Friday, May 31, 2013

Spring Rites

Linda and I have a lot of bird friendly shrubs and plants, and a few birdbaths and smallish ponds so we've created an avian sanctuary around the house. Just this afternoon as I was editing a story to be, I noted four cedar wax wings land on a chokeberry bush a dozen feet from my chair, an amazing looking bird appearing as if made of buff colored wax. We're home to cardinals and jays, goldfinch and catbirds and twenty other species that gather round every year, but none more prevalent than the common wren.

Outside my kitchen window are two metal basket frames filled with soil held by moss liners. In summer, petunias, bacopa, spike, snapdragons and even miniature roses provide scent and color to the cook's room. But in winter, and until we're driven in springtime to tackle all 30 some boxes and pots, they are an ugly sight indeed. Our iron heavy water stains the stucco underneath the baskets, the runoff dripping down the wall every day after I've soaked each frame. The moss deteriorates quickly in our climate, so it's a shoddy moth eaten mess in the best of times, but it's especially bad at the kitchen.

A pond is closeby, an arbor as well where clematis grows up one side, over the top and down the other side making shady cover for overheated birds. Two years ago I let barn swallows build a mud pocket nest near the front door stoop, the spot noted in my icon with the chair and screen door. The swallows were tossed out by finches, and the finches by what looks to be house wrens, but whatever they are we have constant companionship from feathered friends. And the proximity of the birds to the baskets means they rip them to shreds every spring, stealing hunks of stringy moss with which to build their nests.

A couple days ago while I was making coffee and standing at the sink I noted a female wren standing on the black basket frame, facing away from me and shivering as if it was January. I assumed she'd come as a theif, but to my surprise I spotted an opening beneath her tail, looking like a microscopic bovine vagina, yet opening and closing as if it were a fish mouth searching for a hook. It's not that I have no clue about the biology of animals, but I'd never actually witnessed the mating flex of a fluffy lady before, and I was both taken back and astounded that she was parading her tushy in front of my window...the very window beyond which I create food.

I hadn't spotted the male, but there he was all primped and ready, and he soon hopped on the female's behind as she cocked her tail out of the way and they rubbed parts together. I swear she looked embarrassed that her mate only lasted a moment before he jumped off for a nap, and he, while engaged, looked to the sky and closed his eyes as if he was imagining some fantasy bird he'd seen in Chick magazine.

It was off, on, off, on and then the big daddy took a little snooze while she plucked a few feathers away that were no doubt full of boy germs. He finally woke and stepped her way, probably to ask for a smoke or apologize for his prematurity, but she was having none of his blather; as he got near she raised her right foot and gave him such a whack! Oy! He took the hint, snatched a clawful of moss from my poor flowerbasket and took off in search of a branch crotch where the happy couple might lay the product of their umm...rubbing.

As if that wasn't bad enough, it happened again a day later, and then Linda witnessed another pair today. It's like my flower box has become the neighborhood love shack; like there's posters hung in trees, written in Avian claiming "you and your sweety will surely make tweety in Hotel' le Seedy" or some nonsense.

Then this afternoon as I was indisposed in the (hrmph) reading room, I spied a jackrabbit hopping past my window on his way to my front yard. When I finished...my chapter...I made my way to the very same kitchen window where debauchery reigned supreme, and wouldn't you know it near the arbor were a boy and girl rabbit doing that hard to get rub the noses sneak up behind her thing.

There's just all too much sex around here lately, and none of it has anything to do with me. I counted six nests so far within 30 feet of my shack door, all with little surprises inside. If they all make the journey to this side of the shell, that'll be about 13 more birds that will shiver in genetic pleasure and push their butts against my windows looking for some action next spring...and only God knows how many bunnies will be traipsing through my yard eating my vegetables once Bugs and his teenage mistress do their thing.

I wonder what the coyotes were howling about tonight. Wait! I think I can guess. At least they have the good taste to stay in the swamp and not act like those moral-less birds. I spose they already know the window box is too small for dogs.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Little Splash of Something

My ex business partner was having a picnic at a local lake and invited me to stop by. I wasn't thrilled about it, I'm not good in a crowd of strangers, particularly one that's nearly all a race other than my own. But as we seldom met anywhere but in studio I drove by so as to at least pay my respects.

It was an ok experience, I chatted with a few people I'd seen around and played an inning or two of pickup softball. When I decided to leave, the wife of one of the guys asked me for a ride on my bike. It seemed the thing to do so I agreed and set out for a patch of freeway where we might do a big circle, she could get her buzz and I could be a hero and then leave gracefully.

As we pulled away she wrapped herself around me like a python might, or a young teenage girl with a serious crush. I wrote it off to the fact that the bike looked fast and she wanted to make sure she was strapped in, but then I'm a little naive that way. On the route she mentioned that speed gets her off, that power makes her tremble, yadda yadda. Again I thought nothing of it save the girl was being playfully immature and maybe a little too intimate, not that I minded entirely of course, but as her husband the 6'8" football player waved us off I made a mental note to not get on his bad side if I could help it.

