Monday, December 31, 2007

AULD LANG SYNE

Back in 1998 I was lucky enough to live in a very bad part of town where Crack and Crack Whores ran rampant.
I never partook of either, but at some point we all became "neighbors"
As I would pull down the gravel alley at 5:30 in the morning on my way to work, there were two girls on the corner that always asked me if I wanted a "date"....cracked me up....and being a bit of a rube, it took me a while to figure out what was going on there.
But before long, as I would pull in at the end of the day, they would all wave at me and I would holler out the window
"Yabba-Dabba-Doo" or
"Honey, I'm home"
or somesuch.
Some times I would go to the corner and talk with them late at night, staying out of sight so as to not drive off any prospects. There were probably 4-6 girls that worked that area at any given time.
One night a guy I knew from High School pulled up.
But thats not what this story is about.

This story is about the very pretty little girl that would work the streets on occasion. She had beautiful soft looking well groomed hair that she would toss about in a very sexy way. She seemed different from the other girls…

One morning in my driveway I was checking my oil. This pretty little girl was passing by and so I said “good morning”.
She stopped and tossed her hair back and shielded her eyes from the sun and says
‘Whatcha’ doin”?
I looked at her as I slid the rag down my dipstick.
“Jus’ checkin’ my oil “I says, and added with a grin “Would you like me to check yours?”
She did’nt miss a beat and fired right back
“Would you like to check my oil?” Smiling, as she tossed that hair around again.

Well, I must have turned about 5 shades of red, because , yes I would have liked to check her oil, but really did not have the guts to go about it. Of course, she already knew all this, but decided to let me off the hook by saying
“You don’t “date” do you?”
“No ma’am I don’t…I’m probably better off all by myself”
“OK” she says, flips her hair back and starts away.

She got a few steps away and I wanted to make sure I had not hurt her feelins’ so I say
‘You are awful pretty though.”

She stopped and turned around and just laughed and said
"And you are awful sweet, and are probably better off all by yourself” as she waved bye.

A few nights later on New Years Eve, my friends Mr. and Mrs. X saw her and they pulled over to the right in their Convertible Ragtopped Corvette. They wanted to know how much she would charge to take on both of them. Just a little curious...
Before you could say “Tit-Bit and Gimme a Dollar” they were surrounded by the Vice squad.
That pretty young whore was a Cop.



HAPPY NEW YEAR!
YA'LL BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

STATIC

Yes, another great Christmas is complete.The next one will be here soon.
I've never really quite understood how to act at Christmas.
There is a lot of pressure during the most wonderful time of the year.

This was one of those years where I didn’t even do any shopping till the 23rd.
I got some really good deals, but overall the Season was very bland.
The kids are not kids any more.
The Salvation Army Bellringers don’t dress up, and I think the bells are getting smaller.
They don't even ring 'em.

I’d have to say that there has been a decrease of 50% in Suburban Christmas lights, especially evident in the more affluent neighborhoods.
Kilowats are statistical, I suppose.
The Weathermen and their “Santa updates” seemed really contrived, almost as contrived as the actual weather reports.

I kept thinking maybe I should call a far away relative or two, but nah, what the hell.
The Eggnog was bogus. I wonder how much Cholesterol is in a cup of that stuff.
I forgot to get fake snow, but no one seemed to miss it.
Sunday did not feel like a Sunday, and I seem to have lost a few days somewhere, but its better than feelinglike its aTuesday.
I saw no unseemly stars, heard of no miracle births, and there is not a Wise Man left in the world.
There is a parking lot where the Manger was last year.
Last year was ….better.
This year was….
...Way too compressed.
By the time I remembered how to act, it was over.
Maybe I’ll…

Friday, December 21, 2007

WISH LIST

When I was 7 years old I asked Santa for a Bowling Alley.
Not bloody likely.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

JAWBONE OF AN ASS

Senior Year of High School, its like a dream come true...
Im sitting right in between Velvet and Lacy in Velvet's Funky Ford Gran Turino...we've been hangin' together for a coupla days and like any idiot horndog adolescent, I'm wonderin' which one of these babes to try to bust a move on.
Since Velvet is drivin' I figure it must be Lacy's lucky day.
I lean to the right a little, but my arm over her shoulder, flash her my best smile and say '"what about you and me?'"

She doesn't have to say a word...I can see that she is horrified....
Now these two girls have the sweetest voices;
Velvet is from Georgia and Lacy...
...well her voice is just as Dixie as can be....
...either of them could turn Lemonade into Pure Ribbon Cane Syrup and what Lacy tells me soooo sweetly is this...

"Oh Steve I just couldn't. I'm in love with Bluesman"
"Bluesman? The dude with the army jacket that plays guitar in his driveway and drives that Falcon?"
"Yay-yess!" she drawls "And I'll love him forever!"
'Thats Cool" I say.

After a long silent moment, I turn to inflict myself on Velvet.
"So....whats up with you??" I whisper

They let me out at the next corner.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

ON A ROLL

Our Christmas Spirit is definitly on the rise, the RIP and I.
The apartment is clean, mostly.
The Pantry is full.
We have been shopping.
We even have Hot Chocolate and miniature Marshmallows.
We think it was the Mini Marshmallows that put us into sensory overload.
We were so full of sugar that we bought a tree and some twinkle lights.
Lacking any traditional Decorations, Balls or other Ornaments we were forced to adapt and improvise.
We have TP'd our tree and it is crowned by a full roll where the Angel goes.
We think Santa may leave us something special this year.

Ho-Ho-Ho.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

FALALALALAHUMBUG!

I'm trying to get into the Christmas Spirit at least enough to where I will find participating in the insanity bearable.
It frightens me to know that with a little effort, I could find myself all aglow with a fever of Christmas Spirit.
The first order of business is to do a little housecleaning. The RIP has a sweet little girlfriend named Mattie that helped us with that last night.
After all, we are not going to trim the tree with dirty undewear and Chicken Bones like we did two years ago.
My place really misses a womans touch.
Now clean, we can get a tree and maybe find something appropriate to decorate it with.
Then we will go Shopping.
Now I am not much of a shopper throughout the year, but when it comes to Christmas, my shopping gene fires up and there is nothing that will put that Yuletide Spirit in me like buyuing gifts for other people.
Like most men, I tend to give some lousy, though quite practical, gifts and have gotten quite good at it.
In the Sixth Grade I gave mom a 24 Drawer Shop Organizer for her sewing stuff.
In the Seventh Grade I gave my sister a Football.
In the Eighth Grade I gave my Dad a bag of golfing Tees.
In the Ninth Grade I gave my girlfriend a Black Light.

In the 10th, 11th and 12th grades I smoked a lot of pot and did a lot of Peyote;
To try to make up for the Football, I gave my sister a Teddy Bear with a really soppy hallucinogenic note about his whole life and how glad he was to be HER Bear now, written while listening to Lucy in the Sky with Daimands.
I think my sister still has that piece of work, and I wish I had some more of whatever it was I was having that day.

When I was 19 I gave my girlfriend a pen.
When I was 22 I gave my new girlfriend a set of Weights. That’s what she wanted.
Really it is; she was a Peach.
My next girlfreind I gave a Fishing Pole.
Then I got married.
Our first Christmas my wife made quite a haul. First she got a bicycle, then a stove (we didn't have one and had been Crockpotting for 8 months) then on Christmas morning she woke up to find a Brand Spanking New Ironing Board with one of those Ironing Board covers.
Oh my!
But there was also an Opal Necklace to go with it and that bought me 12 more Christmases.
A few years later, she got a small box that was very heavy. She was very excited about it. When she opened it all she found was 24 Forks. They were not made of Gold and she was really mad at me. I now understand that the box looked and felt as thoughm there just might be an Ingot in there.
The best gift I ever gave anyone was the Cuckoo Clock I gave my cousin and her Husband.
From what I understand, their Divorce got really ugly over that Clock.

My brother, Davy's Dad, gave the best gifts.
Over the years he gave me a Pogo Stick and an Orgami set, and a thing that made huge Bubbles and a Do-It-Yourself globe.
I think the only thing I ever gave him was a Magazine subscription.
Anyway, I love to buy things for other people and wish I was better at it.
So, what do you want for Christmas this year?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

WHAT YOU BUY IS WHAT YOU OWN AND WHAT YOU OWN IS WHAT YOU PAY FOR

Davy always has some kind of list going. He is really quite good at them too.
I liked his “14 Affirmations” list and decided to make my own.
I’m not sure what an Affirmation is…maybe it’s a saying, or something you wished you’d known before you just did whatever you did during your last little episode, or words that are meaningless unless in the right context- and that context is usually a little beyond you.
But maybe some of these will mean something to you.
Some of these are original, others not so much.
For me, they are very important and I have spent my son’s fortune in finding them.



