Wednesday, December 31, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Monday, December 29, 2014

DOWNBOUND TRAIN

I was 27 or so, and working with a real tough guy who was maybe three years older.
He wasn't a chef, he was just a guy trying to make it as cook. But he seemed like less of someone that should be a cook than anyone I ever knew  

He had come from a broken home. Some steel town outside Pittsburgh. He said his daddy beat him senseless all the time. It was like he had walked right out of that album, right out of that title song, "Born In The USA".
He seemed like he had probably done some time; maybe he had, but what he talked about the most was how he’d left home at 16, joined the Army and ended up in Vietnam. He was entirely affected by it all; he wore an American flag headband and an Army jacket and we called him Rambo. He talked like Rambo, walked like Rambo, acted like Rambo and wouldn't you know it he looked just like Rambo too, except his nose was a lot more crooked. And he was a big, strong, fit SOB too with a look like he could creep up on you and stab you in the neck and you wouldn't even make a sound. He was the first guy I knew that had one of those little locks of hair growing longer from the back. I think they call it a "Rat-Tail".
His favorite song of course, was Born In The USA, he sang it always.
He seemed like a guy who might go off any minute, kill a cop and end up in the woods somewhere, and a whole army wouldn't be able to shake him out of there. But I found favor with him somehow, maybe because we’d be preppin’ in the kitchen, and I’d get the song started by banging a pot with a spoon keeping time, then "Born down in a deadmans town",  and pretty soon the whole kitchen is singin’ it.
We’d belly bump, and he’d let me box him, like a Doberman might let a Terrier nip at him.
Fuckin’ Rambo. I think about him every time I hear a Springsteen song.


He had a girl, but I think he slugged her one night, and I don't remember if he got fired, or if he just stopped showing up. All I know for sure was he was a stick of dynamite with a short ass fuse. And like a wolf, no matter how much you fed him, he would always have one eye on your throat and another on the woods.

So when a buddy posted "Downbound Train", a song I'd never heard before that I can recollect, it made me think of Rambo. Fits him, it does, maybe even more than the obvious Born In The USA. And I got to say, upon hearing this song I got choked up thinking about Rambo, and how I cant even remember his right name, and hope to God he's doing OK.
I hope to God he's doing OK.






"Downbound Train"

I had a job, I had a girl
I had something going mister in this world
I got laid off down at the lumber yard
Our love went bad, times got hard
Now I work down at the carwash
Where all it ever does is rain
Don't you feel like you're a rider on a downbound train

She just said "Joe I gotta go
We had it once we ain't got it any more"
She packed her bags left me behind
She bought a ticket on the Central Line
Nights as I sleep, I hear that whistle whining
I feel her kiss in the misty rain
And I feel like I'm a rider on a downbound train

Last night I heard your voice
You were crying, crying, you were so alone
You said your love had never died
You were waiting for me at home
Put on my jacket, I ran through the woods
I ran till I thought my chest would explode
There in the clearing, beyond the highway
In the moonlight, our wedding house shone
I rushed through the yard, I burst through the front door
My head pounding hard, up the stairs I climbed
The room was dark, our bed was empty
Then I heard that long whistle whine
And I dropped to my knees, hung my head and cried

Now I swing a sledge hammer on a railroad gang
Knocking down them cross ties, working in the rain
Now don't it feel like you're a rider on a downbound train

Friday, December 26, 2014

ITS BEEN A HARD DAYS NIGHT


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and got everything they wanted, and enjoy continued blessings for all of next year, and gas prices stay low.

The best part of Christmas was buying Dave Mows Grass some bowling shoes, shipping them to Arkansas, then calling the local bowling alley up there and getting him a $50 Bowling certificate.
The man said "Would you like us to call him Christmas Eve and let him know its here?"
"Yes, that would be so nice" I said.
Then, Christmas Eve, Dave calls me and thanks me for the bowling certificate.
He hasnt opened packages to find the shoes yet, burt he is excited and says:
"I was going to spend some money on a Smart Phone, but instead I'm going to buy bowling shoes."
Man, I just couldn't stop grinning, thinking about him opening up those shoes..
As it ends up, he not only got Bowling shoes under the tree, but a Smart Phone too!
What will he do with all that money?

I guess every few years, or less, you manage to buy the right gift for the right person at the right time, and its the best feeling ever. Maybe that's what Christmas really is,.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

LEFT BEHIND

On the way in to work this morning I only saw 4 cars and gas was 1.66 a gallon.
Hello? Did I miss the Rapture?



Friday, December 19, 2014

FIRST SIX MONTHS NO INTEREST

Every year I go through the same exercise at Kohls. The cashier asks if I have a Kohl's Credit card.
"No ma'am"
"Would you like to apply for one?"
"Ma'am, there's no way they are going to give me one."
"We will give you 20% off just for applying"

Well, who can turn that down?
So every year I hold up the line to get my 20% off,  the cost being the shame, humiliation and suffering I go through while everyone is watching.
I hear the guy two people down ask whats taking so long, and the woman behind him whisper "He's trying to get credit", then the computer spits out its answer, and the girl cocks her head and says "I'm sorry, here is a number you can call to find out why you were DENIED"
I don't need to call, I know damn well why I was denied, but HEY, I got my 20% right?

Well, let me tell you something sister.
This year is different.
I'm going down to Kohls and get my 20% AND their fricken' card because I'm getting approved for credit all over the place!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

DR. WAYNE DYER

I used to like him. Then he turned into a PBS money machine.
He comes up with a new one every few years.
He had one a while back where he opens the program, talking about selling all his worldly possessions and moving to an Island in the Pacific, in the middle of nowhere, just him and a straw hut and his one pair of sandals which he only wears when he’s not going bare foot.
Tonight, on stage at the USC auditorium, he is barefoot, just to make his point.
And the island he moved to, now that he has nothing, having abandoned all the toils and troubles of the world?
Maui.
Poor SOB.
I lost all respect right then.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE

Some folks are under the impression that a store owner can just refuse service to anyone for any reason. That that is what America and the First Amendment is all about.
But that’s not true. What America is all about is exactly the opposite.
You have the right to purchase goods and services from anyone, anywhere, no matter who you are and the accident of your birth.
That was the purpose of the Civil Rights Amendment back in 1964.
That no one could be told where to sit on a bus, or which water fountain to drink from, which restroom to use.
That no man be denied buying lunch, having his car repaired, or lodging for he and his pregnant wife at a hotel, based on his skin color, or his religion, or lack of one.

