Ceres: The ultimate Golf get-away

For those of you that would like to play a few rounds of golf on your vacation, Ceres is hard to beat.

A former Planet, When Ceres was first discovered in 1801 it was classified as a planet for 50 years until being demoted to Asteroid 1, then in the 2006 debate over the classification of Pluto it was briefly considered being classified as a planet until it and Pluto were reclassified as Dwarf Planets.

Ceres offers a lot to the dedicated golfer.

Ceres is large enough for its gravity to give it a spherical shape, this means on the surface you can view a regular horizon. When lining up your drive you will have a clear view and not feel like you are golfing up a steep cliff, or down the grand canyon.

Ceres has a rocky interior covered by a water-ice layer. The ice is at least 60 miles thick and during formation it “bubbled” up bringing clay and sand particles to the surface. As a result the surface of Ceres is nice hard clay, making an excellent driving range.

Ceres has a tenuous atmosphere that was thicker in the distant past, this atmosphere would have caused the small sand and dust particles to blow into low lying areas making excellent sand traps.

The escape velocity on Ceres is 1,119.6 mph so it will keep even the best golfers drive on the Dwarf Planet but still allow a good golfer to hit a 60 – 70 mile line drive.

Ceres is relatively warm –38 degrees so a golfing space suit wouldn’t need the heavier layers of protection necessary in other parts of the solar system.

For a really exciting round of golf, Ceres does occasionally get hit by other asteroids. These asteroids can break through the 60-mile ice layer and bring water to the surface, which will boil in the near vacuum until a layer of ice forms to cover it.

So for brief periods Ceres offers boiling water hazards.

Things to talk to your travel agent about.

Ceres is roughly 1,000 times the distance from the Earth as the Moon, so a Space Craft traveling at speed of the Apollo spacecraft would take roughly three years to travel to Ceres. Unless you don’t mind spending 6 years traveling for a golf get-away (I know some golfers who would find that a reasonable trade off) you might want to look into getting a faster ship.

Ceres may have a water “Ocean” but it is under 60 miles of ice and its atmosphere is nearly non-existent, so make sure your travel arrangements include such amenities as food, water and oxygen.


The First Daughters first 100-Day Report Card.

The rest of the mainstream media is busy grading Obama’s first 100 days, a meaningless and arbitrary milestone, and CNN is digging deeper by grading how Michelle Obama has done in her first 100 days as first lady. (Hint: she started out as the hottest first lady in recent history and hasn’t gotten harder on the eyes in the last 100 days). It’s necessary for me to dig even deeper into the trivialness of this totally unimportant day. I will grade the first daughters on how good a job they have done in their first 100 days.


This is the most important duty of the first family and Malia and Sasha have raised the bar. I truly believe that if Bin Laden gets CNN in his cave when pictures of those two come on, even he has to stop admire their cuteness. I believe his words must be something like “Death to Amer- Awe they are so adorable, What was I saying?”

I give them an A+ (It would be more but that is the top of the scale.)


They have done an excellent job of keeping the media informed, I remember that for the first few weeks of school CNN reported every day what they were having for lunch at school.

I give them an A+

Getting Daddy to make the house kid friendly.

An important job of every kid is to get their dad to make the new house kid friendly. They got their dad to take time out from guiding the nation out of the second Great Depression, dealing with two Wars, negotiating a path to relations with Cuba after 40+ years of saber rattling on both sides. A few hundred other things in order to get them a swing set. Good Job.

I give them an A+

Making “The Cool Mom”

Sure she’s first lady and on the cover of thousands of magazines, but to Malia and Sasha’s classmates she’s just another mom. In order for her to be “The Cool Mom” she has to do something fun with the class.

Michelle started a vegetable garden with the help of the class. That’s a fun project that has to earn some points with the classmates.

I give them an A+

The first Dog.

They were promised a puppy if daddy became President and it took him months to pick one out. Sure he was dealing with saving the nation from the second great depression, two wars, pirates, ect. But dads always have an excuse to put something off, it’s the girls job to make sure he follows through. Although when they finally got one it was damn cute.

I give them a B

Overall they get an A for their first 100 days.


a good balance

when out and about,
and faced with the possibility
that I may have some "waiting time,"
I try to always have with me
a book of Billy Collins
a book of Charles Bukowski;

I carry the former
for reminders of reality,
coupled with hopefulness,
and the latter
for reminders of reality,
coupled with inevitability.

April 26, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


oh writer's block
is a terrible thing:
you know the melody,
but you forget
how to sing;

used to be,
all I could write
was longing
and leaving,
tears dripping,
chests heaving;

now I write of both
joy and pain;
hope for one,
while one remains.

April 26, 2009. Just wait until I listen to some Neil Young songs.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

nothing at all

with the relative success
of harnessing
tiny bits and pieces
of all the power of the earth,
many of us have
to the wild-eyed notion
of our possible superiority --
that we might possibly be
"in charge" of something,
anything -- ourselves even,
and then we moved on to the
ultimate conclusion
that we might be "in charge"
of everything -- that we
might be lords and masters
of all that we survey --
and then
the hurricane,
the flood,
the fire,
the cancer,
the alzheimer's,
the osteoporosis:

and some of us realize
that we are "in charge" of
nothing at all.

April 26, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

nighttime screams

stalk me, dammit:
hide in my bed tonight;
just pull the covers up
over you; there's only a
little light --
I won't notice a thing,
until the rush of your breath
on my neck
makes my heart flutter
and take wing;

stalk me, dammit:
don't just walk around
in my dreams;
walk into my room,
give me a good reason
for all of these
nighttime screams.

April 25, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

you left your blade

real love
eats anger
and spits out

if you want
your rapier back,
as I imagine you do,
you'll just have to
pull it out yourself,
watch the life ooze
out onto the floor,

oh, and watch those
moonbeams flow;

that's why you came,
so take it;

you'll use it again,
I know.

April 25, 2009. From the forthcoming collection, Spoken Rage.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

pretending to be me

if you were me,
you would have killed yourself by now,
and if I were you,
I would have asked you to;

luckily for us both,
this whole role-reversal thing
is far less than
it's cracked up to be:
it's a whole lot less
than meets my eye;
not really an answer,
not really something
I want to try:

hard enough most days,
pretending to be me.

April 25, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


Another Saturday Afternoon

"I'm done showering," she said. "Fresh as a daisy. And now, I am going to lotion-up."

I looked at her from across the room, my eyes ever so temporarily off the computer screen. Well worth it, to be sure. She was the most graceful, lovely vision that could have appeared before my eyes that afternoon, and absorbing every detail took a few moments.

"Oh, to be your towel, mi amor," I managed as she disappeared back into the master bathroom. "Or your lotion."

She stepped back into the doorway of the room for a moment, and our eyes met, and I saw her let out a small shiver, uncontrollably. Her eyes seemed to cross the room and meet mine inches from my face. And then she turned, and went back into the bathroom, from which I heard, "You had better get ready yourself, you know. I do not want to be late. This is the first cookout of the spring, and I am dying to get outside and feel the sun on my body."

It didn't matter much what she said, I was lost to the vision of her naked form across the room, with my eyes and my loins longing for another look. I heard myself say,
". . . or even the floor under your feet, vibrating beneath you, like a wakened beast, ready to climb you like a virgin mountain."

"Oh lord," she said, "hello? Are you intentionally trying to make us late?"

"Hello," I heard myself say, "I'm sorry. I was lost in the moment, in that moment of looking up at you, as if I was the floor. What a view. Oh my, what a view. Now I wish that we did not have anywhere to go. At least for a little while . . . ." I heard my voice trail off somewhere, and as I heard it go, I looked up, and she was standing in front of me, inches away. Dressed just as she had been, moments before, in nothing but her smile, and those eyes.

"Ah," she said, as she crooked her finger to me, "there will be other cookouts, no?"

April 25, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

long after

a friend asked me
how it is
that you sleep
after all you put me through;
and I said that
muddy waters don't
usually run very deep;

I guess I could be kinder,
and concentrate
on all that was good;
on everything that was sweet;
but that thorn
is still stuck in me;

still workin' its way out;
the sting may be gone,
but the wailin' of the torch singer,
well, that mournful sound
still lives on.

April 24, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

Conversations with Candida, Chapter 1: "Latinas Say the Funniest Things" (or, "Did You Just Baboing Me?")

