Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Category: Uncategorized

Why Is Everything So Complicated?

male bugs illness disease

Photo by Pixabay on

Well, WordPress just “added functionality,” which I clicked on by mistake, and no one will be available to help me undo it until the 22nd (which happens to be the date I started in Dispatch, so it’s all ironic and stuff), so now I am stuck.

This “functionality” will supposedly enable me to insert media content from all over the Internet! At any point! Which I don’t want to do! I just want to select pictures from their library of free stuff, which has now been removed, because I’m supposedly browsing the entire Internet for pictures, many of which are not free. I hate everyone.

Anyway, (sorry if there’s a gap here, since I was experimenting to see if I could find the free library, but no such luck), I was originally going to write about:


You say you don’t want to know anything about them? Well, Rom and I have had to learn, so too bad. I am here to inform.


–Ticks wait for hosts by hanging around on leaves, etc., and holding out their first pair of legs to grab on. This behavior is called “questing.” Isn’t that cute? Aren’t we all on a quest of some kind?

–They can survive through cold winters! We will never be free of them!

–But they prefer heat and humidity, so we in this part of the world will really never be free of them.

–They prefer to stay on you for hours or days, but “are usually removed quickly by humans, to prevent the spread of disease.” This makes it sound as if we’d be OK with them sucking our blood for hours or days, as long as there was no risk of disease. I don’t know about you, but I object to that.

Females stay on you (see above), while males eat little, preferring to gather around an available female. It’s a party on your body!


OK, prompts keep appearing randomly asking asking if I want something to be boldface or italic, but since I can’t figure out why or what triggers them, it’s, you know, random. I wish they had a Version For Autistic People Who Were Born Before the Computer Revolution and, As a Result, Don’t Know What They’re Doing.

Anyway, I don’t actually believe in astrology, but I find it fun, and Cosmo hit it on the proverbial head (or nail) for me in What Your Sign Should Be For Halloween: Taurus is too cheap to spend money on something you’re only going to wear once. So put together a vampire look with your sexiest LBD (they err in assuming I have more than one little black dress, {actually, I don’t have any}, although I do own 7 pairs of knit pants in various shades of brown), and the makeup you already own, just more of it. That is exactly what I do every year. Black eyeshadow and red lipstick, here I come!

OK, there’s no telling what this post is going to look like, but here goes.





Nick Gets a Tune-up

macro photography of brown weevil on green leaf

Photo by Jimmy Chan on

I got a letter today from the Police Department addressed to “Handler of Beast #1307.” “Don’t they know I’m retired?” I grumbled.

“It has come to our attention that the said beast still bears the official colors of the Police Department. Since this animal has been decommissioned, we request that you remove said colors.”

I called Nick in from the kitchen, where he was stealing cat food.

“Do you know anything about this?”

“About what?! You know I can’t read. Well, read well. I can’t read well.” He turned his undeniably navy-blue back on me.

“You’re not supposed to have police coloration anymore. People might get confused and expect you to do police work.”

“Well, suppose I just refuse to do it, and we’ll see how that goes.”

“I am responsible for you, and–why have you been scratching so much?”

“Dunno. Allergic to responsibility, probably.”

“No, it’s just that one spot. Let me see–”

“Can’t I even itch in peace?!”

One of his scales was slightly raised. I pried up as much as I dared. “Just what I thought. You’ve got a tick under there.” His armor-plating repels most pests, but makes them hard to remove if they do burrow in. “You’re going to the vet.”

We are, you mean. I’m not going there alone.”

“Of course not. You can’t pay the bill.”

Since we can’t use the Police Department vet anymore, I took him to my own, who was impressed to behold him.

“We don’t see many of these. This is a fine specimen.” Nick preened. “Have you bred him?”

“Well, he…he sort of breeds himself.” Nick preened even more.

“Yes, since they mate for life, initial mate selection is extremely important. So what seems to be the problem?” I pointed the bad spot out.

“Ah, yes. I can remove that. It should cause minimal discomfort–

Nick immediately became agitated. “Then why mention the possibility?”

