Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Something Thompson said...

...which speaks to one of my original motivations for this blog:

"The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy - then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece. Probably the rarest form of life in American politics is the man who can turn on a crowd & still keep his head straight - assuming it was straight in the first place."

I think almost none of them are on straight. Something about politics turns humans into subhumans. It's a shame.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Doctor is Out

For good.

By now, anyone who would care knows that Hunter Thompson did himself in Sunday night.

I had an odd reaction to it, that a few years back I'd have chuckled at. I heard the news about 6AM on Monday morning. I was waking up even though it was a holiday. I flicked on the radio just to get the goods on the coming day. Usually, I just wait to hear the weather report. Yesterday morning I certainly got more than I bargained for.

When I heard the first words, "The Father of Gonzo Journalism..." I knew he'd had it. When the announcer said "...apparent suicide...." I did feel the air go out of me for just an instant. I was struck with sadness, for just an instant, then it went away. I was nagged by something, and it wasn't until later that realized it was the utter lack of surprise. There was something fitting about the exit. Something fitting about Thompson riding a .45 bullet to the next stop. I couldn't really feel badly for Thompson that he would do a thing like that. Why?

I feel badly for all of us who appreciated his outraged voice. For a long time now, since about November 2000, I've hoped that he would find the gas again to chase the goblins and expose them for us like he used to do. I'm convinced that at least part of him cared deeply about our country and its shaky future. Maybe that along with his chronic pain had thim thinking it was time to check off the net. Still, it's hard to concieve of him giving up hope. This is one I will think about for a while, uselessly, no doubt. I will wonder where our next talented, outraged voice will come from. We need it badly, and the best one is gone. It's a stone bummer, Man.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Yes, indeed.

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO HOO what a ride!' "

You bet. It's Friday, y'all. Time to get really wild. Order out instead of cook. Rent a brutal thriller. Drink two beers instead of just one. Oh boy!

There it is. It's OK though, because that's as wild as we can get when the first two thirds of any evening are spent keeping up with 18 month old Daring Dayton of the Spanish Main. He's a holy terror, and our house is like a toy store that's been ravaged from top to bottom.

One day, when The Little Buccaneer and his sibling are into their own things and can be trusted to be out on Friday night, My Lovely Wife and I will put this bit of philosophy into practice.

Thursday, February 17, 2005


I've been staring at this stark white space for minutes. What was I going to post? I've been ruminating on the abysmal, hypocritical administration and thought about throwing out a rant on the injustice of having been saddled with these morally bereft scum for the next three years. It's been done though, and now it just gets lower and deeper. I can't wallow in that today. I had a deeply mellow swim at Noon, and so...I don't want to harsh my mellow, maaaaaaaaaaaaaan.

Jimmy Smith died. I remember hanging with RT Mouse and his Uncle John in the beery, bluesy night, getting an education about many important things...jazz, R & B, the whole vibrant world that existed after hours during the Eisenhower Years, when we were allegedly a conformist, grey society of Corporate Men and Women and Children, kept safe by John Foster Dulles and terrorized by Tailgunner Joe. While all that was "going on" people like Smith, and Brubeck, and Baker, and Coltrane and Gillespie were vibrating and sizzling and leering and laughing, and getting "kicks." Oh yeah. "Kicks"

I need kicks now. I can pull the ripcord in 6 minutes. I must go home and get some kicks. Play with The Little Buccaneer, play bagpipes, maybe even some old records, on a turntable. Remember those?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

What IS that?

Here we are at the end of another workday, at which time I am tempted to say that I've earned another day of ill-gotten gains. It's been a moderately busy day. Not sayin' I've sat on my hands, mind you. I just have a feeling of having contributed to something vaguely dishonest. Nothing dishonest about the pursuit of knowledge, I hear you cry. Maybe not in its purest form, but there's something impure about this place. The finger will not land on it. I just have to settle for that vague feeling. It's as though a bird has flown over, and I think it might have crapped on me. I can't find the thing, but I can't shake the feeling that its there. I'd wipe it off if I could find it, but I can't. I just have to wear it, or walk around somehow knowing its there and hoping nobody notices.

Friday, February 11, 2005

More and More...

As Hip Liz has reminded me with just a short list, there are many things that are not diminished with age. Some of these I won't repeat, but "the freely given joy of a happy child" and the transportation qualities of the right music are paramount on an endless list of paramounts.

The list is so long, I could still be here a year from now. Recently, having viewed
"Riding Giants" , I have become fascinated once again with surf. Nothing new and different here, I'm compelled by it, and it gives me The Fear all at once. I briefly (five seconds) stood atop a longboard twenty odd years ago. It was just long enough to hear the echo of Dick Dale's guitar, and imagine myself as on of the original big wave bums on the North Shore in the Fifties. Then I was tumbling into the drink. I never managed it again that day, nor after.

