Friday, August 26, 2016

I Want Your Money

A continuing theme, it is what we do. We ask for money and then more money and then more money.
Is it begging or just our human nature to try and help? And throwing money at whatever the cause will help?
Within our own lives, our children and families need assistance so we pay up. If we are really kind, we loan money to friends with no interest.
We find employment to earn this money we give away. Someone else who accumulates money will allow us to come in late, waste time in the bathroom, over extend our lunches, and then complain about working late expecting overtime.
After paying for food and shelter and clothing and transportation and any other necessary we deem, if a good citizen we pay our fair share to taxes and fees. As we get raises, our expansion of wealth could provide for luxuries and philanthropy.
There always seem like enough for some to travel and gorge and celebrate in their self-indulgence while the slums are just out of sight.
Then the news is filled with famine and natural disasters and everyone holds out there hands.
There seems to be plenty of money to make bombs to drop on other people but suddenly the city can’t find the funds to cut the grass. If anyone pays attention, one minute there seems to be a surplus to give raises and next there is not enough money to pay for trash pickup or emergency equipment.
From what I understand, when money comes in become the funds that can be spent when money goes out. Accounting 101 or how a simple budget is done.
Of course it is not that easy.
Today I hear the commonwealth is missing over a billion in deficit. What? OK, to be fair the anticipation and projections of income didn’t work out. Just like if you didn’t get that raise you can’t buy that big screen TV or get your daughter braces.
So what do you do?
Bureaucrats and number crunchers will come up with new pie charts and spin on how the money is spent and life goes on. 
The charities will continue to provide shocking images and ask for relief at our fascination of watching carnage.
Until you call 911 and no one shows up.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Flying With Dragons

Cooler today. Nice relief from having the body hot when dawn breaks. A cup of coffee with no bugs in the sink but they will be back tonight. Check the news but it is all old. Give a few happy birthday wishes to strangers and wait for the sound of the trash men.
Cicadas welcome the sun with their morning songs. The soft voices of the doves chime in. The rest is silent.
The end of summer has taken away the songs and activity that spring had jocularly provided. Even with the delivery of goodies, there are few faces that show up to the buffet. The heat has slowed life or maybe they are moving on.
With the same routine, there is a different feel of the day. The few faces seem lost. A bit of a detour to the destination only to watch the large hawk catching the updrafts.
The daily meals are becoming bothersome so a fresh approach to a veggie meal is consumed; yet not enjoyed. The daily chores are done. There is nothing else to do. There is no interest on any social media site. There is nothing going on.
Hours of music that says a lot about another person and conversations about guitar constructions I find fascinating but it could be a carpenter discussing a dresser or mechanical talk of an expensive car or a historical discussion of electricity. Life is about trying to find something of interest to fill the time we have.
So in reflection there is more time to understand what we like and what we wonder. The music of our youth holds more of a connection than what are the trends of today. Is that just age or what it is like for generations to carry their favorites with them?
Good friends who were there when you needed them and you were there for them are so distant now. We’ve all changed and just getting intoxicated together doesn’t make friendship work any more. There are too many distractions to offer a meaningful conversation. 
More information than one can imagine as darkness comes. The plans as they are made for tomorrow with ultimate goals of enjoying the cooler weather knowing the flying roaches will greet me inside.
See you tomorrow dude.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

What is with this mini-Coke?

  Hang on to your coat tails for another exciting adventure from such a boring day.
  Wandering the aisles, waiting for the crowded exit toll belts to clear out, I detoured to a place I don’t often go. I noticed in the soft drink stacks there was this little bottle of Coke. Actually it was a six-pack of these cute little bottles and I wondered?
  There can’t be more than 2 gulps in that tiny bottle?  It wouldn’t even wash down a sandwich? Who would buy this teeny drink? Maybe it is a kid’s bottle?
  Then I looked around and there were lots and lots of these little bottles. In all sorts of colors and different labels, the stacks were full of these little six-packs. 
  I understand something about marketing and packaging and companies having to invent new versions of their products to keep the brand fresh, but this little tiny bottle seems like more trouble to manufacture than to be able to promote the product.
  Now Coke has been around for a long time. It knows how to research and poll and sample the public’s desires to maintain domination over the competition.
  So in a wonder of boredom and heat, I go to the Coca-Cola website to check out the sizes of bottles it offers. They offer many, many sizes of bottles and cans. 
  I’m not a soda drinker, but I grew up on Coke. It was always Coke. All the kids would drink it real fast and burp. Oh what fun back in the day. Coke was served from fountain nozzles or in 8 oz. glass bottles. A six-pack was heavy to carry in a cardboard carrier. Empty bottles were recycled for 1¢ each. (Yes, I’m that old.)
  Pepsi came along, but it was too sweet for me. Sun-drop was the drink of the summer but only distributed in Carolina. For a treat, a chocolate Yahoo hit the spot. Other than that it was whole milk until I found the grown up drink, Ice Tea.
  In college it was tea and whenever possible 3.2 beer, usually cheap Rolling Rock in pony bottles about the size of this mini-Coke. At work it was coffee. Lots and lots of cups of coffee were consumed at work. Went through a wine period when first married and then when seconded married but never went back to soda.
  Had a Coke at a McDonald’s last year and it tasted great. So did the Big Mac and fries. A taste of my youth that was as exciting as some strange foreign concoction.
  With those racks of cool sodas tempting while waiting in line on a hot day, I’ve thought about buying several variations of Coke, just to see if I could taste the difference. That is probably their draw to hook you on some new labels of original, caffeine free, vanilla, cherry, diet, zero, sugar free, life, new, really good and or variation of bottle sizes but I would have to find that classic coke glass and crush some ice and maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  I loaded my ammo and bypassed the temptation of those sneaky advertising people trying to get you addicted to the sugary dark liquid but it is a cute little bottle.
  Told you it was a boring day in just another life.

Friday, August 19, 2016


You got that itch you can’t reach?
That is why we find that other special person
You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours
The rest is gravy
Unless you can’t find that person
And your arms won’t reach the itch
And racks and brooms and yardsticks and plungers 
are not effective
Someone invented a bamboo stick 
with curved fingers on one end
Nothing is more satisfying than hitting that spot 
when you can’t reach it.

How much time do you spend in the kitchen?

Every home has them. Some say the kitchen is the heartbeat of the house.
People gather in the kitchen while food is prepared and drinks are served and it becomes a party room. Children are first taught chores in the kitchen washing dishes and taking out the trash.
Before pre-pared foods became available, the kitchen was the room you made what you ate. You stored your provisions in wooden cabinets on the wall and had large appliances that provided hot or cold.
After WWII, the kitchen became the ‘woman’s place’ complete with cookbooks, aprons, and a huge array of implements to display her prowess in her home. All that metal that was being saved for the war effort was not being turned into blenders along with vacuum cleaners, televisions, and automobiles.
Now the stay-at-home mom could spend her time in the kitchen while her provider husband went off to hunt and gather and sell insurance only to come home as ask, “What’s for dinner?”
Families would sit at the table in the room adjacent to the kitchen for meals and conversation, until the TV tray came about. With the introduction of the microwave dinner, the dining room became vacant.
Some still enjoy watching all the cooking shows and try out every variation of cuisine concoctions. Chopping and slicing and stirring and blending and spicing and presentation to a family raised on burgers and fries and pizza. The goal to educate and widen our pallets may be overcome by salt and sugar?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Demilitarized Zone

When people are tired of killing each other and invading each other’s property they form treaties and create buffer zones that is a no-mans land for either side to inhabit.
Once the smoke clears and the dust settles, these plots of land can finally become a useful refuge for the creatures that also inhabit our space.
Some will call it a wilderness preserve and some will just call it a nature’s way of making a space for animals to live as they were intended to do.
How often do we forget when a sub-division or highway was developed for our pleasure that hundreds of other homes in trees and woodlands were destroyed? Even today with the fires in California and the flooding in Louisiana that our co-habitats are scattering to find new shelter without government assistance. They, more than most of us, have learn how to cope, adapt and evolve to changing conditions to survive.
If creatures have a space without danger, they can survive.
There will always be the threat of possible predators but in a place that has provided water and substance and shelter, a creature can feel safe.
That is the philosophy of “Puppywoods”.
There are tall trees and lots of shrubs and a timely feeding and then the land is left alone. Sheltered by wooden fences that are no real barriers this is the best of the Garden of Eden one person can produce. 
Like the changing of the seasons, there will be deaths and births but most important there is a safe space to be.
Hopefully another generation will flourish and their antics will entertain more than any electronic media.
Tomorrow I will walk out to the deck and offer blueberries and seed to whoever wants to feast and enjoy being surrounded by wild animals that do not fear this towering neighbor.
It is a demilitarized zone.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Summer In The City

