536. The Colonel

He was tough. You had to be tough in order to lead other men, some reluctant draftees, through Vietnam. Colonel Baker, worked at the Pentagon back in the day, the early 1970’s. He was the kind of guy who lived at the end of a cul de sac, and when a foolish high school kid in a jacked up Duster would chirp tires or rev his 340 a few decibels, Colonel Baker would jump into the street and stop the fool bare handed, which may have been overkill since his hands were deadly weapons, I’m pretty sure. He was familiar with the riot act and would put the fear of God into the unfortunate soul stuck between the Colonel and escape.The text of the Riot ActFeeling like a Viet Minh truck driver under interrogation, the kid would confess to crimes against humanity and God, and sign the confession before the Colonel would release him to a future, tarnished with fear of a bullet proof ninja stalking him. I knew better and calmly pulled into the Bakers’ driveway in my primer gray 36 horsepower 1959 Volkswagen Beetle .

I liked and admired the Colonel. He was the real deal who grew up in the coal country of Pennsylvania playing football and wrestling. Viciously patriotic and loyal to a fault, I think. Duty first and always, even if you had to kill a few folks along the way. Duty or Die.Image result for coal miner pictures

His son Mark was a close friend. He was a lot like his dad, but also carried a lot of his mom’s tenderness and compassion. Five kids in the family; Mark was the older boy. I liked Mrs. Baker as well. She was a Girl Scout troop leader and an Army colonel’s wife; two very different worlds. In her sunny kitchen with huge flowered wallpaper hung this poem:

Silver and Gold

Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.
Friendships that have stood the test-
Time and change-are surely best

Image result for 1970's kitchen pictures

The Colonel’s domain was the garage, the living room with the Washington Post, the basement he finished in dark paneling. He gave me the bar he built down there during  the move out before their divorce. It was built with nails and screws and would have surely survived a nuclear strike. Covered in the same dark paneling and orange Naugahyde bumpers around a dark orange Formica countertop. Very 1970’s gross. I moved it to an old farmhouse in Pennsylvania in 1980 with Mark’s help. No matter how I tried to incorporate the bar, it could not be done. It belonged in the Colonel’s basement or nowhere.Image result for 1970's formica orange topped bar pictures

[you know you want it]

Two memories arise today and are equally conflicted insights into the Colonel. I recall chatting with him on a summer night. He asked what I was up to. I told him I’d been painting pictures. He expressed interest in seeing them. I said okay and drove four miles home and back again with my acrylic masterpieces. One was some sort of colorful mandala thing that I called “Beltway Madness”. The other was a black and white painting of a crow sitting up on a high branch in a dead tree in a winter landscape. Image result for painting of a crow in a dead tree winter scene

“I like this one. What do you call it?”

“Death.”

“I can see why. May I have it?”

“Sure, of course.” I thought he was humoring me till months later when the painting business came up again. He said he kept the painting over his bed. I called his bluff. He brought down the painting a few minutes later. “I was not kidding you. I like it.” His word was made of granite blocks; mine was green Jello that didn’t quite gel.Image result for green jello pictures

The other memory of the Colonel came around the same time, 1972. Mark and I were both 16, being born a day apart. I rolled in to visit with him. No cell phones, no texts, no Twitter, no Snapchat, no Instagram. I just rolled into his driveway in the Bug.  We sat opposite his dad in the front living room. The Colonel read the Post as we chatted.

“So what’s new with you, Burrito?”

“I went to DAR the other night and saw Joan Baez. What a voice! It was a powerful experience, man.”Image result for joan baez circa 1972 pictures

Something like terror shot across Mark’s face. He tried to say, “uh huh” and calmly stay under the Colonel’s radar and/or hearing.  No good. It might just as well have been a branch snapping on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The veil of the Washington Post came down slowly and the Colonel crisply folded it and set it down on the end table that held his evening cocktail. He did not look at me or address me directly. The roiling volcano eruption was directed at his loyal, loving son who knew it was coming.Image result for gene hackman faces of rage

“You know if you went to see that Commie Bitch, I’d kick your ass all around this neighborhood AND I WOULDN’T EVEN TELL YOU WHY!!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Her and God Damned Hanoi Jane Fonda. If they were on fire across the street, I wouldn’t even piss on them to put out the fire. They can burn in Hell. I know men why hung from ropes in the Hanoi Hilton because they refused to be interviewed by those bitches. So if you ever….” Rage brimmed at the edges of his self control. I had no idea what demons he fought to prevent self incineration.Image result for gene hackman faces of rage

“Yes, sir.”

The scene turns to black. Mark thought I should go. I did too. No more unguarded conversations in front of the Colonel. On my shell shocked drive home I smelled gasoline fumes that seemed to be chasing me like a streak of napalm through a faraway jungle.

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There are divisions in history and society and family that are as opaque as black out curtains. Veiled mourners walk by anonymously. Whom they mourn is a mystery; maybe it’s a time, a son, a marriage, or a golden friend.

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535. Psycho Killers: Profiles in Sewage.

Unfortunately the Talking Heads song Psycho Killer is relevant again. I say unfortunately not as a musical judgment but as a sad comment on contemporary American massacres; the most recent one last week in Florida is nauseatingly familiar to past school slaughters by highly armed, mentally ill psycho killers, who left a vivid trail of clues before acting out in streams of blood.Image result for streams of blood images
Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook come to mind without much prompting. Throw on the corpse pile the non-school shootings like Las Vegas, Nevada and Aurora, Colorado, Orlando, Florida, Sutherland Springs, Texas and your mind starts to smoke with the overload. Neurons back up and get trampled because nothing makes sense to a rational, solution-seeking brain. The bodies pile up like log jammed timber as well, seeking a pinhole of reasoned compromise to break free. Nope.
I can’t seem to face up to the facts
I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax
I can’t sleep ’cause my bed’s on fire
Don’t touch me I’m a real live wireImage result for Columbine killers pictures
Psycho Killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est (What is it? What is it?)
Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far better
Run run run run run run run away oh oh
Psycho Killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est (What is it? What is it?)
Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far better
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, away oh oh oh
Yeah yeah yeah yeah!
 
