Monday, May 23, 2011

 A Courtesan's Rebuke

No more I
To abide
Thou priggish,
"Better late
Than never"

Not the wine,
Nor the food.
Not the music,
Nor thy countenance
Can turn my head.

Perhaps another time.
But tonight
My favors
Belong to.......

Photo of painting (Banquet Scene with a Lute Player by Nicolas Tournier, 1625) provided for Magpie Tales #67 by Tess Kincaid.

"Better late than never" prompt for Sunday Scribblings #268 by Megg.

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

I’ve got to tell you this story, even though, technically, its gossip. My wife imparted this tale to me and on a broad scale I tend to believe it, without talking to the involved parties personally. It seems that this fellow we know has recently been put on a budget by his wife. She thinks he spends entirely too much money in the cafeteria at his place of employment. I suspect she is referring to his breakfast purchases as well as his lunches and various snacks throughout the day. I have no idea how much he spends there nor do I care, but I think it’s important to the story to let you know that this fellow earns a yearly salary, in the low six figures, in the healthcare industry. He is quite frugal, some would use the term cheap. I can verify from personal observation that this fellow does not part with a dollar easily. He’s reluctant to buy a raffle ticket from a co-worker or to contribute to any other of the various fund raising activities that arise from time to time in the average work place. I’ve heard him beg off siting the fact that his “allowance” from his wife doesn’t have any extra for those things.

He does, however like to eat. I would say that he is fifty pounds overweight and I’m being conservative here. His love of eating is equaled by his dislike of exercise. He would rather take a pill or pills for high blood pressure and high cholesterol rather than control both of these health threats through regular exercise. The irony will be apparent shortly.

Rather than curb his calorie intake to satisfy his wife’s demand for a cut back in cafeteria expenses, he now packs a cooler every day with his meals and snacks for the day. Fair enough, you might say, and I’d agree with you.

There is a parking lot directly in front of this man’s place of employment, which is designated for the use of customers only. The employees are required to park in the lot 2 to 2 ½ blocks from the main entrance.

Because he feels his cooler is too heavy to carry the two blocks, he is requesting special dispensation from the parking police so that he can park in the customer’s parking lot. Are you freaking kidding me?

Is there some irony here or not?

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

#186 SHAME
It's a shame when:
writers don't write
Singers don't sing
Lovers don't love
And people aren't
kinder to each other.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

#136: Change

Proverbs, old adages, and clichés are really notes from the past to remind us that, really, there is nothing new under the sun, or at least on this man's earthly realm. Well technically, cliché doesn't fit this definition, but sometimes adages get used so much that they become clichés.

A proverbial saying that I think of frequently and most particularly when discussing promises of politicians is; "The more things change, the more they stay the same." For the prompt today I'd like to approach change from this perspective; "Without change, nothing can stay the same."If not enigmatic, these phrases are in the least paradoxical or oxymoronic.

To illustrate my take on politicians I'll show you a comic strip from todays newspaper, by Guy & Brad Gilchrist: Nancy.
Knowing what the electorate wants to hear and promising it to them is a political ruse from the beginning of time. We all know it and actually we really don't care. We want to hear what we want to hear.

Another illustration referring to change goes along the lines of pigs wearing lipstick. (I actually could not recall ever hearing that phrase before but facts show that it is quite a common cliche...who'd-a-guessed?)
No matter how you "change" it, a dollar is a dollar.

Despite the fact that we and our world are constantly changing, we frequently resist change. We get in a comfort zone, or a discomfort zone (think abuse here); a mental feeling that the evil we know is better than the evil we don't.

