Monday, October 27, 2008

Vote for Change or Continue the Hate?

I need to be locked up for the next 8 days. Away from TVs, radios, Internet surfing, and protected from any visage of signs proclaiming, "Elect Me, I am better". There is no way to say it is official, but should a doctor of many letters review my case, I am sure the diagnosis would be-

"This patient is manifesting signs of intense mania. Temporary seclusion and monitoring is strongly recommended."

When I started this blog, it was partially to get away from the intense hate and discontent of the political forums I used to hang in. My blog, I told myself, was to be a tropical resort free from political poison. I managed to keep it politics free for a couple of years. And then, like a drunk waking up in someones wine cellar, the Presidential Election has lured me back to the bottle.

I am indeed becoming angrier and angrier.

Of course I have no one to blame but myself and maybe Demeur. He turned me onto a recent letter from the Christian group "Focus on the Family Action" . They have written and circulated a letter entitled, "Letter from 2012 in Obama's America".

How it boils down - doom and gloom predictions of what will happen if we elect Obama. Christian fear mongering of a magnitude only extreme religious folk could come up with. Never mind that they are attempting to instill fear of a possible future not a future fact, it is as if they wish and hope it will play out this way. If only so they can sit content looking down their self righteous noses at us poor heathens and shake their fingers at us. "We told you so".

I'd get into specifics, but the letter is there to read and I won't bore you with the predictable analysis. Just say that should Obama get elected, Christianity will cease to exist in this country as we know it. Obama and the evil Democrats will make sure that gays will legally be able to run amok and ruin all the institutions held near dear to any decent Christian. Abortions will be available to anyone under the age of 3 and preaching God's word will be illegal outside the narrow confines of Sundays between the hours of 10 to Noon.

Okay, it is not that bad and I am embellishing the facts of the letter. But keeping in the spirit of the outrageous claims of the letter, I figured I would interpret as I imagined the letter would be taken by the faithful.

Never mind that Obama is a dedicated Christian. His faith is not something he has just picked up recently to worm his way into the hearts of those who believe. The letter takes care of this little snafu by indicating there are Good Christians and Bad Christians. As good as Obama may have started out with his strong faith, he is lost now because he is a Democrat. Folks, this letter exemplifies why we should never allow religion into our government.

What is it with this proclivity of many folks on the Right to be such complete insensitive assholes by pigeonholing everyone into "If you are with us, you are Good and True. If you are against us, you are Bad and most likely really Evil." This no grey zone mentality of the Right is in my opinion their biggest weakness. Come on. Most of us are not so stupid to think the character of a person is so clear cut. I will admit that many on the Left have the same tendency, but nowhere near to the degree it has surfaced on the Right. The Right has won the battle to own intolerance this election.

People like me who enthusiastically wander from one side to the other as the situation warrants have been turned off by the recent circling of the wagons by the Republicans. There was no need to do this. Had a more reasonable issue focused campaign been waged, the middle would still be more of a battle ground. Instead, the persecution complex manifested by the tactics of the McCain campaign have only driven people away. The base was not going anywhere. The loyal will remain loyal. But I know several locally who will be holding their nose when casting their vote for McCain.

The Politics of Hate have taken over on the Right while the Politics of Change have taken root on the Left. I do not know about you but I am tired of Hating. I am due for a little Change. And it seems that my displeasure with the partisan bickering is not going to be addressed. So, I am voting for Change and going with the only group I see headed in that direction.

Will it end in a socialistic culture that erects crosses in stadiums and hangs Christians from them every Sunday? I do not think so. Will this change mean the terrorists of the World will take over and bury us in pits up to our necks and throw rocks at us? I don't think so. But keep up this bickering internal stupidity and we will definitely have more problems than if we come together and present a united front.

We are all Americans. Right, Left, Middle, Religious, Atheist, White, Black and Brown. Who we sleep with and who we pray to is something we should be doing on our own time instead of being concerned with what or who our neighbors are doing on their own time. What we as Americans should be doing is creating and maintaining a culture that allows the many trips taken in this life to exist together with as little interference as possible. If we can do that, then I think we are living up to the ideals our forefathers set down for us in the beginning. Forcing others to our will is un-American. Inside or outside our borders.

Final Note - I have re-read this and decided that yes, I need to be locked away for the next 8 days. We will go on no matter what happens a week from tomorrow. The sky will not fall and I feel safe in saying the Rapture will not begin.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Suggestions from a Fake American

As I sit here in the outback of Fake America, I ponder the usefulness of trying to continue my fruitless effort at convincing Real America I am not a socialistic sexual deviant who thinks babies should be killed instead of being raised to become Real Americans. I can see now I am fooling no one. Pulling the wool over the eyes of those sharp as a tack minds found in Real America is an exercise in futility. They have my number. They have me pegged. I may as well admit it now.

I guess my subterfuge was really just a manifestation of my urge to belong. My deep and secret desire to be part of Real America. I know now I will never be a member of that exclusive club called "My Friends". As I gaze in envy and listen to the leader of Real America call his friends to action, I know I will not be part of it. And though it hurts to admit, I have to be honest with myself. I will never measure up.

But I guess once the pain has diminished, the reality of exclusion sinks in, and I accept who I really am, I will bounce back. Even Fake Americans like me have some worth. Not much maybe, but if enough of us pull together, we might be able to help Real America, by carrying their bags, washing their clothes, and bending over when the need for Real Americans to expunge those less than civil urges comes over them.

Though I know I am a fake and a fraud, you Real Americans own some of the blame. Your forefathers were less than specific when they did not break down the differences between Americans who were real and Americans who were fake. The Constitution is noticeably vague on this point. By design or by accident, your forefathers created the confusion we Fake Americans have to this day. I guess even a Real American can make a mistake. I never thought it possible. But there it is.

Maybe an update on the original document might be in order. A red asterisk placed next to any reference to Americans with a polite but blunt explanation at the bottom that explains your forefathers meant Real Americans when they wrote Americans or citizen, not the fake ones like me.

This won't help me. I had to discover my stigma the hard way. But making note of the differences in the Constitution now would certainly help any new Fake Americans coming up avoid the mistake of thinking they actually belong here in Real America. That but for the grace of God and Real Americans and their soft spot for us, we would most likely be shot or at the very least exported to Cuba or some other lefty leaning low rent country.

In addition to the asterisks, a brief "Real America Primer" might be a good idea to have tacked on in the back. A list of rules and regs that clearly spell out what it takes to be a Real American. Some suggestions -

~ If you live in a Blue state - You are not a Real American
This one should resolve the issue for most of the territory found within the US borders. It will quickly define the areas where you can possibly live as a Real American and where you can't.

~ If you make less than $250,000 per year, you are not a Real American
Again, this will quickly shift the numbers of Fake Americans who might live in Real America into the right category of being unpatriotic losers waiting for handouts from Real Americans.

~ If you don't go to church, specifically a Christian church, you are not a Real American
I'm sorry, but restricting admittance based on faith is not negotiable. It says so in the Bible.

~ If you are not a member of the Republican Party, you are not a Real American
And just joining will not ensure you become real, but it's worth a shot as long as the previous requirements have been met. A review board in your community will scrutinize your application. Provided you have met the base requirements, they will pass it up to regional headquarters. You may still belong to the Republican Party, but not as a Real Republican. You will be designated a RINO if this happens.

~If you have to ask what a RINO is - you definitely are not a Real American
It may be impossible for you to overcome this hurdle. Real Americans take a dim view of pretenders who can't even speak the lingo.

~ If You belong to a Union, you are not a Real American.
This is non-negotiable. Real Americans know that it was Jimmy Carter and the Unions that have ruined our economy and set the World against us. As a matter of fact, just having been a union member in your past excludes you forever from being a Real American. Rules are rules. Real Americans abide by them. Real Americans don't flirt with commies, socialists and other retro bates that are found throughout every union in this great country.

