580. Greatest Hits

Related imageMy FB buddy and former neighborhood friend Mickey Marche posted his top 10 most influential long playing albums from the 1960′-70’s over the last 10 days. I did not disagree with his choices except for Mitch Miller, even as an honorable mention. I mean, really? Where is the hippie/counterculture turbulence in M.M? I mean Mitch Miller not Mickey Marche. Mick’s top ten would mostly be in my top 30 or 40 lps.

Image result for vinyl record pictures For the young ones reading along with their grandparents, an l. p. was/is a vinyl recording usually played at 33 1/3 rpm’s or revolutions per minute on a machine called a phonograph or turntable, invented by Thomas Edison originally. They came in album cover sleeves that were light weight cardboard with pictures on the front and credits somewhere else. Inside was a paper dust sleeve that kept dust and other crud off the tiny grooves where the recorded music lived. Often the dust jacket was where the lyrics could be found, if you were lucky and the artist offered them.

Image result for boxes of records picturesLPs were heavy, let me tell you. A few under one arm were no problem, but often they were stored in milk crates or fruit boxes; then it was a problem to run a fifty pound box up a flight of stairs, because in your late teens and early twenties you move a lot, mostly to second and third floor apartments. It was not unusual to have 100 or more albums in your collection. Weightless and wait less I-pods and Alexa and Pandora were not even ideas then. Which is why old guys like me are so buff now.

Image result for meet the beatles album coverSo Mick had the Beatles’ Meet the Beatles, the Stones’ Big Hits and Zeppelin’s first with the burning Hindenburg cover. Hall of Fame first ballot all three. Then Dylan’s Volume 2 Greatest Hits, Hendrix Are You Experienced?, Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow, no argument here. He rounded out his hit parade with James Taylor, Jesse Colin Young, America and the Eagles’ second album Desperado. Okay, they are all in the horse race to your musical heart. Started strong with the British sound and then finished all American. [I am a little shocked that he did not include a Carpenters album since he had a thing for Karen Carpenter that transcended time. ]

Related imageEveryone is entitled to his/her own top ten of anything, shellfish, for instance, or great baseball players. Just don’t mix the two… “On the mound we have Bob the lobster Gibson facing Brooks the razor clam Robinson. It’s a full count. Here’s Gibson’s fastball, Brooks lays down a perfect bunt to first base. Swallowed up by Johnny Oyster Bench, for the put out at first base, covered by Willie not a shrimp Stargell.” It could get stupid fast.

Image result for iron butterfly album cover in daMy mind is not a rank order sort of mind. I’m far more impressionistic. For instance, the first time I saw Mick’s top ten album idea, I thought of his googly eyed Enfield Drive neighbor Mark somebody. Mick was kinder to him than anyone else in the neighborhood was. Not sure if the kid’s parents paid him a quarterly stipend for child care. Anyway, I recall Mick telling us that Mark rushed him with excited news from his CCD class at church that he or they or someone somewhere played Iron Butterfly’s classic “In the Garden of Eden”. Well, he was close. That massive 17 minute musical monstrosity was actually called “In a Gadda da Vida”, which apparently came from a drunken slurring of the title Mark offered to Micky on that fateful day. The song was the entire B side of the album and pretty trippy stuff.

Image result for santana evil ways picturesSantana got an honorable mention, though I would rank him above America and Jesse Colin Young. Just sayin’.  Again it’s a memory of association that threads through music and relationships and time. Mick and my next door neighbor Richard were lifting weights while listening to Santana, as I recall. Mick was intentionally butchering the lyrics to Santana’s “Evil Ways” while one of us was trying to bench maybe 75 pounds. We were young, pre testosterone. “You’ve got to change your underwear, baby. Before I stop lovin’ you.” That line was delivered just sincerely enough to boys who were just immature enough to get us belly laughing for ten minutes. I’m sure millions of other adolescent boys butchered many other songs in their inimitable ways, and they still chuckle quietly over these memories while listening to the oldies station.Related image

Somewhere is a memory from Harry Chapin’s Taxi song, a long ballad of broken dreams with plenty of lyrics to exploit. I cannot recall the verbal bastardization trick Mick pulled on that song. It might have been the very first verse…Related image

“It was rainin’ hard-ons in Frisco, I needed one more fart to make my night, the lady up ahead waved and flagged me down. She got in at the light.” I’m sure it was a silly mix of potty language and sexual allusions. Standard stock for teen boys left unsupervised.

Image result for billie holiday picturesNow I still own some vinyl. I gave away a lot of great ones since I no longer played them. I lack a functional phonograph machine, but I still love these souvenirs of my youth. On my shelf I have Billie Holiday’s Greatest Hits vol. 2. Keeper forever. Van Morrison’s St. Dominic’s Preview. Derek and the Dominoes Layla album. Sentimental favorites Aztec Two Step and Jackson Browne’s Saturate Before Using. Finally the Dead’s Europe ’72 triple album was the heaviest of all my records and provided hours of jams and internal voyages. All old friends I can’t part with.

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So thanks, Mick, for this brief trip down memory lane, over the hills and far away, from Harrison Lane to Telegraph Road, to King’s Highway and Franconia Road. I haven’t seen those roads in decades, but I can walk alongside them again when the right song pumps out of my speakers. My five year old grand daughter’s jam is Sheryl Crow’s cover of Aerosmith’s Life is a Highway. Not a bad closer…

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night long.

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580. Greatest Hits

My FB buddy and former neighborhood friend Mickey Marche posted his top 10 most influential long playing albums from the 1960′-70’s over the last 10 days. I did not disagree with his choices except for Mitch Miller, even as an honorable mention. I mean, really? Where is the hippie/counterculture turbulence in M.M? Mick’s top ten would mostly be in my top 30 or 40 lps. For the young ones reading along with their grandparents, an l. p. was/is a vinyl recording usually played at 33 1/3 rpm’s or revolutions per minute on a machine called a phonograph or turntable, invented by Thomas Edison originally. They came in album cover sleeves that were light weight cardboard with pictures on the front and credits somewhere else. Inside was a paper dust sleeve that kept dust and other crud off the tiny grooves where the recorded music lived. Often the dust jacket was where the lyrics could be found, if you were lucky and the artist offered them.

LPs were heavy, let me tell you. A few under one arm were no problem, but often they were stored in milk crates or fruit boxes; then it was a problem to run a fifty pound box up a flight of stairs, because in your late teens and early twenties you move a lot, mostly to second and third floor apartments. It was not unusual to have 100 or more albums in your collection. Weightless and wait less I-pods and Alexa and Pandora were not even ideas then. Which is why old guys like me are so buff now.