There was a court case up in Oregon where a Biker was suing because he was refused service for being biker. But that’s not why he was being refused service. He was being refused service for being loud and obnoxious. That’s what the court ruled.

Lately, many states have expanded those rights to guarantee service regardless of race, creed or color to include Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender. It seems like the only people that are really against this are Christian. They tend to see this as an attack on their Religion.
I’ll go along with that when I hear about a Gay Florist refusing service to a Methodist.

The fact is....
ITS AGAINST THE LAW TO BE DENIED SERVICE FOR BEING A METHODIST!

They wonder aloud “Whatever happened to the right to refuse service”?
But they themselves have never been refused service.
I've never been refused service. Tell me how that works, because I might be a tad miffed if I went to a service station with a flat tire and was refused service because I was a woman, or black, or Muslim or was not a Christian, or FOR ANY REASON. Or because I was Gay.

There was a case in Colorado, where a Bakery denied service to a Gay couple who wanted a wedding cake from his shop. The Baker, a Christian of course, says it offends his religion to have to bake a cake for a Gay Wedding. I’ve got friends that agree, that think he has a right to refuse service on these grounds.
“Why can’t they just go somewhere else for a cake?” they ask, those who have never been denied service.
Those who have never been in a minority.

Lets say I’ve been talking with my boyfriend, and we’re gonna get married. And for the last few months we’ve been to several weddings, and the cakes were GORGEOUS. They were made by the Finest Cake Shop in Denver. So we go online and look at their cakes, we're almost giddy, and one day we go down to the Finest Cake Shop in Denver to order our cake. But the big poo-poo behind the counter says :
“You boys look gay to me”
“Yes we are”
“ I refuse to make a cake for you”
Well, me and my beloved are shattered. We really liked the big poo-poo’s cakes, and what started out as joyous occasion has turned into a bag over the head punch in the face. Yes, we will go get a cake somewhere else, but we will also file a complaint against the big poo-poo.

The good thing is the courts see it this way too. The court in Colorado ruled that anyone who denies service based on sexual orientation will be fined.
We are all, as Americans, guaranteed a right to service regardless of race creed or color, and in many states regardless of our sexual orientation.
The tide, I think, has turned.


Addendum:
It is sometimes argued that if a Christian cake baker is compelled to bake a gay wedding cake, what would prevent a black cake baker from having to make a cake for an Aryan Nation Wedding with Swastka's on it.
Well, the judge in this case ruled on that as well. Click here and see pages 8 and 9.

As much as I admire the outcome of these cases, I especially enjoy the logic and language employed in the rulings:

"Finally, Respondents argue that if they are compelled to make a cake for a
same-sex wedding, then a black baker could not refuse to make a cake bearing a white-supremacist message for a member of the Aryan Nation; and an Islamic baker could not refuse to make a cake denigrating the Koran for the Westboro Baptist Church.
However, neither of these fanciful hypothetical situations proves Respondents’ point. In both cases, it is the explicit, unmistakable, offensive message that the bakers are asked to put on the cake that gives rise to the bakers’ free speech right to refuse. That, however, is not the case here, where Respondents refused to bake any cake for Complainants regardless of what was written on it or what it looked like. Respondents have no free speech right to refuse because they were only asked to bake a cake, not make a speech."

Monday, December 08, 2014

THE DOCTOR SAID IT WAS OK

After about 3 days after my last shoulder surgery, my girl says to me “Are you sure we should be doing this?”
I said “It doesn't hurt. As long as I don’t get too carried away”
She says “It doesn't hurt?”
“No”

So then one day a couple weeks later, and its “not hurting”, but all of a sudden I feel a little tear.
So I kinda eased up ya know, but I didn't say anything, or she’d have got all over me, and that would have been the end of that, if you know what I mean.

So at PT the next day I tell the physical therapist”I did something and I could feel a little tear”
“What were you doing”
And so I showed him how I was up, with both arms locked like in the missionary position and I said “Well, I was watching TV, and I got up like this like I was going to do a push up, but I didn’t do a push up, I just kinda stayed in this position because it felt good”
 And he  looks at me and says “And that feels good?”
“Yes”
"It doesn’t hurt?”
“No”
“But you think you felt something tear?”
“Yes”

And so he has me lay down, and he pulls and pushes and checks my range of motion and says
“Well, you seem to be OK. Maybe it was just scar tissue”
I was pretty relieved.

So the next time I’m with my girl, and she says “Are you sure we should be doing this?” and I said “Oh yeah, I asked the Doctor and he said its OK”

Saturday, December 06, 2014

DAD AND THAT CIGAR


I don’t remember who it was that came to the house, could have been any one of us I reckon, but dad sat me down later to talk.
He liked to smoke his cigar when he talked all serious to me at the kitchen table. He would say three words
(“You are judged…”,
pause for effect, look at his cigar like it was a crystal ball, take puff and blow great clouds of smoke out, and as the smoke cleared, I would be looking him dead in the eye. He would say two more words
(“by the…”),
 his eyes would  follow the smoke coming off the stogie making  its way to the ceiling. I couldn’t help but watch with him. Then, as punctuation, he would tap his cigar on the ashtray, and finally finish his thought
(“…company you keep”),
which happened to be some new buddy with bad posture, a slouchy hat, long hair and bloodshot eyes.
It’s one of my fondest memories of dad, having him and that cigar busting my ass at the kitchen table.


Friday, December 05, 2014

THANK GOD ITS FRIDAY


I dreamed I was working  a part time job. It was at a Hyatt, or some huge hotel.
There was a buffet, a really fancy buffet, and I was doing some nice stuff for it, everything from carved steamship rounds of beef to galantines of duck; from smoked fish mirrors to pate’s;  the band was actually on a riser in the center of the table, 5 piece jazz doing Patsy Cline tunes, and we had them surrounded with tropical plants and  ice carvings of saxophones, stand up base’s,  eighth notes and of course, swans.

I put this buffet together once or twice a week. It was just part time, I still worked my day job.
And as things so often go in dreams, several months went by of working this job when I suddenly realized…
I haven’t received a check yet!
Surely by now I’d have gotten paid, yes?

So I called Human Resources and asked about it.

“This is Steve Renfro and I’ve been doing the buffet on Tuesdays and Fridays for several months now, and I still haven’t received a check”
“Let me check into this for you” the lady says.
A moment goes by.
“Mr. Renfro, I don’t have any record that you were ever hired. What is it you do here?”
“I put together your Tuesday and Friday night buffets”
“Oh, those are very nice”
“Thank you. But you don’t show that I work there at all, and that’s why I haven’t received a check?”
“That’s right Mr. Renfro. You don’t work here”
“So does that mean I don’t have to come in tonight?”
“I don’t know about that. You’ll have to check with the chef”

(About this time in the dream, I’m thinking there is something very Seinfeld about was is going on, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

So she transfers the call down to the kitchen. I explain to the chef that I was never hired, that I never received a check, and that I don’t work there.  Technically, I never have.

“So I won’t be in tonight”  I said.
“But we need you. Your buffets, they are very nice” he says.
I think about it a minute. How can I refuse?
“Ok Chef. What time would you like me?”


I woke up about this time. And it was while I was making coffee at work that I recalled the Seinfeld episode that must have influenced this dream.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

HARD BOILED EGGS

Every year about this time you start seeing all these tips on how to cook a hard boiled egg so that it wont stick. Cook them with salt, with vinegar with a metal spoon with a wood spoon; cook them at midnight, pray to Jesus, pray to the devil, turn the handle to the north.
None of these things is going to help you.
If that egg is fresh, its going to stick and there is nothing on Gods green earth you can do about it.

I had about 1000 to cook one time. That’s three cases.  Had them all cooked and shocked and the first ten just jumped out of their jackets. Then I hit about five that didn’t.  Then ten that were easy.  And that was just about the ratio through the whole process.
Why?
Because one of those three cases was very fresh eggs. They were all cooked together, but those were the ones that stuck. That’s the science behind it, and it wasn’t the only time I had that kind of thing happen.
Anyway, the best part of the story is that as I peeled the eggs, I tossed them into a huge bowl of ice water. They sank to the bottom. I was about halfway through when Don “The Animal “ Pascal, the banquet chef, came by.
“What are you doing?” he says.
“Peelin' eggs”
“What are they for?” he asks.
I felt like being a smart ass, so I said :
“We’re going to bob for them, like apples”
Don didn’t even flinch. Off comes his chefs hat, and into the ice water goes his head, and when he comes back up he has an egg between his teeth.
Don “The Animal” Pascal.
That guy was a trip.

And that’s my best hard boiled egg story.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

EVERY ADVANTAGE

Well, that’s what pisses me off. Its easy enough to say the kid shouldn’t have done what he done.
No one can argue about that.
But it misses the issue of why a cop was fucking with him in the first place.
I’ve said it before…I’ve played football, baseball and had bottle rocket wars right in the middle of the street. shoot, we used to stand outside my apartment and throw frisbee for hours ACROSS a 4 lane street to a field, No cop ever did anything but wave and smile as he idled past.
And the deeper issue still of why an entire community feels so disenfranchised.
This comes mostly from a group of people that have never been the least bit discriminated against, or disenfranchised. Born with every advantage, they make no effort to empathize at all.

Addendum: I did finally find a white person that says the cops continually ask her to stay out of the street. She's the friend of a freind of a friend up in DC, and if I'm reading her right, she's a hooker.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

YOU SHOULD SEE THE OTHER GUY


MARIANO

The man outside he works for me, his name is Mariano
He cuts and trims the grass for me he makes the flowers bloom
He says that he comes from a place not far from Guanajuato
Thats two days on a bus from here, a lifetime from this room.

I fix his meals and talk to him in my old broken spanish
He points at things and tells me names of things I can't recall
Sometimes I just can't but help but wonder who this man is
And if when he is gone will he'll remember me at all

I watch him close he works just like a piston in an engine
He only stops to take a drink and smoke a cigarette
When the day is ended, I look outside my window
There on the horizon, Mariano's silhouette

He sits upon a stone in a south-easterly direction
I know my charts I know that he is thinking of his home
I've never been the sort to say I'm in to intuition
But I swear I see the faces of the ones he calls his own

Their skin is brown as potters clay, their eyes void of expression
Their hair is black as widow's dreams, their dreams are all but gone
They're ancient as a vision of a sacrificial virgin
Innocent as crying from a baby being born

They hover around a dying flame and pray for his protection
Their prayers are all but answered by his letters in the mail
He sends them colored figures that he cuts from strips of paper
And all his weekly wages, saving nothing for himself

It's been a while since I have seen the face of Mariano
The border guards they came one day and took him far away
I hope that he is safe down there at home in Guanajuato
I worry though I read there's revolution every day

Robert Earl Keen


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

GAG ME

I remember being in a hotel restaurant in San Diego for the breakfast buffet. My phone rang. It was a girl I knew. I got to talking, with her on the speaker, and were yackkin' it up like you wouldn't believe, and you know I got no inside voice, and I'm talking about how great it is to be a Texan, and how the California girls cant get enough of me and my accent, and I look over all the way across the dining room, and there's some woman looking right at me, and I can tell she has heard everything i just said, just as if i was sitting right there at the table with her; and she looks at me right in the eye, glaring at me is what she's doing, and sticks her finger down her throat, then mouths the words "Gag Me".
Gag me. Darn right.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CUTTY SARK

My first snockering was with dads Cutty Sark. 

