September 22, 2018

Sunday Afternoon With Lucy

Lazy Sunday afternoon in the middle of winter, loafing on the couch looking for something to watch on television, should’ve known better...football season over and I don’t care for basketball...went through the potato chips and was setting my sights on whatever else I had laying around the house not being fussy...in younger days, only eight channels to choose from, yet I could usually find something to watch that was somewhat interesting...today though was a challenge...a college basketball game between Eastern Somebody and Western Somebody Else didn’t hold my interest since I hadn’t bet on either, so I went channel surfing and it was a light chop...came upon an old episode of ‘Here’s Lucy’ starring Lucille Ball who was a big star in the 50’s...it was showing on some religious channel for some reason...hell, that’s probably all they could afford...I’m not one to watch religious channels...I might learn something...but there wasn’t anything else on and this old show caught my eye...frequent commercial breaks...where they had a pair of smiling wholesome looking hosts asking for money of course and the hosts told us they were proud to show programs such as ‘Here’s Lucy’ and called it great family entertainment...yeah Jack, but whose family?...maybe fifty or sixty years ago this may have been true in what was a simpler, innocent society but now?...I seriously doubt any families were gathered around the television today watching Lucy...Mom’s trying to finish up her consulting work on the computer, Dad should be out in the garage installing a manifold or fixing a carburetor but I forgot this is modern times so Dad’s washing the clothes and straightening his apron getting ready to cook dinner...kids either aren’t home or are locked away in their rooms looking at their phones, listening to music, and doing who knows what with them...not enough car chases, shootouts, or people saying fuck this or fuck that to keep anybody’s interest these days...too much dysfunction, dysfucksion, and jadedness...it wasn’t long before I grew tired of the host’s earnestness and pleas for money and continued my search...the next channel was an obscure one that featured an even more obscure old black and white western...god, where they dig this one up from?...I watched for a few minutes and didn’t recognize anybody in it...it seemed to me that it must have been made in the 1940’s based on the poor video and sketchy audio...I’m not sure I could have recognized anybody in it even if I knew them...they used to make spaghetti westerns, but this film lacked both the spaghetti sauce and the pasta...it was pure crap on a chipped plate...I couldn’t imagine that anyone else in my viewing area was actually watching it...if there was another television tuned to it, it probably occurred when a dog accidentally stepped on a remote control...even then, dogs have got more sense than to watch that garbage and then probably went in the bedroom to jump up on the bed and take a nap...there were some infomercials that desperately wanted my money, what little of it I had, and they weren’t getting it...finally gave up and turned the TV off wondering how there was always something decent to watch on those eight channels long ago.

September 20, 2018

21 Guns


His life was 20 guns short of a 21 gun salute...he must have been born under a bad star like when the planets are in an unfortunate alignment, if you believe in that kind of hocus-pocus stuff...when he was born, he wasn’t born crying, it was with clenched fists and a snarl on his face...he always had an attitude but he didn’t have much else...grew up in the dark unfriendly jagged broken glass streets of a city where the bright pretty skyscrapers of downtown that were so close might of well have been on the other side of the moon...far far away on the dark side...even then he thought he was cursed or that the world was somehow plotting against him in some kind of giant conspiracy, all designed to keep him down, knock him down, down to the ground, pounded to the ground, ground up and to be spit upon, spit up and spit out...him against the world and the world was an overwhelming favorite...and if you were betting the over/under on him, you definitely would bet the under...as he grew up, he carried anger around with him like most people carry a wallet, stuffed in his pocket and he was all too quick to pull it out and show the pictures inside of it to anyone who got in his way...pictures of rage, petulance, defiance...in a strange way, he was proud of this...his ‘not taking anything off anybody’ attitude...his record of run-ins with the law was a longplay and a two volume set...he glared too much, he talked too much, he drank too much, he fought too much...he thought too much yet he thought too little...he was long on consternation and short on imagination...he was the poster boy of the angry young man...the chip on his shoulder was more like a mountain range that stretched from the east coast of aggression to the west coast of surliness...everything was an affront to him, his defense was to take offense at anything that came his way, he growled that he never got any lucky breaks like other people did...he always drew the short end of the stick...he strutted around like he was the baddest man on the planet and refused to back down from anyone...intimidation was his calling card...he picked fights like other people pick what to have for lunch...but like they say, no matter how bad you are, there’s always somebody badder than you...and he found that out on one nothing special summer night in the big city where there is a lot of angry young men who had it bad growing up just like him...he managed to get by with this baggage until somebody who indeed was a little badder than him pulled out a .38 special and put a bullet into his anger...and with it, everything else inside of him drained out of him onto a one way street that led to a dead end...everybody ran away and anyone who was asked about it said it was too dark and they didn’t see anything, or that it all happened so fast that they weren’t sure just what did happen...as it were, he lay dead there face down in the street, just short of 21...he never got the chance to evolve from an angry young man into an angry old man of which the world has far too many.

