Tom Long

Is it me for a moment?

I’ve become a huge fan of The Best Show on WFMU hosted by the irascible Tom Scharpling. The call-in show has been on the air for about a dozen years, although I’ve only been listening to the podcast for the past few. It’s a formula I instantly fell in love with. Tom starts the show with a mix of indie rock and Led Zeppelin sandwiched between two theme songs, puts down his producer AP Mike, threatens to quit and then takes calls from a cast of regulars and people who don’t always have much to say. Frequent guests have been people like comedians Julie Klausner and John Hodgeman and musicians like Ted Leo. If you haven’t heard this show, check it out.

Lately Tom has been playing cuts from the Deluxe Edition version of The Who’s 1973 classic album Quadrophenia, which came out in November. The Director’s Cut edition is available on for only $133.78.

Jimmy Gabacho

Part III of Angie Sánchez’s “Coming to America Story.”  (See Part I and Part II).

Mojada III

It took us about 2 hours to cross the border and once we were on American soil I felt relieved.  We were taking to a coffee shop in San Isidro.  We were supposed to wait here for my mom and for my grandparents to pick us up.  My sister and I arrived at the coffee shop at about one in the afternoon or so and we were there for about five hours waiting to be reunited with my mom.  It took longer for my mom to cross the border because the finger prints on the green card did not match hers. Obviously, it did not belong to her. So she kept getting sent back and on top of that she had to wait in line over again.  While at the coffee shop the coyote, Gerardo, we originally met earlier that day met there with us.  He was taking care of us while my mom crossed.  The first hour we were there I was fine; I was excited that I was in a new country. But as time went by I began to get a little scared and miss my mom.  I kept praying to God that this man was not going to kidnap us or harm us.  I had seen many commercials warning parents and kids about kidnappers so I was paranoid at the thought of it.  To make matters worse my sister Guadalupe started to ask about mom and I didn’t know what to tell her except for, she’ll be here soon.  Her cries made me so scare that I wanted to cry too, but I kept telling myself that I had to be strong for her.  I don’t remember ever being so lost and sad in my life.  Imagine sitting in a coffee shop holding your scared little sister’s hand as she keeps asking, where is momma? And you as a 9 year old who is just as scared and wondering the same thing, has no answer. I managed to keep her calm and I tried distracting her by offering sweets and showing her the cakes and doughnuts inside the cases. That worked for a little bit.

John Hicks

Ah, Christmas.

What a wonderful time of the year! Let’s all join hands and sing “Silent Night.”

Is that mistletoe? You scamp! Yes, more delicious eggnog for me, please!

This is my second B2L2 Christmas. I can’t remember what I wrote about last year. I’d look it up, but I’m just too dang busy having Christmas fun.

Let’s start a new tradition. Christmas is a great time of year to start new traditions. I’ve been kicking around a few ideas:

The Annual Obscenity-Laden Christmas Post

I try to avoid using obscene language in my work. Sometimes, however, one must drop a strategic f-bomb or something equally pungent in order to convey the full, uh, earthiness of one’s position.

Generally speaking, I don’t work blue, as the comics say. Swearing well comically is a talent. You must be a Carlin or a Pryor to pull it off. (Is it too early to add Louis C.K. to the pantheon? I think not. I’ll be throwing down my five bucks for the interweb special, Louis. But not right now. I’m slap-happy with Christmas cheer!)

But what if once a year – in the last post before Dec. 25, say – I just let it rip? Four-letter words, multisyllabic oedipal blasts, and good grief, Bob Johnson! I am busy trying to think up different ways to describe cursing without actually cursing! You are interfering with my steady progress toward a Nobel Prize, you insane mutt! Go chase a rabbit! (He never catches the rabbit.)

John Hicks

No matter how much time I spend in this chair stringing sentences together, reading Walker Percy reminds me there’s usually a big difference between what I’m doing and what I think I’m doing.

Perhaps you’re feeling good because you finally painted that one room that really needed it. You took your time choosing the colors. You applied every drop of paint with the utmost care. Baseboards and trim, all pro. You are pleased as punch with yourself. Such craft! The room gleams.

Then you go to a museum or a gallery and look at some real painting.


Francis Illington

Below are headlines and subheads of several nineteenth-century wire stories that appeared in the local press of a small Midwestern city.

Oh, for the days when educated people referred to the mentally ill as “lunatics!” Or, better yet, when unfettered Gilded Age capitalism dismissed the need for beefed-up building codes to protect society’s most vulnerable! The latter point is enough to make the most antediluvian Tea Partier or misguided Paulian libertarian pine for the return of an imagined sepia-toned past of American greatness when our nation was unshackled by the burdens of intrusive government regulations.

Of course, all of this clown ass-ery nonsense brings to mind a quotation from American journalist Franklin Pierce Adams (1881-1960): “Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.”