Tuesday, August 30, 2005

We have been attacked!

President Bush, we have been attacked by mother nature, and the devastation is overwhelming! We can't afford this asinine war any more, we need our National Guardsmen home to help our families in their hour of need! The cost of this storm is going to be unprecedented, and with energy prices already going thru the roof, a new recession is sure to follow this, the most extensive natural disaster this country has yet faced. It's time to get our priorities straight! It's time to take care of our OWN!

The insurance companies have already had their comfy profits affected by the storms that ripped thru Florida last year, and after Katrina, I am sure most will just fold and home insurance will be totally unaffordable to any but the wealthiest. Without insurance, you can't get a mortgage, so the rebuilding effort will be severely affected from this day forward. The jobs alone that have been lost will toss even more people into poverty, especially in an area that was not that affluent to begin with. If the powers that be have any sense whatsoever, the City of New Orleans in it's entirety will be condemned, perhaps to be rebuilt in a higher, dryer place.

The chickens are coming home to roost, George. Your sorry excuse for an economic policy is going to come apart at the seams. You have no coherent plan to deal with the harsh realities that are beginning to plauge this country. You took the largest (and only) surplus this country ever had and pissed it away. Now we are going to hand our children a deficit they could never hope to pay off. Pretty soon foreign countries are just going to say the hell with us and cash in their IOU's, and then where will we be? Another third world country much like the one's we like to stick our noses into and mess up even more. The sooner we get your sorry ass out of office, and replace you with someone with a brain and a genuine heart, the better off we will all be. Of course, it will be after who knows how many more dead American soldiers and who knows how much more dept.

One day you will have to face your maker for what you have done to this country. And when you do, may Bob have mercy on your sorry soul.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Remember I said it comes in three's?

Well, like I mentioned before, the grass definitely has gotten greener over the septic tank, for good reason. I was thinking the pump was out, but the guy came out, tested the wires, and assured me that the septic pump was running, but that the main tank was probably full. Well, yea, I mean I know it is supposed to be pumped out something like every two or three years and this baby has five years worth of crap in it, so that makes perfect sense. Good news: Don't need $500 for a new pump. Bad news: Pumping runs around $200.
By now my loyal readers (checks in the mail, guys, I promise) are beginning to think I am bemoaning the cost of home ownership. After all, when you live in an apartment, they are responsible for all the maintenance. However, after years of being chased down the road every other year with outrageous rent increases and declining quality of affordable places to live, I can assure you the occasional financial hit you get being responsible for your own breakdowns is more than made up for by the stability, fixed mortgage payment, extra elbow room, and a million other perks that comes from owning your own place.
If I want to knock out a wall, I do it. If I want to plant a garden, I have plenty of dirt to do it in. I pay no pet deposit. I don't hear elephants rampaging on my ceiling at night. I don't hear men beating their wives next door. There hasn't been any crime I'm aware of in my area since I moved here. There are lamas up the road. And horses.
I am hoping this is the last major financial difficulty I have to deal with for the foreseeable future. Both I and the wife have fully functioning organs we can sell if things really get bad. Or, enough Americans will start feeling the pain of trying to survive in a George Bush America and decide there's got to be a better way. Already violence is flaring up across the land at the filling stations. Truckers are starting to go out of business like never before. School budgets are being strained by the cost of fueling school buses. Has it occurred to anyone how much we are paying George Bush to jet around the country in Air Force One telling the mothers of dead soldiers their losses were noble? Well, maybe it will begin to cost the army so much to patrol Baghdad in those gas guzzling death traps that we will start to see a reduction in deaths due to IED's. I still think we need to fly those boys home while we can still afford to.

Things I know about myself, relatively speaking........

1. I am short.
2. I am shorter than Shaq.
3. Short is relative.
4. I am tall.
5. I am taller than most of my coworkers (almost all women).
6. Tall is relative
7. I'm good looking.
8. I'd rather look like me than many people I know (and don't know, personally)
9. Looks are relative.
10. I'm intelligent.
11. George Bush has a degree, I don't.
12. I didn't start a war.
13. Intelligence is relative.
14. I am not a Christian since I started using my brain.
15. I don't stand on sidewalks spitting at people calling them fags who will burn in hell.
16. I believe in Bob.
17. Faith is relative.
18. I write great blogs
19. No one has told me to not to quit my day job......yet.
20. Talent is relative.
21. I love my wife.
22. I am married to the most beautiful thing Bob ever created.
23. Love is..........wonderful!

Cafe Aftermath

I've been living by myself these days
since the war took half my face
the small town that I live in now
is a quiet, peaceful place
There's a diner that I frequent
when I just don't care to cook
the kind folks there are used to me
and not afraid to look
I had a girl, and friends, and such
and I joined the National Guard
life was all American
and life was not that hard
Then I suddenly lost everything
when they sent me off to war
I lost my looks, then lost my girl
what did I lose it for?
Now I'm happy just to be alive
tho I'm not sure really why
I live here in a lonely world
I'm just waiting here to die
But today I head on down the road
to the diner for some lunch
but the waitress that I knew so well
used to make me laugh so much
has been replaced by someone new
but she doesn't seem to stare
she just asks me what I want to eat
"try the burger if you dare."
so I try to look her in the eyes
something hard for me to do
cause I know what they are looking at
and the pity's nothing new
so I keep my head down out of sight
and I tell her what I want
then she freshens up my coffee
and I pay for what I bought
well, this goes on for several days
and I eat there more and more
cause she acts so easily with me
like her heart had once been torn
then we start our conversations
seems we both have had our pain
I tell her that I'm Billy
She tells me she is Jane
now it seems I;m getting used to her
just like she is with me
but you know that where the heart's involved
nothing's ever free
So then one night when it's getting late
she does not let me leave
she closes down the joint
God, I could hear myself breath
she sits down next to me
and stares me in the eye
if there's some reason not to like me
then I want to know why
if scars could convey shock
then shocked I must have appeared
I liked her well enough
as best I could thru fear
well, she said, I like you fine too
and tho you might not think so
you're the finest man I ever knew
you're funny, you're smart
despite all you've been thru
never have I seen you bitter
never have I seen your blue
you treat me like a woman
and not a piece of meat
from what I've known of men
I find that kinda neat
So if I have to ask I will
tired of waiting that I am
could you stand my company
for one good evening
and a home cooked meal?
It takes some effort to smile
and I really have no charm
but something brightened up my face
it couldn't do no harm
so I stood and offered her my arm
and then without a word
we both ventured into the night
to try out a brand new world
My God that girl could cook
and her place was not half bad
a bottle of wine or two
and we both were tipsy a tad
so she pulls me to her bed
and I'm working on her clothes
both working more on feelings
both our eyes half closed
then I come across the foam
that fills one half her brassier
then I find the plastic leg
wondering how that got there
one breast, one leg
you never would have guessed
but what she had was plenty enough
to know I'd been blessed
She loved me fully that night
and then she gave me more
I could have left that morning
If I'd made it to the door
two starving human beings
had finally got their fill
just cause some bitch got fired
from that cafe on the hill
we each gave each other
what our lives had taken away
and now I get to live my life
each and every day

