Friday, December 27, 2013

Dreams: Butt Swirls

I am one of those people who keep pen and pad at the ready on the nightstand. It is a known fact that I am of the age to forget any thought, no matter how important … life or death. In the time it takes to secure pen and paper to jot down a note, all is lost. However, my nightstand ordinance is not for the purpose of preparedness for memory notes of life or death sway. Instead, the purpose is to record for future analysis the bizarre nature of one's mind in the state of feigned rest … that is to say, sleep. It is a well known fact that it is virtually impossible to remember dreams. At best, one acting with the utmost urgency, may be able to jot down a few splintered fragments from which the direction of the dream might be determined. Thus, my effort …

Let me say from the outset that I realize my recalled dreams to have somewhat of a fragmentation of reason, an explanation of such I am unable to provide, given that I am a reasonable person. The retelling of said dreams must therefore rely heavily upon the interpretation provided by the reader. Not that the reader need worry as to the interpretation of the retelling of the dream for I shall provide that service. The interpretation is necessary for the unstated elements of the dream. Never is a dream recalled in its entirety. Lacking is most often the why or where did this come from aspect of the dream. That being said, I believe this dream lends itself well to an interpretation of what I am about to not say.

I shall start with the conclusion. I dreamed that I was making ornamental butt swirls. I find little advantage in understanding the science of the matter, but merely state that a situation had occurred in which chickens were growing out of peoples' butts. The chickens were generally small, like a nice fryer , and were already plucked. The heads and feet had already been cleaved and the chickens were attached to the butt by the neck. There was no set number of chickens on any one butt, nor any particular pattern of growth other than a random scattering of spots as found with measles or smallpox. It is important to note that the chickens, though alive and growing, were already cooked. I enter the dream having developed a technique to shred the chickens and mold them into attractive chicken salad swirls without disturbing the neck-to-butt life connection. I adorned each swirl with an application of wire wrapping and beads. I don't like to brag, but each swirl was both stylish and unique … easily as collectable as hand-made Xmas ornaments.

I am puzzled concerning how my swirls fit into the confines of ones' pants. I find that most peoples' pants are already overflowing.  Undoubtedly, those who have butt swirls would want to show them off, but what might be the occasion for such a display. The easy answer is that people show their butts all the time … and many parade around with their butts on their shoulders anyway. All I know for sure is the dream  … and in the dream, my butt swirls had gone viral!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Reading 2013

1. Candide - Voltaire

2. 2BR02B - Kurt Vonnegut

3. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam - Omar Khayyam (poetry)

4. Frankenstein -Mary Shelley

5. Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux

6. The Last of the Mohicans - James Fenimore Cooper

7. Poems by Emily Dickinson, Three Series - Emily Dickinson (poetry)

8. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen

9. Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger

10. The Jungle - Upton Sinclair

11. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

12. Selected Poems of Oscar Wilde - Oscar Wilde (poetry)

13. The Deerslayer - James Fenimore Cooper

14. six girls without pants - Paisley Rekdal (poetry)

