Friday, June 27, 2008

CNN Headline ran this headline in it's breaking news section:
Rodents weaken, bust levee; deluge follows and all I could think of was, "Those rat bastards!"

OK, the real post for today is below.
Ramblin' Ed

Payne & The Road Whisperer

So I have a day off. Don't come too often lately. I think that for a road warrior, I am pretty mellow and stress resistant. Once I'm out the door I am pretty mellow. I mean, I am not obtuse enough to not appreciate that paying my bills, meeting my mortgage, or filling my tank is not even a passing concern.Yeah, I am still Scotsman enough to not like seeing the trivial way a lot of my pay is spent, but I suppose it says I'm comfortable enough when I figure it isn't worth the hurt feelings to bring it up.

And to this point I have been mostly, but not completely honest. I have not lied so much as left the bent perception of a strategic ommission. While I consider myself a road warrior, albiet a pretty mellow one, that is not how it begins. Mostly I begin as a road wimperer and, like I stated above, the "warrior" part starts after I am out the door. It is not uncommon for me to bleat like a sheep, a girly, whiny sheep at that, that "I don't want to go again... I just got back... I'm really tired...Blah blah bleat bleat". Ah, Grasshopper. Snatch the teardrop from my hand.

Anyway, got the day off in L.A. and a Mustang at my disposal. I think Venice Beach is just up the road. Thinking about heading there, soaking some sun and looking for some kind of quirky eatery. I went to Venice a few times when I lived in SoCal, as we called it.Southern California. Venice is a pretty funky place, where the weird, the beautiful, and the weird AND beautiful go to show off. It is quite the human carnival to experience. Of course, back in the day I was young and lean and had an easy, apparently appealing drawl when I spoke. I have stayed and partied with a couple of girls I have met there. I still have the easy drawl, although young and trim both left through the back door some time ago. And while I find my wife's concern that I might be tempted to stray kind of sweet, I don't get many second looks these days. Which is fine as I am too lazy to cheat anyway. I mean, secrecy and skuling about require a lot of effort. So funky eatery and some eyeball liberty is gonna be about it.

Eyeball liberty, in case the reference made you go, "Huh??", is old navy slang for heading to a beach (mall, downtown, etc) and watching the pretty girls walk by. It's cheap and fairly entertaining. Plus, you still get a tan just like hanging at the hotel pool. So in a way, it's like multi-tasking.

Not sure that there's much else to ramble on about. Think I'll tack on a poem. This is about Payne, the perfect little hippie chick karma probably had in mind for me. Before I pissed karma off somehow, I mean.

It is, and continues to be, our responsibility to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality , out
Ramblin' Ed


When I was down she could make me smile
'Cause she'd been lost for a while
In a small town is where she was born
But she left there, of course

She had her points and she had her faults
She had my heart...because
She was calm in the face of the world
Payne was a special girl

So what's in a name?
Can't get enough of Payne

Turning heads in a town that knows
Beauty queens come and they go
She didn't know from cause and effect
Payne was a simple chick

She drank shots and she took 'em straight
Oh my God, that woman could drink
But she had her gentle ways
I think love was her middle name

So what's in a name?
Can't get enough of Payne

She had her points and she had her faults
She had my heart...because
She was calm in the face of the world
Payne was a special girl

So what's in a name?
Can't get enough of Payne

The Caribbean

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Areyoufromfortsmith? Wellareya?

I get along well talking to non-native English speakers. I am patient. And I listen. No, I mean I really listen. It is important to hear everything in context so as to understand what is being said. For instance, I have often boxed up surplus knick-knacks and winter clothes to be put in stone. Yes, I put them in stone, which is the best my wife does when she wants to say storage. Although, lately she has latched onto using "little house" or even "shed". However, being told we were putting my sweaters into stone took a while to decipher.

Some things are easier, such as explaining to the booksore cashier that I was in the navy, as opposed to the armin (army) as she had inquired. Or when it has been confided to me that "the lady over there is such a "bish" to the neighbors in her building."

It all comes down to listening to the entire statement or question and filling in the word that is most likey meant. And it helps to not be too self conscious to say, "Sorry. I'm not quite sure what you are trying to say. Could you tell me again?" And I think being from the south helps.

I have said before, that being raised a proper southerner helped me a lot traveling Asia because traits like being polite and respectful, pleases and thank yous, being reserved rather than boisterous in public, and the tendency to defer to the wishes of others when possible are all traits society values in most of Asia. China being it's own little case study, of course, and somewhat the exception to the aforementioned rule.

The southerner's tendancy to speak more slowly has helped when conversing with non-native speakers. We naturally speak more slowly which makes it an easy jump to speaking with a measured cadence. The slow and measured style of speaking gives them more time to hear the words in their head and follow along. I have been told many, many times that it is easier to talk with me than usual. I smile at that and thank them. Politely and in a slow, measured cadence.

Unlike our more frenetic brethren to the north, southerners are not in quite the same hurry to spit out the syllables and move on to the next. We just sort of let them wander out of out mouths at whatever leisurely pace suits them. Except for, it seems, some Arkansans. Again let me say that when spouting out rules, regardless of how arbitrary and pop psychology they may be, backed up as these are by no scientific evidence and even less research, there will be exceptions. Like Arkansans. Or rather, some of them.

Arkansas is a southern state as best I know. Yet I have met people from there that jabber on at a mile a minute. Got to keep interrupting them and ask them to slow down so that I can understand them. And why is that, I have wondered. I think I have nailed down the reason, and it is perhaps, a geographical anomaly. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Crap! Now he's probably going to explain this "geographical anomaly" theory of his." And you would be thinking right. So let me explain.

Northerners talk fast, southerners slow. Arkansas is in the south, but the northern half of the southern half of the states. So they are, at best, kind of confused. And I did, I thought about it a lot. When I was living in Louisiana I had cousins-in-law who had moved from the Shreveport area up into Arkansas. And they didn't talk fast. So... was the rule wrong, or were they abnormal. I think neither.

See Shreveport is in the northern half of the state, in fact the northernmost part of the state, but Louisiana is firmly in the southern half of the southern half of the states, so by extension, completely southern no matter what. Plus, the cousins-in-law had only moved to Magnolia, Arkansas, which is one of the southernmost parts of Arkansas, kind of negating that Arkansas is in the northern half of the southern half of the states. By comparison, most of the speedy Arkansas talkers I have met were from closer to Fort Smith, which is further north in the state, thus putting them in the unenviable position of being in the northern half of a state that is already in the northern half of the southern half of the states. I mean, they're practically yankees, right?

I might could go on. I have not completely confused myself yet. But I think you are seeing my point. I can easily converse with foreigners because, luckily, I am not from Arkansas. Fort Smith or otherwise.

I am, however, holed up in a Hilton on Century Blvd in Los Angeles.

And I hope God forgave George Carlin his atheism for making us all laugh so hard. He's a hippy dippy angel now.

Peace, out
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chief Petty Officer's Prayer

Saturday, June 14, 2008

representing a system of thought

This is where we fished last time. We stayed there a long, long time. I liked it because there were nice bass here and IT WASN'T AN AIRPLANE SEAT!
My lure, although it didn't catch nothing. Not that I'm saying trees and weeds are nothing. Just nothing special.
DRE's first fish. He was using a soft crawfish over the submerged tree limbs. This one got gutted and ate. Not on the spot, but eventually. He went from being a dreaded predator to being a breaded predator.
This, bigger fish was caught by DRE on a crank bait. Crank baits are a staple of our gear. If he had been caught first, he'd be the breaded predator. As it is, he was photographed and released, as is our usual protocol for fishys not bound for consumption.
My newest little tree. He's so cu-u-u-te. Although he looks like some kind of thoroughbred, he is just a ficus. I adopted him from a flea market in Bradenton for $25.

Sorry about the long blogging absence, though you likely missed nothing. I got wore out. Rode hard and put away sweating. My work is fulfilling, but boy does it take it out of you.

After I got back from Dallas, and you gotta figure that was the tail end of a Boston-Albuquerque-Denver-Dallas quadfecta, I kinda just collapsed for a week or so. Sure I mowed tha lawn and other yard work. Have to because I live in an area constantly trying to shrug off it's human oppressors and revert back to jungle. But I also napped under the tree a lot and caught up on all my recorded tv shows. Plus, me and DRE went fishing. And on that day, fishing day, we stayed twice as long as usual. Yep, we both needed the relaxin'. Pictures were included above.

County commissioners got bit in the ass down here and I am proud for it. We get a lot of friction down here between residents and homeowners associations. (Deed restricted communities-- what an utterly stupid idea!) Anyway, some little Army wife would stick a big ol' flag in her yard because her huband was deployed and the association would ask for it to come down. Sometimes even offering to move it to a public area where it was allowed.

Now let me stop here and say I am not anti-flag, anti-army wife, or pro-homeowners association. For I am none of those things. I am just pro-common sense. And I have much the same answer to someone in a deed restricted community who wants to be exempted as I do a pro football player holding out for more money in the second year of a seven year contract... If you didn't like the deal, then why did you sign on for it?

So anyway, our commissioners, in the same vein as our State politicians bum rushing both the hospital and State constitution over Terry Schaivo and her right to be a vegetable, passed a law (ordinance, proclamation, whatever it is they pass) exempting flags from most laws and calling them freedom of speech. Yep, that'll get you lots of votes in Hillsborough County, Florida.

For years the commissioners had signed a simple order honoring Robert E. Lee's birthday and/or Southern Heritage month, proclamations that had gone completely unnoticed for years and years. But 2 years back a citizen of the area, one who had migrated south and not a native inhabitant of what remains of Dixie (by her noting that "you guys lost the war" I was able to surmise her transplantedness), complained that we let the Sons of the Confederacy get a proclamation in the same month as Black History month. Because, you know, it's not like different people might be able to appreciate different things at the same time. Or that a month on a national level is a bigger honor than , say, a single day decreed by a county commission. Nope, gotta be one or the other. Choose up sides and call each other names. County Commissioners sided against the "rednecks", who they are finding are a bit more numerous than they had thought.

After being snubbed for a couple of years, one little squirrely dude went and filed papers for a memorial.
Hillsborough County: "Public or private land?"
Son of the Confederacy: "Private"
HC: "A memorial for what?"
SotC: "Veterans and war dead."
Question not asked by HC: "Of which war?"
HC: "What type of memorial?"
SotC: "A granite marker beneath a big, 30X50 foot flag."
Question not asked by HC: "What flag?"

So all legal documents filed and approved, on R.E. Lee's birthday, visible from 2 major Interstates, the Confederate Battle flag went up and hung there for nearly 2 minutes before the howls wailed out from all corners and the county's phone banks lit up. [news story] It hung there the rest of the day. Soon, when the monument is finished, it will fly daily. Supposedly.

When the commission told them to take it down, they were shown the documents making it legal, including the part where flags were protected as free speech. And even though the commission probably only meant the Stars and Stripes, that is not what the legislation said. It just said flags.

So they appealed to the civic pride of the Sons of the Confederacy, think about others and respect their sensibilities, what kind of message does it send to visitors from other places, but the urgings were to no avail. As the squirrely dude said, "Now that we got tired of being disrespected ourselves... now they're willing to talk. That's too bad 'cause your wife done left you."
While I used to be an in your face southern partisan, I have mellowed somewhat. It is probably not the best way to promote the area to others. Still, I respect the hell out of them taking the law, folding it to fit their needs, and tossing it in the faces of those sanctimonious commissioners. You know, the ones who choose which constituents are worth their time to represent.
So now I am off for a week in Detroit, or actually Romulus, which surely leads to a good Star Trek reference somehow, followed by a week in Miami. Will fly home from MI for a single day, then hop in the car and drive to Miami. It's just as quick to drive as it is to fly, when you factor in arriving early, security lines, waiting for baggage, etc. Plus, when I'm driving, the next flight out is RIGHT NOW!! It is a better schedule.
This is Hoyt Axton. It's pretty pro-South, circa 1865 or so. If you have delicate sensibilities you might just want to skip it. And, the klan hood reference is unfortunate. I don't condone that.

Aio okuritai kara*, out
Ramblin' Ed
*We can get along together