Saturday, December 31, 2005

Meet The New Boss

The old year's about as gone as the old pope. The old one's gone, but there's a new one just as intractable and just as hairy-assed.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Better, Better, Worse--What A Dance

I had my tests today and though they found a thing or two to mention (such as a hiatus hernia), they don't conclude that what they found is related to my weight loss. Though I had upper and lower GI exams, they seem to have a middle one they hadn't ever mentioned before, a small bowel exam. Yet they don't do that test there (why not?), and so I am still hanging in the breeze for any useful info. I guess they can figure it out after I'm dead.

While I was waiting on the gurney and not yet sedated or medicated, I began to notice a dark thread or something visible in the top portion of my left eye. I tried to discount it then, but I still see it and I realize it's bound to be more problem for my vision. I haven't tried to see it in the mirror. I don't know if I'm seeing a blood vessel or what. Things don't get better, they get worse. Or so I fear.

Monday, December 26, 2005


Visions Of Johanna Lyrics

aint it just like the night to play tricks when you’re trying to be so quiet?
we sit here, stranded, though we all do our best to deny it
and Louise holds a handful of rain, tempting you to defy it
lights flicker from the opposite loft
in this room the heat pipes just cough
the country music station plays soft
but there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
just Louise and her lover so entwined
and these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind

in the empty lot where the ladies play blind man’s bluff with the key chain
and the all-night girls they whisper of escapades out on the D train
we can hear the night watchman take his flahslight out,
and ask if its himself or them who should be insane
but Louise she’s allright, she‘s just near
she’s delicate, she seems like the mirror
but she just makes it all too concise and too clear
that Johanna’s not here
the ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face
where these visions of johanna have now taken my place

little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously
he brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously
and when bringing her name up he speaks of her farewell kiss to me
he’s sure got a lot of gall
to be so useless and all
muttering small talk at the wall
while I’m in the hall
how can I explain it’s so hard to get on
and these visions of Johanna they kept me up past the dawn

inside the musuems Infinity’s going up on trial
voices echo “this is what salvation must be like after awhile”
but Mona Lisa must have had the highway blues, you can tell by the way she smiles
see the primitive wallflower freeze
and the jellyfaced women all sneeze
hear the one with the moustache say, “jeez,
I can’t find my knees!”
jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule
but these visions of Johanna they make it all seem so cruel

the peddler now speaks to the countess who’s pretending to care for him
saying “name me somebody that’s not a parasite and I’ll go out and say a prayer for him.”
but like Louise always says, ”You can’t look at much can you as she herself
prepares for him
and Madonna she still has not showed
you see this empty cage now corrode
where her cape of the stage once had flowed
the fiddler he now steps to the road
he writes “everythings been returned which was owed”
on the back of a fish truck that loads
while my conscience explodes
the harmonicas play the skeleton keys in the rain
and these visions of Johanna are now all that remain.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

If You Live

If You Live
(lyrics by Mose Allison)

If you live your time will come
I say if you live your time will come
So child don't mess with that cotton sack
It will scratch your knees and bend your back
And if you live your time will come

If you live your day will come
If you live your day will come
So child don't play with those pots and pans
They will soon enough ruin your pretty hands
And if you live your time will come

If you live a day will come
If you live a day will come
When the sun will shine
And the crops will grow
And you think you're not gonna worry no more
But if you live, your time will come

Dryden Quote

John Dryden: "None are so busy as the fool and knave."

Friday, December 23, 2005

Royal Telephone Pole

Being without insurance, I am depressed and disoriented to find that the colonoscopy and the upper GI I'm scheduled for next week (29th) are going to cost about $3300 and that they want half up front. Everyone else I've dealt with up til now have dealt with me as more of a human being and didn't have this Fuck You for being uninsured attitude. So if these happy chipmunks discover something in their line of expertise that needs to be treated, I can only imagine the royal telephone pole up the ass it will be to try to pay for that.

I had again lost weight since last time at a doctor's, but only 3 lbs., so in a sense that was good news. Nonetheless, I feel more fatigued than ever.

It's still taking forever to get my retirement and disability filed, with fault or blame to go around to all parties, including myself. If I understood it, though, some portion of it will be retroactive, so that there may be one eventual fat period of catching up with the costs. Meanwhile I have no claims to feeling very well.

It is hard not to feel depressed.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bored and Boring

Being sick just makes me bored and boring. There’s no two ways around it. Though my vision has improved some, I still wouldn’t trust myself to drive, so I’m pretty homebound! All my favors get used up being carted to various doctors’ appointments or going to Wal-Mart for medicines and other needs. Though I have as morbid an interest as anyone else in seeing the various forms of damage done by Hurricane Rita to buildings and the environment, I’ve still had little view of it all. Since I can only see what’s close to me on the very few routes that I travel, I’ve missed a great deal. By the time I’m able to drive and to see it all, I guess a good deal of it will have been repaired, replaced, or cleared away! Of course, that I’d want to see destruction is a little crazy, I guess. But I’d just like to see what is, like anyone else. Then again, I’ve never been one to want to go on elaborate visits to communities where Christmas decorations are rampant! Many people love that and go to extreme trouble to see the lights, but I guess I always felt I could adequately extrapolate from the decorations I’ve already seen what a LOT of decorations would look like. I guess I really should apply the same principles to the destruction as I do to the decorations. But whoever said that human beings have to make perfect sense?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor is dead.

Nothing avails our grief. (borrowed from Lawrence Durrell)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The New And The Old Me

I've babbled about weight loss, but never shown it. I find I'm having trouble remembering how to get pictures placed here without them disrupting the sidebar. If you find pictures here, showing first the old, then the new me, I succeeded.

stout me skinny me

Was He One Of The Three Stooges?

Benjamin Disraeli: "My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Happiness Is A Warm Puppy

I’ve been seeing all these medical practitioners at the doctor's office, but today for the first time saw the actual doctor. He seemed very nice, but I can’t say if he’s smarter than all the others or not. In any case, he certainly has more background and gravitas than the others and brings perhaps a new perspective. That can’t hurt. He seemed to agree that the UTMB denying my appointment for colonoscopy was rubber-stamp bullshit as much as I had suspected. I told him to proceed with lining up an appointment with the clinic in town and I’d deal with the costs. He also wanted to arrange for me to see a podiatrist for my feet—the neuropathy and the horrible toenails needing to be cut. I used to be able to cut them when I could see okay, but even I’d sometimes cut some flesh. Not a good idea these days because the neuropathy would likely prevent me from feeling it! He’s doing some lab work (blood and urine), took some chest x-rays, and took me off of one of the diabetic pills (Glipizide) to be sure I wouldn’t become hypoglycemic (get low blood sugar). Too bad I’d just bought a new bottle of them. So, we’ll see what happens. I was still losing weight today—down from 160 lbs. a few weeks ago to 153 lbs. That’s too much. I’d rather stay at 160, thank you. (Those of you who haven't kept track, be aware my normal fat man weight used to be 240 lbs.!)

Because most of my clothes and jackets are too large for me, I’ve had to get some new shirts, pants, etc. Today, I got a new black leather coat by Izod for $179 (half-price); it’s very fine. What I would call garment leather. Burnished lamb, the manufacturer calls it. Certainly the finest coat in my memory! More fun to caress than your favorite puppy! Possibly not more fun than your favorite sex organ. Depends on what fun you've had lately, I guess.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

People In Waiting Rooms

People in waiting rooms are always pretty strange to me. I guess I’m not sociable enough. Some people are so voluble that they nearly seem rabid to me. My last visit to the doctor there was a man who talked ceaselessly, mostly to the woman he was sitting next to. She showed so little interest in him that I thought she was a disinterested stranger who only answered him at all out of politeness, but as it turned out she was his long-suffering wife who just didn’t talk much. I guess she’d long ago given up on getting her turn. At one point he found “a really great cartoon” in one of the magazines and tried to engage nearly everyone in the waiting room in his attempt to share it. At the time, it would have just made me irritable as I couldn’t see well enough and didn’t want to make conversation with a stranger about why I couldn’t.

Also present that day in the waiting room were two couples, and it turned out that the wives had long decades ago been childhood friends and next-door neighbors, though they hadn’t seen one another in years. There was nothing objectionable about their reunion, of course, though I would just as well not have heard every single word of it! Some people do everything at full volume and without restraint, I don’t know why.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Childproof Caps

How I Hate Those Sons Of Bitches

I suppose that somewhere it has all already been said about caps on medicine bottles. Those awful “childproof” caps that in fact, for sick people, are burglar-proof. I can’t get in, either, when I’m sick! I only recently managed to remember to get mine changed over to—well, whatever you call them—maybe “irresponsible” caps! I find it a great deal easier to keep my medicines safely away from children than to keep my medicines securely locked up from me! I wonder what generation of irresponsible adults started all this fanfare? Are there homes still where adults can’t figure out where to hide things from short, weak, and relatively unimaginative children? I understand that kids are tenacious, but so far I’ve never known one to get even close to my medicines, much less get into them and eat the nasty things as if they were candy!

