Wednesday, July 30, 2008


It's a given that if you drop your open faced peanut butter sandwich, it is going to land face down.

It's a given that if you are in fact eating spaghetti while wearing a white shirt...well, you know.

It's a given fact that if you have a headache, Billy Mays will magically appear on your screen, yelling about Oxyclean or some Super Putty......

"Oh, I long for the old view."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More Woes...

I have always been convinced that the human brain has a finite capacity for the storage of information; which means, eventually you fill up. AND, when you DO fill up, every new peice of information forces out another peice of information; and the problem with THAT is, you have no say as to what information is deleted when the new information comes in.


In comes: Hannah Montana, Zach and Cody, High School Musical (1 & 2), The Jonas Brothers, and The Cheetah Girls....

Out goes: My mother's maiden name. Several passwords to accounts I still use, some that are a royal pain to change. Most of the third act of HAMLET. The lyrics to IT WASN'T ME by George Thoroughgood. AND the recipe for some of my special Christmas Cookies that I should have written down, but thought I'd "get to it, eventually".

Information gone forever.
All because of the Disney Channel.

It occurs to me that occasionally, one of my relatives could come across these missives, and misunderestimate my ramblings. Let me reiterate....
But I continue to be amazed at just how LOUD they can become.

Well, tomorrow I'm off again to the thriving metropolis of Grand Forks, North Dakota, to continue the enlightening process begun two weeks ago. Hopefully, it will be painless.

It will certainly be quieter.

A bloody JET ENGINE would be quieter.
(I have practical experience in this regard)

Grumble. Grumble.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Elvis has left the building; but Manilow remains.

It was quieter in Vegas.

And you called a magic number, and food arrived at your door.

The air was filled with many sounds; of bells, whistles, the hoots of the victorious and the groans of the failed.

And one ten minute monorail ride later, you were chatting with a Ferengi. And buying a lot of Trek souvenirs.

And admitting, not for the first time, that I am a geek.

There's nothing like Vegas in the early daylight hours: The sun rises, and like vampires, the people of the streets scatter to await the sunset. And I would walk the strip, marvelling at the architecture, wondering, not for the first time, what future generations will think of a small version of the NYC skyline, right next to the Green Pyramid of Giza. In the morning, nobody hassles you, or tries to hand you a pamphlet on where to find the loosest slots, or the loosest women....and the temperature is just right.

I was impressed with the Second City troupe. The writing was crisp, the performances equally so. A couple of the sketches were poignant, which is a nice color to comedy, and a couple of the blackout scenes so clever, I was the only one laughing. I WAS a little disappointed in the audience, though. The funniest things for this particular audience seemed to be flatulence, feminine hygiene products, and smoking dope. Real bargain basement crap.

And I am, admittedly, a comedy snob.....which another reason I rarely set foot in theatres anymore. Unless I am with company that can truly appreciate the nuances....

I was sad to see that the statue of Elvis has been removed from the Hilton lobby. Maybe Barry Manilow was jealous. I am also sad to see that we needed three artists to replace Celene Dion: Cher, Midler, and Elton John.

And I'm sad that Star Trek: The Experience is closing.

That being said.....

I turned forty seven on Monday.
The mirror didn't lie on that fateful morning.
The truth must be that I earned every line;
And paid for every small, broken vessel upon my cheek
With Russia's favorite export.
I cultivated every single grey follicle.
Forty Seven.
And I realize that there is more behind me than in front of me;
And I would trade some of it, cheaply.
But other things,
Most other things,
Not for the wide world.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

As if you wondered......

I am in Vegas.

Too much food I'm eating.

Second City was more funny than I expected. Or hoped.

Am losing money. My wife winning money.

And, got hit on by my first Vegas prostitute. So proud. I feel like I've won some kind of award, even though I was just nominated. And I'm pretty sure the award has been given out more than a few times.

Oh, and STAR TREK: THE EXPERIENCE will be closing in September. So sad.

More later....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Let's hear it for the OTHER obsessive detective!

My friends are all raving about the new BATMAN movie, and my thought is this:

"Well, DUH. It's a freakin' BATMAN movie!"

BATMAN movies are kind of like sex. When they're good, they're REALLY REALLY good.
And when they're bad....they're still pretty good.

