I got a letter the other day.|
30 year High School Reunion.
I'm class of 1984.
I'm not going because my HS is in New York and I live in Colorado.
Makes no sense to me though.
I mean what's the entire reason for going when most of the friends you made that had any
worth at all you are already friends with on Facebook?
The whole "Holy Shit is that you" thing is gone.
Because you've been looking at your friends albums.
So what's the draw here?
Perhaps you have made yourself awesome and successful and you want to show the people
with no worth that they really have no worth even more?
Or maybe that chick you masturbated every night about that sat in front of you in science class
is suddenly a divorced mother of two grown boys and here's your chance to finally bang her?
A bunch of horny assed people looking for a fuck from people they kinda had a crush on in high school.
I was too stoned for that shit anyway.
(Reposted from my Facebook because Facebook stuff goes away after a few days but here it stays forever!)|
My deep thought of the day.
The other day I was buying groceries and the elderly gentleman in front of me was paying with a check. Now I'm not going to tell you about how much time he took and rant about that. I really don't mind waiting on elderly people in front of me. They lived a full life and somewhere along the line he deserves the respect everyone needs to give him. So if he wants to wait for the total before he pulls his check out of his pocket then take 10 minutes writing down the amount and he needs top ask 4 times how much it was again,he's entitled to do so.
But what I want to talk about is how sometimes,habits never leave us.
That man could have easily swiped a debit card while the cashier was totaling up the tab. Then if he would have clicked Credit ,then all he has to do is sign that electronic touch pad and he's getting the receipt and is done all in the span of 10 seconds.
And because many people like me does this,some would automatically judge this man for not getting with the times.
I honestly don't remember the last time I wrote out a check. I still have books of checks in a box collecting dust in my desk that I ordered nearly 10 years ago from a checking account I still have.
So I was getting gas and paying with my debit card when it hits me.
I'm a victim of habits myself.
Every time the pump asks if I want a receipt I click yes.
I finish pumping and my receipt pops out.
I rarely read it.
Then I stick it in my car where I stick all my receipts then when I clean my car all those receipts go in the trash.
So why do I do this?
I didn't really know for a while until it hits me.
I always push Yes because before we could pay at the pump which really isn't that many years ago,we payed in cash to the attendant that pumped your gas for you.
But now that we are pumping our own gas,we want proof that we actually paid for our gas in the event that the store owner might stop you and say you are stealing their gas. So that receipt is proof that you are not a thief.
As ridiculous as this sounds,I know I'm not the only one here.
And as much as I know I can press NO and save them some paper,I'll still press YES because I still think people are watching me.
Back to the elderly gentleman.
One day it will only be the elderly crowd that will push YES for a receipt at the pump.
And some middle aged kid will blog about how ridiculous it is for old people to waste money on paper while getting gas or getting a bill in the form of a letter instead of going paperless. Or holding a list that someone wrote down for grocery store shopping instead of just texting the list to your phone via messaging.
Or how they still use the post office to send a letter instead of just e mailing them.
This is why I'll keep up with technology.
But there's going to come a time where I will draw the line on certain things.
I found some more gray hairs on my scalp this morning.
For years I've tried to learn guitar on and off. I never could get past the beginner stage, basic cords and such. Most complicated thing I ever accomplished was teaching myself the acoustic intro to Love Song off Tesla's Five Man Acoustic Jam record. I just don't have the fingers for it nor the rhythm. I can hear the song in my head, see the notes dancing through my mind, but my fingers just don't translate it. They are mute.|
From time to time I pick up my father's Gibson, the '54 ES175D that I now own, and strum it for a bit. I can see it's imperfections and I know the history of them all. Dad told me of each and every one and how they happened. The instrument was a roadmap of his life. I can see the small chip in the lacquer on the headstock and I know it happened in a barfight one night in the mid to late sixties. The deep grooves in the rosewood fretboard where he frequented his favorite chords. I know that A minor rings more true on it than does a regular A. It makes a slight buzz because the frets are grooved and worn. (Since he showed me that it now bothers me as much as it did him and I catch myself going to A minor when running cords, even on other guitars I've picked up.) I can see where his thumb rubbed through the finish down into the wood across the top of the neck from what he used to call "Smearing" the top string. I see all of this and remember him.