Okay, being a parent may be more difficult than I know, since I’m not one. But children do come around here. I always know the location of my medicines and my sharp lancets (for taking blood sugar readings) and the little “guards” from the end of the lancets that probably look like little candy pills to a baby! I don’t forget to keep track, dammit! Do you?

Hell if I know what people do or why. I think mainly they overdo all these “safety” procedures so that you won’t be able to sue the corporation that they work for due to your own inane misuse of the product. Meanwhile, I'm a little bit blind and a lot uncoordinated, and already taking Prozac for shitty nerves and stuff, and I don't need this hateful business from childproof caps!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Diminished In Waiting Rooms

There are all kinds of myths and truths about doctors’ waiting rooms, I suppose. I just prepare myself to suffer incredible fuckass boredom and forget about thinking, usually. Try not to let things penetrate. I recall once a man who’d arrived after I did was complaining and carrying on about “how long” he’d been waiting and some people were getting in before him. One nurse tried to explain that there were multiple schedues (due to multiple medical practitioners) and he had to wait his turn. After the nurse left, I told him, “you must have once been seen promptly at some doctor’s office, a thing that I can hardly imagine!” He snuffled and sat there red-faced until his name was called. It never dawned on him, apparently, that I and some other patients in the waiting room had been there longer than he had.

Waiting in waiting rooms makes everyone murderous, I suppose, but occasionally there’s someone like the above who doesn’t seem to know it’s par for the course. I suppose that the President doesn’t wait at Bethesda Naval Hospital, but I’m not even sure about that.

I do know you can lose your mind in a waiting room. One time recently at the retinal specialist’s office, I sat in the waiting room, unable to see well enough to read the magazines, barely able to see the large TV that was tuned to the Food Channel, and trying to zone out when I became vaguely aware of the strange fare they’d been toodling about on the food shows. I went back through my memory and came up with these two items they seemed to have been just talking about: one was chocolate ravioli, the other was something that at least looked like jellied pubic hair (and was not appetizing!). I later determined that there really was a chocolate ravioli dish, though it still strikes me as being as unlikely as the other! Oh, well. This is how demented one can get in a big comfy waiting room when one’s faculties have been diminished!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Another Evasive Post

Guest View
by JW

Some of the more avid readers of your Blog feel terrible about your illnesses. We hope you recover quickly and completely. We wish your Blog a speedy recovery as well. You were once a prolific writer, not without talent and inspiration, an inexhaustible author. Since then, your brain has been reduced to a bowl of mush. You have been transformed into a sniveling caricature of your former self. Seemingly, posting anything, just to have a daily entry. Some post have just a quote, or maybe some songs lyrics, someone else’s words. The last post does show promise though, “The survey”. Personally, I can’t wait for the miserable intellectual to return, the insightful pessimist to make a come back. I want to see the brilliantly composed and structured pieces we’ve all become spoiled to. I want the clever cynic who writes, sometimes witty, sometimes serious, but always interesting articles for his post. I desperately hope he is slowly making a come back.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Testing, Testing, One Two Three

stolen from frustratedwriter, who stole it elsewhere:

What is your favorite...?

Gum: none
Restaurant: Novrozsky
Drink: water
Season: what the hell do I know?
Type of weather: just cold enough for long sleeves.
Emotion: amusement
Thing to do on a half day: watch TV till I puke.
Late-night activity: Blog
Sport: you’ve got to be kidding me
City: Austin
Store: who shops?

When was the last time you...?

Cried: when I found out I had every illness I’d ever heard of.
Played a sport: I’d have to be kidding you.
Laughed: watching the news on TV.
Hugged someone: a couple of weeks ago..
Kissed someone: same.
Felt depressed: What day is it?
Felt overworked: getting up this morning
Faked sick: probably not long ago, but I can’t remember
Lied: Were my lips moving?

What was the last...?

Word you said: shit
Thing you ate: sugar free peanut butter cookie
Song you listened to: Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues
Thing you drank: Water
Movie you saw: The Return Of The King
Movie you rented: NA
Concert you attended: who’s kidding who?.

Who was the last person you...

Hugged: JE
Cried over: me.
Kissed: JE, quite platonically.
Danced with: who do you think I am?!.
Shared a secret with: my cousin JW.
Had a sleep over with: family during Rita evacuation..
Went to a movie with: that damn woman.
Saw: my niece.
Were angry with: a FEMA bastard.
Couldn’t take your eyes off of: the attractive blonde with the nice bosom at the eye doctor’s office.

Have you ever...

Danced in the rain: not unless I was brain-damaged and can’t recall.
Kissed someone: yes
Done drugs: yes, but it’s all over now,Baby Blue.
Drank alcohol: yes, but don’t touch the stuff any more.
Partied 'til the sun came up: by myself or with someone else? Oh, well…
Had a movie marathon: not in recent history
Gone too far on a dare: No, I try not to take dares.
Spun until you were immensely dizzy: not since I was under 10.
Taken a survey quite like this before: no.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Subterranean Homesick Blues

Johnny's in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I'm on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he's got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid
It's somethin' you did
God knows when
But you're doin' it again
You better duck down the alley way
Lookin' for a new friend
The man in the coon-skin cap
In the big pen
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten

Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin' that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone's tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the D. A.
Look out kid
Don't matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes
Don't try "No Doz"
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don't need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows

Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
Try hard, get barred
Get back, write braille
Get jailed, jump bail
Join the army, if you fail
Look out kid
You're gonna get hit
But users, cheaters
Six-time losers
Hang around the theaters
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin' for a new fool
Don't follow leaders
Watch the parkin' meters

Ah get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don't steal, don't lift
Twenty years of schoolin'
And they put you on the day shift
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don't wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don't wanna be a bum
You better chew gum
The pump don't work
'Cause the vandals took the handles

Copyright © 1965; renewed 1993 Special Rider Music

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Dog Eats

"Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog." Doug Larson

Arf! Arf! Arf!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Who is?

I'm not as entertaining as I used to be. But, who is?


"'I can remember Doris Day before she was a virgin." Groucho Marx

Monday, November 28, 2005


"Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." Sir Arthur Eddington (1882 - 1944)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Slap Me Awake, Please

Well, I’d promised a friend that I haven’t seen for a while that I’d get a digital photo taken of my new slimmer self, but I forgot it again. I spent half a day Thanksgiving at my sister’s house and still forgot to get it done. She or my brother in law would have been happy enough to do it, but I just can’t remember anything these days, not even things for my own convenience. I recently was in need of a simple indoor extension cord so that I could conveniently use my hair dryer, but I consistently forgot it for three weeks, even including multiple trips to Wal-Mart and other stores where I could have purchased one. Sometimes I wonder if I’m brain-dead. If I even get the photo done for my friend, I’ll probably post it here as well. People tell me I should post more pictures, though no one said they all have to be photos of me. Meanwhile, onward through the fog!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


My eyesight improved a small bit yesterday and today, so I'm hopeful about this treatment. The doctor today seemed to think the eye had improved about 10%. To me, that's a lot. He will look at it again in December. If it does well, the other eye will be treated too. I almost don't know how to stop being worried about it, I'm so surprised! But it's not over yet.

We'll see. Or not.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Shit Happens

I used to never be sick except for head colds or an occasional scratch or scrape on my skin. They weren’t much fun at the time, but I guess now they were “the good old days”. I remember I tried to pretend that the colds didn’t exist or that I didn’t have to modify my behavior for them. Even if I used up a ton of Kleenex boxes in the process, I’d just keep going. I’d drop the Kleenexes at my feet or throw them willy-nilly in the back seat of the car and just keep going. I was the Energizer Bunny with a snotty nose. I remember once when I had a cold I gave a ride to a young woman who was unaware of my habits. As we progressed on the errand, she became increasingly conscious of the hundreds of tissues in the car. When she realized how full the back seat floorboard was, she visibly shuddered. I’d never thought of it that way, but I guess she was right. I was repellent. I was embarrassed. While she ran her errand, I cleaned every tissue out of the car so that she wouldn’t have to see them on the return ride. I was a good boy that trip, but I didn’t exactly become a Neat Freak from then on. Years went by before I actually stopped being so nasty. I wasn’t that way all the time, but if I had a cold, I was. If I was sick, I didn’t give a damn.

It’s hard to fight against those old habits even now, but I do. I wash my clothes. I pick up behind myself. However, I don’t sort, stack, or fold too well. My laundry may or may not leave the laundry basket. Medicine bottles and other items are strewn across my dresser top as if they were empty beer bottles. I don’t actually collect such bottles or Coke cans any more, though. I guess I’m afraid of breeding roaches or ants. And, fortunately, cigarette butts don’t follow me every step of my way any more. I quit smoking ten years ago, but now is when I’ve begun to be really sick. I don't know if I'm paying for my sins late in life, but it's possible. It doesn’t make sense, but Life doesn’t have to make sense. Shit happens. That’s the popular phrase. I guess it’s fairly accurate.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Way Out

I tried to sidestep or delay it, but then I talked to the medical practitioner and he has little doubt about sending me for gastrointerology tests and doing so however soon it can be done. I don't know if it's good or bad, but it's worrisome. It's more complication, yet maybe it's the way to find out what's wrong. It's too much illness at once, though. I was already worried about not seeing very well. I felt beat down enough just by that. I'm getting tired of thinking of nothing but feeling ill. Maybe the only way out of it is through it--but Christ, there's another damn saying i could live without.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Known By All

Paul Dirac
"In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Ted Turner
"If I only had a little humility, I'd be perfect."


