Saturday, June 26, 2021

An Email to Ted

An email I sent a few minutes ago to my Republican state rep in Augusta

To: Ted Kryzak

Subject: LD 557 – The proposed bill to require photo ID when voting.  The vote was convoluted in that a Nay vote meant the rep was for the required photo ID.


I was raised in a very hardcore Republican family.  I broke from the party in 1980 when Ronald Reagan took it over and ruined it.  Call me a spurned lover, a reformed sinner, whatever, but the GOP is no longer the party that looks to protect our country or the ideals it is based on. They have  become the party that wants to serve the people with deep pockets ensconced in boardrooms and gated communities throughout the country. The will of the people means nothing to the GOP.  To them it is the will of some people over the rest.

That said, I will get to my point.  I noticed your nay vote on LD557, the recent photo ID bill presented up in Augusta.  Why would you want to introduce more restrictions to elections in Maine, a state with a history with next to no instances of voter fraud? Is it because you are just another bleating member of the GOP flock? Or do you have a real and sane reason that may make some sense out of your vote.

And, if you are as much of a down the line party man as your recent vote indicates, where do you stand on the Jan. 6 insurrection, or on the legitimacy of the presidential election in general?

Even after leaving the GOP behind, I used to vote for the occasional Republican.  I haven't been able to with a clean conscience since Dubya was in office.  Will you be the Republican who changes my mind? I'll remain skeptical with a dose of hopeful.


Mike Macrum, Acton, Maine

PS. I am posting this and any future communications on my blog and FB page.  


Article explaining it all

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Caught Being Stupid - Another Tale in a Long Line

I learned early in life that future scenarios I dreamed up for myself rarely lived up to my self induced hype. So as soon as I had done enough in my life to have created a backlog of memories, I began to look back at what I had experienced instead of trying to worry an unfathomable future into existence.

My trolling past escapades and misdeeds has only become more important now that I am an old fart. And though I have been tempted to use rose colored glasses to interpret my ealier years, I have also tried to remember the oops parts of my life as objectively as possible. Remember fondly but don't gloss it over to hide the many instants of stupidity that were the root causes of said memories.

I garner more enjoyment from recalling those moments when I was performing less than even I expected. Some make me laugh. Some make me shake my head. And some of my less than stellar moments on the planet make me cringe when I pull them up for perusal. Arguably though, many of my favorite blasts from my past are those moments when I was caught being stupid.  Funny now. And often, even funnier then.

I was living off campus in a small brand new rented townhouse with Bean and BeBop in the fall of 1971. The semester was winding down and Christmas was just around the corner. My mom decided she was going to leave Maine and take a road trip to the Washington, DC area to visit my brother D and friends from her past. After a few days down there socializing, she would swing by Towson to pick me up to go home for Christmas.

In the meantime and actually backing up some, I had met George a few months earlier. George was the perfect connection for me and my crew of pot head friends. We no longer had to suffer paying retail prices or suffer the all too frequent dry spells when smoking seeds and stems was all there was. We could score by the pound and become a mini-cog in the bigger cogs of George's burgeoning pot dealing enterprise.

The usual plan was to buy a pound of pot, break it down into enough ounces to recoup our investment and then split what was left. But since my roomates and I did not want to go home for Christmas without a decent stash to see us through until the second semester started in a few weeks, we decided to just split up the pound and take out what we considered enough for ourselves and then stash the rest in the freezer for when we came back from Christmas break.

It was late morning on the day before my mom was to pick me up to go home to Maine. I scooted down to East Baltimore, hooked up with George and then scooted back to the townhouse. As was our habit, after I dumped the brick of pot on the kitchen table, the three of us tore into it to clean out the more obnoxious roughage and waste.  This time George was absolutely right.  We had only a small pile of sticks,stems and loose seeds left when we were done. This was a definite step up from the usual commercial pot he sold.

I had just brought out the triple beam scale to weigh up ounces when the door knocker loudly announced someone's wish to get our attention. I can remember the instant gut wrenching panic I felt. I looked at the pound of pot spread out on the table, then looked at each one of my roomates. I could tell they were not happy either. BeBop hightailed it upstairs and Bean just looked at me with an odd look on his face. We began pointing at each other and silently mouthing at each other, "You get the door".  Neither one of us was very eager to see who was there.  What seemed an eternity passed and then came another knock.

Now, this new cheaply built townhouse we had rented was all hat and no cattle.  It had the facade of class but the soul of a double wide on the outskirts of town.  One of the pretensions was a mail slot on the door set up higher than usual like it's height indicated only classy people lived here.  It was a convenient addition in that it allowed us to flip it open to see who was wisihng to come in. Since I was closest to the door and had resigned myself to being hauled off in handcuffs, I went to the door and flipped up the mail slot cover. 

My mom was not a tall woman, maybe a couple of inches over five feet.  So when I flipped open that mail slot lid, the annoyed face of Mom was glaring right at me. I dropped the slot cover back down and looked at Bean.  A new kind of panic set in. Through the still closed door came a muffled mom voice, "Goddammit Mike, are you going to open the door?"

Bean smiled.  It was instantly funny to him.  I was not so sure myself but went ahead and opened the door.

The previous year was my freshman year. Mom delivered me and a crammed footlocker to West Hall, a dorm on the Towson State campus. The was a mix up somewhere and the guy checking people in showed no Michael Macrum was supposed to be rooming in his dorm.  I was not on his list.  I went back to the car and told Mom.  Two hours later, I was in my new digs in West Hall after several bureaucratic asses had been knawed raw by Jane Macrum.  She raised so much Hell, someone gave her a nickname.  She became know as Mrs.Cannon, a reference to a TV show highlighting the crime stopping antics of a bad ass private detective.

When I opened the door, I prepared myself for the full on assault of Mrs. Cannon.  I was not disappointed.  Bean's smile quickly turned to one of fear as Mom came in swinging a serious attitude.

She started out berating me for not opening the door on command and then she noticed the pot on the table.  That stopped her cold.  Silently she looked at the pot, then looked at me and turned her evil eyes on Bean.  It is funny watching a six foot four man crumble into something sad and pitiful.

"So now you are selling drugs, huh?"

I could not look her in the eye.  I knew there was nothing I could say. The evidence was right there.

"Ah, .... Well yeah Mom. I guess I am.  But, .... but only to friends."  That last part died hard as she aimed a withering stare at me. An uneasy silence descended. For several moments Bean and I stared at the floor and Mom tried to burn us out of our shoes with her eyes.

In an attempt to break the serious mood, I spoke up.  "You are a day early Mom. You weren't supposed to be here until tomorrow.  I haven't even packed."

Mom looked at the pot on the table and said, "Not packed?  Well that's obivious." She turned back to me and said, "I am going to a motel, I'll call with the number after I check in.  Be ready to go tomorrow at 7:00 AM. And leave that crap here.  I don't want it in my house."

And that was the end of it.  At least it was the end of it until the next morning and the silence of the first two hundred miles had worn off.  I was then treated to seven hours of every lecture and disappointment in me she could come up with. Getting arrested might have been easier to take.

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

Monday, June 21, 2021

Allowing Stupidity to Win

A recent comparison poll of Trump voters points up the insanity that currently has the GOP by its short hairs. 19% of the Right Wingers polled had a favorable rating for Vladimir Putin, while only 9% thought the same of Joe Biden.

I don't hold polls in such high regard as to put them on some sort of fact based pedestal. But I do find they often give us a hint of what is going on in the minds of a certain population. The results of this poll plus the admiration GOP leaders had for Putin during Obama's presidency and the absolute disgusting display of Trump sucking up to Vlad has me believing a growing segment of the GOP is finally in the place they have secretly always wanted to be.

They are now openly advocating and pushing legislation that will move us away from any further hint of democracy in our system to a country ruled by autocrats supported by laws dependent on suppression rather than the expansion of rights we hold sacred.

And sadly, I have little faith in the Democratic Party to do what is necessary to thwart the upcoming GOP assaults on our political system. The Democrats are hand wringers, always searching for the consensus. Very rarely do they go on the attack until it is too late. The time for searching for bi-partisanship was over a decade ago.

January 6th was not an aberration. It was a warning. We should heed that warning.

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

Thursday, June 10, 2021

A Gun in His Ear

Final Exams were over. The boys were celebrating. Mike had just sparked a third joint when the three of them heard Bill up on the third floor. If they could hear Bill on the third floor, it meant Bill was probably having self-control issues again.

Bob looked at Mike, shrugged and motioned him to pass that joint. Tom sat between them on the couch and snickered. He was always useless when he mixed pot and beer.

The boys were not unsympathetic to Bill and his struggles. The guy had just come back from Nam ferchrisakes. They knew he had seen some shit, done some shit and he had night terrors regularly. But tonight was a celebration two extra semesters coming. Two of them finally snagged enough credits to graduate and they wanted to party. Damn Bill and his personal demons. They turned up the stereo.

Sometime later, loud banging on their door broke through their drunken fog. Mike was the first to crack an eye. He wiped the spittle off his chin and rubbed his eyes. He stood and found his footing. Barely awake, he staggered to the door and opened it. It was Bill’s girlfriend wide eyed frantic and incoherent.

“Bill’s threatening to shoot himself.”

Mike leaned into the edge of the door. “What? Bill has a gun? When did he get a gun?” Mike’s return to Reality picked up its pace. He turned and yelled, “Hey assholes, Bill has a gun.”

Mike, with girlfriend in tow, began the trek up to Bill’s apartment.

“I have never seen him this bad. I only wanted to use your phone …… Please, don’t go.” She continued her warnings right up to the moment Mike pounded on Bill’s door.

The door opened. Bill’s six-five, 250 pound body filled the doorway. Mike looked up into his neighbor’s face.

“What are you doing Bill?”

Bill stuck his .45 in Mike’s ear. “I will blow you away.”

Really pissed now, Mike grabbed the gun and pushed it down.

“Meet me in the alley asshole. And leave the gun.”

Mike turned around. With Bill on his heels, they tromped back down the stairs. Bill’s girlfriend followed, her weeping eyes bulging and wondering which one was the craziest.

The drunken warriors passed Mike’s open door. He shouts, “No one sticks a gun in my ear.”

In the alley Mike and Bill faced off. Before Bill could focus, Mike knocked him down, rendered him helpless and pushed his face into the gravel. “Never, ever stick a gun in my face again. Got it asshole?”

Bill mumbled. Mark lifted Bill’s head and said, “What was that? You give up?”


Just like that the fight was over. The two of them staggered back to their respective apartments and life returned to normal. The next morning Mike’s roommates asked how it was possible he was able to best Bill. The man was a scary monster ferchriskes. Mike took a moment to answer.

“He was drunker than I was.”
        Is sticking one's nose in other people's affairs wise?  In this real situation 
        from my college days in the early 1970s, I must have thought so.

I whittled this story down from 763 words initially to the 500 you see now.

BTW - As I wrote this I kept wondering if I was mis-remembering some of the details.  The big moments happened as I wrote them. But now in retrospect, I did mis-remember some things worthy of note and maybe should have been part of the story.  Bill had gone to Nam, but his most recent issues stemmed from his three years as an inmate at a state prison in Jessup, MD. He was on parole when this happened and he was definitely not allowed to own a gun.  No one called the cops and Bill was not put back in jail.  Not sure if that lasted as we were out of that apartment within the next year.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ...........................................
Cross posted at the BoZone ll

Thursday, June 03, 2021

The Barbeque Challenge

In my eight year old mind the ordeal lasted hours. When panic sets in, seconds become minutes, minutes become hours which can soon turn into overnight. In this case it was still daylight when someone finally saved me. So, as to not exaggerate beyond customary norms when I retell it, I say hours. And folks can then infer it was more likely an hour or less, maybe even only minutes. The panic was real regardless of how long I suffered.

It was the fall of 1960. My family had recently settled on Augusta Street in Bethesda, Maryland. If memory serves, we moved there in spring of that year. I had plenty of time to make friends and engage in all sorts of outdoor summer adventures. The two friends I remember to this day was Jimmy, "Can't remember his last name" and Chuckie Doyle. All of us lived on Augusta St. It was a natural bond formed out of geographical and equal age conveniences.

It was on Augusta Street I first learned the rules of playing in the street and what the territorial limit of my wanderings from home were. When a car came, someone yelled, "Car" and as if Moses had just parted the Red Sea, the gaggle of dirt encrusted little tackers would step to the side and let the car pass. And I was allowed to wander as far as Mom's voice could travel. Life was beautiful. I had a grand time that summer.

One of our favorite games was Follow the Leader. Each time, Chuckie, Jimmy or myself would try to outdo each other by pushing our path into increasingly dangerous scenarios. Sometimes it was a tree we climbed. Sometimes a wall to walk on. The choices became more risky and less sane each time we played.

The more we played, the harder to find new challenges became. But it seemed each time; one of us would finally find a dare the other two were not interested in. That day's game was then over and a victor declared.

I cannot remember who was first with the Barbeque Challenge. I am guessing it was Chuckie. He was the craziest of our trio. Plus he was skin and bones, while Jimmy and I favored the chunkier, but ever popular Russian Peasant body style. He knew if anyone could meet this challenge, he could. He was skinny and had the right mindset.

In our travels and investigations of the backyards in our neighborhood, one yard had a very nice natural stone barbeque set up. The grill was huge and the chimney stack was a good size, maybe five feet high. It did not take long to include that barbeque into our regular follow the leader challenges.

At first I am sure it was all about climbing the chimney and standing on top. Once we had all manned up and successfully climbed up, stood up, and then climbed down, there was nothing to do with that barbeque. But then Chuckie noticed the opening of the flue. He looked at it one way from the top. He climbed down and looked at it from the bottom. Satisfied he could make it, he climbed into the fire pit and into the flue.

I imagine Jimmy and I were shocked and wowed when he popped out of the top covered in soot. We most likely said something like, "That was so cool." Chuckie definitely won that day's contest. Eventually Jimmy and myself found the courage to try it and the barbecue became just one of the mandatory obstacles we incorporated into our version of "Follow the Leader". It became so mundane, we even began going down the flue and out of the fire pit. No other kid in the neighborhood would try it. We were bad ass.

Fast forward to the fall. The advancing cold weather drove any thought of barbeque adventures from our minds. That yard quickly became just a connector to the best walking route to school. And the walking route to school quickly became an unpleasant journey of heel scuffing drudgery, especially as the temperature sought lower temps day in and day out.

I remember the day of my ordeal well. It was a rare warm fall day. I was walking home alone. Like every other day I walked home from school, I began to cross the backyard where the barbeque resided. It all gets somewhat hazy at this point.

I remember looking at the barbeque and thinking I ought to climb down the chimney just for old times’ sake. And I proceeded to do just that. Unfortunately I failed to appreciate I was not wearing summer shorts and Tee shirt. I was bundled up in jeans, long flannel shirt and a zip up jacket with a hood. I had become too big to fit down the flue. Just past my waist with my head down was when I realized the ugliness looming in my future.

I have endured moments of panic here and there as an adult. But no panic is more impactful I think than the panic of a child. As soon as I became too wedged to move, I knew I was screwed. And of course my next reaction was to scream and scream loudly. Unfortunately, my screams had to make it down the rest of the flue before the sound of my panic made it out into the light of day.

The older kid who finally found me said later I was lucky he heard my pitiful sobs. All I remember is his laughter and after an eternity, him asking, "Where do you live kid?' I told him and he ran to my house to fetch my mom. It was only after he ran to get her that I remembered she was probably still at work at a department store nearby. My panic level spiked even more.

As luck would have it, Mom had clocked out early at Woodies and she was home. While it felt like forever, she probably was at the chimney in a few minutes. Any notion I had that I was being saved because she loved me went out the window as soon as she opened her mouth. 

"How the Hell did you get in there?" and, “Christ on a crutch Mike, what gave you impression this was a good idea?” The verbal rebuke never stopped as she and the kid struggled to extricate me from the chimney.

Once I had been yanked out and was sitting on the ground rubbing skinned hands and knees, Mom began to laugh. The kid began to laugh also.

I did not laugh. I was just thankful the nightmare was over

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

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

The Duke of Puke – The 2nd Yawn is Always the Most Satisfying

I first saw Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band in a tiny bar in the Washington DC area back in the late 1970s. Touted as a cross between the punk experience from England and the great Blues of the South, Rootboy Slim put a jagged edge on contemporary American music. 

 His music was best heard after too many beers and shots in a run down dive with a tiny stage crammed into the corner. His most famous song, "Boogie til you Puke" still ranks as the best binge drinking song ever. One concert at the Varsity Grill in College Park, Maryland turned into a riot that spilled into the streets and onto Rte 1. He was banned by local bureaucrats from playing there ever again. But public pressure brought him back for a coliseum gig a couple of years later. He died in 1993.

What I knew about Root Boy was his public persona. I had no clue of his real world life until I googled it. Raised in what I would assume was upper income circumstances, he misspent his youth getting kicked out of one prep school after another. But he did land a scholarship to Yale and was in the same fraternity with Dubya, a future president. Dubya, as president of the frat, banned Root Boy from ever stepping foot back into their frat house after an apparently raucous night of debauchery when Root Boy came back to campus the year after he graduated. Root Boy was also arrested for climbing the White House fence while way too high on LSD. All this before he formed his band.

I often wonder about guys like Root Boy, Divine, Iggie Pop, and all the other icons of outrageous behavior I enjoyed back in the day. Their music and films maybe did not reinforce my own struggle to come to grips with the white bread culture I found myself in, but their music and films did prove I was not alone in my dissatisfaction with the status quo. It seems that youthful rebellion is woven into our humanity more as a reality check for the rest of us than just the surface pain in the ass it seems to come off as. ..... The Kids know.

I have no clue now why I did some of the things I did as a brain dead punk. I can only guess it had to do with a general cluelessness that accompanies teenage boys as they stumble towards adulthood. Not thinking before they jump is their stock in trade. 

If it felt good, looked good, or seemed like a good idea at the moment, I did it. I still wonder how I survived. Root Boy did not.

Some Root Boy Tunes you might like or maybe even remember:

~>  Credit Card Woman

~> Mrs Paul, Mrs Paul

 ~>  Too Wrong to be Right

~>  Livin in the Ghetto

 ~>  Boogie Til YouPuke