Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Insidious Soap Conspiracy

It had already occurred to me before that hot water, the hotter the better, made a perfectly good cleanser for those counter tops and other surfaces that you spill stuff on. Just soak up your sponge with water as hot as you can stand it, and those greasy spills come right off, no chemicals needed. Hell, you spill ANYTHING, and douse it with any spray cleaner immediately and of COURSE it's gonna come off.....DUH!
So, being the rather slow one who takes an inordinate amount of time to put two and two together, I run out of dishwashing detergent, I have no real desire to make the seven mile trip to the nearest supermarket to get it, so I say the hell with it, and just run the damn washer, sans detergent. Well, whataya know......perfectly clean, sparkling dishes, without all that fine powder residue I have to wipe off the removable grill plates. And some of those dishes were NASTY, my friends, with dried on stuff and everything. It all came off just fine, with nothing but HOT H2O.
It took me awhile, but I have just saved myself about 3 bucks for a box of chemicals I never even needed. Now, I wonder just how hot I can stand my showers................

A Different Sort of Hero

I write this as it's being reported on ABC. A different sort of hero has just been revealed today. The identity of "Deep Throat", the mystery man behind the ultimate resignation of Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon, has been a long held secret until today. He has revealed himself to be Mark Felt, the number two man at the F.B.I. during the Watergate conspiracy.
He has apparently questioned his role, thinking he may have been dishonorable to leak the crucial details that led Woodward and Burstein to unearth Nixon's complicity in the Watergate break-in. His friends and loved ones have apparently convinced him after all these years that he is indeed a good person, and deserves to be remembered that way.
Sometimes people are put in the position of either going with the flow or doing the right thing. Soldiers, from generals on down to the grunts in the foxholes have been faced with either following orders they knew were wrong, or doing the right thing and perhaps paying the price. A recent example was the platoon of soldiers in Iraq who refused to drive broken down vehicles carrying contaminated fuel on an 80 mile route almost certain to be attacked by insurgents. They all were disciplined in one way or another, while the military tried to spin the whole thing as a breakdown in discipline.
Mark Felt did what he felt, as a patriotic American, he had to do. History has shown, with the resignation of Richard Nixon, that he did the right thing. Yet, even up till now, he felt shame in having done so. Mark Felt was a different sort of hero.
That you, Mark, for doing the right thing. You now face the ire and hatred of the far right wing of American Politics, but, for what it's worth, you have MY respect.

Grey Day

It's 8:43 in the AM, it's raining, the wife is still asleep. How she sleeps so late, when these days I can't make it past seven something.......argggg! She works late today. She's in retail. I'm on my three day off stretch, second day. I work 12 hour shifts, no more than two in a row. Three would kill me. I'm old now, so sue me.
I have to make a run to the local trash dump today; the cans are all full. I'll probably pull a muscle lifting the shitload of wine bottles that have accumulated. That's if it stops raining. But hurricanes, tornadoes, whatever, shall not keep me from my run to Walmart for cigarettes. Nosiree.
So the promise to shred the remaining piles of leaves, each about the size of an average Floridian mountain, will remain unfulfilled. Maybe tomorrow. So maybe I'll vacuum the dog-hair off the carpet today. If Shiloh is good at anything, it's coating this carpet with hair. The cat simply contributes an occasional hair-ball, but at least he pisses and poops in the litter box. Lola, the other cat, violated that most sacrosanct treaty between man and feline and became the OUTSIDE cat. Where it's raining now.
The air conditioner is sucking money out of my thin wallet and the humidity out of the air. The only reason I keep it as cool in here as I do is the damn humidity. I'm an exiled Alaskan, living in Florida. I can't do humidity. I was born and raised (for lack of a better word) in Mississippi. And I can't stand heat and humidity. Go figure.
So I'll do domestic things today, and read blogs, and listen to NPR on the radio. The checking account is empty till Thursday night, so I get to worry if some automatic fee for something shows up before then. But maybe a new movie will show up from Netflix. One can only hope, everything is reruns on the tube. We don't have cable or satellite.
If your own personal existence happens to be as exciting as mine, don't despair. Just write about it on your blog, and laugh. It's good for the soul.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Heroes vs the Unfortunate.

OK, let me say this first. Black people can tell jokes that would get a white boy killed in a comedy club. It's their due. If my ass hadn't been in harms way I would not even dare to broach this subject, but it was, so I have license. But understand what I am saying before you go off the deep end. We have heroes, and we have the unfortunate. There IS a difference.
I really took notice of this trend during the Jessica Lynd debacle. The poor girl was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and she suffered for it. She was unfortunate to be caught behind the lines with her supply train due to a navigation error. She IS fortunate, however, to have survived the attack, and then to have been rescued, although it has been suggested that by the time the rescue teams got to her, she was already basically out of harms way. The brave Native American woman with Jessica in the truck that day, however, was not fortunate. She died in the hail of bullets giving back as good as they were getting. THAT soldier was a hero. Audi Murphy was a hero, and fortunate to boot, having killed allot of Germans in fearless assaults on their positions and living to tell about it. The instances of extreme heroism are countless, of men leaping onto grenades to save the lives of their buddies, of men who held their posts against overwhelming odds knowing full well they were dead meat, of performing acts of selfless valor that went above and beyond merely trying to survive or increasing the body count. In this day of push button warfare, it's easy to kill people from a place of relative safety, but merely being a great warrior and doing your job does NOT make you a hero.
I was never a hero. I and my 80 odd shipmates, crammed together in a steel cylinder, went places we were not supposed to be, did things of questionable international legality, and stood a damn good chance of all dying together if our luck ran out. But we were warriors, doing what we were trained to do, and thankfully, we did it well. Unfortunately, two of our subs did not share in that luck, and the submarine service lost two boatloads of fine young men. As much as their Mothers, Fathers, sisters and brothers would like to think, they were not heroes in the strictest sense of the word, but we grieved, we hurt, and we honor their memories to this day. As we should honor the memories of ALL these fine men and women who go in harms way and pay the ultimate price.
So please, let's not cheapen the incredible bravery and selflessness that our true heroes have displayed in our conflicts, by calling every person who gets hurt, killed, wounded, whatever, a hero...........I'm sure if you heap them with such praise, you will only shame them, for they were just doing their jobs, and for that they deserve plenty enough honor. Just ask Jessica, she will tell you up front that she was no hero, but she knows who the heroes were that day, including the woman who helped save her life and gave hers. Jessica knows, and so should we.