“–but of course he’ll have to be sedated.”

“No, I’m not going to let you–” Nick began, but I immediately grabbed him by the ears. It’s a risky move, since I have to bypass the terrible teeth, but his ears are sensitive, and it makes him disinclined to struggle further.

The vet started preparing the injection. “He’s going to stick a needle in me!” Nick said, sounding uncharacteristically squeaky.

“Don’t move or I’ll rip your ears off,” I murmured, so the vet couldn’t hear. “Don’t think I won’t.”

“You’ll do nothing of the kind,” he answered between his teeth, likewise under his breath. These pleasantries kept us occupied until the vet could slide the needle beneath a scale on his throat, and we both eased him down as he collapsed.

It was short work for the vet to remove the affected scale, pry the tick out, daub the wound with ointment, and reattach the scale. Since Nick was still snoring–OK, more like gentle hissing–the vet said, “I assume you want me to readjust his colors?”

“Can you do that?”

“Oh, yes. It’s actually a simple procedure, but you need the right tools. Then he’ll revert to his original color.”

“Which is…?”

He shrugged. “We’ll just have to find out.”

The “special tool” appeared to be a simple pair of pliers. The vet began tugging on the barbs at the end of Nick’s tail.

“Are you actually going to pull those spines out?”

“Oh, yes. It’s just a minor adjustment. They’re mostly decorative, anyway.”

He pulled–hard–causing the patient to whimper in his sleep. I stroked his ear soothingly, and he quieted. Some half-dozen spines were removed in this way.

“Now, we wait…” the vet said. So we did, until the dark blue slowly faded, and became the dull green of one of those army-green grasshoppers.

Nick started to stir. “Why is my tail sore–What?!” He looked at himself with dismay, then turned to me. “You planted that tick on me so you could get me in here to do this. I just know it.”

“No, the tick was there before I got the letter, remember?”

“And good thing it’s only a tick,” the vet said. “Sometimes they get infested with weevils, and then their scales fall off.”

“You know,” Nick said musingly, “I think I like this green better anyway.”







The Rage for Incremental Change

photo of guy fawkes mask on backpack

Photo by Markus Spiske on

I am tired of the above guy and his smirk, but there’s a paucity of photos available when you type in “army backpack” (mostly boring people hiking), so you’ll just have to put up with him.


…which is beginning to be what this blog seems to be about, but AT ANY RATE….

There was a guy in front of me on the bus whose giant army backpack (camo, bedroll on the top, aluminum pots and pans clattering on the sides) bore a patch that said:





Let’s just analyze this, because that’s what we do.

  1. I bet every one of these patches sold said “Permit # 911-01.” Because, 9/11, September 11, 2001, get it?
  2. So it expires in 2050? Good thing we got that terrorist thing knocked down by then.
  3. Oddly, I felt not safer because this guy was on the bus, but less safe.
  4. The fact that it said T.M. (trademark) led me to believe this was not, in fact, actual Army issue, a fact my actual Army source confirmed by his disdain.

My thanks, as always, to the people who keep checking to see if I’m still posting. Am I? It’s so hard to tell. (I hear Rom’s voice saying, “You have an obligation to your readers.”)

Oh, and the title is Stephen Colbert’s comment on the moderate Democratic candidates. VOTE FOR ME, I’M NON-THREATENING! Right, Nick? “I thought you were going to write a story about me,” he says pitifully.

P.S. I am eagerly awaiting the appearance of pumpkin pie at McDonald’s. It can’t be long now! McDonald’s–another thing I share with Trump.



Tyranny, Mutation, and Stuff

black and white dartboard

Photo by Engin Akyurt on

The above picture was chosen for its superficial resemblance to the cover of a favorite Blue Oyster Cult album, Tyranny and Mutation.

And speaking of which, let’s add to the Radical Centrist Manifesto:

–You are not entitled to free healthcare.

–You are, however, entitled to affordable healthcare.

“Radical Centrism–Our Motto: ‘See How Easy That Was?'”



