Archive for November, 2014

Bringing Fine Wines

Posted: November 26, 2014 in poetry
  • wine in baskets

    Bringing fine wines in straw lined baskets
    wine aged in casks for few or many years
    Bottles containing the labor of earth
    As the new, refreshed and the aged
    the sparkling, fermented and clear

    They run as the fluids in our veins
    the whites of our sweat, the reds of our blood
    the champagnes of our ideals
    Our bodies as the tinted, the clear and the opaque bottles
    containing the zest, the sparkle and clarity of life.

    We open our minds and souls
    to release the bouquet
    the bouquet of our thoughts
    and the taste of our wisdom
    Released to the palate of our worlds

    Gathering on these days of Thanksgiving
    we join to mix our flavors
    to sweeten our dryness
    and to heighten our senses
    Taking comfort in the robust feelings of each other’s love


    Enjoy our day of Thanksgiving.

Ninety Minutes

Posted: November 20, 2014 in poetry

One hour and thirty minutes
I will be late if not there in
One hour and thirty minutes
But I am in no hurry to burn the time
between now and then
Children are born in that length of time
from no breath and not breathing
to first gasp and first cry.

In that length of time I can sit peacefully
and ride miles high from Chicago to Kansas City
breathing only filtered air
and with window shades pulled
never feel or see a motion
other than a bump from a pocket of air
or a staggering walk to the lavatory.
In that length of time.

I am in no hurry to burn the time
Those ninety invisible minutes
Minutes I must use to wash my body and hair
and shave my creasing face.
For crying out loud..
Husbands and wives are married
in that length of time
in those same damn fleeting minutes
And here I am spending it taking a shower

Important things happen in that relative
but accurate to the second length of time
So I will serve up my own importance
between the now and then
this ninety minutes of life
I may seem late on the time of others
but I won’t be late on mine.
Those spent ninety minutes of time.


Perhaps A New Haircut

Posted: November 17, 2014 in Everyday Life

It was time for a long delayed haircut. I went to Tom the Barber. I’ve written about Tom before. Tom’s an interesting man and I like the tradition he represents.. One of the few barbers that still uses a straight razor to shave the neck and around the ears. You see, he’s still a barber not a stylist. He has a real shop with a barber pole and everything. He isn’t at a mall. He’s got a sign with a clock and movable hands on it that hangs on the door. It’s for back from lunch times, back from Rotary time. Gone golfing will be back time. I like the place. His wife sells insurance from the back of the store. There’s a little brass bell that rings when you open the door. I’ve lived in this town for 18 years and I know Tom as well as anyone in town. I go in to see him about once a month and we catch up on everything. We talk about where I’ve been working, how his golf game is going, the local sports, weather and grandkids. It’s a nice place to be, I enjoy going there. It would be very hard to change barbers.

Today before the haircut and asking him to raise my part a little higher on my head, you see Tom has trouble with parts, they keep creeping further down the side of my scalp after each haircut and I have to have him raise it further up my head about once a year. November or early December is a good time to bring it up. He’s usually in a good mood during the holidays. He doesn’t pay much attention to the length of my sideburns either, they are never the same length when he’s done. You don’t dare say anything about it because the more time he spends trying to get them even the more chance you’ll end up with none at all by the time he gives up. When he’s done with the haircut and he turns you around to the mirror, it’s best just to keep your glasses off and tell him it looks just fine. You don’t want him trying to touch things up. It just takes up time and it could be dangerous, he uses the sharp scissors for touch-ups and I value my ears too much. Shaving the neck with the straight razor he’s good at, touch-ups – don’t bother. Anyway, after I crawled up on the chair and before he began, Tom dropped a bomb that is becoming harder and harder to hear from my not so much older friends. Tom is retiring.

He says it will be a slow transition. He says he won’t just quit cold turkey. He’ll work a couple days a week, I’ll bet Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I know Saturday will be out. No one likes working on Saturdays. Many have to but I know no one that likes it. Tom definitely won’t work Saturdays after he retires. Trust me Tom, haircuts will become less frequent and golf will become more and before you know it the clock on the door will be at a permanent “gone fishing time”. And I don’t blame him. He says he will take appointments like he did while he was escorting his grandson to different colleges demonstrating his baseball playing skills and was gone most of the week and weekends last summer. But haircuts by appointments aren’t my cup of tea. I’m afraid I will be looking for another barber. With emphasis on barber. As in a barber shop. There’s not many left. But salons I know are flourishing.

I’ve had my hair cut in a beauty shop before, I was very uncomfortable. I was draped by a brightly colored barber’s cape. I really think it was a flower print, daisies I thought but it was probably just circles but it felt like daisies. I’m used to pin stripes, plain blue or red pin stripes. As it should be. Smells are important in barber shops too, Old Spice talc, Colgate shave cream, witchhazel and Butch Wax. Maybe not used as much as in years past but their smells still linger. All barber shops smell like that. None of that in the salon.

My female barber wore a jasmine based perfume, my knees go limp at the smell of jasmine. She had impeccably manicured nails, you know with the finely drawn designs of stars and comets on a background of smooth reddish shaded polish that accentuated her thin fingers and soft  hands. She took her time being very careful with every snip. With a soft voice, she suggested perhaps a different way to comb my hair so the part wouldn’t be so troublesome. Without a thought she trimmed my sideburns very stylishly short and she said she just couldn’t believe how much better I looked, very handsome. She even touched up the eyebrows, she unlike Tom, suggested I try having two, one evenly spaced over each eye. I’ll tell ya, I was miserable.

Well, Tom, sorry to see you retire. Don’t know what I’ll do without ya. But enjoy your retirement. I guess I’m doomed to having to make an appointment with that stylist girl every couple weeks down at the Mall. I know it will be sad, I will miss the shop with its atmosphere but what can you do, there just aren’t any real men barber shops left.

Such is the life of John.

The Big Question

Posted: November 15, 2014 in politics

So, here’s a joke I heard and thought it was good enough to repeat. What do you think? You’ve probably all heard it. I don’t get around much socially.

A little boy asks his father, “Daddy please tell me, where do babies come from?”.

The father says, “Son we have had this conversation before and I told you, the stork brings them.”

The boy says, “Yes, yes I know that part but I have one question, who gets to screw the stork?”.

In my warped mind , I thought this joke as a very philosophical question as well, “who gets to screw the stork?”. I’ve noticed in my few decades of life, that no matter what the event, project or occasion, it’s important to know the answer to that question. There is always someone openly or in the background that gets to screw the stork, or in other words that is benefiting from any situation. It is our own human nature that we try to make that someone, ourselves. But sadly most of the time it is someone else.

Some will say that I’m skeptical or even cynical. But we see this happening all the time. Whether it’s at work, in politics or even at home or on the playground, someone starts the ball rolling with the motives to make one thing or the other happen. The trouble is, they don’t necessarily reveal what those true motives really are as they recruit participants for the plan or explain what’s happening.

So if you care, and many do, when you hear of a law being passed, a project being planned or just asked for a donation, ask yourself that question, if you think it’s important, before, during or after, who gets to screw the stork?


Erradicating the Politic Ebola

Posted: November 11, 2014 in politics, science

Well, I admit, I was worried about Ebola. Now that the dust has cleared and I have studied the facts, I think I over reacted to the threat. I realized I wasn’t afraid of the science of Ebola, I let the political right and uninformed make me afraid of the politic Ebola. They used it to make the President and his administration look bad, but in the end and examining it closely, they were able to actually politicize a disease. Politicize a disease, yes a disease, a political virus.

A low has been reached. I can’t remember of any disease being used in this way. Perhaps Aids but I don’t remember the political opposition blaming the U.S. Government or the CDC or the Administration for it. The CDC did get their shit together (or perhaps they always had it together) and handled the Ebola threat about the only way they could have. After all, we didn’t have a Surgeon General in place to help lead for some reason, which no one is talking about.  Currently it is contained in the States with no cases and all cases cured except for the 1st, which was at first tragically mishandled by a terribly unprepared non-public, non-government owned hospital.

The only government officials that erred on Ebola were a few State Governors and Senators that have in the past confessed that they were not scientists of other subjects (climate change) but for some reason believed that they knew more about the Ebola virus than the real scientists or CDC. I think they understood Ebola, the politics of Ebola, much more than they confessed to.

Now we must make sure that we continue the support of the effort to eradicate it at its source in Africa. And in doing so not let the political opportunist, the political Ebola, detour us with unscientific BS and placing blame on undeserving individuals that are earnestly fighting the scientific Ebola. Let’s not make it harder for the earnest by charging the fight with the political.

I have finally learned that the Right and others indeed jump at any chance to spread fear, the Politic Ebola. I played right into their hands and was afraid. I think they made the entire country afraid and it may have helped flip an election. It has worked every time they have pulled the “be afraid, you should be very afraid” crap . How many times will we fall for it? What will be their next something to be unscientifically or UN-intelligently afraid of?

I will be watching for it and will not fall for it again. Will you?



Money Talks But Isn’t Free

Posted: November 6, 2014 in politics

Well, how did everything work out for you this time? I turned everything over to E for the last few days since it was election time and he always gets a little stir-crazy and needs to vent on these occasions. I must say that smoke was blowing out his ears over a couple of issues pre-election. But he’ll get over it.   Even I am shaking my head in disbelieve.

I did notice something that proves what I’ve always suspected. Voters do indeed vote against their own self-interest. Looking at the states that had ballot initiatives on gun control, legalizing marijuana and raising minimum wage, I noticed a trend. Voters voted yes on these individual issues but somehow rationalized it made sense to also vote for a conservation Governor, Senator or Representative that does not support any of these same referendums. Look at Alaska, Colorado, Arkansas and Nebraska for example:

Alaska voted to legalize marijuana but voted for Dan Sullivan for U.S. Senate  who doesn’t support it, Colorado passed it last year but voted for Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate who doesn’t support it.

Also in Colorado and South Dakota,  by over 60%, (Colorado for the 3rd time), voted down a Personhood Amendment but voted in the conservative candidates that supported and campaigned for it to the U.S. Senate.

Colorado I love you guys, but man, get it straight before you vote for U.S. Senator.

Nebraska passed a minimum wage referendum but voted for Ben Sasse a conservative that doesn’t support it.

The list goes on, particularly in the U.S. Senate races. Just notice the State’s individual referendums or Amendments that were passed or rejected, then look at who they voted for in U.S. Senate. Total flip flop, Mind boggling…

All of these Senators won because they were backed by big money. The money changed the voter’s minds. Minds that naturally believe one thing, name the issue, but are swayed by television commercials and vote the opposite. The money wasn’t there for or against the referendums but it poured in to support Senators that are lobbied by special interests.

Look you fickled voters, your U.S. Senate vote matters to me, affects me, even if I don’t live in your state. I live in  a conservative state, I’m a progressive, I count on other state’s progressive Senators to speak for me. I have had better representation from Tom Harken of Iowa, Bernie Sanders from Vermont or Durbin in Illinois than I have ever had from Roberts or Moran in my own state.

And Iowa, what in the world has happened to you in the last 6 years?

If you believe it, don’t let these slick eared money grabbers sway you!

Enough said….

Such is the life of John.



State Voter Report

Posted: November 1, 2014 in politics

An interesting thing happened yesterday. I received a letter from a mysterious group that I’ve never heard of before. There was no person’s name or address attached to the letterhead. It did have a cheaply copied, trying to look official emblem at the top of the page. It had an Eagle in the middle, an eagle automatically makes anything look seriously patriotic and official, don’t you think? And around the edge of this emblem were the words “Kansas State Voter Report”. It looked like this official seal and letter was printed by my old Epson dot matrix printer I first used in the 1980’s, I would say about 80 dots per inch. Not exactly 21st century resolution. You get the point, this was a cheap flying by the shirttails organization that sent this thing. The bottom of the page was “Kansas State Voter Report is a project of Be Counted, Inc”.

As if this wasn’t odd enough, the letter proceeds to say in Capital letters “WHAT IF YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR NEIGHBORS, AND YOUR COMMUNITY KNEW WHETHER YOU VOTED?”. I guess they were SHOUTING at me?

Then it proceeds to explain in a couple of short paragraphs that the voting records of my state are public records and they were taking it upon themselves to send my voting record for the last three elections to all of my friends, neighbors, colleagues at work and community members to publicize who does and doesn’t vote. And then it listed 10 names of people, including mine, in my town and their voting record on whether they did or didn’t vote in each of the last three elections.

They don’t know me very well or they would know that I don’t give a fuck what my FRIENDS, my NEIGHBORS, or my COMMUNITY think they know about me. Particularly the project of Be Counted, Inc. I feel they know so much about me and I know so little about them, not even a name or address.

Stay now, this gets a little intriguing.

Gulf o' MexicoI voted in all of the years listed, it says I missed voting in 2010. This is very interesting and I am very glad they sent this information to me. Although I’m not sure why they found it necessary to send it to so many other people. I am glad they sent it because in 2010 I was on-board an off shore natural gas pumping platform 170 miles off of the coast of Louisiana  in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Because I knew I would be gone all week, my wife and I early voted at the county courthouse that year. I have done this a number of times in the past. They did have trouble starting up the voting machine but we did eventually vote.

I hate early voting because there seems to be a lax atmosphere and I’ve always wondered if my early votes were even counted here in this county and they don’t give you a receipt that says your vote was registered.

Well, now I know, if Be Counted, Inc tabulations are correct, that indeed my vote was not counted.

Thank you Be Counted, Inc., who ever the fuck you are. Now I’m making a trip to the goddamn Republican ran courthouse and do my own snooping in the public records. And ask if they keep accurate records. And while I’m at it, I plan on tracking down the cocksuckers that sent the fucking Kansas State Voter Report to me and if their tabulations are incorrect I will either punch them squarely in the nose or start libel charges against the person that sent the letter for publicizing incorrect information about me.

So to end, if any of you wackos out there are planning on taking part in any of these bullshit mailings, think twice, you really don’t know who, or more importantly, what you are dealing with. Anytime you write down a person’s name and make an allegation in writing, make sure your statement is correct.

Has anyone else in other States received these letters? The way I understand it both Republicans and Democrats are sending them out.