Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do

You love something, but still you shuffle along with your life. You wander a little here, hang out a little there. You kinda lose track of time as you race through your life at a leisurely pace. There becomes a separation. A separation of miles compounded by a separation of time. Your passions invariably take on the patina of time, coloring once bright memories with the greens and bleached whites of distant fondness. You are gone and you won't be back. You didn't even know it.

I strolled old Mobile last night. I soaked in the quiet charm, wrapping myself in it like an old, soft favorite sweatshirt. As the evening moved from the defiant, blinding last rays of a setting sun, through the dusk and into the nighttime proper, I embrace the rightness of the moment. The pleasure took the edge off of, but could not overpower, the ache that settled over me. It is not by birth that I am a child of the Gulf Coast. But I am that son.

My meanderings took me past reminders of days gone by. Times that were more genteel. A neon rimmed sign offering fine furniture and cheerful credit. The brick buildings, wearing their time passed as worn corners and faded colors. The parks. The giant oaks, their branches holding out the spanish moss to dance gently in the breezes that blew softly and randomly off from the bay. And I ached. It was an ache of finally returning home and knowing you could not stay.

The gulf coast pulses from music. It is not performed, it is the life blood of the land. I passed a storefront as I walked. I could tell that the building had been converted, though if there had ever been a sign, it was long since removed. There were posters plastered every which way, tattooing the windows as colorfully as the ones on any drunken seaman who had passed by, intent on making the dives and juke joints just a few blocks on. The posters were for bands, some local, some national, that called the stage their home on rowdy, smokey Saturday nights. Tonight there were young people spilling out, leaning up against the wall, sprawled out on the old couch brought onto the sidewalk, and clustering on the curb, smoking and talking. There was a time when I too could just be. Just be in the moment. No worries about what should be. Or could be. Just living for the night. This night. I don't believe time makes you old. But it does steal your youth.

I stared at the names on the posters. Drive By Truckers. Southern Culture on the Skids. North Mississippi All Stars. And on and on. Just reading the names I could feel the funk and the stomp, washing over the crowd in hot and humid waves, and wafting out the door to drift slowly off into the warm night air. No, the people of the coast don't just do music. Music lives in them. Does the music live in me? I think it wants to. But Tampa's gulf coast is not that of the south. Geographically speaking it is. But it does not have the tradition, the memories, the drawl.... it doesn't have the soul. It doesn't have that certian crawfish mentality. When I left Mississippi the last time, I didn't know it was the last time. But it was. The music calls me, but the voices are faint. And I ache.

A life well lived will still contain regrets, out

Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I like to play blackjack. I'm not addicted to gambling, I'm addicted to sitting in a semi-circle.

There was a bumper sticker on the small car in front of me. The good ones are always on small, old, or old small cars it seems. The big cars tend to have stickers proclaiming either their choice of political candidate or what a great model citizen their little munchkin is at their middle school. This one, in amongst the rocker band stickers, read: America. Love it or give it back. No, I'm not really in favor of giving it back. We have too much invested in strip malls now to do that. But I did appreciate the smile.

I watched the Super Bowl in a hotel room next to Boston's Logan Airport. As a guy that basically lives in hotels, I wonder who picks out the furniture. You open the door and everything looks nice. But if you want to sit and watch TV, you are plumb out of luck. Nothing is comfortable. It's all pretty...pretty UN-comfortable. Not to repeat my self too much, but when I am King, things like this will be fixed. ASAP. One of my first decrees will be for every hotel ... OK, it's reasonable enough to exempt some of the seedier motels and any hotel rooms that rent by the hour.... for every hotel room that is on the market to come with a recliner. If not in the room initially, at least available in much the same way as a roll away bed. I'm telling you, elect me King. I am full of great ideas.

On the 27th, I'd like to give a shout out to the Red Queen who may or may not be turning a year older.

I got a card from some kids on my birthday. OK, it was my sister's kids. The older niece wished me a "Happy Birthday, Hillbilly". Good to see that they're being taught respect. The younger niece, the one who I have the highest hopes for obviously, allowed "Happy Birthday. You're so cool." And yes, I do appreciate her keen sense of awareness. But she needs to get out more, right? Me being the coolest is a lot like looking at the clothes in your closet and saying, "Well, the brown dress is the most colorful." No, don't try to talk me out of it. I have neck fat now. On a scale of None to Not Very, how cool is that?

Headed up to Pensacola next week. Have not had a trip within Florida in quite a while. And it is the first one that hasn't taken me down into that third world mess we call Miami. So I am looking forward to it. I have a good friend living in Gautier, MS (basically Biloxi). We try to hang whenever we can. So I am going to drive the 1/2 hour west from Pensacola and he will drive the 1/2 hour east from Gautier and we will meet up on Dauphin Street in Mobile, Bamalama for dinner and some drinks. Dauphin Street is like a smaller, less weird French Quarter. Like Ybor City on a non-Guavaween Saturday night. Anyway, below I added a shot of one of my favorite places to eat when I'm there. I just wish the food was better.

I will come out when you calm down and stop using expletives to describe me, out
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, February 12, 2010

We are none of us infallible--not even the youngest of us

I rode out my first nor'easter in a Boston hotel room. The storm snuck in on a whimper, dusted the joint with snow, and then slunk off quietly. I was a little disappointed not to see more snow and fury, as I have always enjoyed a good storm.
My favorite was the one to the left. We went through it in the winter of 1999 in the South China Sea. We broke the ship in a couple of places by going through that one. Mostly though, I sit in my garage, porch, or yard swing and watch thunderstorms roll in. It is one of my pleasures in life.
But the nor'easter-NOT was just what it was. A product of the overactive minds of local news stations, whipping up interest. We get the same thing in Florida. We got the same thing in Mississippi...and North Carolina...and California. Breathless local weather folks and their studio counterparts, speculating how "this bad boy is gonna blow the white right off the rice, it's that honking big and/or strong." Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. But "wait and see" has never sold ad time.
Don't do winter gracefully, so I have not been anywhere this trip. Took a hotel at the airport and didn't bother with a car. I use the Hertz shuttle to get back and forth. Or at least I will until they figure out that I ride a lot but never seem to rent a car. I have a train station about a hundred yards from the hotel, so if I needed to get somewhere, I could. But mostly, just been utilizing the kitchenette for dinner and watching TV. Idol is on again. And Survivor started up last night. Tonight is the opening celebration of the Winter Olympics. And Sunday, although unless something horrific happens with the airline schedules I will be home, the new season of Amazing Race starts.
I love The Amazing Race, but hate the fall season of it because of 60 Minutes. Because no matter how long a football game goes, CBS insists on showing the entire 60 Minutes show before they will start prime time. So you never know exactly when it will start. It's a pain.
Well here's something I never expected I would write. One thing I like about the Boston area is that they have mild franks. Not only are they mild, they are quite soft. In the south we have hot dogs. Some say "all beef". Those are made with beef, though it may be better not to ask what parts. Some say "chicken". Those are made from chickens, and again we do not delve. Some just say "hot dogs". Those are made with who knows what. You eat those with ketchup, mustard, and a conscious effort not to think about ingredients. Most upsetting mental visual for me is the "mechanically seperated chicken". All I can think of is a giant washing machine-like contraption, bucking and spinning, with feathers, legs, and beaks a'flying. And the machine has an evil grin.
Anyway, this is what I liked. They don't make me burp. Since there is no picture (OK, there were pictures, but none large enough to use) available on google images, just suffice yourself with the below description.
Since 1883, Schonland's Franks and Sausages have graced the grills and tables of Northern New Englanders. A tradition of quality and attention to detail in providing the best tasting franks and sausage has been the hallmark of Schonland's and the reason for its sucess.
I love my titles. I think one day I should try to have them at least marginally have something to do with the post. But until they do, and I offer no promises as to when or even if that will happen, treat them like I do, as random quotes.

Well, this has been useless. Sorry for the 5 minutes that you will never get back. But there was a cool storm picture. And it was real. So a little living vicariously through me action going on there. That's something.

Nietsche is Pietsche, out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, February 08, 2010

Party Gras

Saints win. I can exhale now.
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, February 05, 2010

The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again

We went to the State Fair. The perfect day for it, as it was 75 degrees and sunny. I had the day off so me and the wife and the brother all headed over there about noon. It was the first few hours of the first day, so it was not very busy yet. Kids still in school. parents still at work. Cool.

At first we thought we had made a wrong turn somewhere. I was pretty sure I knew where the fairgounds were. Still in Tampa which is still in Hillsborough County which is still in Florida, a place with a long, long tradition of smiling and telling you how much they've got your back as they reach deeper and deeper into your pocket. A place that'll raise the "fees" on everything by triple digit percentages and crow about how they have cut or not raised taxes in (__fill in the blank___) number of years. Yeah, that place.

So when we cleared the barricades and police cruiser, complete with a cop who I am sure was not napping, despite the appearance of nappage, and saw the sign at the gate booth that read: DO NOT STOP. NO CHARGE FOR PARKING I was... well, frankly, I was confused. It was un-Tampa/Hillsborough/Florida-like. And the tickets were only half what I was expecting them to be. It was all very disconcerting.

Luckily the rides and food were grossly overpriced. At last. Some normalcy returning to my world.

The day the Saints play in the Super Bowl, that's this Sunday for those of you who are uninformed heathens, I get on a plane for Boston. I am flying early in the morning. But let me re-cap real quick for you.
1. I am flying to Boston
2. In the winter.
3. I am changing planes.
4. I arrive 4 1/2 hours befor kickoff and my hotel is on the airport property.
5. This Super Bowl is particularly important to me.

Conclusion: For those of you unfamiliar with air travel, not to mention the natural orneriness of things, just taking item numbers 1,2, and 5 in to account almost guarantees massive weather related delays, cancelled flights, and me getting to my hotel room long after the Super Bowl has been decided. And since it is the Super Bowl, there will be no way to not know who won it before I can get to my DVR to watch it. Dang!

I had more to write about. I always do. But I get winded when I type too much. And I get so into describing things (there's quite a lot of verbal twists and turns involved in me writing down something, even something simple) that I forget what it was I was going to tell you next. But that's 50 years of hard living for you. Well, maybe not hard living. But semi-hard living for sure. Which could, I suppose, also be referred to as 50 years of semi-soft living, too. Anyway, there are 13 pictures below, which as you know, equates to 13,000 additional words. So I'm calling it all good.

A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents, out
Ramblin' Ed

Yo ho ho. It's a pirate's nap for me.
Step 1: Find the Doughnut Burger joint
Step 2: Buy a doughnut burger. Step 2 1/2: Get all mouth watery in anticipation. I mean, we all like burgers. And we all like doughnuts. D'ya see where I'm going with this.....
Step 3: Devour. Mmmmmm.... sweet empty calories. (The sign on the joint in the background actually advertises Deep Fried Pepsi [tried it], and Deep Fried Butter [eeewwww!] although all you will be able to make out is UTTER)
Pork Chop on a Stick = Hog on a Log.
If you are recording a game at home, but want to watch a different game in a hotel room in Louisiana, what can you do? I mean about that crawler along the bottom of ESPN channels that is always there, even during commercials, giving you up to the milli-second score updates? It grabs your eyes like a tractor beam and resistance is f-f-futile! My fix? Use the guest services book (and a bottle of free water) to perform the guest service of CRAWLER BLOCKING. There are no problems, only ridiculous soloutions.
Noah getting a picture of the RC car that had been alternately chasing him and being chased by him. Noah took about 3 really good pictures. Out of 27 or so.
That's a mighty big tire. I used the munchkin to give it scale. I know, how professional.
Grave Digger from the front.
Mighty Mutt crossing the street from the stadium over to the pit area. These trucks were pretty loud.
Not a fan of loud, by the way.
Took the wife to a hotel in St. Pete for a night. This is the view out of our window, over looking Progress Energy Field and Tampa Bay. Too bad there was no game that night.
As you can see, Pepe like to sleep. Anywhere he pleases. "Yo, pillow girl, SIT STILL!!"
---------------- Random --------------------

When You're Drinking 3 July,2006

How're you doing?
What brings you here tonight
You don't come around much
It seems like for such a long, long time
I've been wondering if I might miss you
Or if I even have the right
That's why it crossed my mind to wonder
What brings you here tonight

So, how's the new guy
Things all working like you planned?
I'm happy for you
Don't laugh, I think I really am
For a while there, you know it hurt me
When you said I would never be your man
If I might ask you, how's it going?
Is it all working out as planned?

How've you been feeling
Just loose? Or fancy free?
No, it don't matter
But that question always gets the best of me
I know I was never what you wanted
But I was still just who I had to be
Like an ache, and, a sad mistake, and
When you're drinking, think of me

How're you doing, baby
And what brings you here tonight
You don't come around here much
Seems like for such a long, long time
And I was wonderin', if I might miss you
Or do I even got that right?
It crossed my mind, so yeah, I wonder
Who you doing here tonight?
It crossed my mind, so yeah, I wonder
Who are you doing here tonight?

Brandon Blvd.

Way Down Low 12 October 2000

Calm was so easy like yesterday
That's when I had nothin'.
A man with a plan with it gone astray
Damn, ain't it always something.

I got twisted 'round a neon sign
Buzzin' down to the crossroads.
Fighting that old Mississippi moon's
Like fighting the way the wind blows.

I'm gonna cry when I say goodbye
But baby, I'll still be leaving
A hole in my soul got me way down low
But it ain't getting filled by grieving

I love the way that the cotton blows
Seems almost like it's dancing
Not like the dreams that was teasing me
'fore they burned up and turned to ashes

I'm gonna cry when I say goodbye
But it ain't gonna change me leaving
A hole in my soul knocks me way down low
But it ain't getting filled by grieving

Smile when you wave and I'll blow a kiss
You done lost another lover
You were a moment who's time had come
A moment I reckon's over

I'm gonna cry when I say goodbye
But baby, I'll still be leaving
A hole in my soul got me way down low
But it ain't getting filled by grieving
Otaru, Japan