Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Oh the pain of an online geek,
when friends they finally do seek,
Goodreads, Facebook, or some other
sites that promise not to smother
their special likes or personhood
like a bar drink or meeting would.
But lack of one on one time can
lead to hurting the heart of man,
because if he can tweet and twitter,
he might quickly turn out bitter,
when ignored by “friend” turned slick,
passed over for cuter profile pic!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


This coming three days the USC Gamecocks will face off against the Arizona Wildcocks [ed.--This was a freudian slip, it's Wildcats of course,but I'm leaving it in cause it is so damn funny.] for the opportunity to win a third NCAA championship. I wish them luck and will closely be following their battles. Even if they come up short, what a wonderful team this has been, special because they just never seemed to panic all season long. They always seem loose, expecting someone to step up and rescue them. Amazing defensive plays all year and in the tourney. When you would see a coming match-up you would often think, "They might be better than the Cocks." But then the guys came through, as if will is more powerful than skill. And skillfull they are nonetheless. They faced down the best pitching staff in Arkansas, and what great games they were. Someone had to lose, but the Razorbacks fought as hard as their namesakes. Roth, Webb, Price, Walker, Mazilli and the older guys have been solid, if not spectacular at times, and the new guys such as Pankake and Montgomery have sparkled. When Greiner hurt himself just before the tourney, Rosenberg stepped up. When people now hear the name Conner English they think of speed. There now should be a bronze for our coach, the new stadium should be "The Tanner," and he should truly be considered amongst the greatest all-time college baseball skippers. For a sports-champion starved university, their baseball kings have brought pride, not so much for the trophies but for the repuation the players have earned as being committed ballplayer and student athletes, as well as extremely nice and polite fellows. And it seems Omahans have always been impressed by our players. The Gamecocks have not only showed up at Omaha, but have left team and individual records in their wake. Twenty-two win NCAA tourney record, eleven straight at Omaha; the all-time winningest pitcher (Price), most innings pitched (Roth), and I sometimes think, most fans outside of the state of origin. Price and Webb, who pitched 33 CWS innings in games together, have given up 1 earned run in 33 innings. That is almost unheard of. I sure hope they contuinue their winning ways and bring back to Columbia some additional hardware. But the greatest gift they have given Gamecock fans is HOPE! And some wonderful memories.


OK, I just don't understand why more men don't love ballet. I don't know who gets credit for this photo, though I lifted it from a FB ballet news source, but it is lovely. Yes, even old, overweight ogres can have an ocular moment.

Friday, June 22, 2012


A recent poll indicated stronger support for Obama than Romney, prompting Republicans and conservatives to complain that the sample was biased. Without actually commenting on the poll itself, I was dismayed by the following line in the report: "higher-than-average number of college educated respondents in the poll 'may have produced a higher level of support for Obama'." So, smarter and educated folk seem to support the president, while those with lower educational attainment support Romney. Doesn't anyone see this trend as troubling? It doesn't surprise me, but it is seldom written up so blatantly.


My book sits on the shelf right there,
not a Nook or electronic gear.
I’d rather have the feel and smell
of printed page I love so well.
A book’s battery will never die,
or refuse to load on the fifth try.
I can hand it off to a good friend,
or maybe to family I might send,
pass it along to sister or brother
or to a stranger to discover.
Can write my notes or get it signed,
for that’s what it was so designed.
Or keep it till it’s the end of me,
without paying another fee.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


For Miglet, per an earlier conversation, a passage from William Least Heat Moon's Blue Highways: A Journey into America (1983), published around the time I mirrored portions of his trip with my own great adventure:

"She served a stack of unheated flour tortillas, butter, and a bowl of green, watery fire that would have put a light in the eyes of Quetzalcoatl. Texans can talk, but nowhere is there an American chile hot sauce, green or red, like the New Mexican versions. . .I'd finished the tortillas when she set down huevos rancheros with chopped nopales (prickly pear), rice, and a gringo glass of milk to extinguish the combustibles. Solid cafe food without pretense. Maybe the time is coming, but as yet the great variety and subtlety of fine Mexican cuisine have not much reached the United States. Ten thousand taco stands peddle concoctions cooked by some guy who pronounces the l's in tortilla, and, in the Southwest, cafes like the Manhattan serve a good but basic fare; yet, only a few places turn out the dishes that put a cocinero in a class with the chef: squash blossom enchilada, chicken in green pumpkin-seed sauce, tortilla soup, drunken octopus, sweet tamales, shrimp marinated in jalapenos, lime soup, chicken breast pudding, chicken-in-a-shirt."

Hey: Drunken Octopus. Good band name?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I’ve always been a get-by guy,
why excel when you can be sly?
Are three hours study for an A plus,
better than one for an A minus?
Why take a hill when you can thumb,
running and rushing is just plain dumb.
Steady she goes is better than first,
all who finish can quench their thirst.
Kill yourself for a pushy boss?
That would surely be your loss.
This goes for morning, noon, and night,
It’s just not worth the perfect fight.
I’d rather make it to eighty-two,
Then flame out quickly like some do,
I’m in no hurry to stand before Him,
unless He just wants me on a whim.

