Sunday, April 30, 2006


H. L. Mencken: "Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood."

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Flapdoodle Redux

How My Temper Throws A Fit

I’m an effete intellectual who likes to cuss. Well, maybe I don’t like it, but I generally do it without much restraint. I might say “Goddamn” 5 or 10 times in as few seconds when something goes wrong. I’ve begun to have neuropathy in my fingertips and therefore fumble a lot of things. I drop pills, can’t button shirts easily, probably couldn’t twiddle your nipples if there was a cash prize for it.

I get irritable, I always have. I think it’s something genetic—at any rate I have a cousin who’s much the same way. Like me, his anger exceeds all forbearance, not to mention that he hits the roof! I think he dreams of chasing down all bad drivers and giving them bloody justice! Fortunately, he doesn’t catch many. Come to think of it, I’ve had those thoughts myself, back before I got diabetes and began to suffer from such frequent fatigue. I’m a lot more wimpy about it now, but only because it takes most of my energy to pay attention to my driving! I can no longer afford to let my temper throw a fit for fear I’ll drive off the road or hit another car.

Still, walking around the homestead, I cuss. “Goddamn, goddamn, goddamn!” God may, but it won’t shut up my autonomic cursing. It’s disgusting when you start to drop everything on the floor and can’t always plug in small electronic conveniences. I have a lot of shirts with snaps instead of buttons, and I’m grateful for that these days. It’s not a matter of style, but how long it takes to get dressed in a house on fire in the middle of the night! Or just hoping to be dressed by breakfast! Sometimes I can’t unbutton my pants very fast in an excretory or sexual emergency. Or something like that.

Whether you’re fond of me or not, you probably wouldn’t wish this sort of degradation on me.

Rush (Dopehead) Limbaugh or Jerry (Pissy) Falwell or the President of Iran, maybe—but not (Goddamn it!) me!


Peter Drucker: "So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work."

Rehash Of A Sweet Old Poem


April is the haven for undefined criminals—
It is my season
And the season of guppies.

So listen and forget your small ambitions
And bring such mirthless tools as can destroy us—
Come, we will burn them in our hearts.

Come, and we will light the darkless heavens
Though Death shall rule a universe.
What songs I sing, let them be yours—
We are more close than distant,
Though we cannot say it.

Your world is adrift in the snowy deep,
And likely I cannot save it—
But you, my friend,
Come, step from your dragon’s lair,
Among lilacs and lilies.

Daisies shall all our springtime be
Beneath the butterfly’s wing
And among the ageing rocks.

Let us draw maps
To where we dare to go,
And then be fools and dare to go;

Let us write songs
We dare not sing
And then be fools and dare the universe to sing.

Let no man impeach the sand
Or dance in a dreamer’s trance—
If I must speak from an apple box,
I will speak to no one.

Rash conclusions let us draw deliberately
As a dreamer may choose to sleep—
Here I may love you
Because I love you
And my heart beats for you by choice.

Here among guppies,
I will honor you
And our sea shall be calm
Though all around us concentric circles intersect
With an indiscriminate splash.

3rd draft: 04/29/06
©1966 Ronald C. Southern


Jesus, now it’s raining like a bastard out there and I’m trapped in my study. The sidewalk and yard to the house is flooded badly. I’m trapped like a rat. So to speak. If it weren’t past time for lunch, I wouldn’t much think about it. But I already don’t eat much and I need to eat when I can!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Alabaster And Balderdash

All The While You Talked To Me

All the while you talked to me
Or tolerated my silence,
I was dying.

I suffered from fears and fevers,
Indifference and disease.
I was deeply dying, but the bullshit took forever.

1st draft
©2006 Ronald C. Southern

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Can’t Get Anything Done


In other news today, I can’t get anything done. Got up late this morning because I’d gotten so cold during the night that I couldn’t Emerge from my cocoon! I went to Best Buy for the computer rig that was on sale and they were out. I didn’t stay, as I didn’t want to be talked into spending more! I wonder why they still had it on display? Because they’re knuckleheads, that’s why! If they’d knocked some off the floor model, I might have taken it, but they didn’t offer and I didn’t want to trifle with trash like them! (Thank you, Randy Newman.) Then I went by my podiatrist’s office to see about some paperwork and damned if I wasn’t there during their lunch break. The door was locked, the lights were out! Not wanting to wait 45 minutes, I departed. I should learn to use the goddamn phone before I go forth into the world because I don’t find the drive to be that much fun when nothing gets accomplished!


There's not much I love about the spam and crap (Spap!) emails that accumulate in the special Gmail folder. But one thing that's interesting, just before I delete them, are the endless emails with the same "foreign-man" sort of phrasing: "She wants a better sex?" says the witless email. I am endlessly tempted to answer it, "What are you going to do, glue a plastic penis on her?" But obviously, I'd be wasting my comic missive on a moron or foreign man who speaks English about as well as I speak Spap.

