Thursday, March 30, 2006

Magnolia State

Lydia wasn't sure about the coffee. Sure, he had ordered it black and black is how she'd serve it. But it seemed a little weak. A little too wan. There was a lacking of both richness and smokey presence. "Coming right up", she sighed.

It was about fifteen feet from the waitress station to Donald's table. He watched her coming. He had a subtle style about him that was not so subtle. Lydia enjoyed the attention. Donald arranged his sugar packets and smiled. The ice machine gave a slow growl.

The past is made up. It consists of all of all of our mistakes intermingled with all of our little victories. And if time helps you build bridges to the past, then hard living hands you the torch that burns 'em. For a short while the flames illuminate the night sky and you can clearly see. The flames die. Your eyes dim. The clarity fades. And you sling hash in a highway diner.

Or you wander. Not in the romantic sense. No seeker of truth waving his lantern in the night, where there are no honest men. No, you wander in your heart. And you wander in your boots. And you wander away from anything that even hints of permanence. The destination is the journey and the journey has no destination. Only stops and interludes. Like a night spent on your knees, sweating and praying in the front pew of an empty church. Or the cigarette scarred carpet of a back road traveler's motel, crying , with your head bowed in the flickering light of a small bolted down Philco TV. Or in a highway diner, watching the waitress that you can tell used to be so cute. Show me a man who doesn't have his demons and I'll call you a liar.

How do you describe the gothic grandeuer of the sultry south? Nights hot and sweet as passion, and smooth as creamery butter. How can you show what it is like to be perfectly flawed? To be violent and demure? How you can love somebody to death? My south is draped in Spanish Moss and contridictions. My south is a heart that beats out loud. My south is a lover that kisses you on the mouth, hard and deep, while she binds your hands and shackles your feet. My south will never let you leave her.

Donald smiled at Lydia. Lydia returned it. The diner sign filled in for the evening's absent moon. No mention was made of the coffee.

Slipping, out
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Street. Walk. Ponder.

We were walking where the sidewalk had pulled up stakes and gone home. it was a darker part of the town than we were used to, made even darker because of our mood. A mood that fells smack dab between "let's run for our lives" and "I could go for some ice cream". I know you know. Everyone has those times.

Anyway, my shoes were new, but I was feeling gypped because they didn't squeak. Not even once. Robbed me of my chance to claim that they were not yet paid for. Ticked as I was, I purposely stepped on a crack, but immediately felt remorse for that and made a mental note to stop by and do something unexpected and nice for the folks when I returned.

Me and her said nothing. We just walked along in silence. After all these years together we had pretty much said everything we were ever going to need to say. Except the stuff. Again, I know you know. The stuff that is never quite finished. The stuff that always starts with, "Why don't you ever..." Mostly we'd just glance and nod. We were fine nodders.

Out of the corner of m eye I saw the dime. It was just lying there in a cracked and stained corner parking spot. It was neither in the light nor in the shadows. It was just in the there. To be seen if you saw, or otherwise to be just passed on by.

Do I pick it up? This town is not known for it's generosity; the night is not known as a giver. Few things in my life have come without some kind of catch, mostly hidden, and the coin, no matter how small a speck of good luck, would likely be no exception. How I would be stung was up for grabs. That I would be stung was a certianty. "Why don't you ever see stuff?", I asked, and pointed to the coin.

Feral cats and dogs are the homeless of the animal world. They carry the weight of a hardscrabble life in their expression. It is an expression of equal parts resignation and desperation. You see and want to help. But what can you do? A feral dog will bite the hand that tries to feed it. A feral cat wll bloody it. I guess their existence is all part of a greater plan. That is what I am told. But still, seems a rough way to go. We tossed the dime their way. It seemed appropriate.

My thoughts always drift as I walk. Tonight, more than usual, they dart and backtrack. Going nowhere really, unless travelling in circles is a destination. Restless, but not moved to any real action. Moving, but not moving forward. So very much like me. Wow... my thoughts are just like me. Stop the presses, ya'll.

I think I am the night. I think the night is me. I... we... whatever... there's a darkness. But we are not dark. There's a danger. But we are not dangerous. There's a sadness. But it is not necessarily our own. If there is a single truth it may be this. Like tonight, I am aimless. I pause in recognition that I am aimless. Hmm, thought it might feel different.

Still in love with Iron Ore Betty, out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, March 27, 2006

Myanmar shadow

When we moved here I told Nong the weather was comparable to Thailand... mostly. Then, of course, here in March we have 2 mornings of forty something degree temps. So today I apologized and said, "Well, actually I guess the weather is more like Brrrrr-ma."

"No", she says to me, "Burma is hot same as Thai."

Dang! I had me a swing and a miss.

Like a shut in without a home, out
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, March 26, 2006


There comes a time in every cat's life. Perhaps this is it. Perhaps it is not. While that remains to be seen, what I seen does not. Remain to be. The scene I seen I mean.

But first, a stream of consciousness:

Sushine makes me think of warm weather makes me think of t shirts makes me think of concert tshirts from my youth makes me think of the KISS concert makes me think of Gene Simmons makes me think of Richard Simmons makes me think of David Letterman chasing him around spraying him with a fire extinguisher makes me think of frantic schoolgirls makes me think of my taxes going up (to build more schools for more frantic little schoolgirls) makes me think of why did so many New Yorkers move here anyway makes me think of how forested upstate NY really is makes me think of why would anyone live in Eastern PA makes me think of the god-awful Fran Drescher accent Ernie's young wife possessed makes me think of Rhode Island makes me think of the Pontiac Bonneville we drove there once makes me think of Boston makes me think of the coolest, most giantest record store I've ever been in makes me think of obscure zydeco artists makes me think of that this could go on forever makes me think of you're glad it is stopping here.

