Monday, September 28, 2009

Life is a tough proposition and the first hundred years are the hardest

The Saints are 3-0. But every Sunday I get the Tampa Bay Suckaneers game. Regardless of if it is the home team or not, when everybody knows the game is gonna be a lopsided blowout, another same conference team's game should be shown. Ergo, if the Bucs will suck, show the Saints. Problem solved, boredom averted. Elect me King and it will be so.

I have found that putting a spoonful of extra crunchy peanut butter on a marshmallow is quite tasty. I have also found that about 12 is my limit. No, I'm just kidding. There is no limit on genuine goodness.
I would make a pretty good king. I am benevolent, and it would be best for you to think before you say otherwise. And if you elect me king, I will immediately do away with elections, so you won't have the bother of having to re-elect me or anything. My re-election would be like congressional raises, automatic unless I say otherwise. You have better things to worry about, no?
Also, as a king, I could just decree something and it would be so. My minions would see to that. And while the idea of minions can seem at first glance to be problematic, having them to enforce my decrees would certianly free me up for additional deep pondering and wise decreeing. As of this moment, I am not sure how much decreeing and deciding there is to do, but I think it might be considerable.
It is not necessary to fear me. I have no interest in most aspects of your life. Your morality, or lack thereof, is of no concern to me. You can settle up with your maker when the game is over. But unless your morality, or lack thereof, is played out in my yard, annoying me and scaring the chickens, I could really care less.
Alright, it's an abort on the king theme. I was getting pretentious and political. Not so much the part written, though it was going there, but the part I just deleted. No need for all that. Wouldn't be prudent. But still, I am no less in favor of having minions.
Was at the dentist yesterday. He was novocaining me up. All was well. I do not fear dentists. In fact, surprisingly, I find them to be the best shot givers there are. I mean once I learned to just shut my eyes BEFORE looking at how gosh-darned big the needle was that they use. So there I was, relaxed, lying there all blissful and unshaven, and that silly son-of-a-gun hit a nerve. No, he didn't mention my personal hygiene or decidedly spotty record on major life decisions. Rather, ol' gorilla fist actually stuck the needle into a nerve.
But I did not know it at first. Again, I was lying there all blissful and unshaven when BAM!, it felt like I was electrocuted by some Flash Gordon ray gun, starting on the left and racing across the lower half of my face. I did a full body jump, easily 2 inches straight up. The facial electrocution sensation was followwed by a burning, as if everything below my nose had been lit on fire for asking a white girl out. Yowser, that caught me off guard.
Apparently, a spontaneous spasm that jolts you straight out of your reclined dental chair triggers some sort of understatement reaction in the practioners of the teethy arts. "Did I get ya?", Dr. Feelgood inquired. Honestly, it didn't really hurt, something I figured out in retrospect. But it was so fast and unexpected, and had never happened before, that I saw my life literally flash before me, reminding me that I've got some work to do on that.
What a great name for a town: Grand Detour, Ill. It is where the blacksmith who eventually brought us John Deere lived. But for me, it conjurs up the dude on patches and t-shirts in the '70s, the one with the one long leg who was known for captions saying either "Keep on Trucking" or "Just Passing Thru". And Grand Detour's in Ogle County. How cool is that? "Hey, you! Stop seeing at my bobs!"
OK, let's get us out of here with some random quotes I've been collecting:
I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect. - George Carlin
Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting. - Alan Dean Foster
Her virtue was that she said what she thought, her vice that what she thought didn't amount to much. - Peter Ustinov
The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. - Harlan Ellison
I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this. - Emo Phillips
Man is ready to die for an idea, provided that idea is not quite clear to him. - Paul Eldridge

First things first, but not necessarily in that order, out
Ramblin Ed

The Dutchman

Who commands The Dutchman to his fate?
Never loving. Never dying.
Cursed to always wait
and sail the oceans
Captian over ghosly crew
even as the legend grew around him

Songs are sung and stories told
Rum gets passed around
the tales get taller as the nights go on
"You'd best beware, " the old salts warn,
"he's got no soul. Was never born.
When The Dutchman laughs, ol' Davey Jones
will gladly take your bones."

And we are sailing out tomorrow
in our mighty wooden vessels
with masts as big as trees
and with our sails as large as tents.
And a wild look all about us
that can only be described
as that of boys fast turning into men

Wild ports flowing free with drugs
and whores, and bars, and dives
Home becomes this memory
so hard to keep alive
There's cargo bought. And cargo sold.
There's riches won and lost.
Treasures are so hard to hold
and come at such a cost

Young seamen, listen to me
Lest you never see your home
with the tradewinds at our backs now
seems the Captian yearns to roam
we've been ninety days a'crossing
but the lookout's sighted land
We'll pull into port tomorrow
and I think you understand

There'll be wine and there'll be whiskey
merriment and roguish songs
Soft eyed girls to bring the pleasures
done without so long
There will be candles burned here all night long
good times for one and all
and hell to pay, as groggily
we greet the morning's dawn

Still I wonder,
who commands The Dutchman?
What curses him to circumvent
the oceans endlessly?
They're questions I keep tucked away
in corners of my mind
Hidden there
and yet they bother me

Who commands The Dutchman to his fate?
Never loving. Never dying.
Cursed to always wait
and sail the oceans
Watchman o'er a watery grave
firey eyes, your soul enslaves
Burning like another wreck
upon the raging main

Songs are sung and stories told
Rum gets passed around
the tales get taller as the nights go on
"You'd best beware, " the old salts warn,
"he's got no soul. Was never born.
When The Dutchman laughs, ol' Davey Jones
will gladly take your bones."