Wait a minute; shouldn't that be called Scrap? Well, too late!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Where's That At?

Bony Bats

Ole bony bats
Took a kicking in the slats,
Moaned a fresh eruption into his dryest pants,
Bore his moist condition as if it were distinct aplomb,
Not just a chance or unanticipated quiver of cold doom.

1st draft
©2006 Ronald C. Southern

Rick Powers

Twenty years ago he was a middle-aged plumber at Mosquito University. He was smart, but he was never kind. He was not especially mean, I don’t think; he was just not considerate of what he said, so that he was apt to say anything that popped into his head. I could relate to that a little; I sometimes have no sense of caution about my remarks, either. I remember working with him on campus one day when we ran into the mother of a coworker that Rick didn’t especially approve of, and I grimaced and looked away while Rick unabashedly inflicted his poor opinion of HER son on her ears. I doubt he ever saw what was wrong about that; she’d asked a question and Rick just answered it without prevarication or padding the truth. I didn’t especially disagree with what he’d said, I just never would have said it to the bastard’s Mother!

It’s hard to remember that he’s dead now. There was something so lively about him and his casual but stubbornly demanding approach to life. He was a few years older than I was, less than 10, so I guess he’d be pushing 68 by now. Instead he’s pushing up daisies.

Monday, April 24, 2006


I had an uncle having four heart bypasses this morning, but there were plenty of relatives attending and I had to go see the retina specialist, so that was that. He survived so far, I hear, and is doing well. Later in the afternoon I had to spend an inordinate amount of time at Best Buy where my mother wanted to buy a new TV after lots of delays over the past year or two. Finally, it got done. I was mostly just luggage. And her driver, I guess. I took a few minutes to glance in the computer department, whereupon my lips began to smack and purse. I think I salivated. And I was looking at the cheap stuff, too! I might go back in a day or two. More salivation will probably occur until then.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Finches Provide Answer

Spring is the season for flashy mates, at least for finches. It is only later in the year that the females choose based on genetic diversity, according to new research from two scientists at the University of Arizona. Their 10-year study of a colony of 12,000 finches in Montana has revealed the seasonal dynamics of finch attraction and thereby resolved an evolutionary conundrum.

For more, see Finches

Knocking Down My Own Sidebar

Into The Soup

In my previous post, I was guilty of knocking down my own sidebar, which is very embarrassing since it's the dilemma a lot of people write Blogger Help Group about and that I, among others, answer. It seems that when I used the PRE tags within which to write the Option Value statements, my continuous line bumped the sidebar clear off the planet. The first time or two I broke up the line, they still weren't short enough; the sidebar was there, but skinny as a rail! So I broke the line as you see now and my sidebar came back! That really made me nervous for 10 or 15 minutes until I could resolve it; I thought it was a problem that'd never come up again for me!

Blogger damn you!

But all you have to do to screw up is try something new or that you've seldom done and pretty soon you're in the soup up to your ass again!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Post Titles And Drop-Down Menu

(I’m a long-winded cowhand
from the Rio Grande…)

Using post titles is fun, but it also has a practical side. As I’ve stated elsewhere, Permalinks use them to title the URL’s that lets you use a hyperlink to dash straight to a particular post of mine, not just to the top of my main page. Another thing to keep in mind about post titles, though, is that if you ever use them in a drop down menu, how long those titles are may seem to control the horizontal length of the menu. The drop-down menu stretches itself to fit the widest title. If that ever becomes an issue to you as it did for me, let me save you some wondering: you can shorten or change those titles as you wish. My menu item formula reads like this (though in a continuous line):

 <option value="
target="_self">How to Implement Permalinks

and does not depend on the How to Implement Permalinks—that’s just a Name for your use—the menu bar depends on the URL only.

It could therefore be changed to:

 <option value="
target="_self">Learn Permalinks

The titles ought not to be changed back at the actual Post, but can be altered in the option value statement with no damage. If you are using a list of links to other people's sites in a drop-down, you can by the same token change their blog titles if you feel compelled! That way, a shorter menu bar can fit in a narrower sidebar or other position without being too wide. This may only come up as a problem if, like me, you give some posts long-winded titles! If so, pay attention. If not, God bless the child who’s got his own.

(There is a drop-down menu in my sidebar to the right, called PRETTY GOOD ONES.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Visit To My Podiatrist

And Other Mind Trips

Words I thought I’d never say: My podiatrist! Shitfire. I had a visit to my podiatrist Thursday and he gave me a prescription for a different medication for my neuropathy since the first choice hadn’t worked at all. And more, I'm starting to get it in my fingers, too! This new medication was more expensive, but not the most expensive. One is worse, he said. I thought therefore that the middle-priced one would be a moderate amount, but it was going to be a hundred bucks a month (my most expensive medicine!) if I got it locally, I found out. Jesus! Maybe I wouldn’t take that medicine! Fortunately, I find it’s available through my RxOutreach prescription plan for a pittance, which is more in line with my income. All you have to do to get on their plan is to be poor, and I qualified for that! The pity is that some of us don’t qualify for that even when we think we do. Some plans claim that I am not poor. How can there be such different opinions! But I stand emboldened by the fact that America is pissing away my health-care dollars to make democracy safe for Iraqis and Iranians, whether whole or fragmented by IED's. Not to mention, for the lawyers of drug cartels all around the planet! Freedom, freedom! It’s great stuff.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Roll Up For The Magical Mystery Tour!

This is post #739!

A fantasy: If I were into writing songs, I'd aspire on one hand to be like Paul McCartney and on the other hand to be like the late great noisy John Lennon! It wouldn't hurt to be on occassion as soulful as poor deceased George and his weeping guitar used to be. And I don't suppose it would hurt to get laid as much as Ringo!

Comedian Mel Brooks used to say famously, "It's good ta be da king!" By the same token I say, "It would've been Primo to be The Beatles, but second best was just to get to enjoy them as they were!" It's great to have the recordings!

Winter Lady

Trav'ling lady, stay awhile
until the night is over.
I'm just a station on your way,
I know I'm not your lover.
Well I lived with a child of snow
when I was a soldier,
and I fought every man for her
until the nights grew colder.

She used to wear her hair like you
except when she was sleeping,
and then she'd weave it on a loom
of smoke and gold and breathing.

And why are you so quiet now
standing there in the doorway?
You chose your journey long before
you came upon this highway.

Trav'ling lady stay awhile
until the night is over.
I'm just a station on your way,
I know I'm not your lover.

Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Big Fat 53

I’ve made some changes over there in the sidebar. What used to be “20 Pretty Good Ones” is now “53 Pretty Good Ones”. It may not be an accurate count, but I tried until I ran out of fingers and toes and warts. Then I estimated. In any case, you can tell it’s a significant number of additions!

For those never tempted to look at it in the first place, it’s just as boring as before. I added some that were old back into the list as well as some more that are more recent, but still old. Next time I add so many, I'll only add more recent ones and I’ll probably have to subtract the really old ones. Or maybe not.

I notice that the list went unchanged for over a year without anyone remarking on it at all, so I suspect it’s a toy for me and me only!

Lovers And Kisses

Lawrence Durrell: "Lovers can find nothing to say to each other that has not been said and unsaid a thousand times over. Kisses were invented to translate such nothings into wounds." (Mountolive)

Waiting For Godot

(And Getting Nada For It)

I suppose anything could be compared to that old play about waiting for Godot. You have a terrible feeling of being frozen somewhere in time and waiting for something, someone, that does not arrive. Should we wait at all, I ask myself—it’s doubtful, but it’s our habit!

We wait around waiting for a friend to call or come by, but he or she never said when. We postpone other jobs or trips because we think we have to be available! Our friend promised to do us a favor, so we have to be around! They know their own schedule, but don’t seem to think you need to know as much as you want to know. If you’re not coming today, I’d like to know that. If you’re not coming until next week, I’d like to know that, too! The phone works both ways, of course, but how many times can I call before one or both us gets irritable? Apparently, my friend should not have made that promise, at least not to me, because I'm the dumb bastard who'll believe them!

When you’re sick and the busy doctor’s office has promised to phone in some prescription for you to the pharmacy, you wait and wait. As the hours go by, you phone both pharmacy and doctor a couple of times to see if they’re forgotten or if it’s done because you’re in dire discomfort! Seven hours later you’re at the pharmacy, waiting even longer as they take their turn, maybe not at being Godot, but at being about as slow-poke as you can bloody well stand!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Shallow Cruise

Another Arsole

One of the things I like best about surfing the "Next Blogs" is how many Blogs I find who relentlessly bitch-slap and insufferably critique the infamous Tom Cruise! Why they hate him, I don't know. I think he's a weasel, but they may think something else. I just like to see him get a lot of shit for being shallow, if nothing else. Why is this shithead popular?


Out Of My Depth

Janice, you're the scientist, not me! I just stumbled across all this crap from someone on the Internet, I guess a chemist, talking about molecules with silly names. Pretty funny, I thought.

Everything from Arsole (is it smelly?) to Buckminster Fullerene (izzat a cookie?) to Munchnones (munchkin snacks?).

