Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Lot of Traffic Today

Traffic Everywhere

The usual Saturday morning began, but with a twist.


Traffic everywhere.

Starting at 9:00A.M., before most people would be up and at them, but there they where.

Those monster metal mobile machines were everywhere.

When most traffic was sleeping on a Saturday morning, these were awake and alive.

Still groggy from the one oh clock bedtime sleep; I was amazed at the number of these machines.

From every road way, alley, these monsters would appear. Single passenger of faith pulled these metallic wonders onto the concrete roadways before me.
Ah, yes, this was the Monument 10K. !

The weekend of the early Spring event, even thought it still feels like winter, where people in shorts run up the avenue of monuments with say 30,000 of their closest friends.

And everyone has family and friends who want to watch this madness.

Did it a couple of times a few years ago. Sheer desperation drives you to walk with all the hundreds without getting out of the way. Just go with the flow.

Every so often events clog up my neighborhood.

The 10K run from VCU up by my neighborhood and back downtown. The Greek Festival, where everyone in Richmond converges on my neighborhood to park and walk to nearby Greek Orthodox Church to partake in song, dance, food and drink. Lots and lots of drink. Oo pah!

So after drying off from a night of rain, I decided to try to dry my still wet jeans with a new invention. Warmth and air! Apply body heat from riding and the air passing over the legs pumping the pedals.


It worked!!

First trip was for litter.

Trip two for litter.

Trip three for litter.

Trip four for apples, cat and dog food, and peanuts for the critter crewe.

Trip five for Buffy’s chicken

The sixth trip delivered the beer!

Each trip was a 3-mile journey.

Each trip became slower due to the added traffic.

What was a 15-minute trip, turned into an adventure of a half-hour. Slow stop lights, stopping to let the monsters decide which direction they wished to travel, while other monsters just stopped in the middle of the road while other monsters swerved around them.

Luckily it was not raining, so with some patience I made my rounds and accomplished my missions, taking back videos, but not finding a source to develop my camera.

So I will sleep well tonight as the rain begins to fall again.

3_Ike and Ginger – Underwater

Ike and Ginger settled into a small 8 foot by 8 foot space. A small port hole gave light of the horizon as the massive hull turned toward open waters.

Ginger sat upon the narrow bed with only a blanket and shuffled thru her bag. It was all they had.

“I can’t find my phone.” She said to Ike while stirring the contents of the black sack.

“Who are you going to call?” Ike replied without turning away from the port hole.

There was silence.

The two sat quietly on the narrow cushion as the light began to fade. A narrow steam beamed across the floor and onto the floor until it faded away. Silently the two sat in the dark.

What else was there to do?

Their cabin rocked back and forth as the sound of engines turning beneath them press the hulk forward into the unknown.

“Lets get some sleep. Tomorrows another day.” Ike said in the darkness. Ginger replied in silence.

Neither one undressed, but quietly lay beside one another on the small bed. They quickly relaxed and drifted into sleep.

The motion of the rocking hull was suddenly interrupted by a loud bang.
Ike and Ginger in harmony jumped up.

The sound had vibrated throughout the hull and shook everyone on board.
There was a list in the room. A tilt to the starboard side.

Then the sound of water.

Under the door began a steam. The lights on deck flickered then faded out. Total black darkness.
Ike pressed to the door splashing across the floor. He pressed his head against the steel to hear more rushing water in the hallway.

Then the room jerked him back and began to roll over.

Ginger said nothing, but reached for Ike’s hand. He held her as he strained for the door.
With a quick twist , the door was open and water filled the room.

Holding his breathe, Ike opened his eyes to no avail. There was total blackness.

He felt his way to the door opening and tried to remember the way to the deck. He could feel the suction of the rushing water pulling at him.

With Ginger in tow, he felt his way up the corridor, pulling on portholes, door nobs, and lamps. Around the corner and with a thrush against the wall, they glided against the current to the next turn. They had reached the stairway.

Lungs about to burst in the black water, the two moved upward toward the deck. The pressure of the rushing water became faint, then a push in reverse.

The two were pushed forward banging against walls, and furniture.
As if sucked from a vacuum, the bodies were shot upward .

Breaking the edge of the water, Ike opened his mouth for fresh air. He choked as his body dropped back into the warm sea. His eyes opened to see the moonlight.

But there was no ship. Only reflections of light in the waves.

Ike turned left then right in panic.

“Where is Ginger?”

He dove back into the salty water thrashing his hand back and forth to reach an invisible body, but to no avail.

Back at the surface, Ike tread water for a few moments, realizing he must make a decision to stay at this site which fate was to probably drown or try to swim out.

Looking up to the heavens, Ike measured the stars and the moon’s position. Longitude 56 by Latitude 75.

Ike turned 27 degrees and started a slow and steady breaststroke toward the darkness.

