Saturday, May 26, 2012

Commute in Silence or in Chaos (Middle)

I make somewhat of a commute to work six days a week. It usually takes me about a half hour to get to work on a good day and while I am on the road it gives me a lot of time to think. I take the beltline to work for most of the way but sometimes I take a detour and take a side road to give myself something better to look at than other drivers driving to their jobs.

While I pass drivers or vice versa I get to thinking. I can't help but think that if I am listening loudly to my music in my car what are the other drivers doing?

Are they as well listening to their music?

Are they driving in silence?

Are they listening to an audio book?

I don't know why but lately I have been super curious about this and it has now become a game for me.

A game that I can neither win nor lose because I will never know the true answer but it's fun to make up lives for people that you don't know.

For example; today I was driving to work and I was in a bad mood because I haven't been sleeping all that well lately and so I was listening to some classic hip hop music (quiet loudly I may add) and I couldn’t help but think what people were thinking about me. They couldn't tell what I was listening to unless they were in the car with me and we were going at such a fast speed that there would be no way that they could hear the music through my closed car.

Anyways, so I was driving along and I decided that today would be a day that I would take a detour. I was driving down one of the many roads that are under construction and there was an old man driving an old Cadillac and he looked so sad. It made me wonder why he looked so sad and whether he was, in fact, sad or not. But I had to stop a turn my music down not because I thought that it would disturb him in any way but because I thought maybe I could hear what he was listening to. So we pulled up to a stop light and I rolled down my windows and I heard nothing. He also had his windows down so I could hear that he was not listening to anything.

The sight of him made me sad and I still don't know why but I thought perhaps people don't always use their to and from work commute to listen to music. Perhaps they use that time to reflect on their lives.

What do you use your commute to and from work to do?

An Ode To The McDonald's Cheeseburger: An Epic Poem of Conquest, Angels, Cheeseburgers, and The End Of The World. (Part 1) (Friday's Sunday's Poem)

One day when I woke up I had a great thought,
And I said to myself well I really had ought
to follow that thought or that thought was for naught...

And so I went outside and sang to the Heavens*:
 *To the tune of the one part of Beethoven's 9th symphony that everyone knows
because everybody knows Angels only speak symphonese:

Come now angels gather 'round me
Harken to the words I say.
I am composing one great ode
to the humble cheeseburger
I ate yesterday.

I want to make a poem about McDonald's Cheeseburgers
An epic rhyming feat about my lunch.

And I want it to be the greatest thing in history.
If you'll help me that's what it'll be.

And the skies they split open with such a great noise
That I trembled lest all the tumult wake the boys!
For the boys, woke by noise, would want to play toys.

And so I said to the Heavens keep it down. 

Then the first Angel reached me and said with stern tone
For this task you call to our Heavenly home?
The home where we roam in our robes and coron'*
*Sometimes apparently angels speak in regular verse and also they are not good with rhyming. Corona is a synonym for halo.  Don't feel bad. I had to look it up, too.

And so I said: Well, yeah. And then added*
*this time to the tune of Habanera from Carmen

Who else was I 
Supposed to call on
For this great task I
embark upon?

The angels on high
Are aptly suited
To help this guy
Achieve his masterpiece

In fact, if you think
About what I ask
You'll come to see it is 
the perfect task.

The more you ponder
My humble request
It seems a wonder
You don't think you're best.

 By now other Angels had reached our tableau
And they looked at each other and shrugged just like so*
*picture an Angel shrugging. It's magnificent!
Just so did they shrug and they turned then to go.

And so I grabbed the first one by the arm.

And that Angel he spun his face angry and twisted
You dare so to touch me? You should have desisted!
Now desist your resisting or face painful dismissing!

And so I said: No. I need you.


Mr F, at stoplights. (A Photo Essay)

And Mr F at the Olbrich Botannical Gardens, just for good measure:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Then, 4

I Will Remain, Matthew & The Atlas:

I don't know where I first heard this song, but it came on one day on my iPod as I was driving home from work, and the handclapping just lifted me up and cheered me up, even though the song itself is kind of sad.

I like to listen to this song when I go for my walks at night.  It makes me think philosophical things.

Things like: one night, I saw a bird land on the path in front of me.  As I approached, the bird stood its ground, until I was about 3 feet away.  Then it hopped a foot or two ahead, and when I got close again, it kept doing that.

Neat, I thought.  It's not really afraid of me.

Then I realized that it was probably trying to lure me away from its nest to keep me from killing its children and that in fact it was very afraid of me.

Or things like:

Last night, I saw this tree that had one branch sticking way out, horizontal to the ground, as far out from the trunk as the trunk was tall.  By doing that, it had managed to get out from under the cover of the higher up branches, this one odd limb leaning way out into the sunset on the north side of the tree. 

So I walked along and thought about how hard that branch had worked to do its part to help the tree-- and how it had to do all that work fighting other parts of its own team.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday Scramble!

Thursday Scramble! is when I take one post from one blog and put it on all my blogs.  This appeared first on Publicus Proventus, where I talk about politics and the Federalist Papers and why Citizens United wasn't such a bad thing, and the like:

Recall Walker! And meet the supporters who want him to increase taxes to fund billionaires' hobbies.

Pictured: Scott Walker Campaign HQ

I said yesterday I'd do anything I legally could do to try to Recall Scott ("Patsy") Walker, and I'm going to do my part.

So first, Jenni Dye, who most people know as @legaleagle, is asking people to make at least 10 phone calls from the online phone banks, reminding people to Vote for Barrett in the recall election. Find her post here, with links to the phone banks.

Second, as I did for autism research, we can speak directly to people who follow Gov. Patsy online; his ScottKWalker twitter feed has some 18,000 followers; tweeting to them about problems Gov. Patsy has may help the effort, too.  Education never hurts, and it's possible to educate people even at this late date.

Third, I'm going to post what I can to help that education, like today's post on Walker's meeting (?) with Joe Ricketts.  The Ed Show site reports, via John Nichols of The Nation and The Capitol Times, that Joe Ricketts gave $100,000 to Walker after a personal meeting with him.

I'm not in favor of campaign finance limits; I don't care if Ricketts gave $100,000,000 or more.  I'm in favor of information, though, about who's giving what, so here's some information about Ricketts, who wants Gov. Patsy to stay in power.

Ricketts made his money as the founder and CEO of Ameritrade, an online discount brokerage.  He also sold Bison meat and produced films, and eventually bought the Chicago Cubs.  Ricketts retired from Ameritrade in 2011 to be a "philanthropist," and the two highest-profile moves he's made in that regard so far were funding a Nebraska candidate in a Republican primary and a recently-announced campaign to spend millions to try to link Obama to Jeremiah Wright.  Ricketts had to distance himself from that latter campaign almost immediately. It's not clear whether the plan will still be tried.  It was commissioned by Rickett's group but apparently rejected.

Rickett also wants government money to pay 1/2 the cost -- or $150,000,000 -- for a new stadium for his Chicago Cubs, and part of his proposal for that payment is that the "amusement tax" he would increase would be shared, in perpetuity, with Rickett.

That is: A billionaire who owns a sports team and has money to spend on hateful campaigns wants a cut of government tax revenue.

I wonder what Gov. Patsy thinks about increasing taxes and giving some of the swag to billionaires? Has anyone asked him?

I wonder, too, what Rickett would do with the extra money he siphons off from increased government taxes to fund his hobbies? Probably not pay the Cubs' debts -- he's been noted by Major League Baseball to be in violation of league rules regarding debts, and that's true even though the Cubs had the highest average ticket price in baseball in 2010.  (Does Rickett, who is worth more than $1,000,000,000, enjoy soaking the middle class to fund his lifestyle? Only he knows!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

250=1, Story nine.

Introducing The Beatles?

Lightning flashed.

Thunder didn’t.

Rain did whatever it is rain does. Not pelted but more of a thump. The rain heavy, like that big drum, the tympani, in the orchestra.

Corey held the Beatles album in his hand, staring at the cover.  There was a slight shadow to the George Harrison’s right.  Or was there?

Lightning flashed. He saw the shadow.  Thump. Thump. Thump went his heart and the rain. The first raindrops always toughest, the heavy armor of the thunderstorm, the ones that couldn’t hang in the clouds anymore, opening rips in the vapor for lighter, flightier drops to follow after,

The lightning ended. His eyes unadjusted, left the room dark.  He felt the plastic sleeve that held the record album in his hands, protecting it from the sweat.  It was the last thing he had from the estate.  Selling this would mean that everything was memories.

It’s not like I’ll never hear a Beatles’ song again,” he said to himself.

Thunder did its thing without lightning ahead of it.

But he wouldn’t hear the Beatles’ songs the way he’d heard them first, not ever again, if he sold this. Coming from the big speakers of the hi-fi, Dad and Mom dancing, him sitting on the edge of the couch watching them laugh.

Lightning flashed. 

Handwritten on the cardboard sleeve: First dance, side A, song one.

Corey opened the plastic, took the record out, spun it on his finger.  “Well, she was just seventeen…” he whispered. 


250=1 is short stories, all of which are exactly 250 words long, including the title.  In this case, the story isn't just one of those, but is an entry in Cherie Reich's Second Annual Flash Fiction Blogfest:

 Click that link for more details!  And click here to read more 250=1 stories.

Yeah, well, maybe we should ENCOURAGE his interest in Toeology, did you ever think of THAT, Miss Teacher? (Life, With Unicorns)

Mr F, shown here in an aerial photograph riding what I believe is a bouncing giraffe, has been asked by his teachers not to wear sandals to school anymore.

The reason?

He finds his toes too distracting.

The teacher sent a note home to that effect, yesterday, saying that Mr F wasn't focusing on class stuff because of the presence of his visible toes.

Hey, check out BRIANE PAGEL: PWNST!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A couple of videos in case you don't feel like reading today. (Life, With Unicorns)

First up, Mr F was caught on video wishing Sweetie an Okay Mother's Day:

Then, there's Mr Bunches stunning cover of Happy Working Song: