A vanity site for sure. When I get an urge to write a short story or a poem, here is where it lands. I even like a few of them. I hope you like even one.

Saturday, May 23, 2009



There are moments when conditions are just so right, when an old man sits perfectly still, all sound recedes and it is silent, completely silent, his heartbeat seems alive in his ears, his eyes glaze over and dreams become reality, when the senses are so acute, when more than half a century can disappear and moments, certainly it could only have been moments, in time are remembered. Strange to him that it is remembered so vividly. His consciousness slurs and he is back in those moments.

The dust from the gravel covered back roads, the sun dappling through the dense overgrowth of maples, chestnut and elms reflected the road ahead in gauzy dreamlike patches of light and shadows.

The boy aboard his pedal powered steed, a black and red road master of the road, gliding alone, recording scents and sights, traveling through that time after childhood, but before that time when thoughts would change from those sense fulfilling moments without apprehension of tomorrow or guilt about yesterday, living only in the now, the joyful sense-provoking today. Tomorrow or those tomorrows yet to be were of no consequence except days, one after another in which to enjoy himself in this setting bequeathed to him certainly by kindly Gods. The future would yield its secrets in its own good time, when the boy would surrender his boyhood and lurch optimistically forward to meet it knowing if he faltered he had but to close his eyes and those graveled back roads and his black and red road master would be waiting for the boy, waiting to return him to that time, that moment when all was now and it couldn't get any better, a preview of heaven perhaps?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What was the best purchase you ever made?

What was the best purchase you ever made? Maybe I should define that a little bit, make the parameters a little more exact. How about comparing amount of money paid for the object to amount of hours of enjoyment it returned. Of course this is all a setup. I have a purchase in mind already. A couple years ago, at an annual used book sale I attend each year, I picked up a book and added it to my sack of other goodies. The rationale at used book sales is different than the rules buying at a bookstore. At a bookstore the costs are prohibitively high so your selection process is much more strict. If you’re paying out twenty-five bucks and more per pop, you know you have to be convinced that you are buying the corresponding amount of enjoyment per dollar spent, not always easy.

But at a used book sale the fun is put back into the process. At twenty-five cents for a paperback and fifty cents to a dollar for the hardcover, it is all changed. You can buy a book because you once read something by the same author and enjoyed it, so maybe you will like this one by the same guy. Or perhaps the cover art grabs you, or the title interests you, whatever, if it grabs you, pick it up and toss it into your grocery store size bag, which are kindly provided by the hosts of the sale so you will keep browsing and adding to the bags contents. It is one of the best hours I spend each year rummaging through books that were once pristine and full of promise to the buyer. Now they are here among other much used or slightly used compatriots being once again analyzed for their worth. Which brings up another buying point; is a book in immaculate condition a better choice than the other which has obviously been much handled or ill-kept, is that a clue to its value? The answer is yes or no because, of course, there is no answer. But every once in a while luck enters the process and a book will be picked up by the person it was meant for. This happened to me once.

The best purchase I ever made, using the cost versus enjoyment-received criteria, was the book I mentioned in the first paragraph. It was the book titled, TO SERVE THEM ALL MY DAYS, by R.F. DELDERFIELD. I love this book. I have read it twice now, and the second reading was a good or better than the first. I suppose judgment of a books value is subjective and not objective. It meets your internal value system or it doesn’t. It’s as easy as that.

It is a book of over six hundred pages and I am a reader of each word, versus the fast reader who gulps paragraphs at a time, so the amount of time to read the entire book is not really calculable, but many, many hours to read the whole work is a fair statement. I enjoyed each and every hour I spent on it, each time, and all for twenty-five cents, picked up at the used book sale. This was the best purchase I ever made.

I’m standing in the wings behind this dusty curtain knowing if I touch it the dust will cause me to start sneezing, I can’t do that. Oh God I think I’m getting sick, I’m either going to faint or throw up. I know I shouldn’t have worn this green satin dress, it’ll reflect the color to my face and I’ll look like I feel. I’ve only got about a minute to get myself together. The sweat is running down my ribcage and I know my face is shining like a polished cue ball. What if I get out there and no sound will come out of my mouth? Or I start to stutter? Oh sweet mother of God I think I’m getting panicky, should I turn and run? If I do I’m finished. Oh for crying out loud, now I have to go to the bathroom. If I don’t go right now I’m sure I might embarrass myself. No time, think of something else. Oh my God and now my stomach is starting to growl. It’s the loudest I’ve ever heard it. Can they hear it on stage? These new microphones can pick up anything, Oh Lord what to do?