Nick had a birthday party for his two youngest cubs, who turned six and one respectively, on adjacent days. It featured the usual elements:

–Me Bringing My Own medication, a can of which will make me actually engage in conversation eventually,

–two palatial inflatable structures, with your choice of Water or Not

–a child getting on top of one structure, endangering his companions within

–a small child refusing to get out of the bottom of the water slide, annoying his companions at the top who now can’t slide down

–Nick engaging in reckless adrenaline-fueled activity in spite of a recent injury

–me going inside to decompress, only to be cornered by a dog and a small child

–adults discussing whatever surgery they’ve recently received

–Nick and his mate wrestling on the ground, trying to smear cake on each other. I was told this courtship ritual occurs at every birthday party, but I had not been privileged to see it previously. Actually, I didn’t see it this time, either, since the table was in the way. I only witnessed the combatants arising, duly covered with cake. I think Nick ended up taking several showers that day, for one reason or another.

–Cheetos! And cake, which I cut the frosting off of. I ate too much of both. But it was my first meal of the day, after all.

Speaking of Cheetos (that should have been my post title right there), I’ve noticed a cultural oddity: In my youth, the standard Cheeto type was those puffy styrofoam-like cylinders. Then they introduced an option: “Baked to a delicate crunch, or quick-fried to a crackly crunch!” (Or “indelicate crunch,” if you will.) It took a long time for the latter to catch on–my preference for them was considered a bit eccentric–but now they are the default Cheeto. (Disclaimer: My market research for this consists mainly in noting which kind is the standard-issue at Subway, which may not be a representative sampling, but probably is.)

Good thing I didn’t become a college professor (which I considered becoming until my Great American Novel was published), or the world would have been treated to “Cultural Shifts in Cheeto Consumption Over Time.” Publish or perish!






Impossible Advertising

turned on gray laptop computer

Photo by on

–“Coors Light–the official beer of drinking in the shower.” At bottom of screen depicting this–“Do Not Attempt.”

On base of scented candle–“Do not breathe candle fumes.”

On educational TV show: “Archaeology has only discovered 10% of civilizations.” Rom: “How can they know that?”

I did not whine in a timely manner about Halloween candy appearing on the shelves at CVS, but it’s there, and has been for about a week.

Someday I hope to discover which employee at Walgreen’s drives a black Cadillac, since it’s on the lot every day.


I have reached a stage in life where I can’t be sure, if a guy lets me get on the bus ahead of him, if it’s because I’m a woman or because I have some gray hair (although I got my first gray hair when I was 27). But I can be sure if it’s a man my own age. He was wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt. Because it’s m-m-my generation. (Apologies to both bands.)

A woman got on who works at Taco Bell on Lloyd, and started telling the bus driver and her friend about this weird sect she’d just heard of, who believe only 130,000 people will be saved. (It’s actually 144,000–it’s from Revelation, the 12 tribes of Israel times twelve, BUT WE WON’T GET INTO THAT HERE). She said, “I’m Christian myself, but I’m Catholic.” When she got off the bus, she said she was going to pray for the two women she’d been talking to, and the bus driver’s friend said, “Don’t pray for me–I know who you’ll be praying to!” The Taco Bell lady got off the bus, and the bus driver’s friend said, “She’ll be praying to the wrong person!” The bus driver said, “Yes. That is idolatry.” For the record, Catholics do not, in fact, pray to the devil.

I went to get stamps, and intended to get T. Rex stamps in honor of Trexa, but they had none, so I had to settle for dragon stamps, in dubious honor of Nick.




“Write” Prompt, My Stay in a Desperate World

close up of hand over white background

Photo by on

Well, not quite, but sort of.

I observed National Lipstick Day on July 29 with Watermelon Pink (sure, it’s just gloss, but I’M A BOOMER AND LIPSTICK INTIMIDATES ME), and I am now observing National Beer Day with, yeah, you guessed it.

Sign on side of a van: “Elevators and Escalators–We’re Dedicated to People Flow.” Said van was on the lot of the liquor store, so I’m guessing some people would be flowing soon.


