Dry Tortuga

I’m not the most religious of souls, although I was raised catholic, and I’m giving my kids a taste of the same. However, this photo got me thinking about the current state of America, which is governed in large part by christian values. It was taken at Dry Tortugas National Park last summer. We were fortunate to go there via seaplane, spending several hours in the sand, the water, and walking the grounds of an unfinished military fort, a prison, a lighthouse, at present a National Monument. At the very top of the fort, the views are magnificent. there amid the retired cannons and relics. The photo is of the dock ruins. It’s a Godly image. How can you not see hope and beauty and light? There is much of the same beneath the surface, this complex network of sea life, the fish so dense at times it seems there is no water. Larger fish, much larger, give perspective to our own insignificance. And through it all, if one wishes to remain submerged, if only for another glimpse of something beautiful, there are jellyfish, these tiny creatures getting wholly intimate. The photo, the image, is rather perfect, even taken on an old iPhone 5s, but there beneath the surface it isn’t always so. Whether we rise above in the afterlife is something we pray to do, we hope, we have faith. This world, as beautiful as it is, and as grateful as we should be to live in America, has pain for us, and imperfections. Do we eradicate the jellyfish, for even they have a purpose, and in themselves beauty? We cannot alter the state of life, not through policy, political correctness, but we can swim gracefully amid the sea, we can rise for air, look to the heavens in awe and with hope, even though the little bastards are at present stinging on our private parts. Amen.

#America

 

Hug your perodactyls

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We are tribal beasts. Picking sides is inherent in our DNA. This began when caveman realized it was much safer to sleep with another caveman than say a pterodactyl. Nothing against pterodactyls, to each his own, but forget to pay the electric bill and I hear they would hold quite the grudge. Thankfully, we had a major climate event, precipitated by a massive meteor shower. Debris blocked out the sun, and all hell froze over. Those who had saved for the future were majorly pissed. All those pelts collecting interest and for what? For this? Thanks, Obama. But alas, a few survived. A few good cavemen, that is. The dinosaurs died, which is just as well. I’ve seen Jurassic Park. It was gonna be us or them fueling vehicles with the oily remains of the other, and besides, imagine the headache Mr. Ford would have endured engineering the Model T for dinosaurs, of all people. About the climate change, the democrats said, “I told you so,” and the republicans immediately blocked out their sun, and did so with stones. To prevent another event, a bipartisan counsel of caveman thought it best to offer sacrifices to the Gods. First they offered virgins, and then the Kardashians. The Gods were intrigued, but also disgusted with themselves. Prophets came along to tell us so much, and whether we believed them or not we decided it was best for all involved to go ahead and kill them. Soon enough, caveman evolved into people, and people into poets. No longer were bathroom walls utilitarian, but sounding boards of inspiration. Kilroy was everywhere, thick as thieves with the shithouse poet – remember the classic: here I sit all broken hearted? They don’t write shit like that anymore. Nowadays, it’s all crap. Somewhere in time we decided that worshipping several Gods was a major pain in the checkbook, and so we sent Them to the Cayman Islands where Jeff Probst hosted the very first Survivor television game show. Reality T.V. was born, alliances and betrayals until only one God took home the million-dollar prize. When that was all spent, blown on God knows what, God went ahead and wrote the all-time best seller, and more or less retired on the royalties. He washed his hands of us, and said, “God helps those who help themselves, now bug off.” We modeled corporate America in this fashion, finding it best to be screwed over by one Supreme Being than by several, just like in prison. And then the three little piggy’s came along, and took capitalism to the next level. Why should the fattest, laziest pig enjoy the fruits of the mere fat and lazy pigs? You want shelter; build a proper shelter. The Big Bad Wolf invoked the judicial branch of our governance, for we could no longer tolerate the savage beasts huffing and puffing and blowing down homes. Seriously, who does that? This inspired insurance companies, which inspired commodities trading, which inspired Wall Street. Everything was for sale, and marketing firms, inspired by Paris Hilton, realized over time that fear got top dollar. Fear sells mints and condoms and the things that condoms cover, politicians. Fear entertains; we peons are little more than gladiators in the coliseum dicing each other up for the king. Well, some of us are gladiators. Others are roosters in a cockfight, or snails in a snail fight. Either way, we wear the color liberal, or we wear the color conservative. We are yin; and they are yang. We fear those who aren’t us. We invent new and interesting ways to kill ourselves, and defend these ways and attack these ways with feelings and statistics. We kill for these ways. People die for these ways. Sadly, we hold fast to these ways, as these ways defend the very hatred that necessitates these ways.
Alas, here we sit, all broken hearted.
Hug your pterodactyls; the meteor showers are coming.

It’s That Time Of Year Again.

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“Well, shit, Mark, what are we going to call it?”

“Hell if I know, Pete; you’re the Idea Man.”

“I knew you were going to say that.”

“If you knew I was going to say that, why the hell did you ask me the question in the first damn place?”

“Because I’m fresh out of ideas, that’s why, which is no way an Idea Man ought to be.  Was a time when they would come to me and I’d spit’em out lickety split.   Remember ‘Have it your way?'”

“Yep.  That was a good’un.”

“Goddamn right it was a good one.  Brilliant when you stop and think about it.  ‘Cause it’s the same greasy bun and slab of meat , just gotta pretend like the condiments a big deal is all, and–”

“Yeah.  I said it was a good’un, not that I wanted to hear the whole damn story again.”

“Well, it’s a damn good story, Mark, and a damn good story ain’t never get old.”

“Maybe it ain’t so good as you think it is, Pete?”

“Hey.  Remember: ‘It takes a lick’n and keeps on tick’n?'”

“How could I forget?”

“That was some golden shit, Mark.  Catchy, you know, how it rhymed and all, every empty head in America making it their own, saying that about their cars and their kids; hell,  they even named one of them there pornographic films after that one.  ‘She takes a lick’n, and keeps on tick’n.'”

“Heard that was a pretty good flick; heard is all; never watch the stuff myself.”

“Or what about the time they asked me to rename the city, and I said, ‘What city?  You mean The Big Apple?’  And they said, ‘Perfect,’ and handed me a check for a hundred grand.”

“That was you?”

“Goddamn right that was me, and I did the same for The Windy City and The Twin Cities and The City of Brotherly Love, although the last one there was a bit of a stretch.”

“I had no idea.”

“Of course you had no idea; I’m the Idea Man, or at least I was.  Until today.  Shit.  I guess my mind ain’t what it used to be?”

“Maybe you got that … what’ya call it?”

Dementia?”

“Yeah, dementia.”

“That was mine, too.”

“So you do got dementia.”

“No I don’t have dementia, I’m saying I coined the name is all, and Viagra, and Propecia, and Allegra.  All in the same day!”

“What about delusional, did you coin that’un too?”

“Remember ‘Hope and Change?’  Or ‘Where’s the beef?’  Or how about: ‘Is that your final answer?’  Mine, mine, mine!  So why is this one so damn hard?”

“That’s what she said.”

“Mine too!”

“Oh, brother.”

“And ‘Put a Little South in Your Mouth,‘ which they also made into a pornographic film, the sick bastards.”

“I don’t remember that one.”

“The saying, or the film?”

“Uhm, the saying, of course.”

“Shit, Mark, what if the ole attic is empty?  Mine.  Or the well has run dry?  Mine also.”

“Maybe you’re looking at this the wrong way, Pete?  Maybe, ’cause the event is happening in springtime and all, you go with something like March Mayhem, or April Anarchy?”

“Tell me what you think about this: ‘The Commotion on the Court?’  Or this: ‘The Basketball Brouhaha?'”

“Or how about March Madness?  That has a nice ring to it, and when they get down to sixteen teams, we call it The Sweet Sixteen?  Eight teams would be The Elite Eight?  And so on until we reach The Final Four?”

“Anybody ever call you the Idea Man, Mark?”

“Not that I’m aware of, Pete.”

“My point exactly.  Now think here.  Time’s a-wasting!  Hey!  I got it!  How about we go with March Madness?”

“Really?”

“Yeah really!  And when they get down to sixteen teams, we call it The Sweet Sixteen?”

“Tell me why we’re friends again?”

“Eight teams we’ll call The Elite Eight.  Oh, man, I’m on a roll here, Mark.  This is some golden shit.”

“This is some shit, all right.”

“Any idea what I’m thinking of for the final four.”

“Some idea, sure.”

