Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shoe Shopping

So I have two more days to pad my blog count for the month. I could Bush League it and post a Utube video. I could just write a few words of nonsense like I usually do and say see ya..................

Or tonight I could write about Shoe Shopping.

Apparently shoe shopping is an activity all humans with money in their pocket share no matter what culture, mindset, or outlook they may have. Everyone wears shoes. They're kinda like assholes - everyone has them, only with shoes most of us have two. I am sure there are some small indigenous percentage who wear no shoes, but I would guess most of humanity is shod in one form or another.

Scribbit is over in India at the moment. So she is doing a travel blog for a couple of weeks. One post was about shopping Indian style. A really great post that imparted just how different shopping there is than here. From the attitudes of the clerks, sexual politics of shopping there, and the commonality of shopping that exists everywhere. She pointed out a couple of ladies in Burkas gently lifting their head to toe coverings to peak at the gaudy rhinestone shoes they were trying on.

Generally if I take the time to read a blog post, I take the time to comment. If nothing else to let the blogger know that yeah, someone does read their take on occasion. I commented about how shoe shopping was probably pretty universal, but it was broken down by gender. That men and women approached it differently. A man is more likely to try on a pair of shoes and close his eyes or walk around to get a feel for the fit. Women on the other hand more often than not look for the first mirror available to see how they look. From the huge numbers of monstrously non sensible shoes they will gladly put on their feet, fit is not the women's first concern. Figured I had covered it with my comment, I left.

I made the mistake of thinking about my comment later. I decided my comment only told a small part of the reasoning that went into purchasing new footwear. Men of course do care how shoes look. And most women, unless buying shoes for those fancy smancy Brou-hahas, will often buy for fit as well as looks. The difference in the male/female approach though is - a guy will decide the shoe looks good or bad before he even puts it on his feet. A gal will try anything on and hope it fits.

I won't get into the aesthetic parameters of shoe fashion. As far as I am concerned, feet are not the most handsome appendages we have, so why worry about how a shoe looks. They are all pretty damn foolish lookin in my opinion. Considering how foolish feet look and it's no wonder.

Now would be a good time to inject some education into this worthless post about shoes. But why spoil it now. Shoes have been around long enough that knowing when we started wearing them would do little to elevate the worthiness of this post.

I do remember as a kid hating shoes with a passion. I even used to toss them away occasionally and tell my mom, I lost them. Teachers take a dim view of students who show up shoeless in America. Parents take a dimmer view. Mine sure did.

But once I was in charge of my own clothing destiny in college, I did attempt to not wear shoes for a year while going to Towson State in the Bawlamer area. I was maybe 75% successful. Going to class barefoot was no problem. If someone whined, I stopped going to class. After all, I couldn't give in and toss my vows of shoelessness. One of them had to go. And it was damn sight easier to not go to class than to stuff my feet into a pair of Chuck Taylors.

You haven't lived until you can walk down snowy streets in bare feet. At the time I was sure I was just so cool. Now 38 years later, I realize I was a pretty stupid college student. Insisting on going barefoot was but the tip of the iceberg.


Onto another tangent..........................

Monday, March 29, 2010

FFF #26 - 250 Words - "Climax"

Not sure why I wrote another 250 words with this starter sentence from Cormac. I did really like the prompt though. "What do you see when you close your eyes?" So many possibilities. The great efforts of the others is testimony to that.

I have been tossing images of old tractors around in my mind for quite awhile now. And how can I mention tractors without mentioning chawin bacca? Besides nothin picks up my day more than a picture of a flashy red tractor.

“Climax”

"What do you see when you close your eyes?"

Jacob looked at the salesman and said, "What?"

"Sir, if you could, please close your eyes. What kind of tractor do you see yourself tilling that back forty with?"

Jacob tugged on his beard and looked this citi-fied stranger over. Out of his bacca pocket he pulled a half plug of Climax and tore off a healthy chunk with the five teeth he still had. He got the wad rolling real good and said, “Why dontcha close your eyes Bub and tell me what kinda tractor you see me on." Some bacca juice dribbled from the corner of his mouth and into his beard.

Sid said, “Why sure thing , Mr. …..”

“Name’s Jacob Blanchard.”

“Okay Jacob Blanchard, I’ll just do that.” Rubbing his temples Sid began.

“I see a field. In this field, a shiny new Farmall “Mogul 8-16” sits idling with a new double wide disc rig tagged on. I see you slide onto that shiny new black seat. Caressing the steering wheel with one hand and releasing the brake with the other, you smile your way through that back forty. You finish so fast you’re a half hour early for supper.” Smiling, Sid opened his eyes.

"Nice story bub but I din’t come for no tractor.” Jacob spit some well chewed Climax on Sid’s left shoe. “I come in to find out what fool parked in front of my dumpster. I’m guessin that fool would be you.”
_____________________________________________

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

Sunday, March 28, 2010

FFF #26 - 250 Words - "Say Goodbye"

Cormac, the host of Friday Flash Fiction, provided us with the starter sentence this week - "What do you see when you close your eyes?" I did not give this sentence a thought until Friday morning as I headed to the bike shop. An idea popped in when I had no way to record it for later treatment. Usually when this happens, I can never remember the idea later when seated with fingers poised ready to pour it out onto the screen. But damn if I wasn't able to remember 90% of it and that I wanted to do it in 250 words. I'm becoming a big fan of 250 words. Constraining, but not so much you can't make a point. Short enough for the ADD types like me. And it's a hoot to try to do it in 250 words.

I am not sure why it is yet another violent rip and tear piece. Maybe it has to do with the current political atmosphere. Been watching too much of Glenn Beck and Hannity I guess. Anyway, I went where the sentence took me.

Another odd thing about this piece. As usual I wrote it first and then found the image. As well as the image fits, I almost expect Harlan Ellison to knock on my door at any moment with a knife in his hand.
_______________________

"Say Goodbye"

"What do you see when you close your eyes?"

Axle was not even thinking about closing his eyes. Not with that knife in Jack Top’s hand pressed so hard an inch or two under his left ear.

Jack Top grabbed Axle’s hair and roughly tilted his head back. "I said, what do you see when you close your eyes?" Axle knelt whimpering and losing control of his bladder. He looked up into Jack Top's eyes.

Axle had always been slow on the uptake. It took him a second, but he closed his eyes. Some seconds later they fluttered open. "Uh, nothing Jack Top. Don’t see a thing. Black I guess. Why?" Piss began to soak through Axle’s pants and into the carpet.

Jack Top closed his eyes. His free hand gripped Axle’s hair so hard he could feel some of it coming loose at the roots. “I tell you what Axle. When I close my eyes, I see red. Beautiful red everywhere. Nothin but red.” Jack Top then sliced Axle’s throat open from ear to ear.

Jack Top stood staring down at the wet red gash he had created under Axle’s chin. He watched the gushing blood drain the life out of Axle’s eyes. A look of serenity and calm came over Jack Top’s face. He sighed and closed his eyes again. His knife fell to the floor.

