Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Neil Young: Thrasher

Neil Young has said "Thrasher" references Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and the turbulence of the 70s. All I know is that it's fine writing, and that it elicits those sudden, firm, knowing nods when the music hits a chord.

They were hiding behind hay bales, 
They were planting in the full moon 
They had given all they had for something new 
But the light of day was on them, 
They could see the thrashers coming 
And the water shone like diamonds in the dew. 

And I was just getting up, hit the road before it's light 
Trying to catch an hour on the sun 
When I saw those thrashers rolling by, 
Looking more than two lanes wide 
I was feelin' like my day had just begun. 

Where the eagle glides ascending 
There's an ancient river bending 
Down the timeless gorge of changes 
Where sleeplessness awaits 
I searched out my companions, 
Who were lost in crystal canyons 
When the aimless blade of science 
Slashed the pearly gates. 

It was then I knew I'd had enough, 
Burned my credit card for fuel 
Headed out to where the pavement turns to sand 
With a one-way ticket to the land of truth 
And my suitcase in my hand 
How I lost my friends I still don't understand. 

They had the best selection, 
They were poisoned with protection 
There was nothing that they needed, 
Nothing left to find 
They were lost in rock formations 
Or became park bench mutations 
On the sidewalks and in the stations 
They were waiting, waiting. 

So I got bored and left them there, 
They were just deadweight to me 
Better down the road without that load 
Brings back the time when I was eight or nine 
I was watchin' my mama's T.V., 
It was that great Grand Canyon rescue episode. 

Where the vulture glides descending 
On an asphalt highway bending 
Thru libraries and museums, galaxies and stars 
Down the windy halls of friendship 
To the rose clipped by the bullwhip 
The motel of lost companions 
Waits with heated pool and bar. 

But me I'm not stopping there, 
Got my own row left to hoe 
Just another line in the field of time 
When the thrashers comes, I'll be stuck in the sun 
Like the dinosaurs in shrines 
But I'll know the time has come 
To give what's mine.

© 2013 L. Ryan

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Five Dollars an Hour

I've got the Neil Young of "Harvest" and "Comes a Time" in my head, impossible tasks at hand, and late night coffee on the way.  There's a heartfelt post waiting for the courage of a button-push that likely won't come.  In a majorly disappointing show of personal weakness, I've allowed people who toss around the word "love" and "God" as the predictable preface to condemning me to those warmer climes of fire and brimstone into my space, even into the holy interstices.  More personal weakness -- I fed the "love/God" Trolls.  These Trolls are already overweight, either in body, in malice, or in avarice, so I did at least limit their kibbly treats to low cal, tartar control, high protein pork products.

What has their "love" and public references to "God"schtuff taught me?  Well, there is the reminder that stress is terrible for CRPS, and derails my neverending efforts to control soma with psyche. It might be better put to say this instead of alluding to "control": Nothing can squelch my ardent desire for soma and psyche to so ardently entwine as to fog the view from these formerly sparkling big baby browns.

Actually, the glaucoma meds have these neat side effects!  No, not the itchy, redness and blurry vision, you jokers!  The double ring of beautiful greens that now surround my previously ordinary iris of backroad mud.

If you've never indulged, indulge -- take a look at your iris in a hand mirror.  It's a thing of beauty, no matter if brown, blue, or some exotic blend.  There are feathers in there, and light.  Infinity. The iris of a living eye puts the most masterful kaleidoscope to shame.

This will sound morbid, and for the longest time the memories were used in morbid fashion against me by that previously mentioned actor, psyche, but if you ever are with a being as life leaves his body, keep talking, and keep watching the eyes.  They are always beautiful and they always fade, sucked inward, subsumed, gone, at the moment of true death.  Keep looking as long as the situation allows, for the iris remains beautiful, and a marker, worth remembering.

In any event, maybe I just wanted the distraction of Trolls -- they're easy; they're stupid; they feed that misguided sense of "mission." Anything to avoid thinking about whom and what matters.

I don't think I've published this poetic effort before.  Don't much care because it brought me joy and back into contact with, as just stated, that which matters.

It was written "for" an unimportant poetry contest about three years ago. There was a time when my brother Bob ("shrink, tunors, shrink!"), my stepsister, and I were, all three, of "babysitter" age. Our dad was in Vietnam and, sad to say, that was the happiest year of our lives. The street we lived on -- off base, in civilian freedom for the first time ever -- was full of fun, young families. A big need for babysitters!

My sister and I earned a fair amount of spending money as run-of-the-mill, adequate sitters, but you know who everyone really wanted? Bob! Six foot four, a pony tail, and a kid magnet. The softball games he organized after dinner were the stuff of legends. A fielding position for everyone in the neighborhood, a turn at bat that always produced a play, if not a run. Sudden new rules!

He would pick up toddlers, carry them over his head and run them around the "bases" -- a telephone pole, the fender on The Rabbi's station wagon, the Smith's holly bush, and all the way to someone's front door home. He cooked, he cleaned, wore everyone out (clientele or not), and even groomed pets. I used to stay awake, waiting for him to come home and turn his evening into a bedtime story. I remember falling asleep to the soft cadence of "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."


Five Dollars an Hour

My brother Bob was the most popular sitter,

the Vicar of Fitzgerald Street,

as baseball runners coasted home, zig-

zag tagged lamp posts, car bumper bases,

magic places, all, triumphant!

Hitters held their crouch,

proud of his boast of "way to watch

the ball, there, buckaroo!," suburban

cowboys and girls, night's gloam

softened even in Baghdad, believing

beloved and loving because of his six

foot four, pony-tailed dominion

over locusts and Pentecost.

The birds, most house sparrows, moved

stumbling, criss-cross clawed and closer

to his soft "hey, batter,

hey, batter" banter poise of noise,

to roost and erase the day's

gateposts, attacks, door

posts, counterattacks, lacy graces,

and atlases with their gridded ghosts.

Because Bob was big and strong, scooping

gurgle-bubble babies, carried directly

from danger straight into fun [aloft! the roosting

birds approved with rustles!], to dunk them

in bathtubs and sinks, have them dreaming,

scrub-dub, of outrageous happy endings

to farflung bedtime stories

begun before tater tots,

strumming guitars through broccoli

-- "the giant's shrub" -- and after asking,

"Are the pets all fed?" -- it was off

to bed, exhausted, safe, fear quashed,

memories of catching, hitting, chasing

balls, and phrases of soft praise.

Monsters and thieves ran fast away

when Brother Bob flew front doors open:

Dismayed and afraid -- though a few came to stay,

reformed by joshing scoffing and the fun

of washing cookie sheets and tossing

foil wrap in the trash, "Three pointers!"

But then they'd loiter, unsure, until by his pied

piping, terror's buffer, they slipped, too,

far from suffering, ushered, sliding into dreams'

home plate, like cloud cover, while he surveyed

the kitchen, stowed the butter,

and swept the floor. Big-handed

tender, he was the favorite, too,

for brand new babies, newer-than-new

preemies, who soaked the august promise

of sun, chrome fenders, and one-

day line drives from his slender fingers.

I would wait at home to hear the tales

of naughty boys and bawdy daughters,

dogs that nipped and cats that scratched,

or -- giving up all that -- I would

wait at home for my turn, my viewing,

my comfort at his comfort, my turn

at his standing tall, the flash of

his "I know you" smile,

his "What are you doing up, kid?"

My beloved own once-in-a-while,

never bitter sitter...

© 2013 L. Ryan

VETERANS DAY REPOST: In Honor of Lieutenant Colonel "Wild Bill" [USAF]

originally posted 3 July 2012


Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
— John Gillespie Magee, Jr

[reposted from July 3, 2012]

My father died last night, apparently, and all I can think of, at the moment is the first line of Camus' L'Etranger, one of his greatest, but beyond absurd in my situation.  And so, of course.

I cannot get hold of an actual obituary but I assume that my blood relatives wouldn't lie to me about a thing like that.  But I've been wrong before, and it's a crazy bunch.

So -- for him, the pilot, I offer "High Flight," which I believe was posted here just recently, for some eerie reason.

What's eerier?  A few nights back, I dreamt that the man gave me his watch.  It was not a Rolex.  Not even a Timex.  Just bulky and silver, with lots of do-dads on it.  That was it.  The extent of my dream profundity.

I had to go to the Infectious Disease doc's place in spite of the colonel's death, and it turned out my temp was a bit over 101 and that my blood work from last week sucked.  They drew blood cultures, stared at my staring eyes, and sent me home.  I'm screwed -- normally, I don't answer the phone.  Now, because of the colonel and the ensuing phone-yappers, I will also have to deal with the medicos who love to telecommunicate.  In short, the infection seems to be beating the crap out of the antibiotic.  "The one antibiotic we have left," El Infectious Disease Doodaloo reminded me.  He's a sweet guy.  One day, I'd like to sit out at a café, and I know the one I want, very Tuileries, very Café Renard, and have a beer with him.

One night, my father picked me up from a late baby-sitting job. I was in high school.  We lived sort of out in the boonies, on a lake, and he was an avid amateur astronomer.  There was a meteor shower.

We set up lawn chairs and watched the shooting stars.

When men walked on the moon, he and my brother-unit Grader Boob successfully convinced me that I could see the men through our backyard telescope.  They had me giving excited descriptions of all their lunar activity.  Have we discussed my gullibility much here on the blog?

I hope for him -- the after-death is flying, flying, flying... occasionally flipping his plane to smoothly bisect the space between silos and chimneys... a claim of his I always believed, mostly because I saw some other Fly Boys laugh and nod, ascots never askew.  Fighter pilots are grace-blessed nuts.

My thoughts are with his beloved wife, Margaret, his daughter Kathryn, and her son, his grandson, Brian. His sister Nancy, too, and brother Jim. Mostly, though, I am thinking of Tumbleweed and Grader Boob, his Good Sons.  

He's to be buried, I guess, tomorrow, Sunday, at 3 PM, with military honors.  I  guess that means an honor guard, a presented flag, salutes.  Were I there, I'd raise a scotch, and remember stars like bullets, his caring for his own aging mother and father, his love for a certain cock-a-poo, and the bevy of air evac nursing personnel who loved to scream out "Heyyyy, Wild Bill," whenever they scooted by in a jeep.  He flew many a mission, low over Cambodia, no lights, to rescue the wounded and bring them to Clark for medical treatment.  He also dropped a lot of bombs, and deforested with Agent Orange.  He lost, I was told, two barracks of men in a bizarrely successful nighttime shelling at Phan Rang.  He liked the album Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel.

But then, too, he adored Herb Alpert.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Just wow: "Lay Lady Lay," Keith Jarrett Trio

I long to see you in the morning light
I long to reach for you in the night
Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead

© 2013 L. Ryan

Saturday, November 8, 2014

An Email to Lumpy Becomes Today's Post

Early on, you asked how I kept from "becoming [my] disease." By now, you know that I did not have such success, and that the Exceptional People who do manage to project a persona of oblivion to true suffering are large suppurating pustules in need of drainage. They are Uncle Festers.

I divert.  Early on that meant a Frenchified tendency toward organized divertissements, especially if they shed light on how to become an Exceptional Person.  Later, and now, I devolved and now have a laser focus on diversion as entertainment, minutiae, and above all else, the tracing of how I got from Point A to Point Z during the course of a difficult stretch of time. 

I divert, via this process of provenance, during whatever I consider my "day time." 

During the remaining night time, I engage in diversion via memory exercises and listening intently to music.  I try to remember the details of every house, apartment, and room that I have lived in. Even reconstructing the formal nature of the previous three days' worth of waking provenance and the greater fun of Activities of Daily Living, in precise order and with as much sensory recall as may be mustered. Which clothes went in the washer? How many fake sugar packets sweetened my bedtime yogurt? Did Fred wake with Albert Einstein hair or was he more of a Helmet Head? Marmy frequently stumps the process, as I lose patience with her, and emotional fuck-ups upset the beautiful precision of recollection.

That's a good time, in the night, to switch to music. In perfect bookends to the day, Marmy fucks that up, too, as removing the earbuds from my ears and rerouting my attention to soothing her in the dark, listening to her odd "ack-ack" complaints until she purrs and settles her angular little body into whatever part of me hurts the worse -- as doing these things make immersion into song impossible. 

Sweet girl that she is, however, she knows there follows the only sleep I will get.

Let me show you the provenance adventure undertaken in the past hour, when I realized that more pain medication would not do the trick and that I was not physically able to conjure up another fish stew, made magic by the chaste use of tarragon and smoky hot paprika, as well as by the creation of eggplant croutons, nuggets of crunchy splendor.

I needed a new batch of books to read and am set on the idea of finally learning something about 20th century English and American novels.  The rich gift of 20th century American poetry still blesses me.

Casting about for guidance in choosing what great modern literature to read, and sensing that it's not a subject about which you can spare a rat's ass worth of interest right now, I hit upon the James Tail Black Memorial Prize.  Begun in 1919, it's a perfect source. The shortlisting is done by English graduate students at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and the final selection is made by "the" Professor of English Literature. No muss, no fuss, and not much money.

They do fiction and memoirs/biographies, but added a drama category out of the blue in 2012.

My first choice will be Padgett Powell's You & Me, simply because I was all set to purchase his first splash, Edisto.  

Everything in my writing, conversation, feeling, and thinking now derives from an obsession with provenance, and this obsession keeps me mostly sane. "How did I/you/the country/humanity get here from the last time I noticed myself/you/the country/humanity back over there?"  My provenance compulsion is limited in scope because it is easy enough to get lost in short leaps whereas the grand sweep of a linked history never comes successfully to fruition. The diseased body has too many occasions to insert itself into the narrative.

Tonight, I happened upon a NYTimes' article on Padgett Powell after stumbling over a strangely literate sports blog while reading around -- like a slut, really -- about something that might be called "extreme running," a lifestyle structured around events such as a "100-mile ultra marathon in the Wasatch mountains in Utah." In the middle of a well written paragraph about training, there was this mention of Powell, and a hyperlink to the Times review.

It seemed destined that I should take an oblique reference to a fairly famous USAmerican Southern writer as a serious recommendation, given the serious erudition of this blogger.  He does not, himself, live the life of running barefoot in the desert through long hot and cold nights.  No, he trains to serve his best friend, Louis, as an official "pacer" in the aforementioned 100-mile ultra marathon. Competitors are not allowed a pacer until mile 39, and are a much sought after team element, as it is hard to run in the dark alone, or to do the vertical challenges which apparently are mentally crushing there at the end of the race.

I now have many questions about pacers and ultrarunners. These questions will lead to other things, and tracking the provenance of whatever tomorrow's end goal after my first session of diversion will be rich fodder and helpful in transforming pain and self-pity into something else.  For instance, there is a haughtiness in the currently abstract and abrupt assertion that pacers, or even support teams, are not needed for 50k events. These people are clearly sneering at me, daring me to ask "but, why?" 

So in searching for finger holds and toe grips on the frustratingly vertical wall of this sport, I discovered a Southern writer to read, one Padgett Powell. In doing the always energizing down and dirty rapid strip down of the author, meaning a visit to Wikipedia, there it was, a mention of  the James Tail Black Memorial Prize, and Scotland.

And my eyes have given out, and my stomach hurts, and Marmy has tuned in to the night time.  My MP3 player is fully charged and lowfat plain yogurt yodels mine name from the fridge.  Fred is hunkered down in front of his desktop, and, besides, we said "good night, sleep well" hours ago.

Thus ends this bit of performance writing, undertaken by unearthing the provenance of one of your disarming, deflecting remarks, playing to my cloying ego: "I've always wondered how you kept from becoming your disease." 

I take that back.  It was a moment of sincerity on your part, which is why I've been relentlessly honest and boring in the performance of my answer.

I love you, as a good mother would tell her child, "to the moon and back." I am no one's mother, certainly not yours, but the phrase is apt.

Will let you know how it goes with You and Me or Edisto.  I am still able to read about an hour a day for pure pleasure, so long as there is yogurt.

Your sister

© 2013 L. Ryan

Friday, November 7, 2014

"If I Should Fall Behind," Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - If I Should Fall Behind 
at Civic Center in Hartford, CT on May 8/2000.

We said we'd walk together baby come what may
That come the twilight should we lose our way
If as we're walking a hand should slip free
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me

We swore we'd travel darlin' side by side
We'd help each other stay in stride
But each lover's steps fall so differently
But I'll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do
So let's make our steps clear that the other may see
And I'll wait for you
If I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now there's a beautiful river in the valley ahead
There 'neath the oak's bough soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darlin' I'll wait for you
Should I fall behind
Wait for me

© 2013 L. Ryan

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

*Possible* Lead in the Lindsey Baum Case

Lindsey Baum, 2009

An Aberdeen, Washington, man who worked for a non-profit that assisted children, “The Gregorian Group," has been arrested "on suspicion of multiple child rapes and molestations."

Gregory Brian Johnson will also be investigated for any ties to the disappearance of Lindsey Baum, last seen in nearby McCleary in June 2009.  She would now be sixteen. Gregory Johnson lived in McCleary at the time Lindsey went missing.

The following information comes from

MONTESANO, Wash. — Gregory Brian Johnson, 48, who heads an Aberdeen nonprofit organization that works with children, has been arrested on suspicion of multiple child rapes and molestations.
On Tuesday, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office told KIRO 7 it will investigate whether Johnson could have had anything to do with the 2009 disappearance of Lindsey Baum, who lived in nearby McCleary.
A department spokesman said that’s standard practice whenever someone in Grays Harbor County is suspected of abusing young girls.
Johnson was arrested on Halloween after a now-23-year-old woman told Aberdeen police that Johnson had repeatedly raped and molested her from the time she was 9 years old.  Sgt. Art Laur said the woman agreed to wear a recording device and got Johnson to admit “to some of the statements she told us about what happened to her.”
The woman's 11-year-old half-brother also told police Johnson molested him from the time he was 4.
While the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office investigates a possible connection to the Baum case, Aberdeen police are investigating whether Johnson may have abused any of the children he came in contact with through his nonprofit organization.  “The Gregorian Group” operated out of a downtown Aberdeen office building and offered young people a place to hang out, and coordinated hiking and camping outings, according to its Facebook page.  That office is now closed.
Johnson remains behind bars at the Grays Harbor County Jail in Montesano.

Although I've not posted about Lindsey lately, I check every week for reliable news on her case, and there has been nothing but the various odd psychic insights and the heartrending prayers for her not to be forgotten.  This is the first solid bit of information in years, and even this is a stretch.  Yet, the feeling has always been that the perpetrator would turn out to be a "local," and a serial violator.

Way back in July 2009, the first post on this blog about missing child Lindsey gave these details, and there has been precious little to add in the five years since:

Around 9:15 pm on June 26, Lindsey J. Baum, an 11-year old from the tiny town of McCleary, Washington, disappeared while walking from a friend's house to her home, only four short blocks away.
She just had an argument with her brother, but most everyone notes that she wasn't storming off mad. She didn't have the accoutrements you'd think of when thinking of a runaway -- no money, no cell phone, no change of clothes.
Some friends set out with her, so she was accompanied for a while before they peeled off to go to their own homes for dinner, or homework, a bath or shower, whatever.
Two of those four blocks are reported to be somewhat industrial -- though we are talking *rural* small town. One block away is access to a major highway.
As any child would be, Lindsey was troubled by her parents' recent divorce. Her father lives in Tennessee... [He served a tour in Iraq shortly after her abduction, and I'm not sure where he lives now.  Lindsey's mother and brother have relocated but remain near McCleary.]

Lindsey, as depicted through "age progression" technology

To read all posts concerning Lindsey Baum published on this blog, click HERE.

© 2013 L. Ryan

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

From the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Blatantly stolen from the Facebook page for the 

Just a few of the reasons people shot each other last month:

I ordered some food at a restaurant. When the cashier told me the price, I got upset. So I shot her repeatedly.

My boyfriend brought a shotgun home and told me I needed to learn how to use it. So I shot him.

After Dad died, I wanted his tractor. My brother wanted it too, so I shot him in the head.

I signed a contract to restore this guy's old truck, but when I told him it was going to cost more than I had estimated, he said he wouldn't pay. So I shot him.

I was playing "gun tag" with a three-year-old child. He was pointing his toy gun at me, so I pointed my real, loaded handgun at him. I didn't really intend to shoot him, but I was drunk and I got carried away with the game.

The gun I bought for protection didn't protect my home from being burglarized. When I saw that I had been robbed, I had a temper tantrum in my front yard. My 13-year-old neighbor saw me and started laughing, so I pulled my gun and shot him nine times.

I was racing radio-controlled cars with another man. We got into an argument about who won the race, so I shot at him.

I like to play with my loaded gun while I watch The Walking Dead. I got a little fidgety while I was engrossed in the show and unintentionally shot my little brother to death.

I was asleep and my cousin started jumping on my bed to wake me up, so I shot him to death.

My friend jokingly slapped me in the face, so I jokingly shot her in the head with a gun I thought was unloaded. (It wasn't.)

At a gathering after a funeral, I asked a woman for her phone number. She said no (she was with her fiancé), so I shot her and five of her family members.

Blatantly stolen from the Facebook page for the 

© 2013 L. Ryan

Family Summer Camp for Pediatric Pain Patients

RSDSA with Mission 

Dear Retired Educator:  

Here At Last: Family Summer Camp for Pediatric Pain Patients -- Free of Charge!!!
We Finally Did It!!!

The Coalition Against Pediatric Pain (TCAPP), RSDSA, and the US Pain Foundation have partnered with The Center for Courageous Kids in Kentucky and have pooled all of our resources to create a camp for kids in pain. This will be a family camp that will take place at The Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Kentucky from July 14 - 17 and is free of charge. It will be a time for families and kids that deal with daily pain to kick up their heels and have fun in a safe, accepting environment!

To learn more about the camp location and what they have to offer, please visit The Center for Courageous Kids website at:

To apply for the pediatric pain family camp, please follow the following steps:

Step One: Complete the Application On-Line By Clicking Here:

Step Two: Print Out the Application, Sign It, Have your Physician Sign It and mail it in to The Center for Courageous Kids.

Other Option: To print out the application and fill it out by hand, click here:

All applications will be processed by The Center for Courageous Kids and campers/families will be accepted based on time of application, lodging requirements, and room availability.

TCAPP, RSDSA, and The US Pain Foundation realize that finances are tight for most families dealing with pediatric pain and transportation to the camp may be difficult. We are all working together to fundraise and provide traveling stipends for those who need them. More will come regarding this in the future. In the meantime, we hope you will use the advance notice to plan accordingly, create personal fundraisers for travel to camp (once again the camp is free), and/or maybe include some travel gift cards on your upcoming holiday wish list.

We anticipate that this will be a great experience and an exciting time for everyone!! Let's have some fun!!! Hope to see you all there!!!

A huge thank you to The Center for Courageous Kids, RSDSA and the US Pain Foundation for helping make TCAPP's dream come true and be able to offer a camp for kids in chronic pain.

RSDSA, TCAPP, & The US Pain Foundation

Be sure to visit the RSDSA website for the latest CRPS/RSD information including new treatment options, valuable resources, upcoming, events, and Support Group in your area.
Click Here to Visit Now!

Contact Information
Jim Broatch
877-662-7737 or 877.662.7737

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn

This e-Alert was made possible by the contribution of the RSDSA Community.
RSDSA Research makes a difference so can you.

© 2013 L. Ryan

Friday, October 31, 2014

Nary, an Inkling

1 November 2014 EDIT:  My, but you are a tenderhearted, vicious bunch.  The Crack Whore is FINE. I simply lobbed a clay pellet onto her oily sloping brow.  It slid right off, and served more as an exfoliation mask than as a criminal assault, okay?  Maybe it recalled a dermabrasion session, I dunno. 

Besides, Cabana Boy, who delights in video-recording all of my finer moments, has visual and audio proof that we tended to her with antibacterial wipes, some Earl Grey in bone china, and a protein bar. (The contents of my pockets are a survivalist's dream.) 

Driven by your nonstop telephoning and that irritating phenomenon of vibrating, buzzing texts, I just rolled out to check on her and get a quote for this day-after, noon-edition addition. There is an odd shiny clean area on her otherwise grimy and comedo-ridden forehead, sort of a dermatological crop circle. Her remark, verbatim, about the clay-throwing incident consists of the following: "What the hell are you talking about?  I'm a crack whore!" 

I'm turning off my stupid smart phone.  Surely you have something better to do than attack the Mistress of Marlinspike Hall Recycling? Jeez.

*****     *****    *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****    *****

Several small joys to share.

We finally were "enrolled" in Tête de Hergé's West of the Lone Alp Moat-Side Recycling Program for Manors.  I was ridiculously excited and declared myself Mistress of Marlinspike Hall Recycling, in one of those moments that recalls my famous 1984 declaration, made during a deep sleep cycle: "I can do it.  I can do anything."

My bedmate was reading, his light dim, and I was, according to his very faulty memory, snoring loudly, even "obnoxiously."  Then I sat up, or in the wannabe writer's turned phrase, "sat bolt upright," and made my declaration of omnipotence.

And so it was that during this past week I  filled the specified blue bags with cans, bottles, an alarming number of yogurt cartons, and other plastics. I combined all my meds and carefully blacked out the prescription information on over 20 pill bottles. I kept a manageable bucket for the daily junk mail and the massive printing production of my electronic health record.  We disassembled a good many cardboard boxes and tossed in any paper products not excessively grotesque.

"I can do it.  I can do anything."

We have a rather complicated system of sanitation management, as you likely suspected.  To shorten the tale, in order to fulfill my vaunted claims, I needed to drag, carry, somehow transport the carefully sorted and assembled refuse that we were rescuing from an eternity in landfill hell... through some of the grander halls of the Manor, left in a pristine state by the genetically indentured Domestic Staff so as to be welcoming to the early morning tourists, and then through the replicated bronze Florentian Baptistery Doors, across the drawbridge, over the moat, to the designated pick-up area across from the Miniature Minotaur Husbandry Laboratories. (The Haddocks are very forward-looking in the R&D plans for our Labyrinth.  But they are also pragmatists.)

Well, we've had quite a bit of rain these past few days. I've had no improvement in my hands, but their approximation of claws came in... well, handy.  What a grip!  I put the huge blue bag o'recyclables lovingly collected atop the official Bin, with its, um, handy pull cord, and set my power chair on automatic pilot.

The bag fell off approximately every 5 feet of lumbering advancement.  Fred was studiously studying an upside down Euclidean Geometry.  Bianca Castafiore watched me from the large mirror before which she was practicing her Slovak, elaborately mouthing a translated Jewel Song, her signature aria, and trying to synch her patented theatrical gesticulations. Large, broad gesticulations.  The Opera plans opulent performances in Bratislava, and plans to cart away trainloads of Euros to be converted once the exchange rate is more favorable.  And Sven?  Well, Sven offered numerous times to help until his smarty-panted son, Cabana Boy, finally hissed: "Dad, hush up, eh? She said she can do it all by herself, that she can do anything." To which Sven responded, Sven-like, "Oh, well, then, more power to her, good on her!" and resumed watching The Food Network.

Spurt by spurt, jerk by jerk, spill by spill, I maneuvered our carbon footprint apology closer to the collection point, slowed considerably by having to repackage the contents of the huge blue bag when it got prematurely processed, smooshed, and squashed in a major flattening exerted by our unusual front door.  Blame Ghiberti, though I suppose my clumsiness played a minor role.

On the drawbridge, I was inspired to change techniques, and began gently throwing the bag a few feet ahead, then roaring up to it, the big blue bin in tow.  Which is how I broke my collarbone, or maybe just tore a muscle.  Yeah, okay, it was more of a rip than a crack, though now it's clearly the sound of crumbling.  Crackling.

Once across the eerily luminescent water, with a new shape where my left shoulder used to be, but my claws still reliably clawing, I ran the wheelchair off the path and got stuck in the mud.

The Crack Whore snorted and snorted and snorted, her face wavy in the green glow of algae.

I got her square in the forehead with a clod of moist and chalky red clay.

That shut her up.

Using the rock-and-roll technique famous to all Stuck-In-The-Mud types, my gray spiked wheels wrenched themselves free of the morass with a loud sucking sound, and I finished my task without incident.

Well, there will be a co-pay for the x-rays and the CT scan, or we could spring for a value bottle of generic ibuprofen.  And then there's the cost of running the chair through Abbot Truffatore's private car wash -- but there again, I benefit from a thorough washing, too, and my hair loves the optional wax cycle.

"I can do it.  I can do anything."

Before next week's offering of our tremendous refuse for reuse, I may work out an alternate route, and adjust some of my techniques.

The other small joys?  Well, my claws are cramping so a short list will have to do: a wonderful salad, sprinkled with white balsamic vinegar and shaved parmesan rinds, eight hours of sleep (if you're liberally polysemic with "eight" and "sleep"), extra Dobby time, and an updated blues selection thanks to a Keb' Mo' download.

Thirty years ago, I had nary an inkling of what there even was to be done out there.  Stay tuned.

I think we may need to make a rain barrel to compensate for the necessary rinsing of the food containers that we're recycling.  Water is a precious resource, too. 

"If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right."

Where the hell did THAT come from?

© 2013 L. Ryan

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Burning CDs

I'm not Buddhist today.  Tomorrow?  Who knows!

Sometimes it's really grand, a thigh-thumping grand, that suffering is life, or life suffering, in case, in translation, the equivalency we accord "is" does not hold true in the original declaration.

Did you think I was going to bore you with YouTube music videos forever?  Actually, there was considerable suppression of the more relevant music being blasted around these parts.  Some fool had me listening to Gaelic and I had a brief -- roughly 20 minute -- rough descent into Andrea Bocelli. There was flirtation with Tindersticks, a lot of lip-synching to Nina Simone, and altars built to Jerry Garcia and these Days of the Dead.

Yes, I was burning CDs, an act I'm new to and that is probably already outdated.  If so, don't kill my buzz.

It's ominous, assembling music for someone important.

You have intent, you cannot escape having intent, and yet you wish to appear to have no purpose leap through the chords, scream through the lyrics.

This is how I feel about this song.
But how will he feel about this song?

The only solution is Suppression of Intent -- and in that brief period of relief from one's self, to go with your gut, and never look back.  You pick a song, you burn it, you move on.

After the items are mailed, there's time for second-guessing to kick in.

Like... what was I thinking, leading off with this?  I mean, I used to be a huge John Prine fan until, late one night, sipping on a sloe gin fizz, I got tired of the facile.

Surely you've noticed?  I veer from the facile, abhor that which is easy, and run (toes pointed!) from observations, no matter how astute, that don't show all their work.

But he gives a good concert, and I'm fond of him, and of the days when we all giggled about getting high.

So when my brother "Lumpy" [still a Grader Boob, as he still insists on haunting a classroom, despite an advanced and evil cancer] gets these CDs, I am sure he'll think something like... "I shoulda spent more time with that kid... Meant to pass on the music that my brother passed on to me, but this sister is clearly, sad to say, low brow."

Or maybe he'll laugh, as these songs are meant to pass the driving time as he flies from campus or apartment to chemotherapy or radiation, a 6' 4" man with considerable skeletal pain, folded to fit into the passenger side of a Mini-Cooper.

I let my intent fly free at the end of the process.  I closed with Nico's cover of the great "I'll Keep It With Mine."

In case you can't tell, it's a heartfelt offer on my part -- to those whom I wish I could rock to sleep in my funky spastic arms, murmuring lies, meaning every one of them as a noble truth.

"It's gonna be all right, sweet one, it's gonna be all right."

You will search, babe
At any cost
But how long, babe
Can you search for what’s not lost?
Everybody will help you
Some people are very kind
But if I can save you any time
Come on, give it to me
I’ll keep it with mine

I can’t help it
If you might think I’m odd
If I say I’m not loving you for what you are
But for what you’re not
Everybody will help you
Discover what you set out to find
But if I can save you any time
Come on, give it to me
I’ll keep it with mine

The train leaves
At half past ten
But it’ll be back tomorrow
Same time again
The conductor he’s weary
He’s still stuck on the line
But if I can save you any time
Come on, give it to me
I’ll keep it with mine

-- Bob Dylan

Of course, another pisser in this whole process is the low brow fear of being derivative.  How many times, in how many ways, has Lumpy the Grader Boob sent me our favorite tune, such that I could not now send it back to him?

But, here it is again, for us.

© 2013 L. Ryan