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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Leave Them Kids Alone

TAB w/the adorbs yet evil Ralfie
The Amazing Bob is 16.5 years older than me. In turn, I’m 16.5 years younger than him. Neat trick, nicht wahr?

We met when I was 27 to his 44 years on this small blue Earth. Now, I didn’t know that he was that much older — I figured he was, at most, ten years ahead. My most awesome Honey Pie was a free spirited, long haired, trim and gorgeous hippy freak and totes didn’t look his age. By the time I cut him in half and counted his rings (about five days after meeting) I was rockin’ a crush, an obsession, that’d make Orpheus' passion for Eurydice look like puppy love.

TAB wondered, what would a kid want with an old dog like me? For my part, I couldn’t imagine a fabulous, suave, man-of-the-world wanting to rattle and canoodle with a snot nosed brat like me.

Romance happens.

My parents were, naturally, concerned about the gulf between our ages. Hells, TAB’s just six years younger than Vati. That inspired some serious discomfort in the old man.

Here’s the thing though — I was 27 not 15 and had already been through a ringer or six. I surely wasn’t a paragon of maturity BUT me and my lovely battle scars were doin’ OK. I was a sensible-ish, strong young bee and TAB was no Svengali.

Imagine though, if you will, TAB and I meeting when I was 15 and he 32. You know what? We may have been warm for each others forms and enjoyed slingin’ a little conversational hash but I’ll guaran-damn-tee you that it wouldn’t have gone beyond that. Warum? I may’ve looked mature at 15 but I was still a child. My crushes back then were on 17 year old boys who seemed SO much more mature and handsome than my fellow sophomores.

TAB at 32, recently back from Nam and in college, was dating his French teacher. Yep, we were just naturally all over that age and experience appropriateness business.

So, wut up with these dodgy sorts — you know, the wombats in their 20s and 30s who go after young teens? I’ve actually known two men like this. What these two sad miscreants had in common was extreme insecurity. I’m guessing they looked on their young targets as sweetly nonthreatening and nonjudgmental. Predator and prey. Priest and penitent. Employer and employee. Teacher and tenderfoot. Unequal. Unbalanced.

I surely hope Gordon’s young bride eventually embraced herself — became more than a subsidiary of her older beau and then husband. Maybe she did after the seventh or eighth bairn popped outta the chute.

The other King of Insecurity? I believe he ended up marrying a woman around his own age — a fellow engineer even. Possibly his dalliance with predatory behavior was anomalous. Hope.

Stats found on the National Center for Victims of Crime site:
Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that:
1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse
**snip**
Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized
Sadly unsurprising.

Another Brick in the Wall Part II — Pink Floyd

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Smart?

While waiting for The Amazing Bob to finish his cardiac rehab session, I often pick through the pile of waiting room mags. Mostly they've got Sports Illustrated (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) but occasionally there's a People Mag with pics of beautiful people in beautiful clothing, doing beautiful things.

Yesterday's pile 'o' periodicals contained an actual current People (versus the usual two years past copies)! Emblazoned on the cover was Pamela Smart — the supposed sinister mastermind behind the 1990 murder of her husband, Gregg.

She’s accused of seducing William Flynn, when he was 15 and she was 22, and threatening to stop having sex with him unless he killed her husband. Her story is that, when she ended the unfortunate affair — telling Flynn that she wanted to repair the rift in her marriage, he killed her husband in retaliation

Turns out, the boys, now men, who did the deed — held knife to Gregg's throat, shot the killing bullet — are up for parole.

I only mention it but it seems funny (and not in an amusing way) that Flynn, the gunman, the person who pulled the trigger, is up for parole but Pam Smart, who wasn’t even on the scene, will never, ever have the chance of freedom.

Most of the press have depicted Pam Smart as a Machiavellian mastermind, yanking poor little “Billy” Flynn’s delicate strings, manipulating him an and his murderous crew to do her bidding.
Pamela Smart’s diabolical plan to have her 16-year-old lover, William “Billy” Flynn, kill her husband was immortalized in the 1995 Nicole Kidman movie To Die For
She’s Becky Sharp on meth and steroids, an Elena Ceausescu in training, Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil without the dough or title. She’s Svengali in pumps and Maybelline.

Huh. I wonder where reality is in this mess.