Rivet Head whispered, “If he ever asks me that, what do I say?”

Zip looked at him and said, “You say goodbye.”
_________________________________________

Image - Acrylic by Joe Machine of the Stuckists
___________________________________________

Edited out after David read it the first time - "He stared hard into Axle’s eyes as Axle knelt whimpering and losing control of his bladder."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bowie and the Whacko Redhead

I have been picking away at this story for awhile. It's time to toss it out there I guess. If you don't like longer reads, stop now. It's over 2500 words long.

The events are true. The people were/are real. The dialog I basically created to well I guess add something to it. But only to convey the truth of that incident as I remembered it. Hence the tag "Fictional Truth".

Anyway.............

___________________________________________

I did not appreciate how close to the edge I was flying back in 1978 when I was driving Rock n' Roll bands from one end of the continent to the other. I had been on the road pretty much non-stop for two years. The mind numbing miles built up. One hall began to look like another. I often had to check my itinerary the morning of a stage call to remind me what town I was in.

My time behind the wheel became a blur of interstate super slabs interrupted by nightmarish back ins to backstage loading docks run by surly stagehands. Sleep was a rare luxury. Food, while plentiful, was always the same leftovers found in Green Rooms across the nation or the classic gut busting fare served in truck stops.

I was on the David Bowie tour in the spring of 1978. We were on the last leg, the whirlwind part. The bunched up series of shows on the East Coast meant travel distances dropped but the strategies to make it safely in and out of a city grew ever more complicated. The East was where I had learned the ropes of driving. I was back in my element. I could get 6 or 7 trucks to Madison Square Garden without much hassle as long as everyone stuck together. I could back into holes the western drivers considered impossible. In other words, I came east and I was a star.

We had three towns left. Providence, Boston, and we finished with two shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was in Providence the comedy of errors began for me.

A normal crowd of groupies and sycophants were hanging out in the lobby of the Howard Johnsons when I stumbled through the roulette door to check in. How these clowns seemed to know where to go puzzled me. But they were always around.

Whacko Redhead was parked on one of the over stuffs tapping her feet. I only noticed her because her red hair was a couple of feet long and looked like it had not seen the business side of a comb or brush in years. And on her head was a Red Sox cap. Our eyes met. Mine stopped at her face. Her stare went right through me. Kinda scared me if you want to know the truth. I smiled weakly and continued to stumble my way to the front desk. I checked in, got my key and directions to my room.

Maybe two minutes after throwing my shit on the bed and collapsing next to it, someone knocked on the door. Not happy in the slightest, I dragged my sorry butt off that bed and opened the door.

"You're with the Bowie Tour aren't you?"

There, in all of her maybe 5 foot grandeur stood Whacko Redhead. Her feet apart like an umpire and her hands on her hips. She pushed past me and came into my room.

"So what do I have to do to get backstage?" She plopped on my bed.

By this point in my Rock n Roll career, I had grown tired of the groupie scene. The easy sex for backstage passes had gone stale for me. Add in the fact that I was dead on my feet and my mood was not all that agreeable.

"I don't do backstage passes anymore. I'm tired. I need some sleep. Please leave." And I continued to hold the door open.

Whacko Redhead did not get up off the bed. Instead she began to tap her feet again like in the lobby. "Well then", she started, "I am sure one of you drivers is horny enough to cough up a pass. Who should I see?"

Her direct manner and her piercing blue eyes cut through me hard. I began to chuckle. "Well, Spanky is perpetually horny. He's always ready for some head."

"Which one's Spanky? Not the 400 pound whale with the whiny voice and scraggly beard?"

"That would be Spanky."

"Uh, no thanks. I picked you. So, what's it gonna take?"

"Darlin, all I want is some sleep. Even if I had the urge, I don't think the engine has the fuel." But I closed the door and walked back into the room.

That was my first mistake.

At age 26, we guys always have the urge and the fuel even if we don't think we do. And this is something all the women know. An hour later Whacko Redhead and I were saving the planet by taking a shower together. That sleep I thought I needed traded in on easy sex for a backstage pass.

I lost track of Whacko Redhead during the show that night. But come time for load out, there she was sitting on one of the speakers waiting to be loaded on my truck. When they grabbed that speaker, she hopped off and walked over to me at the back door of the trailer.

She reached around my waist with one hand and pulled my head down with the other. After planting a screamer of a kiss on me, she backed up. "Well, I guess that's it then. You are off to Boston now."

"Yeah, I guess so."

And then I made my second mistake.

"How'd you like to go to Boston with me?"

I don't think I had even finished talking and she had the passenger door of the truck open and was scrambling up the looped footstep. By the time I had climbed in behind the wheel, she had a doob lit and was passing it over the dog house to me.

The Old Boston Garden was maybe a two hour drive from Providence. Once there, I figured I would finally get that sleep I needed. It was possible my head could be on a pillow by 2 AM and with stage call not until 8 AM, I might get 4 hours of solid shuteye.

Whacko Redhead had other plans. On the way out of Providence she insisted I stop at her apartment so she could grab some clean clothes and maybe gussy up some. Since finding Boston Garden should be no problem for the other drivers and the fact they had over 8 hours to find it, I cut them loose with a call on the CB radio. I pulled into Whacko Redhead's apartment complex around midnight. I didn't pull out until 6:30 AM the next morning. And again like so many times before, I made stage call with only minutes to spare. Buford, the head engineer for SHOWCO was not impressed. Damn women.

I got my trailer unloaded and then headed to the Holiday Inn in Somerville. After a quick romp in the sack with Whacko Redhead, I headed for the shower and left her in bed thumbing through the itinerary for the tour. As I toweled myself off, there was a knock at the door. I wrapped my towel around my waist and opened the door expecting one of the crew or a hotel employee. There standing in all their Parental intimidation are Mom and Dad. I had forgotten that I had invited them down from Maine to see the Bowie show and hang with all the cool people backstage.

I didn't move. I didn't say a word. I just looked at them. In the meantime, my dad's eyes had gotten bigger. My mom's eyes had become slits. I turned around and sitting there in one of those hotel room chairs buck naked was Whacko Redhead. Her eyes had grown big also. She jumped up and scurried to the bed and began to gather her clothes.

I still just stood there saying nothing. What was there to say?

Mom finally spoke. "Well Mike, are you going to invite us in?"

"Uh, yeah, come on in." I stepped out of the way just as Whacko Redhead made a beeline for the bathroom with her clothes clutched so to cover her naughty bits.

Mom and Dad come into the room. Mom's eyes are still slits. Dad is grinning from ear to ear. He said, "So all those stories are true huh?" Mom shot him a hard look of disgust and then began to scan the room for a safe place to sit.

I heard the shower kick in. Good, Whacko Redhead was cleaning up. I turned to my parents, “Folks, make yourselves comfortable. I'm going to get dressed. Be out in a moment." Mom and Dad just looked at me. They still had not sat and that grin on Dad's face was beginning to unnerve me.

Once I was dressed I came out of the bathroom and was relieved that Mom and Dad had figured out where to sit. It seemed to take the edge off the situation that had started so badly. I began. "So this is kinda awkward......"

Mom immediately interrupts. "Awkward? Christ on a crutch Mike, you invited us down. You know how hard it is to get your father to go anywhere, and when we finally get here, you are shacked up with some whore."

"Mom, she's not a whore. They are called Groupies. And besides..........." I can't finish. Mom was not listening. She had made her decision.

Dad piped up and said, "Well I for one am glad we came. She seems a delightful young lady."

Mom turned and stared at my father. "Delightful? Why do you say that? Because she was naked?"

"Why yes dear. Because she was naked. All young ladies are delightful when unclothed."

I can tell my parents were getting primed for one of their daily spats. It always started the same way. One baits, the other bites. I spoke up. “Okay that’s it. Stop right now. Let’s head to the Garden. I’ll leave Angie here. She won’t mind.”

My mom could not resist a parting shot as we moved towards the door. In a loud voice she warned, “Don’t leave any valuables here Mike; they might not be here when you get back.”

Whacko Redhead, her head hanging out of the bathroom door, stuck her tongue out. Dad smiled at her, then said, “Nice to have met you.” Mom tugged on his arm, glared at Whacko Redhead and we left.

Thankfully, the following hours at the Garden were so special for my parents and myself, the incident at the motel became but a footnote to one of the most bizarre days I had while driving Rock n Roll.

Since it was near the end of the tour, David Bowie had a catered high end meal set up for the crew. Chefs with big hats cooking while waiters wearing white waist coats served food that was absolutely some of the best I have ever eaten. Mom and Dad got to sit down with us. As it happened, David Bowie sat at our table and talked with my parents. He chose our table because their elderly presence was so out of character for this business. My dad was able to hang out at the Sound board while Buford ran his sound check. Both of them ended with respect for the other. They were both geeks. Dad asked questions that Buford had to strain to answer. Geeks just love that kind of shit.

It turned into a good day. If I had had a plan to begin with, I could not have come up with a better series of events to completely impart just how insane the Rock n Roll business was. My parents begged off when I suggested staying for the concert. The meal, meeting David Bowie, the sound check and of course Whacko Redhead was excitement enough for one day. They drove me back to the motel. As I got out, they both insisted they had a wonderful and if nothing else, an interesting time. They drove home to Maine.

I still had to deal with Whacko Redhead though. She had been cooling her heels at the motel for 5 or 6 hours. Even though she could have robbed me blind during our previous two days together, my mom’s warning skittered through my mind as I walked to the room. What is it about moms and their ability to weasel their way into our minds? It must have something to do with that bonding during pregnancy. After all, they have nine months to implant whatever insidious control device they want.

With this floating around my mind, I opened the door of the motel room. The mess I left was straight now and a fully clothed Whacko Redhead laid passed out peacefully on top of the bed covers. The king size bed wrapped around her like an acre of pasture wraps around a cow. Her red hair seemed under control now. Her eyes closed, she was the perfect picture of calm. I crawled on the bed beside her and was asleep the second my head hit the pillow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What the Party Believes

I recently opened the page entitled "What We Believe" at the official GOP website. On this page, seven simple beliefs jump out in large red font.

They are:

1 - We're fortunate to live in America
I can't really argue with number one. I do believe I am fortunate to live in America. However I think my fortunes would be better served if the GOP did not exist in the form they do now. We are less fortunate because of their narrow minded and obstructionist ways. The sad thing is I used to be a Republican.

2 - You can be what you are, and become what you are capable of becoming
Number two is okay also on the face of it. What they fail to say though is you can become whatever you want as long as you allow the GOP to define what that something is. Their intolerance to lifestyles and interactions outside their anal retentive view of the World makes this statement implicitly false.

3 - Helping those around you is worthwhile
Number three? Hmm. I wonder then if this is really what they believe, why are they not practicing it?

4 - Small government is a better government for the people
I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment. And would the leadership of the GOP actually practice what it preaches, I might not have left the party 30 years ago. They don't want smaller government. They want different government. They have the same interest in running my life as do the Democrats. Both just split on what aspects of my life they want to control.

5 - You know what to do with your money better than government
They obviously do not believe this. Teamed up with the leadership of the Democrats, they have been for years proving they believe only the financial wizards of Wall Street and the banking industry know what to do with our money. At least that is the way they have stacked the deck for the last 30 years.

6 - Free markets keep people free
Again this is just more lip service. The GOP leadership only believes in free markets at the top. Read number 5 if you have a problem understanding what I mean.

7 - Our Armed Forces defend and protect our democracy
The military serves the purpose of defending our shores so we, as citizens, can defend our democracy. The military cannot and should not be expected to enter political discussions. It is up to each and every one of us to defend our own piece of the freedoms we have now. No military can do that.

~*~

The problem I see is that people read these mission statements and buy into them lock, stock, and barrel. It is obvious by the past actions of both parties, their platforms are nothing but empty rhetoric designed to draw in the gullible and the foolish.

Tomorrow or maybe later, I will comment on the Democrats.

Gotta head to the Bike Shop................

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Don't cry Little Baby, Just Suck Some More on that Thumb

Before the Health Care Bill passed, the Republicans stood around the playground pouting and telling everyone within earshot they would not play as long as the Democrats held the ball. They sniveled, they lied, they stamped their little wing tipped shoes. Wah wah wah wah.

So now that the a bill of sorts has passed, many of them are saying that there will be no more cooperation on anything for the forseeable future.

Sen. John McCain - "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year. They (the Democrats) have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."

Sen, Olympia Snowe - "I think it makes it a very difficult environment with which to deal with complex and big issues, most certainly incorporating Republican ideas in building that camaraderie. Obviously, you're always going to try to work on issues that are important to this country, but it takes patience to build that kind of consensus, and they haven't demonstrated the patience in that regard. It's regrettable."

If I had not become used to the blind spot most Republicans have regarding their own behaviour, I would be laughing my ass off right now. There will be no more cooperation? Incorporating Republican Ideas? Do you Republican clowns ever take a moment and consider your own roll in creating the mess in DC? .........

I didn't think so.

You are in the minority. Your less than civil demeanor ever since you were spanked at the polls set the tone. I would say you got exactly what you deserve, only it took too long. Had it been me, I would have jammed something down your throat months ago. The wimps who call themselves Democrats had to have their backs against the wall before they found some backbone. And now you Republicans are reaping your just rewards.

But go ahead and promise even less than the nothing you have been giving us these past 30 years. I am not sure I will be able to tell the difference.

An after thought - I am truly disappointed in Olympia's response here. Yes, she was one of a very few Republicans to publicly rub shoulders with the Democrats and try to work things out. But it appears from the quote above, she has the same blind spot the rest of the Republican crew in DC has.

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

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

250 Words - A Fantasy Conversation at the Bike Shop


"Excuse me sir."