Today will be like yesterday. Yesterday was hot and so will today be. Knowing that I woke early already hot and took a cold shower. A quick stop to say “Hi!” to the girls and feed the bunnies then off on a pleasant Sunday morning ride. It wasn’t too hot under the shadows of leaves but the sunshine brought the foreboding sweat of another hot summer day in the city. Hitching my pony up and surveying the asphalt was already starting to bustle. Grabbing the last jet cart I went into the cool and readied for another interesting interaction with my own species.
A younger crowd this morning and many in gym garb welcomed the produce. That also meant there were more cell phones present. “Who can have a conversation over a cabbage?” I thought. Still wiping the sweat from my forehead, I picked up my four containers of blueberries and bag of raw peanuts and pivoted to the deli section. A short well-dressed man in suspender on crutches leaned again the pre-made food display. I can wait until he makes his selection not even thinking how me works both crutches and carries something.
“That pie looks good, but $2.00 for one slice of pie is a bit steep for me. It is like a $5.00 cup of coffee. I won’t pay that” I thought as I waited. Then perusing the pre-package ready-made pre-cooked selections that I’ve been feeding myself for the past week has lost their appeal. “It is too hot to eat”.
“Seed!” was my next mission. I forgot yesterday and am ashamed.
I slowly stroll to the other end of the store whistling a happy song of whatever fills my head at the time and observing my cast of characters. There are a few who have that struggling look of just doing another chore. Some seems enhanced by the search of the perfect selection and many of these young ones looking all healthy and unconcerned by the heat fill their carts with glee.
Over by the magazines is a youngster on her cell with a body similar to an Olympian and is much appreciated. The blond ponytail in the black skin tight outfit reveling her back tattoos was a show stopper to, if only she hadn’t block my passage with the older woman figuring out scented candles.
For the most part, the crowd seems fairly pleasant unlike the hustle of the lunch crowd or the after work panic.
Not finding anything of munchies interest, I wheel over to the beverage section and fill the other half of the cart. It is not cold but it is wet.
I get inline for the conveyer TSA of food knowing the inspector. In front of me is a smiling talkative guy with a full cart, but I’m not in a hurry to get back into the heat.
The 40-something white dude in his polo shirt and starched shorts unloads his selections on the conveyer as Kate scans each and Oscar, the tall dimwitted smiling black man fills the paper bags mumbling his unintelligible mutterings. The white dude, who I’ve seen blocking my way before, seems intent on having a conversation with anyone who is listening.
As I unload my meager choices behind his massive load, we strike up an interaction. He mentions something about coupons and organic selections then looks at me and ask “Don’t you agree?”
What do you say to a stranger, no matter how energetic he is? “It is all in your head.” I replied.
That started a whole string of healthy eating, jogging 5 miles, medical profession, wife check discounts, VW repairs subject like you have at a cocktail party with a complete stranger. No one passed business card or phone numbers but it was a brief uplifting conversation between two people. We even got into Zen.
He looked at my selections of blueberries, raw peanuts and light beer and said, “You seem to be eating well.” Kate chimed in and said, “They are for his rabbits.” He seemed surprised but approved.
The woman behind me seemed impatient with our long conversation and Kate was in no hurry to rush me out so I had a moment to reflect on what had just happened.
I saw him again in the parking lot talking to a passing car. He just seemed like a happy fellow.
With all the news of murders and riots and wars, it is nice to see someone who is smiling and maybe enjoying life.
As I packed up and strapped on my helmet, he drove up and stopped. He flashed me the peace sign and lowered his side window.  He looked at my bike and said, “I like you style.” 
I gave him the peace sign back as he drove off in his black Mercedes loaded with organic food and well off hipster acceptable stuff.
I have no idea who that guy was but for a brief moment in time to interact with someone who is not complaining about politics or prices or whatever upsets everyone these day is rare. Just two guys standing in a waiting line to purchase consumer goods that help them survive without any prejudice of status or philosophy.
“Thank dude, you made my day."

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Simpler Life

As we grow older, we reflect on the past days as a ‘simpler life’.
So why do we wish for simpler times?
With all our technological advancements and cultural changes, could we go back to simpler times?
Do we want to go back to a time without electricity? Could we cook or eat food not refrigerated? Could we walk to the store? Could we make our own clothing? Could we grow our own food?
Can you turn off your television and your phone and your tablet for a day?
Then what do you do?
There was a time when rural people would come to the urban splendor and still complain there was nothing to do. No matter the number of hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars there was never enough to keep them entertained.
Traveling to a larger more prominent city like Chicago, Austin, Memphis or New York gave more options to hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars, but it was the venue but the persons you traveled with that make the adventure memorable.
As we grow older and less mobile, the simple things in life become more important. Rocking on a porch on a hot summer day watching the dappled patterns of the canopy as the left start to turn. Taking the time to listen to the songs in a yard given for free. Finding a feather, cherishing it as a treasure. Noting the generations of your furry and feathered neighbors and appreciating their games and antics while giving them space to romp and rummage as nature intended.
Unfortunately when we visit our elderly in the nursing home, instead of being distracted by the machinery and the hustle of caregivers, pay attention to what that person appreciates. 
Simpler times means not so worried about pleasing others but taking the space to enjoy your personal environment. Calendars and clocks mean nothing. The shoes you wore yesterday will still fit today. Deadlines, appointments, reservations and delays are a thing of the past.
Or we can spend the few moments we have on this planet taking selfies and checking our messages instead of living life.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Silly Habits

