Monday, November 29, 2010

He Went To Paris - Jimmy Buffett

He went to Paris, looking for answers
To questions that bothered him so
He was impressive, young and aggressive
Saving world on his own

But the warm summer breezes
The French wines and cheeses
Put his ambition at bay
The summers and winters, scattered like splinters
And four or five years slipped away

He went to England, played the piano
And married an actress named Kim
They had a fine life, she was a good wife
And bore him a young son named Jim

All of the answers and all of the questions
Locked in his attic one day
'Cause he liked the quiet clean country living
And twenty more years slipped away

Well the war took his baby, bombs killed his lady
And left him with only one eye
His body was battered, his whole world was shattered
And all he could do was just cry

While the tears were a falling, he was recalling
Answers he never found
So he hopped on a freighter, skidded the ocean
And left England without a sound

Now he lives in the islands, fishes the pilings
And drinks his Green Label each day
Writing his memoirs, losing his hearing
But he don't care what most people say

Through eighty-six years of perpetual motion
If he likes you, he'll smile and he'll say
"Jimmy, some of it's magic, some of it's tragic
But I had a good life all the way"

And he went to Paris looking for answers
To questions that bothered him so

Bear Bryant Quote

Every time a player goes out there, at least 20 people have some amount of influence on him. His mother has more influence than anyone. I know because I played, and I loved my mama.


This is a review of a book by author Kim Doll that gave me some things to think about.  I don't like non-thinking books and fiction thinking books seem to be far and few between as far as I have been able to see.  There are a few authors out there that keep you on your toes with fiction, like Mitch Albom or John Grisham for example, and while Doll does not quite reach Albom's or Grisham's writing ability, I can feel fairly good about putting her way up on the list of fiction writers these days. She certainly writes better than I could ever aspire to be able to do.   The book reads very smoothly and is a quick read.

It is the first of a trilogy of books and being that it has a heavy load to bear.  As the first of a trilogy it has the responsibility of laying the ground work for the two follow up books.  It does this extremely well.  You are introduced to all the main character's and are given a profile of each character's personality and place in the book.

I found it took me getting past the first two or three chapters before I settled down and felt comfortable with the book.  As in many fiction books, the reader is asked to displace reality and to step into the world that the book occupies.  The basis of the book takes a parallel line of the Bible and how God and Satan fit into that thought process and turns it on it's head.  Once I was able to start thinking as such while reading the book, I was able to get on with the message that I feel Doll is trying to get across through this series of books.

The message I came away with from this first volume of the Moonshadow Series is that being humane means much more than following the Golden Rule and treating other humans the way you would want to be treated.  It globally stretches the philosophy of humanity across the spectrum of species and life form and does it very well.  The book focuses mainly on the canine species but goes further to encompass all forms of life.

It also stretches the perception of good and evil as not only human traits, but also the traits of the rest of the animal kingdom.  It seems to take our core beliefs and make us aware that those beliefs could possibly be wrong thus tricking us into thinking we are acting humanely when in fact we are not.  These same beliefs are given to the animal characters as well, manipulating a couple of well meaning squirrels into doing evil deeds upon other members of the animal kingdom and costing them dearly.

While she does use animal characters in some evil roles, her main target is mankind and how we treat, not only each other, but the rest of the animal kingdom as well.  She does a superb job of getting your mind clicking over and start thinking about how man mistreats the world upon which we live. Doll spreads a wide enough net to make the reader's thinking process lead him into some very dark places of himself as he follows the quest of Moonshadow.

This first volume made me wonder where the tale will take us and, while I am ordinarily not a huge fan of fiction, finds me wanting to continue with the second volume when it comes out.  This is a good book and one that could improve people's thinking about ourselves, each other and the entire world we find ourselves living in.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


It was a new restaurant that had been open just a little more than a week.  Ordinarily I do not get too excited over restaurant openings, but this was a special one..  It was a new International House of Pancakes, also known as IHOP and I love IHOPs.  It isn't because I am that fond of pancakes because that certainly is not the case, but it is because they serve breakfast twenty four hours a day and I love breakfast foods.  It seems if I ever get the chance to have a good breakfast for dinner I will take it whether it be the chain of IHOPs, Chubbys on Broadway in Kansas City or numerous other establishments.  I have even been known to frequent a Waffle House now and again to get some tasty eggs, sausage and toast. I particularly like a good IHOP because you know what to expect when you order off the menu, at least most of the time you do.

This was my first visit to this IHOP and what made it special was that it was very close to my neighborhood.  It was close enough to the neighborhood that I considered it part of the neighborhood even though it was a ten minute drive away.I remember thinking how great it was to have one so close to home where I didn't have to plan to go there to eat.  I could be driving by and make a quick decision to stop and relax with some true American comfort food.  Many people think American comfort food as burgers and fries or mashed potatoes, but give me some good breakfast foods and it will comfort me clear through my soul.

This particular Saturday afternoon, Barb and I had been out shopping and decided to stop in to give it our first test.  Ordinarily a full parking lot in a restaurant would scare me away but not on this Saturday.  This establishment needed to be checked out and this day was as good as any.  We parked the car and walked in and began our ten minute wait for a table.

IHOPs have a way of attracting a wide variety of customers and as we waited I noticed young and old,  couples with kids and couples without kids, and I noticed it was noisy.  Sometimes you have to put up with a little noise to get a good meal though so I set aside the irritation of kids yelling, parent's correcting and friends laughing and set my determination to get a good meal at a level of high.

Finally we were led to a booth and given menus.  The booth we were seated in was across from the kitchen but booths were premium on this day so we took it.  Soon a cute petite waitress cam over to take our order which we gladly gave and she said it would be about ten minutes until our order was ready.  Barb and I sat back and began to people watch and to talk.  We were both in a good mood that day and we truly enjoyed each others company as the kid in the booth behind me started doing gymnastics that my back felt every movement of.

It was about ten minutes later when the commotion started.  It wasn't the commotion of the kid behind me or the deaf elderly couple across from us, but the commotion of the kitchen itself.  Voices began to rise in the kitchen then would quiet down a bit before rising again.  After twenty minutes of waiting, our waitress came over and reassured us that our food was n its way and that it would be only a couple of minutes more.

Meanwhile the arguing in the kitchen became more intense and profound.  We were able to make out words that were being said and they weren't the friendly joshing words of co employees teasing each other while they worked.  The words emitting from the kitchen were harsh and becoming more angry by the minute.  After about thirty minutes of waiting our waitress returned again and after explaining they were having a bit of a problem in the kitchen assured us that our food would be at our table in five minutes.  She looked nervous and her hair was a little more mussed than it had been before.

Suddenly we heard a loud crash that indicated that dishes had been dropped on the other side of the wall.  This was followed by very loud talk bordering on screaming as the cooks in the kitchen tried to fill an over abundance of orders.

