THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN
Dec. 11th, 2016
01:03 am - Carl
Halloweens remind me of Carl who was married to my grandmother's sister, which would make him my great uncle, though, I don't remember anyone ever refering to him other than by his first name, never Uncle Carl or certainly not Great Uncle Carl, just Carl. The mental picture I have of Carl from my childhood is of a good looking guy who looked a lot like the 40's and 50's actor Victor Mature, with an ever present cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth and a beer bottle close at hand. In this mind's eye picture he has his shirt unbuttoned and his white tee shirt showing. However, this could be because I almost always saw Carl when I was a child while visiting Florida on summer vacations.
When I was about six on one of those summer trips to Florida, Carl gave to me some Japanese currency, a fifty yen note. When I asked him what the browish stain on it was he replied, "Dried blood from the dead Jap I took it off of during the war."
Seeing me recoil from it, he laughed and told me it was just rust from his money clip. After all these years, I still have that money in a drawer somewhere and I still don't know which version is true.
The one time that I can remember seeing him not during summer vacations he came to visit my family in Georgia right before Halloween. He had bought me a costume. I was horrified. It was Mighty Mouse the cartoon character who fought dastardly cats. The costume was yellow with red trunks and a short red cape with a Mighty Mouse mask. I was ten years old and mortified least any of my friends or school mates saw me in a kiddie costume. I cried to my mother that I wanted to be a monster. In no uncertain terms, my mother informed me that not wearing the mouse costume wasn't an option. After all, Carl had bought it for me and it would be impolite not to wear it. So it was settled. I would go as Mighty Mouse and that was that, period. Except it wasn't because there was no way I was going as Mighty Mouse. I would rather not go trick or treating than suffer the indignity of going as that cartoon mouse.
My mother told me to go and get in the car. She drove me, probably inwardly fuming, to a store where I picked out and bought a monster mask. It was a green vaguely reptilian monster, sort of a generic Creature from the Black Lagoon type. Back at the house, my mother ordered me into the Mighty Mouse costume and mask but once out on the sidewalk in front of the house and out of Carl's sight, off came the Mighty mouse mask to be replaced by the creature mask. There was no getting out of wearing the actual Mighty Mouse costume though, so that Halloween I was the evil monsterous mutated space alien version of Mighty Mouse, thank you very much, Carl.
Dec. 8th, 2016
06:37 pm - King Trump
My eight year old asked me if Donald Trump is our king now. No, I explained to him, he hasn't had his coronation yet.
02:30 pm - Trick or Treat
I love Halloween. It brings out my inner child - I mean when else can you dress up as a ghoul and extort candy from your neighbors after dark with your parents acquiescence. This Halloween I took my son who is eight and Maddie, a friend of his who is a year older Trick or Treating around our neighborhood while my wife Patty stayed behind to hand out candy. My son actually ran from door to door in a state of candy fueled ecstacy while Maddie clumpped along behind him complaining that her feet hurt and asking if we could go home soon. I had to surpress laughing at the pure contrast between the two of them.
"Oh, Maddie, let's hit a few more houses. Those over there have their porch lights on." I said, smiling. And off my son sprinted.
Nov. 9th, 2016
07:31 pm - Walls
Twenty-seven years ago to the day, to cheering crowds the Berlin Wall came down and a ticking stop watch began the countdown to the end of the Soviet Empire. It's ironic isn't it? Today, in the Russian parliament when it was announced that Donald Trump, who promised to build another wall, had won the U.S. election they broke into applause and cheers.
Jul. 15th, 2016
This last winter we had no winter here. Inclimate weather we had aplenty: massively destructive hailstorms, monsoonlike torrential downpours of rain, floods and a large deadly tornado that cut a swarth of destruction through the city but no cold weather and no sustained freezing temperatures. As a consequence, we are cursed with clouds of mosquitoes and swarms of flies and gnats like some biblical plague.
May. 28th, 2016
09:01 pm - Memorial Day
My neighbors have hung out their flags. I have a flag too. It rests folded in a triangle in a glass faced display case in my living room, a daily reminder. Among my earliest memories is the sound of bugle calls blaring through loud speakers with Taps, the last call of the day, echoing into the darkness. I was raised by a soldier and grew up amongst them. I was taught that the higher pay, perks and salutes rendered to an officer came at a price and that price was that one day it might be required to be the first to climb out of a trench or over the top of a rice paddy dike or to cross a barren stretch of desert into a field of fire and say, " Follow me."
RIP: LTC Robert Lamastus, LTC Calvin Emery and COL James Stone
This year has been the year that the music died, with each week seeming to add to a growing list of dead rock stars, pop idols and country icons. Recently, though, Eric Burdon who used to be a bouncing gnome and once was an Animal and Bob Dylan, once an angry young man now turned mumbling crooner with a pencil thin pimp's mustache, both celebrated their seventy-fifth birthdays. It seems strange, thinking about Jimi and Jim Morrison forty-five years in their graves and how quickly time passes us all by. Anyway, happy birthdays and may you live to be a hundred and five and go out singing. I hope they enjoyed their cake.
May. 26th, 2016
The events of the past weekend have starkly borne home on a personal level the fragility of existance. I was reminded of Warren Zevon's comment while dying of lung cancer. He was asked if the approaching end of his life gave him some special insight and he replied, "Enjoy every sandwich."
Apr. 11th, 2016
04:57 pm - The Scars of Memory
The old hymn speaks about a vale of tears.
I don 't know about vales of tears
for I don't live in a vale anymore
but on an empty featureless plain
four hundred miles from the sea.
I have worn a veil of tears though
and wore it like a shroud.
I know about tears and regrets.
I know about your tears and regrets.
Looking into the distance,
a sailor adrift
four hundred miles from the sea.
They say time heals all wounds.
Yet, as I flipped through a book of memories
I got a paper cut from each and every page.
This is death by a thousand cuts.
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