Archive for January, 2014

Face the new morning sun and nod a farewell to the waning moon
Push aside the thin wire gates and smoldering coals
Tighten and double knot your leather laces and trudge through the thick ankle mud
Raise your knees high and step steadily through the tall grasses
that wipe the boots cleaner with each heavy stride
Wade ahead in the loose knee-deep footing to the end of this day
build a warm fire, dry your boots and worn green socks
and mind your sore wrinkled feet
Dream of new beginnings and abandon the year-long grieves


Something is getting in the way of the creativity. My muse is mute. I’ve got nothing new here. It is a new year, I should be looking forward to starting anew, wiping the slate clean, beginning a fresh start but I don’t have that feeling this January. I hung a new calendar but I hung it on top of last years, like I need 2013 as a reference to use for this year. It is 20 days into the new year and I’m still living in 2013, really just continuing on with projects so large I see no end to them. It’s conceivable I could still be working on this same project until I retire a few years from now. It could be my one last large project that I will work on in my career. I see no new fresh start here, I just see time marching on and I will have no more clean slates or empty calendars and it’s too late for any fresh starts.

My next fresh start will be my retirement. I am preparing for retirement years in advance also. I have wonderful projects progressing along at home, projects that have also gone on for many years, projects that I have great enthusiasm for. I will then have time to finish them. But with all this planning it seems I may be loosing the now. I’m always planning the future or red lining blueprints of the past and not spending a whole lot of time in the now.

The present, there’s not enough of it, it is the time you spend relaxing, having a drink, a good meal and conversation. Having a good write. I need more time to write more than 300 words at a time. I miss the present, the few quiet times of the present….


Motel Montana

Posted: January 17, 2014 in creative writing, Everyday Life, Humor
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I was somewhere in numbfrick Montana. So far in  the sticks I had to drive 70 miles to the closest mom and pop motel. There was no identification of the town’s name anywhere, even my GPS was confused, recalculating, recalculating! To this day I have no idea what town I was in. I was beat and the feel of a bed was going to be so good.

The room was small. When I opened the door, it hit the edge of the bed, I could only open it half way. I had to push my suitcase inside ahead of me and sort of toss it on the bed before I could squeeze in. The building was more like an attached garage with an upstairs apartment. I was on the ground floor.

I didn’t check out the bathroom, I didn’t have to, I could already hear the toilet running. Years experience has taught me to try to not think about the bathroom or shower.

First order of business is to throw the foam filled bed spread off the bed and on the floor, never use them. I swear I see an impression of a body in the fetal position sunken into the mattress. Looks like I’m sleeping on top of the sheets tonight.

I have a floor pounder. In hotel motel speak that is an asshole on the floor above you that walks like he’s in a marching band halftime show on a football field. You can run into them in any motel, best to the worst. They must pace all night long, heel to toe. Moves constantly. Feet pounding an uneven rhythm. Two thumps, five thumps, three thumps, a cruise across the room from the bathroom to the air-conditioner. Pound pound pound. He must be skipping up there.?

Shut the hell up and settle down you ignorant piece of crap, please! Take a sleeping pill for gods sake. How can anyone keep moving so much?

Oh man, now it’s the thump, thump, thump, thump, thumping headboard against the wall. Even noisy when making love or what ever he is doing.

For crying out loud! Turn down the fricking TV!

Let’s just say I passed up the morning breakfast buffet.

Such is the life of John.

92 Nights

Posted: January 14, 2014 in Everyday Life, Humor
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92 nights, that’s the total for last year, the total nights in a motel. Spending many days a year traveling I have time to think of unusual things. Eventually the unusual becomes usual.

I try not to eat at too many fast-food restaurants. The food is predictably mediocre, high in calories and the coffee is usually bad. And nothing says cheap any quicker than a handful of fast food receipts stapled to the expense report. I have the best luck picking a real sit down restaurant for good coffee, good food and good service. The three “G”s or as I’ve begun to call it, the CF&S, Coffee, Food and Service. But the CF&S scale Coffee Timebecomes meaningless if the place is a dive, dirty and diseased, the 3D’s or the DDDs. You don’t eat there! You may enter but as soon as you recognize it you should very quietly and slowly back out and leave. But some times you recognize it too late and only after you have sat down.

You may first notice a triple D from the subtle “thumb in the water-glass”, “egg on the fork” or “lipstick on the coffee cup”. Which brings me to a lesson I have learned and I want to pass on. After my last lipstick event, I began thinking the unusual. The lipstick was on the side of the cup as it would have been if held by the right hand. I read once that only 8% of the population are left-handed. So even if the cup doesn’t have lipstick on it, it makes sense that if you are in doubt of the cleanliness of a CF&S, (which I wonder at all restaurants) simply drink it left-handed. There is a 92% chance that no one has ever drank from that side of the brim before. Matter of fact, to be safe, you should drink your coffee left-handed all of the time. I do.

If you are not left-handed already, holding a cup lefty quickly becomes quite natural. As natural as not using the public restroom door handle after you wash your hands or not using the chair armrests at the movie theater. In my circle of friends “the left-handed coffee cup” has become as common as the anti-bacterial soap and sneezing into your elbow.

Voila! There really is the left handed coffee cup. Once again the unusual could become the usual.

Such is the life of John

Road Etiquette

Posted: January 12, 2014 in Everyday Life, Uncategorized
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During the years of my decades old life, I have learned that it’s best if sometimes you just have nothing to say. But sometimes you say something and you wish you hadn’t. Then again, sometimes you have something to say and you don’t and you wish you had. Seldom and on a very few occasions you say something and you are glad you did. Usually those are on the days you don’t give a shit. The day of the speeding ticket I didn’t give a shit.

I was stopped for speeding the other day. It was on a county paved road. In our state, county paved roads can have any number of speed limits. I have yet to figure the system out. Usually it is 55 or 65. I usually travel 65. Unfortunately the other day that was too fast.

Let me clarify something. In Kansas, you always drive 5 mph over the speed limit. The speed34county and state troopers and deputies give you 5 miles per hour. Our Interstate highways have a limit of 75 mph, but you can go 80, ..wink. So in reality I was going 70 mph on that county paved road. But I assumed wrong, the speed limit on the road was actually 55. So I was really 15 mph over the speed limit. You don’t have to know anything about evolution, how old the earth is or whether it is round or flat in this state but you do need to know highway math, … well simple addition and subtraction anyway.

I get stopped usually once every couple of years. They, the law officers, always ask the same questions. Sometimes the officers are nice and respectful. Sometimes they are having a day where they don’t give a shit.

The day of my speeding, the officer didn’t give a shit either. Bad combination.

On a good day the conversation goes like this:

“Do you know what the speed limit is on this road?”

“Yes Officer I do, it’s 65 mph.”

“Do you know how fast you were going?” They already know how fast you were going, no reason to pretend you don’t know this one.

“Well yes officer, I looked at my speedometer and I couldn’t believe it, I was going 70 mph, I’m sorry officer, I don’t know what I was thinking, dawg gone it! Gee whiz, I’m sorry!”

“Well I guess I’ll just give you a warning this time.”

That’s on a real good day. But on some of those good days the Officer, for reasons I don’t understand, doesn’t care how much you know and he gives you a ticket anyway. I got one a few months earlier for only five over. That pissed me off. He made a serious breach of the Kansas Driver / Policeman Highway Etiquette.

Sonsofbitches2So the other day when I was stopped, I didn’t really give a shit. I thought I’d try a different approach. The conversation went like this after the county deputy drove out from behind some bushes he was hiding in, tagging me with his RADAR and then chased me down.

“Holy Smoke! DO YOU KNOW what the speed limit is on this ROAD?” He was yelling, I could tell, I was going to get a ticket.

Remember I don’t give a shit here. I say “Nope! No fuckin idea.”

“Weeell! Do you know how fast you were going?” He was a little red in the face by now.

“No Officer, no idea at all, but I’ll bet you are going to tell me.” Very straight-faced.

His forehead was a little redder now, he tries to speak but he screeches a little at first, ” eeeee…Well you are not giving me any choice, you don’t know the speed limit, you don’t know how fast you were going, I’ll have to give you a ticket!”.

“Yeah! Whatever!” When I said that, I thought he was going to pull his gun.

He gave me a ticket, it cost me $160 for going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. He threw the book at me you might say. When he left he said “Have a nice day.” I said “Ya sure I’ll do that.” He peels out spraying me with roadside gravel, leaving me in his dust.

He was right, in order to get just a warning, you have to know these things: know the speed limit and know how fast you were going. But he left out one important thing, that is, you have to convince him you are sorry. Well I don’t know if it’s sorry or not but you at least have to kiss his ass and pretend you like him.

Remember those three things and if you both follow proper road etiquette, you’ll probably only get that warning.

That day I said something and I’m glad I did. And I still don’t give a shit.


I Should Have Been a Ski Jumper

Posted: January 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

Funny how you see something and you try to remember back so many years to the ’88 Games and how little you remember.
A while back I spent a week on business in Calgary, Alberta. What a beautiful place it is. The Canadian Rockies I saw are what you imagine as sheer cliffs of rock with much less vegetation than the Rockies of the US. The Banff area is a great place to spend a few hours or a few days if you have the chance. Traveling back into Calgary you can still see the sites of the 1988 Winter Olympics. The Luge, Bob Sled runs and the 70 and 90 meter Ski Jumps are still there and still used today. Amateurs (I should say Newbies) can go down the Luge but must start only half way from the top or bottom depending on how you look at things. If you instinctively say “from the bottom” you probably shouldn’t try it.

But even I, the usually disinterested sport spectator, can bring to mind the most famous athlete of those Games. I only know of one. Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, ski jumper. He really didn’t soar like an eagle. Eddy was a former wall plasterer from England who had never ski jumped in his life. But he had always wanted to ski jump and seized on the opportunity to become the only ski jump entry from England. Eddie did not have a sleek physique, he wore Coke bottle glasses and had been dubbed “Mr Magoo”. But he had somehow met all of the requirements and was accepted on the team.

The pre-jump press hype was great, some thought Eddie would be the next opening scene of the ABCs “Wide World of Sports”. Most believed he was going to really be hurt taking those jumps, if not killed. Some were just making fun of him for the way he looked and doing such a stunt. Some thought he was crazy for trying. Me? I was really rooting for him. I always go with the underdog. And I really think Eddy was doing something that he felt he really had to do. I couldn’t wait to see him compete.

I’m not going to say Eddie finished last, he finished 58th in the 70 meter and 55th in the 90 m. Not bad 55th and 58th in the world of a few billion people, most of whom didn’t even try. He landed OK and wasn’t hurt too much. And Eddie made the Games exciting for me. Eddie, Mr. Magoo, the Eagle for a few brief days inspired.

And you know what? I have no idea who won the medals for those events so many years ago. But I remember Eddy. I’m not much for saying there is a moral to any story but there must be a lesson to be learned from this somewhere.

Such is the life of John

The ride continues and we are tightly hanging on, our teeth clenched, eyes squinted, with our hair just a little messed up. Hopefully we are still having fun.

Happy New Year my friends!

Well, here we go! It’s another year. We with finite number of years, why do we celebrate the passing of one time to another? Are we enthusiastically inviting the start of another year, tenderly coaxing it in so it will be kind to us? Or is life so damn hard and unsure that we are celebrating having survived unscathed or only slightly wounded from the happenings of the past year? Are we anxiously anticipating the coming of the new unknown events or celebrating how we handled the events of the past? Maybe a little of both. Hopefully we are proud of how we conducted our life of the past year. Whether we did or didn’t is only for each of us to decide. If an event can be judged, really there are no good or bad. They are what we make them.

Such is the life of John

roller coaster