Reincarnation: At the Bottom of the Country

The drive down to Mississippi was a mere 894 miles. Quite a bit of it was very lovely. We broke it up into a two-day drive.

We signed a three-month contract and that’s how long we stayed in Bay St. Louis. We were Yanks below the Mason-Dixon Line, completely out of our element.

Folks were polite and friendly. The summer humidity and heat were a burden. We spent a few of our days off in New Orleans. There were orchids and pitcher plants. There were alligators. My wife got to be called “Miss Sheri.” I bird-watched in the aftermath of a hurricane. And I got up before dawn to make biscuits from scratch. I got good at it.

It was also the first summer since 1978 – twenty-four years – during which I didn’t watch the Perseid meteor shower. It was a small thing, but it was evidence of the changes taking place in our lives as we reincarnated our brains out.

We left the Deep South for the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.

The inn we ran in Bay St. Louis floated away three years later on a storm surge courtesy of Hurricane Katrina.

map 05 ohio to bay st louis miss 894 miles

Columbus, Ohio to Bay St. Louis, MS. – 894 Miles

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Reincarnation: Back to Ohio

Barely two years in and here we were, heading back to Ohio. We spiced up our return with a robust dose of staying with Sheri’s mother. I survived by getting a job at a local garden nursery. To this day, the best job I’ve ever had.

We didn’t loiter in Ohio. After two months and a near-miss with Hawai’i, we were off to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to manage a six-room inn.

The drive to the bottom of the country wasn’t nearly as steroid engorged as all the miles back to Ohio.

map 04 soda springs, ca to ohio 2,517  miles.png

Figure 4: Soda Springs, CA to Columbus, Ohio – 2,517 miles

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Reincarnation: Having Our Genes Altered

The drive across country was gene-altering. So was a winter spent a mile or so from Donner Summit.

It snowed in feet. Often. It was beautiful. I never wanted to see snow again.

As new beginnings go, this one was a keeper. Eventually we gave it back. We had fallen in with another lunatic.

We lasted nine months before the lunacy raised its wicked little head. After a week in a Reno Motel 6 having Taco Bell for dinner every evening, we drove off to Ohio.

There was a job interview in there somewhere among the Redwoods. Philosophical differences made it an impossible fit.

Our trip back to Ohio wasn’t going to be the mind-blowing experience it had been the previous summer. That was 2,553 miles of pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming glee. This trip wasn’t going to be anything of the sort. This trip had the bitter taste of failure.

map 03 Asheville, NC to soda springs, ca 2,553 miles

Asheville, N.C. to Soda Springs, CA. – 2,553 Miles

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What Has E.T. Learned?

Extraterrestrials have been hanging around for more than 70 years at least. We don’t seem to have made much progress in identifying them and, if they have learned anything in all this, it’s to not fly during a thunderstorm.

roswell

 

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Cereus jamacaru

Ajo is one foci of a snowbird’s ellipse. I guess those biannual road tripppers aren’t interested in the center of the Milky Way swinging across the sky each night. Or the wonderful variety of herps racing across the desert almost as if flying (I watch; their feet never touch the ground). Or the wonderful things that transpire in their temporarily abandoned yards.

ajo 2019 542

A couple blocks from where I sit there grows a non-native titan: Cereus jamacaru. It’s from to Brazil. It’s blood kin to the locally native and ridiculously aromatic Queen-of-the-Night (Peniocereus greggii). Both bloom beneath the stars,  collapsing into the flaccid spent aftermath of a night of debauchery by morning. They’ll remain open for business later into the morning if it is cloudy.

The snowbirds who abandon this home each summer, they miss these fabulous flowers.

That would be their loss.

 

 

 

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Reincarnation: A Month in Hell

Our second job lasted one month. The owners were pathological.

She was relentlessly abusive.

He perked up at every emasculation.

At one point we had words.

Eventually there were more words.

Presto change-o, our month in Hell was over. And we weren’t even supposed to be there in the first place.

It took some mad scrambling and a handful of near misses, but we eventually got jobs and rented a small cabin on the side of a hill outside of Asheville. I think the landlord’s name was Jerry. He was a good guy. In June the hillside erupted with a super nova of fireflies. It was magical.

We hung around awhile. Our lot in life gradually improved. And after a heady flirtation and false alarm with Colorado, we were hired to run a four-room B and B in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.

Now that was a reincarnation I could get on board with. Still, I pulled away from Asheville teary-eyed.

The drive from Indiana to North Carolina was an exhausting 652 miles, which was do-do compared to the trip ahead.

map 02 duneland beach inn to Asheville, NC 652 miles

Asheville, North Carolina to Soda Springs CA. – 652 Miles

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An Alien Abduction

The phone buzzed. He answered it.

“Hello?”

“HELP!!!”

He held the evil little piece of technology away from his head to read the screen.

“Honey?”

“BILLY! HELP ME!!!”

“Calm down, baby, calm down.”

“They’ve got me BILLY!?”

“Who’s got ya, baby?”

