Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Fields Of The North

The direction north, in relation to where I normally am in the house, begins outside the north wall. It takes in the porch, the yard, the tree, the other smaller, denser trees at the edges, the slope to the road, the road, then everything beyond the road.

Beyond the road are two fields. There is a fence separating them, and of course they are held back from the road by a fence running parallel to the road and an area called the ditch. The fields have occasionally had, in one, horses, maybe both have over the years. They extend, the one down to a house to the northwest, the other is more or less blank, except there are houses perhaps unrelated off to the east and northeast. Were you to go far enough north you would come to other houses and main roads for the town.

What I'm concerned with is what is directly across the road that runs east and west just north of our house. The two fields.

I've never ever been in either field. You would think at some point in the many years we've lived here that I would have been over there, but I haven't. It's reasonable, probably likely, for example, that a ball might have bounced down the slope and somehow have made its way into one of the fields. Or a Frisbee. But it's never happened. That is land my feet have not touched. And I really can't see it happening now.

I have definitely looked at the fields of the north many times. Not with any curiosity about what it'd be like to be there. If anything, my feelings have been just the opposite. I have been very content over here and not over there. I don't know who owns them, I don't want to know. I'm not interested in what they do, whether they have horses (I haven't seen one for many years), or what might happen to me if I were to encroach on their territory. I know I'm not going to, so it's nothing I need to worry about.

My contentment is completely here, south of there, and south of the north part of our own land. All the fields I shall ever want are somewhere other than north of our land.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Illegitimate North Side

Here's something I've always felt but have never put into words, that I've always felt like the north side of our house isn't as good as the south. It looks weird seeing it in print, but it's a feeling that's persisted for decades.

We go in the south side. The pictures we've taken over the years are on the south side. It's sunnier on the south side. The garage is on the south. We get water on the south. All our outhouses have been on the south. The north is more or less forgotten, like uncharted territory, like the dark continent. Anything might happen on the north side. I might be taken captive by natives in the few trees over there. The north is no good.

We have the porch on the north side. Hardly ever used. There's a view on the north side, but everything is distant, except things up close, like the road, the trees. People pass by on the north side, but on the south side they come to visit. The north is wild, the south is home.

I mow the grass on the north side, but I feel like it's less worthy of mowing than the south. There are things to discover on the north side, I believe, but I'm not very interested in discovering them. If I were to see a block of wood on the north side, I'm about 99% sure it would be rotting. Things on the north tend to rot faster than on the south. That's the difference the sun makes. It's moist and buggy on the north. It's dry and domesticated on the south.

I look out the window on the north side, but I'm looking at the view in the distance. My eyes barely see the yard. You could get lost on the north side and no one would see you. I think other people feel the same way but never say anything.

There's some things I could say about the east side too. When I look at the east side from the north, I feel like I can barely reach the south. But when I see the east side from the south, I know I'm home, and there's nothing to see up north. The west side isn't so bad, especially from the south, because you have the sun hitting the west at more auspicious times of the day. But to see the west from the north is, again, to long for the south and to feel morose.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Me, A Senator

I dreamt last night -- technically early this morning before waking up -- that I was a United States Senator.

How exactly I got the position, I don't recall. But I know I was appointed. Maybe I've been thinking so much about Roland Burris these days! I haven't had a dream in which I was this successful since the days I used to dream about taking Ringo's place when he fell ill.

I got the position, though, but in the dream I was still generally unknown. There didn't seem to be a lot of acclaim about it. It was almost like a secret, or something that wasn't getting any attention. But I'm walking around thinking, "I'm a United States Senator," and it was an interesting feeling. I started thinking "This is only one step below being President, and who knows!"

But I never made it to the Senate. I was still around where I live, wondering what was to become of the whole thing. Would I know what to do? Was anyone going to say anything about it? Was I legitimately a senator? These kinds of issues clouded what otherwise was a feeling of success, of attainment.

The other part of the dream didn't have much to do with that. I was climbing on some steel pipes, trying to get up into a hole in the corner. One of the pipes bent down and I needed to get down and start over, wondering if I could make it without bending or breaking them. But that's just some extraneous details, not relevant at all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Primitive Fish

I happened to see about five minutes of a fish show on Animal Planet. I wish I would have seen the whole thing, since I like fishing, fish, the whole scene.

The first one I saw, some guys hauled in a 200 and some pound gar -- an alligator gar, meaning it's head looks sort of like an alligator's. These are primitive fish, in that they -- I don't know why. They just are. I guess they have features, appendages that other fish have lost over the years. I think they said it had a weird kind of lung system.

The other one, I didn't catch the name of. But it also breathes partially with a lung or two. And the guy fishing for it noticed it was stuck. The fight was suddenly gone. So it was tangled up in some way. But since it needs to come up to breathe once in a while, it was going to suffocate if it were left at the bottom. So another guy wades out and dives down and untangles the whole works. This leaves the fishing guy a new opportunity to pull the fish in.

They have a big net basket they put it in. It's humongous. They look at it for a while, pose with it, then they let it swim off.

Those primitive fish remind me of rough fish. Rough fish can be good to eat, if you prepare them right, like carp. But for the most part, buffalo fish, gar, chubs, all that -- they're not good. Something wrong with them for eating is what Grandpa always told us.

We used to do a lot of fishing. Grandpa knew almost everything about fishing. I learned a lot of it when I was a kid but forgot most of it. A lot of it was just seat-of-the-pants kinds of information. If you went on TV and tried to do some of it, they'd laugh you off. I know Grandpa thought it was helpful to fart on your bait. And I haven't seen a show where they do that!

One interesting bit of fish trivia. My family (Grandpa, etc.) used to make some kind of doughball bait to catch carp with. It was cinnamon, with bread dough, and sugar worked in there. It was actually good to pull a piece out of with your finger and eat. Until you've had fish on your hands and are going back for more bait.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When People Ask

I've got an old expression I've said a few times now. I hate to make things sound too bad, like when people ask me "How's your grandmother?" A few people know her -- probably more than I know of, really -- and they know me by extension.

I'll be out at the grocery store, like I was today, and someone asks, "How's your grandmother?" (Hey, what am I? Don't you realize that I had a cold for four days? Why don't you ask how I am? I'm not chopped liver, you know! -- Sorry.) They ask the question, probably not realizing that I also have feelings -- which is beside the point. And here's the expression I've used, that she's getting along as well as can be expected, really, and she puts on "a brave face."

The more you say something corny like "a brave face" the more you feel like using it, and other corny expressions. It keeps people thinking that you're absolutely sincere, and that you want to hear them asking questions like this. When you'd like to say, like they say at the hospital, "Are you family? Then I'm sorry, but I can't give out that information. The Privacy Act, you know." People at the hospital are the least helpful people I know, and they hide behind that Privacy Act crap. It's their excuse, their crutch. I had a fight with someone -- this is true -- and I'm at the hospital -- and a nurse asked me what it was all about. I thought about snotting off at her, saying, "Are you family?" but I hesitated and said nicely that I don't think I need to get into that. She backed off right away, then I explained it was just a disagreement over certain matters... More or less true.

But people keep asking questions -- sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong, as to how she's doing, etc., etc.; it gets old! In a way I don't mind, as long as I have a ready answer, a corny one, that "Things seem to be better. She's showing a brave face."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sometimes I Feel Like A Grandmotherless Child

This is one of those days when the doldrums took over. It wasn't completely unforeseen, but I thought maybe I could stave it off. The thing is, when it's time to do the pre-staving, I deny the need, or discount it, then when the crash comes I regret it. But the time for regrets is then!

It's the famous phenomenon of The Psychic Price, the price you have to pay for everything. You know, when they say there's no such thing as a free lunch, they mean it. I'm just afraid I might see angels or something, because if I do, it's to the bottom of the ash heap for me.

In short, anytime you think you're the center of the universe -- or there's even something as relatively mild as crowing that you have a front row for history -- what's so bad about that? -- it all has to come crashing down. I keep thinking, mulling it over, how to both pay this price as we go and not be glad to have it paid, which is also an inflationary conclusion. There doesn't seem to be any way, unless, and I dread to say it, it's to purchase each second with a second of pain, all the while not seeing the pain as painful, i.e., to be endured, but as a normal part of life. In other words, it's Equilibrium All The Way.

Whatever there is to say about that, I've got it bad today, the whole crash and burn syndrome. And as much as I'd like to see it pass, there's no way I can really root for it, or it'll be worse. Here it comes!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Give Me Facts

Having a front row on history, as is my experience, means paying close attention to facts. I want facts, not just the screwing around that people do with opinions. Those who simply have opinions want us to think there's no objective truth, that it's all just as screwed up as they are.

My own stand is this: I believe in facts. I remain convinced by facts. I want something solid to hang my hat on, something definite and objective by which to draw conclusions and come to judgments. I warrant ye this much, that opinions don't cut it. But facts.

Looking from the front row, I see it all, the good and the bad. I go to various websites -- it's all part of my unique experience on the internet -- and I see both, facts and opinions. I have what it takes to differentiate the two. But to parse it out and explain it in the prolonged treatment that the subject demands is to bore everyone stiff. I would lose half my readership if I felt compelled to explain everything clinically, with scholarly points, footnotes, and what have you. Not that I couldn't do it!

Some things deserve that kind of treatment. Matters of life and death, say. Some things don't. Such as what should be clear to any clear, reasonable person. The simple fact of the matter -- not just my opinion -- is: If you're not clear and reasonable enough to understand common sense, then you're not likely to be clear and reasonable enough to understand it better after an overblown scholarly examination. In other words, the intelligence the latter demands is the same intelligence that could have understood the former.

My front row seat on history -- I need to keep reminding myself -- is mine alone. So I don't truly know the full extent of anyone else's powers. Perhaps I am truly alone. Is this all just my own world? It very well could be.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Front Row Mindset

Everything in life has its own mindset. It's funny.

I was looking at an old tackle box today at a rummage sale, and was thinking how very compartmentalizable everything in life is. You've got a spot for all this trivial stuff, a tray for sinkers, one for straight hooks, one for treble hooks, several for lures and rubber worms, etc. It's like a TV dinner tray, where the frozen corn doesn't get mixed in with the frozen potatoes.

Mindsets are like that. I talk to the doctor and I've got my doctor thinking cap on. I talk to the dog and there's no thinking cap involved, just feelings. Except I do think because of the necessity in life of being constantly systematic. I could illustrate by doing one of those robotic dances, moving my arms up and down, singing Neil Young, "We will prevail and perform our function."

I've been busy flipping through my mindsets. Another way to picture a mindset is to think of the faces we have to show. You think about a day. You have to be about 12 different people, depending on who you're with.

Yesterday I was lost in the mindset of the observer of history. That to me is a mindset of great joy and carries with it the feeling of lustrousness. I'm there, feeling kind of like one of those rap breaks in the middle of a song, like in the song "Stutter" by Joe, the Double Take Remix featuring Mystikal. Joe's piece is to calmly bliss it out there, but Mystikal has the more forward mindset. He's saying 'I'm observing this thing. I have a front row seat on the history of this song. I will express myself in happiness.' Or words to that effect.

Some of what I'm witnessing from my front row seat is giving me an angry mindset. Like everything I hear from these Republican clowns, like Alan Keyes, Rush, and other of the clown clique. They want to tear down our president. They spent eight years propping up actual criminality and now they're against good American decency. It's bizarre, and I'd rather not see it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Local Man Enjoys Front Row Seat

I make my way into the theater, look around for a good seat, notice the front row is empty, in particular the very center seat, and make my way down to claim it. Here is where I shall sit, I think, and I won't give it up even to go to the bathroom. There will be no one in front of me. And if someone's behind me, they can lump it. If I slump down and get my neck situated just so, I will not only have an unobstructed view of the screen but my neck won't feel strained afterward.

I've been thinking about my place in this society. I'm obscure, I don't mind saying it. But there's one thing I know I have and no one can deny it, a front row seat to history. It's just like the theater. I showed up early, I immediately looked that direction, I went directly to it, I sat there, and I refuse to get up, even to go to the bathroom. That's the same thing with history. I'm here, I'm staying, and I look on from a unique vantage point, the front row.

You may wonder, what is this front row to history? I'm there right now. Reading about history on the internet, that's one way of having a vantage point. But I'm looking at history also in the making. Someone said that the newspapers are the first draft of history. I read the various newspaper websites to see what they are reporting. They're right there when President Obama says something or signs legislation. I see that. They're right there in the midst of war and turmoil. I read about it and recoil. They bring it to me if someone has eight kids and is back in bed trying for eight more before the evening's over. I look on, I take note, I observe, I file it away in my mental file cabinet.

That I'm able to see it is good. And it's interesting that it all comes right straight to me as it does. I don't stand in line. I don't panhandle. I'm not begging bread. I'm just here receiving it all. I appreciate the opportunity. I'm not oblivious to the truth that a lot of people would kill to be in my place. To have the front row to history that I have.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Carving A Wax Penny

You recall my sacred sword substitute, a steak knife, was one that was used to shave candle wax, trying to get the candle down to a manageable height in relation to the depths the wick had eaten itself.

Today I was with a couple of my sacred candles. I have this one, poured for me by some lady, that acts up all the time. It can't manage the ratio between wax and wick/flame height. Somehow it gets more wax than it manages to eat, the wax overloads the entire system, the flame is just a tiny flicker, and it's buggy. So I have to tip it up, waste the wax by spilling it like Onan, then the flame gets back its life and we're on the right track.

While involved in this activity, I had my sacred knife. I scraped away some wax from the place I poured it the last few days. With the passage of many days the wax had hardened; it really doesn't take long till it solidifies. Now, this involves a penny, and I think was a fairly good move on my part. It gave me a real sense of things being reversed, and that's a lesson I can stand to learn (or be reminded of) occasionally.

I poured the wax out. It looked about the size of a big button. Then I went on with my activities, reading and fiddling with my knife. After a few minutes I suddenly had the thought, why not put this penny on top of the wax button? So without further ado, that's what I did. It settled in snugly. Next I pressed down on top of it gently. Finally I picked off the penny -- another task for the knife -- and I managed to have a perfect reversal in wax of the penny's face.

That was weird to see. Lincoln looking the other way. The date reversed. Liberty spelled backwards. It was a mirror image of itself. Blew my mind. And taught an important lesson, which I could summarize as this: Whatever is happening in your life has an opposite. Does that make any sense?

UPDATE (12:24 p.m.) - Oh, I think I just made a major boo boo. I was sitting here after lunch and reached over and used my sacred knife to pick my teeth. More than once. Once should have been enough, since it seriously smells and tastes like candle wax, whatever the fragrance is. Uck. There needs to be a separation between the sacred and the profane, and now I've transgressed. What might become of me? I haven't felt this bad since that time I used holy water to clean dirt off my shoes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Sacred Steak Knife

I've got my steak knife by the desk here. I had it the other day when I was studying its properties, its suitability to be a stand in for a sacred sword, the absence of which still plagues me.

The particular knife I have is a flimsy one, but still sharp enough to cut meat. This one has been used to shave candle wax, though, it's got a real waxy build-up. The blade is sticky and doesn't even resemble something sacred.

I bet it would look different if I were to run it over a flame. That's how to really refine a blade, get it hot. Then you put it on butter and watch it sizzle. In some religious traditions -- I'm thinking of Hinduism -- butter is used in sacred ceremonies. I believe they call it ghee.

What ceremonies? I'm very tired and not thinking clearly. So I can't remember. I think part of it is to drizzle it down your throat. But what else, I'm drawing a blank.

There was a commercial a couple days ago for a TV show in which the people were wielding a sword. It put me in a mind for what I want.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sacred Sword Fascination

Why am I so fascinated with sacred swords? I don't know. I never was before. It just happened all of a sudden. It's an obsession. Gotta have a sacred sword, gotta have a sacred sword. It's crazy.

Except there's no place to get a sacred sword. No one sells sacred swords, except probably in some metro specialty shop, or online. And I just don't feel like I want a sacred sword coming to me without feeling it. It might be too unwieldy or not have the right vibe. I don't want a scimitar, or anything Turkish looking. I don't want one of those blades that flares out like a pirate's sword. Or any kind of hilt that's thicker than a loaf of bread. I'm feeling very particular, but not so specifically particular that I could fill out an order form and make it right.

What I need is a store with a vast array of swords, something I can eyeball and handle. Take it off the wall and maybe cut off a few heads. Or flip a few heads of lettuce up in the air and bring them down a salad. Stand back because I might do some damage.

Speaking of Turkish, I might be put off at the sacred sword store if the guy had a big bushy beard and those huge eyebrows and is fat. I was watching Yellow Submarine a couple weeks ago and that Turkish look isn't my favorite. I'm not prejudiced but I have my limits.

Now, in the absence of having a sacred sword to twirl and poke about in a ritualistic way, I wonder what to do. My solution so far is to get a steak knife and make thrusts in the air with it. I'm checking out the handle. It's a regular steak knife so it doesn't seem sacred, and, honestly, it isn't. But it does have a blade, a sharp blade, and it comes to a point. So it'll have to do until the real thing comes along.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Energy I Have

I'm on top of the world today. I could step out, put on a lightweight black silk outfit, then come back barefoot, kicking at the air, and I might win. That's how strong I feel. I don't know why that might be, unless it's the extra energy I've got after eating Valentine's candy bought today on sale.

How about sword fighting? I've been seriously thinking about getting a ceremonial sword. Or a sacred sword if I can find one I consider sacred enough. It's all on hold since there aren't any sacred sword stores near where I live. And to buy one online? I feel like I ought to try them on for size. But here I am, say, with my sacred sword. I'm whipping it through the air, lopping off the heads of imagined enemies, doing some forward thrusts (very relentlessly), a couple en passants, although I think I'd be better as a ninja avenja than a gentleman trying to tickle nipples by restrained swordplay.

I'd much rather pass like a shadow over the dunes, enter the tent, and take out the king's enemies one by one on the sly. Someone moves, turns over in their sleep, and I'm up against the side of the tent wall, blended in like a dark wall hanging. Then whack, whack, whack, my sacred sword finds its mark. Like Maxwell's silver hammer, except I'm a good guy. I don't like senseless violence. The ending of the book of Esther, it's not for me, unless you spell it out what all the killing those days was about. You kill 75,000 people who hate you in one day, I guarantee you're going to have three times that many who hate you the next day. Senseless killing isn't the answer. So I'm not actually bloodthirsty.

I just have the energy of a wild horse, that's all. And I think it's this candy. I got some Cella's cherry chocolates candy, which I've never had before. It says they've been making them since 1864, giving me that weird reaction I always have ... What? You've been making these since 1864 and I'm just now eating them? It makes me a child of destiny, that they had to wait that long to get one in my mouth. The company has to be going nuts now that they know I bought their product. Turn on the machines, we've got a new customer!

My review of Cella's product: Very good. The thing in my mouth feels a little weird. The top section caves in very fast. The candy muckus is very invigorating, the cherry nicely chewy. It's the floor that impresses me. The walls cave in, as I said, but the floor feels about three times as thick to the tongue. That's the piece of chocolate that lingers. And a couple of the cherries have had a bit of persistent skin, which is OK. It lets you know it's a real cherry.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Talk To Her, Cupie

Talk to her, Cupie, where'er she may be. Let your sweet voice of romance beckon, then secure my darling's love, that with me she will be, if not on this bright day of love, then at least on some other day, preferably ASAP.

Cupie, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, her absence heretofore; the courage to change the things I can, perhaps to be less of a hayseed and more of a stud; and the wisdom to know the difference, since hayseeds and studs aren't usually the same thing. Just get her here, posthaste!

What can I do on another lonely Valentine's Day but seek out the help of a higher power? She's out there ... maybe? Maybe she died by now. Since we never met maybe she did die. But putting her aside, surely there's someone else out there still alive and I wouldn't know the difference. Would this undying hope be pulsing in my breast were the matter hopeless? Never! That would be hopelessness, and life is more -- what's the word -- fecund? than that. Is that it? Fecund? Fecundity? I'm not sure what that means but my mind says it's the right word. And you're always supposed to go with your first impression ...

So, sweetie, out there somewhere, let's get together and ... fecundate. I hope I didn't just coin that, but it sounds classy anyway. A little dirty.

Cupie, I clasp your lithe little naked form to my beating heart. Hope I don't smush your wings or get your feathers out of joint. Please, please, please ... talk to her where'er she may be ... tell her to find me! I'm out there somewhere, my dear, lonely, waiting for you, if not today, then by Valentine's Day next!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Beware Valentine's Day Eve

We're almost up to one of the most dangerous days of the year for the lonely bachelor, Valentine's Day. And I swear, if I see any photos of nude women standing behind big red hearts I'm going to lose it.

There are certain things you simply don't want polluting your thoughts. But what can I do? Lovemaking and frolicking, posing for pictures, then heading back to the open arms of some local Fabio; no doubt it's going on all the time around me.

Grandma always told me the right girl would come along. And I think I've seen her pass by a few times, usually in a convertible with four other guys. So I trudge along, mowing the yard, wiping my brow, looking up at the shingles flapping in the wind, and think, the next one. That'll be her, in a pretty breezy, gingham dress; or perhaps in leather; and, you know, if she's the right girl, maybe she'll have a big red heart in her hope chest.

Isn't it something they say, that it's better not to have loved at all than to have loved and lost? So I'm on the right side of history, or whatever kind of philosophy that is. Is that Nietzsche? He was that crazy guy who said something like "Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger." I used to think that. But try loneliness on for size; you won't like it. That's when you find out that whatever doesn't kill you just weakens you up for something else to kill you next time. So it's a matter of prolonging the agony until you're on your death bed. Then the death angel -- a pretty thing, ethereal and perhaps nude, just to rub it in -- takes you to heaven. Where they neither marry nor are given in marriage. It's one big religious experience, no hanky panky.

This is the day before the big day. And I hate it, I'm not going to hide it. It's a great day to sleep in all day. But there's one bright side that can't be denied. I'm saving a ton of money not having to buy gifts for whoever she would have been.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Abraham Lincoln's Treatment of Dogs

I'm making a serious exception today. Despite Abraham Lincoln being a Republican (boooo), I'm honoring his 200th birthday. One, the statute of limitations rule. Two, everyone's entitled to one mistake. We've got Michael Phelps, A-Rod, Chris Brown, and now Abraham Lincoln. (And actually I'm not likely to forgive Chris Brown ... he can "Run It" right out of town and keep it going and not look back.)

But, hey, don't let me ruin a good Abraham Lincoln post with current events. It's almost 5 o'clock, time for me to walk my own dog, so let me be quick and to the point. This is a post about Abraham Lincoln's treatment of dogs.

I have been reading a biography of Lincoln -- and I'm really only about 50 pages into it, and I don't know if I'll finish it -- since tomorrow won't be his birthday anymore and I'm very fair weathered when it comes to this kind of stuff.

In this biography, written by Herndon (1800s), in the first 50 pages, there are two references to Lincoln with dogs. The first I'll mention is praiseworthy from my point of view and the second is more disgusting. (In fact, in chronological order, my second came first in actual time.)

The praiseworthy one: Lincoln and his family are moving to Illinois in 1830, traveling with oxen and a wagon. They have a little dog trailing behind somewhere, frolicking no doubt. There aren't bridges, so anytime they need to cross a stream, it's full bore, go for it, right across, oxen and all. On this occasion it was winter and there was ice. Oxen, being heavy in their adult form, crunch right through the ice, leaving behind a mess. The party has this little dog, and there he is still on the other side! He's whining and jumping "in great distress." I bet he was! "The poor animal was afraid to cross." The majority of the Lincoln party decided to go on without the dog! But Abraham Lincoln said, "I could not endure the idea of abandoning even a dog." (I don't like the word even there.) He relates, "Pulling off shoes and socks I waded across the stream and triumphantly returned with the shivering animal under my arm. His frantic leaps of joy and other evidences of a dog's gratitude amply repaid me for all the exposure I had undergone." (p. 94.)

Now the more disgusting one: Abraham and a cousin, when Abraham was nine or 10 years old, wanted to go coon hunting, but his father had a little housedog which always gave an alarm if they wanted to slip away unobserved. But one night they took the "insignificant little cur" (Herndon's words) with them. They located a coon, killed it, "and then in a sportive vein sewed the hide on the diminutive yellow dog." This is where it gets bad, although that was bad enough. "The latter struggled vigorously during the operation of sewing on, and being released from the hands of his captors made a bee-line for home. Other large and more important canines, on the way, scenting coon, tracked the little animal home, and possibly mistaking him for real coon, speedily demolished him." Lincoln's father was incensed to find a dead dog in the yard with a coon-skin overcoat. But Abraham Lincoln said, "We felt assured little yellow Joe would never be able again to sound the call for another coon hunt." (p. 63).

Wow, that's bad. My own dog is a "diminutive yellow dog," and to think of someone putting a coon-skin on her, then having other "more important" dogs "demolish" her, I can't stand the thought.

Clearly, Abraham Lincoln was no good. And whatever forgiveness I gave him for being a Republican, I'm rescinding.

(The book quoted is "Herndon's Life of Lincoln," 1965 Fawcett World Library edition, paperback.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No Milk Today

Drat, after expressing my undying love for milk yesterday, I get up today and there's no milk.

Of course I quickly remembered that I finished off the gallon yesterday, perhaps drinking too much because it was in my heart not just to love it in spirit but to love it in fact. I should be honest -- I didn't really overindulge yesterday; it was just getting down to foam anyway and I finished it off. That's good though.

It's something I think a guy needs a gold star for having done. To finish off an entire gallon of milk. I know there have been plenty of times in the past when we've opened a gallon, then drank a few glasses or used it on cereal, then it's gotten pushed toward the back of the fridge and forgotten. Next thing you know it's four or five days past the expiration date and not drinkable. At least by me.

But these days I'm living in what you might call a more systematic way. Get out the bacon, the bagel, the milk, the orange juice, the butter substitute, etc. The milk, which we're dealing with today, is poured in good form. I check the jug and see that it's ¾ full, then ½ full, then ¼ full, and think my gold star ought to be here any day. What I always hope for is that I will have a replacement jug before the old one is empty. But it just didn't happen this time. So, if there's any penalty for that, I'll clip a couple ends off the star. And I'll have an ugly star.

So what's so good about milk? I don't know. And I don't think I'll look it up. Because I might come across a site that is anti-milk or will have an array of facts against milk that I won't be able to refute. Then I'll be paranoid that I'm getting some kind of farm toxin in my system. See, the fact that I know this stuff is out there already tells me that I know something on the subject, only I'm not aware of it day to day. But it's common knowledge, probably, that there are anti-everything groups out there. Don't milk the poor cow, let it graze, let it wander off to the hills and spray its milk against a rock. That's crazy. You're not a baby cow, are you? That you would need its mother's milk? I don't want to hear that. And now I'm thinking it. It's driving me -- I was going to say insane -- but this is only my version of sanity.

Who knew that having a glass of milk could be so consternating?

So ... if all goes well, I'll have a few minutes to get a gallon of milk today. I don't even see a cow, to tell you the truth. By the time I get it, there's no cattle in sight. As far as I know it's all synthetic anyway and cows are off drinking the real thing themselves. So what do I know? Nothing about it.

UPDATE (5:31 p.m.) - I have no beef against cattle. If they want to drink their own milk, that's their business. I'll still buy whatever they have in the store, whether it's synthetic or not.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Addition To Water

In addition to water, which is very refreshing, especially when clear, cold, and clean, there are other beverages that quench my thirst to rather good effect. These include orange juice and milk.

As to orange juice, though, let me say right up front that I'm suspicious of it. I read somewhere that it has a bad effect on your teeth if you drink too much of it. And since I get this chilly kind of painful nerve sensation in my teeth, down in the root of them, I like to restrict myself on OJ intake. I let my natural discipline maintain the restriction as a true thing. And I am successful. A little OJ in the morning is good, I think. I know in the South Beach diet book it says not to drink it. The kind I've been buying is (uhh, I'm drawing a blank), but it's the Low Acid variety of whatever brand it is.

Then I mentioned milk as a beverage that is good in addition to water. For me milk is also more of a breakfast drink, but I like it. Cold and fresh -- not cow fresh, but before the expiration date -- is best. It goes down fine for me, tastes good, and seems good for you. I hope it is. But just like OJ, there's probably lots of qualifiers, such as not getting the overly fat kind. All that.

This is not to say that OJ and milk are the only beverages I like in addition to water. Just to mention some, of course there's coffee and tea. They're both good, but I probably don't have to tell you.

UPDATE 6:12 p.m. - I had a massive glass of pink lemonade at Taco Bell today. That is not a drink I like, except maybe in very small quantities, like six to eight ounces. This had to be 36 to 40 ounces, massive. I couldn't drink that if I wanted to! I wanted iced tea but all they had was raspberry iced tea, which I don't like. Sorry to be updating all the time, but I knew you'd want to know ... some of my preferences in beverages ... in addition to water, orange juice, milk, coffee, and tea ...

Monday, February 9, 2009


I saw the term "mouthbreathers" a little while ago. It was from a guy who wrote a nasty diary (Daily Kos) against Obama. I didn't read the entire thing, but it's got recipes and other responses that indicate it's not getting widespread approval among the community. It also has dirty language, cleverly disguised with asterisks and @ signs in the place of vowels.

(My blogging policy being a strictly "nothing blue" policy, I will not be quoting the guy, nor will I be linking to his potty fingers diatribe. My avoidance of prurience also extends to buying nothing but edited versions of CDs at Walmart. The more blips and gaps in my music the happier I am.)

But it was the guy himself (if he's not a guy it doesn't matter here) who used the word "mouthbreathers," in the sense of preempting any kind of, from his point of view, ignorant comeback to his objection. It would seem that his contention is that Obama ought to govern according to some "progressive cause" agenda. (Find one singular "progressive cause" where everyone agrees and maybe we'll have something.)

The word "mouthbreathers" is an interesting one. I breathe through my mouth sometimes, like if I'm stuffed up. And I think snoring is basically breathing through your mouth. You can't make that many noises from your nose, can you? Just a few snorts is what your nose is good for. When we see the term online, to me it usually means some kind of neanderthal, knuckledragging ignorant hothead. Like Freepers, only smarter.

Mouthbreathers. That's what your opponents always are. And knuckledraggers, like cavemen. Like those idiots on the commercials who are still so primitive they don't shave their foreheads. Just because they talk in a suave way (that's the humor) doesn't mean they're not still stupid.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Pet Food Aisle

I was at the pet food aisles at Walmart today, shopping for some dog food. And of course I'd have to have blinders not to notice the aquariums, including some new kind of Glo fish. My big thought, are they like that in nature, or is someone feeding them glow hormones to turn them colors?

Maybe I did have blinders because I didn't notice (or think about) the 10 gallon jobbie I had my eye on a couple weeks ago. Seeing the fish, I didn't feel drawn or overly tempted. Mostly I feel like this, that each one is a tender little life, the center of its own universe, and there they are for a few cents at Walmart.

Some I think are feeder fish, a nasty thing to be. But hey, you've got all that free time between now and the time you're eaten. And that's a lesson for all of us! I know I'm going to be eaten. If not by an actual animal, cast into its cage at feeding time, then by something else. Something more insidious, probably, but just as hungry. Cancer cells at dinner, heart coagulation, pancreas going wacky, something. Look at my face. My face is being consumed by face eating cells. I'm wasting away. Whether it's decay, rot, it's all hungry.

Back to the pet food. I wanted to get something for the dog. The last time I bought Kibbles n Bits and that gave my dog seriously the runs. Terrible stuff (I blame the dog food but this was not a scientific experiment. It might have been some other cause.) She's finishing off a bag of Senior 7, but only likes about 30% of it. She scatters the rest around and doesn't eat it till she's starving. This time I bought Pedigree dry, some kind of "meaty kibble" in there, it says, words to that effect. I'm hoping this isn't the runs-inducing kibble but a healthier kibble. I'm giving her less of it at first because she likes to hog down anything new.

I look at all the pet food and I don't know what to buy. It's all a guess. I actually might have bought Senior 7 again, because it seems to agree with her system, when she eats it. But they were out of it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Nothing Refreshing

There's nothing as refreshing as a cold glass of water. I've got one right now, about five inches from my left hand, close to the keyboard.

I've really rediscovered water. And not bottled water, which is foolish to waste your money on. But just plain water right from the faucet. Maybe it's because it's winter but the water's coming out cold.

I had a small cup of it last night when I took my pills. It was cold and delicious. And I savored each drop and didn't overdo it, because I don't want to be getting up through the night. Then just before bed I decided to have another small cup of water. Very good.

I used to hear that you're supposed to have four or five glasses of water a day. I don't know about that. Too much of a good thing? Because I've also heard that you can get waterlog, too much is bad for you. So I don't know what to think. I think you should have some when you're thirsty, basically, and let it go at that.

UPDATE (9:06 p.m.) - I still think water is very refreshing, and, in fact, delicious, especially when it's cold and without any taste. Somehow my city has just the right formula -- I call it Water Classic -- they've got it chilled just to the right temperature. And they provide it via my tap without any taste. I had a few glasses today, which I drank. I was completely happy with the experience. And if today is any guide, I might just do the same thing tomorrow; it's that good.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Braintrust

We have brains. Everyone, except possibly Republicans. Just kidding. Even they have brains. The size of a walnut, still bigger than a flea's. Gotta give 'em that. Our brains are bigger than a flea's.

Let me start over. This isn't an anti-Republican post. That just came out.

The Creator is -- what's the word? -- profligate. "Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain," said the very bad Wizard. There's no brainless spider. Even earthworms have a field of consciousness that they're busy digging around in. The Creator spares no expense. Whether it's eyes, noses, foreheads, two legs, two opposable thumbs, every creature has them, without exception. And you know what opinions are like ... everybody has one of those too.

I notice there have been lots of dogs who have those walking through my neighborhood. And we have some dog owners who aren't using their opposable thumbs to pick up their animals' offal. They must think because it lies on the snow it's OK. What kind of logic is that? Flawed. My own dog is on a kind of schedule but sometimes she misses it. I'm thinking I might need a spoon and some rubber gloves. But the creator gave them this doorway for disposal and most of them have chosen to use it.

Whatever the body part, they've got it. And that means brains too.

I consider myself -- let me just say it -- The Braintrust of Humanity for figuring this out. Isn't it really something that I'm able to not only know these things but to say them? You have to hand it to me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

American Idol

Regular readers of this blog know that I like to think that, given the right circumstances and breaks, I might have been the next American Idol. And that I would have wowed the stadiums full of people with my ability to sing, play the guitar, and sign autographs.

What the right circumstances would be ... they'd have to be drastic. Very earthshaking drastic. Like I would need to somehow shed about 30 years of age. I'd need to have a nice voice instead of this breaking, squeaking, off key one. I would probably do well also to have a more commercial appearance. Being dumpy in the face hasn't worked since Roy Orbison, and I don't like the feel of sunglasses; I like the actual colors of life, not to see everything through a 5 o'clock shadow. I'm a little overweight, my shoulders slump, I'm balding, I have stage fright, I basically blend in with lampshades and wallpaper.

One thing I do know how to do is tune a guitar. Just get me started with a piano and I can figure it out from there. But that's the extent of it, plus a few chords. I'm not as terrible as some, but not as good as most.

Watching American Idol, I love the disasters and wrecks. Of course we'd like to see actually good talent a little more than we do ... but we have weeks of that ahead. Now it's time to see those who think they have a chance but are actually as hopeless as I would ever be myself. The key thing always to remember is that when you're 25 you don't realize that you're hopeless. You are literally the last one to realize it. Just wait till you're 50. You will look back over the bleak expanse of your past life and just thank God you're able to get out of bed and look at the empty sky. Your past was a disaster and the future isn't much better.

But, hey, that's me ... just an old romantic, very sentimental. I've been there, done that. Well, I haven't done much, because nothing's really possible. Your parents were just being sentimental when they said you could do anything. You can't.

Anyway, read that two times and call me in the morning. The worse you feel the better things will go. Because you'll know beyond a shadow of a doubt ... dreams are meant to be shattered. Just look at the concept of the show. Only one person in millions is going to win. That makes the rest of you losers. Life is good!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

No More Coke Classic

I see that Google calls their original basically white page Google Classic now. And if you don't want any themes at I Google, what you're settling for is their Classic theme. White without a lot of fancy schmancy stuff.

I seem to remember writing about something like this one other time, but then my topic was the devaluing of the word classic. I haven't noticed it lately, but I know between about 1984 and 1989, about every other movie was regarded as a classic in video advertising.

I think it started when Coke, back in that period, stupidly started New Coke and they were actually -- at least we were given to believe -- going to get rid of the formula we all liked. That lasted about five seconds, then they renamed it Coke Classic. And so that's what we've known all these years, which I always thought was stupid, but hey...

Well, it looks like I'm getting my way after all, because they're finally dropping the stupid word "Classic" from the can. Now we can go back to just plain old Coca Cola. Which, unfortunately, I don't drink anymore. Nothing against it. I still would love it just as much. But my doctor doesn't think it's a good idea. So I don't drink soda pop at all now. (There is one exception to this rule, and that's at Christmas, but that's not cola.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ritchie Valens

I've got my Ritchie Valens CD spinning right now. This guy was still a teenager when he got famous and died. So who knows what he might have accomplished had he gone on? But maybe it would have turned out to be like George Costanza's Aunt Baby, he never would have made it.

The songs on the CD have a very innocent, slightly haphazard feel to them, like they're about a step above demos. And maybe they were. But they're still good, in a live, rock 'n' roll right-this-second kind of way. There doesn't seem to be a lot of post-production polish, which can also detract.

I like people's albums however they make them, for the most part. They're different from live albums, where you usually have a lot rougher presentation. I used to think I needed to have every bootleg and live album in order to have the whole collection. It can be a drag, though, to think you're trying to keep up with an artist, then there's all this other stuff out there, in print unofficially. But these days I don't care anything about that.

Elvis was one for recording his stuff live. I used to have some interesting mp3's of the rare stuff that is available, such at Follow That Dream. Which I'm not going to be buying much of.

Anyway, back to Ritchie Valens. I like this "Bluebirds Over The Mountain" song. It definitely has that live, innocent, first draft feeling. Written by Ersel Hickey, who had the opening picture in the old Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock 'n' Roll. Cool looking cat.

The best songs on the Valens CD, "Rockin' All Night," The Best of Ritchie Valens have to be: "Ooh! My Head," "Come On Let's Go," "Donna," and "La Bamba." If you had those four songs, you've got it. Probably the most dated sounding song is "Hi-Tone," but I still like it. No one ever says that anymore, "You're acting hi-tone." "Paddi-Wack Song" is a rocked up version of "This Old Man Came Rolling Home." Kind of weird. My brother and I used to laugh at that song, since we took everything literally, rolling home. The most atmospheric song is "In A Turkish Town." With the ringing sounding like something from "Harum Scarum." Elvis could have had this song among the songs on that soundtrack!

OK, I'm about done. I'm going to listen to "Donna," then put the CD away. This is a beautiful song.

One last bit. I've never seen the movie about Ritchie Valens. Maybe two minutes of it, or that might have been the one about Jerry Lee. I don't care for these types of movies. I'd rather have my imagination. I did see the Buddy Holly Story, and thought it more or less stunk, some good bits of course. And I saw the Johnny Cash movie, which I thought stunk too, much much worse.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A World Of Cameras

Watching the big game last night (Super Bowl, a football championship, currently well known), whenever I could, I had my eye on a camera that was in the middle of the field. I saw it bobbing around a few times, then noticed its angle. It must be robotic or controlled like a radio controlled car or controlled with a computer. I was wondering if it was on a bobbing line, because I thought I saw it going up one time. Kind of takes the place of the blimp they used to have, which no one mentioned.

We have cameras everywhere. I would be surprised if there's anywhere where there's valuable where there isn't a camera somewhere near by. Anytime there's a break in or a plane crash or an abduction, they have a bank camera, a security camera, or people on the scene with phone cameras or Flips. You can't get away with anything these days, unless you pay off the camera man first.

We need a world of cameras! Like in every garage, every walkway, dare I say, in every bedroom? And bathroom? Well, they don't have them in bathrooms. No one wants to see that, except, well, there are people who would. Not me. I go to the bathroom and I have my eyes averted strictly. I don't want to see anything. I don't even look down. Certainly not across.

What was that movie? Oh, it was TV. Seinfeld, where George is in the bathroom with his boss. At first he's in the hall, but then gets in there just in time to catch the last little bit of his boss's instructions. So he missed the whole first part. I would miss the entire thing. I'm not going into the bathroom with the boss!

But with a world of cameras, police could catch evildoers more easily. We could catch the police more easily, running stop signs, beating up people. Everyone would know they were on camera 24/7 and guide themselves accordingly. I might be on camera right this second. I don't really like the idea, now that I put it that way. My hair's messed up. I'm scratching in unusual places. I guess privacy has its virtues.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

3D Glasses

We gathered around the TV tonight -- Grandma and I -- to watch the big game. But our real interest in the whole thing (my whole interest, I should say) was the 3D stuff, having our 3D glasses and waiting for the 3D commercials.

I got mine out of the big free box at Walmart, and I was trying to be careful with them. I put them up on the dash, away from the other groceries and sacks so they wouldn't get scratched or bent. But then when I was carrying in our stuff, I sat them up on the window sashes, and wouldn't you know it, they slipped through the crack and fell to the floor and I stepped on them, right in some very very small gravel that needed to be swept up. As you know, gravel is very susceptible to gravity. There's no way to get it up off the floor on the first attempt. But any time you drop something in it, it adheres like it's magnetic. So the bottom two glasses (in sheets of four) were scratched badly.

That left us two good ones, and there's two of us, so that turned out well. Before the game, I carefully clipped them out and got all the pieces removed, then folded them to fit our heads the best they could. I was a lot more gung ho than Grandma, who doesn't seem to enjoy football. Anyway, we whiled away the game, and finally the big moment came.

Grandma dozed off and didn't really see them. But I didn't let that worry me. She's not heavy into anything cultural, really, and I guess it'd be true to say that 3D doesn't interest her.

But I enjoyed the commercials quite a bit. They didn't last long, you know, like commercials. One was for a movie, Monsters vs. Aliens, another for a Sobe drink, and one advertising a show on NBC tomorrow night, Chuck. Pretty good effect. The glasses had different color from the usual 3D glasses, and they didn't do much for the color on TV, but the effect was pretty good.