Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Flies in My Coffee Blues

I can't keep up with the planet's constant change of pace as it whizzes past my pucker brush protected corner here in Maine, USA. Thankfully, another natural cycle will swing by in time to remind me some things will never change. 

No matter what's currently shakin and quakin out of control beyond the comfort zone I have built for myself, the natural cycles of the Real World have become dependable, tried and true sanity anchors for me. Each season, each month brings with them events, tasks, and concerns none of the others have. No matter how insane Humans get, the natural cycles can often temper the worst of our craziness and stupidity; at least in the short term.
Some of those cycles I look forward to and some I don't. No matter what, every cycle brings both the good and the bad. Pick your poison. A certainty is that, at the very least, a minor inconvenience accompanies every moment we annually count on.

I'll skip over the long list of cycles I look forward to and skip right to the ones, well one specific one that involves me every June and July in the same insane struggle..... House Flies and their never ending efforts to drive me out of my mind.

We don't usually have a high annual influx of houseflies. I'm guessing about an average total for an old house with an infinite number of ways for beasties, small and even smaller to invade our house. Along with ladybugs, some very confused wasps, houseflies are more than benign visitors like the others. I don't count spiders because well, I like spiders and do what I can to protect their turf, inside or out. Besides, they love to eat houseflies.

There are surely an infinite number of critters dumber than a housefly. but not many more annoying. They don't need to be smart, their abilities exist in the reflex DNA that is in every fly I guess. They have speed and reflexes on their side: me, well, it's supposed to be no contest but usually ends up in a draw.

This year the housefly invasion came late. At this point, the ones showing up are nummer and dummer than the average housefly. They are easy to kill, they'll wait for you. They're attraction to being extremely stupid however has a serious downside. In the last 72 hours or so, I have picked at least 5 flies out of my coffee. There have been so many, I am now a tad concerned about how many I might have missed.

At this point, I am in quandary regarding which kind of housefly is better for me;  The dumb a a bag of rocks flies that are easy to kill but will often find a way to fall in my coffee or the fast un-killable kind, who irritate me in so many other ways but at least have the courtesy to not fall in my coffee and drown.

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

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I found a cool kids tune, "Housefly Blues", by The Wee Hairy Beasties. The song is for kids, the music is for everyone. It's a pretty kick ass Blues tune.

Saturday, July 06, 2024

A Mindless Trio - WWP # 371


"A Mindless Trio" - Weekend Writing Prompt #371 – Timorous - 54 words

A mindless trio of rhinoceros bounded my way

I felt they would not eat me

As Google contended they fed herbivorously

I stood my ground, sure I was safe

But as they came closer

The ground heaved and shook so vigorously

I began to feel mildly timorous

For being such an obviously oblivious ignoramus

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People go online and if they hang out long enough, they find something that sucks them in and will not let them go. They cannot help themselves. Whatever the something is; a game site, group site, a writing site, they are not happy until they have had that daily fix, weekly or even monthly fix. 

I have a couple of games I sometimes play. Word related entertainment though, is my itch. Crossword puzzles, letter boxes, find the groups and flash fiction and poetry are my weaknesses, addictions, internet substance abuses. If I am not dickin around with words in one form or another, I am not happy.

I have never planned to monetize my writing. First of all, making money writing is easier said than done and once money enters the equation, that indicates writing is now labor and could easily turn into drudgery or worse, something I only do for the money.

I write because it makes me think, which in turn keeps everything else I have on board running like a an almost finely tuned old analog wind up clock. Writing keeps the pace in my brain on those manic days down to a dull roar. On the Depressive days, writing can help me climb out of it sooner than later.

I don't pretend to be any good or even in the ball park of good. It does not matter. I am having fun and that is all that matters.

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

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Figured finding a song about or containing Rhinosceros or is it Rhinoseri, then maybe it should be Rhinosceroses..... we'll let the Rhinos decide. I quickly , like almost instantly within five minutes or so, this Jazzy tune from Jon Gomm caught my attention. Excellent instrumental by again, an artist I never knew existed. Here is "Dance of the Last Rhino", by Jon Gomm. Enjoy mellow or loud, it works well on all levels.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Chaos on a Beautiful Morning

While I was sipping coffee the other morning, a hawk landed on the telephone lines in front of my house. It was a sizable bird which made me think it might have been a Cooper's Hawk, a very common bird of prey hereabouts. I tried to take a picture of it with my smart phone. As I was fumbling with the phone to position it for the snap shot, the hawk cocked its head sideways and looked straight down into the bushes lining Sam Page Road.

The hawk did not move. It kept staring straight down into the bushes. 

If I had turned away or blinked I might have missed it. The hawk dropped into the bushes and all Hell broke loose. Branches moved every which way. A bird I decided was a Catbird, appeared from across the road and disappeared into the bush. More chaos and even more frantic branch movement.

The Catbird reappeared and flew one way. The Cooper's hawk reappeared and flew another. The hawk had something dark with feathers in its beak. I assumed it was the Catbird's mate, as it seemed too large to be a chick.

Ten - fifteen seconds of chaos and suddenly Sam Page Road returned to the tranquility of a perfect summer morning in Maine. I went back to sipping my coffee.

As I finished my coffee, I realized something odd about the violent encounter in my dooryard. Over the years, I have seen more than a few birds of prey flying with their prey. I once saw a Red Tailed hawk with a wriggling snake in its talons fly not ten feet over me when I was on a bike ride in Arundel. I have never seen a hawk, eagle, Fish hawk (Osprey) or falcon carry any prey in their mouth. I thought it was odd. When I sat down to write about it, I looked it up and although rare, they sometimes do carry prey, especially smaller prey in their beaks.

This planet we live on is still a wondrous and mysterious place. And though we are doing our best to pave, build, and terraform it into a dead planet, Nature continues to do what it does unabated with the creatures and plants that are still struggling to survive.

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

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I only considered one song. It's a Pop tune from my teen years in the mid nineteen sixties. I was more into Blues and Bluegrass back then. This song was one of the few Pop tunes I really liked. How could anyone not get a spirit lift listening to this on a beautiful morning? Here are The Rascals with their 1968 hit,  "Beautiful Morning".

Thursday, June 27, 2024

I'd Be Her Groupie Too

It was my post on Emily Dickinson that got me digging around my past searching for the girls and women I had crushes on. Based on head to head comparison of the number of serious relationships, including my marriage of 43 years to the number of crushes I can remember, Committed Couplings edge out the Crushes. Doesn't mean the crushes were any less painful to experience.

Some of my noteworthy crushes:

Tall Lois - My first crush. If my family had not moved out of Tampa after I finished fifth grade, who knows, I might be a retired sponge diver with skin cancer now.

Then I guess other than hormone driven lust that takes over pubescent boys, my next big crush was Paula in 9th grade. I had been warned about her and her red hair. Eventually I said something truly obnoxious and she laid me out flat on my back. The boys were some tender for a day or two. Learned that some lessons come hard when courting. Be wary.

More horny teenage lust moments passed until I was in college and on Summer Break. I humped household goods for Advance Storage, a moving company near the campus in Towson, Murland. We moved a high end Executive at Black and Decker from a one huge house to another huge house with a much larger yard, acres and acres with horses larger. They had a daughter. Lets call her Beautiful Yuppie Chick.

When I first saw her the morning of the move, she emerged out of nowhere in the kitchen. She obviously did not, nor expect three black guys and a white hippie to be in the kitchen waiting for moving instructions from the mistress of the house. She came in wearing gym shorts and a very large sweat shirt. Her hair was a mess. Her mom quickly shooed her out.

The moment I saw her and for the next 3 days of packing the contents and then moving them 20 miles north to Maryland's horse country, I was definitely, no doubt about it, in love. Well, that is what I convinced myself I was.

Beautiful Yuppie Chick and I had no real special moments. Any special moments were created in my mind only. Now, I am pretty sure she didn't even know I existed. I was just a worker bee who happened to be Caucasian. Oh, we smiled at each other and exchanged polite niceties, but even in my blind delirium, I really knew it was one sided. Once the move was over, I recovered in a day or so. But I still remember that spike in emotion she created in me by being around her those three days.

Fast forward a year or two. The last real crush I remember was Ruby Starr, a singer with Black Oak Arkansas. They were the third tour I hauled when I was with SHOWCO out of Dallas, Texas. I think both of us knew I was crushing on her. Women always seem to know I think. She made first contact when she saw me smoking a joint outside the motel in Bangor, Maine. We shared the joint and talked. Or rather, we shared the joint and she talked. I couldn't find my tongue. She was too close. I remember her saying she hated the cold even though or because she was from  Toledo. We connected a few more times over the course of the tour, but again I was again destined to be the broken hearted boy.

Ruby is dead now. She only lived 46 years before Cancer claimed her. Besides her solid Rock n Roll career, she managed to marry, bear children, have a home.

There was one final lesson I learned from these four memorable females. They all had red hair. I finally accepted the fact that red heads were not for me. I had much better luck with brunettes.

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

_____________________

Here is a cover of "Maybe I'm Amazed"  Ruby performed while with Black Oak Arkansas

RIP Ruby

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Digressing to Blather

"He starts out with Nonsense and soon digresses to Blather" 

                      - Biden Supporter on Trump's Debating Skills



I wasn't going to post today. Obviously, I changed my mind.

The toilet roll in the picture has been sitting on our kitchen table for weeks now. Oh, its sanitary I guess, being shrink wrapped in plastic like it is. It was a hand me down political joke that I think has us several hand me downs from the original owner. Personally , I wouldn't use it to start a fire, let alone wipe my butt. It sat where it was first plopped until I decided to take a picture of it. 

Now what to do with it. ...... Hmm....... Okay, okay, it has room for a caption........... There, that gussies it up some.

This gag gift got me to thinking about the marketing and selling of such time sensitive items; products that have a finite popularity shelf life. I decided to search for some other ones.

There are many joke gifts that target politicians. Sleepy Joe and Trump certainly have their share. Since I am such a Trump fan, I thought it might be nice to point out some of the gag gifts besides T shirts you can get on Amazon.

Later Gators ...........................

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I picked the song, "Date Rape", by Sublime. It is a fantasy tune starring the Orange ShitGibbon wearing an orange jump suit.

Monday, June 24, 2024

An Early Morning Bike Ride in Philly

Most of my dreams I cannot remember. Of the ones I can, some are often different scenarios with familiar actors. Rarely is any dream a recurring one telling the same story, except one. It's not exactly a nightmare.  It is more a  Kodak moment I have never been able to forget. Over the years, I have replayed that moment in  a few quick flashes many times in my dreams. It is always the same. The next day I am able to get on with my day without any disruption. This morning however, the dream woke me up and now I am writing about that Kodak moment. This was the first time I remember waking up with tears in my eyes and an intense feeling of loss, guilt, .... I just don't know what it was.

It was 1990 or maybe 1991. Kent and I were attending the East Coast NBDA Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Centre on Vine Street in Philadelphia. The NBDA is retailer group made up of Bicycle retailers from across the country. It was a three day event. My partner and I stayed at the Howard Johnsons Motor Lodge, located in the shadow of the Franklin Bridge that crossed the Delaware River to New Jersey. We had brought our bikes to get to and from the venue and also maybe take in some sights.