Lets start at the beginning. A little spermy or scads of little spermies leave home to court any available eggster they encounter in the tubes of Fillop. Often one of those little devils is strong enough, and persistent enough to break down sweeties defenses and slips into oblivion. Ah, the trill of victory...but never again to be a spermy, forever changed; an entirely new entity. Does it end there? No, of course not. This new entity begins to slide down that slippery slope of change at break neck speed. Changing drastically moment to moment, day to day, and month to month.
After 36 weeks or so this new entity, resembling not it's two beginning parts is floating around in the comfortably warm swimming pool, all it's needs are being met. It's kind of a hedonistic existence don't you think? Then all of a sudden like a lightening bolt from the sky everything changes; all the water drains out of the pool, your home intermittently squeezes the maconium out of you and your head is pushed into a, too small for comfort, corridor, and there's nothing you can do about it. Then swoooosh, your expelled into a totally new world and the light is blinding and, holy crap man, it's incredibly cold, and man, this is totally no fun I want to go back. How do I let someone know I want to go back, that this change is unacceptable. Yell!!! Yeah,that's it I'll scream 'til they put me back. Sorry Charlie, welcome to the world, welcome to a lifetime of change.

Bear with me here for a moment. Think of each individual piece of existence on or in the universe as it's own cubicle and unlike this poor illustration, each cubicle connects to each of the other cubicles. Say One cubicle is for trees, one for elephants, another for fish, ferns, insects, honey bees, and on and on and on. That's pretty easy, yes? Ok, the interdependence lecture is set for Friday at 2pm in Maxy Hall. Today I'm only discussing the cubicle that holds humanity. Ok? Good.

Humanity in relation to the aphorism, "without change, nothing can stay the same."

The above description of the reproductive process of the human being is not a new development. It's been going on for as long as I can remember, even longer than that, I'd dare say. So I think it's safe to say that we are in the midst of a long standing process by which humans have been populating the planet. So from conception to the first external bowel movement involves a great many changes, and yet for all intents and purposes we remain unchanged as a species specimen. Agreed? Yes, I see you hand. What's your question? Genetic adaptation, longer healthier lifespans?, yes, yes these are good points and we will be touching on those elements in greater detail next semester, and while important, not particularly salient to the point at hand.

Where were we? Oh yes, we go through a great many changes, yet we always come out the same. It's the same for grass, trees, flowers, birds and well, most anything I can think of.

If some enormous calamity were to intervene and interfere with this process of changes that produce the same end result would the end result cease to exist? Would humans become something other than what they've always been?

Your assignment for next week is to read H.G. Wells's book, "The Island of Dr. Moreau."

Come to class prepared to continue our discussion of change.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Death Observed
Before the sperm meets the egg; are we?
After the last breath is taken; are we?

Aunt Josie died circa 1955. I would have been around ten. She'd been dying for quite awhile. She lived across the street from our house with her son, Buck and his wife Irene. I don't know why she stopped living with the Major, her husband who lived only a few blocks away, up in the shipyard. It never occurred to me to ask why, or if I did, some innocuous answer quelled any further questions on my part. As long as I knew her, she lived across the street at Buck's. Seems to me she was always sickly. Mainly a debilitating arthritis; the knobby knuckle type. Rheumatoid I think it's called today. In good weather she spent most days on the side porch with her dog Tippy, a toy Fox Terrier, entertaining friends and neighbors alike with tales of the "good-'ol-days. During the winter months she sat on the couch in the parlor listening to the radio and later watching the little 12 inch black and white Motorola TV. I also remember she and her sisters played cards a couple nights a week. Keno I think, for nickles and dimes.

When she got nearer to her end time, everyone; relatives, neighbors and friends were well aware. In those days we had the neighborhood grapevine: the party-line telephone.
A person's dying in those days was a community event. Everyone came 'round to Buck and Irene's to pay their respects, say their goodbyes and ask and give forgivenesses for past indiscretions, and so on and like that there.

After she died, the couch, that she sat on in the parlor, was relocated and the casket in which she was laid out took it's place. Folks, including us youngsters, came to view the body of Aunt Josie. I think I must have viewed it a hundred times. Just wanted to see what dead was. It was like a family reunion with all the relatives and there was food enough to feed an army. While the old folks commiserated we kids played tag and hide-an-go-seek out side. Some of us took time out to pet and comfort Tippy. Funerals in those days were a great opportunity to meet cousins you'd only heard about here-to-fore. Let me tell you, some of the older girl cousins were real knockouts!

Dying was a part of daily life, like going to work, gardening, and eating meals; everybody did it and your turn would come 'round one day too. It was accepted just like the sun rising every morning was accepted. Death wasn't hidden away in those days, and kept separate from the living.
'Course some deaths were sadder than others. 'Specially if the deceased was young. I remember Aunt Josie's grandson Timmy dying in a construction accident. his wife and 5 kids were devastated.

Cinnamon is dying. He's our Siamese cat. He's been steadily declining for weeks and I don't think he's got too many days left. He knows his days are numbered and he's OK with that and so are we. He seems comfortable, and sleeps most of the time. He's eighteen. (Jacob went online to find out how to calculate cat years to the human equivilant, and says Cinn is in his late eighties.)

When we're here, we are!
When we're not, we aren't.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Set your guilt Free by ~lollirotten-emma

Do I Have To?

Do I have to feel guilty
For the thoughts I hold inside?
And when, unbidden, there you pried,
Do I have to feel guilty
For the feelings you now abide?

Do I have to say I'm sorry
For the feelings you choose to hold?
Or if the day is ruined; and more days, untold.
Do I have to feel sorry,
Lest my heart begin to mold?

Do I have to apologize
For the person that I portray?
Can I lay aside for just one day,
Do I have to make apology;
Say "out damned spot", I'm really not okay?

Do I have to feel guilty?
Do I have to say I'm sorry?
Do I have to apologize?

The button shorted out!

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

photo by © rel

This week has seen a paltry amount of writing from this author. Oh, I did put up a post on Monday and Thursday, but in reality, I've neglected my writing, reading and posting for the week. The fact that it is also the second week of vacation makes it seem worse to me since I should have had a surplus of time, time to attend to those things, such as writing, that I savor. I deplore excuses. They are poor apologies for not doing something you should have done and didn't and now your looking for absolution.

I've been in one of those doggedly unambitious moods and I just didn't feel like applying myself to too much that was constructive or required much mental exercise. Partly, this state of mind was brought about in concert with a melancholia precipitated by the deaths of two men my age, and the mid-week class and test I need to pass to maintain my certification and thereby my privileges to work at the hospital.

My Wife's recent retirement has fostered a resurgence of energy and zest for life in her that has had her busting her butt in the yard and flower gardens to get the manor spruced up. She has started a diet and kick started her exercise regime to include a start at some running. At this juncture I must say that she has not been a nag nor has she pushed me to do anything more than a few menial tasks. Of course her example did create a sense guilt enough so that I did keep up my exercise regime, welcomed the new diet regime and I did infact get some household tasks completed, but be assured that except for an 11 mile run, I did not bust my ass around here.

But, I digress:
This post is really about two deaths and a test. The test was anxiety producing only because I'm a professional procrastinator. In fact, if procrastinators got paid for their level of procrastination I'd be buying out Warren Buffet. Since I passed the test with flying colors I'll leave that as is.

On April 27th, 2008 Mike St. Andrews died. That would be last Sunday. Because he'd lived most of his adult life in Illinois his obit didn't appear in the local paper here until Wednesday. Mike was 61 years of age.

Mike was a year behind me in high school and therefore a year younger. We weren't friends in the traditional sense; we hung around with different people, came from opposite sides of the tracks, and lived in different worlds even in the same town. But in a greater sense we were family. We were siblings in the brotherhood of sports. Mike was a pitcher for our varsity baseball team....I was the catcher for that team. Mike was a quarterback for our football team. I was a guard and a linebacker on that team. That special commonality made us family.
I graduated and left for the military life. Mike had one year left 'til graduation. Things change and life moves on. It's the natural flow of things, and so you would be right to think that that was the end of our siblingry (-neologism-) so to speak.

February 16, 1966 I was waiting in the DaNang, South Vietnam airport to catch my flight back to CONUS (continental U.S.). I was goin' home from the war. As I watched the incoming soldiers and sailors deplaning I recognized one of the sailors...Mike St. Andrews.
We talked in the usual banalities. He was envious of my departure and I wished him all safety and good luck. And you know; hey man how are ya? And holy shit man it's good to see ya and yada yada yada. That was the last time I saw my bother; brother in sports, brother in arms. Mike with the calm, lamb like personnality and rel the boisterous, ferocious, lion.

