Thursday, March 3, 2011

Odd Bits - The Rabble-Rousing Edition

Today, I went from having zero to write about and wondering what I was going fill tonight's post, to having 5 different things occur to me on the 12-minute drive home.  So that means another glorious Odd Bits posting!

Man of Letters
First, the big news.  The Baltimore Sun ran my letter in their online Readers Response section.  Most of the letters that appear in print start out online, so maybe it will show up tomorrow or Saturday.  You can see it here, if you wish.

This is going to be interesting because this will be my first real experience with posting something controversial online that will be read by those not already predisposed to agree with me, like YOU.  As of this writing, it’s drawn 3 comments… 2 short ones supporting me, and one guy saying that Thomas Jefferson was religious and wrote the Constitution to reflect that.  Of course, I’m planning on countering with some of Jefferson’s numerous quotes stating the need for separation of church and state.  I may even include my all-time favorite Jefferson quote: “Hey, we left this England place because it was bogus.  But if we don’t get some cool rules pronto, we’ll just be bogus too."  
"Yea?"

I’m kind of in a quandary because it’s my nature to defend the argument, but in reading other letters and comments, I don’t see other authors getting in there and mixing it up.  I’m going to have to pick my spots, for sure.  I certainly can’t answer every comment the way I do here.

Welcome to the A/V Club, Here’s Your Pocket Protector
I got a new job responsibility this month.  I was tapped to replace the guy that did our A/V setups for large meetings and town halls.

I was not asked to do this; it was assigned to me.  My only recollection of A/V equipment is the geeks from high school that pushed these things around the halls on carts and set them up in classrooms:

Luckily, the technology has come a long way since then.  Our company cafeteria has been wired up with all kinds of cool meeting-facilitating gizmos.  So my job is hook up a portable touch screen, which controls the podium mic, hand-held and clip-on mics, the conference call operator and a laptop from which to display PowerPoint slides onto a projection screen that drops down out of the ceiling.

It’s all really quite simple, as long as it works.

Ahh, that’s the rub.  When does anything ever just “work?”

I’ll tell you… never.  My trainer’s last day was Wednesday.  We just so happened to have a meeting to prepare on that day, so we had a chance to go through a live drill together before he left for good.  A day earlier, we tested all the equipment.  Everything was fine, except the laptop couldn’t connect to the network.  He troubleshot that, we fiddled with the laptop Wednesday morning, and all was fine.  So then, an hour before the meeting, we hooked everything up again and it was back to not working.

It ended up getting fixed about 10 minutes before showtime, but it did not do anything for my confidence in the system.  And next time, it’ll be ME running around trying to get someone to fix network.  Gah!

I just have to keep telling myself, “at least I’m making some extra money for this!”  And then I remember that I’m actually not.  This is the second new “job” I’ve been assigned in addition to the job I was hired to do, without any change in pay.

But listen, I’m not complaining.  It’s a good job and I’m going to hang onto it until they carry my ass out the door.  You can have my ID Badge when you tear it from my cold, dead fingers!

Geese is the Word
I got goosed at the subway station on the way home tonight.  It happened right there in the parking lot.

I see these two characters with some regularity and they always crack me up.  I mean, why here?  Why do they always come to the same little patch of grass in an urban subway parking lot?  There are grassy areas throughout the lot, but I always see them here, right were I park.  Are the insects especially good in that patch?

Maybe different areas of grass are as different to geese as wine areas are to us.  Maybe there’s something in the soil right that makes the grubs just a little sweeter.  Or maybe that area is like a rest stop on the goose aerial highway.  Or maybe it’s a sentimental place, like a spot where those two geese first hooked up.

Or maybe they’re just stupid birds that don’t know anywhere else to go.
Honk if you love dead grass.

My Kind of Spiritual
Then on the way home, I heard one of my old favorite songs.  In fact, it’s one of my earliest “favorite songs.”

Obviously, this is not a song that you would link with the likes of ME, not after all the shit I talk about organized religion.  But I tell you, I was 8 years old when it came out and it reached straight through the AM car radio and grabbed me by the throat.  It had nothing to do with the lyrics… it was that guitar.

Even as a little kid, the sound of that nasty, greasy, fuzzbox guitar lick just went straight to my “groove” center and took over.  Great hook, great groove, great sound! 

Oddly, I never actually owned a copy of the song until I was able to get my hands on a promo copy of soundtrack CD to the movie “Michael.”  (The one where John Travolta is a fat, horny, chain-smoking angel.)   Funny thing was that it wasn’t even in the movie.  They only used it in the trailers.

Grandfathered In
When I got home tonight, I saw that my dad sent me a new picture.  Remember my cousin Angela, who last week had her first baby?  This little one makes, (by my rough count) Grandpa’s 9th great-grandchild.  I’m always thrilled when he gets to see in a new one.  Grandpa just turned 95 in February and the way he’s going, I’m sure he’s going to see 100, at least.

But it won’t be long now before yet another baby will be perched on his lap at dinner, gnawing on biscotti dunked in red wine… Just like I did 40-odd years ago, along with the rest of his 10 grandchildren and 8 other great-grandchildren.  That was always the place of honor when we all got together for dinner.  Unfortunately, due to the age of the Honoree, the only thing they remember is when a new, younger model baby is sitting there instead of them.  Luckily, there are pictures, 8mm movies, videos, smart phone pics and whatever comes next.

So, here we are at the end of the line… from no ideas to a whole fistful fighting for space.  Such are the wonders of the Creative Process.

Maybe I can come up with something more coherent this weekend.

24 comments:

  1. What a delightful array of odds 'n' ends. Good for you for getting out there and mixing it up on Jefferson. Set those Fox-watching-mental midgets straight! Invite them over for coffee on that little patch of grass and sic the geese on their dumb asses.

    And I love that picture of your grandpa. What a sweet-looking man. Wish I'd had a grandpa like that.

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  2. Jayne,
    I almost had a spit-take when I saw someone using Jefferson, of all people, to claim that the founding fathers wanted religion woven into our country's government. What a softball!

    Funny though... by the time I posted here and went over to the Sun site, two other people had already called the one guy out on his Jefferson. I probably didn't have to add anything, but I just couldn't help but drop a couple more TJ quotes into the mix.

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  3. Your letter was terrific, and so was your rebuttal to the--forgive me--silly goose who tried to invoke Jefferson's name in vain. I've got no problem with other people holding religious beliefs; I just don't want them inflicted on me.

    I find spirituality all over the place, in just about anywhere but a church or holy text.

    The bit about your grandpa made me smile.

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  4. Wow that was quite the little Rabble, you did this and that and just did a dabble.
    Enjoyed the read all the way through, I even postponed using the loo.
    Oh was that to much to say, I'll remember that for another day.
    It doesn't need to be coherent if it works and you want to get a crack at all the jerks.
    So off I go to reap what I sow.
    Yeah that might be bad, but I'll pretend to be glad.

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  5. Geese are evil, evil creatures. That's all you need to know.

    My mom raised them while I was growing up, and if I had a nickel for every time one of those demonic fuckers bit me, I could probably pay for my therapy.

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  6. Lilo,
    Boy, was he barking up the wrong tree, using Jefferson.

    I think there's more spirituality to be found during a walk in the woods than a year of church-going. But that's just me. Whatever floats...

    Rhymetime,
    Well, that's a first. No one's ever dropped rhymes in comments before. Welcome aboard, to run with the Bluz Horde.

    Mrs Bachelor Girl,
    I'll bow to your expertise in fowl minds.

    It's a wonder those birds ever made it past Thanksgiving around here.

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  7. 'Go'in up to the Spirit in the sky'...rockin song fersure.
    from an Abnaki Indian friend, Joe Bruchac in New Yotk: 'If we go up when we die/it's to fall down again as rain.' (CANTICLE)
    Wonderful potpourri here. How 'bout that Great Grand #9! He'll be holding Great Grandpa in the next pic.

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  8. The first time I ever got bitten on the ass, it was by a goose. (wouldn't be the last, though)

    Spirit in the sky is an awesome song! I love the guitar part, too. Although, I thought for a long time that the lyrics said "You're gonna go to the place that's the tits". Which isn't far from the truth. I bet Heaven is awesome.

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  9. Love that letter! Seeing it in 'print' makes me proud to know you!

    Being goosed can be humbling, right? I mean, you wrote a letter about gay rights and then got goosed. Obviously that's God trying to tell you that you are one with the gay community? No? Maybe? Way off base?

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  10. Coherence is overrated. The geese are hilarious. We have turkeys around where I live. Freaking turkeys!

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  11. Hahaha! You really opened up a can of "Goose Butter," Bluz! You're way ahead on this one--new comments posted! Your loyal readers are extremely proud of you! Keep it up, and you'll be asked to run for public office!!

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  12. Bagger,
    That’s what cracks me up so much about the Republicans being the “morality and values” party. Their entire focus and structure demonstrates otherwise. I’ve always said that they just use the morality stuff as bait, to get people to vote against their own financial interest. They can’t very well win elections by campaigning for tax loopholes and no restraints on corporate greed.

    Mary Ann,
    I don’t plan to go “up” when I die… more like “off to the side and around the corner.”

    Sally,
    I like your interpretation much better! It’s like that scene from the South Park movie, where Kenny is killed (again) and rises up to heaven, which seems to be a bunch of naked, big-titty women waiting for him with open arms.

    Sorry about the goose and your caboose… maybe that’s how that particular term got started.

    Cassie,
    Well, I was only “metaphorically” goosed. I never got near enough for real goosing action. So I don’t know how strong a sign it really was.

    Being trapped in a room and forced to watch a Glee marathon would have been a much clearer sign.

    Oh, the letter was not in this morning’s paper. Maybe tomorrow. And if not, I think it will remain online only. Which is OK. I’m content with the current exposure.

    DG,
    I remember seeing wild turkeys once before. When I used to live in Albany and was working for my record company’s home office. Our building was in an office park that was surrounded by a lot of woodland. One day, we were sitting in my boss’s office, whose outer wall was floor to ceiling glass that faced the woods. So while we’re sitting there, this parade of turkeys comes strutting by… one right after another. We just sat there going, “WTF? That’s Thanksgiving Dinner for the whole office walking by…”

    Judie,
    Public Office?? Oh, hell no. I have way too many skeletons in my closet, plus a whole blog full of rabble-rousing that would make me completely unelectable. That is, unless the public actually wanted a new, no holds barred, Give’em Hell Harry type.

    Don’t hold your breathe though… the public only wants to be told what it wants to hear. (Like, we can balance the budget by cutting taxes and continuing to fund Social Security, the Dept. of Defense, Medicare and Medicaid, as is.)

    And I thank my lucky stars every day that I have loyal readers like you. A writer with no readers is just a guy wasting his time with finger exercises.

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  13. Surprised you didn't get more responses to that great letter! But I guess people are too busy writing online comments about Charlie Sheen than to bother thinking about anything mind-provoking.

    And your grandfather? Looks about 20 years younger than he is. Accept those good genes gratefully.

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  14. Sherry,
    I'm kind of disappointed about that myself. Other letters I've seen have many more comments. Maybe I was just too late to the party and all the comments went there before I showed up. This is why I don't think they'll run my letter in print... I have a feeling they look at which letters get attention.

    Grandpa is a freak of nature. I remember telling him at his 90th birthday party in 2006, that I was sure he'd see 100. Now he's half way there.

    Never underestimate the preservative power of red wine and Crown Royal.

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  15. Such a fun post. The geese are so cute and wow your grandfather doesn't look 95! He really looks like such a sweet man. What a kind smile. I am new to your blog. Glad I found it!

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  16. Alicia,
    First off, welcome! Thanks for vistiting!

    Yeah, Grandpa is a pisser. He doesn't say much, but when it does, it's always something worthwhile. I'll have a story about him (and my dad) this weekend.

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  17. Go Tony in the Sun! Spiccoli would say pizza not prayers in school. I loved your note about the preservative powers of Crown Royal and wine. Here's to all the Spirits in the Sky that make earth heavenly and to Grandpa's continued longevity and lap time.

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  18. Angela,
    As long as we grandchildren keep life interesting for him, he'll have no choice but to stick around to see what happens next!

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  19. My extremely large, extremely rich, always-buying-up-other-companies company decided to get rid of most of the IT personnel in the field offices a year or so ago. You'd think you'd want the computers and projectors and flatscreens and all that running in your NYC office when you're a worldwide corporation, but I guess you'd think wrong. So I'm in charge of those things. The girl with the English degree. So I feel for you.

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  20. PD,
    I admit that I was a little miffed that they just assumed I knew something about all that equipment. Or maybe they didn't... they just figured I'd learn it. Which I did. So I guess I can't be pissed about that, can I? Would it have been better if they thought it was over my head?

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  21. I love your last name. I've posted many pieces that people disagreed with (and a few letters to the editor that had the same effect), and my only surprise has been how little actual hate mail I've gotten. I've offended many of my blog readers, but they don't tend to get hostile so much as to simply fall away.

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  22. Snowbrush,
    Some of the other letters on the same topic got a lot more comments and discussion. I thought mine was pointed enough to garner a bit more controversy, but like I mentioned in a prior comment, even though I sent in my letter the same night the original letter appeared, they didn’t run my letter until 2 days later, so I was late to the party.

    I think people were onto new things by then.

    Oh well. I did what I could.

    Maybe I should knock wood, but no matter what I’ve written here, I’ve not gotten much in the way of disagreement. Perhaps that means that I’m always exactly right! Or, more likely, those that read me are already predisposed to agree with my point of view.

    But come to think of it, there ARE a couple of people that I used to see here regularly that I do not any longer. I wonder if I pissed them off… Or maybe they just got bored and went onto other things. I ought to post some kind of “exit interview” document, to be completed upon buggering off.

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  23. Like attracts like, it seems, which means that if people disagree with your viewpoint often enough, they just naturally quit coming around. I've lost many followers that way. They don't usually drop from my list, but they do visit less and less often.

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  24. They keep doing that to Tom, too (and, REDUCED pay this year b/c they're increasing how much comes out for health care :P). Makes me mad, but at least he stays off the ever-lengthening list of folks getting their jobs eliminated all together. We keep our fingers crossed that he's becoming MORE valuable, so he'll stay off that list. We'll see.

    LOVE that song, too!

    From CrackerLilo's comment:
    "I've got no problem with other people holding religious beliefs; I just don't want them inflicted on me."

    I literally read this as "flicked on me" like a booger. I like that imagery. The religious right are flicking boogers of intolerance at us!

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