Monday, January 30, 2006

Shut yer pie hole!

This guy/these folks are dangerous. Their message is dangerous. And their methods are dangerous. Who do they think that they are?? It is your right to disagree with the administration. It is your right to believe that there are signs all around you that point towards a divine retribution. But Reverend Phelps and his people are so far over the line that I am incredulous. His message is intolerance and hate.

To disrupt the funerals of brave troops who died honorably or miners who died tragically just to make a point, and presumably, grab headlines is unconsciable. It is rude and without class and should not be tolerated by any of us. I don't think freedom of speech applies here. Sure, they are guaranteed their right to hold that opinion. But I don't believe the right to express that opinion graveside and trampling on the feelings of a grieving family ever existed.

The good reverand is entitled to his personal opinions, no matter how closely they do or do not mirror my own. He is not, however, entitled to such an insensitive and grandstanding delivery method.

From yesterday's paper (paraphrased slightly for brevity):

Rev. Phelps and members of Westboro baptist Church have been protesting at funerals of Iraqi War casualties because they say the deaths are God's punishment for U.S. tolerance towards gay people.
Though the soldiers were not gay, the protesters say the deaths, as well as Hurricane Katrina and recent mining disasters, are signs of God's displeasure. They also protested at the memorial service for the 12 WV miners who died in the Sago Mine.

I say shut your pie hole and crawl back under your rock. I am completely and unshakeably opposed to organized, militant intolerance, regardless of what banner you try to march it under. Sorry, but stupid acts like this make my blood boil. Below is a list of planned protest tomfoolery I copied off of their website.

* Schedules for upcoming pickets

1. Funeral of Army Spc. Matthew C. Frantz - at 1 p.m., Monday, Jan. 30, at Lafayette Christian Reformed, 1200 Tippecanoe St., Lafayette, Ind
2. Pandering, demagogic, unfaithful Indiana Legislature - at 8 a.m., Monday, Jan. 30, at the Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
3. Fag-infested Tonganoxie High School and the Tonganoxie USD 464 Board of Education - at 7:30 a.m., Monday Jan. 30

Jn was wondering if I'd post a poem ever again. Well, I will try. By the way, I don't think I'm repeating posts, but accidents happen. I am trying to move them out of circulation, well circulation on my desk, as I post so I don't repeat. I read them so often trying to decide which to post that I lose track of what I actually post and what I only considered posting. What does that mean to you? Not a thing. Please enjoy a piece of my life.

Pleasure & Curse

I've seen the lights of the city
I've followed them far from home.
Been the stranger in town with his luck running out
and nobody to call my own.
I fall in love in a moment
but it never lasts more than a while.
It's a pleasure and curse and I could have done worse
than to get caught in your smile.

Lost my heart down near Baltimore
it was hard to let go.
Caught my breath down in Baton Rouge
I was hiding from the snow.
Left my mind in San Pedro once
but it's more than the miles.
From a lover's bed to a spider's web
I got caught up in your smile.

I've got my voices to answer
they're stealing around in my head.
I know how that seems, but we've all got our demons
and nothing more need be said.
There's no more complication
to living this reckless and wild.
Now Little Miss Muffet, you sweet little strumpet
where did you come up with that smile?

Lost a friend out by Jacksonville
he died way too young.
Lost my wife once she knew me well
but I had to try once.
Left my youth down some dusty roads
that I ran for a while.
And the diesel's roar drowned the slamming doors.
I was caught up in your smile.

Neither you nor me had no destiny
we were caught up in the smile.

Tonghae, Korea

OK, since I can't shake the feeling that was a repeat even though it wasn't in the pile of ones I've posted already, I am posting a second one. Here's a game to play as you read it. Kind of like a word search. Not including in the title, I have hidden the word "baby" in the verses. Test how observant you are and see if you can find it.

Baby Was

Baby always was that kind of mellow
Baby always was that kind of cool
Baby only wanted everything. She drives me crazy.
Baby smack me with the hard luck blues.

Baby lay beside me in the sunshine
Looking for the faces in the clouds
Baby always searching . Baby wants that perfect ending.
And kisses like you'd call the hard luck blues.

Baby always was that kind of lover
Always make me out that kind of fool
Baby burns her bridges all behind her
Baby always was that kind of cool

Baby sees the kindness in the strangers
Baby sees what isn't always true
Baby sometimes leaves me begging, standing on the sidewalk
Baby gonna see the hard luck blues

Baby called me on the phone this morning
Sounding kinda sexy tell the truth
Baby kinda whisper...kinda laugh...and kinda promise
I can always kinda count on hard luck blues

Baby always was that kind of lover
Always make me out that kind of fool
Baby closes all her doors behind her
Baby always was that kind of cool

Baby dances, she don't hide her pleasures
Baby does just what she wants to do
She don't ask me nothing, says she don't need my permission
And we all have had our dose of hard luck blues

My baby always was that kind of spirit
A spirit's such a smokey way to go
Drifting in and out just like the blues across the delta
That's what you're gonna call your hard luck blues

Baby always was that kind of lover
Always make me out that kind of fool
Baby always shuts the light behind her
Baby always was that kind of cool

Baby was a special kind of lover
Always find me talking out of school
Baby never needed no reminder
'Cause Baby always was that kind of cool.


Bi-polar molar or Bay City Roller?, out
Ramblin' Ed

A butterfly, a peacock, and a sigh of relief

Boot camp liberty weekend in San Diego. I was literally a new recruit. Been in the navy 6 weeks. Head still nubby from the buzz cut. The lost look still in my eyes. Haven't been out of the barracks room for six weeks straight except to march to the chow hall, march to the medical clinic, or to march in circles on the grinder in an effort to "properly learn us to march". If you have ever been a member of one of the services, or if you are even a casual observer of the services, you already know that learning sailors to march is an ornerous and time consuming job, and then we forget. There, I said it. Squids are terrible marchers.

At the end of the sixth week they let us have a weekend of liberty. Of course, we didn't have anything but what they had given us, seeing as how we had had to box up and mail home everything we showed up with. Luckily, I had been warned, so I showed up in old jeans, a t shirt and flip flops that I just threw away. By way of supplies, I was clutching a paper bag containing a comb, toothbrush and tooth paste. I was young enough that a razor was not required.

So, obviously, our first stop on liberty weekend was the Exchange to buy some "civvies" to wear. And man, was I looking stylish because I was always one to choose the clothing to reflect my personal style by comparing price tags on all like items and buying whatever was cheapest. Only thing I would not buy was plaid pants, and I'm not sure, but if they were discounted enough I still might have.

Anyway, to make my point. On liberty weekend, the plan me and ol' Steve had was for me to get a tattoo. Because, as a newly minted sailor, I was supposed to have one. We had talked and planned and asked around. Word was that down on Broadway Street downtown there were quite a number of tattoo parlors to choose from. We were going to take a taxi Saturday morning down there. Steve joined up already sporting a number of tats, so he was going to help me find the best parlor, based on watching them work and also observing their cleanliness habits.

I had the whole "I want a tattoo" thing going on, but when we finally decided on where to get it done we found the flaw in my plan. I hadn't given any thought to exactly what I wanted. I looked at skulls and ships and girls and snakes and any manner of service related tough guys and such. I looked at tigers and leprechauns and any manner of bad ass cartoon dudes. But I kept having this vision in my head of getting old... and since I was 19, I was more or less thinking when I turned 30 or so... of trying to get a job and being turned down because of my tattoo of the devil dressed in navy cracker jacks with the words born to raise hell underneath on my flabby, wrinkly 30 year old arm. And I did not want that.

So I had narrowed it down to a gold fish with a long, flowing tail or a butterfly. I really wasn't too sure about the fish and had just about decided on the butterfly. I was walking up to tell the guy that I wanted it when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the peacock. It was nice and blue and had such a colorful tail. And right then I decided on it. And even though after a few years most of the colors faded out of it, I still like it.

And I was to later learn that a butterfly tattoo would not have served me very well for my travels through Asia. "Why?", you ask. I'll tell ya. From the PI to Thailand to anywhere else you might go, if you were a rounder... a playboy... a man with a wandering eye, then you were prone to butterfly. Yep. If you were trying to talk to a girl and she knew you were smooching another woman last night, well she'd just push you away. "What's the matter baby?", you'd ask. "Go away", she'd tell you, "you're a butterfly." It could be tough.

Therefore, like so many other big decisions in my life, I accidentally made the right choice.

I am back to working a traditional day shift for now. Hopefully blog time will be a little more regular.

In a frog's eye, out
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Great patience and understanding

OK, took this from Red Queen, but it seemed an interesting enough endeavor. Some of you do not really know me that well, but if you did, you would know that to know me is to... well, is to be capable of great patience and understanding. Like a little bullet headed tree fern, I require great amounts of care and feeding. And reassurance. And clean t-shirts.

OK, first item up for bidding:

1. 4 Jobs I have had in my life:
--- Warehouseman at Tampa Wholesale Liquors
--- Pump jockey at gas station
--- Security guard at a condo
--- Deck and tile help for a pool company

2. 4 Movies I could watch over and over:
--- The Big Easy
--- The Whole Nine Yards
--- The Replacements
--- Die Hard

3. 4 places I have lived:
--- Riegelwood, North Carolina
--- Pascagoula, Mississippi
--- Shongaloo, Louisiana
--- Schnectady, New York (Where I learned to talk, thereby giving me a latent yankee accent)

4. 4 TV shows I love or can stand to watch:
--- 2 1/2 Men
--- Freddie
--- Survivor
--- Fear Factor

5. 4 places I have been on vacation:
--- Bangkok, Thailand
--- Newcastle, Australia
--- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
--- Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

6. 4 blogs I visit daily (In order, because I click the links from bottom to top):
--- Murf
--- Red Queen
--- Coal Miner's Daughter
--- Gun Trash
--- The Appalachian Intellectual (Yes, this makes 5, but I can hardly leave him off)

7. 4 Favorite foods:
--- Crunchy Peanut Butter
--- French Vanilla Ice Cream
--- Lumpia
--- North Carolina Pork BBQ (there's nothing finer!)

8. 4 places I'd rather be:
--- Fishing
--- San Diego
--- New Orleans (pre-hurricane or post-rebuilding, though)
--- Venezuela

9. 4 albums I can't live without:
--- Drive By Truckers - Mix CD
--- Kid Rock - Mix CD
--- Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
--- Steve Earle - El Corazon

10. 4 vehicles I have owned:
--- Nissan Laurel
--- GMC Sierra 1500
--- 1963 Buick Le Sabre
--- Suzuki Samurai

Not much to put on the blog today. I only had this here one day weekend to work with. Got a lot done. Passed food out through the neighborhood (Nong is not working so she is cooking), got a haircut, started my herbs in their sprouting cups, walked the cats, watched some basketball and a movie (Rob Zombie's "The Devil's Rejects" which was about what I expected but with higher production values than I was imagining), and made a trip to Wal-mart. In ten minutes, I'm off to watch Desperate Housewives and Gray's Anatomy. Glad I could get this done.

Get yer motor running and head out on the highway, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Time keeps on slipping (slipping, slipping) into the future

How do so many days slide past between blogs? I'm gonna post, then I don't have time, so I'm gonna during lunch at work, then gonna when I get home, then gonna tomorrow. Ben Gonna never actually meets his alter ego, Dunn Didd. So today is shaping up a lot to be like that again.

Not that there's nothing going on. Family can demand a lot of your time, and I don't mean that in a bad way. You always want to help your brother or your wife, up to and including dropping what you are currently doing. My brother had car trouble and my wife had a fender bender, neither of which should take a back seat to a blog. Nor did they. Then at work they are having the second pot luck dinner in two weeks. Today we prepared, cooked, and boxed up my contribution. No problem at all. But it was still three of my available five hours free time. It's just weird. I always used to be so relaxed and had time to do everything. Guess I still haven't fully adjusted.

My wife's fender bender is a classic example of them that just don't get it. I was at work. Bro called and asked if I could pick him up when he dropped his car off at the shop about 3 miles away. Nong told him I was working but that she would do it, then called me to ask where it was. And she was fine, knew just where I was talking about, etc. So off she goes.

At the intersection of a severely over congested highway where she was to be turning left, there was a little utility construction and a sherriff to keep an eye on (note: he was not directing, per se, just keeping an eye on it) traffic. Nong waited for her green arrow and proceded to turn left when an older lady and her son crunched into the side of our car. It was not major damage, but is definately noticable.

The kid, although I gather he was about a 35 year old kid, started jawing at Nong, possibly even mentioning that maybe she should not be on the road in his country, etc. I don't worry too much there, as the girl gives back more than she takes and can more than hold her own on something like that. They also both kept talking down to Nong, trying to point out that she obviously didn't understand that in FL you can turn right on a red light.

The cop had been watching and went over and told the old lady that she had been in the wrong. That's when she and her son took the opportunity to point out the whole right on red idea to him. Y'all already know what he told them, right?

Same as any one of us would have told them. Right on red is not the same as a green light. You don't just barrel into an intersection without yeilding because you are turning right. You are supposed to stop, ensure that it is safe, and then proceed. After having right on red explained to him once, then twice, the cop kinda got tired of explaining that she never looked, never slowed down, and never gave a moment's thought to yielding, and that yes, he knew the law and that no, he was not going to have it quoted again. Shut up and drive off or get a citation and a fine. She and that fine, bigoted boy of hers took the hint and hightailed it.

Today I did have a little time for the herb garden. So far I have sweet basil, Siam Queen basil, cillantro, and chili pepper. I also have some Thai herb that I don't know the name of. I have leeks, chives and a few others to get to, but a lot of that is seed and will have to be potted and sprouted, hardened off and transplanted. I'll just keep that in the garage for a while. See, this is why I couldn't wait to get my yard. An apartment balcony just is not the same.

Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

We-e-e-e-er'e GRRRREAT!!

I just got done watching the NC State- Seton Hall game that I recorded last night. What a great game. We are ranked #14 and Seton Hall is unranked. It's an out of conference game and we're at home. And here is what we were great at, listed below:

1. We were great at not hitting shots or displaying any offense at all.
2. We were great at not getting in the way of their players, which allowed them a more comfortable enviornment for scoring against us.
3. We were great at not getting any offensive rebounds, maintaining a nearly perfect 1 offensive rebound to their 12. 1 less and it would have been perfect.
4. And we were great about doubling up turnovers to assists, having 15 to's to 8 assists.

In summary, while the score may have been a little more lopsided had we just kept our team on the bench and off the floor, the game would not have been near so ugly. Back the Pack.

My dog, the one trapped n a cat's body, took the morning walk as an opportunity to wander down to the dirty mud puddle, flop down in the middle of it on his back, and roll around. Very much against his protests, he recieved a shower, blow dry and brushing before being allowed back in the house. During the shower, he stood there with his head under the running water and purred. Pictures available for a later post.

Am going to enroll the wife in beauty school for nail technician and facial cosmotology. It seems like a logical step, getting her licensed, on our way to the end goal of opening a shop, or, another business idea I am trying to flesh out in my mind.

Last night I had both the HDD recorder (basketball) and the VCR (LOST) going at the same time. Call it wishful thinking, since I average 1 hour or less of TV per day now. When I do get time, I have quite a stash of unwatched TV ready.

I have been recieving very good remarks on the customer satisfaction surveys that the customers I assist fill out afterward. Very nice comments, indeed. I kinda want to save them and frame them, but, well, that'd be kind of low rent, really. Still, I am glad the folks find me friendly and helpful. Tech support is not all that difficult.

We found some ten million dollar bills at the flea market. We were trying to pay dad back, AND let him keep the change, but he was being a stickler for that whole "this note legal tender" being on the bill. I told him don't worry, it has Reagan on it and we all knew we could trust him, but dad still declined. Dang! Now I'm back to square one.

There was a comment about "so, you help your wife? My husband stays out of my way." I am not in favor of her doing everything. I am just as equally not in favor of me doing everything. I am completely in favor of us doing things to keep the house in order together. I tend to step in automatically and divide labor on those type of tasks. She tends to do the same. Where there are competing interests for a slice of time, we tend to bargain and look for compromise. I'll take her to the flea market all day Saturday for some peace and quiet during the playoff games on Sunday. It works pretty good.

The only glitch to this whole division of labor/bargain/compromise thing we have going on is that for me, being on my second marriage, I see that it is a pretty equitable arrangement. Especially in light of my previous experience. For her, on her first marriage, it has always been that way and she has the sneaky suspicion that I could shoulder a little more of the equal load or compromise a little less often. And by compromise a little less often, I of course mean do it her way more often. But all in all, we run pretty smoothly.

OK, I swore to RQ when I was getting ready to retire that I would still be able to blog at least once, and possibly several times, per day. I lied, obviously. I'm not even sure civilian days are as long as navy days, because I am getting a whole boatload of nothing done, and I never have the time I need to (not) do it. My apologies.

Hopefully a poem tomorrow.

Sarcasm is a free service offered here, out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I hope I don't get in trouble for this. It is a little bit of an e-mail conversation I had this morning. Believe it or not, it started out being about Dwight Yoakam's drummer. Never mind the twists and turns that brought us to this point, but afterward it had me thinking the whole time I was out walking the cats. So, the (sanitized) e-mail to serve as the set-up:

That is remarkable. It seems to be more common for guys to keep friends from that far back than it is for us females. I'm not sure why that is.

Maybe it's because we're basically lazy. Remember, we don't rearrange furniture or change the bathroom towel, either.

You are weird creatures.
I enjoyed it too. Thanks!

Which got me to thinking about the living room comment. It is so true.

Just put everything in the room in some logical order, and all is good. And if it is good today, why wouldn't it be good tomorrow? Maybe a slight rearrangement if I get a new couch or a bigger TV, but mostly things stay the same.

You already know the best angle for watching TV laying down without causing undue neck strain. You've already figured out how to bounce the remote signal off the glass in the picture hanging on the wall so you don't have to actually lift your arm to change channels. You have the muscle memory built up to where you can pick up, put down and pick your drink back up again from the table without taking your eyes off of the game. And, you can navigate the room in the dark, which comes in handy when you're awake enough to know you're thirstier than wino in Utah, but not awake enough to want to open your eyes. Basically, life is good and easy.

So forgive a man if he just cannot comprehend why anyone would walk in to a room and say, "Hey, let's move everything around. For fun." For FUN??? I cannot think of anything less fun. Well, getting dripped with hot candle wax sounds less fun, but you get my drift. Maybe if the cable jack goes bad an argument could be made for rearranging things. But then, the jack is not bad, and besides, jacks can be repaired.

So, we have given over any claims of sovereignty we may have had on the kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom or dining room. We never even bothered to stake claim to more than a sliver of the closet space or bathroom cabinets. They're all yours... go in peace. But for the love of all that is holy, keep yer mitts off the TV room.

Reasons a man my rearrange things, listed in totally random order:

5. His wife/girlfriend is making him, despite his impassioned protests.*
4. He recently discovered his "feminine side"
3. Finally got the big TV, but it will not fit on the same wall the other one did.
2. New medication with an unforeseen side effect.
1. Wife/girlfriend won't shut up about it, despite his impassioned protests.**

Really, those are the only reasons I can think of for rearranging furniture. And if you think about it for a minute, numbers 4 and 2 are just not that likely to happen. Number 3 is possible, but happens less often than it should. That should tell you something.

You do not like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them, Sam-I-am. , out
Ramblin' Ed

*To which he defiantly states, "Well, then we will have to be done by one o'clock. That's when the game starts."
**To which he defiantly states, "Well, then we will have to be done by one o'clock. That's when the game starts."

Monday, January 23, 2006


I don't know for sure that the above says 46 in Roman numerals, but anyway, that's what I turned today. Man, now I'm on the downhill side of my forties, too. I always try to figure how old I have to live until for this to be my life just being half over. I reach that number by multiplying my current age by 2. I know, that's why I challenged the math course. Anyway, last year I needed to live to be 90. Now I need to live to be 92. Anything less and I'm more than halfway done already. So.... how about a hand for advances in modern medicine. Way to go and, um, keep on researchin'. Yeah, researchin', that's the ticket.

I hope the above don't sound too morbid. I do think about how long I'll be on earth, but I don't obsess about it. Like I know for sure now that I'm not going to lose my hair. What I don't know is when, or if, it'll all go gray on me. I know that I'll never be grossly overweight, but I also know I can toss those 36 X 34 jeans I wore for so many years. I'll never again get in to them. I now know that I'll never be rich, but doggone it, at least I won't be rich. OK, OK, but being independently wealthy always did hold a certian allure for me.

There's a line in a Drive By Truckers song that, while I in no way epitomize it, I do fully apprieciate it. It states: Some people quit living just before they die. Well, not me. They'll find me dead one morning, a smile frozen on my face and some smart ass blog half finished.

And and I say to all y'all who know me, well at least all y'all who survive me, there ain't no reason to let the beer in the fridge go to waste. At least I assume there'll be a few cold ones in there. If there's not, then you'll know this: Apparently, you CAN take it with you.

I've got no advice for the youth of America, out
Ramblin' Ed

... This will insure future obedience.

This is mostly a waste of time, but sometimes I just like to indulge myself. Anyway, today was a day off and I had time to kill.

Unemployment is like one huge vacation you take with your good friend, poverty.


I have lots of hair on my chest. Unfortunately, none of it's mine.



You and I seem relatively compatible... not that relatives should date.


In dating, it's best to keep yourself high and your standards low.



Any question can seem rhetorical, if you're dumb enough.


If God wanted gays to marry, he wouldn't have made so many close-minded voters.



Question authority - but politely, and while kneeling.


Wait until your dog does something really bad before having him neutered - this will insure future obedience.

One's name was Jane and the other was plain, but they both had racing motors, out
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A man walks in to......

A man walks in to his bedroom with a sheep under his arm and says: " Darling, this is the pig I have sex with when you have a headache."

His girlfriend is lying in bed and replies: "I think you'll find that's a sheep, you idiot."

The man says: "I think you'll find I wasn't talking to you."


I heard someone on TV yesterday say something to the effect of, "Good news, Mrs Smith. We've caught the person who killed your daughter." I don't believe that any sentence that includes the phrase "killed your daughter" is good news.


No matter how you try to phrase it, there is no delicate way to ask your wife to get in the truck bed and put a little weight over the wheels so you can pull out a stump.


I liked it today when Deacon Jones said, "I'm done teasing now. Just watch the game."


When I was in high school there was a small pizza joint called Babe's Pizza. It was about a block off campus. I haven't eaten there in nearly 30 years. In fact, given this town's propensity to pave over everything from the past, I was quite surprised to move back here and see it was still there, same building on the same location. Yesterday, on the way back from the flea market, we stopped in for supper. We drove up at ten minutes to five and learned that the place opened up at five. So we waited. By the time the doors opened ten minutes later, the parking lot was full. There was a rush through the doors when they opened. By ten minutes after five, all the booths, tables and counter seats were full and the waiting area was full too. Who knew?

Babe's sells a double decker pizza, which basically is just what it sounds like. I got me one of them. Mmmmm.... good. And cheesey. And so-o-o filling. Took 3 tries, but I finally finished it.

Riddell ,out
Ramblin' Ed

So the termite sez, "Is the bar tender here?"

I was gone, but now I'm back. I am psyched (man, I have so much trouble spelling that) for the playoff games today. Both should be really good, really hard fought games.

I gave up my Saturday, and the ACC basketball a Sat. afternoon entails, to take the wife to the flea market. It was a beautiful day. Sunny and about 80. I knew if I blew her off Saturday that she would not be denied on Sunday. So I told her I'd give her Saturday in exchange for Sunday. Seems to have worked.

Funny, the flea market actually worked in my favor for securing a good couch potato position for today's games. Everybody we had any occasion to talk to steered the talk to the games, which gave Nong an inkling that it wasn't just me being lazy. The kicker though was when the mother and daughter who were running the purse stand spent the whole time talking NFL with me, up to and including in depth criticisms of the Buccaneers' assistant coaching staff, and the QB coaching staff in particular. That's when Nong knew I was lost for Sunday.

I was in Olongapo City, Phillippines in the late 80's or very early 90's. Really not sure and my mental timeline abandonded me long ago. I know for sure I was older than 19 and younger than 40. Yeah, that timeframe.

Olongapo could be kinda rough. All the visiting sailors who were scared to ride a jeepney or get too far out of sight of the base stayed there. It was an amazing place, really, if you're into the lights and bustle. It existed only to entertain the sailors and marines, and at that it excelled. There were bars upon bars upon bars. All had cheap booze and pretty girls. Some of the really large places had live bands. And they jammed. They were loud, they were smokey, and, cheap as they seemed to be, they could soak you out of your whole paycheck in a single night. And you would thank them for doing it it.

In fact, there were quite a few people, establishments and even government entities who were there mostly just to seperate you from your money. And most amazing was that the more sailors you brought to town, the more pretty girls there seemed to be. No matter how many ships would pull in, I never saw the ratio change. It was a most interesting place, but not quite my style. Mostly because I am somewhat put off by loud noise and frequent fights.

One hot, dusty day I was walking through Olongapo on my way to the Victory Liner Station, which is where we went to catch a jeepney to Barrio Baretta or even all the way out to Subic City. As I was walking, I heard George Jones coming through an open window. I followed it and found myself in a pleasant little upstairs joint. Mamasan was friendly (not always the case, especially in Olongapo) and I was the only customer. I had plenty of female attention (because, as they say, I have great peso-nality), good hardcore country tunes, and ice cold San Miguel to ease me on through another hot PI afternoon.

Pretty soon another white boy shows up. Then another. Then another and another. In fact, the place has gotten pretty full. Mamasan allows as how this always happens when she plays the country tapes she has. The place gets full of misplaced country boys, drinking heavy and spending freely. So that's why what she does next surprised me so.

She pulls the country tape out and pops in a mix tape that includes Madonna, Ace of Bass, Roxette, Whitney Houston, etc. The country boys, as they finish their beers, thank mamasan and one by one wander downstairs and out the door. Soon it is just us again and mamasan tells me that sometimes the place gets really busy (like whan she is playing country music) but that it's hard to keep them there very long (like when she stops playing country music and puts on dance pop instead). I look at her and smile. I put 100 pesos on the bar and stand up, indicating I'm leaving the change as a tip, and say, "Huh. I wonder why that is?" And I head for the door to go find me that jeepney I was looking for.

I'd like to write more. Really I would. But I just came in from pulling the crepe myrtle tree up and dropping the new fruit tree in the hole, and also doing a sprinkler check. I am dripping sweat all over the keyboard. Even though the temp is 10 degrees above normal, I am not going to turn the AC on in the middle of winter. It just ain't natural. So... sit and bitch it is then.

Station dito, Honey-ko, Out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Saved by the smell

This is where I used to fish in Pascagoula, MS. I loved the old, sunken shrimp boat. It was like a post card and it said, "Things are not real hurried down here." I do love the south.

Even as a boss I was pretty quick witted. You gotta be, especially working around so many youngin's. One guy, who I refer to here as Anger Boy, when I refer to him at all, was one who got zinged. The setup:

Ol' Anger Boy, that whining, complaining, non-anger managing, Phish listening youngster that somebody left me and called my Computer Room Supervisor (Bush Man had not yet arrived on the scene) didn't like Japan. At all. Then, one Japanese girl, who I must assume suffered the dual afflictions of far-sightedness and hearing loss, found some occasion on which to smooch him. His tune immediately changed. As did his speech pattern. Now every recollection of his began with Aiko and / Aiko said / Aiko did... you get the idea.

Now, it is about this time that Anger Boy decided he needed to feel sorry for me for not having a steady girlfriend. Never mind that, after 13 years together, me and the wife had gone our seperate ways. Never mind that I was finding it kind of nice to do what I wanted when I wanted. Or to buy whatever I wanted, subject to the sole constraint of whether or not I could pay for it. I was not in a real big hurry to have to compromise on how much football I watched or how many obscure Texas songwriter CDs I intended to buy.

So, when he tried to zing me as I came in to work one day, he wound up on the business end of a rather cutting response. Please, allow me to recount:

Anger Boy: Guess what, Senior Chief. Aiko's pregnant.
Ramblin' Ed: OK. Good.
AB: Isn't that cool?
R'E: Maybe
AB: Well, heh heh (and swelling up with obvious pride in himself) , at least that proves I get laid.
R'E: No, Anger Boy. At least it proves she gets laid.

Another time I walked in on two of my younger sailors having a conversation. One was from the city and one grew up with a more sheltered background. And I still laugh a hearty, evil laugh at how I jumped in and finished this exchange:

City Boy: I'm going to go see an X-rated movie
Sheltered Boy: Why?
CB: Because I can
SB: But I don't understand. Why would you want to?
CB: Because I can
SB (Trying a different tack): But what would your mother say if she saw you heading in to an X-rated movie?
Ramblin' Ed: She'd say, "Seven dollars, please."

They say sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind. A lot of times I was just cruel. (Which just made me think of CRUEL TO BE KIND by Elvis Costello, which in turn got me thinking of ALLISON, which is now completely and utterly stuck in my head).

Jn pointed out that my blog is not particularly snippet friendly. I think this is true. I don't really mind. I mean, really, most of my stories are fairly long and detailed and meander along until they reach no point. Then I end it. In other words, I start slow then taper off. In fact, much like the Japanese National Anthem, my posts have no real beginning or end. They are all middle. That means you are really trying to make a snippet out of what is really no more than a verbose snippet to begin with. But now a whippet... that, my friends, is something completely different. So whip it. Whip it good. (When something gets you down, you must whip it!!)
By the way, as I am sure you already know, DEVO was short for devoloution. A little eighties humor from the guys with yellow pants and flower pot hats. Are we not men?

What good are friends if you can't steal from them a little bit? I lifted this from AI because it was so eloquent, and at the same time, so powerful. When he's not popping a cap in a forest creature he's quite the wordsmith, as evidenced with his "Last Hillbilly Standing" piece here:
People look at these Mountains and see Heaven, but there's a touch of Hell here. Sometimes we're our own worst enemies, there's our Anti Intellectualism, Inertia, lack of unity and sometimes no purpose that anyone is willing to unite on. You can call this Blue Ridge megalomania, but, I believe the last man standing on Earth will be an Appalachian Hillbilly somewhere between North Alabama and the middle of Pennsylvania. He'll live just for spite.

