Friday, December 28, 2012

DAYS YOU WILL NEVER FORGET

I found this picture over at the Russian website "Dilapidated Page" and posted it to Facebook, wondering what these kids are up to.

Whatever they are going to do, catch fireflies, pollywogs, butterflies or crawdads, maybe play some kind of street hockey, whatever it is, I know that they will do it for hours, losing all sense of time, and they will rememebr it the rest of their lives.

Thinking of this reminds me of my old girlfriend Kristi.
Kristi was from California.
Kristi.
She was 6’1” and a redhead.
We went camping down at Toledo Bend lake. There were some good old boys camped down there, and we went and drank beer with them one night around their huge campfire. One of them produced a frog gig, and told us we could use their boat to go gig some frogs.


This really excited Kristi, she loved frogs. When we went golfing, she would collect little ones and put them under her halter top to where it looked like her nipples were crawling around.

Anyway, we got in the boat, and Kristi held the spotlight, and I had the gig, and we cruised slowly down the bank, and finally her light hit a frog.
“Hold him there Kristi!” and she held that light steady in his eyes, he could not move, and I extended the gig out towards him, and just as I was about to stick him Kristi says:
‘This won’t hurt the frog, will it?”
“Nah, not too much” and I stuck him witht the spring loaded gig.
"SSHHHHHWAPPP!"
Man, that frog started kicking, croaking out a frog scream, and the mud was flying and water splashing, till finally, cross-eyed and bleeding, he expired at the end of the gig.

Kristi was horrified.
We loaded up the gear, drove four hours back to Fort Worth, I dropped her at her house, and I never saw her again.
I'll rememeber it the rest of my life.

She never even returned my calls.
Picture of a spring-loaded frog gig.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

CHRISTMAS WITH RIP

AND THE GUITAR  THAT DAVEMOWSGRASS BUILT

Sunday, December 23, 2012

WHAT THE WORLD WOULD BE LIKE WITHOUT YOU


Strangest thing happened to me last night. I was watching "Its a Wonderful life", like I do every year and you know the part at the end where George Bailey throws himself in the river?
That’s not the end of the movie!
I've watched that movie  a million times, and like everybody else, cried like a baby at the end. But it wasn't really the end. I was turning it off too soon!

I guess I like it better with the weird new happy ending, with the surprise appearance of  Clarence Osgood, Angel Second Class, who tells George Bailey :
"Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings"
Its pretty close.
 I mean, I always thought it was a pretty good movie, what with George saving his brothers life;  and then he and Mary dancing in the High School gym, and the floor opens up and they fall into the pool; they get married, pop out a couple kids, then George throwing himself off the bridge into that icy water. That's not a bad way to go for a guy that's facing 20 years, is it?

“You’ve been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you.” 
Clarence Osgood, Angel Second Class

Saturday, December 22, 2012

THE BEARD

Yes , I grew a beard during No-Shave November, and it looks so good (in a Brad Pitt kind of way) that I think I'll keep it.

Actually, the girl down at Subway Sandwiches commented last week.
"Who is the guy in the movie that runs around a hotel trying to kill his wife and kid?" she asked.
"The Shining" I say.
"Yeah, but who is the guy?" she asks again.
"Jack Nicholson" I say.
"Yeah" she says "That's who you look like!"




Pity, no pictures just yet,

THINKING ABOUT ETERNITY SOME KIND OF ECSTASY GOT A HOLD ON ME

Sun's up, uh huh, looks okay
The world survives into another day
And I'm thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

I had another dream about lions at the door
They weren't half as frightening as they were before
But I'm thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Walls windows trees, waves coming through
You be in me and I'll be in you
Together in eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Up among the firs where it smells so sweet
Or down in the valley where the river used to be
I got my mind on eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I'm wondering where the lions are...
I'm wondering where the lions are...
Huge orange flying boat rises off a lake
Thousand-year-old petroglyphs doing a double take
Pointing a finger at eternity
I'm sitting in the middle of this ecstasy

Young men marching, helmets shining in the sun,
Polished as precise like the brain behind the gun
(Should be!) they got me thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I'm wondering where the lions are...
I'm wondering where the lions are...
Freighters on the nod on the surface of the bay
One of these days we're going to sail away,
going to sail into eternity
some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I'm wondering where the lions are...
I'm wondering where the lions are...





Friday, December 21, 2012

BLACK DIAMOND BAY



"I was siting home alone one night in LA
Watching old Cronkite on the seven o'clock news
It seems there was an earthquake that
Left nothing but a Panama hat
And a pair of old Greek shoes
Didn't seem like much was happening
So I turned it off and went to grab another beer
Seems like every time you turn around
There's another hard-luck story that you're gonna hear
And there's really nothing anyone can say
And I never did plan to go anyway
To Black Diamond Bay."
Last lines Bob Dylan's great narrative song about the end of the world.
(CLICK HERE)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"SAVE ONLY PLENTY"

 Then there is the other kind of Christmas with present piled high, the gifts of guilty parents as bribes because they have nothing else to give. The wrappings are ripped off and the presents thrown down and at the end the child says—”Is that all?” Well, it seems to me that America now is like that second kind of Christmas. Having too many THINGS they spend their hours and money on the couch searching for a soul. A strange species we are. We can stand anything God and nature can throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick.  

- John Steinbeck 1959, Letters of Note 

from thisisnthappiness

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

TEXAS DUST STORM


"There are places not down on any map..."
Moby Dick

Going Home

by Leonard Cohen

I love to speak with Leonard
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd
He’s a lazy bastard
Living in a suit

But he does say what I tell him
Even though it isn’t welcome
He just doesn't have the freedom
To refuse

He will speak these words of wisdom
Like a sage, a man of vision
Though he knows he’s really nothing
But the brief elaboration of a tube

Going home
Without my sorrow
Going home
Sometime tomorrow
Going home
To where it’s better
Than before

Going home
Without my burden
Going home
Behind the curtain
Going home
Without the costume
That I wore

He wants to write a love song
An anthem of forgiving
A manual for living with defeat

A cry above the suffering
A sacrifice recovering
But that isn’t what I want him to complete

I want  him to be  certain
That he doesn’t have a burden
That he doesn’t need a vision
That he only has permission
To do my instant bidding
Which  is to SAY what I have told him
To repeat

Going home
Without my sorrow
Going home
Sometime tomorrow
Going home
To where it’s better
Than before

Going home
Without my burden
Going home
Behind the curtain
Going home
Without the costume
That I wore

I love to speak with Leonard
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd
He’s a lazy bastard
Living in a suit








Monday, December 17, 2012

Handyman Bulletholes

Dear Handyman Bulletholes:

I just paid $86 to have the knob on my stove screwed back on. Granted there was a slight trick to screwing it back on (which was why I couldn't do it myself) but $86? And he had to finagle to get the price that low. Geesh. is this fair?

