Pixy Stix

Important information to remember: Pixy Stix powder burns like the devil when you get it in your eyes.

Tonight my son Symeon wanted to have a couple of Pixy Stix after supper, and brought them to me to have them opened. I distinctly remember, from my childhood, pinching the tops of the tubes and vigorously shaking the powder to the bottom in order have more room to tear the tube open without spilling anything. Evidently my ability to vigorously shake has increased with age, because after the tube whacked each side of my hand a few times the dad-gum thing exploded in my face, getting Pixy powder in my eye, ear, my keyboard, all over the couch. My oldest son, who was innocently sitting next to me on the couch, got it in the eyes as well. (He whined more than I did, big baby.) I have pretty long facial hair, so I had to use the vacuum attachment to suck out all the dust. Why doesn’t Willy Wonka put a warning label on these things!?!

More Thomas Wolfe

Whatever one may think about Thomas Wolfe’s overall quality as a writer, his descriptive ability is extraordinary. This depiction of the wicked Judge Rumford Bland from his novel You Can’t Go Home Again is chilling, vivid–a word painting if I’ve ever seen one. I give the passage here in its versified form, as found in A Stone, A Leaf, A Door.

But he was stained with evil.

There was something genuinely old and corrupt

At the sources of his life and spirit.

It had got into his blood,

His bone, his flesh.

It was palpable in the touch

Of his thin, frail hand when he greeted you,

It was present in the deadly weariness

Of his tone of voice,

In the dead-white texture

Of his emaciated face,

In his lank and lusterless auburn hair,

And, most of all,

In his sunken mouth,

Around which there hovered constantly

The ghost of a smile.

It could only be called the ghost of a smile,

And yet, really, it was no smile at all.

It was, if anything, only a shadow

At the corners of the mouth.

When one looked closely,

It was gone.

But one knew

That it was always there–

Lewd, evil, mocking,

Horribly corrupt,

And suggesting a limitless vitality

Akin to the humor of death,

Which welled up from some secret spring

In his dark soul.

Opening ceremonies

Last night my wife and youngest daughter wanted to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies. Here’s what I noticed: President Bush, with his watch-checking, seat-shifting, and general lack of attention to the proceedings, looked every bit as bored as I was. One could almost see him thinking, “How many freakin’ countries are there, anyway?!”