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Better Place to Be

Something that is becoming more rare these days in the world of music is the singer-songwriter. We baby-boomers were fortunate to have had access to the efforts of many talented individuals who flourished in the eclectic world of the old FM music scene before the media corporations got there claws into radio and ruined it for us. Nowadays, short of perhaps the "oldies" stations, every station serves an extremely narrow niche or genre, and only those who obey the dictates of what the marketing people claim is "hot" will get airtime. Isn't it a pity? Isn't it a shame?
Old FM brought us such underground wonders as ZZ Top, Pink Floyd, Iggy Pop, Grand Funk Railroad, and probably many others even I never got around to hearing on my little Japanese transistor radio beneath the sheets late at night. And alongside these guys we also got to enjoy John Denver, Barbara Striesand, Jim Croche, and my all time favorite from a long lost era, Harry Chapin.
It almost brings a tear to my eye to think that my readers half my age or younger probably have no idea who Harry Chapin was. I'm sure the two songs he is most famous for would probably sound familiar to everyone, such as Cat's in the Cradle, and Taxi. Ah, but the man produced a treasure trove of well written, soul grabbing songs that never got alot of airplay even back then, now heard only on his albums. And the saddest fact of all is that Harry left us at a relative early age, dying in an auto accident. They say that only the good die young. Well, then death was stalking Harry since he was born, because aside from songs that said things people needed to hear as well as enjoy, Harry poured his heart into efforts to end world hunger.
Harry's songs were such that corporate america today would have absolutely no use for them, and I can assure you he would never have gotten much attention today, as he played by HIS rules, not being a slave to music fashion.
The older I get, the more I miss Harry. Every once in awhile I have to pull up his music on the computer and listen to hours of his stuff just to re-center myself, to have a heartstring pulled, to suffer some righteous guilt, to laugh. Thanks to him and his contemporaries I am able to appreciate the few souls who today have managed to skirt the many sandbars of modern media and give us the food our souls so desperately need, such as John Prine, and even Yanni. I am going to close out this post today with the lyrics to a song I'm sure my younger audience probably never heard, but I'm sure that even they can appreciate, and might want to listen to by investing in one of Harry Chapin's many albums. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do every time I hear it.

A Better Place to be

by Harry Chapin

It was an early morning bar room,
And the place just opened up.
And the little man come in so fast and
Started at his cup.
And the broad who served the whisky
She was a big old friendly girl.
And she tried to fight her empty nights
By smilin' at the world.

And she said "Hey Bub, It's been awhile
Since you been around.
Where the hell you been hidin' ?
And why you look so down ?"

But the little man just sat there like he'd never heard a sound.

The waitress she gave out with a cough,
And acting not the least put off,
She spoke once again.

She said, "I don't want to bother you,
Consider it's understood.
I know I'm not no beauty queen,
But I sure can listen good."

And the little man took his drink in his hand
And he raised it to his lips.
He took a couple of sips.
And he told the waitress this story.

"I am the midnight watchman down at Miller's Tool and Die.
And I watch the metal rusting, and I watch the time go by.
A week ago at the diner I stopped to get a bite.
And this here lovely lady she sat two seats from my right.
And Lord, Lord, Lord she was alright.

"Oh she was so damned beautiful that she'd warm a winter's frost.
But she was long past lonely, and well nigh unto lost.
Now I'm not much of a mover, or a pick-em-up easy guy,
But I decided to glide on over, and give her one good try.
And Lord, Lord, Lord she was worth a try.

"Tongued-tied like a school boy, I stammered out some words.
But it did not really matter much, 'cause I don't think she heard.
She just looked clear on through me to a space back in my head.
And it shamed me into silence, as quietly she said,
'If you want me to come with you, then that's all right with me.
Cause I know I'm going nowhere, and anywhere's a better place to be.
Anywhere's a better place to be.'

"I drove her to my boarding house, and I took her up to my room.
And I went to turn on the only light to brighten up the gloom.
But she said, 'Please leave the light off, Oh I don't mind the dark.'
And as her clothes all tumbled 'round her, I could hear my heart.
The moonlight shown upon her as she lay back in my bed.
It was the kind of scene I only had imagined in my head.
I just could not believe it, to think that she was real.
And as I tried to tell her she said 'Shhh.. I know just how you feel.
And if you want to come here with me, then that's all right with me.
'Cause I've been oh so lonely, lovin' someone is a better way to be.
anywhere's a better way to be.'

"The morning come so swiftly as I held her in my arms.
But she slept like a baby, snug and safe from harm.
I did not want to share her with the world or break the mood,
So before she woke I went out and brought us both some food.

"I came back with my paper bag, to find out she was gone.
She'd left a six word letter saying 'It's time that I moved on.'"

The waitress took a bar rag, and she wiped it across her eyes.
And as she spoke her voice came out as something like a sigh.
She said "I wish that I was beautiful, or that you were halfway blind.
And I wish I weren't so dog-gone fat, I wish that you were mine.
And I wish that you'd come with me, when I leave for home.
For we both know all about loneliness, and livin' all alone."

And the little man,
Looked at the empty glass in his hand.
And he smiled a crooked grin,
He said, " I guess I'm out of gin.
And I know that we both have been so lonely.
And if you want me to come with you, then that's all right with me.
'Cause I know I'm goin' nowhere and anywhere's a better place to be

Monday, August 22, 2005

Thou art......

Oh, thou art vex
each breath I take an effort these aged years
when labor doth I undertake in the name of progress
progress, indeed, I mutter beneath said breath
as the world about me falls
to entropy
Oh, thou are challenge
each morn that greets me with pain anew
to pry myself from the embrace of warm water
reminiscent of some womb
I could only wish to remember
in a safe and sane time before birth
Oh, thou art mine grievance
the peace thou rob of me
as I grasp and grapple with some escape
of the consequences of failures long awaiting me
born of the nurturing of avoidance
come home to greet me
Oh, thou art TRIUMPH
as the clock winds once more
about the face of my life
circular, never ending
no beginning, no conclusion
just a trip around a dial that marks my days
able to draw a breath and say
I love you

Homestead Malfunction number Two......

OK, the air-conditioner is running like a champ and I won't have to sell a kidney to pay for it. However, there must still be a karmic balance due because now the septic tank pump has decided not to pump. This might not have showed up as a problem right now when I least need more problems if the idiot who installed the system had not left the damn tank alarm switch on "silent". So, I have no idea how long ago the this started happening. Wait, the septic guy is here........
20 minutes later, the diagnosis is that the pump is running fine, but that the main tank where all the crap goes is probably chock full of...you know....that stuff. So, all I need do is scrap off some dirt, pull the hatch, make sure the float valve is not hung up or something, and, eventually, I have to have this tank pumped out. It should have been pumped out already, but out of sight is out of mind. So, it's a slow burning fire I can put out when I can afford the water to douse it with.
I am keeping a sharp eye on the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer and refrigerator now. Money sucking emergencies come in threes, so any one of those could go at any moment. Then again, I have two cars........