"Hola, Candi, my sweet little habanero."

"Hey. I'm cooking right now and all the kids and their friends are playing in the yard."

"Whatcha cookin', good lookin'?"

"Silly boy."

"Ah, you bring out the silly boy in me. And hopefully, the funny one, too."

"I'm making chicken wings, potatoes, and steak for me and the boy."

"One of the many reasons that I have so much respect for you, Candi. Is it hard getting the little bones in there?"

"What the chicken wings?"

"Yes, you said you were making chicken wings."

"You are the strangest Anglo I have ever known, and I have known some strange ones."

"Well I am not nearly as strange as Mom's friend, Marge, who is here right now. She's been here since sometime around 2:30; she got here while I was out earlier; came by to pick up a beef roast that we picked up for her at the grocery store yesterday; she can talk and talk and talk and talk, and never really say much; she's been here for nearly three hours now, talking."

"At least she doesn't talk with her hands, like I do. Does she? She's not a Latina, with a name like Marge. Is her last name White, too?"

"No, she is about as far from Latina as, say Barbara Walters."


"So I am in my room, playing The Pretenders, 'Last of the Independents'; not loud, but loud enough so that I cannot hear Marge. The sounds of live chipmunks being tossed into a blender would be better than listening to Marge."

"I'm serving up the food to the kids and their friends."

"You are such a good mom; most moms would not go to the trouble of making chicken wings; sittin' there, all tired from the day, and yet you stuff those tiny little bones into the chicken meat, piece by piece, just so your kids and their friends can have the joy of picking all the meat off them."

"You get stranger with every word you say, hombre blanco."

"Hombre blanco? Que es, hombre blanco all of a sudden?"

"I dunno, sometimes you sound more Anglo than others. Like now."

"Well, I am from the 'hood, just not that one."

"I just made the boy and his buddy the biggest Philly cheesesteak ever."

"Fastest way to the boys' hearts, those Philly cheesesteaks. Good for you, Candi."

"It smells so good, but I ain't touching it. That stuff goes straight to your thighs. I eat the steak, but none of that cheese stuff. Oh, and the onions too. I love onions."

"Aren't you hungry though? Doesn't the smell of them beckon to you?"

"The smell of them is wonderful. The way they will cling to my thighs, I can live without. But I made a big salad for my oldest daughter and myself with some spinach pasta and french bread."

"Well that sounds good."

"Hey, you know what sounds good, what sound I love? The sound my computer makes when you type something to me: baboing."

"Baboing. I had never thought about that. I'm not sure if I ever noticed that. Type something to me."

"Okay. Hear it? What a funny sound."

"You baboinged me, Candi. Is that even legal?"

"Baboing. Baboing. I can baboing you as much as I want, and no one can stop me, not even you, Mr. Humoristo."

"No baboingse, senora. No baboingse."

"Shut up. I will baboing you when I feel like it. Right now, I am in the mood to baboing you. So baboing. Enjoy it; I don't just baboing anybody. You should feel special because I want to baboing you."

"So every time you hit Enter, you baboing me?"

"Yes. And I am in total control. I am the Queen of the Baboing."

"So you can baboing me like this."

"Yes, and I can baboing you like that. And like this."

"You can warn me that I am about to be baboinged. You could say 'Hey, Mr. Humoristo, you are about to be baboinged by the Queen of the Baboing. And then, Enter, and you have baboinged me, just like that."

"That's right, I am going to baboing you again, right now."

"I can hear it now: 'Yeah, Carlos, she and me, we were baboinging all freakin' night, man!' Or words to that effect."

"If you baboing in a forest and there is no one around does it count as a baboing?"

"Well, if you baboing in a forest with a lot of pine needles, that's gonna be a lot of ouchies."

"I baboing, therefore I am."

"Nobody baboings me better than you."

"Two rabbits were baboinging in the woods. One rabbit turns to the other and says: 'When the moon baboings your eye, like a big pizza pie, that's amore!"

"Good one, Candi, good one."

"Oh, how about this one? A limo pulls up alongside another one at a stop light. Old white dude in the back rolls down the electric window and sticks his head out toward the other limo. The window on the other limo rolls down, and another old white dude sticks his head out. The first dude says to the other one: 'Excuse me, by any chance, do you have any Baboing?"

"I just baboinged my hair and now I can't do a thing with it!"

"Baboing: The New Black."

"When you want to capture someone's attention, just baboing."

"To baboing or not to baboing, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and baboings of outrageous fortune . . . "

"Okay, okay, Mr. Humoristo. I think we may have baboinged this bit to death, here."

"You may be right, Candi. Maybe we should call it a day for our first chapter."

"Yes. And stop baboinging me. I'll talk to you tomorrow."

"Hey, Candi, you just baboinged me . . . ."

April 25, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


that is that

Amid all this torture, surrounded by all
of this pain, strife and struggle, what's left
to gain, if I had you back, baby, what would
it be but just another puddle of muddle;
would I even want you again, this far off
of that track; discuss us, oh baby, please
don't talk to me about trust, I helped you learn
that over and over again, to be a lover, not
just a friend; nothing is ever the same, no
matter what remained; I hear the same old
strains, the same old refrains, feel the same
old pains; the cuts you left behind, they were
not all in my mind; those scars, they still tar
me, when I walk the street, seeing your ghost
on every corner, playing the part of the sad,
solitary loner; they are the kind of souvenirs
that you never lose, the ones you would not
choose as your new tat; so it is officially over,
no more looking back, and that is that.

April 24, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

A Few Minutes with Betty, Chapter 11: "Have You Had Your Three Spiders Yet?" (or, "Betty Says: Count Your Beans Carefully")

"Did you know that in their lifetime, the average person will eat at least three spiders while they sleep?"

"Hi Betty. You know, you really are scary; I was just working on Chapter 8 when you just popped up, like a scary popup book."

"I'm not scary. I'm sweet and cute."

"Well, I almost peed myself when you went WASSUP!"

"Snort. That's because you fear it is followed by a sharp hunting knife to the eye."

"So how did you come upon this spider knowledge, exactly?"

"My five-year-old."

"And I thought you just had a pocketknife; you've upgraded, like Microsoft, Infinity, and the rest of America? Or the pocketknife is just for those with whom you are intimate, like George?"

"I do have a pocket knife. But I've changed to my summer purse, which is bigger. Therefore . . . bigger knife."

"Of course. I should change to my summer purse too; which means I will not only have to get a summer purse, I'll have to get a winter one, too."

"Never mind man-with-purse jokes; they were funny 30 years ago. Get into the 21st Century, Shakespeare. Here is some real news: George is on my list and I'm not speaking to him."

"Not enough George gozinta Betty?"

"No, that still happens. I'm angry, not stupid."

"What, then? Snorting the pool chemicals again? Buying more than just the cookies from the Girl Scouts? Joining the Mommy & Me yoga class? Spending too much time at the cosmetics counter at Macy's?"

"No, nitwit. For being retarded about the money situation. He sat on the couch last night and flipped. I did ALL the freaking paper work alone."

"But you are very good at that sort of thing, and he might have just been respecting your superior abilities."

"No, I'm not. Numbers and I don't get along."

"But isn't that what you do for a living?"

"I was an English major for a living. I can add. I'm not stupid."

"But the whole mortgage thingie, isn't that just a lot of numbers? Or is that just being a professional pain-in-the-ass?"

"I don't do mortgages. I counsel people before they get mortgages. Show them how to save and such."

"Well, no but the whole mortgage payment thing, well doesn't saving and budgeting involve numbers? Or do you just use beans or thumbtacks, like back in third grade?"

"Only partially."

"Which part, the saving part or the budgeting part?"

"Saving has to do with cutting costs, showing them how to track expenses, keeping lists. I don't do that for them, I instruct them on how to do it."

"I see. So no numbers, just methods, procedures; kinda like Simon Says?"


"Betty Says."

"Betty Says: stop living paycheck-to-paycheck."

"Betty Says: don't buy more shoes, lady!"

"And save some money. I miss shoes."

"Hah! You forgot to say, 'Betty Says'!"

"Shut up, you're the Humorist, you can humorize that part later. I am helping you, Shakespeare, and so far, no freaking check in the mail, I might add."

"Betty Says: no more expensive Scotch for you, buddy."

"I look good in cute shoes."