Sacha Guitry
"You can pretend to be serious; you can't pretend to be witty."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Not Much Clarity

Went to the eye doctor today and he injected some chemical into my eye that's supposed to slowly help. It may be a couple of weeks or more to see an improvement, if then. So I don't know much. I can't see much either. It's on the verge of being depressing. Life's no fun when you never start to see better as the day wears on. Oh, well. I still see, but not with any clarity, far or near. Shitfire.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sticking Out My Tongue

Well, it meant something to me, even if it went right past you.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I. F. Stone

I. F. Stone
"If you live long enough, the venerability factor creeps in; first, you get accused of things you never did, and later, credited for virtues you never had."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Poison Pen Pal

Can’t Tell

There is no more evasive bastard in the universe
Than one’s self, I’m fairly certain of that,
And I expect it to remain so,
More of less, from now until the end,
If time has an end, which maybe it does not,

Can’t tell.

There is no more sticky business
or sneaky maneuver in the universe
Than one’s own, and if that’s all you can hope for
You’re doomed maybe to beat your own trumpet,
Haba whosit, stroke your own woody,
What’s the difference, you may ask
As long as it’s stiff,

Can’t tell that either
To anyone who may ask
Except yourself
And you’re sick of it..

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I Heard From Jill

Jill says she's all right, but that Ft. Lauderdale is like a war zone and everyone's still shell shocked. I can imagine. More and more Americans are starting to know that feeling this year with so many storms! So I don't know any details, but am glad to hear she's not hurt! Now I can go back to worrying about just me!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Legal Drugs and Dopey Ron

I wonder if there’s really more to worry about these days or if I’m starting to miss the Zoloft?

Days later: I don’t tell much these days, but perhaps today I will. Went to the doctor today and discussed several things. First, convinced myself and him that I shouldn’t be off all antidepressants, so now I’m on Prozac. I was becoming rather rabid and unable to relax or sleep at night. Too nervous to tolerate. Maybe I’ll get better now. The generic is not as expensive as I would have thought. Hope I’m not allergic! Hope I stop being a rattlesnake. Had blood taken again for more blood work at the doctor’s. They are still searching for why I fatigue so easily and keep losing weight. They also gave me a package that tests my stool for presence of blood; you can imagine how much fun that is going to be. I’ll leave out those details. It may not be a problem; they say they just like to rule that out early. If they don’t rule it out, I guess I may faint. I may be more of a sissy than they know.

I got some more horribly expensive eye drop medicine from the eye doctor (God bless those free sample ones!). I’ll have enough (5 ml.) to take until I go back to the doctor next week and get examined again. I’m glad I was being careful with the drops, but I sure didn’t know it was $15 per ml. Crap, that’s worse than some of the hundred-dollar shots I’ve had! Or pills that were $100 per week or month for a supply! If George Bush would just give away diabetic drugs for free or cheap, I’d let him kill all the Arabs he wanted, but there’s no such deal in effect. George isn’t even passing out any cheap gasoline, so I don’t suppose he means to make anybody happy! Well, with Prozac, maybe I’ll get happy and not care who else may die. I'd turn in all the rest of you to the thought police not to find out I have colon cancer.

Monday, November 07, 2005

'The Magus' Author John Fowles Dead At 79

I used to think The Magus author John Fowles was about the hippest human being on the planet. Looking back on it much later, after I was decades older, I still liked the book,but realized it was because I had been a young man reading a young man's book about a young man's take on the world. Reading along, I thought I was like the magus and was above the fray. I think I've been much more like the victim in the novel. I was and have remained that young man, being manipulated every which way. Watching machinations and illusions. Wish it was better. I am still a fool, I guess, and shouldn't even be much ashamed of it. But there it is. What can I do?

Sorry to hear your're dead, John, hope you had friends and all who will miss you.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Shut Up

Just cut your throat and shut up,
Said the voices from the void.
We have no further comments.
What did you expect?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ratzoid Stupido Down The Drain

I haven’t used the Ratzoid blog since before I found out I had diabetes, before Wilma, Rita, and Katrina, and so forth. It’s been so many months I can’t remember my username or my password. I doubt I told anyone what they were. I don’t so far recall that I wrote them down. Maybe they’re lost forever. Do I look like a man who gives a shit? I didn’t think so. It's a pissant problem to be resolved at a later date. Meanwhile, onward through the fog.

A Chance To Find Jill

I know Jill’s sister, Teri, but I lost track of any address for her when she moved a couple of months ago from California to Colorado. I finally realized that when Jill sent me wedding pictures of Teri’s daughter, there might have been useful info there. Sure enough, there was another email address on it, I don’t know who, but I’ve written them on the assumption they’re a family friend unknown to me. Maybe that unknown party knows what’s what or can put me in touch with Teri again! It may be my only chance, except to wait and wait.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friend Jill

I have a long-time friend (30 years) who was in Florida before Wilma and was threatening to stay in Ft. Lauderdale because she and her boyfriend did not think it was going to amount to much. They are boaters. I haven't heard from her since. I realize it may not be easy to get to email. I hope she's just lazy or just something like that, but I'm worried. I even tried looking up various combinations of her name and other terms to see if she was in the news as a casualty. No, apparently not. I guess that was good news. I'm still worried. She's one of the best people in the world. I don't want to have to miss her forever.

Know what I mean?

What I Say All Day Long

"God Damn It" and all possible variations. No exceptions. Some exemptions for age (youth), but that's all. Damn the rest!I'm vitriolic, spiteful, and hateful. The same, the same, you say? Feels different every day to me, though. I'm a ratbastard; thought that was understood from the start.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

More Bleakness

The Future Is Bleak

Cut off my whiskers
And send me to hell,
I need a new roofer
and a new BJC ink cartridge
And my head examined!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Poetry of Guesses


A curmudgeon is someone who has removed
So much of what he considers "sappy" from his system
That he loses track of what first irritated him about people
And just "goes bad" himself.

Maybe we should be called "curdlemudgeons".
The dictionaries I've checked don't seem to know
The origin or etymology of the word,
So my “milk gone bad” guess is as good as any.

That’s my guess
And in a bad year
I can’t improve on that at all.

Kill Me

Somebody ought to just kill me with a hammer. Guess I should, take care of it at the source. La ti dah. It's hard to ramble on. I'm talking to myself. I'm going downhill.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Kill Kill Kill!

Those cable company workmen this morning were lying sacks of shit. They haven’t repaired or replaced my dropline and in fact had already climbed the same pole to repair the dropline that goes to another house! If there’s anything to explain, they didn’t do it. So I interpret it all as a lie to me, right to my face. Time Warner is a corporate turd, that’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it. I’m sorry I believed them. I hope they die in hell and with feathers on!

Still Getting Over Rita (The Bitch)

Spoke briefly to some Time Warner workmen hanging out around the poles in the neighborhood, asked if they'd get the drop lines back up today, and they gruntingly seemed to indicate they would. It's more sign of getting our cable back than has been seen in this neighborhood for a long time, so maybe we will! Sonofabitch, broadcast TV sucks so bad that it's just inexpressible!!!

Also spoke to relatives whose houses were more damaged than I knew. Makes me feel crummy to complain about mere cable. But we each complain about what we've got. If we don't have much real trouble, we complain about that.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Stupid Buncha Fucking Clocks And Watches!

I bet the big shots who make these decisions to continue all this willy-nilly time of the time crap haven't reset their own clocks or watches in 20 years. If any president, Bush or Clinton or anybody, knew how many motherfucking clocks there are in a modern household, they'd quit this shit!!! Not only does one have to change them, but follow a different procedure to change each one. And who likes to read instruction manuals?! Nobody!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

G. K. Chesterton--Fence

G. K. Chesterton
"Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Have Safe Sex With Me: Helter Skelter Lyrics

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again.

Do you, don't you want me to love you
I'm coming down fast but I'm miles above you
Tell me tell me tell me come on tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain't no dancer.

Helter skelter helter skelter
Helter skelter.

Will you, won't you want me to make you
I'm coming down fast but don't let me break you
Tell me tell me tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain't no dancer.

Look out helter skelter helter skelter
Helter skelter

Look out, cause here she comes.

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
And I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
And I get to the bottom and I see you again

Well do you, don't you want me to make you
I'm coming down fast but don't let me break you
Tell me tell me tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain't no dancer.

Look out helter skelter helter skelter
Helter skelter
Look out helter skelter
She's coming down fast
Yes she is
Yes she is.

"I'm getting weirder and weirder; but I guess that's just one man's opinion." -- rcs.