"I wish I'd never......."

Your teenagers say it, and you probably said it to your parents when things weren't going your way...."I didn't ask to be born!" Imagine how wrong that statement just might be.........


Hi there, your number please?

Oh, yes, 58777462, I've had you before. So how was the Sudan?

It was brief, but educational.

It was meant to be. Seems that moved you a few notches closer. So what are we looking for today? I have a few interesting ones coming up, one's In Iowa, a nice farm couple, tho they're likely to lose the farm this year sometime......and you'll be competing with three siblings. I also have a single African mother here......oh boy.....she has aids......you'd probably be born with it as well.......this one could move you ahead a few spots.

I kinda need a break from tragedy this time around...got anyone being born into affluence? Maybe I could help out a bit this time around?

No, no really rich ones anytime soon, and the waiting list is really long on this one. The birth rate has been rather dismal with these lately. However, I DO have a couple in Russia getting ready to deliver pretty quick.......the father is a budding journalist who'd gotten on Putin's bad side, lots of possibilities of social impact with this one if you get lucky.

I don't know, kids rebel, I'd probably end up joining the dark side just to piss old Dad off........I could probably end up losing a few notches with that one...........but it does sound challenging........what else ya got?

About the only thing I see anytime soon that could really teach you something fresh is this couple in Alabama......seems the whole county is pure right-wing Republican, and you're family is keeping a low profile. Maybe you'll grow up to run as a Democrat and really rock the boat. You'll certainly learn allot about politics and living on the edge.......The Dad's a Muslim and the Mom's a lapsed Catholic......you make it thru this one and you could be President!

What the hell, give me that one, no one said karma was easy...........how long do I have?

Seven weeks, barring complications. I'll get you ready for rebirth. Good luck, 58777462, Oh, and I have it on good authority your soul-mate is a real looker this time around. Have fun!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

God help us.......

I was reading Buffalo's latest rant concerning Christians, and others of like minded intolerance, and it brought to mind this rant of my own that I had posted awhile back, on another one of my blogs that I have all but abandoned. In the spirit of his fine approach to the subject, I resurrect it for your reading enjoyment. If any of this pisses you off, GOOD!

Once again the church and state thing is being argued over in the Supreme Court.
Now really, when is this thing going to be laid to rest? They surveyed Americans and discovered (gasp) that while 76% favored displaying the ten commandments on public and/or government property, a hefty 67% also did NOT favor posting a monument to the Koran on same said property. He he. Religious freedom my ass! The only freedom these people seek is the freedom of one particular religious sect to shove it's beliefs down the throats of others. You know it, I know, they know it. Yes, this nation WAS founded by people who by virtue of their immigrant demographics happened to be christians of one sort or another. So? These same people also understood what happens when the state sponsors one religion over another; with 12 you get what they were running from - religious persecution. So, my God fearing, religious, and oh so righteous fellow citizens, I have a suggestion to make. Take a good hard look at Iran, Saudi Arabia, or any other theocracy in the world, and then tell me if you are just itching to move there. I think not. It will be one cold day in hell when as an American who values his freedom to practice whatever belief system he holds dear allows the likes of you to dictate what that system will be. And yes, I will defend to the death YOUR freedom to believe anything you wish, provided you keep it to yourself, and not try and indoctrinate Me, my family, or others via the school system or any other government institution.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I know this sounds cold, but.........

Word is out! Take Viagra and you just might fuck yourself blind!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Schmorgesborg

From Buffalo's blog I've followed the links to many great reads, the musings of people from all walks of life. It's been a breath of fresh air, and I thank them all. These people I never would have come to know under normal circumstances, so I must thank Blogger for the gift that has been bestowed upon me. My world is that much bigger now. You all have my most heartfelt appreciation.

P.S. Spell check seems to have no idea what word it is I used in the title of this post, so if I really screwed it up........blame spellcheck. Hehe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

FREE(?) Enterprise?