Susan Peebles spent the night with my sister. I drank a 6 oz glass just straight up out of
the bottle, no ice, nada. I have vague recollections of being placed in the shower, and laughing my ass off, then waking up the next morning, smelling like whiskey and Herbal Essence shampoo, covered in coffee grounds with an invisible railroad spike sticking out the front of my head.
The coffee grounds were from my sisters feeble attempt to make coffee.
The railroad spike, I guess we've all had that one.
Took about 4 days to get over it, and I still cant handle the smell of whiskey.
In fact, just looking at the label makes my head swim.

Monday, November 17, 2014

CATNIP

I took a buddy in to the VA a few weeks ago. Babalougats.
He was a good friend many years ago, and a babe magnet. 
He's not in the best of shape; 3 heart operations and no teeth. But to say his flower has faded would be a mistake. He is as bright and funny and charming as ever. 
He lives in one of those bedbug motels in Arlington. The first time I went to see him, and saw all those oxygen tanks lined up across the back wall, man it shook me. I started going every couple weeks to take him for breakfast. He is great company. The banter is non-stop between he and I.

Any way, I took him to the VA for a check-up. 
He comes back out to after the exam; his eyes are wide open. He looks like a cartoon character that just got hit with a frying pan.
“They want to admit me. My kidneys are shutting down”

He’s been in for about 10 days now. They have drained 60 pounds of fluids from him and got his heart rate to where it should be. It was at 140 when I took him in.
While he was in he didn’t want to tell his mom. Didn’t want to worry her. She’s been sick.
Then he got the call two days ago. His mom had passed.

You know, its funny. The strangeness and timing of this life just can't be measured
I said to him “Well, at least you didn’t have to put yourself through all that”.
He said “I was thinking the same thing”.

I visited Bubba at the hospital last week. We told the nurse I was his brother. Relatives only in ICU.
She said “You guys look so much alike”
Bubba says “He was always the pretty one”
I said “Yeah, but Bubba got all the girls”
Bubbas says “Yes. I was like Catnip”

Catnip. LMAO. I been using that one.
Fuckin’ Bubba.

There are some really cheap apartments across the street from mine. I talked to him last night about moving in to those when he gets out.
“ I don’t have any furniture” he says.
“Oh hell, Bubba, we’ll get you some furniture. People give it away all the time. I gave away a bed just last month”

I’m hoping he’ll go for it.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A METAPHOR FOR SEX




"...I'd better not be too explicit. My night is careless
with itself, troublesome as a woman wearing no bra
in winter. I believe everything is a metaphor for sex...
Sometimes I play a game in which my primitive craft fires
upon an alien ship whose intention is the destruction
of the earth. Other times I fall in love with a word
like somberness. Or moonlight juicing naked branches.
All species have a notion of emptiness, and yet
the flowers don't quit opening…
Ask a glass of water why it pities
the rain. Ask the lunatic yard dog why it tolerates the leash.
Brothers and sisters, when you spend your nights
out on a limb, there's a chance you'll fall in your sleep."
- Terrance Hayes,
from "LIGHTHEAD'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY"

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ON MINIMUM WAGE AND THE AMERICAN DREAM

I started out in food service and worked my way up. As I worked my way up, I worked with a lot of people that didn't want to be a chef, or a general manager. They just wanted to be a line cook, or a prep lady. They stayed very close to minimum wage; their increases came from doing a good job and longevity, not from following what some might call the "American Dream". Their American Dream was to come to work and do a good job and not be screwed. They wanted a clean place, out of the weather to work. They wanted to supplement the household income so their daughter could have a flute, or maybe got to college. They didn't want to get rich or be the boss, they just wanted to get a sqaure deal.
They were the salt of the earth and I admire them for it.

Back then my first job I made 1.65 an hour. No one was going to pretend I could have a place of my own, or that I earned a "living wage" @ 1.65. I think when I moved out of my parents house and in with a room mate I was making 2.25 an hour, and minimum wasnt 1.65, it was more like 1.95.
From what I understand, 1.65 is the equivalent of somewhere around 9.50 in today's money. All things being equal, that is where much of the inequality comes from.


I think I was making 2.50 an hour when I got my evaluation. I had worked there for a year, seen probably 25 cents in increases that year. They gave me a 15 cent raise. I told the manager that wasn’t going to keep me…that I thought I was worth more than that. He said “OK, fine, we will re-evaluate the next two weeks”.
The next day, the #1 cook in the kitchen quit. For the next two weeks I did my job and his. Worked a couple 80 hour weeks.
When I sat down with the manager after two weeks, I was grinning like a butchers dog.
"I think we were discussing how much I'm worth around here" I said
I’ll never forget the look on his face.
“Well, you have certainly done an outstanding job” he says.
When I left the table I was making 3.15 an hour.
Life was good.

Years later, during an interview for Chef’s position I was asked:
“What is more important? Your employee’s or the business?”
At the time it seemed a difficult question. I don’t exactly remember my answer, but I did get the job.
Over the years I have come to believe that there may have been several good answers but there was really only one wrong answer.
That the business is more important than my employees.
You might disagree.

Maybe if we had left minimum wage at 1.65 an hour, butter would still be $.55 a pound.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

VETERANS DAY



My dad served in North Africa as a mechanic working on the B-26’s that provided air cover for Patton.
His duties also included recovering downed aircraft. They found a German ME-109 (Messerschmidt) that went down with a mechanical problem but was fairly intact. They borrowed whatever parts they needed from other Messerschmitts they had recovered and managed to restore the thing to a flyable condition. In order to avoid unwanted attention from the AA gunners, they painted the plane bright orange. Everyone knew not to shoot at the bright orange ME-109 because that was our own boys having some fun in their free time. Well, the Krauts found out about this plane and one day an orange ME-109 flew in and bombed their camp.

And that was the end of that.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

ROUGHING IT

After about our 6th camping trip the Ex-Mrs bulletholes asked for a tent she could stand up in. I’m like “What?” but went ahead and got one.

Then after a few trips she asked if we could get one that had a floor.
I’m like “What?” but went ahead and got one.
Then about 6 trips in the stand up tent with a floor she asked “Do you think we could get a cabin one time?” and I’m like “What?”, but we never did.
And now she’s my ex.

OUR FIRST TENT

Monday, October 27, 2014

MORE CANCER AWARENESS



Yesterday we talked about the latest cancer term: “Previvor”.
We are seeing the first generation of Previvors, people who find through genetic testing a high likelihood for a cancer.
Angelina Jolie may be the face to associate with that. Considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, Angelina discovered through genetic testing that she had an 80% chance of developing a breast cancer.
She had a double mastectomy before that could happen.
Previvor.

But genetic testing is not just for famous movie stars.

Joyce Walmer had lost her father and uncle to Thyroid cancer. She was diagnosed with it herself at 15.
There was a 50% chance that the gene would be passed down to one of her three children. The gene, MEN2A, guarantees you will develop thyroid cancer.
The results confirmed what Walmer had feared: Each of her children carried MEN2A, and would eventually develop thyroid cancer. So, their thyroids were removed.
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/health_med_fit/surgery-before-sickness/article_58d844af-30f0-5278-89b1-605ff9b52bed.html

Clearly, genetics are going to be more and more important in the journey to save lives and mitigate cancers.
Testing is commonly covered by health insurance and public healthcare programs for people at high risk for having a mutation, and not covered for people at low risk. The purpose of limiting the testing to high-risk people is to increase the likelihood that the person will receive a meaningful, actionable result from the test, rather than identifying a variant of unknown significance.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

DON'T GIVE ME NO LINES AND KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF

BAD ASS MARKETING TIP OF THE DAY
Remember the Georgia Satellites and their big hit "Don't Give Me No Lines And Keep Your Hands To Yourself"??
They have a greatest Hits album. 
Guess how many songs are on it?
20! 

Twenty songs, all hits. 
What makes that even more impressive than that is that the Satellites managed to glean 20 hits off of only 3 original albums.
But wait!
Even more impressive than that is the fact that from those 3 original albums they managed to produce four (4) Greatest Hits albums!
Wow!
But the capper is that one of those greatest hits albums, the “Essential” Georgia Satellites, doesn’t even have “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” on it! 
And guess how much THAT one goes for?
60 bucks! 
For 60 bucks you get a greatest hits album that doesn’t even have, you know, a greatest hit on it! That is some slick-ass kind of marketing!




Saturday, October 18, 2014

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS



What I learned at MD Anderson Cancer Awareness Seminar in Houston:
A person becomes a survivor at the time of diagnosis. Their healthy friends and family members are also survivors.
If you have Cancer, and you woke up this morning, you are a survivor.
One in 30 people are either currently undergoing treatment for cancer or have done so in the past.

And there is a new term floating about; the Previvor.
This is the first generation in human history who, armed with information about a predisposition to a cancer after opting into DNA testing, can make informed choices prior to cancer diagnosis. The typical previvor has tested positive for a BRCA mutation and learned that she is at high risk for developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and is attempting to manage that risk through a combination of increased surveillance through mammograms, breast MRIs, pelvic ultrasounds, oophorectomy,bilateral mastectomy, and other medical procedures.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

PRESBYTERIANS



"You know what frightens me Commander?"
"Whats that, Jim?"
"Presbyterians. Presbyterians scare the bejesus out of me"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

SUPREMACY

"James Madison’s Constitution contains the Supremacy Clause (federal law “shall be the supreme law of the land,” regardless of state laws “to the contrary”) because he knew that state legislatures, even more than the national legislature of an “extensive” republic, were susceptible to capture by self-seeking factions."
George Will


for future reference

Saturday, October 11, 2014

MASCARA

I used mascara when I was in the 8th grade, but I didn't use it on my eyelashes.

Friday, October 10, 2014

“TIME FLIES WHEN YOURE ALIVE”

From a true story, where a Breast Cancer survivor takes a phone call…

“Hello... I’m sorry but he’s not here... Yes, it is... Oh, I’m afraid I don’t need any light bulbs right now... Five Years? That’s quite a light bulb. Tell me this isn’t a scam, is it? If it is, please hang up... Disabled Vets, eh. Five year guarantee, my God, my oldest boy will be twelve. Twelve, eight and five. What was your name again?... Do you have children, Mr. Shaw?... Oh, my. You’ll have to sell a lot of light bulbs won’t you? Children have such a strange attitude toward light, don’t you think? Have you ever noticed how they can read after the sun fades? And the lights aren’t on? But then again, children have their own inner light, don’t they? I love my children, Mr. Shaw.”

“Tell me, what’s the price of this extraordinary light bulb?... That’s a rather expensive light bulb, isn’t it?... I know, five years, but what if it burns out in four, four and a half, where will I find you?... Won’t burn out, eh? You must have some remarkable scientists down there. They don’t happen to have anything on the old drawing board for cancer do they, just kidding, Mr. Shaw. Just an old disabled vet’s joke.”

“Tell you what, you can put me down for a light bulb, okay?... I have to buy six? That’s thirty years. My my. Alright, Mr. Shaw, put me down for thirty years.”


From Paul Linke's story of his wife Francesca, lost to Breast Cancer a few days later.

