There once was a group called The Congress
And the hope was they always would progress
The fools that they are
They hung out in a bar
And now the country’s in a big mess
Book Titles and Their Authors
"My Misspent Youth" by Sal Adaise
"How To Accurately Poll the Populace" by Maury Surch
"All Time Favorite Pickup Lines" by Jack Asted
"How To Care For Lawn Chairs" by Paddy O'Furniture
"Weaponry and Artillery" by Frank Cannon
"Free Love" by Goddard Havvett
"Think and Grow" by Rhett Trowspect
"The Early Days of Rock N Roll" by Tristan Shout
"Why Everyone Should Have Auto Insurance" by Hugh Jabil
"The Process of Bereavement and Mourning" by Waylon N Kryun
"Lockjaw Diagnosis and Treatment Efficacy" by Rusty Nail
Well, it would be if I wrote about stuff that Adsense (the grand poobahs who manage the auto select advertising company for Google) could match up ads to my topic. My previous article is a snarky little piece about how wrong AND how right Abraham Lincoln was about people cut their own path in the world. All my ads? They turned into PSAs or Public Service Announcements. I don't make anything on those, no matter how often someone clicks on them (although I do pay attention to what they are).
The article before that mentioned motorcycles, Harley Davidsons and a bunch of motorcycle brand names. My ads? Colorado Motorcycling Tours, Harley-Davidson ads, Motorcycle Wheels for sale... lots and lots of paid-for-clicking ads.
Quite an interesting, accidental discovery.
What does that teach me? It pays to occasionally talk about Swiffers. Aren't they lovely? OF course, I'm sure they're making a zillion bucks for their stock holders. Now if I mention them, I can make a few pennies for a half hour's work slaving over what to write to amuse you folks next.
And if you happen to see me sign off as the long lost cousin of Mr. Clean, you'll know that my ad cycle has gone a little flat. I hope you'll indulge me like that slightly weird (but kindly) aunt in your family that no one talks about. I really am quite harmless.
Just call me...
“Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.”
These are the words of Abraham Lincoln. I got these words off the iGoogle page, where I have an app that changes to a new quote by Lincoln every time I refresh the page. It seemed like a good idea at the time, being that I love Lincoln and besides that, I don’t have any clever words of my own to quote.
But what exactly do these words mean? “Towering genius”? Anyone who doesn’t follow the beaten path is a towering genius? Hitler went down a path no one had quite followed before. Reverend Jim of Kool-Aid fame went down a funky path of his own devising too. I’m certain the regions where those two infamous persons traveled are regions that should not be explored further.
And yet what can come of being a sheep and following the fuzzy butt in front of you? Can you see new worlds and invent new mechanisms? No, you see only your familiar field and that field has a single brown track over which your feet will tramp again and again. Not only does your view never change (although you may like that fuzzy butt, I won’t judge you), but the track becomes a trench that soon traps you on the path. The only things that escape this trough are your will, your sense of hope, and your dreams for the future. Despair never seems to try hard enough to get away.
I’m no “towering genius” – ask anybody – but I don’t want to be. It’s an awesome responsibility. One thing I will never be – ask anybody – is a sheep. If I see a fuzzy butt in front of me, I’m more inclined to kick it or shave it than to admire the view.
PEOPLE WATCHING WAG #7
“I hate these damned busses,” I said to my husband David as we sat in the pair of seats seven rows behind the driver.
At that exact moment, the wheels on our side hit a massive pothole and we were bounced violently against one another. I groaned with irritation as well as pain.
“The bus is fine,” my husband replied. “It’s this lousy street I object to.”
Actually, he was right. The bus was truly a God-send. Without that free shuttle, we’d have to pay massive parking fees for the convenience of being near the Stephens Convention Center where the annual motorcycle show was held. After having spent five hours walking up and down the aisles, I should have been more grateful to sit and get driven to our truck six blocks away.
I looked around at my fellow passengers to see if I was just being whiny about the rough ride. It was a strange mix of people, just as it was every year. Motorcycle shows attract all sorts. There are people like me and my husband who use bikes to commute (an act of bravery in Chicagoland rushhour) but mostly we take long tours so we’re always looking for the newest, spoil-ourselves-rotten touring accessory that we can’t live without. There are those who don’t have a bike and attend the shows to throw a leg over the myriad of models, just to get a feel for the various machines. Lots of people are looking to upgrade to the latest-greatest gotta-have-it machine. And as always, there are the “kids” who were now inspired to save up their fast-food job wages for that gleaming-chrome Harleys or the sleek ‘crotch rockets’ to show off to their friends or to attract the opposite sex.
Then there was the guy in one of the sideways benches on the opposite side of the bus. It was a typically cold January, so the fact that he wore only a light tan wind breaker and a fedora style hat caught my eye. I had seen him board the bus when we did, and by the Yamaha and Honda bags hanging from his hand against his knee, it seemed evident that he had attended the show. It seemed funny to me how light and flimsy they were, as though empty. Like any good trade show, the exhibitors do their best to put every bit of literature and brochure in your hand that they can manage, yet looking more closely, I could see this fellow’s bags were definitely empty.
The bus came to a hard stop as traffic in front of us suddenly ground to a halt, and I braced against the seat in front of me. The strange gentleman with the fedora tilted abruptly to his right and his jacket lifted up his left hip a little as he leaned over involuntarily. A little glint of silver caught my eye, but when I looked more closely, the jacket had moved back to cover whatever it was.
“Damn!” my husband mumbled, putting the side of his head to the glass, trying to peer forward. “Where did all these cars come from?”
“David! David!” I whispered at him urgently. “I think that guy over there has a gun!”
My husband looked at me with alarm and then glanced around, trying to see who I was talking about.
“What? How’ja know?”
“Don’t be obvious,” I hissed. “And I saw it on his hip.”
“Maybe it’s a cop,” he answered, suddenly becoming laissez-faire and ducking his head a little.
“Oh, sure,” I snarked. “Undercover as Elliot Ness.”
“What, the guy in the hat?” he asked, ignoring the sarcasm part of my comment. Typical.
“Yes! I saw it when he leaned over with the bus.”
“Well… so? Mind your own business.”
The bus took off with a jerk, pushing us back into our seats, and I took a chance to look at Elliot Ness again. He was shifting his empty bags from one hand to the other, baring his left leg, where his pants had ridden up. In his tight black sock was stuffed a small rectangular object.
“My God, David,” I hissed again. “He’s got a knife in his sock!”
“Oh, geez, Sue!” David groaned. “Your wild imagination is getting the best of you.” Then he added, “Again.”
“It doesn’t matter,” he countered.
I grunted, imagining the little black cloud floating out the top of my head like in the funny papers. As with an accident, I couldn’t help to turn my eyes back at Mr. Fedora. He was looking back at me. Nervously, I shifted my eyes to floor and then randomly around the bus.
In a sudden right turn, the bus swerved into the driveway of the parking lot and squealed to a halt. With a rush, the man in the hat jumped up to the door, and when it opened, he bolted across the road to the underpass for the highway and was gone.
“Track star, too” David smirked, handing me one of our green Kawasaki bags full of brochures.
“Oh, hush!” I growled.
The glass wasn't clean. Hotels of that kind didn’t spend money on simple things like water and a squeegee. The airplanes took off nearby and the filth from the straining engines coated the pane year after year. The occasional rain wet this greasy grime but did little to wash any of it away.
She stared at the pattern left on the glass. It was interesting to look at although not exactly attractive, and luckily the long crack in the glass didn't disrupt the pattern. Streaks like rivers and spots like craters, curves like ribbons and circles like balloons, lines like highways and dots like towns. Yes, a map. It looked like a map.
A map is truly what she needed, but there wasn’t such a thing printed to show the route she needed to take. The path for her was on no map of man’s devising; such a thing couldn’t be plotted on paper with ink.
Slowly she turned away from the window, shifting her attention to the television making noise before her. It always seemed so easy on TV, she thought to herself. There was the problem, the character was stupid to act the way she did, got what she deserved by getting into that situation, and by the end of the show, she got her way out of it again. Why ever believe it could be hard to get out of the situation at all? Television made no sense.
She had left him, just as she promised herself she would if he ever did that again, even having a packed bag to grab on her way out the door. But where had it left her? What could she do now? Her very life was back at that house, and there was no way to move forward without having first go backward. However, going backward could mean no life at all.
In irritation she threw the TV remote across the room where it bounced off the lavatory sink. The plastic shattered to pieces.
Great, she thought, looking back to the window. Now the only entertainment from that seat was watching the grey sky and the yellow taxis speeding down Lexington Road as they headed for the airport.
Out in the cold, on a bare branch of the tree still deep in winter’s sleep, alighted a robin. The light wind shook the branch, and the little creature was puffed and ruffled against the frosty air as it rode the bobbing twig. The snows had melted from the ground weeks before, and a temporary thaw had fooled the brave bird into coming back.
Yes, little bird, the woman nodded. You’re right. It’s too early to return home.
Granted, my husband would find it useful if I applied this energy to housework, but that’s another blog.
To get things started – rather than the “This Page Intentionally Left Blank” message that you see on the last page of a legal document – I ripped through a quick “Gosh, what a wondrous adventure” piece. Full of enthusiasm and energy, it was a bubbly bit of fluff. I hoped it would imbue the reader with an understanding of the sense of the adventure I feel about every bit of writing I’ve ever done. Even the dark and dismal piece I wrote about a girl who tried to commit suicide but instead met a noble ancestor was energizing and uplifting to me.
But in looking back, I realized that I’m really not a ‘bubbly’ person. I don’t float above my tippy-toes looking for the rainbow. I’m not a Carey-Bear kinda personality. I’m a goof, a sarcasm-generator, a biotch sometimes, and even – dare you believe it? – a pain in the ass.
So in future, if you should tune in here, be aware that if you’re seeing bubbles on this page, it’s probably because I’m drowning in something and you’re witnessing the last air escaping my lungs.
Meh! Consider that possibility as an incentive to come back!
My bags are empty at the moment, but soon they'll be filled with tidbits, trinkets, experiences and knowledge.
I'll be sure to send a postcard!