The second morning, I got up early. I asked Kent if he wanted to go for a ride in the city streets and watch Philadelphia get on with its day. He begged off, turned over and before I was dressed, he was sawing wood again.

I started pedaling around 6:30 AM. Philly was awake, but not up to full steam. Rush hour's heaviest period was still to come. I was hoping I would have more empty streets to cruise on, but even at 6:30 AM, the main arteries were busy with cars rushing to destinations in the city.

Philadelphia has a lot of one way streets. As a cyclist, I have always liked one way streets. The possible dangers are mitigated to a degree by having everyone moving in the same direction. But then that morning I realized I might be mistaken about one way streets, especially ones with 4 or 6 lanes filled  curb to curb with cars late for work. 

Somewhere near City Hall I pulled up, got off my bike and stepped up on the sidewalk. The huge four way clock on top of City Hall told me it was past 7:30 AM. I had reached my turn around point. After checking the street map I had with me for the best way back to Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge, I took some minutes to drink some water and look around. 

The streets and sidewalks had become hectic streams of pedestrians and cars hurrying here, hurrying there Everyone was  focused on where they were going, never looking anywhere but straight ahead; avoiding eye contact with everyone around them. I stood and marveled at this impersonal flow of humanity.

I almost did not notice him. He was sitting on the sidewalk, his back to the wall of the skyscraper next to us.  He was wearing a nasty looking Army jacket with an Airborne patch on the shoulder. He was black and both legs had been amputated just above his knees. Around his neck, a cardboard sign dangled that simply said "Vietnam Vet". A trucker hat turned upside down next to him had a few coins in it. There was a bottle of Thunderbird wine propped up on one of his thighs. My first thought was pity, my second was this guy has given up and who's fault is that?

The busy world swirled and stepped around him.  I was struck by how invisible he was to everyone who passed by. Men in sharp suits, well dressed professional women in heels, delivery guys pushing two wheeled carts stacked to the sky with boxes: everyone acting oblivious and ignoring this legless man who sat up against a skyscraper. 

Our eyes met when the vet looked up at me.

His eyes were filled with an emptiness that cried, "I am nothing, a human shell, my humanity, long gone....... Help me. Don't help me. I am past caring." 

I looked down. I could not meet his gaze anymore. I was embarrassed. I felt my face grow warm. I turned away.

I stood with my back to him and tried to deal with the uncomfortable position I was in. I had already relegated this man out of my emotional concern and was concentrating on how I felt, not how he felt. I scrambled for excuses to ignore this guy just as everyone else did. I wanted to not feel bad. I dug in my pocket and pulled out the emergency paper clipped stash of cash I always carry on bike rides. 

Turning around, I was about to take the three or four steps his hat, but I stopped. He had pulled his zipper down and right there on this very busy city sidewalk in downtown Philadelphia, his piss trickled out and formed a couple of streams that headed for the gutter six or seven feet away. Meanwhile the crowded foot traffic passing by did not even slow down. One well dressed woman took the time to stop, look at the vet, purse her lips and then carefully step over both streams of piss to continue on her way.

 When he was finished pissing and he had zipped up, I stepped over and put the whole twenty dollar emergency stash  in his hat. Our eyes briefly met. His face and gaze unchanged. I received no acknowledgement of my attempt to buy back the guilt I felt. How my face looked to him, well, I don't know for sure, but if it looked like I felt, it was the face of someone in anguish. I climbed back on  my bike. My fun ride was definitely over.

I hoped the twenty dollar gift would help me cope with my feelings. Obviously it didn't help. I am sitting here thirty some years since the incident, still thinking about it and now I am writing about it.

I think I'll leave it there ................Later........

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I have always hated war. I hate that humans participate in it, glorify it, look forward to it. If any human trait is proof we are not ready or deserving to consider ourselves an awesome species, our love of killing each other would be the number one indicator.

I have tried to find a song that dovetails well with how I feel about that moment in Philadelphia so long ago. I keep coming back to a song by Ferocious Dog, a group from across the Big Pond. The song focuses on returning British vets from the stupidity of the last war in Iraq. It isn't about an American vet or the Vietnam War. The message is the same. The results for the soldiers are the same. Wars may be fought on different playfields by different teams, but the the brutal aftereffects remain timeless and universal in the damage they inflict on the human soul.

Here is "Broken Soldier".

Sunday, June 23, 2024

How Jesus Picked His Apostles


Christians often take themselves and their religious beliefs too seriously. My first clue came in Sunday School at a young age after I was dressed down by the teacher for laughing about some religious parable, statement, or a comment made by the kid next to me. I was never exactly sure why the teacher went on a brief tirade aimed at me. I do know after my mom picked me up, I told her I never wanted to go back to Sunday School.

I found church services to be more reliable and less volatile than Sunday School because of the same every Sunday rituals. There were no tirades, or off the cuff comments made from the pulpits, at least not in the more than a few Episcopal churches I attended when I was young. Episcopalians liked their religion predictably bland with no fire, no brimstone. 

I left Christianity in disgust at age 13 or 14 because of the insidious and rampant hypocrisy hidden inside the cloaks of righteousness Christians wore. They often exuded an attitude they considered themselves of a higher moral and ethical fiber than the slobs down the street who did not attend their church or maybe worse, any church at all.

Many years have passed and now I don't tread as carefully or make room in my mind for organized religion of any kind. Even the "harmless" and supposedly inoffensive churches, like Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and unaffiliated Protestants create a wall between themselves and the unwashed masses of the Heathen world. As soon as a church looks to spread the Gospel by opening more churches, they become dangerous in my opinion. Faith becomes a commodity and less a belief.

I did not want to delve this deep into my hate index for organized religion. My initial prompt for this post came to me by the meme to the right that I shared in "Opposing Views", a group page on Facebook. I have attempted to improve the fun with a re-write of my comment.

"How did Jesus find the apostles?"

Well, back in the day, some White dudes from New England thought it would be cool to go on an ocean cruise together. They climbed on board a Carnival Cruise Ark, sailed to Europe and then onto the Mid East, where they disembarked in Tarshish. They missed their Ark for the return voyage and ended up stinking drunk at the Dead Sea Scroll Tavern in what would later become modern day Jerusalem.

At the time, Jesus was the wine bitch for the Tavern. His job was to turn water into wine. He really didn't like turning water into wine. The gig had gone stale for him. He couldn't help but notice the gang of White dudes who everyday, showed up and drank gallons and gallons of his wine. One day he said to himself:

"This Gig sucks...I wonder if these guys would want to come in with me on a great con?"

They looked different, dressed different and best of all, some of them had blonde hair and blue eyes to match his own chiseled Aryan look. 

It took Jesus awhile to catch one of them sober. When he did, he pitched his proposal to John, who then agreed he'd run it by the group. He thought it was good timing because they were finding the Dead Sea Scroll Tavern a bit of a downer now and were contemplating renting some camels and moving on. John asked for a few days to give their answer.

It was a Tuesday I think when John and the boys gathered for their last bar dive and turned it into their First Supper as sacred Apostles of Jesus. 

The World has never recovered.

Okay, I more than just cleaned the comment up. I rewrote it, expanded it, and had even more fun with it this second time around than I did with the comment posted on FB. The less acerbic and shorter comment managed to bunch the panties of some folks who hang out in that group. Mike B commented:

Michael Macrum -  have you ever heard of translation wow

Like I indicated earlier, Christians can be thin skinned when it comes to their religion.

Hope this picks up your Sunday, or at the least, doesn't ruin it. Remember it's a joke.

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

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I picked a tune before I even began writing. And then when I checked the version I wanted, a second thought, then a third ....... suddenly I was an hour into picking a damn tune for this post. I have decided for another Two Fer

Here is Beth Hart and Joe Bonomassa Live in Amsterdam with a cover of "Chocolate Jesus", originally written and recorded by the late great Tom Waits.


I know the members of the original Dixie Chicks have always been up to date and hip Liberals just like me. It saddened me though when they caved to the whiny Libs who criticized them for using "Dixie" in their band name; so they changed their name to "The Chicks". So uncalled for in my opinion.

Here are The Chicks performing "Mattress Dancin" off I think their first album. 

Thursday, June 20, 2024

I'd Be Her Groupie

 "The Heart wants what it wants".

I never concerned myself with where or who came up with this quote. Was it a song, a line in a movie, or was it just some casual wisdom passed down by someone who coined it and made it famous? I didn't know, so I checked.

Apparently that great poet Emily Dickinson came up with it. That makes sense of course. She could create wonderful poetry with the fewest words possible. I always admired her work. 

I would be lying though if I didn't admit that it may have had something to do with the brevity she brought to her poems. 

In grade school, specifically Mrs. Savage's 6th grade class, memorizing one of her poems was a lot easier than say, Longfellow, who was also great. He was much longer winded. I gravitated to her when the assignment was to memorize a poem from "the list". We were expected to recite it in class and then explain what it meant to us. At least the first part was easy. Explaining the poems with a 6th grade male mind, not so much.

“The Heart wants what it wants - or else it does not care”

The version of the quote most poached today is only a part of the original quote. Dropping the last phrase takes something away from the point I think. The emotional Heart only feels in one direction at a time. Both Hatred and Love are created by the emotional Heart and both only have one goal. While their short term goals are mutually exclusive, Their ultimate goal is often the same: to blanket the object of their affection or derision with as much emotion as possible.

Seeing the quote and a recent viewing of the film, "A Quiet Passion" brought up memories of poetry, Mrs. Savage, and how much I loved her class. More importantly it caused me to want more information about Emily Dickinson.

She was singled minded and refused to be relegated to marriage, children and kow towing to the men in her life: an early accidental Feminist I guess. She pushed boundaries and through tenacious will and her over the top talent, she broke through a barrier women writers now take for granted.

It angers me now that so much of the current interest in Emily is whether she was Gay or not. Who the fuck cares? Isn't it enough that she left us a beautiful body of work and helped to elevate American literature to where it was slowly being recognized by the literary snobs across the pond. Today, she is more popular in Great Britain than here. Hell, I wonder if two in ten Americans would even recognize her name.

I tried hard to remember my favorite Dickinson poem from Sixth grade. Couldn't do it. But I will assume it was one of her shortest. So, with short in mind, Here are two of the over 1700 poems she penned in her all too short lifetime:


I never know where I will find the prompts for my posts. This one came from Outer Space I think.


BTW - Emily Dickinson is related to Taylor Swift. ...... For what its worth.... To some a lot, to the rest of us, not a bit. ........We just don't give a shit.

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

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Today it's a cover day. One of the best Blues Tune ever recorded is "The Sky is Crying". So many blues players have covered it, the original artist's version was lost in the many covers of it. Elmore James was first and still my favorite, but this cover by Stevie Ray Vaughn is right on Elmore's heels. Every time I listen to it, I want to sit on a tall stool, my elbows on a bar and drink sour mash like I did so many years ago.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Music

I have written many posts about Music and my association with it. Over the years, I have listened to countless songs by countless bands playing those countless songs. From my music appreciation beginnings listening to the Country music on the only AM radio station we could receive clearly in Colorado Springs to the Hip Hop/Rap I am finally now giving a chance, I have embraced or at least deeply tasted countless kinds of music. 

I have decided that every genre of music offers music worth listening to. It just might take some perseverance and turning a deaf ear to some tunes before that first gem finds the surface. Unless of course, you are talking about KISS or the Nooge. Hate both bands to their very core. I use both of them as the low bar place holder for music I deem unnecessarily terrible, 

It took me maybe twenty years to settle on a loose group of music genres. The list was all over the map I guess, but I was never bored. I could always find some old musical friends to pick my day up. I was content to stay within the box I had created and for the next thirty or so years, I did not wander much. Glam Rock, hah, never listened to it. Rap in the 1980's , no way. Decent new music eked in at a snail's pace. I had totally given up on the current pop 40 music Country had turned into. Music seemed to have become totally homogenized, paseuterized, cookie cuttered and boring.

Then I found the Internet in the early 1990s. I spent stupid amounts of money to pay by the minute to begin my trek through the World Wide Web. Along with the overwhelming surge of information, I was inundated at times, exposed unwillingly it seemed to music I was sure I had no connection or feel for.

 .............. Hmm.

My daughter was also finding her music. She had been weaned on Classic Rock mostly, but in the early 1990s she began to expand her range of choices. Her influence corrupted my comfortable co -existence with music from years ago. Every so often she would toss a new tune, new artist in front of me. I began to break out of my self imposed shell.

And now, over the last two decades, I have had the pleasure of falling in love with new wonderful music like I did as a young man. I am pretty sure there is more great music I haven't heard yet than all the music I have so far enjoyed. 

The Internet is responsible for that.

About the time I have once again had a tough time dealing with the continuous 24/7  animosity that runs rampant through the Social Mediums, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, etc., and I have decided the Internet is a den of evil assholes out to get me and destroy mine...............  I turn on my music list or punch up a YouTube video and soon I am no longer gritting my teeth and my urge to go ballistic has been nipped in the bud.

Like so many others, I have enjoyed or endured more than a few phases over my lifetime. Through all of those phases, good or bad, two things sustained me ....... Music and the Written Word. As long as they exist I will continue to hold out hope for Humanity's future.

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

____________________________

II don't know what to do here. New music I haven't heard yet? Or an old favorite? Should I seek a tune of deep serious shit or something fun? Lazy pick would be an old favorite like "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver", by Primus. ......... Yeah, Lazy it is.

And with second thoughts I decided to make this a two fer. I have been trying to remember the name of the first famous singer I had ever met. I met her on a beach on the Gulf Coast of Florida when I was nine. My family was enjoying a comped weekend there and Patty Page was the act performing that weekend.

I was doing what youngsters do on a beach when not getting wet. I was collecting shells. Patty (who I had no clue who she was) came over to me and asked what I was doing. I had not learned to be snarky to an adult stranger yet: I said, "Collecting shells".

She asked if she could do it with me. I remember thinking "this is weird", but again, at age nine when dealing with a strange new adult, I was polite and said something to the effect, "Sure, why not?" We scavenged that beach for a couple of hours or so. Filled my little bucket to the brim and the pockets in her beach robe to the hilt.

Patty was a really nice lady and had a way of making conversation with an adult fun. I had a great time. After I had returned to the hotel room and showered, when I came out, my mom asked who I had met on the beach. I only knew her as Patty.

"Well, she sent over some free tickets to her show tonight.

"Here is Patty Page singing the song that made her career, "The Tennessee Waltz" .The song I liked more that night was "How much is that Doggie in the Window".  But hey I was nine years old ferchrisakes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Made My Day

A few nights ago, I mixed it up with some Anal Retentive Right Wingers, Clueless Trump Pingers, and Bible Thumping Condemnation Swingers on a political group page on Facebook. Waged war with them till past midnight. Felt good to purge and direct my anger and frustration towards the folks I find the most fault with. It gets tiring always preaching to the choir.

Woke up the next morning with over 25 nasty comments waiting patiently for me to address them. I replied to some, skipped some and laughed at some.

Put a smile on my face first thing. Been awhile since I really slugged it out.

My learning curve for doing battle with internet personalities began back in the Newsgroup days of the 128 kbps Internet in the1990s. It could take many minutes just to to trade a couple of insults.

From there, it was forums; political, bicycle, and regional. I had some of my most memorable times poking fun at the insanity of a "The South Shall Rise Again" forum. From there I found "Free Republic", a forum in which many future Tea Baggers and later MAGA-lites were created.

My time mixing it up with Freepers was too short. "Free Republic" did not tolerate opposing views. I think I lasted a week before I was kicked out and don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. I was in pig heaven duking it out daily with brain dead Freepers. Being kicked out put my worst inclinations on hold: gave me reason to pause and take stock.

I had fallen in love with the battle, not the victory. There was no victory, no loss, just the confrontation.

I cooled it some when I started this blog in 2004. Instead of wasting time arguing just to argue, I began to write down my thoughts, beliefs, and observations. Over the next decade I feel I finally discovered who I really was by finding what I truly believed.

I began to bait less and listen more. Call it one of my renaissance periods which I had hoped would last longer than it did. Trump came along and suddenly I was back in the ditches slinging mud with the worst of them.

Nine years later, I am now of an age that I have accepted and no longer deny the existence of that chip I have carried on my shoulder since childhood. I no longer analyze it or try to contain it. Though it has aged and is beat up some, I carry it openly and use it when I see fit.

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

_________________

I am on a roll. The songs I have been picking lately have come easy. And again my choice is a song I have never heard of by an artist I never knew of either.

I am not much of a Hip Hop / Rap fan. It seems though I have had to expand my music list to include some. This tune rocks. and the woman singing reminds me of an early and brief relationship I had with a girl named Paula. She was a skinny white girl with an attitude twice her size. She laid me out once because she did not like a comment I made. I deserved it, but damn, it really hurt. The boys were sore for several days.

Anyway without any further ado, here is Delilah Bon performing "Bad Attitude". Best listened to at WOW on the volume dial.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Last Call

The meme here crossed my path not many minutes ago. As soon as I read it, a specific night of debauchery from my past came to mind.

The three of us had been drinking shots of tequila for several hours at Rick's All American Bar in Baltimore in the early 1970s. Already 3 sheets to the wind, it was my turn to fetch the next round. Just as I got the barkeep's attention, he shouted, "Last Call". 

In my  inebriated judgement , "Last Call" meant stock up. I came back to our table with nine shots on a tray. For a moment I was a hero. The three of us tossed back the three shots each in rapid repetition with maybe or maybe not a breath between shots.

When we hit the street, we could barely walk. We did our best, all the while laughing, hooting, carrying on as we staggered back to the car that one of us would hopefully navigate safely enough to get us home.

I had my head down trying to locate safe passage on the broken concrete. I looked up for some reason and walked head and face first into a street sign post; one of those posts with the sharp edges. Knocked me backwards, I went down hard and broke my glasses in half. The first thing I remember seeing was that street sign post vibrating just like in some Looney Tunes cartoon. As I was struggling to make sense of it all, I looked up at my friends and they were doubled over laughing so hard I think they may have been crying or pissing themselves. We were that stupid falling down drunk.

Anyway, the impact opened up my face some. I didn't get stitches, but maybe should have. 

That's the stuff great memories are made of for sure. .............. Riiiiiiight.

Later Gators .........................
_____________________

Only one band and their music will do for this post; Here is a live version of George Thorogood and the Destroyers along with special guest Elvin Bishop playing, "One Bourbon, One Scotch & One Beer". Again, another tune enjoyed best with the volume cranked. Enjoy. 


Sunday, June 16, 2024

Screen Saver

I have a screen saver feature on my computer that kicks in after so many minutes of inactivity. I often cuss at it, as it seems to constantly kick in during those blank moments when I stare at the screen looking for that next thought to type in. The screen saver shifts activity to the huge pile of images I have been accumulating since before Jesus was born. They flash from one to another with a second or two interval in between.

Suddenly, I am distracted from continuing the current flow of thought to images from my past. The images have no order and the computer does not sift out the images I created from the ones I poached from the Internet. 

Sometimes I never regain the lost thought and finish the paragraph. Now that I am used to it, I no longer cuss at it. I use it to my advantage. If  I have an urgency to finish the thought, I move the mouse slightly and the thought I wished to continue pops back up on my screen. If my blank stare is an indication of an empty head, devoid of any thought worth continuing, I often sit back and enjoy the slide show for a few minutes.

The images collected in my hard drive now go back to times long before I was born. I have saved old black and white photos of family who lived in the 1800's. I have saved images of me and my family over the years. And then there are the odd and unusual pictures I found out there in the Internet ether.

Each new slide show offers up photos I have forgotten and also ones the program feels need repeating. One such repeat is the image at the top. For some reason, I can count on it on a regular basis. And every time I see it, I miss my G-Guy terribly one more time. Immediately, memories of his life with us and the way he died flash harshly through my mind. 

That's the thing about memories though, sometimes even the bad ones are worth repeating. 

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

____________________________

Memories.......... Yeah, Memories. What tune might I find that best describes my attitude toward memories?

Hmm .............

Here is a tune I have never heard before by a band I have never heard of before. "Choke", by OneRepublic. Sometimes the perfect song for the moment just appears. 

RIP G-Guy.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Stupidity or Common Sense?

On the heels of the Supreme Court kicking the abortion pill issue down the road for more stupidity on the same insanity in the future, Rep. Katherine Clark (D) made an appearance on "Morning Joe" with her two cents worth.

"Are we going to choose Extremism 

or 

Are we going to choose Freedom?"

I would have preferred her to speak, not in words wrapped in the Flag, but common everyday words even the Dimwits on the Right can understand. I would have been more impressed with:

"Are we going to choose Stupidity of the highest order

or

Are we going to choose basic Common Sense?"

That is the only question I have any interest in; Common Sense over Stupidity is what the election this November is really about. Do we cave to the ignorance and cultish behavior of a movement run by truly evil people, or do we reinvest ourselves in the type of country we have spent the last 248 years trying to get right. Do we think the "Grand Experiment" has run its course and now it is time to cave to the autocratic pressures designed to remove any vestige of the freedoms we have now? 

I am fed up being brow beaten with lies, false promises, false flags and Right Wing leaders kowtowing to an obviously deranged and stupid man. I am ignoring the issues and focusing on this one question. Nothing matters more to me than defeating the orange shit stain who has actively polluted our political landscape these past 8 years or so.

It is up to you America. All that I ask is don't be stupid.

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

__________________________

Bob Marley and the Wailers recorded this song in the early 1970's. It sucks that it is still relevant over 50 years later. Apparently, contrary to the lyrics:

"You can fool some people sometimes
But you can't fool all the people all the time"

It appears Bob was wrong. You can fool almost all the people almost all of the time. Recent history bears that out.

Here is Bob and his Wailers live in 1980.

Thursday, June 06, 2024

Thoughts on D-Day

So it's D-Day. 

Appreciation of its impact on the World is showing signs of wear and looks to sooner than later be shoved into the "Ancient History" quiver of most Americans under the age of fifty. There are still enough of us children of the "Greatest Generation" around to keep its flame alive; for ceremonial purposes anyway. But we don't seem to care anymore either.

So what did my generation do with the legacy left us?

The Boomers started off great by fighting for social, political, and environmental change so the generations who followed us would reap even more benefits than we did. 

We squandered our opportunity by turning into intractable self interested mimics of the worst of past generations. We tossed aside the legacy we could have had so we could own grander cars, bigger houses, take extravagant vacations.

We could have had all that and still forged ahead by adding to the progressive legacy we were so eager to support as young citizens. Instead, it became too inconvenient to worry anymore about the things on the horizon that threatened our future well being: issues of a political nature, climatic nature, and social nature. Before we knew it, we had allowed our country to change from a country of hope and optimism into a country full up with self inflicted misery. The term "Ugly American" became something to aspire to.

The only glimmer of hope I see is that this cycle we are in has occurred time and time again throughout Human History. Rise and Fall, rise and fall, blah, blah, blah. And so far, Humanity has emerged damaged but alive on the other side. Over time, odds being what they are, at some point they go from odds to certainties. 

When that happens, or if it happens is entirely up to us.

In the meantime, ferchrisakes, keep it 'tween the ditches ............................

_____________________

I re-read the above and Whew! That was a harsh and less than rosy picture. Those were the words of a Gloomy Gus. I'll own it. Someone has to. There are just too many of you assholes out there who don't seem to be paying attention.

____________________

It's a two-fer today. Two videos, one to honor one survivor, the other to honor the song he wrote and sang a few years ago. It was briefly a chart topper.

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

One Saturday in DC

June is National Gay Pride Month. A month for all the Non- heterosexual versions of personhood to be loud and proud and wave their Rainbow flag in our faces.

I ran into my first organized Gay anything as a high school student in 1969. Charlotte Hall Military School's junior class was on a road trip to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. 

After a morning of patriotic indoctrination and frankly, a fascinating, wonderful time in the biggest library I had ever seen, we were released to the Wild for some personal time to wander around the National Mall. It was strongly suggested we take in the National Museums and the several monuments decorating the immediate area. And DO NOT go near the anti-war demonstration unfolding that day.

Several of us of course, chose the anti-Vietnam war demonstration unfolding around the steps of the US Capitol. In dress uniforms, we approached the gathering from the south. The crowd had settled into sections it seemed. There was a vets against the war section, a blacks against the war section, a general come one, come all white hippies against the war section, women Libs against the war section and then there was the section stage right we had decided to hang out on the fringes of. We couldn't really hear the speechifying, but that did not matter, we immediately were astounded at the sight of men hugging and kissing in public.

As I remember it, we had no time to really let that vision sink in. The cops had decided to break the party up. I turned around to see a line of cops with longish batons and white helmets almost on us. One of the cops ran up to me and clocked me hard with his stick and then proceeded to give me Hell about how dare I disgrace the uniform by supporting the treasonous activities of the demonstrators. He hit me again, I went down. Before he could hit me one more time, a fellow cop stopped him and, said we were just kids in uniforms. With an extreme look of disgust, the cop got back in line and they proceeded on past us.

That one incident firmly put me on my path to becoming a liberal gay hugging infidel and all around God hating bastard. I actually do not hate God. I just question his/her, their very existence. I hate the organizations that have been built up around the notion of an almighty God. 

But I didn't come here to write about an event 55 years ago. ...... Yeah, maybe I did. That was one of many defining moments in my life. And now that I have high jacked my original reason for this post, its point has been lost and is fading now that I am onto another tangent. If you're new here, you will get use to it; ...... and frankly I don't care if you do. I write for me first, share it, and then move on. 

So fast forward to the here and now. 

Gay folk have struggled and finally achieved more acceptance by main stream America. Sadly, those folks we now call homophobes, have dug in their heels and they have vowed to turn back the gay clock to Pre-1960 Good Ole Days . And doubly sad, is many of them have ensconced themselves in positions of power where they have attempted to move that time line backward through local and state law.

The genie is out of the bottle, that horse has left the barn, too little, too late assholes. Gays are out and they've now brought all their previously undefined buds with them. Go ahead and bunch your panties, get righteously indignant and cry, "What about the children". Your misplaced moral superiority has done nothing but create a more fertile ground for the very thing you hate. So, keep it up you clowns and do your best to stem the Gay Tide. You are only going to win a few battles, but not the war.

Later gators ....................................

__________________________

I decided to use a favorite anti war song from back in the day. Here is "I Feel Like I'm Fixing to Die Rag", by Country Joe and the Fish at Woodstock in the summer of 1969. When I first saw this version in the film, Woodstock", I was high on LSD. Imagine the rushes I felt when the movie audience sang along. I was too high to sing, I just sat there with my mouth open. Awesome time.

Sunday, June 02, 2024

We Libtards Blew It

Both the Left and the Right have always had fringe groups poking and prodding their mainstream cohorts to favor various kinds of extreme policies. That is the norm in any large gathering of similar political outlooks. And it is not unusual for the extremes of either group to carry more influence at different times based on constantly changing circumstances.

Twenty years ago when the Tea Party began rattling their tea bags, I was impressed with how much the lunatic fringe of the Right had grown. At the time I figured they would calm down some and become the GOP I grew up with: Loyal to their conservative ideologies, loyal to a fault to their party, and loyal to the rule of law.

I was not paying enough attention I guess. Suddenly, 2015 rolls up on us and the Right has embraced a criminal as their nominee for President. Oh I know, he had not been convicted of any crime, but everyone knew he was sleazy and a lowlife who had had committed many crimes. 

The Left laughed; made fun of the GOP's stupidity and dismissed them as a bunch of clowns. The Democratic nominee was sure to kick Trump's ass. I was sure of it too. Again, I was not paying the close attention I should have been to the events unfolding behind the top stories the media was force feeding us at the time. Overconfident, denigrating, and patronizing rhetoric from the Left drove a huge segment of our population further to the Right and pushed the extreme Right even closer to the edge of insanity.

We Libtards blew it. We know that now, but is it too little, too late? The country shifting more to the Right in the last twenty years has isolated and actually damaged much of the liberal progress we fought so hard for 50-60 years ago. The Left was outplayed and now it will be an uphill battle to bring the country back into equilibrium. What I figured would be a twenty year swing of the political pendulum to the Right looks to have more resilience than I thought. 

This battle is not over, The Left has not turned the tide. And while deep in our bones we know this, our leaders continue to evoke an elitist air and more often than not come off as insincere and aloof. 

The cocky attitude of the Left is gone now. Many of us still cannot believe how the GOP imploded and became a servile organization under the heel of a wannabe dictator.  Never mind all the analogies and comparisons, what we are facing is a serious shit storm on the horizon. You know you have an angry foe when no matter what you do, they want to put you in the ground for it. That is the kind of adversary the Right has become.

I am not saying we should be afraid. I am saying we need to gird our loins, dig in and give as good as we get. No more high road bullshit, no more mamby pamby handwringing, clutching of our pearls, or righteous indignation. You want to lose the America you envisioned as a kid, then sit on your asses and assume it will all work out in the end. This time, without our resistance it will work out for the wannabe dictator and his circle jerk of clowns. 

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

________________________

Green Day's song, "American Idiot "is twenty years old now. Its release coincides with the beginnings of the "Tea Bagger" movement on the Right. That this song is not outdated yet and still pertinent today reinforces my contention that the USA is in for a lengthy period of readjustment. It's interesting that this tune caused some bunching of panties among the righteously indignant Right and the quick to condemn PC packing Left.

Play it loud. That's a rule you know. 

Saturday, June 01, 2024

5th Grade Teacher's Last Straw

To be fair to the teachers I experienced during my early years, most wanted to educate me. Their intentions were honorable. Only one wanted to punish me first; the educating part was not even on her radar.

At the time, I was sure I did not deserve the treatment I received. Sixty plus years later, I still feel that way. Don't get me wrong, I was a troublemaker sometimes, and on occasion ended up at odds with local school disciplinarians. However, I rarely felt I was being unfairly treated, except for that year I endured in fifth grade.

Did I deserve what I got? You'd have to dig up her grave, reanimate her, and ask her. She was hard nosed, intractable and vindictive according to my mom. Me, well I just hated her.  

She is the first person I ever hated to my core. Did I wish her ill will. You're damn right I did. Did I wish she was dead. Oh yeah. She became the first adult I actively tried to make miserable. I often irritated my parents, but never with real malevolence. Pushing their buttons was part of the fun of being a kid. If they were pissed at me that meant they were taking a break from being pissed at each other. Our time in Florida was very hard on all of us.

For the life of me, I cannot remember that teacher's name or remember her face. I do remember having bad dreams about our relationship though.

Before the first week of school was over, she told me she was going to come for me in any way she could. Who says that to a ten year child, especially a teacher? As I sit here and try to remember what went down that year in school, I realize I must have personified all the evil little assholes she had to put up with for however long she had been a teacher. She retired at the end of the year. Maybe I was her last straw.

I wasn't sure why she hated me so much so soon into the school year. Years later when talking about her with my Dad over late night shots, he said maybe it was because that first week when I told her to go to Hell. Ahh,yes I remembered then. That was my first trip to the principal's office that year. In the beginning, my parents backed the teacher.

In retrospect, I guess she had a reason to hate me. I tried in the beginning to win her over. I was a pretty charming little boy. Old ladies usually loved me. I knew how to be polite, inquisitive and I had a great grin. I also had an attitude that came to the surface quickly. 

She was having none of  my promises to behave, to capitulate, to knuckle under. Must have been about October when I gave up and said to myself, "Bring it Teach". She held onto her grudge all year. At the end of the year, even though my grades were A's and B's, as a final "fuck you", she tried to fail me and keep me back, She claimed I was not mature enough for sixth grade. 

By this time, my parents had my back. They had been through many parent-teacher and later, principal conversations that finally turned into shouting matches where the teacher was the one who lost control. I never attended those meetings, but I sure got an ear full when Mom and Dad came home. My dad refused to go to any more meetings after Christmas. And the principal actually pleaded with me to get along with her. I told her I was trying but the teacher would have none of it. My mom, who could be very intimidating when riled, straightened the teacher out and I moved on to sixth grade.

All the back story I just laid out was unintended as I only wanted to reminisce about what the image to the right meant to me.

I have set the table and filled you in about the worst grade school year of my life. That was the year I became the GOAT of punishment writing. I was often required to stay after school to write on the blackboard. I was sent home with homework that included returning the next day with hundreds of sentences written on notebook paper. I remember well. I could cram a lot more sentences on a certain kind of notebook paper my dad had in his desk at home. The lines were closer together. I learned to become a punishment sentence machine. Other kids in the class were given similar punishments, but not a one had to endure the numbers of sentences I did. 

It was never for the same reason. Teacher mixed it up. Her favorites were "I will not talk back anymore", "I will not speak out of turn anymore", "I will not get out of my chair without permission", I will not snicker in class"; you get the drift. And while most of my classmates often received warnings,, by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I received no warnings.

I can laugh about it now. I certainly did not then. I was treated unfairly. In an odd way though, I am grateful for the experience. It was my first lesson in the unfairness of Life. And I learned that no matter what I thought day to day about my parents, I knew they would always have my back ..... eventually.

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

____________________

There does not seem to be many "bad teacher" tunes out there. There is definitely a bunch of odes to teachers. After rummaging around collections of "I love you teach" or "I want to bed you teach songs", I thought of Pink Floyd's album, "The Wall". It was and still remains one of the great albums of all time. The song, "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" covers much of how I felt about MRS "I can't remember her name or face", my fifth grade teacher. 

I decided to include their original video and also a live version from I think, their 50th anniversary tour. Both of them are worthy. The live version is awesome.

Enjoy! And oh yeah, upping the volume only enhances the experience.