Thursday, March 16, 2017

You looking at me ??!!

There seems to be a bit of "the grouch" revealed in the eyes of Buddy as he tries to catch up on his sleep, but is awakened by me stalking him with my camera .... click, flash .... click, flash .... click, flash. This is not an actual post, but, rather, a facsimile created to substitute for the real thing. Today, March 16, is my birthday, and I felt the need to mark it one way or another. What better way than by a photograph of Buddy ?? I doubt I will be back this way again until mid-April .... I feel a sort of strong urgency to pack up and move on, and time is becoming precious to me .... but, who can say ?? Certainty about anything or anyone is a scare commodity in these times.

Monday, January 16, 2017

One more time for now .... and, then ....

You may have noticed me mention in a place or two that I did break down and buy still Another Smith & Wesson revolver -- and, this time, another .38 Special, this one seventy years old and looking every day of it. I usually search out "old guns" which look like new. Obviously, they are the most valuable. This time what attracted me is a revolver which looks like it has been carried and used every day for seven decades. Actually, it is clear it has been a "working gun" in terms of being carried as evident through holster wear. Usually, I comment how reflection on the photograph of a gun is light glare; in this instance, however, it actually includes areas where outer blue finish has been rubbed off from holster wear. Close examination shows, though, it has not been fired a great deal. My guess is that this pre-Model 10 S&W has been a police gun where it was carried almost daily, but fired only once or twice a year for officer handgun qualification. The holster, incidentally, did not come with it. It is an George Lawrence Company holster is dates at least to the 1950s and, very possibly, much earlier -- the firm has been around in initial form since 1857. Anyway, this will be my woodland-carry revolver in non-bear country. Next, I guess, is an illustration of a "split personality." If I want a good time and just plain have fun, I will head for a working man's saloon or a concert venue where a band like .38 Special or Lynyrd Skynyrd is performing. If you never have tried it, I would recommend going with a group rather than alone, because you never know what might happen. Come to think of it, I would recommend that for any saloon or concert hall. If I were looking for inspiration or the possibility of discovering Neverland, I would pick a performance by someone like Sarah Brightman or Andrea Bocelli. I assume no additional explanation is required, and I will end the list there for now. I also will include a song from .38 Special and from Sarah below. I almost feel like apologizing for including, "A Whiter Shade of Pale," as the Sarah-song, so often do I place it with my posts: It is haunting to me.

See you in February ....
(Continued from January 11 ....

I need to clear my mind (if that is possible) and decide if I want to continue playing the games of contemporary life styles or if I want to shed gadgets and gadgetry, kiss off political and social ideologues, change my persona to emulate Henry David Thoreau and wander off into a different neck of the woods to discover my own version of Walden Pond and put a fence around it. You might recall I tried that once, and called it my Sanctuary/Refuge .... well, I have two strikes left to accomplish that goal ....

I frequently write in my posts, but have not for a long while, that I call the varying stages of my life my "incarnations." That is to say, my college days were one incarnation; my Marine Corps time was another incarnation; my journalism trek was still another incarnation, although that one was not continuous and existed in segments.

During these times, my persona often changes to fit the situation. (Here we have another description I sometimes utilize -- the chameleon affect.) In other words, my hair style (and facial hair) will change; my manner and habit of dress will change, for instance, from suits and tie to jeans; my type of vehicle will change, for instance, from Audi to Suburban .... and on and on and on ....

It seems to me another new incarnation began last January/February and took a significant leap last mid-June. I think it will be moving into another stage soon. This blog has been part of my current incarnation; I do not think it will be part of the next.

Ain't life strange and weird and sort of .... ???? .... !!!!

In terms of the sea of blogs, I am not going "cold turkey" with it. For now, I plan to post on the the sixteenth of February and the sixteenth of March, and, we shall see after that ....

There are a few on the blogs I also will continue to visit. I think you know who you are ....

Send me smiles and stay safe and wish me luck .... barring the unforeseen .... see you in mid-February ....

Odds & ends ....