It doesn't sing anymore in my hands and it bothers me. The shame makes me put it away. He told me as a child that if I was ever to truly own the guitar I had to be able to play it. I reckon I don't really own it then. I feel like I'm just the caretaker until it finds it's future rightful owner.
It's sits in a closet closed up in it's original case out of sight, out of mind. When I see it, I see him with it in his arms after work. Cold beer on the table in front of him, unfiltered Camel in the ashtray trailing smoke into the air in a timeless blue whisper, his Shell station work shirt covered in grease, grime, and sweat. Playing the Beatles, rockabilly, Stones, Old-School country, and when times where hard (which was entirely too often), the blues. Or him sitting at the foot of my bed as I was going to sleep playing and singing "White Rabbit." It's a timeless image of my father burned into my memory with a torch. And it hurts too much to remember, so I hide the old girl away. I hide it because I'm not worthy to have her. I haven't earned the right. Maybe someday, but not now. Probably not ever.
I hope my nephew someday will be able to play it when he grows up. He never met his grandfather so it most likely won't mean shit to him. It'll just be some damned old antique worth a new car or somesuch to him and nothing more. I have a feeling I will most likely donate it to a music museum in Nashville or Memphis when I'm an old man. Sometimes I wonder if it will ever sing again.
So a bunch of us wants all the Illegal Aliens to just go away because they are taking our jobs and our welfare and all kinds of crap. Some of us blame them all for the destruction of our nation.|
But they offer us cheap labor. Some businesses out there will go under if they don't hire illegals. Isn't this the American way?
Why do most of our American companies farm out to other countries? Why is Schwinn now made in China?
Because it's cheaper to make.
So let's break this down a little.
Why is it cheaper to hire an illegal?
No benefits given to them at all.
No sick time. No health insurance.
"Here's your money we may have more work for you tomorrow."
So what if we make it so companies don't have to offer us any benefits at all?
Would that make hiring Americans a little more competitive?
Would corporations like Schwinn and about a million other companies start building their stuff back on American soil if they don't have to pay us any benefits? Just our hourly rate minus taxes?
Well sure. Hey. You may save on shipping costs and taffifs on imports so hiring Americans may actually cost a company LESS MONEY if they don't need to offer them any benefits.
So how do we do that?
We follow what other countries do.
Countries that we farm our work out to.
We give benefits to every American thru our government so our employers don't have to.
Why is this concept so difficult for the average American to comprehend?
It completely blows my mind. It really does.
I was working out at Bally's today with mechanical weights then took a quick shower before taking a few laps on the pool then the hot tub and steam room. While soaking in the hot tub I took to talking with this guy.|
He's basically telling me about how he's been divorced for the past 3 years and has 2 kids he pays child support and never misses a payment. I give this dude props because he seems well balanced like he's got his shit together. He tells me he's like a supervisor at a plastic injection factory. I used to work at such a place so I was relating to him. 15 minutes into our chit chat he reveals to me how he's been living in his minivan for the past 2 years. I'm thinking to myself "no way he's full of shit" but I continued to listen to how he lived. He uses his wife's address for any time he's asked where he lives. He goes to Bally's and pays the dues every month. Hot water showers bring your own toiletries and change of clothes in his duffle bag. Sink,bathroom and the pool/hot tub/sauna/steam room on top of stuff to keep your sanity in the weight room. Then he goes to the laundromat to wash his clothes. He pays for a PO box for his mail. Knows every fast food place with a dollar menu and uses their bathromms as well. He parks close to where he works to save gas and beats the traffic every day. Never late for work he tells me.
He'll usually park at the 24 hour Wal Mart. Sometimes at the 24 hour McDonalds. For entertainment he goes to wifi bars for free internet at the McDonalds. Sometimes he'll watch the TV while sipping his Starbucks when he wants to treat himself.
Bally's open at 5 in the morning. He gets his workout then shit shower shave then is energized before going to work. He tells me no one suspects a fucking thing.
I'm still not believing him until I walked out the door with him and he actually shows me his minivan. It was an ex Mail van so no windows or back seats. A cargo van. He had a twin bed in there and a 12 volt light and a heater. He even had a fridge and a hook up for his lap top and had a DVD movie from a Redbox Kiox at McDonalds. He shows me his deep cycle battery stowed behind the passenger seat with a metal battery box. Holes that go thru the floor for ventalation he really has this all figured out. There's a drape behind the front seats so no one can see in. The Deep cycle battery is a second battery that keeps charged with a high output alternator. When the van is running the alternator charges up both batteries. When the van is resting he switches his main battery away from the deep cycle so he can't drain his starter battery.
He did not look homeless at all. In fact he looked rather comfortable in his apperarance.
He pays a good half of his paycheck to his ex wife and kids thru alimony and child support,usually more he tells me. The rest and get this. He can actually keep money in his bank because he's not paying his own rent and utilities. I mean shit. With rent averaging a thousand a month for a studio I tell him you would think everyone is doing this.
He tells me "you don't even know,friend. You don't even know."
There's a new kind of homeless out there.
Maybe it's not so new.
Next weekend Frank is coming out to rip the badly soiled and soaked dining room and kitchen carpet and I am preparing the way for this to occur all week. I have emptied the hutch of all the glassware and when he gets here he will slide it into the "living room" and I am now in the process of carrying all of the books in the dining area back into the back bedroom and have definitely hit a snag. Because of my feeble old body I am making hundreds of trips from the dining area to the back bedroom with only two or three books at a time and as I stack them in the bedroom I cannot resist a peek or two into a forgotten book or one that I haven't read in a long time. So this phase of emptying the dining area and kitchen is going rather slow. Below are a few excerpt from just a few books that caught my eye and slowed the process:|
From a book published in 1953 and on which I have not cast an eye in years and years:
In applying for a parole, T--- B---- an inmate of Jackson prison and a former member of the "Baby Face" Nelson gang wrote to the state parole board as follows..."In Luke 11:10, Christ says, 'everyone that asketh receiveth and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened'. By virtue of the preceeding, how about a parole?"
The Board replied promptly:
"See Luke 11:17 'Trouble me not; the door is now shut' "
There were several other things in that particular book like:
"Some of us would do well to emulate the woman who realized that her fears were ruining her life, so she made herself a "worry table". In tabulating her worries she learned that:
40% of her list will never happen, anxiety is the result of a tired mind.
30% of the items are about old decisions long made that she can now do nothing about.
12% of the items were lies and untruths that were made about her by people that felt inferior to her.
10% were items of gossip about her health which got worse when people gossiped about her.
8% of the items were real and legitimate complaints that she should correct anyway.
And lastly there was this old man in Ireland--sixty or more--with whom I climbed the famous Croagh Patrick, the titular mountain of Ireland's famous religious figure. As we stood on the summit looking east, west, north, south to take in the truly ineffably beautiful view of the sea, bog, sky and the clouds which all tear at the heartstrings at once the old man murmured as to himself, "Here is the wherewithal to gather memories to support our souls for ever more". And I realized that he was right.
My house is 59 feet long and I am carrying these books for the whole length of house--two or three or a few more at a time and because I read little bits of the books like the above it usually takes me fifteen or twenty minutes to make a trip. But that is OK. I have four days to get the books out of the dining area before Frank gets here.
dad, granpa, ami
I had an amazing dream last night. I was watching the news that the Rapture is here. GOD is levitating all the Christians up in the sky while the rest look on in awe. What's really odd about all this was that not every church member floated up. Kids would be floating up but not always their mother. They would be screaming for their children and yet the children and the others floating would not look down. They kept looking up and looked fascinated.|
And then suddenly,it was all over. All the Christians were GONE. Then the laws started changing because those that were left started growing a pair and did away with the electoral college and changed the term limits you can hold a Congress chair to 4 years . Stem cell research in full swing. People are stepping off of their wheelchairs. Gay Marriage became legalized across the USA and now they can finally claim their spouse as a beneficiary. The entire country also became Pro Choice and yet Abortion actually DECLINED because moms aren't being nagged at and told what to do and are not aborting their babies out of spite but are making sensible choices.