Over the years as I have joined the ranks of the American worker bees, something so basic and yet so unquestioned has occurred to me, a question I cannot understand has not been asked and answered, at least to my understanding. The question is this, quite simply.......what is the true purpose of business? Why does a company, a corporation, any entity that employs workers exist?
Yes, I can hear the pre-programed, indoctrinated, capitalist bread and butter answers spewing from your minds; To produce products, to provide return on investment for stockholders, to provide capital for the purchase of all those yachts those billionaires need to ski behind. Ah, yes, those are just some of the "reasons" we need to justify the existence of these institutions which have in essence enslaved us all, to whom we all pledge our fidelity in one way or another. But, really, let's face the truth of the matter and admit to ourselves that these definitions are all one big crock.
The only reason you get up in the morning and put yourselves thru some awful commute to spend any number of hours in a place most of you truly despise is that you require food, shelter, clothing, all that extra bling, and perhaps some purpose in life. That business exists only because you need a job. Pure and simple. Without the need for money to provide those needs, you lose any real reason to be there. Without the need for money you have no reason to take orders from clueless individuals with half your intelligence who's main purpose in life seems merely to exercise some form of perverse power over you. Well hold on there partner, you say, I don't have to put up with that kind of crap, I am free to leave and work elsewhere! Sure you do, but you won't. You will endure a hell of a lot of abuse before you entertain the idea of losing your seniority, your vesting, the pay you are used to getting, the familiarity of your job, the friends you made, all those things we glean from these places we spend so much of our lives in, not to mention avoiding the hassle of another job search, which might take months or even years, with no guarantee that you won't be starting over completely from scratch. No, you may think you have freedom, but you know better. That freedom you imagine is ethereal.
So, ask yourself that question again. Why does business exist? It exists for the workers, my friends, so why is it we have allowed this one major aspect of all our lives to be hijacked for the enrichment of so few, to be used as a gun at our heads if we don't toe the line, to become the monster that chews up and spits out so many of us? Ah, that is the question, isn't it?
Now you're thinking, ah, these are the rantings of some "disgruntled" closet communist, who would love nothing more to see us all toiling away in another "workers paradise", as in the old Soviet Union. Nothing could be further from the truth. All I wish I could see in this lifetime is the emphasis placed once and for all where it belonged. The places we go to every day to earn our bread and butter should be run by the people actually need it, with the fruits of our labors divided fairly between us, the workers, rather than having all those profits siphoned off by stockholders and greedy executives who command far more return on their contributions than they have ever earned. That might sound like a socialist idea, my friends, but when you think about it, it sounds more like justice. Or do we need to examine the definition of justice, as well?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Saved by the Belle

If there is one thing I wish I could impart upon young men who invariably find themselves in that less-than-enviable category as "easily overlooked", for whatever of a number of myriad reasons, it is this: Never allow yourself to feel so desperate that you marry the first woman that says "yes". You may be fat, you may be poor, you may look particularly appealing to warthogs, you may be rather short, you may find yourself suffering from severe ordinariness, it makes no difference. If you choose your mate based on the "she must be blind or stupid" criteria, then this will be your first, if not last, marriage. You betrayed yourself and settled for the first happy accident that occurred, but you did not find your soul-mate. I know, I was that person.
I have not ever considered myself to be a particularly bad looking guy, but between a five foot Mother and a not much taller sperm donor, I got dealt the short card. It was not until much later that the sociological science of the matter convinced me that it wasn't really personal, most women prefer to look UP at their mates and I really don't hold it against them. What continues to piss me off is that the REALLY short ones prefer their men even taller........go figure. Whatever, it's the cross one must bare, along with trying to find clothes and shoes that fit. I'm happy in T-shirts and jeans, and women's tennis shoes work just fine....nobody can really notice the difference. Anyway, that was the kink in MY self esteem that took years to overcome and convinced me that I had to settle, too.
I was a few years out of the Navy and trying to survive the disco scene, as it was hard to find any decent hard rock clubs in the area. I was working at the Shipyard as a machinist trainee and rooming with some really genetically impaired guy in a run down dive right outside the yard gates. He paid his share of the cheap rent, what more could I ask for. I worked hard all week helping to build new submarines, and partied harder on the weekends when I wasn't putting in overtime. So, my social life centered on this one club, close enough to get to, with a dance floor. God I loved to dance back then!
After awhile I became a regular, and though I acquired plenty enough dance partners, I remained the sweet, cute (God how I hated that word!) guy the girls could confide in, but never think of as a love interest. So I was stuck dancing and comforting them as the tall, dark, and maybe even handsome jerks had their way with them. I know, it's a shit job but somebody always ends up doing it. Somebody like me.
Then I meet Michele. What can I say about her? She was not ugly. She was not obese. She wasn't much taller than me. She was single. And although I knew she wasn't that swift as women go, it wasn't until much later that I snapped out of my trance and realized just how slow she really was. However, by that time, I had married her. She said yes. That was her one and only job requirement, and she passed it with flying colors.
OK, you can see where this is going. We had absolutely nothing in common. I had a thirsty intellect, she couldn't grasp any concept I tried to explain to her. She started gaining weight, lost it, gained it back. I loved her, I guess, though at that age you could define love in a number of different ways and I guess I was deluding myself. Whatever, I was married and discovered I had no one to talk to. Sex slowly lost it's all consuming power over me........I found one could actually not be horny 24 seven......what a shock!
Now, perhaps due to my exposure to Catholicism, I actually had taken my vows very seriously. So I endured. I worked at it.
I convinced myself I should be happy someone wanted to be my wife. Now add the in-laws from hell. To sit in a restaurant with these people was an exercise in humiliation, just being associated with them. Pigs at a trough! All rednecks, and proud of it. Being in this family was like being a black child adopted by Eskimos. OIl and vinegar, mixed only when forced. My vows started to lose their command over me. By year 10 I'd had enough. I'd failed. Even then I considered myself the bad guy, but I couldn't stomach it any more. It wasn't a nice parting, and thankfully her redneck brother didn't manage to get thru the locked door of my apartment, despite his efforts to kick it in. He would have been met with a clip full of 380's if he had. Not being big enough to think you MIGHT win a fight with a very hefty redneck is another aspect of my size I had to suffer with.......it can be humiliating. But the officer who finally responded and got them to leave informed me blithely to make sure to drag them back inside the door if they stagger out, and I'd be cool, self-defense wise.
So, I ventured back out into the dating scene once again, ten years older and totally out of touch with the new realities of women. I dated allot of 20 somethings and the generation gape was allot wider than I'd ever imagine it could be. These chicks were over the top, no concept of honesty, responsibility, nothing at all in common with the tenants I was raised under.
If a man can be driven Gay, I came damn near close to it. The sex was ok, but just like chinese food, I was left as empty as before I'd dove in. However, somehow I had developed this strange idea that I was basically an alright human being, deserving of the love of a GOOD woman, and that I didn't have to grovel at the feet of something female to support my self-esteem. So I endured. Then came Gail.
Buy this time I was stranded in Florida, having ended up here thru circumstances of my first marriage. I had just lost a primo job with Uncle Sam at the local Naval Depot, and was going to Nursing school thru the help of retraining programs.
On top of that I had been forced to retrieve my ill Mother from the bad care of her loser boyfriend, and was taking care of her, suffering as she was from emphysema. Yes, life was getting complicated, but I was used to it.....it always had been.
Gail lived in the same apartment complex, and I would glance up from reading a school textbook on my front patio to see her power-walking by, always with a wave and a smile. Every now and then I would see her at the local watering hole/karaoke bar that had become my second home, sometimes alone, sometimes with some guy. She struck me as my age or older, but nothing overtly sexual ever passed between us, and we never formally tried to connect. But one night, as I sat at my usual table, waiting for my next time up to sing, and suffering from another dating disaster, she came up to my table and asked if the empty chair was available. It was, and thank god, because connecting with her that night was so incredibly easy I knew it was fated. Turns out she was five years older than me, which after what I had been through with the young ones was no problem for me at all. We talked easily, enjoyed each others company, with no trace of urgency or desperation between us. It just felt RIGHT. We began to spend time together outside the bar, and I felt so naturally at ease with her walking hand in hand thru the mall, something began tell me this HAD to be the one. And I was NOT settling, I CHOSE to be with her, and she enjoyed me simply for what made me who I was. And yes, she was taller than me, not that either one of us really seemed to notice. Fate needed to teach me some harsh lessons, but I learned. She was my reward.
All I had to deal with this time was a crazy Puerto Rican ex-boyfriend turned stalker, and a Mother-in-law from hell, but other than that, I was in heaven. Eight months later we were married, at a cute little Episcopal church with lots of friends, family (mostly hers), and fellow karaoke addicts, two of whom contributed some very nice songs, and last but not least, the lead singer of our town's most famous local band (No, not lynard Skynard or the like). The kick ass thunder storm that accompanied the ceremony added a nice, natural touch, something we chose to consider a gift from the Grandfather rather than some bad omen. Thus began our life together of trials, tribulations, and a profound love for each other that has survived unemployment, bad jobs, illness and pain, as well as many wonderful things in between. Many times I have almost convinced myself that the worst thing I could have done to this woman was marry her, but she refuses to hear of it, and is the first and perhaps only person who has ever made me believe she needs me as much as I need her, and God do I need her.
If you have survived this long and drawn out account of my journey thru the tunnel of love, I commend you. Please remember this is a cautionary tale...........no matter what, know that if you are meant to be with someone at all in this lifetime, he or she will come to you. Not because you are desperate, not because you are lonely, not because you are trying so damn hard, not because you ordered her from a mail-order-bride catalogue from Moscow. They come to you when you are capable of appreciating them, and appreciating yourself as someone worthy of love. Even us munchkins.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Do I even want to know............

