Nov 30

Living Off the Wall

I spend a little time in Charleston, SC, every now and again.  As cities go… this one has a boatload full of history.  Patriots, Aristocrats, Slaves, Soldiers, Debutantes, Scoundrels, Ghosts, and Pirates…just about any kind of history you could imagine.

One of the tidbits I like revisit is the very early beginnings.    The “city” was established in 1670.  Not long there after….Charleston was a walled fortress city….. up until 1720.

For the white residents…. mostly from England…. this was a period of constant danger from hostile French and Spanish invaders, Native American tribes, and pirates.

The best contemporary view of the walls comes from a map and survey by a guy named Edward Crisp.  His “map” is dated approximately 1704.

Nowadays….. People have been digging in the dirt down there, and figuring things out about this wall.  While it looks like the bastions may have begun as crude earthworks, it seems pretty clear that by the early 18th century they had been engineered and refined to a fairly high degree of sophistication.  At least, that’s what the experts say.

The waterfront wall was a single structure, but the inland walls consisted of double barriers separated by a moat.  A MOAT!

Entrance to the fortress was gained by two drawbridges situated near where the Four Corners of the Law stand today: the intersection of present-day Broad and Meeting Streets.  DRAWBRIDGES!

I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to things of moats and drawbridges.  That’s fairy tale stuff.  Fairy Tale Stuff, I’m telling you…. moats and drawbridges.  I bet they even had alligators.  Actually…. those are still hanging out down there these days.

But, I just like to imagine what it must have been like back then… in 1700…. living in a walled city.  Fearing Pirates, and the French….. and on.

I wonder if they had graffiti back then?  I am pretty sure they didn’t have spray paint… so I wonder what they used?  I wonder what they wrote.

“King Charles the Second Sucks Twice as Much as King Charles the First” ???  “Pirates are Sissy-Boys”????

“History is a set of lies agreed upon.” – Napolean Bonaparte

Nov 29

The Roadster.

I notice some things.

Specifically, I notice things when I am the only human in a car for more than 12 hours.  Some of my thoughts, and observations, after such a day.

People who have vanity plates, are probably NOT their vanity plate.  Okay.  First the disclaimer.  We have a friend who is truly a softball nut.  I think her plates fit her.

Now to the rest.  I passed COOL GUY today.  He didn’t look all that cool to me.  But his Ford Fiesta was pretty neato.  And LAX MOM… she looked a little uptight when I drove past.  Now the guy with the plate that said CAR.  Thanks Sherlock.  I’m glad you cleared that up for me.

Alright enough of that.  This next thing is important, and geared toward women only.

Ladies.  If you choose to pee on public toilet seats, that is your right.  But do the rest of us a favor.  Clean up after yourself.   I mean.  What the heck are you doing in there anyway? Please.  Either line the seat with SOMETHING… and get your tinkler close to the john.   OR… learn how to hover.  But in the event that you can do neither of these things… DRY OFF THE DANG SEAT WHEN YOU ARE DONE.  Holy smokes…. do you think you are the only one that  has to use that stall all day?  Nobody wants to come in to a puddle of your dew drops.

Oh.  There’s more.

This comes with a spoiler alert… okay? … …….  Okay.  Here’s the deal.   There are NO chickens crossing the roads.  Anywhere.

Next item.

In Tennessee… Alfred Hitchcock was alive and well.  There was a freakish display of birds stalking the roadways this afternoon.  For about 10 highway lights in a row… there were large birds, lined up… watching the cars pass.  Hundreds of large birds.

And finally, The Twilight Zone.

No matter which State I was in… people were eating cheese doodles at gas stations.  It doesn’t even matter the gas station… Marathon, Shell, BP, Speedway, and on.  Every one of them… EVERY SINGLE ONE…. I pulled in to today… I came across a car  of Cheese Doodle Eaters.  Cheetos, Cheese Puffs, Cheese Curls… it just didn’t matter.  Cheese Doodles at the Pumps.

It worries me a little…  you see…. ….. I am not sure what all of this means… other than the Mayans may be right.  Or…. it could be…..  the Twinkie Shortage is be having an substantial impact on our environment.

Nov 28

Out of line.

 

Conformity.

Some people are better at conforming than others.  Generally, it means to comply, or agree.  Most of the time, however… “conformity” gets a bad wrap.  Great authors have often talked about surrendering to the cowardice of conformity, and such.

Yet.  If you live in society, a certain degree of conformity is required.  Without it, the fabric of that society would not work.  There’d be no jobs with standard guidelines.  Driving would be impossible.  Grocery stores would not functions without conformity.  And on and on.

Yet, with that said, I think sometimes it is good to think outside of the norms.

See new ways. Try new things.    And on occasion, say right out loud… the good ol’…. “What If.”

 

You see.  Getting along with others is good.  Being yourself in the process is better.

And if your robot wants to wear lipstick and a light blue pullover…  Rejoice and Be Glad.

 

“A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. It would be horribly selfish if it wanted all the other flowers in the garden to be both red and roses.” – Oscar Wilde

Nov 27

Dullday.

Wednesdays Suck.

Other days of the week have nomenclature.  Status.  Whirligigs.

Not Wednesday.  Unless you count the rather uncomplimentary “Hump Day.”

All the remaining days get spotlights… attention…  Press.

Black Friday.
Cyber Monday.

You know, as Holy Days go, the middle of the week gets the bum deal again.

Good Friday.

Easter Sunday.

But on Wednesday… all you get is ashes.

Heroes, Veterans, Presidents… all honored on Mondays.  Thanksgiving always pops out of the oven on Thursday.  The working world looks forward to Friday…. which is also donned in certain markets as the wild and wonderful “Casual” Friday.  And the weekends… OH… the WEEKENDS.  Don’t get me started.  Saturday Night Fever.  Saturday Night Live. Saturday Evening Post.  And of course….  Saturday Night’s all right for fighting….

The rest of the weekend, people put on their Sunday Best.

Let’s face it.  Wednesdays Suck.

Still doubt me?

Take the Day of the Week Children’s Birth Poem thing.  What’s it called?  The Monday’s Child Poem.

All the other days are full of grace, loving and giving, fair of face, bonny and blithe.

But, Wednesday’s child is full of woe.

Today I met a dog named Berta.  She told me she was born on a Wednesday.  Look at the poor, pathetic thing.  Filled with woe.

I too… was born on a Wednesday.  Sometimes I know woe.  Other times … everything is like…. WHOA.

If I go to a Chinese Restaurant, I order and Egg Woe.  At the stream, I woe my boat.  When I get out of the shower, I put on a Bathwobe.  I drive my car down the woad….

Wednesdays.

Nov 26

When you’re a Jet…

This just in.

Well, just when you thought you knew the neighborhood…..

On the news this evening, I learned a thing or two, I’ll tell you.

A disturbing trend has been sweeping the nation in rural America.

For unexplained reasons, there has been a major escalation in Cow Gangs.  That’s right folks.  Cow Gangs.

The groups have been forming at an increasing rate of 78% in places like Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.  While the trend appears to be the highest in the Midwest, the formation of Cow Gangs can be seen as far south as Louisiana, and as far west as Idaho.

There have also been a few reports in the northern states such as Wisconsin and Minnesota.  However that Gang activity has mostly been centered around Cheese Disputes.

In the Midwest particularly, there has been a decisive split between… what the cows themselves are calling … the Milkees, and the Meaters.

No increase violence has been reported.  In fact, there has been a single act of violence between cows.  However, more bovines can be seen standing in larger, organized groups.  No one is certain what the cause is behind the increase.  Despite that fact, Officer Krupke, of New York, seems to think it may be related to Juvenile Delinquency amongst the farm animals in general.

There will be an extensive report on 60 Minutes this coming Sunday Evening, entitled… “West Side Cow Story”

Jets.  Sharks.  Cows.  Who knows…..

“Around the corner,
Or whistling down the river,
Come on, deliver
To me!
Will it be? Yes, it will.
Maybe just by holding still,
It’ll be there!” – Tony, West Side Story

Nov 25

Time to knit.

Sometimes, I have to sit back, and laugh at myself.  At the whole dang deal.

Tonight I’ve come to the revelation that I am like a walking ball of yarn.  Not the neat, nicely wound, fine ball of yarn.  That’s not me at all.  Albeit, I can be wound pretty tight on occasion.

But really, the kind of ball I am, is the one at the bottom of my Mom’s knitting basket.  It is the tangle, knotted, wrapped up, mess-of-a-ball-of-yarn.  The ball… all joined  together in an unending series of simultaneous chaotic and orderly connectedness.

That is me.

You see, I can be flippant.  I can be steady.  Nervous. Calm. Sometimes things seem easy and clear. On other occasions, they are muddy, and difficult to trudge through.  I can be happy as a lark, or as sad as Eeyore’s despondent brother.  From one extreme to the next.  Most of the time, I try my best to keep it somewhere in the middle.

The fact of the matter remains,  it is all wrapped up in one jumbled little package.  Both reasonable, and absurd.

So, I should feel right at home in the universe, for it is much the same way.   One big string of knotted connectedness.  It has its extremes.  At times it overwhelms me when I think of it all.  At any given moment on this planet, there are acts of extreme kindness, wonder, grace and love.  And at that same exact moment, in another place, there is something absolutely abhorrent and detestable happening.  Simultaneously.

I want to make a difference… all the time.  Yet. I don’t think it is possible to make a difference… all the time.  Ball of yarn, I am telling you… ball of yarn.  I want to unwind it all… and get to the bottom of this.  Yet, maybe all I can do, is to approach one knot at a time.

Yes. I have to remember to do what I can, when I can, with what I have.

It just seems like so much.

Einstein once ingeniously said that we only fail when we quit trying.

So.   When I grow up, I want to be like Albert.  And a little like… Gandhi.  And Lincoln.  And Edison.   And… and…

I think that I will just keep on trying.

 

“How long should you try? Until.” – J. Rohn

Nov 24

Monkey Business

Tonight… I have been hanging around with my Sock Monkey Friends.  With that said, I feel like monkeying around.

So.  For your enjoyment, some raucous monkey humor.

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A Drunk Monkey walks into a bar.  He says…”Ouch! That’s gonna’ leave a mark.”

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A monkey walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says:  “A beer  please, and one for the road.”

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An Irish Monkey walks by a bar.  Hey…. it could happen.

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A dyslexic monkey walks into a bra.

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A monkey with a jumper cable walks into a bar. The barman says “I’ll serve you, but don’t start anything.”

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This is where the other monkey joke was.  I had some serious problems with copy and pasting this out of my “text editor” and on to the online blog here.  BUT thanks to my dearest friend… I was made aware of the monkey wrench in the joke telling scheme.

THE CORRECTED VERSION….

 

A guy walks into a bar with his pet monkey. He orders a drink and his little monkeys starts to jump all around the place. The monkey grabs some peanuts and eats them. Then he grabs some sliced limes and eats them. He scampers over to the pool table and grabs one of the billiard balls. To everyone’s surprise….. he grabs one of the pool balls, shoves it into his mouth, and somehow swallows it whole. The bartender screams see what your monkey just did?”

“No, what?”

“He just ate the cue ball off my pool table… whole!”

“Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me,” replied the guy, “he eats everything he sees.  Sorry! I’ll pay for the cue ball and stuff.”

The guy finishes his drink, pays his bill, pays for the stuff that the monkey ate…. and then he leaves.

Two weeks later the guy is in the bar again, and has his monkey is with him…. AGAIN.  The guy orders a  drink and the monkey starts running around the bar….  AGAIN. While the guy sips on
his Bourbon, the monkey finds a maraschino cherry on the bar. He shoves the thing right up his butt, pulls it out, and eats it.

Then the monkey finds a peanut, and again sticks it up his butt, and he eats it.

The bartender is disgusted. “Did you see what your monkey did  just now?”

“No, what?” replied the man.

“Well, he stuck both a maraschino cherry and a peanut up his Butt, and THEN he ate them!” said the bartender.

“Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me,” replied the guy. “He still eats everything in sight, but ever since he had to shit that cue ball out, he measures everything first now.”

 

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. — Victor Borge

Nov 23

Tea Shot

I would say that I am not a picky eater.  It is true…. I definitely have “likes” and “dislikes” (albeit not too many dislikes).  Yet, when I find something I really enjoy, it becomes my “Go To” thing. My standard answer.  My comfort zone.

I have been eating the same breakfast now for nearly eight years.  I am not kidding.  Two eggs over medium, some variation of toast, English Muffin, bagel or biscuit, ham, and a big bowl of grits… plain grits.  I salt and pepper the whole deal… and I am as happy as a pig in the mud.

This is not to say that I am plenty happy to eat other things at breakfast… bacon, canadian bacon, sausage… you know.. your basic pig.  And really anything toasted will do.  I am a big fan of The Gluten Goblin.  Other things spark my interest too.  Black beans and salsa, have come in handy, plain oatmeal, eggs any old way.  Sauteed veggies.  It goes on.

But the best combination for my little head and palette, is the GHET.  Grits, Ham, Eggs, Toastish.

I’ve tried certain foods, time and again.  And I still don’t like them.  Calamari comes to mind.  Even at restaurants, where people are munching on “the best Calamari they’ve ever had in their entire lives”… it continues to taste like deep fried thick-weight-rubber-bands with cocktail sauce, to me.

Sweet potatoes used to be another.  I had always pushed them away because they looked like a supporting device for marshmallows.  But a few years back, I tried on a baked Sweety Po.  Plain, no butter, sugar, or otherwise.  And… Yum.  Now I love a sweet potato.

Finally, tonight’s story.  Tea.  I have tried every kind of tea, from iced to hot, and back again.  Lemon, Early Grey, Green Tea,  Black Tea, blah, blah, blah.  I even read the book Three Cups of Tea… which turned out to be a sham of a scam.

Yet tonight, I was in the shower.  Showering.  Not cleaning it or anything, just taking a nice hot shower.  And I had the notion… a hot cup of tea sounds good.

Well, I went down and fixed a cup.  Just hot tea.  No sugar, no lemon… nothing.  Just tea.  And I loved it.  Actually, I just took the last swallow.

Tell me now.  What the heck is THAT?  How does THAT happen?  Fifty years of not liking something, and suddenly…. like a brick hurled from the sky…. I was almost craving it.

I guess I learned a little lesson in all of this.  Being aware is important for me.  When I am aware, I may notice that which is around me.  I might notice something beautiful for the first time… or finally take notice of a new idea, or thought.  Perhaps I sense something changing within me.

Change may come to us when we least expect it.   A rearranging.  But.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be hard.  Sometimes, it is quite simple, and very comforting.  And good.

Like a cup of tea.

Crap.  I hope it was Decaf.

“Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” – Chuang Tzu

“Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.” – Chaim Potok

Nov 22

Back it up, mouse.

Perhaps, we can think of it this way.

You are a mouse….. in a maze.  Yes.  A little door opened…. you were pushed through that wee opening…. and the door shut behind you.  Surrounding you now, are nothing but white walls.  From where your standing, the direction is not clear.  It may seem daunting, or even frightening.

What should you do mouse?  You sniff.  That comes naturally to you.  Ahhhh.  What is that?  Sharp White Vermont Cheddar Cheese?    Could be Velveeta.  Either way…..YUM.  You thinks you is hungry.   And you say to yourself, I will go in the direction of that smell.

So many halls are before you.  So many doors.  So many directions.  Which is the way?  You don’t know mouse.  But you step out.

At first it goes well.  Walking through these white passage ways.  And then.  Bam.  A wall blocks your process, and your progress.  There is no way around.  It proves much too steep to climb over.  So.  Now what?  You catch a whisper of that cheesy motivation.  Faintly.  So what do you do mouse?

Without much of a choice, you retrace your steps, and try figure  out which hallway might be the open channel.  Again and again this happens.  Dead end. Back up. Start over. Dead end. Back up.   Start over. But the thing of it is, you don’t give up.  You continue to begin anew.  It is either that, or just sit there and starve.

Finally mouse, one turn needs to the next.  A right turn here, and a left turn there.  At last, the open door.  The light at the end of the tunnel.  And YOU….. you get the cheese.

That is how it is for us humans too, isn’t it.  Our paths aren’t exactly clear, but we DO have little hints about the direction we have to go.

And when something gets in the way of our intended progress, we back track just a bit.  We figure out where we went wrong, and we learn from it.  We go in another direction.  Until finally, we get there.  Easy Cheese.

The dog takes the cat… the cat takes the mouse… the mouse takes the cheese. Heigh-ho, the derry-o . . .

A Maze Zing.

“Don’t be afraid to be amazing” – Andy Offutt Irwin

 

Nov 21

Whoop. There it is.

We all find life’s abundances in different places.  People see each and every thing with their own eyes… with their own perspective.

A blessing for one of us, may be a curse for another.

Here is the story of a little dog.

About 11 years ago… I got a phone call from Mary.  Someone had found a little dog who had been… most likely hit by a car… up on Route 122.  The young man who found the canine, was giving “it” some food and water.  But he didn’t really want to be bothered with the dog.  He had no plans of seeking medical attention for it.
So Mary asked if I could go up and offer to help.  When I arrived, there was a little black mass, huddle behind the steps.  The young man said… “That right there is the ugliest dog I have ever seen.”  I asked if the dog could walk.  Not much.  I asked if he wanted to keep the dog.  He quickly replied, “No way.”   Heck. That thing was ugly as sin, after all.

So, I scooped “her” up in my arms… and off we went to the Veterinarian’s Office.     Diagnosis:  Broken pelvis in four places, broken tail, tissue damage, probable damage to her bowel area, and on.  Outlook:  Pessimistic.

We didn’t want another dog… we had two Golden Retrievers.  But, we decided to try and nurse her back to health.

We started calling her Maxine….  Little Max.  The rest…. as they say….. is history.  As it turns out, she is the most beautiful dog in the whole world.  At least we think so.   As she limps along on our outings, through downtown Charleston,  people stop us and ask what breed she is.  Strangers  clamor over her.  They want one like her.

She is a blessing.  A treasure.  One of our life’s benefits.  At least, in our eyes, it seems that way.  And while we thought we were helping her…. she was actually helping us.

So many things surround us which truly are treasures.  It just takes a moment to notice.  And often times  …. we each are in need of something unique, in our unique time.  I always hope I am able to recognize the blessings that come my way… and scoop them up in my arms….

Hot showers, peanut butter, needle and thread, windows, clean air, Mary Poppins, blankets, mountains, electricity, fried bologna, smiles, sticky notes, apple trees …..

Life’s great, and wonderful, abundances.

For all of them, I am thankful.
And, I am SO very thankful, for each beautiful one of you….

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” – Wayne Dyer