~If you have a Democrat or a homosexual in your family tree going back 5 generations, you are not a Real American.
In an attempt to keep the species of Real Americans pure and unblemished for future generations to come, this condition was installed in recent years. It is a known fact that Democrats are gay and prone to evil thoughts like sharing and stuff. According to the Falwell School of Creative Genetics, it has been determined that God created Democrats by fiddling with our gene pool. Boy doesn't he have a sick sense of humor. Exhaustive study of the Bible and God's words found between the lines have confirmed what many Real Americans knew from birth. Homosexuality is evil and only Democrats would choose to be evil.

So even though Real Americans know homosexuality is a choice, it is the Democratic gene that creates this urge to be a homosexual. And it takes at least 5 generations of breeding with Real Americans before the Democrat gene is expunged from your bloodline. Of course you have to find a Real American who will agree to exchange fluids. Sometimes around last call down to "Bubba's Old Glory Bar n Grill", a Real American can be located who is having a weak moment and will invite you home. But only if you are wearing a flag pin or a tee shirt that says "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb - Bomb, bomb Iran. Remember even Real Americans who are under the influence insist on keeping up appearances.

My list is most likely incomplete. It is after all, a list compiled by a Fake American who had to figure all this out on his own with the limiting IQ we Fake Americans are cursed with. Any help a Real American might want to bless me with to clear up misconceptions and/or add to the list would be most appreciated.

Remember when they say "God Bless America", what they really mean is "God Bless Real America". The rest of us can and will go to Hell.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Caretaker to Silent Machines

A friend/customer of mine has an odd job. It is odd in many ways.

His duties began on the floor of the old Goodall Woolen Mills when he graduated from high school thirty plus years ago. He came on after the beginning of the end that started When Burlington Mills shut down the recently purchased Goodall facility and moved the operation to warmer climes in the South. The mill was broken up as different owners from away exploited the space and the machinery to continue to produce textiles for the clothing industry. Just another piece of meat on the factory floor, my friend became the dedicated mill rat and worked his way to foreman or supervisor of one of the many departments that process raw wool into the fine fabrics America loved to wear, sleep under, and show off at church on Sunday.

The typically sad American scenario played out as the mill passed from foreign outfit to foreign outfit. With each sale, the levels of production dropped and the work force shrank. Through all these changes, my friend managed to hang on. His abilities and dedication always obvious to any new owner coming in.

Finally about ten years ago, the Mill was closed for good. Foreign competition had won. Employees were let go. Some machinery was moved out or consolidated into storage, and Mother Nature began her insistent assault on buildings left empty. Yet my friend is still there. The last soul still stirring daily in the empty shell of a once proud factory. He keeps the doors closed, the lights on, and a close eye on the place as it slowly decays and falls apart. Every day for over ten years, my friend has monitored this place. Not even taking a day off, he has been there when the Mill needed him. Cleaning up after vandals. Meeting mucky mucks who might just maybe take this fine space and turn it to production instead of gathering dust. Occasionally sweeping or cleaning up as a token effort against the insistent decomposition.

My friend took me on a walking tour of the mill a few weeks ago. It is so massive and spread out, we spent 4 hours and I am sure what I got was the quick tour. We walked past huge looms lined up and silent. We strolled through empty spaces once filled with machines that hummed 24/7. In the dye room, I saw the big vats that once handled tons of wool before it was woven into tweeds, mohair, and blankets for horses and human alike. The huge steam turbines that once powered everything are quiet now. The looms have stopped humming. I was impressed with the silence of this fact. Huge machines seem out of place unless they are running, making noise, vibrating the floors as they produce that which they were designed for. And here is 400,000 square feet of silence. Nothing but the echoes of us closing doors and stirring up dust. It was a sad walk. My friend walks it everyday. He is the last person who cares.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dead Town, Part Three

Hick & Gravo

I worked myself out from under the Creep who had sprawled dead on top of me. Oddly, the infamous Creep stink did not make itself known. Then I looked at myself. I was a mess. I stunk to high heaven. That room I was held in must have been every bit as nasty as I imagined it. Having that room dark as a pocket may have been a lucky break after all.

I tried to locate where the cross bows had been fired from. No luck. I knew it was Gravo and probably Diddler or maybe that crazed Metal Head. Maybe all three. Gravo was fussy who went out with him. I knew how fussy. It took two months of solo hunting before Gravo even showed any interest in me. One day he just joined me for my regular tour. And even though he didn’t say much, I know taking out that Creep with my sling shot from 35 yards had to make an impression. The next day I found a tired but solid thirty aught six with a scope leaning into my locker. Gravo’s thirty Aught six. You could cut the envy with a knife when I showed up for muster the next morning with that rifle slung over my shoulder. I made sure I rubbed it in. Flaunted that rifle for a couple of weeks. Yeah, I’m the new guy. I’m better than you.

Out in the open with my hands still bound was not good. No matter where Gravo and friends were. Damn the dusky dark. I quickly scrambled up the alley and found a pile of rubble near the open street to take a peak. Looking around for anything to break my bonds, I came up empty. Okay, I would wait. Sit here and let Gravo and the boys find me.

Some ten minutes past. Starting to feel exposed with not much more than a few cinder blocks and some broken slabs of asphalt to blend in with, I turned back to the alley. Just then Metal Head came dropping out of the sky from the fire escape near the alley opening. He ran over to me.

“Did you see that last shot? Two of those suckers are mine. You didn’t take any ears yet did you? ”

I held up my bound hands and just looked at him. At my side an empty knife sheath hung. I was covered in slimy shit and must have looked as bad as I felt.

Metal Head drew up short and looked at me hard. “Uh I guess not”, was all he said.

He pulled out a tired old Leather Man multi tool from somewhere and motioned me to raise my hands. Seemed like forever before my hands were freed, but eventually the tired old tool won out over the ingenious Creep bindings made of what looked like old brake cables. It struck me that this binding was more than would be expected from minds supposedly toasted at birth. Odd.

A commotion up the street caught our attention and we both ducked down. Cautiously, I popped up to take a look. Coming at us full bore was Gravo. Gravo was no runner. His body was more suited to plodding than jogging. I was impressed with his speed though.

I turned to Metal Head, but he was already headed back up the alley. Either he was finding cover or the lure of 3 unclaimed ears was just too much to resist. Hiding here was no longer useful so I jumped up and ran to meet Gravo. He tossed me his handgun and we continued up the ruined street and into the alley after Metal head. Neither of us spoke. We were too busy using air to keep our legs moving as fast as possible. Gravo stopped, looked to the left and yanked me into an open doorway. Gravo said, “The creeps won’t follow right away. They’ll think about it first. You stay here for some cover and I’ll fetch that fool Metal Head.” He jumped out and I could hear his steps fade as he scurried across the cobblestones and debris in the alley.

I considered Gravo’s order and immediately disobeyed it. We were stronger as three than split up like this. I followed Gravo back up the alley and caught him just as he reached the three dead Creeps. Metal Head was just finishing up his trophy collecting and turned to show them off. There was glee and satisfaction in that grin of blackened teeth and split lips. He tried to hand Gravo one ear. “You keep it Head Man. I don’t get bounties anymore.”

“Gravo, there’s something inside here you need to see.” I tugged on his sleeve.

“What the Hell? I told you to cover us.”

“Gravo! Dammit, you need to come with me.” I headed back to the big forklift door and slid it open. I disappeared inside figuring Gravo would have to follow. I was right.

