Monday, October 31, 2005


(Of course, I would never have an amplifier in the bedroom.)

My Rambling Rose

Oh the steps they lead from up to down
but this town gives me room.
Though the sun beats down too hot sometimes
and the neon hides the moon.
I'll be happy when I'm six feet down
but I am kicking still.
I don't mean to hurt nobody
but you know I prob'ly will.

Ain't no easy way to tell you long....adios.
Your short hair drove me crazy
and you always had nice clothes.
You were near enough to perfect
to slow down this rolling stone.
If I'd never heard that highway song
I'd have prob'ly wrote my own.

I sure liked the way you left me hanging

three sheets in the wind.
And you know I'm fool enough
to come back here for that again.
This old town ain't been too bad to me
in this old crazy world.
You will always be my favorite,
my sweet Pascagoula girl.

Ain't no easy way to tell you long....adios.
From the vine of life I picked me out
the sweetest rambling rose.
I ain't no good at conversation
but I'd like to make a toast.
If you hadn't bought my whiskey
I'd have prob'ly bought my own.

And from the vine of life I picked me out
the sweetest rambling rose.

Pascagoula, MS

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Florida Turnpike was FREE

Wow. They didn't collect any tolls on the FL Turnpike as I headed south on Friday. Don't know about on Saturday, or heading north, as I took the Beeline up to Okachobee and then US 441 up to Yeehaw Junction and then SR 60 home.

In case you were wondering, yes, there were some trailers.

If you are looking to drive through a bunch of nothing and are closer to Miami than to Tuscon, follow that forsaken route. About the only thing to look at is the anguished faces of the other drivers in your rearview as they realize that you indeed intend to go the speed limit. Makes for some really contorted faces.

Although it was mentioned several times that they would have been more prepared if I had given them some warning that I was coming, we enjoyed our micro-visit with the sis, Mike and the kids. And besides, why would I treat them any different than my friends? I used to call Frank in Pittsburgh, when I lived in Virginia, and ask him if he was up for some company. Then when he'd say yes, I'd be there in 5 minutes because I was already in town.

He'd always ask what I would do if he'd said no to company and I'd tell him that a) I wouldn't tell him I was already in town and b) the solo adventure would have commenced as soon as I hung up. I was never one to miss an opportunity to explore and experience. But, since he never said no, the point is moot.

Also, as much as I love all of my friends and adopted family in the area, every single trip, and I mean EVERY trip, somebody stole something from me. Not the people I was visiting, mind you. But their neighbors, or strangers, or transients. It was somebody nefarious. I lost a tool box, someone popped open my camper and selectively lifted rods, reels and lures, and I lost a trailer hitch. But the most bizarre was this time:

We were headed home through some steep, winding roads (in other words, Pittsburgh area roads) after a night out carousing and dancing. It was me, Frank, and 2 of his sisters. We were done and headed home when it commenced to raining. I was not able to see very good and allowed as how I was going to need to stop and adjust the wiper blades a mite closer to the windshield if we hoped to avoid an unplanned trip off a mountian side. I got out, fiddled with the wiper arm a moment and then got back in. I am told I was wearing a most bewildered look.

"Someone at the dance hall has done stoled my windshield wipers", I announced. It was true. The arms were there but no blades. It was cold, it was rainy and I couldn't see to drive. I wound up taking off my t-shirt (I never wore a coat no matter how cold because I was just gonna go from the car to the dance hall and back to the car, not play outside) so I was both shirtless and coatless. And, of course, sporting some fairly perky nips by now. My t shirt could be found wound around the driver's side wiper arm, smearing out a slightly open spot to see out of so I could navigate us, ever so slowly and frighteningly, back to Carnegie.

Indicate amount enclosed, out
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, October 28, 2005

Eenie. Meenie. Miney. Moe.....

I am headed down to West Palm Beach to see my sister. Will be back for Sunday's post.

Nothing is cut and dried in race relations, is it? It is very complicated on so many levels. I accept that... grudgingly. What really gets me wrapped around the axle when I ponder it is this: Are the complications necessarily so or unnecessarily so?

As I work on my "screen play" I realize that the stories in my head are easy. It's getting them written down that's hard. I mean written down at all. If I could just do that I could sweat the formatting later. I do not have the disciplined train of thought, or maybe it's concentration, required to take a story from beginning to end. I think that's why I write like I do. No real beginning or end, just ideas.

I have a second interview at Albertson's warehouse on Tuesday. I applied for the night shift. A) I figured less people asked for it and, B) I think it'll buy me some alone time to work on my projects. It had better work out as I kissed AOL off. It was politely done, but a kiss off nonetheless.

Timers and auto-on features on coffee makers was one of the best ideas to come down the pike in a long, long time. I have mine perfectly timed so as I walk in to the kitchen I hear the skooooshhhh skooooshhhh skooooshhhh sound of the last of the steamed water running through. All of the freshness, none of the wait.

I know what you are thinking, too. If he has such fresh coffee and has it so quickly... and if, as he claims, he drinks the first pot all by himself... why the heck aren't his posts better than they are? Good point. And I blame it on me.

I blame it on me so you don't have to. You need to blame it on the man. Or on whitey. Or on the voices in your head. Somebody or something. I am thanking you in advance.
(The Man)

Today is a red letter day. We are going to haul that King Size comforter on our bed out to the laundromat and wash it. That's right. While y'all are trudging through another work day, I'll be hanging out at the coin laundry, puffing a medium sized stogie, listening to homogonized country radio, and keeping an eye on my back. That last part is very key. Some folks are scared of clowns. Others of carneys. I am frightened by coin laundries. I don't know. I just am.

I finally figured out that my boy cat, Pepe, is a dog trapped in a cat's body. Now it all makes sense. Goofy feline.

Don't know what else I've got to tell you. I bought this great maincure product from an Ethopian guy. I know, too weird. That he was here from Ethiopia. That he sold manicure stuff. That I was inclined to buy it. The planets aligned or something. But yet, I wander off subject.

It is basically a very fine sandpaper followed by two different textured buffs. All are affixed (affixed-- such a great word) to a small foam rubber block. So I sit down, sand and buff my nails for around 4 to 6 minutes, depending on how often I look back up at the TV, and they look all clean and polished. And shiny. It lasts a few days and there's none of the goos and creams and crap associated with a traditional manicure.

I know a lot of people don't think men should get manicures, but I don't care. There's nothing wrong with looking like you have a bit of culture. Especially if you have dressed up. If you have on a nice, well cut suit, a good looking shirt and tie and chewed up nails with dirt under them... well, you get the picture. It's like the guy I worked with one time that was such a natty dresser but would never polish his shoes. So it made it like like he was a poser. That he blew all his money on a set of clothes but couldn't afford the nice shoes to go with them. It ruined all the time, effort and money he'd spent on the clothes. And polish is what, $1.79?

Soap boxed out, out
Ramblin' Ed

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Imagine a world without hypothetical situations

Things happen. Things happen to me. I tell you about them. Well, high crimes, crimes while high, and a most indiscretions are better if not put to print, but other than that you get the day to day mundane details.

Like take the job search for example. I have a job then I don't. I get another and get canned. Then I start having to revise my expectations downward and begin to get into a world of easy to get yet unable to live off of jobs. I accept then unaccept them almost daily. Take this AOL job. I have all but told the guy I'll take it. It's a tech job...sorta. It's indoors. It's nearby. But it's only $10/hr. Please. Don't do the math. It's pitiful.

Well yesterday, right after posting about that job, Albertson's distribution warehouse called me and wants to interview me. I know, I know...change thirteen. Thirteen as in thirteen dollars and seventy-five cents to start. Fourteen fifty after ninety days and regular fifty cent raises until after about a year and a half I get to around seventeen dollars an hour. Not the money I was making in the navy, but combined with my retirement check, a comfortable living.

People, this is a general warehouse job. Forklift driving. Truck loading. Order picking. I love that stuff. One of my favorite jobs was a warehouse job at Tampa Wholesale Liquors. I loved driving the forklift. I enjoyed picking the orders. I even found amusement at watching the customs agent dragging the big boss back to the office by his ear after finding a little extra something in the boxcar from Canada. I truly enjoyed it. But, and like my girlfriend at the time this is a big but, it only paid $3.88/hr, which was eight cents over minimum wage.

It's the warehouse job that made me understand the term working poor. I was working hard and putting in 15 hours a week overtime. All my bills were paid, but my motorcycle was falling further and further into disrepair, I couldn't afford insurance, clothes or food. I was working all the time and still had nothing. Nada. Squat. So I joined the navy.

Anyway, should I pass the interview, I will take that job and hopefully put this daily job update business to bed. I just want a job with a schedule that I can plan fishing trips around.

Oh, as a side note, I read in the paper 2 days ago about a 12 foot alligator in the pond across from the distribution center's parking lot that had just eaten a local lady's dog. So what, you say? That's what alligiles and crocogators do, you say. The dog was a rotwieller, kiddies. That's a meal, not a mouthful.

Now I read a couple of weeks ago that a boa in or near the everglades, and apparently the everglades is where you dump exotic pets you no longer wish to board and care for, had eaten a rather large alligator and exploded. First, I am sort of impressed that the snake could manage to swallow a gator. Seems to be a pretty neat trick to me. And secondly, doesn't nature instill animals with survival instincts that make them intuitivly know things like "it's time to run" and "don't eat things that are bigger than you or you will explode"? So what happened? The boa didn't get the memo?

In the lower right corner of my truck's back window is a sticker of Betty Boop. In the lower left, a not very large sticker that reads "Unreconstructed Southerner". Yeah, I know. It's a real Pimp My Ride moment.

It's cold in Florididdy right now. What a pain in the butt that is. Right after I got into the argument with the wife that she should throw away most of those heavy clothes from Japan because, and dang it I did say this, "You really won't be needing those here. It just doesn't get cold enough." God must be a woman. A woman who enjoys seeing me me backpedaling.

I'm a middle aged white man. But I'm not clear on the law here and could use some help. As a middle aged man do I have to buy a Harley Davidson? Or only if I want to? Sarcasm... it's just one of the free services I provide here.

Actually, I'm really not that sarcastic of a guy. Nor am I very political. Or argumentative. Good googly moogly. I'm bland.

Last thing. I am starting to work on a screenplay, and I only say screenplay because I am not sure what to call it, for a short film. Very short film. Only a couple of minutes, actually. It is based on a mere three paragraphs I read that were a part of a story line within a storyline in a collection of Orson Scott Card short stories. THREE PARAGRAPHS! And I was thinking about them for days and days. It will be the first production (in hi def, too) from our new company. It will not be a particularly rapid project, I imagine.

Adieu, out, my little froggie friends
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Little plastic people and pumpkin headed deer

Hola, peeps. his is my most recent travelogue. Come, enjoy the ride with me.

Here I am, on my way to a far off destination. I have taken vacation from my $10 an hour job at AOL and am headed to Vancouver or Vietnam or Venezuela. "Man, oh man", I think to myself as I go through security, "I'm sure a lucky dude to discover that TravHell-ocity was having a clearance sale on flights to destinations starting with V. All I got to do is clear this security checkpoint with it's shiny, plastic people and cute bowl haircuts and I'm gone. Out of here. In the doggone wind, amigos."

And all seemed to be going well. I had my red suitcase to match my painted on red polyester slacks, my favorite yellow jacket and my soft, blue scarf. I felt I looked the part of a seasoned traveller for sure, though the phrase "gay cabellero" had been directed my way thrice.

Dum dee dum dee dum. I 'll just stand here politely as Officer Judy and her freakishly large gun wand me. Heh heh heh...I said "wand". Oh!, don't laugh or smirk. They'll make me tell them the joke and it may bomb. Crap! I said bomb. Pull it together Ed. Don't say "bomb". You know these low wage goons have a short fuse. Aaarrrgghhh!! Don't say "fuse"!! What?--am I trying to get me killed? I need to act like I've been in public before. Dang all this nervous sweating.

Aw nuts! Here we go. I told me not to sweat so much and argue with myself. But do I listen to me? No-o-o-o. I'm so much smarter than me so I don't have to listen. Well, look where it got me. Just look at those fake smiles. They're going to take me behind that unmarked door, I know they are. Nothing good can come of that, I'm sure. Officer Judy there, she's the mean one. She knows what they do to pretty little boy toys like me in the airport concourse slammer. Attica! ATTICA!!

Well. This is just humiliating. I should have taken the domestic flight to Vidalia, Georgia and took pictures of me with the world's largest jar of homemade pickled onion relish. Then I could have flown JetBlue instead of this Goons-R-Us outfit. Or Ted. Yeah, I like flying Ted. Ted would never put me face down, munching carpet and scared to the point of peeing on the refrigerator magnets in my pocket.

Join me next month when we travel the Ys. Or YMCAs. I guess we'll know when we get there.


The Pennsylvania Game Commission asks anyone who has seen a deer with a pumpkin head to call 1-814-643-1831. (There's a real story behind this, but I kinda like it stand alone.)

The growth in fatwas - some of them contradictory - has led to a debate over who can legitimately issue them and has alarmed governments in the Middle East, since the decrees sometimes challenge state-sanctioned interpretations of Islam.

Yet criticizing fatwas about divisive issues like the propriety of killing civilians and Shiites can be dangerous for officials. So the Saudi government is trying a different tactic, zeroing in on what it considers frivolous fatwas in order to rally support for tougher measures on who can and who cannot issue opinions. Recently, Al Watan, a semiofficial Saudi daily newspaper, reported that a young athlete had joined the jihad in Iraq under the influence of a fatwa forbidding playing soccer by regular rules. The newspaper also republished the fatwa, said to have originally appeared on an Islamic Web site.

Yesterday I took yet another job as I try to ease into a semi-comfortable retirement. This one pays what I call High School wages, but I guess you do what you gotta do. And somehow, at least to my way of thinking about it, $21,000 a year is better than the NOTHING that I am earning sitting here at home on my butt, unemployed.

So the new, unimproved plan B is this. Take a job, any job, and make something in salary. Continue to apply for government service and other, higher quality jobs and continue to schedule interviews. When the plan comes together, and eventually it will, bail on the crappy job. I am doing my "phone interview" with Eli this afternoon on my way to being the voice on the other end of the AOL help-line. Boo-yah, life just gets better and better, don't it?

There is more, so much more in the way of stories to tell, but I tire. And, you know, that paper isn't going to read itself either. While eating Lucky Charms with banana slices. So with that, folks, I'm in the wind.

Magically delicious, out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

3 Interviews

Gotta go. Gotta find a job. I have 3 interviews. Will try a post this evening.

Like you're really holding your breath over it.

Ramblin' Ed

Monday, October 24, 2005


Hurricane Wilma for us, at least so far, has been a light to moderate rain. Less violent than a summer thunderstorm. Good.

Been busy this morning writing this. Maybe finished, maybe not. Read it unhurriedly. It's a story. Kind of mostly autobiographical, a little bit not so much. The not so true hangs off the true parts like spanish moss. It is a separate thing, but is nothing without the host. The two are supposed to be together. A live oak is just a tree. Spanish moss is just a weed. A live oak draped in spanish moss IS the south and the south is the fabric of my life. That is my style, my stories, my very friction and truth.

The story is, of course, about a girl. It always is.

Brambles 24 Oct 2005

She was seventeen when she fell in love
And seventeen year love don’t ever lie
But like a charm hanging off of a drug store bracelet
It’s sure to get lost over time.

He left her standing there alone with her heart hung out
Feeling blue that was as open as the sky
Learning boys will treat you fine for a moment in time
Then boys are gonna tell you goodbye

Left her looking for a reason for believing again
A couple years of trying out that scene
The kind of girl that’s always on the tip of your tongue
But you never can remember her name

She come walking through the door and I gave her a smile
Just like I’d want to be treated myself
I know she meant to touch my hand when I counted her change
If she was hurting she was hiding it well

She was young and we really hadn’t talked too much
She didn’t understand to study someone’s eyes
She liked to listen to my stories ‘cause they made her laugh
Said she needed more of that in her life

We were sitting in the kitchen on a Saturday night
I was thinking some and studying the ground
Hey, a man is a man is a man inside
And a pretty girl is fun to have around

I asked her, "Where we going to? Now tell me true.
I mean, tonight how come you find yourself with me?
I have the miles that serve to back up my stories I tell
And the scars to prove I know how to bleed."

"You strike me as a flower that has started to grow
Outside the garden near the brambles and the weeds.
You spread your wings in the freedom of the sunshine and wind
But the brambles are deceitful and mean."

She turned to me with eyes that burned through me
With a gaze she held so steady and direct
When she finally spoke, she spoke to me slowly
I know she meant every word that she said

She said, "You color me all with circles and rhymes
Don’t talk to me in similes and codes
Don’t treat me like a child that needs your hand to protect
Her from a night that can sometimes turn cold."

"I’m here because I wanna be. If not I’d be gone
It’s a matter of trust. Not a chain.
And a good man is handy so you keep one around
You’re as good, now, as any I’ve seen.

As the sunset slinks and dances, then it slips away
To a drummer that you know you did not choose
The game is in the playing and the players, you know
We were playing by two different rules

See, I thought I was gonna save her
And she was gonna rescue me
I was gonna teach her my secrets
But she took what she needed from me

Well we didn’t mean to share so deeply
Nah, we didn’t mean to share so much
We didn’t mean to mix up all our dreams like we did
That they’d explode into sparks when we touch

We didn’t mean to mix up all our dreams like we did
The lesson hasn’t taught us much

Hurricane Wilma
Leggo my Eggo, out
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, October 23, 2005

So there we still were...

...Our money gone. Our bellies rumbling. Rest stops too few and far between. And the realization that this ride was going to be 4+ days long. Plan B was starting to suck. Dang plan B. B as in Bee-yatch.

At least we had our window seats. They were cool in the daytime, but at night in AZ, NV and places like that, you saw nothing but inky darkness outside them. Evn worse, when you first looked out them, before your eyes adjusted to looking past it, you would see the reflection of a skinny 22 year old squid staring blankly back at ya as if resigned to wasting 4 or 5 days on an uncomfortable bus. Days that the navy was charging as leave, whether you were having fun or not.

Back then I smoked cigarettes. Everybody I knew did too. Didn't plan it that way, but that's how it sorted itself out. At least, back then, you could smoke on the bus. I can't remember for sure, but I think there were designated smoking seats. Anyway, we were able to get by.

Then we got to Utah. The state that regulates alcohol sales in it's airspace. I kept telling the stewardess that it was unlikely they'd see us through the window, but apparently United Airlines has some corporate fetish for following dumb state laws. But, anyway.

With the rest stops few and far between and Utah at night through a Greyhound window so mind numbingly boring, we were really starting to want a smoke. Finally, we could take it no more. We scrunched way down in our seats, lowered our heads below seat level and sparked up a Camel Light each. Drag...hold...release...aahhhh. Repeat.

It is then that the overhead speaker erupted, scaring the bejesus out of us. PUT THAT CIGARETTE OUT! THERE IS NO SMOKING ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN UTAH. Ye gads, we freaked out, quickly dropping and crushing the offending butts. Yet the driver continued to, at least we thought, punk us out.

IF YOU TRY THAT AGAIN, I'LL HAVE TO STOP THE BUS MA'AM AND LET YOU OUT. Ma'am? Ma'am? By golly, ol' Frodo the driver had not busted us at all. Ha ha. In fact, if we felt like it, we could fire back up. If we felt like it. Which we of course did, just as we crossed out of Utah.

We've been on the bus half of Friday, all of Saturday and now all of Sunday. We had gotten to talking, more excitedly each time, about finding a bank on the lunch stop on Monday and cashing our checks. The old lady next aisle over heard us and offered up that tomorrow was _______. It was some holiday or holiday eve or something. I can't remember which day, I just remember going "OH CRAP. I bet the banks don't even open tomorrow." And the kindly wench proved to be correct.

We were in a small town in Iowa for a 15 min. stop about 10 AM. Across the street was a bank. Now Iowa, Eastern Iowa at that, was pretty near all the way to Minnesota. So we had wa-a-ay more trip behind us than ahead. Still, this looked like our opportunity. If the bank was open, that is.

We crossed the street going "please, please, please" and tried the door. It opened and there were cashiers at the windows. Come to find that they were only going to be open another hour, due to the holiday and all. We didn't care. They were open now and that's when we needed them to be open.

Wer presented our checks and our ID cards. She smiled and asked did we have an account with them? WHAT!? "No, ma'am, we don't." " Then I can't cash this." "Sure you can. We've been 3 days on a bus without money and we're hungry." "Sorry, nope." "Please?" "Nope." "But it's the government's check. Who can you trust if not the government?" And like that she smiled, said "Yeah, I guess you're right" and cashed them both. Because it goes without saying, I will not say that we were stoked. But we were. Grabbed a sack of burgers to go each and hopped back on the bus.

We arrived at Minneapolis later, well fed and resting. I had never been to Minnesota before and was intrigued. We had time to kill while waiting for our ride out into wheat field country, so we stopped in a joint nearby to kill time.

Raise your hand if you have ever been to Minneapolis. Keep them up if you have ever cruised down Hennepin Ave. Hmmm, I see.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, I had experienced in the preceeding twenty two years of walking this earth had prepared me for the freak parade that comprises the local population. Those guys and gals are another whole post for another time. But let me just say that South Florida at it's wackiest, while a bizarre place in and of itself, stil does not rival what I found on Hennepin.

Of course, we returned several times. What good is a road trip if not to be tripped out occasionally. And by occasionally I, of course, mean as often as possible.

The rest of the trip was pretty normal. A night in Mankato. The site of the oldest home foundation in (whatever) County. Unfamiliar foods and funny, lilting accents. And woods and water. Much of it.

(Before keg)

We went to a party in a wheatfield which was an experience in and of itself. In the middle of the farthest side of nowhere with nothing but fields as far as you can imagine was a farmhouse. We rolled up and were met at the door by a farm boy and his two sisters. They apparently did not get out much. The son answered the door, but the daughters, and this is very, very true, were right behind him. The one on the left pointed to Steve and said, "I've got that one", which of course meant the slower sister "got me". They were not particularly appealing young lasses, but by placing a full keg in the rec room they seemed to have a plan to rememdy that.
(After keg)

But that too, is another farm story for another farm time. Gotta go.

Me and you and a dog named Boo, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, October 22, 2005

So there we were...

...Two twenty-something, self-appointed manly men, on our first substantial leave from USS First Ship. We had decided to go to Minneapolis. From San Diego. In the winter. Without, it would seem, putting a great deal of thought into it. (A real picture from that trip. Me in the middle and Steve on the right. Brother Dave is on the left)

So we walked out the gate and hailed a cab. "Take us to North Island", we said, "we're catching us one of them free planes to Minnesota." He allowed as how he didn't think it worked that way and we allowed as how he ought to just drive. Sheesh Marie... who was the naval expert here, us or him?

When we got down to Naval Air Station North Island, on the air side and to the MAC terminal, we got out, paid the exorbant fare and started off. "I'll wait here for you", he said and we laughed and told him go ahead, but we're going to Minnesot so you'll be waiting a while.

"I guess we were wrong", we told him 45 seconds later when we came back out, now fully aware that San Dog to Minnesota was not a scheduled route, you need to call ahead and something else that I have since forgotten. But what I did retain, in fact retain to this day, is that we weren't getting there from here today. Hmmmm. Plan B, I suppose. Yep, plan B will be executed post haste. As soon as we come up with it. The airplane thing had seemed foolproof. But we had underestimated the fools.

Plan B involved a ride to the rough part of town, another exorbant taxi fare and a Greyhound Station. We knew Plan B was gonna suck. We just hadn't yet realized how much.

By pooling our remaining money we could buy 2 tickets and have a combined $8 left over. Back in the day, taking off on a cross country journey with $4 each seemed reasonable enough and was not even something to cause me to pause. We boarded the bus, took window seats and settled in. Though I did not realize it at the time, Travelin' Ed was born.

First rest stop was Winslow, AZ. So naturally I had to depart the bus, walk the half a block to the end of the block and begin "standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona". Of course I was looking for "the girl, my lord, in a flat bed Ford slowing down to take a look at me." Never saw the girl but I got to keep the story. Fair enough.

Next rest stop was Reno, NV. Here we had one of our first brilliant ideas. We can take our $8, go into the slot machine room, and come out with enough money to make the remaining trip a little more comfortable. $50 or $60 seems reasonable enough. Without having to touch our paychecks, which I'll explain in a moment.

A minute and a half later we had deposited all $8 into a Reno truckstop's slots, were broke and already hungry and just brimming with new lessons learned about how life is not always fair, not even a little.

Luckily, we still had a paycheck each. We had gotten on the bus Friday without first cashing them. Why? Because we were impatient and wanted to get going! That's why.

Back then, there were no Saturday banking hours and for sure none on Sunday. So for at least 2 more days the checks were little more than pieces of paper. The situation was of some minor concern, but not enough for us to sweat it. Yet.

Other traveler's, feeling sorry for us would give us an apple or a candy bar or a biscuit throughout the day. It was hit and miss what, if anything, we'd be eating, but we were young and we were on an adventure. So really, who cares?

There is more to this adventure. To be continued.

Melts in your...well, not in your hand, out
Ramblin' Ed

Thursday, October 20, 2005

.....Marco.... Polo.....Marco.....Polo.....

It is 0736 no matter what the blog time tag says. I hate it when that happens. Dang lying time tags.

Hurricane Wilma, and I must make note of what an un-pretty name that is, meanders ever closer towards Florida. It is a big one according to the breathless meteorologists on TV. During hurricane season they probably don't even need sex, just plenty of bad weather to report. Anyway, all morning I have been mulling this one thing over and over. Why hasn't the garbage man come yet?

I have never been fired from a job. I am forty-five years old, so I had a forty-five year streak going. It came to an end yesterday. I got let go. I was shocked and kinda teary eyed for 2 hours or so, but then I put it behind me. What are you gonna do? I think it was for a reason other than stated, but so what? No rants. No bad mouthing of the company. I'll just put an entry in the "Things I Think I Won't Do Again" column and hit the bricks again.

Some people, however, deserve an extra little pat on the back.
1. My wife, who was very supportive and comforting yesterday. Love grows in some rocky dirt sometimes.
2. My folks. They have that supportive parents skill down pat. If you got to pick your parents, I'd pick them again.
3. Murf. She was a most supportive 3rd party shoulder to lean on yesterday. I needed it. She's got a smart mouth and a warm heart. Good credentials in my book.

The wife decided that yesterday was as good a time as any to go look for work. We are not poor or desperate or anything like that. We'll be OK for a while, but like anybody else, would prefer to have a steady cash flow in and out, instead of a savings flow in the outward direction only.

So we went to the mall, where she got increasingly comfortably walking up and asking, "May I have application, please?" She wants to work. Right now to help the household a little, but also for the "mad money" once I find my new job. I have always let her keep 100% of her pay to buy whatever she wants to.

I also think she is finally getting bored sitting in the house all day. It's about time! I need her to get out. Meet people. Make friends. It ain't no life until you're out and living it. But, over time, I have learned to let her move at her own pace. It's less painful that way.

My 5 "Attaboys" for today, in no particular order, are:

1. The dude who invented Lucky Charms. Kudos, my man.
2. Matt Groenhing (Spelling is suspect). The Simpsons Rule.
3. Archie Manning. Good boys you raised up, Arch.
4. Daniel Boone. The real one, not Fess Parker.
5. The guy who realized that the more plys toilet paper has, the softer it can be. This guy might have been a been a lady. I don't put too much research into these things.

Honorable mention to Ben Affleck for not shooting himself by now. You're a strong dude.

Remember Johnny "Guitar" Watson? I was listening to him yesterday. I like the funk and soul mixed with the wailing guitar. Good stuff, Maynard.

I am waiting restlessly for I WALK THE LINE to come out. That's the Johnny Cash bio-pic. I'm taking dad. I know he'll enjoy it. I always tell everybody about how him and Johnny Cash used to hang out in Arkansas before Johnny moved to Tennessee and hit it big. I tell them all kinds of exciting tales of their misadventures. None true, of course. To my knowledge dad has never met, much less hung out with, the man. But I still tell 'em good.

An old poem since the new one still ain't finished:

Still Doin' Fine 15 Feb, 1980

I'm not really sure 'bout this travelin' I've done
It's been too many miles all around
California was nice but I didn't think twice
When they told me to get out of town

Been wonderin' if the postman could find you
I've got a song that you really should hear
I mailed the tape yesterday and I just gotta say

It was written in the grip of despair

One day I'm gonna write you a letter
Just to let you know I'm still doin' fine
Wore my heart on my sleeve when I just had to leave
Now my heart's in my back pocket this time

You know, I really don't expect you to answer
I'd even settle for a "how do you do"
The bitter feelings aside, you've gotten colder than ice
I've got these postal service red, white, and blues

I guess I really ought to write you that letter
Just to let you know I'm still doin' fine
I wore my heart on my sleeve and said I've just gotta leave
And now my heart's in my back pocket this time

San Diego

"But Mr. Trump...", "Shut up. You're fired!", out
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Is it an EVIL petting zoo?

I have an alter ego. His name is Dean. He's been getting out lately.

Yesterday I played schoolgirl games. One of the cashiers told me if she touched her nose it meant a guy was "hot". I suspected and she later confirmed for me that her taste runs towards skinny, white dudes. Well, well, well. Oh yeah, I got to tell a skinny white dude that he ought to go talk to her (Wink, wink). Hmmmm.... seems I'm 45 going on 16.

If I can ever afford it I'd like to get a personal assistant. You know, to assist me and stuff. "Ah, Clifford. Please go to top off my tank with petrol, would you please?" (OK, so how do YOU write a British accent?)

I have this really great song about half finished. I think it is awesome, which, when you get right down to it, is not all that uncommon. I think most everything I write borders on sheer genius. Except the stuff that comes out pretty crappy. Anyway I have almost the whole story written and rhymed. In a wicked twist away from the normal course of events, I have decided to polish it all up and make the meter flow without effort. That, however, takes some time... some quiet time... for me to accomplish. So it may be a bit of a wait to get to see it.

Why are ABBA CDs so expensive? That pretty near is the most perplexing thing I have run across in the last decade or so. That and chicks with big hair. Don't know what the whole attraction of big hair was, either.

I think if cats did go to college, and just work with me on this because I know that you know that they don't, they would attend a liberal arts college. And be bohemians that hung out at coffee shops and the like. The real question, and I think you already know where this is going because probably, and I stress probably because this is certianly no certainty, have wondered the same thing, although likely not aloud, is this. Would they still get distracted for an entire afternoon chasing gum wrappers and miss classes? Anybody? Bueller?

I like keyboard shortcuts. They are not, however, very sexy. "Hey, baby. Wanna see me CTRL + Z? It's rather impressive, I've been told."

Oh man, there was something else and I just cannot remember it. It's this CRS. But what can you do?

Let that boy boogie woogie, out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

If I told you what's on my mind you'd know what I was really thinking

Best quote of the day came from none other than Ramblin' Ed himself as we were all walking out of Taco Bell. It nearly killed Denise, but she pulled through. The quote: "I wore boxer shorts today. But this pair yearns to be a thong."

How a pair of boxers rides itself up to be so intimate with you is a mystery to me.

DRE returned from Dunn, NC yesterday. Brought to me, as payment for the use of my truck (even though I repeatedly stressed I needed no compensation from a friend) 2 cases of Cheerwine and 5 pounds of Neeses liver mush. Despite his repeated badmouthing of the delectible liver product from my youth, I was happy to see it. You can't get it here. My response to his jibes about my food was, "It tastes really good. Fry it up in a pan and make sure that as you eat it,under NO circumstances do you idly peruse the ingredients."

I was about 15 to 17 years old. A fertile time for discovery in my life, though predominately I discovered what was bad, unwise or untenable. Here is an example:

I was chomping down on one of life's little pleasures. You know what I'm talking about. A Slim Jim brand sausage stick. I just sort of started reading the label to pass the time. Folks, don't do that with a Slim Jim. Not if you enjoy them, anyway. You will a) definately come away with an understanding that no parts whatsoever of our food animals are left unused, and b) start wondering which of those aforementioned not wasted parts it might be that is making that greasy coating on the roof of your mouth. It was probably 8-10 years before I could put the ingredient list out of my mind sufficiently to eat a Slim Jim again. Dang truth in labeling laws.

An interesting side trip in google: #1 & #2. Kinda cheesy. Well, actually very cheesy. And here's his website, should you wish to pursue this.

Perhaps Hurricane Wilma will hit us and reduce us all to (Barney) Rubble.

Headline from Tampa Tribune today: THE GUNSHINE STATE MORE PRO-FIREARM LEGISLATION SETS UP ANOTHER SHOWDOWN. We Floridians are nothing if not colorful. And violence prone.

I am the morning DJ at W.O.L.D., out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Gretchen was a Hooter's girl

"All of these screens will be the same. They'll just keep changing." Well now, how ya gonna argue with training like that? I just keep wondering will I grow out of Calvin and become Dilbert? Time will tell my friends. Time will tell.

I did something yesterday that I am not particularly proud of. In fact, those of you that are of both the male and the Southern persuasions may even judge this as bordering on the raggedy edge of blasphemy. You can say it or don't, but I've already given myself the what for. I came home from work yesterday and mowed only half of my yard. There is a slight bit o' redemption in that I did the front first, but yes, it is indeed ever so slight. I just couldn't get it finished. But I did so need some "me time" to ponder things, and lately, on the mower is the only place I get any. I'm starting to feel very boxed in by things. So I gassed it, cranked it and rode it in slow, satisfying circles.

Kris Kristofferson can be pretty cool. Sometimes I think we forget that.

I wish I could find my digital camera. I got things that I want to show you. I've got stories that need embellishing. I've got places to be. People to do. And for the life of me, I can't find the camera. Good thing I bought one so small.

I just watched 2 hours of CMT. I really want to enjoy it. I hardly ever lose myself in the music like before, which is why my muse walks around with an IV and oxygen tank most of the time. My poor little under used, bed ridden little muse. So I tuned it in for a while while I drank coffee and scratched my butt. -->

At some point I learned that Gretchen Wilson worked as a Hooter's Girl. Wonder why? Not why did she apply, why did she get the job?

-->Does anybody<-- know a better alternative music video station for country, blues or roots music? Twang even? Nowadays my estrogen level gets too high when I watch She MT... I mean, CMT.

I went to Billy Joe Shaver's website today because I was feeling so lucky. I just knew that he was going to be playing a date nearby soon. So I went to the tour dates section and lo and behold he was going to be nowhere near here for the foreseeable future. But I did learn he has a new CD out. So there's that.

My word for the day is concoction. It is not obscure nor is it particularly spectacular in meaning. It is just a nice, solid word that is satisfying to say. Sturdy, like good solid wood furniture. The kind with dowels instead of screws,...or heaven forbid, staples!

I coined a new term yesterday. You know how sometimes your crap will stop working and you'll poke it and ponder it, maybe even disassemble it a little and never see anything that looks FUBAR, so you'll flick it off and then back on (in the jargon this is known as a "Raytheon re-set) and it will mysteriously be just fine? Did you notice how long that sentence was? I had to follow it back to it's head waters to determine if it was going to need a period or a question mark at the end.

So anyway, that phenomenon is called a glitch. Well, what about the times that you think some gadget may not have worked right for a second there, or it may have flickered, faltered or hiccupped? You think it may have, but you're not quite sure since it is working fine now and you didn't do anything. I call those a son of a glitch.

Let stand five minutes uncovered before serving, out
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, October 14, 2005

Cheeseburger eater in relatvely expensive paradise

I was working yesterday and they kept making me stop. Seems civilians have rules for working and rules for not working. (One of the two examples from yesterdayis that I was having fun and was not hungry, but had to stop for lunch anyway.)

Newly divorced dudes write good songs. This one has been around about 9 years now. TAD did a kind of hard, bluesy version of this, But DRE's acoustic version is very simple and yet very powerful.

As my good buddies, The Black Panthers, used to say in the early '70s, "Right arm, brother. I feel ya*."


I wish it wasn't raining
it's messing up my plans
to sit drinking 'neath the moonlight
and forgetting where I am
Ain't one for feeling sorry
ain't one for feeling blue
there ain't much I'm afraid of
except memories of you

Point fingers at me darling,
throw stones upon my grave
don't owe no more apologies
no matter what you think
curse me like the darkness
but like darkness I'll be gone
to be sleeping in the warm and open
arms of alcohol

I'm no big thinker
and it's so simple girl
me wrapped around your finger
you were my whole world
Beauty I'm beholding
to me you held the moon
a moon that slowly faded
for you could not be true

Point fingers at me darling,
throw stones upon my grave
I owe no more apologies
no matter what you think
curse me like the darkness
but like darkness I'll be gone
to be sleeping in the warm and open
arms of alcohol

This is just a small town
listening to the buzz
saying how I'm saying
that you wasn't where you was
You could not be troubled
to put my mind at ease
and you may bring me down
but it will not be to my knees

Point fingers at me darling,
throw stones upon my grave
don't owe no more apologies
no matter what you think
curse me like the darkness
but like darkness I'll be gone
to be sleeping in the warm and open
arms of alcohol

I wish it wasn't raining
it's messing up my plans
to sit drinking 'neath the moonlight
and forgetting where I am
Ain't one for feeling sorry
ain't one for feeling blue
there ain't much I'm afraid of
except memories of you

St Croix, USVI

* I don't think it was "I feel ya, yo" yet. Still, I'm a dude with real street cred. I taught Eminem how to spell.

No pre-soak necessary, out
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Swisher, sweets.

Yesterday (yestiddy if you are reading this in NC) we cashiered at the Tampa Palms store. It was fun and we talked and joked with the customers as we checked them out in a slow, yet totally inept fashion. As we told the regular cashiers at 4 PM as we were getting ready to head back to Riverview, things'll probably get easier for them now that we were not going to be around to "help" them. I did learn how to turn off the door's theft alarm, which is good because I was the one most unable to remember to run anything over the little de-activation mat there at the register.

On my break I went to pee. Not that you would find that a particularly unusual thing to do. Nor would you probably even need to know something like that. Usually. But I tell you that to tell you this.

In the men's room there are urinals. Sometimes there are not, but there will be a comfortable little bench. However, no urinal and a bench usually signifies you have entered the ladies room. If you see a couch, as a man your first action should be to take a step back and check out the front of the door again. Good advice. Take it.

So, as I was saying, we have urinals. Manly, ceramic urinals. In the bottom of it there will be a plastic screen like device because as men we a) can barely operate a flush valve and b) have an overpowering urge to throw things into the urinal. Things, usually, that have no business in there.

As I looked down to pee, a habit I developed soon after experiencing the discomfort of warm, wet shoes, I saw the screen in my urinal. It had the words "Say no to germs" on it. Strange palce, I thought, to put something you want to keep germ free. It was from a company called Swisher. They are, as ZZ Top would say, bad and nationwide, so any guy reading has probably seen their logo. Or, if not, likely has wet shoes. Anyway, as I was thinking as I was peeing, Swisher is such an unfortunate name for a company that places most of it's products in the men's room.

Note: I realize my illustration photo says "Say no to drugs" instead of germs. All I can say is that Googling is not an exact science.

That's my observation for the day. It is small, but it is uninteresting.

#1 stain remover, out
Ramblin' Ed

Oznemni means "your ear's cold".

The customer is our #1 priority. They take precedence over everything else. Let them know you care. And so begins my first day in the world of retail home improvement. My feet are wet. I earned my first dollars.

Paint manager is a 22 year Marine who retired same day as me. His neighbor, retired from the Air Force also same day as us, works at the store too, although he'll go through a different orientation class. Gotta find us an Army dude and we'll play pinochle. Unless the Army guy just wants to be left alone to color.

My first interaction with a customer was memorable, if not pleasant. Thank goodness I didn't have my neat-o red Lowe's vest yet. He was a slight man, no more than 4 years old. Not very tall either, even for his age. He must have had one good tasting finger, though, judging by the way he was sucking on it and staring out the window. Staring out the window, oblivious to the fast paced world around him.

I was trying to call the wife on my cell and was heading for the exit to get outside into the warm Florida cell phone tower's glow. Just as I cleared the anti-theft pylons, I caught him out of the corner of my eye, leaning on the glass beside the door, back to me and the door, eating a finger and lost in thought.

Out of the other corner of my other eye I noticed that, after my foot had broken the electronic eye's beam, the automatic door was opening, all automatic like.

Now, using my deductive powers and my knowledge of physics, algebra, aerospace and fine draperies, I deduced immediately, and quite correctly, that the dim witted child and the large glasss door were soon going to be trying to occupy the same space. And one of them was going to find the experience unpleasant.

As the door approached the back of the child's head at a fairly rapid pace I realized that automatic doors will open completely. Not like a regular door where you control it's movement manually, once triggered an automatic door will do it's thing to completion. Dang!!

Seeing that the boy was going to take one in the back of the noggin, I hollered at him to move. I didn't want him to get hit in the back of the head like that, and my hollering at him saved him from that. Instead, wonder boy turned around and THONK! took it right in the forehead. Naturally he howled like a banshee. Naturally I apologized. Naturally mom looked at me like I had carefully placed the little moron in place and then went back to trigger the door. Naturally, they were transplanted yankees. Dang palm tree buying transplanted yankees. Dang banshee kids.

Are sun dried tomatos really worth the extra expense? And for that matter, how do we know for sure a chicken was free range? Does wanderlust have a distinctive flavor, and if so, what cheese best compliments it?

Who watches infomercials? Isn't an examination of your life in order if you'll watch an hour long commercial.

I saw this ad in the Tampa paper and I laughed out loud. NakeDan, and a bevy of female companions who are also available, will come to your house and perform nude house cleaning. Odd, but not completely unheard of. You can also get them to do nude home repair projects. Now, that's a little stranger, there. Why should I want a naked guy framing my kitchen door? With wood? Then I got to the part that made me howl. They were also available to come to your house to perform naked notary public duties! What possible scenario could there be that required a naked notary's services? In small print they allowed as how they would perform these services while clothed if requested.

OK, gotta go. Life is hectic and problematic right now. I apologize in advance for sporadic posting. It happens. And Gunner, thanks especially to you for hanging in there with me.

Refrigerate after opening, out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, October 10, 2005

Though the hubcaps were exceedingly difficult to conceal, the cat would steal them anyway.

Hola peeps. What's happening?

Don't know what to do today. I have some pictures left. I had thought of listing some novel's opening lines. I may even have a remember when story left in me. Who knows where this may go.

First things first. I had a pile o' trash out front today and they took it all. Even though it took both guys to lift three of the boxes. Let's hear it for the trash guys. Huzzah huzzah.

What the heck does huzzah mean? I read it somewhere once, but it still looks alien to me.

True story, abbrieviated version:
So as I'm in a joint in Kentucky heading to the restroom and I hear this black fellow trying to schmooze this woman. "Yew know, ah ain't from around heah. Ah'm from Loo-vull." I stopped dead, turned around, and in complete confusion asked, "Then where the heck is this? What city is this?" Seems I had driven from Norfolk, Virginia to LEXINGTON, Kentucky. All I can figure is that a)every single DOT road sign was incorrect, or b) I was reading Lexington but processing it as Louisville. By the way, I don't know about Louisville, but Lexington is pretty boring.

Five new opening lines for that novel you keep meaning to write:

5. Though he was feirce and ferocious, though he had these visions of conquest and mayhem, at the end of the day Reginald was still just a mole cricket.

4. Stanley scratched his ear, straightened his dress, and stepped off the bus into hot Georgia afternoon.

3. "Patricia.... Patricia.....", he gasped as he lay dying on that lonely concrete sidewalk, "Patricia...please empty the top drawer of my dresser before my family comes to get... my... things."

2. It was only an old, tarnished quarter fallen from a passerby's pocket, but to him it was twenty five cents.

1. Addressing the nation as their newly elected leader, President Simpson was mortified when quite accidentially he uttered the first "D'oh" of his presidency.

Hopefully, my background check is complete today and I can start work. Hope so, anyway.

Oh yeah. How in the world do the Jets, with a 42 year old quarterback they called out of soccer-dad retirement, beat the Buccaneers? Hmmm? I ask you? There is this curse I bring to the table with the Bucs. No matter how good they are doing, and no matter how not good the opponent is, if I get a chance to actually sit down and watch a game they will lose it.

T-t-t-talking 'bout my generation, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, October 08, 2005


My grandfather was not a large man. Nor was he particularly imposing. But he was strong. Strong of mind. Strong of speech. And especially, strong of character. Last time I saw him alive he was riding my sister's bicycle up and down our driveway in Florida, all wobbly and swervy and with the biggest grin you ever saw plastered on his face.

I would not veiw him at the funeral when he died. I was young, but I knew I always wanted to remember Grand Daddy riding the bike when I thought of him, not laid out to say goodbye.

Same sentiments hold true for Mr. John R. Cash, may he rest in peace.

Sailors, even retired ones, or maybe especially retired ones, love nautical stuff. It takes us back. Back to painted sunsets. Stolen kisses. Stupid t-shirts. I am, of course, no exception. I just kinda liked this one. Maybe it's how I feel a little bit right now.

I think I have to agree with this sentiment completely. And, just so you know, it spoke to me in part because of the next picture after it. I was looking and thinking, "That woman's head is square. And yet, I... can't... look... away."

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in this photo. I'd know who was cool, what music was hip, and who Helen was holding hands with last night when she was supposed to be calling Paul on the phone to discuss homework. Actually, Helen really needs to get her act together, or she's gonna get a reputation. Anyway, a fly, the wall, etc. That'd be keen.

When it comes to things that just make sense, this life's plan is at the top of the list. Obviously it has been given a lot of thought, and frankly, if it has a flaw, unless it is in the actual execution of the plan, I can't see it. I think I may adopt it as my own as I have been a little negligent in forming a workable life's plan of my own, unless "drift aimlessly" is considered a plan. Somebody get Hershey, PA on the phone for me, will ya?

Say it with me, "Ummmmm, Uma."

"Pigmeat Markham". Where have I heard that name before? Oh yeah, NOWHERE! What was the dude thinking?

This reminds me of self-defense training in the Navy. Don't attack us with ships or planes or missiles or guns. Ours are better than yours. No, really, they are. But should you attack us in our yard with a slingshot, whack us in the head with a stick as we exercise the dog (canine, not wife. And before you give me grief over that, sit outside the Navy Exchange for an hour and draw your own conclusions. We must spend wa-a-ay too much time at sea for our own good.), or just walk over and bitch-slap us you will bewilder us. We'll do one of two things: Just stare at you blankly or cry and run away. I am adept at either strategy because I rose pretty high in the ranks.

Heh, heh, heh. This is just cool.

Some say ol' Sponge Bob is gay. I don't think so, although I do believe if you got him drunk he'd follow you home.

"......Hey! When did you walk in? We... um.... I... OK, here's the deal. Wilting Lily here had something in his eye and I was just helping him try to get it out. Ha ha, that's it. Probably looks otherwise, I'm sure. But it's not. Nope. Sure ain't."

OK. That's it. Show's over folks. Go back to your yardwork or whatever. Bathe the kids. I'm really not sure what all it is you guys do. But go do it. I have shelves to buy. And mount. And then mount again... correctly.

Ow. Quit it. Ow. Quit it. Ow. Quit it. , out

Ramblin' Ed