15. Winterwood - Patrick McCabe

16. Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift

17. Void of Course - Jim Carroll (poetry)

18. The Book of Morman - Joseph Smith

19. The 21st Century Emerson Collection - Ralph Waldo Emerson (poetry)

20. The Life and Letters of of Lewis Carroll (Rev. Charles Dodgson) - Stuart Dodgson

21. House of Mirth - Edith Wharton

22. Beowulf - anonymous (poetry)

23. The Little Book of Modern Verse (poetry) - selected poets

24. Faust - Johann Wolfgang Goethe (poetry)

25. Sonnets from the Portuguese - Elizabeth Barrett Browning (poetry)

26. The Beautiful and the Damned - F. Scott Fitzgerald

27. A Few Figs from Thistles - Edna St. Vincent Millay (poetry)

28. Reanascence and Other Poems - Edna St. Vincent Millay (poetry)

29. Second April - Edna St. Vincent Millay (poetry)

30. The Lamp and the Bell - Edna St. Vincent Millay

31. Of Human Bondage - W. Somerset Maugham

32. The House Is Made of Poetry - Wendy Barker and Sandra Gilbert (poetry)

33. Summary of Transcendentalism - article

34. Personae - Ezra Pound (poetry)

35. Simplicity - Ruth Stone (poetry)

36. Ordinary Words _ Ruth Stone (poetry)

37. Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father - John Matteson

38. Daisy Miller - Henry James

39. Monday or Tuesday - Virginia Woolf

40. Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

41. In the Next Galaxy - Ruth Stone (poetry)

42. Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

43. Second Hand Coat - Ruth Stone (poetry)

44. The Gold Cell - Sharon Olds (poetry)

45. Who is the Widow's Muse? - Ruth Stone (poetry)

46. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

47. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

48. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

49. Poems - William Culen Bryant

50. The Father - Sharon Olds (poetry)

51. The Mysterious Island - Jules Verne

52. Master Cheng's Thirteen Chapterson T'ai-Chi Ch'uan - Cheng Man-ch'ing

53. Three Men in a Boat  - Jerome Klapka

54.The Five Stages of Grief - Linda Pastan (poetry)

55. Sudden Eden - Verandah Porche (poetry)


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dream: First Day of School on the Longliner

Being out of your normal routine must stimulate the one to dream. I awoke this morning about 4:00 AM cognizant that I had been dreaming. Experience has taught me to act fast. I groped around the dark room for my glasses and stumbled to the kitchen to find a pen and pad. As you may know know, if you don't jot down a few notes about a dream, you will forget it for sure.

Quinn and Barrett go to meet their new teachers this afternoon ... in effect, their first day of school and the catalyst for my dream I'm sure. I dreamed that I was also having the first day of school. I, however, was a teacher in the school. What was different was that the school was housed on a swordfish boat ... a long-liner and what appeared to be homeroom was being held in the crow's nest. We didn't have to climb the rigging to get there since a series of ramps and railing had been constructed for our convenience.

Strangely enough, my homeroom had three teachers, not one. The head teacher was my brother Ron and another brother, Wayne, was also a teacher in the room. My younger brother, Dean, was not there and I am sure volumes of psychological explanation and justification could be written as to his absence. Nevertheless, I was the only one who had taught there before and knew the routines. The result was that I was kinda in charge for the first day.

We had two children that were late for homeroom and having been a principal in the past, I took them to task as to the reason for their tardiness. We wove through the usual excuses, deceits, denials, and lies resulting in a final confrontation with the fabrications they had offered ... until the truth was ferreted out.

It seems that the two students were late because they had kidnapped another student. The faces of all of the students were well-known to me but I was still unable to figure out exactly who they were. The kidnapping was accomplished by locking the student inside of his own book. I demanded that they open the book to release the student immediately and lectured them as to the possibility of jail time for such a behavior. Consequences were in order and they were required to pay for the damages to the homeroom ping pong net, which had turned into a long-line during all of  the commotion, and to pay for all the lost ping pong balls. I also deemed that kidnapping was more than enough reason for additional punishment and assigned both boys a day in ISS.

I awoke as the boat was cruising out of the harbor and tooting its horn at some women waving from the deck of their house on shore. I recall being puzzled that they were also shooting pistols at the boat.  Even though hey were shooting guns at us ...they were doing it in a friendly way.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dream: War With France

I don't know how much I dream. I have heard that most people dream every night, but I really don't know if that is true. I do know that I usually remember bits and pieces of a dream occasionally, but seldom do I recall enough of the dream to consider it a dream story. On those rare occasions that I do recall a significant portion of a dream, I try to jot down notes the moment I awaken. If I don't, the dream is gone. How many times have I said, "I know I had the craziest dream last night, but I cannot remember anything about it"?