Dawn had given way to full sunlight and the broken skylights thirty feet up threw even more light on the cache of boxes, crates and shrink wrapped bundles. Gravo came in huffy, pissed that I was not following his lead. Twenty hurried steps in turned to more of a shuffling pirouette as he began to understand what he was seeing. He stopped.

“What’s this Hick?”

“Don’t know, but over there near that door are skids of what I think are bike boxes. Never been opened bike boxes.“

“This should not be here. The Creeps don’t do this. Where…….Jeez, “

Gravo sat on a shrink wrapped skid of some mysterious things and tried to get his mind around the treasure trove he was in the middle of. Metal Head hung antsy at the big door. He was not interested in boxes or skids. Such things made no dent in his one track mind. He wanted to head back. Head back now. Hanging here this deep into Creep land was keeping him from catching his daily buzz and the wonderful sleep that always followed.

Gravo stood up. “Let’s head. Big Boss is gonna want to know about this. And Hick, by the way, where are your weapons and your bike?”

“Gravo, I dunno. Everything went black hours ago. All I know is they pulled me out of that door there and dragged me out into the alley. You know the rest.”

Gravo just looked at me. He headed toward the door to the alley and turned back to take one more look. Metal Head slid the door closed behind us and we headed back towards the Barricades.

The hike back went quietly and without any run ins with Creeps. We did alter our course so we could backtrack to where I had been jumped. No weapons but we found my bike. In the middle of the street still intact except for that damn flat that started all this in motion. I grabbed the bike and we headed home.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Confessions of a Fence Sitter

Long ago I gave up concerning myself with what people called me. At various times I have been called a conservative and right wing loser, a stinkin gay lovin religion hatin liberal, a commie dope smokin hippie, and yes, even once or twice I have been labeled a socialist. Move over Barack. I have never been Left enough for some and no where far enough Right for many. I have two brothers and some dead uncles who feel that way.

Okay so fine. The way I look at it is this. If I am not fitting comfortably into anyone's box, I must be doing something right. If I am pissing off both sides at the same time, I must be doing something right. I do not think the answers to our problems or the definition of what and who we are can be defined by one side or the other. Relying on others to set the agenda for me just does not fit my personality. A platform created by leaders who lust after power can lead someone to supporting policy and direction that might not make them feel comfortable. Both sides play to the fears of their constituencies to keep them in power. I am a constituent who freely exercises his line item veto when picking and choosing my stand on things. I feel most workable solutions generally end up near the middle anyway, so why not start out there to begin with.

That has been my philosophy for the last 35 years or so. But I feel a change coming. I feel that as the Right attempts to save itself from itself, it is drifting ever further to the right and the scary fringes that exist there. They have taken the middle line and moved it. Their panic and mob mentality creating a new tipping point between the two sides. The same thing happened to the Left in the 1960s and 1970s.

This is what happens when a party allows minorities within it's ranks to dictate the message. What was once secular based conservatism has now been replaced with some mutated religo-expansionist drivel from a small group within the Republican party. It had to burn itself out. Apparently we are witnessing the beginning of the bonfire. Oh, this election may go their way, but their time in the Sun is coming to a close. Like the Democrats before them, a period of wound licking and self examination is in the works in the near future for the Republican Party. Any doubts I had about the pendulum beginning to swing have now been put to rest.

So now I guess I will have to get used to being called a right wing loser again.

And now a comment on the latest uptick in political stupidity.

Seems Joe Biden did what many thought he would. Good ole Joe. Put his mouth in gear before his speech writers and handlers could nurse his brain into start mode. So he says Barack will be tested, challenged within 6 months of becoming President. The media and the Right have pounced on this and are busily constructing a mountain out of what is not even a molehill. Viewing this as a kink in the armor of the massive and intimidating Obama machine, like flies who rush to any stink of interest, they are gleefully gathering around waiting to pick Joe and Obama clean.

Breaking out the quotes of Joe into soundbites that fit the interpretation they want to make money on or woo voters, I am reminded once again why I hate mainstream media. I expect that the McCain campaign would seize this opportunity. Standard campaigning 101. If they did not make a big deal of it, they are missing a golden opportunity. One handed them for free by the other side.

But the media jumping all over it and selectively editing and then analyzing the comment as if there was no follow up punch line proves to me the "liberal bias" so many people believe runs the networks is bullshit. The media is in the business of selling copy, and exploiting perceived weakness in anyone is a surefire way to do that.

They focus on this:
“Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy," Biden said. "And he’s gonna have to make some really tough -- I don’t know what the decision’s gonna be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you, it’s gonna happen.”

But down play the zinger at the end:
“They're going to want to test him, just like they did young John Kennedy,” he said Saturday night in San Francisco.” They're going to want to test him. And they're going to find out this guy's got steel in his spine.”

Every president is tested by our international "buddies". They will want to know how stiff his backbone is. Every president has their 9/11. Some handle them well, and others like our current president don't. Should McCain become president, he will be tested also. So I have to ask myself this question - Who do I want at the controls? A vindictive man who has proven to fly off the handle at the drop of a hat and will say and do things he must later regret? Or do I want a man who has proven over the last two years to be a focused man of steady and deliberate temperament guiding us through the next big crisis?

In this decision, their respective ages mean nothing. Neither one is wet behind the ears. Both have long ago established the make up of their individual characters. I have to go with the deliberate candidate. The candidate who I feel will put anger away for the sake of this country. I have to vote for the man I think will best handle what is coming at us. There is no doubt in my mind that man is Barack Obama.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Voting a Straight Ticket - An Unusual First


Demeur commented in my last post about my Independent ways. He was responding to my mistrust of either party>

".......This is not like Canada where parties must negotia(t)e for power. This is a strict two party system. I could be more objective if not all the power had not shifted to one party. As the saying goes absolute power corrupts and we are witnessing that now on a big scale. Yes I realize that the Dems could do the same things should they have as much. But can you stand back and be a mere spectator to the destruction that will affect you in a very large way?"

I am not sure if this is a rebuke or not. But his point is well taken. The Republicans need to be taken down more than a few notches. The party faithful should hang their heads in shame over the sleaze and nasty tactics their leadership has decided to use. Add in the fact that most if not all their policies from domestic to foreign to economic have left us worse off than we were 8 years ago and it is grossly apparent they have no clue how to govern. Just how to hold onto power.

My problem is, I have been looking for them to slip and fall ever since 1980. Ronnie ruined that party for me. Yet I saw little of any worth on the other side of the aisle. The Democrats had no answer nor did they seem that interested in going on the attack. Even though I voted for them, the last two Democratic Presidential candidates underwhelmed me with their lack of leadership and luke warm efforts in the face of bulldog campaigning by the Republicans. They obviously did not deserve to win. They did not want it enough.

As the years turned into one decade, then two, and are now closing in on a third, I have finally found a candidate I can be enthusiastic about. And he is not a Republican. I have also decided that this year I will withhold my vote from any Republican I can. Just a small punishment on my part to let them know, their party is out of touch and without a clue. I have never done that before. There are many good people running who are Republican. But they get squat from me this time. They do not deserve my vote because of the poison they have allowed to ruin their party.

I know voting for anyone besides a Republican is not ensuring I will get the best candidate elected. This election for me is not just about who will govern the best, but who needs to be spanked. The Republicans need a good thrashing. They need to re-examine their priorities, their platform, and their conscience. What they have been supporting the last 28 years is a sad petty selfish group of leaders who have proven they could care less about anything except staying in power and keeping their high end buds comfortable and the money flowing, but not in our direction. I hope for a sound beating across the board. Solid Democratic majority in both houses and Barack sitting in the White House. The time has come for a changing of the guard.

