Sunday, June 27, 2010

Do not remove a fly from your friend's forehead with a hatchet

I opened the newspaper today, the same as I do almost every non-work day (except in late Jan and Feb), which is to say sitting in the sun that dapples down through the branches of the orange tree, shirtless and shoeless and with the dogs napping nearby. There I found a nice spread about my office in St Petersburg and the $31 million contract we have just begun to execute for TSA. Nice way to start the morning, I thought.

If it wasn't for the steadily increasing thunder and the rain about to blow in on the rapidly cooling breeze I would probably still be out there. Albeit, by now I would be napping since the paper is done and I have finally finished off the backlog of Time magazines (some dating all the way back to the end of March) that had been sitting around. Yep. I have been sitting outside a lot. Jelling. or, perhaps that should be chilling. Either way, aggressively loafing outside has been the norm and blogging has lately been relegated to the most convienent time I could think of....tomorrow. Today the rain that makes the flowers grow will also let the blog be, um, blogged.

The wife will be home next week. Been overseas for 2 months and I think she is ready. But when she was here on a green card she had to watch how long she stayed out of the country or how many times she left or it would lead to closer scrutiny when she applied for citizenship. This was her first chance to just go and hang out. Glad she got it.

I moved to Tampa when the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team was the only pro sports team here. Of course, the town was a fraction of the size it is now, too. We went to a couple of games including when the NY Cosmos (?) came to town. The Cosmos had Pele, who was a big deal. We also went to see them play the Chinese National team, but that was before China, you know, owned us.

I remember trying to watch the Rowdies games on TV. It was kind of tough because the station took commercial breaks even though the game didn't. So after an ad for tires, a quick round of tastes great/less filling, and then one more ad for something or another that was totally manly, we'd return to the game. Sometimes to find that the score had changed.

I am not a huge soccer fan, but the US was in the world cup and expected to do well. I mean, well for America anyway. So I watched the games. I had to miss the Algeria game though. Partly because I was working, but mostly because I got sidetracked and forgot that it was on. It took a while for it to sink in, but then it hit me. ABC was not cutting away from the action for commercials. Good deal. Then Ghana kicked our butts and I'm out of the World Cup now.

When I was growing up near Wilmington, NC the local rock n roll station only broadcast 8 AM to 8 PM daily. On the one hand, there was not a lot of repetition going on, like you get nowadays with a few songs in heavy rotation. But still, the station would go off the air and then I had to change over to the country station. I didn't mind that. I love country music. The twangier the better. Oops... let me side bar real quick before I forget.

Just bought Hank William III - Rebel Within. As you may or may not know, Hank 3 vascillates between hard twang country and hard core punk. The country stuff I like. The punk stuff, well, the lyrics have their merits but the songs are a bit too un-melodious for me. So anyway, the new album is OUTSTANDING. He mashed up the punk and the country right smartly. Most of the songs are about drinking. Except one is about heroin and another is about his mom dying from crack. Yeah, I know, for most of you that probably ain't a real ringing endorsement for buying it. But still, not in spite of but because of the rough edges, I found this to be more "real country" than any of the good ol' boys in their pick em ups and Kenny Chesney's Buffett channeling summer songs could ever hope to muster. Put another way, when you are in the country aisle and the CD you just picked up has the Warning: Explicit Lyrics sticker on it, best thing you can do is just buckle up. Video posted below, live version of Rebel Within. Watching it is optional for most of you. It is required viewing for The Appalachianist though. I know that he likes the hellbilly element same as me.

OK, back to my original point. But sometimes I didn't want to hear country. I wanted to hear rock n roll. In those cases the best compromise available was to turn to the soul station. Back when there really was soul music. Temptations. Isleys. Stevie Wonder. Edwin Starr. Etc. There is a Black Eyed Peas song that I have added to my mp3 player called Where is the Love? I absoloutely love that song. It really has the social consciousness that was found in a lot of those old soul songs. I love the message. I love the chorus. It really takes me back to a swampside papermill town in the 70s.

Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity, out
Ramblin' Ed

First the Nice one:

Now the crazed hillbilly:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.

Been lazy. Soaking up a few weeks of "me time". Wife is still in Bangkok and it is just me and the ranch animals. They are, on one hand, very needy, but on the other hand, fairly easy to please. Thus an afternoon of us all laying around in the shade, watching the world go by and napping without apology fits the bill for all concerned. Plus we watch a lot of TV.

One lesson I recently learned is that when you take a 3 year old fishing and tell him that he might see aligators, he is only excited for as long as it takes him to really think about it, which is the far, far side of wherever you are. Then he whines more than I thought humanly possible. As an added treat, said whining 3 year old will also deduce that fish and turtles inhabit the pond as well and are assuredly lying in wait to munch upon him. Ratchet up the whimpering. At least I was smart enough not to point out the snake that swum by behind us.
Work is good. Machines are flying out of the factory. New airports are being built. Foreign sales are strong. I lucked into a good gig. Yes, I said lucked into. I mean, I wouldn't have gotten the job if I didn't have skills. And I would not have done well at it if I wasn't good at what I do. But as with many things in my life, the planets aligned just so, I was casting a shadow in an opportune place and space in time, and somebody said, "You ever?"...."Nope, never"...."You wanna?"...."Sure, why not". The things I have most desired in terms of jobs, qualifications, duty stations, or warships, have brought me nothing but annoyance and tribulations. But every time I have just shrugged and said "Why not?" I have begun a new adventure. Go figure.
My brother is now working for the Seminoles out at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. Good on him. He went a long time between jobs and now everybody can breathe easier. It's about time for my sister to road trip up here from South Florida, too. Which has not a lot to do with Indian tribes or gambling dens. It just popped into my head, I assume on a sibling thread.
My next exciting adventure is up to....wait for it.....Des Moines. Whoo hoo. White people and corn fields. Cream of wheat. Whatever. I am hearing all kinds of rumors about Egypt and Colombia, and I look forward to that. But I was scheduled for Moscow, Amsterdam, and Erbil, too and I have still never been to Russia, Holland, or Iraq. So I tend to wait til I get on the plane before I get overly excited anymore. What I do know is that Egypt has already contacted us about the training package they want, so it would seem that if anything is a sure bet, that trip is pretty close to it.
Nothing said so far, and nothing more to say.

We who are of mature age seldom suspect how unmercifully and yet with what insight the very young judge us, out
Ramblin' Ed