This post is going up late. I meant to publish this piece on January 13, but it actually is going up on January 16. (Superstitious guy, am I.) I fell ill (almost literally) during the night of January 11-12, and could do little more than crawl around for the next forty-four hours or so. (I call such "episodes" a reoccurring "jungle bug," which likes to remind me I am human -- all too human –- as Friedrich insists on repeatedly telling me; I have been "delving into" his book a bit during recent weeks.)

I spent about twenty-two hours of January 12 sleeping on my living room floor .... my poor, puppy-boy, companion, Buddy, only got outside to do his business three times; he did get his food, but it was late coming and he survived the test and stayed near me to show his understanding and sympathy. Since the last sighting of a coyote, I do not dare to allow him outside alone.

I think I will be back on my feet by Sunday. I was improved, but still slept most of January 13. Such is life ....

January 13 -- Happy Birthday, Mother.

January 16 -- It makes no difference to me which religion, calendar or ecological reckoning of weather patterns might be considered the to be the mid-point of winter -- January 16 is the marker for mid-FramWinter. If you lived somewhere like Minnesota, the Dakotas, Michigan or Montana, for instance, I think you might agree with me.

January 17 -- Happy Birthday, Rory.

January 21 -- My first blog was born on January 15, 2009, and I began this blog on January 21. I kept them both for a few weeks, then eliminated the original one. Anyway, this is the timetable I am working on with my plans.

January 24 -- Happy Anniversary, Me & the U.S. Marine Corps


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Places you might not ever expect to be, or .... the heat of the moment

Here we have "looking left" to discover "Volume II" of "Still Life of Dust." I hope you know I am making fun of you -- teasing, sort of, for the most part. "Looking right" made its appearance on January 9. If you are puzzled, ask questions. Beyond that, what we have here are some odds and ends, again, left over, for the most part, from 2016. The dialogue quoted is from the 1962 rendition of a film entitled, "The Manchurian Candidate." Figure it out, why it is here, if you are able. I may as well mention the music which is here now, too. Music comes and music goes .... as do we. I learned a while ago through a post on another blog -- that of Daliana -- that Greg Lake had died. Most would associate him with the bands Emerson, Lake & Palmer or King Crimson, but Asia enters my mind when I hear his name. Cancer caught him on December 7. A self-inflicted bullet caught Keith Emerson of ELP last March 11. The first offering of music is a concert by Asia with Lake as the front man at the Budokan in 1983. I rolled through the Kodokan once upon a time, but never rocked through the Budokan. Get it? Never mind. I watch Lake perform here, and I see the physical image of a thousand "frat" boys I knew in college .... but, this guy had real talent and I appreciate having moved through life at the same time he was on stage. The second piece of music is, "Drive," performed by the Cars. When you read the post (or, should I say, if you read the post ??) you might understand why that song is here.

Just wrapping up a few loose ends

A bit of dialogue between
Colonel Milt and Major Ben Marco
in the 1962 film version
of "The Manchurian Candidate"
from a novel by Richard Condon

Major Ben Marco: Colonel!

Colonel Milt: Ben. May I come in for a minute?

Major Marco: Oh, please do. Of course. Come on in. May I ask the Colonel: (a) is this an official visit? And (b) may I mix you a drink?

Colonel Milt: (a) Yes, it is, and (b) you certainly may.

Major Marco: Scotch all right?

Colonel Milt: Fine. My God, where'd ya get all the books?

Major Marco: I ... I got a guy picks 'em out for me at random. Water all right?
 
Colonel Milt: Fine.

Major Marco: He's in, uh ... San Francisco. A little bookstore out there. And, uh... he ships 'em to me, wherever I happen to be stationed.

Colonel Milt: Have you read them all?

Major Marco: Yeah. They'd also make great insulation against an enemy attack. But the truth of the matter is that I'm just interested, you know, in principles of modern banking ... and the history of piracy ... the paintings of Orozco ... modern French theatre ... the jurisprudential factor of the Mafia administration ... diseases of horses ... and the novels of Joyce Cary ... and ethnic choices of the Arabs. Things like that.

