Monday, February 29, 2016

YELLOW PAPARAZZI DREAMS

Mom was helping me run a bunch of errands. We went all over town. Then we stopped by the hospital to see dad. He had the Alzheimers, and they had him in a new room.
‘It’s the Reading and Writing room” mom told me. “They have found a way to teach the Alzheimer people how to read and write again”.

This was my first clue that I must be dreaming. Dad's been gone a long time 

Then we went shopping. I bought some shirts, and two pairs of pants. We went  to the grocery store.
We got home, and mom helped me put up groceries and  clean our apartment.
Then it was time to go to work. Mom was going to drive me so that she could use the car while I was at work. It was then I started to sense this was all just a dream. Mom has been gone a long time too. 

This is how my dreams of mom and dad often go. First I realize dad's not really there, then further in, I remember mom isn't either.

I wanted to ask her how it was she could help me so much when she wasn’t even really there. She died 30 years ago. But  you hate to ask a question like that in a dream, for  fear of scaring the dream away.  I didn't want to scare this dream away. I wanted to stretch it out as long as I could. So instead, as we stood there outside my car, I said
“Mom, can I ask you a question?”
“Sure Stevie”
She had on a  lavender top, with a white tennis skirt and these great, shiny patent leather yellow Go-Go boots.
She looked so great, so I said “Let me take your picture first” and she struck a pose next to my car.
I pulled out my phone, clicked on the camera, and raised it to my eye.
And  there she was... gone.


I have a lot of dreams of mom and dad. I've learned two things.
Don't ask any direct questions, and never, ever, try to take a picture.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A KITCHEN WITH A VIEW

I dreamed an old chef I worked with and I were going to cook at a restaurant he had built. His name is Paul, and I just found him on Facebook a few months back. We had only worked together for a few months back in 1977. He was a really cool guy, a few years older than I, and a Vietnam vet. That summer of 1977, I would go over to his place to play chess, and smoke pot. More than that, it was his ping pong table that Chavonne (my blind girlfriend) and I would go play on before she died. I always looked up to Paul, and wondered where he was all these years.

This restaurant was at the top of a mountain. Paul scrambled right up, but me, I’m scared of heights, and not in good enough shape to climb a mountain. Paul kept calling me to come on. He would stop and look back and I would look at how steep and high the mountain was. I kept telling him I couldn’t make it. Then I woke up.

I woke up, but just for a second. I closed my eyes and quickly fell back asleep. The dream restarted and found I’d made it up the mountain. We were standing in the kitchen. The kitchen was full of windows. You could see the valley's below, and a tiny city of lights, and all the other mountains all around, golden, purple and green. 

Paul said “See, you made it!” 
I said “There is only one way for me to make it up here, and that’s to dream it. I must be dreaming.” 
Then we made blackberry cobblers. 
I told Paul about this dream and he said for all that trouble we should have made more than just cobblers.

But like I told Paul, I think the dream was more about the view, and the fact that he lives up in Tahoe, and one day soon I'll be going to see him.

Friday, February 26, 2016

PATCH ADAMS


"All of life is a coming home. Salesmen, secretaries, coal miners, beekeepers, sword swallowers, all of us. All the restless hearts of the world, all trying to find a way home. It's hard to describe what I felt like then. Picture yourself walking for days in the driving snow; you don't even know you're walking in circles. The heaviness of your legs in the drifts, your shouts disappearing into the wind. How small you can feel, and how far away home can be. Home. The dictionary defines it as both a place of origin and a goal or destination. And the storm? The storm was all in my mind. Or as the poet Dante put it: In the middle of the journey of my life, I found myself in a dark wood, for I had lost the right path. Eventually I would find the right path, but in the most unlikely place."
Patch Adams

Thursday, February 25, 2016

LITTLE BLACK SAMBO

ON A MORE PERSONAL NOTE CONCERNING BLACK HISTORY MONTH



When I was four years old this was one of my favorite books. It was a controversial book, though at the age of four I didn’t know it.
As I read it, I could look out across my backyard and across the field beyond, and see where they were building Loop 820 in 1961. Loop 820 now circles Fort Worth Texas. 
And just on the other side of Loop 820, I could see they were building a High School, Richland High School, where I would have attended had I not moved to Detroit in 1963.
Richland High School, where at the height of the Civil Rights movement, and the country still trying to understand Brown vs Board of Education, would choose a Confederate Rebel as its mascot, and the Confederate Battle Flag as its colors.
Was that a political statement, or just some coincidence, an ill-timed expression of southern heritage and pride? Or was it meant as a "STAY OUT" sign for blacks in white suburbia in 1961?

That’s the great thing about history though. It not only repeats itself, it tends to correct its wrongs as well, and in 1993 the students of Richland High School spearheaded a movement to remove the flag as an emblem of the school.
Some students said they felt uncomfortable waving the flags at football games, pep rallies and other sporting events, especially when they were the visiting team. Members of the pep squad approached the principal to make a change.
A school-wide vote was held, and the flag was removed from representing Richland High School.
Its a very interesting issue, one that continues to divide the country.
my own feeling is that I would like to give those pep squad members that went to the principal a big hug.

By the way, my copy of Little Black Samco goes for 200 bucks on Ebay.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A BELATED VALENTINE POST

I’d been divorced about a year when I ran into an old girlfriend. We went to a movie and later she asks me:
“So what’s the story with you? You’re divorced, and you spend all your money on child support, and you’ve got all this baggage, and you’ve forgotten how to be single?”
That’s a hell of a question you know?
So I said “Well, I don’t think I have any baggage”

Man, what was I talking about. Just all the dope I was doing was baggage enough. Lets say you meet a nice girl. When are you going to tell her about your little habit? That it takes a hundred bucks a week just to get you going. That she is going to be wondering where all the money is disappearing to. And all this weird unexplained insanity that is your life, where is all that coming from?

Sometimes I go to the grocery store. I see a happy couple, and they are pushing the cart together down the aisle. They are discussing whether to have the Rock Cornish Hens, or salmon for dinner. They are comparing the seven blade roast to the the pork loin, and trying to decide what is the best value. They are amazed at the price of yellow squash—“Can it really be 2.99 a pound?”—but they are laughing, smiling, happy and exchanging romantic looks as they skip on over to the family planning aisle.
It all looks so normal, so sane.

I look on, and watch them from a distance, and I’m horrified.
Could I ever get that normal? Would I want to? It’s some scary shit, man. I might could do that for a week, or a couple times a year. Could I keep that up forever?
I have my doubts.
I mean, I come home in the afternoon, I walk in the door and the first thing I do is take off my pants. I don’t plan to stop either. It’s the best part of my day, and I just don’t know if there is anyone out there that would put up with that. Even if there is, she’s probably going to want something in exchange. God only knows what. It will probably be sane, whatever it is.


And I been thinking lately about what it has looked like to be restored to sanity.
It has looked like, as the program says, not doing that first drug.
It has looked like pleasing the court seven years ago, and staying clean that first year.
It has looked like first getting my driver’s license back, and then being able to buy a truck with the money that used to go up the nose, and a REAL inspection sticker and insurance and registration.
Sanity looks like when I got my first ticket in that truck, going and paying it before it went into warrant. My whole life I’m not sure if I ever done that before.
Sanity has looked like not stealing any gas. Its looked like still being involved with NA, and becoming the treasurer for the group, and picking up a couple of sponsee’s.
Sanity looks like clean socks, empty sinks, regular meals, sleeping nights.
Sanity has looked like improved family relationships, and a couple of kids that have a dad again.

A few years back I got  upset over a girl for a while. I started going to more meetings, and that really didn’t help much , so I decided to seek professional help and went to a psychiatrist. I didn’t want to do like I did after my divorce, and spend a few years trying to figure out how to get over it.
He asked me ‘What is it you want Bulletholes?”
I said  “Doc, I just want what everyone else wants”
He said “And what is that?”
I said “You know doc, a love that lasts forever.”
I remember that one of us laughed, and one of us didn’t, and just now I cant tell you which one of us did what.
I kinda think it was him that laughed. I already told you what the odds of me keeping up a relationship forever would be.

I think back to a post I did a year after getting clean. I said all this spiritual stuff in the program was starting to scare the shit out of me. All this being restored to sanity, and coming to believe that a higher power could restore me to sanity,  and the Third Step; making decisions to include yourself and God in your own life while getting out of your own damn way. I’d have liked to disprove God, to disprove prayer when I came to the program, and the reason it was all starting to scare me was because if it was working so well in my life, practicing open mindedness, and willingness to believe in a power greater than myself, and developing a God of my own understanding, then it could only mean one thing.
That I had been wrong about everything.
That’s scary, being wrong about everything.

So, when I see these nice soft couples at the grocery store, maybe I got that all wrong too. 
The scariest part of all is that maybe someday it wont be so scary anymore.
Maybe someday I will be OK.

Maybe someday I will be OK.
Maybe someday I will be OK.


***Now that I've written this one down instead of just sharing it in an NA meeting, its not as funny as its supposed to sound. Sometimes I guess it just be's that way!



Monday, February 22, 2016

MY AWARD WINNING CHILI

AT THE BIG CHILI COOK OFF LAST WEEK

She asked me if I had put jalapeno’s in my chili.
“Is it too hot?” I asked.
“Its pretty hot” she said, and paused. “It seemed hot at first, but it’s not that hot now. Did you put jalapeno’s in it?”
“No ma’am, no jalapeno’s. But I did put white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, green chili’s, crushed red chili’s, and soaked some dried ancho chile’s in some water and made a  nice ancho paste, but no, there are no jalapeno’s.”

Pro-Cooking Tip of the Day
The more types of peppers you put in a dish, the deeper and more layered the flavors will be. Not so much of any one pepper to make it hot with that pepper. It’s the cumulative effect you want.
If you don’t have any white pepper in your cabinet, go get some. Use it and the black peper together on anyvegetable. The black pepper is dark and woody…the white pepper is bright and shiny. You’ll appreciate the flavor right away.


On her second bowl, she said “It’s not really hot at all!”



Monday, February 15, 2016

WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN


if you pass your night
and merge it with dawn
for the sake of heart,
what do you think will happen

if the entire world
is covered with the blossoms
you have labored to plant,
what do you think will happen

if the elixir of life
that has been hidden in the dark
fills the desert and towns,
what do you think will happen

if because of
your generosity and love
a few humans find their lives,
what do you think will happen

if you pour an entire jar
filled with joyous wine
on the head of those already drunk,
what do you think will happen

go my friend
bestow your love
even on your enemies
if you touch their hearts,
what do you think will happen

.~Rumi

Friday, February 12, 2016

CROSSING TO SAFETY


"You can plan all you want to. You can lie in your morning bed and fill whole notebooks with schemes and intentions. But within a single afternoon, within hours or minutes, everything you plan and everything you have fought to make yourself can be undone as a slug is undone when salt is poured on him. And right up to the moment when you find yourself dissolving into foam you can still believe you are doing fine."
- Wallace Stegner

Crossing to Safety


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A WORD FOR PITY



I am the man who spits wet clay back
into the face of God and yells, “I am weary!”
And I don’t yell it in Greek or Aramaic,
but in the dead language of Adam’s bones
from those days when he was alone, before
God made a word for pity and gave him Eve.
There wasn’t even any way to measure time
before her.
The moon meant nothing to him,
The sun meant nothing. All his senses knew
the missing shape of her. I know it… I know
how he named the taste of her, how he felt
the skin and lips and sway of her body. I know
how he could hear her voice in his mind, how
the missing smell of her was so powerful.
I know… I know he saw her in everything,
in everything… I know it because of you.
I know it and I am, God, the fuck weary.

Peregrine @ Your Eyes Blaze Out

HAVING EDUCATED MY IGNORANT WHITE ASS

 ON SOME BLACK HISTORY MONTH



Two years before the Kent State shootings was the Orangeburg Massacre, February 8, 1968.
28 were injured and 3 killed when state police on the South Carolina State University campus fired into a crowd of protesters.
For three days the protests had escalated over a segregated bowling alley, the All Star Triangle Bowl. Anyone tries to keep me out of a bowling alley is in for a fight.
Nine troopers were acquitted and Cleveland Sellers, a black activist with the SNCC, was convicted for inciting a riot. He served 7 months before being released on good behavior, and was pardoned 25 years later.
South Carolina State University's gymnasium is named in memory of the three men who were killed. A monument was erected on campus in their honor and the site has been marked. All-Star Triangle Bowl became integrated. Cleveland Sellers wrote a book.


The Nivens Laws might never have been abstracted were it not for Kent State, the first of which is:
1) Never throw shit at an armed man.
1a) Never stand next to someone who is throwing shit at an armed man.

Friday, February 05, 2016

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

My insurance changed again this year. My premium went down, but my out of pocket went up. I expected it to go up a little, and all things being equal, if I stayed out of a hospital setting my overall savings from the reduced premium would come to about 750 bucks for the year.
So I determined this would be the year I get a hearing aid. Because I cant hear shit.
But I ran in to a snag. One of my diabetes medications, the one that cost 30 dollars a month the last 6 years, ended up on a different tier with the new insurance.
And the price on this new tier?
Three Hundred bucks a month! The lady at the mail order pharmacy, she tried to console me.
“After you reach your Out of Pocket Max, that medication is covered 100%!”
But I didn’t plan on even hitting HALF my out of pocket for the entire year. Now it looks like I might hit in 8 months.
There went my 700 savings. There went my hearing aid. My medical expenses just doubled.
So I called personnel to confirm all this and see if there was a way out.
It was all true.
But when I told the personnel lady that my hearing aid I planned to get was off the table now, you know what she said?
“Mr. Bulletholes, Hearing Aids are covered this year. It pays up to the first two thousand dollars”
They havent been covered in the past.
So by financing 2000 dollars on a hearing aid, I met my Out of Pocket max, and basically financed the deductible. Hitting my Out of Pocket max means that the medicine that went up so much is now paid for 100% by insurance.
The bottom line seems to be that because the Hearing Aid was covered, my savings for the year increased to $2000 from 700 over the previous year, had I purchased the hearing aid without insurance.
My net gain was 1300.
I’m trying to figure out what procedure to get next year.
A hysterectomy perhaps?


Thursday, February 04, 2016

EDUCATE YOUR IGNORANT ASS ON SOME BLACK HISTORY MONTH

On this day in 1794, France abolished slavery, only to have Napoleon re-institute it four years later.
In March that year, the United States would pass the Slave Trade Act, limiting transport of slaves to American ports. This set the stage for further restrictions which eventually outlawed the importation of slaves to the United States until finally the Thirteenth Amendment  made owning slaves in the United States illegal.



One of my favorite movies is Amistad, about a slave ship revolt in 1839. While owning slaves in the United States was legal in 1839, the transport of slaves was not.  John Quincy Adams, played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, tries the case to the Supreme Court against the ship owners and has some of the best lines of the movie.

"Well, when I was an attorney, a long time ago, young man, I err... I realized, after much trial and error, that in the courtroom, whoever tells the best story wins. In un-lawyerlike fashion, I give you that scrap of wisdom free of charge."







[to the Court, with a copy of the Declaration of Independence in hand]
This man is black. We can all see that. But can we also see as easily that which is equally true: that he is the only true hero in this room? Now, if he were white, he wouldn't be standing before this court fighting for his life. If he were white and his enslavers were British, he wouldn't be standing, so heavy the weight of the medals and honors we would bestow upon him. Songs would be written about him. The great authors of our times would fill books about him. His story would be told and retold, in our classrooms. Our children, because we would make sure of it, would know his name as well as they know Patrick Henry's. Yet, if the South is right, what are we to do with that embarrassing, annoying document, The Declaration of Independence? What of its conceits? "All men created equal," "inalienable rights," "life, liberty," and so on and so forth? What on Earth are we to do with this? I have a modest suggestion."
[tears papers in half]




Great cast, great script and direction, I give it 6 stars out of 5, and find it so enjoyable I watch it on a regular basis.

Monday, February 01, 2016

THE POTTERS WHEEL



Last summer I got to go visit my good longtime  blog friends Souby and Red Dirt Girl down in Houston. Its rare to meet in person your blog friends.
Souby is a Master Potter. He gave myself and my sister-n-law Becky a pottery lesson.
He explained to us the particular properties of clay. He showed us the machine for mixing the clay. There is a worm gear inside a steel chamber that mixes and then pushes the clay out as a 3” diameter plug. From this plug you cut a piece, and work it in your hands which delights the clay and aligns the molecules in a certain way as to be in harmony with the Universe.

Then, you slap it onto the wheel. You slap it onto the wheel, and follow your dream. Its not that easy slapping in onto the wheel, because it has to be CENTERED on the wheel. Otherwise it gets the wobblies. And if it gets the wobblies, your little pot is going nowhere. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve aligned your clay with the Universe, if its not entered on the wheel, you are buggered.

I really sucked at getting mine centered on the wheel. I think I would have done better if I had paid more attention and followed instructions.
Lets just say it’s a lot trickier than it looks.
After that you get to form the clay up and down, and back up again, as it spins on the wheel. There are certain places to put you thumbs and fingers, and certain ways to palm the clay as it spins to raise it up, hollow it out, and keep it smooth.
I sure did have fun doing it, and learned a lot.
Someone took a picture of me, my hands cupping the clay. I was hunkered over the wheel in total concentration, my face inches from the pot I was forming. All you could see was my purple shirt, hands, clay, and the top of my head.
The top of my head?
If it hadnt been for the purple shirt I would have wondered who the bald guy was.




Thanks to David @ Live and Learn for helping me find the comment on his site for the closing lines of this post.