Friday, March 31, 2006

Donovan - Celeste Lyrics

Here I stand acting like a silly clown would,
I don't know why Would anybody like to try
The changes I'm going through?
A hidden lie would fortify
Something that don't exist
But it ain't so bad, I'm just a lad,
So many more things to do,
I intend to come right through them all with you.
My songs are merely dreams visiting my mind
We talk a while by a crooked stile,
You're lucky to catch a few.
There's no magic wand in a perfumed hand,
It's a pleasure to be true.
In my crystal halls a feather falls
Being beautiful just for you
But that might not be quite true, that's up to you.
Dawn crept in unseen to find me still awake
A strange young girl sang her songs for me
And left 'fore the day was born.
That dark princess with saddening jest
She lowered her eyes of woe,
And I felt her sigh, I wouldn't like to try
The changes she's going through
But I hope love comes right through them all with you.

Who thinks that the "dark princess" is the "you" mentioned in the last line?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Old Fox Databasing

Well, with the small sum of my monthly retirement now added to the pot, I have to be more serious (at least pay more attention) to my medical bills. I’ve already sent them all some money, but certainly not all. I decided I should enter it all in one of my old FoxPlus databases to keep track of the plus and minuses of it all. Unfortunately, I’ve done so little programming in the past couple or more years that it turns out I’ve gotten rusty, if not stupid.

Some things in Fox I remember and others are just below the surface of my memory. I almost remember, but not quite! That galls me. I guess I now approach the age or temperament of Old Mr. Drew who I knew briefly back when home computers were just getting popular—he always said computers couldn’t do anything that he couldn’t do with a pencil except do it faster and he wasn’t in any hurry! Being younger back then, I thought he was nuts. Now that I’ve aged a good bit, his thoughts are not so foreign to me, though I am still a fella who gets in a hurry! I want to program the computer to do it, not only fast, but automatically. I don’t want to add it in my head or to use a pencil or a calculator—but I may have to use those old methods for a while if I can’t remember all the aspects of database records that I used to know!

Today I beat back a few of the monsters. I created two databases and Set Relation between them. But I only have about 7 fields in one and two in the other! Each database has only five records at present! Most of the time and arduous work were spent on working out a field structure that was logical enough and light enough for me to manipulate them with some ease. I got partway through the jungle today.

I guess now I’ll have to read. Damn! It’s coming back to me slowly, but not all. I see I’ll have to work at this. Being self-taught, my methods are too convoluted to seek much help from others, so I’ll just have to wade through it. Other programmers who ever knew this have probably moved on to the next fancy edition several times in the 15 years since my programming began. But I only have to be good enough to satisfy me, so what’s to worry? Everything will work out.

Or fall through the floor!


Abraham Lincoln: "Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Frantic ERD

It's time for another frantic erratic rat dropping, but I can't think of a single important thing to say. So I'll cheat. Who can it hurt, unless you feel duped, doped, hog-tied and taken advantage of. In that case, blow your top; talk REAL LOUD about being miffed. Then shove me back in the closet. I was happy there with the bugs and the rats and the pests of all kinds. I was writing checks for a solid hour earlier, mostly $50 checks. I was paying something on account with all my doctors and clinics. I wonder, on account of what? It's not something I do for love, that's all I know.


Laurence J. Peter: "Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Steely Nerves

My first couple of annuity payments came in, so I guess I'm retired at last. Diseased, but retired! Retired, but not deceased. Yet.

My primary physician and one of his nurse practitioners had a nurse phone me today and say my blood count was low again. They want to take blood one more time and then probably send me to some hematologist for testing. Seems like too much testing, but I can't argue. Surely they aren't going to decide after all this time that I just need some iron pills! I expect not. Jeez. I do need some steel for my nerves, though! I'm tired of being ill.

No Rules

Thomas A. Edison: "Hell, there are no rules here—we're trying to accomplish something."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Another Stupid Old Poem


I was always crazy, I guess,
And haven’t changed a bit
Except to get worse,
Like some angry skunk-in-the-dumpster scent
That won’t go away or change,
And never had what I deserved
Except when I had you,
And didn't know it…

3rd draft: 03/29/06
©2003 Ronald C. Southern

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Galileo Galilei: "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."

Quote Script?

I previously asked about this, but got few answers, so I'll rephrase it. If my "Infamous Quotations" in my blog DO appear in "Edwardian Script ITC", let me know. If anyone IS seeing a large old-fashioned elaborate script there, do me a favor and let me know!

Saturday, March 25, 2006


For those who are and those who aren't fans of The Lord of The Rings, I have to point out some good news; this is another anniversary of The Downfall of Sauron!

Thank you, hobbits!

Just Surviving

Since publishing the "Lame Duck" post, I have fallen further into the abyss. And now it's the weekend, too, which is even worse. I'm alive, of course, but just surviving. Being bored makes me a monster!

Friday, March 24, 2006

What You Say?

I'm still twitching.

Better, But Indefinite

I went to my primary physician today and found I’d been demoted back to seeing one of the CFNP’S (Certified Family Nurse Practitioner). I don’t mind, though, and certainly don’t feel insulted, as I like all of the medical people I’ve deal with at that clinic. I hadn’t been there for a month and needed to check in with them. I don’t think I discovered very much new.

He took blood again. Poked and prodded me a bit. He agreed that I’d been through some pretty thorough tests since he’d seen me 2 or 3 months earlier and agreed that it was a good sign that my weight seems stable and my blood sugar seemed under control. At least I haven’t lost weight for a month or two! He seemed to still consider it a bit mystifying what my weight loss was caused by, but was satisfied that things seemed good for the time being.

On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be any thought that I am “cured” or well yet. Nonetheless, I don’t have to go back for 3 months now! That’s a long time. I don’t know whether that’s good, but I can always make an earlier appointment if anything good or bad starts to occur. I guess this seems very indefinite, but it’s all I’ve got. I’ll have to try to eat and regain some stamina. But that’s a hard damn thing to do. Maybe I’m better than 6 months ago or even 3 months ago, but I’m still feeble.

I’ve gotten word that my retirement (not large, but greatly needed) has been processed and my monthly annuity payments may begin within a few days! That would be a sort of psychological boost for me as well as being a help! I’ve been waiting for them to begin since November. I need to get back in charge of my own finances again even if I can’t get out from under my debts very fast.

What’s those lyrics that Country Joe and the Fish used to sing in their heyday—“Whoopee, we’re all gonna die!” Yeah.

Elaborate Script?

Recently I set the Infamous Quotations in my blog to appear in "Edwardian Script ITC". Now I wonder how I know if others all see what I see? If you're not seeing a large old-fashioned elaborate script there, do me a favor and let me know!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Attention, RSS Ramblers

Message to all RSS dweebs: Come down off your throne and eyeball the real site (this one in color, I mean)!

Lame Duck

I’ve been doing double backflips (intellectually speaking) lately, but it doesn’t seem to make a wave. I’ve been writing posts without pause and emails without regard and still I’m talking to myself!

I used to often observe that my mother was/is a paranoid and, whether I like it or not, I guess I inherited some of that from her! When her messages aren’t delivered or her phone calls aren’t returned, she thinks someone is out to get her! Not true, I suppose, but I only suppose it because I am my mother’s son! I feel that way, too, regardless of whether it makes good sense. Just call me Lame Duck, then call me late for dinner.

As for comments in my blog, they seem to go in waves. For a while, there will be a good number, then back to nuthin’ again. I may have to start talking to complete strangers again before this is through. Leaving messages on other people’s blogs! Why not; I have no dignity and very little backbone. I keep shovelling out another "gem" and then another, regardless of whether they're just rat turds!

Hello stranger, feel me up. Better yet, tell me something arcane or fanciful. Quick, I need entertainment, if not enlightenment! Jeez, what a mess I am. All dung ho, you might say! (D’ya like me, huh, do you, do you, huh?)

Oh well, send in the clowns. Get rid of me.

Really Said

What Robert De Nero really said: "Am I talking to me? Am I talking to my fucking self?!"

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Where'd They Get That Fucking Idea?

E. B. White: "Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time."


I remember that Dogger Gatsby used to say he had heard somewhere that Arabs disfavor the left hand because they wipe their behind with it. It is the “other” hand, not the right hand to eat with! Some say that's what originally made the left hand the "wrong" hand.

Maybe Arabs still think of it that way. Maybe everyone does, except for left-handed people who, rumor has it, wipe with their left hand, too. Dogger was left-handed and seldom thought about it at all. Being a "lefty" in the late seventies in America, he was more inclined to think with favor about wiping his ass with an Arab than to worry about which hand he did it with. Had he lived until the 911 disaster in 2001, his opinion would probably have remained the same.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Sidney J. Harris: "Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable."

Madness and Argument

Henrik Tikkanen: "Truly great madness cannot be achieved without significant intelligence."

G. K. Chesterton: "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion."

Didactic On The Cruelty Of An Old Friend


By the uneven tongue taught, from the fraught
wound torn, through hot and cold slow scenes,
the drumbeats in your blood have brought
the anger-stone, the emptiness, the thorn.

For what waste-hope
did the small sister pray?
By what deep way
did she fall, turn, sway,

that you should be now, as before,
this heedless, thrashing beast;
be imprisoned in the vein now,
denied the human feast?

Toward what end these ruined moments
you produce when the pillared fires
rise in fierceness,
burning the flesh from our eyes?

Now when will meet the hands held back
by hope-in-careless-tears,
where touch the hearts charred black,
turned back, by flaming blood and swift drumbeats?

The pulse that takes the dart beats slowly
in the still, torn breast,
in the small sister's heart--and I am torn
in two to see your love worn down to this.

By the untaught tongue unleashed,
from the caught tongue's ire,
from the birth to the kiss to the wire:
your life is artful anger,
slow death played out in scenes.

For what waste-hope
dare the small sister pray?
By what dark way
will she fall, turn, sway?

In the still, worn beating
of my sister's heart I hear
words still fraught with love
for you, hopeless words of love,

and that will be, I think,
when they screw our coffins down,
what turns the screws the tightest
as your soul goes down.

4th draft: 02/22/03
©1983 Ronald C. Southern

Monday, March 20, 2006


I was perusing like a drunken fool
The sweet fat thighs of youth
When all her voices shrill and cool
And much more than disturbing cried,

“C’mon, cowboy, climb on and ride!”
Well it was something like that—I mean,
Something weird yet just the raunchy
Come-on that I longed to hear,

Thinking that surely in such fierce embrace
We might these pierced and harried hearts forget,
That in these coy considered copulations
We might discordant souls forget,

And so on and so on until, in no time again,
I was flaccid, torpid, silent,
Withdrawn without a trace,
Yet cocky there atop her face to face.