She continued to goad me to go fast while clutching me in various locations, none of them private particularly, but somewhat erogenous all the same. Finally, in hopes of keeping her quiet I cranked up, and as my friends and I called my bike "the rocket ship", it was only a few seconds before we were well over 100 mph and screaming down the interstate.

Suddenly she gripped me with her fingertips, nearly puncturing eight nail slits into my biceps as she hollered some random vulgarity; and then it was as if someone had dropped a water balloon between us. Her seat was above mine, forcing her swimsuit area squarely into the small of my back or perhaps I'd never have noticed; but as it was...it was unmistakable.

She was quite pleased with herself, and thanked me for helping her along just as she asked to go around one more time. I was dumbfounded, a mixture of lust and disgust washed over me; in essence I'd just had sex with another guy's wife yet all I was doing was driving fast. I didn't know whether to feel guilty or smug, but I did know I'd have to dry off so I turned a corner aiming to take another run around the airport. Naturally, it happened again, like I shouldn't have known. This time I pulled off onto a side road and took a breather (and lit a cigarette...how perfect is that? lol), asking as gently as I could if she'd move back on her seat just a bit so when I dropped her off at her husband's table I wouldn't still be dripping with honeydew...so to speak.

She thought it was quite funny and tried to convince me I had nothing to worry about. I tried my best to reconcile the concept that while my actions, as innocuous and innocently intentioned as they were, had resulted in a woman having multiple orgasms, I shouldn't worry about how her big daddy might feel should he happen to notice the glistening clothing we sported upon our return, not to mention his bride's stunningly radiant glow.

There wasn't much I could do, we'd left for a spin around the block and now it had been a half hour or more; it's not like I had a choice but to deliver her to the picnic and go my merry way, quickly if need be.

I did my best to go slow on the way back, but as luck would have it some toad nearly ran us off the road by cutting us off to make a quick cloverleaf exit, and in my blind anger I sped around him so as to flip him the appropriate finger signal. Orgasm number three shivered behind me, and another pint of girly whatever that is, rewet my already wet torso. It was no use stalling, I had to take her back straightaway. If I drove her any further my skin would start to wrinkle and then it'd be just too damned obvious we'd been doing the oblique nasty. At least as it was I could claim a weather anomaly, a sudden localized cloudburst with a 9 inch radius; or maybe we'd passed by a house fire and the firemen in their zeal to get equipment up and running had aimed poorly and shot a single burst of hydrant water that just happened to.....

We arrived unnoticed, her husband had run off to buy a pack of cigarettes, so she slipped off the bike and cleverly tied a sweater around her waist, as if it were an apron and she was about to get all messy in the kitchen. I was safe for the time being, not that I'd done anything wrong, but...

I waved to my business partner and said my goodbyes, blushing I'm sure at the idea that I'd just been taken for a ride in a bizarre sexual sense; while she just stood there and stared at me like a kitten looks at a fish tank, and then up came the biggest grin I'd ever seen. "Maybe another time" she said. "Yea, maybe" I answered, "when I've decided my life is over and I don't have the guts to pull the trigger myself" I added silently.

As I sped off my pessimist visualized a huge black man pounding my face, while his tiny white wife insisted that we hadn't done anything untoward ("Now stop that honey, you can't beat up every guy I orgasm on, or you'll never have time to rub my feet!"). But my Walter Mitty was damned happy with himself, having helped a woman to three orgasms in fifteen minutes, while not so much as lifting a finger (or anything else in my amazingly efficient arsenal). I liked that latter vision, so that's the one I stuck with, telekinetically gifted, charismatically oozing, physically omnipotent stud that I am.

I never saw them again, my partner and I soon split up and that particular motorcycle developed problems I couldn't afford to fix. But it sits in my garage now, allowed to exist on the off chance that someday I'll be able to resurrect the iron horse that gave me years of great fun and reams of yet untold stories; and once in a blue moon as I pass it by, I remember the "random dampening", and smile at another sparkly bauble in my dragon's pile of trinkets.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If my Father were God, Would I Still Have to Buy Him a Gift for Father's Day?

John: So whatcha gettin for your dad for Sunday Luke, more fishing tackle?

Luke: Yea yea, make fun. He's a practical fisherman, what can I tell ya. He doesn't like the overpriced junk from the pharasee bazaar so it's daredevils and wiggle worms or nothin.

John whispers "watch the daredevil stuff, you know how preachy He gets when He hears that name" and tips his head toward Jesus. Luke slaps his forehead and sheepishly grins, then nods his agreement

John: How bout you Judas, make up your mind yet?

Judas: Yup, and I bought it already, you guys it's so cool!

Mark: Well tell us already pinocchio, whatdja buy... a liar's poker rulebook?

Apostles laugh, point fingers. Jesus seems preoccupied, stares out window onto Gethsemene.

Judas: Very funny Mark; No, I got him a Castle Romanstien game for his Nebuchadnezzar 64. You start in this catacomb see, as an ordinary Jewish slave, and your enemy Pontius Pilate is on the throne in the High Rulers Palace; all you get is rags and a rusty knife to begin with and there's two centurians at your door, depending on the difficulty setting there might be more...

John: Funny stuff Judas, sounds a little like "Doom, the Three Wise Assasins"; you'll have to have us all over some day so we can take turns killing Pilate's mercenary bodyguards... So how bout you Jesus? What are you getting your dad for Father's day?

Jesus: I got him a Black and Decker workmate. It was on sale at the moneychangers and dad's been having lot of trouble lately with his sawhorses...

Matthew: He didn't mean Joe, Lord, he meant your real dad! You as stumped as usual?

Christ looks exasperated and stares at His feet while muttering in Aramaic

Jesus: Well wouldn't you be? What in heaven do you get the Guy that created everything? I come up with some cool item I think is finally gonna make Him sit up and applaud, and He just says "Oh thanks, I made that ya know"; Yea, some fun that is. And then wrapping presents...it's like, why do I bother, like I can keep even a tiny secret from Mister Omniscience!

John (giggling): Oh man, every time I hear that line it cracks me up. Don't let your Mom hear you sayin that again or she'll have you counting to a thousand on her worry bead belt like last time. I don't envy you Jesus; I mean you'd think it'd be the coolest to have God for a Father, but I can see where it'd just be no fun at all.

Jesus: Fun? Did you say fun? When was the last time you saw the words God and fun in the same sentence? Yea, He's a barrel of monkeys alright; Smite this, Smite that... sometimes he just scares the bejeebers outa me with all that God's wrath stuff, I don't want Him turnin' Me into a pillar of salt cuz I bought him chocolate covered scarabs and He had His all loving heart set on a weekend pass for Fertile Cresentland!

Judas: I might have just the thing for ya bud, I thought it up over the winter while you were out roaming in the desert. How bout this t-shirt inscribed "Smoter in Charge"? Of course, I couldn't get it made in extra-universe/tall so it probably won't fit on anything but His thumb, but he can hang it over His desk or maybe slip a string through it and wear it as a fake eyepatch so the Archangels will always know who the big dog is!

Jesus (laughing): Man, I don't know what I'd do without you Judas, that's a perfect gift, thanks! You're the best friend a Son of God could ever have...for now at least.

Judas (smiling): No sweat Lord, but remember to forgive me if someday I slip and can't come up with a good idea; nobody's perfect ya know...well ok, You are, but I mean out of us mortals....

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pet Peeve #4 The Economics of Reality

I was just talking to a friend the other day, (he in his plexiglass coffin, smothered in African cockroaches and I in my parachute rig and yellow clogs,) about the word reality and what it's come to mean in the new millennium. Well, we got to it eventually but I have to admit our conversation kept wandering toward discussing all the fun times we've had as real livers of real life.

We've had great vacations no doubt, like the time we paid to be dropped off on a lifeless atoll and lived for over a month with only a bagful of Ghiradelli chocolate and another of generic cheese doodles to our names. If it weren't for the guys we'd brought along that would make up stupid contests for us to play, like the one where we used self fashioned coconut treebark rope between our teeth to drag sleds made of palmfronds loaded with crushed papaya and assorted centipedes a hundred yards to see who would be chosen ooglac and be blessed to carry the beedebeede torch on his way to the "Glad bag in an ammunition can" outhouse. I know you're probably saying, "Why that's nothin'! You should hear about MY vacations!" but I can't sit here all day so I'll give you the best stories I got.

Then there was the time we arranged for 25 beautiful chicks to chase me on the ruse that I was the Prince of Nonsensia. Who knew beautiful chicks weren't just petty goldiggers but so blinded by their ignorant greed they'd think Nonsensia was a country and they'd do me sexual favors just to have an hour in its national vault. HAHA, how stupid can you get! (They tell me it's just a principality, thus my "prince" title; can you dig it?) I'll bet the vault only had costume jewelry in it, supermodels aren't the milkiest coconuts in the banana tree...or whatever that saying is.

(Yea sure, ok...you had thirty chicks for your contest thingy. Yea and Al Qaeda guys get 12 vestibule virgins when they blow themselves up, tell me another story.)


Reality has ceased to exist as a definable word which is housed in a reliable dictionary. Reality has been co-opted and trademarked by those who would like a dollar for every time a boss says "you're fired" (Note Trumpy doesn't want to tm the phrase "you're hired" as negative sells, positive is ghey...and while we're at it, the word gay has been co-opted for the second time is as many centuries and repl... nevermind, I'm off message)

Why is it that we all discuss "reality" shows, when in "reality", there's nothing of "reality" in their "reality". Hey, if you want to try and convince me you choke down a pound of horse colon for fifty thousand dollars on your days off, go right ahead; I'm not buying it.