But then there was also some hardships. Jon Steward had no one to pick on anymore. Across the pond in Iraq people have lost all hope of Allah because he never showed up. But some good came out of that though because they were starting to realize how dumb killing yourself really was and the war ended.
With the Rapture here and now gone,Religion is over. People started opening their eyes. They saw similarities among their neighbors. Things were really starting to look rather peaceful. Sarah Palin killed herself because she didn't float away. But her grandson did. No one else in her family. The Tea Party people became The Emo Party People and stopped caring.
Then I saw John Lennon appear from the clouds. Then Michael Jackson. It was amazing.
Then I woke up with my TV still on. It was the 700 club. Pat Robertson was speaking.
That right there.
Right there I realized.
It was only a dream.
Well the plan is a simple one; it's to sell up and get the hell out of dodge!|
Actually it's not all that simple at all; in fact it's complicated and scary. Just about every year the family heads south for the summer, or in fact any other time we can get away with it, and every time we go we talk about how nice it would be to live there. This usually goes on for a week or 2 after each visit and is then dropped until next time, not this time, oh no! This time I was blindsided and double teamed into submission.
There have always been reasoned arguments not to just go and do it, like look how old we are, who would employ us, how could we afford it, what if we lost everything we have worked so hard to achieve over the last 20+ years? In fact when you think about it all of them are excuses not to take a leap into the unknown and all of them are born out of fear.
The facts of the matter are that we are both in little more than minimum wage jobs, neither of which is that secure, we have little to tie us to the area. Well actually not so true for the wife, all her family other than 1 son are here, but me all I have are here with me now. However there is a third party in this, the daughter. Now she is at college and has some concerns all of her own, although not with the idea of going south... maybe she will put them into her own words here.
So after some debate we said lets go for it, after all when you are at the bottom of the heap little things like a recession are hardly noticeable because there is nowhere else to fall.
So we called an estate agent and talked about selling the house. Now the plan was to just sell and go, somewhat naive at the time. See we intended to just sell head south and use some of the equity to pay for maybe 6 months to a year's rental on a place and then look for jobs.
The problem here is that neither of us have ever sold a house before, or rented privately. It seems that people want things like jobs before you rent and jobs with 3 times the rental of the property combined income per month. What is wrong with people, you would think they would be happy with a nice fat wad of money in their back pocket! Never mind we will not be deterred from our goal. We still intend to head south but it's going to take a little longer than we thought; now we will sell and rent here where we still have jobs and then look for work and move.
Actually I say it's going to take longer than we planned, that's not quite true. There is no time scale for any of this, after all who can say if you will sell your house in this day and age. The thing is its set in motion unlike every other time we have thought about doing it. So we figured Christmas is coming let's market the place from the beginning of 2010 cause no one is going to buy before then now are they?
Well all that took place back in August and we made an appointment for the estate agent to return at the beginning of December to that all the paperwork and the HIP could be sorted in readiness for marketing. See now there is no point trying to tie these things down to specific dates, cause well once all the paperwork is in place not being visible on the market even though the chances of anyone taking any notice of you is wasted time. Except someone is taking notice, and someone is coming all the way from Bucks tomorrow to look at our humble abode, and that's a long way I can tell you!
Now it seems funny as I think about it, but even though we made the choice to go ahead and do this its been kind of unreal and I have been somewhat nonchalant about the whole thing. That is until I got the phone call from the estate agent telling me about our expected visitor and now, well I am just a bundle of nerves, because now it's all too real.
Oh don't worry I am not getting my hopes up that the 1st person through the door is going to buy the place, after all they are never going to want to pay the asking price and I am not going to want to sell for much less either.
It's not even the thought of the house being sold that's got the nerves tingling, it's that irrational fear of, what if...
Anyways, I'll have to get back to you on how it goes with our house hunter...
There are many things in this world we can disagree on that's just life,man. Someone will always do us wrong.|
I like Obama. There are things he has done that's rather fucked up Cash for Clunkers don't even make any fucking sense some e mail I got said something like 3 billion we spent and we saved 352 million or something whatever but the bottom line here is that Congress controls our shit and they voted for it. Obama may be the captain but even the captain cannot physically force to steer his crew the right way. The crew would have to trust their leader before they will follow what he says.
I really have nothing against Republicans. It just floors me though how 9 out of 10 times they be voting against our president. But a Republican is just that. The value here is keeping that paycheck as tax free as humanly possible sure I'm in on that. In a perfect world wouldn't we all just love to see our gross pay be our take home pay?
But what about the entire picture? If we in this perfect Republican world ran it where the rich get the breaks they so deserve and hope it trickles down when it gets as bad as it got just before Bush finished his term and we fell into a recession how does this make us look to the rest of the world?
It's just life that justifies having to pay our taxes every pay check. But we all eventually see the fruits of our sacrifice don't we?
I mean I'm sure most of us went to Public School. Most of us have taken out a book in the library. Most of us at one time or another needed the help of a fireman or a policeman. So why all the negativity surrounding a public Health Care Option?
Sure it's gonna take a hit on our taxes. But look at the big picture.
Mister Wealthy has his own health insurance. He's the apithaty of health he works out eats the right foods and does everything right.
We are under the current health care where this 5% doesn't have the means to see the doctor. This 5% cannot see the doc for a H1N1 shot. In fact,that 5% turns into millions and then it mutates to a fucking air born virus that's just as bad if not worst than contracting AIDS.
But what if we had a Public option? Then suddenly just show your ID card to the doc and they'll set you up for an appointment. You get your preventative care. Millions on top of the already insured get the shot.
H1N1 is not given the chance to mutate except to the illegals that couldn't show their ID unless we make vaccinations available to all.
What is that worth to us?
All I'm saying is that there will always be fucking crooks out there crossing the border or popping babies for a fatter welfare check. It's gonna happen unless we fucking shoot them all or make popping babies without the means to take care of them illegal.
But what comes around goes around. The business owner may see higher production because their employees are more healthy. Maybe we can put a clause in this public option that would lower your rate if you can prove you are trying to lose weight and get more fit or something.
But to me it's all about the big picture.
If bum on the street didn't take the H1N1 shot and sneezed on Mr Executive then Mr Executive walks into his building and spreads it to everyone. All get sick some may even die but production goes down.
I just think of it as an investment to our nations overall health. And I think it's worth doing if only some of the shipmates would trust their captain to steer them in the right direction.
One of the kindest and most gentle men I ever knew was my paternal grandfather, Elven Brown. Actually Elven Brown was my father’s stepfather and thus not truly a blood relative of mine at all. My real paternal grandfather, John Alfred Arrington Turrentine, had disappeared on his way to the Panama Canal to accept a job there in 1912. He had taken passage aboard a ship at New Orleans and sent my grandmother a telegram to that effect. The ship burned and sank at sea and Jack Turrentine was never heard from again----yet, strangely enough Jack Turrentine’s name was not to be found on the passenger list and the life insurance policy which he had made out to his wife Dora was not paid until seven years had passed with no sign of Jack Turrentine. So Grandma Brown farmed her five children out to various relatives and went to live herself with her brother Rufus Roark. After collecting the insurance in 1919 (I think that it was $10,000) Dora married Elven Brown. To me he was "Dad Brown" and I came to love him dearly.|
Elven Brown was a man of small stature. He was wizened and wrinkled by a farmer’s lifetime in the sun and his hands were callused and worn. At sometime in the past he had been thrown from a horse when a teenager and had broken his left leg. It did not heal well and for the rest of his life he walked with a slight roll to his gait. His eyebrows were bushy and long and overhung a pair of crystal clear blue eyes which seemed always to be smiling and alert.. He was broad shouldered for his stature and stocky despite his small size and he possessed enormous strength in his arms and shoulders and in his hands..
I was nine years old when I first met Dad Brown. He was totally illiterate then and could not sign even his name. Two years later however he had learned to write at least his name and could and did sign checks and letters written by someone else for him to sign. Never at any time I knew him did I see Dad Brown read a magazine, a book or a newspaper.
Dad Brown was a farmer, and he was very skilled in those arts that made for a good crop and were necessary for a farmer in the first half of the twentieth century. He was an expert tree nurseryman and he grafted a number of pecan and walnut trees every year. He was a tolerable blacksmith and was about as skilled at keeping livestock alive as the local veterinarian. But his real forte was the curing of meat. Dad Brown killed from six to twenty hogs a year and cured the hams and made the sausage from them. The first really cold snap of the winter triggered the activity of "hog-killin’ day", which nearly always was twenty-four hours long with Dad Brown working all night long to get the first steps of curing accomplished and smoking certain cuts. His hams, sausage, and smoked meats were famous throughout the county, and he supplied Mom Brown’s brothers with all of their cured meat also.
It was Dad Brown’s contention that every meal of every day for the whole year must have at least two different types of meat—and it must be cured by him. Usually these two types of meat were pork and beef but occasionally he would be satisfied with chicken and pork. Dad Brown considered each meal of every day to be a social event. Normally there were ten people at table for every meal and many times there would be visiting cousins, aunts and uncles. At each meal in addition to the two meats we would have at least two usually three garden vegetables, cornbread at lunch and biscuits at breakfast and probably both at supper. Three or four types of jams jellies and preserves were included and fresh fruit in season came from the orchard in the back yard which never in my time ever had a failure. Lightbread was rare—store bought bread was too expensive at ten cents a loaf. Home churned butter was always on the table and it was one of my tasks at nine years old to do the churning . Coffee was always available both at and between meals..At breakfasts we always had oatmeal with heavy cream. "Red eye" gravy as well as as "whitenen" flour gravy at every breakfast. Ribbon cane syrup, sorghum molasses and honey were there at every meal.
We ate well despite the poverty of the family but nearly everything we ate was produced right there on the farm or gathered from the banks of Ten-Mile creek just on the other side of the corn field. We almost never went to the grocery store. In the six months that I lived in Dad Brown’s house I saw no "store bought" fruit or vegetables. Elven Brown was a "subsistence farmer". He wasn’t sure that any one could produce food as clean and healthy to eat as he did and was always a little suspicious of anything that came from the store. Coffee, tea , salt, sugar, flour and exotic spices he allowed as store bought, but he didn’t like to do so.. We never missed the dewberries, blackberries, pecans, walnuts, "poke" salad and wild honey available in the woods along side Ten-Mile Creek.
Deserts were served at every meal. Pies, puddings, custards, cakes, muffins, were available almost every day and fudge, taffy, divinity or caramel candy served in the evening while we played checkers or monopoly.
Pecans, walnuts and black walnuts were a major crop at the farm in addition to those trees in the woods by the creek and there was always a 100 pounds or so in a burlap bag beside the fireplace, and it was fun to eat nuts and throw the shells in the fire. Most evening in the winter we also had pans of peanuts roasting in the wood stove to eat during the winter evenings and farm raised popcorn laced with home churned butter to eat in the evening while we played games or just watched the fire burn in the fireplace.
So I started to tell about Elven Brown and ended up by telling about life on his farm. That was no mistake. The farm WAS Elven Brown. He lived and breathed that farm and the cows and hogs and chickens and horses that made it all he had to have to make him and his family comfortable even though he didn’t have a dime in his pocket or couldn’t read. He loved the farm.
After the farm work and while waiting for supper Elven Brown and I used to sit out on the front porch and pet old Carlo (the collie dog) and talk about my future. Everyday Dad Brown would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’d tell him something or other different nearly everyday, and he would mull this a bit and then agree with me that that was the best thing to do.
It was sort of a little game between us.
When I was eighteen and in the Navy, stationed at Corpus Christi Elven Brown died. He and my grandmother had moved into town and bought a house on the outskirts of Lancaster and the entire land about the house was only a city lot —about 60 by 90 feet. They left that 240 acres of prime black land that under Elvens care would grow anything and had maybe fifty prime nut trees and plenty of room for a cow herd and maybe twenty or so hogs and moved those two into Lancaster across the street from the cotton gin - Elven Brown died in six months. I am convinced that Elven died because he had no purpose in living any more. He had no weeds to fight or land to plow or trees to graft — so he died. He was a good man.