Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Ruined Day

Well it's Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to any and all who might or might not, or maybe had a notion to stop by.

I am experiencing Thanksgiving as a solo act for the first time since before I became the Mr. in a Mr.& Mrs. duet almost 29 years ago. When I drove trucks over the road, I missed quite a few of the holidays the rest of the country and much of the World take for granted. It did not bother me then, and it does not bother me now. It's just odd is all. I fall into an annual routine, and when that routine is disrupted, it feels odd.

Missed a complete day of bike retailing yesterday. Shit. Missed the day completely I guess. The money part of the day anyway.

The day started out with a bang. A friend needed me and my pick up to run to Home depot to pick up his new snow blower. I suggested breakfast out and a quick off road ride after. I would then head home to shower and then back to the shop for a day of bicycle retail.

Everything went according to plan. Picked up the snow blower, ate the breakfast, went for the ride, and headed home to clean up. Now it should be noted that children and pets always seem to know the absolute worse time to become sick or injured. Right before I am about to take a trip. In the middle of the night as they puke on my pillow or next to the bed. It doesn't matter. Kids and pets are hard wired to make adult lives more complicated. They cannot help themselves. But neither can they resist either.

I was taking a moment to check emails before I took my shower. Fernando did his Fernando thing and jumped up on the desk to get his daily fix of head rubbing. Just as he places both paws on my shoulders and moves in for that first head butt, I noticed red fur under his chin.

"Jesus Christ Fernando, what the Hell did you get into now?"

No answer. Fernando is too busy purring and trying to knock my head around with his.

I grabbed his noggin and tipped it back. Remember my last post about launchin biscuits and how I handle blood and guts just fine but certain smells get to me? Under Fernando's chin was a huge hole. I was looking at his jaw bone. And it stunk. Like pus and goo, it stunk. I was okay with the hole, but the stink caused an involuntary and pathetic lurch of my stomach. The biggest abscess I had ever seen on a cat had chosen to blow open today.

"Fuckin Great Nando. The day before Thanksgiving. You better hope the vet is still around."

Fernando is not even paying attention. He has decided my ear needs to be nibbled.

I called the local vet. A very annoying message tells me the vet and everyone there will be out of reach until next Monday. If I have an emergency, contact either an emergency vet hospital in Scarborough, Maine or one in Newington, New Hampshire. I see my normal routine being shot out of the water as I consider which hour drive I want to take. I choose Newington because well, it won the proverbial coin toss I played in my mind.

I call ahead so they know I am coming. I jump in the shower. Finally I get Fernando in the cat carrier and off we go. 12 hours later at midnight, I stumble home with a cat wearing a cone, a bag full of antibiotics, pain medicine , and intricate instructions for the next 14 days Fernando and I will have to put up with this cone thing and a tube sticking out of his neck.

Poor little bastard. He hasn't figured out that the cone makes any tight spot he used to enjoy a tad more difficult to navigate now. Eating is going to be interesting. Although I see he has figured out the drinking thing okay. I am supposed to apply a warm compress on the afflicted site twice a day. My first effort this morning did not go so well. I'll figure it out. I always do.

To say my day yesterday was ruined would be a classic understatement. But considering what Fernando has to deal with, I would say I got off lucky.

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

(743 / 17,012)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Technicolor Yawn

Okay, so I have a weak stomach. But come on let's be fair here. It is not weak in all gross situations, just selectively weak. Some things that result in retching and gagging in some folks, I never even so much as Hiccup. But even mention certain disgusting activities and my stomach flips on just the notion.

Take blood and guts in real life and I am there as a witness, or I have done it to myself. I will usually handle it at least without my hair trigger vomit switch engaging. But say I have to clean up cat vomit, Hell any vomit, or even see my own vomit, and Mr Man, I am off to the races. Puking or dry heaving sympathetically as if to show my solidarity with whoever or whatever and what they had just been through or were going through at that moment. I call it my Upchuck Cheer.

Smells of a certain persuasion will trigger my puking reflex. When I was real small and dumber than I am now, the sight of raw oysters going down anybody's throat could cause me to run from the table. I outgrew it and will dump a dozen oysters down my throat in a heartbeat. But as a wee lad, I found them truly the most disgusting thing humans considered food.

Tin Foil Hat brought this one minor character flaw front and center with his posted Utube video of an elephant giving birth. Instantly I was transported back to Freshman Biology At Towson State University just north of Bawlamer, Murland. I was late for my first class. Way late. The professor had already introduced himself, taken that first attendance, and was well into his classic teaching technique I would come to love as I was often hung over at 8 o'clock in the morning. He was showing a movie.

The classroom was one of those big college classes set up like a theater. Rows of seats at different heights set in a semi-circle focusing on a fancy wooden lectern from which I was to be enlightened, challenged, or put to sleep, which ever came first.

So what is the first thing I see as I walk into the darkened classroom? A ten foot high baby being born. I will never forget it. I puked right there on the top step. The remnants of my first college drunk running down the steps in front of me. So I discovered another unpleasant activity that my stomach had problems with. I avoided watching births of any kind after that until my daughter was born. Funny, but her birth went by without a hitch or a retch from me. Never figured out why.

Flash forward to a few minutes ago. I punched up Tin Foils latest posts. The most recent one was an excellent joke about Canadian housewives. The one previous was not so excellent. It is not like I was not warned. Tin Foil, being the responsible bloggin host he is, wrote in bold letters "It is not for everybody". But like some dumbass who just has to look because they were warned not to, I punched up the video. And the video started with a warning also and I paraphrase or well, just made it up - "Graphic stuff ahead! Beware ye of weak stomach."

At first I was handling it okay. And then I had to remove myself from the room. It seems birth is not to ever be on my list of okay to view activities. Although, all I suffered was some severe discomfort as my stomach turned upside down but held on and didn't eject any obnoxiousness.

I finished watching the video. Watching Mama elephant perform the equivalent of the doctor spank on the rear to get Junior up and running was awesome. It looked like brutality at first, but I guess elephants come ready for it. She got her kid to take its first breath.

So very cool. But next time I will remember to skip the first couple of minutes.

If you want to view it, hit the link to Tin Foil Hat. I just can't post it here. You understand I hope.

Huck on McDuff...........................


(696 / 16,269)

Monday, November 23, 2009

FFF #11 - Jessie's Woods

And so I offer this entry for Flash Fiction Friday - #11. Four words - Pater, Schlemiel, Pest, and Perpendicular were the odd words picked by Cormac for us to use somewhere in our fiction.

The inspiration for the setting and namesake for this story exists. Right across the road from my house as a matter of fact. The pictures are from those woods. And instead of Jessie - the name of those woods is The Mary Grant Nature Preserve. While all the incidents are figments of my imagination, Mary Grant did exist and she was indeed odd. Anyway, hope you like it.

Jessie's Woods

No more foreboding tunnel existed than this black hole cut through the tangled pucker that bordered Jessie's Woods. Pater Schmidt stared into it as he stood wavering at the entrance to Trail #2. No moon or stars broke through the canopy of mixed hardwoods, White Pine, and Hemlock that hovered 90 feet or so over his head. A light westerly breeze stirred the branches to murmured conversations, the trees voicing their displeasure at having been disturbed. The air, moist and heavy began to swirl into wisps preparing to move on from this sinister place.

Pater Schmidt had his flashlight. He checked once again for the long barrel .38 he had stuffed in his waistband. He was as ready as he could be. Yet he hesitated. The man-made courage of a gun and a flashlight could only support what personal courage he already carried with him. Their protection only went so far. It seemed the entrance at Trail #2 was their limit.

Schmidt stood rooted and considered what had brought him to this trail head on this dark night.

A second cat in as many days had failed to show up for supper. Mutter Schmidt had become anxious. With the boys gone now, her cats were all she had to fuss over. She followed Pater Schmidt into the living room after supper. Before he could settle down with his new "Yankee" magazine and his pipe she started in on him. "Aaric, Betty's gone now. Yesterday it was Dilfer. Somethings got em. Ya think ...?"

"Yeah, yeah. Okay.........Goddamn cats....Pain in the ass........ I can go look but it's a waste of time." Pater Schmidt dropped his magazine on the coffee table, stuffed his unfilled pipe back in his breast pocket and turned around. Still fussing, he grabbed his hat, a jacket, the flashlight, and opened the front door.