Batman is my favorite DC character; he's a man who's trained himself to be the very best he can be. He doesn't have super powers, he's just turned himself into a super power.

I tend to forget that he's also an narcissistic obsessive, but everybody's got a character flaw....

I probably won't see it in the theatre, because I really don't go to theatres very often anymore. I can't concentrate, my mind wanders, and I pay all that money without really enjoying it. I'll wait for awhile and rent it, and watch it on my home theatre.

And, I'll just reiterate what I said on Zelda's post...

Batman would totally kick Spiderman's ass.

See you in a week......

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Man Down! The Children Are Using Him For A Trampoline!

My wife has a very large heart. She must have; she ignored my obvious faults a little over nine years ago, and responded to my sincere but clumsy requests for a date, and the rest is history.

My wife takes in stray cats; she gives to various charities; and when a relative needs a place to stay, our house is open.


A little less than two weeks ago, we took in our Niece and Nephew and three young daughters, because they were moving to the area and needed to find a house. They found a house, and will be with us, apparently, until they close on it, which will be sometime in August.

For those of you that know me, you now have a full idea of my predicament, and you are currently sympathizing.

For those of you that DON'T know me; I don't have children of my own, and am not what you would call "kid-friendly." I can take them in small doses, as long as there is a loooooong period of time between those doses.

Perhaps I should point out that these children are 7, 5, and less-than-five. All girls. All VERY jealous of one another. All of them of the belief that not only are they the CENTER of the universe, but also the SMARTEST person in the room.

Once again, for all of you that know me, you know that that's is not true; I am. ME ME ME.

Anyway. The decibel level in my house has elevated. My GOD, the pitch they can actually raise their voices to in an effort to out-do one another is frightening.

I find my routine has been slightly interrupted, because nobody in my house (except me) gets up before ten am, and here I am, even on my bloody VACATION....

(did I mention this is supposed to be my VACATION?)

arranging not to wake people up, walking with pillows on my feet like some sort of cartoon reject, as I live my life between six am and noon like I've done every day since I was twenty......


Don't get me started on mealtimes.
And how much I loathe Hannah Montana.
Zach and Cody must die. Or at least, get the flu.

Phineas and Ferb is pretty funny, though.

But I miss watching The Sopranos.

If you look to the north on any given day, and you see, far into the distance, a mushroom cloud spreading into the stratosphere, know that it was my head that exploded. And say nice things at my memorial.

Who would've thought I would actually retreat to Vegas to get a little peace and quiet?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ah, when the mind won't stop and the pain won't go.

Just a quick one....

I found some notes I had written during one of my training sessions, and it was so profound I felt the need to share it with you.

It went something like this....

Neville Chamberlain

And a picture of a balloon.

Please, please, PLEASE make it stop.

Thank you, and good night.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Will My Vacation Never Come?

It's already been a long week.

My job takes me around the state from time to time. I am a DHS version of Sam Beckett; I travel from place to place, putting right what once went wrong, and blah blah blah. I think I've used the QUANTUM LEAP joke before, so I'm just going to let it fade out like the end of a PINK FLOYD album.

The last couple of days was in a place called Grand Forks. It's not far from Canada, and right on the ND/MN, you get a multitude of cultures. The work is not hard, but it is exhausting, and time seems a bit ssssttttrrrreeeettttccchhheeeddd because I'm starting my vacation on Friday.

And trying to watch the end of the All Star Game last night didn't help.

Oh, and applying for a new job at the company.

Oh, and did I mention I have house guests? My Niece, Nephew, and three adorable grand-Nieces. Or something. The cats are spooked.

Now, I must be off to figure out just what the hell a SF-50 is, and why I'm supposed to fax it to this number.....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

In the slow lane of the fast food nation.

One small pet peeve from me today......

Every so often, I get the urge for the fast food. I know that it's not exactly a healthy choice, and I don't do it as often as I used to, but every so often, the bad food jones comes a-callin', and a body's gotta answer.

So, here's the peeve:

If you're going to use the drive-thru:

1. It's called a drive-thru; the name suggests both convenience and speed. Have SOME idea of what you want. And let's face it: It's not a big menu. And the words are all pretty short. And they even have PICTURES if you get confused.

2. Please, if you have a car full of kids, try to maintain some discipline and order FOR them. I watched this lady let her four kids yell their order to the patient attendant one-at-a-time. And when the third one ordered their food, the first one changed her mind, and we were off to the races....

3. If you're picking up food for absent people, please have some alternates in mind before you get there. I sat behind a woman as she made TWO cell phone calls because, apparently, the place she was at didn't have the thing her TWO friends wanted.

4. After you pay for your food at the window and receive your food, and begin to drive away, lets take special care not to forget that you are probably in a line of cars, and it's best to LOOK before you make the faux pas of BACKING UP your car to dispute an order.

5. Sometimes, it's better to go inside the store.

6. If you are in your car, and you use a drive-thru, and there is a new employee at the register, BE PATIENT with them. Be SUPPORTIVE. Treat them as YOU would like to be treated (Jesus said that, I'm assuming because he had some bad experience at the Bethlehem Jack-In-The-Box) because FOR GOD'S SAKE DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY CAN DO TO YOUR FOOD WHEN YOU'RE NOT LOOKING?

Finally, let me add this as a general rule to live by: You are entitled, by Universal Law, to be the center of attention ONE DAY a year. That would be the Anniversary of your birth. After that, you're just another schmo. Be a polite schmo.

See You Next Wednesday.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Babblings from the Northern Part of Dakota.

Things I enjoy:

The mellow temperatures and clear skies that follow the truly scary weather patterns.

The genuine laughter that comes from being surprised by anything on television.

An old song that plays on the radio that you still know the words to after many years.

Things I'm going to recommend today:

A Canadian Television sitcom titled CORNER GAS. You can find it on WGN out of Chicago that I think has exclusive rights to it. It's where I had this weeks genuine laughter.

ALL FOR LAYNA, a song that originally the last cut on the first side of the album GLASS HOUSES by Billy Joel. Heard it in the car yesterday, and knew all the words, even though I'm pretty sure I haven't heard it since college.

A house with a basement. Especially when you live in a place where you can see the wicked weather coming for miles and miles.

And now, a story that's relevant:

Years ago, when I met most of you that read this, I lived in a house with many people, in a town that really didn't have much to offer. The house was fine, and the people rare and interesting and cherished of memory. Four more UN-ALIKE people you would never meet again....but I live with the memory of knowing that they would take the bullet for me, and I would do the same for them.

That being said: There was a tradition between the men in the house, and on any given weekend, we would stand in the kitchen and dance and sing the "I've got no life" song. It went something like this:

I've got no life,
I've got no life;
No life, no life,
And no hope for a life...
(repeat as necessary)

The dance looked like two spastic leprechauns.
Or maybe, it was just us that looked like two spastic leprechauns.

I woke up humming the song, but stopped dancing when my wife came in. I think I heard her muttering something about "spastic leprechaun" as she exited.

The relevency is: Some days are life-like, the way wax fruit is life-like. Today, it's not life, but an incredible simulation.

My luck: I get simulation when I want stimulation.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

The something that sits in my mind like the 500 lb Gorilla....

I have a job.

And it's a good job, folks. It provides a decent living, and although I do not condone the use of uniforms of any kind, it does give me a sense of purpose; there are actually days when I feel I'm contributing to the overall well-being of the world.

I'm thinkin' globally, and actin' locally.

But there are other times, friends and neighbors, when I wonder.....

The organization I work for was created about six years ago, in a state of high anxiety and fear, for the purpose of making sure such disasters never occur here again. We were created in the very long shadow of two fallen monoliths, and the tremendous loss of life; some of those lives particularly personal to me.

I take my job very seriously. As seriously as a person such as I can.

That is not to say that I've completely lost my sense of humor, or my overactive sense of the absurd.

I work for the government, people.....absurdity is just another day in paradise.

But my point: My organization is evolving. In a very long process that continues today and ends sometime around NEVER, my organization is striving to make our workplace a calmer, friendlier place to pass through, in an effort to lower stress levels among officers and civilians, in the hope that when it's calm, we are better prepared to see and hear and feel when things are hinky.

Counter to this is the latest in decor, which is a constant reminder that we were created in fear and hatred, by posting pictures of those aforementioned monoliths, and the reminder that many lives were lost, and that we will never forget.

I know I'll never forget. But I don't have to advertise that fact. And I continue to be appalled at my government, who uses this disaster as a way to extort money, power and pliability from the people of this country. And I'm appalled that my organization continues to parade what is perceived as the single greatest failure of security in the history of this nation as a rallying cry.

I don't want to have to live by the motto, "Not On My Watch."
I would rather live by the credo, "You'll Get My Very Best."

If we're trying to improve our public perception (and by the way, we are actually despised more than the IRS, and that speaks VOLUMES about my organization), we need to start treating people with respect, to do our best to serve the twin masters of security and customer service.

Hopefully, we'll be doing this, starting today.
Tomorrow, at the latest.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Don't the sun look angry through the trees?

I started out with something. And then it became something else, and then it became several somethings else, and then I just hit escape and had several shots of Hershey's syrup, straight up.

Today is one of those days when I think that something interesting is going to happen. That's not always an exciting thing, for "something interesting" does not always translate into "something good." It could be that I'm going to have to ignore every single instinct for self-preservation today, and say what's REALLY on my mind to the people who sit above in judgement.

It's a truth to power thing today, people, and if I don't word it correctly, much could be taken from various parts of my anatomy.

Nah. It won't be that bad. I word it......correctly.

But, actually, I want to send this out to my friend Gert. It's a passage from one of my favorite books, STILL LIFE WITH WOODPECKER, by Tom Robbins. I hope it makes sense within context.

"Consider a certain night in August. Princess Leigh-Cheri was gazing out of her attic window. The moon was full. The moon was so bloated it was about to tip over. Imagine awakening to find the moon flat on its face on the bathroom floor, like the late Elvis Presley, poisoned by banana splits. It was a moon that could stir wild passions in a moo cow. A moon that could bring out the devil in a bunny rabbit. A moon that could turn lug nuts into moonstones, turn Little Red Riding Hood into the big bad wolf. For more tan an hour, Leigh-Cheri stared into the mandala of the sky. "Does the moon have a purpose?" she inquired of Prince Charming.

Prince Charming pretended that she has asked a silly question. Perhaps she had. The same query put to the Remington SL3 elicited this response:

Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not.
Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning and an end.
Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm.
There is only one serious question. And that is:
Who knows how to make love stay?

Answer me that and I will tell you whether or not to kill yourself.
Answer me that and I will ease your mind about the beginning and the end of time.
Answer me that and I will reveal to you the purpose of the moon."

In the words of Clemo:

Love is love.
It cannot be analyzed, categorized, defined, or filed.
It can be the fire that comforts, or the fire that rages.
It can restore. It can destroy.
It can last.
It can fade.

It can't be forgotten, or ignored.
It can happen in a second, over a period of years.
Or never.

It can appear in the face of a friend.
It can appear in the face of a stranger.
And it can appear, when you least expect it, in the face of an old photograph, long forgotten.
But you will not recognize it until it wants you to.
And it may not want you to until it's too late to do anything about it.

And love is not something you do something about.

The trick?

Have a good day, all.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Random thoughts with The Band in the background....

Things I should do today:

-Try to impose a bit of order into my office library.
(I always love people who say the word, "liberry." I makes me laugh until I turn red like a strawbrary.)

-Write something besides a blog entry.
(I have an idea running through my head, but it refuses, ABSOLUTELY REFUSES to exit the cranium.)

-Telephone my old friend Don who was just made landfall after a very long stay
aboard a cruise ship.
(Don is a great guy, whose sharp mind and whimsical attitude makes you want to laugh and beat him, sameultimeously.)

-Various household chores
(the word that springs to mind is "nagichim." I thought it was a curse word, and then realized it's just Michigan spelled backwards.)

-Make myself a grilled cheese sandwich and sit on the deck in the back of my house
and make "nyah nyah" noises at the birds and various neighbors.
(This one is self explanatory. I think.)

-Look myself up on, to see if I am, in fact, related to Mayor
(I've always suspected this; I have a love for three piece suits, and my head looks a
little like a burger.)

So many possibilities......and my spell checker is just going to have a STROKE over this entry.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bid you adieu....

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Today is my first day off in what my Missouri friends would call a "somnabitchlongtime."

Raining, of course.

Woke up this morning not quite remembering what day it was. Turned on the television, and saw an ad for Obama for President. I know it's a formality, but shouldn't you actually wait to be nominated? It's kind of like setting up Christmas decorations before Halloween.

Oh. Wait.


Didn't do much yesterday. I'm not much for fireworks or crowds, and since I put in a full day's work yesterday...I didn't feel the need to go out. As a man in continual recovery, I tend to look at certain holidays as "amateur hour." Fourth of July, New Year's Eve, Memorial Day, etc.....these are the days when stupid people drink more than they should and go out cruising.

In the words of the famous Sam Goldwyn, "Gentlemen, include me out."

I did miss the smell of the barbecue, though. And the taste of the corn on the cob.

Or, perhaps it was just the childhood I missed.

God Bless America. May we eventually walk out of the fog.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Quick Notes....

I often wonder if John Adams woke up on July 3 and thought to himself over his first cup of coffee, "I've made a horrible mistake."

My favorite quote from those far-thinking fellows of 1776:

"Come now, gentlemen; we must hang together, or we will surely hang separately."

And one more thing to remember as the revelry winds up:

He who goes forth with a fifth on the fourth, may not go forth on the fifth.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Time To Buy and Time To Lose Yourself Within A Morning Star....

Random thoughts again:

As a kid, I can remember the anticipation of the baseball All Star Game. Even more than the World Series (which would invariably mean that the Yankees were representing the American League, which was like "rain on your wedding day"), it was the one time of year where you got to see ALL of your heroes in one place, seeing how one league stacks up against the other.....and it always seemed like a party. But the chief difference between that game and all the other "All Star Games" was that in baseball, the pitchers really tried to get the strike-out, and the fielder's really played defense. And it was usually a pretty good game.

These days, games like that can't possibly live up to the hype; because the hype begins about six months before the game is actually played.

Oh, and in my youth, the All Stars were chosen by sportswriters and not the fans. And even when the fans voted, it was on a paper ballot that you could only get at the ballpark. Not this "American Idol" vote-on-line-six-thousand-times-a-second crap.

Truly, I'd rather see the guy who has stolen 25 bases in the first half of the season play, rather than the sloppy-fat juiced-up long ball hitter who's well past his prime.

Other thoughts:

This would be a good time to be at the cabin, which is located in the middle of the state of Michigan, back into the cedars near the small stream. I have the need to lay out on the hammock by the water, listening to the sound of the wind through the trees, and catching the mellow sounds of Ernie Harwell on the radio and the lovely aroma of something cooking over the charcoal.

Too late; I'm already back there in my mind. The sound of children's laughter is actually an echo, but I can live with that.

Well the sun begins to fade, we'll put together a game of "Ghost in the Graveyard". Who's up for it?

And the connecting thought:

One of the best presents I ever got on my birthday was one of those balsa wood airplanes, that are propelled by winding up the rubber band operated propeller. I had to have been six. Maybe seven. And for dessert, my Mother would go out to Sanders' and get this really good devil's food cake with "bumpy" frosting. And I would get the biggest piece. And that one day of the year was yours, and your alone.

Side note:

Back in 1997, I was having a very bad week. July is traditionally a very hard month for me, and the 1997 edition was almost more than I could bear. I'd left one job for another, was homeless (in the sense that my permanent address was now a 1996 Mercury Mystique) and working at the theatre in Illinois that wasn't bad, just a bad fit for me. I was struggling to stay on the wagon and I was working with people that were all younger than I.....

On the morning of my birthday, I opened the door to the ugly dorm room I was currently storing my stuff in.....and somebody had left me a present.

It was a balsa wood airplane with a rubber band propeller mechanism.

I took the gift, closed the door, and cried my eyes out of twenty minutes or so, and then went out and thanked everybody. You see, to this day I don't know who left it, but I thanked everybody. And for that one day, things were pretty good.

PS: That July wasn't so bad after that; comparing it to the rest of the year, it was practically ROSY.

And now, to wrap up:

When things get bad, just remember that there is always another piece of candy. Or a cake with bumpy frosting. Or the simplicity of a plane that runs on rubber band power. Or a hammock by a stream. Or the fragrance of something cooking over charcoal. Or the smell of the grass under the lights at the ballpark.

Cue the music.
Fade to black.