Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I am resolute in not being resolute.

A new record was set this morning, following the four inches of snow that fell during the early morning hours. It has officially been the snowiest December, in fact the snowiest month in the history of Bismarck, North Dakota.

35 inches of snow. Since December 1st.

Oh, and it's still snowing.

I have a really good shovel, by the way. And I'm reasonably fit. I can actually get the driveway, sidewalk, and front porch done before the other guy across the street starts up his snow blower.

I rule.

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, and I am going to have a houseful of people. I'm not sure how that happened......but I did get out and buy some party supplies before it became impossible to drive.

Memo to myself. FOUR WHEEL DRIVE.

I don't have any resolutions. That would require some kind of plan, and I don't have one. It would suggest that I have something to change, but the fact is I have so many things that need changing that it would actually be easier to make a resolution to NOT change something.

I need to eat better.
I need to continue my quest to be tobacco free.
I need to find a really good hobby.
I need a snow blower.
I need FOUR WHEEL DRIVE.


So, today is looking like a snow day; so, it's going to be me and the dvd player...I have about 120 episodes of GET SMART to get through.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I actually thought about making the title of this post longer than the post itself, but it seemed a cheap laugh, so I stopped just short. Or, did I?

All through the month of November, I wrote a post every day.

I thought through late December and into the New Year, I'd try not writing at all, and see how that went.

As you can see, poorly.

There is nothing quite so frustrating as a blank page or canvas, and the complete lack of articulative ability to put anything down upon it.

My life has become quite tedious as of late.

Profoundly boring.

I may need some help out of the hole.

Or, I may need a loan to spruce the hole up a bit.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And, at the Eleventh Hour, it comes.....

I'm recycling again, not because I have nothing to say, but because a man named Frank Church said is so much better, so many years ago. I cannot improve upon it, and I don't wish to try.

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


After the tree goes dark, and the wrapping paper has been shredded to the oohs and ahhs of the circle of family, and the goose has been cooked and consumed, there is one thing we must take away from this season.....

For this brief, shining time, we become greater than ourselves, somehow. Our hearts become bigger; the memories of all the Christmases that led us to this one are sharper; our smile comes easier; and our loved ones become more beloved, if such a thing is possible.

Revel in it.

To my family, to my friends both old and new: My love is deathless. It started at a single moment of time for each of you, and the clock has not ceased its ticking.

Revel in it.
I do.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

T'was the Day before the Day before......

I've been spoiled by Mother Nature.

Last year, I was forced to shovel the driveway, sidewalk, and front porch just once; and that was before Thanksgiving.

It's still snowing. And I know that I'm not alone in this; there has been snow in Las Vegas, Seattle, Phoenix.....as well as all over the Upper Midwest and Northeast. It's a winter wonderland out there.

And they say that nothing is wrong with the climate. When does one believe everything but what their eyes show them? When I get to that point, send me to dine with my ancestors....

I'm not looking forward to the day today.....like I said, still snowing. Been snowing since yesterday. This makes the travelling public very cranky. And when they are cranky, they take it out on the first available human being, and that would be me. I try to tell them that I don't work for the airline, but they don't believe me. I then try to tell them that blaming me for the weather is like blaming Ronald McDonald for getting a bad hamburger.....neither one of us is running the show.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, of course......and I can remember back to those grand days of yore.....the house seemed warmer somehow....it was great to see the snow on the ground, the lights shining on the wreath on the front door, and the red and blue and green lights shining off the birch tree in the front yard.

Family came in. My Mother's cookies were everywhere. Candles. Laughter. The radio stations and television crews giving updates on Santa Claus' travel from the North Pole....oh, the anticipation.

Cocoa and Clue.
We were never really a Monopoly family, but we loved a good mystery.
Cookies by the fireplace, and a carrot for Rudolph.

And, of course.....sneaking out after midnight, to turn on the tree, and just sit and look.

There is a time when you need to put away the things of childhood.


This ain't one of those times.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Me and the Tree.

There is something about a lighted Christmas tree that gets to me.

Wait. I need to be specific: There is something about a real lighted non-thematic lighted Christmas tree that gets me.

And maybe that's where I fall down this year.

It's been a few years since we did the real tree thing. It became far too unmanageable, and the tiffy tree was easier. But, when I was growing up, the feel and the smell of the fresh tree in the living room was right up there with the smell of my Mother's baking on the list of greatest things ever.

My father would string the lights on the tree.....and we're talking old school lights, people....huge bulbous things that seemed as big as a human fist, and you could see them from space.....but oh, what a lovely light.

The ornaments were stored in two ancient boxes, and they were a massive conglomeration of hand-downs from previous generations and the things the kids made in elementary school.

Tinsel in great supply, covering the tree like an autumn frost.

But my favorite thing was to get up early on a Christmas morning, and turn on the tree, and just sit and look at it, with the wrapped packages scattered around beneath. There was something special in that "calm before the storm" moment; it could be repeated but never duplicated.

Now. My tree is tiffy, of course, and lighted with small, white lights. The ornaments are, alas in a theme this year, the color of gold, with one single ornament, a picture of me as Scrooge, holding a young Tim on my shoulder, that hangs in the center of the tree. A star on the top, also in white and silver. Pretty.

But not.

I baked like a madman bakerguy through the weekend, puttering between the stove and the television, where the daily grind of Christmas stories played out on the Hallmark station. The upstairs television almost never plays football; it's a concession I make to the non-fans in the house.

A Christmas Carol always gets me in the end.

Three Days to Go.

All is well.

Sigh.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Waiting for the Candlelight.

Once upon a time, in my career as a pretender....

There was this director friend of mine, named Paul. I think he's chair of a department someplace now, but back then, he was like I was.....a graduate student, spending long nights and impossible hours trying to get everything done before it was too late.

I had the pleasure of being directed by him just once in our two years together, and saw just how good a director he was; he had a great vision for the play, and then he shaped it, gently, allowing for creativity to thrive. He didn't show the actors the road to his vision, he showed the actors the map, and let them get to his vision the way they felt comfortable going. The fact that he did that with a back-breaking schedule was nothing short of miraculous.

But.....everybody has their bad days.

So, one day, Paul is trying to get something from one particular actor; the method kind of actor who seems to be absolutely unable to move forward without the benefit of his "muse." Paul is explaining, patiently, what he needs to have happen at this particular moment in the play, and the fellow fusses and fidgets and finally says;

"I'm sorry, Paul. I'm just not feeling it."

For a man who's trying to get a show up on time, under budget, and worthy enough for him to actually get his degree.....well, Paul was a very mellow guy, but when the red cape is waving, the bull must respond. Paul grabs this guy by the front of the shirt, literally picks him up off the floor, looks him directly in the eye, and with a voice so calm it would make you wet yourself, says;

"Feel it, F**cker."

The tension of the room may not have abated if I had not begun to laugh. Loudly. Unabashedly. Wholeheartedly. The kind of laugh that cleanses the soul. I was joined by everybody in the room. And we dusted ourselves off and got back to work.

I tell you that story to tell you this.....

I'm not feeling it.

The decorations are up, the music is playing, everything is wrapped and ready and I'm about to do the yearly baking for the celebrations that stretch from Monday to Thursday.....and I'm not feeling it.

I'm waiting patiently for that moment when the full spirit of the season fills me like a water balloon. But I'm just not feeling it.

I need to feel a little Christmas, right this f***ing minute.

And I'll wait.

Bring it on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Listing a little......

My friend Kizz is a constant source of inspiration.

Okay, let's be honest; I read her stuff, laugh a little, think a little, sometimes cry a little, and then I steal it.

And today is no exception, because she inspired me to look not at my bookshelf this time, but at the shelf of dvds near the television. Maybe you can see how my mind works.....

The Complete Sherlock Holmes, starring Jeremy Brett. I watch these over and over again, just to see that sliiight twitch of his cheek, indicating that he finds something humorous.

Nero Wolfe Mysteries, the A&E series with Maury Chaykin and Timothy Hutton. I was tremendously sad to see this series go; it was a terrific interpretation of Rex Stout's characters, and brought a sadly forgotten American detective back to life. I think I have the whole series of those.

Monty Python's Flying Circus. The whole shebang. These are well used, and rightly so. I am continually flabbergasted that the stuff can still make me laugh.

Also, in the Python vein, are Holy Grail and Life of Brian. I can remember where I was when I first saw both of those films. I can still remember how I almost passed out from laughter when the Trojan Rabbit came over the wall.

Danger Mouse. I saw this series for the first time when I was in college. They would run it on the first of the comedy channels, which later became Comedy Central. It's about a small white mouse with an eye patch, his ferret assistant, and the dastardly frog that is his enemy. It's British, so there is a lot of double entendre and such. It was funnier when I was high, but it's still good. I think I'm missing the last three seasons of this.

The Prisoner. You're now thinking I have a love of all television British. This one is a series from the late 60's, about a spy who's kidnapped and brought to the Village. They want information, he won't give it to them. Less than twenty episodes, but a complete story arc, and a more paranoid series you'll rarely see. Starring Patrick McGoohan.