The stacatto fa fa fa fa is eerily reminiscent of a busy semi automatic weapon unloading. Pick the location and be sure to wear hearing protection since the gun shot echos in hallways is deafening.
You start a conversation you can’t even finish it
You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything
When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed
Say something once, why say it again?
Psycho Killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est (What is it? What is it?)
Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far better
Run run run run run run run away oh oh oh
These disturbed young men confused violence with worth of some sort, infamy, celebrity, in a neighborhood where values are upside down, where the soul dead come alive and the living must die.Related imageDead souls look for company in their hellish existence, where lives extinguished are good for bragging rights among them. Unlike their video screens, there is no reset button.
Psycho Killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est (What is it? What is it?)
Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far better
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, away oh oh oh oh!
Yeah yeah yeah yeah! (What I did, that evening
What she said, that evening
Fulfilling my hope
Headlong I go towards the glory… OK)
Ce que j’ai fais, ce soir la
Ce qu’elle a dit, ce soir la
Realisant mon espoir
Je me lance, vers la gloire, OK
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yes, that glory thing. The glory of being a serial murderer, it’s a desirable outcome for someone who could not succeed or even function in his own society. Rather than working to figure out what needs to change, the psycho killers kill the standard they could not reach. In their abnormalcy they kill the innocent normals. They appear to be all or nothing thinkers, and since all is not available because it does not exist, they give us all the gift of nothing— annihilation.
Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock
We are vain and we are blind
I hate people when they’re not polite
Psycho Killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est
Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far better
Run run run run run run run away oh oh oh
PHOTO: In this July 23, 2012, file photo, James E. Holmes appears in Arapahoe County District Court in Centennial, Colo.
Psycho Killer
Qu’est-ce que c’est
Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-far better
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, away oh oh oh
Yeah yeah yeah yeah oh!
For one moment these deranged man-boys rushed high on infamy flowing through their veins like heroin, finally feeling important, prophetic, apocalyptic, revenged, heroic in their demagoguery and eventual demonology, making s’mores in hell.
Here we are again. In some strange associative thread, I am reminded of the anti-Nixon ad that asked, Image result for would you buy a used car from this man poster Well, millions of Americans did buy what he was selling…twice as a matter of fact. In the end they finally had some buyer’s remorse.
So, check these bizarro dudes above and ask yourself:  would you sell any of them an Assault Rifle and a thousand rounds to go with it? Again and again and again? Our shivering congressmen and senators dive for shelter,  political shelter when the bullets fly. Even when one of their own is mowed down playing softball, they lack the courage to stand up and do the right thing. Like the serial psycho killers, they opt for spineless nothingness, puppets of special interests. Unfortunately, school safety has no lobbyist.Image result for u s congress pictures
After 9/11, after Oklahoma City, after the first fertilizer bomb at the Twin Towers, after the shoe bomber and underwear guy,  we learned to protect ourselves against weaponized diesel fuel and fertilizer and planes and shoes. The results have been strong and effective. Though they infringe on our freedom of movement and add a layer of inconvenience to renting trucks or buying fertilizer, I suppose, no one is in an uproar over these common sense responses. As a result, airports are some of the safest real estate in the world nowadays.Image result for atlanta airport photos
Strangely enough, rather than tightening wise gun stewardship laws, these horrific massacres send more and more Americans to the gun shows for weapons and ammo stockpiles, and more and more elected officials quaking before the NRA. “Please, All Powerful One, do not unseat me.”

But there is one quirk that consistently puzzles America’s fans and critics alike. Why, they ask, does it experience so many mass shootings?

Perhaps, some speculate, it is because American society is unusually violent. Or its racial divisions have frayed the bonds of society. Or its citizens lack proper mental care under a health care system that draws frequent derision abroad.

These explanations share one thing in common: Though seemingly sensible, all have been debunked by research on shootings elsewhere in the world. Instead, an ever-growing body of research consistently reaches the same conclusion.

The only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is its astronomical number of guns.

[The Interpreter Newsletter]
 Students and family members attend a candlelight vigil for victims of the mass shooting
The sewage will continue unabated, however, through clever manipulation of these horrid facts. Guns don’t kill people; spineless politicians afraid of losing elections do.

534. Tangents

Image result for water slide picturesEver slide down a tangent like a water slide? You get in the mouth entrance up a few flights of stairs in a water park. You wait for the guard to signal you to let it rip. And away you go for a few seconds of gravity-induced joyous terror. Your butt just barely touches the chute as you hydroplane down to a deeper pool of level water. Slow. Stop.

Image result for tangent illustrationTangent means to “just barely touch”. To be tangential means you’re off the main course, out there, digressing. Yeah, you started at a traction point, but then you rocketed away into deep space, leaving only a vapor trail. I could not explain to you what a tangent in geometry is, but I can zip line out on a verbal tangent anytime.Image result for zip line ride pictures

I like tangents, connections as thin as a spider’s silk and just as strong, able to stretch without breaking, but allowing for a lot of bounce. A single quarter inch strand of spider silk can suspend an Abrams tank over a Russian soldier’s head for well over a minute before breaking. On average. Some Vladivostokian volunteers died in this research. Image result for spider silk pictures

So, what’s that look like? you may ask. Like a spider bungee jumping in a rose bush. Like a guy parachuting from 15,000 feet with just a 17 pound parachute. Like a stand up comic who has his first joke ready and confidence that the rest will magically fall in place. In short, it’s terrifying to introverts who are risk aversive, and exhilarating to the shameless caffeinated extroverts among us, who seek risk like a heat seeking missile seeks, well… uh, heat. I thought I had something stellar there, but not so much at the end of that analogy.  Okay, like a MIG 25. (Round Bale, I await your expert warrior correction here.)Image result for heat seeking missile pictures

So, let’s riff on a tangent, shall we? First, you must suspend doubt and any sense of cohesion or cause/effect relationships. Okay, then you must indulge in word play for the sake of word play alone. You may consider this mental masturbation, and that is your inalienable right, guaranteed by article 14 of our Constitution, but keep in mind that you already agreed to suspend doubt, so put on your suspenders and let’s go bungeeing already.  You should already know your rights and amendments thereto. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind sock blows.Image result for wind sock pictures

Earlier I stated that I like tan gents, which is not illegal or immoral anymore since it was dropped first from the DSM III R and then through the courts until gay marriage was made legal in recent years. So, if I say “I like tan gents”, I am not discriminating against pale Irish and Welsh coal miners. Not at all. They are simply pasty pale gents who need to get on holiday and get some fun in the sun, for goodness sake. “I like tan gents” is not equivalent to “I hate pale gents”. That assertion does not follow logically any more than “I hate semi-tan gents, like Portugese guys or Cubans.”  I hope you are following the vapor trail closely but not inhaling. And by like I do not mean like that! Sheesh!!Image result for Cuban men at the beach pictures

So, Joel, who is very pale in an Icelandic tourist sort of way, arrived back at Coffee Central today after a sousaphilia conference in Winston Salem, N. C. We talked as usual after I serenaded him with “My Boyfriend’s Back” by the Angels…

My boyfriend’s back he’s gonna save my reputation
(Hey-la-day-la my boyfriend’s back)
If I were you I’d take a permanent vacation
(Hey-la, hey-la, my boyfriend’s back)Image result for singing group angels pictures

