Just saw an article about how there are only two Pioneer Chicken restaurants left in Southern California, where once there were hundreds, or flocks of them anyway. Now I’ve never eaten at Pioneer Chicken. Not a fan of greasy fried chicken. But back in the ‘80’s my wife went to interview for an executive secretary gig at the Pioneer Chicken corporate headquarters on 6th Street in Los Angeles. The whole Pioneer Chicken Empire was run from there, all those restaurants, all those chickens. She was ushered into the president’s office. He looked at her. We’re here to sell chicken, he said. My wife giggled. Sorry, she said. He started again. We’re here to sell chicken. My wife giggled. Sorry she said. He tried again. We’re here to sell chicken, he said. Again my wife giggled, she couldn’t help it. What’s so funny, he asked. Chickens are funny, she said. Interview over, he said. She got up to leave. But they are funny, she said.

She didn’t get the job.


Three weeks of rain

There’s all this bright, shiny, silent, scary, dry stuff outside everywhere and it’s creeping me out. Apparently it’s supposed to be there all afternoon. Some of it got inside the living room where it stains the floor mimicking the window and is warm to the touch, as if alive. The wife tells me it’s been creeping slowly across the room. This is like the lamest Outer Limits ever.

Not being Ray Charles’ son

Weirdest thing that happened to me in 2018 was being mistaken for Ray Charles’ son. She was elderly and very sweet and had known Ray Charles and his son and I apologized and said no, I’m not and felt quite guilty about it as she looked so painfully bewildered that I wasn’t.

‘Twas the Night After Christmas

So I woke up on the couch at 4 a.m. and as I stumbled off to bed I noticed a kitchen completely untouched since dinner. Pots, pans, plates, leftovers, utensils up the wazoo. A spattered stove. Half dreaming it I washed everything, then dried everything, then put everything away. Then I sleepily cleaned up the stove and countertops. Did I mention the carefully wrapped leftovers in perfect stacks in the fridge and freezer? I got to bed at 6 a.m. This must be the retired life, clockless, unrestrained by civilized standards of time. And then oversleeping.

Boxing Day

Today’s the day that we on the left hand side of the Atlantic (and just downstairs from Canada) celebrate not having a clue what Boxing Day is nor knowing that we don’t. It’s my favorite holiday aside from Februaries 30th and 31st, which have been stacking up uncelebrated forever.

Square dancing

First it was Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray square dancing. Then Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan square dancing. When it came to dance Barbara was down to folk. But every time I see square dancing I break out in hives. From second to sixth grades inclusive I went to ten different schools (or maybe nine schools, one twice) in I think six states and every time we moved to the next school they were just beginning square dance lessons. Everything was folk music then, autoharps and hoe downs, Michael Rowed The Boat Ashore and square dancing. I hated square dancing. I hated it so much I can still feel the tightening in my stomach when they announced that lucky us, today we were going to learn to square dance. I hated learning how to square dance in San Diego, Anaheim, Tacoma, Anaheim again and on an island off the coast of Maine. I hated it in rural Brunswick ME and inner city Woodbury NJ and somewhere outside Boston. I hated it in Placentia CA and in Virginia Beach. And by the end of my endless square dance tour I still couldn’t dosey doe without tripping over my own feet. It took some effort to maintain that sort of hapless clodhoppery from California to the Gulf Stream waters in the 1960’s. But I did it.

I learned to sing all the folk songs, though. Apparently I liked singing. I learned all the cowboy songs they taught us too. Goodbye Ol’ Paint, I’m leaving Cheyenne. Cool, clear water, Tumbling tumbleweeds, and the eerie Ghost Riders in the Sky. Though I thought it was ghost writers in the sky, and wanted to be one. Some things do come true, sort of.


If you want to make your wife mad, set fire to your socks. Even with your feet not in the socks she’ll get mad. Wives just get mad when you burn things, even accidentally, no matter how stupid. You burned a big hole in your sock, she scolded. I decided this was not the time nor place for the Darn it joke I been waiting to use for years. Instead I promised never to light a candle again.