“ALIENS!”

“Did you say, ‘aliens’?”

“I’ve been abducted!”

“By who? Mexicans?”

“Aliens! ALIENS!!!”

“Calm down, baby. All these exclamation points aren’t doin’ anybody any good.”

“Quit fucking around, Billy!”

“I’m not fucking around. I’m a little confused…”

“I. Have. Been. Ab. Duc. Ted. By. A. Li. Ens!”

“Yeah, so ya said.”

“As in flying SAUCERS!”

“… oh … shit …”

“I know, right?”

“And they’re just … lettin’ you call me?”

“They don’t give a fuck about me. Where’m I gonna go?”

“Where are ya, baby? I’m comin’ for ya.”

“I … don’t know … exactly.”

“Can you see anything? Are there windows?”

“Yes! YES! There are WINDOWS!”

“What do ya see, baby? Tell me, what do ya see?

“The … um … yeah …”

“What, baby? What do you see?”

“The Earth. And it’s getting smaller. Quickly.”

“The … WHAT?!?”

“The … Earth.”

“What?”

“Christ, Billy, it’s no bigger than a dime!”

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Yer calling me … from space?”

“Yeah. The internet’s crazy good up here.”

“There’s internet? In space?

“Of course, there is. Jeezuz, Billy, yer such an antique.

“Baby? How big’s the Earth now?”

“Small. A pale blue dot … it’s hard to believe there are zillions of people on that little … oh … it’s gone. Billy, it’s gone. Billy? Billy?”

A big-headed stickman, with the color and complexion of pumice, appeared in the sparkling, polished corridor because corridors in spaceships are notorious for being sparkling and polished to a razor-sharp brilliance. It – the alien – held a long-fingered hand up to the side of its immense head and said, very slowly and with a thick alien brogue, “Can … you … hear … me … now?”alien abduction

The spaceship then leapt from our space-time continuum and was gone.

For years, Billy used the story of his girlfriend’s alien abduction and disappearance to garner sympathy and get laid.

Billy was a pig. He died alone, with a shoebox. It was empty.

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Reincarnation: Not Part of the Job Description

How the hell did I end up in southern Arizona? It’s one hundred degrees at ten o’clock at night!

It feels like, somehow, all paths led here. It was inevitable. And it’s possible I made this happen through years of subconscious mechanizations. A carefully woven fabric. It could be my superpower.

But why in god’s name would my subconscious do such a thing?

The night sky. A chance to stare up into the Milky Way where it still exists. The opportunity to count Perseid meteors from mid-July until late-August. Perhaps get abducted by aliens, enough with these tepid flirtations.

If this was the result of my subtle and sublime subconscious, these mechanizations included the manipulation of my wife because this was all her idea in the first place.

There was a woman we met at the laundromat one afternoon a couple years back. We were going about our business. She dropped something. I picked it up.

What ensued was talk of reincarnation and a gift of herbal medicine. She to me. I think she may have been a shaman.

When she spoke of reincarnation it wasn’t of lives lived in ages past, but of the many times we are reincarnated in this lifetime.

Interesting notion, but it didn’t resonate with me.

Until recently.

I am at a stage of life with which I am having a difficult time. It’s existential. It’s cliché. But when I look back, which I often have an irresistible urge to do, I recognize that I have been reincarnated multiple times.

Without knowing it, my wife recognized it as well.

Many years ago, in an entirely different century, in a distant land called Ohio, my wife decided it was time for a reincarnation. Why this came about has been swept away by the sands of time dispersed by the winds of change and is no longer relevant in any case.

Her dream was to go to Alaska. Mine wasn’t.

We went to Indiana instead, a consequence of the first of several profound synchronicities we would experience over the next twenty years. Other than a Great Lake a block away, it wasn’t much different from Ohio. That was the point.

March 2000 my wife and I began our reincarnated lives as innkeepers at a nine-room bed and breakfast outside of Michigan City. We were naïve and ill-equipped for what, on the surface, appeared to be a leisurely endeavor. We were beaten to a pulp many times. Our highs were too few and our lows suicidal.

It was a stupid idea though the evening walks along the beach were always nice. I enjoyed the Jacuzzis as well.

When our six-month contract expired, we made for Asheville, North Carolina after a job we thought we had in Grand Marais, Minnesota fell through. This would be the first of many occasions when our journey was wrested from our control and we were forced down a different path. This has rarely turned out well.

If this sounds ominous it’s because sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows are more a rarity in hospitality than one might realize. Or they’re exactly as rare as one might expect. In any case, they are not part of the job description.

It’s like a magic show. While you’re watching the magician’s left hand, his right hand is doing something unspeakable.

That first road trip, from central Ohio to northern Indiana, was unremarkable and depressing and only 296 miles in length. We had no idea it was but a drop in the bucket. The first drop. Over time it would flood our seaside villages and swamp our suburbs.

We had no plan.

