Appetite for the Absurd


Heralded as the Jonestown Network alternative to Stem, the Fruitful Terrier Sitter Extraordinaire, Pango Pango Junction packs quite the wallop when it comes to pure, unadulterated edutainment at a reasonable price. Parked at the intersection of broad leaf swelling and matriarchal patronage, I defy anybody to come away without some kind of interesting new trivia in their noggin by the end of each episode.

Before I agreed to subject myself to the bizarre ritual that is test-viewing a public television program for the determination of proper demographic distribution, I thought “oh jeez, here goes another several hours of my life that I’m never getting back. And right on the heels of finishing up my kite-flying apprenticeship at Old American [for Profit] University, too.”

But, being the good sport that I am, I didn’t even balk at the dubious honor. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that the show’s producer and I had a bit of a fling a few holiday seasons ago, and that we still flirt pretty heartily with each other. I’m a real sucker for shallow intimacy, especially if it’s spread out over the course of several years, where I can put the person/people out of mind for a while and reconnect with that polarizing animal magnetism as though we’re on a sinking ship/divebombing plane/bucking bronco… I guess it would be tough to get two of us on one of those beasts at the same time, but you get my drift.

You know, I’ve had a lot of time to think about this topic. Not to wax depressing, but living alone has afforded me the time to step back and reflect upon the foundation of relationships at their very essence of innate human fragility. I’ve come to develop the inconvenient understanding that I was never meant to settle down with any one person, and the fairy tale love affair might as well go the way of the dinosaurs–at least, as far as I’m concerned. Damn, now I’ve gone and gotten myself all glum again! What the hell?!

But anyway, I promised Gwen I’d do her a favor by giving my unvarnished opinion on the latest project, so I borrowed her official showbiz flash drive and gave the first few episodes a spin. Yes, plural episodes. Just shooting a pilot clearly wouldn’t have been enough doing to properly showcase their dean’s list-caliber aptitude for creative enterprises. One could chalk it up to insurmountable confidence or simply an arrogance that never got flushed out of the system by regular beatings/embarrassments, but I reserve such judgments for the critics of the world.

Well, this review got a bit out of hand. Suffice it to say that I recommend Pango Pango Junction to anyone looking to spend some time on a contemporary spin of the “one-size-fits-all daytime head-scratcher” subgenre. Or simply anyone with a healthy enough appetite for the absurd.

Until we meet again, gentle reader–

Sardonicus Q. Jellyknife, Esq.

Regime


Chili leaks all over the seat,
failing to save itself
for a more opportune moment.
At times I’ll see that incontinence
and laugh, comforted
by my own relative regularity.

But when the cowbell strikes 10PM
and you’re losing your marbles
at a steady rate, none of these things
matter anymore. All you can do is
gesture wildly at the skies
with the hope of retrieving
that golden beacon of self-doubt
from the prickly impersonator of human emotion.

He’s been around a long time,
a real long time (if you want to get technical).
His name is inconsequential, for
one must only conjure his essence
to perpetuate his unholy regime.

DFM


Enter our eternal and infernal friend,
Deflatermouse–
careful about the point he makes when scrimmying across the kitchen floor in a fairly affluent suburban subdivision that would otherwise say it’s been treated well by the rodents and mongrels of the world. Only DFM (as the folks in the know have referred to him) gets a pass–you know, for sheer name novelty that has nothing to do with his aptitude for deflating himself (or others) and everything to do with occupying the (then) hovel of Fretful Fred, a beleaguered baritone at the peak of malaise and circumspection.

“Well hello there, little fella.” DFM pauses, startled to be addressed in such a cordial way.

“You’re the first visitor I’ve had in quite some time!” DFM appears to be intently listening to Fred, if only to take in the sonorous quality of his voice.

“Take a load off, friend! I don’t have much of anything to offer, but I’m sure you’re fairly adept at fending for yourself at this point.” DFM then immediately proceeds to scrimmy away, marking the exact moment in which his fabled moniker first graced Fred’s consciousness.

Fretful Fred considers himself a bit of a wordsmith, in addition to his accomplishments of the stage and screen. It took about two to three seconds to formulate the nickname, during which time there were numerous cognitive connections taking place, not at all dissimilar to the series of adjustments that a world-class athlete must make while performing the repetitive tasks that put them in that spotlight in the first place.

Our tiny rodent companion lit the fuse that led to a lightning-quick series of self-deprecating blasts. Every moment neglecting my life’s passions seems to just fuel the bonfire of self-hindrance, perpetuating a “woe is me” mentality that only spirals as the moments compile. My pesky new pal graced me with his presence at the intersection of doubt and fear, giving me the semblance of camaraderie, no matter how fleeting. But, just as all moments ever experienced by we, the mortal folk charged with hoisting the weight of the cosmos (whether or not weight is an accurate measurement), our fledgling friendship seems to have vanished as suddenly as it appeared.

“You’re a real Deflatermouse, you know that?” Freddy knew that an intellectual connection couldn’t be made, now or ever, but he continued to consciously deny the existence of a language barrier for the sake of infusing any wonder into his underwhelming existence.

Frontier


A healthy schnitzelfritz
is all we would need
for a cut-rate Dependence Day
on the Frontier of Many Puddings.

Ever since the rolling scabies epidemic
took its time crossing the Ganges,
twelve men have made it their business
to carve necklaces from oak stumps
as a way of reconnecting
with their wood nymph sides
while honing their dedication
to sculptural accessorizing.

After all those mentions of scriptural evangelizing, our Maker’s Dozen–as they like to call themselves–made the executive decision to secularize the whole process and peddle the wares of their ingenuity for a tidy profit (at least, wherever flea markets intersect with local art exhibitions).

One mustn’t mistake this ingenuity
for dogmatic commitment to peculiar crafting,
as these enterprising young monks
would be the first to tell you.
Frankly, these fellows have
a bit of a competitive streak in them
that has yet to be beaten out
by assumptive authoritarians,
and a near-endless supply
of stump-grade dynamite
only served to seal the deal.

Done with It


I leapt atop a cereal box
then realized
it wouldn’t support my weight–
I sank into the Cap’n Chocula,
lucky to miss scraping my knees
on the crunchy saccharine goodness.

The issue of scale
then presented itself
and I burst forth
from the cardboard capsule
(mysteriously missing
the plastic liner recommended
by the FDA and all those smart folks
protecting our health
and personal liberties), unscathed.

I guess I owe my roommate
a new box of cereal, though
I think I would offer more value
by illustrating to him
the sheer improbability
of spontaneous size-changing
without understanding the principles
behind such a mind-melting scrap
of anecdotal fodder.

Ultimately, the attempt to voice
my impression of the event
would see me chasing my tail,
flapping my jaw until creakiness ensues.
Nope, forget it. I’m just gonna
clean up this mess, get some more
fudgy grain poofs
and be done with it.

Sailor Parry


In the midst of a blight
brought forth by injustice,

Sailor Parry
abandoned his bow

in favor of an idiosyncratic approach
buoyed by the near-legitimate agency
with which so many people
squabble on a near-daily basis.

Suffice it to say that he’s miserable now.
The life on the sea was a demanding one,
but nothing he couldn’t handle
(with a nice snifter of scotch
warming in his palm).

He’s not as much of a red tape connoisseur
as most folks sharing the cubicle farm,
and his frustration tends to surface
in the form of a lighthearted jibe
(sometimes misconstrued as unobstructed malice).

As the weeks and months pass,
Sailor Parry begins to doubt
the instinct that drew him
from the briny depths to the skyscrapers
of those self-professed modernographers
who derive satisfaction
from pushing the 21st Century agenda
as far as it can possibly go–and then some.

“All the world’s a sea, but some of it
parades around as a c-word.”

Roses


The ever-present Rumpelstiltskin type of orangeade
seems to have no connection to the ingenuity
of a person concerned with a corrupt bargain
and everything to do with a personal vendetta
to be meted out over the course of several decades,
if not millennia.

Such a skip in discourse may only lead some people
to believe of its malintent, but truly
there is nothing wrong with such a change in scale.
How else are we to judge our actions
against the actions of others in present or past?
How else are we to compare ourselves
to the species who specialize in longevity?
The trees out there, the mollusks, the fungi,
all of them. We’re just individual pinpricks
in their rearview mirrors, and it would take a miracle
for us to cause more than just a blip
on their collective radar screens.
How do you like those terrible mixed metaphors?
Yeah, it’s getting me pretty hot too, come to think of it.

Who needs any kind of inspiration anymore anyway?
It would seem as though folks
mainly just seek to consume
pleasant media at a reasonable price,
and anything falling outside of that window
must be judged much more critically,
since fewer people have sought it out.
And the ones who go out of their way to discover
such outlets must therefore–in their own minds–
be superior beings, leading to tirades
about their keen eyes and intellects
while we sit there right next to them
with a thumb up our ass, hoping only
to take that thumb and plug up their infernal nostrils.

“What is that intoxicating aroma? Roses?”

“No, genius, it’s my shit-covered finger. Why don’t you go off somewhere and have a time of it while you prank a local youth?”

“Why, you insubordinating little trolley-hopper, I’ll have you know that I earned this domineering nature through sheer pluck and grit. Also, possibly through piss and vinegar. Over the course of my years, I haven’t been able to differentiate the two, though you might say I’m a bit of a glutton for the cinema. Wait, what kind of critic am I? Shit, I forgot. A jack of all trades such as myself can only be concerned with where the next paycheck’s coming from.”

Reformation


Emerging catechisms chime
early and indifferent rhymes
to the whinging snicket of gender inequality
as though a period of turpentine turbulence
wouldn’t cost us all an arm and a leg.

Foolish?
Perhaps.

But you never know
when a reformation
will require encouragement
from our stunted brethren,
creative or otherwise,
in need of topical pain relief
and a more liberal flow
of aesthetic proclamations.

Protrusion Trudy


Protrusion Trudy
done did it this time,
dadgummit.
She jutted her elbow out
at just the wrong moment
and now
she has
a scrappy little flotsam/jetsam nugget
at her side
for at least the next couple full moons
(or until she has to
get her oil changed,
whichever comes first).

Poor ol’ Trudy couldn’t possibly
have seen that coming,
unless she were to
actually listen to her friends
every once in a while.

“Hey!
Don’t stick your elbow out there!
You could get a latcher,
or worse,
a lecher!”

The halfhearted plea
for common decency
will always fall
upon deaf ears
wherever Protrusion Trudy is concerned.
She goes on
to this very day,
whamming her elbows
into occupied space

“just the way God made me.”

Like Nobody’s Business


Individual
igloo ingredients
incentivize
through interpersonal intuition;
immediate instinct.

In this instance, Ingrid’s
icy and insipid insights
immolate indignation
from Indianapolis to Inglewood,
inflicting impersonal injustices

like nobody’s business.

Two Different Languages


Gratuitous vomiting noises seem to have permeated this otherwise lovely air today. But you know what? I could care less! It’s a gorgeous day and I’m out here walkin’ Stormin’ Normal, the long-haired dachshund. Believe you me, Normal is nothing but. He’d much rather prefer to chase rats around in the sewers than cultivate an image of military impunity and historical nickname significance. He does know how to storm about the neighborhood, but when it comes to commanding hundreds of thousands of troops, you might as well send a beagle out there in his place.

The vomiting noises have yet to cease here, I don’t quite know what to do about this. On the one hand, someone could be violently ill, necessitating first-responders on the scene. On the other hand, even if I were to be at the right place at the right time, there’s no way I could do the same good work of an EMT, and all I could do is hold their hand (if it’s not covered in vomit) and try to comfort them while the professional health-perpetuators make their way over.

Normy doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. The way I figure, if we can hear gratuitous vomiting noises from here, Norm should be able to smell the ensuing vomit and tug on the leash like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t ask me how I know, but Normy’s a bit of a vomit connisseur. He really digs it, in other words. I’ve tried countless times to break him of his obsession, but it’s like we’re speaking two different languages.

So unless Norm’s lost his incredible sense of smell, I’m certain that this person making the vomiting sound-effects really has no problem whatsoever with their digestion. More than likely, they’re trying to make a scene in front of their friends for money. Well, that’s just my assumption, since the only times I’ve acted up like that in front of my friends, some quantity of money was involved. But then again, if we were to go by the old adage that pushes the “friends are forever” line, I never did have any friends in the first place.