Friday, October 03, 2014

AN INSPIRATION



So, let me get this straight.
My nephew Dave gets diagnosed a month ago, starts chemo and gets sick like a big dog, but manages to run a 5k one week into the therapy. Then today, while he is in the middle of a 25K (still doing chemo), he takes the time to stop and take a selfie with an 8 foot Arkansas Blacksnake, and still not only completes the marathon, but completes it with two hours left to spare.
Way to go Dave!
No matter what you are doing, whether its cooking salt dome turkeys, firing hockey pucks into trash cans off the back porch using a sheet of plexi-glass to simulate ice, building a guitar, mowing grass and getting poison ivy, collecting drums, sorting bolts, running the Cassotot in a kayak, or taking catfish off trot lines till your hands bleed; no matter what your latest endeavor might be, you are fun---and amazing-- to watch.

Dave is a total inspiration.
Keep him in your thoughts and prayers, OK?

Monday, September 15, 2014

IT'S MATING SEASON

A small zoo in Arkansas had a very rare species of gorilla. Within a few weeks the gorilla, a female, became very difficult to handle.   Upon examination, the veterinarian determined the problem. The gorilla was in season. To make matters worse, there was no male gorilla available.

Thinking about their problem, the Zoo Keeper thought of Bobby Lee Walton, a redneck part-time worker responsible for cleaning the animal cages. Bobby Lee, like most rednecks, had little sense but possessed ample ability to satisfy a female of any species.

The Zoo Keeper thought they might have a solution. Bobby Lee was approached with a proposition. Would he be willing to mate with the gorilla for $500.00?

Bobby Lee showed some interest, but said he would have to think the matter over carefully. The following day, he announced that he would accept their offer, but only under four conditions.

1. "First", Bobby Lee said, "I ain't gonna kiss her on the lips." The Keeper quickly agreed to this condition.

2. "Second", he said, "You can't never tell no one about this." The Keeper again readily agreed to this condition.

3. "Third", Bobby Lee said, "I want all the childrun raised Southern Baptist." Once again it was agreed.


4. And last of all, Bobby Lee stated "You gotta give me another week to come up with the $500.00." 


Friday, September 12, 2014

GOD BLESS AUNT LERA

You know the Lord is with someone when they seem to be dying of the same heart attack for 30 years.
I lost track of how many bypasses she had.
Lera had a bad ticker, but a good heart. 

She was the last of the 4 Williams sisters from Alto Texas, which included my mother. 
Before she died on September 12, 2011, she still loved to crappie fish and play bridge. She was a Certified Bridge Life Master, which I believe is the equivalent of being a Five-Star General.
When I was a kid and we would go to Lera's, there was always that laugh. A throw your head back raucous laugh. I guess all 4 sisters had that laugh, but Lera's was the prettiest.
And there was her Texas Sheath Cake, and Buttermilk pie.
Funny, I was a chef for 25 years, but I'm not sure Lera would have believed that I could cook my way out of a wet paper bag.

That might have something to do with my storied past with Lera.

A few months before she died I had talked to her on the phone. I told her I had finally quit doing drugs, that I had 2 years of being clean and sober.
"We tried to tell you!" Lera said.
Lera. She was a kind woman, in a Joyce Meyer kind of way.
She suffereed no fools; pulled no punches.


I can remember when I was 14 I had had a key made for her car after my parents had started watching the mileage on theirs rather closely, and on Saturday nights during the summer of 1971 I would slide noiselessly out the back door and walk to Lera's car, then meet up with my other 14 year old pals in the middle of the night, and we would joy ride and smoke Swisher Sweets and I knew of a certain window that if you knocked on it at 2 a.m. a couple 14 year old chicks would come crawling out, and its off to Devils Backbone to make out. When finally I was caught (by the Southlake Police) and had to give the key back to Lera and try to explain what the heck I was doing with a key for her car, I don't remember anything except her bright and burning blue eyes and pursed lips, as she said without much amusement:
"What in the world were you thinking?"
It was the eyes that got me, eyes that blazed and sparkled with kindness, and could have melted steel.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Handyman Bulletholes Part Two



Dear Handyman Bulletholes;
I had to take my car to the shop with transmission problems. They said they would replace my transmission for $1500.
I told them that I had heard my transmission was hard to find and expensive to rebuild.
“We got lucky and found one” the man said. So I said yes, please fix my transmission for 1500 dollars.
Well, they ran into some trouble and it cost them a lot more than 1500 to fix my transmission.
It took them 10 days to fix it. During that time they even loaned me a car to use. So when I went to pick my car up I was worried about how much they were going to charge me.
When I got there, they handed me two bills.
One was for 1500 dollars.
Another was for 1700 dollars.
The man told me that 2500 was what he should have charged me for the transmission, but he did not expect me to pay that at all.
The one for 1700 dollars would let him almost break even on the deal, but he would still be losing money.
And the one for 1500 dollars was all I owed him, because he intended to stand good on the quote he gave me.
I feel just terrible. What should I do?

Stranded in Euless



Dear Stranded;
This reminds me of back when I was working 5 jobs.
I was selling insurance over the phone.
I was selling and installing landscaping.
I was cooking on Wednesday nights for First Methodist Church of Hurst, and other special occasions that came up.
And I had a paper route, throwing the Dallas Morning News at the crack of dawn.
But I also sold roofs. I would go door to door, doing estimates on damaged roofs and hopefully they would use my company and I would get a commission.
There was man I tried to sell to. I went by several times, took him presents, sent a Christmas card, everything I knew to do.

Finally one day he called me. He said he had just had his house painted and was ready to do his roof.
On one condition.
It seems the painters had forgotten to paint the top of his second floor chimney. If I could get that painted for him for a modest price, then he would sign a contract for us to do his roof!
Finally! Persistence paid off, and I agreed to paint the top of his chimney for 40 dollars.

How hard could it be?

Well, let me tell you. I got up there on a 60 foot extension ladder, in a 30 mile an hour wind, with a paint can in one hand and a brush in the other and spent 6 terrifying hours swinging back and forth up there with no parachute, life and limb at risk, and did I mention I am TERRIFIED of heights? Somehow I did it.
I went and knocked on the door, and he came out and said “Looks good” and grabbed his checkbook. Just before he started to fill the check out, I said:
“You know sir, I told you 40 dollars and I intend to stick to it, but that job was worth a helluva lot more than 40 bucks”
He said “Yes Bullets, I know it was and I sure do appreciate it.”
He tore the check out of the book, handed it to me and smiled very kindly.

I waited until I got to the car to take a look.
There it was.
40 bucks.

It sounds like you have a very honest mechanic. I'd keep him.

Handyman Bulletholes

Dear Handyman Bulletholes is an irregularly occurring topic here at Bulletholes FB page.
Here is Part One

Friday, August 29, 2014

BACK IN MY USING DAYS

I went an signed a lease at an apartment one afternoon. I was going to move in the next day. But it took 4 hours to get out of the parking lot because while I was there they shut down a meth lab.

DEA, Fire Department HAZMAT, everywhere.
I thought, Oh man, I’m going to love it here.
I think at one point there had been three in operation while I lived there.
That’s the place where the manager called me in one day and said they were shutting all the drug lab people down.
She wanted to make sure I wasn’t involved because she liked me.
“Oh, no ma’am. I stay clear of those folks. When I want some dope, I go all the way across town to get it. I don’t want no one to know where I got it, or that I have it once I get home.”
And I laughed, because I said it like it was a joke, and she laughed too.
But the thing is...it was the truth.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

BEFORE SHE LEAVES FOREVER

I had Spring Rolls, and Yum Nua, 
a Thai Beef salad last night.
We walked out to the cars
Stood there a moment
Then it was time for goodbye
I looked in her face
And then it hit me
How far away Seattle was
How long it would take to walk there
How long it would take
If I had wings
For me to
Fly there

Then I saw her eyes
That’s when it really hit me
And I did the only thing I knew to do
Which was to bury my face in her neck
And cry and
Cry and cry
Cry, cry cry
And look back up
Bury my face in her neck and cry
Look back up
Bury my face in her neck and cry
Look back up
Bury my face in her neck and cry
Look back up
Bury my face in her neck and cry

Then finally after 20 times and I looked back up
And I laughed
“I’ve done this before, haven’t I?”
“Yes daddy”
“When?”
“When I went to college and
When I went to Denver”
I said “Oh yeah” and I
Buried my face in her neck and cried.

I had had the Spring Rolls, and the
Yum Nua, a Thai Beef salad last night.
She said they might go to
Joe T’s tonight, for Mexican
Before she leaves forever in the morning.
I'll probably have the fajitas.

Friday, August 22, 2014

DON'T STOP BELIEVING

We have a real divide going within my Senior Class of 1975.
It seems that our class song is “Forever Young”, from Dylans 1974 release, "Planet Waves". We voted on it in 1975.
Yet somehow more than half of the class has adopted the Rod Stewart version. They are convinced, as only true Tea Party Republicans can be, that our class song "Forever Young" is written and sung by Rod Stewart.
Stewart DID did do a song called "Forever Young" but  it did not come out until 1988.
We graduated in 1975.
So, either we are experiencing some kind of time travel, or some form of revisionist history, or else my entire class sucked at math even worse than I did.
It doesnt add up, but they insist the Stewart version is OUR version.
I have offered $100 cash and a steak dinner to anyone that can produce a Pre-1976 Rod Stewart version of the song. That no one can has not deterred their belief at all.

I've heard a rumor that at the 30th Reunion, someone put on the Dylan version of Forever Young, and halfway through, someone else yanked it. How nuts is THAT?

The debate gets quite heated sometimes, and someone from the Stewart camp invariably will claim that Stewart and Dylan share the royalties for "Forever Young".
Yes, they share the royalties for Stewart's largely plagiarized 1988 version. The lyrics are almost identical, and Stewart claims he does not know how he subliminally managed to rewrite Dylans original with only a few minor changes, but to his credit his lawyers contacted Dylan and offered half credit and royalties for the Stewart version. 
Stewart DOES NOT get partial credit or royalties for Dylans 1974 original "Forever Young".
To mention this only cements the notion in that camp that I am a know-it-all asshole.
So, I have taken a new approach.
I say “I never voted for Forever Young anyway. I cast my vote in 1975 for “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey.”


They look at  me all glassy-eyed and I’m sure it does not occur to them that “Don’t Stop Believin” didn’t come out until 1981, but at this point, what’s the fucking difference? 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

TO THE BATMOBILE



"Show a man what he expects to see, and he won't look beneath the surface." - Catwoman 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I AIN'T BLACK

I've walked down the street my whole life, sometimes smack dab in the middle. I've played football, baseball, kick the can, rode on bikes with my posse', you name it, in the middle of the street. Never, not once had a cop tell me or my buddies to get out of the street. Had some swerve to keep from hitting me, or wait until we finish our football play to pass.
But then, I aint black.


I am little suspicious that this kid didn't give the cop a hard time, maybe even belly butt him and go for his gun. But I'm equally suspicious of the lack of info the cops are rolling out here. The first shot fired in the car, then as he attempted to flee, shot in the back (autopsy disputes this), then on his knees, hands in the air when the last shots fired 35 feet away from the cruiser?(some witnesses seem to dispute this)
I'm not sure at this point any of the details even matter any more, seeing some of the images of a city blowing up on itself. I'm concerned about a police force that may not have done squat for community relations the last 100 years, and now the chickens are coming home to roost.
Explain it to me in terms where I don't sense excessive force was used.
The Detroit riots of 1967 started over less. I know, I was there.

Then, a heavily Militarized Police Force takes the street. All that does is turn the volume up.
I have some friends that up till now I thought were a little paranoid about a police state.
Not any more.
If I can't see your face and badge, you aren't a cop. 

"We rolled lighter than that in an actual war zone."
Veteran of the 82nd Airborne, commenting on police gear in Ferguson Missouri.
When I was a boy I watched 10,000 National Guard move into Detroit. They "rolled lighter" than this too.

“One Riot, One Ranger”
When I was a boy my daddy marched me to see this statue at Love Field at least twice a year when we flew back and forth to Detroit, and told me the story of Captain Jay Banks, and how black folks had rioted in Mansfield Texas, and the Rangers were called in. Jay Banks walked down Main Street and unlocked the Mayor and the Sheriff from out of the jail, while the wide-eyed negro rioters looked on
Funny thing though.
The story my daddy told me was not the real story. The real story is that The Supreme Court ordered Mansfield School District to desegregate in 1956, and the white folks rioted, even hung 3 negro dummies up over the entrance to the school. Peace was kept by sending the 3 black students to Fort Worth School District. Mansfield took another 9 years to desegregate, and only did so after losing federal funding.
The south, and my daddy, sure was funny about that kind of thing.


I don't have permission to print this image, but I'm doing it anyway. This is Captain Jay Banks, protecting the peace and dignity of Mansfield High School, while a negro dummy hangs in effigy over the entrance to the school.

Addendum;
1956 wasnt the only time there were racial tensions in Mansfield Texas. In 1961, John Howard Griffen, the author of "Black Like Me" moved to Mansfield. The book describes his six-week experience travelling on Greyhound buses (occasionally hitchhiking) throughout the racially segregatedstates of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia passing as a black man. The whites in Mansfield rioted again, hung black effigies in Griffens front yard, and threatened to kill him. Griffen moved.

Addendum# 2: I have located one ofthe original three students that were bussed to FWISD in 1956. His name is TL Moody, and has been a pastor at a Fort Worth church for many years.

SHE ROLLED HER EYES

I went through the Burger King drive through yesterday.
“I’d like the #1 Whopper with, no cheese, no ketchup, and extra veges. And a diet coke.” “Would you like cheese on that?” they always ask.
Always always always.
Sometimes they will interrupt me between “no ketchup, and extras veges “ to ask.
I try to remain polite and repeat for them:
 “No cheese, thank you, and no ketchup, with extra veges. And a diet coke”
They will repeat the part about the cheese and ketchup, but usually they get hung up on veges.
“Is that like the pickles?” they ask.
“Yes, pickles, tomato lettuce and onion”
They repeat back “ Pickles, tomato and lettuce”
“And onion” I remind them “with a diet coke and fries.

But by now I am a little worn out and I’m starting to lose patience. So when there is a 10 second stretch of silence as they ponder what a vegetable is, and then ask me again “Would you like cheese on that?”
Even though I know they are hard-wired programmed to ask me that,I’m probably not all sweetness and light when I scream “NO!”.
Then when they ask what kind of drink I’d like that just about does it for me.
But I’ve learned to take a deep breath, and in the softest most angelic voice I have “Oh! I would love a diet coke”.

But yesterday. After going through this exercise and getting to the window they weren’t done with me yet.
She handed me the bag and I asked if she had put ketchup in there for me.
“I thought you said “NO Ketchup” she says.
“Right. No ketchup on the burger.”
“So you want ketchup NOW? she says.
“Yes please, for my fries”

And that’s when she rolled her eyes. She really did.

But that’s OK. I figure I deserve it.

All those times at the Jack-in-the Box on lunch break with your 3 very stoned friends, 1975…
 Jack: “Can I take your order?”
Driver: “Ummm, yeah man, what did you want?”
Backseat #1:“A coke, a taco, and some fries”
Backseat # 2 “ Lemme have a Whataburger with no pickles and a shake and onion rings”
Driver “Dude we are at jack in the Box”
Backseat #2 “Huh?” (muffled laughter)
Driver: “Dude, I’m trying to order, we are at Jack-in-the Box, get a fucking grip”
Backseat #2 “Is that where they have the big Macs?” (car explodes with laughter)

And it just goes downhill from there, right?
Once you started laughing, that was it.
How we didn’t starve, I don’t know.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

SHE BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE, FAILED ME AT BIOLOGY

Back when I was married, my wife would ask me every now and then if we could have a baby.
Finally one day she asked and I said “Well, OK, go ahead and stop taking your pills”.
She was so happy!
Then I got home from work that day, and she had all these books, and calendars, and thermometers and stop watches and big Q-Tips and stuff.
Man, she was a real go-getter! I’d be having a cigarette after, ya know, and she would look at her watch and say “Ok, time to go again!”
It sure didn’t take very long to make a baby.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

THE GRIEVING PARENTS

"The Grieving Parents", a sculpture by artist Kathe' Kollwitz who lost a son to WWI.
I saw this sculpture 20 some years ago on a documentary, and was moved by the amount of grief the artist has rendered without much detail. It stuck with me, and over the years I tried to find it again. I just found the artist and this image last week.


The way the father holds himself, and the lack of any emotion on is face reminds me of my own father.


They say the face of the mother is that of Kathe'.



"

Kathe Kollwitz was informed of her son’s death in action on 30 October. ‘Your pretty shawl will no longer be able to warm our boy,’ was the touching way she broke the news to a close friend. To another friend she admitted, ‘There is in our lives a wound which will never heal. Nor should it.’
By December 1914 Kollwitz, one of the foremost artists of her day, had formed the idea of creating a memorial to her son, with his body outstretched, ‘the father at the head, the mother at the feet’, to commemorate ‘the sacrifice of all the young volunteers’. As time went on she attempted various other designs, but was dissatisfied with them all. Kollwitz put the project aside temporarily in 1919, but her commitment to see it through when it was right was unequivocal. ‘I will come back, I shall do this work for you, for you and the others,’ she noted in her diary in June 1919.

Twelve years later, she kept her word: in April 1931 she was at last able to complete the sculpture. ‘In the autumn – Peter, – I shall bring it to you,’ she wrote in her diary. Her work was exhibited in the National Gallery in Berlin and then transported to Belgium, where it was placed, as she had promised, adjacent to her son’s grave. There it rests to this day.