Saturday Night Live, seasons 1 through 4. The original cast, the original concept. Quite a lot of funny stuff mixed in with the "what the hell were they thinking?" stuff, but it was bright and edgy for the time, and it reminds me what it was and how far they've been forced to adjust to their demographic. It's good to see Belushi again at the top of his game.

The Marx Brothers Collection. Not all of them, but the good ones. Duck Soup is my favorite.

The Complete Blackadder. Rowan Atkinson in this brilliant series, looking at the character in various times in English History. A great cast, featuring Steven Fry and Hugh Laurie, among others.

The Whole Bean. Once again, Rowan Atkinson as his silent goofball. Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean is one of my favorites.

Ken Burns Documentaries:
The Civil War. Amazing.
Baseball. Pretty good, but the middle innings are filled with....filler.
Mark Twain. A good biography. Good soundtrack.

There are movies, as well.....Gettysburg, Gods and Generals, Glory; your basic Civil War fare; My Favorite Year, a great comedy with Peter O'Toole before he began to fade; and of course, there's Roxanne, a great new look at Cyrano, brought to you by Steve Martin.

They say that we are what we eat.....but I'm pretty sure that you can learn a lot about a person by what they choose for their entertainment. There is much I still have to collect, mind you.....my next choice is the complete series of Get Smart. Don Adams won many Emmy awards....and Barbara Feldon is STILL hot, after all these years.

Have a good day, all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Porcupine Racetrack Redux.

Needed a boost today.....still in a creative lull, so I found one of my favorite sketches from a show called THE STATE. This is dedicated to a former roommate of mine, who could always make me laugh with this little ditty.....and I could always make him laugh by standing outside the front door, looking up at the sky with shaking fists, yelling, "Curse you, Young Abe Lincoln! How many more must die?"

I was funny, once.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Blame it on the snowdrift.

Sorry for the delay. The weather has been entertaining, but it's also been a small inconvenience when it comes to writing.....I've been forced to work a few more hours than normal, because I can drive in this crap and other people can't.....so I can actually GET to work.

I have the kind of job that doesn't stop for the weather.

We have had no power outages, thanks be to heaven, but had a small problem with the furnace that caused me a touch of bother, but it was easily fixed by your humble servant, and we're warm and toasty again.

The truth is, I don't have very much to say. The holidays are nearing, and that always brings a certain amount of stress, but the truth is, I'm as dry as the old well as far as critical observations.

Yeah. Somebody threw a shoe at the President. With all respect to President Bush, the shoe throwing was seven years too late, but hey; thanks for the effort.

My Detroit Lions are two games away from going Ohfer the season. It's been done before, but never to this length. I'm almost rooting for it; Heck, a record is a record.

I've never been too sure what's funny about a pie fight.

It's very cold here. With the wind, it's -45. Without the wind, it's only -17. It's a wonder anybody ever settled here, back in the pioneer days.

Does anybody have a cup of creativity I could borrow?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow flying at me like bullets, all day long.

The storm is coming, my friends.

And I realize that those of you that live in the Northeast have already seen your share of the ice and such, so you have my sympathy as we batten down the hatches here in the upper Midwest.

It could be nothing, of course....that often happens. But, they are predicting the wind to pick up (which at present is happening outside my window) to 49mph, driving the windchill temperature down to -50 or so, and snow accumulation between 6 and 12 inches.

Combined with the wind, that makes for a verrrrrry bad travel day.

But at least it ain't ice.
I HATE ice storms.

I almost died in an ice storm.
But that's another story.

Speaking of other stories, let me just add this one more thing before starting my day.

I was driving down the street the other day, and I was following a car with two bumper stickers, one right above the other.

The top one said: Marriage is between a man and a woman.
The bottom one said: Proud to be an American, Land of the Free.

And the blatant hypocrisy continues unabated in this country.

"No one is free until all are free."

And a pleasant good morning to you.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Farewell to the Fantasy of a Generation....




Bettie Page, pinup girl extrordinaire, passed away yesterday at the age of 85.

Gretchen Mol didn't BEGIN to do her justice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sir Mon.

I've often heard that the universe isn't fair. And in part, I believe this to be true. But it depends upon your interpretation. If everybody wanted me to be happy, then the world would be fair, indeed.

Alas, that ain't it, kid. Everybody wants happiness for themselves, and that leads to the whole "universe isn't fair" mantra.

So. The only choice is to be fair. Acknowledge the goodness in people; give when you can, not just when you must. Respect is something you give, not something you get. Give everybody their dignity, for it means everything to them and nothing to you.

Revolutionary concepts. Thank you, Joshua Ben-Joseph. Called The Christ.

The spirit of the season is beginning to come upon me.

To Quote Pogo Possum: "Don't take life so serious; 'taint noways permanent."

I must remember to dance.
I used to know how.
And I didn't need a "why."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

If wishes were fishes.....

I read this missive this morning, and I added to it, and now I share it with you.

I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult.
I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year old again.


I want to go to McDonald's and think that it's a four star restaurant.

I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks.

I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.

I want to lie under a big oak tree with a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of lemonade and call it a picnic.

I want to play baseball in the backyard when the dew is still on the grass, and until it gets too dark to see the ball.

I want to return to a time when life was simple. When all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn't bother you, because you didn't know what you didn't know and you didn't care. All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.

I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good.

I want to believe that anything is possible.

I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again.

I want to live simple again. I don't want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones.

I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.

So....here's my checkbook and my car-keys, my credit card bills and my 401K statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood.

And if you want to discuss this further, you'll have to catch me first, cause, "Tag! You're It!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Snoo.

Welcome to my Monday.....the snow has begun to fall again, on and off since Friday afternoon...not much accumulation, but when it leads the wind, it can be painful.

It's been a looong time since I was in a really debilitating blizzard. I believe it was the just after New Years Day of '99. We had plenty of warning, we put up supplies just in case of being unable to move, we kept the driveway as clear as we could, and we waited for the plows to come. Eventually, they did, and I think I made at least one trip down to Detroit to pick up stranded people at Metro Airport.

Good times.

But you know, blizzards aren't as fun as they were when I was young. Watching the snow fall......getting bundled and heading for the hills, to test the latest in toboggan technology......and not coming back until it was almost impossible to move.

Topping it off with cocoa.

Waiting impatiently for the announcement that school was postponed.

Heaven.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday, or a reasonable fascimile.

I could have sworn I wrote today. But it's a blank page.

I've been having headaches as of late. It could be that getting healthy requires some cranial pain. Or, it could be that I've finally reached my limit of information that can be crammed into my skull, it's trying to get out.

Stand back, it could look like ALIEN in here.

The Lions lost today, and they are actually one win away from tying the worst season in NFL history. The Buccaneers went 0-14 in their inaugural season, but they play 16 games these days.

Heigh Ho.

I miss Kurt Vonnegut.

My favorite Vonnegutian comeback? "Why don't you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut? Why don't you take a flying fuck at the mooooooon?"

If you haven't read ARMAGEDDON IN RETROSPECT, I recommend it.

Put up some holiday decorations today. Apparently, I'm not very good at it, but my wife is patient and will correct my decorative sins.

Almost done with the shopping. One more thing to buy.

I miss my mother.

Sigh.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fire.

I was writing to a friend of mine this morning, and I made the comment, "Now, you see....I've got nothing to post, because I'm sending all the good stuff to you."

But then I thought.....it's STILL good stuff, in my opinion.

So, let me see if I can boil it down.....

I was never the late night "come on over for sex" call. I can't call it a "booty call", because I feel I'm too old to refer to it like that. It just feels silly, somehow. But I was never that.

I was almost ALWAYS the "It's three am and I am drunker than hell and why doesn't he or she LOVE me anymore?" call.

It's a blessing and a curse to be born with so-so looks and capacity for wisdom. Had I been slightly less dense, and slightly more attractive, I might have had more company on cold evenings in days gone by.

C'est la Vie.

I have learned a few things, though.

Firstly, love is a powerful emotion. It's "Change the course of mighty rivers" powerful. "Bend steel" powerful. "I can't believe you ate all of that" powerful. When focused, it's like a laser beam. Unfocused, it's like dynamite. You need to be careful, and NOT at the same time.

If we figured that in the end, the outcome would be that we get blown to smithereens, we would never choose to avail ourselves of it.

But like a fire that warms and comforts, we cannot resist its Siren call. And when in its throes, being blown to smithereens seems to be a pretty good thing, after all.

Damn the outcome, don't damn the choice.

Like a character in a Jack London story, it's reasonable to mourn the loss of the fire, because without that fire, it's really, REALLY cold out here. But the fire comes from different sources, with variations in heat, and its possible to remain warm in the circle of friends and family.

And that's why I take those "three am, drunker than hell, wondering why he or she doesn't LOVE me anymore" calls.

And that's why I've travelled hundreds of miles in the dark, because somebody was hurting and needing.

And that's why I continue to talk about blue faces and bloody great swords.