There is nothing like returning to an area you used to be intimately familiar with after a span of some years. I went back to the vicinity of my work, to do some errands at nearby businesses. I walked through that area for some 25 years on my way to work. In the 2 years since I retired, it has become Not Anyone’s Job to pull weeds out of the sidewalks in front of the houses. And the yards themselves are overgrown with weeds. It’s the first sign of civilization falling, people!

However, Wesselman’s grocery was absolutely unchanged since, oh, 1963. (Disclaimer: The writer of this post was not in this town in 1963. I was either in Chicago or L.A. Big radio markets, you understand. Or you do when your stepfather is a DJ.)  It’s kind of eerie. For one thing, they never got the memo that We Use Body Wash Now, and not a bottle of it can be found. Old-fashioned bar soap can still be had, however.


I am absurdly thrilled with the gel-ink pens someone got me for my retirement party, 2 YEARS AGO. It magically makes my handwriting legible. Thanks, Unknown Person!









Making the World a Better Place

photography of bus stop during winter

Photo by Micael Widell on

…one bus stop at a time. And I hope I never get stuck at the bus stop in this picture. It looks like a criminal mastermind stuck it out in the creepy woods, but when you sit down, it whisks you away to their arctic headquarters. Or something. It’s just too new for such a remote area, you know? Plus that creepy blue light. And is that snow or rocks piled up by the side of the road? WELL?

Anyway, I have made it my mission (and a modest one it is) to clean up any trash I find at the bus stop near my house. Especially since this only involves taking it across the $ General lot and throwing it in the trash can there.

I tell you this not to give myself a Good Citizen award, but to note a weird facet of human psychology I’ve observed in the course of doing this.

Once, back when it was still cold, I saw a blanket and a sack of clothes on the bench. I thought surely someone must have forgotten these items, so I left them undisturbed so the person could come back and get them. But they remained undisturbed, blocking access to the bench. But the Real Problem was that, as the days passed, more  trash got piled up on top of them–more and faster than I’d usually observed. Apparently the presence of a significant pile over several days convinced people that this was a Designated Drop-Off Site and it was OK to leave their trash there as well. So I gingerly picked up everything and carted it to the Dollar General Dump, and trash deposit returned to its former occasional occurrence. Although if I ever share the stop with the person who keeps leaving gallon containers partially-filled with pink fluid (some sort of “juice drink”–the flavors vary, but it’s always pink), I may have to address them directly.  (“And get your finger dislocated again,” Nick says, in his capacity as my Life Coach.)


Which is worse:

–a sidewalk overgrown with weeds, because the homeowner thinks that A.) the City sends somebody by to take care of it, or B.) no one actually uses the sidewalk, right?


–a sidewalk overgrown with weeds which the homeowner has dealt with by means of chemical spray, which leaves them dead and brown, BUT STILL STANDING THERE??

Write! Write! Write!

person holding pen leaning on table

Photo by on

Yeah, and guess who couldn’t tell from the tiny sample picture that the person in this photo was writing music, and then I couldn’t figure out how to remove a picture, or if it’s even possible. At any rate, there’s a button in the corner of this page that says “Write,” so that’s what I’m doing. No, I can’t write music, either.


There is, at the present time, a board with a nail in it on the ground down the street from my house, just waiting for some hillbilly to grab it and use it in a fight. And don’t think that wouldn’t happen around here. There is also an old couch in my back yard. (The people who brought the new couch wouldn’t haul the old one away, so Nick had to haul it out of our living room with his powerful jaws. Rom then beat it half to death with a sledgehammer.)  But we have been outdone by our neighbors down the street, who have an old mattress on their front porch. They thought the Heavy Trash people would pick it up. They were wrong, so there it stays.


Almost back-to-school time, because everyone’s forgotten that back-to-school should be in September. I still like looking at school supplies, and found myself wondering if I could still find a use for construction paper. Is there a use for construction paper by anyone other than elementary-school children? The same question could be asked of papier-mache.