James M. Barrie

James M. Barrie
"Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else."

I don't know about you, but I'd rather be anything. Well, maybe you've been fucking Kelly Preston last week and have Alica Silverstone lined up for the weekend. It's vaguely possible. Ask Larry Jones, he knows the babes. Of course, I have a lot of fans who are "babes", but they're not here to fuck or refuse to fuck me, so no luck there. Nice girls, though. Onward through the fog. Damn fog.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Okay, So I'm A Mad Dog

God fucking shitass damn! I don't care. That's my mood and I'm sticking to it. Everybody nice has probably already left. I can't see well and I can't see why I should be pleasant about it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Fixing To Die

Seems like all I think about is my blood sugar and my tree trash these days. Well, guilty as charged, I can’t help it. I’m not living any Hollywood life here lately. I don't even have cable TV! I'm living in the dark ages.

All this elaborate procedure for taking my blood sugar is wearing on me. I wash my face. I put 3 different drops in my eyes. I turn on all the overhead lights. I set a 2-bulb lamp on the table near me. Now can I see?!

But I am becoming more and more prepared. The glucose meter comes in its own soft case, capable of carrying the device, a few alcohol swabs, several lancets for puncturing the finger and getting blood drops, but not much else. I’ve taken now to carrying everything in a larger bag I used to use for shaving gear, etc. when travelling. It’s big enough to hold the magnifying glass, the empty used water bottle in which I dispose of the lancets and test strips. I don’t like to let those disposable items get out of my control for even one second since my sister’s grandbaby visits here and you know how curious babies are. The “guards” on the lancets look like little pills or candy and the lancets themselves are not plelasant things to encounter by accident, but probably look like toys to a baby boy. The “dop kit” bag also carries one spare “drum” of test strips so that I can reload without going to another room for supplies. Also a washcloth in case I need to fold it up to support the meter at the correct angle for making contact between the blood drop and the test strip. I am getting to where I am as prepared and well-supplied with paraphernalia as any junkie fixing to die ever was! It may not be fun, but boy am I prepared for it! I have all kinds of drops to clear my eyes for better vision during the “test”. Unfortunately, iit’s a tossup whether I see clearly or not; sometimes it works the first time and sometimes I miss the mark. If I screw up, that means I get to re-stab myself a time or two, maybe waste an expensive test strip. I’m too nervous for this shit, but it’s not an option at present.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Note For Friend & Poet Jeanne Emmons

Love You

I got your book Baseball Nights and DDT and flipped through it,
Thinking how many poems I’d seen before, were even familiar,
Thinking how familiar you are to me and how good that is
And so I did not even have to read too much or too hard
But just glanced through them, caressing the familiar,
Making appreciative noises at the sounds that sounded right,
Thinking how lucky I was with my bad eyes
Not to have to read all or every one right away
But could just hold the bold blue book cover to my heart
And sigh a few sighs of affection and be blindly loving for now
And not be as judgmental as I always am with my all-seeing
But just rest here in the combination of moments,
Aware of you, precious you, who could write from so many views,
So many far-flung moments, all true, so true,
My Darling Girl, always working to see more clearly.
Me, too, from this side of cataracts and tears.


When you are sometimes a bad person, it’s good to have old friends so good that you can’t throw them away, they won’t let you! Such a friend for me is the poet Jeanne Emmons, who has recently published her second book of poetry. I haven’t read them all, but some poems are already known to me, and most are very good ones! I recommend them to you, those of you who are as silly that way (about poetry) as I used to be about the girl who became this woman. Click here to read her publisher’s web page about it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Tree Trash Forever

There’s a world of tree trash left even now, especially in the long ditch by the side of the house. This is where it was all shoved and then contractors for the county (or FEMA) came along and removed the big pieces and the big wads with large equipment. But some of it remains. Will I never see the end of it?

Or, for that matter, still suffering from cataracts, will I see the end of it when it comes? I’m sick of all this. I’ve said that before. I don’t know a new way to say it. Tomorrow I see another eye doctor, so maybe I’ll learn something on that score. I’m falling behind on my blogs, both writing mine and reading others. Some of you I miss. Myself I'm sick of, of course. Until another day.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Suggested By A Reader--What Do You Think?

I go on and on
with the cleanup of tree trash,
the leaves, pine straw, limbs, and branches.
The long ditch is full of them
making a wheelbarrow load every foot or two
that I move forward.
I’ve raked some, and where it’s heavy,
I use the pitchfork to get it.

This pitchfork is actually too short,
but I’m near enough to the end
of my task not to go buy a longer one now.
But I should have done it.
My physical fatigue may not be
all that much worse, but
my mental fatigue certainly is.
I’m tire of all this shit.

I’m not alone in living
without cable or in being
a witless idiot because of that
deprivation, but I'm ashamed too
because some people are still
without electricity after hurricane Rita!
Americans are wonderful creatures;
we whine because the gold plating
came off our faucets and other such silliness.
If I had cable I'd be more aware
there's been a major earth quake
somewhere in Pakistan-India and that
tens of thousands are dead and that
many more are suffering more
than I can dream about. God
forgive the Americans who suffer
without their bloody damn cable TV!

Cable And All That Crap

I go on and on with the cleanup of tree trash, the leaves, pine straw, oak and pine limbs and branches. The long ditch beside the house is full of them, making a wheelbarrow load ever foot or two that I move forward. I’ve raked some, and where it’s heavy, I use the pitchfork to get it. This pitchfork is actually too short, but I’m near enough to the end of the task not to go buy a longer one now. But I should have done it. My physical fatigue may not be all that much worse, but my mental fatigue certainly is. I’m tired of all this shit. I’m not alone in living without cable or in being a witless idiot because of that deprivation, but I’m ashamed too because some people are still without electricity after hurricane Rita! Americans are wonderful creatures; we whine because the gold plating came off our faucets and other such silliness. If I had cable I’d be more aware there’s been a major earth quake somewhere in Pakistan-Indian and that tens of thousands are dead and that many more are suffering more than I can dream about. God forgive the Americans for their suffering without their bloody damn cable TV!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Used To Be A Man


I used to be a man, the handsome lady said,
But now I mostly got no tool except what I can grab.
I walk around in high heel shoes and teeter
While the boys check out how I protrude
(Provocatively, of course, in bikini bra and panties
And never show a sign of masculinity.)

I used to be a man full-dressed, but now
I keep what hair is left beneath my pretty wig
And keep my shape more steadfastly than my virtue or my word
And struggle not with conscience but just to keep
My flaccid prong pressed flat inside my skin-tight pants
And sell it so none of my boys can tell it!

Here, what's the matter, don't you like
My brand-new basketball breasts?
Real girls buy them, too, and at the same place—
But maybe you don't like that, either. Pervert!

And, yes, I do my best
Down on my knees in dreams
To peel whatever soft banana comes my way
That soon gets hard and creams.
So I make a little money as I go and I make my way.

These things, they make me want to just
Jack off like crazy in public, sometimes,
Then I remember I'm a lady and I can't—
But, hell, this guy I'm with could care less,
He just stands and touts—

He flouts the world’s opinion and flaunts
That delicious dangling organ of distress
Right in my pretty face
And reels it out at great and greater length
Till I take a taste of that trout!

"Here, bitch!" he pouts (they like to pretend)
While I rub my lips up and down that trophy knob
And vibrate my tongue on the underside, slurping
Like his favorite slut that oh-so-tender chicken-skin!

Then he grins as big as any rooster rogue in town
While I close my lips around it
And teethe on it hard till it spouts!
These men are so disgusting!


3rd draft: 02/24/03
©2001 Ronald C. Southern

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Evil Pirate

It’s always been hard for me to wake up in the morning.

Now one of my first tasks or duties is to take my blood sugar reading in the morning before I eat breakfast. This involves using a needle or “lancet” to prick my finger (any finger) and produce a drop of blood for the test strip in my glucose meter to read. There's a convenient device for this, but not an effortless one. If I don’t get a big enough drop of blood or if I’m so clumsy that I don’t apply the drop to the test strip correctly, I’ll have to do some or all the procedure all over again. It’s no fun to prick your fingers 2 or 3 times the same morning. One has to be a little coordinated, which I am not, not that early. It’s also no fun to waste test strips, for they’re nearly a dollar each.

I was clumsy to start with, but these days my vision is unclear too due to cataracts and so on. So I am a major fuckup in the mornings and only a little less so in the evening when I take it. I guess I need to get up an hour or two earlier than I do so that I can piss away a lot of time on waking up before breakfast. It’s strange how difficult it is to break an old habit or start a new one. But I’ll have to do something because I cuss like an evil pirate and am not even in favor of Jesus Christ Almighty on Earth when the blood sugar testing process goes awry.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

More Drivel Poetry

Dirty Hat Dave

There’s a worm in my brain that listens to reason,
But it can’t always be found.
There’s a pistol in my grip that isn’t always sound,
But I’m a sharp shooter when I can shoot at all..
Damn, I’m fucked up.

Get along, little doggie, and sing me a tune,
I’m tall in the saddle and short in the fall,
I’m black as my heartbeat and firm as that worm
And clean as that white hat you all think I have on.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Guesses About Tesses

When I was a kid I lived on a block
With two spotted dogs named Tess
And across the street from them was a
Skinny black lady with a nose ring also named Tess,
And I called them all The Tesses.

I tried to work out sentences
Where lumping them together
Made weird sense
As if I was humping them until I turned blue,
Though it was insensible and ultimately hard to do.

What are Tesses, someone asked me
In a later life. Termites in dresses?
Makes sense to me,
Though I’m shit-faced, sullen, and demented!

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Oh I wish I had a chocolate woman
For the next holiday
'Cause if I did I know which part
I would eat first.
Just like with a chocolate rabbit or chocolate Santa
I'd eat the head first.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Random Notes

I forgot to mention I’m down to 169 lbs. now. That’s about 9 more unintended lost lbs. That’s not too skinny, but any more would be so, I think. I think I need to start eating 6 meals a day or something, if I can. What’s fattening that’s not full of sugar? Diabetes is such fun.

The tree limbs are mostly trimmed now, for $800. Yipes. Still, it was a good price for all the work. I think there may be a couple that were missed, but the work crew is gone now. I’ll figure it out. It almost looks back to normal, but all the dragging limbs around with their tractor scraped a great deal of grass away, so there’ll be but small lawn for a while. Tree limbs are now all in the ditch, so hopefully the county will send trucks to pick it up soon. That’s what they said to do with it, and I have seen some get picked up that way. If the rains come first though, there may be flooding, one would think.

There’s shit to be straightened out. One garbage can was semi-crushed by falling limbs and won’t straighten out. Need to throw it away. How do you throw away a garbage can? Some trash that’s not mine needs to go; junk that blew here during Rita, like some Igloo brand water coolers and so forth. No one’s come looking for them, and the containers don’t have lids, so it’s garbage to me. I don’t think I'll have anything missing, since I put lawn chairs and other small items in the garage and locked them up before we evacuated. Some heavy stuff, like lawn swings, got their canvas parts shredded and may have to be disposed of. I don’t think that far ahead. Garbage trucks are just now starting to run on time; it ran yesterday and took the last of the spoiled food away. Yay, Jesus! I’ve still never looked closely at the climbing toys and sand box for my sister’s grandkids, so they may or may not be all right.

The freezer’s finally gone. The guys I gave it to came and got it without a word. Good enough. The end of a bad epoch.

I’ve been raking up pine straw and twigs and limbs out of the sand and am bushed. It didn’t take long to tire me out. Half an hour, at most. I tried burning some, but they don’t burn fast enough. I’ll see if more can be squeezed into the ditches.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I went to the doctor today and I'll be changing all my medicines. Some to be cheaper, some to see if I'll be less fatigued. Maybe I'll be less crazy (said Woody Woodpecker).

Ha ha ha ha ha!


Apparently I'm dull as dishwater lately. I can't do a thing about it, that's how I feel. So bite me. Or I'll bite you. I ain't particular.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Red Cross Idjits In Southeast Texas

Does anyone know any good stories about the Red Cross? All I know are shitty ones! In my county, their computer doesn't know my zip code was in the diaster area and so turns needy people down. Where's all the crap about "local volunteers", don't they know where the hell they live and can't they tell the others?! Red Cross is the very definition of stupid bastards, if you ask me!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Piggle (From The School of Chirpy Songs)

Piggle, paggle, puggle, puck,
Who’s the one I like to tuck in bed?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rita’s Wrath (Shit, Florida, I’m Sorry)

I’m still sitting around with a lot undone. Limbs and leaves in huge piles in the back yard. Puttering at it, but mainly waiting for help to arrive. Getting by with a pint sized refrigerator while waiting to see if the real one ever airs out or has to be replaced. The insurance agent is not to be found, not now.

When I evacuated I went from the Beaumont area to West Monroe, Louisiana. My mother and I went to stay with her younger sister. It’s usually about a five-hour trip. The first half-hour of the trip took four and a half hours. The total took nine and a half hours. I’d never seen so many Texans be so well behaved in traffic. Just about everybody seemed convinced that this northward road was the path to salvation and there was almost none of the usual cutting across the grassy median and heading back the other way in a fit of impatience. Ambulances on the shoulder—two, three, five, even seven at a time—kept passing the double lanes of stop and start traffic; at first, I thought they were going to massive car wrecks up ahead, then I realized they were carrying away the people from rest homes, etc. As a whole people, we were bloody well LEAVING! Only the termites and the hardheads stayed, and they were endangered. A monster was coming.

Well, it did come. If you watched the news, you saw it, after a fashion. Still, if you weren’t here or if you didn’t come home to this frightful mess, you didn’t quite see it. It’s something different in reality than it is on the TV screen. In fact, when you get home to it, you may not even be able to see the TV screen. Though CNN, etc. have all ceased to act as if Southeast Texas even exists (Not enough deaths, I guess), some of us can’t even see the TV screens. I have a house, the same old televisions, and some day it will come back, but for now there’s no cable, no news channels. Umpteen tree limbs in the back yard knocked the cable to the ground and now hold it there. Other things are more important. So I can’t see the non-coverage by CNN of the Texas news. I can’t sit here and condemn the dirty rotten bastards for ignoring homes destroyed, whole yards destroyed, hundreds of thousands of structures damaged, hundreds of thousands of people left without power. Is this, I wonder, how I’ve treated Florida all these past bunch of hurricanes? It was no skin off my nose. Shit, Florida, I’m sorry; this is hell.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Another Goddamn Poem

Another Visit With God

I wish to the lord I could get to sleep,
I wish to Jesus I could see straight,
I wish to God he’d let me rest in peace,

But he’s off somewhere watching babies die,
Executing convicts, wiping out platoons,
Letting old folks die or just pushing them down,

Shoving the school bus off the edge of the cliff
Or the poor and disabled into the flood,
Pitting Jew against Jew, white fool against white,

Letting cops beat niggers to death in the dark—
Even nigger cops—now what’s that about, you complain?
That’s God’s way, and he don’t have to explain.

1st draft: 9/19/05

Apologies to everyone. I can't get caught up.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I'm Sick To Death

I'm back, barely. No power at my house, so I'm still living out of a suitcase and still can't see the computer screen clearly. Beaumont and environment is beat up and knocked down in the dirt. I could barely wade a path across the back yard, there's so many tree limbs down. It's hell to look at when you're weak as dishwater. i wish I'd stayed away. sOME OF MY FRIENds and relations took damage, but I don't know yet how much. I Hope it's moderate. Even people whose houses are still standing are in torture now. More later

Sunday, October 02, 2005

It's Alive

I'm alive in north Louisiana and waiting for power in my house before returning home. I've got cataracts and poor vision with which to see unfamiliar computer screens. So I'm screwed about communication. Thanks for your support. I will be back eventually. I've heard the damage is limit4ed, but there is a lot of food that hasn't been cleaned out of the fridge and the freezer. Throw them away, I guess. Don't breathe too deeply.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bugging Out

Will probably be headed for north Louisiana tomorrow at 10 or so. Maybe too much precaution, but I’d be overmatched here if there was a big problem in the storm. I’ll be unplugged for a while.

Rita's No Lovely

If Hurricane Rita ends up targeting Galveston and Houston, that will be a little too close for comfort. High winds could reach my area and who knows how much rain may be brought to bear on my neighborhood. It'll have to get closer, of course, before this is more than a guess. I used to not worry about things like this, but then I didn't used to sick. I was healthy and strong. And, like everyone else, Katrina hadn't scared the shit out of me yet. There's gas in the car. We've got Spam and such. The funny thing is how I plan, if worse comes to worst, more about how to pack my emergency bag with my medicines than my clothes.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Admiral, Etc.

Dill Ketchup, back in the seventies, was a friend of a friend. He was a hippie wearing a cowboy-hat and was otherwise known as The Admiral. He had an egotism more fetid and bloated than my own, or so it seemed—as fertile as you'd expect of someone so steeped in bullshit. Still, he was a very likeable guy. He had a sort of Sydney Greenstreet quality, partly slick and attractive, partly oily and repulsive. He always had a scam going; not so much that he was greedy, he was just eager to earn his living without working very hard. Some of his best friends fell out with him toward the end—about money, I think—and then I lost track of those friends, too, and a whole small world was lost to me.

I guess there’s 10 or 20 people like that, people whom I knew through mutual acquaintances and whom I really barely knew. It’s funny how one can miss, not only one’s good old friends and lovers who have vanished, but some of the colorful, outrageous, even disagreeable characters who were almost entirely incidental to our friendships.

One’s life fills up with memories both useful and useless.

Don't ask what this is about, just take a look at The Rat's Delight.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

CNN Split Screens Suck

What’s the use of all these split screens such as one sees so much of lately on CNN? It might have been a little acceptable when they only split the screen in two, but now Wolf Blitzer splits the screen into six parts and then stands in front of all of them because he’s so goddamn important and gorgeous that we have to see him! Wolf and his producers seem to think that all of us are watching their split screens on TV’s the size of their video viewers on the news set or that all of us have the eyes of an eagle. That’s not true! Many still watch small TV’s. Many people watching TV news networks are in their forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties. The only people who see like an eagle are thirty and under and most of them don’t even watch television news yet! So, what elder hipsters who never suffer eye strain do they think they’re appealing to? “None” is the correct answer, but Wolf’s too stupid to know it!

Mickey Mantle
"If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Personal and Impersonal Objects

Talking about pictures of women in a magazine—the women lounging lazily, stroking themselves (or pretending to), obviously posing for men.

“These pictures are awful!” she told him, flinging the magazine down in disgust.

“But what if, instead of such beautiful, perfect, unattainable women, they were pictures of women who look like you? Only as pretty as you, or even not as pretty as you are. What if all such images, of women or men, were of anyone, everyone—all human forms instead of just the perfect ones? Would you, would I, then be free to enjoy them since we were no longer being so undemocratic and exclusive? You know, including everyone in the game?”

“God, you've missed the point entirely,” she said in an exasperated tone. “It's pornography that’s wrong, not undemocratic pornography!”

“Why would even democratic pornography be so objectionable?” he said stubbornly.

“It just is! It's—well, the reduction of people to mere impersonal objects!”

“And is the actual objection,” he asked, “to being an object or to being an impersonal object? After all, we're all an object of one sort or another to each other. We're all objects in nature's game, aren't we?”

“Nobody ought to be anybody's object,” she said firmly.

“Is that the answer to my question?” he asked. “Are you saying it's the mere-ness of being an object, and not the impersonality of it? Which really bothers you?”

“If I had to answer your question, I guess I'd say impersonal objects,” she said with a frown. “But I just don't see how or when anybody is somebody's personal object. It doesn't make sense. Are you sure there is such a thing?”

“If there isn't, I'll by God invent one,” he grinned.

“I thought so,” she said, looking at him sternly.

He shrugged and nodded. He wanted to say, “Go ahead, you goddamn lunatic Lady Cop, hit me, beat me senseless with your crazy moralistic nightstick!” But she would never have understood. She was driving him crazy just with the way she looked; she was beautiful, she was hot. She was desirable, but the things she was saying weren't helping him a bit. He wasn't doing her much good either, though, he realized.

“You’re a friendly fellow,” she said, “but, really, you’re just a sexist.”

“Realizations aren't always worth much,” he muttered bitterly.

2nd draft: 09/16/05
©1989 Ronald C. Southern

Robert Byrne
"Getting caught is the mother of invention."

Friday, September 16, 2005

German Bikini Man

Curious to see who my 10,000th visitor was and thinking it might be some friend or acquaintance, I was soon corrected! It was somebody in Germany looking up words like "bikini". Once in my early days of blogging, I did show a web address for a somewhat mature muscle-builder lady in a bikini. I think I accused her of looking like your old grammar school teacher with muscles. She was hot. I hope that German didn't injure himself.

These Days

[This is post #507. I had meant to keep track and note when #500 occurred, but the best laid plans of mice and men often go to bloody hell, especially mine. I guess I could count backwards, but I'm too tired.]

I’m going through my hours these days and nights in a slight state of dizziness, not quite feeling doped up, but a little distressed. I’m taking two diabetes pills and one for blood pressure and a Zoloft and, more recently, an antibiotic for prostatitis. Everything goes awry at once when you haven’t been to the doctor for a long time! Most of those drugs wouldn’t be considered dope, I wouldn’t think, but I’m not sure about Zoloft. But frankly, I’ve had some dizziness since before the medicines and I have been told that dizziness would not be unusual for a diabetic, so there’s nothing possible here except guesses. I need a new eyeglass prescription pretty badly and I need to ask again if I should continue to delay. When I get better, I’ll feel better—is that it? My blood sugar numbers have dropped a little and so has my blood pressure dropped. Neither is down to normal, really. This feels like a very long wait.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Examination Room

I’ve had a few drop-your-pants exams lately at the doctor’s and I am apparently getting used to it. Or else I’m too sick to care much. The other day, my doctor had to leave the room for gauze or something and I didn’t bother to pull my pants or underwear back up. I flipped my shirt loose so that the shirttails covered my posterior and my front, and I considered that adequate modesty in the unlikely event that someone walked in on me. I’m not usually an immodest person, but neither am I usually sick.

Sure enough, while the doctor was out of the room, this was the only occasion that a nurse came in (this was one I only know by sight) also in search of some elusive medical supply. She excused herself and started to turn away, then came back in, searched quickly, found something and departed. I was still thinking about it (presume a count of ten or so) as she was going out the door and I finally said, "No matter." I didn’t care.

How bad could it be, I figure, as long as it doesn’t involve invasive insertions or knives? Frankly, I’d be willing to sell tickets to my unveilings if such immodesty would advance my cure.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Irritated About Nothing Much

What does it take to get me mad? Make me listen to awkward and improper use of English on the part of someone otherwise very impressed with themselves and who ought to know better (reporters, TV talking heads, public officials, teachers, preachers, and other public speakers).

I heard a reporter remarking about Condi Rice "paying condolences" to the British about the recent subway bombings. One doesn't pay condolences, one gives them. One pays one’s respect. If you’re the sort of person down on the creek who wants to “tawk” anyway you want to while you fish, that’s fine—but don’t take a job as an announcer on my goddamn TV!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Things That Don't Occur To Me

You see, I already forgot.

Wryness And Intelligence

Tanner thought about what she'd said about him for a second and, as was often the case, couldn't decide what she meant. It might have sounded like a straightforward compliment from anyone else, but she always seemed to have her tongue in cheek, and that wry tone of hers always made him uncomfortable.

He sensed her intelligence and was thrilled by it, but he was always afraid that she might be intelligent enough to see right through him. He had always liked her and even liked for her to be wry, but she still made him nervous. These days, he was not used to anyone around him being intelligent or feisty, much less both.

What was that she'd said about a chuckle? Or did she say cuckold? It didn’t really relate to their situation. He'd just been diagnosed with a new illness and found that not everything made sense anymore. Maybe things would get better later.

Willem de Kooning
"The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Things That Occur To Me

Plinkus, plankus, plunkus,
I'm in another fuckin' funkus.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Boredom, even combined with only slight discomfort, can really get to you sometimes. And me, too. This is a day like that.

H. L. Mencken
"Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking."


I cannot seem to say to you
How bright and pretty you are;
I feel like some old workshoe
Out of place at a festive dance.

I seem to always see myself as marred—
Some awkward, dark-stained, bended thing
Beneath a grievous cloud…
Why must this be so hard?

Were I all that men aspire to be
And something more beside,
Still I could not tell you all you are
Or make your moving spirit
Stand still upon the page.

Carol, kind heart, you are so dear,
But nothing near, nor will be;
Soon you will be gone
And this, all this will be in vain.
(Most vain in me is the notion
That you could care for me.)


4th draft: 09/08/05
©1986 Ronald C. Southern

Friday, September 09, 2005

Confusing Illness

Just a few weeks ago I went to the doctor for the first time in years. I had a great many symptoms and complaints, some of which I still have. I had a boil at the base of my spine (so to speak) so that I could not very comfortably sit down for any length of time. I couldn’t always lie down either. I had it lanced, but it lingered. I had more procedures and antibiotics, one week, then a second week. Fortunately, this has slowly gotten better and is now nearly gone. I hope.

I was also diagnosed with diabetes II and am now taking two oral medications for that. Because I was so anxious, it seemed very hard to sort out the pills and to master the use of the glucose meter and blood sampler (finger stabber!), but after about ten days, it begins now to seem a bit familiar and not so nerve-wracking. My blood sugar numbers are all still high, but the few dates I have to go by so far show that there is a trend for those numbers to go down. Closer to normal, but not normal! It’s probably too early to conclude much, but one looks for hope where one can!

I’m starting to read the books I have on the blood testing and on diabetes, so I've stopped putting that off. I’m also taking some Zoloft to quell my vicious, finicky, overanxious, increasingly claustrophobic, frazzled nature. It may be working a little, but it’s early. I have a lot of adjustments to make. I feel a little more clear-headed than I did, but still feel like my equilibrium is off-kilter—and I can’t explain those coexistent contradictory conditions at all! I very much need a new eyeglasses prescription, but have been advised to wait a bit because of the diabetes. That's hard, too.

I was also informed that I have high blood pressure and so now I’m taking medication for that. I’ve looked up a little Internet info on the blood pressure numbers and realize that I’m pretty damn high. I only paid attention to this last reading, so I guess I need to ask them if I’ve shown any sigh of improvement since the first few readings.

So, among these and other things, I have symptoms going away and symptoms going strong. I’m getting better, but not well exactly. I don’t feel well, at any rate. It is still not predictable how steady I’ll be about blogging yet, but I’ll make a few chicken scratches here now and then, no matter what.

Sorry if I told you more than you wanted to know. I tried not to.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Let It Be

lyrics by The Beatles

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. yeah
There will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Galbraith, Doris Day

John Kenneth Galbraith
"Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite."

Doris Day
"The really frightening thing about middle age is that you know you'll grow out of it."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Will Rogers and Mahatma Gandhi

Being rundown and tired, I limit myself today to contributions from other intelligent people.

Will Rogers
"We don't know what we want, but we are ready to bite somebody to get it."

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hurricane Katrina - Humans Make It Worse

I've been sick and self-absorbed since before hurricane Katrina and all through the ordeal that has followed. The damage and the suffering are of such enormity that maybe it doesn't seem real or possible to anyone just looking at it from afar. It doesn't to me. I don't claim to know why there have been such shortcomings in the speed and quantity of aid being delivered in the first days, but it is mortifying and embarrassing to know that we as a country can't do better than that. The flow of aid and supplies has started now, but the plan still seems helter-skelter. I've heard a great deal of self-congratulation out of FEMA and the other agencies and responsible parties and frankly they just strike me as old-fashioned bureaucrats buried up to their ass in paperwork, self-importance, and dithering. These are not the men who are capable of quick responses to terrrorist attacks and natural disasters. And that's a shame.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tidbits (Quotes In Aspic)

"Either I've been missing something or nothing has been going on." — Karen Elizabeth Gordon

"Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself." — A. H. Weiler

"Middle age is when you've met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else." — Ogden Nash

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Beautiful Poem Stolen From Loren’s Site

[I’m not exactly back to blogging, but I couldn’t let this one pass.]

At In A Dark Time Loren has a wonderful short article about the poet Mary Oliver and features this poem. I’d never heard of her, but that doesn’t matter. An English teacher friend has since informed me it's one of her favorite poets, so I guess I wasn't awake. Anyway, if Loren can steal it, so can I, therefore I’m printing the poem below to inflict on all I know! Most of you who have ever liked poetry will probably like this one! It’s really fine.


It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves -
then I saw him clutching the limb
in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still
and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness -
and that's when it happened,
when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree -
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,
and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward
like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing -
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed
not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky - all, all of them
were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn't last
for more than a few moments.
It's one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,
is that, once you've been there,
you're there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?
Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then - open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Shutting Down For A While

I’ve been sick and may continue to be so for a while. It seems like forever to me, but in fact has been but a few days. There’s nothing funny about it and so it isn’t very good fodder for my kind of blog post. Anyway, I can’t focus or concentrate on writing until I’ve had more tests and more medicine. You’ll have to forgive me if I say that I’m too sick and too depressed to give a damn about anyone or anything but myself, and I don’t even like me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I will probably not be writing for a few days more. Maybe not until next week.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Read Me, Read Me (Blarg, Blarg, Blarg!)

I sometimes wonder how many of you read my blog every day (approximately, anyway). And then I wonder how many read it two or three times a week. If the latter, do you “catch up” with as much as possible or do you skim and select the most interesting to actually real? If you’re reluctant to answer directly, claim that you have “this friend” who does this or that and likes it that way. I don’t mind an evasion—you can make up the person, just not the behavior. (What the hell am I talking about? Except for Rhodent and L, I doubt any of you personally know someone else who reads all this blarg.)

Oh, er, if you’re curious, I read most of my favorites every day and seldom miss a day. I’ve got a stick up my ass about it, I guess. Not that that’s good for me, I guess.

With a Little Help from My Friends

A little help from my friends
What would you think if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me.
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song,
And I’ll try not to sing out of key.
I get by with a little help from my friends,
I get high with a little help from my friends,
Going to try with a little help from my friends.
What do I do when my love is away.
(does it worry you to be alone)
How do I feel by the end of the day
(are you sad because you’re on your own)
No I get by with a little help from my friends,
Do you need anybody,
I need somebody to love.
Could it be anybody
I want somebody to love.
Would you believe in a love at first sight,
Yes I’m certain that it happens all the time.
What do you see when you turn out the light,
I can’t tell you, but I know it’s mine.
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
Do you need anybody,
I just need someone to love,
Could it be anybody,
I want somebody to love.
I get by with a little help from my friends,
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends,
With a little help from my friends.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Paint It Black

by the Rolling Stones

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes
I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black
With flowers and my love both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a new born baby it just happens ev’ry day
I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and it has been painted black
Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts
It’s not easy facin’ up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you
If I look hard enough into the settin’ sun
My love will laugh with me before the mornin’ comes

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes
Hmm, hmm, hmm,...
I wanna see it painted, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I wanna see the sun blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Other People’s Vomit

The Car Cleanup

You’ve heard me mention my cousin JW, who lives near me. He and I are cousins on my mother’s side. He has another cousin on his mother’s side called JP. Back when we were in high school, JP and I sometimes worked at our uncle’s (JW’s dad) service station, though usually not at the same time—the station wasn’t that busy. But because of that connection, an opportunity came along to work together at a gas station which the franchisee had abandoned but which the company wanted to keep open. I don’t remember why. We ran the place without adult supervision and JP handled the books.

I do remember, though, that two guys came in and dropped off a car to be cleaned up. JP made a deal to wash and deodorize the puked-in car for about three times the regular price. He didn’t charge enough, though. That son of a bitch car had to be deodorized first just to be able to approach it and start cleaning. We sluiced and scrubbed and wiped 2 or 3 times, then deodorized again. Yes, we did use mops and a high-pressure water hose to the extent that it was feasible, but eventually we had to climb into the car. As far as I’m concerned, we wuz robbed and mistreated!

I never could imagine why the two guys had barfed in their nice car and rolled around in it to that extent. Why hadn’t they rolled out in the dirt instead of soaking the carpet and upholstery? You don’t have to clean up dirt—at any rate, nothing a shovel couldn’t handle, as if you were burying the dead. They left the car with us for half a day, and that’s about how long it took the two of us to clean it, in between the regular business of the gas station. The twenty bucks or so we got at the time was a lot, but not nearly enough! Be careful what you agree to, there may be a lot more vomit than you know.

It's Saturday
And I don't care
If I do die, do die, do die!

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Few Vulgarities by Randy Newman


Last night I saw Lester Maddox on a TV show
With some smart-ass New York Jew
And the Jew laughed at Lester Maddox
And the audience laughed at Lester Maddox too
Well, he may be a fool but he's our fool
If they think they're better than him they're wrong
So I went to the park and I took some paper along
And that's where I made this song

We talk real funny down here
We drink too much and we laugh too loud
We're too dumb to make it in no Northern town
And we're keepin' the niggers down
We got no-necked oilmen from Texas
And good ol' boys from Tennessee
And college men from LSU
Went in dumb - come out dumb too
Hustlin' 'round Atlanta in their alligator shoes
Gettin' drunk every weekend at the barbecues
And they're keepin' the niggers down

We're rednecks, rednecks
And we don't know our ass from a hole in the ground
We're rednecks, we're rednecks
And we're keeping the niggers down

Now your northern nigger's a Negro
You see he's got his dignity
Down here we're too ignorant to realize
That the North has set the nigger free
Yes he's free to be put in a cage
In Harlem in New York City
And he's free to be put in a cage in the South-Side of Chicago
And the West-Side
And he's free to be put in a cage in Hough in Cleveland
And he's free to be put in a cage in East St. Louis
And he's free to be put in a cage in Fillmore in San Francisco
And he's free to be put in a cage in Roxbury in Boston
They're gatherin' 'em up from miles around
Keepin' the niggers down

We're rednecks, we're rednecks
We don't know our ass from a hole in the ground
We're rednecks, we're rednecks
And we're keeping the niggers down
We are keeping the niggers down

Another song from the Newman album, "Good Old Boys"

Thursday, August 18, 2005


"There is no passion in the world greater than the passion to alter someone else's draft." — H.G. Wells

"The passion for setting people right is in itself an afflictive disease." — Marianne Moore, American Poet

Stats About New Blog Posts

Check this info, you only need to peruse it.
This is post #485 on my blog today.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Get Out Of My Way, I’m Inspired!

Because God is on my side, because God sent me here (me above all others), because God gave me this land and gave me all permissions, I am at liberty to kill everyone in my own defense and even just for my religion. I am permitted to kill my enemies. I am permitted to kill my kin. I blow people up with bombs. I throw acid in the face of soldiers in my own country’s service. If my leaders oppose the secret desires of God, I strike them down. I kick, scream, scratch, and bellow like a sick cow. Nothing in me yields to the powers that oppose my God and God is always on my side and there is always someone in contention with God. I never have to give up my violent opposition. I am permitted to kill your baby and to kill my baby in order to support the God who supports me. I am a fierce true believer, believing in God and believing in me, but believing even more in your evil. Because I was sent by God and yet some like you fail to recognize that fact, I must oppose and obliterate the evil ones, no matter who they are. When I’m not fighting Satan, I’m fighting people of other races and people of other Parties who have embraced Satan. You’d be amazed how damn hard it is to please or get along with me, considering the propaganda you might hear elsewhere about my eternal loving God.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Randy Newman Lyrics


Yes, baby, I been drinkin'
And I shouldn't come by I know
But I found myself in trouble, darlin'
And I had nowhere else to go
Got some whisky from the barman
Got some cocaine from a friend
I just had to keep on movin'
Til I was back in your arms again
I'm guilty, baby I'm guilty
And I'll be guilty all the rest of my life
How come I never do what I'm supposed to do
How come nothin' that I try to do ever turns out right?
You know, you know how it is with me baby
You know, you know I just can't stand myself
And it takes a whole lot of medicine
For me to pretend that I'm somebody else.