The time is soon to be upon me Mike and I'll join you on the tarmac beyond this world.

Thursday last, David "Gordie" Warren died from complications from a stroke. He was sixty-two years old, same age as me. Gordie and I were siblings in the family of community. We live in the same town, his home town, my Dad's home town and my adopted home time. Gordie and I interacted countless times. Gordie was a smart, industrious, savvy guy. He could be everybody's friend but at the same time he brooked no bull shit. He embraced life and lived it to the fullest and he left us too soon....Gone, like a member of this extended family we call community.

Might as well get the third prompt in here while we're at it; identity.
Mike and I identified with each other on one plane. Same with Gordie and I. Each of us has many identities: son, daughter, husband, wife, mother, father, friend, worker and so on and on.
But in the end we will all share the same identity;


I penned a little to poem to express my feelings iterated above, and if you've read down this far I hope you finish up with this.


As turbulent times
Are wont to be,
This past week had
Ups and downs
For me.

A test to garner
My recert.,
On Wednesday I did spend.
Without success
Would my identity thereby end?

Bracketing the week
Front to back
Were two friends deaths.
One friend from long ago,
Just last week, the second said hello.

My friend from long times past
Was a meek and mild
Kind of guy.
While the other had a
Ferociousness from time to time.

Now they lay side by side
This lion and the lamb.
These two,
Members of
The family of man.

Sadly, over time
Their identities
Will be
On a stone.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

It's been one f those weeks! You know, one where nothing really went horribly wrong but deviated from the norm enough to make you say, hot-dog I'm glad to see Friday get here. With the pile up of years, I really do try to stay supple, at least in my mind. Sometimes it's an effort though; cynicism is always lurking right around the corner ready to make you a brittle curmudgeon.

I'll try to keep this story short, you know, a snap shot of life, a Polaroid of sorts.

Being on call pulls you down physically if not mentally and this week I was unfortunate enough to pull two days: Monday and Thursday. If you don't get called it's not so bad, but when you work half the night and then turn around and have to put in a regular day following it there is a tendency to come to Friday with some trepidation. It's like, what else can happen to make this week a total flop?

Now in the grand scheme of things I really have nothing to complain about except some lost sleep. I didn't run over or hit the skunk that darted out in front of my car last night. Some one did put too much salt on the pop corn yesterday, but not enough to stop me from gorging myself on it for supper.

And on proper reflection, both of the ladies in OB that I gave interthecal Fentanyl to ,delivered without having to come to the OR for c-sections. The four year old boy who got kicked in the face by a horse got shipped to a higher level facility and didn't come to our OR. The kidney stone patient was suffering way more than me, and the fourteen year old girl who had her appendix out last night, the first day of her spring break vacation, wasn't too happy.

Sitting here in front of my no-name computer, meditating on the week behind me, I'm starting to think: I had a pretty good week, yeah, Heck I'm going fearless into Friday. That's the ticket, bring it on, I can handle it. I'll make my self like buttered aluminum foil for making peanut brittle: troubles, if they come will just slide off me slick as snot!

Well now, I'm glad we had this little talk. I'm feeling much better. Thanks for listening!

Every day is yours to make
Whatever it will be.
A Polaroid for you to follow
To meet the day a breeze.

I'll not become a brittle branch
No, a supple sapling will I be.
Reflecting woes like aluminum-
I'll foil misery.

With fearless fortitude I'll face
Any skunk that comes my way.
Throwing salt upon the icy place
So upright I will stay.

