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.