Mail presented that red number that tells me I have an e-mail, and being one of those rare individuals that hasn't even attracted the attention of the spammers, I was delighted. Yes, most of my e-mails are scheduled billing notifications, the occasional "I just posted" from a few bloggers, and an occasional letter to my wife from one of the twins, but every now and then I get a comment on my blog and the pleasure of having been noticed is somewhat akin to a very mild buzz, the kind of buzz I rely totally on memory these days, since I gave up drugs almost before I even tried them.
Anyway, it was from Buffalo, not simply as a comment, but an invocation to post something, since it seems I missed inflicting the blogging public with my musings for several days. That suggestion that someone actually desires to see something new from me is more of an honor than most people could understand, especially coming from an individual such as Buffalo, whom I have come to admire and respect, probably for my own unique, twisted reasons. We think an awful lot alike for two people who are probably nothing alike in reality. Whatever, I appreciate the boot in my ass he has so thoughtfully provided, so blame him for todays' observation.........hehe.

Today I am going to give free reign to a horrifying question that has haunted me from time to time for several years. Have I EVER had an original thought? Try as I might, I cannot answer that question in the affirmative. I've invented nothing. I've never written a song (although I might can score a point on that one since I am not a musician). I've written countless lines of poetry, written many posts to my blog, but is any of it anything more than a rearrangement of everything that I have taken in through my ears and eyes? Have I EVER produced ANYTHING totally new under the sun?
Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)......THAT was original. The transistor......original. The internal combustion engine....Ditto.
Does my brain, unique as it may be, even have the capacity to originate anything that the countless tons of grey matter that's come and gone before me hasn't already brought forth to the collective consciousness? I scour my memory for anything, just one idea that I know came from ME and I find nothing, nothing at all. This is distressing, because unless I am mistaken, what is my purpose? What justifies my existence? What have I contributed beyond mere motor function that serves any purpose?
Lord knows my mind is like a hamster on a wheel. I do exercise my intellect, such that it is, but to what end? Even if my grandest accomplishment was to take someone else's idea and improve upon it, that might give me some sense of satisfaction.
This might sound like some shade of depression making it's way into my blog, and yes, I do have reasons on a daily basis to be depressed, but it really is more of a valid question I find important to ask myself rather than an exercise in self-flagellation. I can be very judgmental of others, questioning their use of valuable oxygen, but I do recognize that as a shortcoming that needs to be controlled. Perhaps as I stare at the big five oh, I find it much easier to question my own bad habit of breathing without necessarily earning the right. I am very envious of those who find peace with themselves, but nothing irritates me more than those who inflate their own particular importance in the grand scheme of things. I guess what I am saying is this........I do not fear death, but I do fear the answer that sums it all up in the end; Did I matter?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

On the sidelines of remembrance

I have only this past year discovered that my old boat, the USS LAPON (SSN661), has a thriving alumni association. My heart almost broke when I saw the photos they posted on their website of LAPON sitting next to a sister ship in the mothball fleet, waiting to be sent to the scrap-yard. As far as I know, only one of the old Sturgeon Class fast attack submarines remains on active duty, having long been supplanted by the Los Angeles Class (688) and the new (and expensive) state-of-the-art Seawolf and Virginia Class subs. My how times have changed, when the Sturgeon Class sub was the backbone of the cold war effort. The Soviets went broke trying to match the capabilities of that sub, with their fast but noisy-as-hell attack boats and behemoth missile subs. It was the L.A. subs that got the glory in such movies as "Hunt for Red October", but let me tell you, it was the LAPON and her sister ships that really did all the dirty work, and none of credit, at least as far as the general public is concerned.
So imagine my delight when it was announced that the LAPON's sail (that's that thing stuck on the top where the periscopes poke out and the forward dive planes are attached) was saved and will be installed as a monument out in Missouri. Yea, I know, a long way from the briny deep, but a monument is a monument. There will be a dedication ceremony in July, just around time for my (gulp) fifth annual 45th birthday. Unfortunately, times have been lean for me and the wife these past years and we've never been able to afford anything you could call a vacation, much less cough up the time off work and money to drive there from Florida to attend. Oh well, I am certainly there in spirit. It doesn't mean much to my wife, since she never experienced me in a uniform, much less the long waiting for a sub sailor to make it home from sea. So, when I care to talk of the experience, she just nods her head and humors me, while thinking about her garden. It feels kinda lonely sometimes.
So, on that day, I will send along my thoughts to my shipmates, pop open a beer, and hoist a toast to the silent service, and to a grand old lady that gave the soviets nothing but grief and brought me and my buddies home alive, time after harrowing time. Here's to the nuclear fast attack submarine LAPON (SSN661), and to those who served aboard her.....SALUTE!

Friday, May 13, 2005

I just couldn't resist.......

Well, Buffalo stumbled into a hornets nest over at the femi-nazi's site. His comments where not well taken and his last post really attracted alot of attention, mostly generous. I went to take a peek and decided I wasn't going to take any strolls across THAT minefield. There really aren't any prizes waiting for you on the other side, so it just ain't worth losing a foot over.
I grew up just like everybody else pretty much clueless as to the roles of men and women in an evolving society. I witnessed the good-old-boys beating up their wives and girlfriends, at home or at the bars, as well as the cops giving the guys a wink unless it became a murder case. I witnessed the new feminists burning their bras, sex crawl out of the closet, free love, and all that social upheaval. Pretty soon "a woman's place" became fighting words, and all us young guys entered a whole new era of not having the slightest idea what was expected of us when it came to women. All I knew was I loved women, mostly, I thought they were the most beautiful creatures on Earth, even when they were either ignoring me or walking over my face. I loved sex, and women were what you had sex with. I became a feminist, along with a great believer in civil and human rights for everybody. None of this made me understand women. I just played it by ear as I strove to get laid, to be loved, to be a man, even tho even that was getting more and more confusing everyday.
Despite all this cry for equality and decency, I knew deep inside that yes, there WAS a difference between men and woman that went beyond tits and plumbing. Any guy who has dated and gotten married can attest to that. So, here it is, the year of our Lord 2005, and a learned professor at a major university is run out of town for suggesting that men and women think differently, which might help explain why most of our nerds are males. Well, you can cry and yell and stomp your feet all you want, my lovelies, but the man was not saying that women are INFERIOR due to their mental wiring, just DIFFERENT. Men and woman are perfectly capable of coming to the same conclusion concerning a problem, they just arrive there from different directions. This, I think, is rather wonderful, when you consider that a woman's way of approaching a problem might prove to be THE way THAT particular problem needs to be solved. So, chill, no one is attacking your rights or your abilities, at least not us average guys. We hold these truths to be self-evident: Women, as a whole, are more nurturing than men, because evolution made them that way, which is a GOOD thing. Men, as a whole, are more aggressive and probably more mechanically inclined, because evolution made them that way, which WAS a good thing, and probably still is. The world has changed drastically since we killed off all the saber-toothed tigers, and we need to adjust to the new realities, which is what intellect is for. No, we men might seem clueless most of the time, but we certainly are trying, which is alot more than I can say for the average femi-nazi. Try evolving with us, girls, so we can both get there together more or less in one piece.

Inherent Cruelty

She worked for fifteen plus years, contributing to the Social Security System just like all of us, then stayed home to be a full-time Mom (They have three kids). If the husband can bring home enough bacon, more power to them. Years later, she is diagnosed with ALS. There is no cure, and you don't die easily.
They apply for Social Security Disability. DENIED. Seems one must file within five years of having last been employed to qualify for benifits. The taxes she paid while working, well, to bad. Seems Uncle Sam can taketh away, but isn't to worried about the giveth part. Who out there HASN'T experienced the automatic denial that is the first step in the gauntlet involved in getting the benefits we are entitled to depended upon our particular circumstances? The good Governor of Missouri is reducing the Medicaid program in his state as much as the Federal government will allow him, and is busy looking for a way to eliminate the program altogether. God bless him. It's good to know we have such compassionate conservatives out there protecting us hard working Americans from these parasites.
If this is what Jesus had in mind when he said love thy neighbor, I think something got lost in the translation.

Monday, May 09, 2005

American Taliban

O.K., enough of this shit. Now a church pastor has decided to kick out those in his congregation that voted for Kerry. A catholic priest denied communion to Kerry supporters. And everywhere you are hearing of employers sacking those caught being democrats. Well, I have a great idea, which as a side effect would tickle to death those good old boys who have been waiting for the South to rise again. LET THEM. I say, draw up the Mason-Dixon line again, have all the true Americans move North, and all those who are chomping at the bit to live under a theocracy move South. I'm sure after some bloodshed one of the dozens of off-the-wall protestant evangelical denominations will come out on top and impose their will on the rest. Hell, don't even be bothered if they try and reinstate slavery. Alot more of those good old boys will die trying THAT shit again. We up in the North will abide by the Constitution of the United States of America, a document that countless lives have paid in blood to uphold, treat each other with dignity and respect, and keep our military close at home, where we certainly will need it considering what will be brewing South of our new border. Meantime, the New Confederacy of Southern God Fearing States will become the laughing stock of the world, will collapse upon itself consumed by hatred and intolerance, and give this continent as a whole a much needed reduction in population. Then, in twenty years or so, when they have become a pitiful third world nation unable to feed itself or fend off terrorist who truly HATE christians of their sort, we can offer to come back, pick up the pieces, force each and every one of them to take the oath again, and shoot the next mother fucker who wants to interfere in OUR lives with THEIR religion.

The Price of Assumptions

I was in ninth grade in Pascagoula Mississippi, and was just getting used to the idea that I had been left behind size wise. Despite that, I tried out for football and became B team fodder. The B team exists only as something for the A team to practice on. Those that survive Might get lucky enough by their Senior year to make the A team. Well, for some reason, I thought that defensive end would be the safest position to play, as I'd be going after THEM rather than vice versa.
It was towards the end of the season that I got my chance at stardom. We were beating the opposing team so badly the A team defense was pulled for a well deserved rest and we were thrown in to give the losers at least a shot at getting on the board. The guy opposite me was about two feet taller and twice my weight, which was good, because he didn't bother to look down at me and I was allot quicker. Big hunks like him dismiss mongooses like me at their own peril, and I think I taught him that lesson well that day. They lined up, the ball was hiked, and rikki-tikki-tavi made a beeline for the quarterback, right beneath this idiot's radar. WHOMP. The quarterback, an A-TEAM QUARTERBACK, mind you, was laying flat on his back wondering where the hell this thing on his chest had come from. We disengaged, and as I walked off, I could hear a heated exchange between him and the guy that was supposed to stop me........but I was paying more attention to the delighted roar of the crowd, and the fact that some of the cheerleaders were actually noticing I existed.
I was'nt going to get too cocky just yet, cause this time the guy decided it would be smart to actually look at me as we lined up for the next play. HIKE! I faked right, then dashed in to climb up Mr. Quarterback's backside as he tried another desperation pass. Between my velocity and my miniscule weight, and the surprise of the two, he went down flat on his face and he almost fumbled the ball. Now the crowd was REALLY roaring, as this was allot more entertaining than what the A-team defense had been doing to them all night, and as I walked back to my side of a scrimmage line that wasn't moving, I could hear that big hunk really getting his ass reamed by a very embarrassed quarterback.
Well, they learn eventually, and Mr. Big finally gave me enough due to actually start blocking me, which was pretty easy once he put some effort into it, and they eventually got their touchdown before the clock ran out. But I had gotten my ten minutes of glory, and even a few pats on the back and some smiles from the cheerleaders. What my opponent learned was the price of assumptions.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I Miss you Mom......

Michele, we will never truly get to know what kind of Mother you would have been given half the chance. My fucked up excuse for a father saw to it that you never got the chance. The only woman I remembered being my Mom didn't want the job, and she is more of a mystery to me than you ever were. You were an artist, a gypsy, a free spirit dependant upon others to keep your head above water as you struggled thru life, never quite sure who or what you were, and a terrible judge of charactor when it came to men. And such talent you had! If I had possession of half of the art you created I would be a rich man, because not only were you an incredible artist, but you now have the cache of having passed on, never attaining the fame you truly deserved while you were with us. But, I am the lucky one, for somehow, despite a screwed up family I never knew I had, I managed to finally meet you and get to know you, and yes, to love you. It seems only natural to me now that I was the one by your bedside that day you died, holding your hand as your lungs finally failed you, allowing you to go on and hopefully find a place somewhere else in the universe to laugh, sing, and paint to your heart's content. Our large, far flung family was never there for either one of us, Mom, but we are together, you and I, even to this day, for I still think of you all the time, and smile, and somehow feel you with me, deep inside, telling me that I am a good person, and that you always loved me, even when I didn't know you existed. So, today is Mother's day, and I do not celebrate it because you were my Mother, but because you were a beautifull, if irresponsible, free spirit, and not only did I love you, I really liked you. So, roll one and smoke it for both of us, you sweet crazy soul, I don't have the guts to do that any more.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Lucky Thirteen

Me and my friend Davey stood next to our lockers, and it was though the idea hit us simultaneously. He said it first, but I was thinking the same thing. "Let's join the Navy, dude!" And we did.
Davey and I were two opposites of a coin. He was big, a whole lot bigger than me. He was the bad-ass, I was the low key runt. How he got to be a senior was beyond me. He had several sisters and his father was an abusive terror. One night he, me, and the mayor's son ripped off a nice set of chrome wheels right off the auto-shop instructors' car. Well, those two did, actually, I was just along for the ride, as I never had the mind or the guts for crime. I have no idea how me and Davey hooked up to begin with, but as long as I in his shadow, I never had to worry about guys whose key to self-esteem was making life miserable for guys like me. Davey is not the kind of guy I would associate with these days, but back then, fate provided me with many strange associations.
Davey and I had spent the summer previous to our senior year traveling around the state of Alaska with a carnival. I had already turned 18, and didn't ask my "parents" so much as inform them I wanted the experience. Davey was still underage but illogical as it seems, his father gave him the nod. I grew up really fast that summer. But when September came along, and we made the odyssey back to Fairbanks in an old station wagon on it's last legs, I discovered that my Mom and Stepfather had actually been just shacking together the whole time, had never been married, and had decided to separate, thus I really had no home to return to. So here I was, working a late shift dishwashing job, going to school during the day, and living in a run-down apartment with a bunch of other dislocated kids, none of whom were very good at coming up with their share of the rent. Then the real kicker.....my school guidance counselor (talk about an oxymoron) informed me that I wouldn't have enough credits to graduate from high school that year, and would require summer school to get my diploma.
Seems the dozen-odd school systems I had passed through as a welfare kid all had differing crediting systems which left me short in my final year. Which brings me back to the locker with Davey.
I was not clueless to what was going on in the world. Half my life was spent seeing reports coming back from Vietnam, the peace marches, the body bags, the whole mess. At 5 feet three inches and 120 lbs soaking wet, and not one violent bone in my body, I couldn't picture myself with an M16 in my hands wading thru rice patties shooting at anything that didn't look Caucasian. I knew if I was drafted, I was either dead meat or judged a misfit. In 73 the war was not over, and since it was looking dicey just to even get my high school diploma, I knew I wasn't going to have some college to hide in. So when Davey said, "Hey, Dude, let's join the Navy!", for once in his life the guy came up with something that actually made perfect sense.
I had been an avid fan of WWII history, could describe in every detail every sort of warship every nation had ever built, and was a great fan of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea". So joining the Navy to see the world, get some sort of job training, and saving my butt all seemed like a great idea. The idea of serving my country had never been a problem for me. Vietnam just wasn't my idea of serving my country.
We both went down to the recruiter, let him give us his spiel, got what "guarantees" we could out of him, and joined up on the delayed entry program. Then he sent us down to take the GED test. Except for math, I pretty much aced the test, but to this day I think they fudged Davie's scores. However, come the day to fly to boot-camp in San Diego, Davey's father refused to sign the papers, as Davey was still 17. I was entering my new life alone. Davey eventually talked his old man into signing, but he was always about four weeks behind me, from boot camp to "A" school, till eventually he managed to finagle some kind of medical discharge. Knowing Davey, I wasn't surprised.
I suppose by now you are asking, "Well, where does the number 13 come into all this?" Well, I joined on December 13th.
I was formed into company 382, which adds up to 13. Somehow, come time to make our company flag, everybody in the company looked over my shoulder as I was sketching out an idea for the flag, Trentcamp's Truckers, the Lucky 13, and all proclaimed I had designed the flag. We lost 13 guys exactly before graduation day. I went on to "A" school, where it was decided I would make a great Personnelman, working in a ship's office managing personnel records. While there, this guy comes into class asking for volunteers for submarine duty. I knew I was never going to make the Navy Seals (which, ironically, would HAVE landed my ass in Nam), but submarine duty to me sounded like the best of the best, and my hand shot up faster than anybody's. I wouldn't learn until much later that they had only just recently included Personnelmen in the billets approved for submarine service because they couldn't get enough volunteers from the Yeoman ranks, which was taken up by mostly women, who weren't allowed to serve on subs. The women also took up most of our shore duty billets, which stuck our male asses out to sea for most of our tours. I made it thru sub school easily enough, and reported to my first command, the USS RAY, a nuclear fast attack submarine based in, where else, Norfolk, Virginia (which we referred to as No-Fuck). The ships number was 653. Yes, that adds up to 14.
Why do I consider 13 my lucky number? Well, I had been on board RAY for three months, had made short runs including the Virgin Islands, and was not far from completing my submarine qualifications, which would have awarded me my "Dolphins", the proud insignia of a sailor qualified in submarines. To be qualified in submarines meant you had to know your boat from sonar dome to screw, knew where every valve to every systems was, where every wire and pipe ran, and how to respond if anything bad happened to any of it, including a hull breach. And as an added bonus, the RAY was scheduled to go into dry dock for an overhaul, which would have meant essentially we'd be on shore duty for most of my remaining tour.
Well, much to my dismay, another boat getting ready to deploy to the Mediterranean for a six month tour was short a Yeoman, and guess who got picked to transfer to fill the billet. You guessed it. At the time, I begged my skipper to get me out of it, I loved my boat, I was almost qualified, and I was feeling so cheated. There was nothing he could do about it. So, I ended up reporting on board the USS LAPON (SSN661), which, you guessed it, adds up to 13. So, apparently, fate made a minor mistake and came back to correct it. Thus, I got to spend six months seeing places I didn't care to see, with the exception of Pompeii, near Naples, Italy, and Lisbon wasn't such a bad shore leave, but most of our time not on patrol was spent tied up to a tender stationed at a tiny island made of rocks and nothing much else.
Before I finally completed my four years of active duty, most of which I can't really talk about, we found out that RAY, due to a really bad navigation error, had run full tilt into an underwater mountain while on patrol. Thankfully, the worst damage she sustained was a stove-in bow, totally destroying the sonar dome, but as far as I know there hadn't been a hull breach.
There were plenty of injuries sustained by the collision, as the inside of a submarine is a nightmare of exposed metal pipes, brackets and hard surfaces, and there had been no warning of the impending impact. A submarine travels pretty damn fast underwater, and it has an impressive mass, and you can just imagine the physics involved. That's why I wasn't on board the RAY that fateful day.............she wasn't my lucky 13.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Me and My Amazing Monochrome Blog

I had a second visitor, or at least one that commented, and perhaps inadvertently, he made me feel a whole lot better about my blog and it's lack of pics, links, and, quote, "other frills". I'm going to admit that I am not really here to create eye candy, amazing dancing java characters, or bring you the smoking gun behind the great right-wing conspiracy, altho I Do have to admit that last one would be great day-dream fodder. I have always had a knack for writing and prose, yet it is not something I have practiced to such a degree that I can honestly gauge how actually good it is. It matters not, however, as what I write is simply my souls' attempt to have some effect on the world around me. Yes, much like gravity, I will probably have a miniscule effect, depending on who reads this stuff and what it means to them. Right now, gravity to me is barely perceptible, holding me down in this chair, making my heavier patients at work a threat to my aging tendons and muscles, yet I am quite aware that elsewhere in this universe, gravity is sucking down whole star systems into the insatiable maul of black holes. So, now really, what do I need with the eye candy? There is nothing I shall be writing about that will be made any more palatable or valid by dressing it up with a pretty picture. You have no need to see what I look like, rather, your imagination would probably do me more justice. No, my friends, I just want you to know I was HERE. I want you to hear what I say and embrace it, dismiss it, I don't care, just HEAR. I can provide you no lyrics to hum in the shower, no incredible diet plan that shall rescue you from overindulgence, no cure for hemorrhoids, or why your teenager wants to pierce his/her neither regions. What I can provide you with is what goes on inside this particular hunk of grey matter that can not and will not be replicated anywhere else in this universe. Just like you, I am unique. This may not be a saving grace, but it IS an undeniable fact. It will not save me from my ordinariness (Is that a word? If not, it is NOW.....lol) But, I will celebrate it, with a glass of sangria, a chuckle, and a mental kiss to my Mother, Bob bless her soul, who made me possible.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

What counts as Important these days

There's a scandal brewing on American Idol. Michael's a pervert....maybe....but he's still one messed up individual. We are going to see the last episode of Star Wars dissected by everybody who can spell it before it even hits the screen. Somewhere, someone trying to die isn't going to be allowed to do so, and the media will find him or her, and allow us to share in their misery. Trent Lot is going to finally get his day in "court", and his cronies will suggest once again his judgment needs a slight adjustment, but he'll be released back into the wild to rake in some more money. Meanwhile, us regular people with distressingly regular lives will face our REAL truths without much attention, precious little sympathy, and no dignified way to deal with them. But that's all right, because there was a time, long ago, when men and women knew what was really important, survival. And it was delicious! It spawned every emotion known to man and it was REAL. You put away enough wood and hay for the winter or you didn't. Some credit card wasn't going to hold you over till spring. And bill collectors didn't come to try collecting something you flat didn't have. But, if you made it, you paid that guy what you owed him, cause it was your own personal honor you were protecting, not his bottom line. You neighbors? You knew them, they knew you, and survival suggested you not screw with each other in case time came you needed each other. Now there are barbarians at the gates, the kind of horde we can no longer meet on a level playing field, and when they notice us, we're screwed. My friends, there but for the grace of whoever go us all. Enjoy your periods of grace and peace, while you have them. You can tug on those bootstraps of yours all you want, if the beast wants you, you're dead meat. But remember, they can never take away that center within you that makes living worth the effort. Whatever cog in the machine you happen to be, remember, you can't be replaced, the machine WILL continue to run, it just will never run as smoothly, ever again. Take comfort in that.
That, my friends, is what's important.......or else nothing is.

Monday, May 02, 2005


This is truly embarrassing. I know these blog templates have areas for links, pics, you name it, there seems to be room for everything. What do I have? Just what I write. I went in search for the "how to" of posting links and such, and when I get there, it's like I stepped out on the surface of mars, looking for a karaoke bar and finding nothing but red sand. It's not Blogers fault, I'm sure anyone born after 1987 understands the concepts explained in the "how to's" section concerning inserting this stuff, but it's all greek to me. Me, the guy who thinks he's such a genius of the layman variety that he should be able to figure this stuff out. Maybe I've developed such a mental laziness my mind is checking out long before the light bulb gets a chance to light up. All I know is my much vaulted self-view is getting challenged by the world around me much more often than I'd like it to. If someone who happens to stumble over this entry happens to be the sort who feels sorry for us digitally clueless old farts to such a degree that he can figure out a "web-page links for idiots" way of explaining it to me, and manages to do so, I will be more than happy to link to his or her blog so that anyone else who happens along can link to their entry describing in excruciating and comic detail how he took grandpa by the hand and led him thru the digital desert to the oasis of Bloger "How to". The humiliation is well worth seeing this friggin light bulb go on.