But I still do not trust the Democrats. They have proven they too can become full of themselves and end up strutting instead of governing with some common sense. Hopefully lessons have been learned since Newt led the Republicans as they took over Congress starting in 1994 with "The Contract with America" and then the White House in 2000. The Democratic leadership needs to approach things with more caution and not get lost in issues that have little or nothing to do with meat and potatoes issues. Energy, Economy, Healthcare, Education, Foreign Policy and our infrastructure should be their priorities. This country needs better than what the Republicans have given us. I wish the Democrats luck. For this election, I am in their corner. But I will be watching. Get it right this time.

Friday, October 17, 2008

An Observation Caught in Passing

Just a quickie today.

I forget where I saw it, read it, heard it, or caught it accidentally while telepathically eavesdropping on some brain to brain communique not meant for public consumption. But someone was opining about this recent Bail Out and made what I considered an interesting observation. An observation I keep finding with it's hand up inside the ole cranial void. The damn observation is so insistent, I will now share it with you so I can go back to being an apathetic knuckle draggin mouth breather and get it off my back.

It goes something like this. Or that. You pick.

The core conservatives (I hate sullying that time honored name by attributing it to what passes now for conservatism, but hey in the name of expediency...) Anyway the so called conservatives (read John McCain and his bud Dubya)are all about not sharing the wealth through government means. They want us to earn it ourselves and be proud of that. Somehow, government handouts to us poor slobs denigrates our soul and brings a blanket of mass self loathing down upon the shoulders of this proud and great nation. Okay, fine. Seems straight forward.

They want government to stay out of our lives they say. Okay, again fine. I appreciate their efforts on my behalf and the 95% of the country making less than what? $250 K? They say to put us all on the dole or to steal from some to give to others is another step in that evil spiral down into the depths of Socialist Hell. Okay fine, I can see their point. If everyone had the same amount of money in their pocket, that would be just awful.

So back to the observation. Got a tad side tracked there. Sorry.

They (the so called conservatives) want to protect us from socialism. Noble as it is for them to be looking out for me, I wonder then why are they introducing Socialism into the community of the 5 per-centers at the top of the economic heap? If Socialism is bad for us low lifes at the bottom, why is it good for the folks wearing Gucci shoes and sporting $20,000 face lifts? I mean come on. Is not the 700 billion dollars handed out recently just another step in that evil spiral down into the depths of socialistic Hell?

I thought about this some. I thought about it some more. I tried to put myself in their wingtips and see it from their point of view. And yeah, I guess it is indeed tough when you see next year's 16 million dollar golden parachute disappear like it never existed. I can sympathize with them knowing that without the government welfare, their limo might not be detailed as often. And why should some of the captains of industry and finance suffer when some of their buds skate? Fair is fair.

My only concern here though is this. Socialism seems to work on the idea that everyone in a set group contributes to the welfare of all in the set group. One for all and all for one. If the 5 per-centers want their socialistic pie, shouldn't their captains of industry and high finance buds foot the bill? Why is my pocket being picked? If they want to be low down stinkin socialist pinko bastards, let them pay their own way. To each his own and all that. But I don't want to pay for the lifestyle of another. Unless of course they want to give me 700 billion dollars also. That might just alter my opinion some.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Random Thoughts - Purging Some Deadwood

The Grass is not always Greener

Once again a brief encounter over the Internet has offered me some insight into the humanity that does exist inside all those electronic bits and bytes that bring folks to life on my computer screen. Once again I am reminded that my petty troubles I insist into mountains are nothing special, grand, or remarkable. And watching another who I would think should be content and pleased with their station fall prey to the the same misgivings and personal issues I have makes me feel some comfort. We are indeed all just Bozos on this Bus. And we all seem to feel pain and joy in similar ways. Thanks PT.

The Final Debate

This was the best debate. There were personal in your face moments I will remember for a long time. Both Obama and Mccain were predictable. Both did what they do. I am glad the ACORN stupidity was put out there. And Ayers may now be given the proper burial his non influence deserves. That moment of righteous indignation by John as the self perceived victim of an slurious attack by a fellow member of Congress. That was great. In that moment, I could tell why I dislike him so much. Insisting one more time that Obama repudiate the opinion of another person not directly connected to him. McCain came off as an angry, bitter and frustrated old man who projected the idea that his years of wasting space in the Senate entitled him somehow more than Obama to be President. John it won't matter if you energized your base more. You fell flat with the people you should be influencing. Good job. Keep up the good work.

At Some Point I Guess I Should Start Worrying

Yeah so the Dow dropped through the floor again yesterday. I know I should be concerned. And I am. But I have a real problem getting fired up over something I have no control over. What little we have salted away in our retirement funds will either be there or not when the time comes. Wasting perfectly good fussing time over it seems such a waste when what I should really be worrying about are the Red Sox and my Pats. There are some things in Life more important than money in the bank. The boneheads in charge will most likely get it wrong or they will accidentally and without intent stumble upon the right combination of lucky and timely manipulations and we will go out to our mail boxes one day and find one million dollar checks. But with postage due.

That Music Just Don't Cut It

My usta back in the ole days of trying to find divine inspiration, punching up some music and crankin it to wow was a sure fire way to locate the center. The well from which all my creativity trickles. Yes Music used to inspire. Tonight it is getting in the way. Blocking my loose dog manners and my tendency to not need a point in order to open my mouth. Turn the volume up to just below painful. Sit back. Contemplate my naval a moment or two. Consider the first word. Wiggle the fingers. Place them gently on the keys and.............hammer down.

Lately however, music seems to distract me. No. The answer is simple. Get the right tune on for the specific frame of mind. Just punched up Bruce Hornsby. There you go. Typing in time to the beat. The man knows his way around a piano. Some nights it's blues that does it, sometimes head bangin metal. On occaision when I am up for it, some gospel with a smidgen of classical tossed in will break the monotony and as if by magic I will find many meaningless words set down before that last chorus of praise the lord dies out inside my brain. Tonight it is Bruce Hornsby. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

50,000 Words

I am not sure what I just got myself into. I found this writing site NaNoWriMo. It is a site dedicated to a once a year contest to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. I have been full of myself about writing and well, this contest will separate the boy from the man. The contest begins on November the first and ends midnight November the 30th. It has been in existence for 10 years and last year over 100,000 crazy people competed.

At first glance, the idea of writing a novel in thirty days seems intimidating. But once I wandered around in their not so intuitive website, I discovered that content and quality are not even a consideration. Only the 50,000 words. It's all about word count. It's all about finishing with more words than the next guy. Damn silly on the surface, but they assure me I will have fun and maybe even discover that I can actually put together a story in rough form for polishing up later. Their list of past efforts that have actually been published is impressive. The only winners are those folks who produce at least 50,000 words. They do not even read the story. They toss it as soon as the word count has been verified. You only lose if you do not turn in 50,000 words.

Knowing my tendency to start something with great enthusiasm and vigor only to later fail to follow through to the end, the veteran NaNo people have some suggestions that help those of us with less nose to the grindstone qualities finish the month as winners. One suggestion is letting friends and others know you are competing. I am doing that now. Supposedly the fear of embarrassing myself in front of the World will scare me into completing the task. During the month of November I expect to have some snarky comments about how's it going, Mike? And that is okay. Go for it. Fear of failure has never really been an issue for me. I have gotten used to it.

At first I thought this just another silly Internet waste of time. But the focus is about writing and turning people onto the act of writing, exchanging ideas in the written form. NaNoWriMo sponsors a kid version also. Last year over 14,000 kids in classrooms across the country competed in the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program. With the literacy levels of our kids taking a nose dive, this kind of thing is a great way to develop a love for the written word.

The rules are simple. Start from scratch on November the first. No pre-written words. Outlines are okay, but many seem to think just sitting down and writing is the way to go. There ya go, just my style. End your piece on Novenber 30. Even if the novel is not done, if you have 50,000 words, you get a spiffy winners banner to hang somewhere in a blog I guess. Strongly suggested is no editing, not even mispellings or punctuation. Just write. You can clean it up if you want or feel it is worthy later. And I can be satisfied that that one novel that hides inside me has now been purged.