He thought of nothing but his patterned arm stroke and his measured breathe.

Friday, March 27, 2009

2_Ike and Ginger – The Getaway

Now Ike is a good driver, but he was pushing the limits. The car spun sideways on the gravel as he swung around the wheel and steered toward the fenced in wall, pressing firmly on the gas pedal.

Ginger had just thrown a little bag of quick gathers into the back and strapped herself in before the momentum pressed her back in the leather seat with maximum g-forces. Her hair waving in the half lowered window she stared at Ike.

“Was this a processed man?” her mind wondered.

She trusted him for 25 years, so she was gripping the seat and was along for the ride.
“Where would he take me this time?”

As the silver bullet reached the gate at the giant wall surrounding the Puppywoods Estate, it slid and swiveled to a halt, sliding on the gravel.

“Take what you need and tell the others. Make a run for it” Ike screamed to Juan the gardener. Juan staring at Mister Patterson, shook his head in acknowledgement.

Ike turned back to his mission, and as the giant iron gates drifted open, he pressed the gas pedal and the silver bullet spun into motion screwing rocks and gravel in it’s wake.

Turning left on the pavement, the tires squealed, drowning the screaming voices of the approaching mob.

Looking in his mirror, the sky was filled with black smoke.

“The whole world must have gone mad” Ike thought, gripping the wheel tighter.

His eyes focused on the northern route. He had to make the coast. It was their only chance.
Ike, being the anal compulsive, check all the gages, air, petrol, GPS, weather, and internal systems to guarantee he can reach his destination.

The sky ahead was clear, but Ike was unsure if the future would present worst problems than what followed behind.

As the sun brightened the horizon, the ocean could be viewed, reaching into a soothing welcoming safety zone.

Closer to the beach, Ike reached over to Ginger’s arm and gave a gentle tap. She had grown weary of the flight and slept to the rhythm of the road.

“Ginger, we’re almost there.” Ike quietly said, never turning from his steeled eyed focus on the lit black path before him.

Ginger slowly rose in her seat, wiping her eyes and looking forward at the rising orange glob.
“Are we there yet?”

Ike laughed a deep relaxing chuckle, deflating the tension that had carried them here.

The silver bullet coasted to a slow halt resting in the sand. The sun had broken the sky and golden rays highlighted the clouds.

The two vary travelers stepped out into the cushioned beach floor. Stretching his arms to the sky and yawning, Ike dusted off the road. Ginger grabbed her bag and without looking back started walking toward the ocean roar.

Ike closed the door and threw the keys into the sand. The silver bullet had carried them this far, now the next adventure was to start.

A towering ship sat anchored just beyond reach. Others had the same idea.

Small boats scurried back and forth from the beach to the ship and back again. Each boat carried only a few with little luggage. Little was said. Everyone knew what was happening.

Ike and Ginger walked forward to the next line.

Would they be accepted? Would there be time?

The next small boat pressed to the shore.

A lad in a horizontal striped shirt and navy cap jumped into the water and secured the boat. He stared at the line of people in the sand without a word. Each person climbed into the small wooden craft until there was not room for another. The line halted and backed into the sand. The lad turned and pushed the craft back into the water, climbing aboard when the water was waist high.

Slowly the boat would turn back to the larger silhouette ship and pressed ahead to deliver its goods.

Ike and Ginger stood on the wooden deck of the huge metal water vessel. The sun had risen to the highest point and the air heated with its warmth. As people shuffled upon the deck, Ike gestured to Ginger to follow him below deck. Pressing though the rumbling crowds, they found a open cabin. Quickly inside and secure the door. This might be their only haven for sometime.

A jolt showed the ship was moving. Turning out to open water, a blast from the steam horn raised cheers from the new passengers. They did not know where they were going, but they were on their way…..

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Creative Services

Creative Services.

The "art department" of the Richmond Newspaper in the early 70's. Vinyl floor, large casement windows, and metal cubicles containing artist with drawing boards, ink, pens, exacto knives, tape, and other ancient tools. A merge of metal 50's technology and wooden history.
A slow pace, since every item had to be hand created. Drawn on paper with pen and ink, type pasted down with rubber cement or pressed on by transfer letters.

Type had to be written on a typewriter, then courier to the "production department" where the letters could be set on the new technology "cold" type or early computers. Light green type on green background with codes to mark the size and spacing of the text. Only a few fonts and no features. This was high tech.
And then there was these guys. The sales team.

Double knit and very strange to my way of thinking coming out of the university of riots, revolution, drugs, and weirdness.

Outings, sales contest, conventions, .....this was very strange to me.

But I learned to join in, since it was better than staying in the office while everyone else went out and had fun with the newspapers money.

And we had fun

And we had more fun.
And we were adaptable to change. We moved several times.

Even had celebrations in the worst places.

