May 2003 - The Road To Geezerhood
RayzRealm (c) May, 2003
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Lurking somewhere between middle age and death.
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Friday May 2
Once again, May is the month my odometer turns over.
I'll be 56 this month, on the cusp of Gemini, which by many modern standards is way over the hill. If Logan's Run was used as a bench mark, I'd have been hunted down and terminated years ago. But here I stand at the threshold of "geezerhood" feeling better now than I did 20 years ago. As an added bonus I've been getting all those neato junk mail catalogs now for adult diapers, walkers, wheelchairs, denture adhesives, scooters and stuff for all my other geriatric needs.
This shocking un retouched recent photo of the author reveals what befalls anyone who doesn't eat all their vegetables, vote Republican and convert to Christianity as mandated by the state sponsored neo conservative right wing church of the Barking Bible Temple and underground nuclear bunker, Inc. Repent while there is still time, or you could wind up looking like this...or worse!
Many "Baby Boomers" have gone against the grain (myself included), and refuse to cash it all in after they turn 50. Some are still mountain climbing, skiing, running, bungie jumping, etc well into their late 60's. When I look at old faded photos of the tribe in my mom's albums, a lot of my relatives who were in their late teens and twenties during the 50's looked more like they were nearing retirement age. One problem is that I never planned for retirement, since medical x-perts insisted I would be dead in 2 to 3 years tops, 15-18 years ago. About 10 years ago I began saving a bit of money here and there, opening a retirement account, which has lost about 95% of it's value since 2001. I figure at this rate I may be able to retire by the time I reach about 127 years old. Of course any semblance of Social Security will have been long gone by that time; how else can we finance a never ending war. And we can't have billionaires starving, so have to give them hefty tax cuts.
Will the outlaw biker gangs of my generation be riding around on souped up versions of those scooters that are targeted at the over 65 walker and wheel chair set? And what will happen to all the gay circuit party boys when they reach 65 and beyond? I can just see it now at a gay nursing homes in P-Town, San Francisco or Fire Island, "Amyl nitrate and ecstasy will be dispensed at the nurses station one hour prior to tea dance this afternoon. DJ Gums Murphy and DJ Peg leg will be spinning all your favorite techno and high energy hits from the 20th century. Eggs Benedict, quiche and bloody marys will be served at Sunday brunch." With a tidal wave of gay/gray panthers coming, catalogs like International Male will have to add a line of sexy contoured and padded adult diapers to their line of swim and underwear catalogs. Ohhh, the possibilities are endless.
What I am noticing is that I've grown much wiser in the past 10 to 15 years, something that I wouldn't trade for a bit of temporary youth and beauty at any cost. What I've given up from my libido, I've gained spiritually and intellectually. At this point, I'm about two quarts low on testosterone.
The spam continues to make a bum's rush into my mailbox by the dozens every day. I have received offers for "Incredible Food", "Great Singles", "Natural Skin Rejuvenation", "Fast Computers", "Salvation From Spam","Act Now Or Lose Out","bargain Homes for $10,000 and under","Freedom and Peace of Mind From Terrorism","Personal Invitation From President Bush","Ed McMahon telling me I may have already won", and the list goes on and on.
The flood of "Penis Dimension" spam stopped for a while, but today I got 3 separate offers to have a "penis if mass distraction". One ad contained a picture of a stern looking bimbo in a bikini, carrying the caption, "Size DOES matter. If you don't measure up and can't satisfy me....I'll walk!" Well gee whizz Pumpkin, if that's all that matters to you, I'll pray and burn a candle for you at Our Lady of Perpetual Indulgence Shrine.
The other ones promised, "add an ASTOUNDING! 4-6" to your penis length and 1-2" in girth, results guaranteed" . Let's see, previous spams only offered 1-3 inch increases. Maybe it's the SUV factor, all the talk in the media about Bunker Busters, MOAB and weapons of mass destruction, or the American fixation on "bigger is better". If I add another 4-6 inches, that should bring me up to 11-13 inches. There will be some that will still say, "Geeesh! 13 inches! is that all?"
I'm still.playing with and exploring with my new PC. Roxio 6.0 and Adobe Photo Shop Elements are so feature laden, I may even have to crack open the manuals that came with the software. I had just completed the creation of a major article, saved the file, then closed it. When I attempted closing Homesite 4, I got a fatal error, something about child unable to find it's parent, which sounds a bit like the parent who abandons their kid in a shopping mall. Anyway, when I restarted Homesite and opened the file, it was empty; all the stuff I thought that was saved went to the same place missing socks go when I empty the dryer. It appears that XP does not like dealing with older software. I'll be upgrading a bunch of software soon anyway, but losing all the fruits of my labor pissed me off.
Another minor (which could become major) annoyance came when I installed Plus for XP, Media Edition, which I realize now is a bundle of "fluff ware". I installed it, fine! but when I tried opening one of the little applets, it barked at me saying I couldn't use it until I either called an 800 number or logged in an registered online. After I logged back in it took a dozen attempts over a 90 minute period to connect to Microsoft's server, followed by a game of demographic "20 questions". No it didn't ask for my penis size, what I liked to do in bed or my sexual orientation. Someone told me, "welcome to the new world of Microsoft products, expect that from every new piece of MS software you buy from now on."