I look up from the hub overhaul I am deep into. "Oh sorry, I didn't see you come in. How can I help?"

"Do you work on bikes besides selling them?"

I glance down at the wheel I have apart not six feet away from the customer. I look at my hands coated in tired worn out grease from the hub. I feel the tight confines of the work apron I have on. Instead of a smart ass answer I smile and say, "Well yes. Yes, we work on bikes. But it depends I guess."

"Depends on what?" The customer looks perplexed.

"It depends on whether you are a politician or not. Are you?"

The customer is confused now. A flash of annoyance crosses their face as they search for the meaning of this question. Not finding any answer, they recover their calm and answer. "Why yes, I am indeed a politician."

"Well then, I will promise to work on your bike but only after you have paid me money to make that promise. Ultimately, I will disappoint you by letting it sit untouched or make it worse than when it came in. When you call about its status, I will tell you it is almost ready. After weeks of no action, you will figure out I never had any intention of fixing your bike."

"But how can you take my money and not do the job?"

I look at this clueless politician and just say, "Exactly."

_________________________________

Just one of the daydreams I have from time to time.......See Ya..............

Sunday, March 21, 2010

FFF #25 - Having No Pride

This week's Friday Flash Fiction starter sentence comes from Aussie Paul - "He had been told crawling would get him nowhere."

Since I have little time to give a longer piece because of work constraints, I gave myself 30 minutes to come up with a six line effort. Okay, so I actually spent maybe an hour on it. The first six line effort got me in the ball park. After another half hour, I think I made it better.

The last line was inspired by a movie by the Coen Brothers. One of the verbal exchanges between Bernie Bernbaum and Tom Reagan. Bernie died anyway. Except for the fact that Bernie was gay, maybe the whole piece was inspired by this movie. John Turtorro's acting just fascinates me.

Having No Pride

He had been told crawling would get him nowhere.

They knew nothing of his resolve and patience.

After all, he had found the one rich woman who would cater to his groveling ways.

Having no pride, self humiliation became his stock in trade; his road to success.

Now Death sits at his front door and yet he has no fear.

Confident the Reaper will let him skate if he is on his knees and soils his britches just so.
____________________________________________

Image - Painting by Buen Calubayan

More on Facebook - Ktrak Wants To Be My Friend


Last Sunday I came up with a fiction piece about one of the negative possibilities one might experience when joining Facebook. To be fair and balance the scales, I should give some of the pluses of Facebook some blog time. After all, considering how many millions of people enjoy the use of Facebook every day without harm or distress to their bodies or their souls, it would be remiss of me to not admit that Facebook is probably another positive thing about the Internet. Or Negative thing. Take your pick. This morning I see it as positive. If that whacko redhead from Rhode Island I met in the 1970s locates me via Facebook, my impression may sour some.

Sunday morning about 1:30 AM, I awoke from the first sleep of the night. It seems of late, I am enjoying sleeping so much I do it two times every night. I figure about 3:00 AM, the countdown to Sleep #2 will commence. Until then I can watch the riveting infomercial about a pill that will harden my resolve so to speak as I imagine myself an ex-NFL coach decked out in a NASCAR leather get up standing well hung and proud next to some 400 horse power billboard on wheels at Daytona. I got wet just thinking about it. A moment of true manliness would be experienced.

As enticing as that prospect was, I chose to sit in front of the computer, get Monday's bike parts order together, check Emails, and then maybe take a few moments to do what I am doing now, write something to help fill up the bandwidth in my corner of the blogosphere.

So I open my Emails. Immediately I notice a couple of "so and so is following you on Twitter". Okay fine, but I hate to say it, I just haven't gotten hip to Twitter yet. I move on. Then I notice the myriad of cycling related emails, all of whom want to separate me from the cash I do not have. As much as I would love to buy two of everything, I can't. So I again move on.

About the tenth email down, a notice from Facebook catches my attention. It says "Ktrak wants to be your friend" or something like that. Ktrak huh? My first thought was "Wow, Facebook has really had an impact. One of those happy go lucky butt probing aliens I ran into on my last trip to Deludedville found me on Facebook. Cool, but I hope they don't want to check under my hood again."

But Ktrak was not an alien. Ktrak was a what and not a who. Ktrak apparently is the name of the odd looking contraption you see at the top. It is another fun add on to a mountain bike so one can pedal in the snow. And Ktrak wants to sell me this gadget so I can sell one to you. And because I love anything that might increase my winter cycling fun, I don't want just two, I want a dozen. That is one awesome looking machine. It even looks like it would work really well. Since I have no money to buy one, I will turn this post into a shameless plug.

Which brings me to my point tonight. Or is it my conclusion? What with the Extendz reference, maybe calling it "my thrust tonight" would be more appropriate. Regardless, I did have a reason for bringing all this up.

When I joined Facebook as an individual, I will admit I was only doing it so I could learn the ins and outs before I hooked up my bikshop to Facebook. My original reason is still my greatest incentive. To increase my bottom line. But in the process of joining as an individual, I have come to appreciate the possibilities of this massive networking community. Any number and types of interactions are possible on Facebook. Personal, sexual, family, business - throw your name in the hat and you never know who might want to hook up with you for whatever reason.

Ktrak is the perfect example. I am not sure how they found me, but they did. It may have been the profile picture of me standing on a frozen Maine Lake in 15'F temps, or it could be one of my cycling friends who created the link. The Internet has once again impressed me.



Got a light?
________________________________

~Top image - Mousam Lake ride Winter 2010 - by Dash Jim
~Ktrak Image poached from Facebook
~Image of yours truly - 24 hour race at Great Glen a few years ago - By Avram

Friday, March 19, 2010

When He Was On a Drunk

"House of the Rising Sun" - The Animals - Ed Sullivan Show - 1964



Back in the day before MTV when most TV's were black and white and there were maybe three channels to pick from if you were lucky, punks and punkettes did not have the luxury of tuning in Rock n Roll 24/7. We got our fix in between plate spinners, acrobats, crooners, mooners, and dancing ballerinas on the Ed Sullivan Show.

If Ed gave a group the nod, they had made it to the Big Time. Every Sunday I was there sitting ansty suffering the 45 minutes until the hot Rock group of the week came on to play a 3 minute song. The Beatles, the Stones, the Who, Mommas and Papas. More groups than I can remember.

But the one appearance that came back crystal clear tonight was when I saw a re-run of the Animals singing "The House of the Rising Sun". Me and the parents were parked around the small Black and White Philco catching all the variety Ed Sullivan had going that night. Eric Burdon and the Animals came on. They played and I remember asking my dad what he thought. I was all of twelve maybe. I liked the tune. Had it on a 45 and it was about worn out already. What I didn't have, was a clue about what the song was about. My father knew right away.

"It's a song about a whore house", was all he said.

At age twelve or so, I did have a clue what a whore was and his comment shocked me. I remember some very candid conversation that night. Turns out the song was not created by the Animals. It had been kicking around for years. My dad remembered it from his days of partying in Texas honky tonks while he learned to fly open cockpit planes for the Army in the 1930s. Mom threw in her two cents and said many a bar singer had this song on their play list.