My fire.

Good day to you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Good God!

Yesterday, I read something in one of the many newsworthy publications I peruse about Atheists in Kentucky suing to have a section of the state's Homeland Security Act removed, because it says that we cannot protect ourselves without the help of Almighty God.

I shook my head, quite slowly. The things we choose to care about.

Don't get me wrong; I believe in God. I have a personal faith that only comes from trial, error, anger and acceptance that there are greater powers at work than myself.

Yes, folks....it's step one.

More to the point, I have faith. Faith in a higher power. My "higher power" doesn't necessarily have a long white beard, or Asian features, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't wear one of those Viking hats. Hey, on certain days I might actually be polytheistic, and it gets me through the day.

I don't have religion, however. I don't have a church. My church is in my head, where I talk the power to ease my mind, confess my sins, celebrate my victories, and learn from my losses. I can't have another man tell me what faith and God is. You can't go through life down another man's road.

Atheists aside......my argument about putting God into a document doesn't make it right. Take the Pledge of Allegiance......the "Under God" thing didn't occur until the mid-60's. And it doesn't fit.

One nation, under god, indivisible.

Does that mean that God is indivisible? And didn't we already know that?

It would make more sense to say, "Under God, one nation indivisible."

So, there it is.

To sum up.....

Bidden or Unbidden, God is present.

We shouldn't have to write it down.

The Pledge needs to be rewritten.

I need another cuppa coffee.

And perhaps a proofreader.

And an editor.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Randomnosity, thy name is......

I wish I had something really relevant to say this morning.

But I don't.

So.

Random thoughts:

I like CSI. But I probably won't watch after Peterson leaves. I can tolerate CSI:MIAMI, but only because I want to see what ridiculous pose they'll put Caruso in next. And finally, although I'm a big fan of Gary Sinese, I can't get into CSI:NY.

SCRUBS is coming back in January. It'll be good to get the stake into it's heart this time, good and proper. I like the show, but I am also the kind of person that requires a wrap up of plot lines and such.

It's going to be a long day today....on top of my usual duties, I have at least one meeting to talk about personnel issues, as if I'm some kind of expert. I didn't want to be an expert. I didn't take this job to be a leader of men. I took this job because it sounded interesting. Swwwing and a miss.

I see where they've remade THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. Hmn. There are certain things that should never be remade. That's one of them. Also, the music of Skynyrd. PSYCHO. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. The original film starring Michael Rennie still carries it's own weight, thank you very much, and just because you made it in color doesn't make it better, you f***ing f***s.

The previous was kind of like a raspberry seed between my teeth. Annoying to live with, and satisfying when it comes out.

And with that, I bid you a good day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I love a mystery....up to a point.

I want to talk a little about the mystery of disappearance.

I am a big fan of real-life mysteries, and as I re-read that sentence fragment, I realize that it's a bit creepy. Let me rephrase. I am intrigued by real-life mysteries.

Good. That didn't sound half creepy.

Anyway, history is filled with great mysteries......

The mystery of Kaspar Hauser, who appeared as a teenager in Nuremberg in the 1800's, without any idea of who he was or where he came from. Somebody attempted to kill him several times during his life, and finally succeeded by stabbing him to death. It's a great story.

The mystery of Judge Crater, who disappeared after dinner and show in New York in August of 1930. He was never seen again. There is evidence that popped up in 2004 that he was killed by a taxicab driver and buried at Coney Island. But the strange part is that his mistress, whom he had dinner with that fateful night, also disappeared shortly after, and was never heard from again.

The mystery of the Griffon, Lesalle's ship, which disappeared with all hands on the Great Lakes in 1679, never to be seen again....except during storms in November, so they say.

The mystery of the sons of Edward IV of England, who were placed in the tower for their protection, and were never seen in public again.

The mystery of the Roanoke colony, which disappeared entirely sometime in the winter of 1587 or 1588.

The various mysteries of Amelia Earhart, Glenn Miller, Michael Rockefeller, Jimmy Hoffa, Helen Brach, and many other high-profile disappearances....

I'm always reminded of the mantra that Detective Frederick Abberline would repeat during his harrowing and ultimately fruitless investigation of the Whitechapel murders...."Somebody, somewhere, knows something."

For a man who prides himself upon his intellect, I find it frustrating that this kind of mystery still exists in this day and age, when information is available in the blink of an eye, and we have satellites that can see that you need to see a dentist. What's equally frustrating is that only the really stupid criminals tend to pull off the perfect crime.

Case in point: The disappearance of Kristin Smart.

Briefly, Kristin Smart was a freshman at Cal Poly who disappeared after a party in 1996. She has not been seen since. Because it was just before spring break, there was a delay in reporting her disappearance; her friends thought she had gone home, and her family thought that she had stayed at school. When the investigation finally began, they had EVERYTHING they needed to find the person who saw her last: a scumbag named Flores. Witnesses put them together. DNA proved she was in his room. Cadaver dogs got hits in the room as well. And yet.....

He was never arrested, or charged.

Amazing. This idiot, completely improvising, probably after a roofie inspired sexual assault took place in which the victim accidentally died, has managed to get away with it thus far....and until they find the body, the location of said body being known to only one individual, the aforementioned idiot), this case will go the way of Judge Crater, and Roanoke, and all the rest.....

And that's the thing that intrigues me about real-life mysteries.

It's so thoroughly unbelievable, it's got to be true.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Driving, Sitting, Wedding Adventure.

Well, back I am in North Dakota, after a whirlwind trip to Minneapolis.

Another sign of getting older....a six hour car trip that used to be nothing at all is now just as far as your ass can stand to ride it.

Went to a wedding; the wedding of my late brother-in-law's eldest son. Kinda wished that Terry could have been there.....he was always appreciative of a good party. In fact, most of the really great parties that I've been to since visiting here for the first time in 2001 were instigated by Terry.

But he was there in spirit.....they hung one of his baseball jerseys over the chair in which he would have sat.

The wedding took place in this office building.

Yeah, I thought that, too, at first, but upon entering this office building, you are actually stunned into silence by it's rotunda lobby. It was beautiful....marble columns and stunning floor tile......if only it would have been acoustically sound...but what are you going to do with a marble floor, marble walls and a concave ceiling?

I had to leave several times during the reception, just to get the feeling back in my ears. A live band that didn't know how to play to a room. Oh, and another thing: A harp is the perfect instrument for the space.....a motown band complete with brass section is something you should re-think.

The bride was beautiful.
The groom was nervous.
But they pulled it off; they actually got to the "I do" without fainting, or without one of my many grand nieces or nephews attempting an attention coup de tat.

And in the end, it's all about family.

Welcome to the family.

Fasten your seat belt.

Drinks will be served momentarily.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Phew!

Well. It's the 30th. Made it a whole month, one post at a time.

And since it's the last day of November, and since Christmas is coming, and since I am a fan of both Charlie Brown and Scrubs, I give you this little gift, to start the holiday season......


Saturday, November 29, 2008

I've got the post-Thanksgiving-driving-to-Minneapolis Blues.....

Well, today I'm heading to Minneapolis, that mecca of the Midwest, to attend the wedding of one of my many inherited nephews.

I have mixed feelings about weddings, to tell the truth. There was really only one wedding I was absolutely committed to attending, and that worked out pretty well, I guess, but some of the others, well......

I'm more agreeable to the smaller services, rather than the pageantry of the huge wedding. One of the best weddings I ever attended took place in the backyard; we had been invited for a party and wound up at a wedding. There was a brief bonding ceremony done with the minister, and then we settled down for a long summer's tap.

The worst wedding I ever attended was a huge affair, rivaling the royal family of England in its ostentatiousness. I realize that the actual ceremony is supposed to be the realization of a dream for many brides, but seriously...the ceremony lasted longer than the actual marriage.

And DON'T get me started on the Catholic ceremony, in LATIN. I would just rant and rant all day.

The hitching of two people together is an important rite in our lives, but that doesn't require a service, or a man of God. In glorious fact, the hitching of two people together can happen in the blink of an eye. It isn't God or the government that holds them together, and it certainly isn't the memory of the ceremony....it's the people.

And you DID notice that I said, "two people?" So, you know where I stand.

Now, to get in the car and drive......

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tan Friday.

It's been awhile since I did a list, and since I'm struggling to put together one more day of work this week, and preparing for a sojourn over to Minneapolis to attend a wedding, I present for your edification and approval....

THINGS MOST VALUED:

1. That first cup of coffee in the morning. Zing go the caffeinated strings of my heart.

2. The sound of genuine laughter. Paradise belongs to those that can make people laugh.

3. Family. The one you're born into, the one you marry into, and the one you create around you.

4. Memory. All the good; for they remind us of who we are, and all the bad; for they remind us how we got there.

5. Hope. Do I really need to elaborate?

6. Waffles. Lots and lots of tasty waffles.

7. Tomorrow. As strange as it sounds, I look forward to seeing what's going to happen next? I haven't felt that for a long time, and it's tinged with my usual dose of cynicism, but still......baby steps......

8. Leftovers. Who can argue with leftovers? I mean, seriously.....nothing like the hair of the dog...or, in this case, turkey. Without the hair. Because you know that there is no hair on a turkey. And if you find hair on a turkey, I'm pretty sure you're eating a badger. So, don't.

Have a great day, folks. Stay out of the shops. People are crazy out there.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day Rerun.

Interesting thoughts on the subject of Thanksgiving:

If Ben Franklin had gotten his way, and made the Turkey our National Bird, would we be eating Eagle on Thanksgiving?

I'm curious about stuffing. If it's made on the stove, can it truly be stuffing? And if it's authentic stuffing, why do people who have a phobia about eating things off the floor have no qualms about eating bread out of a turkey's ass?

I do believe that people think that Cranberry sauce is SUPPOSED to look like the can it came out of.

A traditional staple on the North Dakota table is Lefse. I really don't see the excitement. It's a potato tortilla.

Oh, and don't get me started on Lutefisk. Here is the Dictionary definition:

A traditional Scandinavian dish prepared by soaking air-dried cod in a lye solution for several weeks before skinning, boning, and boiling it, a process that gives the dish its characteristic gelatinous consistency.

Yup. I'll have me a big bowl of that.

Somebody asked me yesterday about which wine I would serve with the Turkey. I recommended a white wine, and around our house (although I don't imbibe) we prefer a nice Riesling. I did mention that it would all depend on the way the turkey was cooked. Riesling for a roasted turkey; Beer or Jack Daniels for a deep fried turkey.

It's interesting how many house fires are created by those people deep frying their turkeys. My brother-in-law fried the turkey last year, and he did it marvelously, but I gots to tell you, it looks frightening.

Okay, wrap it up......

To all my friends, their families, my family and their friends, to all that are serving in the desert, and to all that served before that; to the thinkers, and the dreamers, and to those who use their powers for good and not for evil, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and a blessed "holiday season."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good to Say, Better to Mean.

It seems that if we take a very cynical approach to existence, we can make the argument that life is nothing more than an almost constant jockeying for position, making the rat race more of a horse race. The trouble with that, of course, is that everything you do is now tainted by a terrible self absorption.

I reject it.

The idea I reject. The cynicism that birthed the idea I accept as a permanent fixture in my makeup. But the cynicism serves as a kind of bookmark, really....I use it to gauge my responses to other people.

Cynicism comes from not being surprised by your fellow man, and how far the can fall.

Genuine wonder also comes from your fellow man, when you see how far they can rise.

A life that can be counted as "well-lived" must be full of both wonder and cynicism, I suppose, but on balance, my life is more filled with wonder than I ever thought possible when I was learning the road to cynicism.

My friends, old and new, see the blend of the two when they look into my soul. At least, I hope they do, for they are responsible for that blend. Without them, I would never have ventured outside the cave.

No jockeying for position among the true ones.

If I am wise, it is you that brought me to that wisdom.
If I am able to love, it is because you loved in return.
If I am able to see the good, it is because you brought the good into the light.
If I am able to tolerate the bad, it is because you showed me that courage.

And if I have one wish, it would be that I could be that good.


And it doesn't matter where this is coming from, as long as it gets there......

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Life, in a Nutshell.

The world moves at such a quickly pace these days.

I used to have to throw as much as I could into the days away from work. When I was a younger man, the days away were filled with vices, of course...but as I aged (gracefully, I would like to assume, rather than like cheese) I found that my vices weren't as fun anymore, and in some cases were downright life threatening.

So, I THEN filled my days away with movement; travelling hither and yon, experiencing the nature of being away from where I was actually being. But as I aged (gratefully, I would assume, after giving up my life-threatening vices, rather than like Gary Busey) travelling became a burden, for once gone, I wished not to come back.

Now, I fill my days with non-motion. I am perfectly satisfied with a book, a cup of coffee, and another book if I happen to finish the first book. Let me live vicariously, for just a little while; I will be the antithesis of Tom Wingfield.

I tired of the moving, and I am ready for the movies.

Perhaps it's just a pseudo resting period for the hard drive at the top of the body; with all of the information and experience thrown at it thus far, perhaps it needs just a little time to process before moving on to the next application.

Or, maybe I'm just lazy.

Sue me.

Have a great day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I have a crush on the CFL.

Henry Burris threw for a touchdown and Sandro DeAngelis kicked five field goals to lead the Calgary Stampeders to a 22-14 win over the hometown Montreal Alouettes in Sunday's 96th Grey Cup game. The attendance at Olympic Stadium in Montreal was 66, 308.

There are a lot of reasons to love Canadian Football.

You have to love Canadian Football for the comedic elements of it. Specifically, there are presently eight teams in the league, and of those eight teams, six make the playoffs, making you wonder why they play a season at all.

You have to love Canadian Football because these guys play 18 games during the regular season; even before the playoffs.

You have to love Canadian Football because these guys are athletes, in the truest sense of the word. Seriously. The game is played on a field that's ten yards longer and ten yards wider than the NFL. They only get three downs. There's apparently no such thing as a "fair catch" on a punt (you have to move the ball forward or it's a one-point penalty) and you have to bring the ball out of the end zone on a kickoff or a missed field goal, or the same penalty applies. It's a very exciting game to watch.

You have to love Canadian Football because each team only gets ONE time out per half.

You have to love Canadian Football because the fans are politely rabid. They dress up in costumes, they yell, they shout, but of course, they don't boo.....they whistle when things are wrong.

You have to love Canadian Football because their trophy is a freakin' CUP. Any sport that awards a freakin' CUP to their champion is worthy of devotion.

Finally, as a side note: We as Americans need to re-think our National Anthem. For some reason, I get misty every time I hear someone sing Oh, Canada! In either French or English. Doesn't matter. It's a glorious song....

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.


Oh, and one final note: You have to love Canadian Football because these guys genuinely play for the love of the game. The average salary is 50,000 dollars.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I should write here first, before I go to FACEBOOK; Not the other way around....

I've written a lot of pieces about the memories I have of the days gone by; some are glad tidings, like a Christmas card from an old friend. Some are like what they were at their inception, but miniaturized somehow, like a javelin to the heart whittled down to a toothpick to the heart: still hurts to think about, but not as much as it did.

But there is a problem with this memory, as you can well imagine. After awhile it becomes almost overwhelming. Especially since all the chickens have seem to come home to roost at the same time.

It's my own fault, really. And I do my best. But I blame, in part, FACEBOOK.

Evil, evil FACEBOOK.

Okay, not blame. I name FACEBOOK as a catalyst.

All the old faces, tracking me down, sending me messages, wanting me to put ten or fifteen or TWENTY years into a paragraph or two, some of them ignoring the fact that we weren't friends to begin with, we simply KNEW EACH OTHER and we have nothing to talk about.

Some of them forgetting the fact that our breakup was not MUTUAL.

Do I realllllly want to know that following their breakup with me, they went on to either meet the man of their dreams, wrote the great American novel, became a lesbian, or hooked on with Steppenwolf?

NO! F**K NO!

I'm polite. I write responses. But I don't give them friend access. The friends I have are the friends I want. The ones that stuck by, the ones that came later, the ones that make me laugh, make me think, the ones that I've never seen, the ones I can't wait to see again, the ones I've forgiven and the ones that forgave me.

If that seems vindictive, I seek forgiveness. But lately, I have not been able to turn off the spigot of memory, and some of it is haunting me. And I don't know how much strength I have for another midwinter's haunting.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November Morn.

Weekends are the hardest.

Basically, I get two genuine weekends off a month; Saturday and Sunday, and usually with a Monday thrown in. The other two weekends are filled, mostly at this time of year, with people who are in a rush to get from point A to point B, are sometimes ill prepared for the journey, and are sometimes rude to the point where you think there should be some federal law about craniums and 2X4s, and their brief connection. Repeat as needed.

This week, I have four days off; yes, I KNOW, I KNOW, it's a blessing; but people, if you knew what I did to deserve those days off, you would have suggested a whole week. Besides, I racked up so much overtime in the last two weeks, the boss begged me to even it out by not working for awhile. Twist my arm.

So, I did all the domestic chores yesterday. AND actually attended two meetings, listened to a conference call from my home office, gave various fluids to a doctor who frowned on my use of tobacco, so I frowned on his choice of ties, and took my wife out for a belated Anniversary dinner.

So, when faced with this shiny paper before me, blank and full of hope of being filled like I am blank and full of hope of being filled......there's a brief moment of panic: "What the HELL am I going to write about?"

Oh.

Well, that's kind of like cheating, isn't it?

I need some kind of philosophy in here; some kind of moral message.

Something distinctive.

How about this?

There is a section of the training that I do for the masses of employees here in ND that includes quotes from historical and contemporary leaders. The assignment is usually to find a quote that speaks to you, and speak upon it. And there are a lot of quotes.

Gates.
Eisenhower.
Anjelou.
Mother Teresa.

And there's one from Eugene Debs. And this came up in the meeting yesterday.

