Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Recharged?

I am back to work after the weekend and a surprisingly entertaining Memorial Day. I still was filled with foreboding and dread about coming back to work but at least I’m not in my 400 degree apartment.

It gets exceedingly warm in my third floor apartment. I have two air conditioners, one in the dining room and one in the bedroom. They do a pretty sufficient job of keeping the place cool. But I just can’t bring myself to turn it on in May. Something doesn’t seem quite right about that. At least we start June tomorrow and the dilemma will have solved itself. (Might even solve itself tonight)

I wasn’t really ready to come back to work though. I would have liked to enjoy a little more time off, but we must do these things. We must. Wow, writing that right there just really depressed me.  But I’ll resist the temptation to wallow in my own self-pity today. I’ll save that for another time.  Today is all about getting back to basics and taking care of business. No matter how creatively humiliating it is.

I’ve almost stopped sweating from my long walk from the train station to the office. I’m starting to wonder if I should keep some spare tee-shirts in my desk drawer here at work. Of course the last thing I need is extra laundry to lug around downtown. Although I think there’s a dry cleaner in the building. But I’m not too sure about that though, “Hey, dry cleaning lady. Here’s a bundle of sweaty tee-shirts for you, thanks”.

I’d feel bad for her. Even though I’m sure she gets much worse from some people downtown. Still, I don’t feel like it’s her responsibility. It's my fault for being a sweat monster. (I actually don't understand the sweating, I am not exactly overweight or in too terrible of shape, yet, I'm a fountain of persperation. How sexy am I?) 

I’m merely delaying the inevitable today. I should really start working on a few of the things on my list for today, but I really don’t want to. I’d like to go down to the meat locker or cooler and finally cool off. That’s what I’d like to do right now.  I’m not complaining about the heat mind you. I don’t care that it’s 90 degrees out already. I’m glad it’s warm out finally. I do complain about my circumstances and consequences surrounding the increased temperature though.  I think I’ll go find some cool marble to lie on and a block of ice to stuff down my pants. Now that’s a great way to recharge.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sound Check

Is this thing on? (pat, pat, pat) Testing… testing…

So I got on the elevator this morning with a young woman. She was looking down at her phone, texting or sexting or something and after I pressed the button for the 7th floor she looked at me and said, “Please press six for me”.  I stopped and said, “What?”. I really thought she had said something else; something pretty obvious and inappropriate for an elevator, unless you’re in a Vegas hotel. But I really thought she said it. Once I figured out what she actually said I did as she asked and then mentioned the fact that I REALLY thought she said something else. She seemed moderately amused and then got off the elevator at her floor and I was left alone with my thought.

Hello? (thud) I know you’re out there…. I can hear you breathing through your mouth. Stop that, it’s gross.

As I walk through the world I do my best to avoid stepping on people’s spit on the sidewalk. People. Please. Stop spitting on the sidewalk. It’s disgusting. If you must spit, please spit in the street. I don’t want to step in your bodily fluids. Ever. You’re not a baseball player.

In sporting news, the Chicago Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs by the dreaded Miami Heat. It was a pretty good series and many Bothans died. (Sorry, I needed a Star Wars reference there for some reason.)

Most importantly, it’s Memorial Day weekend. I think we should all spend part of this time watching at least one John Wayne war movie and maybe one Tom Hanks war movie/series. But more importantly, it’s to honor those that lost their lives for The United States of America. America’s first war on terror was in 1805 against the pirate forces of Tripoli during the first Barbary War. It was the first recorded battle the United States fought overseas.  So maybe try to remember that one whilst you get your grill started and yell at the kids to stop throwing rocks at that bee’s nest.  

(Rim shot)

In closing, in the words of Jackie Moon, “Everybody love everybody”. Especially me. Love me damn it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Erased

It’s been a tough Thursday so far. I’ve definitely had trouble starting a piece for today. Every word that has appeared on this blank page hasn’t felt right. It’s a visceral thing; writing. It has to feel right on the page before I let anybody read it.  So up till now, nothing has felt quite right. In fact, it looked like poop on the page. So I’ve erased and started again and erased again, over and over.

I’ve gone back and forth on the issue of how really personal to get in these articles. I feel there should be a balance between journalism and creativity, but I limit much about what I am really feeling. Sure I express my opinions and thoughts, but I think I’ve maintained some subtle separation from subjective emotionalism.  I don’t want these articles to wind up sounding too much like the ravings of an emotionally unstable teenager, just an emotionally unstable mid-thirty year old. That’s a hard line to walk.

But what’s the point of writing if you’re not going to be emotionally invested. So here goes, my biggest emotional issue in my life right now is my lack of real companionship. And by that I mean; I want a damn girlfriend. I want someone to want me. I’m lonely. (Whew, that was tough to get out) I know I’ve said it before in other articles but it’s getting pretty obscene lately. I forget what I was watching on TV last night, some stupid mattress commercial and couples were talking about how they sleep and I found myself being jealous. Even though I’m sure they were all just actors and were playing “couple” parts, but they were effective.  That’s what I mean by obscene, a mattress commercial made me feel like a lonely loser.