If they're going to steal the word right out from under us the least they could do is use it as intended. How bout a reality show in which people are stripped of all their possessions and then given a cardboard refrigerator box and two dollars in spare change, dumped near an inner city railroad bridge and made to eat a last meal of maggoty White Castle hamburger meat on moldy Krispy Creme donuts of the day (from a few days before Christmas, 2003). We could see contests like determining the true alcohol content in various brands of mouthwash, or which team can stay awake the longest so as to not suffer an iron pipe beating from a guy looking to steal their shopping carts and dumpster pantry items.

How bout one where the first guy to go is the one that refuses to shoot a random human being as chosen by the tribe leader. Or the last one to participate in a gang rape or say the burning of a cross or maybe the least proficient in teaching a five year old the art of the needle and spoon.

I know, one where you choose which bus of five is not wired to explode, and then you and your team board that bus for a trip to gradeschool. Wrong bus, eliminated from the game, hardly arguable; I don't know too many armchair quarterbacks who would be demanding the wrong team member won the million dollars if the price of failure was death.

It's sad to me when really cool words like reality become meaningless marketing claptrap, maybe they could do a show on how much money is made versus how much expended in any given "reality" show, as compared to say, a show that might have some connection to life as we know it. And it saddens me too that the act of humiliation has become far more profitable than that of dramatic entertainment or God help us, education; making financial inroads into our lives well beyond it's normal habitat of bdsm clubs and clown heavy circuses.

Yea I know, some people don't watch tv. Well bully for them, most people do and many of those people now have had it affirmed that their notion of screw everyone-get stuff, is not only acceptable, but damned entertaining and a fine way to win friends and influence people.

I hear there's a new reality in production working titled "Wife Swap". I don't have any details but I imagine it will be switching out woman-things and waiting for their confusion to begin when they have 2 preschool lunches to make instead of 3 high schoolers, and new food allergies to pay attention to when making dinner for their new, giggling brood. Just think, there's laundry to do and floors to swab and sex to have...oh wait...they wouldn't do that would they? Well if they think people are gonna tune in to see women having fun cleaning toilets, the show will be as much a reality as peace in the Middle East.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Winners and Losers sresoL dna srenniW

It's funny how easily I give up on myself; well, not funny I suppose, more annoying really. I'm sure it started in the womb as all good neuroses do. Maybe I was done cooking and had decided it was past time to poke my head out, but mom's cervix was in denial and refusing to budge a centimeter, so I just put my fetal hands in the air and sighed in submission and scratched another hash mark into the womb wall; cuz I knew if I'd made a big stink about it people would just get pissed at me and still refuse my request and then I'd be in trouble before I was even born for Nothin'!. Or maybe it was when the doc grabbed my tender head with a pliers on that day when mom's cervix finally said "hit the road punk", and I screamed at the doctor to stop squeezing, but he just smiled and said "it's a boy" like I hadn't already met my penis in the nine months I'd had nothing to do but play with myself, and so I just shrugged and let the monster compact my teeny brain with a steel torture device without putting up an argument, like I always do.

Or who knows, maybe it was later when Tim Davison wanted to fight over which comic book hero could kick all the others' asses, and the first thing he said was "no hitting in the eye", and I said "sure, ok" and then he hit me in the eye real hard and ran like a little girl, and I just stood there and cried, rubbing my blackening eye like I didn't know that was coming. And then moments later my guardian angel knew I was about to do something horrible so she starts right away, scolding me to keep my temper and be a nice boy and not sink to the level of my enemies, and I knew she was right and really wanted to please her by being all Jesus like and turning the other eye, but instead I picked up a brick and heaved it at the twerp nicking his shoulder, and he screams as if I'd really hurt him by hitting him in the eye or something. (Even the priest at confession thought that series of mental connections was a little convoluted, he had to fall back on the throwing the brick thing just to find a sin for me to do penance for, cuz everyone knows you can't send a kid home from confession without having him say a few "Hail Mary's" first.)

It could have been the time I had my hand down the shirt of Cathy Zak in the back seat of a car at a drive in movie, my sweaty fingertips just barely touching the top seam of her silky bra and every molecule of my being screaming for her to acknowledge that my digits' advancement would be not only appropriate, but recommended. And there, for about six hours we sat, my not wanting to risk rejection just to cop a feel and she probably wondering "what the hell is wrong with this dweeb, just grab the damn thing and let's get goin' here you Idiot!" So after that six hours, with her not so much as winking to sign that the base paths had been chalked and were ready for me to slide in, I just shrugged and withdrew my hand so that I wouldn't look like every other creep who just wanted to touch a 4'9" girl's 36D boobs; in fact it was made clear I respected her for her mind, or at least something other than her sex parts, cuz I thought when we actually did "it", "it" might be more enjoyable because she "liked" me and not just "let" me. (I learned much too late that as a teenager, "like me/let me" were pretty close to the same thing, and I never did touch Cathy's breast because she dumped me, I spose because she was disappointed I never did touch Cathy's breast. That sad fact notwithstanding, I'm sure I shouldn't have taken pleasure in the fact the when I saw her fifteen years later and she was wearing a t-shirt with no bra and her boobs looked more like floppy gorilla arms with their nippled parts dangling somewhere near her knees, just because she rejected me; but I'm kinda grudging that way)