"Aaric, don't be a schlemiel. Take a gun. What are you going to do if you see a coyote or fox, pick up a stick and fling it at em?" Gerda held out his long barrel 38 with the chipped handle.

"Jesus Christ Gerda. You are such a damn pest. Okay, okay. ………These flippin cats of yours are more trouble than the three boys ever were. I'll take a gun. But I won't see anything. I never do." Pater Schmidt stuffed the gun in his belt and stepped off the porch and walked out into the dark night.

Every town has a spot like Jessie's Woods. A place, a space, a location that has become for one reason or another, a place to dread, a place to respect and tread softly in. It might be an empty house, a patch of woods, an abandoned railroad trestle or the end of a certain dark street where a single tired street light flickers sinister codes. Tall tales are born in these spots. Urban Myths can trace their roots to locations like Jessie's Woods. Words are whispered ear to ear, generation to generation, and Father to son, "Don't go near there, Beelzebub'll snatch your head, toss it in his gunny sack and head back down to Hell."

What became Jessie's Woods started out as a homestead back in the early 1800s. It was covered with White Pines over 150 feet tall. Cleared by hand, it became fields planted in grain and vegetables for a growing Boston some 90 miles away. Each year more "King's Pines" were harvested to build barns, Plank houses and fence posts. The fields of rocks and stumps were muscled outward in ever growing circles until they had found the edge of the property line. By 1890 the White Pines had ceded control to tillable land as far as the eye could see. In 1920, a doctor from Massachusetts named Wrentham bought the property. He allowed the fields to lie fallow. Over the years Mother Nature re-seeded the hardwood, Hemlock and White Pine. By 2009 the second growth looked like the first growth and had reclaimed the 15 acre parcel.

No one in town could agree on who erected the first structure on the property. Especially Willis Cobb and Franklin Pike. These two crusty old farts met every Sunday down to the Tradin Post for a paper, a coffee, and a good argument. They would sit at a small table near the beer cooler, each holding up a copy of the Sunday Telegram and sipping their coffee. Various grunts and “well lookee here” were mumbled as signals for this week’s argument to begin. On the odd Sunday when no recent issue caught them on different sides, they had a go to list of things they could hit up for heated debate. Who first settled Jessie’s Woods back in the early 1800’s was near the top of that list. They would each vent their opinion and as they always did, they ended their weekly dispute agreeing on who was the last person to live there. Jessie Wrentham, Dr. Wrentham’s daughter.

Jessie Wrentham was the last Wrentham on this branch of the Wrentham Family tree. She never married. Some said she had secret love affairs with men and women, but no one could prove these rumors. It was always, “So and so over to Shaw’s Ridge equipment told me Jessie was seeing that fancy woman from away who bought the lake cottage on Horn Pond”. Always someone told them, but no one could ever seem confirm the truth with that someone.

What was obvious to all who knew her, Jessie was odd. She kept to herself, never engaged in more conversation than was needed, and was never without her straw hat and hand carved hiking stick. She walked everywhere. Jessie had taken over the family place and lived there maybe five years, when she was found sprawled dead across the threshold of her front door. Her skull had been crushed. Her hat and hiking stick were never located.

And another local legend began. Over the next 50 years, her odd ways became wicked ways with tales of her being part of an evil cult somewhere. Another story had her coming back as a ghost haunting the orchard and woods behind her house looking for her murderer. It was this tale that stuck. Off and on, people would contend they had seen her in the woods, often in the vicinity of the two Indian Mounds at the back of the property.

With no heirs, Jessie left her property to a land trust in Massachusetts. They were not interested. They turned it over to another land trust. That trust turned her old property into a park. Demolished the house, saved the barn and cut in 2 trails for folks to enjoy.

Pater Schmidt knew the stories. He had even briefly known Jessie. He had briefly lusted after Jessie. He grew up and to this day still lived across the road from the old Wrentham place. At the age of 14, it was he who had found her sprawled over her threshold. At age 14, it was he who had crushed her head earlier with that walking stick of hers. With this image of Jessie, her head misshapen and bloody, her dead eyes staring up in his mind, Pater Schmidt stepped into the darkness of Jessie’s Woods.


The hole in the darkness his flashlight created seemed to stop a paltry ten feet or so in front of him. The improved trails were easy enough to follow. But Schmidt knew he would have to step off them into the undergrowth to have any luck locating the foolish cats or their remains. Prey caught by varmints is not eaten trail side. Predators liked their privacy. In the pucker, up against the old stone walls, or in small clearings with no apparent access were where Pater Schmidt knew to look. And if for some reason either cat was still alive, they would surely be hunkered down inside one of many nooks and crannies in these woods, not near the trails.

Jessie’s Woods was defined by two old stone walls that ran perpendicular to Sam Page Road on the North and another old stone wall some 500 yards South. Pater Schmidt cut off from Trail #2 and headed to the East wall. Soon after stepping off the trail, the wind picked up. The groans and creaks of tightly bunched branches stepped up their complaining. To his left, he heard some dead fall come down. Big dead fall that took out smaller branches as it crashed to the ground.

Suddenly what might be going on over him was as important as finding something on the ground. He lifted his flashlight up. Above him in the canopy, a world of angry branches violently clashed with each other. Their long limbs twisted and turned with the rise and fall of the westerly wind. The wind had awakened an angry mob. Small pieces and parts of the canopy flashed through the beam of his flashlight as they came down. Schmidt knew he had picked a bad night to head into the woods. His light found the wide trunk of a large Hemlock in front of him. Following the trunk downward, his light passed the expected dead branches of a tree that had never experienced the kind hand or human stewardship. All of the large softwoods in Jessie’s Woods had dead stubs sticking out of them. About six feet from the ground, Schmidt’s flashlight brushed by something that did not fit. He retraced the trunk up with the light, and there it was. A patch of white.

Pater Schmidt immediately felt sick. At eye level not 7 feet away, his flashlight had found the headless corpse of Dilfer their white tom cat impaled on a Hemlock branch. In the distance he could hear another big branch crashing to the ground. Schmidt stepped closer. Dilfer’s head was indeed missing. Not brutally torn off like some forest predator might do, but cleanly sliced off.

Uncontrollable spasms gripped Pater Schmidt. He turned and took some steps away from the tree. Doubling over he fell to his knees and vomited. Up came his undigested supper of sauerkraut, potatoes and bratwurst. The stench made him go into the dry heaves. Finally, his body back under control, he wiped his mouth on his sleeve. He thought it odd that no concern for Dilfer was in his mind, just the memory of holding Jessie down while he beat her head in. Again and again he had pummeled her until her head broke like a melon dropped on the ground. Schmidt staggered to his feet and stumbled backwards. A fallen log caught his heel. Lurching backwards out of control, he lost his flashlight as he flailed for some footing.

When her husband did not come home that night, Gerda went into panic mode. She called 9-1-1. The county police told her in a bored tone a cruiser would be by in 45 minutes or so. Gerda ran to a neighbor’s house ¼ mile down Sam Page Road. They collected some locals and they searched until dawn for Pater Schmidt. At 6:45 AM, Willis Cobb discovered Schmidt only 100 yards into Jessie’s Woods. He was on his way out from several hours of stomping around in the woods when he spotted a light in the shadows of a tangled mess of downed trees. It was Pater Schmidt’s flashlight still on and struggling on its last remnants of power. Fifteen feet away Willis located Pater Schmidt impaled on the dead branch of a huge Hemlock. His hat was missing and in his hand was gripped the handle of a beautifully hand carved hiking stick.

One can only imagine what made up the conversation down to the Tradin Post that next Sunday.



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

(1920 / 15,573)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Head Thumpin Monks & Other Fools

I began a serious rant aimed squarely at the recent Right Wing hijinks and foolishness. Yes it was a scathing attack. No holds barred. Take no prisoners. No quarter given. Worked myself into a frenzy, almost becoming that which I was raging against.

I was hitting all the convenient targets of opportunity - Sarah, Glenn, the holier than thou but hopelessly brain dead Michele Bachmann, Fox Spews, and just to make sure or round out my efforts, a few below the belt shots at Hannity and O'Reilly just for the Hell of it.

Teabaggers were up front taking pies in the face. Bible thumping homophobes were getting drippy chins as I squatted and scathingly dipped my sack of condemnation and insults on their ever eager blank angry faces.

I could only hold back so long when faced with this non stop parade of hateful fools leading with their chins. And I felt no shame at hurling insults and epithets and other scurrilous mutterings in their general direction. They deserved my derision, my disrespect. It was time I gave back what I have been taking for 29 years. They want to hate me. Fine. It was time I hated back.

Because I had had it. I could only be even tempered for so long and shine on the hate and disrespect all of them seem to have for my personal ideals while I tried to respect theirs. I was tired of being accused of being a traitorous loser who hates America and wants Islamic assholes and Commies to take over because I happen to like the man who occupies the Oval Office. I was tired of the hateful mean shit these jerks have been spewing from mouths filled with tobacco juice and holy water. I was tired of hearing how important guns are to my freedom. Get a damn clue you idiots. I do not need a gun to be free. Freedom is not had at the end of a gun. Freedom is not taken away at the end of a gun. The only way you can lose your freedom is when you give it away. Freedom is a frame of mind and you boneheads have no clue what that means.

But you know what? After furiously pounding out my anger and dripping gallons of mean sweat on the keys of this keyboard, I felt better. So I decided I wouldn't say those things. I had purged my hate and was now once again going with the flow. Just chillin while a contented smile came over my face. Instead of laying into the dim wits of the Right, I offer instead, this short but to the point Monty Python clip. In 30 seconds or so you will know how I view the fools who wrap themselves in scripture, conspiracy theories and would turn us into a repressive theocracy and think they are doing us a favor.

Enjoy.



I don't know about you, but I feel much better now........................

(486 / 13,653)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pishtacos

I was perusing the below the fold articles and stories relegated to the Internet equivalent of the second page on the MSNBC site this morning. I was hoping to find a story that might lift my dampened spirits and provide me with just the right spark to write a post that was not full of hate and discontent. It could have been some humorous story say of a man getting his head stuck up the ass of an elephant. Alas there were no releases about Rush and Michael Steele.

Maybe a heart wrenching piece of overcoming insurmountable odds would work. But again I came away with nothing. No Republican had managed to elevate themselves past their single digit IQs this day. They were still too busy trying to beat back those bullies from the left side of playground. It's not being paranoid if they hit you back.

So I searched for some heartwarming cute animal story. The perfect pet hero piece where Fido saves a group of Nuns from certain death as he grabs the wheel of the nun bus and steering it with his teeth saves them after Sister Mary Agnes fainted immediately following a multi mooning by a bus full of high school football players on their way back from the State Championship.

But no. No luck. Just the usual corruption, suicide bombing, starving children, mud sliding, mudslinging, moose loose on Main Street type boring stuff I read about everyday.

I was about to give up and head to the always something hilarious to write about Free Republic site when I spotted this headline -

Peruvian police: Gang killed people for their fat

Alright! Now we're cooking with gas. Something I could get my teeth into. Quirky reality that I do not think even Hollywood could have made up. So I opened the link and the facts of this bizarre crime story were even stranger than I could imagine. And it was odd that this story came on the heels of my recent viewing of "Turistas" on the IFC channel. Once again reminding me there are no coincidences.

I won't spoil it for you, but just let me say this real horror drama involving Peruvian cops, depraved criminals seeking to profit from the drippings of human fat combined with a generous dose of headless torsos hanging over candles will creep you out if for no other reason than knowing this really happened.

Boy, do those South Americans know how to party.

Keep a light on....................

(412 / 13,167)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Match Made in Heaven


I watched a blurb on the tube last night about "The Oath Keepers". Supposedly this "non-partisan" group comprised of active duty personnel, vets, cops and other peacekeepers who have made a pledge to the Country in one form or another have banded together as a new barrier between government and what the Constitution really means. They have more or less pledged their loyalty to the Constitution and their view of it, not to the country or the government that runs it. I chuckle at their non-partisan claim in that they have yet to affiliate themselves with any group left of Sarah Palin.

Speaking of Sarah, the babe from the woods of the 49th state who eats moose on the hoof and catches salmon with her bare teeth - an interesting factoid about her ghost writer, Lynn Vincent, caught my attention. Seems Vincent also co-wrote "Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party" with Robert Stacy McCain, a man who claims he is not a racist. His mouth and his affiliations might lead one to a different conclusion.

While I may often discount Sarah as a brain dead twit, she is most definitely not dead. What she is and what will most likely be her downfall if we are lucky is she likes the limelight too much. What bothers me are the flies attracted to her peculiar and unique twisted view of what America should be. When people are desperate they will believe anything. Like Joan of Arc, she gallops through the malls of the heartland building a blind army of slack jawed recruits. And it is growing.

Now I hear Sarah told Glenn Beck she would be proud to share the presidential ticket with him for 2012. Wow! A ticket made in heaven. The aged superficial Beauty Queen and the Cherub Cheeked Chalk Board Conspiracy Locater. The clueless and the whacked all on one ticket. We should be so lucky. But if we work hard at being as stupid as some of us already are, we could have this dream team guiding us through the next decade.

Just think. All of the bases will be covered. One will pray for guidance and will hold daily press releases that tell us yes, she can see Virginia from the Front Portico. Standing, or rather hunched over and drooling at her back, her one brick shy of a full load Vice President will be busy ferreting out all those secret commie conspiracies left us by Obamaman.

If this is what the Conservatism of my youth has turned into, I have to say I am so glad I bailed in 1980 when Ronald Reagan and his traitorous band of clowns sleazed their way into power.

It seems we will never be able to save us from ourselves.................

(452 / 12,755)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No Warm & Fuzzy Feeling Here

I watched Joe Biden on The Daily Show. He's a likable guy who I really think does the best he can at being candid as any politician can. After all, all of them seem hardwired to lie, waffle, and misdirect - even the good ones. But I think his explanation of why it was so imperiative we save the financial industry fell short because he had no real explanation why the help was not spread around to the folks whose money these clowns have stolen from us. Something about how we would be in a full blown depression now if we did not keep the wing tip crowd fat and happy. Like what we are experiencing right now at ground level is not so close the only difference is in how they spell it. Somehow, calling this a recession will make me feel better.

I don't fuckin feel better. As a matter of fact, I just found out the last nail may have been pounded into my business. And it pisses me off. My ARC loan, supposedly funded by my government, fell through. A measley $35,000 to keep a local business going and the bank shut me down.

I have fuckin had it.

(203 / 12,303)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rogers Pass

As it turns out the all Canada Burton Cummings Tour during the late Fall early Winter of 1976/77 had more going on than I appreciated until recently. Maybe it was because it was my second tour. Maybe it was the challenges I almost failed to overcome. Maybe because no tour was easy and this one was just another one in a long line of tough ones. I am not sure why I buried my memories of that tour. But bury them I did.

This tour tested my to date untested abilities navigating foreign roads and the worse weather I had ever seen from behind the wheel of a tractor trailer. We left Dallas in November of 1976. Drove straight north across the border and parked the truck in Toronto for 10 days of rehearsals. I think the only days it did not snow, sleet or rain was our time in Vancouver. And it was the first time I had ever driven a truck through the Rockies. Figures it had to be the Canadian Rockies.

Rogers Pass had been successfully traversed on our way West to Vancouver. After a few days there by the Canadian version of the Pacific, we headed back East for the next gig in Calgary. Just our luck, while we were relaxing and chilling in Vancouver, the first serious winter weather hit the Rockies.

Jack, Burton Cummings' tour manager caught us at breakfast the morning after the last show in Vancouver. "Guys, we want you to head out ASAP. Weather doesn't look good for getting over Rogers Pass. If you hammer, you might get through before they close it. We need to be in Calgary in three days. Head out now and you might make it." I seem to remember wondering just what kind of weather we had been experiencing so far. Good weather? Damn Canadians.

Cowboy and I rounded ourselves up and hit the road an hour later. Drove right by Kamloops straight through to Golden, BC, swapping seats with each other every 3 or 4 hours. Golden, BC was the last town before we entered the western foothills of the Rockies. I had the last turn driving. After fueling at a Husky truck stop, Cowboy insisted he would take us up to the summit. Cool. I was ready for a break.

Every foot of elevation we gained, the road became worse. It was spitting snow when Cowboy began the grind to the top. About half way we were in white out conditions. Mother Nature was pissed off and letting the mountains have it. I sat in the buddy seat. I was not nervous really. Cowboy was a good driver, but his snow experience was unknown to me. This left me somewhat ill at ease. So our roles reversed. I became the talker and he became the quiet, grunt every so often, listener.

When the truck would round a corner, I could feel the drive wheels breaking traction. Cowboy would ease up on the throttle, but never did he stop moving forward. And even though we were headed into what was obviously a bad weather condition at the top, I began to relax. Cowboy was doing just fine.

Somewhere on that climb, we began to enter the outdoor tunnels. Not tunnels really, but very rugged shed like structures glued to the sides of the mountain. I had found out on our earlier westward crossing, these were snow roofs. Structures that allowed the frequent alvalanches to pass over the highway unimpeded. They were narrow and tight for a truck. If recent memory served, they meant we were getting close to the top.

An hour after we began the 8 mile climb, we slip and slid to a stop at the summit. All sorts of snow removal vehicles were parked in various postions making driving through a struggle. Snow was beating the truck from the west as Cowboy pulled into the one fuel and food stop at the top.

"Why are you stopping? We need to keep going."

"You drive. I got us to the top. You are taking us down."

Just as I began to protest, someone pounded on the driveside door. Cowboy wound down the window and hung his head out. I heard a voice, but the ripping wind and weather took most of it. Cowboy listened and then he said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll be heading out in a moment. Gotta hit the toilets. I think my co-driver will be grateful he did once he gets us to the bottom." He opened his door and climbed down. I followed him struggling to find my jacket arms as they flapped in the cold winter wind.

Inside, I headed to the toilet. Between me and the john, a crowd of people stood around all talking at once. After a tense climb up the mountain in relative quiet, the scene inside the store was almost overwhelming. The smell of coffee was everywhere. Truckers, citizens, and what I assumed were Canadian Army guys all mingled around the register. People sucking on cups and speaking Canadian to each other. Almost Minnesota like but without the golly gee factor.

I muscled my way to the coffee and poured some into the biggest to go cup they had. At the register while I dug through my jeans pocket for some coin, I asked,"What's up with the army guys?"

"They're getting ready to fire off the cannon. Dump some snow off." The clerk could tell I had no clue what he meant. "Where you from driver?"

"Maine"

"Oh. The army is going to fire the cannon to loosen the snow so it will avalanche but under controlled conditions. If you are planning on making it down before they do, you better get going."

Thanks. I hurried out into the blizzard and slogged my way back to the truck. When I climbed in, Cowboy was already in the sleeper. I found the tire thumper and hopped out. I hurried the pre-trip. It was some cold and the wind hurt. I climbed back in the cab and released the brakes. As I engaged the transmission, I considered just what would be a safe speed to top out at on my way down. The more I thought about it, I more I wanted to back up and park it until the road was clear and I could see the sky.

I shook off the nagging nervous nellies and ran up the gears up to 5th. At a menacing 10 mph I hit the first downstroke. As I descended that first section and the tach climbed toward redline, I remember thinking the road seemed quite a bit wider when we had come the other way. And the guard rails also seemed to be higher and of sturdier timber than the wimpy ones just inches off the ground seemed now. It was probably a good thing I could not see more than a foot past the guardrails. The blowing snow kept that part of this nightmare safely out of view.

A slight pull on the trailer brakes was enough at first to keep a check on my speed without causing the rig to break traction. I came to the first real turn. As if on cue, the trailer began to drift just when I thought it would. I steered into it some and pulled the rig straight again. We were going almost 15 mph now. I was in the beginnings of a white knuckle ride I knew I would never forget. As the road straightened, I jammed hard on the trailer brakes and simultaneously doubled clutched it into 4th gear. The engine screamed in pain. But our speed trimmed to near 10mph again, I began to relax.

Cowboy poked his head through the naughahyde curtains of the sleeper. "What the Hell are you doing? Crawling down this hill? Pick up the pace driver."

I had no interest in getting into a pissing match with Cowboy at the moment. All my focus was on the road and the first snow roof tunnel that had suddenly appeared. "Maybe you should have just kept going bud when we reached the summit. You want to be the hero, I'll pull over now and get out." I aimed the truck for the hole created by the tunnel. "Leave me alone and shut the fuck up or get up here and drive."

The brief break from the weather afforded us by the snow roof lasted but a moment or two and we were once again out in the snow swirling frozen Hell. I turned and looked at Cowboy's head stuck out into the cab like some trophy head mounted badly on leather that wasn't leather. His eyes were glued on the windshield and what I was facing as we crawled down the pass. Suddenly he disappeared back into the sleeper. Silence. Just me and the sound of an over tached diesel engine. That poor Cummins was being tested hard here in Canada.

Curves came and went. We went through another snow diversion tunnel. More curves and then up ahead I saw another diversion tunnel come into view. The snow seemed to be less frantic now, the periods of clear sight longer between flurries. Something about the tunnel looked odd. I could not make it out. Soon it became apparent there was a truck straddling the middle of the road right in the way of the tunnel. It was stopped with it's flashers on. I tried to slow down. I felt the wheels breaking traction on the ice glazed road. The trailer begin to move around on me. I straightened and saw that to the right of the stuck truck there might be enough room to make it. I had no real choice. Squeeze through or hit the truck.

Everything slowed down at that moment. I was aware of everything around me. The guard rail on my right could not have been more than a couple of inches off the trailer as my mirror on the left just missed the corner of the truck. I aimed for the tunnel opening and hoped I would make it. It seemed the trailer we were passing was 100 feet long. When I finally came to the tractor that pulled it, I looked to the left. I had only a brief look. Hanging out of the windshield of a crushed tractor, a driver draped. The truck had run head on into the center posts that supported the snow roof.

"Cowboy. Cowboy! Did you see that?" I turned to see if he had the curtain open.

"Yeah driver, I did. You are doing fine. Get us the Hell off this mountain."

Severely rattled now, I eased into the tunnel with the idea of stopping to see if we could help in any way. There did not appear to be anyone at the scene yet. As soon as I tried to slow down, once again the trailer began to squirm. I realized I had to keep going or become an accident myself. When we popped out of the other side, the wind had decreased. The snow was still heavy, but fell vertically for a change. Just as we had encountered worsening weather as we climbed, we experienced lessening weather as we descended. Soon I was once again on the plains on the east side of the Rockies and looking for the first place I could stop. The snow had almost stopped.

A pull out appeared on the right. I wheeled over and stopped the truck. I simply sat for a time letting my body and mind come down from the intensity of what I had just been through. I had taken a little over an hour to drive about 15 miles. It felt like 500 miles. I was exhausted, drained, and generally spent. When I hopped out the feel of still ground, even frozen ground, felt wonderful. I stood there in the cold pissing in the snow in a sweat soaked tee shirt. Oblivious to the cold, I stood next to my truck and enjoyed the fact that I had made it down with my load intact. Making it to Calgary seemed a cake walk now.

That would be the last run I made with Cowboy. He did indeed get shipped back to Dallas at Calgary. I finished the tour solo. Cowboy was not fired though. He continued to work for SHOWCO for another few months until his irritating personality pissed off the wrong person, and he was shown the door.

I wrote another memory of this tour - actually a prelude to this - In 3 parts - "Vancouver"
"Part 1"
"Part 2"
"Part 3"

(2090 / 12,100)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

FFF #10 - The Galloping Gourmet

I figured I would try something new this week. After reading Paul D. Brazil's excellent short fiction, I thought I would give it a shot this week. After my effort here and other previous attempts, let me say it is not simple to tell a story of sorts in under 150 words. Paul does wonderful stuff with six lines. Me well, I'm trying here to sneak up on that idea. I trimmed it down to eight. Well, not eight maybe, but it's short. Nothing verbose about this piece.

Thanks to Cormac for putting this together.

The old camera had been in a box for decades, the pictures never developed, and now with the prints in his hand his blood ran cold from looking at the images that came from it.

It wasn't that the images were out of focus. They weren't.

It wasn't even the subject matter. Dead people and blood did not bother him.

It bothered him not the slightest these photos might become evidence used against him.

And yet as he handled each print, each and every one told the same story.

It was that jacket, the one he still wore to this day

It always went better with an ascot, not that flippin Red Bow Tie.

After all, it wasn't what he cooked, but how he looked when he cooked that mattered.


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

(130 / 10,010)

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Men Who Stare at Sheep

sunshine does a weekly review of movies that have recently come out. This past Wednesday she did a review on the new movie "The Men who stare at Goats".

Ever since the trailers for this movie starring an ensemble cast of super stars began to ooze from my television set, I naturally utilized my sick sense of humor and considered a porn movie starring overall clad goobers with straws hangin out their mouths walking into the barn and well you can imagine where it went from there. All in the name of humor of course. Of course.

It would be filmed in grainy black and white with celluloid scratches coming and going across the screen like the porn movies I saw as a teen back in the 1960s. The lighting would be hit or miss. The sound poorly dubbed and the acting especially awful. But the sheep........well the sheep would be delightful. Done up with ribbons and deep red lipstick, these ewes would be to die for.

The typical plot would unfold. Your local feed delivery guy would walk into the barn with a 50 pound sack of Purina's finest feed. Ellen Ewe, played by Ellen herself, would bat her long lashes and find some way to lure this poor workman from his daily rounds. Naturally how could this simple man, this man who drives a feed truck resist such charms.

In keeping with the spirit of porn films from the 1950s and 60s, the scene would immediately change and we are now witnessing an inspired and enthusiastic rendition of ravaging and savaging. Suddenly Farmer John comes in and throws his hands up.

"Oh No Ellen, how could you? And with the feed truck driver delivery guy!"

Agitated and heartsick, Farmer John grabs a pitch fork and brandishes it in their general direction.

Staying true to the roots of the classics, an immediate doesn't tie into the plot scene change jerks us back to the real reason we came.

Farmer John is now having his way with Ellen, while Feed Truck Guy sits back groping her. Ellen is smiling. A sheepish grin of course.

The End...........

(354 / 9880)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It Makes No Sense - But There It Is

Like an incessant fly that will not leave me alone, Twitter notifications, "Someone on Twitter is following you", fill my mailbox more and more every day. I know I signed up for Twitter a long time ago. I never used it. I only put one person on my list. She and I have never Twittered. Or is it Twitted? Maybe she has. I never bothered to figure any of it out past the sign up part.

I dunno. Maybe I should actually try it before I cast judgement..........Hmm. Nah. What would be the fun of that? I am so good making assumptions and then forming opinions about that which I know nothing, why would I want to change this tried and true fun I have developed over the years? So without a clue about how it works, why so many people are involved in this latest greatest Internet fad, I will give my non expert, don't have a leg to stand on opinion about something I know absolutely nothing about other than it's name.

Well Mike, how very American of you. What a good Patriot with a capital P and that rhymes with ME and that is what is really important anyway. Me and all I stand for. All of a sudden an urge to drink tea, fresh from the bag on a string tea. Nestle's finest.

The only thing more fun than opining on that which I have no clue is switching directions at the drop of a hat.

Thinking of Twitter brought the word "twit" into my mind which led to the word tea somehow replacing it and now I find myself considering Kool Aid and all that it might signify.

That was close. I almost committed deadly sins by associating twits with tits. Anytime the naughty bits come to mind, I find myself surfing the web looking at edible panties and wondering if they come in my size.

But back on the subject/subjects - Tea, Kool-aid and of course twits, not tits. Forget Twitter, I have other fish to fry.

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

(343 / 9526)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Sad Day In Phillie

Demeur just posted his Veteran's day post. I was going to not do the predictable today and write one myself, but well Demeur has a way of getting to me. His post was about the shoddy treatment our vets get and how we let them down all the time. Promises made turn empty when it comes time to put up or shut up. What follows is what started out as a comment -

There is nothing new about this sad treatment of American Veterans. It is not the result of one party doing nothing or the other one not carrying the load. Veterans have always been spoken of highly and that their service is appreciated. Yet from the beginning, these words became empty cups many vets wave in front of indifferent citizens as they pass by them on the street.

My saddest memory was in Philadelphia back in the 1990s. I was there for the InterBike show, a gathering of cycling industry people. I would take the time every day I was there to take a short ride around the city to see whatever there was to see. At one spot near a small park I stopped and sat on a bench. The sidewalk was filled with pedestrians busily moving from wherever they were to wherever they were going. Propped up against the foundation of a corroded bronze statue of some Revolutionary guy loud and proud on his horse, a black man with no legs sat on the sidewalk. He had no wheel chair that I could see. He did have a sign that told all who chose to read it, he was a Nam Vet and he needed our dimes, our nickels, our change. As I sat on my bench and looked him over, he pulled out his penis and urinated right there on the sidewalk. At that moment a lady in some kind of business suit the business ladies wear walked by and said, "That's disgusting, there are toilets over there." And she pointed somewhere off in the distance. The legless, homeless vet just stuck up his cup and said, "Fuck You Lady, spare some change?" She said something I could not hear and moved on.

I dropped a $20 bill in his cup. It was all I had on me. It didn't bring me any peace.

(390 / 9183)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Damn Cats

A recent post about cats by Snave over to Various Ecstasies naturally got me to pondering my own relationship with the shrinking population of felines we try to control in this house. The little shits are so photogenic. Cute little fur balls that seem so innocent. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well a picture can also hide a thousand words.

Okay, I guess if you only live with one or two of them, they can seem to be nothing but fun filled fuzzy diversions from your day. I am here to deflate that myth. No. Not deflate it. Ruin it. I feel it is my duty as a human who is owned by cats to cry out a warning about what these little usurpers are really about.

They are really smart. That is the one thing you need to realize. Much smarter than the size of their craniums would indicate. Never ever underestimate them. They have one mission in life. To create as much inconvenience and upheaval as they can. If you buy new drapes, they will hang from them before you even have all of them up. You just put that freshly hung on the line bed cover back on. One of them will step up and start to convulse from the butt forward, flinging some almost processed mouse guts onto that brand clean blanket. If the litter tray maintenance is not to their liking, you better check your slippers before putting them on. And never own a bean bag chair if you have cats. Apparently they cannot resist the urge to create yellow pools in the damn things. I swear I saw them waiting in line once for their chance to add their pints worth.

I like my little buddies. I have great fun with them. All six of them. But that doesn't mean I trust them.



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

(313 / 8793)

Monday, November 09, 2009

FFF #9 - Fat Boy

Cormac switched gears on us this week. Apparently we have to use the four words below at some point in our story.

Lies
Compromise
Disguise
Redemption

Because of my rediscovered admiration for the broad genre known as Pulp, I figured this story oughta go in that direction. And blatantly so.

Fat Boy

Shackled like that to that table in the interview room, I was not feeling particularly cooperative. I don't think the two cops really cared what I felt. But since they said I was involved, I figured the best thing to do was lie through my teeth. In my world, the truth did not always set you free.

"I don't know nuthin about nuthin. And if I did, why should I tell you guys?"

"Well Fat Boy, uh you don't mind if we call you that do you? So Fat Boy, you were fingered by the Paki who runs that Bodega on 3rd and Falmouth. Says you were the guy who stuck a handgun in his face and took off with......." The cop flipped through his 3x4 notebook and found the page, "Uh he says you got away with $43 and some Jujubes."

"I was cross town bangin my girlfriend. That Paki is lying. I hate Jujubes. They get all up between my teeth and shit. Besides I don't do guns. Guns get ya in trouble."

"Fat Boy, Fat Boy, Fat Boy." The cop walked around the table and leaned in close. Too close. I could smell the liquor on his breath and stale sweat from a shirt on a two day, maybe three day turnaround. "Well how was it then you were picked up not ten minutes after the robbery in Caesars Park a few blocks away? Come on guy, it really doesn't matter if you did it or not. We have the ID and anything else we need can be "Found". Get my drift?......... Besides, you really think we believe any woman who wasn't inflatable would even think of slappin hips with a scuzzy loser like you?"

I looked up at Liquor Breath Cop and glared. His eyes were sparkling. Was that the beginnings of a grin I saw sneaking up on that ugly cop face of his? These bastards didn't care if I did it or not.

"You find any money on me?......No! You find a gun?......No! This is a frame and you assholes know it."

The big cop standing silent near the door spoke up. "Doesn't matter Fat Boy. Someone has to go down for this. Might as well be you. What you need to do is give us a good reason to not bag and tag your fat ass."

"I want a law....." Before I could finish, Liquor Breath yanked my chair out from under me. I crashed to the floor with my wrists still hooked in hard to the table top. It hurt like Hell. "Jeezus, what did you do that for?"

"You said the magic word Fat Boy. The one word that will mean jail for your sorry butt. Mention lawyer one more time, and there is nothing we can do. We'll wrap you up so tight, not even the best lawyer you can't afford will get you off." Liquor Breath Cop stood me up and made a show of brushing me off. "Now sit down. We have some questions and then maybe a proposal for you. And no lies. My silent partner over there is just itching to see you fitted for an orange jumpsuit."

"Okay, okay. What do you need?" They had me by the short hairs that was for sure. If I was processed, that meant fingerprints, DNA sample and that ugly situation I was involved in over to Back Bay might pop up. That is if they had managed to find anything. I had to be careful.

"You know Gerry, right? Don't even pretend you don't." I nodded. "We need you to make a buy. That's all, just a simple purchase. Give us the dope and we'll let you go. No need to even show up for court. We don't even want him. We want his supplier. Come on Fat Boy, you have to know how this works. You help us. We help you. Call it a compromise. Neither one of us are happy about it, but both of us get something. You get to walk. And we get a worse scumbag than you off the street. Win/win all around."

Three hours later I hit the street. I had $500 of marked money in my pocket and a wire I was supposed to wear when I hooked up with Gerry. I had a few hours before the buy so I grabbed the uptown bus and headed home. Just to make sure no one was tailin me, I transferred twice and then caught the subway at Ninth Ave. Sitting on the subway, I thought about running. Quickly that thought lost out. I couldn't quit this town yet. I had business to button up before I could leave.

My crib wasn't much. Just a room and a half bath on the second floor over the Holy Redemption Soup Kitchen near the Strip. I could afford better, but I needed a place like this. It fit in with my current operation. What I couldn't afford was having that operation compromised. Livin here kept me below certain radar frequencies.

I liked Gerry. Yeah he was a drug dealin low life, but he had his charms. He dealt straight and gave the customers a good count. It was going to be a shame I had to turn him over to the cops.

I stripped and cleaned up the best I could. There was no hot water as usual, but I managed to wash off most of the cop stink. I needed to set up the buy so I found my cell phone and paged Gerry. He called me back in less than a minute. Damn this guy was a good business man.

"Waz Up dude?" Gerry was all business. I knew not to waste his time with small talk.

"Gonna be around for awhile? Got some business I need to take care of."

"Sure dude, usual spot, see ya soon." Click.

I dialed the cell of Liquor Breath Cop and told him of the upcoming meet with Gerry. He said cool, they'd be around the corner waiting for me. "And don't forget the dope asshole."

"Don't forget our deal jerk off." Liquour Breath hung up chuckling.

I changed into some fresh duds and was just leaving when the other cell phone rung me up. "Hey momma what's shaking?"

Shit. Gerry never called this number unless he wanted some more product. Why now? Goddammit, nothing ever goes smoothly. Story of my life.

"Well hey there darlin", hows my best man doin tonight?" I almost didn't disguise my voice. Gerry had caught me off guard.

"Need some more product sweet thing. Fresh out. Business is booming doncha know."

My plan to give Gerry up just hit a major glitch. If he had nothing to sell me, I wouldn't have anything to give the cops. I would have to pull off a Doubtfire. Meet him first as Marsha, change my disguise, meet him again as Fat Boy, buy back my product with cop money and then rendezvous with Liquor Breath Cop and Silent Sam his partner. All in the space of the next couple of hours. This was getting way too complicated.

"Marsha, hey sweet thing. You still there? Damn phones......"

"Yes Gerry, I hear you. I'll be by in an hour. Usual place I'm guessin?"

"Sure thing sweet cheeks. See Ya."

When I had gotten out of prison 3 years ago, I vowed I would never go back. I was not going to be caught stupid again. Drug dealing was all I had ever done. I was not a nine to five kinda guy. I came up with the plan I was using after hours in stir watching my favorite movie. That Robin Williams just cracked me up. Why couldn't I do the same thing? So I created Marsha. She would only be used when doing deals. The time left I would be Fat Boy keepin an eye on things and making sure everything worked smoothly. Not livin large, but gettin by. All the while that account offshore would grow until one day I could leave this sleazy town behind. It seemed the perfect set up.

I smiled and thought back to how this all began. It took awhile before I got a handle on it. Swapping back and forth between Marsha and Fat Boy sometimes four or five times a day created some sketchy situations. That nasty business with the Mexicans in Back Bay came to mind. I lucked out when they hesitated to shoot me because I might just be a broad. And even though I blew them away with that saw offed shotgun the one dropped when I kicked him, I never had any pangs of guilt or remorse. It was business.

Since then I had been very cautious to not create any circumstance that would require Fat Boy and Marsha to be in the same area on the same day. It had all gone great until today. Today was trouble and I knew it.

I left my crib and instead of heading right back downtown, I walked the few blocks to the garage I rented near the old Senator Theater. Once inside, I quickly bagged up a quarter pound of Brown Heroin and changed into Marsha. The heroin and my Fat Boy clothes, I stuffed into that huge purse Marsha always carried with her.

I didn't use the subway or catch a bus, I hailed a cab. Time was tight and besides dealing with droolin perverts on public transportation always made my skin crawl. A few blocks shy of the bar where I was to hook up with Gerry I told the Cabbie to pull over. I'd walk from there. Once again I marveled at how the chicks could wear all this crap and function at all, nevermind walk with any comfort. Heels, panties riding up, nylons dropping down and bra straps chaffing parts I couldn't reach. I buried the discomfort. Finding the trash bin behind the bar, I dropped the quarter pound of Brown in. I walked around front and sashayed into the basement bar where Gerry was busy talkin with the bar keep.

The usual greetings and a couple of shots of J&B later, I excused myself to the ladies room. Taped up under the sink was a nice fat envelope. It was quickly jammed inside my garter. I left the can and exited the bar by the back door. Gerry was just collecting his goods. He looked at me and smiled. I waved and walked down to the other end of the alley.

I had to find a place to lose Marsha and change back into Fat Boy. Quick stepping it as fast as those size 12 pumps would let me, I headed for the subway entrance at Fifth and Driscoll. At this time of night, the restrooms ought to be empty I thought. They were. Slipping into the grungy stall I stripped off Marsha and struggled to put on Fat Boy and the wire. Several minutes and some serious cussing later, I finally walked out as Fat Boy. What to do now with the envelope and all the Marsha stuff? I definitely could not keep them with me. I could not throw it away. Based on what he owed me, there had to be five grand in that envelope.

"Screw it", I thought. Losing five grand might just have to be the price of making it out of this cluster fuck.

I stuffed the money, the wig and Marsha's size 16 dress into the huge purse. I jammed the whole mess into the trash can in the men's room and hurried to Caesars Park to meet with Gerry. I rounded the corner near the park and saw what had to be the two super cops parked in the shadows waiting for me to do their dirty work. As if on cue, they flashed their lights. "Yeah right you assholes, I'm here. Calm down." I walked into the park.

"So Fat Boy how much of what do you want?"

I looked at Gerry. "Dude, I need a Deck of Brown. Half G's worth."

"Whoeee. Sounds like Fat Boy's gonna par - tay. Just stocked up. You're in luck."

Gerry walked away. A minute or so passed and he brushed by me handing off the heroin with one hand as I passed him the marked bills by stuffing them in his coat pocket. We had done this more than once.

"See Ya round Gerry. Thanks." I left the park.

As I walked down Driscoll towards the subway station, a car pulled over to the curb in front of me. Silent Sam, Liquor Breath's partner hung his head out of the passenger window. "So Fat Boy how'd it go?"

"It's cool. I got the Smack and I guess the wire worked." I walked over to the car.

"Oh it worked alright Fat Boy. Or should I say Marsha. Or.......help me out here. Just who are you? Marsha or Fat Boy? Oh Never mind, the Bubbas upstate will figure it out for you."

I could feel a wave of nausea coming over me. I couldn't speak.

Silent Sam continued, "Yeah Fat Boy, we have been after you for a long time. If it makes you feel any better, we aren't going to worry you with that double homicide over Back Bay way. They deserved it. You did us a favor. And besides why take a chance. We have your ass six ways to Sunday with this dealing beef."

"But, I don't understand. How could you.........."

