So Many Cucumbers

In smaller days. The one cuke plant before it truly got monstrous.

My two cucumber plants have produced a wealth of cukes. Blessed! The one plant is trying to take over the yard. My zuke plant grew upward instead of out. And have been drying my own herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, basil and lemon balm. I also dried my few jalapenos.

I have been having a bit of success lately. Three short stories placed! Three! City Full of Rain will be in LitMag. Blood and Bread will appear this October in Hellhound Magazine and now Gladys will be in Agony Opera. I have been shucking out submissions like mad lately. There’s also been the plethora of rejections to balance that out.

Decided to watch White Lotus. Hated it. Absolutely hated it. What a waste of talent. Jennifer Coolidge seemed perpetually confused as to what she was supposed to be doing but she gamely kept on anyway. Rich white assholes getting away with everything while abusing the staff…fuck me running, no thanks. I didn’t find it funny or insightful. The pig-faced trust fund boy bullying the manager until he got him fired…Jesus H. Christ on a cracker. It was set in Hawaii, so getting some scenes of sea turtles and that gorgeous ocean made up for almost nothing of this shit-tastic blunder. This was supposed to be satire…yet it felt like I was being continuously punched in the kisser for the five hours I made myself watch this. I skipped episode five, full disclosure. I learned nothing but that rich people get away with near everything…well, duh. And at least do something more than stereotypes…ugh.

As the weather is a touch cooler, I might work outside today. Or I might watch Suicide Squad for the umpteenth time because watching the same show over and over is soothing and comforting. I discovered other folks do this as well. Read the same books over and over, watch the same shows over and over…as it provides comfort, safety and structure when one has depression. The repetition helps.

Yeah, the news lately. It’s toxic. Afghanistan, for one. There was no winning here. None. Lots of blame to go around, sure, but how to help those who live there, get those who wish to get out get out and…so forth and so on. Blame later, help now would be my unasked for advice. The Pro-Plague league that has set up camp in America. The won’t wear a mask cause freedumb squirrelheads. Poor people might be getting too many pennies in their unemployment scraps, take that away, stat! Women, you don’t own your own bodies, we do, says the state of Texass and other red-minded states. And on and on. Until you’re choking on rage fumes and sorrow clouds, drowning in your own empathy and helplessness. So, you start season one of Gilmore Girls for the umpteenth time and marvel at how blind Lorelei is to Luke’s panting over her. hello!

I’m trying to do a post every week. Trying to keep it light and not a dark bloodied scream against everything right now. I have three short stories that will be read this late summer and early fall. Halloween is nearby! Bats and skeletons and stormy nights full of ghosts and goblins and things that sometimes loudly go bump in the night. And then, hopefully, big snowstorms this year and into the next…2022. And it all begins over again, and it might be even worse! That might call for a Buffy viewing. Teenage girl slays vampires while studying for her history exam is probably the ticket and balm I will need.

Awesome Possum Squad

I turned the HBO back on, to watch a supervillains as antiheroes/heroes movie. That would be James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Rock me, Amadeus!

Also? No spoilers.

I’d heard ‘good things’ about this one. That it had a story, for one. That it was gloriously, unabashedly violent, for adults, funny, and yes, a bit sad at times. What?? It’s not a muddled mess of dark mopey superbeings muttering cliches? WTF, Batman? He was not in this, by the way. It’s the same universe, which is not Marvel. Gold star for me, right? Right?

We have a different-ish group of Suicide Squadders this time around but there are leftovers from the other 2016 movie. Like Boomerang, Harley Quinn, and can’t recall another one. There’s brand new squadders, such as TDK, Weasel, Savant, some guy with a javelin[Javelin!], an orange-faced girl [Mongal], that guy from SNL’s villain [Blackguard]. We also have Peacemaker, the shark man, rat girl, Idris Elba as Bloodsport. Oh and Colonel Flag is back, too, but his girlfriend seems very absent. The one who had the sorceress inside her? M’kay.

And Polka Dot man, who throws outer space polka dots at people, which turn them into rather gross objects of blood, bone and drippy flesh. I do mean gross. Really gross.