Congestion. Not the sinus backup that requires pills and potions and steaming and tissues.
No, I’m talking about a different trend we use to cause congestion.
You might participate in this trend. You might get annoyed by this trend and even become rude. You might realize it has become a trend like double parking or constantly talking on your phone and wait your turn.
What I am observing is we don’t like to go through doorways.
We will stand in lines and shuffle through designated pathways but we balk when we get to doorways.
We check our receipts, adjust our clothing, answer our phones, or start a conversation with another just to block the doorway from anyone behind. Common courtesy would suggest moving out of the way for others, but that seems to be a medieval myth.
Have we become so enamored in ourselves to feel others can just find another way around them?
If we are disabled or elderly it may take a bit longer to cross the threshold. Civility would allow the additional time needed.
Drivers use their horns to show their annoyance at traffic jams. Impatient people will yell and push and shove waiting to cross the throughway.
Is it just another trend or habit like checking your phone before you start to drive or waiting until everyone is in the car before starting a lengthy conversation with family?
It is just another day in just another life.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Why Are There Locks On Churches?

A church by definition is a building used for religious activities and worship services.
A church is a building used for religious activities and worship services. The term in its architectural sense is most often used by Christians to refer to their religious buildings. In traditional Christian architecture, the church is often arranged in the shape of a Christian cross. The aisle represents the longest part of a cross and the junction of the cross is located at the altar area.
The Church of Saint Simeon Stylites in Aleppo, Syria is considered to be one of the oldest surviving church buildings in the world.
The earliest identified Christian church was a house church founded between 233 and 256. During the 11th through 14th centuries, a wave of building of cathedrals and smaller parish churches occurred across Western Europe.
Towers or domes are often added with the intention of directing the eye of the viewer towards the heavens and inspiring church visitors.
The effort and money spent building these giant halls are an example of what ‘religion’ meant to our society and culture as we evolved.
When the first settlers came to the ‘new world’ they constructed churches. They were not just a religious sanctuary but meeting halls and sometimes taverns. The church became the focal point for the masses to assemble.
Today they dot the communities with names like cathedrals, monasteries, mosques, temples and synagogues. They are still places for organized services but also a quiet space for anyone of faith to rest peacefully and internally contemplate. A church is like a library with a different search for knowledge.
So why do they put locks on churches?
Shouldn’t they be open to everyone?
The simple answer is today there are bad people that must be kept out like a fort. The complicated answer is that churches and congregations have become hi-tech besides all the graven images in polished gold; there is the electronics that promotes the ‘word’ to an ever-larger assembly. For a bandit that is tempting for a place without security. If the hooligans realized this was a place of worship they might thing twice about being smite.
So these houses of the holy select who can enter and who will be turned away.
Are the locks to keep evil out or God in?

Monday, August 1, 2016

There is a New Game in Town

Beside that trying to capture some pokie something or driving badly, there is a new trend happening at the Tummy Temple.
Don’t know if you are practicing it but seems some people don’t want to push their carts. They want to pull the carts.
If this is just another annoying habit like grazers or the bumper cars or those who can’t decide whether to buy the large or the jumbo or if they have a coupon to save a penny, they get in my way.
I use the little baskets that can easily zip through the aisles and only carry a few items and I’m in and out without any problem.
Now I’m not disrespectful to other shoppers. Just the opposite, I look down an aisle and see a shopper who is having a problem on selection and turn around and go another direction. I’m more than polite to the slow movers and look ahead at the crush and spend the time to go around and come back later.
Yet recently I’ve seen this ‘pulling the cart’. Not only do these large carts take up space but also someone pulling it takes up more of the path. Pulling a cart from the front is impossible because the cart bumps up to the feet so the cart has to be pulled from the side. When the shopper stops to make a selection the cart fills the space of the aisle.
When I do have to use the ‘large’ carts it is like driving a battleship. Maneuvering it through the aisles is a struggle and any obstacle is more frustrating.
Perhaps there should be instructions that these baskets on wheels are to be ‘pushed’ and not ‘pulled’. Should there be PSA about pushing a wire basket in the Tummy Temple rather than pulling it? Those are handles at the other end.
Now I understand those who must multitask like the photo of pushing a wheelchair and pulling a cart and am respectful. Even with the courtesy of hungry drivers, it would be rude for the nurse to bump the old lady across the parking lot like a billiard ball.
Maybe this is just another trend of obnoxious folks talking on the phone and pulling their carts around and it will morph into something else? Maybe I should get one of those bumper cars and start crashing into the rudeness of blocking the aisle?
Like the rest of civility it will be just another adaption to the reality of living with other people.