Saturday, January 31, 2009

Magic Bus.

Other observations from Amnesia Avenue:

The hills I used to sled down as a kid are quite a bit smaller now. I blame global warming.

I think Super Bowl Sunday with the family could be one of the best things ever. I will keep you posted.

John King's Bookstore on Lafayette Avenue in Downtown Detroit is the best used and rare bookstore in North America. I oughta know, I just spent a lot of my salary and about four hours of my day there.

I love the smell of bookstores.

There are two things to being, "A Clemo." First, a job that normally takes three hours usually takes at least three days, and will probably require either expert help or medical attention, and sometimes both. Secondly, Clemos have the uncanny ability to beat the restaurant rushes at meal times. Other than that, there are really no benefits.

There were three malls in this town when I grew up. All three are gone now, replaced by.....wait for centers. I don't know if that qualifies for irony, stupidity or both.

More later. I'm heading North on Monday, with photo stops in Saginaw, Cadillac, and Mackinaw City. Should be in Marquette by nightfall, though...if anybody cares.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ship to Shore.

Every time I think I have something interesting to write....

It's been an interesting trip so far. I've looked into faces I haven't seen in awhile, and have been surprised by the way they have affected me. Surprise, it seems, is like a raspberry seed between your teeth; the original fruit was most delightful, but the remnants of it are somewhat distracting.

Then again, sometimes the delightful things are distracting, and the distracting things are delightful.

Somebody should write this stuff down.

Oh, wait. Never mind.

It should come with no astonishment that, aside from my jovial sojourns into levity, I have been.....unhappy....for quite some time. But that unhappiness comes from within, and not without. It's my creation; my monster; my untreasured burden, and it's only me that can get out of it.

I've been using this trip to set things in order, I think. To resolve some long outstanding issues. With friends, and with family. So far, the feelings of peace have escaped me, but I think I've given some peace to other people, and while that was not my original intention, so be it.

Then again, for all I know, I could have stirred the pot and headed for the state line. I hope that's not the case.

Things I have discovered thus far:

1. I apologize too much for loving the people in my life, as if that love is some kind of crime. Screw that.

2. There is nothing quite so satisfying as making my brother laugh.

3. The best way to stand the pain of the back spasm is to stand very still and pretend you're someplace else.

4. When a man goes in search of his boyhood home, it's not the home he's looking for, it's the boyhood.

5. I miss my mother more than any words can express, ever.

I have been taking pictures, but have been thwarted at every path trying to get photos of the various schools I've attended. I'll be posting them around eventually, but I'm not as quick or as savvy as some of my friends, so it may take time.

And the time is mine to take.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I fully intend to do the following....

Take many pictures of my travels, including some places I haven't seen in a long while.

Share those pictures as I go.

Eat food that's incredibly bad for me.

See my Mother.

Play chess with my Father.

Celebrate my younger brothers birthday.

Walk down Amnesia Avenue. Sober, this time.

I'll keep you posted if anything interesting happens.

And even if it doesn't.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Short Goodbye to The Scary Man.

I am very happy that Dick Cheney is gone.

In that respect, the country can breathe a deep cleansing sigh of relief.

So, farewell to the man who, as President of the Senate, told one of his critics, a certain VT Democrat named Patrick Leahy to "go fuck himself" on the floor of the Senate.

Farewell to the man that 70% of the nation considers "the worst Vice President ever", and that includes Aaron Burr, who not only killed a guy, but tried to steal the Presidency from Thomas Jefferson, and allegedly attempted to annex a part of the American Southwest in order to claim it as his personal empire.

Farewell to the man who made his career by scaring the hell out of the American people.

And when I say, "Farewell", I actually mean, "Get Lost."

And on behalf of the country, may I also add, "Go F*** Yourself."

The winds of change seem to include hail.....

A knee jerk reaction can be disastrous. So, I'm being careful.

I've received some private, not so flattering comments about my views from yesterday. Some people thought I made up the Franklin quote, and surely if you knew me, you'd know that I don't generally make up quotes.

I take credit for my own work, folks.

Some thought that I was showing a lack of patriotism.

And I have to admit, that scared me a little bit.

You see, when the new wind blows, you don't know when it starts whether it blows for good or for ill. A good wind takes the ships home. An ill wind destroys the armada. You need to wait, prepare, and see.

And in the last eight years, there have been many people telling us that it would be unpatriotic not to support the President, as he excised huge amounts of data from the Constitution, and created The Patriot Acts, which systematically destroyed the Government, and the ability of the people to feel anything remotely like freedom.

I voted for Barack Obama; not because he was a Democrat. Not because he wasn't an old white man. Not because he was from Illinois, or a liberal, or because of his amazing ability to speak from the heart, and TO the heart of the American people.

He was the best candidate to save my country.

I hired him to do a terribly difficult job.

And now I wait and see whether he can do it, with or without the help of the supposed allies in Congress, as we get back to a system of Government that includes checks and balances and a division of powers.

And for those of you who are wondering why I'm holding my breath, I'm wondering why we're so easily seduced into the parade without knowing which direction it's heading.

And there are more directions than down, my friends.

Many more directions than simply down.

But here's the lesson: For those of you that graced me with your comments both public and private, I want you to know that they made me think; so, as always, I thank you for the gift. Your views will help to shape mine, and hopefully, mine will help shape yours. Think Globally, Act Locally.

My love to you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Funniest Thing I said Yesterday.

Listening to the inauguration from across the terminal.

Everybody talking about the "New Day" in America.

Thinking back to "Morning in America" back in the Eighties.

The "Thousand Points of Light" that turned out to be a thousand trains in the tunnel, ready to run us down.

I turned to my friend Wes, who has a sense of humor like my own.

"Wes, I just had a Coke, and it was the best tasting Coke I ever had. I never tasted a Coke like that during the Bush Administration."

The true tests are coming. I intend to wait at least the first 100 days.

Ninety nine to go.

Hope is a great thing. It can change worlds.

But let's remember the words of Benjamin Franklin:

"Those who live on hope, die farting."


He said it.

Look it up.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It just goes to show.....

A dear friend of mine writes from the Central Coast of California:

"I have put together a care package for you, and have sent it UPS for delivery on Friday. You need not be present to accept."

Friday came and went. No care package.

Now, it's Monday. I'm a patient man, but there are limits. AND, it's a holiday, so I'm not sure if UPS delivers on MLK Day.

I just checked; they do. But not in the DC area. So, if you're in the DC area, and waiting for a care package from the west coast, forget it. You ain't gettin' service until AT LEAST Wednesday.


I forgot to mention that the dear friend is Greg, aka Doc Burnstein, maker of the finest ice cream I have ever tasted.


It's a care package full of ice cream.

And it's three days overdue.

Thanks, UPS.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

There's a reason we spread it all around, I suppose.

I can't seem to get it all together.

Although, now that I think about it, why would I want all that shit together in the first place?

Possibly, so I can justify this morose feeling of lethargy by saying to myself, "Self, there is just too much shit here that you've gathered all together for reason that passes understanding, and you must sit down someplace and contemplate the loss of control you feel because you apparently are completely unable to deal with the abundance of shit that you, yourself, have accumulated."

And then I would wonder if I could sweep some of it under a rug or something and pretend that it just isn't there.

Here are some highlights:

Got hosed again at work. A few months ago, I applied for a temporary duty as an International Training Associate. It would have allowed me to travel to different places, and serve as an instructor of various new trainings.

On Thursday, I was informed that apparently my uberboss neglected to forward the application.

On that same Thursday, the office attempted to throw me a bone by asking me if I would be interested in this other position. The other position being one of intolerable boredom coupled with an avalanche of paperwork. You can probably guess what my answer was.....

They keep adding to my schedule. Friday morning, they asked (politely) if I wouldn't mind cutting my vacation short so I could instruct another class. Let us keep in mind that they have THREE other instructors, although my brilliance in front of a classroom is the stuff of legend.

You can probably guess what my answer was.

The snow continues to fall, and the old fashioned snow removal system is starting to break down. This means I'm getting tired of shoveling the stuff. There is currently an EIGHT FOOT tall pile of snow at the bottom of my driveway. I'm losing the battle of the mailbox. My hands are sore. My snowblower enabled neighbors are helping out a little with the sidewalks and such, to which I am grateful, but.....

Yes, I know. The place is called NORTH Dakota, and I was fully expecting this kind of thing. But still....

This morning, by the way.....wind chill is -30. Which is actually warmer than last Thursday WITHOUT the wind chill.

I hate wind chill factors.

So that's the story from here for today. Creativity is always trumped by chores. But I do appreciate your patience as I continue to work through my conglomeration of crap.

I should be able to get through it all by the end of the weekend, assuming that there isn't a HOUSE marathon on, or anything.....

Stand by.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


It's Tuesday.
It's snowing.
I'm heading for Fargo.

In the unlikely event that I am never heard from again, please remember that the combination to the safe is

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Sad Saga of a Boy and His Shovel.

It's an ironic fact that some of the beautiful things in this world will kick your ass until you're dead.

Take this morning.

It's a beautiful day outside. The sky is a vivid blue, the sun is shining like the jewel of heaven, the conifers are looking particularly green...and the freakin' temperature is -40.

Flesh freezes in minutes at that temp, I'm told....and I choose to believe it. When I was in college, I ventured out one day much like today, without actually checking the conditions. THAT time it was -60.

Frostbite was virtually immediate. On my ears. If you've never had frostbite, there are some experiences I don't recommend. The term "my ears was burnin'" does not only apply to people talking about you.

So, you have to balance the need to clear the snowdrifts out of the driveway, making absolutely sure that no flesh is showing, keeping the snow you're moving in a downwindardly direction, and non-so-secretly knowing that it's all a futile game, 'cause it's going to drift again in a half an hour.

I don't know if I mentioned it, but about two weeks ago, I bought a new car. It wasn't so much a jump as a push, wife was worried for my safety, and although my Mazda has served me well these many years, she was concerned that my next run in with the snow would be my last....and, she's also worried that I have no sense of personal danger.

She's wrong. I have a GREAT sense of personal danger. I just also have a great sense of responsibility, and to quote myself from many years ago, in the teeth of another snowstorm, "Well, somebody's gotta be Pa Ingalls, and it might as well be me."

Responsibility always seems to trump personal danger.

Stupid responsibility.

Back to the car. I looked at a lot of them, new and used, and finally decided upon a Mercury Mariner. It's basically a Ford Escape with delusions of grandeur. But oh, what grandeur.....this thing can do everything but cook, I swear to GOD.

Okay, you caught me.....I bought the car as an accessory to my Ipod. But I like the idea of telling the radio what to play, and it does. It's kind of like being Michael Knight, without the snotty car voice.

A little more than I wanted to pay.....but I think, in the long run, it'll be worth it.

Of course, my wife wants it now. And I can't really deny her anything.

Stupid sense of generosity.

I'm off to Fargo tomorrow, assuming the weather holds, to finish up my time in the classroom. It's been interesting, but I'm ready for something else. Anything else. I swear that the job has become almost achingly predictable. If one more person comes through, making a joke about a metal plate in their head, I vow by all that's holy they'll NEED a metal plate in their head.

And yes, I'm considering applying for promotion. A little more money. A lot more responsibility. The same chores. I vacillate between, "okay, I guess," and "no freakin' way."

Today, it's "okay, I guess."

More later as it happens.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Birthday Card for the person who inspired me to start this barbaric yawp.

To my friend on her birthday:

The years pass, but age you not.
Your spirit shines like a beacon from the east, inviting, comforting, and joyous.

Shine on.

Many cubic feet of love to you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A long walk.

This morning, upon waking at five am, I went for a walk.

It was -1 outside, but no wind, so it was considered cold, but manageable.

I dressed warmly, put on my headphones, and headed east.

I hadn't walked very long, when I looked up and saw a sign.

Welcome to Minnesota.

Pretty amazing, walking into another state. I must try it again sometime.

Other than that, nothing much happened, all the rest of that day.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Turn it up just loud enough so I can hear the past.

It takes an awfully long time to upload all my music into my little ipod.

And it's amazing how much music it will hold. At last look, I could start my ipod today, and it would not run out of music until sometime Sunday morning.

I should try it; but it might drive the people around me insane. My roommates and I did that in college.....we put on a single 45, something called "Irv's Theme", and played it for days, day and night. My then girlfriend attacked it with a T Square and threw it out into the snow, where it stayed until spring. And when the thaw came, and we found the record, it still played.

The record lasted longer than the girlfriend.

The music that you collect defines you, I think. I don't know about you, but the music in my collection can be viewed like the rings of a tree; you can see where I've been by the stuff in my collection.

A lot of folk.
A lot of what is considered "Classic Rock."
Some soundtracks, mostly things I've done or seen.
Comedy albums from my youth.
Albums I must have bought when in love, for they remind me of people.

It's amazing how music can take you back in time. How a song can place you right where you were when you first heard it; dancing with a readheaded girl in somebody's basement, driving through a pouring rainstorm between jobs, at three am with a project due when you were a less-responsible student...things like that.

Every song I own is now pocket size.

Every memory I have can now be carried along, as if I didn't do that already.

Is it a blessing, or a curse, I wonder?

Friday, January 2, 2009

I got nothing.

I've really got nothing today, except I encourage patience today as we all sort through various things that flesh is heir to.

Patience leads to Kindness leads to Love.

But, here's something that came up at work yesterday, at a slow time. I'm very fond of word play and good pun, so I occasionally come up with the names of the Knights of the Round Table that were forced to sit at the Kiddie Table...

The Knights representing the Orient: Sir Ching Hi, and his brother Sir Ching Lo.

Sir Loin, of Beef.

Sir Rosis, of Liver.

Sir Prize, the one you can never really expect.

Sir Valence, who's always watchful.

Sir Cumference, of the Round Table.

Sir Ten, who's always sure of himself.

Like I said, it was a slow period, and the mind goes where the mind wants.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Red Wings play in Wrigley today....and that has nothing to do with this post.

As you all know, I am an early riser. I'm not sure where the tradition comes from, but generally, it is frowned upon by the majority of my species, so I don't brag about it in fear that I will become that character from I AM LEGEND that is hunted because he is different.

I can't tell you the last time I saw midnight from the other side.

The revels are ended now, and have been for a couple of hours. I did see midnight from the other end, and lo and behold, my internal alarm went off at 5 am. It's going to be a golden day......

Everybody else is asleep, and while there is plenty of soda left over, the liquor cabinet has been well and truly rifled. Apparently, they played cards into the hours after my demise, and according to the score pad, team A kicked team B's ass all over the table.

I'm afraid to make coffee, for it's loud. And I'm not quite as vindictive as all that.

So, I stopped by here to wish you all a Happy New Year; may this year be better than the last. May conversations continue; may opinions differ; may we continue to learn and grow in each others company; my love find its way.

May the blessings of Nature by upon us; may the sun shine brightly in the days to come, and may the stars be many in the night sky.

May reason shape our ends.

May hope never fade.

May glory abound.