Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I am, for the most part, a patient man, and I like to take things somewhat slowly. I would make a great besieger, in fact, I have laid two sieges in the last three years. Thus, the point of this post. Back in the grand day of Vauban, he of the star-shaped fortified towns, siege craft was an art form. You dug your approaching trenches, you mined under the walls, and tried to create a breach of the city's walls. That done, and depending on how you felt about the town you were besieging, you gave your loyal troops 3 to 7 days to rob, pillage, rape, and burn the place until their hearts were content.

However, usually it was considered the proper thing to do to let the besieged city, once they knew their game was up, to allow them to surrender with honor, and to allow the city to be saved being sacked by your troops. It showed that you weren't the bad egg your enemies had made you out to be, and allowed you to keep from getting too terribly many people killed.

Then, as with most things, someone had to go and spoil the rules by which the game of siege was played by, and thus you got the fight until the last man type of siege. The sieges of the Vietnam War, and of Korea. The really dirty sieges that didn't allow for honor, and didn't really care about the human cost, the goal was to win at all costs.

The two sieges I laid were one of each, both were, eventually, successful, but both had different costs. One was quite simply war at it worst, there was no quarter asked for, nor any quarter was received. It was a long, drawn out affair, and the eventually success I obtained was all the sweeter for the fact that I was, at first, the offended party. In fact, it was that offense, which the person giving offense might not have even realized what they had done, that lead to the siege taking place in the first place. I said I was a patient man, I did not say I was a pleasant man. Truth be told, I am not sure the besieged ever really knew that they were surrounded, or that I was, in fact, besieging them. Maybe that is the best kind of siege to endure, the kind that you don't know is happening, and even after your city 'falls' you really don't understand the reason behind it. For the besieged, that is probably as good as it gets. Ignorance being bliss. 

Those type of sieges are still quite fun for the besieging army as sieges can get. The fact that your (eventual) success has gone (mostly) unnoticed should not detract from the fact that it was still a success. In many ways this type of siege is the best type. All you have to know is that you are winning, and that you will win, your target doesn't really need the knowledge about their loss. It would probably just hurt their feelings anyway, and you've probably already done that once or twice anyway.

The second siege that I (most recently) successfully concluded was more of the 'surrender with honor' type of siege. It has been a siege of just over two years, and while their were losses, they were not huge losses. Don't get me wrong, this siege had its nasty moments, and for a while it looked to be a bit of a 'fight till the bitter end' type of siege, but eventually, finally, good sense, and good manners prevailed. It was in some way better, and in some ways worse than the first successful siege, but that is a story for another day. The sweetness of the victory is slightly different than that of the first siege, but by no means is it less sweet for that. After all, two years is a long time to besiege a city, any city, and when it eventually falls, by hook, or crook, or a lot of booze, fall it has, and to the victor belong the spoils right?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's the Mention I Miss

The title of this post is a line stolen from one of my favorite movies, and in that movie it is said by the character that I like the most. I will leave it up to you, if you care enough, to look that information up yourself if you want to be bothered, if not it really isn't that important anyway. It is just a cool title.

Picture two people having a chat, one male, one female, because if it wasn't like that, then this post would be even more pointless than it already it. This being the 21st century, this little chat takes place via text, after all isn't that an easier medium than either face to face, or by talking over the phone. . I guess our Juliet didn't have a convenient balcony for our Romeo to declaim his love from underneath before climb the trellis to claim his just reward. The male member (pun intended) is clearly a nice enough bloke, and is chatting up our female contestant quite nicely in an uniquely 21st century way.

This being christmas, god and the baby jesus get a mention, and our Romeo claims to believe in both. Of course, what was he supposed to say? Being a religious person herself, our Juliet would not react well to some raving atheist.  Back and forth this little quasi-romantic chat zips over the mysterious airwaves of cell towers in their fair city, and eventually after laying it on a bit thick, Romeo asks Juliet to 'let me buy you dinner'.

A time, a day(Thursday at 8,  and a (quite pricey) place (that I would never go) were selected, and everything seems to be going along swimmingly for our Romeo and Juliet.  Until of course, as often happens with these tricky negotiations, life intervenes by throwing one of life's little roadblocks in the way. Seems Juliet had an unexpected event (doesn't matter what) come up at the last minute, and our poor Romeo's tryst had to be postponed until a latter day. I am sure the blessed event will be rescheduled, but that information is not available to me at this time.

Not that it matters I am not the Romeo, however, I do know the Juliet, and I am sure it will be a lot of fun for them both. It is just that during all this flirting back and forth, no mention of Count Paris has been made, and it is that (since I am the Count (sort of) in question) mention that I miss. Funny you wouldn't think I would.


'You do whatever you want' she said with that tone in her voice that made it crystal clear that doing whatever I wanted was an absolute shit plan (not that I haven't had shit plans before, but that is a post for another day).  I have come to the conclusion that when someone, anyone, says that you can do whatever you want, that you shouldn't do it. No matter how much you want to do it, whatever it is, no matter how much you think that doing it would make your life complete, you shouldn't do it.

And that is where pants come into the story. One of the things I want to do is not to wear pants. I may or may not being wearing pants now as I type this, I will leave that up to your (horrified) imagination. I am just not a big fan of wearing pants, but since 'society' seems to think pants are necessary, I have to spend way too much of my life wearing pants. I find it quite sad. You see, I have never, ever made a bad decision while not wearing pants. In fact, the majority of my bad decisions (and I have made A LOT of bad decisions) have been made while wearing pants. I am not sure if it is the pants fault or not, but I tend to blame them.

I also think that a certain (mostly female) portion of society can go without wearing pants as well, but that is probably something that "I want to do" that isn't going to happen either. The trick about doing the things you want to do is that almost everything you want to do, no matter how trivial (in your mind) has wide ranging effects on people. Not just the stern person telling you to 'do what you want', but other people too, people you might not even realize are going to be affected are going to have to bear the burden of your decision 'to do what you want'.  It might be your boss, it might be your girlfriend, your best friend, or a total stranger on a train, but it is this lot that is going to possibly be blinded by the sight of you not wearing pants. Treat them kindly, even if you think they don't deserve it.

And even if they do deserve it, who gave you the right to decide that? It is not your place to decide who deserves what, nor who gets what. Unless you've risen way above your station, and are suddenly in some place of power, you are not the person to give people what they deserve, after all that would mean you get what you deserve as well, and I am pretty sure the last thing I want is what I deserve.

Merry Xmas you lot, and remember pants has another meaning as well, and I am pretty sure this post fits squarely within that meaning, sorry. 

Monday, December 05, 2011


The first punch you rarely see, it slips past your guard, catches you square in the mouth, and leaves you seeing little stars dancing around your head, like some Looney Tunes character that has just had a piano dropped on their head. You (eventually) managed to shake that punch off, and get to your feet, because more than likely the first punch has knocked you flat on your ass, and you need to get up eventually.  Once you get up, and get your bearings (east is to the right, west to the left, got you), and run your tongue over your teeth to see if any of them have been dislodged from your mouth, you come to the realization that your ballroom days are over, and this just got serious.

How serious is yet to be determined, but you are fairly certain that it is much more serious than you had imagined as you spent yet another day locked in your ivory tower. If, you manage to slip that second hay maker that was following the first like an express train following a local, then you have at least managed to ward off quick defeat. But now of course, you have to get it together because you are certain that this wasn't just merely a skirmish but the opening salvo in a fight that one of you will not walk away from.  School, all those glorious years of school, has not prepared you for this, and the only thing you have to rely upon now is your wits, which have sadly been addled by the first punch that knocked you somewhere south of goofy.

Hopefully, you will be able to at least defend yourself, even as you realize that David vs Goliath usually ends up with David being crushed like a bug, and as you look around over your situation, you realize that you've been cast as David in this particular dance, and that does not instill you with a great deal of confidence. And that is Goliath's main objective, to take away you confidence, and then hammer you into submission. That is what hammers do you know, they pound and pound away until whatever they are hammering turns into dust. Once they've stripped away what little confidence you possessed it is just a matter of time, and time is usually on their side.

Eventually, though you are going to have to throw caution to the wind, and throw a few punches of your own. It is a risk, and it has a high degree of difficulty that might (more than likely really) end up with you staring up at the ceiling wondering how wonderfully cool the floor feels upon your shoulder. And there Goliath will be looming (he is a great 'loomer') over you asking you if you wouldn't mind getting up, so that he could knock you back down again. And this is now going to be, whether you like it or not, your defining moment. If you stay down, which is really what you want to do, he will just kick you, because (from all I've ever heard) it is wonderful to kick someone while they are down. It then become incumbent upon you to get up, and get up quickly. Sure you'll probably (likely) get knocked back down, and maybe multiple times, but that is the point. They can't knock you down unless you are upright in the first place.

You know who you are, and you know what this post means, actually you probably don't Goliath isn't known for his intellect. Sort it out for yourself big man.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tomorrow in this country, is a little holiday that we like to call thanksgiving. It is a day that leaves dead turkeys and bugling waistlines everywhere.  A day where the 'tradition' is to collectively cook enough food to feed Norway for a week, and individually eat enough food to feed Oslo for a week. It is a day that people like Jenny Craig exist because of.  The tradition of the day is supposed to be, as far as I understand it, to thank god for the bountiful harvest that keeps us able to shovel food down our greedy gullets at Rabelais-like rates. Some pilgrim/Indian deal that I wasn't a party to, and cannot fathom why I have to celebrate.