Another geekazoid warned me that XP is a giant piece of "Spyware", Am I now in the Matrix or part of the Forbin Project? Let's see, Redmond probably already knows I have non Microsoft, renegade software designed by terrorists on my machine, and that I visited "Zelda The Whip Lady's Den" web site 5 times this week.
In these uncertain and patriotic times I have a great idea for a Microsoft ad that will certainly boost sales. Their ads are usually upbeat with rock music and stuff but for this one the Marine Choir will be standing in the background against an American flag backdrop, humming "God Bless America".
George Bush steps up to the podium and is joined by Bill Gates, "My fellow Americans, I want you to meet my good friend and all around patriotic American, Bill Gates (giving Bill a warm hug). We're all proud to be American's these days and what better way to show your spirit than to upgrade to Windows XP. And to the many IT departments around the world I say this, if you're currently not developing all of your enterprise IT projects around Microsoft's .NET architecture, you should, and soon. Because if you're not with us, you're a terrorist." At this point the camera pulls back, the Marine Choir breaks into a full chorus and the American flag slowly fades into the familiar waving multicolor Windows startup banner.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy programming in Visual Basic and SQL Server, and Microsoft's suite of products seems to play well together. Actually I didn't bother installing Netscape on my new machine, since Internet Exploder seems to run so well. It should, with a million horse power PC having more memory than Einstein and Steven Hawkings combined.
I'll end today with a line from Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life- Death". Death speaks to one of the American's at a dinner party who can't stop running off at the mouth.
"You American's, all you do is talk, talk talk.
It's always I just wanted to say this, or Let me tell you something."
Well you're dead now, so shut up!"
Wow the first entry of the month and a rather long one at that. I feel a return of the desire to write and a renewed sense of the absurd with the arrival of Spring. Here's this week's short list of articles.
- A Matter Of Taste AlterNet
- Patriot Raid AlterNet
- Janeane Garofalo Won't Back Down AlterNet
- Are We Dumb Or Just Numb AlterNet
- Sex, Lies And Abstinence AlterNet
- Watching The Detectives AlterNet
- Connect The Dots and the truth emerges.
- Heil Democracy BuzzFlash
- President Bush Announces National Demon Defense Shield, Betty Bowers
- Quacks SARS Information Worldwide, SARS Travel
- Salting The Claim Zepp's Commentaries
- The New World Order Exposed Babel Magazine
- SUVs Against Terror Patriotic America, scary site here
- The Secrets of September 11 MSNBC
- Voting For Anyone But Bush In 2004, Daily Trojan
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Sunday may 4
"State of New Hampshire Mysteriously Vanishes
Experts Baffled, Terrorism is not suspected as cause!"
President Bush will address the nation tonight, making an announcement that a revised American flag with 49 stars will be available by the end of the month. The US government has already begun interviewing political leaders as prospective candidates to replace the now missing state. It is also believed that Iraq will be the main contender to become America's 50th state. US Intelligence and NASA officials believe the sudden disappearance of the Granite State may be connected to the face on Mars.
When I got up Saturday morning I had the radio on as I made my early morning strafing run on the internet. At first I thought it was a joke, but in fact the New Hampshire landmark face of "The Old Man of the Mountain" slid off the face of the mountain in hte dead of night. The New Hampshire state quarter, along with NH highway signs, tourist trinkets, and probably a lot of state letterhead display the famous profile. I'm waiting to wake up and hear on the news that the presidential faces on Mount Rushmore disappeared in the dead of night and were replaced by those of George Bush senior and junior, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft.
The weekend didn't turn out too bad, a bit colder than normal, but so far no rain at least. Last night I watched the last disk of "Family Guy". It seems they sneaked in racier language on the DVD than would have been allowed on even FOX. The Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy (now defunct) and King of the Hill still remain just about the only shows I watch, outside of a few on PBS. I'm waiting for "This Old House" to tackle rebuilding one of Saddam's palaces as a project.
I took a ride into Boston Saturday morning to walk around, stopping for coffee and to browse in Barnes and Noble and Newbury Comics. I was a good boy and didn't buy anything, but made a mental note to pick up a copy of the newest book from The Disinformation Company. After having lunch, I stopped by MicroCenter to shop for a printer, and wound up getting a reasonable HP printer/scanner combo for $150.
Last night I had an enjoyable dinner and evening of jovial and stimulating conversation with Al, the guy I met for dinner a couple of weeks ago. I didn't think I'd catch him at home, but he was and didn't have plans. I invited him to visited Chez Bigboote this time, of course showing him my new toy. We surfed the web for while, then went out for Chinese food up in Arlington Center. After dinner we had a nice leisurely cup of tea at a local (non Starbucks) coffee shop, returning to my dodgings in the East end of town, chatting into the wee hours.
I woke up after 4 hours of cat naps to do some work on Area51, mostly adding and cleaning out dead links, then headed into Harvard Square for the "May Fair", which I wrote about in last year's may journal. The weather was cool but clear, a nice day for cutting my way through the vast sea of cell phone toting and Trendia Tot-anic baby stroller pushing yuppies.
After the obligatory bucket of iced coffee, I sat and chatted with a homeless veteran with HIV after dropping some money in his cup. The neuropathy in my feet was extra uncomfortable, so I moved on to browse in Harvard Bookstore. I decided to pick up a copy of, "Abuse Your Illusions", the latest collection of essays and articles from those courteous thought provoking folks at Disinformation The crowds were so thick in the square that I opted to minimize my time at the May Fair. I stopped at HMV just to look around. There were signs everywhere "40% off stock clearance, everything in the store." A lot of the good titles were picked over. Sales drones were no where to be found, as I wanted to ask if the store was closing (it appeared that way). It figures, a big music and video store is slashing everything by 40% and I leave my movie and music shopping list at home. I had a quick lunch and returned home; my feet were killing me!
While driving home, I had the radio on. The news had a piece about our Teflon coated Commander In Thief, "as it currently stands, George Bush has no equal or rival. If the election was held today, he would win by a massive landslide and it does not look as if anyone stands a chance of successfully running against him."......sob! sigh, "Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope."
But according to the polls, it seems our leader's popularity has soared, but so did his father's after Gulf War I, then started declining like a leaky balloon. I'm sure Bush's handlers and PR folks have lots of fun wars and crises in the pipeline just in case his ratings take a dive. There's nothing like a good old "ass whupping" on some dime store despotic kingdom to keep the average Joe and Jane Six-Pack flag waving.
When I was a kid, presidential hopefuls kissed babies and shook the hands of the common folk, but our president got to ride in a real military jet, and even got to hold the stick for a few minutes. I worked in advertising for a while, and right away saw this as just a chance for a public relations photo op, yawwwnnn! I wonder how much this little stunt will cost the tax payers. If a Democrat had pulled a similar op, the Repugs would have screamed for blood and an impeachment hearing.
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Friday May 9
I had been trying to locate copies of Michael Moore's, "Roger And Me", "The Big One" and episodes of his show "TV Nation" on video. Every video and music store I went to said, "lots of luck finding them. We don't show them as still being in print." Once again, the web becomes a useful tool and I ordered them online, and new, not used copies really cheap. I also ordered a copy of "The Ninth Configuration". I have been reading a number of news articles lately that make reference to the film. When I looked it up on IMDB and Amazon, the reviews were mostly stellar. A number of reviewers said it was like "MASH", "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" and "Jacob's Ladder" all rolled into one, my kind of film. Wow! I was impressed, I got notification that the entire order shipped in less than 48 hours, considering the original estimated ship date was May 21.
A lot of the people I have to interact with (and I'll leave it at that) on a regular basis and I do not see eye to eye on many issues, but then I've always marched to the beat of a different drummer. We were talking about movies and I mentioned finding Moore's films online.
Them: "Michael Moore! You bought movies produced by Michael Moore!! he's a Communist, Anti American terrorist sympathizer!"
Me: "that's bull! Moore is as American as Mark Twain. Have you ever read any of his writing or seen anything he's done?"
Them: "I don't know who this Mark Twain you mention is, but I know that Michael Moore is Anti American. He should be deported to Iraq. I have no intention of ever seeing any Michael Moore movie."
Me: "Mark Twain was a great well known American writer and social critic. I can't believe you never had to read Twain when you were in school!"
The debate pretty much ended at that point. I get the general impression from listening to a lot of the folks I'm thrown in with regarding entertainment, that if a movie is produced by Pixar or Disney, has lots of Kungfu, car crashes and chases, explosions and gunfire, or is about sports, slap stick, romance, surviving on a desert island or war, then it's a good movie, so long as no thinking is required.
I have been so very busy at work with hardware upgrades, software upgrades and migrations. I also have a reputation of being the Golden Goose that turns around information, user interface and reporting requests on a dime; in by 9 out by 10. It almost leaves me pining for the old days of IT, where we sat in glass cathedrals, dressed in robes. Users would crawl and grovel for small information favors, "yes your request can be granted in 6 months or so, give or take a few months, but first you must bring us a shrubbery, and make it a very nice shrubbery. Now go and leave us to contemplate your request in private!" Heh heh, now the expectation is, "it's a computer goddammit, I need that data, all prettied up and presentable in 1/2 hour." Ahhh, the wonderful world of IT in the 21st century. As an ending note, I really love my new toy!
Just when I think there are no more interesting web sites and articles, every day a few more pop up in my daily browse. This expose really bothered me. It is about Fred Phelps, notorious fundie pastor from Kansas, who God has personally ordained to "damnnate" the overwhelming majority of humanity. If you're not totally with him, you're going to hell and deserve to die. The expose dredged up some very unpleasant memories from my youth. Submitted for you disgust is the link I found to the Fred Phelps Expose, please have your air sickness bag handy. He is best known as the leader of a cult that pickets the funerals and memorials of people who have died from AIDS; a real nice guy and all around "right hand'o God" type. When or if the day comes the Shrub administration announces the appointment to the Supreme Court of Fred Phelps, I'm grabbing a lap top and catching the first redye flight to a Banana Republic country to live in the jungle.....brrrrr!
As always I'm continually adding and updating links around the site. This one gets the Area51 Site of the Month award, Total Obscurity! has tons of very funny stuff. This site is also being added to the Area51 Library page under satire. Here is the list of refugee articles I book marked during the last few days, enjoy!
- 9-11 Bush Knew BuzzFlash
- A Clockwork Orange Democracy BuzzFlash
- Rolling Back May Day AlterNet
- The GOP's Great Mother's Day Prank AlterNet
- Why Ecocide Is Good News AlterNet
- America's Fishiest First Family BuzzFlash
- Bush Isn't A Moron he's a cunning sociopath, Serendipity
- Commander-in-Costume Democratic Underground
- Gagged by the flag OnlineJournal
- Hit Them With Your Best Shot BuzzFlash
- The Future Of SUVs Wicked funny spoof
- Which War Are You Watching Serendipity
- Bush Out Of control Serendipity
- Endless Hummer Willamette Week Online
- George W. Christ Liberalslant
- Hartford Advocate Religious Wrong
- Tripping De-Light Fantastic Are psychedelic drugs good for you, Slate
- Coalition Of The Shilling Sam Smith Essays
- Escape From America Subversivetalk, Week 162
- High Rates Of Mental Illness In US Science Daily
- Info On All Your Favorite Repugs
- Flag-O-Rama! From Totalobscurity, wicked funny!
- WTC-O-RAMA! From Ttoalobscurity, wicked funny!
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Saturday May 10
People these dayz!
Three times during the past two weeks people I've met have made the overture to have dinner or see a movie together. I truly enjoyed their company and they claimed to feel mutual. Well they never called not returned my my call. In all cases they said, "I don't have any plans either, so let's consider it a date then. I'll call you (day of week)." I did manage to catch two of them, who claimed they totally forgot about it, or changed their plans and didn't think it necessary to call me to cancel. I'm quickly reaching the point where I no longer feel like trying to meet new people. In my case not one has said what they meant or meant what they said. The bottom line is people today are so damned rude and self absorbed.
It's like this guy who lives a couple of blocks away from me who I know from a support group I used to attend. I ran into him last Summer after not seeing him for 10 years. It seemed he was in the same place I was, no friends to socialize with, bored, so we agreed to dine and see movies together. Whenever I called there was never an answer and none of my called would be returned, then a month later he'd call on a Friday night, "hi, was just wondering if you had any plans for tomorrow." I replied, "no, none at all. Would you like to meet for lunch?" After a brief pause, "ahhh, I can't make lunch, I'm supposed to be meeting friends for a movie." I replied, "OK, how about dinner." Another brief pause, "That's no good either I'm going out with friends tomorrow night." Strike three, "How about tomorrow then?" After a longer pause, "Ohh geee, I'm visiting friends up on the North Shore, then having dinner with my ex, but I'll call you toward the end of next week and we can plan something." Needless to say, the call never came and I didn't bother calling back. A year from now he'll probably call again and the cycle will repeat again. For someone who claims to have no local friends, he always seems to be booked solid with friends.
I was in bed by 8PM last night, mostly out of boredom and up at 5AM to put the coffee on prior to my early Saturday morning web surfing. I drove into Boston early this morning, since it's supposed to be the better of the two days this weekend; rain tomorrow.
After my Au Bon Pain coffee stop, I was walking through Copley Place, in the glass tunnel that connects it to The Prudential Plaza. I ran into a guy I know from 12 step. I don't really know him well, but we always stop to talk for a while before he has to move on. He's usually on his way to a meeting or to meet someone, but will take an hour to chat.
The conversation turned to people, and I shared my recent experiences. He replied, "It's not you at all, so don't think that. Almost everyone I know today either has similar complaints, or they are the ones who never keep their word or return calls, people are really fucked up today, self centered, self absorbed, over stressed, over committed. I don't think anyone knows what they really want any more. And think about this, do you or I know what sort of psych meds people are on? So many people are taking antidepressants, anti anxiety and hell knows what other prescription drugs. Are they high? What personal demons are they battling?" He paused for a minute, as if carefully weighing what he was going to say next, "I had a close friend, a woman I've known for 25 years. Last week I got a call telling me she had committed suicide. I had no idea what sort of demons she was dealing with. I always thought she was pretty well adjusted and happy, but you never know, do you?"
This guy is in his 70's, a very sharp, aware person from every conversation I've had with him. He continued, "you know why I think people are so messed up today? For all the progress technology has brought us, I believe it's a major reason people don't know how to deal with others any more. It's very impersonal and dehumanizing; cell phones, answering machines, beepers, the internet, 600 channels of cable." He pointed to a young cell phone zombie who careened past us, "like her. She is totally out of touch with her surroundings. And that one!" pointing to a 20 something running past, walkman headphones on, cell phone.in her hand. He chuckled, "I have a friend who is always complaining about his family. None of them ever talk or gather around the dinner table like we used to before the 80's. He told me his father is in his den at his computer, his brother is on his room on the internet or playing video games, his sister is in her room watching TV or listening to music with headphones and his mother watches TV in the kitchen. All of them have cell phones with some sort of walkie talkie feature, and rather than walk to the other room to talk, they call each other in the same same house. Can you imagine that? Is that sick or what? No real human interaction at all. That's what's wrong with people today, all wrapped up in their own worlds." He looked at his watch, "as usual it's been great chewing the fat with you. I have to be at a meeting in 10 minutes."