Colonel Milt: Ben.

Major Marco: Sir.

Colonel Milt: The army's got a lot of things wrong with it, but it does take care of its own people, which is why I'm here. As a public relations officer, you're a disaster.

Major Marco: I never wanted the job.

The Apocalypse .... or Ragnarok .... or ....


Me, either. I never wanted the job. Most of them. Some of them I did, I guess. But, mostly, I like to move around and hang out here and there. Life does catch up to you at times, though, and sometimes a bit of work is required for a bit of money (honey) or, more simply, a necessity to maintain self-discipline and to accomplish a goal or two or .... you know ....

Since I was a junior in high school -- sometime during the months when I moved from age sixteen to age seventeen -- the number seventeen became unlucky for me. Laugh if you wish. I am superstitious. Fine for you if you are not.

So, I assume you have noticed .... this year is 2017. You might imagine what is on my mind. One thing has been thinking back about how many times I could have been dead or should have been dead -- remembering the past and wondering if this year of 2017 will be like running a gauntlet.

I will not go into the litany of why it is the way it is about the number seventeen, suffice to say more than a few bad things have occurred in my life which I identify with the calendar date or some person, place or thing in which the number seventeen has had a role. No litany, but a few isolated examples without details of the dreaded number of seventeen:

When I was seventeen, I went through the ice on a lake three times in one week. Twice, I was near enough to the shoreline so that the water was only four or five feet deep. No big deal. The third time I was in the middle of the lake while taking a "short cut" home after hunting and where, I knew from having swum across the lake twice during past summer months and periodically diving to the bottom to learn the various depths, the water was about twelve feet deep.

Sometime, I might explain why I still am here and not at the bottom of that lake, but in the interest of brevity -- I am laughing again -- I will pass over that segment of the story for now, as well as any mention of other times in other years of feeling the ice collapse beneath me ....

I was sort of a wild one as a teenager and "liked" to tempt or to dare fate. (Please, do not tell my mother.) There was a "game" called a "chickie run" -- which, as you might guess, had nothing to do with "chicks." Two guys (I am not aware of any girls who did it) would separate by about a mile on an isolated road and drive their cars at each other as fast as the cars would run. Whoever would turn away at the last moment was a chicken.

Die or be a chicken. Crazy, hah? Yeh, so is life. We did it -- I did it twice as a driver and once as a passenger, all while I was seventeen -- even though seven who we knew in two cars had been killed doing it when neither driver swerved. They all were in high school (and, probably, mostly, if not all, age seventeen).

We will skip over the Marine Corps and its relationship to the number seventeen for this exercise, although I do have four good stories including an "Alamo" tale I could tell you if you had your own "bona fides" (no punks allowed) and got me drinking heavy some night -- or morning .... or afternoon ....

Well, anyway baby/honey/sweetie or whoever you think you are, I trust you follow my drift. (If you think you are all three -- baby/honey/sweetie -- wrapped up in one, give me a call !!)

Yes .... back on point .... we are about to enter 2017, and superstitious me is looking over my shoulder as I walk along through an entire year whose name is seventeen. Without more details about how the number seventeen factors into all these events, its "bad luck significance" is not sharply defined -- but, trust me, it is there, lurking in the background.

It seems everything I write these days is long, long, long, so I will try to begin to wrap this up: I plan on keeping a low profile for a while (laugh, if you must). My current existence, which includes the sea of blogs, does not hold my fascination any longer. Specifically regarding the blogs, they do not seem to serve a purpose for me as they once did.

 (To be continued .... at least, that is the plan ....)




