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Archive for July, 2007

CHEESES, I was angry today! By 10 a I was slogging through the usual note card transcribing and detesting every minute I was tied to the fripping computer. I made myself go on the way Charles Bukowski made himself go on when he worked at a job he hated. He knew he could eat if he persisted at the helm of his  canoe. I knew I could not face myself in the mirror if I stopped to read the new Time and Newsweek that arrived a few minutes before. I had to stay with my program; not because I was earning a penney from the effort. I’m not.

They’re not even supporting my web sites. There was a movie with a trailer slogan that went something like “In deep space, no one can hear you when you scream.” Shucks you don’t have to travel to deep space for that; you can launch a web site or two; same result.

The nice thing about not eating more than one meal a day is that by skipping the bother of lunch, I can stay focused and miserbabble at the keyboard from 9 when I usually boot up, so to speak through 1:30 when I stop to feed Thelonius Dog and Slick Richard. The 15 minute break that provides also allows me to heat water for my third cup of Folgers Instant, be sure the dogs have fresh water and chow and detach mine eyes from notecards for awhile. And so it did..

When i returned to the office at 1:45, I KNEW I was not about to resume the nutty transcription action after checking email. Instead, I hauled me to the basement to catch up with filing the hundreds — maybe thousesnds — of articles and clippings stacked on filing cabinets and waiting, incomplaining, to be distributed in the thousands of files in the 15 cabinets. I was so frikking MAD that
– I still have no car insurance,
– – that there was a chance my cherished renter upstairs would give me a 30 day notice to vacate next  month,
– – – that I am frikking over frikking drawn at the bank,
– – – – that I have another real estate tax payment of more tha $1,000 due in September and not a frikkng CLUE how the hey I’m going to come up with it,
– – – – – that some points made a few evenings ago by a restored friend regarding illegal immigrants have all the logic of a 600 mile per hour yellow
– – – – – – – and that I need to start thinking about poetry again (details later this week right here)
that for the first few minutes in the kinder, cooler subterranea I stood almost on the balls of my feet as I went through a routine of sorting hands fulls of papers, initially almost yanking file drawers out and shoving said papers into files and repeating this until 4::15. The filing frenzy, I determined, would take the place of my promised 30 minute hike today, though I’ve not ruled that out after dinner. I was amazed over how much more I accomplished with that filing than I would have if I felt good or sad. No manual dexterity, necessary for transcribing with keyboard was required for this. As long as I could stand, I was fine. And I could have stood for another two hours.

I returned to my office because I wanted (believe it or not) to FINISH transcribing a respectable portion of references to aircraft built in Italy before calling it a dia. And I did. slogged through a hefty three quarter inch pile of them. Also, in my office, I was closer to the phone, and I’m glad I was.

Esteeemed renter called. The rent check for August was in the usual place. Not a whisper of feared unhappy news. THANK GOD.

Instead there was different unhappy news. One of the showers in her place isn’t working. We need to get a plumber in. AND the exhaust fan in one of her bathrooms is making a racket when she turns on the light. We will talk about this in detail this weekend. So what the heq does THAT mean to my plans for catching up with car insurance and phone bill and other bills? It does not mean easy to frikking SLEEP tonight.

It’s almost enough to get me angry enough to look for a freaking job!

Live long . . . . and proper.

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I’ve had that title in my “drafts” for weeks, and I’m leading with it just to share it with you and get it published. It has nothing to do with this essay, which I’m also saving in “drafts” until later this week and writing topic cupboard is bare.

What THREE Television Shows Do You Miss the Most?
That’s what this posting’s title should have been.

If I could wave a magic wand, and restore three programs to regular air play, they would be these three, in order of importance, most missed being first. Following will be a short list of wonderfol shows truly missed.

Northern Exposure
I understand the major star who played the physician serving in Alaska to pay off his med school bills was so taken with Hollywood, he quit the show to become a star of the big screen. He landed a major role in one motion picture before fading quickly to Obscrurity City. He was one of many terrific actors on the show. I was particularly smitten by Janine Turner (yes?) who played the role of a bush pilot who flew a Cessna 185. Seeing her was half the fun of the show. What a terrific role model she was for incipient female student pilots. The retired astronaut who owned the radio station; later had supporting roles in Hollyville. . John what’s his name who later played the father of the physician who died to a Hawaiian “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” who had been a regular minor character on Northen Ex. The John father guy had a very young wife with a vocabulary which was as bull’s eye as anything fired from Annie Oakley’s rifle. The other John, the radio announcer who later did very well on Sex and the City. the general store proprietress, great older actress, wonderful character. Even Adam Arkin was a recurring regular. And the native Eskimo characters portrayed by delightful talents which showed me so much of their culture. It was all a stew of unpredicable delights. Every Monday at 9:00 on CBS.

St. Elsewhere
E.R. came close to St. Elsewhere (the nickname of a hospital) when Clooney, Edwards and (Dan, laterFargo auto dealer star) were still around, but St. Elsewhere was immensely more humane. Ed Begley, Howie Mandel, the terrific older stars. Thursdays at 9:00 pm on NBC; right? I will never forget the final episode as the wrecking ball swung toward the hospital with the old veteran physician staring out the window. What a SHOW!

The X-Files
I did not connect regularly or earnestly to the show until Fox 55 began broadcasting it Sunday nights at 11:00 and then I watched almost every week. During its first run, I avoided it because I’m not into conspiracy games. After watching it a few times on Sunday nights following Garry Shandling’s fine show rerun, I began appreciating it for the superb writing and acting. When Fox left, I continue to watch it until 55 discontinued it, but it was never quite as nice. And Scully! Why isn’t she making megabucks in Hollywad these days? She had the acting ability, and who can forget her face? I can’t foe sho.

Missed intensely, but I know they were only TV shows:

Late Night with David Letterman — I know it’s on CBS now by the porcine fecal waste in charge of Channel 49 discontinued broadcasting CBS to Springfield TV viewers some years ago and substituted gutter swill in its place. Those who see conspiracy under every rock might guess the program director on Niel Street in Urbana might be a REPUBLICAN. I don’t know I’d punch that far below the belt, but I sure wieh we could get Letterman in Springfield without cable or satellite.

Arrested Development — It was a first class comedy with an aces cast from day one. What The Simpsons is to the pork cookout set, Arrested Development was to the Chablis and sliced canteloupe on silver plates set. I loved that show.

Hill Street Blues — Daniel J. Trivanti, Betty Smith, Charles Haid, Dennis Franz before the cop show he starred in after that, again, top talent. Not a dull chime in the lot!

Hennesey, starring Jackie Coogan (former child actor phenom), Monday nights at 9 on CBS, I think. All about a Navy officer. I was almost a toddler, but it echoes in my heart as the best TV show I watched before I started junior high.

What were your fave discontinued shows?

Watch long . . . . and proper.

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As the Sultan of So’ James Brown once said, “I feel good. I knew that I would. So good. So good. I gaCHOO!” — GeSUNDheitt Master Brown!

Yesterday I vowed to spend an hour on feet in transit to compensate for the past few months spent in large part, in officechair. And I did. I grabbed my microcasette recorder and watch, and left my glasses on the dining room table. The tape recorder is to record mental notes in motion. I learned years ago can’t read my handwriting scrawled onto scratch paper when walking, but I can always understand mon voice. To show kindred outdoor folk I was of their ilk, I also donned some basketball shoes I used to shoot hoopes in when I was 30something. I don’t think I’ve worn them since 1985, but they fit just fine. Flabby feet are not an issue (GeSUNDheit!) for me. At 11:06, I stepped out to my new world. What follows next is a transcript of what I said into my tape recorder:

11:13 and three minutes into walking a few minutes ago, it was obvious there was some distress in my chest. It’s nothing more than I’ve felt before in recent years, so I’m not worried about it. If anyone should find this recorder after I’ve collapsed, on the asphalt or the grass, just be sure I’m not blocking a major throrofare and have a nice day. . . .
. . . . .as I approach Williams and am about to make a left turn onto Williams, they should know I know this is risky business, and if I (get hurt) doing this, that’s okay.
….I’m doing this to increasm my calorie burning. . . .just passed two pedetrians heading opposite
. . . . A few things tell others I’m not a threat. My shoes have obviously experienced some wear and tear, and I’m wearing plaid pants, which no one dangerous would dare wear, and my Springfield Business Journal shirt which should be a conversation starter if I get cose to anyone who wants to say more than “hi.”
. . . . . I left my glasses at home because I don’t wont to loose them, and I might.
. . . . Showing down here south of the carillion, past it, the flat part between Illini on my right and the lagoon on my left. I sense I’ve walked about half of it. Lots of birds around here
. . . . . It is 11:37, about half an hour since I started and I’m approaching the picnic area. I’m going to stop for a drink there, maybe sit five minutes and go on.. . . . .
. . . . .POST WALK NOTE I drank only three swallows of water after waiting 45 seconds (a small lifetime) for some kids who were in line before me. Many parents with kids in the upgraded play area. Must go back and really look at the place sometime. First time here was with the family in about 1950; most recently, about three years ago. Don’t think anything I knew as a child is still here. I just want to SEE the place next time I come here. I really like what they’ve done. No stopping to rest. Departed the area feeling better from the water and the shade, and the downhill to the asphault . . . .
. . . .back to the tape. . . .My left foot began to bother me only after I resumed my walk. I can tell there will be a blister, some wear and tear on the toes, but that’s okay. I’m going home . . .
, , , , wakjung downhill toward the band shell, what we used to call the Stompin’ House because of the acoustics. They’ve really taken good care of it.
. . . . An idyllic scene here. . . . a woman in a red blouse and white dress reading a book on a bench by the pond. This is classic.
. . . approaching MacArthur and the left foot pain is getting to be significant.
. . . . heading toward MacArthur, I encountered Sam Cahman jogging! I didn’t recognize him before he recognized me. “How many miles you jogging today” he said. “I haven’t the foggiest,” I replied. “From start to finish around the park it’s two and a half miles.” That’s nifty. So I will have walked a little more than 2.5 miles.
. . . . . .At MacArthur and Williams, it is exactky 11:55.  I’ve decided, thanks to my foot, I”m not going to walk an hour regularly as I get into this. For one thing, I’m not going to walk hurt.. Half an hour every other day will work initially. Probably two or three laps around the gardens between Walnut and Mac. . . . . The name of today’s blog will be Once Around the Park. . . . . It is exacly noon at Walnut at Williams. I sure look forward to that shower.. . .
. . . . . as I turned onto Vine, I saw a fellow I thought I recognized carrying a white plastic garbage bag to his car — Pastor Hamilton of Laurel United Methodist? — and he recognized me. .”Hi Job.” he said. I didn’t want to say the wrong name, so I said “Hi, how’re you doing??” He said “Good” and I said “Good. You’re looking good.”
. . . . As I approach my house, it is exactly one hour since I departed. Is that in- freaking-credible or WHAT?

Live long . . . . and heart healthy.