“I’m back, baby.  Mine.  Back in the saddle again!  Mine also.”

#MarchMadness

(“Hashtags?  Yeah.  I came up with that shit, you bet!”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State of the Union

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Tonight, right this vey minute, my soiled and smelly clothes are in the washing machine, and the state of the union is soon to be squeaky clean and lint free.  I’ve my nightly cocktail next to my computer, which isn’t what you think.  No, it’s not whiskey or wine, but a concoction of water and vitamins with a dash of melatonin to help me fall asleep.  The state of the union is getting ready for bed.  In the morning, I’m taking my oldest child to the orthodontist for round two of this three round process, and needless to say, her state of the union isn’t so great these days.  In the carport there are empty boxes and a printer that went bad after two years, and sometime before the end of the week I must drive to the dump/recycling center and make a deposit.  Yes, there are household chores and work-related issues, and the state of the union is so so.  We had Chinese food for dinner, and I’m bloated with MSG, and my left foot hurts when I run, my back is getting old, my eyes don’t see so great anymore, and when I do this with my left shoulder, ouch.  State of the union?  Sucks!  Let’s not talk about the vehicle situation, or the television that I ordered back in December and that still hasn’t arrived.  Those non-delivery, lying, bait-and-switch, fast-talking bitches.  It’s the year 2015, and when I was in high school I thought no way would I live to see the year, what with hover boards and flying cars and robots massaging your feet, but here I am, worse for the wear, and none of that has come to pass.  Instead we have Google and cell phones and an endless stream of Internet garbage, adding to my A-D-D and obsessive compulsive disorder. Siri, how’s the state of the union?

“Did you say store with onions?”

“No.  The state of the union?  How is it?”

“Did you say state with unions?”

“Siri, go fuck yourself.”

“Did you say what I think you said?”

At least with Siri I know she doesn’t know, and I can only presume that she knows she doesn’t know, but all these other talking heads, these blow hards, I actually think they believe they have the answers.  And that state of the union scares the hell out of me.

Well, the washing machine is chiming a lovely tune, which means my soiled clothes are ready for the dryer.  I’ll drink my nightly cocktail, read for a while, and pray for a better tomorrow.

“Siri, know any good prayers?”

“Yes.  There are Bartletts and Boscs and–”

“No.  Not pears.  I said do you know any good prayers?”

“Did you say good players?”

“Forget it.  Goodnight Siri.”

The state of the union?  It’s what you make it.  Don’t count on Siri, nor the politicians.

 

 

 

GET OUT AND VOTE … OR NOT!

It’s our favorite time of year, when a very small percentage of Americans vote for their favorite scumbags.

I live in a state where the senate race is hotly contested.  We have Thom Tillis, who hates education (and why not: his teachers couldn’t even get him to spell his first name correctly ((if not correctly, then simply)) and loves toll lanes.  And then there’s Kay Hagan, who votes with Obama (a four letter words in these parts) ninety-six percent of the time.  Kay Hagan took government money for her family business, or maybe she didn’t, because the corporate ties are as confounding as her ethics.

There are some judges, I guess, looking for jobs.  If I’ll be paying their salaries I might as well vote for those with the nicest-sounding names, because I haven’t a clue what they stand for: they all say the same thing: they’re compassionate, but tough on crime.  I want an asshole soft on crime, but oh well ….

I’m getting robo-calls up the whazoo, and I’m pretty sure that no matter who I vote for I’ll be getting much more than that up the very same whazoo!

They all make promises, not unlike the sixth-grade elections where the goody-two-shoes Mary Short ran on a platform of free lunches, and won.  Only then, the teachers rolled their eyes while the kids cheered her on.  Now, there are no adults to reign in the madness.  They promise free lunches, and give away free lunches.  Only someone has to pay, and that someone’s always me.  (Okay, I lost to Mary in that election, but who’s holding a grudge?)  I don’t mind giving to those in need.  Last week I bought breakfast for a homeless man in Louisville, and because no good deed goes unpunished I subsequently lost my cell phone.  Charity is good; we all, in the end, may need it.  Just don’t make it a habit.  Work if you can work, and be wise: don’t buy lobster with food stamps, because those truly in need will inevitably get lumped in with your ass-foolery, as will the entire safety net.  (I made that word up just in time for the elections, as in: I’ll be voting for the Republican ass-fool for the senate seat: Thom Tillis, and the h isn’t silent.)  Geez, even his name has got to be kind of a dick.

My point is this: There are no free lunches, and Mary was wrong!

#Political Madness

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Our Commander in Chief saluted with a cup of coffee in his right hand, and while the military is up in arms, so to speak, Starbucks couldn’t be happier.  Well, perhaps Starbucks could have been happier, would our Commander in Chief been holding a cup from their fine establishment.  Imagine the advertisement: Starbucks (and our President) salutes the military!

And while coffee is great (I’m as hopelessly addicted as the now deceased Hugo Chavez, who reportedly drank fifty cups a day), the salute is sacred.  The history of the salute goes back in time to the stone age, or later, when General T Rex, not to be confused with the hip-hop artists Ty Rex, and General Spino Saurus approached one another on the field of battle to negotiate a treatise.  The two generals came together and saluted, showing that they weren’t carrying ninja stars.  They talked, negotiated, and only then did they go about savagely killing one another.

Show up with a hot cup of joe, and the other might assume that you intend to splash this in their face, or that there might be a dagger inside.  Do this with a Starbucks logo on the cup, and you could be facing a lawsuit, for this is neither the preferred nor authorized method of waking up in the morning.

So get it right, Commander in Chief; hold the coffee in your left hand, if you must (and of course you must, I mean, everyone loves coffee) and salute with an open hand; it shows that you’re a trustworthy guy, and not sneaky in the least, honors the tradition, and then, and only then, should you go and bomb the terrorists.

For further lessons in military etiquette, please feel free to contact me via email.  We’ll hold a coffee summit, and chat!

Political Madness

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There is no greater theater; no greater folly. The Left. The Right. They are actors on stage, well paid, well kept, professing to care about the good of the public, the good of the country, the best in mankind. Greed. Wealth. Corruption proves them otherwise.

We have O’Reilly on Fox News, where so-called spin is disallowed. And over on MSNBC we have Al Sharpton, vilifying viewpoints other than his own. Jon Stewart is a predicable lackey, mining for humor in the fields of Republican folly. Like our elected officials, this is all for show, and we, the viewing public, gladly pay admission.

Granted, involved citizens are rightly concerned for the sanctity of our families and homes, the security of our country. We fear the unknown, the threats toward our very livelihood. We vote for the lesser of evils. But one man’s demons are another man’s angels.
We pray for gotcha’s, pointing out cheats on the other side when both teams are guilty. Yet, our team cheats for the sake of righteousness; to compete, to stay in the game. We wouldn’t have to if you guys played by the rules.

Politics has become a shell game, now you see it, now you don’t. From congressmen up to the President, they are nothing if not adept at avoiding the scandal.

Opinion Creep, that which compels reporters to bias the news, further polarizing the parties, isolating the moderates. But what does this say of the human spirit as the Independent Party grows? Collectively, we maintain freewill. At heart, we are stubborn pissants that refuse to be pigeonholed. We are insolent children, or that breath of fresh air. Reasonable, compromising, not only seeing both sides of the debate, but emphatic to each, and in this, pray God, there is hope.

A glass of 1968 Urine, please!

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I’m not aging like a fine red wine.  No, sir.  Quite the  contrary.  My cork is compromised, and I’m smelling more like vinegar … or is it urine?  Let me explain …

When I was much younger, we used to run until we vomited.  Out there in the Oregon woodlands, we opened her up for miles on end.  At the end of the course, whoever wasn’t puking their guts out didn’t try hard enough, your typical collegiate machismo.  Nowadays, I can’t reach that threshold.  My legs give out, my lungs, and just the other day it was my bladder.   That’s right, in the humidity and heat of North Carolina, I went on a run, and was eventually faced with two options: 1) Duck into someone’s backyard and relieve myself; or 2) keep on trucking like back in the day … and relieve myself.  Option number one came with thoughts of cops and subsequent judges.  Option two came with shame and a quick load of laundry.  In the end, the decision was relatively easy.  Fortunately, there wasn’t much foot traffic, just me and my wet britches hogging the sidewalk.  Someone honked, presumably the same fine gentleman with an I-honk-for-dummies sticker affixed to his bumper.  I’d like to think that I brightened up his day.  His wife may have left him, his wallet empty, but at least he wasn’t no dumb sonofabitch with wet-assed britches running in this god-awful heat.  Or perhaps the honk was from a neighbor wishing to bid adieu, who knows.  Either way, my kids found this hilarious, dad standing there in his running shorts, a big wet spot where his dignity used to be.

Ten or so years ago there would have been lies instead of confessions.  A sprinkler or a water balloon right to my manhood, blam!  But I’m over that now.  I’m not perfect, never was, and never will be.  I’ve also peed in the pool, there I’ve said it.  Some nights I snore.  Feta cheese gives me gas.  I cry at sappy movies, and then hate myself for it afterwards.  And yes, I’ve lied about the tears.  There was something in my eye, blah blah blah, you know the drill.

I blame my shame on Superman.  We watch him in the movies, admire him, want to be him.  But ultimately, we all fall short.  Each and every one of us is slower than a speeding bullet, less powerful than a locomotive, and can barely leap from bed in the morning, let alone the tallest building.

And while my kids might be older, and no longer see the big S on my chest, I’m still going to throw on my cape and imagine.  So go ahead and honk for dummies, who cares.  I’ve got miles to soar, and I’m not quite there yet.  Although, you may smell me when I get there, the stink of vinegar, urine, or worse, oh my!

The Vlad Father

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In my country, they called me The Vlad Father. It is funny joke, ha ha, and I laugh. Yes, I am a fan of the jokes. The jesters would come to me, one by one, and some would make Vlad giggle. Others would fail miserably, and for them Vlad had joke of his own: What do you call jester who is black, blue and dead all over? You! Ha ha. It is funny because it is true. But there came time when Vlad’s brand of humor was no longer welcomed, and so he sneak across borders and find himself here, in America, where everyone is jester. Hilarity abounds like the young, supple breasts of Vlad’s harem. Big jokes, little jokes, and what do you need really but a handful of jokes? Ha ha.

In my country, there were no cheeseburgers or pizza.  Supersized were the buttocks of our women, and for that, Vlad had second orders.  Ha ha.  At dinner table, Vlad gorged on fatty slab of meat, what he called wife, Bathsheba.  Ha ha.  Right there on table.  She did not cross borders here into America, not because she had no love for The Vlad Father, but because we had to, as you say, haul ass, and when Bathsheba haul her ass, she need several trips.  Ha ha.  Who had time?

In my country, health care is free.  Go to clinic, get shot for VD.  That’s right, we shoot you in head with pistol.  So perhaps not free, for what is cost of bullet?  Ha ha.  There is no wait, and no complaints.  Our health care system is model for world, you should see.  We give new meaning to open up wide, for several doctors like to go to back door for knock-knock joke.  Ice cream, you scream, and orange you glad he has small banana.  Ha ha.

Oh, they say we are brutes without hearts, but in freezer there are several, of every shape and size.  You got bad heart, Vlad got good heart, or kidney, whatever you need, my friend.  We even run special: two eyes for price of one.  In America you are wasteful.  In my country, we harvest, and patch up like new again.  Lonely men buy the most lovely and perfect brides, who cannot speak without tongue, or eat without belly.  Sure, in time they smell, like normal living wife, ha ha.  Vlad makes no promise of rose garden, so push her in, pull her in, drag her in, and Vlad exchange decomposing flesh for less decomposing flesh.  The key word being flesh, my advice to get them while they are hot like pancakes.  Ha ha.

When I was boy, I had a puppy.  He was delicious.  Ha ha.

But now I am man in America, where treasury give Vlad staples, and this list of Craig give Vlad women.  Neighbors sniff air, and ask what Vlad is cooking.  It is Sarah from 3B.  Everyone said she had fresh ideas, and this is true, tasty and moist also her brains.  We have dinner party, and John from 2A, picking his teeth, says, “No, really, why isn’t Sarah here?”

My freezer is becoming full again, like back in my country.  Soon, Vlad will have blow-out sale on the Ebay.  Get orders in now, these prices are crazy, and will not last.

Yes, Vlad like new country, where everyone feeds like tick on ass of deer.  Sure, deer will die, but we harvest organs, patch up like new, and send to China, where they already own on layaway.  In meantime, bon appetite, my friends, and may Vlad bless America.

You are welcome!

 

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