Sunday, May 20, 2012

At the Vent

Over at my other blog - A Vent for my Spleen - I'm carrying on about the true war on women. At least, the figurative one waged on their ability to disagree with orthodox feminist dogma.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Born To Run

"Five hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was flat and fifteen minutes ago you knew that people were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow."*

Taylor.jpgA typical detective's day begins slowly, almost casually. Visit with friends, grab a cup of coffee (no donuts - haven't you read about the national obesity crisis?) and settle into the cubicle. TV detectives, bent on crushing crime just in time to sleep with the new hot girl working "uniform," would already be out the door.

No, modern "detecting" is about workflow. The first real duty-related thing would be booting up the computer, signing onto the network and finding out what cases the boss has assigned. So, imagine if you will, a case where a prominent citizen - perhaps the president of something - has stated on separate public occasions that he was born in Kenya...Hawaii. "Wait, it will come to me," he exclaims. The detective turns off the computer, takes an Advil and heads for the gym.

Forget context, how this isn't really an issue and we all know that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Forget that our hypothetical detective (actually, in Arizona, a very real task force exists) in our hypothetical police department wouldn't get this case in any normal way. Any trained investigator would begin with a simple question.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Goat Piss Into Gasoline

Mrs. Tarantino: Are you the police?
Elwood: No, ma'am. We're musicians.*

Dunn on stage playing bass guitar wearing a yellow Hawaiin shirtNo, the Obama Administration has not turned to a domesticated member of the Bovidea animal family for its latest green project. It's a memorable line from a movie, one sure way toward immortality. A bass player, talking about the past, said "We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline." Donald "Duck" Dunn…musician, actor, cultural icon…passed away yesterday at seventy.

Music is an emotional medium, ready to make you laugh - cry, dance and a thousand other things – at the drop of a hat. Movie makers use it to reinforce their most poignant scenes, TV producers offer a "theme" sometimes so distinctive that two or three notes brings the listener not to the show, but to the era. Back to who you once were, what you felt. Who you loved, and who loved you back.

The Blues Brothers released in 1980, Dan Aykroyd's homage to the blues. Two brothers, having grown up in a Catholic orphanage under "The Penguin's" tutelage, clad in cheap black suits, skinny ties…. The home is closing due to unpaid back taxes. Jake and Elwood scheme to pay them, at the urging of Cab Calloway and God. "Joliet Jake" has just been released from prison and the boys put the band back together. Do you see the light? The movie is a parade of slapstick, ill-mannered obsession and awesome music. John Candy plays a cop, Henry Gibson a Nazi – Illinois law enforcement receives a whole lot of good-natured ribbing – and in the end, the boys hand Steven Spielberg (playing a clerk) enough money to pay The Penguin's taxes.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Imaginary Lover

"Never turn(s) you down
When all the others turn you away
They're around"*
Yet another reason to be miffed at President Obama. Here I am, toiling…struggling hand to mouth as a freelance writer. Royalty checks dribbling in – a little here, a little there. Modest talent paired with comprehensive law enforcement experience aspiring to pay off credit cards pumped full of cruises, B&B vacations and wine. A minor scrivener pouring my heart into fictional Karen and Adam, just as fictional Amy and Ken, and trying to peek life into Cici. Then, I find out I'm competing with Barack Obama for the novel reader's attention. That's just plain wrong.

Apparently, when the President was in college, he had a girlfriend named "New York Girlfriend." Her identity was later established, to an extent. At least, her name is Genevieve. Sort of. In his book Dreams From My Father, President Obama recounts an important moment when the NYGF questions him about a play they'd just attended in New York. The emotionally charged conversation:

After the play was over, my friend started talking about why black people were so angry all the time. I said it was a matter of remembering—nobody asks why Jews remember the Holocaust, I think I said—and she said that's different, and I said it wasn't, and she said that anger was just a dead end. We had a big fight, right in front of the theater. When we got back to the car she started crying. She couldn't be black, she said. She would if she could, but she couldn't. She could only be herself, and wasn't that enough.
Great stuff. A poignant moment, two good people struggling for common understanding, reaching out for each other. Only, it never happened.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thank You, May I Have Another

Last year, I lamented that I had poorly planned my vacation periods, allowing way too much time between them. I apologized, you'll remember, for seeming infantiley obsessed with cruise planning and multiple vacation periods. I explained that my employer, a municipality, requires me to work most holidays, but affords "days off" instead that I can take whenever deployment allows. An introvert, you'll recall, embraces these moments and uses the inevitable planning sequence as ancillary "vacations of the mind and soul." Still, it was a lesson learned and I would hesitate to repeat it.

So, of course, I signed us up for another cruise in December. I'm not sure about you, but this makes perfect sense to me.

Now you may ask yourself, what is he talking about? (No, I'm not going to channel Talking Heads). Couple of things.

First, there are few things in life as pure as boarding an airplane with my wife, on the way to vacation. I've said this a hundred times, written it a bunch and even had people pay me to read it. The walk down the jetway (we routinely call it the gang plank) is nothing but bliss. Last time, we were on the way to Ft. Lauderdale for a cruise. Clutched in hand was a delicious Schlotzky's sandwich Pat had scored, which I washed down with a perfectly serviceable pre-mixed mojito. Fresh from mid-winter Denver we had the cab driver roll down the windows in nearly eighty Ft. Lauderdale.

Second, we usually choose something closer to home for our spring vacation, leading to my second-favorite pure couple's moment - driving away from our neighborhood on the way out of town. Last year we pulled the popup to Moab, enjoying an anniversary dinner of Eddie McStiff's beer and pizza, our dogs looking on. This year, we left the dogs home (not literally) and did a bed and breakfast trip through Colorado.

We stopped off in Raton, New Mexico and visited Pat's sister Susan, husband Mike. Two relaxing, wonderful, blissful days with a couple with whom we'd be friends even if we weren't related. Easy-going, funny, hospitable folks - Mike and I did a bit of shooting at a neighborhood range, and even got Pat to bang away a couple times with an M4 carbine. Leaving was bittersweet.

We stayed in a nice B&B in Taos (next time we'll stay a little closer to town), a luxurious one in Ouray (the Captain's Quarters at the China Clipper) but the gold standard was the Rose of Crested Butte. You may tell yourself....

Chocolate-dipped strawberries greeted us in our room, along with a nice card wishing us a happy anniversary (I'd let all of them know the reason for our trip - Ruby was the only one who bit). The room was "cozy," the sure description of small, though hardy cramped. We ate at a delightfully-local pita place, drank Australian red while we watched Galaxy Quest (a vacation staple) and slept well. The only ones in the place, breakfast could easily have been Pat and I chatting, served graciously and left alone.

Pat and the owner hit it off in a big way. Chris is a recovering lawyer (my wife is married to one), a college professor and an entrepreneur with fireproof optimism. Two hours later, delightful inkeeper Cassie reminded Chris that he was now late for class at Western State. We think he passed us on the road to Gunnison - we were doing 65 and he was...not. They talked leadership, especially in the context of running college-level programs. They talked nonprofits. They talked.

We could have stayed. We could have invited Chris and his wife out to dinner, to continue an extremely compelling conversation. We could have done a lot of things, but what we did was head home to our beloved dogs. And cats. Of course.

But this December - gang planks and cruise days and a couple's massage.

We're headed for Jamaica, mon.