Saturday, March 28, 2009

Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge

I have never owned a Ford. Never wanted a Ford. I am, and always have been, a GM man. Last night I went to Brandon Ford and bought a Mustang for the wife and a Lincoln MkZ for myself. I guess I am now a Ford man. A Ford man with car payments again.

Ever walked into a public restroom and been confronted with an odor so foul, so bodacious, so heavy hanging that you just know something in there is decomposing? Yeah, me too. But what I am going to tell you next even applies to less odiferious restroom situations. I'm no germphobe, but I am afraid to carry my coffee cup with me into a smelly restroom. I just start to imagining the big stink germs floating about and landing on my cup lip. Then I imagine my lips on the cup lip. I shudder, I really do. If the odor of those germs is so foul and so heavy thick, how can they not be huge and unhealthy. I mean big enough to get stuck in your teeth. Anyhoo, my sitting on the throne, enjoying what brung me here...a nice, hot cup a' joe.. days are few and far between thanks to the Klingon stink germs and my somewhat vivid imagination.

Ever had a stalk of sugar cane? I have. First couple of times I was in a market in Asia somewhere. Most recently, we bought some and brought it home for using when we make Mojitos. We have the strong mint growing and the good mojito mix, so we thought to get some cane stalks also.So what's the deal, anyway. Like I said, I have tried it several times, in several different nations, and no matter what, it still comes across as gnawing on a stick. Not even a particularly sweet stick. You're just sitting in your lawn chair,relaxing with a minty rum drink, more or less grazing on a cane stalk. Or am I doing it wrong?

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. - Henry David Thoreau

The blind guy got kicked off of American Idol. Finally. He looked promising in the auditions, but once you had to deliver the goods, he began to show an incredible mediocrity. He knew it, too, as evidenced by his statement when they told him to put away the guitar and go back to the piano. He said, "I just wanted to show my versitility before I go." So Paula and/or Kara give this piss warming spiel about "yo're good...blah blah have incredible talent...blah blah blah...." and, to my dismay, "you've been such an inspiration to so many." OK, wait. The world is full of great blind singers, and you're saying it's the crappy one who is an inspiration? Just making sure I have that right. I don't think having a disability and then doing something anyway makes you an automatic inspiration. A blind person singing is no more inherently inspirational than a deaf person belching or a fat person sweating. To me anyway. Let him motorcycle race despite being blind, then I'm all hallelujah right there with you. I guess my point is; I am fat and sarcastic. How inspirational is that!?

I took the London boys out to eat Thai food and Cajun food. They loved both. I am their culinary hero. But that, of course, started the first day I took them out. I introduced them to a little place called Hooters. Something they don't have back home in the UK. They returned the favor by taking me and Merrill, and our families out to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Never knew that place had such upscale dining. Anyway, they loved my wife, especially after she surprised them all by not only showing them the stun gun that she carries, but by firing off a shot, or more correctly, I suppose, a zap, right there at the table. They were right impressed. Right drunk...but right impressed none the less.

New poem, followed by old, old anti-war one. Most of you can stop reading now.

Life is painful, suffering is optional, out Ramblin' Ed

Better Now, Maybe 7 April, 2009

I watched as you drove off I thought for the summer
You smiled as you kissed me and I didn't wonder
What that really meant 'cause I wasn't the curious kind
The dust settled slow, you know Florida evenings
tell so many lies and you shouldn't believe them
But somehow you do. Yeah, you fall for them every time

I wanted to ask you, are you still a dancer?
Still believe questions don't always need answers?
And do colors remind you of stories you never have told?
Have you been knocked around some, and slowly grown harder?
Had to let go of too much that you really wanted?
Some dance. And some dream. Some mellow. And some lose control.

All the songs of our youth were so slow and so urgent
Writ in the boredom of summer lust burning
Drifting along any aimless old wind that it found.
You used to remind me that time's not for wasting
I'd give you that smile, both impure and impatient
Where would that get me? You knew back then, I know it now.

I wanted to know girl, are you still a dreamer?
Your endings still bending to half in-betweener?
I wanted to know if your smile comes as easily still?
Did you walk to the edge of the darkness and see them?
It's alright, you know that we've all got those demons.
Some shimmer. Some fade. Some whisper. And some never will.

So you're better now, maybe, through time faded glasses
They smooth down the edges that started so jagged.
Those raggedy lines that used to connect you to me.
I watched you just drive off, I thought nothing of it.
The fireflies were firing. The streetlights were humming.
And that was the moment you turned into fine memories.

I wanted to know now if you're still a dreamer?
Your endings still bending to half in-betweener?
I wanted to know, does your smile comes so easily still?
St. Petersburg / Brandon

A Layman Looks at War 1983

I have died as I watched
My friend suffer and fall
Groping blindly for words
That he might tell me all

And I prayed as I watched
My friend laid in his grave
In a land far from home
He fought bravely to save

I laughed at the puppets
Til I saw they were real
Flesh and bone on a string
But unable to feel

I sneered at the pirates
And the holy crusades
Bowed my head with the children
But was always amazed

In the castles of sand
By a now restless sea
I have sat on my hands
I have bent on my knees

I have followed our sons,
To the hard mountian lands
They played as if children
Then died just like men

Now I praise those who knew
At twilight's last gleaming
Death's an illusion
And everyone's dreaming

A fast fading light
Aids safe passage to port
But I'm just a layman
I know nothing of war

On a warship somewhere at sea

Friday, March 27, 2009

I don't necessarily agree with everything I say

I get a free catered lunch nearly every day and yet I still seem to be gaining weight.

Been plodding along. Worked up in Orlando on an explosive trace machine. It was pretty neat, and I suppose that is as much detail as I should probably go into it. Was able to take the wife with me. We stayed in a hotel on International Drive. She had to keep herself busy during the day, but still....

Am writing the operator training course for a new software version of our equipment. It's being installed in Winnipeg. And I have never been to Canada, so... so.... well, so I want to go. And it's in June or July, which seems like a reasonable time to visit.

We're in the middle of a severe drought. We draw water from 2 rivers, one of which is at two percent of it's normal flow. Yes! I said two percent. Which means it is 98% used up. Our resevior is empty. We're in such dire straits that Southwest Water Management District, or Swiftmud, a governmental entity in the truest form, has decided to start to think about maybe banning lawn watering. Maybe. Meanwhile, there is a rich RV salesman on Bayshore Drive, our uptown section of down town, who singlehandedly used SIX MILLION gallons of water at his house last year. Sure, there's 12 1/2 bathrooms, but still, there's only 4 of you living there. Oh well, at least its not raining.

I fnally put a big privacy fence up between me and the crazy wench who lives next door. And wench is such a polite way of putting it.

I asked you for a cigarette
But you gave me a light
And when I asked you for your point of view
I got the story of your life
Well I could have turned the TV on
If you'd looked like the silent type
And I will never understand
The workings of a woman's mind

I spent the night near ecstacy
And I'm hopin' you feel the same
You were soft and warm, I'll remember that
We were gentle like the rain
Then when the windows started fogging up
We drew faces in the steam
And for the pleasure to have known you
I say thanks for everything

Now I will shut the front door quietly
Behind me when I leave
I meant to say goodbye
But I found I couldn't do it
So in the morning when you wake up
I'll be half a state away
I meant to say I loved you
But I couldn't put you through it

Will you hold it all against me?
Talk about me to your friends?
Will you mourn this almost love affair
That never quite began?
You see, I really thought we'd made it
But then you asked too much of me
Yeah, I'll just shut the front door quietly
Behind me when I leave

Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt... Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves. - Robert Anton Wilson

So now developing wetlands in Florididdy just got a whole lot easier. Man , I really wish that I were making this up. Starting as soon as they can get the bill passed into law, in the name of economic stimulus or something, as long as "a geologist, scientist, architect, (architect...really?!) engineer, or other professsional", that you yourself have gone out and hired, signs an affidavit that your development of the wetlands won't contribute to water pollution, and the form is filled out correctly, the application to destroy what mother nature has given us must, by law, be approved. Yeehaw. I would weep if it weren't so, ummm...Floridian to have a law like that.

Been watching the NCAA tourney, just as you are supposed to . I remember one Saturday in Fredricksburg, VA when I had gone in about 10 AM for some tires. It was about a 35 min ride into F'burg from where I lived. The tire place had the tourney on and I was watching as I waited for truck to finish. All of the games were nail biters, and as is often the case, the station just kept switching from one exciting finish to the next. I ended up sitting in that doggone tire store for close to 4 hours... and though I stayed the longest past my finish, I was not the only guy who did... before making a break for it and driving back to King George.

I tell you that to tell you this. My conference, the ACC, put in 7 teams. And even though I am a dyed in the cotton/polyester blend NC State fan and they were not in, I pull for ACC teams in the tournament. And I must say, what a bunch of non-representers they turned out to be. Of the 7 teams, 4 lost their first game, Maryland left in the second game, and Duke got their panties removed, their butts spanked, and their panties handed back to them by Villanova in the third game. Just as well, I hate the idea of pulling for Duke anyway. Only UNC is walking the walk. They're just grabbing folks by the throat and tossing them aside. And though it pains me, again as a Wolfpack fan, to root for the Tarheels, I'm their number 1 fan for the duration. (Hmmmmm... seems I went a little Sports Illustrated on you. Sorry.)

Picture me a little man
A lonely man, a thief
Come to steal your heart away from you
Wrap you in emotions
That you struggle to break free
That's the one thing that you'll never do

Picture me a picture
Of a man you used to know
One that you will never know again
Had my share of promises
Spilled my share of blood
Brought to the surface, always, by a friend

Yes, picture me a picture
And I’ll picture you one too
In a timeframe that is neither wood nor gold
Pictures, they tell stories
And stories, they deceive
Though worse are they that never will be told

Picture me a little man
A lonely man, a thief
Come to steal your heart away from you
Wrap you in emotions
That you struggle to break free
That is one thing that you'll never do

Picture now the darkness
Not a shred of light to see
Take a long look at this heart of mine
Casting lonely shadows
Towards the corners of the room
Shadows ruin pictures all the time

A motion to adjourn is always in order. - Robert Heinlein

It may even cause scars, but it will surely draw blood, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, March 14, 2009

All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors

I watched the space shuttle take off tonight. I can see it from my front yard about 45 seconds after take-off. It helps that Florida is not particularly wide.

The last few weeks have just plumb worn me out. I have been sick, the wife has been hospitalized, we've tested & been sworn in as a US citizen (I say we, as it was interacive, for sure), and she has wrecked her car. In the middle of all this, I have had to travel once and go into work most of the rest of the time. 3 weeks has pretty much felt like 6 months. Hopefully most of that is behind me now.

I loved Alaska. It was like the world's largest small town. Plus Anchorage was like the capital wall hung critters. And critters as hats. And..... well, basically the capital of anything that can be made with a shot dead critter. And no, it's not commentary or anything. I am not judgemental of hunting. But it is an accurate observation.

I went into the BX/PX on Elmendorf while I was there. I bought, and this is true, an Alaska sweatshirt, a RISK computer gaame (so as to hone my world domination skills), a TSA approved computer bag that can be scanned without removing the computer (a big convienence for me), and a weedless, floating frog. The frog is, of course, a fishing lure. And I am absolutely convinced that fishing lures are mainly designed to catch fishermen. And this one was that good. I took one look at it and could see the lunker exploding off of a submerged stump to hit this baby.

It was the only BX/PX I had ever been in that sold guns and crossbows, and the like. Again, I grew up in the rural south where guns could be bought anywhere and ammo bought everywhere. I used to stop at the Texaco station to pick up birdshot, so I am not disapproving. But I have never seen a base that would sell firearms. It was interesting.

I am fast approaching my trip to Erbil, Iraq. I hope the per diem is high. I mean, I should come home with a little extra jingle because I don't see me out in town partying in Erbil. I understand it is up north, I think in the Kurdish area. Near Turkey, I am told. I don't know. Have not researched it. In fact, wait a sec.... OK, I'm back. Here's an article from March 2007 that right fairly describes the place now: Plus now that I've read this, perhaps I can see me headed out a night or two while there.

I had a lot of stories I was gonna tell, but the last few weeks just beat that right out of me. So I will go to my fallback position of poems and pictures. These 3 poems are not particularly good, except that I wrote them before I was even 21. So in that respect I find them pretty doggone insightful about the world. Not to mention, they are mostly pretty funny. So hopefully, get a kick out of this old stuff. Or you can skip straight to the pictures that come after.

No Name Man

In North Carolina in a clapboard shack
Where the wind would blow and life blew back
Life began for the son of a no name man
Well life was tough and life was hard
Couldn't get no milk without a ration card
But a 10 week baby boy couldn't understand

I'd say, "What's the scoop, mama?" in my baby head
She'd think I was tired and put me to bed
I learned to talk from the wind whistling through the walls
Daddy worked hard just to meet the bills
Sixteen hours at the paper mill
That bone tired man wore thin and dirty coveralls

Now you know at the age of 4
Used to follow my mama to the grocery store
Wearing hand-me-down-me-downs from the neighbor folk
Life was tough. Life was hard
Couldn't get new shoes without a ration card
It sure seemed life was just a bitter joke

The other kids called me poor white trash
And when daddy was killed in an auto crash
The mill gave a thousand dollars for his wife and son
He got a company funeral in a white pine box
Mama started drinking to forget the loss
I guess this is where the story really begun

See, the son of a dead mill worker
And an alcoholic mother
Grew up to be this all American boy
Wearing 30 pants on a 34 frame
Ain't got to worry if it starts to rain
Just 15, Lord, and happy to be employed

The mill, they give me Daddy's job
Making cardboard out of big pine logs
9 hours a day and 5 hours overtime

Well, I scrimped a lot and saved a little
Put 10 in the bank and 20 in a fiddle
Just sit on the porch in the evening and play that thing
I got damn good in the way out back
Not much to do in a clapboard shack
I'd play for hours and Dan, my dog, would sing

I played mountian music and Roy Acuff
I played what I knew and if that weren't enough
I'd make up a song for the pine trees that I loved
The wind would whistle through the walls
Dan would pause to scratch his balls
Then howl another verse of some new song

One day down at the Rexall store
I was fiddling slow, feeling bored
A man in a checkered suit pulled up his car
Said, "Boy it sounds and looks to me
Like you should be in Tennessee
I'm a Nashville agent. I'm gonna make you a star."

"Gonna take you to the Opry House
You'll be a hit, you'll knock 'em out
The lights will read 'Now starring.....', what's your name?"
"I've got no name," was my reply,
Daddy forgot before he died
And mama, she ain't been too much use of late."

You can call me anything, offhand
Just call me the son of a no name man
Call me poor white trash, it's all the same to me
I've got my fiddle, got my dog
Got me a job humping big ass logs
And I've got this music deep inside of me

Got plenty to do when I'm energetic
But not enough time to be poetic
I can't quit my job just to be your star
Dan would starve without me here
And I would die without him near
I'll make it fine, so get back in your car

I was born back yonder in a clapboard shack
The wind would blow, life sure blew back
Born the only child of a no name man
Life was tough. Life was hard
Couldn't get wood without a ration card
You city boys, now y'all don't understand

Think I'll stay here in my backwoods town
Make the people smile when they come around
I am them and they are me and it's where I belong
If I'm half as good as you've been betting
I could go with you and make them records
But my friends here can't afford to buy the songs

So call me crazy, sure you will
Gonna stay right here at the paper mill
Live my life amongst the rocks and trees
I've got my roots in this rocky ground
And at night when the neighbors gather 'round
My friends can always share my songs for free

Ed 1980

Money Blues

Me and a road buddy I've known a while
tried to purchase a beer just using our smile
Now we're down in the dumps 'cause we had no damn luck
see, we have no American bucks

We've got pesos from P.I. and won from Korea
Yen from Japan where they're so glad to see ya
Dollars from Hong Kong and Singapore, too
but we can't buy a glass of American brew

Me and my buddy have traveled around
We've slept in resorts and we've crashed on the ground
Eaten monkey meat, squid, and some stuff on a stick
Now we can't look at rice without getting half sick

We've come to discover that we're both named Joe
just a little more trivia we did not know
We have so much money, that's why it seems queer
to find that we can't buy American beer

We've got pesos from P.I. and won from Korea
Yen from Japan where they're so glad to see ya
Dollars from Hong Kong and Singapore, too
but we can't buy a glass of American brew

We're stuck here in Idaho, men of the world
putting our moves on this snow bunny girl
went to buy her a drink, she looked at us strange
"Hey, what do I look like, a money exchange?"

And what could we say? The lady was right
we left thinking thoughts of those Philippine nights
kicked back in the shade with a cold San Miguel
instead of back in the States, broker than hell

We've got pesos from P.I. and won from Korea
Yen from Japan where they're so glad to see ya
Dollars from Hong Kong and Singapore, too
but we can't buy a glass of American brew

Well, Joe it sounds funny but I'm just like you
Together we're singing these old money blues

Ed 1980

I wrote this next one for a girlfriend who later became a wife. Just so you know there is some truth to these. And that I can be passionate. Sometimes. The dead daddy and alcoholic mama poem above, by the way, is not so much based in fact. I can't play fiddle and my dog is not named Dan.

Johnson City

Put your faith in me and I'll stick around
I won't hold you back, I won't chain you down
I will take your nights, weave such vivid scenes
When the silence laughs and your poor heart screams

We will wander through corridors of time
Taste the sweet, sweet life. Drink of bitter wine
Hold each other close with no alabis
Would you put your faith in me?

For the tapestry of our yesterdays
Hung upon the wall in a golden age
Now the sweat has dried from a frantic ride
And the pool of tears that once fell has dried

We will sing the songs neither's sung before
Lay emotions bare on the hardwood floor
Hold each other close, never wonder why
If you'll put your faith in me

Put your faith in me and never walk alone
As the sunlight fades and the shadows grow
What you give as love will come back in full
What you take from me.... I will give to you

We will grab the night by its flowing hair
Bring it to its knees in the warm, wet air
Hold each other close for eternity
If you'll put your faith in me

Ed 26Sept1984

My little corner of the blogsphere. If you biggerize this you will be able to:
a) See what the ballcap says
b)See a picture of me and Nong in flight over Chang Mai (photo immediately beneath printer)
Some of my many Japanese sake bottles.

Swadee doll. She greets you when you arrive, hopefully making you feel welcome. She smiles beautifully, but her English is a little wooden.
TV viewing area. A well used space.
Water exits mountianside and then freezes. So simple. I was in awe of it. I took a shot with a car passing by to give scale, but it is better without it. It was a blue mini-van for those of you trying to imagine the scene. In need of a wash.
Picture = 1000 words. Biggerize this!
This was a guy's yard way up atop a mountian. He may have been a member of a local tribe, but I'm guessing he has a little coin and thinks this is a pretty cool way to show it. Either way, I exited the car for this shot.
Maybe it's just me, but it just seemed a tad chilly here.
They park the planes on the lake. I have a picture showing more of the planes, but I loved the mountian in the background of this one.
I guess I never thought about where a dog sled race might begin. But now I know. They had t-shirts, but I resisted.
When I am sick, Ramblin' Wreck is my main co-miserator. 'Cause, you know, nothing says "I'm there for you" like dog drool on your leg. No matter what you get from this picture, I was miserable!
My hotel was in the thick of things in Atlantic City. I went out for dinner, but I don't gamble so there wasn't much pull to the bright lights for me. I'm not anti-gambling, of course. I was not put on this earth to save people from themselves. I have just never enjoyed giving my money to someone else and having nothing to show for it. I'm funny that way.
One of my training classes. This class is about 2 1/2 times the size of a regular class. These students were brought in from all across the country and I had taught some before.
Hmmmm... actually, this thing is pretty long.
OK! They just called Thailand. That's me. Whoo-hoo. Quick, how's that Lee Greenwood song go? You know, the one that's EVERYWHERE.
Amost done (gimmee....gimmee....gimmee.....)
End of the line. No more tests and, more importantly, no more checks to Uncle Sam.
Very clearly a case for corn flakes and classics, out
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't

Have not forgotten y'all. I am pretty overwhelmed right now.

Wife passed citizenship test today and gets sworn in next Wednesday.

Found out that I am to be in New Jersey working, despite the fact I didn't get the word. No, I'm not just flexible... I'm downright fluid.

Put the wife in the hospital tonight. Surgery to ensue.

It's not the weight of the world on my shoulders, but definately the weight of the immediate vicinity.

Tales and good pics are being held in abeyance. You'll see them soon.
If you skip the DBT video, no problem (ya heathen). But you owe yourself the Kosovo vid.
Work your fingers to the bone - whadda ya get? ( Whoo-whoo ) Boney Fingers, out
Ramblin' Ed