Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ohio - Post Script

I have typed many words describing the drama, the comedy, and the hum drum of my first trip anywhere on an airplane since the mid 1990's.  There is a rather detailed and slightly twisted travel log wasting away in the draft section of this blog. .......................

After re-reading the blow by blow, I decided that posting it as it was would be akin to making the neighbors sit through all 300 slides of Jack, Diane and the kids having the time of their lives in the Disney-Six Flags- Harry Potter Universe.  Jack and Diane and the kids have seen all 300 slides five times before and they still can't wait to run through them again. The neighbors lassoed into sitting in uncomfortable chairs and smiling while tossing in the occasioanal Ooh or Aah  just to be polite.  They would rather have a pick stuck in their eye, .....  but hey,  what the Hell, Jack 's pouring drinks and Diane's keepin the chip bowl filled....................

Friday, October 10, 2014


Up until 6:00 AM yesterday morning, I had successfully avoided setting foot on an airplane of any kind since 1996 when I flew out to the Left Coast to deal with the death of my mother.  I was not and still am not afraid of flying.  I just hate the whole process.  A childhood spent logging untold passenger hours in the belly of an Air Force C-47, the Goony Bird, soured me early on the magic of flight.

Flying has always been a hassle, but I guess now, with all the stepped up security, sardine seating, and bags of peanuts that yield single digit numbers, Flying has entered a totally new dimension of travel Hell.  For the last decade I have listened to the horror stories.  Outwardly, I appeared sympathetic and full of "Gee that sucks" comments and all the while really thinking, "Better you than me".

I was beginning to believe I was going to hit the grave without having to fly ever again.  Right.......  As soon as my daughter found a job teaching at Xavier University in Cincinnati, my wife hatched plans to visit.  Being the dumass husband I am, I innocently agreed that we should head south as soon as we both could spare some time.  Little did I know, my darling significant other was scheming to make me take this trip via the friendly skies with some low cost, buy way ahead plane tickets from the masters of cattle car flying, Southwest Airlines.  Any dreams of reliving my truckin glory days with a spin on the super-slabs of America's Heartland were crushed before I could even begin wet dreaming them.

So yesterday at 3:35 AM, my wife and I climbed in the Ford Ranger and headed to the Manchester Airport to catch that cheap flight leaving for Cincinnati at 6:00 AM.

I have lived most of my life since my truckin days in my own time zone I call Crum Time.  As I hit Sam Page road at the end of the drive, I said, "Well, we seem to be gettin an early start."  BA just looked at me with that "you asshole" stare.  

"What?......... Look it's 3:30.......... "  The "you asshole" stare continued.  "Hey now, if we were on Crum Time we'd have 15 more minutes to start out late."  In my mind we were on time, even a tad early for my tastes.

"It's 3:35."

I didn't hear her.  I should have left well enough alone.  Instead I said, "What? I didn't hear you."

Louder now. "It is 3 fuckin thirty five.  I don't consider that early or even close to on time.  But I'm used to it now........... Just drive."

Oops.  Never tease a grumpy bear.

More to come...........................

PS - I am using an old laptop my wife gave me.  I has no mouse, just a swipe spot.  Between that and the new configuration the existing program displays, I have yet learned how to include images.  I had a good one, but well, better to publish now than lose the moment.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Marking My Territory

As much trouble as it was to get hooked up to the inter webs tonight, once I plugged in, I felt an obligation to put pen to paper.  I need not say anything important or profound.  Just waste some bandwidth leaving a blaze out there in the WWW Wilderness.  Akin to to lifting my leg and marking this back wash of the "Net as mine................ not yours, not his, not even her's. .....................

Of course I could have done this with a tweet, an email, or an Internet Fax.  Tweeting I don't get.  Email's are so 1990's, and well, Faxes date back to at least the 80's, pre Grunge. ............... At my old shop I remember that big honking Fax machine that used to on occasion go manic and print out a ream of faxes in one night.  ........... Learned to hate that fuckin machine.  Kinda soured me on the whole Fax thing......... SO it's the BoZone or nothing.