"You look good in paper sacks, but that's not what we are driving at here."

"Well yeah."

"We are searching for hilarity. We are striving to give America a little respite from the mess we are in; a little entertainment to forget their troubles; a good laugh."

"I'm just trying to get my head not to explode."

"And maybe a pair of really nice slingbacks by Manolo."

"Because it would be a bitch to clean the ceiling without a head."

"Hang on, Betty, I've got a call I have to take. Be right back. . . . Okay, I am back."


"Boy is this a slow day for you, or what? I haven't been greeted like that since I signed the last set of divorce papers."

"Oh, sorry, I thought you were Michael."

"Eff you Betty."


"It figures that that heathen Michael would make his way into this chapter. How is that old miscreant anyway? I haven't talked to him for a week; what luck!"

"He's been busy lately. Work has been aplenty and the new girl in his life is a handful."

"Hopefully you mean taking care of Amelia?"

"He said she's finally getting comfortable, while learning to crawl and pull up."

"Well I told him they should have gotten a crib right away. But no, no, he's cheap. 'She'll sleep anywhere,' he said."

"They have almost broken her of her need-to-sleep-with-them habit, but then Dezzi started with the 'well, the baby did it, it's my turn' thing."

"Well that's good, Candida's five-year-old still does. Sibling rivalry rears its ugly little head."

"Merry nipped that in the bud he said. Dezzi climbed in their bed, Merry picked her up and plopped her back in her room. She cried for hours, he said."

"I imagine that Merry is good at nipping anything in the bud."

"She is. So anyway, and they never got her and she hasn't done it since."

"I had a wife who did the same thing with me. It worked too."


"Well, I've got to get back to work on chapter 8; it's hard work being a Humorist, you know. Being funny is not easy. Kids, don't try this at home!"

"That's right, and sleep with your mouth closed. Watch out for the spiders."

"Oh right, the spiders."

"Yeah, Shakespeare, that's the title of this chapter, remember? No wonder my back still hurts, I still have to carry you, and yet, still no check has arrived."

"Hey thanks, Betty, as always; talk to you tomorrow?"

"Not if there's a way to avoid it, Mr. Humorist. Goodbye."

April 24, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

just the same

I want your poetry to make me dream,
because all I ever have anymore is nightmares;

I want your prose to take me away,
because I don't want to be here anymore;

I want your eyes to see the pain inside me,
because I need someone to understand;

I want your hands to hold mine tightly,
because I hope that will keep me from disappearing;

I want your arms to encircle my tired self,
because I want you to squeeze out all of the hurt;

I want so much from you always,
even though I know it won't really change a thing.

April 23, 2009, for Kimberly.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


Long Term Thinking

My short story “Long Term Thinking” was just published in this months “Ray Gun Revival” on-line magazine. It is a story about how man doesn’t see the eventual destruction of the galaxy as a problem, only an opportunity.

I’m really proud of that little story, it outlines the eventual death of the galaxy through hydrogen depletion, and a solution to let people have pleasant places to live for 10’s of Billions of years past the death of the mainstream stars. All told by relatable characters in under 1,800 words.

I would have liked to do more character development and paint a bigger picture of the solution, but that would have exploded the story into a small novella, and I feel the conciseness of the story adds to its charm.

Feel free to give me any feedback on it.


Stolen Moments with Meredith, Chapter 1: "Let's See If Dry British Humor Will Sell in the U.S. of A." (or, "No Such Thing as a 'Retarded Beanbag'")

"Wow, you are stealthy, Merry."

"How's that?"

"You just sort of slide in, nearly unnoticed. How are you and my favorite maniac?"

"Quite well. He is indeed a maniac today."

"Anything special or just testing the engines?"

"He decided to wash his car in the rain."

"Of course; only he would do that and then curse nature for peeing in his parade."

"He can be very odd at times. How are you this lovely Monday?"

"I am well; worked in the vegetable garden a bit; getting ready for planting, but today was making sure that the rhubarb plants have room to flourish. Tomorrow: the chives!"

"Had I a yard big enough, I too would have a garden; as it is, I have only enough room for the dogs to make a mess."

"Well of course, gardening is in your DNA. It's a very British thing to do."

"I'm on call today. So when the phone rings, I get a bit nervous."

"Oh my, I forgot what it is that you do, now I remember."

"I torture small-minded men for fun. In my spare time, I'm an ER nurse."

"You actually, er, nursed Michael, if I remember correctly. Is that the correct term, 'nursed.' That sounds a little kinky."

"Yes, I did, yes, it is, and yes, I can be under the right circumstances."

"As I remember the story, he was as colorful a patient as he is a pal."

"Oh, he was lovely. I got a full dose of the true him that day, with a bum pat and several four-letter word names."

"Of course; and yet still, there was something deep down that spoke to you, that was not gastrointestinal."

"Not for a long while. I met him several months later while out at a pub. Were I not drunk, I would have hit him with my car."

"Naturally; that is most folks' first instinct with Michael. Hammers are popular too."

"I prefer to slowly poison him."

"Oh, right, gradual and untraceable. He just one day has a heart attack in his Wheaties: 'Well, officer, he did just run six miles, after all.'"

"He is worth a bit with this life insurance. And he does wash his car in a thunderstorm."

"Of course. I think he likes living on the razor's edge too much to ever change. He's tempted fate enough times that it's like another drinking buddy."

"I'm not sure if you've known him long enough to know that for a while he'd believed he was fated to die young."

"Oh sure, I knew that. I used to believe the same thing. My late Daddy's daddy died at 36, and so I figured it just skipped a generation."

"Oh my. I'm sorry."

"Oh, no need; I never knew Everett; my Daddy was only 16 when he died."


"But he died mostly because penicillin hadn't been discovered yet."

"Well, I'm still sorry for your loss. Sometimes, never having something is as bad as knowing it forever."

"And I now forget what the cause of death was with Everett. But anyway, I've surpassed 36 by many years, so I am okay, I guess."

"Well done."

"So far, so good, I suppose."

"My mother passed away last year. I thought I would miss her more than I do. It's horrible to say, but as I got older, she became meaner."

"That happens."

"My mum had issues with men. All men. When I married Michael, she about disowned me. When I married him again, I believed she would murder us both."

"Interesting. Of course, he is an acquired taste, Michael."

"He's a teddy bear with a great rear."

"Well yes, I have heard tell. Plus he is about as funny as funny gets. He is nearly as funny as me."

"That cannot be. No one is a funny as you."

"But I am older, and have more experience. So I go easy on the lad. Next generation of humorists, and all that."

"Don't go easy on him. It will make him soft about the middle, and then I would have to leave him again."

"He did develop a pretty good following on tibu."

"Women love the bad boys."

"Yes, this is true. And the eyes. Women want to change us; fix us. Or barring that success, leave us and take at least half. Or sometimes all. It's exciting. Like a swordfight, only I have no sword. I think there's a word for that, but it escapes me at the moment."


"That's certainly one, yes. Luckily, number 2 had lousy aim."

"You are horrible."

"Although she did take everything else."

"I did that when I left Michael. Took my half and some of his half."

"Well that is the way it goes sometimes, Merry. You had your reasons, I'm sure."

"I did it to prove a point."

"That you could?"

"I was angry. Angry that he hurt me unnecessarily and I could do the same."

"Of course you were; anger is always involved, even if the FedX guy isn't. Or the waitress at IHOP."

"There are some cute waitresses at IHOP."

"I know. I stopped going there. Bad for my heart. Not the pancakes, the hotcakes."

"My phone likes to ring from its hook. Especially on the days that I wish it wouldn't."

"Oh, did you get called in? Or was it a neighbor reporting your electrocuted husband on the hood of his car?"

"That would be a grand phone call. But alas, no. Michael's son's mother, calling to complain about the boy."

"Oh, that whiny bitch. I've heard about her."

"She's not as bad as he makes her out to be."

"No, I am sure that she's not. He exaggerates most things for effect. Like me."

"It's genetic. You are men."

"This is very true."

"Just as we women are prone to stress, frustration, and oddly timed headaches."

"Oddly timed, only if you are from Planet Clueless. But then, most of us men are."

"Michael is from Hades."

"That charge has been leveled before, and at me too. We're just misunderstood, Merry. It's tragic, really."

"Yet, you are so much more likable then my taller half."