Dear Stoveless:
Back when I was doing tile that kind of thing happened all the time. I'd do some little job and I'd be supposed to charge 80 bucks, and the little old lady would pull out her checkbook.
I'd look at her and note the sparse lifestyle, the 3 crackers in a baggie next to a half cup of tea that served as her lunch, and her cat--the only thing left in the world for her-- dozing on the kitchen counter next to the Social Security check that didnt even cover the mortgage; I'd see the bottles of pills lined up next to her daily Pill Minder; and the pictures of her husband, handsome in the 1935 wedding picture and even more handsome in his navy uniform a few years later; I'd see the picture of a young man in his Vietnam era uniform, who looked a lot like her husband, and another picture of an even younger man in Marine Desert khakies, a boy really, who seemed to oddly favor  her more than the other two men, and next to his picture was an American flag folded into a triangle. 
I'd figure my mileage at 50 miles one way, the two hours on the road and the hour I'd spent at her house, and it would seem to come out to something like 100 bucks.
I'd say "Would 20 bucks be too much?" and I never made any money, because it took ten bucks to get there, and another 10 bucks to get to the next job (if there was one) and now a third of my day was gone... it was pure torture.
I cried myself to sleep every night.
Handyman Bulletholes


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"PLAYING WITH BULLETHOLES"

from a comment left at yesterday's "we were sixteen again"

I'll have to tell the one about the night Susan was in the front seat with my old pal Billy, and I was in the back seat with her friend Rhonda, and the tow truck the next day needed 100 feet of chain to pull Billy's car out of the mud on that old dirt road we were on.

She and Rhonda looked really cute hip deep in the mud, rocking Billy's car back and forth while I stuck logs under the tires and Billy gave it the gas. We were a muddy mess and had to walk back to the party we had left, and parents were called.
Rhonda told her later that I was "all hands", and Billy sold his Harley-Davidson  franchise ten years ago and is now a millionaire, and I can't pass that spot (which is now a four lane blacktop) without smiling, and wondering if Rhonda's breasts ever came in..


Friday, December 14, 2012

A HOLE IN MY DASHBOARD

http://fabforgottennobility.tumblr.com/

Thursday, December 13, 2012

WE WERE SIXTEEN AGAIN

It started out as just dinner and a show, but things got tricky fast. Somewhere off Mockingbird Lane, we took a wrong turn, ended up in a knife fight at the Frito Lays loading dock. Susan is quick with a blade, those Braceros never knew what hit them, and we were back on our way to Pharaohs Egyptian lounge, where belly dancers brought flaming kabobs to the table.

Then the exotic middle eastern music kicked in, and we huffed a little Opium from giant Hookas, before staggering across the street to see James McMurtry live in concert.

Now, I got to tell you about Susan. I known her ever since puberty, we been partners in all sorts of crime, that is to say I did everything I knew how to do in order to corrupt Susan, and her parents never liked me too much since the night she came home with all those hickeys. But 40 years later, she was in town for Christmas and staying with her parents, and she had snuck out to go carousing with me, just like the good old days.

Anyway, we left the James McMurtry show, and we were heading home, nice and easy as you please, and I imagine she was hoping to be able to slip into the side door at home without waking mom and dad.

But there on Mockingbird Lane, we came across one of these fancy North Dallas Shopping Centers. It was lit up like you wouldn’t believe! See these trees in this picture? Well, the trees in Dallas had just about 6 million more lights in them than these.


It was like a Nuclear Holocaust, glowing bright white, and I just couldn’t stop laughing at all these lights, and it felt like I’d done a little Microdot, you could hear the lights buzz and Susan pulled her visor down to sheild her eyes there were so many and then all of a sudden I was sobered by the thought of all the poor squirrels that used to live in these trees, because I know squirrels surely did before they put up those lights ( leaving me to also wonder where all the squirrel families had moved to, and how many babies did they have, and did they lose any during the move), on account that there was no way anything alive could live in this inferno during Christmas.

So we drove out of the blaze of the shopping center, and no sooner were we on the freeway that we saw ahead what looked like a dust storm, but before either of us could say a word there appeared before us a boulder, right in the middle of our lane, and we were going 60, and we hit this big son-of-a-bitch of a rock that just came out of nowhere, and we went airborne for a moment, we could have been killed sure as the world, but Susan kept that big Lexus of hers on the road.
I’m so glad I wasn’t driving, or we’d be dead now.

“Whew” we said and looked at each other.

The car seemed to be operating OK but we decided we better pull over and see if there was anything wrong. What we had hit was a big chunk of concrete that came off the divider when a car in the oppsosite lane had hit it. It was the size of a big suitcase.
There was damage. I looked under her car to see we were hemorrhaging transmission fluid. So we had to pull in a service station, and call AAA, and they sent a wrecker and took us to the airport and Susan rented a car.

Let me tell you something about that. Over the next few months, that little night out at Dallas was going to cost AAA and State Farm Insurance somewhere around $20,000. They paid for the wrecker, the rent-car-car, the new transmission which took 3 weeks to get installed,, the plane tickets that took Susan home to another Rent-a-Car, and the plane tickets back out here to get her car a month later.
If we’d been in my car, not only would we be dead, but I’d have been shit out of luck. I don’t have AAA or collision.

So after we got that Rent-a-Car, and we back on the road at 4 o’clock in the morning, and Susan wondering if her parents would find out she had been with "that darn Bulletholes" all night, which she sure should have known better, I said:
“Since we are out, we may as well go to breakfast, doncha think? I’m hungry, and surely nothing else could go wrong, right?”

So we sat at IHOP, and ordered breakfast, and we both had worried looks on our faces, between the car and the near death experience, it just seemed so complicated.
I looked over my coffee cup.
“Susan, what are you going to tell your parents?”
And we just laughed and laughed and laughed.
Some things never change.
We were 16 again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MY TWELVE-HUNDREDTH POST


DECEMBER 12, 2012
 THIS IS MY 1200th PUBLISHED POST.
MY FIRST POST WAS SEPTEMBER 27, 2006. I FINISHED THAT YEAR WITH 58 POSTS.
IN 2007, I POSTED 192 TIMES.
2008 CAME IN AT 209, 2009 SAW 217.
I DROPPED SIGNIFICANTLY IN 2010 WITH ONLY 78 POSTS, BUT THERE WAS A 365 DAY PERIOD BETWEEN JULY OF 2008 AND JULY OF 2009 THAT I POSTED 342 TIMES.
DAMN!
2011 SAW ME POST A RECORD 218 TIMES

SO FAR IN 2012 I HAVE  POSTED 228 TIMES. I WILL LIKELY FINISH THE YEAR WITH CLOSE TO 240.
A NEW RECORD.

IT REALLY HAS BEEN A BLAST, BUT I DIDN'T PLAN ANY OF IT.