It may sound like I have a co-dependency issue here, as if I have to define myself by the female company I keep, but it’s not that. I’m looking for someone to compliment me and whom I compliment as well. And I’m really picky. Picky to the point that I start to wonder if I’ve become so emotionally reserved I’m not even sure I’m capable of supporting an emotional relationship. I’d like to try of course.

I should erase this whole thing I think. It sounds so desperate and needy; so wimpy, to be honest. I would rather exude a manly swagger and confidence in the “wanting a relationship” arena. But I haven’t been all that successful in the past few… years. I’m still not exactly sure what my last girlfriend saw in me to stick around for as long as she did.  So confidence wanes a bit.

In my humble and modest opinion, I’m a catch. Educated, employed, creative, funny, well groomed, Irish good looks (or as I’ve been called “cute”), and I’m pretty fun to be around. (How’s that for confidence. Blam!) So what does a guy like that have to do to find something real with a woman that hopefully has all the same attributes?

Maybe this all stems from what I’ve been told is the next logical step in my “growing-up”. All the years of Catholic school and the examples of those around me; maybe I’ve been conditioned with this need for companionship? A ying for my yang, if you will. I’m not exactly the on-line dating type and I certainly don’t go to the dance clubs to shake my ass off in some peculiar mammalian mating ritual. I’m not a peacock. So what’s an average Michael like me to do?   I should probably erase this and write about Detective Thursday and the Summer murder mystery.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Row, row, row your boat….

Rain spattered the windshield as Wednesday frantically swerved her way through traffic. She was so late this morning and she knew her short, pug faced boss would be standing by her desk when she finally walked in. He would stand there, tapping his foot and point to his wrist watch whenever Wednesday showed up late.  She’d mumble some excuse and take her seat in her cube and start working right away. She didn’t like her job that much. It wasn’t what she really wanted to do, but she had responsibilities and what choice did she have.

Damn, another red light. Some mornings it really seemed as if there were cosmic forces aligned against her. Everything that could go awry goes awry. Wednesday drummed her fingers on the steering wheel and willed the light to be short. She was already 20 minutes late and still had another 20 minutes to get there. The light stayed red.

It wasn’t really her fault, directly. She supposed it was indirectly her fault by the choices she made, but she was deeply affected by the choices of others. She had stayed out a little late at the bar with her stupid boyfriend. He was all into some basketball game and barely spoke to her so she just kept drinking. She started with a few white wines and then moved onto a cucumber martini and then followed that up with a shot of whiskey. Scott hardly gave her any mind. She even wore that white top that is sort of sheer in the front. It’s kind of a prude shirt but she felt pretty in it. She thought Scott might take his eyes off the TV for at least a minute to admire it, but he barely said hi when she walked in. Not even a cursory glance at her breasts.  He was actually wiping nacho cheese off his chin when she went in for the hello kiss. Why did she always date such inconsiderate losers?

The light finally turned green and Wednesday floored it. Her tires spun on the slick street and she thought she might lose control. She let off the gas to let the car get some grip and then gassed again and started in the right direction. She was mad for a second. She was already blaming Scott for almost making her crash right then. He was on her mind too much.  He was nice on their first date but since then he’s been all about him and his buddies or some ex-girlfriend or when he used to work at the stock exchange and all the coke they used to do. He swore he didn’t do that anymore but Wednesday wondered sometimes. He just made her feel wanted sometimes and that’s what she needed she guessed.

After the basketball game Wednesday was pretty drunk. She hadn’t eaten anything for dinner, other than a few crackers, before meeting Scott. She told Scott she had to leave because she didn’t want to be late for work and sarcastically thanked him for the “great night”. He started to pull all that, “Oh, baby. I’m sorry, blah, blah, blah”, bull crap and Wednesday fell for it. Next thing she knew they went back to her house where he had emotionless sex with her. She was there, but she didn’t really give a crap about it. Scott just got what he wanted and then fell asleep, and snored. Wednesday was up for another hour wondering how hard she’d have to hold a pillow over Scott’s face so he’d stop. She woke up and Scott was still snoring away and her hang over let her know immediately she was going to be late for work.

A thunder clap exploded overhead and Wednesday jumped a bit. She was just pulling her car into the parking lot when a lightning bolt streaked from the sky and struck the ground directly in front of her and knocked one of the light posts off its base. Wednesday slammed on her breaks and slid to a stop just as the post hit the ground just inches from her hood. Sparks spewed up from the metal casing hitting the asphalt lot.  Maybe the universe just didn’t want her to go to work. Maybe it was telling her that this was not the life she was supposed to be leading.

She put her car in reverse and turned around. She left the parking lot. She left work. She left Scott in her bed. She left.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nature’s Rapture

I’m not one to look for conspiracies or try to stir up too much trouble, but I do think it’s somewhat curious that just after the whole alleged Rapture rig-a-ma-role; the worst tornado since 1947 smashed through Joplin, MO. Instead of just humans being bodily brought up to heaven, debris and just about everything imaginable were sucked up into a hellish vortex of spinning fury only to be spit out into the atmosphere and dropped to the ground in twisted masses. It was a terrible, real tragedy and my heart really goes out to all those that lost, everything. I am however, quite less sympathetic about the failed Rapture.

Now came word that Mr. Camping, (just as I knew he would) said that his math was just a bit off and the Rapture has been rescheduled for October 21, 2011. He allegedly told his faithful radio listeners that God is merciful and decided to hold off on the Rapture for five months. I’m not sure why; perhaps there was a booking error at the Heavenly Holiday Inn.

