW CRYSTALS" and instruct the recipient to enjoy with a spoon at their home or even on-the-go!

2. Find an old wine bottle with a twist cap (like you have wine with a cork anyway, lol), making sure it is empty. Take the old grapes you have left in the fridge and put them in your blender with a cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of store-brand lemon-lime soda that you have let go flat. After it is mixed, pour into wine bottle and replace cap. Use your printer to copy some fancy wine label (maybe a Chardonnay or something) and superglue it on the bottle. Tie red ribbon on bottle, and tell your giftee that it is from your family's "private collection."

3. Take 2 cups of stale Raisin Bran, mix in chopped up Halloween candy, put in Ziploc bag. Call it "REINDEER TRAIL MIX."

4. Take leftover meatloaf and stud it with chopped-up Gummi Bears and chill. Call it "GRANDMA'S SPECIAL FRUITCAKE." Don't worry about anyone figuring out it's meatloaf; everyone tosses out gift fruitcake right away, so no one will ever taste it.

5. Take three stale large marshmallows and stack them, secured internally by toothpicks. Chop up a couple of Xanax tablets and use the pieces to make a face on the top marshmallow. Call it "MOMMY'S LITTLE HELPER SNOWMAN" and give to an equally-agitated homemaker. Remind her to eat it at home after the kids are in bed, and to not die from eating the toothpicks.


NINE WEIRD KNICK-KNACKS FROM THE VALUE VILLAGE THRIFT STORE IN WOODINVILLE, WA.!

In the midst of the annual holiday craptacular, I took a stress break and spent a few minutes over at the thrift store, in search of something to amuse and, thereby, soothe me. Laughter is the best medicine, so HO HO HO DAMMIT! Please to enjoy!

HOLY CRAP! AAH! GET IT AWAY FROM ME!


I MADE YOU A CHILDREN'S BOOK NOT FOR CHILDREN: "THE WIND QUIZ" (NSFW)


TEN EXCEPTIONALLY STUPID CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR 2013

If ever there was a time to underline the fact that society has TOPPED OUT on crap to make and sell, it's Christmas. What a world! If there's some new GEEGAW or CONTRAPTION to sell to suckers with cash to burn (and certainly to hundreds of millions of people that really don't have cash to burn, but torch it in the name of Jesus' natal event anyway), Christmas is the time to do it! I get so many holiday store emails and shiny catalogs in the mailbox beginning in OCTOBER that it's almost comical. HEY LADY, they shout, WE GOT A COOL GIZMO RIGHT HERE YOU CAN GIVE TO SOMEONE! HEY! LADY! HEY! I'm not against some gadgetry here and there, but at some point with some of this stuff, one has to stand up and say, THIS IS SILLY AND PLEASE STOP NOW. Today I bring you ten items that I just cannot handle. I cannot.

1. HI-CALL BLUETOOTH TALKING GLOVE

This is not a joke. This company seriously believes that actual grown people are really going to want to walk around wearing clunky gloves, which take cell phone calls via Bluetooth by making the pretend telephone shape with your hand. Go ahead, try doing it for a second. See? COME ON NOW.


























EIGHT FORGOTTEN BLACK FRIDAY/CYBER MONDAY HOLIDAY SHOPPING COUPONS!!!

HURRY!!!!!!


FIVE OVERHEARD HOLIDAY SHOPPING CONVERSATIONS

You wouldn't think my hearing would be any good at all at this point in my life, considering my decades of exposure to very loud music, but it's good enough to overhear all kinds of fabulous public conversations! Now before you brand me a No-Good Privacy Stalker, I will in my defense say that, HEY, if you are speaking loud enough in a public place for me, a middle-aged woman with some degree of tinnitus, to hear your every word clearly, YOU ARE FAIR GAME! Proceed accordingly, General Public.

I write these down on my phone as they occur, because I love you so much. Please to enjoy!

1. Guitar Center

Middle Aged Dad: (eyeing up a pricy electric guitar) Well...he'd sure love it. That's the one.

Middle Aged Mom: (exasperated) Sure he would! And then he'd PAWN IT in six months! Come on, Jim!

2. QFC

Boy: (crabby) I don't like pumpkin pie AT ALL!

His Mother: (mad) We HAVE TO HAVE PUMPKIN PIE!!

3. TJ Maxx

Thirty-something woman: (holding up a plaid scarf) For Grandpa?

Her thirty-something sister: Who knows? Just get it. Done.

