Wednesday, July 30, 2014

'Everyone is approved here!!!'

At Floyd Creaser Quality Used Cars, along Hiawatha Boulevard, in Syracuse, an A-frame sandwich board all but shouts, "Everyone is approved here!!!" I get that the declaration is an invitation to buy. I get that it says, in effect, "No matter what your financial history is, no matter how reckless or foolish or disastrous, we can lend you the money to buy a vehicle." I suspect such generosity has its own price. And rewards.

Which got me to thinking.

Imagine if "Everyone is approved here!!!" referred to real people! What if actual living humans were accepted here just as unconditionally and with the elan of three exclamation points as a used-car dealer? Just think. "Everyone is approved here!!!" could be a statement of credit beyond financial history, and instead it could apply to personal misdeeds and waywardness.

This is especially intriguing given that Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner recently expressed a willingness on behalf of our community to accept immigrant children. It made national news. Some people hate the idea; others applaud it.

"Everyone is approved here!!!"

Food for thought.

Carry on.

As you were.


The end of July looms. August will brand itself as the height, or depth, of sweltering summer. Or the faint whiff of fall sifting down from Canada. It seems the summer raced by, just began. Is this perception merely a function of old age? The rolls in, the tide rolls out. It's all natural. It's all good.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Or buy it.

It's only a few bucks or so.

And a mere 99 cents for the e-version.

Yes, this is shameless self-promotion.

Naked capitalism.

Or relatively harmless non-socialist egotism.



Like, um, I, like, totally got nothing to say. Nada zilch zero zed nil zip aught null. Like, know what I mean? I got nothin'. (Not that such *nothingness* ever prevents us in cyberverse from blathering on and on and on and on and on anyway.) Know what I mean? Like, totally.

Friday, July 25, 2014

my kind of dizzy

My own personal otolaryngologist (they must be great spellers, along with ophthalmologists) just diagnosed me as having benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. I like any condition that starts with the word "benign." I was impressed with the doctor's articulateness, his confidence in the diagnosis, and his overall manner. He suggested a series of odd (to me) head movements as treatment (the canalith repositioning procedure, or CRP) or to do nothing at all (since it does appear to be getting better; I even wondered, "Why am I in this doctor's office?"). So, that's my kind of dizzy (MKOD). And, gee, I thought it resulted from extremely wild erotic positioning (EWEP).
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) i
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) i

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

shorn hills

At the rest stop (cleverly dubbed a text stop by New York State) in Roscoe, along Route 17, a historical and conservation marker poetically declares that "the shorn hills" have grown new timber. The shorn hills. I love it. I really cannot imagine this era producing any sign, historical or not, that employs "the shorn hills" as a phrase.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Cash4Life, the new New York State Lottery game. Top prize: $1,000 a day for life. What does "for life" equate to? My life is in the latter days, not the salad days (though on some levels, you'd never think so; no details forthcoming here). But $1,000 a day. I saw it on a billboard, so it must be true. I thought, Gee, I'd take $100 a day. I would. You say, That's nothing? Not nothing for me. I live simply. It's not a lament or a complaint. If anything, I am boastful, even snobbish, about my simple means. $100 a day would be a sweet cushion. It's possible $1,000 a day would ruin me. You hear stories. That's the prevailing notion. It ruins folks. And then there's the obligatory, "But I'd like to try it. A thousand bucks a day."

Truth be told, yeah, I buy Lotto, Cash4Life, Powerball, sometimes Mega Millions tickets. Quick picks. Typically one shot, one or two bucks. Surrender to the Fates. At their mercy. Or mercies. But truth be told: each ticket purchase is a surrender, is a bowing to the lie. Each ticket says, Your life needs this big fix, this dramatic change, this remedy, this takeaway, this giveaway, this grand gesture. I know better. It does not need any of that. That's the trick, the lie, the shiny bauble.

Because we all know this deep down, even if covered  over, papered over by wants, desires, dreams, avarice, and suffering: you get "IT" and you only want more of "IT."

Which reminds me: my guru, the late Raymond Davidson, would often say: If you have enough, you have abundance.

I do have abundance.

Right here.

Right now.

deer me

Driving home the other day, late afternoon, early evening (who can remember any more? maybe I am making all this up as I type), near the Syracuse border with Solvay, I saw a white-tailed deer gallop off to my right, into some shrubbery, fenced off. Did I say gallop? Gallop with a dollop of prance and hurdle and gambol and leap. Seconds later: a middle-aged bearded man riding a bicycle. I try to catch the eye of the bicyclist, as if to wordlessly say, "Dude, you see that? You see that deer? You chasing it?" Even if I did catch the bicyclist's eye for a split second, he wasn't indulging me. His look was like, "I'm riding this bike. Deer? I ain't seen no deer." I made the right turn. I thought I'd intersect the path of the deer, but no sign of him. In the bush, I guess. Or else it was a very large dog or a fox. Or a figment. (It's redundant redundant to say "figment of imagination.") A 3-D figment of fantasy. But naw. It was real. It was a deer. And don't tell me the bicyclist didn't see it. I'll wager the two of 'em, Bicycle Man and Deer Me, have this bit, this act they've worked out. It's a routine. "Figment Follies."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

blank look

I made a comment, one that was intended as a compliment, if you will. In return, he gave me what I would call "a blank look." He returned a look without comment, seemingly indifferent. Note to thin-skinned, oversensitive, "attached" self: you truly do not know what his response or reaction is or was. So, before you get all pouty and resentful, consider that the recipient of your remark may have been puzzled, perplexed, in agreement, in disagreement, either/or, both/and, neither/nor, thinking about his great aunt, suffering constipation, calculating an equation that could lead to a cancer cure, meditating on Descartes, have a hearing problem, not like me, like me, formulating a diplomatic response for another time, processing other data, undergoing a TIA or stroke, entertaining erotic and lurid thoughts about Marilyn Monroe (or Marilyn Manson), forgotten what I said immediately after I spoke it, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. And nausea is the point here. It is nauseating, what paces we put ourselves through when we are all up in our heads. The sickness unto self, as Kierkegaard put it. Cui bono? To what good?


You hear the word recovery and you wonder.  You muse about what it means, and you do this by a series of questions, not tidily posed out loud, or even sequentially whispered inaudibly merely to your self and no one else. No, you wonder, after the fact; in repose, after you have heard that word recovery more than once, in various guises and contexts but most likely only in English, but maybe in German in Berlin, that time you exposed yourself to a recovery context there. Your series of untidy questions (and let's face it: there really were no questions; this is just a convention, a trope, a trick, a syntactic regime to get your point across, to attempt to get your ponderings on paper, digitally speaking). Questions in and around and above and under and alongside and through recovery such as: what was covered that needs to be covered once again? the naked self? the masked self? the unwalked terrain of sobriety? The overwalked geography of drunkenness? Who does the covering or the uncovering or the recovering? Is not recovery more a verb than a noun, despite its declension, a verb with all its active and passive voices, its tenses, its dynamic, its past perfect, imperfect, pluperfect, and embedded promise of future? And in the end, even in the beginning, aren't you glad recovery defies the straitjackets of category, definition, demeanor, steppes, solitude, sunrise or sunset, and syntax?

And for fun, there's this: recovery.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Several years ago, I said to a friend in Dallas, during a severe and prolonged drought down there,

"Where you gonna get your water from?"


"How you gonna get your water?"

He laughed uproariously at that, thought it was just hilarious.


Water as a resource is not a problem in the Lake Ontario region, and won't be.


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

against the rain

Ever notice how people, including me, typically hunch their shoulders as they walk or run through pouring rain? (Not so much for snow or wind or ferocious sunshine.)

Does it mitigate by one drop the amount of rainfall falling on one's self?

Hashtag metaphor.

modern life

A few days ago, at Target, in Fairmount, a suburb of Syracuse, I saw a young woman, maybe in her young twenties, wheeling one of those red plastic carts, wearing a T-shirt, maybe it was a sweatshirt, which said this in script letters on her back: "TRUST NO DICK." The phrasing may have differed slightly, but that was definitely the gist of the point being expressed, however blaringly, imprudently, clearly, confidently, or coarsely. That was its core marketing message. Don't censor the messenger here. I mean, here we are in Target, not far from where I bought Simply Balanced organic black tea, plastic storage crates, and tissues; amidst toddlers in carts and senior citizens like me, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, sales associates, and babies too young to talk or read.

I am not a prude. I won't pretend I was offended by this declaration via vulgarity. In fact, I mused somewhat amusingly to myself: "Well, that's true. No self-aware man would even argue the point himself, upon honest reflection." There's a multitude of locker room sayings endorsing the same viewpoint toward male anatomy and its sway over the psyche, from the male perspective. I won't bore you with them. 

I always have questions, though, and this time they are:

-- Did the wearer of the article of clothing in question sport this out of anger or hurt?
-- Was she whimsical or serious?
-- Was it essentially anti-male or pro-female or neither or both?
-- Was anyone shocked or offended to see this level of discourse in the public square?
-- What would be the reactions and responses if the anatomical reference were switched to one of the female variety, using a crude term?
-- Does anyone care?
-- Am I an old scold for even thinking about this?

Monday, July 07, 2014

summer rain

a sudden downpour
not quite
a deluge
morning cleansing
soon over
hashtag metaphor

Sunday, July 06, 2014

start here

The default for digital maps is me, or you. It all starts with me, the little pushpin showing my whereabouts, as a starting point. So Google Maps and all the others are saying, "The world really does revolve around me." Or you, as the case may be. Is this a good default? Does this make the world flat? Columbus would not have gotten very far with notion. Same goes for Magellan, Hudson, da Gama, and the other seafarers. So, solipsism finally wins the day. For solipsists. For me. Or you.

the time of day

It is Sunday morning. I thought of going to church, even wanted to, but staying up so late last night (in the wee hours) now leaves me so tired, after breakfast, that I am toying with the idea of crawling back to bed. It is an idea I hope and pray I resist. Is that depression? The whole feeling has echoes of the days of Sunday morning coming down, with hangovers both physical and existential, now 35 years ago, thank God, but still there for me if I succumb to it. I hear the sparrows and robins. The meteorological conditions seems pleasant. I don't know if any of those factors will be enough to rouse me. Morning is not my time of day anyway. Give me evening, its vespers charms of setting sun, chirping robins, and something something something. Yesterday I browsed two bookstores for a copy of the Book of Common Prayer. Here at home I have one, taken from an Episcopal church more than 15 years ago. Maybe they gave it to me. I guess I'm still a member there but have always wrestled with its suburbanness. I've been thinking of secretly returning it one Sunday, placing it in the pew holder. Why? I guess to allow me to float somewhere else, or because of a secret guilt over stealing that book. Which is nonsense, of course. Maybe I need a book of uncommon prayer. I already have those. In the morning -- usually mornings -- I read from a compilation of writings by Thich Nhat Hank and also, these days, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. The latter was given to me last year as a birthday or Christmas present. My tea has gotten lukewarm, not warm at all.

txtng 1-2-3

Sometimes I feel texting, talking on a cellphone, all that, means I am communicating less. Sometimes I feel silence is the greatest message. But is it a cold silence or a warm one? And yet texting leaves an imprint. The 21st century human stain. Even so, a good impression or not? How to discern? How to tell?

Friday, July 04, 2014


walking back on the Creekwalk after having gone to its terminus at Onondaga Lake after having seen 2 rats or muskrats a bunny that startled me a foot away still by the fence and a heron I was


by a goldfinch stopped in my tracks a double-take frozen stopping me halting me captivating me there in the setting-sun light iridescent in its yellow its black wings its blaclk eyes a bit of orange a hood of black around its beak still and bright and reverent allowing me to look letting me be present then flying a few feet to feast on queen ann's lace but it was something else with seeds and then farther down the path I followed it I walked toward my car the goldfinch having soared and swooped away


We know they come, endings. We know the end is coded in the DNA of any beginning. We know our endings are preordained, happy or not. What? Why say "happy or not"? I say that because I want to believe -- and practice -- that we have that under our control, whether we want to be happy or not, deep down, despite pain or loss or expectation. I don't mean that flippantly or breezily. I'm referring to an inner disposition. Or is it a predisposition? That's key. Maybe not. What do I do with what I have, whether a beginning, a middle, or an ending? What do I do with this ending? How tender am I toward myself and toward the other person (or persons), and toward the ending itself? How do I even end this tiny creek of crooked words? With some T.S. Eliot:  

"What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from." 

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."