Monday, May 30, 2011

FRIDAY NIGHT BOWLING

I have taken to Bowling this last couple months. I go with my friend Robin on Sunday mornings, and then I found a group of drunks on Friday nights that I go with. They are really funny.

Theres this chick in the group that all the guys are after, but I've never seen a more lame group of guys chase a chick. And she's just dying to get caught too, but none of these clowns has a pair enough to step up and be a gentleman and just do the lady.
If this goes on much longer it could get pretty exciting because she's nuts.

Friday, May 27, 2011

THE FINDHORN COOKBOOK

A GOOD COMMUNAL KITCHEN  GROKS THAT:
""It is good to prepare vegetables with real appreciation for what you are doing, thus enabling the radiations of light to enter the food. A potato is no longer just a potato in your hands, but a thing of real beauty. You can feel it is something living, vibrating. Just stop and think what a difference this makes to the vegetables. Sometimes you feel your heart will burst with joy and appreciation"
Eileen

People that bought this book also bought The Strawberry Statement, Lord of the Flies, The Communist Manifesto, Like Water For Chocolate, In Search of the Wild Asparagus, The Zen of Motorcylcle Maintenance, The Portable Charlie Manson, The Grapes of Wrath, The Prime Rib of Miss Jean Brodie, Pick Up Ladies!, In Search of Lost Thyme, Chow Mein Kampf, and Eating Raoul.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

NOT SAFE FOR FACEBOOK

"According to the textbooks, our perception of size and distance is a product of how the brain interprets different visual cues, such as the size of an object on the retina and its movement across the visual field. Some researchers have claimed that our bodies also influence our perception of the world, so that the taller you are, the shorter distances appear to be. However, there has been no way of testing this hypothesis experimentally – until now."
FROM THE NEW SHELTON WET DRY





GOIN' CLUBBIN'!

She was at least couple years older than me, in her twenties, and when we finished that first dance we sat at my table to talk.
"So what do you do?' she asked.
'Well, I'm a chef and I am going to school to be a lawyer"
"Where do you go to school? "
"North Texas State University"
"Really? Me too" she says "What classes are you taking?"

Well, I had to think a minute, because the fact of the matter was I wasn't taking any classes at North Texas.
"English" I replied.
"Who is your teacher?" she asks.

This strikes me as an awfully odd question. Why is she grilling me about my English class, a class that I am not taking at North Texas State U?

"Smith, Mr. Smith is my English teacher."
"I've never heard of him" she says.
"I think he just teaches part time" I say.
'What room?"
"One of the...um...you know... English rooms"

She was a couple years older than me, in her twenties at least, and she smiled real soft and took my hand.
"Its been nice talking to you." she said "I'm going to go back and sit with my friends now."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

THE LAST 35 YEARS

I imagined somewhere in Oregon there was hill waiting for me to start my commune. It was going to take money, lots of money. I worked as a chef, and treated utensils as live beings. When I got home, there were girls, always lots of girls. Wrecked a car, racked my brain, hitched a ride. I bought a disco shirt, and disco shoes, and disco pants, but I just wasn't cut out for Disco. My girlfriend died, and I dropped acid and went to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I found another girlfriend. I had the keys to the Bar, and we drank a lot in those days. I discovered Green Chartreuse, nearly died, gave it up. I lost, and found and lost another love. I showed up to parties naked. I lost a lot of weight there. I had forgot all about Oregon and took up fishing. I needed a rest. I got married and stopped showing up at parties naked. Everybody died, and my kids were born. I lost a house, a wife, a fortune. Burned a good life to the ground. I sold T-Shirts, built an airport, gave away Frozen Yogurt, won a ham, walked away from a car, showed up, showed down, shacked up and moved out. Moved in, moved over, got busted and bailed out, case dismissed.

I imagine somewhere in Oregon there is hill waiting for me to start my commune, and more love to lose and find and lose again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOB!

I wrote Bob Dylan a letter one time. Told him to come on out, that I'd like to take him fishing. He never answered me, but I saw an interview with him few years later where he said he got mail all the time, people wanting to do some gardening with him, or paint, or take him out to eat, or take him fishing and stuff. Do you think he was talking about me?

Monday, May 23, 2011

WILLINGNESS

"Our recovery hinges on our willingness to grow Spiritually"
You could even leave of the grow spiritually. Just being willing is pretty good for me.
Sometimes it takes me a while to get to willing, but it always feels good when I do.

Last week my boss brought me some new-fangled fancy-ass repair tags headquarters wants me to check out. He said 'Try 'em out Steve, tell me what you think" and I said "I can tell you right now what I think. I've been to two rodeos and a Worlds Fair and these are still the stupidest things I've ever seen"
"Just give them a try Steve and let me know what you think" he says and leaves.

An hour later he passes by my desk. I tell him "They are stupid because they won't work"
An hour later I announce "They won't work because they are too complicated"
An hour after that I say "I have never heard of an 8 part repair tag with three carbons and 4 color codes"
Thirty minutes minutes go by before I ask "Do they really think this will help? I didn't even know we were having a problem."
Finally, I catch my boss trying to sneak by me so that he doesn't have to endure my tirade. But I have had time to come around.
I say "You know boss, if these idiot tags are going to help those numbskulls up at Headquarters, then I guess I'm all for it!"

Not only did this make my boss happy to hear it, It felt good for me to come around to it.
Willingness.
I love it!
But the tags are still stupid.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'M WINNING

I lost 3 pounds at my weigh in yesterday. Its 3 of the 4 pounds I gained at my last weigh in, which was the same 4 pounds I lost the time before that, and if you take into consideration the 3 pounds I gained that first week you can see that after 3 months of diet and excercise I have nether gained nor lost a pound!


I'm no Donald Trump, but I consider this to be a major accomplishment.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WHY I HATE IT WHEN IT IS SLOW AT WORK

I see that today is the anniversary of the day that criminals dug up Charlie Chaplans body and held it for ransom. I wish I was crazy enough for work like that, it sounds exciting; good physical labor worthy of a man, where you come home tired and dirty and ready for supper. I miss that, I surely do miss that.

Then I find in my research that in Germany a human can place an ad for another human who desires to be eaten alive, and if that ad is answered, the responder can be legally cannibalized. It seems there is a consent clause to Murder in Germany.

The only possible charges that could be drawn against the perpetrator, or the diner, whichever way you see it, would be "Disturbing the Peace of the Dead". That, or possibly Torture, as there is no consent clause to Torture

OK... that's a post. I'm off to lunch.
I was going to have a Reuben, but i think a salad today will be fine.

Monday, May 16, 2011

IDENTITY THEFT

I had a buddy that used to be in the Credit Card business. He also dealt in missing checks. He would call me from time to time and ask: "What would be your best guess as to the mothers maiden name for a guy named Clifton Webb?" At first, these quesions annoyed me, but as time went on I got pretty good at it. “I need a mothers maiden name for Wolfgang Barnrail” "Foxhorn" I would say 'His mothers maiden name was likely Foxhorn" "Are you sure?" he would ask. "Its my best guess." "But are you sure?" "Well, I can't guarantee anything, but it feels inspired"
Or another time I'd say “Whats in it for me if I get it right? “A new set of tires for your truck.” "OK then, Cooper, try Cooper, and if that doesn't work, call me back". Ten mnutes later he would call me back. “That wasn’t it” he’d say “Do you have another one?” “Sure, try Smith” "Why Smith?" “Percentages” “Percentages!” He would cry out. “God you are so smart!” I said “Yep. Its a good thing you came to me first”
I'm sure this dude is in prison for a long time by now. I'm sure of it.

Two Blogs a Day?

My pal over at TYWIKIWIDBE posted an article where the author says you have to post up twice a day to be considered a blogger. If I actually had something to say twice a day I just might do that. But go check out TYWIKIWIDBE, its a great site I go to all the time.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I liked 'ol Duff the best!

Strange dream with you in it last night. I was meeting you and two of your friends somewhere, can’t recall the setting. Anyway, I saw a group of three people and as I approached I realized I didn’t have my glasses on so you guys were all blurry. I got closer and was able to rule one of the three out as not being you. He was tall, had grey hair and a white sweater and a big Hollywood scarf on. He kind of resembled George Plimpton. The other two people had long straight hair, dishwater blonde hair and big glasses on.
One of them was going to be you.
The one on the right seemed to be the more slender and feminine, so as I got closer in my mind I thought it was you, but my vision was still blurry. My plan was to give you a hello hug.



But when I got to within hugging distance from you, I realized the person I was about to hug was not you, but a very effeminate male. The “real” you was standing next to him, and you were holding a leash with Duff attached. But it was too late! I had already committed to hugging this man and hug him I did.


And this is where the dream got…dreamlike. The man I hugged was rather put out by it and wouldn’t tell me his name. Actually, he was VERY put out by it and nearly fell down putting distance between he and I.


The other man in the white sweater thought it was funny as hell and laughed and laughed and laughed; his name, he said, was “Mr. Wood” and I couldn’t help feeling that there was something sexual about the name for the sake of the dream.


And you, well, you acted like you didn’t know who I was and my repeated attempts to tell you I was “Bulletholes” were unsuccessful.
But Duff, well, he was all over me , licking my face and jumping and being a big ol friendly dog.

I liked 'ol Duff the best!

That  is from an Email back in January of 2009. Someday maybe I will clean it up and make it a better story, but for now i'd just like to mark time. You can follow this link to a post from August of 2008. I just have received word that Duff, my friend Kissygirls doggie, finally passed on to the Rainbow Bridge, and waits there with tail wagging for my friend.
I love so much my friends from this blog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

BUNS OF STEEL

We didn't become addicted in one day, nosirree, and I didn't get to be a slob overnight either. See this belly? Looks like I'm smuggling a watermelon- I know. You wouldn't know it looking at me but I used to be pretty! See this here arm muscle, or whats left of it? Yessir, I was wiry, I was tight, I was hell on wheels letmetellyouwhat.


But the doctor has been on my ass for a year to do some walking and I keep shinin' him on telling him things like I don't care to walk, or that sometimes I walk (but I don't, I haven't walked any further than the couch to the refrigerator sinceIcan'trememberwhen) but you should see me dance doc, when I dance I fly and he says whens the last time you danced Steve and I tell him infactitsbeenawhile.

But I know the doc is right, I need to walk, 30 minutes a day the man said, he even tried to con me by saying just 3 days a week, and we finally struck a bargain at 15 minutes 3 days a week. Just as we say at my group, that the true measure of our recovery is in the daily maintenance of our spiritual condition; so it may well be the same, that the true measure of how big a fat slob I am may be in the daily maintenance of my physical fitness.

I remember when I first tried to quit the dope, and I had to go to 3 meetings a week, and I had to go to counseling once a week, and I had to go to court twice a month and it all seemed such a pain in the butt. Then after a little while it got to be right pleasant, and I would walk downtown for a meeting and stop at the Art Cafe for a Ham Croissant, and I would line up the cashier and the waitress and the cook and the three customers sitting there and I would recite my 12 Steps to them. I think they looked forward to seeing me they did.

And all my knucklehead dope buddies at court, I couldn't wait to see them every other week, and always hoped that none of them were going to get violated that night and drugawayinchainslikeacommoncriminal.

And now I got like 1000 days clean and sober and I don't do that so much anymore, you know, go into restaurants and recite the 12 Steps. And dear Judge Whatsherface she doesn't even need to know who I am anymore because I am a recovering fat slob of an addict, eager to carry the message that anyone can quit using drugs, lose the desire to use and findanewwaytolive.

But I know I'm a slob and I need to walk like the ol doc says, because after 6 weeks of not walking the way I said I would, I finally walked around the block.
It liked to kill me.
Not because it was so boring (which it was) but because it was so hard, it was so hard and I could feel my buttmuscles and it was not a good feel, it was a burn. But I am going to do it one day at a time, just the way I learned to do everything else, and maybe pretty soon its going to be fun, getting healthy that is, and I'll have bunsofsteel and my buttmuscleswontburn.

WON'T THAT BE FUN?

Monday, May 09, 2011

THANKS MOM

This story is actually a collection from three stories combined for the Mothers Day issue of the Alvarado Star newspaper and carried over from Facebook. Some of you that have been coming around a while may recognize all three.

THANKS MOM

"In the second grade we were allowed to walk home from school for lunch. Its hard to believe they let us do that. I don't think that can happen these days.
I always walked with Donna. We would part at the corner and meet again after lunch to return to school. Every day my mother gave me a Baby Snickers Bar for the walk back and I would split it with Donna on the corner.
One day I asked Mom if I might have two candy bars.
She inquired as to why I would need two. I told her all about Donna and how we walked together everyday, and how I split my candy bar with her always.
I'll never forget the look on Mom's face.
"Oh yes, Stevie, you most certainly may!" as she dried her hands on her Watermelon Apron and pulled another Snickers Bar from out of the cupboard.
She was beaming.
You might think that is a story about Donna, but it is more about my mother than Donna.

Dad had an old Brownie Camera, the kind that the top unfolds and the image is reflected up as you look down through a thick piece of glass.
One day at the store, Mom asked if I might want to take pictures with the camera and bought some film. I was 5 years old. She put the film in for me and set me on my way, out the back door and into the garden. I asked her what I should take pictures of and she told me to take pictures of flowers.
When I came back, I handed her the camera and a bouquet of flowers I had collected.
“Stevie, what are the flowers for?” she asked.
“Just in case the pictures don’t come out Mom”
She just laughed and kissed my head.
Momma raised her up a sweet little boy.

So Thanks Mom....
... for waiting the six hours for me to apologize for spitting in your face. I was three.
... for playing “Tarzan” with me and keeping a straight face, staying in character as I wrestled the giant snake to protect you, even though it was just a Vacuum cleaner hose.
...for the way you looked at me when I asked for that extra candy bar to share with Donna
...for yanking me out of the street while I played "Chicken" with the Hoodlum down the street in his '55 Chevy.
...for always calling me ‘Stephen” when I was in trouble, giving me a little time to brace myself.
...for the watch you gave me after I got home from sneaking out all night, saying 'Stevie, I want you to always know what time it is".
...for taking such good care of me after I moved back home to take care of you after your stroke.
...for laughing harder than I while Shila tickled me to tears on the couch.
...for “hanging on” long enough for me to get back home before you passed.

My most indelible image of Mom is when she would ask me:
"When are you and Shila going to have a baby"
“Oh, Mom, I don’t know, sometime in a while, I guess...”
In her little girl singsong voice she would reply...
“Oh, Stevie, you just have to hurry...”
Then holding her arms as though she were cradling a baby she would say:
“...It would be so terrible if I didn’t get to hold her”

She missed it by a year and this is my greatest regret. How did she know our first child would be a girl? Well, mothers know everything!
All you youngsters out there, don’t let this happen. And always be nice to your mothers and ask them many questions. One day you won’t be able to ask them anymore.

Mom died on December 1st, 1986. Dad was in a VA hospital with Alzheimer's.
If there is someone responsible for letting Mom die first, thank you.
Very kind.

I chose to post this as a note because the line breaks in the electronic online paper are not true to what you see in print and really affect the readability of the piece. The editor tells me that my mothers picture, the one that I currentlty have as my profile picture, appears on the front page as a lead in (or whatever they call it) to my column. I don't know if mom would like that or not, but I sure do.
Miss you, momma, miss you all the time.
Here is the link to the Alvarado Paper for those of you interested.
http://www.alvaradostar.net/?Story=1903

Thursday, May 05, 2011

I FINALLY CLEANED MY APARTMENT

"… I putter about the hermitage, make the bed, wash the breakfast dishes, sweep the porch; and something begins to order itself inside me as I order my external world. The ordering and puttering become a kind of prayer, a way of attending to the human which is a way of attending to the divine, charged as we are and the world is with the presence of God."
"Domestic chores also become simply something to do. One cannot pray and meditate unendingly. There is a rhythm to life lived anywhere that calms the heart if we surrender to the necessities of the world around us and the world within."
Thomas Merton


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

SHOOTING COLLEGE KIDS

It didn't stop May 4, 1970 at Kent State...

The show headed south to Jackson State.
Ten days later on May 14 and 15  there were two students killed and 12 wounded when 75 well armed Local and State Police opened fire during a protest/riot on campus.

I've never been to college, but I would imagine that for an 18-19 year old the first few years are among the most tumultuous years that they will experience, and a time of change; perhaps the last major convulsion of childhood.
I doubt that there were ever changes of such magnitude as those faced by the students on campuses in the late 60's.
I mean, I felt in even in the 7th Grade.
My first reaction was like that of many Americans, even parents of kids that had been at Kent State....those Students had it coming. They shouldn't have been protesting, one could reason,  but should have been supporting our efforts in Southeast Asia.

It took a few months to sink in.
It took a few months to conclude that pissing in the Pond at the Mall. or sitting on the steps in front of a College and refusing to move shouldn't be cause for someone to shoot at you or beat you with a stick
And it took a few months to establish that sticking a flower down the barrel of a rifle, or verbal taunts, or even taking a giant shit on a statue of Thomas Jeffferson shouldn't be reason for someone to kill you.
It took no great leap from there to find that throwing rocks was not a good reason for Armed and Helmeted National Guardsmen to fire a volley from Assault Rifles into a crowd of Students.
And that summer after the 7th Grade, thats when I decided I wanted to grow my hair out a little.