4. Starbucks

Young male Starbucks employee: (after spilling a large box of food product) Oh, so sorry. I'll clean it up, ha ha. Sorry!

His slightly-older male Starbucks supervisor: (under his breath) Great.

5. Ross Dress For Less

Forty-something woman with huge cart in line in front of me: Why do they always take so long to check people out here?? They don't seem to care there's a line!

Me: You are right. (abandons cart, walks out of store)




I MADE YOU A "MALLMART" BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING FLYER (NSFW)

Click flyer pages to enlarge, SHOPPERS!


MINI VALUE VILLAGE WEIRD STUFF ROUND-UP!

I hope you are all enjoying the first night of Thanksgivukkah, or Hanugiving, or Eating Stuff x ∞. Today, I bring to you a few more odd thrift store items that, if you are very very very very very good, might be headed your way 'round December 25th. Or very very very very very bad...either way, really. Please to enjoy!

The only hint that "World's Best Mom" used to be "World's Easiest Date" is that heavy application of light blue eyeshadow. I believe this theory can be proved with science.


OH, IT'S UNUSUAL, ALRIGHT: HERE'S SOME DODGY TOM JONES IMPERSONATORS!

There are some musicians that just cannot be mimicked without making yourself look like a bucktoothed, daisy-wearing jackass in the process. I try to get in the head space, for instance, of those middle-aged men who find it their calling in life to get on a stage and ape the voice and mannerisms of Sir Tom Jones, Welsh pop legend. I mean, hey, you can give it a shot, but GOOD LUCK, BUDDY. If it were that easy to deliver on the massive voice and the sultry sexiness, every guy would be walking around booming out "What's New, Pussycat" with his shirt open to his navel, fighting off women with a backhoe. Let us now examine the efforts of a few of these Jones aficionados, as they gift us with their talents.


THE LAZIEST THANKSGIVING MENU EVER!

Are you like me, friend? Are you already totally burnt-out and SO VERY OVER the holidays? Are you dreading the hundreds of cheerful and savior-like human interactions that you will be faced with in the next month or so? Is their nothing left in your decorative gourd of a skull to even begin to contemplate all the presents and meals and do-gooding you are responsible for? Well, put your feet up, my slothful compadre, because I'm going to save you a whole lotta work this Thursday by providing you with...

THE LAZIEST THANKSGIVING MENU EVER!

You don't even have to battle the crowds at the grocery store! My thoughtful menu is cutting you a break by relying on items you already probably have in your home. You should be able to whip this whole holiday spread out on the table in just a few minutes, which gets you back to staring at a football game or hiding from your guests in your bedroom even faster! Let's begin to not prep!

1. Turkey: Take last week's leftover Safeway rotisserie chicken carcass from your fridge, quickly hack/pull any remaining meat off off it, and heat on HIGH in your microwave for six minutes, just to make sure it's nice and dry. If someone at the table gives you the stinkeye and says, "Hey...this turkey tastes like chicken," you should reply offhandedly, "Everything tastes like chicken." If you don't have enough carcass meat, embellish with cold cuts, and repeat that it is, of course, turkey.

2. Mashed potatoes: Go to your car. In the back seat, there are many crumpled-up McDonald's food bags. Gather all of them and bring into kitchen. Shake out all the old french fries remaining at the bottom of all the bags, and place in bowl. Smush them up with your hands and then microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes. If anyone at the table complains about their texture, color, or taste, inform the guests that this is a "rustic" preparation.

3. Sweet potatoes: Take half the McDonald's fries "mashed potatoes," whip with orange food coloring and several packets of Sweet 'n Low. Toss in some old Halloween candy, chopped, and microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes. Tell your guest proactively this is a Paula Deen recipe.

4. Cranberry sauce: Dig out all the half-eaten little boxes of raisins that your kids have left in the pantry; rehydrate with hot water for 1 minute. Mix with red food coloring and applesauce. Serve.

5. Stuffing: Take all the old, dried-out bread heels you have in the pantry and form it into small lumpen bites. Mix with a can of the matzo ball soup you've held onto for six years, all the leftover spices you have, that thing in the fridge that might be a half of a cut onion and might not be, a glob of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, and microwaved bacon. Repeat, "Everybody likes bacon!" to yourself. 

6. Dinner rolls: Take the open packet of flour tortillas from your fridge and fold them into little square packets. Toast in toaster on medium setting. Serve as "Heritage Rolls."

7. Gravy. Boil several cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer with Bisquick and a crumbled leftover hamburger patty from one of the McDonald's bags until thickened.

8. Pumpkin pie: Press Pop Tarts into a pie pan. Grab all the kids' Snak Pak puddings (any flavor) and mix with orange food coloring; pour into Pop Tart crust and refrigerate. Tell guests one of the kids made it so they can't complain about it.

Needless to say, serve as much as you can on paper plates and guilt your guests into cleaning up your kitchen for you when you are done eating. Enjoy!


NOVEMBER, 1963

The life of a young child is shaped by the comfort of routines -- the growing understanding that when the sun comes up each morning you will be greeted with your mother's kind smile and a warm breakfast, you will play, eat, rest, rock in a chair, pet the dog play, eat again, read a book with your father and, as it becomes dark, you return again to your bed to sleep. The early routines of care and nourishment build trust and attachment, and all of our relationships to follow will be based upon these days, one way or another.

A profound disruption in routine has the power to make a lasting impact on a child, and this was the case for what may be the earliest memory I have. On this day, and perhaps for a day or so later, our house was oddly still and quiet, save for the television news remaining on day and night -- again, very unusual, as both my parents insisted that the TV be turned off if no one was in the room watching a program in order to "save electricity." The light coming into the house was minimal, typical for an early winter's day in Wisconsin, but the grayness seemed darker somehow. I cannot remember any lamps turned on at all.

The people talking on the television were very serious, and some were crying, and it didn't stop. There were no cartoons, no reruns of Ben Casey, no soap operas. Something very bad had happened to make so many grown-ups that sad. My mother and father and brother were so quiet. I padded around the house on my own -- not unusual -- but I felt worried and confused by what I was seeing and hearing. The same name kept coming up over and over again on the television, along with a face I had seen before.

If everyone else was sad, I thought, then I should be sad, too, and cried by myself in front of the TV, silently, until my mother scooped me up and carried me to the black rocking chair, where she wiped my tears and we rocked back and forth until the room was completely dark.

It was November 22, 1963, and I was 19 months old.


NEW VIDEO: "THE PREYING MANTIS" BY THE LEN PRICE 3

I am delighted to bring you this new found-footage video today, which I created upon special fab gear request for The Len Price 3, a kickass buncha garage-poppin' Brits you want on your radar screen, hepcats! Check out this beat-driven, bugged-up romance-gone-wrong story, why dontcha!
The Preying Mantis 
©2013 The Len Price 3 
You killed and ate your lover, 
Because you want to be a single mother, 
You calculate everything that you do. 
You jumped on your computer 
To find yourself an appropriate suitor. 
You calculate everything that you do 
Preying mantis, preying mantis, 
Who wants to be a preying mantis like you? 
Found a man with a suitable profile, 
Compatible with a professional lifestyle, 
You calculate everything that you do. 
Time passed you got what you want now, 
Cleaned up now he’s having a breakdown 
You calculate everything you do. 
Preying mantis, preying mantis, 
Who wants to be a preying mantis like you? 
Just a fool there for the taking 
Another heart, there for the breaking.
The Len Price 3, "The Preying Mantis" (2013) 



"The Preying Mantis" will be featured on The Len Price 3's newest album, "Nobody Knows," which will be released worldwide on February 4, 2014, which you should buy RIGHT ON THAT DAY! Keep up with the band HERE on their site or HERE on Facebook!


I MADE YOU A CHILDREN'S BOOK NOT FOR CHILDREN: "THE SUNDAY DRIVE" (NSFW)


SPAM POEMS 22

Good day
 
Consequent to the AUTHORITY TO REMIT ORDER 
given to please find attached correspondence 
for your attention.
 
All the best!
 
Kind regards,
Dr Ameer
Recommended by the Legal 2013


EIGHT MORE WEIRD RECORD COVERS FROM THE VALUE VILLAGE IN WOODINVILLE, WA.!

I had 20 minutes to kill, and I KILLED IT! Here are a few more bizzaroid album covers from our collective past! Please to enjoy!

"World-Wide Favorites," eh? Does he mean that he himself, ITURBI, is a world-wide favorite, or that he is performing songs that are world-wide favorites? Or both? Anyway, I call total BS.