So, Viola Davis, evil incarnate supreme and soft-voiced mistress of pain archetype, sends a big slug of supervillains to this island to erase some science experiment that might blah blah blah the rest of the world if it gets out. Standard superhero movie plot, sure. But it’s twisty! Oh yeah. And the monster is both funny and terrifying…so well done on that front. There’s always a monster, come on, kiddos.

Also, visually, we get announcements of what’s going on or about to happen next composed of stuff in the scene. Like seaweed on the beach announcing the time is now or smoke forming the words it’s eight minutes ago or roots spelling out we’re about to deal with Harley. I thought that obvious artifice worked very well, had a smooth transitional momentum to it. It could have been annoying or too cutesy but it just was not.

Overall, this was a good time. It didn’t really let up. Actions led to consequences. Elba’s Bloodsport had a real fear of rats, yet he has to face that fear in a battle. Weasel could not swim and spent most of the movie laying on the beach probably drowned. Probably. Tiny spoiler? Sorry! Harley Quinn was perfection. She was what I want Wonder Woman to be. Kind of a fearless maniac…maybe not. Maybe?? Watching HQ gonzo her way out of the mansion full of dictator-wannabes just made my millennium. And her heartfelt hug of Flag, ah! Maybe Diana can take her aside, compare some notes? Same universe. Oh my gosh, a HQ/WW battle. Let’s do this!

I really don’t have too many criticisms of this. It’s violently fun, you actually care about these misfits, you might even laugh here and there, it doesn’t seem to have that dark dreary undertone that just makes you roll your eyes anymore, and it seems a manageable chunk of a movie, not a bloated  vanity project using source material about three people have read.

Did I mention John Cena yet? Cause he was awesome possum sauce. How’s that for critical analysis? You’re welcome. His rivalry with Bloodsport, bwhahahaha…until it wasn’t funny. What? An arc? I know!

I also felt, deep in my heart, that the actors really enjoyed themselves making this one. And that joy translated to some pretty solid turns from the players in this operatic, over the top, colorful, violent romp. It was satisfying. I felt very smiley nearly the whole time watching this. Like, hey, they got one right! Look at this thing! I can stop thinking about my country swirling down a large orange toilet and enjoy HQ kicking the shit out of those who think her just some dumb broad with a pretty face. I don’t have to consider how no one who’s got an R by their name never seems to suffer any consequences for anything, including fucking treason as I observe Idris Elba have a scream fight with his daughter that’s both funny and a bit too real. I’ve had a version of this fight. Dang.

It’s a movie that allows reality to be suspended. To slip into this universe where…oh damn, good is still a slippery concept. And oh my goodness, King Shark playing with those Muppet-like jellyfish thingies! Yes! Oh no, jellyfish thingies…oh dear. This movie has layers? This movie has layers, y’all!

What more could you want from a supervillains used to save the world popcorn flick? Not much, really.

Idris Elba as Bloodsport
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn

Shrew Taming

Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, in the Taming of the Shrew. Wheee! I’ve never seen it. I know the play. It was Richard Burton day on TCM. That’s right, basic cable, snobs. Shh. I feel very defensive that I’m not streaming EVERYTHING THERE IS TO STREAM.

So! It’s on later, almost nine in the evening. So late! It’s humid, why not stay up and gaze at a real life married couple [they were doing okay when the movie was made in 1967] chewing the scenery in perhaps one of Bill’s most problematic of plays. After all, it’s about ‘taming’ a woman until she acts like her dead houseplant of a sister. Much Ado About Nothing had a sister accused of dallying with another, her word not believed and she had to ‘die’ before she could be ‘clean and good’ again. Fuck me, that shit never dies or goes away, does it?

Directed by Franco Zeffirelli, filmed in Italy. This movie looks gorgeous. Just gorgeous. Lush rich jewel colors. Rust, hunter green, sapphire, golden-brown, deep lovely reds…oh my. The costumes were modeled off clothing from that time period. Yummy scrummy decadent lush seductive fabrics that invite touch and admiring eyes! Yes, I’m avoiding getting to why I quit an hour in.

Elizabeth Taylor as Katerina

I quit an hour into this thing.