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Beautiful Mind

One thing I am regularly faced with in my job is the face of madness. We get regular visits by attempted suicides, and most of those are not so much attempted as practiced.....they know exactly how much of what to take to get a free ticket to the Critical Care Unit via the Rescue Express, without to much chance of actually dying. Quite a few we call our "frequent flyers", and they tend to be the nastiest personality wise. While in the throws of their drug-induced delirium, they bite, they kick, they spit, they scream obscenities, you name it, it's the best of Inappropriate Behavior, the mini-series. We pump their stomaches, fill their guts with liquified charcoal to absorb the bad stuff, shove a tube down their throats to get them breathing, then tie them down with restraints and enjoy their pleasant company for a few days. You might consider it a cry for help, but with these girls, and it's mostly girls, it's a profession, one they have gotten good at, at least so far. The odds are they are going to screw up and pass out before they dial 911, or they manage the wrong combination of drugs and then no amount of rescue can help them. Aside from the cost that the hospital must swallow to save these rebels without a clue, they tend not to realize the damaging effect some of these drugs can have on their organs, even though we manage to stabilize them, they end up becoming candidates for an organ transplant they have no hope of getting, due to their habit of bodily abuse. We don't give precious organs to people who will only turn around and keep drinking or taking drugs.
You might imagine by now that I and my fellow care givers are cold, heartless people to be discounting people so easily. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, in many cases an emotional trauma or mental illness has a role in these unfortunate events, in which case we truly hope they can get the help they need to get their lives back. If they have loving, caring spouses or families, AND they have decent insurance, chances are they will get the help they need. Problem is, many more are outcasts for one reason or another, no support systems, no insurance, no one to truly care what happens to them. These people are by now totally embittered to society as a whole, and the resources available to them are pathetic to say the least. Many would require the toughest of love, if it was even available to them, to straighten them out, to provide some sense of purpose and belonging to them, as well as a sense of responsibility to themselves and the people around them. They are damaged goods, a product of a society that cares more about shoving democracy down the throats of strangers thousands of miles away than the well being of it's own citizens.
Can we as caregivers do much more than we already do, bringing them back from deaths' door and sending them back to the world that encouraged them to behave so? You tell me. I dodge their swings, I ignore their curses, I clean their butts when they crap their beds, I feed them when I have to keep their hands tied down, and I never take it personally. Sometimes when they laugh and brag about how they are going to take another stab at it as soon as the county mental health clinic cuts them loose, I just smile and keep my mouth shut. Because I know they are right. The so called shrinks there will ask them if they intend to do it again, they will smile most angelic and insist they never would, and the ass hole will sign them out and let them go, because they need the bed for the next one on their way. There's no funding for long term, legally enforced psychiatric care, because the money is better spent by us good citizens on football stadiums and other much needed social programs. The kindest thing we could do for them is to hand them a pamphlet entitled "How to do it right, the proper way to commit suicide". But, we can't do that, that would be crass and heartless. But at least it would be honest.
I do not fear death. I fear madness. I fear despair. I fear a stroke or some other debilitating occurrence which would place me at the good mercies of a health care system that tends to bottom line rather than any quality of life it might could retrieve for me in the hour of my greatest need. But, in the meantime, if you come to me, and do not attempt to bite me or hit me or sicken me with your lame brand of kill yourself humor, I will hold your hand, I will talk with you, I will do everything a man in my position can do to make you comfortable and help get you well again, and if nothing else, I will care about you. Because you, but for the grace of Bob, are I. And a beautiful mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Being the chosen ones, let's go screw with somebody

The Florida Christian Coalition, being the fine upstanding God-fearing Americans that they are, have decided we need protection from those evil homo sex u wals that dare want to share their love within the bonds of matrimony. They are busy gathering signatures to put on the ballot an amendment to the State constitution to define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman. Bob knows there are plenty enough homophobes in this state to accomplish such an initiative. To bad we don't have an equal number of warophobes, povertyphobes, or homelessphobes.
Now, me, personally, you will never find stirring a drink with an umbrella in a gay bar. The flaming ones, the ones who put on such a grand show it's embarrassing to witness, piss me off, if only for the effect they have on their own cause. And please, make one pass at me and I will let you off with a friendly warning....twice....well.
Other than that, no problem. Love who you want. I think it's wonderful. I'm all for a person walking the path that Bob laid down for them. No sane person in their right mind would expose themselves to such abuse, so no, don't EVEN suggest to me that it's a choice. Not unless you want that "You are really a clueless, stupid, and mean human being" look I am rather good at giving someone.
Those good Christians, the ones who have not been rushing to the orphanages and state homes to adopt all these foster kids, also would not want our poor parent-less kids to suffer the terrible consequences of being adopted by two loving, caring people of the same sex. In retrospect, I would have been thrilled to have been adopted by two sasquaches who actually wanted to provide me a stable home, a good upbringing, and yes, gasp, love. However, it was deemed necessary to keep my moving around from home to good christian home rather than expose me to the ills of homosexuality, which certainly would have infected me with the gay virus.
So, when they bring you the petition and ask you to sign it, go right on ahead, because Bob knows we all need to be protected from the hordes of married gays that will be stalking our Walmarts and Publix's, infecting us all with the vibes such couples would be sending out all around them. God forbid!

It could have been worse.......

The air-conditioner repair man could have been a serial killer. Either he wasn't, or he needed the money. Anyway, for those of you who have been waiting with bated breath as to the outcome of my heat stress woes, here's the straight skinny.
Guy shows up at a reasonable time, and we discuss the problem. He says let's check the gas pressure and he does and sure enough, I'm down by a couple of pounds. He thinks it probably was a very slow leak, and if it hasn't gotten worse in the interim, the pressure should hold for awhile. If not, the gas will leak back out before the summer is over and THEN we know we have a much more expensive problem.
I like this guy. He didn't make any effort to try and sell me a new unit, at least not for now, and he didn't go looking for some expensive part to replace. He just charged me the basic service charge plus the cost of the freon, so I got off at less than a hundred bucks, when I was expecting to shell out twice that at least. I do see a new unit in the future, but that's gonna have to be in that future when The Michael somehow comes up with a chunk of change.
Now, about that wet, lush patch of grass growing right over the septic tank that the goats have been avoiding........

Anticipation versus Dread

Well, the air conditioner miraculously worked just fine all day yesterday, however, the desperate call to the repair man has already been made. So today I get to wait around the house for up to four hours for the man to show up and scratch his head and ask "What did you say was wrong with it?" and "That'll be 70 bucks please."
I think maybe I had never fully defrosted that damn coil all along until night before last when I left for work around 6:25, leaving the blower fan running so that any trace of ice would have melted off before the wife turned the thermostat back to auto and cool, and since the kids left to return home, the interior heat and humidity load was reduced, allowing the unit, even in it's compromised condition, to stay ahead of any icing on the coil. That's my theory, at least. I'm sure the repair man will hook up his specialized equipment, chant some ancient spells, and with the wisdom that comes from knowledge, totally blow my theory right out of the water. Whatever, I just want him to fix the damn thing, not tell me it will cost half as much to do so as just replace the thing, neither of which I can really afford. If he simply tells me that I somehow overcame a temporary quirk these things are known to have, and only charges me the 70 bucks to crown me an accidental genius, I will have to be happy about it. Bob, I wish I knew more about just a couple of things rather than a little bit about just about everything. The former could actually be worth something.
OK, This is just the prequel to "The Great Air-conditioning Caper". I shall report back the fiasco that is sure to occur once the villain, or hero, depending on the outcome, comes on the scene and does the voodoo that he do so well.......

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I returned from work to the homestead to find three very unhappy campers. The crux of their unhappiness rested with the fact that without my constant, expert intervention, the air-conditioner was doing an excellent job of making a block of ice on the coils, but a piss poor job of cooling the mansion. Alas, it seems as tho the coolant leak has only gotten worse, and the machine is barely able to keep 2 degrees ahead of the outside temperatures, which are in the mid nineties now. I can understand their angst.
I dug out the phone book at work and did some how-much-is-this-gonna-hurt reconnoissance. The gist of it is that you have to pay a just-showing-up charge of around 80 bucks. Plus fuel surcharge (you have to pay THEM for their gas getting to you). Plus parts. Plus labor. Plus coolant, so much by the pound. This stuff, a gas mind you, comes in POUNDS? Yea, right. I thought they taught me in high school that gases are measured in cubic units, but maybe I missed something somewhere. One shop quoted me lower prices for everything all around, but BOB knows they are probably low balling me just to get started on my wallet. Whatever, they have me by my hot, sweaty......well, you know.
Looks like I'm gonna have to short Peter to pay Paul this payday. Could I suffer the remainder of the summer without the air? Probably, albeit miserably. But the furniture and computer and anything else that can suck up the humidity and warp would probably differ with that opinion. I know the wife would be giving me those I'm-trying-desperately-to-think-you-actuallly-care-about-me eyes until those cool breezes return sometime next year. Around Christmas. Loaded with humidity.
These are the joys of home-ownership. Instead of outrageous rent increases, you get costly breakdowns in essential life support systems. I could easily refinance this loan and repair everything, except that our credit has suffered the effects of occasional breakdowns that ate on time payments on other things. It's a vicious circle. However, we shall prevail. We always do. Somehow. Someway. Anyone interested in a spare kidney?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bob I wish I had something to post today!