That's OK, the memory does not diminish. In fact, it lives full bore and tells me that I will manage to do that again someday, perhaps for longer than five seconds. Just call me "Laird", baby!

Even though I wrote of diminished capacity in the pool, the experience, on a good day, is as large as ever. To be rhythmic and strong as you pull along the black line is as fine a feeling as you can get aside from a wild, passionate bang with the one you love, or lust after the most. As in hitting one out of the park, you don't really feel the effort in your stroke (no, not THAT stroke, you dirty b$%*@#d). Your pulling along and all you are is part of the water. One feels like Bruce the Shark as he drags under all three of Capt. Quint's floats.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Less and Less

Everything must come in smaller doses now. Now that I am in the latter half of my Forties. Its all diminished. Maybe it doesn't have to be this way all the time, with everything, but for now that's how it is. I can't swim a mile anymore because I don't train for it. When I last tried, my shoulder went south and I had to stop for a long time. A year. I spent a whole year not swimming. It was bad. Brutal I might say. I felt as vigorous as a dried cowpie. Probably unnecessary as well. A savvy PT would've had me in the pool in half that time. In fact one did, but I didn't get smart and get to that person until about 5 months had passed. By that time, I had a bad back, water fear that came out of nowhere, and a sore shoulder that just didn't get better. Thank God for savvy PTs.

Can't drink in mass quantity anymore, and that's a good thing (mostly). Still, it's quite evident and times when I could put it away are not so long ago that I don't remember them well. Then, it could be 5 pints on an evening. I would be tipping slightly, but not too badly, and the hangover usually ended about Noon the following day. Now, two or three pints is a heavy night, and the hangover finally goes away about Noon...two days later. If whisky is involved, forget it. The week is shot. So, now I drink a glass around 5, and as long as its just one, I'm OK. Anything later than that and I get no REM sleep and the following day is spent in a haze of exhaustion, even though I never woke up during the night.

Too much food, and the feeling of bloat will end the evening. I eat ever more sparingly. If I gain five pounds, my blood pressure jumps, my back starts to hurt, and I look ridiculous in my clothes. I am slow of step and thought, and I get irritable in no time over things that are simply not worth it.

So, what are the thing that are not diminshed with age?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Open Water

We recently watched Open Water, a strange film with a creepy and depressing ending. If you've seen it, you don't need enlightening. If you haven't, check it out. As some reviewers have said, it leaves you with little sympathy for the main characters. At least that was our experience. It's an odd conflict, because we felt like we should have sympathy, but it wasn't there.

It has me thinking about an experience a friend had of pelagic diving off Hawaii. They stepped off the boat into about 10,000 feet of Pacific Ocean. They wisely tethered themselves to the boat. It's easy to completely lose your orientation out there. You forget to follow the bubbles upward in order to reorient yourself. My friend said that it was moment of nearly complete removal from the world as he knew it. He was an experienced scuba diver, but hadn't experienced this kind of thing. Like many, he mostly had dived reefs and wrecks in a few dozen feet of tropical water. Now, he was in the endless blue void, stretching down into the utter dark of the depths. He and his buddy hovered in the brighter blue about 50 feet down, listening to the sounds, and looking up now and then to be comforted by the silhouette of the boat. He fought back the urge to surface quickly as possible. Being in the void caused a rising feeling that he shouldn't be there, which fought with his curiosity and his knowing that they'd been given an incredible opportunity. He stayed down.

Suddenly, with no warning at all, a large gray shape shot past, to be revealed as a large tiger shark. It had come from behind and below them. It swam around for a minute, then was gone into the murk so quickly they didn't really see it go, even though they were looking at it the whole time. They began to surface at appropriate speed to avoid the bends. Then the shark reappeared, again from behind them and this time it came closer. Again, it disappeared without seeming to. They kept rising, and the shark never reappeared.

Needless to say, they made it out of the water. Aside from wonder of the deep, he realized, as he hadn't before since he hadn't thought about it much, the the shark would've had them if it wanted them. There would've been nothing they could've done. They'd never have seen it coming. There would only have been the hit, the bloody thrashing and the horror of the survivor at watching his buddy get taken, follwed by panicked surfacing, a case of the bends if he made it.

OK. Time for a snack, then maybe a swim at lunch in a nice swimming pool which I can imagine is really a tropical lagoon if I try hard enough. We'll leave the sharks out of that peaceful scenario. Still images of a dead eagle ray come to mind. I can still see the 15 inch wide bite that had been taken out of it sometime during the night just off Cook's Bay in Mo'orea. None of those in the pool, but then it ain't Polynesia. Hmmmm....