Now, Richard Burton, who was a Shakespeare wiz, is clearly comfortable and at home in these wordy worlds. That trained voice hits the ears just so, that manly presence bursts with commanding manliness and hairy-chested alpha king wolf snap. He raises that voice a bit, the other men flatten down like mice before a magnificent barn cat. Clearly, he’s destined to tame many a wild wench. You also feel a bit on edge when Burton appears in a scene. What the hell is he gonna do? You want to watch him. If only. If only Kate, or Elizabeth Taylor, had been doing something other than her Martha parody from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? turn.


Before we meet our Petruchio, we meet Kate or Katerina. Fuck. Just…fuck no. She’s throwing a tantrum, like a toddler in the candy aisle. She’s physically and verbally abusive to one and all and hey, she just needs a good penis to show her who’s boss. There’s a very Men’s Rights theme in this play, ahem.  Liz Taylor, before this, had never done any Shakespeare. To make this story palatable, you need skilled actors who can make that rather harsh story, um, not so harsh. She did not pull this off, in my opinion. Her vocals were more shrieks and screams than anything else. She seemed psychotic rather than an unhappy woman unable to play the part everyone around her expected and demanded she play. That of the meek and mild feminine houseplant, head nodder, smiler, pleasant presence and all-around non-entity. At least, that’s what I always take away from any brush up against the TOTS.

Richard Burton

Before all this, we get Michael York, as the young lover and the sister, Bianca, who seems so ordinary and lackluster I had trouble picking her out in a crowd of other women. Really? This is what you want Kate to be? This silly houseplant of a girl? There also seemed to be real animosity between the sisters and Kate is even shown hitting her with a stick. I might need to go read this play again. Was this added in or in there already or…?

Now, Kate is gorgeous. Because she’s a hot, svelte Liz Taylor. Maybe she was told to ham it up to the point of absurd off-putting violence to make the taming part work better? Eh? Also, a daughter this nuts wouldn’t be shipped off somewhere? Or married off ASAP just to get rid of her? Come on. Or beaten or starved or any of the other ways to make a girl toe the line when she showed anything other meek servile cringing obedience?

Bianca knew how to work the crowd, I figure. She knows how to butter up the dingdongs so she can do what she wants in private. I’m guessing this but hey, gotta give that poor thing a personality somehow. I would love to see her teach Kate how to be meek and mild in public, while being herself where the menfolk don’t go. So that Kate can manage her life a lot better than tossing stools at people through windows and trashing entire rooms while shrieking incoherent jibberjabber.

I’d have to write that play, of course. I don’t think it exists.

So, our two main lovers meet and it’s a…um. Kate escapes Petruchio over and over, until they end up atop the pile of wool, after falling through the roof. I’m reminded of that rape-minded skunk and the poor cat trying to avoid that skunk as Burton chases Taylor through this old Italian house. Of course, he ends up atop her, holding her down, as she struggles to get away from this stranger who’s running her down like, well, that skunk and cat combo. It’s not funny or sexy. She even hurts herself, which is how he manages to ‘capture’ her, dragging her back before her father, sister and the rest of the gathered fuckskillets, who cheer at their chosen champion, who then locks Kate in her room. I? Um. Er?

Done. I’m out. No.

I don’t want to watch him break her or watch her be broken. The ‘taming’ part turns my stomach. Taylor plays Kate as the most unlovable, uncharming wretch ever but god damn it, no thanks to Burton and others cutting into her with gleeful malice until she has to surrender or be destroyed by all this.

I might have to watch the rest later, if I can find it somewhere or watch scenes later on, small doses of this well filmed but ulcer-inducing woman-hatey dreck. I adored Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. That’s Kate in Taming of the Shrew, hello. That energy and smolder and dissatisfaction and willing to go toe to toe, not bash Brick over the head with an actual brick, but find a way to live with him as he is.

Oh, and in Much Ado, I wanted Hero, at the end, to punch that asshole Shakespeare wrote that she had to love, right in the kisser. Just boom! And then walk off into the sunset to…live her life however she wanted. Rather like Judy Benjamin did. If you get that reference, I didn’t spoil anything for ya.

That’s my hasty take on a Burton/Taylor pairing. There were ten altogether, I believe. They work very well together but oh, not this time. I was crawling out of my skin. Ugh!