It was obvious.

map 01 kilbourne to duneland beach inn 296 miles

Kilbourne, Ohio to Michigan City, Indiana: 296 Miles

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My Girlfriends’ Moms

moms

 

 

Most of my girlfriends’ moms seemed to really like me. All the moms are gone now.

Now, nobody likes me.

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Intelligent Design, Not

Proof that Intelligent Design got nowhere near us? I’ve got it in one word: Testicles.

If you’ve ever been hit in yours, you understand.

hit in the balls

 

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Open Gallery

ajo 2019 301

 

 

 

We hosted an Open Gallery recently. We sat around all afternoon. Two people stopped by. The first asked directions. The second wanted to know if we had seen Gus.

Such is life these days.

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Beat Poem #14: 6/28/19

california_192My senses have been dulled

by the sands of time

dispersed by the winds of change.

The years have piled up

like papers on the doorstep

and the neighbors don’t find it strange.

 

We don’t see each other anymore,

yet all we want is to be seen.

All we want is to be acknowledged.

 

I can’t sit on concrete very long.

The sands of time have stripped me of my ass.

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Beat Poem #13: 6/18/19

???????????????????????????????

 

The Summerland, the Summerland.

Isn’t that the afterlife?

If it is, uh oh.

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Beat Poem #12: 6/17/19

Rotes Geschenk

 

 

Even the moonlight isn’t cold in the desert,

where the night is a gift.

I love gifts.

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Meteor Showering in July

It’s July and that can mean only one thing: Meteor season!

While most are aware of the Perseid meteor shower in mid-August, fewer are aware that it begins on July 17th, or that it lasts until August 24th. Fewer still are aware that the Perseids are but the dramatic peak among the more pedestrian though no less beguiling meteor showers during the month.

The alpha Capricornid and Southern delta Aquarid meteor showers both peak this month, on the night of the 29th/30th. Neither produces the gaudy number of meteors of the Perseids, but they are not alone in the mix. In addition to the early Perseid activity there is also the Anthelion source, which is a fancy moniker for the meteoric particles – meteoroids – that are in direct orbit around the Sun and hit us head-on. The radiant of this activity is 195 degrees east of the Sun.

alpha capricornids

The alpha Capricornids are active from the 3rd through August 15th, with a broad plateau rather than a distinct peak. It produces only a few meteors per hour, but it is no stranger to producing bright fireballs.

The Southern delta Aquarids are active from the 12th through August 23rd. This shower produces hundreds of meteors during the course of its activity. Radiating from a more southerly location than the Perseids, while also being slower and fainter, it provides an interesting contrast with the more famous meteor shower.

delta aquarids

Meteor showering, as I call it, requires very little of an observer: An observing location well away from the obscene glare of artificial illumination; a comfortable spot beneath the stars; staying awake. And no special equipment is needed, just your eyeballs.

It’s always best to go out after midnight, when the Earth has rotated us headfirst into the direction we are traveling through space – you get more bugs on the windshield than on the rear window. And beware the Moon. It devours meteors. Not literally of course, but its glare outshines the fainter meteors. Stay as far away from the Moon as you can manage, and if it is out there, simply face the opposite direction.

ajo 2019 449

Any night is worth a bit of stargazing, summer nights perhaps even more so with the smoky haze of the Milky Way billowing above us, a handful of meteor showers, and, this year, Jupiter and Saturn join the festivities.

Your meteor showering awaits.

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Beat Poem #11: 6/16/19

curse you death

I curse you, death,

you inevitable bastard,

you cold and indifferent popsicle.

I hope you melt slowly

in your demise.

I hope you weep uncontrollably.

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My Sponge

springboob squireprints

I’m trying to wring this silliness out of my sponge but, Christ, my sponge is wet.

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Briefly, Jupiter’s Moons and Meteor Season

I have discovered how few folks know that that bright “star” currently in the sky is Jupiter, never mind that you can see its four Galilean moons (discovered by Galileo) with a small telescope or a pair of good binoculars.
 
The images are far from perfect, but the cosmic grooviness of it is obvious. And while I have your attention, we are heading into “meteor season”: alpha-Capricornids, delta-Aquarids, Piscis Austrinids, kappa-Cygnids, the Anthelion activity, the usual odds and ends, and of course the Perseids, which are active from July 17 until August 24th. The Full Moon on the 15th isn’t great news for the peak on the 13th, but that’s no excuse…
Jupiter 2019 with labels.jpg
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Saturn and Jupiter (and the Summer Solstice)

jupiter saturnSaturn, the Moon, and Jupiter were stacked up in a tidy row last night. This particular monthly arrangement will change over the next year as the apparent distance between the two planets shrinks until, on the 21st of December, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will be in conjunction. They will pass within six arc minutes of each other. That’s whiskers-on-a-face close.

2000 jupiter saturn 001

I wrote about the 2000 conjunction in the Michigan City, Indiana News-Dispatch.

This lovely and cosmic event occurs every eighteen to twenty years. It takes the planets that long to catch up with each other in our sky. This will be the fourth such conjunction in my lifetime. I’ll probably not be around for the next.

1981 jupiter saturn 001

Jupiter and Saturn, July 28, 1981, Cincinnati, Ohio, from my journal.

While I’m feeling marginally wordy and astronomical – I guess you could say they are in conjunction –  the Summer Solstice is upon us in the northern hemisphere, and, as I wrote in a song a few years back, it’s “a better reason than most for a celebration,” so get the hell out there and celebrate. It occurs on the 21st, at 15:54 Universal Time.

And now I’m going to throw music into the mix, making it a triple conjunction. Here’s a somewhat less terrestrial bit of my music to honor the first day of summer, A Summer Solstice. It’s taken from my indie album, Existential Terrors.

 

 

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Nothing at all to do with the Captain and Tennille

Captain_and_tennille_1976

 

I took an emotional maturity test recently. I was not surprised by the results.

I have the emotional maturity of a muskrat.

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Warning Label

skull and crossbones

 

The warning label on a tube of Herbal Annie’s Home-Grown Liniment reads: For External use only. If swallowed, pull the sheet up over your head and wait for the end.

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“Halfway to Jesus”

It’s not what you think, unless it is.

What it is is this, my latest demo, “Halfway to Jesus.”

I tried dwelling in the House of the Lord,
and after years of my prayers being ignored,
I joined the circus and saw some stuff,
and some stuff saw me back.

She was halfway to Jesus when I found her.
She was halfway to Jesus, don’t ya know?
She was halfway to Jesus and out of control.
I caught hold of her just so.

I followed the Great Mother Bear.
I would’ve followed that woman anywhere.
But I’m no follower. What’s wrong with me?
I turned around and was on my may.

I was the neighborhood UFO expert.
I was the guy who went to college for ten years.
I peaked earlier than I care to admit,
but, Christ, it was a hell of a time.

… halfway to Jesus when I found her,
with a deer-in-the-headlights look on her face.
She was halfway to Jesus and slowing down,
but nobody said it was a race.

I tried dwelling in the House of the Lord,
Rarely have I ever been so bored.
My dad might have dug but it wasn’t for me.
Now I’m going straight to Hell.

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Desert High

ajo 2019 457

It’s a still desert night. There’s a gentle breeze like dragon’s breath. The silence lends itself nicely to my mood.

I was going to write “high” rather than “mood,” but it is the mood. Anything herbal contributes.

Ten years ago this would have been unthinkable. I was unabashedly anti-any drugs and alcohol. That was my Southern Baptist Republican upbringing holding sway.  I never would have imagined I would ever  be a part of the Cannabis culture, but the times, they are a-changing.

And because I’m high, I’ve forgotten what I was going to write.

getting high

Anyway, I’m having a very pleasant meditative desert high. It’s not the same as a Hi-Desert high, but it’s an arid gain in altitude none-the-less.

The night hawk is a nice touch.

And there was a falling star.

I made a wish.

 

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The Milky Way

I seem to have emerged from my latest battle with Existential Angst scathed but ambulatory. What pulled me from this latest funk was a power outage which, in turn, lit up the Milky Way.

It’s a staggering, awesome, sight, our galaxy, particularly as we head into summer in the Northern Hemisphere, when the center of the Milky Way is on full, glorious, unabashed display. It is ineffable. It is also a typical, run-of-the-mill, barred spiral galaxy. One of billions. And it is our home.

ajo 2019 445

Many never get to see the Milky Way. Hell, many don’t even know what the Milky Way is. Light pollution, something at which we have excelled, completely obliterates it, as well as most of the stars. This probably doesn’t actually matter now that everyone has his or her nose buried in a hand-held electronic device, which clearly demands most of every waking moment. Light pollution or no, nobody looks up anymore.

The Milky Way is about 100,000 light years across. It contains about 200 billion stars. Our solar system is 30,000 light years from the center of the galaxy, and about 20 light years above the galactic plane.

Douglas Adams once described the Earth’s location in the Milky Way as being in the “unfashionable end of the western spiral arm.” Actually, we are in the Orion arm, tucked comfortably between the Perseus and Sagittarius arms. But that’s science. This is poetry…

ajo 2019 457

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Astronomical Hyperbole

jupiter

Super Moon! Blood Moon! Mars Bigger and Brighter than the Moon! Jupiter will be so near the Earth we’ll feel the breeze as it goes by! And Retrograde! Don’t forget retrograde.

Between astrology and hyperbole, I am a complete nervous wreck. Okay, maybe not a complete nervous wreck, or even a nervous wreck. Annoyed is more accurate. I am monumentally annoyed.

This current annoyance has been stoked by the latest Jovian news.