CRASHINGLY BEAUTIFUL, PART ONE

“That’s the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. “Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?”
Mary Oliver


I just got Netflixs at home, and the first Documentary I looked at was Carl Sagans 13 part series called "COSMOS". It holds up very well even after 25 or more years.
""What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic."
Carl Sagan
image © 2010 Gustavo Sanabria



love is a place

& through this place of

love move

(with brightness of peace)

all places

yes is a world

& in this world of

yes live

(skillfully curled)

all worlds

ee cummings


All three appear in my Facebook Album titled Crashingly Beautiful, as a tribute to the Blogsite f the same name.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ETERNITY MEDALLION



I sat in a meeting two weeks ago, the place was packed, and we passed around something called an "Eternity Medallion", and reflected on the life of a man named Stan. Stan had died the day before. Stan had 34 years of being clean and sober. Stan could be found at meetings five days a week. He was 58--that's old by NA standards-- but much beloved by the young folks in the group, who respected his quiet example.

Not that Stan didn't talk much, he just didn't use too many words. If you were to see Stan at the grocery store, you would likely look right past him. He had a kind, weathered face, I never saw him wear anything but a t-shirt, or maybe an old flannel in the winter; jeans, splattered with paint or drywall putty; and a well worn pair of work boots. Stan ran his handyman operation out of the back of a beat up old pickup truck. he got by, most months, other months were probably more difficult.

 I’ll never forget when I was about 3 weeks in the program and he shared at a meeting:
“If you are new here, and you don’t know anybody yet, just come after the meeting and stick your hand out and say “h-h-h-h-ello”…we won’t bite you or nuthin’” and he was lookin’ right at me with that kind kind face when he said it.
I’ll just never forget it.
Because I didn't know anybody yet.

There was a young girl that shared as we passed the medallion. Seems she ran into Stan down at the corner grocery one time and she was Hi-Hi-High, and he said to her "Aren't you in the wrong place?" and he hugged her. A week later, she came back to the group, and he saw her and he said "Are you sure this is where you should be?" and he hugged her, Through tears, she said she never went and got high again after that.

Stan was an old timer in the program who had learned to stay clean "no matter what". And his soft example touched many lives.
And as we passed the medallion around, I looked at it and it had some words on the back:
"NO ADDICT SEEKING RECOVERY NEED EVER DIE..."
and for a moment I realized that Stan was immortal. He had died clean, and that is what the Eternity Medallion is about.

The words on the medallion, I looked up later. They come from a prayer in the program that goes like this:
"My Gratitude speaks when I care and share the NA way; that no addict seeking recovery need ever die from the horrors of addiction"
Its called "The Gratitude Prayer.

I want you to know, at the memorial the next Sunday for Stan, this nondescript man who worked so hard, and barely stayed one step ahead of living out of his truck, at that memorial you would have thought Stan was a Senator, or a Mayor, or somebody...
But the program, its based on attraction rather than promotion.
There were more than 400 people there.
Stan, old Stan, he had touched a lot of lives.

Friday, December 07, 2012

THE BEST CHRISTMAS PARTY I EVER WENT TO

Someone asked me if I ever picked a girl up. You know, like took someone I didn't already know home, and make mad passionate love to them all night long. Or even just sneak out into the parking lot for a quick one in the backseat.
The short answer is no.

But I nearly did at a party one night a long long time ago. It was a Radio Shack Christmas Party, and some friends took me with them.


There was this girl there, and somehow we just hit it right off, and she came wiggling up to me and after an hour (we just couldn't stop hugging each other) she said she just lived right around the corner, and we went to her house and listened to Bob Dylan records all night. She had been married to a Chef, and I was a Chef, and we just hit it off ya know?

I mean, she even knew what a Squab was. I was very impressed.

So anyway, hours into the night, she finally stands up and says “Are you ready for bed?” and I stand up and we go to her room, and there are stacks of all these cooking magazines everywhere, and she starts taking off her shirt, and I’m taking mine off and I look and on her bedstand there is a clock.
And the clock says its quarter till six.

I looked at her and said “Is that clock right?” and she says “Yes” and I said “You aren’t going to believe this” and she says “What?” and I says:
“I have to be in to work in fifteen minutes!”
And I put my shirt back on and left.

And that’s as close as I ever came to picking someone up.

I SHOULD WRITE MORE POLTICAL POSTS THAN I DO

I lay awake all nnight working on this. Its pretty bad.

John Boehner walks into a bar. Obama is the bartender.
“I’d like a beer” says Boehner.
“We don’t serve beer” says Obama.
“Then gimme a whiskey sour” demands Boehner.
“We don’t have that either” says Obama.
“Well, what do you have?”
“All we have is Kool-Aid” says the president.
Boehner wipes the sweat from his brow, looks like he might cry and says:
“Well, better make it a double.”


"Hmmm, its not that bad after all"


Thursday, December 06, 2012

GETTING CONNECTED TO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING ON-LINE

I’m ahead on my Christmas shopping this year. I’ve actually bought 3 presents already. I’m a notorious and tortured last minute shopper. Then I heard about online shopping, so I called my friend Susan to see what that’s about.


“Hi Susan! I’m doing pretty good so far this Christmas. “
“How do you figure Steve?”
“Well, I already bought some presents, and I haven’t told anybody “Christmas can blow me” yet”
“That’s very good for you Steve”
“Susan, do you ever shop online?”
“Sure , all the time. I’m doing it right now.”
“Well, what’s that like?”
“What do you mean?”
“How do you do it?”

There kind of a pause, and I can hear the wheels turning in Susan’s mind over the phone.

“Do you have any idea what you are looking for?” she asks.
“No.”
“Then online shopping probably isn’t for you.”
“But Susan, I hear so much good stuff about it. Maybe I could learn.”
Again, a pause.
‘Well, tell me how you usually Christmas shop”

“How do I usually Christmas shop? Well, usually about December 23rd, when there is no moon, I go to Walmart, and wander lonely haggard through the aisles; I search and search, and find nothing. I find nothing, because mine is not a shopping trip, it is a confession. It is like sitting in a darkened booth adjacent to a priest, surrounded by lights and trees and fake snow; amidst beautiful ornaments and twinkle-lites and glitter; there is wrapping paper with happy little snowmen that I can’t afford (I suck at wrapping anyway) and smiling faces everywhere that puzzle me; it is a money shuffle where the plastic reindeer are marked down at midnight and everyone not smiling is in a hurry, in a hurry to a confession of their own, and my confession is that I do not know how to act around all this gaiety, all this capitalism, all this tinsel.
So I'm sad, very sad, and come Christmas Day I just want to scream like I'm at Gitmo.
 When I break it down, I don't even know who I need to buy for and I wouldn't have a clue what to get them if I did. Its the most confusing time of the year”

Again a silence, a longer silence then Susan softly asks:
“Steve, what happened to you to make you feel this way about Christmas?”
“Oh, that’s easy. A long time ago, someone told me not to get them anything for Christmas. So I made a bad mistake, and didn’t. ”

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

PLAY MISTY FOR ME

We've had quite a week down at my local NA group.
There have been 3 members die.
Two died clean and sober, and the third, well, she died from the disease. That is to say, she OD"d.