I had a quick lunch then walked through the Back Bay and South End. Spring seems to have finally sprung. All the trees and flowering plants have erupted into bloom almost overnight. It's still a bit cool for May, but the clear skies and sun felt good as I wandered the streets, taking in the sights and smells of the magnolias, dogwoods, azaleas, lilacs and other plants that have sprung to life.
I would usually be wearing shorts by this time in May, but it was still a bit cool, which didn't stop a lot of people from walking around with exposed legs. Ahhh, yes, the South End in Spring, the inked and pierced boys, who have been hibernating in gyms all Winter were taking their nipples out for an airing in the sunshine, vast army or vacant eye'd cabbage patch clones.
I was walking along Tremont behind one of the South End's USDA Approved beef coquettes; the perfect inverted V in spaghetti strap tank top and cutoffs so short he may as well have been wearing underwear, tiny walnut cracking bubble butt, rhythmically swaying back and forth. This was not the swagger of a construction worker, but the sashay of a show girl, speaking into his cell phone in a girly man voice, warms waving around in Joan Crawford fashion. The bois of Boston's rainbow ghetto are like all the other post apocalypse gay ghetto residents, blank thorazine stares, muscles pumped for image alone, vacuous, not at all the type of people I knew 20 to 30 years ago. I just couldn't take my eyes away from the butt ahead of me that slowly rocked back and forth, "that's it, stare into the butt, look only at the butt. You are getting sleepy, v-e-r-y sleepy, you are totally relaxed. That's it, look only at the butt, you are now in a deep trance. When I count to three and snap my gingers you will be wide awake and refreshed and will step out into the street in front of a that speeding bus. You're not welcome in our neighborhood, take a hike you ugly old toad!"
Following this muscular mincing Mary was beginning to get on my nerves, so I sped up and swaggered, well more like hobbled past Adonis. As I walked beyond him, the almost overwhelming aroma of lavender scented soap faded. The guy smelled like a Crabtree and Evelyn store, which is far more pleasant than following in the wake of a diesel powered cross town bus.
I walked through Union Park (the South End's Vatican and Epicenter) and along Shawmut Avenue, stopping in an overpriced foofy cafe for an iced coffee after returning to Tremont. The South End is now a mix of yuppies and gay men, with some of the ethnic minorities who have lived there for generations still struggling to remain in their old hood. With these prices, only Donald Trump can afford to live here now.
Last year I ran into a guy on one of my Conga dancing trips to Providence. He was interesting to talk to, friendly, witty and intelligent. He was a gay man, probably in his 40's, a handsome specimen. He told me he lived in the South End for 20 years, then decided to split and was living in Providence. I asked him why he moved and he said that in all his years there, he never really made any friends. He told me it was one big clique, an in crowd and an out crowd and he was never initiated into the inner circle of the grand gay Poobah Order. He also said that the only nice people he knew were either dead or had moved, and that anyone who lived there now had to have their heads examined; it was all about status, image and prestige.
As I sat in the corner cafe, casually listening to the conversations at other tables, I noticed that all the yuppies and gay boys use their Mister Rogers voices. yeah, they all sound like Mister Rogers. Either they are truly that polite (don't bet the farm on it), it's the Prozac talking or it's all part of a costume.
Browsing in South End shops can be entertaining, like one shop that had rather ordinary looking tee shirts for over $100 each. I don't care if they're made from the pubic hair of organically raised Tibetan Yaks by elves, but no tee is worth $100. Or one gourmet ship that his tiny boxes of chocolate covered fruit (about 8-10 pieces per box) for $9.95, or bars of scented soaps for $8 to $20 a bar. I'll take Trader Joe's any day.
I stopped in one of those tres chic "gay/yuppie" combination gourmet food, deli, scented soap, candle, card and hardware stores just to see how the upper 5% blew their pocket change. I was getting a bit hungry so looked at the sandwich board. For a mere $8.95 I could get a 5" sub on a baguette, not just any old slab of bread but a cosmopolitan b-a-g-u-e-t-t-e. This sandwich would rate much smaller than normal on the Kinsey sandwich scale. Just a few blocks away I could get a true John Holmes of a sub at Abdul and Omar's Pizza and Sub Shop, a real tonsil stabber for a mere $5.
I was able to travel through the deepest reaches of the South End unnoticed. Like many of the natives, I was wearing 2(x)ist underwear, which is part of the mandatory uniform, only I didn't pay $20 a pair, I got mine at Marshalls for $5. And I have muscles, but not nearly as massive as the South End high potentates, but then I don't spend every waking hour in a gym either. In the end, old age and gravity are te great equalizer.
I have gotten quite a few e-mails from gay men and lesbians over the years who claim they have enjoyed my writing (they need professional help more than I do :-). One South End expatriate, now living in Europe said he laughed his ass off because he saw the same things. So ends today's flight recorder entry. Now there, don't you feel compelled to book the first red eye flight to Boston to bask in the South End's majesty.