Truth be told, I don't celebrate it, as a card carrying agnostic, I find that giving thanks to 'god' is a bit over the top, and I certainly don't need to spend an entire day eating myself into a coma. I am already tubby enough thanks. But it is tradition, I hear you cry, we HAVE to get together with family, eat until we are struggling to breathe, then go out after with our friends, get drunk, and complain about how crazy Aunt Jessica has become since the last time we saw her (which was last thanksgiving). 

That is the tradition and we all have them, there are sports traditions, like the President of the US throwing out the first pitch on opening day of baseball season, kicking the ball out of touch when a player is injured in football, social traditions like lawyers wearing wigs, and military officers wearing spurs, and not double dipping a chip. Traditions abound, you cannot swing a overly dry turkey leg without hitting a tradition. It is the way things have always been done, and by jesus it is the way we are going to keep doing them, whether you like it or not, and if you don't like it then we will make you sit at the kids table again this year.

Of course there are an increasing number of us non-traditionalists that buck that tread. We aren't cool, we aren't trend setters, and we aren't powerful individual with enough force of personality to tell the world to 'go fuck itself'. For the most part we are just assholes that what to be left alone, that figure this tradition stuff is bollocks, and can't be bothered to pretend to care about Uncle Earl's gout acting up again. Trouble is when you tell people that your plan is to sit on the couch in your spiderman underwear, eat Krystal's burgers, and read a really good book, they go through two stages of reaction. First, they say 'oh you don't have an family here?' and give you a pitying look, then they look at you as if you are a leper, and mutter something about 'well to each his own I guess.'

Those are the kinds of questions and looks that are the precise reason I have the (non) plans I do, not a fan of people. Another problem, though not one for me, is what if you have conflicting traditions what if one of your traditions clashes with either another one of yours, or with someone else's? Who wins that clash of the titans? Do you draw lots? Play cards? Flip a coin? The conflicting traditions must be resolved right, or the Earth may spin off of it axis and go hurtling into the Sun, and that would be just awful.  However this conflict is resolved, it is more than likely going to disappoint someone, and that is one of the rubs of tradition, just because we've always done it this way, doesn't mean it was right. It was bollocks a hundred years ago, and it is just as much bollocks today. 

Sometimes that conflict can't be resolved, and feelings are hurt all around. Compromise, that dirty little word, must be reached but sometimes just the NBA lock out, both sides dig in their heels, and refuse to budge. It is possible for the conflict to create a, brand new, first time for everything, tradition, but usually it isn't a pleasant one.  The choices you make with regards to tradtion are your own, and whether you choose to 'tow the party line' or to be an outcast is up to you. Just remember next year we will be in the same fucking position again, and I hope you enjoy your choice because you are stuck with it. happy turkey day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


'After hanging up the phone, I stood for awhile looking out my window wondering if I should have told him no.'

After all, he had asked me to commit a serious sin, and a crime to boot, but he was like that, a guy you found it hard to say no to. I stood there looking out of my tiny little window at the dirty street below that was being washed 'clean' by the third straight day of a  pissing rain, and wondered why I didn't tell him no. I might not be the most moral, or ethical fellow in the world, but I had managed to live my life up until this point without committing any major crimes (a little speeding, and a bit of drink driving are not crimes where I am from they are traditions).

As I watch the rain fall in buckets, I begin to realize that the reason I didn't tell him no was because I just didn't give two shits anymore. My life had reached a point of indolent indifference that would make an Ottoman proud, and it was apparent to me that things were not going to change anytime soon. So why not agree to this madcap scheme of his, after all, we are two clever lads, and who knows we might just pull it off. One never knows I guess, well until it is too late, and by then all one can do is say to one's self that 'it seemed like a good idea at the time.' Which is the problem with these types of ideas, them seem sound at the time, they seem obtainable, and they seem like the type of idea you should have had ages ago.

The problem is they aren't they are shit plans, ideas that are best left in the dustbin of history, there is a reason why no one has had this idea before, it is because it is an epically bad idea. An idea so fatally flawed, and so toxic that if you were to think it too many times you might catch cancer. But, bad ideas are like bad relationships you think they are good at the time, and you find them so very hard to let go of, both are something you can get used to, and who knows when another one (relationship or idea) will come along. Either one don't just grow on trees you know, and besides you aren't getting any younger, or better looking for that matter. 

However, the more you thought about his idea, the more you thought it a work of genius, and you wouldn't want to miss out on a genius idea would you? It can't rain forever, and eventually the sun has to come out for all of us, and you can't just ignore the signals all the time. It was a far reaching idea, and one that if it were to work, would allow you to finally tell your boss to do awful things to themselves, while you bunk off to the south of France. The crime wasn't one that required any (large amount) of violence, and besides you would be careful. No need to let anyone die just so you can skip out of work for the rest of your miserable life. 

Which is the main reason you didn't tell him no, your life's plan (if you ever had one) has gone awry, and you are not going to be able to straighten it out with the resources you currently possess. In fact, it only seems to be getting worse, and the more you try to paper over the widening cracks, or ignore the massive flaws, the more you realize that time is not your friend.

The friend you do have, the one that placed that important call is the one you need to be thinking about now. Hard to turn down, not because he was some physical presence that reeked of bad things happening to your limbs if you told him no, but a charmer. The type of guy that could sell a copy of the Koran to the fucking Pope at a profit. The kind that could charm the pants of a nun, if nuns wore pants. Your partner in crime, and in sin, the type of guy you wish was your brother other than the fat, lazy slob that actually shares your DNA.  A stand up guy, one that you would 'go to the wall for' and not think twice about it.

But as I picked up the phone to call my other friend the one that would be ever so conveniently placed to foil this dangerous plan of my'brother' you sadly think to yourself. It really, really is a clever idea, and with my help he could have pulled it off, and no one would have gotten hurt, and that villa in the south of France would be all mine. Of course it wasn't the criminal nature of the idea, nor was it the immoral part of the idea that led me down the path of betrayal. None of that overly concerned me at the time, nor does it concern me now. Now that my friend is spending his time as a 'guest of the state.' No I wish I could claim that it was my sense of right, and morality that led me to 'drop a dime' on my friend, but the truth of the matter is that his 'crime' was much more mundane. He fucked my girlfriend more than once, and for some reason that upset me, now I hope he enjoys being some large fellow's 'wife' for the next 10 years.

“I stole this line from page 220 of Rules of Civility by Amor Towles” 

For Grace

Thursday, November 17, 2011

For Shame

Tricky title, and not going to be some post where I wax poetic about how many things I (and the rest of us) should feel shame for doing, thinking, or eating. This is a post of a different flavour, so enjoy if you want, or ignore it if you must.

Imagine yourself a writer, an author, not some scribbler that works for the local rag producing yellow journalism to scare the ignorant masses, but a full blown, this is how I earn my daily bread, and pay the rent, type of writer. A published writer of many large tomes. A writer of fiction, a writer who has created entire worlds, and populated them with some the best (and worst) characters in fiction today. Hundreds of characters all, for the most part, well drawn, not the cardboard type of characters that we see in many of today's moder literature, but characters that have some depth to them. Good on you right? Good for taking the wasteland of American/Modern literature, and giving it some life, some hope for the readers amongst us that are desperate to read something worth our time.

An author is what you are, it was what you always wanted to be, and you've made it! Made the grade and have whole bookshelves in local bookstores that are groaning under the weight of your published works. Does the heart proud, might even make the parents happy, though I am sure dear, old Dad wanted you to be something useful like a doctor, or a lawyer, but you've got the last larf on him haven't you? Shows him what's what doesn't it? How many lawyers do you know that can just laze around in front of a computer screen "thinking" all day? Most of the lawyers I know don't do a lot of thinking period, and certainly couldn't sustain thought for an entire day.

Of course, the rub is this, and it is the reason for the post. You've become a victim of your own success. You've written wonderful, wonderful books, and the reading public, those greedy bastards, have come to expect you to churn out a book on a regular basis. They, the bastards, have no idea how much work it takes, how hard it is, and how difficult new ideas are to come by, they just want to hand over their 10 quid, and read something fantastic, and it is incumbent upon you to give them what they want. After all, you're a writer aren't you? Write us something clever then.  Go on, write us something that we want to read, something that takes our minds off the shitty economy, the bad hair days, and our under-performing hedge fund, and miserable sods of a football team.

And that is your job isn't it? To write something that does all of the above, so your vast readership isn't tempted away from you by some other writer with fresh ideas. Knuckle down, and get to writing, and suddenly there it is! Your latest work, complete only about 200 pages which is a lot less that your major works, but hey you were in a bit of a rush weren't you? It will suffice, it will feed the need of your readers for a bit,while you work on your tan, err your next 'major' work.  They won't mind a short little tale to tide them over, after all if they had any brains, they would just write something decent themselves.

But, here's the rub, and it is a big rub your latest word is dross. It is awful, and as a member of the bastards known as the reading public, I feel it is my duty to tell you that it is one of the worst books I have ever had the displeasure to read. One of the top ten worst books I have even seen. It is just god awful, no story, no plot, disjointed, and just plain BAD.  It is an insult to the world of literature, and I hope you are ashamed of yourself. Though I doubt it, after all you got paid didn't you? What I can't fathom is how you got this piece of donkey shit past your editors, and your friends who (as you are quick to point out) read your work, and offer brilliant insight as to how to make it better. Trust me on this, there is no number of brilliant insight from anyone that could have made your latest book readable. Though on the bright side they couldn't have made it much worse. All I can say is, For Shame!

Sunday, November 06, 2011


"I will give you the benefit of the doubt" she said with very little conviction in her voice. Truth be told I probably didn't deserve the benefit of the doubt, so I merely replied thank you. Not trusting myself to say anything further without getting myself back into the trouble she was offering me a way out of. Also, I figured that keeping my mouth shut was probably for the best, it usually it, and it needs to be one of life's golden rules that I follow more often.

However undeserved that benefit was, it got me to thinking about benefits in general. There are quite a few benefits that we toss around like dwarfs at a Scottish fest, and I am pondering which of them are really important. There are the fringe benefits that those of us who have what are termed 'real' jobs have. The medical insurance, the life insurance, the paid vacation, and all the other little perks that some jobs can provide. There are friends with benefits type relationships, that I am sure many of us have been in at one time or another. These types of relationships are easy for shallow, emotionally stunted men like myself, are designed to have. The relationships that start of easy enough, but generally end in tears. While they last, and while both parties are in agreement as to what they are, they are not the worst type of relationship to be a party to.

Then we have the 'benefits of a classical education'. These types of benefits are myriad, and sometimes very difficult to quantify.  They can range from being really good at trivia competitions, to being a marvellous dinner companion that people love to sit next to at those awkward social gatherings that we, as social animals, are forced to attend in order to be normal.  The ability to carry on a conversation about a topic that does not involve your favourite sports team, is a very desired quality, especially in a man.  These benefits can also include the ability to make meaningful, positive changes in the world around you. If you are classically educated enough, and armed with the proper motivation, and the right tools you can change at least a little part of the world for the better. That is a solid benefit, and one that should not be over looked. It is this benefit that is probably the greatest benefit a classical education can offer, and one that is well worth paying for, and believe me classical education does not come cheaply.

I, perhaps without proper authority, consider myself to be classically educated. I am a fair hand at trivia contests, and if I were such an awkward sod/misanthrope, I would probably make a decent dinner conversationalist, but I am a misanthrope, so my dinner party invitations (also thin on the ground) have pretty much dried up as of late. Not that this upsets me in the least, it is just something that I am not prepared to mourn.  I certainly do not use my trumped up classical education to effect the world in any positive manner.  I am not armed with the proper motivation, nor do I generally find or receive it in/from my fellow human beings. I also lack the correct tools, or at least I haven't figured out how to use the tools I do have properly to make the world a better place. I understand this is a major failing on my part, and I at least try to hope that if I don't make the world a better place (as I should), I at least try not to make it a worse place (not sure I succeed in that endeavour).

Maybe an unintended side effect of a classical education is what is preventing me from positive change. That side effect is, in many ways, very ironic. To be classical educated is to realize that there are HUGE gaps in one's education, and to understand that one is woefully undereducated.  No one can process all the knowledge of the world, but one has can be smart enough to realize just how ignorant one actually is. It is a humbling realization, a frustrating thought, and a crushing burden all at once.  On the other hand, it while it has been a bit of a burden, it also has provided me (quite recently) with an new idea.

That idea is simplicity itself, if I am actually classical educated (which is debatable) I should, and do understand the gaps in my education, and my new found idea is to fill those gaps. They are too numerous to every fill in completely, and I am not sure I am quite certain where to start, but at least now that I have the idea I can begin try to make the holes less glaring.  I know nothing of opera, very little of the history of China, next to nothing of any foreign language, and am clueless on a wide number of other topics. At least, I now realize that these gaps are unacceptable and that has fired my desire to plug those gaps with actual knowledge not just to pass the time at my local trying to avoid stabbing douche bags in the eye, although prison might be able to provide me the isolation, and regular schedule I could use to continue my classical education, I prefer to try to do it on the outside, after all I am too pretty to go to prison.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Friday at about 4:30 p.m. the warden of my prison allowed me out of my cell, marched me down to a lovely little conference room, and gave me my freedom. I had to sign a bunch of papers, and promise to be a 'good' boy from now on, but I am free. My sentence begin a little bit over five years ago, and I had to sign a bunch of papers then as well My crime was not particularly odious, and I don't know that I totally deserved to flatten my time, but I did and now I am free. I even had a 'charge partner.' However, that person was released a long time before me, and I am sure they have been good every since. We don't talk much, my charge partner and I, they have moved on in both the literal and figurative sense, and I plan on doing the same now that I am a free man.

We have all heard of the stories that things taste better when you are free, the air smells cleaner, and even your football team manages to win a game they weren't supposed to win. I am here to confirm those rumours, food was better, beer was sweeter, and Arsenal beat Chelsea.  Now that I am free to find other things to fill my time, other than serving time, I am pretty excited. As anyone who either knows me, or has read any of this blog, I don't 'do' happy very well. Well, I am coming out of that cave of despair, and showing the world the (albeit small) happy side of the GI.  I doubt it will last, and I expect that I won't be the best at showing my happiness, but the noose around my neck has been removed, and gods damnit that gives me joy.

The emptiness of the valley of my heart is to now to be filled, and filled with new, joyous memories, no shame in defeat, and all but this one time I won. Even though it was a Pyrrhic victory, and another one like it, and I would be undone, it was still a victory. The iron walls and steel bars that held me prisoner for over 5 years are gone, and I now plan to bloom in my new 'planting.' I suspect that my new found happiness, and less Eeyore like behaviour will garner me some odd looks from my friends, but they will just have to adapt. It is an adapt or die kind of world, and I sure they will do the former rather than the latter.

The 150 thousand dollar weight that has been lifted off of my shoulders makes me want to stand taller, and be a better person (which shouldn't be that hard to do).  The bittersweet part of my parole was I had to sit across that conference table from two people making the same mistake I made five years ago, and pretend to be excited for them. It is a testament to how badly I wanted out of my prison that I smiled at the right times, nodded in agreement at their enthusiasm, and even gave them a parting gift. I felt slightly dirty doing it, but only for about 3 seconds, for the whoop of joy that I gave vent to after I walked out of the room probably gave them a hint as to my true feelings.

I do wish my prisoner replacements well, and I hope their sentence is more joyful (if a prison term can be described as joyful) than mine was, and I also hope it is longer. They seemed to be thrilled at the prospect of moving into the prison, and were just bubbling with happiness. I wish them bon chance, and am going to go bubble with happiness myself for a while. I think I might even start out with a little bubbly at brunch. Freedom!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Her: 'Why do you act the way you do?'
Me: 'I am just trying to do the right thing.'
Her: 'Well why don't you then?'
Me:  'I am not sure I know what the right thing is.'

That last line caused us both to collapse into laughter, and that is what it was designed to do. It was my (not so) clever attempt to prevent any further probing into my actions, and why I act the way I do. It worked, just barely, and for that I was thankful (at least at the moment).  Maybe my temporary companion wanted it that way as well, I sure as hell wasn't going to ask her to continue to ask me questions that I either did not want to answer, or worse, did not know the answer to myself.

However, afterwards (afterwards what I will leave to your imagination), I got to thinking about what that 'right thing' was. What was the elusive thing that I was trying (and clearly failing) so very hard to do?  Was it something specific to the conversation? Or was it something more general? Some overarching 'right'  thing that I need to do in order to call myself (in any sense) a decent human being?  For no matter how hard I try to deny it, I am still a member (no matter how reluctantly, of the human race).

And we all know some decent human beings, some people who are just way too  nice for you to stand next to for any length of time lest you start to get a complex. People who know, and do the right thing on a daily basis. Helping little, old ladies across the street, opening doors for ladies, etc, etc.  These are the people that make the rest of look bad without even knowing they are doing it. The people we want to be more like even as we want to push them out in front of an oncoming train.

The truth of the matter is that, after a while we start to expect these people to do the right thing, and after more time we even start to equate their actions with the right thing. But, what if, just if, they aren't as ''right" as they seem?  What if they either had this evil idea of being a 'good' man from the beginning only to lull the rest of us into trusting them? Or if they just decided one day that wearing the white hat, and being the hero is just dull as dirt, and they wanted to be Hans Gruber for a while? Would the rest of us even pick up on it until it was too late?  The trust we have placed in them, and it is a LOT of trust, is going to be shattered like a glass, bad luck to break, but even worse to keep intact and see their reflection in after they have gone off the rails. 

It is a crap shoot in the end, to decide whether to trust this 'good man' and their ability/history to do the right thing, or to step back refocus for a second, and look into their eyes to see if what you want to be there is actually there or not. It is in many ways a lose/lose position, if you are right and the good man has gone bad then a little part of you has died inside, if you are wrong, and you mistakenly believed that a right thinking/doing man has done wrong, when in reality he hasn't then how can he ever trust you again? It is a grave dilemma, and one that does not have an easy answer. But then again, who ever told you life/doing the right thing was going to be easy. If someone told you that then they were obeying the first rule of life, the rule that one should NEVER EVER forget, the rule that should be the basis for every interaction you have with the world, the rule that can be summed up in two simple words. People Lie.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

La Luna

A buddy and I have an idea for opening a bar, since we are lawyers we figure we have enough drinking experience between us to have a reasonably good chance of success at our joint venture. However, in many ways it is but a pipe dream, but it is fun to blather about over a pint at the bars that we haunt that are already open.  We have even picked out, what we believe to be an awesome name, and have figured out our 'theme' for our bar.

The name is J______'s Rocketship, and it is an going to be a space themed bar. Even more of a pipe dream if you realize the shite hole of a town in which we live. It  is way too complicated to open this type of bar in this town, and therefore this bar will remain on the drawing board of our minds rather than becoming a reality.  However, when I ran the name past a friend of mine they replied 'that it sounds like a gay bar.' I protested that it did not sound like one to me, and wouldn't be a gay bar, even explaining my astronaut them to her. She replied 'that will even increase the chances of it being a gay bar.'  Not that I am opposed to the gays, after all a lot of them have more disposable income than us straight men, but I really don't want to be the owner of a gay bar. No offense, but it isn't something that is on my 'bucket list.'

I argued that the name and the theme is, in fact, as manly as you can get. After all, to human kind, the Moon is the ultimate piece of ass. Hanging above us on a nightly basis, going through it monthly cycles, making us mad as a March hare when it is full, and taunting us by being just so out of reach. Only 12 people, all men, all American, have stepped foot on the moon, and while 12 might be a high number for a piece of ass to give it up to, it is a very tiny number in the grand scheme of things. This isn't the hot bartender at your local watering hole, that the regulars all love, and want to have sex with, even though she would never favour any of us with the time of day in that regard, this is the fucking MOON! Entire countries have spent millions of quid in the attempt to make it there, and to make it there first (taking the Moon's virginity as it were) was quite the feather in the cap for the good, old United States.

If you get the Moon to grant you her favours, then you sir, are in an exclusive club that few men have entered, and fewer still are likely to enter, if you are good enough. That is the trick to keep the Moon's favours, you have to realize that even though there are moons as thick on the ground as fleas are on a camel, you are in possession of THE MOON. The fucking Moon, picked you, of all the daft blokes in all the gin joints, in all the world, the Moon picked you. Because after all, as much as you would like to think that you picked the Moon, the truth is the Moon picked you. That is the first step to both the most exciting, and the most terrifying realization that man can come to.

That wonderfully scary realization that on one day, at a certain hour, the Moon was positioned just right for you to 'walk on the Moon' as it were, and even though you have no clue as to why you are blessed with the Moon's favours. They are delicate favours, and sometimes the Moon can be a fickle bitch, but you, the daft slob that you are with enough fault lines to cause your own earthquake, have set foot on the Moon.  Sadly, your weight isn't reduced by one third, and the Moon has a dark side, but you've got the one thing you, and all of mankind have been striving for generations to accomplish. It is now incumbent upon you not to 'fuck it up.' There is one one Moon in your universe, and if you bungle the landing, then you will go down in history, and not in a good way. Success is tricky, success is hard, and success is sometimes fleeting, but if you stay focused, and avoid the pitfalls that have destroyed greater men than you, then you get the Sea of Tranquility all to yourself. Bon chance!

Monday, September 26, 2011


There are certain rules of society that we all have to follow whether we like them or not. They are the rules/ties that bind us to a civilized society. Without these rules, the fabric of our society would be torn asunder, and chaos would reign.  Not that I am not a fan of chaos, I am, but it seems that chaos is us a bit too much for the majority of us to bear, so that leaves us following the rules. Those rules, the ones that we haven't a clue who made, are the rules that we blindly follow just to keep ourselves fully functioning members of society. The 'ties that bind' as it where the ones that keep us from going native.

But here's the rub, what if the person that made the rules, the ones we are mutually agreed upon to follow decides to break them?  Where does that leave society? If two, or more people decide this is a rule that we should all follow, and then one of them breaks it then what happens? Chaos? Who the hell knows, but chaos is probably sure to follow such a disaster of rule breaking. 

Personally, I've never been a fan of rules, and I always been a hard sell when it came to following them. I mean my disrespect for authority runs fairly deep. I am the son of a man who once punched an MP in the face while having a roll of nickles in his fist, so rule breaking runs in my family. It is a firmly held belief that rules were designed to be broken, as often, and as hard as possible. After all, what is the point is merely bending a rule? Break that rule like it is fine china that you don't have to pay for, after all it is probably someone else's rule to begin with.  Sure there will be consequences, but what do you care? They weren't your rules to begin with now where they.

Or maybe they were rules you adopted, rules that someone else made that you agreed, in your foolishness to abide by, rules that you thought were good ideas at the time. Maybe you agreed because it got you where you wanted to go, or maybe you agreed because you really thought it was a good rule at the time. After all, mutual agreement to a rule is a good thing right? It shows that two parties have decided that a rule is good for both of them, and following it can only be mutually beneficial.  But therein lies the rub, what if one party decides, without bothering to tell the other, that this glorious rule is bollocks, and unilaterally decides to no longer follow it?

It took two of you to agreed to the rule, but it only takes one of you to break it. Plain enough I guess, but what if you both break it? Then why do you bother having a rule in the first place? Wasn't it just a race to decide who broke it first? Maybe, or then again maybe the first person who broke the rule was just a bit too clever, a bit too slick, and didn't get caught breaking the rule. Then as that person revels in their ability to break the rules with abandon, they find out the other person broke the very same rule. What happens then? Does that person, the person who broke the rule in the first place have any right to complain? Do they get to bitch the other person out for be faithless to the rules?

All of this silliness is to say that once not so long ago, I chose to enter into one of these rule compacts, and I did a fairly good job of following that rule until it became a hassle for me, then I broke it, and I broke it hard, and more than once. However, being the talented soul that I am, my fellow pact member never had, or never has obtained a clue as to my rule breaking. However, I recently found out, without trying to hard that they also (more recently) broke the rule that we agreed upon. I can not be upset, after all I broke it first, and more than once. Actually I feel a bit proud in a odd sense. Pride in the fact that I broke the rule, and got away with it, and when they broke the rule I found out within 24 hours. Does that make me the evil son of a bitch that I think it does? I both hope so, and hope not all at the same time, but I will leave this judgement up to history.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Christ, how does an entire month go sailing past, and I manage just one, pathetic blog post? Have I become that bereft of ideas? Or I am just so fucking lazy that the ideas I do manage to have (and remember) are just not worth the effort? Or could it be that blogger and my computer are seemingly conspiring against me to make any idea I do manage to have fucking impossible to type, and get corrected without calling in a special task force of computer geeks?

I haven't had cable in months, so in theory I should be devoting more of my time to my 'writing.' Clearly that idea doesn't not seem to have worked out, as you can tell by the dearth of posts lately. I am not sure how I have managed to waste the time I used to waste in front of the boob tube, but wasted it has been. That is a crime of which I have no defense, and should be (am) rightly ashamed of myself. I know that I am not a great (or even good writer), but I also know that I am a better writer than when I first started this blog (even if I still can not spell for shit, and my grammar is abysmal).  Like any skill, writing takes practice, and that is what I am doing when I write these rambling, senseless posts with obscure titles. I am practicing, what for I am not exactly sure, but I hope that will reveal itself someday.

In this case, that title is heliotropic, a fairly obscure title, and I trust your own ability to Wikipedia the damn thing, and read all about it. The gist of it is that it is a type of reaction to certain plants to the sun. Solar tracking is now the politically correct term, but that just sounds a bit stalkerish to me, so I will use heliptropic. I might use it out of context, or I might (more likely) be using it in my own obscure way to prove a point. Either way it is a great word, and I am going to try to work it into as many sentences as I can, just so I can look all educated and shit. Not that I am not educated, but my vocabulary would make a sailor stop and pause, and I need to fix that. I paid (and will be paying forever) for the classical education that (supposedly) taught all these fancy words, and it is about time I started getting my money's worth, and I am not talking about fancy words that will just help me win one of the thousand of 'words with friends' games I am currently playing.

Heliotropism (see I can use it in different tenses even, yay me!) would appear, at first blush, to be the type of behaviour that would be beneficial for the plant. After all, the sun that M type star that light takes 8 minutes to reach the Earth from, is the life giving, blob that keeps plants, and by extension the rest of life on Earth, from oblivion. Terminal oblivion, not the oblivion that we all love to reach after about 6 Loratab, or 12 beers in about 3 hours. That oblivion is sweet bliss, at least to some of us, but without that M type star around, we would be facing the end of everything that we know. That end, which is going to happen when the Sun goes all red giant on us, is something that we all have to face. Be it our demise, downfall, or merely a fall from grace. Each of us have one waiting for us. Maybe just around the corner, or maybe in the middle distance, or maybe (hopefully) light years away.

If it is not our demise (which we can have no reaction to) the downfall or fall from grace could be a defining moment of our life. How we handle that moment is something that we each have to sort out for ourselves. We will be judged by our handling of the situation, and it is important that we handle it 'well'. Not for the audience, they are just happy that the downfall is happening to us, not them, their reaction means fuck all at the end of the day. It is how we handle it for ourselves, that is what counts. When the time comes to stand up, keep a stiff upper lip, and be 'a man,' it is incumbent upon us to do the right thing. 

