Archive for November, 2007

Three Dead Mice

three dead mice
Did you ever see such a sight in your life?

It’s been a busy week for the mouse traps at Casa Conger. I’ve decided that just when began to sense the presence of harmless thosts in the house, as luck would have it, they weren’t ghosts. They were mice. As the old Hanna-Barberra cartoon cat used to say, “I hate meeces to pieces!”

So I brought out the used traps that have hibernated in a kitchen drawer over the summer, along wtih my Kiwi shoe polish, and extension cords. Because I believe in maximum nutrition, I decided to bait the traps not with white bread — How Donna Reed!” but with whole wheat. I owe it to the meeces who get away with the baid, leaving a sprung trap behind and scarred for the rest of their sorry lives with the memory of that incredible terrible tteel crashing bar that missed their necks by a nick and a nanosecond.

Pictured below are three days’ harvest from two traps.

Soon after the picture, I lifted the paper towel and carried them to the side of my frong porch where I dumped them into the grass beside my hedge. I was tempted to string them up to hang from lower branches as a warning to wayfaring meeces considering becoming unregistered citizens of this house, but I figured if they don’t know they’re not welcome here, hanging a few to serve as stark, raving, warning won’t make any difference. And even if they do know, most will come anyway and take their chances.

I hate meeces to pieces!
I no longer hear “ghosts” during the Rose show. The traps are baited and waiting. Whole wheat of course. Incipient doom deserves nothing less.

Live long . . . . . and proper.

Read Full Post »

Lien on Me

Pictured above: Springfield Art Association’s Old Edwards’ Place on a summer evening. Photo by Nester Bolgger as the dyslexic might say. The SAA is conducting its annual Holiday Hall exhibition and sale through December 15 at its gallery 700 N. Fourth. Look for more pictures of the gallery soon at Visual Vibes Vignettes. Aisle tell you when they’re posted.

Robert Dugger (brave soul he is, posting under a his given name) posted a comment which merits my response. I desire to respond to all comments which I leave alone and undeleted from here. Sometimes, Honey & Quinine is better served by my silence; my non-response. Bob said he wished he could send me money. I appreciate the sentiment, but truly, Isaiahn to you, I ask for nothing from anyone who reads my postings here. If I want money, all I have to do is learn the lyrics to “The Wreck of the Edmusd Fitzgerald” borrow a battery-powered $100 keyboard and plant myself between Prair4ie Archives and The Chamber offices on the south side of the square for a few hours around lunch Monday through Friday. The quarters and dimes would start pouring in like hotcakes, as #43 might say. My goal here at H&Q is not about asking for money, which btw, would violate the user agreement with WordPress.com. It’s not even about showing how much I deserve the Copley First Citizen Award — Of course I’m kidding, you lurking flat earthers! — which we can all forget about I suppose, vot mit de gnu onus andall. The purpose of Honey & Quinine is to tell you about my life. If I appear to be shamelessly myopic and self-serving, welcome to the right to your opinion. If I bore you with my laments, read a more lively attitude in someone else’s blog. I have decided I will tell you what is on my mynd, so to espik. If you have reactions to share to this rambling, I promise you I will read the thoughts of all who post comments here. I will consider your reactions. If I feel your comments advance this blog, they will stay. Deal? Deal!

So a law firm acting as collection agent for my utterly smitheereened Circuit City account intends to put a lien on me. The letter came last week, and two calls thus far this week suggest they’re not really Tucker Carlson pranking around. I believe I can keep them at “orms’ linth” as they say in La Casa Blanca. That said, it’s another emergency HAI PRIORITY that keeps everyday creditors at bay, Yeah, right: bummer.

Be sure to pick up this week’s Illinois Times. It has an article by moi about the final Springfield Air Rendezvous action at the airport about a month ago. I watched it all and later interviewed coordinator Kim Curry and her dad Harry Holesinger (Brigadier General USAF, retired). I’ve not seen it in print, yet, but what I saw of the fine edit and pictures submitted suggest a good article.

Live long . . . . . . . . . . . . and proper.

