Thursday, May 21, 2015

short stories



to pass the time

Monday, May 18, 2015

it's that glorious time of year when the kids still have school but i don't - so, ideally, i should be able to publish or at least get serious work done. i did publish one, e pluribus haiku, volume of 1000 poems, more about that later, and and on the way to republishing my original volume of stories, unloading. in fact four or five projects are almost done and could be published soon if i get on the ball. the remaining ones, however, may take a little more work to actually complete.

wild and glorious weather here, often cool, with unpredictable cloud formations passing over, combining, creating weather at any of three or four layers that we can see from the ground. i occasionally go outside and notice that even here, in the middle of the city, the air is so clear and blue that i'd be a fool to remain inside, and should simply figure out how to do my writing or computer work, whatever, out on the porch. other times it's so unpredictable we are left in confusion about how to proceed. a baseball game, for example, requires a kid to be dressed and ready forty-five minutes before the game, but once an enormous boomer was coming through right about that time. as we got to the field we saw big lightning cracking off in the distance; the game was already cancelled. once they see it, it's all over, i guess. but what i really want is for games to be cancelled only on tuesday nights, when i play bluegrass.

the laundry has gotten bad again; i call it mount kilamanlaundry, and i try to climb the pile at least enough to begin washing some of it and get it back in the house in a semi-clean state. this, endless coffee, and createspace are my new routine.

the extra dog found a home. she was our third, and she kept nipping at the others, the two dogs and three cats, who already own the place. she was nervous, and would spend her nights with her nose to the bottom of the closet door, waiting for the cats to be so foolish as to stick their little cat paws under the door, as they so often used to do. they, however, were not falling for it. it would be a long and restless, nervous night for my wife, who would often hold on to her leash even in her sleep, as she sat there intently focused on that crack at the bottom of the door.

planning on going to tucson soon. my cousin is having one more memorial, and folks are gathering there. looks like i'll see at least two cousins, and their wives, and that will be good; haven't seen many of them in a long time. the trip to tucson goes right through las cruces, and gets very scenic as it goes past geronimo's caves. more about that later also.

Monday, May 11, 2015

new story:
I Call Shotgun
enjoy! comments welcome, as usual!

Sunday, May 03, 2015

poetry reading

Friday, May 01, 2015

part of the process of publicizing the new poetry book, e pluribus haiku 2015, involves going to all the weblogs and posting it. this year i have a poetry reading, and may publicize that as well, though i don't expect a whole lot of people to attend, outside of our own department and a few friends of friends who happen to teach and/or study italian, portuguese, german, spanish or french. these folks might be interested in haiku, and might be interested in american geography. chances are, they might be interested just to hear good performance poetry that combines the two, and if i'm lucky, i'll have a good time and learn some stuff.

absolutely stunning weather here, with clear blue skies, and cool nights, warm days, but for some reason, i've been feeling a sore back and walking like an ancient. my bones creak. my back hurts. i complain that this last third dog did it, but actually, just the totality of everything did it - four kids, three dogs, three cats, one with only one eye and huge sinus issues that makes you think she's about to die every minute. i'm glad i finally published the poetry edition (1000 haiku) because i've been working on it for years, to get it up to a thousand, and, though i envision working on / changing it every year to get a few hundred more, sometimes i just freeze up for months at a time and write absolutely nothing, and this could last for years, for all i know, which means that if i can possibly put forward a volume with a thousand, as i just did, this will be about the best i can do for a while, and hopefully will stand tall as something i did. while i was putting it together i noticed that the page, tlevs press, had over five thousand hits. Where'd that come from? apparently google just rates it high, as having stories, being genuine, sticking around for a while. i have a kind of stability. i don't know if it will translate to sales; i certainly hope so. and who knows what my own individual, personal, put-a-link-on-every-webpage marketing strategy will amount to.

with my sore back i just went to buy a gallon of milk and came straight home. but the town was hopping. it's almost time for finals, but people don't care about finals. they're out in force tonight: the weather's good, finals are three days away yet, they are afraid of being gone and/or working all summer, in short, it's time to get rowdy while one can, quickly, i suspect. meanwhile we've sold our house over a little closer to campus, and we have to do some serious moving, amongst the peaceful houses in this neighborhood, all six blocks, all that junk i was working on but unable to finish moving. some of it is supplies, camping supplies, other is just plain junk. maybe my back hurts because i'm still thinking about it.

the night settles on the wide west texas prairie. a kid is sleeping over in my son's room; they couldn't keep quiet, so i joined them. the girlies are down already. my wife, with the newest dog addition, is working on quieting down too. tomorrow is a soccer / baseball / groceries kind of day, but the weather will be beautiful, i'm sure, even though we're moving slowly but surely into the very hot season. not much dust this year. poetry reading coming. stay tuned!

e pluribus haiku 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015

clouds move dramatically on the horizon in every direction. sometimes they seem to be coming at you from every direction. what you don't want is for them to come at you from two directions, then get caught up in an updraft or some kind of violent result. sometimes it just opens up and pours on you; that happened a day or two ago, and it happened suddenly, in the middle of the morning, and by evening all the lawns were green and i had to get back to mowing. i'm mowing two houses, the one i used to live in, and the one i live in now, and when i get behind i feel like i need a scythe instead of the pushmower i've been using. but i have to mow in between the rains.

out on my walk, i go five times around the park, and sometimes i see these cloud movements above me. they come from the north, or the west, or the south, whatever. it's late at night so i can't always tell exactly what's happening. sometimes there is lightning way out in the distance as a storm rolls across the plains outside of town. helicopters take off and land as they always do; the park is near the two hospitals. police sirens happen in the distance; it's a busy city, around ten or eleven at night.

but last night, there was a fairly clear sky, and a large group of people having some kind of party on the sheltered side of the park, where there isn't a lot of car traffic, and one can sit out in the grass and see the sky. as i walked past them the first time i tried to figure out if it was some kind of reunion. they had a table and a bunch of drinks and ice, and everyone was talking away. it was a cool, clear night, and i have to say one thing, it's been a beautiful spring - even though you have this wild cloud movement, at least it's clear and fresh. the fourth time around they were beginning to clear out and go home; it was past eleven. but the fifth time, i saw a telescope - turns out they were looking at the sky. what they were trying to see, i have no idea. the perseids? something like that was coming through.

frustrating times on the baseball field; the pirates can't catch a break. my son strikes out with the best of them, and some people get mad at either the ump or the coach, each of whom is partly responsible, i'm sure. some days i wonder if this enormous sky show is going to catch up with us before the game is over; one day, it caught up with us, right as the game was over. mostly, people play as if it wasn't going to rain, and, mostly it doesn't. in west texas you have thousands of square miles for just a few thunderstorms, and we've had more than our share already, so much so that the dust is really quite minimal this spring, and green stuff is spouting everywhere. in my own yard, i'm not sure if i know ragweed when i see it, but all kinds of stuff is growing, and most of it is not good, just in the weed kind of way, and if it is ragweed, i really want it out of there.

the band is coming down to its last days; one of the guitar players, the police chief, is retiring and moving to georgia; another is getting quite old, and having trouble tuning the guitar. he also might be having trouble with the rhythm; that's a little harder to discern. in the rhythm department, it actually could be me, though i try my best and usually get close. the banjo picker, best banjo picker this side of the panama canal, i like to say, is having surgery soon. hard times coming; i might ship out and see what else i can find. too bad, though, i love these guys like i've loved no other musical arrangement. they play hot, and fast, and harmonic, and they sing in tune. you can't get much better.

then, out on quaker avenue, my wife saved a dog the other day. it was hollowed out, scarred, starving, flea-ridden, but it was a white shepherd, quite beautiful, and it's sweet. it's settled in with our other dogs, though it's quite sensitive, and we call her snow. at first i objected; i've said from the start that two is enough, three too many, but i was outvoted, and i let it go, i can't send some beautiful white dog off to certain doom. i still advocate for finding a loving owner, namely maybe my sister, or someone who really needs a dog; we certainly don't. or maybe some of us do, i'm not sure. in any case she needs us, at least for the moment. pictures coming. she has a black lab for a sister, and a chih-weenie for a brother, but she is focused on loving us, and getting some food, for the moment, and after she eats, she'll be quite beautiful. she has something in her, besides german shepherd, something tall and thin, but she has those shepherd ears, pointing straight up. and she defends the children with a ferocity that is quite touching.

sometimes i'm out driving, and sky does its swirling thing; you can see that things are happening up there, and they are rearranging themselves and fixing to move. life as a pilot would be very interesting, and you know this because you can see many layers, just looking up at any given moment, and you can know that it would be a wild show on all of every layer, all the way up. in fact, when you come down into our airport, you come down through layers of sky that are quite dramatic and amazing. and if the sun happens to be coming up or down, even more so. it's a never-ending show, dramatic and constantly unfolding, and it's made for high drama all spring. keeps me on my feet, i might say.

Monday, April 20, 2015

highway 61 revisited

in about an hour i turn sixty-one, so i'm revisiting old classics - the dylan album, the allman brothers doing "highway 61 revisited," other highway songs. i was thinking of revisiting that old road outside of iowa city, but it turns out that one isn't sixty-one, and maybe never was, as sixty-one goes up the river over toward maquoketa, and in iowa at least, i wasn't all that familiar with it. the sixty-one i knew best, i caught up with going south out of iowa city, down across the quarter-bridge at st. francisville, south into missouri where i caught up to sixty-one, and took it down through hannibal and down into st. louis. the other sixty-one i'm familiar with, same one really, is the one that goes north from duluth, through two harbors, and up into the split rock lighthouse (which is now the symbol of this page and the press)...up there, one is on the north side of lake superior, and looks back over into the continental united states, and that lake seems so cold, so blue, i can feel it now.

when dylan wanted to name his album "highway 61 revisited," he got lots of flak from everyone around him, but he used his muscle with the recording people, and they eventually let him do it. his idea was that the delta blues from highway sixty-one, down in mississippi, where robert johnson allegedly sold his soul, were at the root of his blues, and he wanted the world to know it. dylan apparently would take highway sixty one, in the old days, from northern minnesota down to new orleans, and had more than one story about getting caught up along the way. interstates weren't as ubiquitous those days; taking a two-lane along the river made a lot of sense, was perhaps the fastest way. there's no telling how much of the two-lane he really knew well; i have no idea when exactly he was even on the road. but it's not hard to imagine him on the same road i was. he sings about missouri, and about new orleans, and about the darkness and the endlessness of the road. lots of road to revisit.

these days i watch a lot of baseball; my son plays on the pirates, who often lose, and even lost big ones against the phillies and indians recently. knowing that i loved the indians more than anything, he asked if i would be for the indians or for the pirates. of course my loyalty lies with him and his team, and i told him so. the images are good in this league - the kids dress up like the pros, with pro uniforms, pro hats, etc. it's high class baseball at its best. the whole thing reminds me of being a kid - when everyone wanted to be a pirate, as we lived in pittsburgh - how i insisted on being an indian - how our little team won it all - this was the high point of my experience in little league, but i played literally days and days of baseball, out in a field, behind our house, and a place technically owned by an orphanage. if one hit it far enough, it went into the woods, or, if foul, down into a series of parking lots. it's impossible to recreate the kind of fun i had with baseball, to give my kid that kind of experience, though i know it can be had in some places, somehow. our present little league isn't quite doing it, but he's still touched by it, i think. he says he wants to play baseball from now on.

my band will play on my birthday, just the usual jam session, two hours in the back room of the coffee shop, pure bluegrass, the best in town. i play the blues, alone here at home, because that's what i don't play when i'm out, for the most part, though they do play highway forty blues, which, in my mind, is another missouri song. these songs all revisit highways for me; sometimes i just hear an old radio in a beater on an old country road, but i'm still revisiting a highway. i love the band; sometimes i even say so, but we won't be together forever; one member is retiring and moving to georgia soon. i fantasize about where i'd go next - blues maybe? i've always loved blues, and could just as easily play with any band that was as easy to get along with as these guys.

i've decided to take "revisiting highways" as a year-long project. my day, tomorrow, is totally full, until the gig, at which time i'll bust forth with that fiddle and let out the stress of two meetings, a class, and a couple of writing-lab shifts. life goes on, birthday or not, one has to do one's job; i will, however, as i always do, refuse to let anything bother me. that's my right, i figure, on my birthday of all days, and that's a useful attitude to take into a meeting. i've found this exercise - of not letting things get to me - a good thing to cultivate and practice. there's plenty of time to revisit highways. the time, the pressure, the end of the semester - this is what's happening now.

my son found the old 1995 world series, with the indians, a game which they may have won. this is what we do, sometimes, when we're just relaxing, before bed. sometimes it seems like he's into baseball to please me, says his mom - other times, it seems like he takes this knowledge of baseball, and uses it among his friends, hating yankees, for example. though i must point out, hating yankees had a different meaning, back when i was growing up, than it does down here. i point out that, on a pure level, hating a baseball team is not the same as hating people, and just means you want them to lose, no matter what team they are playing. but i do notice that in all the little league leagues, there are no yankees. there are several pirate teams, at least one indian team, but no yankees.

listening to the old classics - dylan, grateful dead, allman brothers. various versions of "highway 61," or songs that were on it. but i'm laying low; i won't put these on my facebook. i'll ruminate, sing them in my head. then, at the coffee shop, i'll let fly. to a new year!

Sunday, April 05, 2015

easter day i've spent transplanting holly bushes and very little else; i was overcome by a kind of tiredness brought on by getting enough sleep, two nights in a row, for the first time ever. last night i was having pretty wild dreams, and it made me tired to jar myself awake and return to the world we know as reality. fortunately the egg dying and egg hunts went off pretty well. the kids filled themselves with candy and ran off to do kid things, and left me to my holly bushes.

i had to put the holly bushes to the side, because my wife planted two big salmon-yuccas at the front door entrance. i call them salmon-yuccas because of their color, but there is a lot of sun there at the front door, and the hollies i could tell weren't incredibly happy anyway. now that they're virtually in the shade they can spout their red berries and thorns and just relax a little, since they don't have to guard the doors. one always hopes these things will survive a transplant, but one never knows.

all the other stuff going on, and i've more or less taken a break. i'm almost done writing about half-dozen things, but all are stalled in their own way. i was going to renew my tlevs press page, but it too looks overwhelming to me, and i'm out of ideas except that it needs some change. and finally, there's insulating the garage and growing a garden, but although i did some insulating over the weekend, and have actually made some progress, i still have a long way to go and can't really move the last of the stuff over from the old house until i have a little more room in the garage.

now that you've made it this far, and read patiently about the boring stuff in my life, i'll share some of the wilder stuff, that we're still in many ways recovering from. there was a student maybe two years ago who made some threats, e-mail, obscure, just under the radar - it was hard to pin him down exactly but when he made an e-mail threat to my wife, chair of the department, and it included her kids and family, i took notice and did research. the guy was not on the web in any form, and i could not find out what he looked like. she and the police were pretty sure he was behind the threats, but that was based on his choice of recipient - he was the one who had all these people in common, and had in turn creeped each one out. but they couldn't prove the e-mails had come from him, and he denied it. finally in a confrontation involving some of his accusers, him, and the police, he agreed to leave school while he was allowed to graduate and finish his course without coming on campus, and he did; he went back to houston.

the local police were alerted to the fact that he had come back up to town from houston and might look to be causing trouble. his phone pinged from our neighborhood, but fortunately, we had moved, and anyone who was around didn't necessarily know our new address, even though we were only six blocks away. my wife actually went over to the old house twice on thursday, but we can assume they didn't cross paths, or, if they did, that he didn't take the opportunity. we can assume either that he had it out for everyone, in coming up here, or just wanted to visit; he was being called up in a hearing in houston and had simply skipped out. but as the police were checking up on our whereabouts and condition they received a call that he was dead. now we can guess that it was a suicide, but i've spent the weekend checking the news for a report, to no avail. if he killed himself on thursday the local media were left clueless, and that could be a habit for suicides, but i would have thought they'd say something.

in fact the guy is now thoroughly cleansed from the media; there's no mention of him whatsoever. it's as if he never existed, and i find that kind of creepy, because i'm pretty sure, based on what i know, that he did exist. we were left relieved and without even ever being aware we were in danger, as we'd more or less forgotten about him for a while, until some detectives knocked on our door. i recognized the name right away. but the minute they mentioned it, they also mentioned that they were pretty sure he was not longer a problem for us.

the picture i get from my wife is that of a kid who never figured out how to connect successfully with the people he liked, or even the ones he didn't; he'd sent threats in various places, and had creeped out a whole variety of people. he complained that two girls in his class were bugging him, but he sat in the front row and they ended up in the chair's office complaining that he was bugging them. various people reported that he was a problem; the police had followed him around for a while. yet he had never really followed through on his threats; he hadn't hurt anyone as far as we knew. and when he did, his victim was himself.

the question remains of why there would be a media blackout. i find myself more educated about the pool of random crimes in this city over the weekend, and also about the passel of people who just happened to have died, here and in houston, since about thursday. but his name comes up zeroes in every search. he's not in there. if he died, the world is clueless. and who knows about his parents? did they never find out? or come up and identify the body? is that perhaps the holdup?

it got warm again today, after a little respite in which it actually rained a bit, we had a storm, and it cooled off for perhaps a day. good time to transplant holly, but april in texas often brings up serious wind, shift toward warm and dry, and an intense sun one can only hide from in the days. my mother has found that she has melanoma, and though she is old enough that it's not a crushing blow, the warning has been sent to all of us, with our scottish blood and skin issues - protect thyself, it's a cruel sun. she got it, she thinks, from detassling as a teenager. i mention that to people around here, and they don't recognize it, but they all know melanoma. texas sun is hard on us white folks who settle down here, and spend whole summers out by the pool. as we got to the middle of the day, i shrank back inside and rested some more. i think you have to give yourself some space to get over the traumatic things in your life, like for example being saved by the simple circumstance of having moved randomly, and not left a forwarding address. we have no idea, of course, that this exactly saved our lives; perhaps it was only a coincidence. but the phone pinging in our neighborhood is still an image that sticks with me, as for example some of the great horror movies, before cell phones, like "i know who you are and i saw what you did," early version, which left us on the edge of our seats and gave us nightmares for months. some of those nightmares, i think i just got again, though they took a very strange form and totally disoriented me before i even had a chance to wake up. and now, i can't help thinking about the kid, and a life of being totally alone, friendless, no tools to make and keep friends, and in fact only one well-honed tool, that of eliminating oneself entirely from the internet.

Monday, March 30, 2015

oh canada

sometimes, when i go to canada, i ask people about what it’s like to be right next to such an enormous country, the usa, with all its wars and involvement around the world. This time, it didn’t come up. I did talk to a few canadians in toronto, and some were, at one point, singing a cowboy song, and i almost told them i was from texas – I wasn’t sure how they’d respond. people were friendly to a fault, especially when I was lost. on my way home, i was in the wrong terminal in the airport, and a shuttle driver, seeing my dilemma, said, "wrong terminal? buggers, eh?" which made my whole trip, but he gave me a ride to the right one, and i got there just in time. i slipped through customs and security in a hurry, without even the time to suffer from it.

the convention center was sandwiched between the baseball stadium and the hockey arena, and the whole line of them blocked the city from the lake itself, which, as the pilot pointed out, was not frozen over. it was an in-between time of year; definitely spring in the south, but still below freezing up here, and lots of people had had enough, it being a very long winter, and they were ready for the cold to let up. i kept getting lost down there, and at night i was looking for the convention center, in the cold, and stumbled upon a hockey game the first time. the leafs were playing florida, of all teams, and people had come from far and wide, wearing maple leaf shirts, big and wide and blue, to see the game. outside the arena, a large screen showed the game, and i watched for a while. some people had come from far and wide just to be there, and for whatever reason, having spent their money perhaps, were stuck outside the arena, in the cold, watching the game.

several things happened at the conference that were important to me; first, I connected with friends that i’ve had for years, people I've taught with, people with similar interests. i saw a guy I taught with in korea, in around 1986. i went to a reunion of the university I taught at for eighteen years; about a dozen people attended. i gave my own presentation, which was about technological influence on people's writing and learning. And finally I got a bit of a break, from a wild family; I came back to my old stomping grounds, where they were not surprised by snow in late march, and where the grim dirt on the bus windows prevented you from really seeing the traffic, or the scenery, or the lake off in the distance.

at the convention several international people were in a jam. some were from yemen, and had found that the airport was closed, taken over by rebels, after they left. They were not sure they could get home. another friend was in the museum in tunis right before it was attacked; she was a bit shaken by the experience, but was nevertheless packing up and going to bangladesh soon. one friend worked in qatar, and wanted another different job in the same region. one more friend, a computer tech friend from argentina, said things were bad there and in brazil; argentina might go the way of venezuela, she said, and that would be terrible. people shared their experiences, and we heard stories. this crowd was relatively fearless; canada's passport requirement didn't phase them; they were willing to consider most isolated posts.

now, i've made it back to new york, and i'm at gate D10 in laguardia, which happens to look out at a constant stream of planes landing and taking off, every twenty or thirty seconds or so. big giant jetliners are taking off and landing, while the snow swirls around but doesn't collect, and sometimes dies down, and there are smokestacks on the sound over in one direction, and manhattan off in another. back in the usa, i'm not afraid to use my phone anymore, and there's all kinds of stuff on it. I'm laid over for a while, trying to get back to texas. i can see why texans like to get out of this gray, bleak, dark late march. i had met one woman from vermont and i'd told her I was jealous, I thought she lived in one of the prettiest places there was. she lit into me with a litany of complaint; it was a long, hard winter, went forever, way too much snow, miserable. going to toronto hadn't made anything better for her.

i had to admit, it wasn't a break in the weather for anyone but me. in texas, it's already hot and sunny, warm all the time, spring full-on blooming and things about as green as they’re going to get. Some people complained bitterly about the cold in toronto; it was about 25, and it was windy, and a hard wind came off the lake all the time. This I already knew about toronto. my hotel was about two miles from the convention, and it was a hard two miles, partly because suit-jackets don't really make it possible to really make yourself warm, especially if you are like i am, live in a warm clime and rely on layers in cold times. but i was ok with it. it was a lot of very cold walking, and i slept well at night.

american airlines doesn’t let me get on an earlier flight unless i'm a “preferred” customer, or have miles, or some such, so it looks like i'll be at this window watching planes for a while. they seem to mix in take-offs and landings, but they keep them coming, every twenty or thirty seconds, a new one. a family comes with a precocious daughter; they provide my entertainment, along with the snow and the constant planes. eventually, the snow dies away.

the image of the hockey game sticks with me. the first time i arrived there, a guy was eager to sell me a ticket, maybe eighty, hundred bucks. i was dazed; i didn’t even know where i was. ticket for what, I asked. he couldn’t believe it, and didn’t have time to waste explaining. the scalpers buy up tickets cheaply, and turn them over the best they can. people were hanging around the open area around the arena. the second time, coming back home, i was at the hockey game again, and this time it was already a period or two into the game. on impulse i asked the scalper how much he wanted and with excitement he called out to his friends. the scalper mentioned $40 as a price for a single ticket, after the game had already started; i probably could have gotten it for less with a little haggling. it was cold, below 30, and there were traces of snow in the air. i kept on walking, deciding i was not quite prepared for the full force of a hockey game.

several people were standing around, part of the scalper community, apparently, or trying to get money out of a ticket or two, so they could go get something to drink. One guy in particular caught my attention. he was an older native american guy, a little drunk maybe, transfixed by the situation, with the wide screen television up in the square and people standing around trying to gather up the resources to get into the game; maybe some people wait for the main scalpers to admit they aren’t going to sell the last of the tickets; at that point, everyone gets in free.

in any case, it seemed like this guy didn’t quite believe he was in downtown toronto. it seems to be the main city of the whole country; it attracts people who are uprooted, who don’t know where else to go. but the hockey game seems to have a special role to the canadians. it was clearly an important event.

out on yonge street some kids just sat on the sidewalk, even in the cold, nowhere else to go. there were lots of panhandlers, a whole community of them, people who had come from far and wide just to be in the times square of Toronto.

at the convention, i asked people what they thought of canada. one friend said it was much like europe, with lots of european brands that you can’t get in the us; she obviously is a shopper. another said she couldn’t take the cold; it was cold enough this winter, and she just wanted it to be over. one guy was canadian, and said it was a brutal winter in most of canada. i asked him what they’d done to the money; instead of the loonies and toonies of yore, they had money with this kind of glassy aluminum on it. This too, he said, came from europe, and don’t put it in the dryer. You can still get loonies and toonies out in the boonies, he said.

one woman said that her mother was canadian, so it was like coming home for her. where she lived, it was all hockey, all the leafs and the habs. habs, I said? This was the montreal canadiens; it attracted the french, the catholics, the quebecois, even in ontario. It was big, the rivalry between leafs and the habs. it's like the raiders and the longhorns. but it’s hockey.

the leafs lost, apparently, and i find that ironic, because we’re talking about florida here. florida can beat the Leafs? There is some imbalance here, an imbalance in quality homegrown players not playing for their favorite team, but going where the money is? I don’t know how it happened.

Somewhere where I was, the television was on an endless loop. It started with a couple of hockey players starting a fight. Now hockey fights are pretty common, and people see them coming, and usually are pretty quick to get between two combatants and pull them apart, even though everyone is on skates and it can get a little dicey. But in this loop, it’s not clear that anyone ever breaks it up. In fact, just as people are about to break it up, the loop does an odd twist and goes back to the beginning without the viewer realizing that. And it’s as if the onlookers have backed off and the two are about to start up at it again. So as the loop comes around its fourth or fifth time, it seems as if these guys have been going at it forever. Where are the lost teeth? Where’s the blood? The television just kept looping.

But hockey was on television in every restaurant, every hotel, everywhere. It was a passion, clearly. It was how a Canadian got through late March, when it was still snowing, apparently.

The airlines wants my bag. They’re getting tired of bags not fitting in the overheads. Everyone wants to carry as much as possible on the plane, and the plane can’t hold it all. Bags are too stuffed, and people are all right up against the measurements of what is permissible. That’s true for me as well. I didn’t want to check any of it; I wanted it right next to me. Didn’t want to pay. I knew we’d be crowded and didn’t care. In the end, I let them check it for free. I was in Group 3, so there was no way I’d get it overhead. So now I’m alone with my computer, and we’re hdigh above the Appalachians somewhere. The sharp opaque clouds have let up, and the sun is reaching the ground below in a kind of haze.

I have a little peace. I am ready for Texas again. I got my winter fix; I got a good brisk walk or two. I heard a lot of languages; I talked to people from all over. I connected with my buddies in the tech world; I breathed some northern winter. And I watched a lot of hockey on television.
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#noaccident

the #noaccident people have stepped up their campaign. i guess they believe that anytime you leave a loaded gun around unattended kids, you don’t have a right to say that what follows is an accident. some adult was irresponsible in the same way that, say, drunken drivers who kill innocent victims are responsible.

but nobody could possibly be harder on the irresponsible parents who have let that happen, than the parents themselves. i think it would shatter your life, and turn it inside out, if you lost one of your children to one of these "accidents," and frankly, it doesn’t help even when the community gets behind you and affirms that it all was a tragic "accident."

there’s a guy in our community who this happened to, and my heart goes out to him, because i’ve had two sets of boys four years apart, and this is any parent's worst nightmare. he left a gun loaded, in the reach of his kids, at a hunting cabin? it’s scary. i was at a little league opening ceremony recently, and they were giving over a stadium that was named for this parent, and making sure it was named for his son instead, as per his request. but he had to appear in public to do even that. i'm sure it wasn’t easy.

there is no way he can go back and relive that experience, go back and do it right. what’s done is done; the older son has to live with himself too. the #noaccident people got a lot of free advertising. the community itself, which supports gun rights pretty strongly, got united around the idea of "accident." They were even willing to let him get up on stage, and accept an award; he had unquestionably done some good things for the league itself. but he looked like a broken man; he limped. i know it wasn’t easy for him to get in front of his old crowd.

here, people get united behind the idea that there’s a heaven, and all good saved people will go there. i’m not sure, so i stay out of it, but if you really have to go one way or the other, there are a lot of things to consider. a kid, who was probably ten, will surely go there; he hasn’t done enough damage to go the other way. but what about the dad? or me? neither of us is an angel. and then, if everyone goes different ways, is that just the way it is, you remain divided forever? i have trouble with a concept that, in this case, would keep this guy away from his kid for an eternity. and i believe that good people sometimes do bad things, or, are not being responsible to truly cover the kinds of hazards we have in the modern world. the whole thing is so personal, i can barely write about it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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