Saturday, October 31, 2009

Keepin Track of the Madness

As loose a dog as I appear sometimes, I do often manage to make plans, secretly hope, and even occasionally carry out plans and see those hopes fulfilled. Yeah, I am not as free a spirit as I would have myself believe. I guess I fall somewhere above clueless flounder and just shy of average flounder. Definitely far below anal retentive flounder though. "Good enough" is often over reaching my expectations.

I entered this year hoping, scheming and conniving ways to make sure I wrote more blog posts than last year's 199. I have even been keeping track of the numbers of useless words I have tried to put together into sentences that may make some sense to someone other myself. I haven't tallied the words up yet, but I am currently at 159 posts with 61 days left in the year. It is looking like I might just do it. Of course the quality of this record breaking effort will be as it always is, in the eye of the beholder.

At this point in the year I sit down to write and wonder why creating a new milestone based on numbers is important. Well, I guess it isn't important. And it has no meaning to anyone but myself. Right about now, I am not feeling the importance as keenly as I did when I banged out a post a day back in January. I even gave up many days of potential posts just to pay more attention to my bike shop. Imagine finding anything more important than writing inanities and nonsense.

Keeping promises and following through may have even more importance when that promise is made to ourselves. If the first person I disappoint is myself, it becomes so much easier to disappoint others.

See Ya............................
Photo by Mrs Maze

(296 / 18,267)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Awards Show

Rewards such as they are are fleeting. Stop blogging for too long and any readers currently hooked will find their fix elsewhere. Unless we are a celebrity, a sports star, or really really good, our words are just more silent noise bouncing around the Internet ether sucking up major chunks of bandwidth.

To garner any true satisfaction I have to look inward for my atta boys and the excellent comments I receive from folks kind enough to actually read what I write. Sometimes another blogger will take that extra step and confer upon a fellow blogger some kind of award that lets the recipient know, they think they are doing a good job.

Doc, over to "Social Zymurgy:The Culture of Beer" has included me in his list of ten bloggers to receive the "E" blogging award. Apparently he has not read much of what I have written. Doc, coming from you, this is a real honor. FFF was what connected us, and I know I will be continuing to use your blog as an example for me to try and live up to. Thanks much.

Being the basic dumass and lazy to boot, the history or record of this award was hard to follow. Typical of the interactions here in Blogotopia, something is created and passed along. Eventually that something takes on a life of it's own leaving it's origins lost in the dust of a thousand blog posts. But then I realized that I can find anything on the Internet. Just use the right combination of prompts and Google will take me anywhere.

This award was created at ProjectMommy on January 18, 2008. I had heard of ProjectMommy at some point in the past. One of those mommy blogs on steroids. Anyway, the link takes you to the original site, but then when you punch up the "we moved to this site" icon, I find myself at Go - hmm. Anyway, I have fulfilled any credit due duties as far as I can tell.

There are strings attached to this award. Virtual strings that have no legal or otherwise corporeal connections that would force me to adhere to them. It is entirely a voluntary obligation. I am supposed to now pass this award along to 10 other worthy bloggers I feel are credits to the race. Hmm. The usual suspects I would target all seem to have this award already. And all the new bloggers I have recently found are just that, new to me. Having already been snubbed when trying to pass along an award, I am more cautious now before assuming any award will be accepted gratefully, gracefully or even begrudgingly.

Well screw it. If I get slapped down so be it:

First up - Susan's Ex Gratia - A chemistry teacher who writes well and with just enough kiss my butt attitude, I had to include her.

Next - Dawn over to Weldable Cookies - One of the best writers I have met who comes from my state. Her clear no nonsense approach to prose never leaves anything unsaid or base not covered. I can always rely on her to tell me what she really thinks.

Third - sunshine, the nice woman from Canada who never has a harsh word to say. Well, she did call Billy a perv but in the nicest way possible. Her blog, Love at Home stands out for me because of the honesty I see in her video blog and the fact she uses a Comic Sans font. Anyone who bucks convention like that deserves an "E" for excellence.

Speaking of Billy. BBC, who writes from the Northwest somewhere on a blog called Spirits Doings, is the most obnoxious blogger I consistently trade comments with. He has on occasion pissed me off. But then I think he manages to do that with everyone he meets. It may be a matter of pride with him to see how far he can push the next asshole before they blow a gasket. And since I seem to value honesty, Billy is one who honestly does not give a shit what anyone thinks except him. I am going to pass this E award onto him. If he wants it, great. If not, I don't care. And neither will he. We've become friends and that's all that really matters anyway.

That's it for now. I am going to pass along the other six awards when I can.

(743 / 17,971)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Russia Hates Me

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
- Mark Twain's Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review

I am not one to rely on statistics as a rule. Some people just love the power of numbers as support for their take, their efforts, marking their progress through this life. More than a cottage industry, the study and manipulation of statistics is one of the driving forces behind much of what we do, say, vote, consume. There is even a game show based around the use of statistics - "And the survey said....."

Rather than try to understand statistics, we (I am including my lazy ass self also) tend to take them at their face value, as long as we like the source. GDP, GNP, Batting Averages, On Base percentages, Poverty levels, Tax bracket breakdowns, opinion polls. Everywhere I look I see statistics woven into everything we do, say, or feel. Take a look at my sidebar and the almost unnoticed grip statistics has on me. Insidious and quiet, statistics underscore more of our lives than any of us really understand. Or is it care to understand?

I am sure there is a definitive history of statistics. Actually I would feel safe saying there are conflicting definitive histories of statistics. But one thing is indisputable. We humans love them. Even if we think we don't. I say I hate them, but just look at my sidebar. It tells a different story. There I have breakdowns of all my posts based on how many in a year, how many with a certain tag, and how many folks claim to be following my blog. Any claim I make now that I hate Statistics seems a tad emptier than it did a minute ago.

What has all this to do with Russia and why does it hate me you ask? Okay, you may not have not asked, but I am because I got off the point right out of the gate and went on a tangent that well, was bound to step off some edge somewhere and plunge this post to the depths of Blog Post Hell where it probably belongs.

So with my hypocritical mentality about statistics in mind, I remembered I had once signed up for Google Analytics. Signed up and basically forgot about it. Google Analytics is a statistician's wet dream come to life. Not a simple hit counter, it is a computer software analysis of website traffic. Punch up any one of the numerous "report" icons and one can tell almost anything about the people who have visited that website. There are graphs, flow charts, map charts, jeez any kind of chart you may want. Average time visiting the site, average number of pages viewed and I guess I can even backtrack from which ISP the traffic came from. Way too much information for my limited intellect or interest.

Tell me how many people visited and where they hail from and I am a happy camper. Yeah I guess I could have found a simple hit counter. There must be hundreds of them out there. But did I mention I am a lazy SOB? Analytics gives me the basics along with more information than I will ever need.

When I first hooked up this Internet tether to my blog, I checked it everyday. It was like watching grass grow. The traffic was pitiful and the visits a paltry 15 or so a day from maybe 5 or 6 countries. I shrugged my shoulders and moved on, leaving the machine to it's work without my constant supervision. Another one of those background computer things I just took for granted.

Flash forward a year or so. I just checked it out for a hoot. Seems traffic has definitely increased. From the looks of things, I am now averaging around 50 or so visits a day that last for more than a couple of minutes with slightly more than one page viewed per visit. And the kicker is I have folks from 45 countries stopping by on occasion. I am positive this is peanuts in the scheme of what the big bloggin dogs see, but nevertheless, it was a pleasant surprise to me.

