Sunday, September 27, 2009

the promised land of broken promises

Ah California, land of broken dreams, and a multitude of runaways. Beautiful state, there's no denying. You've got the Pacific ocean there, with it's attendant shoreline, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which includes Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower forty eight and deserts. The entire natural spectrum can pretty much be experienced in the one state. But to live there is prohibitively expensive. How, I wonder, can anyone afford to live there? I'm watching my pennies here and a small well maintained house in southern CA will cost upwards of half a million, easy. Half a million is a modest assumption, by the way. Three quarters of a million would probably be more realistic. To make matters worse, the tax burden placed on its inhabitants is one of the worse in the nation. An article on MSN's money page stated:

Steer clear: Three states are particularly tough on retirees. Not only do they fully tax most pensions and other retirement income, they also have high top tax brackets: California (9.55% on income less than $1 million)

The grapes of wrath, indeed. Only in reverse, I'm thinking.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Country for Old Men

One of my favorite movies is No Country for Old Men. It's certainly not a movie I would recommend to anyone, due to the violence and cynical resignation voiced by some of the characters. "Can't stop what's coming," one of them says. All the players are wonderfully cast. Tommy Lee Jones as the world weary, west Texas Sheriff. Javier Bardem as the hit man/psychopath. Josh Brolin as Llewelyn Moss, a doomed young man, who following a blood trail, arrives at the wrong place at the wrong time and a young woman born in Scotland, Kelly MacDonald as Llewelyn's wife, Carla Jean Moss.
The movie is based on a book written by Cormac McCarthy. I've read that Mr. McCarthy, at one time, lived in El Paso, Tx. I don't think it's too much of a leap to believe his residing in El Paso helped to flesh out the characters residing in the pages of his book and of the Coen's subsequent adaption. Even this movie, is a sanitized portrayal of the current violence on the border towns of Texas, Arizona and California. The U.S. finds itself under siege by the drug lords south of our border. This war is fueled by a violent and evil, porcine greed. In my opinion (you're free to have your own) it would be good if the U.S. would cease policing an unwilling world and begin to police it's own porous borders.

Caution: The following clip starts out tame enough but concludes in a frightening, R rated manner.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

taurus, the ford

I've spent about a thousand dollars on an old car in the last two weeks. Man that stings. The last three hundred plus was spent at a Ford dealership so it would pass inspection. The first seven hundred plus was spent at a not so Good***r, apparently. It was running poorly, so taking it in to them, they suggested plugs, wires, oil change...etc. Makes sense, I think, so I tell them to go ahead. It seems to work, until it doesn't. Who knows, maybe they damaged something when they were working on it, or it was the coil pack in the first place, or maybe I've been a bad person and things needed to be balanced out somehow. All I know is, it was running really bad and my inspection sticker was up this month and it sure wasn't going to pass like that. The Ford dealership said it was a coil pack, which is pretty much the same as what used to be known as a distributor cap. It's purring like a cat now. A cat that's had about a eleven hundred dollars worth of cat food to eat. As well she well she should.
I'm not going to talk about my old Isuzu pick up now; it would just ruin the mood.

Monday, September 14, 2009

another monday

Another bruiser. Life, sometimes, is very much like the juggernaut. A crushing, bruising, overwhelming force. The word juggernaut, itself is a strong masculine sounding word. It is for this reason, I think, that movie critics like to use the word in describing movies of a type. It is also used to describe a cart used in Hindu religious festivals. Supposedly devotees were known to be crushed beneath its wheels. Life can be like the juggernaut. Be careful for the wheels, fellow travelers.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


To borrow a phrase, "A day, that will live, in infamy." A day that the U.S. changed and sadly, not for the better. A day that the world changed and not for the better. Three thousand people dying in the twin towers, forty people dying on flight 93, sixty seven on flight 77 and one hundred twenty five at the Pentagon.  Let's not forget the secret victims of a post 9-11world who died, ironically, as a result of taking alternate forms of transportation, trying to avoid the airways or taking their own lives in response to an emotional turmoil, too great to bare. And God, lets not forget the soldiers, men and women, pressed into action, in answer to a senseless, brutal act of murderous insanity.
September 11, 2001: The fires go unquenched, and have spread around the world.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

north wind

Weather forecasters are prognosticating the north wind will make its debut this weekend in north Texas. The south wind, haling from the Gulf of Mexico, is not going to take it lying down it seems. Like two brawny pugilists, meeting in the ring, the fronts circle one another, testing the middle, unwilling to commit. Rain has begun to fall.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

lie berry

I was a strange child, this I know. Books, for me, providing a sense of self, a companionable presence in a life that was composed of a self imposed isolation. Many days were spent hiding out, traipsing through fields of fiction; taking far flung trips of the mind. Then as now, I'm something of a bookworm.  Although, I'm not currently reading like I used to. This being due to the fact that my life is in the merciless maw of trying to make a living. Trying to accumulate a few modest possessions that I can call my own. A dusting of snow has fallen on the roof, like a forewarning of my future. I'm compelled to stock the pantry with something enough, to see me through the winter. 
Used to, I could walk through the stacks at the library and I would get a sense that there was something beyond what I was seeing. A door that wasn't seen but existed all the same. A door that, if I could find, and walking through, I'd disappear from this world of flesh, blood and need into a world of...who knows what. Like Enoch, I would be not.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Forgotten Facts About Washington

And here we have a painting by Norman Rockwell. Painted in 1932, I believe. Breathing life into an almost mythical icon of American history. George has it bad, it seems. The young lovers look to be planning a little midnight rendezvous.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

monday, monday

Many of us have a three day weekend to look forward to.  A day off from work for adults is very much like Christmas day for children. I can remember waiting in an almost anticipatory agony for Christmas day. Likewise an extra day off from work feels very much the same way. And when that extra day off also happens to be a Monday...well magic happens. The magic begins to unfold late afternoon on Sunday. Normally, there's a prickly accompaniment  to our Sunday afternoons going into evening. This being the knowledge that there's a Monday morning hurtling toward us. Not this weekend. O no. This weekend Monday has been neutered. And really, there's nothing quite so nice as a long Sunday evening basking in the knowledge that Monday is also a day of rest.