When pressed about how the Animals did, he mumbled something about Eric having a damn good voice. Or maybe it was Mom who said it. They both agreed though they hated the drums, guitar and organ. After all, they were a Rock n Roll group.

It was my first clue I guess that my parents had been hip at some point in their lives. Before then my parents were one dimensional. They were parents. Rule makers, ball breakers, and they kept the fridge full of food. Anything outside of their function as parents never dawned on me. My dad and mom hanging out in bars and clubs was a revelation. I knew they drank. By that time my dad was consuming the better part of a quart of Old Grand Dad a day. Mom was partial to a couple or three martini's in the evening. But hanging in bars? Wow! Bars were where really cool stuff happened.

I listen to the song now and I wonder if I was not a victim of some subtle sublimated messaging that night. In less than two years I was full tilt into drinking, experimenting with drugs and would have loved to visit a House of the Rising Sun. Sadly though that wouldn't happen for another 10 years or so when I laid over at some truck stop in North Carolina.

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

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Don't Mess With Me Tonight - Part Deux

Well tonight's post started off with a flourish. One of the few times I start with a title and what do I do?

Of course I plead for sympathy because I just got home and fed. I'm dead on my feet and well, hey everyone's got excuses.

So I type in the title and think I already know what I want to write, but in my excitement at coming up with just the ever so clever title, I publish it like I'm saying, "Hey you all, I'm so fuckin cool I just need to post titles. Who needs words as back up?" And I almost walked away to put my head on the first pillow I could find.

But because I am ever so enthralled at the wonder of my own words, I just had to read what I wrote. So I checked it out.

My first thought, "Hmm. Blogger is screwed up again. All that's up is the title. What's up wid dat?"

Convinced I had already written something I checked the post in draft/edit mode. And there it was in all it's grandeur. Right there where it had been all along was nothing. Nada. Empty space.

I stared at it for a moment or two. I considered the possible reasons I had chosen to publish nothing, and then also publish nothing but give it a title. I guess it really couldn't be considered nothing; more like not much of anything, but even a token something was better than nothing. This made no sense, so I continued to ponder the empty screen.

Stare at an empty screen long enough, and the number of reasons it might be empty increase in a geometrical progression for every second wasted looking at the blank page. So many possibilities came to mind, that for a minute I forgot why I was even looking at this wide expanse of nothingness in the first place. I had transcended any reason for being there. I was no longer in the moment, I was above it. Or maybe behind it. One thing's for sure I was most definitely not in front of it. Not mentally anyway.

So here we are. That wonderfully clever and witty post I had all figured out as a follow up to last night's rather testy post had hit the road and was somewhere in New Hampshire. The point of the title lost in the crowded and tight confines of the vacuum created when one contemplates nothing long enough. Eventually there is plenty of nothing and not even a hint of something.

I swear I had something to say when I sat down. I figure if I just stop the presses here, lay my head down, put my feet up and pass out, I will wake up at dark thirty in the morning knowing what I had originally come here to write. And then I will sit down and write it out. Or not. Anyway, I guess it's going to have to wait for "Don't Mess With Me Tonight - Part Tres". Tonight I'll just spin my wheels and waste some of your time.

I'm going to bed..............................

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Don't Mess With Me Tonight - I Watched the News Again

It's all about economizing, squeezing every penny out of everything I do to try and regain something close to profitability again. So I spend 3 hours on the Internet after a full work day comparing the same parts on different sites trying to make up orders that will maximize the money I have this week to spend on re-stock and special order parts.

At some point, trying to place a value on my time based on dollars per hour is lost as I maybe hope for dimes per hour. It doesn't fuckin matter anyway. There is no profit or paycheck until I somehow find my way back into the black.

After 12 years of this shit I would say the honeymoon has been over for a long time.

Mind you, I am not bitching, whining or complaining. Just stating it the way it is and has been now for several years. So if I seem to not be quite so peppy or friendly, well maybe it is because I am not peppy and not feeling all that friendly. Many days I often look at the recently fired, the recently pink slipped and mumble under my breath, "You lucky bastards. At least there is some kind of support structure for you."

Obama's Jobs bill does not do squat for me or my area to any great degree. The offered loan monies for small businesses seem to stop at businesses much larger than mine. Yet everyone cries about how Main street is turning up in Walmart now. Everyone whines about all the empty storefronts on Main street. And in the meantime, we bail out people who could afford the hit and are now issuing themselves huge bonuses again.

I understand no one owes me a living. I chose this self employed lifestyle. But when I see the favoritism shown some to the detriment of others, I get angry. When I see the leaders of this country with their heads so far up the ass of big business they need air pumped in to stay alive, I get angry. When I see people falling lock step in behind liars and crooks because they sound good on TV, I get angry.

I hear all this talk from the leadership about how we shouldn't rush things. Health care, finance reform, etc. What a bunch of crap. All they are doing is making excuses for dragging their heels in hopes we will once again lose interest and Wall Street can have carte blanche to exploit us as they wish with DC's stamp of approval.

All they have to do to change things is to do it. Stop the petty bullshit deflection that is called partisanship. Stop asking the insurance companies what they think. Stop asking Wall Street what it thinks. Make some changes and screw em if they can't handle it. Our population is entirely too large and talented for business to bail on us. Business will adapt. It always does. Up to this point the last 30 years we have allowed business to run our lives for us. The market runs us we don't run the market.

When I said I wasn't bitching and complaining, I guess that was wrong. I am. But I feel like I deserve the pleasure of a good bitch and whine session. I earned it.

Angrier by the minute.......................

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Facebook

250 words on the darker possibilities of Facebook.

"You should have never sent me that letter".

On my knees and staring into the barrel of her gun, I tried to agree. But the gag only allowed me to "Mrrmmph, Agh, Whoot." My mind re-ran for the hundredth time just what the Hell was I thinking when I mailed that letter.

Was I thinking, "Bad idea bud. Never, ever look up old girlfriends?"

No. She was all friendly when I found her on Facebook. We even exchanged phone numbers. After all, it had been thirty years. Any old wounds would have healed by now. She seemed thrilled to hear from me. What a moron.

She was thrilled alright. Not only did I rekindle old feelings, but the address I left allowed her to act on those old feelings. And now this crazy bitch had me hog tied and was about to blow my sorry ass away.

"You do not know how happy I was to find you alive Jerry. A lot can happen in thirty years. But here we are once again. You, me, another sleazy motel room and one of us is on our knees again. Seems just like old times, doesn't it?...........Doesn't it?..........Nod your head Jerry or shake it. I cannot even understand that muffled gibberish coming out from behind the gag."

I nodded my head.

“Okay then. So what always came next Jerry? You would lie again and promise me your love as you climbed ………………”

Oh jeezus, is that a strap on she’s hooking up?
__________________________________

Back to work.................

