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Category Archives: General

She Said No But He Followed Her

Posted on by Paul Roth

I just went to the grocery story to get some juice, not to stop a rape, but it feels like the latter is what happened. I was walking out of … Continue reading

On Purpose

Posted on by Paul Roth

These are words about living. They’re words about how I keep going, why I keep going, and where I want to go. It’s important you know those things from the … Continue reading

Let’s Be Shameless

Posted on by Paul Roth

Disclaimer: Not about the film, Shame. I hate shaming. In every flavor I’ve encountered, it’s a form of psychological torture that makes the shamer feel righteous more than it accomplishes anything useful… Continue reading

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Writing…Eventually

Posted on by Paul Roth

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” said John Lennon in his song Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy). Continue reading

To Court, To Date, To Makeout

Posted on by Paul Roth

In the last month, I’ve heard a few women talk about how they aren’t going out on dates any more. One friend wasn’t sure what she wanted… Continue reading

No Dirtier Than Virgin, Slut, or Hello

Posted on by Paul Roth

There are still women who eschew the label of feminist. I get it. I was there two years ago in a post I wrote on this very blog. Before reading … Continue reading

Sucking at Parties

Posted on by Paul Roth

The thing is, I’m socially awkward. I sincerely hope you had no idea this was the case, but it’s very true. There are people I see who can walk into … Continue reading

Confessions of a Multi-Faced Bastard

Posted on by Paul Roth

This isn’t some self-derogating whiny post, actually. I don’t know for a fact that I’m a bastard; it just seems likely… Continue reading

The Humanity of Puppetry; on “Being Elmo”

Posted on by Paul Roth

I got to see this wonderful documentary at Silver Docs this morning. It’s only about Elmo in small part, and if you’re one of the many adults who finds him annoying, that shouldn’t stop you from seeing this film. It seems silly to suggest I’m about to spoil a documentary, but I suppose I should be considerate and say SPOILERS. Continue reading

Brief Thoughts on President Obama’s Inaugural Address

Posted on by Paul Roth

I have never stopped being proud of being a US citizen, but that pride is certainly renewed afresh with this auspicious beginning. I admired the President’s address and applauded many of his points. It is not required that I agree with all of my President’s statements as that is one of my treasured freedoms. Yet if I have any qualms, I am far too happy to be a dissenting voice today.

I congratulate and welcome President Barack Obama!

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2009 Resolution the Last: To Distant Lands

Posted on by Paul Roth

I’ve never been interested in travel. That’s not the same as disliking it, the way I really dislike moving. Travel has just always struck me as a means to a goal rather than a goal in itself. I grew up as a child of the military so would routinely move from one home to another every couple of years. My parents would take me from Korea to Japan to Hawaii to Maryland to Illinois and back. The trips themselves always seemed to get in the way of our purposes, which were generally to visit family.

When I settled into high school and then college in Maryland, I finally stopped moving with my family and was happy to put an end to the traveling, too. On my own, I never went anywhere far from home. With the onset of my dancing career, I started to travel for the purposes of getting to those dance events which were inconsiderate enough not to be in my backyard. What I thought was that everywhere is pretty much the same. People, places, things. Gravity? Yep, still 9.8 meters per second per second. Now, where’s that venue?

It wasn’t until I started dating someone who loves to travel that I slowly began to understand a little bit of the allure. The fact that every place is influenced by its own history and that the history of every place is different from its neighbors. The beauty and uniqueness of each environment. The culture and practices of different peoples. There really are places where the grass is greener, the water is bluer, the horizon is wider, and the sky looks bigger. There are towns where I fit in as if we were designed for each other and there are cities where I would always stand out no matter how still I stood. The weather travels more than any of us and it has its favorite places, too, depending on its mood.

Even in that relationship where my eyes began to open, I still didn’t want to admit the fun of going to a new place and exploring it. It has taken an overlong time for me finally to confess that the world is an amazing place full of astonishments and that all I need to witness more of those surprises is to stand on a different patch of land.

Two years ago, I started to enjoy traveling for its own sake and went on trips just to go on the trips! Last year, I let go of the last of my reluctance and began to embrace every bit of it. I liked the driving, I liked the flying, I liked the getting lost and the getting found, I liked encountering the people who spoke differently and ate differently and thought differently. I sang along with the Discovery Channel commercials that declaimed Boom De Ah Dah, the world is just awesome!