And of course, there were winners of awards. Each year the Creative Services department would pull the copies of the best-of-the-best and enter them into the Virginia Press Association contest against Roanoke and Virgina Beach.

Since we had the largest circulation in the state, thus the largest "creative" staff, we would win the most awards. Every years.

Finally I covered an entire wall of my office with these plastic awards. Does it mean anything? Only if you can produce more next year.
And the advertising leaders keep us focused to the future.
But they are not around here anymore?

They were ready for anything.

But that was the 70's

Whatever became of this guy?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

1_Ike_and_Ginger – The Riot

After a restless night, Ike jolts awake, sitting sharply straight up. His silk pajama top is soaked with moisture. Beads of sweat coat his forehead and upper lip. His eyes glazed into the darkness.
“Who is that face?” he questions himself. The same vision every morning. She is an indistinguishable yet familiar face. Is she a sight from the past or a look into the future?

He turns and slowly stands. Years of abusing his body stiffen the first steps of the day. Finding his way through the blackness with patterned step on the same path taken for years, Ike grabs his robe, slides on his reading glasses, and quietly walks down the cold marble floors to the light. At the end of the hall, he turns left into the kitchen’s warm morning glow.

“Good morning Mister Patterson” a tall black woman softly welcomes without interrupting her preparation as she stands at the long black reflective counter.

He picks up the simple white porcelain mug similar to those in dinners and walk into the study.
Resting the coffee cup on the large teak desk, turning toward the window as the sun breaks the dark sky, he reaches for the video remote control to start the day’s ritual of morning. News first, then weather, then news again.

But today was different.

The screen turned from black to light with screens of massive motions of people roaming the streets. Helicopter shots of streets filled with bodies, pressing forward, angry bodies pushing toward a goal.

His hand rested on the cup as he stared at the sight.

“What was this?” he asked himself as he raised the white cup to his lips.

The news was anxious. The pitch of the voice was high and disturbed.

“They are….they are coming from everywhere” the announcer screeched.

“They don’t seem to stop. They are coming down every street. Masses of bodies filling the pavement.”

As he lifted the cup to his lips he saw thousands of bodies pressing forward.
“What was this?” he asked himself.

Was the economy so bad that the general public rioting? Was this the breaking point?

As he watched the authorities press back the masses with swinging shields and clubs, mounted horses, then spraying water, then gas, to no avail.

They kept coming. Overpowering the uniforms and charging deeper into the city streets, setting fires, breaking glass, and exerting their anger.

Ike turned away from the video and peered through the gauze shades at the sunrise.

Pop, pop, pop.

The sound of gunfire was in the distance.

He gazed through the trees as a column of smoke arose.

Pop, pop, pop,

The sound quicken and became clearer in the distance.

Ike turned and opened his desk drawer. His hand pulled out a large silver pistol.

Just then Ginger entered the office, visually disturbed by the sound and stopped at the doorway, her body shaking in the sheer white night garb flowing in the breeze.

She looked at the huge silver weapon secured in Ike’s firm grip, then to his eyes.
But he was looking elsewhere.

With a jerk of a head, Ike turned to the doorway.

“Go to the car!” he quietly said with a stern look.

There was not a second thought.

Ike closed the drawer and placed the pistol into his robe. Ginger, without question, turned and ran back down the hall to dress.

Turning back to the window, Ike noticed more frequent popping sounds and another plum of smoke. Then another column of smoke.

The time is now.


Deep in thought, thoughtful, meditative, musing, cogitative, absorbed, contemplative, reflective, preoccupied, ruminative, brooding, somber, serious, grave, wistful.

and so it goes.

This is how we avoid life's interruptions.

Ogden's Special Nut Gone Celebrated Flake Tobacco

A wonderful vinyl came out in the weird year of '68. All cut out in a circle with the label of a tobacco can. Since being a smoker then, I was attracted to it.

Four English cockney lads singing songs with fun and intensity.

Take a listen and enjoy.

Afterglow Of Your Love

I'm happy just to be with you
And loving you the way I do
It's everything I need to know
Just resting in the afterglow of your...

Love, love is all around me
Love has come to touch my soul
With someone who really cares
No one can deny us
People who once passed me by
Will turn their heads 'round

I'm happy just to be with you
And loving you the way I do, yeah
It's everything I need to know
Just resting in the afterglow of your love

Yes you have always been here
Feeling deep inside
A feeling that I could not see
Or touch, or try to hide
My love is in and around you
I bless the day that I found you
So listen up baby

I'm happy just to be with you
And loving you the way I do, yeah
It's everything I need to know
Just resting in the afterglow of your love

Love is like a voice in my head
Keeps turning 'round the things that we said

I'm happy just to be with you
And loving you the way I do, yeah
It's everything I need to know
Just resting in the afterglow of your love


[This is a song about a London prostitute, so contains a lot of slang an
sexual innuendo, not all of which I understand!]

There she is parading on the quayside
You can find her every night
Ah, waiting for a [?] from Tyneside -
Why it's Rene, the docker's delight!

[There's a word in there I have no idea about, it sounds like "stevador",
whatever that is! Tyneside is a region in the north-east of England, home
of Newcastle, The Animals, Sting and film director Ridley Scott.]

Well, if you just got off an oil tanker
And you've got the readies (in the bin?) [readies = ready cash]
Just make your way down to The Crown

Song Of A Baker

There's wheat in the field
And water in the stream
And salt in the mine
And an aching in me

I can no longer stand and wonder
'Cos I'm driven by this hunger
So I'll jug some water
Bake some flour
Store some salt and wait the hour

While I'm thinking of love
Love is thinking for me
And the baker will come
And the baker I'll be

I am depending on my labour
The texture and the flavour

Lazy Sunday

Wouldn't it be nice
To get on with me neighbours
But they make it very clear
They've got no room for ravers
They stop me from groovin',
They bang on me wall
They doing me crust in
It's no good at all

Lazy Sunday afternoon
I got no mind to worry
I close my eyes and drift away

Here we all are sittin' in a rainbow
Gore blimey hello Mrs Jones
How's old Bert's lumbago (mustn't grumble)
I'll sing you a song,
With no words and no tune
To sing in your party
While you suss-out the moon

Lazy Sunday afternoon,
I got no mind to worry
Close my eyes and drift away

Root-de-doot-de die day
Root-de doot de dum
Root-de-doo-de-doo dee

There's no one to hear me,
There's nothing to say
And no one can stop me
From feelin' this way

Lazy Sunday afternoon
I've got no mind to worry
Close my eyes and drift away

Rollin over

Goodbye sunshine I'm on my way

I'll be long time gone by the break of day

Tell everyone that I'm gonna find it

There ain't nothin' gonna stop me

Rollin' Over, Rollin' Over

Save all your lovin' till I get home

To the sweetest lovin' sunshine that I've ever known

Tell everyone that I'm gonna find it

There ain't nothin' gonna stop me

Rollin' Over, Shak-do-way
Rollin' Over, Yeah-yeah-yeah...

NOTE: Cheri Johnson a senior communications major did a thesis on this subject for the Communications Arts and Design Department of VCU in Richmond. What follows is her work and a great conception during the dye-cut and fold out years. Good artwork and concept for printers.

Happiness Stan
Are you all sitty comftorbold and squirm your body??
Then I’ll begin

Now of course, like all real life experience story, this also begins once upon a title.
And Happiness Stan whose life evolved in ephemereal colour dreamy most, had hs pure existence on this being a deep oy of the mulit-colour of the rainbolds. Oh yes…his home is a Victorian charibowl, this is the foorewill flollopedftftft out the backgrove. Now, as eve on its deep approachy, his eye on the moon, all time sometime deep oy of the full moon scintillate and dangly in the heavenly abode, but now only half.
Oh blow your cool, man, he do this deep thoughtcus. What is the folly of this half disappearing of the moony most?
And as the light did a scintillate and change through time most….stop it still…and he did a deep thoughtcus what?
I absolutely smashing flakit he was.
So, gathering all behind in the nintermost, he ploddy ploddy forward into the deep thundermold of the complicating forrey to sortinit this one out, matey. Where at man, he thoughtcus, where at man….oh dear.

Now, after little lapse of time, Stan became deep hungry in his timlode. Oh, after all, he struggly trickly hair several milelode and anyone would suffer under this. So he did a deep thoughtcus; out with his lunchy bag; just about to do a little niblode of his mincy meaty when…

The Hungry Intruder

Here am I

Tiny Fly
May I share your Shepherd's Pie?

What is this strange voice I hear?

Here I am
Look This Way
In the landscape on your tray

There's no need to ask a silly question
If I were you I hope you'd do the same
There's no doubt I'd help a hungry fly
To see you in a fix it's really such a shame

I'm so hungry
I could die
And now I'll a living fly

My name is Stan
I'm on a quest
Take your fill,
Take nothing less

I am that
That am I
And now I'll be a living fly

Now the fly was overwhelmed with this generosity of Staley’s givegivegive of the foodage, cause all of life suffla the foodage. (ha ha) He looked at Stan and said,

“Is there anything I can reciprocale or do in the joy of return for your generosity for giving me food and stuffy.”

“I’m looking for the missing half of the moon and dangly. This is my folly…show me where the missing half of the mmon?”

“I don’t know”, said the fly retarrily, “but I know someone who’d know, if only I were big enough to transporty most….I’d take you there myself. I’d do this…”

And Stan, having the possessy power fo the magicold, arm standed over, rolly up his sleevley and waverly hand hovery hovery hovery and utter these magic wordly:

“If all the flies were one fly, what a great enormous gl filolloper that would bode….”

Oh! And there, incredible, overy overy, Ah….now the fly recall with these wordage:


And so, seaty comftorbold on the back of this enormous fly, zooooooooop, they took it off like an escaped velocey of a rocket floating into orby.

The Journey

If tomorrow was today
It would yesterday
The sun is surely just a thought away
Where visions that men fail
To put to words to tale
And music that they try but cannot (p)lay

You're right it's just a dream, your company so kind
Hold very tightly please and we shall go out.

Now, after floating high up, over the mounty, through the deep valley of that for seven whole long days, they did a very soft and flat belly landing (if I may put it this way). Where they landed? A tranquil beauty spotty before a deep thundermold of a fortey. Like orchids in the undergrowpth, there is was and the fly said it:


And he pointed here with his sort of fly-type fingold, it was all feathery feathery and said,


And Stan had a mutual oy for this and reach up and cuddly most of this big fly and very hard to embrace him (mmm mmm kissy) and the fly tickly with his whiskers in his deardroves – and off he went.

And so Stan walk-ed toward the cave and in his mind, mark the word - Mad John –oooo deep thoughtcus on this all a tremblode looking into the dark and peering into the backgrove of the black in there and then….


There was an old man who lived in the greenwood
Nobody knew him or what he had done
But mothers words say to their children beware of Mad John.

John would sing with the birds in the morning
Laugh with the wind in the cold end of night
But people from behind their curtains, said he's not quite right.

John had it sussed he was living the life of a tramp
Yes his bed was the cold and the damp but the sun was his friend
He was free

So here was a wise one who loved all the haters
He loved them so much that their hate turned to fear
And shaking from behind their curtains the loved ones would hear.

….MAD JOHN! In fine foldy silken robes all whitely hair scintillating beard and dangly (well the beard must have been thirty-four years old to grow and grow all nightlode…wht?!) and he was glowing with a friendly light (oh dear joy) and a voice full of the cockney cockney cockney all joy of life and living eminate from the cocklode of his heartstrings.

“Good to see ou lman….what’s been our hang-up, man? I waitin’ seven whole days for you. Not still worried about the scintillatin’ moon and dangly, huh? Huh?!”

“Yeyeyes, that’s why I sortnin you out here, trickly trickly hair on the back of this fly who told me…”

And John link-ed arms with him and walking out stepper by stepper he pointed a cockney forefingold,

“There! Up in the heavenly abode!”

What?! Stan realized now, which it struck him like a smackeroblooity which come for his turn he never thought was before.
-As the sun rise in the early mordy,
so the recall of the moon on the eve-

Ah…and he thought, hmmmm.

“Now, the fly had something extra special you thoughtcus to say to me if you would.”

And John looking at him and attracting his earnestly of his eyebowls, straight nose to nose and eye to eyebowl for it,

“Of course, I nearly forgot it…just you listen…”

Happy Days Toy Town

Life is just a bowl of All-Bran
You wake up every morning and it's there
So live as only you can
It's all about enjoy it 'cos ever since you saw it
There ain’t no one can take it away.

So life is just a bowl of All-Bran - very true!
What you say has made it very clear
To be sure I'll live as best as I can
But how can I remember to keep it all together
When half the moon is taken away?

Well, I've got the very thing
If you can laugh and sing
Give me those happy days toytown newspaper smiles
Clap twice, lean back, twist for a while
When you're untogether and feeling out of tune
Sing this special song with me, don't worry 'bout the moon
Looks after itself

Steve: Can I have a go?
Ron: Yes
Steve: Yeah?
Ron: Sing now:

Give me those happy days toytown newspaper smile
Clap twice, lean back, twist for a while
Well now you've got the hang of it
There's nothing you can't do with it
If you're very tuned to it you can't go wrong.

All together!

Give me those happy days toytown newspaper smile
Clap twice, lean back, twist for a while
Well now we've got the hang of it
There's nothing we can't do with it
And now we're very into it we can't go wrong!

[So remember these special wordage:
Happydaystoylitown read it and chuckly smile.
They all have a lovely turn-on.
Names came:
Huckleberry fickle tickle my finegold
Little Boy Blue left his horn and stuffy
Under the mellotrode and freed from all love.
Oh! What a mind-blast!
Jacky Jill meet up Mother Brodie.
Oh, what a joy of a trickly hair,
And I hope your turn was ¾ half as lovely,
Wouldn’t you love and enjoy it?

Stay cool, won’t you?

Stanley Unwin's nonsense]

Give me those happy days toytown newspaper smile
Clap twice, lean back, twist for a while
Well now we've got the hang of it
There's nothing we can't do with it
And now we're very into it we can't go wrong!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Foggy Wednesday

Although it is Thursday Night (great name for a band) and I've got NCAA b-ball on the screen with the sound turned down watching Clemson suck, and Eno on the headphones (thanks to J. Cox for reminding me), in sweats drying off from a ride home in the rain (there is a song in there), the thoughts of the week.

Foggy Wednesday, was just that. Early ride to work and the feeling of Springtime was here. Warm air was breaking the cold wet 5-day rain, which in scientific terms means "fog". A warm fog. An inviting fog.

As I pushed my metal frame through the puddles reflecting the canopy overhead of bare wooden fingers, the TV tower is half invisible under the cloudy mass. The moist air quickens the breath and feeds the throat life.

Stopping at the turn by Fox School, the wet trail of garbage for this is trash pick up day in the fan and there are remnants of people who live in row housing yesterdays needs to this weeks leftovers. Swerve to miss the dropped milk carton or plastic bag or tampon or scrapings from over extendented desires.

Wait. "Baby's On Fire!" Got to pause. This gets my heart pumping. Someday I'll tell you about it.

And yes, "Arggh, mateys"! Disney pirates became the mold for Johnny Deep. And just as "West Side Story", "The Longest Day", and "The Thief from Baghdad" crept into my mind with visions I would never forget, movies and television has molded the future for the boomers. The next generation will be YouTubed, RSSed, or Mobiled.....or whatever comes next.

Strange month. Many illnesses and deaths. What is it about Spring that brings the death of winter?

So the next option for two extra days off will be record "Steeleyed Span" for Cheryl, write John's wife and thank her for the photo, books and taxes.

The orange orb lite the sky with pink then orange then red rays of horizontal softness, lighting my way to the concrete cave with the metal monster machines breathing their toxic fumes and squealing rubber tires against wet pavement.

Again, I was alone. To abide for another few hours until my grey steed would whisk me away home.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

...Continues on

Sorry boys and girls, my last blog ended quickly, but it was raining and I was hungry, so against better sense, I went riding out in the rain to pick up a sub. Sitting soaking wet and scarfing down the whole wheat bun, I listened to an old recording and got a chuckle.

But I came upon another thought. Like the jump stories in the newspapers or the old black and white serials, ask the reader to stay with you and continue reading.

And how do you do that?

Write or create something very intriguing, interesting, fascinating, and leave a little bit out. Just when you want more, you must wait, until the next installment. Frankie goes to Hollywood's "Relax" said it very well.

So until next time......

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rainy Day Feelings

A couple of years ago, I complied a cassette tape by the same title. These were just songs of the moment to fill an afternoon too rainy to venture outside.

So I read the email of settling into San Francisco, motorcycle memories, web newspapers, and home wreckers losing their keys, I wonder what will get my attention on this cool dreary day.

I plug in the "Bedroom Tapes" of Art, Joel, Jim and I making noise in the Park Avenue location trying to spirit up the darkness.

One light bulb illuminates the dampness. Dusty webs hang from the rafters. A list of 50 songs / stories confront me on the bulletin board next to the one glove reminder to buy another pair, $100 water bill, calendar, "things to do in 2009" list (like fix the dripping roof), and the envelope of unused $25.00 certificate to Super Cuts.

Drinking instant coffee and watching the water splash off the green bamboo outside the bedroom window, Sunday morning started with all the critters scratching, Lights, television, and newspaper follow with the "Money Show" on CBS's "Sunday Morning".

French toast and another cup of cold coffee, and still no energy. Best to get outside instead of feeding Petey (nickname for squirrel ) peanuts in the kitchen window.

So out into the dampness. On with the computer and the cold already opened beer. So now what?

Do I record Rusty's "Key West Blues"? Do I sit down and actually do my taxes? Do I mop up the water on the floor from the dripping roof? Do I have another beer? Do I put on my jeans and ride up to Libbie and Grove for a sandwich, chips, and more brew?

OK! That did it. Listening to Joel and Jim trying to find "Sweet Black Angel" words and Art losing the bridge....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Knife

Don't know it is about carrying a knife, but as long as I can remember I have. It is one of the 5 essentials I carry every day. Keys, wallet, kerchief, glasses, and a knife.

Must have started with the super knife from scouts. You know the one with a fork, spoon, bottle opener, cork screw, screw driver, saw, and several size blades. It was about 4" thick and had to be hung from the belt because it certainly fit in your pocket.

Also "West Side Story" was an influence. What better movie for New York city gangs dancing and singing in bright cloths. Great knife fight dance. Or maybe it was the "Outlaws"? Maybe it was the Indian on "Paladin" with the knife in his collar, or Jim Bowie's "Bowie" knife (had one of those monsters), maybe it was the gladiator movies with all the knives and swords.

Whatever got my attention I became fascinated with knives. All kinds, sizes, shapes. I would stop in Sears and look at the locked up glass case holding long knives, yellow fishing knives, I coveted the sharp tools.

As a youngster, I had cigar boxes full of knives. They were affordable to a young allowance, and even easier to steal. I'd open them, toss them in my hand, feel the weight, twirl them watching the light reflect off the blade. Then try another.

And everyday, there would be a knife in my pocket. I used them to cut open boxes, envelopes, string. Whenever something had to be cut, I was ready. Always prepared as the motto goes.

I learned to throw knives at summer camp. Even when I moved into this house, I would go outside in the back yard and throw knives across the grass into the ground. Then I thought the neighbors might not understand, so I stopped.

I've never and will never own a gun, because it is too impersonal a weapon. A knife, if it has to be used as a weapon, has to be used in close quarters. You have to KNOW who will receive the taste of steel.

And sharpness is the key. A ritual, much like changing guitar strings, polishing shoes, or packing a pipe, sharping a knife is an procedure that is calming and exciting at the same time. To wipe and rub a piece of steel with a wood handle over and over. Rub on a sharpening stone until it is razor sharp. (Unfortunately during the scanning I notice one of my knives needing attention. Sorry about that. It will be redeemed this weekend, I promise)

Now the knife main purpose is to cut. So go to your kitchen right now, open up those drawers that keep all the hand me down or K-Mart purchased so called knives with the dull blades you cuss at while try to tear bread into crumbs or press meat with crevices and THROW THEM AWAY.

Spend some good buck for 3, you only need 3, good sharp quality knives for the kitchen and you will be happier and the frustration will go away and the food will taste better.

While I have lots of knives in my kitchen, they are the only instrument I trust. Not the can opener, cork screw, wisp, or any other those other odd shaped things hanging on hooks. I can always rely on my knife to serve me well. And I treat them with tender care.

And they can save your life.

When I was at VCU, drawing in Monroe Park and paying attention to the girls in the sunshine, a rough looking man slowly walked up to me. He mumbled something about money or something but I didn't give him much cause. Then I saw he had a knife in his hand. Without a second thought, I reached in my jeans pocket and opened a 8" fishing knife saying, " No thanks, I already have a knife." The man backed off and faded away. I put my knife away and went back to my observation with charcoal. Later I realized he was trying to rob me.

So take care of your knives. Keep them sharp and enjoy the smooth effortless glide of a clean cut.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Do You Ever Hear It?

That noise behind you? You turn around and no one is there, but you know you heard it.

I normally write with headphones on and music blaring into my head, but I hear things.

Sometimes its the animals walking over my head.
Sometimes its the neighbors on their decks.
Sometimes its the wind.

And sometimes, it is a mystery sound. A feeling someone is watching. A paranoia strong enough to stop and turn around.

Is it the sound of focusing on a recording and hearing the telephone ring two stories up?

Is it the sound of people talking when there is no one there? Are they calling your name?

Is it the constant pressure of others invading your life to the point where you can not concentrate expecting someone to intrude?


Tonight I realize I can harmonize in my ears with pre-recorded music. There are sounds, tracks, layers, I did not realize. That's why I keep listening. Closer. There may be more than we think we here.

And this is fascinating when you have written the piece and played every part, to hear a new sound.

A lost chord.?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


How did we get to this economy meltdown? Think about it. How long ago did your house assessment rise beyond belief and everyone started to sell their homes. Did anything happen to make the house and yard that much more valuable? No. It was the greed of our neighbors testing the economic waters to see if they can make a huge sum of money for nothing. The house next door to me was sold 3 times in 5 years and the price tripled, along with my home assessment.

It all started out with the end of World War II when every families goals were to buy a home, settle down, raise a family, and provide more for the children than the parents had. It was the family economic goal. But the savings went aye with the credit card and "keeping up with the Jones" became a greed for more "stuff". Marketing ideas presented new products and models every year and persuaded everyone they "needed" or "must have" them.

I grew up lucky and had whatever I desired. Stereo, records, my own phone line, clothes (even though they were bought at Etons instead of Eljos), and any other desire was fulfilled by a man making a small salary with long hours. I did not want until I saw my friends getting better things than I had. Then I decided I had to have them too. Peer pressure. Keep up with the Jones, and I didn't even know it.

But I also qualified for credit early, so I got loans, credit cards, and accounts at many stores. Over extended, but I didn't care because I was getting more stuff. Piles of stuff. Stuff I didn't need or even after a year or two, want.

So I decided (after almost two bankruptcy's) to go back to the old adage: "Pay As You Go".

Imagine. Only buy things you can pay for with CASH. Only spend the money you have.

But now that we are in this ecomomess, how will the Stimulus Package help us?

Will it help the roads we built in the 50's to expand the cities to the suburbs and beyond. But now they are 50 years old and pot holes are the norm, with rusty bridges and narrow 4 lane highways. No one in the 50's expected the volume of traffic these cement threads carry.

And the electricity wires. Growing evermore stress from the simple light bulb to computers, refrigerators, air conditioners, televisions, and all the other necessary appliances for the 20th century. As generators continue to blow up every hot summer, can the ancient grid perform for the future.

Communication has grown from the dial telephone with a 5-digit number to the hand held cell phone.

But water....WATER, is the infrastructure that will bring us all down. Over 100 year old pipes, with more stress of waste water, storm water, fresh water. If this goes, there will be riots in the streets. Imagine the smell from a disrupted sewer system. How quickly can we go back to the caveman level?

Check "Blueprint America" and look up "Liquid Assets". Can we survive?

But we are just greedy for more creature comforts and we'll get out of this and be able to buy more and more in the future. Right?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quality of Life

A friend of mine, triple G, wrote a blog today about the quality of life.

Let me give you an example.

Today, after a ride to the grocery store to itemize all the substance purchased on a regular basis, then recording them in an excel spreadsheet sorted by name then price and compared against last year, then a trip to VCU art store for a can of rubber cement, then wandering around Lowes for a couple of hours picking up orchid food and nails and writing prices on boards, and doors, and sinks stands and the eternal ride home in the sunshine, stopping every couple of blocks to rest.

After a brief hour rest and rehydrate with water, the hunger king kicks in. Pasta covered in cheese and tomato sauce, no meat. But I'm not a delivery service after getting the wrong pizza order and a soggy veggie burger. If you want it you have to ride there.

So off to the Crazy Greek. This is a regular establishment with consistent food, good prices, and most important friendly polite service. It's a quality restaurant.

So the bikes are locked to the sign pole outside, as we always do, and selected a both between senior couples. Ice tea and bread started giving the body renewed energy. The main course arrived and we started to regroup our spirits.

I noticed the couple behind us leave. The man got up and walked toward the counter to pay for the meal. Then the woman slowly stood up and with a Styrofoam box walked away. I remember they did not say anything while we were sited there. I just thought it was sad.

We continued with our lunch scarfing down our fries, onions, tomatoes, and brief conversation of how the Lowes items could be delivered when it happened......

"Are there any bikers in here?"

The elderly man who was sitting next to us was walking up to our booth. The word "bikers" took me aside, due to the meaning of what "bikers" really are.

As I wiped the dripping dressing from my onion, pork and tomato Slovakia meal, I turn to hear....

"Your bikes fell on my car and scratched it. Why did you put your bikes there? They should have been strapped up. They fell and scratched my car...."

"Our bikes are strapped up"

"They were not strapped up and fell on my car"

"Then they weren't our bikes"

"Were they on the pole outside?"


"Those bikes fell on my car and scratched it. You can come out and see."

I decided this conversation wasn't going anywhere so I got up and followed the little man outside. I passed the restaurant manager who looked like he had already heard enough about this.

Once outside, I see my wife's bike laying on the parking lot and my bike, which is next to the car standing upright. I go over to her bike and pick it up only to hear...

"Why would you put your bikes there?" the elderly woman said. She was visibly disturbed.

The man stood on the passenger side of the car, then climbed inside as his wife went on a rampage.

I held both bikes as she walked up to the driver's side door.

" I bet it scratched the car. Look there. It did. Oh." she said as she rub a faint line next to the side mirror. (I wondered how a bike that was laying on the ground toward the back door could scratch the front hood?)

"Why did you put your bikes there?" she kept shouting. "You just don't care, that's why!" she exclaimed as she climbed into the drivers seat.

I stood silently staring in wonderment and quietly said, "Sorry." but I'm not sure I meant it.

The small mobile machine puttered off with grunts and groans coming from the bitter couple.

I would have offered something except she had said, "I move the bikes, then they fell and scratched the car."

NOTE: We attend this restaurant at least once a week, and always lock up to the sign, and in over 25 years have never had any incident as we had today.

With that being said, and after this weird week, I returned to the restaurant. The manager was standing sheepishly in the back. I comforted my wife of little damage done and only a bitter older sad couple.

As we continued to finish the meal, the elderly man was observed at the counter talking to the restaurant manager again.

Pause. This had gone beyond what was just a simple mishap. This was getting on my nerves. I was visibility shaken as I picked up a fork. What was this guy doing? I thought I had been so reserved, but I did not accommodate the couple. Was he waiting around for the police? Was he going to trash our bikes.

I didn't want to think about it. I didn't want to think of what I would do if this couple continued with this accident. I didn't want to go to that place where I looked for his car to key it. I didn't want to think what I might do next.

So the bill is paid and we walk outside to the sunshine. The bikes stand untouched. Packing up and unlocking, I looked for the couple. I didn't want the "bad side" to come out, but I knew it was there.

I was glad peddling home I did not go farther. I felt sadness for the elderly couple who would talk of the long hair guy who wrecked their car over and over again.

And I wondered about the "QUALITY" of life.