New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Old Fools Journal: News from the Front

The front lines must have been just one street over last night as the artillery and rocket barrages were louder than the night before. It did not appear to be advancing in my direction so I thought to get some rest before we were overrun at dawn. There was mumbling and conspiring going on in the streets somewhere that I could hear but not see.  There was no advance at dawn so the combatants are probably waiting for supplies of ammo, beer and cigarettes.  I trust they will start again today celebrating the end of a bad year and the start of another, that will be just the same as the one ending, by blowing off their own fingers, ruining their ears and setting minor fires. So goes the war against excessive Chinese fireworks imports.

It has been fairly quiet this year but not because of the recovering economy I heard about the last time I listened to the radio. I'm guessing it's not recovering here as I know a number of young men that would like to have a job to no avail. Most of them can read, write (sort of) and  do simple arithmetic. Being a product of public education in Louisiana will not get them a good job flipping (you want fries wit dat) burgers and there is no rock quarry to take up the slack. The ones that have jobs usually spend it all on cigarettes, gasoline and pickup trucks. I never see beer among the young except for the bottles thrown in my yard so I assume they are doing drugs of some kind.   The good jobs stocking grocery store shelves goes to the laid off machinist, engineers and technicians so young men are roaming the streets in this first world country.  That puts them in the positions of being corrected by law enforcement officers which makes jobs in that field. Then with the help of some nine to five judges they fill the prisons so that there is work for the correction officers.  The growing jail industry is so good that our parish president wants to raid the library fund to build more jails.  So there is an upside.

We still need the library so the the teachers from the school next door have a place to go during the day to smoke cigarettes when school is in session but we only need the front of the building and the ash can.  No books are required. Those fat ladies gather around the front door huffing and puffing from the long walk of 300 feet and trying to get as much nicotine as possible in ten minutes. Talk about your "gateway drugs".

I expect the artillery to start again this afternoon once the ceremonial beers have been consumed. It's prudent to have a tin roof here to guard against rocket fire.

As for SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed, my bride) and myself we survived the Jesus dollar days season by mostly ignoring it. We did not do anything and that was nice. We ate good, drank good wine, smiled at each other and managed to stay out of the stores. Staying out of the stores where  you are force fed seasonal music was the best part. In prior years a few hours of that music made me want to commit mass murder. Not this year. Someone else will have to fill in for "the Berserker". Not having seen or heard the "news" in several weeks I am only assuming that somewhere someone went berserk. I'm not going to check but I'm sure I'll hear about it.

I can't remember the last happy Commercial Christmas Holiday that I enjoyed. It has been more that twenty years I guess.  I am a slow learner but this year the decorations, lights, tree, presents and holiday music were not just eliminated they were ignored entirely.  It did not eliminate the stress but it moved it to a very manageable low level. The lack of  after holiday cleanup topped it all off. Instead of cleaning up I had a strong dark roasted Louisiana coffee with Louisiana cane sugar and a heavy shot of brandy.  Santa Claus still swirls around in my head and that communist Jew, Jesus, who I'm sure was a zen master, still influences my life without hindering it or having to believe all the made up stuff.

Good food, good wine and a warm house with loved ones (even the dumb ones) is good enough.

I have not given up writing but lately I have spent more time absorbing drivel instead of spewing it. I haven't found much good to pass on. It's kind of hard to say something amusing about some of the atrocious things people do to each other and to other species. I read and study dirt and the plants that grow in it daily so that when spring comes around I will be ready.

Meanwhile I'm playing with sprouting indoors in preparation with hopes of having some hardy new plants in the spring. Dirt is my friend.

Here is a little explanation of the major religions of the world that I can understand. Examining my meager understanding of man and his religions find this pretty much covers it.   I would give credit if I knew where it came from.

It's 75 degrees F outside so I think this afternoon I will be artisticly carressing some downed tree limbs with a chain saw.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Firewood or How To Store Sunshine

It is a little know fact that Man when speaking shuts down his brain-Tom Swaim
A little something came my way over the last couple of days just in the Saint Nick of time.
It's not much but it will do for now. This is "five times firewood". It kept me warm unloading it, it will keep me warm splitting it, it keeps me warm carrying it in, it keeps me warm when it's burning and it will keep me warm when I carry out the ash.

The storing of sunshine in the form of trees fascinates me. Without fail deep profound thoughts come to my mind when I handle it none of which I can remember when I come to write. That's okay because I know that just having those thoughts will give me a star on my life record.

Burning wood is not destruction it is conversion. Turn up the sound to hear this stove making like a rocket
This was a very tall old tree the wind pushed over. It became a nuisance to the people who lived under it  but while it stood they enjoyed the shade without a thought except for when they cursed it because of falling leaves.  To the woodcutter it was just another paying job. To the man who brought it to me it was money to buy a few packs of cigarettes. To me it is sunshine and is still living and providing. The remains of what you see in the stove will go into the yard where there are acorns taking root to replace it in it's growing form. Nothing is destroyed. Life goes on.
Speaking of life, Solstice has come and gone. It appears that those folks that throw the bones and bite the heads off frogs to make predictions have interpreted their findings. They think we get another go around old Sol even though there was no human sacrifice. I do hope I can make better of it in this journey than I did in the last one.

At least I get to start with my favorite fruit. These are the last of the fall tomatoes. Some are going bad instead of getting ripe but I'm eating homegrown tomatoes every day and soon I'll be starting seed indoors for the spring crop. This is not all of them. My hovel looks like a sequel to "The Invasion of the Killer Tomatoes".

These tomatoes have the thickest skin I've ever seen but they are full of juicy sweetness.

I am an amateur but what I lack in experience and know-how I make up for with patience  and perseverance.

Oh boy it's almost lunch time and I am craving fat. It seems I do that in winter. Whatever it will be will have tomato with it.

Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. -Jay Johnson

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Day of the Long Shadow

35mm taken in 1961 from the deck of a warship
Winter Solstice is upon us again and I am glad to see it as usual. I get a twinge of regret and dread in summer at solstice but it is mitigated somewhat with knowing the remaining growing season is about to reveal itself. In my life that has always been more good than bad but after Samhain (Halloween) it's steeply downhill. At winter solstice I have a feeling of hope and elation without fail. It is somewhat subdued this year and I just want to get it over with. I realize that I have many blessings but the fog in my mind makes them difficult to see at times. I know the this too will pass if I grit my teeth enough.

We are under a tornado watch as I write this and it appears that Mother Earth is going to give us something to think about on this Winter Solstice day. The sun that makes us and all we experience on Earth possible started north this morning at 0530 GMT.  At least that is what is advertised but like all other years I will believe it when I see it. Since it is no longer possible for me to throw virgins into the volcano to appease the SunGod there is nothing I can do if it does not.

In my pagan mind I danced naked around the bonfire of last years troubles singing only in indecipherable tongues and grunts during the early morning hours to insure the suns return.  Honestly, this year I would like to have done it in the company of like minded beings of any species but being a "grove of one" makes that unlikely in any year. Maybe next year if I'm still around.

Happy Solstice, Prepare for Spring as it is coming.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Old Fools Journal: A Few Unfortunate Events

A few unfortunate events have occurred in the last couple of weeks that have caused the light in my head to go dark.

This is just one of them. No one was injured. That is not to say no one was hurt. What cannot be seen goes deep.

These events did not happen to me but they affect me. I have nearly shaken the medicine rattle to pieces.  Fortunately it is held together by the unseen.  I spoke to the tree elves, burn incense to the great spirit and finally retreated to the 'dark matter' in my mind. I'll be there for a while.

I was once ask by a friend , while discussing the amount of time I spent without human companionship, if I didn't get lonely? I have thought about that for about 35 years and the answer is No.  It always ends much like the picture above.

I'll not be in an undisclosed location. I will be instead under the bed with the monsters.  It is a safe place.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Colonel Potter is dead, long live Colonel Potter

I know there were other officers in charge but Colonel Potter was the most important one to me. That was because he delivered some of the most aggressive messages on war, the insanity of war and the insanity of those who insist on war in the TV series "Mash".

I vaguely remember an interview when he was asked if he thought his performance in "Mash" (a thoroughly anti-war series) changed anything he said in essence that he did not know about that but he did know it certainly changed him.  It did not change me but it did cause me (I was already a commie, faggot, pinko, anti-war, peacenic hippy according to some) to think deeply  about it and I'm still thinking about it.  That character actor (Harry Morgan)  influenced  how I feel about it today.

Who would think that something so inconsequential as a TV show and a movie would have such an impact on ones life and philosophy?

Here is a song that also helped mold my young mind.

I used to think that those who grew up and matured in the '60's and 70's would bring us into the light but I see that they and their offspring have not done so. They have only deepened the darkness.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Old Fools Journal: December 7 Again....

Now, what am I supposed to be pissed about?  Seventy years is a long time to remember to be pissed off and I think I'll quit. I wrote this last year. Mostly no one knows what I'm talking about and I am starting to doubt that I do as well.

It turns out that we, the good guys, are just as bad as them, the bad guys.  I could give examples but I won't.

I thought when I was younger that by the time I got to this age I would be at peace with myself and the universe (whichever one I happen to be in) but I'm not. I am combating that by limiting my intake of stimuli. Even that has limited effect. Lately even reading Zen quotations pisses me off if I am not careful to limit myself to severe disappointment. Severe disappointment is debilitating enough but the alternative leads to anger then hate which gives me indigestion and gas. When I start farting I know I've gone too far.

My goal is to not become a quarrelsome, grumpy old man that reminds everyone of how it was done in "my day".  Now is "my day" and I don't much like it but I can't seem make it better.  The old "my day" is gone and can never be fixed or returned.

Oh well, life goes on, then you die.

Meanwhile the cats and dogs are bearing up in the cold very well with big fluffy coats and lots of stored fat. They are happy to see us everyday without fail.  My plants have not frozen yet and I'm having lettuce and tomato salads flavored with herbs from the garden everyday.  I can't seem to eat the greens as fast as they grow.
This lettuce is harvested everyday now and I still can't get ahead of it.

I can only eat mustard about once a week so a 5 gallon bucket of it is enough and Thaddeus bailed on me this year so he is no help.  It this does like last year I'll have greens until it gets hot again.

My rice bowl runneth over.

I'm starting more plants indoors (mostly herbs).  I know there is a Santa Clause but for children only.  If there was one for old men and I could sit on his knee I would ask for a green house big enough to live in.
As you can see here the wood shed is almost bare. Unlike the squirrels and the ants who have been busy preparing for winter I was like the grasshopper and  fiddling instead.

God has no religion.
-Mahatma Gandhi.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Brrrrrr! or If I was not so lazy I would move south

We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth. How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40 - and half the things he knows at 40 hadn't been discovered when he was 20?  Author C Clark.

You would think that a man my age would be accustomed to winter having it's way wouldn't you? I know more about surviving winter than I ever wanted but it still gets worse for me and my bride every year.  Thin blood I guess. I'm pretty sure that's better than neuritis, neuralgia and tired blood. When I was a kid they had medicine on the radio for that. Of course there was "Carters Little Liver Pills" and Hadacol to fix you right up.  Hadacol is the worst tasting wine I have ever had.  When that snake oil lost its profitability they come up with the "heart break of psoriasis".
The pharmaceutical companies were just as sleazy then as they are now.  Only their greed has grown but that's the way of greed. It must grow or it dies.

That cat is supervising and as soon as I was finished it brought in reenforcements to see how fast they could tear it down.

This is sure sign that winter is upon us that and the fact that the Kumquats are twice as sweet now as they were before we started having these cold snaps. Nothing like cold to sweeten up the citrus.
It has gotten down to 34 degrees F so far so the tomatoes are wrapped.  It doesn't help if we have a hard freeze but for the occasional dip to freezing it works. These plants are loaded. They also need to be moved further out into the yard to get more sun. Maybe later.
It's awful hard to lose weight around here. My room mate (SWMBO) keeps bringing me stuff like this. They are hot with the icing still runny.  Yesterday it was cookies. I'm still holding at 185 pounds 2 and three tenths ounces but who's keeping track. That's the lightest I've been in 25 years.
I'm snacking on things like radishes, cucumbers and kumquats these days all grown withing a hundred miles of here. We have local turnips now but the potatoes have dried up around here until March.  My latest are from New York and I must say they are beautiful. If I can get some seed potatoes I'll plant after the first of the year if I live that long.
The radishes are from Mississippi and they are the crispiest and most delicate flavored I've had in a while. Nothing wrong with Mississippi soil.
I cooked the radish tops with a little salt and vinegar. Delicious.

Poor Alabama crapped their nest with their last legislation to get rid of the Mexicans and they are too dumb to know it.  It started coming home to even the dullest when they couldn't get people to pick the tomatoes.  The loss in revenue is expected in the billions the first year I've been told but I don't know how to check so that is for what it's worth.  You can't renew your drivers license or turn on your utilities without papers to prove  US citizenship. I wouldn't go near that place now and if such a law were implemented here I would start packing.  Apparently those pure bred, pink skinned, red-necked aristocrats over there are all descendants of the original inhabitants or sprang directly form the soil of Alabama and none came from immigrants.  Man and his arrogance never ceases to amaze me. Alabama, the "Your Papers Pleez" state.
That big pile of pallets is about gone.
This wagon load is good for about a night.  Oh well there is always the furniture and musical instruments.
I do love my little stove.

I made my regular weekly run into one of the villages that surround us yesterday and I could not believe how few people were out. Did we have the "Rapture" and I missed it?  I did notice a reduction in prices of a lot of things that I guess are not moving well. Some things that normally go up this time of year have gone down.  Gas is even down to $3.10 a gallon. Not what I expected. Mostly it's all too much and I can do without it. More than prices will have to change before they will get this old skinflint to loosen the purse strings.

I'm at the age where food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact, I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table.  - Rodney Dangerfield

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Misanthropy Aint's So Bad or Coming to grips with some unpleasant truths.

 It would be easier to pay off our national debt overnight than to neutralize the long range effects of our national stupidity. - Frank Zappa

It is time come to grips with the fact that I am a incurable misanthrope.  It came to me in a drug and alcohol induced dream in the middle of the afternoon this last week.  It's not that I don't like people it's that I trust them to look after their own basic nature.  Individually I find some people to mostly be noble and trustworthy but generally most would throw their mother out of the gondola to keep their dirigible from crashing.

I sometimes go weeks with no other conversation than that with my spouse. I would converse with my grandson but his conversation with me is limited to a few grunts and defensive posturing.

Americans seem to think they invented thanksgiving but few see further into history than their own childhood nor can most of them see past their countries borders.  The majority can't even see their countries borders.  Their view of the outside world is based on whatever is on the TV screen.  "I know it's true because I saw it on TV" is ever true in these United States. I actually know a man that gets his facts from the National Inquirer and swears it's gospel.

Few Americans care to understand other cultures and it has gotten so bad that some worldwide periodicals (Time being one) tailor their stuff to send into the American bubble. If you don't know what I'm talking about it doesn't matter. If you do, good, I think.

That crispy skin on the turkey is delicious.

Since we have no family or socializing friends we pretty much don't do much at Thanksgiving and christmas. SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) nearly always boils a turkey in oil (deep fried) mainly because this is the time of year that turkey is cheap.
Thanksgiving was always celebrated in both our families and we did it for years because of inertia. SWMBO still does a lot of cooking but only about a third of what it use to be and I suspect next year, if we last that long , it will be even less.
Thanksgiving day to me means it's less that a month to winter solstice when the sun is at it's lowest point. It's an anxious time because if the sun doesn't start back soon then virgins have to be thrown into the volcano to entice it.  I would throw myself in but even though I feel like a virgin the sun god knows different.
When I went to get some things from the engine room the other day I found that our Shell Plant had invaded and was growing fine in the dark. It had a hatchet and a sledge hammer but I manage to subdue it in hand to hand combat. I started by swearing at it until it got kind of wilty.

It's surprising how much heat I can get out of a single pallet
Firewood pickings are a little sparse this year. As you can see in the photo I am cutting up unusable pallets for the stove.  They will do for now and I will be waiting for the firewood Gods to provide.
The jeans I'm wearing I have had for more than thirty years and most of that time they have been too small. Now they are too big.  Without a belt they stay around my ankles.
This is one of the few chores I don't do in a kilt (modern, causal, work, polyester type). That little chain saw can put sawdust and chips in dark crevices and cracks that no one ever sees. It becomes uncomfortable quickly.

 I took a mug shot on black Friday when regular people were out pepper spraying and tasering each other while combative shopping. It may appear that I am deceased but there is a twelve year old boy very much alive in there.

From the day before thanksgiving until the week following I do not even go out. This year even the day before was iffy and that was just in traffic and at the grocers. It's no wonder I have misanthropic tendencies. Next year I'm moving the "no shop" day up by one.

My christmas shopping is done. A good word done, it rhymes with none. The economy will have to depend on someone else.  If I can't afford teeth then I can't afford christmas.

In the spirit of christmas someone stole my broken turtle shell from next to my front door this last week in broad daylight.  It's no big loss but it hurt my feelings.
*christmas not capitalized on purpose"
The tomatoes are racing the cold toward completion. You can see a couple of red ones here. I have been eating them for 5 or 7 days now and they are delicious. When these are done that's all until next spring.  I'm trying to buy fruits and vegetables only in season now.  I have two tomato seasons here, spring and fall. I'll start sprouting some seed in January with hopes of getting some stout plants growing by March. Otherwise it will be canned tomatoes which I really like so it's OK..

Louisiana is not thought of as farming country by the more civilized states but everything I need is grown or caught here. Now if we could just get these goddamn oil companies out of here before they screw it up worse than they already have.

Free Bradley Manning.
He has done more for transparency in government than any politician.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Again? or Seems my life is on a continuous loop

"We are
Born like this
Into this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes"
— Charles Bukowski

Forty eight years ago today John F. Kennedy was killed by a man with a gun. He was the President of the United States at that time for those of you who are history challenged.  His problems were over at that moment and his killer's problems were ended soon after with another bullet. His killer's killer's problems got worse but he didn't make it four years. He died of lung cancer I'm told. Much of that time was spent in court.  I wonder if he was so primitive that he still celebrated his killing.

I know exactly where I was that day. Do you?  I was in my first year of college at the Northrup institute of Technology in Inglewood, California and at the time the death bullet left the rifle I was learning to program a rudimentary computer the size of a large building with punch cards.

Politics was not my strong suit then and I just barely knew who the President was but it was a strong blow that brought on heavy emotions and changed my life in subtle ways that I have never sorted out.  Like the rest of the so called civilized  world I grieved for the family. Even though they were very rich they had been touched by something that makes us all equal. Wealth does not make grief better.

Things went on. I had a life to lead with my own family of nearly five years but my thoughts changed and I became more interested in how political things work. I developed a strong dislike of the Dallas Police and they became a synonym for  police fuck-ups. I found that a lot of people hated other people so strongly that they celebrated their death even though the death of one changes nothing physically. What it does inside the head of the individual is another thing altogether. I found that I did not hate which at first I thought to be a failing. I found that my aversion to killing was not a bad thing and did not make me a sissy.
I started a dialog with myself that has not yet ended.

To Protect and To Serve
(Origin of the image is unknown. If anyone knows please contact me)

They were protest in those days and the brutality of the police was pretty much the same as today because those dirty long haired, pinko, communist, socialist hippies had to be stopped before they corrupted the world, killed if necessary.  It's still the same today only now it's the children of the beaten that are doing the beating of the dirty long haired, pinko, communist, socialist hippies.

I still wonder why Nazi uniformed shave head types (sometimes disguised in business suits which is another kind of uniform) that smell of dial soap mixed with sweat always seem to think that peaceful protesters are dirty.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Yes I Am A Vet and No I am not a hero

 I recently found out that the United States Government considers me a war Veteran. It's based on dates I served. Before that Social Security gave me a small extra pittance because all of my service was aboard a war ship and to those deciders it's the same in peacetime as in wartime.

First on this one.
Then on this one.

It was just a job and I never was shot at. I had it better than a homeless vet has now.  I was not a hero and I shirked my duty as much as any other sailor. I did the job I had agreed to do and was only AWOL a couple of times. It was not patriotism that caused me to join or stay. I joined because I was 19, bored and it was the easiest way to get out of El Paso, Texas. I was active for four years and one day. I separated honorably. It was a great adventure.

Don't thank me as I got back more than I put in. Give your thanks to those like my father and my uncles that fought in the last real war. That was  WW2 if you have forgotten.  Give your thanks to those that managed to survive wars made up by old political white men and then get shit on by the government when they are used up. Give you thanks to those who volunteer and serve and don't rise in rebellion when they are not supported by those same old political white men. Don't thank the dead as they no longer care. Thank the living and thank your lucky stars more of the injured don't go berserk and kill out of frustration.