I was listening to 'The Blimp", our classic rock station.  Seems there was a contest. Frickin Rock Stations always seem to be putting on some "be the 4th caller" trivia, name that tune from one word challenges.  Anyway, some lucky young listener won a real vinyl copy of some classic rock album.

"Hmm" ........... I thought.  "A vinyl record?" ............ I  smiled, .........  "Poor bastard.  Glad I missed out."

Like Twitter, I don't get the fascination with playing vinyl records.  Grew up playing 45 records on my Donald Duck record player.  Moved up the Audiphile ladder to own some of the nicest stereo equipment out at the time.  And even though I learned to treat records gently,  damn vinyl never stays pristine unless you don't lay a needle on it.

Give me the digital renditions.  Clean, precise, no snap crackle and pop.

I had hopes that while I was wasting bandwidth with meaningless dribble, I would have a mild epiphany and actually say something worth reading.  Apparently I was wrong.

Later ........................................................

Monday, September 29, 2014


It all began when I was trying to create an email to a sales rep.  A bike biz related communication with questions about some of the products this sales rep, uh .. well, ... repped. I was just getting started.  The introduction line explained in very general and obtuse ways what I was after.  I followed that with contact information, shop phone number and for the first time, I was going to share my personal cell phone number for bike biz purposes.

I realized as soon as I got past typing the area code, "207", I had nary a clue or even an inking of what my cell number was.  As I was not sure where I could find my cell phone number, on the phone or elsewhere, I gave it my best shot anyway.  I typed the next three numbers I thought of - "659" and then stopped.  I remembered I had wisely written my cell phone number on a piece of masking tape and stuck it to the back of said cell phone.  Now, all I had to do was locate my cell phone.

This all happened a few hours ago............ I stopped typing and went looking for my cell phone.  But like a child with serious ADHD leanings, I spotted one chore needing some attending to and when that was done, something else sparkled and drew me away from my original mission, finding my cell phone.  Enough time had passed that any notion of finding my cell phone had long ago exited the premises.  I only remembered the bike biz email when I came back into the office to make sure the computer was shut down.

The circle remains unbroken.  The circle my life has been as long as I can remember.  Leaving one task unfinished and then another, and another has been part and parcel of my character from the time I began to wear out real pants.  The words  "focus Mike, focus", pounded hard into my brain from an early age.  I know what the word means, I guess I just don't care to focus on it.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Mine Resistance

I recently was forced to upgrade the PC I use down to the bike shop.  New tower with all kinds of gigs, migs and cigs and almost the latest software from the jerks in Washington State.  Went with Windows 7 because well, that's what my wife told I was going with.  She's the boss.

I have yet to upgrade to the newer and supposedly better Windows 7 here at home, but I can see it coming. This old Acer is gimping along, but just barely.   Just about the time I feel comfortable with XP, now I have to dick around with new screens, icons, setups - dammitt.

Both Acer computers were at least 10 years old and had been upgraded, fixed, barely convinced to keep me connected to my business, my  relatives and of course you.  ........... It pisses me off that the computer makers and shakers build in such a short shelf life into their equipment.  Dammitt, spend a grand on a piece of equipment and by jeezuz it should last longer than 10 frickin years................

Anyway and before I get off on a tear and begin to rant about the planned obsolescence insidiously entwined into every aspect of our modern culture, I will just say that  I am immune to the "you gotta have it" pressures to upgrade.  The only pressure that works on me is when what I have quits.  Then I upgrade.

The militarization of the civilian police departments throughout this country bothers me tremendously.  Seems every chief of police wants what the military has.  Bigger bad ass intimidating weapons, storm trooper outfits and the obligatory polished black combat boots, trousers neatly tucked in the tops.  And jeezum, look at the damn vehicles that are showing up in back water burgs like Sanford, Maine.  Sanford is just down the road.  They roll the damn sidewalks up at dark.  Why the Hell do they need an assault vehicle with a gun turret on top?  Guess it's latest hip new thing in law enforcement.

They are called "Mine-resistant, ambush protected" vehicles or MRAP's  if you are inclined to use the hip police jargon.  These 13 ton behemouths are designed to be run by a crew of two with space in the belly of the beast for up to 8 bad ass gun totin cops ready and willin to jump into harm's way. .............

Hmm.  .......... Mine resistant?............... Ambush Protected??? ................  in Sanford, Maine????

You all have a super weekend.  Me, well, I'm gonna buy some bullets, Slim Jims, and a few cases of Gator Ade and hide in my basement.  Seems the local cops know something I don't.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Shot Glass

Okay.............................. Five years ago I had one lonely bottle of good sour mash aging in the cool depths of the lower cabinet in the front of the kitchen.  A quart of Rebel Yell I had purchased sometime back in the late 1980s.  It sat there, dust accumulating  on it's horizontal surfaces thick enough to hide the amber gold trapped within its glass walls.

Fast forward through and past the celebrations of the next millennium.  Zoom past the anger and pain of 9/11 and sometime around 2009 I found that bottle of Rebel Yell cooling its heels in the dark depths of the lower cabinet in the front of the kitchen ........ .................................. I had not allowed Demon Rum to pass my lips in at least 15 years, maybe 20........ Shit I dunno, it was a long time.

I pulled that bottle of Rebel Yell out of the lower cabinet in the front of the kitchen.  Tried to blow the dust off, but it laughed at me.  "  Bud, get an ice scraper fool, we be chillin long time."

So I got a rag, wet it down and wiped the dust off that quart of Rebel Yell, marveling at my good fortune, and savoring this gift from my well checkered past.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Another Day on the Planet

Two of my all time favorite Hollywood folks passed.  I fell in love with Lauren when I was a wee tacker.  It took "Good Morning Viet Nam" to show me the wacky brilliance that existed in Robin's mind............ I will miss them, but not their work.  It is forever captured on film for all of us to enjoy............ R.I.P.  Robin and Lauren.

Which brings me to "the Black Dog" as Winston Churchill called his episodes of Depression.  I suffer from Depression also.  It did not come on until I was fifty or so.  I refuse to ingest the chemical fixes pushed by the Healthcare Industry racket.  And while I have not found a cure, I am now able to identify the early symptoms of an upcoming visit to the pit.  Because of that, I have been able to control it to a degree I can live with.

What I cannot control are the reactions to my depression from the folks I interact with on a daily basis.  There is little sympathy or understanding.  Most if not all go automatic and tell me I need to see a doctor............ Fuck that.  I believe it was medicine I was prescribed in 2001 that turned mild depression into the nasty Hell I fall into now.  They can take their medicine and shove it ............. Americans place too much confidence in the AMA and their masters, the pharmaceutical industry.  I have had much better luck self prescribing.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

My Grounded Brother

It seems the noise from the Right is no longer focusing on specific issues they feel Obama has blown, screwed up, mismanaged, or just exhibited treasonous behavior sacrificing all that is near and dear to our collective hearts.  Apparently the rally, get em fired up dribble from the leadership of the Right, and not so bright boot-lickers of the GOP and their new masters, the Teabagging wackoes who work for the Koch Machine is now aimed at Impeachment.  They figure no matter what he has done or not done, whatever it is, it is probably an impeachable offense. That traitor has been illegally residing in our nations most sacred house these past seven years or so and playing us for fools and pissing all over our sacred Constitution.  The man is the most useless and evil President we have ever had.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Proud Dad Bullshit

Not sure why it took me so long to brag and puff out my chest here in the blogosphere.

No. I am puzzled why I did not rush here to post obnoxious Proud Dad bullshit..........  No really.  The BoZone was the perfect vehicle to ramble on and on about how my kid is now Dr Lis.  ........  Hmm.

Maybe it was the anticlimactic nature of it all.  Maybe I was just immune to more graduations, thesis panic, and the whining about how much of a bitch it is getting a PHD.......................