Jupiter is at opposition on June 10. This simply means  that the largest planet in our solar system is directly across our sky from the Sun. Jupiter will rise as the Sun sets. It is a consequence of where we and Jupiter are in our respective orbital trips around the Sun. It has absolutely nothing to do with how near or far the gas giant is relative to us.

jupiter opposition

The hyperbole kicks in because this year’s opposition coincides nicely with Jupiter’s closest proximity to the Earth in 2019 – 398 million miles – which occurs two days later. Granted, this does all work out nicely for those of us interested in such things; those of us with cameras or binoculars or telescopes. Or those of us who simply marvel at such things sans hyperbole or astrology. Current news banners are suggesting a close encounter of staggering significance and rarity. That’s my hyperbole complaining about theirs.

Certainly Jupiter is brighter when it is nearer. And its Galilean moons are easier to spot. And, through binoculars or a telescope, more details can be observed. But all this misleading exaggeration often leads to disappointment. In these instant gratification, short-attention span times, how many are going to go outside expecting to experience something out of Guardians of the Galaxy and try to take a selfie with it?

jupiters moons.jpg

Sure, the exaggeration gets folks’ attention, which I’m all for, but the night sky is a wonderful, beautiful place. It shouldn’t need that kind of P.R. Folks should just want to go outside and look up at the night sky now and then.

In the meantime Jupiter will fill the entire eastern horizon as its moons whiz about it like angry wasps. Duck if you don’t want to hit your head. And sunglasses, don’t forget those. It’s going to be blinding. And it’s in retrograde! Who needs science when there’s all this astrology and hyberbole going on?

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The Human Time Machine

I paid to see the Human Time Machine at a county fair years and years ago. A well-dressed older man sat at a small table and reminisced.

Worst seventy-five cents I ever spent.

old man at library.jpg

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The latest on the time-traveling time capsule

This sleepy little hamlet in the middle of America remains faithful to its adjective – indifferent even – as most locals seem to just not give a damn.

“I only got two teef. Whadda I care ‘bout some fuckin’ time capsule?” said one such local.

Even the more dentally blessed remain unmoved by the news of what is being called the first positive proof of time travel.

While the folks of Meh, Missouri seem to genuinely not care, the rest of the world is stunned by what was discovered in the town’s time capsule recently.

beta max     “A video tape!” Dr. Hemmingway, leading expert on time travel, squealed, pissing himself as he did so. “Beta Max!!”

This in itself is remarkable; the tape was found in a time capsule stuck in a church’s foundation in 1839. But that’s just the beginning. On the tape is a recording of a live broadcast of wholesome 1950s’ television fare. The videographer’s face is reflected in the Philco.

philco

“This adds up to time travel not once, not twice, not even thrice,” Dr. Hemmingway’s assistant tells us as the doctor changes his pants. “This proves someone has traveled in time four times. Four. Times!” He, too, wets himself, unable to contain his joy.

The timeline begins with someone traveling back to the 1980s to procure a video camera; video camera in tow, the mystery time traveler goes back to 1956 to record an episode of “Reverend Detective”; the tape, wrapped in cloth (to hide its identity, no doubt) is included in a time capsule set in the town’s church in 1839. Presumably, the time traveler returned home, time-wise.

“That’s four trips we know of,” Dr. Hemmingway’s assistant points out while he dabs at his pants with a hanky.

All of this means nothing to the gentle folks of Meh.

“I didn’t even know we had a church,” a bystander was heard to say.

“I seen Jesuses foreskin once, at a travelin’ road show,” a companion added.

While scientists and historians search for the identity of this mystery traveler in time, a portion of the tape has been released. It contains the end of the T.V. show. It’s snowy, but watchable.

Family gathered around television            The episode ended thus:

“You solved the case of the missing grade-school hymnals, Reverend Detective. Gee whiz, it was almost like you knew where they were before they even went missing, like you could see into the future!” Sally exclaimed with giddy pubescent glee.

            “What? Me? A palm reader? More like a Psalm reader, you mean. Now, who wants s’mores?”

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Denied

Manson Cult Van Houten 1969, Los Angeles, USA

Hollywood-handsome California Governor Gavin Newsom has once again locked the door and thrown away the key on Leslie Van Houten, the 22nd time this has happened in the last fifty years.

At least she won’t have to bother with a change of address.

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Not Woodstock

2019 05 18 music 03

He stuck an Erik Wollo CD in the player, hit ‘play,’ opened a window and took a hit off his glass pipe, and proceeded to become one with the night.

It was overcast, a neon ring around the Blue Moon. That had absolutely no significance whatsoever though most of the folks in the building were lightheaded and alert.

Earlier in the evening a handful of them had gathered to make music. They strummed guitars, banged on drums, blew into a didgeridoo and harmonica, and sang. Others milled about, chatting quietly, listening to the music.

woodstock

This was no Woodstock, but it was their offering to the universe. No one would celebrate this night, this music, fifty years hence.

I don’t think that was on anyone’s mind.

 

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The Gods

jimi

 

The gods play rock and roll. How do I know this? All Along the Watchtower, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. If that’s not the gods, then there are no gods. End of story.

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A Shout Out to Jim Croce

jim croce

 

If I could save time in a bottle, I’d have it all drunk by now.

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Planning for the Future

I didn’t plan very well for the future. I knew money would be a problem. I expected that. But everything else is proving to be a problem as well.

I did not plan for that.

planning for the future

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Prescription Abuse

There are some prescriptions the pharmacy will only dole out thirty at a time rather than ninety. These would be the dangerous drugs. The addictive ones. The abusable ones. The ones that do bad things.

I can just imagine if I abused my prostate medicine. They’d shrink that baby right on up into a black hole and before you know it, I’ve sucked the Earth right up my ass. Not a happy ending all around.

black hole

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This Time: The End is Nigh

This Time: The End is Nigh

By Spoogie, Seer of the Truth

Just show up for a reading; Spoogie is expecting you

Used with permission of The Hua, Magic Bent’s Only Magazine

This may be the 23.8% THC-fueled Black-Jack minis talking but I got a strong feeling the end is nigh. Yes, nigh. And yes, that end.

Asteroid.jpg

Lately I have noticed several news articles about asteroids and their distribution in near-Earth space and how frequently they dart across the road in front of us like little bunny rabbits. Or maybe moose. Moose would do more damage to us should we collide. Anyway, the asteroids…

There have been articles about the asteroid that is not going to hit us in 2029; about how often throughout history an asteroid has nearly occupied the same space as the Earth at the same time as the Earth; about NASA’s simulation of a piece of an asteroid hitting New York City; and about how many asteroids are out there that should concern us.

The answer is over twenty thousand.

I think there’s something we’re not being told. And I think Mars and aliens are involved. Not in the way you think.

I think that an asteroid is going to hit the Earth and governments around the world have known for years.

Flying saucers and alien abductions were a clever misdirection aimed at the intellectually malnourished masses of the world gobbling down fatty pseudo-science like Jesus wanting a cheeseburger while he’s nailed up to that cross.

“Lettuce … ketchup,” were his final small, dry, raspy words not long after that whole bit about being forsaken by dad.

This asteroid may hit us soon! And the powers that are?

While we were swallowing the whole U.F.O. Gestalt hook, line, and sinker, the powers that were, are, and will forever be built very cliché space arks and have been en route to Mars for more than two years, leaving us to die off with the rest of Earth’s doomed species, which are dying off because of us. Kind of balances the scales.

mars 02

And it is massively ironic. God works in mysterious ways. Well-played Big Guy, well-played.

Next time I’ll share with you how the governments of the world conspired to brainwash a generation to fight in the upcoming alien wars by creating and completely orchestrating the birth and evolution of rock and roll, from its earliest blues roots to whatever the hell you’re listening to today. All of it, Robert Johnson, Little Richard, Bobby Vinton, the Lemon Pipers, Vanilla Ice, Miley Cyrus, ad nauseum, all of it to turn brains into mush thus creating a mindless horde to don their uniforms and fight the aliens, who are really pissed off and not going to stop at merely probing us this time.

Lock down the fort and sneak out the window, boys and girls.

Until then, you know…

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P.C. Goes Too Far, Takes All the Fun Out of Life

woodland fairyI know someone who is a woodland fairy. An actual woodland fairy.

She’s a petite and fragile little creature who, though a woodland fairy, is drawn to the bleached white sands of the inhospitable and enthusiastically unfriendly desert.

She’s nothing at all like that bat shit crazy Pixie, across the street. ‘Pixie’ is her name, not what she is. What she is is some sort of bruja. Perhaps a stubborn acolyte clinging to the words of Carlos Castaneda.

auras

I read Castaneda in a freshman English class at the University of Cincinnati. I found his story intriguing at the time. It was 1973.

At the end of the quarter we looked at each other’s auras. I’m not sure you can do that today without a signed written consent stating that’s it’s okay to have your aura looked at.

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About Archetypes

His name was KinKinney. Dale KinKinney.

He rode into town on wild horses and was carted out in a wagon, a man broken by the pursuit of an archetype, in his case the desert-roamin’ cowboy. It, like any archetype, is an impossible ideal to achieve and the pursuit of it devours your soul.

the 12 archetypes

My soul was eaten early on by the pursuit of one archetype after another, which tells me my soul is much larger than this body that houses it. That’s pretty groovy to consider, but if I’m not careful, this could lead me down the darkly illuminated corridor of New Age Illumination, where it’s all empty calories and re-gifted fortune cookie wisdom.

I’m more interested in the poetry of possibilities where the infinite is concerned, which makes me sound like a self-laudatory artist, which I’m not. Or a philosopher. Again, uh-uh. I’m just me, armed with my poetry of possibilities. In fact, let’s just strike those previous few sentences, shall we?

There, that’s better.

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A Story Involving Caves

There are no wizards or witches here. There is no knowledge of the Arcane Arts to be found. There are no hippies or beatniks or any kind of communal or spiritual vibe going on at all. There is not a single kindred spirit.

It’s just a bunch of broken people, us included evidently.

A woman, a recent addition to this sad collection of dregs, this human sediment, said to us one evening, “I lived in a cave outside of Altoona, P. A.”

