Kitchen Window Birds

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll kitchens should have a window over the sink. It’s better than T.V. while washing the dishes, particularly when the weather has taken on a more winter-like attitude and birds respond by gathering at the feeders. In my case, the “feeders” are a tree stump and the ground. Even birds that don’t visit feeders (they are insectivores) drop by to see what all the fuss is about. Like this Audubon’s warbler (right). It’s looking for meat. Insect meat.

Bashful birds like Fox sparrows (below left) turn up now and then. Sometimes more now than then, shyness being no match for hunger. And they are easy to confuse with Song sparrows (below right), which are also dropping in.

       

Spotted towhees (right) are perhaps more bashful than Fox sparrows. Seeing this guy has been a thrill.

And then there are the Scrub jays (below left) and Oregon juncos (below right), which are the most abundant. Not Biblical-plague abundant, but hard to miss, juncos because there are so many of them, and the jays because, well, they’re jays. They’re good-sized, they’re blue, and they can be verbose in a squawky fashion.

       

There have been others. Stellar’s jays. Red-shafted flickers. Robins. Brewer’s blackbirds. Even a teeny kinglet, looking for insects. It’s an avian Woodstock. Good thing I have a kitchen window over the sink. It’s medicinal.

 

 

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It ain’t gonna happen if it ain’t by now

me_in_keith_crutcher_wedding_01I’m so sorry Todd Willet has died.
I’m sure he was very disappointed.
It probably ruined his weekend.

Mercury is in retrograde.
May sap is starting to run.
Government beans and cheese.

At what point do you tell yourself,
it ain’t gonna happen if it ain’t by now?
It ain’t gonna happen if it ain’t by now.

At what point do you tell yourself,
it ain’t gonna happen if it ain’t by now?
It ain’t gonna happen if it ain’t by now.

I’m so sorry Todd Willet has died.
I’m sure he was very disappointed.
It probably ruined his weekend.

At what point do you tell yourself,
it ain’t gonna happen if it ain’t by now?
It ain’t gonna happen if it ain’t by now.

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I Remember When All This Will Be Again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ll be outside with incense,
and maybe just a hint if marijuana,
listenin’ to Music from the Hearts of Space.
I remember when all this will be again.

I spot the first star of nightfall.
A pair of bats flutter.
My wife has gone for the alliteration.
I remember when all this will be again.

My wife and me,
we’re just sittin’ around.

We’re watchin’ the sky for flying saucers.
They come ’round ’bout this time every night.
We’re talkin’ ’bout Tarantula hawks.
I remember when all this will be again.

My wife spots the first one.
The aliens stick to a schedule.
I think I just saw an owl.
I remember when all this will be again.

My wife and me,
we’re just sittin’ around.

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In a Backwards Fashion

me and alicea and kirsten

I’m a spectacular failure.
Self-delusion is my jailer.
I’m doing hard time.

I’m a spectacular failure.
A drowning sailor
going down for the third time.

I’ve been hit in the head with a nine-pound hammer,
high in the desert where the desert is high.
What do we do? Where do we go,
going forward in a backward fashion?

I’ve been hit in the head with a nine-pound hammer,
high in the desert where the desert is high.
What do we do? Where do we go,
going forward in a backward fashion?

I’m a spectacular failure.
I’ve come unhitched from my trailer.
I’m careening down a steep embankment.

I’ve been hit in the head with a nine-pound hammer,
high in the desert where the desert is high.
What do we do? Where do we go,
going forward in a backward fashion?
Going forward in a backward fashion.
Going forward in a backward fashion.

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Creatively speaking…

Creatively speaking, my well just hasn’t run dry, it has been filled in, paved over, and parked on.

20181122_170302

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Venus and Jupiter

…I should have brought this up earlier … Venus and Jupiter sharing the evening sky just after sunset. You may have missed it up till now, but have as look every night as Venus passes Jupiter and  makes a beeline for Saturn.

Backyard stargazers already know this, as do astrologers. Hell, they must be going apeshit, planets going this way and that against the backdrop of the starry firmament. It’s a cosmic Indy 500…

happy camp 2019 50

happy camp 2019 51

Venus and Jupiter on successive nights, Nov. 22nd and 23rd.

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Before the Storm (I shoulda stayed hid)

There’s a calm
before the storm.
You’ve been told.
You’ve been warned.
There’s a calm
before the storm.
Before the storm.

Women and children,
run for lives.
Mothers and daughters;
sisters and wives.
Women and children,
run for lives.
Run for lives.

I used to believe in Jesus,
and Jesus believed in me.
Then we had a difference of opinion
and the rest is blasphemy.

I never cared
until I did.
I crawled outta my hole.
I shoulda stayed hid.
I never cared
until I did.
Until I did.

I tried my best.
I often failed.
…shoulda been a pirate,
but that ship has sailed.
I tried my best.
I often failed.
I often failed.

I used to believe in Jesus,
and Jesus believed in me.
Then we had a difference of opinion
and the rest is blasphemy.

There’s a calm
before the storm.
Keep yourself safe.
Keep yourself warm.
There’s a calm
before the storm.

More, too-good-for-Top-40, me…

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Where are You?

Sometimes you don’t know where you are until you aren’t. It’s like something that tastes a little off but you eat it anyway. Eventually it makes you sick.

Unbeknownst to us, we were slowly being poisoned by our surroundings. Had we not moved it would have remained unbeknownst.

We are more than simply 1,200 miles away from where we spent the past ten months, we are in orbit about a different world. So far, so good…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

happy camp 2019 07

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Happy Glands

I feel my inner primordial ooze
in this hot desert sun.
Super elastic bubble plastic
in this hot desert sun.

In this hot desert sun
I think I saw Jesus
lookin’ for water to walk upon
in this hot desert sun.

I feel my inner reptile stirring
in this hot desert sun.
Get thee behind me Satan
in this hot desert sun.

In this hot desert sun
I think I saw Jesus
lookin’ for water to walk upon
in this hot desert sun.

I’m gonna channel myself
into your happy glands.
It’s the culmination of this moment at last.

In this hot desert sun
I think I saw Jesus
lookin’ for water to walk upon
in this hot desert sun.

My tectonic plates have shifted
in this hot desert sun.
I stand here at the dawn of time
in this hot desert sun.

Another song from Palm Springs, CA., and it’s groovy, as usual…

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Alice in the Moonlight

Walkin’ the main drag of Lone Pine;
this is my promised land,
but the universe, in its infinite wisdom,
apparently has other plans.

The clouds are on Mt. Whitney.
Ah, but they’re on me as well.
Mine is a sadness that know no bounds:
a run-dry, bottomless well.

Leave me to drive off into the desert sunset
in my psychedelic bus.
Leave me to stare up into the stars at night.
Leave me to gather dust.

Back in the desert,
but we’re only passin’ through.
The universe likes to toy with us.
You’d think it had better things to do.

Leave me to drive off into the desert sunset
in my psychedelic bus.
Leave me to stare up into the stars at night.
Leave me to gather dust.

Just because I wanna believe in magic
doesn’t make it so.

All the years have gathered
for a reunion in my head,
redolent in its joy and sadness
and things we never said.

Alice in the moonlight…
All the flowers that never bloomed.
All the stars that never fell.
Alice in the moonlight…
All the songs we never sang.
All the dreams we never dared to dream…

A lovely, lovely song. It sounds like this…

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When They Were Been By

The trailer park swingers in their golf cart,
and the drug-addled human wreckage:
They bask in the massage of the desert sun
while the Tarot gathers dust on the table.

When they were been by.
When they were been by.
We can take our clothes off and dance with the planets,
when they were been by.

Some kind of reptile scurries for cover,
thinking its reptile thoughts.
The universe has a place for such things.
Nothing’s ever left out.

When they were been by.
When they were been by.
We can take our clothes off and dance with the planets,
when they were been by.

When they were been by.
When they were been by.
We can take our clothes off and dance with the planets,
when they were been by.

Drinking coffee milkshakes in the afternoon
in a trailer park on a patio.
There’s an inherent psychic jolt
and a fairy tail (I sing “massage,” but I meant “mirage”).

Listen and be awed by my Below-Fi Cosmic Cowboy musicness…

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Even at the Monkey Yoga Shala

Road weary and constipated,
we’re gone and gone and medicated.
Mudville is joyless, as am I.
Even at the Monkey Yoga Shala.

Havin’ brunch at a sidewalk cafe’,
just tryin’ to get through another day.
It’s beginning to feel like it’s time to surrender.
Even at the Monkey Yoga Shala.

I feel like I’m should be peein’ blood.
I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

Havin’ dinner in a Berkeley restaurant;
it’s not the sort of my place my ghost would haunt.
Something wicked this way is.
Even at the Monkey Yoga Shala.

I feel no numbness in my soul.
I have no soul, just a black hole.
Somehow I get out of bed every morning.
Even at the Monkey Yoga Shala.

I feel like I’m should be peein’ blood.
I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

I hear voices in the shower drain.
They’re wet and gargley but I know what they’re sayin’.
I’ve lost my sense of wonder and awe.
Even at the Monkey Yoga Shala.

Hear “Even at the Monkey Yoga Shala”

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A Nekkid Pagan Hippie

I’m a nekkid pagan hippie –
or so it’s been assumed –
celebratin’ Imbolc,
and calling down the moon.

I wanna believe.
Oh, I wanna believe.

I’m a nekkid pagan hippie,
I dabble in the Black Arts.
My arcane knowledge is vast.
Dairy makes me fart.

I wanna believe.
Oh, I wanna believe.

I’m so high, I can touch the stars.
I’m so low, I might be dead.
I’m a nekkid pagan hippie.
I wanna believe.
Oh, I wanna believe.

I’m a nekkid pagan hippie,
descended from an ape.
I’ve gotta lungful of marijuana.
I’m beginning to dissipate

I wanna believe.
Oh, I wanna believe.

soundcloud.com/greggpasterick/a-nekkid-pagan-hippie-i-wanna-believe

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(not) NPR bits and pieces from Happy Camp

“If I had been an actual hippy, and if it had actually been the 1960s, and if I had actually lived in California, this is the kind of place I would have likely ended up.”

Me, October 2019

 

Folks welcome you to town with pot. I’ve been welcomed nearly an ounce’s worth so far.

 

Our first Bigfoot story:

happy camp 2019 01A guy tells us he found a deer carcass in just the sort of valley a deer carcass has no reason earthly reason for being found in. It had been  lustfully consumed, the condition of its remains alarming even this seasoned hunter – the story-teller, not me. And there were the footprints. Not “tracks”; “footprints.” Bigfoot doesn’t leave tracks. They were Kevin Durant-sized.

The alarmed, seasoned hunter shot several photos of the prints. When he showed them to a local Bigfoot Museum curator not unlike Don Ameche there was much brough ha ha-ing over their obvious similarity to a plaster cast of the famous Patterson Bigfoot, c. 1967.

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Another Forwarding Address

The Universe always has other ideas. Often, they are brutal.

After a month of said brutality, my wife and I  find ourselves back in California, nearly in Oregon. This is everything the desert is not, and vice versa.

We left a small, weird town for a smaller, weirder town.

happy camp

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Reincarnation: Hooray for Hollywood!

I was a background actor. A Central Casting card carrying extra. And rarely, if ever, have I been so euphoric. And that was before February, when the other shoe dropped, the one for the bigger foot.

In February, after interviewing for a seasonal gig potentially better than Chama, we got hired to manage a forty-eight-room motel. We were finally going to Alaska.

We flew.

magician_photo

A magician in the film Desperate Acts of Magic

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Reincarnation: La-Di-Da Spa

The spa in Desert Hot Springs was an L.A. Negative Space New Age refuge competing with all the other L.A. Negative Space New Age refuges in town. La-di-da.

Soaking in the one hundred-and four-degree water was nice.

We put in six months, found our second consecutive seasonal gig, and were off to Chama, New Mexico. It proved to be the beginning of a new chapter in this now out-of-control reincarnation stuff.

It was nine-hundred-and-seventy miles away.

map 23 desert hot springs, ca to chama, nm 970 miles

Desert Hot Springs, CA to Chama, New Mexico – 970 Miles

 

 

 

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Pearls in Prell

… a song  I wrote several years back about life before the Beatles …

 

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A Brief Conversation About Religion

baxter01

“He’s called the “White Christ”.”

“The White Christ?” What, in the name of Merlin’s bunched breeches, does that mean?”,

“Doesn’t get out in the sun much, I guess.”

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A Wish

I wish I had never left Mayberry.

mayberry03

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A Black Hole

blackholes_singularity

I have been so incredibly self-centered in my life it’s a wonder I’ve not self-centered myself into a black hole.

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The Committee for Grabbing Life’s Balls and Squeezing is No More

The Committee for Grabbing Life’s Balls and Squeezing was dissolved today in light of recent protests by Millennials no one knew existed in the neighborhood. Their cries of “No balls no more!” and “Labia now; balls goodbye” are just another example of the absurdity of the 21st Century.

“Fuck it,” Ned Rubbish said as he sipped from a Carlos Castaneda cup. “The world ain’t got no balls anyhow.”

The Millennials, feeling good about negatively impacting the lives of people who are mostly just trying to figure out how to dress for the afterlife, which might be anything, are a disappointing development in the evolution of humankind.

“We wuz a disappointment the moment we first fell outta the trees,” Rubbish said.

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Reality and Me

1976_lester

 

It’s not that I avoid reality. I refuse to participate.

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An Philosophical Aside

 

We weren’t supposed to live this long unless we were ’cause we are.

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21st Century Science

stupid people“The Earth is flat, 6,000 years old, and obviously at the center of the universe. The Moon is the same size as the Sun. (No! It’s not made of green cheese. If you were as smart as me – the Precedent President of America – you would know all these things.) And Climate Change? Forget it. Fake news.”

This has been a message from the Precedent Presidents Council on Scients  Signce Science.

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Fingers to Spare

hand-01And this is all just stupid, posting this shit on line. I can count the number of people who read what I write, and the number of people who listen to my music, on one hand. The same hand. I can count those who do both twice. There’ll be fingers to spare.

Everybody’s so busy trying to get noticed, they’re not noticing me. I’d call that a waste of time.

I quit. And I’m talking my ball with me.

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A Hint of Autumn

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The first chilly bite of autumn. High temperatures are dropping into the mid-90s.

In the desert, the first chilly bite of autumn is all gums.

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The Ten- Year Plan

In August 1973, in a hamburger joint in East Aurora, New York, upon learning that I was about to start college, a friend of an erstwhile cousin-in-law asked me if I was going on the ten-year plan. We all had a good chuckle.

Watkins Glen, 1973

Ten years later, no nearer a degree than I was a decade earlier, I stopped going to college. I simply quit taking classes. It wasn’t the plan, those ten years. It just all kind of happened.

I think that guy might have been a sorcerer.

 

 

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Witness Protection

Witness-Protection

Someone recently asked me if we, my wife and I, were in witness protection.

I guess we’ll have to move again.

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The Cold Desert Hot

Here we are at the end of time.
It feels more like a fall than a climb.
We’re watching stars fall from the sky.
And there’s a moon. There’s always a moon.

Sitting outside on a moonlit night,
pondering all the friendships that have died.
Each is likely a common tale.
Some of us fly; some if us sail.

Here we are at the end of time.
There’s no rush. There’s always a line.
You can cut in front and I won’t mind.
I thought there’d be more of a boom!

Here we are at the end of time.
Wilting like fruit in a vine.
Struggling for just one more rhyme.
I didn’t expect to be here so soon.

Sitting outside in the cold desert hot.
All that’s left are a few simple thoughts.
Sitting outside ’cause that’s what we do.
Some of us sailed; some of us flew.

soundcloud.com/greggpasterick/the-cold-desert-hot

pioneertown14

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I Thought I was Alone

It was late. I thought I was alone. I wasn’t.

Across the parking lot he stood, silhouetted in the entrance to the causeway by orange and green light. He was shriveled and Gollum-like. And he was not one to be taken lightly, nor was he one to overestimate because, let’s face it, he’s a dried up old relic one head cold away from being laid to rest.

noirStill, there was something to be of wary of with this old man.

I retreated to the safety of my downtown loft, which is to say my subsidized housing in southern Arizona. I understood why he was here. I was another story.

Yes, that’s bebop you hear in the background, rain-slick city street at three A.M. film noir jazz, which can mean only one thing…

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Waiting for Scatman

I’m waiting for Scatman Crothers to come knocking on my door to invite me out for a game of kick-the-can. You can be damn sure I’m playing!

scatman

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A Sign You’re Old

1984_my_perverted_uncle_raymond (2)

 

You know you’re old when everyone is going ape shit over the death of a celebrity and you have absolutely no idea who the hell they are talking about.

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A Great Time

dr whoDr. Who. Who?

I knew nothing of Dr. Who way back when, when many of my fellow astronomer wannabes did indeed know.

“Tardis? What the hell’s a Tardis?”

It was the same thing with Dungeons and Dragons. My classmates had alter egos and funny-shaped dice. I had normal dice (but I was no stranger to alter egos).

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, now that was something I could sink my teeth into.

It was a great time to be whatever the hell it was I was trying to be.

 

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An Amoral Fairy Tale

“I admit it. I sold my … sigh … semen.”

There was an audible gasp, which was interesting as there was no one in the room.

“It was Michigan weekend! I needed the cash!!

look of surpriseNarrator: It’s a common enough tale, a young man from a small town goes off to college, the big weekend’s approaching, and he’s out of cash. What does he do? Something he may to regret for the rest of his life. He donates his sperm. He picks up fifty bucks on the way out, and is ready to get wasted.

Fifty years later, thanks to these damned DNA tests, he discovers he’s a daddy.

This stranger at his door is no fashion model, which doesn’t make accepting him as his progeny any easier.

Christ, he wonders, when did I become so shallow? And he turns toward the window through which he exits this life.

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Reincarnation: And the Whole Nine Yards

It was a job: it had its highs,  its lows, and sideways weren’t infrequent. The nature was incredible. And it was a seasonal gig.

We embarked on our next incarnation nine-hundred and ninety-three miles away, in the California desert, at a spa.

Om, and the whole nine yards.

map 22 west yellowstone, mt tp desert hot springs, ca 993 miles

West Yellowstone, MT to Desert Hot Springs, CA – 993 Miles

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Purple Haze

…sunsets. The purple haze to which I refer is a clever ruse to to lure you in, but it’s about sunsets. Recent purple sunsets.

ajo 2019 798

Why purple? Volcanoes. Two, to be exact: the Raikoke volcano  and the Ulawun. Both shot plumes of sulfurous gas into the stratosphere, which is rare. When nature does rare stuff, I try to pay attention. I try pay attention anyway.

Like an artist mixing his pigments, fine volcanic aerosols up there in the frigid stratosphere scatter blue light. Mixed with a typical red sunset you get … voila … purple. That’s all there is to it, these extraordinary sunsets.

ajo 2019 795

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I Don’t Wanna be the Reason

She’s a flying saucer abductee wanna be,
and she sure scares the fantods outta me.
Be careful what you ask for,
it might turn up at your front door.
She’s a flying saucer abductee wanna be.

Me? I’m just a guy who gets high,
and I’ve decided there are no aliens nearby.
They’ve had ample opportunity
to abduct the hell right on outta me.
I’ve decided there are no aliens nearby.

I don’t wanna be the reason
for any of your regrets.

I don’t wanna be the reason
for any of your regrets.

She gives it that down home trailer park feel.
And I suspect there’s no one at the wheel.
Jesus mother fucking Christ,
go on home now if ya can’t play nice.
She gives it that down home trailer park feel.

Nineteen javelina saunter by.
Clouds begin to gather in the sky.
I don’t know who I am these days.
I seem to have managed to lose my way.
Nineteen javelina saunter by.
Nineteen javelina saunter by.
Nineteen javelina saunter by.

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Goin’ Out in Style

vintage trailer.jpg

I envisioned my last years living in a vintage trailer – nowhere near restoration – somewhere in the desert. Perhaps Utah, where it feels more profoundly ancient.

I wouldn’t be alone, however. There would be four other, similarly unrestored, trailers, not too close to one another of course, but there, scattered about  haphazardly yet describing a central communal area, though it’s more like the layout recognized the communal area. There would probably be colored lights strung about. It would be a place where the cosmos lived.

The four trailers would be occupied by four very special friends. Friends from many years ago. Friends who contributed to my life in profound, unexpressed, ways.

It was to be a beautiful and cosmic way to finish this life.

There would possibly be mushrooms.

270573_111143225649383_100002611198639_86973_5046300_n.jpg

 

paul            patricia

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The Theory of Relativity

peter fondaPeter Fonda was seventy-nine-years-old when he passed away, the same age my dad was when he died.

Peter Fonda was an icon. To many, his was the face of the ’60s. No matter what he did later, he will always be Wyatt, with the chopper with the American flag gas tank.

1961ish_with_my_dad

My dad was my dad.

My daughter will turn forty-three soon. That’s only six years younger than my mother when she died.

My daughter’s just a kid.

My mother was my mother.

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How Armageddon Came About

missiles“The missiles are away, Mr. President. The end is nigh”

“Your Highness…”

“Pardon me?”

“Your Highness. Stop calling me ‘Mr. President.’ I am (- dramatic pause – ) Your Highness.”

“Right. Anyway, the missiles are away … Your, um, Highness. The end is, well, you know, nigh.”

“And stop using that word. Nigh! What the hell does that even mean, anyway?”

“Sorry. Upon us? The end is upon us?”

“Yeah, it is, and it’ll be great, teaching all those losers a lesson.”

“Which losers would those be … Your Highness?”

“All of ’em!!!”

“Of course.”

“The history books will love this. I’ll be remembered as the greatest president of all time. And they called me ‘orange.’ And a ‘moron.’ Who’s the moron now?”

“Um … Your Highness?”

“What?”

god trump“The missiles are away. The end is nigh … I mean, upon us. You’ve launched Armageddon!”

“Hey! If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times: No! Big! WORDS!!”

“There’ll be no history books. We’ll all be dead.”

“Yeah, well, speak for yourself. I am GOD!”

“You’re a fucking orange moron.”

The world ended soon thereafter. The president shat himself. He wasn’t the only one.

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Science News

parallel universesFrom the world of science, there is good news and bad.

First, the good: Scientists have confirmed the existence of parallel universes.

When asked how many parallel universes there are, Professor Godly Mellow said only, “We’re still countin’, but we may need to invent some more numbers.”

refelctionsThe bad news is, they are, each and every damned one, exactly alike. There is not the slightest variation. Not a single hair is out of place. Every atom perfect. The same neutrinos pour through our bodies at any given moment, each moment being exactly like its unknown number of parallel cousins.

The bad news is, spiritual black holes are at an all-time high because the thought of being a movie star, or filthy rich, in a parallel universe is all that gets a person through the day but now it turns out we are who we are who we are, possibly more than ad infinitum.

The bad news is, there is a god, and it has no imagination at all.

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Conversion

buddha

 

As part of my conversion to Buddhism, I have whittled my Amazon wish list down to a mere fourteen pages.

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Reincarnation: Wizards in the Making

Santa Cruz was a hip little town. A wizard could be seen around town in full arcane regalia. But our salary came nowhere near to poverty level, and part-time jobs had gone the way of dinosaurs. We were on the verge of becoming wizards ourselves.

In late April we left for a more lucrative summer gig in West Yellowstone, Montana. It waited for us at the end of a 993-mile drive. The drive put us over 30,000 miles on the road. Jack who? Neal what?

map 21 santa cruz, ca to west yellowstone, mt 997 miles

Santa Cruz, CA to West Yellowstone, MT – 993 Miles

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Reincarnation: When the Economy Breaks

We went to Los Banos with a real sense of purpose and commitment. Not working for so many months meant we had the energy to tackle this latest incarnation, and we tackled the shit out of it.

It was often a chore, occasionally an ordeal, but we kept at it. Then the economy did that bad thing, business dropped precipitously, our salary with it. I, for one, have never been interested in doing the same job for less money, which meant it seemed like a good time to move on, if ever such a thing is a good idea in a broken economy.

After nearly nine months in Los Banos, and some hijinks in Sausalito, San Diego, the Sonora Desert, and San Francisco, we turned up in Santa Cruz. The trip from Los Banos to Santa Cruz, which included the garlic-aroma of Gilroy, was a mere eighty-five miles, barely a single revolution of the well-traveled tires in a gypsy innkeeper’s mileage.

It was also the beginning of our tenth year in all this wandering hospitality. We were scarcely the same people.

map 20 los banos, ca to santa cruz, ca 85 miles

Los Banos, CA to Santa Cruz, CA – 85 Miles

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Reincarnation: A Desert in Bloom

When we pulled away from that condo in Ohio, there were a couple of inches of snow on the ground and a cardinal singing to the frigid morning. Two weeks later, the 29th of January, we found desert wildflowers blooming here and there along Hwy 62, along the north border of Joshua Tree National Park.

We spent the next two months watching a magnificent bloom spread across the desert.

We returned to reality on April 1st as managers of a small motel in Los Banos, in the Central Valley of California. We had been unemployed for seven and a half months. Frankly, it was a lifestyle I preferred.

California’s a big state, and we’d grown meek, worn down by the years and the miles. We turned the brief 373-mile trip into a two-day drive.

map 19 joshua tree, ca to los banos, ca 373 miles.png

Joshua Tree, CA to Los Banos, CA – 373 Miles

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Reincarnation: Leaving Ohio Again

My mother-in-law passed away a week after Thanksgiving. She was laid to rest next to her husband, in Jackson, Ohio. He was a veteran of the Second World War.

Sheri and I were both orphans now.

We wrapped up an array of what business we could and said ‘goodbye’ to that condo for the final time. In January 2008 we headed south and west again. After an ice storm in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and a side trip into the weirdness that was “Gringo Gulch,” Arizona, we found ourselves back in Joshua Tree, CA. It was a 2,518-mile trip.

map 18 columbus, ohio to joshua tree, ca 2,518 miles.png

Columbus, Ohio to Joshua Tree, CA – 2,518 Miles

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I Should Give My Age in Miles

immatureI am a spirit meant to wander, unable to function within the status quo. And that may be a low-calorie shaman’s way of alluding to my impressive immaturity, impressive not for its depth and requisite commitment, but for how gloriously childish I am.

Still, I can’t seem to find my home, the status quo throwing up obstacles every step of the way. Thus, the wandering.

I should give my age in miles.

 

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Fading August

August goes away, summer with it. Seasonal changes are profound. I know they have always profoundly effected my bodily humors. To this day, I feel the seasons to the core of my anima, probably  more so than  most folks because I am actively involved with nature, which isn’t easy to pull off when you’re sixty-four and lazy.

There’s also probably a bit of metaphor at work here.

My August looked like this:

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Monsoon season, which really wreaked havoc with the Perseid meteor shower.

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Occasionally brave enough to face the sun, I found butterflies about (a Queen and a West coast lady), and, of course, a reptile or two (Sceloporus species?).

ajo 2019 758OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And ubiquitous Harris’s hawks.

The metaphor? That’s another story for another time.

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On the beach, by the lake, where the monkeys play

I’ve got winter in my panties,
a cool, refreshing breeze.
Aliens have taken my daughter,
and my wife can’t find her keys.

It’s always on the bottom, in a bag,
in a place time forgot.
When yer confused together,
yer confused a lot.

On the beach, by the lake, where the monkeys play,
where the thunder rumbles and the sky is gray,
the weather gathers and drifts this way…

I’m in repose in neurogenesis.
I’m in cahoots with the butterflies.
Boxcar Bertha rode the rails,
I rode the railroad ties.

It feels a bit autumnal,
and there’s a warbler in the trees.
The equinox is tomorrow
so I stock up on THCs.

On the beach, by the lake, where the monkeys play,
where the thunder rumbles and the sky is gray,
the weather gathers and drifts this way…

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