..........................  Truth be told, I have had nothing in the tank when I have the time to sit here and post.  Christ, it feels like when I was twenty something and burning my candles at every end they had.  The shop, the House, the riding, and of course my darling wife.  They all seem to suck more of my time than they used to.  Or is it that at 62,  I have to dedicate more time to get things done than I used to...................  don't know, don't care.  Life moves at whatever pace suits it.  Just know I'm tired and ready to pass out shortly after sundown most nights.

My little girl knew what she wanted to do when she was a sophomore in High School.  Holly, the AT (Athletic Trainer) at Berwick Academy, was Lis' inspiration.  A card carrying over achiever, Lis put her head down and got to work.  14 years later and she just signed up with Xavier University in the Queen City to pass on all that she has learned to the next generation of wannabe AT's.

I would love to take credit.  It would be nice to claim I was responsible for her success.  Can't do it.  It's all on her.  I just watched and offered the occasional shoulder to cry on.

Gotta respect a person who sets goals and no matter how long it takes, they reach them.  If they happen to be a daughter, son, or just the kid you helped get through some tough patch..................... well, step up Dad, Mom, Auntie Bee, Grandma Moses and even you Pa Kettle, be proud, be satisified that even if you didn't do much, you didn't get in the way .

Keep it 'tween the ditches.................................

Friday, July 18, 2014

Chill Dude, We be Vegging

The local saying used to be "Shake a tree in Acton and 10 nail bangers would fall out".  That may still be true if one shakes the right tree, but I think the wood butchers need to make room for the Pot Farmers.    Pick a tree to shake now days and you are likely to hear 10 Pot farmers whine about their vibe being rudely disrupted, comments on disappearing Chi, or just that all that branch disruption is upsetting their day.  Some will even insist their whole Life's Cart is about to turn over.  Or...... a Doob will fall out of the tree tied to a note that says, "Chill Dude, We be Vegging".

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

As a rule I have a low opinion of  the contrived celebrations of  human situations that come naturally to the species.  Father's Day is a perfect example.  As soon as I had a kid, every day from that day forward was Father's Day.  As long as I live or my kid does, I am a Father, the ole man, her pain in her ass, always there to kick her in the ass or pick her up off of it.

I have had it easy.  My struggles as a father have been nothing compared to the nightmares some folks have gone through.  Truth be told, my kid was more mature at age eight than I am now at age 62.  She needed little discipline, just some support and the occasional shoulder to cry on.

I have been lucky and I know it.  I deserved worse.  I deserved a child who would put me through the ringer with fights at school, substance abuse and general mayhem and rebellion.  Apparently the committee in charge of  assigning kids to the happy couples blew it.  Somewhere out there is a Father who lived righteously and he is cursed with the wild child I should have had.  I sit here happy with their mistake and pleased my kid is now a solid citizen about to engage in a career as a college professor.................

........................  Life is definitely not fair.........  Sometimes it leans your way and sometimes it doesn't.

Friday, June 06, 2014

The Spirits Have Control - The Last Worthy War

I decided to celebrate the 70th anniversary of D - Day.

I decided to recognize the last time our country invaded another country with a damn good reason and not some weaked-Knee jerk-off excuse conjured up by the current fools who control invasions, meddling with and otherwise screwing with the inner machinations of other countries.

D - Day was an invasion that made sense.  D-Day was an invasion that actually had a direct effect on our security and the Mom, Pop and Apple Pie way of Life we were simmering on the our collective cook stoves.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Damn That Frackin* Groundhog

Okay, okay.  Yeah I live in Maine.  Vacationland.  The Pine Tree State.  Life in the Slow Lane.  Home to rugged wide hipped women, crusty lobstermen and manly lumberjacks sporting Paul Bunyan beards.  The state color is hunter orange.  The state hat, any chapeau with a John Deere or Patriots logo on it.

I should be used to harsh winter conditions.  And I am, but at some point every winter even the hardest of the hardcore local yokel gets fed up with the cold.  It gets old to try to look over or around snow banks taller than the flashing yellow light on a'53 Chevy plow truck.  And don't even start a conversation about the idiots who won't clean their car roofs off before they head out to the Maine Mall.  At some point every Mainer is ready to lose those red long johns and wear their short sleeves again.