By the way, AI, the wife's starting to talk about a run to NC to get some more livermush and cheerwine, so we may face to face yet. I only tell you that as a way to let you begin to prepare for a slight disappointmenent. You know how folks will say something like, "Gee, I thought you'd be taller"? What I usually get is, "Gee, I thought you'd be cooler".
I watch a lot of A&E. Not sure how that happened but with shows like Intervention, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Roller Girls and Dallas SWAT, perhaps it was inevitable. But my point is this: If you know what A&E stands for then maybe you can tell me if there is any A left in their programming. Because if there is, I can't find it.

My current favorite commercial is the Latino tumbleweeds for PSP. I like the part where the ones says he's going to "shoot her with my love gun, man".

I had one of them strong, silent, muscular dudes worked on the Phalanx gun for me. He was a good kid, pretty young but still the others looked up to him. And they looked up to him for all the right reasons. Anyway, one day, out off the coast of Tiawan, we were working out in the sunshine. Most of us had our shirts off and many were in shorts. I was not wearing shorts because everything south of my belt buckle is already in the shade.
Now Gunner, in a very uncharacteristic way, was complaining about something and the level of whining was way out of proportion to whatever it was that he wanted. On top of that, I had already told him I would make it happen right after lunch, so as far as I was concerned we had us one of them "case closed" sitchy-ations and it was time for him to close mouth and get back to gun maintenance.
Yet for some reason, he persisted. Gunner had his last name tattooed across his stomach in big, bold, slightly gothic letters. From the top of his left waistband, up and over the navel, and ending at the top of the right waistband. It actually looked pretty manly. Of course, he was still young and the belly still flat. But I digress.
Finally I had had enough. I looked over at him, squinting through the sun and said, "Gunner, what the heck were you thinking when you got that tattoo?" "Huh? What do you mean?" "Well I mean, look at it. It's your last name." "And...?" "Well, gunner, it's just going to change when you get married, right?" Zing! Pow! See... it's because I was saying he was complaining so much he was sounding like... a... girl... nevermind. It was funny then.
One thing I have learned after a few weeks at a technical support call center is that natural selection doesn't really work. You'd like to think it does, but, nah. It's broke.
OK, the photos and then I'm outta here.
The bird hit here and, I suspect, died right about back here. I had just rolled up the window so I could hear the radio better. That turned out to be a good move.
Now, we take an already damaged car and a dead kangaroo, mix 'em together, throw in a little mischievieousness, and... have instant conversation starters.
Billy, don't be a hero. Don't be a fool with your life, out
Ramblin' Ed

Place holder

I had to take the car to the shop today. I got it broke and Pontiac finally secured a supplier and got me the replacement part for something that never should have been broken on a new car in the first place: The vanity mirrors. How can you not get that right? It's like glass with a plastic cover on it.

Anyway, blog will have to wait as I'm off to work. Would normally just leave y'all to figure it out (all you junior Dick Traceys out there) but wanted to give Murf a shout out and let her know I located the photograph and then some. Will try to get them scanned in tomorrow.

American Idol starts tonight, so let me be the first to say it.....

Sea grass, Out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, January 16, 2006

This is where we live: Channel 5

Me and the Bush Man were in Oz. Well, that's what they call it. Seems to me that if they were to shorten it and slang it up, and they do shorten and slang up everything, it would be Aus. Me? I just called it Australia.

We had pulled into Wollongong. I'm not sure how you even find a Wollongong, but there we were. Decided that this would be as good a time as any to rent, or as is the local term, hire a car. So we hopped in a taxi and had him drive us to rent a car. Thus we ended up at Hertz. Our goal: To head inland from the coast, stopping in all of the small towns and getting a feel for the "real" Australia.

Well right off the bat our plan has flaws. For starters, as we were to find out, the Australians, real, unreal or otherwise, all live on the coast. 15 minutes inland from the coast of what turns out to be one honking big island, you are communing with a whole bunch o' nothing. Trees and brush. And birds who all fly at windshield level. (A sample conversation from a later trip that also included a hired car: "Dang! Have you ever noticed just how big the Aussie sky is, Genevieve?" "Yes, Ed. It's quite huge." "So... how come your birds only use the bottom 5 feet of it?")

While this is yet another story for yet another time, the day before this story takes place I had a) run my car into a vetenarian's office building, and b) had a freakishly large bird fly into my window, scaring the beejeesus out of me and leaving quite the conversation starting mark.

We had driven long and far, finding precious few people or towns and nothing of particular noteworthiness. And we hadn't seen any kangaroos. They were supposed to be everywhere and we had not seen any. We drove and we drove and then, there in the middle of nowhere, was a sign announcing that we were approaching Canberra, the sister city of some city in Japan that we had never heard of. And right after we stopped, and for some reason photographed the sign, we saw our first 'roo. Now, this particular kangaroo was of the species roadus killus, but still it was a real kangaroo.

We are nothing, me and Bushie, if not brainiacs. So we looked at the dead kangaroo. Then we looked at each other. And then we smiled.

We pulled the car slowly off the road and towards the kanga-carcass, positioning it to where the part of the front end of the car that took the brunt of the vetenarian building kiss off was positioned right at the dead animal. Then I had Bush hop out with the camera. I pulled myself up and half out of the driver's window, afixed a look of faux horror on my face, and we took a photo that appeared to be me reacting in horror to kersplatting an innocent marsupial. Then me and Bush Man traded places and he got his picture taken, too. We later showed it around the ship and told a story that became more embelllished with time. (Screw 'em. If they want their own good stories they can venture out of the bars every once in a while.)

What we noticed at the time was the local drivers giving us unapproving looks. Not sure if it was because of the dead kangaroo or our victory photographs. Or, for that matter, that they were just unapproving people. I don't know. What we noticed after developing the photographs was the buildng we had pulled in front of. We hadn't noticed it before, our focus being on the road kill before us at the time. But we were in front of the Channel 5 building. And in each of our pictures, as if for captioning, was their sign stating: THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE.

Anyway, we got home to Yokosuka a few months later and were showing the Bush Man's girlfriend Junko (the one who taught him to talk like a schoolgirl) the pictures. We came to the one where we had apparently put the smack down on the kangaroo and proceeded to traumatize her with it. Not just from seeing it, although she did let out a small gasp. But from what happened next.

Junko: What is this? How this happen?
Ramblin' Ed: We did it for you.
J: For me? What do you mean?
R'E: You told Bush that you wanted a picture of a kangaroo, right?
J: Yes.
R'E: Well, we tried and we tried but they would not be still. So we finally ran one down to get a good picture for you. Yes, this one died for your picture. But look, it's a good picture. Look how cute he is... um, was.
J: Arrrgggh! OH NO! I DID NOT MEAN TO DO THAT!! NO! (You need to realize that on the whole, the Japanese pretty much take everything you say at face value, hence her horrified reaction.)

Final note. The first three kangaroos we saw were all road kill. It seemed to take forever to see a live one. But we still couldn't really get any pictures of them because they very quickly ran very far away. All of our pictures of live kangaroos in the wild appear as dots on the horizon.

I see, said the blind man, out
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I smell a hemi...

I cannot begin to tell you how much I don't like the commercial of the two hillbillies driving down the road and, apparently, sniffing the passing traffic for large engines. Thanks, Dodge.

It's not everyday you get to talk to a tech saavy pirate. - Zach, the AOL trainer

The zombies will eat you first. Then you won't have to watch the rest of us get eaten. - Bart Simpson. (As Bart sees it, Lisa is lucky to have the room facing the graveyard)

I love waking up drunk in the mornings. - Homer Simpson

How often have you driven by a house fire and wondered, "How can this benefit me?" - Faux Fox commercial

"My tires have been severely damaged. The prophesy has come true." - Sideshow Bob

"Do something my real father could never do. Help me learn that the stove is hot." - Homer Simpson

Did you hear abut the suicidal dyslexic? Flung himself behind a moving bus. - Old, corny joke

Go Steelers! What a great game. I enjoyed every minute of it. But there was one thing that did not set too well with me. It was when Coach Dungy put in the punt team and Peyton Manning told them to go back out. He should have at least made some show of asking the coach, or discussing it with the coach or something. He kinda made Dungy look like a rookie assistant coach, to me. No matter how good he is or how confident he is, and no matter if he thinks the coach is making the wrong call, for Manning to just countermand him like that did not look good.

Bush Man spoke fairly good Japanese. We used to run together when we'd head north or south in Japan, away from the English subtitled areas of the country. Me and the Bush Man had only a few adventures together, but we had good ones. Ones with story lines that include dead kangaroos and rental cars. You will get that next blog, which may be as soon as tomorrow.

Anyway, Bushie always took care of ordering in noodle shops, getting the taxi to drive us where we wanted to go, getting directions on the street, and messing with gullible barmaids. He came in handy, for sure. And me and him had been on two ships toghther, so we were pretty good friends.

One night in Oturu, which is way up north, not too far from Sapporo, he had been providing translation during a cold, yet surprisingly action packed evening. We had heard about this one place that really started juking about 1 AM and were trying to navigate the labyrinth of back alleys that make up the Japanese night life areas. We didn't know where we were or if we were getting close to the place. So we stopped in a small grocery type store to ask. The guy working was mid to late twenties, clean cut and pleasant. In Japanese, Bushie asked him about the place. In perfect English he replied, "I'm not sure exactly where it is." Bush was momentarily thrown for a loop because he was expecting the answer to be in Japanese and, while he seemed to think he understood the answer, he was pretty sure it wasn't Japanese. After a couple of Kirin Ichibans, Bushie wasn't particularly quick about these things.

Long story short, we asked him a bunch of questions about Japanese stuff that we didn't understand, like the crossed arm salute when you walked into a place. We knew it meant we were not welcome, we just didn't understand why. His take on it? "I don't know why they do that. Ignorance, maybe?" He answered each question as best he could and was real friendly. He had gone to California for his college. UCSB, I think it was.

After we had asked him everything we had been wondering about and were getting ready to go back to looking for our nightspot, he turned to Bush Man and said, "Mind if I ask you something? Why do you talk like a girl?"

Bush Man froze, slowly turned, and then turned real red. "Huh?? Like a girl?" "Yeah, like a girl. Where did you learn Japanese?" "My girlfriend taught me." "Oh, that explains why you talk in the slang of a Tokyo schoolgirl." I laughed and walked out. Bushie smiled a little and slinked out.

We found the place and had a good time. Being the only Americans around in a small, frozen city has it's perks. Either you have a good shot at curiosity smooching (they wonder what a gaijin is like) or bragging smooching (where they get to tell their friends tomorrow that they were smooching an American last night). Like we care what the reason is, right? Pucker up.

Don't be a scofflaw, out
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, January 13, 2006

So you're saying I should purchase the warranty?

Thank goodness it's the weekend. Nevermind that I'm just starting my shift as y'all are coming home. It's still the end of the week.

Just found out that I only missed passing the Algebra challenge exam by one question, and only missed passing the Computer challenge exam by one question. The English Comp, which I really had figured was an ace (except maybe for the comma question) was way off. I only pulled a 60% on that one. So, whatever. I told Preet that I would just take the courses and to put any other non-traditional methods back into their box. I would do it the old fashioned way: study and test.

Just to confirm what you all suspect, I am, indeed, still a most polite fellow. Just can't help myself.

I think we are to get moderate to severe thunderstorms this evening. In fact The Weather Channel says to excpect them between midnight and 1 AM. Hmmmm, who do I know that gets off work at 1245 AM? Well, there's me....

I told Yuki that a lot of you liked her story. She did a slight curtsy, and said to thank you all.

Man, I make some really good jambalaya. I do like to cook. But for some reason this pot gave me gas pretty bad. I hope telling you that didn't hurt the credibility of my politeness statement above. Anyway, I made this pot like I make most of the jambalaya I make, with spicy smoked sausage. I'll throw together a pot made with shrimp every now and then for the wife. But I love jambalaya and hate seafood, so I make the shrimp stuff infrequently. For me, siding them up with corn muffins and butter is... is.... well, it's mmmmm-licious.

All Fired Up and No Place to Go

I think the wife works this weekend, both days. If so, I am going to try to write some new stuff. I still have old stuff to share, but I am slowly but surely using it up. I somehow lost 2 books (700 - 1000 of my poems) a while back and that really put a dent into my repitoire. I am most saddened because those were all my "storyteller" stuff. I explored the civil war, travel, raising youngin's and, of course, the big 3: good love, bad love, lost love. Might have even been some of my more, shall we say... psychedelic stuff, too. I can't really rememebr. All I know is that I hate that I lost them.

Quiet Place

Will you turn your head from my outstretched hand
pretend like it ain't something you can see?
Are you hard and rough? Are you big enough?
Are you just another lie that I've believed?

What I suspect. And I don't want to know.
Smiles apart and still the distance grows.
I will close my eyes to better comfort me
a quiet place beside a different road.

When our hearts beat close and times like those
Time's a friend I don't think that I need.
It's an aching hurt. And dark as dirt.
I ain't used to having thoughts like these.

What I suspect. Maybe I don't know.
Drifting smiles apart the distance grows.
I will hold my hand to the flame to see
if love is pain and I can make it grow.

I am tired and worn. Like my heart is torn.
Don't care my stories do or don't get told.
Murder twists like rage in a rusted cage
begs a steady hand to keep control.

What I suspect. What I think you know.
Our smile's a part of all we should believe.
The things you say, they will have their day,
but words lie trampled down beneath our deeds.

Will you turn away? That's a dangerous thing.
Calm ain't always calm as it might seem.
If the songs you hear but the words aren't clear
What's become of lies that I've believed?

I gave the heart that beat for you inside of me
you brought me lies that oh so slowly bleed.

Kamakura 22

For external use only, out
Ramblin' Ed

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yup. You guessed it. The FORBIDDEN ZONE.

So she goes creeping, creeping, creeping across the back of the side yard towards Gwen's house. In full hunt mode: tail down, ears back, each step measured and precise. Closer and closer to the forbidden zone. The forbidden zone, that swath of decorative plants gone jungle from years of being left alone to just do as they pleased. And they pleased to grow, thick and unruly, into a haven for critters and an irresistable hidey-hole for cats. And Yuki, being all cat and hunter, is called all the stronger.

Pepe, is a satisfied mixture of a kitten's curiosity and a middle aged cat's protruding belly. A belly that resembles a cows udders in both it's shape and positioning and in the way it sways to and fro, to and fro as he walks. He is the male, and as in male cats of all sizes in the wild, he is content to let Yuki do all the work of skulking and hunting while he waits, napping in the sun for her to corner, capture and tire out something. At which time he moseys on over as if to say, "I'll take it from here."

I am moving, from my place watering the flowers in the front yard, at an angle meant to intercept Yuki just before se breaches the forbidden zone. She cannot understand why I will not let her venture into it's inviting shadows, but she knows I am adamant about it. You can tell that by the way she surreptiously tries to keep an eye out for me as she eases off that direction. But if I am nothing else, I am a vigilant man.

Yuki decides that this time she is not to be denied. Once she is sure I am on to her she picks up the pace, first hurrying and then abandoning all pretense and breaking into a sprint. I am in pursuit, vainly admonishing her, "No! Yuki, no! Stay out of there!" But it is to no avail.

What I already know, she is about to discover. Tank, the giant dog next door who is part chow and part something with a pituary gland problem, somehow hears her running towards him and in his deep, no nonsense way begins his slow and dangerous sounding warning. "Rrrrwooof... Rrrrwooof... Rrrrwooof... ," he warns. Yuki stops dead in her tracks. So quickly, in fact, that her rear end momentarily smacks up into her front end, like some kind of four legged accordian.

Coming to quite the swift decision as to what to do next, she turns and high tails it across tha back yard and into the dark, safe, cave like haven that is the garage. In the garage and underneath the Pontiac, to be precise. I follow her, laughing. "See, I told you. You don't need to be over there."

I realize that Pepe is not with us. Thinking he may be paralyzed with fear, I go back to "rescue" him from the big, mean, fenced in dog. They can see neither the dog nor the fence, which is fine by me. It's better if they wonder.

When I get there I find Pepe, still in his little patch of sun, but now sitting in a more attentive position, facing the barking, with his head cocked in the way cats do when their curiosity is piqued. And, knowing my boy cat the way that I do, I know he is thinking, "Do I go try to play with it or go try to eat it?"

There you go. A morning in my yard.

Easy now, out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I'm a Gangsta, beeyatch!

Well, I'll say that the good thing about working at night is the being tired. You just can't get enough of feeling beat down. And, of course, as I mentioned before, the Swiss Miss Spiced Apple Cider. Mmmmm.... cider.

Well, it's a clean sweep. I failed the last challenge exam. And it was English! I was sure I was doing well on it, so I'm wondering what's going on. I mean despite my copious use of colloquialisms, and the occasionally fat fingered keystroke that results in a wrong or missing or inserted letter, I am very good with English. Or at least I thought I was.

Now there was one question pertaining to comma usage that I very likely missed because, as we all know, when in doubt I comma out. But I should have gotten at least all of the others correct. This is pissing me off. Seems they want you to know a whole lot of stuff to call yourself educated. Dang educators!

On a brighter note, somebody named Fannie Mae seems to want to lend me money for this whole educational endeavor. She seems like a nice enough lady, although, while I hesitate to call her masculine, she does bear a resemblance to my Uncle Sam. I'll be giving her a shout out after I finish this.

Last night in training we took the customer phone calls for a while. That was fun and this job is going to be exceedingly easy. I am also learning a lot of other things I didn't even know I wanted to know. Didin't even know that I didn't know. Such things as the guy who sits behind me is a self-described, "Gangsta, bitch!" Now as you can see, that's some mighty handy information. Especially if you ever have the need arise to have some nineteen year old gangstering done. Bitch.

It is a nice warm day. I keep wanting to transplant some new plants that I got recently. The weather seems receptive to it, but I keep coming back to the fact that this is January and next month is February. And no matter what, this is still North America. Since it has been a long time since I lived here last, I can't rely on experience so much. So I am just going to have to rely on the calendar and the calendar says wait until the first of March to stick anything new in the ground.

In Virginia, I always used to rub my chin and wonder when it was going to ever rain again. In Louisiana, I used to scratch my head and wonder if it was ever going to stop raining again. Here I just can't figure out for sure when seasons end and begin. But one thing's for sure: Planting houses is ALWAYS in season here.

I Ain't Much Excitement

I ain't much excitement, y'all
hell raisin' days are behind me now
traipsed out in the bayou
settled down dirt road style

4 wheel drive, all dirt, no chrome
wood smoke smellin' like home sweet home
a rebel at heart
red necked and countrified

But just step back a few years or so
we was drinking whiskey and rolling smoke
it was gator country and we was feeling right
we was kinda wild, it was kinda fun
going nowhere at a full tilt run
in a Florida haze, them Florida days and nights

I ain't the wild dog I once was
howling til the sun comes up
this dog don't hunt no more
that suits me fine

Gone hand to hand and toe to toe
yeah, you and me, we run some roads
in Mike's Mustang
but I left that behind

I had the white pills, you had green
just shake 'em up and split 'em clean
on down the middle... down the hatch
it's how you feel, not how you act
we was kinda wild, it was kinda fun
going nowhere at a flat out run
in a Florida haze, them Florida days and nights

Yeah, we were young and bulletproof
hell bent on a wasted youth
burning fast, the flames took off
now, I ain't real excitin' y'all

Those days were crazy, you and me
didn't know footloose from fancy free
but our hearts beat with the rhythm of our time
we was kinda crazy, it was kinda fun
you smiled at me and off we run
in a Florida haze, them Florida days and nights

Yokosuka, Japan

We're coming to your town, we're gonna party it down, out

Ramblin' Ed

I have become comfortably dumb

No one will be referred to today as being naked, stark or otherwise. That was a momentary laugh in, I mean lapse in judgement. I am very sorry, and I assure you that it will happen again.

From last night in training class. One of the girls who will soon be manning the AOL technical help desk, in reference to our lengthy discussion of malware, viruses and spyware, asked, "Do all new computers come loaded with these spywares?"

I want to get a picture of this but I don't know the policy on cameras in the building yet. It is a sticker on the Coke machine and it looks official enough. But it does not make sense. Now these are the kind of people who make lava lamps out of 3 taped together styrofoam cups and a red felt tip pin, so it could be a joke, even though it looks completely real to me.

The sticker says FL law 23.776.3b* requires this sticker. If this sticker is missing, call 1-800-555- 2222*. That's it. No official numbers or seals. Just that this sticker is required and the number to call if it isn't there, which, to me anyway, presents it's own set of problems. I looked around and didn't see another sticker in close enough proximity to be being referenced to. I dunno. Signed, I.M. Baffled.

To the person that will apprieciate this reference: I failed my next challenge exam this morning all by myself. This is turning out to be quite the humbling experience. I still have one chance to redeem myself, but like an expired pickle coupon, I might not be redeemable.

One more day of minimal blogging. Hang in there. And, by the way, I was amused and pleasantly suprised at all the comments I got yesterday. Y'all folks out there constantly amaze me, and I mean that mostly in a good way.

I don't remember who, probably Murf, cracked me up yesterday on AI's blog. Told him basically, "Yeah, yeah...get off yer butt and post something new." A little indelicate, but funny nonetheless.

* I didn't think to copy the real number.

How high's the water, Mama?, out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, January 09, 2006

I don't know nothing about birthing no babies, Miss Scarlett

I have known RQ since she was a fiesty teenager. Her post on being a neighborhood mom makes me smile, mostly because I know her and know she has the experiences both good and bad to back up whatever she might tell them by way of advice. OK, that's the good part.

I also remember getting the letter while I was out at sea somewhere when she wrote me that she was pregnant or had just given birth or whatever it was she said. But I remember getting the letter. I wrote her back with, "Cool! Do you know who the mom is?" No, I didn't. But what I really did write back was, "Good. I'm glad you're going to be a mom since you've been a "mother" for all these years." My understanding is that the joyous occasion was tempered some by the fact that the child came out stark naked.

I don't know why you might need the above info other than it popped into my head.

Just challenged the math course for credit without taking the course. Pulled an F, as in Fine, on it. I'm hoping you were given either a P or F, as in Pass/Fail. Otherwise, if it's an A,B, C, F type of grade, then I did really lousy. Not that failing isn't lousy, but I'd like to think I got a 79, not a 49. Which has sent my mind around another corner...

I was driving at the University of Phoenix campus last week and there were two vents coming up out of the ground. You know the ones, 10" pipe, usually yellow or white, come up out of the ground and make a bend towards the ground like a big metal candy cane. I saw a pair on the campus and remember that they were labeled L and E. I remember that because I thought to myself, "Must mean Left and East."

Well, my one day weekend is over and done with. Seems like only yesterday it was the weekend.

Now I gotta go spend $2 worth of gas to go buy 14 cents worth of 2 cent stamps. I ask you, is that fair? And deposit the wife's check. How come private business has such a slow time of getting direct deposit started up? It takes 2 or 3 pay periods at both her company and mine to get a direct deposit started. That's 4 to 6 weeks. Why? Here's a simple exercise in how it is supposed to work:

Business: Hey, bank, we're going to put money in this account.
Bank: OK

Well, this'll do me for the day. Tomorrow morning I have to do my Computer Skills challenge exam and the next morning the English Composition challenge exam. So you'll likely get a couple of more mornings of Ramblin' Ed lite. Sorry, I must become educated and get a better job. I really want to avoid working (hard) for a living if I can.

Food for thought: The first thing the communists did when they would take power, and after the population was subdued, was to outlaw Lucky Charms. Eating Lucky Charms, therefore, is a reminder of a darker time that no people should ever wish to revisit. Eating Lucky Charms is akin to proclaiming Viva le resistance! It is a powerful reminder of the solidarity needed to hold evil at bay. And, most importantly, eating Lucky Charms is like a party in your mouth because they're magically delicious. OK, you know who you are. Get with the program. Don't be a commie.

Cheap work isn't good and good work isn't cheap, out

Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Well, well, well...Didn't know that!

Found out this morning that JIF Super Crunch and Lucky Charms taste very, very good together. But then of course, EVERYTHING tastes better with peanut butter. My method is to get a good ol' gob stopping spoonful of crunchy peanut butter and dip it in to the bowl of cereal and milk. At first you get a lot of PB but just only a few klingon Lucky Charms and not much milk at all. Then it starts to equal out. I tell you, this rivals putting PB in with your sliced peaches & syrup on the good stuff scale.

Watched the NC State UNC basketball game...Mom, if you have not watched the tape yet, skip this paragraph.... and it was a very good game. You know, NCSU went in ranked #12 in the nation and UNC is #20-something. But, Dangit, no matter what, State always blows it against Carolina. Last night was no exception. Makes me so mad. But what are you gonna do? If you're a fan, a real fan, you always come back to cheer them on.

I finished my first week of work. It could be fun. It could be exasperating. Guess we'll have to hang on to see. Anyway, it gives me something to do and gets me out of the house a little. But...

It has already led me to a new addiction. A little lady so insiduous. I try to walk away, I try to quit her. But I always come back to her warm sweetness. That's right, I've discovered Swiss Miss Spiced Apple Cider, which I, of course, drink hot. I had been making Swiss Miss hot chocolate using coffee rather than hot water because you can't taste the coffee but it'll buzz you right up. There were also packets of the cider so I tried one. Then another. And soon, I couldn't stop myself. I never knew that hot chocolate was a gateway drug.

Was out yard working again today. The guy down the street wanted a pine tree downed and wondered if I could make a tree fall where I wanted it to. Of course I can, I told him. And I can. Dropped that thing down the middle of the road, not even so much as glancing a car, house, mailbox or street reflector. We descended upon it immediately, like piranahs... chain saw weilding piranahs. Chainsaw weilding piranahs with bad attitudes and wild eyed looks. Chainsaw weilding piranahs who... well, you get the idea. We were piranah-like and had our saws out. So anyway, we had the dang thing limbed and drug back out of the road before the first car came by.

I got to thinking, "No need to waste a perfectly warmed up Poulan chainsaw", so I took down two big ol' crepe myrtles growing in my yard. Only took 'em down to stumpage, though. I'll yank one out with the truck to make room for a Thai fruit tree. The other one, I'm expecting will explode with new growth come spring and be right beautiful. Otherwise, you know, if it don't do that, I just got me a yard stump on my hands. So cross your fingers.

Hard to believe this took me all day. But, it did.

The monkeys seem willing to strike up a tune, out
Ramblin Ed

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Hello, Trippy Bob

Had fun yesterday with the good songs list. Unfortunately, the rest of the day I kept thinking of ones I should have included and great acts (Cash, Haggard, Buffett, Zevon) who never even got mentioned. Such is life and all lists are subjective anyway.

Got up this AM very early and went fishing. Once again, nothing was caught, but MC 900 ft Ehrhardt did buy me breakfast at the local Waffle House, so there was a happy ending to this tale indeed. Then we just went home and talked for a while. We both agree... When I lived in Yokosuka (in the news again, and again for the wrong doggone reason) and he lived in North Carolina we saw each other more often than now, when we live not 2 miles apart. How is it that things happen like that?

Having a cold snap right now. I won't mention temps, as I don't need those of you in the more northern climes harrassing me and telling me stories about what a real cold snap is. All I know is that I had to turn the heat on last night and wear a coat to go fishing this morning, so it's cold. I think the cold affected my monofiliment line adversely, causing me to lose distance and accuracy in my casts, contributing to the resulting lack of fish we caught today. Dang cold!!

I have to work today, Saturday. What a bummer. I only get a one day weekend this week. That's not a weekend. That's just like a week-speedbump. A week-slowdown. More like one of them California rolling stops than a weekend. Dang cold!! I mean, Dang work!!

A good verse from a bad song:

The only thig I've ever stolen
now I give you
It's a line about skulls and roses
from a song that another sang
Metaphors (and metaphives and metasixes)
metagirl I dearly loved
She answers to your name
And I love you still....

I don't know, I've just always liked making things rhyme, making words fit together into patterns, and occasionally writing something that is so pretty that I just have to sit back and go, "Wow!" I used to just take the thing that was happening now, as I decided to start, and go from there:

"The smokey streaks in the sky was rain"
"I looked out across my yard and all the leaves were turning brown"
"I was coming up the driveway wondering if you'd still be home"

Once that first line is there you can find something that logically follows it fairly easily. And since you can already kind of see where the meter needs to go, you are well on your way to lyrics. Anyway, that's what works for me.

FEMA should reimburse middle class a little and rich people hardly at all for losses in a natural disaster. I'm talking reimbursement, not the providing of initial medical, food, water or shelter. Poor people should get more help towards rebuilding their homes, since they probably cannot afford comprehensive insurance in the first place, and maybe a modest grant to purchase some furniture and cook pots. Middle class and rich can more afford to replace those kind of things. I mean, why is the government acting as some kind of supplemental insurance? Hurricanes are an act of God and while unfortunate, are nobody's fault. Where is it written that as Americans we are guaranteed to be reimbursed for putting our lives back together? If you are in a car wreck, your insurance pays for your vehicle. You don't then walk down to the government building downtown, walk up to the head honcho, hold your hand out and say, "I had some CD's and a skateboard in there too. I want you to replace them for me. And be quick about it or I'll complain on TV." There's more, but I'm having a hard time making it sound right.

This is an example of what DRE has always called "the alien boy playing with words". Perhaps you'll enjoy it. If you try. And, please, I ask that you do try. Otherwise I'll complain about you on TV.


Think about when the journey's through
And the feelings that come over you
Light in the tunnel and all that stuff
Sad old cliches, such is love
Just a good excuse to sing the blues

What we had left was innocence
It was sold away for a few more cents
Money spent with nothing left to show
Flames of youth like fires burned
Just faded out while our heads were turned
By then, you know, our seeds had all been sown
How could we have known?

I was watching a movie late last night
Through the ghosts and the snow on my black & white
When the actress smiled and turned her head
I could have sworn it was you instead
I spoke your name (and may have cried out loud)

All we had left was our innocence
That we sold away for a few more cents
But not enough that we could hold it in our hands
Writing songs of pain we'd laced with love
Songs we sang in foreign tongues
Songs that we could never understand
And we were holding hands

Think about the cryptic life we've led
Amaze yourself at the things we've said
Not quite the truth, but mighty close
And spoken with our eyes still closed
But what is love if it ain't them 12 bar blues?

All we ever had was an innocence
That we pissed away for a few more cents
Then faster, ever faster, did we run
When they pulled the plug on electric dreams
That lingered on in echoed screams
Silouetted in a single, naked bulb
The shadows of our love

Balboa Park, SD, CA

No warranties expressed or implied, sucker. Out.
Ramblin' Ed