One of the members was an old timer, 34 years clean, who made probably 5 meetings a week and was much beloved of the young folks. I didnt know until he died that he was my Great-Grand-Sponsor; that is to say, he was my Sponsors Sponsors Sponsor. I'll write about him in another post.

What I'd like to share with you today is about the 35 year old woman who also passed on, and passed on clean, leaving behind two children.
I did not know Misty well. I never once met her. I did not know her outside of Facebook. She attended a group on the other side of town, and we shared mutual friends in the recovery community. From pictures I could see she was pretty; from her posts and comments she was smart and funny, and she liked to write updates that reflected what the program of Narcotics Anonymous was doing for her, and share about the funny things her kids did, and she would post pictures of herself getting the kids ready for school and stuff.

On my Facebook page, I keep a lot of picture albums, like a tumblr of sorts. I have done a few posts and mentioned my album titled FULLY CLOTHED WOMEN before. I also have other albums named MY FAVORITE COLOR, and ITS NOT SAFE HERE, THIS ISNT HAPPINESS.
Another is called CRASHINGLY BEAUTIFUL, and it serves as a tribute and vehicle to post from a great blog by the same name.

Bear with me here.

If you can imagine, I get a lot of people that send me images all the time and they say "Maybe you can use this in one of your albums". The images are usually of what they what they think would be a candidate for the album FULLY CLOTHED WOMEN, that is to say, women without any clothes on. These images never have any real artistic value, or else they are 100% pornographic, and I just want to say to them :
"Why don't YOU post THAT FILTH on YOUR page"
But instead, I just delete them from my computer before I get infected with something.

Bear with me again, I'm about to wrap it up.

Back in September, I got a message and an image from Misty. She said "Maybe you can use this", and it was a wonderful image. I said yes, let me go find something to go with this, and it didn't take long over at Crashingly Beautiful to find a Thomas Merton poem.

So I posted it. Its the only image that I have ever posted that was sent to me by someone. Now Misty is gone, and I never once met her. It begs so many questions.
What did Misty like about the image? And what was it about the image that made her think I would like it as much as I did? All she said about the poem I put with it was "Perfect", and that was enough, but what else did she think? What was it about the poem that inspired me to match it with the image? Did it really fit? Does it fit any more or less now, with Misty passed on to her silence?




IN SILENCE

Be still.
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
to speak your
name.
Listen
to the living walls.

Who are you?
Who
are you? Whose
silence are you?

Who (be quiet)
are you (as these stones
are quiet). Do not
think of what you are
still less of
what you may one day be.

Rather
be what you are (but who?)
be the unthinkable one
you do not know.

O be still, while
you are still alive,
and all things live around you
speaking (I do not hear)
to your own being,
speaking by the unknown
that is in you and in themselves.

“I will try, like them
to be my own silence:
and this is difficult. The whole
world is secretly on fire. The stones
burn, even the stones they burn me.
How can a man be still or
listen to all things burning?
How can he dare to sit with them
when all their silence is on fire?”



–Thomas Merton, “In Silence”




Monday, December 03, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

ONLY 3 MORE FRIDAYS UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD

Did you ever see the movie Waterworld?

There is an old man trapped in the sunken hull of the Exxon Valdez, the oil tanker that wrecked up in Alaska. He has been there many years, all bearded, floating around in a rowboat on all the oil the Valdez was carrying that didn't leak out and destroy the eco-system when it ran aground on the Prince William Sound in 1989. His job (in the movie) is to occasionally pump oil up to the deck, but he is trapped down there for life.
It’s a pitiful existence.
Then one day, someone drops a lit match down a pipe into the hold where he floats around in his rowboat, and you see a close up of the lit match dropping in slow motion past his face, and just as it passes his face he whispers to the camera “Oh Thank God” and the match hits the surface of the oil, and the ship explodes.
The movie kinda sucks, but I love that scene.



Shortly after midnight on March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez, a mile off-course in an attempt to avoid icebergs, ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, gashing its hull and releasing oil into the Pacific Ocean.



By the time the oil stopped flowing, nearly 11 million gallons had leaked out, contaminating 1,300 miles of shoreline and stretching over 470 miles from the crash site.


Do we really want to keep punching holes in the earth, extracting and transporting one of the messiest most dangerous substances on the planet and refining it into one of the most flammable substances on the planet, and that even when things go well, the by-products are poisoning the atmosphere, and according to many scientists, contributing to global warming?
Do we really want to de-regulate and open more lands for an industry that deals with such a toxic substance?
It was the end of the world for these guys, and another 500,000 animals just chillin' on the Prince William Sound that day.


Here we see a tanker being escorted through the Prince William Sound, which is standard operating procedure today.  Its a very good measure, I applaud it,  but it is an old fashioned solution for a very modern problem, is it not? And I'm no sailor, but doesnt it seem like the Tugs should be IN FRONT of the tanker? Haha.  

Like my pal over at The View From Outside My Tiny Window has expressed:
Innovation and technology, leading to building and creating 'things,' determines EVERYTHING in a civilized society. (If you don't personally know a scientist or inventor in your neighborhood advancing society's interests, or some kid who WANTS TO DO SO, you have a long term problem.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A LITTLE BIT OF HOPE

IOWA TEST OF BASIC SKILLS

A few days ago I was driving down the road daydreaming like I do, and I got to wondering whatever happened to the results of the Basic Skills tests I took back in the second grade. I don’t think they ever gave me the results. Probably those results are Top Secret, sealed up in a vault somewhere with men who stare at goats, the Ark of the Covenant and Carl Sagan’s spaceship.
Sagan, as you must know, was from Outer Space. Ever notice how he parted his hair? It was to hide his third eye.
Thats classified information.

I was reminded of The Iowa Test of Basic Skills again tonight, down at the Quick-Pic store, where five times in a row I turned in cards that were filled out wrong and rejected by the lottery machine.
There was a girl there, a pretty girl, and like me, she had never ever bought a lotto ticket her whole life.
So Hafiz, the cashier at the counter, gave us a quick tutorial and we went to work.

She was filling out eight cards. That’s 40 chances to match 6 numbers and win the $475,000,000 jackpot. I only had my one to fill out, with 5 sets of numbers, but like I said it kept getting rejected.
A little bit of hope is a dangerous thing.
I felt just like I did in the second grade, filling out all those little bubbles with my number two pencil, the number two pencil was totally CRUCIAL they had said, and I filled in all my cards wrong, one after another, and the lotto machine just spat them back until finally Hafiz, who barely even speaks English, kindly filled mine out for me while I wondered if he had taken the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, knowing if he had he would most definitely  done better than I, while I kept one eye on the pretty girl.

I watched over her shoulder while she filled in the little bubbles.
“If you win, I’ll just DIE” I said.
She looked up and smiled “So will my husband!”.
So I held my hand to my ear, as if I had a phone, and said “Call me, OK?” and we both laughed at the thought that her husband might die, and we become lovers, billionaire lovers at that, and we might live on the beach at Monaco, drinking champagne and eating Oysters, Duck Galantines, and Shrimp Paella .
A little bit of hope is a dangerous thing.