Well, it's another hot day here at the Fabulous Goat Ranch and Sandlot Estate. The evil twin and her boyfriend drove up last night for a visit. She and her sister just turned 32, and they have the same stay young and hot genes that makes their mother the pearl of my filthy eye. I think her boyfriend is younger than her, and, of course, he acts like it. Whatever, seems the women in our family prefer their studs on the young side. I guess they think we are easier to manipulate....hehe.
The three of them left to visit the grand matriarch who refuses to give up after hip fractures, strokes, you name it, this old gal puts the ever-ready bunny to shame. She'll meet her maker when she's damn good and ready. When I first met the old battle-axe, she was not impressed, thinking her daughter would have done better by the svelte cuban she had been dating. That cuban even got out of his car at an intersection in a stalker type effort to discuss the mutual object of our desires one day, and I thought I was going to have to get out of the car and tazer the SOB, but luckily the light turned green, and I left him dashing back to his car amongst the horns of alot of angry drivers stuck behind him. Whatever, unethenic little old me won the prize, and it was little old me who helped care for the mean old woman after she was disabled by the symptoms of old age, including using my medical expertise to keep her out of the emergency room whenever possible. She's now in a nursing home, far outstripping anybody's ability to take care of her. And I think she actually got around to liking me. Imagine that.
Luckily, we just got three fresh movies from Netflix, so the evening shouldn't be a total bore. They are out driving around right now in the car I just did the brake job on, so I have so many fingers crossed right now I can barely type. Tomorrow I have to go back to work, another 12 hour shift trying to keep 8 nurses happy and helping to keep 16 very sick people alive.
Hopefully, the ones that need to die will do so despite our efforts to the contrary. And hopefully, those that do survive will do so with some quality of life afterwards. The real perks of my job sometimes seem to be few and far between, but those I do have are magnificent, in the great scheme of things. I just hate getting in Bobs' way, ya know?
If you came looking today for a well written, in depth look into the mysterious, the unknown, or the truly side splitting, I am so sorry that I disappointed you. However, if you just stick with me, who knows, there might be a meteor headed this way with my name written all over it, and if I don't zip when I should have zagged, the story that follows should be worth the visit!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Captains Log: Mydate 15082005 EST

As the wife set about cleaning the house, I ventured out into the morning heat to inspect the brakes on the Focus. The wheels came off easily enough, and a quick visual revealed that the brake pads were indeed on their last legs. After studying the complex mechanism that secured the pads to the thingamajig to the rotor, I decided that short of some secret lying in wait for me to discover buried beneath the black grease, I could do this. It's a guy thing. If it's not electronic, it CAN be done.
Then I discover that the bolts mounting the brake assembly to the wheel is a covered hex pin, and as is always the case in situations like this, I had every hex there was just short of the size needed. Well, what the hell, good excuse as any to add yet another tool to my arsenal. So I hop into the goat-mobile and dash down to the auto parts store hoping like hell they have the hex wrench as well as the pads, and that I could afford both. The guy at the parts desk was very helpful, retrieving a new said hex pin to see if the socket hex I had discovered in the tools aisle was the correct size. It was, and the cheapest set of pads were in the budget as well. which is not to say I could actually afford these things, just that something else was going to have to wait it's turn to get paid. One of the rotors was getting pretty badly gouged out and I could not afford to let it go any longer.
Back at ranch, I proceeded to try out my theory that these hex pins were the key to disassembly of the brakes, and much to my relief, they were. After prying apart the pads with a screwdriver, there was plenty of play to pull the caliper off the wheel, revealing the true extent of pad wear. By this time the sweat is really pouring off of me, into my eyes, so I had to take a break to grab a sweat band and grab something to drink. Then it was back to the task, figuring out exactly how the pads were attached to the assembly and prying them loose. The spring clips were alot more complicated than the Escorts brakes, and it took some study to figure out how to manipulate them to get the new pads onto their mounts. But, being the incredibly brilliant and foolhardy do-it-yourselfer that I am, I got them all installed exactly the way I had found them.
The whole thing slid onto the rotor nicely and the hex bolts lined up easily, and within no time, I had the right side completed. Then, it was back on with the tire, jack down the right side, and head over to the left, to repeat the whole procedure, after a smoke break and a drink and sopping some of the sweat off me with a towel. By now my t-shirt beneath my coveralls was soaking wet, and my hands blacker than a republicans' heart. In about two-thirds the time it took me to do the right side I had the left side completed and the tire back on. All that was left to do was test drive it, and after pumping the brake puddle back up, I took a very short trip up the road to listen for the grinding, which was now gone, mission accomplished. When I got back I checked the tires since they appeared to be kind of squat, and sure enough, the pressure in all of them was terribly low, so I spent another 15 minutes with my trusty little air pump bringing them back to their optimum 32 lbs of pressure. Now I had a pretty good idea why the mileage i had gotten during the trip yesterday wasn't as good as I thought it should be.......stupid me should have checked the pressure BEFORE we left....DUH!
I would have planned the much needed oil change for tomorrow, but that's gonna have to wait till payday, which means it won't get done till next week maybe. At least I got the paper trash burned today, another task out of the way, and the house really looks nice after my wife had her shot at it. She even bathed the dog, and brushed out enough hair to make another, albeit smaller, dog out it, which we might fashion into the likeness of a yorkshire terrier and sell to someone for $500. We'll just assure them it's a VERY well trained dog that needs little maintenance, and will never bark.
Oh, and the debauchery turned out quite well, thank you. Since neither me or the wife had to work all THAT hard today and nothing really hurts, we might turn in a repeat performance. Debauchery is fun and economical, and will not impact the budget any more than it has been already. We will have to keep the volume down, however, as the evil twin and her boyfriend will be visiting tonight. We wouldn't want to scald their young, impressionable ears, now would we? He he.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

This summer of my discontent.....

I and the wife are lazing around the house today, listening to Prairie Home Companion, while the air conditioner struggles to keep the temperature below eighty and dry, while it's 94 and muggy as a sponge outside. The goats managed to trim down some of the front "yard" before the heat got to them and I returned them to the coolness of their pen area beneath the oaks. Every once in awhile I have to turn the thermostat to FAN and let the outside coils shed their ice build-up. I'm sure the unit is low on freon, but I'm just dealing with the hassle until some extra cash manifests itself to offer up to the air-conditioner repair God, who I am sure will demand a hefty sacrifice.
We took a little trip, if you can call a whole tanks worth of gas little, to a small town down south called Cassadega. It's a nondescript little place that is home to a community of spiritualists and mediums. The wife has really gotten into this stuff, so it was a pilgrimage of sorts for her. The two twins, the kid, and the new son-in-law met us down there. We toured the several shops selling pendents, stones, and other magical paraphernalia, but didn't have the money, nor I the inclination, to splurge for a reading from one of the many "certified" mediums that offer their services for a price. We did restock our sage supply and purchased a few stones, which are purported to enhance certain aspects of dealing with life. We had a nice little pik-nik under an aging gazebo down by the lake, while I went around with the camera and camcorder capturing the flavor of the place and perhaps a few ghost images. Since it was a hazy day, there were no lens flares or reflections intruding on my optics, so there were no globes or ghostly images to delight the wife. I try.
Today is our 13th wedding anniversary. Thirteen happens to be my lucky number, however, unfortunately, my luck never did extend itself to money. So no night on the town, no gifts other than what we already got yesterday, just a nice dinner and relaxation at home, which I hope will devolve into pure, raw debauchery. One thing I and the wife have always enjoyed when we aren't exhausted or something hurts is our debauchery. Of course, it's a milder form of debauchery than it used to be, but it's still working for us. We try.
Tomorrow I have to experiment with removing the tires from our newer car and investigating the grinding noise from the brakes. I am hoping like hell that the front brake pads are just thinner than they appear from outside inspection, and that replacing the pads on anti-lock brakes is not more complicated than on standard ones, which I figured out how to do with the older car years ago. If not, then it's another sacrifice to the brake-job god, who yes, demands more than I have in cash on hand.
What is really burning me is the ever increasing price of gas. The price of this commodity has nothing to do whatsoever with how much it costs to produce. We are simply at the mercy of speculators who figure out every excuse they can come up with to declare that a barrel of oil costs X amount. Now, if there was REALLY a reason that that barrel of oil cost so much more today than it did yesterday, then the oil companies would not be making that much more in profit. However, as the price of oil goes up, so does the record and obscene profits the oil companies rake in. And we, the sheep of the world, with no one in authority with the balls to put a stop to it, just have to suck up and pay it. We have no choice. We have to get to work, and our brilliant government has made no effort whatsoever to provide us with alternate methods of getting around.
Yes, you guys in New York and Chicago have your subways, we guys down south here have nothing but asphalt ribbons. Those of us who have had the good fortune to be so well off we can buy a hulking tank of a vehicle that costs as much as my home, and gets 6 inches per gallon of gas, are just now discovering that they might have to cut back on their daily cups at star-bucks. The rest of us are feeling our budgets squeezed like never before. My boss is not rushing to raise my pay to deal with this spiraling out of control increase in my cost of living. So, the ordinary bills of living are becoming ominous things that lie in wait in the mailbox to burn your fingertips when you touch them. Our leaders in Washington could care less. The economy is humming along, they say. That's news to me, and to alot of people living on the edge. Well, this is capitalism.
Them that's got get more and more while us that don't just don't. Whatever, it's never going to change. The two fold increase in the homeless population here locally hasn't passed that threshold where enough of us are threatened by it. I know that as a good American, I have to realize that my station in life has totally been my responsibility and is my failure.
Well, fine, I will scale back my desire to just be comfortable and get used to the idea that I haven't worked hard enough to deserve it. But, in the meantime, I will rail against the machine, cause I really am a good American.......one pissed off man with a loud mouth, an opinion, and the audacity to express it.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

