Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Abomination Called Bagpipes

I was downtown tonight, I thought for a pleasant time. But then out of the blue, without any warning, suddenly I heard the sickening sound of bagpipes in the area. Which, had I known that would happen, I never would have left the house. How sickening!

I've never liked the squealing of bagpipes, like most people. It sounds like someone stepping on a cat's tail, if you can imagine a cat's painful squealing in slow motion and very prolonged. Whatever kind of apparatus they've got inside a bagpipe to make such a terrible sound, it is without question something infernal deriving from Hell itself. The instrument puts forth such a putrid sound, it immediately sickens most hearers. I've found that something about it connects in an archetypical way to the gag reflex, and, I don't know, maybe even incontinence or involuntary bowel movements, which might be why the players always wear kilts, for easier evacuation.

I know what everyone's going to say: We try to like bagpipes, we're not up in arms about them, because we want to honor other people's cultures, however foolish they might be. Well, I'm sorry, this is one I've tried to like, but I've found it's impossible. I'd rather have newborn twins crying loudly, one close to one ear and the second close to the other, and spitting up, than be anywhere within a mile of a set of bagpipes. If I could gather up the world's bagpipes -- seriously -- I'd burn them. Although I'll give you this, I would graciously put one of the instruments in a laboratory somewhere, frozen like dangerous viruses, so mankind would always have one sample, however locked away it was, for study by future generations were they to deem it necessary.

OK, I know I'm preaching to the choir, because we all -- most of us, of course excluding sadists and masochists -- hate the bagpipes. And yet -- and this is something I don't fully understand -- people do like the bagpipes on the song "Amazing Grace." Which might be why bagpipe players are always playing it, because they're trying to inspire an actual liking for the instrument, however impossible such an elusive dream has to be.

I would guess the reason people tolerate bagpipes on "Amazing Grace" is because you usually hear it at funerals and other serious commemorations. So it worms its way into people's psyches; they associate it with burying Grandpa and getting their inheritance. So they come to think, however subconsciously, that "Amazing Grace" means easy money. That's actually kind of how it is with me, too. I had a rich uncle. He died. They played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes at his funeral. I got an $800 inheritance, which I immediately gave to other anti-bagpipes agitators.

Of course the other side of this coin is the odd fact that "Amazing Grace" is one of our least favorite songs, again speaking for nearly everyone. Because they do play it at everyone's funeral. So it's come to represent death, the fear of death, the stench of death, etc. We want to avoid it at all costs. And if it weren't for the dream of inheritances, we'd rise up and ban both it and the bagpipes.

Frankly, I've never been much of a fan of the song, riches or not. It has the words in it, "That saved a wretch like me." That doesn't do much for my self-image, I don't know about you, but I'm not a wretch. I'm pretty darned good. But in a weird way it fits. If you hear a bagpipe guy playing it, he actually is a wretch! A normal musician would be playing a normal instrument, not this abomination.

So what are we left with? A crap instrument and a crap song, but, amazingly (no pun intended), both are more or less tolerated when they're together! Yet I'll insist on this truth: Get rid of the inheritances -- just try it -- everyone give your estate to charity, and the bagpipes would finally get what they deserve!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Mystery Of Clouds

It's been a nice day today -- mid 40s with very few signs of winter. So I spent some time outside, lying on my back, chewing a weed, looking up at the sky. My picture is of an actual cloud passing by. That's not a cloud from Google Images, but a cloud I personally saw and photographed! If you happened to see that very cloud, please let me know, because it'd be cool to have that in common with someone...

When I'm out like that, looking at clouds, I do what everyone does: I'm looking for shapes that are recognizable. I saw a few that looked like army tanks, one that looked like a boot, and one that looked like an electric can opener. There was even a jet stream through it that looked like the power cord. The one in the picture reminded me of a turtle. And of course there was a bunch that was just generic clouds. Boring, yes, but they make the identifiable ones more special.

While looking up, something amazing suddenly occurred to me, a question, "What keeps them up there?" If it was a flock of geese, they'd be flapping their wings, but I could see no wings and so no flapping. There were no strings or wires attached from above, at least none obvious to me. And certainly there were no pillars raised up from the ground, which would have been immediately noticeable long before today, like years ago. Although what a great picture that'd be, thousands of train cars on tracks going every which way with pillar cars moving the clouds around the country! It'd cost money, for sure, but we'd have to ask, What's a decent cloud worth to you?