I will say this. My dreams can be crazy ... bizarre! Maybe no more bizarre than other peoples, but they seem like it to me.  Anyway, I dreamed this last night.

For some unknown reason the Windham Southeast Supervisory School System was under attack by the French. It was definitely more than just a skirmish. It was more like a declared war. Not just a few malcontent Frenchmen ... the entire country of France. I have tried imagining between the dream lines for a reason, but there is no apparent "glove to the face" incident to explain why the French would hate our system. Other than a few irate parents each year, no one declares war on a school system ... especially not a country.

Ray McNulty is the School Superintendent and seemingly I have been brought back to work in the schools due to the crisis. With all respect to Ray, he doesn't seem to be doing much about the problem at all. I know that I have not been back in the system long because I really don't have a desk or an office from which to work. All that I am aware of is my chair, which is pushed into a corner and is covered with a heavy layer of dust. Apparently, I have been instructed to meet with the French representative in order to convince them to desist in their attacks and withdraw. I didn't see a castle in the dream, but it feels like I am meeting outside of a large building in a huge open space.

The French representative is dressed in Medieval attire just like in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and speaks in the same exaggerated accent as the French soldier who hurled down insults on King Arthur in the movie. Myself, and everyone else associated with the school system, is dressed in bright orange prison jumpsuits. We also have a white rings around our mouths, as if we had been eating  powdered doughnuts. The rings, however, are made of tiny particles of concrete.

I have a vague sense of Jeri Curry in the dream, but can recall no detail whatsoever. I am sent out to meet with the French representative. Kathy Rouleau, secretary at the high school, appears with some type of message for the Frenchman. When she tries to speak and opens her mouth, a chain falls out. The chain is attached to a tongue-piercing and is made of a multitude of large paper clips joined together. Kathy is unable to speak and has to pile the paper clips back into her mouth and is gone. I deliver to the Frenchman the list of our conditions to end the conflict.

The French soldier bends over and says, "Dis iz what I tink uv yoer conditions". He laughs loudly over his shoulder as he releases a long, loud protracted fart in my direction and I awaken.

Friday, July 19, 2013

At a Moment's Notice

Just finished writing a birthday greeting to a friend. Composed might be a better way to say it. It made me think. It made her suffer. I started with a premise:

Birthdays are nothing more than calibration of life.  

Life measured in words and sound bites.  I looked to My Clippings file on my Kindle. One of the things that I have enjoyed since getting the Kindle has been saving quotes and passages from the books I read. I save words. Words arranged to please my sensibilities. Words twisted and turned, tweaked and mutated for my private amusement. A collaboration of the literary geniuses of the ages to explain my world. I repurpose great words … nobody owns them … you can’t own words really. The fallicy of this approach is the false assumption that rewritten words mean the same thing as the originals.  Perhaps the meaning changes with the rewrite … perhaps it is the reading that is the catalyst of change.

My point is this. Our world is not War and Peace. It is not the great American novel. Our world is bits and pieces …  bite size … digestable. Our world is about moments … disconnected thoughts … sound bites. Minute moments, sounds, thoughts … they fill our lives with immeasurable pleasure and indescribable pain. They welcome a tear … they welcome a smile.

This suggests to me that those powerful moments may be real or imagined without lessening the power  of the experience and we may fully emote to a situation that we clearly know to be a fantasy.


Anne (of Green Gables) tells Marilla how awful it must be Not to have an imagination.

Her true love hears Sabine sing her secret message to him as he storms from the Moulon Rouge and he turns to respond ... the power and purity of his musical response!

Friday, July 5, 2013

What's in a Smile?


I was asked by a friend recently why I did not smile. I could have a answered, " What do I have to smile about" and be done with it. But, that would be simplistic and dismissive. Do I think so little of myself that my lack of joy is so easily explained? Is there no more to me than bell rings ... bruce salivates?