TODAY'S CAR CONVERSATION WITH MR15 AND MISS ELEVEN ABOUT CARS

There is a stretch of road on the way back to my house from picking the kids up from school that vexes me every DAY. Every single DAY, as the two lanes heading south merge to one lane, I always stay in the left lane, for the CLEARLY MARKED SIGN says "RIGHT LANE ENDS - MERGE LEFT." And every single day, some BONEHEADED DING DONG stays in the right lane, forcing all the cars in the left lane to brake hard to accommodate this tool's inability to interpret a road sign or worse, total lack of caring about a road sign.

EVERY DAY! LAMENTATIONS!

Anyway, today as yet another asshat barreled his way past me to get another TEN FEET AHEAD, OH BOY, nearly causing another accident, Miss Eleven noticed something.

"Mom, why is it that so many bad drivers are in either very tall trucks or very low tiny cars?"

Mr15 laughed. I smiled.

"Well," I replied, "I think maybe their choices overall might be not so good. The cars are just one more bad choice."

"Don't they feel that horrible metal scraping sound when those little cars hit the bottom of the road? I hate that noise!"

"And monster trucks have a super-high center of gravity, so they tip over really easily," interjected Mr15.

"Yup," I agreed.

"Does anyone need to have a truck that tall or a car that low?" Miss Eleven asked.

"No. Neither one of them are safe for everyday driving." I replied.

"They are just trying to be manly," Mr15 opined.

"FAIL!" Miss Eleven yelled.




TAKE A PICTURE, WHY DON'T YOU! MY TEN FAVE SONGS WITH "PICTURE" IN THE TITLE!

As someone whose imagination has always been sparked by moments frozen in time, I really like when the subject of photography is brought into song lyrics. When done well, the composer brings across that bittersweet feeling viewing life held static while the clock resolutely ticks on; when done poorly, the song becomes maudlin or trite. Here are ten of my favorite "picture" songs, with The Kinks clearly winning the event. Please to enjoy!

SPAM POEMS 21

When you own a hot tub to be any different? 
Many kinds regarding bath tubs are available 
in the hot hot tubs 
bacteria tub 
we want 
to buy a spa product 

at home 
and enjoy spa everyday.

Even for only a few 

offer truly discounted tubs and spas 
are made 
with a patented energy efficiency 

system.


SIXTEEN WEIRD RECORDS FROM THE MERCER ISLAND THRIFT SHOP!

Another forage through the dusty vinyl thrift store bins, this time returning to lovely Mercer Island, Washington! I never cease to be amazed. Please to enjoy!

WELL. DANG, SIR.


LAZIEST ANIMATION EVER: "THE ADVENTURES OF PADDY THE PELICAN" (1954)

For most of my life, I have believed that the TV show "Speed Racer" must have been the the shoddiest cartoon animation I had ever seen. When it was aired on venerable independent Channel 18 in Milwaukee in the mid-to-late '60s, I was only around kindergarten age but even then thought it was so awful that I refused to watch it. (Catchy theme song, though.) But now I believe I have found a cartoon produced and animated by THE LAZIEST PEOPLE EVER: "The Adventures of Paddy The Pelican," dating from 1954 and based on characters from a Chicago WENR-TV puppet show. No one is quite sure if they were ever televised, or were shoved in a shame closet for 50 years. Only six episodes were made, and only two seem to have survived, both of which I shall bring you here today.

Where do I begin? A Super-8 film of someone paging through a kids' flip book of a dolphin jumping though a hoop would look like classic Walt Disney compared to this. Absolutely everything is wrong about it. The drawings are crude and repetitive, drawn by an artist who is possibly blind or asleep. The voiceovers sound like a couple of office dudes on a bender. The horrible laughing theme music with creep organ will give you nightmares FOR LIFE (sorry). It is stunningly bad, which of course, makes it wonderful to watch. Please to enjoy!



"Two Wet Bears" gives its ursine characters offensive "Amos & Andy" stereotyped black accents (one of them is even named Amos), and cannot be bothered to match the mouth movements with the sound AT ALL.

The Adventures of Paddy The Pelican: Two Wet Bears (1954)



I think people might question their own sanity watching this, or simply assume they have been drugged. I can't even follow the extremely-tenuous storyline, because I'm just so flabbergasted by the overwhelming crappiness of the overall effort. Wow!

The Adventures of Paddy The Pelican: Piggy Bank Robbery (1954)

I DON'T WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND: THE FIVE BANDS I HATED THE MOST WHEN I WAS A KIDDIE IN THE '60S

I can't remember a time in my life that wasn't just MUSICMUSICMUSIC. That's just the way I was born. My strong feelings for music and musicians went both ways, however -- when I was very young, I could love a band so much that my heart felt like it would explode in joy (The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, etc.) or I could LOATHE THEM so much that I would have to turn off the radio or record player or actually get up and leave the room because I would start to feel physically sick. If you read here on the reg, you know all my fave raves (the above plus my beloved garage bands, old and new), but I don't think I've ever mentioned the bands I could not tolerate when I was a child. Please to enjoy!

1. Elvis Presley


























BIZARRE LAWN DECORATIONS FROM KMART!

Ahhh! I forgot I had these pictures on my phone from our last trip to Wisconsin, when we went to Kmart in search of cheap beach toys. We did find floaties and towels and swim goggles, but more importantly, we found these very damn peculiar outdoor ornamentations. We marveled at them long enough to be disturbed, confused, delighted, and late to the beach. Please to enjoy!

I...OK, right away, I am at a loss for words. I don't understand. It's a Watermelon Bird. Who would want this? What does it SAY? Is this cute? If this were a real bird, it's entire front half would be chopped off and it would be DEAD.


HEY SHARP EYES, HERE'S A 16-MAGAZINE-STYLE "5 ERRORS CONTEST," STARRING WIMPS!

Do you remember when 16 Magazine, the long-running (1957-2001) teen fan mag, used to run the "5 Errors Contest" in each issue? I bet you don't, because I bet you aren't as old as ME. Anyway, it was a simple premise: find the five errors in a simple line drawing of  some heartthrob, like Elvis or the Beatles or Sajid Khan...or even Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention! I was compelled to do the 5 Errors Contest in all my copies so I could once again prove how brilliant I was to myself. I would send in the "WRONG" drawing with the errors circled as instructed, as did THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER BRILLIANT GIRLS, and waited patiently for Georgia Winters to pick my entry and give me TEN BUCKS!

Well, that snooty Ms. Winters never did chuck me over a lousy sawbuck, which caused me to become disillusioned with achievement and start life anew in Davie, Florida as a rodeo clown. Only part of that last sentence is true. Anyway, today I made you what might be the shoddiest Photoshop rendering of a 5 Errors Contest ever, starring my dear band pals, wimps! Study the two drawings carefully, and then circle the errors on your computer, smartphone, or tablet screen with a crayon. Then scroll down and check to see if you were correct! NO CHEATING!!! Honestly, if you have to cheat to see these, make an appointment with an eye care professional immediately. You can click on the drawings to enlarge, Blindy McSeeberg.







































POST-HALLOWEEN HAIKU TIME

What is cute: Toddlers
In costume grabbing candy
What is not: Teens, same.

Leftover candy
Tells you much, like that no one
Likes Almond Joy bars.

Hey! Preteen boys that
All dress like ninjas! Kick my
Pumpkin, I kill you.

Nice parents taking
Kids door-to-door for treats; I
Think most may be drunk.

Boy Dressed As Bubble
Wrap! Cool costume! I so hope
You don't suffocate!

The dog looks at the
Candy bowl, then at me, then
Back at candy, lol.


I MADE YOU A CHILDREN'S BOOK NOT FOR CHILDREN: "WE TRAVEL BY AIR"

LOU REED, "WALK ON THE WILD SIDE," & ME

In the winter of 1973, I was almost eleven years old, and lived with my family in rural Wisconsin. I found nothing too much to like about the season as it would drag on into March and sometimes April and the snow piles on the side of the streets would become grey and ugly with road grime. I impatiently waited for the day when the snow would finally melt away for good and I could get my bike out again and be free, to the degree I was allowed, perhaps a half-mile or so.

My brother had joined the junior high basketball team, which meant lots of after-school practices and games played at night, which for me only meant that I had to spend even more time cooped up, this time in my mom's car. He didn't want us to come inside the gym and watch him, so we would wait for him to finish, parked on the street at the side of the tall brown brick school building, running the heater to try to stay warm. I would whine endlessly about this to my mother, crabby, cold, and hungry after my own school day. We would sit there in the dark, the car interior illuminated by an orange-tinted street light, not bright enough to read by, so my books were no good. The sole redeeming perk to this was my being able to commandeer the car radio to WOKY-AM, my favorite Top 40 station out of Milwaukee.

