Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Its A Wonderful Life

Every year, a few days after Christmas when the Blues are over and I realize what a jackass I have been for not having found my Christmas Spirit until like January 3rd, and having blown yet another opportunity to have had some special kind of holiday that always eludes me, I tell myself that next year will be different. That next year I will start early and find at least one special present for someone, and I will feel good, and all jingly, and I won't have to wind up running though Wal-Mart like George Bailey in Pottersville trying to figure out how the world got all upside down, and getting punched by my kids teacher's husband (the only guy in town that seems to know anything about me) in housewares, where I could never find anything special for anyone there anyway, not if I looked all year.
But here I am once again, a mere 6 hours before Christmas Eve and I'm looking another annual trip to Wal-Mart in the face, its ugly big-boxed storefront font and ubiquitous selection of House slippers and Summer Sausages in Holiday tins; Hardware's and Heirloom collections of cheap China made in Korea; the electronics are nice, priced to sell, but there is one thing I know for sure~
There are no special gifts that plug in.
There shall be no comfort or joy anywhere at any Wal-Mart location.
You know, you'd think a creative guy like me could come up with one single lousy special Christmas present for someone somewhere.
But I can't.
Never could. I only bought one decent gift my whole life and that was a Cuckoo Clock for my cousin Khim Mauldin and her husband Jimmy. When they divorced they fought like cats and dogs over it.
I think he got it and no one has heard from him in thirty-five years

So I guess the best I can do right now is to wish you all a merry-merry, and thank you for the many kind comments and attentions you have paid to me this year, and hope that when you check your pockets at the end of the day you find your very own Zu-Zu's petals, and have many pleasant memories, and Confetti.
So grateful for Confetti!
There really should be more confetti, and it really is a wonderful life.
If I could just get out of this Wal-mart.




Thats the great thing about Its A Wonderful Life. Who among us can’t relate to a life not going as planned, making small concessions that eventually turn into an entire life you’d never really meant to have? It’s heartbreaking to watch. It happens a little bit to almost every single one of us.And the movie assures us that like George, we can all run down the street yelling Merry Christmas even though our life is falling apart. And that, like Clarence says, if any of us were missing it would leave a mighty big hole in the world.
Stolen and paraphrased from a piece at Your Eyes Blaze Out

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

CHEAP IS HOW I FEEL- CHRISTMAS 2016

“It's the kind of night that's so cold, when you spit
it freezes before it hits the ground
And when a bum asks you for a quarter, you give a dollar
if he's out tonight he must be truly down
And I'm searching all the windows for a last minute present
to prove to you that what I said was real,
for something small and frail and plastic, baby,
'cause cheap is how I feel”
COWBOY JUNKIES

I had avoided the mall for two years. The last time I was there in 2014, a really slick salesman tried to sell me 80 dollars worth ofpink salt. These guys are good.

But I had to go last week. I was invited to a Gala Event, a White Dress  Banquet, where everyone is supposed to wear all white. Believe it or not I actually have a couple white shirts, but I don’t have any white slacks, or a white dress jacket. In order for me to meet the dress requirements, I am going to need at least a white dress jacket. And I only have one days notice.

So I trudge down to Dillards at North East Mall. I’m willing to buy a jacket with my Credit Card, if they have one.
But they do not. The salesman tells me white jackets are out of season, especially in my size. This doesn’t surprise me, because guys my size dressed in all white usually look like something you would put on top of your hot cocoa.
Unless you are Gary Williamson, who always looks good no matter what he wears

I hate to go to the mall and not buy anything. I thanked the man, and as I was turning, spotted a rack of ties.
Ah, a tie! If they have a white jacket at Men’s Warehouse, a nice red tie will look nice. I take a look at a few and ask:
“How much are the ties?”
“Seventy-Nine Dollars” the man says.
“$79.00 for a tie? I don’t think so.”

So now I’m at Men’s Warehouse, Damon is measuring me, and we go over to the rack, and there is not a single white suit or dress jacket in my size there. Big Surprise. And then I spot the ties again. You know, maybe a guy like me with a winning personality can show up to a Big Fancy Christmas Gala Where Everybody Wears All White, dressed in black slacks, a navy jacket, white shirt and festive red tie. Even though everybody else there has had weeks to get ready for the Gala, with rented Tuxedos with tails or elegant Yves St. Laurent tailored suits, I can just waltz in there wearing my Navy Blue jacket I bought last year to try to hide my tremendous gut, and a stupid grin, dance like no one is watching,  and no one will notice.
And anyway, who cares? I’ve suffered many worse humiliations…

So I look at the ties. The tag says they are 16 dollars each. I grab two and head for the register. I have to fill out an entire questionnaire to buy two ties. About this time, Damon shows up with a gorgeous Calvin Klein suit, and things start happening fast.
‘Mr Renfro, I can call the Irving store and see if they have this in your size”
‘Sure, that would be nice” I say.
The cashier takes my questionnaire and rings up the ties.
“That will be 80 dollars” he says.
“80 dollars? I thought they were $16 each?”
“No Mr. Renfro, they are 75, plus tax, and on sale two-for-one”
“Well you can take them back. I’m not spending 80 bucks on a tie, even it if its TWO ties.”
He looks at me like I’m a worm, and now its Damon’s turn.
“Mr. Renfro, they have this suit in your size at the Irving store!”
“Oh, thanks Damon. Is that at the Irving Mall?”
“Yes, you cant miss it. Right in front of the Best Buy. Tell them Damon sent you.”
“Ok, I’ll head right over”
And that’s when it hits me.
“Damon, just for grins, how much is that suit?”
“Lets see….its 1100 dollars, but on sale half off. $550 dollars”
I look at him, slack-jawed.
I wanted to say “You know I can buy a Trump suit for $179?
Instead I said “That’s way out of my ballpark” and turn and left. I could feel the eyes of he and the cashier watching me, both thinking “that’s one cheap dude right there” but I really didn’t care.
Because cheap is how I feel.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

I think its great, Trump giving Rick Perry a shot at the department Perry wanted to eliminate.
Shrewd management that.
Kind of like rubbing a dogs nose into its own shit, only its not a dog, its Rick Perry. Perry will find out what is so important about the Energy Department now, and probably do a kick-ass job.

