The Clunkers, The Spanish Russians, and the Cypress Holocaust

The Okefenokee is a place of splendid solitude, I told her, and it is a place you can stop speaking, breathe, and hear nothing but the sound of the trees living, and the wind and the birds, and the odd sounds that The Swamp will give you, but never noise. It is a place where time ceases to exists, and where cell phones do not work. It is a place where two people might get away to themselves and speak plainly and openly while walking and no one but the deer and fish would hear their voices. The Okefenokee, I say to her, is magical and beautiful, and quiet.

The ride to The Swamp is magnificent, with the approaching canoe trip seemingly already begun. The road stretches before us long and straight, and the sun comes up bright and warm, the sky clear and nothing in the way of a day spent on the water in the woods, with birds calling and perhaps wildlife standing in the shade of the cypress trees, posing perfectly for photographs.

When we got to the park the evidence of the fire earlier in the year was apparent. It was worse, far worse, then the fire of 2007, just four years ago. The damage to the tree was more severe than I expected, and as we drive deeper into the park the more obvious, and horrible, the sight became. As we pulled in there was a small crowd of people loading canoes, and there were noisy people, speaking loudly and loading a year’s worth of supplies into each craft, and wandering around without purpose. We waited for them to get ahead of us, but finally gave up and got into the water what was left of it. I have never seen the water level so low in The Swamp. Worse still, and the two words “worse still” will reappear here again and again, worse still, the banks of the canal leading into The Swamp had been mauled by the fire, and clear cut, a lonely deer stood in the ruins as if she were the only witness left alive. The camera died too, the batteries no longer capable of sustaining life, much like the burned out banks of the Okefenokee.

No sooner did we reach the wide channel, or what was once a wide channel, in The Swamp, did we realize the damage was far worse, much more worse, than I ever feared or imagined. The water level was horribly low, forcing all the canoeists into a smaller area. The people ahead of us were loud, and behind us were another group, so we pulled over to the blasted western bank to allow them to pass. It was a terrible sight. Nearly every tree was scorched and many, many, many, many trees were now gone. Those that were left looked like the survivors of Hiroshima, standing in mute shock, to stunned by the violence to escape the scene of the carnage. The shade of the trees extending over the water were gone, and even had the trees been there the water was gone, too. The deep dark red black water was gone, and replaced by a muddy colored stream that looked more like something you’d find in a theme park than the greatest natural swamp left in Georgia.

Those people ahead of us we could hear, but from behind us came the sound as if someone were dragging a logging chain down a paved road with tin cans attached to it. Again, we let them pass, and this was a mother and father, with a teenaged girl in front of the boat with the mother, and a tiny five year old in the front of the boat with the father. They banged and clanged with paddles against their canoes if the boats were sonically driven. We nicknamed them “The Clangers” and waited a while to let them pass. Far, down the river they went, like a sound driven disaster, mirroring the actual damage by the fire.

But there were more and more and more people to come. In a place where I could have counted the people I’ve seen totally in the years on my fingers and toes, suddenly the holocaustic Swamp was an amusement park full of inept boaters who could not hear the silence of The Swamp and would not allow it for others. We got behind a man and a woman speaking a foreign language that sounded like Russian and they could not control their canoe, and they zigzagged their way in the narrows, blocking us from passing, and causing more people to bunch up behind us like lemmings at the edge of a cliff. Everyone was heading for Billy’s Island, and it was like a traffic jam there, with canoes and canoeists littering the bank. The dock, usually flush with water, hung five feet in the air, useless for unloading or extracting a canoe from the water. We managed to get out boat out of the water, but the Clunkers came behind us, having taken a side path. The father tried to beach his canoe with his little girl in front, instead of backing in, and I had to help pull the thing to shore. The man was close to true stupidity, trying to get a boat out of the water with the heavy end still in the water, and a five year old trying to get out alone. Getting him back into the water was also more fun than it needed to be, and I wonder, truly wonder, if he really knows what happens to people in the water when the air temperature is below sixty. Hypothermia can, and will, kill a child before you can get her dried off, or back to somewhere they can keep her warm.

Billy’s Island was already populated by the Russian speaking people, but they were now speaking Spanish. Everyone had arrived at once and there were more people on Billy’s Island than there had ever lived here before. The trials were crowded and even though we had a good conversation with people from Atlanta, who had never seen such a crowd or the water as low, there was no wildlife to see. The Spanish Russian had made camp in the middle of the trail and we had to walk around them. A nice little bench in the middle of the forest might have been a good place for a break but this was rush hour and there was no semblance of privacy to be had at all.
We lost most of the crowd on the way back, and we totally lost track of the Clunkers. They were ahead of us, noisily setting the pace, and suddenly we did not hear them anymore. But the trip back to the landing revealed more damage, more dead trees, more burned growth, and no sign that this was some sort of rejuvenation of nature. We asked the woman at the landing if she had seen the Clunkers and she seemed uninterested in their fate. The Okefenokee is not what it was and I am not sure if it will ever be again. I would have rather died than to have ever seen such a sight as I have seen and I can only hope that somehow, nature can heal her own.

Take Care,

Paid account? Read this.

Originally posted by rosewildeirish at Paid account? Read this.
Courtesy of scrollgirl - thanks!

Someone I have friended (ETA: [personal profile] sid) just posted that LiveJournal has turned on automatic payments on her account (for the LJ itself and for icons) and that she's never had automatic payments, so it's not like she accidentally did it herself and forgot.

So for all of you on LJ who have Free or Paid Accounts (ETA: Permanent accounts are fine, and Free accounts should be okay if you've never given your credit card info) and/or if you have ever given LiveJournal your credit card info, PLEASE make sure that automatic payments have not been turned on.

Maybe this is nothing. Maybe it's a glitch that only affected this one person. But check your Account Status, okay? Better safe than sorry.


1) Check your Account Status.
2) Check whether LiveJournal has your credit card information.

Original thread:
More here:
And here:

I'm gonna check all my fic journals now...

ETA2: Here's the FAQ for turning on (and off) Automatic Payments.

I checked - I recently renewed my account and it tried to default me to automatic payments. I had to search a bit for the manual payments, but I found it. My journal, basically unused now, is currently an unpaid plus account, so I think I'm safe. I can't say if it's intentional malice or a massive clusterfuck of something pushed through too quickly (never attribute to malice what can be explained by gross negligence and/or stupidity), but there are reports from quarters that claim not to have ever set up automatic payments (I haven't, but I've also not had an issue with it), and even one or two who are claiming never to have given LJ that credit information (which for me is a bit harder to understand how it magically jumped here, but that's another situation).

In any case, please, if you've paid for your account and are not either an unpaid account, or a permanent user, you may want to check your settings just to be on the safe side.

The Christmas Apocalypse

If there is ever some weird Mayan Apocalypse the people of America are going to be ready. Every weekend since Thanksgiving we have practiced for it. And now, in the last week, preparations for the end of the world have been in full swing. America is ready for anything and everything. The Four Horsemen might as well be selling rides for a quarter at a petting zoo in Cleveland. That nation stand ready for a full nuclear war, locusts, a two hour dancing with reality stars on an island television special and Ebola on pop tarts. Ladies and Gentlemen, the weekend before Christmas is upon us and next to that there is nothing more stressful or frightening known to mankind since the two words “President Quayle” were first spoken.
Anywhere anyone is selling anything is packed with people who want to buy something. People like me, who ordered online, had it shipped at the last moment, and now are frantically realizing not even Fed-ex is going to throw us a package over the fence, are freaking out. Well, I’m not freaking out because I went out for some food and just came back home instead. I’ll be damned if I’m going into a building with that many people in it unless there’s a football game going on, or at least some beer. A homeless man set up a booth on an overturned shopping cart and put out a sign that read, “Half off” and it’s standing room only under that cart. Plumbing supply outlets now have people wandering around looking for that perfect gift. I swear I passed a junkyard that had some people browsing.

You could sell radioactive altars suitable for Satan Worship and you’d get a hundred people walk in and, one, see if it was cheaper on Amazon and two, ask you if you gift wrapped.

If you sold gift cards where the money went to driving the whales into extinction and hauling the dead carcasses to Elementary School as playground equipment you would sell out before anyone really asked you if this included porpoises, too.

If you put up a nativity scene in the shower room of a maximum security prison for the sexually disturbed, the criminally insane, and the sexually hyper, people would stop and take pictures of it to put on Christmas cards.

I swear to dog this year seems to be the worst ever.

The one local store we have has cars parked directly in front of the store where there are no parking spaces. People are so driven, so bent on shopping, all other considerations are now gone. The time it would take to walk across a parking lot has become a hindrance to survival. I cannot imagine what it looks like inside that building right now. Christmas is still two days away so no one has to start cooking right now but just the act of buying food has become a quest. It’s a mission. It’s a pilgrimage. For some people getting everything done right damn now has become an issue so personal it’s like they’re having sex with their credit cards. They’re putting more effort into buying stuff than I would getting Angelina Jolie to undress in front of me. After a while, after some point, isn’t there a time when you just have to admit it isn’t really worth it? I’m talking about shopping still, try to focus.

There were people trampled to death on Black Friday. A woman piked a crowd of shoppers that same day. Bodies were left pushed to the side so people could spend money on gifts. People were robbed at gunpoint. People died in car crashes. People put money on credit cards they know damn well they will not be able to repay. All in the name of getting something to put under the tree some people will break their personal budgets and their families will suffer for it. I can only wonder how many dogs are dumped out or taken to the pound after Christmas, living sacrifices for that perfect gift.

You have to wonder how much money is spent on nothing at all. All that pretty gift wrapping paper, and the packaging it came with, well, it’s all headed for the landfill. All the boxes all that stuff came in, yes, it too is headed for the landfill. The dead Christmas trees have to be disposed of and you see many alongside the city streets with tinsel still covering their now dead branches. Miles and miles of packing tape, tons of broken ornaments, and that cheap plastic throw away junk Wal-Mart sells as yard decorations are all headed into the earth where it will not decompose but it might wind up in your drinking water one day.

In two days’ time I will once again get into my truck and drive two hours to my father’s house where my sister and I will spend part of a morning and an afternoon. We’ll leave and I’ll drive two hours back home, and Christmas will be over for another eleven months or so. Hopefully, I wouldn’t get killed on the way home, and hopefully, everyone there last year and this year will be there next year. But I also hope that one day the madness will end and Christmas will one day mean something more than a nation’s moth-like attraction to conspicuous spending.

Happy Festivus,

The Dream Of The Flying Deer

I’ll just lie down for a moment, I told myself after supper, and then I’ll get up and do some writing, and make a couple of phone calls, and… ZAP! there is nothing like unexpected sleep to kick off weird dreams. I feel ambushed, sort of, because I never nap, or rarely so. But there I was in Albany Georgia and I was going to a party of sorts and all the street names were wrong. I once knew Albany as well as anyone could without having lived there but that was decades ago. Albany is a place I have never quite ever really quite liked. I’ve always felt as if there was a thin layer of grime in Albany that even a hard rain couldn’t wash away. This feeling was born before the flood of ’94 where most of the city was under water for weeks on end. Floods are incredibly nasty events and to this day I smell dead fish whenever I drive through the town, even though I know it’s an illusion.
But in the dream all the street signs were different and there was some wireless device in the car that allowed me to talk to the other people heading to the party in their cars, like a group navigation program. Where are you now? Turn left at the next light! Make sure it’s green first! And the street signs themselves were electronic and the font on the signs changed depending on which direction you were traveling. If I traveled north the signs were in one font but heading South they were another and one way streets were in red on one side and green in the direction of travel. The party was near where I thought the mall was but as we got close there was a restaurant in the middle of a field and it was one of those steak places that looked both stamped out by a cookie cutter and Western all at the same time. It’s interesting that we get all shocked and shaken by anyone invading some country somewhere else in the world but when we invaded this part of the world it was like an adventure with intrepid explorers. We even called it The New World even though there were already people here and had been for thousands of years. There’s a twisted sort of romance in the shtick where everyone believes it’s okay to feel homey about the Wild West even though the natives of that area were killed off en masse. If enough time passes even people like the Vikings become football mascots and everything they stood for now is reduced to horned helmets and furry clothes. I keep waiting for the Nazis to become cartoon figures in some way, and it’s already begun on the Internet with the Downfall memes. There is a sort of grim satisfaction in watching Hitler being transformed into a sort of ventriloquist’s dummy, with words he would have never spoken being subtitled in. I’ve heard the arguments that this sort of thing takes the edge of evil off him a bit, and I think that’s true, but it also makes him impossible to be taken seriously ever again. Once you see Hitler throwing a fit because he just found out Michael Jackson is dead and won’t be performing at his birthday party, Mien Kampf starts to read like something Boxxy came up with on a bad hair day.

Got off on a bit on a tangent there, didn’t I?

So the party at this steakhouse was a retirement party and there were people from all parts of my life, present and past, and there seemed to be some sort of retirement for both my older sister and myself. It was an odd thing because the inside of the restaurant was festooned with pastel colored crepe paper and balloons like it was a prom. All the people there were drinking and singing and having a great time, but I felt lost for some reason, as if I knew this was not somewhere I really was. I’ve had that feeling in dreams before and it usually means I’m about to wake up but this time I didn’t know I had fallen asleep so it felt even stranger than before. It’s one thing to go to bed and know there is a possibility of a dream and it is another thing altogether to just lay down for what you think is a moment or two, with plans to do stuff and interact with people and then suddenly be in Albany Georgia at a party in a streak house where the waitresses are keeping spare tableware in holsters on their hips. And it is a shame none of these women really exist, too. I suspect most of the women I dream about, those who are figures in the background like movie extras, are compilations of women I have known or at least seen. One of the waitresses had the walk of a woman I do know, and it’s not the exaggerated hip swinging walk some women practice but that smoothing rolling walk like an ocean swell that doesn’t need to break and foam to suggest infinite depth and power. What makes it more attractive is I don’t think the woman I know realizes she walks like that at all. I think she would have a stroke if she knew I was watching her like this, particularly since she’s an instructor at the Y, but women are still women regardless if they’re working the public for tips or working out.

Suddenly I was driving home, and just as suddenly I was flying through the air. It was totally dark and I didn’t have any source of light but my cell phone. I saw a flash of tawny brown, and knew it was a deer, no, a herd of them, and we call this stretch of road “Antler Alley” because there are so many. I try to swerve in midair but a deer was right in front of me so I reached out and pushed it hard.

I woke up, pushing the Loki Mutt off the bed. It was two in the morning.

Take Care,

My First Artist

The first artist I fell in love with was a paint artist and the attraction between us was as strong as it was mutual as it was forbidden. Jo was a very complex woman with conflicting sides of her persona constantly at war with some other side. She was married and she felt like her marriage was ordained by God, and that her personal feelings didn’t come into play once she had taken a vow to stay with a man, even if she didn’t love him anymore. The first time I met Jo her face was a mess. Her boyfriend had beaten her nearly to death because she was leaving him to go back to her husband. I had never met her before but as I opened the door to a building for her I said, “He isn’t worth it” and she said, “I know” and we didn’t meet again for an entire year.

When we did met again we didn’t realize that was us earlier but once we got to talking about how we thought we knew one another we realized we had met that day. Jo was still married, still had not returned to her husband, and she put up a damn good fight to keep me at arm’s length but we kept running into one another at parties and we knew a lot of the same people. We had incredible conversations. My roommate’s girlfriend was a paint artist and she and Jo had some classes together so it was difficult for the two of us not to run into one another by accident. I’ll be honest; Jo rocked my world. I loved everything about the woman. I could not be around her without having a very real reaction to her and it was obvious to everyone else one earth she felt the same way. We went to a convert with some friends one night and right there in the middle of a mob of ten thousand people Jo turned around and kissed me. She then spent the next month avoiding me like the plague. She had some seminar in Orlando to go to and asked me to take care of her cats while she was gone so I did. Jo had told me that she was going to come back on Sunday night, late, and for me to lock up when I left. I offered to make dinner for her so she could eat when she got home and she told me no, that was quite all right, thanks anyway, lock up before you leave, okay? But Jo called again, and asked me to wait for her, and I did and when she walked through the door she kissed me again. That started a fire she could not put out, and most of the time she didn’t try. We stayed together for five or six months and then she graduated, got her degree, and went back to her husband.

There was a lot I didn’t understand about women and still is, but that one taught me a lot about artists, and art. I didn’t understand how someone could stand in front of a white canvas and have no idea at all what they were going to paint, and then begin to paint, and still not know. We would lie together in bed and she would talk about painting as if it were something she did like eating, or sleeping or making love, as if it were a natural part of life, and I didn’t get that until I became a writer. I didn’t know what this was until after the first sentence. I had an idea but I didn’t realize it was Jo until I started.

Artist aren’t like those people who build brick walls or pour concrete sidewalks, not that there is anything wrong with those types of construction. Brick laying and concrete are both honorable and satisfying professions, but there are black and white type jobs where the end product is seeable and tactile and real. Art is not. I can never tell when an essay or a story is going to pick up momentum and head in a direction I am not prepared for at the time. Stories and characters change, meld, and become things I did not envision. I once watched Jo paint a nude portrait of one of her friends and the sheer passion and creativity of her work transmogrified her friend’s flesh into something none of us could have foreseen. Jo was not only my first artist, but she was also the first woman I was intimate with whose sexuality was blurry along the edges. The woman who was her subject in the painting moved her. Jo’s religion forbade such emotions but it was undeniable and powerful and in ways that totally transcended sex, sensuous. It was the painting of the woman, and the woman, and both that affected Jo, and when I was around her it was as if we fed on that feeling like ravenous beasts. The poor girl knew Jo and I were sleeping together even though we tried hard to hide it. What she didn’t know is that her body did more for our relationship than it did for her own boyfriend. Jo’s art was electric and powerful stuff no matter what she painted. She used colors like a stripper uses music and fabric. All the suppressed feeling in her life exploded onto the canvas and there were times late at night she would drive to my house, covered with paint and exhausted, and arrive with that same laser like focus aimed at me. It was one of the best times of my life as well as one of the most educational.

I lost Jo to her husband, to her religion, and to her fear. What she gave me was the foundation to understand my Muse, and art, and most of all, love. It was never really meant to be, and what she gave me evolved far away from what she could imagine. But the first time you look into a painting a see what is truly there beyond paint and color and canvas, it is exhilarating to the extreme. And when you look into the eyes of an artist, and see what is there, beyond the flesh and blood and bricks and concrete, well, that is the beauty of an artist.

Take Care,

Stella and the Chicken Grease Alien

It was an odd smell, some weird flavored incense, to be coming from a human being. The man in front of me at the grocery store smelled strange. Don’t get me wrong here; I don’t fault people who smell like they work for a living. In the middle of Summer in South Georgia hard working men and women are going to smell like they work for a living and honestly, I like the smell of a woman with some sweat on her. That’s much better than her taking a shower in some flower scented poison that clogs the nasal cavities with lilacs and some Asian flower that Georgia has never seen. People ought to smell like people, just like dogs should smell like dogs, and if that in some way offensive to you maybe you should move to Lilac Land.
Yet this was an odd odor. Grocery stores have their own smells, like the weird produce smell or the smell of fish back in the seafood department or the smell of dog food or cleaning supplies. If you chew gum and walk through the detergent aisle you’re going to taste Tide for the rest of the day. But this was none of the above. It wasn’t a bad smell. It wasn’t like he had stepped in something on the way in or had some sort of crisis with his body functions. It was out of context however, and then it hit me; burned chicken grease. Either this man worked somewhere in fast food or he had put out a fire at a KFC. Or it might have been he was an alien and this is the perfume they wear hoping to mask who or what they really are, thinking the smell of burned chicken grease might just blend in down here. I mean, do you know anyone else who would have connected aliens and fast food smells other than me?
Anyway, the Chicken Grease Alien was standing there and I couldn’t figure out what he was buying. An older woman was in front of him, and she had a ton of stuff, but CGA didn’t seem to have much at all. You have already guessed, I would hope, the two were actually together, but at the time I couldn’t figure it out. I read a story once about a guy who went into a store and stood in line behind people and people got behind him but when he got up to the cashier he opened up on her with a hand gun. She was his ex-wife and for some reason he thought shooting her would make things right again, and then he shot himself, and I guess that did make things right again. I always watch for that sort of thing when I’m in public. You know some people are paranoid about snakes when they’re around water or in the woods? They’ll walk high stepping with their heels as if snakes are the leading cause of unnatural death of human beings, when it gets down to it, human beings are, or chicken grease.
I’ve seen weirdness with people before, you know. I saw the cops drag a man out of a factory where I worked because he wanted to talk to his ex, and she had a restraining order out on him. He just walked in and started looking for her, yelling her name out and wandering around. The factory was a fairly good sized place. Someone wearing no protective gear, yelling, and wandering around generated a fair amount of attention and none of it the right kind. I watched as the deputies confronted him, he snarled at them, they grabbed him and wrestled him down to the floor and he fought them.
I don’t think this has anything to do with love, anymore than rape has anything to do with sex. I think once a guy loses a woman, especially a woman he’s treated poorly, there’s this odd species of pretzel logic that kicks in and tells him if he goes out and does insane things that will convince her to come back, or maybe it’s he thinks as bad as he’s treated her, hell, she doesn’t have a say in how he gets her back, I have no idea, really. Clearly, I’m one of those guys who is easy to get rid of, or at least I’ve never stormed the battery factory shouting, “Stella!” in the rain. Not that it has ever rained in that factory, mind you.
There are people behind me, full carts and they aren’t thinking of aliens or the fact this guy ahead of me might just pull a gun and start shooting. Hell, the cashier doesn’t look nervous, and she doesn’t look like the Chicken Grease type either, but dog only knows what makes people attracted to one another. So what if he does pull a gun? Yeah, Rambo Firesmith kicks in, and saves the day, right? Or stands there with his mouth open and watches helplessly. Or runs like hell, pushing carts and old ladies out of the way, anything just to get to the cat litter aisle where there are at least some sandbags, right? Maybe the people who aren’t looking for other people to go off the deep end are more like me when it comes to snakes; it never occurs to me to be afraid of snakes so I’m never worried about it. Yet the fact remains that Chicken Grease Man, if he isn’t an alien, is a lot more dangerous than your average rattlesnake. If he is an alien and pulls out a phased plasma rifle in the forty watt range I can only assume I am truly and totally screwed.
Yet here I am. Chicken Grease Man, if he isn’t an alien, was with the older woman and he helps cart her stuff away. The cashier whose name isn’t Stella smiles and asks me if I found everything okay, and I did or I wouldn’t be speaking with a cashier, would I? No, I have never said that to a cashier because they deal with far too many weird people, and aliens, as it is.

Take Care,

(no subject)

I didn’t sleep well at all last night so I called in today. Insomnia and I are well acquainted and I know better than to go to work tired, bitchy, and longing for sleep. I started writing at five in the morning and took a break at nine to go get a biscuit and some air. I knew Frank was ailing, and had been. Frank is at least nine years old, which isn’t old for a Border Collie, but he’s had some health issues for quite some time. Elbow thinks he was kicked in the head by Mina and that’s what causing the problems. The problems started a while back but very recently there seems to be some growth on one side of his head, on the inside, that is sealing his right eye shut, and causing breathing problems. It went from bad to worse overnight it seems and now, well, now looks like decisions need to be made.
Elbow and I spoke about this yesterday and she has a friend coming over to be the undertaker. I get there with coffee and a biscuit as she’s on the phone with him, and he too has called in sick today. I more or less planned to help out anyway so I volunteered to come back later and dig the grave. On the way out I speak to Frank who looks like death warmed over. This is not a well dog.
I saved Frank’s life last Summer when Marmalade the orange cat was killed. Elbow thought Frank had killed Marm, at the instigation of Izzy the Jack Russell Terror, and Elbow nearly had Frank put down then but I crawled under the house and discovered there were no dog tracks anywhere near where the body had been discovered. Frank was reprieved, Izzy found a new home, but it wasn’t long after that Frank began to fade on us.
Frank has not be an easy Border Collie and some are not. His urge to herd has driven Theo, his former cellmate at the pound insane. Elbow went looking for a black lab, found Theo, and Frank was in the same cage so she got them both. That’s angelic in my book, by the way, but Frank was never an angel in his own right. Frank liked to herd Theo. Frank liked to chase fireworks, and we are ever so grateful he never caught any of those too close to the ground. Frank could be evilly influenced by Izzy. And Frank often clashed with Theo with growling and snarling and barking. Frank was one of those Border Collie who were not easy.
But Frank had a large heart and was true. Frank tried to be the best dog ever, and sometimes his efforts where just over the top. He was a joyous canine and always happy to see me. Frank was a beautiful dog, as most Border Collies are. Yet there was no getting around that his time had come. At the appointed time the vet showed up at Elbow’s house and Frank had retreated under the porch and would not come out.
I had already dug the grave and that is not an easy thing for me to do. I dug Spike’s grave when I was thirteen and I had to get Spike underground before my father got home. Crying was childish and sissyish and girlish and men didn’t cry but I cried for Spike as if I had lost a brother. In many ways I did. It was the last time I really cried like that and I cannot dig a grave for a dog without feeling that come back to me. Frank was a true companion to a good friend. He worked tirelessly to be a good dog even if he wasn’t always successful. I tossed many a stick for Frank and he never stopped wanting to play. I dug the grave for Frank as deep as I could, and the grave ran South to north as all canine grave ought to.
Frank wouldn’t come out from under the porch and I think he knew. I think Theo knew because as soon as Elbow shut him into the house he began to yammer and howl. Frank wouldn’t accept a treat and what other sign did we need it was time? But he allowed me to gently lift him up, and once standing, he slowly walked forward to his death. Frank was looking at me as they injected him and I saw the light go out of his good eye as his body failed. He never closed his eye, a metaphor on Frank’s life of never failing to do what he considered best for Elbow. We took Frank t the grave, and Elbow said, “We’re going to commit his spirit to the Earth” I looked at her and replied, “We going to need a bigger Earth.”


Take Care,

“Are you sexually attracted to underage boys?”

Sandusky's Folly

Is that a hard question for most people? It’s an easy question for me to answer because no, I am not sexually attracted to underage boys. See? That was simple. Not only that, I’m not attracted to underage girls. Scotch is the only thing on earth that can be twelve years old and satisfying. But I could tell you that if you asked. I wouldn’t have to fumbled around with the question, and quite frankly, even though people who do not understand Scotch, I’m fairly certain they’ll get the boy question right without a bunch of hemming and hawing, and without a lawyer having to step in for them.

            Okay, here’s another question for you; is it okay to shower with children to whom you are not related? I’d like a show of hand of people out there who have (1) showered with a child unrelated, or (2) allowed their child to shower with someone else. If you didn’t put up your hand you’re likely asking some very pointed questions about the people who did raise their hands, and maybe it’s just us. Maybe we just don’t understand. Explain it to me. I’m a patient man. Under what circumstance does your child take a shower with someone and under what conditions were you bathing with a child? I’m fifty-one years old and I’ve known some people who were…eccentric. But the number of grown men I have known to shower with little boys is a number somewhere between zero and none.

            I know people who work with kids. Most of them realize they hold the trust of not only the parents and the children, and indeed, that is a burden in and of itself, but they hold the trust of society itself. I have no kids. But it is offensive to me in the extreme when someone violates this trust. There are young people in their teens at the local YMCA who take care of children and I can tell you something that is one of the most crystal clear facts known to humankind; these young men and women hold themselves, and their fellows, to a higher standard than I have seen in many places. They are not only above reproach but above suspicion.  Their actions are transparent and public.  They treat their charges as if they have the most important job on earth.

And they do.

They do for many reasons.  They are there to protect children. Is that not enough? No, they also have to reassure everyone they are doing that. They have to earn trust, keep trust, guard trust, and in this they build a society that is open and caring and nurturing and good.

And they aren’t making the millions Penn State was making while one of their own was at the very best, showering with little boys, and at worst, raping them repeatedly.

And this man can’t answer a straight question about being sexually attracted to underage boys? Why is this? Why is this, in this day and age, with all the horror and shame, can this man not either admit he’s a monster or play claim to some sort of non-attraction to boys? At some level, I think he has to realize what he has done, and it eats away at his brain. Not quickly enough, mind you, but little bits of his façade crack every time he opens his mouth.

            This morning the 8:20 Yoga class was shifted to a part of the Y where I had never been before. It’s where the kids hang out and play and one of the women working there was surprised I didn’t know it existed.  The kiddie pool, with all the cool sprayers and slides and stuff can be seen from a distance, but I’ve never been there either. I have no kids so there is no reason for me to be there. The only people who go in such places are parents, and those dedicated people who care for children.

And monsters.

If you can’t answer a simple question about whether you are, or are not, sexually attracted to underage boys without a lawyer it doesn’t leave me guessing which one you are.

Take care,