So Mick had the Beatles’ Meet the Beatles, the Stones’ Big Hits and Zeppelin’s first with the burning Hindenburg cover. Hall of Fame first ballot all three. Then Dylan’s Volume 2 Greatest Hits, Hendrix’s Are You Experienced?, Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow, no argument here. He rounded out his hit parade with James Taylor, Jesse Colin Young, America and the Eagles’ second album Desperado. Okay, they are all in the horse race to your musical heart. Started strong with the British sound and then finished all American. [I am a little shocked that he did not include a Carpenters album since he had a thing for Karen Carpenter that transcended time. ]

Everyone is entitled to his/her own top ten of anything, shellfish, for instance, or great baseball players. Just don’t mix the two… “On the mound we have Bob the lobster Gibson facing Brooks the razor clam Robinson. It’s a full count. Here’s Gibson’s fastball, Brooks lays down a perfect bunt to first base. Swallowed up by Johnny Oyster Bench, for the put out at first base, covered by Willie not a shrimp Stargell.” It could get stupid fast.

My mind is not a rank order sort of mind. I’m far more impressionistic. For instance, the first time I saw Mick’s top ten album idea, I thought of his googly eyed Enfield Drive neighbor Mark somebody. Mick was kinder to him than anyone else in the neighborhood was. Not sure if the kid’s parents paid him a quarterly stipend for child care. Anyway, I recall Mick telling us that Mark rushed him with excited news from his CCD class at church that he or they or someone somewhere played Iron Butterfly’s classic “In the Garden of Eden”. Well, he was close. That massive 17 minute musical monstrosity was actually called “In a Gadda da Vida”, which apparently came from a drunken slurring of the title Mark offered to Micky on that fateful day. The song was the entire B side of the album and pretty trippy stuff.

Santana got an honorable mention, though I would rank him above America and Jesse Colin Young. Just sayin’.  Again it’s a memory of association that threads through music and relationships and time. Mick and my next door neighbor Richard were lifting weights while listening to Santana, as I recall. Mick was intentionally butchering the lyrics to Santana’s “Evil Ways” while one of us was trying to bench maybe 75 pounds. We were young, pre testosterone. “You’ve got to change your underwear, baby. Before I stop lovin’ you.” That line was delivered just sincerely enough to boys who were just immature enough to get us belly laughing for ten minutes. I’m sure millions of other adolescent boys butchered many other songs in their inimitable ways, and they still chuckle quietly over these memories while listening to the oldies station.

Somewhere is a memory from Harry Chapin’s Taxi song, a long ballad of broken dreams with plenty of lyrics to exploit. I cannot recall the verbal bastardization trick Mick pulled on that song. It might have been the very first verse…

“It was rainin’ hard-ons in Frisco, I needed one more fart to make my night, the lady up ahead waved and flagged me down. She got in at the light.” I’m sure it was a silly mix of potty language and sexual allusions. Standard stock for teen boys left unsupervised.

 

 

 

579. Soggy Biscuits

It’s a beautiful day in England as the latest Royal wedding takes place across the pond, also known as the Atlantic Ocean. Those Brits! So regal and still quaint at times. Pageantry knits together previous pageants in the same way but in the opposite direction that grief knits together previous griefs. My wife and I noted this morning that long, long ago we watched Diana and Charles’ wedding on a black and white television early in the morning in an upstairs apartment while our now 37 year old daughter squirmed about in her pack and play foldable crib.

Image result for princess diana haircut picturesAll the young girls in school had Princess Di haircuts back then. Everyone pretended not to gag at Charles’ gaunt rodent-like appearance next to Diana. She was radiant; he was not. We know the way that fairy tale turned out, tragically. Still, here was Diana’s second child and presumably Charles’ second son as well, smiling at his bride walking down the main aisle of the chapel at Windsor Castle. Bring on the angels in the architecture; let them sing out epiphanies… love conquers and transcends time…grief scars over… change comes slowly.Related image

A gospel choir sang Sam Cooke’s “Stand By Me” gloriously. I wondered what the Beatles would have made of that juxtaposition in a royal wedding in comparison to the time they had to coerce Dixieland Florida to allow integrated concerts in the 1960’s. And here is Harry marrying a mixed race beauty from the bloody colonies!!!  Amazing and lovely.

Wendy Vitter, wife of former Sen. David Vitter, testifies during her confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.While back on this side of the pond we have federal judges up for confirmation who won’t go on record saying that Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, c. 1954 was the correct decision, and therefore the foundation for ensuing related rulings. Very strange that the Brits are moving forward in race relations while back on this side of the pond we are seeing the sort of hate driven divisions that burned up the 1950’s and 60’s.  Then again, it was the Brits who gave rhythm and blues and rock ‘n roll back to American audiences in a white wrapped package. Black music was infectious when skinny white boys with mop head haircuts scammed it and sold it back to us. Related image

Sam Cooke also sang “A Change is Gonna Come”. Verse 3 goes like this…

I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep tellin’ me don’t hang around
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Sam, I believe also, but I get disappointed at the ignorance that tries to rewrite and thus repeat history. We watched and listened to the Kingdom Choir so physically and aurally beautiful. My wife commented, “African people are so beautiful. How could anyone demonize them and enslave them?”PHOTO: Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir sang during the royal wedding on May 19, 2018.

I thought a minute. Hmmm, “They were simply different, and we are wired to fear what is different.” Native Americans are likewise beautiful, and so are the many faces in Asian countries. Why their faces inspired fear first speaks to the cultural construct of the explorer/conquerors. I believe they expected trouble and conflict and produced it if it did not materialize. Always err on the side of genocide just to be sure you survive.

Different is a threat. Even adorable E.T. was seen by adults as a threat. The kids allowed him to be a full being. I guess that’s always the story– children will lead us into purer forms of humanity. They haven’t learned all the obvious hateful lessons of bigotry and the subtler ones of superiority and nationalism, elitism and condescension. Trust is given more easily by the unjaded young.Image result for E.T. stills

Our royal family equivalent is the one in the White House, which is leased for four years at a time, usually, unless your  last name is Bush, Adams, Harrison, or Roosevelt. The last royal family in the White House were, of course, African American. Rather than uniting our people, their eight years saw more and more racial division and the continued rise of hate politics with the concomitant downward spiral of public discourse. Down deep in the guts of millions of Americans, I believe, the old dormant dragon of racism lurks, ready to come awake when the circumstances are ripe. Fear is one of the keys to demonizing the other– the alien, the foreign, the dark one, the poor one. Some insecure megalomaniac focuses on the differences and accentuates them as dangerous instead of delightful. The drum beat grows faster and louder as folks are forced into competing tribes. Before you know it, genocide erupts.Image result for hutus and tutsis conflict pictures

I remember reading once that Britain’s social moral conscience arrived 100 years after the horrors of its imperialism did irreparable damage in India, China, Africa, Australia, and South America, etc. Perhaps that is our situation in the U.S.A currently, 100 years behind the Brits when it comes to social justice. The British have an old tradition of serving tea at 4 pm and then again at 10 pm. Alongside the tea are crisp cookies that they call biscuits, another quaint Brit thing.  Fresh tea and fresh biscuits are enforced by tea matrons across the former empire. Never would a decent British bed and breakfast matron ever serve less; it would be treasonous to do so.Image result for british middle class woman pictures

On this side of the pond, however, we have soggy biscuits served with tepid brown water. Traditions fall and fail in the face of primeval emotions, spewing lava language across the republic. Our thin veneer of civilization has been peeled back by the heat gun bombast and manipulation by foxes who know better. Shepherds are not supposed to lead their sheep to the wolves. Image result for apocalyptic imagery

The Second Coming, 

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

William Butler Yeats

Say Amen.Image result for apocalyptic imagery

578. The Retention Nightmare

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We all have bad dreams, at least those of us who have been bad in our lives and have a conscience have them. I was a bad kid at times in junior and senior high, which may be why my buddy Clark says I was not beaten enough. I wasn’t beaten much, just enough to know I wanted to avoid further beatings. Is that wrong?  I’d call it survival. My particular bad dream always places me back in 9th grade geography class in Mr. Dillard’s room on the southeast end, second floor of Hayfield High School. He was in the Virginia House of Delegates so we always had substitute dudes, guys who would tell you smoking pot would drive you insane and turn you into a psycho killer who would then cannibalize your victims. That was more interesting, I suppose, than teaching us about mineral deposits, natural resources and advanced map reading.

Image result for breakfast club stills

In reality I had that class as a junior due to an oversight of some sort. So I sat with all these freshmen and squirmed at the obvious humiliating differences. I was in cruise mode by then– homework free evenings, donut rich tardies, cigarette smoking class skippings, bust out for extended lunch runs, and just plain all day road trip avoidances. It made no sense to me that many of my friends signed up for hard classes with research papers to write and finals to pass. They focused on the shiny golden tree top apples while I was content with drops on the ground. I figured an apple was an apple. They were gonna eat theirs later anyway; I was eating mine now.

So the above tortured imagery was based in conscious reality. I recall drawing psychedelic images on my class notebook that resembled the cover of Yes’s Fragile album… with song lyrics spinning around like comets in wild, trippy trajectories.Image result for yes album coversI think I was fragile back then but had no idea who I was or what I should be doing. Getting high with friends as often as possible was my raison d etre, which replaced my previous phase of raisin in d’ ear. At least it was more interesting riding on psychological music trips behind my eyelids, which was my second priority. School was deadly and meaningless to me, so I wound up going to night school to escape one more year of desiccated, mummified purposelessness. I was no jock, no fully wasted druggie yet, no preppy, no nerd. I was just another bored kid goat in the herd. That’s me in the fourth row center with black head and white hind quarters. Image result for goat herd pictures

Anyway, I didn’t go to my high school graduation because technically I graduated from night school with a bunch of green card Central American guys who worked days, and some stoners who wanted out of a free education system for one reason or another. Funny how motivated we were to get out of school that we went twice a day to achieve that end. By so doing, I got off my natural life rhythm and fell into a psychic no man’s land. It was 1973 but my class graduated in 1974. I managed not to belong to either.Related image

I worked at construction sites for the magically free year off. I also took a trip to England to see my first girlfriend who had moved there at the end of junior year. She had been a strong reason for me attending my stultifying high school as often as I did. It was a nice trip and a coming of age sort of experience. Not a Hallmark movie ending, for which I am eternally grateful now. The whole leaving home to find out who you are thing, well, something began to click. Education finally looked good to me.Image result for Bury st edmunds pictures

I then went to college for one year and took another year out to contemplate my navel. I just wasn’t too sure of the path I was on, though I enjoyed it thoroughly. Finally I got back on track and finished my useless B.A. degree in English Literature. However, as in high school, I did not go to my graduation. I knew I’d graduated and didn’t want the hassle involved. In fact, two months later I got married without a wedding ceremony or real reception.  I know, I know. There seems to be a non-celebratory, hassle avoiding pattern here.  Who does not celebrate such achievements? A man named for a rolled Mexican tortilla meat wrap combination. Burrito actually means “little donkey”, so I am beginning to see the connections now. Donkeys, even little ones, are also called “asses”.Image result for donkey pictures

So the nightmare came on many years ago. I am stuck in the last seat of the last row by the windows in 9th grade geography class. My modern day adult brain is telling the neoNazi substitute teacher that I have, in fact, already graduated high school. Furthermore, I have a college degree, a master’s degree, and two decades of credentialed teaching. But you know how it goes in bad dreams, right? These words come across as so much delusional ranting from a pimple faced 16 year old in a shiny polyester shirt.Image result for 1970 men's fashion shots

Disco had not erupted yet, so the look was much more hippy like, say like Jesse Colin Young without a mustache.

Image result for jesse colin young pictures

So the dream repeats every so often with my modern adult truth trapped inside my dreamer head as the School Authoritarian Deputy Chief chides my 16 year old self for being inadequate or undesirable or unworthy. Now I’m not saying that if I’d stayed in the duckling line and graduated at the expected time with my classmates that my dreams would be any different, but I can’t help but believe that they would have taken a different thematic turn. Maybe if I had followed Substitute Dude’s dire prophesies, then I could have been a serial killer and eaten my victims for midnight snacks. Without a conscience I would have slept like a baby instead of gurgling and gagging through a retention nightmare.

Image result for king crimson album covers

577. She’s Someone’s Daughter

No humor here, if I can help it. I’ll do my best to report soberly and accurately. Well, within reasonable limits.

Image result for needmore pa photosDear Andrea, who used to manage the world famous coffee shop that is home to my Coffee Nation Headquarters, moved on two or three years back to run a ministry that is close to her heart… helping women and girls exit sex trafficking, called She’s Someone’s Daughter.  She is a pretty amazing young woman with a very strong heart, which I attribute to growing up in Needmore, PA, made famous in 30 Rock as the hideout for Tracy Jordan. It was Kenneth’s cousin’s hometown and off the grid enough for a big shot from New York City, who was being pursued by the Black Crusaders while waiting to launch his own television show, to hide in. Andrea confirmed for me that buses did not run to Needmore, and that the entire set in the episode called “Hiatus” was a fraud. “There is no downtown square in Needmore”, she reported sadly, knowing that I had parodied her hometown in the post entitled, “Christmas in Needmore”. Worse yet, her subordinate at the time, Jake, laughed and said, “That is SOOO Needmore, man.” I attempted to comfort her bucolic melancholia… “I know. I know, Andrea. Bless your pure heart.”Related image

Now I can sense that you, my favorite and perhaps only reader, are already beginning to question the seemingly unnecessary detail about Needmore. I hope to make the connections crystalline in the paragraphs below, so that by word 1,000 you will join in a Hallelujah chorus with me when all the threads come together like a verbal Persian carpet. For now, proceed cautiously with a helmet, flashlight, and a divining rod. 

Due to the nature of this ministry it has to be discreetly hidden and yet easily accessible, without glaring lights or signs, i.e., quite the opposite atmospherics from the points of origin for trafficked women. No strobe lights or lasers or poles or neon signs hyper-sexualizing women’s intimate parts. Nope…Warm, welcoming, and comforting instead… right in Andrea’s wheelhouse. White, teal, and goldenrod walls. No window treatments, just sunshine gushing in freely, beams of pure light..Related image

Before this space could be utilized, however, it needed to be transformed from a dark, dismal, musty, skanky office suite into a sunny, soft space that was above all SAFE. Many folks threw down on wallpaper removal and plaster repair; funky glued down carpet removal; broken light fixture replacement; and general random repairs.  Throughout a few weeks’ time, I helped remove wallpaper, repair plaster, and paint the aforementioned calming colors.  Every time I showed up, Andrea had different volunteers who worked cheerfully and vigorously for women they’d likely never meet. Sunday School classes, youth groups, and small groups from various churches all helped out. It was exhausting fun.Image result for exhausted marathoners pictures

[That’s me before the race. EMT: “Get up sir. The race hasn’t started yet.”]

Finally the site was presentable and used for jewelry making, counseling, art, computer training, and fellowship. The women were recruited out of the sex trade– strip clubs, prostitution, and pornography of any type. These activities are sometimes called “victimless crimes” by idiots, when clearly the victims are the objectified and ruthlessly used women from unfortunate circumstances. Others mistakenly call prostitution “the world’s oldest profession”, instead of what it is– slavery. SSD is a refuge for those fortunate enough to hear of it and step into the lifeboat SSD and off the slave ship Tartarus. Later their rescue boat becomes comforting, then empowering. Finally it is freeing. Women are subjectified as daughters of God Almighty, and go on to glory in their worth in His eyes and perhaps even their own. Image result for woman dancing free images

Last week Andrea’s ministry held its first annual banquet/fundraiser. It was lovely. My wife and I went to be supportive and to glean ideas about the SSD fundraiser dance my wife is planning in August. You see, after our daughter’s wedding last October, my wife asked me what she should do with all the skills she had acquired while quarterbacking a wedding and reception for 200 folks, which is comparable to building a small business for just one day. I suggested She’s Someone’s Daughter, and something clicked in her head. “Yeah, how about a dance, you know, and an auction, like Michele does for breast cancer?” And away she went– inspired and impassioned. (Michele is a dance buddy who has raised over $200,000 for breast cancer research. And she is a hoot to boot. As a matter of remembered fact, I had suggested to Andrea that she get in touch with Michele long ago for fundraiser ideas. Well, I guess she has in a roundabout manner.)Image result for happy feet gif

At the banquet we learned that Andrea and the “church ladies” go to strip clubs and prostitution spots to develop and nurture relationships with exploited women. They provide meals and company for these marginalized ladies, who are usually treated like cuts of meat at the deli counter. Focusing on who they are instead of what their bodies look like opens up hard conversations that lead to opportunities for positive change. Not every woman responds. Failure is not a function of their batting average, though. Failure would be not reaching out at all. Never risking would guarantee a safe 100% success rate for doing nothing.Image result for les miserable stills

Every once in a while a stripper or prostitute believes and follows their North Star out of the industry, and SSD is a North Star. Just like Harriet Tubman led slaves north to freedom, Andrea and the “church ladies” usher modern sex trade slaves out in any direction toward freedom, safety, and integrity.Image result for harriet tubman pictures

Refugees wander aimlessly sometimes with the slimmest of hopes. Anywhere is better than the place they flee. Fugere meant “to flee or run away” in Latin and Old French. A refuge came to mean “a hiding place”. She’s Someone’s Daughter provides more than a hiding place for exploited women.  Indeed, it’s a launching place where freed slaves celebrate their delivery from bondage, and love vanquishes inhumanity.Image result for tracy morgan dancing gif

576. Taken

Image result for liam neeson taken shotsHard to believe. After 14 years of using my cell phones without any real gnarly incidents, besides washing one a couple of summers ago, someone stole my latest I-phone right off my desk this past Monday evening.  Unidentified someone just walked in to my billing office and walked out with my phone. I was with a client and made the false assumption that I heard my downstairs tenant paying the utility bill I’d left for him. Wrong. Instead of my good tenant, it was a bad thief, whose identity I will likely never discover.

I searched and retraced my steps, sure. I looked in the bathroom and in the refrigerator. In all my pockets several times. Nope, nope, nope. My wife ran a map app I didn’t know she had to check the location of my phone. Nope. “How long have you been tracking me?”

Image result for norad screens images“Whenever you don’t answer your phone, I check to see if you’re on your way home.”

“What else are you not telling me? Are you NSA, honey?”

“Never mind. You can’t handle the truth. It’s big and ugly.”

Okay, that sounded invasive in a functional way, like my prostate exams. However, you can’t get mad about the volcanic discomfort involved if the goal is to save your life or phone. Still, it’s not a pleasant exercise.Image result for pacman gif

As fate would have it, I could not get to the Verizon store for a couple of days, so I had to walk, no limp, technologically naked through life. I felt like a fifteen year old stripped of his umbilical cord to the outside world. No texts. No easy phone service. Never mind that a few years ago I fought against the idea of owning a cell phone at all. In life and in technology, you can never go back to what was. You can’t repeat the past; change is constant.Image result for naked and afraid stills of males contestants

I put the inconvenience and cost out of my mind. I knew I’d get torqued and steamed into ineffectiveness as I remembered my last trip to the red shirted phone store with the juveniles running the counter while talking on the phone, to each other, and to the customers interchangeably and randomly. So annoying. I wanted to grab the kid by his red shirt and say, “Just give me the phone, hold the nerd humor, and no one gets hurt.” I restrained myself as I envisioned wrestling with a piece of red licorice. He would have enjoyed it and I would have been in jail.

Not gonna go there. I’m too old to sit in jail with the other hardened criminals.  I can just imagine.

************************************************************************************

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“Pops, what are you doin’ here? Some Bernie Madoff deal?”

“No. I broke bad on a cell phone sales person in a red shirt. I snapped.”

“No way. You don’t look like the type to use violence, which is the last refuge of the incompetent, after all. Isaac Asimov said that. ”

“The kid had it comin’. He was snippy in a techie humor kind of way. All I wanted was a working cell phone, not a new plan or a fancy case or a dissertation on androids versus i phones. I warned him to stop as I launched my first punch into his voice box.”Related image

“Dude, whatz wrong with you? Kid was just doing his job, man! He probably gets paid by the word, you know, and his boss watches and records every sale for a Thursday morning meeting. Red shirtin’ is a tough gig even when old guys don’t lose their minds and pull you over the counter. Man, I used to sell vacuum cleaners and it was rough, old ladies pounding you about the price of this and how much Walmart’s selling sweepers for that. Man, it got old fast.”

“Is that how you wound up in the slammer? Did you break bad like I did, taking refuge in incompetence and all that?”Related image

“No. Violence. Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. Git it right! No. I started selling… previously owned communication devices.”

“Really?  I’m not following the thread here. You sold vacuum cleaners, sort of. And then you sold used communication devices?”

“Yeah, the mark up was better. I could make a thousand bucks a day.”

“So how did you get caught?”

“I sold a cheap communication device to a dude in a parking lot. He was a cop, kind of. He looked like some anorexic Uzbekistan hacker who hadn’t been in the sun since he was born. Pale, I mean, like moldy moon cheese.”Image result for chris tucker selling drugs pics

“What did this guy look like? Maybe he was my thief.”

“Uh, you wearin’ a wire, man?”

“What? You mean like on t.v. shows, like a confidential informant?”

“Yeah, you workin’ for the cops?”

“No, no way. I’m just trying to figure out where my phone is. I want to go all Liam Neeson or Steven Segal on him. Hold him over a rushing waterfall and tell him I could let him go or let him live. Then, after he coughs up my phone, I let him go and he plunges into the foaming pool below as I say ‘Sayanora, Sucker.”Related image

“Man, you trippin’! Why don’t you just go behind K Mart and buy a new used one? I can hook you up with a guy.”

“No!! I want blood!! Revenge!! Expiation of the sin.”Related image

“Dude, what do you do on the outside, if you don’t mind my askin’? You a preacher?”

“I’m a counselor, you know, mental health, anger management, trauma, anxiety, conflict resolution mediation, stuff like that. Here’s my business card. It’s just sometimes life demands a vigilante. That fax number isn’t correct any longer, so you can use the email for documents.”

“Yeah, no. I ‘m good, man. Hey, I never caught your name, but I think I seen you in court last week at my pretrial.”

“Burrito.”Image result for bryan cranston angry gif

“That’s it? Just Burrito?”

“Yeah, that means something on the Square, dude. What’s your name?”

“Bunny, just Bunny, the Bunny Man.”

“What were you doing in court, Bunny?”

“Oh, you know, man tryin’ to make a livin’ and the Man got to get in the way.”

*************************************************************************************

That scenario ended fruitlessly.  I went to the other Verizon outlet and got a jazzy new phone that my wife programmed. The techno nightmare is almost over.Image result for cell phone nerd images

 

575. The Bud Shuster Lullabyway

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Hey nah, hey nah, my coffee shop boyfriend’s back.

Yep, Joel rolled back into town but ever so briefly between institutional shake downs last week. He parked the cobalt blue Spyder out front and wore his shiny black leathers up to the favored table. (Obviously he ordered them pre-owned because they were creased by a man with formidable abdominal and pectoral muscles, neither of which Joel possesses.) Fresh from the nation’s capital banker and mafia mob boss/ lobbyist conference in D.C. to the University Foundation’s annual Snuggle Fest in historic Bedford Springs, he hauled the scuttlebutt and skullduggery involved in both professional deceptions like fresh raw milk that hadn’t time to separate. We hardly had time to catch up on his comings and goings and tales of Swamping the Drain in a post factual world caught in a dystrumpian nightmare.Image result for charlie chaplin on a motorcycle pictures

He had that familiar glint in his eye of another successful white collar bank job completed. “Shimmy shimmy shake down”, he sang to himself in a reverie driven by the rumbling road beneath his troika’s rambling tires. He broke off into a little Johnny Cash, “I’ve been everywhere, man. I’ve been everywhere”; segued into Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild”; and concluded with Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”. His swagger was comparable to a puffed up boy pigeon during its first junior high mating dance: if you removed all the bluster and feathers and after shave, you might get one decent chicken finger out of the entire bird. He was pumped on high octane, unsweetened iced tea.Image result for puffed up pigeon pictures

There was no time to fully catch up until this morning when he sat opposite me in his black suit and purple shirt, with his white summer Panama hat on the table. “Don’t touch that”, he ordered me as if he were Don Corleone and I was some schmuck Sicilian stevedore, part time Uber driver from the docks. I saw right away that he was fully impressed with himself and had over-inflated his tubeless self esteem once again. For his own good, I knew I had to let some air out before he exploded from rooster poop induced spontaneous combustion… one of the leading causes of biker deaths while in a state of dismount. The old jokes goes like this: what do Harleys and Hoover vacuum cleaners have in common?  Dirt bags on the handlebars.Related image

“Joel, I can see you are feeling your oats again. You know what happens when you pop figurative wheelies in your imaginary Shriners’ parades, don’t you?”

“Well, I, uh, yessss. But while riding back on I–99 I made up a jingle to celebrate the Bud Shuster Byway. I thought to myself, ‘Why should Burritospecial be the only creative genius on the block? And why can’t non-Shriners pop wheelies?'”Image result for shriners on motor trikes

YOU broke into verse?”

“I most certainly did.”

“Well, let’s hear it, my good man.”

“Ummm, I can’t remember it.”

“Did you hit a jersey wall or a rock outcropping along the way?”

“No. I just forgot how it went.”

“I see. So, Michael Corleone, when you go to the bathroom I want you to come out with the gun in your hand, not your….”Related image

“I’ve seen the movie. I remember the gun behind the toilet.”

“Good! I was hoping to trigger a familiar long term memory that might get you to connect to your lost song ditty about another gangster.”

“Oh, I remember now. Ummm, let me get the touba bass line.”Related image

“You are gonna sing to a tuba solo?”

“It’s more of a rap.”

“Okay, I can’t take any more titillation, Joel. Hit it!!”

“Okay, okay, it’s set to the melody from “The City of New Orleans”.

“Good. Steve Goodman and Arlo Guthrie are hard to beat. Go man.”Image result for city of new orleans train pictures

“Riding on the Bud Shuster Byway

From Breezewood to Bedford, PA

Hardly any cars and nary any riders

My three wheeler and no one on my tail

“Joel, it gets better, right?”

“Oh yeah, I’m just getting my lips warmed up for the big chops.”

“Okay, chop, chop, then.”

“Ah, second verse…

There I am on my southbound odyssey

Fifth gear hums and I have to pee,

As I roll along past houses, farms and fields

Crossin’ roads that have no names

Thru junk yards full of oxidized tin

And graveyards replete with old rusted automobiles.”

“Joel, you do know what plagiarism is, right?”

“Of course I do. I went to law school after all.”

“Then you must know what BAD plagiarism is too?”

“You don’t like my jingle?”

“Getting warmer.”

“You hate my jingle.”

“Warmer.”

“You abhor my jingle with a virulent hatred most severe, and wouldst cut out my tongue rather than be subjected to verse three?”

“Bingo.”

“But I must continue, even if my life depends on it. 

Good mornin’ Breezewood, how are you?

Say, don’t you know me, I’m your native son?

I’m the man who rides the Bud Shuster Byway

I’ll be gone one hundred miles when the day is done.”

“Joel, if one of your mental health evals sang that to you, would you let them out of the State Hospital?”Image result for psychotic faces singing gif

“No. But what if I do a little soft shoe with my hat and cane? If you can’t sing, then you dance.” Reaches for the hat.Image result for panama hat and cane dance images

“No Joel. It’s over. Your schtick is beneath even Stormy Daniels on Jack Daniels while impersonating Jeff Daniels singing harmony with Charlie Daniels.”

“Hmmm. That’s a lot of Daniels. How about a round of Danny Boy? Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling. From Breezewood to Bedford, PA, from glen to glen, and down the mountain side, the boys are gone and all their buttcheeks sagging, all along, along the Bud Shuster Super Byway…”Image result for irishman singing danny boy pictures

“Again, we have the entertainment equivalent of the Centralia coal mine fire. It never ends, the suffering never ends, my man.  As your ethical and spiritual adviser, I cannot in good conscience allow you to continue in the entertainment field.”

“But why not? I’m, I’m funny. I am the Jimmy Fallon of the nursing home circuit.”Image result for jimmy fallon pictures

“No, Danny Boy. You are humor porn. I’m so, and I truly mean this, sorry for my loss.”

[To listen to the full version of Joel’s rendition of “City of New Orleans”, go to your nearest Youtube railroad track and lie down. Wait until it hits you.]

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574. The Kerfuffle Shuffle and Russian 101.

Image result for card shuffle gifSure, shuffle is what you do with cards to mix them for a fair card game by creating unpredictable randomness or a limited amount of chaos that breaks up patterns. It’s what your Pandora station does with all your favorite tunes so that you don’t grow tired of the same sequence. And there’s the Thorazine shuffle that results from anti-psychotic treatments with the drug Thorazine. It’s also the name of a song by Government Mule.

Stand by to stand by
Ain’t no need to worry today
Thorazine shuffle make everything OK
I know how you feel
You say you need your highs and lows
But what if you could take your pain
And just let it goImage result for homeless guy shuffling gif

I think the song is about treating bipolar disorder, one of the applications of Thorazine, which seem to be numerous. Thorazine takes the unpredictability out of life and gives a dull haze of swampy sameness. Every day is a battleship grey. No worries about what to wear or what to say; same thing you did yesterday.

Kerfuffle, mind you, not only rhymes with shuffle, but echoes some of shuffle’s embedded meaning… to make a commotion or fuss.

Fuffle was first used in Scottish English, as early as the 16th century, as a verb meaning “to dishevel.” The addition of the prefix car- (possibly derived from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning “wrong” or “awkward”) didn’t change the meaning of the word considerably.

So, I think it may be a bit redundant but still fun to do the kerfuffle shuffle. Hey, it could be a new dance move, slower than the fox trot yet not fully a two step. Carole King wrote “Do the Locomotion”. Perhaps there is a disheveled commotion connection in this favorite line dance. I don’t pretend to know how you dance, but I tend to make a fuss or commotion in a disheveled manner as if I need to be further medicated or straight jacketed. Please refer to “Play That Funky Music, Whiteboy” post for further proof. So, yeah, I could do me some kerfuffle shuffling.Image result for crazy white boy dancing gif

What’s hard about randomness and unpredictability, aka chaos, is that it’s impossible to follow. By default it’s a solo act because no one else can guess what is coming next. Perhaps at best you can pull off a call-and-response sequence that has a time delay to it, just like improvisational comedy. I understand that in improv the second person must say yes to the prompt and go with it, so if the gag is something about riding zebras in Mongolia, the second person must agree to the outrageous premise and adapt. Saying no is the death card in improv.Image result for riding zebras pictures

“Of course we rode until their stripes fell off, leaving some all black and the rest all white. Onward we continued over the mountains into China where we came upon a herd of polka dotted camels chewing bubble gum. Much aggressive snorting ensued as the camels were perplexed at the un-striped zebras, and afraid that their sloughed off stripes were venomous snakes, their only known predator.” This is where Sara Sanders trained, by the way.

My experienced readers, all three of you, know this is where I jump the rails and freestyle on the world we live in, i.e., my application part in the non chiasmic biweekly bipolar sermon, where I go riffin’ like a griffin without any psychedelic help.Image result for griffin pictures

Naturally I default to the daily grind of random insanity that pours out of the White House. However, when the unpredictable becomes predictable, it’s no longer just chaos. New words and phrases are needed, and this is where language fails us. Terms like head spinning, unbelievable, unprecedented, friggin’ crazy, etc. just don’t convey the raw brilliant terror of an orange headed comet hitting our nation’s capital. Related image So I am proposing Russian equivalents as a short term solution. Not collusion, please!  Solution. Because, even in America’s locked dementia wards, we know THERE WAS NO COLLUSION! Everybody, say it together, THERE WAS NO COLLUSION!

C yma means crazy in Russian, as Wikipedia confirms. So tomorrow morning after the next sharknado Twitter Twisterval, I want Lester Holt or Shepard Smith to say “It was another friggin’ c yma  day at the White House following the denial of the admission of the denial of the affair with the porn star who was paid hush money not to blow up the election according to Rudy Giuliani who spoke without knowing what he was saying on behalf of no one who could be reached for comment. The former head of the FBI was on a book tour proclaiming his objectivity while the former hero mayor of 9/11 fame slammed into the twin towers of credibility and integrity, leaving a smoldering debacle behind. Most of the Cabinet had been fired or resigned in disgrace. Svyatoy C yma, which translates as Holy Crazy!”Image result for 9/11 smoldering pictures

Another Russian phrase is polezni durak, which means “useful idiot” in English. The Donald has been called this by folks like Putin and the KGB. Our own intel communities, which he disparaged prior to being in charge of them, likely have reached the same conclusion: Trump is useful to the Russians. Who needs a Supreme Court or free press or any agency of accountability if your goal is to be an off the leash dictator? donald trump Trump dance GIF No doubt the Russians appreciate his unique counterintelligence work. Have you ever seen a world leader behave like an incorrigible pre-schooler on crack? Now you have.

In political jargon, a useful idiot is a derogatory term for a person perceived as a propagandist for a cause the goals of which they are not fully aware, and who is used cynically by the leaders of the cause. The term was originally used to describe non-Communists regarded as susceptible to Communist propaganda and manipulation. [Wikipedia.]

Image result for trump with dictators picturesThe Donald loves admiration and sucking up, especially by big stage actors, dictators, and billionaires. He admires men whom he sees as tough guys, I suppose, because he thinks they are like macho STRONG arm candy to accent his GORGEOUS female arm candy.Image result for trump with supermodels pictures“Kiss me again. God, I’m irresistible.”

In an article from the New Yorker comes the following,

As Mueller’s indictment alleges, the Kremlin was guided by the “strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system”—that is, to support Trump as a way of screwing with everybody, and everything, else. The Kremlin was attracted to Trump in large measure as a clown and a wrecking ball, a political phenomenon that would upend America’s domestic status quo, and thus tarnish the country’s profile on the world stage. Putin had famously called him “yarkiy,” which, as I wrote after Trump’s victory, in November, 2016, is “a tricky word that means colorful, gaudy, or bright, in the way that the neon lights shine from the marquee of one of Trump’s casinos.”

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Let’s review…

Holy                  Svyatoy

Crazy                C yma

Yarkiy               Gaudy

Polenzi              Useful

Durat                 Idiot.

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“Zat’s all from Moskcow. Back to you in New York, Lessterrr. May God save your country. Heh heh.”

573. Trust me, Bro

Image result for liar liar head shotsHow many times has a liar started his/her lies with an emphatic, “Trust me, Dude.” It’s a pretty sure bet that your critical thinking is being tenderized like a tough steak  by a line of self serving crapola. Good liars, i.e., liars who are skilled at their trade not morally good persons who lie, have bags of candy coated tricks where they keep their lies lumped together like a nest of snakes. Most of the time no one calls out the liar, so he/she continues, reinforcing the habit. Why stop when you’re ahead?Image result for a pile of snakes photos

After all, it’s just one more lie. And what does it matter, really? Well, if lies are snakes, how many would you want slithering around your house? “Heck, it’s just one little harmless snake. I was planning on telling you about it, but you were busy.”Image result for snake in a kitchen picturesOr how about truth in your marriage, when your spouse is 96% truthful? Or 87% faithful. “Really, Hon, my fidelity rating is in the high 80’s. I’ve only cheated on you 12% of the time that we’ve been married.” Most folks want 100% honesty and full transparency, though realistically no one delivers at the 100% level. Let me define a lie, as I see it.

A lie is a false statement told knowingly and willingly by a sane person to avoid negative consequences or to gain some positive advantage.Image result for psychotic faces

Furthermore, lying is the twisting of reality or the complete distortion of what’s real. My definition obviously does not apply to psychotic folks who are delusional and/or hallucinating, since they are not sane. They truly believe aliens are transmitting messages through their dental fillings; and they will proudly pull them out. “My teeth are not gonna be no alien radio stations, bro.” Here is Dictionary. Com’s definition.

a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional un

-truth; a falsehood. Synonyms: prevaricationfalsification.  Antonyms: truth.

Image result for bricklayers building a wall picturesLike a wall made of bricks, truth upon truth upon truth results in the structure we call TRUST. The formula for trust is simply this: truth over time equals trust. true/time=> ORDER and TRUST. The converse formula, naturally, is lies/time=>chaos and distrust. One lie can destroy the trust built upon a thousand truths, just as one brick made of red Jello can cause a wall to collapse.Image result for a collapsed brick wall pictures

Truth light can be as tenuous as a house of cards, though. In our modern times, truth light has been pedaled as the real thing, just like bricks only lighter and less filling, one third fewer calories than full strength truth. “Just trust me, Dude.” Bernie Madoff ran such an empire of cards that was an elaborate Ponzi scheme. Yes, there were truths mixed in with the fundamental lies. Regular statements were issued on real letterhead. Fancy offices looked official. Oh, the wrapper was mighty fine. But the inner candy bar so greedily sought after was made of sloughed off snake skins. Empty coffers and empty promises. Image result for house of cards structures images

Just like in the 3 Little Pigs story, houses of cards get blown away under the breath of an adversary, be it by wolf, guru, charlatan con man, sexual predator, t.v. evangelist, politician, or special counsel. The winds of scrutiny will blow away fakery and forgery. Image result for hurricane winds gif That’s Matt Lauer taking out Al Roker with a slither move. Trust me, Bro.

I was riding mountain bikes through the State Game Lands with my daughter a few years ago. The roads are for logging trucks, dusty gravel paths really. As we came to a clearing in the tall trees, an older white man stood facing us with his pants at his feet. His Free Willie was air drying, I suppose. His greeting to us?  “I’m not doing anything!” I was certain then that he was lying, but I did not stick around to investigate. We had seen more than enough, thanks. Image result for naked guy on side of forest road pictures

I’ve learned that trust is not only beneficial but is essential and highly adaptive. When we trust our bank, we don’t have to go in the vault and make sure there is a pile of money with our name on it. When we put a quarter in the parking meter, we don’t have to stand and watch the time tick off accurately. We trust it will. Driving requires a lot of trust in your own vehicle and skills, but you must have some level of trust in your fellow drivers; that they are competent, sober, and attentive. You trust that when you drive through a green light, the other traffic will wait at their red one. Image result for traffic at a red light pictures

Trust keeps us moving efficiently and effectively because we don’t have to vet every interaction in our busy days. Confidentiality and privacy, even state secrecy, have to be respected at high levels. When these are eroded by liars and spies, it all goes to hell. The higher the authority, the more truth/trust is required. Cops, pastors, judges, school board members, CEO’s, governors, journalists, doctors, etc. cannot negotiate with the truth. They can certainly hold their own opinions and perspective on the facts, but cannot suppress or deny them, or make “alternate facts” out of whole cloth. Cue Kelly Anne, aka, Cruella DeVil.Image result for kelly anne conway pictures

Cruella de Vil.gif

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway used the term alternative facts during a January interview, shortly after Trump was inaugurated.

She said at the time that then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer provided “alternative facts” to reporters during his first press briefing.

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that,” Conway said during a January interview on NBC.

Her comments came after Spicer, during his first press briefing with reporters, railed against the media for its coverage of crowd size at Trump’s inauguration ceremony.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” Spicer said.

Funny thing about truth light or alternative facts: they don’t exist any more than Wakanda exists. It’s a contrivance. But wait, if you emphatically state it with, “Believe me, Dude!”, then you make an urgent emotional appeal for belief. “Believe me, a lot of people agree with me. I am not standing here nude.”Image result for bob mueller as the big bad wolf pictures

We know the sad story of the White House made of straw and how it will end.  When Big Bad Bob Mueller blows truth comprised of real facts, we’ll see what is left standing. Trust me, Bro.Image result for white house being blown up gif

 

572. Brewz and Broz

Image result for passed out adam sandler picturesBruce was a roommate in college one year and a friend for three decades after that. His joke in college was that he had a hollow leg which allowed him to drink large amounts of beer at The Back Door, The Pass, Bogart’s, or Hard Times, the local bars nearby our college in Richmond back in the mid 1970’s. On more than one occasion he blacked out in mid sentence and collapsed like a dropped puppet. One second he’d be talking trash, and the next he’d be in an unconscious heap on the stairs to the back door.

Image result for floyd avenue richmond va townhouses picturesWe had two other roommates that year on Floyd Avenue on the second floor–  Chris and Paul. (It’s the apartment I blew up with the gas stove explosion from an earlier post.) Downstairs lived a couple of guys who played Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like I Feel? on a loop. (We did not feel like they felt.) Upstairs three Black guys from southern Virginia played James Brown and Bill Withers– Larry, James, and another guy who was barely verbal. Call him Tony. Larry turned out to be a perv and James was flamboyantly gay. Tony was just selectively mute. Theirs was a one bedroom apartment for the curious minded. Never was comfortable with that prison orgy image upstairs.Image result for three african american males pictures

We met these guys one night while drinking rancid red wine and enjoying a fire made from a bag of clothes left behind by the previous tenants.  Turned out that the chimney vented outside their kitchen window. Gagging and gasping, our upstairs neighbors came knocking on the door to my large bedroom, which had the fireplace and functioned as our living room. After a little embarrassment about burning a bag of clothes for firewood, we stomped out the synthetic fiber fire. Alas, some excellent polyester shirts and bell bottoms went un-burned that night. We drank together and got on pretty well. James professed his immediate love for me soon thereafter. It was awkward to say the least. Image result for little richard head shots

One night, as I recall, super skinny, super gay James was out of his mind on something or other. He stood on the third floor balcony rail and threatened to dive to his certain death. It was all very dramatic. I went up and tried to calmly talk him down. He jumped toward me and gave me the grossest, wettest kiss I’ve ever endured on my revolted lips. He shouted with exuberance, “I knew you loved me.” As I pulled away, my girlfriend, who would become my life partner years later, saw the face sucking tete a tete and yelled, “I knew it! I knew it!” Apparently she and James both knew something I was unaware of. I explained to James that I was not in love with him, but I was glad that he had not jumped to his death. Then I went looking for my future wife to explain that, although my face was being sucked on by a skinny Black super gay kid, I was not enjoying it at all. Image result for little richard head shots

Back to Bruce. He was an education major who rarely went to class because he was hung over or unmotivated or in bed with his girlfriend, Magnolia. I was surprised that he graduated since I never saw him do any school work. Ever. Weird Paul went to the anthropology department most days and no one knew what he did. He always talked in a raspy whisper as if the CIA were eavesdropping on his conversations. One day Bruce followed Paul to the anthropology department where he found Paul sleeping on a day bed in the basement, although Weird Paul denied it in fervent whispers. This was a guy who methodically chewed his vegetables to increase surface area for improved digestion and nutrition. Yeah, he was weird.  Image result for rick moranis pictures

Socially awkward always. Bruce reported that he overheard Paul trying to persuade a girl who was staying over with him to have sex with this killer line, “Imagine we’re the last two people on earth. What do you think we should do?” I guess he was betting on “Procreate”, but I think she said, “Die”.Related image

Now Chris was the self-appointed oldest child and leader of the coyote pack. His room was separated from the other three that opened into each other, which sort of reinforced his role as resident adviser. He was Mr. Drama and always at the theater classes practicing sword fighting or dance or lines to plays he starred in, like Marat Sade or a play by Kurt Weill. It was fun and educational to listen to him practice Shakespeare or something like “Waiting for Godot”. We always went to the tiny theater and cheered for him whether we got the drama’s message or not.Image result for marat sade pictures

Once we had a feast at 1310 Floyd Ave and invited a bunch of guests. Each of us contributed food for the event. Bruce gave a ham. We smelled it baking in the blown up oven as we ate cheese and bread and fruits. Chris brought octopus and kiwi fruit, just so we knew he was adventurous. The ham smelled toxic after a while so I checked it. Bruce had failed to cut the plastic wrap off it. Things went better after the polyethylene seal was removed. Something about that apartment and burning plastic.Image result for burned ham pics

As I reported in an earlier post, there was the one night when the Broz decided to celebrate the dying trend of nude streaking. It was 1976, the Indecent-ennial. I held the fort fully clothed as my roomies ran across the street naked. They had such a blast that they then ran around the entire block. Finally a challenge was thrown down for our regular visitor Darvon to sprint the mile or so to the governor’s mansion, wearing only his red Chuck Taylor high tops. Well, Bruce and the others rode behind him in the 1970 Buick Skylark named The Green Snake, sort of like a pace car. Darvon ran aerodynamically with little carry on luggage right onto the governor’s mansion where he was arrested for naked trespassing. Unbelievably the morons in the Green Snake weren’t charged for anything. Meanwhile, I fell asleep, comfortable in my own clothes, in my own bed. fun running GIF by Alberto Pozo

The next day the guys had a heck of a story to tell about the police station and Darvon’s court date. Bruce had taken a police incident form and filled in the blanks with references to Gurmoil Tushkin’s Private Army. They blamed me for not exercising my role as the conscience of the pack. Without even exercising it, my Catholic school upbringing actually saved me on that raw night.Related image