Friday, July 29, 2016

BLACK LIVES MATTER

I saw a post last week that generated one of my weird dreams. I dreamed I was at work, and the boss and secretary were sitting there in my area. Suddenly the door opened and 3 BLM people came in with pamphlets. They introduced themselves, handed me the pamphlets and left.
My boss and the secretary looked at me and asked why they left the pamphlets. They seemed thoroughly confused by it. I told them:
“They left the pamphlets because…” 

Before I could finish the boss and secretary vanished. Like *POOF* into thin air!
But I continued, even though there was no one there but me:
“…because they want to have a voice.”

But it was only I that could hear.
Some dream, yes?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

POLITICAL CONVENTIONS, 2016

Its incredibly interesting, whats going on with politics in the USA.
Trump is not a true rep for the GOP, or so says most GPO folks I know. That’s why in some weird universe I could vote for him. I could have voted for Bush too. But Bush is, in his own way, like Trump. If it were between Ted Nugent (a true rep for the GOP) and Trump, hands down its Trump for me.


Here’s another weird thing. I cant stand Cruz, but I admire what he did. Stood up there with zero support and refused to endorse Trump.. Now most everybody that loved him has turned against him.
Contrast that with Sanders, who stood up there and very eloquently endorsed his opponent with thousands of his supporters in tears and screaming for him.
I admire that very much too.
At first these two thoughts seemed incompatible. Hypocritical. But I think they do go together. I just cant explain how.

I knew a guy back in the day that used to drape himself in an American flag and ride a Unicycle off his dining room table. It was the high point of the evening, every night. That's why people went to his place to party. Half the time he crashed and half the time he stuck the landing pretty good. Either way everybody there yelled like crazy for him. He reminded me a lot of Dennis Hopper. But today he seems more like a metaphor for the GOP. Or the Dems, why not? Either way.

Monday, July 25, 2016

DAVE GIVES THE BALL A NUDGE




It appears that while my nephew Dave has been fighting the cancer, he has also built an open air pool hall in Dalaguete, Cebu.
Dalaguete is in the Phillipines.
Dave says:
“There are many ways to be positive about what's happening to my body. Cristina Renfro and I still have hope that medical science will deliver a breakthrough, but medical science needs to get busy. The clock is ticking. In the mean time, a more non-unicorn-believing way of being positive is for me to begin planning how to wind down this great adventure of mine on my own terms. I already know I want my ashes to be scattered on the small patch of farmland we have in the mountains of Cebu. It's quiet and peaceful with a cool breeze, a perfect place for my reclusive and mildly troubled soul. A few times a week, though, I'm going to float down to Dave and Tina's Place in Dalaquete to shoot some pool and be amongst happy people. When your ball stops for several seconds at the edge of the pocket and then mysteriously drops, that will be me giving it a nudge!
Cristina has a million more pictures to post of our dream open-air pool hall, from its construction to its blessing and grand opening yesterday. My meager savings wasn't going to last forever. I figured I could leave behind a big pile of medical bills or leave behind a big pile of medical bills and an awesome recreation center in my adopted home town. It was a no-brainer! We have a million people to thank for helping make this dream come true and we'll get to it, but for now I couldn't wait to post something. More to follow!”

Thursday, July 21, 2016

WRITING WHEN YOU HAVE NO SOMEONE

Writing is saying to no one and to everyone the things it is not possible to say to someone. Or rather writing is saying to the no one who may eventually be the reader those things one has no someone to whom to say them. Matters that are so subtle, so personal, so obscure, that I ordinarily can’t imagine saying them to the people to whom I’m closest. Every once in a while I try to say them aloud and find that what turns to mush in my mouth or falls short of their ears can be written down for total strangers. Said to total strangers in the silence of writing that is recuperated and heard in the solitude of reading. Is it the shared solitude of writing, is it that separately we all reside in a place deeper than society, even the society of two? Is it that the tongue fails where the fingers succeed, in telling truths so lengthy and nuanced that they are almost impossible aloud?

 from The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit

Another post gathered once again at "Alive on All Channels"

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

THE MIDDLE EAST

 "In Iraq, the United States had intervened and occupied — and things had gone to hell. In Libya, the United States had intervened but not occupied — and things had gone to hell. And in Syria, the United States had neither intervened nor occupied — and things had still gone to hell."

GOOD ARTICLE HERE

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

SECRET LIFE OF PETS




I was thinking about getting me a puppy dog.
Then I went and saw "Secret Life of Pets".
Oh my god.
I thought it would be cute and funny and relaxing.
But no.
It was like Die Hard, only with animals. Car crashes, near death experiences, snakes, villains and weird henchmen everywhere, and a homicidal bunny. I left there wound up like an alarm clock.
May as well have been watching The Matrix.

I WAS thinking about getting me a dog. Now, not!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

FIREFLIES



“And when you look at the sky you know you are looking at stars which are hundreds and thousands of light-years away from you. And some of the stars don’t even exist anymore because their light has taken so long to get to us that they are already dead, or they have exploded and collapsed into red dwarfs. And that makes you seem very small, and if you have difficult things in you life it is nice to think that they are what is called negligible, which means they are so small you don’t have to take them into account when you are calculating something.”
"...and I went into the garden 
and lay down and looked at the stars in the sky and made myself negligible.” 

― Mark HaddonThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


Monday, July 11, 2016

THE DEAD GIVE-AWAY

I tried to keep a secret one time and before long everyone in the damn lunchroom knew. Its kind of like a joke, where you start it and pretty soon everyone is crying. That happens to me a lot (haha), just ask Dallas. Folks get together and try to do some good, try to behave like mature adults, try to make a statement on the current state of a affairs and then someone comes along with a bag full of secrets, a whole magazine full of secrets, and he lets all his secrets out and the next thing you know the whole bleeding country is in on a joke, a joke that isn’t very funny at all.
Like the time I took a bite out of Joannas sandwich and put it back in her bag. It was supposed to be a secret, like a funny (haha) who-done-it, but it wasn’t a secret for long because of my overbite, and the peanut butter and jelly on the corners of my mouth. That was a dead give-away. It wasn’t funny either, especially to Joanne who was pissed that some asshole with an overbite had secretly taken a bite out of her sandwich her mama had packed for her. Right there in the lunchroom, while she went to get her milk.
What was the country coming to, that you couldn’t set your lunch down for not even a minute?
And it wasn’t funny to me, me being absolutely horrified at what I had done, and the fact that it wasnt a secret, or the least bit funny-- which is what I was shooting for, haha-- at all. No sir, it wasn’t funny at all.

Friday, July 08, 2016

'THE MORE WE RUN FROM IT THE MORE WE RUN INTO IT"

Near the end of Part 1 of Ken Burns documentary on the history of Jazz, the great trumpet player Wynton Marsailles is presented with a quote from a white jazz player from the 20’s, who had said that blacks had nothing to do with the origins of Jazz. That it was exclusively a white man’s invention.
I love his reaction. At first he is speechless, numbed,  and then quite eloquent. 


SACRIFICE

“GK Chesterton once said that to criticise religion because it leads people to kill each other is like criticising love because it has the same effect. All the best things we have, when abused, will cause bad things to happen. The need for sacrifice, to obey, to make a gift of your life is in all of us and it’s a deep thing. In the Islamic world today, people are trying to rejoin themselves to an antiquated and ancient faith and the result is massive violence when they encounter people who have not done that. We’d say that sense of sacrifice is good but only if you’re sacrificing your own life; once you sacrifice another’s life you’ve overstepped the mark.”
― Roger ScrutonThe Soul of the World

Thursday, July 07, 2016

POLITICS IS SO BORING

Politics is so boring. I go home and turn the news on and before I know it I'm fast asleep, chin on my chest and drooling down my nice shirt.
What fascinates me these days is geography, and its cousin , geology. See, Lynchburg Va and Charlottesville Va are only 70 miles apart. but the two cities couldnt be more different.

In Charlottesville you have The University of Virginia (Mr. Jefferson’s School), Monticello, the homes of James Madison and James Monroe, Lewis @ Clark and, heading south toward Lynchburg, the Rockfish River and the home of “The Walton Family” (Goodnight John-boy). Charlottesville has a Whole Foods, Trader Jacks, a new Wegman’s on the way and every kind of International and ethnic product and produce you ever heard of. On July 4th a Naturalization Ceremony is held for immigrants acquiring citizenship.
In Charlottesville, the Earth is 4 billion years old.


But in Lynchburg, when Civil Rights Laws dictated that black people should have the right to swim in the Lynchburg Public Pools the decent, God fearing, people of Lynchburg decided to fill them all in with dirt. When those same laws dictated that black children had the right to a public education along side white children a young preacher named Jerry Falwell opened up “Christian Academies” for white children only. Today that has grown to be “Liberty University”, the largest Evangelical University on the planet.
In Lynchburg, the Earth is only 6000 years old. 


Lynchburg voted overwhelmingly Republican the last election, and C-ville, that’s what the locals call Charlottesville, voted Democratic.
But don't lose hope. In the last election, when the kids at the Lynchburg High School held a mock election,  it was Obama who won in a landslide.

I find this infinitely more fascinating and instructive than any Trumptweet, or story about Hillary's EMails.


Largely gathered at Mrs. Neutrons Garage.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

SO WHAT DO YA MAKE OF THIS?


I’ll send her a text.
Usually, it takes 6-8 hours to get a reply.
No matter how charming, witty and funny I might be, I cant seem to lure her into much banter.
When we’ve gone to dinner three times the conversation is lively.
So a few weeks ago I sent her a text. It took a day for her to get back to me. I’m used to it by now, right?

But I decide to just not text her for a while.
It takes 8 days, but I finally get a text. It says
“I’ll be off the grid for a while, so if you text me and I don’t text back, don’t think I’m ignoring you”
I said “Cozumel???”
She says “Bahamas”
And I say “I guess you know I have a mental picture of you walking down the beach, topless, like it aint no thing?”
No reply.
Now I’m getting nervous. Maybe I’ve offended her.
I give it five minutes and decide to call. Maybe I can mitigate whatever damage I might have done.
She answers the first ring.
“Hey!” she says.
“Hi Darlene! When are you leaving for the Bahamas?”
“I’m in line to board right now” she says.
So the last thing she thinks of before going on vacation for a week is “I better let steve know if I don’t return his texts its not because I’m ignoring him”

So I sent her a text yesterday.
“Are you home yet?”
she says “Yes. How are you?”
“I’m probably not as lean and tanned as you” I say.
No response.
But this morning @ 7:00am she sends me a text.
“It was horrible. I got a rash, cut my toe, fucked up my knee, have tummy trouble, lost my boyfriend. But I got a lot of reading done.”
So I say “Sorry to hear that.  A lot of that rash going around.Two friends went to Galveston and got it. That boyfriend stuff is going around too. I had that girl of mine come get her shit from my apartment 3 weeks ago. So when can you go to dinner again?”
And I got no reply!

Maybe I should have shown more empathy?

Monday, July 04, 2016

THE PROPHET

EXCERPT FROM "A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION", 1991

"I recall when I was a little boy, going to the volunteer fire department Fourth of July picnic. My family doesn’t remember this at all, but they have very poor memories. ... I got the beans on my plate and I had the bun and I had just put the wiener in the bun and I was just squeezing the ketchup and the air turned white and it was snowing. Snow was falling and everybody was amazed and then somebody said, “oh no”, they said, “It’s fluff from the cottonwood trees, it’s just seeds coming down from the cottonwood trees”, and so, that was that, but then I looked down at my plate and there was nothing there. Now cottonwood fluff does not melt. Seeds don’t just disappear. It was snow on the Fourth of July. A snow flurry hit Lake Wobegon on the Fourth of July when I was a boy, but if you talk to anybody, including my family who was at the Volunteer Fire Department Bean Feed that day in 1951 on the Fourth of July, they will tell you that was fluff from the cottonwood trees that came down. I was the only one who knew the truth. A terrible responsibility for a child and one more reason to leave town, you know. There were too many things that I was the only one that knew them...

Stunning thought, but when God sends snow down on the Fourth of July, that indicates to me that he is talking to us in a loud voice and apparently I was the only one who saw this and therefore, the only one who might have a hunch what God was trying to tell us, but I turned down the privilege, thank you very much, no thank you. To be a prophet was too much for me then and it’s too much for me now. To be a prophet is hard work anytime and anyplace, but you never want to do it in a town of less than 2,000 population. If you live there and if you come from there. To stand and to tell people the truth that they have been successfully avoiding is not a pleasant business in a small town.

Back in 1918 in my town, back when the streets were lined with flags and when school children sat for hours of deadly nonsense about glory and honor and this war was a war to end all wars, this war would usher in a New World Order. Sat and listened to this there was a man on a bench outside a grocery store and turned to the man next to him and said, “I wish they’d take the flags down, I don’t think there’s any glory in this war, it’s just a bunch of politicians.” And the word got around town of this man’s remarks, this slur on our country ... and people would not speak to him again for a long time...

You have become a scourge. You have become a prophet and it’s time to time to hit the road Jack. You gotta get out of this town. Well, that never happened to me and I’m not ever going to have it happen to me. That’s what God was offering me when he had the snow fall on the Fourth of July and I saw it. He was saying, “Witness to people about this. Reveal the truth of this and be a prophet.” I said, “No thank you, I don’t want it.” He said, “This will be a great service to people whom you love, to tell them the truth”. I said, “Well they’re not going to thank me for it. I know that for sure. People hurt prophets. They throw sharp things at them. They rip the clothes off them and they make them sit for long periods of time in uncomfortable positions on top of sharp objects that are extremely flammable. That’s what they do to prophets. I don’t want that. I don’t want any pain whatsoever. I don’t ever want to experience any pain. Minor dentistry is more than enough for me. So, no thank you. I don’t want to be a prophet and tell the truth. What can I do that’s the opposite of that?” And so, I got into this line of work. Telling lies and I’ve never regretted it, which is a terrible thing to say in front of children. To say that you’ve spent your life telling lies, but I have and I’ve had a wonderful time, and I have been very well rewarded for this, and I have been congratulated by all sorts of people including members of the clergy, whereas if I had been prophet and told the truth, I would be broke and I would be unhappy myself and I would be despised and I would be condemned from most pulpits in the country. No thanks, I don’t really care for that. ...

No, it’s not that I don’t know what a prophet would say, you see. I do. It’s not for lack of a message. I’m not interested in saying it. If there were a prophet, of course, a prophet would tell us that America is a country that God has blessed so much, we have not suffered as other people have. We don’t know what suffering is like. We have not known war in our country since 1865. That experience of war in 1865 was so horrible in this country, the Civil War, that we did not lift our hand against anybody for years and years after that.

But over the years we’ve become so prosperous and we have developed technology that allows us to deliver war to other people, and it never falls on us. We have no idea what war is like in this country. Our soldiers know, but when they come back to tell us, we don’t know what they’re talking about. We don’t know what war is like in this country and so it behooves us to be careful. And to rain down death on people and then to gloat over it is not becoming in God’s eyes. This is not good. To rain down destruction from this country, which knows so little suffering that our own navels become the source of our suffering is not pleasant or good in God’s eyes. We should be very careful, very careful. This is what a prophet would say, I think.

But who wants to say it, because prophets have an approval rating of five percent, only in some places. No, I’d rather be in my line of work. ... God was disappointed in me at first, but He’s come around to seeing this more and more from my point of view. ... God made mistakes...you spread the truth around and it becomes common and people ignore it. ... Whereas, with someone like me, if I ever do tell the truth, people remember it. ... I remember every time I told the truth. Like a snowfall in July — you remember every time."
Garrison Keilor, 1991

Friday, July 01, 2016

NOT ALWAYS


"Let's face it. We're undone by each other. And if we're not, we're missing something. If this seems so clearly the case with grief, it is only because it was already the case with desire. One does not always stay intact."
- Judith Butler