Sunday, December 31, 2006

Kindred Souls


It's the very last day of 2006, THE Wife is at work, I'm at home listening to "This American LIfe", and having just read a comment, something pops into my mind that says "write me". It doesn't attempt to justify itself, it just insists on me doing so. Fine. OK. Chill. I'll write it. If it makes sense by the time I'm through with it, I'll post it. Why not? With the wealth of material my life provides me to post, I'll take ANYTHING right now to justify posting one more time this year.

Ever wonder what it is that makes you bookmark any particular blogger, giving them a chance to impress you enough to keep going back to see what they are writing about? It's not till later, if they return the favor and begin commenting, that you take that into account, so sucking up or making nice comments extolling your virtues isn't an initial consideration. But there IS something you connect with when you first click on that link and meet these people for the very first time. Accuse me of getting weird about it, but I honestly think these people occupy a special class. I'll call it "kindred souls". There's something about them you recognize and are familiar with that grabs you and it's all over; you've been adopted. Or vice versa.

These traits seem to be different for each person you find this connection with. Some of them even irritate the hell out of you for one reason or another, yet, they are perhaps similar to a baby brother or sister whom you find yourself stuck to, hate being around, yet feel protective towards. Some you'd never find yourself associating with voluntarily out there in the real world, yet here in virtual unreality, you couldn't even imagine not knowing them. Others you wish like hell you could somehow meet in the flesh, knowing one hell of a party would erupt, much like anti-matter and matter meeting and creating the ultimate bang, even if it would annihilate both of you. It would be worth it, something like the most satisfying illicit sex you could imagine having. Calm down, guys, I'm not being literal here, so let go of your crotch.......hehe.

Kindred souls. I can't think of any other explanation for it. Perhaps we've known each other in some other time, some other universe, some other life. Or, perhaps it's time to know them for whatever it is we are suppose to glean from knowing them. That's the karmic theory, but hey, it works for me. It might also explain why my wife stays with me, despite everything. I've given you guys glimpses of what "everything" entails, so you know what I mean. I'm one lucky SOB, doncha think?

Damn! I just read back over what I just wrote and I guess my muse really does know what the hell it's talking about. That's why I rarely argue with it. It's much like a wife; argue all you want, it's going to win in the end anyway. Save your breath.

So this is what THE Michael leaves you with on this final day of one very strange year. About the only good thing I saw happen this last year was most of us going to the ballet box to say NO to the status quo. We still have a long way to go. It remains to be seen whether or not we have the strength and resolve to complete the transition from utter lunacy to extreme political makeover. We will never reclaim our place in the hearts and minds of ourselves and the rest of the world until we admit that we really screwed up and are willing to do what we can to earn our way back into the collective good grace. New years is a time for resolutions. Let's hope we make the right ones. If we don't, we can describe 2007 and every year afterwards in two easy words.......GAME OVER.

Happy New Year, Kindred souls.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Out with the old, in with the...........?

This is a rather surreal moment. I'm watching the State Funeral for President Gerald Ford (so far nobody's tripped hauling the casket up the Capital stairs) while listening to "A Prairie Home Companion". The wife has just come home having worked today while still in the grips of a bad cold (with a possible touch of pneumonia). The kids have headed back to their home bases down South and it took me many an hour to clean up the mess. Save me, I think I'm a househusband.

There have been some pretty good suggestions concerning the name of our virtual watering hole, with one in particular already having earned a couple of seconds. I will be posting all the names soon for your consideration, without the names of the authors, at which time I will ask for your vote. No, you may NOT vote for your own suggestion, just to be fair, but if your entry has grabbed that much attention, it won't need it. In case of a tie, I will drag out the wading pool, pour in the lime jello, and let the two contenders have at it, providing of course they both happen to be of the gentle persuasion. If it's two guys...well....the jello gets replaced by something somewhat nastier. A guy and a gal? The gal wins......don't they always?

I'm working on a new blog to represent our new home. I'm making it a team blog so that people can come and go at will, even Tim, who has gotten rather paranoid lately, thinking we are a secret society under the auspices of the New World Order come to rob him of his precious sovereignty. Once he realizes that the door opens both ways, I think he'll relax enough to paint the town with his face. We won't mind.

I've also decided not to hold it against anybody who might have been born and bred in the great State of Texas. Just so long as they don't invade any of our neighbors behind our backs, they are more than welcome to join.

It got cold for a couple of nights, then got warm again today. Don, your cold fronts are really wimping out this year. Something tells me that global warming is taking the wind out of your arctic sails. If this keeps up, it's going to get dicey down here. If I were you, I would declare war on the U.S. for pumping out gases of mass destruction. You would have a coalition of equally concerned nations more than happy to join you. By the time we've wiped the carpet with your pathetic "armed" forces, I think maybe we'd get the message and change things around here. The only way to make a bully alter his behavior is to stand up to him, even if you get a black eye for your troubles.

I'm beginning to learn the hard way that the only reason the fates allow me to garner some extra pay thru overtime and working holidays is because I'm gonna have to blow it all on some financial emergency. They car is making ominous sounds in the area of the transmission. At the rate things are going we'll probably be homeless within a few years. Thank Bob I still have my two man back-packing tent. Hopefully my wife will dump my ass for someone who knows how to provide better before that happens. I love her that much.

Ok, that's it from the desk of Pendragon Hold tonight. I hope your 2007 treats you better than 2006 did.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Breaking Ground

It has been rather gratifying to see the response to my idea of creating a comfortable little fire for all of us to gather round. The comments have ranged from enthusiastic to ornery, which reflects the nature of our distinct personalities. As of yet not everyone has responded, or did not offer a name as of yet, but it IS the holidays and some people really have had better things to do, so I am allowing time for the idea to gel and for the rest of our humanity to get on board if they are going to. We have participants from all over the globe, but it sure would be nice to have a German, a Swede (preferably one in a fur-lined bikini) and maybe a Texan (well, I don't know about Texans, cause, well, they are from TEXAS, of all places).

Some of us have yet to post a photo of themselves, so please realize that you have not been excluded from citizenship in (name of place here), I just didn't have a pic to add to the slideshow. Which brings up an idea. I COULD start a blog site using that slideshow of everybody involved, with everybody added as team members so they can post at will. Everybody except Tim, of course, since Tim declared that he is his own country and demands taxes. We will negotiate in good faith, however, and hope that we can convince him to give up his weapons of mass destruction, let his people vote and wear boxers rather than briefs if they want. But no taxes. When he sees the great slurpy recipes a free and diverse community can post, I think he'll give in and join. We certainly could use his photoshop skills!

I had to take the wife to the doc today, her having gotten a bad cold, had to call in sick to work, and is coughing up her lungs. Doc thinks she might have a touch of pneumonia and prescribed antibiotics and a good cough medicine. I think she'll live. Well, I HOPE she lives.......she makes me a killer sandwich for lunch every day I work. I would really miss that.

I'm wearing an old pair of spectacles since I discovered that my glasses had no warranty because I didn't PAY for one. Sheesh! Was a time they made things to last at least awhile. Well, come January, I have access to my medical spending account and can get another pair, but till then, I am craning my neck back to see this monitor as I type. One must suffer for their art.........

I want to thank everybody for their positive response to the community idea. I am open to every suggestion you may have as to how we can construct our town square. But taxes? Read my lips..... That one is DOA.

Blessed be!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Place All Our Own


I don't know why this never occurred to me, or anyone else, for that matter, before. OK, every "community" of any note on this planet has a name, something you can call it so that everyone else, least of all the inhabitants, know what you're talking about in reference to that specific location, place, or even state of mind. OUR little, tight knit, diverse and eclectic community deserves no less! So, being the first one to notice this apparently less-than-obvious little conundrum, I, THE Michael, hereby do declare the incorporation of a new town, village, hamlet, spot on the map, insane asylum, special level of hell, or anything else you wish to call it, and while I'm at it, call to order it's citizens to nominate, second, and hopefully, elect a proper title for our new virtual community. Look, gang, we are here, we exist, we matter, we "know" each other, we wave to each other in passing, we share "secrets", cry on each other's shoulders, drink to much, and say things we regret as soon as we hit the "publish" button, so, you tell me, is this not an entity of note? If you prick us, do we not bleed? Have we not waxed poetic and been brutally commented upon by people who love us regardless? I rest my case!

So what if the physical bodies of our citizens happen to be laying around in vastly far-flung locations, some exotic, most not so; we all get rained on, snowed on, or otherwise bothered by some sort of weather we wish would just go away. We are all equally exposed to the evils of climate change in one way or another. We all breathe the same air polluted by the surging economies of the not-so-third world as well as the big bad polluter herself, the U. S. of A. We have all been dragged, some of us kicking and screaming, into the global economy, and probably have a Walmart located nearby to remind us of it. All of us understand English, even if some of us have to suck it up and communicate with it fighting nausea the whole time. Most of us live in something resembling a democracy, even if it doesn't quite live up to the real definition of it. And all of us take a crap sooner or later.

All of us came here voluntarily, even though it might have been a very bad decision overall. All of us remain here voluntarily, despite the effect it has had on our world view. All of us have heard the viewpoints and biographies of people who don't look like us and have come back for more regardless, which might imply most of us are masochists, but perhaps that's an apt description of those willing to walk on hot coals for the chance to get to the other side of a truly bothersome divide, that divide being ignorance, intolerance, and miscommunication. And all of us have discovered that regardless of our race, creed, or color, we are all one species, a species having very little going for it, but one capable of miracles nonetheless.

These are the kinds of people living in our virtual community, and I think that they have earned the distinction of being able to lay claim to an identify, no less than the good people of Cincinnati, Bombay, Bumfuck, Lexington, Paris, Ho Chi Min City, or Sidney. We have every right to proudly proclaim our citizenship of a new shining city on the hill, one anchored firmly in electrons zipping around in silicon, no more impermanent than Los Angeles or San Francisco, sitting so precariously on their geologic fault lines. So what if we don't need streets named after trees or dead presidents, good sewers, decent cable service, or a library? We leave all that mess to the "real" world. Here in OUR virtual community, we exist in a world that caters to OUR needs, such as comradeship, communication, understanding, humor, sorrow, hope, anger and all matters of angst, dirty thoughts, even dirtier thoughts, a good joke or two, validation, and tolerance. We have never agreed on everything and would think it weird if we did, but here in OUR little town, not one of us have felt the overwhelming need to pull out a digital AK-47 and force our singular viewpoints on the collective, like they do in that "other" world, the one that can't seem to just get along. Here, the voices of hatred, unwarranted sarcasm, and outright stupidity finds it's way into a magical trash can where it belongs. Some of my fondest friends in this place have said some things I wish they hadn't, but I have always preferred to hear such things from a friend and suck it up than hearing it from someone convinced of a sense of superiority to the rest of us. I have taken my own lumps, and I wouldn't trade one of them for all the ass-kissing in the world.

So, read this and weep, citizens of our wonderful little community, for you have been challenged; to assume responsibility for who and what we are - recipients of the greatest gift since the Guttenburg press. I now call upon all of you to come here to this temporary town hall, suggest a name for our fine gathering spot, and risk the derision of any or all of us on the off-chance that YOUR idea trumps all others and identifies us to ourselves and the rest of the virtual world. This will take awhile. There will be jokes, contemplation, poetry and idiocy displayed on this blog for awhile, which will be no different than any other concept which has graced the pages of this humble device. Big deal. We can handle it. So steel yourselves and let loose, let slip the hoary hounds of suggestion, and let's see what moniker consensus can craft amongst us. We deserve no less.

However, I must remind you that I will not seek any office. If elected despite this declaration, I will not serve. And if I find myself negotiating treaties with foreign blogs, I swear to Bob you'll wish you'd railroaded Tim into such a thankless job instead.

Blessed be!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Post Yule, Something or another Eve........

Being the blasphemous pagan that I am, I am working a three day stint including Christmas day to nail down some lucrative overtime and bonus pay, so I don't have much time for posting. It's been an interesting Yule to say the least, and maybe I'll attempt to apprise the comedy later.

My glasses broke on me, at work, leaving me practically blind, but the wife and a twin came to rescue me and return me home. Timothy Leary would have envied the light show I was treated to in the passenger seat on the way home. If you are extremely nearsighted like me, take a ride through the streets at night in the passenger seat without your glasses, your better half driving, of course, and you'll know what I mean.

Have a happy whatever you're having! And may whatever God or Gods you acknowledge have mercy on your party-hearty soul!

Friday, December 22, 2006

He WAS a Contender.........


I was quite a number of years ago, while I was still a relatively new PCT working in the Critical Care Unit of my hospital. Already I was used to the comings and goings of the elderly patients that make up the bulk of our admissions. Most are in such bad shape, either due to disease or the ravages of time, that you don't have much real interaction with them, other than the care you afford them. Some regain a modicum of health and return to home or nursing care, others succumb to the inevitable, regardless of our high tech interventions, and make their way to Summerland, where we will all end up, in whatever guise we choose to believe.

There are those occasions, however, that these souls pass by you with their minds more or less intact, and you interact with personalities, unique individuals with unique histories, and more often than not they are more than happy to share their snippets of wisdom with you, or spin you a yarn that really grabs your interest.

This gentleman I speak of tonight had had his share of hard knocks, said knocks encountered of his own volition and choosing. He once was a prize fighter, back in the day, or so he said, and waxed with me a few rounds he made with better known names of the boxing world. Yes, I suppose, he imagined once he could be a contender, but like most who put on those gloves and suffer the insults to gut and head, he made his mark and faded into obscurity, at least in my mind, for I had never heard of him, and doubt that many had, especially considering how old he was. But, this man had known his own glory days, and who was I to weigh and measure that glory? I listened to his stories as though I was in the presence of Sonny Liston or Mohammed Ali. And as far as I was concerned, his stories carried as much weight.

What made me realize how genuine, if not historic, this man's story was, was when he, in a most matter-of-fact-fashion, asked me if I wanted his autograph. Still not having a clue as to who this gentlemen might have been in his day, I informed him I would be honored to be given such. I handed him a slip of paper and he scrawled his moniker as best he could, with a shaky hand that spoke of his numbered days.



What bothers me most this day, as I write this remembrance, is that I do not remember whether this man made it back home alive or not. So many have, as many have not. It's hard to keep them all straight, there have been so many. Almost every day, they return to the unit on one of the many trips through critical care they will take on their way out of this world, and they will recognize me, greet me as an old friend, and I smile and humor them, embarrassed that, more often than not, I have lost their face in the crowd of souls I have encountered through these ten-plus years I have done this job. I do know that considering how long ago this meeting occurred, he has most certainly passed beyond the veil.

But I still have proof that you were here, that you might have meant something in your own way to people, least of all to me. I don't remember the name that you were admitted to my unit under, but I will always remember you, Kid.

You'll always be a contender as far as I'm concerned, as long as I'm alive to remember you.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

December 20th, 72 degrees

It's an unseasonably warm, laid back day here at Pendragon Hold. The wife is at work and I'm at home trying to keep myself occupied as Yule draws near and we prepare for the kids to come home for the holidays. The "Yule" tree glitters over in the corner of the room, presents piled up underneath, and I laugh to myself when I think how THE Wife has managed to hold onto the gift-giving habit although we no longer celebrate Christmas. She has been researching and quoting this and that concerning ancient pagan practices that support the idea of exchanging gifts during this time of year. Oh, well.....I give up......some habits are just to damn hard to abandon, I suppose. I had thought not to have to deal with the guilt of not putting much effort into this gifting thing, especially since I rarely have any money after juggling the bills to put into it, but THE Wife has pulled that little victory right out of the jaws of defeat......argggg.......now what......sigh.

One of the twins has us worried, not that we don't always seem to have something to worry about in regards to offspring. She's been having symptoms which my background suggests that she might be in the grips of new onset adult diabetes. Her doctor is running every test known to man on her, instead of going straight for the obvious and sending her to an endocrinologist, which is an aggravating cover-all-the-bases-and-thus-their-own-ass kind of medicine which only adds to the cost of medical care. Not that I WANT her to be diabetic, for I see the downside of having to live with that nasty affliction at work everyday. I just pray, in my own way, that's it's just a weird anomaly which can be corrected easily.

The OTHER twin, often jokingly referred to as the evil one, although she is anything but, bless her, has had her share of difficulties, mostly having an operating set of wheels to get her to a new job which so far she seems to enjoy very much. Getting around these days has become such a pain in the collective ass, especially for people of limited means who can't just saddle a horse or hop on a train to get to where they need to be. The South is notorious for providing precious little infrastructure for mass transit, instead simply paving everything over in favor of our lord and master, the automobile. Between gas, oil, maintenance, insurance, and car payments, you really have to wonder who owns who.

My crazy, intelligent, and young PCT friend at work has been loaning me some Dan Brown novels that I hadn't had a crack at before that I am enjoying immensely. Right now I am reading "Angels and Demons" and this one really has me hooked. It seems similar in so many ways to the Davinci Code, yet is sufficiently different to keep me wondering where it is going.

Overall, this "winter" this year in N.E. Florida has been so damn warm it has me worried about what we are in store for come summer. Everywhere else in the country seems to be having more than it's share of weird weather, plenty of snow, and winds that normally come with hurricanes. If by now you still think there's not something seriously wrong going on with our climate, then the only thing I can prescribe for what ails you is a good bitch-slap upside your head.

The post-election results don't seem to have had much effect on the DUBYA's thought processes. He continues "listening" to new ideas on what to do with Iraq, and will continue to do so until he hears an echo. The sound of his own voice is the only thing Bush seems to be able to hear, and he loves to hear it alot. And, so far, the Democrats haven't given us any real clue as to what they plan to do to try and repair the damage once this asshole goes back to Crawford to play with his crayons. Since the good people of the Middle East are so damn determined to kill each other, and there are plenty of slightly differing "each others" to go around, I really think just getting out of their way will help to keep them occupied for decades to come. For a religion that claims to be non-violent, Islam seems to be it's own worst enemy; it certainly doesn't need the rest of us to pick on.

We will be conducting a Wiccan Winter Solstice celebration for Yule, the Wiccan precursor to Christmas, and while I am exercising my intent, and asking the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the four corners to reinforce my will, I will be sending good vibes out to all my friends and loyal readers of this blog, no matter who you worship, if anybody/anything; no matter how you celebrate your holiday, and no matter what color/creed/nationality you happen to be. You are all my kindred in my eyes. Blessed be, Merry Meet, Merry Part, till we Merry Meet again........


A Little Info about Yule


I know I promised you guys a SPECTACULAR post by now, but a dingo ate it.

wink

Sunday, December 17, 2006

We are experiencing blog-lag, please stand by.......


I had another post ready to go, one of my very best, no, make that THE post of all posts, the post that is SURE to put me in the top 1000 of all blogs, but since I have already gotten ahead of myself, I have to wait until the comments have caught up with my last posts in order to restore balance to my karma and the universe, thus avoiding a catastrophic failure of the laws of physics, which will make posting this next, might I say, specTACULAR post, all but impossible, based on the laws of relativity AND probability, as well as a few 80-odd year old laws still on the books in Alabama that really should have been thrown out with the horse and buggy. So, please do not allow this non-post to register in your conscious mind; just promptly forget you read it and allow my suggestion that you catch up on your comments to those last posts as soon as you can access them overtake your purpose in life so that I can post this next great post of epic proportions for your reading pleasure. Well, I'm ASSUMING you take pleasure from them. Yes, I have suspected for some time now that masochists gravitate towards my blog in order to enjoy the endorphins that suffering through it can produce, but I am stating right now that this theory is nothing more than a nasty rumor started by someone trying to suggest that "These Thoughts Escape Me" should be captured and locked up for good, the key thrown away, and pure, innocent minds protected for all time from my poisonous propaganda.

Well, anyway, I need to curtail this non-post, lest it stray into the realm of genuine discourse, which would totally screw up the reason I began typing this drivel to begin with. Remember, you needn't worry yourself about what it is I need you to do, since embedded within this post-which-isn't-really-a-post are hypnotic suggestions which will take over at the appropriate time and cause you to rush over and comment like crazy, after which any guilt you might have suffered from having to be manipulated into doing so will magically dissipate. See? Now you know why you love this blog so much!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Question

Life. Existence. As in the meaning of it all. The mechanics I pretty much understand; the Krebs cycle, the passing of sodium and potassium ions through a semi-permeable membrane, RNA and DNA, the whole unholy schmorgesbord of processes that together make a man. Yet, basically, as complex as it is, the body human is no more remarkable a construct than a four cycle internal combustion engine, or a silicon central processing unit (CPU). In the end, they are designs, one sort perhaps by chance, another certainly by intent, each taking energy and converting it into action. But life, or at least sentient life, that's something beyond mere mechanics, biological or otherwise. An ant is a wondrous machine, part of a collective purpose, which goes about it's duties with nary a thought as to why. A merecat stands watch over the colony, with nary a thought as to what's in it for him or her. Life just is, and always has been, what it was, until eventually the brain of one species got large enough to make room for curiosity.

And that's where I arrive; the question. My ancestors, dating as far back as the ice age and maybe earlier, sat in contemplation around a fire, not satisfied merely with the fact that the fire provided warmth and light, but wondered what magic stuff these flames were made of. He looked up at the searing sun and wondered who was keeping THAT mighty flame going, and where did it go when it sank out of sight over the horizon. And he marveled at the moon, which shone so brightly without the golden flame it's solar breathren possessed. Yes, those questions arose and became much more numerous than the answers, and I can only imagine how such a curiosity unquenched could not have driven the first thinkers to madness.

Answers come in so many guises, from lucky guesses, from observations, from sheer deduction, from experimentation, and yes, in a pinch, from fancy. The most bizarre answers arose when there were simply no earthly facts to stumble upon, such as where it all came from and why. God is the fallback, the answer of last resort, when all those extra neurons with nothing else to do fail to put two and two together and arrive at anything near four. Sentience thirsts for order, for reason, for explanations for all things, and in failing to provide them for itself, will resort to creating it's own answers that only it's own manufactured evidence can support.

The simple act of living in this world produces fatigue; we tire of work, of chasing our dreams, of holding ourselves to ideals handed down to us by generations of people trying to live together in something resembling harmony. We expend so much of our mental energy on the task of daily living that many of us loathe going the extra mile to waste any of it on the asking. Yes, the BIG question is rarely approached when all the little questions nag at us long after we thought them answered. It's only when our efforts have blessed us with comfort in our existence or we simply do not care anymore do we surpass the mundane and venture forth to take on the unknown, especially when we have already convinced ourselves it is unknowable.

God, whom we created in our own image, as frightful as that can be, is that unknowable so many of us claim to know. They conveniently ignore the very definition of faith and proceed directly to claiming a direct line to the divine, and in doing so prove that intelligence does not always go hand in hand with wisdom. Yet, so many of us break free of these delusions, and return to the innocence of faith, or abandon illogical mythology altogether in favor of oblivion, a state of surrender to that which can't be known, therefore must not exist. Therein lies a sadness that can't be born if fully embraced with all of one's comprehension.

So I remain here, at this keyboard, facing down the question. the one thing that all those who came before me did not enable me through the process of evolution to take on and make my own. My breathren have conquered the Earth, split the atom, stepped foot on the moon, and have mapped out the very code that defines us, yet they have not even provided me with the right question to ask, much less the answer. This places me in great danger of utter despair, as I spend my alloted time on this Earth amongst tribes of humans dead set on destroying all the life this planet has nurtured for eons of time, perhaps towards some noble end. It's very much like watching helplessly as my brothers grasp the cord of the plug of the machine that took countless millions of lives and countless thoughts to build to arrive at some satisfying conclusion, and we kill the power perhaps seconds before it serves it's long awaited purpose. I can't answer the question. Noble laureates have not answered this question, although as a collective they have surely tried. Priests, Rabbis, monks and shamans imagine the answer, and even swear to have found it, yet the proof of uncertainty continues to be argued.

There IS no answer. Of that I will claim certainty. And I will rest warmly in it's embrace, knowing that when I have lived my alloted time, I will pass beyond this veil that I know so well, and if there IS an answer, then and only then will I even know what question to ask. And from my limited perspective, here at this keyboard, I imagine it will be the ONE thing I ever experienced that surpassed the wonder of sex, and if one can experience that, then one CAN experience nirvana.......

Let's try this again......

OK, so my last two posts were total bombs, lessee......what can I do for an encore......

Well, I found this on my desktop and can't remember where I got it, but it says whatever it is it's saying better than I could, and believe me, I have tried.....and tried.....and tried......

Listen to this




On an entirely different subject, you know, I wouldn't mind advertising so much if they would just try and use a little imagination, like these folks did......
























































Well, it seems that our great "Decider" has decided to keep listening to more recommendations on what to do about Iraq until he hears what he wants to hear. Knowing our luck, he'll finally settle on Senator McCain's great idea of sending even more kids over there, as if the insurgents haven't already got enough targets to keep them busy. So, instead of just sending our convoy Northbound on a Southbound highway, what we'll do is add extra lanes......in the same direction. And while we're at it, we'll train more Iraqi's to become Shiite death squads, I mean, soldiers.

It could be worse, I suppose. Without Iraq, George would be paying more attention to making life here in the US much better for it's citizens. Even better than he already has.....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Musta been something I ate..........


The icebergs were drifting by my picture window, the sunlight glinting off their blueish-white precipices in the perpetual Antarctic summer. My coffee cup slide down the table as the trailer rocked gently from side to side, and I grabbed it just in time to keep it from falling off. I contemplated taking some dramamine, while simultaneously wondering why I would have any and at the same time thinking it odd that home was floating in ice-cold waters South of the Equator. This wasn't really a problem until I noticed that I only had three cigarettes left in my last pack and I didn't see any seven-elevens floating along with me, or at least any that I could see from my dining room table. Even if there where, the prospect of jumping into frigid water and swimming over before hypothermia set in was not an attractive proposition. Yes, this was a fascinating dream, but it was getting old.

I was thinking it rather convenient, even in dream terms, that my electricity was still on, when one of Howie Mandel's beautiful models stepped out of the game show on the television and walked over to me, a pot of hot coffee in her hand. I eyeballed her up and down as she poured me a refill, thinking that cute miniskirt she was wearing would look better on the floor. She smiled, set down the pot, and took it off. It DID look better on the floor. I took a sip of the freshened coffee and thought that of course this would be the time you wake up, before the really good stuff happens, but I didn't.

Not that it mattered. Turned out on closer inspection that "Mandy" was actually more of a "Marvin", and I don't do drag queens. She, or he rather, gave an impertinent little snort, turned on his/ her high heels, and walked out the front door, a splash of salt wate announcing his/her departure.

Sure enough, as I walked up to close the door, I could see that my front porch, which I was so proud of building myself, had not accompanied the trailer. Well, damn, I thought to myself, that sucks, I put alot of work into that. Then I decided to go ahead and force an end to this rather odd dream and stepped out the door and into the ocean, figuring the shock would certainly awaken me so that I could get back to sleep and experience a more run-of-the-mill dream where the Deal or No Deal model would have been the real deal and the dream more productive.

No such luck.

The shock of the cold water drove the air from my lungs as I plunged below the surface, and I frantically clawed my way back to the surface, sputtering and yelling as every nerve ending in my body screamed "WHAT the FUCK did you just DO?!"
This was not going according to plan. I should have been awake in my nice warm bed, thinking what an odd dream this had been as I drifted off to sleep again. This was ANYthing but a nice warm bed; this was really ice-cold salt water and I had this nagging suspicion amongst all the other emotions running rampant in my brain that I could really be in trouble if I didn't make it back to my front door.

Then the killer whale appeared. Beneath me. Just rose up and there I was, sprawled across his back, hanging onto that dorsal fin for dear life as he took me for a spin around the trailer. This was getting much too fucking surreal for my tastes, but hey, it's not everyday you get to ride on an orca without paying admission to Sea World. As he swam over to my front door and I clambered off, I asked him, "So why didn't you just eat me?" I guess I was half expecting him to answer me, in perfectly fluent English no less, but he didn't, either because he couldn't or wouldn't. He just swam off towards a floating slab of ice in the distance hosting a pack of seals, whom I figured he wouldn't treat so charitably.

OK, fine, this was pretty interesting as dreams go, but I was more than willing to wake up right then and there, shivering as I was like a wet popsicle, but NOOOOOO, this puppy was persisting, so I made my way over to my wall thermostat and cranked it up to "make it warm, NOW". I suppose that the fact that a trailer heat pump is pretty much attached to the house neatly fit into my assumption that it had accompanied the house when it made it's way who-knows-how-or-why into the Antarctic Ocean. As the place began to warm up, I made my way into the bathroom, grabbed some towels, and started to dry off, staring into the mirror and instructing myself to wake the fuck up.

While I was attempting to alter my reality, which by now was seriously screwed up, A Chilean Coast Guard Cutter pulled up next to the trailer and offered me a tow. What I didn't know was that they meant to tow me over to one of their fishing factory ships, making me pay for the tow by dumping a load of freshly caught krill into my spare bedroom, which I couldn't actually spare, having converted it into a workshop for my wife. I knew if she came home to find her workshop smelling somewhat fishy, there would be hell to pay, that is, if the trailer was there for her to come home to. I was saved from this little bit of chicanery when an Iranian suicide navy rowboat came out of nowhere and sank the cutter, along with itself. I didn't even know Iran HAD a navy, much less a suicide one, which probably explains why they don't, usually.

After the fireworks had subsided and the sea around me was reduced to a salty slick full of Chilean and Iranian flotsam and jetsam, I fished a survivor out of the water and offered him some hot coffee. He politely declined, insisting he had to return to Punta Arenas to report the loss of the cutter to his government, in case they wanted to send an army ice-cream truck to join the Allied Coalition and extract some revenge on the Iranians by taunting them with dream-cicles in the desert. I wished him well and loaned him one of the bathtubs and a broom to make his way back in.

By now I was seriously in need of getting out of this insane dream and started searching for a Jerry Springer episode on the television, reasoning that anything Jerry Springer could come up with was always weirder than any dream I could have dreamt up. Unfortunately, the only station I could pick up this far south was the weather channel, which was showing how nice the weather was somewhere other than where I was presently located.

Then I tried reverse psychology, and accepted the reality of the situation, which promptly triggered a rebellious questioning of my circumstances, and I found myself wide awake. Leaping out of bed, I ran to the nearest window and was greeted with the scenery I was more accustomed to seeing from my trailer. That set off a severe case of depression, having hoped against hope that my reality was actually living in this trailer smack dab in the middle of Denali National Park in Alaska.

So I went back to bed and tried again.

All I got was Kermit the Frog singing "It's not easy being dreamed....."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Reruns aren't so bad.........

This was something I posted awhile back that either got overlooked entirely or was so bad that everybody politely remained mum. Call me deluded, but I thought it was rather.....shall I suggest......funny?




In the beginning, the universe was created, which was regarded by many to be a very bad move. Some believe it was created by a God, but this God was never pinned down for a proper interview, so the jury is still out on that one. However, it is an accepted fact in some circles that since the universe WAS created, it stands to reason that it will end, thus a whole cottage industry was created for the sole purpose of predicting when and how this will occur. One consortium of various species have banded together to open a restaurant, aptly named "The Restaurant at The End of The Universe", which will open somewhere, sometime, to host a gala event to witness this very phenomenon, and since this is the very last phenomenon worth noticing that will ever occur, the guest list is very exclusive and the cover charge quite outrageous. However, a rather chipper little crustacean that is considered a delicacy on the planet Vogon will be on the menu, which to some degree should negate any distress induced by this extreme example of price gouging, a practice which was copied from merchants on the Planet Earth, who tend to get rather more prosperous in the wake of natural disasters, with the possible exception of the destruction of same said planet, which had a similar detrimental effect on same said merchants.

It is very interesting to note, at least to those who pay attention to notes to begin with, that none of this would have come to anybody's attention had it not been for a book, the second in a series, actually, by a fiction writer by the name of Douglas Adams, also, by coincidence, a resident of Earth. He became somewhat famous for having described in painful detail the "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", a very famous publication known the Universe over as a bad copy of a very good idea. How this descendant of a primate happened to have guessed, however unintentionally, that such an instrument even existed, is still hotly debated by slug-like creatures that inhabit the second layer of a very scummy pond on a planet somewhere in the Crab Nebula. The story, which is actually quite factual in just about every detail, was even made into what humans describe as a "movie", which didn't quite make it to syndication and broadcast on terrestrial television in order to be sent into deep space along with other interesting cultural artifacts as "Amos and Andy" and "Friends", before the planet was demolished to make way for a hyper-space bypass.

Hidden somewhere deeply in all this is a true tragedy, for just 37 seconds before the planet was destroyed, Mrs Beverly Brokesdale of 3795 Martin Luther King Avenue, Port Sanders, Idaho (which incidentally has no body of water to host a port to) discovered cold fusion while attempting to program her coffee maker with the aid of a badly translated Japanese to English operating manual. Careful study of this event, most experts who study just this sort of occurrence agree, would have finally brought peace and prosperity, as well as perfectly toasted bagels, to the beleaguered planet, after years of strife and repeated elections of Republican Presidents. This method of energy generation, in fact, was so far in advance of anything that any other civilization had so far managed, that a superior race of beings on the planet upchuck (not to be confused with the Earth slang for "vomit") designed an advanced computer expressly for the sole purpose of recreated the conditions that led up to this discovery. Part of the Matrix, strange as it may seem, that comprised this computer, included the eventual birth of the exact duplicates of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, whose fight for the supremacy of the personal computer market would result in the galaxies' most advanced operating system failing miserably to win market share against the galaxy's worst example of computer code ever written, strangely named "Windows", which indirectly would have something to do with an indian programmer being hired to translate Japanese owners manuals into English.


A common misconception is that this amazing computer was "Deep Thought", which was created for a similar, but entirely different project altogether. The computer we speak of here was cleverly disguised as a blueberry Imac, whose insides were actually designed to hold a 87 billion million quadrillion ziga-bite hard drive spinning at 789 million RPMs, a processor so fast it arrives at conclusions before they could possibly be computed, and a nifty little bottle opener, which oddly enough, only works on Heinekens. Originally, on the false assumption that an auditorium full of chimpanzees working double shifts were responsible for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, twice that amount were bred to operate the keyboard, which they trashed within minutes. Then it was discovered that out of work American programmers, who had lost all their jobs to India, could be hired to do the job for half the cost, as long as they were supplied with pizza and at least one week of vacation at a Star Trek convention. Finding these programmers was the most complicated part of the process, considering no one was sure how and where these humans might be found now that their home planet had been vaporized, but it was assumed that at least a few might have been kidnapped by those infamous grey aliens with large heads and even larger eyes who enjoyed performing medical experiments on any one dumb enough to get talked into boarding an alien spaceship with promises of a lifetime of debauchery with blonde, large breasted women with the IQ's of toaster ovens. Just such a human was found on the planet Magrathea, where he was in the middle of a hunger strike to protest having been given a brunette, large breasted woman, instead of a blonde. The aliens were more than happy to part with him, as it turned out he rather enjoyed being experimented on, which ruined all the fun. One interesting offshoot of all of this is that having once worked for Microsoft, the programmer innocently incorporated the infamous browser known as Internet Explorer into the computer's matrix, which set off alarms all across the Galaxy, and almost resulted in the whole project being terminated.

The downside to all this was that Mr Douglas ended up dying, as humans have a bad habit of doing, and everybody lost interest in anything remotely having to do with his epiphany, such is the attention span of most inhabitants of the Universe, as measured in milliseconds on a very inaccurate device now out of favor with anyone wanting to time anything. Now, a very interesting thing happens when this many sentient beings lose interest in something simultaneously. The sudden disappearance of all that interest creates a sudden vacuum in the space-time continuum, which when it collapse in upon itself, causes such an upheaval all across all existence, that everything careens into everything else, which is a fairly close approximation of the end of the universe, which if you really want to get technical about it, IS the end of the universe, which incidentally occurred just five hours before the opening of the restaurant of the same name, which really pissed off those who had payed inordinate amounts of their planets' gross global product to attend the final show. However, it was finally agreed to amongst all the galaxy's philosophers just moments before the end that none of this would matter once there was no one around to worry about it. Which brings us back to this God character, who having been harassed for what seems an eternity to come clean on the big question, i.e. Life, the Universe, and Everything, finally agreed to an interview, which incidentally he did so only because he knew he would not have to carry through, and having such supreme foresight, took the advance and spent it all in one wild night at the Hard Rock Cafe in Miami Beach, without the slightest bit of guilt over the whole bloody affair, since in reality he had utterly nothing to do with the whole mess to begin with.

Now, I am sure that somewhere in your mind the question is being asked, "How in the hell could I possibly know all this, or even report it on it if it were true, if the universe has already ended? Well, I can answer that question, just let me program it into my Imac G-5, give me about 15 years, and you will have your answer. I will even set my processor to the "You're kidding me, right?" level just for you, because I like you, I really, really like you. All I know for sure is that it has something to do with relativity, like how time behaves when you are waiting for Friday to come along, which takes an eternity, and once it does, the next three days accelerate to 57 times the normal time it takes a weekend to pass, and you find yourself right back at work before you even left. So, if the Universe HAS already ended, that does not necessarily mean we are aware of it, since frankly ceasing to exist is not one of our priorities. Matter of fact, most of us will probably insist on finally getting our tax refund checks before we bother to acknowledge that there is no longer an IRS to send one from, which will have doomsday waiting impatiently in the wings so that it can do it's thing and put a stop to taxation altogether, which will please many people to no end, at least for as long as they are capable of being pleased about anything. So, let me get to work on this question so that I can answer it before it sinks in that doing so would be totally pointless, considering that I could spend such valuable time drinking Pina' Coladas and sunning myself on the septic mound instead.

Oh, and thanks for all the fish........



P.S. I would like to thank Mr. Adams for posthumously inspiring me to create this post, which was innocently created strictly for the purpose of producing some smiles in the wake of yesterday's sad atmosphere. I wish he was still with us.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Delivery

Yea, I know, I'm an irritating little shit most times, the kind of know-it-all that loves to read himself type and can't seem to shut off his fingers before they fall off. I know people just like me and yes, they irritate the hell out of me too. Bob bless us all. Then there are those who just-can't-seem to loosen up and let it fly, to release that pressure building up inside in a satisfying explosion of expletives and perhaps some totally made-up words in an effort to make a point. They are mild. Annoyingly mild. Prim, proper, and oh so measured. Well, OK, mild is fine. It works for them. Some of the best writers are extremely restrained, and they produce excellent writings. But do those writings reach out, grab you by the throat and say 'PAY ATTENTION! You NEED to THINK about THIS!" ? Hardly. You'll forget everything they said before the sun has set, or has risen, whatever.

I know, this sounds alot like a put down. It's not really. Even in this tightly knit bunch we have here in bloggerville, we have some gentle souls who just don't have it in them to froth at the mouth when the urge strikes. They gently make their points, and most often they are the equal of anything I could rant, rave, or outright have a seizure getting across. It's all a matter of style associated with personality, which is why I believe the way a person produces their blogs is a pretty good indicator of what kind of people they are demeanor wise. Take Buffalo, for instance. (Put that gun back, old buddy.....grin) There is a fair amount of passion packed within his delivery, yet it comes across smooth, mellow, more like a lethal stiletto slipping ever-so-delicately between your ribs than a 44 magnum hollow point plowing itself through your delicates. The man doesn't NEED a megaphone or white-hot fonts dipped in molten ink to get your attention. You have it by the first sentence.

So, there you have it. We each have our own personal delivery vehicles, and they each deliver the goods in their own unique way. Mine is written in such a diabolically sublime fashion (as in garbage truck with flowers and peace signs plastered all over it) that you really have to hold your nose to really enjoy it, but enjoy it you do, or you wouldn't be reading this post today, having fled in horror at the things I've done to the art of blogging that no educated, sophisticated, god of grammar could dare tolerate. Which actually works out pretty good for me, to tell the truth......it cuts down on the amount of comments I have to answer, and being the lazy SOB that I am, that is a Good thing........grin.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Hearts of Gold


To those of you virgins who are witnessing this Blog for the very first time, allow me to introduce myself. I am THE Michael. Short of hiring a private investigator or referencing my file at the NSA, CIA, or whatever entity deems it necessary to keep an eye on me, you will not know my true identity, for I have learned from the example of Salmon Rushdie that sometimes a small degree of anonymity is necessary when one dares speak his mind at the risk of offending those who seem to think that they are somehow so special that I nor anyone else should dare question their sacred opinions of themselves or what they hold to be God-given truth. If my lone voice in this wilderness is such poison to them, then may they die slowly and painfully of it, for I will not submit to silence while I draw a breath.

That little bit of "vitriol" out of the way, allow me to get to the major point of this post. As a proud proponent of the freedom of unfettered opinion, as well as the loud and sometimes grating nature of it practiced with reckless, if not well reasoned, abandon, I would beg your forbearance of my proclamation of my love for this forum of which I am a most humble and joyous participant, this medium of the modern age called the BLOG. Not since quill met papyrus has such a revolution in communications been visited upon us, all courtesy of the overwhelming need to reach out beyond ourselves and build a village free of the shackles of narrow minds that strive to sew our lips shut that they might have dominion over our very thoughts, that, and a few geeks good with code. Thanks to Blogger and other such portals, we now can venture out of our cultures and peek into others, those who despite skin color, latitude or longitude, religion, creed, economic status, or taste in music, are very much like us, in that they love life, seek love, comfort, purpose, and meaning. Most of them live in relatively free societies, some are hamstrung to some degree by the sensibilities of their cultures, while others risk their very lives and liberty to express their feelings. There are parents, grandparents, kids in college or middle school, convicts with special privileges, politicians and wanna-be legislators, teachers, firemen, pilots, and soldiers from many nations, all dipping their toes into these strange new waters and learning how to "swim" for the very first time. It's 1984 in reverse, the revenge of the nerd, the liberation of the timid, and the realm of the sublime and ridiculous all wrapped up in one wild party. You either won't do it, can't help but do it, or wish you could.

Within this vast new universe that arrived far faster than the spawn of the big bang, are cells, clusters, and whole virtual villages that never existed before, with diverse and eclectic characters that cannot be replicated exactly from one group to the next, for the total flavor of any one of these groups truly does exceed the sum of it's individual participants. When I painfully typed my first entry on my blog, I had no idea what lay before me, and felt I was destined to be a lone voice in the wilderness that no one else would care to hear, yet I was proven wrong as other voices responded, sharing the same fear of irrelevance, and reacting quite positively to the echos they heard. Along with our differences in opinions, experiences, socioeconomic situations, and geographic locations, we discovered our similarities, not always in lockstep, but still within the realm of familiarity, and it sounded good. It sounded GREAT!

I sat in awe and read the wellspring from the heart of a crusty old Aussie, shy of vocabulary, rich of wit, and wealthy beyond compare with a love of comradeship, express his desire that all those things we pined for ourselves be granted, courtesy of his gratitude for being so welcomed to our far flung commune of free spirits. Of all the remarkable authorship I have been witness to since I joined the cult of Blog, this moved me perhaps more than any I have enjoyed. His one disjointed and heartfelt post I think spoke well of all of us, the kind of people we are, with all our faults, all our delusions, all our aspirations and offerings of sage advice, and I am proud beyond measure to have met, albeit in such a far removed and roundabout way, a man I know as Whiteshake. His bite may be lethal, but his heart is solid gold.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Respite

It's a quiet night here at Pendragon Hold, my little acre of sand and oak trees. I've just gotten home, nuked me a TV dinner, let out the dog, and perused my e-mail. "Prairie Home Companion" is on the radio, and most blogs haven't been updated, probably the dreaded weekend effect. So, while I wait around before heading back out to retrieve the wife from her job, I'll whip out a post, and maybe play a video game, since television is already in reruns or seasonal pap, and I finished off my Dan Brown novel, which wasn't bad.

I had to replace another tire yesterday that a bad alignment ate right down to the belts before I had the cash to replace it. Now I have two new tires up front, and two in the back that are on their last legs. I'll have to change my oil as well, as it is way overdue. I wish I could just feed this beast grass and hay like I do the goats....sigh.

I'm starting to adjust to sleeping on this new bed I put together. I seem to have solved the problem of staying on my side thru the night by hugging onto a king-sized pillow stuffed between my legs; it keeps me pretty much in one position, the result being that I haven't awakened lately in searing pain. I'm still hoping to get that memory foam overlay to complete the transition from the old waterbed.

I've been giving hell to a very conservative-minded commenter lately, but I must say I do admire his staying power and his decorum in the heat of disagreement. Despite his right-leaning philosophy, he has yet to suggest that I do not have the right to voice the opinions that I do, and for that he has so far earned my respect. In return I will not suggest that his world view is flat wrong, and I will defend with vigor his right to continue to think the way he does even in the face of what I would consider a narrow mindset. Such considerations are what made this country great to begin with.

The lame duck congress performed their last hurrah the way one would expect them to, catering to special interests and insuring that rich people stay that way. Like the scorpion said to the frog, "I can't help it, it's in my nature...."

I've been watching alot of Lou Dobbs on CNN and I swear that man is the perfect blend of liberal sensibility, conservative pragmatism, and libertarian zeal. If ever a public figure came close to the kind of man I think understands what this country is all about and what most of it's people think, it's him. He ought to run for President, but then again, to do so would probably ruin him. It's amazing what politics can do to even the best amongst us. It's a thought, at least.

I would be so happy to withdraw into the womb of my humble abode and ignore the world closing in all around me. It would be nice to stick my head in the sand (and I gots plenty of THAT) and just wish it would all go away, but it isn't going to. I sometimes envy the Wife's ability to focus simply on the narrow confines of our precarious existence and not waste mental energy on the woes of the world at large. I guess that's what she depends on me to take care of.......laugh. Bob knows I have this strange capacity to file the worst of everything in the background and deal with what has to be dealt with as it's coming at me. Practice, practice, practice.

Well, that's it for tonight here at Pendragon Hold, my humble little abode on the edge of the great big world, where all the inhabitants are royalty, the livestock lively, and the Queen a witch with fine taste in Kings..........grin.

Friday, December 08, 2006

In Praise of VOLUME


" If my discourse puts a sour taste in your mouth, then so be it. That's what real life tastes like, my friend."

That summed up my reply to a commenter of Buffalo's who suggested that we work in the shadows of politeness and decorum to right our wrongs, lest we suggest to our enemies that we do not think in lockstep with one another. This is the same mindset I equate with those who received reports of abuse at Abu Graive, of mental illness manifest in the ranks of Irag war veterans, and decided that such things best be dealt with in the shadows, not out in the open where the horror of examination can test their validity. Tyrants and oppressive regimes all over the world wonder at our relatively transparent style of governance, puzzled that our leaders would tolerate dissent and not crush opposition, even mere vocal protest. They think us fools, and then lick their wounds in frustration when push comes to shove and they come out on the losing end of confrontations with us. At least that's the way it used to be.

Now I can imagine Vladamir Putin smiling when he reads the papers and finds that our president, an elected leader of the freest nation on Earth, convinces the coddled and self-important American people that they don't need to know what he does in the name of protecting them. I can imagine the premiere of the "Peoples" Republic of China grinning ear to ear when he is told the lengths a conservative republican will go to to keep up the pretense that he's fully in control of a losing proposition, that proposition being that you can shove democracy down the throat of a sectarian tribal society egged on by terrorists who win wars by having us search little old ladies for bombs before they get on a plane. Yes, such stories are quite telling. They tell those who value power over freedom that there is more than one way to stifle dissent. Just claim that one is not "patriotic", or even suggest we love our enemies more than ourselves when we raise our voices louder than we should in polite society. Yes, my friends, when one is witness to a fire in a crowded theatre, these people suggest that we should whisper "fire", rather than be boorish and unsophisticated enough to bellow it out in no uncertain terms that it's due to get hot around here real quick if we don't do something NOW.

Yes, I am fully aware of how this mechanism called democracy works. We elect people to represent us. They make promises to us concerning what they will do in our name if they are elected. If they do something that seems totally counter to what they promised during their campaigns, we are expected to write letters to them asking them to reconsider their positions. However, lately it seems that all bets are off once the winning vote is tabulated. It seems that special interests pay more than our votes are worth, and more often than not our "representatives" loyalties are sold to the highest bidder. However, there is a line that even in this day and age a politician will not cross, and the press keeps a close eye on that line, daring them to cross it. That does not, however, keep them from trying to do so, and it is in the shadows of double talk, deception, and the cloak of blind patriotism that these outrages occur. I truly believe that most Americans (well, nowadays maybe 53% at least) have had their fill of these naked emperors assuming that we are ALL sheep who can be led around by our noses. And they are getting more and more vocal, which apparently still offends those who believe that wife beaters should be dealt with by their buddies in privacy rather than paraded out in the criminal justice system where they should be dealt with openly for all to see. We can't pass judgment on what we can't see. We can't tell our sons and daughters to go and do their patriotic duty and serve their country proudly if all they are really doing is being fed to a meat-grinder with an insatiable appetite that can't be sated.

Remain politely silent and gracious if you must. Bear your grief equally in silence, for if you didn't have the guts to speak out before your sacrifice, you have precious little right to complain after the fact. Early on, in the days after 9/11, I might have allowed you your eagerness to be hyper-patriotic in your justified outrage. These days, however, I personally cannot allow you the excuse the Germans gave after Hitler committed suicide in his comfortable little bunker as the Russians closed in on him. "We didn't know......." Like HELL you didn't!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Go Tell the Spartans.......


I've been listening to NPR's "Talk of the Nation", which is examining allegations that the army has been "shit-canning" soldiers who display or claim symptoms of PTSD when they've returned from Iraq and begin to act out. This is an age-old problem that has haunted the army from day one. There is a "code" of the warrior in which there is a silent admonition that one either toughs it out (be a MAN, you fucking pussy) or you get tossed out, without the benefit of an honorable discharge or honestly for mental health reasons. It is ingrained in the leadership all the way down to the platoon level that the army hasn't got time to nurse maid pansies, which is what a man is if he can't take the horror and bloodshed that comes with combat. It's also in the Army's best interest to not have to pay benefits to ex-service members who are moved out for "failure to perform".

OK, yea, if this was Sparta, where one is raised from the get-go to be a warrior, I guess I could accept the idea that once your toy soldier is broken, you don't try and glue him back together, you just slit his throat and put him out of his misery. This is not Sparta. We aren't sending Spartans to Iraq. We are sending hormone driven, glory seeking patriotic American kids just out of high school to fight a war with enemies who blend in with the "civilians" when they are not to busy killing each other. Our God-fearing, moralistic society tries to instill in it's youth moral values, which do not include killing people, yet we expect to wipe out that conditioning, install new software, and send them out to do one job better than anybody...KILL.
Problem is, you have a hard time killing the right people at the right moment when you don't know who or where your target is or you just drove over a remote controlled bomb, the favored weapon of people who know they'll lose if they fight you on even terms, mano-o-mano. So, they manage to learn the nuances of surviving bizaro-world for an entire tour of duty and manage to return home with all their limbs, and now we expect them to clean their lockers with toothbrushes, do lots of paperwork, go home and eat dinner with the wife and kids, and not kill them. Yes, most can do this. Most of us can compartmentalize these things and function properly, although I haven't a clue as to why. I've had to learn to do it myself, both in the service and out here in the real world, if you can call a hospital the real world. However, I know damn well that for the grace of Bob go I. You put enough stress on someone, they WILL act out, and ignoring it by blaming them is NOT how you fix it.

Another thing you need to consider is that this is supposed to be an ALL-VOLUNTEER army. The first thing you tell these kids is that serving their country is NOT pretty, is NOT glorious, is NOT easy. Boot camp instructors need to evaluate these kids during and AFTER they have been through boot camp, and need to ask these kids AGAIN......are you cut out for this? Be DAMN sure this kid didn't come in and remain a slacker or on the edge of going buggy. Then, if it turns out that they aren't superhuman after all after a nightmare tour of crazy land, pull them out, give them treatment, and ask them if they want to remain a soldier. If they do, you suspend their tour for the duration of treatment , and start the clock again when they can return to duty. It's only fair. But at least you still have a soldier. If the treatment cannot return them to full fit duty, then you let them go, with our thanks. So what if you are convinced they are pulling the wool over your eyes just to get out? LET THEM! If this nation cannot field an army of warriors who WANT to be and are CAPABLE of doing the dirty work, then we have a hollow tiger, and that is NOT a good thing.

We took kids off the streets during the Nam conflict and threw them into hell. Then we sent them back onto the streets with NO thanks, NO support, and these veterans of that cluster-fuck are paying the price even to this day. The history of the veteran in this country, at least since WWII, is that those who serve their country are disposable fodder for the whims of politicians who are better at screwing things up then they are doing the right thing. We have a shameful legacy, and will continue to do so, until we face up to the truth that we are pathetic when it comes to giving a helping hand to those suffering from mental injury. If we continue to demonstrate that we just don't give a damn, you can kiss this idea of a volunteer army defending a free nation good-bye. Then we'll have to draft Senators sons, the Bush twins, and Paris Hilton, and suddenly PTSD will be a problem that gets attention.

You can read for yourself.HERE

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No-Pic Post

It was an interesting day. It warmed up into the seventies, the sky was crystal blue, and I think it could easily fit in the category of "a beautiful day". The Wife was off of work today with me, which made it even better, until she asked me to set up our tiny little "christmas tree" to which I said something stupid and she got pissed off and vocally so. I don't do insults very well and took my Dan Brown novel out into the shade garden to stew in silence and read, away from her nasty attitude. As usual, she stewed on her own for the usual amount of time and then came out to salvage the situation by being super-nice. She never apologizes, she has her own way of doing it without admitting guilt, sort of like an out-of-court settlement in which the aggrieved party agrees not to bad-mouth the plaintiff in return for some form of compensation. She printed out a description of how the early pagans first dressed up small trees or tree boughs during celebrations around this time of year, a habit that the early Christians adopted for their own purposes. We were both wrong in our own stubborn ways. But we recover well.

Despite the tiff I prepared the wood for a nice fire the way only a husband could. Unfortunately, the sky clouded over, which obscured the shuttle launch I was so looking forward to watching in the night sky, a bright flare in the darkness to the south of us. Even the full moon was muted to a large degree, a bright fuzzy blob in an opaque whitish sky. However, the fire was MAGNIFICENT, and we enjoyed it sitting in our portable fold out love seat we had gotten years ago as a house warming gift, sipping wine and listening to Gaia Consort and Fritz Jung on our portable stereo, the music fed to it's radio via a transmitter plugged into my Ipod Shuffle. I'm a thoroughly modern pagan.

The wife is in bed now, as she has a work day ahead of her tomorrow, while I'm taking my life in my hands by typing this post. Perhaps I shouldn't be airing my slightly soiled laundry, but the way I look at it, a perfect marriage is an honest marriage; no sense in trying literary photoshop on it to make it look better. It looks fine just the way it is. I'll take my chances in the name of "journalistic" integrity, knowing I have a cold-weather loving dog to keep my company if she reads this and ignores the fact I love her.

I woke up THIS morning with no back pain. I found out why later when the Wife told me how she kept me on my side throughout the night. Bob bless her.

HE is celebrating his fourth annual forty-fifth birthday, or at least I hope he is, since I advised him that there is no advantage to getting older than forty five. As a six year veteran of having arrived at that milestone myself, believe me when I tell you that you are as young as you feel, and I feel forty five any chance my failing parts allow me to. I'm going to pass on retirement age as well, only I'm not going to let social security in on my little scam. Greeting rednecks at Walmart is not going to pay the bills all by itself; I'll need that check.

I've decided tonight to forego downloading visual reinforcement for tonight's post just to see if it has any effect on comments. That, and because I want to get to bed eventually. This novel by Dan Brown called "Digital Fortress" is hard to put down.
Maybe Jane of the Poe persuasion will review it for you. She could sell refrigerators to eskimos. The ones with the ice dispensers in the door. She's that good. As if being a damn good poet isn't enough.........

Oh, and Buffalo keeps beating me to the good stuff, but that's just as well, he deals with it better than I could ever hope to anyway.

Good night, and Blessed Be.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Momma Moon She Rises...........

I was reading Jane Poe's critique of "Winter's Bone", a novel by Daniel Woodrell, and I truly believe that if she wants a job as literary critic at the New York Times, she has it. She almost had me wanting to read the book. It's no fault of hers, I can assure you. I just have a hard time digesting literature this deep. As a big fan of King, Chichton, and other like authors, I imagine you can get my drift. I suppose that plants me firmly in the garden of most easily amused, but I get by. I'll not apologize for it. Hell, just look at my own writing.

And now for more pedestrian concerns. My legs hurt. My back has barely recovered from waking this morning on fire, having (to the best of my knowledge) not slept properly on my side as I should have, since my back has been informing me of late that sleeping on my stomach can no longer be tolerated by this aging spine. Yes, I've gotten rid of the waterbed and replaced it with a construct of a pair of hospital bed mattresses (upon which numerous people took their last breathes). and foam mattress pads, but so far it hasn't seemed to cure what ails me. The next step is to shuck out about $130 for a memory foam mattress topper of the proper dimensions, but something tells me it's not going to allow me to continue to sleep on my stomach and avoid the painful consequences. Getting old sucks.

A bright shiny moon has risen this night and the air is rather frigid, dropping into the thirties and making one think that Florida actually has a winter. Well, yea, we DO have something resembling a winter, only in fits and starts, and one never knows from one week to the next what kind of clothing one should break out and have ready. If we hadn't worked so late tonight we would have prepared a nice fire out in the shade garden to enjoy the moonshine and sangria, soft pagan music, and each other's company. I still have enough wood from clearing this lot to last us for many more comfort fires to come.

And now Yule approaches, and the wife has our winter decorations out. Note I did not say CHRISTMAS decorations. Finally, that monkey is off my back. No more pressure on the budget, no more wading thru the crowded Walmarts looking for crap to buy, held hostage by some insane social obligation to spend money we don't have to get things for people they could damn well buy for themselves. Strangely, the idea of not getting gifts myself is refreshing, since I dreaded having to open those packages and see what kind of crap I was going to have to smile and look happy about getting, when in reality it was never anything I wanted and wouldn't have spent my own money on if I had it. The gifts we give, when we find a proper excuse to give them, usually involve sweat equity and would be something we would love to receive ourselves. So, out with "SpendSpendSpendMas", in with celebrating the turn of the year, lighting the Yule log, and toasting the rebirth of the Sun, true bringer of life and light to this world, no pits of hell or hail marys required.

My good friend Buffalo clued me in to a dear old man who, of all things, actually blogs, and by old I don't mean barely old like us, but OLD, as in having been around awhile, that awhile being like back when two nutcases flew a kite at kitty hawk and they had one big nasty war as well as a flu epidemic that killed even more people than the bullets and gas did. He is a wealth of aged outlook and observation, and I thirst for the wisdom he has braved the new tech to give to us free of charge. He's "Don to Earth" and he belongs on your links. Remember, it was our cherished elders who once were charged with passing on the wisdom of the old ways and the old truths, instead of university professors who think they know everything before they've lit 40 candles. LIsten to him; you WILL learn something worth passing on.

As for my own words of "wisdom", well, you all know how much they are worth. About two cents after a mail in rebate. You got eight weeks to wait for a rebate? I didn't think so. Blessed be.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Observations

I'm catching this commercial out of the corner of my eye as I post tonight's edition. My eyes roll. I guess I can imagine who these commercials appeal to, but to the rest of us, all it seems to say is "look how fabulous, how pretty, how "whatever "we look. You want to be like us. Buy whatever it is you think we're selling, and you will be." It was a Macy's commercial. I didn't catch what it was they were selling, but I suppose it was clothing. Clothing designed for razor thin women in a world where everything is super-sized. I see a big disconnect here.

A black lady who frequents my wife's shoe department, a teacher, described a student, a foster child of 13 whose mother had passed away. The girl had NOTHING, simply adequately fed, was picked on by fellow students, was dressed in "rags". A manager, overhearing this, allowed her a huge discount on the outfits this teacher was wanting to buy for the student. Another shopper, overhearing the story, asked the teacher to bring the girl to her home, that she'd allow her to pick out anything she desired to wear. My wife's friend bought a necklace and asked the teacher to give it to her. This rang with me. I was well fed as a foster child myself. I don't understand a system where people are convinced to "care" for lost children yet seem to not understand the concept of CARE. The motivation for becoming a foster family needs to rise above the money they are given to do it. It's not a JOB, and that money is not a paycheck. Bob bless these strangers who responded.

Yes, I really do see good things all around me. And I know people who go through life with an uplifted, positive, everything is rosy attitude. The main difference between what I am aware of and what cloud these people are walking around on is that I see a glass half full knowing it could be filled all the way to the top. What they see is a glass of water, what more do you want? If you should ever volunteer to serve the homeless at a soup kitchen for Christmas, perform this experiment for me. Ask the volunteers around you if any of them will be there tomorrow night, or the night after. The point I'm making here is not that we aren't doing enough; the point I'm making is how sad it is that such good deeds need doing to begin with. We don't need fish dinners, we need fishing poles.

The following as been an ongoing issue with the Wiccan community. I am so happy to see at least some form of resolution. The battle for our rights continues, however, until the VA is forced to cease it's discriminatory attitude.

RENO, Nev. (AP) - The widow of a soldier killed in Afghanistan saw a Wiccan symbol placed on a memorial plaque for her husband Saturday, after fighting the federal government for more than a year over the emblem.

Roberta Stewart, widow of Sgt. Patrick Stewart, and Wiccan leaders said it was the first government-issued memorial plaque with a Wiccan pentacle - a five-pointed star enclosed in a circle. More than 50 friends and family dedicated the plaque at Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery, about 30 miles east of Reno.

They praised Gov. Kenny Guinn for his role in getting the Nevada Office of Veterans Services to issue the plaque in September. The agency cited its jurisdiction over maintenance of the state cemetery.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes more than 30 symbols, including more than a dozen variations of the Christian cross and the atomic whirl used by atheists, but not the pentacle.

VA officials have said they are rewriting rules for approving emblems, but the process requires a public comment period.

Last month, Americans United for Separation of Church and State sued the VA on behalf of Stewart and others for its refusal to include the Wiccan emblem.

"Our people are on the front line in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it's not right they're not getting equal treatment," said the Rev. Selena Fox, one of the Wiccan organizers of the event.

About 1,800 active-duty service members identify themselves as Wiccans, according to 2005 Defense Department statistics. Wiccans worship the Earth and believe they must give to the community. Some consider themselves "white" or good witches, pagans or neo-pagans.

Stewart and four other soldiers died Sept. 25, 2005, when their Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan.

OK, this is my mishmash of observations, served up for your perusal. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Saturday Night's Alright

Ahhhhh, the bagpipes, one of the most misunderstood and under-appreciated instruments ever invented. It seems that many instruments have limited applicability when it comes to what kind of music you can play with each. However, any instrument that can play "Amazing Grace" and "It's a long way to the Top (When you want to rock and roll)" with equal aplomb is alright by me! File this observation with the rest of your "I don't know how to respond to THAT" thoughts.......

The wife has returned from her exhausting job at shoe department hell to a dinner I've thrown together of barbecue sauce marinaded chicken breast, corn, and baked potatoes. She tells me how wonderful it is and I'm grateful she hasn't had a point of reference in so long to know any better. After the meal, we lighted just about every candle in the house, opened a couple of windows as not to suffocate, and turned the lights out, while listening to "A Prairie Home Companion " . We've adapted to a slower, more meaningful pace since our income qualified for the endangered species act, After the radio program (radio program: an ancient form of entertainment utilizing sound and imagination, high definition visuals provided courtesy of excellent writing) we'll crank up the high RPM silver platter and watch The Lake House, a movie having something to do with a house on a lake, I imagine.
Twenty, thirty years ago, if you'd told me I'd be content with such an evening, I'd hath protested too much, being the clueless youth predicting so much more in those halcyon days of high expectations without a road map to guide me to an understanding of things that matter. I must confess, however, that IN those times, anything was possible. I had yet to be introduced to probability.

It was a good movie.

Blogging While Bored


Dress like you'd rather be naked.

Forget haircuts.......if you still have it, celebrate it!

Eat when you're hungry, and only when you're hungry, and enjoy each meal like it's your last.

Think of money as oxygen, and breath slowly.

Treat your dog like your buddy, not your pet.

Remember the cats could care less.

Just know you're gonna die, and it's no big deal.

Get rid of pain when you can, and when you can't, paint it purple and laugh.

Don't fix what ain't broke.

If you break it, you own it.

Take people for granted, and you will be.

Be nice. Or kill them. The first is easier than the second.

If life hands you lemons, add vodka.

If you don't tell her you love her 7 times a day...........maybe you don't.

If you have to look up coherency, please don't blog.

Paris doesn't matter; if she does, it's YOUR fault.

If I piss you off now, I always will.

If you don't get me, we're even.

Don't tell me you support our troops while sending them to die.

Spoil your own damn nest; leave mine alone.

You might die richer than me but you won't die happier.

Islam is NOT a violent religion. There. You happy now? I didn't think so.

Evolution is real, it's just too damn slow.

Never blog sober, this is the kind of shit you come up with.

Blog like nobody's reading.