We had been waiting about forty five minutes for our food when the kitchen went silent.  Shortly after that our frazzled little waitress cautiously approached our table.  She stood there for a second then leaned over and placed both of her hands on the table.  She looked at Barb and then to me and then she firmly stated, "Okay.  Management has taken over the kitchen.  They are in there now getting the orders straightened out.  I am so very sorry about all of this.  I promise your food will be here in five minutes.  Management is in control now and there should not be any more delays.  I am so very very sorry."  She stood upright then, , brushed her hair back with her hand and took a deep breath before leaving our booth.

The kitchen was quiet for the most part during the next five minutes and true to her word, our waitress brought our food to us.  Again she apologized several times hoping to save what little was left of any tip she might hope to receive

The rest of the meal was spent with a quiet kitchen and a stream of waitresses moving about delivering foods to various tables and booths.  It seemed that the restaurant had returned to a somewhat well oiled machine.

When I paid the check I thought about how all of the waiting and turmoil was not my waitresses fault.  She was simply another victim of a kitchen that exploded on a busy afternoon.  The day management took over the kitchen saved her a fair tip from me and it also gave Barb and myself a lasting memory that we still talk about to this day.

The IHOP has closed since then a victim of the closing of the mall it was built beside.  As for me, I will always remember that day and take a lesson from it that sometimes, management has to step in and do the job themselves if they want the job done correctly.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

REVISED - Why I Like Mizzou's TJ Moe.

I decided to remove this article from my blogspot.

I share a lot of feelings that Mr. Moe expressed, but these feelings included words that went beyond what was necessary to express his feelings about the University of Kansas.

His publicly using some of the expressions he used in the article from the KC Star showed bad taste and lack of discipline.

I showed the same lack of taste and discipline by posting the article.


Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thanksgiving.  Lewis Black said it best when he said "Let's face it.  Christmas starts at Halloween.  Thanksgiving is Christmas halftime.".

Looking back on my life, I can remember a time when Thanksgiving was it's own holiday.  A time when we gathered at grandma and grandpa Hill's and various family members started arriving.  I don't recall many Thanksgivings with my dad's side of the family.  Maybe there wasn't time, I really don't know.  But I do remember the Hill's Thanksgivings.

The big dinner was always in the evening, although people would start arriving a lot earlier to catch a ballgame with Grandpa before we sat to give thanks.

We would gather in the old house on 54th Terrace in Kansas City.  We all didn't arrive at once.  Great Grandma and Margaret would be there.  Aunts and uncles would tow my cousins in at a pretty decent pace.  Most of my them would be there.  Dan didn't come home for Thanksgiving that I recall, saving his trip back home for Christmas.  Jack and June would be there with quiet Phil, talkative Dawn and cute Tim.  My family would arrive after Jack and I immediately sought out my Aunt Sue for company.  Mel and Eva would parade their family in led by Pete with Drew bringing up the rear and numerous other cousins (Ellen, Jean, Judy, Jim, John and  Jerry) in between.  At this point the house was beginning to get just a little crowded.

We would set up a table at the end of the dining room table and another table off of it into the living room of the small house.  Food would begin to show up on the big table and plates and flatware would be placed all around.  Then we would all stand around and talk.  I use to enjoy listening to Grandpa talk to Mel and Jack about whatever topic they happened to land on.  It could be football or politics or stories from the railroad where Granpa was still working actively and helping to run the union down there.

Inevitably, someone at some point in time would bring up the annual question of "Where's Bus and Jane?"  After what seemed an eternity after that question was asked Here he would come.  The last remaining hold out.  Bus and Jane along with Tommy, Denny and Liz.  I remember at Buster's funeral my cousin Pete making a comment that for once, buster wasn't late.  Pete said it and it got laughs, but there was a lot of truth to it as well.

Once Buster was there I knew that dinner would commence in about an hour.  There was time needed for Bus and his brothers and Grandpa to talk about some new topics that Bus had brought to the gathering.  Soon though, Grandma would announce that we should find out places and that Thanksgiving dinner was about to begin.

My grandpa was a very spiritual and religious man.  I always saw him as more spiritual than religious but that is a debate for another time.  At ordinary dinners over the course of the year, grandpa had pretty much a standard prayer that he would say to bless the food before we ate and sometimes it just seemed a little like a habit, although deep in his heart I know it was more than a habit when grandpa prayed before eating no matter what the words were.  He was very sincere in every prayer I ever heard him say.

There were times though when his prayers would come from deep within and his emotions would be let loose as he prayed.  Christmas was one of those times as well as Easter.  Thanksgiving was one of those times as well.  Grandpa understood thanksgiving.  He had a lot to be thankful for and he knew it.

Looking back on those Thanksgivings from years ago, Grandpa's prayer before the dinner was probably the highlight of the holiday.  I wasn't old enough to appreciate what was being prayed through his words though.  His prayers displayed a love of God, family and country.  He knew he wasn't accomplishing anything by himself but accomplishing things with a lot of help from those he was thankful for.

When his prayer was finished there always was just a slight moment of silence as the final words of his prayer sank into the hearts of those gathered with him.  Then Thanksgiving began and the family became one as we ate and talked, played and argued, or just sat back and enjoyed.

 What am I thankful for?  I am thankful that I grew up in a time when Thanksgiving truly meant giving thanks and I am thankful that I had grandpa there to teach all of us how to be truly gracious and thankful with humility and love.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

George Carlin - Quote 7

You men.... The next time a prostitute solicits your business, ask for the clergymen's rate.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thus Spake Winston Churchill

A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.

Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it.  

Never, never, never give up.

Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization.

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.  

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

The price of greatness is responsibility.

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I had been on my first roller coaster ride starting in 1956.  It was rather small with low swings and easy curves and I rode it until I was about seven years old.  I then disembarked from that roller coaster and got onto the next one in life.

The second roller coaster started out to be easy and light with slow curves but quickly began to speed up as it went along.  The ups and downs became steeper, the curves tighter.  The speed around some of those curves would make me feel like I was going to fall out and be thrown from and banned from the coaster completely.  I held on though and rode it with a fierce determination that it would not beat me.  The second coaster left me bruised and beaten and in a general state of confusion.  After a few years I could not wait to get off of this thing that was banging me around without any concern for my well being.  I wanted off and when I turned nineteen years of age, I finally managed to climb off the wretched thing.

At nineteen I climbed on a roller coaster that would be totally different from the other two.  The big difference in this coaster was that I had a companion to ride along with me.  Her name was Barbara and we had decided together that we would attempt this roller coaster together.  We both knew from our previous coaster rides alone that this coaster would not be a piece of cake.  We climbed aboard together on November twenty first, nineteen seventy five.  It was a day that would forever change both of our lives.

At first the ride was fun.  Neither of us had a care in the world as the ride slowly began to work its way up to speed.  A couple of sharp curves here and there hit us now and again but they were nothing that we couldn't handle.  We were on our way it seemed.