She coughed, then pushed me off and sighed.
“We are lying in these dank tangled sheets,” she intoned,
“Like any two wretched things cast up by the sea,
We are gasping the air and gasping the sea,

And if our dry tears be the measure of drowning,
If our lax limbs be the limits of flying,
Then we are in fact no more than voluptuaries
Caught at the end of our act—

Only that
And nothing more
And God must know
We hope for more…”

3rd draft: 03/14/06
©1985 Ronald C. Southern

Killing A Wild Blog

The other day I had a strange experience. That "Blogger Help Group" I’ve mentioned before often has someone asking for help, but one girl was going rather far! No, not offering to barter sex for template help! She was begging somebody to let her email them her username and password so they could Delete her blog for her!

After my trying a couple of times to inform her how to do it herself, she just sent me her username and password! She wanted to wash her hands of the whole dirty thing, it seemed! I quickly figured out the reason why she couldn't log on herself was that her username WAS the same as her blog name but DIDN'T have a dash in the middle of it like the blog name! Should I rush an email to her and tell her I’ve saved her blog? Or should I just put it out of its misery like it was an injured dog in the highway, as she seems to wish?

I decided not to worry about her lost posts or her puzzling life. I just did what she asked and blew her blog straight to hell! When it's deleted, it's gone for good, Blogger says. I suppose it’s true. She didn't have all that many posts, so her loss is minimal. I didn't bother to read it all, so she may have had stuff in there she considered embarrassing. It's gone now, whatever the loss or the damage.

Onward through the fog.

Shakespeare and Dorothy Parker

William Shakespeare: "Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance."

Dorothy Parker: "I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true."

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Good Tips

Though it's new, something that looks worthwhile is Blogger For Dummies They give some handy tips on being lost in the Blogger ozone.

p.s. There seems to be an environmental blog associated with this that looks interesting, but I haven't had time to explore it much. Look for yourself at the link on the first blog.

More Dull Blog Mechanics

Some of the dull blog mechanics that has entranced me of late is checking out the questions and answers at Blogger Help Group. People ask about Blogger templates and other such mysteries. Sometimes it’s interesting and sometimes not. Lately, I’m afraid the long-term downtime of certain Blogger servers has a lot of new bloggers asking the same things and making the same angry statements and demands. When that happened to my server a couple of years ago, I admit I was the same. I was furious. I wanted to kill. Wipe Blogger off the face of the earth! I couldn’t be calmed down if you ran over me with a truck.

This time, I tried to make a few calming statements with humor, but the new bloggers were in no humor to hear it! They seemed to think I was trying to stifle free speech. I had tried to get them to lighten up a little, forgetting how furious I was when it was happening to me. Nonetheless, when I was having all that trouble and swearing off of Blogger forever, the fact remained that Blogger’s price is right for me, and I’m still toiling away in the same old trenches as before. I did what the new guys can't even imagine; I made friends with The Great Satan.

Even if I had some money, I wouldn’t spend it on this. If I had money and no option, only then would I spend for a blogging system! I’m so cheap that I squeak when I walk. It isn’t the shoes, it’s my tight ass scritching! When I’m a billionaire, I'll buy what I need and hire my own repair people! Til then, I pray for Blogger and all their technicians. Go ahead, Blogger, crap on anybody but me! I gave at the office. It’s not my turn. What’s more, I don’t deserve it! (Does Blogger care about that? Not bloody likely!)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Erratum again

I regret that these days I am the only person who stays up late. Of course, even I don't stay up as late as I used to! Ha! Old age just beats you down.

Goodnight, Ladies

“I’m in the mood for Love…”

Or, more frankly, I wanna have sex with most of the beautiful and intelligent Blogger girls. They know who they are. Some put their pictures on the Web for all to see. Some use real names. Others keep a low profile by signing on as “Turnip Gal” and show only a picture of a stalactite growing slowly. They're full of piss. They're full of vinegar. I’ve gotten to where I can’t distinguish between who’s smart and who’s just cagey—what’s the difference, anyway?

They talk to me as time goes by—sometimes in the public forum, sometimes on email. Sometimes I wish I could dish them up with a large silver spoon just right for their ass and slip them into bed beside me. I like bouncy bottoms, no matter what you say. Big bosoms don’t hurt, either, I guess; women were made to be curvy, though I’ve finally learned to like the slim girls, too! When I was young I never thought much about Jackie Kennedy looking fine, but now I can pitch in and regret that she’s dead! Another fine piece of womankind gone! That’s the only thing I really have in common with President Kennedy—he liked the thin ones and the buxom ones, too. I guess that was one interesting meeting in heaven. “Uh, Mrs. Onassis, Meet Marilyn Monroe…say, wasn’t Jack here a moment ago?”

But I was talking about lust and possibly love, wasn’t I? In general, women who aren’t attracted to me as much as I am to them tend to believe I’m in lust, not love. They may be right, though I’d hate to think so. From the time I was an older child, I was in love with women. I remember a girl in sixth grade named Bonnie Wucker. Where the hell is she now, I wonder? She was dark-haired, handsome, nice as far as I knew. But she never knew I thought so. I was too shy. It’s useless to remember her, though it makes me feel a little bit like that sweet young boy again to remember! Like someone who wants to love her, not fuck her!

Of course, I wouldn’t have known what that was at the time. It helped simplify the world’s affairs a lot, you know, when you didn’t know yet what your penis was for!

These days, love and lust are much the same. If I sincerely mean one, I’m apt to mean both. To whom? To me. That’s all there is, really. I’ve given up on convincing You or Them! If you’re one of my blatantly delicious Blogger women, so be it. I’m in love with you and at least halfway to lust. Those who are upset by it should mail me bad photos of themselves, email me with curses, leave dung at my doorstep, kick me in the shin! I would take the hint, eventually.

Meanwhile, I stick out my tongue and make a slurping noise every time you look the other way. No, I’m not Hannibal the cannibal! Blech! That sounds awful. If I wanted to eat you, you’d still be all there when it was over! Yeah, and quivering all over! Ahh! What’s it hurt, after all? Your boyfriend, your husband? Your children, who won’t allow you the status of being human for fear they’d have to be nicer? Too bad. I’m as alive as diabetes and misery allows these days, and I’d love to make you wiggle! If it’s not feasible, it’s okay. I live in imagination, but I’m as practical as the next fellow when need be. Sorta. Though I’d like to hold something against you, Blogger Ladies, I won’t hold this against you without any warning. I wouldn’t want to startle the birds.


James Thurber: "There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Secret Message

Secret message of R. C. Twitchell to Jeremiah Houston: "Let's go bird-watching before we go crazy!"

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Blogger Help Group—How Stupid Are You?

One of the Google Groups is “Blogger Help Group” where novices and other bloggers needing help write down their questions about Blogger templates and so forth. Others, more experienced or more opinionated, try to answer them. It’s entertaining to see how much I know and don’t know. I leave answers sometimes, but more often have nothing to say! Some of those questions are things I never even thought of knowing, much less wanted to know! Still other topics provoke me to look up the answers and then answer questions as if I’d always known it! You never know how ignorant you are until you get around people with a lot of questions! I’m pretty impressed with my own stupidity so far. But I don’t intend to feel bad about it! Either it’ll keep being fun or I won’t do it.

Dirty Sex

George Burns: "I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Troubled Vision?

Here's a site to peruse if you need your vision restored and you're a hamster! (Damn hamsters have all the luck!)


Monday, March 13, 2006

Conscious Task

I found a note yesterday dated January of this year in which I was still complaining a lot about my poor sight. I realize now my vision has improved a good deal since that time due to the medication put behind my retina by the eye specialist!

This sort of thing sneaks up on you. Slowly, I’ve become braver and started driving myself around again the last couple of weeks, something I haven’t done since before Hurricane Rita! Also, I have begun reading library books, even if they are now the “Large Print” books. Birds may still be difficult to see when they whiz past me, but if they’ll light somewhere, I can spot them again and get the binoculars aimed! I found I could see the tiny date of the month on the pocket watch I bought in September, then realized that I’d have to set it again! I set it once when I bought it, but had to use a magnifier for that. This time, once the light was right, I could set it without any magnifier! The watch is easier and easier to read. TV no longer looks as grey or uncontrasted as some channels used to look, so that’s better. I can read the computer screen more easily, too, of course.

My retina specialist agreed it was all better. Though he only treated the left eye, the right eye too seems to have come along for the ride insofar as it, too, is improving a bit, he said! The bit of medicine is still in there (and working); sometimes I can see it swimming around in there, though mostly I’ve sublimated it. Beyond all this, of course, I still have cataracts that aren’t too bad right now but that will someday have to be dealt with. They can wait a while.

If you see me driving, though, just move cautiously out of my path. I may see better, but I’m still a wreck, trying to remember all the constant driving precautions that I got unused to during 6 months of not driving! It wasn't just my eyes that got lazy, but my habits as well! It used to be like Autopilot to drive my car; now it’s a very conscious task!

Sunday, March 12, 2006


As part of my regimen to keep my blood (blog?) sugar down and at the same time increase my calories due to being so thin, I started drinking a couple of cans of healthy Glucerna every day. It's not as thick as a milk shake, but has that approximate sort of taste and appearance. I don't mind the taste, it isn't bad. It comes in vanilla, strawberry, and other flavors that I haven't tried yet. It is supposed to contain 220 calories per can. Others may drink it instead of having a meal, but I drink them in addition to my meals. All this is fine and has been understood since the first day I brought them home a couple of weeks ago. It took until just today for me to have that autonomic response that men seem to have to small metal cans when I tried to squeeze the 8 ounce container--you know, crush it in one hand. But no dice. It's not pliable like soft drink cans; instead it's as firm as "tin cans" used to be when they were tin. You can't prove your muscles on a can of green beans, I've noticed, and the same is true of my new drink! And only Popeye could do that other cute trick with cans of spinach!

There you have it; more than you'll ever need to know about Glucerna! Carry on.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Who Dis Guy?

Robert X. Cringely: "If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside."

Friday, March 10, 2006

Someone Else

Alan Woods: "Blame someone else and get on with your life."

Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's Mine, Dammit!

Well, I went to see that surgeon about my gall stones/bladder situation and whether there was any point in removing one or the other. He didn't think it would serve any purpose, either, at present. Meanwhile, I got mail indicating the medical board at the Retirement System can’t proceed without a more definite statement of my illness, prognosis, etc. These are things that no one is yet able to say about me being disabled unless I learn what it is in the next day or two. I will soon phone Austin and ask them what to do to forego this disability shit and just take my retirement payments! I’m going deeper in the hole (and taking other family members with me) and I need some income from somewhere, even if it’s the lesser amount. It’s not much, but it’s mine, dammit!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Another Pear of Peaches

Daniel Webster: "A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."