So ol' Yuki is now, or at least for the forseeable future, known by the moniker Wodam. The cigar tree intrigues (or more accurately in tree-gues) her to no end. It is part giant cat toy and part giant cat toy with birds hopping around in the upper branches, going about their business in a way that says to cats, "Come and kill me for no other reason than I am moving in provocative, jerky motions."

Now Yuki never gets anywhere close to them despite the fact that she stalks them mightily. Pepe doesn't even get that close. In fact, he's just barely in the same tree, but he is a) getting a might pudgy for stealth and, b) a dog, and therefore more amazed that he can get into a tree to run around than he is inclined to commit wildlife murder for the simple stated reason of "because I can".

So (again with the "so". I should get a better vocabulary) I hear a commotion from the tree above me. Pepe is still gathering his energy for the 4 foot leap to the bottom branch, whilst hauling rather hefty ass as it were, so I know he is not involved in the fracas. With Pepe in sight I know that Yuki, who is still Yuki and not yet Wodam, has somehow snuck up on a bird, perhaps of the short bus variety, and is now pretty much smacking them about and pulling off their wings. Birdicide. Verily.

I look up, not real sure I want to see the carnage, as I kinda like birds, especially cardinals, and it is not exactly what I am expecting to see.

By the way, when I was a kid we had a Corvaire. No one really remembers them all that well. I just remember they looked vaguely fish or seal-like and ours was aqua colored. Who buy s an aqua colored car? Besides us, I mean.

When I look up, expecting bird guts, I get cat butt. Seems ol' Yuki got to thinking she was good enough that she didn't have to pay attention to what she was doing and there she is, straddling from the bottom of the limb she had previously been atop of, claws out, flailing rather wildly as she tries to get the purchase required to get back up instead of falling to the ground in a most unceremonious heap. In true cat fashion, her look is part "there's nothing to see here...I am in complete fact, I meant to do this" and part "Whoa!! Damn!!" Hence her new nickname: Wodam.

Thank you. Enjoy your Sunday.

It's a happy enchelada and you think you're gonna drown, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Fear me for I am, ummm, Barney

You Are Barney
You could have been an intellectual leader...

Instead, your whole life is an homage to beer

You will be remembered for: your beautiful
singing voice and your burps

Your life philosophy: "There's nothing like beer to give you that inflated sense of self-esteem."

Wellll... I took the Simpson's Personality Quiz on Gunner's site and came up with this. I'm not sure it's entirely true. I knew it was gonna be skewed when none of the answers in the multiple choice really applied. Being Barney surprised me. I figured I was headed for a Ned Flanders or Comic Book Guy score.

I spent 90 minutes on the phone with a lady yesterday trying to fix her computer. Remember, we are aiming for 8-10 minutes per call. She could not for the life of her double click ANYTHING. She'd try then tell me it wouldn't work. The kicker was me spending 15 minutes trying to get her to understand how to use the scroll bar so we could move the view in the pane up about an inch. Try describing the location, function and use of a scroll bar more than one way. See? There's really only one way to say it. Eventually I waited while she went and found her son to show her how. Just goes to show you kiddies, just because you have a Masters Degree (she did) doesn't mean... well, in this case, diddly.

I am going to 2 schools simultaneously. Online College and Nail and Skin Care school. Not really what I signed up for. But I sat down Thursday night with the wife and helped her study, and by study I of course mean read the assignment for her, highlighted the important parts, and then spoon fed it back to her using more common words. She aced her test on Friday, so guess what. Every night now I have another cosmetology lesson to read. Did chapter two last night. I just keep my eye on the additional income we'll have to leave at Family Dollar once she starts working again. Mmmm... cheap crap we don't need. Dee-licious.

Actually, getting back to the Simpson's for a moment, in nineteen years on television, does anybody remember Lisa ever having a boyfriend? Sure, once their was a crush on a teacher. And she had that thing for Bleeding Gums Murphy. But I don't think she's ever had a boy friend. Couple that with her feminist views and I'm thinking Lisa is headed for a future that includes a life partner and/or lots of cats.

I took a new shift that is four ten hour days. I will work Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday and have Tuesday, Thursday and Friday off. The Thursday and Friday off coincide with my brother's days off, so I liked that. All three of my days off are days that Nong has school. After she graduates, they are days she should be working. I tell you that to tell you this. It looks like I will have some of the quiet that I need to play with my rhymes more often. I wrote three last week and only had one day to myself. Imagine if I had three.

No news of the weird or nothing today. I am beat down from the two schools plus job. No, verily, I am going through the beat down.

By the way, when I did the quiz on AI's site, I got this. It seems a little closer to the truth, although that could just be because it doesn't make me out a doofus who can burp out a song. Anyway:

Your Hidden Talent
You are a great communicator. You have a real way with words.
You're never at a loss to explain what you mean or how you feel.
People find it easy to empathize with you, no matter what your situation.
When you're up, you make everyone happy. But when you're down, everyone suffers.

Don't lean on me man 'cause you can't afford the ticket back to Suffragette City, out

Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hunnhhh !!

I'm a pretty simple guy. I like to rhyme words. I look forward to mowing the grass. I like to sit under a tree in the shade and nap. I like gadgets, but there aren't any that I have just for the sake of having. Like the car's GPS. I bought it because one day the wife was going to call from the car and tell me , "I don't know where I am", and I was eventually going to respond with a, "I don't know where you are, too." So I progrmmed in HOME and showed her how to use it. Now, even if she's in another state, she can hit the button HOME and a soothing robot voice will guide her back.

The GPS is actually a more useful tool than I had expected. When Mike was down this weekend, instead of drawing a map and trying to explain landmarks, I just tossed him the GPS and showed him how to turn it on. He and his family were then able to go to Busch Gardens, and a couple of other places, easily.

They have that show Unan1mous coming on tonight. Not sure about it. I like most of the reality shows, although I have abandoned The Bachelor(ette), Nanny shows, and the ridiculous wife swap shows. Meet your new mommy...pshaw!!

Thoroughly enjoyed the '50s night on American Idol last night. I like Mandisa and Paris. A lot! I love the silver headed dude, although I always forget his name. But he's a keeper. However, the one I thought stole the show last night, and really grabbed my attention and changed my mind, was the bald dude and his personalized rendition of I Walk The Line. Man, oh man... who knew that would make such a killer rock song?

Nothing for you today. It's my weekend and I usually post nothing, but today I was a little more organized. I have also eaten breakfast, read two newspapers and gotten some luggage from the attic. I usually don't get any of that done on a weekend. I usually just wander around in the yard thinking, "Man, I really like sunshine."

Oh yeah. Cole Minor's Dotter, was that the funky lines from War's Low Rider that you were alluding to in your last post? If not, the song got stuck in my head anyway. And then, like it always does, got me going on the song Me and Baby Brother. I get hung up on the opening shout out: Me and baby brother/Used to run together. Of course, I sing it more like: Me and baby brother/Hunnhhh/Used to run together. See the difference in attititude?

Kills germs on contact, out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The choice is up to you...

... Cuz they come in two classes: Dark sunshades and cheap sunglasses. Oh yeah. Old ZZ Top was pretty good. Newer stuff was funky but oh so forgettable.

I will be trying on a new job for size next Friday. If I like it, and I pass the evaluation of my apptitude for it, they are looking at promoting me to the position in a little while. It's in the QA department. Yeah buddy, sitting around all day telling other people what they are doing wrong. I'm a natural for the job.

We also were in training at work about how to find out more information before we begin to troubleshoot, so we have a better idea of what is wrong and how to try to fix it. But they said we have to be polite and patient about it and more or less "have their permission" to continue. Those are called probing questions. I feel I am pretty good at it already but I am always willing to improve. So I wrote a little script and taped it to my computer until I have it memorized. It's simple, to the point, and solicits their permission. So, after they get started:

Member: It don't work. I can't connect. I don't know nothin' about computers.
R' Ed: I'm sorry to hear that. Do you mind if I probe you?

As I get older I have noticed less instances of shooting milk out of my nose because I laughed so hard. I think it comes with maturity, which I have in abundance. I'm like a dang maturity factory outlet.

Yard Update: Put the tomato seedlings in the ground yesterday. they're tiny. I grow them from seed. Because I can. Next, I plant the chives.

Road Update: After removing our road then putting down new dirt and compacting it with a machine that literally shook our whole house like a Japanese earthquake, 5.0 or below, of course, I believe they have decided that they did a very good job. So good, in fact, that they should just take a week or two to drive over every day and stare at it, marveling in it's craftmanship or something. They are pretty punctual for people who don't appear to be doing anything. For some reason, it reminds me of a couple of my navy jobs. Not sure why.

Thinking about Bhuddism and I was wondering. After being a human, what if in the next life I was to come back as, say a carrot. Would I know that I was in another life and that this time I was a vegetable? Does being a vegetable suck, or is it really kinda peaceful? If it was not peaceful or if it turned out to be excruciatingly boring, how does a carrot go about killing itself? Call a rabbit?

Why is polygomy illegal? I could see an insurance company making an extra set of rules to deal with coverage of a polygamist's hugely extended family. But why, exactly, is it a crime? And let's take the extremes out of the equation, like some of the "wives" are thirteen years old or that it's more a cult than a family. Why shouldn't five or six adults be able to all be married to each other?

Now, as I think about it more, why does polygamy afflict mostly men? I think it is because we think differently than women. A man thinks like, "One wife is a thorn in my side. She don't want me to do nothing fun, spends all my money, and forces me to rearrange perfectly good furniture patterns in the house. Hmmmm... but now if I had six wives, well, that would be a whole lot better." I believe a woman kinda looks at it like, "I'm tired of carrying this one husband like a monkey on my back. I just keep him around to get stuff off the top shelf for me. Who the heck wants more of them????"

Anyway, those are my not so deep thoughts for the day.

So many great stars have died recently, and yet Liza Minelli is still around. Out,
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Seedless clown

I don't know. The clown as a metaphor for grape maybe. My titles seldom mean anything much, I just like them to be eye catching. Not to hook your eye, which would just be cruel. But to catch your eye. Well, actually, to catch and release your eye. Anyway, I do ramble.

Been too busy to do much of anything the last few days since Norton Anti-Virus brought down so many of our members' computers. I don't know if I am supposed to, but when I tell folks what happened I also add in that Norton is a good company and that this was an honest mistake and here's how to set it right. I figure it's good business to avoid running down someone else's name, even if you could.

My first wife was a pretty good old gal. She didn't really prove it to the rest of my family, and there towards the end she got messed up with bad people and badder habits and I had to distance myself. And, truth be told she was probably a better girlfriend than wife. And before you say it, I was definately a better boyfriend than husband, since as a boyfriend you mostly just gotta be cool and adventurous and run all over town renting motel rooms. Then you become a husband and you find out that the tux comes with a pocketful of responsibilities and bills you struggle to pay.

And I was going to tell you a story bout her and me, but while I was waxing poetic about husbandry the thought took off and seems to have escaped me cmpletely. So I will indeed share this other fond memory.

I was precommissioning the might warship ANTIETAM in Pascagoula. We lived in a little duplex on Old Mobile Highway and I had my truck, motorcycle and jon boat. She had a Pontiac I bought her because I really like Pontiacs*. So she was out looking for a job that day and asked me what I was going to do. I said head out to the 4 corners bayou and go fishing after work. She wanted to go, too.

"Well, I'll be home about 3:30. Will you be home then?", I asked. "Yeah, sure."

So 3:30 came and went, and when it got to be 3:40 I realized that I was burning daylight and jumped in the truck, the boat was pre-loaded for my convienence, and took off. I got to the bayou, parked near the edge, politely greeted the swarms of mosquitos who, it seems, don't bother you near so much if you exchange pleasantries as opposed to getting out of the truck and taking a swing at 'em. There was, of course, the occasional exception to the rule and I would simply crush them as soon as they landed. So, common courtesy, or the threat of swift and sure mosquito carnage, kept things pretty amicable twixt us all. I launched the boat and hopped aboard.

Now I had slow paddled the boat about 30 yards or so, which in Ed fishing time is about 30 to 40 minutes, when I heard the commotion of a car horn and hollering coming from the bank. Looking up I spied my Pontiac pulled up askew in what was obviously a hurried and careless job of parking. And there was the wife, jumping up and down and waving her arms, yelling for me to come back and pick her up. I smiled. Then I paddled back, kept the boat steady while she embarked, and then headed back out to where I had been while she rigged up a spinning rod to use.

"Glad you could make it."
"The interview went long, but I got the job."
"Cool. Hey, nice dress."
"I was afraid I'd miss you so I didn't stop to change."
"Cool. Cast over yonder. I think a big one lives there."

Gotta love a gal that'll go fishing in her nice, white, Sunday go to meeting dress. And, by the way, the next poem is not about her. That it seems it could be is pure co-inky-dink.

Second 19 March, 2006

I was the second of two bad kids
She was the second of three
I been laughing at my own bad jokes
cause it sure beats laughing at me
I've been down where the used to be
ain't what it was back when
She's been painting her fingernails
And we been living in sin

She been growing her hair long
And I've been cuttiing it close
I've been to shotgun weddings
and I don't want one of those
A quarter for her trouble
God bless her when she sneeze
And a nickle that she prob'ly
oughta hold between her knees

I was the second of two bad kids
She was the second of three
She hugs me in the morning
and she kiss me when she please
You might say that happy
is 'bout all we've got again
She's been hiding the doughnuts
and we've been living in sin

I've been working my tail off
Three hundred dollars a week
We've been mixing beans and rice
and watching our TV
It's a little gone too fuzzy
More black these days than white
But it comes on in the morning
and it goes off late at night

Yeah, I was the second of two bad kids
She was the second of three
Sexy is as sexy does
when it don't try to be
Bite marks on my shoulders
and hickeys on her chin
Tennis shoes beside the door
We've been living in sin

I was fixing her breakfast
I was fixing her toast
I was fixing to tell her
'Bout how I loved her most
She reached over to get the jam
brushed me on my knee
I knew all about the jelly roll
that there was fixing to be

I was the second of two bad kids
She was the second of three
She seems pretty good, you know
when she's been kissing on me
Got no ring on her finger
But I'll get it when I can
Make our mamas happy
'cause we've been living in sin


Hot, black, and bitter, out
Ramblin' Ed

* Used to say it means Poor Old Negro Thinks It's A Caddilac

Saturday, March 18, 2006

"Ticked off wife eye". Oh my.

She don't prance and she don't strut. In fact she hardly moves at all. Her voice is not that rich in range, but sometimes she does let out a growl. You can barely hear her dialog between songs, but she mostly just states the name of the next song and launches into it, unlike, say, Robert Earl Keen, who tells entire fantastic tales between songs. I know I have mentioned her before. And I know that when I did I spoke highly of her. Because I think so highly of her. Singer. Songwriter. Minimalist songwriter at that. Lucinda Williams. Check her out.
NC State beat California in the first round last night. I got to watch it. The wife was too busy making the guest room ready to give me a hard time about it. A couple of times she walked by and gave me the ticked off wife eye, which means I am supposed to realize that I should offer to help with the ________ (laundry, dishes, cooking, spring cleaning, etc.). NC State was playing in the big dance, so... what evil eye? I don't see no evil eye.

Norton (Symantec) released an update on Wednesday that caused all of our subscribers who had Norton to have connection problems. Seems Norton would see our software as a worm that was attacking, well, ourselves. Yep, we were seen as a big, suicidal internet worm bent on self-destruction and Norton was having none of it. What does that mean to me? Think of it this way. Several million subscribers, many unable to connect and not sure why, all being afflicted simutaneously, about 150 of us to help them through someone else's software. I was kinda busy yesterday.

Wrote this when I got home. Like yesterday's poem, this one is pretty autobiographical and for a friend, although this one flows better and has what I call a "slinkier" feel to it. I think I got one more in me before I'm done this week. In my head this sounds like if a John Prine song was being delivered with the Allman's blues rock sensibilities. Yes, I do indeed think so specifically about things like this. Can't help it, I just do.

You and Me 17 March, 2006

It's hot as sin without no wind
the orange groves roll by
The blossoms smell so sweet that I could die

There's still a few old back roads left
like stories got no points
Like everything these days, so hard to find

Me and you was black and blue

and running in the wind

Wild young boys out making noise,

the noise what makes us friends

I thought I might drop by a while
I thought you might not mind

I might just stop and then not stay a while

There's cypress trees far as I see

but that ain't very far

Just like a real good time to disappear

Now the bottle's half past empty
And them girls ain't pretty yet

While a couple days becomes a couple years

Me and you was one and two

Like orange is to mauv
Like helter gone a'skelter, son

That's just the way it goes

I thought I might be dropping in

I knew you wouldn't mind
If I rolled up and I might not stay a while

A starry night has always held

a little rock and roll
But rock and roll won't make her knees go weak

It's a simple situation

If the songs can gild the pain

Them songs that started out as you and me

Me and you was black and blue
and running in the wind

Wild young boys out making noise,

the noise what makes us friends

I thought I might be passing through

Remember all them times
We did not hang around. It was our style

Me and you was slacker blues

We did not hang around



Toothpick is to forest as lipstick is to.....?, out
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, March 17, 2006

It's Friday so I must be headed back to work

The weekend is over and all of my literary been-gonnas fell by the wayside again. Well, almost all. I did write one poem and start two others. Juices weren't really flowing too good.

American Inventor... hmmm, not sure yet. It was kind of entertaining. But it was also kind of not. We'll give it another shot to decide.

Took Nong to the doctor's yesterday and was hit with the realization that having the most expensive health care in the world is not the same thing as having the best. We were in a mill, as best I can tell. We were met at the door by indifferent receptionists who did little to hide their boredom.

The "office" is in a strip mall unit and is in need of repair. The first thing you notice is the door slamming shut behind you because the little closer arm at the top is wore out. You will notice it again repeatedly as you wait for your doctor. You notice it in the way you notice something like a glass door slamming every 25 seconds or so. The wallpaper on the baseboards was peeling or missing, the pipes were bare, the floors needed sweeping and the magazines were all emblazoned with DO NOT STEAL. I felt like I was in the free clinic on the poorest side of a poor town in Louisiana. Again.

To add to the ambiance, there were the posters explaining how to get government aid to pay for your medicine or a program for "pill splitting" as a way to stretch your medicine dollar. Both of these made me think some very non-Republican thoughts about our health care system.

When we met our Doctor, A Dr. Frizzell, she was nice enough and seemed caring and competent enough, she listend well and offered us some different alternatives to what my wife has tried before. I couldn't help but smile and wonder if she was distantly related to Lefty Frizzell. I didn't ask.

I was a yard working fool for two days, even electing to take my after lunch naps outside in a chair. I put some lawn chairs in another shady spot I had prepared. Now I have a new, peaceful "fort".

One of my previous bosses from Japan is coming down to stay with us Sunday and Monday, but that does not keep me from having to work both days. Nong has those days off from school and will be forced to accompany them to Busch Gardens for the day. Then the boss before him, again in Japan, called and wants me to come up to Jacksonville and be in his retirement ceremony. It is also on a work day, but I will look for a swap. If I can't get a swap, I'll ask for the day off. If I can't get the day off, I'll just take the day off. Hate to do that, but I owe that man a lot.

I don't know if I mentioned it, but the wife is also now a full time student at the Artistic Nails and Beauty Academy. She even has her own Sallie Mae loan in her own name. She is getting her license for nails and for skin care. She can begn work immediately, as people in two different shops have offered to hire her. There are pretty much plenty of nail artists around, but far fewer skin technicians, which makes her more in demand. In the long run, I think it was a good move.

Sorry this was so boring. I really, really want to find the time to spin a tale. Maybe I can do it tomorrow.

What's That Say? 16 March, 2006

Must have come when I wasn't needed
And stayed longer than I should
I brought what I had to offer you
It really didn't do no good

You said you enjoyed to talk and all
But you want to pick the place
The time has to be just right and still
You ain't liking face to face

You'll drop a line but won't pick up the phone
Now what's that say, girl
Me and you... what's that say, girl
Ain't that's just the way you've done

You talk how we got that thread that runs
And heartbeats that chase the night
I know what we know we shared because
I knew when you hurt inside

Takes nerve to become a lover, but
Costs nothing to be a friend
Back when you'd take the chance to lose
That's when you'd let me in

You'll drop a line but won't pick up the phone
Now what's that say, girl
Me and you... what's that say, girl
I think the past is on it's own

Don't know that there's anything I need
Don't know that there's much to say
Don't know that I feel too broke apart
Just sad that we drift away

Beacuse you'd drop a line but won't pick up the phone
What's that say, girl
Me and you... what's that say, girl
It says more than what we know


We built this city on Glocks and Skoal, out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, March 13, 2006

What do you call.....?

I was looking at the tourney brackets. I only saw 4 ACC teams, although I was going pretty quick. I almost forgot Boston College was an ACC team and I had just watched them play Duke this morning for the championship.

Anyway, I did notice a few teams in there that don't normally get much national exposure. One of those teams was Oral Roberts, which always makes me think of the question, "What do you call two gay guys named Bob?"

I am currently surrounded by paper. I didn't get the Friday paper read, so I saved it. And The Saturday paper, which I also did not get read. Then yesterday I read half of the Friday paper but Sunday's paper had been flung into the driveway. I rescued, but did not read, it. I did however stuff it into my briefcase along with the remnants of the aforementioned papers. Of course, being Monday, this morning I had another paper awaiting me, but I just threw it on the truck seat. I mean, really. Basically I can say that while there are many momentus events going on in the world, I am pretty much just toting them around in my briefcase.

I did read the Sunday funnies when I got here to work today, but now, instead of catching up on my reading, I am blogging. So feel special... you.

Learn not to burn, out
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Jab enter view, or not ?

We went off,off,off,off Broadway to a dinner theater here in Brandon. It was a showing of The Odd Couple, but it was kind of askew. The acting was OK, but I guess they supposed everybody already knew the premise. They did not really set up that Oscar was a slob or that he was a sports writer. They tried to set up that Felix was a neat freak, but mostly by putting him in an apron and having him pout and whine a lot. I asked Nong later, if she understood the play, since she does not know The Odd Couple story and she said, "I think so. It was a fat man and his gay friend." And I was thinking, yep... that's how it looked. Still, we went as a family, and it was a fun evening.

Things are not easy for me. Or at least they never have been. I joined the navy because I was tired of working all the time and still starving. Now I'm out and I feel a little bit cut loose. A little drifting. Like I am on hiatus from real life. But here's the thing...

Can you change and not know it? Can the world change while you're gone? Can a little of both happen? I mean look, I was a poor student. Now, I have passed the state Insurance Licensing Exam after just a few weeks study and pull a 90% on it. Then I start my college studies, where I fully expected to struggle and am pulling an A on what I feel is about 20% effort.

I take a job. Granted it is not much of a job, but still. In two months I am exceeding the expectations they are going to have for me (note I said going to have, not already have) at the two year point. Exceeding them. And I don't feel I am expending any more energy than talking on the phone. I know I am fixing to get really, really bored.

I mean, I am one lazy dude. I freely admit that. And I am not particularly good at things. I admit that too. I like to write and watch TV. So what's the deal? Are national standards steadily declining, so much to the point that I am above average? That hardly seems right. Did the navy shoot me with some kind of undetectable RFC Ray (Reading For Comprehension Ray)? I am really perplexed. And the only thing I can figure is that my time management skills are good and I have a fair amount of self discipline. To me, though, it still seems that you'd need more. You know, smarts or something.

Now, before I let you go, just let me say:
While snacking on the singing dog and painting the newspaper, I became fascinated with the curve of the barstool leg. It was one of four, which was really twelve, but either works better than five so I spilled my cereal. The road was gone outside, but since it was never very long I was filled with a craving for perogies. Mmmmm .... cheese and butter. A guy in North Carolina cleaned his gun and smiled, which mesmerized a reader of electronic words in a far distant city, and spawned discussion of his boots. Small world, eh? So, after the boot talk made me realize that a milkshake, banana flavored, and a cheerleader would hit the spot right about now, I put on my jeans and Airwalks, powered down Toshiba #5, and smiled at the commute before me. Verily.

It's true. I need a pitchfork, out
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mother nature is about to pounce

Happy Friday to ya. And happy back to work day for me. Actually, around here having two of your five days' commutes being weekend is nice. The lights go traffic activated instead of being on timers and will turn green just as you drive up to the intersection. Not near so much stopping.

Did make it to the game yesterday where we sat in the sun in some great seats. After a while we became parched and bought some of the $5 lemonade, which we had been resisting. Then I became baked and slathered on my first sunscreen of the season. I still didn't walk away a sudden baseball convert. And to tell the truth, it was pretty easy to go into pinstripe sensory overload. When we left it was Detroit 6, Yankees 1.

This place is getting ready to explode green. All the trees and shrubs and flowers and vines got the flower nubs and leaves all poking out and getting ready to let loose. Kinda reminds me of a cat when they're playing, all hunkered down and getting ready to pounce, but getting so excited that their back end keeps twitching back and forth. Yep, the foilage is about to pounce.

Pics from the game:

Don't be a shirker, out
Ramblin' Ed

Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's not the road less taken

Actually, it's the road taken, but in a different sense. Let me explain. See, I got up and went to work. I watered the 'maters, opened my travel mug lid (because I have learned that performing this simple manuver while driving tends to cause me severe lap pain as often as not), and backed out of the drive. Drove the short 20 yards down the road to the big road, or as we call it, the big road, turned right and went off to fix computers by phone. When I came home, the road was gone. Hillsborough County had taken it away. I think we'll get it back, though, based on how many guys show up each day to stand around looking down at it and scratch their chins.

When was in the navy I couldn't even wear frayed jeans at home. Something about somebody might recogize that we were in the navy and think bad about us if we didn't look presentable. You know, this always perplexed me. A) We lived on a navy base so everyone did know we were navy, but also knew firsthand that we were rude sorts, and that frayed jeans would be the least of our shortcomings. B) We lived in Japan, so everybody that was Japanese knew that we were navy because, well, we weren't Japanese. They knew if we were gai-jin, then we were either navy or supporting the navy, but they made the call as to which we were based on haircuts and facial hair, and not on the frayedness of our jeans. And, C) Now that I am retired, I wear frayed jeans to work.

I like King of Queens, I really like How I Met your Mother, and I absolutely love Two and a Half Men. Now they follow them up with Courting Alex. As much as I'd love to say to Jenna Elfman one day, "If you are going to keep sleeping with me, you are going to have to stop eating crackers in bed," I think the show is not so good. So here's the score. Jenna, yes. Courting Alex, not so much. Now you know.

Taking my Dad to see Yankees -vs- Tigers today at Legends Field. I'm not much into baseball, watching it, when I watch it at all, starting in the playoff games. But I did enjoy the Braves games he took us to when we were young. And I saw the Padres a few times and it was fun. Basically, I enjoy the game OK live. So anyway a friend's uncle had bought these tickets on ebay and couldn't go. So he was looking to give them away. The package was VIP parking in the player's lot and seats 2 rows behind the Yankees dugout. I have a rebel flag tattoo, so you can imagine how much of a Yankees fan I am, but still... it seemed like a great afternoon for me and Pop.

Finishing up my first course at school. Have a week off then start the next one. I am really trying to go out with a bang and have been really trying hard to bowl a perfect game. Huh??? You know, 300. I want to get 100% on all three assignments. So I've been researching in the mornings instead of posting. If this whole school thing ends up making me smarter, we will all bebefit in the end. So wish me luck.

*****FOR ED ABBEY******

Because of our Prine comments, I repost these for you to see. Y'all others probably already read these.

Fair Weigher On 26Nov2005

I thought you might have known.
I'd hoped you might have guessed.
You know the way I am
You know my no means yes.
Empty rooms. Quiet places.
Storms aren't far away.
Seen the clouds slow rolling in
And soon will crack this sultry haze

I can be you
Or maybe be the one you choose
I've got a knack like that
I'm easy like an easy dude
Call me later,
just ring me on my telephone
Together we'll ponder
when going becomes gone

You've got the smile to dance
You've got the perfect tease
I used to hold it some
Did not ask you please
All I know is I don't see
Why you don't seem to see
Fools, like lovers going crazy
Hey, baby, toss me something!

So many years ago.
Back when our days were new
Our time was bright and shiny
Like we knew only truth
Still, we knew if it hurt us
It made us strong
But now that begs the question
What if we figured it all wrong?

I can be you
Or maybe just the one you see
When you squeeze your eyes shut tight
I'm colors swirled easily
Watch me fading
A thousand points of light you've known
So long you never noticed
the going become gone

I can be you
Or maybe just the one you love
When you've got no place to be
Or need ties that's thick like blood
I know it's darkest
just before the light comes on
But that's how it is
The going becomes gone.


Evening Rains & Carpet Stains 26Nov2005

Evening rains and carpet stains.
I fell into the room.
You were gone. A country song.
The cow that jumped the moon.
Cross your heart and hope to die alone
Snap your fingers if you know the tune

Flowers grow where heaven knows
There's folks that's never stood
Across the pond where red or blonde
The water tastes so good
Cross your heart and hope to die alone
Snap your fingers if you know the tune

I can't recall the reasons all
The steps, though, I can trace
A to B and you to me
I kinda liked your face
Cross your heart and hope to die alone
Snap your fingers if you know the tune

Evening rains. Old carpet stains.
I'm the fellow in the room.


A Place I Used To Be 26Nov2005

I can’t say that I have never done no harm
But I can say I’ve never been too mean
I tried to be all hard and tough, but I could tell
That was not my personality

I’d like to be your friend, but I could just be someone else
You met while traveling down life’s twisty trails
‘Cause I know that folks like you got so many things to do
and so little time before it all derails

You teach a kid to talk you gotta teach him how to fight
Things like that, you gotta do ‘em right
Now it don’t bear repeating what them people say to me
But I can close my eyes and sleep at night

I’d like to have you sit down with me underneath my tree
It would put your mind at ease, it never fails
But I know that folks like you got so many things to do
and so little time before it all derails

I walked down the road to see how far I had to go
From where I was to where I was to be
Passed a point in time that I used to think was mine
But now is just a place I used to be

I’d like to be your friend, but I would surely understand
If you need a little time there for yourself
‘Cause I know that folks like you got so many things to do
and so little time before it all derails

Yeah, so many folks like you got so many things to do
And there’s so little time before it all derails.


Onward through the mirrored frog, out
Ramblin' Ed

Run about, scream and shout, out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, March 06, 2006

Fish and whistle, whistle and fish

This is a shot looking up through my grapefruit tree. I do not eat grapefruit, obviously.

We were in the Big C, right off the BTS elevated train station in Saphan Kwai. Big C is like a British (although not Great British as the president sometimes refers to them) version of Kmart. There are also Carrefour stores but they are French and, well, you know.

So we had checked all of the regular stuff, and even some irregular stuff. I do like to buy medicine there because there are a lot more things considered over the counter, you can buy as many or as few of what you want instead of having to buy what is prepackaged, and it's cheaper, with 1% hydrocortisone cream going for about 45 cents a tube, for example.

Now when it comes to toothpaste I figure I'm going to mash it all up against my teeth and then spit it out in uncerimonious fashion. Therefore, may as well buy whats cheap. So we were checking out the stuff and I found a tube of Herb-Bric herbal toothpaste for teeth and gums. That is written in English on one side and is, and I gave this a good examination, the only English on the packaging. It has a very unique flavor, is way cheap, and takes the honors as my favorite toothpaste. Knowing I was coming back stateside, we shipped a lot home so it would last a while.

In San Diego, when I was younger, we would find ourselves out at night, very late at night, and getting ready to take a shuttle back to the ship. In those years, after 5 PM you couldn't get anything to eat on the boat and the little mini-store on base was closed at 10 PM. So if it was after 10, and you wanted to eat, you had to bring it in from town.

We would stop at Carl's, Jr for a bite. When we'd get to the counter we would realize that we were powerful hungry and buy several burgers and fries to take home. Upon arriving home we'd eat one and some fries and realize we'd bought way too much stuff. That made for quite a few mornings after with cold burgers for breakfast.

I am sure there has beeen an occasion here and there where I have had another burger for breakfast, probably while traveling, but I can't recall one specifically. But in San Dog is where I remember it as a routine occurance.

As a side note, we used to gorge ourselves on burgers before going to bed and then still wake up famished. After a while of this I made the financial decision that if I was going to wake up starving regardless, I was going to save myself all of that burger money and started buying just a small fries at night.

Okie dokie, some pictures and out.
The first wisteria flower of the year. Coupled with the orange blossoms, I got one sweet smelling back yard and it will only get better smelling. Wild and crazy view of lone wisteria sprig or flower or whatever. Also serves to show my body's continued flexability that I got that shot.
Orange blossoms on the tree. This is one of my favorite smells. Too bad all the groves that used to dot this town have all sprouted apartments and condos. They do not smell near as sweet.

It looked like a rout, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, March 04, 2006

First, we kill the lawyers

First, actually, a few quotes from the week:

Nothing ever never fails to complicate. -Coal Miners Daughter (in a poem)

I didn't know I didn't want it until I knew I didn't want it. -Grey's Anatomy

What you have is what you have. -Appalachian Intellectual on Iraq

When I was unemployed I was starting to feel pretty workless. -Ramblin' Ed (on looking for a job)

Bonus Customer Quote

I'm just calling to ask... How do I get Internet Explorer and how much does it cost? (I told her we'd let her have it for free and did she want me to show her how to activate it, then took her to the small blue e on her start menu.)

I have one week left on my first course, which will put me at 50 credits towards the AABA. I saw that the first time and thought how cool it would be if it was an ABBA instead. Then I could play Fernando or Dancing Queen when I opened my graduation e-mail. Anyway, I finish this next week, have a week off, then start FUNDAMENTALS OF MARKETING.

I don't have anything to write today. I spent the slow time at work yesterday catching up on y'alls blogs. Some of you are mighty prolific. I think I feel a story coming on, if I can decide which one to tell. Or, you can help the process along by putting a question or two that you were wondering about me or my silly habits in the comments. You know the drill.

Stays crunchy in milk, out
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, March 03, 2006

I am so sorry, but it appears my karma just ran over your dogma

The title? I don't know. Not like I'm feeling all philosophical or navel gazer today. Just always liked it, and to tell the truth, I am pro-karma and anti-dogma.

The more I am exposed to the local politics down here the more I want to live alone on an island. I had forgotten just how thoroughly driven to control the lives of others Americans were. I mean I knew about it, I just had forgotten how strong the urge was, what with my ex-pat like existence and all.

Anyway, I've never been real sympathetic to the Dem's platform. And now, the more I hear from the shrill politicians down here, I'd rather shoot myself than vote for the Republican candidates.

According to one particularly fearsome county commissioner there are only two types of people in Hillsborough County. Scoolchiildren and people dancing nekkid. She's all about one and the mortal enemy of the other. Which I suppose would be OK if she did ANYTHING else with her time and our money. Well, actually, she's been so busy worrying about nekkid people, she's not done so much on the school children front yet.

Then there are the 3 County Commissioners that, while listening to the impassioned pleas of their constituents who feel besieged by rampant runaway growth and development, coupled with a complete lack of infrastructure improvement planning, are taking a full 3 minutes to listen before beginning to web surf through the rest of the meeting. I am thinking that if they removed some startup programs windows would boot faster and they could get on to ignoring their constituents faster.

I mean c'mon. One of the arrogant SOBs even tried to justify that visiting a golf equipment site and a travel agent during a meeting with constituents concerned that their neighborhood was being swallowed up was somehow actually official County business. They ought not have to wait for an election. People like that should be subject to firing for cause. If a lesser County employee was abusing his government computer, especially to the detriment of his work, he'd be let go immediately.

Cats are fine. I, however, am all scratched up. I mean really scratched up. Arm shredded, stomach not quite so bad and leg a little. My first wife made giving a cat a pill look so simple and effortless. Pop it in, hold the snout a second while massaging the neck, and there.... all done. I try the same thing and I look like I spent my weekend in hand to hand trying to take Hamburger Hill. And it's not like you can reason with them. "You need to take this pill because there are worms coming out of your butt. Hey, no problem, I knew you'd want to know."

College is going well. Sorry I ignored y'all this weekend some but I have found that for some reason my grades are better when I put some effort into my assignments. Plus it was retiree payday so we had to head to the big city to go to the commissary for food. We also always stop at the Asian Market on grocery day because we have to. Some of the stuff isn't sold in American stores.

Nong will start school on March 14th. So soon, this will be a wacky hippy house too. What with all the college students and critters... and bills... and mortgages... and responsibilities. Dang! Maybe not.

Anyway, the work week has started again, so I am more or less back for at least 5 days.

No!... YOU'RE out of order, out
Ramblin' Ed