Monday, January 9, 2017

Only through time time is conquered

I have to admit that I often begin a post not knowing how or when it will end .... maybe, even if it will have an end. (A publishing agent and I once had a "debate" over whether or not every fictional story needed a 'beginning, middle and end' .... I guess she won the debate .... in a sense .... anyway ....). This is one of a few posts "left over" from last year. The photograph, as frequently is the case, is an incidental .... but, appropriate. (I think of it, laughingly, as "Still Life of Dust.") The music, as occasionally is the case, sort of dropped out of nowhere. If you are not familiar with T Bone Burnett, think of him as I do, one of Bobby Dylan's backup guitarists from long, long ago. This is one of two or three sort of related posts (at least in the sense they largely were written in 2016) which may or may not appear here. Do me a favor .... read a bit of T.S. Eliot and see if he enraptures you or sends you running for the nearest exit ....

Ain't life strange .... statement, not question

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.


So began T.S. Eliot in his poem, "Burnt Norton," the first of four in what became known as "The Four Quartets." The first was published in 1936, and the fourth in 1942. My favorite segment, if it even is appropriate to label one of the four as such, is "East Coker," which appeared in 1940.

I would love to discuss any and all of these poems with you, but not in this format or context or medium or this place or this time .... hmmmm .... time is the central issue here, is it not ?? Well, if you read the quartet, you might agree and might wish to discuss it at the appropriate time and in the appropriate place.

Back on point: In my beginning is my end. This, in effect, is what Elliot was thinking about in "East Coker," the second published of the four elements. Here is some of it:

You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

 As a romantic by inclination and an English major by choice (history major, also, please remember .... sort of a dual sin, some have told me, while recommending that I return to college and study something useful), I tend to enjoy and to pronounce my enjoyment of poets such as Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Alfred Lord Tennyson .... and, well you get my drift.

But, while I adore their talent, way, far, deep within me I consider their work to be child's play, sometimes silly, without scratching the surface of what it truly is to gaze through and beyond the eyes to within the mind maze of humankind. No genius in them, you see. Simply pretty words and the ability to count meter. No melody, only emotional lyrics.

So, where does that leave me in terms of actual, idolatrous worship of a poet. Why, with T.S. Eliot, of course. Who else would it be, could it be, should it be?

Read the four poems of Eliot's Quartet and absorb those words if you are able. Bury yourself in them until there is nothing else surrounding you. Digest them -- literally, if necessary, to bring them inside of you .... hopefully, the ingredients of your stomach might reach the tendrils of your brain if all else fails. Whatever .... some say Johann Sebastian Bach is god .... I would seat T.S. Eliot at the same table.

Which brings us here: Eliot also wrote, "Only through time time is conquered" and "In my beginning is my end ...."

I understand his reference regarding time, but I am sort of sliding to the opposite end of the pendulum regarding beginnings and endings. I am thinking, "in my end is my beginning," at least in the context of humankind's concept of beginning and end, and beliefs might prove more powerful than mathematics.

As someone wrote, long before Eliot, "beginning and end are dreams" .... so, always at risk of "repeating myself," I might convince myself to take an antithetical approach to the abstraction and think of it as my end as my beginning -- and, it all is a dream anyway, right ?? Well, maybe .... but, that thought leads down another road toward another unknown ....

Which brings us here: "Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never; Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams."

Recognize those words ?? It would be nice if you did ....



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter, Christmas, guns & a young lady in red

Back on November 30, you might recall, I ran a post entitled, "Seven, there were seven .... waiting for eight." The reference was to the number of revolvers pictured. Well, here is eight. I have had him for a while, but just got around to taking his photograph. He is a Smith & Wesson, like the others in the November 30 photograph; a Model 29-4, .44 magnum; another like the "Dirty Harry Callahan" revolvers, but with a short, three-inch barrel. This guy is twenty-eight years old and in what I would estimate to be ninety-seven percent "like new" condition. A handsome lad, is he not ?? He has been fired a bit, but never carried. More importantly, in a world where guns are manufactured in the multi-thousands and often in the millions, there are only 2,532 like him. He was a "special order/special run" for a distributor. The ring, incidentally, is my current left hand "pinky" ring; the shades have been around (like really around) and sort of qualify as memorabilia.

