December 2002 - This Ride Is Closed
RayzRealm (c) December, 2002

"We know when you are sleeping,
We know when you're awake,
We know if you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake.
Ashcroft's spies are coming to town"

"You're free to speak your mind my friend,
So long as you agree with me.
Don't criticize the fatherland,
or those that shape your destiny.
Cause if you do...
You'll lose your mind, your job
and all the friends you knew.
We'll send out all our boys in blue,
They'll find away to silence you."
-The Ostrich, Steppenwolf

Thanksgiving Day laugh while you can monkey boy.

A December early edition

Hey kids! It's time to put on that dark business suit and dark glasses, grab your cell phone, climb into your black SUV with the dark tinted windows and and take to the American roads in search of shady looking characters. Everyone can now be their own personal 007, sniffing out terrorists, spies and anti-Americans who didn't vote republican. Be the first on your block to have your picture taken with George Dubya, and win a nifty plaque stating that you are a party member in good standing in the never-ending war on terrorism.

Does your next door neighbor keep their shades drawn? Sounds mighty suspicious to me, be safe and call it in! Did you see a co worker walking out of an adult book store? The store may be a front for a terrorist cell, better call it in! Does anyone on your block drive one of those foreign fuel efficient econobox sedans, or worse still, walk or ride a bicycle? They're downright un-American, dial that Tips number now! And how about that friend of yours that regularly dines out at Mid Eastern restaurants? How do you know that the doggie bag he took home, supposedly containing stuffed grape leaves was not in fact bomb making materials? Better let us take him into custody for interrogation, call us! And what's that you say, your paper boy has a web site with links to VOXFUX, BuzzFlash, AlterNet and Bartcop among other subversive commie pinko links? How do you know if he and his family are really and Al Qaeda sleeper cell? Better to be safe than sorry, call us and we'll round up the whole family.

Be a good citizen; pick through your neighbors' trash. Make it an activity the whole family can participate in.When you visit the homes of relatives, friends and coworkers, make it a point to covertly go through their medicine cabinets, dresser drawers, book cases, movie and CD collections, and don't forget to check out the basements and garages for anything remotely suspicious looking. Send the kids out on a fact finding mission to examine the daily contents of neighbors' mail boxes when they're not home. And don't forget man's best friend. Your dog can also serve his country. Train Fido to be a bomb and drug sniffing canine. These are only a small token of the things you can do to help keep us all safe from terrorism. But remember, your neighbors are also on alert for suspicious people, so turn them in before they turn you in!

Thanksgiving day I drove out to Lowell to visit Mom in the nursing home. After 90 minutes I was emotionally depleted and had to leave. I hope I die before I wind up spending my life bedridden. Yes, thanks to modern medicine, people "exist" longer, but I can't quite call it living. I've sat by the bedsides of one too many friends and loved ones who wasted away slowly suffering in pain.

The only restaurants that were open were packed and only accepting family reservations. I finally found a Boston Market that was open and had the 1/2 chicken dinner with 3 sides and corn bread. Hey, go for broke! It's Thanksgiving dammit! Someone that walks into a Boston Market, Pizza Hut, McDonalds of KFC on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years or Easter is either working the holiday or a loser. I was the one single customer, and the only person who spoke English in the joint, was that Klingon I heard.

Paul's Mom had invited me to drop by for pie after I visited my mother, stopping by for a visit did lift my spirits. I also got to spend some time with Paul's old childhood friend Hugh and his family. After I returned home, crawled into bed and surprisingly fell asleep.

If it wasn't for being sober for going on 14 years, this would be a good time to go out on a season long bender until late march of next year. Maybe I can see if there's a "Lobotomy Hut" open this weekend and get one of those express lobotomies that last all Winter.

I sent Doug in Thailand a long e-mail, and thankfully got one back from him saying he's ok. The last mail I got form him was just after being sick for a couple of months. This time last year his visit was a major bright spot of my year and Thanksgiving.

Sunday December 1

I talked with my old friend Bob for quite a while on Friday which was good. I'm not sure how much I'll see or hear from him in the future due to the turmoil in his own life and his plans for making a career change that will probably take him out of the area. He really has not had time to talk and made a passing remark, "maybe I'll see you in another life."

Winter is here with a vengeance. Temperature was in the teens with the wind chill, but decided to at least get out of the house for a while, taking a brief ride into Harvard Square. I'm still feeling edgy and stressed out, so browsed book stores for a while, then had lunch at Temple Bar, a nice roast pork loin, roasted red bliss potatoes and cabbage in a balsamic glaze.

Wednesday December 4

I survived Thanksgiving weekend, and so did the rest of the country to the best of my knowledge. It has become almost second nature to wonder what the "terrorists" have up their sleeves next; when, where, how, why? I'm sure this is part of their agenda, keep us all biting our fingernails and peeking through the blinds. This is also a hidden "jackpot" for the Bush cartel, so long as we're all running around like chicken little waiting for the sky to fall, his popularity rating remains through the roof.

On to a lighter note! I read a brief news blurb over the weekend that gave me a good laugh. Sorry but I never bookmarked the article here. Anyway, it seems somebody with as twisted a sense of humor as me switched electronic voice boxes with some Barbie and GI Joe talking dolls, so that Barbie would blurt out in a deep voice something along the line of "Eat lead scumbag!" and GI Joe making statements like "Let's go shopping" and "Math is hard!" I guess Mattel was not very amused. Gawd, if I were a Mattel executive, I'd be peeing my pants laughing. OK, so I found it mega funny.

I got an e-mail from my old coffee klatch buddy Paul, who left Boston earlier this year and moved to Las Vegas. He asked if I was aware of the program on cable about Roswell. Hmmm, Warren and Bob asked me the same thing. At some point I'll have to join the 21st century, toss out the rabbit ears and begin getting overwhelmed with 600 premium channels of of mental junk food.

Any rational thinking person knows that it was a dry cleaning bag filled with swamp gas that had a few crash test dummies tied to it that crashed in that farmer's field back in 1947. Everyone knows that there are no such thing as aliens from other worlds. If there are, and they're supposed to be thousands of years more advanced than we are, what the hell are they doing coming here? Maybe they're into really cheap cheesy sitcoms, and humanity is about as bad a sitcom as there is. Paul also sent me the following very (to me) interesting observations. Thanks Paul, and keep them coming. If I ever find myself in Las Vegas, I want to have lunch at the Little A-Le-Inn, meet Mr. Bartcop, check to see what sort of junk mail they get in the "black mail box" then drop off a copy of my resume at Area51.

Tomorrow the U.S. Supreme Court begins deliberations on dumping the Miranda Ruling (you have a right to remain silent).

In a case from Oxnard California, a man was beaten to a pulp and shot by the police without reading his rights (he was ultimately never charged). Oxnard is appealing. The Bashcroft Administration is supporting Oxnard.

For 40 years, Baby Boomers endured the Cold War and its $60 Billion price tag. Why? Because 'they' (the communists) were not 'free' and you don't want the KGB knocking on your door in the middle of the night, do you?"

If the Court overturns Miranda, the KGB (Homeland Security, along with Poindexter's Super Database and Watch Lists) could be knocking on YOUR door next. (But probably mine, because of mail like this).

For years conservatives have bashed the ACLU as everything that is wrong with Left. They didn't like the ACLU because of its positions of free speech and separation of church and state (Fundies don't like that). But it seems that now some conservatives are viewing the ACLU as patriotic like Henry Hyde (R-Illinois) are signing up because even they are thinking the Bush Dynasty is starting to go to far.

If life imitates the movies, then Damian Thorne (The Omen) has come to power...

Don't count on Generation X to do anything, nearly 50% of young people 18-24 can't find New York State on a map, so they probably think Miranda is a Latin singer...

Right after he gets his Homeland Security, Bush cuts the raises for the people who are supposed to run it. He forgets that the US military could not have won World War II without the support of millions of civilians manning the factories, 3 shifts a day, back home.

Don't count on the general public to notice either, they're too busy worrying about their jobs and getting the best X-mas shopping deals. Here's one for them - Freedom: 50% off starting Wednesday...

I got my annual performance review at work, which was a "just short of walks on water" evaluation. In light of the floundering economy, my salary increase was not much, but I'm not complaining at all. I've talked with people who have not had an increase of any sort for 3 to 5 years, so consider myself fortunate and (knock on wood) I'm still gainfully employed and enjoy what I do for a living.

Thursday December 5

I got a call from Harvard Bookstore last night, informing me that the book I ordered arrived. I had been trying to find a copy of "Mortal Men", a series of stories about gay men who have been living with HIV for 15-20 years, and have yet to become sick. I enjoy reading stories about people who "keep on trucking" and beat the "expert" odds by co-existing with HIV, cancer and other chronic illness, remaining in good health.

I've been adding quite a few links to the Library, Christian and 12 Step Recovery pages lately, which may require a bit of page splitting at some time. There are so many sites out there containing well written and interesting content that I could spend the rest of my life surfing and still only scratch the surface.

Speaking of links and articles, here is this week's rather large harvest of articles I plucked from my daily news runs.

Friday December 13

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here is this week's list of articles a bit early

Sunday December 15

It's been raining cats and dogs since last night, and I'm expecting an ark to float by with two of everything waving at me, except of course pairs of homosexuals. Maybe Noah's ark did have a few gay stowaways, how else did they get here today?

I drove into Boston Saturday morning in the pouring rain and caught the Orange line into Downtown crossing to pick up a small gift for the Yankee swap at work on Monday. As I rode the subway a scene from "Jacob's Ladder" came to mind. Toward the beginning of the film Tim Robbins is on a subway and wakes from a dream. The scenes in the movie were very surrealistic and dark.

I walked through Chinatown to replenish my Panax ginseng and seaweed soap supply. Yeah, the seaweed soap I mentioned in an earlier flight recorder does seem to work. I stopped for a cup of green tea in a tea shop near the herbalist I shop at. The day had a dark feel about it, and as I walked through Downtown Crossing navigating among umbrella toting masses, I thought of a scene from "Blade Runner". The day was made for drifting in and out of stores, not looking for anything in particular. I enjoy chatting with sales people, who always seem to get a kick out of my warped sense or humor and reality. A woman in the Levi department at Macy's thanked me for bringing her a few laughs among all the nasty mean spirited customers she had to deal with, and for sharing some trivia about Levi 501's. She couldn't believe that I used to buy 501's for about $8 a pair at Army-Navy stores, "wow you go way back." Yeah, I remember button fly Levi's back when they had a select cult following.

Then I got into a long winded chat with a sales person in men's furnishings about underwear. He told me that they were going to begin carrying a fairly full line of 2(x)Ist men's underwear after the holidays. He admitted that he'd never heard of the brand before. I first heard of 2(x)Ist during the web's infancy, and to be honest their athletic briefs are the most comfortable and "ahem" flattering to the male Equatorial region (for those of us who can still get away with it) underwear I've worn. My last stop was TX Max, where I did find a useful item for the office Swap, then a brief swoop on Barnes and Noble. It was still pouring, so decided to catch the Orange Line back to Back Bay station, darting across the street to stay dry in Copley Place and Pru Plaza.

After having a bucket of iced coffee at Au Bon Pain, I decided to have lunch at the Living Center, and ran into a guy who attended the same retreat I did two years ago. I got to talking with a very pleasant black woman who was there. The older I get I'm becoming more and more sympathetic to the African-American culture, and actually identifying with them. There was something about this woman that just radiated a loving warmth.

I see and hear a lot of these fat cat white "supposed" right wing Christians, who to me, are anything but the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. On the other hand I have met a lot of African-Americans who claim Christ and it shows in their voice, eyes and manner. Oh sure there are good and bad, no matter what color, but in many Black Christians I've met, they live their faith, they've been through trials that would send a lot of white folk taking the gas pipe, and still they have faith. Well anyway talking with this woman lifted my spirits on such a dismal raw and rainy day.

Today I visited Warren in Nashua to take him out to lunch. I pray that his luck changes in finding a job, since he's been out of work for a year and a half with no employment prospects of any kind so far.

