Monday, September 18, 2017

No Internet Blues (Blogophilia 30.10)

Hit it
This ain't no disco
It ain't no country club, either
This is the ATL

“All I want to do is watch a show before I die”
Says the man next to me out of nowhere
It's apropos of nothing
He says is name is Tyler, but I'm sure
He's Michael or Thom or Dave.
He's not even real to me
And I wonder if he's ever watched TV in his entire life.
We're drinking beer at four on a Sunday
In a dive in the Bible Belt South across from the fishin' pond
The good people heading to evening prayer
After Sunday dinner naps
Ready to sleep some more as the preacher drones
On whether marriage is the grave and tomb of wit
While they squirm in the hard pews,
Wishin' they were in the eternal flame.
After they go back to the blank screens
Where Xfinity and Uverse cut the cable
After the storm.

All I wanna do is watch TV
And all I see is a blank screen
Things I have seen
I can't see no more.
All I wanna do is watch TV
Until the sun comes up
Over Peachtree Industrial Boulevard

Pic Guesses: Crystal Flame, Eternal Flame, Fire and Ice, Frozen fire, Candle in the Wind, No light, Waxed,

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Escape to Spencer (Blogophilia 29.10)

Our topic this week is "Lost and Found". When said, most people think of this

Where bags go to die
Another way to think of it is what has been lost to society as time has progressed or regressed.
My wife Kathryn and I took a trip to the highlands of East Central Tennessee this past week and Fall Creek Falls State Park to escape the madness of the city. The original intent was to camp out and hike the falls. But further research discovered the Mountaineer Folk Festival, a large craft show, was being held two weeks earlier than we had originally planned. Kathryn wanted to go, so I moved our departure two weeks earlier to accommodate her (after all, if the wife isn't happy, no one is).
Because of the event, I found the park to be completely booked up for the weekend. The lady on the phone was great. She referred me to a local RV park called Mountain Glen. A couple of quick calls to the proprietor, Joyce, we were set to go.
The trip up was uneventful except for one thing. At least half of the plates going north with me on Wednesday on I-75 were the first wave of evacuees. As I looked at the Counties: Collier, Monroe, Lee, Dade... Hurricane Irma was cruising in the Caribbean and bearing down on Florida and folks were taking the storm seriously. Prayers for their save travels were silently raised. Many of them would be seeing loss in the coming days. 
It had been awhile since I had last visited this area north of Chattanooga. The mountains here are a bit different from the Appalachians further east. Instead of sharp peaks and narrow ravines going in all directions, there are parallel ridge lines a thousand feet or so high going north east to south west with wide green valleys between them. Within these are beautiful small farms and small towns to service them. 
About twenty miles before our destination, the road crossed one of the ridges. It was an engineering marvel, road bed cut out of the ancient granite bedrock, shear walls banking either side. As my car chugged slowly up the incline, we passed a sign saying ...

OK, I'll watch for that. Rock slides happen around here. Not 200 yards along was another sign...

You mean, like right now? As the thought passed, a pebble hit the roof of my car. I don't think I want to ride this road every day.
We got to the top.
The Campground was interesting. Sitting between two large pastures filled with horses, cattle, and sheep, it was originally designed for large RV's and trailers. The owner later added the tent sites, laying them along a small stock pond down the hill, giving us privacy from the big rigs.

Just another day at the office.
Instead of YouTube and Facebook, the night was filled with the call and response of crickets and frogs. The hoots of several types of owls echoed in the distance. Crows were our alarm clock. The only thing unpleasant was the occasional whiff of livestock (yeah, I know. The smell of money). Cellphone service was limited to the Wifi in the facilities' game room, where I thrashed everyone on the air hockey table. We'd get storm updates in the morning and evening, then go about the day. No other politics or world events intruded on this paradise. (What do you mean Equifax gave away my personal information to Russian hackers?!)
The weather was a little cooler than expected. The Wife spent most nights dressed up like an Eskimo and complaining of being cold. It didn't bother me at all. Isn't that what campfires are for? 
I was by myself the next day, since the wife doesn't hike. As I drove to the trail head (about 2 miles in from the park entrance), the forest changed from a fairly recent second growth with no under-story to a ancient spruce and cedar thicket blocking out the sun. A perfect place for witches and faeries. A fawn fed at the roadside near the parking lot, but scuttled off before I could get the picture. 
A steep, rocky trail leads down a shear slope to the base. The falls were magnificent. Quarried looking cliff faces, the result of millennia of water flow ran in a semi-circle around a small pool. Of course I had to go down there.

I have to climb back up?
Another trail in the other direction went behind the falls and ended on an tall narrow outcrop. The view was even better there, except I needed an extra dose of ibuprofen after I finished.
We returned the park the next day together to attend the fair. The craft vendors were all local and most very talented. A couple of things wanted to come home with me, but I resisted. I'm trying to reduce my clutter, even though they were cute. 
A real plus of our location was we were adjacent to a Mennonite community. It was a treat to see them in their bicycles and carriages.

White, simple two story houses dot the landscape. All were in good repair with neat yards. At one place, the proprietor was cutting brush using a drag cutter and draft horses. We stopped at several of their businesses to see their craftsmanship. There was a large nursery, a sorghum press and several metal working shops. The community center was a produce stand where fair faced women beamed from under bonnets, happy to see you. All seemed well in their world.
We passed one young man in his Sunday best walking down the road carrying a large flowering branch, maybe a rhododendron. Kathryn asked why he had the cutting. After thinking about it for a moment, it occurred to me the flower was for the girl (or her mother) he was courting. Beats bad pick up lines in the Ladies Room line, right?
Maybe that is what we have lost. A simpler time with simpler rules. For all of our rebelling and wanting "freedom" on the world on the far side of the fence, deep down we want to be the sheep in the pasture. We want to leave the horribleness of the world to a kindly shepherd who protects us, while we graze and wait for our time at the shearers and the slaughter, giving our all for the world at large.
Pic guesses-escape (in blog), far side of the fence (in blog), toxic, fear, private property, forgive my trespasses, smoke, On the fence, chain link, scaling

Monday, September 4, 2017

Summer (Blogophilia 28.10)

New season and another chance to suck at guessing...
But, that’s okay.
It’s all made up and the points don’t matter. Right?
Anyway, you want to know about my summer. I will say, compared to last year, it was complete snooze. No surgeries, cardiac scares or major job relocations were involved. I did start with a very rainy camping trip to the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina, where I did get a couple of miles slogging through flooded trails between storms. But the campsite had a top notch shelter which kept the worst of the wet off us and the equipment. Mostly, Kathryn and I spent our days playing cards and hanging out. 
While we were up there, we stopped in Cherokee and spent a couple of hours in Harrah’s. You know those commercials that show the happy 30-somethings partying and winning? About that...All I saw were escapees from the nursing home puttering around on their mobility scooters, pulling the oxygen tubes away from their noses for “one last drag as they approached the stand.” I even heard one of them tell a croupier to sue him if he played too long. Yeah, I guess will be free and be who they want to be. 
The rest of the summer was just one day after another. No beach trips (she doesn’t like sand), or water sports. I did get several new trails under my belt. And that is better than the hospital any day.
But the fall kicks off with a trip up to Tennessee, where we will hit a couple of crafts fairs and at least one 10 mile hike. There is a slight chance we’ll slide up to Nashville for a day, but we’ll see. 
Looking forward to the next segment of the season.

Hard Prompt-In Honor of Walter Becker, A Steely Dan Lyric from Deacon Blues (One last drag as I approach the stand...)
Easy prompt- Cardiac
Pic Guesses- Habitiat, Water Park, path, lake life, on the water, obstacle course, beach, energy drain,

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pastorale (Blogophilia 27.10)

Steeds graze contently,
Watching us ride our race
Switching saddles in the diaphanous light
Filtering through leaves of gray
Crossroads of beginning and end.