September 18, 2018

Cruise

Walking the gangway, heading for the Lido deck...hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs...food’s ready...tacos, subs, ice cream...old people holding each other up...family reunions where everyone has the same color t-shirt...soon to be married couples hoping for the perfect sunset for pictures to be taken...parents with kids screaming to go swimming...wooden decks outside, heavy duty swirly carpets in...standing on deck as ship shoves off...waving to no one in particular and there is no one at the pier waving, not like old newsreels of throngs of dockside people waving, streamers, a real event...ship pulls away...hot sun beating down...oceanview cabin with porthole...announcement...all passengers to report to muster station for safety meeting...procedures read...none would be followed by passengers in real emergency...all the employees are from Hungary, Russia, Slovenia, Philippines, Moldovia, or some other place like that...full from lunch, go back to cabin and use bathroom to make room for dinner...look out porthole and see nothing but sea...brief nap...time for dinner...fish, steak, pasta, lamb,...you don’t like it, they bring you something else...coffee, wine...dessert...tonight it’s chocolate volcano cake...waddling back to room...laying on bed watching tv...before long, a phone call...pizza and ice cream are calling you from Lido deck...come for emergency pow-wow...people in line already...eating ice cream while waiting for pizza and vice versa…sun setting, photos, miniature golf...EDM playing, no one dancing...people with beer bottles welded to their hands for the next 4 days...wearing swimsuits WAY too small...ugly, cheap tattoos...evening of darkness now...lights on the front, lights on the back, lights everywhere...lights of another cruise ship off in distance...feel like The Californian...Lido deck emptying out...pool not so crowded...people in hot tubs...back to the room, storm coming up...boat swaying and making grunting/crashing sounds all night...next morning, breakfast...eggs, steak, toast, waffles, orange juice, tea, milk, cereal...folks who normally don’t even eat breakfast filling their tummies...fun day at sea...at the library enjoying the quiet...gazing out the window at the seemingly endless water...looking through the telescope and seeing more endless water...occasionally a container ship drifts by in the distance...two ships passing in the night...people crawling around like ants on deck...pool jammed, bars jammed, restaurants jammed, library practically empty...pulling into port, small tourist area for shopping and taxis ready to whisk you off to an excursion (at a premium price), restaurants there too but why eat there?...go back to the boat for another ‘free’ lunch or more accurately one that’s paid for already...take a nap...then time for dinner...BBQ ribs please...should have brought bigger pants...Lido deck has Italian theme...spaghetti, ravioli, chicken cacciatore, lasagna, rolls, butter, and the satellite food court rotating around it like planets in orbit handing out deli sandwiches and more pizza and more and more ice cream...make intended port on the third day...by the fourth night, the deck isn’t too crowded in the evening, few swimmers...deck chairs completely empty... fatigue, overeating, novelty having worn off...people in their cabins now, ship pulling back in to home port in the morning.

September 16, 2018

Are Spiders Ever Happy?