God willing and the creek don't rise
Raise a glass of red with me tonight.
At six PM, eastern zone, a prize-
Thankful for all that's right.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunday Scribblings
# 105
The Photograph

With Sunday winding down and bedtime closing in I decided I'd best be pecking out a submission to post or risk being late or absent altogether. The girls have given us as a prompt "the Photograph" or just photo if you wish.
99.9% of the time the prompts presented here offer a wide array of possible avenues to explore, and today's is no different. Anyone who has read this blog for any time at all know that my love of photographs is represented herein very well . I do love to use photos to help tell my stories or illustrate my poems and so they, the posts, are liberally peppered with purloined as well as self made photographs.

In keeping with my tradition of trying to pick an avenue less trod by the other Scribblers I've decided that instead of posting some of the pictures I had originally selected to grace this post, I would instead write a post of a thousand words, sans illustration, photo or image of any kind.

Just kidding! Well, about the thousand words anyway, not the absence of photos.

I'll make three points about photographs and then leave you to mull it over, or not, as you will.

1. I love photographs. They, next to trees, are some of my best friends. They are memory simulators, history keepers, art-for-art-sake images, and entertaining (think moving pictures here).

2. But really, what is a photograph?

3. Using a photo to create a character.

What is a Photograph?

A photo is a snapshot of a dream
To hold the past unchanged.
A work of art, a piece
Of time held still.
A reminder of something
That only existed for that instant.

A photograph stops time
Just as death terminates life.

They are simply a mirror reflection
O what once was-
Fading, yellowing
Aging, slowly crumbling,
Turning to dust.

These images serve to
Remind us of what once was
And can never be again.

And we love them all the same,
like nuggets of gold,
priceless treasures to save at all cost.

When we're gone they end up
In pawn shops for some
writer/ photographer to buy
For a penny and
Use to stimulate his imagination and to write a story,
That never happened.

This poem materialized in my mind as I was awakening after a night marinating in my right brain and flew out the tip of my pen almost before my feet hit the floor.

Character creation:
Shortly after I started blogging I came across Corey's blog, Tongue in Cheek.
The first post of hers that I read had to do with a girl, a fishmonger she had espied in Marseilles, France. She included in that post a picture of the young woman conspicuously posed in a metal kitchen chair with the port of Marseilles and incumbent fishing fleet behind her. Although she was sitting, I guessed her to be 5'6" or 7", with crow black hair cut short like a shaggy bob, and matching dark eyes. She was slight of build, maybe 115 lbs. Her olive skin was clear but some what hardened by hard work and exposure to the sun. Her long fingers were chaffed and scared from much fish cleaning. Over her t-shirt and black trousers she wore a heavy white rubber apron which hung from just below her collar bones to just blow her knees, and almost touching the sea green knee high rubber boots she wore.
With an unsmiling mouth but the devil twinkling in her eyes she was beautiful in an obscure sort of way. She seem out of place yet at the same time a perfect contrast to the the scene set up by Corey. I left a comment to the effect of the contrasts within the image and that was that. Until a year later and I was writing my first novel for NaNOWriMo, and one of the characters was/is a fishmonger young woman named Elodie. As I was writing her into the scene I knew immediately who Elodie was. I've seen her I said, "I know exactly what she looks like!"

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

#104 Out of this World

"Do you believe there is life beyond Earth? If so, what might it be like, and if not, why not? "

This is todays prompt. I didn't make it up and infact I was chagrined that this question was asked. Why? Well because! Because, first of all, I didn't want to be the one to tell people about life off planet. Secondly, I thought most people already know that there is a myriad of life forms in the universe.

At first I tried to avoid this approach to the topic and so I searched my mind high and low, awake and asleep to come up with some event; some excellent meal, some sublime sexual encounter, some titillating, tantalizing,earth shattering vacation, but alas I could not. Not because I've not had any of those happenings in my life, but rather that I've never used the term "Out of this world" to describe them. You see (notice the word see; I'm a visual being), it's like hypnotizing a client and failing to do an adequate interview before starting the session. I.E., trying to get someone to envision themselves basking in the sun on a warm sandy beach when they have never been to a beach is a prescription for failure. You may find this particular example odd, but just as recently as last week I had a client tell me just that. Ask someone who's never eaten or even peeled an orange to recall the pungent smell while peeling an orange is futile. All this to say, "Out of this World" is not a term I utilize to describe wonderful experiences, so my treasure chest of imaginings could not conger up an essay along those lines.

Therefore you see, my options this week were to either opt out of participating this week and thereby avoid the ridicule and seething attacks of non-believers, or to stand tall and tell the facts and take the diatribes upon my broad shoulders.

Rather than a long, (by long, I mean a book length dissertation) drawn out presentation, I'll just offer some bullet comments and a poem to peak your curiosity and perhaps lead you to seek greater knowledge. (I'm available for private commiseration on this topic.)

  1. Is there life beyond earth? YES!
  2. Would it be vainglorious to believe otherwise? YES! (You're welcome D. ;))
  3. Are there aliens from other worlds living here on earth? Yes; Venusians would be one example.
  4. How could one recognize them? They operate all the funeral parlors in our world.
  5. Are there planets in our solar system with whom which we have dealings? Yes: Skeletos.
  6. What are black holes, really? They are gigantic tubes (think subway here) through which intergalactic travel takes place.
  7. How do I know this? Interviews with the 10s of thousands of persons who have had near death experiences.
  8. Why should we believe you? You shouldn't, not until you have completed the required level (the 11 levels or planes of consciousness). Einstein tried to tell the world, as did Asimov, and Herbert. Others who knew and tried to impart the knowledge to the masses were Mohammad, Buddha, Jesus, and Aesop. Ghandi knew,
  9. well the list is quite lengthy, but the point is only a few listened, heard and were enlightened.
I'll leave you with this feeble attempt at poetry to perhaps make you think out side your box:

Out of this World

When you travel out of this world
What can you expect to see?
Is the firmament all a whorl
With twinkling in the midnight sea?

Every planet, star and huge galaxie
Is but a reprint of this orb-
Where life abounds in grand array
With complexities we can't absorb.

Of course there is no place
Exactly like our own.
In this outer space
There is no perfect clone.

Each universe is but a stepping stone
On the path to sweet nirvana.
Each lifetime is a chance to hone
Our personal hosanna.

When we've learned to live
In perfect quietude
And find it's love we have to give,
Plus fervent gratitude.

We'll be vacumned through
One last black hole
To a place you always knew;
The repository for the soul.

OH, BTW, these other life forms, They don't resemble us in any way, with the exceptions of the Venusians who live here. They had to give up their natural form to come here. But, just so you know, it was a conscious choice on their part.

Choice. Isn't that a nice word?

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Smörgåsbord....# 102

David MeLange was looking forward to attending the event of the season; the literary smörgåsbord hosted by his group of writing aficionados. It's not as if they were a group of published authors or anything. No, most of their publishing was done on Blogger or Wordpress or some such online blog/journal site, although a few had had some poems published in some obscure poetry magazines.

Basically, they were a group of literary connoisseurs who savored words as if they were the spices and ingredients in a hodgepodge of bellatristic scribblings. No matter the genre or form, be it short story, flash fiction, novel, villanelle, or ode, it was reading the words, admiring their placement, absorbing the aroma of ideas saturating their mind's eye that brought them satisfaction. They literally tasted the succulent words of their fellow writers. Picking and choosing those most appetizing to themselves. As they rolled the words around on their tongues, they were as prompts, hundreds of prompts, that invited them to choose which oven to bake them in and produce their own literary masterpieces.

Truly, a feast for all the senses awaited. "I can hardly wait" thought David.
And thusly, he took pen

Taste the author's succulent board,
Each word choice nuance does convey
An appetizing sampler, a smörgåsbord.

Each page, each stanza, does afford
The reader a literary buffet.
Taste the author's succulent board.

Choosing a piece for your reward,
Will you pick a profound essay?
An appetizing sampler, a smörgåsbord?

This lover's sonnet, doth here record
Two hearts entwined; amours foray.
Taste the author's succulent board.

A novella offers new words to hoard,
To bend and mold like paper maché.
An appetizing sampler, a smörgåsbord.

Here a blogger offers up his concord;
Musings linked in grand array.
Taste the author's succulent board,
An appetizing sampler, a smörgåsbord.

rel ©16 Mar. 2008

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Experiment # 101

" Some of this with that
Mixed together, you get...
An experiment"

At the beginning of every class, right after the bell. Miss Stevenson would recite her little ditty.

"Miss Stevenson, is Frankenstein the result of an experiment?" Asked Henry.

"Oh Henry, well yes, technically Frankenstein was the outcome of an experiment, but it was a story of fiction, not of scientiic experiments such as we do here."

Henry persists, "Miss Stevenson, when we read Shelly's book in Mrs. Victor's English class, it sure seemed realistic."

" Henry Jekyll, your imagination will be the end of you!" said the exasperated Miss Stevenson.

"We'll see about that," thought Henry to himself.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

#96 Foul

This post could be considered foul if only for it's excessive length!

I've committed a foul in football, hit a foul ball in baseball, uttered and heard any and all sort of obscene/abusive language. I've been in a foul mood, suffered foul weather, and witnessed treacherous, dishonorable behavior in sports and otherwise.

I've gagged while cleaning the manure from the cow barn, cringed from the odoriferous stink emanating from my locker at the end of wrestling season, I've wrinkled my nose at body odor and halitosis, and putrid doggy farts (not always from the dog.)

I've doused my surgical mask with oil of wintergreen to stave off the fetid stench of gangrene and perforated bowels.

Nothing can hold a candle to the foul, malodorous incident that occurred at our house in the mid-1980's

No, I'm not talking about the time that Gerry dumped a trailer load of pig shit in the driveway. No, I'm talking about the night that Pepe la Pew got pissed off and contaminated our whole house and it's belongings.
You see, the back portion of our house was an add-on to the original, circa 1900, house. I've no clue as to when it was added, it was there when we bought the house. This room, we still refer to it as the "back" room has no cellar nor crawl space even, under it. It was built on hewn tree trunks. There was/is an air ventilation opening to allow air to circulate under the structure to prevent the beams from rotting.

In the "good ol'" days this room served as a summer kitchen. For us more modern folk, it serves as the rear entry, coat room, mail depository, and plain old catch-all room.
There being little or no insulation in this house when we moved in in 1975, and with the outrageous cost of fuel oil in those days; .90 a gallon I think, I installed a woodstove in this back room.

Not only was the cost of fuel exorbitant but the winters back then were much colder than they are today. In the mornings when you'd venture into the back room you could feel the rush of frigid air waft up through the cracks between the floor planks and nip your toes and make your feet dance.

The woodstove's heat, which just incidentally happened to be positioned over the air vent opening to the underside of the structure, proved to be inviting to at least one, but more than likely a family of skunks.
The skunks would move in in the fall and leave in the spring. Of course there was always a faint scent of eau de skunk present in the back room, but not obtrusively so. We actually welcomed the critters, believing that they would ward off other pesky rodents such as mice or rats. Incidentally, while the skunks resided with us we were not bothered by either mice or rats.

Near the end of one winter, probably the spring of 1985, as the skunks were becoming more active, something startled or attacked (maybe a dog, although no barking was heard) our boarder causing it to defend itself naturally. The fact that it was still ensconced under the room was not a good thing. That fetid aroma, that highly offensive smell, combining the odors of rotten eggs, garlic and burnt rubber, spread hither and yon through-out our home creeping into every nook and cranny and seeping into the fabric of our clothing.

The smell was so horrific that we couldn't stay in the house. We went to the newly erected Burger King restaurant in the next town (where we wouldn't be recognized----hopefully) to have supper. We endured plenty of stares and wrinkled up noses, and then and there vowed to never set foot in that BK again just from sheer embarrassment; knowing we'd be labeled some derogatory words describing our aroma.

The next day our three children were sent home from school because their clothes reeked so badly with the stench of skunk piss. Our daughter (yes the one whose birthday is today) was a sophomore in high school and was so mortified from embarrassment. The boys on the other hand reveled in the fact that they were getting a day off. Who'd-a-thought?

At my work place, the operating room no less, people exiting our locker room where I had changed into OR scrubs kept inquiring as to the source of the foul odor emanating from the locker room.

It took numerous days and many loads of baking soda laced loads of laundry before we were comfortable re-entering our social circle.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

# 94 Fellow Travelers

For me, blogging epitomizes what the term fellow traveler encompasses. We all, and I mean by all, not only our contemporaries but those humans who trod the planet before us and those we created to walk the paths after us, are fellow travelers. Sometimes we walk on the same paths, sometimes parallel paths, and sometimes divergent paths. Sometimes we meet serendipitously and walk the path together. The bottom line I think is that we are more alike and enjoy similar beliefs and follow like paths to kindred goals than surface impressions first display.

I my community this past few weeks we have lost to untimely death, two men; sons of friends and neighbors. These young men were the same ages as two of my children. My focus was on how terribly tragic for a parent to lose a child, to any reason, before themselves. We have witnessed this far too many times, and yet we still despair and pray that we will be spared a similar happenstance.

A third death during the same period was of more significance to me in particular but again to all of us in general. And so it was, that when I sent an email to a friend and fellow traveler who is at the south pole for the moment, I referred to the three recent deaths of young folk in our community. When he replied to me with the question; " who was the third?" I realized that he was not personally acquainted with any of the parties associated with the third young man's death.

I sent him this follow-up:


The third young person to die at age 36 besides Craig (40) and Rich (36) was a man by the name of David Gogolak. He died in a Montana Avalanche while skiing. His father was the former NFL player Pete Gogolak. Click link below:

Pete and Charlie Gogolak are brothers who emigrated from Hungary in the mid-fifties to Ogdensburg. Their father was a psychiatrist who was hired by NYS to work at the St. Lawrence State Hospital. Pete was a senior at OFA when I was a freshman, and Charlie was a year ahead of me. We were all football players for OFA. Both Pete and Charlie went on to play pro ball in the AFL and NFL as kickers, introducing the soccer style kick that is prevalent to this day in pro football.

I was closer to Charlie than Pete. I fact I was a catcher for Charlie on our baseball team as well. What a thrill it was for me as well as all of our classmates to have known and played with two guys who ultimately made it to the big time. To think I laced up my cleats in the same locker room with the Gogolak brothers was a big high. I mean, come on man, I tackled both those guys at one time or another from my position as middle line backer in numerous scrimmages and practices. Well you get the idea. Fame by association. ;)

Anyway, during a time frame when two local boys died an untimely death, the son of a high school team-mate also was called to the other-side. The fact that these boys were the same ages as my daughter and middle son made their deaths all the more poignant to me.

Sorry if I confused you.


I believe that we, fellow travelers, are impacted by the fates of those we know as well as those we don't on this trek to.................................................................................................?

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

# 91 - Now and Then

Then: Alcohol lubricated the libido.

Now: Alcohol puts the libido to sleep.

Then: Make the music so loud we can’t talk

Now: Can you turn that down a little?

Then: Meet at a friend’s house at 6pm for a few and noshing.

Now: Meet a friend for the early bird special at the golden coral.

Then: Drink ‘til you dance like Fred and Ginger.

Now: Watch the Ball drop if you can stay awake that long.

Then: Pay $100.00 for party reservations; dinner included.

Now: $15.00 for a DVD of Dr. Zhivago; leftovers for supper.

Then: Two bottles of Dom Pérignon.

Now: Two 4 ounce glasses of Asti.

Then: Your parents listened to Guy Lombardo.

Now: You listen to Guy Lumbago.

Then: You woke up late and felt like you’d been run over buy a Mack Truck

Now: You meet friends for brunch and talk about the “good ol’ days”.

Then: Went to bed at 4am.

Now: Get up at 4am to empty your bladder.

Then: Wrote a list of New Year’s resolutions with expectations of success.

Now: Make sure my will is up to date.

Then: I didn’t like New Years Eve parties.

Now: Still don’t like New Year’s Eve parties.

Now and then it’s good to look back before you plan ahead!

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