As I perused the countries where visitors came from, I noticed a decided snubbing from several. Immediately my feelings were hurt. Why no Russians? Why no Chinese? Why is most of Africa and Mongolia giving me the cold shoulder? I'd consider the possibility it was a Commie Conspiracy but for the fact that Russia is not considered Commie anymore and Vietnam is home to some of my most ardent and consistent fans. All two of them were there in the beginning and apparently they have not left their monitors in over a year.

So I am left with the feeling that while I have touched some folks in some odd corners of the globe, I have some serious work ahead of me if I plan on having that World Wide impact I never envisioned I would have. Time to re-group I guess.........

Nah. I 'll check back in a year and see what's up then.

Keep the rubber side down.......................

(890 / 17,228)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Logic & Tradition

A Russian emigre, immigrant, ex pat, refugee from the old USSR came to the States somewhere around the time of the Great Wall Falling in Europe. I ran into him virtually so to speak, on a forum thread about the Metric System. Apparently he is one of those smart guys. He settled in Silicon Valley some years ago and I imagine his engineering expertise has made some Silicon Valley tycoon some serious jingle over the years. Hell, he may even be a tycoon himself. Hard to tell over the Internet.

You see I know he's smart. He writes without an accent. If it was not for the Commie flag he uses for an avatar, I would have no clue about where he came from. Matter of fact he writes like he's from Cleveland, maybe Shaker Heights.

So there we were trading comments back and forth about the stupidity of whatever it is we use here in the US to measure stuff. Both of us agreeing the Metric System is logical and the American system is not. "Well Duh," I thought, "Americans, logical? Why the Hell would we want to be logical?" Right then and there I knew this guy was not as smart as I thought he was.

That he would even tie the idea of logic into any American institution indicated this Ruskie had not completely assimilated yet after 25 years here. The ideas of logic and tradition seem to be on opposite poles from each other. If logic ruled, tradition would not take precedence unless it was the logical thing to do. Tradition is often illogical and counterproductive. That catchy Right Wing go to phrase, "Traditional American Values" comes to mind. Tradition often ends up dividing people more often than it brings them together. That in itself seems to defeat the idea of logic.

What I find a true comedy is that many Americans even think we have been around long enough to establish honest traditions. We only began to pollute the place with our presence some 400 plus years ago. Jeez, we have hardly been here long enough to even wrinkle the sheets.

But there it is. A kind of short guy syndrome in the gang we hang out with. All those Euro types looking down their two thousand years of history noses at us and we start posturing and jiving like we fit in with our paltry two plus centuries. Shoot, I bet Europe has Walmarts older than that.


(413 / 16,338)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Season of Holidays

So it's Tuesday. Almost the end of October. Pretty soon we will have another Halloween behind us and will have successfully paid no serious heed to a previously important and grand celebration of some of our forebears. (Another odd word - forebear. Like a child's story with a twist)

So we enter the season of many holidays. Most coming up have some sort of historical connecting rod to some religious madness from years ago. Recently ( I say recently in the sense that this has happened since I have been alive), Uh recently we have added Kwanzaa to this all star line up coming at us. Let's break it down.

Halloween - first celebrated by white folks barely past grunting stage. As I understand it, we can blame the Irish. Or the Brits. And even the Scots, my forebears, got their pasty white sheets and blackened faces into it. For some reason the end of summer was a bigger deal then than it is now. I guess headin to Florida was not an option for them. Bermuda shorts and winged sunglasses had yet to be invented.

Thanksgiving - I know the official line on this one. I studied it in school. But I think it is all propaganda from The Man. Thanksgiving is nothing but a chance for members of the same family to get together and bicker with themselves in private instead of doing it in public. That and watching football. I always thought it was odd to only have one day we were supposed to be thankful. Like the rest of the year it was okay to take it all for granted?

Chanukah - Not being Jewish, this one always confused me. I never understood why they did not celebrate Christmas. Of course it all became obvious once I realized everyone was not a Christian. It was my first and only Jewish girlfriend who straightened me out on this one. I was maybe 13 and she was a more sophisticated 14. Instead of celebrating a birth of someone important, I guess this one is based on winning some war or battle back around the beginning of time. Once I caught onto the fact they had eight days of this, I thought I was getting cheated what with our paltry one day.

Kwanzaa - Not sure what to say about this one. Being a blatantly pasty white guy, I must be cautious here. Apparently it has grown legs since it was invented in 1966. More power to the folks who celebrate it. More money in the till for the businesses that cater to it. Win/win all around.

And the grande dame of them all, Christmas. What is there to say about Christmas that has not already been said? My mother and many other wise old folks always said, "If you cannot say something nice, don't say anything at all." Riiiiight. Sure Mom. I hear ya.

I am sure I have snubbed someones Fall getaway. For this I do apologize. These are the holidays that seem to have captured the lion's share of attention and scrutiny at this time of the year. The attention paid to them has transcended their original intents and become vehicles for the business world to finish the year with as much of our money in their pockets as possible. Yeah I know, I am one of those business folks. That does not mean I have to play stupid.

I learned to hate this time of year. My family did not handle it well. My father's intake of alcohol would increase exponentially as we got closer to the end of the year. The volume of the heated arguments between my mom and my dad would pick up. I remember staying in my room more or staying away from the house as long as possible. My reading picked up this time of year. Libraries wherever we lived would see my face more often. And rather than allow this built in depression get it's grips on me one more time, I figured I would spill my guts now and get it over with. We'll see how it works.

Keep it 'Tween the Ditches..........................

(690 / 15,925)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

FFF # 7 - The Lizard

On the sidewalk, fallen between the cracks was the strange man dressed as Carmen Miranda who had earlier walked into the bar and demanded to know who had taken his pet iguana. I knew it was him. I recognized his shoes. I stepped over him and stopped. His rigid pose and soft snore told me he was not at the moment concerned about the iguana. I wondered if he ever hooked back up with the lizard.

"Whoa, lookee there. Nice watch."

Casting a quick coast clearing glance around, I bent down and checked to see what else he had in his possession that might bring a few bucks over to the Triple Globe Pawn Shop. I just loved easy pickins. Slammin em around always grated on me. Too much like work. And besides I never knew when one of them was gonna play the hero. Carmen here was not playing the hero. Carmen was cooperating completely. I gave him a good kick in the ribs to make sure he was really out. Cool. No response.

Taking a second look around for citizens who might want to mind more than their own business, I considered if flipping him over made sense. I seem to remember he had come in the Fifth Street Bar waving around a sizable purse. Gripping fistfuls of his chiffon Rhumba dress at the shoulders and hips, I rolled him in my direction. Yes. The purse was under him.

I grabbed the purse to pick it up. It was then I noticed the shoulder strap. It disappeared up his dress. When I yanked on it, it yanked back. I yanked harder. It yanked harder. A few more times of this and I realized the purse was not going to come of its own free will. I worked on his wrist watch. Damn thing was a strap on with a buckle and clasp. The girly thin leather was clamped hard with about the smallest buckle I had ever seen.

In my trade, I don't have much time to perform my work. I can't dilly dally too long rifling pockets, purses whatever. At some point, someone happens by and wants to know what the Hell is going on. My credo is get in and get out as fast as possible. I reached over to my buck knife stashed in the upside down sheath on my belt. Cutting the watch strap and the purse strap seemed the line of least resistance. I never got the knife out. A rough voice out of nowhere made my hand freeze in mid air.

"Yo Bub"

I looked around almost in a panic. I stood back up. Not a soul anywhere that I could see.

Again, "Yo Bub.............. Hey Asshole, down here."