“Yeah?” Most of what comes out of many mouths here tends toward the ridiculous. Often it is embellishment of “facts”; Carlos Castaneda and Eric von Daniken stuff, Sumerian-text stuff. This was no different.

louisiana swamp thing.jpgA few months earlier another pilgrim claimed to have been the “Louisiana Swamp Thing” in carneys across the Midwest when she was a child.

Grains of salt.

The cave-dweller said her cave was but one of many in which she and her loose aggregate of hippies lived, a wandering band of sojourners in search of their Promised Land, which was evidently a cave.

Their gypsy lifestyle came to an end after a showdown with the Federales at Mammoth Cave State Park, in Kentucky. The confrontation didn’t make the news. No shots were fired. No tear gas was unleashed. No one was arrested.

“Most of us were pretty tired by then,” she said. “And had a hankerin’ for carpeting and indoor plumbing.”

The hippies simply wandered off in different directions.

“I hitch-hiked to L.A. to become a movie star.”

Uncertain how to respond, I asked for her autograph.

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His Story

old hippieHe lived life fast. He wanted to be a beatnik. He wanted to be a hippy. He wanted to be more famous than Jesus just to see how it felt to be John Lennon. He ate morning glory seeds with the other leathery old reptiles in the desert, similarly forlorn wanderers in the cosmos.

            A combination of the two – the seeds and the sun – possibly took him places and left him there. At this point in life, what did it matter?

            Perhaps it never did.

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Death

death

Death doesn’t stalk us. He doesn’t lurk in the shadows or drop on us from above. Death is in no hurry. He waits for us in a four-star dining establishment, the kind of place with linen origami perched on your plate (because no one can figure out how to fold a swan out of a napkin) and an array of silverware laid out on either side. The carafe of water has cucumber in it. It’s very refreshing.

            Death is refined. Ironically, he enjoys the finer things in life, which he exists to be the end of.

 

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A Riddle

What’s the point of becoming a part of the Great Consciousness if you are a part of the Great Consciousness?

great consciousness.jpg

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Decaf

the beast

Nobody tells you that the Beast is exactly that, a beast. Sure, he’s scarier than shit, but he’s really hard on the furniture.

            His fire and brimstone, aside from making the place smell like a barbeque and ass, leaves everything scorched and smoldering. And all those talons and horns ensure no surface goes unscratched. And he shits. Everywhere and wherever he pleases, which is usually wherever he happens to be when the second cup of coffee kicks in.

            Maybe if he switched to decaf.

 

decaff

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Interview with a/the Dark Lord (with lots of italics)

Interviewer: Let’s begin with your fingernails.

A/The Dark Lord: My nails?

I: Yes. Why are they so long and manicured into perfect points?

A/T D.L.: Well, I’m the Dark Lord, aren’t I?

I: And?

A/T D.L.: A Dark Lord’s gotta have long and perfectly manicured nails, doesn’t he?

I:  Is that written somewhere?

A/T D.L.: What?

I: What you said about the pointy nails and all; is that written somewhere? Like a law? A Dark Law?

A/T D.L.: A Dark Law?! What the hell are you talking about?

I:  So, there are no Dark Laws?

A/T D.L.: Christ, where do you get this shit?

I: You made it sound like: So let it be Written; So let it be Done! Like it was an official decree seared into some poor soul’s flesh.

A/T D.L.: Seared into … what the hell’s wrong with you? 

I: Coming from a Dark Lord, that is high praise, Thank you.

alistair crowleyA/T D.L.: I’m sorry, did you say ‘a’ Dark Lord?

I: I did. I mean, as far as I can tell, you’re just an average, run-of-the-mill, Dark Lord.

A/T D.L.: What?

I: You’re a Dark Lord … says you … but of what? Who’s your Arch Enemy? Sabrina? Harry Potter? Little Billy Winkle who thinks Santa and Satan are one and the same?

A/T D.L.: Everyone is my Arch Enemy.

I: Including me?

A/T D.L.: You’re moving up the list.

I: So, how does one become a Dark Lord? Night School? On-line classes?

A/T D.L.: I did not become The Dark Lord. I AM The Dark Lord!!!

I: Again, says you.

Harsh words are spoken. A brief scuffle ensues. The Dark Lord sprains an ankle when the lift in his left shoe shifts.

orange moron            For the record, one does not become the Dark Lord, one only has to be crazy enough to believe one is the Dark Lord.

In and of itself, believing oneself to be the Dark Lord is meaningless. When others begin to believe it, that’s when the trouble starts, and a lot of folks are willing to believe a lot of stupid, ugly shit.

Without followers, there can be no Dark Lord, ‘the’ or otherwise, and we’d all be better for it.

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Why Not?

I don’t know what that was, but I think I have just emerged from a gathering of the elders. It transpired so abruptly I wonder if I wasn’t somehow cosmically probed?

There was talk of the Mongol Horde and Reiki Massage and Psilocybes and how much trouble the world would be in if we were superheroes. Next thing I knew I was sitting on a spongey cushion passing around a joint with these other guys. Why?