I only mention it but:
Pamela Smart has consistently denied any role in her husband’s murder and, unlike the admitted killers, refused to plea bargain in exchange for her freedom. She would not, will not, and cannot admit to acts she did not commit, the dilemma of all innocent people. Guilty people usually try to make the best deal for themselves, as happened in this case. Two are already free and the other two–the boys who did the actual killing and confessed to it–will be out in a few years. All will be able to reclaim their lives. But Pam, who was not even there and denies all involvement, is sentenced to spend the rest of her natural life in prison. What’s wrong with this picture?
Whatever the case — THEY did the deed but will be free one day — possibly quite soon.

Pam? Not so much.
Gregg Smart was shot to death at the couple’s Derry condo. According to testimony, a friend of Flynn’s held a knife to Smart’s throat, and Flynn – after asking God for forgiveness – fired a .38-caliber revolver. Two other friends were in a getaway car.
After asking God for forgiveness he pulls the trigger? What amazingly warped bullshit! Did the kid's lawyer suggest he say this to make him look like a poor, god fearing, victim of an horrific temptress? Did bringing god into the equation make Flynn's crime more palatable to the jury?

I guess so. In response to being asked how they felt about Flynn being transferred into a work release program:
Gregg Smart's family approved of the move for Flynn. "If they're going to be out next year, they need to get acclimated back into society," Gregg's brother, Dean J. Smart, tells PEOPLE.
and
"I do not think she deserves to be set free," Dean Smart tells PEOPLE. "I do believe that she's guilty, and I do believe that it's completely fair."
I'm curious, is your belief supported by reality or just the need to exact permanent punishment and revenge? And what of the actual killers? You’re fine with them walking free?

At worst, the saddest take, is that Smart’s serving a life sentence for making a profoundly stupid choice of bed partner. Wow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

You’ve just GOT to be kidding me!

There I was at 4:30 this morning — tippy tapping away at the computer, laboring over a few layout/design projects for work (yes. I’m a morning person. shut up), when The Amazing Bob comes into view, signing sorta, kinda frantically.

Wut up? What is my Honey Pie trying to convey so early in the AM?

There was a family of FOUR raccoons on our porch, snarfing up our poor Rocco’s brekkie. Where’s Rocco? Smart boy that he is, he’d decamped — beat feet to less crazily populated environs.

When our skunk visitor comes by, Rocco stays put. He and Flower get along fine — she doesn’t spray and he shares his food.

The raccoons are a whole ‘notha beastie though. They’re like the drunk footballers of our porch animal kingdom. One is manageable and cute even as long as he’s not being overly bold — pulling the old B&E. Two can be a bit worrisome since they don’t necessarily play well with each other let alone any of my other porch customers.

Four?! We’ve never had an entire marauding gang of raccoons before. Word must have gotten out on the Fury Bandit Telegraph. “The broad down on Wall Street? You know, that little cottage? Yeah, she’s a REAL soft touch. Let’s rumble!”
Two at the door waiting...waiting

The boys polished off Rocco’s leftovers and then, THEN, they came and stood at the door — the lot of them — asking for more. They waited. Brazen motherfuckers, they are.

TAB told me to STAY INSIDE. Yes, I had thoughts of bringing them out more kibble and Friskies Mixed Grill. Rocco hadn’t left THAT much on his plate and there were four of these fat beggers at my door.

Ah...no. TAB put his foot down.

Eventually the band of masked brothers moved on and Rocco returned. Naturally, I had to give him another dish 'o' eats and a ton of pats and skritches. Poor thing had to have been traumatized or annoyed or something.

Where was our little princess Coco though all this? Excitedly watching all the action from her window perch. Oh look — bedlam, uproar, mayhem, adventure! Later, after the sun rose and everyone’d moved on, she managed to break through the screen at her front window station. Oni, who’d been having his morning cuppa on the veranda, dashed in:
“where’s your cat?”  (she and Rocco look a lot alike — easy to mistake one for the other)
“Dunno, maybe upstairs?”
We opened the front door and in she strolled, easy as you please — as though she makes Breaking and Exiting moves every day.

Sigh — I can’t take all this excitement. Need more coffee. Now please!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Castles Made of Sand

Yesterday Jen and I did something new — we went for our run/ride together. You see, until I get my outrageously spiffy nine speed edge e² I’m a wickedly slow tricyclist and can barely keep up with Speed Demon Jen. Attempting to maintain pace with her (I did pretty well, actually) was a good challenge and great boost to my work out.