Then Hafiz says “OK, we got your numbers right here buddy”, and I paid my 10 bucks.
You know, somebody has to win, it happens all the time, but the odds are that the ten minutes of my life I spent at the Quick-pic are ten minutes of my life I will never get back.

****************


I found out this morning I didn't win the Four-Hundred Seventy-Five Million Dollar Jackpot, but there is always this:




JUST IN TIME FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, 12/21/2012!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

HOPPER, ON DYLAN AND THE MAKING OF EASY RIDER



"In the end, I decided to pack the Easy Rider soundtrack with all the hits songs of the day. It was a pretty far out idea – no one had done it before. I thought it would be so cool if the movie ended with Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”. The problem was Dylan didn’t like Easy Rider or the song so much. He thought the track was pretentious and he had a real problem with the end of my movie – “You can’t end it like that! Peter should go back and blow those guys away.” Eventually, he said I could use it as long as I didn’t play it over the end credits – “Man, it’s depressing enough as it is.” Then he did something amazing. He got out a pen and paper and started to write – “The river flows, it flows to the sea, wherever that river flows, that’s where I want to be. Flow river, flow.” He then handed it over to me and said, “Give this to McGuinn, he’ll know what to do with it.”
FROM SABOTAGE TIMES

I can hardly believe this is the only picture I can find of Hopper and Dylan together.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A MIGHTY POOR THANKSGIVING

It was back when I lived at the end of the road, in a burned out trailer, and had a sometime job of helping a blind man fix his supper, which he shared with me.

At Thanksgiving that poor year, he had been out of town, and when he was out of town, I had no food.
I hadn't eaten in a week.
There were some railroad tracks behind me, and in my hunger I would wonder if I could catch one of the pigeons that came and fed on the spilled grain that lay between the tracks.
Then one day, as I caught myself wondering what the neighbors cat might taste like, I knew I had to make a move.

There was a guy down the road kept chickens, and I took my beat up van, and went up and down the road until I ran over one accidentally on purpose.
It didn't kill it entirely, just cracked its back.
And then I felt bad, real bad, about what I done, so I took it, cackling and squawking, up to the man’s doorstep. He said it was no problem, that he hated those “stupid chickens”, and while explained to me that they had no sense, no sense at all, he snapped its head off.
Then he had his wife cook it up for me, complete with mashed potato, green beans, biscuits, and gravy.
Well, she was a big fat woman and she couldn’t cook for shit, and I was sick for three days.
True story.
It was a really bad year.

Whenever I think of Thanksgiving, and things to be thankful for, I always think of Arnold, the blind man who took care of me when I could not care for myself.
Hope ya'll have a nice Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

ANOTHER REASON I'M GLAD TO NOT BE AN ASSHOLE CHEF ANYMORE

'My roommate Angel Eyes comes in with all these bags of groceries.

“Are you going to make the dressing for us Thanksgiving?” she asks.
“Sure, I’d be glad to!”
“How about the gravy? Will you make the giblet gravy too?”She asks.
“OK. I’ll go get a turkey to cook, and make the giblet gravy.”
“You don’t have to get a turkey. T-Bird is cooking the turkey at her house” she says.
“Well, then Teresa should be making the giblet gravy” says I.
Angel Eyes looks at me all baffled.
She blinks twice--*blinkblink*-- and says:
“WHY?”
“Well” I say “Because you need the drippings to make turkey giblet gravy. And also the giblets, which come with the turkey.”
I said it with all the kindness in the world, but it still comes out with an edge.
Angel Eyes reaches into one of her grocery bags and pulls out a couple pouches of Chicken Gravy mix.
“Can you maybe” --*blinkblink*-- use this to make the turkey giblet gravy?” she asks.
I can’t help it. I reach into one of her bags and pull out a can of sweet potatoes.
“I don’t know Angel Eyes. Do you think you can use these to make green bean casserole?”
God, I feel like such a prick.
I’m so glad I’m not a chef any more.

Anyway, Thanksgiving morning comes and T-Bird brings the cooked turkey over so I can make giblet gravy. She had called two days before to find out how long to cook it.
"You got a whole turkey, yes?" I ask.
"Yes, a whole turkey" she says "Should I have gotten just a breast?"
"No, you did good. The whole turkey will have the giblets and the neckbone. They are either in the carcass, or sometimes they put them in the neck flap, in a little paper bag. Just take them out of the bag before you cook the bird."
"OK"

So T-Bird brings in the turkey on thanksgiving morning. Its a beautiful golden brown.
I drain the stock and grease off the pan.
I look in the pan. No Giblets
I look in the carcass. No Giblets.
I open up the neck flap. No giblets.
Hmm.
"Hey T-Bird, where are the giblets for this turkey?"
"Oh, I got them right here."
She reaches into her purse and pulls out a baggie with the giblets in it.
They are just as raw as a live cow, giblet juice in the bottom of the bag.
I can hardly believe it.
So in my best Pepe Le Pew voice I say
"Hoh-hoh-ho! and what ees thees my sweets? A courtship gesture? The raw giblets are so nice. so HOT. We can make the love now, yes?"



Friday, November 16, 2012

THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY

It’s a very pleasant memory for me, thinking back to the kitchen table when I was in grade school and studying the cereal box positioned just the other side of my bowl. It could be dark outside, mom could be chatting away, but my attention was always focused on the box. I studied the nutrition facts the way I study Labor department statistics these days, and I would imagine what a wonderful place Battle Creek, where all the cereal seemed to come from, must be.


And oh my the games, and the fun facts, and the fabulous prizes you could win by saving box tops!
I think that’s how I got my first ant farm, was sending in box tops.

I remember saving up for a bowling alley too, but it was a major disappointment when it came in. It wasn’t really a bowling alley at all, it was just a cheap plastic thing with a guy with a spring loaded arm that shot the ball and hit these pins and they all were connected together and every shot was a strike.
There wasn't even a ball return, like there was in the picture.
Completely bogus, man.

But yeah, breakfast was always cool, even with the sleepy eyes and pillow-face, and being tired (everyone is tired when they first wake up) and mom chirping out “Oh what a beautiful morning!” like she was Doris Day.
Breakfast was always cool, because I had all those cool breakfast pals; the Waffle Whiffer, Aunt Jemima, and my very own Malto Meal mobile.

I’m thinking back, and I suddenly realize that the first girl ever kissed was on the back of a cereal box. She had red hair in pigtails, and a straw cowgirl hat, wearing a blue checked mini-skirt and cowgirl boots, and her eyes were also blue. She was on the Wheat Chex box, one of the Checkerboard Squarecrows friends, and I thought she was hot.
I kept that box underneath my bed for a while, at least until I discovered the brassiere section of the Montgomery Wards catalog. I outgrew cereal boxes, and started lusting for the Tang Bang girl on TV and the little dance she did with two other girls and a guy, and I just wanted to get between 'em with a great big ol' hard-on like a BoisD'arc fence post you could hang a steel rail gate from.