Man, the more I think about it, the more I remember, the more it makes me sad I've had such a stressful life, the more it makes me angry cuz nearly all people are mean to me (Damn them!), the more I just can't help throwing up my arms and shrugging and sighing and shaking my head and just walking away...when really I just want to know I'm a cool guy like everyone else, and I know all I have to do is say I'm a cool guy enough that I'd eventually believe it, and my life would be so much better; yet I still give up, like I'm a computer game programmed to let the stupid kid with braces win every freaking time while he laughs at my pathetic written code cuz I'm such a loser when the reality is he's the loser or I wouldn't have to forget everything I know just to let him win.

Life is just too damn complicated sometimes, it wears me the hell out.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Galaxial Correctness

If it turns out there are actually extra terrestrials, would we need to stop calling them aliens because it's demeaning and we don't want to insult anyone that owns ray guns? If so, won't that really piss off the illegal immigrants? (Cuz I'm bettin we'll still call them aliens no matter what.) What would we call the bugeyes then, non-natives? And would I then get arrested for having said the "b" word? Or would bugeyes become pop culture slang that even the bugeyes would get behind to show they're not so easily insulted, hoping to make us think they're friendly when really they're just hungry and only here because they see us as a food source.

What if they were actually here first but left because the sun hurt their huge, unlidded eyeballs; would they be the natives and we, the even bigger collected evil imperialists bent on genocide in the tradition of Columbus, Genghis Khan and the whole lot of the tribal chiefs of Africa? Wouldn't that really make guys like Native Americans and Aborigines even more angry than they already are? Would we have to go back to that stupid "east indian-red indian" thing cuz now Natives, formerly known as aliens walk among us and have usurped the nativeness right our from under the previously thought to be natives?

If we let the neuvo natives live here (like it'd be our choice) and we still celebrated our cultural holidays and ate our uniquely carbon based planetary foods while chatting about our global village permeated yet cosmetically distinct and individually respected as equal cultures, would we be ignoring the new kids, making them all sad and stuff, and so it would take a few ray gun slaughters in mixed species high schools before we figured out what Earth-o-centrists we'd become? And if Michael Moore made a movie about the shootings, like "Native's Reticent Ray Gun Rights Rescue" or something, would Mirimax be forced to show it because the board of directors would have been taken over by Martians by then and they were pleased to spread propaganda so long as it was in their favor?

Would the new guys have to learn English, or in the case of New Natives who land in Oslo, would they have to learn both Norwegian and English and then, as their human cousins do, learn how to piss and moan about what a burden it is to be multilingual and how English speakers are so damned arrogant to expect the rest of the galaxy to blah bl blah bl blah..... or would we all just have to learn Altair or Martian or Serius or some weirdo thing like that and then we'd get to whine?

And if it's the latter, would we all rise up and picket because we just can't make those gurgly sounds that comprise every other letter of their book long alphabet, and cuz we wont eat that green regurgitated glop like the new Natives do; so we're always gonna be seen as culturally lacking, and we're not happy about being the objects of such outrageous prejudice? If our signs say Bugeyes go Home!, will they care and heed our warning, apologizing for the interruption and then fly off to that other home world? Or just shoot us all with ray guns and turn us into regurgitatable green glop.

Man, I hope there's no ETs...life is already too damn complicated.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

That I Never Forget

The lilacs are blooming; to most people an unspectacular event. Unless they're prolific the flowers aren't showy enough to wow anyone, usually the plants are scraggly and unkempt. They were used as land dividers and hedges by city governments from coast to coast, as Elms and Maples or Buckeyes were used almost exclusively on the same public's boulevards, so there's no shortage of lilacs, the weedy things.

But for as bland as they might be, when I was young they were magic plants with a dazzling color that lit up the sky and a smell that overpowered every other aroma within range. I'm betting the first time I thought the word "pretty" was while observing and smelling lilac blooms. It's when I learned I could "see" fragrance; not really mind you but that I could imagine it as a color, an aura if you like, wafting on the spring breeze as if airbrushed pastel, moving like sand through a spinning sieve. And that's when I decided that in spite of the risk of being seen as other than a man to be, flowers, and all things of beauty, would never need fear that I'd ignore them so long as I could yet draw one more shallow breath.

When I spot a lilac now I see my mother's mother, Gramma B, her soft, stocky form covered in a flower print white dress, her mildly buck teeth headlining an everpresent smile. I remember so vividly her home, a house I cared for when I was a teen; a stucco bungalow set into a slight hill, its tiny driveway nearly too narrow for myself and mower to pass (a fact that never ceased to amaze me), and its back yard bordered in purple lilacs.

I can still hear her say the number three while rolling her "r", a funny little affectation to an American boy, and a last tidbit of her Germanic upbringing still present after 60 years of English speaking. If I close my eyes I can smell her, unperfumed, simply sweet like a baby after a bath; and I can feel her arms around me, patting the back of my head and telling me everything will be just fine, no matter how tragic the cause for her concern.

She lied of course, but I've forgiven her optimism. I could never be angry with one so nearly perfect.

I think about her here and there as I do all those who touched me before saying their goodbyes; but I think of her all the more concretely when the lilacs bloom, and I make more than one trip to their location for those few days, to drink in the perfume of my grandmother's yard and obviously, her unconditional love.

I have a few lilacs in my back yard, and no matter where I live the landscape will always harbor one or two, planted by my own hand if need be. It's a symbol certainly, but it's as powerful a metaphor as I know. A rose by any other name....

Friday, May 24, 2013

Karma Runs Over Dogma, Film at 11

Linda's aunt Marion been married to Dusty (Austin Boynton "surname") for 23 years by the time this tale takes place, their two children married and on their own, a successful seed business in their pockets. They were by no means wealthy, but well off in pretty much every way you can imagine.

Marion was the Kate Hepburn type; a woman who did as she pleased, traveling to Egypt alone for instance, touring Luxor as a single woman in the late 40s because she had the time and money and the desire...so she went, and men be damned.

In this particular instance she had taken a week of vacation to stay with an old friend in central California, one of the many "San" towns steeped in agriculture and earthquakes. It was a women she'd gone to college with, and one with whom she'd shared many a secret.

As it happened, the woman had a church function to attend, some group she participated in on a rare occassion was holding a charitable event that required volunteers and as she'd had it on her calendar for months, she was obliged to take part.

Marion thought it would be fun to pitch in, and so the two pals worked the outdoor fair all afternoon, meeting the entire crew of church ladies in the process.

Once the day was spent and the booths packed away for the following year, Marion's friend invited two of her own to join them for a dinner at a local steakhouse. The foursome were of the same age and similar locale, coincidental backgrounds and almost perfectly matched taste in clothes, foods and gossip. Eventually, as all single gendered conversations usually do, the stories became more about the opposite sex and the ladies likes, dislikes and current situations.

It was then that one of the women began to gush about having struck a relationship that was leading to marriage, her engagement ring resplendent, her face glowing nearly as radiantly as the diamond her mate to be had slipped on her finger only a few weeks before. The date wasn't yet etched in stone as the man was in the final stages of a divorce, but the moment those last few pieces of paperwork were out of the way, out would come the white dress and the polka would be danced by all.

Marion wasn't too comfortable discussing the woman's having an affair with a married man no matter how close to divorce he was, her moral compass just didn't point in that direction. In fact she'd likely be a little miffed that I'd chosen Hepburn to exemplify her spirit given Kate's sticking her middle finger in the face of her lover's wife every chance she had over the course of decades of she and Spencer's tryst. Marion wasn't a fan of arrogance, she preferred being strong subtly, without making others pay for her insurrections.

But as to the dinner companion, it would be rude to bow out and so she sat back and tried to keep her reactions to herself as the others pried and cajoled for every bit of information they could squeeze from the bride in waiting, about the man that had captured her heart.

His name was Dusty as it turned out, a seed company owner who traveled the western states and even overseas selling hybridized seed to agricultural companies large and small. He was a good man, a kind man and if not for the raving lunatic wife he'd had to endure for 23 years, the woman who had robbed him blind and forced him into starting his life over without the financial benefit of his own labors, he'd have been a rich man as well.

To go into detail would only make the story longer, so I'll cut to the obvious chase.

On a whim Marion had thought to visit an old college buddy, six hundred miles or so from her own home, and as it turned out the friend had obligations. Rather than spending the day alone, shopping perhaps or touring the local area, she decided to go along and assist; and then accepted an invitation to supp with two people she'd never met. Against her better judgement she sat through a gleeful conversation about another's adultery and as it turned out, the adultery in question struck all too close to home.

It was her husband that had bought this woman an engagement ring, her husband who had made it clear that he thought their marriage had been strained by his always needing to travel and Marion's becoming more a loner than a wistful gazer, never one to watch the clock in anticipation of her true love's arrival, but instead, busy with her own interests. But he'd never mentioned divorce.

He never needed to either. He was served with papers within a week, and never spent another night in their home. (And, as an aside, she nailed his financial ass to the wall, not that it mattered to her. She figured if he could take from her what she truly loved, she could only do justice by returning the favor.)

What were the odds I wonder; can mathematics even deal with an equation of that magnitude, or is this what the words providence, fate or even God are made of.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cell Phones are for Sissies! Put THAT in your Hard Drive and Smoke It!

It's a conspiracy, I'm sure of it. Progress is a device created by a machine race, meant to sap any and all sentience from human beings so as to enslave them without a struggle. You're just handing over the planet guys! Swear off your addiction to time saviors or be conquered!

I'm sure I come new to this game, I don't pay much attention to progress. When calculators were first allowed in school, I shrugged and ignored it, comfortable with the idea that I'd never know the mechanics of anything if I didn't get my hands dirty. I used typwriters for years, my only contact with computers being a Commodore 64 and even that only for playing such gems as Mule and Zork. I probably bought the last bottle of whiteout ever sold.

I don't own a cell phone. I figure if I run out of gas on a dark road, the only way to get me to pay more attention to guages is to have me walk a mile or two, pay for a gas can and trudge or hitchhike back to my dead vehicle. It's hardly fair to make my wife leave "Judging Amy", get dressed, plod to the garage and drive a few miles to pick me up because I was too stupid to take care of myself.

I don't do much IM. Most often it's obvious within a few paragraphs that my chat partner has better things to do but is unwilling to bow out, so for the next half hour until I finally succumb and say byebye, we suffer through uncomfortable silences with me staring at the monitor, and them off somewhere else doing something interesting. Besides, conversations are best had free of the need to type; in the best of times a ploddy and difficult manner of speech, unless used for fantasy sex, and then there's a reason for the spare time in between typing each thought.

It's become a world where one can live an entire lifetime without leaving home. Everything's available on line, knowledge has become googled, personal responsibility is too cumbersome so we've eliminated it.

Linda was typing a letter this morning to a certain "Fredrickson", and as she finished that word and moved into the next she noted the computer re-arranged, tidied up so to speak. Now in the recipient's name's place were two words "Fredrick son". She backspaced and retyped the name, then again moved ahead while the computer again pushed son from it's parent, Fredrick. In frustration she did it again maybe 6 times before it became obvious that this was an advance, a "progression" offered by the software company meant to eliminate the possibility that someone misspell on the fly, notice their stupidity, fall into a manic depression and commit suicide by overdose, using dad's Viagra, swelling up like a balloon before finally turning into a pillar of granite. (I'd never have known Linda the real typist had a problem if it hadn't been for the yelling I heard from down the hall...poor cpu, I know the feeling)

Think about it, had computers been invented in the dark ages, we'd all be vegetables by now, all named Ole because we'd never had moved to Oleson and beyond! Think there's too many Olsons in the phone book? What if there were 270 million Ole's to wade through, looking for Uncle Ole or Cousin Ole or Pastor Ole...get the idea? Hello operator? I need to speak to Ole! Connect me please and hurry; it's an emergency!"

Of course, even computers can only know so much; so it's inevitable that they and we might disagree on spelling and usage until one of us is branded as outdated and sent to the landfill. Now which of us would that be I wonder. It depends on whether I'm right. (and c'mon kids, we all know I'm right; getchur galoshes on cuz we're goin on a field trip to the dump)

I'd love to teach my cpu everything I know, that Fredrickson is okie dokie, and that "okie dokie" doesn't need to be underlined in red squigglies every time I open the file with the phrase in it. I could teach the computer about Okie Dokie, but wouldn't that make me a regressive and so a still more egregious enemy of the machines and the dupes that worship at their feet? And wouldn't that be like feeding those that would devour us, the very information they need to take over the world?

The wunderkind addition of grammar policing isn't meant for us that can actually spell most of our words, those that haven't let machines do for us our entire lives. It's meant for those that have shrugged off rudimentary knowledge as too pedestrian, too annoying, too much a burden on their teeny weeny brains; brains consumed by cell phone numbers and song titles and urls of websites that rip others intellectual property for instant and free personal gratification.

I have to wonder though if it's really an attempt to get the rest of us to dumb down, to make our goal the lowest common denominator that we not hurt the self esteem of those who are illiterate by choice. I'm sure I'm on a machine world blacklist somewhere, being far too self sufficient and willing to suffer the consequences of my imperfection rather than "let go and let artificial intelligence". It's bad enough when someone says "I'll call ya" and I respond "gimme a half hour 'till I get home". If looks could kill.

Why, I don't even use a spell checker unless what I've written is six pages or more and it's so late that I can't possibly proof before bed. And even then I teach it my misspelling and then correct what it pointed out by hand, so the machine is never aware that I took it's advice. (Yea I know, pretty damn clever, it's true.)

I'm not giving in people. Keep your damn progress and your grammarrepairspellcheckdigitaldumpp2pdig

icambrainwashinator.
I'll just do it myself thanks. No freakin machine's gonna own me!