I was totally a sucker for a story song, and there were quite a few on the charts at this time: "The Night That The Lights Went Out In Georgia," "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree," "You're So Vain," "Space Oddity." But one of these story songs blasted through the airwaves, as sharp, cold, and dangerous as the blade of a knife, unlike any other. It was Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side." I would sit in the passenger seat, listening intently to every word, delivered in Reed's flat, nasal monotone, and would be transported into what was surely the strangest, craziest place in the world: New York City. I hoped my mother wasn't paying as much attention to the lyrics as I was, for I suspected that if she did, I'd have to change the station. At my age and being a rather sheltered child, I wasn't quite sure about what all of the lyrics meant, especially about Candy Darling's activity in the second verse, but how bad could it be, if it was played on the radio? Ha. By the time radio programmers figured it out, the song was a hit.

Holly came from Miami, F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says, "Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side"
He said, "Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side"

Candy came from out on the island
In the backroom she was everybody's darlin'
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head
She says, "Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side"
He said, "Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side"

And the colored girls go
Doo do doo, doo do doo, doo do doo

Little Joe never once gave it away
Everybody had to pay and pay
A hustle here and a hustle there
New York City's the place where they said
"Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side"
I said, "Hey Joe, take a walk on the wild side"

Sugar plum fairy came and hit the streets
Lookin' for soul food and a place to eat
Went to the Apollo, you should've seen 'em go go go
They said, "Hey sugar, take a walk on the wild side"
I said, "Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side"

Alright, huh

Jackie is just speeding away
Thought she was James Dean for a day
Then I guess she had to crash
Valium would have helped that bash
She said, "Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side"
I said, "Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side"

And the colored girls say
Doo do doo, doo do doo, doo do doo



This is what I think of when Lou Reed is mentioned, even 40-some years later: sitting in the car in the middle of the country in the middle of nowhere, in the dark, in the cold, with the heater blasting, with the radio playing, and my eyes darting over to my mother to see if she was frowning or not, trying to imagine a world I was so far removed from, and hearing somehow the humanity and freedom within Reed's freaky, damaged characters. It is a brilliant piece of urban poetry, set in a cool-as-cool-can-get beat-gen jazz arrangement. A perfect single.

Many years later, I found myself in New York City at Ray Davies' first "Storyteller" shows at the Westbeth Theater. In the seats in front of me were Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, holding hands and smiling.

Lou Reed died today at age 71. RIP.




GOAT 23

The world wide interhaps provide us with opportunity.

Here is an hour-long YouTube video of goats yelling.

Goats Yelling Very Loud (One Hour)



Now, what I might do with this is:

1. Access the computer or smartphone of a friend, co-worker, or family member in a secretive manner.

2. Load this video.

3. Set volume to the highest level.

4. Change the device password and run and/or lock it in a room inaccessible to others.

Have fun!


TWELVE MORE WEIRD RECORD COVERS AND KNICK-KNACKS FROM THE VALUE VILLAGE IN WOODINVILLE, WA.!

Another good haul of thrift strangeness for you! Please to enjoy the Bounty of Odd!

I bet Tom & Dan were really fun at parties, in that horrible "lampshade on the head" kind of way.


TRICK OR TREAT FOR UNICEF, 1973

Growing up in Wisconsin, I found nothing to celebrate about the Fall. The season to me only meant that the lush, warm, and all-too-short days of summer would come to an abrupt end, the dreary routine of school would begin, and as soon as the leaves turned from autumnal reds and golds to crackly dull brown, the harshness of months of ice and snow and bitter cold would begin. In the Fall of 1973, I was 11 years old -- the age my daughter is now -- and lived in a minuscule farm community of about 300 people. My family had moved there two years prior -- "A temporary move," claimed my father -- and we didn't get out until another 8 years had slowly passed. When you believe that you have no reason to invest in a place, no reason to make connections because you might be leaving "soon," you isolate yourself, and wait.

The sole good thing about Fall, of course, was Halloween, and all the fun of dressing in costume and trying to get as much candy from the neighbors as you could. At 11, I was nearly out of the game. In this tiny town, trick-or-treating past age 12 was considered a total faux pas, and adults wouldn't hesitate to tell teens looking for a spare handful of mini chocolate bars to buzz off. Since we lived in a ranch house "in town" (as opposed to living on a farm "outside of town") the candy opportunities were excellent. You could stop by every single house there was if you wanted to, on foot, so you did, carrying a pillow case or garbage bag to hold the sweet loot.