Edith Wharton: "If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time."

Monday, March 06, 2006


Leftovers are never any good to me these days. Whatever’s wrong with my taste buds is thus doubly bad because even if food is okay the first time, it won’t taste good the second time! Today I headed to Subway for a sandwich and got a new sandwich that said “spicy” and they weren’t shittin! Agh, it burnt me up! But I ate it all except a few morsels of bread.

The “cajun steak” wasn’t too great for me, but something else was. There’s a bakery next door to the Subway that makes doughnuts and all the usual variations of such. Today’s the first time I got anything but a doughnut there—an apple fritter, and boy was it good! Yeah, I know, it’s not good for a diabetic like me, but there has to be some indulgences in this life or it’s not life!

Well, I’ve had my indulgence for the day now, so I guess the jelly doughnut that the nice oriental lady at the bakery threw in for free will constitute an Absolute Sin when I get around to eating it later today! I’m not catholic, so if I’m throwing terminology around with too much abandon—well, excuse me! But I gotta use words when I speak to you, you know?

Anyway, words can hardly express how good that sugary apple fritter was. I look forward to someday eating another one even while I’m dreading what the jelly doughnut will do to my blood sugar count later today. Apparently I wouldn’t find it difficult to gain some weight back if I could just have some of these sugar tidbits every day. But it doesn’t really work that way.

Beatles Lyrics - I'm A Loser

I'm a loser
I'm a loser
And I'm not what I appear to be

Of all the love I have won or have lost
there is one love I should never have crossed
She was a girl in a million, my friend
I should have known she would win in the end

I'm a loser
And I lost someone who's near to me
I'm a loser
And I'm not what I appear to be

Although I laugh and I act like a clown
Beneath this mask I am wearing a frown
My tears are falling like rain from the sky
Is it for her or myself that I cry

I'm a loser
And I lost someone who's near to me
I'm a loser
And I'm not what I appear to be

What have I done to deserve such a fate
I realize I have left it too late
And so it's true, pride comes before a fall
I'm telling you so that you won't lose all

I'm a loser
And I lost someone who's near to me
I'm a loser
And I'm not what I appear to be

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Pair Of Peaches

Oscar Levant: "What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left."

Gertrude Stein: "Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Words and music by Richard Farina

And it's hi ho hey, I am a bold marauder
And it's hi ho hey, I am the white destroyer
For I will show you silver and gold, and I will bring you treasure
I will wave a widowing flag, and I will be your lover
And I will show you grotto and cave and sacrificial alter
And I will show you blood on the stone and I will be your mentor
And night will be our darling and fear will be our name

And it's hi ho hey, I am the bold marauder
And it's hi ho hey, I am the white destroyer
For I will take you out by the hand and lead you to the hunter
And I will show you thunder and steel and I will be your teacher
And we will dress in helmet and sword and dip our tongues in slaughter
And we will sing a warrior's song and lift the praise of murder
And Christ will be our darling and fear will be our name

And it's hi ho hey, I am the bold marauder
And it's hi ho hey, I am the white destroyer
For I will sour the winds on high and I will soil the river
And I will burn the grain in the field and I will be your mother
And I will go to ravage and kill and I will go to plunder
And I will take a fury to wife and I will be your mother
And death will be our darling and fear will be our name

© M. Witmark & Sons (ASCAP)

Can't Recognize It

Saturday was my day to clean up and rearrange the bedroom. Got rid of an old stuffed chair and exchanged some steel shelving for a piece of wooden furniture with shelves, but that also folds out a leaf that then can then be used for a desk! Anyway, it’s the first time I’ve done any rearrangement of the room in years. I’ll be able to take my meds and diabetes stuff out of the dresser drawer and return it to clothing storage. How well it will work I don’t know, but I’m glad to finally make a change or two. The only negative is that with my fatigue these days, it has taken 2/3 of the day! And I’m not really finished yet. So much for progress; I can’t recognize it when it gets here.

Dottie Conversation (Part 3 of 3)

"You've always looked like you'd be a nice woman," he said a little later.

"Yeah? Nice if I did what?" she asked.

"What? No, no, I didn't mean 'nice if you changed something or other.' I just meant you look like you are a nice woman. Jesus, that does sound vapid, now that I've said it out loud!"

"Oh? Well, that's nice," she chuckled. She shook her head, perhaps meaning to show that she wasn't taking any of this seriously, including her own witticisms.

"It is a flaky thing to say, I guess."

"You're right!" she said quickly, then just as quickly added, "No, not really."

Dogger looked up, wondering why she'd suddenly "let up" on him. He was pleased to see that she was smiling.

"It's just always a damned hard sort of thing to react to," Dottie said, "when someone says shit like that to me. It's one of those quirky kinds of compliments that's always hard to respond to, and men never seem to realize it. It seems to have its origins in a past so distant that it might almost be considered another planet.

"Men come around and say something like that, and then I wonder if they even realize the gross assumption they're making that women like that sort of thing in the first place. Then I wonder if they mean it, and after that I wonder if it's true, and then I wonder if my head's screwed on right and then I don't know how to react at all, no matter which combination of meaning and truth is operative. Do you know what I mean?"

Curiously enough, he did. Her thoughts seemed so much like his own that he fell another degree in love with her without meaning to. Still, it didn't mean that he was one whit more honest or generous than any other male who might attempt to disarm her with a compliment.

"I get your drift. You're a very reflective woman, aren't you?"

"Yup; as reflective as a fun house full of mirrors and just as crazy."
"You can be pretty crazy, I've always found," he told her, "and still manage to get by. Uh-you know, if you're as smart as I think you are, I may be in love with you in a few minutes."

"What? God, what am I supposed to say to that?"

"Since you're not telling me you think I'm a jerk yet, maybe I've got a chance, anyway. Tell me more."

"Tell you more about what?" she said in a loud voice. She sounded amused, and thus her loudness seemed somehow intentionally hysterical. He hoped her smile meant simply that she was making sure he realized he was being teased.

"About yourself, of course, silly rabbit."

"Mmmf!" she said. Her mouth was full, so she raised her eyebrows and shook her head. He watched her eat and wondered what she thought. She was teasing him, surely; but why? Some women did such things to keep men interested and some women teased to throw men off their scent.

Dogger Gatsby could see there was no particular point in sniffing Dottie. It was all very confusing. Sometimes women put him off with the exact qualities that attracted him to women in the first place, and a lot of them seemed to sense it and make use of it. Only "intelligent women" understood him, he felt. It was nice to be understood, of course, but it always became intensely difficult when he found an intelligent woman who was as manipulative and ironic as he was. Hellfire! It was damnably hard to keep track of. "I should just stop thinking about it!"

Dogger had one friend who was always insisting that part of a woman's basic training was flirtation, that even in most of the modern liberated women, the vestigial trait remained as a non-vicious ever-present nerve-response. Women couldn't quite shake it off.

"Many women today," Phil had written in a letter recently, "make a sort of sport out of attracting and infatuating men even if they're uncertain whether they want to get involved. Somewhat like the old Indian custom of 'counting coup'..."

"There's a phrase to make you shudder!" Dogger Gatsby thought. A phrase that didn't inspire confidence in either sex.

There's nothing intentionally evil in what women do," Phil said, "nor in what I think of them for doing it. They are just-unconsciously, sometimes-using the best bait they have, even if the wrong bait, to attract new friends."

"The main thing," he'd written, "for all of us, is to acquire and keep a friendship."

"That sounds wise enough," Dogger thought.

"Unfortunately," Phil added, "sometimes women are just as confused as men are and can only reach out for friendship through a sexual come-on, and then the man becomes so pissed off when it isn't consummated that he pushes her out of his life completely."

Dogger kept staring at Dottie; it had been a long time since he'd given so much attention to watching a woman do anything as insignificant as eat. A long time since he'd watched a woman he cared for do anything at all. She caught his eye on her and looked a little put out. Maybe she thought he was searching for flaws or maybe she just didn't like being stared at. He wanted very much to blurt out something, even if it turned out to be dumb.

He wanted to say, "You mesmerize me! Sometimes I like you so much that I can't stand to look at you!"

He stayed the other kind of dumb and said nothing. Essentially nothing. He talked, but he felt like a klutz. He wanted to run away when the simplest thing ought to have been to just stay. He did stay, but he stayed nervous, too.

"How, in this jaded day and age," he asked himself, "can you be so solemnly shy?!" He knew how. It was easy. For him, somehow, it was always easy to do it the hard way. He took another breath.

"How, in this jaded day and age," he tried again, "can you huff up and say to her, 'I want to devour you! Be my friend or I'll die!'"

Weak women wouldn't understand the strength of such talk, and strong women would, but wouldn't care for it. There was too much desperation in it.

"I'm just sitting here staring at her!" he thought uncomfortably. "God, I'm an idiot, I'm blowing it!"

Suddenly Dottie spoke, breaking into his funk. "Did you go to college to learn this sophisticated an art of conversation or did you just stumble on it by accident?"

"I studied at home," he told her, breaking his silence. "Of course I didn't major in anything."

She looked at him askance and grinned. She said, "Do you get the impression we're dueling?"


"Are we having fun yet?"

"Within limits, I'd say so. Wouldn't you?"

"Yes, I suppose so."

"Maybe we should get married," he laughed.

"I wouldn't go anywhere near that far," she said.

"How can you know how far you'd go until you get there?"

"I go pretty far as it is," she told him, "but we're not that far yet. Jesus, this is the weirdest conversation!"

"But fun. Isn't it?"

"Yeah... Yeah, it is," she said, settling her chin on her palm and shaking her head. "Where have you been all my life?" she added.

"Just waiting around, I guess. Waiting for you, perhaps?"

"Don't get too optimistic," she told him, pursing her lips. "I'm not that easy, or easy to live with, either."

"You might not be this pleasant all the time, either," Dogger Gatsby said.

"But I'm not really optimistic, I'm just romantic."

He was too busy studying the shape of her lips to realize the two conditions might be the same approximate thing. As to the condition of her lips: "Christ, that's pretty!" he thought. "She probably knows it too." Still, maybe she didn't know it; maybe she needed someone to tell her. A lot of people need someone to tell them they're wonderful, though she didn't seem like one.

"Would you like to go out sometime?" he asked, his heart in his mouth.

"I thought you'd ne?vah ask?" she said, affecting that coy southern drawl that makes even the most affirmative statement seem to end in a question mark. She fanned herself theatrically with her hand for the full effect.

"Does that mean yes or no?"

"It means yes, silly rabbit."

"Thank God!"

"No, thank me."

"Thanks, Dottie."


"Oh, uh-I don't know!"

"How can we meet, if you don't know that?" she asked, giving him an exasperated but friendly look.

"You're right. You're quite right," he said, looking down at the floor. He looked back up right away and opened his mouth, but for a while nothing came out.

"We'll have to work something out," she smiled.

He nodded and smiled back.

5th draft:03/01/06
©1989 Ronald C. Southern

Friday, March 03, 2006

Dottie Conversation (Part 2 of 3)

If she'd been anyone else, that self-possessed smile might have annoyed him, but his previous conversations with her had convinced him of her intelligence. Her superior smile was pretty much honestly come by. She had a sense of humor, however sharp, and humor was something he valued second only to intelligence. Still, her "probably not" had unnerved him. Did she mean yes or no?

She was teasing him again, he supposed. At least, he hoped that was it. A lot of people like to tease, but that doesn't mean that they like you when they do it. People can tease you even when they find you disagreeable; sometimes, it helps. And of course some people just like teasing. He'd done it himself, in fact used to do it so much that he'd developed a reputation for honesty that others thought cruel. As he'd gotten older, he'd begun to realize that they were probably right. It wasn't even fun any more, it was just a habit. But now he had the habit, and couldn't change it. He'd lost control; he could not talk, but he couldn't change how he talked.

"Maybe that's why she can worry me so easily, talking about not talking to me any more. Teasers don't take teasing well, I suppose; they never know what is meant."

"Oh, well, that's all right," he said casually. "I wouldn't talk to me either if I could help it."

"You mean you talk to yourself and don't enjoy it?"

He looked at her face, but she wasn't looking at him. She was pulling a tomato slice out of her hamburger and making a face as if she smelled something bad. For a moment he'd worried that the expression had been for him. He presumed she just didn't like tomatoes.

"God, this is awful," he thought, his stomach muscles tightening even as he bit into his fishburger. "But she is fascinating."

"God, this is awful," she said.

"What?! What is?" Did she mean talking to him?!

"The hamburger. It's awful."

"I eat here all the time," he said, wondering if he was making sense. He frowned at his own comment, wondering if it was some sort of admission of stupidity. "You like it here?" she asked.

"No. I eat here. It's easy. The path of least resistance. Convenience and sloth, the road to ruin."

"Or to Hardee's?" she added.

"Yeah. Right here in Disneyland."

"This is Texas," she grinned.

"I know. I know," he sighed. "Mosquito University."

"I've heard it called that," she said mildly.

He liked her, there was no question of that-but she was so full of piss and vinegar that he always felt overmatched when he met her. He knew he was slow about most things, even though he knew he was intelligent. She was intelligent, and her mind was fast.

"Maybe she's even a bit dangerous," he thought. "I'm not sure."

Immediately his unwary nature rejoined, "But that's good for your adrenalin, fool! And adrenalin's good for the soul, isn't it?"

"Who knows?" he answered himself silently. He was out of patience with his own line of thought, and he wanted to stop thinking. The phrase, "be here now" rushed through his head, a phrase he'd heard (repeatedly) at a consciousness-raising seminar (I'm all right, but you're all assholes) he'd attended over a decade ago.

"You didn't answer my question," Dottie said.

Oh, yes, she'd asked a question: Did he talk to himself?! "Does a bear shit?" he thought.

"I'm afraid I do talk to myself."

"Do both of you ever talk at once?" she asked.

"No, I'm more organized than that, I think," he grinned.

"So, how have you been, otherwise?" she said, changing her tone as if preparing to be a little more serious.

There was that question that everyone asked, day after day, year after year, though hardly anyone wanted it answered or wanted to answer it. It drove him crazy. Amazingly, Dogger Gatsby didn't mind her asking it. He wanted to answer her, he wanted to tell her everything. Well, not everything, but a lot-more than he had time for, maybe more than she'd want to hear if they had all the time in the world. But he was on his lunch break, and there was less than 10 minutes left before he had to rush back to work.

He paused a moment too long and she said, "Now what are you doing, considering your options?"

He nodded and said, "Ah-" That's all he got out. His brain was still working slow. His brain was overloaded by the options: the truth, or an evasive pleasantry, or-.

"There are choices, you know," she said.

He looked her and wondered if she was reflecting his own thoughts. A wonderful woman!

"You can say something pleasant and witless," she grinned, "or tell me the truth, good or bad. Or you can even tell me it's none of my goddamn business, you know."

"I know."

He wondered if the strain he felt showed. He wanted to say more, wanted desperately to tell her how much he agreed with her, how pleased he was to hear her say that, and yet his words still stuck in his throat.

"This is stupid," he thought. "It scares me that I like her so much, that's all that's bothering me. I've got to get over that. In the meanwhile, I've got to get out of here and go back to work. Oh, God, life stinks!"

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dottie Conversation (Part 1 of 3)

Dogger Gatsby was eating his same old fish sandwich as usual and staring with studied and indifferent lust at the fresh young faces of the college girls.

“They're pretty, all right. But what does that matter?” he told himself. “They're all too young for me.” That settled everything somehow.

Hardee's hadn't put enough tartar sauce on his fish again and the rest of the sandwich was pretty tasteless. He hated it when they did that. Except for that, he wasn't thinking about anything at all when Dottie came in. He'd never seen her there before, though he ate at Hardee's all the time. He kept a close eye on her, only half-believing she was there. She stopped at the condiments counter for napkins and things.

The last time he'd seen her, she'd taken him quite by surprise. It hadn't been the first time she'd done that. He suspected that she took a lot of people by surprise, but that didn't make him any cooler about it all. He'd been riding on the tractor near the Administration Building and from a distance he'd seen what he casually took to be another delicious blonde coed walking ahead of him. He'd watched her appreciatively, rather than excitedly as he used to do when he was younger, but still smiling to himself at the appealing, attractive shape of her behind. He was brought up short, though, when he drove up beside her and saw it was Dottie.

“Good grief!” he thought. “I never knew she was so—!”

He'd always studied her face and voice. As he stopped the tractor and said hello, he felt embarrassed and found it hard to talk.

“She must be a power to reckon with,” he thought, “if her face and voice had the power to keep me from noticing her body all this time! I'm not that nice!”

She was bringing her attractive body straight up the aisle toward him now and setting her tray down at the booth next to his. She smiled and nodded and started to sit down facing away from him, then turned toward him slightly, as if only for a moment.

“I was talking about you just the other day to a couple of your bosses,” she smiled.

He covered his mouth and said, “Fuwhut?”

Dogger’s voice was muffled, which made sense because his mouth was full. But as for what she'd said, he'd heard her perfectly well. He needed time to think. So he sat there nodding idiotically (he felt like an idiot, anyway), trying to grin, hoping it would give him enough time.

“Goddamn it,” he thought, “why do I always feel so awkward just when I need to say something?!”

He wanted to say something clever, something charming if at all possible, but how, with a mouthful of fish-stick mush choking him? Dottie nodded and smiled back at him brightly, then turned and sat down. His heart sank as she turned away.

“Well, that's that,” he thought.

But Dogger Gatsby couldn't quite give it up. He continued choking down the slightly burnt, otherwise tasteless, bites of fish fillet and lettuce, desperate to say something to her before it became impossible to speak again. But, even as he found his voice, she turned in her seat and repeated what she'd said.

“I was talking to a couple of your bosses, I said.”


“I told them I always got a chuckle when you came around,” she said, her lilting words trampling merrily on the cuffs of his stuttered one.

“Really? A chuckle? Good grief.”

“I'm really sounding intelligent now,” he thought.

He was caught between mortification and amusement. Though he didn't care any more than the next man to admit it, it was easy to embarrass him, and Dottie was better at embarrassing him than anybody he'd met in a long time. He wondered if she knew it. It seemed to him likely that she did, and did it all on purpose. The more he saw of her, the more he suspected that was it.

She seemed to be starting a conversation, but at the same time kept turning away from him toward her food. He understood both actions, but not their coexistence.

“That's the trouble with these booths,” he thought. “If you're sitting close enough to talk to somebody, you're facing the wrong direction.”

Just as he'd decided she'd finished with him, she turned around and spoke again. “Yeah, they said you'd always been a free spirit.”

My bosses, he thought? “Who in the world were you talking to?” he asked incredulously.

“Uh—I can't think who it was right now. Who all do you work for over there, anyway?”

“As far as I can tell, I work for every Indian chief mentality on campus, and there's as many too many Indian chiefs in the maintenance department as in any other department on campus. God knows how any work gets done.”

He had a bad attitude, and didn't much care who knew it sometimes either, though he realized the end result of such indifference wouldn't exactly be fun. He didn'tf want to be fired, but he didn't want to be there, either. This all seemed a little too complicated to explain to Dottie on the spur of the moment, and he only had a few minutes left of his lunch break, anyway, so he figured he shouldn't even try.

“Well, hell, it's not that complicated, though,” he thought; it was probably what everyone felt who worked for anyone anywhere.

“You work for everybody, huh?” she said, wrinkling her eyebrows.
“Every mother's son.”

“And daughter?” she rejoined.

“Bull’s-eye,” he nodded coolly, “there’s that nice young woman who’s an assistant director over there.” He smiled, but was thinking nervously: “Dottie’s eyebrows are always laughing at me!”

“Uh—yeah; for everybody, I think. Uh—hmmm... (God, I sound like an idiot, he thought.) “A free spirit, huh?” he grinned.

As he spoke, he stuck out his tongue to cover his broken tooth, then put his hand over his mouth to hide his tongue. Shyness, like subtlety, takes a great deal of maneuvering to maintain its narrow equilibrium. Dottie nodded her head at him and he shook his.

“Not that I much qualify as one any more, but I certainly can't believe that anyone I work for even knows what a free spirit is. Or was that your term for it?”

“Oh—well, it was my phrase, really, I think.”

“Ah. Now I understand. But who were you telling this to?”

“I can't think who it was right now. I'll think about it; maybe I'll remember,” she said and started to turn back to her food.

No, this wasn't right! Dogger Gatsby panicked, staring at the back of her head and realizing that the conversation would end if he didn't do something bold. Bold for him, anyway. He was a terrible candyass, deathly afraid of being rejected by women he liked, and he knew it.

“May I join you?” he blurted out.

“Why not? Come on.”

As he set his tray down on the table across from her, he smiled and said, “I didn't want you to get a crick in your neck.”

“Oh, I wouldn't have,” she smiled confidently. “I was through.”

“You mean you weren't going to talk to me anymore?”

“Probably not.”

“Oh. Jesus,” he said mildly as he sat down across from her. Now he had no idea at all where he stood. Was he intruding? Making an ass of himself, as usual? Or was it all a matter of indifference to her? God, he must be stupid; it seemed like nothing was ever simple for him.