For the most part Mainers seem to welcome the first couple of snows in late Fall.   A  December and January with decent snow cover is expected.  But come January Thaw and the temps jump into the 40s, we expect the climate to start calming down, down shifting into Mud Season.   A few last gasps of the white crap is okay in Feburary and even March.

We like our winter spread out evenly if possible.  When the storms stack up one right after the other and it gets harder to look out the windows,  even the gnarliest native can develop a nervous tic under one eye when they hear Kevin Mannix on Channel 6 utter the word "snow".  Yeah, Mainers can get grumpy when it seems the snow will never end.

Here in Acton, I suppose we are around 70 inches so far this season.  Not a record breaker, but it came down in 6" to 12" increments.  Seems like the last month, I've been either preparing to blow snow, blowing snow, or I just finished blowing snow.

I feel the grumps sneaking up on me.  Another 8" is on the ground and it's still coming down at better than a 2" per hour clip.  I blew out the ends of the drive so tomorrow's clean up would be less stressful for the blower.  I noticed the town plows had not been by recently.  Sure sign even the snow plow guys are getting tired.  Snow budgets are almost gone, no snow days left,  and the salt barn is close to empty.

And guess what?  More snow in the forecast.  Just Excellent.....
..... Damn that frackin* ground hog.


* A tip of my hat to a SciFi series I came to really enjoy.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Angry Internet Persona

After such a long absence and an even longer neglect of the nuts and bolts of my blog, e.g, listed blog rolls, websites, etc., I decided to purge the ones abandoned by their previous owners, sift out the sites that had been closed. locked up and key tossed.  It was time to clean up my act.  Not a complete make over, but at least sweep the floor and dust the shelves.
I started with my main page and the various sites and blogs I have listed for you my audience.  Truth be told, I know I use them more than anyone else.  It is easier than finding them in my cluttered blog file in the bookmarks section buried deep in the gulliwots of my 'puter.

I deleted some, but found it hard to lose some also.  "They might post again", I thought.  "I always enjoyed reading his/her thoughts."  So I left many on the page alone like a lover leaving the back door open hoping the light of their life returns.  Hmm... Well I did not actually look at it that way when I did it.  I just thought of it that way now and felt the need to draw the example that had briefly rested for a moment, long enough to remember it had been by.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

5:00 AM

It is Five O'clock in the A.M.  Been up now I guess a couple of hours.  Never suffered insomnia much until about ten years ago.  Drove me crazy at first.  Lose sleep three or four nights in a row, and that next day can become some kind of surreal trip through Reality.  Like Tripping without the good rushes.

Friday, February 14, 2014

55 Words - The Fisher

Saw a Fisher nosing around my dooryard yesterday.
Not a large one, maybe a female or young male.
Looked healthy, it's beautiful coat puffed up against the cold.
Obviously on familiar ground, it checked the woodpile, the shed, the perimeter of the house.
I wondered why I had not seen one in over a decade.

I wrote this to participate in a flash writing hoe-down that happens every Friday over to Mr. KnowItAll.  It's called Friday Flash 55.  Most of the entries seem to be of the verse type.  I like sentences, so I used 5 of them.  I like Flash writing.  It is tougher than it looks.

The image was taken by Daniel J Cox.  I hope he does not mind me borrowing it, poaching it, using it.  I would offer a link, but when I punched the image on google, I was sent to Daily Kos.  Odd that a Fisher image would be linked to a commie web site.  But there it is.

Some Fisher facts.
Though not big, these guys are bad ass.  They are omnivores and will eat just about anything.  They are one of the few predators that can take out porcupines unscathed.  They spend most of their time on the ground, but climbing trees is a cinch.  They are fast enough and agile enough to chase down squirrels up there in the canopy.  Do not mess with one.  Steer clear.


Thursday, February 13, 2014


My friend Prester John over to "Goober Joes" taught me something yesterday.  The NFL, that is the National Football League, is considered a non- profit organization by the IRS.  That means they pay no taxes on the huge profits they make every year.

Let that sink in a moment.......................................................

The league's fingers are in enough pies, they bring in over $9 billion dollars per year.  Of that $9 Billion, $180 million goes to the league offices directly.  The rest is dispersed among the 32 teams and they do pay taxes on that.  But, $180 million tax free?  The head honcho puts $29 million a year in his pocket.

Now let that sink in for another moment.............................

Two Senators, one a Republican and one an Independent from my state have proposed a bill to end the NFL's tax free status.

Two things are happening here.  First and foremost, a small bit of bipartisanship is poking up above the bitter partisan landscape.  And second, tax free status as an abused loophole is shoved into the light of day.

Of course, being some kind of sacred cow, I am guessing the NFL will emerge unscathed.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lost Common Ground

I promised myself I would not dip my toes into the political opinion arena anymore.  All it ever got me was increased blood pressure and an uncomfortable tightening of the sphincter in my ass.  That is one major reason I stopped blogging for so long.  But we are who we are and to deny to ourselves who we are can have similar negative effects.

I have been back online now for about a month I guess.  I have fallen back into old routines.  I try to write every day now.  I visit old friends' blogs and attempt to visit new ones.  Unfortunately like before, I am drawn to blogs with balls.  That is, blogs that have opinions with no apologies.  I do not have to agree, but I do respect folks who are not wishy-washy.

Since I have been back and touring the poli-opinion landscape as seen from both the Right and the Left, I have been impressed by how much more divided the two are now than they were even a year ago.  It seems the chasm has grown so wide, the two will never come together.  It has gotten to the point when one proposes something, the other does not even look at it, they just oppose it because it was born on the wrong side of the fence.  I have gotten on board myself with my total disgust with the Right.

Finding common ground on anything seems impossible.  Yet, that is exactly what we have to do.  Bury the big differences for awhile and attend to areas where agreement is possible.  I am afraid though we aren't quite ready yet.

It will come.  It always does.  Our country has been like this many times in the past and we worked through it.  Life is a cycle, so is the world politic.

Keep it 'tween the ditches..............................................

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Crime and Punishment

Not sure what jogged my memory onto the idea of integrity, honesty and my days at military school in the 1960s.  Something did and who the Hell cares what it was............Of course it will drive me slightly bonkers if I don't remember what set this up.

I cannot speak to the rules and regs that ran other military schools.  I assume most if not all had an honor code.  Break any one of the high ideals set forth in said honor code and there would be consequences.

The problem with Honor Codes, at least in my case, is that once accused, there was no recourse, reprieve, retrial.  I felt I had been found guilty without even the chance to speak for myself.  It happened my junior year and it was not until the day before I graduated over a year later that I found vindication.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Doo Wop Cops

I had every intention of  writing a post about my favorite new music group, the Russian Police Choir.  Their rendition of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" at the opening Olympic ceremonies in Sochi was hilarious.  I was going to pass on the YouTube video.  Of course, my plan was ruined by corporate greed.  EMI Music has blocked the video based on "copyright" concerns.

A year or two ago, this would have been enough to set me off on a 1000 word tirade about the over the top greed of American business and the assholes who run the companies.   The tirade would have gotten off message quickly and then the post would be all about how the Right is ruining our country.

Now that I have relocated my center again, I just stepped away from the 'puter, poured another cup of coffee, and took some deep breaths while repeating Mr. Natural's good advice, "Keep your sunny side up".

It is easier to let things make me mad than to let them go.  I am not sure when this became part of my persona.  I am guessing it is one more sign that I am getting older.  I suffer fools and dickwads  with less tolerance than I used to.  I have to constantly remind myself that I do not have to suffer them as long as I ignore them.

So EMI, you go ahead and protect your corporate profits by blocking a YouTube video of a cop choir singing one of the songs you consider yours.  I don't even like the song.  Just more Pop Music garbage.