Not the most intelligent lyrics, but then in-tell-i-gents is an entirely other category to research. If you tell a gent some intel, does that make him an intelligent? What if it’s an embarrassing secret you reveal? Have you out-telli-gented him? Or if you talk too much with your gentle friend, have you out telled him? Do tell. Or sing. What about William Tell and that famous apple shoot? Aim a zing. Image result for william tell pictures

This is known as a jump stone in masonry, the kind bricklayers do, not the secret society type. Ginseng is a thinly connected almost homonym of sorts that starts the next round of verbal bungee Olympics. Perhaps you’ve ingested ginseng tea or some sort of herbal concoction.  Then again, perhaps you have sung karaoke under the influence of martinis.Image result for ski flying pictures

In the latter case you’d have experienced gin singing, the first cousin of ginseng, the best of which is found in the mountains of Korea. Gin singers became famous during the age of  Dickens, when gin was made in London bathtubs.Related image

So here we are again, waiting for meaning to catch up to language sounds. Not the minimum guage, which is still unlivable at minimum or a large vegetable in season.

In court I imagined giving expert testimony. “Sir, what are your thoughts about holding this minor in ten more days of lock down?”

“Oh it’s a great idea. I think we should all go for a refresher seminar on the suspension of one’s civil rights.”

“Your Honor, please remind the witness about the use of sarcasm in the court.”Related image

“How do you know it’s sarcasm, Mr. D.A.?”

“Well, you don’t mean what you just said. You were mocking my question and the ruling of this court with your supposed ironic endorsement of the penalty imposed on the minor.”

“So it’s not what you say that matters but how you say it, is that what you’re saying?”Image result for courtroom drama pictures

“Certainly, that’s why we speak directly without any pretense or drama in court. No riddles, no figures of speech; just cold hard facts in yes/no question format.”

“I see. Context matters.”

“Yes, but I think you already knew that.”Image result for sumerian cuneiform pictures

“I did, but I wanted to hear you elucidate this truth, counselor.”

“And why is that, sir?”

“Because if you plug my client’s words and actions into the context in which they occurred, you will find a different meaning than what you have ascribed to them. Words and actions do not exist in a vacuum.”

“Your Honor, I move that these comments be struck from the record as needlessly tangential.”

“So ordered.”Image result for judge pictures

 

 

 

533. michael cohen says sexit to trafficking charges

Image result for street signs for incredulity avenue picturesWe find ourselves at the intersection of Incredulity Prospect and Constitutional Crisis Avenue. Michael Cohen, attorney at law for none other than Donald J. Trump, recently was outed against his will for a handsome charitable contribution to a Ms. Stormy Daniels, adult film star. The self-effacing philanthropist was caught red handed doing the right thing for the rightest of reasons. He secretly paid Ms. Daniels $130,000 U.S. dollars of  his own money to hush her pouty lips and help her escape the tawdry world of pornographic films. The poor woman was down on her luck and so desperate that she contacted the Trump campaign, no, I mean, Attorney Cohen, Esq., and threatened to blackmail candidate Trump late in his bid for the presidency in 2016.  We have not witnessed  philanthropy on this level since George Costanza started The Human Fund.Image result for the human fund pictures

Michael Cohen saw through her extortion ploy as a tragic cry for help. He raced altruistically to set up a shell company in Delaware for the sole purpose of paying her blackmail demands in order to rescue her from a life of sexploitation. At no time did he believe for a second that Ms. Daniels had a torrid affair with his best bud and major client, Donald J. Trump. He later told investigators it was all a big humanitarian misunderstanding. Paying her demands might look like yielding to extortion, but Mr. Cohen reported it was really a gift from one Trump bimbo to another.  Nothing more or less. “I’d do it for any woman with boobs the size of Rhode Island” he reportedly said.

As Cohen further related after all the other reporters left the room, it began several years ago. Ms. Daniels had photo shopped pictures of herself with Mr. Trump in 2006 as if they were an intimate golf twosome at one of Trump’s golf courses. Melania had just delivered their son, and Donald needed some R & R of another sort. The misguided Stormy then put her evil plan into effect, contacting the Don and demanding hush money for something that never, ever, let me repeat, never happened. On your mother’s grave, I swear.Image result for stormy daniels pictures with trump

In  Political Stilletos Magazine, Mr. Cohen was interviewed recently by former White House spokesman Shawn Spicer.Image result for sean spicer pictures

“I know it’s all truly false because I was there when the first high heel fell, so to speak. I was attending Mr. Trump’s personal care. I am also a licensed CNA. Mr. Trump had called me into his toilet area. I remember it like it was yesterday, Dec. 7, 2010, Pearl Harbor Day, which is ironic because Mr. Trump’s toilet seat is inlaid with mother of pearl. You don’t forget these things. Related image

“I had just read the first extortion letter from Ms. Daniels aloud when he called me into the bathroom for another delicate matter. ‘First things first. We’ve gotta do the first thing and do it first.’ He’s like that, cuts to the marrow of meaning in a way that even asphyxiated well diggers can grasp. Image result for well diggers pictures

“Anyway, he made sure I used antibacterial lotion and latex gloves to inspect his nether regions on the back side. You see, he had been complaining of a rash back there below his spare hair pelt that he grows just below his belt line. Something just didn’t feel right. I detected a small lump, a nuisance really, like Devin Nunes.Image result for devin nunes gif

“I combed through the back up pelt and found nothing out of the ordinary, and then he was relieved. I took a picture and added it to his collection of specimens. Ever since his nanny scolded him during toilet training, he has been perfecting his revenge. It is not encopresis. This is a man who is legendary for playing 3-D checkers while other men play chess and flush away their swine before pearls. It is part of a larger strategy to be a totally self sufficient rebel locked in the anal explosive stage. Image result for trump on toilet pictures

“Mr. Trump complained of rectal pain occasionally, but especially in the latter days of the presidential campaign. He thought a Crooked Hillary supporter might have poisoned him at a McDonald’s drive through window. Once again I put on the gloves and checked him. The pelt was fine, shiny and vigorous like a silver back gorilla’s coccyx after hydrogen peroxide treatments. That’s when he said, ‘Lower. In.’Related image

“I took a deep breath and asked him if he was sure. ‘Sir, permission to touch you there.’

“‘Permission granted’, he replied. Gingerly, like Fred Astaire gingerly, I looked in and saw a vision I can never unsee. As I pulled back his ample saggy butt cheeks, I found Nancy Pelosi staring wide eyed back at me. ‘What are you looking at?’ she snarled. ‘Everyone my age has had a little work done.’Image result for nancy pelosi pictures Before I could respond Sean Hannity shouted, ‘It’s Obama’s fault again. Show us the birth canal certificate.’ Image result for sean hannity picturesA strong hand came up from the deep and covered his mouth, pulling him back into the Abyss of Buttocks. Slowly I saw another hand and then a severe jaw appear. It was Michael Flynn. ‘Lock her up. Lock her up.’ he chanted rhythmically.Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI, is cooperating with Mueller

“That’s when Mr. Trump said, ‘There! That felt better. What’s going on down there Michael?’

“I was a gassed at that point. I mean exhausted with the comb in one hand and the tweezers in the other. Plus, Mr. Trump is a large man with a rump like William Howard Taft, the bigliest president in U.S. history. I didn’t know what to say in such unimagined territory.Image result for president taft pictures

“It was at that very moment when I was overcome with compassion for porn stars stuck in a humiliating lifestyle like hard candy pellets in a Pez dispenser in the President’s butt. I remembered the threatening letter that no one in the campaign or White House has ever seen. Ever. I contacted Stormy and made my career escape plans for her known to her. She was dumbfounded and agog over my offer. No one had ever made her such an unconditional offer of love and freedom. She accepted. Case closed. Honest Injuns.”

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532. Prodigals All

So you know the Bible story of the prodigal son, right?  It’s one of those stories that meanders out of the Bible and into movies and books and songs in one way or another.  Why? Because it contains so many universal themes– impatience, rash action, fraternal jealousy, repentance, forgiveness, humility, pride, bitterness, and love. All wrapped up in a tasty taquito of a story. What can I possibly add to this masterpiece parable? Let’s see. The deep fry. Image result for deep fryer taquitos gifs

Usually the story is focused on three characters– the older brother, the father, and the prodigal son. I imagine them lined up left to right in that order. They never got names, but in my version they do. MJ, Malachi, and Fast Eddy. However, you are in this story as the audience hearing it. (The original audience was composed of Pharisees and tax collector types, saints and sinners. You know which you are; don’t kid yourself. ) In the end you must wrestle with three perspectives– the self righteous, entitled older brother who will receive his full 2/3’s inheritance no matter what happens to his younger brother; the kind, extravagantly generous and forgiving father; or the shriven, repentant lost son seeking redemption. You get to weigh each perspective and then choose. Let’s look closer before you do.Image result for prodigal son, brother and father pictures

Fast Eddy is the younger brother. He’s not getting the farm, the herds or the rights that go to the first born son. The legal concept of primogeniture continues today in many cultures. Headship of the family, royal or otherwise, goes to the first born son, the namesake. (See William of the Windsor family.) Fast Eddy saw the writing on the wall, so to speak. And, as the story unfolds along with MJ’s judgmental attitudes, we listeners can pick up some of what Eddy must have felt in the harsh eyes of his entitled older brother. Unless MJ dies or has a severe head injury leaving no son behind, Eddy isn’t going to become the big guy playing first fiddle. So why not get what you’re gonna get? Get it, a third of the inheritance, now. Get out of Dodgernaum. Who loves their spare tire?Image result for royal family portraits

Fast Eddy seems to have had an addictive personality. He wanted what he wanted when he wanted it. He’d fit in at an AA meeting with great stories, but that wasn’t available in ancient Israel. He rudely opts for his inheritance early. Imagine that scene, “Hey Dad. I can’t wait till you die to get my inheritance. So can you expedite that for me to party hardy now? I mean, I love you and all, but the wine and women are calling my name, and I can’t say no, maybe, or later. It’s all or nothing right now!!!Light my fire. Boomity Boom Boom. Just a sec, my chicky chicks. Dad, the money?”Related image

Malachi, the father, already knew his younger son’s nature. I’m sure the rash demand was not a surprise to him. Fast Eddy had to be of age to leave, so 14, 16, 18? Not sure, but he was not a kid, he just acted like one… immature, short sighted, craving his animal cravings… temporarily head injured due to prolonged adolescence. He does not know what he does not know. He has to learn from experience instead of from his father’s wisdom.

Image result for little boy "driving" granpa's truck pictures

Extravagance abounds in this story. Prodigal means “extravagantly wasteful”, but Malachi’s generosity and tolerance of his impetuous son are extravagant also. Extra-vagant means to “wander beyond” what is appropriate, usual or moderate. Fortunately for Fast Eddy, Malachi’s love and mercy are just as extravagant. It just takes years of continued stupidity for Fast Eddy to realize who his father is instead of stopping at what his father owns. Incredibly, Malachi essentially says, “Eddy, your will be done” and grants the absurd, free will wish of self indulgence. You know how that journey ends, in a faraway land, covered in pig excrement. Ashamed.

Oh, then there’s Malachi, junior, the heir who “earned” a double share by being born first. It’s easy to accept the unearned glory as if you did earn it, born on third base and told you hit a triple at birth. It’s hard not to believe your own mythology. The law, family, culture, tradition, justice are all on the side of the older brother. He’s entitled to feel entitled, right? Everyone is saying he’s bigly so he must be bigly. He’s likely holier than others, an Eagle scout, valedictorian, president of the Future Herders of Israel, and just as prodigal as his little brother, only in a different manner. Proud, restrained, conservative, all about the rule of law. The guy who always asks for permission and, therefore, never has to ask for or grant forgiveness. In the thick of privilege’s thicket, it’s hard to see your own exclusive privilege. Extravagant Malachi also grants Junior’s wish, “Son, your self deceitful, squeaky clean will be done.” MJ’s will leads him to bitter jealousy of his ne’er do well little brother. Like “Where’s my party for being good, Dad?”Image result for jealous male images

Now we come to you, dear inquiring blog reader. Do you align with the wise fool Fast Eddy, who finally gets it only after humiliation? Or with his brother, who resents mercy to others that costs him nothing? Binary thinkers stop here and miss the point, I think. The third and best option is to align with the loving, merciful father who is the source of all blessings to begin with. Malachi means, “my messenger” in Hebrew. Related image

To the Pharisees and teachers of the law, Jesus (re-)presents the radical, shame-obliterating, honor-infusing love of the father. God comes out to them, pursues them, invites them, and begs them to participate in the true feast of honor.  But entering the extravagant feast implicitly acknowledges that the years of labor was never the basis of acceptance, honor, and inclusion.  The father’s invitation extends to both the falsely-honored Pharisees and the falsely shamed tax-collectors/sinners’.  The shame he endured covers everything with a fresh coat of honor. [Honor/Shame blog passage]

So choose wisely, my friend. Related image

531. Wild Wabbits,Women and Songs

Image result for corn stubble in snow field imagesA wild weekend on my treadmill. Stifle that yawn! While I hook up to my Lou Reed station and set the pace at a blistering 4 mph, I stare out across my backyard and into hundreds of farm land acres. Lately the snow pack has made any creature movement easy to see. On Saturday morning I noticed something skittering across the field stubble about the size of a groundhog, but moving differently with a long tail, but not a fox.  Even with my foggy binoculars, especially with them, I could not get a positive i.d. So I went to Google Earth real time drone surveillance, dialed in my coordinates, and ordered up a strike. Actually I googled muskrat and came up with a match. It disappeared into the stream bed that splits the field at its low point.  Cool! I’d never seen a muskrat out of water before. Mystery solved.Image result for muskrat  picturesThey look so different on land, but I suppose humans look different in water, eh? Just put on your bathing suit and belly up to the mirror. See what I mean?

Later, on the way back from my granddaughter’s fifth birthday party, we passed an owl sitting high up in a forlorn looking tree, looking forlornly across a forlorn landscape, where rain poured down on the stubborn snow pack, which was likewise forlorn. One trivia fact I remembered about owls is that they can’t fly well or hunt in rain with damp feathers. It was gonna be a long day for what looked like a barn owl.Image result for white barn owl in a tree pictures

Still, my second wildlife sighting in a day. On the way back from Hershey the next day I saw the silhouette of a large hawk tearing at its rodent catch while perched on a fence post. Another gift. Raptors take my breath away for some reason I can’t articulate. Image result for red tailed hawk on a fence post pictures

So this dull aluminum grey Monday morning as I stepped on my trusty treadmill, I was not expecting anything. Lou Reed’s “I’m Waiting for My Man” started on my Pandora feed. It’s about buying heroin from a street dealer. I picked up my 5 lbs dumbbells and began stepping to the beat. Just outside the sun room, across a wooden deck I noticed the white bunny looking in at me. It’s a fat domestic escapee who has been wandering the neighborhood since last summer. Cute with black rings around his eyes and a few black splotches on his coat. Looks like he hopped under an oil drip. No sooner did we make contact than a wild brown bunny zipped by him. Hard to tell if it was aggression, play, or mating season. The two of them then hopped and chased and flopped as I walked and curled my dumbbells… chuckling over the juxtaposition of a jaded addict’s song of buying heroin overlaid on an icy winter rabbit frolic. It was comical to me. Twitterpation came to mind from Bambi, as Lou’s narrator was scoring his first love…

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I’m waiting for my man
Twenty-six dollars in my hand
Up to Lexington, one, two, five
Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive
I’m waiting for my man

They continued playing, occasionally coming up one more deck step to nibble at the sliced orange carrots my wife had tossed out for the benefit of wild life. After the recent warm up and ice melt down, the carrots were finally accessible. The bunnies seemed content with winter grass and dried out autumn leaves.Related image

Next song in the feed was the Beatles “Don’t Bring Me Down“. It started to reverberate in my liquified brain and fit with the odd sequence of events.

I’m in love for the first time
Don’t you know it’s gonna last
It’s a love that lasts forever
It’s a love that had no past
Don’t let me down, don’t let me down
Don’t let me down, don’t let me downImage result for beatles photos
My mind wandered as it is prone to… floating on its raft across the sun drenched Bay of Bongolia … back to my wife’s loving tenderness. She cares even for a wild rabbit. On the upper deck she installed a bird feed tube, the overflow of which litters the lower deck and feeds the rabbits and squirrels drawn to free eats. Sometimes it may seem to be counter intuitive, this feeding of “wild life”. Are they still “wild”?
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Last week we were awakened three or four nights in a row by a howling cat, a big fat orange one that would perch on the 6×6″ corner fence post at dawn’s early light. I offered to shoot it a couple of times. My bride declined the offer. Instead, she put some old left over cat food in our deceased dog’s bowl for the cat!! On the upper deck no less, near the sliding glass door. That’s how our former cat Annie became a house cat, by degrees. First she built Annie a shelter box for the long winter nights. Later in the warmer months she lured Annie in to the daybed in the sun room with catnip treats. Finally that cat had the run of our entire house and I was living in the box outside. This is just one area of difference between us: her empathy is limitless at times; mine works more like a parking meter. Boom! Time’s up.Image result for parking meter pictures
And the final song that hit this time frame was the Talking Heads “Wild, Wild Life”.
Here on this mountaintop oh oh oh
I got some wild, wild life
I got some news to tell ya oh oh
About some wild, wild life
Here come the doctor in charge oh oh oh
She’s got some wild, wild life
Ain’t that the way you like it oh oh
Living wild, wild life
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Now, I know it’s an overreaching associative mashup mess to claim some thread ran through all of the above songs and thoughts and visuals. That’s LSD talk, right? So Groovy, it was an oceanic experience where I was you and you were me and we were all together. Which riffs another Beatles song. No, it was more like the Shepherd’s Pie I had for dinner the night before, a bunch of subliminal meat and veggies beneath a blanket of baked mashed potatoes.  Good eats. Peace. It all becomes one in your guts.Image result for wild bead necklace images
Still, a shout out to my beautiful wife of 38 married years. Still wild and never lets me down, so I’ll keep waitin’ for my woman. Stop your filthy thoughts, you.
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530. 8th Grade

Image result for hayfield high school picturesThings were different in Virginia Hills at age 13. The bus ride to the brand new junior-senior high school was longer and bumpier, miles away down Telegraph Road. It smelled of newness and paint and building supply fumes and concrete dust. It was the largest school in the area at that time and felt like the Pentagon must to a Cub Scout on a field trip. Not sure if they even offer field trips to the Pentagon nowadays.

Image result for old fbi building washington d.c. 1960's photosWhen I was a kid our elementary classes toured the White House, the old FBI building, the Capitol, the U.S. Mint, a submarine somewhere downtown, and the Smithsonian. My most memorable moment came at the FBI after an agent/tour guide shot a silhouette target with an automatic weapon. I asked if I could have the bullet riddled target. “Sure kid, here you go.” Never before or since have I gained instant cool cred like that. My classmates envied me palpably. Every boy and some girls wanted that shredded FBI target. I taped it to my bedroom wall until it scared my over anxious mother one night too many and she threw it in the trash.Image result for target silhouette pictures

I’m pretty sure that in these paranoid times field trips to iconic Washington, D.C. landmarks are no longer allowed. Pity. Watching money being printed like a newspaper was a stunning vision to an 8 year old whose family almost lived pay check to pay check.

Related imageAnyway, back to 13. I was interested in a girl named Lisa who had a racy reputation. She was cute and wore short skirts and a knowing smile. I was battling acne and athlete’s foot that I had acquired in the junior high showers the year before. I mean my right foot hurt to walk on. And yet, Lisa and I conspired to skip school one day and “hang out”. This was before Netflix and chill, and friends with benefits. She stayed home sick in her house across the road from our massive school factory. My part of the plan was to go to homeroom, be counted as present, and then walk over to her house after her parents left for work. We executed the plan flawlessly. Image result for hayfield farms neighborhood pictures

By 8:30 or so I was knocking on her door. She let me in, wearing a skimpy night gown and that knowing smile. I was terrified of what lay ahead. It is one thing to desire knowledge and experience, but quite another to boldly acquire it. I felt like I had in Little League coming to the plate to face Kevin Carr’s wild curve ball. He was way too fast and therefore dangerous to face. Even bunting was a challenge against this sapling of a left hander.Image result for little league kid at plate pictures

We sat on her couch and watched daytime television, reruns of standard shows like The Beverly Hillbillies and a game show or two. It was awkward and terrifying, as I expected her Lieutenant Colonel father to burst in at any moment. A noise at the door freaked us out. It was a meter reader or utility guy… not her father. Lisa was far more comfortable with this business than I was. She tried to move the conversation and body language into jiggification. I floundered like a drowning kid in two feet of water. Pathetic. All I needed to do was stand up and save myself, but I was too ignorant and scared. Cue up Running Scared by Roy Orbison. I think after a couple of hours Lisa figured out nothing jiggy was gonna happen between us. I made my escape when the buses cued up at 2:30. Glad to be going home. I was not ready for the wily world of women and couldn’t even fake it.Related image

Later that year four or five of us guys decided to take another day off school. One boy, let’s call him Lee, who lived down the street from Lisa had an old car in his driveway that had been given to him by his grandfather. He had the keys and our big chief hero, Steve Goll, told him he could drive. “Sure, man. I drive all the time.” We were 14 by this time in the spring, and no, not one of us knew how to drive even a golf cart. But that was the plan… sign in to homeroom, skip out all day, ride home on the bus at 2:30 and keep the lies straight. So we did.Image result for old car with teen boys inside pictures

It was a little weird driving the back roads of Lorton and Newington, Pohick and Gunston. Somehow we scored some beer and cigarettes, maybe through Steve’s older brother. It wasn’t that hard back when cigarettes were sold in lone vending machines in front of empty stores. Beer simply required a little more money and planning. Off we went hooping it up, listening to crap music on an AM radio. It was a shared fear that some joyless adult might notice a carload of 14 year old boys were driving around the countryside on a school day and notify the cops. For the most part we saw very few cars. We’d duck and leave mature-looking Steve alone at the wheel when we approached another car or pedestrian. I’m sure we weren’t at all suspicious looking.Image result for 63 plymouth on road pictures

Sometimes when we came to a bend in the road, Steve would lean with the steering wheel, upon which he had a death grip, and also duck beneath the dashboard while we yipped and yapped for him to keep his eyes on the winding road. On one of these bends he did not turn sharply enough and we wound up with the right side wheels in a ditch. Cue up Neil Young’s Alabama. Stuck. Dead meat. We could not even imagine the school and parent trouble and criminal charges we were in for.  Image result for car with wheel in a ditch pictures

That is when the heavens opened and a truck full of road crew inmates from Lorton Penitentiary pulled up behind us. Six or eight grown men in prison striped uniforms and one guard with a shotgun got out and approached us. We were shaking in negative anticipation, busy hiding beer cans and cigarette evidence.Image result for prison road crew pictures

The guard said to Steve, “Looks like y’all are in the ditch, son.”

“Yes, sir. We sure are.”

“Okay, well, let’s see if we can get you out.”

Miraculously they lifted and pushed as Steve gassed the old Plymouth and we were back on the road to salvation. Forty five plus years later I still chuckle at the absolute absurdity of growing up, and marvel that anyone makes it through alive. Cue Stairway to Heaven.Image result for stairway to heaven images

529. A Tale of Two Crowns

Image result for elaine foy photos as queen elizabethI’ve been watching The Crown on Netflix recently on these long, cold winter nights after my wife erupts in vociferous frustration with the soap opera news cycle I watch faithfully. She can’t bear the endless adolescent drama that emanates from the White House. I must admit it is a great relief to trade one classless impostor U.S. monarch in for another one, a real one with tact and taste, refinement and character. Elizabeth II is superbly played by the accomplished actress Claire Foy. She is the restrained eye of the royal hurricane swirling around her at Buckingham Palace.

Image result for jungle book king louie with crown onBack on this side of the pond, the U.S. king is played by a grasping orangutan with a penchant for worship and subservience and big boy parades. Our manboy king is the hurricane in the eye of his own ego storm, like a full toilet swirling mercifully down and away, we hope. Anyway, I don’t want to give the illegitimate one any oxygen today. He’s had way more than enough already, being a career attention junkie. How do you get a one-armed orangutan out of a tree? Wave goodbye.Image result for toilet flushing gif

The last episode of The Crown was so artful on many levels. I think it was episode 9, called Assassins. Among the many developing plot lines, Elizabeth and her hubs Phillip’s relationship is straining at the royal seams. At the same time her old flame the horse trainer is obviously still carrying a torch for Liz. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Winston Churchill is being pushed out of public office by his successor and time. He is 80 years old and receives a Parliamentarian birthday party, as well as a portrait by an established artist, Graham Sutherland.The portrait of Sir Winston Churchill, by Graham Sutherland

The one scene that corkscrews three hearts at once is when the portrait painter Sutherland is finishing his oil painting of Churchill. It is clear that they admire one another. Each man has reviewed the other’s paintings, looking for personal meaning projected into them by the respective artist. Churchill is the in the power position and lets Sutherland know it. He mentions a particular Sutherland painting that is filled with black trees. Churchill had actually copied the painting as he studied it. “It’s somewhat malevolent”, he observes as Sutherland’s paintbrush seems to become seized with indecision.Image result for corkscrews with corks images

“It was a very dark time in my life”, the artist explains in the smoky cottage light. “My wife and I had lost our infant son.” Long pauses and blinks kept tears from falling on either man’s cheeks.

Related imageSutherland points out that Churchill has painted the fish pond on his estate at least 20 times. He mentions how he believes the depths of the pond show great pain and grief. Churchill tries to put him off the trail by suggesting that Sutherland is projecting his own feelings into Churchill’s paintings. “I was always battling the light and the play of the water’s surface like a warrior in battle.” No argument by Sutherland. Instead he moves on to Churchill’s children, “Five, right?”Image result for churchill children pictures

Churchill corrects him, “Four” and proceeds to explain and deflect that the youngest, Marigold, died while he was away. “When I came home, Lady Churchill howled like a wounded animal.” He goes on to add that they moved into the current estate a year later… which was when he constructed the fish pond…indirectly proving Sutherland’s speculation. Both men lock on to the same wavelength of anguish. The camera holds the indirect light flooding in from the back yard where the fish pond is located. Sutherland’s heart is pierced; as is Churchill’s; as is mine while I watch this scene that moves at the pace of oil paint drying on a canvas, or vellum memories curing on tenterhooks. That corkscrew breeches the preserved wine inside the cellar of one’s personal history.Image result for churchill fish pond paintings pictures

And that episode title Assassins comes to mind. Killers. Middle Eastern origins. Religion and politics… a murderer of an important person in a surprise attack for political or religious reasons. Who is the assassin in this scene?  Sutherland is “killing” the false bravado of Churchill with his spoken truth and his painted truth, and getting paid for the service. Churchill told Sutherland to paint only the good, the strong, the empire before him. As a precise witness and artist he painted what he saw– the ravages of time, whiskey, cigars, and decades of restlessness. To some degree age is also an assassin. Churchill is stalked by members of his ruling party and the press he can no longer control. Assassins all around.Image result for pictures of shia assassins

When the painting is finally unveiled at Churchill’s birthday celebration, he is repulsed by the truthful but unflattering image in front of him and Parliament. His disgust and rage are briefly contained. Sutherland later confronts him at his estate over the portrait after Churchill has officially rejected it. Enraged, Churchill says it  looks like an old man trying to move his bowels, weak, impotent, fragile, etc. It is the sum total of all Churchill’s fears staring back at him. “It’s cruel!”

Sutherland shouts, “Life is cruel. I paint what I see.”Image result for life is cruel pictures

Their interactions are so powerful. The great man wants political deception not truth; flattery not precision. Despite two strokes, his pride, vanity and self deception cannot tolerate the truth of his indisputable decline. The artist, on the other hand, wants truth over the approval of his legendary superior. He cannot tolerate the great man’s mirage of self. Each man holds to his agenda and so they separate like oil from water.Image result for oil separating from water gif

Soon thereafter, the great Churchill resigns with a tender, fatherly kiss on Elizabeth’s forehead. He shakes his successor’s hand as he leaves Buckingham Palace. And then has the portrait burned. Yep, the haughty politician destroys the artist’s truth.Related image

Back in the States, our head of state sprints like a wild hare in search of applause, sycophants, and cheeseburgers. His portrait, however, has already been mass produced… all puckered up to kiss your butt good bye.

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528. Trumpecac Syrup in a Capsule

Image result for ipecac syrup picturesMy above average, intelligent, well informed blog readers already know about ipecac syrup, but for the occasional blog visitor I’ll get you up to speed immediately.

“The rapidly-induced forceful vomiting produced by ipecac was considered for many years to be an important front-line treatment for orally ingested poisons. However, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists now advises that ipecac syrup is no longer recommended for routine management of outpatient ingestions of medications or other chemicals. Humco and Paddock Laboratories, the only two remaining manufacturers, both stopped production of ipecac syrup in 2010.”Image result for puking cartoon images

Shocking, huh?  Time to empty your medicine cabinet of this impostor poison antidote, actually an emetic. In fact, ipecac syrup can be detrimental to one’s health and may have been responsible for the deaths of bulimics when it was still available in pharmacies across the country.Image result for medicine cabinet photos

What to do in these nauseating times? Let’s say you have ingested floor cleaner by some strange mix-up in your morning oral hygiene routine while mindlessly gargling and watching Fox and Friends. By a terribly tragic sequence of events, you gulped a swallow of this poison when you heard the Donald’s latest hyperbolic rant. He inspires gasps and gags at rates higher than any other U.S. President, in case you didn’t already know. Image result for jaws shark images Just when you thought it was safe to wade back into the salty water of democracy, and that Mr. Shark Jaws could not outdo his last tortured statement, along comes Monstro the Moronic Whale version,Image result for monstro the disney whale images with a porn star leading lady on the side A good government group filed a complaint alleging the hush money that the President reportedly paid to Stormy Daniels (right) broke election laws.and the official First Lady (third wife) in an Aflac duck commercial undergoing brain transference.Image result for melania aflac commercial pictures

[Note: the author is not exaggerating yet. That will come later.] In moments of shocking disreality television news, you still need something to help with life saving physical purging and psychic catharsis. The effects of such poison must be reversed or the patient will surely die. At this juncture you may be wondering which is the more toxic substance:  the floor cleaner or the Don John experience. The safe answer is yes.Image result for trump nodding gif

Now, from Trump Labs, LLC comes a modern marvel of medicine. Greater than the discovery and development of penicillin, the polio vaccine, insulin, antibiotics, bone marrow transplants, and water. More effective than the epipen at treating anaphylactic shock… without any troubling medical, legal, or ethical liability or nagging side effects. Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, introducing Trumpecac Syrup in a Capsule. Each capsule contains a truly revolting quote from Emperor Don printed exclusively in American English (in China) on a slip of American made paper strangely resembling the fortune part of a fortune cookie. A month’s supply means you can take up to five a day, since research by the Washington Post found that the Liar in Chief told at least 2,000 lies publicly in his first 365 days of office, or roughly 5.5 lies a day. (Consult your bankrupt Obamacare physician to see if you are healthy enough to vomit or have sex or both.)Image result for medication capsules pictures

Let’s walk you through a typical scenario where you would definitely want Trumpecac capsules on hand. Imagine you are at a fundraiser for neo Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia or at a Roy Moore re-election rally in Dothan, Alabama. Shellfish is everywhere and it’s a warm sunny day. After choking down a few mussels or clams, you notice the following symptoms…Image result for roy moore trump rally images

Shellfish poisoning, illness in humans resulting from the eating of certain mussels and clams.  Symptoms often begin within 10 minutes after eating the shellfish. Initially, there is tingling and numbness about the lips and prickly feelings in the fingertips. The throat is often dry. Staggering, giddiness, and muscular incoordination may appear, and speech is often incoherent. In severe cases, respiratory paralysis and death soon follow.Image result for dead man pictures

Now, I know what you’re thinking:  how can I tell if I’m dying or just at a Trump rally or speaking in tongues at a fervent Amway glossolalia convention? It requires a skilled trauma doctor and exorcist to differentiate among the three, but by then it could be too late. So Trump Labs, LLC suggests that you take out your capsule bottle and open one of the 150 fully safe mini-tubes of reverse Trumpecac wisdom, and read it aloud. If you have an obstructed airway, ask someone nearby to read aloud over you while making foolish hand gestures like the Fuhrer himself.  Here’s a randomly selected example Trumpecac quote:Image result for trump supporters be like gif

Okay, left to right, top to bottom, Ahem…

“Just grab’em by the pussy. Grab’em by the pussy. And they let you cuz you’re a star. You’re a star.”Image result for trump with access hollywood stills

Now, if you are truly dying of ptomaine poisoning, you will feel such a revulsion in your stomach when those words and their stench are decoded by your neo cortex that you will immediately upchuck the shellfish, stomach acid, and any inorganic material that was just filling up belly space and not paying rent. Taking this possibility into consideration, but accepting no responsibility implied or replied, we at Trump Labs, LLC recommend that you position yourself above a toilet or bucket before ingesting the Trumpecac reverse wisdom epigram. One more caveat, (these stupid regulations!!!) : Projectile vomiting often occurs in Democrats and Independents or select liberal, fake news, treasonous media representatives. So, avoid them at all costs.Related image

If you are still feeling the symptoms outlined in paragraph six of this post, take a second capsule’s Trumpecac juice just to be sure.