Love is a temple, a higher law.
Did I disappoint you?
Bitter taste left in your mouth?
Or is the halter pulling
As I taste sweet hay?

Nay, a stallion I am not.
Just a plow horse furrowing the field
Sometimes, I wish to share a yoke
And a stall at vespers yield.

You see far pastures greener
Never more than a season, love
Share my hay and hold my foal
Let us receive the bounty from above.

Pic guesses: Steed (in blog), Plow (in blog), Saddle (in blog) race (in blog), gorgeous, mane, Stallion (in blog), happy
Lyric paraphrase is from One.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to Win at the Lottery....

Read this...

Why It Is A Fools Game

Then fold up your money and put it back in your wallet.

You are now $2 ahead.

Simple, right?

Petty Revenge Division (Blogophilia 26.10)

In a nondescript office outside Minneapolis....
Good evening and thanks for choosing Devil’s Quill. My name is Nimrod. How may I help you? Your neighbor bought a new car and you are jealous? Yes, Sir, we have a number of petty revenge options, but may I ask why you are so upset about a car? Oh...I see. He invited your wife to ride, but not you...and you saw them get out a motel and you couldn’t resist looking in the window?... Acting like monkeys?... I see...I understand you are upset and want payback. But may I ask why you using our petty division and not one the stronger menus? Oh, the price. Yes, your immortal soul does sound rather dear. You are in luck, we have a name your price option for every one of our services. For example, we can raid their trysts with a gloomy conga of glum looking beauties, so ugly it will turn off the horniest of people... Then we have the “touch of grey” options that turns the couple old before their eyes. What’s that? you want to do what to them with a bunch of bananas? Oh, myyyy....Sir. pasty fruit sounds tempting even for me, but I’m not sure if I can find 30,000 lbs of them...I do need to let you know special orders do cost a first born son...He’s worthless, too? It looks like we have plan. Let me look at the schedule...Did you want to witness this or go with plausible deniability? The latter? Certainly. Besides the son, what do you think this is worth? The right arm? That does sound reasonable. As a bonus, you are eligible for our Gomorrah special, turning your wife into a pillar of salt for looking at no extra charge. I am so glad we could help you and good luck pursuing the underage redhead...Oh, we know ALL, Sir. Have a good night.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Charlottesville (Blogophilia 25.10)

What a field-day for the heat 
A thousand people in the street 
Singing songs and carrying signs 
Mostly say, hooray for our side -Stephen Stills 1966

I didn’t think I would live to see history repeat itself, but here we are. In 1968, we had the Chicago Democratic Convention riots, where the protestors (my older brothers and sisters) exerting their disgust over perceived corruption of the democratic process, meeting a shielded blue line designed, hopefully, to protect those in power. Over time, those in power proved they did indeed have clay feet and fell to the scorn of all.
This past weekend we had the next generation of those protestors come up against the latest iteration of the White Power movement, who ironically are angry over what THEY perceive is the corruption of the democratic process. One had a temper like the other’s jealousy, producing confrontation as Thesis met Antithesis and reacted. One decided to go to war, taking twenty or so casualties. As the reaction is still brewing, it will be a while before we learn the synthesis. Although, I expect it will cause more erosion in White Power’s very limited power base. 
Reaction is ugly. It shows the worst of people. The base desires on violent display as they grasp for resources and perceived power over others. The energy is misguided, since the ones with the power and resources are not the ones the other side is facing. The ones with the gold and power are thousands of miles away, playing a chess game and these groups are pawns. 
Me? I sit on the sidelines, refusing to be pulled down the rabbit hole. My energy is much too valuable to waste on those arguments. When I’m gone, the next generation will do the same thing. It is like a perpetual motion clock. Confrontation and enmity are elephants who never forget. 
But I can divert it with some puppy love, right?

Pic guesses: Grotto, Swimming Hole, Hideaway, afternoon off, striped, skinny dip, cooling off.