Where does coincidence end and fate begin? A friend happened to find a button the other day at a flea market. It was just laying there in the grass waiting to be found. It was waiting to be found. It was waiting for someone to think "That reminds me of bruce". It was waiting go someone to give it to me, not the other Bruce. Coincidence is a funny thing. I went to a flea market the other day with a friend. My friend found a button on the ground and thought of me. I got a button the other day that said, "a tiny speck in a hostile universe". I don't remember smiling.

Coincidence is a funny thing. A few days later I read a poem and I thought about that speck ... about what is means to be a speck in a hostile universe.  The poem went like this:

There is a quest that calls me, 
In nights when I am lone,
The need to ride where the ways divide
The Known from the Unknown.
I mount what thought is near me
And soon I reach the place,
The tenuous rim where Seen grows dim
And the Sightless hides it face. 

I am a speck in a hostile universe. I will not be dismissed. There is nothing simplistic about being a speck. I don't think I believe in coincidence, but fate is far more simplistic than I.

When I think about it ...

... it makes me smile.

Take It On Faith

We recently had guests from North Carolina. If you have ever visited in the South, you are aware that there seem to be four churches on every intersection in town. People there take their religion seriously. My guests were no  exception. Not fanatical mind you, but serious.  And I don't want to sound like it is a situation unique to the South. Try Belfast, Israel, Iran. Fact is , I don't have a problem with that. I admire strong faith in something, in a belief. I like the thoughts of clinging to an idea. I do it all the time. However, it occurred to me how difficult it might be for a seriously religious person to visit with me. People have the right to believe anything they want. I for example, believe that multiple realities are possible, and ghosts may very well exist. I suspect aliens have been here and who knows, there just might be a tooth fairy. What I don't believe is that beliefs are sacred. They are something you are in to, or not, and that pretty much is the end of it. They don't necessarily need to be defended and often cannot be defended because they are based on faith, which by definition is believing in something that you cannot prove. It is because you say it is ... a world that is very familiar to me.

The  problem that arises is that I have no filter as to people being sensitive about their beliefs. It is amazing to me how quickly one's sense of humor can diminish when religion enters the picture. I, on the other hand, find the field fertile for humor ... a situation that others may see as somewhat offensive. I am often greatly amused at challenging the logic of a situation. Of course, that is my special brand of logic. I don't have a problem with the existence of a deity, but if deities exist, it seems that the Hindus might be on the right path. Omnipotence is a tough job and must require a lot of multi-tasking. Logic says to me such a deity would certainly need a lot of arms and legs. Makes sense.  In the world of all-seeing, all knowing, been there, made it all, done it all, logic says to me a good deity would be correcting those mistakes, which logically wouldn't exist, with on sweep of the sea-dividing hand.

There are a lot of oxymorons out there for which religion is the core ingredient. (I love that word.) Seriously religious people have a tendency not to be amused with some of those. Many catholics don't see the humor in burying a statue of St Joseph upside down in the yard to help get your house sold ( which, by the way, has not worked) or the absurdity of both the Pope and the Klan wearing the same outfits except for the eye holes in the pointy hat. Southern Baptists don't generally bust out laughing when I make a few comments about running around with snakes in their mouth or knocking back a few shooters of venom (name your poison partner). Better lay off the bigamy jokes with Mormons, the god cartoons with Muslims, and mimicked tongue-talking with the Pentecostals. Placing the blame for some real mass killing on the shoulders of the the church is a good reason for me not to have gone to Ireland with Anne. And sex, whew is sex a good one. Have you heard the one about god running out of parts and having to borrow a rib from his new Adammobile to finish the Eve. Priests that can't marry ... women that hide their faces, black hats with long curls, feasting on blood and bread, angels exist but mermaids are a myth ... and building a new world, complete with the latest in disasters? If you don't think religion is funny, then just think about Jimmy Swaggart banging whores (well everything) and crying, Jim Baker banging the secretary and crying, Tammy Faye banging the assistant preacher and crying, Catholic priests banging the Vienna Choir and crying ... I'm starting to tear up just thinking about it ... and the explanation for all of this is basically "boys will be boys". Funny!

