Thursday, June 25, 2009

The more things change, the more they remain insane

I drive 60 mph, which is sometimes speeding, but most times is less than the limit. Anyway, I do 60 in a 45 or 50 all the time and don't even get a yawn out of the police. Apparently you either have to be really smoking or they have the COPS camera crew with them..."I'm pulling him over for a cracked tailight and...whoa nelly!, look at all the crack!"

With that said, a few of the things that make me feel all weird and alternate universey.

Alt uni #1: I will be doing 60 MPH on I-275 across the Howard Frankenstien Bridge, which is for all intents and purposes an 8 lane speedway disguised as a bridge across Tampa Bay. The posted limit is 65, the de facto speed limit more like 90. I'll be putt putting along in the far right lane and realize I am not being passed. Alt universe. Or sometimes I am actually gaining on the cars in front of me. That really messes me up. Did I miss a sign or something? How can I be passing people? Why am I going faster than everyone else? Check the dash...nope, 60. What is happening? THIS IS NOT CORRECT!!

Alt uni #2: There are no, or few, other cars on the road. Having a history of waking up and getting on with my daily routine not realizing that it is 0145 and not 0345, when I find myself alone on my commute, I not only begin checking all clocks and watches within view, I begin to wonder if they are, in fact, correct.

Alt uni #3: You have the only cans at the curb. You know it is trash day. Or at least you think you know that on every Wednesday night the cans and recycle bins go curbside. Or asphaltside, as we are curbless. But the usually prompt neighbors got nothing out front. The old lady who puts hers out in the afternoon also has nothing out front. You gaze up and down the street and find that you are, in fact, the Lone Garbage Arranger. Now you're doing math on your fingers, consulting your "palm pilot", as it were. Is today not Wednesday? No...I'm pretty sure it is. Is tomorrow a holiday? Don't think so. June 25th ain't ringing no festive bells for me. Eventually I will leave them curb, I mean, asphaltside and hope I'm not missing something. You cannot imagine the sense of relief I get when in the morning I see cans lined up and down the asphalt's edge. Or perhaps you can.

The reason there is so little crime in Germany is that it's against the law. - Alex Levin
'Who are you and how did you get in here?' 'I'm a locksmith. And, I'm a locksmith.' - Leslie Nielsen
A reckless deciple out spreading the news, out
Ramblin' Ed
The Land of Milk & Honeychild

Mama, understand it now?
It's so hard to be an angel
It's a mercenary world out there
all battle scars and danger
And it would just as soon devour me
yeah, all that it would leave us
are some memories we held as truth
like Sunday Schools and Jesus

Mama, I have tried so hard
to live a life of dedication
You know that's what I tried to do
but we are a violent nation
Thus mechanized, I realized
this thing has just begun
Both angels and the damned must work
now hand in hand as one

Mama, I have held that torch
that led me from my homeland
to light up pathways never known
but it vindicated no men
All the pacifists are blinded
by the glory of this day
It's so hard to be an angel
when the angels have been slain

Now the battlefield is littered
with the ones who thought it fair
To confront a growing evil
with an ornamental prayer
To break the bread and cry aloud
there on mankind's behalf
It's comical. The cancer grew.
The Lord just laughed and laughed.

First Peter. Second Peter.
Then it all just petered out.
The pages blew on seperate winds
and left no room for doubt
Yeah, this evil, and we see it,
it has led us to the verge
of suicide, beneath it lies
a systematic purge

Mama, understand it now?
It's so hard to be an angel
It's a mercenary world out there
all battle scars and danger
And it would just as soon devour me
and all that it would leave us
are the memories we held as truth
like Sunday Schools and Jesus


Walking #1

I've been walking all alone so long
I've forgotten why I started
All the bridges I may come to
well, I think I may have crossed
Still, I never let no lack of bridges
leave me broken hearted
and I haven't got the words to say
I think I might be lost

I drink a couple beers at night
I cry on with the jukebox
I don't wonder who I'm kidding
I've been laughing all along
I have spent a bent up fortune
playing sad songs on the jukebox
There's a road that's paved with quarters
it's the road to take me home

I think I might just head out west
they say it's such a wonder
that something seems so very dead
is a symphony at rest
They tell me you can talk to God
and he'll answer on the thunder
with directions to a good motel
keys waiting at the desk

Yeah, it happened like this long ago
to an imitation cowboy
I reckon all the names are changed
but it happened just the same
He'd been talking to himself so long
he'd forgotten why he started
But that was many years ago
and probably it's all changed

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up

I am technically on vacation although I worked pretty hard on Monday. Then Tuesday I spent the day at the hospital with the wife, and nothing serious or of note about it, working even harder on my Blackberry. Don't get me wrong. It's a useful enough device, but life was a lot simpler when someone had to catch you on the phone in your home. Or wait until they could.

Today, Wednesday, I intend to vacate much more thoroughly. That's the point of a day off, right? I will mow, and nap, and putter with gardening. Perhaps enjoy a frosty Yuengling. I vacate with the best of them. Tonight, I was going to sit around a fire, assuming I could find some un-rain-soaked timber here in the land of afternoon deluges. Then I remembered: Wednesday night...ABC...I SURVIVED A JAPANESE GAMESHOW. Game over for the fire, I've got plans.

Looks like the trip through Montreal may have slid right to the 6th of July timeframe. It's a shame, but you can't slap customers around about messing up your plans. So I smiled over the phone and told 'em, "Whatever you decide is fine. We'll make it work."

Put on my "Dear Abby" hat again this week. I do that for friends and I got one that needs all the encouragement that they can get. That's my middle name, you know, The Encourager. Well, that and Monkey Boy. See....

Once I was all up in arms about the laws that covered the shooting of monkeys in our great nation. And yes, there are laws about that. And needless to say, they tended to favor the shooters rather more favorably than the monkeys. Yeah, go figure. There's no Second Amendment like clause in the Constitution covering your right to not be shot in the head just for being a monkey, which I found profoundly unfair. All a person had to believe was that the monkey might cause damage and they were ripe for shooting. Hell, the same could be said for most children, too. They might cause damage, better pop a cap in 'em now just to be safe. Note: I just now decided that arming the monkeys also might be a right fair compromise. Might not be fair, though, as monkeys have a steady hand and a steely eye. What? I just know these things.
Anyway, long story, I got myself a nickname. And a dang fine one at that.

The saving grace of humor, if you fail no one is laughing at you, out

Ramblin' Ed

Catch Me Memphis

Catch me, Memphis
I'm leaving as the evening weeps
I used to play the game for fun
but now I've got to play for keeps
Ain't no worries
Charlotte's just around the bend
The stakes are high, like you and I
and I wonder if it's gonna end

Watch her, Memphis
she's leaving through an unused door
She said, keep me warm and I'll keep you around
Yeah, I've heard that tune before
We shared some secrets
Couple times she shared my bed
Said that we'd be better for it
I would feel a whole lot better
if I were moving on instead

Catch me, Memphis
I'm leaving while the sun's asleep
We used to play this game for fun
but nowadays we play for keeps
I'm on the corner
and I'm waiting for the light to change
Woman took her time
woman wasted mine
She never even asked me for my name

Catch me, Memphis
Out here falling on my face again
been walking miles
down empty aisles
to find you my only friend
Move on over
my days out on the road are through
If Charlotte calls, put on a stall
you know I'd do the same for you.


Friday, June 12, 2009

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live

I was on the phone with Corporate Travel Office booking travel to (or actually, through) Montreal. We were done with the flights. We had reserved the Hertz, with patented Seldom-Lost GPS technology which allows you to easily navigate sparsely populated rural areas but drives you all over a large city recalculating it's suction cupped plastic ass off and easing you further and further away from your actual destination. But no, I'm not complaining.

The hotel, however, was not going quite as smoothly. No Hilton properties within reasonable driving distance. The only Sheraton was busting past the allowed government per diem rate and my options were shrinking. Eventually we discovered that every hotel was pricing above government rate, so I snagged the Sheraton Four Points after all. Going down my profile, the arranger was making sure frequent flyer numbers were entered, window seats were reserved (I prefer aisle for a faster egress, but now that everybody is carrying big carry on bags, I started to get tired of constantly being smacked upside the head), etc.

When she got to the hotel section, which is usually booked as a room with a King bed, she paused. I could hear her typing and typing. "Mr. Abernathy, " she asked, "Do you mind a room with two Queens?" "Not at all. " I replied in the Gumby-ish, get along style that I am known for, "I mean as long as we are talking about beds." Cracking up the travel agent is the first sign that it's going to be a good day.

Traveling my butt off again. Such is life in the big city. Almost starting to think that I live in Florida, but "summer" in Massachusetts. That's how much time I am spending up there. It is less humid there, I'll give it that. Although when I mentioned that the morning was kind of cool one day, I was told that it was, after all, only June. Sorry. I am not used to using the words jacket and June in the same sentence. I have the aforementioned D.C. trip today and Kingston, Ontario after. Boston (again), Austin, and Moscow (Russia, not Idaho) are on deck. And Iraq has not gone away, it just keeps sliding to the right.

My sunflowers are towering over me now, and have big, bright yellow heads that seem to be smiling and welcoming you to the neighborhood. I know, good for me. Hey, "Nice Gesture" is my middle names. Be good, my peeps.

Sure, power corrupts. But we need the electricity, out
Ramblin' Ed

Two Fisted Mariner's Fate

Come 'round, you young sailors
and listen to me
You toil all your days
for your love of the sea
But if you feel sad and lonely
when the winsome wind moans
then you're just a landlubber
and better off home

Well I was just 16
when we pulled from the port
at Norfolk, Virginia,
and the next I saw shore
was an isle of the Azores
as we slowly slid past
and I realized my manhood
had caught me at last

So come on, you deckhands
you officers, too
'cause I just talked Ed
into cooking some brew
And it ain't all that smooth
but tonight you won't care
when you fall into your rack
and there's still no one there

The ocean's my lady
my home is this boat
and no one can harm us
when we are afloat
And I swore that I'd change once
but I never did
The Westerlies beckoned,
they called to me

So when you find you're an old man
who's lived out his life
with salt in his nostrils
on duty all night
I hope you'll smile to recall
how I warned you this way
and the spray will wash over you
starting your day

So come 'round you sailors
and listen to me
you'll toil all your days
for your love of the sea
She'll end up with your body
with an anchor for weight
and you'll suffer
the two fisted mariner's fate


A Backwards Glance at Jenny

Well somebody ought to ask you
why you thought that you could make it
why you thought that no one else
could understand your little games
When you wake up in the morning
with your head still full of fire
and the feeling that tomorrow
well, it's gonna be the same

Don't you ever wonder why
nobody took you to the alter
when you sit around and read
those True Romances every day
Girl, your daddy took the liberty
of buying silver linings
when he couldn't find some specialist
to take your clouds away

And somebody ought to ask you
why you thought that you could make it
why you thought tha no one man
could ever make you feel this way
No, I haven't got the promises
of all those other fellows
but I've got a good umbrella
to protect us from the rain

Who am I to ask you
to stay and make me happy?
A girl need independence
or at least that's what you say
And who am I to try
to take away that independence?
Leave you longing for a love
that drags you like a ball and chain

It's with a backwards glance
I'm leaving you now, Jenny
And there's not much chance
that I'll be coming back
Well, I wanted us to fly
you didn't even want to try
so now it's over
and I'm leaving with a glance over my shoulder

Well, I know the night's are longer
know the party's going stronger
'til it's just you and Johnny Carson
half smoked cigarettes and gin
Hell, I know I could not ask you
to give up all that "freedom"
I'm not asking where you're going
and we both know where you've been

It's a two lane road I'm travelin'
but it's not too late to join me
if you think you might could leave
the gin and cigarettes behind
Girl, I don't know why you thought
that no one man could make you happy
But who am I to say?
when it's so hard to say goodbye

So with a backwards glance
I'm leaving you now, Jenny
And there's not much chance
that I'll be coming back
Well, I wanted us to fly
you didn't even want to try
so now it's over
and I'm leaving with a glance over my shoulder


Now you're telling me you're not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
'Cause I need some of that vagueness now
It's all come back too clearly
Yes, I once loved you dearly
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust
I've already paid
- Joan Baez