By this time Liquor Breath had stepped out and was coming around the front of the car. "Well you see Fat Boy, Gerry has been in our pocket for some time now. If you are as stupid as I think you are, you stashed the marked bills we gave him to give you. I bet the tracking device is still inside." Liquor Breath held up Marsha's purse. "And besides......" Liquor Breath snickered and let his eyes drop to my shoes. "Those big pumps you are wearing don't exactly go with your outfit."
___________________________________

And so goes my recent effort for Flash Fiction # 9. The picture I used at the top is of someone famous for a time. Not famous in a mainstream kind of way, but some of you might recognize this edge pusher from back in the day when it was still possible to shock America. Who is he?

A couple of hints - He is dead now. He was a cinema star.



Back to reality........................

(2362 / 8480)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I Miss You Frank

The other day I mentioned I had thought about Frank Zappa off and on as I wrote my Flash Fiction post #8. Images of Dental Floss, Montana, and Zircon encrusted tweezers danced like sugar plum fairies, well maybe it was really bounced around aimlessly and they weren't sugar plum fairies but more like big badass bikin mamas with apples stuck in their mouths. Anyway, I thought about Frank and how much his music and personality had influenced my warped sense of what was important in this Life and what wasn't. I even punched up "Hot Rats" and played "Willie the Pimp" a few times at volume wow on my wannabe high end headphones that were now approaching not old age but ancient relic status. I was in the groove.

So tonight I spent some time visiting some bike shop blogs I have linked through my sister bloggin ship CRUM Cycles. I am sure it was no coincidence that I found it on a site that emanates from that bastion of Charm, Bawlemer, Murland. You see he was born and raised close by. He is a native son and I would be too if I had my druthers. I lived there for some years but it just isn't the same as being born there. It never is. Sorry about that.....I get ahead of myself. When that happens I tend to fall behind and then I get nowhere fast........

Baltimore Bicycle Works, a very hip and cool shop if you want to base said hipness and coolness on the town they exist in and on their blog. Well they had some great videos embedded. First up was a video of a blind trials rider. This guy did things on a bike I can only do in my wet dreams. And he's blind. Awesome stuff. I will be poaching their link for a post at some point on my strictly commercial to draw in paying customers blog about all things cycling and a few things in between.

Well one video led to another and I spotted in their recent posts section, "Frank Zappa plays the Bicycle". First I must say that Frank and I go way back. At least I thought so. It was in 1967 when I picked out "Freak Out" from the pile of albums the record guy had in his delivery van. I was sure I had pretty much discovered over the years about all there was to discover about Frank. And I knew he had odd and amusing ideas about what music was about. Many called him a genius. Some called him an asshole. But no matter what, Frank was never boring. When I punched up this video, it was a clean cut Frank dressed in one tight fitting cool hip suit of an early 60s rocker standing on the set of the Steve Allen Show. A very young Frank. In front of him were two bikes and Steve Allen. It is hard to describe what went down because I am still not sure, but it was classic Frank Zappa. Bizarre, clever, witty. The audience, Steve, and I loved it.

As it is with those You Tube videos, they always try to hook you with more videos that are in some way directly or even tentatively connected to that first video that sucked you in. I watched Frank's last interview before he died. I watched his last real interview of substance a year or so earlier. I watched him on the Johnny Carson Show. I watched him giving Congress a hard time back in the first efforts of Tipper "I'm still married to Mr Global Warming" Gore to save our children from the evils of Rock N Roll music. The man was awesome. He got in their face. He did not back down. When his testimony was over, in the background an unidentified Congressman could be heard, "Well we sure had a bear by the tail. I don't think I ever heard anything like that even during the Mafia hearings." Or to that effect - not a ver batum quote.

The video that made me realize why I respect Frank so much was his appearance on I think an early version of Crossfire during CNN's early days back in 1986. They definitely had a tiger by the tail. He was sure Ronald Reagan had set the table for a theocratic fascist state. The tight asses on the panel were absolutely caught off guard. Reagan walked on water back in 1986. Now we are just waiting for the Second Coming. When that happens Frank won't turn over in his grave. He'll shove his skinny arm through the casket and flip us all off.

So in conclusion I have sifted through more than a few videos and decided the following "Three-Fer" is a good representation of what Frank was musically. He was this and more, but these three give a good taste. Enjoy.

Note - Frank's lyrics can be unsettling to timid and sensitive minds. The middle video, "Frank Zappa on Acid" is well, let's see...... I liked it fine and Tipper Gore most assuredly would not. That should be warning enough.







I know Frank's laughing his ass off somewhere.......................

(842 / 6118)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Up To Their Old Tricks Again

The Liberal Media has been up to their tired old tricks it seems. Committing the same felonious assault on the "truth" the Wingers have come to expect and it would seem in a perverted turn about, love. Those Liberal bastards are not giving them their due by vastly under reporting the numbers of the faithful hordes who have been making Patriotic Pilgrimages to the belly of the beast we call DC. They know because they read about it on their favorite Winger blog. It was really 50,000 irate citizens who answered the call by Michelle "I am Holier Than Thou and Loony to Boot" Bachmann to come for a day of fun in the Sun protesting the Commie Conspiracy disguised as Healthcare Reform. Not the paltry 10,000 the Left leaning Pinko Press claimed were there.

Now I was puzzled over this obvious discrepancy between the Patriots and the Commies. Someone had to have their thumb on the scale. So I dug a little further. Perused some more traditional Conservative sites for their take. What I found was shocking. Apparently that old school Conservative stalwart, The Heritage Foundation, has been overrun by the stinking Liberal Conspiracy. I am sure it was a hacker. Had to be. The wing tipped blue tie wearing folks over to Heritage would never agree with any fact also presented as fact by the Pinko Libs who control the Press. It just couldn't happen. Say it ain't so Joe.

In an effort to be fair though and not seem to be leaning Right when we all know I lean whichever way Beck tells me to, I offer up the claims made by various "experts".
~The righteous and lovably honorable Representative from Minnesota, Ms Michelle Bachmann scanned the crowd and figured there were at least 20 to 45,000 faithful followers hanging on her every word.

~Rep. Torn from the Great State of Georgia figures she might have missed the few sitting in trees. He claims up to 50,000 stepped up to be counted.

~Franklin Raff, who has the honor of producing G.Gordon Libby's radio show figured there were close to same numbers that showed up in September, about a million he guessed

~Apparently one DC Cop who was there to protect the crowd from harassment by invisible Liberals contends there were maybe 3500 God fearing Patriots. He must have been a Liberal Plant. Not once did he pull his weapon out and brandish it. Would a real Patriot ever miss that opportunity? No, I don't think so.

~And of course those poor folks over to the Heritage Foundation with obviously a gun held to their head fell in line with the mainstream Liberal estimate of around 10,000.

I ask you. Who are you going to believe? A woman who we all know would mother our children if we asked or some dirty Commie who wants to kill our children and leave our parents to die slow painful deaths at the hands of an uncaring government? Come on now. Be honest.

So that I might cheer myself up and forget this fall from grace one of my go to Conservative voices has suffered, I decided to check out some images of this happy get together last Thursday. To all appearances it was your typical mass gathering of families enjoying their right to be stupid. The creativity shown by some of the signs was a refreshing change from the usual Right Wing rhetoric. Notice the wonderful association and use of graphics as they point out the obvious connection of Dachau Concentration Camp prisoners and what we will become if Healthcare Reform is passed. I'm convinced. Especially now that those Left Wing losers have brought Hitler back. I just knew those Commies would team up with him again.

So folks if you value the Truth. If Facts mean anything to you. I plead with you not to be sucked in by specious claims coming from the Liberals who control the News. Rather than believe what you see, be safe, Believe what Beck tells you. After all he is the only sane one among us.

I now leave you with this touching picture of some fellow citizens who trudged through the belly of the Liberal strongholds from my neck of the woods. Almost brings a tear to my eye.



Don't let The Man get you down....................

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Ft. Hood


Predictably and following in the footsteps of thousands of blog tongues wagging at the moment, this post is about the Ft Hood shooting. It was a horrible act by an obviously deranged man whose motives have yet to be completely understood. It is one thing to mourn a soldier's death from war, a much different matter when they are victim of totally senseless violence. My sympathies of course go out to the families and loved ones of those shot. I cannot even imagine they were prepared for something like this.

What strikes me at this point though is the absolute deluge of misinformation, partial information, and no information that has fueled the knee jerk responses I have been reading here in Blogotopia. Honest Partisan actually said it better than I, but then he always does. - "However natural such an impulse might be, it's also worthwhile to withhold any application of today's shooting spree to the political narrative one lives by (at least until more facts are in), especially with a topic as fraught as this one in post-9/11 America. I doubt that will happen in large part, though." He was right on target.

It is understandable for us to make assumptions in the backs of our minds. But clear thinking people will do this and then give that first knee jerk response a chance to settle down as we look for more information to finally make up our minds. I will admit my first thought when I caught my first word of this tragedy, "Jeez, I hope the shooters/shooter were not Muslim. A terrible situation can only be made worse if this is so." You see, I made an assumption even if it was in the form of a wish it weren't so kind.

Unfortunately it appears the main suspect is a Muslim. "Here we go", I thought. And so far my worse case scenario is playing out as predictably as I hoped it would not.

I read more than a few right of center blogs. I do this not because I am Right of center, but because they often have insights and opinions that I find interesting and challenging to my own take on how things are. I am still capable of changing my mind and cutting them out of my loop seems wrong. After all, I was raised in a Right of center family.

Of the first four Right-ish blogs I read, only one seemed willing to wait and see what really went down and why. The other three were off and running at their mouths about how Muslims are untrustworthy, dirty lousy losers who should never be allowed in the military in the first place. Each had their own special knee jerk response, but the rush to judgement had been made. It just had to be religiously based violence.

The New York Times has to this point the best background information I have heard or read. Reading it raises more questions about this sad incident than it answers. But at least I know more about the person who is accused of this crime.

I guess the reason I have even posted this is to maybe offer what little condolences I can and to notify those who rush to judge, they are not helping the situation by their inaccurate portrayal of a situation even the authorities admit they have yet to completely sort out.

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

(567 / 4559)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

99 Beads on the Wall

No matter how comfortable I get in my own little rut, I can always count on friends and acquaintances to commit drive by assaults on that comfortable little rut. One friend in particular seems to find the edges of my comfort zone every couple of years or so. I have known this younger fellow for maybe 20 years now. I first met him when he was an awkward teen trying to figure out which way was up. 20 years later he is still looking.

I feel a special kind of kindred feeling with this guy. We both grew up feeling out of place and not really like one of the family. He had more trouble with it than I did. He had good reason. At least my out of place feeling was never thrown in my face by the loved ones around me. His was. I guess our situation as children was not unusual, just some of the normal lousy dynamics that can exist in a dysfunctional family comprised of more than a few spouses, ex spouses, and half siblings all tossed together. I weathered my storm. He is still working through his even though he is well into his mid thirties.

So a few years ago my friend is in the bike shop. I had not seen him in quite awhile. The normal how ya doins, and bike related subjects passed the time. Out of nowhere, my friend blurts out that he is Gay. Suddenly the conversation stops. He is looking hard at me for some facial expression that will let him know how I feel about that.

"Yeah, so what. Good for you. Told your family yet?" I know enough about his family to know this little revelation had to go down like a fart in church.

"Most of them won't talk to me now."

"So. It's a win/win situation for you. You get to be open about what we all knew anyway and they leave you alone now. Isn't that what you want?"

"I want them to accept me for who I am."

I am no mental health professional with degrees, but I know this guy and he has always done whatever it took to be noticed in a family that could not have cared less for him. "Well, they noticed you. Happy now?"

"Uh, No"

The conversation went this way for way too long. It got to the point that I wanted to boot him out of my shop. He was Gay. He was still miserable. Life still sucked. I get it. You can leave now.

But then his tendency to be a gossip kicks into gear. He begins to list all the recent trysts he has had and with whom. All local folks I either knew or had dealt with at some point in the shop. Several of them were closet Gays I guess and this guy was outing them in my bike shop. This made me very uncomfortable. I did not want to hear about it. He was Gay. Let's leave it at that. I have no interest in knowing with whom or how many. He left.

Over the following couple of years I would see this fellow on occasion. He still owned bikes, but rarely rode them. He was more about owning nice bikes than actually putting them through their paces. About a month ago he swings in. Again with the how ya doins and normal catching up conversation. And again out of the blue he tells me He is moving out. He will no longer be staying with Mom.

Now this was news. He had lived with his mother since the day I met him 20 years previous. My interest had been lit up. Then I made my mistake. I asked him why.

"I want to move closer to my mosque. The closest one to Sanford is in Dover."

"Your Mosque? What the Hell are you talking about?"

"Oh yeah. I am a practicing Muslim now"

Again he looks at me hard looking for my reaction. For once I have nothing to say. I have known born again Christians, a few folks who converted to Judaism, and several who had found Buddha. But never in my 57 years have I known someone to convert to Islam. I was caught way off guard.

All I could muster up was something like, "Islam huh? What's your Mom think? What about the rest of the clan?"

"I gave up caring what they think. Islam has saved my life. I have a new family now."

I have learned the hard way that freshly born agains are very sensitive to any criticism one might have about their new found faith. Certainly letting them know my feelings regarding organized religions is not the first thing I should be assaulting them with. So I kept my mouth shut.

"Well, what do you think?" My friend is insisting on getting some kind of reaction. What a pain in the ass he can be.

"You don't want to know what I think."

"Yeah. Yeah I do."

So I told him my opinion on organized religion. Any organized religion. I was not flattering nor was I going to water down my disgust for organized religions. I finished with how I thought it was great he thinks he has finally found his path to Happiness, but if he was looking for anything more from me, he was pumping a dry hole.

That was several weeks ago. Last Thursday, my friend stopped by the shop to buy a couple of tubes. At least that was his excuse. Before he left, he handed me the prayer beads and the copy of the Qur'an you see at the top of the post. I remember standing there with what had to be a dumb look on my face. Had I not let him know in no uncertain terms that I was a happy Heathen, Infidel, person who did not pray? And here he is handing me the tools of a religion with the obvious goal of trying to convert me.

I said thanks much, but don't expect me to be buying a prayer rug to go with them. I brought the book and the beads home. I have the beads hung from the same hook my cable to transfer photos from camera to puter hangs. The Qur'an I have placed next to the Bible I have which sits next to my Dictionary, my Thesaurus, and my political theory reference book. I have actually cracked it and read some of it.

The obvious contradictions my friend wears so publicly now could only happen in this country I think. Or a country that embraces the type of diversity we do. While I think he still has not found himself yet, at least he lives in a place that allows him to keep looking. I really do hope he locates some kind of center in the mess that is his Life. And more power to him if he finds it using the Qur'an.

Keep the Faith....................

(1173 / 3992)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mainers Have Their Say - Tolerance Denied


I should be pleased with the vote from yesterdays referendum election. Based on the percentage of questions I voted on, I came away voting more with the winning side than not. This is an unusual situation I find myself in. Generally I tend to find my vote as futile against the tide effort. Yeah I should be pleased. The problem is the two questions I really had hoped would go my way did not.

We now can set up Pot dispensaries for the distribution of Pot to sick folk. That's nice and a step in the right direction. TABOR failed by a good margin. Again great. The excise tax failed. We also approved one bond to help fix bridges, roads and such. And finally, the last tally I saw, the Constitutional amendment proposal was being shot down. All good in my opinion.

It appears Mainers are not as independent as I thought. Holier than Thou knuckle dragging pot stirrers from out of state were able to mobilize enough brain dead Mainers to overturn the Gay Marriage law passed awhile ago. Fueled by fear tactics that "Homosexuality will be taught in schools", instead Maine decided that intolerance would be taught instead. Yeah, this one really pissed me off.

The other question had to do with School consolidation. A program to force the independent system we had into a top heavy bureaucracy that takes away local control of our schools. We had our chance to make it go away but well, apparently more brain dead Mainers were mobilized and it is still there this morning.

So with my vote, my batting average was an astronomical .714 and I should be pleased that so many Mainers showed up to vote for an off year election. And yeah, part of me is pleased we had so many participate. I should be the good sport and shake hands. Screw that. This ain't no game between friends. This election was about what my state stands for. And right now, I don't feel very inclined to stand shoulder to shoulder with my fellow citizens. We caved to the agenda of outsiders who wish to jam their narrow minded morality down our throats. Or worse, Mainers really are this narrow minded and I have been living in a fool's paradise all these years.

I'm off to lick some wounds.......................

But then I saw this and it made me grin.



Thanks to Nickie Goomba for turning me on to this.

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