Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Two Types Of Boys

I once dreamed this.

I saw a young man straddling the roof of a house. His legs swung back and forth as he sang at the top of his voice, "I am the world's forgotten boy ... " over and over.

Even though it was a lament, I thought the young man must've felt some sort of satisfaction as he sang it.

Then I looked closer. The forgotten boy me at one time in his past -- too many times to count and too many times that I'd like to remember.

Back then, the contents of my mind and soul were under extreme pressure and might have exploded strongly if I hadn't kept them to himself. Now, I was releasing them.

After I woke up, I could not remember anything else.

While The World's Forgotten Boy role is attractive, so is The Little Boy Lost. He's passive and inactive because any action won't help him; more likely, it'll hurt him.

It's a part of me, but I don't know the best way to use it, if I use it at all, instead of letting it dominate me or totally repressing it. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

ADDENUM: The phrase "the world's forgotten boy" comes from a Stooges song. The line after it is: The one who searches and destroy.

But right after that, the world's forgotten boy sings: Honey gotta help me please/Somebody's gotta save my soul.

So, I must be aware of that.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hispanic-American Cheesecake

It's been a while since I've presented some cheesecake for you, my readers. So I just decided to do it now, and I have just the thing:

Eva Longoria, star of the ABC nighttime soap opera Desperate Housewives, wife of San Antonio Spur guard Tony Parker, and very, very pretty/sexy/delectable.

You might noticed that she isn't wearing a bra. I believe someone must've put something on the inside of her dress so that she displays that kind of cleavage without a possibility of the dress opening and therefore showing a bare bosom -- not that I would complain about that.


A Couple Of Quakes

Earthquakes tend to be rare in this part of the United States. Because of their rareness, I post this about two of them that happened within the last six years.
I came across notes about one of the quakes last week while going through some old journals, and decided to combine it with an older post.

I was asleep in bed on the morning of Friday, April 18, 2008, when I heard the window sills of my apartment rattling. That didn't bother me because they often did that when the wind blew strongly.

But when i felt my bed start to shake, I thought: Hey --this must be an earthquake!

It was.

It hit the Midwest around 5:35 a.m. that day. its epicenter was the town of West Salem, Illinois, which is northwest of Evansville, Indiana. news reports said it had a rating of 5.2 on the Richter scale.

I also felt what i thought was a small aftershock -- much lower in scale -- around 12:30 p.m.

Later, I found out that April 18 was, by coincidence, the 102th anniversary of the infamous San Francisco earthquake. Instruments weren't available then to measure its power, but scientists now believe that it was between 7.8 and 8.3 on the Richter scale.

Between 8 a.m. to 8:05 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2004, there was an earthquake that measured a 3.6 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was about five miles north of Shelbyville, Indiana, a town that's about 30-40 miles south of where I live.

I didn't feel anything because the Richter scale was so low, but shakes were felt on the east side of Indianapolis and Marion County -- especially in the town of Cumberland and the intersection of East 16th Street and Ritter Avenue.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Grace All Around You

Here's a quote from Bruce Springsteen. It ran in an 2005 issue of Mojo, an English music magazine -- I'm sorry because I didn't get the month it was published-- in an article by Phil Sutcliffe about the 30th anniversary of Springsteen's album Born To Run:

We live in a tragic world, but there's grace all around you. That's tangible. So you try to attend to the grace.That's how I try to guide my life ... Grace, to me, it's just the events of the day, the living breath of our

Those Who Have, Those Who Don't

Ace: There's two kinds of people: Them that's got, and them that ain't got enough.

Deuce: Two classes, you mean. And straighten up your grammar.

Ace: Well, those are the two big groups. Then there are those who have enough and don't want any more. But there are few of them around.

Deuce: And since they're content, they don't make much noise, so you don't notice them. Satisfaction's a very hard thing to find or get in this world. And it's a very hard thing to keep when you find it or get to it. And hey -- I just realized: Malcontents and the discontented make things happen if they're not running things. Malcontents and the discontented could act from reasons like anger, rage, and hatred all the way to a desire to do something different for its own sake -- for the hell of it, for no utilitarian reasons, with no benefit seen or wanted. Things done for a reason: Is that heaven? If that's so, then give me hell.

Ace: You're sure full of the bullshit today.

Deuce: You should talk. And I'm surprised that you stayed awake to hear what I said.

Something About The Bookish Ladies

There was something about the bookish ladies; they weren't comfortable with their bodies. They were definitely not alive below the waist.

But X knew of some skinny women who had a certain sexual style that they emitted like perfume.
They weren't juicily sexy, with breasts and hips that any straight man would notice. Their style came from a true comfort with the flesh and its desires in general and their bodies specifically.

Baker Street And Other B.S.

Last year, an Indianapolis-area radio station was playing the songs on its playlist in alphabetical order. When i heard the song Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty, I fell into a small funk.

Baker Street was a bland and sappy pop song that came out during the summer of 1977. It was not a happy time for me. I had just started working for a poorly run newspaper in a small town in central Indiana. (Someday I may write about it. But not today)

I also was living with relatives. Neither they nor I enjoyed the situation.

So the first time i heard Baker Street, I thought: Is this the best music to play on the radio? It just can't be.

So there was bad music atop a bad situation at work and life. At the time, I slipped into the blues.

And regarding the blues, there was terrible version of the blues song Black Betty played by a band named Ramjam. It was on its album Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Ram.

As it's said in Yiddish: Oy gevalt!

If I had known about punk rock, I would've listened to it instead. But that type of music wasn't played over the radio back then and there.

But back to last year. After Baker Street was played, the next song was The Ballad of John and Yoko, which is one of my most favorite songs by the Beatles.

When I heard it, I felt a lot happier.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yesterday's Prices

Noted yesterday, as I was driving around doing some errands:
  • Gas was priced at $2.649 a gallon in my town, which is on the outskirts of the metropolitan Indianapolis area.
  • But gas was priced at $2.619 on the far northeast side of Indianapolis.
I don't know why there was a discrepancy and especially why gas was priced cheaper in the city than in the country.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

An Ongoing Novel

I've posted in the blog the differences I see in posts I entitle vignettes, like the one written before this one (and located after it, because that's the way the internet works), and those I entitle short stores. If you want to find the differences, please click here.

Also, these vignettes are like scenes from a novel that's been going through my head. Someday, I might organize them.

Eddards And Cities

Imagine some one some limited in experience that, to him, Anderson and Kokomo and Marion and Muncie -- all industrial small cities in Indiana -- were big cities.

As for bigger cities, either living in them or even going to them -- here was his reactions:
  • Indianapolis -- doubtful.
  • Chicago -- very doubtful.
  • New York -- no way!
I didn't have to imagine such a man. I knew one like that. I'll call him Eddards.

He told me he couldn't live in cities like Indianapolis, let alone Chicago or New York, because there was too much traffic and that would drive him crazy. I also knew he couldn't tolerate the greater number of black people who live in those cities, but I kept that to myself. I didn't want to alienate him because of his racism, but I would try like hell not to keep in that much contact with him.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gentleman, Start Your Interest

At 9 a.m. Saturday, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens its gates to the public for the first time of its annual Indianapolis 500 presentation.

I don't know if it's me, or the situation, but the race just doesn't make for a lot of interest.

When I was younger, the whole month of May was devoted to the 500. There were two weekends set aside to qualify for the race, and many big names ran in the race; some of them were A.J. Foyt, Marion Andretti, and the Unser brothers.

This year, qualifications will only be one weekend -- May 22 and 23 -- and one of the biggest names who will participate is Danica Patrick, known more for her looks than for her racing prowess.

The change happened about the middle 1990s, when open wheel racing split into two circuits. One was the Indy Racing League, led by Tony George, the owner of the Speedway. The other one was CART, led by Roger Penske, a race car owner.

NASCAR drove right through the split on its way to becoming the major racing organization in the United States. I don't follow NASCAR that intently, but I know more of their drivers than I do most of the open wheel drivers.

Also, many of the big names had retired from open wheel racing, leaving little knowns to participate. Some are little known still.

Whatever the reasons, I'll follow it, if not intently, until the race, which is scheduled for May 30.

When it took up the whole month of May, much of the Indianapolis media made a big thing of the 500. It was called "The Greatest Spectacle In Racing."

But I realized that it was just another stop on the circuit one year when I noticed that many big drivers who were out of the race because of mechanical problems made no efforts to get back in the race to win it.

I realized this back in the 1970s, and this is the first time I've written about it.

Company Man

Company man is a contradiction ... like virgin whore ...
This idea came to me in a dream: Jason Alexander is James Gandolfini's Mini-Me.
Troglodikes are lesbians who look like cavewomen.
When she grinned, it was a grimace, as if she was either struggling with a bowel movement or being forced by some power to do some violation of and to her body and soul.
"They've set the universe on fire!"
The college fraternity was 25 to 30 boozer business majors and five sober pre-law majors -- the future rulers of the ruling class.
She swings her hips, enticing the men. She's like a bitch in heat. Such a slut, but a lovable slut. She would tease, but always would please.
"There are no innocent bystanders -- just people who aren't involved as of now."

"Even the innocent? Even babies?"

"Yes, even them. They're just on the sidelines and not ready to get into the game yet."
After X, the sour old bitch, had died, I didn't mourn the end of her life but that she lived it poorly. I was relieved that she was dead; she could no longer spread her terrible attitude throughout the atmosphere like a cloud of poisonous gas.
Life goes off ... the tracks ... or to the side ...
Also ...
Life goes on ... or comes off ...

The Middle-Aged Flunky

Few things are as pathetically ugly as the middle-aged flunky in an organization.

The young flunky, willing to do the dirty work: I can understand him. He's learning lessons and scoring points so he can advance.

The middle-aged flunky, though, somewhere and sometime he might've lost his nerve and never took his boss' place.

Or maybe he was hired because his boss sensed that the flunky wouldn't push him aside. He would be content under his boss' wing, eating the crumbs from his table.

Bits Versus The Whole Thing

Here's another common place post I'll post here. It ran in the December 2004 issue of Esquire magazine. Unfortunately, I forgot to note the author:

The bigger problem with Great Man biopics, though, involves dramatic structure, or rather its inevitable absence. Simply put, real people's lives don't conform to narrative expectation. They tend to be random and discursive. And then this happened and then that happened, and so on. It's not a problem is you're telling the Joe Blow story, since only historians and the Blow family will object to the necessary omissions and distortions. When the subject is famous, though, there are always at least a dozen defining episodes that have to be included -- you can't make Pollock (a movie about the abstract expressionist painter) without showing him looking down curiously at some paint he just spelled -- and some the movie becomes little more than a rickety frame supporting those episodes. That's why the finest biopic yet made is Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, an obscure Canadian picture (though it somehow formed the basis for an entire episode of The Simpsons) that presents the pianist's life as a kaleidoscopic jumble of glancing, isolated moments, few of any real significance. At the end of the movie, you got a tiny glimpse of the man. But that glimpse is more than most biopics offer.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Raining Like A Bitch

P.D. thought:

It's raining like a BITCH, man. It's falling hard, like little sharp rocks from the sky. I can't put their sounds into something somewhat pronounceable as the drops hit the window, the roof, and the parking lot. PING is not even close. It's more like pon, puh puh pong as it falls, especially on the gutter.

He tried to tell if there was a pattern in the falling rain by listening, but he found none. The rain would fall heavy, then not at all, then heavy and light again.

And the temperature was cold, too.

He thought, I'm glad it's a Saturday. This rain and cold makes it a good day to sleep.

Football Predictions

I wrote this back in November 1993, after the Cleveland Browns released Bernie Kosar. He was the starting quarterback and, if I remember correctly, the most popular Brown since Jim Brown.

He and Bill Bellichek, then the Browns' head coach, were at odds. Bellichek wanted to control the offense, while Kosar wanted to do it.

I noted that as the death of individualism in professional football, and predicted that it would fade as a spectator sport because machine precision and violence would dominate the game.

Now 16 plus years later, the NFL is bigger than ever.

I liked the sport then and still do, mostly because I love to watch the patterns happen on the field during an individual play. Also, one of my dreams was to be a great halfback. But that never happened. I don't regret it, at least consciously. Whether I have a small regret unconsciously about it, I don't know. At least it doesn't break through to my consciousness.

A month later, I wrote this in my journal:

Pro football is not a microcosm of life any more than it's a symbol of war or peace or your Aunt Fannie's Pekinese pup. There are poetic types who can find a microcosm of life in a slice of cheese on a china plate, and if that helps them get through the day,l more power to them. But pro football is pro football and life is whatever the hell it is.

It's by Bob Carroll, from his book When the Grass Was Real: A History of the NFL and AFL.

Speaking In Tongues

I once worked with a black woman named Helen H.

One day, the screen of her computer was full of the alphabet soup that often comes when they go on the fritz.

(I can't produce it here. Imagine it for yourself or remember the times that it happened to you.)

She said, "My computer's speaking in tongues."

That was a natural and unintended witty saying. To understand it, you ought to have some knowledge of Pentacostalism.


It's damn rare -- at least for me -- to fine an atheist who outgrew his belief in God/The Great Spirit/The Nouminos like he did with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy.

Those atheists are as militant in their beliefs as any hot-blooded jumped-up evangelical Protestant.

(That's the loud ones, at least: The ones you know are atheists and are damn sure of it.)

The emotional attachment is still there.

It reminds me of a quote from the book Love and Will, by Rollo May:

Hate is not the opposite of love; indifference is.

Curse The Spork!

I was thinking of things that aren't truly necessary and truly don't help mankind. On the list is the spork.

If you use it as a spoon, you can scratch your lips -- or worse yet, the inside of your mouth -- with the prongs. Now if you ever have tried to put a bandage on your lip, it won't stick because it's too wet. God help you with a cut in your mouth caused by misuse of spork.

If you use it as a fork, it usually doesn't keep the piece of food you want to cut pinned down. When you keep stabbing at it, the spork's handle often breaks. That leaves you a small handle to grip. And if you ever had tried to use a spork with a very short handle ... you have my sympathy.

I won't call the spork a piece of silverware; that gives it a dignity it doesn't deserve and is a true misnomer.

Wikipedia has an entry on the spork. If you want to read it, click here.

I didn't know that backpackers often use it. I'm not an outdoorsman, so i didn't know that. If i offended any backpackers with this post, i apologize.

But i say this in my defense. Sporks are often used in places like fastfood restaurants, school cafeterias, and prisons. I don't like those three institutions and try to stay as far away from them as i can.

By the way -- you never find a spork as a regular piece of cutlery at your better restaurants.

Some people are trying to find a place for the spork in the greater scheme of things. Here is one of their efforts. I saw it recently on the net:

Here Rolls The Sea

Here rolls the sea
And even here
Lies the other shore
Waiting to be reached
Yes, here
Is the everlasting present
Not distant
Not anywhere else

--By Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali poet and winner of the Nobel Literature Prize in 1913

People Sure Love Bears

Back in March 1994, I was idly watching a documentary on a PBS television station about Kodiak Island and its bears. It truly fascinated me.