Silly Molecules

Monday, April 17, 2006

Miffed And Mystified

Time passes quickly when you’re miffed and mystified. Don’t ask what that means, I think it just sounds good at the moment. Poets and songwriters do that sort of thing all the time. I can’t really speak for songwriters, but I know I often just talk and talk (or write and write) and later I sift through the pretties for some bits that also make sense. Or might make sense, if altered only a little. Thus many of my poems and stories have evolved from gibberish or things that said something else entirely! What did they say those original lyrics for the Beatles’ “Yesterday” were—something like “scrambled eggs, I ordered scrambled eggs…” Of course Music works like that; it might have ended up a mournful but pretty song about breakfast, you know?

I’m floating around inside myself just now, not concentrating on too much. I’ve abandoned looking at the Blogger Help Group for today or longer. It feels good when I help someone, I admit to that. But it’s also sort of deflating to deal with so many people who make their own problems. Those who’ve been caught by some Blogger Quirk need help, but those who merely want Blogger to do what they’ve seen elsewhere seem obtuse and overly ambitious to me. Everybody worries about his or her Archives a good deal and some people want them in reverse order. I think some cats just want to reverse everything they encounter! Be that as it may, they can get help for most of these obtuse things, they just won’t get it from me!

It’s remarkable to me how many new Bloggers want the most extreme modifications! I have more in common with those who just want to improve their fonts or be able to underline words or otherwise learn the basics. A lot of them are all jabbering about Java Script and other things that help them do double back flips with a smile, complications I don’t much plan to pick up even now, but I certainly wasn’t interested in them during the first week I started blogging! But they’re entitled! If they’re ambitious and noisy and young, what’s it to me? And why in the world should I let it bear down on me? Indeed, why? A blogger should write, I think; not program or answer questions about templates. I forget the real focus sometimes. I’m a writer, not a techie, and I need to keep that in mind! Maybe every blogger considers himself a writer of sorts; but I’m a snob and always have been! I know the difference, at least between the good and the bad writing that I do! I like variety in writing, but I like quality more! I suppose I need to refocus. Ho hum. Try not to get burned by my blinding speed.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Snatch of Song

(Overheard bit of song on the radio)

I got a boner on under my habit, dear,
And all my habits are hard to break!
I got the Jesus-bust-me cranky blues, dear,
And everything I used to love I hate!

When I Grow Up!

I seem to have touched on the topic of what I'm going to be when I grow up several times lately in different ways, but I don't know why I did. It's not as if I plan to grow up, so why don't I shut up?

I don't know, dad blast it, and I may be too old and irritable to figure it out! So, not to abuse your sensibilities, my dear, but just fuck it! Okay?

Plz Plz Me, Oh Yeah, Like I Please You!

(Thinking about the usual dizzy foolishness)

"You make me feel so young,
You make me feel like spring has sprung!"

I was just thinking about some of my readers being young. Or younger, at any rate. At my age (58), almost anyone younger than 48 seems young to me; later than that, you're in trouble, like me.

Anyway, I was thinking about how good I feel that some of my readers are young. I used to have some that were even younger, but I think I burned their butts or offended their good sense—truth is, I tend to try to do both on a regular basis. It clears my arteries! Some younger men have accused me of having "issues", which I construe to mean I'm relatively moralistic about shit that's all a joke to them. And of course there's this small matter that I can spell and they can't! It's amazing how different that alone can make us! But not all the younger people spell "please" as a 3-letter word (which I find very pleasing) and I'm very glad they hang around this old fart's blog. (Of course, I like crafty geezers like Loren and Larry, too, but that's another matter!)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Human Nature

Henry Ward Beecher: "Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?"

The Law

Bill Mauldin: "I feel like a fugitive from the law of averages."

The Great Icon!

Blog Logo And Title

When I "created" my blog about three years ago, I barely knew what one was and I was unconvinced that it was anything of any great merit. I had only recently gotten my "Southern Exposure" web site going and I figured the Exposure would be hard enough to fill up. Of course, I was right and do not attempt to fill it any more! There’s enough work over here with the blog!

Anyway, when Blogger asked me for a blog title, I wrote in the first thing that came to mind. My pest control experience suggested "rat", though I have never gone by that nickname anywhere or at any time. Even when I was in the business, I was more often referred to as The Bug Man by other workers. Long ago, Austin street vendors referred to me as The Belt Man because of my leatherwork. I guess I always go into “B” businesses—belts, bugs, blogs! Can Bananas be far behind?

When I never changed the blog title, I was stuck with it and therefore stuck with one or another of the various illustrations I’ve used so far. Some, maybe most, of my readers at one time or another has probably assumed that the rat who "squeaks" is me, but I have not yet come to identity to that extent with the appellation. It is AS IF a rat squeaked, just as when I write a poem from the perspective of being a woman, I am still not a woman, you know! So, the rat is just an icon. It sticks, nonetheless.

