Monday, May 31, 2021

Tulsa Race Massacre

100 years ago seems like a long time.  And it is.  But 100 years is not long enough for some of the ugliness of our collective past to have faded into the shadows that hide memories long forgotten.  Some tragic injustices will not stay hidden no matter how well they are covered up.

The Tulsa Race Massacre, which began 100 years ago today, is a perfect example of such evil. If America is even half ass serious about changing our future, the nation needs to face its past, warts and all.  No more Pollyanna history books.  No more glossing over the genocide of a native population and certainly we can no longer contend that slavery was no big deal and hasn’t been an issue for 160 years. 

We need to admit to the injustices our country committed as well as the wonderful events that made us a great country.  Until we face our past, good and evil, our true greatness will never be realized.

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

Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Big Con

During my coffee deliberations this morning, I again considered organized religion and its overall affect on the human condition.  I often think about religion, specifically the big three religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.  And though their control is slipping, between them they still have the planet by the short hairs.

I long ago stopped believing the notion that followers of religion had a moral leg up on the rest of us.  In fact, after years of being force fed the big lie of “Religion good, Heathen bad” nonsense, I have decided the opposite is true.  All three use subtle and insidious language to justify their exclusion of any not within their fold.  They have used and some still use convoluted logic to justify political actions including war, enslavement, and genocide to force people into or out of their sphere of influence. 

I have nothing against spirituality that includes believing in an intelligent presence greater than we are. Considering just how orderly and precise our natural world is, I am of a mind that there is some intelligence invested into what and who we became.  But as soon as any spirituality becomes a group who uses intimidation, exclusion, and secrecy to push its agenda, any morality the tenets may include become moot.

Organized religion is not our friend. At its core, organized religion is not even concerned about the fact or fiction of an all powerful god in charge of us all. It is a bureaucracy clad in fancy vestments and holy rhetoric that is more about controlling us than saving us.  It was created for this reason in the beginning and so it shall be forever and ever.

We have been bamboozled, hoodwinked, and played for fools by the biggest and longest con in history.

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

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Perfect Joint and a Circle of Hippies

I was on You Tube looking for some "how to" videos a while back.  One video led to another, and before I knew it, I was watching  "The 10 things not to do with a Joint."  Funny how Google/You Tube manages to subvert your original search purpose by dangling enticing titles on the side bar.  Surely ten things not to do with a joint has to be of more import and interest than how to change a spark plug in a Jonesred chain saw or the best way to replace a rake handle.

Anyway, I punched up this tutorial about the author's notion of ten things not to do when handling, rolling, passing or smoking a joint.

While some of the hints and suggestions had merit, I could not get past the pitiful excuse of a joint the young ladies used as their main prop.  I watched in horror as fumbling tattooed  talons created what they obviously considered a righteous and acceptable smoke.

Is there no pride anymore in the artistry needed to roll a solid doob?  Where is the respect to all us aging hippies who perfected the techniques needed to produce a rail free joint that burned clean from first spark to that last ember burning the thumb and forefinger before dying a noble death?  Damn Kids.  No respect for tradition.

I perfected my joint rolling in military school rolling countless Bugler cigarettes in the dark of night to be consumed out of sight of upperclassman officers who wanted nothing less than to catch me with a butt and punish me ridiculously and embarrass me in front of my peers.  

 A pack of rolling tobacco was easier to hide than a pack of cigarettes. So when the commissioned officers came sniffing around with one of their snap inspections at dark thirty in the morning, I was usually safe.  I did get caught occasionally, but nowhere as often as some of my classmates.

So I graduated from high school and headed off to college. With my solid background in rolling cigarettes, it followed that I was a wiz when it came to twisting up a doob to pass around the circle. Just another face in the freshman crowd. It was not long before my joint rolling made me stand out.  I took pride in rolling a good joint and my results proved it.  My joints more often than not smoked evenly, were solid enough to stay together and were not so tight that getting a hit was like sucking a golf ball ball through a garden hose.