Read Full Post »

Return to Earth

Fighting and kicking (so to speak) I am reconciling myself to the shame of not making good my vow of some months ago to post something here at Honey & Quinine “every day.” Word hicks should understand that this means the same as “every day of the week. ” It is a shame-thing for me. I’m w writer who enjoys writing about almost anything. It’s antithetical of me to shrink after drenching with cold circumstance. George Costanza would understand.
Four weeks ago, after spending several hours updating a web site I initiated and have since maintained for an organization I support with my services, I emailed a principle and told him of my intentions to post biographies of past performers at our concerts. He wrote back, asking me not to, that he’d send me files so I would not have to transcribe text which had appeared elsewhere in print. I finished my part of the web site renovation and e’d him it was done; that all I need is the information HE promised to send.

I would have generated more reaction whispering to the wind. Yes, he’s a busy hummin’ bean. SURPRISE: so am I.
Who is this fellow behind H&Q? I am discovering that, to too many people, I am the kid who, without being asked, comes to your house and figuratively rakes thte leaves from your front yard. People know who he is, that he’s not a danger to pets, progeny or property, and though he does not REQUIRE compensation for his initiative, still invites it AFTER his labor is done. As long as he keeps visiting the front yard, raking, mowing the front lawn, sweeping your sidewalk perhaps, that’s perfectly okay with you. You’ll tell him you appreciate his kindness, and you will keep your hands in your pockets. That’s because you share a secret known by everyone but him. And no one will tell him. You will simply wait until he goes away.

<>A gift is a gift as long as it’s unconditional. I have raked many lawns, at first because it was fun, and I learned how to efficiently rake lawns. As long as it was fun, I didn’t ask for any acknowlegement beause it didn’t matter to me. Gradually, however, the effort has become more than a gift; it has become a career objective. Like the fellow who plays guitar and begins to think about a career in music as he becomes proficient, he sets his sights higher. Raking? Hey, how about launching a lawn care service?

Why MUST the gift fall from unconditional to career mandate, conditional on the support of others for success and happiness? Because if I can’t follow my talent, or be given the opportunity to develop my proclivities in new directions, I will turn to dust.Based on the past few days, I have no reason to feel so frustrated and bereft of what I need. Though most of Thanksgiving until time to visit friends for a late afternoon feast — the best cooking I have tasted as an adult, with conversation to match — the hours preceding that bounteous encounter of the best kind were of consuming dread; not for the rest of the day, but for the rest of my life. Friday was strictly solo drenched in a feeling of peace toward friends and humanity. (Family was not a pixel in that picture.) Saturday involved another holiday meal with friends. Since Thanksgiving I have been unrelentingly productive re life at home: indexed many magazines, updated files, better arranged the aviation materials. No dread.

But no joy.

I’m backing off my high horse: no more daily postings. No more whining, and no more “what I did yesterday.” That leaves a lot of space for writing, but I don’t have anything particular left to say. We’ll just have to wait and see.

What I cannot be to anyone . . . . . I will no longer be to you.
— Job out.

Read Full Post »

How to Avoid Dangerous Lead

Buy books.

If you think toys, painted or natural wood and fiber, take you to different worlds, consider how books do the same. Consider the safety of books; almost unequalled. The only safer place is at a Republican Party “One World” Planning Meeting where you will be alone and unthreatened by lethal objects and innelecks.

One of many terrific benefits of books is that because they are so un-physical, they provide a natural pathway, segway if you like, to physical activity. After a few hours with a good book, the body craves action: perhaps a walk, throwing a football with a friend, raking the yard. . . . . darn near anything which is the opposite of repose. Reading a book is not lke a board game of faux-physicality: pushing checkers overe squares and mistaking the effects of nominal movement and maximum concentration for physical activity. Without hot mustard sauce, would sweet and sour sauce be so enjoyaber? Without reading, would jogging in the park be so rewarding? I think not.

Don’t imagine that toys take you to another world. Pushing a car along the living room floor, having a tea party with favorite dollies, even pushing levers with a video game transport a person only to what he or she knows or imagines of another world. A book almost always expands the knowledge of the lucky person reading it. Readers are seldom “done” with their worlds when the put down a book after a few chapters, or even after completing it. Most books inspire readers to return to the world left on the coffee table or to find new worlds between covers and engage them soon in a new story or non-fiction tableau. Toys engage the players with a finite world which is complete when it’s time for dinner or to go to bed, or to walk the dog. One returns to a toy often not to engage a saga, but to engage a moment; not for a “meal,” but for a snack.

