Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Oh Goody, Another Presidential Election

Maybe it's age related but having seen a few presidential races, they no longer seem significant to me. As always, both candidates are idiots because that's how our political system works. Nobody who's qualified to be a good politician wants any part of the job and, conversely, anybody who wants political power is manifestly unqualified to be in possession of same.

So, one or the other idiot will win the election and then he'll proceed to make countless mistakes which may or may not contribute to the mess our nation has become. He may or may not get caught with his hands, feet, or other anatomical protuberances in a socially or morally inappropriate place and four years from now we'll all get together to decide whether or not we want to elect yet another idiot or stick with the same idiot for the next four years. Et cetera, ad nauseam.

The simple truth is that the President of the United States, who is generally considered to be the single most powerful man in the world, is powerless to change anything or, for that matter, do any lasting damage.

We may or may not have a worldwide depression, things will get better, worse, or stay about the same.

I plan on hanging around for as long as I can, to keep an eye on things, but I've long since outgrown the naive belief than my opinion, or my vote, is going to make the slightest difference in the way things are; any more than a single iron molecule could alter the course of a battleship.

Will I vote? Yes, probably. Have I picked a candidate? Yes, but my wife likes the other guy so we may simply agree to abstain together.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Maybe Having Kids Is A Bad Idea After All

When my daughter was five years old her mother Karen (her maiden name was Knight) and I divorced. We only had one car and I left it with her when she asked me to leave. I took only my musical equipment and clothing. I didn't hire myself a lawyer for the divorce, I hired a lawyer for Karen and paid him in advance. She got the house, everything in, on or around it, the car and custody of our daughter Catrina. I think Karen managed to break even on the car but she sold the house for enough to clear several thousand dollars in profit and liquidated everything in/on/around the house in a garage sale.

When Catrina was about 13 she decided she wanted to live with me. After a protracted battle, Karen capitulated and allowed her to come live with me on condition that I not ask her to pay child support. I couldn't have cared less about the money but I did insist that Karen sign a waver on the child support I was paying her. Karen did, in fact, sign a temporary child support waiver. A few short years later, my second wife, Kathy, and Catrina declared open war on one another. They refused to compromise, or even discuss their differences. At my wits end, I finally decided that my only option was to send Catrina back to her mother.

Catrina moved out, Karen rescinded the temporary waiver, and the state promptly came after me for back child support for the entire time Catrina lived with me. Of course there was no way I could pay it and I was self employed so they couldn't garnish my wages. I asked Karen to please do something about this. She agreed it was unfair but insisted there was nothing she could do.

After the shop closed I worked at one or another entry level job for the next few years and the state always took a little out of my meager check to apply to my back child support which, by this time, with penalties and interest, had grown to around $26,000.00. Karen agreed it was unfair but continued to insist there was nothing she could do about it. I finally started taking odd and part-time jobs that paid cash and that's how things stood until a few months ago when I decided to see if a lawyer could do anything to help me. I'd tried to hire a lawyer on several occasions over the years but they'd all refused me the minute I said the words "child support". This time I got lucky.

Linda Bayless, a brilliant lawyer from Kingsland Texas, acquired the records from the state of Texas, did some research and advised me that, in fairness, I owed Karen about $3,000 if you subtracted the child support she was morally (if not legally) obligated to pay me from the child support I owed her. She then made one phone call and the $26,000.00 the state was demanding suddenly dropped to $10,000.00. Karen, of course, declined to concede that she owed me any child support for the time Catrina lived with me so $10,000.00 it remains today. She'll get it eventually, but I'm in no hurry to accelerate the process. Am I wrong to feel this way?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thus begins a chapter of our life.

On Tuesday the fifteenth of July at around 2 PM, quietly, in her sleep, my mother died.

