Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dirty Laundry (Blogophilia 41.10)

Boring.
All these screens were just boring. Image after image of size 2, enhanced cleavage and L'Oreal LB01. These girls either use the same stylist or they have zero imagination. I guess what they say about the entertainment industry is true. It is the most conformist place out there. Damn, they even dress alike. Evening news or talk show, every one toes the line on the look, super thin and super shiny.
The sets have a corporate look to them. Disgusted, I click off the video and pour another cup of mud.
It didn't used to be that way.
The Sixties had the California Sunshine, Dacron suits, and long hair. The Seventies were more earth tone, but you could tell Merv from Mike from Dick and Tom. There was variety. Now it is just a homogenized mass with one man, two flavor of the month women and a set from anywhere. A mono-cultured orchard giving tasteless fruit.
Outside the window, a Crab apple tree is blooming way too early. Shoot, it still the end of February and half the flowers are already gone. Maybe the Climate changers are right. So much has changed in thirty years since he started in this business.
In the old days, the beats were pretty defined. Police and crime, local government, features. They all had their pluses and minuses. But one thing was true; in all the chaos, there was a cosmos. And in all the disorder, a secret order. Take politics, for instance. All you had to do was follow the money for the story, good or bad. I had a liberal friend think that if he seized control of the treasury, their could be no more money for war. I half way believed that myself at one point. But naivité goes away after the second or third betrayal.
But at least the features desk was interesting. It wasn't every day you could traipse around town asking about missing sheep and their witless owner. You just had to be careful to present it in a non-demeaning way. Take the line about the spooky green mist. That could be taken a couple of different ways. But Trevor, the owner, didn't deserve to look like an idiot. You want the audience on his side.
And that was the truth behind the danger. The distraction effect for the general public was like early blossoms. People want to be happy. If Flopsie, Mopsie and Buttercup make it home un-sheared and un-butchered, then the public will forget about the latest slaughter of innoncents from wherever.
I take another slug from the coffee cup.
So, what is the next assignment? What? A follow up on the lost sheep? Who do they think I am?
I shouldn't even think that. I'm just as flawed as those nitwits in D.C.
Eh. I'll get free coffee out of it. And I can add a little on that expose of the Psychic lady. She's a real piece of work. Where’s my jacket?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Topic (The Truth Behind the Danger)-Tyler Myrth
Pic Guesses-Early Blossom (in blog), too early (in blog), Cherry and Apple, spring, New life, old wood, crab apple (in blog), impression, dream.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Quick One (Blogophilia 40.10)

“He’s mad, don’t you know?”
Yes...I have been accused of that. Of being an overfed, long haired leaping gnome starring in his own Hollywood movie. But that was after I spilled the wine and told my stories.
I never really had long hair, though. Instead of it cascading down my shoulders, it would grow into a Dorothy Hamill wedge. It added to the sumo wrestler view a lot of people had of me. It wasn’t I was fat, just awkward and bumbling. I was jealous a bit of John Schneider and his bodacious curls (which were straightened for Dukes of Hazzard), but that wasn’t really for me anyway. I was more of a sloppy schlub, high on wit and satire and low on style.
My true heroes were MAD magazine’s original usual gang of idiots, who taught me nothing is what it seems, and what sounds like a weird concept can work out.
Therein is the “Method to the Madness.” Find a concept and run with it. Maybe it will work out for you, too.
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Pic guesses: Sumo Wrestler (in blog), Sloppy schlubs (in blog), awkward (in blog), In this corner, atomic wedgie, half moon, Sunday sport,

Monday, November 27, 2017

Backyard Sky (Blogophilia 39.10)

Camping on a starlit night in the back yard for her birthday was Daddy's idea. Emily and her best friend Maddie were sleeping in a tent Emily's mom helped put up. And it wasn't one of those Disney Princess tents, either. They were for babies. This tent was the one Daddy used when they went camping out in the woods. Emily loved when they did. She and Daddy would look at sticks and bugs and stuff. But Mommy would get cold and complain, then they would pack up and go home.
Kind of like what Maddie was doing now.

"When is your mom coming out with the choc'lit. I'm cold." Dark bangs shaking under the cap of her jacket. "I wish we had a fire.

Emily shrugged. "Mommy said we would set the whole neighborhood on fire. We have a blanket. "
A small camouflage blanket was sitting on the ground outside the tent. Emily picked it up and they huddled together underneath it. Their breath reflected in the porch light.

Emily giggled. "A cloud came out of your mouth."

Maddie's dark eyes twinkled as she pulled her friend closer. Without thinking, she began to play with Emily's blond curls. Leaning up to her ear, she whispered.

"That's how you know it's cold."

Cold was forgotten. They took turns making clouds, trying to outdo each other. Maddie made fun of her Uncle Earl, making smoking motions with her hands, then coughing wildly . Emily tried to make rings with hers, but they wouldn't stay together. Long flumes were followed by short burst, each breath turned into yellow tinted rainbows. They put their faces together and made one that looked like a tangerine tree against the blackberry marmalade sky.

A small hand slipped around her friend's waist, smooth surface of the jacket tickling the skin. Smiling, they looked up at the sky. Just over the back fence, a streak of light ran across the darkness.
"Oooh. Emmy! A slootin' star!"Maddie pointed at the faint line across the sky. "My mommy said you should make a wish."

Emily thought about it for a minute.

"I wish for hot choc'lit and s'mores."

"Yeah!"

As soon as the words were out, The screen door slammed. Kathy, Emily's mom walked across they yard with a basket. The smell said it was had was 'zackly what was wished for. They each took a small thermal cup, while Kathy kept the larger one. Sitting down, she gasped.

"Let me in that blanket. It's cold."

The girls quickly snuggled under her sweater covered arms. Maddie grabbed the edge of her scarf and put it across her face. It smelled like firewood.

"So, are you having fun?"

Maddie almost shrieked.

"Yeah! We made a wish on a slootin' star and it came true!"

"Really?"

Emily laughed.

"I said I wanted hot choc'lit and s'mores."

Kathy couldn't help giggling. Simple and straightforward, just like her Daddy. Too bad he had to go out of town. He'd love this. It reminded her of the night he came to my birthday. A warm feeling came over her. Jimmy was the one who saw the shooting star. His hand was so warm as he held hers as they wished. And it came true, they had been together ever since.

"Mrs. Morris, my mommy taught me a song for nights like this."

"Really, Maddie?" Kathy smiled.

"Yeah. I think it is 'Roosy is the sky like diamonds."

Emily squawked.

"Maddie! The girl's name is Lucy, not Roosy."

Kathy held up her hand.

"If you two will be quiet, I'll sing it"

In a soft contralto, the story of the dreamy world of colorful tree and a special little girl filled the tent, words floating along the river of their dreams. And in that moment they all had the wonder of kaleidoscope eyes. Excitement began to wane. As the final chorus ended, the sound of crickets and snoring could be heard. One by one, the girls were tucked into their sleeping bags. It was a great adventure.

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Pic guess- Kaleidescope eyes (in blog) Twinkled (In blog), Peg of my eye. Wish upon a star (in blog), Blue eyes in the rain.

Friday, November 17, 2017

It's All Annoying

One of the older websites out there is  Am I Annoying.

It's pretty simple. Instead of saying whether the person, place or thing is hot or not, you determine is it annoying or not.

I'll give you a hint.

It's all annoying.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Still Life (Blogophilia 38.10)

As Mary made her way down the cobblestone streets, she could help but notice how Sienna was so different than Upper Saddle River. At home, everyone locked themselves in their faux French chateaus inside gated communities. Neighbors were tolerated at best, with almost no eye contact. Here the streets were narrow and the building ancient, but there was an openness. People here went out of their way to socialize and make people welcome. 
 
The art festival was a lucky find. The villa, as beautiful as it was, was boring. Michael was going to be tied up all day and she needed to get some air. The cobblestone streets in the city center felt like the past calling to her, memories of Shabbat. Arguments put to the side while thanks for the bounty to was raised to Adonnai. The smell of challah filled the senses and she could almost hear Grampy reciting the Kadesh, the low, guttural words booming from his flowing beard. Warmth and nostalgia were good things sometimes.
 
So many years have passed since then. The old fables she left behind to make her way in the world. She met Michael at a cousin’s wedding and they married. Moving from Bayonne to Orange, then to Upper Saddle River as the business flourished. Shabbat became a memory and Temple was only for the holidays. Little of the tradition remained. It took too much time. Time needed to live the life they had chosen. Oh, it wasn’t a bad life. Michael had his tennis and he didn’t mind her painting and museum trips. But there was emptiness to it all. 
 
The tomatoes were beautiful.
 
She had never seen an image like it in all her years studying art. It was a small, simple still life, oil on plank surrounded by a simple frame. But it wasn’t so simple. Splashes of arterial blood seemed to flow down the skin of the fruit and across the straw basket, almost like perverse Easter eggs. Small bits of the effluvia marked the knife on the table, almost as if the cook had stepped away to tend to something else. It was realism at its finest. You could almost reach in and touch the basket. 
 
Too bad Michael wasn’t here to enjoy it. No, his meetings were so much more important. Maybe he would let her buy it? Mary could hear him now. “We too much art on our walls, already.” Bah, all he knew was selling and money. But he was right. If she had her way, she would be Peggy Guggenheim, collecting art and artists. Except she didn’t sleep with the artists, too squirrelly for her taste. 
 
An old man with a broken smile whistled and called her beautiful. The grin couldn’t be suppressed. It had been a long time since that had happened. Sighing, she moved down the wall. The next painting was a bottle of Chianti rendered in a similar style, oil on wood. Definitely no cubist modernism in the place. Glancing at the signature, she confirmed it was the same artist. These food themes were making her hungry. Her ears began to ring with invitations in the odd Tuscan accent. “Mangia! Eat! You don’t have enough on your bones to feed a cat.” Was that Mama? 
 
A produce truck rumbled by, rattling the display walls. The wine began to ripple in the glass. Without thinking, her hand reached to keep it from spilling. It didn’t hurt as she passed through the wall. 
 
********************************************************************************
It was an old kitchen. Warm, welcoming smells wafting from the edges of an old stove. A skillet and pot of water were heating on top. A setting sun dappled the table, chairs flanking either side. On top was the basket of tomatoes next to the bottle of wine. A piece of parchment stuck out to the side. Mary picked up the glass and took a sip as she read the words, In Vino Veritas
 
“Humph”. She thought aloud, “Wine doesn’t give truth. It only makes men fools.”
 
She shuddered. Michael before rehab. Anger and violence followed by periods of temperance and atonement. The vicious cycle worsening over time, ending with the huge fight where they both were arrested. She had a black eye. Never one to back down, she broke his nose with the right jab Grampy had taught to her when she was little. 
 
The meeting at the lawyer was a blur. She agreed not to divorce him if he did get clean. The process took the first time, which she was thankful for. But trauma takes time to heal. Scar over is more like it. She wasn’t scared of him, but they hadn’t slept in the same room since he had gotten home. Did he still care? For that matter, did she?
 
She turned the paper over. In flowery script, was “Spaghetti Alla Carbonara”. The rest of script was in Tuscan. She was fluent in Italian, but the local argle-bargle was confusing. The fading light wasn’t helping. Should she make it? It’s vacation. It’s Friday. Let’s make it Shabbat. Slipping on the apron, she began to make out the ingredients. 
 
The first word appeared to be Guanicale. Bacon? Looking to her left, a ham hock rested on a hook in the wall. Grammy wouldn’t be happy, but the rules were in the way of remembrance. A prayer of forgiveness was uttered as the meat turned into julienne. 
 
A tomato popped from the basket and soon it was diced. An onion, two cloves of garlic and a carrot met the same fate. The skillet was already hot and as the pieces meet the hot metal, the symphony of smells rose forth. Mary was more of a conductor than chef. The vegetables were woodwinds and the meat the brass. The sprints in the room rose higher. In a pleasing, off-key contralto, a melody floated along with the aroma.
 
From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band  
Playing songs of hope  
Playing songs of peace  
They are the songs of every man
 
So, what would be the strings?
 
The next ingredient listed Vino Blanco.
 
“Hmm…The only thing I have is the Chianti and we are breaking rules here, so….”
 
The cork lifted easily. She topped of her glass and added a good measure to the pan. Sizzling liquid swelled up, as she scraped the bits from the bottom of the skillet as magic continued. Opening the pot, the al dente pasta sat, ready to be used. The crescendo continued. Bass tones began to appear, and an egg was cracked over the whole. Laughing, she thought it was the fitting climax to a meal of love.
Doubling a towel to protect her hands, she took the skillet off the heat. Turning back toward the table, she recited the old prayer.
 
“Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. Amen.”
Michael was standing at the head of the table, smiling and sipping his own glass of wine. Shocked, it was all Mary could do to set the heavy pot down without spilling. His arms opened in invitation, which was accepted. Smiling into the stubble lined face, the dance continued as day faded into dusk. 
 
**********************************************************************************
“Signora?” The docent put the smelling salts under her nose. “Signora, are you alright?”
 
The sound was muffled to her. Slowly, the eyes fluttered open, but everything is out of focus. Her hand touched the edge of the divan. Her blouse was loosened, and the air is chill against the bare skin. As her wits slowly come back, she looks up and sees a small Picasso behind the administrator’s desk. It was the replaced by Michael’s worried face. 
 
“What a day. When I got back to the villa, I saw you hadn’t got back.” He knelt and took her hand. “I was worried something had happened. A taxi was waiting across the street, I took it down here. The staff was carrying here into the office…”
 
As her vision blurred again, she gave a prayer of thanks. He does care. Let the celebration begin.

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Pic Guesses- Cubist (in blog), Picasso (in blog), Sketch, Dada, Deranged, Menage a trois, The Maddening Crowd, Bohemian.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tiny House (Blogophilia 38.10)

I want a tiny house
On tiny wheels
With dollhouse furniture
To escape the world

I want to pack up an old, beat up suitcase
Take a bus and look out over the Mississippi
Then look down and see the suitcase missing

Eat Red Beans and Rice
With Beignets and Coffee for desert
Listening to old buskers
Sing from their soul

To be lost in the maze until the swamp runs out
Where the hurricanes thrash hardy inhabitants
Flipping middle fingers in response.

The edge of America.
Is where I want to be.

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Topic (lost in the maze)-Rutger Siskens
Pic guesses: Dollhouse (in blog), Tiny house (in blog), suitcase (in blog), On the go, well traveled, tiny town, small flat.
The full quote is from the movie Tightrope (1984) (courtesy IMDB.com):
Wes Block: Twenty-eight years ago I borrowed 40 dollars from my father, packed up an old, beat up suitcase, took a bus and came here. I was seventeen at the time. While I walked through the French Quarter, I looked out over the Mississippi and swore I'd never leave.
Beryl Thibodeaux: Ever come close?
Wes Block: Only once. When I looked down and saw that the suitcase was missing.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Anathema (Blogophilia 36.10)

  • Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive him and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgment.[1]
The canticle above (translated from the Latin) is the end of the “Anathema Formulae”, the original Bell, Book and Candle rite. It is not a long piece, maybe 15 or 20 minutes in length. Like the gallows, it has the finality of the Grim Reaper. It was a public litany, designed to be performed in conspicuous places, such as the town square, for maximum effect, scaring anyone wasn’t toeing the religious party line. Like parents warning their offspring: “Listen you two, I’m against promoting romance. It will only lead to no good.” Rumors of other unrelated character assassinations often circulated through the crowd beforehand to hype the spectacle. Jeers would be hurled at the miscreant, while the crowd silently reminded themselves they easily could be up there.
 
The local Bishop, along with twelve priests carrying candles would recite the words from the missal book, with the sinner’s accusations and attempts at reconciliation brought to the light of day. The chancel bell would be rung at the beginning and a appropriate times during the process. At then end, the twelve would extinguish the candles against the ground while chanting “So be it” three times. The book would then be closed, with an assumption that it never would open again. The sinner was incorrigible, irredeemable and unworthy, excluded (often permanently) from all communion and fellowship of the faith. 
 
Because of the severity of the discipline, Papal approval was often required. The most common reasons were heretical thought, such as doubting Clerical authority, witchcraft, or similar temptations. Was it abused? Of course. The Spanish Inquisition took it to extremes with Auto De Fé’s and other tortures separating parts from the body of any who the powers deemed heretical. Protestant sects have used versions of this to rid their flocks of trouble makers (up to and including the gallows). 
 
The formal rite was dropped officially with the Second Vatican Council (although it hadn’t been performed in at least 100 years). These days, the offender is brought into the office and kicked out without fanfare. Or with a splashy social media campaign, if circumstances require. But we still find people worthy of exclusion. 
 
Who have you deemed unworthy in your life? Do they feel the same way about you?
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Pic Guesses: Witchcraft (in blog), Cauldrons of trouble, Pumpkin Spice, Temptation (in blog), Spellbound, Enchanted, Sin with me,

Monday, October 23, 2017

Graveyard Everlasting (Blogophilia 35.10)

In an old cemetery on the outskirts of town, a buried couple is resting contently. From time to time, their conversation is heard through the light breeze. 
“A lovely night, Mary.” The man had a low nasally voice. “Air crisp with the coming cold. Look at the magical colors in the leaves. And the moon, when have we seen it so full?”
A birdlike voice replied. “It’s beautiful, Liam, so full and illuminating. Almost like our first night together, remember?”
A small chuckle. “Halloween and you were dressed as a the good witch, all in white.”
“And you were the Vampire, ready to bleed me blue.” She turned toward her husband. “You asked for my hand and I gave you my heart. Mmm...such a wonderful night.”
They gazed contently over the field. Liam turned to his mate.
“Mary, may I say I've never wanted another woman?”
“You are still so sweet.” She paused, “I certainly never needed another man. Even old, you were clever and reliable. I'm so thankful we died in each other's arms. I was 87 and you were 89 and I still looked at you like the stars that shine even tonight. But I wonder?”
"What's that, Love?"
"If those above realize we still hold hands."
With a wink. “Like the Cialis commercial?"
There was a long trill.
"Haha, Yes. I can still turn and see your lovely smile over the edge of my box. Our own version of heaven.”
A rustling came from beyond the edge of the brush. Mary whispered.
“I hear something. I hope it isn't that young couple again."
"But that was fun.” Liam said with a smirk. “Didn't it remind you of us?"
"A little too much. They certainly didn’t leave anything to the imagination."
"Neither did we. Consider it karma for our engagement night."
"Hahahahahah.” She twittered. “You’re right. We never did let our love be secret. But I wonder if old Martin was as aware of our tossing over his grave?"
"He was jealous."
"Oh, stop it, Silly”
They fell silent as a boy and girl emerged from the woods. He had ginger hair topped with a jesters cap and dressed almost formally in a blue cutaway coat with a party striped cummerbund over a matching set of trousers. She wore a long black dress that complimented her ample body and a small pointed hat perched over flowing blond curls. 
“Shhh! It IS them.” Mary shifted up as much as she could. “That's a lovely dress she has on."
Liam joined her. "If it is like last time, it won't be there long."
The bony point of the elbow missed his rib cage.
"You really are a dirty dead man.” Turning her attention back to the couple. “ Mmm... He is a nice hunk, though. Like you were at his age."
"Thank you, Love. I kind of miss that."
"Oh, I do, too. But time does go on. Let’s see what happens.” 
A small wicker basket was set on the foot-stone. Opening it, the young woman pulled a wool blanket and spread it just beyond the old couple’s final resting place. But It had not settled when passion took over. The coat and cummerbund soon lay on the grass. Buttons loosened one by one as her ruby lips followed.
“Say, it looks like she's taking the lead tonight.” Mary’s bony hand drifted over to her mates lap.
The fire between them warmed the chill of the evening. Hats released their hair, sending it flowing across bare shoulders. Trousers drifted downstream followed by the black dress, forming a pool of fabric at their feet. 
Ooh, Love, he looks like you in other places, too!” The old woman squealed. “Why I believe this is our great-grandson, Harry. Didn't he grow up to be a handsome lad.”
Ginger Head explored quivering pastel mountains while hands sought soft peaks. Sighs and the scent of flowers surrounded the scene. 
"And he's got my good taste in ladies, if I do say so myself." Liam slipped his arm over Mary’s shoulder to watch the show.
"Thank you, Dear. They really do look like us back then" She said with a wink. “Makes me want to join them"
Suddenly, the girl stopped and pulled back from her lover, putting a hand over her naked breasts.
The boy looked puzzled.
"What's wrong, Amy?"
“Harry, do you hear something, Harry?" 
Slowly, the blond curls turned toward the headstone.
"It sounds like an old couple talking. Talking about us."
The boy sat up, looking like half dressed clown he was. The sweat of their efforts flowed across his belly, dampening the waistband of his boxers. It mattered not a whit. Reaching behind him, he produced a small box. With a grin, he got on one knee. 
"That may be Great-Grandma Mary and Great-Grandpa Liam. I didn’t realize it the first time we came back here, but this is their grave.The family story was he proposed to her in a cemetery on Halloween and my Grandmother came soon after.” 
He opened the box. 
“I wonder if..."
Moonlight reflected from the ring onto their faces. The beseeching look came as it slipped on her finger was answered by a beatific smile. Pulling his face up to hers she looked deep into his starry eyes and completed the sentence. 
"...they are watching?" 
A deep kiss followed as her hand circled slowly over his bare chest.
"I believe they approve.” She kissed him again. “Harry O’Reardon, you are the most wonderful man I have ever known. I love you. The answer is YES! I want to be your wife forever."
Harry and Amy hands clasped together. Two bony hands rose from the ground on each side and embraced the young couple in benediction and love. There was no recoil at the cold hardness, for they knew it was the spirit of their love. The last of the cloth vanished. And as their bodies melded into one, supplications to life echoed off the stones and filled the forest with their joy. They were all free.
**************************************************************************************
The next year, the old couple were still at their place holding hands. The darkening indigo sky welcomed the Harvest moon. Soon, the memory of the prior year came to them. They smiled.
“Oh, Liam Love.” Mary whistled. “It has been a year. I do wonder how Harry and his Bride made out.”
Liam sighed. “I’m sure they are…: He paused “Wait...I hear something.”
As soon as the words left him, Harry and Amy emerged from the woods. Time had transformed the children into striking adults. Dressed in common working clothes, they were no less joyful than before. In her arms was their newborn son, suckling contently. Liam and Mary’s souls filled with pride.
He was carrying the wicker basket and set it down in front of the grave. With a flourish, the wool blanket was spread and a banquet served in front of the double stone. Two glasses of wine were poured and set in front of the grave. Harry then poured two more for him and his bride. Smiling, with chalices held high, Harry spoke first.
“Mary and Liam, we wanted to come by today. It is the anniversary of our engagement and we thank you from our hearts for overseeing it.”
They both drank deeply. Amy leaned over with the baby and kissed the stone. Together they introduced him. 
“This is Liam Charles. We named him for you, Sir. Our prayers to life were answered with your undying love. Your embrace still is with us. May you, and all of us, be blessed for all eternity. And may the same loving spirit follow our son throughout his life.”
They finished the wine and Harry kissed his bride again, one hand in hers, with the other on his son’s soft head. When they turned back to headstone, the glasses on the stone were empty. And they saw the bony hands locked in their own embrace. The fire was warm coals, banked for the long haul. What was asked would be done forevermore.
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Pic Guesses: Pastel mountains (in blog), Soft peaks (in blog), Peaked prism. Magical colors. Fire on the mountain, Paradise.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Eddie's Auto (Blogophilia 34.10)



Eddie’s is gone. The place where wayward bound gearheads turned wrenches on hoopties. Gone to the whims of commercial development. Oh, it had to happen. After all, Eddie himself passed on to the great car show in the sky a few years ago. And the wives of would be mechanics and racers were relieved. You see, there’s no such thing as fun for the whole family, you know. 
 
 
We spent our weekends in friends’ carports, 12 packs and parts scattered next to our rusted out hulks. We pounded and cussed at cranky bolts. Screamed when flames erupted out of throttles. Car virgins getting their first hot oil baths were always good for laughs. It was a simpler time. There were no OBD codes to figure out. Engine bays had room to work. A universal joint elbow was rarely required to get to a key bolt. Stuff was done out of pure obsessiveness, some cosmetic, most mechanical. It was how you got to the top of the street pecking order cruisin’ down Roswell Road.
 
A lot of us got our start in one of Eddie’s six bays. He wasn’t much older than us, but he had track experience and enough smarts to know just how far to go. Some of us just wanted our beasts to run. Others wanted to run from the cops. The cops took notice, too. Soon Eddie had the contract for the North County precinct. And he kept it after the city incorporated, too. Multiple generations of Ford Interceptors and Dodge Monacos littered the parking lot, most too broken to resurrect. 
 
This guy:

Would have been right at home. 
 
If this sounds like a requiem mass...well it is. A eulogy to a youth well spent sucking up gasoline and exhaust. A remembrance of the small block Malibu with the two speed Powerglide, The rusted Olds 98 with the propeller in the trailer hitch, the Volvo 144 that would puke its innards every six months like clockwork and all the other four wheel conveyances that got me from point A to Point B. They never were sports cars. I was too practical minded for those. But I enjoyed working on them.
 
Today’s kids are missing out.
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Topic-Dave Coon
Pic-David Schrader
Pic guesses- Hoopties (in blog), Gearhead (in blog), beasts (in blog), cruisin’ (in blog), sports cars (in blog), Little Red Corvette, Shiny, Metal Girlfriend, Shake Stand, Detroit Iron, Bat Out of Hell, Checkered Flag. Concours.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sleepless

I had a dream last night
A dream of you
Perfect in imperfection
Shelled with your scars 
Showing.

Bonded, we snaked alongside
Each other
Giving, taking
And giving again.

I wondered if it were mutual
Through the ether
I find you were sleepless  
All night. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Greater Fools (Blogophilia 33.10_

This is a post about fads and to what extent a fad market can explode. 
 
There is a show on Cartoon Network called “Rick and Morty, that involves a scientist and his grandson time traveling through history.” I’ve only seen a couple of episodes, but my sons think it is the most brilliant thing ever. Especially my younger one. He is also the entrepreneurial one, always on the latest trend. 
 
In a recent episode of the show, Rick and Morty transported back to 1998 to attend to a family matter. When he landed, he immediately went to McDonald’s. You see, this is when the movie Mulan was first released and Disney had a merchandising license with the company that included a Szechuan chicken dipping sauce (that also is tasty with duck). Rick called it the best sauce ever made. 
 
He took a huge number of packets back to his time machine to enjoy in the present time.
 
The fans of the show took notice. There was already a small collector market for the sauce and prices on Ebay went wild. So wild that McDonald’s re-released a very small batch to take advantage of the interest. My son tried get some to resell for a profit (he needs new tires on his truck), but it had all been spoken for. The company then released this status update: 
 
 
It is for the the best. Like all fad markets, the price of Szechuan sauce will continue to rise until the new batch gets released, or the fools find some other shiny bling to spend money on. The ones left holding the hot potato then get burned. It is a disaster that repeats itself over and over again. 
 
It is our choices that show us who we are. When a food condiment is more important than the victims of [insert your choice of disasters from the last three weeks], we need to take a long look in the mirror.
 
The image doesn’t look good.
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Pic guesses: Duck, An obscene term not involving a duck, Dinner Guest, Gilbert Gottfried, Plucked, Roasted, Daffy in retirement, Marvin’s revenge, Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century, She doesn’t look Chinese, Pre Paté, Mallard’s rest. Gander,

Monday, October 2, 2017

About Last Night (Blogophilia 32.10)

A single beam of light found it’s away through the blinds and into her eye. Slowly, she stirred. Where was she? Legs cramping, the bed creaked as she shifted into a more comfortable position...
 
I wrote this log line yesterday as a story builder. I didn’t know the character’s name, how she got into this bed, or whether she was alone. I’ve handled characters like her before. Naive and vulnerable, it may have been her first time waking up in a strange place. The start of an adventure, either good or bad.
 
Opening the news feed this morning gave me a similar feeling. Where am I? Have I really fallen through the looking glass into a warped vision of humanity? Did one of my very darkest scenarios of all time actually come to pass? 
 
It’s 9:17 AM EST and the powder fog is lifting a bit. A man decided to declare war against his fellow man. The motives for his actions are unknown and honestly, do not matter. Early reports show he was a local of some means, well known in the casino community. No police contacts as far as anyone can tell. He used his Significant Other’s information to check into the Mandalay Bay Thursday afternoon without her knowledge (she was out of the country). Hotel management wasn’t concerned, since he was a regular customer that spent money. They gave him a room on the 32nd floor facing the open lot across Las Vegas Boulevard he requested. It gave him strategic advantage. 
 
He spent the next several days gathering the material for death, putting in time in the casino from time to time to keep the management happy and unaware. The motives for his actions are unknown. And now we wake to the aftermath of his party. There are at least 150 casualties, with 50 or so dead.
This isn’t the first time we’ve woken up in this bed. I doubt it will be the last. 
 
Forward, backward, inward, outward 
Come and join the chase!
Nothing could be drier 
Than a jolly caucus-race

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Pic Guesses: Bon Bon, Lips, Oral fixation, Vulnerable, Ghost face. Three strands, Bejeweled,

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Taking the Knee.

Everyone is in an uproar over sports "stars" kneeling during the National Anthem opening. It's the same as a Hooker saluting your flag before she sucks your wallet dry.

Only the NFL does it without lube or protection.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Dahlia's Game (Blogophilia 31.10)

Given the topics is Vintage Lies, Dahlia’s five truths game will work. The “vintage” part is most of these events take place before I got married (and boring).
  1. I was in a bar on a random Wednesday night. It was kind of slow, so I was able to get a seat next to this bald fellow chatting up a lady. Just after I gave my order, the lady excused herself and the man turned to me and asked for a light. It was Telly Savalas.
  2. After attending a club show, I was accosted by two blind men begging for money, one of them playing a banjo. It was Steve Martin and Martin Mull. The lambs looked out of place, but the street scene finds focus in their face.
  3. I took a college class with Jeff Foxworthy. He’s a lot smarter than he makes out.
  4. If you are familiar with the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, I was acquainted with both Danny Hansford and his killer, Jim Williams at different times in my life.
  5. I played chess with Mark David Chapman. He was high every time we met and he smelled like clove cigarettes.
  6. I literally ran into Elton John and David Koresh in the frozen food aisle at Publix.
And that is it. The vile lie will be revealed on Saturday.
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Topic-Dave Coon
Pic guesses: Sailing, Breath of Beauty, Columbus Day, Ketch, Mist, Ariel’s Revenge, Seascape, Above the Surf.

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

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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.
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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?
 
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.

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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.



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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....
Rrrrrrnggg!
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.
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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?

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