“and now here is Americas favorite singer, winner of six gold records, star of stage, screen, and television, the one, the only…….”


fictional job related anecdote.


The rays of the sun slant through unwashed windows, illuminating the

dryness of age in this forgotten place that stands by the side of steel tracks

where weeds now grow; where once great iron locomotives came, paused, then disappeared; where now only the sound of dried leaves skittering along the ground interrupt its sleep.

Benches along the wood paneled walls remain highly polished from

the multitudes of trousers and dresses that once buffed their


Bars of the ticket agent’s window, a patina of age upon them,

still guard a long gone presence that once routinely and officiously

charted the journeys, the count of which befogs the counter.

This forgotten structure, with walls that were once yellow,

green or red, chipped away by weather and neglect has turned

gray now as if to accommodate the modern world by becoming

as one with landscapes of the past.

Yet, to forget so easily this creation of its time as a discarded

relic, would bury all that we were that lives still in the lazy sun lit

dust of memory and where we too will assuredly abide one day.

By Jim Kittelberger

Weary eyes refuse to close, and
I'm tired down to my toes, yet
another sleepless night seems plain
when I hear the midnight train.

Its that sound, that sound, it speaks to me
clackity-clack clackity-clack, the great steel wheels intoning their mantra,
clackity-clack clackity-clack, a fountainhead of imagination and quest
clackity-clack clackity-clack, wait, please wait,
but again, too soon it passes me by.

Clackity-clack clackity-clack
that hypnotizing sound calms me, soothes me, yet
beckons me as sea maids entice the sailor,

Clackity-clack clackity-clack
that evoker of memories, moments, dreams.
my whole being stirs, contemplates, then quiets

The iron colossus turns gently east into the midnight darkness
The ever increasing distance dimming the sound,
fainter, fainter, fainter until it
is no more.
my eyes close and dreams begin.

Copyright 2001 Jim Kittelberger. All Rights Reserved.

By Jim Kittelberger

Wham, Bam, Drrr, Zing, Wing..The sounds from the girl factory were loud and frequent.

There are many sections within the factory. There is a section for brunettes, redheads, and a special section for blondes. The head girl maker in the hair section is Arno the magnificent.

He is making a special announcement to the whole factory over the loudspeaker system. Your attention please.

We have today received a special order from the great God-O, and he will be making a special trip to our factory to watch our progress. You must follow all orders exactly; we can have no second rate work on this project. If a mistake is made, the offending worker will be sent immediately to REJECTOLAND. There they will have to work on BOYS with spiked hair and freckles. OHHHHHHHHHH, could be heard from the workers, because no one wanted to go there.

In the hair section, Arno was reviewing the hair types. I do not want stringy hair. I do not want a dishwater color. I want hair that reflects Gods sun. AH YES, THAT IS THE COLOR I WANT.

Since I have been made special bigwig-colossal-chief over everybody- major domo great- fantastic- magnificent- very wonderful BOSS, I will follow this project to its completion. The next stop was the eye room.

Now, I do not want vacant looking eyes, I do not want dull looking eyes, I do not want silly dilly eyes, I do not want bird eyes, I do not want snake eyes, I do not want pig eyes, I do not want potato eyes, I do not want buckeyes, I do not want fly eyes, I do not want fish eyes, I do not want glass eyes and I especially do not want red eyes. What the special order requests are blue eyes that reflect the stars and its glitter. Eyes that laugh without words. Eyes that can show kindness. Eyes that will see the good things in life. Eyes that will show love to each person they look upon.


Now on to the naming department, where they met the head of the department, Mrs. Alphabetcha.

We need a name that is just right for this special project, Mrs. Alphabetcha. Can you do it? Well ABCDEFGHI am sure I can Magnificent Arno. Now be sure you don't give her a name like Gertrude or Agnes or Helga or Salamiface or Zelda or Brutus or Clarinetlips or Eggplant. I want a name that is regal and feminine. I have just the name for the special project. It is the name of the last Russian czarina and it is very feminine. It is GrouchoOh No, Oh No, that is just a little naming department humor.


The very best name we have in our department is ALEXANDRA. This is magnificent said Arno the magnificent.

We will now take the parts I have requested to the assembly department. This is Mr. Model Kit, head of the assemblers. Do you have your instructions Mr. Kit? Indeed I do Mr. Arno.

I have instructions to attach the gold as the sun hair to the top of the head. Insert two blue eyes from the special stock with stars in them. Insert the premium brain with a special section added for extra compassion and love. Insert and attach all of the above into a head with the AAAAAAAAAA+ pretty face. I have attached all the other necessities such as fingernails, toenails, a couple of arms, a couple of legs, a belly button and white teeth with a complimentary toothbrush and toothpaste included.

WHALAAAAA! What do you think Mr. Arno?

Perfecto Mr. Kit. I think she is just about ready for shipment.

All of a sudden the room became as bright as the sun and everything became silent and a red carpet appeared on the floor and Mr. God-O appeared and spoke: Ms. Alexandra, I am going to send you to earth to be in the care of two very nice people, who will do the best they can for you and will love you for all your days. So go now and have a very happy life and I will see you again in about ninety years or so and I will want a report, so keep a diary.

August 9, 1999.
(C) copyright 1999 Jim Kittelberger. All Rights Reserved.


By Jim Kittelberger

PREAMBLE: I could not decide which paragraph I wished to use for the last paragraph of the piece. I left it to my editor. My editor, who tells me what she thinks, read the two paragraphs and told me flat out that the last part is way over the top and should be omitted. She further added that it sounded like I was in a rage and that I really didn’t believe any of what I had written. I hate to admit it, but she’s right. That said, it felt therapeutic to write it, like going to a shrink I would suppose, and purging yourself of all that dwells and festers. So I agreed with her that the final paragraph is way too much, but I felt good writing it so I will leave it so you can read it and get angry with me and you’ll feel better also.

The cash register rings up the amount to be tendered and the cashier looks at the customer with a sullen look on her face. The customer, me, looks back at her. “One fifty”, comes out of the cashier’s mouth, as she is looking somewhere but not at me. I write the check and hand it to her. She deposits it in the cash register and resumes looking at that somewhere place. The bag that she shoved my purchase into sits on the counter, and after another interlude of silence, I assume we are done. I pick up the bag and walk out of the store, thus ending another transaction in the new screw you era.

Does this sound familiar or am I just one of the saps of the world that everyone likes to play this trick on? Maybe it’s just been a bad week. Twice this week, I have tried to make small talk with a person in a retail store, and twice I have had the person look at me like I had small pox, although one did manage to nod his head before he grabbed his change and fled. My God, I’m sixty-five years old, reasonably presentable and certainly not threatening in any way. I don’t think they believe I’m going to ask for a handout, nor do I believe they think I’m a Moonie getting ready to hand them a flower in exchange for a donation. I think they and the sullen cashier are just a few of the examples of the age we now live in, that seems to becoming more and more insular, and much less anxious to reach out for human contact.

These examples are of course not the norm but the exception. But it happens enough that I am aware when it does. I am also aware of one reason for this unsociability. A huge technological wave arrived in the world a decade or two ago. That wave was greeted by all of us with open arms. The new age brought with it the marvel of our time, the computer. And I need not list what that brought with it, video games, computer games, computer nerds, and the rest of us, who will sit at a computer for hours on end, (which of course, I am guilty of much too often). People of all ages have taken to these activities with relish, but not without giving up something. That is the time that could have been spent with other live actual people talking, sharing thoughts and feelings. The one common problem created is that most of the new high tech pursuits are one person to a computer or television. Children take to these new pursuits like a duck to water because they are just plain fun. But what they give up or what we allow them to give up, is the give and take of playing with other children where they can learn the greatest lessons of their life, how to develop social skills. Too easy? Maybe.


Well now you know my dilemma. What should I do about it? I hope to have many more years on this earth and I intend to keep going out in public. But if the trend, as I see it continues, and rudeness is the way of the future, I suppose I should start now working on my rude tactics so I can fit right in. I will initially, and this will be the easiest, change my facial expression to one of sullenness or even surliness, and trim my vocabulary to words of one syllable that could be spoken with a grunt. One technique that I think I will like would go like this: someone speaks to me and I answer him or her with my Robert DeNiro ‘Taxi’ imitation, “Me? You’re talking to me? Then I’ll just sneer and walk away. Yeah that’s good; hey I’m liking this. Rude is good. Perhaps as a warm up before going out into public, I’ll bite off a head of a bat or maybe a sparrow ala Ozzie Osbourne to get into the mood. My television choices should also change, I’m thinking with my new persona that Howard Stern would be a top choice. He, of the tell-it-like-it-is genre is about as classy as it will get in my new world. I’m much too old to start wearing clothes that are much too large and letting them hang down to my kneecaps seems a little dangerous. But I can start wearing any caps I may have backwards or sideways, and perhaps I should put a propeller on top, it wouldn’t look any stupider, I don’t think. Well after I’ve done all these things to make me fit in with the new rude to the ears, rude to the eyes, rude to any sensibilities I may have left, the world may have changed back to a place much more pleasant to live in, or I may have developed Alzheimer’s and not care anymore.