Thus ends a chapter of our life.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Perfect One-Night Stand

Years ago, over a dozen years into a marriage that remained stubbornly dysfunctional despite our best efforts, I met a nice lady while I was playing a gig in a beer joint. All evening, during my breaks, we talked, flirted and laughed together. After the show was over and my equipment was all packed away I sat with her until closing time. Just before the bar closed she told me she'd been separated from her husband for six months and wasn't interested in an emotional attachment but would be delighted to have sex with me. I was utterly stunned. Here was a confident, mature, uninhibited, attractive woman who wasn't looking for a serious relationship, didn't have a hidden agenda, was totally free of any emotional tax who wanted to have sex with me. The legendary, perfect one-night stand had suddenly happened to me, of all people. She had her own place right down the street from the bar so I followed her home and... well, it was about as good as two willing and experienced people who don't really know one another could make it. In other words, it wasn't very good. Live and learn.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Now Pronounce You Man and Wife

When I was a child comic books were one of the profound joys in my life. I well recall how pleased I was with the first issue of Spiderman, but that's another story. One of the ads which appeared in the back of almost every comic book I bought in the late fifties and early sixties offered to make anyone an ordained minister for the princely sum of ten dollars. Fast forward to around 2006 when I came across the Universal Life Church on the internet. They looked mysteriously familiar. I can't swear they're the same folks who were in the back of the comic books but, thinking they probably were, feeling nostalgic about it and because it's free these days (instead of being $10), I applied and received my certificate of ordination. I printed it out on card stock, then I carefully reduced the image and printed out another copy for my wallet. A few weeks back, just joking around, I showed the wallet card to some friends and, to my surprise, was asked to perform the wedding ceremony by a young couple I know. I then checked with the courthouse to find out that, yes, I can legally marry people.

Today I performed that ceremony and was profoundly moved by the experience. While freely admitting that my track record with marriage isn't all it could be, I remain a strong believer in the sanctity and power of marriage. I believe that marriage marks the beginning of life's most precious journey. I won't reprint the entire service here, though I may eventually post it to my website, but here are the words which were so powerful that saying them moved me almost to tears.

"By the power of your love for one another, before God and in accordance with the laws of the state of Texas I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now seal your union with a kiss"

I've played the guitar in front of thousands of people without feeling the least bit nervous but officiating over the marriage of two young people with perhaps a hundred onlookers was terrifying and yet exhilarating beyond description. My authenticity as a Reverend may be ethically questionable but this wedding was as real as it gets (and 100% legal in the state of Texas). Life is good, love is wonderful.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Great Castell Kayak Race

I had a very interesting gig last Saturday. My friend Jerialice hired me to run sound for The Great Castell Kayak Race. Entertainment was provided by David Lewis Morgan, David Byboth, Ross Vick of Trueheart and Joe King Carrasco.

David Morgan, David Byboth and Ross Vick all appeared sans-band, with acoustic electric guitars and I was fortunate enough to be permitted to accompany each of them during their performances. I've known David Morgan for a while and have become familiar with most of his songs but I'd never met, or heard, David Byboth or Ross Vick. They each risked having their performance degraded by permitting me to accompany them. Both are powerful and experienced performers with fully developed and complex styles so it was relatively easy for me to 'feel the groove' and blend into the mix though Ross has a love of subtle key changes which add wonderful depth to his songs but were a serious challenge for a cold follower. His chord structures are coherent and exciting so I got a little carried away on a couple of his tunes (sorry Ross).

Joe King Carrasco brought his band and they did a fabulous job. As a genuine Texan-By-Choice I love all the flavors of Texas music which include, though aren't limited to, Country, Rock, Rockabilly, Blues, Bluegrass, Tejano and Conjunto. Joe and his band are a wonderful blend of all these and more. They're accomplished musicians with no protruding egos and in combination their performance manages to be smooth, polished and professional while achieving the seemingly contradictory feat of being high-energy with the sort of slightly jagged edges that make live music so incredibly much more fun than recorded music.

I bought CD's from everyone on stage (except David Morgan who doesn't yet have a CD) and brought them home.

My Mind's Eye by David Byboth

The Road by Trueheart (Ross Vick)

Hot Sun by Joe King Carrasco

Y'all rock on and thanks a million.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Clueless is do-less

Trying to fix a computer for Missy's boyfriend, giving my grandson guitar lessons, trying to learn about blogging software, trying to learn about file servers, playing two-piece gigs with Ely, four piece gigs with Jerry or Fermin, helping Jerialice with sound at her Songwriters in the Round meetings, mowing the Benson's place every week, getting the ezine completed and published, taking care of mom...

Wow, and there's way more on my 'pending projects' list.

If there were three of me I'd be no better off because those other two bastages would be 'cherry picking' all the easy jobs and I'd just get stuck with the scut work.

I wash dishes, do laundry, run errands, shop for groceries, sharpen things (mower blades, axes, hoes, chisels, knives and/or scissors), do much of the cooking, change mom's diapers and try to do the occasional odd job while I'm at it.

Lisa's been after me to hang some grow lights for her African Violets. I think I've got all the hardware bought but I'm still pondering the details of getting it done. Once I feel certain I know what I'm doing, and how I intend to get it done, I get right on it but I do sometimes spend rather a long time thinking it over. Like an artist waiting for the muse, I'm a slightly challenged handyman waiting for a clue.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Time, life and distributions.

The days cascade into one another and I look up once in a while to discover that another week, few weeks, month, few months have passed. It seems impossible, I was only distracted for a few seconds. Where does the time go? Does it swirl away, in a counter-clockwise spiral, into some mysterious rabbit hole? Am I really so terribly late?

Mom's just gotten re-certified for Hospice care. It's somehow very significant to medical people (I don't waste time trying to fathom that); what it means to us is that a nurses aid comes in three days a week and bathes mom (we love our "bath lady"!), a nurse comes in once a week and takes mom's vital signs and. best of all, a social worker drops by about once a month and listens to our troubles. I don't suppose there's much of anything she could do to help us but she listens, she's sympathetic, she commiserates with us and I always feel better afterwards. Lisa was born Catholic so it's probably not a big deal to her but I think maybe I understand how it feels to have gone to confession and "unloaded". I expect Catholic priests and social workers are far more cognizant than I of just how similar their jobs can be. Carol (the social worker) doesn't cross me or mutter words of absolution but the net effect is probably about the same.

One of the fellows on the SATLUG email list insists that we Linux users should all give thanks to saint iGNUcious. My response is "Ok, but first, what distro is he using?".

A friend was complaining about the fact that there are hundreds of different Linux distros making it very difficult to figure out which one is best suited to your needs. My only comment was "Have you bought a car lately?". Too many choices can be awfully confusing but it's vastly superior to the alternative.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hillary Who?

This is a significant day in Texas. Why? Because it's election day and why, you ask, is that significant? Because it means no more canned telephone calls from Hillary on behalf of herself, Bill on behalf of Hillary, Sally Fields on behalf of Hillary, legions of nameless campaign workers on behalf of Hillary and no more glitzy junk mail from the Clinton campaign.

I don't know squat about politics but I'm certain that nothing presented to me by the time honored tradition of media blitz can be trusted. I'll admit that I don't watch television or read newspapers so I don't know whether or not the Clinton campaign has gone the entire distance with their campaign but I do know that I've been awakened at least four times in the last couple of weeks by automated telephone calls in support of Hillary and I foresee many more such calls if she wins the nomination. I'll do whatever I can to prevent that.

Heck, I don't even know (or care) which party I'm registered with but I do have a voter registration card in my wallet and I'm darn well going to use it this evening to vote for whomever is opposite Hillary Clinton (if she's on my ballot) simply because whomever that is hasn't awakened me from a sound sleep in the attempt to promote their campaign and I fully support anyone who runs a peaceful, quiet campaign. I'm not hard to get along with as long as you don't disturb my sleep.

Ok, there are other reasons, like, how can I support a woman who "just lays there" when her spouse in unfaithful? She kept totally quiet in order to distance herself from his indiscretions but she should have thrown his arse out of the White House. Some women keep quiet because they're afraid but I'm pretty sure Hillary isn't afraid.

My wife says "Hillary already had her chance in the White House and she blew it".

I say "If she doesn't lose I'll have to become a campaign worker for the opposition".

Nuff said.