"Well, you say that now, but you are not living with me. That is always the great equalizer; the truth serum of relationships. Like for me, when the oddly timed headache would arrive, I would usually say, 'Fine, I will promise not to touch your head. Come here.'"

"That is about what my husband says. Only with more curse words and a smack on the rear."

"Well, I'm handling you gently. He's your husband."

"Be right back again. I have to convince him to make dinner."


"He's easy."

"Well, I know; so am I. After all the yelling, and red faces, and cursing to beat the band, that is."

"Sorry, Dezzi found a big. I had to save her."

"Found a big what?"

"A bug. A big bug. Sorry, my typing isn't up to par."

"Wait, Dezzi found a big bug in New York City? That's amazing. How is the Mayor, anyway?"

"I wouldn't know, I try not to keep track."

"Oh, wrong big bug. Sorry. Is Dezzi okay?"

"American politics and the English lass do not mix. She's fine, just a tad traumatized."

"Well, she's probably used to that; she is Michael's child, after all."

"When she dates she will want to murder him."

"Oh, yes. I remember his stories of the future."

"He wasn't kidding."

"You will save the day, of course."

"I might re-think my stance if either girl decides to date a man like her father."

"No, Merry, you must be a rock. And you know they will. He is their ideal."

"Of course they will. Oh, what a horrible thing to say."

"Well, yes, but it's true."

"Still horrible."

"But they could always luck out, I suppose. 'Teddy bear with a cute rear,' as I recall."

"I didn't say that he didn't have any redeeming qualities."

"There you go. See, he's not half-bad."

"No, he's about 90% bad."

"Well, I know, but like I said, he's much younger than me. He'll get here."

"Yet another horrible thing to say."

"See, you're warming up to me already."

"You are a mean man."


"If that's the word you want to put to it."

"Got a better one?"

"None that a lady would say aloud."

"Merry, we are typing here."

"It's in the same vein."

"You don't have to say aloud what you type."

"I don't type things I wouldn't say. My mother taught me better."

"You can just think it, and then type it. I do that all the time."

"No, I can't. It goes against my religion: the religion of not being as bad as my husband;
bad enough that the boy swears almost as bad as his father. And Dezzi calls people 'retarded beanbags.'"

"But are the ones she calls 'retarded beanbags,' retarded beanbags?"

"I've never met a 'retarded beanbag' so I can't qualify them."

"Okay, who was the last person you remember Dezzi calling a 'retarded beanbag?'"

"Her preschool boyfriend."

"Okay, bad example."

"I do believe he does like to eat paste, but he's only four years old. At least she refrains from using the phrase 'failed abortion.'"

"Well I think I liked to eat paste when I was that age."

"That 'failed abortion' line went over well at a work social a few weeks past."

"How so?"

"The family, all five of us, were with some of the doctors and nurses and top hospital officials, when Michael told me one of them was annoying. Which was for him, very tame. My girl asked him 'Is he a failed abortion, daddy?'"

"Wow. Talk about your lead balloons, huh?"

"Blessed silence for a while, until my dear husband says 'Yes, honey. He is.'"

"Bingo. Nail on the head. And right then you wished that you could just shrink to subhuman size and make your way out of the room, right?"

"Which is mostly how I feel around my husband. He just does not care about what he says to people. At the same time, I wish I could be like that, too."

"Oh, I am just like that too. It's a curse, but it feels good. I used to tell my daughters, 'Hey, I am not running for office or trying to avoid indictment.' They rolled their eyes enough, they could have fallen out of their heads."

"Well, it looks like I got the call. I'm off to my gainful employment. Enjoy your evening."

"You too, Merry. Talk to you again soon."

April 20, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


she used to say
"keep it up, funnyman"

and so I did;

with all of her laughter,
for so long,
how was I to know
that she did not really
mean a word?

April 22, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


when my lips touch yours,
the world expands;

when my hands hold yours,
the air swells;

when my eyes meet yours,
only you are in color;

when our hearts collide,
music plays,
a nova explodes,
and there is only you;

when our loins press tight,
I wish for one more night,
one million times over.

April 21, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


A Few Minutes with Betty, Chapter 10: "Happy Easter, Your Highness" (or, "Bouncing Video")

"Happy Easter!"

"Hey, Betty, I'm on the other page with Candida. She says Happy Easter to you."

"Right back at her."

"And I say Happy Easter to you too. So did you have a good day? Are you feeling better?"

"A good day, but I'm exhausted."

"Of course you are."

"We visited George's sisters, and hunted for eggs starting at 6:00 a.m."

"Oh car trips with chocolate; fun, fun, fun."

"My youngest daughter ate so much she puked a little. Good times."

"Yes indeedy. What's a holiday without a little barfing, I always say."

"Not a fun one that's for sure. So how was your Easter ?"

"It was good, Mom and I ate like kings. Turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans."

"That's always a good thing. Are kings bony or stringy to eat?"

"No, like royalty kings."

"Oh you didn't actually eat kings . . . I was confused; that happens a lot."

"Like the way you treat me, like your lord and master, like you treat George."

"George is on my list. The short one that ends with lots of gore and blood. Bad for him. Fun for me."


"Well, I did sit on him and bounce . . . but not for fun."

"I want video, fun or not."

"Snort. Sorry, you have to pay the monthly membership fee for that."

"V-i-d-e-o. But I'm on the HOA board. Bored. Bored board."

"So you are one of those losers that makes my life miserable. Oh, George sold a ton of windows this weekend. One and a half weeks at his new job, and he's the top dog. Woof, woof."

"Good for him; tell him I said attaboy."

"$100,000 in sales. WEEEEE!!!!"

"Yes. Oh my that is big time. Good for you, too, Betty."

"It takes off a little stress. Maybe I'll stop getting sick all the time."

"Hey, you're my pal, and my humorizing partner, I've been worried. How you are doing is important to me, and to the humorizing too."

"I'm okay. Really. But thanks for caring though, it's nice."

"Well you are a good pal, and sometimes very funny too."

"Of course I am. I am awesome."

"And uber-limber too."

"Of course. I like the stories, by the way. You do a good job with them, mostly."

"High praise. Thanks, Betty."

"Right. Now send me a check, why don't you?"

"Talk to you soon. Bad connection suddenly."

"Sure it is. Bye for now, Shakespeare."

April 20, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

A Winter Wonderland: The Kuiper belt

In the last post I talked about vacationing on Venus, for the people who would prefer to vacation somewhere bit cooler than the melting point of lead The Kuiper belt (pronounced like Viper) offers an average temperature of 50K or -369 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature substances that would normally be a gas like methane are solid, leading to great fun.

Have an Interplanetary Snowball Fight.

Although most of the attention goes to the Kuiper belt’s dwarf planets like Pluto and Xena, there are over 70,000 minor planetary bodies in the belt, any number of them might form a binary system.

If you choose the right binary system, you can stand on one while a friend stands on the other. If the body is small enough you could throw a snowball fast enough so it achieved escape velocity. With a good aim you could hit your friend on the other minor planet.

After some practice you can have some really fancy throws and place your snowball into a sub-orbit of the body your friend is standing on so that it goes around the planetoid and hits them from behind. If you get your timing just right you could hit them in the front and back at the same exact time.

Building a mile high Snowman.

If you’re interested in doing something a little more creative, you can build a huge snowman. Simply find three Kuiper object, one roughly ½ a mile in diameter, one 2/6th a mile and one 1/6 a mile and stack them on top of each other. Their mutual gravity will keep them together but they won’t have enough gravity to collapse. Find a few darker objects that were ejected from the inner solar system for eyes and some bits from a smashed Kuiper object for a nose and arms and you’ve got a snowman that will last for a few centuries at least.

Things to talk to your travel agent about.

Make sure you book a fast ship. At the speed the Apollo spacecraft went to the Moon it would take roughly 95 to 158 years to reach the Kuiper belt, depending on which part you wished to visit. If you don’t mind spending 190 to 316 years traveling this is fine, but if you have other plans (and a normal lifespan) you might want to consider something a little speedier.

The Kuiper belt has water in the form of ice (as well as hydrocarbons like methane and ammonia) but little else in the way of amenities so make sure your travel arrangements include the little things, like air and food.

If you liked this post, you may enjoy reading the rest of the Space Tourism series.

Space Tourism Series

Venus: Not just for Lovers

Mars: For the Adventurous

Titan: Extreme Surfing

Ganymede: A Great Place For Scuba Diving

Moon: Tranquility Base



I kept the fist-sized
piece of granite,
once heavy with the pink shades
of feldspar,
the one that I used
when I did you in,
now mottled with
the dried remnant
of the wicked brown
that you painted
our life with so many times;
and mostly now,
I wonder why I kept it:
maybe a souvenir,
maybe a token
for all that left,
all that was broken;
or maybe, one day,
to use it on me.

April 19, 2009. From the forthcoming collection, Spoken Rage.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


the beating of the clock
is always trying to best
the ticking of my heart
but I have more than once
outguessed them both
and I shunt all thoughts
of my mortality
to another day
that my mind insists
will never come;
not today, I have so much
to write today;
another day perhaps --
just keep beating,
and keep ticking --

April 19, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

time with you

you really know how
to slay me
with just a word or two,
and I remain lucky
that you follow
the lawyers' rule:
never use one word,
when ten will do;
which gives me
more time with you,
which is really all
I set out to do:
just to have
some more time with you.

April 19, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

free again

only just past mid-April,
and this morning,
breezy enough
and bright,
and I see the first sailboat
of Spring,
in the harbor,
when suddenly
the wind gusts
and sends my Billy Collins book
flying down to a
concrete fate;
the fast-walking lady
with the ballcap
and iPod
does not notice
the man,
starting to feel free again.

April 19, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

A new twist to reality TV shows.

Ever since Survivor first aired dozens of “Reality TV” shows have sprung up using the same formula; Contestants are placed in to two teams and made to compete, the losing team has to vote off one of their members. The teams get narrowed down until they merge and start competing individually.

The drama in these shows comes in watching the group decide how to vote. It was a great concept when Survivor first did it but it has been repeated so many times that it is now just putting new faces into the same roles. All the “Reality TV” shows have tried to throw little twists into the game to add variety but none have tried to change the basic formula so the psychology remains the same, which is why these shows have gotten stale.

A new twist to these shows would be to add a forfeit vote. Any member could forfeit their vote at the cost of half their earnings. If every member on the team forfeits their vote no one gets sent home that week.

In the extreme example if there are 18 contestants divided into teams of 9 and one team totally dominated the other for the first 8 challenges before they merged and they all voted to forfeit each time, the winning team’s members would be competing for $1,000,000 and the losing team’s members would take home $7,875 if someone from that team won. If the first person voted off once they merged was from the winning team they would take home $2,000 but if they were from the losing team they’d make a whopping $15.62.

Of course it would never come to that, human nature wouldn’t allow 9 individuals to sacrifice a fortune in order to save someone they just met, but it would add a little spice in the otherwise boring middle section of the game.

When a team is down to four, it would be in everyone’s best interest to all forfeit the vote and still have numbers to compete for the $500,000. But if one sneaky bastard decided to vote off his biggest competitor on his team he would gain an advantage in cutting down the number of competitors he would be going up against in the individual rounds.

Throwing this curve in would really make the people who say, “I’m not here for the money just the experience” have a chance to show the world if they really mean it.

There would also be some great moments when everyone tells every one else that they will forfeit and no one does, and everyone votes individually showing people their true rankings in the team.

If a “Reality TV” show were to add this twist, it would throw in a whole new level to the stale formula for a couple of seasons, until it got stale as well.


change me

bustin' bubbles,
and breakin' hearts;
seems like
that's most of the
story of me;
try as I might,
it's hard to make it
through one night
that's kinda why
I like gettin'
you on the phone,
when you're alone:
maybe you can
change my ways,
maybe you could
work on it for days.

April 18, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

A Few Minutes with Betty, Chapter 9: "Elvis Was a Mass Murderer" (or, "Easter Transfiguration and Fish with Big Eyes")

"Happy Saturday!"

"Hi there, Betty. And how happy it turns out depends on what you have brought to greet me with in addition to your lovely smile and sparkling personality."

"Well, I think that 'just me' is more than enough for anyone."

"And four out of five doctors agree."

"And the fifth one is dead. Blunt force trama."

"Well that's what happens when a free swinging pelvis hits your forehead at 15 miles per hour."

"Elvis was a mass murderer."

"Other than spelunking with Dr. Stickybritches, and creating yet another Elvis theory, whatcha doing?"

"Elvis just thought the women were fainting. In actuality, he was killing them. I'm in my PJs, drinking coffee. And lamenting the rain."

"Yes, we had rain last night, and more predicted for today."

"It's pouring here."

"I need to build an ark, but I Googled the specs, and can't find anything; something about cubits, I remember."

"Ah. Then let everything drown, and the fish shall rule the world!"

"Exactamente; no more what to do about the Big Three automakers. Good time to be a Pisces, I guess."

"Well I'm screwed then. Although I do love the water."

"Isn't George working?"

"Yes, he has a 10:00 a.m. appointment."

"Well then 'screwed' is only figurative. Besides, you'd spill your coffee."

"And you consider yourself to be a Humorist? Puh-leeze. Plus, I would not spill my coffee, I'm talented like that."

"Even with your uber-limberness?"

"You'd be surprised."

"I'll say."

"Although, I am sick, so that messes me up a bit."

"Yes, but the sick and twisted part of you has always been attractive, in a way."


"'Yeah, you know Betty always looked so NORMAL?.'"

"Bite your tongue. I've never been normal."

"Okay, but I told you not to clamp down."

"Smart ass. You are going to have to do a helluva lot of humorizing to this story, buddy."

"I've been at it a long time, I was bound to get good at something."

"If you sit too long, does it make you stupid?"

"Sometimes, although if you stand too quickly, I know it does."

"So what are you up to today?"

"Not a lot; got a story to research for next week, some calls to make."

"I have nothing to do today. It's nice."

"Well, yes; children all boxed up, are they?"

"Yesterday was busy, busy. My kids making crafts, which will give me a huge mess to clean, but it's all for a good cause."

"Well that would only be better if they were making crafts in another state."

"But hey, two out of three."

"I'll take what I can get."

"Exactamente; you are, after all, chatting with me."


"Twofer twofer! I made you snort twice."

"Yeah, Michael hasn't been on in awhile, so I'll settle for you."

"Yeah, since like 1999."


"Michael. He's lost his touch. He now swims in a testosterone-free environment, surrounded by females."

"And he loves every minute of it."

"He's become one of those bottom of the ocean fish, with the bigger eyes, because there's no light down there."

"I just pictured that."

"See? That's our old pal Michael now. Transfigured. On Easter."

"He's all housebroken."

"He is whipped, domesticated. No longer the wild-eyed madman."

"Somewhere, where ever he is, he's shuddering."

"Well, okay, maybe the eyes are still wild, since they are bigger. No light down there in Estrogenville."

"That's my house right now. My boy is hating life."

"Maybe that's why his feet are growing at a remarkable rate: he knows eventually, he is going to have to kick some ass, and he just wants to be prepared."

"No, he wants to make sure he can wear my heels before his sisters. He's a pretty, pretty princess."

"Ah, but that mascara can be tricky. Read the instructions carefully, young man."

"He doesn't need it. He's cursed with those lovely lashes."

"Oh my, it sounds like he will be putting the bop in the bop-bop-aloo-bop."
"Something like that."

"I'm not sure I know which is more impossible: imagining your parents having sex, or imagining your children having sex."

"Um, either one creeps me out. Hang on a second, George is on the phone and I've got to give him directions."

"You are such a good spouse. 'First, George, turn the lights down, and lay on the bed.'"

"You have no idea."

"Oh, that's right, you swing from the lights, you don't want them turned down."

"No, George is the monkey, not me."

"Well then he needs good light to see, unless Michael is directing him with his big eyes -- 'No, she's over there George, in the dim corner of the room, dammit.'"

"Well good luck juicing this one up, Shakespeare. You will be working on this one for a long time."

"Yeah, thanks for all your help, Betty."

"Hey, for what you pay me, this is it, buddy."

"Talk to you tomorrow then, when hopefully you will be funnier."

"Maybe. If your check comes in the mail."

April 18, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

Great Phone Conversations 14

"Okay, so you have a trial date. Why should this interest me? You're going to be convicted."

"Well, I still don't feel like I've done anything wrong. I shouldn't be convicted of anything."

"You are a phone pervert. You call women up and say disgusting things. You've done it to me. Don't you get it?"

"That depends on what it's wearing right now."


April 18, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

Deborah Digges

she was a far more
accomplished poet
and writer
than most of us
ever turn out to be:

giving voice
to many sad woes,

and setting pain
to music, her words;

and learning today
of her last leap,

well, it saddened me,
but also made me wish

that she had left
one last note.

April 17, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.



I tell you that I adore you,
and you tell me to stop.

My thumb and pointer
find a nipple,
and you tell me not to stop.

I tell you that you are cute,
and you tell me to be quiet.

My hands cup your booty,
and you tell me not to let go.

I tell you that I love you,
and you tell me that I am a silly boy.

I show you how well I love you,
and you shatter glass.

Less talking,
More showing.

April 16, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


it figures,
that it turns out
this way:
I can't be there
with you
anymore than
I can be here
with me;

time was,
I figured that
mostly all I had
was plenty of time,
and that my possibilities
were endless;

now, I've realized
that it's time
to prioritize,
before I run out of time:

carpe diem:
old phrase, new mantra:
while I still have time.

April 16, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


just a piece of cloth,
stitched by a machine
in some far away place;
it was dyed pink

but its value to me
lies in the scent
that it carries;
the one that
carries me away;
the one that
always gets me
carried away:


April 16, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


dovetail, rare

she told me
that she loved me

and I told her
the same

and there was
nothing wrong
nothing insane
nothing impossible
nothing but
just what happens
so rarely:

a real-life
dovetail joint
of two souls

how could anything

April 15, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

Consuela's smile

with all hell breaking loose
everyday everywhere
we could sure use more
of the contagious smile
of one Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock,
which reportedly
can banish your blues
even though she seldom
offers any clues
as to how she's doing inside;
she's like your
favorite carnival ride:
you just sit there,
thrilled, but
at exactly what
just happened;
all you ever know for sure
is that somehow
being around her
makes you feel better inside.

April 14, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

the circle two club

when we arrive, baby,
slowly descending that ruby staircase,
looking like
dangerous versions
of Fred and Ginger,
our table will be waiting,
and the maitre d'hotel
will just smile,
and wave us through:
me in my fedora,
and you in your stilettos,
oozing attitude,
and looking for brain food,
amidst the vipers
and black mambas:

and we will take over the joint.

April 16, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


For the Adventurous, Mars is the place to visit.

It’s well known that Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, is a destination scientists really want to visit as it is the most Earthlike of all the planets and there are good indications that life may have evolved in Mars’s distant past, but it is also an excellent place for the adventurous tourist.

Extreme Mountain-climbing

Mars is home to Olympus Mons, the tallest mountain in the solar system. At 3 times the height of Mt Everest, Olympus Mons is so big that from the peak you would not be able to see the base as the Mountain is wider than the observable horizon.

The summit of Olympus Mons is so high that the atmospheric pressure is just 5% of the average Martian atmosphere, as opposed to Mt. Everest where the pressure is about third of the pressure at sea-level.

The low atmospheric pressure means you would have to wear a pressure suit for the whole assent but you would earn bragging rights over other mountaineers who only climb little peaks like Everest.

Canyon Tours

If mountain climbing isn’t your thing, you can head East to Valles Marineris, the largest canyon system in the solar system. At more than 4,000 km long it would stretch across the United States.

At its lowest point Valles Marineris is 7 km deep, so deep that it is the only place in the solar system outside the Earth where liquid water could exist on the surface. (In all other places including the rest of Mars the atmosphere is too thin making water sublimate, going from ice to vapor without reaching the liquid stage, or too hot like Venus.) Currently no liquid water exists there, as the atmosphere is too dry.

Out of this world Spelunking

On the flanks of Arsia Mons, Mars’s second largest volcano, several caves have been discovered dubbed “The Seven Sisters”. Cave entrances measure from 100 m to 252 m wide and they are believed to be at least 73 m to 96 m deep. No one knows how long these caves are and they are surely home to some unique rock formations and even possibly life-forms.

Watch a Moonrise and Moonset at the same time.

After spending the day exploring, Mars offers some great views. It has two small Moons, Phobos and Deimos, Phobos rises in the West and sets in the East crossing the sky in 11 hours. In contrast Deimos rises in the East like Earth’s moon. Deimos Crosses the sky in a leisurely 2.7 days. So at several times you can see Deimos rising on the horizon as Phobos sets.

Views of Earth

From Mars you can see both the Earth and the Moon clearly giving you a view of the double planet system that can’t be seen on the surface of any other planet.

Things to talk to your Travel Agent about.

Although Mars has both an atmosphere and water, the atmosphere is too thin to breath and the water is either trapped in the soil or frozen at the poles. Make sure these amenities are included in your stay.

Check for a fast ship. Going just a little faster than the Apollo spacecraft, a ship could reach the optimum transfer orbit which would take roughly 6 months, If energy was no concern it would be possible to cut that down to a few months.


black mamba

she was,
in all important respects,
though not from skin tone,
but from poise,
and speed,
and lethality
of her strike,

the darkest,
most elegant,

she moved so

that I never
saw her eyes,
or felt that bite.

April 14, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


the next moment
el momente proximo
may come too late:

call it tragic,
just make it magic:
como por arte de magia:

because mostly,
it's all we've got,
es todo este es,

as long distance
como de larga distancia
unending love
amor eterno
and I am again
caught short,
while I ramble:

so I decide
to cut my losses,
and keep carrying

April 14, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


stage two

my anger, this madness,
that has swollen
inside me,
at night,
when I didn't notice,

it used to make
me tremble;
I used to shake
and I found it hard
to concentrate
on anything but
the humming,
the humming,
the humming

but now I am no longer

time to get up and go.

April 13, 2009. From the forthcoming collection, Spoken Rage.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


I told her
that she looked
a million bucks
brand new pennies,
and she told me
to try not to
spend her
all in one place;

am I lucky or what?

April 12, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

Great Phone Conversations 13

"Okay, so you are posting your bail. Is there any remote reason for me to care?"

"Um, well, they said that it was required that you be notified, and the clerk is here to tell you officially."

"Okay, so put her on the phone then, and let's be done with this."

"Wait, she's putting her pants back on now."


April 14, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


I just read
that Harry Short died
(and please, no jokes
about his name and his fate),
when his parachute
failed to open;

his reserve parachute
he was
too close
to the ground;

he had skydived
(and please, no jokes
about his hobby and his fate),
more than 450 times
in his fifty-nine years;

life should come
with reserve parachutes
that open
soon enough.

April 12, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

A Few Minutes with Betty, Chapter 8: "Maybe You Are a Psychotic Psychic" (or "Practicing Egg Safety")

"Howya doing, loser pants?"

"Hiya, Betty. Well somebody sounds like they are feeling better, or at least feeling betty."

"Betty in the red teddy, except I feel like excrement. But it was a good day; George sold his happy little hiney off. Although that made me sad: he has a sweet hiney."

"Well, still the old Betty and George fund swells, and that must make part of you tingle."

"All the happy good parts. And my nose."

"Of course, your nose. Like Jeannie's nose?"

"Yes, just like that!"

"I'm psychic. Or psychotic, I forget. One of those."

"Maybe you are a psychotic psychic: 'I see your death . . . with an axe!" *HACK, HACK, HACK*

"Well better a psychotic psychic than an anorexic arthritic."

"Wait, what's that one really horrible disease . . . hold on, now I gotta look . . ."

"Alrighty then, a Googlin' we'll go."

"Oh, yeah: osteogenesis imperfecta. Brittle bone disease. Osteoporosis, but worse."

"Bless you!"


"I thought you sneezed. I guess there's no ointment for that one, eh?"

"It's a very serious condition. You can be such a bonehead sometimes. And yet, you try to pass yourself off as an adult."

"Speaking of adults, it is so nice to spend time with a woman that I do not have to inflate. Thank you."

"I would say 'You're welcome,' but I am sure that would just encourage you."

"Try it. Maybe not."

"I'll pass. I gave at the office."

"Ha ha, gotcha. You are at the office. You have a home office, remember?"

"Shut up. I have bigger news to share."


"Oh, even bigger after that last email. Wooohoo, I just made a buttload of money in two hours, and I didn't even have to sell my body."

"Send me some -- of the money -- you can keep the body."

"Aww, I thought you wanted a chunk of Betty. How disappointing."

"You told me that I would die if I ever had a chunk of Betty."

"Don't try to mock me, old man."

"Okie dokie."

"Okay, George is home and the kiddies are up. I'm off to boil eggs."

"Alright, but practice egg safety, especially with how fertile yours are."

"You put the 'ile' in juvenile, Shakespeare."

"Oh, you meant for Easter! Just as well. I'll bet boiling water down there would really be an ouchie."

"Goodbye, loser pants."

"Bye Betty, talk to you tomorrow."

April 13, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


how to be a writer

not like Buk's advice,
which was solid;
but a bit more

then filter,
then experience --
watch closely,
and then,
write everything down,
especially the parts
that don't matter at all --
you can take out
the parts that do matter

and then,

say anything,
but really mean it.

April 12, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


the beauty shown to me,
on this broad harbor
of saltiness sailing to and fro,
reminds me
of what Easter is all about:



a new beginning, a new
life for all Creation:

the kiss of the promise of the sun,
the pledge of the future
for every last one;

all around, struggles and then
bursts forth
in sun-warmed

as time shifts,
hearts awaken,
lovers turn and embrace,
and all bow their heads
in a moment of grace,


to remember.

April 12, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

A Few Minutes with Betty, Chapter 7: "Two Giant Bottles of Fun" (or, "Boy, Where Are Your Clothes?")

"What's happening, slappy!?"

"Hey, Betty. Well I wrote my story on last night's planning board meeting and emailed it to my editor; made lunch, ate too much; read chapter two of the book project; and was chatting with Marie. I'm working again tonight at 6:30, covering a board of selectmen meeting. The planning board meeting last night went from 7 to 10; these people can talk and talk and talk and talk. I am also getting ready to post chapter 5 of Betty and a new poem, but I gotta make some coffee soon or I won't make it tonight. I have only had one cup today."

"Holy crap, take a breath too."

"I know. Most days and nights, it is just me and the caffeine."

"I thought I was bad."

"You are bad. But with this job, I am driven by the events or the meetings. Last week, I had no stories; this week, I will have three: wrote one on Friday, one today, and the third one tonight on deadline. I will be lucky if I am done by midnight. If the meeting goes until 10, I am working until midnight."

"Let's see. I got up at 4 because the boy made a bed mess, then I couldn't go back to sleep because of all the wind. George's brother is staying with us for a couple of days. Then I got up, made breakfast, did some laundry, and got all the kids ready. Went to the grocery store and the bookstore for a book that I just HAD to have. Came home, did some work, yelled at some people, made lunch, made fun of George, played with the kids, did some more work and then put all the kids to bed, and now I'm working and trying not to fall asleep."

"If I get lucky and they end at like 8:30, I could be done by 10 or 10:30."

"That sounds like so much fun. We are just two giant bottles of fun. And you haven't gotten lucky since you met me."

"Yeah, and people say, 'Oh, you're a writer, that must be so nice.' Yeah, it's great working all the time, 24/7. Oh, and Marie says hi."

"Say hiya momma back to her for me."

"Her house has become a beehive of activity too: FedEx, phones, people at the door."

"Busy, busy, busy. We should have been born machines. As much as my life is filled with many blessings, sometimes I think that if it sucked any more than it does that it would actually reverse itself, and blow too."

"I just wanted to sit and read and write for a while before I have to leave to go to work, and I have to leave in just about an hour."

"That doesn't ever happen. Hey, I got my new book, and it's still in the bag. In the car."

"What is it?"

"'Turn Coat.' It's one in a series about a wizard in Chicago."

"I wish I was a wizard most days. Or had some kind of superpower. As it is, all I have ever managed is to be a little strange."

"Well, my boy, the kid is strange. He's funny, but he is strange. Like you, only sweet."

"Well all of your kids have great senses of humor, but that's because they are your kids. And hey, I'm sweet."

"You just keeping telling yourself that, and maybe, if you become a wizard, you can make it come true."

"So how is your boy strange, then?"

"I remember this one time. I was having an outdoor party for a bunch of clients and their families. We had these big bouncy things, and a petting zoo. We had hired this company that brought in the zoo, the bouncy things, and a dunking booth. All sorts of stuff, so my yard looked like a fair. Any way he was about two. And suddenly, everyone's cracking up. I was in the kitchen and even through the closed windows I heard everyone laughing. So I went outside, and there is my boy on one of the decks. Wearing a cowboy hat and boots and nothing else. I said, 'Boy, where are your clothes?' He shrugs, stands at the edge of the deck, and pees."

"Incredible; in front of God and everyone?"

"Yes. And I said, 'Boy, what are you doing? And he said, 'Mommy, I had to pee.' And I said, 'Boy, why are you naked?' And he smiled and said: 'Cause it's so damn hot out.' And to think that I gave birth to this person."

"You know, I am a little worried that we might not have been very funny today. Any ideas on how I could fix that?"

"Hey, you're the Humorist. Humorize it. 'Juice it up.' Earn some money for a change. No wonder my back hurts all the time. I have to carry you every day."

"Oh, thanks Betty. That was very helpful."

"Hey, you know our deal: juice, I get a little. No juice, I get half. You need to get to work and do some humorizing."

"Talk to you tomorrow, when I hope you will be funnier."

"Talk to you tomorrow, Shakespeare, when you better send me a check."

April 11, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.


it might have been a Wednesday

it might have been in the middle of a week, when
I first realized that we would no longer speak
in terms of tomorrow, that our middle names for
each other would now begin and end with sorrow,
that your folded arms hid all of your charms
that I had imagined in the first place, and that
looking at that picture, all that anyone understands
is that I am now looking at you, standing with
empty hands, just like your siren call, when you
first put up that wall, and it was you who was so
scared to fall, but it should have been me after all,
I should have been the one scared since look at
how I fared, not so well, but what the hell it
won't matter too much more, I only pass through
one more door, and then I am free, free to be
and to say that it might have been a Wednesday
when I started crying and could not stop, the
day I fell to the bottom from way on top, it
might have been a Wednesday when I fell in
love with you, and it might have been a
Wednesday when you told me we were through,
it might have been a Wednesday, but it's hard
to say.

April 11, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

kissing you

it is raining here today,
and unlike
all the normal,

right now,
I just wish that
I was standing here
in this pouring torrent,

kissing you.

April 11, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

the girl who changed her mind

funny, I suppose:
the gardener,
cut short
by the thorns
of the rose;

that while I was
imagining teacups,
you were
checking out pickups;

and now I try
to imagine
how the karma
that you set in motion
will fill up your seas,
instead of
draining the ocean:

and I almost wished you luck, too.

April 11, 2009. Last one, I promise. You remember promises.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

Teabagging for Change

Conservative women are taking are adopting a new strategy to protest Obama’s tax increase on the top 1% of earners. They are teabagging liberals.

Fox news is urging everyone to attend these teabagging parties. At the teabagging parties the organizers promise a surprise, I’m wondering if that means Lady Liberty will get teabagged on stage?

Image courteously of Confined Space.

Surprisingly women of all walks of life are getting into this movement. I went out to check peoples reaction to the teabagging parties and interview people on the street. I was running a little late and didn’t do my interviews until 2am, but I did find a few women on the street corners.

I approached them and asked them this question. “Could you help me with my poll? I’m wondering if you would teabag for change?”

The answers ranged from $10 to $25. I’m considering those as yeses.

I have asked the organizers to turn it into a contest and have women compete to see who can teabag the most liberals. The top teabagger could get some sort of award and be given the title “Best Teabagger”.

If enough people ask them to run this contest I’m sure it will get national news attention.
Put your request here. http://newamericanteaparty.com/2009/02/26/a-few-updates/comment-page-1/#comment-3259


printing all over me

you can print all over me
leave an a
an e
and all those other vowels
you are a writer
those consonants will
be most welcomed
an s
or perhaps an l
or a k
or yup a
yes I think I'd like that
for you to type all over me:
K, q, v
and maybe
as in two times over
I think I'd like you typing
all the letters
all along
w, x, y
and z;
if I
this would be it;
but since I don't --
and you do --
you can write,
type or print
all over me.

April 10, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley and Marie Claudio. All rights reserved.