For fairness sake, I did watch her ending monologue, on Youtube. Ooooh, there’s the Liz I know and adore. She’s totally commanding, in control of that room, knows her worth, is a magnificent whirlwind that threatens to skin people alive with her focused flow of words, words, words. Burton, and we, cannot take our eyes from her. It was like there were two movies here. The hour-long cringey dreck and the two plus minute take down disguised as submission to a husband. Gimme the two minutes, of course.

Allrighty, let’s call it a day.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor


Storm just about to hit. Notice the weeds. Beyond that is a sugar beet field.

The distinct smell of rain this morning. Last night we had a thunderstorm move through. Actual rain. The ground is yet wet this morning. Normally, storms here that produce any rain last about five minutes, if that. The ground seems a sort of polka dot vista before the dryness wins again. It’s nearly true that when it rains here in Eastern Oregon, that you can actually walk between the rain drops. I’m not talking about the mountainous regions, of course. I did hear that Sumpter, Oregon, got two inches of rain and then some, in short measure this past eve, which prompted flooding worries. Flooding. When the heat has baked us into fire-exploding potential fuckholocausts from end to end.

I have been busy submitting, trying to ‘get my stuff out there’. That’s my vague yet precise goal, after all, as a writer. Getting my stuff out there for rejections galore or the rare acceptance.

It’s humid, I’m not used to humidity here and it’s befuddling me as I wring sweat from my shirt. Heat, fine, whatever, I can deal. I LIVED IN LAS VEGAS. I know heat! I also lived in SoCal, cheek and jowl against the Mojave. Heat, pavement, Joshua trees, oh yeah, baby. Humidity, no thanks. I’d like to speak to the manager in my most Karen of ways, please.

Submissions. It rained. I have lots of cucumbers and my pumpkins are ripening. I prepared one already for fall pies and such. I discovered my local PBS station GOT RID OF THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW because it’s gone. It’s not in the usual 4PM slot on Saturday. WTF is happening?? Oh the humanity! Yes, I know it’s streaming on blah blah, go slap yourself with a catfish. It was something I looked forward to every week. A little lovely treat, a visual delight. It’s seemingly replaced by some travel show. You have enough shows on travel, PBS. Bring back TGBBS. How dare you???!! It’s popular and kid-friendly, hello. I know, compared to real troubles and the world at large, this is a tiny nonsensical wail. But it seems that everything that makes life even a bit bearable gets canceled or ended or ruined or stopped or…Yeah, that’s just life, okay. Okay.

Started the FX series, the Americans. I’m enjoying it so far. Reached season two. Enjoying it is maybe not the right phrase. It’s pretty grim, serious, layered and complex. You have to pay attention. There’s also all the 80’s stuff that seems relevant now or always. Escalation with Russia, who’s got a nuke, who’s a real American, mouthy teenage kids. I’m really impressed with the two leads so far. Also some applause for whoever did the wigs for that show. It should be called Americans in Wigs.

I’d go into the return of masks but fuck me, it’s exhausting. The left needs to work up a public campaign that makes it seem that wearing a mask, getting the vaccine will own the libs like there’s no tomorrow. A 24/7 campaign, as relentless and tireless as anything from the right wing garbage-spewing factories. Facts and logic and reality, no. Tricks, psychological warfare, bribes, yes. That’s where we are now or have always been. People do no operate on logical, realistic lines. People who claim to do that…BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Please, just don’t. Have you met people? Go hang out on Twitter for a bit. Or peek at the comments section under anything.

Rain , submissions, no Great British, masks back, wigs on the Americans are outstanding.

Oh, also, on that show. Martha. She drives me batshit bonkers. Hate her. I hope she dies in a Russian industrial accident. But I adore Claudia, or Margot Martindale. More of her, please. She’s fantastic, fun to watch. I just want a show of her and Kerri Russell exchanging threats over plates of scrambled eggs. And then they solve crimes or something because you can’t build a series over two characters doing that, right? Right?

Oh hey, I have two short stories about to hit the indifferent public spheres. City Full of Rain, by LitMag and Blood and Bread will appear this October in Hellhound Magazine.