The tricky part is figuring out what the right thing is, and once you're lucky enough to sort that out, well then you are golden. Like you've been bronzed by the sun golden. Just be careful to remember as you are basking in your bronze skin, and heliotropic behaviour, the sun, if you lollygag too long under its rays, can burn you to a crisp.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Trust

You lazily asked me if I trusted you, "Of course I do" I replied. After all what I am supposed to say? The 'real' truth about how I trust? I doubt you would take kindly to that, few people have over the years, and besides I am (still) trying to be a better person. Part of that attempt is to change the way I 'trust' people. I fear that I may be failing at that attempt. I blame society, and predicatibility. 

As you may have noticed if you read any of this blog, I am a card carrying, people hating, misanthrope. I deal with a lot of people on a daily basis that reinforce my dislike of the human race, and it is something that helps define me. The sad part of this tale is the fact that I DO trust people, but it is a negative trust. A trust built upon years of (bad) experience(s), and a mean streak a mile wide. I trust people to betray me. It will happen, despite all their protests to the contrary, they will betray me. And, truth be told, I will probably betray them. Life is sort of a race to see who betrays whom first. Eventually, myself or my 'friends' will be faced with the classical 'me or him/her' dilemma, and if they or me have any sense whatsoever, the choice will be me (i.e. the person faced with the dilemma). It is human nature, and it is natural, to pick me over them it is hard wired into my DNA. I am sorry, I know it makes me a bad person, and all that, but I am the only person that I am certain I can trust in a positive sense. Even then I sometimes wonder if I am not my own worst enemy, but until I push my own self under the bus, I have to hope that I, mostly, act in my own best interests, depsite quite a large amount of evidence to the contrary. 

And no matter how long we've known each other, in any sense, and no matter how much we 'love' each other, or how well we get along, or if I am the benevolent "uncle" to your children, our interests are not identical. At some point the you or me situation will come up, and I, maybe with regret, maybe not, will be forced to choose me. It makes me a bad person, but it ensures that I will at least remain a person.  I expect you to do the same. The knife that will be buried hilt deep in my, or your back, will have a name on it. The name might cause you or me sadness, but at the end of the day, knives kill. That just what they do, the name on the blade isn't going to make dying any easier or more difficult.

That knife, if it carries a familar name, will be a farewell present between us. A sort of lethal 'have a nice life' parting gift for a contestant that just was unable to survive the 'showcase showdown' that is life. It will sever ties (and if well placed, other things) between us, and until I, or you remove it, will be a constant reminder that negative trust can sometimes be the best kind of trust. After all we expected this didn't we? We discussed it on the front end, and agreed (maybe over a couple too many beers) that the kind of trust we share is negative, and that eventually (hopefully not for a long time, but still eventually) one of us will not survive to continue the relationship between us. It will be sad, funny, tragic, and fatal all at the same time but, it will happen as sure as the sun rises in the east, it is one thing that, even though I'm not supposed to, I will bet on with a sad certainty.

P.S.  The picture above is of the actor Sam Neill playing Sidney Reilly in "Reilly: Ace of Spies" a lovely PBS mini series from a zillion years ago. The point of the picture, other than Mr. Neill is one handsome fellow, is this. Sidney Reilly was a master spy, a man at home in the house of deceit, lies, and betrayal. Yet, his downfall was to be lured back to Russia to support an alleged anti-Bolshievk group that was to try to overthrow V.I. Lenin. It wasn't a real group it was a group set up by the NKVD to lure Reilly and others to Russia in order to have them killed. Its name, well it was, ever so aptly, called "The Trust."

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I am right handed. Born that way, raised that way, will be that way until I die. Sadly my paterfamilias did not realize the potential in having a left handed son that he could turn into a relief pitcher and secure his family's finances for years to come.  I do realize this clever niche market, but since I am legally bound not to procreate, I am going to have to find a stand in child upon which I can make my retirement fund. 

Other than left handed pitchers, or left foot wingers, I would suspect that being left handed in a world made for right handers must suck ass.  About 10% of the world's population is left handed, and I would imagine the other 90% of us (including me) lord over that minority as much as possible. Right handed desks ensure that even as children left handed people are singled out for maltreatment. Kids are cruel, cruel things, and anything one kid does that is different is sure to get them held up as an object of ridicule.

Plus, they get hosed by the word itself, the Latin word sinistra originally meant 'left' but has since changed meaning into sinister or evil. Gauche the French word for left, can mean someone who is socially awkward. Give these poor lefties a break for fuck sake. Since I love to be contrary, and I figure left handers need all the help they can get, I sometimes do things with my left hand in a bit of social protest. When I am playing darts particularly badly with my right hand (which happens quite often), I will switch to my left hand because I can only get better. There are a couple of video games that I now play better left handed than I do right handed.  I drive left handed, and I have attempted to write things left hand with very little success. 

There is an awesome scene in 'The Princess Bride' where Wesley engages in a sword fight with Indigo going back and forth both showing amazing skill. At first, Wesley is using his left hand, and the moment, after being asked by Indigo, why are you smiling, he replies "because I know something you don't know. .  . I'm not left handed' is beyond cool. All this to say that being left hand can be a bitch, but it can also be something that sets you apart, and that you can, if you are clever enough, use to your advantage. Also, after years and years of trying I finally, last evening managed to do something left handed that I had never thought I could.  I will leave it up to your imagination as to what that task was, all I will say is that it made me very happy, then I fell asleep.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Independence Day

(This was supposed to be published yesterday, but I got lazy).

Today is July 23rd, and it is my personal independence day. There is no country in the world that declared their independence on this day, and I guess since there are only 190 odd countries in the world, and 365 days in the year there are some days that will be like that. However, even though I don't share my independence day with anyone one country, I still like to pretend that I have my own independence day like one. I don't set off large amounts of fireworks,no one has written a song for the occasion, nor is any one particular food called for, and I try to celebrate it cautiously.

Because to be independent is to be cautious, you never really know if your self-declared view of your independence is going to be embraced by the rest of the world, or if some bully is going to 'send in the tanks' to get you back in line.  Hopefully, and more likely, the 'world' as it is, isn't really going to be too bothered by your actions, and will just let you be. At least until you start making a nuisance of yourself. And that is the tricky part, how to not become a nuisance. Sitting at home, and minding your own business is one, very dull, way, but even the most curmudgeonly of us are social animals.

And you are going to have to, eventually, go out into the society of nations, and mingle. After all your independent now, and that is cause for a new found confidence, and a new found desire to be 'out there'. One of those first steps in any good independence movement is to get organized. After all, before you weren't strictly in charge of much, and now suddenly you are in charge of everything! That could be a bit 'more than one can bear' if you aren't careful. And you will need to be careful, because now that you are independent, your safety net that you used to rely upon, is gone.  You are your own Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Defense, etc. etc. all rolled into one.

Hopefully, you will be up to the task, for it is quite a task, and it might be one which you are clearly unready, or unsuited for, but you took the leap of independence, and if you fall flat on your face, you have no one but yourself to blame.  That is one of the hidden little things about being independent, all blame is now directly, solely attributed to one person, you.  Of course, things might not have been too much different before independence, which could have been one of the reason for declaring it in the first place. Either way, here you are newly independent, and wondering 'now what?' 

The answer to that puzzler is not going to make itself readily apparent, nor will the United Nations be of much help. They can offer advice, but you always have to ask for a translation, and you have to look at the state of the country offering advice. Are they telling you to do things that they are obviously unwilling or unable to do themselves? If so, then perhaps their advice, freely given, and well intended as it might be, might be something you have to take with a whole bucket of salt.  Finally, you have to try to remember the mistakes that made you dependent in the first place, and to try to avoid repeating them. After all, losing what was so hard to obtain would just be awful, and you don't want to subjugate yourself to that type of pasting again. As the wise man said, those who fail to learn from their mistakes, are doomed to repeat them, and you don't want to count yourself amongst the doomed, do you?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Last Bastion

Patriotism is the last bastion of a scoundrel----- Samuel Johnson, and Lisa Simpson

Today the country of my birth the grand old USA play Japan in the Women's World Cup final. I will not be watching, nor do I have a rooting interest in the game. As I have mentioned numerous times on this blog, I am a fan of Sweden. That means all of their teams no matter what sport, and no matter how awful they may be at it.  This disloyalty to the nation of my birth has caused me to branded a traitor, and I have gotten quite a bit of stick about it. I grow weary of it.

To set the record straight I became a Sweden fan in 1994 when they finished third in the World Cup held in America. It was also the beginning of my obsessive man love for Henrik Larsson. I have held by that choice for almost 17 years, and I am not going to abandon it anytime soon.  I watched us fail to qualify for the 1998 World Cup, the 2010 World Cup, and watched us get blasted out of the 2002 World Cup by Senegal at what was 3 a.m. to me, I watched us lose to the stinking Germans in the 2006 World Cup, and I am hopeful of our qualification for the 2012 Euros, and the 2014 World Cup as well.  They are my team, they will remain my team, and the fact, which I had nothing to do with by the way, that I was born in the United States will not change that. 

I do not now, or have ever possessed the ability to pull up stakes and move to Sweden. If I did, it is possible I would. However, I think you can still root for whatever team you choose. Call me crazy but I thought that was one of those 'individual freedoms' Americans like to bang on about. An accident of birth should not trump calm reflection, and personal choice. I will not root against America (except for when they play Sweden), but there is nothing in my makeup that makes me want to root for them.  I like to think this makes me the type of person who has the courage of his convictions, but it seems into today's jingoistic climate it makes me something akin to Quisling. So be it.

I have spurned several invitations to 'come to the pub, and watch the game' for several reasons. One, my team played, and won their game yesterday, two the place will be packed, and three it will be packed with 'fly by night, only root for the US when they are winning' type of fans. I was at the pub when Sweden lost to Japan, and I had to suffer one or two particularly obnoxious American fans that just wanted to talk to me (while I was wearing a Swedish jersey) about the American team. New flash genius, I give fuck all about the US team period, and I CERTAINLY give fuck all about them when Sweden is playing, and when Sweden are losing I can get murderous.

This brings me to the main reason for my absence at the pub, I have the common decency not to go out in public and root against the US, for given the way I have been hazed lately, that is surely what I would do.  I am not watching the game, and really do not care who wins. I am sure the US will win, and we will be bombarded by how they are the greatest team in the history of the sport, and they should all receive the keys to the kingdom Sure they are good, they are the number one ranked team in the world, which in my opinion, means maybe they SHOULD win.  Sweden finished third, and that makes me proud, it is probably about as best as we were ever going to do, and therefore I accept that. I accept my traitor status, but I also remember one thing.  Sweden 2 USA 1. 

Friday, July 15, 2011


The chubby, cheerful fellow depicted above is Happy Dwarf of Snow White fame.  Notice the grin, notice the girth, I often wonder does one equal the other?  We have another fat guy who goes by the name of Santa Claus who is also pictured as rotund, and jolly. Does fat equal jolly? Or is that just how we like to think? We live in a society that bombards us with adverts for food.  Billboards, TV commercials, radio spots, and all sorts of other media sources slam us with pictures and words about delicious, appetizing food.  We are fast (food) becoming a nation of lard butts. Our individual daily calorie intake would feed a small nation for a week.

Of course, maybe this is a good thing, maybe if we all become a bit chubby, like Santa or Happy Dwarf then we will be jolly, smiling, laughing people as well. It will also make our heart doctors very wealthy people, as if they aren't already. Sadly, I have experience in this field, and I can promise you that fat does NOT equal jolly. Despite most villains being depicted as thin, brooding types,  (ever seen or read about too many fat villains?). I am here to proclaim that fat people can be brooding as well. In fact, I have recently been called a brooding type by more than one person. Happy Dwarf is a two dimensional character. He has the width all right, but he lacks depth, and it is depths that allow true characters to bloom.

Maybe Happy is just happy who knows? All we ever see him doing is smiling or laughing. Maybe he is truly a happy fellow. I am inclined to think that is not true, I (being the brooding type) think that Happy just doesn't think too much about life, and therefore his happiness is based upon a 'let's not think too much about stuff because it will distress me' philosophy that I can not embrace.  Brooding doesn't usually make for jovial (look up where the word jovial comes from,and you will see jovial equal fat/large) companions. Brooding is usually best done alone, you might be in a room full of people, but if you are brooding you are alone. Conversation with a man getting his brood on is desultory at best, at worse it could earn you a punch in the mouth, or a verbal slash from which you stagger away bleeding YOUR happiness all over the ground. 

Perhaps all of us fat bastards just eat so much as a way of coping with our own personal demons. I am pretty sure life looks a lot better after a big plate of smothered tots, and about 90 beers (if you can see at all that is).  Beer, the most wonderful thing in the world, is just empty calories after all, but it does, upon occasion, have the effect of making even fat people jolly. However, it always poses the risk of making a brooding fat guy, just that much more of a brooder.  It is a 50/50 shot as to what effect the alcohol will have, but life is, at its core, a zero sum game, and I guess, given that knowledge, 50/50 is about as good as it is going to get.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Logic Dictates

I have a decision facing me, or rather staring me in face (and has been for a while), but I am, or rather have been trying to avoid it. However, like most distasteful things, it can not be ignored forever, and today is the day to stand up, face this decision, and move on with my life.

It is a tough decision, or else I would have made it by now. It seems that postponing the decision doesn't really help a whole lot, and just makes the 'paying the piper day' just more difficult. It is a decision that I HAVE to make, not one that I want to make. Therein lies the rub. The (small) feeling part of me, and despite my best attempts, I do still have feelings, really doesn't want to make this decision. Which is understandable, since it will be the feeling part of me that is going to suffer the pain. Of course, there is a theory that states that it serves me right. If you don't want to have your feelings hurt, then just don't have fucking feelings. Good, sound, logical theory, and I try my best (which is rarely good enough) to follow the theory at all times. 

Sadly, though the feeling part of me decided to take a turn at the wheel, and here I am having to make a decision that will hurt my feelings. That is what happens when logic turns its back even for a second, the feeling part takes over, and runs us aground.  Of course, feeling part of me, the one who created this shipwreck, is useless in a crisis, and just rushes about wringing his hands and generally acting like a twit.  Logical me, the real me, the me I want to be has to climb on board, and attempt to keep the 'ship of me' from sinking.

Unfortunately flawed as well, because logical me isn't all logic. Logical me has one really big flaw, and that is he has a temper. I am not sure if anger is a feeling, an emotion, or both, but it is rarely logical. Logical me carries this temper/anger around on his sleeve, it is not hard to see, and it is very close to the surface. Sometimes logical me lets his temper go, and the results are not pretty to see. However, when the logical part of me tries hard enough that temper/anger he wears like a badge of honour is cold. It is when he goes cold inside that logical me becomes the animal I need him to be.  Because 'feeling' me is going to get us hurt, and hurt badly. Logical me is not a fan of feeling me, and one day logical me is going to sort feeling me out for good.

However, until that glorious day arrives, logical me will just have to cleanse the wounds dealt by feeling me the best he can. The problem is, that logical me isn't feeling me, he uses gasoline to cleanse wounds, strikes a match, and watches it all burn to the ground.  The glee he feels in this inferno is obvious, and I sometimes wonder if feeling me realizes the damage he is doing to us both with the flames start to take hold. I doubt feeling me is that smart, and logical me doesn't give a shit, so here I am a rag, and some gasoline, I have the feeling this decision is about to make it very hot in here. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dear Eric

Today is Eric Blair's birthday. One hundred and eight years ago in far away India, Ida Mabel Blair screamed her way through childbirth, and gave the world a bouncing baby boy christened Eric Arthur Blair.  That little bundle of joy would go on to reappraise his life at the age of 24, and decide to become a writer, and poof! just like that the world was given the gift of George Orwell.

Today is also my birthday, and if you reverse the numbers of the age that M. Blair reappraised his life, you have my age as of today. Birthdays are motherfuckers, they come regardless of whether you are ready for them or not, and (hopefully unless you're hit my a MATA bus) keep coming whether you want them to or not. Birthing days are tricky days, on the one hand, if you are lucky like me, you are still alive to celebrate them (unlike M. Blair), and you have a wealth of good people in your life (that you don't deserve) to wish you well, and to celebrate the day of your birth. On the other hand, as the birthdays keep piling up, you have to wonder if/when you reached your 'tipping point.' That point where you realize that you have already celebrated more birthdays than you have left to celebrate. Of course that can happen at any time, regardless of age, but MATA buses aside, you have to think positive.

I am fairly certain that I am past my own 'tipping point' and pretty sure I am also past my 'sell by date.' However, that did not seem to stop this day from arriving on time like it has for the past 41 years.  Regardless of how much drunken hope I had during last night's binge, the dawn arrived outside my window as usual, only this time bringing with it another year added to my life. It has been that life, that like M. Blair, I have been (badly as it turns out) attempting to reappraise.  It seems that I share more than just a birthday with M. Blair, I too have aspirations beyond my current situation. However, unlike him, I lack the courage to just chuck it all over, move to Paris and start writing books while I wash dishes in order to eat. I also lack another important thing that M. Blair had going for him, and that is talent. Courage can be 'screwed up', or found in a big enough bottle. Eventually, we hope, courage comes to us all at the right moment. That is how drowning children are saved, and how little kittens get out of all of those trees. 

However, if I were able to muster the courage, and that is still a big IF, I still lack the other ingredient that M. Blair possessed, and that is talent. Talent, unlike courage, doesn't come in bottles, or at least in any of the bottles I have been drinking from lately, or ever for that matter. Talent doesn't 'rise to the occasion' if you see a burning house with a child trapped inside, talent isn't the one performing the rescue, that would be courage. And courage can come without talent. Talent doesn't just show up late, like a party guest that had his dates confused. Talent just is, it can be nurtured, but I fear that I am past the nurturing age, and therefore the small (ever so small) amount of talent I possess, is all the talent I am going have. 

That small (ever so small) amount of talent is, in my own harsh opinion, not enough. Perhaps I am right in that assessment, or perhaps I am wrong. There are a few daft souls out there who think I have talent, and they believe in me. Those mad hatters are the reason that birthdays are bearable.  That belief, ill-founded as I believe it to be, allowed me to stagger out of bed today, and continue to reassess my life as it sits in front of me.  The belief, which is apparently rather strong, wants me to be a better person (which considering the right bastard I am, shouldn't be that hard to do).  Those brave souls that express their belief in my talent are the lighthouses in the darkness that my soul sometimes gets lost in, without that light, things would just be downright gloomy. They allow me the freedom to attempt to express myself on these pages, and it isn't their fault if I do it badly.

Those 'lighthouses' keep me off the shoals of self loathing, and help me realize that perhaps the measuring stick that I am using is a bit too big for me, and that I need to adjust my aim towards a goal that an everyday slob, such as myself, can hit.  Knowing how far the talent you possess will get you is the first step in allowing that talent to take you further that you can imagine, and after all, we can't all be George fucking Orwell now can we? Happy Birthday Eric!

Monday, June 13, 2011


'You should come to Boston, with the snowfall, and me. I think you would love it.' 'Come to Boston, and put an end to you senseless rambling.'  I sighed, deeply because I knew that this argument was going to end like it always did, badly.  I just said 'no', and tried to leave it at that, but she was not to be denied a good old-fashioned argument that easily. 'You know I'm your number one fan, and you are a damn fool if you don't come to Boston.'  Another deep sigh as I struggled to find the right words to explain to her that my 'rambling' as she called it was just me being lost.  Lost and certainly not found, at least not yet, and not sure I can be. 'I might have to add myself to the list of people that mysteriously disappeared,' I joked.  Truth be told, however I was not really joking, and to her credit, she knew that.

'Besides I hate the Red Sox, the Bruins, AND the Celtics, Boston is like sports hell on Earth for me.' I said that with just a bit of humor in my voice, but it is true, and it was an argument that I had tried before, it was summarily brushed aside by her swearing at me with real vigor.  She replied, as I knew she would, 'Boston might be your sports hell, but you know I will make it your relationship nirvana, only you're too fucking stupid to realize it.'  'I'm the best thing that ever happened to you, and the best thing that WILL ever happen to you, and you are letting me rot away half a world away in Boston, while you search for something you've already found right in front of you.'

Time was when she shouted that last argument down the line with frustration dripping from her voice, as I could picture her gripping the phone, white knuckled with rage.  I knew that the more times we had this argument, the more her resolve weakened.  She said 'You can find the space between my arms, if only you will stay.' It was almost a sob, and it came near to breaking what little heart I possess, but my courage had been screwed up to the sticking point, and I merely sighed and reminded her that 'all you want is to tether me to Boston, and to you, you don't really want me, you want the idea of me.'  'You know it, I know it, hell the fucking free world knows it.'  'Years from now, when you have met the true love of your life, and birthed a couple of babies, you will thank me for not coming to Boston, and you know it.'

'I'm going to hang up now, and I think you should probably not call me again.' 'It can't be healthy for you, and it certainly makes me feel like warmed over shit when I get off the phone with you.' I paused, and waited for the tears, because ever once in a while there were tears, hers or mine or a combination of the two, but this time it was the world weary sigh, not tears. Which isn't quite as bad, but it was usually followed by some pithy comment that smashed into me like an atom in a particle accelerator.  I needed time to wander, and she never understood what, was to her, the simplest thing in the world. That she was my dreamboat, and I was letting her sail off in the Boston sunset without any attempt to keep her moored to the pier of my heart.

The silence following that sigh grew longer, and I was on the verge of just hanging up when she said in a very small voice 'how could you do this to me.' That almost collapsed my resolve, and I almost booked the next flight to Boston, maybe I could learn to like the Bruins?  But, I found the moral cowardice to resist that urge, and merely told her 'learn to hate me, it will help you in the long run see what is good for you.' 'You may not believe me, and you may not realize it today, or tomorrow, but one day you will realize it, and after you are done hating me, you will realize I'm right.'  Finally, the pause ended, as I figured it would with a snarled 'go fuck yourself!' and a loud click as she broke the tether that had tied me to her for all of those years.

I slipped that tethered knot, and have since moved around quite a bit, and I don't know, but I suspect that she did learn to hate me. She certainly moved on, and did birth a couple of babies like I had predicted. I have since been to Paris, Porto, Vienna, Stockholm, and a host of other cities, and I now realize that maybe, after all this time, she was right. After all these years of blankness and darkness the idea that  perhaps she was the best thing that was ever going to happen to me, and as I stand here outside the TD Garden, morose with the realization that I've come to Boston, only to discover that she has moved (years ago) to Denver.

Thursday, June 09, 2011


I am fairly certain that I have mentioned before that I am a bit 'larger than life,' and I am not talking about the force of my personality.  I was born a lard ass, raised a lard ass, and have been a lard ass for, my soon approaching, 42 years on the planet. It is just the way I am, the way I was, and it seems, the way I am meant to be. Even now, as I write this I have lost in the last year or so almost 50 pounds, and I am still, in my opinion, a tub.  I have been stuck at the same (over) weight for almost 5 months, and it has been driving me insane. It has led me to believe that my scale could not register a weight below my current weight, and i had to place a bag of potatoes on the scale just to prove myself wrong. It seems that I am the problem, not the scale. Which I knew all along, but really did not feel like admitting. 

The method I used to lose the nearly 50 pounds has recently been revamped, and I have found the new method to be worst than useless, so I am in the process of trying a new, harsher, method that makes my day to day life a living hell of longing for food, any food.  Clearly, I have had a long standing love affair with food, any food, which is why I got as big as a double wide trailer in the first place. I seem to lack any will power to turn down all those foods that are on the 'bad for you, but taste so fucking good' lists.  I also like beer, lots of beer, and it seems to be not the best thing to drink if you want to lose weight. Which is a tragedy that would make Hamlet seem like a light comedy. 

All this has made for a rough couple of weeks as I have tried the new, harsh method, and has now led me to realize that my friends (rot them) are determined to keep me fat/make me fatter. It seems that the really FAT me must have been a jovial companion that was the life of whatever party he attended. I am not sure how since his fat ass would get out of breath eating a doughnut, and fat me ate a lot of doughnuts. It seems this fat bastard was a character much like Falstaff in Shakespeare's plays. A larger than life, life of the party type that just made any time a fun time. I cannot, for the life of me, believe this to be true, but it seems my friends (rot them) are determined to bring this fat fuck back from the 'dead.' They do this in the most insidious way possible, they have this week alone asked me to go 'out drinking' four nights in a row! This is outrageous! I am not sure why skinnier (but still a lard ass) me isn't as much fun as the really fat guy I replaced, but it seems my sense of humour was lost along with all that weight.

I thought that I had kept my jovial attitude, and was just less likely to break the bar stool that I was occupying, but it appears from all of this invites to go 'drinking/get fat again' that I have become the non life of the party, and need to gain 30 lbs quickly.  One of these friends (rot them) did suggest that they just wanted to hang out with me, and if I drank Diet Coke they would be just as happy. This suggestion was met with the safest amount of derision that I could muster, and still call this person a friend. For there is one thing that me and really fat me have in common, and it is the reason there will never, ever exist a painfully thin me, it is that we lack willpower. Dunking Donuts is still in business thanks to really fat me, and skinnier me fights daily to avoid the temptation of going into my local store, and ordering about 10 dozen doughnut of various types, and eating myself into a coma. 

I suppose that I should be happy that my friends (rot them) still want to hang out with skinnier, morose me. For I must be morose if all they want to do is get really fat me back into the picture, but I can't keep resisting the siren song of booze, broads, and beef jerky for much longer. After all, I didn't get fat by staying at home, and eating fucking salad all the time, and if I keep doing that eventually my friends (rot them) will just stop calling me to hang out at all, and that would just make skinnier me depressed, and when I get depressed, I want to eat doughnuts, thus the circle of (fat) life is complete. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Desert of One

He looked over the top of the wall that I had helped him build, glanced out at the dust cloud on the horizon, and said "They are coming for us, you know?" Well of course I know that I can see just as well as he can, and besides, I am the pessimist in the group. I know 'they' are coming for us. However, those thoughts I keep to myself, and I content myself with a simple "Yes, I know, but I wonder who 'they' are this time." He smirks at me (he does a great bit of smirking), and replies "Does it really matter? There is always going to be a 'they', and 'they' are always going to come for us, and try to batter down our walls."  He is right, and it sticks in my craw that he is, no matter how much I wish it weren't true, his assessment of the situation is spot on, and I turn back to the desert outside our walls, and pose another stupid question. "How many do you think there are this time?" It is a stupid question, because the answer I know that is coming duly arrives loaded down with the sarcasm he does so well. "Does that matter either? Five, fifty, or five hundred. It's all the same to us isn't it?"

One of the sadder parts of our situation is that we are in a desert, an sandy outpost in the middle of nowhere. A place of no particular interest to anybody else in the world. A place that time should have scrubbed off the map ages ago. A place that you wouldn't claim to be from if you had any sense, and a place chosen by us for that exact reason.  Picked out with exactitude, and built by ourselves, for ourselves, in order to keep ourselves walled in, or maybe the world walled out, either way, it was chosen for the isolation it provided. And it was that blissful, hard-fought isolation that we wanted, that we prized above all else. To be far, far from the maddening crowd was our goal, and for an, all too brief, time it worked like a charm. However, the world sometimes just doesn't let you cash in your chips, and withdraw from the game quite so easily, and we were finding that out again, and to our cost.

We built the walls as strong as we were (at the time) able, and while we were fairly good at building walls, they are, by no means, impregnable.  This wasn't the first group to try to batter down those wall, and we didn't figure them to be the last. "This would have never have happened if you weren't so damn stubborn you know?" I had to say that to him, because it was the same thing I always said to him, when the enemy was at the gates, and he gave his usual reply of "why don't you go tell THEM that, and while you at it go fuck yourself."  It was our usual banter just to ease the pressure of waiting for the storm to break over us, and it was the same refrain every time. I doubt either of us even really paid attention to it anymore, but somehow without it, things just wouldn't have been the same.

