2013

Living - and already savoring - the Adventures across the backroads of western Idaho and eastern Oregon!

30 November 2011

Stillness (a poem)

Trees fall


startling all


with a cacophony


unremarked.


Colors shift


so swift


And the toy lies


unloved.


Emotions lie


smiles shy


in a tender wasteland


unrequited.


Nonetheless …


Shift, lift


share, care


the tease of hope


resumed.

23 November 2011

The Passing of the greatest Dragonrider of them all

I'm sad to report that Anne McCaffrey, the famed sci fi writer who broke ground for female sci fi writers, and brought new light on the abilities of supposedly disabled people ("The Ship who Sang") passed away yesterday. I read her earlier stuff while I was in college and it was amazing to picture such drama and passion on a planet so far away.

If you've never heard of the book series "The Dragonriders of Pern," get on over to Amazon or fire up your Kindle - you will not be disappointed by this legendary series of adventures.

Here's a blurb about her passing:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/anne-mccaffrey-sci-fi-author-of-pern-series-is-dead/2011/11/23/gIQA1WiFoN_blog.html?hpid=z4

22 November 2011

Drip (a poem) (by someone else!)

Here's something I stumbled onto from my new fav feed -- www.everydaypoets.com

It's a superb example of why I love this website. I encourage you to sign up for their daily feed:

Drip, by Karen Jones

http://www.everydaypoets.com/drip-by-karen-jones/


Rain traced


a perfect heart


on my window,


filled it in,


drop by drop,


while night


dripped on into


morning.



As always,


you were lacking


the vital beat.








Karen Jones is from Glasgow. Her prose has appeared in several magazines, anthologies and ezines. She was short-listed for the 2007 Asham Award and won third prize in the Mslexia short story competition 2010. Stories will soon appear in Spilling Ink and In the Company of Women. She rarely writes poetry as she already has a well-developed case of OCD.






21 November 2011

Shortcomings

There are so many infrastructural flaws in our world. Forget the thousand dollar toilet story. I’m talking about the more mundane.


Ever push a door and wonder why it’s awkward? I’ll guess it’s a matter of the force applied is mostly lost as you teeter the door at some odd angle left- or right-ward.


Bus stop shelters. I was in one this wet morning and it held six folks. Just six. When it easily could hold 15 if the designers had thought to pull in row rails or something for those folks obsessed with their spot in the line.


Commuter rush hours. Why? It’s in large part due to zoning, co-locating businesses in an area and dwellings elsewhere. Helps the restauranteurs but not us slogging Joes.


No kitchens in many workplaces vex me because we’re pushing folks to wash dishes in a bathroom


{say it with me, folks: “Euuuuw!]


Indirectly, it wastes our time to fetch prepared foods not as healthy nor wholesome as homemade.


Lastly, let’s ponder busses. [“Yes” to the gallery, it’s my BFFtopic] In the well-meaning world of aiding those with disabilities, we don’t have double-decker busses. For the same footprint on the pavement, you’d get over 110 folks on a single conveyance.


Not easy fixes, even if you agree that anything is actually even broken. If I solved one of them, I wouldn’t need to even be on this bus anymore!


Au revoir, mes amies!

18 November 2011

Elocution and The Ear of Indian Corn

I’ve wondered, and been asked, just how an reasonably intelligent person like me can write one rambling wreck of a blog. This despite my well-known ability (at least at work) to put intelligent sentences together in to a paragraph.


Wow -- it’s all about me today - I’m Jones’ing now!


It’s simple, like dancing kernel-to-kernel across an ear of corn, preferably the multi-hued Indian corn that so confounds the eye. You pick a spot to start and, well, you start. It doesn’t matter where you start since it has no relationship or bearing on where you’ll end up. Kind of like the famous Hollywood game, ‘Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon,’ in which we all are related to Kevin at most seven times removed.


So, I skip-hop-dawdle-puddle hop-jump from topic to topic however I wish. At some point, I’m hit by time limits, common sense, aneurysm of the humor bone, or my keyboard’s refusal to type any more of my drivel.


BAM! The truth hurts, but some of my stuff confuses even me afterward. It’s a shame because my decoder ring should work retroactively, right? Hey, I hear laughter out in the gallery. Do you know something that I don’t?!


As revenge, I throw this (real) song quote at you as something that starts ordinarily and ends up on the dark side of some moon:


And the thing that you’re hearing


is the low spark of high-heeled boys.


Steve Winwood & Traffic

15 November 2011

Soft Colors that fade to Grey

Autumn is so vibrant a time of year. I’m reminded of that illusion when reading books like S.M. Stirling’s post-apocalyptic series, where autumn was a harsh time of rushing to buttress the enclaves against the Oregonian winter.


For us, it’s about colors, smells wafting beneath the limbs and feelings that touch on the eternity around us. I see what I see, touch the roughness of the leaves and realize those feelings color how I in turn see the world. If that makes any bit of sense, congratulations on your intuitive prowess.


That thought chain is kind of like listening to Bruce Springsteen, during a 2005 VH1 Storytellers gig, explain some of his songs, with his comments being written down at his kitchen table. Wow, just wow, sweet chariot of musicality, take me away. That guy has a heckuva mind and some horse sense too.


And why is it ‘fall’ instead of the more noble, the more ethereal, “autumn?” Can we do an 'Occupy The Royal Academy of Sciences' and get them to agree to purge our lexicon of “fall?” That word conveys faltering, sad endings and such. As my Opa, my grandfather, would say, “Quatsch!” (aka Rubbish, Bull-puckies).


As the leaves brilliantly tumble, we get back to the garden, espying a change around us that reminds winter is here, a season of starkness that relaxes me because there’s no fluff – the trees stand barren, telling their own story, and it all is what it is.

09 November 2011

The Waddling Matilda Waltz

It’s been a long time since I rock n’ rolled with pavement passion. You know, the cool pretense of jogging around a city and scoping the challenging blocks ahead. “You’re mine, baby!”



So it’s with humility that I say that a month ago I ran my furthest (non-stop) time in over ten years – 45 minutes at about a 11-12-minute pace. Sometimes faster, sometimes trudingly slower, but onward and onward I went. Especially when I got lost and took a left instead of a right back toward work. Oh well, I still found a highway underpass and just extended the run. Nice since just a few weeks ago I was capping runs at 30 minutes on purpose. But why be well-preserved later when today’s challenges need today’s vigor?



My Oma (German for grandmother) always said if you have your health then you can get on with life. Or something like that, lost in the muddled translation in my addled cortex. Whatever! She was right. But let’s see how this plays out when I try to get out of bed tomorrow. I mean, I already look like Humpty Dumpty, so maybe I’ll fall apart like Pinocchio (you know what, that name is FUN to type).



And, to the gentlemen in the audience I pose a question: bowties. Cool or not? Do they work for you? And just how does one tie it? [sigh] I figure out one thing and falter at the next step. Guess Mrs. TMM will continue to buy me the most awesome Jerry Garcia collection ties!



P.S. I wrote this last week and forgot to post it. So, last week, I hit 51 minutes. Not non-stop but it sure felt good…

01 November 2011

‘Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace’

Today marks the end of a heckuva crazy 120 days of the eldest Junior-TMM-son (aka Chris) living back at home with us. Having taken a breather between rental leases, he now goes off to the wilds of the Petworth neighborhood of NW DC.


I type with a heavy heart, thinking of him again dervishly spiraling out of our daily lives, but with pride and a smile at the adventures ahead. Everyone should have such a smart and damned good looking son (the latter attribute from my wife’s gene pool).


To you, my son, the blog’s title is my dedication to your success. It's a song by the group Big ‘n Rich that so well paints the inspirational intensity you bring us all…


From the father, the friend, the fellow traveler,


TMM

20 October 2011

About a Boy and his Toy

Are the stores closed?


Will the wind dream tonight?


Too many wonders, too much sorrow.


So walk on down .


Echoes of a wistful solo


may take flight as one's


angelic fury grips another twilight.


So walk on bye.


A rumble, a whisper and he's off.



Hoping not to listen,


to see, nor taste another roar


as heart’s crescendo pounds a beat.


So stop the ride.


Words – they mean, they wander,


trace, define and unravel


the wanderlust of this love.


So look to the west.


And catch the soft hope of dawn.

17 October 2011

Did it all begin with someone?

Where we start, and where we end, are often so close it’s scary. Many folks travel the globe, literally or intellectually during their careers, and long to retire near where they grew up. Used to think it odd but the older I get, the more sense it makes.


Me, I figure to end up back in diapers, bib and drooling. “Yeah, baby, groovy!” Poor Mrs. TMM, having to deal with THAT picture. The drooling has started already, though usually as involves a nice Victorian house on some tree’d and nicely sidewalk’d Small Town America setting. And the bib comes out during the feasts on the campouts I so enjoy! Diapers? Not yet, amigo.


I think back to my mother. It began with her, something I rue to think I don’t often enough remember AND act on it. I have the regular phone calls down, more or less, but that’s lame after 48-odd years. There’s the substance, the meaning, and I need to keep working on it. TMM cannot stand telephones, a problem when mama is hundreds of miles away in the land of Sun, Fun & Developer/Consumer/Ecosystem Mayhem (aka, Florida).


I think back too to my wife, my life partner in crime. It continued and bloomed with her, something I NEVER forget. That was easy, eh? Life is love, love is sharing, and onward we go into the sunshine.


