Friday, September 28, 2012

This is my Diddly and this is my Squat.

And I haven’t done anything about either. The to-do list is growing yellowed and wrinkled and none of the projects are expensive or difficult or require additional people’s approval or special requirements. So what is the wait for?
It’s too hot? It’s too cold? It’s too wet? It’s too dusty? It ‘s too….?
How about… I’m too tired? I’m too sore? I’ll get to it right after I….?
So why can’t I get to my diddly squat?
I go out everyday, I ride in the sunshine taking deep breathes and stretching my body, I take out the trash before Monday, I take a shower when my eyes start to water, I wash clothes every now and then, I even wash dishes after a while.
But all those other things require I break my habit from going to the grocery store, putting out seed and peanuts for the critters and then using the excuse that they need their privacy so I watch the news, some silly soap opera, then turn off the television and either take a nap or do an entertainment project that will not take more time than the 6 o’clock news.
For the excitement of the day there is a robbery at the grocery store with the cops throwing a guy on a car about 5 feet away from me as they search for the other guy as I pack up my bike or see another movie being made in the neighborhood blocking my path with cameras and tents or having a friend come by with salad fixings and a quiet conversation on the porch. Yet the cop show just wanted me to get out of the way (or line of fire) and the movie set did not interest me as much as the rubber-neckers swerving into my lane or realizing that a brief conversation with another human becomes as welcoming as an old person in an old folks home with the occasional visit.
So next week another repair guy comes by to do the things I am unskilled for or uncomfortable with or just to lazy to do, but I must do a few things before he gets here so I’ll get off my diddly and I’m getting off my squat and the movement is starting again.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Home Again! Home Again! Jiggidy-Jig!

Early start at five in the morning but probably anxiety for something new and leaving the safety of home for a while. Wait until the last minute to wash and pack probably also due to the unfamiliar or just procrastination.
The ride gets here early and I say, “Good bye” to the yard and inform the yard boss to keep an eye out. The forth party arrives and the trip begins.
The way up was uneventful with convenient conversation and yearns to go sailing on the water.
A bear hug warm welcome but the drive was cramped. This would be the position of the weekend.
Once home no one rolled down the hill and we were even awake. Munchies and light conversation of family. The conversation becomes lubricated. Is this what it takes to have a civil conversation with another human being?
Even with the confusion of calendar dates we presume in an orderly manner to our next designated area. No matter what people say about automobiles, there is just not enough room for legs.
An unexpected surprise awaits these already weary travelers when it seems all of Philly is going to the concert. Of course they are not but for some reason still unknown the highway turns into a parking lot, but the driver was patient and the libations curved the stress and we arrived on time.
In the huge cement pond turned upside down we found our destination. The sound was good the shows predictable except for the “take two” moment and well worth the cross off of the bucket list. Had fun with the guy in front of me doing syncopated handclaps.
The ride back was must faster, probably faster than the line to pee.
Then on to sleepy-time in her soft bed with the leafy sound of a foreign land.
Unwrapping in the morning light and shaking the cobwebs I proceeded down the narrow steps to find the host and guest already up and plugged in. Fresh coffee. A rarity accepted as a ritual with only a touch of milk. The refill with tap water and a walk out into the sunshine.
The sound is different up here. The tall trees have flat leaves and rustle under the winds conduction. Very pleasant and most relaxing. I am directed to a bench up on the hill with another view and think I should sleep out here since the weather has been the perfect fall.  
Finally all the players are assembled so the plan of action is to stuff our selves into an auto and travel to a nearby arts and crafts show on the green. We even threw the hostess into the trunk. Nice guys us.
The show was predicable with rushes of previous shows and the quilts and jewelry bought and later stored away and forgotten but must acquire for my collection at the time.  As being titled as an artist I observe the struggles others make presenting to the public their representation of the world in hopes to obtain financial rewards.
So far the conversations have been about family and I have nothing to offer. I guess this is what most people talk about since their lives are so boring and they live through extension begats.
Missing the junkie want then to refresh the liquor we return the chariot home. So what do you do with a house full of high school and family friends? Bring out the food and stuffy and don’t forget the brain nummers.
The subject of family has gone by so technology is spread. How do I update this? How can I move these to? Will this work? Phones and tablets and laptops are scattered and like an IT shop each and every question is resolved.
I must be missing something for these folks are junkies and their voices peak when a new app appears to be available. How can you live without this?
Another wonderful meal except the chef forgot he didn’t have enough gas (maybe the high point of the weekend) and the conversations started to get deeper. With fewer people around we can search into each other real meaning.
Those Darn Boys broke out the reproduction guitar and made some noise but remarkably the sound was pretty good. Of course we don’t record the good stuff. A little extended time together and we could go on the sidewalk. Brother the guitar has a good feel but I’ve got to haggle on the price.
Morning news shows and political rhetoric brings nothing new to the party and is surprising how enflamed some of the participants become over things they cannot control. Keep the blood pressure down buds.
A final check for leftovers and it is time to travel again. Hugs for all (but no wet kisses) and we are off again.
Crammed into the quiet car then finding space I am fully aware that watching old railroad tracks and tagged warehouses is as interesting as large screen televisions showing every pore. My companions are engrossed into printed material or wi-fi immediate information but perhaps missing the rhythm of the rails that keeps my legs moving to the song created in my head. Damn, I ought to buy a drum kit.
Delivered safely and sound back to my forest I walk into the solemn place I call “home”. The shadows are still where they are supposed to be and the smells are the same. All the dust is in place.
But there is something, something very important I must do.
Leaving the bag packed, I grab my sunglasses and head out the back door. The yard is calm but I’m on a mission.
Unlocking the little house door I move the first pony to the deck. It is time to ride.
Stretching the legs and following familiar trails I accommodate the critters food and stuffies and return to spread the long awaited feast out for all.
Standing on the porch the yard boss came out to munch on the buffet. 
Home again! Home again! Jiggidy-jig!