I wonder if I’ll hear from other Bloggers who are as ambiguous about their own titles or logos? Most bloggers say little about all this, regardless of how much one might think they would. I think many bloggers still don’t know what they’re going to be when they grow up—and I know some fairly "mature" ones!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Goofy Poetry

Gut Music

I got a knee-jerk in my gut now
That’s tapping like an old shoe in shallow mud.
It growls at me as if alive at times,
Though it smells quite dead—
A constantly talkin’ torso filled with air!

Oh I got the crap-my-pants blues, baby,
And I’m running out of friends!
I got a comic bathroom disease, baby,
That could play you a tune if you please
Cause my accordian stays full of air!

Good Example of What?

Mark Twain: "Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example."

More For Everybody

Coming soon to a theater near you, another all-American cowboy movie about love and twitches, just the way you like it:


(We enjoy being quirky around here.)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

More Onward Through The Blog Fog!

(AKA Which Way My Wog Woes!)

I once had a dog that I liked, but now there’s only me. You sort it out; I can’t explain this crap.

I got my debit card activated a couple of days ago. I even used a human instead of an auto-teller, so I know it was done. I’d previously selected four digits for a PIN. I thought that all was taken care of. But I didn’t really feel it!

I felt like: Watch this shit, the first time I use it, it’ll blow up, it’ll ring alarm bells, the crappy thing’ll malfunction and draw attention to me in a busy store with a long impatient waiting line behind me and some cashier who doesn’t know how to deal with it! And that’s what it did, of course. Why do they have you pick out a PIN if it isn’t going to work, I wonder? In the end, the lead-dog Wal-Mart cashier just changed it from debit to credit and then it went through. I’ve known that to happen before, but I don’t see why the dogshit it should ever happen, much less happen often.

I called the credit union and they said I’d have to pass by the bank and report it so that I could swipe my card through a machine there and get a new PIN. What’s this about? That carefully chosen four digits (that I knew I could remember because it meant something to me) now has to be changed when it’s not my fault?!

Jesus, I don’t know why I trust this card or this bank with my money when they can’t do jackshit that’s right! But I’ll live. I'm not really married to that PIN.

In better news, I decided to bite one little bullet and get a high speed Internet connection with the phone company. The first nitwit I contacted told me it was $26 a month and I hung up on the woman. I couldn’t understand her very well, anyway. I wasn’t sure if she was not American or just not speaking very clear English—maybe she was only from Nu Yok or some other northern city! Later, there was a young man who spoke clearly and was more of a salesman. He gave me all the details of the high and low prices, informed me of a 14.99 and a 19.99 per month plan. The $15 a month deal that’s slightly slower was more my speed and I took it!

Ostensibly, by Wednesday of next week I’ll be connected and blazing my trail to Hades or Glory in total disregard of the rest of the local civilized population! And I won’t be tying up my phone line all the time! (There may not be cause for national celebration, but a few souls around here will be glad that I finally got off the dime!)

Real Men—The TLC Tugger

Men! Have you been missing your mud flap? If so, this may be what you've always wanted! But, Hey-Sus, you can go there without me! Damnation!

Want a peek at The Tugger?

Erratum Redux?

Something Else To Say

The day is almost gone, and so am I.
I tried to figure something else to say,
But it wouldn’t play. Why?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Good Fortune

New York City detective: "I've gone into hundreds of [fortune-teller's parlors], and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest her."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

No More Tsar, No More Radzinsky!

(Part One of this book review is even longer!)

The Last of The Last Tsar

Well, that book about the murder of Tsar Nicholas and his family got through with the murder, finally, and then went on and on some more! What a long book! The Russian, Radzinsky, who wrote it admitted that he was obsessed with the topic and I suppose I’m lucky it wasn’t two volumes long—maybe in the original Russian, it was! The book completed itself by following some of the murderers through the following decades of official Russian Shut-Mouth about the deaths. The men talked, but not officially, several of them taking turns claiming to be the one who fired the first shot and killed the Tsar. Though they had all participated, it’s clear that not all of them were telling the truth!

So many different versions emerge that I nearly began to doubt that the Tsar’s family was dead at all. In the end, he even trotted out some reports that Nicholas’ hemophiliac son, Alexei, had survived the shooting and had lived to be an elderly and not very stable man who did not want to be discovered as the lost Heir! Some mention was made of the romantic woman who for decades was reputed to be one of the four daughters, Anastasia; some believed in her and some didn’t through her long history, but I know from watching TV documentaries that in the end DNA technology finally disproved that she had any relation to the Romanovs! As for the boy surviving, I’ll believe that when he comes in the barroom door with his arm wrapped around Harvey the six-foot rabbit!

Bathroom Song

"Oh, I'm nasty, I'm nasty,
I'm solid-gold nasty
And I won't get any better at all!"

Monday, April 10, 2006

Regular, Not Constipated

Somebody requested just a regular uncolored daily post for a change—I think it was me!

Save Your Template!

Recently I was reading in Blogger Help Group about worried people whose templates have been truncated or damaged by Blogger gremlins or who themselves make changes to the templates that they soon regret. Why, I keep thinking doesn’t everyone “play it safe” and save occasional copies of their template? It would eventually be worth something to them; I know from experience with my own hair-brained changes to the template!

Depending on how much I am making changes to the template, I save various copies of it. I save them as html files in my HTML Editor directory where I can (to some extent) view them, though without posts. If I didn’t have the editor, I’d save templates as html files in a Notepad directory where there’d be no risk of getting formatted codes mixed in as Word might do to them. It’s simple to use the initials of the blog plus 6 digits for the date to keep track of which safe copy is which—which may end up looking like TRS041506.HTML (which would tell me I saved it on 04/15/2006).

Think about it; it may not keep you from biting the big one, but it’s not complicated and it’ll give you a way back out of a fiasco!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Last Tsar— Nicholas and Alexandra

Large Print historical books being somewhat limited at my library (there’s more romance novels), I take what I can get. My last time there, I was able to get a pristine copy of The Last Tsar, a book that looked like either no one had ever read it before me or else it’d been read by someone with a very light touch! I love books like that. If the book is actually any good, that’s just gravy. I’m not like that all the time, but once in a while this form of “bookitis” seems to grab hold of my soul. I am usually fairly indifferent to the cleanness or the quality of a book’s form. Sometimes it’s okay whether it’s a paperback or hardback. Sometimes, I not only don’t mind if the book’s falling apart, I’ll sometimes glue it back together so that I can keep reading an intact book! Whether it lasts long enough for another person to read it, I don’t much concern myself. I just don’t like to handle books that are crumbling or shedding.

Somewhere in the depths of my soul, it appears that there still dwells the heart of a book lover. I never was crazy about leather-bound books, but sturdy books were a good thing. If a book had a substantial weight and yet was not so heavy that you had to read it at a table, that was great! It meant you could read it sometimes in bed when you were trying to relax. The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, is like that, almost. If my hands weren’t getting senseless from some form of neuropathy (like I have in my feet), it wouldn’t be too heavy. It’s a book I should have read in bed 5 or 10 years ago. Too bad. These days, I find I have read a good deal of it in the bathroom—and I don’t mean in the tub! I can only last until my legs get cramped or my bony ass gets sore, of course. So I take a long time to read a big book like this.

What’s the hurry, anyway? I take my time and don’t let it bother me that there’s too goddamned many Russian names and nicknames to keep track of. I just try to follow the flow. It’s history, anyway, and not only is all history seldom known and seldom knowable, I add to the mix by skimming when the love letters between the Tsar and Tsaritsa become too mushy and too frequent. I was awake when Rasputin was murdered. (Plink! Just a clean bullet hole in the end—but damn, all that bellowing death and threat of retribution!)

I expect I’ll be awake again when the Tsar and the Tsaritsa and their offspring buy the farm. But I’m an old fart and I give myself permission to skim. Seems like a good thing to me. After all, when I really misbehave, I throw (my own, not the library’s) disappointing books to the ground or out the window onto an adjacent roof! Skimming is a small sin in my book What book, you ask? The one on the roof, dummy!

Jesus. I’ve been skimming my way to the end of this book for a while now, but it’s taking this guy forever to stop telling this murder tale! Just kill them, I want to yell at him! Since the deaths are a historical fact, he knows you know about it and draws it out forever getting to the details. I guess he knew that bit of drama was one of the only things going for him unless—unlike me—you’re an endless student of Russian and Commie history! My head is jam-packed with the names of Russian historical nobodies who were once important for 15 seconds or so. Well, it’s over; they’ve killed the Tsar and the Tsaritsa just in time for supper, not to mention the hemophiliac son, and all the pretty young daughters in a row, and every relation that could be reached at the time. Dead, dead, dead! But still this book goes on. All this Russian darkness is going on too long; I may not last to the end, but I’m trying.

Neurotic--Who, Me?

Kenneth Tynan: "A neurosis is a secret that you don't know you are keeping."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Talking Illness Blues

Diabetes Plus

Won’t I ever again feel any better? Type II diabetes (plus) caught hold of me about six months ago and hasn’t turned loose yet. My blood sugar count has gotten under control, my doctor says, so I guess it’s the “plus” that won’t turn loose. I’ve had eyesight problems, but that’s gotten better, too, so that’s good. But I continue to get dizzy and be unsteady on my feet. My guts are not very settled, though my gastrointestinal tract has passed muster on a colonoscopy test, an upper GI, and a small bowel test! I’ve had x-rays, ultra-sound, sound waves, pantie raids and pantry weevils. No, wait a minute, that last was something back when I used to do pest control. And the raids thing was back in college. (Bad trips are never forgot!)

When will I get better? I have fatigue all the time. I can’t recuperate! If I gather laundry or wash the clothes or dry the clothes, I tire and have to rest. I have no stamina. I can’t make three rounds pushing the lawnmower in a small area in the back yard. Everything’s the same. I can take the mail to the mailbox or the garbage can to the driveway, but that’s about it. I keep having to rest, whether I lie down for it or not! I get dizzy too easily and too often. No one seems to be on the verge of identifying what I have or if I have anything at all. Sometimes I hope it’s just that I had diabetes for so long before it was diagnosed (my fault for not going to doctors) and I began any medication. It may take a similar extreme amount of time before I recuperate! I suspect I had diabetes for years before I was so hammered into the ground that I gave in and went for medical help! Not a promising line of thought, I guess, but that's how it was, I think.

Still, maybe I'm wrong. It’s all confusing. One doesn’t know what to believe. It’s hard to believe I have nothing, but also hard to believe I have something that has escaped detection this long! Six months is a lot of doctor’s visits and clinic visits and pokes and prods, dammit. If they told me it was in my head, I’d go see a hypnotist right away. I might not believe it, but what the hell use is believing for someone like me? My belief has nothing to do with it. I’m not a True Believer nitwit like Tom Cruise. I figure I’m something or I’m not. So what is it? I don’t postulate that I know more than the doctors, but I do see quite clearly that nobody knows much of anything, and I don’t like it!

Well, if I could talk illness away from my door with my ratty blog, I’d be cured. The weight of all this inveterate font out there on computer screens across America that view my Internet guff would surely smother the disease!

One could hope.

Father and Son

(Overheard the next aisle over in the shoe store)

IRRITATED FATHER: "Damn it, come on, son! Dammit, boy, are you always gonna be slow?"

SON: "Yes, Daddy."

Our History

J. W. Schopf: "For four-fifths of our history, our planet was populated by pond scum."


"Politics and crime - it's the same thing." — Michael Corleone, in Godfather Part III

Friday, April 07, 2006

Thought-Provoking Irritating Piffle

Jeremiah wrote to me: Even fools and idiots have a right to an opinion, and just as much right to express it as Plato.

To which I reply: Piffle! They may have the right, but they don't have the smarts and the will to enforce it!

(Yeah, let's wipe out the stupid people! And, when they're all gone, we'll start on the nearly-stupid people! And after that, ummm...)

Permalinks Again?!

I was aroused to memory the other day by someone in the Blogger Help Group asking about permalinks. Ah ha! I wrote an overwrought post about them a couple of years ago and, though I thought it was good, I knew there was little interest in it. Nonetheless, I thought I'd use a permalink to point the way to that post about permalinks! Just in case, someone, anyone, anywhere, might be interested in How to Implement Permalinks

I confess I did correct a couple of misstatements (errors)in the old post, but they were minor. Now I wash my hands once more and forever of this long antiquated derelict!

Always Been A Wise Fool

Plato: "Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

Thursday, April 06, 2006

They Call Me Ugly Yellow (Quite Rightly!)

There was a wild hair scurrying from corner to corner like a mouse in a roomful of cats a little while ago. It was repeatedly trying to run right up my leg and up my ass for a while, but this ugly yellow label is the worst of it! Look out, don't step on it! Oh, God, you've skooshed the little bastard all over the floor now!

New Poetry

Drifted Apart

We have drifted apart for no reason,
But then we came together the same way,
Meeting in a milder moment of the maelstrom,
Embracing as the passionate storm moved away.

You were perfect, so was I.
The distance and the closeness
Of the Internet kept us so.
In Blogs we trust; some lie, but not most.

It doesn’t matter; we are thrust
Out and away from each other;
Things come between us and confuse us,
Though it’s all our own fault.

It’s our reward, I guess, for meeting
In an advanced half-aware state, where
You and I keep summing up our hearts and
Claiming that we are coming apart.

2nd draft: 04/06/06
©2006 Ronald C. Southern

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Unknown: "Any sufficiently advanced bureaucracy is indistinguishable from molasses."

I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can

(But I'm Not Selling Any Kisses!)

There's a nice juicy June bug dead on the floor and I'm so glad he's dead! He was flying around me a minute ago, dive-bombing my mouth and eyes. Tough luck, old bugger; you shoulda stayed away from The Bug Man!

I've been posting away like mad lately and some of it is even written by me—in between the famous poems, quotations, and songs! I know the quality of my work is not up to what it once was. Maybe even before I got sick six months ago and the hurricanes came, the quality had dropped a little. Secretly, I know that part of the problem is that the great treasure trove of note files I've collected over the years has begun to run thin. I've picked over most of the good ones and all the ones that might pan out when fluffed up just a little. The work gets harder and harder while I get feebler and feebler!

Am I going to quit? Fudge, no! I've got my retirement now (piss-ant pittance, but mine!) and I don't know if I can outlive any of the doctors to whom I owe so much money, but I guess they hope so, maybe even as much as I hope so.

Meanwhile I'm on the computer too much. I should go somewhere, but I don't. When I think of somewhere good, I'll go. Meanwhile, I'm too feeble to give a shit. Recently I've "wasted time" in the Blogger Help Group, answering questions and making remarks. Only once have my remarks made someone mad as hell, and I figure that's a pretty low rate for me. Sometimes I piss everybody off in real life! I already knew the answers to some simple things, but I've taken to researching the questions and making Notepad notes about how to do it in blogger. So now, if somebody asks about their sidebar misbehaving, I have a standard file with which to answer and then later I can check his or her link (if they remembered to leave one) and see if I can say anything more specific. I have about 20 blogger-tip files like that! I guess it's my new treasure trove. Fiction and reminiscence are better, but what the hay.

It's amazing how many people beg for answers, but don't initially leave their link or blog name! If I know their link, I can view their Source code and figure out a little. But when you're new at Blogger, you're as new as a babe and subject to constant fury and constant instruction from others while your head gets ready to burst! I remember being that way (sometimes I still am) and I feel sympathy for people who can't figure out where to get a straight answer. Not that I'm always the one with the best answer. There are other "experts" answering questions, too. I figure a "newbie" can choose between us; if one makes more sense than another, then that's the one to go with.

I'm not really an "expert", just somebody who can't stop interfering with others' techie troubles. It ain't very techy in truth, but it is to them! I seldom explain to people that I research their question after seeing it and then answer it later as if I knew all the time. Just so they'll think I'm smarter than I am. Strangers In The Night, you know, may think you were handsome or brave or smart… Who's going to set them straight on it when they go their way back to their own little blog worlds?

I've had a chance to see some blogs that would never have passed my way, though I've seen none that aren't similar to others I've seen. Some are nicely written; others just look good. I don't really know how long I'll keep doing this on Blogger Help Group. Maybe I'll collect all the advice in a blog some time in the future, and then I'll quit! But one blogger has already started some very good work giving tips like these on Blogger For Dummies. He has borrowed at least once from my info and I've certainly referred a number of times to his site. I don't know him, but I know he does good work. Maybe there's two or three of him! (See, that soothes my big lazy ego!)

This is a new thing

This is a new thing
and it may test your patience
and mine
before I get through.

Ooee! I got it to work. Now there's a leather texture background here. That's all I wanted.

But soon I'll want more!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Dead Skunk

Crossing the highway late last night
He shoulda looked left and he shoulda looked right
He didn't see the station wagon car
The skunk got squashed and, there you are:
You got your
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinking to high heaven

Take it from me, that ain't no rose
Roll up the window and hold your nose
You don't have to look and you don't have to see
You can feel it in your olfactory

You got your
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinking to high heaven

(Now STINK!)

Well you got your dead cat and you got your dead dog
On a moonlight night you got your dead toad frog
You got your dead rabbit and your dead raccoon
Aw, the blood and the guts are gonna make you swoon

You got your
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinking to high heaven

(All OVER the road!)

- Loudon Wainwright III

Foolish Thing

Anatole France: "If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."

Monday, April 03, 2006

J Ladies

This is post #693.

My post a couple of days ago reminded me of what a sap I often am, however unconsciously, for ladies whose names begin with J. I just LOVE the little girl in this poem, as well as the young girl in the old movie, “Portrait of Jenny”, that starred Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotton! It was a mostly black and white movie that changed to color when the artist had completed his portrait of Jenny.

But that’s just art. In real life, I’ve been connected intimately (I’m mostly talking intimacy, not sex!) with a host of J Ladies—Jeanne and Jill and Joan and Judy and Janice and others! Maybe it’s a total accident of names, I don’t know. Then again, my mother’s name begins with J, and I am not exactly privy to that explanation, if it is one! I only know no other letter of the alphabet is so well represented in either the frequency or the longevity of my acquaintances. I long ago was dumped by (or else I dumped) all the more short-term A women, B girls, and C misses.

Maybe it’s only half-interesting, but it’s Weird, I think.


Mark Twain: "It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Rondeau (Jenny Kissed Me)

Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in.
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in.
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad;
Say that health and wealth have missed me;
Say I'm growing old, but add--
Jenny kissed me!

James Henry Leigh Hunt
(1784 - 1859)


Soren Kierkegaard: "People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."

Visits To A Small Planet

Who's the visitor(s) I keep getting from He/She/They keep on looking me over!