All I'm saying is this ... hanging around a heathen who thinks he is funny is tough business. So if you are visiting with me, you better put on your best sack cloth, dust up with with a little ash, hang on to those rosaries (look amazingly like worry-beads to me) and get ready!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Ever had one of those moments when you are suddenly overwhelmed with an idea. Out of the blue. Off the charts. No matter how hard you try, you cannot piece together a reasonable explanation of what induced the thought. Its randomness seems almost random.

We were at  the Hooker-Dunham Theatre for a performance of gypsy jazz by a group called Fishtank Ensemble. The lead singer had a tattoo on upper arm ... right where Rambo would tie one of those black scarves to make his biceps look bigger. I couldn't see it clearly, but it looked like a name written in cursive. That is when the thought hit me ... and I couldn't let it go.

Sagamore! What if I had a tattoo in the same location that said Sagamore. Why ... why ... why? I read Last of the Mohicans. I know about the Sagamores of the tribes. I am not into Indian culture.  I  would not decorate my body with tributes to the Indian chiefs. Otherwise, we would be talking about Geronimo. I read Written on the Body. I do believe that our stories are written on our bodies. Except for a few scars, I'd have to say the novels we call our bodies is for all practical purposes internal journalism.

Not all mysteries are destined to be solved.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Day in Court

March 18, 2013

I can’t resist a few words on my first day in court. Not my first trail  …. My first trial draw. As a system, it reminds me of the army in some ways. Hurry up and wait was the message of the day. Then of course there was educating you about the process by talking to you like you might be a sixth grader with plenty of corny jokes tossed about.  And redundancy … redundancy … redundancy … redundancy … redundancy … redundancy … The suits. Each side had a pair. One big shot and a mini me beside.  The judge would call the suits up for a good old boy whisper every now and then.  The big shots would stride up and the minis would bounce up behind them, poking their heads forward and pretending to actually be in the conversation.  The minis looked like they might  be 15 years old.  Their pants were wrinkled at the bottoms as if they were too long. The big shots looked bored, or angry. The minis beamed.

Process. It is all about the process. The allusion of fairness ad nausium. Each potential juror has to be asked a question. It doesn’t matter what. It is very hard to give the wrong answer. The same question asked over and over and over. Can you be fair? Are you a bigot? Are you damaged goods? I started to play games in my head. What were they really asking.  The big two. Can you be impartial and can you be fair? Everyone knows the answer is yes-yes. I decided if called up and asked that I would not answer yes-yes. I don’t believe that I can be impartial. I am who I am. All the bigotries, biases, preferences, leanings, likings, and loves are my traveling companions for life. No, I cannot be impartial. However, I can be fair!

Questions and more questions.  It is the defense big shots turn. Same questions with a bit of a twist. Questions with a wink and a nod.  Ask the question … imply another question. They remind us over and over that CSI and Perry Mason and Law and Order are not real. Not here!  I think they watch these shows too. I know this from how they act in court. Maybe they are not real ]. Not here! The game begins. Believe me and mine … you can’t trust them. Believe me … wink and a nod. I don’t like him. I don’t think I would like him in his spare time either. Remember … I am not impartial.

I close my eyes and a picture forms. I can’t shake it. The big shots clip clop about the stage … strings reach skyway to the puppeteer’s cross.


The minis cut endless circles on the floor. Huge windup keys protrude from their backs.

The puppeteer’s face is in the shadows, but the dance goes on.  I can't be sure who is pulling the strings  ...orchestrating the dance. I hope justice doesn't get in the way and muck the whole system up.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Three Hands in My Pocket

They say begin at the beginning. 

I disagree.

