Thursday, January 31, 2019

Trouble

My Facebook experience with all the animal rescue sagas that rip the tears from your eyes always remind me of Trouble, an obnoxious Calico cat that became part of my life for 17 years in the 1980s and 1990s.

I met Trouble at a rest area somewhere in the Colorado Rockies.  I was on the last leg of a trip hauling the household items my mother wanted in California after my Dad died.  I had left Maine a few days earlier, swung down to St.Louis and dropped off the items my brother Joe was keeping.  I then drove to Colorado Springs to drop off the other stuff my brother Doug was inheriting.  This rest stop was somewhere west of Denver on I-70 near Clear Creek I am guessing.

The space for the rest area had been blasted out of the mountain side.  Not a lot of room to park, so I pulled over on the shoulder just past it.  I got out to stretch my legs and smoke a joint.  I didn't like puffing up in the cab, because well, the cops stop you and when they smell the weed, yadda yadda yadda.  So I am leaning on a concrete barrier I assumed was placed there to keep the flotsam and jetsam of the mountain from encroaching on the highway. A large tree trunk with one end resting on the barrier was nearby.

As I leaned on that barrier and smoked my doob, I pondered many things of no consequence, but I remember being brought out of my haze by the sound of a cat's meow.  I looked around.  Nothing but big rocks and broken trees.  I tried to revisit my lost in the Bozone mental state.  And again I heard a cat's meow, only louder and more plaintive now.

Determined to locate the source of this sound out here on the side of a mountain in Colorado, I walked towards the direction of the sound.  As I neared the huge dead fall leaning on the barrier, I noticed movement on the trunk.  There about 12 feet or so up the trunk, a half grown kitten was dragging itself down the tree in my direction.  As it clawed its way down, every breath it took was accompanied by the most pitiful meow I had ever heard.  I knew instantly this kitten was hurting.

Shit.  What do I do now?  Here I was miles from any town, it was after 10 PM and I was supposed to be in the Bay Area in two days to hook up with my mom and drop off her goods.  I had no time or inclination to deal with an injured animal.

The kitten finally found its way close enough so I could pick it up and assess the damage.  It never scratched or resisted as I set it on the barrier under the tall lights of the rest area to look it over.   I could tell right away this kitten was going to die.  Its rear legs did not work and one was obviously broken and had been broken long enough so that the bone sticking out had begun to blacken and the skin had begun to heal around it. I noticed the young cat was a female and later would find out that almost always Calico's are female.  Her jaw was skewed oddly which told me it was probably broken.   She was so skinny I figured it had been days since she had last eaten.

How long she had been out here, who knew?  It had been awhile.  I left her on the barrier and got back in the van, determined to leave her.  I remember reaching for the key to start the engine and stopping.  I knew then I had to do something for this damn animal.

I got out, collected her up and laid her on the passenger seat on one of my tee shirts.  Not once did she resist.  We hit the road.  At the first town with an exit, I pulled off the road and found the first store I could.  My plan was to get her some food and water and then abandon her in the shadows next to the store.  Yeah, yeah, I was fooling myself.  I could not do it.

I put her on the floor of the cab with food and water in front of her.  She clawed her way to the water ASAP.  I guess thirst was more important than food.  After she drank her fill, she dove in on the food.  Thankfully I had purchased canned food.  Once I saw how damaged her jaw was, I realized dry food would have been torture.

I picked her up and held her close to my face and began talking to her in soft words.  She began nursing on my neck, a habit she continued the rest of her life.  Several minutes of that routine and she had my heart, the little bastid.

As she nursed on my neck, I could feel her tiny belly churning , trying to deal with the new food she had consumed.  Luckily, I associated churning stomach with the following need to eliminate that which has just be ingested.  We sat there, her sucking on my neck and me trying to come up with a plan that would not embarrass me if someone caught me trying to help her well, shit and piss.

No scenario I came up with helped.  It was going to be ugly and it was.  She could not position herself to do her business.  The process I eventually came up with and used all the way to San Francisco was one hand supporting her while the other massaged her belly until something came out.  It was ugly, but it worked.  Food in one end and the appropriate stuff that resulted came out the other.  This told me her gulliwots were probably not in bad shape.

I landed in Walnut Creek a day ahead of schedule.  I pushed it and drove non stop in order to get the kitten I had named Trouble to a vet as soon as possible.  The next glitch however was how do I tell my mom, an avowed cat hater.  Without her help and money, I was sure Trouble would not make it.

Mom actually surprised me.  After dealing with all the anti cat admonishments and dire predictions of what cats are really like, she anted up and drove us to the local vet.  The vet advised euthanasia.  She had a broken rear leg that was infected, her other rear leg was out of the socket that had been crushed, and her jaw was badly broken.  He was not very optimistic.

My mom said, "Can you patch it up well enough to travel?"

The vet said, "Sure, but it won't help."

"Do it.  Call me when she's ready."

Back in the car, I asked why she was so willing to help?  I mean this lady had a cat phobia that ran back to her childhood.  " I saw what you had done and were doing to save it.  The least I could do was help in any way I could as long as I did not have to touch her."  And one of those amazing parent/child moments passed between us.

A couple of days later we picked up Trouble and bought a travel cage.  She was wrapped up and still could only move with her front legs.  The two of us flew back to Maine.  At our local vet now, we asked the vet to do what they could.  As it turned out, the vet out West had surgically recreated a hip socket for the one leg and set the broken one after cleaning up the infection.  Our local vet decided it was wise to see how that went before dealing with her jaw.  We never did re-set her jaw.  It healed just fine on its own.

Now we had to introduce Trouble to our growing population of felines.  How would she do with the injured legs.  would Timar the top Tom accept her?  As it turned out, Trouble took over and bossed that crew of cats for the next 17 years.  She was a bad ass.  Not vicious, she just did not put up with foolishness.  All the cats, male and female bowed to her leadership.

I miss Trouble.

Later gator .......................................

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Our 6000 Year Old Universe

Yesterday or the day before, I happened upon a Facebook post regarding Creationism. The teaser image is to the left. 

The op/ed link is here - Teaching Children Creationism is Child Abuse. 

At this moment as I write these first words, I have not read the op/ed.  The reason I am imparting some wasted bytes from my small corner in the pucker of Maine is the Facebook conversation that resulted from my initial response.  It may still be ongoing. 

I was the first responder so to speak and with tongue firmly implanted in cheek, I wrote -

"Okay, Okay.... You Liberals and your billions of years notion of Creation. Listen up, I am only going to type this once, uh No make that twice now. Gues I am going to have to hit you folks one at a time......... The Universe is only 6000 years old. Why is it only 6000 years old? Well, because some Holier than thou guy ( it has to be a guy BTW) read some old Hebrew books and they told him so. What they don't make clear, and they should, (it would clear up things dramatically), is the period of the Dinosaurs happens in the first two weeks. God made them first, realized that critters bigger than his vacation house in Acapulco were probably not a very good idea. So he tossed a big rock down and killed them all. Then he used some common sense and created smaller beings in his own image, not ones that looked like the lizards that cavorted outside his cliff side retreat in Acapulco. Okay? Got it? Let's move on now. Subject is closed."

Steve A.  responded -

"Dinosaurs are described in detail in the book of Job as he was looking at one..... A brontosaurus to be exact. Yes. We existed together."

My response to him went -

"Steve - ".. A brontosaurus to be exact. Yes. We existed together." ...... Hmm. Maybe, but it couldn't have been for more than week or so until that big rock came down. I mean, You Thumpers really seem to insist on cramming ten pounds of Creation into a five gallon bucket of Science. But that's okay that you folks prefer the Reader's Digest version of Life and everything involved. Life is complicated enough without confusing it with the truth."  

So far, that is how far the conversation has gotten.

Whether teaching Creationism to a child is a form of child abuse , well, I have no opinion.  I do consider it stupid to insist on tales and parables for the views that make up our realities.  Life on LSD made more sense to me than the current fringe thinking of the New Christianity.  Instead of broadening our minds, many of us would stifle and shrink them back to when people thought Tomatoes were bad for us.  Science is becoming our new religion and I for one applaud it. 

Be religious for your soul.  Believe in Science for your health.  The two can co-exist.  But only if the devout stop dumbing themselves down.

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

Monday, January 28, 2019

Cincinnati Queen

It was after the second Led Zeppelin show of a two day gig in Cincinnati when I was introduced to the Cincinnati Queen.  Jim, my co-driver, walked up to me in the loading area back stage with the Queen on one arm.  She was wearing nothing but a hoochie coochie outfit consisting of a metallic bra and satin panties.  She was barefoot.  She was older.  I figured well into her thirties.

Jim was beside himself with the Rock n Roll  wonderment he had landed in after being hired to help me drive from New York to the West coast.  With a big smile he said, "She wants to come with us to Atlanta.  She's real friendly and well, can we take her?"

She looks at me says, "Yeah, can we?"

I was not ready for  this.  I had just climbed out of bed at the hotel and was trying my best to put on my serious all business attitude.  But one look at the Queen and I knew we were going to take her to Atlanta.  "Just to Atlanta, no further."

Jim looked at her and she at him.  They both giggled and headed out towards the truck.  I walked the other way looking for the Green Room and possible treats that may be found there.  After scarfing some left over delicacies, I wandered out to my truck to get ready to load out.  I had forgotten about Jim and the Queen.  I wasn't used to a co-driver and certainly was not used to a half naked woman older than I was habitatin in my sleeper.

I opened the driver's door and stepped up on the first step and looked in. There in all her glory was the Queen, now naked and parked on the dog house, while Jim sat in the buddy seat smiling.  "What the Hell guys?  Might want to get in the sleeper."

Queen looks me in the eye and says, "Hell, we just got out."

She never once put her clothes back on until after we had gotten to Atlanta.  She never once went to sleep and her mouth ran the whole 450 mile trip.  When we were parked at the Omni and ready to find the hotel,  I asked her where her "other clothes" were, she looked at me like I had three heads and held up the metallic bra and satin panties.  No, I was definitely not prepared for the Cincinnati Queen.

Jim set her free back stage at the Omni.  The last time we saw her was with an Atlanta Motorcycle Cop on each arm heading out the loading dock doors. 
______________________________________

The image has been PG-13'd.  Used some large font astericks to hide the lady parts.  Not sure why, but then I am less of a loose dog now and more considerate of well, decorum type stuff I guess.  I have wanted to share this image for a long time as it represents one facet of just how wacky the Rock n Roll business was.  If I shocked anyone, well, suck it up butter cup.  I tried to ease into it.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Nicotine

It was in December 2017 I decided to finally quit smoking.  My previous half ass attempts had only been of the "just kiddin" variety.  This time dammit, I would stop sucking on butts, even if it killed me.  No prescriptions, no gum, patches, just me and my miserable self going it alone.

Several false starts later, I finally smoked my last cigarette somewhere between Christmas , 2017 and the first week of the new year in 2018.  I am claiming 13 months and not butts, even if I am off a day or two.

I can unequivocally state that giving up tobacco has been the hardest thing I have ever done and the most miserable.  In retrospect, maybe I should not have been the hero and sought some professional help or at the least some good opiods to cut the pain.

In lieu of either I smoked dope.  Lots of dope.  And you know what, it did not help.  Nicotine turned out to be harder to quit than the heroin of my youth, the cocaine of my youth, and the alcohol I used to drink to wash all that shit down with.  Have I mentioned that nothing in my life has been harder?

So now 13 months later, I go hours at a time without thinking of tobacco.  I can walk past the pitiful groups I used to join for butts in the cold without batting an eye. But still even after these last 13 months when I am sitting quietly, I will crave a cigarette.  Or maybe when watching an old movie where everyone smoked, I will ponder their pleasure of sucking in that beautiful poison filled smoke.

But the reason I even bring this up today is "Pipe's" fault.  He commented on my last blog post and asked me how I was doing with the no smoking.  Fine Pipe, until you brought it up dammit! 

Pipe, you know I am just kiddin. 

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

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Covington

I have a direct connection to Covington, Kentucky.  It is a connection that draws me back to an incident from 1978 at the Cincinnati Airport which is located across the Ohio River in Covington.  I did not wonder then, but I do wonder now just how my treatment at the hands of so many state cops would have turned out had I been Black.

Upon arriving by air after 7 days in the Oakland County Jail north of Detroit, Michigan, I headed directly for the first airport bar I saw.  At age 26, seven days without a drink was inhumane torture.  I proceeded to and was successful in getting blotto in about twenty minutes.  Once blotto, as was my custom, I blacked out and well, it took 5 or 6 state cops to haul me off to jail.

My first memory upon consciousness the next morning was "Damn, my face really hurts."  My second memory was ,"Where the Hell is my Peter Bilt hat?"  I loved that hat.