At sea (circa 1981, 1982, or 1983)
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, September 26, 2009

If this was easy it wouldn't be so hard

A Taoyaun corner.
She was such a sweetheart. And a lot better looking than me. But I had been out walking all afternoon in the 200% humidity. Yeah, that's why.
I have never liked these dang things. One should not encounter a confusing #2. Seriously, they shouldn't.
Man, the weeks just kind of fly on by, don't they. At least I take some comfort in the knowledge that when we started doing this we were all posting every day. Now it is weekly, bi-weekly, or "whenever". At least a lot of times I've got pictures.
Went and spent my week in Taiwan. I am not usually bored in Asia, but I was. Very. I even went in to the big city three times. I have been to Quingdao, China and to Hong Kong (China) and have had a ball. Repeatedly. Hong Kong is, in fact, one of my favorite destinations. So I figured Taiwan (China) would be much the same. And had I been a 20 year old woman in search of shoes, miniskirts, make-up, or hot tea, I'd have been in heaven. Alas, I was not. The most fun I had there was the adventure surrounding using a combination rail/light rail to get from downtown Taipei back to my hotel in Taoyaun, about 20-25 miles away. It was fun because I got totally confused in the multi-story Taipei Main Station. And I thought Yokohama Station in Japan was an overachiever....

So I'm in a town where I'm having trouble even finding a place to stop in and have a beer, and this is as good a place as any to point out that the weather was very much like September in Florida, which is to say ninety degrees plus and humid, when out of my taxi window I see what appears to be... hooker in a box. Right there on the street. I was like, Hmmmmm?
So after seeing the one girl in a miniskirt, or less, on a stool, in a tiny elevated glass enclosure, then I started seeing them all over. It really made me wonder, based on the fact this was not turning out to be a very fun city, why this would be allowed. So I asked Joseph, a Chinese guy I had been hitting the city with. Turns out that they were Betel Nut Girls. If you look at the link you will find an explanation of Betel Nut Girls and a few photos. Then you will understand my initial confusion.

The economy keeps taking out my peeps. Just had another friend lose his job as the big electrical contractor he works, errrr...worked for just filed for bankruptcy. And we have 20 or so new hires coming through my classes and are spending week after next interviewing for a new trainer in my office. I'd love to be throwing some of this work at my friends, but you gotta have the quals, right?
Going to be busy at work for a few weeks because of the new hires. Then I am headed up to Peabody, MA for a week long school at Analogic, or as I call them, Anal Logic, because it seems like their collective head is, well, you know. I used some of my many, many airline miles and got the wife a first class ticket to go up there with me. I think she will be bored during the day, stuck on the outskirts of Woburn, MA without a car. But I am hoping to have dinner with The Coal Miner's Daughter and her boy Nick (Sorry, but I was thinking of "Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman") one night, and with my former boss on another. Then I will take her into Boston proper a couple of times and show her around. Will try to talk her into riding the T with me because when you get into some of these places, parking is a bee-yatch!
The day after tomorrow is the third day of the rest of your life, out
Ramblin' Ed
--------------- More Old Stuff (from 1978 this time)--------------

Star Truck (Blindly going where no man has gone before)

Welcome to my spaceship
I'm the Captain (I implied)
Now fasten up your safety belts
the jets have been applied
feel the gravity start shrinking
pretty soon it will be gone
on the S.S. Ellis Dee
(Where we call home)

All computers have been programmed
and their programmers as well
It seems the last immortal robot
guards a gateway into hell
And if we can put his lights out
we can close that gaping hole
and mankind can live forever
if not more

So just close your eyes my passengers
and you will understand
what this journey is about
for I'm a telepathic man
with less effort
than it takes a star to sigh
the S.S. Ellis Dee
cuts through the sky

Captain, does the sky seem strange?
Asked the woman from Biscayne
No, dear, I replied
I think it's just the window pane
makes the sun seem like it's shifting
to the right
exposing then
this disconcerting light

But now silence must be stringently maintained
or we may crash
I must guide us through this vortex field
one that's full of cosmic trash
and a Marxist spy eye
way up in the sky
I know it's there
But I can't tell you why

Just cling on to this enterprise
think of me as Kirk
I have the conn. I'm in command
in my pajama shirt
Mr Spock, my body guard,
survives on Metimucil
and will guide us through this wonderland
with dialated pupils

We'll be docking in the morning
to a doughnut spinning wild
to an orbiting space station
thruster rockets belching fire
we'll refuel and stay til evening
at which time we must take leave
there's a bag, should you have problems,
on the back of every seat

