Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Battle Stations!

No. 19 of 31 --Thermometer series

The clarion call goeth forth! Men, report to battle stations! Women, if you’re tough enough, battle stations, if not, the auxiliary group can always use helpful hands. You alone can judge, then do your part. And I will be around later to glance over the situation -- to survey the battlefields, direct aid to the fallen, and pass out reward points, with an emphasis on actual results not just effort --  and anyone too scrawny for a particular job will be reassigned based on talents, abilities, girth, and skinniness.

This is not a drill, friends. Battle stations! I’m getting the word that we don’t have a minute to lose. And that’s straight from the voice of my Spirit Animal, Abraham Lincoln. Hear that? He's not messing around. Remember, he's a man of few words. He wrote the Gettysburg Address on a scrap of paper he found in his coat, all the paper he had. So it was wonderfully brief, succinct, short, about a minute’s worth of jotting; he didn’t run out of ink, he ran out of paper: “Fourscore and whatever...” He dashed it off, crossed himself for mercy, and winged it from there.

That same spirit must be ours today or we are lost. When the word goes forth for every man to assume battle stations, he must report. 1) Because the battle will be great and we must protect our blog and its way of life, its future; 2) Self-interest concerns: a) If I don’t report everyone will think I chickened out; b) In the future they’ll blow their nose on pictures of me, and other shirkers will be asked to step out of the stadium. The possibilities for shame are endless. Someday you’ll have grandchildren, and they’ll blame you: “Grandpa was a coward. Why should I lift a finger to protect my anything? You can go to hell for all I care. Pass me that stash of porn.”

That’s a scary world, one I’m trying to prevent. I’ve got my courage up. Don't think of it as supine, shrinking in fear, flat on its back. It must stand tall, and it will be noticed, it will stand erect in the wind when everyone else has shrunk back and wavers. Watch us live proud and free, exposed to the elements but unafraid, solid and stolid, prepared to go the distance, alive and pulsing with life, a man (or a very tough woman) in every sense of the word.

The bugle call sounds, the horn of plenty, and it summons plenty, everything — every man and woman of valor and ability — that we serve until this blog is Number One in the world, the basis of our freedoms and way of life. Join us today. Put your own life on hold for years, decades, centuries, whatever it takes. Pretend it's Afghanistan and you are there.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Our Ladies Aid

No. 18 of 31 - Thermometer series

What a privilege today for me to lift up our Ladies Aid. Each one of the gals, none of whom I frankly know very well, is a vital part of the effort. You might say, 'But being a people person, how can you not know them very well?' Simple, there are boundaries I need to respect, because by making even one of the guys mad, let alone a bunch of them, our great cause would disintegrate into a pile of dust as we speak. We must not allow that to happen.

Our goal isn't cozying up to anyone, but it's simply "Sure and steady as she goes," carrying through the effort of getting more readers (commitments for the blog). The guys of the Men’s division are a large part of that. With the Ladies Aid the next biggest part. It’s not discrimination. It’s not second class status for one part. It’s simple relationship physics, not getting caught with my finger in the pie, avoiding every flagrant power move and making a shambles of the whole scene. Fun as that may be.

O! Sometimes I wish I could see the end from the beginning, because it can be maddening. But that’s the way it is. Like buying groceries. You show up at the store, you have no idea what you might need. You know you will enter the door, you know you will eventually leave. The main concern is what goes on inside the store. The last thing you want is for someone to take items out of your cart. And that’s how it is with the guys. They don’t want their wives messed with in any way. And likewise the wives their husbands. Which I would never do, but people -- especially the guys -- can be extremely suspicious.

Turning now to the Ladies Aid for praise, I’m saying "Hats Off To Them!" I peeked my head in the door a few times and gave them a few words of praise and thumbs up as they went about their tasks. In their hustle and bustle I’ve seen a good spirit of cooperation and even self-sacrifice. Which is great, because things have to be done at every level. If we’re going to be together, we need to remember that. And if any of them are reading this, I am very happy with all you have done so far! Let’s see it through to the end...

Ladies, let’s focus on the goal, while giving/receiving praise where praise is warranted. First, the work is important. As we guys sweat it out, working on our strategies for the blog, having a few drinks, bantering back and forth over readership drives, considering the possibility of a rewards system, compiling statistics, and having a few more drinks, it gets very confusing, but it’s also exhilarating. Because you always have to keep the end goal in mind. Maybe it’s fuzzy, and often it is, depending on how much we've drunk. I have to keep reminding myself what’s going on. There’s so many people, it’s hard to tell one from another.

Yet, I’m honored to feel a special pride as well. Because I know each one of is doing his or her part. Laundry’s only one part of it of course. But very important. Because when I’m stressed -- and I'm usually very stressed -- I sweat through my clothes in minutes, from my cap to my unders. True! I wear my feelings on my sleeve in that sense. And we’re up against deadlines all the time and I’m forever sweating it out. So the laundry isn’t just a thing I’ve instituted to keep people busy. They aren't just doing busy work; it’s all vital, it's all important. I've said it many times, patting them on the back, God bless our great Ladies Aid!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Recruiting A Few Good Men

No. 17 of 31 - Thermometer series

I’ve never stepped out like this, so boldly — but I’ve never had this degree of confidence; I’m overflowing with confidence and actively pursuing men to join me in a great cause. Now here I am, in awe, the big meeting just dismissed. For a successful meeting it was, holding lots of promise for the future of this cause. Inspiring stuff.

Every doubt I might've had is set aside, all because these great guys, these dear souls, these men came together with me and we joined hearts. They promised their all, asking very little in return. But what would they ask? For these are men who've somehow set aside the selfish gene. To the point that, in some weird way, they were more than individuals and yet not a nameless faceless mass. They acted in a single good spirit of cooperation with enthusiasm to match. And I’ve faked enough enthusiasm in my life, I can see it a mile away.

I love the quote this one brother gave me. And he said it in all innocence, but like the all-knowing psychiatrist or professor in a 300-level seminar. I immediately latched on to it with delight: “I came for the free transportation, I stayed for the fun!” Wow, that summed it up for me! Think of the esprit de corps  (literally the spirit of a body, not a corpse) conveyed in that great line. He’s saying he had no idea what the meeting was for — no clue — but because they offered free transportation he was in! I’m personally not that interested in free transportation to places that I don’t necessarily want to go. If the cab company offered free transportation to random places in town, I’d say no thanks. It’s a no-brainer -- who cares -- transportation isn’t that hard to find.

OK, there’s that. But once he got there, the free transportation fulfilling its mission, he stayed for the fun! That’s delightful! Since he's also saying if it hadn’t been fun he wouldn’t have stayed. What would he have done? Gone back home? Just assuming the transportation back home would also be free? That’s what kills me. He got free transportation TO the meeting, but he wouldn’t necessarily get it home if there was no fun to stay for. Still, in a way he would’ve come out OK if he had to pay for transportation home, because it would’ve only been half of what he would’ve paid if transportation there hadn’t been free. But think about it again, he still would be paying money out of pocket for having been at a meeting he hated. And that’d still make me mad if I were him. But he trusted whoever it was that gave him a ride, so it's natural that he'd want to cool any simmering resentment for the sake of his friendship. I’ve done that before, kept my mouth shut so I wouldn’t lose a friend.

Regardless, it’s a moot point. He got free transportation there, he thoroughly enjoyed himself in the meeting, and no doubt got free transportation home. (I just thought of it, if he hadn’t enjoyed himself, he could’ve waited in the car and gotten free transportation home with his original ride. Then I might’ve lost the loyalty of the driver, because he might’ve been worried about his disappointed friend outside. Then he would’ve left. And this other guy over here might’ve been that guy’s best friend, who would say, “Sam doesn’t like this meeting, maybe I should leave too.” And so forth, till it was me and one last guy who needed a free ride home.

It definitely does pay to offer free transportation. That’s the lesson. Because I'm miles ahead if more people like my blog. And if we blow these thermometers sky high, that we might gladly see the mercury spew forth from the tops as the pressure builds and rises and there’s no other place for it to go, until kablewy!.....it shatters the glass and attains the heights of ultimate glory!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Choked With Fear

No. 16 of 31 - Thermometer series

All through my life, even if there’s a shortage of everything else, there’s never a shortage of fear and trepidation. Trembling, cowering, hunkering down, just me and my periscope. And it’s overwhelming, so vividly horrible it splashes over me like a bucket of cold water on a winter day, chilling me unto my soul, my very last bone.

Yet I'm always surrounded by aides and associates, so you’d think I’d be knowing, showing, and even evincing, the greatest calm and confidence. Friends indeed are cheerful and confident, which sometimes is their biggest fault. They're not watching like a hawk. They don't see the constant danger. Just cheerleaders. I see cheerleaders on TV, who aren't even watching the game, so how do they know what cheers we need? We might be doing great, then the cheer is: “Our team is dynamite, we’re gonna win tonight!“ Or maybe we’re having troubles and we need backup: “Push ‘em back, push ‘em back, way back!”

So often, believe it or not, I am choked by fear, because my perception of what’s going on is always crystal clear. I’ve got a sixth sense, some level of foreknowledge, and eyes in the back of my head. I should’ve been a teacher, but those opportunities are long past. And call me a nervous nelly, but I know what we’re up against. I could name three blogs better than mine, and that’s just in the Western Hemisphere. I hesitate to even mention the Pastun and Iraqi herdsmen and their formidable blogs. If you think those guys are wimps, think again. They've grown up in danger; they know the facts of life. They snack on nails and gargle razor blades. And their breath matches their appetite, smelling alternately like a construction site and shaving kit.

Then there’s the other enemies. Homegrown naysayers, which are the worst kind, because they’re always at the door, always in your face like a Greek chorus, bemoaning your fate while also rubbing it in. I frankly believe their glory’s in someone else’s shame, the same way my 8th grade biology teacher rubbed it in when I couldn’t name the parts of the reproductive system. I wrote “Pipes and tubes, rubs and lubes,” and got a stinking F. But it worked out OK for me. As it turned out, we didn't have kids, but I and a girlfriend had a few close calls.

OK, these homegrown naysayers ... I describe them pretty well on today's thermometer. Urchins, rugrats, etc. Hanging around the neighborhood telling me to go to hell, etc. I pity their poor parents. Their poor parents work all day, then come home, and the neighborhood has too much sympathy to describe the little hellions for what they are. We’re willing to let bygones be bygones, but it’d be great if they told us they never plan to breed again, and would at least consider retroactively rescinding their existing issue.

I and my team don't want to be too discouraged. And we will make it, I believe, if we don’t lose focus. I remain optimistic. My friends, I do believe we have a clear hope and a clear pathway by which to attain it. I wet my easy chair so you don’t have to. Stay with me. And let’s see this thing along all the way even to its glorious conclusion. It remains my hope, my fervent expectation, that we shall see thermometers popping off all over the world -- POP, there goes one now -- and at long last a grand and wonderful victory that will make me proud and, by extension, you.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Keeping Mama Happy

No. 15 of 31 -- Thermometer series

I don't care which cog you think needs grease, if you don't keep Mama happy your labor's in vain. Is it Persistence? I will be persistent, Keep Mama Happy. Constancy? I will constantly rebut, Keep Mama Happy. Is it Stick-to-it-tiveness? Here's something to stick to, Keep Mama happy. (Staying At It is nearly synonymous with Stick-to-it-tiveness, but you'll agree, nothing functions without Staying At It, because it's connected to Keeping Mama happy.) Keeping Mama happy is our priority.

Sit back, settle in, and let me expound at some length on the wisdom of life. This will pay practical dividends over and over in many ways. Look how things are going for the blog and our great thermometer drive. They're popping off and spewing everywhere, 'cause Mama's one happy chick!

The first application is for children. The second for adults. The third for adult men. Uh, there may not be a third, but we’ll see.

Children, 1st. You children have a long ways to go till you're an adult. Life seems long and hard to endure. But you have to slog it out day by day and year by year. Enjoy! Don't get ahead of yourself. I used to keep track of the slow-moving time before I could leave home and be on my own. Those years just crawled. I was impatient. I still had to learn important lessons, a lot of it by trial and error. Persistence, Constancy, Stick-to-it-tiveness, and Staying at it were the minor lessons.

Every one of those things is utterly important, although I concede, Stick-to-it-tiveness and Staying at It are similar if not identical things. Be all that as it may, the absolute most important thing in the mix is Keeping Mama Happy. (If you don’t have a Mama, you most likely did have one at some point around the time of your birth. You can have lots of Mama-figures in the ladies in your life. Or even in aspects of yourself, the kind of Mama person or aspect who's loving, always wanting your best.)

Anyway, Keep Mama Happy and everyone’s happy. If you merely feel the need to Keep Mama Happy, that's happiness. If you see the priority of Keeping Mama Happy, it means you're putting first things first and other things will follow. If you ever fail, go back to Mama and say, "O Mama!" and let her caress you till you feel you can go on.

I’m an old man now. But not pathetic in any way, able to breathe, walk, sit up and take nourishment, avoiding trouble, etc. I could be pathetic. Picture this pathetic scenario:

Me: “What’s the f—'n use of even being alive?” People I know try to bolster my spirits. “Who would even f—'n miss me if I was dead?” And they’re bolstering my spirits again, “We’d miss you.” Then I have my constant doubts, “F— life and you and you!” I throw up on the dining room table and march out of the room, never to be seen again. Until months later I run into the old gang at the grocery store getting ready for the weekly meeting that very night, a meeting I’ve never been invited back to, and they all pretend not to know me. I’m begging for another chance, “I was just f—'n with your heads that night. I didn’t mean anything really, it was a joke. Yes, I threw up on the table, that was meant as a joke, but I immediately regretted it. The humor was too subtle.” Then they let me come back to the meeting that night, I suddenly feel sick at the table, but I have the Mama spirit/moxie in my spirit: I get up and march to the bathroom like a good boy.

Have you got the moxie on the ball? Mama's that moxie, what you need. 'Nough said.

I come back to the table and share with them the wisdom, the key to life I meant to share that other night but was unable to because I was prematurely evicted: “Keep Mama happy.” They’re at the table looking around at each other in kind of a mock disbelief: “Keeping Mama happy is the key to life?” “Yes,” I say, comfortable in my own skin because I know it’s true.

We dismiss, we go away, then the next week come back, and around the table the verdict is the same, “You are absolutely right! This is the secret of life and success! Persistence, Constancy, Stick-to-it-tiveness, and its near synonym Staying at it, are all vital, critical, needed. But setting aside that, the number one rule in existence — and to a man we realize this — is “Keep Mama Happy.”

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Taking The Scotsman To Task

No. 14 of 31 -- Thermometer series

I’m not huge on ethnic slams. I used to be, somewhat, with the put downs and riddles that were popular. I never thought that would change. But change it did, in huge ways. And was suddenly out of favor, to the point of real insistence to not ridicule people’s abilities or lack of abilities based on their nationality, place of origin, and current country of vegetation.

Of course I can see the point of all this care and concern for others. It's now in my blood, always tiptoeing by and keeping my nose out of national and ethic distinctions. Because we're sensitive. And it’s not tolerated, any suggestion that entire nationalities of people, let alone races en masse, could ever be reduced to a few stereotypes which then are hammered at constantly, beating the people down relentlessly, so that while we’re laughing and slapping our knee, they’re on the sidelines going, “Hoot mon, hoot mon, whadda bluddy helle is dese affronts to mine native digin'knee?!” I guess that’s half Scottish and the rest faux English, and as funny as a pent-up insecure smallish white guy can muster.

The Scotsman, now there’s a specimen, right? They love it, their identity. I recently met a guy, kilt and all, very serious and charming. I don't know what he is at home. Maybe half Robert Burns, half the Scottish version of our American hillbilly, making home brew, with forebears and heroes called things like The Bruce, the Dale, Robbie-Boy, and Baby Plaid. The little I know about it, like the Scotsman’s last wadde of moneye, is they hang on to it, like the bald man’s combe, they'd never part with it. I know some of these zany people spent their times so far back in the hilles they’d be loste if they every came out or tried to go back. So, naturally, like what happens to most of us, if you're loste, stay put, and hope someone finds you, if they think you’re loste, or leaves you alone if they know where you are. I can only refer you to a good book on Burns, which is about as easy to read as tea leaves a'brewing, but funne.

The biggest slam against the Scotsman, the focus here, is how tight they are, stingy, hoarding, always wanting to hang on to their last dime, etc. The Lord loves a cheerful giver, but has to settle for whatever pittance he can get from the Scot. Then there’s all the other hilarious people of the world, the Polish, the French, and whoever my own people were, Heinz 57 in one crammed bottle. It’s a nasty subject; I got guys in my family tree that should’ve stayed there. We're standing upright and erect now, guys, and not just on our honeymoon... No knuckle-dragging unless you're polishing your ring.

Smooth transition: Now I need everyone of you, fellow unevolved apes, monkeys, and chimps, to pitch in and put us over the top for the blog. Has our crew been through your town yet with the traveling thermometer display? I'm no Scot, I paid big moneye for it. You’ve no doubt seen it passing by. If you see the display, please sign up. Put your name on the pad and we’ll see that you get updates. Let’s fill the thermometers, OK? Hoot mon, hustle! We’re depending on ye, aye! And in this case, it’s going to be extremely comfortable even for the Scot, because it’s entirely free. You will not be billed. And any penalties there may be for early or late withdrawal, we'll apologize to your wife about that later.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Golden Slumbers

No. 13 of 31 - Thermometer series

The all-out effort of the thermometer drive is a massive thing, taking up most of my energy. The little I’ve got left -- dragging myself along maybe an inch or two, then resting -- I’m watching TV, vainly struggling to keep up with my movies. I recently got a super streaming service that lets me record unlimited stuff. So I’m busy recording movies all day and all night, and so many in vain. Except for the four or five a week I squeeze in.

The rest of my energy, except for taking the dog out, is focused on this all-out effort — absolutely no time for anything else! — of making this blog the most read and adored blog anywhere. And, yes, that has to include the famous Pashtun and Iraqi herdsmen, known everywhere as the best and most successful bloggers on earth. Right up there. My quest may be impossible, but, baby, I'm in the game! Driving, striving with all my might to attain those heights. And showing my progress in thermometers erupting -- bushels of thermometers! -- the mercury flowing quickly toward the top and spraying everywhere. (No visitors, please, it's taken several eyes out.)

Movies I don't have to have. One thing I have to have is sleep. Oh, I love sleeping. Which isn't hurting the thermometer drive at all; it's an essential part. Because when I get sleepy, folks, I’m not good for anything. I’m drooping, drowsing, losing focus, nodding off, then bolting upright, passing out, and virtually dead. If I’m home, I totally crash on the bed. If I’m at one of our temporary blog headquarters — and there’s people everywhere lifting my spirits — I do what I can. I crawl under a desk, I’m in a broom closet, I’ve got my head on someone’s lap. That’s a good one, because if he or she is hungry I can hear their stomach growling, and nothing puts me to sleep faster. Which must be a thing we pick up in utero, the sweet indigestion of our dear mothers.

My dreams are all sweet, too, mixed in with snatches of the movies and the confused happenings of the drive. Like having a gangster movie on, with them shooting it out for turf, I'm dreaming of thermometers blowing their tops like guns. When awake I'm more patient. But asleep, I expect instant satisfaction: Blow it off now now now! With all those eruptions representing so many people around the world liking the blog, reading it, sharing it with their fellow tribesmen, teaching it to their kids, and essentially going crazy with hog-wild delight.

The Pashtun, the Intuit peoples groups, African tribesmen, it doesn’t matter who you are or what kind of blog you run, you want to see a guy like me succeed. That’s how they got to be such respected tribesmen, attention to detail and a subtle mixture of love and hatred for their enemies. They might knife you in a second, as soon as look at you, but they're just as fast to hit the like button or subscribe. Actually very sweet guys, I consider them buds on the overall world scene.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Picking My Spirit Animal

No. 12 of 31 -- Thermometer series

Dr. Vector is an absolute dear. He went to school somewhere, a bunch of places, and now he’s helping me. I would adore having the diplomas he's got on the wall. I actually have a few -- a guy I know will print what you need. In the actual school I was average and sometimes below-average, but I think I got smarter with experience. I don’t keep my diplomas on the wall, though, since I technically still owe the guy around $50, and we had a fight, and I hate remembering him.

But I did take classes. One of my best memories of academia was listening to a guy in Speech class. In citing the various "Types of Breath," he listed Dog Breath and Italian Breath, which stuck with me. If that was education, I was a sponge. If I never learned anything else, that was worth the price of tuition, although I’m pretty sure that guy never got a diploma, nor did I from that particular place. The college closed down, packed up, and moved west, which is the first time I ever heard of that.

But that's all ancient history, this is Dr. Vector’s day! Time for his breath to shine. I just look at him and know he's special. I love a guy like him, a professional. Having all the confidence in the world, and mysterious enough in his training and attitude, there doesn’t appear to be a thing he doesn’t know. Any subject, and with pure insight into your psyche, the soul...

I was sitting in the chair, focused on the sound of my own breath, focused without being focused, honing in on the sound without making a sound, and Dr. Vector came up from behind and lightly massaged my shoulders. His hands melded with my shoulders, like there was no end of me or beginning of him. He’s fantastic, even dreamy, except for one thing: a dental plate that's fully exposed, making true the old saw, “Into every life, a little rain must fall.” His omniscience, though, that has to be the main thing. And that melding, always that amazing melding...

It turned out, too, with Dr. Vector’s indispensable assistance, I would discover my spirit animal. Something to celebrate! Would it be the Rooster as he seemed to hint? It could’ve been. But no, no, no, it wasn’t the Rooster or any chicken. It was Abraham Lincoln, my favorite president of all the presidents I know anything about. And I’m not entirely clear why I like him, except for what they taught us in school, that he was just like us, only better. How he worked his way up from ignorance to knowledge, a child studying at night by firelight, a man splitting rails by day, debating the pants off people, and being charismatic despite the sour look, his hat like a smokestack, and the circumstances of his presidency, the Civil War and a country teetering on the edge of serious trauma.

So until I see a different therapist -- and there's no plans to ditch Vector -- Abraham Lincoln is my spirit animal, winning out over the chicken by only an inch of his hat. The rooster tried to match Lincoln's height, wisely choosing a large barrel for heft, which in the end only showcased Lincoln's greater wisdom in wearing hats in a different zip code from his head.

Spirit animal in place, I shall march boldly on in the thermometer drive for the blog! Solemnly vowing that everything I do will be in accordance with proper Lincoln wisdom and intelligence. Knowing that as I give my all, Lincoln will be there to guide me, assisted by the Rooster, who according to the Chinese restaurant has his own year as the cycles spin silently along.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Fish & Crawdads

No. 11 of 31 -- Thermometer series

Something important to all of us these days is our opinion. We're overcome with opinions, clearly. I'm of the opinion people are wacko crazy, not knowing what's good for them. But just wait. Evolution, and its more immediate cousin, Mortality, will take care of it. Just you wait...

In the meantime, Fish and Crawdads is the answer, keeping the two separate, but knowing they go together. You want Fish, you need Crawdads, you need Crawdads to get Fish. We used to catch Crawdads and keep tubs of them in the shade of our bigger maple tree. They were happy, they couldn't get out, and they did their job, catching Fish. Which we ate.

Fish and Crawdads of course both have the meat of the goodie and the refuse of the baddie. (A term I just coined to have an opposite to goodie.) The meat of the Fish you prepare for meals, the baddie you discard, guts, heads, scales. On the Crawdad, the meat is a small white piece under the tail, big to the Crawdad but small compared to the baddie. And some of them go full King Kong with baddie, enormous claws and heads, then down to, at best, an above average goodie.

Now, these days, your opinion can be the most cantankerous part of yourself. We can stand your loud grating voice, as long as you're paying dues, but if you can't stifle the a-hole opinions, it might get you killed. I personally don’t know very many people who’ve gotten killed for their opinions. If I knew of one, that's someone I wouldn't have had much to do with in the first place. My opinion, Steer clear of certain death!

What we’re concerned with these days is the blog, keeping it healthy, keeping track of it with these great thermometers -- boxes and boxes of beautiful thermometers -- and seeking its survival and prosperity in a world of readers who frankly don’t know their digestion outlet from a hole in the ground. Let alone what to do with it, although I suppose everyone has the basics of that down by simple nature. One important clue, it's not for cucumbers. So we've got that much, but what we haven’t all got is an understanding of the process scientifically. A baby has the diaper strapped on but has no clue what for.

As this great effort goes forth -- filling thermometers, not diapers -- we shall do it in a similar spirit. Doing our best along the way, not worrying too much, and not even trying to understand the steps. Just doing it and worrying about the results when we clean up. But one thing of huge importance is not getting down in the dirt with these bastards and their crazy opinions! Because it'd only spring back on us. So we need a signal. Some bastard shows up, we whistle. That's the signal. Then when we're mostly out of view, twirl your finger by your ear. Meaning he's loopy.

Politics, yes, politics is always in the air at our meetings. But we’ve come this far — I don’t want to ruin it by lambasting too many folks and prematurely driving a wedge between us in spirit. I have to keep telling myself, "Fish and Crawdads," the mission, the goal first. Then someday, after all this is a huge success, only then can our meat of the goodie be openly telling them off and where to get off -- maybe even ceremonially stripping them and attaching Crawdads to the fleshier bits --  then showing them the door.

We used to get rid of fish baddie by dropping it to the turtles, enormous turtles, like a yardstick across. That's a good way to get rid of things. I saw it happen. And no one ever got caught.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Dr. Vector -- Seeking Spirit Animal

No. 10 of 31 -- Thermometer series

It’s been quite a month and it's just getting started. I’m overwhelmed by the size of the task ahead. And while I’m getting good help from a few folks, it’s been hard to consolidate my gains. This is a global effort with various time zones, languages, and the strange native dress of people half or twice my size. I’m starting to feel the weight of the world. I could use the word "crushing" to describe it. Because the world is overwhelming, huge, and round. I heard some people say the earth is flat. It can't be because I'm getting feedback. People contact me and 24 hours later I hear it.

But I had to take a break, a day of rest and relaxation. Yes, the pace continues on, unrelenting, since it's always 24 hours later somewhere! And it’s dizzying trying to keep all the chores that need to be done in context. Remember the time I fell and lost part of my memory? I’m feeling that again, and it’s enough that I had to seek assistance. I called the hotline at “I Need Professional Help” and they set me up for a couple sessions with Dr. Vector.

Dr. Vector is quite a guy. He has a look like someone who couldn't possibly care. But right away he makes you feel comfortable by constantly rolling these Chinese metal balls in his hand. His voice is sort of a whirring metallic sound, which I’ve heard either grates on people or they’re comforted by it. I happen to be comforted to the point that, combined with his whirling metallic voice and the metal balls lightly clinking in his hand, I’m hypnotized and they could do brain surgery without sedation. His eyes, so peaceful. He's got a little pouch of baby fat. His other features are unusual, admittedly, but somehow probably explainable by the vagaries of evolution. He’s one of a kind.

But a man is more than his looks. He’s got an education for one, since he calls himself a doctor. And an office and a beautiful wooden desk and, my favorite, big comfortable chairs that you can adjust however you like, with a wooden handle at the side and a place for your feet. If you want to rest your legs or actually prop your feet up and keep your knees sharp in the air, you can!

We’ll be working on my spirit animal. That’s what Dr. Vector thinks I’m missing. And maybe I am, but I have this vague memory of going through this technique at some point in the past. But for the life of me I can’t remember what my spirit animal was. Could’ve been the deer, fleet of food, elusive. Could’ve been the fox, sly, also elusive if you don’t know where to look. I hope it’s not the monkey, since I’ve heard the monkey mind disparaged enough times to turn me off from that. Whatever it is, with me in the chair and Vector playing with his balls, I’m sure it'll come to me.

Dr. Vector put a couple of possibilities before me that he had discerned, but he wanted to leave the final determination to me, because a doctor, he said, is merely a conduit for an individual’s self-healing. Meaning, if that’s really true, I’ll be billing myself for half the visit.

The first possibility is the crowing rooster. A beautiful specimen, I’d say. I love the sights and sounds of roosters. I used to raise chickens and the roosters were the rarity in the flock, the individual by choice. Because you can't allow a bunch of fighting roosters teeing off against each other to get the hens. The rooster has to be the cock ‘o the walk, literally and figuratively, and they know it. As for myself, I’m a lot more modest than that, but I get the point; they're central to everything when it comes to the farm. They take care of the hens and they let you know when the sun is up.

I had to leave to think it over: What spirit animal would I be? And where would it get me? Like everything in life, it would be a reorienting measure. Because I’m frequently confused, as though there should be an "Out of Order" sign on everything I see. But you might say, If everything's out of order, then what is this order of which you speak? Touché, that’s true, order to be order can’t be out of order.

And the better condition I’m in, the more I can focus on this thermometer drive, filling them as people make various commitments, either with me, with my team, or between themselves and the Lord above. It all counts! Whatever they do, and the calls and notes, while they’re coming in slowly are at least coming. But I have to take care of myself, understanding myself, etc., so that I at long last can be all things to all people.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Stop! Look And Consider!

No. 9 of 31 -- Thermometer series

Our great blog drive is a thing of beauty — I hope you see it and that you're rolling in the flowers here, your happiness our only concern, and will get inside for one sweet joyride.

I’m exercising a bit of privilege today by citing a guy I briefly knew, Roy S. Who drove drunk through a forest in Arkansas, swerving to avoid wolves and going off the cliff. He was quite a guy, that I never ever saw again. But my memory is clear enough that when we parted he was on his way to a whorehouse. Note: If your name is Roy S., or worse, Mrs. Roy S., this was a totally different guy.

The ride I had with Roy was misery at the time, but joy when I got out, and now that it’s been almost 50 years ago, a happy memory. I use it as a reminder: However bad my life is, whatever terrible slimy messes I go through, whatever diseases threaten, I survived Roy S., I can live through anything. And likewise I'm optimistic with the blog drive: I’m shooting for nothing less than every single person on earth subscribe, read or comment on my blog. You say you have a Grandma with cancer and a day to live? Sign her up. Bring her on board. But in the unlikely event that everyone doesn't subscribe, I will survive.

So I wanted to share that with you. Then, having got your attention with a collage of attention-getting men coupled with one bold Rosy the Riveter type of woman, to point you in the direction you need to go. Getting involved here, reading, commenting, and persuading your friends on the same joyful tasks. Tasks? More a lifestyle. Lifestyle? More a way of life. Way of life? More a lifestyle again. That’s how I see it, like an old rug that's never clean. It's hung in a tree, I go out everyday about noon and beat the crap out of it. Might not be a great rug, but it's cheaper than buying new.

Not everyone’s so lucky. But you can hitch your wagon here. Say you’re standing by the side of the road and you want a ride, and you’re brave enough to get in the first swerving car that comes along. That could be me or it could be Roy S. In this case, assume it’s me, normally a good driver. But I want to test you and your tolerance and your ability to survive and your confidence. Will you get in? Yes, you will. Or no, you won’t.

When you see this blog, do you think of it like everyone else, a passing thing, a bit of fluff, maybe some guy out to scam you? Some of my native bravery is a thing of the past, so that was a passing thing. And I tend to see even the most serious blogs as “So what.” It’s a big world and I have limited time, that’s not for me. But whatever else I think, number one is avoid scams, my constant fear. Think about it, would someone who has that as a constant fear of scams ever scam anyone? No, I wouldn’t.

I had no trust of Roy S., but I needed a ride and there were wolves. You can trust me, you can get in. Let’s shoot those thermometers to the moon! Let’s see them rear back and blow their tops all the way to Mars! Let the world know, We will not sit by sedately till we die. We will (metaphorically) drive together through the forest drunk as skunks, and nothing -- neither the wolves nor anything else -- will eat us till we’re happily ensconced in that comfortable (metaphorical) whorehouse, a life of beautiful pleasure and fulfilling relationships, the end of the line.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Let's Go!

No. 8 of 31 -- Thermometer series

What a thrilling thing it is in when the planning stages are past, the organizing principle is embraced and celebrated, having given shape to your grand purpose, and you’re down to one last decisive pronouncement. I think of it like the jostling of horses, getting them into the starting gate. The handlers put up with all their crazy rambunctious ways, even though it's superfluous to the mission, running 'round the track without stubbing their toe. For they see in their mind's eye the final glory when their horse comes in first, and they at last have nailed the beauty queen, the ultimate reward.

Oh yes, there’s so much that goes into the planning of things. And it’s true what the psychologists say, "You can plan to fail." Or maybe that’s guidance counselors. Yes, I’m thinking of one particular guidance counselor, forever a burr under my saddle. I've had a graphic on hand to use against him for years now -- a killer graphic -- and I'll run it if I ever feel brave enough to take him on, lo, these many decades after his nasty business. But whereas he didn’t literally say, “You are planning to fail,” he insinuated everything short of it and everything past it. My key hit on that SOB, which gets to the heart of the graphic, is, “You first applied to be wrestling coach but settled for guidance counselor.” And you expect me to know what I want to do right off the bat?

I never plan to fail. But that doesn’t mean I always plan to succeed either. Let’s keep my idiot guidance counselor in mind a bit longer. Look at Thomas Edison or Henry Ford. Neither the guidance counselor nor I know what all those men went through to succeed on this or that invention. But it’s obvious that they didn't know everything about the end from the beginning. All along the way there had to be multiple dead ends and shaky results. Things went well, things went poorly. They trumpeted their successes, yes, and kept their failures to themselves.

But they were wise. They could’ve come up with endless bad inventions, just like any one of us could. Say we wanted to invent a device that killed horses on sight. You could do it. If you lived in their time, it would’ve been a mechanical thing, perhaps at the end of a chute leading to the arena. The horse has done it a hundred times, gone that way. But Edison changes it up and has a bow and arrow arrangement that kills the horse. That would’ve been a bad invention; no one would want that.

And yet, as wise as they were, how many people have been killed because of Henry Ford’s invention? I have no doubt that every time a family wrecks and gets killed on the interstate, Henry Ford’s spirit has a twinge. He can take some consolation in the fact that people have to die of something, so it may as well be a car wreck. A personal memory of mine, speaking of Henry Ford's evil, is I was almost killed on the interstate on my way to tour a mausoleum... How’s that for irony? And if Thomas Edison inventing the phonograph was such a great thing, how does he explain Milli Vanilli?

This whole thermometer series illustrates the problem from my point of view. There could potentially be millions of people blowing the tops of thermometers off from liking my blog, reading it, telling others about it, subscribing, etc. Which could have bad consequences, the shattering glass. Maybe they'll be reading it while driving and lose an eye, so I'll have to split the blame with Ford. Think of the pressure I could be under. I'm very private. As it is now, I have no worries, saying whatever I want, blathering away, knowing there’s no risk, there's barely anyone to be disappointed. I never have the danger of people unliking it. I'm never chewed out for the slightest thing. I do, however, always expect it. Take that paragraph about horses being automatically killed. I’m afraid people will unlike me for that, but there’s barely anyone here anyway, so what’s the difference?

Hmm. I want to say, “Let’s go!” Let’s get this blog party started! Do whatever you can, be the blog, let the blog be you, turn off your mind, relax and float on the blog, tell your friends. And when I come up with a Men’s Club for the blog, please join it. And ladies, when we come up with a Ladies Aid division, please volunteer to join it. Find a guy to sponsor you and you'll love it. Opposite sex partners, same sex partners, and single sex partner (do it yourself), and even non-sex anti-partners will be welcome. Just tell me in graphic detail how you swing and what your life expectancy is and you'll be accommodated.

Then someday — when I get entirely sick of the whole thing — I will take it to a tall bridge and cast it over the side, letting the turtles below deal with it as they may. That day, however, is not today. Today is time for us to go! Join with me! Let’s go, go, go!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Removing All Doubts

No. 7 of 31 -- Thermometer series

Everyone's heard of the wise man and the fool. The wise man is smart enough to keep his mouth shut. But the fool opens his and removes all doubt. If you have to think about that a bit, I get it. I've thought about it many times and I'm still not real sure. No one really likes the supposed wise guy because of jealousy. And no one likes the fool because he is a fool. So basically we don't like anyone. And the lesson has to be -- wise or fool -- keep your mouth shut and skate by. At least be that wise.

Do I have a degree of foolishness? Yes, more than my share. Except for wise survival skills and a complete fear of tomorrow, it looks like the joy of life is foolishness. No one ever thinks I'm a Brainiac. Never have been. If you’ve read this blog more than a day you know that. But am I a complete fool, a total moron, the mayor of Stupidville, the dunce of Dimsville? I don’t think so, but it’s a quandary, because if you’re that stupid you’re too stupid to know. So it's possible.

I actually don’t think we should ever get tied up in knots in these kinds of blind alleys, with the conclusion that we’re logically or illogically bound. I have been called the stupidest man on earth many times by well-meaning critics. But that’s just the way people talk. They’ve never met every man on earth, let alone tested everyone with clinical controls. Think of the effort, the call for papers they'd need, the groups and seminars, etc. So when you hear things like that — "You're the stupidest man on earth" — factor in some exaggeration. But if they say you're "literally" the stupidest man on earth, call the Guinness Book people and get it verified.

I was judged big-time by teachers a few times, and of course the guidance counselor, and didn't know how to respond. That’s one of the things I hated about school, that I didn’t have the vocabulary or analytical skills to reduce the teacher to a blubbering piece of jelly writhing and shimmy-shaking on the floor. Which would’ve been great. Then I'd be taking home a note to my mother that read, “Dear Mrs. Kundalini, Dippy reduced me personally and to the molecular level to a pile of dust during class with his many keen insights into my stupidity and the whole folly that the work of being a so-called teacher is when everyone knows I passed the training by the skin of my teeth and haven’t been able to improve myself with 25 years of experience; in fact, I’m getting worse.” That would've been sweet.

I didn't do any of that, because even then I had a reverent fear of tomorrow. But you have to agree that that teacher would've learned her lesson. My surgical dismemberment of her would've removed all doubts where she stood. And from that point on, whenever I had a criticism, people would've taken it seriously, or they too would've lost life and limb, and that instead of being expelled I would've been promoted immediately to the next class simply so I’d be someone else’s problem.

Do you, dear reader, want to avoid being reduced to dust and all the rest? Please send my thermometers sky high with your kind and loving attention. Did I tell you I lost my parents a few years ago? Have a heart. Several dogs have died too. Fish, guinea pigs. Show mercy. I don’t post everyday, sometimes I skip most of a month. Why? Because I don’t have anything to say? Sometimes yes, sometimes I’m afraid it will be such a word of power that no one can gaze upon it and live!

"Removing all doubts" today means I'm advancing boldly with the thermometer drive. Fearless, not looking back. Because there are so many hungry minds and eyes out there, all craving, hungering, and desiring fervently the full story -- they show it by filling and exploding my thermometers -- and that gives me the confidence I need to satisfy their hunger, minds, and eyes. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Three Stages of Me

No. 6 of 31 -- Thermometer series

Sorry to immediately personalize the chart, but “Been There, Done That...” I started off the proverbial 98-pound weakling, grew into a fitter specimen, then hit the magical status of 100%. And what a moment it was. I tossed confetti till noon. Then ate a cow. For a while I even thought that was as good as it got, then I heard about 150% and 200% also being actual numbers and went for it. And it wasn’t really hard; if you can hit 100% everything beyond that's a piece of cake.

Because you can go from Scrawny directly to Brawny, I put those together in one panel. But most guys, let’s call them Average Man, get fed up with what can become a constant struggle when they’re around 57% fit, and start thinking, “If I get to 60% that’s good enough, my goal's average, I'll slip into the middle of the pack. And it’s true, you can, which is why it's called Average.

It’s only the few — small guys like me and guys much larger — who say, No, I’m going for 100%, then the sky’s the limit. I won't be held down by gravity! I will soar into the skies of fitness, physically, mentally, psychologically, with stamina to spare, brawniness to boot, in every way tough, tougher, and toughest. Shoe leather's got nothing on me. Nothing can hold me down. I shall not be bound.

And I won't be musclebound either, one of these guys so thick in muscles and head they put you in tire commercials. Instead, I'll be smart and wise, with a mind like a computer that’s reliable and doesn’t have to be continually rebooted with updates and still shows unknown errors. People talk to me and I respond by squeaking and clicking as I perform calculations and spit out answers: "Mr. Knowledge, what is the secret of everlasting life?" Answer: If you're smart enough to ask, you're smart enough to know.

I say the secret of everlasting life is Vigor Vivus and kicking ass. But you can be stuck in its opposite, Rigor Mortis, while in the best of health. Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking, another Vigor Vivus message from Mr. Know-it-All. Please spare me! OK, but I've seen enough guys sink away and vanish; you may as well survive. Because it's true, Vigor Vivus is the spirit of life, that we're born with but fritter away by our lack of attention to the inner slob.

And Rigor Mortis is its constant counterpart. You settle for Rigor Mortis, pretty soon you think that's all there is; you’re hard as a rock, then softened like chaff, till that disintegrates and you’re a pile of dust. Whereas Vigor Vivus, when that’s your spirit, you puff out in confidence, you bulk up mentally/spiritually, you're a multidimensional success, and finally you hulk out and reign over all enemies. Just be careful, though, when you "arrive," because delusions come in pretty packages.

There’s only one thing about hulking out and reigning I don’t like: so often I have to do it alone, which is lonely. I was out with some other poor guys in the Big City, looking for cans. I had about a 12-pack box full, and another guy had a Hefty sack full. But he had Rigor Mortis like you wouldn't believe, sadly making him the poorest man in town. He died under the bridge, leaving me great memories and about 65 cans.

Bad news for that guy, but his piss-poor end is great news for you, what you can avoid. This blog is open to all. But if you never felt welcome, that was your own psyche excluding you. Even before I plastered the place with thermometers, you were welcome. The thermometer drive is meant to put all misconceptions in the past. We are explicitly telling you, You are welcome, whether you’re 60, 100, or more in percent. Hell, if you’re 30%, 20, 10, 5, get with it. If you’re literally a pile of dust looking for the next hint of a breeze, as long as you are at least a few specks of dust with some semblance of coherence, that's better than nothing. You can reach out and we promise to keep the breeze down where you are. And whisper to you occasionally, "You still there? Come on, Dusty, start clumping."

We’re forever discussing the issues that can help you. Whether it’s bettering your best (obviously one of my personal favorites) or having at least something and adding a few more specks to your collection of dust with the hope that you'll build and grow, advancing perhaps to a leg, an arm, anything beyond the little you are now, we're here for you.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

How Much Longer?

No. 5 of 31 -- Thermometer series

Grandma is a memory to me now, like the Beatles, my hair, and the city dump. A lot of us are in that situation. You have the dearest people on earth to you, grandmas, who were already old when you were born. Then they're suddenly gone.

That’s what happened, and even though I regret it tremendously, with everything wrong with her I’d never wish her back -- sniffle-sniffle -- never wish her back --- blowing nose -- O hell, Grandma, if you're somewhere near by, the key's still under the pumpkin. But we haven't got the phone anymore -- it's a long story -- just report to a place called "Verizon" and sign up for a new one. If you don't know what Verizon is, ask around...

But when she was alive, wow, she did everything. Things I could never accomplish if I worked all the time. Look at her pulling on the yarn, working on a spool there, picking it up and tying it together, or churning it out, maybe even making it in the first place. We think you just go to the store and get another spool if you need it, which I don't because now I buy my undies ready made, but somehow she had the skills to fidget strands into form from scratch. If she could handle that, Verizon can't be too hard.

What I have for myself now, in addition to the memories, is the knowledge that SHE knew what she was doing. And the same lesson has to apply here: Do I know what I’m doing? Do I know what I have to go through to get places? Yes, sometimes I do know. But sometimes I don’t. My memory, for one thing — please don’t get bummed out by this — is a little shaky. I’m not quite in the total pits yet; the worst thing is figuring out who the ugly guy in the mirror is. But with discipline, mental devices posted here and there, and a notebook for my enemies list, I'm doing all right.

Today I'm clear as a gun shot, what I’m engaged in, this filling of thermometers, each thermometer indicating the popularity of my precious blog. I started out a long time ago, just a guy and a keyboard, then I saved up and got a computer. And slowly, more or less daily, I filled in the blanks and those were my posts. Then I needed friends to read them and give me constructive criticism: "Go to hell, loser." So now I'm filling in thermometers, a whole box full, trying to get better friends.

You go back to your sewing, dearest Grandma! Knit that thread, tote that bail, piece that thing together -- work it, work it! -- making Grandpa a new sweater, or a pair of undies too, whatever he needs. And call me if you ever figure out the phone thing.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Honor System, My Final Offer

No. 4 of 31 -- Thermometer series

I’m having a hard time starting this post, my eyes are transfixed by the beautiful shield of the Honor System. First, because who even knew the Honor System had a shield? It came as a surprise to me when I first saw it years ago. And I never knew who came up with it. Whoever it was, thumbs up. Because that’s the system I operate by.

I hear lots of guys of apparent honor say their word is their bond, but do you ever see them hold up the shield? I’ve never seen that, never. Not that I think it’s absolutely necessary. I’ve known lots of people of honor who maybe didn’t know about the shield. And so were content to grind it under foot in the dust, unknowing, uncaring. But they were still true to their word, with all the honor you’d want.

That’s the way I function, too. Like in the movies: “Sheeeelds? We don’t need no steeeenking sheeeeelds!” It’s true, and the same thing goes for flags. All a flag's is is shorthand for "That represents us." You can be a skunk and fly the flag. But have you ever heard of taking a knee before the Honor Shield? Hasn't been done. Why? Because people know in their marrow, their core, the Honor Shield is a holy, sacred thing that would immediately explode in your face if you dared try. Properly rigged. Whereas a weak flag lies there like a dishtowel, disgusting.

This I vow to thee, Honor System: I plight my best troth, my very best. With Vigor Vivus as the spiritual principle of the good things of a life well-lived, vigor in all you honor and offer. And Vivus also means something.

I’m such a serious person on these high flown values, I remind me of my dad. He went out addressing clubs and places, like the Valor in Excelsis Club. Maybe someday I can do that. I could put my good values out there against anyone's, run 'em up the Honor System pole and see who salutes. Of course it’s easier to keep to myself and never venture out. I could be lazy. I also don’t like listening to opinions I disagree with, but I'll stand up for my right to walk away and let someone else endure them.

We’re still near the beginning of this great push, calling attention to my blog and hoping to get more readers, readers who will engage me and others, who will debate the great matters discussed here. Then gladly adhere to my opinions and proudly march forth in absolute lockstep. The only debate I would allow is: Should we dispense with the Latin phrase "Vigor Vivus" and use a contemporary equivalent? I like the pageantry and zip of the Latin, but I suppose "Strong Persistent Enduring Spirit for Living and Life" would be just as catchy.

I have a particular personal cudgel that I want to be pushing at some point. Do you read world blogs? I do keep up with around 1,000 blogs. It is, in fact, so many that I have no attention to give to very many of them. So I couldn’t tell you ABC about very many. But there’s a few I have my eye on, the ones written by Pastun tribes and Iraqi herdsmen. Of course they have dominance in their part of the world, and they do a great work for their audience. I laud them in every way. But I'm extremely jealous of their influence and I want that same influence here.

Ask yourself, Is it really right that I should suffer in silence, when I just got done proclaiming my love for the Shield of the Honor System? On my honor, folks, the present situation cannot stand. Hence, this thermometer system. I need more, more, more -- more continents, more countries, planets, more and deeper influence on the state of world discourse. And for that, I’m asking you, please do your part, again, on your honor to make it happen.

Are we Number One? Let’s shout it: “We’re number one! We’re number one! We’re number one!”

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Great Ape

No. 3 of 31 -- Thermometer series

How’s this for luck? No more do I get started on the Blog Drive for the Ages — thermometers registering my progress, subscribers, commenters, etc. — when there's suddenly a threat out of nowhere... That's not luck, that's conspiracy.

It happened in one of the Big City alleys, the worst alleys in the world. I was scanning the littered corners and dumpsters for soda/beer cans for pin money, which I’ve done to the point of hanging around nursing homes/apartments, glancing at my watch, waiting for slow-drinking old men to finish, when what do I see? Signs, which I suspect are being transported around town and strategically placed, but to what purpose? Could it be: 1) To scare the crap out of me with threats? 2) Or warn me that if I come messing around here someone’s gonna know why? and/or 3) An ultimatum: Put your tail between your legs, little boy, and GIT! I almost turned back, I almost cried, then I got a grip and said, “Uh, we shall see about that!”

Back home I reasoned it out: This is only the third day of the thermometer drive; these people can’t already be that invested in stopping me. Are they reacting to what I’ve done or somehow anticipating all that is to come? How does either of those scenarios make sense? I’m not the center of the world, am I? I guess I am to myself, but I seriously can't be to everyone else. Like when I have to go to the bathroom, no one alerts me, I just know. That’d be freaky, you start getting calls reminding you to go. That must not happen, not on my watch.

I calmed myself, and being brave once again I went out, and what do I come across? Literal signs that a Great Ape (possibly more than one) is about to be released! It took my breath away. I fell to the ground and started pulling my shirt up and pushing it down. The way we recovered as kids when we got the air knocked out of us. And it’s the old ways that still work best. I was quickly better, but not mentally.

What was this? I questioned myself. I went through the possibilities: A conspiracy against me, something to destabilize society, a false flag operation, the counterculture disrupting all norms, even a movie ad? I seriously had to think it was directed at me alone, like most things. Maybe a threat, but more likely a sick promise! The thought came, This could be a premonition and a warning from my main blogging competition, darker versions of my own blog. Or maybe even the world's most popular bloggers, Pashtun tribes and Iraqi herdsmen in the far flung parts of the world. Bad things may be coming if I don’t back off this thermometer drive. But where are they? If the world’s round, they're clear on the other side. But if it’s flat, they're straight thataway.

I got clever, too clever. I looked around, then set my phone on a ledge to video the place with the signs. But when I went back, it was gone! I did the whole 'Find Your Phone' thing and there was no sign of it. So they had turned it off... I swore to myself, "I won’t be any chimp’s chump!"

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Good For What You're Sick Of

No. 2 of 31 -- Thermometer series

In any promise of a long trip or new adventure, a lot of us get excited and can’t wait. I personally get sick and fear the troubles and bad times ahead. And me getting sick doesn't just happen. It starts with malaise, becomes a dark sense of foreboding, morphs into paranoia, then various physical challenges. Right now there's a weird sense of utter confusion, similar to what a completely other-abled person might feel if you put him on a diving board. It'd be hopeless...

But life isn’t what merely happens to us, the semi-pleasant passing of moments occasionally up or down. Instead, it’s a drastic curtain call, and you’re on stage, empty and embarrassed, with no clue what your lines are, what the play’s called or even when practice was. Then you see you're in a movie theater and the first three rows are pelting you with hotdog wrappers and pieces of bread. They're shouting, “Get the bum off the stage!” But I think they’re saying “bun” so I’m kicking it back into the orchestra pit. Finally, the curtain falls, knocks me out, and I wake up in the alley...

So forgive me if I go through my meds before we start. I see bottles of Sure Cure, Invigerator, Restorative, Pills, Specific, a truss-like jock strap, a squirt device, belts, and Mercurochrome aka Red Dope, a very old bottle. It could’ve been that stuff, with its mercury levels, that stunted me as a kid, physically and mentally, since we put it on every cut or gash. My mentality being affected is a problem I'm dealing with right now, because I feel terribly compelled -- it's beyond my will -- to lift a stack of thermometers to the rafters and see who salutes.

Of course I can’t foresee all the dangers and every need for the road ahead, so that’s why I'm going overboard. If it fits, pack it! Have it on hand! I don’t know what all I’m in for, but I’ve been injured a bunch of times in the past. Broken leg, arm, gash on my leg, gash on my arm, along with all the childhood diseases. My huge fear is some other guy will come against me because of the thermometer idea. That’s always my fear. Just because I thought of it independently, that doesn’t mean some mega thermometer guy hasn’t already done it, then he'll beat me up. It pays to live in fear.

Let me see how prepared I am for the diseases I might meet up with. Polio. I think they wiped that out. Plague. If it were around it'd be in the news. Dog breath, Italian breath, regular bad breath, those still run rampant. Mold, mildew, stains, mosquitoes, dizzy spells, road sickness, antiseptic wipes for motels, I'll pack the large size. I hate motels and the feeling that some completely infected guy was just using it last night. I need one of those glow-sticks that shows infection in all its horrible hideousness. Or maybe I'll sleep in the backseat of my car, which hasn't been used for its true purpose -- dating -- for years.

C’mon, get a grip on yourself! This is a blog drive, trying to get people interested in your nasty little blog, looking for new subscribers, commenters, visitors, everything short of real-life visits, which I already know are terrible. Next thing, my computer would be gone, my bags rifled, my passwords ransacked, and my dog stolen. She’s cute, her a good girl, yes she is, yes she is...

I’m gonna pop open this nausea medicine and drink it all down ... Bottoms up!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Shoot The Moon

No. 1 of 31 -- Thermometer series

Friends, you see on this page our very first thermometer and theme, the beginning of a great push for what promises to be an exciting effort, Shooting the Moon. That means giving it all we've got. And so there's many inspiring thermometers to come, all with the goal to increase this blog's readership and reach around the world. I hope for many subscribers and page views, and I can envision all kinds of things beyond that: conventions, speakers, seminars, ladies popping out of cakes, group tattoos, walking each other's dogs, there's no limits. How high will it go?

How fondly I remember the Lion’s Club back home raising a bunch of money for their good work, and the way they kept track of it on a thermometer. I said, "O Momma," trying to stutter a few words on how inspiring it was, but I was tongue-tied before I had a decent vocabulary and the ability to express awe. And of course thermometers were long a thing before we had phones to gauge the temperature, inside or out, plus one other major thing, in your mouth if you were sick.

I believe my experience with thermometers is common. And that you, being smart enough to read this far might feel insulted when I explain it like something you might not know. Please don't be, because I've heard the average reader isn't very smart. So whereas I might have my doubts about people in general, I’m sure you know everything. No offense meant and hopefully none taken. And please don't be so sensitive.

Something else should be obvious, but please bear with me as I say it: If you’re reading this first post, obviously you didn’t need a thermometer to lure you in or entice you. That makes you among the most wonderful people in the world, who happened to get here by your own talent. No one lured you. You came anyway. You merely had nothing better to do in a world of endless possibilities and here you are! That’s great! I can see how many visits the page gets and there’s always some. The thermometers hopefully will help us get much greater traffic, leading to subscribers, commenters, friends helping friends, and so forth.

This is going to be a real drive, going forward, onward and upward, and not reverse or down. We'll keep the windows down to get the cool breeze. And maybe if I make a ton of money I'll buy a convertible and we’ll put the top down on it too. We’ll put the name of the blog on the doors. I'll drive it in parades. We’ll throw candy kisses for the kids. A beauty queen will sit on top of the back seat with me. And if I’m lucky she’ll give me a ceremonial kiss and lift my arm in the classic victory pose. That's my goal.

(I actually did ride in a parade, but it’s been a long time ago. And that was a Volkswagen bug without a beauty queen or kissing of any sort. The next time will be special.)

As the days go by, please keep the blog in your tender thoughts. I’m hoping that with everyone’s help and the superior being out yonder somewhere, one of my biggest fans, that in just a few short weeks I'll have the Number One blog in the world and it'll be obvious to all. But you have to remember, I’m not just battling blogs like mine -- rants, etc. -- but all kinds of blogs, such as porn and famous people. And when it comes to blogs I've heard there's a few very formidable ones run by Pastun and Iraqi herdsmen, no less. Can we beat them? I don't know. The word 'round here is they're master bloggers with some of the greatest traffic registered in the world! No joke. So this is going to take an all-out effort.

Please join me for this sweet ride. Together we too can post some numbers we’ll be proud of while doing it all in a can-do spirit, then succeeding beyond our wildest dreams, always kicking ass and taking numbers, and always with the best of intentions and behavior.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Burnt Bacon Codicil

Back where my people are from -- far back in the sticks but still on the right side of the tracks -- live a people where they still have common sense. For one thing, they don't mollycoddle wives, which is one of my big complaints in the alt society we suffer today. Back home, if they don't get it right, it has eternal consequences: "You're out!" Or the old man's simply gone and no one knows where.

O! the things guys suffer these days! I've heard their cries everyday since my coming forth from the homeland so very long ago. A lot of the problems are of a sexual nature, which is easy enough to overlook. Who among us hasn't been so stoved up he'd bust or so dried out he thought he'd blow away? That's how they make raisins, you know...

Yes, the problem today is sexual, but of a different sort. Rooted in sex, since sex is the main purpose in marriage, as in bearing young. They've been doing it forever. Adam and Eve, all the way up to Little House on the Prairie, and still today. Although -- I'm not trying to take us too far afield -- there's a lot more sex of a selfish nature, Me/Myself/I, now clean it up... It's a revolting subject, get it out of my sight!

Our main point today is to report on the Burnt Bacon Codicil in marriage vows. It used to be done, you know, and a man stood by it, and a woman (God spare her) had to face the judgment: "No more marriage for you!" With that and just that fast, the old man was gone. Did he have help on his journey? Yes, the whole clan pitched in! And that's how it should be. A woman like that has no place among our people, not watchful enough to cook bacon? I need to pause before I wet myself cussing...

Anyway, the Burnt Bacon Codicil is a true thing, and back home it had pride of place in our marriage vows. "I vow to love you forever, until the stars fade, until the moon fizzles and falls, until the sun hides its face, until the cows run away and someday find their way home... Or until you burn the bacon, which is a real danger." But, like in most things, there could be mercy. For me, I know, say you burnt the bacon once, I'd have mercy and try to step you through the bacon-cooking process, then maybe you'd do it right. Once or twice or three times and maybe even four times, I might endure it, then say you got it right once or twice, then burnt it again. At that point there's no promises.

I'm very realistic. You have a hard time getting the bacon done right, you may as well be gone. How goddamned hard can it be? You set the stove, you clean out the ashes, you give the burners a good 24-hour scrubbing, maybe you pick out less than completely dry wood, then you get it stoked as though you have a purpose, you're not sloppy, you pay attention, you turn the bacon, your eyes are glued to it and its progress. The kid's fallen out of his crib, he'll keep, that bacon won't! The kid's not on a set schedule, that bacon's nearly burnt!

And speaking of kids, you know what, Missy? There might not even be any kids if you're slow on the uptake with the bacon. Think long and hard about that, or maybe you won't have anything long and hard to think about. It's true. There's lots of kids -- bless their failed souls -- who aren't with us today because their would-be mama didn't know the first thing about bacon. Whatever angel wings they started with, they still have, which is sad or happy depending on how you look at it. For them, it might be mostly happy... Who wants a bacon-burning mama?

So look there, cooking the bacon good is a matter of life and death. As an aside, we need men to care, to set the example and lay down the law. Who won't give into their wives' sexual urges till their bacon drive is well satisfied. Give 'em an inch, guys, and they'll want the whole thing.

This whole business of the Codicil and the keeping of the standards also affects dogs. How's that? you ask. Explaining it in detail would take us too far afield, but here's a summary: Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for life. Give a dog bacon and he'll expect it forever. Something to ponder, dogs and their expectations.

It can be a sad business. I'm old, but my memories of back-home are still clear. An aggrieved husband, a clueless wife: "My daddy never told me, my daddy never told me," she whimpers, crying, shrieking. "Shut your fool mouth!" the husband wails, "Your daddy's the fattest man in three counties! He ate bacon by the bucket! Your momma was a good cook or you wouldn't even be here!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Are There Other Countries In Outer Space?

I am the visionary layman. To my eye, this imagined alien culture is frightening. I don't know why they're climbing, maybe to paint that building. I'm afraid they might fall and get hurt. Hope they don't. 

In this short space, I can't say everything I think about alien cultures. Most of it would be familiar to you anyway from old movies. The robots, one-eyed octopus people, weaponry retooled from vacuum cleaners, and horse-creatures that have evolved simultaneously with the people, their backs conforming to people’s butts. Which is something to be thankful for, that when we’re looking for something to ride, our bottoms and the backs of creatures are simpatico.

To me, the presence of life on other planets is a given. Two keys, one, our own existence. Add to that our own problems with reproduction and you’ll see the lesson. It takes about three minutes of pleasure, depending on how stoved up we are, to saddle us with kids forever. The terrible ease of human reproduction, along with that of the other species on earth, is probably all we need to know about everywhere else. Just fall in bed, bang, a kid! It’s always amusing to me to look at upstanding moral people and know what’s “secretly” seething within. When I was a kid we thought the proof against sexual reproduction was the fact the Methodist pastor had kids. As it turned out, yes, he did, he went there! Morally worse than bartenders, who've done it all.

With this in mind, let us turn to our main concern today, whether there are other countries in outer space. We shall answer affirmatively immediately. What use would it be to say NO? There is absolutely no evidence that there aren't countries out there. While we have something more than a strong hunch that there are. There is strong evidence that we exist. The existence of aliens is conjecture, yes. But compare it to that time when you were a kid and found a dollar on the sidewalk. You have no doubt that if you searched an infinite span of time in an infinite number of places that you'd find another dollar. Maybe more.

Any grouping of people, historically done for the raising of families, joint defense, and increasing the odds of mutual survival, speaks to me of a certain universality. Say they're shirts and skins like in school. The groups naturally take their place in the gym, clustering together and conferring, "How can we beat those bastards?" Countries have similar anxieties. I don't see nature being different just because of a different location, outer space. Like the old waitresses of fiction who wait tables through the midnight shift, then turn tricks until the wee hours of the dawning day, nature does what it's gotta do wherever it is.

Society -- countries -- is the individual family writ large. Family life concentrates the drive for individual survival, making a thick stew thicker yet, and the country is its logical end. So we start with survival, then perpetuation through reproduction and the family, and then joint defense. Six of one... You see it everywhere, even Jerry Springer reruns. This guy’s in love with the other guy’s girl, she’s been pregnant and born various neighbor kids, and each one insists on survival. Her skanky boyfriend looks virtually brain dead, himself a genetic nightmare, but bottom feeders always have huge survival skills. In the same spirit, my family used to hog fish overgrown catfish. You crawl up the river, pet fish along their side, and then fling them to the bank; they never see it coming.

As far as I’m concerned, outer space has a similar dynamic. Which is easy to understand, because, doubtless, they're likely more like us than different. In fact, right now, this very minute, they’re out there lounging around in outer space trying to imagine the exact same thing about us! Are there people on Earth? And if so, do they have countries? Do we have countries?! Only everywhere you look! We split up the land, we fight for it, we conquer others, we take what we need, then we make a defense of it. Of course we allow others to take it from us, if they can.

I’d be sincerely interested to know other things about the alien countries there are, of course. But right off, I’d assume that for the most part the things they want — comfort, security, sex, meaning — are the same things we want. With the lesson being this: The best way to study alien civilizations is to know a lot about ourselves, then make a checklist and when we visit other planets, check it off, this, this, this, yep, another planet of insecure horny bastards casting about to find meaning in things beyond themselves, the same ignorance we have here everyday of the week.

All right, having established the existence of countries in outer space — the only way I would ever retract these statements is if it were proven to me that there weren’t sentient beings in the endless reaches of space. And to go further, absent other creatures, I would also concede there aren't countries either.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Sumpin Better Nuttin -- Threebee

The Querulous Question Mark

I like that big rugged question mark (above), the dot big as a tire, the curves dominant with confidence. There’s no doubt I’m asking a question, to the point with edginess, even elegance. Asking boldly, couched in fearless determination. Prying into your precious business — perhaps — or asserting the question with such insistence, if you don’t answer, the next time it's gonna be in your face. I tried it the easy way...

My way of asking, though, is rarely edgy. But more like, “Hey, I asked, it’s OK if you say no,” stopping just short of being miffed or querulous. That's a good attitude in my opinion, because at least I asked. And whoever the other guy is, The right of first refusal might just be a refusal. And if I’m ill-tempered, I can keep it secret.

But is this a day for being fractious, cantankerous, or liverish? Liverish? Don’t think I’ve heard that word before. I might adopt some of these words into my everyday vocabulary. Someone asks me how a third person was, and while I can’t speak for the third person, I can address the issue of the third person's apparent state. “Friend, the third person was liverish, or should I just blabber a more common lingo and say she was sour, bilious, and dyspeptic? Time fails me to mention choleric or splenetic, although I do have just time enough to fit in scratchy.

Are those words good words? A question mark like that hopes the answer's yes. Does my question mark convey that degree of snottiness without coming right out and saying it? Careful how you answer. It could be bad news.

One Word in Front of Another

Looks like a theme today. Words in front of other words, in other words, words, words, words, for what they’re worth. Ask Wordsworth, he can tell you what a word’s worth. There was a word in the beginning, the word says, and there’s a moment of silence in the end, then they lower the boom. And boom might've been the first word, the Big Bang. Trailing off with the OM.

My very first words as a kid — and I have actual documentation on this — were get (git) and mama and dada. I don't remember it firsthand, but when a baby says GET it means something I want. Acquiring something with which to start my collection, or a down payment on my next meal: “Reach over and get me that box of chocolates.” Which explains my present-day bad teeth, too much getting of things I shouldn’t have been getting into.

In a way I miss those days of obvious unconsciousness and growing consciousness. What do any of us know at that age? We’re not as experienced as now when we want something. We want it, we may get it, we may not. Just saying “Get” to Mama or Dada comes with the possibility of them saying no. And then I’ve got another word: “No? Excuse me. Why’d you even give me life if all you want to do is say No.” Then I throw the back of my hand against my forehead, lamenting, “If I’d known how cruel life was I never would’ve been born! Thanks, Mama and Dada, for nothing!”

The honest truth of the matter is, I didn’t speak to my parents that way. More que sera sera. Yes, I got in trouble for things, and we had disagreements. But 'nuff words. That day was a day for learning.

From A to Zed

Here’s one I didn’t know the details of. Why the British say Zed and Americans say Zee. We need to defer to the English on this one, since it is English. Although this is one where I have the inside track, since a bunch of my people were English. I haven’t taken the DNA test, but others have, and online genealogical information bears it out.

We used to have a pool table when I was growing up and I even did the billiards version of English, never content just to poke the ball in the default straightforward way. I’d spin the thing from below, which meant it jumped back in my lap several times. I polished my knuckles for the achievement. Or I'd use English on it from the top, and I think with that one it stops when it hits a ball.

Anyway, I’m an English speaker by genetics and upbringing. But no one ever cleared it with me this business of saying Zed for Zee. It sounds weird, but, hey, it’s just one letter off. Hard to figure, though, how one little letter makes it sound so prim and proper, even high falutin’. You might see me with my teacup and my little finger out at the same angle as my lifted shoulders. Keeping a stiff upper lip and all that poppycock, guvnor. Harumph!

Eating my pigs in blankets -- right, mate -- keeping my nasty little piggies warm, my piggies in heat, the whole sloppy farmyard abuzz (a couple zeds in that buzzard), and a big old piggie — a damned boar over there with balls the size of Texas — honored to bear the distinguished, historic name Winston Churchill.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Was The Lunch Lady A Hag?

I had an unfortunate run-in the other day with a couple of friends from childhood. You always think it’d be great to get the old gang together, then you know it’s a disaster when you see them more than five minutes. But having my home base right there in town — when I’m not in the Big City — such run-ins are guaranteed unless I'm in disguise.

Flashback, these guys were the terror of the lunchroom, holding sway over all, and once battling the lunch lady royally for something like four days straight. Sometimes I'd be at their table, sometimes not, depending on what note I had or didn’t have from my mother. Me, though, I thought of lunch as a time to eat fast and get outside, not something to get in trouble over.

OK, the talk in this recent meeting focused on whether the lunch lady was a hag. Benny said she was definitely a hag, the very definition, and even alluded to a particular edition of the dictionary, without citing it specifically enough to verify his claim, that her picture was published adjacent to the entry "hag." I waved it off, but he was willing to swear on a stack of Bibles (of any publisher) that it was so.

Be that as it may, I’m a grown man, I’ve put aside childish things. I don’t even think calling people hags (for the sake of argument let's say lunch ladies are technically people) is even a thing we do anymore. Now, today, supposedly, there's a more enlightened way of dealing with people. They're considered to have the same dignity as everyone else and should not be diminished in any way with terms that detract from their full value as members of collective humanity. Or something.

It is true, however, that one guy can be a real bastard or one lady an obvious bitch, etc., and if we’re not willing to call a monster a monster, then we’re dishonest. There’s good people, there’s saints, there’s bad people, there’s evil seeds, there’s dipshits, morons, dweebs, and losers. All, however, with each one having the full value of human beings, even if they have gone off the tracks for some reason — stupidity, lack of insight at the chromosomal level, or something about the inner person being soured and them being consequently rotten to the core. But I don’t want to make this political. A decent guy like me could get killed by some of the halfwits, morons, and losers we see these days. I will stay out of that all together, except for the bitching I do in private with other decent people.

Anyway, I did my best to steer my old friends (losers in their own right) away from dehumanizing language like “hags.” I don’t think Mrs. [lunch lady] was a hag, no sir. Was she thoroughly the wrong person for the job of lunch lady? Did she miss her true calling of lion tamer? In our modern age, would she be charged with child abuse? That’s an interesting question. She might've avoided charges because she was slippery. But back then we didn't have video surveillance. So she could get away with the despicable defense of, "Who do you believe? Me, the responsible lunch lady, or a whole gym of irresponsible halfwit eyewitnesses?" I'm sure she had lots of bad days, but did that make her a hag? There was a lot of pain in her withered soul, but “hag," I won't go that far.

So I offered excuses for her: 1) She was popping pills and that would obscure anyone's judgment. 2) She had friends who were also lunch ladies, but they served more prestigious schools; her bitterness of spirit was compensation. 3) The hairnet she was forced to wear was much too tight, constricting blood flow to her head, making her semi-wacky.

But my old friends couldn't see anything past the starkest black or white. The lunch lady was a hag, a bitch, in short, a despicable troll, rotten to her withered core with no redeeming qualities that could ever lead her from the world of the hopelessly lost to the new world of politeness, etiquette, and beauty that we share today. I had to get out of there and quick. Another five minutes and we would’ve been pissing on her grave. And my time’s valuable. I'm not running across town when the bathroom's only 20 feet away.