My short term goal is to get in fine enough shape that I can go for long distance rides with Hillel once the e² is here. Long term target is the 175 mile Hebridean Trail.

I can do this — oh yes I can!

After our joint run/ride (which will now be a weekly thing) Oni, Jen and I drove up to Revere Beach to view the Sand Sculpting Festival results.
Awesome if mostly comic con/Game of Thrones/sci fi-ish style. Fine by me but it would’ve been cool to see other styles. Maybe a little Helena Bangert or Martijn Rijerse. I wonder how I could get into something like that — it looks like a ton of fun. Must unleash the google-foo and research.

The last time I was at Revere Beach was in the early ‘80s. Back then it was a rocky, bouldery thing with just a thin strip of sand. And it was always jam-packed. Yes it was a relatively easy blue line ride away BUT it wasn’t the divinely peaceful scene that I was looking for — not with Kelly’s and all the traffic on Revere Beach Boulevard RIGHT THERE. When I’d get an ocean jones back then I’d, instead, take the commuter rail up to Manchester (now Manchester-by-the-Sea *sniff*), to Singing Beach.

Money doesn't talk, it swears.
~Bob Dylan

I was stunned, yesterday, to see the incredible change. Revere Beach is now a wide, sandy thing with the main thoroughfare well back from the seawall. There’s a long island of lawn and trees separating them too. OK, there’s also three tall, posh looking condo complexes too. Its funny — walk a few blocks inland and there’s the old, tightly packed, down at heel Revere. All the money’s along the beach.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Abandoned By the Sandman

At what point do you just give up on sleep? I surrendered to wakefulness at 1:30 this morning.

What’s the slumber dearth about this time?

This. I’ve a new Facebook friend — an ex-military dude who’s spectacularly sensible, acerbic, witty and smart. Fab, right? Yes indeedy BUT now a whole flood of memories, questions and insecurities have zoomed back to the surface.

Warum? Well, there's this here massive coincidence thingie goin' on. You see, he knew my beloved BFF Kevin. Kevin who’s been gone for 23 years now. Kevin who was a Hebrew and Arabic linguist with the Navy.

Incredible — astounding even. Nicht wahr?

I asked New-Facebook-Friend, John, to please tell me any stories, snippets of recall, evanescent whatevs he might have. You see, apart from a couple of college pals who hadn’t seen or spoken with Kevin post school, I don’t know anyone who actually knew him.

After Kevin croaked, I made no effort to keep in touch with his mother or his pal Perry — Perry who took such astoundingly wonderful loving care of Kevin during those last horrifically, wretched years.

Why not? Eh, I was pretty much flat out devastated. That and, upon walking in the door after taking the train back home from his funeral in Harrisburg, I got a call from my sister Celeste — Daddy’d just gone into the hospital with a blood clot in his lungs. Things looked bad — we had to get down to Pittsburgh STAT.

I had hearing back then so I was the one to call, inform and calm Grandpa, Daddy’s father, and Mary Ann, his sister. I was also the family go-to person for the docs, nurses and surgeons — poor things. I was in imperious, demanding overdrive.

Pop had made it clear, telling us quite specifically that he was ready to die. Well boyhowdy I wasn’t about to put up with that shit. No I wasn’t. I yelled at the poor man laying in the hospital bed — yelled.
“Don’t you fucking dare even think of giving up and checking out. Kevin died on me last week and I WILL NOT have you croaking on me this week. No sir, that will not fly.”
Celeste and I worked together to boost Pop’s spirits. Her with humor, me with more of my boot camp-ish abuse. He pulled through but it was def rough going. After a couple of weeks, he was out of the woods and on the mend. Celeste and I voyaged back to Boston, our jobs and our own health dust ups.

I thought about getting in touch with Perry but was afraid that he wouldn’t want to hear from me. Why? I believe I was experiencing rabid, foaming-at-the-brain insecurity. Amongst Kevin’s family — his mother, sister and brother as well as Perry who’d been with him through the worst of everything — I felt like a distant, superfluous bit of nothing. I felt as though maybe the intensity of our friendship, our bond had been all in my mind.

Self-doubt? No thanks, I'm full up.

Back to new friend John though — he hasn’t written back with any Remembrances of Kevin Past. Quite likely that’s due to him being busy or just not remembering much of anything about him. Or not. Doubt creeps in at midnight while I’m trying to fall back into dreamland.