[From the Randy Newman album, "Good Old Boys".]

Monday, August 15, 2005

I Don't Seem

I don't seem to be here today. Not all here, anyway.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Visiting Cassie

Cassie And Kathryn In The Bedroom

I heard the women say, “I love you,” as they disappeared into the master bedroom, and, after that, repeatedly, if only in imagination, I heard the sound of soft wet kisses. They weren’t too far away, just a door or two away while I took a bath and meditated—I was hip, but I wasn’t normally this hip. Jesus, how hip was I supposed to be under these circumstances? I wasn’t certain.

I was being a “nice guy”, I thought, while I tried not paying them any mind. But when the bath water wasn’t running it was hard to ignore them, hard to pretend. I heard just enough; their laughter as they opened and shut the closet door made me wince. I had no excuse for acting jealous; Cassie was just an old friend by now. Well, but of course it was jealousy; it just wasn’t sexual.

Her husband was playing basketball somewhere until two, I was told. A proper fool, but no worse than me, an unwilling witness and co-conspirator. I knew what they planned to do. They wanted to touch, as we all do. They hadn't been able to spend any time alone together. Cassie's in-laws had been in town all last week, and now I was in the way this week, So I had to hold my water, dawdle in the tub, mislead myself, and let them play as they will. When it was over, I blocked it all out, though I knew it was factually true. I remember it as if it had importance, though hundreds of things have since happened to Cassie and to me. The past should be buried deep, but it isn’t always…

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Mark Twain and Dorothy Parker Quotes

"Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person." — Mark Twain

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to." — Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Good Heavens!

"When I gave food to the poor, they called me a saint. When I asked why the poor were hungry, they called me a communist." — Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian Bishop, Nobel Peace Prize nominee

About prostitutes: "...The Lord is not here to tot up unfortunate sisters’ sins. They are the victims. We churchmen frequently make too much of women's sins and sexual sins in general as if sexual sins were graver than sins against compassion. Good Heavens!" — Dom Helder Camara

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Burning-Barrel Ashes

Sometimes, like now, I end up with a barrel full of mud. You may have heard me refer at times to the “burning barrel” in the back yard, in which leaves, pine straw, pinecones, and limbs go up in smoke until the ash grows thick. Then I ease the barrel over and shovel out its contents (mostly ash) and give it to the garbage truck. This usually works nicely, except times like this, when rain occurs several times during the time I’d planned to get the barrel dry, only the barrel never quite dries!

So I have a barrel with a sort of multi-layer built up in it, with dry and wet levels of matter, some materials burnt to ash and other places only black. Not to mention that once shoveled into a black plastic bag, this crap is quite heavy. This time around is the worst I’ve ever done; I really shouldn’t have loaded so much weight! The garbage crew may hate me, I always think. Worse, they may refuse to remove what may seem to them to have a couple of dead bodies in it!

But, for now, I’m going to not think too much about it. I’m going to rely on the fact that most men, especially young working men, are stronger than I am and may pick up the heavy bag with one arm and say nothing more than “damn” about it as they sling it into the truck and go on their merry way down the street.

"Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature." — Kin Hubbard

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Backyard Bird List

1. blue jay
2. bluebird, eastern
3. cardinal
4. catbird, gray
5. chickadee
6. crow
7. flicker
8. grackle
9. hummingbird
10. mockingbird
11. robin
12. sparrow, house
13. titmouse
14. vulture, turkey
15. woodpecker, downy
16. woodpecker, pileated
17. woodpecker, red-bellied
18. wren, Carolina

The fact that I never go to the beach or pass through a town near the beach should explain to you much of the lack of variety in my list. I could, but I don't. I've also become a very lazy birdwatcher; I'm sure some good ones nest in my trees at times that I'm too comfortable in the air-conditioning to see anything!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

More Holes

Good God, I’ve got another hole in another section of the well hose! Almost as good as a hole in the head. More digging, unless I don’t fix it at all.

I’m inclined to get enraged and not attempt to fix the hose, but since the hole is nowhere near the other one, I’m not sure what I should do. There might be no other leaks that spring forth for a long while, never can tell. So I’m just letting it slide for now, even though I’ve sworn that it’s gone too far, the system’s too old, I can’t stand to work on it again, and so forth. Really, I don’t know.

The other time took a long time to repair because I’m a fool; also, I exxagerated it a little, trying to get every drop of humor out of the situation. It’s too depressing this time around. I’ll think about it all for a while before I jump in the river again. Or maybe I’ll actually jump in the river.

"I have long been of the opinion that if work were such a splendid thing the rich would have kept more of it for themselves." — Bruce Grocott

Monday, August 08, 2005

Help Find Alisa's Missing Father

I've added a link in the sidebar today to a "Missing Person" listing. Fellow blogger Alisa, who writes at "Random Postings" (one of the links in my sidebar among my "Intelligent Blogs", is worried about her father and has asked for everybody's help. Just click on the sidebar link and glance at the photos. It's a slim chance, perhaps, but it'll only take a couple of seconds of your time.

New Silver Flashlight

It’s been a few weeks now, but I replaced my old black pocket flashlight and it is very enjoyable. Both are Mini Maglites, the same size, all the same, just different colors. But the new silver one is so fine! I guess after 15-plus years, I may not recall what the old one was like when it was new, but the new one sure is superior now! It turns on so easily; it’s a wonderful thing. The old one still turns on brightly, but it’s more work. I guess when things get old in daily service after years and years, it’s just been too gradual for us to realize how “bad” old things really are! This new one is like being Reborn!

My only gripe about the new one is this: that the first mini Maglite I ever owned came with a very handy pocket clip. If you’ve never seen one, it’s a sort of larger version of the pencil clips you see sometimes that secures a pencil to your shirt pocket or pocket protector. Evidently they were not popular in the flashlight world, for this is my third mini Maglite, but I’m still using the same pocket clip I started out with. The clip isn’t rusty, so I guess it was high quality and may last me the life of this third flashlight or the rest of my life, whichever ends first.

The Maglite comes these days with a fabric holder that straps to one’s belt. That’s not a bad idea; I’d use it if that’s all I had. But I tell you and I tell the stupid company, the clip works as well and better.

In passing let me mention that I recently bought new rechargeable batteries for the flashlight, so I can’t testify to their longevity, but in my previous experience the batteries lasted so long that by the time they couldn’t charge any more, I couldn’t remember when I’d bought them or the flashlight! I’m sure there’s other great flashlights in this world, but this is a great one at its small and convenient size. If you’re a cop, firefighter, or other emergency worker, you might need more light, but the mini is pretty good for us civilians. And the price, of course, is right for a tightwad like me—less than $10, with regular batteries. I already owned 2 chargers, so the only extra cost was the rechargeable batteries. You may think I make too much of it, but if they last as well as the previous setup did, I may never have a chance to talk about it again!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A Poem In The Dark

In The Dark

Now you've traveled along alone so far,
No heartfelt human voice to hear except your own
Or else some dim recall caught briefly on the march
Where some spoke soft and some with starch,
Forestalling for a time this dogged trouble with your heart.

The cops, the doctors, must have known or sensed
Some awful bloody offness in the memories you've made
Of voices that cry behind you in past tense
Or whisper faintly from inside—
How must they have despised all that your speech must hide!

You speak to no one in the end,
Hearing women's voices weakly in your head
That used to spark the hardness even of your self-brazed heart.
You've traveled alone a long time now and far,
No semblance of a voice beside you in the dark,
Unless you count the chaos, and the chaos seldom counts.

Count the stars instead, so far away, apart,
And what a long way now would it not go
Toward being home at last
If only someone in the dark had said—but what? Said what?
Time is so far along and all except your art is at heart's end
At last, where all that human voices ever said is soon forgot.


8th draft: 09/27/04
©2001 Ronald C. Southern

Friday, August 05, 2005

Robert Browning

My Last Duchess


That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will't please you sit and look at her? I said
"Frà Pandolf" by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not
Her husband's presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps
Frà Pandolf chanced to say "Her mantle laps
Over my Lady's wrist too much," or "Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat": such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart — how shall I say? — too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, 'twas all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace — all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men, — good! but thanked
Somehow — I know not how — as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech — (which I have not) — to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
Or there exceed the mark" — and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
—E'en then would be some stooping, and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master's known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hopkins Poem About Christ

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is—
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Even without completely understanding it, I have always found something interesting about Christ and Beauty and other immutables in this poem to be immediately apparent and very vivid. It's like a song whose words you may not yet comprehend, but the music's not hard to hear. Hopkins is one of my favorite poets because he made such music often and I seldom can.