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not sexy

I think that might be a skunk on her right thigh.

One does encounter the frightening side of humanity at the Ohio State Fair- or any other public festival-type gathering.  It wasn’t as alarming as I have observed in years past, or perhaps I’m getting a bit jaded to the freak show.  The Marion Popcorn Festival is coming up, which makes the Fair look positively tame.  I’ve also found that it’s a lot easier to take pics with the Note 3 than with a traditional camera because people just think you’re texting or something when you are really taking pics. Maybe that’s mean of me, but I run even worse than I fight.

smokin red

Toasty tobacco flavor!

I wonder if Red here is disabled or if she just figured it was worth $10 to ride around in a Mart Cart all day.  I think she weighs less than 300#, so they probably don’t let her ride the cart in Walmart.  She is setting a lovely example for her (grand?) son though.  Even while she is lecturing another offspring (?) spousal unit (?) on the dangers of wearing just socks without shoes in public.

red with sox

Told ya ta wear some shoes, dumbass!

The dog had Barbie dolls with better hair than poor Red.  I say “the dog” because Suzie, the deranged Dachshund my parents had when I was little, appropriated certain of my sisters’ toys for her own personal use- when she was done eating their socks and underwear, that is.  Suzie didn’t like very many people, but she adored me.  Go figure.  I never had a problem with her, but my sisters couldn’t touch her, or get their toys back once Suzie decided she liked them.

I figured, with Suzie, possession was 9/10.   If Suzie wanted it who was I to stand in her way?  Although I could do anything with Suzie, including getting toys back from her, I wasn’t about to do that for either of my sisters.  I liked Suzie better than either of them.

shorts n boots

Shorts and cowboy boots?

I saw a number of people at the Fair wearing cowboy boots with shorts.  I don’t know why this particular fashion choice bugs me, but it does.  At least she’s not wearing Daisy Dukes. And she was nice enough to cover up her back fat, unlike this unfortunate girl:

gratuitous back fat

Girl, you need a rear view mirror.

Perhaps I am being a bit harsh on fashion choices- after all I dress for comfort most of the time, and especially so if I am going to be traipsing along outside in the heat.  It wasn’t as hot as it normally is which may have cut down on the freak factor this year.

smokey

The talking Smokey the Bear is freaky though.

When I was a little kid I always wondered about Smokey’s preoccupation with forest fires.  I knew too many kids who were only too happy to fry ants with magnifying glasses (yes, I did do that) or set stuff on fire with Zippos (Steve-o,,,)  I always wondered why Smokey talked about not playing with matches, but never mentioned Bics or Zippos or magnifying glasses.

Zippo_light

Not a flashlight substitute, either.

Then again, central Ohio is a swamp and it’s usually raining, or there’s some form of precipitation at least every other day or so,  so wildfires generally don’t happen, and when they do, they generally don’t spread much.  However, the perpetual dampness never stopped the slumlords from burning down non-profitable rental properties to the point that in certain locales it is expensive and well-near impossible to get home owner’s or business insurance.  There’s always accelerants, you know, if you really want something to burn.  Too bad the ass-pilots that use them usually have very little understanding of forensic science.  They can tell you doused the place with gasoline before you torched it.

Smokey seems a little quaint and outdated for these times.  Nobody wants to intentionally burn down forests, because you can’t get insurance on a random forest. Maybe Smokey should be talking about arson?  “Hey, kids, only you can decide not to burn down your non-profitable rental properties, ” or, better yet:  “Hey, kids, don’t drop your crack pipe and burn down your crack house!”  Especially if you just spilled gasoline on the floor.

Ponderous-Dachshund

Mi underwear – Su underwear?

Somehow, some things just aren’t meant to be shared.

I haven’t thought about poor Suzie in a long time.  She was always in fragile health and died at the relatively young age of 7 years. I believe her early demise was largely due to being willing to eat vast quantities of anything, including socks, underwear, marbles, Army men, and things my mother served that were sort of supposed to be food.  Mom’s cooking was rather disastrous a good deal of the time, so there was a lot of food left over to go with Suzie’s Chuck Wagon.

chuckwag70

On second thought, maybe we should have just eaten the Chuck Wagon.

mmmm…Meaty!  in a meat by-product-y sort of way…

 

field and stream

This is an interesting concept.

I can see it now.  This could be the cover of a beefcake (as in nude dudes) calendar with a fishing and hunting motif.   The sign is from a local construction site where they are building a Field and Stream store as well as a Dick’s Sporting Goods.  (Yes, for the sports non-enthusiast,  Dick’s Sporting Goods is a real chain of stores.)  This sign just struck me funny in a puerile, sophomoric way.  It’s bad that I still enjoy toilet humor at my age, but some things are just funny, and it doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 80.

Today’s trendy habit of photographing every bloody thing under the sun (and I am oh, so guilty of doing it too) provides vast quantities of comedic fodder.  The horrible pics of moonbats in Walmart are proof of that.

thrift store explosion survivor

It just seems incongruent that in these times where everyone has a camera (usually part of the phone) and can take pictures anywhere, that people go out in public looking like something left over from an 80’s slasher flick or an unfortunate survivor of an explosion in a thrift store.  Just because you can go out wearing a halter top, SpongeBob boxers for pants, and you can dye your hair Ronald McDonald red, doesn’t mean you should.

Back in the 1940’s, for example (one of my favorite fashion eras) photography was expensive, and taking pics of people wasn’t a particularly easy endeavor.   It was unlikely that someone would take a random pic of you, and even more unlikely that your pic would appear on screen or in print, ever.  Even so, people dressed a bit more appropriately out in public.  There are no pictures from the 40’s of anyone out in public with underwear showing above belts or pant waists in the middle (or the bottom) of the butt crack.

sagging2_thumb

Women didn’t go running around outside with their back boobs showing either.  It’s no crime to be large, but if you are, dress appropriately.  No one wants to see that.

Back_Boobs793

(Not sure if this is a woman, but you get my drift.)

We have become a nation of freaky moonbats.  It started in the 1960’s when people started doing acid and other hallucinogens, and it’s getting progressively worse.  Maybe I’m noticing this because my parents pretty much opted out of the whole ’60’s counter culture scene except for the thing for Volkswagens.  I know more about old air-cooled Volkswagens than anyone probably should, but as far as I know, my parents are tee-totalers who only take drugs they have scripts for.

vw air cooled

Saturday we’re going to the Ohio State Fair, which among other things, is a Walmart-caliber freak show.  I’m going to try to sneak off some pictures as long as I can do it discretely.  Last year didn’t disappoint.  The Popcorn Festival in Marion is the world-wide showplace of Very Bad Tats (this is coming up in September) and I will have to try to sneak some pics of those too.   The Festival is not an easy place to get pics, as it’s crowded, but the Bad Tat Bazaar (or should I say Bizarre) will be interesting.

I shouldn’t say anything about tats (I do have a small but tasteful rendition of Théophile Steinlen’s Chat Noir on my right calf) but there’s tasteful, artistic tats:

IMG_20130513_093939

And then there’s tacky, drunk-and-stupid ones:

badtatbeer

I did- or I should say Steve-o, aka Mr. Borderline OCD did- some research before we did the whole tat thing.  He was diligent in finding a facility whose standards exceed the county health department’s for cleanliness and sanitation, and whose artists are truly artists.  Getting the Chat Noir applied was a surprisingly pleasant experience over all, and going to a reputable facility was much preferred over getting drunk and giving some recently-released-from-prison bubba with a modified Walkman motor full of hepatitis A, B and C a $20 to scribble permanent scribblings into my skin.  My best friend in high school did that, and she probably still has that particular ex-boyfriend’s name in three inch block letters on her back.  I don’t know if she got hepatitis or not from that jailhouse tat, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  warmandfuzzy

I am not the poster child for things touchy-feely.  I loathe strange people touching me (even getting my hair cut is an adventure, though I endure it because I can’t cut my own hair with any degree of accuracy) and generally I’m not too thrilled about being groped by those I do know.  Unless they’re dogs, and that’s OK.  Why, I don’t know, but dogs are safe, at least for me.  Even when I was a little kid and was terrified of the world, from my sadistic oldest sister to unauthorized insect life, I had no problem climbing the fence and snuggling up to a 120# Rottweiler.

rottweiler

It’s not usually the big dogs you have to worry about.  Unless you’re up to mischief, that is.

The only dog I can remember having any kind of problem with was Andy the Chihuahua, but he was likely the product of many generations of inbreeding, and from the moment he was whelped he was certifiably messed up in the head.  He was my cousins’ dog, and even they couldn’t touch him.  It’s a good thing that pathetic little Andy, with his  high-pitched, constant and annoying yappy voice, severe underbite and thick cataracts,  (I think the wretched thing was born blind) didn’t live past the age of five. I’m surprised he lived as long as he did.   I think the only thing that saved him was that he was too evil for the cats to eat him.  He reminded me of a wind-up toy with an over-wound spring.  Such a toy will go like blue blazes- for a little while- then it just dies suddenly.  I think it was reported that poor Andy bit the big one mid-yap.  I don’t think he was very much missed.

psycho chihuahua

Andy the psycho Chihuahua is the exception, not the rule in the canine world.  Humanity is the exact opposite.

There is a sad irony that I feel safer with animals that technically are the same species as wolves (canis lupus familiaris is not far removed from canis lupus lupus after all) than I do with fellow humans.  But I do.

I’ve gathered from my own observations that “normal” people (begging the question, “Who defines ‘normal’?,” though I know I am most certainly anything but “normal”) generally have an easy time relating to other “normal” people.   While I’m usually looking for excuses to avoid excessive social interaction, as too much of playing that game wears me out, the “normals” blithely seek out more opportunities to be in each others’ faces.    I have to work at the communication game.  Really. Hard.  I have to consciously know which façade to pull out, and what (figurative) costume to wear for which occasion.

I have to pay attention to things that come instinctually to most, such as eye contact and body language and tone of voice. Otherwise, if I’m not paying attention, I just stare straight ahead and bellow out everything in a loud monotone.  I have acquired social skills- and over the years I’ve trained myself to practice them well- but that whole hoo-hah wears me down, just as the social dance energizes most people.

hermit

Sometimes I’d like to tell the whole world to bite me sideways and say screw it all, (and I would if I had the scratch to live as a recluse) but necessity dictates that I have to put up with other people and their shit.  Maybe it’s wrong or arrogant or selfish of me to see things that way, but that’s just the way it is.  That’s my reality-constant vigilance and constant anxiety, because I have to pay close attention to every word and every movement, at least when I am under others’ scrutiny.

Maybe that was where Shakespeare got the notion that all the world’s a stage.  Performing is hard work, and sometimes I just don’t wanna.

I don’t have to play the game with dogs- or even cats for that matter.   With them I can just be.

There are times I do enjoy the relational hoo-hah and find it a strange kind of fun, but it’s fun that I really only need in small doses, and even when I do enjoy it, it wears me out.  Right now I’m exhausted, and in a way I wish I could beg off human contact for a few months or so.

14corolla

What I really need is a nice, long solitary road trip.

I could use one of those trips where I leave, go somewhere randomly, do whatever, and then come back.  The last time I really did that was back in 1987, and I caught hell for it.  Of course, going 500 miles out with $150,  in a car that had no air conditioning, leaked oil horribly, had 4 balding (different sizes and treads) tires and a top speed of 45 MPH wasn’t a good idea and I wouldn’t dream of trying it today, especially without a phone, but those were different times.   Cell phones were expensive toys hard mounted in expensive cars back in 1987.  I was a young punk and wanted to do what I wanted to do, even if I didn’t have much scratch and my car was a very distressed, high mileage ’79 Subaru DL.   Today I would be afraid of being raped and robbed (well, in my case, probably just robbed and shot) if I would happen to get stranded.  Today I have plastic (though I am quite loath to use it) a modern car, a phone, GPS, roadside assistance and a (always loaded) .357 Magnum.

I’m not nearly as trusting as I used to be.

Jerry would have nine kinds of fits if I did something like that.  He would accuse me of being out trysting with some smoking hot young stud even though he (especially) should know I have the sex appeal of stale saltines and wet socks.    In reality he would miss subjecting me to his tirades, and would miss me fetching his food and beer.

Yes, a solitary road trip would be most delicious.  Even a day trip would be good.

 

speedwayburrito supreme

Get your gasoline, beer and Marlboros here, but NOT your burritos.

Perhaps it is too obvious to be a cautionary tale, but it wasn’t a good decision to eat the $2 spicy beef and bean burrito from Speedway.  I paid for that all of Saturday night and a good part of Sunday.  Who needs those expensive colon cleanse kits, or even White Castles for that matter?

I don’t eat prepackaged food very often.  Most of the time if I want burritos I make them at home with refried beans, whole wheat tortillas, ground spicy turkey, sour cream, cheddar cheese, onions, salsa, etc.  I know what’s in them that way.

Tonight will probably be a salad night.  It’s hot.  Either that or Spam sandwiches.  Nothing wrong with Spam, at least not the meat product.  Grill it with a slice of American cheese, some onion and tomato on wheat bread with mustard and it’s not half bad.

spam ad

Grandpa used to love this stuff.  And chicken necks.   He lived to be 91, so it couldn’t have been that bad.

I can think of a lot of different things that probably would offend my colon less than that burrito.  Like Dran-o.

As far as the condition of my mind and heart at the moment, it’s not as bad as it could be.  It’s not as good as it could be either, but the pragmatist in me finds such a condition oddly acceptable.

A little bit of melancholy and pensiveness is good for the soul.

melancholy

I have to watch spending too much time there, though, because for me melancholy can become full blown depression very quickly and easily.    I have a twisted sense of humor for a reason, and most of the time that reason is because if I don’t laugh about the idiocy and injustice and pain and fear in this world I would have to cry.  If I really start in crying, I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop.

tears 2

Isabelnotamused

So I haven’t been around for awhile.  There’s a few reasons for that.  Let’s start off by saying I hope no one else in my sphere dies anytime soon.  Death sucks.  Especially when it’s Miz Izz.

I acquired Miz Izz- Isabel- as a four-week old (it’s really easy to estimate young kittens’ age) that had been abandoned in a grocery store parking lot.  What amazed me is that a typical feral cat, even one that tiny, would have at least tried to run or fight, but not Isabel. She let me scoop her up and take her home.  As if she belonged.  And she did.

???????????????????????????????

This is Jezebel at 9 weeks- she and Isabel were virtually identical as far as looks and build.

Had Isabel lived another month she would have been 16 years old.  But her poor little body just couldn’t take any more.  She had always been petite and somewhat frail, and she had become even more so when she developed a condition called “pillow foot” or more correctly, plasma cell pododermatitis. Suffice to say this is a nasty condition, and Isabel had it rather severely.  At times her paws would swell up so much they would bleed and I would have to take her to get shots- which helped for awhile, but then she became too fragile for the meds (prednisone and doxycycline.)

Maybe I shouldn’t miss an old, fragile black cat with set ways and a loud voice.  But I do.

Death can be a mercy, especially when someone is suffering and there isn’t any real fix for it, when there’s no longer any good life to be had. My last good memory of Isabel was of her greedily snapping up pieces of top sirloin as we shared a steak.  The dogs were outside of course, and the only two cats that were ever bold enough to ever approach my Steak Experience were Isabel and Jezebel.  Jezebel is a bit more restrained, but Isabel never had a problem getting right up close to get her little bits of gristle and fat.  That was the last time I can say I knew Isabel was still enjoying being a cat.  I buried her a week later.

grimreaper

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…

I admit that I fight with the idea that humane euthanasia is OK when a cat or a dog is suffering and they have gotten beyond what I would call “good life to be had,” but the same concept doesn’t apply to humans.  I understand, at least from a spiritual and theological view, that God is the Author of life. Since humans are made in His image, we generally don’t have the authority to take human life away.  (Capital punishment is an exception to the general prohibition against taking human life, and so is just war, but those are topics worthy of their own separate and detailed discussions.  Suffice to say that I believe in the merits of both, in the proper circumstances.)

Dead_Body_Man_by_MrMotts

 

It is morally right to put a cat or a dog to sleep when he or she is suffering and he or she stops enjoying being a cat or a dog.  Euthanasia for humans is not acceptable even when it would seem to be a mercy.

As far as the higher purpose of human suffering, I’ll be the first to say I don’t get it.

Not that I would put a human life into the same (noble but still lower) category as the life of Miz Izz, but my mother-in-law had been suffering and confined to a wheelchair for most of the time that Miz Izz walked the earth.  My mother-in-law died last Saturday after being confined to a wheelchair for 15 years, suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure and a laundry list of other maladies.  Her last two weeks were particularly brutal.

I don’t believe in euthanasia for humans- not ever- but sometimes I’ve got to ask God why.  Isabel pretty much enjoyed her cat life up until the last week of it. Granted happiness for cats is fairly easy- somewhere to sleep, food to eat and somewhere to drop a load.  Human life is a lot more complicated, but still, why did Jerry’s Mom have to suffer for so freaking long?

monty python evacuation

Hospice is a great help for those who are actively dying, but it can only mitigate the process.

Worse than her dying was the funeral. I understand Southern Baptist soteriology (understanding of the mechanism of salvation) pretty well.  “Turn or Burn” is pretty standard fare at SB funerals, but to the uninitiated, it is about as anti-PC as one can get.  You don’t get a funeral message too often that includes, “Do you know where you’ll be if you get hit by a truck on the way out of here?”

Jerry’s sisters were a bit taken aback.  I had tried to give Steve-o a heads up on SB soteriology before the funeral so he wouldn’t freak out. His religious understanding has pretty much been shaped by growing up in a Lutheran church, so the really fundamental interpretations of SB soteriology would sound a bit bat-shit crazy to him.  Mom has confused him enough by trying to throw in the Catholic earn – your -points system.

I grew up around Regular Baptists (even more of the “Turn or Burn” mentality than the SBs) so I know all too well there could possibly be an altar call.  There wasn’t.  He did do the Sinners’ Prayer though.  I have to hand it to the preacher for preaching the gospel instead of offering pallid platitudes on how much life sucks and then you die, ya – da ya-da. At least Steve-o had a heads up.

Lutherans don’t do altar calls.  Our pastors do occasionally mention hell, but not usually at funerals.

It just seems strange to me. Life and death and all of that.

 

 

 

Steve Perry 2014

I was a bit delighted as well as taken aback this morning at seeing my long-time most favorite singer, Steve Perry appearing live on stage again.  I even liked the song he performed with the Eels (a band I didn’t know existed until today) even though the more prudy types would be offended by the language in it.

Sometimes coarse language is the only way to describe aptly the frustration and pain in one’s heart.  Been there.  Done that.  Don’t want to go there again, although in my heart of hearts I know I will.

It’s still a good song, and for a guy of Steve’s age and ill health, he still sounds good.

axe phoenix

 

Every time I go to Walmart with Steve-o it’s a new adventure.  First he was pissed because he couldn’t find the one kind of deodorant he likes – Axe Phoenix, the blue gel, NOT the white paste- except in a two pack.  I thought I was cheap.  I told him, he has two pits, so why not a deodorant stick for each pit? Just label them “right” and “left” as borderline OCD as he can be.  Finally he decided it would just be easier to buy two, as if he’s not going to use one up in a week or two anyway?  It must be the opposite of the Costco mentality- buy barely enough for a few days, then make a trip to buy more.  Personally if I have the scratch (and he has more than I do) then I usually buy in quantity- not only for the discount per unit, but to save myself a trip.

Of course we encountered the Freaky People of Walmart  en masse-  such as the morbidly obese woman who probably was not even 30 yet, trolling about in the little battery powered Mart Cart, sporting her bleach blonde ends and about three inches of black roots, and a plethora of extremely poor quality tats on a good portion of the exposed surface area.  

mart_cart-xti

When your ass is bigger than a Toyota Corolla, that “bright, Corvette-like finish” on your lard-ass cart is a sure bonus!

I guess my quandaries about the Mart Carts are:

1. How do they actually move under the suffocating heft of their passengers?  If a normal sized person got in one and took off in it, would it set land speed records?

2. Is the minimum weight requirement at least 300#?  Because I’ve never seen anyone under 300# trolling about in one of those.

3. Do they use deep cycle batteries, sort of like for boat trolling motors- or more like the batteries in a Prius?

4. Would the need for the carts be vastly diminished if some of the riders got off of their behemoth asses and actually walked a bit while in the store?

 bad fashion 5-14

 I sort of enjoyed Jelly Roll woman too.  She wasn’t quite large enough for the carts (give her time, she was probably in her early 20’s) though I don’t think she realized that a cherry red tube top is a poor fashion choice when your body sort of resembles the Michelin Man’s.  The badly done pink dye job on her hair and misspelled neck tats (when one is trying to say, “Missy loves Ray”  it is not spelled “love’s“) were the icing on that cake.  Woof.   I am glad I didn’t have the pleasure of  feasting my oculars upon “Ray.”

Then again, it’s Steve-o’s reactions to the wildlife of Walmart that I find absolutely priceless.  Such as when he was looking for that men’s three-in-one shampoo, conditioner and body wash, and a rather large girl in low rise Daisy Dukes bent over right in front of him, exposing a rather hairy and somewhat substantial ass crack.

muffin top

I thought he was going to hurl right down her shorts.  That would have been camera-worthy,  if only I had the courage.  I don’t take pics in Walmart precisely because the wildlife are large enough to devour me in one bite, or to sit on me and squash me like the unfortunate “lost” Chihuahua in the “Lost Dog” cartoon.

 lost dog

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember people being so flipping fat.  I feel like a freaking anorexic when I go to Walmart, and I’m no Calista Flockhart by any stretch.  The rural areas are absolutely the worst, as far as the really behemoth size 20+ underwear wearing chicks – (and there’s plenty of hefty dudes too) as if they have nothing better to do than watch Direct TV and tie on the feed bag.  I can understand that in those places, though.  There really isn’t much to do.  Even screwing must get boring after awhile.

In defense of the portly rural poor, healthy food is expensive.  It’s really cheap to go and get a bunch of store brand snackies or ramen noodles and mac and cheese if you don’t have much cash.  It’s not so cheap to buy fresh produce (I even balk at that- frozen is cheaper and it’s less wasteful) or lean meat, or to buy minimally processed ingredients to prepare and cook one’s own food.  A can of Spaghetti-os is a lot easier (and cheaper) lunch option than grilled white chicken on wheat with provolone, tomato, lettuce, onion and mustard on wheat toast.  I have been there and done that.  Canned and processed stuff is cheap and easy but will lead one down the primrose path to lardassism with the quickness.

 

 spaghettios n doritos

I do love me some Skettios and Doritos, though! mmmmm!

 As an aside, I just got put on hold and was subjected to a rather odious rap “song.”  The only lyrics I could make out were:

Prestone

Body

Daddy

Anything you like

Whoever included those words and phrases in a song needs some serious psychotherapy time.  Either that, or I just can’t make any sense of rap.

 

 

shoesonpowerlines

 

I don’t understand how shoes end up on the Interstate.  I have heard the urban legend that states that tying a pair of shoes together and tossing them over a power line indicates that someone nearby is selling the reefer, but I don’t think that the median of I-71 would be a good place to score some chronic.

Another theory I have is that the nimrods one sees on the freeway (usually teenage kids) who like to put their feet on the dashes and out car windows occasionally have a shoe blown off, which would constitute one of those “actions lead to consequences” sort of lessons.   As in, your mother is going to kick your butt sideways when she realizes you just lost one of a pair of $100 Reeboks.

Then there is always the prankster possibility- Jimmy’s sleeping like death in the back seat, so now’s the time to chuck his DCs out the moon roof.  Fun and laffs-laffs-laffs for everyone, except Jimmy, who will now have to wear his little sister’s Hello Kitty pink flip flops for the duration of the vacation.

hk sandalsOh so manly.  Not. But, not being a man, I wish they made these in adult women’s sizes.

 

I can also understand tossing footwear out the window when and if it smells like six week old rancid pork chops that have been marinating in horse piss and used cat litter. This actually happened on a road trip to North Carolina with my parents and my then teenaged son.  The POMC wears a bizarre size- 13 AA- so when he finally finds a pair of comfy shoes, they cost out the wazoo (and he is even more cheap than I am- except with his motor sport needs) and he wears them until they literally fall apart.   I remember these shoes all too well- a pair of highly distressed and duct-taped Etnies that I had once had to special order and paid $100 + for, but by that time they had been worn, used and abused until the very thinnest pieces of soles remained.

Etnies-Kingpin-Black-Lamy2

The Etnies were nice shoes when they were new- but not after 2 years of Steve-o abuse.

And they smelled.  Horrible.  I came much too close to paying a brief and intense visit with Cousin Ralph getting a whiff of that, and I have almost no sense of smell.  It had to be deadly for anyone with a normal sense of smell to be anywhere near that funk.

So when Steve-o decided, somewhere on I-71 in rural Kentucky, that it would be a good idea to remove the shoes, peel off the socks, and let his bird claws air out, a green and thick stench wafted through the Venture van like a malevolent, pasty sewage-y fog.

footsmell

 

I thought Mom was going to hurl right out the passenger side window.   It is only by a Miracle of God that she didn’t spew the Burrito Supreme and Taco Salad she’d just scarfed about an hour earlier at Taco Bell all down the side of the van.  The sight of used Taco Bell splattering down the side of the van and onto the freeway coupled with that evil green miasma that was permeating the interior of the van would have guaranteed a mass uprising of various stomach contents.

 

burrito supreme

I’m sure it doesn’t taste as good on the way back up.

Traveling alone does help one to avoid the hazards of traveling with others- noxious smells, dangerous driving, and the unappetizing visuals of  blood relatives who are dead to the world, open-mouthed and snoring like freight trains.

I rather enjoyed my solo road trip to NC last week.  The only thing I really didn’t like was all the rudeness and bad driving I encountered on the way home.  Apparently assholes are universal, or they were having a convention on I-75 northbound all through Kentucky.  I don’t know why everyone in the south seems to think they are NASCAR drivers or some crap.

I was also able to avoid tourist traps and kitschy restaurants by bringing my own chow and only stopping for gasoline and to get coffee and pee.  I didn’t encounter any worthy souvenirs this way, but then again I didn’t end up getting taken for various overpriced hillbilly swag.

fish finder

That was almost a sad thing, failing to bring back some sort of memento.  Next time I take a trip like that I should make it a point to stop off at some of those shops along the Interstate just to see if there is anything worth having other than homemade fudge, moonshine (now legal in Tennessee!) or shot glasses.

hillbilly moonshine

 

hot_mess_shirt-

 

All I can think is that God must love a hot mess, which is good news for me.  The past two weeks have been rather crazy.  I’ve had to make some difficult decisions, two of them in saying no to things and situations that would have been desirable- except that the devil is in the details.

I did get to say yes to the car, which I had been mulling about for awhile, and the pieces came together fortuitously on that one.

But I had to turn down taking in a beautiful black Malinois (still a bit despondent over that one) because Jerry insisted on taking in Lucy last October.  I couldn’t say no to that, especially since we had lost Sheena last May.

Lucy, while she is a sweet dog, is definitely not a Malinois.  Lucy is a hot mess of a willful, disobedient and destructive Beagle mixed with English Bulldog (why, oh why would someone interbreed that combo on purpose?)  Clara, my (1/2 Malinois) sweet pleaser, obeys hand commands and head nods (she’s that intuitive) and Lilo, just knows and follows the routine.  I am still carrying Lucy to her crate in the mornings. She does not go to the crate of her own volition even though she knows she is going to end up there one way or another.

Lucy sleeping

In the words of the philosopher/theologian Mick Jagger: “You can’t always get what you want/You can try sometimes/You just might find/You get what you need.”

Sometimes what I want and what I need are two completely different things.

I discovered last week that even though I’ve been away from the automotive dealer scene for almost fifteen years, just how easy it would be for me to go right back to where I was before (different place, same type of job.)  I was given the opportunity to do that.  I really, really wanted to, but again, the devil is in the details.  Thankfully I came to my senses and realized that 1. working straight commission is no way to live, because you end up living at work, and 2. it would be so easy to go back to that work-as-a-drug power trip euphoria.

The problem with that is when I live that way my entire identity becomes what (and how well) I’m doing versus who I am being.  And that is some scary shit.  That’s what landed me in my doctor’s office with ischemic attacks, bleeds in the scleras of both eyes and uncontrolled high blood pressure. That’s what got me the lecture from my doctor (when I was 30) that I wouldn’t live to see 35 unless I changed my lifestyle.

I made it to 45, so I must be doing something right, but in a rather unexpected and unsolicited job offer I learned something about myself that I don’t particularly like.

I like being in control. I really like it, and if I’m honest with myself I find that’s what’s been pissing me off for so long.  I don’t like being talked down to.  I don’t like having to work within inefficient processes and inane policies that I don’t have the authority to change.  I don’t like being held responsible for bad outcomes that I had no hand in creating- and that I don’t have the authority to fix.  I don’t like being controlled by people who shouldn’t be in the positions they’re in.  I don’t like being in a position where challenging the status quo is an exercise in futility.

The bad thing is that in any environment where one has to deal with people, all of the noxious roadblocks to harmonious living, good business, and successful outcomes listed above are right there, wherever one may go.  So it’s better to deal with the devil you know than to buy into a whole ‘nother demon who may be even worse.

Red_Guy_1

I remember reading somewhere that the devil can be in all the things you really, really want.  It sort of reminds me of when Satan tempted Jesus with all the kingdoms of the world- that somehow selling your soul is worth all the stuff you get in exchange.

I really don’t want to make deals with the devil.

While it’s not good for me to be the one in charge, it’s also not good for me to play the whipping post.  If only I could avoid either extreme.  I’ve been doing “whipping post” for way too long, which is what made my out of the blue offer look so attractive.

whipping post

Maybe somewhere along the line I went from brash hard ass to completely losing my voice (in a figurative way) and that’s another vexing place to be.

sideeffects

 

I have to wonder at all these TV ads for various prescription meds.   There are a lot of them- especially the ones for rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis- that actually say in their disclaimers that using that drug can lead to death.  I think I’d rather deal with  joint pain and skin rash.  The last time I checked, stiff and inflamed joints and/or unsightly skin are just a tad bit less severe than death.  Of course you have to weigh the risks vs. benefits when you decide whether or not to take a certain medication, but I try to steer clear of the ones where “death” is listed as a possible side effect.  I’m not a fan of “occasional bleeding from the eye sockets” or “prolonged anal itching” either.

pills

I know that the trial lawyers are always trolling about to strike it big on the pharmaceutical companies because someone dies (or is somehow maimed)  from a side effect of a drug.  There’s always a commercial on telling people they can get compensation if their son’s ADHD meds gave him titties, or if the pelvic mesh or the artificial hip gives out, or if that pesky vision loss brought on by gratuitous use of ED meds just won’t go away.

viagra-side-effects-300x265

Speaking of rides, I am enjoying mine immensely.  I am quite impressed with the Corolla so far.  Usually I know pretty well what I will and won’t like from the build sheet and tech specs.

14corolla

This car doesn’t really scream “mom sedan” like the older Corollas.  I had a 1998 (that was the last Corolla I had) that I really liked- but it was a bit on the frumpy side.  That’s why I just had to have the 2000 Celica when it came out.  I did take a moment to drool over the Scion FRS while I was at the dealer, but I need a four door, and I really don’t want to attract the attention of law enforcement.  This Corolla is about the same size as the older Camrys and is quite a bit larger than the Yaris, but it still doesn’t feel like a land yacht.  The steering and suspension are a lot more responsive than the Yaris (not a surprise there) and it doesn’t get blown around in the wind like the Yaris did.

The freaky thing about this car is the electronics.  It has navigation and Bluetooth and all the toys (which I am still learning) and those things are pretty fun.

Of course I am weird in how I buy cars.  I know pretty much exactly what I want before I even contact a dealer, and I know pretty much what I’m willing to pay.  I know the tech specs – all that stuff about suspensions, transaxles, engine displacement, torque, horsepower, etc. – and features better than most salespeople, although the navigation and smartkey options are new to me.

I’ve always appreciated the four cylinder sports car- along the lines of the ’83 VW GTI  or the 2000 Celica, both of which I can still smack myself for trading off- but in practical application I’ve had more four cylinder econoboxes and mom sedans.

I think I’ve found an interesting compromise here.

clockwork heart

I’ve always admired the art of clockwork.

I was a holdout on analog watches (watches with actual moving pieces inside them- and imagine it- hands!) for a long time.  I wore an old windy-type analog watch (and that old Timex from 1970-whatever still works) for many years even when digital watches were easy to get.  I still have a nice Fossil analog watch I wear on occasion, although it has a quartz battery movement which has fewer moving pieces and is more accurate than traditional clockwork, and doesn’t need winding.

There’s something to be said for the representation of time as movement, because time does move.  A metronome moves (at least the traditional ones do) back and forth keeping time as it moves, and as the rhythm of music moves it keeps time.  There’s something about that tick-tick-tick of a conventional metronome that is comforting and maddening at the same time.

Metronome

Even with my bad coordination I could play music.  As a bass player – and this has been a very long time ago- it was infinitely important to feel the rhythm and play along with the drummer.  Drummers are generally sort of weird people- but perhaps that’s because they are in tune with natural rhythm more than most.  I don’t claim to understand it, but regardless of the instrument, the rhythm has to be there first, a skeleton to clothe with the melodies and harmonies and chords.

Although I did enjoy playing bass, it got to be too painful for my hands and wrists and shoulders with the joint damage I have.  I am a singer- the voice is still there- though I don’t use it much anymore.  I learned a long time ago that it doesn’t matter if a woman has a good voice if she doesn’t have the body or the stage presence to go along with it.  I might enjoy singing, but there’s no way in hell I could ever make a living doing it.  There’s no visual to go along with the auditory.  I gave up on that a long time ago too.  I can sing in church.  That’s good enough, and it keeps me out of trouble.

metallica

Dudes do metal better than chicks anyway.

The coolness of Metallica aside, right now I’m fried.  Fried in so very many ways that I can’t see daylight.

burnout1

I don’t like admitting weakness, but it’s harder and harder to keep up that “iron guts” faςade these days.

I’ve been reading a book (The Joshua Code by O. S. Hawkins) that gives some commentary and encourages one to memorize a Bible verse per week in each of its 52 chapters.  This week’s verse is John 11:35, which is the shortest verse in the Bible-  “Jesus wept.”

There are times that for the love of God I wish I could weep.  Sometimes I think the reason why I find it so incredibly difficult to cry is that I’m afraid once I get started that the tears won’t stop.  I may be an emotional desert, but when it does rain it pours.  Worse yet for me, the tears come largely unbidden, without any kind of reason, and  are virtually impossible to control.

As if control were everything?  As if I have control over anything?

It’s curious that in my own personal economy, showing emotion=weakness.  I don’t like to be seen as fragile, human or vulnerable even though I know good and damned well I am all of the above.

Maybe that’s why I’d rather sing.  It’s sort of a stealthy way of showing emotion, after all- unless I’m singing something that for some reason sets off the tears- and that happens too.

corolla

Oh, and my new ride just came in.  2014 Corolla S Plus.  Black metallic, black interior…

I wasn’t going to do it.  Until I discovered just how feasible it is.  It helps not having a credit rating that’s in the toilet. I’m going tonight to drive it and hopefully get paperwork, etc. done.  There’s nothing wrong with my Yaris (and getting a new car wasn’t entirely my idea) but having pretty much the same drivetrain I had in my Celica (which was a 1.8L 5 speed manual) in a sedan is going to be fun.  Especially because this is a VVTi 1.8L 6 speed manual, which to the non-techie means I gain about 40 HP over what I have in the Yaris (Cliff’s notes- more power!).  With every possible toy known to man, except for the automatic, which I absolutely don’t want anyway.  From what I see on the build sheet this car was custom built for the 13%.

* 13% of American drivers prefer manual transmissions, which means we generally don’t get many options when compared with the 87% who for some whacked out reason don’t like to shift when they drive.

I’m only going to live once, and it’s not like it’s a Porsche.  It’s a Corolla…as in mom sedan, but with a bit of a twist.  If I’d really wanted to go over the edge I’d have gone for the Scion FR-S.  But I need the 4 doors, have a hard time seeing out of something that sits that low to the ground, and I don’t want to be cop bait.

fr-s

Tempting, but not very practical.

More on the new ride later- the Corolla- after I get to drive it.

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