Not too long ago, I was checking out the inside headlines in the Times.  I was avoiding the front page in deference to my blood pressure.  I found a couple of pieces that caught my attention for one reason or another.

The first one was about Patrick Stewart who was in a David Mamet play on Broadway.  I have always been a fan of Stewart’s work.  OK, I’ll admit it – I never saw much of him before the “Trek” series.  I did see him the other night in a thing where he played a retired spy-agent, of some kind, afflicted with some beginning symptoms of Alzheimer’s.  Disturbing.  And not all that good.  It was the piece itself.  Not a good vehicle, as they say, for his talent.  But it was the Mamet part on stage that caught my attention.  Mamet’s stuff is really good and gutsy, and I was once in Mamet’s The Duck Variations.  What I remember most about being in that play was that I could easily button on a size 34 pair of Levis.  Alas, that enviable waistline was about as lasting as my rise to stardom.

The other headline that caught my attention had to do with one of those barely post pubescent female singers, whose name, I’m sorry to say, I can not recall, with pouty lips and hair down to the crack of her ass, hugging a guitar in the oh so bright lights.  I’m sorry, but what’s going on here?  The person writing the article was trying to sound critical but it was just another booster piece that couldn’t have been done better by a fan club president.

The big “news” it seems was that she had written a steamy song about being abused by some guy, of course.  What else?  Let’s see – how old is this maven of life lessons?  20 and counting. The best I can say is that in the next 20 years she will come to believe that the first 20 were like summer camp, and lie in her midnight bed clutching her satin pillow pining for those good old days. 

The more astute among you will say, “Hey, Bozo, she is just another actor up on the stage like you, those many years ago. Give her some slack”.  Groan!  You’re right.  OK, I’ll give you that.  I was just having an opinion break.  I’m all better now. 

There are days when I should not read the paper.  I guess this should have been one of those days.

I did, however, have a kind of connection with the David Mamet – Patrick Stewart thing, and I did have a guitar once and even hair – but only to my shoulders.  I guess that was it.  I was off looking for myself somewhere else – again.

 

Someone has said, that in the last days, the last “beings” to go would be the roaches. I’d like to suggest that absolutely no evidence exists that shows that to be so. The reason is their love affair with Peeps. Roaches, of course, will gorge on those marshmallowy delectables, the last surviving semi edible substances on earth,  and choke. The final conscious thought to be expressed in the entire universe will come from a lone canary yellow Peep, who has finally reached it’s use-by date, as she cries out in the cosmic darkness – “Peep!”

Well, this is just a friendly update because I don’t want to do anything else that is available to me just now. I could read. Maybe later. I could watch a movie – Ugh!!!. I could call but when I call someone they always think I have something to say and of course I don’t. I could text someone, but the same principle holds there as well. If we both had smart iPhones we could do video calling, or if you are on an Android unit Tango would work. I haven’t figured out just what kind of benefit that is supposed to be, but what do I know?

I am not actually lonely but I like the instant communication of phones, SMS, Chat, FaceBook and Twitter. Problem is not too many people I know use all those avenues of contacting their friends and relatives. I just think it is all magical and we should be out there playing until the dawn’s early light. Well, but, what do I know?

I remember going out the back door and seeing the neighbor and saying “Hi” and we would have a conversation over the fence about nothing and it would be quite satisfying. Low tech. But real.

It’s probably not fair to think that just because I want to talk that others should be ready at that particular time. Kind of reminds me of sex. If memory serves, it was pretty much like that. Now and then everybody wanted to talk but more often than not, it was a problem. I always loved to talk. So to speak.

Then, we all have our own special interests. If several people with the same special interest meet up then you have a real conversation that goes on into the wee hours. Take for example the political types. My god can they go on forever about how brain dead our Republican governor is. I mean, tell me something new. Actually I don’t have much positive to say about politicians these days whatever their color, and furthermore, I do not enjoy talking about it.

And then there are the spiritual types that sometimes use special words and phrases that nobody else knows. Kind of like a secret handshake that everybody else wishes they knew. They usually indicate a special level of spirituality. One such phrase is “Praise Jesus,” which means, I think, judging from the context usually attending the exclamation – “Jesus is a friend of mine,” and I think it indicates that the person saying it has just returned from a conference or something. Another one employed by many in the American yoga/Buddhist/Hindu diaspora, is “Namaste”. I have done extensive research on this and the closest English translation I can come up with is, “Y’all come,” and in a more colloquial sense, “Pass the salad dressing.” I could be wrong, and I am sure it’s deeper than that, but … there you go. What do I know?

Probably the most popular thing to talk about on one or the other social sites is whatever fantastic thing I have just done that I am sure none of you out there have done or even imagined doing. I understand this. If I had just climbed Kilimanjaro, or lost ten pounds, you’d choke on all my whooping and hollering. I get to do so little stuff that when I can do something really neat and sort of exclusive, like that time I slid on my ass down the icy driveway, well, I just think people want to know about that. It’s only natural.

Well, the sun shone yesterday and it was 75?. I woke up this morning to snow. The sun is now shining again but it’s not as warm. Something needs adjusting. There you go: the weather is always a universally loved subject, and everybody knows as much about it as everybody else. I hope it’s good where you are.

Be well, and stay tuned.

Jerry Henderson

I have always had some friends who enjoyed shooting for fun like I used to do and would like to do more.  But for a variety of reasons such activities get edged out these days. I would call them up and say, “Hey, why don’t we get together and go shoot some bullets?”, and they would say, “Hey, that sounds like a good idea”.  And so it went.

However, there are other shooters with whom I would not want to be in the same bar, or convenience store.  These people are dark souls, whose core values are defined in terms of stopping power, penetration, magazine capacity, concealed cary permits, their God given (they say constitutional) right to wear their guns to their local Baptist church and a growing list of undesirable types they’d be happy to have in their sights.  These are wannabe killers.

To be fair, you’d have to be brain dead to have missed my own red squirrel vendetta and my Bird Feeder Protection Administration (BFPA) arsenal consisting of a break barrel pellet gun with a muzzle velocity of 1000 fps, and my pride and joy, a Marlin Model 39-A 22 cal. lever action high capacity combat piece.

The local bird people frown on my BFPA activities much in the same way that I question the legitimacy of the afore mentioned dark side gunners, and this does give me some pause.

I grew up shooting.  My prize for graduating to the second grade was a $6 Winchester single shot that I fairly wore out in my youth. It did not come with ear protection, a rarity in those days, and is likely the reason I am presently stone deaf.  Shooting was as natural a thing as chewing Chiclets or whacking off.  I haven’t had a Chicklet in a long time.

The squirrel population around here is on the rise, due primarily to a winter hiatus of BFPA activities.  Household politics notwithstanding, some red squirrel population reduction activities may resume in the spring.  I take no great pleasure in that prospect.  What’s that song – “The Thrill is Gone”? 

My father used to brag on my marksmanship. Perhaps it might have been better for my struggling adolescent development to praise my penmanship.  But there’s something about, “Hey, why don’t we get together and write something”, that would not have sounded like a call to arms.  We’ll never know.

I have an old friend who chides me for playing solitaire on my computer and various other hand held devices. If he weren’t such a good and valued friend I’d tell him to stuff it. But I don’t want to alienate him because he is a valued computer consultant whose little finger knows more about any problem I might have than my entire brain does. And anyway, I love the guy, in spite of himself. So I put up with his mightier than thou attitude and go along playing my “Australian Patience” brand of solitaire – nearly exclusively – and while doing so grind thoughts and ideas in the mill of my mind. I also fall to sleep now and then while searching for a card to move – grinding or not.

Computers these days are capable of so much that is truly amazing that to play a game of solitaire seems like woefully underutilizing such a machine. Like driving a Ferrari to the super market when the open highway is only a block away.

But it’s so seductive, and whose business is it anyway? I won’t tell you how many games I have played, but at a couple of bucks a game I would be made whole. It’s fun. It serves as a disconnect for my mind. I won’t be so foolish as to suggest it is a kind of meditation, but it is a kind of meditation.

In that last great cyber reckoning day, by and by, it will be found that I spent only a fraction of my computing life playing solitaire. If those years using a “PC” in the Microsoft sense of that term, is included in these calculations, most of my time was spent re-booting, re-installing and scratching my head while the damned thing wrestled with the idea of working again.

So here is this little machine sitting in my lap and connecting me to the virtual world in an instant. I mean, I am remembering lying in bed on a Saturday night listening to the Grand Old Opry on WSM in Nashville on my crystal set that I made in the kitchen. The surplus Army Air Force headphones I was using made my ears itch after a while but I heard it all and thought it was pure magic. If I played solitaire, I had to deal the cards by hand. There wasn’t a single cognitive cell in my brain to resonate with the reality of this little lap top, had such a reality been revealed to me at the time. Not much was revealed to me at the time. I could have used a word or two about sex, but that’s a whole other story.

I see it is now approaching midnight. I better shut this thing down soon and get a chapter or two read before the eyes close up on me. Well, maybe one or two rounds of Australian Patience first. There’s always room for a game of solitaire. You see, that’s the thing.