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tomat2.jpg
(Pictured above: “Dad’s Birthday Zlunch” by Job Conger)

The Tomato is My Friend
. . . . . . Close to ten years ago, before Thelonius Dog and Slick Richard, even before Maximum Labrador, I was in a tailspin. (That modus de klutzus is de regeur with me.) I had split with a woman I will call Wide Redbreast, a freelance writer from the south who was teerific in eight out of ten ways. The breakup in June had hit me pretty hard. The day it happened, I decided to stop eating until I saw reason to resume. Yes, I’d continue to drink iced tea, water and coffee. Yes, I’d take a One-A-Day vitamin a day. I was out to make a statement to the Cosmos. And I did okay with this “statement” for about three weeks. I had discovered what I rediscovered with I entered my current Ramen regimen: the downside of eating light is that it makes you hungry. I duscovered some years ago that liquids only pretty much eliminated the hunger factor. What brought me out of my liquid run (no pun intended). was the garden planted in happier times, a garden turning from green to spotty red. I had a moral dilemma: could I throw away that juicy bounty on frikking PRINciple? Answer: No.

The tomatoes brought me out of my hunger statement. It was a painless transition after that to store-bought nutritionals, and the rest is history. I’ve decided that the one tomato I harvested orange and green last Tuesday, which ripened on my sunny kitchen window sill, and the perfect red globe I picked this Saturday morning are my ticket to lunch. It will be a late lunch because it’s 2:10 now, and it will be 3:00 before I break out the Bunny Honey Wheat and Hellman’s. That’s okay. I’ll have a later-day Ramen repast as well.

Oprah’s Doctor guru on the Rose Show
. . . . . . Wednesday last, a bloke (interesting fellow whose name I did not note nor long remember) who’s a regular on Oprah also made Charlie Rose, so to speak. He shared a fact that impacted me bigtime, so I’m sharing it with you. He said nutrients which are not burned by muscle mass are stored as fat. On a Rose show earlier this year, another nutritionist had said exercise will not take weight off, but Wednesday’s guest delivered a minor epiphany, and I vowed to start walking. ANYWHERE. More than likely Washington Park since I can walk there in less than 10 minutes from oom. I want to turn more of my froggy countenance into a furnace and allocate fewer cubic inches to warehousing. I can lose an hour a day for this. I must. I will find a way. First time, I won’t even take my camera. I do want to start photographing ducks there. I’ll post the best here.

. . . . . .I would not start until Sunday. WHY? Because Sunday is the start of the week, I am a methodical unemployed son of a married mother (and a good one she WAS) and I am a frikking Virgo. We do things in considered order. Sunday, I WILL start the walking thing, sans camera. Stay tanned — make that Stay TUNED.

. . . . . . “Wednesday doc” also mentioned he works out regularly. He does 100 pushups a day along with other things. When I was in junior high, my brother in law Bob Shymansky and his wife (my wonderful sister Dorothy) visited us on Whittier and we talked about exercise. Bob wanted to see how many pushups I could do in the middle of the living room floor after a festive Sunday dinner. I could BARELY complete one pushup. He gently convinced me to get cracking with increasing my mushup capacity. He said if I could do 30 (maybe it was 40; I don’t remember) by Christmas (a few months away, he’d give me 10 bucks, but noted he did not really believe I could do it. A few months later, I did 40 pushups and collected my $10 from a surprised brother in law. After seeing Wednesday’s Rose guest, I vowed to work my way to 100 pushups. I don’t have a time table because how much time I have left is a matter of unhappy conjecture. Just for the heckovit, I went to the floor Thursday to see how many I could do. TWO. Today I did . . . . TWO. I will get better at this. I will go in increments. When I can do four, I will do four once a day for three days before I try for six and so on. This is my promise to me.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my departed “Pop”
. . . . . .
Today is the birthday of my father, who art in hebbin: Job C. Conger, III, born in Columbia, South Carolina — or was it North Carolina? — in 1911. I’m not going to yammer about the fellow, but he was a good man in more ways than I can count on my fingers and toes, and at this time of my life, I still have every one. Though friends and relatives over the years told me I had my mother’s looks (one of the nicest things they could say to me) . . . inside I was all Job Clifton Conger, III. At times I was more than all; I was all and a little bit more, too much mure. Way too much. Exasperatingly, damnably and damned too much. But that’s okay. I believe I am the one person in my family who never wished him to be our father who is in hell. Dad died on December 12, 1994, and I discovered him dead. I will tell you the story of how I killed him, but not today.

and to the rest of you . . . . .

Live long . . . . . and proper.

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In my ballistic way, I have lost my car insurance. Just got off the phone wth my agent who told me it went south last Saturday. I knew it was due, but I thought there’d be a grace peeriod.

So solly.

I MAY be able to reinstate it next week after I walk the anticipated rent check to the bank.

Keep the fingers crossed.

Live long . . . . . and pedestrian.

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Preface: A friend sent me what follows: a poem, I have edited slightly, which reveals the frustration of people of all races and ethnic backgrounds who believe in law, and are not inclined to dismiss the ones we don’t care in a same way we turn our nose up at street vendors offering us Chinese-manufactured toothpaste. The original had some racist elements I did not care for because I believe racism is a scourge against the thinking human race. Illegal immigration is the only political issue that makes a “redneck” out of “Texan-spin Libra” little old me.

I assume that since the poem reached me, it is public domain. If it is not public domain, and if I am disobeying the law here in sharing it with you, please bring my error to my attention so I can remove it from Honey & Quinine. Otherwise please share this with your friends and associates.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

I cross the ocean
pure and broke,
take bus to see
employment folk.
Nice man he treat
me good in there: he say
I need to see Welfaire.
Welfaire say,
“You ome no more.
We send the cash
right to your door.”
Welfaire checks
they make you wealthy.
Medicaid, will
keep you healthy.
So by and by, I
get plenty money,
thanks to every
taxpayer dummy.
I write to friends
in motherland;
tell them to
“Come as fast you can!”

 They come with turbans,
drive rusty trucks.
I buy big house
with Welfare bucks.
My friends arrive.
We live together.
More Welfare checks!
Life’s getting better.
Fourteen families
they move in.
My neighbor’s patience
is growing thin.
Finally, citizen
moves away.
I buy his house,
and then I say,
“Find more illegals
for house to rent,”
and in my yard
I pitch a tent
for another family.
They’re just “trash,”
but even they
draw Welfare cash.
Life is oh so
very good,
and soon we own
the whole neighborhood.
We have a hobby,
call it “breeding.”
Welfare pay
for baby feeding.
Kids need dentist?
Wife need pills?
We get it free.
We have no bills.
Taxpayers are crazy.
They pay all year
to keep my Welfaire
running here.
We think USA
is a darn good place;
too darn good
for legal citizen race.
If YOU no like us,
YOU can scram.
There’s lots of space
in Pakistan.

Live long . . . . . and legally.

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Ballistic Mode

Some airplanes, particularly those with what lay people might call the little wings (elevators) at the top of the back tail (others call them T-tails) which require great pilot concentration in some circumstances. In slow flight, when the nose of the airplane is pointed way high, the airflow from the wing can blanket the T-tail which controls where the nose is pointed. In short, the elevators loose their capacity to control pitch, which way the nose is pointed, and when this happens, the airplane ceases to become a controllable flying machine. It becomes ballistic, the same way the stone thrown at the crow on the telephone line travels on a ballistic path, determined by the angle relative to the ground at which the stone left the hand, its speed leaving the hand, and a little thing called gravity. Often pilots have no option other than ejecting from an airplane in “deep stall” and and parachuting safely to terra firma. Sometimes, if the airplane is flying high enough, the pitch changes on its own because of the way the weight is distributed in the plane, and given the vertical room for that, sometimes the aircraft becomes controllable again, and safe recovery from the deep stall can be made. I am in deep stall today. I am in ballistic mode, witness to the world.

A friend visited Thursday to pre-pay me for some photography I’ll be doing next week. What a blessing! An hour after our visit, the payment was deposited into my checking account where I am also in red ballistic mode, a/k/a “deep deficit.” Thank God, I have Ramen noodles which will feed me through next week. I told the bank, I KNOW I’m in deep deficit, but I hoped my depositing the check indicated my interest in lessening the extent of it, if not the shameful ignominy of it.