Afterward, I realized why bears are such beloved animals. They're cute: Even the ones who could kill you with a swipe of a paw. I can't say that about, say, lions and tigers.

Then there are bear cubs: Big, furry, and even more lovable than adult bears. It's no wonder why kids love them. The kid inside me could love them, too, if I let myself do that.

I also found out that adult male bears often eat bear cubs during their first year of life. Intra-species cannibalism: I only thought humans did that.

Slocum and Women -- A Few Notes

Slocum didn't hate women. He was just afraid of them regarding romance and love, because he feared rejection by them.

He once loved a girl and she rejected him. That broke his heart.

A girl once loved him and he rejected her. That broke her heart.

He thought so little of himself that he fell into unrequited love with two women who were nice to him, and he mistook if for something more serious.

He hated the conformity and conventionality of some women, especially those from the middle class. Many of his relatives and inlaws were like that, unfortunately.

He knew he didn't want a nice girl who wasa motherly type, though he could use that a lot more than a lot of men.

He knew what he wanted from women, but often wondered if that ideal woman would want him. He doubted it.

He was inhibited. He was afraid of getting out there. He feared that his issues would drift off him like the stink from a sweat-drenched man. That was definitely a reason for rejection or not even to get involved.

The True Laws

You could break the law -- you could kill someone after a cold meditation about it or in the hottest of blood -- and sometimes it doesn't matter that much. That is, if you kill someone that's lower on the social and economic ladder, and especially if you repent of it.

But break the mores and you're an outcast.

I learned that back in high school, after I read The Stranger by Albert Camus. In the book, Mersault, the protagonist, was on trial for shooting an Arab. What shocked the court,though, was the fact that he started an affair soon after the death of his mother, who was in a nursing home.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

V-E Day Plus 65 Years

Today is the 65th anniversary of V-E Day, when Germany surrendered to the Allies to ene the European theater of World War Two.

If you want details about it, please click here.

To mark the date, I post this picture:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Hard Shell

This morning I was writing in my journal, as I usually do after I wake and have a cup of coffee to start the day. As I thought, I came to this realization:

I have refused to put on the hard shell that many men have put on to protect themselves pain and other bad emotions like sadness, sorrow, grief, or fear.

And I have made it a hard refusal -- a "Fuck-That-Shit!" attitude behind my decision -- and not a decline, which can be polite -- "Thank you very much, but no thank you."

I see those hard shells trap many men. They have worn those shells so long that it's a second skin to their souls. Remove it from them and they are as helpless as lobsters and turtles without their shells.

But to my disadvantage, I never found a good replacement for the hard shell. Because of that, I've floundered. No male older than me showed me or told me about a different way. Also, I wasn't brave enough to create and follow my own way, a different way.

I have hid. Now I must go out.

And that admission is very personal by the standards that I've set for the posts in this blog.

A Meandering Conversation

Ace: You know what?

Deuce: What?

Ace: I'm pretty white -- or fair skinned, to be exact.

Deuce: That's true.

Ace: So I've decided not to get a tan this summer. I'm going to be working on my pale.

Deuce: That's nice to know.

Ace: I also created a new phrase.

Deuce: What is it?

Ace: It's "Zee this off." It means "Let's end this, quit doing this, especially because it's boring." It comes from Z, the last letter of the alphabet and ZZZ, the sound of someone snoring.

Deuce: Damn, you're creative!

Ace: I got this question for you. If a guy had a glass eye, false teeth, and a hip replacement -- how much of a cyborg is he?

Deuce: Hard to tell.

Ace: I forgot. The guy also wears glasses and uses a hearing aid.

Two Scientific Shorts

I noted these things back in December 1994:
  • The oldest and largest living organism isn't an animal. It's a underground fungus that's about 37 acres large and 10 thousand years old. It's in Michigan's Upper Peninsula right by the Wisconsin border:
  • Cro-Magnon Man and Neanderthal Man co-existed about 35 thousand years ago until Cro-Magnon Man pushed out/co-opted/killed the Neanderthals.

On Vanilla

It's everywhere, at all the stores. In fact, it dominates. There's only one or two boxes of anything different: Say chocolate or coconut cream.

"Chocolate? Coconut? We haven't had them here in ... oh ... years now," says the store owner.

"Chocolate? Isn't that queer to want it?" says a young woman who was working the cash register.

It's as if you hear, behind their words, the subtext of What's wrong with you?

Your desire for anything different than vanilla might as well be illegal. You think: Why doesn't the legislature pass a law against all other tastes?

Then you realize that such a law would be redundant.
The above came to me between 5-5:30 a.m. in the middle of December 1996.


One weekend morning in a town where I used to live, I went into the local grocery store. On the bulletin board outside the door was a card advertising the Ku Klux Klan.

I took down the card, and was about halfway tempted to call the number and talk with them.

I went back to the grocery store that afternoon. A copy of the same card had been re-posted.

I thought it was probably done by someone who worked at the store.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Four Dead In Ohio

On the campus of Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, May 4, 1970.

Forty years ago today.

This picture posted to mark the event.

Gas Prices, Present and Past

I was driving today when I noticed a local gas station selling gas at $2.929 a gallon. If I remember correctly, it was being sold for about five cents less this weekend.

This is about the average price of a gallon of gas sold in the Indianapolis area. If you want to check a news story about it, please click here.

As I checked for prices in the past, I found that gas was selling for $2.599 a gallon in February -- the middle of a horrible spell of weather -- and for $1.85.9 a gallon back in January of 2009.

Breaking Not All That Good

Here's another commonplace post entry. It comes from the March 3, 2008 issue of The New Yorker. It's about the television show Breaking Bad. Unfortunately, I forgot to note the author.

I don't feel won over by the show. It's more than two-dimensional, and yet somehow less than three. Eighteen years ago, Twin Peaks gave us the thrill of artfulness, black humor, weirdness, and mystery combined with the letdown of meta-shaggy storytelling and notional characters. A wide range of shows in the post-Twin Peaks television landscape have occupied the same inorganic, two-and-a-half dimensional world. Breaking Bad is very well done, but it has a bleakness that seems to be manufactured for no good reason. In its spiral down toward nothingness, Breaking Bad pulls viewers down with it, just because it can.

Doggerel About Anna

Gentlemen --
Once upon Anna --
Or once atop Anna --

You won't want to get off
Until you get off!

O yeah!
If you know what I mean ...

Now who's first?
Get in line!
A buck a minute --
Five bucks the max!

Yeah, I'm her pi --
er, no --
I'm her business agent.

O yeah!
If you know what I mean ...

How Frank's Mind Works

Here's another note from my friend Frank:

i was at the hospital recently ... i was there to get some blood work done ... i rolled up my shirt for the medical technician to insert a needle to draw some blood ... i thought of the lyrics to magical mystery tour ... you know, that beatles song ... and the lyrics go eoll up for the magical mystery tour ... a relative told me the lyrics refer to someone rolling up the sleeve of his shirt to shoot heroin ... that song came out 43 years ago ... that was a long, long time ago ... I thought/remembered that 40 years ago this month the beatles broke up ... paul mccartney made the announcement when he was talking about his new album ... he recorded it without any of the other beatles playing on it ... i heard the news from a brother of a former girl friend ... i was walking down a street in my hometown and he was driving in the opposite direction ... he leaned out his car window and told me ... i said, "no shit!" and he said he wasn't ... he was the type of person who liked to deflate people's hopes and get pleasure from that ... that's just an example of how my mind often goes from one thing to another ... making connections subconsciously ... and about 5 to 10 seconds passed in the string of thoughts ... i wonder if you do that ...

Yes, I often do that.

And I was surprised that, anywhere within that string of thoughts, Frank had no sexual ones.