Some of the lyrics from
"Forever Young"
composed by Bernhard Lloyd, Frank Martens & Marian Gold

Let us die young or let us live forever
We don't have the power but we never say never
Sitting in a sandpit, life is a short trip
The music's for the sad men


Can you imagine when this race is won
Turn our golden faces into the sun
Praising our leaders we're getting in tune
The music's played by the madman


Is there any wonder why she lives in my mind?

Welcome to the first day of winter. It began at 4:44 a.m. for me. The weather told me winter actually had arrived a few days earlier. When I awoke last Sunday morning, a foot of snow was on the ground from accumulations the past few days and the thermometer read minus twenty (­-20) degrees Fahrenheit [minus twenty-nine (-29) Celsius]. I dislike everything about winter other than its beauty, but I cannot imagine living without it.

I really have nothing I wish to write -- to say -- but I wanted to mark the official beginning of winter and I wanted to publish the photograph of Smith & Wesson No. 8, as I said I would .... and, I guess, I wanted to say Merry Christmas.
 
The season is a battle for me. I have written here before, so you may have read here before, that I have not been inside a church since I was fourteen other than for weddings and funerals. Every Christmas, I think about going to a service sort of to relive and, maybe, to reawaken the religious spirit of Christmas I felt as a boy .... but, I never have made it yet. Never will, probably. It is not important, but it is bothersome.

My memories have been working overtime lately. Too much music from the past, possibly. Songs evoke memories and bring back people and places .... faces, especially. Like right now, the song, "Lady in Red," is playing. It brings back Sandy.

Sandy was a married girl who left her husband and moved in with me. Mind you, I did not ask her. We had a few "encounters." Then, in the middle of a summer night, she called me. She had been fighting with her husband. She asked me, in a whisper, to come and get her. I did. She ran from her house to my car wearing only a nightgown. She stayed with me that night .... and, the next day, the next week, the next .... 

I went downtown to a saloon one evening, leaving her behind. An hour or so later, the bar fell silent. Imagine the proverbial "little black dress," except in red. Sandy, in such a dress -- red and short and tight -- and wearing red, spike heels, was strolling down the length of the bar, looking for me. All eyes in the bar were on her when she spotted me and when she walked over to me and when she sat down on my lap and when she gave me a long, sweet kiss. Such a moment .... is there any wonder why she lives in my mind?

That was in August. I was a poor, college boy, too non-committal for her because finishing college was my priority at the time. She eventually moved in with a girlfriend, the person who originally had introduced us, and we saw each other a few times a week. Early in December she went back to her husband and they moved to California. The girlfriend who had introduced us talked her into it, I think .... going back to her husband, I mean. The girlfriend had her own "plans" for me .... I know.

Baby, this story came out of nowhere. Well, not exactly. It almost certainly would never have happened in this post had not the song, "Lady in Red," come up on my "classic rock" radio station .... and, and, and if I had not learned a bit about the characters in a novel entitled, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," by Milan Kundera, through reading a post on another blog a while ago. It got me thinking about "characters" in my life .... and, then, came the song playing on the radio.

This story is considerably longer and more complicated, of course. In fact, I just cut most of what I had written here from the post. One of the more "combative" elements occurred when Sandy's husband went after her in my proximity; two of the more "intriguing" elements involved me working for her mother at a resort and, much later, hoping to encounter her at the funeral of her father some years after our parting.

Sandra Kay H. was a magic girl, but magic never seems to last for me .... I still see her face clearly, smiling at me, pledging love that did not last .... an absolutely beautiful, blue-eyed, blonde girl personifying her German descent .... whatever .... so, now, back to the snow and the cold of winter and guns and classic rock and books and who knows what ....

One of those books probably will be ".... Lightness of Being." Kundera reportedly did not like the film version and said it did not do his book justice; so, I will skip the flick. I am curious, though, to learn if the novel's characters are more fascinating than my own ....

.... my own .... those who have mingled within my own reality .... hmmmm .... imagine that ....

Uffff .... "Lady in Black," just came on the radio and memories are stirring .... uffff ..... I am laughing .... no more thoughts this evening other than ....

.... Merry Christmas ....
 






Something special ....