Saturday, November 13, 2010

Answer #174 - Yes. And for the space of 3 hours, I had the whole catastrophe figured out

Smoke pours from a stack to the South. It's a coal plant or a nuclear cooling tower.  Earlier in the day, smoke poured from a burning van to the North.  A day punctuated by smoke.

I'm surrounded by big rigs hauling freight East on Highway 70. A day punctuated by trucks.

I'll be in St. Louis in an hour. A day punctuated by departure points.

Three days traveling no less than 8 hours per. A run punctuated by ticks on a calendar.

People keep asking where I played and with whom and when. A tour punctuated with question marks.

I've just booked Alaska in December. This will not be predictable. An album release punctuated by extremes. The first in the deep South. The last in the frozen far NorthWest.
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I don't know. I don't remember where I played and with whom or when. My existence, these last months, is a dotted white line, punctuated by sound checks.

And stops at Subway. And Starbucks. And though I refuse to speak Starbucks Orwellian Italian hybrid, I still drink their stupid coffee.  It's predictable.  I need predictable on the road. A life punctuated by the familiar.

Alaska, in the winter, will not be familiar, but I can't think on that. I've got St. Louis tonight. And I'm lucky. I'm working. And tonight, I'll punctuate the weekend, back in my own bed, because I'll drive 4 hours through the night to do it.

Was it always like this, all this space between punctuations?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Answer #173 - Then We Saw the Flames

His leg, just brushing mine, is bouncing, in an episodic, rhythmic way. On this airline, there are no seat assignments. We were late. Dave's across the aisle, and both of us in middle seats, snuggled between strangers. One of my strangers is twitchy.

He's a college student, maybe. From Purdue, by his whoops and hollers when the stand-up comic flight attendant asks for fans to make themselves known. This airline offers energy drinks for $3. I'm hoping he doesn't opt for what would, I assume, be his second Monster for the day - the first having been consumed upon waking on the couch of the resort he must have stayed in, skiing with frat buddies here in Denver. He smells like a frat boy on ski weekend and is making up for the lost time by reading a text on the Civil War now, while his leg bounces and he chews on his pencil.

I'm reading Then We Saw the Flames, a collection of short stories by Daniel Hoyt, a literature professor I met while doing a show at Kansas State. He's brilliant. I'm unsettled by it, and spinning a little in the possibility of one mind opening another. I find inspiration in other minds more often than not. I wonder what this says about me, that I'm not consulting the raw firmament. Maybe I am, in some ridiculous and ineffable way. Or the firmament is too vast for me, maybe, so I troll for other minds to draw from - at least there's an implication of a far-reaching finite. I've seen all the rounded corners of my own fish-bowl brain, and, though I'm occasionally startled by an unfamiliar corridor, half the time something in it is trying to kill me.  Yes, it's best to wander other minds, I think.

They're handing out bright yellow packets of plane-shaped crackers. I like that plane-shaped crackers exist, though I won't eat them just now. I have a compulsion to hoard things that are given away, for free. I have a collection of hotel shampoos, lotions, and small soaps that is spilling off the shelves Dave has built for them. I don't want to use them, because they were free, and some of them are Aveda or even fruffier Euro brands of this or that. The collection is becoming a little unwieldy lately. Every once in a while I put a couple of the lower-end bottles in the upstairs shower to make room for new acquisitions from 4-star hotels. No one ever uses them. Similarly, I have a collection of plane snacks in a plastic tub in the cupboard. They could if they wanted, but no one ever eats them.

His elbow has crossed past the arm rest and into my personal space. This is egregious on a plane, but how do I explain this to monster drink-snorting bouncy college boy? I'm less charitable than I might be, because I just don't like him. I don't mean not to like him, but he hasn't bothered with eye-contact or acknowledgment of we, the other two Supremes, and thus, he's a poster child for everything that's wrong with the world. In my rock tumbler of a brain today, I can't help but see in him a young George Bush; smaller, silver-plated spoon, and energy drink instead of blow, but all of the hubris and none of the substance, and a sense of entitlement that allows him to extend his twitch into what little privacy I might have in this stranger sandwich.  Just here, I'm an Iraqi farmer. Just here, he is inviting he and his Monsanto buddies to the dinner my wife cooked me, and every dinner after. So you see, I have cause for disdain. It's not disproportionate.

Nice lady from Indianapolis to my right is delicately munching plane-shaped crackers and reading something by someone named Aaron Elkins - Where there's a Will.  I don't know him or his work, but she is very careful and she is very neat, and I think to myself there are probably body parts and messy crime scenes between those pages.  Just a hunch.

But me, just now, I'm feeling the grind and jitter and shackling of no escape. Just now, I'm in day 19, at least, of less than 5 hours of sleep on any given night. I'm tuned to the sub-woofers and sluggish frequencies of the weary, I'm swatting at flying crackers, and Daniel Hoyt is whispering in Latin. I spoke at Stanford this weekend, and I'm no lit. professor. I have no Beckett Compendium, I don't know why Lorca loved Dali so - I love Lorca and I don't particularly love Dali, and I have no language to tell you why.  But Daniel Hoyt could, as he whispers in Latin, and I'll ride the cadence of it through the air above the Great Plains, where he sits below, I imagine, munching red wine grapes and spitting out the seeds.

The mission overflows with false angels and the sting of broken teeth. Our missing parts yell at us. My molar aches from a distant landfill and the angels we never believed in tug at our sleeves, stare us down, and keep us on a trajectory we did not choose. I imagine voices from the clouds. They sing and beg me to join in on the chorus. - Daniel Hoyt

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Answer #172 - Banished to eternal brimstone

It's October in New England. Go to fullsize image

Every other yard on the way in to nearly every borough and township sports a ghoulish display of bones and the Undead.

And not the silly, cartoonish inflatable ghosts and pumpkins - Go to fullsize image  these yards and porches are meant to scare trick-or-treaters.  To actually SCARE them.  This is not a holiday for the sheepish, after all, here in the land of the witch hunts.

Out of balance in the Western World.  We live out of balance.

Koyaanisqatsi, eh? Go to fullsize image where did the balance go?

We banaished all things dark or mysterious (or unknown, strange) to the land of the brimstone and eternal suffering, and by doing so, banished a part of ourselves to silence...

It's the silent part that speaks best on Halloween.. through the mask of a ghoul, a devil, a corpse, ghost, monster or other wild thing; the silent, wild part that speaks the anxious uncertainty of the animal kingdom that we Stewards have so long brutalized.  It speaks the silence of the last acre of land that still lies in true dark on a moonless night, and speaks in moans and howls with fangs and horns while wars are waged for shiny rocks to throw at glass houses.

I want to go home and make ghouls out of old clothes and dried corn stalks and animal bones.. and the antler and skull that showed up out of nowhere five years ago at the edge of the woods, in the biting, ragged grass - Go to fullsize image  bits of skin and fur still on it.  I want to put them everywhere, everywhere, everywhere in the world.  And howl.. maybe like Ginsberg, because he heard it out there, too.. in the quiet, at the edge of a dark wood

Maybe like my dog, who says everything while saying nothing at all, but who howls when he hears the coyote calls that I never will.

However it happens, I'm tired of the silence.  I want to wake up the wild part and look it in the teeth and then howl a ragged, bleached-bone lifetime at the sliver of a Halloween moon.

Five days from now I'll cut the first dried stalks and dig up the bones the dog buries behind the barn...


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Answer #171 - Fried Pies and Serial Killers

As seen from The Road:

As we pass the Fried Pies, Exit 51 sign on Hwy 35S in Oklahoma, a black leather-clad cowboy is hitch-hiking.  He is striking in the vest that shines and the hat tilted just so.  He's a hitch-hiker.  It's incongruous.  I think maybe he's out of gas - a shiny black Cadillac on the highway somewhere north of our entry, bone dry and oxidizing minute-by-minute in the punishing Oklahoma sun.
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I think maybe he's a serial killer.  On the off-chance that he's a serial killer, I won't stop.  Though I entertain the morbid notion that a narrow escape from the clutches of a cowboy serial killer would make a great story, and maybe then a song.  But even I'm not reckless or foolhardy enough to risk it.

So I drive on.

This is in contrast to the last side-of-the-road oddity I saw in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  On the way to the Porcupine Mountains Music Fest, a pair of boots - standing upright in the graveled shoulder of the road.  No one around.  Just the boots.

What is that?  I ask the passengers, as I rubber-neck while we drive by.

I'm awe-struck.  Who leaves their boots?  Who walks away and why?

Is this some sort of art installation?  That Christo person, maybe?  Will there be standing boots now every few feet along this road?  Go to fullsize image  A friend once proposed picking up pianos from people who were giving them away and placing them randomly in wooded areas.. just so people could stumble upon them.  And maybe play them.  And maybe wake up a bit from the hypnotic routine that is civilization.

Is it like that?

About a mile up - we see him.  Stocking-footed and walking in the gravel.  He looks dejected.  He has a backpack.  He has a hunter's cap with ear flaps.

That's him, right?  Should we stop?  Do you think he's okay?

Do we really want to stop for someone who has walked out of his boots for no apparent reason?, asks the scientist bass player.

Hell yes, I think.  But I don't say anything.

I suppose he could be a serial killer.  And yet.. what a story that'd make, huh?
What a story...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Answer #170 - Car Talk

What's more fun than Rush Limbaugh?

In a car with friends Tim Grimm, Scott Russell Sanders & Ruth Sanders, The 'car talk' is an education.

In three short hours we've broached:

1) Tribal legacy and the genetic advantages of offering your daughters for overnight excursions with visiting hunter-types Go to fullsize image

2) The devastating loss of top soil on the Earth, what this will mean to future generations if we don't stop the Agri-Borg, and how this 'loss of top soil' can equate to what Clear Channel has managed to do to the whole of music in the U.S. Go to fullsize image

3) The legend that the Welsh may have been in North America centuries before any other European culture, and the possibility that, along with their cultural artifacts & blue-eyed genes, they brought the Baby Jesus who ran into Joseph Smith along the way at
a ski resort in Utah. Go to fullsize image

4) The contribution of the internet / technology to the over-use of mind-altering chemicals in the human population. Tim's contention that the Human animal is not wired for constant awareness of the deaths per second that are occurring on a constant and unrelenting basis.  I, agree. However, I feel compelled to both blog the conversation and consult the GPS (which we've dubbed 'The Oracle') whenever determining the next turn on the road of my life.

Tim and Scott consider me now part of the larger problem. Though Rush Limbaugh is a bigger, fatter part of the problem.

Miles to go until Cobden, Illinois... we've just passed a sign that says 'Final Phase Next Exit.'

Ruth says, 'Let's not exit.  I'm not quite ready.'

Me neither.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Answer #169 - Digging into the loam

I'll be in Salina Kansas this weekend, at the Prairie Festival, sponsored by Wes Jackson's Land Institute.
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Humbled by the work they're doing.  Trying to save the world and all.

Perennial polycultural is the method of sustainable agriculture Jackson's developed, by studying the prairie for the past 30 years or so.
Life Magazine called him one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.
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In celebration of its 35th anniversary, Smithsonian counted him as one of 35 people who have made a difference. 


My job? To write him a song. And sing it to him.  So I've written it... will bring it to my friend Malcolm Dalglish, and we'll snap it together - maybe duet it - like Sonny & Cher, or probably more like Carole King and Neil Sedaka...Or the Bergmans... nah... knowing us, it'll be Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers... Go to fullsize image

We'll play for and honor both Wendell Berry Go to fullsize image and Scott Russell SandersGo to fullsize image as well.

Further humbled.  Because cleverness as achievement is hubris... while these men stand up, determine the direction of the wind, and offer shelter by way of solution.  No cleverness.  No bravado.  No hubris.
We walk in with our songs and stories, and we, all of us, leave - returning to our 'expanded tribe' with the hope of ideas of great minds to carry us forth into the uncertain future. 

"The binge is almost over," Jackson says.  "It's time to go home."


And immensely grateful for the existence of people like these.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Answer #168 - Call Me 7 of 9

I'm Zaphod Beeblebrox without the spongecake (I do occasionally have the martini, though).
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The world wide web is an infinite space and I am a mostly hairless monkey with little ability to fathom big words like                               i n f i n i t e.

One string leads to another.. an infinite web of sites connected via the search engine neurons and linked infinitely and where does a mostly hairless mammal go when the world is too big and the brain is too small?

Sometimes, to the bath tub.  This is, of course, the most primal, fetal desire - to be completely submerged in warm water, with nothing but the sound of a heartbeat and the white noise of the organs and vascular systems whooshing and whirring.  Ah...

Just talked to a songwriter good friend... 'The road is actually restful,' she said.  'And how do you explain that to people?'

How indeed.  12 hours of driving between here and Wichita, and I'm rested upon arrival?  Surprisingly, yes.  For a short while, there was no internet in the car, so it was audio book and fast food time.  What's not to love?  What's not restful?  Open highways... yellow Subway signs... friendly Agri-Evil signs along miles of fields, assuring us that our genetically engineered crops are inevitable and that Resistance is Futile...

Wait. That's not restful. But most things about the road are.
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But speaking of the Borg, being constantly connected to the WEB is a bit like being a Borg. Or The Borg.
All flushed, nearly instantly, with the same information.. hive mentality. Flush.

Is this our new evolution?  Connection to the hive?

If so, then the marmoset that lives in my mitochondria is having a hard time assimilating.

Still. I'm here. I'm connected. I'm 7 of 9.  Go to fullsize image Sans the blonde hair and ridiculously proportioned body...

But what I wouldn't give for a tiny piece of spongecake and sunglasses that turn black in the presence of danger.Go to fullsize image

Monday, August 23, 2010

Answer #167 - Bleaux Me

I inexplicably came up with a snippet of a pirate song a while ago - about barrels of whiskey washing over the decking...  Baffling.

And then it all came clear, suddenly, over the weekend, and I ended up using the snippet as inspiration for a friend's birthday.
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He has a boat.  The Bleaux Me.

So, since the original pirate song washed whiskey over the decking, to the sad dismay of the drunken captain, so did this one.  To the tune of an old Scottish folk song -

Captain, we should head for shore
the storm is threatening disaster!
Bleaux that! My scotch has fallen overboard
and damned if I'll be swimming after!  Go to fullsize image

It just gets worse from there.

But still, just goes to show - there's a reason for everything.

Even pirate songs.
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Yo ho!

What Did the Captain say to the North Wind?

Aargh. Not enough coffee...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Answer #166 - Yes, Adventure Boy fights Hornets in a Bee Suit

White faced hornets. Go to fullsize image The kind that can single-sting knock over a horse.  They were nesting on the side of the barn,Go to fullsize image near the open window which leads directly to the Assistant Engineer's apartment, said Assistant Engineer being among the few folks who swell up and possibly die once stung by a stinging insect.

Eradication was called for.
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Hence, Adventure Boy pulled out the bee suit and the duct tape and attempted said eradication.

Oh God Oh God Oh God, what are you doing?  I ask, panicked.

Don't worry! I read on-line that you might get 3-5 stings in the seams of the suit, so I've got duct tape. And then you drive up near me, in the car, and keep a can of hornet killer handy, and then if things go pear-shaped, you can roll down the window and spray me down. No need to kill the hornets if I can just walk the nest into the woods!
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Oh God Oh God Oh God, I repeat, more panicked, though I love Adventure Boy's respect for life in all forms.

Um, I need to interject that if you're surrounded by 500 stinging hornets and things go badly, we'll be well past the point of hornet spray.  However, I've brought my camera, says our visiting friend - who's visiting simply because the hornet eradication is happening.

Did you bring the camera so you can put the clip on Jackass?, asks another friend.Go to fullsize image

I laugh, nervously. Or for the coroner, or the police, er...?

But we go outside, Adventure Boy in the bee suit, me, nauseous, in the car with the camera man and various onlookers.  He's tentative at first, as the hornets begin hitting him like BBs from a BB gun.  Eventually he makes his way, slices down the nest and, in a tornado of hornets, walks it to the woods.

We captured it on film.

Damned hornets are rebuilding on the barn.

Damned hornets.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Answer #165 - I angered the Dark Side by compulsory do-gooding

The waking dream.
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This is a phenomenon that shakes me at its most crystalline - when the dream of being awake in the room in which you're sleeping is so real and detailed that, upon actually waking, you can't be entirely sure that, this time, it's true.

It's never inane conversation in the waking dream though, not like in real life. It's always, for me, something other-worldly or surreal - something out of context involving animated articles of clothing or cheap pottery that emits eerie sounds. Or wisdom, in the voice of James Earl Jones. whichever.

Maybe we always live at the crossroad between here and there. Some of us keep a shaky grip on one plane - while others bounce around and mutter to ourselves on southern California beaches.. Go to fullsize image or in the dark corners of pubs.

A waking dream has scared me from sleeping for 3 nights running. I don't want to go back to that plane, wherever that plane is. I know, I know. It's only a dream. But face it, you don't really know what the dream state is anymore than I or any other Mr. Science walking this big blue ball might. It's not as if I'm worried I'll get trapped in some imaginary mindscape, like Leonardo DiCaprio -
(incidentally, I saw Inception Go to fullsize image at the IMAX in NYC last week. Thoroughly enjoyed the big fun & eye candy of it) -

It's just that I don't want to live in a world where the day's discarded clothing stands up and dances, as if controlled by puppeteers...

Wait, part of me kind of does want to live in that world.

But that's not the point. The point is, the pottery was creeping me out, and Why oh Why is there always some Unseen, Unnamed Dark Dread that, for some reason, wants to drag me into the Dungeon Dimensions? I mean, seriously.

What did I ever do to the Dark Side?  Go to fullsize image Except thwart it on occasion by some act of do-gooding, which is less intentional than compulsory if you happen to prefer the Side that isn't in support of the whole world being ruled by a gigantic flaming eyeball.


Maybe too much information. And besides, I just answered my own question.

Still.. 3 nights of no sleep later.. I can't entirely be sure that James Earl Jones isn't living in my Dollar Store vase.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Answer #164 - Yes, you are utterly alone

It's like being a trucker.
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You stop thinking about the distance driving in the way that other people think of it. Which leads me to the the rhetorical question:

Is every single human experience utterly unique and existing only in the realm of individual perspective?

Which is rhetorical and even silly to commit to the written word - but think about it.  You get 'used' to driving vast distances.. it stops being the exhausting, grueling, minute-by-dragging-oh-for-the-love-of...let-me-get-there-already experience.  It starts being just another day.

Of course, the implications are that there are never any true shared experiences, shared emotions, shared.. anything.. maybe an occasional ice cream cone, but even that experience is unique to the individuals involved.  Kind of sad, really.  Unless you get more licks. Go to fullsize image

But for me, seriously, being in the car 10 hours or out of the car 10 hours - no real difference anymore.

Perspective shifts. The paradigm is that I drive alot.  It's no more tiring than any other thing I've ever done.  Which means it never actually was gruelingly exhausting. I only perceived it that way.

And that's the truth, except that I'm less stressed on the way to shows, as there's only so much you can do in a car.  At home, in the office, in front of the computer..  the work is incessant and endless.  In the car.. it's just me and the ipod that now contains many audiobooks.  I affix it to the steering wheel and between that, the control panel in the Prius, my cell phone in the cup holder, the GPS on the dashboard - it's like being on the Bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Go to fullsize image Depending on what I'm hooked into on audiobook, I can actually BE on the Bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise.  Although that would require me listening to the Star Trek series on audiobook, and though I have more experience with Star Trek (series, spin-offs and movies) than I'd like to admit, there's not a day dry enough for me to launch onto that voyage.

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so, says Shakespeare (and then, much later, Lincoln).

10 Hours to D.C.  No big deal, I say to my passengers.

They didn't buy it then, and having arrived, are not buying it now.

I know someone who recently returned from a 2-week trip to Europe and needed nearly a month to recover.
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It's all in perspective, because that's the lamest thing I ever heard.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Answer #163 - Who needs a blog when you've got the Sheriff's Log?

This is the true-to-life Sheriff's Log from the Brown County Democrat, Nashville, Indiana. Thanks, Michael Redman, for the heads-up!

 July 19, 10:40 a.m.:  911 caller on Sweetwater Trail requests an officer in reference to flashbacks.
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July 19, 10:19 a.m.:  911 caller on Wells Drive advises her neighbor is in her car in the back seat wanting a ride for vodka and cigs.

July 17, 6:43 p.m.:  Caller on Center Lake Drive advises she has a dead deer in her driveway. She is requesting an officer to help her with it. 6:59 p.m. Officer advises the deer is handled.

July 15, 8:09 p.m.:  Caller on Center Lake Road reports two foxes running wild and being aggressive.

July 14, 4:08 p.m.:  Caller reports a teal Pontiac speeding westbound on State Road 46 East. Vehicle is passing on double yellow with oncoming traffic. 4:25 p.m. Officer advises it is a military man trying to get to Bedford regarding one of his men involved in a traffic fatality. Officer advised him to slow down and make it there safe.

July 13, 7:08 p.m.:  Caller on Three Notch Road advises an officer broke his front door last night and he wants it fixed right now. Caller wanted dispatch to send the maintenance man there to fix it. Dispatch advised caller to talk to the sheriff in the morning.

July 13, 3:11 p.m.:  911 caller on Center Lake Road advises her 18-year-old son is turning green and passing out.

July 13, 10:27 a.m.:  Officer advises he is stopping a vehicle on Helmsburg Road. 10:32 a.m. Officer advises he is out of his vehicle regarding a field sobriety test. 10:36 a.m. Officer requests Poison Control called for a hot pink pill with no name. Poison Control advises it's a 25 mg Benadryl.
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July 13, 6:31 a.m.:  911 caller on Albert Johnson Road advises when she woke up someone was looking in her window. She went outside and screamed to get off her property and then shot a gun into the air.

July 12, 8:17 a.m.:  911 caller on Three Notch Road advises that his mother hit him in the face with a stick, then said to others that she didn't hit him, but she did hit him and kicked him out. 

July 11, 2:08 p.m.:  Caller advises that a blue ninja-style motorcycle driver has a blue headband and is speeding westbound from town on State Road 46 West.

July 11, 12:06 a.m.:  911 caller advises there is a four-door Chevy Blazer rolling down the big hill on Nineveh Road just outside Cordry.

July 10, 12:40 p.m. :  Officer is out of his vehicle on Owl Drive regarding a noise complaint. 12:53 p.m. Officer advises they refuse to turn it down unless the neighbor does. 1:15 p.m. 911 caller on Owl Drive is complaining about noise from across the cove.

July 9, 4:46 p.m.:  911 caller reports the driver of a dark gray Toyota 4x4 extended cab threw out a can that hit a bicyclist in the head on Clay Lick Road past the camp where they keep the horses. A passenger of the Toyota also threw out a beer can that missed the bicyclist.

July 9, 11:09 a.m.:  Caller on Sunset Drive, her son's residence, requests to speak to an officer regarding a snake in the house.
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July 8, 7:45 p.m.:  Caller wants an officer to call his 17-year-old daughter and tell her to come home. Officer advises we can't do that.

July 7, 10:17 p.m.:  911 call is a misdial. Owner was trying out a new cell phone. It works.

July 6, 5:33 p.m.:  Caller reports an animal with a broken leg under the bridge on Old State Road 46 at Clay Lick Road. He doesn't want it to be shot, though. Dispatch gave him phone number for South Region. 7:19 p.m. Same caller reports an injured animal that needs shot on Old State Road 46 by Clay Lick.

July 6, 4:52 p.m.:  Caller on Lick Creek Road reports a blue van selling vacuums, two scruffy looking guys. They didn't seem like salesmen.

July 6, 2:14 p.m. :  Caller on Bean Blossom Road reports two cars stolen. They had to be towed because they don't run. 2:33 p.m. Caller advises to disregard; the cars are still there and the neighbor was mistaken.

July 5, 9:01 p.m.:  Caller on Ritter Road reports a dark green minivan with a man and a woman trying to give away free Windex. Caller is afraid they are scoping houses out.

July 4, 5:25 p.m.:  Officer advises subjects put a smoke bomb into the tree to get rid of ants and now the tree has caught on fire.
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July 4, 9:10 a.m.:  911 caller reports as he was driving his vehicle eastbound on State Road 46 West, approximately a half-mile from town, a dirt ball hit him in the head via his open driver's side window. No injury, no damage to vehicle; caller just wants it logged.

July 4, 12:44 a.m.:  Officer is out with one male subject at the courthouse. 12:46 a.m. Officer advises the subject is sitting on the courthouse lawn guarding his car.

July 3, 9:34 a.m.:  911 caller is a 72-year-old male who advises he is confused and needs help. Sweetwater Drive. 9:56 a.m. Officer advised that he fixed the subject on Sweetwater drive a bowl of cereal and the subject is fine now.

July 2, 11:17 a.m.:  Truck 14 is arriving at the state park regarding a 36-year-old male fallen off tricycle.
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July 2, 6:31 a.m.:  911 caller on Lanam Ridge wants a female removed from his front porch. He is afraid to tell her to go away. Never mind; he thinks she is leaving.

June 30, 5:36 a.m.:  911 caller reports part of a desk sitting on the center line of State Road 46 West just west of Belmont.

June 30, 2:22 a.m.:  911 caller on Buffalo Drive decided he didn't need 911 and would not say what was going on and hung up on dispatcher. No answer upon call back. 2:26 am. Officer is on his way to Buffalo Drive. 2:29 a.m. Dispatch finally reached 911 caller and he advised one of his children called 911 because they do that sometimes. Officer is still on his way. 2:32 a.m. Officer is arriving at the scene; occupants won't answer the door. 2:48 a.m. Officer advises it appears that three friends had a disagreement and one was sporting a fresh black eye. They all assured the officer that everything was fine.

June 29, 3:15 p.m.:  Caller on Upper Salt Creek Road advises she needs a theft report for an 8x10 barn stolen from Beechtree Road two and a half weeks ago.

June 26, 4:38 p.m.:  911 caller on Eagle Drive reports four boats; one has a female involved in sexual activity. 4:54 p.m. Officer will be across cove to observe.

June 26, 10:36 a.m.:  911 caller reports a goose loose in the middle of State Road 46 East one block east of winery.

June 24, 12:30 p.m.:  911 caller on West Main Street advises there are purses on the rooftop of the church behind his residence.

June 23, 1:16 a.m.:  Officer will be out of car at shelter house behind fire station; advises they were just getting Cokes.

June 22, 11:49 a.m.:  Caller on Old State Road 46 reports her daughter invites kids over that she doesn't want in her house. Dispatch advised her they are not breaking the law and we can't make them leave.
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June 19, 5:27 p.m.:  911 caller advises an elderly gentleman is caught in the flood water. Subject is in an S10 truck with water up to the windows, refusing to leave his vehicle. Subject is dry, but has been there approximately one hour. 

June 18, 9:11 a.m.:  911 caller reports she stopped at a yard sale and a car hit hers and then left. It's a small black car with an elderly lady with a hat on heading down Salt Creek Road.

June 16, 3:43 p.m.:  Caller reports a golf cart vs. electric car at music festival.

June 15, 7:01 p.m.:  911 caller on Oak Ridge Road advises a woman is stoned in her yard and she wants her removed. 7:25 p.m. 911 caller on Oak Ridge Road advises the woman is on her front porch. Caller advises to disregard her call. A funnel cloud went over the house and they put the woman in the basement.

June 14, 8:20 p.m.:  911 caller advises he will be in the bathtub if a tornado strikes.
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June 13, 4:37 p.m.:  911 caller reports a car on blocks partially in the road, 1800 block of Hornettown Road.

June 13, 12:45 a.m.:  Abandoned 911 call. On call back, female subject advises her uncle is lost. Lost signal again. On call back, she found her uncle; he was hiding.

June 12, 8:20 p.m.:  Woman on West Lost Branch Road calls regarding gun shots on neighboring land (possible terrorist). Dispatch advised caller that unless they are on her property or shooting at her that it is not illegal.

June 11, 7:55 a.m.:  Caller from hospital requests welfare check on a nurse that did not show up for work today. 8:10 a.m. Officer advises the woman overslept.

June 10, 9:43 p.m.:  911 caller on North Drive Greenbrier Lake advises that the residence down the street on West Shore Drive is being gassed and gas is escaping from the tent and she is concerned and wants someone to check it out.

June 10, 5:33 p.m.:  Female caller reports someone has dumped an entire truck load of trash on Carmel Ridge Road near the iron gates; requests an officer to check it out.

June 9, 8:18 p.m.:  Church advises of a child with a fishing hook in his knee.

June 9, 1 p.m.:  911 caller on Oak Ridge Road advises she needs someone to call her ex and retrieve her cell phone for her. 1:19 p.m. Dispatch made eight attempts to call back the woman on Oak Ridge Road with no answer.

How could I live anywhere else? Go to fullsize image

Monday, July 26, 2010

Answer #162 - Here, Kitty Kitty!

Having been gone for a week's touring, the answering machine is flashing the number 22 at me.
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22 messages.

I'm averse to listening.  A couple of steps will be required, should I choose to walk that path. Among them, writing down what I hear. The hard part comes, however, in the acting upon what I hear.  Someone will invariably want me to do something.

I don't want to do something.  I want to do nothing.  It's just not in my genetic make-up to do nothing.  Hence, if I avoid listening, I avoid the compulsion to act on the information.

Also, my cat, Jezebel, seems to be missing. Go to fullsize image  The cross-eyed, toothless cat that I drug with me from Florida to Indiana, and for whom everyday is a puzzling and fuzzy adventure.  I'd worry more about this had she not gone missing before.  Generally I find her in the basement in a pile of wrapping paper or air filters.  I'm hoping this will be that kind of day.  The kind with a happy ending.  Otherwise, I'll need to panic, and then start running the long movie-ola of her cat life, and look at old pictures with a bottle of cheap red wine and a box of tissues.

Pathetic? Yes.  

Probable? Possibly.  When all else fails, I tend to revert to drama.  Also somewhat compulsively.

Two poets have written me in 24 hours.  I think this is a strong indication that it might be a good time to think about writing.  I heard a couple of great writers over the weekend in Canada.  Sparks were flying between my ears briefly - and then, like fireflies, they were gone.  Might have been the cramped constraints of the backseat, traveling between Ontario and Indiana.  Might have been the lack of sleep after a week-long run.  Might have been the triple-shot latte I had in Detroit.

Regardless, there it is. 22.  Flashing.
A pile of thank you cards to write, 3 new books to read
(Dave Eggars The Wild Things is calling...), Go to fullsize image
the gentle but slightly abrasive susurration of cicadas riding neuron sparks in the vacuous gray that holds the walnut shape of my brain.. and a missing cat.

Ah, well then.  Here, Kitty Kitty!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Answer #161 - In stiletto heels, we wait

The special occasions…

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Those days that we’re expected to do something wonderful, magical, amazing…

New Year’s Eve is one of them.

Every year, I expect to do something wonderful, magical, amazing.. I expect to hear the ringing of a bell and the sure knowledge that an angel has gotten its wings as the ball drops and the stars rise.

Birthdays, anniversaries.. hell, all the holidays.

Expectations of magic and wonder.

And yet, when we don’t expect it, that’s when magic and wonder happen.  When we’re not looking. When we’re blind-sided by the bright spotlight of Chance and Circumstance meeting on a dance floor somewhere.

She wears stiletto heels, Chance that is. Because she’s flirty and unpredictable. She runs hot and cold, but when she shows up, Josie and Betty Lou both avert their eyes.
They can’t touch her.

Circumstance, well, he’s steady… has a great day job – wears comfortable shoes, even if they’re more than likely Italian – and oh, when Chance walks in, they lock eyes and… well, suffice it to say that they’re responsible for the miraculous and immediate birth of the twin sprites – Magic and Wonder.

And there they are, unexpected. After that, they’re free spirits – can’t be cajoled into making an appearance by any living human, no matter the occasion. No, Magic and Wonder walk the world, looking for the space between night and day - only their parents can command an appearance.

And no amount of wishing will make it so.

No.. we wait in anxious hope, don’t we?

While the stars twinkle, and the red circle on the calendar recedes into the pink of twilight…

We wait. Maybe this year..

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Answer #160 - This Earth, this Realm, this Michigan

Greetings from Michigan

Shakespeare never graced the shores of this lake.

Well, assuming Shakespeare was Shakespeare, and not an Indian Maiden tour guide for wayward explorers who penned soliloquies between river bends… there’s been so much speculation as to his/her true identity…

But probably not, no, Shakespeare was most likely never here.

Still.. it’s a glorious countryside here in the MidWest – which lends itself to art, unhampered by pretention or frippery. And somehow, maybe this wide open and fertile landscape has bred into its inhabitants and immigrants an openess that is unprecedented in other U.S. regions, and for varying reasons. Still, it’s unboundaried by age or economics. A kind of pervasive humility levels all playing fields, and for that reason, you rarely know who you might be talking to.

Pretention gets doors quietly and politely shut in your face. But forever. More or less.

We’re walking down the thin strip of beach on the western shore of Lake Michigan, just outside of Douglas. It’s beautiful and about 77 degrees, though the humidity is tougher than the wind can tickle.

We’re passing a group of teenagers and a mom - adorning beach chairs and sunglasses, surrounded by chattering sea gulls.

Where are we that there are there seagulls on a lake? I ask Adventure Boy.

Gulls aren’t that smart. Sea. Lake. Both one syllable. They can't spell so they don't know the difference.


I’m smiling at the kids surrounded by gulls.

A bright-eyed, long-haired 17(?)-year old smiles big:

We’re feeding ‘em spicy chex mix! – and then he laughs.

The mom chimes in, And they love it!

And we don’t know them and they don’t know us.. and my first inclination is to worry about spice in the tummy of a gull, until I remember what incredible pestilence connoisseurs gulls are and I stop worrying.

And my second inclination is to laugh with them. 

We don’t know them and they don’t know us. But we’re in the MidWest, all of us, right here, right now, together, in the company of acrobatic birds, the sun and waves. What more do you need to know? 

And the gulls snap up beak fulls of chex mix and sand and I walk with Adventure Boy another mile or so until it’s time to get on the road again.  When we pass the group, the chex mix and gulls are gone.

They cleaned us out!  Kid says.  Now they're fishing, as he points to the sky above the lake and the circling, diving gulls.

Next show – Ann Arbor.

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Michigan.