I was dreading having to go outside that day...the brightness was something I couldn’t turn down with a remote control,  the whole picture in my head was turning cartwheels...flipping and flipping like some kind of cheerleader who drank too much Red Bull...my head had been a bass drum played all too loud that morning...but there was some scraggly grass to mow, a lot of long weeds to trim, branches to cut back...didn’t want the holy homeowners committee to send me a little nastygram informing me they were going to slap a lien on my house if I didn’t fall into line with their standards of what was acceptable...so there I was walking around out in the backyard in the oppressive heat to do some of this beloved yard work one hot, steamy Saturday afternoon...I felt like I was in the middle of Death Valley...when I saw this massive spider web...I mean massive...now I’ve seen a lot of spider webs in my time, but the construction and size of this one was impressive...Frank Lloyd Wright couldn’t have designed something better...I peeked inside and saw the first floor had living and dining areas that formed virtually one uninterrupted living space, the kind of place that he chilled and listened to some cool jazz in his downtime and entertained...it was a two-story web with a series of cantilevered balconies and terraces...a sloping high-pitched roof, the kind you see in Germany or Switzerland...broad overhanging eaves, strong horizontal lines, prominent large windows, a gigantic central chimney, built-in customized cabinetry, and a wide use of natural materials—especially stone and wood...the second floor was where the bedrooms were, the master was spacious with a walk-in closet the size of my house, and several guest rooms that were lavishly appointed...the entire web was spotless and I don’t know what he pays his help, but she or they deserved a raise…there was also a three car attached garage and an Olympic size pool around the back...I couldn’t get a good look at it because of the massive privacy fence around it...I looked around but I couldn’t find the architect of this creation who no doubt also lived in this mansion...maybe he was out on a book tour signing some architecture books in a bookstore somewhere for $25 a piece...or he was hitting the talk show circuit...or flying his private jet around the country...he might of just been out playing some golf with his friends at Pebble...I don’t know...but it must have taken this spider a long time and a lot of hard work to make this gigantic thing; I wondered what his property taxes were on the place...I noticed there was a sign in his front yard indicating that he had won yard of the month from the beloved homeowners association for the perfectly manicured grounds...everything was perfectly perfect...doing it all in his head...no blueprints to work off of...it probably belonged in a museum...this spider was the Michelangelo of spiders...a painting of it really belonged in the Louvre, or at least in the Musee D’Orsay...people could come from all over the world to admire it and take selfies in front of it...I appreciated how hard it must have been to do...and the time involved...I felt kinda bad about it but hell, it was in my way, so I knocked it down with a stick and went about my business...I’m guessing the spider wasn’t happy with me about this when he got back from Ibiza or wherever he was, but I wonder if spiders are ever happy.

September 14, 2018

Airports


Anticipation, excitement, waiting...there’s something exciting about being there, even if you’re not going anywhere yourself... “United Airlines Flight 272 from San Francisco now arriving at Gate 44” comes over the airport sound system, cloudy floor to ceiling windows, massive machines falling from the sky...weighing tons, gliding down from visiting The Seventh House, touching down, going down the runway gracefully like a model...still a wonder...Airbus 320 up up and away...low flying planes these days, still stealing my gaze...at night powerful headlights breaking through the sky and to the other side, from a distance coming closer and closer... pretty flashing red and green lights winking...“Paging Mr. William Carson, please pick up the red line for an urgent message...Mr. William Carson”... people coming to vacation, people coming to give most important business presentations soon forgotten, people coming to see family and friends...“American Airlines Flight 727 for Las Vegas with continuing service to San Diego now boarding at gate 29”...engines thundering, gaining speed, motoring down the runway, magically rising like some storybook carpet from a children's’ fairy tale into baby blue and cotton candy skies...soaring to its destination...Paris, London, Tokyo, Lima, Rome or a million places on the globe...disappearing into the clouds...or farther than the eye can see...“Ms. Samantha Wolf, please meet your party in the mezzanine”...in the Manchester, New Hampshire airport they used to have a replica of a big moose in the lobby...it was funny to hear “Mr. Gary Hohman, please meet your party at the moose”...people sleeping, laying down on hard plastic seats, fidgeting, looking at their phones, digging through carryons...“British Airways now calling passengers Julie Christian, Gracie Brown, Patty Doina, and Sochi Lopez, please come to gate 33 immediately”...lower concourse...‘urrrrrrrrrrrr, urrrrrrrrrrrr’, yellow lights on the wall flashing...with that the baggage carousels begin moving and slithering like giant snakes in Arizona...the suitcases start to come out of the mysterious regions, mystical  neverlands where they are currently residing on some kind of astral plane...going around and around and around and around, anxious wide-eyed children waiting patiently and looking to be claimed by their nervous parents...shiny new suitcases fresh, worn ones with gray beards, elderly ones with walkers wrapped with twine with owners hoping they’ll stay together for one more trip…“last call for Allegiant Flight 422 for Kansas City which is now boarding at gate 15”...coming from the gate into the terminal...dressed up limousine drivers holding up signs with names...waiting to whisk the owner of that name away to a fancy downtown 5-star...maybe family members waiting excitedly to see their loved ones come in...I’m a bigger misanthrope than most, but it still makes me feel good to see the hugs and kisses and smiles when people are greeting one another and genuinely happy to see each other...getting late now, terminal emptying out, tomorrow morning busy again.