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BY Davey H

12/01 Direct Link

We were rapidly caroming down the home stretch of this insidiously expensive excursion, and wholehearted relief upon leaving New York City was palpable.

The Big Apple had been a harsh, harrowing experience this time, after 8 years – at which time we had stared into Ground Zero’s pit – and many prices had seemed to DOUBLE.

I, for one, was no longer mesmerized.

As inadvisable as driving on this overdeveloped island is – with nowhere to stop and take a whiz – you do it anyway for convenience or distinction, making sure to dodge all those marauding taxis, limos and many a Ford Extinction®.

12/02 Direct Link

SCHOOL DAZE

Hey, hey, whaddya say?!
Let’s go back the other way!

Thus spoke gyrating leggy cheerleaders as they joyously bounced with pom-poms flailing and the megaphone spat obnoxiously loud, poor audio pronouncements of the latest gains:

“Schatzmann to Bussie for a gain of (fill in the blanks) yards."

Yes, gains were measured in yards,
not dollars,
amid the crowd’s hoots and hollers.

We of the non-sports persuasion preferred to hang out under the bleachers, merrily engaged in insouciant repartee, smoking various bitter and/or intoxicating consumables as the band played, our heartbeats not in rhythm with the marching drum corps.

12/03 Direct Link

Brother Steve frequented that front line of drummers, leading them in producing mind-numbing, chest-thumping racket, waxing averse toward iniquitous shenanigans of under-the-bleachers longhairs.

Maybe that’s how he held on to his metronome-like precision all those years: complete disinclination for intoxicants.

Incidentally, he was deaf in one ear.

I don’t think he gave a flying flip about football – one tiny thing we had in common.

NO sport provided goals for us.

Mike P. lived up the street, awkwardly fitting in to our disheveled blue-jeaned clan and lending creative mind-benders to the equation; once gulping Paregoric® from his medicine cabinet before departure.

12/04 Direct Link

Memories of that era are fading fast.

But one foible comes to mind at last, that being the occasion I was chattering with a fellow reveler whilst fishing around in my back pocket, unthinkingly rolling up wads of paper and flinging them off on the ground.

Perchance a glance
And look what was found!
Of all the ills – they were dollar bills!
Then how horror did abound!

That was a wakeup call for this insouciant youth with red slits for eyes, and that should come as little surprise.

Bleached out memories, yes, and I guess I’ll NEVER lobby for cannabis.

12/05 Direct Link

I’ll assume our old tan brick fortress is still standing proudly in that bustling suburb, as are teachers and bleachers.

Many demographic changes occurred after I quit school in 11th grade to pursue a succession of joker jobs, some of which might end up in my unremarkable LinkedIn profile.

Judge Murray Schwartz initiated desegregation proceedings in the late ‘70’s, receiving a bulletproof vest from the FBI due to death threats coming from ignorant cretins.

Younger students struggled through that period of forced change as poor inner city teens were given a shot at better education out in the ‘burbs.

12/06 Direct Link

Now what? Our burgeoning alma mater went from idyllic suburban haven to social experiment, at least in the eyes of some inside observers.

Siblings T and E had weathered these storms with dithering resilience. In fact, they seemed to welcome the Hip-Hop that screeched into consciousness from boom box speakers and automobiles during dances or just about anytime high-watt audio gear could be powered up.

Of course race-based fights occurred at school, raising parental unease.

By this time, I had moved into the city, renting a $60.00 per MONTH (believe it or not) room from a 94 year old lady.

12/07 Direct Link

We interrupt Davey H’s dog-eared pages of historical accounting to bring up an increasingly ignored facet of America’s sordid history. As our elders of the ‘Greatest Generation’ still label attacks on Pearl Harbor: “The Day That Shall Live In Infamy.”

As a former sailor, I cannot imagine what Arizona’s crew went through that day. Being on a ship is tough enough, even in the easiest of times, Hawaii notwithstanding.

Being cold-conked by flaming kamikazes before you could muster defenses, having your ship turned into a floating incinerator, and knowing YOUR LEADERS FAILED YOU would be a horrible way to go,

12/08 Direct Link

I couldn’t go back.
As ‘they’ say “you can never go back.”
But on that old school I did turn my back!

Of course, as mentioned previously, I had impulsively dropped out in 12th grade, skipping the only task which could have precluded such an event: drafting a term paper – something that would be relished NOW!

That first rented room is as unforgettable as the cast of characters which accompanied me.

