Sunday, July 31, 2016

Not a post; just a thought or two

No, I am not changing my image, nor am I making an attempt to engage in wildlife photography, but this cottontail rabbit has his own story to tell. The picnic table is just outside my dining room window. Scattered atop it most days is a mix of bird seed, sunflower seeds, peanuts and, sometimes, field corn. I first spied the rabbit there in the middle of a frigid night toward the end of December / beginning of January last winter. (I am a night owl, myself, and I like staying up throughout the night when is it possible and practical.) I never have thought of rabbits as being particularly intelligent creatures, but this fellow somehow found his way to join birds and squirrels on the picnic table for a snack. His advantage is being a denizen of both the day and the night, so there are times he has no competition. He will disappear for days, even weeks, then re-appear for a few days -- and / or nights –- to partake again. I have seen him there at the same time as a squirrel and a few birds have been present. They manage to get along now and then, even when we do not. I am curious how the rabbit found his way there: Did he see the squirrels and birds eating, put two plus two together and leap up on the table for a look-see? By the way, it is obvious the picnic table needs a coat of paint .... any volunteers ??

Sort of long again, kind of windy ....

Good bye, July .... month of two marriages and two divorces .... stranger than fiction .... I need to leap off a cliff, figuratively speaking, to get the past out of my mind and move on into tomorrow .... or whatever ....

Some people say/claim/believe they have found a soul mate.

I am a skeptic by birth, a shoot first and ask questions later type by training, an objective observer by belief and profession: To those who say/claim/believe they have found a soul mate, I say: Prove it.

No. Not really.

I know that is one of those ridiculous questions, like prove there is a god. (Only a fool would pose such a question.) Belief and faith in the mind of the individual are the only matters which count in such a situation because, like beauty, the existence of a soul mate or of a god all resides in the eyes (and the mind) of the beholder.

Our reality is not necessarily the same.

You believe in god; I do not; or vice versa. Big deal. Who the hell (figuratively speaking) gives a damn? Enjoy your brief time on earth and allow me to enjoy mine. (Just remember, Jimmy Jihadist, or whoever you think you are, I do not turn the other cheek.)

Reality, in fact, exists in the eyes (and the minds) of the beholders. All one has to do is to examine the devotees of Donald J. Trump and Hillary R. Clinton to realize that .... speaking of fools. (How does one aggrandize thieves, liars, narcissistic demigods ?? .... well, idealistic idiots elected the liar-in-chief, Barack H. Obama, so why not elect another wanna-be "ruler of the universe" ?? I think in this election cycle we are watching a 2016 re-make of the film, "Dumb and Dumber" .... I am referring to the electorate enamored by these two self-appointed saviors, as well as to the candidates.)

Whoops .... I am drifting. Back on point:

I frequently whine about two lost marriages and three lost "opportunities" between them. That is what makes me a skeptic, etc. That is what makes me a coward to take the leap off a potential commitment cliff a third time.

This is not the second half to the post regarding fear, but it is related; it is part of my thought processes regarding fear.

"And some men like ta hear a cannon ball a roarin'...." are words among the lyrics in the song, "Whiskey in the Jar." Well, I like whiskey in a jar (literally .... try it) and there is some inexplicably inexplicable (yes, it is meant to read that way) which overtakes me with the sound of bullets passing overhead. It creates music of sorts which lures me on as a moth to the fire. But, there reaches a point where both body and mind say it is time to move on to something else.

It probably is not a different thing than the gambler experiences at the blackjack table or the man on the motorcycle feels while darting between cars on an interstate highway. I think it is an inborn trait which surfaces as a chemical response to sound and senses. (In a sentence, "humankind" is just emerging from the stone age in terms of comprehending what makes us us .... yes, us, us .... and, as always, I am more interested in our differences than in our similarities. Some say we all are the same beneath the surface .... well, science demonstrates that we are not, and our uniqueness is what makes us marvelous.)

Uffff .... I am drifting off track again. Before shifting back, I will say once more that I am realizing legs and luck -- body and mind -- do not last forever and that time -- not our hopes or even our beliefs -- dictate the path we travel if we have the good sense to follow it.

Whatever .... this is part of the fear in my life that I am experiencing at the moment: The fear of making a bad decision in becoming closer than close to another woman. Friends .... fine, but commitment .... hmmmm ....

Irrational, in a way, is it not? Remember, only few years ago I wrote that I was like Percival and Galahad, searching for my own concept of a holy grail which would be found in the form of a woman. But, as is said in baseball, three strikes and out. And, who wants to strike out ??

Maybe, I will buy a new suit, another handgun, another Rolex and drift into a dream gazing at a few sunsets over blue water while drinking a bit of Benedictine from a crystal glass, all the time trying to forever forget sweet voices, pretty smiles and all the rest about an imaginary soul mate who might not exist and who, even if she does, I may not pursue in fear of failure. Maybe, as in the adrenalin-rushing existence where legs and luck rule, here, too, a pinnacle has arrived when it is time to move on to new realities.

Beyond that, actually, actual cliffs sort of frighten me, too -- no parachute there. I prefer the wild, blue sky and a parachute -- no fear there.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"You know what I hate more than ...."

This is James Butler Hickok, better known as Wild Bill. He was murdered in Nuttal & Mann's Saloon No. 10, Deadwood Gulch, South Dakota, on August 2, 1876. Hickok -- who at various times during his life had been an army and Indian scout, a wagon-master, courier, frontiersman, gunfighter, lawman, prospector, addicted gambler and short-time actor -- was thirty-nine years old when shot in the back of his head while playing poker. The photograph probably shows him approaching that age. This post really is not specifically about him, but if you wish to learn more, there is a thorough biography written by Joseph G. Rosa.
The song below, written and performed by Ted Nugent, sort of contrasts the Native American way of life and their utilization of buffalo, and their reality and spiritual / religious concept of the "Great White Buffalo," with that of, in Nugent's words, "the white man, with his thick and empty head ...." Who am I to dispute that verdict?
Located between these two elements is dialogue from a novel / film entitled, "The White Buffalo," between Hickok and a fellow-frontiersman named Charlie Zane. The fictional story is about Hickok's hunt for a rumored, yet legendary, white buffalo and his encounter and subsequent friendship with a Sioux named Crazy Horse, who was hunting the same creature. It is a fascinating tale on a few levels, from my point of view. Those lines of dialogue are where this post began, with Hickok's remark that the thing he hated most in this world was being afraid of what awaited him in "the Big Open and the Black Hills:" That was the domain of the white buffalo.
So, that is the nexus of this post. What did Hickok mean? With his background, physical fear should not be present. Or, maybe it was, since he gradually was losing his eyesight, and the white buffalo had a fearsome reputation for ferocity. Or, maybe not; maybe the fear was deeper, more primitive, more profound, stemming from the Native American mythology of the white buffalo.
Anyway .... since this post is long already, it now has become Part 1 of 2. The question is whether Part 2 ever will be completed. As of today, who can say ??

The depths of fear in a fearless man
A few lines of conversation
between Wild Bill Hickok & Charlie Zane
moments after a gunfight
in which Wild Bill killed three men
from the novel / film, "The White Buffalo,"
novel and screenplay by Richard Sale (1977)

Charlie: You sure used this town up fast.  We'd best show a heel in these parts.

Wild Bill: Question is, which way?

Charlie: New camp forming up north. Place called Deadwood Gulch.

Wild Bill: Charlie, you know what I hate more than anything else in this world?

Charlie: More than Indians?

Wild Bill: Even more than dying.

Charlie: What?

Wild Bill: Being afraid.

Charlie: What, you mean in there? (Pointing back to the saloon where the gunfight took place.)

Wild Bill: I mean out there.

Charlie: Easterly? That's Sioux land. There's nothing out there but the Big Open and the Black Hills.

Wild Bill: And the white buffalo.

Friday, July 1, 2016

"There must be some way out of here"

I noted in March that my son had given me a replica Viking sword for my birthday, and I wrote then that I would run a photograph of it at some point in the future. Well, the future has arrived and here is the sword. My head was accidently (yeh, sure) lopped off in the photograph, perhaps symbolically a gesture to acknowledge one of the many uses of a sword. I doubt this one ever will be put to practical use, although I was on a college fencing team where I spent considerable time "playing" with foils and sabers, and it is possible I may wish to expand my skill set. For the record, the blade of the sword is not green. It is stainless steel and has a bright, glossy, mirror finish, and what you see is a reflection from the brilliant green of the summer grass. Hmmmm .... then again, the sword might be magical when I hold it .... it might glow green when I wield it .... you think ??

Some of the lyrics from
"All Along the Watchtower"
by Bob Dylan
performed here
by Jimi Hendrix

"There must be some way out of here,"
Said the joker to the thief,
"There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief,
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plough men dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth"

"No reason to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke,
"There are many here among us now,
Who feel that life is but a joke,
But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late"

[Editor’s Note: This post evolved after sitting by (sometimes diving into) a swimming pool in the sun far too long while drinking far too many gin and tonics with a neighbor a few days ago. He and I, the joker and the thief, figuratively speaking, were comparing notes/memories, as one might describe it. I think that should explain just about everything, if you catch my drift. So, here is a fantasy bucket list of sorts .... in no particular order.]

Take Cyndi Lauper to dinner and go clubbing after .... without her husband. I think it especially would be fun to dance with her. (Ms. Lauper is a spur of the moment thought, arising while watching her perform; the young lady companion in this scenario might change from Cyndi to another at any time.)

Make a HALO jump .... "High Altitude, Low Opening" .... I have seventy-nine jumps, all from pretty low, 3,000 to 10,000 feet; a typical HALO is from 25,000 to 35,000 feet.

Find a time travel machine and explore the past; the future does not really interest me because I think I would be disappointed in it. Probably, bored with it, too. Progress often = softness, laziness, boredom, faux adventure. (This, time travel to the past, actually, is my No. 1 fantasy wish.)

Shoot a buffalo with bow and arrow from horseback at a gallop in the midst of the herd. (I no longer hunt, but I have hunted with long gun, handgun and archery gear, and I still am curious and thrive on experience –- to feel and to know what once was and how it was for those who came before me.)

Party with the Rolling Stones .... I am assuming they still know how to it !! I would love to try to bury them and their "wild horses" under the table -- alcoholically speaking. (Yeh, yeh, I know -- macho, macho, macho .... so what ?? Who beyond the political correct care ?? And, the politically correct only are important among themselves .... mutual admiration stuff, you see !!)

Walk the sand of Red Beach Two at Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It was the site of one of the fiercest battles in the history of the Marine Corps and, for whatever reason, I have reoccurring dreams about it although it was before my "current" epoch: November 20-23, 1943. (Find some photographs of the battle and you will see what war was, is and always will be .... but, when attacked, you must fight back ruthlessly and mercilessly .... so sayeth the prophet ....)

Have just one more talk with a few people who have come and gone through my life. Apologize to some .... maybe ....

Have two or three more kids. Practice makes perfect. (I am speaking about raising them and enjoying their presence, you understand, with my reference to "practice.")

Go back a few years and enter into politics when the opportunity was present. I once left a congressional press secretary slot to return to newspaper work .... bad decision.

Done better and worked harder at just about everything I ever have tried in life .... although, in the long run, I do not think it makes a difference. I am a bit (quite a bit) of an existential nihilist -- using the word "existential" in proper context, unlike the simplistic way faddish news people and idiot politicians use it these days. You see, I will be a constant, consummate critic until the end of time. As someone (writer Jimmy Breslin, maybe ??) once said: "You have to be noted for something."

I probably will think of a few more items but, enough for now and these are all I remember from the "gin and tonic drink-along." Until next time, dream on .... and, I am sorry you did not read more, here .... comprende ?? .... it might have been fun, interesting, even exciting .... whatever, another time, baby, maybe ....maybe, baby, I'll have you .... whoops, I am drifting into song again .... sorry, Buddy H. ....

Addendum #1: In terms of the time machine, I frequently wonder what I would have done had I witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus, in context both of what I know now and what I would have known as someone living back then .... actually, it is pretty much the same with George Armstrong Custer's Last Stand .... what would I have done had "I dropped in there while the battle was going on?" Joined in? If so, on which side? Or, remained an objective observer -- a classic (nearly extinct) journalist?

Addendum #2: There is nothing that offends me more than those who belittle the military of their country and who do not have the courage or the moral fortitude to defend themselves and others more helpless than themselves. I recall a blogger who wrote that it takes more courage not to go to war in defense of one's country than it does to go to war for defense of country -- which, of course, also means in defense of family and friends and way of life. Such a position either is the epitome of an excuse for cowardice or one definition of insanity.

Addendum #3: This blog is temporarily out of business on a full-time basis. Once or twice a month appearances -- maybe. It might return; it might not. If it returns, it might be in the same form; it might be in a different form. Right now, I am somewhere between Marine Corps motivational and Franz Kafka metamorphosis ....

Something special ....