Put Out to Pasture

Where failed submissions go to live out their end days

My So-Called Actual Teen Relationship



I ride my horse Whinnie to the supermarket to factorize license plates and calm down. We sit down on the curb and put our heads together. “Boy is it hard to be teenaged,” I say to him.

Whinnie says nothing. He isn’t actually, like, a farm animal. He’s a scooter with a head attached to the…

(Source: hothotphone)

Children’s books viewed through the adult lens of sad-sackedness

My Debut Sex Column

Hi everyone! I know that I’m not typically the most open, share-y person, so I’m probably not the first person you’d think of when looking for honest, reliable advice about sexuality. But I’d like you to put your prejudices about colonial writers who never had a date in high school aside, and share openly with me for a minute.

The other night, I had had a long day and was tired and irritable. I felt a sudden poke in my
And that is how you have sex in the dark.

Join me for the next installment of my sex diaries.

Why Janet Yellen Should Not Be The Next Fed Chair

Janet Yellen is now likely to be named the next chairman of the Federal Reserve by President Obama, but only after Larry Summers dropped out and Timothy Geithner refused to run. She’s really Obama’s third choice. You might think, “But she’s incredibly well qualified! She’s the current vice chair! She has a history of adept responses to crisis!” But the key objection people have is that she “lacks gravitas.” And I think we know what that means.

Let’s take a look at some of the past Fed chairs:

(Top row, left to right: Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, Paul Volcker, some guy; Bottow row, left to right: Another guy, two guys who could be the same guy, a jicama in a top hat)

There are solid reasons that America has never put a female in place at the top of its central bank. If Yellen is to get the nod, there are serious risks we need to consider:

1. The scent of an apple-cinnamon Yankee Candle clouding up the Fed.

2. A hit to U.S. credibility around Christmas-time.

3. Scrapbooked FOMC meeting minutes.

4. Yellen puts a drive-thru teller in the side of the Fed for lazy purchases of Treasurys.

5. Dangerous cross-stitching.

6. Reckless policy making.

Have You Ever Felt Alone In A Crowded Donkey Costume?

I never cared before that I was at a loose end. I was content to go through life detached, never imagining there could be a set of front legs out there for me. But now my hands have known the malleable flesh on Jim’s accommodating hips, I can‘t un-know it. He is the polyfoam key to the shaggy lock I never knew I held.

They have called me a gypsy, and the road has been my home. It is only now that I realize that, all this time, the road has been leading me here, to the Ass You Like It Donkey Farm float in the Alamosa County Agriculture Society parade.

As I nestled in under the thick wool rug, with nothing in my sight but Jim’s hairy ankles, I realized I had been walking all my days with blinkers on. In the whir of Jim’s head fan I could hear the pulsing of a longing as old as the earth, and also a muffled gasp from Jim of “It’s nine-tee degrees in here, gotta be, I’ll bet.” The beast in me had stirred.

Inside the costume, we were an impossible pair: A man standing tall, looking out a small mesh window longingly at corndogs, and a man bent forward in an L, knowing the world had shifted on its axis and feeling an uncomfortable amount of pressure behind his retinas. But from the outside, we were a graceful pack animal, melded together for eternity at the withers by a sash for “Smack Dun” livestock feed.  

Watching my costumed longhair feet shuffle along the asphalt, with the crown of my matted head nestled into Jim’s glistening lumbar region, I knew I was alive. And I knew that with every step that my hooves and Jim’s front hooves took, we were one trot closer to a braying end. I held my breath and felt something bigger than both of us: Jim was doing a little horsey dance for the crowd. A hanging wool tendril writhed over my sinuses, filling my eyes with waters of regret, then tickling my nose so that I giggled helplessly, crying and giggling, crying and giggling, lost in a loop of infinite melancholy.

In another two blocks, Jim would lift his head off and carry it under his right arm, offering his face to the sun, while I closed my eyes inside the rug and held on tight, trying to lose myself in the tango forever, taking in a bouquet of cellophane hay as if it were my last breath. I knew that, forever on, there would be a front-quarter-horsehide-shaped hole in my heart. I have never felt so alone as in this crowded donkey costume.

Image source: http://www.davidviers.com/

How to Swaddle a Colicky Hipster: Five Steps

The day you bring home your new hipster is truly special. But you may soon find your hipster suffering from periods of inconsolable crying lasting for hours at a time. Swaddling can help an upset graphic designer sleep for longer periods, or make a social media editor feel more secure in the nighttime.


1. Lay blanket in a diamond shape. Fold top corner down. Place hipster on top.


2. Pull one side of blanket across hipster’s chest. Tuck under opposite arm, leaving beard well exposed so as not to impede breathing.


3. Fold bottom of blanket over high-tops and tuck behind hipster’s waifish shoulder. The swaddle should form a natural v-neck. You can make the V as deep as your hipster likes.


4. Pull remaining side of blanket across the hipster’s chest. Tuck underneath. Your hipster should feel like he is back at Coachella again.


5. Properly swaddled, your cozy and content hipster will cease posting on Vine.


He may even fall asleep.


If your hipster doesn’t respond to swaddling, you may have to just read his damn screenplay.


They ride the subway!

On the 5 train, Sonia Sotomayor is still just “Sonia from the block.”

Justice Elena Kagan is a great person to have in your train car, because if the doors don’t open, ELENA KAGAN WILL OPEN DOORS.

If you see Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg slouched down in her subway seat with her eyes closed, she’s not sleeping, she’s “coming to a decision.”

Justice Antonin Scalia thinks trackwork is bogus, because the system was perfect as originally designed.

Justice Anthony Kennedy will never give up his seat.

Every time the announcer says: “We are delayed because of a signal malfunction ahead of us,” somewhere, Justice Samuel Alito shakes his head and mouths: “Not true.”

When Justice Clarence Thomas sees something on the subway, he says nothing.

*Justices Stephen Breyer and John Roberts abstain from riding the subway.


I Will Learn to Bee-Keep Again

Source: Catwomanflix

Some people are “cat people” or “dog people,” but others of our species require a different kind of companionship. Some crave emotional intimacy at arms-flailing distance. I think it was Milton who once said, If there is a void in your soul, fill it with a starter packet of 11,000 European honeybees.

I made them a home among my DN1 slats the first spring. We fast became one, strolling through the garden together, a man and a man-shaped swarm of bees, hand in hand-shaped bee swarm.

In those long summer afternoons, they would alight on me and me on them, and I felt like a young lad again. A lad in a suit with padded knees and gusseted crotch, gazing at a pulsing constellation of golden thoraxes through a veil and knowing I was alive. Alive and properly gusseted.

One evening, my daughter called across the yard, “Pa, have you been stealing ham steaks from the supermarket again?” But all I heard was “ZZZzzzZZzzzzZzZZZZzzZZZzZZZZZzzZZzZZZzzzzZz” and the unspoken acceptance of all that I am, issuing from my Langstroth.

Many people are afraid of honeybees, but they are docile as a St. Bernard, and as diligent as as a labrador retriever. You must not take a bite to the face personally. It is simply a breed trait. A periodic sting keeps you immune and lets you know that you are not a calcified bachelor numb to life’s experiences. I was in terrible pain after a sting in July, but that was because I stepped on the tines of a rake in my surprise, taking a handle to the face while lodging my other foot in pail of manure. “That’s okay, my sweets.” I sang. “I’m not cross.”

As the days grew shorter, I treated my hive to corn syrup. “Hullo, you’ve been busy,” I whispered, lowering a piece of funnel cake dusted with powdered sugar onto the top bars and giving the cage a pat. “Sssshhh, my queen.”  

Come spring, I beckoned them out into the warm air. The bees spiraled up and out toward the frangipanis and asters, ferrying pollen back to their frames with such gaiety that I couldn’t help but bumble alongside. My daughter was halfway to Bonn by the time I found the polaroid, left on my dresser, framing me and my brood in rapture. Gazing at the picture, I couldn’t tell where the bees stopped and my chin began.

It was a glary May day when I stepped out to the hive with my copper smoker in hand. I lifted the roof with a jaunty “‘Allo ‘all—” and was knocked onto my date by a geyser of 50,000 bodies. “BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ” they went, shooting past me like the Scarborough Flyer. The entire swarm was gone without so much as forming an exclamation mark, or jumbo jet, or arrow to let me know where they were going. That’s life really. One day you are hoping for honey, the next you’re crying facelessly in a plume of smoke.

They were lonely days. One moment I would be laughing into my orange pekoe, the next I would be morosely looping the Bridlington log flume. I would feel a hand-shaped swarm on my shoulder, but turn around and find nothing there. Sometimes having no bee stings hurts the most.

Then came a morning when my daughter walked back through the door to the table where I sat, my crumpet held aloft in one hand, a knife of honeycomb dregs in the other. “Pa,” she said, “are you using your Czerny as a placemat?”

I knew I would learn to bee-keep again.