Then we're off into the galaxy
where unknown dangers dwell
to find the last immortal robot
and his gateway into hell
yes, your ticket price will cover
all of this and so much more
as we grapple with this anti-Christ
and slam shut that massive door

If we survive the battle
then a hero welcome's ours
in the streets of New York City
door to door and house to house
for mankind we meet this challenge
not for you, and not for me
but it will all be worth it
when they meet on bended knee
when they turn their eyes towards heaven
And shout out, "Long live Ellis Dee!"
Black Coffee Day

Well I lost my girl to a rainbow messiah
charismatic for sure, but a compulsive liar
yeah, that silver tounged deacon has stole her away
there won't be no sunshine today

I woke up this morning to a sky rolling blue
a thunderclap welcome, and a free shower too
tried to reach a conclusion but my arms were too short
just another bleeding heart

A choir of angels led a ballad that rambled
on that new FM show brought by Proctor & Gamble
released a new single EP for a demo
sped off in a long, black limo

Yeah, I lost my girl to a rainbow messiah
holy roller fanatic with a prayer gun for hire
a bible for strength, a knife quick and subtle
a deaf ear for any rebuttal

I woke up this morning to a black coffee day
to find that my girl had been stolen away
by that rainbow messiah. Oh yes, how it rained
all over my little parade

I left all my love when I left Tallahassee
took a slow train to somewhere all alone in the last seat
since I don't thump the good book, I'll just cut my losses
and leave it bleed slowly up there on a cross

Let it die slowly, nailed up on that cross.

Friday, September 04, 2009

I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life

It is a time to be. A time to be hopeful. To be angry. To be wishful. To be beat down. A time to be angry or a time to be concillatory. Whatever. It is a time. For me, it is a time to be done with shrillness and demagogery. But, to quote Kimmy, "Babe, that ain't on the menu."

I read this yesterday - To be positive: To be mistaken at the top of one's voice.

I have worked. Hard. I am exhausted. Exhausted in the good way. In the way you pick up what you've done. Hold it in your hand and show it to the world. I am proud of what I put together for the airport in Taipei. Proud of my proposal to train screeners all across Canada. Proud that I had an impossible deadline and met it. Didn't beat it as I had hoped, but like I said, it was an impossible deadline. So meeting it provided the same professional rewards. Now I sit in my pajamas, crowing about it. Kinda crass and unhumble of me.

I was watching "I'm Not There" this morning. It was about Bob Dylan but in the movie he had a different name. And was, at a point, played by a girl. And I felt all trippy and 1960's inside. Which is not an altogether bad way to start the morning. He played with words.

I will be in Taipei for a week. I fly out on September 11th. Third time since 2001 that I have done that. Each time I do, I think about the attacks. Then I buckle in and doze off. That's how I fly. Cinched in and drooling.

Anyway, I will be there for a week. Unless I'm not. It was a certitude, with contacts forged, reservations made, schedules laid out. And then it wasn't. Some form with a government acronym for a name may monkey wrench it. Or might not. That's the way it is. You may call me Gumby.

Mowed the grass yesterday. It's the only time I get left alone. And then only because I can't hear the phone or feel it vibrate. The Snapper mower rides a little rough. I mowed for an hour yesterday and when I finished there were 4 missed calls and 2 new emails. I looked around and ascertained that the world had not ended, so I pretended I did not see them. I reholstered the offending Blackberry and reached for the string trimmer.

Tomorrow I will go fishing. At a good quiet place with a good quiet friend. Sunday and Monday I am taking wife to Jacksonville. We have a friend from Japan who has moved there and we want to see them again. Then, on the way home, will stop by St. Augustine. The wife will like that. Figure to take I-4 & I-95 up there and wander home on the backroads.

Been playing with words.

The truth? You can't hear the truth over your lawnmower, man. Out.
Ramblin' Ed


Unfallen 4 Sept, 2009

You’ve got to leave me out of all the things we’ve done
You took me go then always leave me hanging
We slipped down any path we knew was way too long
Always stopped halfway from the beginning

We wanted once to be what I was always after
But I was never sure that’s what we needed
You were always on the side of glass half full, and laughter
But that’s alright; it stops the heart from bleeding

There’s all the seeds been sown
There lay yours. And mine.
The edges touch, but I don’t see them blending
You’ve got to live your own
You live in your own time
‘Cause we never know just how the past is ending

I got you on the phone from punching numbers random
We talked for minutes, we had much to listen
And random is as random does, and there it lays its pattern
Brushed out in tears unfallen and unglistening

If I could bring to you the things I think are fair
If I could bring you sunshine from the shadows
Then I would be the one you laid your head upon his shoulder
No different from so many other fellows

There’s all the dreams been blown
There lay yours. And mine
The edges overlap. They are unbending
You’ve got to live your own
You live in your own time
‘Cause we never know just how the past is ending

We slipped down any path we knew was way too long
Always stopped halfway from the beginning
You were always on the side of glass half full, and laughter
But that’s alright; it stops the heart from bleeding