As I punched in and signed up, I asked myself why I was doing this. All sorts of answers lurked. But the one that really won out was just to experience a challenge that was not so much physical or really even mental. It was both. To see if I had the will to put 50,000 words together in some kind of order and come out on the other side with something that approached readable. And it is just another whacky thing to do while playing on the Internet.

Deadtown – Part Two

Hick

Time stopped meaning much. I don’t know how many laps I made around that black room. Enough circuits to know the room was roughly square and it took 79 or 80 steps to complete the loop. No windows and only one door. I found a corner that was not too slimy to park my ass in and began working on breaking loose of the bonds on my hands. At some point frustration and exhaustion set in and I gave up. I must have slept. The sliding sound of metal on metal startled me awake and a bright flickering light shown in my eyes.

The light blocked my vision of what or who had come in. Rough hands grabbed at me as I scrambled to my feet to resist. A second and then a third set of hands found some part of me to hold onto. They dragged me out and up a dank hallway. Light filtered through broken skylights some twenty feet up. Through another door and into what looked like a warehouse.

Through the fog of my recent beating and many hours of being held in the dark, I saw that this was not another empty storehouse pillaged long ago. The huge room was full of boxes on pallets, machinery shrink wrapped and dusty. Odd shapes and piles set in neat rows. Neither the pain nor my panic could keep me from noticing this King’s Ransom.

Most of the boxes were long, about two to two and a half feet high by nine inches wide. Bike Boxes. They had to be. I had seen some when I was kid helping Uncle Jarvis empty out a bike shop basement up near Rome where I grew up. He gave me one of the beaters we found and use of any parts I could rustle up to fix it with. He loaded the new bike boxes, all the new tires, tubes, and drive train parts on his wagon and left Rome. We never saw him again.

I knew if I got free and could find my way back to this place, my future would be secure. There had to be hundreds of bike boxes. Anything new was gold, but pound for pound, there was nothing worth more than a new bicycle. And new rubber was worth even more. As the old world survived and ran smoothly because of the wheel, so was the new civilization emerging out of the ashes.

The three Creeps said nothing as they dragged me through the warehouse and out into the alley. It was well past sunset, or just into Dawn. But what sunset? Which dawn? Today’s? Yesterday’s? Or was it tomorrow already? I could not get my bearings on this place. Where had they taken me? Was I still near Eighth Avenue where I had been bushwhacked? I just didn’t………Wait. Was that the street that leads to the old Lincoln Tunnel? Yeah, Must be. Garment District or close by. Had to be.

The Creeps began to talk among themselves. Argue would be more like it. It was hard to follow. Creep speak was not a language I had much experience with. The gist was they were not sure what to do with me. The biggest one seemed to win out when he grabbed the bonds on my hands and began dragging me back towards the warehouse. A tug of war ensued. The big Creep yanking hard on my hands and the two smaller Creeps pulling hard on my feet. All the while yammering away at 80 miles an hour in that pig din lingo of theirs.

Suddenly one of the small Creeps straightened and collapsed on top of me. The loss of force in that direction caused the bigger Creep to fall on his ass and me on top of him. Sticking out of the Creep’s back, an arrow with one yellow and two black vanes. Only one man I knew used crossbow bolts set up like that. Gravo!

Confusion erupted. More arrows came in and the Big Creep yowled as a bolt appeared silently in his shoulder. Another whizzed by my ear and cut the yowl to a gurgle as it buried itself in his throat. My hands free, I began kicking the smaller Creep as hard as I could. He let go and stood up. Our eyes met. I was the last thing he ever saw.

______________________________________________________

Gravo

Gravo stepped out of what Moss Boss called The Bunker. Every time he did, he smiled. A hastily contrived structure on Cherry Hill, the Bunker had been constructed by hands more suited to pushing pens and filling out forms. It was solid, but no where near plumb nor water tight. Up here, the old Central Park was easy to keep tabs on. Harvested for fuel and lumber, the park’s trees and meadows were long gone. Replaced by furrowed rows and industrious tilling of what little arable land there was in this dead city. This was his kingdom. His job. His unforeseen and unpredicted fate. He was now tasked with keeping the Creeps out and the Authentics in line. Gravo- Security Boss.

In his previous life Grave had pushed a wheel barrow. His life tending masons by day always ended with him doing his best to drink the pain and weariness away by night. He sometimes wondered why he was picked from that horde of ragged survivors. What about him had given the Bosses the idea he could control anyone, never mind this unruly bunch? Yes he was good sized, but not large. Yes he had a good feel for Manhattan. He had worked construction jobs there his whole life. His face was neither fearsome nor engaging. Men seemed to follow him willingly. He never understood why. Now he did not bother trying to understand why. They trusted him so he used that trust to do his job. He did not miss the World he watched destroy itself. That life was lonely and miserable. And though he hated the mandated ear quotas, this new and raw world suited him. Life had equalized. And he was very good at his job.

The three hunters joined him. It was closing in on dark. Without a word, Gravo and Metal Head began a steady jog down the hill towards Broadway. The other two left in the same direction then split off to head towards downtown east side. No words were exchanged as they went their separate ways, just a mutual nod and they were gone. Melting into the rubble and destruction that was once a beautiful city.

The plan called for the two man teams to find and follow any group of Creeps larger than three heading to or staying in the sector Hick was last known to be. Follow and find. A Creep leaving the twenty square block area Gravo had pointed out was to be left and the search would begin again. Gravo was clear. Do not get sucked out of the search area.

Metal Head was a good hunter most days. Reliable and steady. Met his quota and did not complain more than the usual belly aching. His only weakness, a tendency to go on benders. His last one found him shacked up with a huge Sub Dub. He woke up and saw this 250 pound beast sleeping next to him smelling of sewers,subway platforms, Almo Weed, and alcohol. His only concern, “I thought you was a she and you is really a He.” Metal Head had not taken to drink since. It had been almost a year now. All he would say about it was from then on he would pay for his ass, not try to pick it up.

“Metal Head, where near the Tunnel did you spot that crew of Creeps?”

“Over a few blocks I think Gravo.”

They altered their course. Moving into the Garment District, Gravo always wondered why this area had not been torn up as badly as other parts of town. Yeah, the small shops and bodegas had been ransacked and torched, but for the most part the massive warehouse buildings that made up the fashion world of New York had come through in very good shape. Maybe it was because the Creeps had decided early during the Creep Wars this was to be their space. You don’t shit in your own nest so to speak.

Metal Head had been running point. He threw up his hand and hunkered down. On auto pilot, Gravo hunkered also as he crawled up to where Metal Head had stopped. Up the street, a small group of Creeps were just entering an alley. Gravo and Metal Head moved as one as soon as the Creeps disappeared. Running silent with long strides, they came to the alley entrance just as the last Creep went through a massive forklift door in one building.

Gravo hissed, “Let’s sit on them for awhile. You set up on the fire escape over there and I will find a spot up high near this side. When they come out, follow my lead. If I take one out, you follow from your side. Use the short bow. Keep it quiet. This is their nook you know.”

Metal head took up his position on the fire escape and settled in for what he knew would be a long sit. He knew what “for awhile” meant. This could take all night. Gravo was a patient man. That’s why he could out hunt all of them. Well maybe this new guy, Hick was better, but Gravo could sit like no one he had ever hunted with.

Some time later a flash caught Metal Head’s eye. It came from the roof across the alley. Good, Gravo had found his position.

They sat for hours. Gravo was content though. This was what he loved. The hunt. Being more patient than those you were hunting. Killing was fine, but it was the hunt that made his day. The Stalk and out thinking his prey. Metal Head on the other hand was asleep. He knew nothing would happen until dawn at the earliest. He hunted because it paid well and kept him out of the subways and out of the fields. The Creeps were not nocturnal if they had a choice. And it was apparent they were comfortable here. Nothing stirred.

Cramps woke Metal Head up. Just as he was working out the kinks and his eyes came into focus, he heard a door being slid open. In the early morning light, he saw 3 Creeps dragging someone or something out into the alley. Just as he brought up his short bow, one of the Creeps collapsed. Damn, he would pay Hell if he did not bring one down right away. He quickly drew a bead on one of the smaller Creeps and let his bolt go. Excellent. Knocked him down. He quickly cranked his bow and nocked another bolt. Just then another shot from Gravo finished the Big Creep off. The figure they were dragging began to fight. Metal Head drew a bead on the Creep still standing and let his bolt loose. “Alright, two ears for me. Suck on that Gravo.”

______________________________________________________
The Voice in the Background that explains it all

Society destroyed, people fell in with or fell prey to the thousands of gangs that had formed to take or hold onto what was left. The Creeps created their own survival mode feeding on those unlucky enough to cross into their territories.

New boundaries were created. Physical might and mob rule took over as the bones of a dead culture were picked clean. Authentics fought with each other. Creeps came after picking their bones. Earth was settling into unsettled times. A whole new generation was brought into this New World and raised on making it to the next day intact and still breathing.

Now a planet of vultures, the Earth fell quiet but for the squabbling among the scavengers over the decaying meat of a dead civilization. Small enclaves began to spread and swallow weaker groups or annihilate them. Ten thousand new societies began to emerge. Each one competing with the one next door for the treasures that were left. Order and stability came in fits and starts. The cities had been abandoned. But not forgotten. The smart guys knew there were riches there. They soon began to move back in. And the Creep Wars began.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Do We Want That Here?

I was visiting Candace's "Forte Etude" the other day. Her post title came from a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ralph was one of the smart guys of America who put us on the Philosophical map back in the day. Up until Emerson, Thoreau,Hawthorne, and many others I cannot remember or even knew existed, what Americans thought came from Europe and was applied to our situation. They broke free of the Euro stranglehold and set us apart intellectually. Politically we had been free for half a century. Finally by the mid 1800s we were breaking free emotionally. The Great Awakenings and Transcendentalism all had their very distinctive American stamp on them. One led to the current fundie like adherence to an outdated book of parables based on the whims of one super being. The other looked forward to the future with a clarity that has so far been able to blunt the effects of over bearing religious dogma. For better or worse, what we thought in the 1800s is coming back to roost now 150 years later.

I had not considered any connection until I read Candace's post. But it would seem that our two primary political parties have decided to embrace one or the other. The Democrats, while appearing to be whack jobs sometimes, do have a preponderance of thinkers and movers who would most likely have enjoyed those walks with Emerson, Thoreau and Hawthorne. Looking to the future of possibilities not the past of folk tales told by guys in fancy robes.

Republicans on the other hand seem to have decided to embrace the ideas and blind faith that created the Great Awakenings. A smart move I guess. Seems we have a new religious revival about every 50 years or so. Tying their horse to that wagon surely has an upside when looking to re-gain power hold onto power, or seek power. The religious right's influence cannot be understated.

That is not to say that organized religion is found on only one side. Millions of Democrats go to church or synagogue. I would guess millions do not. As is the case with the Republicans. It is the purposeful inclusion of theocratic ideals into the platforms or the omission of them that help to create the deep divide that keeps them apart. It is also the inclusion or omission that draws certain people to their political cause.

I am going through all this in an attempt to understand the real reasons I left the Republican side so many years ago. I blame Ronnie most days. He was a loser when he was governor of California and he proved it later by committing treason as President. But I guess I really became disillusioned with the Republicans when the "Moral Majority", Falwell, and Robertson broke what I consider taboos if not laws when they preached politics mixed with religion from their not so insignificant pulpits.

I take the separation of church and state very seriously. I do not care that it is not specifically stated in the Constitution, only inferred. It is a good idea that we all should be concerned about. If you want to know how bad an idea it is to mix religion with politics, just look at the theocracies created under Muslim law. Do we want that here?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Probing for the Truth

"US News & World Report" has been coming to this house for over 40 years. My parents read it. I read it. Yeah they have bias, but no worse than most and are much more objective than many other publications out there. Anyway, it is almost immediately moved to the bathroom mag rack when it comes in. The articles are short enough that the timing of the bathroom visit and the length of the articles often coincide and finish cleanly together with a flush. It is the perfect periodical for the throne.

This morning I happened to be in the health and happiness section near the back of the latest issue. An article about new surgical techniques caught my eye. Apparently the medical whizzes can now take out your spleen or pretty much any other gut part they want without so much as pulling out a knife and carving you up to do it. Using probes that enter either orally,vaginally or rectally, they can wander around inside your gulliwots pruning this, clipping that, and rebuilding it all nice and neat before they withdraw and go to the bar for Miller time. And you, the patient, have no stitches to show off to your co-workers, buds, or significant other. Just a deep sense of having been well probed and violated. They say you get over it.

Never mind my male pre-disposition to pucker hard when I hear or read the word "probe", this newest hip medical procedure is causing me to re-visit the part of my brain that stores and disseminates all information regarding Aliens, conspiracies, and the men and women who have become their agents.

It must have been about the time that new fangled engine Mazda supposedly came up with that made me aware we really were no longer alone. You may remember the engine. Named after some dude named Wankel? Right. All of a sudden some guy turns the automotive world on it's ear by designing an engine with no pistons. Again, riiiight. The fact that it appeared almost overnight and then disappeared almost overnight should be enough reason to raise serious questions about it's true origin. I really believe and you should too because well I believe it that this "innovation" was just too huge and unbelievable to be believed. Believe it. Our new puppet masters had over reached themselves. A more subtle approach was in order.

Small things began to be improved. Invisible planes. Gadgets that got smaller because of some just magically overnight discovered ability to put a complete city power station onto a piece of silicon the size of a gnat turd. Information and our favorite movies passing through "glass wires"? Yeah, I really believe we came up with that one.

What's that? Oh, you say anecdotal evidence. Hmm. Listen, these folks from planet "Oud Dair" are damn clever. Obviously smarter than we are. Smart enough to have most of us convinced they do not exist. And smart enough to only leave anecdotal evidence around to hint they actually run things on this planet.

I think this new "Surgical Breakthrough" may be another "Wankel" overreach. Humans cut things to get at what they want. Humans like to see evidence of acts committed. Saw dust, blood, grass clipping, and yes, scars. If there is no scar, it didn't happen. Rude n Crude- Humanity's basic rule. Delicacy is not our bag.

Now I have heard several versions about our new masters. One paints them as benevolent for the most part with our interests coinciding with theirs once they have programmed us that way. A nurturing alien culture. Call em Liberal Aliens.

Then there are the evil Aliens. We'll call them the Neo Con Aliens. The school of thought here is these clowns from away just want us for our meat, or our slave labor, and all the while rob us blind. There's no way I would believe that one.

The last one is really out there. We are being set up as a tourist attraction. A kind of Cancun for the Galaxy. All the little improvements we view as huge jumps in technology are nothing but attempting to bring this new Galactic resort up to some kind of expected galactic accommodation standard. Better than Super 8 but maybe not yet a Hilton.

While inclusion of this "non invasive" surgical procedure in our medical bag of tricks may not disappear, it's use will be de-empasized and become available only to the guests who are truly "From Away". The Aliens showed too much of their hand with this one. The clever humans have taken notice. And I have shown the nads to print the evidence. Do not be surprised if I disappear soon.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

McMonkey Gets Desperate, really Desperate

Okay, John McCain and his side kick Sarah are now putting the coal to the Ayers connection to Obama. Fine. I love it. So something a man did what, 40 years ago, is somehow now shared by Barack when he was eight years old? That because these two were on the same foundation and worked together on community issues and not bombs or insurrection, Barack's motives and Patriotism are in doubt? Bullshit. The desperation of McCain and Palin is hilarious.

Seems to me knowing a domestic terrorist is a damn site better than voting to protect them. Twice in the early 1990s John McCain voted to block laws aimed at curtailing anti-choice domestic terrorism. He voted to protect murderers and bombers.

I like the ring of that. It has just the right amount of indignation without going too far. Some spin, but not too much. No facts distorted, just the conclusion. How's it feel you flounders drooling over Sarah and the short guy? How's it feel when the shoe is on the other foot? I am sure you do not care. Seeing anyone but a Democrat in the White House is much more important than the issues that really eat at this country. Get your man on a Message we want to hear. Stop the stupidity over Ayers. There is no better way to describe it. Simple stupidity.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Deadtown

In my pursuit to satisfy my urge to write, I often have attempted to write pretty much anything. Poetry. Fiction. Op/Ed stuff. Some diarist madness. I have experimented with lots of things. The only goal to this point has been to write as well as I can. I have no illusions about my writing. Well, maybe a few. But I will keep them to myself. That is where they belong. Suffice it to say I know I won't be on any best seller list in the near or far future. I have no discipline. I struggle too much getting my points just the way I want them. I am sure there are other issues lurking that I either fail to recognize or do not even know exist.

Anyway, what follows is a piece of fiction I began over 20 years ago. It is of interest only because I rediscovered it and decided to expand it. I have no idea if it is of any worth or interest to anyone but myself. Stop here if you do not want to read the beginning of another pulp post-Armageddon piece. But any input that is real and not patronizing would be most welcome. Does it have possibility? Should I shit-can it? With each word fought for, I have an ever increasing respect for the writers who do this for a living.

*********************************************

Hick

He should not have zig-zagged like that. Too predictable. He made it easy to take him out. One shot on a slight lead out to the left and down he went with his head well ventilated. As I ejected the smoking shell from the chamber, I could still hear the echo of the shot as it traveled the desolate concrete canyons downtown. I decided that Creeps were entirely too easy to hunt. Screw this shit. I am taking my old job back stalking live game for the lumber company. Sure the pay was not as good, but Jeez, shouldn't I enjoy what I do for a living.? Besides, stomping around the woods sure beat the stinking city prowl it took to do this job.

I picked up the spent shell, slung my rifle on my shoulder and left the tenement. Pleased that I nailed the Creep so close, I ran over and quickly claimed an ear. Sucking a few hits of Almo weed, I celled into headquarters to verify another kill and hope I was done for the day. Good, this kill filled the crew's daily. I pulled the beat up Jamis from under the stinking carpet in the alley. I retched as the fumes of old urine and dust enveloped me when I dropped the carpet to the ground. Rolling out onto the broken and heaved pavement and I noticed I had a flat tire. This was not good. A flat here right now could spell trouble. Friends of the recently departed would soon be bold enough to check out that gunshot.

I decided to ride the flat tire the 8 blocks it would take to get out of this sector of Deadtown. I took it easy. Bringing back the Jamis with a ruined tire and a toasted rim would mean a half week's pay. Riding up Eighth Avenue slower than was healthy, I kept my eyes on scan mode. I was not fast enough to catch the movements and peeks from the mass of demolition around me. But I knew they were there. Watching me. Sizing me up. I only had to make it to the barricades just south of Broadway, then I could stop and patch the tube.

Sweat trickled down my face and saturated my beard. Damn. I was not happy. This pace was leaving me wide open. So what if the Creeps were barely human and couldn't count to 10 to save their ass, they might just get lucky. I wanted to hammer, catch a higher gear. But the thought of buying a new tire kept me from opening her up. "Only four more blocks. Get a grip." And then it all went black.

"Oiler, Oiler, he wakee, wakee." Something was trying to separate me from my hair. I thrashed and struck blindly. A lucky hit made someone grunt. And then it all went black again.

It was the smell of shit and rotted roadkill that brought me to life. Hazy but coherent I laid still. A mental inventory was all I had. The dark was as oppressive as the smell. I slowly moved my hands. Bound tight. What about my legs? Good, not tight, just hobbled. I struggled to stand. At some point as I sought some purchase with my hands, they found something soft and disgusting. No light may be a good thing right now I thought. After floundering a few minutes, I finally struggled vertical. The exertion, the pain in my head and the smell crescendoed. I puked. Huge dry heaves crippled my stomach and the pain in my head screamed.

I wiped my face on my sleeve and suffered the last spasms from dry heaving. I stood silent long enough to check the only breaths I heard were mine. Still queasy and dazed, I slowly extended my legs to find the limits of my black cell. Again, something soft and slimy let me know I was not on solid ground. I stayed upright and tried to regain some control.

Figuring I was now a guest of the Creeps, I also knew it would not be long before they did what they did to unwanted Authentics. The thought of becoming the main attraction in a sandwich or the go to bits in a stew created some urgency on my part to figure out some alternatives and do it quick.

I was trussed up like a turkey but able to move. The dumasses had tied my hands in front. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. I had been beat down some but everything seemed to work. And it stunk like the inside of a skunks ass. Other than that I was good to go.

I needed to find the wall. Sitting down in whatever was on the floor was not an option. Slowly with as much of a stride as the hobbles would allow, I picked a direction and went for it, one slow slide at a time. Wet softness slid over my Chuck Taylors. Wet warm softness.

My foot hit something solid. I extended my bound hands. Ah, good. A wall. I turned around and leaned into it. Finding the scavenged electrical wire that bound my legs, I worked an eternity to break free. Legs unbound, I followed the wall with my hands looking for a doorway. Locating a uniform crack, I traced it's line and then pushed. No, wouldn't budge.
________________________________________

Gravo

"It's been eight hours Gravo since the Hick celled in."

A large man with one good eye turned toward the voice. "I know. Anyone still out?"

"No Gravo, everyone hit the shed a couple of hours ago. Only six kills between them."

The big man looked unhappy. His frown meant someone would catch Hell. He hated the idea of xenocide, but knew it was necessary for his own to survive on what little was left. He hated this tour of duty. He hated it even more when his boys did not meet the minimum dailies to keep the Creeps from overrunning their position and taking this part of Deadtown. There was still too much to reclaim here to give it up yet. Too much of the past just laying around for someone to pick up and use.

"Get a crew together. We have to make an attempt to find him. He is the best hunter we have. What is he, up to sixty kills now just this month?"

" Sixty-three Gravo, and yeah he is worth more than the rest of them hangin in the shed sucking up Almo weed. A good man who always brings back his casings and ears to go with them. Never seems to take more than one shot to bring down a Creep. Yeah, he's a keeper."

"But Gravo, the boys are not gonna want to head out so close to dark. Maybe we should....."

"NO Goddammit! You scare up three men and get them here right now. Make sure they have blades and sidearms. No rifles. Anyone gives you shit, tell em their contract says I can send them wherever they are needed. The subs are always lookin for more bodies to hump track and strip wire."

The smaller man hustled out and Gravo turned back to the map he seemed to spend everyday over. Locating the sector Hick's last call came from, he tried to envision just what escape route Hick would have used. His last communication indicated he was only a few blocks into the Creep territory Downtown. He would probably head straight up Eighth Avenue as fast as possible. Straight shot to the barricades near Broadway. He knew that is what he would do.

Three men showed up. Their body language indicated it was not because of eagerness but reluctant obedience. Gravo looked them over. "Toss the rifle Diddler. We are not hunting. This is a rescue mission. No kills unless we have to."

"Boss, the Hick is probably in a Creep stew right now. Why bother? He was a pain in the ass anyway. Never wanted to go out in pairs like we are supposed to. He got what he deserved."

Gravo fixed his good eye on the man. The man fell silent and seemed to get smaller.

"Okay, here's what we are going to do. Step on over and take a look."

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The voice in the Background explaining it all

The World was not prepared for what came to them in the years following the Oil Wars. Desperate nations full of technology but short of munitions developed what they could to ensure their piece of an ever shrinking pie. No one knows who actually set loose the pathogen. Not one country would step up and take the blame. Per usual, the blame was always another country's fault, not their own. And while everyone focused on fixing blame for the pandemic, the pandemic surged, mutated and swept across the land, the seas, the continents.

The unstable pathogen, nicknamed "Dullard" by some talking head on the TV before the TV died a couple of years later, was supposed to incapacitate and not kill. Having been hurried through trials and not tested fully, it was set loose on the World. It did it's job well. Those directly hit became useless shells and would soon die. Either by their own hand or by those invading their turf.

Some of the afflicted attempted to to flee. Some made it. By that time the pathogen had proven to be contagious as it mingled with the various chemicals and DNA strands it came into contact with. The person to person conagion had changed. It could now only be passed from one generation to the next. With each new generation, more distance between what humans were and what they would become began to make an impact.

Quarantines, mass killings, and forced blood tests before fornication were installed as measures to deal with this new species evolving. The unaffected became known as Authentics and the new humans became "Creeps". In the meantime, cities emptied, governments fell apart, and anarchy took over.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hannity & Sarah

It's my blog and I can break the rules if I want to. Even though I promised myself I would not let the heated political atmosphere poison my blog, I got sucked in anyway. And then once I realized this and promised again to do better the next time if given a second chance, I have (as he bows his head in shame and falls prostrate before whatever, the tree, that bush, or the picture of MOM so prominent on his bed table)- I have once again failed.

It's that loser Hannity's fault. I fell asleep last night with Fox News on. Don't ask. I just do not know. Anyway, I figured I had because I woke up to a dark thirty re-run of the previous evening's Hannity show. Instead of having a nightmare, I woke up to a nightmare. All I can figure is some shadowy figure from the dark side visited me in my sleep. Whispering sweet Neo-Con lies in my ear while trying to wrest the remote from my sleeping clutches. I seem to remember a dream about a tug a war and losing. And then I woke up and my man Hannity was poisoning the airwaves.

Hannity has such a hard on for Sarah Palin. I would guess he really believes her shit does not stink. I imagine in the privacy of his office or closet or whatever hole he lives in, there is a Sarah Shrine. Right next to the one or maybe instead of that shrine to Mother Mary of God. Conveniently located close is a paper towel rack for those inevitable accidents when the Sarah Rapture becomes more than he can handle. At least he is practicing safe sex.

So I was exposed to Hannity's take on the VP debate. All I heard was "She cleaned his Clock". or, "It was no contest, she wiped the floor with Joe". In between his subliminal sexual lusting, he could only regurgitate the same lies Sarah used in the debate. At the same time bring up the lies Joe said and act as if only one of them walked on water, and it was not Joe. The typical "Fair and Balanced" approach I have come to expect from our friends over to Fox News.

So screw Hannity. Screw Olbermann(Hey- no one can accuse me of being unfair), And screw O'Reilly twice just because he deserves it more than all of them. Just what did I think of the debate? I came away feeling no different than before I wasted the 2 hours on it. Joe did a competent job of tying McCain and Palin to the failed policies of Bushco. Sarah did a competent job of not answering questions. She hardly cleaned Joe's clock, but I am sure Hannity would love her to clean his.

Her performance reminded me of Bush from 2000. She is an DC outsider she says. Almost verbatim what Bush said back in 2000. She wants to use bipartisanship to get things done. Ditto what Bush said in 2000. She claims her and McCain are reformers. Almost word for word what Bush said in 2000. All in all, I think someone might want to check under her hood to see if Dubya is not trying out a new fashion style. At the debate I listened to a George Bush with tits. Same lines, same fake folksy garbage. And what's up with those winks Sarah? Trying to get every Neo-Con In America rushing to the bathroom for a time out?

And we should trust them when they say they will shake things up and reform? Is America this stupid? Are we going to swallow this kind of rehashed, pulled from the go to bag of political chicanery? Our track record is pretty dismal. But maybe this time we will surpass our previous lousy choices and pick the black guy who is hands down the better choice.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rodgah

If only every bureaucrat, city worker, or Town Dump employee would greet me like this fellow does every time I go to the Acton Dump. It would certainly increase my chances of leaving with a smile and friendly thoughts about the local folks who keep our complex infrastructures running smoothly.

We'll call this guy Rodgah. Why? Well, he looks like a Rodgah and his mother was blessed with the foresight to name him what he became. He came on after the great Dump Coup back 5 years or so. Maybe longer. Time has a way of getting out of hand here in Acton. This year went by so fast, I don't think Summer could move quick enough to jump on board. We went right from Spring rain to Fall leaf drop.

So Rodgah was part of the new crew who took over from the Dump Nazis we had before. A friendly and agreeable temperament must have been a requirement to be part of the new crew. This group never seem to get fired up, bent out of shape or flustered. Even when some flat lander from Mass decides to empty his Lakeside cottage of 30 summers worth of camp residue. After leaving a trail of trash crumbs all the way back to their fancy camp on Great East Lake, they pull up with trash, garbage and that old boat cover all hanging this way and that. I don't think those folks from Mass know what rope is for.

They stop in front of the big hopper. Everyone has to stop at the big hopper first. So they stop and it is immediately obvious they have no clue where stuff goes. This bin, that bin, or maybe inside the big building. They stand there holding a lawn chair and get pissy when they can't throw it in the hopper. No, no,no you have to take it over by the trailer and lean up next to that 1932 chunk of rusting cast iron. The tourist turns and squints like the Sun is blinding them. But it ain't. It's behind them. Folks from away seem to just like squinting I guess. Meanwhile the line of trash bearing pilgrims backs up almost to the H Road. The tourist does not care. They are too busy squinting and waving old lawn chairs around.

After a Sunday of too many cars with out of state plates and after too many pissy tourists holding lawn chairs and squinting, the dump crew keeps their composure. With friendly nudges offered by firm hands, they shepherd the clueless through the magic that is "Going to the Dump". Especially Rodgah. Rodgah always has a smile, a tale, or some pithy advice to share with one and all. And today he was giving out chuckles. He unofficially called today Hawaiian Dump Day. Told me he couldn't wait to get home and try the new outfit out in front of the missus. Only with slightly less on.

Going to the Dump is enjoyable again. I don't feel like a drug smuggler trying to make it through customs anymore. The Dump Nazis used to poke, prod and interrogate before rubbish ejection was sanctioned. Rigid tight asses who would boot you out with trash and garbage still on board if you looked at them funny. Nothing worse than coming home from the dump with the load you had wished to see in the hopper.

The Dump does have the token Grumpy Gus. The Acton Dump Grumpy Gus handles the plastics, cardboard, and busted electronics transactions. Today he kind a grumbled and cast an accusing eye my way when I asked him what to do with that TV I had to get rid of. He just mumbled some while he opened the trailer so I could toss it in there to be recycled. That's about as bad as it gets now days.

No more breaking into cold sweats anguishing over whether I have my newspaper sorted right. No more worrying I will lose a hand if I dump some #3 plastic in the #1 bin. Yeah, going to the Acton Dump these last 5 or so years is like taking a mini-vacation.