I wish this Camping fellow would just shut the hell up and face some of the real tragedies facing the human populace. If he was really concerned for all men’s souls, perhaps he’d encourage his radio listeners to get more involved in creating solutions to the worlds ills instead of selfishly preparing for another, “Rapture”.  But he didn’t, he said (direct quote) "I don't have any responsibility. I'm only teaching the Bible. I'm telling ... this is what the Bible says. I don't have spiritual rule over anybody ... except my wife as the head of the household."  His poor wife.

The tornadoes, airstrikes on Libya by NATO, Volcanic ash closing in from an Icelandic eruption to effect European air traffic again, sex slavery rings in Thailand, these are all real things happening right now in the world. Whether God is coming to judge our misdeeds seems somewhat trivial in the face of this reality. Perhaps the Rapture should not be one of Earthly consequence, but a Heavenly wake up call to take better care of each other and of the world itself.

Perhaps the biblical references to the rapture is more of a metaphor for humans taking the burdens of others onto their shoulders, pitching in to help those that can’t help themselves and lifting the less fortunate up. Self-sacrifice of biblical proportions may be the rapture described, but misinterpreted. This is entirely possible since by the time the “Word of God” was translated into English, it had gone through many, many incarnations. Aramaic, Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Latin, on and on. Who’s to say it was translated correctly?

Ultimately, the Rapture didn’t happen, but natural tragedies do occur every day and we should heed those warnings.  I say we roll up our sleeves and help out, rather than bury our heads in the sand till October. When nothing biblical will happen, but I bet you there’ll be a natural event that does, Mrs. Camping will file for divorce because she’s tired of all the God commanded blow-jobs.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Groovy? Shut-up.

CNN is a wealth of information. I give you, 'You Light Up My Life' composer kills self, police say. I’m sure we all remember that slightly sad, slightly hokey love song from 1977.   Joseph Brooks was 73 years old when he claimed his own life this past Sunday. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear there was too much light in his life. He was facing charges on 11 alleged rapes and sexual assaults.

It also appears that his son was charged with the murder of his own ex-girlfriend in January of this year. So I guess I can skip the horrible jokes that are rolling around in my head. That would just be bad taste. Debby Boone recorded “You Light Up My Life” for a movie and the song won Joseph Brooks an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy. 

I’m not sure about anyone else but it always seems to me that those people that achieved some level of stardom in the 1970’s always seem to end up in pretty dire straits. Jeff Conaway of “Taxi” and “Grease” hasn’t been doing well for quite a long time and is now in a coma due to pneumonia and a blood infection. The original reports of an OD may not have been accurate. But still, he’s had a really rough go of it. 

A part of me almost pities the 1970’s. I’m sure the decade has its defenders and having only been alive and somewhat aware for half of them I’m sure I’m not the best to characterize them appropriately. But I can comment on what I have seen and that’s, what the hell were you people thinking? I cringe every time I see something from the Seventies. I blame the hippies of the 1960’s that screwed the Seventies up so badly. Free love and dope turned into a house in the suburbs, white flight and BMW’s in the driveway. It became a polyester nightmare imagination of what the 1950’s had been, but would never be again. I’m also a little ashamed of the early 80’s. I hated corduroy pants.

Heck, sometimes I am ashamed of the present day. But I’m Irish and feel shame about most things as a rule. “I shouldn’t have enjoyed that so much”, is a common Irish sentiment. But I can honestly say that I am glad I wasn’t fully aware of the full groovyiness of the 1970’s. I was able to come to maturity in the far more rational 1990’s. Wait, I almost forgot about the Seventies resurgence of the 1990’s. Yeah, that was dumb. I am glad; however, it brought the sundress back for ladies. God bless the sun dress.

The 90’s had their obvious flaws as well and I’m sure any children I have will look back at them and cringe. “How did you survive without a cell phone, iPad, iPod, iBrain?” I guess I’ll have to then tell them all about the rotary phone and three channel TV.
I suppose I will also have to try and explain why so many of the late Seventies celebrities ended up so badly, of course, I really have no idea why that is. Maybe it was the big bow ties or all the tight pants or maybe all the drugs and long hair. (Looking at you Crystal Gale)

Ultimately, there is no way to explain certain parts of history. Things just happen I suppose, I’m just glad they haven’t happened to me while wearing brown corduroy bell bottom pants.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rapture wha?

Apparently, there is a very big biblical event to occur tomorrow. The religious radio host, Harold Camping, (do you bring s’mores to his house when you visit?) has predicted with as much surety a nut can muster that tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. God will call the faithful bodily up to heaven in preparation for the end of days. That’s right, bodily. You will allegedly be lifted out of your clothes and be taken, naked, up into the clouds to join God’s kingdom.

Mr. Camping did predict this event before, in 1994 he said Judgment Day was upon us, but amazingly, he was incorrect. He wasn’t using the same calculator Jesus used so there were some minor mathematical errors. But this time he’s super-duper sure. Duper.

I am somewhat of a lapsed Catholic but I still consider myself a person of faith. I think it’s perfectly logical and reasonable to question most of the information contained in the bible. After all it’s a book translated from several languages, oral histories and stuff that the authors didn’t actually witness with their own eyes. So there maybe might could be a few errors or omissions. Maybe; if it’s all literal though, we’re toast.

I do find those end of days followers pretty interesting though. They have a deep and serious devotion to their cause and are beyond sure it’s going to happen. I don’t know what it’s like to even be sure of the shoes I’m wearing. Do they look right with these pants? So maybe I do envy their passion a bit. Oh crap! Envy, that’s one of the Seven Deadly sins. I’ll never be raptured now.  Back to hard drugs I guess.

I can’t believe that God, who spent billions of years creating the universe and Earth (4000 years to the literalists) would decide that those he made in his own image are done. Just done.  That we’ve gone as far as we can and are just wicked now and have to be disposed of like so much snotty Kleenex. Put the fork in us. I find it hard to believe those would be the actions of a loving God. I suppose when I get raptured I’ll be able to ask him. If I get raptured that is.

I think Sunday will come though. I think we’ve got a long way to go as a people and quite possible as people of faith. Plus I’ll be damned if I’m just dropping all my clothes in the street. I really don’t want to go to heaven naked, unless I’m really drunk. Which I plan on being.

As a side note, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102757/ , yeah, The Rapture staring Mimi Rogers and David “I’m having sex with it right now” Duchovny.  (That’s what it says on his business cards, serious)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Teeth

Genetics has determined I am to have miserable teeth. I have done everything a responsible tooth having person is supposed to do and yet my teeth continue to rot out of my damn head. No, I’ve not been doing crystal meth or anything. It’s just genetics.

My mother, aunts and uncles all have terrible teeth. On my father’s side, they have terrible teeth. So I was doomed from the get go.  My sister however, her teeth are fine. I’m not sure how she dodged the genetic bullet. Although I got the good skin and absolutely zero allergies whereas she didn’t have as much luck that way so I suppose it worked out.

So at some point last night one of my back molars decided to surrender and has caused me such incredible pain that even with the numbing effects of aspirin I want to rip all my teeth out and mush my food with bloody toothless sockets. I am considering just having all my teeth removed and just getting the damn fake implants.

And before my critics can say anything, I have already made an appointment with my dentist to see what repairs can be made to my poor mouth. I like my dentist, he’s a wonderful guy, but I hate him. I hate dentists. I hate their condescension. They look at you with a, “Tsk, tsk, tsk… I told you to brush and floss”. It makes me want to bite them.

I love what they do and their chosen profession, but it’s no wonder they have the highest suicide rate of any profession. People legitimately hate them, especially those of us that brush and floss and use Listerine and don’t eat any candy, but still have serious dental issues. It’s a punch in pride’s face and it’s a horror show.  In the end however, I am glad there are people that have chosen to devote themselves to healthy teeth for the betterment of us all. Even with all that hate.

So I’ll suffer for a few weeks before I can get into my dentist. (I took the earliest appointment they had, consarnit) And I’ll just have to self-medicate for a while and hope I don’t die from a tooth related infection. Although with the approaching, alleged, Rapture on Saturday, I might not have to worry about it for long. Unless I don’t get taken up to heaven and all the dentists do. Then we’ll have a real problem.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dreaming like a Victorian

There I was, dressed in top coat and tails, white gloves and a top hat, with my high school girlfriend. She was dressed in a green, frilly, cuirassed bodice of the 1880’s. I even had a walking stick. It was all very Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat. I was on bended knee in the classic, “I’m proposing”, position and she sat playfully on my bent knee, leaning up against me as I spoke to her. The way you see in all those musicals I’m sure you watch all the time; think My Fair Lady.  

There was a sense of desire present in the air. We were on a cobbled street in front of a grand old mansion, replete with the custom high iron gates and thick green shrubbery poking through. It was night time in the dream and you could see the faint glow of the oil street lamps flickering about. My old high school gal and I seemed to be flittering about, as if playing with each other passions, teasing each other with longing looks and casual, but never inappropriate touching.

Unfortunately the dream was interrupted by blasted technology as my cell phone began an eruption of text messages that were somehow not sent to me from Saturday and Sunday. My phone started to get ½ messages and then full answers to questions I asked days ago. In the end I received 25 to 30 text messages between 1:12 am till 2:36 am. It was a curse and was for a while there, very confusing.

I tried very hard to get back to my Victorian dream when the modern interruptions had passed but it may have been a lost cause. I was really enjoying myself in that dream. There was an enjoyable delicately repressed joy to the dream that I find very difficult to explain. I think it might have appealed to my own “emotional” repression and desires.

Plus, I looked pretty darn good all gussied up in that fancy garb. My old gal looked very pretty too. It was a surprise to see her in the dream I think too. I haven’t the slightest idea why she would be the one to show up and drift along with me in that Victorian reverie. If I spent any real time analyzing her place there I’m sure I could come up with any number of explanations, but I’d rather not. I’d rather just remember the way she looked at me and I at her and try to hold onto that feeling of being wanted. Like this, http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Cq2Z1j3ugQs/Snbf5sGvkXI/AAAAAAAAEjM/t64VxsYk5mk/s400/victorian%2Bcouple%2Bhand%2Btinted.jpg

When it was time to get out of bed I looked out onto the dreary May rains falling I thought about one of my favorite paintings of a couple walking in the rain on a cobble street somewhere. http://russellconnor.com/gallery/dancing_in_the_rain.jpg

Of course that is more Edwardian, than Victorian, but I think you get my drift.  All in all, it was a really great dream of a simpler time interrupted by the simplicities of the modern age.  Ironic I think.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Space Patrol

Right now there are people floating above our planet in manmade metal tubes. I think it’s just amazing. We have come so far technologically yet we still can’t figure out how not to want to hold each other’s head underwater for, “just a little while”.  

I was thinking about writing about NASA and their final Endeavour shuttle mission but that’s so boring. I mean I still think it’s cool but it’s not really good press. I mean, sure, human beings are in space and for some reason I feel like they’re safer up there than we are down here. But again, where’s the fun in that story.

I recently heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger (whose name does appear in Spell Check) fathered a child with a family staffer 10 years ago and he’s kept it hush-hush until the recent split with Maria Shriver. That’s crazy. How would you like to be the Terminator’s bastard?

“I’ll be back, at Christmas and maybe every other birthday. Now hurry, get to the Choppa!”

Poor kid. Although, it’s highly unlikely the child and mother were living in a seedy LA underpass hotel. I’m sure the child has had a relatively good life, other than the desire to lift heavy things and visit Austria.  But I feel it was probably a life far better off than some other bastards out there. I’m sure he’ll be an astronaut. Oh my goodness, “Schwarzenegger In Spaaaaaaace!!!”

Speaking of other things space-like, can we please stop with all the alien invasion movies of late? I’m really tired of this idea that humanity will unite in defense of the globe in order to defeat the alien hordes.  I figure at least one group of people would try to broker a deal with the invading alien’s and sell off the rest of humanity a la Lex Luthor in Superman II. So I’m a little unenthused about more alien invasion stuff.

Finally, there’s a space between myself and women that’s really getting annoying. I’m not quite sure what it is or if it can be explored with the use of high tech devices or manned missions. I simply can’t figure women out. If NASA had any guts at all and endless Federal funding they’d abandon the exploration of the Solar System for a while and try to figure out why a young, fairly good looking,  moderately successful guy like myself is so, “unaccompanied”.   I’m sure it’s a suicide mission however; a one way ticket to the edge of a black hole before being sucked into a Universe of hair products and fashion magazine perfume ads.  The horror. The Horror. Although, like most men, it’s a journey I’d be willing to take, for the right woman.

“HAL, open the pod bay doors”.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Under the Moon

I woke up at 1:00 in the morning, blinded by the brightness in my bedroom window. I had to squint my eyes against its ashy luminescence. The moon was shining brighter than I could remember, bright enough to wake me from my sleep. I actually had to roll over in bed to shade myself from the moon’s glow. I wasn’t annoyed it had caused me to wake up. I was pretty impressed by it. Usually I’d be quite aggravated for waking up at 1:00 in the morning for no reason. But the moon waking me up just didn’t seem so bad.

I took a second to look around my room basked in moonlight and was humbled. I know the moon’s surface is covered with a reflective dust called regolith and that dust merely reflects the light produced by the sun. But it’s still pretty awe inspiring. It’s no wonder early man looked up at the moon with such reverence. I was very impressed. It reminded me not to take the little things for granted so much and to appreciate the simplest of experiences.

For instance, as I was riding the train into work this morning I happened to notice the wind blowing through some tall grass near the train tracks. The grass was swirling and bending in the morning breeze as the sunlight rippled off its green façade. I realized at that moment that it had been a long winter and even longer since I saw grass being blown about by a strong wind.  Once again I felt somewhat small and inconsequential. But not in a way that made me feel bad; I felt like part of the greater picture. And I was okay with that.

That of course got me thinking about all the people rushing about in the train station and on the city streets and then of the estimated 6,852,472,823 other people on this planet. All with their own lives, dreams, hopes, cares, wants and passions. It’s almost impossible to imagine all of us on this one planet, all doing our own things. It really is amazing. I wondered how many of those people were woken up last night by how bright the moon was and how many are still thinking about it today.  How many looked up with wonder and amazement and thought, “I hope someone blogs about this tomorrow”?

It was an experience I’ll treasure for a while, well, for as long as I’m able to remember it. These things sometimes tend to fade into the background of life as we get bogged down with all the other wants, needs and the passions of others. Hopefully, at a moment of stress and conflict I will remember of how the moon woke me up and all the things that get me down can be washed away after bathing in moonlight. 

Of course I know the simple poetry of bathing in moonlight is pretty cheesy, but it was the best close I could think of for this piece. But when I re-read it, I hated it. Maybe it's more important to remember life under the moon goes on and unlike the moon's forced orbit around the Earth, we can effect change in our own lives and the lives of others. So maybe we have to be careful with each other's hearts and heads, I think that works better than a mythical moon bath. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

System down?

Friday the 13th 2011. There's no crazy killer wearing a hockey mask coming to get me. It's actually the ravages of old age coming to kill me, slowly. That's far more suspenseful, right?

I'm keeping it short today because on my way to work a black cat crossed my path while I was walking under a ladder after I dropped that mirror.  I hope I make it to Saturday. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Miss my old chair

Every time I sit down at my new desk at work I am reminded of a scene from Star Trek IV. (The Enterprise had been rebuilt after being destroyed in Star Trek III: the Search for Spock) Captain Kirk sat down in the new captain’s chair and wiggled around a bit and tried to get comfortable. Spock looked at him and asked what was wrong. Kirk looked back at him glumly and said, “I miss my old chair”.  

The chair in my new cube isn’t all that comfortable and I miss my old chair. Plus there seems to be something screwy with the seat height because it’ll just dip on me as I lean back a bit. The arm rests appear to be a bit short as well. My old chair was well worn in and like Goldilocks said, juuuust right. It’s too bad they couldn’t send it to me.

In other news, I just found out that today is quite an interesting day in history. On May 11, 1969 U.S. Paratroopers were involved in the Battle for Ap Bia Mountain in Vietnam or as we would later know it, “Hamburger Hill”. In a little more recent history and for those of us that like to play chess, on May 11, 1997 the computer Deep Blue defeated the Russian Chess Master, Gary Kasparov. Although, Gary actually conceded defeat after 19 moves in the sixth game of the tournament.  It marked the first time a machine had beaten a man in tournament play.

It’s also a bit of a sad anniversary as today in 1981 marks the death of Bob Marley. He collapsed while jogging in Central Park and later was diagnosed with cancer. Eight months later he was gone at the age of 36. Ire Ire, mon.

I wonder if today will eventually be noteworthy as the day Michael complained about missing his old chair. I doubt it will be. For some strange reason I just don’t think that has any far reaching historical significance. Although, one can never tell; they say a butterfly flapping its wings on the other side of the world could have far reaching effects.  So who knows, maybe my uncomfortable ass might affect the economy in Guam.

                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~

HEADLINE: GUAM ECONOMY COLLAPSES, MILLIONS FEARED DEAD

GUAM – Tragedy struck the small island of Guam today as massive ass related economic disasters rocked the stock exchange. Many people were seen throwing themselves off cliffs and buildings, screaming about the dreaded cursed ass. Details are still unclear at the time this report was filed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The High Water Mark

The sunlight glistened and twinkled on the surface of the raging brown water as it roared by. The Mississippi was riled up and showed no signs of calming. Jefferson Waddle wasn’t interested in evacuating. He’d surrounded his property with sandbags and bricks and dug out a long trench to divert any water away. He sat in an aluminum folding chair on his rickety porch, smoking a cigarette, watching the water flow. He remembered back in 1937 when the waters had come then. His father and mother had made due and by God, he was going to do the same. Come hell or high water.

Jefferson’s house wasn’t much more than a three room shotgun shack, surrounded by thick Memphis forest. He’d managed to live there with his wife and four children since before he could actually remember. It just seemed like he’d always lived there. He couldn’t remember a time when he’d had a different view than the one from his small front porch. All that was missing these days was his children and of course, his sweet Marie. The children all moved off the land a long time ago. They got married and went to school and made something pretty respectable of themselves. Jefferson couldn’t complain about them, he loved them dearly. His youngest, Claire, had offered to let him stay with her family in some suburban maze but Jefferson just couldn’t leave and politely declined.

He didn’t want to leave the ground where his sweet Marie was buried. He’d made sure to set her grave on one of the high hills on the property. So there was no threat of any flood waters or other natural events sullying ground he considered sacred. It went in the face of family history not to be buried in McCarver’s Field but that was just something his ancestor’s would have to deal with.

Marie had named the hilltop Mercury’s Feet because of how fast it made you run when you ran down it. She bet Jefferson that a person running down that hill, wearing wings on their back would be lifted off the ground with such velocity they wouldn’t land for three counties.  He hoped she’d got her wings.

Jefferson chuckled at the memory of Marie running down her hill. He flicked his cigarette toward the flood waters and stood up slowly. His knees and back cracked and he slowly turned toward the front door. The waters flowing past his house didn’t seem too threatening right now. He was mighty sore from all the sandbagging and trench digging he’d done for the last three days and he just wasn’t a young man anymore. Perhaps a quick nip of whiskey would calm his aches and maybe a short nap would help pass the time.

Jefferson went into the cool shade of the house.

Monday, May 9, 2011

There is a standard

I was walking from the train station this morning and saw a lot more homeless people downtown. As the weather gets nicer they do tend to come out and do what they can to make a buck or two. This morning there seemed to be a few more than what I had seen in the last three weeks. They are nearly swallowed up by the rush of human beings scurrying around them for the most part but one caught the attention of a fellow commuter and me.

I don’t know this other commuter; she was wearing a light pink jacket and pants combo and a pink scarf tied around her neck. She reminded me of a Pepto-Bismol bottle actually.  She was walking briskly from Union Station near Jackson Street and we both saw a homeless denizen holding a sign. I noticed that he was holding his, “Please help me Hungry”, sign upside down.  My fellow pink commuter noticed this as well and she had no problem approaching him and letting him know that his sign was upside down.

The homeless man looked at her as she walked away with something like incredulity on his face. I kept walking too. I didn’t wait to see if he flipped his sign over. I was more surprised at Ms. Pinkpants and her incredible correction of the homeless man. I thought, just because you are poor or homeless there’s no reason not to have a proper, right-side up sign. I guess Pinky thought so too.