The landlady was a first generation hard working Greek immigrant who through thrift and industry had acquired – and parlayed – several properties on that busy road across from the park.

12/09 Direct Link

I railed on enough
About that old school,
Just like Steely Dan’s huff
Hey, I’m no alma-fool!

So I’ll leave it alone
The best I can
And croon to our crusty
GASMAN:

Oh, Gasman thank you
For the gift
Of that left-behind regulator;
Whilst previously
We sure had a rift
Your present
Could not have been greater!

When we ran out of gas
‘Twas a pain in the ass
To pardon the droll nomenclature;
But you charged a late fee
Now that’s pretty damn crass
So alas; we now celebrate yer:

Absentmindedly leaving there
such an essential piece of hardware!

12/10 Direct Link

Most mornings, a big block V-8’s throaty roar would shatter the dewy stillness in that back alley.
Can anyone imagine a 94 year old lady driving an Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 – most likely with dual-quads?
How about this lady being able, despite her size and heft, to climb stairs and do housecleaning with a broom?

Well, this wasn’t imagination; it was reality for this insouciant farmboy-in-the-making.

Mrs. S. self-taught herself English and navigated the real estate market with little or no help. One could only assume she had far outlived any men in her life, of which she made no mention.

12/11 Direct Link

Mrs. S. indicated that her cherry red 442 – a smokin’ set of wheels any guy my age would die for – got WORSE gas mileage than her previous ride, which was a Cadillac Coupe de Ville; hardly surprising, but ironic nonetheless.

My tiny room at the back of her house saw a lot of livin’ betwixt split shifts at the German restaurant with its blue and white checkered tablecloths, Sauerbraten and various other gross meaty dishes and evenings filled with raucous singing, dancing and much swilling of beer.

You had to hand it to them: they sure knew how to party.

12/12 Direct Link

As a dishwasher’s helper, then prep cook, I got a firsthand glimpse of culinary deceit from behind the lines.

As one glaring example, a carnivore’s delight called for veal, but was actually pounded pork tenderloins, with muscle-munching, beer-swilling revelers none the wiser.

I held on to that loud ’66 GTO for as long as it lasted, which meant shortly after swinging it into a tree during ill-advised ice-capades. That said, a trusty 10-speed bicycle sufficed for transportation to and fro the greasy spoon until I met a waitress and former schoolmate who offered rides to work in her gas hog.

12/13 Direct Link

The waitress friend claimed to be incapable of orgasm, but we still hit it off pretty well.

Oh, to be young again!
I’m old now – can’t you tell?
Memories of those hot summer nights
Sure are pretty swell!

Thus ends the expositions of Davey H’s foibles during the Greek landlady/greasy-spoon era.

Flash to the present: erroneously recounting yesterday’s date being a plane crash anniversary that occurred on the coattails of 9/11, I stood corrected: on NOVEMBER 12, 2001, American Airlines flight 587 crashed into Belle Harbor, Queens, killing all 260 people on board and 5 on the ground!

RIP, ALL.

12/14 Direct Link

In the ostensibly digital age,
I’m still using paper against all the rage
Of bleeping handheld this or that
For with me
They won’t be
So I just leave them flat.

Don’t need them
Won’t feed them
They’re a pain in the ass
Can’t read them without
A magnifying glass!

Today is very crisp and nice
We haven’t encounters
with mud or ice.

On the trail – a skidder-made 1-laner coursing through this respectable hardwood stand – it feels safe beneath a crown so grand.

Patterns form
with oak and beech leaves
as I tangle four leashes
for dogs such as these!

12/15 Direct Link

Just heard Coz is coming to Springfield for a good cause: proceeds to benefit NCPR.
I’d rather hear about Ravi Shankar.
Besides, National CORPORATE ‘Public’ Radio needs no funds.

On with the show:
to retreat we all go
ensconced, you know
with all that we need
a fine situation indeed!

Tom the Virginian was here to receive
the Teaching
far-reaching
before he shall leave.

I rib him and query his ‘Vegan’ bumper sticker.
Funny, I never knew.
But then, you never REALLY know somebody.

That’s not what we were here for;
outward appearances,
diet,
politics
are left at the door.

12/16 Direct Link

Vegan or no, it was AWAY WE GO!
And I mentioned to Tom
I was tryin’;
Many times, though
It was to the bistro
for lasagna without which I’m cryin’.

Thus leaving aside our extremely brief culinary dialogue, we both would soon hunker down under the gentle, graceful umbrella of the peerless Dhamma – Tom as student, me as server; from the outset I’d be a non-swerver.