Open. Flatten. Read…

“I love these black and brown dreamer kids. I just wish they’d get off their asses and go back to their shithole countries and not let my wall hit them in their lazy asses on the way out.”

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Clearly, if this Trumpecac venom does not clean out someone from sphincter to sphincter, then you are at a rally or have been bitten by a rattlesnake in a Pentecostal reptile church frenzy. In any event, you are going to die a horrible death. But wait, that’s why we at Trump Labs, LLC are offering term life to protect your loved ones left to cope in a world without you.

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527. Bravo, Brasso Bravissimo!!

Image result for kimmel center photos outsideSo the day came when Tu Bette found her way down to Philadelphia. The low brass auditions were going full steam ahead on a steamy humid day in September. Using blackmail and threats to call the IRS for audits, Joel had managed to get a university president and a former state senator on board, backing Tu Bette and swearing that she had been educated under an assumed name in Switzerland to protect her real identity as Kim Il Sung’s illegitimate daughter by a touring Danish sousaphile. It was a tidy bit of disinformation that allowed plenty of latitude and implausible deniability. In the dossier Joel had a classified memo written by a mujahideen leader in Afghanistan with a photo of the same holding an AK 47 on a mule. Image result for mujahideen photos on mulesThe landscape was remarkably similar to the Grand Canyon’s south rim. “Mujoelhideen” seemed a bit photo-shopped but the letter with it was touching, as if written under the influence of high grade fairy dust.  Joel had deliriously pulled out all the stops for Tu Bette, sort of like the Phantom of the Opera did for Christine; he had passed the point of no return.

Image result for snidely whiplash gifUnfortunately for all concerned, the Reverend Miller Stubbs had tracked Tu Bette across the country and back, following the Toothless Billy the Pirate’s Emporium carnival on the hunch that the tuba playing pirate chicky was none other than his investment, Tu Bette Wiel Suhn. He just missed capturing her in Tanglewood. In fact, he mistakenly attempted to kidnap another female tuba player in the BSO as she exited the dressing room, but the thugs he sent to abduct her wound up breaking Nancy Kerrigan’s femur at a skating rink on the other side of the state and he had to abort the mission. He would not make the same mistake again.Related image

Emily and Susan continued to party away their fracking millions like twin Lindsay Lohans dating twin Charlotte Sheens. Not a good look on a spreadsheet or district court docket. Lemme tell you. Tu Bette’s old milking herd had long since been sold to the slaughterhouse in Wausau. No one cared; all were abandoned… and it seemed the evil crow of the Ojibwe people was about to claim the top of the inter-tribal totem pole. If all was not lost, then it sure seemed like it was about to fall off the back of the Tom Joad’s wagon… like a mummified grandma.Image result for tom joad's truck pictures

The symphony hall was dark as Tu Bette came forward, lugging her Jupiter 378 on a rolling suitcase frame. Three blindfolded judges sat with their backs to the stage, score sheets attached to clip boards. A drool trail led up to the first balcony where Joel was dizzy with anticipation and excitement. Calmly Tu Bette wet her lips and began her lip flutters, blowing raspberries into the unforgiving air of the Kimmel Center. She knew the odds were against her, an unknown from a traveling carnival named for a toothless pirate.  One mistake, a flubbed note, a missed or prolonged caesura, too much spittle and loss of breath… would be the end of all her dreams. Image result for woman in spotlight on stage picturesShe sensed her deceased father’s spirit in the darkness telling her to calmly play for the herd, play it like warm milk, play it like a new bride on her honeymoon. Something powerful rose up in Tu Bette, a force she had only guessed that she possessed. She pressed her moist lips to the silver mouthpiece and blew like an archangel announcing the Second Coming. In fact, she began with the Hallelujah chorus by Handel.

Bump,     bump, bump, bump    Bump,    bump, bump, bump”

The judges opened their eyes and mouths in perfect “Oh’s” in recognition of greatness. It was apparent that they wished to turn and look at this tuba genius, but they restrained themselves as if they were sausages strapped to a gurney. Image result for sausages looking like people

A commotion began as Reverend Miller Stubbs entered from the darkened balcony box behind Joel, firing two shots into the back of Joel’s head while yelling, “Sic semper tyrannis”. He jumped down to orchestra level and twisted his ankle in the process. His derringer was a two shot model, so he needed to reload. Related image

The judges ducked for cover, leaving Tu Bette alone and frozen in the spotlight as Miller Stubbs hobbled toward her with two fresh slugs in his pearl handled derringer. “I’ve been pursuing you for seven years now, Tu Bette Wiel Suhn. I made an investment in you and I aim to keep it or kill it. Your next breath may be your last.”Related image

Tu Bette stood up calmly, thinking of her milk cows going out to pasture back in her childhood days. She reviewed all the good people in her life, which did not take her long as it was a tragically short list. One voice echoed across the Upper Peninsula and through the Midwest: Big Joe and his beloved Phantom 309. He had promised her back in episode one that he would never allow Miller Stubbs to have Tu Bette.  Oh where was her trucker friend now?

Stubbs pulled back the hammer. “Tu Bette? Are you coming or going?”Image result for snidely whiplash gif

Just then a ferocious wind gushed through stage right. Tornado like gusts of wind and hail tore across the auditorium, blinding everyone temporarily. When they opened their eyes, Big Joe was stepping down from his rig, right there on the freakin’ stage of the Kimmel Center. Image result for tractor trailer gif

Filled with terror, Stubbs dropped the derringer and ran toward the back exit. However, as he turned, the bleeding sousaphile Joel whacked  him across his snarling face with a silver euphonium, knocking him unconscious. The three blind judges rushed to Joel’s side and sat upon Stubbs until the Metro police arrived. Reporters flocked in behind the cops looking for a hot story popping with drama and intrigue. When they asked the judges just what in Hell had happened, they replied, “Gentlemen, we’d like to introduce our newest member of the orchestra, Tu Bette Wiel Suhn.” Image result for female sousaphone stars

[Joel survived his execution shots due to a steel plate doctors installed to correct a childhood balance issue, never suspecting that one day it would save his life and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra all in the same day. Cards and flowers may be sent to  Philadelphia’s Jefferson Hospital in Center City as he recovers.]