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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(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.


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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