Archive for September, 2009


Monday, my employer paid me for almost half the hours worked up to then without pay, but as I sit here at the desk at The Granite Guy, I wish I felt better than I feel. I’m still no closer to owning the truck. He promised Saturday to bring in the title, but having failed to do that since, I don’t expect to be the necessary paperwork involved with the transfer of title to be completed this week. Even so, the longer I DON’T own the truck, the longer I don’t have to pay for the insurance. I stopped driving the Blue Goose in April, and ever since have had no vehicle insurance oblications for the first tme since turning about 18.

What George paid me Monday allowed me to pay more than $550 in overdue water and electric bills, and I paid my second and last real estate taxes for this year, all before arriving at work this morning. That’s a load off, but it doesn’t seem like a load off. If I were anywhere but behind THIS desk . . . . . well ya know, burglars can’t be chosers, and I feel I’m breaking into the sanctity of a lot of principals held dear for a lot of my life.

I spoke with a friend about my plight at the big railroad consolidation town hall meeting last night, and to her credit, she didn’t wish me well and lots of luck. That’s why I believe something good may come from that conversation.

How I can think of myself as having so much to offer an employer in one heartbeat and in the next heartbeat I realize how removed from the dimension of LIFE I am in believing it.

But I’m hanging with The Granite Guy for now, for the hell of it.

It’s amazing how much more I accomplished in the years when I had no consistent employer. But you know? Life is not about getting things done. Life is about working. Getting things done is gravy.

For years when my mother lived in Tavares, Florida after retiring, selling the family home and moving South where all her childhood and early adulthood family and friends still lived, she would ask me to write her more often. I LOVE writing. Loved it then. I love and loved being sociable. But since most of my life — from her retirement in 1979 to her demise 10 years later — was a lot like it is today, I didn’t write. Three times a year I called her and traded pleasantries with her. Christmas, Mother’s Day and her birthday, August 19.

Honey & Quinine should be the story of a successful journalist, poet, photographer and aviation historian, and it bothers the bejeebers out of me that it is not. When I can share more than plastic pleasantries and polite platitudes,  more than wearisome woe . . . .

. . . . . but for now this blog is going on hiatus.

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


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Friends, Romulans and Countrypersons: Lend me your eyes.



Host: Michelle Higginbotham
St. John’s Hospital (Dove Auditorium)
800 E. Carpenter St.
Springfield, IL US
View Map
When: Monday, September 28, 7:00PM    Add to my Outlook Calendar
Phone: 217-553-4629

The Grassroots Coalition for Consolidation invites you to join us for a Town Hall Meeting on the subject of the Third St. rail proposal.
We believe that a plan that involves spending this much taxpayer money should allow input from the taxpayers. The citizens of Springfield, the state capital, are the ones who will have to live with the end result of these critical decisions. Please join us on Monday and make sure your voice is heard.

Mayor Davlin, Chairman Van Meter, and Chamber of Commerce President Gary Plummer will be on hand to provide an update on the current negotiations with IDOT and Union Pacific and answer questions from the public.

October 2 is the deadline for Union Pacific and IDOT to submit their request for $2.3 BILLION dollars of federal stimulus funds, which will allow UP to construct an additional rail line to service their new freight distribution center in Joliet as well as increase the number of passenger trains between St. Louis and Chicago.

For additional information, contact Steve Combs at 494-6668 or Michelle Higginbotham at 553-4629.

Live long . . . . and proper . . . . . and for the future of the city you love.

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Because it’s wrong to mock a killing bird.

Live long . . . . . and proper.

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It’s always a treat to greet cherished acquaintances from the past coming up to the counter at Rock City. Former Illinois State Representative Gwenn Klinger fits that category nicely. During my years with Central City Neighborhood Association/ne/Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Association, we held an annual “Neighborfest” at Washington Park, and Gwenn came to everyone to say hello. Heck, she lived across the street, so it wasn’t a long trek, but she was still part of the General Assembly then, and it was always great to see her and chat. She opted out of politics and so did I, though I do plan to renew my membership in VHNA if I last that long and be just a member next year. When Gwenn visited The Granite Guy earlier this week, we recognized each other on sight, and the first thing she said was “How have you been? Are you an owner here?” I told her I wasn’t, that I was helping a friend, owner George Jaworski, and this is what I was doing while hoping for a full-time employer some day.

Which is not to say “looking for a full-time employer.” 

The only folks who see full-time (even ownership possibilities) in me are friends whose good will is good wind. Warm wind to be sure, fragrant wind scented with some of the nices aromas to be advertised in The New Yorker sometimes. And appreciated wind. It is the wind that sustains my spirit while the rest of me goes to blazes in a hand basket.