We went to New Orleans for Xmas. It was our gift to one another. One of the things we planned to do was to take the Charles Street trolley to check out the mansion area in the Garden District. Unfortunately, the city was working on a section of the rails and we needed to take a local bus to by-pass the construction area. Bus #12. Of course, the bus was packed. I found a spot right behind the driver where I could stand with my back to the wall. Anne was seated right beside me. My wallet was in the front pocket of my cargo pants. When I got off of the bus and walked about thirty yards. I realized that my wallet was NOT in the front pocket of my cargo pants. I had been pick-pocketed.

Anne says I never learn. I should have been more careful. Anne says I never learn. I should have done things differently. Anne says I never learn.

We were walking back to the room from the art museum in Madrid. It was early evening and we strolled across a dimly lit square. The square was empty except for us and a young couple behind us. Suddenly, Anne spun around and shouted at the couple behind her, ""What the hell are you doing?" The young man threw his hands up and feigned innocence and misunderstanding. Anne continued to shout that he knew exactly what she was talking about and that he had tried to unzip her backpack and get something out of it. All I did was look on ... Anne seemed to have things well under control.

Many years ago, we were helping to chaperone a group of high schoolers on a a trip to Italy and Greece. We were getting ready to board the subway in Rome in order to reach another museum. We divided the kids into groups of five, each with one of the chaperones. It was rush hour. Just prior to boarding, the group leader warned us about staying together and watching our valuables. He emphasized that we should be especially careful of the gypsies getting on and off at each station. It was shoulder to shoulder on the subway car. A young woman with a baby in a chest sling got on with us. I did my best to provide a human barrier for her to prevent the baby from being crushed amid the pushing and shoving of the passengers. When we got off at our stop, everyone was talking at once. Someone had tried to get into one student's backpack, but stopped when they hit dirty socks. Someone tried for our group leader's wallet, but his jeans were tight and he felt the wallet move and grabbed it. Gary, the group leader, laughed and said, "Did you guys see the woman with the fake baby?" I reached inside my front pocket and my money was not there. I had been pick-pocketed.

Anne says I never learn. I should have been more careful. Anne says I never learn. I should have done things differently. Anne says I never learn.

I have some experience. 
I recognize the fake baby now!

I have some experience. 
I listen for the zippers now.

I have some experience. 
I know now that the third hand in my pocket is not mine.

I have had some time to think. I believe my experiences provide me with a unique perspective. I think I can be of help to others.  That is why I developed this.


There is one, and only one, problem here. You look like a tourist ... act like a tourist ... get robbed like a tourist. The problem is that you stand out in the crowd like a sore thumb. I'm going to take that big bull's eye off of your back. I will do it utilizing a three-pronged approach. First, a few Nuggets of Knowledge.

1. Zipper Etiquette - When you hear a zipper slide and you are not in the restroom or the Red Light District of Amsterdam, grab your wallet and yell "POLICE". If you actually are in the Red Light District of Amsterdam,  dispense with calling the police.

2. Fake Babies - If it ain't sipping on a breast or pooping its pants, it ain't a real baby ... even if it says, "mama".

The second prong is what I call ... Mis-Directions ... now you see it, now you don't.

1. The Seizure - The foaming mouth is generally sufficient mis-direction. However, it never hurts to fall out on the ground, jerking and shaking your leg every now and then. A little toothpaste will do the trick ... and your mouth feels fresh and clean all day.

2. The Concussion - One theory is that this mis-direction may make you even more of a target. It doesn't matter. Nobody looks in the bloody bandage for your money. You can use either red paint or ketchup for the blood on the bandage. I recommend the ketchup because the flies and insects it draws make the deception even better. If you are a purist, pound your head against a brick wall and "get real".

3. The Smallpox Outbreak - This one is definitely a winner. Take my advice and mist your face every hour or so to simulate a raging fever. It never hurts to stagger a bit as well.