Someone in the dark and dingy flat bar and old stone cell said, "He's awake." I sensed several bodies sliding up to my bunk. "Now you ain't causin no trouble this morning are you?  We ain't had breakfast yet."

I peered out of the one eye not shut from impact and said something to the effect that no, I was not going to cause any trouble. "Good".  And then a fellow wearing my Peter Bilt hat slid into the dim light and grinned a minimally toothy grin.   He looked me over and said, "You're alright.  You did give the cops and then us a damn good struggle though.  Kept saying you did not want to go back to jail"  He paused and really grinned,  "You'll like the breakfasts.  They set a good table here in Covington."

The thought of food made my mouth water.  I had not eaten in 24 hours since that cheese and bread sandwich at the Oakland County jail before I was released.  Being ravenous made the few moments before the breakfast cart showed seem like an eternity.  I was extremely disappointed when on the heels of the chow cart, a guard came in and hollered my name.  "Okay Macrum, you're up first."

So without any food and a stomach full of alcohol induced bile I was led in handcuffs to the courthouse which was conveniently located in the same building as the jail.  The pain in my head and the churning building in my stomach created a beautiful moment of projectile vomit that I was able to divert from hitting the nice cop who escorted me.  It hit the wall on the stairs and we continued up.  I remember so well the look of disgust on his face.

Once in the court room, my handcuffs were taken off and I was told to stand up.  The stern looking elderly gentleman behind the bench looked down at me.  I remember well not being comfortable under his gaze.  "Mr. Macrum, before we get started, I want to say that you will enter a plea of guilty to drunk and disorderly, or you will be back downstairs immediately."

I have always owned up when owning up was needed and I remember nodding my head.  "Speak up Mr. Macrum.  Guilty or not guilty?"

"Guilty sir."

"Okay then.  I have your record here from Oakland County in Michigan.  It appears you had not been out of jail more than a couple of hours when you found your way into ours.  Correct?"

"Uh, yes sir."  And then I thought how odd nobody had mentioned an attorney.  What kind of trouble was I in for? Visions of Cool Hand Luke passed through my mind.

He looked at me for some moments and then pounded the bench with his mallet.  "$150 fine and time served."  Still sternly looking at me he added, "Mr Macrum I would advise you to keep your stay here as brief as possible."

"Yes sir."  And it was that easy, I was free to join back up with the Genesis Rock and Roll tour I had been hauling for.

Thinking back on this "Boys will be Boys"incident from the summer of 1978, I feel that had I been black, I would not have gotten off with such a light wrist slap.  And come to think of it, had I been black, I do not think Oakland County would have set my bail for drug charges so low and then let me go since I had no ties to the local area.

I experienced and benefited from "White Privilege" but did not appreciate that fact then.  Today I do appreciate that fact.  Does this mean I have come some distance in the right direction as a White

Hmm .........................................
____________________________________________________

Inspired by an article I found on Facebook - "In Covington I was Taught to Doubt my own experiences with Rascism"

Friday, January 25, 2019

I have a Dream

Last night I had a dream of Matt Damon, his opinion on how to ride the new skateboard I had just purchased and then it got fuzzy for awhile.  Suddenly, with Matt safely seated in the back of my huge SUV, we experienced several violent moments of road rage foisted on us by some seriously angry women.  And they were scary big women.  They side swiped my honking huge SUV and tore the right font door off its hinges. A fight ensued.............   Flash forward to the sanity of wakefulness.

There was a period in my life when I was convinced I did not dream any more.  Those fantastic adventures I had as a child when I was asleep had suddenly just stopped.  Yeah, I read about how we still dream even when we do not think we do.  I was positive I was an exception. It was all over for me.

About a decade ago, dreams began to work their way back into my life.  At first I struggled to remember even the slightest moment of the dream.  Broken snippets of memory ended up just meaning nothing.  I was pleased to have even these disconnected glimpses that made no sense.  It gave me hope that with practice, I could once again turn those hazy moments into real story lines upon first opening my eyes to face the day.

Some of my dreams in recent years have been unpleasant.  The one last night was both fun and scary.  Those women kicked Matt's and my ass.  We got our shots in, but yeah we lost.  And through it all I laughed while Matt threw me those evil side glances he uses when playing the bad mofo on the silver screen.

I am glad the dreams are back.  No one should ever stop dreaming.  It ain't natural. 

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