Reminds me of when I hired a blind dishwasher. He didn't look that good on paper, but I went with my gut. It ended up that he saved us money on breakage and lost silverware.


COME ON RICK, LIGHTEN UP, ITS GOING TO BE FUN

Friday, December 16, 2016

THE ANESTHESIOLOGIST

I had to have a shoulder surgery a few years ago. I got everything lined up for it. Ready to go into the OR in three days. Then it occurs to me.
What about the anesthesiologist? I have heard that if the Anesthesiologist isn’t on the insurance list, you have to pay full price for getting knocked out . And they say sometimes it happens.
So I call the hospital.
Is the anesthesiologist covered by my insurance?
“I would imagine he is Mr. Renfro”
“You would imagine? What does that mean?”
“They usually are, That’s why wqe use them”
“But you can’t say for sure?”
“You’ll need to call your insurance”

So now  my cortisol levels are spiking because I cant get a straight answer. And calling an insrance company doesn’t usually help. But I need to know, so I call them.
Is the anesthesiologist covered by my insurance?
“Thank you for your question Mr. Renfro.  What is the provider number?”
“Provider code? I have no idea. His name is Dr. Shakyerbootie. Does that help?”
“Im sorry Mr. Renfro. We need the provider number”
“But how many anesthesiologist’s named  Shakyerbootie can there be around here?”
‘That’s why I need a provider number Mr Renfro”
“Where do I get that?” I’m almost in tears now.
“You’ll have to call Dr Shakyerbootie.”
“Do you have his number?
“if I knew the provider number I could tell you. I can tell you that if the hospital has him lined up to do this, and the hospital is on your plan then it would be very unusual for him to not be under your plan”

Would you believe there are 6 Dr Shakyerbooties in Dallas?
So I’m trying to decide which one to call first, when it occurs to me that this surgery is taking place, and I wont be doing it without an anesthesiologist, and I may as well just relax, turn it over to the Big Anesthesiologist in the sky, and not worry. If they send me a bill, I’ll just pay it out over the next 30 years.

Everything went just fine. It was all covered, despite my best efforts to be in charge.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

WHERE IS MY ANGST?

I went to this horrible restaurant last night. They only serve soup and salad. The name of it was “Souper Salad”. My advice is to stay away from places like this. The Tuscan Tomato Basil soup was watery. I don’t know where they got their Tuscan's. In fact, I couldnt tell that they had any Tuscan's at all in there, or real basil for that matter. And like I said it was runny. God, I hate runny soup, especially runny Tomato Basil soup that may have rather dubious Tuscan's in it.
But the worst part was the tea. The tea was weak. Weak tea is worse than runny soup. I tried to put extra sweetener in it, hoping to give it a boost, but no, weak tea really cant be saved, even taking some of the ice out didn’t help that’s how weak it was.
And that really was the most God awful part of the whole day.
How can I work a Tenth Step when that's the worst thing that happens?
There was a place next door that looked interesting.
“Miss Saigon” was the name. I’m thinking I might go tonight. What could possibly go wrong?




I wish I could find something to complain about.
They told us last month here at work that we wouldnt get raises this year. No raises? Actually, they said we would, but they wouldn't take effect until September, haha. Those guys at corporate always coming up with funny shit like that.
I decided not to complain, or in the words of Merle Haggard "if we make it thru December we will be all right".
So then they came to me last week and said "You know how we said you wouldnt get a raise until September?"
And my heart started to sink because, in the words of LC Bill Kilgore "I love the smell of napalm in the morning. Smells like victory" and I figured they were going to tell me instead of a raise starting in 9 months, they were going to be docking me 100 bucks a week, starting right now.
But that's not what happened.
What happened was they gave me a promotion, which is better than a raise because, in the words of my manager it puts me in a new "pay grade", and my increase will start in January, if we make it through, you know, December.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

REGARDING CAMERAS

When I got married my brother was my best man. Don graduated from West Point second in his class. He is a real smart guy. 

For the honeymoon Shila and I were going to Puerto Vallarta , and Don was going to let me use his fancy camera. 
So the morning before the wedding Don spends and hour giving me a quick tutorial about F-Stops, ISO and shutter speeds, apertures, film speed, and I’m taking it all in as best as I can. 
As I’m putting the camera back in the bag, I say “I’ll get it figured out as I go along once we get down there". 
Don looks at me and says “Its your Honeymoon. If you're smart, you won't pay any attention to that camera”.
It took a minute for that to sink it. 
Smart guy, my brother.

Friday, December 09, 2016

I BELIEVE IN BUTTERFLIES



It seems to me that if you can believe in a butterfly, its unlikely change from egg to larvae, chrysalis and metamorphosis, that maybe, just maybe, you could find a way to believe in Jesus.
"This is the irrational season
when love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
there’d have been no room for the child."
--Madeleine L'Engle


I bought myself a camera for Christmas. I believe in butterflies.
Merry Christmas!