I called my old friends Noel and Ellen, who I have not seen since last Summer. I recently changed my Verizon phone service to "Unlimited Eastern Mass" coverage, so not I can call most anywhere within 4 area codes toll free. I also transferred my out of state long distance service from AT&T to Verizon, because it was a lot cheaper.

Noel, Ellen and I talked for quite a while and Noel said he was worried about me because I've been feeling very isolated for so long. Hopefully I'll be seeing them soon. Tomorrow calls for more rain and snow.

Friday December 20

I got a very nice long e-mail from Doug in Thailand last night. He's heading for Sri Lanka and maybe India. He said if we're all still alive and in one piece he might be returning to the states during the late Summer of next year, and if I was available, he might be able to visit. Well Doug, if you read this, the door at Chez Bigboote is always open to you, you're truly good people. Stay safe, stay healthy and please keep in touch.

Today it's pouring again, but for the past two mornings as I drove to work at 5:30AM, the moon was so big and full, like some scene from a movie. The cupboard is bare this week for my usual collection of subversive news articles gathered from around the web. I do have a few dozen links that I have to visit further for addition to the Page of Secrets and Library pages, but have not felt much like working on my site, due to the emotional overload.

Sunday December 22

Happy Winter Solstice or whatever else readers mat be celebrating. Christmas is coming and is Santa ever pissed. Jesus is even more pissed off over what the money changers and marketers have done to his birthday.

Tuesday December 24

"Peace on Earth, good will toward men", what a novel concept! My annual holiday cold has arrived right on schedule. I had headed South, put on a grass skirt and jumped into a conga line, in hopes of diverting my attention away from a few recent incidents. At least it was a temporary distraction until I emerged back into the light of day, or was it nightfall?

"Your mother's ghost stands at your shoulder,
Face like ice, a little bit colder.
Saying to you......
'You cannot do that it breaks all the rules,
that you learned in school'."
-Triad, Jefferson Airplane

An old song by the Jefferson Airplane has been playing itself in my head over and over for the past few weeks.

A whopper of a Nor'easter blizzard is going to hit us tomorrow, but I will make an attempt to visit her if it doesn't require a dog sled team to get there. An acquaintance said that I was being selfish, but I just don't have the emotional stamina to be around her for more than 15 minutes to a half hour. I try to tell myself it's for self preservation reasons that I don't visit more often. Even when she was more lucid, we never had much more to talk about than the weather, food or trivial family matters. I know she loves me, but to quote an old long gone friend, "your mother didn't have children, she took hostages!"

Thursday December 26

I was up and out the door early yesterday morning to visit Mom at the nursing home. It was most definite, we were going to get clobbered with the first major Nor'easter blizzard of the season. It always seems spooky how quiet it is on Christmas morning, the slate gray skies and dead calm adding to the feeling.

Mom was asleep when I arrived with a small Christmas tree. I woke her up, and she took my hand, "are you really here?" I nodded, "good", as she squeezed my hand felling back asleep. She wasn't aware that it was Christmas, she wasn't really aware of much at all, but would wake up, smile at me, then doze off again. I stayed for 3 hours, just holding her hand, deciding it was time to head back home since the latest weather report claimed that the storm would hit suddenly and we could see 2-4 inches an hour. I gave her a good bye hug, then headed back toward the city.

I stopped by Paul's folk's house, since his sister told me last Sunday to drop by, that the door was always open to me. His family are really good people, and I enjoy their company. After spending most of the afternoon there, headed home to hunker down for the coming storm. It had been pouring since early afternoon, reports saying it would all turn to snow later in the day, when the real storm arrived.

I called and old work colleague and friend to wish he and his wife a happy holiday. Back when we worked together we were in constant contact, but as the old DEC crowd was scattered to the winds, I've fallen out of touch with everyone except Tom, who I make a point of touching base whenever I can. We always get into long winded conversations about technology, science fiction, UFO's, the unexplained, reality and anything else that comes up. Tom is one of the very few people that I've felt motivated to keep connected to after our long tenure at what was once one of the greatest places to work on the planet.

Tom asked if I had seen the series "Taken", a series on the Sci-Fi channel. A few other people have asked me what I thought of the series and were a bit surprised, "what you of all people have not watched Taken?" So OK, I fess up, I'm one of the few remaining holdouts who does not have cable or satellite TeeVee. I had cable for years, but dropped it after Paul passed away, which was part of my fiscal belt tightening after having to foot 100% of all the household expenses. I still have an antique hand crank 27" Sony TV, non-digital, non HDTV, plus an early steam powered DVD player, and 2 aging VCR's. I've added "Taken" to my list of things to see. Hopefully the entire series will be released on video soon.

I was not aware that Tom has been closely following my journals. I was telling him about a bizarro encounter I had recently. He said he enjoys hearing about my misadventures and observations, adding a word of caution about more recent ramblings. He shared a feeling about the flight recorder, my writings in general and possible connection to the latest incident. I had thought about writing a long winded entry regarding the event, and in retrospect am glad I decided to strike it from the record. Let's just say, it all had the feeling of a lead-in to a Stephen King story or episode of Twin Peaks. Anyway Tom, thank you for the observation, it lit up a lot of lights in my head. I've taken your advice, portions of the past 12 months of journals have been slightly edited and sanitized for my protection.

A New Years resolution: NO! I will try not to totally shut down Area51. As time and energy allow I will attempt to maintain the flight recorder on a monthly basis, but the content will change slightly. The ongoing rants and observations about cell phone zombies, titanic SUV's, film, music and other "crimes against reality" will continue. What will change (and I have to remain mindful of this) is to keep the shields up, and refrain from revealing my hand to any of the card sharks who take a seat at the cyber card table. So here's a tip of the Area51 hat and clink of my glass to Tom, who has always been dead on in most of our conversations.

I think talking with Tom last night helped break whatever spell was cast on me. I will solemnly try to refrain from petting tigers, nesting with buzzards or running with ravenous wolves in the coming year. This will be prove to be difficult, as there are so many energy vampires running around loose and on the prowl.

In ending today's entry, yeah we got belted last night. This storm had a bit of everything; pouring rain, sleet, blinding snow, almost hurricane force winds, thunder, lightning and a temporary tear in the time-space continuum. I was watching the news and weather on Tuesday night. El Nino, is lobbing storms across the continent like a mechanical pitching machine. Maybe it's nature's way of attempting to rebalance the system from all the planetary plundering by the industrialized world. Of course the ultimate cleansing would be for a giant asteroid or comet to pay Earth a visit. That would most certainly reformat the globe and level the playing field.

I was up at 4AM shoveling. The ride to work was quiet and traffic free, probably due to so many people taking this week off. My lower back still is not talking to me yet.

Sunday December 29

I called the Karma Sheriff to evict a number of tenants who've been living rent free in my head. The loud music and partying have been keeping me awake. He told me to take a day off while he tries fumigation again to drive the pest out, and suggested I grab my grass skirt and take the red eye South to jump into a conga line. I jumped into a conga line or two, did the Rumba, then returned home, "nope the noise is still there." It did offer a bit of a diversion, but to be honest I wasn't in a dancing mood most of the day, so I listened to the music, tapping my feet to the rhythm and observing the other dancers.

There were a lot of things I wanted to write earlier as I was driving South, but the Muse has left me, and every time I attempt to capture them in key strokes, nothing comes out quite right. But the phrase for today is "skin hunger", yes skin hunger, the need for strokes, petting, hugs, embraces, fondling, spooning or holding. The skin is the largest organ of the body, and strives on stimulation. Infants wither and die, (if not physically, emotionally) if not held, cradled, stroked and hugged. Skin to skin contact is an important part of our well being, and too many people are dying from skin starvation, or to quote Rod Stewart, "there's no passion." So I'll leave you with that thought for today.

Tuesday December 31

"Parting glances and a temporary farewell as I go on sabbatical for an undefined period"

For one brief instant I'll pull out all the stops and say what's on my mind.

It is with a heavy heart that I end the year. The past few years have not been easy. I lost perhaps one of the only true friends I ever had 3 years ago to kidney cancer. Paul was a gentleman in the strictest sense of the word. I was with him until the end as I took care of him with his family, watching him suffer and die. What little faith in God I had dyed when he passed away. Why a truly good man had to suffer so much while so many truly evil people flourish seemed to unfair. During Paul's final year he told me on a number of occasions, "You have been my teacher. I have learned so much from you." Paul was also my teacher as well as a true friend and companion. His passing was a mirror to the so called "fair weather" friends that have passed in and out of my life. I spent the fist year in mourning and contemplation. I spent the second year in hopes of filling the void.

A number of people and events during the past 6 months have been the straw that has seriously compromised the integrity of the camel's back. I've quoted "The Games People Play", a song by Joe South a few times in these journal, and truer words were never spoken. I've pretty much lost any faith in the honesty, sincerity, integrity and worth of anything people say these days, they never say what they mean or mean what they say. Most of what has passed from the lips of people I've met during the past 20 years are pure fertilizer.

People will say and do anything to get what they want, whether it be sex, money, a connection to somebody else, a brief relief from boredom or other favor. Once they get what they want, I have found they scurry off back to join their fellow wolves in the pack, never to be seen or heard from again. Some are indeed fortunate, those who have a truly loving and dependable circle of friends, an extended family.

I've also been spending too much time thinking about how much people have changed since during the past 40 years. I came from an era when everyone knew all of their neighbors, doors and cars were left unlocked, there was no cable, internet, video games, mega-malls, cell phones, ATM's or answering machines. People had to deal with one another face to face on a daily basis, so you got to know, the bank tellers, shop keepers, neighbors, etc in your town. As much as technology has been liberating, it has also been a major contributor to the ever growing alienation, frustration and isolation I have witnessed and experienced through time. The vast cornucopia of options available to most Americans have made many into selfish, self-centered, greedy little toddlers with the attention spans of crack babies.

Another question I have is, if people have so much and have been so enriched, then why are so many zoning out on alcohol, drugs and other addictions. There was no major drug problem in the world I grew up in, but today, masses are go "running for the shelter of their mother's little helper", to quote the Rolling Stones. Many people I have encountered are on anti-depressant and/or anti-anxiety drugs, while they lose themselves in rampant consumerism, booze, drugs, business and bed hopping.

My old colleague Tom, Paul's folks plus a few others who know me that stated, "Ray, you wear your heart on your sleeve, and maybe are too real for most people to handle." Yeah, what you see is what you get. I was never able to play "the game", wear masks like most people I have met. I found it to be too energy draining attempting to play the phony sincere guy. It's time to rip that frigging heart badge from my sleeve and replace it with camouflage and war paint.

At this point I am ending further flight recorder entries. Right now I feel that it's a waste of time and energy to comment further on the narcissism, arrogance and evil or our elected / unelected leaders and people in general. It's looking as if 2003 will be a banner year for the filthy rich. Most likely we will be at war on multiple fronts, perhaps even nuclear war. I feel, and have felt for many years now that 2003-2004 would be a time when a huge paradigm shift will take place.

I've had this growing feeling since the early 80's that while the masses are under the general anesthesia of mega-malls, titanic SUV's, McMansions, consumerism, booze, drugs, sex and rock and roll, mixed with a false sense of security, that powers that be have been working overtime to execute the biggest power grab in history. It's been in the works for quite a long time now, and I feel that on some level a lot of people are aware that "something wicked this way comes" but choose to remain in a comfortably numb fitful sleep, inserted deeply into the matrix that has been prepared for them. I could be wrong, but I feel that, possibly sooner than later, the world is in for the dope slap of the millennium.

I am not sure when or if I will be devoting my time writing in here. It could be next week, next month, year or never. There are a head full of other things I want to say, but right now I will keep mum. It's early New Year's Eve and I'm heading off to bed to tune the world out. I bid whoever reads this "peace" in body, mind and spirit, may the wind be always at your back and God your copilot.

Presented for your amusement or aggravation is the last collection of articles scooped up from my weekly web wanderings for now.

Shalom, Ray