Along came 2nd semester and the speech class I signed up for.  Our final grade was based almost solely on our performance in three speeches.  I only remember the demonstration speech.  The other two are lost to the dust heap of historical doesn't matter.  The demonstration speech was one where we were tasked with not just speaking, but also physically demonstrating something we thought might be of interest to the class.

I agonized about this speech.  What was I going to demonstrate?  How to clean a M-1 rifle, another skill I acquired in military school?  Problem with that was I no longer had a M-1 rifle to use in my demonstration.  I voiced my dilemma out loud and all my roommate said was, "Teach em how to roll a joint.  You taught me."

Eureka! Problem solved. Waitng until the day before the speech actually worked out this time.  I was prepared by years of practice.  Now, all I had to do was write the words.

The next day, as I prepared my materials on the table at the front of the class, my introduction went something like:

"Fitting in in today's Hippie world takes more than the right tied dyed T shirt or Mother Earth sandals. If you want to hang with the long haired freaky people, having some basic skillsets in your quiver will go along way to cementing that relationship with that barefoot bra-less blond in the summer dress stuffing a flower in her hair. And while there are many things you can learn that will impress, nothing will create more admiration than rolling and passing the perfect joint in front of a circle of Hippies."

At this point I had all my materials ready.  I then began the process of rolling the perfect joint and explaining each part of the process so that anyone who paid attention could roll, if not the perfect joint, at least a passable one.  And though the instructor commented that my speech was inappropriate in a way he couldn't relate because he had never been faced with this kind of quasi illegal behavior. But he clapped, he smiled, and I got an A. Gotta love that Liberal Education.

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

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Insurrectionist Party


So Joe, of "Morning Joe" wants us to stop calling Trumping Qanon Insurrectionists Republicans.  He contends that they are giving good Republicans a bad name. He claims there are now three parties, Democrats, Republicans and the Insurrection Party.  Damn convenient parsing of reality there Joe.


Sorry Joe, but as long as those Trumping Qanon Insurrectionists call themselves Republicans, the whole party owns them, lock, stock and barrel.  And even if they drop their affiliation, they are still members of the Right and responsible for the stupidity that followed Trump into the White House.

Who sat mute and did nothing as the Tea Party movement poisoned the Conservative roots of the GOP?  Well, in case you are suffering  convenient Right Wing Memory Loss you Wingers love to engage in, then you would know it was the "Good Republicans" who are first and foremost responsible for what we are dealing with today. If your members had a spine in the first place, we might be looking at more of a bi-partisan arrangement than we are now.  You allowed the stupid and uninformed of your movement take it over.

Your GOP birthed the John Birch Society.  Your "conservatives" were responsible for Joe McCarthy and his clown friends, John Wayne and Ronald Reagan ruining so many people's lives in the 1950s.  Your economic policies have never been good policies for anyone but the rich and yet, you keep shoving them in our faces.  Your tendency to mix in religion with your politics is most definetely a recipe for the disaster that unfolds today. 

All in all,  Right Wing mentalities have done more harm than good to our country. So stop with the apologetic squirming meaningless effort to disengage from that which you are responsible for.  But then that is what Republicans do, never own up to anything.

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

Friday, May 21, 2021

Johnson Closure ll


Your Hose is too short

    Your Pump is too weak

       Stand closer to the seat dude

         Or you'll Piss on Your Feet

The words scrawled on the wall above the urinal caused me to laugh out loud. It was a generous and boisterous laugh. I tried to stifle it, but the damage had been done. I could feel the eyes of others turning my way. Interrupting the solitude and false perception of being alone in a men's bathroom was an unspoken taboo. These guys were concentrating and now I just broke the mood. Way to go asshole. Laughing out loud in a public toilet can bring the wrong kind of attention. 

Totally embarrassed now, I attempted a hasty zip up. Shit! Seems I didn't pack it all in and now I had my business pinched hard in the zipper. I began to double over like my butt was trying to run away from the pain. I wanted to scream. It hurt, oh so bad. I knew if I screamed right on the heels of the belly laugh, someone might beat on me. I managed to stifle myself.

A decision needed to be made quickly.  I was drawing attention standing there with my hands holding my naughty bits well past what would considered an acceptable time frame. I knew it was going to hurt more when I unzipped that which had been stupidly zipped up between those evil meshing metal teeth. Holding back the tears and the screams of agony, I yanked hard and yes,...............It hurt even worse going down than it did going up. I tried to not make a sound, but a weak little girl squeal escaped without permission.  

I tried to regain my composure while repackaging the wounded package. I thought I was cool as I stiff legged it over to the sink to wash up. All I could think about was the pain while frantically waving my hand under the stupid sensor to get some flippin water going. Nothing. No water. 

I looked up in the mirror over the sink. My face was beet red and a vein on my forehead was throbbing hard enough I thought it might blow. Again I began frantic hand waving trying to get some water to flow when a hand reached over and hit the top of the faucet head.

"Bub, you have to hit it. Waving at it ain't gonna cut it." 

I looked over at a huge guy standing two sinks over. The look on his face told me I was not acting cool. He was doing his best not to laugh. 

I muttered, “Thanks”, and focused on washing my hands.  I found the door and left. The sounds of several male voices laughing followed me out into the daylight.  I can remember thinking, “You just don't follow up a belly laugh with a scream and leave a men’s toilet with your dignity intact.”

 I returned to the car and the journey with wounded pride and wounded body. My darling wife asked me what was wrong. "Nothing", I said, preferring to not have more salt poured on my wounds.

This happened to me on one of my trips south some years ago. The tale speaks for itself.

Later Gator ...........................................................


Originally written in 2009.  I re-worked a few corners, tweaked this or that and well, here it is, same ole shit in a brand new almost fresh package. ................ Enjoy

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Mile Stick 32 - 1/26/1978 - Expect No Mercy Tour

Nazareth's "Expect No Mercy" tour in the winter of early 1978 was aptly named.  While the tour was in support of their latest album, "Expect No Mercy", the title also predicted the grinding punishment the tour became. We pulled off 28 gigs in 38 days, with many of the shows happening in the Snow Belt of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

The last trailer was loaded at the Morris Auditorium in South Bend, Indiana, early AM, January 26. Because we had several days to travel the 150 miles to Columbus, Ohio, the drivers went back to the motel.    The plan was to leave the next morning. There was no hurry.

By the time we had gotten our act together the next morning the snow had accumulated to over ten inches and was blowing and drifting like crazy.  Before we even hit the Ohio Turnpike, we had white out conditions.  It became worse once we hit the open spaces of the super slab.  The landscape had become a kind of Siberian wilderness totally inhospitable to anything alive.

The planned convoy fell apart at that point with each driver deciding how much to push themselves and their trucks.  Two drivers pulled over and parked.  I ribbed them some as I passed them, but said good luck, I'll save you a stool at the hotel bar in Columbus, Ohio. I don't know why, but I was sure I would make it before dark.  It was less than 150 miles ferchrisakes.  Slow and steady, just don't let up.

In conditions like this it's a good idea to keep the CB turned on and the mic handy. Everyone in a thirty mile radius it seemed was trying to talk at the same time.  I punched up Channel 19 and kept my mouth shut.  I wanted to know what was ahead, but didn't think I had anything to add. All I could do was react to what the truck in front of me did.  The snow was drifting, blowing and at some point we lost tangible contact with the turnpike and were relegated to driving blind with only the flickering tail lights of the vehicle in front of us to show the way.  Trucks and cars in our group began to bail by either pulling onto the shoulder or if they were lucky, onto an off ramp presenting itself in the few moments of visibility that broke the constant waves of blowing white.

At some point the CB chatter almost died out. The truck I had been following pulled over into a snowdrift.  He said his goodbyes and good lucks and he was gone. Suddenly I was in the lead of an unknown number of vehicles trying to continue east on the Ohio Turnpike. 

I hesitated to key the mic as it seemed reckless to remove a hand from the steering wheel at that moment.  But I did.  I also slowed to about 15 mph as I began a running commentary over the air regarding the obstacles, any cars and trucks following me might be interested in missing.  The road was littered with stuck and stalled traffic.  

Like some Twilight Zone Pied Piper, I navigated through and around more than a few jack knifed trucks, too many cars to count and one oversized rig with a double wide house trailer tipped over in the ditch.    That is when my headlights lit up Mile Stick 32.  The road was completely blocked.  Three tractor trailers had tangled up together and had become one ugly mess of trucks and truck parts.  

I found out later no one was seriously hurt. I remember one aggressive driver was whining over the radio about the pace I was keeping.  I told him he was welcome to pass the convoy and take his chances.  He passed us like we were standing still, all the while hooting and hollering on the radio about his mythical legacy in the annals of truck lore.  And when he passed us, I took note of the long nosed Kenworth hauling a black reefer with shiny diamond embossed stainless steel doors.

As it turned out, he had caused that accident that stopped me. I had to smile when I saw the damage he had done to that beautiful rig.  Mythical legacy, yeah right.  Driving too fast for the conditions, he plowed into a stopped rig at the tail end of a six mile back up.

At this point, I want to relate some thoughts from the journal I was keeping back then.

“Here I sit at mile marker 32 1/2 behind 6 miles of backed up traffic. The states of Indiana and Ohio are completely shut down.  The CB has gone crazy. A CB voice from a base station comes in louder and stronger.  The voice tells us his handle is "Black Bird" and that he can see the highway when it isn't snowing. He is located at mile stick 32 about a quarter mile off the highway. Blackbird then informs us the only way out is by snowmobile."

So there I was stuck in a truck with an idling engine and snow drifting up the windshield.  At first the CB was full of voices, some calm and others frantic.  The folks stuck in cars and some of the truckers needed/wanted to be evacuated.  I remember Black Bird informing us he had talked to local emergency honchos and they asked if any of us drivers would be willing to camp out in our trucks and keep the other trucks running by siphoning fuel from one to another.  In my immediate area, a Roadway driver and I agreed to fill in. The Big R driver said as long as he stuck with his truck, his hourly rate kept ticking. And besides, he was sure hanging in his truck was no worse than some high school gym with collapsible cots under the back board.

Almost immediately after agreeing to stay, I decided to get out of the truck to check the tanks of the trucks near me. I called on the CB for a weather check.  Black Bird came back with a report of -18'F windchill.  I pulled on an extra pair of jeans and four tee shirts and then my jacket before I jumped out.  

Damn it was cold.  The scene was out of some horror story that transpired in the harshest moments of a winter night.  The vehicles in the immediate area had become scattered ghostly lumps upon which snow would continue to build for the next 14 hours.  My windshield was almost covered by a drift nine feet tall. And yet, it was actually passable by foot as the snow had been blown off the road surface between the vehicles.

The Big R driver and I took turns over the next few hours siphoning diesel from one truck to another.  I ended up smelling like a fuel jockey.  The big R driver managed to stay immaculate.  I actually had a great time feeling useful. Drinking Jack Daniels and smoking a couple of doobs between moments of duty out in the elements kept everything mellow.  A huge bonus was feasting on bodaciously good sandwiches and coffee delivered to us by Buckeye State eskimos on snowmobiles. They fed us three times before the tow trucks found us in the massive traffic jam. And it helped that we kept those twelve trucks running. It made the clean up on our stretch go faster.

This kind of storm is not unusual in that region what with the Great Lakes nearby and all.  But this storm was definitely one of the "once a century" storms.  One truck driver ten miles south of us on a two lane highway drove off the road and tipped over.  His rig was completely covered by snow and he was not found for three days.  It was that kind of storm.

Keep it "tween the ditches .....................................