Tomorrow marks another in the growing string of "Hallmark Holidays", holy days of obligation created by retailers to boost sagging sales, and instill a sense of guilt for not getting Mom, Dad, witches and goblins, your sweetie, the Easter bunny or favorite politician that special gift that says you cared enough to spend more money that you don't have on something that will wind up at the next yard sale or in a dark remote corner of the back hall closet anyway. Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there.
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Sunday May 18
with it comes a profound sadness,
and an abyss of loneliness and despair.
Saturday: I had the conversation with Doug many times, while he was in Chicago and when he visited Chez Bigboote, but the overwhelming feeling that something "Big and Evil" is just over the horizon has returned stronger than ever. He often shared similar feelings and we reality checked with one another on a number of occasions. The both of us felt very strange and apprehensive in the weeks prior to 9-11. People and the overall environment have been very strange lately, and this feeling has been growing since last Fall.
I watched Michael Moore's, "The Big One" and "Roger And Me", both of which I enjoyed a lot and a welcome addition to my video library. I love the expressions on the faces of the filthy rich when he asks them simple questions. They are so totally isolated from the reality most of us face daily, I pray that some day reality sneaks up from behind and mugs them. Shortly after 9-11 the news had segments about the hijackers and the people that unwittingly had come into contact them before 9-11. In many cases the people interviewed said that these men gave them the creeps, that the hijackers had no life in their eyes; their souls appearing to be dead.
I've often had the same feeling when I've passed one of the filthy rich in public. Boston has more than it's share of the upper 5% of the population, and to be honest they creep me out; soulless, lifeless, dark and cold expressionless faces, with an aura to match....pod people!!
I made a brief trip into Boston today to get some walking in. I was in traffic next to a Mercedes SUV, Thurston and Lovey were on their cell phones, with their little podlings Tiffany and Conner peering out of the rear window at me. The kids had no joy in their faces, looking more like the pictures I've seen from refugee camps. I've had to interact with these sorts on occasion (thankfully seldom) and have always felt a sense of extreme sterility coming from them, no thanks. They remind me of British aristocracy or the French. I sometimes wonder if they ever fart, belch, puke or fuck. Has Thurston ever jammed a finger up his honker and fished out an award winning booger when no one appeared to be looking?
I passed what appeared to be an old money'd couple while walking through Copley Place, the husband was red faced. Actually he looked like an upper crust W.C. Fields. Wifey must have put on her makeup with a trowel. They both appeared to have embalming fluid for blood, and both of their faces were totally lifeless. Well, enough ruling class bashing for now.
I was in search of an album by Eddie Floyd today. There were a number of songs I liked from "The Big One" and "Big Bird" by Eddie Floyd, is a good example of the sort of raw blues, R&B rock music I especially enjoy. "Big Bird" is one of those songs that has kept playing itself over and over in my mind. The mega stores pulled a blank on Floyd and Newbury Comics said they could special order a disk for me, but could not guarantee when or if they would be able to get me a copy. I think his greatest hits CD will be on my next order to Amazon. Yup, I looked up Eddie Floyd on Amazon and they have a few of his albums that are listed as "ship within 24-48 hours."
Sunday: Boredom, coupled with a lack of energy won out and I was in bed by 9PM last night. More and more people I talk to have been feeling the same way, a cloud of stress, depression and despair over where our fair land has gone, and the uncertainties that the times have brought upon the average "mere mortal" American public.
After having my early morning "bucket'o iced coffee" and scone at Au Bon Pain, I made my regular stop at Harvard Bookstore, then up along Mass Ave into Central Square, stopping in at the various used record stores, in search of the Eddie Floyd album I have become determined to locate. Then the dim bulb came on, "Cheapo Records" in Central Square, that Cambridge destination of music buffs in search of rare and out of print R&B, Blues, Jazz and other pop music. Back in my DJ'ing daze, Cheapo was a frequent stop for locating disks that no one else had. They were just opening as I arrived, a tall lanky black guy assuring me, "Ohhh yeah, we have Eddie Floyd. Give us a minute to open up."
He located a 7 disk Stax compilation in CD that contained a couple of Floyd's hits, but not the one I was looking for, but it did have a lot of really good old, hard to find R&B singles.
He and I talked blues, R&B and dance music for about an hour. he almost broke down crying when I told him about the great purge of the late 80's, when I discarded almost 4000 disks, 2 Technics SLD 1200 turntables, 2 professional reel to reel decks, 3 high end cassette decks, 2 high end CD players and professional mixing board. I almost swore he did shed a tear after I told him that many of my disks went out with the trash, were sitting at the bottom of the Mystic and Charles rivers, were left in the tall Fenway reeds where I knew they would not stay for long, or got sold for 1-3 bucks a disk at a yard sale. He then said, "please don't tell me all of your equipment is also sitting at the bottom of the river." No I sold it all for pennies on the dollar. After I told him that I was told I'd be dead in a year or two tops he understood, "where were you when I needed you. Damn! I would have bought a lot of your music." We discussed the state od R&B and dance music, and he agreed that the stuff they're pumping out today is pure trash."
As you walk along Mass Ave through Central, Cheapo is an easy target to miss, a tiny storefront entrance, but as you walk downstairs is a cavern filled with gold nuggets. I left Cheapo, making my way back toward Harvard Square in the beautiful sunshine, damn the neuropathy, all ahead full.
I stopped at Another Au Bon Pain to sit out on the patio with another iced coffee. A number of people asked me where I got the tee shirt I was wearing. The shirt is close to 15 years old, a simple white tee with a rather striking black and white graphic of some mythical male figure battling serpents, plus a smaller profile of the male on the front, bearing the caption, "Missing Link." I used to attend a closed AA meeting that a guy held in his home. The tee shirt was designed by a friend of his from the Cape who was a graphic artist. Both the artist and the guy who hosted the meeting passed away from AIDS quite a long time ago.
While I sat basking in the sun a yuppie couple sat the next table, Biff was tapping away at a lap top keyboard as he talked on his cell phone (a Norman Rockwell painting for the new millennium). Buffy leaned over to me, "excuse me, but where did you get that tee shirt, it's rather intriguing," she asked? I told her the story about it's age and source, and that as far as I knew, no others existed.
And now for the typical yuppie response that I was not expecting, "that's too bad. Do you know who might hold the copyright to this person's designs. I would be interested in procuring some of his work." So OK, I was polite, and could have been an obnoxious anti capitalist, anti Ferengi, bastard, "well to be honest, his remaining work, if any exists, probably resided with his friends, It was a long time ago. But thank you, yes, it is an interesting design. Too bad everything today is so sterile and corporate." She thanked me for the history of the tee lecture, and I'm surprised they didn't offer to but the shirt of my back, sweat and all.
I didn't feel like having lunch at any of the yuppie dives in or around Harvard Square, so headed over to Davis Square in Somerville to eat at the Burren. I find Irish pub food is always good, plentiful and inexpensive. I have not had Shepherd pie in a long time (a staple I was raised on) so ordered that $6.50 and a salad. The shepherd pie tasted like ambrosia, probably because I have not had it for so long, plus the Burren's was quite tasty.
The day was so beautiful, I decided to walk around in Davis for a while, stopping at Someday for an iced tea. I've mentioned Someday in an old journal entry from Doug's visit. It's sort of a funky coffee house, popular with college students and, ugh, yuppies. I sat in the window reading a student newspaper, which contained mostly anti war, anti-Bush cartel articles. Hmmm, scary, but here I was nodding in agreement with the stuff these kids were writing. One article was by a young woman stating why she felt we are on the verge of the apocalypse. I wonder if these sharp eye'd kids will grow up and forget their idealism, going on to become tomorrow's money'd yuppies. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "I'm glad I'm not 18-20 today."
I not not been in the best frame of mind lately, too many worries and concerns that I won't go into detail mentioning here. So I'll end here with a few links to articles I found this week in my daily nooze searches. Another friggin Monday already.
- Deterring The Empire AlterNet
- George Of The Jungle AlterNet
- It's The Ideology, Stupid AlterNet
- A Mother's Day Manifesto AlterNet
- A Nuclear Road of No Return AlterNet
- The Other 'F' Word AlterNet
- America NOT For Dummies Bobs Fridge
- Bombs In The Bulding Prison Planet Analysis
- Bush Prison Planet Analysis
- BilderWho FunkSpace
- Strange Weather Lately In These Times
- McCarthyism Watch The Progressive magazine
- President Joyride Subversivetalk, Week 163
- So What Am I To Do BuzzFlash Reader Commentary
- Taking Bush Down Crisis Papers
- When Lying Pays Off Counterpunch
- Worldly Objectivity In Bent Space BuzzFlash
- When Lies Matter Shut up, I'm talking.
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Friday May 23
The odometer turned over today, but the "Check Karma" light kept coming on. I think I'm running in mental overload mode right now. Since I'm still in a state of almost total social isolation, there's too much time to reality check and ruminate over the state of the world, as well as my own internal and external states.
On the plus side, there's nobody around to nag me or get on my nerves, no roommate or significant other to yell at to turn down the stereo at 2AM on a week night. I could take out an ad in "Soldier Of Fortune Magazine", offering my time and skills in instigating trouble in some Banana Republic country as a CIA disposable asset, since I have no roots, personal commitments or family to speak of. There are a lot of things I could do as a total free agent.
On the minus side, there's nobody around to share my ups and downs with, nobody who is a constant in my life of any kind, nobody to dine out, cook for, watch a movie, go shopping, go to the beach, talk, share chores and expenses or just plain sit quietly with, nobody I can trust to be there, period!
I never paid much attention to these sorts of issues when I was 20 to 30, but today at 56, they linger in the back of my mind and bother me more and more. In a more tradition and stable world, I would be able to fully retire in another 9-10 years, and believe me 10 years pass by like a Summer squall. At the rate I'm going I'll be lucky to retire by the time I'm 120 years old. Maybe I don't have to worry at all. Maybe Bush and his 1000 closest friends will set off the apocalypse and Jesus will drop by to kiss all of us little people and make everything all better, 1000 years of no greed, bull shit, lies, sickness or war.
But today I got a pay check, have health insurance, food, a roof over my head and remain in pretty darn good health (knock on wood) so should consider myself lucky so far. From what I read and other people claim, I'm in a lot of good company, millions of lonely, isolated, alienated Americans wandering around out there, shell shocked in the valley of the walking wounded.
Just a thought, but mark my word, as soon as Bush's popularity rating begins to get dangerously low, we'll either send a "bomb-o-gram" to the latest enemy du jour, or there will be a terrorist attack of Biblical proportions against America. I'm not cynical at all, I just don't trust the grand hypocrisy party as far as I can throw them.
Someone recently informed me that George Bush is short, or as he put it, "a runt". Uh-oh, we're in for a world of shit if the president has a hangup with his height. A long time ago I worked with a guy who was 5'2". None of us had a problem with it, but he sure seemed to. The little bugger was a tyrant, a Hitler, Ceaser, Saddam and Dubya all rolled into one. This was during the early days of disco when elevator heels on men's shoes were in vogue. I swear he had 8" heels on his shoes. he also wore his pants so tight you tell what religion he was. The women claimed he stuffed socks in his pants (beats me, I'm not going there). During the 80's I met a male porn star at a party. He was all of 5'2" or 5'3" in real life, but he always looked as big as the Incredible Hulk on film. After I met him, I wondered how they made his personality look so huge on screen. It's amazing what they can do with special effects, either that or nature compensates short men for their lack of stature. I've heard the old rumor many times that short guys usually get the longest end of the stick in the sexual endowment department. Maybe this is true since I used to hang around with a guy a long time ago who was 5'4", and had an honest to goodness 14" weenie. Needless to say, he was quite popular with both sexes. I wonder if guys like him get dizzy or pass out when they get an erection from lack of blood flow to the brain. Well enough on that topic. I still think that a major factor in male aggression and war is penis wagging or envy.
Here's the holiday weekend collection of articles from this week's news runs. It figures, a long weekend and they're predicting, cold, raw and rain all weekend, plus I'm coming down with a Springtime cold. I had not plans anyway, so no big deal. Happy b'day to me and all that crap.
- Aliens In Our Own Land OnlineJournal
- Itís Still the Economy, Stupid AlterNet
- Live Sicker, Die Younger AlterNet
- The Matrix's Neo AlterNet
- Withering Economy Try Miracle-Growth! AlterNet
- America Held Hostile Editorials Page
- Building A Nation Of Snoops CommonDreams
- Dry Drunk InTheseTImes
- Kick Their Ass And Take Their Gas CommonDreams
- Military-Industrial Complex Speech Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961
- Patriot Or Pansy Subversivetalk, Week 164
- Bush's Basket Village Voice, maybe Dubya's trying to appeal to gay voters.
- US Concentration Camps Mind Control Forums
- Countering A Wave Of Hate AlterNet
- Class Warfare BuzzFlash
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Monday May 26
"Stick a fork in me, I'm done", at least that's the way I've been feeling. It has been raining and suicidally gray since Friday and it's not supposed to clear until the end of this week; talk about a long holiday weekend totally shot to hell. At least I had no plans at all and feel bad for the vast armies of people who were headed to the beaches and resort areas around here.
I picked up a copy of VB NET this past weekend, half out of curiousity, and half out of fear. I have been programming (or so some people say) in VB 3 through 6 for about 9 years (COBOL and other languages for close to 20) and found a negligible learning curve from version to version. With VB NET I fear I have met my Waterloo, and my programming career has passed it's Zenith. "Holy bat shit Batman, the Riddler has totally scrambled the Visual Basic language." I had read a few technical articles that warned VB NET was a radical change from the VB we all knew and loved. It figures the evil empire up in Redmond has totally shuffled the deck once again. I jumped on the VB band wagon to escape the stigma and glue factory that befell most of us aging COBOL programmers. Shit! damn! VB has become as cryptic as C and Java. I will have to either begin taking mind altering drugs, or hand over my magic wand and wizard's robe, "mommie, they told me I'm not a programmer any more." It's back to square one again and learning to write a short program that says "Hello World!", as if I had never programmed a line of code before. At least in prior revisions the language remained compatible for the most part, and the upgrade wizard might bark at a line of code or some function. When I tried importing my rather short and elegant slide viewer program written in VB 6 into NET, it barfed on 1297 lines out of 1300 lines of code, and had no clue what any of the controls on the forms were. When I finally manage to write my fist bug free program in VB NET, it will be simple and just display, "Paper or Plastic?", or click the other button and it displays, "You want fries with that?" I took a week long "Intro to Java" class last year, and to be honest came out of it know less than when I went in.
Anyway I began a new journal (if you want to call it that) link is in the general rant section. I used to write this sort of crap back in my Usenet dayz and a lot of people enjoyed it. SO submitted for you amusement, is Part 1 of Observations From A Dying Planet this journal will probably grow as the spirit moves me; we'll see.
The May journal is oficially closed due to lack of interest, energy, and an overall state of despair over the world in general; all hail King George, Pax Americana.