4. Oral Gratification - Thieves seldom try to take anything out of your mouth. If anything, they try to put something in there ... like their fists or a gun. Nor do they tend to search your mouth for valuables unless you are sporting a bunch of gold teeth.  Access to your money is an issue. Don't wait until you get to the cash register to pull out a ten spot. To be on the safe side, always carry a few tissues in your hand. A couple of well-timed coughs and you can pay any bill.

5. The Six-Fingered Glove - This one is so easy, yet so effective ... especially for muggings. As soon as you see the knife or gun, throw up your hands and beg for mercy ... tearing up shouldn't be a problem. When they realize that you don't have a wallet, scream "I've been robbed ... pickpocket". Nobody counts fingers when your hands are up. Meanwhile, in finger six is a wad of of hundreds that would choke a horse. This might not be your best option in summer.

6. The Foley Bag - When you had that surgery, you probably thought that there would never be a silver lining in that cloud. However, I am sure many of you are still using that bag as a water buffalo when camping. Store a little yellow dye in there for a couple of days to reduce transparency and it is a natural for hiding money. Don't get lazy though ... it it not nearly as effective if you don't stick the tubing down your pants.

7. Papillon - This one has a money back guarantee. Believe me, your money is safe. I don't want to discuss it. If you are confused just ask Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Access is definitely an issue. For you senior citizens, a little raw broccoli in the morning might help.

The third and last prong of my approach is the Barking Up the Wrong Tree Approach.

1. If the Shoe Fits -  This is not new to senior citizens. We have hidden money in our shoes for years. I wouldn't advise this for the younger generation. Everybody knows that you keep your drugs in your shoe and your shoes are so expensive that is probably what the thief wants anyway. My plan is a combination plan. It involves the pair of socks you are wearing that you wore all of your last trip as well. It stops the crooks in your tracks, not theirs.

2. The Sandwich (requires two) - Nobody messes  with you and your partner when you have each others backs. Sometimes the simpler a solution is, the better it is. Just get yourselves ready to head out for the day. Stop by the hotel concierge desk and hand him a roll of duct tape (or rope). Put on your backpacks and stand bask to back. Just have the concierge duct tape (or tie) the two of you together. I do admit that sitting is a slight problem.

3. The Kung Fu - Once every fifteen minutes (no matter where you are), leap into the air and do a Kung Fu kick while yelling to your partner, "Get behind me, Grasshopper". If you have them, wear white pj's , a nice cloth black belt and a headband.

4. The Chained Wallet - I am going out on a limb on this one. I am sure that everyone has seen all the guys in the motorcycle gangs with the wallet on a chain sticking out of their back pockets. Some people swear by this method. I admit that you never hear of one of those guys being pick-pocketed. Duh! You never hear of someone licking a running chainsaw either. For anyone other than a motorcycle gang member, I suspect you might lose your wallet, a perfectly good chain and your belt loop.

5. The Man Purse - Women have known this forever. Wear your purse in the front with a strap across your shoulder. It works for us guys too. It doesn't hurt that the thief takes one look at us and anticipates us screaming in a shrill voice while frantically waving our arms were he to attempt to take our purse.

I can't imagine that you haven't picked up some techniques thus far that would fit you like a second skin and unquestionably keep you and your money safe. Nevertheless, I have saved the best 'til last.  The ultimate Barking Up the Wrong Tree Approach is ...

If you want to keep your money safe,

try the 


The Concealed  Weapon Permit

Friday, January 25, 2013

Retirement - A Misnomer

I admit it. I am old … 61 and not counting! I admit it. I should be looking back … reveling in my past glories and coulda’s. But, I’m not. I know this sounds crazy … but I don’t want to look back. If I look back, then it really is over. I don’t want to rest. I want to do. Most of all, I want to learn.