So for the future of your children’s future, for the sake of your own.future, don’t risk your life and the lives of those you love by purchasing toys for Christmas. Buy books.

As long as I’m here, a transiting lament. When I answer the phone, I always say “Hello,” count two seconds, and if there is no response, I say “Hello” again. If no response comes, I hang up. This is how I avoid the bill collectors. Most of these people (at least they’re employed) have phones that light up when a connection to a dodger’s phone is complete, but it’s often a few seconds from the time the answerer picks up the phone and the haranguer picks it up to talk with the delinquent person. On the rare times when they DO respond while I have the phone close to my ear, they invariably say,”Hyess, may I spik to Job (as in rob) Gongerpliz? And I respond by saying “There is no Job (as in rob) Gonger heregoodbye.”

The phone rang today, and I believe I was too fast wtih the curt cut-off. The other person, a woman, waited until my second “Hello” before speaking (as though she had been distracted during my first greeting (Maybe pouring some milk into her second cup of coffee, starting a load of laundry, talking to a friend in the living room; who knows?) and rushed to say, “Hello, is this Job (as in rob)?” She sounded midwestern and friendly in demeanor, but I’m something of a sourpuss this morning, though I have no reason to be. Like the idiot I am too often these days, I reacted prematurely, said “There is no Job (as in rob) here.” and hung up. By the time I realized her intentions were probably GOOD, it was too late, and I didn’t want to try to call her back because I was too busy wallowing in the gravy of my stupidity.

That said, I still intend to terminate with extreme prejudice, any call that engages a machine to tell me to hold for an important message.

My GUESS is that she probably read my FOLK Salad advert and wanted to engage me musically. A strong feeling of this likelihood swept over me the second I returned my receiver to its cradle, and with that sweep came profound regret. I MUST get used to the fact that good people will mis-prounce my first name (and invariably last as well with a soft “g.”). I should be okay with that. When I misprounce a student’s name when I substitute teach at school, he or she usually grimaces and laughs, but students don’t spit into my ear over it as I did figuratively to the innocent caller today. I am totally bummed that I did that, and have hereby resolved not to rush ANY future phone conversation. Anyone calling me deserves the dignity of my respect and patience. After all, who should be more patient than a fellow named Job (as in probe)?

If you come across a woman with a story to tell about a rude folksinger, please tell her you know me, and that I want to personally apologize for my barn yard demeanor if she will call me back.

Live long . . . . . . and proper (rhymes with pauper).

Read Full Post »

Just Another Day in Paradise

Napping is the only thing I can I do that returns a net 300 percent on my investment. I’m talking time net from nap invested. Take last night. Please. I could not endure NOVA’s killer ants eating termites in Cameroon or FRONT LINE’s genocide in Darfur — not when I’m eating frikking Ramen noodles and lunchmeat for dinner. Get me a frikking employer and let me pay my bills (if I should live so long) and then I’ll muse about the rest.

I seem to have trained myself to awaken in time for Charlie Rose when I turn down the volume for naps after supping. The special featuring sexcual behavior experts waxing loquaciously about post 50 libidos was not my cup of chai, so I to-the-officed after the first 25 minutes of what would have been a fine program if I had prospects of using what I would have learned . . . . which seems as likely as finding full-time work.

For the first time in a long time I decided to confine my late night activities to something I could tell you about: From 11:30 until a little after 6:15, I worked on model airplanes and web pages. It was the longest time I’ve spent working on models — three consecutive hours plus another hour after two hours of web page production to top off the early morning binge — in close to 10 years, and I felt incredibly worthwhile at the end of it. The web work was the start of a new 19th century Conger family page I will post probably Saturday. Helping to keep me focused and positive (not a hit of angst or regret in the entire 6.5 hours) was the occasional thunder reminding me God was looking in on me, so to speak.

No kidding though, God speaks to me in thunder; the rest of the time, He just shows me. And that’s “perfectly” okay with moi.

Another thing keeping me going was my interest in reading the State Journal-Register when it arrived on mon porcho fronto and read more about the resignation of the big three from the publication’s top floor suite life. Barry Locher and I go way back. I genuinely like the bloke and hope I know him well enough to know two things: he will land on his feet and find work wherever he wants to find work (unlike a soitin flea-lanzer who blogs a lot) and that his decision (and the other two’s, whom I don’t know but do respect) was not made casually. There is a shark in that pond, and I suspect the water will turn to red as “the rest of the story” becomes obvious. Barry, I wish you the best! Yes, he reads Honey & Quinine. I wanted to read the SJ-R pronto, but when it hadn’t arrived by 6:40, I hit the hay. Yes, I could have read the story on their web site. That’s how WMAY learned of it about 3:30 p Tuesday afternoon. I like PAPER in megrubby ‘ands.

So with the first cup of coffee about 10 a, I read the story and returned to the office for more web site production. The site I created — at my initiative — for Springfield Classical Guitar Society somehow went to pieces earlier this year during a computer crisis, and I didn’t even know about it until I stumbled over it when I began updating the pages last month. There is a MAJOR rework going on, and that should be completed by Monday.

Yet anudda project came like an epiphany following that first cup o’ Mountain Groan Folgers. I decided to let the monied multichudes know what I’ve photographed with my digital camera since 2001 and offer those pictures for $ALE. Since I’ve been keeping two running accounts of my pictures taken, it was just a matter of importing a file and tweaking the text for color and format continuity since I was going to hang it on the line for the public to see. If you’ve the time and a mind to, visit www.civag.com/jobspics.htm to see what I’m “token ’bout, Willis.”

Best reason to pick up the Novenber 29 issue of Illinois Times: my most recent article will be published therein. That’s all I can say until it hits the streets. If I told you more, I’d have to kill me or worse, they might pull the plug on the article.

If we (meaning me, myself and ai) don’t touch base wichya until Friday, and . . . . . . and even if we do, I hope your Thanksgiving goes well. I consider myself lucky to have friends who care (item number one on my list) and food in the house. I hope you are as lucky.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Live well . . . . . . and proper.

Read Full Post »

No subbing so far. Am crossing fingers for Wednesday.

When I calculated the financial numbers this morning, it was obvious I could not pay my car insurance (due November 8) and my CWLP bill, and even though I fired off a check to the appliance repair people with the morning mail, I”m not confident it will clear. That’s because if the BANK withdraws its loan payment Friday and the appliance people have not sent my check through, there will be two payments going south on this weekend. It’s all incredibly suffocating.

City Water Light & Power asked me for minimum payments that would have taken every penny from the sub teaching check coming next Thursday. When I told them I am not on any kind of welfare, that I absolutely will not visit a food pantry and I’m the only one with a hand on this bucking broncho circumstance, the sympathetic service person lowered my next payment to only $200 due the 30th.

I had intended to take a bittle of wine to Thanksgiving dinner with friends, but my fuel tank is on empty and the backyard pooches don’t have enough food to last another week. The kitchen will sustain me on the “one a day” diet for a week exactly.

On the positive side . . . .

That IS the positive side.

Live long  . . . . . . and proper.

Read Full Post »

You Say Tomato and I Say Eggplant

Have you noticed WMAY seems to be cleaning up its advertising? With a visceral desire to “listen dangerously” I tuned in Monday and enjoyed a good run of Molson and Josie without hearing a single advertisement for latex prophilactics or tingling jell lubricant. I almost expected to hear Pat Robertson had bought the station! It was during the news, ably read on the half’ours, that I was comforted to hear the correct term applied to the former child molester/clown/State of Sillynoise employee whose name will not be shared here. (Pat Robertson may be reading this.) It was great to hear the sullen slime had been “tazered” and died due to a “pre-existing” medical condition.

Which prompts a diversion. The condition was NOT pre-existing. It existed. Slime had a heart problem (no freaking KIdding!); I mean the kind a surgeon could fix if he could have found one. If you believe there’s such a deal as a “pre-existing” condition, you likely believe there was a Pre-Creator which is what I would call the entity who created God if I believed in such a fantasy, which I don’t. And I will never purchase a “pre-owned” automobile. I may buy a used car from a dealer, but pre-owned? PLEASE! Every car on the blippin’ market is pre-owned; if not by a private owner; by the dealer and factory.  Get with the program jargon-jivers! If you can’t say “Slime had a heart problem which brought about the fatal reaction to the remediative tazering.” put the frikking story into the “dead news bin” and let it rot to oblivion.

WMAY’s use of tazer — as in “Police tazered him.” is on the mark to news honcho Leach’s credit. It is at conspicuous variance with Ashley (Fox) anchor’s Sunday night 9 of-the-clock news use of “tazed” which is fine if you think police should use a taze to guide an agrumentative maniac to the ways of civil conduct. Ashley has it wrong, but that’s okay. She works for Fox. Gneed I say mo’, bros and sises?

For the record, a Google shows taser and tazer used equally frequently. I’m good with tazer, but I won’t think less of a person who goes with taser. The “z” seems to work here, the way it would not work in “fazt” or “zupreme.”

Aaaalllzo . . . . . When will the media (there are more than one medium: TV, radio, vishez gassip, to name a few) learn how to say “Myanmar?” Do they still say Prince? Okay, forget that one. Do they still say McGill though everyone knew her as Nancy?  Hey Rich Bradley, UIS, news icon extraordinaire — when will you get the word out, HEY? The British call Myanmar “Burma” because that land used to belong to their empire, and they are still majorly peeved about losing it. The USA did the same years ago when we talked about “Red China.” For all I know, in 1785, the United Kingdom called us (as in United States of America) “The New World” and about as appropriately as they talk about “Burma” the country; not the pre-shave lubricating foam application during their lively if repetitive all night BBC broadcasts on Springfield’s paragon of late’n’early empirical propriety: even in reports filed by their people elsewhere in the media.

I SAY, old chaps, let’s give this anachronism a rest, aye, wot? Talk about Myanmar (sounds like the latest ice cream topping at Baskin-Robbins, doesn’t it?) and leave your Burma in your bleeding history books!

And if you’d rawtha not, I say we duke it out in neutral territory.

How about Constantinople?

Speak long . . . . . and properly; right?

Read Full Post »


Y’all know how I treasured the free time today, even though I wasn’t substitute teaching.  I was catching up. Spent most of the morning re-formatting about 50 pictures from the Visual Vibes site: pictures I had taken at a January reception at Springfield Art Association. A fellow had e’d me asking for pictures from the site. I responded I would if he would make a contribution of what HE considered appropriate for my CIVAG effort. Two days later, his contribution arrived, and today I e’d the first 30 pictures as 300 dpi 5 x 7s. The rest will go Tuesday.

Not until feeding the dogs and attempting to call AT&T about my overdue phone bill did I realize my phone had been disconnected.

It was not like they pulled off an important finger, but without a phone, I couldn’t receive a substitute teacher call. Re-connection was essential. By the grace of God and last week’s paycheck, that action would be possible. Feeling rather vunerable (as #43 might say) I took the car to the bank instead of walking as I would have preferred under a sunny sky and a temperature in the 70s. Besides, there was a chance I’d boogie downtown to keep my water and electricity service in good standing if not paid in full. By the time I finished 25 minutes on an outside pay phone at a corner convenience store talking to AT&T, I decided CWLP could wait. Everyone I talked with at the company was friendly, patient and helpful. While setting things right, I also disconnected my long distance service and voice mail. If anyone wants to reach me when I’m in no mood to convoice (pun intended), they will have to email me to reach me.

My phone was reconnected and working less than an hour after I headed for the bank. I can live cold, so if I don’t work things out with the gas company this week, I will last until the next paycheck comes in. I believe I can keep electric and water into December as well. What I really want to do — and can’t for at least another week — is to START payments to long-term creditors. I would rather pay $20 each frikking month than keep them at arms’ length. If I could generate five or six more checks of the type generated by my new CIVAG supporter friend in Peoria, I could put all those bills into the PAID IN FULL pile.

Ooo blah dee, ooo bla dah . . .
Life goes on


Read Full Post »

It’s faux pax!

(minor epiphany; had to share it wichoo)


Read Full Post »

Good Morning 3 Ayem

I’ve had cobwebs, decorating the corners of my soft square head over the last few weeks, to vanquish from my soft head, and since I awoke at 3 am Monday morning, I’ve been doing just that.