My friend Holli



More Butterflies



I was hoping to get our reflection in the bulb. It didnt quite happen, but check out the triangles of light in the bulb to the left. having fun with my camera.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

SNOW


Walking through a field with my little brother Seth
I pointed to a place where kids had made angels in the snow.
For some reason, I told him that a troop of angels
had been shot and dissolved when they hit the ground.
He asked who had shot them and I said a farmer.
Then we were on the roof of the lake.
The ice looked like a photograph of water.
Why he asked. Why did he shoot them.
I didn't know where I was going with this.
They were on his property, I said.
When it's snowing, the outdoors seem like a room.
Today I traded hellos with my neighbor.
Our voices hung close in the new acoustics.
A room with the walls blasted to shreds and falling.
We returned to our shoveling, working side by side in silence.
But why were they on his property, he asked.
- David Berman
Actual Air

Thursday, December 01, 2016

TOFU SOUP

A friend called me last night, asked what I was doing.
“I’m about to eat this Tufu Soup I went and got at the Papaya Garden”
“Tofu soup? Man, thats out there” he says.
“I know, I got to do something. I been feeling like crap, my blood sugar is through the roof these days. I’m upping my medicine every day, but cant seem to get caught up.”
My friend offers some advice.
‘You should change your diet. Its one of the hardest things to change. My doctor (blah, blah, blah) and my sister (blah, blah, blah) and so I switched to having just fruit for breakfast and I’m eating a lot of weird salads now”
I let there be a good 6-8 second pause, and let him have it, very softly:
“Well, my friend, what do you think is up with me and the Tofu Soup?”




"If one day you become sick of words, as happens to us all, and you grow tired of hearing them, of saying them; if whichever you choose seems worn out, dull, disabled; if you feel nauseated when you hear 'horrible' or 'divine' for some everyday occurrence - you'll not be cured, obviously, by alphabet soup.

You must do the following: cook a plate of al dente spaghetti dressed with the simplest seasoning - garlic, oil and chili. Over the pasta toss in this mixture, grate a layer of Parmesan cheese. To the right of the deep plate full of the spaghetti thus prepared, place an open book. To the left, place an open book. In front of it a full glass of red wine. Any other company is not recommended. Turn the pages of each book at random, but they must both be poetry. Only good poets cure us of an overindulgence in words. Only simple essential food cures us of gluttony."
 - Héctor Abad Faciolince
Recipes for Sad Women
live & learn

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

CHILLIN' ON FACEBOOK

""If you can sit quietly after difficult news, if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm, if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy, if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate and fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill, if you can always find contentment just where you are, you are probably a dog."
- Jack Kornfield
Image~ Lenny at the Computer.




Tuesday, November 29, 2016

MORE THAN HILLARY







In defense of the Electoral College, a popular vote was held to name a Polar Research Vessel in England
Boaty McBoatface was the clear winner over RRS Sir David Attenborough.
How clear?
The vote came in at 124,000 to 11,000, a landslide for Boaty McBoatface.
But more sober heads have prevailed as the British Science Minister announced:
“The public provided some truly inspirational and creative names, and while it was a difficult decision I’m delighted that our state-of-the-art polar research ship will be named after one of the nation’s most cherished broadcasters and natural scientists.”




Interesting that the same thing is happening in Canada over a bird.
National Geographic held a vote and the grey jay came in third behind the common loon and snowy owl.
The folks at National Geo are recommending to the Canadian government that they go with the grey jay for the national bird.
“This shouldn’t be turned into a popularity contest” a spokesman said.
I agree. It’s a handsome little bird.



But not to worry. Boaty McBoatface will live on in the form of the ship’s remotely operated submarine.
That’s more than Hillary gets.


Thanks t David @ Live and Learn

Monday, November 28, 2016

MOVING BACKWARDS AND DOWN?

I see America has having been always on an upward spiral. Sometimes progress slowed, but always always upward. 

Some folks might say “What about 2008 when the economy tanked. Wasn’t that moving backwards?”
But look what we got. We got a president that pushed a HC bill through and provided 20 million folks with insurance that didnt have it before. Some people scream about it, but the fact is no one can repeal ity without coming up with some kind of replacement. That’s progress.
He got us far enough  out of needless wars that I don’t have to sit there on Sunday morning and watch 20 names scroll by of dead soldiers that will be missed forever by grieving families.
People might point to the unrest and rioting in the streets.
This is nothing compared to what the country saw in the 60’s. who knows? It may be we are seeing the last convulsions of racism in America.
But I doubt it.

I see people hollerin' about Trump choice for Education Secretary. Apparently, she has no experience in education. I don't know that it makes any difference.
I survived the Cuisenaire rods they tried to teach me algebra with in the first grade. My parents survived the “New Math” they didn’t know how to help me with in the fourth grade. All that, and I still ended up in remedial math in the 12th grade. Everyone who has been against Common Core will somehow survive, and teenagers at fast food joints will continue to be unable to count back change no matter what program DeVoss puts in.
Lets try to keep our heads here.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

A THOUSAND WAYS TO FEEL ALONE

Sometimes, we forget, 
for every way people can be together, 
for every combination of gender, 
race, friendship, love, 
religion and deviance, 
there are a thousand more ways 
for them to feel alone. 

Thanks always to those I follow, 
to those who follow me, 
for the war you wage with your art 
and with your hearts 
against all the loneliness loose 
in the world 
and in our souls.
peregrine (via youreyesblazeout)

Image~ Andre Kertesz

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

FACEBOOK FRIENDS

I've hit the magic number on friends. 777. If one comes in that looks good, I find one to give the boot.
If one decides they've had enough of me, I just go get another one.

BAD ASS QUOTE OF THE DAY~ REINCE PRIEBUS, CHIEF OF STAFF DURING NYT INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT ELECT TRUMP:


TRUMP: I think we’re going to see some tremendous talent, tremendous talent coming in. We have many people for every job. I mean no matter what the job is, we have many incredible people. I think, Reince, you can sort of just confirm that. The quality of the people is very good."

REINCE PRIEBUS: [inaudible]

TRUMP: We thought we were going to win North Carolina. We did easily, pretty easily. We thought strongly we were going to win Pennsylvania. The problem is nobody had won it and it was known, as you know, the great state that always got away. Every Republican thought they were going to win Pennsylvania for 38 years and they just couldn’t win it.

And I thought we were going to win it. And we won it, we won it, you know, relatively easily, we won it by a number of points. We won florida by 180.000. What was it Prience? 180?

REINCE PRIEBUS: [inaudible]

Friday, November 18, 2016

A DONALD TRUMP SUIT FOR CHRISTMAS



I am getting ready for Christmas and today we would like to put on our wish list the Donald Trump Navy Blue Two Piece, Two Button, Striped Side Vent jacket and Pant for the low low price of $173.
I’m still wondering how it works when President Elect Trump starts taxing what we are importing from China or Mexico as part of his winning trade deal, without causing the price of his suits, a flat screen TV or Ford Focus to skyrocket.
He says he will put a 35% tax on anything an American company makes out of country.
Will the price of this fine men’s garment, made in China, reflect the tariff and suddenly start costing $233?
Will Walmart still be able to sell me a 50 inch flat screen for 300 bucks?
Will that add 6,000 to the price of a Ford Focus?
Where will those taxes go? Back to the Corporation that paid the tax in the form of a tax break, eventually trickling down to me and my Ford Focus I paid an extra 6000 for? Hopefully, the price of corny dogs, mustard, and ranch beans will have gone down, lowering the numbers on my Misery Index.


Or how if he brings the jobs making the Donald Trump Navy Blue Two Piece, Two Button, Striped Side Vent jacket and Pant suits back to America, where instead of the labor costing 10 cents a day it now costs 10.00 an hour. Will the suit will still be affordable?

I'm sure,being a High-Powered businessman who has steered his ship through half a dozen bankruptcies, he has a simple, no non-sense straightforward answer to these questions.

I went to the Dollar Store and bought an umbrella one time.
Did you know you can buy an umbrella for a dollar?
Man, those Chinese, I don’t know how they do it. There are at least 20 moving parts and there must be almost a buck just in materials for an umbrella, but they make the heck out of them, generating millions of dollars in revenue.
I just cant imagine us being able to do that here. Not for a dollar. Not ever, 35% tariff or not.
Whats going to happen next time I need an umbrella?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

ON PARKING


I hate backing up. I suck at it. Its horrible. You can think you are being careful, and then there is the guy going 20 MPH in a parking lot. Or the one creeping along that you think has finally passed you, but what he has done is STOP IN YOUR BLIND SPOT. When I go to park, I look for ways that I won’t have to back up.

I was with the Ex wife one afternoon. She wanted to stop at a convenience store and get a drink.
I pulled in and parked at the pump. Turned the car off .
“Are you getting gas?” she asks.
“No”
“You know I’m going in, right?” she says.
“Yeah” I say, nonchalantly.
“Well why don’t you park in front?”
“Oh no. No way. Much too dangerous”
Her hands went up, like she is bench pressing the air, she has the most exasperated look on her face I ever seen (and I seen it plenty) and all she can say is “UGH”.

So I did the right thing and went in for her.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

THE CLOWN AND THE END OF THE WORLD

"A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke."
Søren Kierkegaard 


Sunday, November 13, 2016

A GREAT KING AND HIS HORSE

Yesterday I mentioned  a story about a great King who had embraced those he had defeated instead of vanquishing them. This is not that story, but it is very nice. A tip of the hat to Sawsan @ "Last Tambourine"

This is the story of a very kind and generous Arab King. The nation did not know hunger during his times.
He would part with anything, but one thing.
One of his horses was very dear to his heart. That was the one thing he wouldn’t let go of. Not for all the money in the world.

A thief decided to scam the king. There was one way to scam a generous soul.

He knew the King took his dear horse out for a ride, same time, same path, everyday. So, he threw himself on the ground, on the kings path, screaming that he’s been hit and robbed by thieves.

The king came down off of his dear horse, and ran to help this man.
He hit the king, and ran to ride the beautiful horse away.

The king asked him for one thing,
“Can you please not tell anyone how you took my horse?”

The thief said, laughing, “Why, are you afraid they’ll call you a fool?”

“No.” The King replied. “I fear people in my kingdom will not be stopping for a man in need anymore.”

Saturday, November 12, 2016

LEONARD COHEN ON DYING

“Its very compassionate at this stage, you know, I mean more than any other time in my life. I don’t have that voice that says “Youre fucking up”.

I cried a while to hear the news. I knew I liked him, but I didnt know I liked him that much. But it brought memories of Billie back, and the first time I heard of Mr. Cohen.



 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

THE BRIGHT SIDE




This the first time since '92 when we voted for Perot that our choice didn't win. We have a whole new perspective, and its kind of freeing.
 Look at the bright side. We are completely in the clear. We can spend the next four years making pasta, visiting quaint old bed and breakfasts, trying new wines from local vineyards, maybe join a book club, and watch while the new administration tries to round up and deport 11 million illegals, hopes to provide shelter for 40,000 homeless veterans, replaces health care for 20 million Americans with something vaguely described so far only as “beautiful”, cure opioid addiction, start a trade war with China, gnash teeth with Mexico over a wall, restore Law and Order, all the while blaming the previous administration for everything that seems to be going wrong.


But we  see this morning that Trump has come out in support of those who are now in violent protest against his election and admires their passion.  We think that is a good thing and shows incredible consistency, as they are only doing what he and his supporters promised to do had he lost.
We take it as another sign that the President-Elect just might make a kick ass President,


 What are those little Japanese landscapes that fit on an end table that come with a little rake and a Bonsai tree? We are thinking of getting one of those.


Inspired by Garrison Keillor.

THE OLD HISTORICAL MACHINERY



"Now in these dread latter days of the old violent beloved U.S.A. and of the Christ-forgetting Christ-haunted death-dealing Western world I came to find myself in a grove of young pines and the question came to me: has it happened at last?

Two or more hours should tell the story. One way or the other. Either I am right and a catastrophe will occur, or it won't and I'm crazy. In either case the outlook is not so good.

Here I sit, in any case, against a young pine, broken out in hives and waiting for the end of the world. Safe here for the moment though, flanks protected by the rise of ground on the left and an approach ramp on the right. The carbine lies across my lap.

Just below the cloverleaf, in the ruined motel, the three girls are waiting for me. Undoubtedly something is about to happen.

Or is it that something has stopped happening?

Is it that God has at last removed his blessing from the U.S.A. and what we feel now is just the clank of the old historical machinery, the sudden jerking ahead of the roller-coaster cars as the chain catches hold and carries us back into history with its ordinary catastrophes, carries us out and up toward the brink from that felicitous and privileged siding where even unbelievers admitted that if it was not God who blessed the U.S.A., then at least some great good luck had befallen us, and that now the blessing or the luck is over, the machinery clanks, the chain catches hold, and the cars jerk forward?"

-- the opening sentences to Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy.

Gathered at "Alive On All Channels"

Sunday, November 06, 2016

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS YEARS ELECTION

My whole life I've seen it go back and forth Red-Blue, Blue-Red, and back again. I been told all this stuff I'm supposed to be afraid of...Commies, Hippies, Christers, Blacks, Rednecks, Athiests; Gun Enthusiasts, Outlaws being the only ones with guns; The KKK, the SLA, iSIS, Ebola and the IRS; Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon Carter, Bush and Obama...Muslims. Mexicans and lately, mosquitoes.
But the fact is Democrat or Republican, my life has changed very little year to year. Very very little. All my problems (pointing to self) are local.


We have a tradition at the NA Group, the 2nd Tradition:"For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority- a loving God as he may express himself in our Group Conscious"

Friday, November 04, 2016

DRIVING IN NEW YORK CITY AT NIGHT


I tried to take a picture of the World Trade Center while I was driving up the 274.
See the little squiggly white line on the right hand side?
I think that’s the Brooklyn bridge.

Driving in New York is a little different from Texas. The streets are quite narrow. The houses are very close together. There are a lot of cars parked on the street. This creates
a situation where you seem to be on a four lane road, then all of a sudden its down to two.
First there are four lanes, then a stretch comes along with people parking on the street and now its not.
First there are four lanes then there are not four lanes, then there are.
First there are four lanes then there are not four lanes, then there are.
Its like a Donovan song.

One morning the car in front of me seemed to be unsure about what they wanted to do and hesitated just a moment. Almost immediately the three cars behind me started honking their horns.
We don't do that in Texas.

Monday, October 31, 2016

A NIGHT IN QUEENS

I just left a Jamaican restaurant in Queens where I don't believe a white boy has been...ever

I had googled Jamaican food and found a place called The Smokehouse, and set out for supper.
Man, it was deep in the hood. Trying to find a place to park and in the company truck, I ended up on a very narrow street. Cars lined each side, and the driveways were small. Suddenly in the darkness I see the DEAD END sign. Turning around would be a real trick, so I continued further in, hoping for a good spot. But the street narrowed, the dark got darker, the houses even closer together. 400 yards later and no good spot I came to the end and I was forced to back out in reverse.
The advice from my friend Nina rang in my ears:
"Be careful and always be aware of your surroundings"
No shit, but it was way too late.
I was looking like a real cracker.


I made the block and found a place to park right in front of the local NAACP Chapter. It looks quite different at night, and right next door is a Voodoo supply house where you can buy all sorts of candles, wooden bowls, live chickens, serrated edge knives with mother of pearl handles, and JuJu sticks.



I had planned to get a table, but there were only three tables. The place was full, but no one was sitting, and no one was looking at me either. If you had asked me last week I would have said there isn't much racial divide in this country anymore, just a lot of loose talk from people with latent racism. 
And that might be true, but in line at The Smokehouse tonight, I felt very out of place.
I decided to do like everyone else, and get my stuff to go, and get my white ass back to the hotel. I couldn't see sitting there eating and no one watching me at all. That would have been worse than everyone watching me, and what if the collard greens were under cooked? What would I do then?
  So I waited for my food like everyone else, and hoped while I avoided making eye contact with anyone, that someone might at least try to make eye contact with me.
It didnt happen.