I have this thing about what I don’t know … about being ignorant. Not about everything. Just ignorant about things that I should know. I have been this way for many years, but I only act on it sporadically. Like my vocabulary. I was in the “average” group in school… somewhat by choice and manipulation … but there, nonetheless. The accelerated classes drummed in the vocabulary, but not in my classes. Over the years, my feelings of inadequacy surfaced and I study the dictionary, or highlight and look up words in the dictionary. Of course, it is a terrible way to learn and I don’t retain the info. I am sure it is all stems in part from some larger than life entanglement of emotions stemming from a childhood crisis or two and I definitely should have gotten over it by now. The manifestation was probably the “what if they knew “scenario that I have bounced around in my head forever. What if they knew that I am not a good football captain? What if they knew that I am not a good classroom teacher? What if they knew that I don’t know what to do as a principal? What if they knew that I really don’t know how to paint? What if they knew that I am not that smart? What if they knew? What if they knew?

Somewhere between “so what if they know” and “you’re being ridiculous”, my answers lie. More than likely I am just trying to anticipate and structure my upcoming retirement. I want that time to be new and exciting … a time of learning and doing and going and seeing. I want it to be about what I can so - not what I cannot do?

I believe that I have already laid the groundwork to make it some of it happen. I’ve been planning hikes in the area around Asheville for when we move and have at least three books on hiking trails in NC and SC. I have all kinds of ideas about traveling once I am not hampered by the school schedules. I have already gotten some reading materials on Kafka and plan to extend that to Dante and Nietzsche. My strategy is to increase my knowledge of art and have subscribed to a couple of art mags that I read cover-to-cover and more recently bought a program on the History of European Art with 48 lecture DVD’s to watch. I even consider my tai chi classes to be a part of my overall plan to live healthier and to learn.

That’s how I see retirement. Growing. Learning. Re-inventing myself. We’ll see!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reading 2012

Reading is not a passion for me. Rather, it is a goal. It is purposeful in that it fills in the gaps of many years of neglecting to read. This year, I chose selections by Edith Wharton, Zane Gray, H. Rider Haggard, George Eliot, Arthur Conan Doyle, Lawrence Sterne, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, P.D. James, Du Bois and Rudyard Kipling to fill some of those gaps. I try to read a lot of the classics (that I missed). I read Frankenstein, Les Miserable, Madame Bovary, The Invisible Man, Turn of the Screw, and Heart of Darkness. In areas that I am woefully weak (like poetry), I chose collections by Poe, William Blake, Keats, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Browning, and anthologies of African American poetry. I like to read as background for the things I do … before I traveled for example, I read tons of travel guides. To top the year off, I threw in a book on child abuse, The Book of Job and the Gettysburg Address. I like to think, not so much that I am improving my mind … instead I am distracting it from dangerously random thoughts!

A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson - re Appalachian Trail

The Man Who Would Be King - Kipling

The Souls of Black Folk - Du Bois

Kipling Stories All Children Should Know -Kipling

Gettysburg Address - Lincoln

Edgar Alan Poes' Complete Poetical Works - Poe

Death Comes to Pemberly - P D James

The Book of American Negro Poetry

Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

The Importance of Being Ernest - Oscar Wilde

Amsterdam Travel guides

World's Best Poetry - Sorrow and Consolation

Poems of William Blake - William Blake

The Book of Job - King James Version

Dracula - Bram Stoker

Kipling Stories and Poems - Rudyard Kipling

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy - Lawrence Sterne

Madame Bovary - Gustove Flaubert

Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving

Poems of Stanley Kunitz - Kunitz

The Invisible Man - H. G. Wells

The Lost World - Arthur Conan Doyle

Middlemarch - George Eliot

The Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee  - R.E. Lee

People of the Mist -  H. Rider Haggard

The Turn of the Screw - Henry James

The Dark, Dark House -Lynette Ferreira   re: child abuse

Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

Riders of the Purple Sage - Zane Grey

Nathan the Wise: A Dramatic Poem in Five Acts - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton