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.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Timmy's Doing Well

The other day someone reminded me of one of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid. Which was very long ago, making the show an oldie but a goodie. About a boy named Timmy and his dog, whose name isn't coming to me, wait, it's Dane! Thought I had it on the tip of my tongue, but I had to think about it for a minute and there it was.

I was thinking, Was it Digby? Delbert? Great Delbert? I thought it started with a D. The picture I found online said Dignified, but that couldn't be right. I knew right away it couldn't be Dignified. Then Dane came to me. One thing I know for sure, Dane wasn't a collie; my first dog was a collie and they're a lot bushier.

Timmy, though, that's the kid's name for sure. Because I've often heard Timmy mentioned over the years. Let's say he came close to falling in a well. Or came close to being lost in the haymow. I had that happen a few times. One of my favorite activities as a kid, actually, was playing in barns. Haymows feel dangerous. I was genuinely afraid and excited. You're stepping around the cracks of the bales, the hay, and it feels like you could be swallowed up. But no kid was ever swallowed up, not while the dog was around.

Dane could be counted on -- and I'm talking about the show now -- to rescue Timmy before anything bad happened. You might think, That's not much of a show, since you need a plot, you need conflict to have a show. True, there's lots of shows like that. Those are the ones I hated. I never wanted conflict, and yet I didn't want shows to be documentaries where nothing happened. The only conflict I wanted, just for the sake of argument, was this: The fear that something might happen. That was my true life story: Something might happen at any minute, but if I'm smart -- smart and careful -- it won't.

OK, the plot of the Dane show is coming back to me. Timmy's parents would be playing cards with a neighbor couple. The kids would be running wild, although they were good kids. They made up adventures that took place in the haymow, for instance. There was always some danger, but Dane would growl, and everyone would know they were doing something wrong. Once they had Dane's warning -- Knock it off -- they changed their behavior and were good.

Toward the end, everyone would go back to the house, the kids and Dane. The family up the road would throw in the towel on the card game and head home too. Mom and Dad would be wondering how thing were going with Timmy and Dane, and how it went with the other people's kids, and it was always the same: Thanks to Dane, nothing bad every happened. The perfect show.

Dane would bark, a couple of quick barks, his nose in the air, seeking Timmy's Dad and Mom's praise. "You did good!" Mr. Douglas would say, lightly scratching Dane's nose and offering praise, "Timmy's doing well! Good boy! You, too, Dane!" And mother, Jacqueline Douglas, would offer the same sort of praise, said in that soft, sensual purring style that she was known for, "Such a good boy, yes you are, good Dane... Keeping Timmy well!"

Everyone would enjoy an evening biscuit, brush their teeth, and hit the hay, so to speak.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Summit of Old Age -- Angel Wings

If I hadn't lived so long and become so old, I never would've believed it. I never knew there was a great shift in consciousness when you reach a certain age. I probably should've known. When you turn 13, you're immediately horny; that you can't deny. When you're 30, your boyish good looks are gone. When you're 40, you yearn for one last go-round, just don't name it after me. When you're 55, you pray you'll see another 30 years. But when you're 65, any minute now would be just as good. Suddenly longevity is nothing but more of the same. Even if you're cheerful like me.

Now, alas, when I see on Facebook that someone's father or grandpa "received his angel wings," I run to the mirror and check my back. Are there at least nubbies? It could be that angel wings are like pubic hair, one day they just puff into place. The thought that I'll soon get my angel wings has become an emotional thing for me, like when I got my first car. It was a beautiful, emotional thing; I even named it; I couldn't wait to show it to everyone. But getting your angel wings, that's nothing your friends and family celebrate. "Get your damned angel wings outta here and don't come back!"

Friends, I'm pleading with those of you smart enough to listen, Don't grow old. Antiques are fun, being an antique isn’t. The young try to force you to get a facelift, have your chin tucked, anything to perpetuate their persistent denial of life's course, taking away your joy and destiny. Which, if it involves visions of loving arms reaching out to me and celestial choirs and lucid dreams of the Great Beyond, the Rainbow Bridge, the Endless Horizon, and Angel Food Cake, has to be good.

You might remember that I got a message from My Friend Death himself, that I will live till 85. That happened a few years ago and I was very relieved. But now I'm thinking that might just be a thing Death says to placate you when you're between 55 and 60. You have an optimistic outlook while the Guardians of Time cycle around till you're around 65, then drop it on you that 85 might be a curse. And I'm not even in that bad of shape. I don't usually think it'd be a curse, but who knows... There are definitely shifts in consciousness over time.

OK, the Summit of Old Age. Looked at from a strictly evolutionary point of view, we old people become more and more superfluous the longer we live. Yes, I can see the point in keeping us around. If for no other reason than to keep younger people more content. Because they could experience terrible societal anxiety with all the attendant downsides, if they knew old people were hogtied and frogmarched to their death at a particular age. They’d quickly imagine their own fate, always sooner than you think, and pretty soon they’d revolt.*

Look at it like this: If older people were marched to their death, that still leaves survivors who are older than other survivors. But soon and very soon the oldest people left would be eight or nine years old, with five-year-olds gunning for them. Shortsighted, yes, because who’ll look out for the five-year-olds when the three-year-olds come for them? Along with this killer truth, you have to be a certain age before you can even sire or bear children, around 12; soon there’d be no one to kill the three-year-olds, with birth levels at zero or below zero. The last generation of three-year-olds would suddenly drop dead, miserable. Suffering a shortage of diapers and rattles.

As for me today, I somehow escaped every threat of generational slaughter, and here I am, a very old man, devastated in other ways. I outlived my house, for one thing. It became so full of fungus, dry rot, wet rot, walls alive with shortsighted bacteria, water feeding the mold, which then foolishly ate its way to its own oblivion. Plus, I needed new shingles, but was shortsighted, preferring to spend my money on online TV services. The beauty of my folly is this, the movies I purchased are still mine, but they’re online at various sites and will be mine forever, although I don’t know about survivor rights. Least of my worries perhaps. Should've bought shingles and had the place fumigated.

Angel wings, get me outta here!

*Which wouldn't do any good.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Gorilla Testes May Cause Impaired Judgment

I had something wrong with me -- a dreadful disease or condition -- so Doctor S recommended a few boxes of his own Gorilla Testes Vitality pills. He said it'd restore what I was lacking and help get my normal symptoms back in whack. The pills aren't bad. You merely swallow them, but since you need a half box every day there is some lingering gorilla testicular aftertaste. Doc says that's how you know they're working. But still, it'd be bad to go the zoo and have a lady gorilla catch a whiff of my breath...

Oh, it's terrible getting old and needing outside stimulants! But that's the ingenuity of man, able to diligently study every issue, then extract a cure from the things of nature, in this case the delicate privates of our first cousin in his non-evolved state. Which is better than having to call our actual first cousins and ask for help.

I was reading over the possible side effects, and it was all pretty straightforward. "May cause impaired judgment," which I was prepared to risk. Because when your vitality's zapped, you want help. And you think you'll stay home and get your rest. Take the pills and sleep. But it must have given me new vitality right away, because they're all saying I made a pretty big night of it.

All I know is, I went out for dinner and had a very nice time. I made a lot of new friends when I stood up and announced I was covering the tab for everyone. Then I was also very popular with the waitresses when I tipped each one 50 bucks. I think I can handle the extra charges but it'll be tight. If I make the minimum payment on the credit card every month for the next three years, I'll easily have dinner covered...

On the way home, they're also saying my foot was heavy on the gas. It seems that every cop in town was personally chasing me. What an adventure! I've always been proud of my ability to elude capture, enemies, anyone on my trail. Here in the Big City, though, it's extra easy, with a lot more roads as well as the interstate to dodge capture. But eventually they had me cornered. So I abandoned the car and made my way into a thicket of trees. Anytime I'm in any sort of altered state of consciousness, it feels like I make very fast progress when I run. So I easily stayed ahead of the fuzz till they finally caught me.

Which wasn't till I got all the way back to my place, in my yard. There a cop was waiting and jumped me. I tried to elude him in the backyard and climb a tree, but it was soon over. There was just a tiny bit of excitement left when I managed to yank the gun out of his holster and shoot the brick wall in back. So many chunks of cement were flying, I probably should've had goggles on. It wasn't long till he had me in irons.

There's a guy in my cell called Shivs. And he let me borrow his phone to write this blog. Witnesses said I dropped my own phone in the aquarium at the bar. I don't remember any of that.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Dog Bill of Rights

Superior Man and Dumb Dog

Who among us isn't completely cheesed off at dogs, the way they act, their behavior? It's my constant complaint, that's for sure. Obviously, I'm not ready for the new way of doing things, mollycoddling animals to excess. This bending over backwards to cater to their every wish and desire, it's all too much. They used to put a plate of food on the table for us kids -- we loved food -- and we about killed each other, fighting for every morsel we could grab. If it was good enough for me, it's good enough for the dog; they don't need babied.

Back then and ever since, I've had dogs. I miss the dogs of those days. Grateful for every little scrap, always doing their bathroom duties where they stood. You didn't have to make a plea or say a prayer. Just bang, they went, a grunt or a whiz. Drop and give us a gallon. No questions asked, no prancing, no mincing, no searching for a better spot, no putting it off for later.

Of course I've tried to keep up with the times, and I'm sorry to say, it's not pretty. Every guy I run into, they're also spoiled, because, "I know my rights...," always said in that wheedling, weak, ineffectual tone of voice, how everything's said these days. You see someone like that, if you have any strength at all, you're tempted to put their arm behind their back and hoist it, till they cry bloody murder, or at least come to their senses. I'd be great to get back to that dog-eat-dog world. It'd certainly save time. I grunt, you move! You don't ask why. Here! Now! 50 pushups, mister! Faster, buddy!

But who am I kidding? We know the way it is today. Men, you can push 'em over with a feather. Women, the same old story. Dogs, they're entitled and they know it. The only thing that isn't fully domesticated in modern times is the cat. But they're well on the way, on the couch, getting fat, looking like a pillow gone bad. But there's a cat here in the Big City I know. It's holed up in a basement window with bars on it, taking care of a little cat. Getting snowed on, blown on, rained on. No one helps that cat; it helps itself. I saw it yesterday heading back there and I didn't give it any encouragement. Just turned my head and forgot about it. I got troubles of my own.

That cat's a lot different than my dog. Yes, I spoiled my dog, back home. And now we're in a rougher world, the Big City. So what's the trouble? This business of doing her business! We go out so many times in a day, then she gives me the runaround on finding a suitable place! I think what any disgruntled tough guy'd think: Squat, dammit! We need more panthers, less pussycats. If a panther jumped out and took a piece out of my dog's hindquarters, she'd think twice next time about not pooping pronto! Believe it, that's on my bond.

But she obviously thinks we are going by the Animal Bill of Rights here, even when my brain is crawling like a pie of worms or snakes, and my thoughts are so tortured that I'm about to bust: I got problems of my own, dog! You think I'm personally taking stool softener 'cause I want to? No, I don't dare delay either. When it's time to drop and do it, it's time! Instead, what do I get from her? Another hour in the frigid winter's night... Creepy crawling around town, passing many a good snow drift, looking instead for those rare places where the snow has melted, like manhole covers on the streets, just so she can tinkle or poo poo. Give me a break!

It really gets me. I'm shaking my head even now, hours later! These domesticated animals, so soft, and so thankless, unfeeling, uncaring. They get that bold attitude of "You adopted me, stupid, you're stuck with me!" O, I hate to lower the boom on you, sister, but maybe you've noticed, We're in the Big City now! They do things different here. Part of it's my own survival. I haven't got hours to give you. Guys are coming up the street and going down the street. They'd knife me for a dime. But does the dog care?

Finally, then, she does something. On the fifth time we've been out in the last two hours! Then she looks at me like it's accomplished, time for a treat! The attitude really sucks, my dear! How about this, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Do the task with the urgency it demands -- Drop! Go now! And back in! -- and maybe I can see my way clear to lay a little treat morsel on you. Yeah, that's how it works. Makes more sense than, "I wasted two or three hours of your time, risked your life for the effort, and finally passed a small one. Give me a big treat..." It's sickening, I'm waving it off...

The only thing she's fast with is the false claim that she's ready to go out. I know how it is, the psychology. The more she demands, the more I give in. But this is the Big City! We used to live in a little burg that lulled us into a slumber, with no fear of security. And she hasn't made the shift, out of ignorance. If only I could be that blind to the environment! To the times.

Well, one of these days, my dear, you'll get yours... So sleep on, little one, take your rest. May as well not wake you. Too late to change your attitude from uncaring to hair-on-fire. Too late to go from soft as Grandma's underarm to tough-as-nails, nail tough... Just know this, when the wolf comes knocking at the door, it's you he'll be looking for.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Save Your Money, I Beg You


I try not to get myself mixed up in other people's affairs. I do everything I can -- diligently -- not to insinuate myself where it's none of my business, and where, frankly, I'm not wanted. This goes equally for family members as well as total strangers. Leave them to their own abilities, and if I see something askance, look away, don't get involved. That's family members. As for total strangers, just walk away, let 'em crash and burn if that's their will.

I'm setting aside this ironclad policy today, momentarily, to beg, plead, beseech, and implore you, to SAVE YOUR MONEY! If I can convey this one wish in a convincing way, and have even a shred of assurance that you're following my advice, I can walk away, content that you'll be OK. But not everyone is so responsive, and I fear that without due diligence that could be your path. You might casually note what I said, then be curious about my insistence and my sudden involvement, and choose to be cautious with your funds for a moment. Then after a time, you'll think, What's that guy know? What's it to him if I save my money or not?

True, it's really none of my business, I'll give you that. But there are times when you hear something, some piece of advice, and take it to heart. It doesn't matter if a stranger said it or it was something you read in the newspaper while sitting in a bus station on the can. Sometimes that's exactly how people decide their path, change their ways, and reset their course, their trajectory. It's exactly those moments when you hear something -- perhaps said in jest, or perhaps sincere, like I am today -- that is the pivotal moment, with your whole future depending on what you decide. Today is one of those days, my friend ... this is your moment!

Let me restate the proposition: SAVE YOUR MONEY!

You have a job. You bring in an income. But perhaps you're not careful with your earnings. I know how it goes. I've been there. The little desires of life are always with us. I want this, I need this, I deserve this, the boss has been riding my ass, and in my frustration, I'm gonna splurge this week! Then it's every week. I've done the same thing, to my regret. You want to raise your self-image, so you splurge on something that, if your mind were clear, you'd know was a waste. And then the money's gone, down the drain. And your frustrations rear their head over and over, and your head's in your rear over and over, and after many years of heads and rears, your entire financial outlook is in arrears. Penniless, broke, with the hole in your pocket having nothing to keep itself busy with.

So that's my plea: SAVE YOUR MONEY! Yes, use what you need to have basic shelter, food, an entertainment center, insurance, and the other necessities. But for the rest, deny yourself and save your money. Because you don't know what life will bring you. If you're like me, eventually you'll be presented with old age and new challenges; the full story is, I'm not doing too badly. But I carefully consider what I'm going to need for the rest of the month and what I can save. It's not the most exciting existence, but I'm not in a gutter on Skid Row rolling in my own filth. Or anyone else's, thank you very much.

To save your money, you set aside what is extra beyond your actual needs, and put it in a savings account. Easy. Then you resist every temptation along the way. Always aware of spending traps, like candy and treats and other impulse items at the checkout counter. Lottery tickets, cigarettes, pickles, and chips. And don’t get me started on coffee! You'll have trouble with discipline and denying yourself, but the more you resist, and the more you save your money, the more you'll have someday when you need something important. Like a house, a car, or an unexpected bill. (I might post someday on why there should never be an unexpected bill.)

Wow! when I think of all the spending traps, it just makes me sick. And I'm sure there's lots of other spending traps I'm not thinking of today. I've avoided them so many times, they're more or less out of mind. But this past summer I had a friend here in the Big City, and I went with him many times to the convenience store. Mistake One! The guy had zero discipline, always buying smokes and pickles and whatnot. I really had my doubts that he'd make it in life -- he was in poverty anyway, picking up aluminum cans with me to get cigarette money. One day he disappeared, and I haven't heard a thing about him since. But I'm fairly sure he hasn't attained financial discipline; his trajectory was completely askew.

Help me out here, though, friend. Let me have some assurance that you're different, that you'll heed this heads-up. And save your money. You don't have to tell me directly, OK? If you just consider it strongly, fervently, and make your decision, and relay your thoughts mentally through the blog, I'm very tuned in to its frequency. The slightest thing anyone thinks about it, I instantly know. It's what the psychics call the sixth sense. And my sixth sense definitely touches on saving money! When people are saving money, it glows a radiant blue. But when they're not, it emits a sickening yellow, with traces of orange and chunks.

Be wise, my friend, someone I can count on to be saving your money. It'll do you good in the long run! A lot of good! And it'll make me happy to know that you are saving your money, and that you'll be OK as time goes by. Because as time goes by you'll be able to afford what you need.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Abraham Lincoln Vouches For Me

I finally figured out what’s missing at this blog, the one thing that shall transform it from mere decency to stellar excellence. And that's a seal of excellence, quality, virtue, and trust, with my exemplar or spokesperson being Abraham Lincoln.

I always liked Honest Abe, the 16th president (should’ve been first), not only for what he stood for in history but what they taught me in school. In short, when it came to men, he was basically the best they could find. We definitely know, when they found Lincoln, they quit looking. He was the gold standard, the cream of the crop, the exemplar of excellence that could never be topped. The weirdest part being, he never let it go to his head.

Unfortunately, we also know Lincoln was killed by an assassin’s bullet. A few years ago, I listened to an audiobook on Lincoln history, sketching out for me precisely what happened. Some sorry son of a bitch, holding an idiotic grudge essentially over the Civil War, but also harboring vainglory in his twisted mind, did it. With the only redeeming thing being, it wasn’t long till he got his. Burnt to death in a barn like the true rat he was. His accomplices, mostly men but one woman(!), were hung by the neck till they were dead, and good riddance to them.

By the way, the parallels with Lincoln and Kennedy are outstanding, although I can’t remember what they are. It seems Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln, or something like that. Both men liked easy chairs or rocking chairs. Both lived and worked at the White House, located in the same city. The biggest variance is Kennedy was much younger, having been born over a century later.

But enough education for today. Except a personal note: If it weren’t for these guys, mostly Lincoln, but also some our other presidents, I would’ve been absolutely bored in school. But that’s not my sole interest, the educational value of historical figures, although if it weren’t for history we’d be horribly lost. I’d wake up thinking yesterday didn’t happen. But of course it did, and we need to learn the lessons of yesterday. I was at Walmart yesterday and was impressed at their great stock of merchandise and what seemed to me very reasonable prices.

Perhaps the biggest value of Lincoln history — they say it and I concur — is the trust factor. We trusted everything about Lincoln when he was president, and in subsequent years as well. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say Lincoln has even increased in terms of trust since he lived and died. It’s definitely a fact that anyone who trots out Lincoln, whether part of their logo or not, shares in his glory, with trust and credibility theirs, and in good measure.

Today, then, my friends, I’m picking up the dropped mantle of Abraham Lincoln, and will be boldly featuring his picture on my blog. I hope to feature it everyday — if I can afford the extra browser ink. With God being my strength, I will. With the only other possible exception being, say, it’s a big news day and I need the space for field reports. But it’ll have to be something big, like an obscene spike in bacon prices or, more hopefully, a reduction.

No matter how that plays out, when you see the picture of President Lincoln on my blog, you can be sure you’re at the one blog you can trust. Because everything I say is true — to the level of my knowledge and whether or not I'm being blackmailed — and everything about me is trustworthy. So this is my seal, this is my bond, the man of the hour, nay, the man of the centuries, Abraham Lincoln.

Wonder if Lincoln had a middle name. Thomas Edison had one, Alva.

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Big City 5000 Years From Now

I'm well into my second calendar year as a citizen of The Big City. Impressive! The last half of last year, the first few days of this one, I'm a homeboy. So I know very well how things go here. The average guy uses most of his effort watching out for what's his. Fences, padlocks, chastity belts, and all at a premium. But you have to pay it, if you want to see tomorrow, and a good belt's always worth the extra bucks for everyone’s piece of mind.

I'm personally not cooped up at home all the time. Especially when it’s warm, I’m out everyday, scrounging for cans and hitting the salvage metal yard about once a week. That takes me some interesting places. Parks, alleys, dead-end roads, behind old buildings, around thick trees, foliage and weeds where some homeless guys hide, etc. I see rundown conditions all the time, boarded storefronts, graffiti, and illegal dumping. I can get you a decent mattress, but they've all been repeatedly rained on. And couches. Leading me to ask, Why do they always mangle a couch just before dumping it? I forgot to mention tires. Tires everywhere!

Today I was buzzing around under an interstate bridge and it made me wonder: These great highways, how long will they stand? The beams on the bridges are thick, like they've got eternity in their sights. But it’d only take about 40 years neglect in certain places and the whole thing would tumble down. Stopping traffic, leading to congestion, and honking drivers, angry as crap. What’ll the interstate be like in 2-3,000 years?! Depends. Whether we're taken over by terrorists who have one redeeming quality, they like good roads. Or terrorists who are such sadists they don't care what the roads look like. Maybe they're from India. Or just split the difference, a few who like roads, a few who don't.

What about 5,000 years? Who knows? I heard that time I’ll die when I’m 85, and that’s now only about 20 years. I'll barely live to see anything. And I'd love to see bacon under a dollar a pound. It used to be! Oh, yes, we assume the price was always stuck at 4 dollars. But back when minimum wage was $1.60, bacon was cheap cheap cheap compared to today. For that to happen now, though, it'd take another Great Depression, a depressing thought.

If we could skip ahead 5,000 years -- I wake up like Rip Van Winkle -- I'd be sure to check out the progress. What would I see? I see about a 80/20 chance of a dystopian future. With an ice age. And most people living underground for the insulation. And so much ice, it's Ice Road Truckers conditions everywhere. Interstates were buried long ago, trucking costs are cheap because they're driving over frozen lakes so thick they never thaw. Pigs are raised underground, there's no pollution from slaughtering them since everything instantly freezes. People need bacon for warmth; it builds muscle mass; so it's not cheap, about $15 a pound. The national headquarters of the Pork Producers is also in the White House, for national security, and Pennsylvania Ave. has been renamed Hog Pavilion Pathway.

As for illegal dumping, nearly everything is now kept, for warmth. Those old mattresses you always see, big stained wet messy ugly things, are prized possessions in 5,000 years, because you can lean them up against doors and easily keep the temperature just below freezing. Wood barely exists; the tree line and temperate zone is about 20 miles on either side of the equator. People steal, kill, and sleep around, of course. But they usually freeze to death, so justice still prevails.

The other scenario is that global warming turns out to be true. After the Ice Age, instead of freezing, everything's thawed out all the time. And bacon can't be adequately shipped or stored, so it's very cheap. The bad news is you literally have to live within a couple miles of Hog Pavilion Pathway, still the national headquarters, now at the equator, to get it and enjoy the bargains.

The Big City in the above graphic is a time during the warmer era, a time of peace and security at the equator. But it lasts only briefly, until the rest of the non-bacon eating world gets wind of it, floods the zone, and tears it all down. "Throw that in our faces, will you? Your cheap bacon and flying store to store in airplanes to get it, you bastards!" is a common complaint. Their hero, an conscientious agitator writing a righteous blog very much like this one, stirs up passions and they tear the whole thing down. The whole idea of chastity and belts is forbidden. It becomes a very nasty world, making me happy to have died before I ever lived to see it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy Feather of Maat New Year

See the scales?
On the left is your heart and the feather of Maat on the right.

Let me start by wishing everyone the Happiest and Healthiest Feather of Maat New Years Day! It's my sincere hope that everything about you, from the least little indiscretion to the very worst sins of your life, are steadily balanced out with the feather of Maat. Because that's the thing; you don't want any of your nastiness to be heavier, because ... [throat-cutting gesture].

Isn’t that the greatest wish, for your life to be balanced? Because right off, we’re dealing with judgment, getting it out of the way, trusting that Maat and her feather will save the day, then the week, and finally the whole year. Then at the end of the year, when someone wishes you a regular Happy New Year you can say, “What? Nothing’s been the slightest bit bad for me till now, and I imagine next year will be great, too, thanks to the feather of Maat!”

Oh yes, this is a life giving wish. A friend turned me on to the whole feather of Maat philosophy, and you might say I didn't take it seriously at first. But I've found that paying attention to things is key to transforming your life. Even if your goal is to be the world’s worst ogre, you have to pay attention to it; it doesn't just happen. And it goes for good things too.

So this friend — we'd been discussing the nature of applying world teachings in a practical way, then he applied it to himself so diligently he went crazy and died. Because when you step into the craziness, you’re caught in it, and that's a heavy bag. But you're not him, so please don't despair quite yet. Because when you’re in the worst thicket of craziness, close to tearing your hair out, a clearing also appears, and, if you see it, sunbeams stream down, the sky takes on a hazy shade of heavenly, and your life is new! This is true and good. I’ve been through it a few times, and though I'm falling apart bit by bit, I'm generally OK.

Back to this Maat thing, I heard of it, immediately saw its value, applied it to myself, and by the usual weird quirks of grace, the job was done, the mission complete. And it helped that I had already heard enough in passing about Maat’s feather that I was able quickly to extrapolate from the beginning to the end. And now I’m telling you, just me and the feather, and you...

So what's it all about? To get the whole story, contact an ancient Egyptian priest or priestess. Because what do I know? I immediately staked out my own little place and gave it my personal spin. As far as I'm concerned, the feather of Maat is license to live your life as graciously and coolly as you choose. I think that if you're convinced about the feather, that it's the same weight or only slightly heavier than your karma, it's so.

Does that mean you will never get a different verdict? Well, never say never. I only like to look on the bright side of things, but naturally it's something to consider. There's some disconcerting things about it. Which is, if you screw up too much, a dog called Anubis eats your heart. But I don't know how literally things like that should be taken. Taken in its more literal sense, you'll have a vicious mythological dog eating your heart, and when it's gone, it's gone. But it could also be, 1) An idle threat to make you more careful; or, 2) An occasional headache or pimple. But remember, my friend went crazy and died.

In my opinion, though, sincerity counts for a lot, and attention. So you basically need to be sure yourself how good you are. Maat probably takes your word for it, and that's true or false depending... Is my outlook convincing to me? If yes, then I guess it is! So I'd just go whole hog, or something just less than that. And stay home if I got a zit or went crazy.

Now, just to get you started: Keep your own behavior as far below the weight of the feather as you can and you’ll likely be fine. But how do you determine the weight differential? There's some guesswork to it. But who else could know? It has to be you alone, and Maat. And Maat is sort of like your mom, or another force of good, saying, “Yeah, yeah, you’re OK, keep up the good work!” Or, "No, no, stop it now. Danger, danger, you're zapped!" Don't blame me, get a time machine, go back to ancient Egypt.

Happy Feather of Maat New Year!