It could be, and probably is, that Science has a good answer for how clouds stay in the air. I don't know. If I had to guess, I guess it'd be something to do with them being lighter than air. Then the reason why they're not higher up is they're heavier than the air above them. The lighter air prevents them from going higher and the heavier air keeps them from falling. Something like that. Certainly other heavy and light stuff work together like that.

But what makes a cloud heavy or light? This is where we're entering the realm of Mystery. Either no one knows, or it could be just me. I don't know. I'm guessing it has something to do with barometric pressure, whatever that is. An easier answer might just be that a cloud is part of the sky, the sky operates by the rules that appertain to it, so that's it! But that's not really an answer, but begs the question. I thought I knew, but now that I'm writing this I can't think of it.

I'll look at it from a different angle. They say fog is a cloud that's come down. So let's figure out why fog would come down. It'd have to be heavier than air, right? The air above it just suddenly got light, a bunch of moisture came together in isolated places, equaling a cloud that's naturally heavier, so it sinks. Then the sun comes, evaporates the moisture, thus lightening the cloud so it rises or disappears all together. Heavy and light, that's the key to the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Drew Likes Penises

My iPod's always looking for a wireless connection. Here's one it came up with today. I was right in Drew's neighborhood but I didn't know which house was his!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Criminality Actually Compliments The System

A few of you wrote in after my post yesterday on "My Upcoming Life of Crime" expressing concern about my plans. You had basically two objections:
1) The "bad example" I was setting for young people.
2) Concerns for my reputation.
Of course, I'm thankful for your concerns, and I understand what you're getting at. But with my new-found burgeoning criminal mindset, I must say, "Mind your own stinking damned business!" Nervous Nelly types aren't wanted here, even if you've been faithful readers all these years! My advice to you is keep your mouth shut before I come over and mess up your face...

But let's say I were to take your objections into consideration, just for laughs. First, I'm setting a bad example for young people. I seriously doubt I have that many young readers. But if I turn to a life of crime, I could argue I will finally get some. Because they're more excited by dudes living on the edge, much more so than by normal average old fuddy-duddies. I might get a younger demographic and finally get back to making Google Ads profits, maybe three figures. And as to my reputation, I gladly trample it underfoot! There's nothing more overrated than a reputation. The only people who care are spineless wimps also concerned about their reputation!

There is, however, another way of looking at things, something to note. Maybe your objections aren't taking in the full picture and all its angles. This takes some thought. Because maybe -- think about it -- going for a life of crime actually pays a compliment to the great system of law and order we have in America. As I said yesterday, my turning to crime (and it is after all only a fictionalized thing), was inspired by the writer Jean Genet's criminal choices. So I'm looking at it the way I perceive he looked at it. And therein is an interesting reversal...

In Genet's travels from France around Central Europe (cf. p. 124f of Edmund White's biography of Genet), he made his way into Nazi Germany. When there, he wrote, "I'd wanted to steal. A strange force held me back." What was the strange force? The weird revelation that Germany was "already outside the law," that is, that in Germany crime was institutionalized, the very spirit of Nazism. "It's a nation of thieves,"  Genet said. "If I steal here I will not be performing a singular action that can better realize my nature: I'll be obeying the normal order of things. I won't be destroying it. I'll commit no evil, I'll disturb nothing. Scandal is impossible. I'll steal in a void."

See that? Because the system there was so corrupt, it made little sense, if Genet wanted to stand out, to be a criminal. But in my case, because I am in America, where decency and justice reign supreme, to commit evil and to create scandal, will be a meaningful act, albeit fictionally. All that to suggest that the American system is actually complimented by thieves, who recognize in it a good environment in which to be bad.

Were I to be in the Ukraine or somewhere where corrupt officials and a general lack of civic virtue prevails, like Genet with the Nazis I'd probably find greater fulfillment in continuing to follow my normal lawful ways or even establish them myself as a reaction. But because the United States is so darned good, I have no recourse, if I want a scandal to result from my choices, but to be evil. And I plan to disturb a lot of people!

Admittedly, I am limited by the efficiency of today's police, as Genet was limited in his criminal enterprise in Central Europe, driving him back to France where the police were crap. And they're no doubt a lot more efficient today than they were in the '30s, with all the greater law enforcement technology they have. It's going to be a bastard, me trying to get away with anything, but I'm going to give it my best shot!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Upcoming Life Of Crime

I wanted to give everyone a heads-up on something, a fairly serious issue involving me so no one gets the wrong impression.

I've always tried to keep my reputation pristine, on the blog and in real life. I've never been known to admit to any wrongdoing. If there's ever anything that ever happens, it's always someone else's fault. But that might change -- mostly concerning my reputation -- if people don't understand beforehand what's going on.

Basically what I'm going to do is turn away from blogging my real life (for a while) to blog a pretend, fantasy, fictionalized life. And it might be a few weeks or even a month, I don't know yet. I've sketched out 16 or 17 scenarios, but it's in the actual writing of the thing that it might stretch out a little longer.

In this fictionalized account of my life, I'm going to turn away from decent society, from my reputation, etc., to a life of crime. And, friends, I might be a real scumbag, if that's not too strong a word for it. Certainly the things I'm planning for myself are pretty scandalous to me and my normal social setting. But of course if you're in some country where corruption, deceit, murder, and underhandedness are a way of life -- and I do seem to have a number of readers from the Ukraine -- then it might seem even mild to you.

Did I say murder? Yes, I guess I did. But remember -- and every good fiction writer likes to state these disclaimers right up front -- it's all pretend. In real life I'm not planning on killing anyone. Only in this fictionalized account of my life as a criminal. The one promise I will make is this, that I will strive to justify each killing, to make it clear to you the reader that my various victims deserve what they get. I'm just looking at my scenario (number 9), as an example, and I see the possibility that I will kill off an entire mob from the fly-by-night carpet store racket, and it looks like I will then take money from their wallets and piss on their dead bodies. The justification will probably be something like this, that they sold me crappy carpet and left town.

A lot of my criminal activity will take place in the Skidrow section of town, the most notorious set of bars, restaurants, bail bondsmen, and shady carpet stores in town here. In real life, I was warned about Skidrow so many times, I've only really ever been there in my imagination! And actually that's the way it's going to stay, since this is fiction. I don't know what the real thing is like; it's probably not as bad as I imagine it; I haven't heard of too many murders down there lately; I just know ... the body count will be going up.

Do I actually want to be a criminal? No, not really. I'd rather die of old age in my own bed without an enemy in the world. Not in prison with a tin can for my cup and a bunch of toilets without walls. (I toured a prison once and it scared me straight, even though I had no temptation to deviate.) My real inspiration for this fantasy series is that I'm reading the Edmund White biography of Jean Genet, who thought it was cooler to be a criminal than a normal guy.

So look for that ... right here on my blog. It won't be long before I have "NOTHING TO LIVE FOR," which is the overall name of the project.

Until then, be nice, respect others, do not steal, do not kill, etc., and you'll have a better life!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Criminals And The Finger Of Suspicion

I've been thinking a lot lately about crime.

I'm not myself a criminal, knowingly or actively. If I were, I wouldn't be writing about it, because I firmly believe the first rule of being a good criminal is to keep your mouth shut. But I do tend to think like a criminal, or how I imagine a criminal would think, since I used to think that if the Soviet Union ever took over the United States I would probably be part of the patriotic, though criminal, resistance. So I'm forever thinking, If this were Soviet-occupied America, how would I misbehave? It might be time to quit thinking like that except I have little actual control over what I think.

The biggest difference between now and when I first started thinking that way back in the '60s, other than there no longer being a Soviet Union, is the increase in surveillance technology. Back then a kid could easily imagine himself in a successful, ongoing resistance movement. I was very stealthy in my comings and goings. I was like a magician in my ability to divert people's attention and do all kinds of underhanded things while they were watching. But with surveillance technology being so much improved now, all they'd have to do is check the video and you're busted.

It seems like we used to talk about these things, too, me and other kids, unless it's just a dream I had. We would sabotage everything the Soviets were trying to do to us. And they'd never catch us, that's how good we'd be. But, alas, not now, with video and DNA, etc., the two biggest killers of anonymity. All they had back then was fingerprints. or turncoat eyewitnesses.

But what I'm thinking about today is crime pure and simple. How hard it is to be a criminal, or how hard it should be if everything's working. I've been reading the crime news in the paper. And it's astounding to me how many people persist in criminal activity, even though they're about guaranteed to be nailed these days. Yet, there they are. A few days ago it was this: A party of guys, four or five, went to the apartment of four other guys. One member of the visiting party was an acquaintance of one of the guys at the apartment. But still, even with this acquaintance, he (and they) robbed them and made their getaway. Is that dumb or what? Before morning they had one of the guys in custody, and I wouldn't want to be the other guys for anything! If you're going to be a criminal, dumb ass, there can't be anyone there who knows you!

I seriously think I would make a pretty good detective. Because I'm always thinking, "If the Soviets were here, etc., what kind of trail would I be leaving if I did this-or-that job?" And I frankly can't come up with the perfect crime! Because I'm running it through my mind, A B C, how they'd catch me. It's not just video at the crime scene; it's video at every point along the way, how they could easily trail you no matter where you went. Beyond that, of course, there's DNA. You drop a hair follicle and you're done for. And I'm taking into account hairnets, shaving my head, a complete body shave! You shave and there's bound to be at least one hair left on your clothes...

OK, if it were a matter of national security, sabotaging the Soviets, it'd be a small price to pay to give your life for the country. But to give your life to rob someone at their apartment when they know you? Not near as lofty!

But there are criminals who are a lot more cagey. Like guys who come from out of state, rob a bank, then immediately go to a different state. They've got the advantage of no one knowing them, and they're going where no one knows them. But they're still up against the same thing. The Soviets, or in this case the proper American authorities, have ways of dealing with them. Cameras, the ability to phone ahead to other police departments, profiling, and other forensic resources. Footprints, tire prints, torn jacket on barbed wire. It's not a good way to make a living! Let's say you get $50,000. Big damned deal! $50,000 is peanuts. If you go to prison for 20 years, you traded freedom for 2,500 bucks a year. You can easily find a job, even in today's tough job market, that would pay more than that. Crime is idiocy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Perpetual Vibrating Bed

Today's post is dedicated to the memory of John Joseph Houghtaling, inventor in 1958 of the "Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed." A quarter brought 15 minutes of "tingling relaxation and ease."

We remember with great fondness the vibrating bed. But unfortunately, most of them have been junked by now. Mostly because the original repairmen, long ago, threw away the schematics in a shortsighted, selfish attempt to guarantee themselves job security. Not foreseeing that they would eventually die and the rest of us wouldn't have any idea how to repair the tricky mechanisms.

Admittedly, a few brave souls, working with only rudimentary electronics knowledge, usually gotten from fly-by-night technical institutes, attempted repairs, but none of it was any good. Beyond that, it became impossible to get parts, and trying to jimmy rig the devices with non-matching parts from soda machines and jukeboxes gave poor results.

But let's say we could somehow get back the original intelligence to make these things work, that would definitely be a blast from the past, and, more importantly, great for the therapeutic value the vibrating bed offered. I'm thinking of something a friend of mine said, that the vibrating bed was the only thing that staved off headaches for him. If he felt a headache coming on, diving into a warm vibrating bed was the only thing that could perk him right up!

As for me, I had an idea for the vibrating bed in a perfect world. Just fantasizing here! Remember, when you put a quarter in you got 15 minutes of "tingling relaxation and ease." That was a great promise, but it also had a downside: 15 minutes isn't very long! If you're like me, you could only enjoy the first seven or eight minutes. Because you knew it was about to run out, then you'd have to interrupt your relaxation and ease to put another quarter in.

My idea is why not have a method of automatically replenishing the quarters! And I'm not saying you wouldn't have to pay for the extra service. You'd be glad to pay for it if you could only be spared having to roll over and put another quarter in. So here's the idea: You have a way of loading a disc, almost like in a laundromat, with multiple quarters, which then would rotate and deposit the next quarter as needed. What a great convenience that'd be!

But how to pay for the extra service? What I would propose seems natural to me, in fact the only fair method. The only thing I'm bogged down on is how to pay for the final service of moving the pennies. But bear with me, I have an idea...

I'm proposing a hierarchical arrangement of coins to pay for the services. First, you've got the rotating disc of quarters at the bed that would take, say, 12 quarters. At 15 minutes apiece, that's three hours of uninterrupted vibrating, a godsend! But to actually rotate the quarters, you'd have a disc above it that is loaded with dimes. So that'd be 12 dimes. Then to pay for the dime disc, you'd have a disc above it loaded with nickels. 12 nickels. And to pay for the nickel disc, another disc with 12 pennies. How you pay for the penny disc is the biggest drawback, which I can't entirely resolve at this time. It might have to be that the nickels be somehow adequate compensation for the nickel disc as well as the penny disc.

The key thing is that original 15 minutes, great but inadequate, has been wonderfully extended to three glorious hours! Meaning, except for the need to replenish all the coin discs at the end of three hours, we'd have a virtually perpetual vibrating bed!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Next Generation - What Do I Care?

I was out having ice cream. After a while, quite a few other customers were there. Suddenly, I noticed they were all women. I was the only guy. It made me think of what might happen if all the restrictions and mores of civilization were suddenly removed, like if we were all stranded hopelessly on a desert island.

In that case, they'd probably notice me sitting there, instead of being oblivious. As it was, they were having ordinary conversations, unaware of my presence. But on a desert island, and as the situation became obviously hopeless, they might have different ideas. Such as what I might have to offer, in addition to building huts and keeping down weeds.

But I can picture myself as not all that interested. Because I'm no pushover. I might even protest, "Ladies, I'm 58!" They'd probably think, "Beggars can't be choosers," which is true. I imagine they'd try to sweet talk me, "58 is the new 28." To which I'd have to counter, "I used to be 28. It's nothing like 58."

In this scenario, they'd have a big women's council, trying to pressure me into bringing satisfaction to them, which I would resist with everything in me. And it's not like there was anything wrong with them. There were a few younger than me, like 35-45. They didn't look too bad. I saw some tight jeans and hips adequate to any task. There were a couple high school girls, probably underage, depending on what jurisdiction the island was in. I wouldn't touch them.

But still, I don't want the pressure that goes with being the only guy. In desperation, suddenly, they're trying to force me, making me flee to a remote part of the island. I'm hiding out in the trees, in a cave, etc., and not wanting to make a sound lest they hear me. Finally, a few of them get ahold of me and I'm strung up on a stick, hands and feet, being carried upside down back to the council headquarters, around a raging bonfire. They take me into a hut, manned by their queen, who tries to reason with me: "We are going to need to raise up the next generation. We're looking to you to father children who will keep our lines going."

My obvious protest is that we are on an island, we are not the only people in the world. There's no reason for us to worry about the next generation. But she makes a good point, that the legacy of some of these ladies is right here. Maybe they want to have kids. And maybe they want to pass on a heritage to them, how Fate brought us to this island to learn lessons and pass on a heritage.

But I'm very blunt: "The next generation? What do I care? I've never cared about the next generation!" So I resist the best I can, but I have to say, forgetting about the next generation, a little human companionship might do me some good. I've got my eyes on those tight jeans. She's standing in one spot, reaching over to the left to get something. The right leg comes up off the ground. I'm sitting on a bench, getting an eyeful. Is it by accident or design? Nothing happens on this beach by accident, I decide. It's all meant as a seduction, and it's only by the greatest willpower that I don't take her right then and there!

I try to retreat to the other side of the island again. Perhaps I can spell out SOS on the one of the beaches with coconuts. But I look up -- it's been 10 years and they're all very desperate -- and here they come, waving machetes. Making it clear that I'm either going to submit or they'll extract what they need with the machetes, raising up children by hook or crook.

In the end, I have no choice but to relax and everything gives way. All my objections melt in the first rush of release. Next thing I know -- and I would've never guessed it -- they're lined up outside my hut morning, noon, and night, wearing me out like crazy. The years pass. I now have a number of grown sons to handle the heavy lifting with the ladies. Obviously, inbreeding is a concern, but what do I care? I've never cared about the next generation...

Then, at long last, I have all the time to do what I want. I sit and look at the ocean and hope someday they'll rescue us. At least me. I'll leave the next generation behind.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Noisy-Neighbors Church Moves Out

I was driving through town today and was interested to see that a particular church had moved out of their spot.

I have a friend who works in the same building, and he's told me a thing or two about the church, in short, that they're noisy neighbors. But since there's no limits to religious liberty, more or less, no one's been able to quiet them.

It reminds me of one time I visited a church with a friend of mine when I was a kid, and the preacher called on the congregation to make a lot of noise, so the folks of the neighborhood would know they were there. Back then there was no air conditioning, so the windows were open, and he thought that would be a good testimony. "Let's let them hear us way down the block!"

The church in question in this office building isn't the same kind of place. They keep their windows closed to keep in the cool air in the summer and heat in the winter. But up till they left they were still very noisy.

So here's the set-up. We've got a three story building. On the first floor is an office supply store along with some private offices. The store is where my friend works. On the third floor is something else; I can't think of what it is exactly, except people were definitely there when church was in session. And on the second floor was the church. They rented space, got it started, and now, presumably having built up a healthy-sized congregation, they've moved on.

The nature of the church. It's not one of your standard denominations. But some kind of church -- involving foreign practices -- that tends to make a lot of noise. If you're below them, of course it's worse than if you're above them, but neither one, reportedly, was all that great. For the folks below, there was jumping, tromping, stomping, and even pounding on the floor. For the folks above, there was actual touching, whacking on the ceiling, along with a few shouts. And even the murmuring of prayers, if you get enough people doing it, creates a disturbance. I probably don't have to note the obvious, that their heads and consequently their mouths were closer to the ceiling than the floor, meaning the folks on the third floor could easily be disturbed by the noise.

I was reluctant to say this. I was going to leave out this one little detail. But I also visited this church one time. Don't ask me why. But I actually did. One day I was looking for a place to park, like a getaway spot to spend a little time. I think I was drinking coffee. And I happened to pull in their parking lot. It was a Sunday. I saw their sign. And I thought, Why not? even though I don't like the discomfort of visiting any church the first time. But at this particular church, not one of your standard churches, they pretty much left me alone. All except for one very nice lady -- maybe they're called sisters -- who explained to me about the wall hangings and whatnot. I asked her about their doctrine and she was kind enough to fill me in. Then the service started, and I can attest that the bowing and scraping and calling out, with an increasing noise level, were real, then the reaching up to the ceiling, etc.

Here's what I wanted to get to, how the noise affects those above and those below. Those below have their own experience of the noise, as is true of those above. The more noise those above hear, the less pleased they are. Likewise, the more noise those below hear, the less pleased they are. Those above are most concerned about the noise that comes their way. And those below are most concerned about the noise that they hear. We're all funny like that! Just so the noise is disturbing someone else, who cares? But as soon as it disturbs us, that's when we get up in arms!

Now that they're gone -- and I'm not sure where they went -- those above and those below will be happy, no more noise. But what if? And I'm not saying I have any inside information, what if they get an even noisier neighbor than the church was? Like another church that's even noisier. Then, one can't help believing, they'd be wishing they had the original church back, however noisy it was!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Institute For Young Bloggers

Here's an idea I've been kicking around for quite a while, to found the Institute for Young Bloggers, and in this way influence the whole blogging scene, present and future. Now, with the New Year more or less upon us, although it's already Jan. 5 and slipping away, seems like a good time for it.

It has been clear to me for some time that I am something of a patriarch in the world of blogging. In terms of age alone, I'm fairly old, 58. I know, of course, that there have to be older guys than me, which I will stipulate up front. However, I don't really know them, whether they've got the idea for such an Institute; the only one I know is myself, being old and with the an idea. I'm also a patriarch because I've been blogging for a number of years. I've learned by doing, not by a fancy Institute telling me how to do it, as I propose to do for others. I generally think of youth as ignorant and adrift, so maybe I can help them along.

At this point, though, I should stress, I am not envisioning a physical Institute for young bloggers to come to. That would be nice, a centralized location, a four or five story office complex with hanging gardens and the whole bit, complete with classrooms, overhead projectors, and computers. But I do not believe I could presently swing it, financially or practically. I believe the interest in such a facility would be great, but it seems wiser at first to make it a virtual Institute, then perhaps later build. After being a virtual success, then, we might take a three-pronged approach: 1) Plan and raise capital; 2) Build or rent; 3) Get plants for the hanging gardens. I'll just admit it up front: I'm more of a teacher than an administrator, so going virtual at first is definitely the wisest course.

The whole thing would be meant to stimulate, motivate, and guide young bloggers, setting them on their course, then who knows what! The future is wide open, barring universal annihilation. And there's no telling what youth, counseled by their more experienced elders, might achieve. We could see Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobels, blue ribbons, golden loving cups, etc., awarded to our students as they imbibe the various teachings and launch out on their own, blogging, and serving their audiences.

As for me, and I'm not complaining, there was no one there for me a few years ago when I got started. No Institute, no nothing. Just my keyboard, a blank screen, and my own thoughts. I started kicking it around: Have I got anything to say? Can I be consistent in posting? What is my voice? Will Google Ads be profitable or just screen clutter? And some of those questions I'm still wrestling with. Like, "Have I got anything to say?" Some days I don't think so. Then I sit down and start typing out just any old crap, and before I know it, I've churned out something I'm not entirely ashamed of. Like today.

Some of the topics I want the Institute (the faculty of which is presently only me myself) to address would include: 1) Starting a blog. What you need to know; 2) Are there any good names for blogs left?; 3) Knowing your audience; 4) Committing yourself to the work; etc. The topics could be everything from the grand "Blogging As Your Divine Mission" to the humble "Spellchecker, Your Best Friend." Like right there for me, I wasn't sure how 'Spellchecker' was spelled (two words? hyphenated? one word?) till Spellchecker itself told me...

If you know any young bloggers, or youngsters who think they might like to start blogging, or those whom you might direct toward blogging, please turn them on to my site. And perhaps with the lessons I teach -- and if you can think of any that would be good topics, tell me -- we can get them off on the right foot, and maybe, just maybe, we will be able to truly inspire the next generation in their calling.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Longevity -- The Tabasco Sauce Diet

I've been saying for quite a while that "Tabasco sauce is nature's most perfect food." Most recently, just this morning, I said it again while out for breakfast. I love it on eggs.

I love it on several things, tacos and pork chops being the biggies that come to mind.

I've never drunk it straight from the bottle, which we were talking about at breakfast. But I have put it on my finger or palm and enjoyed a bit of raw sauce like that.

Tabasco's never done me any harm, except once, when I got it up my nasal passages, documented at this link. I even have pictures of myself in the minutes after it happened, showing me with a really weird look, but I can't post those now or ever.

The rest of my Tabasco experiences have all been good. Except it seems more recently that when my tongue gets hot with it that it's really hot. Which I still love, so I guess that's not a negative thing.

OK, the idea came up today, what if a guy drank a whole bottle of Tabasco sauce everyday? And my thought was, since it's nature's most perfect food, that there might be an interesting effect on your body. Such as perhaps giving you incredible longevity, if you mixed in a little faith and the power of positive thinking. It might be like the old Russians who eat yogurt and live to be 135. Or the old guys who drink a shot of whiskey everyday and live to be 110.

I suggested you might go way beyond the yogurt and whiskey guys by decades or even centuries. Like me. I'm 58 now, but I might've died when I was 28 if it hadn't been for a fairly moderate consumption of Tabasco. Because I'm picturing it down there keeping my stomach and other organs protected, killing whatever might need killed.

Like I said in 2009 in a series of tweets:
The other day I looked in the mirror and my face was actually red. So that's some weird corpuscle action going on.

I have the theory that Tabasco sauce is good for you. That it kills something. You know, whatever. I'm not a doctor. Just a theorist.
I'm still "just a theorist." All I know is I've been alive and haven't died yet, and I attribute most of that to Tabasco, along with a very cautious nature.

I'm not giving links to these old posts, too lazy. But I had another post on this, also in 2009:

I have a theory, no actual research involved, that Tabasco could probably cure disease. Big stuff too, like herpes, cancer, all that stuff that supposedly can't be defeated. My theory: sprinkle some Tabasco on it and the bacteria will have to die.

I'm very used to Tabasco sauce. I started out having a tiny drop once in a while at my grandparents. Back then we must have stretched out a bottle for years. I don't know. Now I slather stuff with it, both on top and for dipping. But no matter how "used" to it I am, it still has heat that does things to me. Sometimes my hearing gets slightly fuzzy, my nose runs, I'm drinking water.

Because it has these dreadful effects ... that's where I get the idea it can cure disease.

I also used to have a theory that those metal Chinese balls with different gongs in them could cure foot pain, so obviously my theories rely on a lot of wishful thinking. 
Notice all the physiological effects Tabasco causes. It's great stuff. But once again I concluded by saying I'm a theorist with "wishful thinking."

But let's say I'm right. And let's say I actually were to drink a whole bottle a day. I'm 58. Then someday I'd be 158 and still going strong. All my non-Tabasco-drinking friends and family members would have died, and there I'd still be, probably not a friend in the world. Or maybe I'd have lots of friends. Because who wouldn't want to be friends with a 158-year-old guy?

The Tabasco might even help me maintain my virility, so I'd be able to attract even 20-year-olds -- ladies and guys. I'd say, "Hey, they're legal, even if I'm old enough to know better!" Actually, I might say, "You all look cute. And I wouldn't mind doing you, but I can't respect anyone who'd date a 158-year-old man. You have to be crazy ... or a gold digger, and in my case, thanks to Tabasco, I'm not going to die, so you'll be with me forever. Poor you."

What I'd really like to have is someone my old age. Even a mate 90-years-old would be too young. I'd either be robbing the cradle or the undertaker. Depending on their Tabasco habits.

The only thing that would kill me is if the McIlhenny Company stopped making Tabasco. Although if I got wind of that, I'd stock my basement with about 400 years worth, or more! However long I felt like living at the time.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dale Nails Delilah -- They're Both Out!

And so it ends ... not with a whimper but a bang ... Dale nails Delilah on my kitchen table and has the hammer come down on him as well ... And now they're both out!

Meaning, as far as this blog's Board of Editors goes, I'm all alone once again. What a series of betrayals! First, Frank. Then Mark. Then Trade. And now these two, the ones I trusted the most. Dale, he was the silly one; I would've never thought he could've had it in his head to go after her like that! And Delilah, the thought of her yielding herself up so willingly, her legs like a wishbone, I'll never get the image out of my mind...

But it happened. With the only consolation, slight as it is, that it happened before the clock struck midnight, meaning I can at least start the New Year with a clean slate. The weird thing is, I wasn't even supposed to be home, and they might have gotten away with it.

I was out for the whole night, I thought. I've been self-medicating with Gaia Male Libido capsules (Horny Goat Weed) along with being completely chaste, thinking this combination would give me extra bulk and stamina for my New Year's Eve date/stay-over with the Pink Professor, my partner. But I was only half right. The bulk was there, the stamina was not. I was at his apartment, and as it turned out, I had to wait a while. There was an incident at the biker's bar where he works and he had to stay and help calm tensions and clean up the blood. That left me all alone, pent-up, very tense, daydreaming, thinking of the night ahead. Then by the time he walked through the door I was so worked up. It had to be the combination of seeing him for the first time in over a week, the effects of the Goat Weed, and my self-imposed chastity, probably the biggest mistake ever, that I wasn't even out of my pants before I was writhing on the floor in a very regrettable ecstasy. He thought I was having a seizure and was trying to work a shoehorn between my teeth and tongue. But no. When he discovered what had happened -- I was swimming in it -- he seemed OK, but naturally I felt a lot of shame for ruining the evening. After a while, we thought: Take some more capsules! But they were at home, necessitating my unplanned return.

The lights in the garage were on, where I and the Board of Editors work on the blog. But worse, the lights in the house were also on. Fearing foul play, I crept to the kitchen window and started seeing shadows on the curtain. I looked in cautiously, and -- Good God Almighty! -- there they were, Dale and Delilah, our only lady member, going at it on the kitchen table like a couple of wild animals! Of course they figured I was going to be out ALL NIGHT LONG! So this is what they chose to do!

I went around to the door and burst in, knowing they would surely stop, but they didn't. I grabbed a hammer, the first thing in reach, and whacked Dale on the back. But he didn't stop. Then I saw why: My bottle of Gaia Male Libido was tipped over and empty! Dale had taken, apparently, some 30 capsules! By now, Delilah, aghast at being caught, was trying to push him off from beneath. I was just about to pound Dale to death with the upraised hammer when the Pink Professor came in and pulled me away. Meaning I could do nothing but watch Dale huff and puff, and, finally, after 20-25 satisfying spasms, collapse on her in a tight embrace.

Later, the two stood before me, completely nude, Delilah with some shame, reaching for her kimono/dress thing, and Dale with a look of total pride. He'd taken so much Horny Goat Weed he couldn't help himself! You know the spring of the diving boards in the Olympics? It was something like that. Proving the stuff did give stamina if taken in sufficient quantity...

When they had dressed and we were all standing around, them with their heads held high, what could I say? As I said, it ended for them with a bang, not a whimper. But for me it ended with a whimper, not a bang. I could hardly chase them from the house with the hammer, as I had witnessed the beautiful love of a man for a woman, however herbally-driven it may have been.

Of course, I told them they were both fired from the Board, which was only to be expected. And they left unbowed, arm in arm, and were probably headed for a cheap motel. The Pink Professor and I closed the door, and since my own stamina was gone, and there were no more capsules, and my mental state was very scattered, we waited till midnight and toasted the New Year, splitting a bottle of Jamaican beer, then went to bed, cuddling till we fell asleep. He told me, "It's all right."

EPILOGUE: I woke up about 3 a.m. The Pink Professor was up taking a pee. He came back to bed and I dozed off again.