My friend also suggested I should contact National Air & Space Museum and offer my contractural services at a freelance consultant. I did via email. Their warm response suggested I contact their fine Air & Space Smithsonian magazine, and they included links to writers’ guidelines and editorial people. I intend to pursue possibilities. The fact one hummin’ bean, face to face, admittedly not knowing a lot about airplanes, THOUGHT I could be a paid consultant was a welcome affirmation. If I had not promised him on the spot that I would contact NASM and offer my services, I would not have made the few minutes worth of effort it required. I would never have thought I have the capacity to write for Air & Space . . . but I could be wrong.

In the meantime, I’m continuing the indexing. Will proof the aviation histocical newsletter this afternoon 4 sure.

As I watched the wonderful PBS Masterworks program about John James Audubon last night, I got a phone call from a person who responded when I said hello the first time. In other words a real person, and a nice one at that. She had visited my Vachel Lindsay web site and seen the pictures of Kevin Purcell, whom she used to work with at Sangamon State University. She asked me for his phone number, which I did not have. He and I should have exchanged numbers at the Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site when he presented there in June, but we didn’t. I assumed at the time I’d continue my conversation with him later that afternoon, but it didn’t work out that way. The woman mentioned she thoroughly enjoyed my web site AND my voice mail, which she caught when she called earlier in the day and not left a message. Of COURSE, I extended a wish that if she ever wanted a speaker for a civic organzation meeting (as bright as she was, it’s a sure bet she belongs to civic organizations) to call me for my “Vachel Lindsay; the Poet Speaks” presentation AAAAND if she ever needs to employ a WRITER/PHOTOGRAPHER to please consider me. WOW, she called a guy for a phone number and got the double hustle! I could not risk NOT engaging her: a live hummin’ bean who innocently emough wandered into ear shot of my voice. Heck yes, I let her know. I intend to let everyone know! The whole freaking world can’t turn deaf on me, can they?

I said, can they?

Live long . . . . .and proper.

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To know me is to understand that 95 percent of the television I watch is broadcast on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). During this summer the percentage has been closer to 85 percent, not because the quality of programming is heading for the hoidi toilet, but because though most are still jewels of programs, fewer are jewels whose spectra resonate with my wavelengths. In seeking colors that do, I watched two and a half programs of “The Next Best Thing on ABC.” It was a contest of impersonators, folks appearing as Paris Hilton, Little Richard, Rosaann Baar, #43, Frank Sinatra, Elvis and others. I caught the second half of the penultimate round two weeks ago, the final round last week and the awards round tonight. If I had not been floored by a woman delivering a terrific technicolor impression of comedienne Lucille Ball, a woman who advanced to the final round, I would not likely have watched the two concluding shows.

Despite slightly ham-fisted, poorly scripted “I Love Lucy – ISH” episode performance monologues, I was delighted by the impersonator’s spirit and attention to physical nuances that remained all Lucy, all the time. Ball was never a stand-up comic; she was always an excellent actress and manager, so finding a way to showcase the impersonator’s talent was a considerable challenge from the start, and she succeeded more than I would have otherwise imagined possible. Other performers allowed their own touches of dialogue and gesturing, fragments of out of charactere tapestries, to creep into their performanvces. For example, just because Elvis shook a lot during a high-power tunes, a lot of that shaking was more than the original. Often, the performers figured that imparting a LOT of the original general elements made their performances a LOT more authentic. Not so.

Flash forward to tonight’s awards in which a “special secret guest star” would perform.. I was in no mood for dancing competition finals with Marilu Henner on PBS, though I think the world of MH, a warm and joyful countenance wherever one finds her. Instead, I watched “The Next Best Thing,” mostly to see if the Lucy imitator would win. She didn’t. The better of two Elvis guys did, and that’s fine. He was good, albeit a mite excessively frenetic. What about knocked me out of my seat was the rising of the curtain, as the Little Richard and Tina Turner imitators sang a chestnut about Old Time Rock and Roll, revealing the REAL Little Richard at the piano, and transforming a memorable duo into an utterly unforgettable trio!

Little Richard came into my musical sphere when I was about 10 years old singing the first of his short run of TOP ten hits with lyrics to Tutti Fruiti sanitized for the protection of white listeners’ delicate ears. He was fun to me as a 10 year old in a Monty Rock the Third, on-the-side-of-town-I’ll-never-visit kiind of way.. I didn’t know about how much he had in commom with Whitman, Tchaikovsy and Bernstein, and that was okay. When I eventually learned what they all shared, I kept my distance. I was a younger fellow, pledged to shooting straight eros, so to speak.

The two previous encounters with the Little Richard imitator, a married bloke, who gave a measured, technically on the mark rendering of the original hits, reminded me of the joy in the original’s personality and his suddenly, unabashedly appreciated body of music and spontenaety. Seeing the original on stage for the first time in years was like discovering the beautiful person Little Richard had always been. What a revelation: regardless of my guarded sensitivities, he is hot dynamite today too! What gleaming pride and joy there is in the man! If the original is a little ragged, compared to a Billy Joel, it is honestly ragged and unrestrained in melody and delivery. If there is a sordid side, he may have it as he likes to have it, and that’s okay by me. What he shares with lucky viewers and listeners is sunchine, through and through. Would I tune into a program hosted by Little Richard and featuring him sharing the story of his life and his music? You bet! PBS, where are you? Do you hear me?
Sometimes the essence a performer creates transcends the rest of his’rher life. This is what separates the performers from the performing artists. I know I speak for many whose hearts were warmed and truly blessed during our “The Next Best Thing” encounter with Little Richard tonight in saying We love you, Little Richard! Thank you for being all you are, and are so well!

Live long . . . and bom bom-a-loo-bom; a lom-bam BOO!

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tomclay.jpg
Do you know him? If you’re a creative writer, you should. I was , and I did. I took this picture during a chance encounter in political downtown Springfield about 1997. Then living in Chatham, Tom hosted a meeting or two of our writing organization board. By day, he was a good writer and employed by the Department of Natural Resources. Some years ago, Tom disappeared from the scene. If more good men like Tom, Jim Osborne and Damon McParland had stayed with the group, the circumstances surrounding that group would have been far different than they are today. Their absence has been more critical than they will know.

I ran into Tom recently at the downtown post office. He explained he had moved, with his career, to the Chicago area, but had recently moved back. He promised to get in touch, and I look forward to catching up with him.

In going over several hundred pictures I took during six wonderful years with that writing organization and a few that came after that, I’ve been transported to my youth when I was a kid of 46 or so. You should know about those folks and those times. Occasionally,  here at H & Q, I’ll tell you more about them. In the meantime, consider how the world remembers Robert Burns, not by the organizations he belonged to, but by the poems he wrote.

It’s been a focused few days. The warmer it gets in the office, the more the no-see-ums come out to dine on the hard typing blogmeister’s newly trimmed scalp. It’s almost enough to drive me to a shower, but I’m down to one a week; more only if I have some place to go involving interfacing inside with hummin’ beans. I could save myself a heq of a lot of scratching if I turned the dogs over to a Chinese buffet, but that’s not what I’m all about. The notecard transcribing is the only item on my dance card. This morning I printed the “blueline” copy of the next American Aviation Historical Society Newsletter to proof, but I’m saving that for tomorrow, by which time the rest of some promised additional copy should arrive here. I’ve already given it a quick look, and I can tell a second look and notes will consume only half of Wednesday. The diversion will do me good.