After ranting here Sunday, the rest of the day went okay, I must say. Gladly and enthusiastically I approached the waiting  writing assigment for a great midwestern newsweekly I had pledged to produce without flail — and without fail on said day. Usually I approach what I love to do for money with moderate to major trepedation, but not Sunday. The blog rant took the quinine out of my veins, and I was confident about the interview I had taped for the article. Everything worked.

Simple articles “write” easily, and begin with transcribing quotes and attributed facts. Facts don’t require quotes all the time, but confirmation of data, in the form of a quotable reaction to facts shared in narrative text often advances the article. Too many quotes which reveal facts add up to what reads like a speech contrived by the writer; not the speaker. Besides, just as in radio and television writing, I like “quotable quotes” which give the reader some insight about the person quoted. Once the quuotes are landed, concurrently with paraphrasing via narrative, arranging the flow of the story commences.

What flow? An interview produces facts, but no story because they aren’t revealed in natural chronology. My “business” is to share facts in ways that engage and entertain the reader. Sometimes this results in a story that begins in the present tense and looks back, vice versa, or even maintains tense through the article..

Journalism, unlike fiction, requires what trained prefeshenals call “the pyramid approach.” This places the most important part of the article at the top, at the beginning, and the rest flows from there. If the editor (who sitteth at the right hand of God, the publisher) needs to shorten the story, the typical rule is to cut from the bottom because that’s where least harm will result. Sometimes that’s not the way to go. especially when there’s a conclusion to be made on the basis of what is shared to the end. Then it’s a matter of cutting the lesser fuzzies (needless minor points, extended narrative) and keeping the conclusion. All of this is shared with YOU because many fine people consider journalism to be no more than “who, what, when, where” and “he said/she said.” It’s more than that.

Why? You’re right! “Why” is often important as well.
After the quotes, arrangement of flow and collateral narrative were complete, I pretty much had the article in the bag. Equally important is stepping away from the draft of the pidce and returning with a clear head to fine-tune it. So I went grocery shopping in late afternoon.

The weather was brutal, spitting light rain and penetratingly cold for a journalist dressing light. Shoppers please note: Buddig sliced lunchmeat is 69 cents a package at Shop ‘N’ Save; 79 cents at County Market. So I didn’t go hog wild with the Buddig Honey Ham and Chicken. I was feeling semi-delerious after putting in a good day writing for dollars, so I gave myself permission to buy a baked chicken. The rest was mundane fare. Like an idiot, I did buy another box of Saltines, remembering too well how I abuse them as “economy corn chips” when eaten with margarine.

BOOM home, warm home, beckoning home, sanctuary home. . . . . . . and back to the article.

It was a breeze to revise and send to editor extraordinaire. Only after did I realize I hadn’t put it through spell check and noticed a few hiccups in the copy I printed.

Dinner was super, thanks in part to an improved baked chicken at County Market. It was the best I have eaten from ANYwhere. The colorful wrapper suggests there has been a major change in they way they do their chickens there. BRAVO County Market! With the bird, a stack of Saltines and margarine and all the iced tea I could hold, I had enjoyed as fine and productive a day as a bloke in my condition dares to dream for.

But I was tired from all that thinking. There was nothing of interest to moi on the televee, and after putting in a few hours in the model workshop the fatigue “hit me like a hot kiss at the end of a wet fist,”. as The Firesign Theater would say in The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye.” And this time for the first time in a long time, I didn’t fight it.

I went to bed at 9:35 and was asleep before 9:37. When I awakened for no reason a little before 3, I realized I was not going to get back to sleep, so I arose, washed dishes while coffee water heated, and came into this office to despatch some of those lingering cobwebs, SUCCESSFULLY. Now at 8:03, it’s apparent the substitute teacher service is not going to call me.

That’s a relief. I have some bill concerns to despatch, and the sooner the better. If the sub line calls, I am as bound as though my life depended on it (which it does) to go where they need me. The worst fear on my mind most of the weekend (and this may seem silly) was that I would be called and would head schoolward which I normally love to do. Perhaps a few more cobwebs will fall today. . . . . . .

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »