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Do Not Go Quietly (Requiem for a King)

Do Not Go Quietly (Requiem for a King)

     Herbert was pulling pearly gate duty again, he volunteered this time. It was a chance to meet people at the end of their journey and witness all of their worries taking wing. It was an experience he could not forget and he had to share in it once more. 

The first time it occurred, he felt guilty that he took pleasure at being at the end of a person’s life. The guilt only lasted until the next person stepped off of the shuttle. A sufficient time for reality to settle in had past and most of the arrivals had a realized they were not heading to a much warmer climate. This stop at the pearly gates was final confirmation that all would be well.
The first shuttle of the day had arrived and unloaded its passengers and while it was sans knights on noble steeds*, the experience was satisfying and he found himself looking forward to the next arrival.

During the wait, Herbert was trying to read the latest issue of People but he was having a hard time concentrating.

The lobby’s muzak was covering the best of Kenny G. While the title may be just a small lie, the music itself belonged at the alternate end of the road.

Soon the sounds of a blues riff in E-Minor mercifully arrived on the wind.

Herbert was somewhat of guitar buff and he thought he recognized the fat sounds of a Gibson announcing the arrival of the next shuttle.

It’s about time we got some righteous tunes up here, he thought.

The notes reached a crescendo as the shuttle appeared and BB King jumped out and completed his riff to announce his arrival. Herbert was blown away.

“Wow,what an entrance,” he exclaimed.
“But why the blues Mr. King? Most people are actually happy upon reaching the pearly gates.”

“Young man you don’t always have to be sad to play the blues. It can be a celebration that sad times are in the past.”

Nice philosophy, thought Herbert.

“Besides,I’m B.B King. You expect me to play Kenny G?

“Oh heavens no,” replied Herbert”

“ I’m looking forward to playing to a new audience. You don’t have many critics up here do you?”

“Oh no, their final destination is much warmer.”

Thank you B.B. King for nourishing my soul.

*If you missed that reference see “Waiting For Dulcinea”

There’s An App for That? Oh, The Humanity

There’s An App for That? Oh, The Humanity

Personal technology is a fast lane that is hard to enter at slow speeds and one that may leave us wanting if we attempt to stay out of it. Sometimes we need help ascertaining if a gadget or app* is worth our time. There are plenty of blogs, podcasts or youtube channels out there to help with that. The fact that I did not type “technology columns,” “radio programs” or “tv shows” leaves me waxing nostalgic or as I like to call it “geezing.”

Hey, I’m a geek. I love apps but I think there needs to be some talking off the ledge sometimes.

We need a blog, podcast or youtube channel that would help us exercise some sanity. Perhaps something created by a “technotherapist.” No not a word yet but as soon as I teach it to my dictionary app it will be.

“Hello this is the Digital Doctor you’re on the net”.

“Yea, I’m looking for a navigational app for a Boy Scout troop. It needs to work well away from civilization and a power source.”

“Um, yea how about a map?”

“Map? I don’t understand”

“Well, it is a paper screen with different colored lines for roads and rivers but it is covered with the same numbers a GPS app spits out. Those numbers are called latitude and longitude markings.”

“Oh wow. Does it work with-out power?”

“Uh yea, so far they haven’t figure out a way to power wood pulp.”

“Cool. Are there any apps that go with it?”

“Well, there is a thing called a compass.”

“Oh yea, I think I saw an app for that.”

“Yes, that was based on an actual compass. You will find that the map and the compass work well together.”

“Oh, are they are integrated ?”

“Yes, you could say that.”

“What power’s the compass?”

“Magnetism”

“Does it come with a heart rate monitor?”

“No but you can calculate your own.”

“Oh, can I?”

“Well, some people can.”

“What does that take?”

“Well, two fingers and some basic math skills but you could probably get away with one finger.

“Oh, math skills. I don’t know”

“Don’t worry it does not require anything beyond counting.”

“Would wikipedia cover that?”

“Yes, but you could probably ask an actual Boy Scout, unless they have traded in their first aid badge for an app.”

*Heavens to Hemingway ‘app’ is a word now. Let’s face it, anything you tell your dictionary ‘app’ to learn is a word. Which reminds me, I need to teach the word “geezing” to my app.

Customer Survey – Impound Lot

Customer Survey – Impound Lot

We thank you for your unintentional use of our service. While we realize that you don’t really have a choice of which company will tow and impound your car, we would like you to share your opinions anyway.

1) How easy was it to track down your vehicle?

“Easy” never entered my mind. I entertained quite a few other words during the experience, none of which I care to share here. If you were going for an answer of “impossibly difficult” then congratulations are in order.

I have a suggestion for your towing sign on that shadow ensconced utility pole. You may want to include your company name or at least a phone number on it. It would have saved me that half hour call to the police. The cop was nice though.

2) Was it convenient to pick up your vehicle?

Convenience is relative. While I did not have to borrow a covered wagon and carve out the Oregon Trail to retrieve my car, it was still a pain in my derriere.

The location of the ill-fated parking lot was in area that cabs do not seem to service to frequently. I have no idea why since the area seemed safe and would not have afforded a warm ambulance ride that a mugging would have provided. I had to give up on the cheesy cab app I was using and practically stand out in the street to flag down a cabbie, which ironically enough would have provided that warm ambulance ride had he not found his brakes in time.

Concerning the location of your impound lot; If you were trying to teach a lesson by making it near impossible to find then I commend you. The driver gave up using his nav computer and my GPS app could not offer any assistance. I was well on my way to learning my lesson.

3) Did you find our appointment times convenient?

Appointment time to pick up my car? Yea, let me check with the cabbie. Are you kidding me?  I will you give you some credit on this one though. When your ‘dispatcher’ asked me to make an appointment my body actions in response warmed me right up. The resultant convulsions and arm waving may have also helped me flag down the cab.

4) How do you rate our staff?

My expectations far exceeded your grasp.  Your attendant was courteous, had all of his teeth and was sans prison tats. I was quite disappointed.  After all of the inconvenience you think you could have met me halfway with this one. Would it be asking too much for a teardrop tattoo?

5) How do you rate our facilities?

You barely tried on this one. I will give you credit for the concertina wire adorning the top of your fences but what respectable tow lot lacks the guard dog we have all come to expect. I thought I was going to be met by some rabid mastiff or pit bull by the name of Brutus but instead I got nothing. Could you please pick it up on this one. You could start out small, a chihuahua with a Napoleon complex, and work your way up, you know, baby steps.

6) Did you find our rates competitive?
Compared with other extortion experiences that I have had?

7) Will you consider us in the future?

Yes, I will consider you every time I pass that lot up and park somewhere else.

More like this? Check out my guest blog at http://shannonathompson.com/2015/03/16/mondayblogs-grocery-lists-with-adjectives/

photo credit: N03/6771698125″>In prison, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all. Eldridge Cleaver via photopin (license)

The Legend of St. Brendan’s, er, St. Patrick’s Day.

The Legend of St. Brendan’s, er, St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patricks Day is upon us. What does that mean besides drinking beer died green to excess?

There seems to be much confusion as to why we celebrate but of course we shouldn’t let knowledge or lack thereof get in the way of a celebration.

One theme with a lot of support is that some saint by the name of Patrick is involved. After that premise, the details are up for grabs. Many people are in agreement that, once upon a time, there were way too many snakes occupying the Island of Ireland. One friend of mine expressed that she suspects that Leprechauns may have been part of the cleaning crew. I suspect she may be closer to the truth than any of us realize.

Brendan awoke to the sunrise throwing golden rays across the fields of clover, the heather on the hills and the peat in the bogs. He had no idea what any of that crap meant but he had heard it so often from the local giants it permeated his reality. His perspective of the scenery was slightly different and mostly in shadow. Being eight inches tall and a leprechaun will do that for you. He really had no idea what anything looked like in the morning. The sun in the morning blinded him to tears. Well, it was either the sun or his hangover. He had been looking forward to this day and celebrated early.

Today was the first day of a snake free Ireland.

The buggers had made life for him and his kind a living hell for as long as he could remember. Heck, they had even had an impact on his folk’s apparel. Who in their right mind would constantly wear green unless they were 8 inches tall , living among grass and trying to hide from something.
He had worked hard to see this day come. He put his life of mending shoes and tricking the locals during his off hours on hold. He had even dipped into his life savings, read pot-o-gold, to help convince the rest of the wee folk into forming a fairly well oiled snake driving machine.

He had sacrificed a lot but today was the first day of many snake free days to come. He could now cross open fields without listening both ways for telltale slithering. No longer would he have to cobble shoes hidden among shadows, shrubs and trees. He could actually live his life in the open as he was meant to.
A nice side affect of living a snake free life would be the glory. Oh sure the idea was not entirely his own. There was a local, fairly religious guy, by the name of Patrick who may have expressed the same wish for a snake free Ireland but Brendan is the one that got the job done. He was the one they would remember. He was looking forward to the day when there would be parades in his honor. He longed for at least a day when no one would have to wear green. Heck, he had even died his beer green to hide it. For some reason the snakes had loved beer.

He was greatly anticipating drinking green-free beer. That would a great reminder of his achievement.

Years later, as Brendan bitterly reminisced upon his folly filled past and drank his god awful green beer, he thought that In hindsight the snakes really weren’t that bad.

Note: Today is my blogs second year anniversary at WordPress. Yeah!

RIP Terry Pratchett

Farewell Sir Terry Pratchett. Thank you for the laughter. 

Lovable Winners (Go Cubs Go)

Lovable Winners  (Go Cubs Go)

Sports teams are mostly remembered in the won-loss column. Whether it is fair or not is inconsequential. That is just how it is. Athletes are judged by similar guidelines. How good was the fielder? What was their batting average? How many yards from scrimmage did the running back accumulate? How many league rushing titles did they have? Unfortunately, the same kind of judgments made every day in the real world do not escape those of the sports arena.

Once in a while there is transcendence. Players of all qualities can win humanitarian awards. Sometimes when worlds collide, teams do the right thing.

The passing of Ernie Banks highlighted what he meant to the city and the neighborhoods of Chicago. The memories shared by friends and family highlighted his sunny disposition and revealed that yes he really was that happy.

His passing also highlighted the fact that he was human. In his twilight years he became estranged from his wife. When he passed, another women lay claim to his assets stating that Ernie gave them to her in a new will. The legal fight that ensued may or may not have threatened the last wishes of Mr. Cub.
In the skirmish, the funeral home that performed the burial services waited to get paid and in turn filed a claim against his estate. Many internet comments urged the Chicago Cubs to do the right thing. Perhaps I am foolhardy to believe otherwise but I do not believe some comments on the internet persuaded the Cubs to settle the matter. I think when the need presented itself they did not hesitate to settle the bill for the man who had given so much to the Cubs and the city of Chicago.

We all know the last time the Cubs won the world series was 1908 and most of us can calculate that it has been 106+ years since those games. We don’t need the math wizards behind the mikes to remind us of that every time there is a break in the action and the talk turns to the “lovable losers”. I for one do not put the Chicago Cubs in that category. Their recent play for Ernie in the game of life puts them in the all too lonely Lovable Winners category.

Go Cubs Go!

That’s The Sound…of a Man Milking On The Chain Gang

That’s The Sound…of a Man Milking On The Chain Gang

Chain Gang. The word conjures up visions of prisons in the deep south marching out their population into the hot sun to toil on the sizzling blacktop or in the scorching fields . These days the words conjure up a different scene.

The sun beat down on the prison yard demanding submission but the yard nor the prisoners working in it would yield. Occasionally a complaint would echo across the yard. Something about their hands were getting tired or they needed some water and a guard would come by with a ladle of water to quench their thirst.

They would love nothing more than to sing the hours away but that would disturb the goats. Goats?

Today , somewhere in Colorado, a prison farms out some of its population to milk goats. This isn’t your grandpa’s chain gang. There is no repairing roads or working the fields in stifling heat for these convicts.

The prisoners are hired by a small company that produces craft goat cheese. Yes, you read that correctly. Craft goat cheese. The State that gave us the Home Brewers Association and sparked the micro-brew/craft beer phenomenon now gives us prisoner assisted Craft Goat Cheese.

The company that hires them says that they cannot find enough workers other wise and that they are providing the prisoners with a work skill they can use after prison.

I guess it beats the default vocational plan of turning first time rookie offenders into more skilled future offenders.

One can’t help but wonder if the craft craze will influence the convicts towards other vocational pursuits in the future.

“So Vincent, You are here for some career advice?”

“That is true Mr. Delaney”

“Please call me Nuckles”

“Ok Mr. Nuckles”

“Just Nuckles. So what is it you want?”

“Nuckles, I’m getting out soon and I’ve been wondering what I’m going to do on the outside.”

“What are you good at? I’m assuming what got you in here is not on the list.”

“Yea, I wasn’t much of a boost, I had no effect on theft rates in my neighborhood.
The vandalism rate was another story. I did a lot of damages to those cars before I gave up. “

“Well, that’s something.”

“While I was in here I got pretty good at icing guys.”

“Really? How many?”

“About eight.”

“About?”

“Well, one guy slipped on some soap in the shower before I had a chance to do anything but I took the credit.”

“You must have been good since I didn’t hear nuthin about it. It sounds like you have a vocation already.”

“I’m thinking about it but there are so many guys in here that will get out and do the same thing. I’m not sure I can make a go at it.”

“What you need is a hook. Does the term craft killer mean any thing to you.”

“Sounds like a murderer with a cheese fetish.”

“No, but I think there are some of those out there too. The kind of guy I’m talking about
is a killer that cares about the quality of his work. A guy who uses the finest weapons, high grade chloroform and duct tape to get the job done. A guy who you would be proud to have kill your best friend.”

“Wow, I’d like to be that guy.”

“You could and I’ll show you how. It will only cost you a carton of cigarettes a week and not those cheap generic ones. I want top shelf quality.”

“Ok, I can’t wait to start.”

“You already did.”

“Huh?”

“Top shelf quality is lesson one.”

Modern Chain Gang picture by Patrick Denker.

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