Of course, in theory, I could have walked away and left him behind those walls by himself. There was no contract between us, nothing in writing anyway, and I am sure that he would not have been to surprised if I were to just pull up stakes, and head for 'higher ground' (as he would call it).  However, I was in his thrall, and both he and I knew that.  I could no sooner leave him than I could cut my own throat. Sometimes it seemed to be a beautiful idea, and on more than one occasion I tried it, but each time, he was there to stop me, and he didn't really have to try to hard to do it. It was one of the most infuriating things about him. He knew that it was impossible for me to leave him, and to his credit he never held it against me, or even acted like he knew. He is the most imperfectly perfect men that I have ever met, and that is high praise. Even his flaws, of which he was quick to own, were perfect. They just made him flawed enough to be even more perfect.

"We could just let them in, you know?" I said, hopeful that he would finally relent in another ongoing argument that flared between us on occasion. "And, IF I were to do that, do you think that would stop more of them from coming?" "Do you really think the hordes would stop with just letting in one lucky group?" I sigh (for the thousandth time) and reply "Of course, not you're right as usual, if we let in a few scouts then battalions are sure to follow." "But, do you think they will ever stop?"  He looks over at me with real determination in his corn-flower blue eyes, and says "no they won't stop, you know they won't fucking stop, you knew they wouldn't fucking stop when you signed up for this, and you also know that I am not going to fucking stop either." "So why are you asking such a silly question?" I am not shocked by the venom in his reply, and my feelings, though slightly wounded, will recover from his display of anger, but I still mutter "because I figure that you would, one day, some day, give me the answer I want to hear."

That's the sad thing about us humans we always have an answer that we want to hear, not that we get to hear it, or that we would believe it even if we did, but we still long to hear it.And when we don't hear the answer we want, we tend to get peckish.  But peckish or not ,  I have to turn to the walls that I helped to build, and try to repel 'them' those nameless ones that are battering at the gates. Whomever 'they' are,  the people that won't be happy until they shatter the peace that we have found here in the middle of nowhere. The peace that we foolishly try to preserve, knowing that 'they' will not stop coming. Knowing that 'they' have no other purpose, whether they are fully aware of it or not, but to destroy our desert of one.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


The fellow above is one Count Leopold Berchtold, and his (only) claim to anything that would pass as fame is that he was the Imperial Foreign Minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the outbreak of World War I. I do not know if the good Count has any living descendants left to be offended by this post, but here's hoping that if he does they aren't so bored as to find this blog post. History remembers him only for the 'job' he held and even then probably not very fondly, or very well.  History is written by the winners, and Count Berchtold was on the losing side, only the melancholy historians of the world, the ones who are somewhat fascinated with the 'what ifs' of history would have anything other than a passing interest in the Count.  His term in office was from February 17th, 1912 until his 'fall' on January 13th, 1915, just 24 days shy of three years. However, those years were vital to the history of the world as we know it today, and the Count's performance, or lack thereof had far reaching effects that he probably never envisioned when he began to sign his name to all sorts of important documents as Foreign Minister. We never really understand the ripple effect of our actions until it is too late, and sometimes we fail to understand the effects at all. Thus, history is a fickle, fickle bitch.

The Count was born wealthy, married wealthy, and probably died wealthy. He was reputed to be one of the Empire's richest men, so it is sometimes difficult to have a ton of sympathy with him, and his plight/fate.  Although his plight was pretty bleak, he was appointed at the tender age of 49 (the youngest foreign minister in Europe at the time), and without really having the qualifications to do the job that was thrust upon him.  I feel his pain, there are times at my job that I have a similar feeling, but I guess, like the Count, we should just try to do our best, and hope no one catches onto the idea that we are basically faking it.  Luckily for me, my responsibilities aren't nearly as onerous at his were, and if I fuck up millions of people aren't going to be killed, maimed, or otherwise affected in bad ways. 

Still, you have to feel sorry for the poor bastard, in over his head, and harnessed to a creaking, decrepit Empire that was on its last legs, shackled with an army poorly trained, and composed of about 30 different nationalities, and forced to deal with a bureaucracy that was filled with village idiots.  Not that he covered himself in glory while fulfilling his duties.  After his fall, he retired to his country estate (don't we all have a country estate), and lived the high life, playing no further role in the events that he helped to create. A pretty sweet gig, if you can get it, and one that was probably better than he deserved.

However, the Count and his Empire did have a partner in the dance of destruction that was to engulf Europe during the late summer of 1914, and that partner (and to many the real villain of the piece) was Imperial Germany. Not the Nazi Germany that we all know and love, but the Kaiser/Bismarck Germany. The Iron Chancellor, and his Kaiser were the true power of the partnership that would be known as the Central Powers during the 'War to end all Wars'.  It is clear to any simple student of history that Austria-Hungary was clearly the second string/fiddle in their little tryst with Imperial Germany. The Germans were an organized, well-drilled, experinced fighting machine, with a strong-willed genius at the helm of the ship of state.  Bismarck had his flaws, but in his day, he was not someone you wanted to fuck with. 

And that is the basis of relationships/partnerships there almost always is a weaker partner. One that is the star, one that is the role player. We all remember Michael Jordan, but Hoarce Grant won a shit ton of rings too you know.  Not the best analogy, but I am not that creative, and you get the general idea. In these types of partnerships it is actually the weaker member that calls the shots. You would think Germany would just (metaphorically) reach over, and slap Austria-Hungary a few times and scream 'keep it together you fucking idiot, and we can win this war.'  The real true of the matter is that Austria-Hungary, by being the weaker of the two can always say 'sorry Germany, but if you dont give me more help, I am going to collapse entirely, and then you are fucked brother.'  And, if you are Germany, what choice do you have? The wolves are at the door, and you need all the help you can get, and any help is better than no help, and if the bumble fucks you have as partners are the only thing between your backdoor, and the wolves, well then you better help keep them afloat, or shit is about to break bad for you.

Suddenly all those rosy ideas about you being the big man in this alliance are roasting like marshmellows over an open flame, you have to help them, or face the cold, hard fact that without them, you are doomed (doomed I tell you), and no one likes to be doomed, not even melacholy students of history. So, you shrug your (slightly broad) shoulders, and lean into the burden that they bear, because by becoming their partner, you have signed up to help shoulder their burden(s) as well as your own. It does not matter if your burden was enough, or that you were barely keeping your own shit together, what matters now is that you have to help with theirs, or face the mutual destruction of the partnership that you so painstakingly put together.

It doesn't matter if the game is no longer worth the candle, you are trapped like a rat in a maze of your own making, and you are beginning to suspect that whatever 'cheese' there was has long since been moved out of your immediate reach. All you can do, all you can hope to do is prolong collapse long enough for a solution to either come to you in a flash of inspiration, or someone to see your distress, understand that you are 'tired of being Germany, and want to be Austria-Hungary for a while', and lean into your burden to help you. Sometimes that happens, and during those golden moments when it does, you should be grateful, and say thank you, and remember Count Leopold Berchtold, after all someone needs to.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What Measure is Man

I have your measure my dear, and I am not talking about how tall you are. That does not matter, be it 5 foot nothing or 10 feet tall, and bulletproof, I still have your measure. Granted, it took me years to get your measure, and it was quite the task to do, but rest assured that finally I have your measure. Also rest assured that this measure, that I have taken so very much effort to obtain, I will use against you in the most insidious ways. I will not be gentle, nor will I be kind. Gentle and kind have gone the way of the dodo bird. They are non-existent.  And that is as much your fault as it is mine, so do not expect mercy, I certainly do not.

Because, quite simply, we passed the kind and gentle stage a long, long time ago. That time was before I had sorted out the type of person you are, and when I was young, dumb, and stupid. Those days have, for the most part, passed. Now I am old, and not quite the fucking retard I make out to be, and I have put your round peg into the round hole into which it fits.  The sad part of all of this deep thought is that it did not have to turn out this way, you could have with just a simple, non-complex gesture, or a wave of an out-stretched hand  made this all better. But, you did not choose to do that for reasons that are inexplicable to me, and that I am sure make perfect sense to you. However, those reasons are the reasons that I am measuring you up for a fall.

 And fall you shall, as sure as the sun rises in the east tomorrow, you will fall, and I can only hope that I am the architect of your downfall.  It will give me the greatest possible pleasure to be the main reason that you come crashing down to earth.  Welcome to the ice that the rest of us have to suffer. I hope it is cold enough for you, and that your brain stops working from that cold.  I hope you freeze just like the rest of us. Mainly because it will be the first, and perhaps only, feeling that you share with the rest of us mere mortals. 

It is this painstaking task of taking your measure that has occupied me for a very, very long time, and I can only hope that, since I have managed it, that it has a happy effect upon my life. I figure that since I have sorted it all out, that I might be able to be sleep better at night.  Sleep the sleep of the just if you can, and snore away the day secure in the (mis) conception that you have it all sorted out.  You don't, and it will make me so very happy to show you that you are mistaken.  Because regardless of how tall, or short you are, I have your measure, and I am telling you this as a warning. The warning is that perhaps whatever attention you deign pay to me just is quite enough.