–Vultures circling at Franklin St./St Joe Ave. No, I’m not dead yet, in spite of this fiendish heat, which is, of course, not caused by climate change, because climate change would mean we shouldn’t be driving quite so much, which is, of course, unacceptable.) SEE HOW I MADE A PARENTHESIS HERE, EVEN THOUGH I HADN’T STARTED ONE, BECAUSE I AM PARENTHESIS-ADDICTED. I am also drunk. Because a guy on the TV said we shouldn’t drink during the heat wave, so of course I had to do it. We boomers are irrepressible.


Whatever “kudos” may be, I issue them to my former co-worker 911SK, who (having left 911 for less-stressful climes at the Water Dept.) said she wanted to stuff ice cubes down her pants in this heat, because “it’s a clam bake down there.” Now I will think of that whenever I go out in the heat. We need more clever sayings by women.

But it’s back-to-school season, so it’s bound to cool off soon, right? RIGHT? Oh, that’s right, we don’t go back to school in September anymore. We know better somehow.










Holiday Complaints

defocused image of illuminated christmas lights

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.comWell

Well, the year is half over. Time to complain about Labor Day/Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/almost time for New Year’s. How time flies.

I speak from the unique perspective of a rock star who’s also running for President. (“And has a pet dragon, don’t forget,” says Nick, curled at my feet.) I am capable of simultaneously wishing time was up and we already knew who the Democratic nominee is, and realizing this knowledge will not affect my vote.


“Schools struggle with teaching slavery.” The reason is that re-enacting slavery in the classroom proves traumatizing to kids. How about…hear me out…we just READ ABOUT IT, AND SAY IT WAS BAD, WITHOUT FEELING COMPELLED TO RE-ENACT IT?  Looking at modern education as an autistic person, I have to say it was easier to pass for neuro-typical in the old days. If I had to re-enact stuff as a matter of course, I would for sure need special classes. “Senior service projects”? You have to “go out into the community” in order to graduate? Call me special-needs.

This is making me flash back to work-related “role-playing” training, and required visits to other agencies to see how they did stuff., and having other people “sit with you, and watch you answer 911 calls.” It still makes me want to scream. Hmm, it would have been interesting to have screamed at work. Maybe I’ll go out there and do so. I’ll have to call on the outside phone, and say, “I worked there for 30 years,” and hope someone remembers that no one has yet worked there longer.








Donald Trump Is the Antichrist For Our Time

silhouette of statue near trump building at daytime

Photo by Carlos Herrero on

I was watching the news, and they were covering a Trump rally which had not yet started. Music was playing in the background. “Screaming guitar,” Rom noted. “I know that solo–every note of it,” I said, thinking hard, then I realized–“Sympathy for the Devil!” Sympathy for the facking Devil, I thought (thereby taking the Devil’s name in vain). What the hell?!

Turns out this is a regular feature of these rallies. (By the way–campaign rallies right after the election? Need to be stroked much?) According to reporter Ryan Lizza, Trump has put together a mix tape (or whatever we call them these days), and the band most represented is the Stones. Trump is open to suggestions, however–Lizza was told, “The more inappropriate for a political event, the better.” I doubt anyone is going to come up with anything less appropriate than a mission statement from Satan, however.

The thing is, Rom and I had been joking earlier that maybe Trump is the Antichrist. “I expected the Antichrist to be slicker,” Rom said. But maybe we’ve created the Devil in our own image–coarse, crude, and he’s figured out that what’s wrong with lying in politics is that no one’s lied often enough. Plus, for sheer pettiness, you can’t beat going to court to argue that you shouldn’t have to provide people in detention centers with soap. Of course, at least one of his supporters has argued that the solution to the problem is to “Shoot ’em!” (Disclaimer: I am not for “open borders.”)

Of course, someone could always claim that this post is motivated by the fact that I myself am running for President. (By the way, I will not be at the debates tonight, having a polling number of 0%.) I need to get those “I’m the Outsider!” t-shirts printed up. As soon as I finish the ones for the Sour Neon Crawlers.


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