My friend Nancy says she grew up on Captain Crunch and Dr. Peppers. Nancy made straight A's. Who knew?

These days, on weekdays before work, I sit in line at Whataburger like schmuck and get a Taquito with bacon and sausage, and contemplate that if I got it without the extra bacon I could save 120 calories.
I keep a box of Special K at home, but I couldn’t begin to tell you what is on the box.
I seriously doubt there are any games, or offers for ant farms on the back of that box.
The Tang Bang girl might be on a box of Special K, but she would be all grown up, and serious about fitness, and no longer an inspiration for juvenile lust.

God how I hate being old. I don’t really have an imaginary rabbit telling me “Tricks are for Kids”, or a Sugar Bear singing “Can’t get enough SuperSugarCrisp, keeps me going strong", or loud-mouthed Tony shouting “ITS GREAT!” anymore.

It’s a bad business, growing up.


THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!
SUNNY SIDE UP!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

WHIRL ON SILVER WHEELS

High speed drift on a prairie road
Hot tires sing like a string being bowed
Sudden town rears up then explodes
Fragments resolve into white line code
Whirl on silver wheels

Black earth energy receptor fields
Undulate under a grey cloud shield
We outrun a river colour brick red mud
That cleaves apart hills soil rich as blood
Whirl on silver wheels

Highway squeeze in construction steam
Stop caution hard hat yellow insect machines
Silver steel towers stalk rolling land
Toward distant stacks that shout "Feed on demand"
Whirl on silver wheels

100 miles later the sky has changed
Urban anticipation -- we get 4 lanes
Red orange furnace sphere notches down
Throws up silhouette skyline in brown
Whirl on silver wheels

Sundogs flare on windshield glass
Sudden swoop skyward iron horse overpass
Pass a man walking like the man in the moon
Walking like his head's full of irish fiddle tunes
Whirl on silver wheels

The skin around every city looks the same
Miles of flat neon spelling well-known names
USED TRUCKS DIRTY DONUTS YOU YOU'RE THE ONE
Fat wheeled cars squeal into the sun
Whirl on silver wheels

Radio speakers gargle top 40 trash
Muzak soundtrack to slow collapse
Planet engines pulsate in sidereal time
If you listen close you can hear the whine
Whirl on silver wheels



Bruce Cockburn “Silver Wheels”

Friday, November 09, 2012

GRAVITY CAN'T KEEP ME DOWN

Outside my office we have one of these big antenna structures. It’s a couple hundred feet high. Its right off 183, and sometimes when I pass by with a group of friends in a car, I’ll point it out and tell them that is where I work, in the building under the big antenna.

Then I say “That antenna? I built it!”
They look at me and one will say ‘Really?” and almost before they have finished saying “Really?”, I will reply “No” and we all laugh and its pretty good fun.

Anyway, a couple times a year they send some dudes out to work up at the top of the antenna.
They were out there this morning, suiting up.
One of the guys, probably 25 years old, good looking kid with a soul patch and “Rusted Root” T-shirt on, he looked up as I was passing by, and so I stopped.

I said ‘Man, whats it like up there on a pretty morning like this”
He grinned and said “Dude its beautiful up there.”
“So you love your job?”
“Oh yeah, I wouldn’t trade places with anyone. It’s a good workout too”
“Yeah, I bet it is. Have a good day” I said and moved along into my office.
I stopped there, but there was so much more I wanted to ask him.

I wanted to ask if he ever got that sinking feeling in his belly like I do when I’m looking out a third floor window.
I wanted to ask him if he ever felt like gravity was sucking him over the edge of something, and had to approach the edge of a roof, or a cliff, on his hands and knees to keep from throwing himself off.
I wanted to tell him that it gave me the heebie-jeebies just to go across an overpass in my car, and ask if he ever felt that way.
I wanted to ask what his dreams might be like, if he imagined himself like that Red Bull guy, and had dreams where he fellandfellandfelldowndowndown for longlonglong time; or dreams like mine where I can float and land softly from a fall that would otherwise kill me; or leap over houses drifting through the old neighborhood, past the High School parking lot, eventually landing smack dab in the middle of a Keg Party at Grapevine Lake, surrounded by spawning redheaded beachcombers in Artic Patrol hats.

But I didn’t ask him any of that stuff.
I didn’t want to jinx him, and that is what it surely would have done.



Saturday, November 03, 2012

MOTHERS HATE THE SCREAM MASK


Shila was that way. 
She didn't mind what movie I took the kids to, just don't take them to see Scream.
"Why not?" I ask
"I cant stand that mask" she says.
So I took them to see Roadhouse.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BEYOND THE WALL OF SLEEP


From my experience I cannot doubt but that man, when lost to terrestrial consciousness, is indeed sojourning in another and uncorporeal life of far different nature from the life we know, and of which only the slightest and most indistinct memories linger after waking. From those blurred and fragmentary memories we may infer much, yet prove little. We may guess that in dreams life, matter, and vitality, as the earth knows such things, are not necessarily constant; and that time and space do not exist as our waking selves comprehend them. Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life, and that our vain presence on the terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon."
 - H. P. Lovecraft
Beyond the Wall of Sleep



But wait, there's more...God how I loved this album.



Friday, October 26, 2012

FULLY CLOTHED WOMEN, DANDELIONS, ECT.

Here is a sampling of images either removed or saved from my Facebook album titled
"Fully Clothed Women"


The Facebook police didn't remove this one.
I don't imagine they knew what they were looking at. 
I call it "The Speed of Light"



They didnt get this one of Deborah Harry either. I guess her breast is just not big enough, and the grill on the Thunderbird was just too shiny.



I knew when I posted this one of Jimi Hendrix that I was way over the edge, but I just couldn't help it. Facebook removed this image.
"Have you ever been experienced?"



They didn't get this one either. I don't know why not. Just that look on her face ought to get her banned from something. My caption for her was
"Stirred Straight Up With a Twist"







"The world was moving she was floating above it and she was"


My albums are not really about naked women. In fact, out of some 1500 images, Facebook only actually removed three. Sure, they missed a few, but the point is that the overwhelming preponderance of evidence suggests that I'm not really a pervert. I just have an eye for beauty and an outstanding sense of humor. One of the things I have found to be very beautiful are images of Dandelions. They are so completely feminine.
Follow this link by clicking here for one posted a while back with another take on dandelions




They didn't get this one yet either.
I'm sure they will be back for it someday. In the meantime...
"If I say its safe to surf this beach, young Captain, it's safe to surf this beach!"

"My cup runneth over"
I'm just throwing this one in because its pretty, and I haven't seen a bobby pin in a long long time. They did not remove it.



Yes, they took this one down. How could they miss it?
My friend Gary says it is a muzzle-load shotgun.

Finally...I really do love dandelions.

"Time works like a damp brush on water color. The sharp edges blur, the ache goes out of it, the colors melt together, and from the many separated lines a solid gray emerges."
- East of Eden, John Steinbeck

From the comments:
Gary: Time actually seems to bring me more aches, not remove them.
Me: Then you havent ached enough yet.




As I gather these images, I am seldom able to identify the photographer, but at this point I should credit some of the sources:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

WELCOME TO HELL

Why is it nobody ever comes back to tell us about hell?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

FULLY CLOTHED WOMEN IV

The Facebook police have come in the night and removed one (1) picture from one of my albums. It was beautiful. Probably taken in the 1920's by a famous photographer, it was a nude woman hanging chistmas ornaments from the ceiling. They hung down all around her, they looked like galaxys and stars that were in orbit inside the softness of her universe, caught in the pull of her shining gravity.
I don't mind losing the image, I still have it in my files, but I have no idea what caption I may have put with a picture like that. And the comments from friends are gone forever.
That is what I will miss. That is what I can't replace. The photographer is Andre de Dienes.

So apparently Face book right now is going through my thousands of photographs with inspirational naughty witty eductaional captions, and removing any that might show a stray tit. Their bollocks is your boon.
I'll be moving some images from my albums to store here for future reference.
It was fun, pushing the envelope at Facebook. 



Sculpture by Auguste Ottin, 1883

Here we see the beautiful Campaspe, mistress of Alexander the Great, taking of her clothes in order to be painted by Apelles. The legend is that Appelles fell in love with her, and painted Campaspe so well, that Alexander kept the painting but gave Campaspe to Appelle as a gift.

Her beauty was later heralded by John Lyly in this poem, which I find interesting because it tells us so much about Cupid.


Appelles Song
"Cupid and my Campaspe play'd
At cards for kisses—Cupid paid:
He stakes his quiver, bow and arrows,
His mother's doves, and team of sparrows;
Loses them too; then down he throws
The coral of his lip, the rose
Growing on's cheek (but none knows how);
With these, the crystal of his brow,
And then the dimple of his chin:
All these did my Campaspe win.
At last he set her both his eyes,
She won, and Cupid blind did rise.
O Love! has she done this to thee?
What shall (alas!) become of me?"






"Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
...But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."
— W.B. Yeats, “He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

THE GREAT DEBATE, Parts I, II, and III

I had a Navy Blue sports coat and the Worlds Biggest tie.
My partner wore a Marigold miniskirt and White Stockings with a seam up the back. The type stockings that make the legs look kind of blue on the edges, a sort of Doppler effect.
Her name was Kathy, with a K, and she wore a blouse with Peaches on it. Like most Kathy's, with a K, , she had great breasts, and when she wore that blouse there were these two really well placed Peaches, and when I was stoned I always had to ask myself if the designer had done that on purpose.
I wonder that to this day.
Kathy was my partner on the Debate Team.

We had two shoeboxes filled with index cards that we carried with us into our first debate. One held cards with quotations and information about our case, otherwise known as "The Affirmative", which was our answer to "The Resolution":
"Resolved: The United States of America should significantly change the method of selecting and electing Presidential and Vice-presidential Candidates"...
Resolved being the topic adopted by the UIL for High Schools throughout America for the 74/75 season, it was part of the aftermath of impeaching Nixon. It also was the most Scholarly thing I have ever attempted to do.

The second shoebox was filled with index cards for the Negative. That is, after our opponents presented their Affirmative case on what to do about the scumbags in Washington, we were to pull index cards with quotations, facts and figures in order to rebut, destroy and make nonsense of the affirmatives case. As I was to find out, this is a difficult, pressure filled thing to do.

Sitting behind the table at the front of the classroom on the day of our first Debate, I took note of my suroundings. There was the Chalkboard with Eisteinian equations, there was a Periodic Chart of the Elements, a poster of Madam Curie or Ethel Merman in some Movie, I couldn't quite tell. There was a chart of the 10 rules for Chemlab.

There was a machine my math teacher had brought to my own classroom one day called a "computer" that you fed "Data". I had gotten sent to the office for asking if his newborn son had learned to say 'Data" yet, while predicting the ultimate failure of this "piece of ca-ca*"

It was a Math and Chemistry Room and I flunked both of those classes.
When you say "let x=y" I can't comprehend it. It strikes me as being most unfair, and to both of them. But I do believe in Alchemy. Thats part of why I flunked Chemistry twice, but thats another story.

And then the were the three judges siitng in front of me. The first was a dust dry little old lady with those CatGlasses, attached with a chain that ran around her neck that allowed them to rest on her bosom until she put them back on to take a long critical look at me. I nodded and gave my best Eddie Haskel smile to her, but she took them off with a disdainful look, seemed to shiver a bit and went back to chewing her gums** and reading "The Grape Gaspy" or something She wore support stockings amd Army Boots...no....Granny Shoes and I imagine she had a really bad case of varicose veins.
Yes, she had blue helmet hair.

The second judge was a studious looking middle aged man and completely unremarkable. Sometimes the most you can say about someone is that they are unremarkable. Bald or with hair, necktie or no, bearded, cleanshaven or in blackface, this guy would not get your attention even if he were barebeamed and buck naked. He looked like the kind of guy that kept a diary of every nonevent that occurred during his livelong day. Cut out articles from the Student Newspaper and latest hobby would be "Paint by Numbers".

But the third judge, well....
He was young, cool looking and dressed smartly. The shirt was solid colored, Deep Purple I believe, , except for the collars and cuffs, which were white. On the corners of the collar, was a tiny little embroided Carrot, and the Green top of the Carrot fairly resembled a stylized Marijuana leaf. He had hair longer than mine, and droopy eyelids, but his eyes flashed a certain brilliance that I was sure went brain deep. He had on Brown corduroy pants, and they were tucked into Buckshin knee boots . around his neck was a leather strap holding a little leather Medicine bag. He looked like a cross between Zonker and Mingo.

I looked at him and he gave me me a backwards nod, you know, not one where he dips his head towards you, but rather tosses his head back a touch.
Then he went back to looking at his copy of 'Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail" while stealing furtive glances ay Kathy's Peaches.
                                     ********************

Years later, a friend of mine in the fashion industry told me Kathy’s blouse with the Peaches was deliberately tailored that way.
Duly noted.

******************

PART TWO
"Sweat and Underwear"


Now Kathy was a nice girl, and I was lucky to be her Debate Team partner.
Later in the Debate season, Kathy and I actually would actually win a Debate Tournament when I used Dick Gregory's analogy comparing electing a president to choosing a whore. I had argued that:
"After all, no matter how many candidates are running, or whores you have to choose from, they are still all whores".
It came to be known in our club as "Steve's Great Whore Case”.
The first time I used that line, Kathy put her face to the desk covering her head in shame.
Kathy did that a lot.
But we were both surprised that the Judges seemed to favor this rebuttal of attempts by our opponents wanting to change the Two Party Political system.