I would like to go to England and Canada and Australia and Japan and the various tropical islands where people play in clear sweet waters. I’m sad to say, though, that I am a little stuck. I have become estranged from my sister and mother and I think that my birth certificate and most recent passport were last in my mother’s possession. I have a driver’s license and social security card, but no way to prove… well, that I was born. My physical existence notwithstanding, I’m at a bit of a loss as to how I can show that I exist and thereafter how to get a passport as a U.S. citizen. My friend, Soo, has given me some ideas and so I will try to see if I can get a passport this year despite the odds. I hope that I am not deported in the process. Damn my slanty eyes!

Even if I don’t get a passport, I’m going to stay open to the opportunity of travel. If I see a cheap flight to Boston or somewhere in Florida, I’m going to try to go! Las Vegas, Seattle, anywhere in California? Yes, please! And if there is ever a last-minute cheap flight to Hawaii, I am so there. Hmm, I need to find a dogsitter. Or make friends with a pilot who likes flying with dogs. Oh, man, that would be great!

Thus, I resolve to travel to places this year not just because a dance event is happening there (although I am looking forward to New Orleans for Showdown!), but just because I haven’t been there yet. To give myself two quick guidelines: if I can drive there in less than four hours, it doesn’t count; if it’s specifically for a dance event, it doesn’t count. I’ll start small and aim for just one completely new place before the end of the year! And if I manage one, I’ll shoot for a second. And if I manage two, well, you can see where this is going. This resolution will go hand-in-hand with my fourth resolution and I will try not to let a lack of a clear plan prevent me from moving toward that new destination.

It’s taken me a while to admit it but the world really is awesome, and I want to see more of it. Here I come!

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Excerpt from the Book

Posted on by Paul Roth

It was a snowy day in Maryland. The rarity of snowy days wasn’t from lack of cold or lack of precipitation so much as from lack of kindness by The Weather. There were plenty enough rainy days, foggy days, drizzling days, hailing days, sleeting days, icy days, and far more gray days than one would think from the local meteorologists’ sunny dispositions. But it seemed to Alan as though there were hardly ever any days when he would just wake up and look outside at serenely blanketed ivory landscapes. Today was one of those rare days and he could not wait to lose his milky dog in the drifts.

Alan climbed, ran, fell out of bed and dressed as quickly as he could. Chalk lifted her head at the noise and then uncurled herself from the corner of her crate to emit a slow yawn as she stepped delicately out onto the wood floor as if fearing its cold support.

Alan jogged into the kitchen to grab a quick glass of orange juice before his chilly adventure. Chalk plodded slowly behind her owner down the hallway and stopped once she could see his reddening face gulping at a glass. She sat down, yawned again, and tilted her head at this unusually active creature before her.

Alan rinsed out the glass, stuck it into his dishwasher, and attempted to slam the device closed. Perversely, it bounced open again. He tried harder and faster for a couple of repetitions as the dishwasher’s door just kept bouncing back open more and more forcefully. Chalk stood up and slowly wagged her tail, indicating a willingness to help offset by a lack of understanding about what the big deal was.

Alan took a deep breath and closed the dishwasher slowly and carefully, this time with success. Chalk sat back down. Alan moved quickly to the coat closet and took out his big orange winter coat that Maggie called “The Traffic Cone”. Maybe she was calling him The Traffic Cone when he wore it? As Alan put it on, Chalk stood up and began to wag her tail in earnest. She recognized that coat! That was the coat that meant she was going to play in the cold, wet, fluffy blankets! Should she stay here? Should she run to the door?

Alan managed to coordinate putting on his coat and walking to his door simultaneously, though not without minor injury along the way from the coffee table. He was going to ice it in just a minute. Well, snow it. With his shoes on and his coat zipped and one glove on and the other glove in a pocket and a leash in his hands, Alan called, “Here, Chalkie!” and instantly realized he’d made a mistake. Chalk’s ears stood up as straight as they could as she heard her name and then, responding to the agitated high pitch of his call, proceeded to react appropriately. A hurried dash, a great lunge, and a successful pounce completed with a tangle on the floor. This was almost as much fun as the wet blankets.

Reminding himself that this was his own fault, Alan struggled to keep his voice calm as he said, “Good girl, Chalk, that’s just what I meant. Now, let me get up so we can try again.”

Having a dog as large as Chalk was convenient for many reasons. This time, she made a decent support structure as Alan steadied a hand on her back to help him get up off the ground and stand once more. He patted his dog on her head and said, “Thanks.” He tried again, this time calmly starting off by directing his dog to sit (which she did) and then connecting her leash to her collar and directing her to wait for him to open the door (which she did). Alan walked out onto the small cement landing outside his door and, holding the door open, called for Chalk to join him (which she did). A moment to make sure he had his keys and lock up and then they were off on their adventure.

There was a grassy hill beside his house that ran up to an open space behind a neighboring apartment complex. The open space bordered some woods where one could often spot deer along the edge or foxes running across. That seemed an ideal place to enjoy this winter wonderland. First, a quick walk around his neighborhood to take care of business in their usual, regulated fashion. Then as they completed the circuit, instead of going back inside, Alan started sprinting up the hillside he had targeted with a shouted, “Chalkie, release!” Chalk ran with abandon.

Happy, wet, cold, warm, silly, messy chaos erupted as man and dog derived enormous pleasure from painting an abstract expressionist tribute to Jackson Pollock behind several quiet buildings. The medium may have been the message or the message just may have been “Hooray!” The art went on for almost an hour.

At last, Chalk seemed to have tired of picking up snowballs with her teeth and Alan had grown tired of picking out clumps of snow from his pants, and they began their heroes’ journey home. Upon reaching the top of the hillside together, they both paused and looked down the now very steep slope to their goal and their house.

“I may not have thought this through all the way,” admitted Alan aloud.

“Huff, huff,” was Chalk’s considered response.

“That’s easy for you to say,” continued Alan. “You have four legs and could probably get down this much more easily than I can.” He paused. “Come to think of it….”

Alan made sure the leash was fastened to the immobile ring on Chalk’s collar rather than the slip-tight ring and then told his dog to Stay. Her continued huffing appeared to be in agreement. Then her master, pleased with his own cleverness, began to edge down the hill while releasing small increments of the leash. At ninety-seven pounds of mostly muscle, Chalk’s only visible response to the additional weight on her leash was to lean back from the crest of the hill. Here was a newly discovered convenience.

Quite tickled, Alan said, mostly to himself, “Good anchor, good anchor!”

As he reached the end of the four foot long leash and grasped the handle carefully, Alan could see that there was still probably another fifteen feet or so before the slope of the hill curved sharply to an end. He quietly and carefully called up to his dog.

“Okay, Chalk, now slowly… Slowly… Come… Slowly…”

Chalk edged forward a bit and looked down at her master. And then stopped.

“No, it’s okay, just do it slowly… Come on, Chalkie—oh, crap!”

As soon as she heard her master tell her to come, Chalk followed orders and began to walk down the hill. As soon as she started moving, though, she slipped just a little and responded by picking up speed. This cycle of slipping and speeding rapidly continued to increase in magnitude as Chalk actually slipped and ran and slipped and ran down the hill, passing Alan in the blink of an eye.

“Bad anchor! Bad anchor!” called out Alan as his precarious perch was entirely lost. He was quickly pulled forward past his center of gravity and then onto his chest and face which served as the runners for his impromptu body-sledding down the hill behind his great big sled dog.

For her part, Chalk had continued her run down to where the ground was level beneath her before slowing to a stop and seemed quite pleased with herself for not falling. Ever the compassionate companion, when Alan finally did slide to a halt behind her, she trotted back to her master and affectionately licked the back of his head.

Alan lifted his head up to spit out some combination of what he hoped was just snow, mud, and grass. “Bad anchor,” he repeated quietly once more before collapsing back into his face-down resting place.

Chalk sat down to wait.

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Traveblogue: ULHS 2008, POSTSCRIPT

Posted on by Paul Roth

I purposely attempted to keep my daily entries in my Traveblogue upbeat and positive, but I did have some thoughts cross my mind that were not quite positive.  If you’d … Continue reading

Traveblogue: ULHS 2008, the second part

Posted on by Paul Roth

It was very sad getting up and out the door this morning without spending time with Dru (my dog) first, but I’m sure she’s happy at the Preston Country Club … Continue reading

On Heroes, as Volume 3 begins . . .

Posted on by Paul Roth

I’m so wired after I finished watching the beginning of Heroes, Volume 3 (the Television series) that here I am blogging about it.  The remarkable characteristic of Heroes is that … Continue reading

Did my dog have a stroke?

Posted on by Paul Roth

Last Wednesday, I realized I had owned my dog, Dru, for four years to the day. Then Friday night, August 29th, 2008, as I was playing with Dru, I held … Continue reading

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