Guys = Dogs

Guys are just like dogs. Take it from me cause I’m a guy. This revelation did not come to me until I got a dog.
Now I’ve had critters in my house since I can’t remember and even grew up with a dog but I don’t remember much about “Ike” other than he was my dad and he was big.
Then I got “Buffy”. A little blond mix rescue pup adopted our house and I saw a remarkable difference me. Even after all the children through all the years, this was special.
I realized the changes in me but then I noticed other guys who have dogs.
Dudes, we are all the same.
Once we put a dog’s head in our lap and those big eyes look at us?
So if all the gals know that us guys only need a scratch behind our ears, take us for a walk, wait for us while we sniff out the other bitches but keep us on a short leash, feed us the worst grub because we will eat just about anything and appreciate it and give us a warm spot to sleep we are happy.
Guys are pretty simple when you break us down. We will protect you. We will keep you company with few demands. And if you rub our tummy…..
So don’t over complicate us guys. We are just dogs.
And horses? They are just big dogs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012



What is it about human beings that want to remind each other about those who have gone before? Memories and anniversaries are one thing when the people who know are around to celebrate them, but to remember someone’s birthday or a couples wedding or some other special event long after they are gone?
We create history books to remind us of people and places that had great impact on our species, but so many of us are just common schmoes who come and go with hardly a ripple in time. We work, have families, build houses, fight wars, and maybe, just maybe affect some other schmoe while we are here. Some families have ancestry records with names no one recognizes and some have headstones to make where they were left but so many of us will be forgotten.

And those who are not forgotten are remembered in the strangest ways. Statues and plaques with the likeness of statesmen, religious leaders, and families who have the money to remind us of how important and powerful they were when they were here are constructed and dedicated by their heirs.  
So great authors, musicians, entertainers, or other newsmakers of their time are celebrated long after they have gone. Headlines remind us that someone would have a 100th birthday on a certain calendar day.


Why do we need to remember when someone was born or wed or died to place their value on this planet while they were here? Does it make us feel better or maybe closer to the person who we never knew when we lay flowers on their graves or light candles around their statues or write a blog or an article for a news story on how long ago this person or persons were here.
I agree a reflection is worthy of noteworthy people and their accomplishments but it can go too far. Celebrate their influence on your life every day and rejoice in having the privilege to be associated with them.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Running for Office

In this season to decide whom the country wants to choose for it’s latest CEO, we interview for the job of president of the United States of America.

Now I don’t normally get involved with the politics but just want to post some observations.

It is not an easy job. It is not a new job. Generals and business manipulators and small time politicians who want to become embedded in history books have filled the job. Some have had famous family names while others were complete unknowns.

But this job has the strangest application of any job on earth. It is called “running for office”.

Now I don’t know about you, but I never had to run for office. I had to go to the Personnel Department (now called Human Resources) and fill out an application for a published job. It was the usual form with name, address, phone, and age. It may have even had hair color and height. There were questions about military service and level of education and even what faith followed. There was a question about having a police record, but they never check those. I didn’t have to pee in a cup or answer any drug questions luckily. There have been many changes on the applications now with all the laws passed since then.

Have you ever been arrested?
An employer can't actually legally ask you about your arrest record, but they can ask if you've ever been convicted of a crime.
Depending on the state, a conviction record shouldn't automatically disqualify you for employment unless it substantially relates to your job. For example, if you've been convicted of statutory rape and you're applying for a teaching position, you will probably not get the job

Are you married?
Although the interviewer may ask you this question to see how much time you'd be able to commit to your job, it's illegal because it reveals your marital status and can also reveal your sexual orientation.

Do you have children?
Again, the employer may ask you this question to see your available time commitment with the company, but this question is inappropriate.
However, they are allowed to ask you directly if you have other responsibilities or commitments that will be conflicting to your work schedule.

What country are you from?
If you have an accent, this may seem like an innocent question, but keep in mind that it's illegal because it involves your national origin.
Employers can't legally inquire about your nationality, but they can ask if you're authorized to work in a certain country.

Is English your first language?
It's not the employer’s lawful right to know if a language is your first language or not. In order to find out language proficiency, employers can ask you what other languages you read, speak or write fluently.

Do you have any outstanding debt?
Employers have to have permission before asking about your credit history and, like a criminal background history, they can't disqualify you from employment unless it directly affects your ability to perform the position you're interviewing for.
Similarly, they can't ask you how well you balance your personal finances.

Do you socially drink?
Employers cannot ask about your drinking, or even legal drug use, habits because these inquiries are protected under the American Disability Act.
For example, if you're a recovering alcoholic, treatment of alcoholism is protected under this act and you don't have to disclose any disability information before landing an official job offer.

How long have you been working?
This question allows employers to guess your age, which is unlawful. Similarly, they can't ask you what year you graduated from high school or college or even your birthday.
However, they can ask you how long you've been working in a certain industry.

What religious holidays do you practice?
Employers may want to ask you this to see if your lifestyle interferes with work schedules, but this question reveals your religion and that's illegal.
They can ask you if you're available to work on Sundays.

While all these new rules are true when selecting an employee, the top job has to be chosen by the public. It is the only job where you can leave your present job and go across the country eating and talking and raising money and making promises. During the “stumping” process public servants paid for by tax dollars protect the candidate.

This is the only job where everything about the applicant must be scrutinized. Old high school pictures, tax records, former marriages, the children, the wife are all open for investigation. Then the personal questions come up.

What do you feel about abortions? What about women’s rights? What about immigration? What about national debt? What about gun control? What about war on drugs? What about education? What about farm subsidies? What about welfare? What about social security? What about terrorism?

So the “candidates” for the top office in the country with more power than any other individual on the planet will decide their "platform" agreed to by delegates from all 50 states. Now normally these are groups who agree with the candidate no matter what they say, so they are called “parties”. One is Dumbo and the other is Eeyore but they have their own ideas and separate presentations and the public must decide between them.

The person who's name is on the ballot may sign the checks but it is the people surrounding him/her who make the rules and keep the train rolling.

Enjoy the race. It is not the Olympics but it is fascinating to watch. There may be a winner and there may be a loser. The power may shift and names will be forgotten and whatever the new will settle in and make rules that will decide your life so when you are in the voting booth, think carefully.

This is going to be the next four years.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

What do we do when we get together?

It is a fascinating ponderous activity. Spending time with other people. What do you do or say?

Now spending time with your family is one thing. They are your family. You spend every minute with them. You have no choice. You eat, sleep, vacation and do chores with them. You talk about how school was or what is on television or how much more allowance is needed. For the most part, at least in my family, the common everyday discussions or lack there have never presented any earth shattering ideas or value changing statements. Being around family was as much taking orders and observations than any deep thought provoking ideas.

As kids, we first tend to hang around with our own kind. That means kids from school who look and act like you. They come from similar families and enjoy the same television shows and have familiar toys. We are usually divided by sex and are gathered into groups with the same uniforms like the scouts or baseball teams and only in our pre-teens start to explore the dating.

Once the sexes are mingled for dances or parties everything changes. We start learning interaction and must face our limitations and liabilities. We have puppy love crushes and heart breaking breakups. We start to form our social makeup and how we will present ourselves to others including how we dress and how we wear our hair. This stuff matters now.

By now in school there are lots of new faces and personalities to deal with. To be accepted into groups one must learn to adapt to certain requirements and social behavior. While some of these new clubs and organizations may bring pride to the family certain values are tested like drinking, driving fast, or other mischievous behavior. It is all part of growing up.

College brings new opportunities to test ones ability to learn, grow and make decisions without advice. Gatherings of students during this time start with reflections of class studies and philosophical discussions but quickly reduce to hedonistic debauchery of drinking and drugs. Life is becoming real and consequences to actions earlier protected by family must be faced alone.

Work brings another social challenge. While school had provided the freedom for openness, the work environment present a diversity of age, values, and beliefs that did not fit the previous mold. The office party brought this to bear in the most uncomfortable manner. Making small talk with people you neither liked or had anything in common with while trying not to upset your boss. If you are married by this time, your spouse becomes part of your presentation. Some of your behavior that is accepted by friends and tolerated by family cannot be practiced around work associates.

As gatherings grow larger and more frequent like conventions requiring traveling and presentations representing your business or organization the social behavior changes again. Now the time together is all about networking. Find out who is the most important or the most valuable for you to accomplish your goals. You sell yourself to a business card, an email address, and a phone number that can be accessed twenty-four hours a day.

So it will be interesting in a couple of weeks to spend time with some old school mates for a few days. Sure there will be light comedy over drinks and brief discussions of health, family, appliances and toys as with any conversations with people you don’t know.  But then what? 

I don’t kid myself that we can chase away decades to go back to meaningful topics since we have all had different life experiences that have tainted our former shared values and beliefs. We can turn back the hands of time and try and remember those times and people who drew us together. We could ask the questions that would require peeling back sheltering emotions. We might let down our guard and make the short time together memorable.

This gathering will hopefully be on the best of terms. I’m sure we will all be on our best behavior but will we come away with anything reveling about why we still associate with one another?

Stay tuned.