the billionaire in my basement

illustrated poem: the billionaire in my basement

in a room on the second floor

in a room on the second floor (digital watercolor)


found poem, source: Caption to a photograph by Ron Cortes accompanying “Second change seen for Mt. Airy Landmark,” by Jennifer Lin, in The Philadelphia Inquirer 4/16/12.

“…good salesmanship taps into the prospect’s hidden fears…”

"...you must tap into their hidden fears..."

My country cousins live better than me

my country cousins

The Ballad of Bill “The Bunter” Hobson (A Spectacularly Undistinguished Practitioner of the Art of Professional Fisticuffs, Who Nevertheless is Remembered as a War Hero)

baseball player v. boxer

It was just in Bill Hobson’s nature,
before he was even a runt,
why, before he even learned to walk,
he’d taught himself to bunt.

He showed little interest in grade school.
His teachers found him as a student wanting.
He’d do no homework, but every day in his backyard,
for six hours after school, he’d diligently practice bunting.

He made the freshman baseball team,
but he gave his coaches a fit,
for Bill insisted on bunting – no matter what the sign –
as a way to get a hit. (He never did.)

Tossed off the team for insubordination, next fall, he tried out for football.
The coach showed him how to punt it,
but instead of catching and kicking the ball,
Bill Hobson tried to bunt it. (It will come as no surprise that he did not not make team.)

Bill got a job as a night watchman.
After he’d made the rounds and checked all the locks,
he would spend the rest of the night
practicing bunting out on the loading docks.

Late one evening, a gambler spied Bill,
said to his partner, “Look at that schmuck.”
His partner said “He doesn’t look like a fool to me,
He looks like a stroke of good luck!”

And so the boxer Bill “the Bunter” Hobson was born.
Of his prowess at fisticuffs the gamblers would sing
as they’d travel from town to town, get Bill into a boxing match,
then bet the house of the other guy in the ring.

His head it was battered.
His jaw it was shattered.
Across his tattered baseball jersey,
his blood it was splattered.

His eyes black and bruised,
but he never felt used,
for if one’s calling is bunting,
one’s life can’t really be choosed.

Then the Great War in Europe broke out (version II).
Bill was drafted and sent to the front.
It was at the Battle of the Bulge
that Bill made his most famous bunt.

​A German soldier tossed a grenade at his platoon’s foxhole
It hung in the air, everyone thought in that instant, “My God! We’re done for and that’s that”
but Bill saw the grenade as a baseball,
and bunted it with his bat.

And even though Bill “The Bunter” Hobson was a failure as a student,
could not even stay on the baseball team,
never stood a chance at making the football team,
never became a doctor or a lawyer,
and although his lack of prowess with women was up until this point
not heretofore mentioned, one can only imagine,
and his total number of wins as a professional boxer amounted to zero (0-533 to be exact),
when it came time for his final out,​
Bill Hobson died a hero!

So it doesn’t matter if you reach first base,
it doesn’t matter how many runs you score,
in the town square of Rosemont, Ohio, is a statue
erected in honor of “Bill ‘The Bunter’ Hobson – a Hero of the Second World War”

[There once was a proud Man from Austin]

limerick - there once was a proud man from Austin

The Amazing Replacement Moth

The Amazing Replacement Moth

[There once was a Man from Juneau]

Man from Juneau

Cheap Source of Protein

cheap source of protein

Who Says a Smolt Can’t be a Smelt?

Who Says a Smolt Can't be a Smelt?