How to lose a fight and influence people........

I was 15 years old, and had been placed with a wonderful family in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Ed was a butcher at the local supermarket, and he got me my very first job there as a bag-boy. Let me tell you, there's nothing more exciting to a "welfare" kid then to resemble a "regular" kid and enjoy such wonders as earning your own spending money and getting to know people outside of home and school. I quickly established the mechanics of loading those paper bags just right to fit everything evenly without squishing stuff in the minimum number of bags without making any one to heavy. It rained alot that summer and I would come home with water-swollen feet and a smile on my face. Ed promised me that if I kept up the good work, he would buy me a motorbike and I'd pay him back. My last family hadn't even bothered to get me a bicycle.
Now, by then I was nearing the end of what little growing I was going to accomplish, which to my horror was no where near where it was supposed to be. Most kids my age had long passed me by in the height department. Well, when you find yourself in those circumstances, the best thing you can do is just keep your head down. My only problem was my mouth. It had a mind of it's own. It didn't care if the kid calling me a punk or some other stupid thing was a full foot taller than me. It just answered back. I also wore glasses, which only added to their repertoire of insults. Such was life. My tendency to give back as good as I got in the verbal arena almost insured I was going to force my tormentors to carry it to the next level. So telling them to go fuck themselves was probably not the most brilliant strategy for avoiding conflict, but I just couldn't help it. THEY were bothering ME, not vice versa, so, yea, they could go fuck themselves, dammit!
Well, one guy working at the supermarket decided he didn't like me, and started informing me of that fact shortly after I started working there. I had never once looked at him funny or said anything derogatory to him, but I guess some people feel it is their mission in life to have someone fear them. Problem was, I wasn't fearing him. He'd tell me how ugly I was, or stupid, or short, or some other brilliant observation, and I'd disagree with him. He'd get in my face, I'd stare him back down. He didn't like that. And I didn't care. He was smart enough not to get violent with me while on the job, but he'd quietly threaten me in the parking lot every chance he got. My rolling my eyes at him or just ignoring his threats really got him boiling. It was soon to boil over.
That summer was the first time I'd been allowed to pretty much go where I wished, as long as my foster family knew where I was. I always went where I asked to go, and got back when promised. These people had given me the first respect and trust I had ever experienced, and I wasn't about to let them down. So, this day I was walking into town to a photo shop that carried a certain kind of film I needed for this Agfa camera someone had given me. Well, I'm almost to the store, and had my head down as I walked, when I heard off to my right, "Hey, you little fucker, I'm gonna kick your ass!"
I glanced right, and straight at me was walking my protagonist, his face full of hatred, and he closed the distance before I could even register what was about to happen to me. Now, this was not the first fight I had ever been in. I had done my share of bobbing and weaving, even getting in a few shots, but that was years ago when most of my bullies were not that much bigger than me. This guy was something like five feet seven or eight, and I was barely clearing five period. Well, my fight or flight computer quickly calculated the odds, and the damn thing came up with a fantastic reflex strategy that to this day will go down in my personal history as FUBAR. Ask someone what FUBAR stands for.
Just as his fist slammed into the side of my face, I dropped. Not from the impact, mind you, but from my legs just folding up under me. I went down fairly hard, seeing stars from his blow, and incredible reflex strategy instructed my about to be battered body to just curl up in a ball. Now, I know he might have been able to outrun me, but my smarter self would have gone with that option had my instinct been allowed to run the show. I saw no shame whatsoever in prey animals running like hell from cheetahs, which is what this scenario most closely resembled. But NOOOOO. Here I was on the ground, with this pissed-off bad boy kicking me like a deflated football. Somehow, I managed to cover my vital organs and ribcage, but he pretty much made hamburger out of every other exposed surface. He finally got tired, and probably a bit discouraged at me not fighting back, and just spit on me and stomped off, cursing. I uncovered and looked around thru my one good eye, trying not to cry or scream out from the pain, and looking up I saw what must have been a friend of his leaning against his bike, shaking his head. He looked at me with this rather pained look, and asked. "Why didn't you at least try and fight back? Maybe you wouldn't be so messed up right now?" I didn't have anything to say to him, cause things had happened way to fast and I had no idea why I reacted the way I did. All I knew was I had suffered one hell of a beating, and I just wanted to limp home. "You gonna be OK, kid?" Mouth once again, never learning it's lesson, simply responded...."A little fucking late to be asking that, asshole." I said that as I was walking away, so he either didn't hear me or didn't care. Thank god.
Well, I got home and everybody was shocked to see this messed up, bleeding, black and blue and swollen everywhere kid stumbling into the living room. I explained how I'd been jumped, and by who, trying not to include any details to add to my shame. Ed didn't say anything. He didn't give me that "you little pussy" look I was expected from a father figure. His wife tended my wounds and expressed her outrage. But I went back to work the next day, a bit tenderly, not about to wimp out.
When my shocked coworkers and manager asked me what had happened, I had no problems whatsoever telling them the truth. Their reactions were those of people not surprised, but still angry. Either bully boy hadn't been scheduled to work that day or he was too afraid to come to work, all I know is he didn't have a job anymore, at least at that supermarket. He came in the next day, when I was off, and was surprised to be handed his walking papers. He was also warned never to go near me again if he didn't want to look like a certain beat up little kid. Ed was a quiet man, but more than capable of making his feelings known. Needless to say I never saw this creep again, and kept my job till the welfare people intervened in my new life and screwed it up again.
I'm truly sorry if any man reading this feels I let the gender down. I'm truly sorry that you have this insane idea that the measure of a man is carried in his fists. I will not apologize for standing up for myself when verbally abused, or running when avoidance is the better part of valor. I am alive, in one piece, and that guy ended up in prison, where the measure of a man is how many bitches he has. It could have been worse. I could have had this insane idea that I could get ahold of a gun and shoot those (censored) who assaulted me without provocation, which is happening now in this crazy age of ours. So if you are one of those dads encouraging your sons to be bad-asses, then you truly have my pity. The odds have shifted.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Coming back,,,,,,

On December 7th, 1941, the United States, despite it's desire to just hide it's head in the sand and mind it's own business, was forced to take up arms and defend itself against two of the most insidious evils the world had ever known, the original Axis of Evil, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. We were not out to police the world, and we were not after oil fields beneath someone else's land. We had our own problems to deal with, so much so we turned a blind eye to the atrocities being committed by Hitler and Tojo. But, push came to shove. We had no choice but to push back. Our very survival was at stake.

