Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Life never stops moving

by The Urban Blabbermouth

Life never stops.  My father died.  I am so sad. He died on the same day as one of my little cousin's sixth birthday.   I suppose as there are only 365 days each year and some billions of people in the world, it is inevitable that families will share birth and death on the same day. 

Life never stops.  Millions of people share my birthday.  I have only met one of them and she turned out to be some twenty plus years younger than I.  Funny, she also turns out to remind me of me but a much better and nicer version.

Life never stops.  I sit at dinner with my wife and think that one day, there will only be one of us sitting here having dinner.

Life never stops.  I think about all my family who came before.  Beyond Great Grands, who remembers?  In three generations, I will be joining my forebears, lost to memory, but still living in the bodies of those generations to come.

Life never stops.  One day I was shaving and I looked into the mirror and thought that as I get older, I look more and more like my father.  When I was younger, I thought I looked more like my mother.  Now I have my father's receding and balding head, his flat behind, and share our notable family nose.

Life never stops
It is so strange to think of my father as still.  He was never still in life.  He was always doing.  One day he had naught to do so he waxed the furnace.

Life never stops.  Rest In Peace my father.  See you one day.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Don't Just Cry

by Vol-E

I found this poem in a box of old papers from about 30 years ago. 

Open the floodgates
Pour out an ocean
Cover the world with surplus emotion
Put up a billboard
Take out an ad
The world's got to stop - 
You're feeling sad!
Shame on the smilers, woe to the glad.

So don't just cry. 
Let the world know.
Shiver till the walls quake
Tell us how cold.

You take the prize for the shiniest eyes.
Nobody knows the troubles you seen 
(not  yet, at any rate).

Give it a minute.
Soon we'll all be wallowing in it.
Sympathy ain't good enough
Or a word of consolation.
Rend your garment
Gnash your teeth
Beat your breast
Drown us in grief.

Ask more than your due
Who deserves it more than you?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Biting the Bullet

by Vol-E

Journal, Diary, Notebook, Planner, Organizer...those are words that turn me on like "Fifty Shades of Gray" might to someone else. I've kept a diary since the age of 11 -- the lock-and-key type, where each page started with "Dear Diary." Soon enough, those little books just weren't cutting it. I escalated to composition books -- at one time, I had two of them duct-taped together, back to front, for continuity. They were not so much to enable me to record all the significant events. My mindset, in my teens and 20s, was entirely inwardly focused. Elvis and the Pope could have set up camp outside the front door, and I'd have made no note of it if I were embroiled in some inner crisis.

Shortly before my son was born, I made the decision to ditch every single diary I had. Many years, many pages. They're out in a landfill somewhere, I have no doubt, and that's exactly where they belong. All these years later, I have not regretted the decision to throw them away. They contributed very little to my life. Until Wally was about 5, the most "journaling" I did was maintaining a pocket calendar. Gradually, I stopped navel-gazing and started looking up and around, recording the events and moments that really mattered.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

great grand mama

by the urban blabbermouth
trolls to the right of her
trolls to the left of her
trolls in front of her
onwards walked great grand mama
into the valley of death
to face the troll king
hers but to do or die

my how young you are said she
and so like children too
young I may be said the king
and this no childish game
for I conquer pillage and burn

smiled she her wicked smile
yet let us play childish games today
you win I call you king
do you know Red Light?
the king gathered his troupe to play
great grand mama turned and turned again
Red Light!

the troupe froze waiting for her to turn once more
waiting to advance to win this game
but her witch eyes grew larger and larger
and her spectacles floated into middle air
to stare down the troupe evermore
frozen in place they were
as great grand mama left the field of play that day

seven morn hence great grand mama appeared
to see the troupe still frozen as they were
stepped into her spectacles and declared
you have lost this game and the right to be my king
begone now ere I call for more childish games

great grand mama turned toward her home
sat in her rocker this sunny morn
and resumed her ancient art... of knitting?

credits:  my opening stanza comes, more or less, from Charge of the Light Brigade, Lord Alfred Tennyson, 1854

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Life in Stories


by The Urban Blabbermouth
 My first moment of creativity occurred the moment I was born, and frankly, it went downhill from there.  No matter what I thought up in fantasies and wrote into stories thereafter, nothing could top my creativity in creating myself at the moment of my birth.  All of me came to me in a flash, in an instant, in an explosion of creativity like the Big Bang.  Me, bursting upon the universe in a loud wail and the universe was suddenly better, well, certainly noisier if nothing else.  It was magnificent.

Where then can I go from here in writing my story?  What false attempts to top my initial and greatest moment of glory can I engage in now?  I have one hundred years to try.  More than half the years have passed and I still have no answer to tell you.  I have written countless stories, some rich in joy, love, humor, and others poor in joy, love, humor, and so far, none have proven worthy.   

The truth is this -- the day my answer finally comes to me, will turn out to be the last day of my one hundredth year, and my last day here in this world.  I will then be born again in another magnificent burst of creativity in the next - whatever it is that comes. 

So there you have it, born in creativity, dies in creativity, and muddled through the middle somehow.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

How The Cow Jumped Over the Moon


By the Urban Blabbermouth
The captain of the guard held the thief by the neck as the guardsmen watched and smiled.

The captain also smiled and said to the thief, "You are in big trouble for this.  The goddess is unmerciful to thieves.  She tosses them alive into the fires of hell and dances to the screams of their agony." 

The captain continued, "I must thank you, for standing guard has been dull.  Not many thieves try to steal the goddess's jewels anymore."  The captain sighed, "But the goddess, she commands us to stand duty nonetheless."  Then the captain brightened, "You will make some fine entertainment this night."

The captain turned to the first guardsman near him and commanded, "Tie him up and take him to the throne room.  I will alert the goddess."

The goddess apparated on her golden throne.  She wore a simple green gown, a crown encrusted with pearls, and a matching pearl necklace. 

The captain bowed and reported, "Goddess, we caught this thief in your jewelry chamber."

The goddess looked at the thief kneeling before her and noticed was he was very young.

"How old are you?"

"Nineteen," whispered the thief.

The captain hit him on the head. "Louder, and address the goddess as goddess."

"Nineteen, goddess."

"How be it that you are such a young thief?"

"It was a girl, goddess.  I fell in love and promised to bring her the moon.  I heard a legend that each full moon was one of the pearls of your necklace and I sought it for her, to show her my love."

"My, you are a foolish boy.  Does she love you?"

"She has not said so goddess but I hope to win her love with this gift."

"Well, your love will now cost you your life.  Have you also heard of my punishment for thievery?"

"Yes goddess, the captain told me."

"Prepare yourself for a painful and agonizing death.  By the way, how did you get into my jewelry chamber?  It is well guarded and the chamber is in one of my highest towers and you should not have gotten that far."

"I walked up a moonbeam to the window and stepped in, goddess."

The goddess began to smile, "Release him," she commanded the captain, "and let him approach me."

The goddess broke her necklace and removed one pearl.

"Here, give this to your girl.  Captain, escort this thief to the main entrance and let him go."

"As you command goddess. May I beg permission to ask why?"

"You may, for only a man, heart light with true love, can walk on a moonbeam."

Monday, March 28, 2016


by The Urban Blabbermouth
We entered the Topkapi National Museum's jewelry display room at precisely 4:44 pm, a time when visiting patrons are scarcest.

"One minute to go,” I reminded my team.  “Start on my signal.  Remember everything we..."

KA-BOOM, the building trembled, the alarm klaxons went off, and the security doors started to close.  The museum’s security was a combination of Muggle technology and magical wards.  The Muggle security system was a physical system, locking steel doors, electric eyes, closed circuit monitors, and the like.  The magical wards blocked any spell that would transport an object, allow a witch or wizard to apparate or to pass through walls, and the like.

"What is that?"

"I don't know," I replied, "sounds like an explosion."

"Do you think that someone is trying to steal the Diadem too?" Antonia asked.

"I don't know," I replied, "maybe, maybe not.  It could be a gas line exploded, or a terrorist attack, or something else."

Saturday, March 19, 2016

My Future Passed by Today

by The Urban Blabbermouth
I am stopped in my car at a red light, waiting patiently and a bit bored, when an old lady crosses the street in front of me. 

She is walking slowly with a cane and keeps looking at the light, worrying  if she will get across the street in time.

There was a day past when this lady briskly walked across streets with enough time remaining to cross back and forth before the light changed. 

This is my future, to be slowly crossing the street and worrying if I am too slow, while at the same time, watched impatiently by young men in cars with nothing else worthwhile to do with themselves.  

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Word of the Lord


by The Urban Blabbermouth
This morning I am crossing the street to my office building and my mind is busy organizing the work I have to do today.  A man is crossing my path and I misjudge the distance from him and I step on the back of his shoe.  He turns to look at me with a hostile look on his face.  I call out, “sorry, sorry.”  He nods and his face turns to neutral and he goes on his way. 

There is magic in Sorry.  It cures pain and diminishes anger.  Think how many fights on crowded buses would stop if someone said sorry.  Think how many lawsuits would go away if there was a sorry somewhere in there.

It is Sorry not love that has the magic.  You can’t say “love you” to a stranger.  They would not believe you.  Worse, they would think you a predator or, at best, weird.  But, you can say sorry to a stranger and smooth over any ruffled feelings.

You can abuse people followed by a sorry and the sorry will still work its magic.  I remember a colleague who would always interrupt anyone in conversation to tell you his opinion.  He always prefaced his interruption with a “sorry to interrupt” and it worked.  We put up with his behavior.

There are some who never learn the Magic of Sorry.  They see it as a weakness for them to say sorry.  Their lives must have many fractious moments.  The Magic of Sorry does work on them when someone else says sorry.  I feel sorry for them. 

You can’t over use Sorry.  Don’t be surprised when you see yourself glowing with the Magic of Sorry the more you use it.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Analyze This, Part 6B-2: On the Road Again

by Vol-E

                                                        Ain't I gorgeous??

A couple of years ago I read a book called The Numerati, which described how corporations "mine" data in the form of innocent, unsuspecting mentions by Facebook users and bloggers, of the things they happen to buy. This is perhaps a cost-saving measure by the corporations: They don't have to spend money on surveys, in which people will lie anyway (well, some people). I set out to describe everything I own with a generous disclosure of all the brand names.

Oh, but then I ran out of steam. Here's where I left off, and once this post is up, I'll retrace my steps and throw a few dozen more brand names out there. Quite a lot has changed since my last such post.

I drive a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt coupe. It's teal blue, at least for now. A few more years, it will be a faded, sun-bleached memory of teal blue. The Clear Coat started coming off shortly after I bought this vehicle in 2010. First there was this little bubble, and eventually an entire panel on the driver's side was stripped away. The roof has had a sunburn for years, and now it's spread to the hood.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Black is the new Orange

by The Urban Blabbermouth
Having the day off from work for the President's Day holiday, I decide to be lazy, to do no house chores, no work tasks, absolutely nothing.  I decide to go sit in an exclusive high-priced mall.  You know the kind, one with Nordstrom's, Neiman Marcus, and a Zamboni that follows you around removing your dirt and scuffs from the highly polished marble floors as you walk.  I choose a spot outside Nordstrom's near the coffee bar.

Sitting at one of their fancy tables, sipping my fancy coffee and doing nothing transported me to the type of Paris street cafe that we have seen in the movies.  The problem, though, is that in the movies, the Parisians are all stylishly dressed.  Not here.

A hundred or so shoppers stream by me like a runway show at New York's Fashion Week.  I see a terrible lack of elegance.  Most shoppers are in black or blue jeans and some uninteresting dark top.  None with any style or color or elegance.

You would think that the people going to an upscale mall like this, shopping in Nordstrom's and Neiman Marcus, would pick up their style.  I imagine that the women should spend lots of time carefully picking out their outfits for the shopping excursion.  Yet, I see no elegance. 
Curiously, the mothers dress their five-year old babies better than themselves in colorful and pretty outfits.  To be fair, the guys are slobs and don't seem particularly concerned how they dress either. 

I did see a snow bunny.  She wore black leggings, a gray sweater, a black parka draped on her arm, and the obligatory furry boots in matching black.  
The best dressed people were Nordstrom's employees.  Nordstom's has a requirement that the employees wear black.  I saw some very elegant women in black. They confirm the sartorial magnificence of the little black dress.  There were some women wearing black leggings with patterns, also lovely.  I was struck by one lady whose leggings had a black stripe down the side just like one would see on a military uniform.  

There were some other expressive women too.  One older lady wore a gold lame wrap around her black tunic.  Another, and I add quite young, wore black leggings with a black boots that came up to her knees and the boots had huge gold zippers up the back and... matching gold heels.

I must say that male employees looked elegant in a well fitted suits and ties.  It's hard to beat the form and elegance of black suits, white shirts, and a skinny black tie.  Too bad men do not dress that way any more.  

The best dressed man was not a Nordstrom's employee as he walked in the opposite direction after he bought his coffee.  This gentleman looked to me like one of the metrosexual types one sees on television.  He wore a black jacket with a pale yellow shirt and a bold yellow tie with a blue pattern.  He had on beige slacks and his shoes were, get this, a two-toned beige and blue oxfords.  His final touch was a large diamond stud earring that sparkled fire under the mall lights.  A bit feminine for my tastes but he did carry it off well, something I don't think I could do.

Now that I think on it, it's the same at work - no elegance.  Dress down Friday has become dress down all week.  I cannot remember seeing any elegantly dressed co-workers.  Perhaps they are on another floor.

Tomorrow morning, I am going to dress
in my black jeans, fancy leather walking shoes, in black of course, and a plain white shirt.  I will sit in the lobby of my office building, Starbucks coffee in hand, and just watch.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Love and Learn


by The Urban Blabbermouth
BAP! Carol's slap rang in my head and through it I heard her say, "Don't do that again."  Carol was my high school girlfriend. She did not object to my squeezing her booty as I had her permission to do that sort of thing.  No, Carol objected that I did this at a party in front of our friends.

Carol and I, along with our friends, were post-puberty relationship novices.  We did dumb things*.  We were struggling to learn the new rules of behavior between boys and girls, not to mention the new rules of competition between boys and boys and between girls and girls.

Flash Forward...We are now fully grown into adulthood and we are still post-puberty relationship novices.  

In my office, there are Office Husbands and Office Wives. One of the Office Wives was chatting with an intruding male.  It was a typical work conversation, How are you? How was your week-end? How the company does not appreciate us working folks, that sort of thing.  Her Office Husband went out of his way to invade his Office Wife's cubicle, standing next to her, and putting his arm around the back of her chair.  That's office behavior for mine, mine.  I am sure that I did hear him growling at the intruding male.

Women are not immune but they are more subtle than men. Once, I saw a woman flirting with an Office Husband. They were smiling and laughing happily. His Office Wife saw this too and took umbrage. She went over and interrupted the conversation with something innocuous just to show the other woman "keep away, he is mine.

Yup, still post-puberty relationship novices.

*That squeeze was my sign to my peers of my alpha male status -- this beautiful, sexy, desirable girl was mine and I can do this but you cannot. Carol, in opposite sex fashion, thought something like, "If he can do this to me then they (guys) will think they can do this too."

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Funny Fable


By Vol-E, originally told by UU Minister J.B.:

A man, hunting in the woods, captured a bird, which immediately began to talk.  The man was thrilled, dreaming out loud of the money he could make.  
The bird spoke up.  “Hey, that’s a great plan, but what happens if I croak?  You don’t know how long my natural lifespan is, and neither do I.  If you promise to let me go free, I’ll give you 3 pieces of advice that can help you be successful as long as you live!”
The man thought about it.  This bird must be really wise, if he could talk that way.  So he agreed and let the bird go.  The bird flew up onto a branch and said, “Okay, here you go.  Number one:  Never regret your decisions.  Number two:  Never believe something that’s obviously impossible.  Number three:  Know your limits and don’t over-reach.  Bye!”  The bird flew up to a higher branch, looked down at the man and said “Whoops, I forgot to tell you something.  I’ve got 37 pounds of diamonds in my belly.  S’long, sucker!”
The man became enraged and thought he must be really stupid for letting such a valuable bird go.  “Even if you die, those diamonds could make me rich!” he said, and began shooting at the bird.  But the bird dodged the pellets and flew from branch to branch, taunting the man (in flawless English, naturally).  
The man ran out of birdshot, but refused to give up.  He began climbing the tree in hopes of reaching the bird where he was perched.  The bird let the man get almost within grabbing distance, and then flew up to a higher branch.  This went on for a long time.  Finally, the bird was at the top of the tree, but the man was still scrambling from limb to limb, determined to capture the bird.  He again got almost within grabbing distance of the bird.  The bird was stretching his wings, getting ready to fly somewhere else, when the limb broke.  The man fell 50 feet to the ground, breaking a leg, an arm, and his nose.  
The bird flew down to the ground and sat near the man, just out of arm’s reach.  He said, quietly, “You know, you really are a dummy.  Don’t you remember what I told you when you let me go?  Letting me go was the smartest thing you ever did…but then you blew it.  Remember the three pieces of advice?  
“Number one: Never regret your decisions.  As soon as you let me go, you regretted it, and look where that got you.  You just wasted your whole afternoon and now you’ll be limping around for months.  
“Number two: Never believe something that’s obviously impossible.  Look at me….you held me in your hand.  Now, how could you believe I had 37 pounds of diamonds in my belly?  
“Number three:  Know your limits and don’t over-reach.  You over-reached, and fell out of that tree.  What did you think you were, a squirrel?  You’re just a human.  A very stupid one.  Bye!”  And the bird flew off, never to be seen again.  

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Discount Love



by The Urban Blabbermouth
It’s Valentine’s Day and I usually post a rant on Valentine Day’s foolishness.  But this year, I am feeling, well, loving.  There is no explanation for it.

This year, I am well prepared.  I already have a gift and a card for my beloved wife.  It was more luck than a plan. 

One day, we had an arctic freeze and the temperature dropped some 30 or 40 degrees in twenty-four hours.  I am walking through the downtown area feeling cold and decide to stop in Macy’s Department store to warm myself.

I walk into Macy’s and I see sale signs every where.  They lure me over to the jewelry department with a humongous valentine heart sign with huge glowing red letters, “60% OFF”.  I ask the lady at the counter why it isn’t “100% OFF”?  She answers, “We are selfish that way.”  Oops. 

I pick out gold hoop earrings with some diamond dust sprinkled on it.  It’s pretty but the diamond dust just does not have any sparkly fire.  Dummy me, that’s why it’s 60% off.

My beloved wife will be happy.  I am such a good husband. 

Happy Valentine’s Day, One and All.