Still frozen with my eyes up the street, I cautiously tried to see if Carmen had suddenly wakened. Without moving my head, all I could see were those ridiculous shoes. They were not moving. Unnerved for sure now, I very carefully dropped my head down and focused. An ugly lizard with an ugly look in his eyes stared back. Only his head and one clawed foot clutching the purse strap were visible. The rest of him disappeared up Carmen's dress.

"Yeah, that's right, a talkin lizard. Got a problem with that?"

Slowly I began to fix in. "Uh no. I guess not. Just did not expect to see a lizard stuffed up someone’s dress. Caught me off guard is all."

The lizard turned his head sideways and blinked the one eye facing up. Suddenly Carmen's dress seemed to heave and pulsate as the lizard tried to claw his way out from all that purple and pink chiffon. His clawed front feet could not find a purchase on the concrete. He seemed stuck.

"Hey, give me a hand here asshole. You rolled him over on my tail."

I just gazed at the lizard a second too long.

"Come on Jerk Off let's go, let's go. My tails fallin asleep here."

I knelt down. Lifting Ms. Miranda by his hip, I asked, "Hows that?"

No, No, No! Fer Chrisakes, what are you trying to do? Squash me flat. Lift the other hip. I jumped over the prone drunk and lifted. " Ah thanks much." And the lizard scrambled free from the chiffon Rhumba dress.

Neither of us said anything those first few minutes. I was deciding if being caught red handed rolling a drunk by a talking lizard was something I ought to worry about. What if he he talked? Or worse, began to raise a ruckus right here next to the peacefully resting Carmen Miranda? I am a cautious man by nature. Not a chance taker. Like I said, I favor easy pickins. Don't like dealin with heroes, cops, or good Samaritans. I figured I'd just off the lizard and move along once I had filled my pockets. No one gets jail for offing a lizard. Do they?

The lizard must have been a mind reader. He shook his head, looked up at me, and hissed as his mouth opened wide. The spiky ridge along his spine stood up hard and his throat pouch puffed up like a balloon. He did not look happy. He looked mad enough to cause pain if I wasn't careful. "Bub", he hissed, "I got no clue what you are about to do, but if it includes that pitiful excuse for a knife, you can forget that noise. I spit you know. And it ain't pleasant spit. Blind you in a heart beat."

He had knocked me off my game with his claim. I started to back away with my hands out, "Hey no problem. I'll just be on my way. You have a good evening."

"Hold on there Bub. No need to leave on my account." He relaxed his spikes and the throat pouch emptied with a whoosh. "A lizard can't be too careful these days. All kinds of low lifes and losers out here waitin around corners to have their way with me. Just wanted to make sure you knew I could protect myself." The iguana turned around and looked at his former companion lying in a stupor on the sidewalk. "Damn I hate drunks. Wish I had known this before I said yes I'd go to the bar with him. Fool has no capacity for liquor."

"Well where'd you disappear to earlier? Your buddy here was all in a lather about losing you. He even accused Fred the bartender over to the Fifth Street Bar of stealing you. Fred don't steal. He's a perv and a gambler, but he don't steal." I was starting to feel okay with this lizard. He had a way of making me feel comfortable.

"Ah Shit man. I told Richard... Richard's his name by the way, in case you have any interest..... I told the asshole I was going to find some food and maybe some company. Told him I'd be back in an hour. Even paid for more drinks while I was gone. But I guess you can't depend on a drunk to remember anything. He got three sheets to the wind and started a tantrum I guess."

"Where did you go?"

“Spotted the cutest she toad out back of the bar. We hooked up. Let me tell you what, that tongue of hers found places I didn't know I had places.“ The lizard paused and worked up what I thought might be his version of a smile. He looked off into the night. "It's too bad though……… I was hungry too. Shoulda asked her if she had any sisters before I ate her."

I was disgusted and showed it. "Ah man, that's just disgusting. You ate a toad? God. Ew. Yeech."

The lizard turned back and looked at me. “What?........... I’m an iguana ferchrisakes. What do you think we eat? Caviar and truffles? Shoot, if I was big enough, you might be on my menu.”

The Lizard paused. We looked at each other. It’s damn hard to tell when a lizard is kidding by the look on their face. Must be all those scales and teeth. To me they always looked serious.

“So Lizard, what’s your name? Mine’s John, but everyone calls me Easy Picker.”

“Well John my name is Harold. Everyone calls me………..Harold. Glad to meetcha.” Harold raised his right clawed foot in a gesture as old as Mankind and I guess lizard alike. I took it and we shook. “ So John, uh Easy Picker, are you gonna rob Richard here or not? Seems we ought to get a move on before someone comes along.”

The reference to “we” threw me for a second. I had no plans to hook up with a lizard. My act was a solo act. Always seemed to work out the best for everyone concerned that way. “Uh, well John, I guess so. That is if you don’t mind. “ I slowly reached for my buck knife. Harold’s spikes twitched, but quickly relaxed as I unfolded it and slipped the blade under the watch strap. While I pocketed the watch Harold let go of the purse strap. I picked up the purse and opened it.

“Jesus Harold, what the Hell?” Inside the purse was a huge handgun and a roll of bills.

“Yeah, Richard may have liked to dress up like the ladies, but he was a real bad ass in his day. The money’s mine. I hired Richard to be my body guard.”

I picked up the roll of bills and felt its size and weight. “Must be ……..”

“Over 10 grand”, Harold finished the thought for me. “So Easy Picker, you want a job?” Harold turned and looked at Richard in his Rhumba dress sprawled out on the dirty pavement. “Seems I am in need of a new body guard.”

I took a second to filter this new situation. A job? A real job? Hmm. I hadn’t had a real job since Jeez, it had been a long time. That’s for sure. I tossed the roll and the gun back in the purse and tucked it inside my coat. “Sure, why not Harold. Let’s go. I know a great pawn shop that asks no questions.”

“I am sure you do John, I am sure you do. Just give me a sec. I need to ……” And Harold turned and disappeared back up Carmen Miranda’s dress. The chiffon billowed this way. The chiffon billowed that way. Mild curse words could be heard. Finally Harold emerged with a smaller version of the same fruity bonnet that Richard/Carmen had been wearing. Once again out from under the frilly dress, he reached inside the bonnet. He came out with a half burned cigar. Stuffed it between his lizard lips and looked up at me. “Got a light?”

“No Harold, I don’t smoke. Let’s get moving. The pawn shop closes at midnight.” We headed down the dark street. I couldn’t stand it any longer.

“What’s up with the hat there Harold. You a perv too?”

“What? You think an iguana wearing a Carmen Miranda bonnet is odd? What about you? I mean, if you wanted to pull off the WC Fields look, you could have at least picked out a tux that fit.”

I stopped. Harold stopped. I looked him in the eye and said, “Get it right Lizard. Fred Astaire. Not WC Fields. Jeez, you lizards can be so numb sometimes.”


That was a hoot. Had some fun with this one. Fun like this is probably illegal somewhere. Since I could not pick which sentence to go with, I used them both. Kind of worked I guess.


(1908 / 15,235)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Random Thinking While Waking Up

Some days that first cup of coffee just tastes better than other days. This morning's first cup is especially delicious. I often wonder why this is. And why do I waste time dwelling on personal pleasures when what I should be doing is trying to make this World a better place?

You know what? Screw the World for awhile. I am just going to enjoy my first cup of coffee, sit here and be snarky. Later today I will save the World.

Damn, this cup of coffee is good. If I could remember how many scoops of grounds I put in, then maybe I could repeat this pot another time. But as usual, when I decide to make the coffee, some odds board in Vegas lights up with all the various probabilities of how it will turn out. I believe in free form coffee. Like a free spirit coffee. Never know what will come out of the pot. Weak see through Joe or stand up to a spoon caffeinated mud. It's always a crap shoot. This morning I nailed it. Strong enough to jiggle the hairs on my neck, but not so strong they tried to escape.

My darling significant other wifey poo, snookums lovely lady of my life who also happens to be an accountant has a more structured approach to making coffee. She has a more structured approach to almost everything. Everything she does is pared down to specifics with an eye on being as efficient as possible. Once a thing is known and processes worked out, every time that thing or activity is waged, it is waged the same. Not robot like, but certainly not the loose dog way I always work through things.

And because this post is all about random, I guess I need to switch gears. Or is it subjects? Gears sounds cooler. Like I am revin her up and getting ready to punch it, Marge.

I visited another blog yesterday. It is not on my A list, but I keep in touch. A political blog by a woman who fancies herself as the ultimate conservative babe in the world. This woman is definitely not short on ego. She is also not tolerant of any thought that she feels wanders from her narrow view of how the World is. I used to take her on in her comment section. But it seems she always has her blinders on and her MP3 tuned in with Beck, Hannity, or Coulter re-runs. An America, Love it or Leave it kinda gal. So now when I visit, I keep my mouth shut.

She doesn't intimidate me. Her rhetoric is the same old crap I hear from that side of the fence. I just find it futile to argue with a brick. A dense brick. But she writes half decently and her rage is quite funny. Yesterday her ranting was about Men.

She had stumbled upon some article somewhere about how modern men are the wimpiest men who so far have lived on this planet. Some anthropologist wrote the article and with this one opinion in hand, she agrees that the men she has to deal with now are no where as manly as Gorg who brought down mastodons with his bare hands back in the day.

The kicker of of course is she does not just take the opinion of one anthropologist as word, she adds her own interpretation or maybe expansion of the reason men are limp wristed flaccid losers now days. She blames Liberalism.

She compliments the Men of the right in so far as she thinks their conservative values are manly, but she goes on that the stink of liberalism has also turned them into metrosexual over sensitive losers because they are surrounded by the overwhelming stench of a society lost to the socialist pinko commie lifestyle. She did not say this in exactly this way, but this is what she meant.

Maybe it is because of my age, but I found her manic post to be especially funny. I laughed my way through it.

Which brings me back to saving the World and thus negates any claim on my part that this morning's thoughts were random.

As I read her rant, all I could think of is all the similar rants I have been hearing from the loudmouths on the Right. Specifically their rose colored image of how "things used to be" and how it would be oh so great, oh so special if we could turn back the clock. I thought that if I could invent a time machine and send all their sorry butts back a few centuries, that might not be saving the World, but it certainly would be an improvement.

I am off to slay the dragon or drain the lizard - whichever comes first.........

(790 / 13,327)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I am a Lumberjack and I'm Okay

At first I thought this blogging medium was a great way for folks to come out of their individual shells and mind meld like Spock and all would become one huge intelligence that would transcend the need for bickering and flicking boogers at each other.

Of course that was just me having an Acid flashback.

Neighborhoods. Specifically Blogging neighborhoods. Clicks, political groups, genre groupies, Mommy bloggers, whatever. This blogging world may encompass the planet, but per human tendencies, it has broken itself down into insular little enclaves that often seem unfriendly to those strangers passing by. Jeez, imagine that. Just like the real world.

However, (I just love this word - easier to type than "on the other hand" and is even more confusing when one looks at it by itself. However? What the Hell is however?) Where was I?

Oh yeah - However and on the other hand, the Internet has made the World smaller and the neighborhoods bigger. I know what you are thinking. "Wow Mike, what an awesome observation." And now, breath held and on the edge of your seat, you can't wait for the follow up...................... Uh, I sat down this morning with every intention of writing a serious and well thought out post that would make up for the useless post of yesterday. Hmm. Seems I haven't shaken the useless thing yet. All I want to do is be silly and poke fun at us humans because really folks, come on now..... We are pretty silly most of the time. I'd say stupid, but well I am including more people than myself here.

As I usually do, I searched for the reason behind my recent fall from seriousness. Why all of a sudden has Life ceased being nothing to joke about? I mean Jeez, if you can't take Life seriously, how the Hell can you expect to take anything seriously? Seriously. No foolin around..........Okay, you in the back - stop that snickering.

After much introspection, exospection, misdirection and a couple of minor erections, I have concluded it is the fault of Monty Python. Yeah that's right. I found someone else to blame for my foibles. failings and deviant behaviors. I am sure my dearly departed parents are breathing a sigh of relief that they had no part in this. But if I had a therapist, and could afford one given that my insurance doesn't cover loony stuff - well my therapist would probably disagree and ask me how did I feel while still in the womb knowing I would probably not like the World I was being forced into and that's why I decided to come out ass first.

My favorite cable channel, IFC, has recently been airing all kinds of programming about Monty Python. Their movies, many of their skits, and even more interesting in some ways, the back stories behind their rise to fame. And of course I have been there face glued to the screen reliving those moments of gut splitting pleasure I had as a younger man when they first invaded our country via that commie lib medium, PBS. Odd though, it was my Goldwater Conservative mom who turned me onto them. I know this flies in the face of the rumor that Conservatives have no sense of humor, but there you have it. Anecdotal evidence. What more could you ask for?

I know I promised to do better next time, and I am trying. But I need to purge my undersized brain of all the sensory over load comprised of huge feet, big teeth and fish slapping. I'll be better once IFC goes back to showing films with subtitles.


(608 / 12,537)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Worthless Post about a Useless Human

So I am looking around for stuff to write about, rant about. I found some glimmer of interest and hope inside when I spotted the story about a French gay soccer team and a French Muslim soccer team. But as it turns out, just more of your basic religiously wrapped homophobic crap. Play ball ferchrisakes. The French have their own way and their own thing. Given the weirdness we come up with here in the States, I hesitate to call any furriner on the carpet. I moved on.

I was so stoked to have my first cup of coffee this AM, I actually made it myself. No, the World did not come to a screeching halt. I have not, to my knowledge, received a recent blow to the head. I just had a hankering for some Joe earlier than the usual 4:30/5:00 AM perk off. I'm standing around tapping my feet waiting for the coffee to finish perking ferchrisakes hurry it up , I need caffeine, when on the small analog older than dirt TV sitting near the kitchen table, a story uniquely American comes on. Well maybe not uniquely American, but it came as no surprise to me. We have our fair share of shallow and useless people.

Seems some jet setting Hollywood bimbo who also happens to be blond with perfect teeth and a permanent false smile has raised eyebrows of even the most jaded entertainment sycophants. Apparently she refused to go to her 26 year old sister's birthday party. If we stop here, this seems like personal business we should have no real interest in. Family shit and all that. Sisters can be brutal to each other. But of course the credo of the Hollywood rag reporter is find a story no matter what. It appears this young bimbo would not go to her sisters birthday party because she was not being paid to appear. In your face Sis.

I thought this incident would have more impact if I knew who was involved. But it turns out, no, knowing their name means nothing. Who the Hell is Heidi Montag and what has she done to deserve this much notoriety?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just wasted 15 minutes of my life I will never see again reading Wiki's entry about this useless and talentless human. And to make this whole joke even more bee-zarre, I am subjecting myself to more self flagellation by writing about her here. Some days I guess I just wake up in a S&M frame of mind.

I promise to do better next time.................

(426 / 11,929)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Forest of a Million Trees

A forest of a million trees stand strong
In their shadows a billion saplings stand defiant
Slowly growing, slowly withering, waiting their turn
Their chance to see the sky and rule the Earth.

The forest dies when one of them forgets
Their mutual needs, their shared destinies.
Ignoring their entwined roots
Grasping that same piece of earth
Separately they become less
Together they become more

A small nugget I found while running back through my old posts and drafts listing. An obvious attempt to wax philosophical and political at the same time. As usual with my crude poetic efforts, it feels unfinished, but .......

(104 / 11,503)

Monday, October 19, 2009

FFF #6 - The Canoe

"You know Javier, poets say that in the spring a young man's thoughts turn to love, but I think they're wrong. It doesn't matter what season it is, young men are always horny. Love has nothing to do with it."

Pop looked at his son standing at the other end of the over turned canoe. Javier didn't say anything, but he was grinning. Hearing his ole man spout off about being horny made him laugh. He remembered the days when talk like that would make him blush.

"Pop, give me a break. Joshua is only seven. His thoughts are about baseball, riding his bike, and video games. Old farts like you are supposed to have forgotten about horny and such nonsense. Grab the end of the canoe and let's hit the road."

Pop grabbed his end of the canoe silently and they headed up the hill to the pick up. Instead of working with the rough terrain, the narrow footpath that led to the parking area fought it's way to the top. Hiking it with nothing in hand was difficult. Hiking it with a 16 foot cedar strip canoe was dangerous. Half way up Javier's foot slipped.

That day played through Pop's head one more time as he stood in front of the stove lifting the edge of a pancake from the griddle to see if it was ready to add to the growing pile on the plate next to the stove. He remembered his son's last day on the planet like it was yesterday not two years ago. At least now he did not fall into a weeping crumpled heap unable to function at all. But the deep ache his soul had replaced it with some days seemed worse. He often wondered how it was possible to hold so much grief and still make it through the day.

To say Javier had been the light of Pop's life was not enough. The stress of Javier's birth had killed Pop's life companion. The woman he had loved since elementary school had left him a widower and a brand new father without a clue. Christ, he had not even gone to Lamaze classes with Julie. His truck driving job at the time kept him out 6 days of every 7. And now he was in charge of an infant.

Remembering the early days with Javier made the pain of his recent death diminish. Pop smiled as he ran through all the mistakes he made as he hamfisted his way through those first years. The backwards diapers. Finding out just how weak his stomach was regarding baby puke, baby shit, baby fluids. And finally the day he walked in Javier's room to see his smiling son buck naked in his crib waving around his shitty diaper like a lasso and poop spread out on the walls, pictures, and the closet door. No matter how he felt when he remembered this memory, re-running it through his mind always made him smile.

Pop flipped the pancake. His smile faded. He was back in the here and now. And now he had to get Joshua's ass in gear so they could go visit his parents graves. He had no desire to go. But he had promised Joshua a day of fishing and remembrance. Joshua wanted to lay flowers on the graves.

"Joshua! Get your ass out of bed boy. Let's go, let's go. Pancakes this morning!"

From the narrow hallway that lead into the kitchen, "Okay Pop! Don't yell. I'm up and almost........." Joshua came skittering into the kitchen and slipped as his sock covered feet hit the linoleum. Pop's heart stopped as he watched the last living relative he had fall backwards and slam to the floor on his back.

Pop dropped the flipper and lurched towards Joshua. On his back, all Joshua could do was hold his eyes open. For some reason he couldn't catch his breath. He began to flop and make that anguishing sound of someone desperately trying to find some air. Any air. Once, twice, Joshua inhaled but there was nothing. Just as Pop got to him, the third attempt brought him relief. With a huge gasp Joshua caught his breath and Pop relaxed.

"Jesus H Christ Josh, I told you about running in the house!" Pop turned away from Joshua as his hands began to shake and he thought, "I can't lose another loved one. Not again."

"I'm okay Pop."

"Well stand up and let me check out that noggin. Sounded like it took a shot. Maybe oughta check the floor for damage while we are at it. Whata ya think?"

Pop ran his hands over Josh's head. Josh had a nice bump starting to grow. Immediately Pop was drawn back two years when he did the same thing to Javier's head. It was no big thing either of them thought. Little did they know, Javier would not live through the night. Pop shook off the memory.

"Ah, you're okay ya little rascal. Sit down and have some pancakes. Big day today." He tousled Josh's hair and reminded himself to check Josh in another hour and every hour for the next 24.

Joshua sat at the kitchen table. He was a scrawny kid, his head and shoulders just topping the table. Pop had tried to get him to use the booster seat, but Joshua insisted he was a big boy now. Booster seats were for babies. Having learned to pick the battles he wanted to wage, Pop let it go. If the kid was happy to sit eye level with his grub, so what. Pop set a plate down in front of Joshua and then set himself one.

They both concentrated on their breakfast. Joshua was hungry and Pop was reflective. His appetite seemed to be fading as the years stacked up. He ate, but did so only because he knew he needed to. Food really brought him no pleasure anymore. He laid down his fork, wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his shirt.

"Josh? I know I said we would go fishing today, but I thought we might change things around some today."

"How's That Pop?" Joshua still had a mouthful of food and when he said "Pop". Some half chewed pancake spurted from his mouth.

"Jesus Josh, what did I say about talking with your mouth full?"

Josh sat there with his fork standing up on the table, his lips pursed out from pancake overload and just looked at Pop. His chewing action became more animated, followed closely with an exaggerated swallowing motion. Looking at his fork, he said, "Well Pop, you shouldn't ask me a question when my mouth is full."

Pop almost spit up his orange juice. "Yes Josh, you may have a point." Pop looked at his grandson. He was not one to draw family resemblances when there were none. But Josh was looking more and more like he did when he was a young man. Josh really did not favor either Javier or Susan. But he seemed to be growing into a Pop look alike. "Poor Kid", he thought.

"So Pop." Joshua was now holding his fork up high and looking at it again. "What are you going to change about today? We're still going fishing right? And go to Mom and Dad's grave?"

"Yes Josh, we'll do both. But first I thought we might spend some time in the Garage fixing........."

"The Canoe?" Josh started butt jumping in his seat. His head bobbed up and down. "Oh boy Pop, the canoe. Please, please, please."

"Yes, the canoe. Only because I am tired of hearing about it. And besides, we should either fix it or get rid of it. If you are done fiddle fartin around, why don't you head upstairs and get dressed. I'll be in the garage."

Joshua moved the fork so that he was staring at Pop through it. He grinned and let it fall to his plate with a clatter. His earlier fall forgotten, he jumped off his chair and tore out of the kitchen. Pop started to yell, but with a shrug, smiled. Damn near impossible to yell at an empty room and get any results. He grabbed his hat and headed outside to the garage.

The cedar strip canoe hung from the ceiling joists in the garage. Pop had not been able to bring himself to touch it since the day of Javier's accident. When Javier slipped carrying it, the canoe had been damaged as it followed Javier down the hill. Mostly superficial damage he thought, but it had been two years since he looked at it. They would have to pull it down to find out.

Pop stood under the canoe. Two years later he still had trouble understanding how that day had played out. Tragedies like this never piled up on one family with such vengeance. Javier had bounced off a couple of rocks but had seemed okay. They hauled the canoe home. Javier told Pop to wake him up around 4:00PM . He was going to lay down, his head hurt. Susan was flying in from her business trip and Javier wanted to be fresh when he picked her up. At 4:00 PM , Pop was unable to wake up Javier. His breathing was almost nonexistent. Pop called 9-1-1. While they were headed to the small hospital in town, Susan's plane went down. Wind shear they later concluded. But Pop did not find out until after hours of watching his son die.

The canoe always brought back that day in vivid detail. Pop always asked himself why he put himself through this. Just burn the canoe, bust it up. sell it. But he could not. He and Javier had spent many hours planning and then building that canoe. Every piece and part of it had their fingerprints on it. They had used it every summer for 18 years. That canoe was as much a part of their family as they were. One day Pop hoped, Joshua would use it with his son.

"Pop, why are you crying?"

Pop turned suddenly. He quickly wiped his eyes with his sleeve. He just looked at Joshua and said nothing.

"It's Mom and Dad huh?"

"Yes Josh, it's your mom and dad. I miss them terribly."

"Me too Pop." Joshua was crying now also. "Pop, we don't have to fix the canoe. Let's just go fishin. You know, it's too bad we couldn't have sent them off on one of the , uh, you know the guys with horns on their helmets. When one of them dies, they send them off in a burning boat. The canoe would have been perfect, huh Pop?"

Pop grabbed Joshua and picked him up to eye level. "Son", Pop had never called Josh that, "Son, out of the mouths of babes." He set Joshua down. "Here help me with the canoe. We're going to "fix it" alright."

A couple of days later in the "Stuckey News", a small article about vandals and the local cemetery popped up on the bottom fold of the front page. It seems Albert Simmons, the caretaker, found the burned out shell of what appeared to be a well made cedar strip canoe draped over two headstones at the back of the cemetery. All he had to say was, "At least they didn't knock over any more headstones." Police are investigating.


So goes my effort this week. See ya............

(1903 / 11,399)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Head in a Hole

So I have been doing my best of late to ignore the Universe outside the small world I exist in most days. I have been doing this only so that I can marshall the few synapses I have left to more important things like keeping me sane and my business going. Best intentions and all aside, I still get yanked back into the madness that has no real affect on my day to day existence. The Gay marriage thing for instance. The whole intolerant Religious thing. And last but not least, the stupidity that seems to run our government. All of these issues, while they may be important in the long run, have no immediate impact on my world in the present tense.

Yes, I have been doing my best at keeping my head in a hole. A kinder way of putting it but less accurate, might be to say I have been trying to keep an eye on the ball. Specifically my ball. Not everyone else's ball. But my ball. Unfortunately, I now must pull my head out hole and pay attention to the other balls bouncing around me. It is coming up on November. In a couple of weeks I must once again trudge down to the town hall and cast ballots that will affect many balls bouncing around my state.

In that no one is running for something, this election is about referendums. State referendums. If I had been born into a less civic minded family, it would be easy for me to blow this election off. Ancestors from graves far flung would congregate at the foot of my bed in the middle of the night and haunt my dreams forever if I did not carry out this minor obligation of living in this country. Besides, I want to feel I have earned the right to bitch and complain. I would feel less empowered to do so had I not cast my vote.

The referendums on the ballot this November in Maine are really cool ones. Yeah, there's at least one of the typical bond ones that ask my permission to let the state borrow money for this or that. Some of the referendums here in Maine this year are being scrutinized by groups all over the country. We seem to have compiled a list of questions that just scream controversy.

The Questions

Here is the final list of Maine referendum questions that will appear on the November 3, 2009 ballot:

Question 1: People’s Veto
An Act To End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom
“Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”

Question 2: Citizen Initiative
An Act to Decrease the Automobile Excise Tax and Promote Energy
“Do you want to cut the rate of the municipal excise tax by an average of 55% on motor vehicles less than six years old and exempt hybrid and other alternative-energy and highly fuel-efficient motor vehicles from sales tax and three years of excise tax?”

Question 3: Citizen Initiative
An Act to Repeal the School District Consolidation Laws
“Do you want to repeal the 2007 law on school district consolidation and restore the laws previously in effect?”

Question 4: Citizen Initiative
An Act to Provide Tax Relief
“Do you want to change the existing formulas that limit state and local government spending and require voter approval by referendum for spending over those limits and for increases in state taxes?”

Question 5: Citizen Initiative
An Act to Establish the Maine Medical Marijuana Act
“Do you want to change the medical marijuana laws to allow treatment of more medical conditions and to create a regulated system of distribution?”

Question 6: Bond Issue
(Part A of Ch. 414, Public Laws of 2009)
“Do you favor a $71,250,000 bond issue for improvements to highways and bridges, airports, public transit facilities, ferry and port facilities, including port and harbor structures, as well as funds for the Life Flight Foundation that will make the State eligible for over $148,000,000 in federal and other matching funds?”

Question 7: Constitutional Amendment
(Ch. 1, Constitutional Resolutions of 2009)
“Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to increase the amount of time that local officials have to certify the signatures on direct initiative petitions?”

An impressive list no? We have Gays, Drugs, Religion, and Education all being addressed by our citizenry on a one by one basis. None of which has any immediate effect on me personally. But most will affect many of the people I know and consider friends. So I will cast my ballot and hope for the best.

I am also going to break with my tradition of keeping my vote to myself before the fact. What follows is how I will vote and why.

Question 1 - No of course. Gay marriage should be a non issue except in the religious arena. And this law allows the right of religions to refuse to marry them. But ensures that the state will.

Question 2 - No - This is not the time to cut taxes.

Question 3 - Yes - I was against the school consolidation in the beginning. I am still against it. Here's my chance to make it go away.

Question 4 - No - Why elect people to run things for us if we are going to try and do it ourselves. If you do not like the tax situation, elect officials that are on the same page as you. This circumnavigation technique is nothing but an effort to allow small focus groups to dictate law in our state.

Question 5 - Yes - Pot laws are stupid. This is a step in the right direction.

Question 6 - Yes - Any deal that means my state will get twice as much money in matching funds and might just fix a few potholes and bridges is okay in my book. We need to do something about the sad state of our infrastructure.

Question 7 - ????? - Not sure here. I need more information. Amending a constitution should not be done without serious consideration.

So there you have it. A list of questions that need answers. Answers that can only be supplied by those Mainers who feel the obligation to answer them. Turnout for these type of off year elections are historically low. Something tells me it will not be the case this time.

See you on the other side...............................

(1083 / 9496)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Off the Deep End

My wife received this fax last week. An organization known as "America Forever" out of Draper, Utah sent it. According to them since I voted for these two Republicans I am responsible for the destruction of this country. "You will be as responsible as they are for bringing down this nation into destruction."

Hmm. That's some heavy responsibility someone from Utah has decided to toss onto my shoulders. Our future children are doomed to be raised in Godless homosexual Hell and we as a species will be doomed for all eternity because of Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. Makes me wonder what kind of God fearing religious state we would be living in if these bozos from Utah were in charge. Visions of Iran come to mind.

At first I was amused. Quickly however I got very fired up. Seems I remember just a day or two ago, or Yeah, that's right, less than 24 hours ago mumbling something in my blog about waiting for my righteous indignation tank to fill up again. It's full to bursting now I'll tell ya. I am not fond of folks telling me I am evil based on my political or religious views. I am especially not fond of homophobic idiots from away who barge into my state to shove their narrow minded selfish agenda down my throat. You losers from Utah who push this hateful crap can shove any future faxes up your ass. Keep your bigoted ideals to yourselves and screw up your own state. Stay away from mine.

This fax is a piece of garbage, the likes of which I have not seen in a long time. And besides, this country is facing more serious issues than whether homosexuals can legally be married. This should not even be an issue. But it is. And I resent it. I resent assholes from away coming into my state burning money raised from pews outside my state to try and dictate their mores into the laws of my state. Go screw yourselves. If I could vote NO on question one more than once, I would do it. Just to piss you idiots off even more than you are now. What a stupid issue to get worked up over. Homosexuality is a fact of Life and has been for all of recorded history. We have survived just fine so far with gay people. If the World ends anytime soon based on God's Will, it will most likely be because you assholes got his message wrong. Tolerance not bigotry, you boneheads!

And suddenly a calm whiff of sanity finds Mike. He sits back after venting his spleen and the screen goes out of focus. He envisions Buddha inspired images of the new valve caps on his new ride and he realizes that this is nothing. These people mean nothing. They can only piss him off. And only if he lets them. Just giving them time in his mind is allowing them more room than they deserve. Mike knows that they will never control him. He just needs to not let them own even this much of him.

And so dear friends another trip on the wrong side of my temper has successfully concluded. I ramped up my blood pressure when a poll taker called me about my vote on the gay marriage question (#1) coming up this November. I felt bad for the poll guy. He was pulling for the gay folks as was I, but I tore off a rant that makes this one look tame and polite by comparison. He thanked me for my opinion and my vote and meekly hung up. Sorry poll guy. At least you know where I stand.

To any and all Mainers who might read this -

Vote NO on Question 1.

Kick those holier than thou homophobic losers back to Utah where they belong.

The stupidity never ends....................

(614 / 8413)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

3:45 AM

It's 3:45 AM Thursday morning. I have been wandering aimlessly through the Internet backwaters, not really looking for anything in particular. Like a kid kickin a can down the street and following it wherever it led him. I am only semi awake I guess. Much of what I have stumbled upon this dark thirty should have raised more than just my eyebrow. But there it is. Obnoxious websites spouting hate and discontent and all I can do is grunt in disgust. I have bookmarked a few to return to later once my Righteous Indignation tank has been re-filled. Or when I wake up. Which ever comes first.

Since it is flu season, and also a flu season brought in with much more fanfare than the usual media blitzkrieg, many people, including yours truly, keep wondering when their number will be up. All around folks have been dropping like flies and yet I am still standing. I did not get a flu shot. Come to think of it I have never gotten a flu shot. And every so often I get the flu or a cold. Hmm. Do you think there is a correlation?

So a few days ago as my wife was recovering from a bad cold, I began to notice "the tickle" in the back of my throat. At first I decided it was like when she was pregnant, I was just experiencing sympathy tickles. Then I decided that no, I was probably most likely going to have to deal with what she just went through.

Of all the various ways illnesses manifest themselves in my body, coughing has to be the one that drives me the craziest. I hate coughing. I fear coughing. I will do or try almost anything to not have to cough. Almost anything.

So my wife suggests I eat lots of vitamin C tabs over the course of the day. I listen and say "Yes Dear." And I think, "Right. How's that plan worked out for you so far?" In desperation though, I have been pounding down the C tabs every few hours. The cough has come. The achy ear has come home to roost. But up until today I have managed to avoid the worse of the worst. And today I feel like dog shit.

Did I just put off the inevitable? Or will this be as bad as it gets and tomorrow I will be spry and handsome again?

Stay tuned...................

(407 / 7799)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Internet - A Love/Hate Thing

It seems the Internet, like the computer world in general, is destined to be a place that never settles down completely. What is hip out here never lasts long. New fads pop up faster than the old ones can get tired. Newsgroups begat forums, from which or in concert, message boards came about. Instant messaging was all the rage. Somewhere along the line Blogs snuck in here and over night, millions of individuals were shouting at the darkness. Texting became the rage along with Twitter.

We now have so many ways to communicate with each other, doing them all seems like it would be a 24/7 job. I just cannot imagine giving the same time I give to blogging to Twitter or Texting. For one thing, why have a phone if you are not going to speak into it. Just makes no sense to me. And another thing is I hate phones. Just hate the damn things. Whether tied to the wall by a cord or hooked into those godawful landscape scars that we call cell towers. Phones suck.

Don't get me wrong. I do see the Internet as an over all plus for the planet. Just not at this point in time. We are still trying to figure out what power it will have and who will be able to tap into that power. Governments are trying to restrict it. Dedicated groups and individuals are trying to keep it open. At the moment, it is in total chaos. Structured chaos, but chaos nonetheless. Power does not like chaos. No matter who wields it.

Eventually I see myself immersed even further into this morass of radio waves, electronic waves, and communication waves. But as usual I will find my corner and sit out most of the madness. Participate when I have to, but never try to be the life of the party. That is my modus operandi and has been for as long as I can remember. Speak my piece, say what I have to say and then sit back and see if it had any affect. I guess I want folks to notice me, but in a kind of out of the corner of their eye way. Hmm. I never put it that way. And here I thought I had thought everything there was to think.

Just a few moments of my time and what was on my mind this rainy Tuesday morning.


(387 / 7392)

Monday, October 12, 2009

FFF #5 - The Meat Bus

"Come with me, if you want to give............"

What is that extra sensory power that lunatic comic book hero uses when times like this pop up? You know who I mean. He looks like a clown and swings from strands of bodily fluids through the concrete and glass canyons of Nospecialtropolis doing good whether folks want him to or not. He'll be just another citizen minding his own business when he out of nowhere senses bad guys doing or contemplating nefarious and evil deeds. Whatever that sense was, is, or might be, I was feeling it now. Or maybe the back of my neck just itched.

".....back so that others might live........"

The Meat Bus had been circling the block with speakers blaring for awhile today. They usually stopped at some point to take on passengers who never returned. Everyone knew where the Meat Bus went. Only this one was not stopping. Every four minutes like clockwork it would appear around the corner.

".....Fulfill your destiny. Do the right thing.........."

The incessant circling was getting to me. I had been hanging on this corner for years and never once had the Meat Bus done more than a couple of laps, stopped right there 100 feet away, and waited fifteen minutes for anyone dumb enough to jump on board. It would leave empty or full and not show up until the next day. Today however, round and round.

"........Leave this crowded place and come Home..........."

I will admit I have sometimes wondered where the poor slobs who climbed on the bus ended up. The rumor was they became part of the food chain. I don't cotten no rumors. I just know I never see anyone again who gets on that bus.

" a less congested space. Come one! Come all! We have plenty of room."

Jeez, here it comes again. Wait. Hmm. It seems to be slowing down. Yeah, it is slowing down and stopping .......right there in front of me. The clown behind the wheel is opening the door................What? You want me to get on board? Nah. I'm all set. No, really ..........Oh what the Hell, I may as well see where everyone else is going.

The police blotter the next day had a brief entry in it. Another brief entry right next to bank robberies, a couple of murders, and a rape. It seems about 6 this morning one Rafael Ernesto Rodriquez discovered a body in the alley off the 300 block of Lexington Ave. He was wheeling out his garbage to the street when he found what appears to be a young white male collapsed against the wall of his Taco and Burrito eatery. The Paramedic who answered the call says it looks like an overdose. The police who answered the call said they recognized the deceased, his street name was Pony. They knew nothing else. Cause of death is pending.

And so goes my next Flash Fiction Friday. Another effort to create something that was not there before I started.

See Ya........................

(484 / 7005)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Brief Conversations

I just hung up from a very brief conversation with some telemarketer trying to hook me into a promise to "Help Save the Children." I was my usual cheery self. I gave him about 30 seconds of my time. And then I ripped off our family's standard anti-telemarketer line. "Send us something in the mail and we will consider it. We make no commitments over the phone."

"Yeah but"................Click.

This small moment of my life got me to thinking. I first considered how desperate someone must be to take a job that entails taking abuse, profanity aimed at their mother, and must leave them totally drained and lifeless at the end of a day's work. Here I was only wasting 30 seconds of my day. And this poor slob was wasting eight hours of theirs. I figure telemarketers must be masochists.

As is the usual routine when I ponder things I really should not waste time on, I let the one useless thought lead me to another.

I had determined that telemarketers were desperate masochists. But what about those 30 seconds I lost helping them get their buzz? Just how many seconds, minutes, days, months, years have I wasted with my ear being bent by someone wishing to separate me from my cash?

I would say I handle 100 calls a year from these phone line leeches anyway. The number is most likely much higher, but I don't want Billy to accuse me of exaggerating again. So 100 calls a year . I figure I have been dealing with these calls for at least 40 of the 57 years I have been on the planet. That makes 4000 telemarketers who have tried to squeeze money out of me over the years. Say I gave them each 30 seconds of my time, the total minutes spent trying to say no comes to.......uh.....carry the... and add this......oh yeah, there's the calculator - 2000 minutes of my life gone. Poof. Lost in the BoZone.

Yet when I break the 33 plus hours down into days, the time spent almost seems laughable. A day and a half of a life does not seem too much too deal with. And suddenly I am feeling guilty for having been so abrupt, so testy over the phone. SO to any and all telemarketers out there - I promise the next time I hang up on you I will do it cheerfully.

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

(404 / 6521)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Too Busy to Be Angry

For some reason I feel like I should be pissed off about something. Recently, I have been able to take a breath and pop my head above the frayed ends of my life. When this occurs and I can take a moment to evaluate the doings and goings on outside my small sphere of influence, I usually find some outrage or really dumb occurrence to get my bowels in an uproar over. Not this time. I found no one thing stirring the fires that still must be smouldering deep inside somewhere. It was not ambivalence or even apathy. I just could not get riled over anything.

I did become an angry man a couple of days ago, but it only lasted a few hours and I was over it. Cannot even dredge up why I was angry now. I guess I just had to get some of the emotional bile up and out. That's what happens when the realities of my day to day existence overwhelm my ability to consider anything more than getting through the day. I have been too busy to be angry.

This lack of passion for things and events I have no control over bothered me. Totally out of character. I visited my favorite politics forum hoping for some kind of jump start. I looked up a more contrary old fart than myself. Surely he would piss me off with something he said. But no luck. While everyone seems a tad pissy because of our lost summer, no one I know appears to be pissed off.

I tried to get angry about this continued assault on Obama's birthplace. But all I can do is laugh at the birthers and their desperate effort to pin anything they can on our president. In some ways I am almost envious of folks like them. It only takes the smallest spark or whispered mention of the word "left", "commie", or "health care" and their anger gets up to 9000 rpms in a heartbeat. They would not know how to act if they didn't have their panties in a bunch over something.

Which brings me to the idea of birthplaces in general. Odd how I can somehow find logical leaps where none existed before.

The official "Certified" copy of my birth certificate indicates I was "officially" born in the municipality of Colorado Springs in the great state of Colorado in 1952. Apparently during one of our many moves over the course of my childhood, the original had been lost. I have no idea what I weighed in at. I have no idea how tall I was. I have no recollection of the event whatsoever. I would guess it is safe to say I was shorter and weighed less on that first day than I do now. And most likely all the women thought I was cute. Puppies are always cute. Tired old hounds with dog breath on the other hand, well I guess some folks can still stand me.

So do not ask me if I was born in Colorado. I just don't know if I was. I am pretty sure I was. Ask me to prove it and all I can come up with is a tattered "official" copy. We moved from Colorado when I was four to Japan. My memories of both are sketchy like that period was spent on some alcoholic bender leaving me only brief flashes of moments to hang onto now. I had a dog and his name was Doolie. I learned to ride a bike in Colorado. We had a backyard made of dirt that was completely fenced in and big kids threw rocks at me as they hung from the top of it. But my sharpest memory is me laying in bed at night watching the thunderstorms roll over the east face of the Rockies. My first awesome light show. The clouds would hang there and it seemed the whole mountain side was under attack. I would try to guess which section of the ridge would be next to get lit up. It is this memory that makes me feel comfortable saying, "I was born in Colorado".

So how did I end up in Maine anyway? I guess it was because after 28 years of never really living anywhere I decided that I would give the idea of "settling down" a shot. I could always hit the road again I thought if things did not work out. The road will always be there. Now, 29 years later, I know that I have found my place in this World. I cannot envision me anywhere else. Not even on vacation.


(774 / 1544)

Saturday, October 03, 2009


This is my Friday Flash Fiction entry for the week. I know, I know, I posted it on Saturday. So sue me.

Hanging on with one hand, he considered his alternatives. Two were all he could come up with at the moment. Having spent his life overwhelmed by too many choices, it seemed ironic to him that his life now boiled down to but two options. Both of which ended the same in the end. A colorful but probably was going to hurt like Hell death for the seconds it took to bounce down that canyon wall.

He could dangle there from that craggy precipice for as long as he could hold on. Fight, claw, refuse to cave and hang onto every moment he might have left. Or he could simply let go and get it over with. A or B. He saw no other way out of it.

A few moments had been spent considering that he did indeed have another good hand. It was attached to a perfectly good arm. He knew he would most likely double his chances of making it out alive if he chose to use his other arm. All he had to do was drop the bag he clutched. But he couldn't let go of the prize he had schemed and plotted for so long to have as his own. Could he? He took a moment to weigh the pluses and minuses of this new third option.

He glanced down and tried to look past his shoes into the dark shadows of the ravine. For a second he imagined it as a bottomless pit. Was there a place he could ensure a safe and secure landing for his treasure? Would he be able to retrieve it later? The gathering darkness played games with his vision. What looked good a moment ago did not look so good now. He chose to keep the bag.

This third option bothered him. "Strange", he thought, "here I hang seconds away from Death and all I can think of is why can't Life be simple and uncluttered". Once more the variety of forks and roads he could travel had found him, crippled him. Even at Death's door he is unable to make up his mind.

The only decision he remembered making with authority had put him in this predicament. The moment he gathered up the goods in the bag, he knew his life would never be the same. He envisioned a life of uncluttered simplicity. But once he heard the dogs in the distance, he knew he had just made his world a more dangerous place. Life had become simple, just not in the way he planned. Running for his life had not been part of his game plan.

He tried to hang quietly. Every motion or twitch made the tendons and muscles in his arm and wrist scream out with pain. As he dangled, he began to feel foolish. He realized he was not cut out to be an impulsive person. He had lived his life carefully, always weighing alternatives. Often times, his time spent vacillating saved him from making any decision. Life moved on to something else and dragged him along. He found events unfolded with or without his input.

He heard a noise above him. Looking up he saw just the tip of a fur covered nose hanging over him. Black nostrils flexing in and out as the hound took in the full measure of his scent. The dog began to howl and then disappeared for a moment. Seconds later another nose, then another, and another. Finally a voice.

"What the Hell are you doing Georgie? Mom's looking for you. Get down from there you bonehead. Supper is ready. And hey, she is looking to skin whoever let the puppies out"

The sound of foot steps retreating. Georgie thought he had skated. Then an abrupt voice made him look up.

"Georgie! Is that my bag of marbles? I told you not to touch them. You better get up here. I'm telling Mom. MOM! Georgie took my bag of marbles!"

Georgie stuck his tongue out in the general direction of his brother. He dropped to the uneven ground some four feet below the back porch. He knew he was in for it. His parents would have a piece of him. His brother would certainly make him miserable. His treasure would be ripped out of his hands and most likely he would have to suffer a pink belly or some other ungodly older brother torture before he could get back to his life. He sighed and went inside to eat dinner.

Feed the kid in you - see ya.......................