Monday, December 25, 2006

Things to believe in

Interesting theory that holds people without a lot of options tend to be happier with their choices than those with many options. I quote, from the ripped out by hand shard of newsprint that was yesterday's paper, an author who's byline is misplaced:
"[The happier are] Those for whom the choice was irrevocable. When options are open, the mind generates debate. When options are closed, the mind generates satisfaction."

We're having some kind of Christmas heatwave. I know we are not the only ones. D.C was, I think, in the 60s yesterday. Everyone seems to be pretty mild, at least on the East Coast. But here I type this, soaked in the same holiday sweat I have been steeping in all week. in the 80s and humid. It is supposed to be about 10 degrees cooler and pleasant.

Nothing generates debate like two people arguing different sides of an issue.

I saw a $161 string of holiday garland yesterday. It broke down to $9 for the garland itself and $152 for the locksmith to get her back into her house when she locked herself out. Outside on the top balcony. Without her cell phone. With her husband 4 states away on business. By deciding to just break a pane of glass to regain entry, then repeatedly having a heavy duty staple gun bounce off the pane and back at her shocked face, she also discovered, somewhat to her comfort and peace of mind, that her house had come with hurricane glass. Hence the locksmith, summoned by a passerby she was finally able to flag down. I will say this about it, "Ha Ha Haaa."

I believe that the New Orleans Saints are for real. I believe that Indianapolis is overhyped this year. I fear that the Steelers are in a poor position to repeat. That's my NFL summary for you.

I also believe that the Florida Gators could be NCAA national champions and that they probably won't.

I believe that I will watch "Armed and Famous" at least once.

I believe that time spent with friends is never wasted. Unless they're pissing you off. Then that's a waste of time.

I believe that I would like to go to Bolivia, but I don't know what I'd do there.

I believe that 2 Zoloft is sufficient. 3 is overdoing it. No one needs to be that happy.

I believe that while I am completely at ease with the idea of NASCAR, I don't actually see the point of it.

I believe that I would have more friends if I had more time.

I believe that while it is more blessed to give than to recieve, most people find the other way around to be easier.

I believe I may be cynical. Yeah, right!

I wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday week. AI, if you read this, I finally got my chance to come meet you, and don't doubt for a moment that I would (Red Queen and Pipedragger can vouch for that), and you are off in Iraq. OK, I'll give you "unavoidable circumstances" this time. But next time you gotta be home and buy me a beer.

This for all of you who have forgotten how much we loved this song. Back when jimmy Buffett was synonamous with good times. Before he bacame a brand.

God's Own Drunk
By: Lord Buckley
"Well, like I explained to y'all before I ain't no drinkin' man. I tried it once, and it got me highly irregular and I swore I'd never do it again. But I promised my brother-in-law that I'd go up and watch his still while he went into town to vote.

It was up there on the mountain where the map said it would be. Friends let me tell you one thing though, it wadn't no ordinary still. It stood up that mountainside like... like a huge golden opal.

God's yellar moon was a' shinin' on the cool clear evenin', God's little lanterns just a' twinklin' on and off in the heavens and, like I explained to you once before, I ain't no drinkin' man, But, temptation got the best of me, and I took a slash... (wshew!... woah...) That yellar whiskey runnin' down my throat like honeydew vine water, and I took another slash. Took another and another and another. 'fore you knew it I'd downed one whole jug o' that shit and commenced to get hot flashes.

Goosepimples was runnin' up and down my body and a feelin' came over me like, somethin' I'd never experienced before, It's like, like I was in love,

In love for the first time, with anything that moved... animate, in-animate it didn't matter. It's like there's a great neon sign flashin' on and off in my brain sayin, "Jimmy Buffett there' a great day a comin'..." 'Cause I was drunk.

Now I wadn't, uh, knee-crawlin', slip-slidin', reggy-youngin', commode-huggin' drunk, I was God's own drunk, and a fearless man; And that's when I first saw the bear.

He was a Kodiak lookin' fella 'bout 19 feet tall he rambled up over the hill 'spectin' me to do one of two things: flip or fly, I didn't do either one. It hung him up. He starts sniffin' 'round my body tryin' to smell fear, but he ain't gonna smell no fear, 'cause I'm God's own drunk and a fearless man. It hung him up. He looked me right in my eyes and my eyes was a lot redder than his was. It hung him up.

So I approached him and I said, "Mr. Bear, I love every hair on your 27 acre body. I know you got a lotta friends over there on the other side of the hill. There's ole' Rear Bear, Tall Bear, Freddy Bear, Kelly Jair, Relly Bear, Smelly the Bear, Smokey the Bear, Pokey the Bear; I want you to go back over there tonight and tell 'em I'm feelin' right. You tell 'em I love each and every one of 'em like a brother and a sister; but if they give me any trouble tonight, I'm gonna run every Goddamned one of 'em off the hill."

He took two steps backwards and didn't know what to think. Neither did I, but, being charitable and cautious, well hell, I approached him again. I said, "Mr. Bear, you know in the eyes of the Lord, we're both beasts when it comes right down to it. So I want you to be my buddy, 'Buddy Bear.'" So I took ole' Buddy Bear by his island sized paw and I led him over to the still. Now he's a' sniffin' around that thing 'cause he's smellin' somethin' good. I gave him one of them jugs of honeydew vine water, he downed it upright, (looked like one of them damn bears in the circus sippin' sasparilly in the moonlight.) I gave him another and another and another 'fore I knew it, he'd downed eight of 'em and commenced to do the "bear dance." Two sniffs, a snort, a fly, a turn and a grunt; and it was so simple like the jitterbug it plumb evaded me.

And we worked ourselves into a tumultuous uproar and I's awful tired, went over to the hillside, and I laid down, went to sleep, slept for four hours, and dreamt me some tremulous dreams And when I woke up, Oh, there was God's yellar moon a' shinin' on the clear cool evenin'. And God's little lanterns just a' twinklin' on and off in the heavens, And my buddy the bear was a' missin'... yeah, you want to know somethin' else friends and neighbors, so was that still.

God's own drunk and a fearless man, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ho Ho Feed me

Thursday, December 21, 2006


It wasn't what it was
that wasn't what I wanted
It wasn't what I let it be
that was what it became
And though it really wasn't
what I always thought it shouldn't be
Less is more, and more or less
it didn't need a name

Don't hold my hand and squeeze it
if you know you're gonna walk away
A squeeze is like a tiny touch
with too much on it's mind
Kept folded in your pocket
like it's said all that it has to say
that moment of a photograph
still frozen in our time

Thread stops.... Words falter... Elvis has left the building.

If I were anybody I'd probably give you everything, out
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Traffic whoas

There is little that is more embarrassing, more frustrating, or more difficult than to extricate yourself from a closed toll lane during rush hour. As I discovered yesterday, just because the one lane is nice and empty does not mean the other drivers are soulless lemmings. It might, in fact, mean that the lane is closed.

The expense of a luxury car that a man buys for his trophy wife seems to be directly proportional to her inability to drive it properly.

If you intend to smoke a cigar in a Pontiac, wear a gray (or preferrably ash colored) suit. Pontiacs create a vortex of swirling, unpredictable winds inside the... the... what is it called? The cockpit?

There are not really any great bumper stickers anymore. Used to be, but now there are only proud parents of elementary kids. Kids that are not only special, but are too good for drugs. Oh, and everybody down here still has either a "Bush '04" or a "W" sticker on their SUV. But no light, funny reading as you're stuck sucking up fumes.

As a preview, I am home Christmas week. Then in January:
Week 1: Phoenix
Week 2: Baltimore
Week 3: Miami
Week 4: Charlotte
Luckily, it is only a few days of each week, and not all 5 days. I intend to take the wife to Charlotte with me, as that is where all of my extended family lives.

Have you ever seen Dallas from a DC-9 at night?, out
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, December 15, 2006

Exposed 15 Dec 2006

How do you know you care enough
or feel what you don't understand
If you can say the words, do you
know anything at all?

There is a way to be and not
there is a peace to feel and share
and if your place is not quite filled
What meanings do you draw?

Some colors pulse and twist about
Some colors wash and fade
Some colors cannot be discerned
like choices we've all made

And if your passion burns not bright
More ebb sometimes than flow
If you can still massage the words
what is it that you know?

Must love, by definition, burn?
bright hot for all to see, exposed
or can it smoulder off beside
The wrong paths that we chose?


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tee See Bee

"Act like you've done this before." That was my admonishmnet to my exuberant young charges when I had bunches of people to be responsible for. I meant it and I enforced it. Not in a dress code or speech code or anything like that. I simply provided a role model and refused to brook any buffoonery. Act like an adult or be grounded like a child.

I say that as I think about myself this morning. I am traveling home today, and am glad of it. Most people would throw on some jeans and a t-shirt for the trip. You know, it's all about my comfort. But not me. Never have been that way. I have on slacks and a dress shirt. OK, the sleeves are rolled up to just above the wrist and I have the collar open. But they are nice clothes. 3 button sleeves and a button down collar. Casual, but dignified. Like I've done this before.

Partly it's because I am nothing if not a clothes horse. OK, mostly it's because of that. But, it's also partly my dogma. I fly in seats with single digit numbers. Up here in 2C and out of here in 1C. And guess what? I look like I belong in 1C. Like I've done it before. My shoes are polished. My belt and shoes accent my pants and my socks are just a different enough shade to tie it all together without clashing. And my jewelry brings out the sparkle in my eyes. OK, just messing with you there. Mostly my jewelry just says, "Because I can." Do others notice? Maybe not. But probably, they do. And anyway, I feel good. When ZZ Top sang that women go crazy for a sharp dressed man, I not only took it to heart, I proved that it wasn't particularly true.

Was over on Coal Miner's Daughter's site this morning. What a great post she had. Whacked me right out of my mental funk. I felt compelled to respond, and respond I did. In a circular fashion and with great clarity. Trademark Ramblin' Ed stuff. My fingers were dancing across the keyboard like a fat drunken dancer, striking random keys and conjuring unintended words that neither looked right nor made sense. I of course corrected the wreckage.

I got just what I wanted to say in the small little box provided, and went to post it. Blogger said that it would need my particulars if it were to process the request any further. Knowing that I went against the Gunner's sage advice and loaded up the Blogger Beta, I copied the remarks to clipboard before continuing.

In true Blogger Beta fashion, the simple task of logging in was exceedingly painul and requiring of more coarse language than usual. But finally, after much wrangling, I managed to delete my work. Smiling to myself and what can only be described as my personal mental brilliance, I promptly called her post back up, went straight to the comments section (Red Queen - what exactly does huzzah mean?) and pasted nothing into the box. WHAT THE HELL????

Seems in my carefully orchestrated actions, I had managed to not only lose the post, I had also erased the clipboard. Coarse language again ensued. Firey deaths were imagined for the google employees responsible for the beta. And a sadness engulfed me. Then I just wrote it all again, as best as possible, from my often faulty memory. It came out OK.

After re-reading it and deciding it was good enough, a fortunate thing given that I had posted it rather than previewed it, I closed the Blogger down. I closed the Blogger down only to find, plopped there in the center of my screen, previously hidden by the open window, and grinning like the Cheshire Slug... the comment window fron CMD's post, replete with original comments. Pissed off does not begin to describe it.

OK, no poems today. I have been busy explaining my dress code and ranting about blog comment SNAFUs. Maybe later but, um, don't cancel any plans in anticipation.

Perhaps any road will get you there, out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, December 11, 2006

Smile High Club

Darrrrrr. Here I sit in Herndon, VA. The only thing remorely satisfying about the trip so far was getting in early enough to catch the second half of the Saints dismantling the vaunted Cowboys. In Texas Stadium! Other than that, nada.

I flew from Sacramento back to Tampa on Saturday, getting home around 9 PM. I was on a plane here at 7:20 PM on Sunday. I had just enough time home to take the wife to TJ Maxx and Olive Garden. Didn't mind Olive Garden, but then again, as a member of the man club I do prefer eating to shopping.

Flying in to Tampa I witnessed the most beautiful sight. We were dropping slowly from the sky onto the tarmac, and were still a few hundred feet aloft. Looking out the window you had the mostly dark sky. The clouds had a slight backlighting, which I'm guessing that the moon held some responsibility for. The lower half of the window view, if you think of the window somewhat as a television screen, was the soft orangish white carpet of light that would be the lights of Tampa. South Tampa and Westshore, to be exact.

Then, out of the light carpet of the Tampa city night, shooting into the heavens like the screaming rocket that it was, the space shuttle took off from Canavral. It streaked off, climbing in it's orangish glow, looking like one of the safe city lights gone rogue. Beautiful and raw. Powerful. It climbed quickly, playing peekaboo in and out of the backlit clouds and soon was gone. The scene played out in about 2 minutes. Less time than it took us to land. I was moved.

Pipedragger drove his bike up from the Bay Area to Sacramento Friday night. He races bikes and can lay her down so low her pipes will drag in the curves. In case you had ever wondered about the moniker.

We headed out to Old Sacramento and walked around a bit, looking for the best place to eat. We settled on a place that was part old west saloon and part Irish pub. I had a pastrami cheeseburger. Yep. It was as good as it sounds. After eating, we headed back to my hotel area and parked my chick-magnet of a minivan. We walked over to The Rusty Duck , which I thought looked like a 3 story 19th century sawmill but is described in the link I provided as being a hunting lodge motif, and commenced to quaffing microbrews (Mostly Sierra Nevadas with a couple of Fat Tires thrown in for variety) and realizing our politics differ. We quickly changed the subject off of politics and went back to what ex-squids do best. Swapping sea stories.

Tales from the road shall continue... in it's own intermittent way. You know, satisfying in a way that really isn't.

Mostly Sonny with a slight chance of Cher, out
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bent tits

I got this e-mail from a friend yesterday. At least I thought she was a friend.:
Today is National Disadvantaged People's Day. Please send an encouraging message to a retarded friend, just as I've done. I don't care if you lick windows, interfere with farm animals, vote conservative, or occasionally shit yourself.......You hang in there sunshine, you're special.

Well, I had promised, on a lark, that I was going to see Ahnold Swartzenegger while I was here. That seems a bit unlikely as I am here in Discovery Park with a view of the Sacramento river on one side and a view of downtown on the horizon on the other. But I am convinced, and I am NOT pulling your leg here, that I lunched beside John Laroquette at IHOP yesterday. I am certian it was him. I was an avid fan of both of his shows, THE JOHN LAROQUETTE SHOW and NIGHT COURT so I am sure of what he looks like. He seemed pretty unassuming, really, but with an air about him. I was, however, a bit confused about one thing. Something that made me wonder if I was looking at just an ordinary citizen who was a dead ringer for John Laroquette. There, on his belt, beside his cell phone, hung one of those bone handled hunting knives in a sheath. That seemed a bit un-Hollywood to me. But still.... I think it was John.

If you never saw THE JOHN LAROQUETTE SHOW, he was an alcoholic running a bus station. He had a placard on his desk in place of a name plate that said "This Is A Dark Ride". I thought that was the coolest. It was dark, ironic humor, but if you know me then you know I'd rather think and laugh together. Obvious comedy is a bit boring. But when you sit there for just a second before you "get it", the joke is that much more effective. I think that's why I like shows like Studio 60 and Ally McBeal. Although Ally McBeal also had some hot girls on it. And a lot of singing. Apparently, I like singing too.

I had an intermediate car reserved for my stay here. Hertz tried to give me a mini-van. I of course asked how I could have a car reserved and them not have it. I left the whole Seinfield routine about "I know what reserved means, sir" [High pitched Jerry] "I don't think you do!" [Canned laughter] as implied, since it was late and we were both quite tired. He tried to compensate by offering me an Expedition instead, but that suited my needs even less. So I am now driving around in a surprisingly nice Toyota Sienna.

Sorry. Tales from the road will continue sporadically. I just had to get the John Laroquette (that name kinda sucks to be typing repeatedly, but just saying John seems too familiar) sighting posted. I knew you'd be as breathless about it as I am.

Don’t sing with a fake British accent.
Don’t act like your family’s a joke.
Don’t worry about losing your accent,
a Southern Man tells better jokes. Out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, December 02, 2006

DB sez, "Same as it ever was"

I am not an evil man. In fact, at times, I can be downright benevolent. I try to always be engaging. And I dress appropriately, except when I miscalculate and overdress. This is the frame of reference in which I view myself. It's probably skewed, considering I am on my second, nearly exasperated, wife. But it seems to work for me.

I used to travel quite extensively overseas sampling, and quite enjoying, the hospitality of each country. My experiences have definately added fuel to the fire of my "people are basically good" world view.I found Middle Easterners to be the most gracious hosts, even while the streets were quite hot and dust blown. I found that Chinese vendors will bargain hard with you over price, but will not try to cheat you if you get your mental currency exchanger off by a factor of 10 and try to bargain a $20 item "down" to $190. And yes,as a matter of fact I DID feel quite foolish about that.

So what do you do if you're not traveling the world? Letting the world come to you seems like a logical step. And therefore, without any forethought or planning on my part, that seems to be what I have done. Sitting here this morning it dawns on me. It is my lot in life to interact with the world. I was put on this earth by the good lord to like people and be liked in return. Luckily for the good ol' US of A, I am an enthusiastic goodwill ambassador.

This week, and for the next 3 weeks, we have 7 Koreans from the Incheon/Seoul area in our class. They are polite and studious, although I know that sounds stereotypical. Stereotypical or not, it does happen to be the truth. I have helped them google up locations for asian makets, beach bars, steak houses, and Red Lobsters. (It's OK...we have nav-ee-ga-tor in car.) I am used to speaking my English slowly and working with a translator anyway, so some of them who are still learning English feel comfortable attempting to talk with me sans their 28 year old, delightful, shapely, attractive and single translator. Her name, the translator, is Joy. And she is. But I digress. And daydream.

Yesterday (Friday)I set it up with them that after class, and after they had returned to their hotel long enough to shit, shower, and shave, we would head out for some adventure.They readily agreed. Skipping past the mundane in this story, we are now out of class, re-invigorated and headed towards my house at a moderate rate of speed in a big happy rental car caravan. We pick up my wife and a neighbor at my house and then take off.

Side bar: They were most impressed by large Christmas light displays on people's houses that we passed along our trip. I heard numerous audible gasps.

Side bar #2: I had called my boss in MA and told him I was going to be entertaining the students that evening and inquiring about the possibility of expensng the dinner portion of it on my corporate card. He said to go for it. Cool!

I took them to an authentic Mexican joint near here. It was cool hearing a Spanish speaker asking an English speaker, "How do I tell them hello?" They were soooo stoked. Apparently they had never eaten any real Mexican food before.

Then I took them out to Channelside where I introduced them to the American entertainment trifecta of overpriced booze, overpriced cigars, and young, slutty dressed women. We ended up in Howl At The Moon and had a pretty good time. I was also going to take them to the Dallas Bull, which I think they would have thoroughly enjoyed. The music is loud, the cowboy hats are big, the line dancing is mesmerizing, and it is full of young, slutty dressed women. But alas, they called it a night at 11 PM. So me, my wife, and Cathy headed for Dallas Bull without them. Hey... there was gonna be line dancing eye candy! (Dallas Bull Link)
Following the Korean class will be a Japanese class and then a Russian class. I think I will enjoy that.

It's Sunday now (I post pretty slow these days) and I have to drive up to Orlando this afternoon with Tommy, my mentor at work. He's going to help me learn the ropes on a new configuration (new to me, that is) that is installed in the Orlando airport. Tuesday evening he will drive back here. But not me. Tuesday night I end up on a late flight to Sacramento, where I have promised the Korean students I would attempt a Swartzeneggger sighting. I'll get back to Tampa late Saturday night.

Well, it's 4 AM Monday and nothing funny or interesting has happened yet. I am dressed (dashingly) and ready for work. Must be the old chief in me, but the first thing I did when I got into the room last night was to iron up a pair of Polo khaki pants (friends don't let friends wear Dockers) and a shirt nice and crisp. Since the functionality level of my brain and the reliability of the front desk wake-up calls can never be accurately predicted in advance, I like to have things ready to bolt out of bed in a panic and jump into my clothes. I always pre-load the coffee machine also. Just in case.

Hours today: 0600-0800 and then 1800-2000. Yep, that does add up to 4 hours with a right fair siesta in the middle. Complaints? None.

My name was Lola. I was a dancer.Out.
Ramblin' Ed