I would receive simple accommodations: bunk, bath facilities, 3 squares a day – after apportionment to students – and would spend working/waking hours ensconced in the kitchen prepping, busting suds, slicing spuds and wearing clean duds.

12/17 Direct Link

Additionally, I brought two jugs,
and will tell you this:
one was for water,
the other for piss.

This helped not only to save H20
but enabled better rest,
as anyone could have guessed.
‘Twas the best of all privies:
I’d stay in my skivvies
when prompted at Nature’s behest.

Young Mark, a coworker who was actively weaning himself off coffee, informed me of the brutal arising time expected of indentured servants: 5:00 a.m.

Damn near military. No reveille or Bo’ sun’s whistle; only a hand-wrought bronze bell, which when struck with requisite wooden mallet, yielded a pleasingly pure tone.

12/18 Direct Link

Time melted as it unavoidably does when work absorption and rigorous daily production and curriculum preclude laxity and leisure.

So I carried pencil and rolled-up paper in a shoulder bag, eking out spare moments to cull words, say, while hobbling on the way or otherwise not in the fray.

The fray could wait 2 friggin’ seconds, couldn’t it?

Thus squeezing out text
Whilst taking a dump
Surely that sounds absurd;
Then amid busy bees
Waxing un-vexed
Nearly as flushed as the turd!
No computer access
For the rest of the week
Though persistence it taxes
‘Twas best not to freak.

12/19 Direct Link

Now that kitchen
I’m not bitchin’
Was noisy as hell
And time is so precious
Good we get along well!

I brought earplugs. And would venture nobody else ever does, but they certainly would benefit.
Sometimes, the crashing of sheet metal – especially commercial stainless steel – is utterly debilitating to tender eardrums.

Earplugs of various configurations are easy to conceal under a pullover hat. And that, as they say, is that.

Here, hear: no fear
I don’t walk among fools!
And yes, my dear
Let’s be perfectly clear:
I still can play by the rules!

After all, they’re plugs, not drugs.

12/20 Direct Link

One more day of high glycemic treat consumption and best practices dictate that it is good to run out of sneeringly sweet comestibles on occasion. Either they run out or you do.
Can you conceivably blow through your insulin?

Only one set of 7 chin-ups performed, hoping for 2 – surely a sign of old age and contempt for gravity.

And oh, yeah – what about that throbbing at basal thumb joints connected to ever-weakening wrists? Or the perennial left lumbar-sacral ache? No matter.

Again, best practices preempt unawareness of bodily infirmities as attendant unwholesome conditioning that enables these obstructions is eradicated.

12/21 Direct Link

Today was to be the much-ballyhooed Apocalypse.

Needless to say, we needled the shit out of it, making much merriment, joking of its pusillanimous quasi-theistic philosophical underpinnings.

Such dire predilections really pull the cuckoo clocks out of the woodwork.
Then they write silly books.

And needless to say
We had no such fear
At the end of the day
We were still friggin’ here!

Then arose in the dawn
And donned our work duds
Put hot water on
Got to slicin’ some spuds
Slurped us some coffee
Gnashed oatmeal, too
Post-end time, you see
Was a lot left to do!

12/22 Direct Link

Standing corrected, foot in mouth|
One might have objected
That last post heading south.

“Indeed, I stand corrected,” Davey H might have said when queried as to yesterday’s ostensibly snide post; one about which he would surely not boast.

“I had totally misunderstood the relevancies and ancillary pertinent factual data within the context of that epoch; you know – the ancient Mayan calendar heralding a new beginning.”

“Quite frankly, it looked like a Pat Robertson face and shit like that had been pasted on the whole deal. That’s what I thought everyone was mocking.”

So now I have it down, Pat.

12/23 Direct Link

TIME CRUNCH

Did they write of this in the Book of Ecclesiastes – albeit whilst supposedly noting mundanely incremental allotment of the scarce commodity known as ‘time’?

The wise authors rightly pegged it as the quintessential component of anything: to be parsed, apportioned, and organized into respective compartments commensurate to task at hand.

But far more interesting is what these mysterious ancients did with their spare time. They TOOK time to abstractly philosophize (fun) and achieve deeper stages of meditation (work), lapsing into those zones where 3 hours can seem like 20 minutes.

Turning to those things,
Things turn out fine.

12/24 Direct Link

Outside the gates, beyond the confines of peace and solitude diligently cultivated, commercials and carols cavort about like prancing fairies.
Having not yet heard of the Connecticut slaughter, a sure heart-rotter; maker of mental caries, I heard.

At a time like this?

Time ran short as we headed into the abyss for a last-minute whip-in-and-out of the Beast of Bentonville’s local tentacle for cheap goods.
Not on sale: 5 gallon thin plastic oil drain pan with flimsy, equally plastic plug. The Beast sells motor (ENGINE, actually) oil for less; we plucked two jugs, I guess.

Things would be all smiles.

12/25 Direct Link

Ahh, Christmas Day
And a muffled joy!
Here we play amongst the hoi polloi!
With folks like us
That’s where we’ll be
To piss and cuss
By the Christmas tree!

But in all actuality, some of these folks are doing pretty well to be able to afford this sprawling multiplex-hacienda comprising a twig off the branch of our bustling Eldercare Industrial Complex which warehouses all manner of pallid, enfeebled seniors with such unparalleled expertise and oh, so calm schmooze.

For the renters, the overarching theme will continue to seem:

“How long can we maintain homeostasis before they kick us out?”

12/26 Direct Link

We brought and received few consequential XMAS presents, just practical stuff and consumables (things that run through) to run through, ultimately leaving less detritus for others to eventually clean up or disgorge on Free-Cycle.

This is an interesting binge & purge study in ‘stuff’ – the stuff of which the late great George Carlin’s funny skit was made, and Christmas means time to BUY, not sell or trade.

Now, firmly ensconced as semi-bumptious baby boomers in life’s acquisition phase, we stand poised to thin the ranks of trinkets and knick-knacks for elderly, formerly acquisitive consumers – the true ghosts of Christmas past.

12/27 Direct Link

As per the usual mode of operations, Christmas songs were snipped from the airwaves with a shocking suddenness, and all the ostensible blessedness of gift-giving as opposed to receiving went by the boards as well. It’s back to business, Daddy-o, for that dollar, better giddyup-go.

Money, chattering, undulating and simmering below the surface of damn near everything, had a BIG say in the matter:

Much ado ‘oer the fiscal cliff
Will we drop the shoe
With our upper lip stiff?

Hark! O great mavens of CNBC
So fervently caffeinated!
You’re having a tiff
With a capital ‘T’
While the cliff-hanger is orchestrated!

12/28 Direct Link

Damn Near 15”

Damn! Guess I was so regaled with this dazzling spate of fiscal cliff posturing as to wholly gloss over the first significant snow which walloped our region last night and caterwauled into this morning.

Of course the Floridians giggled.

Waxing confident that our newest family member could move mountains of white stuff, I cranked her up and commenced to pushin’, learning quickly the difference between an ‘agricultural’ and ‘industrial’ machine.

It’s mostly in the tires.

But much blame could be laid at the feet of the ham-handed operator: yours truly.

Much shoveling made for many sore muscles.

12/29 Direct Link

Nature takes a dump whenever the mood strikes and ambient temperatures in conjunction with barometric pressure and moisture content converge favorably.

Hey, did She add a full moon to the mix?
Yes, indeed!

Now THAT’S cool.

Meanwhile, prevailing conditions put a slight damper on logging activities which had persisted in warm pre-arctic winter during which local wood was fervently extracted:

The sap is still down
So they come to town
Ready to work ‘til they drop;
And while big diesels hum
Drivers rarely will frown
And hence commence
To sluggin’ it down
By the court
At the old coffee shop.

12/30 Direct Link

WINTERSTRUCK!

We had mucho sore muscles
Once the snow ended
As you know those tussles
That Nature portended.

Sore shoulders’ dismay
At the butt of a shovel
We toiled all day
To clear out our hovel!

It was more than enough
We’ll have you all know
Of that dreadful white stuff
otherwise known as SNOW.

‘Twas indeed so much fun
Before it had ended
We had moved ‘oer a ton
And cool Nature befriended.

It was tons of fun
and a session extended
And we’re tellin’ ya, son
If you needed a pun:
This ton ‘o fun pun was intended!

12/31 Direct Link

Closing out the year, you bet
This farmboy has not much regret
Umm, well, maybe just a few
As far as he can tell, not yet
But he sure as hell won’t tell you!

Several decades ago, of course
The farmboy drank
and pissed like a horse!
Tanking up each New Year’s Eve
with such a guzzling force.

Thank goodness he stopped
And cleaned up his act
Before the ball dropped
and he got his ass sacked.

New Year’s Eve then meant ethanol
Consumed so hard and fast
Then mumble, stumble, fail and fall
So glad it’s in the past.