Tag Archives: large smelly boys

Scorching temperature: The long and the shorts of it

Desperate times call for desperate measures.Here in the Art Scatter sauna we wouldn’t stoop to wearing a muu muu, but we have fantasized about it.

Are we the only ones to pitch all decorum in this stifling heat? One of the large smelly boys* walks around in boxer shorts and the cat sleeps on the dining table.

I know. Gross. But I don’t have the heart to discourage it. The cat knows where to find the best air flow.

But back to the boxer shorts. They remind me of the mom who once told me that they have a rule in their house.

“If the blinds are up then everyone has to wear at least underwear.”


“And that goes for everyone.”

— Laura Grimes


*Identity has been blurred to protect the guilty.

The Write Brain Initiative: How to refuse the muse without really trying


I’m reluctant to write this.

Gregor Reisch, 1512. Margarita philosophica nova cui insunt sequentiaBut I’ve been fingered by Mighty Toy Cannon, one of my favorite blogforthers (sorry, I have others, too, though I don’t have so many that on ethical grounds I would be obligated to disclose them to my primary care doctor). The jig’s up. MTC said in a recent comment that he had just been wondering where I’d disappeared to.

I’ve been mostly out of town and handicapped by a dodgy internet connection. Which is just fine with me because I fully admit I had planned to disappear for a while. Until at least September. And my little off-the-grid plan would have worked if it hadn’t been for Writer Brain. I have distinctly told it to SHUT THE HELL UP, but it refuses to listen, which entirely ticks me off.

Writer Brain kicks off voices in my head. I know there’s medication for this sort of thing, but the only remedy for my particular syndrome is a full dose of typing fingers.

Fortunately, it has only taunted me lately with goofy, farfetched and absolutely true accounts about plunging and bras (though, unfortunately, not at the same time).

I knew I needed quiet time and summertime, balm time and … fermenting time.

But then words dance in my head and realign and won’t SHUT THE HELL UP.

Sure, they make me laugh. Sure, they make me want to sleep with my computer (I’m not confessing that to my primary care doctor any time soon, either). But – I know this is pathetic – I don’t want to be responsible for them.

I’ve said this before: I have as much discipline as a red balloon on a breezy day. And I want to keep it that way. I want to play on the beach and read and rediscover the fact that I have children.

My small large smelly boy recognizes the affliction when it comes on.

He says, “I’m hungry,” and I steadfastly continue typing, my eyes fixed and glowing as one with the screen. He says, “Mommy, it’s time to get out of bed.” He says, “Mommy, what are you mumbling?” He says, “Mommy, there’s a pedestrian.”


Sure, I’ve done the type-when-I-have-to thing. But this isn’t one of those times. I don’t need to muscle my way to any deadline. So what is it, then?

Could it be a … muse? Aren’t those suppose to be women frolicking in Grecian gowns? Let me make this absolutely clear: the bad noise in my head is not wearing a toga!

Why are muses always considered to be women, anyway? Is that sort of like boats? Why are boats female? Is it because old-timey sailors were always men and they needed a bit of estrogen along to complete the family picture?


Writer Brain is such a cad, sifting and sorting through several story threads at once. What might catch its fancy?

And yet, I’m relieved. It’s landed only on funny lately, teasing along choice bits until they’re good and ripe and pack just the right punchline.

But there’s something else there, too, something bubbling up from the yeasty depths, well below the frothy head.

What is that? I don’t want to know yet. I need more fermenting time.

So forgive me if I don’t blogforth for a while. I have a headache.

— Laura Grimes

How to not buy bras with large smelly boys


Buying bras comes with major tenets that are never violated:

Trust the truss./Wikimedia Commons— If you like a bra it will not come in your size.

— Cute little bras will not come in your size.

— Anything with the name “Wonder Bra” will not come in your size.

— Sexy numbers that come with slogans like “Amazing Lift” will not come in your size.

— You will secretly hope that a bra in your size does not come with a slogan like “Amazing Fork Lift.”

— Any bra that does not come in your size will have every size right up to the size that you wear.

— The bras you like will be displayed prominently in the big picture windows in the front of the store.

— Large hairy men in tank tops will walk past the big picture windows.

— You will think that some large hairy men in tank tops should shop for bras.

— Once you find a bra in your size it will look like giant clam shells stuck together with duct tape.

— Once you find a bra in your size it will come only in lavender.

— Once you find a bra in your size it will come only in a paisley design.

— Once you find a bra in your size it will come with weird inlay leaf designs that look like groping fingers.

— Bra-buying will be traumatic enough without receiving a text message from a large smelly teenage boy that says, “What’s taking you so long?”

— Once you find a bra you sort of like it will say something like “No Poke Wire.”

— Once you find a bra you sort of like AND in your size it will say something like “Concealing Petals.”

— “Concealing Petals” are something to conceal things called nipples because apparently they’re unacceptable.

— You will be horrified to realize that you were born with not one but two nipples.

— You will be horrified to realize that you nursed not one but two boys (not at the same time) with not one but two nipples (not at the same time).
Continue reading How to not buy bras with large smelly boys

In Ashland, it’s ‘Equivocation,’ unequivocally

Anthony Heald as Shag (center) in Equivocation. Photo: JENNY GRAHAM/Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Mr. Scatter has been going to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland since roughly the last Ice Age, when he was still fooling around in the cave with that nice new five-hole bone flute he’d got for his coming-of-age ceremony.

Mrs. Scatter hasn’t been taking the trek that long, but she’s a devotee (of the festival, not the flute). Their next generation, the astonishing Ms. Sarah, was practically weaned on the plays: She still sometimes speaks in Elizabethan cadence, just for the fun of it. And now the Large Smelly Boys demand their annual attendance, in not “Are we …?” but “When are we?” terms. This ends up costing quite a few clams.

For complex scheduling reasons that by this point have skipped my mind, the Scatter family travelers won’t be getting to Ashland until the beginning of September this year, which means that we’re relying a lot on hearsay and the word of friends — one of whom, Marty Hughley, actually covers the festival professionally for The Oregonian. Here’s his latest, pretty glowing report.  We check in on the Web site Ashland Link. And people come back and tell us what they thought.

Two clear-eyed friends — veteran journalist Paul Duchene, who spent a lot of years in the arts wars and is now executive editor of Keith Martin’ Sports Car Market magazine, and writer Sherry Lamoreaux, co-author of the Algonquin Round Table play Vitriol and Violets — just came back from the festival, and they’re still glowing with the pleasure of having seen the world-premiere production of Bill Cain‘s Equivocation, a play about Shakespeare (or Shag) and what happens when truth and the Official Version don’t align. Here’s what they have to say:

Paul Duchene:

In case you can wangle a way, I saw the best play at Ashland I have seen there in 25 years. It’s a world premiere and it will go to Broadway and the West End for sure. It’s already headed to LA’s Geffen Theater first.

The play is Equivocation and it’s a classic case of how to write a current thriller by setting it in past times.

The plot is that Shakespeare is hired by James I’s government to write a play about the Gunpowder Plot (Guy Fawkes etc al) and how disaster was narrowly averted by the King’s security services.

But as Shakespeare looks into it, he’s not sure any plot ever existed and suspects that people were tortured into confessing something that didn’t happen, as a means to keep the Catholics in line. And the question arises about how to ask hard questions in dangerous times and how not to answer them, because his probing is putting him and his company in danger. Equivocation was the Jesuit way of not answering a question without exactly lying. “Look through the question to see what they’re really asking and see if you can answer that honestly…”

Playwright Bill Cain got the idea when he was in the Tower of London looking at a rack and a government sign above it that said “Nobody was ever tortured on this rack for their religious beliefs.”

And Cain thought of all the names of prisoners scratched in the dungeons below, along with last messages for their wives and families.

It’s brilliant stuff. He was flying back to the States and he thought: I have to go back and research this and write it in London. And he got off the plane in New York and booked a flight back.

Best of all, it’s not a work in progress, it’s sorted.

Sherry Lamoreaux:

We got to see Equivocation … what a play.

It’s linear and easy to follow but many of the scenes progress like tapestries shaken from folded sleep (my, how earnest of me). All the stories dovetail and work. All the layers — (politics then and now), families, death, truth/lies, the Shakespearean canon and the inside workings of theatre in general — are balanced among themselves, and between poignancy and humor. The playwright is working from deep knowledge and complete mastery. An absolutely sure touch. Brilliant material, brilliantly directed and performed, set off by a set so clean and simple that when a noose comes on, it commands the stage. Perfect lighting.

Maybe the best thing I’ve ever seen at Ashland … and it is not a work-in-progress, it’s fully baked. (I’d tighten the ending by four lines, but that’s just me.)

I’ve seen nothing that indicates it was commissioned for OSF, but the play speaks to the setting and the festival as well, and the season uses it like a jewel in a crown, setting other plays referred to in it on its skirts.

Paul and Sherry also brought back good reports on Helena de Crespo‘s performance in Shirley Valentine at Oregon Stage Works in Ashland. De Crespo, the globe-trotting, Portland-based actor, stars in Willy Russell‘s one-woman play through July 13. A lot of people still remember her Portland performance a few seasons back in Alan Bennett‘s Talking Heads.

Toilet plungers really do suck: They stick to faces


Call the health department. Plumbing disease is contagious.

We left town and all our drain problems behind and headed to the coast. I lugged everything into our tidy little place and made a bee-line to the bathroom when a guest* large smelly boy said, “Oh, that toilet is weird.”

I flushed it. It burbled back at me.

We have lugged everything to this tidy little place** for nearly 18 years. It has two toilets, two tubs and four sinks. Never, in all that time, have I had to plunge a large clump of goo.

The Mini Pro Sink and Drain Plunger: like a joystick.  Monument ToolsAs I realized I was having another plumbing panic — my third in a week — part of me was in a suspended state of disbelief while the other looked for a plunger. In vain.

Here I had a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean, but I was roughing it. I did not have my impressive array of drain-cleaning implements.

I rummaged under sinks and in closets until I found one pathetic-looking plunger. It wasn’t a designer model. No sucky lips. No caddy.

I was embarrassed for its nakedness so I searched through the cupboards for a proper caddy. But remember, we’re roughing it. I didn’t find even a cheap Tupperware container.

I pushed the plunger up and down to no avail. It had a big problem. It didn’t suck. That’s when I did what any sensible amateur plumber would do. I went to dinner.

On the way home we stopped by a one-stop shopping store (yes, the very chain where the flashy, brazen garden nozzles are lined up in a red light district). My grocery list? Milk. Eggs. Juice. Plunger.

And cookie dough. We have a tradition at the beach of baking cookies each night. But remember, we’re roughing it. So we don’t actually make the dough. We just bake it. After we buy it.

One of the large smelly boys and I were picking out what kind of cookie dough to buy in a package when we both said, “Look, it comes in a tub!”

I compared prices. Sure enough. The tub was cheaper by volume. Then I realized we’d gain a bonus. We’d gain a plunger caddy. But we’d have to bake a lot of cookies.***

Continue reading Toilet plungers really do suck: They stick to faces

Confessions of an amateur plumber, or, Hey, at least my pants stay up

Auger label. Photo: Mrs. ScatterBy LAURA GRIMES

I thought I was done with my impressive array of drain-cleaning implements after the previous plumbing panic.

I was going to stash them in the basement and let them collect dead spiders, but when I put the plastic bin at the top of the stairs it fell over. I peered around the corner in time to watch the bin plonk, plonk, plonk down the stairs and roll away, leaving the plastic thorny thing, the big auger, the little auger and (my personal favorite) the hose blaster up and down the steps.

I did what any sensible amateur plumber would do. I shut the door to worry about it the next day. Or the next time I had to go to the basement to do laundry, whichever came later.

Little did I know one of the large smelly boys would have to go to the basement first thing in the morning to fetch frozen waffles and a loaf of bread.

“It’s booby trapped!” I yelled.

He figured out what I meant. I could tell by the “Ewww!”

As unluck would have it, I had to go to the basement the next day to do laundry. I’m not sure if my bigger motivator was not wanting to look hideous in a leg cast or risk a higher premium on hazard insurance, but I picked up the impressive array of drain-cleaning implements.

As unluck would have it, the plastic thorny thing had landed in a cat litter box.

Yes, I unscrupulously manipulated that line for maximum gross-out effect. The litter box was actually clean and empty. It was in place to catch drips from a bathroom flood when a large smelly boy didn’t properly place the shower curtain (on the second floor!). But that’s a plumbing woe for another day. As is my shameful bout with garden nozzle envy.

As I picked up my impressive array of drain-cleaning implements I remembered I actually had to use them again — a banner week!

The toilet in the bathroom that belongs to the large smelly boys didn’t flush properly. I had plunged it and plunged it. It didn’t work. Even though I was using a designer plunger. It has such high style points that it comes with its own caddy. So it’s much more fashionable than our other one, which sits in a Tupperware container. And it’s certainly more fashionable than the one it replaced — a plunger that had a carved duck head with googly eyes. My dad made it. But the head fell off. Making the handle action uncomfortable while plunging. I hate it when my plunger duck heads fall off.

All I can say is it’s a good idea I was doing the plunging instead of my (nameless) husband. I’m a quiet plunger by nature. He, on the other hand, uses words that start with e-p-i-t-h-e-t.

But even my quiet plunging nature didn’t work this time. So I took my impressive array of drain-cleaning implements upstairs and, well, it all augered well. Maybe because I read the directions:

Loosen thumbscrew. Insert boring head [not the interesting one, apparently] through crossbar and push into pipe until stoppage [the technical term is not “large clump of goo,” apparently] is reached (if head can’t pass through strainer [I can’t remember the last time I tried to put mine through one], use bent tip at other end of spring.)”

It also says:

Don’t force the snake! Let the boring head do the work.

I learned a few things:

1. My big auger is called a “clog chaser.”
2. My little auger says that it “retrieves wash cloths, diapers, toys” [you can’t make this stuff up].
3. When I auger out a toilet my husband hollers, “What’s that wippity wappity noise?”

— Laura Grimes