Saturday, December 31, 2005

Paranoia Realized

The following is a memory sparked from a thread on a forum. The thread was regarding the recent domestic spying and it's relationship to the Hoover days in the 60s and 70s.

I went to college at the height of J. Edgar Hoover's search and destroy crusade against perceived subversive activity inside our country. I was a bit player, call it an extra, in the Peace movement. I participated in the demonstrations, took over administration buildings, and generally had a grand time fighting the Man. The extreme width and breadth of Hoover's paranoid campaign was brought to light for me in 1973. 

The small university I attended had decided I was a trouble making neer do well. Not a bad kid. I just did not belong in their college. The fact that they were right is beside the point of my point. 

After a particularly rowdy evening of massive over indulgence, a section of one dorm sustained some damage. Many people contributed to the festival of demolition, but who did the campus cops wake up at dawn? Yeah, me. So what if I was found passed out among the carnage. That was but circumstantial evidence I figured as they hauled me away in handcuffs. 

I was unceremonisously parked in a small windowless room in the basement of the new administration  building down at campus security. A uniformed campus cop shoved some coffee my way and told me to sober up. And just to show they were not barbaric goons of the hob nail kind, I also found next to the coffee absolutely the worse pastries I have ever eaten. 

A couple of hours later after my heels had cooled and  the screamer of a hangover thrashing around my cranial void had become tolerable enough to keep both eyes open, the head campus cop came in. We had previously come into contact with each other over a fir tree on campus that had been crudely re-located to a girl’s dorm room. No introductions were needed. The funny thing was he was very friendly and obliging. He understood that I was nothing but another dumass out of control out of control college student. But his hands were tied this time. I would have to face charges and go to court. 

Since I was aware enough to actually remember some of the previous night, I obliged him and admitted my part in it. I clammed up when asked to identify my accomplices. I figured they were just being stupid. The whole damn campus had been at that party. After we had resolved the criminal aspect of my situation, he was going to let me go back to my dorm, pack up and leave campus. But first he wanted to talk to me about something. 

What he relayed to me sobered me up quick. He dropped a file folder on the table. It had my name on it. It was not thin. Inside were pictures of me at several of the campus demonstrations. One in particular caught my eye. A nice photo of me hanging out of Linthicum Hall in May of 1972 giving the ole peace salute. There were circles and arrows. The whole bit. Apparently our little university was considered a hot bed of radicalism just like the big dogs at Berkeley, Michigan, etc. 

The FBI had forwarded these photos to him a couple of months previous with their wishes that about 20 others and myself be monitored and if possible be given the boot. He went on to explain that he was not supposed to show anyone these photos or divulge the FBI’s wishes. But it bothered him. He had a serious problem with them coming on his campus and spying on his kids. 

I looked through the photos and noticed a couple from some demonstrations in DC. I was impressed. And not in a positive way. Here in front of me was proof that the paranoia of the Peace movement was not paranoia but fact. All the ugly exaggerated claims were right there and I was tied into it. 

Being on some agency's radar was unsettling to say the least. He went on to explain that the photos had nothing to do with kicking me out of the dorms. I could still attend classes but I could not live on campus. He did not say it, but I think revealing the FBI file was his way of fighting the Man.  The next year, the campus had a new head of security. I never saw him again. But that morning I learned that cops can be both good and bad. I learned that no matter how free we think we are, someone will always be interested in curtailing that freedom. The Constitution was just a set of rules meant to be broken.  **

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

** - Edited harshly in Sept of 2017

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Taking Detours

Random thoughts stop by. They have no connection to each other and no relevance to the current events in progress. They just breeze in. I will be trying my hardest to convey my inner self and suddenly I will see Fernando performing his crotch licking ceremony and I will wonder why. My previous point in the making lost for the moment as I contemplate cats and why they lick their butts.

Being prone to going off course is a two edged sword. The obvious problem is the helter skelter, hit or miss success rate for anything planned. The upside aspect are all the interesting and odd adventures I have stumbled into. Taking detours may take longer. But detours often add something special to the ruts we seem so comfortable in.

I could say this is an unusual thing for me. I would be lying. As far back as my pitiful excuse for a brain can remember, I have been a space shot. Taking anything from the beginning and following it through to the end has been a consistent problem. I am not sure why. Every project, trip, endeavor begins with enthusiastic effort and good intentions. But the trip always seems to end in a kick and scream struggle. It's as if the trip is more important than getting there. Maybe it is.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Christmas Spirit

It's early evening on Christmas Eve. I should be chock full of the Christmas Spirit. And I am not. My feelings have always been a mixed bag about Christmas time. Growing up, I had to witness and then endure the depressive tirades of my alcoholic father who reached his peak at this time of the year. So I guess I grew up both dreading and looking forward to Christmas.

I sit here somewhat ambivalent. That elusive high of this season is MIA. Not ecstatic, just pleasantly content. I am perplexed. Why not either extremely happy and full of that Christmas cheer. Or low man. Down in the dumper of depression. I am stuck somewhere in between. A kind of Christmas limbo.

Just another evening at home with the family and the pets. Bobbi is in the kitchen whipping up cookie dough for the Christmas cookies. Lis is putting together the fake tree. And I sit here in the office pondering my situation. There's snow outside. The radio is playing carols. And still I feel the same as yesterday, just a day older.

Maybe this is what Christmas is for me now. Contentment in having those I love close. Enjoying having time to reflect on the small circumstances that circulate on a normal day. I will not have many more of these. Lis is in her last year of college. She will be moving on. And that's great. But tonight and for the next couple of weeks, I get to experience and appreciate what I will soon miss. Merry Christmas!

An Exercise in Futility

I watched 60 minutes the other night after the Colt/Bengals game. One of the stories was, surprise, surprise, about New Orleans. Rather than just 20 minutes rehashing the blow by blow of how 500,000 people's lives turned upside down in a few days, this story dwelled on what do we do now? Obviously, the first thing ot come to mind would be to re-build the city. That's fine and dandy. But it will still be umpteen feet below sea level and all we would be doing was rebuilding the target for another pissed off hurricane. This story talked about the 120,000 homes that were damaged and the colossal undertaking of demolishing them and then re-building. And might not it be a better idea to re-locate the town to a saner height above sea level. One science guy contended that in 20 years, the town will be miles out in the Gulf 18 feet lower than the surface with a huge dike around it. A fishbowl of air in a pool of water. I know nostalgia and the connection of history is a powerful thing. Mother Nature surely does not care about any of that. She has indicated her displeasure with New Orleans by taking it out. Would it not be prudent to at least look at an alternative to rebuilding another target? Of course, sentimentality will rule the day. We will most likely pour stupid amounts of dollars and man hours into re-building a community that will inevitably at some future point in time be wiped off the face of the planet again. An exercise in futility.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Build Up

I gave myself a present today. I guess you could say it was a Christmas present. But that would not be completely accurate. This was a present I had planned to have 6 months ago. I had to build it first. It sat gathering dust, as one reason or another kept me from finishing it. Today, Friday, December 23rd, 2005 was slow at the shop. I could count on one hand and leave change on the number of consumers who came in. Instead of fidgeting over no business, I proceeded with the present. I built up a new bike for myself. Well, some new parts and some old parts, and at 8:00 PM I was staring at my new hardtail mountain bike. Tomorrow all I have to do to make it rideable is slap a seat on, cap some cables and it's off to the races. The 17.5" Rocky Blizzard frame with the 20th anniversary head badge on it had hung barren for too long. It looks good with wheels, disc brakes, a 105 mm Marzocchi MX Pro shock, and a solid XT/Race Face drivetrain under it. Adding the Nokian "Extreme" studded tires rounded out the look. It is one bad ass winter bike. I am ready for the cold weather now. Hoping to overcome the lethargic slug I usually impersonated, I pulled the frame off the hook it had dangled from these past 6 months. I dusted it off and considered what was next. I stripped my other bike and re-installed everything I could on the Blizzard. With each component successfully cleaned, attached and adjusted, my ambivalence melted away. By the time I stepped back from the done machine, I wanted to ride. There is something special about creating your own bike. Short of actually fabricating a frame, building up a bike from scratch is satisfaction beyond description. I think I get off as much building them as riding them. Nah, the ride is just that much sweeter knowing I was responsible for every choice and tidbit on it. I cannot wait to spin it around. The grin factor will be off the charts.

Dump Day Angst

A classic small town in Maine, Acton appears to be the idyllic New England existence. White Churches, Cape Cod houses with the obligatory train of out-buildings attached so we don't have to go out into the teeth of Winter to feed the cows. Yes, Acton is chock full of Kodak moments. This pastoral existence belies the real Acton, Maine. Behind the open fields, thick woods, and flocks of wild turkeys, an evil entity has taken root. To the casual observer, this evil would go about it's business totally unoticed. For the casual observer would most likely never have cause to visit the Town Dump. The repository for all that Acton wants no more has come under the spell of facists. They rule with an iron hand. Woe to the man who accidentally tries to slip a piece of cardboard into the hopper. A trip to the dump used to be a social event here in town. Put on your rattiest Mainer outfit, load up the pick-up, and head down. Time there spent swapping tall tales and poking around for good stuff to bring home was a time honored tradition. Alas, this ritual has been discarded and replaced with an experience filled with fear and paranoia. When I load up for the dump now, I break out in a sweat. I hope I have sorted and collated my refuse in a manner satisfactory to the often arbitrary whims of the evil dump nazi who guards the hopper. I am often asked to open up a bag to display my garbage. I can only hope no one in the family has accidentally slipped something deemed illegal into the household trash. A mistaken leaf or piece of plastic or cardborad will bring wrath and damnation no preacher could equal. I know he is just waiting to lay into me and make me feel small for failing to dump within the guidlines. The new rules at the Acton Dump make the Patriot Act look tame in comparison. And though we may not end up in jail for breaking the rules, after a good verbal beat down and nasty looks, jail might be kinder. The fun of dump day is now a distasteful chore undertaken out of necessity. There is no joy in tossing my garbage now. If ever there was a case for "the good ole days", the new Acton Dump is the perfect poster child.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tidbits and Biscuits - Dec. 22, 2005

Penguin kidnapped in Great Britain Officials at some zoo in in the only truly civilized English speaking country in the World are scrambling to locate a baby penguin they fear may have been bird napped. Baby Toga went missing a week ago and now has only 24 hours left to live unless it is reunited with Mom and Dad. Apparently young Toga can only eat fish regurgitated by Mom. At 18 inches tall, the little tyke should be an easy find. It isn't like it will blend in with the pigeons at Trafalgar Square. Interviews with zoo officials who understand penguin speak say Mom and Dad are so upset, they have stopped eating.

Security at Airports relaxed Deadly scissors shorter than 4 inches allowed. Every grandma wanting to catch up on her sewing instead of watching the in flight movie may now sew about the country.

Patriot Act extended for 6 months ~ Bush declares victory. ~ Democrats declare victory Spinmeisters from both sides claim victory. I guess that is what a compromise does. It allows each side the luxury of claiming victory while sweeping the defeat under the rug. All I see in this delaying tactic is another case of Congress not facing up to it's responsibility to make the tough decisions. What a bunch of losers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Kodak Moments & an Anniversary

The Anniversary I guess some kind of recognition should be paid to this date. I have now been blogging for one year. Consider this date now duly noted. Kodak Moments

I was helping my wife out with the Christmas clean up. Getting the house straightened out for the messy onslaught of the holidays. I sometimes wonder why we bother. Clean a corner now and by January 1st, it will be cluttered again. I push such thoughts aside now. I have learned that women, specifically my wife, have their own logic and it suits me to go along. To fight it is a losing battle. So, I helped this year. I vacuumed, dusted, etc. A built-in bookcase in the living room had become the catch all for all the many family and friends kodak moments. The four shelves had 20 years worth of nephews and nieces piled up and covered in dust. Every team photo of Lis, our daughter was mixed in. And to top it all off, ancient dusty black and white photos of my family from the early 1900's. It had obviously been a long time since anyone had taken the time to maintain these shelves. The dust was so thick on some photos, I had to wipe them off to see who was caught in the snapshot. This disorganized mish mash had to go. I pulled all the photos off the shelves, dusted them, and then critically sorted through them. This pile of 50 or so pictures would be whittled down to leas than 30. I knew not to throw any out. I put the ones that did not make my cut into the lower drawer of the Korean chest. My wife would certainly want to have her impact. So keeping them handy for retreival was a smart idea. Sorting through the various school pictures, team pictures, buddy shots, and ancestoral reminders, I was struck by how connected I was to the World. No matter how much I sometimes feel alienated and alone, knowing these people were or are part of my life tells me I am not alone. There are folks out there who do care about me and my circumstances. People who would rise up to offer what help they could without being asked. And I draw comfort from that. Some indigenous tribes somewhere thought photos took part of the soul to make the print. I think they were wrong. Pictures of friends, family and pets prove we have one. Would a souless person bother to concern themselves with reminders of the people of their past and present? Our friends, family and pets give our souls substance. Without them, we are just marking time and taking up space.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

How the day started for some

New York City - The Big Apple was crippled today when the Transit Workers went on strike. The subways and bus systems began shutting down at 3:00 AM. It has been 25 years since the last strike. Mayor Bloomberg contends the city will lose $400 million per day during this strike. 7 million commuters woke up this morning and had to find their own way in.Some news guy is hanging out on the Brooklyn Bridge witnessing the traffic into NYC. Apparently the cops are turning back any car with less than 4 people inside. So, we have thousands hoofing it across the various bridges. As a cyclist, this tickles me no end. 

Sea plane Crash, Miami Beach - A sea plane crashed close to the beach at Miami Beach. All twenty aboard are dead. Witnesses included surfers who thought the plane would crash on them. Apparently the plane was on fire before it crashed. Some witnesses at the scene (News guy's words - How could someone be a witness and not at the scene?) Anyway, some of the witnesses say they saw a wing come off prior to impact. Ending up in 35 feet of water, recovering the black box should be a cinch. 

President Bush - A new poll raises Bush's approval rating from 39% in early November to 47%. The fickleness of America and it's instant gratification mentality. A beleaguered and beat up Bush in November comes out with the tough guy approach again, attacks his attackers, and now a segment of the US feel this is enough to justify their approval. On the other side, another poll shows the President's approval rating still a paltry 39%.For those of us who live and die from polls, this apparent dispute in numbers has to create a schizophrenic feeling if in the throes of a low bio-rhythm. For the rest of us, we notice them, nod, and move on to the next piece of useless information. 

DNA Kits available at the grocery store - A grocery store chain in the mid west(?) is now offering a health service based on our genetic code. A quick swab in the mouth and the kit is rushed to a DNA lab in Connecticut. Based on 19 different genetic markers, the results will tell of genetic pre-disposition to any of the big killers. You then take the results to the consultants in the store and they will customize your shopping trip to fit in with the healthy lifestyle you should be living. At $99 a pop, it seems an expensive way to reinforce Mom's advice that chips and soda are not good for us. 

Local News > Augusta, Maine - A group who wants a 20 cents/gallon tax on water pumped out of Maine and sold faced their first failure. They had submitted a petition with 71,000 signatures to force the issue onto the next ballot. Over 7,000 signatures were found to be unacceptable. That meant they failed to meet the minimum required number to put the issue on the ballot in the next election. A spokesperson for Poland Spring Bottlers said they were pleased with the result. Well Duh. 

A personal Notation - Follow Up > "The Big Dig" - The resurrection of my office has reached a logical stopping point. Yet, I do not want to stop. I want to do more. Improve more. Gild the lily so to speak. But I will cease and desist. I have been given my orders. There are other fires that need to be attended to. My darling wife was emphatic and specific. After 25 years of marriage, I know when to jump, how quickly, and finally I have a clue as to how high. No height is high enough.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Big Dig

Yesterday was a date worth taking note of. I began the long overdue once a decade, whether it needs it or not office cleaning. One of my personal spaces had become too cluttered to use safely or sanely. It was now a trashcan with a door and 2 windows.

I had been pumping myself up for weeks. Everyday I made the office a must do at the top of the daily list. And everyday, I moved it to the top of tomorrow's list. Then last weekend, I moved Bobbi into her new office in one of the bedrooms. As she settled in and got things just so, I was instantly jealous. Her stereo on the second shelf promised tunes at her beck and call. The little office supplies knick knack rack right there ready for instant access. Reference books located conveniently within arm's reach. But it was her desktop that caught my eye. A grand space clear of clutter and ready to press into service. The walls were freshly painted and she naturally whipped up some cutains to match. "Damn her hide! I want what she has."

So I slunk back to my office. In the 2 square feet clear enough to turn full circle, I rotated and considered this space I had neglected for so long. I realized I did have what my darling signifigant other had. All I had to do was dig down through the sediment and find it again. Under the many old magazines, junk mail, dust and debris was a decently efficient work space. I was sure of it.

Yesterday "The "Big Dig" began in earnest. Not wanting to bite off more than I could chew, I just picked around the edges at first. Filling boxes and garbage bags and four hours later I found the bookcases. Damn! That's where that Asimov book went. And look, that old bong I thought I threw out with that nasty habit.

I weeded the useless and unecessary from the shelves, floor, and table tops. I made room for future clutter. I re-arranged, collated, and dusted. I rewired the stereo and found some more room when I stashed several components from back in the day. CD changers have effectively made tapes and LP's obselete. I left the turntable out of some nostalgic loyalty. I haven't spun a record in over 15 years. But my wife does on occaision. I can just hear her piss and moan if she comes in and it is not there.

Tonight I sit at the desk and behind me is open floor. No junk, trash or piled up unfinished paperwork to be seen. Tomorrow I tackle the desktop. And if I find the courage, I might even clean the windows.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Winter's First Kiss

When I sit down determined to explain myself, I put thought to paper first, re-read, and then title it. Tonight just for shits and giggles, I picked a title first. Let's see what pops up. And just to chance it a tad closer to the edge, I even picked the color first. Type on the wild side Mike. What bold and rash hair crossed my butt I wonder?

Winter in Maine is no bullshit in your face winter. The snow in early November often stays until May, leaving the frost pounded 5 feet into the ground. About January, everyone is pinned inside eagerly hoping mud season comes early. It is often minus 17'F for weeks and the sun doesn't get much higher than your hat until March. Five months of the year, we hide inside and peek outside hoping something, anything is showing a sign of an early thaw.

I did not want to write another "I hate winter in Maine" piece. I don't hate winter really. I just get tired of it. And now, with winter still a fresh experience, laying into it would seem hollow, insincere, and forced. I haven't been hunkered down in my house for 4 straight months with no sun, wearing flannel all the time. I haven't suffered through enough shovel the drive sessions at minus stupid with horizontal snow in my face no matter where I turn. No, I haven't suffered enough to justify winter's hair shirt yet.

We just recieved our first big blow. 15 inches anyway. It screwed yesterday up, but today has been grand. Blue skied and friendly temps in the low forties. The snow was light and fluffy. A shovel full weighed nothing. A story book storm when snow is magical. The sun hits the virgin drifts and dances in flashes and hurts my eyes. The winter in Maine I love. The early first kiss part of winter.

But I know a few months of this and the romance will be gone. Replaced by a mood ugly and morose. Suffering cabin fever and low light blues, I will slouch nasty tempered mumbling as I tap on the thermometer hoping it is just stuck. I will give up looking outside. My existence, an internal subsistence fed by cheetos and "Baywatch" re-runs. Gotta love the way those silcone filled beauties bounce when she runs into the surf to save some dumass.

Pop Icons

Today I would like to discuss pop icons. Pop icons are basically just people, places, or things that owe most of their notoriety to over exposure than to other qualities like talent, true beauty, or earth shattering insight. Pop icons are often the result of intense lobbying and marketing by the media, commercial interests, or the icons themselves. I have nothing in particular against pop icons. I just sometimes struggle to understand why a particular person, place or thing rates being held up as some sort of beacon of popular culture.

Some pop icons have a brief shelf life. Others hang in there until such time they are coronated as art, a historical marker of a culture gone by, or honored as representative of some movement or cultural mindset. Brings a tear to the eye of any ad man out there.

The Hoola Hoop - an endearing reminder of a period when America was happy as if it had a brain. Mindless, repetitive, and produced nothing but a good sweat.

The Cambell Soup Can - Already an icon from years of being opened in America's kitchens, this undeserving container was then made forever famous by a no talent hack artist in New York. Or was it the can that made the no talent hack artist famous and an icon in his own right? It doesn't matter. His paintings of this can and other everyday items command millions of dollars now. And that is all it takes in this country.

The Peace Symbol - At the time it became popular, it represented a nod in the direcion of the peace movement during Viet Nam. It has come to represent the same now, but for a smaller crowd. It is now viewed with disdain by many who feel it is just the symbol of "Liberals gone Wild". Hated so much by some on the right, that I imagine somewhere in Fox News land, some wise acre would like to fuzz out the symbol like the ads with coed's flashing their boobs.

The Swastika - Originally a religious symbol used by many cultures. In 1920 the Nazis adopted it. Under this banner, many people died and many people suffered. Now used to represent the worst kind of human inclination.

Elvis and Marilyn - Combining these two makes sense. Giants in their time on this Earth. In death, almost granted a divine status by those too young to have been around. Excellent examples of being more famous dead than alive.

Watergate - A bungled break in toppled a president and created a moniker for political scandal of almost any kind. If it has "gate" tagged on the end, you know somewhere some pol is in deep shit.

Coca Cola - The coke symbol is recognized in all four corners of this planet. Tenacious marketing and over bearing expansion forced this icon of American imperialism onto every sign in the world. Or so it seems anyway.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Lessons of the Banana Republics

The business interests of this country have always fueled US policy in the Americas. Our own backyard is where our country developed the “low intensity conflict” we have utilized elsewhere with mixed results. Starting back before Teddy Roosevelt, US companies were exploiting what they could from the undeveloped areas of Latin America. The banana republics became defacto extensions of American business. Their power was enforced on an as needed basis by the US military. This blatant pillaging and years long oppression laid the groundwork for the resistance that would rise up from the likes of Castro and Che. Since these revolutions were definitely homegrown, I feel we should have left them alone. But we could not leave them alone. Money was being lost. What we thought we owned was in danger. So, as was our “right” per the Monroe Doctrine, we once again put our government policy in the service of business interests. It had worked before, it should work again. Only now we were more sensitive to World opinion, so we went underground. Taking a page from the communist playbook on how to start and conduct a revolution, we attempted to create our own. Our success rate was dismal. Bay of Pigs should have shown us that arms, money and a few good men do not always work. Revolutions are successful because of commitment. Commitment of those involved and of those supporting it. Bay of pigs had neither. So what do we do? We try it again in Nicaragua. We pick the worse bunch of degenerate boneheads we can find. Arm them, give them money, and set them loose. All in all, after considering US foreign policy over the last 150 years, I have come to the conclusion that what I was taught in school was a bunch of crap. We are not interested in spreading democracy. We are not interested in uplifting the downtrodden. We are interested in lining our pockets. And we are good at it.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Cat's Meow

Fernando sat in the Sun licking himself. He was thorough. He only missed the fur he could not reach. 
He solved that problem by licking his paws first and wiping them on the fur that his tongue missed. Lick the paw. Lick the paw. Rub the head. Rub the head. Repeat as needed. As I watched him perform this cat duty. I thought how nice, he is truly self reliant. But I bet all that fur in his mouth has to be a bitch. 

Fernando paused mid-toilet and turned in my direction. He gazed up at me and mewed. I am sure this is what he said, "Bud, you just don't know. Licking fur is the cat's meow." 

Yeah, Nando looked content and pleased with himself. About the usual as cats go I guess. I reflected on Fernando's simple existence. I pondered over his direct approach to Life. For a moment I was jealous of him. Envious of his innocence, no rules and his spiffy hair doo. What must it be like to be covered head to toe in fur? What was it like to always be wearing clothes, not have to take a shower, or take your shoes off in the house? Of course I cannot be Fernando. But it would sure be nice if I could, become a cat for awhile. To briefly have no responsibilities, obligations or chores to do. Just sit on the porch and lick my fur in the Sun. 

Now in meatloaf position, Fernando has continued his face the Sun demeanor. He sucks up it's rays and stores them in the beautiful blanket he wears all the time. I realize the pleasant companion he really is. He is a dependable chum. His friendship is appreciated as mine is for him. As we sit there on the porch licking our fur in the Sun.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Needed Time Out

Yes, I have been missing in action of late. A bit of floundering here, too much time spent on forums there, and in between some work, sleep and random naval contemplation. Before I knew it, a month had passed. Is it really December 1st, 2005?

It's odd. I was sure I had my forum addiction under control. But last month I went on a binge. Fell off the wagon and gorged myself. I slammed an average of 30-40 posts a day on some obscure bike forums. I was touched in the head. I was incensed and crazed. I was over the edge. Wow!

One of the forums became so rowdy with spittle spewing cyclists blasting and flaming each other to smithereens, the mods felt obliged to break it up. And break it up they did. I'd like to blame it on one particularily obnoxious troll from Las Vegas. A troll of the highest order. His specialty, one liners that were not even close to clever. I do not usually feed the trolls, but this guy was asking for it. So I went after him hard. Chased him from thread to thread like some lunatic dog mindlessly clamped hard onto a bone. Every time he posted, I was right there. The rest of my life on hold while I looked for any opening to peel back his feelings and lay them bare. I fileted him, chopped and diced his Freeper ass. Nummer than a pounded thumb, he kept coming back. At some point, pwning his sorry butt became tedious and old. The satisfaction of getting over on him left my mouth tasting bad. The SOB outlasted me. How could that be?

Just then the fearsome arm of the law swept in. With one post, Ms K. Brown busted heads, crushed egos, and spanked us convincingly. When she was done, no one posted anyhing for about 5 minutes. It was creepy. Threatening to close the forum, she insisted we clean up our act, stay on topic and be nicey nice to everyone. I will admit to being quite impressed with the fire and brimstone post she laid down this day. When I was done reading it, I knew I did not want to mess with this woman at this moment with some wise ass remark. She was not just throwing down, she was ready to kick ass. Chew us up, puke, and gobble us down again just to re-state her point.

I was stunned into a blank place for a moment. Usually ready with the clever and biting comeback, I was renderd mute. I re-gained my composure and realized anybody else there at the moment felt the same as I. I re-read her tirade. Calmer and not off guard, I was able to see that my first impression was correct. She was definitely not happy. Supposedly civil and well adjusted cycling adults had degenerated into a rabble out of control and in full riot mode. At least that is how she painted the picture. And that is why she rained on our parade.

Naturally I felt her assessment was a tad harsh. A bit of overkill in an over-reacting kinda way. We were just doing what we did. SSDD. Apparently not. So I tiptoed a neutral post her way with just the slighest hint of snottiness. Testing the waters, I threw myself into the pit, first to fall on my sword. No reaction. Nothing. Like a tornado, she was here, now she's gone. Our comfortable and contentious existence rudely uprooted and stuffed up our ass.

I guess we deserved it. I had become less than civil on several occaisions. Called people dumass and made rude, crude comments on folk's ancestory. But caught up in a world of like minded souls, I did not notice my nasty self. We was all nasty, just some more nasty than others. Odd how a group mood can turn ugly like that. We had become combatting lynch mobs. The Neoconsenseless up against the lilly livered simpering liberals. It was great! I was in pig heaven. Giving as good as I got, I took no prisoners and came to the rescue and support of my buds. Epic internet squabbling.

Which brings me to my point for the day.
The lesson learned.
What I learned in the classroom of Life today.

Don't piss off Ms Brown
Don't make her unhappy
Ruin her day
Cuz if she has to come back there
You will for sure
Lose all your short hairs

Now please do not scowl
Let your face turn to a frown
Cuz she's watching you
With the hard eyes of Ms Brown

Don't be a clown
No foolin around
or Ms Brown will kick
Your sorry butt right out of town

Random Stream
Instantly the trailer is upside down and we have to pull Aunt Myrtle out of the oaks out back. The dog's nowhere nearby and our cats haven't come down yet. Still I look for something familar, untouched and still around. But everywhere I look is different. Changed forever. The barn's gone and the tractor too. Hated that tractor. Good riddance. The pick up is flipped up with someone's tub holding it down. Devastation and destruction as far as the eye can see.

What is that? That, right there. I focus and it appears prominent. Undisturbed as if no storm had passed. The red birdhouse I built in 8th grade shop class had survived unscathed. As I begin to appreciate the luck of this miracle, a bird pops out, chirps and takes off. Disappearing into the tattered trees off to the east, I can still hear the defiance as that bird exulted in it's own survival.