So, the idea of the citizen soldier was a no-brainer. Sacrifice was a given, which at that time was not a foreign concept to Americans, as we were getting good at it thanks to the great depression. Many waited there turn for the draft, many more just signed up and got on with the business of protecting their homes, their families, their country. There were no grey areas to wallow in, the lines were clear, it was us or them. We knew exactly who "them" was, and "them" never once gave us reason to question our need to kill every damn one we could.

America got the ultimate bitch-slap, starting with the attack on Pearl Harbor. We had built a grand navy, one we had proudly and arrogantly considered the equal of any. The Japanese showed us how easily a plywood and fabric mosquito with a bomb or torpedo could reduce those dreadnoughts to so much scrap metal. When our Sherman tanks, pride of General Motors, met the Tiger and Panther tanks of the German Weirmacht, it was like a kid with a bb gun taking on Godzilla. It was the ultimate wake-up call and alot of good men died for it.

With time, incredible luck, strategic brilliance, and a defense industry that had no choice but get it's shit together and start producing adequate, if not superior weapons of war, the sleeping giant that Admiral Yamamoto of the Japanese Imperial Navy feared so much finally awoke and turned the tide. Faced with a fanatic culture that could not understand the concept of surrender, President Harry Truman had to make the most difficult moral choice ever made by one human being in the history of the world, and ordered the use of the atomic bomb, and the American soldier was finally able to come home and get back to the business of living a "normal" life, getting a job, having a family, and trying to put the most horrible images a person could carry around inside them away in a safe place. And somehow, they did it.

Sure, there were no lack of documentaries, movies, and books covering every minute detail of the great war. We of the next generation sat on the floor in front of our black and white televisions and watched the likes of John Wayne and Clarke Gable win the war in a white hat, sanitized way that our fathers watched without much comment. What could they say? They helped win the war, the came back alive, it was over. We might have asked them once or twice, but were discouraged from asking a third time, for prosperity and better standards of living now had our attentions. It all faded into history.

Then imagine our delemna when Vietnam happened and the vets came trickling home, silent at first, then more and more vocal as things began to get surreal. No ticker tape parades welcomed the sons of the greatest generation, no, if they got any welcome at all it was by protesters taking their frustrations out on the hapless soldiers. Now what was one to say? That they had never really been sure who the enemy was? That maybe perhaps the Americans weren't wearing the white hats this time? That they might have committed murder, yet weren't even sure one way or another? And what of drugs, and agent orange, and post traumatic stress? Their fathers had not returned whining and complaining, and to speak out was to be looked at as perhaps not patriotic, or even cowardly, even by their own comrades. What, for Gods sake had gone wrong?

What we had assumed all along was that our grandfathers and fathers had right and might and Gods' good grace on their side, and there was nothing to talk about. Oh, my friends, there was plenty of horror pent up inside those aging men. They to had witnessed and participated in things that John Wayne wasn't about to portray in those old war movies. We had this nieve idea that a just war was a sterile, straightforward affair, with us playing by the rules and our enemy bayoneting babies and barbecuing them. Those men had no time for rules, they did what they had to do to survive and overcome an enemy that was in many ways superior in training and weapons. In the fog of war, the dog face gave precious little more quarter to the enemy than they had given to us. Yes, we honored the Geneva Conventions when it was convenient, and we could not be accused of wholesale massacres on a regular basis, but our hands were not as clean as we would like to believe. War is dirty, no matter why or how you fight it, and if you honestly think young men can be thrown into that grinder and not be fundamentally changed, then you need a clue.

So, when the next battle cry arises, and you proudly give your sons and daughters over to the dogs of war, please remember one thing. Grandpa had damn good reasons for keeping his experiences close to his vest. Your dad came out of Nam a changed man, human perhaps, but wounded in some way you may never understand. And when you call your son on the satellite phone from the middle east, tell him you love him, just come home in one piece, and you both can take it from there. The boy you sent away to war will come back a man, and he will tell you what he needs to tell you, and the best thing you can do is just listen. He'll tell his story in good time, when it's safe to do so.

Welcome home, Brother, I'm listening.

Something I've noticed.....ALERT!

OK, we all know the aggravation and invasion of our spaces that have been thrown at us by buttwipe spammers. Advertisers would print ads on our toilet paper if they could; it seems there is no level these scumbags would not stoop to in their efforts to try and sell us something. Well, imagine my disgust when I read thru the replies to one of my posts and discover a "comment" that is nothing but a link to an advertiser! It was the only one I'd seen this far and thought maybe it was just one of those rare little dweebs picking out random blogs to slip some of their insidious little sales pitches into, but then I visit my buddy Buffalo and discover another one tacked onto his! It was made out to appear to be commenting on the subject of his post, but anyone with a brain would have noticed just how out of place and off-subject it was. Here we go, folks, looks like our days of innocence are over! Now we are going to have to figure out a way to screen out spam from our blogs, or hope perhaps that Blogger can do it for us. Personally, I would like to see Buffalo backtrack that SOB and explain to him in great and painful detail the physics involved in having the barrel of a .45 rammed up your ass.
OK, if any of you out there involved in this rude and counter-productive behavior happen to be reading this post, I want to explain something to you. It is painfully obvious that you have no common sense whatsoever. It is painfully clear that your parents did one piss poor job of raising you with any values whatsoever. You are the kind of people who would sell advertising space on your parent's tombstones if you thought it might make you a buck. Your lives must be sad, empty, and lacking in any true purpose if the only thing you can think to do with your life is to taint everything around you. I would sooner share a beer with an axe murderer than to knowingly walk on the same sidewalk as you. If you suffered from some psychological disorder which caused you to behave the way you do, I might could understand, but you damn well know what you are doing and the effect it has on society as a whole. You just don't care. You have no empathy whatsoever, which puts you in the same category as a serial killer, you just haven't got the gonads to just go out and start killing people. At least then we'd have the all clear to just hunt you down and put you out of your mad-dog misery like we would do any rabid animal.
To my blogging brethren, I want to apologize if this sounds over the top and melodramatic, but when you let what might seem to be small and insignificant irritations slide by without comment, you give them license. Nazi's, Klansmen, and others of their ilk flourish in vacuums. They will NOT flourish on MY blog!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

So many discriminations, so little time.......

Alley and her notebooks garnered what may be a record setting 30 plus responses to her post concerning the effect of the media's definition of what men should be attracted to on men that are not held hostage to this brainwashing. It has had an effect on men and women alike, and not a pretty one. If Marilyn Monroe had been resurrected in this day and age she surely would have killed herself again (if she HAD died from her own actions, that is, the jury still being out on that one) as she would no longer fit the mold of perfection she enjoyed in her time. The classical artists of days long past would certainly laugh if one of these rail thin waifs had approached them as a model, for healthy, and even ample, curves were considered the "come fuck me" look of the period. Yes, even then, "Media" had an effect on what was considered attractive, either reflecting societies tastes as understood or promoting some unrealistic model that may have not reflected reality as the masses truly knew it.
I and many other men of less than "optimum" stature fully understand what it is like to exist in the shadow of desirability. Due to having been born of parents who would not have carried forth genes for a smaller stature had natural selection had it's way, we find ourselves coming up short in a world where the majority of men have left us......beneath. We function perfectly well down here, thank you, not having to fight off hulking barbarians at the gates, but we still have to run the gauntlet of attraction when it comes to finding mates willing to bear our children, or simply just rocking our smaller worlds.
Once we get through the nightmare of bullies, self-loathing, ill fitting clothing and shoes, and all those other delightful challenges of living in a taller and heavier mans' world, we eventually adapt and hopefully find joy in the advantages our compact and efficient sizes afford us, and believe me, there ARE advantages to NOT being super-sized.
I can already hear the howls of women out there who are offended at being labeled so shallow that they would automatically overlook a potential mate simply due to their height. They will also claim not to discriminate against our balding brethren. Yes, both us munchkins and cue-balls know that we can eventually find love, despite our "limitations", but here's something for you all to chew on.........One of the news programs ran a little experiment. They selected at random five average women, a few perhaps beautiful but none you'd consider having any trouble getting dates. They had these women rate five men in a lineup as to who they'd want to date. The men ranged from over six feet down to just over five. On the first round, of course, the bigger guys, who mind you, were not particularly better looking than the shorter ones, got the nod. THEN, they handed the women more details about the men and asked them to look again. The taller guys had problems, ranging from criminal histories to very poor jobs. The shortest of the men was a millionaire. Again, despite this, the women STILL preferred the taller ones. When asked why they would not consider the shorter guy, they all came back with various answers that all amounted to, "But he's so SHORT!" They tried this with three more sets of women, and the results were consistent.
Short guy was "screwed", no matter how he stacked up against his taller competitors.
Hollywood and the advertising industry have created the template for the perfect man and woman, and they could not have done it without the complicity of their customers. The likes of the National Enquirer get away with their bad behavior because enough of you can't get enough of their crappy rags. The cosmetics industry sells you tons of make-up and skin treatments which you have been told by intelligent people will not slow your aging process, yet they still have you convinced that you MUST stay young looking or suffer dire consequences. You look at those women who's bodies have been airbrushed to perfection on the covers of fashion magazines and you dive between the covers to find out that magic formula that will make you look just like them. Boys and girls, get real, because none of this crap you are being fed is.
We honestly have to start loving ourselves and celebrating our differences, or just shut up about it. My idea of the perfect Michael greets me every morning in the mirror. Best damn me I ever met. And my wife agrees. God I love that woman!

Monday, August 08, 2005

The passing of an Era.......

It is with great sadness that I and my fellow news addicts were informed that yesterday, Peter Jennings of ABC news passed away after a short battle with lung cancer. This man kept me informed for more than 20 years, and he did it better than anyone I knew despite the fact he hadn't even graduated from high school and wasn't even an American. Never had he betrayed my trust in his reporting; I knew that anything he passed onto us was as close to the truth and accurate as humanely possible. Like any good reporter, he had placed himself at the source of the news, in harms way, and he allowed himself to feel what he was seeing. He was strong, and resolute, but you always knew he was never above it all. If I could have lived my life with half the purpose and humility that this man did, I would truly be able to state with no hesitation that I had indeed lived!
We hear all the time about the "liberal media" and how the news is slanted to give more credibility to some left-wing agenda. I answer that assertion, at least at it applies to Peter, with a loud and unequivocal BULLSHIT! Peter reported it like it was, and if some Republican right-wing fundamentalist came across looking somewhat tarnished, then so be it. He had no agenda other than reporting the news, the way it happened, and I never witnessed him trying to spin the news to make anyone look worse than they already did, or even better than they deserved to be seen. Facts are facts, and that's what Peter gave us.
I have precious few heroes in this world, very few human beings that I place upon some pedestal and wish to emulate. If I had the nads to be a reporter, I would hope to have half the professionalism, thirst for knowledge, and character that I grew so comfortable with that World News Tonight became an addiction to me.

Peter, if you could send us back an interview with God himself, I have no doubt you would, without one ounce of spin on it.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Perilous Love

My wife is a klutz, Bob bless her. Not your garden variety trips over things on occasion type klutz, mind you, but olympic gold medal class klutz. She never met an object she couldn't careen into. Not only is she personally klutzy, but she is surrounded by an electromagnetic klutz field that causes OTHER people to drop things for no apparent reason other than they were in her presence. I think I have built up an immunity of sorts to her influence over the years as it doesn't seem to effect me near as much as strangers. Although I honestly think she runs into stuff that's nailed down to one place forever, if ANYTHING is moved a fraction of an inch, she will blunder into it. She is a shoe salesperson, and always running back and forth trying to keep up with customers, and she is so focused on her task at hand that she is totally oblivious to her surroundings, thus her surroundings are constantly getting in her way, especially if racks and tables get moved.

Now, it wouldn't be so bad in the overall scheme of things if it wasn't for the fact that she bruises so easily. If I look at her too hard, without those goo-goo eyes, of course, she will bruise. The woman is covered in them. And this is a problem for ME. Yes.....ME. I can see it now; wife gets into an accident, shows up in ER in unconscious state, nurse notices bruises all over body not connected to said accident......well....you get my drift. Next thing I know, I get a call, I rush to the hospital, and before I can find where my wife is, officer friendly and his cohort officer unfriendly take me aside and ask me if I'd answer a few questions. My only saving grace is that the kids and all her coworkers know what a klutz she is, but I honestly don't want to spend a night in a cell with large people who like small people for rather terrifying reasons while the cops investigate this obvious case of domestic abuse.

I HAVE considered having a cover story ready; that me and the wife enjoy an alternative lifestyle, but knowing my luck, I would probably end up admitting to violating about 17 archaic laws without even having had the pleasure of actually violating them, not that I or the wife are really into that kind of thing, if you know what I mean.....hehe.

My most memorable encounter with her klutz field was when we first moved into our double wide mansion. The steps hadn't been brought in yet, and we wanted to get in to look around right after the house had been hauled out to the lot and the two halves mated. So, I get the door open, then I get behind her to help her up to the door which is something like two and a half feet off the ground. So, of course, her foot slips off the threshold and is thrust by her downward momentum in between the aluminum slates that are installed between the bottom of the home and the ground. So here she is, stuck up to her thigh between two very thin and sharp sheets of aluminum, me holding her butt trying to keep her from falling backwards and slicing off the leg, all the while she's laughing so hard she pees her pants, which means she's peeing on ME, and I'm trying to overcome my own terror AND laughter at our delicate situation and still keep her from getting cut. Well, we both survived it with no great injury, other than my wet hands and lap and her wet jeans. And of course that whole leg was black and blue for weeks afterward.

She works late tonight and will probably share her new bruises with me while we are resting on the couch before we retire to bed for the night. I grouse and make faces and waste oxygen demanding she watch where she's going, she replies she can't help it, those tables keep jumping out in front of her. Just like we have for the last twelve years and probably will till she retires. And probably ever after.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Sad Expectations

I have a certain affinity for those seven men trapped aboard that Russian mini-sub, but I'm not all that surprised at their plight. As scared as Americans in general were of the Soviet juggernaut, the Soviet navy at least was a laughing stock as navies go. Their technology was always a tad behind ours, and they tried to even the score with brute numbers. I served on nuclear submarines, so I have license to make comparisons. Soviet submarines in general were fast, and although our subs could dash at a pretty fast clip, we had other priorities, that being stealth. Soviet subs were notoriously noisy, and you can be as fast as you want and still find a torpedo up your ass from a sub you didn't know was out there.....which was us. The Soviet navy bankrupted their country trying desperately to match our ability to remain undetected. Another fatal flaw that crippled them was their command structure. Soviet seamen had precious little training beyond their narrowly defined duties, and only the officers were allowed to understand the truly technical aspects of their departments. Plus, there were political officers assigned to every vessel to keep an eye on the Captain and crew and ensure everybody toed the party line. Imagine trying to serve on a U.S. Navy ship with a Chaplain looking over your shoulder making sure you made the sign of the cross and you might imagine how THAT felt. So, every year or so, even long after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Navy still suffers from the effects of it's poor technology and even worse training, costing them the lives of their brave countrymen to stupid accidents that need not happen, or poorly executed rescue attempts. When the Kursk went down, there were men aboard that boat who could have been saved, if only the Russians had asked for help immediately instead of tying to protect their stupid pride. We already know how inept they are, no sense in trying to deny it in this day in age. I pray for those seven men, and hope that this time they can survive, despite being sailors in the Russian Navy.


The wife and I settled on one two-player playstation video game that we both like. It's called Twisted Metal BLACK. And yes, it is one twisted game! You drive around tricked up vehicles designed to do one thing only....KILL anything that moves. Even though we have won all all the levels, we still enjoy playing it when there's nothing else to do.

Then, we decide one night to drag out a card/board game we used to play a few years back. Ever play Magic: The Gathering?
None of this eye-hand coordination crap; this game makes you think, and is no where near as frantic. Of course, my wife has put together a deck that kicks my figurative ass something like 5 times in a row before I wise up and realize I have a pathetic deck to play with. I try another combination, and ahhhhhh.....sweet victory. Now all I have to do is win again to prove it wasn't just dumb luck.

Games are very much like the family meal. They are an opportunity to share each others' company. Many of us eat our meals on our coffee tables in front of the television, but there's something to be said about having company or family over to gather around the actual dining table to share a meal and visit with each other instead of some distraction. Board games let you go at your own pace, poking fun at each other, doing your little victory dances, whatever, those fun things you just don't get to enjoy when you are enslaved to the game pad of a video game. Modern technology is a wonderful thing, but it can have a chilling effect on how we interact with each other. Try a board game tonight at the dinner table. You might meet someone you haven't seen in awhile......a loved one.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

On a lighter note.......

Despite having been raised in the country and having been exposed to the harsh truth of the food chain, I think I would make a piss-poor rancher, at least of meat animals. These goats me and the wife have adopted (which I affectionately refer to as my "four-legged lawnmowers") have become part of the family and I would have one hell of a time murdering any one of them to eat. It's a moot point anyway as I don't think we'd care much for goat meat anyway. I can't understand how goats ended up in the symbelism of satanism, considering that these little fellers have to be the sweetest and most socialized creatures short of the house animals that I have ever encountered. Yea, they're as stubborn as mules and will eat anything that can't outrun them, but they come when they hear the door open, and love to be scratched right between the horns. Ozzie, the runt of the three, loves to get behind you and butt you gently behind the knee. Billy, the middle stooge, is the crybaby, can't stand to be separated from the others. Mysty, the larger German breed without horns, is clearly the dominant but is the easiest to lead and calmest of the bunch. Together, these three miniature eating machines have kept my back forty (three fifths of the acre, actually) totally weed free, thus freeing me from the joys of pushing a lawnmower in 90+ heat and hellish humidity. I do have to tie them out strategically in the front area to clear what I want them to clear and not eat the good stuff. Funny thing about goats is this mindset they have that if it's just out of reach, it MUST be the good stuff. lol
Anyway, how could I ever hurt these sweet creatures? I couldn't. Which means if ever I was to manage to start a buffalo or ostridge ranch, you can bet I'd never form any kind of attachment with them. Yea......right.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The toll mounts.......

The emperor continues his litany of "stay the course" as we throw our young men at a problem we created and only the Iraqi people can solve. 20 soldiers, reservists no less, in two days, have been fed to this monster. Imagine the mindset these men must greet each new day with knowing there's a very good chance there's a roadside bomb waiting with their names on it and there's not a damn thing they can do about it. Yet, they soldier on, for they are warriors, and warriors attend to their duties with a fatalism and detachment that a civilian could not possibly function under, nor understand. What they do will have precious little effect in the grand scheme of things because ten years from now, we will have hopefully regained our sanity and pulled out our troops, and then the natives will clean up the mess in their own way, just like the Vietnamese did.
What becomes of Irag will be determined by the forces that have shaped that culture long before we ever got there, and it will not be the democratic nirvana we so naively are paying such a high price to shove down the throats of people who wouldn't know democracy or rule of law from their assholes. When you kill people for their own good they tend behave in ways diametrically opposite to your intentions, even if it's to their own detriment, just to spite you. The people of Irag do not possess the same ferocity of will to bring peace and freedom to their country that the terrorists have to bring it down, for they have never known that kind of life, and are not willing to die for some ethereal concept. Yes, you see them die standing in line to join the National Guard and Police, but in a country so torn apart economically, it's the paycheck that makes them risk it, not some sense of patriotism. As an idealist, I would say stick with it, get the job done, don't turn and run like we did before. As a realist, I can only hope we get rid of the most idiotic president this country ever, and arguably, elected, and with the swearing in of a president who can pronounce "Nuclear", get our act together and stop killing our brave young men and women in the name of stubborn ignorance.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Midsummers' Night Evening

It was a hot electric night, all of heaven taking a dump on my sandy acre, making ponds of the large depressions dug into my dirt road. The essence of flashbulbs in my face heralded the sonic thrust that battered the escort wagon as she bravely took to her task of getting me home alive, despite the one bald tires' attempts to hydroplane us into the other lane or altogether off the road. I arrived home and spent a few minutes strategically jockeying the car into a spot not flooded and thus kept my feet dry as I gingerly made my way to the steps and up into the double-wide wonder which I call home.
The wife, having gotten home earlier, had prepared a sumptuous feast of baked talapia, baked potatoes, corn and a salad, which according to my low brow tastes carefully developed over years of low budgets, was a feast fit for Gods, and since in THIS trailer I AM Lord, was fit for me. The wife would demote me a few notches to mere husband, but would do so with much love in her heart, for a mere husband has loved her dearly, and this has made her happy. Happy wife means happy husband, at least in my experience. Other definitions need not apply.
Upon completion of said culinary experience, I call forth the power of Imac, the Apple of my heart, the bearer of blogs and other good tidings, as well as a guide thru the minefield of broadcast television, which, as is most affordable, has become our opium of choice. Of course, the only new thing is Rock Star INXS, so we skip around the channels till it makes it's appearance, we watch it's half hour of how one becomes lead singer wisdom, then skip around thru re-runs again, both of us naked on the couch to add to the thrill of our exciting lives. Three flies keep us entertained as we seek to destroy these evil invaders of our magical realm, and with much frustration of trying to zero in on tiny dark dots which MUST die, we give up on the TV and run a bath, another one of those economical lifestyle activities we love so much to share, relaxing our sore muscles together in the relaxing nectar of the Gods: Hot Water.
By the time we've had our dose of aquatic nirvana, the clock has advanced to the zone of retreat, that retreat from awareness we both must take in order to give our brains a much needed respite from the horrors of our day. I make my rounds about the castle, insuring all lights are out, the entries are barred, and the dog is stationed at our bedroom door, ready to ward off the possum that sometimes visits the outside cat's food bowl in the night. We are hoping he gives equal attention to the burglar who would dare test our sanctum, at least waking us with his zeal to meet this new and unknown stranger attempting to break thru the door. I realize this canine friend of ours may not rise to the occasion with much ferocity, but I do know my Walther PPK/s will, thus I take to our bed with some measure of security.
We each adjust our electronic herald to our own personal times of awakening, and as I turn out the lights, she lays on her side and prepares to accept her soul mate to her back, in that cuddle which has been perfected by 13 years of not one night missed apart save one. We have that down pat. We fit together well considering our differing heights, but like they say, it's all good on the horizontal plain. I meld with her for the requisite five minutes or so, as she drifts off and my mind winds down, my leg between hers, my hand lovingly cupping a breast, and then I ease out to return to my side of the bed, the side that I command for myself, which I occupy upon my stomach, an arm thrust beneath my pillow, a leg hung out to the side. Perchance I dream, but the night claims me in it's dark embrace, and in what seems like the passing of a rapid minute, the alarm jerks me back to my drudge, and a new, same as the last day begins again.