But back to our first Debate.

Kathy and I waited with the three Judges and our two shoeboxes filled with index cards with facts and figures, information and quotes, seated at a table for the arrival of our opponents.

It was our Debating debut and we were nervous. Not only was the subject of Campaign Election Reform complicated and new to us, but we weren’t very organized.

Even today, the kids down at Blockbuster Movies shudder when I walk in the door because they know I can’t find shit in there. They use a System of putting the movies in alphabetical order, but they also have categories like New Releases, Drama, Comedy, and Action. Oh yeah, there is a Horror section too. These categories, to me, are quite subjective. One man’s action movie is another man’s drama and so on and so forth.

I think the movies should all be under one category.
“Sweat and Underwear”
That’s what everything all boils down to anyway.

But back to the debate….and our opponents entrance.
They carried Gold Plated Briefcases, Rolodex files, and had a Desktop name tag made from Etched Glass that read:

Ignacio and Nicholas
Jesuit Preparatory Academy

They were wearing Red Bow-Ties and Coal Black Double Breasted suits with the School Crest blazoned on the pocket.

They placed all this high tech debating equipment on their half of the table, glanced pitifully at our shoeboxes, went and shook hands with the three judges and returned to the table, standing “at ease”, hands clasped behind their straight backs to face Kathy and I.
It was enough to make me stop my slouching, and sit straight up in my seat.

But the most intimidating thing about this was not the Jackets, the Bow Ties and Breifcases, or even the Glass Placard that gave them the look of O.J. Simpsons Defense Team.

It wasn't even the Rolodex files that I was sure were filled with more and better facts, figures and quotations than our shoeboxes, or the fact that they would actually be able to find the card they needed when they needed it that made me queasy...

It was the fact that our opponents could not have been more that 12 years old.
The biggest one was about 85 pounds, soaking wet. My kid sister coulda' broke him in two.
The smaller one was no bigger than a minute.
They were lap babies and they were about to kick our ass.

Kathy looked at me. She was goggle-eyed like you wouldn’t believe, and she had turned white as a sheet.
Kathy was a good kid, but I knew she was shook, so I leaned over and whispered to her:
‘Man, we are in the shit now”
and gave her my best grin.
But inside I was all sweat and underwear.

*****************

PART THREE
"Who wants Red Lobster?"

Our 13 year old, pre-pubescent , never-kissed-a-girl-or-squeezed-a-titty opponents were about to kick our ass. They opened their gilded briefcases and began their case. They were the Affirmative which moved towards Election Reform.
Just 60 days prior, Nixon had resigned as President. Slush Funds, CREEP (Committee for the Re-election of the President) and Watergate had become words even a 4th grader was familiar with.

The House and Senate in Washington were debating the same topic as Kathy and I and all the other High Schools. Election Reform was prominent in the country's consciousness. Looking back, I did not realize at the time how cool it was to be role playing (if not playing a role) in this issue.

Bear with me here.

The centerpiece of our opponents case was to take all donations for each party and put them in a big pool, then distribute those funds equally through a General Accounting Office. The hope was to eliminate secret contributions, illegal donations, and make certain no one would gain a monetary edge.

As our counterparts gave their presentation, Kathy and I scrambled frantically through our shoeboxes, looking for facts figures and information with which to refute their case.
We had determined that I was to go first to present my 5 minute rebuttal.
On shaky legs, I stood up.

Who watched the Biden/Ryan debate?
What they do up there is really hard to do, especially for a High School kid, but the 85 pound 13 year old (with the Paul Ryan hairline) that led off was like William F'n Buckley.
It was either Nicolas, or Ignacio, it didn't really matter.
His presentation was flawless.

Why I had joined the debate team I didn't know at that moment. I was born to be a Chef.
The room seemed to be spinning around me, my knees were about to buckle and it sounded like sand was pouring into my ears. I wanted to crawl under a rock.  So I cleared my throat and began:
"I need a moment to get my shit together."
Yep, that's what I said.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Kathy pound her forehead into the table and cover herself with her hands, and from under her tousled blonde hair an audible moan escaped.

Motivated by shame and with a sense of pity towards my partner, I finally began to speak. I don't recall what I said, I was dizzy and having an out-of-body experience up there. But suddenly, the smell of Kathy's perfume was replaced by the faint scent of apples.
Like I said, I was born to be a Chef, and I could smell apples.

As I spoke, the apple smell grew stronger. I looked to our opponents. I saw in their opened briefcases they each had a small Brown Paper bag.

With this new visual input, my senses heightened and I began to detect a faint but unmistakable smell of Tuna, and then Roast Beef on Rye, and even a Hostess Twinkie.
OMG! Their Momma had packed their lunches!

And then an idea hit me like someone had dropped the Watergate Hotel on my head, with Haldeman, Dean and Mitchell all tumbling down, and CREEP members and Secret Cash funds all spilling out...I knew I had to find a way out of that shoebox. It was killing me, but I sensed an opportunity..
Right in the middle of my rebuttal, I came to a complete stop and looked down at Kathy.

I said:
"Kathy, how much money do you have?"
She looked at me all confused and I gave her that "Just Tell Me " look and she reached for her purse and said "I think I got $4"

"Four dollars?" I said while pulling out my billfold. "Thats fine Kathy, just put it there on the center of the table, and I'll put my two dollars with it..."

I was gaining some momentum here. I turned to my counterparts and said...

"Nick, Iggy, how much do you boys have?
They looked at each other and started to reach for their wallets.
I continued...
"No, don't bother to get up, you don't need to put your money in the General Fund here. We will just pretend that you have...oh...$10...so that gives us $16 in the General Fund. You betcha. Now, I see you boys brought your own lunch, probably Tuna on Wheat and Roast Beef on Rye, and that can be your vote..."


At this point they were lookin' at me like I was Kreskin because I knew exactly what they had in their little lunch bags. I was born to be a chef.
I was on a roll, and all the way out of that shoebox full of index cards.

"...But Kathy and I, dog-gone-it, we are voting for Red Lobster and we are going to take our half of the GAO fund which includes ya'lls $10. Now I know what you boys are thinkin'... that we aren't going to get much at Red Lobster for $8, and you are right. But clearly, as I am about to show, your case does nothing to stop Secret and Illegal Campaign donations"

I pulled my billfold back out and and produced the Twenty Dollar bill that Dad had taught me to keep tucked away for emergencies. With a dramatic flourish, I held it high.

"But I just happen to have a little 'Slush Fund of my own, and now not only do we have enough for Kathy and I to eat like Kings, we have enough to take two of these three judges with us.
So, who wants RED LOBSTER?"

Like I keep sayin', I was born to be a Chef.

I sat down. Kathy was beaming.
My opponents spent their next 15 minutes arguing against my convoluted case, while Kathy drilled holes in theirs.
We won our first Debate!

Here, Richard Nixon presents me with my Debate Trophy!