Eugene Debs was one of the founding fathers in the labor movement in this country. He was also a socialist. He attended meetings of the Communist Party in this country before it was outlawed. And somebody brought up whether or not this was somebody we should be having quoted in our government classes.

I have never been so disappointed in all my life.
We have learned nothing. AT ALL.

For those who simply bypass and condemn the works of a person because they do not believe in the author's politics or personal choices are excising important thought from the library of human events. And we can't, at this time in our history, afford to pick and choose.

Wisdom is wisdom, whether it comes from Debs (Communist), Marx (Socialist), Nixon (Crazy Man), Wilde (Homosexual) or Francis (Talking Mule).

See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Canadian cold front moving in; what a way to ride, what a way to go.....

I've got winter in my blood. And the only time you'll hear me bitterly complain is when there are not enough clothes to put on in the world to make myself warmer.

And here, in the North of the country, it can get very cold.

I can remember, back when I was an employee of a certain airline here in the North, having a brief conversation on the ramp of the airport. The "ramp", by the way, is where the planes enter and exit the terminal, where the fuel is applied, and where the baggage is taken off and putten on.

The conversation went like this:

OTHER GUY: You need to come in.

ME: I'll be a minute, I've still got some....

OTHER GUY: The boss really wants you to come in.

ME: Why?

OTHER GUY: Largely, because it's forty below out here and he's worried you're going to die. And that will look bad on his daily log.

Forty below zero.
If you've never lived it, you can't possibly imagine it.
The funny thing is, it's really no different that Phoenix in the summertime. It gets to be like 120 degrees out there, and although it's uncomfortable, you bear it. Same thing with the cold. It's uncomfortable, but you bear it.

Until. The. Wind.
You've heard of the "wind chill factor?"
Yeah.
The reason that Dante's last circle of hell is frozen is because HELL is THE WIND CHILL FACTOR.
A ten mile and hour wind can turn -40 into -60.
And when it's cold and windy, IT'S COLD.

So, for those of you in the sunny climes, I remain envious of your falls and winters, but avoid your springs and summers. I enjoy the changes of the seasons, and I even crave a little cold now and then....there's nothing like the crispness of the air, the frost that forms when you exhale.....the snow that falls gently from the sky.....

Good day to you all.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brief Announcement

Just a quick one.

On this date in the year 2000, I married the most patient woman on the face of the earth.

I hope she hasn't regretted it.

I haven't.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ode to a Sleepless Night.

And it's a winding road;
And it's a long way home...
So don't wait
For someone to tell you it's too late,
Cause these are the best days.
There's always something tomorrow,
So I say let's make the best of tonight;
Here comes the rest of our lives.....


The repetition of the days is maddening, as fall becomes winter.
Rise. Work. Home. Eat. Sleep. Rise.
And the bells that used to gladly ring, now only toll.
Gray has replaced color.
And the path between where I am and where I'm going seems to be both frustratingly
Familiar.....and slowly fading.
And there's quite a lot more path behind me than ahead.

I've spent far too much time recently paying somebody else's price.
Watchdog. Manager. Substitute parent.
And even though it's a comfort, I'm tired of thinking about what's going to happen after I'm gone.
Wills. Insurance. Who gets to die first.
And I'm realllllly tired of putting money away for a retirement I'll probably not even get to.
So somebody ELSE can spend it.
A backhanded blessing.

So.
Deep breath.
Big boy pants.
Deal with it.
On we go.
Step on the treadmill.

Wooooooosh!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Contractual Nablopomo Obligation Post.

I really have nothing to say today.

The snow has begun to fall again.
I'm still feeling under the weather, but not enough yet to justify a trip to the sadist.
I'm subtly planning a long vacation for sometime after the first of the year, where I can, if all goes well and the weather holds, see all of my family in one large, parabolic swoop through the Midwest.

Vacations are a lovely thing to plan.......even the planning of the vacation is a kind of vacation for your head. Just thinking of it makes me just.....a little calmer.

I thought I had a thread there, but it just sort of flamed out.

So, it's shower, shave, and face the day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Time. Drivel. And the people who love them.

All my friends are writing once a day through the month of November, and since my friends are doing it, I'm doing it, too. Take THAT, Dad! After all these years, just because my FRIENDS are doing it, I'M DOING IT, TOO!

But I have to admit, there is a kind of panic that comes with it; the kind of panic that comes from letting yourself down; from not being able to accomplish a simple task like writing an entry ONCE a freakin' DAY.

Time.
Time is a thief.
Time is a fire in which we all burn.
Time is Morris Day's backup group. How's THAT for eighties pop culture?

So, sometimes, I write drivel, in the hopes that eventually the drivel will lead me to some new realization.

Today, the drivel is just leading me down the street to the drivel store, to buy more drivel.

But it's drivel in ABUNDANCE.
Which is something, you have to admit.

So, in keeping with the subject of time, it's time for THIS DAY IN HISTORY!


1558 Elizabeth I ascended to the English throne upon the death of Queen Mary.

1800 Congress held its first session in Washington, D.C., in the partially completed Capitol building.

1869 The Suez Canal opened in Egypt, linking the Mediterranean and the Red seas.

1917 French sculptor Auguste Rodin died at age 77.

1968 NBC outraged football fans by cutting away from the final minutes of a game to air a TV special, "Heidi," on schedule. Viewers were deprived of seeing the Oakland Raiders come from behind to beat the New York Jets 43-32.

1970 The Soviet Union landed an unmanned, remote-controlled vehicle on the moon.

2000 The Florida Supreme Court froze the state's presidential tally, forbidding Secretary of State Katherine Harris to certify results of the marathon vote count in the race between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore.

2006 Hall of Fame college football coach Bo Schembechler died at age 77.


So, go out there and write history, people.

Strange Thoughts of Practical Matters.

I have a thousand things to do today, and not nearly enough time to do them in; people are asking me for direction and advice when they are perfectly capable of finding their own; my appetite is gone; my sinuses feel like they are on fire; I've been doing this illness thing for far longer than is really necessary; and all I can really think of is, "Huh. There's a board out of place on the backyard fence."

There's a cosmic lesson in there SOMEPLACE; I wish I could find it.

Love to you and yours.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Midsummer Night's Extortion; A memory in one act.

One of the funniest things I ever did:

A friend of mine, a good hearted, talented fellow named Christopher and I had a fondness for cookies.

Not just any cookies, mind you; but the cookies that came from his then-girlfriends mother. She called them Cow Cookies; I'm not sure why, because they contained no meat, and they didn't look like something excreted from a cow. But they were, in fact, delicious beyond the telling of it.

His girlfriend gave us a taste of these delightful snacks, and between us, we decided that we, quite frankly, WANTED MORE.

So, we concocted a plan.

We produced a note to send to her mother, printed by cutting out letters from magazines and newspapers:

Dear Sara's Mom:

We have your Daughter.

If you want her back, send COW COOKIES.

Love,
The Kidnappers.

PS: Send them to: Chris and John (Not our real names)
215 Heywood St (Not our real address)


It worked. We got our COW COOKIES. A tremendously huge box of cookies that we shared and munched on throughout the summer. The size of the box showed that Sara's Mom had great love for her daughter and an equally great sense of humor.

We tried it again, on another member of the company, who's mother made delightful fudge.

Dear Tammy's Mom:

We don't have your daughter.

If you would like us to take her, send FUDGE.


That worked, as well, with an equally large box of fudge. But we reneged; we didn't actually take her daughter. Well, neither of US took her, but apparently another fellow named Joey, took her at regular intervals. But that's another story.

Just another memory that ran through my transom. I was pretty sure I had a picture, but I can't find it....

The pictures are all in my head.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pffffft.

If ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.
-William Shakespeare

When you're the smartest person in the room, find a bigger room. -Clemo

I've discovered something new about myself; my genuine laughter comes not from my sense of humor (which I'll admit to having a good one) but from my surprise. I suppose I've been so far away from creativity for so long that I find myself no longer really surprised by the day-to-day workings of the world....so, when something comes along that actually surprises me, I give a genuine laugh.

I'm trying to figure out where self-knowledge became rampant ego. There was a fork in the road somewhere, and I got forked up by it.

I can recall in my growing up days that my peers would say, from time to time, that I was "wise beyond my years." Now, they just say that I'm wise, which means I must have had enough years to be taken seriously about things.

But what, exactly, is wisdom? Is it the voices of the past, telling us where they went wrong, in order to steer us clear of the rocks? If that's wisdom, then I'd just like to say, on behalf of the entire species...."oops."

Or, is wisdom just a way of looking at something that you, yourself, never considered? And if THAT'S the case, all it will take is a little more opened mindedness, and we're all freakin' Socrates, people!

Perhaps, wisdom is seeing beyond the wall that lies between being right and doing right. The ability to see beyond the societal norm, and into what's true and humane and decent.

Ah, I should have stayed at the fork in the road. There was a diner back there. Who needs wisdom when you can have CHILLI CHEESE FRIES?

Friday, November 14, 2008

In the silence of my room.

Windy and cold today.

The recovery from whatever it is that grabbed hold has been slower than I anticipated; but then again, my relationship with time has been very odd as of late. I used to lose track of hours....now, apparently, I'm losing track of entire days.

It would be stupid of me to wonder where the time went; every picture tells a story. And maybe that's why I've always been really wary of standing still for photographs; I always knew that one day, those photos would come back to haunt me.

Haunt me with my misspent, mislabeled, misinformed, and mismanaged youth.

Don't get me wrong; I've very happy that I lived this long, and if it ended abruptly tomorrow....well, I'd be beyond caring. But if I discovered that there was a specific ending date in sight tomorrow, I would be royally pissed.

But truly. The metabolism has changed. My hair has gone a bit whiter, and don't get me started on this year's winter beard. You might not think it, but I do have an image ego. And it's trying to find the ripcord. And, alas, it's a backpack.

But I still do the same things of my youth.....

I take the work seriously.
I envy in silence.
I fall in love, and stay in love; even with people I never see.
I eat things that I shouldn't.
I still read Popeye.
I have my favorite television programs.
I wish out loud.
I make sure everybody else is strapped in before me.
I'm still a hero in my dreams.

And when it does end, as all stories must, I would hope that there would be some stories that people would be willing to tell, so perhaps I can fit into somebody else's long memory as they've been fixed into mine.

Did I mention that it's windy and cold?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rampant Egotism Thinly Disguised As Self Depricating Humor.

I seem to have a magic touch.

Okay, not really, but there IS evidence.

Take for example, the number of people I've worked with in some capacity who have now gone on to reasonable greatness.

I think I've written this before (I'm getting a feeling of deja spew) but just to recap for those who just came in.....

Four people I've worked with are currently working or just closed in New York.
Four people I've worked with are in various states of success in Los Angeles.
Three people I've worked with are currently on (if you can believe there exits such a thing) lucrative tours.
Two people I've worked with own their own performance/production companies.
One person I've worked with is making a mint on some cruise ship.
One person I've worked with is a successful morning radio host in NYC.

That, and with all the other people who are currently living contented lives who have brushed shoulders with me, I would say that, without a doubt, I had a hand in it.

I am partially responsible for all these good things.
Somewhat responsible.
Okay, MOSTLY responsible.
Me.
And my "Magic Touch".

Can you imagine the Karmic bonus I got coming to me in the NEXT life?

Seriously, when we all meet in the next life, the first round is on me.

Because in the next life, I'm not giving up cognac.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Got No Time To Lie Down And Die....

The cold has turned into something nasty, and I haven't got time for it. So, I'm giving my space over to the great Ogden Nash.

Common Cold

Go hang yourself, you old M.D.!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
I'm not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.

By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever's hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!

Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The F├╝hrer of the Streptococcracy.

Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne'er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.

A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare's plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!


If you've never read Ogden Nash, you are missing a rare treat.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day. Let there one day be one.

An old friend who served once told me that for those that for the defenders, freedom has a taste that the defended will never know. At first, I thought he was being arrogant; but then I realized that it was actually me.

For that arrogance, I apologize.

And for all those serving today, and for all those who served in the past,
And for all that gave some,
And those who gave all,
For those of you who served in the War to End All Wars,
And those that served in the War after that,
And for those who served in the conflicts that we refuse to call wars,
From the bottom of my heart I thank you.

"And the kindly earth shall slumber, wrap't in universal law."

Monday, November 10, 2008

For the famous Z!

I'm sending out birthday wishes today to my most excellent friend, occasional housemate, and source of constant amazement! Wherever you're at, give it up, give up a little love for ZELDAAAAAAAAA!



Many blessings on the day, kiddo. You're loved in the North.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Paging Gregory House.......or at least Lisa Cuddy.....

Once again, I'm ill....and this is going to be a doozy, I can tell. The snow has begun to fall again, and the only saving grace in that is that it's not falling in front of a sixty mph wind. I'll have to do some shoveling later today and did I mention that I feel like crap.

Symptoms: swimming head, watery eyes, sore throat, gunk, cough.

And I have to teach starting tomorrow. And I can't cancel. And I can't postpone.

It's the sickness version of Vegas: You can't win, you can't break even, and you can't quit the game.

The snow is pretty, though. One of those snowfalls you remember from your childhood, until you remember that it was probably a movie you watched in your childhood. Big flakes, falling slowly. Accumulating on the driveway.

DAMN IT! Back to reality......

I'm not truly complaining, as you should well know by now. I don't mind shoveling snow. I do mind being sick, though, and it's coloring all my responses.

So, please don't tell me it's my own fault because I live in this place. I KNOW.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

There are losses in this victory, there is tarnish on this prize.

I'm sick.
So, I'll make this brief.

Certainly, there are men and women in this country who can make the decision about when one group of people is being discriminated against. I'm thinking that they wear robes of some kind. And I believe they are older than the dirt, thus wise in the ways of the law, both written and unwritten.

Well, that would be MY Supreme Court, but alas, we're stuck with old people in robes who only care about the politics of the law, and not the spirit of it.

It comes down to this. "No one is free until everybody is free."

If you don't know what I'm talking about, get your head out and read a newspaper.

There's a belief in this country that we're moving toward the light; but that light will never be as bright as it would be when the playing field is level and we are all allowed the same rights and privileges under the law.

Hey! You, with the bible! Before you start going all Old Testament on my ass, I encourage you to look up the whole, "judge not lest ye be judged" passage. Oh, and all that stuff Jesus said about tolerance.

And then look up the definition of arrogance.
And then look in the mirror.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I WILL track down the weather guy...don't you think for a moment I WON'T!

It's a "brave face" thing, really.

The snow actually began early Thursday morning. They had predicted it for some time; a storm that was coming up from the south, and it was going to swirl around us and create high winds and blowing snow, turning occasionally to ice and then back to snow.....and then rain. And snow. And it should end sometime Friday afternoon.

So, I put on the "brave face."

People would come through my work space, all stressed and worried that the plane wouldn't go.

"This is spring in North Dakota." I would say.

And seriously, it would have to be deeeeeep to stop the planes.

And by seven pm....well, let's just say the drive home was perilous. And I learned to drive in Michigan.

The sun hasn't come up yet, but there is a three foot drift at the back door of my neighbor's house. I can still see the wind blowing stuff around, but am no longer sure it's coming from the sky; it may just be blowing around the remnants.

But I hear the planes, so life is pretty much normal.

But I'll be taking the jeep to work today.

Hope all of you in the warmer climes are having a good day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another Memorial.



One of my authors passed yesterday.

Michael Crichton, whose work includes THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, JURASSIC PARK, THE TERMINAL MAN, THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, and EATERS OF THE DEAD lost his battle with the C yesterday.

The man entertained me, even when I was thirteen years old. He gave us dinosaurs again, and rewrote BEOWULF in such a way that I didn't recognize it until chapter four. A novel of his was not so much a formal banquet, but a long lunch with an old friend.

I'm gonna miss those lunches.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And victorious in war shall be glorious in peace.

All over the country, interesting stuff happening. I was searching about, trying to find a popular vote tally, but couldn't...which in itself is telling. We spend an awful amount of time on the electoral college, and even though it worked to my advantage this time (as opposed to the 2000 election, where we frankly got hosed, a hosing that lasted a nighmarishly long time) I still think that the whole thing needs either modification or abandonment.

Still looking at the senate race in Minnesota.....Al Franken is trailing, but not by much, but still.......

Gay marriage took a hit all over the country, so there is still much to do.

Michigan allows stem cel research and medical maryjane......Well done, Michigan!

So, here we are. The end of an era, and the beginning of a new one.

Let's hope that the spirit of the beginning here isn't viewed as the end. This is not the summit of the mountain, friends and neighbors; this is base camp. We have control of the house now, so lets get out the vacuum and the windex and the bon ami and get to cleaning.....we have much to do, and I figure that given the length of this campaign, we can be assured of about six good months before he starts his re-election campaign.

And away we go........

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Locksley Hall.

Lord Tennyson wrote many a lovely poem, but the one that always struck me was one from 1842 called Locksley Hall. It's a very long poem, but there are some couplets near the end that really hit home for me the first time I read it. This particular section was Harry Truman's favorite, as well, and he always kept a copy in his wallet.

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;

Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain’d a ghastly dew
From the nations’ airy navies grappling in the central blue;

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro’ the thunderstorm;

Till the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.


This is as close as I'm going to get today, folks. For those of you that exercised your rights and responsibilities already, on behalf of a grateful nation, I thank you. For those of you that haven't yet, don't forget who gave what so that you could.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Unpredictable Randomness; it's not just for Thursdays anymore.

Random thoughts on a day like any other:

1. I hate it when people call what they're having, "an affair." It's either "a relationship", or "cheating." It's kind of ill-conceived in this day and age to call it anything other than bad behavior; and yet, we still tend to dress it up in Cary Grant clothes.