Robert Frost

I finally replaced my copy
of The Poetry of Robert Frost
the other day; the other one,
it was one of thousands lost
in the Great Massacre of '08,
and I needed those poems back,
so that I could keep track
of work that was and wasn't so great;

but some cretin
had scarred the pages
with eight steel paperclips,
no doubt marking Frost's
essential oeuvre,
out of a lifetime's over
three hundred fifty poems,
although I believe that
the cretin knew
as little about steel paperclips,
and book paper as
about great art;

but no matter:
I can read all of the poems
just the same.

April 10, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

A Few Minutes with Betty, Chapter 6: "Strip Clubs in the Basement and Vampires" (or, "Hide in the Box Until Daddy Says Come Out.")

"Hello, my online sidekick."

"Hiya, Betty. Fresh from fffing in the flex?"

"Nope, George's been gone all day. I did rid it of the carseats in exchange for removable boosters; I could keep them in if I need some 'extra boost'."

"Well yes, I suppose you could, but you don't want the kids seeing too much; when they see things, they want them; keep them low, and they can't see things to want."

"I was thinking of just locking the kids in the basement with food littered around; then I wouldn't have to worry about them seeing anything."

"Well, yes, except that's where the strip club is going to be, dammit."

"It's still under construction; I'll leave a small unfinished section just for the kids."

"Don't you have like a garden shed or something like that out in the backyard?"

"The Home Owners Association has an issue with stuff like that; I suppose if I gave them free admission to the strip club, they'd been a little more 'relaxed' about the whole thing."

"Give the officers of the HOA free membership in the strip club."


"(great minds)"



"We are unstoppable as a team; a freakin' laugh riot, I tell you!"

"We are stoppable if only by a mirrored reflection of our own devious powers, or possibly being hit by a Mack truck."

"Well that's why I have no mirrors and stay indoors."

"Are you a vampire? 'Cause that would be awesome, and would explain a lot about why you tend to creep people out."

"I could be, if that would do me some good."

"As long as you aren't one of those weepy, angst-ridden teen vamps; then I would just need to stake you."

"No, I don't do weepy angst."

"Thank God; although, if you did, you could be rich like that lady that wrote those tween vamp novels."

"I know; I am stunned by what sells sometimes."

"I read them; not bad, but I hate teenage girls like the main girl, and the vamp . . . meh."

"My idea of a bodice-ripper is: 'Hey, lady, just get a real man to rip your bodice.' And teenage girls are mostly a chore; I mean I love mine, but they were a lot of work, and number three is not quite done yet; another year or so."

"I can't wait; [insert mondo sarcasm here.]

"Well, I used to pray for the days of no diapers, and then they became tweens, and I prayed for a return to diapers."

"He he he."

"Diapers seemed hard, but they were so much easier; plus the good old days: put them down, they stay where you put them until you come back and pick them up; kinda like gosh, when is she going to start talking?"

"My kids never say where I put them, ever."

"Ten years later: gosh, when is she going to shut up?"

"Although the youngest has been in a box for 30 minutes."

"Maybe you put too much duct tape on the box. I used to do that once in a while when we played 'Hide in the Box Until Daddy Says Come Out.'"

"She did this to herself; she's watching TV."

"Oh, different game."

"I won't say anything to her because I don't want to set her off. She might try to kill me."

"Too small, no weapons."

"I like playing the quiet game. Have I ever told you about my youngest girl? She's pure evil: cute, and deadly."

"Well, yes, she has that reputation."

"She came over to me yesterday, and told me she loved me."

"That's sweet."

"Then later, when I told her I was going to make my hair green, she told me that I have beautiful hair. Five seconds later, she snuck up behind me and screamed. I cracked my head on a cabinet."

"Of course."

"She laughed and laughed."

"'So when did you start thinking that hurting Mommy was fun, little girl? And no, I can't remove the restraints just yet.'"

"I may have to hire you as their nanny. I gotta go, I smell something burning."

"I hope she hasn't set her box on fire. Take care, Betty. Talk to you tomorrow."

April 9, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

Better off Ted

I don’t get a lot of the new “comedy” shows on TV. I’ve tried to sit through “The Office” and “30 Rock” and was left with the feeling of what the heck did I just watch. I could see the set up to jokes, I could see where the joke was supposed to be placed, but the “jokes” just seemed never to arrive.

So when “Better off Ted” came on after “Scrubs” I groaned, thinking it would be another humorless comedy.

Then I watched the set-up. A guy in charge of the research and development department at a huge corporation. I thought cool, that’s my idea of a dream job (Yes I’m a geek) all the benefits of being a mad scientist without having to do the hard work.

Then they introduced “the kid”. Kids in comedies are really a hit or miss thing. It is very easy for a kid’s performance to be technically perfect, but fall completely flat. The actress they got was spot on and delivered a great performance and was given just enough airtime to shine without getting annoying.

Then came the love triangle. Portia de Rossi was fantastic as the emotionless boss. She played the unsocial and unapproachable woman so well it comes off sexy as hell. That’s not an easy thing to do.

Andrea Anders does a good job as the quirky Linda. It’s a tough role being quirky without being all out insane, right now I think she (and the writers) are playing it a little too safe and not letting the character really let loose, but if the network lets the show continue I’m sure they can have a great deal of fun with her character and Anders does show the potential to run with it.

The researchers Lem and Phil have great chemistry right off the bat, you really get the feeling that these two have worked together so long that they have that weird non-gay long-term relationship that develops between people who have to spend years together.

Altogether I love this new show, I haven’t wanted a comedy show to succeed this much since I first saw “Scrubs”.

Unfortunately, my batting average for comedies is pretty bad. Almost every new show that I like gets canceled immediately. Hopefully this will change once ABC sees that “Better off Ted” has the full support of the vast “Project Savior” blog network behind it.

“Better off Ted” airs Wed 8:30 EST on ABC.


black and blue

wish I had some words
of wisdom,
but I don't;

wish they worked
to change me,
but they won't;

only loving black
because it goes so well
with blue,

and only looking back,
because Then still
includes You.

April 9, 2009.

Copyright © 2009, Ricky A. Pursley. All rights reserved.

Surf Titan

For a truly unique getaway with lots of fun activities it’s hard to beat Saturn’s largest moon Titan.

Titan is the second largest moon in the Solar System and the only moon to have both a thick atmosphere and liquids on its surface. This allows for some activities that can’t be performed anywhere else in the Solar System.

For the surfer Titan’s oceans offer some totally gnarly surf. The tidal forces of Saturn and Saturn’s other moons make Titan’s liquid Methane oceans home to some truly epic waves and its low gravity means they don’t hit the coast with the same force as waves on Earth, so an experienced surfer can tackle a 40-50 footer easily.

For a truly unique experience Titan is the only place where humans can fly like a bird. The combination of low gravity and dense atmosphere allows humans to put on some wings and achieve lift off.

For the adventurous mountain climbing on Titan is a great experience. Even though the mountains of Titan don’t meet Earth definition of mountains, the highest peak is roughly a kilometer high. The 500 meter cliffs in the Xanadu region offer a great free climb experience. The low gravity allows you to free climb using only your hands and if you do slip the dense atmosphere enables you to glide to safety with a simple wing suit.

The nitrogen/methane atmosphere continually rains down liquid methane forming great river systems. This provides for the greatest white methane rafting anywhere in the solar system. The low gravity means when your raft gets air it really gets air and the slow descent allows you time to enjoy the experience.

For those interested in one-of-a-kind geologic wonders, the volcanoes on Titan spew hydrocarbons; some of these hydrocarbons combine to form a natural wax. As the stream of wax is released into the cold atmosphere the outside cools and hardens insulating the wax on the inside. This interior wax continues to flow rapidly forming wax tubes that race across the flat surface of Titan much like the lava tubes in Hawaii only much faster.

The one thing that you will not see on Titan is Saturn hanging overhead. Although science fiction movies and artists love to show the scene of someone on the surface looking up to see Saturn with its rings hanging in the sky, the atmosphere is too dense to see through. All that can be seen from the surface is the Rosy Red sky.

Before leaving Earth make sure to talk to your travel agent about getting booked on a very fast ship. Traveling at the speed the Apollo spacecraft that took men to the Moon it would take roughly 31 years one way to reach Titan. Although Titan offers some once in a lifetime opportunities having to spend 62 years of your life traveling would limit the amount of experiences to compare it to.