When Kevin was explaining how he came to contract that fuckwadded, asshole, lethal strain of Hepatitis, he told me this — there’d been an emergency and he’d been flown over to the Middle East in the middle of the night and had not been given all the proper travel shots. You know, the ones to insure that he wouldn’t pick up some fuckwadded, asshole, killer strain of something or other.

I was flabbergasted...and shit. Who’s responsible!? We’ll sue! (yeah, like that'd undo the damage //snort//)

His response was that some underling type dude who had it in for him had rigged the system such that the midnight crisis flight happened.

We’ll sue!

No can do — you see, the navy was providing his health care. They were hunting a cure and making sure he’d live as long and as comfortably as possible. This being pre-Affordable Care Act, if he sued the Navy he’d lose his health care, the hope of a possible cure and any shred of a fantasy of comfort and slightly extended time on this small blue marble of ours.

But...but...I want revenge on this vile shitstain who arranged for your zero hour, immunization-free drop into a war zone!

It’s alright, Kevin said, I got him transferred to the middle of nowhere in Alaska.

At the time. the late ‘80s, Alaska seemed as far off and hostile as the moon. That’d have to do.

Ex-military, new friend John who knew Kevin way back then? He lives in Alaska.

Outrageously huge coincidence? Probably. Possibly. I wonder.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Righteous Sister

Today I give you a brill rant, forwarded to me by a friend. Y’all just know that I love a righteously inspired screed and this is exactly that.
This rant has been simmering and now it has to be vented.  Remember the Statue of Liberty?  Anyone?  How about reading what it says.  Remember how YOUR family came to this country?  Unless you are Native American, how about checking your freaking family tree.  
Remember how we are supposed to be all about PROTECTING LIFE — especially the smallest and most helpless of us?!  These are BABIES and CHILDREN at our borders, you heartless pricks.  Just because they are no longer in utero doesn't mean they deserve any less impassioned protection. 

This is AMERICA!  We are better than this unconscionable rhetoric and — God help us —  blocking buses of innocent CHILDREN from our protection.  I don't give a damn what 'party' you belong to.  I don't give a rat's ass what idiot excuse you conjure up (‘these babies are all a plot to take over the country‘ — as if they are robot soldiers looking for covert opportunities). 
GET A FUCKING SOUL. 

Check for whatever slice of morality is left in your rotted corpse of humanity.  And this is directed especially at those "Christians" in this fetid mix of evil — check your Bible — get the audio version because clearly some of you can't read or write.  Jesus talked about children.  He didn't say anything about abandoning them and leaving them to the wolves. 

Here's an idea — think we have too many people in the USA and we cannot possibly make room for these babies?  YOU can be first in line to head back to where your family came from to make
room for them.  You spineless, reeking, privileged, self-absorbed subhuman scum
 And then I found this in my Twitter feed:
The Stupidest Man On The Internet Ran A Bogus Story That Shut Down A Plan To Help Border Children. Hooray!

In a wee nutshell, a private religious charity group had plans to purchase a run down, beat to shit Texas hotel in order to house immigrant children. Not only would this get the kids out of federal care, it would be a great jump to the Weslaco, Texas economy:
Hidalgo County leaders, including Judge Ramon Garcia and Pct. 1 Commissioner A.C. Cuellar, have been proponents of the project.
“I think we could use something like that in Weslaco,” Cuellar said. “Anytime that humanitarian problems happen I’m interested, especially when it involves kids.”
He added that the project, which BCFS (Baptist Child & Family Services) said will employ 650 people and have an annual economic impact of some $50 million, would be a major development boon.
But did the syphilitic weasels of this “right” wing bullshit brigade pay attention to, ya know, reality? Fuck no! They ran with this as their headline: “FEDS TO OPEN $50 MILLION RESORT for ILLEGAL CHILDREN – Complete With Tennis Courts, Sauna & Pools.”

Fox Propaganda for the Easily Gulled News ran with this vile, whopper filled fiction and now BCFS has backed out. These brain dead skanks, in their attempts to punish poor scared children for their heinous crime of existence, have managed to screw the Hidalgo County economy out of a much needed economic boost. And yeah, it's a huge, damn shame that BCFS didn't have the courage to withstand the slings and arrows of outrageously rabid idiocy.

If I've not said it enough already, if you're not gonna follow the teachings of Christ, stop calling yourself a Christian. You're not.

Go to the Wonkette link for more. That is, IF you can stomach it on this beautiful Saturday morning.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy Dance Time

This has been a very good week. How so, you ask? Two biggies came down:

1) Yesterday The Amazing Bob and I saw his tremendously warm, handsome, smart, heart dude, Doc Drachman at MGH. The way things stood, after this past November’s scary, unsuccessful procedure  was that my beautiful TAB would need MORE open heart if his circulation, energy and general health didn’t improve. I allowed that, after the last time they’d jimmied his ticker, he’d had cardiac rehab and that had worked a wicked treat. Sadly, his new found, puppy-ish health was derailed by a nasty-ass, protracted run in with prostate crap. *sigh*

So then, I says to Doc D and his awesome assistant healer types, I says if the goal is to get him healthy and keep him off the cutter’s table, how’s about we put him through that rehab shit again?

It involved jumping through a lot of insurance and hospital organizational hoops but they made it so.

We’re half way through the four month program and our, awesome TAB’s been doing fab. The rehab folk increase his work out at each session. Tremendous, nicht wahr?

Wednesday’s appointment with the good Doc was a biggie. If TAB wasn’t in appreciably better shape than in November, well, knives would be sharpened, spreaders would shined up. I suspect this was the fuel in Tuesday night’s sleeplessness.

In any case Heart Man says TAB’s GREAT (I knew that) and we don’t need to go in again until next year for his regular, annual check up. YEA, YIPPEE!!! We are OFF the hook!

2) Next up in good news-ville — ya know how I’ve been salivating over that incredible folding, nine speed, recumbent trike — the edge e² ?

I’ve elaborate dreams of triking the Hebrides. I want to ride from Vatersay in the south up to and beyond Stornaway in the north. I want to trike around the Isle of Skye, from the Quiraing down to the Black Cuillen and more. Farther. MORE!

I’m just aching for this.

Well, boyhowdy and ZOMG, a Fairy Godfather has hit me with a load of pixie, magic dust and I am now in line for my very own, awesome ! TAB and I went in to our local bicycle emporium, the wonderful, family owned Anderson Bicycle, yesterday. Paul, Owner Guy, called the company down in Tennessee and put me in queue. This is my 56th birthday prezzie and I’ll be the 56th person to own one. Way cool!

Each trike is made to order so there’s a three month wait BUT I should get it (need a name for it don’cha think?) in October — still plenty of brill weather before I’ve got to suit up in Arctic gear. Hillel, a riding fiend, won’t have put his steed up for the winter yet so he and I will go on some local expeditions together — he knows ALL the best routes!

I am 99 kinds of psyched and then some.

JUST LOOK AT THIS FOLD ACTION!!!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On This Day

Mother and me
My mother was born today in 1927. She quit this good green earth on October 31, (Halloween — how dramatic of her!), 2012.

What else happened on July 17th?

In 1402 Zhu Di, the Yongle Emperor, assumed the throne over China’s Ming Dynasty.

On July 17, 1429 Charles VII (AKA Charles Le Bien-servi, AKA Charles le Victorieux) was crowned King of France. Turns out the old boy was more than a bit of a shit:
He owed Joan of Arc a great debt for her aid in breaking the siege of Orleans and getting a significantly symbolic coronation, but he stood by and did nothing when she was captured by the enemy.
 How very Republican/Tea Party of him to leave a soldier to suffer the tender mercies of the capturing enemy.

In 1717 (wow, eerie, 7/17/1717!) King George I of Great Britain sailed down the Thames with a full up barge of 50 musicians (PAR-TAY!). Supposedly this is where Handel’s Water Music got it’s first play.

The Spanish Civil War began on this date in 1936.

More recently, on July 17th in 1983 I began working for a Boston printing and copying company. It was there that I eventually met The Amazing Bob, Jen and Oni — mia famiglia. On that very first day though, I was introduced to Hillel — we were fast friends/big buds/cookin’-with-gas comrades from the get go. That was 31 (*gasp*) years ago.

Tonight we’ll, likely, meet at The Field, spend too much time and dosh at Rodney’s Bookstore and then on to Mary Chung’s and her spectacular Dun Dun Noodles (YUM!). You know, the ushe.