2. I'm pissed that some right-wing religious zealot has the nerve to call Mr. Obama "a Socialist." To my mind, spreading the wealth and taking care of each other was a concept much beloved of Jesus, the first Socialist. Unless the short sighted bastards meant it as a compliment; in which case, never mind.

3. I had to deal with a lot of liars today. As my close friends will tell you, I forgive pretty much anything but lies. But I'm thinking that's a little high-handed of me, so I'm thinking I'll just trade a lie for a lie from now on, and see how that works for people.

4. How can somebody "see what that smells like?" And why would they want to in the first place? And did any of that make sense at all?

5. A grand old historian died the other day; Studs Terkel shuffled off after 90 some-odd years walking the planet, talking to people, and writing it down. His books taught me a lot; that the simplest things are usually the most meaningful, that the events of history were by no means a foregone conclusion at the time they were happening, and that nothing, but NOTHING should be taken for granted. I recommend THE GOOD WAR and WORKING, if you haven't read them.

6. I've decided that I'm an artist in exile. It sounds much better than, "unemployable actor."

7. I'm still waiting to hear from the lurkers; I guess it's pure, blind optimism to believe that the people who sit in shadow would actually write a comment; I'm not trying to guilt anybody into it or anything....ah, what the hell, don't write, but know that I wish you well.

Sancho! My armour! My sword!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Babblesday.

Abraham Maslow was a brilliant man.

I bring this up because I have, of late, been concerned with the concept, recognition, and resolution of needs, of which Abraham Maslow first outlined in something like 1946.

He suggested that there is a hierarchy of need, starting with the physical needs of food and air and such, followed by safety needs, followed by social needs, and then moving into esteem and self-actualization. Did I mention that it's brilliant? To take a complex organism like the human body, run by an even GREATER complexity of the human mind, and come up with a concept that explains everything? I have trouble making a shopping list.

But while I gladly take the time to pat Dr. Maslow on the back, what I would really like explained is the ability for the human mind to conceal vital information; by which I mean the ACTUAL need.

Therein lies my specific problem.

My physical needs are met. My safety needs are met. My social needs are met. And up we go, up the long ladder. I know that this is true.

But I don't know what's missing, and the human mind that inhabits the old cranium atop this rapidly aging body is not talkin'.

Well, it's talkin', but all it's saying is, "mmmm....cookies." And such.

There is a hollowness that continues to exist within me. I can recognize it only in the sense that I recognize the void; but I have no inkling anymore what is supposed to fill that void. There are many around me who claim (with reasonable assurance) that the void has ALWAYS existed, and they think I should have actually found the missing piece by now. Others claim that the void is new. Even a few others think I should just get out of my own head, 'cause, and I quote, "you aren't that interesting."

Friends. You gotta play to the whole spectrum.

This is a common theme with me, alas and alack; as is the phrase, "alas and alack". It sets me apart from other men, and gets me the occasional pool cue upside my aforementioned cranium when I go to the low dives I call my second home. Perhaps it's the pool cues that are causing the void.

Too much emphasis on one set of needs can negate another, and since they are, in effect, built upon one another, I could be shooting myself in the foot by concentrating on one thing, while ignoring the other. I should try to be more "needs balanced."

I'll start Monday.

Where are those cookies?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Emergency Memory Technician.

My mind was elsewhere again last night.

I got bored with the television, so I started going through the dvd collection, and fell upon the collection of SCTV stuff I've collected. For some reason, I popped it in, and it took me back.

SCTV in its time was superior to SNL in pretty much every way, but there were decided differences; SCTV was not live, so they would be able to tweak the material almost constantly before putting it on film, but the performers were at the time, and even now, far superior to those on SNL. John Candy. Joe Flaherty. Catherine O'Hara. Andrea Martin. Eugene Levy. Dave Thomas. Rich Moranis. When they build the Hall of Fame for comedy, those names shall be duly enshrined.

But, that's not what this story is about.

Back in the day, when we were all younger and lived in apartments in the north of Michigan, there were three guys, named John, Michael, and Pete.

I think I've mentioned it before, but I have never really been a social person. I keep to myself, and I have a very small circle of people I feel comfortable enough to hang with. That circle has changed as the years have gone by, but it's been that way since I was young.

That, and I didn't really have much success at the whole dating thing when I was young. Honestly, I never had much success with the whole dating thing as I got older. But that's another story for another time.

So, three single guys on a typical Saturday night between the time classes began and the time the snow began to fly, spent the time hanging at a local radio station until they signed off, picking up a couple of pizzas, going back to the house, and watching SCTV on NBC.

I never laughed so hard in all of my life.

It influenced everything else, forever.

And so did the guys. Particularly Mike.

Mike was the first guy I met that saw things from another angle. He saw EVERYTHING from a different angle; and apparently, he saw that quality in me. And encouraged it. He and I wrote sketches for a show that almost made it into fruition. One of my favorites: A man on the street interview that began, "Every two minutes a man is mugged in this city. And we're going to talk to that man." And every two minutes, he was mugged.

Mike wrote one about a game of "got your nose" that goes horribly wrong. And another about somebody being influenced by an evil Mrs. Butterworth.

God we were creative back then. And I hope it wasn't just the alcohol that made it funny.

There were the in-jokes that can still make me laugh just THINKING about them. You know the laugh I'm talking about; the kind of laugh that makes you fear for you life a little; that you may not survive but you can't stop; the kind of laughter that purges you of all evil. The kind of laughter you remember forever, in the hopes that you can enter that promised land again.

I lost track of Michael many years ago; the last time I talked to him was in 1986; I was stranded in the Sea-tac airport in Washington State and he was going to grad school out there. He came out, we had some coffee and talked about the future a little and the past a lot. I hear that he's in in New Mexico someplace and I hope that he's well and happy and if there's a God, I can look forward to one day having him make me laugh until I literally fall out of my chair.

We've come a long way from blowing 20 dollars in quarters on a video game.

Okay, not so far.

Mike, if you're out there......get in touch.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I traded this title for two third round picks, and a greyhound bus.

I look out my window, and it's an ominous red sky.
Sailors, take warning, as my mother used to say.

I've been traveling back and forth between here and there, and the frustrating thing about it is that I come up with these really great things to write about, but am lacking a notebook to write them down. By the time I get in front of the great electronic sheet of paper, ah, it's gone.

In looking back over the past episodes of this egocentric thrill-ride I call "the conversation," I've noticed that my writing comes from a kind of immediate reaction to something.....usually, somebody else's writings.

The great Mathematician Lobechevski said that is was okay to plagiarize, just to always call it "research." Thank you, Nickolai.

Recently, a dear friend from the land of faraway was toying with a decision of whether to speak or hold. I gave her my brief opinion, and in thinking about it some more, offered this: Many is the time in my short by lengthening life that I didn't say what I needed to say. I didn't need to say if for the benefit of the person I was telling, obviously; I mean, really, they didn't know before, and I'm pretty sure that my announcement wouldn't change their lives one IOTA, but I needed to say it for ME.

When somebody has been an influence upon you, isn't it just polite to say so? Respect is a compliment, and Love the greatest compliment of all.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Love is a gift that must be freely given to mean anything at all. That means, of course, that you should have no expectation of the return. The expectation of the return is what makes us crazy. The ability to love is what makes us strong.

So, today is filled with carvings of various kinds, and candy of many sorts.

I wish you joy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I started in one place, moved to another, and ended on the corner of "what?" and "huh?" streets....

Lord, give me the strength to get through what must be done; but never, ever take away my ability to dream and create; for that truly would be a hell on earth.

It's always been mentally exhausting to do these things; and now, it's become somewhat physically exhausting as well. I enjoy the engagement of the mind, though, for it serves as a tribute to those who taught me. I enjoy finding the new threads in a lecture; to find a new way of saying the old thing. A new example. A new metaphor.

I especially love new metaphors. It makes me look all wise and all knowing. Or, at the very least, it keeps me from looking like the mayor of Doofustown.

As I think back, it becomes apparent to me that nobody but NOBODY should ever try and teach acting. It's far too large a subject, first of all.....think about it: The art form dates back to the Egyptians, and was honed by the Greek, and through that long line of civilizations, passed down to us mere mortals. And for every actor, there is a system, a method, a crutch, a trick, a treat and a deception that is used for maximum effect. Who am I to actually tell people what works for me should work for them? And how, in God's name, are we to interpret the babblings of other actors and teachers who have written many many tree corpses about it?

And when you put a Stanislavskist together with a student of Maeterlink, God help the child who gets in the middle of that muddle.

But I did not intend to put on or withhold my approval of any particular strategy; I was only pointing out my own shortcomings. So, do not pelt me with copies of Uta Hagen and Viola Spolin, please.

However, if you want to throw a corned beef sandwich my way, feel free. It's lunchtime and I'm feeling a pit peckish.

My point is, to quote Mark Twain, "You can't go through life by another man's road." Which is fortunate, because who would want to follow my road, with more twists and turns than a....twisty turny thing. I really have GOT to work on my simile.

