Archive for November, 2013

Well, here we are on the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you, but I’m full. We did the traditional dinner at our house, just my wife and I. She worked her butt off making the cranberry relish, pumpkin pie, roasted a small turkey in the rotisserie, homemade noodles and dressing. She fixed everything herself, she gets nervous with me in the kitchen. I tend to drop things, make a mess and make a lot of noise searching for the right pot or pan.

I’ve used this cooking technique for a very long time. I haven’t had to cook a meal since I figured this out. Time for supper? hungry? but nothing cooking in the kitchen. I just go in, spill something on the counter, rattle a few pots and pans and presto! “What the heck are you doing in there?, Here, just let me do it!” and before I know it, a great meal is created. She’s a very good cook.

She’s a very good cook, but since the kids have left, hates cooking. I sort of like cooking. But I think I would feel the same way as she if I had to do it all the time. So at the end of a big meal like yesterday, I do the dishes, pots and pans and all. What can I say, it softens my hands and really cleans the nails. And it is the least I can do after she fixes a great meal. And I sure as hell don’t want her to quit cookin’.

This method of mine is very smart, really. I read something 20 or 30 years ago that I took to heart. It was an article about marital trouble. It said that statistics show that husbands are murdered by their wives most in the kitchen and wives are murdered most by their husbands in the bedroom.  I don’t cook very much and I really don’t know very much about women but I do know my wife’s temper and I’ve always felt that I would be crazy to piss her off while in the kitchen, within reach of sharp knives and forks. Haven’t you always wondered why the woman of the house cooks in the comfort of the kitchen and you only see the men of the house cooking outdoors behind the house, out of sight on the grill. Men listen, it ain’t because you are such good cooks and honestly, I’ve tasted your grilled burgers and steaks, they aren’t that good. Your guests are just telling you they are cooked perfectly because you are giving them free beer and drinks. You are out there for two reasons, (1) Your wife is tired of cooking and (2) if you fucked up the kitchen as much as you are the Weber grill and patio, she would probably stab you by the closest sharp object. So don’t take that crap written all over your “chef’s apron” seriously, you really aren’t the world’s best chef. You are just char broiling good meat that would be much better done in the house in the kitchen in the proper pot or pan at the right temperature by your wife, just sayin’.

So, that’s why I know my place when it comes to cooking. And you are probably asking, “now what about the statistic about wives being murdered in the bedroom?”. Are you kidding? My wife reads this blog and she knows where the firearms are kept.





I am thinking of the bird’s nest built on the spring season wreath that was hanging on my front porch at home this summer. I thought the eggs would surely be hatched by the time I returned. Perhaps then the young birds, mouth wide open, would still be begging a meal from mother robin and stealing a bug or two from their nest mates. Or maybe if I was long coming  home, they would have flown the nest, placing their trust in the thin air as I am today traveling far from my home.

It is always sunny here on top, above the clouds. As the wisps of mist turn to thin clean air, we break into a hidden world above the cloudy day. Towering columns reach high but try as they may they still are below us. Our earth thousands of feet down is now only white vapor and rain and clouds covered by sunshine.

One hundred and five minutes, that’s how long it will take to travel what would take my four-wheeled conveyance eleven and a half hours. I’m traveling seven times faster but there is no breeze to my face or rumble at my feet. And as far as I know, no one on my bumper, to the left or right of my lane or rambling too slow ahead of us. How can others sleep while I am wide-eyed. I have traveled 12700 miles by air this year so far. I have never kept track of the miles in earlier years. Tell me, how many miles does it take until a guy is able to read a newspaper, play a computer game or sleep while being 35000 feet in the air and traveling 535 miles an hour? How many miles until you are deadened to the marvel of it all? Keep the orange juice, forget the pretzels or peanuts, don’t bother me, I’m looking out the window and wishing I was up front.

Nothing better than being on the way home. Check your bags, who cares if you’ll never see them again. No reason to drag your dirty laundry with you in the tightly packed, neatly tagged and tiny wheeled canvas Samsonite. Sure, keep the computer and camera but pack the little black bag so you are traveling lightly. You need at least one hand to drink the Tim Hortons or Starbucks. Worry about balancing the coffee and watching the scenery, not balancing two bags and keeping sight of your replaceable possessions. Don’t waste your time and energy protecting your “stuff”. You are miles from home and seeing things that you may never have the chance to see again, even if it is just a pretty girl or a set of 4-year-old twins each carrying a complete boxed set of Matchbox cars that Dad gave them on his way to war.


I remember the year like it was yesterday. 1967 was rainy, windy, hot and had a very cold winter. It was filled with extremes. I got my first driver’s license, first motorcycle and came very close to getting laid during that summer. Ya, it would be fair to say that I liked 1967 from the start. The events of that year made me feel normal, if only for a short while.
I first began to love the movies in 1967. I not only finally got to drive my dates to the movies in the privacy and comfort of my dad’s ’58 President Studebaker but once there, got to see The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Valley of the Dolls, To Sir with Love, In Cold Blood and Cool Hand Luke. Hell, that year, if movies were wine, they would now be selling for 3 thousand dollars a bottle. It was a very good year for picture shows.
Then, on those slightly chilly summer nights, top off the date by climbing on the Yamaha bike and feeling behind me the bare legs and heated presence of my date’s tightness and warmth snuggled up against the small of my back. That’s the year I learned what motorcycle riding and high passenger foot rests were all about. A good year indeed.
We listened to Whiter Shade of Pale, All You Need is Love, I’m A Believer, Light My Fire and Strawberry Fields Forever. And heard about an album being released by a little known group named Pink Floyd. And we still had two years to go to reach 1969.
Remembering the old days is good, but when you get to feeling that the remembrances are of no value to others… you should move on. 1967, the year I learned how to breathe, how to live, and yes,….. how to move on.

Such was the life of John

I go to the doctor next week to have the Ol’ kidney stone checked out. I call it Ol’ because we found it a year or so ago but it was too small to worry about. But the Doc wanted to see me in a year to see if it moved or grew or whatever kidney stones do. I think I passed it a couple of months ago. Surely you heard the screams, didn’t you? It went from a low-pitched “what is that?” to a high-pitched “Holy Shit! what the F—!”. Unfortunately my doctor didn’t hear me either and needs more proof, the scientific kind. The kind measured in X-rays not decibels.

UmbrellaIt’s always interesting going to the Urologist, or should I say going for the Urologist. They give you a little cup that is 1/3 of the size of the capacity of my wife’s bladder. Really, why don’t they give us a full-sized jug?! It all starts innocent enough filling the little cup but soon I realize that the cup will over flow and I have to seal off or divert around it. It’s always messy. And they give you those little square hand wipes. I’m never sure what to do with them. They don’t want you to wash your hands in the sink? Or are you supposed to wipe the cup off with it? Looks like they shouldn’t handle it if they don’t want to get their hands dirty. An itty-bitty square hand wipe, ha! This time to go with that tiny cocktail napkin I think I will put one of those little umbrellas in that tiny sample cup before I open that itty-bitty door and slide it to the lab.

I try to wait all morning to go so my bashful kidney phobia won’t take over and I have to stand many minutes at the urinal that seem like hours to start the flow. In years past I couldn’t ring the bell at all and had to return the sample cup empty. Red faced I was invited back to the water fountain and coffee pot to take on more fluids and wait. So to avoid that, I hold it for hours before the appointment. Last year with an already full bladder, I made it to the waiting room but really had to go. Now! I tried to find the nurse or someone with an empty cup but couldn’t so I ran to the restroom ignoring all of the “do not pee before the appointment” signs for some relief. Again my relief could be measured in decibels with the loud sighing ”Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh” that my wife says could be heard all over the waiting room. I was told by the receptionist that even the patients in  the Audiologists waiting room next door could hear me.

The height of the exam will not be the volume of the liquid in the cup or it’s color. The high point will be when the Doc pops on the rubber gloves and says turn around and drop the Under Armours. That’s what I always wear to these appointments, thinking that they might protect me from this. He says he’s checking the size of my prostate but I swear by the way that finger searches he thinks some of those little kidney stones are hiding up there and he’s trying to chase them out.

So please think of me Monday morning at 08:00 AM. And listen closely. No matter where you are you will either hear a loud shriek of pain as a stone passes, a relieved “Ahhhhhhhhhhh” as the pee passes or a “WoWzza WoWzza” as the rubber glove passes.

Such is the life of John

“Some things in life ya just do without thinking too much about it. Whether ya like it or not ya just set your mind to it and do what ya got to do.”  DistantShipSmoke

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. ”    JFK

March of Our Loss

Among the 200 million that silently line the Avenue
We stand shoulder to shoulder but all feel alone
Our chests swell as the Flags pass
Our hands held to heart but only feeling the beat of the parade drums
and the shod hooves of proud Horses
One restless and riderless with backward facing stirrups.
Horses gently pulling the draped caisson of red white and blue
Carrying he as battle spent as the munitions it once held.
Passing the tears of our widow and the salute of our little boy.

The long march of loss slowly passes
while our innocence disappears.


I have felt the ache of hard work
the dull bore of endless rows
I can erase the remaining harvest from my thoughts

I feel the dirt

Only on bent knees and back and cramped neck
Can I peek up to see the horizon
The sun tells me the time
the cool breeze my rest
Warm water from my belt quenches my thirst
but stirs my empty stomach
Silently I work only for Saturday’s pay
and Sunday’s short afternoon.

I plan the long walk

There will be no kindness of strangers
And only uncertain rides
But I will go home and hope it will still be there.



fishes I’m sitting here letting my bowl of luke warm chilli digest and I am thinking back to an old failed TV  show called “Real Deal”. Do you remember it? Is it still on the air?

Well, here’s the deal. A poor bastard drags in what he feels is a beautiful priceless item to sell, like a sword, slot machine or an elephant molar. He thinks it’s worth a million bucks. There’s a dealer there that specializes in that particular item and he makes the guy an offer for it. They deal back and forth a few passes and the seller has to decide to sell to the dealer or he can take it to an auction to try to get more cash. Sometimes they take it to auction and do well. Sometimes they don’t even get what the dealer offers. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. Interesting show. Watching them dicker back and forth insulting each other is surprisingly entertaining.

Cash on the barrel head or the suspense of auction? That was the thrill of the show. It was on the air maybe 4 episodes, a real winner.

Sometimes I like to deal back and forth but now that I am older, the less I like screwing with it. Even trading cars, I feel , just tell me what the hell you want for it and I’ll tell you yes or no. If you want to sell it, you better shoot me a fair price or I’m out the door. I just don’t have the patience for it anymore. And another thing, I’m not there to make a new friend with the fucking salesman either. These days, ten minutes searching on the internet and you know what a fair price is for any model car on the market. Surely they know this? You can find out the dealer cost, markup of a new car and all the options. Before you walk in their cheap assed buzzer ringing door you can know the fair trade-in price of your used car. There is no point in dickering anymore. One offer from the dealer and you can know if he’s full of shit or not. The whole process pisses me off!

Does anybody still feel we need to bargain back and forth to purchase a car anymore? Like it’s some kind of mental foreplay with the frickin’ slick eared salesman. In this day and age are we still expected to try to make that Real Deal or get screwed by some slimy new car dealer?

End of rant, screw it!


(Sorry, I let E out of the cage again)

Aaah, Stainless Steel

Posted: November 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

hot-coffeeMy new stainless steel coffee cup kept my coffee very warm. It was more the shape of a narrow tumbler, no handle, stainless inside and out. It fit perfectly into the cup holder. The only plastic was the black lid with an attached hinged stopper. As I drove to work I thought that I would get along just fine drinking from this one.

In the last 10 or 20 years I have left a wide variety of coffee cups all the way from the southern border of Iowa to the Panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma. I can buy a large refill of Java at any convenience store in a 700 square mile area for less than a dollar a cup. Because I provide my own cup, in this day of 3 dollar something a gallon gas, a cup of hot coffee is perhaps the last American bargain while on the road. I do admit that the quantity and the temperature of the Hojo is offset at times by the quality and the taste. But after a few years you learn where to find the better product. My problem is I tend to leave my mug at my destination, only to notice its absence many miles down the road on my way back home. Surely I have stocked many breakrooms.

Because of my forgetfulness, I gave up on the insulated mug a few months ago and began using a Dixie cup paper  container. If I used cream and sugar, I would order what they call in Canada, a double double. I believe it is a double sugar and cream with a double cup. The second cup is used as an insulator for the first. If you drink it black, as I do, you just order a double cup. Keeps it hot longer. That’s what I’ve been doing, I fix myself a double cup every morning. I don’t need an insulated mug. And I felt it was a cleaner drink. Let’s face it, an old coffee cup gets pretty scuzzy after a few weeks of use. I could refill and make my double cup last all day. I don’t think I have left the setup anywhere and we can buy them for me by the hundreds at Cosco.

Last week I began thinking that it was pretty wasteful using two paper cups a day so I went to the cupboard and dug out the new stainless one that my son gave me for Christmas a few years ago. I evaluated it on the way to work and was very satisfied. I don’t like to drink hot coffee from plastic so the stainless is great but totally stainless mugs are getting very hard to find. Because I wasn’t planning on drinking a lot of coffee I thought I’d give it a try.

But sure enough, after a couple hours at work, I couldn’t find my new cup. I retraced all my steps and couldn’t find it. Disheartened and busy, I had to give up the search. I used paper the rest of the week. But I continued to have that damn nagging feeling everywhere I went subconsciously looking for that new cup and imagining the mold that by now had grown inside the fresh clean steel.

Yesterday, at 2:35 in the afternoon, I moved a piece of test equipment and there was the cup. Still half full and not a spot of mold. All things are right. The world is once again spinning in greased grooves.

Such is the life of John

Gerald Watswigger looked down the steep stairs, stepped down onto the high seawater and sun bleached wooden planks. He attached the end of the short rope to the old mooring cleat and silently stepped off of the pier.  With only a few twitches of his legs and feet, Gerald swung silently by his neck just a few inches above the morning tide.

It was 1982 when Gerald first started to write incessantly. Letters to loved ones, poems he shared with his family and friends, short stories filled his lead pencil stained yellow dog tablets. It seemed words and phrases poured from is head. He began writing for a small local paper and his lust to write was mostly satisfied by his twice weekly column. Being published regionally, the feedback he received was very rewarding. He felt he could add “Gerald Watswigger, Freelance Writer”  to his business card and he was not exaggerating. After a few successful magazine submissions, one to Rolling Stone, his first novel emerged. It was nationally accepted and reached five on the New York Times best seller list. He had reached what he thought was the pinnacle of writing success. Then his second was published and then his third. Both equally received and he now felt his career was firmly set both financially and creatively. He was living the dream.

But this day began as usual, with a quick shower and masturbate, an electric shave, deodorant, tooth paste and hair cream. He pulled on his shorts and struggled into his t-shirt. Still barefoot, Wiggs shuffled into the kitchen, grabbed a cup and using both hands, carefully poured his first cup of black coffee. Gerald, leaning on the kitchen counter with a tremendous headache, wondered if he would ever again be able to write just one more. Just one more story, just one more short flash fiction, or just one more paragraph. He felt the cold writer’s block setting in on his mind and he was feeling the freeze as surely as a cold block of ice. The more he tried to create an original thought the further the dark freezing vail dropped down encasing his brain.

It was just two days before that he had met her, a young vibrant beautiful Brazilian woman. Long dark hair, deep tan skin and slimmest of bikini line sun tanned hips, he was so stricken by her low-voiced accent. And now a couple of days after their passion filled affair he realized he had met her 25 years before in 1982. He had forgotten what he had sold for the 25 years of success and just three night’s love with the world’s most beautiful woman.

What goes on in a man’s mind, what deal will he bargain when he is confronted with a choice between keeping his creativity, talent and livelihood or trading it all for great success and only a few passionate nights in the arms of a beautiful woman? What disguise will the devil wear and how does he know the soul  any man will trade for his deepest worldly desires? That fog laden morning on that high ocean pier, many years after making that deal, Gerald Watswigger found out the cost.


( Some of you may recognize this man from other flash fictions I have written about him. I try to create a different but similar demise for him in each tale.)  

Awakened from deep but restless sleep
found wrapped in twisted, sweat soaked sheets
With blinking eyes we sweep away cluttered thoughts
Trying to reckon the night’s pale fading dreams
We tell ourselves they are only dreams,
unreal and needing no remembrance
Another life within that we are not allowed to know
a life within our soul as real as the life we can touch during waking hours
Another life always just beyond our arm’s reach 
faintly there and sensed only in our mind’s eye.
A place of steep roofs, high bridges and wide canyons
with clear views of the vast spread horizon
but all with weak grasps and unsure footing
Startled awake by effortless wingless soaring flight but with sudden falls
Radiant sunshine, cloudless sky but unknown purpose
An alternate life that is kept from us
A life only in our forgotten but lingering dreams.