I lost sight of the pink lady shortly afterwards but I kept thinking about her advertising/marketing correction of the homeless guy’s sign. I couldn’t help think it was perversely hilarious. I know poverty and homelessness are not laughing matters and it’s an extremely huge problem, but how often do we correct homeless people’s signs? I have seen so many over the years where the poor homeless try to make themselves look as desperate as possible by having the worst written, printed or spelled signs. I think this is to illicit sympathy in us by making us think, “Aw, that person is obviously too stupid to take care of themselves. I’ll throw them the change I have in my pocket.”

I think in some cases, this might be true. They may have had some learning disability that kept them from being a productive member of society or were failed by the education system. It’s all possible. But what if we gave them to tools to make proper signs? Cardboard and paints? Well, that’s just stupid. We should start at the root and turn the system that left them behind upside-down, maybe make some corrections there.

I wonder if the pink clad commuter could do that. If she would be willing to turn that keen editorial eye to a broader forum and help to correct the mistakes of an entire system of upside-down policies and social responsibilities. Do I?  Do you? Can it be that as a reality, there will simply always be homeless people and nothing any group or system does will ever be able to solve it?  Maybe telling a homeless man that his sign is upside-down is the first step toward a solution. Maybe he’ll see that his life, like his sign is within his control and he’ll begin a journey realizing his personal value.  Maybe this pink lady set a new standard after all.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Not playing today

It's hard to draw the line between hooky and feeling like a bag of dung. I'm not really one to call in to work when I'm not feeling well but I did it today. The funny thing is, now that I've been at home for a while and relaxing, I don't feel all that terrible. I still have a pretty stuffed nose and a headache but I don't feel as rotten as I did when I called in. So now I feel guilty for not going into work.

I think its ridiculous that I feel bad about not going into work. What's the point of sick days and personal days if we're afraid to take them? I have four weeks of vacation this year and I doubt I use most of it, if any of it. So I took a day for myself, why should I feel guilty?

It's pretty lame. But I'll keep this short today because I don't want to sit here at my computer anymore. Anyway, hooray sick days! Boo actually feeling like poop. I'll feel better later though. I better. (shaking fist)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What comes with a Chupacabra? Cheese?

I know how all of you love a quick history lesson early in the morning so here were go! Today is Cinco De Mayo, or quite literally the 5th of May. The holiday celebrates Mexico’s victory in the 1862 Battle of Puebla against the French. That’s right, the French. It was during the Franco-Mexican War which lasted from 1861-1867; longer than America’s Civil War.  Interestingly enough, it also marked the last time a European military force invaded the Americas.  According to History Channel.com, the holiday is more widely celebrated in the United States than in Mexico. Chicago has the distinction of hosting one of the third largest Cinco De Mayo celebrations in the U.S. behind Los Angeles and Houston.

Cinco De Mayo is not the celebration of Mexican Independence which occurred 50 years later. So just get that out of your head right now.  So I do believe I’ll attempt to celebrate this most non-American of holiday’s with a cool Cerveza and Mexican food. Of course the wonderful thing about being an American is that we can celebrate the holidays of other cultures. I think it’s hilarious how many Mexicans are Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

Okay, that’s today’s lesson in world history.

In other news, several of my friends are traveling to Ireland this week. I think that’s pretty cool and I hope to go there one day. It’s pretty unfortunate that I’m one of the only members of my family that has not been to Ireland.   I’m not that big of a traveler though. I tend to get quite frustrated with travel. I suppose I’d be okay if I didn’t have to pack or carry a suitcase. Or be at the mercy of pilots and planes and ticket agents and flight attendants. There’s a lot of control we have to give up in order to travel. Me, I’d rather drive the bus than have to ride it.  I’ve been to Mexico though. Maybe I’m Mexican.

 Mexico has what they call Napoleonic Law, which loosely explained means you are guilty until proven innocent. So even though they did defeat the French there were some clear European traditions the Mexican’s weren’t fully able to purge. As I try and think of other Mexican traditions the dreaded Chupacabra comes to mind. It’s a vampire like beast that sucks the blood from goats and other livestock during the dead of night. It’s allegedly a pretty nasty beastie. But much like Bigfoot and the New Jersey Devil, no one can really prove its existence.  I think The X-Files did an episode about it.

I’d also like to thank Mexico for its food. I love Mexican food. Being Irish, I didn’t know food had any actual flavor until I was in my 20’s. Or that food is good. I thought food was merely a means to an end, but when I started having authentic Mexican food I was in Cielo.

Please enjoy this Cinco De Mayo responsibly. I’ve seen other holidays in the past that got a little out of control and there was a lot of trouble. So tomar las cosas con calma. (Take it easy).  As an aside, has anyone else noticed the similarities between Mexican music and Irish music? It’s the accordions and guitars I think. Weird.  Also, as it’s pretty evident, I’m still on the Medicina Fría.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cold again

It happened again. It’s only my third week back downtown but I’ve already caught a cold. I blame the mobile virus capsules, also known as commuter trains. The train is really probably the most virus ridden crock pot of churning disease in existence. (Other than the hot tub at a Leper colony)

All morning I hear the hundreds of commuters, coughing, sneezing and wheezing their way to work. They then grab onto hand rails and doors and seat backs and leave an invisible trail of pestilence in their wake. I do my best not to touch a lot of those surfaces but in most cases it cannot be avoided. I am considering wearing one of those surgical masks and gloves like the Chinese do. Although I don’t want to look more like a weirdo than I already do.  

The trouble is, of course, I am now one of the coughing and sniffling choir; spreading my own illness to other healthy commuters. I suppose that’s just one of the risks we take in a mass commuting situation. On the plus side, I won’t be getting this particular cold again so I guess I can chalk one up for the human immune system.

What it also returns me to is the use of cold medicine. I normally don’t like to take it, and as I’ve said in the past, it makes me really loopy. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind I take, eventually I find myself in a half coherent fog and I’m visualizing the strangest of scenarios. It’s as if my imagination also has a cold and it’s been given permission to come up with the craziest crap.  Plus I find it difficult to focus and type; which in turn adds to my frustration about trying to describe the wild visions of my cold medicine trip.

It also makes it very hard to work. I am extremely distracted and unfocused. I should have gotten a large coffee, that medium didn’t last long enough.  I guess I'll pop another Hall's and try not to cough in people's ear on the phone.  (Sniffle, cough)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Writer’s Blockage

This is the fourth attempt to write something today. I’ve gone through several topics and erased them all. There was the Media Blackout one where I was describing my movie watching last night in order to avoid all the continuous Bin Laden coverage. Then there was my weird love letter to Bill Murray about how cool I think he is and how awesome it must be to be him. Which then led me to write about the value of the self and how we shouldn’t be envious of others and be satisfied with what we have. But that sounded too preachy so I erased that.

So now I’m on the fourth draft of something without any substance. This will be my 121st piece of writing and I hope I’m not starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel. All that seems to be down there is monkey poop. I am of course referencing a “Barrel of Monkeys” toy. Not that I keep actual monkeys in a barrel in some dark warehouse. Barrel monkey warehouse; another band name?

Whenever I used to get stuck writing something I would always hear the phrase “peanut butter and jelly”, in my head. It seems to repeat in my mind and I can’t get past it. It stifles me for some reason. Maybe it’s the whole idea of the peanut butter getting stuck on the roof of your mouth and then not being able to talk.  I think I may have written about the subject before.  It’s no fun to sit here and struggle to string a few words together into a cohesive thought which clearly conveys each distinct emotion or moment.

But yet, I persist. Be warned however, watch out for the monkey poop.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Justice with civility

There are a lot of emotions stirring about today. The announcement last night that the United States Special Forces have eliminated the terrorist Osama Bin Laden brought a lot of memories back.  Nearly ten years ago, the United States suffered the worst terror attack on its shores by an outside force since the Battle of 1812. In saying that I mean that was the last time an outside enemy was able to cause any real harm to American soil.

I had been in New York at the Twin Towers about three weeks prior to 9/11. I took all kinds of photos and went up to the 110th floor observation deck and looked out over New York and felt incredibly proud. So when the attacks occurred I was simply astounded. I kept saying to myself that, “I was just there”.  When the buildings fell I felt that pain, sadness and rage all New Yorkers and all other Americans felt. It was extremely personal. At that time I half expected to wind up drafted and slogging it out in some desert trench against a Middle Eastern regime bent on the total annihilation of America. I’m glad I didn’t but I certainly honor those that did hear the call and volunteered. We owe them quite a debt.

Last night came the word that the man most responsible for the attack was now dead. We had taken nearly ten years to hunt him down and eliminate him, but it was accomplished. But I do not rejoice in his death as much as I would have thought I would. I suppose if we had captured him shortly after 9/11 I would have been dancing in the street. In fact most American’s would have been in the streets hugging it out like they did after Japan finally surrendered in WWII, V - J Day.   But last night I found myself feeling a shallow sense of victory. It is good that this man who perpetuated evil around the world is now gone. I am glad he is no longer with the living, but I hope this victory is tempered with remembrance of those lost.

We should not rush out in to the streets chanting and yelling, lighting off fireworks or in some cases, firing weapons into the air in celebration. That’s what our enemies did when they saw the TV footage of the twin towers crumbling to the ground. I want to be better than that. I want to show the world that Americans are not blood thirsty despots bent on global conquest. I want to show them that our victory is tempered with humility. That it’s more important to us as Americans that we honor those that lost their lives but take no joy in the death of our enemies. I do not relish in this man’s death. I pity him and all those that participated in his narrow world view. I am, again, quite glad he’s dead and that we are able to say that we did not give up our search for him and he was unable to escape the retribution he was owed.  But I will not post pictures of his head on a pike or joke about his death certificate.  I will remember him as a murderer who got what he deserved and nothing more.

When the Russians entered Berlin and Hitler killed himself in 1945 the war at that point wasn’t officially over. There was a lot left to do and just like that history, there is still an immense amount of work to do. It must be conveyed clearly that The United States of American is interested in peace and those responsible for the disruption of that peace will have to pay the consequences, not just for us, but the world. It’s the burden of our nation and we will do what we must.  The cause of justice has been served, now we must deliver civility and be better than those that persecute us.  An evil man is dead, let us do the same to his cause and hope to better the world through compassion rather than violence.