Minkey Business

"Over the cage floor the horizons come."

Category: Off the Cuff

Barbie for grown men

I get guns. I really do. I don’t own any, and don’t plan to, but I find them fascinating as objects. Growing up, my brother and I had a .22 air rifle, and it was one of our favourite possessions. Once in a while I handle a friend’s handgun or go clay shooting, and I […]

Who needs a modernised typewriter?

A few years ago my mother sent me a link to a product called the Hemingwrite. It was a distraction-free word processor, or if you like, a modernised typewriter. It had a small screen, a high-quality keyboard, solid aluminium casework, and could do little else beyond accept your words with a series of satisfying clicks […]

The art of the two-person monologue

After a long break from social media (essentially Facebook) I’m back, but on Instagram. The photo sharing site feels more manageable than Facebook, though a few of my interactions give me unpleasant flashbacks. Let’s take Thomas. On social media (and on the phone and in person) Thomas has a clever-clever response to everything. It annoyed […]

Don’t run over anyone in 2018

The sound a car makes when it crashes into a human being is a loud bang—making you think at first it’s a car-on-car collision—but with an edge of meaty wetness that makes you realise something is very very wrong. There was a musician outside the Target that that evening, as I waited with our dogs […]

When desert winds blow

You’ve no doubt seen the news about the terrible fires in Southern California, some of them still burning. The Thomas fire is on its way to destroying 300,000 acres. As you may have read, they have been fuelled by a bad bout of the Santa Ana winds, a Southern California weather phenomenon that isn’t talked […]

Hydraulically raising low art to high art

One recent morning, as we drove past the local tyre shop here in Azusa, California, we saw the entire road outside taken up with immaculate chrome, bright paint, and vintage and classic car body shapes. It was a “lowrider” festival, and we stopped to marvel at some of the most beautiful 1950s, 60s, and 70s […]

Honesty is the best police?

When I was in junior school, we’d be assigned “cursive writing” practice. The exercise books had short sentences printed in a flowing font, with sets of blank lines below, like a music staff. We’d have to trace the sentences out four or five times in our “neatest handwriting”. We’d sit on long afternoons, a room […]

Disaster protection that fits under your bed!

Let me tell you about a “2017 Holiday Catalog” that appeared in our mailbox one recent morning. Living as we do, about five hours from two recent disasters (the shooting in Vegas, and the wildfires in Santa Rosa), the timing of this delivery was even more weighted than it would have been in this, as […]

A race experience

“Anyone want any Miami Dolphins merchandise? I have houseful of the stuff to give away.” I know nothing about sports, so assumed our instructor’s favourite team had just lost a game. “Do you understand what happened? I don’t. I’m giving it all away—its going for free.” Someone in the otherwise silent room laughed and said, […]

A Rottweiler rescue

The kennels of the Rottweiler rescue are in an industrial section of a town in the northern valleys of the Greater Los Angeles Area. Peeping over the trees in the area where you meet the dogs, is a line of car seats sitting high up in the automobile junkyard next door. A couple of doors […]