But before dark settled, there was another task at hand on Halloween: "Trick Or Treat For UNICEF." I can still hear the sing-songy cadence of it..."Trick or Treat for U-NI-CEFFFF..."



From Wikipedia:
Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is a fund-raising program for children sponsored by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Started on Halloween 1950  as a local event in Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaUnited States, the program historically involves the distribution of small orange boxes by schools to trick-or-treaters, in which they can solicit small change donations from the houses they visit. Millions of children in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, and Hong Kong participate in Halloween-related fund-raising events for Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, and the program has raised over US $188 million worldwide.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF was invented by Mary Emma Allison, the wife of Presbyterian minister Clyde Allison. In 1949, the Allisons were living in Bridesburg, a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. When Mrs.Allison saw a UNICEF booth collecting funds to send powdered milk to undernourished children around the world, she thought of getting children to collect donations for UNICEF instead of candy. Rev. Clyde Allison introduced the concept to local Presbyterian churches. On Halloween 1950, the Allisons recruited their own children and their community's to go door-to-door collecting nickels and dimes in decorated milk cartons to aid children in post-World War II Europe. They collected a total of $17 and donated all of it to UNICEF.  

 In 1953, the United States Committee for UNICEF started actively promoting the program. By the 1960s, the concept had expanded throughout the United States, with small orange collection boxes distributed to millions of trick-or-treaters.When UNICEF won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson said in his congratulatory letter: "Your UNICEF Trick or Treat Day has helped turn a holiday too often marred by youthful vandalism into a program of basic training in world citizenship." In 1967, Johnson declared Halloween, October 31, to be 'UNICEF Day' in the United States; by 1969, 3.5 million American children were trick-or-treating for donations.Children (and adults) in the U.S. have collected more than US $170 million for Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.
1970s  Trick or Treat for UNICEF Commercial with Sanmy Davis, Jr.



Like regular trick-or-treating with candy, getting those coins in the little orange boxes was a highly-competitive event with the kids. We'd get the boxes at school, and the child who brought in the most money won some sort of prize while looking like a kind-hearted hero, helping all those poor kids in the Third World and such. Truth be told, plenty if not most of the families in my town in 1973 didn't have too much change to spare at all, including my own, but with the excitement of competition and the holiday, that was pretty well forgotten.

I didn't hesitate to set out with my orange UNICEF box and a big, broad smile as soon as I got off the afternoon school bus, for I knew that all the kids would be doing the same. If you didn't get to a house first with your pitch and someone else did, you'd likely get turned away -- nicely at first ("Oh, I'm sorry, hon, I just gave to Gary there...you want a Tootsie Pop?") and then not-so-nicely ("Don't you kids coordinate this at school? I can't give out money to all of you!") with a definite closing of the front door. I wanted to win the prize and be the UNICEF hero, so I knew that I should go alone, and move fast. I wanted to feel that orange box grow heavy with nickels and dimes and maybe even quarters, and to go home and spread it all out on my bed, counting up the shiny tokens to glorious public recognition.

It was a typical late fall day, already unpretty with the leaves dropped and dead, dull grey skies, and an cruel brisk wind. I borrowed some of my mother's warm driving gloves and took my Panasonic transistor radio along for company. It's like the radio knew I was bummed out about fall, because so many of the pop hits sang to me about sadness, loss, and loneliness: "Photograph," "Half-Breed," "Paper Roses," "Angie," "Midnight Train To Georgia." The WOKY DJs pattered away, regardless of the lyrical content.

My first house was a neighbor that we had only just nodded and waved to, an elderly widow with permed white hair, round and stout and grandmotherly. I was a little nervous as I rang her doorbell as we rarely saw her, and her curtains were always closed. I could hear movement in the house. It seemed to take forever for her to come to the door. I could hear other kids running, shouting "TRICK OR TREAT FOR U-NI-CEFFF!" Come on, lady! Come on!

She answered the door with a smile. She was using a walker, and propped the door open with a corner of it.

"Trick or treat for U-NI-CEFFF!" I sing-songed brightly, giving a winning grin paired with the most sincere eyes I could muster.

"Oh! Yes! It's that time again already! Yes, of course! Won't you come in a minute? I will see what I have in my purse."

Awwww, no, I thought, I don't wanna go in! There's no time! She had already turned towards the interior, leaving me little choice but to enter, closing the door behind me.

As I followed her into the kitchen, my nose wrinkled at the "old" smell throughout the house -- that combination of the musty dust from too many old things and too little fresh air. But I could see that she had already prepared a pumpkin-shaped plastic bowl filled with little bags of candy corn, and that everything was very neat and orderly, if a bit dark. Clomp-ca-clomp-ca-clomp, went the walker, and she began to ask me questions. Lots and lots and lots of questions, about school and my dog and my parents and the weather, in that way that is both terribly sweet and utterly excruciating for children. I was raised to be polite to my elders, and could not bring myself to utter the terse, brusque replies that would get me out the door faster and onto the next house. I couldn't do it, but felt like I had a thousand ants crawling on me, I wanted to bolt so badly. Before I knew it, she had me sitting at her kitchen table and put a plate of oatmeal cookies and a glass of milk in front of me.

"It's so nice of you to stop by. I'm glad to meet the new neighbors!"

Awwwww, man. I weakly smiled and nodded, nodded and smiled, and ate a cookie with one ungloved hand and drank some milk, my radio sitting silent on the Formica table, eyes darting around for a clock. She kept talking and talking and I just couldn't figure my way out. I didn't even know if she remembered why I came to the door, until the doorbell rang again.

"Oh! Oh, yes! UNICEF! Halloween! Ha ha ha! Excuse me, please!"

As she clomped to the front door, I shoved the last bit of cookie in my mouth, put my glove on, grabbed my radio and my orange box, and followed her, hoping I could exit with some kind of grace. To my horror, I saw it was almost dark outside. Almost out of time! UNICEF collections strictly stopped at nighttime.

"TRICK OR TREAT FOR U-NI-CEFFFF!"

Aw, dang! It was Carl, who was a year younger than me, and a head taller. He was my sworn enemy ever since he had teased me on the bus, I had turned around and scratched his face up like a wildcat, and he slugged me in the stomach hard enough to take my breath away. I thought I came out better because while I caught my breath in a few minutes, he had to go to school for a week with a messed-up face. Anyway, he was just as determined to win the UNICEF collection prize, and especially to beat me doing it.

"Oh, yes! Lovely! You two wait here one moment!" the old lady told us. "I know my purse is here somewhere!"

I heard my mom bang our screen door, going outside to give our dog Sam his dinner, cheap dry kibble with a gravy made from hot water and bacon drippings. Carl grinned evilly at me and shook his collection box, heavy with coins.

"This is my third box, and you're gonna lose," he whispered at me.

"Who cares? You probably stole it all, Stupid," I spat back.

After another eternity, clomp-ca-clomp-ca-clomp, she returned with a small light blue plastic coin purse, embossed with the name of the only bank in town in gold lettering.

"Here you go!" she exclaimed.

Plonk plonk, two nickels into Carl's box. Plonk plonk, two nickels into mine.

"ThankyougoodbyehappyHalloween!" Carl blurted, and ran off to the next house, wisely avoiding mine.

Two nickels. I have two lousy nickels! Aw, man.

"Marianne! Dinner's ready!" shouted my mom, seeing me there from our house, carrying Sam's now-empty bowl in her hands.

Aw, nooooooo! I can't show up at school with TEN CENTS!!! But as the streetlights snapped on, Trick or Treat for UNICEF 1973 was over, and there was pot roast to eat, and real trick-or-treating to prepare for. I had to go home.

"I enjoyed our visit, Marianne. Please come by again! Bring these to your family...you can leave the plate at the door later. I just put my candy bowl on the porch for the children tonight; I can't stay up so late these days!" Our elderly neighbor handed me the plate with the rest of the cookies on it, smiling, and I thanked her.

I snapped the radio on, balanced the UNICEF box on top of the cookies, told Sam he was a good boy, and walked into my own warm, bright kitchen that smelled so wonderful.

"How did you do? Did you get lots of donations?" asked my mom as she brought plates to our own Formica table.

"No. I ended up getting stuck the whole time at Mrs. Johnson's house! She just wanted to talk! She sent these cookies for us, though."

"Oh, how nice! I will bake a batch for her later and you can drop them off."

I took the gloves off, sat down at the table, picked up my orange box, and rattled the two lonely coins inside. Rattle rattle rattle. My mom stopped for a moment.

"That was the right thing to do. Thank you."

I looked at her, all flushed from cooking, strands of hair loose around her face, and she was smiling at me. I smiled back, and rattled the box again, in time to "Space Race."

Billy Preston, "Space Race"