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wrong Side of the Bed

I thought firing off an angry email to one of my senators would take the ragged edge off that pissy mood I woke up with this morning. Instead, I fear it has only fed the fire instead of damping it. I did feel good for a moment as I typed the words, "I will never vote for you again". But like most buzzes it was short lived.

Maybe my pissy mood was rekindled because I immediately opened the next email and it was from Media Matters. Who knows how I got on their email list? Some comment or survey I stupidly filled out during an intoxicated moment from my past. Anyway, I get a weekly update from them with their spin on the latest madness the Right is involved in.

This week their target involves Eric Massa, the soon to be retired Democrat from NY. The story revolves around the stupidity of the Right Wing pundits and superstars as they opine one way and then as the truth of the situation pops up, they opine the other. It would be pretty funny if I hadn't given up laughing at the tragedy that is American Politics. All it did was reinforce my contention that we have elected idiots, we have chosen to listen to idiots, and that whatever stupidity they get caught up in is our fault. We put these clowns in office. We tune into to these clown shows and drool over every word. We allow these clowns to set our priorities for us instead of the other way around.

And I am not just blasting the Right here. Though they have managed to shift the battle down to one of partisan stupidity, the Left has bought into it and is now on the other side of the fence throwing the rocks back. What a bunch of morons. All of them.

I still don't feel any better......................

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Labor of Love

Even though I have been at this bicycle retail and repair thing now for 18 years or so, I still seem to be caught flat footed when the dead zone of Winter changes to the manic madness of Spring. There is no gradual changeover. From zero to a hundred in one week. Seven days ago, no repairs, no tire kickers, and then this week I couldn't keep up. And it wasn't as bad as it will get in a few weeks.

It's Hammer Time folks. And that means my blogging time will be curtailed severely for a short while until the Spring rush concludes. If I do not visit your sites as regularly as I have, it is only because I have precious little time to waste.

Odd how I ended up. Nah, I guess it isn't. Other than the child hood fantasies of wanting to be a jet pilot, a fireman, a cowboy, I never once thought about what I would like to do with my life. I got into truck driving as a spin off from part time work for a moving company when in college. I got into nail banging because I needed money when trucking was losing it's charm. I became a bike shop owner because well, I liked bikes.

I attended a multi day seminar once called "Do what you love and the money will follow." The title indicated that somehow one will follow the other. I am here to say it doesn't. They should have titled it "Do what you love as long as money doesn't matter".

Being a self employed owner of an independent retail business on Main Street, USA is most definitely a labor of love these days. To do it successfully without the proper up front capital investment like I did makes it even harder. A couple of downturns, one or two bad buying decisions and the next thing you know, the credit industry owns your sorry ass.

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

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Master Works His Magic

So I'm sitting here this beautiful bright morning. I am not outside enjoying the early morning Sun while beginning the inevitable Spring Clean Up I always turn into Summer Clean Up. If I do one thing well, it is my well honed ability to hold things not just until tomorrow, but often until Hell freezes over. If hearings were held, my darling wife would be the first to testify.

Okay, so we all know I am a slacker. In my defense though, at least I am not a murderer, solo or mass. I obey most traffic laws. I indulge in spirits only occasionally. And I still have hair on my head. Wouldn't you say this multitude of positive traits somehow balances the scale?

Yeah, yeah. My wife doesn't think so either. Jeezum. What's it take to make a positive impression these days?

I read somewhere that as we age, time actually does slow down for us. Or put a different way, old fogies don't slow down, the World speeds up. That there are measurable changes in how old fart brains function and how young punk brains function.

Hmm.

I wonder how much money we wasted on studies, measurements, diagnostic tests to tell us something that has been obvious for I am guessing forever? I guess it's not a fact until we have spent multi millions on it.

I'm sorry but I really do need to cut this short. That warm sun beating through my dusty window is just too appealing. Think I'll find that lawn chair I left in the yard last Fall and set it up next to the Well and suck on my coffee as I consider how much yard work I can skip in the next few hours.

Later...................
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Image - My Grandmother(father's side) as a new bride. I would guess around 1900 - 1902. My dad was born in 1905 and you know those Victorian White Folk, had to get wound up before any sparks flew in the bedroom.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fat Cats

Fat Cats in expensive threads sit around oval tables deciding the fate of the World. Assistants scurry hither and yon, arms filled with documents that hold that fate firmly in writing. Deals struck and signed with Dupont pens carry the Fat Cats' influence to the dusty streets where the little people live.

Always appearing generous when out in the light of day, at bars and in board rooms the Fat Cats snicker and dicker our hard earned assets away. They dangle cheap baubles and we rush to grab them. Even mighty governments cave and bend to the will of Fat Cats. The pols, all too eager, like pigs at the trough.

I claim I will not play their game, march to their tune. But when the rubber hits the road I still have a business to tend. So I rail against them but suck up my anger.

One day I will.......one day it will all end.
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Image from Phil's Favorites - By Ilene

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Well ~ Re-write

Below is an entry I had thrown together for a writing contest hosted by Jason Evans at the Clarity of Night. The contest was a picture prompt and could contain no more than 250 words. Over 100 people submitted stories. Jason read every single one and even offered to send his reasons for the choices he made.

I did not win or even make the list of top stories. But I did enter. That in itself was a major step for me. As I have been bitten hard in recent months with writing fiction, I took Jason up on his offer to send me his critique of my story. I fired off the email and forgot about it. Forgot about it that is until I saw some others had posted their stories along with Jason's comments.

Where were my comments? I was sure it was a screw up at my end and I was right. Jason had indeed sent me back his comments. That email I found in the deleted file among a group of automatic spam emails my provider filters out for me.

Anyway, below is my story. Below that are Jason's comments. And below that is my re-write, if you get that far.

The bird floated past again. George wondered what kind of bird it was. Was it a vulture looking for him or some other unlucky forest critter? Maybe it was one of the eagles who called Treasure Island home? It was big and it was all George had to take his mind off his current situation.

George wondered what kind of bird it was. Was it a vulture looking for him or some other unlucky forest critter? Maybe it was one of the eagles who called Treasure Island home? It was big and it was all George had to take his mind off his current situation.

The last words his wife said to him as he left to roust some Ruffed Grouse haunted him now. He used to chuckle at her cellar hole fears. He was not laughing now. He wondered if her childhood fear of abandoned cellar holes and wells had finally jinxed him.

George looked down at his leg. It had started to stink. There was still pain, but it seemed further away now. Everything was further away, out of reach. He reached down for the umpteenth time and ran a finger over the bone sticking out of his leg. No longer in panic mode, George accepted the notion that his life was not his to control anymore. Some other whim, spiritual or physical had his fate firmly in hand.

George looked up the dank walls of the old well again. The bird was gone. Daylight was slipping away. He leaned back against the stones lining this abandoned well and considered whether another night in this hole was possible. He thought not. George smiled. He had thought the same thing last night and the night before. George closed his eyes for what he hoped would be the last time.

__________________________________________

Mike,

I feel like the latter 3/4 of the story were pretty tight and strongly written. However, the choices of images and concepts in the first paragraph could have been stronger. I like the more direct feel of the POV embedded in the text in the latter portion, rather than the rhetorical questions in the beginning. The questions pulled me out of the story. If the man is injured, his thoughts would probably be more fragmented and wouldn't have literary allusions. More like: A vulture? Looking for him? Or was it an eagle? Eagles don't live around here, do they?

Hope this helps!

--Jason


The man was right. My first paragraph was weak. A definite break of the rules there. The first paragraph needs to be the srongest, especially in such a short piece.

So I now offer a re-write because well, it's all about becoming a better writer. You decide if it's better.

My re-write

The bird floated past again just as George regained consciousness. How long had he been out this time? George did not care anymore. Time had lost all meaning. His hopes of being found now replaced by a grudging resignation. George realized he was probably not going to leave this hole alive.

The last words Sara said to him as he left to roust some Ruffed Grouse haunted him now. He used to chuckle at her cellar hole fears. He was not laughing now. Though somehow he felt it would be appropriate to do so.

George looked down at his leg. It had started to stink. There was still pain, but it seemed further away now. Everything was further away, out of reach. He reached down for the umpteenth time and ran a finger over the bone sticking out of his leg. No longer in panic mode, George accepted the notion that his life was not his to control anymore. Some other whim, spiritual or physical, had his fate firmly in hand.

George looked up the dank walls of the old well again. The bird was gone. Daylight was slipping away. He leaned back against the stones lining this abandoned well and considered whether living another night in this hole was possible. He thought not. George smiled. He had thought the same thing last night and the night before. George closed his eyes for what he hoped would be the last time.
___________________________________

Off to the Races.........................

Sunday, March 07, 2010

FFF #23 - Duck & Mouse

It's Flash Fiction Friday time again. This week the starter sentence had options.

"I/He/She/It/They/(place name here) had to kick out the back window to escape."


I chose to once again poke fun at some sacred American icons. Not sure why. Maybe it was because I was banned for life from Disney World back in 1977 for smoking pot on the monorail with members of Black Oak Arkansas and crew. But I think it is just because I really love Mickey and friends. I grew up with them and this is my way of letting them know that I know movie stars are human too. They have the same needs we all do, even if they only have four fingers on each hand.

Duck & Mouse

Duck had to kick out the back window to escape.

As Mickey and his henchmen poured in the front gate.

"The Duck has to pay", Mickey declared.

"Get Him. Kill him. Before it's too late."

Donald thought he was clever, so clever he smiled

"Mickey you're an idiot. Minnie loved it. No way it was rape."

Just then Mickey ran into that back room with a view

Saw Duck on the window balanced, ready to screw

Dug deep in his pocket for some ammo to reload

To avenge Minnie's honor, killing Duck before he hit the road.

Duck just cackled and flipped Mouse the bird

"Tell me something Mickey, just what good sir, what is the good word?"

"You defiled poor Minnie, your ass is mine now"

"You loser, you clown, you feather brained turd."

But Duck did not hear him, he had leapt to the ground

Flew the coop, took a powder

Falling four floors tends to make for a very ugly sound.

Mickey rushed the window, still hoping to shoot

Leaned out, looked down and saw it was moot.

For Duck was sprawled flat, splat, like a collapsed top hat

Stone dead on the concrete, expired........ nightie night.

"Well my work here is done", Mickey declared with puffed chest.

Went home, grabbed a beer, headed to bed for some rest

Instead found his woman, the mouse of his dreams

In bed with that damn Goofy and ecstatic in mid scream.



As You Were............................

Friday, March 05, 2010

Imagined Slights - Retrospective Remorse

Six Lines - Fiction

In retrospect I probably should have taken a deep breath first I guess.

In retrospect, leaving the knife at home would have been the smart thing to do.

In retrospect, the toll I am paying for that moment of violent pleasure somehow does not seem worth it now.

In retrospect, throwing myself on the mercy of the court was not my best move.

In retrospect, all my whimpering, simpering hysterics as they led me to the doom room just made my last moments on Earth a comedy I could not enjoy.

In retrospect, wearing clean underwear didn't matter once that first jolt of electricity ran through my body.
_________________________________

Inspired by "D"................See ya..................

Image from Samizdata.net

Thursday, March 04, 2010

An Ugly Week Finds It's Silver Lining

Far out.

I passed out early tonight. Not ten minutes ago I woke up on the couch. Fernando's butt was suspiciously close to my face and he was sleeping with a kind of just ate the canary look on his fur bearing mug. My suspicions rose when I realized my mouth tasted like what I assume the inside of a litter tray would taste like. I am positive now the cats act like drunken frat rats around passed out brother rats. But since they can't hold magic markers and write profanity or scrawl the words "I Like Boy Toys" across my forehead, they rub their butts in my face instead.

My eyes stung as I shuffled to the kitchen to get some water to wash out the litter taste from my mouth. Guess one of the cats thought a golden shower was in order while I was asleep. My left eyelid was stuck hard and wouldn't open and close right for several minutes. I found my drink of water and walked in here to shut down the computer before going to sleep again.

"Ah, what the Hell, I'll check the Dashboard to see if anyone has a new post up."

When I am half in this world and still half in the world I left in my sleep, I tend to find automatic. I don't think much. My body takes over and goes through motions it has learned from the thousands of times it has performed these motions before. It does not surprise me that it was not until my third run through that I caught the newest post up on "Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers", a really fine class act Ezine from over the great pond.

Yeah, there it was. The flash piece I submitted last week. "George" was an attempt of mine to flash some crime fiction without the graphic factor. Low key, mellow, not in your face, bones breaking, face smashing by guys wearing domestic quarrel shirts and sucking on toothpicks. I just don't feel like I can do that kind of crime stuff justice. I would like to, but well, so far, the graphic stuff just doesn't feel right when I write it.

Need I say I am thrilled? I hope not. Six months ago I would never in a million years think I would have had the balls to even submit something of mine to one of the heavier weight Ezines out there in the Blogoshere. And to actually have them post it, well....follow the logical progression of thought here. I am pissin my pants here........well, no not really. But I thought about it.

And as you can tell from the picture, the girls I keep in the attic are jumping for joy also. But I think they are just pumping up my ego in hopes I might install that window fan I promised them a few months back. I mean look at Ethel there on the right. Seems she's overplaying the thrilled factor, almost pushing disingenuous.

Without the support and goosing from David, Cormac, and yeah Randal, I would never have taken this step. As I am a very simple minded man, I can only equate my progress in the fiction writing world to my years of riding bikes with my friends. The fast guys teach the slow guys as long as the slow guy shows up every week. I'm still slow, but now I think I'll show up more often.

Thanks to Col Bury and Matt Hilton for publishing this. It has made my week after I have done everything I could up until tonight to ruin it.

Take a peek if you'd like. I would certainly like you to. But if nothing else, check out the fiction they publish. Some of the stories blow me away.

I'm going back to bed.............
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Image from - Through Rose Colored Glasses

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

When the Cupboard is Bare

David Barber wrote an excellent piece awhile back about the bloggers who whine about not being able to find something to write about. While his post was directed towards the writing of fiction, his points made could easily be applied to writing in general, no matter the style, genre, or focus.

I won't rehash his post here. If you want to know what he said, visit his site. If nothing else, his blog is full of wonderful flash fiction if you are into that sort of thing. No, I won't rehash except the prime point he was making. The only solution to writers block is to sit down and write.

I have at times convinced myself I had nothing to say. Seems odd, as I am a self professed opinionated jerk wad who knows everyone else has it wrong most days. Of course I never seem to acknowledge my own tendency to getting it wrong, because well, self critiquing is pretty tough to take, given all the mistakes I have made over the years.

There are still times when I get stuck. Events in my life, neural damage from too many drugs, or just a cat pissed me off can sometimes throw a wedge in the flow of thought from my brain onto the page. I will get frustrated and pissy. Eventually I get over it, but I still have moments when the cupboard is bare.

What I have found though is if I can convince myself that I can write, then I will. Oftentimes, I just sit and begin pounding the keys. Laying down whatever is in my mind at the moment. I will more often than not, trash the initial efforts, but I figure it is the process I need to get back into before I can worry about the content.

The other nightmare I live with (which points up my manic side) are the periods when I have so many things to write about, I just cannot focus on one thing in particular. As a matter of fact, I am just coming out of one as I write. Ideas will bounce around in my head like ping pong balls about to to shot into the lottery trough. Yet there are no succulent young ladies picking each ball as it pops up. They just continue to careen off the inside of my skull never finding a resting place. I hate these times almost worse than when there is nothing there to pick from.

Patience. Taking deep breaths. Pounding words out no matter what. Even though it drives me crazy sometimes, using these techniques are my answer to finally writing something I can live with.

I am not sure why writers spend so much time and words like these on this pointless problem. If you know you can write, there is always something to write about. Always. Have confidence in yourself and the words will come.

Relax. Ain't none of this that important......................

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Rosary

What follows is a rushed dialog only piece to enter the flash challenge hosted by Daniel O'Shea over at Going Ballistic. Cormac mentioned it and I did not think I could come up with something based on "where folks hit their knees", what with me being the heathen that I am. Anyway, here is my effort, whether I make the deadline or not. And please, I did not mean to offend anyone. It is just a story after all.

The Rosary

"Father, what are you doing?"

"Well Sister Agnes, I am replacing the cords on some of the rosaries we just got in."

"I see. Why would you do that Father?"

"Some of our wonderful flock have been complaining of late about the quality. I have heard complaints about them just not holding up during strenuous prayer vigils."

"Prayer Vigils Father? I have heard nothing of any event or catastrophe that would warrant a prayer vigil inside the parish."

"Actually Sister, the problem seems to be in one of our affiliate organizations. Primarily the complaints have come from the local Odd Fellows chapter."

"Oh, I see. You know the Vatican does not ....."

"I know, I know Sister. The Odd fellows do not currently enjoy the favor of Rome. But they are some of our most faithful and generous parishioners. Should I not at least give their concerns over such mundane matters as the quality of the rosaries some consideration?"

"I guess so Father. But really, the Odd Fellows? The ones I know make me so nervous......Why just the other day, one of them wanted to massage my neck when I complained I had awakened with a cramp."

"That seems innocent enough. Just a good Samaritan offering of his time and energy."

"Father, the cramp was in my thigh."

"Sister Agnes, please. Enough about the Odd Fellows. I have fifteen more rosaries to re-string."

"Yes Monsignor, of course..............."

"Well Sister Agnes is that all? I do have to complete these rosaries by this Sunday."

"I was wondering if you had heard about the awful occurrences happening over at the Methodist Church?"

"Why No Sister, what has happened?"

"Apparently several of the more affluent members have been found strangled and hanging upside down from their barn rafters."

"Oh Dear. That is awful. How many unfortunate protestants have they found?"

"Seven so far. Constable Akins is checking other farms for more........Say Father?"

"Yes Sister."

"What kind of cord are you using to re-string the beads? It looks much more robust than it needs to be for simple rosaries."

"Sister Agnes, I really had hoped you had not instigated that nosy nature of yours. It really leaves me no choice I guess."

"Uh, why is that Father?"

"Let's just say I think it is time we retired to the barn. I want to show you why the rosaries........ You see if Elder Milton had not been overheard calling us Bead Mumblers, there would be no need to fortify the rosaries. Please Sister....this way."
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Image from Chris2fer

Crossroads

My mom, raised as a privileged 3rd generation San Franciscan (her ancestors preceded the Gold Rush), always told me to never trust a Mormon.

My dad, raised in the East in upper income circumstances until age twelve when his father, the meal ticket died, would roll his eyes and just say, "Trust no one."

Both agreed though, I should never ever trust a politician.

Over the years as I tried to reconcile these implanted prejudices, I experienced enough back stabbing and broken promises to finally decide my father was right.

Did that stop me from continuing to fall prey to outlandish claims, slick talk, and trust me, I won't screw you types? No it did not. To this day, I still assume honesty first and sleaze second.

Even after all the harsh lessons passed down to me by my parents and the ones hard learned on the road of Life, I have continued to believe most of us are really good honest brokers of our characters. That for the most part people are like me. We don't mean to screw someone, but sometimes, once in awhile, it happens.

When I think of honesty in the idealistic World, I tend to see it as an either/or situation. Like being pregnant, you either are honest or you are not. But when I apply it to the actions of my own life, I see a life that has tried it's best to carry itself with integrity, but on occasion has slipped and fallen below that invisible line that separates honesty from dishonesty.

I am a very average kind of guy. I am not famous. I have no special talents. I will most likely not create any cures, solve any World problems, or take outlandish chances. I am what cyclists call Pack Fodder. One of the teeming masses who is trying to stake a small claim and get by without much fuss or anguish.

I seem to be at a crossroads of sorts. At age 57, almost 58, I have been worn down by the overwhelming dishonesty I think now has its grip on our national attitude. This every man for himself attitude permeates our culture. It seems we have become a nation that does not trust itself.

The lack of trust that has saturated our national psyche is eating us alive. And this makes me sad. The take every advantage you can mentality is eroding the ideals this country was set up on. As our population grows in size, our legendary generous natures shrink. No better examples exist than the recent expiration of unemployment benefits or the indignant outcries I heard over all the money we sent to Haiti.

So as I said, I am at a crossroads. I can feel the nasty side of me winning. I am also facing the twilight years of my life. It would be so easy for me to become an angry, bitter old man. And that scares the shit out of me. I would rather become a dirty ole man who smiles at least once a day and still enjoys whatever he can in Life.

Anyway, this is what came to mind this morning. I hope there is a smile waiting for me later today.

Keep it 'tween the ditches...................
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Image from "The Dictionary of Specific Generalities"