I am…. therefore I’ll think.
Rub her feet.
This looks like as good a spot as any.
Its better to than not.
My best effort in exchange for your best effort...
Lift the seat-Lower the seat.
Sunday Morning=Pancakes & REAL Maple Syrup.
It won't look as bad after a little Nap.
Be nice until its time to not be nice...then still be nice a little longer.
Give more-expect less.
Stick and Stay and make it pay.
Easy does it.

The Jumbo-Large Economy size is not always the best deal.
Don't drop your load.

Friday, December 07, 2007

LETS PARTY!



You haven't had a hangover until you have OD'd on Green Chartreuse.

WATER BABY

Is posting like crazy...and she is growing up...everytime I see her or talk to her she is less a little girl and so much a Young Lady.
"Thank you" to all my blog friends that have commented to her. I don't have to tell you how much it can help get you through a day, a week or a season.

She talks about a boy, "Colorado", and he may be a Prince (really, i've met him-good looking too) but he ain't good enough for her; but its none of my business...
At the Airport a few weeks I watched her check in her bags. she told the man "Yes Sir" but it wasn't a little girl 'Yes Sir"...it was a term of respect from equal to equal.
It made me very proud.
She is fully capable of going wherever, whenever, and however she wants to.
She is tougher than Daddy thinks; she is a Marcher.
A Student Athlete Musician.
But if she ever goes to calii9n' me "FATHER" she'll get a 'pankin'.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

PARALLAX VIEW

I DID A STORY LAST YEAR CONCERNING MY FATHER...THIS WAS THE CONCLUSION...I HAVE SINCE DISCOVERED THAT IT MAY NOT HAVE ENDED QUITE THE WAY I REMEMBERED IT.
MORE TO FOLLOW AFTER THIS RETROSPECTIVE.

"time is the echo of an axe within a wood"
philip larkin

Part 6
1987
The Conclusion

There were a lot of ways for this story to end, but they all really end the same, don't they?
I think, all things considered, I could not ask for a better one.

The night before Thanksgiving, 1987, I was up all night , smoking a Turkey on the Grill outside.
I thought about how Mom had died less than a year before, in the room right in there.
I thought about how we brought Grandma home, and put her in the room right in there, and how when she died, we were right there with her. We did not get a call from a nursing home 100 miles away... we were right there.

And as I watched my old friend Orion rising in small hours of the morning, I thought about the last 4 weeks, and what they had brought...

I had quit my job with a large Hotel.
I’d had enough.
While I served out my 2 weeks notice, my wife had gone to check on my father at a Nursing Home. The VA had had to move him to a Private Facility, and though they still picked up the tab, it put him another 50 miles further from home, and if we were to move him, they no longer would pay.
What my wife found on her visit set her already Red hair ablaze.
The care at the VA had been spectacular. Now she found that within 4 weeks of being at this Private facility, he had bedsores and according to her ‘smelled like an outhouse with fecal material and urine on his bed and person”.
I want you to know that when the xmrs B’Holes gets her blood up, the shit will hit the fan. I can only imagine the coals that she raked those folks at that Nursing Home over that day.
When she got back to town, we decided on this: With Mom and Grandma no longer in need of Dads money and Estate, we would move him to the Nursing Home that was 2 blocks from our house.
To hell with the expense.
We entertained the notion of bringing him all the way home, like we did with Grandma, but that had been hard on us.
So the next week, the day after my last day of work, I drove the 150 miles and removed Dad from the Nursing home from Hell, and brought him home, to the Nursing Home around the corner called the LaDora Lodge.

I have shown you how the Alzheimers Patient can have extraordinary moments of lucidity in this story so far...and we are about to have another...

I had a Van, and laid the seats out in back with him on them.
I straddled his chest, taping paper over the windows to keep the sun off him and as I looked down into those Ice blue eyes I said
“Are you ready to go home, Pop?”
His face came alive with knowing.... his eyes flashed and I knew he understood.
It had been a long time since he had spoken, and he did not speak now ...instead he gave me his big belly laugh and a tear rolled from the corner of his eye.
After all we had been through I can tell you I would not trade that moment for anything in the World.
We were going home.
We got him to his new home and we visited and had visited everyday for the last two weeks.
I also want you to know that the Xmrs B’Holes can talk the ears off a Wooden Indian and she talked to Dad like he had always been right there.
She is like a Superhero to me....

Its Thanksgiving morning.I checked the Turkey;
lookin’ good.
I checked Orion and he was where he should be at 5:00A.M.
The phone rang.
Who could that be?
Its LaDora Lodge.
‘Mr. Bulletholes, I am sorry to be calling at this hour, but I thought you would want to know your father has passed away”
I like to think that Dad stopped by for a two week visit on his way Home.

Friday, November 30, 2007

TRANSCENDENTAL

"HOW 'BOUT THEM...?
And how about Water Baby's Marching Band...when she participated last year they took 2nd...
We all cried to find that this year they placed first with the Highest Score ever attained.
We all cried because we know how much Blood Sweat and Tears goes into the perfoermance from all involved.
We all cried because she was a part of such a special program and a mentor to these Champions.
We cried to know that mere humans, kids that won't hardly (just like me) clean their rooms, can make an effort that comes so close to perfection.

On Water Baby's site, you can view the performance which includes Music from Labyrinth, composed by James Horner.
Or you might want to click on the Marching Band label at the bottom to see some of the fun filled idiotic posts I did last year to Chronicle her experiences in an outstanding program. In large part that is how I bacame a Bloggin' Fool.

Grand National Champions, L.D. Bell High School
On Saturday, November 17 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, IN, the L.D. Bell Blue Raider Band was named the 2007 Bands of America Grand National Champion.

1 L.D. Bell H.S., TX
2 Avon H.S., IN
3 Carmel H.S., IN
4 The Woodlands H.S., TX-
5 Marian Catholic H.S., IL
6 Broken Arrow H.S., OK
7 Plymouth-Canton Ed. Park, MI
8 Stephen F. Austin H.S., TX
9 Richland H.S., TX
10 Lawrence Central H.S., IN
11 Center Grove H.S., IN
12 Harrison H.S., GA
L.D. Bell additionally won the highest achievement awards for Outstanding Music Performance and Outstanding General Effect. Earlier in the day, after Semi-Finals Competition, L.D. Bell was named the National Champion in their classification, winning the highest achievement awards for Outstanding Music Performance and Outstanding General Effect.
In Semi Finals, L.D. Bell scored a 97.8, which reportedly is now the highest score awarded in BOA history.
This was the band's fifth time to compete in BOA Grand Nationals since 2001, placing 4th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st. The L.D. Bell Band now has earned championships at the Area, State, Regional, Super Regional, and National levels.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Traitor

Now the Swan it floated on the English river
Ah the Rose of High Romance it opened wide
A sun tanned woman yearned me through the summer
and the judges watched us from the other side

I told my mother
"Mother I must leave you
preserve my room but do not shed a tear
Should rumour of a shabby ending reach you
it was half my fault and half the atmosphere"

But the Rose I sickened with a scarlet fever
and the Swan I tempted with a sense of shame
She said at last I was her finest lover
and if she withered I would be to blame

The judges said you missed it by a fraction
rise up and brace your troops for the attack
Ah the dreamers ride against the men of action
Oh see the men of action falling back

But I lingered on her thighs a fatal moment
I kissed her lips as though I thirsted still
My falsity had stung me like a hornet
The poison sank and it paralysed my will

I could not move to warn all the younger soldiers
that they had been deserted from above
So on battlefields from here to Barcelona
I'm listed with the enemies of love

And long ago she said "I must be leaving,
Ah but keep my body here to lie upon
You can move it up and down and when I'm sleeping
Run some wire through that Rose and wind the Swan"

So daily I renew my idle duty
I touch her here and there -- I know my place
I kiss her open mouth and I praise her beauty
and people call me traitor to my face

And people call me traitor to my face

Leonard Cohen

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

89 CENTS

Yesterdays post seemed to insinuate that the Water Baby was financially irresponsible. This would not be true and her being overdrawn waas not her fault in the least.
In fact the Water Baby is the only one of the bunch of us that has a lick of Fiduciary Common Sense and Self Discipline.
She always has, since she was only a child.
Her Cowgirl Boots were Red, and her Little Jacket was pink. We bought those boots about 5 sizes too big and it seems like she wore them all the time between the ages of 4 to 11. Like any other young girl, she loved Horses but her love for them was way uncommon.
She had about 100 of them in her room; some were to play with and others were fancy Horses, only for show.

I would take her to the store for a Candy Bar and she would study and examine each and every one of them asking
'How much for this one?"
'Those are 89 cents Baby"
"Oh my, that's too much" she would say and scrunch up her nose and put it back.
She would spy one that was slightly larger and look up to me with those big pretty eyes
"How 'bout this one daddy?
'That's 89 cents too."
And she would hug that Candy Bar and raise her face towards God, grinning so big her eyes would close and you could feel the Heavenly bliss emanating from all her pores.
Then she would gaze longingly at the other selections and put it back, moving on to see if there weren't maybe a slightly better deal for her 89 cents.
We would generally spend about 45 minutes looking through the Candy Bar section before she would really get down to business and ask

"Daddy, how much are carrots?"
"Carrots are about 89 cents for a package"

Then we would drive to the Grocery store and get a bag of Carrots so that we could go around the corner and down to the Creek to feed Brownie.
Brownie was the Chestnut Mare that lived in the little plot of land that the local water tower was on.
In her Red Cowgirl Boots and Pink Jacket, she and Brownie would work that 89 cent bag of Carrots. I've never spent ANY money to any greater effect.

The Water Baby can get more *POP* outta 89 cents than anyone I've ever known.
God, how I love that little girl.

Monday, November 26, 2007

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

MY THANKSGIVING

Yvette (the XMrs Bulletholes, not her real name), says
"Steve, Water Baby is overdrawn on her account...can you give her some money?"
"Sure, how'd that happen?"
"I don't know"
"How much does she need?"
"$200"
"OK"

So Water Baby, Rip, Yvette and I are in the car going through the drive up ATM....Water Baby is at the wheel ...

I hand her my card and a lightbulb flashes on in my mind and I try to keep a straight face....
"Whats your PIN Daddy?"
"Y-V-E-T-T-E" I spell out...
All 3 turn and look at me like I must be nuts and Yvette says in a real concerned voice
"Its not really is it?"

So I say
"Gimme a break"
and give them the real code.
First there is a huge sigh of relief....
Then we all crack-up...

That was worth like $200 (almost)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

THE MARINERS CHURCH OF DETROIT


When I was in the third grade in Detroit Michigan, a lady came to give the class a book she had written called 'Legends of Green Sky Hill". Her name was Louisa Walker and she signed my book and read aloud to the class from it.
It was all about the Chippewa Indians and their Great Spirit named Manibozo. I was thrilled by the stories in the Chippewa tradition that explained why Turtle has his shell, and where the four winds come from and the Maiden that died to give us the first Strawberries.
I loved that book and still have it
There were also stories of the big lake called Gitchee-Gumee. Lake Superior is known for violent storms that can come up without warning especially as winter approaches. The Chippewa tradition has it that to be lost in the November winds on this lake means to be taken both Spiritually and Physically to the next world.

The Edmund Fitzgerald went down sometime during the night of November 10th, 1975 and all 29 on board were lost.
Gitchee-Gumee got 'em.
This tragedy pales in comparison to November 13, 1913 on Lake Superior when 12 ships and 250 crew members were lost. True to the Chippewa legend, no bodies were ever recovered.
Gitchee-Gumee 279
Sailors 0

The 5 Great Lakes are huge, like inland Seas; Superior is the worlds largest Freshwater lake. I have been on all 5. The Freighters are huge as well. The Edmund Fitzgerald was two and a half football fields long and could carry 26,000 tons of ore. I think that comes to 52 Million pounds, and the ship herself weighed half of that empty.
On any afternoon while the lakes are not frozen over I could go to the end of my block and watch a steady procession of these boats go by...at least one every hour.
When President Kennedy was assasinated in Dallas in 1963 it resonated with me in particular because I was from Dallas.
When '"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" hit the airwaves in 1976 it resonated with me because of my familiarity with the Chippewa, the Great Lakes and even the Maritime Sailors Cathedral (Mariners Church of Detroit) because I had lived there.
They strill ring the bells for the 29 every year in Detroit, as well as candles being lit on Belle Isle in the Detroit River.
The ships Bell was salvaged and it is rung every year at a lighthouse on Whitefish Bay in Wisconsin.


The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
by Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they called 'Gitche Gumee'
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty.
That good ship and crew was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early.

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
With a crew and good captain well seasoned
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ship's bell rang
Could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
T'was the witch of November come stealin'.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the Gales of November came slashin'.
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
In the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck sayin'.
Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya
.At Seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in, he said
Fellas, it's been good t'know ya
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
And the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when his lights went outta sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searches all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
May have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the Gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral.
The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call 'Gitche Gumee'.
Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FITZGERALD

A Retrospective from two posts I did last year.


NOVEMBER
A more somber month there could not be... we are on the downhill slide. Gordon Lightfoot captures the feel of this month very well with a quite popular song from years ago that is very well known...

A lesser known song from a much lesser known artist is one of my favorites... it takes me back to a day when I was 6.
A cello and slide guitar create a hollow whining windy sound...
The deep-softness of his voice combined with the lyrics paint a picture... and though he barely even mentions JFK, we know that is what it is all about.
The song is by Greg Brown and the song is called...

"BRAND NEW '64 DODGE"
Money comes out of Dad's billfold.
Hankies come out of Mom's purse.
The engine hardly makes a sound
even when you put it in reverse.
It's got a push-button transmission,
hardtop convertible, 4-door.
It's November of 1963
and the brand new Dodge is a '64.
Brand new Dodge.

And we're rolling slow down Main Street
-the asphalt and gravel crunch.
Church is finally over
and we're going to have our Sunday lunch.
And then I will play football
with my buddies down in park.
Later I'll dream about my girlfriend
as I lie alone in the dark.
As I lie alone.

She's got short red hair and blue eyes
and her swimsuit's also blue
and her little brother is retarded,
but Jesus loves him, too.
And Jesus loves our president,
even though he is a Catholic.
There's a lot for a boy to think about
as he walks along the railroad tracks.
As he walks along.

And my sister won't get carsick
'cause we're going only half a mile
and the car still has that new car smell
and dad looks like he might smile
and the world is big and full of Autumn
and I'm hungry as can be
and we're in our brand new '64 Dodge
November of '63
November.

greg brown from "the poet game"



His song inspires me to this tale from my chldhood:
Grosse Point Park, Michigan;
3 miles north of Detroit;
3 miles north of the Maritime Sailors Cathedral located in downtown Detroit; the very same Cathedral from Lightfoots song :

"In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald."

Louis Agnon was my best friend and lived 5 houses up on the corner of Essex and Trombley. In November of 1963 we were both 6 and in Mrs. Sherman’s (the German, we liked to say) First Grade class.
Every house in the neighborhood had a basement except for mine. Louis’ house was special as well in that he had a detached garage and even the garage had a basement. We were not allowed down there and there were locks on the doors to keep people out and the windows were soaped to keep anyone from peering in.
There was an Acorn tree, tall and slender, in my backyard and this is where Louis and I spent most of our time. We could get so far up, up in the tippy-top and we could make that tree sway back and forth creating a swath that could easily measure 15 feet. It was like riding a 50 foot high teeter-totter with him on one side of the “trunk’ now tapered to only 3 inches and I on the other.
From our perch we could see out over the rooftops and a block away to Lake St. Clair where the big ore boats took their loads to the Steel mills. They had come from Lake Superior and were relatively safe now having put some distance between themselves and “the big lake they call Gitchee-Goomie”.
From our perch we would discuss what could possibly be in the mysterious basement of his Garage. It could’nt be good, that much we knew.
Maybe it was flooded and filled with old tires, reptiles and detritus of all kinds.
Maybe the was a cache of stolen money, bags of gold coins and bundled bills.
Maybe his father knew some tough guys that used it to “squeeze” people like James Cagney did in the movies.
Probably there was some mutant monster, a terrible creature that had gone long unfed, waiting, waiting, waiting...

The ‘Summer of Love” was still 5 years away, Rob and Laura Petrie were still safe in separate beds, and Louis and I knew nothing of the mechanics of Sex ... but we did know that there was definitely SOMETHING there. We would talk about all the girls in our class and which ones were kissable and how we would go about getting them alone to do just that.It was Lori Sundburg that emerged as the 1st Grade equivalent of Marilyn Monroe.

In 1963 September turned to October and October to November. We were forced to abandon our trees for the shelter of my room to watch T.V.“Maverick” and “The Man from UNCLE” and "Wild Wild West"... We played 'mousetrap", "Monopoly" and"Life" and Mother brought milk and cookies.

Then one day in the most somber of months the news broke like a lightning flash.
“The Winds of November came Slashin'......
the Witch of November came Stealin'"
And the Steel guitar in Gordon Lightfoot's Song about the Edmund Fitzgerald along with his haunting lyrics describes the month, the day and the gloom that fell over the country.
The President was dead.
He and that ship had a lot in common.
The T.V. man said "Assassinated".
November.
1963.

Of course Louis and I had much discussion over this event and when they caught the guy, the Assassin, we were delighted to imagine what to do with him.
Hangin’ from a Sour Apple Tree was too good for this guy.
Stabbing with a thousand little knives was too quickly done.
Chained to a bag of concrete and dumped into Lake St. Clair offered no real appreciable trauma.
First Runner up in our choices was to lock him up into the aforementioned basement to be chewed up by whatever the hell was down there.
But the worst thing we could imagine, Louis and I, was to have the slimeball’s wiener cut off.
We had no idea why but we knew he would miss that the most.
November.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving

A Renaissance Man if ever there was one. I love you, Dave...I just wanted to say it... and even John Wayne gazes on in admiration!

My favorite Thanksgiving dish is an Asparagus Casserole' that my Momma used to make.
You take Wheatsworth crackers and crumble them up in the bottom of the biggest baking pan you've got because no matter how big that pan is, there will not be enough. Then you take canned Asparagus and put it on top.
Be generous.
Now you slather a good layer of Cream of Mushroom Soup ( the Duct Tape of the Kitchen) on top of the Asparagus and top all that with grated Cheddar Cheese and Sliced Hard Boiled Eggs. As good as the Asparagus is its really the Eggs that are "where its at".
Now you slide it into the oven...and ...cook ...it ...till its...done.
If you have gotten this far you will know when that is.
The classical Culinary term for a garnish of Bread Crumbs and Hard boiled Eggs is "Mimosa" although "Polonaise" might work as well.

I used to be a Chef, but I could never cook this one.
The one time I tried, I used some kind of fancy-ass Cheese, and made my own Mushroom Soup and used the Fresh Asparagus and some kinda crumbled Brioche for the crust and it was pretty much inedible.
No ma'am just stick to the Housewifey Recipe' and keep it simple.

The X Mrs. Bulletholes provides this dish since Mom is no longer around and the Water Baby may just love this stuff as much as I. The Water Baby can barely make a cup of Ramen Noodles by herself, but she has already mastered this one.

My favorite condiment at Thanksgiving is the Cranberry Relish. I love to mix great gobs of it in with my Dressing and Mashed Potatoes and lace all this with Turkey. I think it is much underutilized throughout the year, and goes very well with Pork and Chicken.
I have a nice variation for Cranberry Relish that is great for Game and Smoked Meats. quite simply, follow the instructions on the package of Fresh cranberries, but throw in a good measure of Chiffonade/Grated Fresh Ginger, and substitute Rice wine Vinegar for Orange Juice.

Now I don't know if Dave Mows Grass is going to making his Really Juicy Turkey/Iron Mountain Bird this year, but in typical Machinist fashion he produces a crust that Joeseph Whitworth could probably make bolts from and you have to have a Jackhammer to get to the meat. but once you do, ddave assures me, it is larrapin' good. (very good)

It was Abraham Lincoln that gave us our Thanksgiving holiday. In the months prior to the 1864 election he said 'I am going to be beaten, and beaten badly."
He was not, and the results of the Election were quite remarkably in his favor despite the fact that he did not even appear on the ballot in several states. Something like that.
I'll have to research and append this post.
At any rate, he had much to be thankful for; the nation , though at War even with itself, did as well; and the same holds true for us today.

From his Thanksgiving Proclamation;

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict ...


Heres to Softened Hearts.... and an end to Military Conflict.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

BROTHERHOOD OF THE POINTY TOES


FOR SOUBRIQUET ON HIS BIRTHDAY


Well, when you're down on your luck,
and you ain't got a buck,
in London you're a goner.
Even London Bridge has fallen down,
and moved to Arizona,
now I know why.
And I'll substantiate the rumor
that the English sense of humor
is drier than the Texas sand.
You can put up your dukes,
and you can bet your boots,
that I'm leavin' just as fast as I can.


I wanna go home with the armadillo.
Good country music from Amarillo and Abilene.
The friendliest people and the prettiest women you've ever seen.

Well it's cold over here, and I swear,
I wish they'd turn the heat on.
And where in the world is that English girl,
I promised I would meet on the third floor.
And of the whole damn lot, the only friend I got,
is a smoke and a cheap guitar.
My mind keeps roamin',
my heart keeps longin' to be home in a Texas bar.
I wanna go home with the armadillo.
Good country music from Amarillo and Abilene.
The friendliest people and the prettiest women you've ever seen.


Well, I decided that, I'd get my cowboy hat
and go down to Marble Arch Station.
Cause when a Texan fancies he'll take his chances,
chances will be takin, now that's for sure.
And them Limey eyes, they were eyein' a prize,
that some people call manly footwear.
And they said you're from down South,
and when you open your mouth,
you always seem to put your foot there.
I wanna go home with the armadillo.
Good country music from Amarillo and Abilene.
The friendliest people and the prettiest women you've ever seen.

"london homesick blues" by gary p. nunn


Frank Lucchese out of El Paso makes one of the finest boots in the world and Soubriquet will need a Pair cuz after we wear out our share of the Sisters, we will be going to the North Side of Fort Worth to a little Honky-Tonk name of Filthy McNasty's and start in on a coupla few cousins I know.
Then we can head over to the White Elephant Saloon to ride the Mechanical Bull and wrestle the Bear.
We can then call him "True Grit in the Gears".
Between Soubriquets Chivalrous nature and youthful good looks, together with my ability to put my foot in my mouth in the most charming fashion, we just might have us a time!

Hold it...I was sposed to be talkin' about the boots I got for Souby...they are Hand Made from Caiman Crocodile with 'Parched Wheat" Uppers. These are not for shit-kickin or doin' the "Cotton Eyed Joe"....these are for Steak and Candlelite and a nice bottle of Montrachet and CremeBrullee' and VSOP with a Lady from the Sisterhood;
not anything you'll find at FilthyMcNasty's.
Happy Birthday Soubriquet!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

MALE BONDING

No fortune Cookie or Magic 8-Ball required


I got a call from one of the Rips teachers on Saturday (don't these people take a day off) and it would seem that he is having a little (lot) of trouble getting to his 3rd period Class on time. In addition, he has fallen so far behind in his homework that he is in danger of failing!

None of this comes as a very big surprise, but is still something that needed to be addressed . It is quite compounded by the fact that I get a call from the Ex Mrs. Bulletholes every day at the break of dawn to check on "our Boy".
It was during the discussion he and I were having concerning tardiness, homework and these early morning phone calls that we both simultaneously developed a black eye!
But that evening he was quietly doing his homework.

He had just finished up when an old friend came by. She surveyed the two of us with our black-eyes and, all aghast, wanted to know what had happened.
We explained it was about "homework".
She began to tell us about a special program he could get into where he wouldn't have to do any homework, he could go at his own pace, so to speak.
I told her that we would be doing this the old fashioned way, where they give him an assignment and he does the assignment. She began to protest, and the Rip and I looked at each other and grinned and proceeded to escort her to the door and throw her out on her ass.
With the door closed , we looked at each other and just cracked up.
Ain't it funny how things work sometimes?

Friday, November 02, 2007

FROM "SLANT SIX MIND"

Whatever It Was

She's got a slant 6 mind and a supercharged heart,
The little princess is singing about her parts,
She says, "Come hither", but when I get hither she is yon.
I was looking for what I loved.
Whatever it was, it's gone.

TV spreads and tension mounts,
Like a guy in a bra it's the idea that counts,
It's a picture of a picture of a whore holding a picture of a john.
I was looking for what I loved...
Whatever it was, it's gone.

In the chemical fields by ammonia light,
I would offer my prayer to the Corn Goddess tonight,
but they chopped off her head and stuck her body out on the lawn.
I was looking for what I loved...
Whatever it was, it's gone.

My generation takes what it can get,
Are you surprised that the kids are all upset?
They're looking at Nothing and Nothing turns away and yawns.
I was looking for what I loved...
Whatever it was, it's gone.

Can't go to the country - the country isn't there,
It got chopped up and mortgaged and vanished in thin air,
It's a paint-by-number and it costs a million bucks down at the pawn.
I was looking for what I loved...
Whatever it was, it's gone.

An electronic head and feet of clay,
gonna be a lotta roadkill on the Information Highway,
Someone stole the video of the everfresh and lovely dawn.
I was looking for what I loved...
Whatever it was, it's gone.

You might be streetwise. You might be real bad,
I guess you forgot that you also are a dad,
Your kids won't forget it when they're trying to find someone to lean on
I was looking for what I loved...
Whatever it was, it's gone.

The little towns are lying on their faces,
All that's left are fading parking spaces,
It's been quite a week, there was a drive-by shooting in Lake Wobegon.
I was looking for what I loved...
Whatever it was, it's gone.

A Native American told me this whole deal's a mistake,
and this implosion is just icing on the cake,
If the Great Spirit is gambling, I'd say the con is a bigger con.
I was looking for what I loved...
greg brown

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

DANCING A WALTZ ON ALL SOULS NIGHT

No time...no time...things are gettin' hairy around here for Halloween.
Fortune Cookies cannot solve all our problems.
I have bought a Magic Eight Ball.
The Celtic Festival of Samhaim calls for the Old God to die. This begins the New Year.
Samhain occurs after the last day of summer and before the first day of winter - when the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest, when those souls who had passed could, if they wished, return to the land of the living, when the usual laws of time and space are suspended.
For six weeks, we are on our own, living godless on last years fruits.
Even now the leaves begin to fall and the trees go bare.
"Stars grow cold beneath the glass. " S.K.

And this, from the album "The Visit"on Quinlan Road Records.

ALL SOULS NIGHT
Bonfires dot the rolling hillsides
Figures dance around and around
To drums that pulse out echoes of darkness
Moving to the pagan sound.
Somewhere in a hidden memory
Images float before my eyes
Of fragrant nights of straw and of bonfires
And dancing till the next sunrise.

I can see the lights in the distance
Trembling in the dark cloak of night
Candles and lanterns are dancing, dancing
A waltz on All Souls Night.


Figures of cornstalks bend in the shadows
Held up tall as the flames leap high
The green knight holds the holly bush
To mark where the old year passes by.
Standing on the bridge that crosses
The river that goes out to the sea
The wind is full of a thousand voices
They pass by the bridge and me.



I can see the lights in the distance
Trembling in the dark cloak of night
Candles and lanterns are dancing, dancing
A waltz on All Souls Night.

"This piece was inspired by the imagery of a Japanese tradition which celebrated the souls of the departed by sending candle-lit lanterns out on waterways leading to the ocean, sometimes in little boats; along with the imagery of the Celtic All Souls Night celebrations, at which time huge bonfires were lit not only to mark the new year, but to warm the souls of the departed." loreena mckinnet

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

ARTS AND CRAFTS

A lady found a Masterpiece in the trash 4 years ago. She said "I knew it had Power"
It is now worth One Million Dollars.

When I was in the 5th Grade, Greg, Dave and I used to do a little trash pickin'.
Sometimes we would find old skates that could be turned into skateboards.
Sometimes we would find an old Baseball glove, or Basketball Hoop or even a Guitar with most of its strings.
But the real Trophy Trash was the Playboy Magazine.
And when you found one, you usually found about a dozen more right with it. Some of them would probably be worth a lot of money today.
We would drool over the pictures and giggle over the cartoons, pretending we knew what was so funny.
We knew they had power.

I had an Art Class at School and we did Pottery one week. I molded my clay and was just about to slide my creation into the Kiln when it caught Mrs. McGuilligotcha's eye.
"One moment Mr. Bulletholes, what is that you have there"
"Its a Rabbit"
"Let me see that" and she took my Rabbit.
She surveyed my Bas-Relief Rabbit with the Bow-Tie and Cocked Ear while I put on my most innocent face.


"That IS NOT a Rabbit" she said as she turned my little Playboy Logo into a lump of clay "Do something else."
I was dyin' to say
"What d'ya mean "not a Rabbit"?" but she was givin' me that look that says
"Thin Ice ahead, keep your trap shut!"


"Damn, that was beautiful " Dave whispered to me as I started to fashion my next little project...
"Wait'll ya get a load of this..." I whispered back, having forgotten all about the thin ice.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

KILL WHO'S REPLACEMENT?

I have added a link today.
This guy cracks me up.
He's like some kinda hard candy that could rot your teeth, or chip them even, but deep down...
He is also very often right-on.
He reminds me of Rip when he was a boy and was so happy that he would screw up his face to keep from looking overjoyed.
He has a conversation going with someone named 'we" and posts as he goes through his torturous day.
You feel better about your own lot having read what he is up against, be it real or imagined.
Its kind of like Mr. Bean meets Jerry Springer.


He makes me want to go to Church.
He makes me want to sail a ship around the World and never come back.
He makes me want to quit my job and stop using soap.
He makes me want to pour some Hot tea on the Greenland Ice Cap.

I'd like to find a little guy and whip him.
I'd like to work at a soup kitchen.
I'd like to throw the switch for some child molesting scumbag.
I'll swanney, I could just about spit.

Introduced by the lovely Kissyface and vouchsafed by my own blood at Dave Mows Grass,
I give you...
UNREMITTING FAILURE

Monday, October 22, 2007

He only asked one thing...


The Rip has moved in with his Dad!
(me)
God help us.
Can you believe those eyes?
He wanted to know if the walls were as thin as they were at my other place...
What the hell kind of question is that?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

OFFICE SCHOOL

What they don't teach you when you have a spat going at work...

1) Go to the nearest Chinese Buffet.
2) Have the Spring Rolls with Mustard (or Hot and Sour, makes no difference), the steamed Dim-Sum with Hot Oil, Mongolian Beef with Lo-mein Noodle and Subgum Vegetable.
3) When they bring the check ask for an extra Fortune Cookie.
4) Leave at least a 25% Gratuity. (dont get cheap here...this may be key to the equation)
5) Give the extra Fortune Cookie to your workmate.
6) Open them together.
7) Let the Healing begin.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

BREAKFAST AT NOON

I call the Water Baby every now and then. Not really more than a couple o'few times a week; I don't want her to think that I am trying to be overly attentive, or that I am worried, or that she might not be able to take care of herself.
She has been gone for six weeks now.
The truth is I just want to hear her voice, her laugh, and give her the opportunity to listen to what ever I have to talk about.
Usually, after I have told her that I actually cleaned the kitchen this week, or that I had a flat tire yesterday, or that I saw a cloud that made me think of her, she will explain that she needs to go because they are watching a Movie, or everyone is going to the beach, or its time to go eat breakfast (at 12:30 P.M. in the afternoon! ) and while whatever I have been saying is fascinating...you get the picture.
"Gotta go Dad, bye!"

So I was very excited when the phone rang and it was her calling me!
She wanted to know how I was doing.
I told her that I was fine, but that the kitchen was dirty again.
Real dirty.

And I continued...
"I went to the Homecoming game last week at the High School so I could see your band play...but it wasn't the same without you there and remember how loud I used to be and excited to see you,no, all of ya'll out there and yelling and dancing and generally calling way too much attention to myself?
Well I got up in the stands and sat there and didn't yell or clap or cause any commotion and when they wanted all the old Alumni like me to stand up at halftime I nearly didn't even stand up but the band was good even though I didn't clap and you weren't in it so I left after they played.
I felt all out of sorts.

"Awww...poor Dad"

Now that I have her attention, I continue:
"The next day I saw the nice girl that walks her dogs out in the parking lot while I was gazing at an Annelisa type sunset and she passed by me and I said
"Check it out"
We usually just politely nod;
I pointed to the sunset and she stopped and took a breath and said
"That's gorgeous!"
and smiled at me so I said
"So...Would you like to hold hands"
and she laughed and said
"No one has ever said anything like that to me before!"
So what do you think I said?
Well baby, I could have said something like
"Someone sure ought to be sayin' that to you"
but instead I said
"Well, I guess I had better go clean my Kitchen" and just walked off.
Can you believe that?
How chicken is that?"

So the Water Baby just said "Hmmm..." but she didn't say she had to go somewhere so I continued...

"So I went to a Computer Class and now when I want to print something I won't come out with 100 pages of scrap paper and one page of what I wanted to print."
"Hmmmm..."

"Rip has been being good lately except his grades; and he missed his SAT test; and he says Mom is all over him all the time and that your bed is very comfortable and I said if he was going to move in here he was going to have to have better grades and get his stuff for college taken care of so that Mom can RELAX for a minute and other than all that he is doing pretty good"
"UmHmmm..."

"I'm thinkin' about maybe buying an Iron so I won't have to press my clothes with a skillet anymore...
"'That'd be good Dad"

"And I'm starting to do more Posts because I don't think I am trying to talk the way I blog, or try out a post while I am in line at the Grocery Store like I'm Drew Carey;
or use big words that I'm not too sure what they mean, and act like I'm some kind of George Will Jr. and quote Proust and stuff...

And I'm looking out the window Baby, and it looks like they mowed today and ....
WOW!!! There a really pretty bird in the Crepe Myrtle out there...with feathers..."

I started to describe this pretty bird when I suddenly realized that she had not told me yet she had to go somewhere so I stopped talking about the damn bird and said..
"Are you OK Baby?"
There were a few seconds of silence and then she broke into tears and said
"D-d-d-addy, I-I am s-so homesick!"
And she was sniffing and whimpering and I knew her nose was kind of running and she was going to run out of breath...

So I said:
"Thats Ok Baby because... we were all starting to think you... just didn't give a Shit!!!"
And I gave my little nervous laugh hoping that might help.
It did.
She laughed and I laughed and she's coming home for the weekend in two weeks.

And I told her to call her Mother right away because she would be so glad to know her girl is homesick too.
They talked for an hour.





Friday, October 12, 2007

McDougals Blues


There is a folk singer named Kevin Kinney that I have two CD's of from back in the early 1990's. I decided to add him to my Music list the other day and it was no surprise to me that I scored as the only person on the Planet that has him listed.
It made me feel sad for Kevin. He has this voice that I can only dewscribe as "What you hear is what you get" which I always like. He lays it out there with great expression.
His lyrics are great as well, although I am unable presently to post any from either of the two albums I have...the first being "McDougals Blues" and the other being 'Down Outlaw". There is a gentleness and deeply humanistic thread to his work.


But do not despair...as I began to surf through the 'Net, trying to find more info on Kevin, I discovered to my great delight that while I owned two of his folk albums he was so prolific that he had a band called "Drivin' and Cryin"" that
GAINED AN ALMOST CULT-LIKE FOLLOWING IN THE ATLANTA AREA!
Over the span of 15 years and at least a half dozen albums, his distinct voice and lyrics, along with a solid southern rockin band, had made quite a regional name for themselves.
If you follw the link there are several videos of what I can only describe as a bit of a "Hair Band" albeit a good one. Be sure to check out all the hair.
Try "Honeysuckle Blue", my favorite of the ones available.
Its so good to know that a guy like this is not starving.
"Drivin' and Cryin'" makes me want to smear myself up with blacklight paint and crash a Party somewhere.
It makes me wish Chavonne was still here and we could go see them at the Lake with a bonfire casting light and shadows all around.


His latest endeavor is called "Star Tangled Angel Review" which leans more towrds his folk roots, and there are some full length samples of this "outstanding songwriter with the distinctive voice' " work there as well.
If you will scroll down to the songs "Moutain Top" and "McDougal Blues", you will hear what attracted me to this mans music and then maybe understand why I am the only one on the Planet that has him on my list.
Of course, I am hoping you will add him to yours.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

REPORTS

I would like to run a Report that is based on a Report that was generated from a Report that was transferred to and analized by an EXCEL spreadsheet after having been lifted from an Oracle Program that was created with a 2/4 Time Signature and pasted to a Song and Dance Routine done with a 15/16 Time Signature.

I know that no one has any idea what I am talking about but thats not important.
Its only important that I don't know what I am talking about.
Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

GREAT IGNORANT LEAFY WAYS

I like this ...
It kinda says
"Get over yourself"
to me.
or maybe
"This ol' worlds not so bad if you give it a chance"
but who am
to put words in
William ButlerYeats
mouth?
The Two Trees
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
The changing colours of its fruit
Have dowered the stars with merry light;
The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;
The shaking of its leafy head
Has given the waves their melody,
And made my lips and music wed,
Murmuring a wizard song for thee.
There the Loves a circle go,
The flaming circle of our days,
Gyring, spiring to and fro
In those great ignorant leafy ways,
Remembering all that shaken hair
And how the winged sandals dart,
Thine eyes grow full of tender care;
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.
Gaze no more in the bitter glass
The demons, with their subtle guile,
Lift up before us when they pass,
Or only gaze a little while;
For there a fatal image grows
That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.
For all things turn to barenness
In the dim glass the demons hold,
The glass of outer weariness
Made when God slept in times of old.
There, through the broken branches, go
The ravens of unresting thought;
Flying, crying, to and fro
Cruel claw and hungry throat,
Or else they stand and sniff the wind,
And shake their ragged wings: alas!
Thy tender eyes grow all unkind:
Gaze no more in the bitter glass
- - -
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
Remembering all that shaken hair,
And how the winged sandals dart.
Thine eyes grow full of tender care:
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.
-- William Butler Yeats

Sunday, October 07, 2007

IF THE BANQUET MANAGER AINT HAPPY, AINT NOBODY HAPPY

“Mike, wake your black ass up”
“What time is it”
“Six A.M. brother man, time to rock the house
Mike was the CafĂ© Sous Chef and he came in every morning about 3;30 to start breakfast. Mike was a good guy, but when I would come in at 6:00, some days he would be on the bench in the dressing room, balanced somehow on a 6” wide wooden plank.
Sound asleep.
He would de snorin’ like a bigdog, with this huge smile on his face. He has gold tooth with a big "M" on it, and a gold earing. Of course his head was shaved right down to the ebony.
Mike liked to party.

I got dressed and headed upstairs. I was the Garde-Manger and the 1000 room hotel had been insanely busy the last 6 months. Chef kept sayin’ stuff like “After this week the bottom falls out”.
Not today, hell, not this week.
I was starting to think the Chef was just stringin’ us along and we were, in fact, confined to being busy as snot for the rest of our sorry lives. When I would tell people that I worked 85 hours last week, and that I would be having a 14 hour day today, they would nod and say something like
‘Yeah, me too” and expect that I didn’t believe them just like they didn’t believe me.
But hey, that’s Foodservice man, and right now there was a deadline to meet.

At 7:30 there was a Breakfast for 300 people and I had fruit mirrors to be placed on the Buffet.
Chief Steward would bring a Queen Mary, we’d load it up and upstairs we would go, along with Granola and bowls of Yogurt, Jelly’s and butter and we’d take Danish from Pastry as well.
Me and my four ladies of the cold food were finishing up the mirrors when I heard the ruckus. It was Bill, the Banquet Manager and he was over by the Cafeteria line.

“Where are my fruit trays?” Bill was asking a Busboy.
‘Where are my Fruit Trays” Bill was asking a Line Cook.
‘Where are my Fruit Trays” Bill was asking the Potwasher.

Bill Bobbers was always dressed to the tens. He had a handkerchief that matched his tie, and just the right amount of cuff showing out of the sleeves of his Gucci. Hell, I wouldn’t know a Gucci from a Mens Wearhouse, but Bill always looked like his momma dressed him. He had two Banquet WaIters with him, and he wore them like bodyguards
Bill had not been with us long, just several months, and he had seemed fairly capable. He had transferred from Jersey, or Boston, or Buffalo or somewhere.
I had not had to deal with him much, but I could sense he and I were about to go ‘round.

“Over here, Billbo, I’ve got em” and motioned to him. I had taken to calling him Billbo, but I don’t think I‘d let him in on it yet
“What did you call me?” He asked.
“Umm, Billbo” and I gave him my best smile.
He frowned.
‘I need those trays now” he barked.
“Well, I’m almost ready to send ‘em up, Tony (The Steward) should be here in a minute”
“ But I need em now” and he turned to the Main kitchen and announced “I need a Sous-Chef over here”

I could tell Bill was stressed and that probably I hadn’t helped with my pet name, but now I was pissed.
“Goddam you Billy Bobbers, what do I look like …Chopped Liver?”
I pointed to my embroidered "Garde Manger/Sous Chef" insignia that I had given Blood, Sweat and Tears for.

He turned and glared at me. We shouted, we cursed, we were two real idiots in the cold food area and we were about to get nose to nose when Tony pulled up with his Queen Mary.

“See Billbo, just chill out, its all happen’ just like Jaheezus the Christ planned” I said.
And you know that didn’t help any.
From what I recall, this set the tone for everyone in the hotel that day.
At about 2;00 P.M., the memo came from the F&B Director that there was to be a meeting at 3:00 and it listed about 12 people to be there, including Mike, Billbo and I.

Seated in a circle, we were going to clear the air as directed by the F&B Director, Kurt, who sat two seats down from me.
‘I want us to go around the circle, and everyone just go ahead and say who they have a problem with and why.
Now, I had worked with Kurt for two years and it did not surprise me when he said..
‘Bulletholes, you go first”
…because he knew that I will speak right up.

I glanced around the room. I knew that I had to try to play this right or risk looking like as big a jerk as I can sometimes truly be.
Or worse.

As this was going through my mind, I noticed Mike, my Sous Chef buddy, was just about to fall asleep. Then it hit me.

“Mike!”
Like most Kitchen people I have a big voice, that is too say, I talk too loud.
Mike jumped and I continued as per instructions.
“Mike, I know you come in at 3;00 in the morning and the odds are good you didn’t get to bed last night, but when I find you asleep in the Locker Room it just pisses me off. Try to stay F’n awake at work will ya?”
Mike just grinned at me.

And I continued around the room. If I didn’t have a problem with a particular person I just made one up because there was no way in hell anyone was going to claim I was cryin’ about Bill “Bilbo” Bobbers.
And when I got to Billbo I said:.
“Bill, I don’t know what you’re problem is …maybe its just that you are a Yankee…all I know is when you open your mouth, you could say "Good Mornin” and it would still sound ugly. It would still piss me off. But I’ve never once heard you say “good anything” to anybody. "

I looked at Kurt and he seemed to give me a nod of approval.

Well everyone else went around said whatever, including Mike who slammed me pretty good on…
who knows what, probably dinkin' around too much…
but by the end we were all ready to get the hell out of that room.

You know, sometimes us Southern folks, we can get away with saying some ugly things without sounding too ugly. I never gave anyone a nickname without clearing it with them again.

But the Moral of this story, if there is one I would say is
“If you are going to have a problem with someone, you may as well have a problem with everyone”

But there’s an even better version of that, and it fits for lot of stuff…Kurt taught me this:
‘If you think you are not part of the problem, you are part of the problem”

Friday, October 05, 2007

BITING THE BULLET

"I think most well-meaning people understand it for what it was. It was a weapon to destroy me, clear and simple"
clarence thomas

My friend Grizzbabe did a post a while back called 'A Little Too Racially Sensitive" which was about some young fellows in her community that had been fired from a job in a Theatre where they had stored ropes my fashioning nooses and hanging them from the rigging onstage. Something like that. Grizz wanted to know what her readers thought of that and had some pretty good comments.
This country is still very Racialy sensitive; and it should be. Clarence Thomas has been back in the news recently, we have the "Jena 6" and here in Dallas the City Council has been looking at banning the "baggy pants" that are worn by an awful lot of young people, but seems to be a fashion set by young black men.
Me? I can only speak for my own self, and generally find myself saying too much.
And that is what this post is about.
I didn't comment on the Grizzbabes post; partly because I have too much to say about it. You see, I have actually been fired for making a racialy insensitive remark.
Back in the 80's as a young Supervisor in the Kitchen, I pulled a fine batch of BBQ ribs out of the Oven and began to chomp on one. They were so good that I declared to the entire kitchen thet
'These ribs be good like a Mo'fo'!"
Everybody laughed and I might have gotten away with it except that I did it again the next day. Now my ladies in the Salad Area that had known me for years...Panola, Pearl and Geraldine (I had actually given blood to Geraldine before and should do a post just about her) they just shook their heads and said
"That boy is Crazy"
and sure enough not much more than an hour had passed before I found myself down in Personell.
I had offended somebody.
But this little episode would not cost me my job....that would come a few years later.

I was woking as Executive Sous Chef for a small hotel in the early 90's. There was a young black cook named Tony that I did not get along with very well. He was never prepared for business and I was usually on his ass.
One night the Restaurant was "in the Weeds", very busy and the Cooks were behind. I came onto the line to give assist and get them out of the weeds. I found that Tony did not have a scoop or a spoon for putting the Potato Salad onto plates and was using his bare hands.
"Whats the deal here Tony, is our food untouched by the Human Hand?" says I.
'Are you calling me a Monkey?" he asks.
"Yeah, Tony, a Monkey...a big floppy eared Monkey, and as soon as we get out of the Weeds, we will have us a couple of Banana Splits".

Of course, none of this was funny, or Professional, and I found the next day that I was out of a job.
I thought then that they were right to fire me. I still think they were. Hell, I didn't like it there anyway.
My point?
Maybe its that you can start out speaking of BBQ Ribs, but you wind up talking about race.
Or you might think you are speaking of proper food handling techniques, or Banana Splits, but find you are talking about race.
And you might suppose you are speaking of High Heeled Shoes, and how your neighbor is funny as Hell, but you just might be talking about Race.

I try to be sensitive but still have a hard time keeping my big Mailbox shut.
If I have offended anybody, please accept this apology and explanation.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

THE POWER OF HEELS

My buddy Soubriquet has issued an alarm concerning "The Sisterhood of the Pointy Heels"...up till now I have been unconcerned.

My upstairs neighbor, Kelly, took me to the grocery store..
'Where dya wanna go" she says
"Walmart I guess" says I.
Halfway there...I glance in her direction and clear my throat
"No I changed my mind ...lets go to Albertsons"
"Why Albertsons?" she asks.
"Cuz all my friends are there and I want em to see me shopping with a BLACK CHICK!"
And she just laughed and laughed and then she did a U-Turn.

"Where are you goin'?" I ask.
I feared I may have offended her even though she was laughin'....but she says....
"We gotta go back so I can put some heels on"
We just had a blast in that that store.

THE DOG HOUSE

The first time I got put into the Dog House, you know, when either the Mrs. kicks you out,or things have got so out of hand that she leaves herself, I saw a most amazing thing.
I was in my backyard, about 4A.M., doing what she told me to do, just thinkin' things over.
Orion was rising, along with the sparkling dancing Sirius, and it was an especially clear night. I had tired of looking up and was now studying the last of the green grass of summer.
Suddenly, I could see my shadow on the ground, and it seemed that the Pine tree lit up with some Celestial Illumination.
I quickly looked up and saw the most magnificient Meteor I had ever seen! It was directly overhead and it seemed as though it was in slow motion as it burned a trail all the way to the horizon, the great ball leaving a trail of sparks behind. As I mouthed silently "WOW" I discovered the event was not over yet....in the next ten seconds I actually heard it crackle!

Anyway, I told the Mrs. the next day that I wasn't going anywhere....but if she felt like she needed to she could leave.
She stayed.

About a year later I was back in the Doghouse and it was 4A.M. This time I was at a friends house in his backyard.
A sudden glow, a look up and another spectacular trail followed by a crackle, like an egg frying, or the sound on the 4th of July of very distant fireworks.
Two times in my life I have seen a Meteor large enough to even be able to hear it and both times I was in a lotta trouble.
Anyway, the next day I told the Mrs. that if she wanted to leave she could if thats what she thought she should do, but she already had my bags packed.
Thats when you are all the way out of the Doghouse.
I knew I wouldn't be coming back; that is to say, she wouldn't be asking me back. I knew that when I saw that Meteor.

American Indians say that a Meteor is a sign of bad times to come.
We all have our Meteors I suppose.

Monday, October 01, 2007

THE DOG STAR

I walk out at night to take a leak
underneath the stars -
oh yeah that's the life for me.
There's Orion and the Pleiades
and I guess that must be Mars -
all as clear as we long to be.

greg brown, from "The poet game"



There are a lot of reasons to like this time of year. The Winter sky is one of them. It is during the winter nights that we are looking in toward the center of our Galaxy and its abundance of Stars. If you will go outside at 5:00 A.M. you will see Orion on the rise and just below him, to the South and East, one of my favorites, Sirius, the Dog Star.



As the Winter passes, they rise earlier until next spring, when you can see them at a more amiable hour in the early evening. By earlier, I mean that at mid-winter they rise around mid-nite.


I especially love to watch Sirius. On a cool crisp morning or evening, when the atmoshere has been cleared by a passing cold front, its light dances from Blue to Purple to Green and Red. No Diamond could begin to match it. Its name comes from the Greek word for "searing" or "scorching"
It is 20 times brighter than our sun and twice the size. It IS NOT the closest Star to us, it just looks that way.

Friday, September 28, 2007

DEMOCRACY

Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor
Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament --
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so-called "developed" nations'
Idolatry of ideology
North South East West
Kill the best and buy the rest
It's just spend a buck to make a buck
You don't really give a flying fuck
About the people in misery

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there's one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

See the paid-off local bottom feeders
Passing themselves off as leaders
Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
Open for business like a cheap bordello
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you're going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution
and they call it Democracy

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there's one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

B.COCKBURN

Monday, September 24, 2007

A CHEF IS MANY THINGS

functions and formulas

The company sent me to school last week for three days. I learned all about the MOS Program "Excel" and to a lesser degree "Access".
It is "Access" that I use the most.

I had no idea that you could do all that stuff with Excel.
I am very impressed that some fellows had time to put all that together.
I can imagine when they got through they were right impressed with themselves.


Dress to Impress

I learned quite a bit about Excel, but I had a real breakthrough while I was getting dressed for the second days class.
The shirt I was going to wear looked a little bit ragged.
I do not own an Iron, and there was no time to take it to the Laundry.
I was out of any shirts that were crisp and fresh from the Laundry.

Did you know that you can iron a shirt using a 4" Sauce Pot, a 10 Inch Skillet and a French Knife? All you have to do is heat em up and press away!

BAM!
I GUARANTEE!

Impressed yet?
Low works well for Polyester and Rayon and Medium for Blends. While I recommend Medium-High for Cotton, the timing is critical, and I need to research the Metallurgy on the Cookware.
As soon as I get it all down, I will label my stove.

I also found that for Cuffs and Collars its tough to beat your George Forman Grill.
I'm gonna go buy an Ironing Board and some spray starch today!

Friday, September 14, 2007

TENTS

When the Water Baby was about 9 months old, we took her on her first Camp-out. Arrived at Toledo Bend Lake on the Texas -Louisiana border about 3a.m. The Campsite I go to there is very primitive. Fired up two Colman Lanterns and proceeded to set up the tent.

When Mrs. Bulletholes and I began Camping in the early days, before kids, our tent was a
Two-Man Pup Tent that you could not even stand up in. Of course, it did little to keep out rain, and there was no floor...we had to get cozy right down in the dirt.
I called it "Roughin' it".
How The Mrs. hung in there I don't know.
The Mrs. "Lobbied" for many a year for me to get a better tent...that is to say a REAL tent...and when Water Babe was born, she put her foot down, and we now had a "Family" style Tent that had a floor, mosquito net, 6" tall with an Awning.
Big enough to put in a Pool Table and Wet Bar.
Anyway, as I set up the Campsite and Tent, with the shadows from the Lanterns dancing on Pine trees, the Water baby cried and cried and cried...she was in totally unfamiliar territory and she did not like it! Her Mother held her tight, trying to comfort and reaasure her that all was fine.
But even familiar objects like pacifiers and bottles and Rattles, and the little cooing sounds a Mother makes, or rocking and swaying in Moms arms could not ease the terror of this strange place.
She was just flat horrified.

I finally got the tent set up. I took the poor girl in my arms and tried to show her the trees, the Lantern, the lake.
"See honey, everythings cool...its OK...you are going to love this place....amd look!
I have this Tent set up for you to sleep in...its like a little room with walls and you'll be safe in here..."

And I set her down on the floor in the tent.
She looked up to the right, then up to the left...she crawled in a circle, giving herself a Panaorama of what daddy had been working on...and she finally stopped crying.
She looked up at me and flashed a little grin...
Then she did something she still does to this day...
Her eyes will close with a pleasure that comes from knowing everything is going your way, not just everything, no, the entire Universe.
Then she will raise her face slightly to the heavens, further basking in Gods good humor, while the contentedness just washes over her...its like something out of a Charlie Brown Cartoon I swear...you would think shes eating Ice Cream!
And thats what she is doing now...alll the fear and unknowing and reluctance has been replaced like an old tent....she is right where she should be and I hope she gets everything out of it she can.
Then she's going to help save the Planet!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Category 1 Hurricane

UPDATE ON THE WATER BABY

"Daddy, I love going to School at A&M in Galveston! Yesterday there was a Tropical Storm named Humberto and the waves at the beach were awesome!"
"So last night everyone came to MY apartment and we had a party and Humberto turned into a Hurricane!"
"Of course I went swimming "out there in that hurricane"....DUH!"
"I sooo love it down here!"
"Classes? Oh yeah, I have four classes"
"Yeah, I've been on time...I mean they don't start till 1:00P.M. ...so I can stay up all night!"
"Yeah, I'm making lots of friends...they are all boys!"
'His name is Travis and we went to the Football game on Saturday and it went into Triple Overtime...but guess what?
"WE WON!!!"
"I'm coming home the 28th of October for the weekend"
'Where will I stay? I don't know...has my brother taken my room yet?"
"Cool...love you Daddy..bye!"

Monday, September 10, 2007

MY 9/11 STORY

FROM THE ABANDONED BLOG

Everyone has their story to tell concerning 9/11 and so do I.
In February of 1993 I had been looking for a Chef position for several months with not much luck. I finally found work with a good company out of Dallas called “Culinaire’ International” . They had their fingers in a lot of pots, so to speak, including several Private Clubs and a High End Catering operation that did a lot of business with Ross Perot. The biggest part of their operation was doing foodservice for some large concerns in the Trade Area of Dallas. In addition to the Apparell Mart (Clothing), the Info Mart (Technology) and Market Hall (Housewares and Furnishings), they also did events at the Dallas Convention Center. They worked out of a huge kitchen in the World Trade Center @ Dallas.
On a “try-out” basis, I was hired to work mainly on one event coming up- the “Mary Kay” convention @ the Convention Center. It was breakfast lunch and Dinner for 10,000 ladies for 3 days. We spent 2 weeks operating really as a food processor, sealing Foods we prepared into bags and storing them in 2 -18 wheel Trailers. This was all done in and just outside the World Trade Center@ Dallas.
When it came event time, the trailers and an awful lot of equipment went to the Convention Center from the World Trade Center. Included in the Equipment were about a dozen of what we called “Boiling Oceans”. They were big water baths or “Bain Maries” as we call them in the business. I don’t know how many gallons of water they held, but they were about 12’ x3’ and 2 feet deep. We used them to heat up all the food that we had been "Seal-a-Mealing” for the last 2 weeks. The heat was generated by big propane tanks, not the backyard BBQ kind, but the one’s that look like Torpedoes.
The 3 days went smoothly, and I was impressed by the company and they seemed to like me. It took 2 days of hard work to get the Conevention Center cleaned up and everything back to the World Trade Center.
On my lastday there, one of the last tasks I had was to take the leftover Propane tanks and put them in cages on the 2nd floor of the World Trade Center. On the way up I checked to make sure the valves were completely closed. Outside the cage, I again checked to make sure the valves were completely shut. And after putting them in the cages ….checked again. All 20 are secure. Cage is locked.
An hour later I was on my way home. It’s a beautiful February day in 1993 and I am excited about the prospects of going to work for “Culinaire International”. At some point I turn on the radio for some tunes but what I get is a “Special Report”.
It is breaking news and what I hear is this:
“There has been an explosion at the World Trade Center. I can see smoke pouring out of the 2nd Floor window and people are being evacuated. Emergency vehicles are arriving but we have no further information. Stay tuned for further information..”
Well, I am freakin’ out.
“I know none of those tanks were open. I checked them all. I double checked them all…” I am saying to myself.
“Then what caused the explosion?” the other voice in my head asks.
Should I go back and explain that it could not be the tanks on the second floor that I had “Secured” that had caused this explosion? Sure, I’ll tell the newsguy that and the backdrop can be the smoke pouring out of the 2nd floor window.
Like I said, I’m freakin’ out.
I frantically search the radio dial all the way home. One more report confirms the explosion being at the World Trade Center and that the smoke is coming out of windows all the way up to the 5th floor now and there appear to be only a few minor injuries. Information is still sketchy as this has just occurred within the hour.
Freakin’ out. I'm losin' it.
Pull into my driveway, run into the house to turn on the news. I am sure that not only have my chances at”Culinaire” gone up in smoke, but I am forever to be known as the guy that blew up the WTC @ Dallas.
T.V. is on.
I can stop freakin’ out.
By coincidence some fanatic had parked a Van full of fertilizer in the garage of the World Trade Center in New York City.
That event that day would come to be known as the "First World Trade Center Bombing"
That was 14 years ago and I had no idea at the time just how common this kind of thing might become.
I had no idea I would wake up one morning to find someone had flown a plane into each of those two towers.
That’s my story.