I got back to my room with the jerked chicken, the red beans and rice (I think they call it "Peas and Rice"), the collards -- which were the best-- and some plaintains. It was very good.
Like I said I don't believe a white boy has been there...ever.

But I might go back tomorrow!



Saturday, October 22, 2016

LOCK HER UP



"So here we are, bilious and consternated, and in three weeks, it all comes to an end. Apparently, Mr. Trump will not call up Hillary on election night and offer her congratulations. He may file a lawsuit instead. His followers will be encouraged to believe that the election was rigged by Wall Street hedge fund managers in cahoots with the vaccine industry, followers of Saul Alinsky, and aliens living in Roswell, New Mexico, but whatever — it will be over. The shouting will die down. The "Lock her up" T-shirts will go into the bottom drawer. Families will gather for Thanksgiving and bite their tongues and avoid eye contact. There will be Christmas. The inauguration will take place, and Barack and Michelle and the girls will go to their new home and get out the Scrabble board and pop a kettle of popcorn. And next spring the 2020 campaign will begin.

I worry about Donald Trump. What is he going to do? He has damaged his brand. The steaks, ties, home furnishings, fragrances, whiskey, resorts, condos, golf club memberships — when you associate yourself with white supremacy, male chauvinism and invincible ignorance, this is not smart marketing. He can't go back to the Tower. Manhattan is about 83 percent Democratic. Why live among people who don't appreciate you and ride around in a black limo with smoked-glass windows through crowds of pedestrians giving you the finger? It's no way to live.

Does the man have friends? Or only associates? This is the big question. Is Sean really and truly his friend? Or Howard? Or Rudy? Do they go out for lunch and tell jokes about the two blondes who went to the drive-in theater in February to see "Closed For The Season"? I doubt this.

He should pick up his traps and move to Nebraska. He is leading in Nebraska, about 2-to-1. There are wonderful warmhearted people there who love and admire him, so he would fit right in. Look at Broken Bow, a town of 4,000 on Highway 2 in Custer County. He could get a nice 3BR there for $150K. There's a municipal airport, a hospital. The restaurants are good if you like beef. You can play golf from May through September and after that you can use a fluorescent orange ball and play in the snow. He'd be far away from The New York Times. He could make Broken Bow great, put marble floors and walls in the public school, put up a marble statue of George Armstrong Custer. He could attend a good evangelical church every Sunday and go to Bible reading Wednesday night where maybe he can learn more about those two Corinthians. He'd need to be careful about touching women suddenly without permission though because many of them are armed. If he grabbed one down there, she might cut him a new buttonhole. Even if she were a Christian."
~~~~~~By Garrison Keilor~~~~~~~
More here... http://www.sltrib.com/…/garrison-keillor-when-its-over-maybe

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

THE CHINA CABINET

The Ex-Mrs. Bulletholes called this morning.
We’ve been divorced, man, almost 20 years now.
Still get along pretty good, we do.
“I’m keeping your Grandmothers china cabinet here" she says.
‘Yes, I know, thank you” says I.
“With the kids both gone, it doesn’t mean as much to me, but I’m keeping it for them” she says.
“If I had room for it I’d take it off your hands” says I.
“Oh no, its no problem, I can keep it.” she says.

So there is a pause and she says “I’ve sold 26 houses this year” (she sells real estate)
“Wow, that’s a lot of houses!" I said.
She giggles "Yes, it is!"
"That’s a lot of money isn’t it?” I says.
She giggles. “Yes it’s a whole lot of money!” says she.

Again a pause, and I go ahead and say it, remorsefully:
“I really messed up, didn’t I?”


I don’t think I’ve ever heard her laugh that hard.

WIKILEAKS

Sometimes the most you can say about someone is that they are “unremarkable”.
The same holds true for the latest batch of Wikileaks. I hope they have more than what they have shown so far, or I’m going back to sleep.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

YOU CANT HANDLE THE TRUTH


No evidence?
There is a tape of him describing his MO. He just kisses them and grabs their pussy because "Hey, I'm Donald Trump".
Really, its not locker room talk, its a confession.
So now you got 6, 8, 10, women coming forward saying "Yep, thats what he did to me".
Should we be surprised?
Anything he says can be used in court. His defense thus far has been "She's not pretty enough for me to assault". Do you not think this will come up?
A prosecutor will ask Trump 20 questions about this and there is no telling what he might say.

In my mind I can envision, as you must be doing now, Trump on the stand going full on Col. Nathan Jessop in "A Few Good Men"...
"Did I try to fuck her? Damn right I tried to fuck her. You would too if you were Donald Trump."


Friday, October 14, 2016

HOW TO RUIN YOUR LIFE



I remember the first time they found my pot.
“Youre going to ruin your life” my mom would say in her high pitched voice.
“We thought you knew better” dad said gruffly.
Then I got busted.
“Youre going to ruin your life” my mom said in her high pitched voice, wringing her hands.
“We thought you knew better” dad said gruffly.
So we had to go to counseling, where I lied my ass off.
This was back before NA was around, or I’m sure they would have sent me there.
I never did give up the pot, not until a few years later when I figured out I couldn’t work very good or fish very good when I was stoned.
That’s when I found speed. I could work and fish on that stuff.
But I should have known better, and that stuff DID ruin my life.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

LAKE CHARLES

When I was in the 9th grade I went on a Lay Witness Mission to Lake Charles. That was back when I was a much more evangelical version of myself. It was a weekend of praising Jesus, and visiting with the church youth, singing “Michael Row The Boat Ashore” and “Let It Shine” and we even got to sing that Buffalo Springfield song about smiling on your brother, which most of the church elders looked down upon, but seemed really Jesus-ee to us in a kind of Hippie/Jesus freak kinda way. We all prayed together, ate and sang together, and the girls would all give lots of hugs, there was one named Jenny I kinda latched on to, and I guess I spent most of the weekend in Lake Charles walking around with a big ol’ hard on.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

DANCING WITH ASPARAGUS

I dreamed last night I was dancing in the produce aisle. Oranges, bananas, mushrooms and rutabagas, we were all boogieing down.
Then there was the asparagus, their lean bodies rockin', and little faces smiling, getting loose, because you can't dance and stay uptight. Even the green leafy veges know this.
Anyway, we were dancing away when a woman came up to me and said "You shouldnt dance in the grocery store"
I stopped dancing.
"Why not ?" I asked.
"Because its obnoxious, immature and embarrassing to me" she said.

So I stopped dancing.
All the vegetables looked so sad. They hung their heads, and went back to their display cases to chill.
I left in a car with the woman.
But we didn't make it out of the parking lot.
I said "You know, if I want to dance in the grocery store, and be friendly and loud and cut up, that's exactly what I'm going to do.
And I turned around and went back into the store.

It wasnt just a dream. I really let it happen this year.
Fuck that.
I'll dance with the asparagus if I want to.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

THE LAND OF THE FREE


I went to a Marching Band competition Saturday night.
I was trying to send my daughter some pics I had taken when they started with the anthem, so I came in a little late. I might not have come in at all except for all the recent controversy. I thought about taking a knee for about 6 milliseconds, decided my balls aren’t that big, and put my hand over my heart.
That’s when I noticed about half the crowd was either filming the choir on the field or texting. The man three seats down, he had his hand over his heart, but was texting away one handed. 
Pretty impressive.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

THE DEBATE AS A POORLY FORMED FORMULA


“If Donald Trump had said all the things that you said he said in the way you said he said them, he still wouldn't have a fraction of the insults that Hillary Clinton leveled when she said that half of of our supporters were a basket of deplorable's.”
VP Candidate Pence

Or to put it mathematically:

If 
(T Said) = (Y said) + (Way they were said)
then
(H Said) x (H+T) < or = .5 x(insults) + (Supporters) / Basket of Deplorables


I wanted to laugh, but it wasn't funny yet. Lets let them finish slugging it out:

Kaine: I cannot believe that Governor Pence will defend the insult-driven campaign that Donald Trump has run.
Pence: That's small potato compared to Hillary Clinton calling half of Donald Trump's supporters a basket of deplorables.
Kaine: Hillary Clinton said something on the campaign trail and the very next day she said, you know what? I shouldn't have said that.
Pence: She said she shouldn't have said half.
Kaine: Yeah, that’s right, so now we're even. Look for Donald Trump apologizing to John McCain for saying he isn’t a hero. Did Donald Trump apologize for calling women slobs, pigs, dogs, disgusting?
Pence: She apologized for saying half.



Monday, October 03, 2016

A MOMENT OF ZEN

I live 2 miles from my workplace. People don’t believe me, but I miss having a longer drive to work. I wouldn’t want to go back to that one hour commute I used to have, but there are some days when I stagger out of the house and into the car, and find myself 6 minutes later planted in front of the damn idiot box here, still bleary eyed, and I wish I had a little longer drive. Just enough time to even catch a story on NPR. The abruptness and shock of arriving at work so quickly some days cannot be measured.


Now that I recall, I used to stop for a coffee at the local gas station. That broke it up a little. But I stopped going in order to save the 10 bucks a week.

One morning there was a smiling woman that seemed to be flirting with me, touching my arm and laughing. But when I got to work I discovered there was a sock stuffed up my shirt where my bicep should been been.
Or the three laborers, in dusty boots and workingmans clothes, standing in front of the coffee bar, smiling and eyes wide, pointing to the different flavors for the coffee like kids in a candy shop. They did not speak English, but their intent was unmistakable. Hazelnut, or French VanilIa? Or were they Pumpkin Spice and whipped cream kind of guys? I smiled all the way back to the car that day.
Then there was a pretty girl I used to see in there. I always wanted to say hello, but never got in proximity to do so. Then one day I found myself in line behind her. I was ready to give her my best “Good Morning” when I noticed her bra tag was hanging out the back of her blouse.
34B
I froze like stone. What to do?
Maybe I should start stopping in for a small coffee again.
And a moment of Zen.

Friday, September 30, 2016

I painted my lips with her


Russian Red, a nasty, 
nasty lipstick

she taunts me
she makes me do things 

the other evening, after my
shower, she made me give
myself to her

before my black silk dress
before my little panties and 
before my black lace stockings 

even before my favorite 
black heels, the ones 
with a colorful history
a nasty, nasty 
Russian Red history
—x-changes/so-realism

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

WHEN YOU SMELL BULLSHIT

"...one should strive to remain skeptical of what are presented as real-life accounts that state in narrative form things people are predisposed to believe, especially those tales wherein wrongdoers get their comeuppance through being told off by others." 

Friday, September 16, 2016

THE MOCKINGBIRD

image~jemini joseph


the mockingbird
by Charles Bukowski

the mockingbird had been following the cat
all summer
mocking mocking mocking
teasing and cocksure;
the cat crawled under rockers on porches
tail flashing
and said something angry to the mockingbird
which I didn’t understand.

yesterday the cat walked calmly up the driveway
with the mockingbird alive in its mouth,
wings fanned, beautiful wings fanned and flopping,
feathers parted like a woman’s legs,
and the bird was no longer mocking,
it was asking, it was praying
but the cat
striding down through centuries
would not listen.

I saw it crawl under a yellow car
with the bird
to bargain it to another place.

summer was over.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

EVEN IF THE ADULTS DON'T GET IT, THE KIDS DO


"We acknowledge that what we did was wrong ... The actions of last week do not demonstrate who we are. We are not ignorant to the dialogue taking place across the nation and that is not how we want our school to be viewed."
The Students

To understand this story you have to understand the demographics of the two schools. Colleyville is rich and majority white. Trinity is only 36% white, with one of the most ethnically diverse student populations in the country. Forty percent of its students live in families that receive some type of financial aid.
Once again its a battle between the Anti-PC squad and the folks that just want us to have better manners. I like the apology the Colleyville kids came up with, that they are not "ignorant of the dialogue" taking place" in the country.


Back when I went to Bell 40 years ago, someone had held up a sign in the stands directed at the Trinity side. It said "YOUR MAMA CLEANS MY MAMA'S HOUSE".
Could we stop this now? Maybe this is why we still have the  problems that we do.
I'm just thinking that after 220 years of Anti-PC attitudes and policy that gave us slavery, lynchings, Barry Goldwater, Teapot Dome, eradication of the Buffalo, Bloody Sunday, smallpox epidemics for Native Americans, Kent State, repeal of Glass-Steagal, Lynchburg Va., marijuana laws, Joseph McCarthy, Socs and Greasers, Clive Bundy, and Vietnam, we might want to try something different and make a sober effort towards being more respectful of other folks situations and station in life. Can we just try it for a decade or two?

'What the hell do we have to lose?"

I got a call from the school one day, eight years ago when my son was a senior at Bell, another Trinity rival.
It seems he had come up with the bright idea to start a “White Persons Club”
After all, they had a German Club, a Spanish Club and a French Club, they may even have had an African American Club, who knows? Anyway you can follow his logic there.
He decided to form up this club, and began hanging “Join The White persons Club “ posters all aroud the school.
Unauthorized and without permissions of course.
Anyway, I got to go down to the school and sit there with him in the principals office, and the principal and I did our best for an hour to explain what was wrong with a White persons Club.
We never quite did to his satisfaction.
It’s a difficult thing to explain.
But two years ago, after Ferguson, I was riding in the car with him. We got to talking and I asked him:
“So 8 years later, you are all grown, and you’ve had time to see what goes on in the country. Do you understand now what is wrong with a “White Persons Club”?
He smiled a sad little smile, and said “Yes Pop, I do”.


By the way, Trinity licked Colleyville's ass on the playing field.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

THREE FIGS FALLING




"“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ed Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantine and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Artist~ Jay Wilkinson, Fort Worth Texas
The size of this piece is about 6X8 feet. 

Thats right. 6X8.
Its huge.
Inspired by Plath's quote above from the only novel she ever wrote, The Bell Jar. 
Well done Mr. Wilkinson, very well done.
More of Jays Work (Click Here)


Painting Details:


Friday, September 09, 2016

PLENTY OF FISH, EPISODE FOUR:

DEAR MINNIE;

I appreciate your message, wanting to meet and have a few laughs.
I'm new to this online dating thing. One month now.
It could be a full time job.
Don't get me wrong, I like meeting new people. Thats why I got on here. But at the same time, I'm kind of a one girl at a time kind of guy so this is a little, uh, overwhelming.

You know, that really didn't sound right. Let me try this again.
In 30 days I've met 6 girls in person, Minnie. One, all the way down in Granbury. I haven’t met any of them a second time. I've traded I don't know how many messages with I don't know how many girls. 
I would need an Excel spreadsheet to keep up with it all.
One of them lives all the way out in Garland! Based on messages, she's my favorite, but that's 40 miles away, through some of the worst traffic on planet Earth.

And that’s just not my style. In 18 years of being divorced I don't think I've dated but 3 girls.And one of those wasn’t even "dating". We were just friends WITHOUT benefits.
But I loved her. I sure did love her.
Besides, I'll come right out and admit it. I'm High Maintenance. I need something a little more handy than 40 miles away. Do you know what I'm talking about?

So I see you live in Lewisville, and its not the end of earth, but its further away than I have in mind.
I'm trying to figure out which one of the 6 girls I've met should I maybe meet a second time. And I just don't know. I surely do don't know.
Maybe that is the answer? There must be some reason I haven't asked a second time. Just scrap them and move on to Number Seven?
Do you really want to be Number Seven, Minnie?
I hope I'm not being rude, I'm just kind of thinking out loud here.

How long have you been on POF? What has it been like for you?
Thanks for listening!
Bulletholes

It didnt take long to get her replay.
"That's the most honest message I've ever received. Yes, I'd love to be your Number Seven".



Jesus, thats not much help is it?
She's making it real hard.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Zugunruhe



“You feel it don’t you…
September rising in you…
what is the word…
“Zugunruhe”, yes?
That’s what the Germans named it
when caged birds want to fly
And can’t…"Migratory Restlessness…”
The days grow shorter
And fall starts driving you mad
until you beat the walls to go.
You feel it don’t you…for me…
as I do for you…Zugunruhe”

Peregrine @ Your Eyes Blaze Out