I’ve discovered how to tell when a bill collector or a telephone solicitor is calling. You may already know this, but if you don’t you may benefit from lifting the receiver quickly and saying calmly, “Hello?” Count to One and SEVEN EIGHTHS really fast and say “”Hello?” again. If no one has interrupted you before or during that second salutation, take a favorite finger and depress the disconnect button on your phone or phone cradle. If you, like me — perhaps “If you, AS me” is the better phrase (I don’t want to impute regard for me when it may not exist from readers who don’t know about commas) — are in no mood for bill collectors, you’ll be off the hook, so to speak. In the meantime, if it’s really important, the party trying to reach you will send you a certified letter or a deputy sheriff.

Live long . . . . . and proper.

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Apologies to all regular readers here who miss the goyem Woody Allen persona professing exasperation over his two left feet. I’m in a comedy null zone these days. Y?

<>I learned last week there was not enough in the bank for my loan payment to be made, and I am in high funk over this. Bank notices from last week re that and probably a bouncing check remain unopened on a bookshelf near the front door. Opening them today would be like swearing off smoking after noticing a wing has just parted company with your Piper Cub during a flight through major clear air turbulence. You know that even though cigarettes are bad for your health, nothing you can do for the benefit of your lungs matters, given the import of prevailing circumstances. You’re just going to have to fold your hands over your chest and savor the thrilling descent.

Here’s a matter which, by no stretch of the imahination, is comedy or gravity 99 percent of the time. During this one percent null zone, it’s a diversion. The person renting the upstairs has been the best hummin’ bean to write rent checks to moi since I purchased this duplex 16 years ago. She’s been here three years, and we’ve been simpatico from the get-go. For the past eight months or so, the fine woman who always turned the lights out in the basement when she departed after putting a load of laundry into the machine, or returning a load to her quarters upstairs . . . . . has been leaving the lights on.Why should I give a rat’s patoot? The power used to illuminate the lights (and run the worsherindraar (as #43 might say) is billed to me. She pays for the juice powering her living quarters. Over the past eight months probably once every month or so, I’ve asked her to turn off the lights when she leaves She has a separate door which I unlock when she calls and asks me to unlock it from my inside. Sometimes she complies for half a day; sometimes not at all.

After — by the grace of Yahweh — I was loaned money which permitted me to replace the central air units used to cool her place, my bank payments increased $75 a month! I don’t know what other owners would have done. Some would have increased the rent to deal with the expense.

Here’s where the child-parent dynamic comes into play. . . . . any successful, employed owner would more easily have done what I felt was fair to do: increase the rent by $50 a month and if she balks when the lease is due for renewal, go our separate ways. The lease is due for renwal in August. If she does not give me 30 days’ notice to vacate on Aug 1, I can count on her until next August 1. There’s also the possibility that a person who cares so little for my electricity is going to leave when she damn well wants to heave.

Did you ever find yourself at age 11 or 14 years old, just aching over the ignominy of having to get along with Mom and Dad because if you don’t, you could spend the rest of your life in your fripping bedroom? I did. Now, I, home owner and out of work Texan spin Libra, am in a similar dilemma over WHAT?

Over paying to keep the frikking lights on in the basement up to 10 hours longer than they should be two or three days a week.

Motion detectors attached to the basement ceiling lights are the obvious solution. I might as easily buy wings for pigs, at least until a rent check comes in August 1. In the meantime, I replaced the 75 Watt bulb over the washer and dryer with a 25 Watt bulb. I will explain to her how I was silly to expect her to pay attention to what is beyond her concern, and that I will turn the lights off when I know she’s not in the basement. Yes, it looks like I’m getting ready to shoot myself in the foot, bigtime. Keep your fingers crossed that she doesn’t care about the reduced Wattage bulb and that she pays her rent, sans notice to vacate in about a week.

In the meantime, I’ve decided not to light that cigarette. I don’t know that I’ll enjoy any better the thrilling view that decorate my kinetic horizon, but I’ve always believed it’s not the destination that’s important; it’s how you get there.

Live long . . . . . and proper.

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