Does this mean I am a good actor who can portray the personna of a bloke who’s more capable than I am while the reality is far less impressive? I hope not. I see how I side on primciples which mean a lot to  me, and I always favor the higher calling. Behavior  such as that displayed by the Congressional Reprehensible from South Carolina . . . . . I learned better than that before I was in second grade. Characteristics displayed by my soon-to-be former friend and employer which are far from indictable but just as third string as a wheel-less 1956 DeSoto sitting on concrete blocks in someone’s front yard assail me day after day, and I have about had my standard adult life dosage.

I’m targeting October 1 as liberation day from this circumstance. Only the payment of what is owed me by my “employer”  will prevent it. Only the capacity to extricate myself from the chasm of my personal ineptitude will pull me out of this.  I will leave the key in the loaned truck in my driveway, and I will stop hoping and start looking, and I will walk or take a cab.  And I will find a real employer.

I will  no longer appear to be what I am not. I will be what I am.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

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At 5:00 pm in front of the Illinois Association of Realtors Building at 522 S. Fifth, across from the Executive Mansion (where the Illinois govorner used to live), concerned central Illinois citizens will gather to promote the consolidation of high speed rail tracks along the 10th Street corridor. YOU should be among those citizens. I know I will be.

The stakes have been well publicized in all the area media. BRAVO Springfield area media. Even Jim Leach, who received his H1N1PK5gXR39 flu shot this morning on WMAY attended last week at the Illinois Department of Transportation. He was reporting on the event — to his credit and the credit of his fine station. We should all be reporting on it . . . . for the benefit of our friends and associations prevented by significant circumstance from attending. Those attending should be the foundation of an effort that extends beyond hallowed ground on a Wednesday afternoon, all the way to the offices of Union Pacific Railroad who think nothing of the welfare of our city, and Senator Richard Durbin who also does not share the concern of many who care about the future of our beautiful city.

I will be there. I hope you will be there too!

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

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I say this because not since I visited Daytona Beach as a third grader have I seen so many flip-floppers. They’re strutting around DC as though they invented the word “peace.” And in a sense they did because when there is banking influence pie on the table, so many say, “I’d like a piece for me, and a piece for my wife, and a piece for my cousin, but don’t give a piece to those who can’t afford health insurance and don’t give a piece to those who are losing their homes to exhorbitant mortgage payments. . . . etc. and yada to the third.” Provisions in the alternative national health care plan advanced into the public eye recently, formulated with considerable effort and dedication by the “Gang of Six,”  which many Republicans used to support in principal have denied it as stridently as Peter denied Christ to the Romans as they were taken into the metro precinct for questioning. The suddenly popular footwear throwing at the interests of the Nation is even more amazing — in the way many Italian figher pilots were “amazing” after most of the nation  surrendered to the Allies in 1944 — having abandoned their icon (‘the kind of guy you can have a beer with, ya know?) now residing in well-warranted obscurity in Texas. Is this what typical Republicans consider friendship and allegiance to their once-nearly-sainted leaders?

It’s a mystery to me. I understand the need for compromise in the health care debate, and if Republicans prove themselves (to the surprise of a grateful nation) capable of understanding compromise and working for the benefit of our citizens (and believe me when I tell you I’m talking only about those who came here legally), I will applaud them and not look at their feet. Compromise for some causes is what Martha Stewart calls “a good thing” whether you have plastic souls — make that soles — or what Bob Dylan called “boots of Spanish leather.”

Too many Republicans would rather hog-tie the future of freedom in our own country by putting their allegiance to its citizens SECOND and allegiance to their congressional committee and subcommittee leaders first. This isn’t patriotism; it is croneyism to the lowest degree.

And it stinks!

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

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Wednesday Confessional
By Job Conger

I would rather lose myself in wine
than find myself in tears.

I have lost myself in love’s sweet songs
and found myself in solitude.

I have lost myself in selfless sharing
and found myself in the silence that too often comes after.

I would rather lose myself if,
in losing myself, I lose expectations.

I have lost myself in hope
and found myself in hopelessness.

Life is not about finding myself.
Life is about losing myself.

— written October 5, 2005
More ingrown toenail crass examination. I like the poem. You should see what I don’t like that I’ve written. Transcriptions of all my poems and songs written over the years are in three-ring binders. I even have a binder marked “Second String Poems and Songs.” I created that particular binder for poems that either are sub-standard by my standard or too personal at their time of writing. I know what you’re thinking: Has any poem I’ve ever WRITTEN been too personal, given what I have shared with the world so far? Yes. Sometime I’ll go back to that volume and consider again either sharing them or making better poems of them.

Live long . . . . . . and personal.

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