On the other hand, why not? It was good pot.

passing a joint.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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Steroids

 

“Boy, I’m feelin’ a lot better.”

            “Yeah?”

            “Yeah. I went to th’ clinic and got me some steroids.”

            “Steroids?”

two peas

            “Yeah, steroids.”

            “You know they’s gonna shrivel up your balls.”

            “Yeah?”

            “Yeah.”

            “Well, if I can feel this good again, my balls can shrivel up and drop off. It’s not like I’m gettin’ much use out of’m anymore anyway.” 

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You Taste What You Pay For

An eighth of pot for twenty bucks tastes like an eighth of pot for twenty bucks.

bad weed

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The Opposite of Logan’s Run

jenny auguter

 

Wherever I am, it involves being old. I am in a place you are forbidden to enter unless you are old. It’s the opposite of Logan’s Run.

            It’s liberating and depressing at the same time. I am not handling it well. Not at all.

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A 1960’s Public Service Announcement

She was attempting to turn ribs in a crock pot with flimsy tongs, achieving very little.

            Watching her, feeling her frustration, he said, “Makes ya wanna stick yer hand in there, don’t it?”

            She kind of grunted affirmatively.

            “I’ve done that a couple o’ times, put my hand where I shouldna, causing me all kindsa trouble, beginning with my first boner,” he said merrily.

            Sad, but true. He did put his hands places he “shouldna”, always with unfortunate consequences.

            ‘That sure felt good,’ he probably thought that first time, the pleasure of this dangerous act immediately conditioning him to stick his hands places because the results were so pleasing.

            I hope he enjoys himself, talking about his boner to a woman wrestling with ribs in a crock pot with flimsy tongs. He’ll certainly be going blind any day now.

            Hell, this guy has touched himself so much he won’t just go blind, his eyeballs will fall from their sockets, each dangling by a small strand of glistening sinew. It hurts. A lot.

            But now, I see it as a vicious cycle, a kind of time loop.

handlebar grips            With his eyeballs hanging down his face like an old man’s testicles, he won’t be dating much, which means more touching himself, which means more wages of sin, which means his nose falls off, which means … by the end of his life he’ll be a pile of unassembled human. Even his oft-visited penis is unrecognizable, looking more like a handlebar grip off a bicycle, a consequence of decades of gripping the damn thing in pursuit of pleasure.

            If the first thing to fall off had been his wick, he would have been spared a lifetime of misery and loneliness, shut away in his room, the rhythmic pulse of his masturbation urging him on. On. On!

sex education.jpg            On the other hand, pun accidental, he probably would have been more miserable as a eunuch. In either case, it only goes to show, pleasure comes at an expense. An expensive expense.

            Your penis is not a toy! And a kitchen without worthy tongs is just wrong.

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Something More Traditional

broomstick

 

Haggard Lil appeared as if conjured from thin air, scaring the shit out of me. She dispensed some cosmic wisdom and then ambled off, the sound of her flip-flops fading into the night somewhere in the direction of Canis Major and Sirius. The flip-flops don’t give her departure that same standing-stone cosmic feel as something more traditional like a broomstick.

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There’s One in Every Neighborhood

I am aware of, and appreciate, everything that has gone into me becoming me. And not just the usual stuff: parenting, teaching, mentoring, the guy down the street who tells you, if he ever catches you in his yard again, he’ll eat your dog. Christ, you don’t even have a dog but you shit yourself anyway and for years avoid that block altogether, or you would have had you not been eaten by your neighbor across the street who was, in fact, a notorious serial killer who made Hannibal Lecter look like a vegetarian.

hannibal            You want to steer clear of that guy.

            There’s one in every neighborhood.

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May 4, 1970

I was a freshman in high school in the serene and safe white-bread and whole-milk suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, going about life with all the young, wide-eyed glee available to a fifteen-year-old a month away from summer break.  I was particularly pleased with myself surviving my freshman year having had but one encounter with an upperclassman. Some of my classmates did not fare so well.

While I was having a “Wonder Years” life in southwestern Ohio, college kids just a few years older than I were protesting the U.S. bombing of  Cambodia at a small college in northeastern Ohio, about 240 miles away. Governor James Rhodes sent in the National Guard to disperse the crowd. They had live ammunition.

kent state 01

Four students, nineteen- and twenty-years old, were killed. Nine others were wounded. One student was paralyzed from the chest down. It took all of thirteen seconds.

kent state 03 allison krause                 kent state 05 sandra schuer                 kent state 02 jeff miller                 kent state 04 william schroeder

This is ancient history to these millennial youngsters whom have evidently inherited the Earth. Completely irrelevant to the machinations of the 21st-Century.

Though it may be the stuff of archeology, it’s still fresh in my mind. All I can offer as a tribute is my cover of Ohio, by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, in memory of this tragedy and the four kids who perished: Allison Krause, Sandy Scheuer, Jeff Miller, and William Schroeder.

 

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