(sec....gotta microwave some popcorn...brb)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

If Only

I'd passed through half my life before I'd recognized them as real people rather than protectors, teachers or taskmasters. That they had lives beyond our connection was lost on me, that they'd been children before they'd had children, that they'd endured struggles far more complex than my own, was not even within my sightlines; parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts... all the people that had a hand in raising me were just trinkets on my lifeline charm bracelet.

And then suddenly I thought to eject from my shell and ask a few poignant questions of a few of my more silent elders, and a new world opened to me; one of Ellis Island and six mile walks to one room, two language schoolhouses, of falling in love and favorite moments and well lived decades of both plenty, and pain.

I scrambled to make up for years lost, I spent as much time as life allowed, but never was it enough. I wrote, called, visited; I asked and laughed along and walked beside. The more I learned the more I wanted, the more intimacies we shared the more I saw these people as my fascinating collection of absolutely unique friends than as people who shared my genetics and had some obligation to tolerate my presence.

I regret I made my discovery too late as one by one they vanished, death after death after tragic death until, in what seemed like just the blink of an eye, they were nearly all gone. And I stood alone, gazing wistfully at the spaces between my fingers, through which I'd let slip the sands of my own precious time.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Most Spectacular Day

It was date day, Linda's choice. I'd given her a local see and do adventure book for her birthday and she's circled in all her desires (nearly every page) and we're now in the process of ticking them off. As always I woke late and got moving slowly, then thought to spend a few minutes admiring myself in front of the computer. The few minutes turned into an hour or more and the lovely wife got a little cranky as she's wont to do. Finally, as is our ritual, she walked down here to the whine cellar, crossed her lovely alabaster arms and tapped her attractively miniature foot so as to remind me I am an incorrigible toad; and within moments I was showering and dressing in my "boys can do this in 5 minutes, nya nya" way.

It was off to the Bell Museum of Natural History to the strains of "we'll never see both museums now, you always say you'll be right there and you never are", followed closely by "hey don't drive like a maniac, I'm just sayin..."

Soon we were there on the beautiful University of Minnesota campus where I hobbled a block to the entrance and tried to shoot a few pictures so as to document a wonderful day out with the little woman. After two shots, the battery crapped out. I was on a roll.

The museum though, was fascinating; forty or fifty dioramas all done during the 30s as I understand it with artists being paid through the WPA or the post stock market crash federal work program. It's like any work of art, if you don't know what you're looking at it seldom seems spectacular. But when you understand that each piece of greenery is hand painted wax, each needle on each conifer, each blade of grass on each meadow... and every clod of dirt is positioned perfectly by someone offering their interpretation of the random perfection of nature, it's a pretty amazing place.

From there we were off to a modern art museum on the campus and since parking is a pain I had to walk the mile or so woe is me. I did my normal share of moaning and groaning, cursing and swearing never to do this agains, punctuated by a shameless "see how much I suffer in your name? I must really love you" blurb. But the walk was easy compared to viewing the "art".

What is it about the majority of what qualifies as modern art that makes me feel so superior? Why is it when I leave a museum like that I feel so incredibly depressed because I'm not the wealthiest man on the planet? That had I only spit my toothpaste foam onto a corkboard every morning for five years and framed it, I might have had my 15 minutes of fame long ago and at this moment could have been talked about by beret clad students all over the world as the creator of toothpaste spittle art; a title that would put me right up there with Micheal Jackson and dead guys that framed soup cans.

Yea, it (the modern art) was a bore, but a husband's bullet to take. I am now one up on the "cmon it'll be fun" chart and the next time the Bavarian Midget Circus and Bowling Troupe is in town, there won't be any "aww do I have to?" from Mrs. you know who.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Here's my Handle Baby

He is sleek, brassy, his body has incredibly classic lines. He looks like a Greek god, or perhaps a Roman centurion; he's powerful, aggressive, with a wide stance and broad shoulders.

I on the other hand am just a little teapot, short, stout, reflective. Sure I have purpose, I'm not just a fancy curio; though where I sit is generally reserved for pretty things that simply are, I actually have a job in this family. I provide tea at the most formal of gatherings, I am in fact very well thought of in the household. Many ooh and ahh as I'm lifted and tipped, and never have I dripped after a pour; my spout is flawlessly designed, my silver exterior perfectly polished. You'd think I'd be happy.

But it's lonely being exquisite, and until he showed up, I was quite singular in my magnificence. And then, "a new lamp!" she squealed; the mistress as amazed as I with the arrival of this wide brimmed stud with his translucent shade and his greek keyed, four footed base. The woman of the house couldn't keep her hands off him, stroking his fob, toying with his fringe, running her lithe fingers up and down his fluted shaft. I was insanely jealous, and immediately upon her leaving the room I tried to gain his attention so as to make him forget the hussy's advances. But for all my toots and clanks, I haven't yet gotten him to cast me so much as a sidelong light; it's as if he doesn't even recognize the other semi-inanimate objects in the room at all. I'll get him though, if I have to blind him with a reflection of his own gaze, he will be mine one day.