Friday, December 28, 2012


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.
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.
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



Sunday, December 23, 2012


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


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,


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


"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.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


 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


"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


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


Thursday, December 13, 2012


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


DECEMBER 12, 2012
IN 2007, I POSTED 192 TIMES.
2008 CAME IN AT 209, 2009 SAW 217.




“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


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:
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


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 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


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.
“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


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?


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

Who are you?
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.

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