Monday, June 11, 2012


I am Trayvon Martin. Well, of course, not really, as I am a still-living white man well in his fifties, though I too faced on a darkened Florida night a disgruntled gun owner who easily could have (wrongly) claimed self-defense and gotten away with murder had he slain me. Furthermore, while the story lines are not parallel, the end result could have been the same: a youth robbed of future by an angry, possibly frightened man who badgered authorities with tales of injustice and lawbreaking, and took matters in his own hands rather than relying on the police. I too could have been a Martin.

Now, before I am flayed by the NRA and Second Amendment crowd, who conveniently forget the words “well-regulated,” let me say I am not against gun ownership, or even gun collecting or hunting, for the most part. My father was a competitive pistol shooter in college, a sighter and gunsmith, a proud NRA member, collector of all manners of fired weapons, and he taught me to handle a gun. I don’t mind hunters who kill efficiently and eat their prey, though I am not much in favor of trophy shooting and definitely oppose the hunting of rare animals, no matter the cultural or religious justifications used to buttress calls for unfettered access to these animals (as they belong to the entire world, and extinction is forever). The wiping out of the Florida Panther, for instance, rankles in my bones. I send my boys to a yearly shooting camp so that they too get the experience and learn the responsibility of handling a weapon, as well as, I hope, of developing a respect for their power and danger. I do not like, however, uncontrolled access to guns and relaxed concealed weapons laws, and oppose any legislation that makes it easier to take a person’s life, whether it be private citizen or the government.

Late one night more than thirty years ago I drove along a moon-lit country road that snaked between lakes and orange groves that lead home from my busboy job at a local country club. I was eighteen, a recent high-school graduate, and earning money to attend the University of South Florida. I had traversed this particular pathway many times and knew it well, though it could pose difficulties for the uninitiated or impaired. A particularly challenging set of tight s-curves, which bisected the property of an old man, graced the final stretch just before turning off toward a nearby highway, as this was the back way toward Lake Keystone. The old guy had a reputation for orneriness, and along the edges of this country lane he had placed metal spikes to flatten tires of anyone unlucky enough to stray off the pavement. He hated drunk drivers, and in this he was not remarkable. Allegedly, several of his prized dogs had been struck down, though the state of inebriation of the drivers and culpability of the canines themselves is unknown. Nevertheless, those familiar with this stretch usually took care in mastering it. As I approached the turns, unlit by streetlight, I spied a fire at the edge of the pond on the left. As I neared, I could see it was a car alight, seemingly tipping into the water, and a man stood next to the driver’s door. Then I noticed that the car was occupied, and I jumped from my vehicle to give a hand, as no doubt a rescue attempt was underway.

I was wrong. An old man stood tightly against the door, while the occupant lolled in his seat, possibly injured or inebriated. Clearly he was not going to let the man out. As I approached, I was warned off. “I’m tired of these goddamn drunks. Let him fry.” Now, I was a big boy, six four and about 280 pounds. I towered over the landowner. As the flames continued to lick the rear of the car, I brushed the old guy aside, jerked open the door, and pulled the occupant out into the already wet grass. I dragged him up toward the road and away from the wreck. This was before the day of cell phones, and I heard no sirens. The old man was enraged, spitting abuse toward me for interfering in his rough justice. I looked up at him and said, “I don’t care. You don’t let a person burn to death. Let the police handle it.” He stomped and ranted, almost like a unloosed buck dancer, and then huffed off to his home across the road. The driver was barely conscious, but didn’t seem too badly injured, and I stood over him awaiting the eventual arrival of help. I then heard someone approach, and as I turned I found myself looking at double-barreled shotgun thrust into my face. The old guy quivered in rage.

Was I afraid? Perhaps. But a strange calmness descended upon me, and I just stared at the man. Didn’t move, didn’t react, didn’t yell. Just stood there, probably expecting that this would be my last minutes on earth, though I remember no thoughts, just a paralyzing state of nothingness. I don’t know how long he had the gun on me, it is such a blur in my memory, but eventually I heard a siren in the background and the old man turned away and walked toward some pine trees, where he rested the weapon against the back of one. The deputy was efficient, put out the fire, and soon had the driver in his car, most likely arrested, but I do not know. Afterwards he asked me what had happened, and I told him straight, including the shotgun experience. He walked over and confirmed the gun was where I said it was, and he spoke to the old man. I expected some redress, at least for the threat against my life, but the deputy came back and said, “Well, you are on his land. And he claimed he never said he was going to kill you, so there is really nothing I can do. You can take it to civil court.” It was my word against his. And that was that. I never was called to testify in any court proceedings and never spoke to either gentleman again. But I had faced a premature death, and had he pulled the trigger he could easily have claimed he was afraid of me and feared for his life, and asserted the shooting was justified. If this had happened today, he most likely would have gotten away with it.

The Martin incident brought the memory searing back. How lucky I had been. What if I had had to fight the old guy or manhandle him away from the car in order to save the driver? What if he, even accidentally in his anger, had blown me away and then covered up the incident with staged injuries or testimony from friends or neighbors? Would my family have even known what I did? Certainly he was acting as judge and jury over the driver, and in that the old man was not so different from Zimmerman. Stand-your-ground laws are a danger to society and make it easier to take a life. People should be allowed to defend their homes, but cooler heads and professionals should handle policing.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


I live vicariously through the words and video of travelers and adventurers. You wouldn't get me on a mountaintop anymore, especially not one of the huge high ones, not so much that I couldn't make the climb up, but I know I wouldn't make the trip down (even on a small mountain), not with my knees. So tonight I went video adventuring with Jeff Johnson and his friends as they went on a six-month trip to try and tame Corcovado in Patagonia. Basically what you get in 180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless (2010) is a documentary of a trip from the United States and Mexico, via ocean to Easter ISland and then to Chile, to essentially recreate a 1968 trip by Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins (both founders of major equipment and clothing concerns, ie. Northface) and their buddies. There is sailing, surfing, travel, exploration, a tad romance, and a plea for conservation and protection of wild spaces, mixed in with a bit of mountaineering. The soundtrack sounds hippish or folk, but it is nice. Hopefully more people will become concerned about the never-ending damming of the world's rivers.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012




Run! They want, my powerful stride,
to stay upfront, never caught inside,
so they can garner silver and gold,
yet what do they do when I get old?
So many brothers horribly killed,
beating hearts chillingly stilled,
sisters exploited, some just shot,
cruel experiments, or left to rot,
sad the life of many greyhound
only a few will be rescue bound.


I sometimes have the strangest dreams, often in color (which some say is impossible), and I often remember at least portions of these nocturnal visits. Last night I appear to have been some sort of mafia hitman, or maybe just a member (I don't remember which), who is supposed to meet someone at a small hotel bar. I was given instructions, "you know the one, the yellow one, in the middle of the block", but I spent almost all of my time weaving in and out of 1950s-era bars (although they could have been twenties speakeasies as well) and streets on a rainy night with neon lights reflecting from puddles. I know I was wearing a dapper tan suit and hat, and I didn't feel as if I shouldn't be in some of these nice places. Oddly, I don't remember flirting with any women, no naughty hatchecks or cigarette ladies, and there were no macho events, no shootouts or such. I don't recall even packing heat. Just wandering around in this city looking for the meeting place. It could even have been some time after WWII, cause I seem to remember uniforms, and in one drinking establishment I recognized some minor actors sitting along a lengthy bar, smoking, the cigarettes in holders with smoke trails curling up, but the men got up and stepped to the side of the room when I walked in. Not intimidated, as such, but they clearly knew me or who I was, were wary of me, and their reaction indicates I was someone either to be feared or respected, but they didn't go running off, so I wasn't that much of a threat. Hey, perhaps I was a detective, though if so I should have been carrying a guna nd been more aggressive, wouldn't ya think? I didn't drink or smoke (which I don't do in real life, with the exception of an occasional drink). And I never really became anxious that I couldn't find the appointed bar, just bemused that I couldn't remember its location, though toward the end, just before I woke up, I saw a smaller yellow hotel and was walking toward it. Interpret that, Freud!

Friday, June 1, 2012


I simply love this poem:


by: Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

FISH (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat'ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond?
This life cannot be All, they swear,
For how unpleasant, if it were!
One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And, sure, the reverent eye must see
A Purpose in Liquidity.
We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
The future is not Wholly Dry.
Mud unto mud! -- Death eddies near --
Not here the appointed End, not here!
But somewhere, beyond Space and Time.
Is wetter water, slimier slime!
And there (they trust) there swimmeth One
Who swam ere rivers were begun,
Immense, of fishy form and mind,
Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;
And under that Almighty Fin,
The littlest fish may enter in.
Oh! never fly conceals a hook,
Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,
But more than mundane weeds are there,
And mud, celestially fair;
Fat caterpillars drift around,
And Paradisal grubs are found;
Unfading moths, immortal flies,
And the worm that never dies.
And in that Heaven of all their wish,
There shall be no more land, say fish.


Heard today through a nice report on NPR that a seventh entry in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney is expected in November. This half cartoon/half narrative tale of a put-upon sixth grader and his friends has made its way to the big screen too. Both my sons devoured the series. Joey, who enjoys a dystopian and fantasy bent, stopped to read these books and then introduced them to his little brother, who was a far more reluctant reader. And Chimo fell in love with them, and easily fell into their spell, and therefore, although I haven't read them (I did go to the movies) I still rate them highly on my list of favorite books for what they provided my sons. . .reading enjoyment. And a lot of laughter. There are many who bemoan and predict the death of books, and I simply don't see it. Good books will find readership.