Of course, the Niven Law might never have been abstracted were it not for all these things, the first of which is:

1) Never throw shit at an armed man.
1a) Never stand next to someone who is throwing shit at an armed man

Niven's Laws #2

"Everything starts as somebody's daydream."
Larry Niven

Monday, May 02, 2011

MAN TO MAN, ITS A ROY-TAN (An Edit)

"O Father! - chiefly known to me by Thy rod - mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be Thine, more than to be this world's, or mine own. Yet this is nothing; I leave eternity to Thee; for what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?"

Father Marple - Moby Dick

Part 1 -1981
I pulled into the VA Hospital parking lot in Waco , Texas . It was a 100 mile drive from my home in Fort Worth . I was here to see my father, an Alzheimer's patient. Four years ago I had never heard of Alzheimer's. He had been here for two years now and this was my third visit. That’s not very many.

I should mention that for the years dad spent at the VA hospital he received outstanding care. Normally I would see him in the visitors area on the first floor. I don't recall ever seeing his room exactly.

Today Bill, the male nurse, ushered me to the second floor and the exercise area where Dad is on a treadmill.
"Jack" says Bill" "your son is here".
"Hmmm?" Dad grunts over the top of his glasses.
"Hey Pop, its me, Steve" I offer.
He is still treading away...
'What's that?" Dad asks.
Its your son , Jack" Bill talking… "You have a visitor"
'Hi, Dad"
"Its your son, Jack"
"Whose what?"
"I'm right here Dad, in front of you" and touch his hand that clutches the treadmill handlebars.
Dad laughs his fake belly laugh (it’s a coping mechanism, I have it too) and says
"Bill, there's someone here to see you from Chicago ".

I know that he can see me but you wouldn't know it by his expression. Of course Dad can hear us fine, but we are getting louder.
The problem is not his ears; that would be too easy. Its further in.
Still, you can't help but get louder.
Finally after about ten minutes of this verbal escalation, and the foggy, blank stare that the Alzheimer's patient has where they are not quite looking at you, not quite looking through you and not quite looking past you, but a sort of Brainsquinting thing where they are doing all three, Dad bursts out with amazing focus and clarity:
"THAT'S MY DAMN SON"
Damn right!
He is looking me right in the eye.
"Man to Man, its a Roy-Tan, Dad" as I hand him his cigar.

Dad smoked big Cigars - Stogies - they were not namby-pamby cigars- they were big and thick and puffed great clouds of smoke. In the 60's tobacco was advertised freely on television; you could light a smoke while doing your grocery shopping- and there was a hugely successful commercial for Roy-Tan Cigars.
The commercials all followed the same story line, but the one I remember best was a little bespectacled fellow, Pee-Wee, hitting a large truck with his car. He gets out of his vehicle to survey the damage as the Truck-Driver, Bruno , a huge hairy man gruffly removes himself from his truck to do the same. Just as it looks as though Bruno is going to snap Pee-Wee in half, Pee-Wee produces a huge Roy-Tan cigar from his pocket and Bruno, delighted, lets him off the hook. The announcer says "Man to man it’s a Roy-Tan" and all is well as Pee-Wee and Bruno light up together, huge clouds of smoke, and slapping each other on the back

So I hand dad his cigar. There won't be any matches, there haven't been any matches for a while, but dad is happy to smell it and to feel it in his mouth. I am happy to see him roll it from one side of his mouth to the other, magically, without ever even moving his lips, the way he always did from the time I was just a little boy

There was nothing here that could explain the swiftness of the degenerative process that I had seen for the last 4 years. And there was nothing here that could prepare me for the sharp moments of greater clarity that my father would summon from somewhere within in the next few years, even after the further erosion of his faculties.
But that is a whole 'nother story.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

SIMPLE, ELEGANT

When I was a Chef we had a huge gala event coming up. I remember watching a pastry chef painting scrollwork onto tiny chocolate boxes with a gold filigree'. He had 1000 of them to do; it was an exercise in love and patience to apply his craft in that manner.

Some where through the process someone approached him and asked if it was hard to do what he was doing. He looked up and said "no, it is really quite simple".
The observer decided it was a good time to pull out an Einstein quote and said:
"Simplicity is elegant"
and the Pastry chef looked up and smiled
"Yes, and we spend a lot of time on simplicity".

Yes we did, and we learned about more than just food in the kitchen.

It was this quote that inspired this memory, though I'm not certain why...

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”