Then the coaster began to speed up more than we expected.   Every once in a while a curve would come out of nowhere and slam us around a bit, but we learned to hold help each other get through these dangerous parts of the ride.  As the ride continued the curves came more often and with more severity than before.  There were times when we realized we were on this ride alone and that if we were going to make it, then we had to learn to work together.  Every once in a while the coaster would tend to smooth out and just as we were becoming comfortable on the ride, the bottom would drop out and we would be in what seemed a free fall with a sharp curve at the bottom which only served to speed the ride up more.

As the ride progressed we found our attitudes on how to survive the ride changing and our attitudes were not changing in the same direction as the others.  I began to try to survive the ride my way by myself leaving Barb to her own devices to figure out how she was going to stay on it.  It was a big mistake and one that I regret.  Eventually I came to the point where i was tired of the ride and decided to let go of the safety handle and let the coaster fling me out into the open air amongst the trees and rest of nature so that I could at last rest peacefully.  Barb saw this happening.  She saw my thinking starting to change and most important, she saw my hands begin to ease their grip on the safety bar.

She was going to have none of that.  She was not going to be forced to finish this ride alone so early into it.  She yelled at me to hold on.  She fought to hold my hands to the bar, or to just hold them with her own hands.  The coaster was doing wild flips and the speed was beyond what the eye could comprehend.  The curves had turned into complete loops throwing us upside down and twisting the coaster in all different directions.  Then I blacked out.

.When I came back to reality, the coaster ride was still moving fast and the curves were still popping up out of nowhere, but Barb was still there.  She had found strength somehow and had one of her little arms around me holding me onto the ride and her other hand was holding onto the safety barb keeping us both on the ride.  The ride was still wild, it was still difficult but she was keeping us both on it.

Soon we learned that this crazy ride could be fun if we looked at the things that made it so scary in a different light.  The coaster wasn't slowing down and we were being looped and curved and shook about all over the place, but we were able to see that we were together on this wild ride for what was really the first time.  It was a realization that would change both of our outlooks on life and the way we approached things together instead of individually.

It has been thirty five years since we climbed on this ride together and the ride is still going at a pretty fast rate of speed and during this past year we have ridden out more curves and loops and twist and turns then we have in most years, but we are still on the ride and both of us are determined to stay on it for a while.

The most important thing though, is that we are still on the ride together.

Truly together.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Love You More Today Than Yesterday - Spiral Staircase

Written by Pat Upton

I don't remember what day it was
I didn't notice what time it was
All I know is that I fell in love with you
And if all my dreams come true
I'll be spending time with you

Every day's a new day in love with you
With each day comes a new way of loving you
Every time I kiss your lips my mind starts to wander
And if all my dreams come true
I'll be spending time with you

Oh, I love you more today than yesterday
But not as much as tomorrow
I love you more today than yesterday
But, darling, not as much as tomorrow

Tomorrow's date means springtime's just a day away
Cupid, we don't need ya now, be on your way
I thank the Lord for love like ours that grows ever stronger
And I always will be true
I know you feel the same way, too

Oh, I love you more today than yesterday
But not as much as tomorrow
I love you more today than yesterday
But only half as much as tomorrow

Every day's a new day
Every time I love ya
Every way's a new way
Every time I love ya
Every day's a new day
Every time I kiss ya
Every day's a new day

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Richard M. Nixon Quote:

Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself. 

President Richard Milhous Nixon
August 9, 1974

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

That Lucky Old Sun - Ray Charles

Written by Gillespie, Haven/Smith, Beasly 

Up in the mornin',
Out on the job,
I work like the devil for my pay.
I know that lucky old sun, has nothin' to do,
But roll around heaven all day.

I fuss with my woman, and toil with my kids,
Sweat 'til I'm wrinkled and gray.
I know that lucky old sun, has nothin' to do,
But roll around heaven all day.

Dear Lord above, don't you see I'm cry'in?
I got tears all in my eyes.
Why don't you send down that cloud with the silver lining,
Lift me up to Paradise

Show me that river, why don't you take me across,
Wash all my troubles away,
I know that lucky old sun, he's got nothing to do,
But just roll around heaven all day

Dear Lord above, can't you know I'm cry'in?
Tears all in my eyes,
Send down that cloud with the silver lining,
Lift me to Paradise.

So show me that river, and then take me across,
Wash all my troubles away.
And I know the lucky old sun, he's got nothing to do
But roll around heaven all day

Monday, November 15, 2010


There comes a time in every boy's life when they have that very special moment.  Leading up to this moment in life, the lad experiences very many different levels of kissing.  When you are a toddle, everyone wants you to give them a kiss and when told to, you just lean into the target and gently place your face upon their cheek.  Not a particularly fun event thinking back on it.  You get different smells from different people, some of the people actually try to kiss you back with their dry or lipsticked lips and the worst part of this procedure is that you don't even know what you are doing.  It is a forced action brought upon you by your parents as well as strangers.

As you grow a little older, your kissing becomes more pronounced.  It is still ordered that you perform the task by the elders in your life, but now you are kissing little playmates about your same age of three or four.  The kisses are more of a real kiss but almost always still placed on the cheek and again, not a voluntary action.  Grown ups think it is just adorable to watch two little people fake kiss at that tender age and sometimes I wonder if that is where a lot of psychological damage begins.

Pretty soon you are in your preteens and lower teens and you find yourself attending parties.  Kissing becomes more of a volunteer thing although at first it is still somewhat ordered by the playing of games such as spin the bottle and such.  Eventually you may become attached to someone in this age period and do a little smooching every now and then, but it is on a very easy and non attachable level.  You may start going steady with someone and a kiss is a requirement of sorts whenever you say goodbye to each other after a party.  This kissing is the start of getting into the real realm of sexual attraction and is one of the final steps to that first real kiss.

The first real kiss is when you kiss someone that you truly care about.  You think of this person a lot during the days and you may only see them two or three times a week but the time you do see them seems very special in nature.  You hold hands a lot.  You sit next to each other in church.  Every once in awhile your parents will drive the two of you to a movie for something that closely resembles a date.  Eventually it does happen.  That first real kiss.  The kiss where you want to kiss her.  The kiss where you feel a certain turning of your stomach as you contemplate it.  The kiss that makes your head spin for the first time and you realize you want this to happen again and again not realizing that a first real kiss seldom ends up in a lifetime of kisses with the person.  The first real kiss is where all your emotions are spilled out and you cherish the time that the two sets of lips are pressed together.  You find that the first real kiss is a miracle of nature and a miracle that you will never forget for the rest of your life.  No matter who you end up with in life, that first kiss will always be there in your memory holding a special place in your heart.

My first kiss came to me in the form of a girl a little bit older than me.  Her name was Vallory and she was beautiful.  I must have been about in the eighth grade or a freshman when the first real kiss happened for me.  Val and myself had been good friends for many years, but as of late we had found ourselves getting closer and closer to each other.  We were the next thing to best friends that an eighth grade boy could have with a girl.  We began hanging around a lot together at church but we both felt we had to hide the fact that something was growing in our feelings for each other.

We had been friends for so long that kissing each other felt out of the question.  Ours was not suppose to be that kind of a relationship and I don't think we understood the miracle of our minds and bodies changing that would allow us to be caught in a situation of feelings like that.  The longer we denied it though, the stronger it seemed to be until one evening we began to discuss whether we should kiss or not.

I know it may seem like we were a little old to be at this point but keep in mind we had been just friends for years.  Would a kiss between us hamper that friendship or make it stronger.  This was the important question we faced.  This would be the first real kiss for both of us and thus a very important  moment in both of our lives.

We decided that if we were to finally kiss, it would have to be very secret and covert.  No one could know about it because of the way we felt people saw us in public as being very good friends.  After a few long talks we decided that for our own good, to be able to know if what we felt was real that the first real kiss would have to take place.  We began to plan out the details of it.

It doesn't sound very romantic planning out a first kiss but then if it were meant to be romantic it would take care of itself.  We decided that on the next Wednesday night we met at the church we would carry through with the first real kiss.  It would take place in the furnace room of the church.  Not many people actually knew where the furnace room was and there never was anybody in there anyway.  It would be the perfect spot where we could be alone, size up the situation perform the act and then soak all the feelings and emotions in that it might bring to the surface.

The next Wednesday found just the two of us standing in the furnace room of the church facing each other and staring into each others eyes.  The moment came naturally as she tilted her head up and I lowered mine.  It felt like we were in slow motion as our lips approached each other.  When our lips finally made contact we quickly pulled away and looked into each others eyes again.  Neither of us said a word as we tried to sort out the feelings rushing all around inside of us.  Val put her hands on my shoulders and we pressed our lips together again.  At last the first truly real kiss was happening.  It lasted more than a few seconds and I could hear her breathing softly as we kept ourselves together with our lips.  We pulled away and looked at each other again and then decided we had better get back to where people could see us before we were missed.  One last little peck of our lips and we left the furnace room having accomplished what we had set out to do.

That first kiss was very special to me and Val both.  Neither of us ever forgot it.  We continued to grow close for awhile then it seemed our relationship settled back into that best friend level and the kissing stopped.  We remained close friends helping each other out of jams.  Val introduced  me to the girl who would become my wife for the rest of my life.

That first kiss with Val taught us both a lesson in life and in love.  Relationships would not necessarily last forever but while you had one going, it could be the greatest thing in the world.  My relationship with my wife has last thirty five years now and it all started with my first real kiss introducing me to the love of my life.

Val died last year and I was crushed.  She had been one of the most important people in my life outside family members for the great majority of my life.  We had learned together.  We had helped each other.  We had loved each on a best friend level.

When I found out she had passed away,  one of my first thoughts was that memory of that first real kiss in the church furnace room and how that evening had effected both of us in a way that kept us friends for years.  I enjoyed that kiss and I will never forget it.  Val was a special friend and I miss her terribly and will continue to miss her the rest of my life.

George Carlin - Quote 6

There's an odd feeling you get when someone on the sidewalk moves slightly to avoid walking into you.  It proves you exist.  Your mere existence caused them to alter their path.  It's a nice feeling.  After you die, no one has to get out of your way anymore.

Nightmare #5 - Al Kooper

I was sixteen years of age when I fled my family's house
And I hitchhiked down the highway tryin' to make my way down south.
It was in the dead of winter and it chilled me to the bone,
But I was sixteen years of age, just tryin' to get a message home.

It was cold and it was windy and I was two days in my flight,
And my shoes were almost wore through, and the day was almost night,
When the only car I saw that day came rollin' into view.
I just ran onto the highway for to see what I could do.

I waved my arms and hollered and the car it did slow down,
And I asked the man inside to help me for to get to the very next town.
He nodded "yes" and I jumped inside. I was thankful, safe and warm,
But the stranger kept his eyes ahead and drove straight into the storm.

I guess I must have fell asleep but I couldn't tell how long,
When I woke up in a hurry with the feel of something wrong.
The stranger was still driving and he did not say a word,
And I asked him many questions but he seemed not to have heard.

Then fear began to grab me and I reached out for the door.
When I almost had it open, well, the car began to soar.
As it angled towards the heavens, I just tried to catch my breath,
For it was then I knew what time it was, and the stranger's name was death.

Friday, November 12, 2010


He never liked being described as a hobo.  He was a train hopper in his mind.  He hopped onto trains and took them to small towns that looked promising for a few weeks work before hopping on another train and riding to another town.  Although it was illegal to ride trains in this manner, the people who worked in the yards manage to leave at least a few doors open in the box cars so that he and other train hoppers could at least have a chance for a ride.  They considered it doing a good deed to keep the hoppers warm and safe.

He had been hopping trains for almost thirty years now and he still was not tired of it.  He had been from one end of the country to the other, although he preferred the northern plains to other parts of the country.  He had shared rides before with other hoppers and had never had any trouble.  One reason for this is that he stood six foot and 4 inches tall and he was in very good shape.  One look at him, and a would be thief would reconsider his plan immediately.  He carried a medium sized duffel bag which contained two sets of cloths and various canned goods and tools.  This little kit had done well for him making him prepared for almost any job that may present itself to him.

One spring night as he was settling down in a corner of the dusty box car, three other hoppers climbed aboard.  They looked him over and decided it may be wise to be pleasant to the big muscular man in the corner.  They asked him if it he would mind sharing the car with them for a couple of days.  He didn't mind as long as they didn't bother him.  He made it part of his philosophy to never get into others business and never let others get into his.  It had worked fairly well over the years with only a few minor scuffles that didn't amount to much.  The three newcomers settled down in the opposite corner and whispered among themselves as to not to disturb their host in the car.

It was two nights later when the train was stopped to add a few more cars onto it that the two boys climbed aboard the car.  They looked over at the loner and then at the three gathered in a corner and and without asking just sat their cloth bags on the floor in the third corned and laid down to take a nap.    The three men who considered themselves no longer guests of the box car but residents were angered over this breech of protocol among train hoppers everywhere.  They talked to each other in hushed tones that slowly got louder and faster as they tried to decide what the best way to handle this situation was.

The train started moving and the two boys were still in the car.  One of the boys sat up and posed a question to the loner about his belief in Christ and religion.  The loner just sighed and sat back to close his eyes as he felt the train starting to rock below him as he slowly started to drift off finally falling into a sleep that was not destined to last for long.

It was the yel;ling of not giving a damn about religion or God or anything else that awoke the loner.  His eyes came into focus just as one of the three threw a fist into the gut of one of the boys.  It was the beginning of an exhibition of the worst kind, the young missionaries taking a pounding for their beliefs and not fighting back.  The blood began to flow from the boys and soon both of them seemed to be lifeless as they lay in a pool of their own blood.  They were very still and the loner could not even hear breathing coming from the two boys.  The three men started going through the sacks of the young missionaries and grabbing what food they could find as the loner just sat and watched the end of the event come to pass.  One of the three suddenly got the idea that they had better get rid of these bodies or there could be questions asked, more questions than a small pool of blood stain on the floor of a box car would bring up.  The three men slowly picked up each of the boys and swung them out of the fast moving train into a terrain that wasn't very clear.  It could be water, soft grass or rocks.  They couldn't tell nor did they care.  The kids were gone and the three had some fresh food to eat.  After a few minutes one of the three picked up a bible and through it out the door as well.  The lone train hopper shifted his body a little and fell back asleep, not giving what he had just seen much thought.  The boys were gone, the three were pleased and it was back to a quiet normality of quiet as he fell asleep.

It was a month after the night of the beatings and possibly killings of the young men when he noticed a police car drive by.  In the back he could make out the faces of two of the three riders that had beat up the kids.  Fairly soon after that another car came whizzing by with the third  part of the trio in the back seat.  He wondered what the police had found.  He had been working in a warehouse, helping to get it organized for the Christmas season and had planned on leaving the following Monday, hopping another train to whee ever it took him.  That Friday afternoon found him at the courthouse to see what the men had been taken into custody for.  As he sat there he looked around the room and saw one of the young boys that had been on the train that night staring at him.  Suddenly the young man stood up and pointed his finger and yelled that the loner had been one of them too, that he had helped kill his friend on the train that dreadful night.  The lone hopper felt his blood drain from his head and felt sick all at the same time.  There was a bustle of chatter among the prosecutor and the police and the judge and eventually they came over and put him under arrest, assigned him a lawyer and stood him up with the other three men.

He did not talk to his lawyer.  He did not talk to anyone.  His jail cell fit him as comfortably as a box car had.  He kept rolling through the pictures in his mind from that night and over and over saw himself sitting there watching the beatings and watching the bodies go flying out of the side of the boxcar.  He decided it would be best to just keep totally silent and that was what he did.

The trial did not last long.  There was the account of the young missionary of what happened that night, the account of officers who found the young boy wandering around in a daze and then the account of finding the body of his friend.  The other three tried to throw up a weak defense that seemed to try to place most of the blame on the loner but it didn't hold up.  It was obvious to everyone in the court room, particularly the jury, what had happened that night.  The lone hopper did not put up a defense, instead deciding to continue not to talk to his lawyer and not to speak of what he had witnessed.  It took the jury less than an hour to come to the decision of all four men being guilty of murder and being placed on death row.  The loner let the words sink into his soul of what it all meant.  It meant he was going to die.  Somehow he was good with that, resting easy for the next two days before they transferred the four to the state prison to await execution.

The four men were put into adjacent cells on death row.  The three began trying to figure out how to appeal their misfortune while the loner laid quietly on his bunk resting and waiting for time to drift by.  One of the three called him a fool for not defending himself, for not saying he had nothing to do with it and because of that he was sitting here waiting patiently to die for something he had nothing to do with.  They asked him how he come he was even here when all he did was watch what happened?  How could he accept that.  Then the loner said the only words to the three or anyone since he was arrested.

"It is because I did nothing that I am here.  I deserve it.  I should have stopped it but I sat and watched and then fell asleep.  I have no quarrel with the state or you or anybody.  I did nothing and for that I must pay.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Alone - Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were — I have not seen
As others saw — I could not bring
My passions from a common spring —
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow — I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone —
And all I lov'd — I lov'd alone —
Then — in my childhood — in the dawn
Of a most stormy life — was drawn
From ev'ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still —
From the torrent, or the fountain —
From the red cliff of the mountain —
From the sun that 'round me roll'd
In its autumn tint of gold —
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass'd me flying by —
From the thunder, and the storm —
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view —


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bill Hicks - Quote 2

They've proved that if you quit smoking it will prolong your life..... what they haven't proved is that a prolonged life is a good thing

Sam Stone - Al Kooper

Written by John Prine
Sam Stone came home,
To his wife and family
After serving in the conflict overseas.
And the time that he served,
Had shattered all his nerves,
And left a little shrapnel in his knee.
But the morphine eased the pain,
And the grass grew round his brain,
And gave him all the confidence he lacked,
With a Purple Heart and a monkey on his back.

There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes,
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose.
Little pitchers have big ears,
Don't stop to count the years,
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.

Sam Stone's welcome home
Didn't last too long.
He went to work when he'd spent his last dime
And Sammy took to stealing
When he got that empty feeling
For a hundred dollar habit without overtime.
And the gold rolled through his veins
Like a thousand railroad trains,
And eased his mind in the hours that he chose,
While the kids ran around wearin' other peoples' clothes...

Repeat Chorus:

Sam Stone was alone
When he popped his last balloon
Climbing walls while sitting in a chair
Well, he played his last request
While the room smelled just like death
With an overdose hovering in the air
But life had lost its fun
And there was nothing to be done
But trade his house that he bought on the G. I. Bill
For a flag draped casket on a local heroes' hill.

Repeat Chorus

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


The first things that he noticed was that it was dark and it was quiet.  Every once in a while he would here a soft voice that sounded like it was in a small cave with a small echo.  Sound was the only sensation he had.  He could not feel arms or legs or even the bed he assumed he was lying on.  He would hear the voice ask him how he was doing but he could not answer or even nod his head.  He felt tired but was afraid to slip off to sleep even though he felt like he was halfway there as it was.  He decided to try to figure out how he arrived in this dark tunnel of nothingness but sound.  The only sense he could come up with was a sense of moving fast and a two headlights heading straight for him.  After that small memory, which was very difficult to conjure up and getting more difficult all the time, his memory jumped into the darkness.

He thought he heard his wife one time saying that she loved him but he wasn't sure if it was her or not.  He was never sure when he was sleeping or when he was awake.  He assumed that if heard the soft footsteps and whispering voices he was awake, but there was no way for him to verify that.  He had tried to will himself to talk a few times but nothing happened.  Nothing would move, no pressure on his vocal chords, his head wouldn't even move.  His head was the only place where he could actually feel something as it rested on a huge fluffy pillow.  As far as he knew of the rest of his body, it was gone.  No arms, no legs, not even any part of a torso could he feel.  Just the soft pillow under his head which he could not move.

One day as his head was lying on the people, he heard a group of voices.  It was more voices then he had ever heard at one time as far as he could remember.  He was having a difficult time sorting out the different voices and what was being said.  He heard the mention of a young girl just five years old and her mother.apparently around the age of twenty six.  From what he could make out these two people were going to be at a funeral later in the day.  He laid with his head nestled in the pillow trying to sort things out.  He had noticed that his brain had been slowing down recently although he could not tell how many days or nights he had been here.  There was no day or night for him, just lost time that came and went.  His thoughts began in a cluttered mess with the little information he had until he came to a horrific conclusion.  This mother and her little girl were being buried today.  His mind began to race with questions that ran into each other confusing him even more.  He tried as hard as he could to ask questions of the voices but his head just lay still and his mouth kept close.  He did not even think his eyes were moving.  He wanted to know if this little girl and her mother were the lights heading towards him in that last memory before this non existence that he had woke up to.

Suddenly the voices stopped and the next thing he remembered was that single voice asking him how he was doing.  It was taking him longer and longer to decode what the voices were saying to him.  Things would come out garbled and he would have to reconstruct the sounds to hopeful get something that sounded like the words that he remembered.  He felt like he was conscious less and less time between his confusing waking moments.  When he was conscious, the voices were softer and more difficult to put together in his head.  The blank spots between the voices became more and more frequent until one day they faded off slowly into the distance as he felt himself doze off a bit.

He had no idea how long it had been since that last time he was aware and the voices faded off.  Even if he did know how long, he would not be able to recognize it as a unit of time.  His head was just full of random thoughts and numbers and words.  Nothing going on in his head made any sense.  Then he became aware of something in his throat.  It wasn't uncomfortable but was pushing air down his throat and, he figured, eventual into his lungs which he assumed were still there.  He heard constant beeps coming from a source that seemed to surround his whole head.

The voices were there.  They seemed far away and he could not make any sense of them at all.  There seemed to be an argument of some kind between the voices as they would raise up in volume every once in a while but he still could not make sense of what the voices were saying.  The voices were just more noise added to the noise of the beeps around his head.  He tried to put thoughts together, to form a sentence in his mind but as hard as he tried, his thoughts and mind made as much sense as the voices that were off in the distance.

He rested his head on the pillow and noticed that things were very quiet around him now.  He heard the beeping of a machine close to his head but there were no voices.  He wanted to say something but he could not figure out what it would be.  He wanted to ask something but again his mind was unable to construct anything that he himself could understand.  He could still feel the cool air being forced down his throat when all of a sudden, it seemed that the tube quit doing it's cooling magic.  The air stopped going down his throat. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain coming up in his throat and he thought he would finally be able to make a noise but the mouth remained shut.  What was left of his mind became dizzy and he started seeing bright sparks of light here and there as his mind became weaker and weaker and suddenly, he found himself in nothingness.  He slowly started to feel his body once again.  His arms were moving and then his legs made themselves aware to him.  He decided to try to open his eye and when he did, all he could see was darkness.  He felt himself floating as as time passed the floating became more and more real to him.

The darkness began to lift slowly and he began to see other souls floating along.  They were all silent but the floated as if looking for something, searching for something.  Slowly but surely the light became as if on a cloudy rainy Saturday morning.  Gray and dull but light enough to see things that were about.  Suddenly there came a pull on his legs.

He looked down and saw a great ocean with sparkling beaches all around it.  Millions of souls were walking in and out of the water, their souls going in gray and coming out sparkling white.  The next thing he noticed was that he was standing down on that beach looking over at the sensational ocean of life giving water.  He wasn't sure what he was suppose to do so he stood and observed as others made their way to the shoreline while others came back from the water, smiling and happy.

Suddenly there was a young lady and a little girl standing next to him.  Neither of them looked at him but the little girl simply told him that everything was ok.  The young woman began to tale a short tale to him.  It was about how one night she and her daughter were driving on a two lane highway when suddenly one of the tires blew out.  She had lost control of her car and the last thing she remembered of her life were two headlights heading straight for her.  Next thing she knew she said was that her and her daughter had found themselves here at what is called the Ocean of Life.  She then turned her head and looked at him and told him it was his turn.  He had done nothing wrong and they had been waiting for him the last few days.  He asked her if he could talk again and when she smiled, he felt a little foolish.  She urged him to go ahead, walk into the Ocean of Life and become whole once again.

Slowly he turned and began to walk.  He felt the water hit his toes and felt them suddenly jump to life.  The rest of his body had the same reaction as he walked deeper and deeper into the ocean until it covered his head  He found he could still breathe while under the water of the ocean.  As he came out and stood on the beach once again he noticed his clothes were shiny and sparkled.  He noticed that there were no aches or pains in any of his joints.  But most of all, he felt happy.  This wasn't the kind of happiness he had learned to know of previously but this happiness was overwhelming ans he found himself happy just to be able to walk along the beach, around the entire circumference of the Ocean of Life.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lewis Black - Quote 1

The most important part of travel, is when you come home. Because, that's when you see your country with new eyes. I was amazed to realize that we're - we're the only country that - that tells the rest of the world, on a nearly constant basis, that we're the greatest country on Earth. And that is a little obnoxious! And they know it's obnoxious. Because, if you were in an office, and there was someone there, who came in every day and said; "I'm the greatest person here! And you snivelling idiots would die without me! AHAHAHAHA!" I can guarantee that by the end of the week, you'd have killed him! And eaten him, just to try to possess his power!

(some words have been changed in the quote as to not offend anyone who might read this quote).

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I was driving an old 1967 Impala with a very small block straight 6 engine in it.  It was a long ways from my days driving the Nova with the V-8.  I was married and the Nova was my wife's, no questions asked.  Harry had taken me out to help find a car suitable for me.  I had my eyes on a 1972 Chevelle with a big engine and the rear end jacked up.  It was a real looker of a car but Harry thought I could do better.  He walked around the lot and found this Impala for me.  Sensible car he had said.  It only would cost me two hundred dollars and it could, if I pushed it hard enough, make it up to seventy miles per hour.  You can't realize the blow to your self esteem when your wife is out driving a car like her Nova at speed under the speed limit and driving it extremely carfully while you are stuck with a car that was almost toy in its nature.

It was a good car though.  It was reliable and the maintenance it required was simple and easy for me to do.  I drove that car many miles and it served its purpose, that of getting me from point A to point B.  The low initial cost and low overhead of fuel costs and maintenance cost also allowed us to save up money for our first brand new car.  Harry knew what he was doing.  He always did.

I was still a little bit immature even though I was married.  I had done things that looking back, could have been pretty big mistakes.  For example on our first anniversary of marriage, I had received a phone call from the guys wanting to play basketball, which I agreed to without even thinking.  So my wife spent our first anniversary at home by herself while I was out shooting hoops.  Not a good choice on my part.

I had matured over the years in other ways though.  Since that day I threw rocks at the dump truck, I had never thrown another rock anywhere except maybe into a lake, skipping it across the surface.  I had not had a drag race either for a few reasons.  First I had learned a lesson from my previous racing experience and that was that it was not such a good idea to drag race on public streets.  Of course, since my big drag race, a new interstate had been built across the drag strip producing a set of four red lights which shortened the track somewhat.  Along with the new freeway came another set of stop lights a few blocks back from the freeway which shortened the track even more.  Blue Ridge was no longer a drag strip dream but just another suburbian street that was picking up more and more traffic.  The other reason for not racing anymore was that my Impala was incapable of doing a race of any kind except perhaps a demolition derby.

I was out taking my Impala to the gas station one bright sunny summer day.   I had grown to kid of love that car and I felt comfortable and safe in it.  As I was coming up a street a dump truck pulled out in front me to make a left hand turn.  I slowed the car a bit to give the heavy truck plenty pf time to complete his turn.  As the truck passed in front of me I looked up in the cab.  It was eerie.  The driver had thick black hair brylcreemed back in a swoop.  He ware dark glasses and had a look of determination on his face of a man at work with a job to get done.  It was the same truck driver from years ago.  The man who had lectured me while all the other kids were hiding.  The man who had truly scared me half to death when he had climbed out of that truck.

Then in my mind flashed another picture of a man.  A police officer I knew only as "Sweeney" from his autograph on my speeding ticket the night he had turned off the radar gun when my car hit fifty five miles per hour.   The Officer who had faked calling pthe parents of both me and my wife in a terror filled evening that I had seen my life  pass before my eyes if Harry had found out about the racing.  One thing you should know I spuupose is that Harry was a big racing fan and I had been to the races with him dozens of times, but those races were on an enclosed track, not on a public street in a car in which he owned, so yes, I am not exagerating when I felt like my life would have ended if Harry had found out about that racing incident.

The truck completed his turn while all these thoughts were going through my head and I was reliving each of them.  My eyes drifted over towards the mailbox next to the road almost afraid of what I would see.

The mail box had one word set upon it and that word sent a chill up my spine.  All that it said on the mailbox was "SWEENEY".

Friday, November 5, 2010

Autumn Movement - Poem by Carl Sandburg

I cried over beautiful things knowing no
beautiful thing lasts.
The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf
at the neck of the copper sunburned woman,
the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.
The northwest wind comes and the yellow is
torn full of holes, new beautiful things
come in the first spit of snow on the northwest
wind, and the old things go,not one lasts.


Things were going pretty good for me the summer between my junior and senior years of high school.  I had met and was dating the girl I would eventually marry.  I had a job that was a career job in drafting instead of flipping burgers as most of my friends were doing.  I was working full time during the summer and would be able to graduate from high school in December and pick up working full time for good in January.

My future father in law was a good man with a good sense of humor and most importantly, he liked me. Harry was a car mechanic for Chevy dealers and he loved cars.  He had some fairly nice cars in the past and continued not settling for average cars.  In 1972 he had bought a demo car from the dealership where he worked.  It was an absolutely beautiful 1971 Nova Super Sport with a large 350 cubic inch v8 engine powering it.  It was painted dark metallic brown.  It was a powerful little car that was fun to drive.  It had such power on pickup that it was almost worthless in snow as the tires would spin too fast with the lightest bit of pressure on the accelerator pedal.  With that power it became a very fast car and when you are a young man of seventeen, there is nothing quite as intriguing as a sharp looking, smooth riding car that could knock off a hundred miles per hour with ease.

As luck would have it, he loaned this sweet little Nova to my future wife for her to drive around in.  He would later give it to her and it would become part my car but for now it was considered a loan for her to drive where she needed to go.  At this time I did not have a car of my own, so we ended up taking the Nova on our dates, to church, and wherever else we may find ourselves going.  Eventually my future bride allowed me to drive the Nova on our dates because that was the more proper thing to do.  I truly loved that car and thinking back, I am not sure I stayed with my girl because of her or the car I got to drive as long as I dated her.

It was a summer night when the car came to cause me one of my most terrifying evenings I had during that part of my life.  Today if you drive down Blue Ridge Boulevard  from 95th street to 107th Street you have a stop light at 99th street, a major freeway at about 102nd Street which places four stop lights in your path before you can advance on down to the next stop light at 107th Street.  Back in the days that I was dating the Nova, there was not any stop lights between 95th Street and 107th Street and the traffic kept fairly light on Blue Ridge.  It was a teenage drag racer's dream.

On this particular summer night we had been dining at McDonald's on 87th Street when I began talking to one of my friends from school about our cars and how fast they could go.  We decided to find out who's car was faster so we drove out onto Blue Ridge and drove up to the stop light at 87th Street.  The light turned green and both cars jumped and flew down to the stop light at 95th Street.  It was a pretty close race so with an acknowledgment by nodding our heads, we decided to take a second race from 95th Street all the way to 107th Street.  This was going to be special because on that long a stretch of road you could really get the cars speed built up.

The light turned green and off we went.  Door to door, the cars going faster on a consistent rate until we passed the church at 102nd Street.  There in the parking lot was a police officer running a radar gun as we sped towards him in the darkness, As soon as we passed him he pulled out with lights flashing and siren going.  Thankfully we were going so fast he was quite a ways behind us.  I pulled the car over while my competition kept going.  I sat there watching his tail lights fade into the distance and then glanced in the rear view mirror where I saw the police lights closing in.

As the car stopped racing, my mind and heart began to race.  Her dad could not find out I have even been driving this car, much less racing it.  I decided there was only one thing to do and that was to switch places with Barb and I suggested that very idea to her.  She did not think it was a very good idea for her to get a mark against her driving record for speeding when she had tried her best to talk me out of the race.  I poured more logic on her and received the same answer.  I tried one last time and she finally agreed to switch places with me in the car.  I slid under and she slid over as we began to swap positions in the car and were right i the middle of the procedure when i saw the shadows from the policeman's spot light shine in the car.  We had been caught not only speeding, but now trying to switch places in the car.  There was nothing to do but to get out and explain it to the hopefully understanding officer.

As I got out of the car I was ordered to stop and to raise my hands.  I looked and saw the officer squatting behind his open door with his gun raised and pointing straight me. It did not take a lot of thinking to make the decision to do as he said.  He walked over to me, turned me around and after slamming me up against the car proceeded to frisk me for any weapons that I did not have.  He then lectured me on how police officers think, when they see people swapping places in a car then one gets out, he did not know if I was armed or what I was planning.  I told him I was planning on explain to him why he had caught us in that position and he decided to talk it out at the police station, which at that time was just down the road at 107th and Blue Ridge.  He took my license and I followed him down the street to his office while all the time the lecture was starting to come from Barb about how she told me not to race, that we were in big trouble now and so on.

When we got to the police station he had us sit at his desk and explain the whole situation over again, which I did in explicit detail, not forgetting to mention that at least I stopped while my competition had continued on down the road.  He listened closely then took both of our drivers license and walk out of the room, leaving us to begin the sweating process.  He returned shortly and again asked me to explain the situation, which I dutifully did.  He then asked for my future father in law's phone number and left the room again.  This time the sweating was like an internal water hose had been turned on.  If he called Barb's dad and told him the story, he could add at least a domestic disturbance call to his night, maybe even a murder call.  This was not going well.  He continued to make us sweat by asking questions, checking to be sure he had the right phone number and leaving the office between each round of questions for the next two hours.

Finally he came in and sat leaning back in his chair and said he had decided not to call Harry, and both Barb and I started to breathe once again.  He said he was going to give me a ticket though and I had better show up and pay the fine.  I agreed quickly to his terms.  As he finished writing the ticket I asked him how fast he had clocked me at.  He half smiled and said that he had turned the radar gun off when it hit fifty five miles per hour, only ten over the speed limit.  He handed me the ticket and I looked it over.  Under Officer he had signed his name simply "Sweeney".  He then told us to get out of there and never let him catching us racing again.

Me and Barb left knowing we had dodged a big one.  She lectured me a few more times but things worked out as I took care of the ticket in a timely manner.

Barb's dad, Harry, up to the day he died, never did find out about the racing incident in his beloved 1971 Nova Super Sport with the 350 v8 engine.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

George Carlin Quote 5

I had no shoes, and I felt sorry for myself until I met a man with no feet.  I took his shoes.  Now I feel better.

Don Quixote - Gordon Lightfoot

Through the woodland, through the valley
Comes a horseman wild and free
Tilting at the windmills passing
Who can the brave young horseman be
He is wild but he is mellow
He is strong but he is weak
He is cruel but he is gentle
He is wise but he is meek
Reaching for his saddlebag
He takes a battered book into his hand
Standing like a prophet bold
He shouts across the ocean to the shore
Till he can shout no more

I have come o’er moor and mountain
Like the hawk upon the wing
I was once a shining knight
Who was the guardian of a king
I have searched the whole world over
Looking for a place to sleep
I have seen the strong survive
And I have seen the lean grown weak

See the children of the earth
Who wake to find the table bare
See the gentry in the country
Riding off to take the air

Reaching for his saddlebag
He takes a rusty sword into his hand
Then striking up a knightly pose
He shouts across the ocean to the shore
Till he can shout no more

See the jailor with his key
Who locks away all trace of sin
See the judge upon the bench
Who tries the case as best he can
See the wise and wicked ones
Who feed upon life’s sacred fire
See the soldier with his gun
Who must be dead to be admired

See the man who tips the needle
See the man who buys and sells
See the man who puts the collar
On the ones who dare not tell
See the drunkard in the tavern
Stemming gold to make ends meet
See the youth in ghetto black
Condemned to life upon the street

Reaching for his saddlebag
He takes a tarnished cross into his hand
Then standing like a preacher now
He shouts across the ocean to the shore
Then in a blaze of tangled hooves
He gallops off across the dusty plain
In vain to search again
Where no one will hear

Through the woodland, through the valley
Comes a horseman wild and free
Tilting at the windmills passing
Who can the brave young horseman be
He is wild but he is mellow
He is strong but he is weak
He is cruel but he is gentle
He is wise but he is meek

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


For every child summer seems to last forever.  Looking back on that special time of life, all the days are long and sun filled with running around playing.  The child finds himself doing things that deep down he knows are wrong, but there is an impulse that brings the thought into reality and then the child immediately begins to hope and wish that he doesn't get caught.  When he gets away with whatever it is, there is joy.  When he gets caught doing the offense, which is far less likely to happen, punishments surely awaits.

I am not sure how old I was when the following event happened but I want to guess that I was around seven or eight.  My mother babysat for extra income so along with my brother and I, there were probably two or three other kids outside that bright sunny summer morning.  We had been playing all morning waiting for George, the postman to make his round to our house.  You could set your clock by George as he showed up at our front door every morning right around ten minutes after ten.  He was tall and lanky but still showed a lot of stamina as he carried that heavy mailbag on his shoulder.  George was a very friendly postman and he would stop and talk to us for a bit before heading on down the street.  George would be our friend for years upon years, stopping to talk to us almost every summer day that we were out.

I mention George because that is how I come to approximately what time of day it was that we kids committed the offense.  It seems like George had been there and gone for about fifteen minutes so it was approximately ten thirty on a summer weekday morning that we found ourselves in the front yard.  If it had not been for the lure of talking to George that morning we may have been in the back yard when the situation presented itself instead of the front yard.

I remember there were some little rocks along the curbside and it wasn't long before we began tossing them across the street to see who could come closest to hitting the opposite curb.  This activity slowly turned into tossing rocks at each other which was extremely dangerous in the getting caught business because if just one kid caught a rock in the eye, the game would be over and all of us would be punished.

It was at about this time that we heard the loud grinding noise of a truck at the bottom of the hill.  We quickly ran over to the curb and saw a big dump truck, similar to our little Tonka ones, beginning to struggle up the hill slowly gaining speed as it continued to push itself.  Now I am not one to point fingers and to be honest I really don't know whose idea it was, but by the time the dump truck reached our driveway every kid in that front yard had a small hand full of little rocks at the ready.  As the powerful truck passed us the rocks suddenly flew out of little hands hitting the truck on the side making a terrible clatter.  We were all laughing and enjoying ourselves with our good rock tossing when the unthinkable happened and the unthinkable was not my mother coming out of the front door to yell at us for throwing rocks.  The unthinkable was that the tires on the massive dump truck locked up, screeching to a halt then slowly rolled back towards us.

I stood frozen on the curbside.  Frozen I suppose half out of fear but also half out of wonderment at the size of the truck rolling back towards me.  I looked up and in the cab was a dark haired handsome fellow with dark sunglasses on.  His hair was brylcreemed back into a swoop and he looked straight at me as he opened the door of the truck.  I watched him climb out of the truck slowly finishing with a little hop on down to the ground.  He turned, looked at me then came over to me.  As he started to talk to me, and only me, I looked around for my accomplices.  They were nowhere to be seen.  Apparently everyone used their brain to run except for me.  I had stood there like an idiot waiting for the truck to make its way all the way back to me.

He began the scolding with a little anger in his voice.  "It is dangerous to throw rocks at vehicles" (yes, he actually said vehicles) and then explained how  rocks could distract a driver causing accidents and all kinds of mayhem that you would not ordinarily see on a quiet suburban street mid morning in the middle of summer.  I stood there all by myself taking in the lecture and actually realizing that he was right, but too frightened to really say anything in response.  Eventually he asked me if I was going to ever throw rocks at cars or trucks again and I answered that I definitely would not ever do that again. A small grin came across his face which he turned back into a scowl as he looked past me and over my shoulder and into the back yard.  He patted me on the head and climb back into the giant truck and began the slow grinding torturing of the truck to continue up the hill.

Suddenly I was surrounded by all my cohorts in the great rock throwing incident asking me about what he had said, if he was going to tell mom and all other types of questions that if they had been there with me they wouldn't have to ask.  I ignored their questions for a bit as I stood at the curbside quietly watching him leave.  His faced was burned into my memory that morning, his voice would be with me for years and the kindness he showed in letting me off with just a lecture impressed me.   While I was running this all through my brain there was a very small part of my mind wondering if my mother had witnessed the confrontation between me and the truck driver.  I don't think she did because I do not remember any punishment for rock throwing on that particular day.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Love Hurts - Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons

Written by Boudleaux Bryant

Love hurts, love scars, love wounds and mars
Any heart not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud holds a lot of rain
Love hurts, mmm, mmm, love hurts

I'm young I know but even so
I know a thing or two I learned from you
I really learned a lot, really learned a lot
Love is like a stove burns you when it's hot
Love hurts, mmm, mmm, love hurts

Some fools think of happiness
Blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves I guess
But they're not fooling me
I know it isn't true, know it isn't true
Love is just a lie made to make you blue
Love hurts, mmm, mmm, love hurts