That means today’s referenced song (paraphrased below) is an absolute no-brainer: ‘Cut Across, Shorty’ by Rod Stewart, circa 1969-ish:


Cut across, Shorty, cut across


That’s what Miss Lucy said


It’s you that I want to wed.


……


There was a smile upon his face,


because Lucy had fixed the race.


……


Cut across, Shorty, cut across


Oh Lord, it’s you I want to wed.

14 October 2011

Tumblin’ past the Stones in your Passway

(Note: "passway" is a word that appears to come from the 19th century Mississippi Delta Blues culture, meaning, yep, "path way.")


Ever have nothing useful to say when you talk to someone obviously in need? Someone who could use a kind word, help, hug or a thoughtfulness beyond the pithy motions of our usual day? That hit me twice the other day – no, three painful times – and I’m wondering why. I was in the moment, interacted and left each chat on a positive note, hopefully of help to the other person. That’s sooooo Jane Austen-ish, huh? But their problems/tragedies aren’t from a book, but painful realities that I only touch on.


I feel like I’m living a curse this week, that of an observer of life. It’s often easier to be in the thick of things, tackling the problems and just DOING. Instead, the watching, waiting and trying to help others can be tough, as you surely know. And life gives no quarter just because the going is tough.


TMM, like other typical guys, has taken deserved heat for trying to fix things that just shouldn’t/can’t be fixed. It’s often about listening. Yes, just listen. Don’t judge, don’t fix and definitely don’t read into things in life’s wide grey zone. Yes, just accept. As a father, as a friend, this can be the toughest damn thing I get to do.


To end today’s post also on a positive note, I reflect on a favorite comforting lyric when I encounter the troublesome ‘stones in my passway’:


I felt the coldness of my winter.


I curse the gloom that set upon us.


But I know that I love you so.


Robert Plant/Led Zeppelin

13 October 2011

Machinations and Mutilations of the English Language

Yeah, I’m guilty as self-charged today. My weird idea of a psuedo-poem follows below.



(Note: this goofiness is done in appreciation to the hours spent with Mssr. Jon Bon Jovi and due to my life as a dedicated bureaucrat!)



I drive all night to get to that gold


And I feel so wanted


dead or alive.


(not!)


My executive correspondence


could ring a chord


like a guitar lick.


(sigh)


But no matter what Congress


does, doesn’t, should, could or would,


we trudge toward our deadlines.


(rumination)


“Be stiff of upper lip,


scowl your discontent


and rearrange those pretty chairs!,”


my mates in the


Dance Band of the Titanic.

12 October 2011

A Whack Job

Yes, that’s what I almost became this morning, only 6 minutes into a 35-minute run. The ‘it’s all about me’ moron at the quiet residential intersection almost hit me WHILE I was jogging with-the-light. The aggravating part was that I was the second person on the crosswalk – and the other person hadn’t yet gotten to the curb!


More aggravating was the skid mark on the pavement … from a vehicle that a couple seconds earlier was completely stopped to make a left-hand turn. Marks. Three feet from my slow butt.


Maybe most aggravating was the letdown afterward – you ever have ‘buyer’s remorse’? I had ‘pissed -off jogger’s remorse’ due to what I said about the SUV-wielding gentlemen’s intelligence. He actually stopped and rolled down his window to try to blame me. That’s when I dragged his mother into the conversation. And threw in a nice suggestive gesture. Talk about an invite to a throw-down. I spent the next 29 minutes mulling over that I ain’t the smartest bulb in the box…


[sigh]


If you would like to accompany me on a jog, feel free! Or, if you have advice, feel free to educate TMM on the ways smarter people handle the world!

06 October 2011

Pilot of a Storm that leaves no Trace

That little hurricane, one soon passed and left us wiser but not wise enough. Why? Is Mother Gaia speaking to more than Al Gore? I dunno.


But I also don’t care. Ever tell your kids or friends that you don’t always get to pick and choose your fights? Here’s one for ya. DC weathers (bad pun, eh?) earthquake, a windy hurricane, a soggy flooder of a tropical storm -- and probably fires and the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse down the street.


Injury? Yes, nearly since my poor shed started getting flooded and I was two inches from a heckuva lot of work. Poor roof really could some TLC or just replace it, though it’s not but ten years old. Hey, maybe the shed could sink Texas-style into a nice pond and up our property values.


Then we have Congress again living us on the edge of a shutdown. You goofballs. “We are Most Premium workers in Most Excellent country!” (now a shout-out to Everything is Illuminated – a superb movie with Frodo Boy as a worthy lead).


Storms pass and so too shall these eddies in the slipstream of life and chaos…


P.S. Do you know the Horsemen (traditional version): Conquest, War, Famine & Death (Pestilence replaced Conquest in modern pop culture)

27 September 2011

Street Oddities, pokey Tuesday edition

Like Robert Plant said, “It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled.” TMM has been unusually busy-busy so focused on the ball, not the blog…



But Karen D’s wonderful news of her Sept. 12 engagement helped bring me back from my time of toil. That, and life constantly blowing down the ol’ stable door.



Anyway, the ‘Bus Oddities’ was so much fun that I thought to do likewise for the street life, my other home…



· Elevator etiquette is a subject of many a blog, article and probably even an Indie-published book. I’ll sidestep this odd box of human encounters and touch only on positioning. Why do some people basically HIDE in the $#*! thing? The door opens, you go to walk in, and belatedly someone steps into the entryway from behind the corner. Are they purposely lurking by the panel to make me jump outta my shoes?!


· Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, 2011: the HVAC guy loading his toys curbside into the trunk of his late-model Ford Mustang Cobra. You know, the thing with 500+ horsepower and a burble that knocks loose anything not tied down? He’s getting it done with style!


· The design of American towns perplexes me. Such a mishmash of architectural styles. Ever see the Tour de France? And notice the near-identical roofing colors and often fa├žade styles? I’m not advocating vanilla housing but it sure is easier on the eyeballs and kind of pretty too, at least in France, where they know a thing or two about architectural elegance.


· Tourista wandering about, half-lost and delirious with heat exhaustion, and looking like they’re enjoying themselves. Madness. Yeah, color me jaded or jealous. Tell you what: send me postage-paid to Paris and make me wander the walkways along the Seine. I’ll report back to you, and take self-pix, to see if I too have this happy look. What a sacrifice for science that will be.


· The tie-in to Bus Oddities that started this all: People boarding the commuter bus and looking happy about it. What?!?! Eating dirt would be better. But you’d have to be a bionic earthworm to convert that pastime into a conveyance homeward. That’s food for thought! [the keyboard made me type that bad joke, ok?!]

23 September 2011

Sky-tripping

(a sort-of poem sort of written as I mulled over being out of bed this cloudy morning)
Who am I to you?
Who are we to each other?
Love -- the mysterious way forward.
We got there quickly, passing by nowhere,
eyeing the edge of somewhere
and two-stepping through everywhere.
A few dawns have touched your eyes
and the wind still caresses your  hair.
yet you still make my life smile.

Our time is becoming overgrown
as we walk on the pebbles of years
and weave the ripples back into our own tune.

But it’s not to chance that we leave ourselves.
We sky-trip that light fantastic --
to what, we won’t know until we get there.

09 September 2011

Humility and Education with Eyes wide open

You may know that TMM considers himself decently smart. A DODDS kid (aka Army brat who went to Dept of Defense’s schools on military posts). And fairly savvy about the basics in life. Heck, I used to work in UNIX, Solaris and other fancy-schmancy operating systems. Not that I knew what I was doing some of the time...


So, gentle reader, how is it I – and our IT department – did not know that my laptop has a strip of lights above the keyboard that also function as buttons?!?! After nine months and several wireless problems, I finally realize the wireless light turns from orange to blue when that button is touched. I must have touched it when wiping the keypad clean. And turned off my wireless card! I now resolve to live less cleanly.


[argh]


There are other little laptop buttons whose functions are beyond me. A touch and they flash, but nothing (apparently) happens. I think there’s a little electronic troll inside my laptop, one who hungers for electronic hobbit toes but settles for causing mayhem the next time I hook to office’s Intranet. He’s laughing now at me.


But I’ll get my revenge. I’ll keep pushing the buttons until something happens. I’m not beyond punishing myself! Go ahead, push all your own buttons too on ALL your electronic devices! We’ll get back at all this IT – because soon some won’t work and that will teach them.


It’s great to act childish on a Friday afternoon. Keeps me grounded…

26 August 2011

Mankini?

Oxford’s Concise English Dictionary soon will feature this word. A single body suit for men. I don’t even know where to begin with this one ...


Maybe it’s a good thing – it's the great equalizer at the beach. I mean, we’d look equally silly no matter the spec’s of the donuts we often carry around. Or fuller tires for some. This topic reminds me of why it sounds so much simpler to accept being heavier, if you’re healthy and it’s your lifestyle and eating habits that bring it on. All that time spent worrying about calories and transmogrified cholesterol counts. I'd rather savor my Krispy Kremes!


Hey, how about we have these mankini’s at work? Women, you do what you feel like but us guys are gonna start one-piecing our way around the shop, wearing flip-flops and neat ties that clip onto the suit. It would put our bosses in a whole new light, and we’d focus on results and outcomes instead of persona and accessories.


Wonder what my best colors would be? And what would my wife say about her man in spandex? After she picks herself off the floor, rolling with laughter? Hmm, maybe this isn’t such a great idea.


25 August 2011

Of Phish and Fishing

Phish is that eponymous 90’s band that tinkles out some merry mellow tunes for those who missed the Grateful Dead in their heyday. My iPod stumbled onto their album Round Room when our family vacationed in the Catskills this month. Phish’ing in a hammock…


Amazingly, we did not fish once in six days. The shame I bring on my family, myself and my tackle box.


And there was no cyber-phishing either since we were without laptop or even cell tower coverage.


Why is that important? It’s not. But I’m happy to be wrong since it proves you don’t need lots of toys and distractions since they inherently distract one from what’s right in front of you.


No square room to box in my expectations. Instead, for example, a nice lake in a wooded valley whose ridgeline offered a brutal 2.5-hour hike, one I’d happily take again.


Campfires during the daytime (such boldness!). Eating when we felt like it. Wandering down by the brook. Tasting raindrops. Kayaking whenever the mood struck and the lightning did not. It’s all good.


23 August 2011

I need a Manager

Any takers? I just had an epiphany that a manager, someone of sound mind, could steer me right. Yes, I’m married but I happen to love her and wouldn’t ask her to take this tricky one on.


“Why do you have newsfeeds on your work PC’s Internet Exploder Favorites bar? You always rail at the news for its cynicism, the negative slants and how they revel in people’s misery and publish their stupid remarks. Delete the links! Get back to work!”


· Maybe he/she/it could be some voice of purpose, my own Mini-Gepetto.



“My son, you have not entered anything into your blog this week. What, is your mind so tied up in suspenses, deadlines and commitments that you have no time for others? BAH! You are weak. Shut up and type.”


· I could be directed in the right and righteous path in life, just imagine!



“You always plan, plan, plan but never do enough of what you think meaningful. Cut the chit-chat, focus and get on with it, Mr. Bingley!”


· Yes sir. I’ll drop my pink slip today. But, it will be harder to see your messages when I’m unemployed and without a laptop.



[Attribution~ I think Jane Austen was on to something but can’t quite grasp it, feeling like I’m blinded by the lights and sounds at the fair.]


22 August 2011

Oh Mr. Soul, it’s all about me, right?

Wrong, Mr. Human.


It’s about the others, the miasma of flesh called Humanity, those personalities that you love, like or detest. Or ignore, belittle and subconsciously judge.


Mr. Self-Righteous, do you feign indignation at the down-trodden, like that woman who’s bummed money for her kids outside Rosslyn Metro for at least 6 years, with the same signs and same wasted look about her?


Mr. Self-Absorbed, do you walk up to the cashier with the cell phone in head, ignoring common courtesies because you’re in the moment of an Important Conversation about the evening’s plans?


Mr. Technologically Empowered, what would your loved ones say when you’re whacked at the intersection because your Crackberry summoned you away from that somewhat important task of looking both ways, more than once, when crossing against the light since of course you’re in such a hurry?


Exactly, Mr. Human.


You get the point. It’s all about the others, those whom Reason, Conscience and Compassion compel us to include in the definition of “me.”


[TMM note: the other point here is that I ding myself constantly for these flaws. I'm just human too, living in the bubble that I make for myself, so let's join forces to collectively try harder.]


18 August 2011

Bus Oddities

That does it. No more fancy words wrapped in mumbo jumbo. TMM is getting whacked upside the head with the vagaries of a bus ride through DC, so let’s share some simple observations, on the rocks for full clarity:



· I see a woman step out of the elementary school and deposit a large black trash bag into the dumpster. Wait. She’s holding onto it, shaking it empty. Darn shame, think I, that the school district makes them reuse trash bags. Wait. She then tosses the now-empty bag anyway into the dumpster. Huh?!?!


· A banner outside a building’s construction zone: “Cleaners. Sorry your inconvenience. We open Regularly.” Odd English and definitely missing a word. So, what kind of professional businessman would let a client make such a mistake? Isn’t that a tad mean?


· The now-legendary DC rant of ‘Taxation without Representation’ that’s blazoned everywhere I turn around this town. Don’t they get my top-shelf tax rate of a meal tax? Room taxes? I must be missing something here, like a grip on fiscal reality. Would they spend the increased tax dollars any better than their joke of a City Council now does?!


· Lastly, on a less caustic note, I won’t count the road worksites where there are more plastic-hatted observers than folks working. There must be a logistical reason which explains why no one looks like they’re being inconvenienced nor in a hurry. I’m all for a living wage, and respect tradesmen and folks laboring in the harsh elements, so I again must be missing something here.



Thank you, gentle reader, for participating in v.1 of Oddities. I’m sure the pool of ideas is limitless and TMM’s four eyes surely will note more vagaries of metro DC…


17 August 2011

Quiet Cobblestones

Is there a wish to be living sixty years on


as I see my vintage prayers


fade before the Storm’s crescendo?



No, just walk me down to church on time,


in the rain coat I’ve earned,


a place where all colors become one.


Until them, I am the silent witness


the quizzical light in our world


filling a need for a sculptor


who turns out molds for others.



But deeper questions persist


like, is it blue or green,


that dreamscape in your eyes?



I leave vexing questions to others


and focus on the day, the need,


the trip home, to where you are.


15 August 2011

A fine Prospect down toward the City

A construction company is dancing an amazing pirouette – with dirt and mortar -- into momentous heights above DC’s Suitland Parkway. The hillside with its seedy buildings is being literally remodeled into, well, I don’t know what. What will spring up in time?


Picture swooping curves of masonry spiraling along the hill of dirt, with the top of the hill being some kind of chocolate topping of clean brown soil. There aren’t even any Big Boy Tonka Toys lying around to give it any sense of scale. So, it’s unfolding into the strangest thing I’ve seen in awhile.


Gentrification and renovation. It will be good to be the New Building, but how will the nearby Old Buildings feel? Has anyone asked? Too bad we can’t talk to brownstones. Their stories, like those of the noble Ents and mythical Entwives of Middle Earth, would have much to enlighten us.



10 August 2011

Writing outside the Slaughterhouse

Kurt Vonnegut was a guy noteworthy for writings deep with meaning, with his stories being very interesting along the way. I’m no book critic so won’t bore you with any recommendations. Instead, here’s a list of his meat-and-potatoes writing tips found in a college-level exposition on creative writing.


Mr. Vonnegut urges a writer to:


· Find a subject you care about


· Do not ramble, though


· Keep it simple


· Have the guts to cut


· Sound like yourself


· Say what you mean to say


· Pity the readers


· And, for really detailed advice, see The Elements of Style, by Strunk & White (1979)


Go figure – I’ve had that book in my office for years. This article reminds me to actually (a, hem) open that cherished book.

Interesting factoid: read up on Mr. Vonnegut on Wikipedia and you’ll quickly learn the story behind his book title, Slaughterhouse Five.

27 July 2011

Marrying the Tour to the Technology

I watched the Tour de France bumper-to-bumper, recording it each day so I could watch it each evening in fast-forward through the (very repetitive) slate of commercials. What an amazing three weeks. I now understand the fascination some people around the world, and millions in Europe, feel for cycling. The announcer today said half the people who sent feedback this year said they watch the race for the scenery and history!


Matching cycling with the DVR is fantastic. Rewind, forward, pause. What more does a guy need? Ah, I know. More sports ideas – Continental Racing League, college lacrosse and more. It won’t be football this season; the Bills are without this fan this year after I endured all that off-season posturing and money-grubbing…


And, I got to watch biking across the lowlands of France and up-and-down through the Pyrenees and Alps. Those guys chug uphill and then rip-roar downhill at 30 miles/hour. Fascinating strategies, both individual and team. Camaraderie and sportsmanship. Numerous historical call-outs among the varied countryside. Colors, sounds and folks dressed like lunatics alongside the road. Interviews with the teams to explain the high-tech stuff we’re seeing in action.


August 20th is the next big cycling event, followed August 27th by the US Pro Cycling Challenge in the western US. “Tune up your DVRs and get ready to rumble!”

26 July 2011

Kindle Me Away

I just started re-reading 2001, A Space Odyssey, by the incomparable Arthur C. Clarke. Then on to 2010, 2061 and of course 3001.


Four books and one glorious concept spanning the centuries of mankind’s possible future. I won’t ruin it for you by talking about the details, so suffice it to say Man meets Machine meets Higher Being meets Consciousness meets Himself.


I sure the other millions of readers have their own take, but I’ve read this saga twice and remain convinced it’s as simple an epiphany as you’ll ever read. Beats trying to figure out Carlos Castenada or Ayn Rand. Or some of that so-called poetry I abuse you with.


It’s time for another saga, Gentle Reader, so please suggest one to me - I'll compile any ideas I get and send them to everyone on my list. By the way, The Far Pavilions is due for a second reading so don't suggest that (though I highly recommend it!).

22 July 2011

Great Expectations, part 2

Part 2 .. My mulling-things-over is complete. For today.


The Within expectations, now they’re trickier. I have a midnight oil-burning friend, The Bull, who does the transcontinental travel like a rock star-live separately from family awhile-making it happen at work thing. He clearly succeeds because his expectations are great, with him sacrificing in the name of his family. I can’t gripe until I too have stepped up and rampaged through the china shop of expectations, smashing them with focus and energy.


Now, gentle reader, was that last phrase an analogy, simile or metaphor? Or just early AM goofiness? It’s a dorky question but I want you to walk away today at least a bit enlightened.

Expect, seek, achieve, reflect & celebrate…

21 July 2011

Great Expectations, part 1

We all have them, be they writing a guide at work, lofty goals for our children or the renovation results. Just where do that anticipation for excellence emanate? Within or without?


It’s the perpetual hamster wheel in my life that keeps me keeping on. Sometimes, at least for me, the challenge of a tough project, a whimsical blog post or of an eclectic trip itinerary is in the expectation that it be well-planned AND happen. Yeah, no slacking, unexpected hitch or bad weather allowed.


I’ve seen all good people


Turn their heads each day


Now satisfied, I’m on my way.


Yes, circa 1970


OK, why is TMM quoting the techno-rock wizardry of the band Yes? Ahh, because it’s my keyboard and because I can! No, it actually popped into me noggin because accepted expectations from without mean I in part am pleasing others.


The Without expectations are easier to understand because we all do it, I guess, and not with negative overtones. You surprise the office’s staff call with your wife’s yummy cupcakes. All is good and expectations rise. The work goes well and bosses expect ever more (esp. if you’re rewarded along the way!). You praise your children and they reciprocate with more of that good stuff. We smile and feel good. I’ll mull over the Within ones later on…

20 July 2011

Laughter at our Own Expense

I’m baa-ack. No blogs recently because, well, I didn’t feel like I had much to say. But after sitting in the bus for a complimentary extra half-hour, I am fully energized!


Go figure – a silly man in a little blue pickup decided to whip out of the parking garage at the Metro subway station and basically broadside a 50-foot bus (well, it was more of a sideswipe, thankfully).


Yes, we are a bus. White with red stripes. Long. With right of way. Long. So long that the right of way issue really doesn’t matter anyway. But it makes the bus driver feel better.


Nice thing is everyone laughed in relief, though the folks who waited in the mid-90’s heat for a couple more minutes for the next bus surely weren’t laughing as much.


Wonder what it feels like to be The Moron. Having 54 people ridiculing you from A/C comfort of the mushed bus. A long few minutes. Then the folks on the curb surely are talking loudly from 20 feet away. Then a long few minutes telling the cop what a Moron you are. Hope that never is me.


Is that Schadenfreude in reverse?! It was a weird/unproductive day at work, so I guess this is my workday version of a funny day - no one hurt and odd humor to boot. People crack me up...

09 June 2011

Greenfields of Unspoken Truth

Too bad we, as a society, don’t talk more about spirituality. No, not "religion," the simplistic guise some folks put onto how we process the infinite around us – Father God, Mother Nature, the Sun Tower, Mover and Changer, Jesus Christ our Savior, etc.


No matter how we look on spirituality, too often it’s alone. I love Bible studies but they limit one to a focused group discussion that can be fantastic but in the end is limiting. As an aside, I’ve found that the music like that of Yes or Steven Curtis Chapman can open the spirit to new ‘concepts,’ ones that I can’t easily set to words but that resonate with feelings across my little neurons.


I know my friend Joni, Keeper of the Love and Light, has gone further onward on this journey. Call it unorthodox or whatever, but the harsh truth is someday we won’t awaken. What then?! The purpose and truth then will be obvious but it may be too late to do anything about it, according to some religions. More for me to think about, but in a positive way since I’m comfortable in my walk with faith.


I leave you today with a simple thought – “What if? And, what now?”

08 June 2011

Living in the Spotlight with my Feet on the Ground

Ever look your loved one in the eye and see reflected someone so Big and Meaningful that you wonder how you ever could live up to that? I get a lot of that. No pressure. Hah! But that’s said with a smile and sense of befuddlement since I can’t be more than who I am. Now, I’m not saying some of us, Gentle Reader, aren’t just a bit squiggly around the edges and could use a good polishing job!


When you’re so damned in love like TMM, “moving on” means taking another step forward on the heart’s journey into yet another adventure. I like the ones that you jump recklessly into, or wander into with a sigh, that have no expectations or tangible end. Like taking walks with your partner and/or dog, moving someplace new, bathing cats (that have claws), starting a diet or exercise plan – you get my drift. albeit a drift with no particular known outcome until you’re done or get there.


That paragraph almost made sense... That is the good thing about blogging – you write what’s in your day’s mind, your life’s heart and in the heat of the moment. Ask and yea verily I will try to clarify any wacky paragraphs!


So, I return those looks I get with my feet on the ground and wax momentarily as the person that I (and our dogs ) hope that I can be.

07 June 2011

“I’m afraid that time has come and gone”

You recognize those words, ones from the movie Day after Tomorrow? It’s a rather bleak ‘between the lines’ nuanced thing, a harmless example of what our imaginations can inject into a sentence.


I find nuances so interesting, be they in words, the aftertaste of a homemade chili or the subtleties of a microbrew. That I could be a man of fewer words, more meaning and less mental wanderings. I’d certainly be more predictable, at least to myself. Wonder if any of you good readers feel predictable – and whether that’s reassuring or even uplifting.


That reminds me of greeting cards – all too predictable. I hear many stories in the cards but all too often they’re of the “Wah, I never call or visit you 364 days a year so this babbly card over-wrought with someone else’s drooling emotions should make you feel better today.” Give me a schnarfy break. We as a society ought to consider ending the pre-printed maudlin tale and write our own lines. It’s about our own situation, feelings and joys/regrets, not Ms. Hallmark’s emotion du jour.


Try what I do ~ go first to the blank card section. I find the best stuff there and usually can think of a sentence or two for the occasion. After seeing that my mother has a couple of the recent ‘blanks’ set up on a dresser, I’m happy with my M.O. Shop away, future word-smiths, and pull out those Pens of Meaning the next chance you get!

06 June 2011

Being the Master of “It’s all right, it’s OK”

I find candor amazing in how elegantly one can deliver a tough statement. I think some people are masters at it, just like you have Toastmasters who deliver well-crafted speeches and pastors who deliver powerful sermons. It starts in the heart and hopefully is filtered nicely by the mind before moving on to the mouth, whose job it is not to screw up the previous two steps.


TMM spoke awhile his son yesterday, sharing life stories, a tad bit of advice and mostly listening as Wasabi-san, the elder son, verbally walked himself through his the minefield of challenges to come across his own answers. As the omniscient parent, who does no wrong, and makes no mistakes that can’t easily be forgotten years hence (HAH!), I of course can throw a few stones into the pot. But those little nuggets of advice should lie there until he looks for them, because he has to want to do what seems the right thing, like college courses and other life decisions, without undue influence from his parents.


There I sit as the Master of “It’s all right, it’s OK” because that’s my role, one I really enjoy this time. Wasabi-san clearly knows what he needs to do, in part because so many folks in his life echo back the same theme. I see his journey continuing down a different corridor in a few weeks, kind of like that band of travelers in the mine pits of Middle Earth’s Moria, where they came to the three tunnels and had to camp whilst choosing the best path. Wasabi-san sits and collects wisdom points while choosing. And, I’m sure it’s all right because I’m confident he's a smart guy who will pick a worthy path...

03 June 2011

Flying High in my Taxi

“Talking tells you things



but sometimes you can’t find


what you’re feeling


until all the words run out.”




(This song lyric excerpt is courtesy of Harry Chapin, Sequel [to hislegendary ballad Taxi])

02 June 2011

For Henri & Ellen: How Now, Brown Cow

It's National Dairy Month - hey, I remembered that by myself - and we should celebrate. I say that with pride since Dairy underpins our economy and, yes, our society. A day without a dairy product? I think I saw that in the movie 2012 and wasn't happy about it.

So, the month of June is a Shout-Out to my dear friend Henry (aka Mssr. Henri) and his wife Ellen who work 36x24x7 for his family and for us as a dairy farmer in upstate NY. The 24 in the previous sentence refers to what happens when the cows bolt the field at 2 AM...

My respect, my admiration, and my envy are boundless: thank you, Henry, for all you do for us while slogging thru the muck in the barn. And for Ellen, his wife, for being the 362x24x7 stalwart supporter and quite the calf step-mom herself! Disclaimer: they're our best man/matron of honor, so the slathering of love and nice words goes back over 26 years...

As an added bonus, I refer you to today's The Old Farmer's Almanac.com. As they say, "Useful, with a pleasant degree of humor." I get a daily email, one that tunes in me back into the real world outside my cubicle. Check it out and then go online to set up your own free account. And have a glass of milk. Pull apart some string cheese. Slurp some yummy yoghurt. Relish some ice cream. Just Go Dairy, will ya?!

01 June 2011

Lucky for You, Lucky for Me

What makes the mind ‘roam?’ I have lots of time each morning to ponder that but haven’t figured anything much out. Coincidentally, this survey, http://www.slate.com/id/2295603/, goes a long ways to describing the perils of a long commute. Thankfully, I don’t fall easily into these traps. I’m not speaking for any other commuter, but my own slog is well worth it when I see the good things my paycheck & benefits bring to my family. And, I get the full range of emotions each day without drugs, drink or personal crisis – man, maybe I’m just lucky and never knew how exciting my free time is!



Let’s stroll through TMM’s Garden, where you just never know what will pop up…



Do you know where


your happiness is tonight?



You might be right or wrong,


the rhythm and rhyme


slipping through your fingers.



We’re far into the night


with ever less time


to find the chord, the thread


of our stories.



But love is coming


to us all


no matter where we are


today, tomorrow


or a thousand dreams away.