I've got regrets, but today, I'm okay with them.
Talk to me tomorrow, and I'll be cynical alcoholic boy again. I promise.

Cast off! Set a course for the third star on the right, and straight on until morning!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm out of fancy titles.

Well, it's off I am to the land of elsewhere.

It's time to take this whole evolutionary theory of work related nonsense on the road; and I'm just going north for a little while to bring enlightenment to the masses.

That's not why I'm up so early; you know me, I'm always up this early. You know the old saying: "Early to rise, early to bed, makes a man feel likes the living dead."

Or something.

Last night was the annual dinner presented by the Lewis and Clark Foundation. My brother-in-law is a member, and since we moved here, it's been a regular October event; kind of like the World Series, but not so much rained out. It's usually just hang out with people I see once a year, eat the usual banquet food, and listen to a usually interesting speaker talk on the usual topic: Lewis and Clark. You HAVE been paying attention, right?

Last year, it was a terrific speech about the wrap up of the Bi-centennial of the journey up the Missouri and all the way to the Pacific. The speaker told some stories, provided some mysteries still left to solve, and generally brought the topic to life. THIS year, it was a compare/contrast speech about the journeys of L&C and a German fella named Maximilian. Apparently, Lewis and Clark were hack explorers.

It was a shorter speech this year; and, given the fact that the topic was somewhat less than interesting, I'm grateful for brevity.

One of the interesting presentations of the evening was the telephone call they received from the White House; they were celebrating the 150th Birthday of Teddy Roosevelt last evening, and we had a little conference call to talk about how THAT presentation went. Enlightening.

Had an opportunity to talk to some people about creating a State Theatre of North Dakota. This, of course, will go nowhere, but it does actually benefit from going nowhere very slowly.

Good day to you all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Huh.

Just a quick one....

Should I be paranoid when I look at the sitemeter and see that the Sergeant-At-Arms for the United States Senate is looking at my blog? Particularly the ones about polls and elections and such?

I'd be honored if I wasn't so concerned.

Fallow Time.

I just wrote this really badly worded post about the philosophy that guides our lives. And then, I deleted it. Because, for the most part, it was bullshit; I can't sum up my philosophy of life, because since I was old enough to know what one was, it's changed constantly.

Which, in itself, is a philosophy of life.

I guess what I was trying to get at is that life can be easy and hard, quick and slow, filled with unbelievable joy and unbearable sorrow, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Nobody can live it for you; we know this to be true. But it's AMAZING to me how many people try to put you on a path with some kind of dime-store bumper-sticker bullshit.

Bad days are the days when we have to work through stuff. It takes time to work through stuff. It might take an hour, a day, a week, a month. Some people work through stuff forever. If you are my friend, you accept that; you watch the clock, you help when you can, and you give the space.

But don't tell me to smile just because YOUR world needs it. The exercise of the muscles in my face doesn't ACTUALLY help the processes of my brain.

There are no STEPS to this process.
Until I can see the whole map, I will have to concentrate on this particular road. And the speed limit is mine to set.

Need a ride?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's perfectly fine for Sunday.....

A windy day here in Bismarck. And when I say "windy", I'm not talking cool fall breezes, I'm talking about "windy" in the sense that sailors tremble, parents keep their children indoors for fear of them flying away like kites, and lawn furniture that hasn't been battened down looks like Michael Phelps going down the street.

It's early in the morning, of course......my personal, interior alarm clock goes off at an UNGODLY hour, no matter what time I actually went to bed. And because I'm such a dutiful husband, I make sure that the cats are taken care of, the coffee is made, and perhaps there is something palatable for breakfast.

(Ain't I a catch?)

Today, there is little to do. There is some laundry to be finished, of course, and I would like to put a dent in the stack of books sitting next to my laptop.....and if I could put a few pages together I would call that a victory.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

When the heart speaks......

Welcome to my Saturday. Very rare for me to have time on my hands on a Saturday, and of course, when I say, "time on my hands" I mean "time to do all the things I should be doing when I'm off doing what I HAVE to do in order to have someplace to come back to so I can be in that place and wish I had time to do the things I WANT to do."

Same old song. Grab a partner and dance.

But the laundry is cooking in its laundry machine, and the menu has been planned for the evening. The dishes are still staring at me like the Fulton Fish Market on a Wednesday morning, and there's the lawn that needs one last mowing before fall is over and winter begins.

45 degrees is NOT conducive to me mowing a lawn. But, once again, HAVE to vs WANT to.

Dance, my minions, DANCE.

But the pumpkins are on the porch, and my knives have been sharpened, even though I'm pretty sure I'll get to it on Thursday or Friday....they rot so quickly these days. And the children are just going to have to put up with M&M's because I know, I JUST KNOW that I'll be nibbling before, during and after.

I've been thinking lately about children. OTHER PEOPLE'S children, mind you, for we have not been blessed. So, I live in a kind of vicarious world where I watch my friends and relatives children.

What an interesting thing it is to see the passage of time in the face of another human being. And equally interesting is to see how these people, who joined me regularly in a howl at the moon in our younger days, become.......heroes and security agents and cooks and cleaners and cheerleaders and first aid technicians and truly remarkable people.

And they speak with such adoration about these little humans, these carbon copies and yet not; and I find myself envying those people who go through their lives and the lives of their children with gusto and fear and stress and unadulterated joy.

My friends are to be envied, and pedastaled, and when the clock chimes midnight, surrounded by the love they give, magnified and returned.

Happy Birthday, Dad. And thank you, thanks beyond the giving of it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Once more, with feeling.

There's a special kind of fear in the air at this time of year.

A fear that the polls are wrong.

I've been reading various polls online, and I have to wonder if the news media is intentionally misleading the American public, in order to get them out to the polls in just about two weeks from now.

All the polls I read have Mr. Obama leading in all the states that were carried by the misguided candidate from 2004, and actually ahead, in some cases by a WIDE margin, in the key battleground states.

Here in North Dakota, where the three electoral votes could make a difference between winning big and......well, just winning......a state that usually goes against it's agricultural roots and votes Republican, and hasn't actually been one by a Democratic Presidential candidate since, I believe, Harry Truman, is favoring Mr. Obama by a slight margin.

When it comes right down to it, Mr. McCain can count on the south. Did ANYBODY think that the south would come across for Mr. Obama? But the north, primarily in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and in the west in Colorado...these are also going to Mr. Obama.

Now, there is a principal out there that suggests that the polls are skewed because those polled don't want to look racist, so they say they are voting for the Democratic candidate. A recent AOL poll has Mr. McCain leading by a very scary margin.

So, polls are useless, apparently, unless you're looking for some kind of morale boost, or you're putting up a tent.

My opinion is well noted, but what the hell, it's my dime and I'll say it again because it pleases me to do so. I'm tired of living in a country that has become the scourge of the world; I'm tired of living in a country that lives on a daily diet of hate for an appetizer, a savory entree of creme de paranoia, and a lively bit of fear for dessert; I'm tired of living in a country that's only source of pride seems to be some guy who swims reallllly fast, and the fact that we can find more faults with the rest of the world, without looking into that honesty mirror and seeing what we really are.

And I'm ESPECIALLY tired of good men selling their souls for an office that any sane person would run screaming from; and one particular woman who simultaneously claims membership in the working class, and then steps out to spend 150 THOUSAND DOLLARS at Niemann Marcus.

John McCain is, in my opinion, an honorable man who's past his expiration date.
The woman (she who must NOT be named) exudes the aroma of Doom.

So. Finally, at this late date, I make a decision.

I'm pro gay marriage.

And I'm voting for John Hoeven for Governor.

Yes. We have another in a long line of opportunities to step away from the abyss, and seek the path we should have sought seven years ago. I pray that collectively, we have the wisdom to make a sound choice, and the balance not to fall off the freakin' cliff.

Goodnight, Saigon.

For the little girl who lives down the lane.

A year or so back, when I began writing the various stages of nonsense upon this shiny paper, I found to my surprise that people.....actually....read it.

Just my little contribution to the dumbing down of America and beyond.

But as you well know, if you write something, then people will, if they feel it necessary, write comments upon your writings.

And then, if you want, you can write about the writings about your writings. And so forth.

Well, my old friends, they support me. In my darkest hours, when I've written such unbelievable horsefeather about my mental state, they were always there to feed my ego and dry clean my soul.

It's the strangers that really get to me, though.
And one in particular.

I think she began to read this stuff because everybody else was. But she's been very nice to me; more than you can hope to expect from somebody that you've never met, this "friend of a friend of a friend."

I read her stuff, as well. I read them all, although I admit, I'm less likely to comment unless I can be reaaallllly funny. And lately, funny hasn't seemed really appropriate. But we've been through some similar things, then as now, and I find I really like this person, regardless of the fact that I don't believe I've ever met her in person.

So, here's what I'm getting at.

Hopefully, sometime in the future, there will be three words that mean everything.
Three. Little. Words.
And they won't be, "I love you."
They will be, "Let me help."

So.
What can I do for you?