The Nexus of the Crisis, and the Origin of Storms


I wish I would have thought of the title line, but it’s actually from a song by Blue Oyster Cult (later covered by Metallica) called “Astronomy.” It’s probably a good thing I don’t have (and I certainly don’t need, nor want) access to the psychotropic drugs that were available in the mid 1970s, but people came up with some hella cool song lyrics while stoned on that stuff.  Now it seems the pop stars and rappers are more worried about whether or not the words rhyme, and/or if cop-killing and sister-raping can be successfully included in the story line.  Apparently today’s drugs just don’t motivate good song lyrics.

I like that old psychedelic stuff.  The song lyrics, that is.

I found last Saturday’s short hiatus and respite to be most energizing.  I love it when I can turn off the world for awhile, and I need to do it a lot more often than I do.

Tonight I have to do something rather distasteful, although it does involve a short solitary road trip (that part of the adventure should be pretty good.)  I have probably at one time or another told the story of my grandmother’s twin sisters – the ones who, when my great-grandmother died, were about 70 years old. The both of them were rather eccentric, and their tastes were largely indulged, as they were both married to relatively wealthy men.  I never really liked either of them very much, but I acquired a little bit of contempt toward them when they got in a fist fight over my great-grandmother’s paltry belongings.


70 year old twins duking it out over a bunch of worthless old lady kitsch is a little bit over the top.   I’ve walked past better stuff at garage sales.  Great-Grandma was not a wealthy woman, and she didn’t need a lot of stuff.  None of her stuff was particularly valuable.  Neither of the twins needed any of that stuff.  It was about possession and control.  I was never close to either of my great-aunts, and after that I never really wanted to be.

Witnessing that little melee convinced me that I never want to fight over dead people’s stuff, even if it’s really good stuff.  My sisters will cannibalize my parents’ stuff, should they both outlive my parents, and they will fight over it, though the oldest one will ultimately end up with everything she wants.  If I am still alive, I won’t be there to stand back and watch.  They can have it all.  My Dad had to hide a lot of Grandma’s stuff- as well as all of Grandpa’s WWII medals and other memorabilia- to keep my oldest sister from taking everything.  What she wants, she takes.  Unless she can’t find it.


The only reason I don’t drop dead is that I don’t think my son can stand the visual of my sisters fighting over my bras and underwear.

The older twin (I think she was 98) finally went to the Great Beyond last Saturday, and the calling hours are tonight.  I can’t take off work tomorrow to go to the funeral (OK by me) but I at least have to show up at the calling hours to keep my mother from having a coronary, and so Dad might have one sane person to talk to.  Mom’s relatives are downright weird, and they are the huggy-kissy type which is positively nauseating to me.  But politeness dictates.. so I will show up.  Briefly.  Very briefly.

I wish funeral homes had drive-thrus.  I don’t think the idea would catch on in Ohio, where people make a really big deal out of funerals and wakes, but I wish that at least that the one I have to go to tonight had a drive-thru.  Sign the book and get the hell out…

drive thru funeral

You Don’t Get Out of Life Alive, but, Choose Your Battles Wisely


Axl Rose

My son didn’t ask, but mothers are pretty good at unsolicited advice in life and love and all those things that are only somewhat discerned by merit of age and time.  If I were to try to explain to him why he should abandon the “friends with benefits” arrangement he’s got going on with the ex-stripper, it would go something like this:

The great theologian and philosopher Axl Rose (of Guns-N-Roses fame) once stated in his version of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” that, “You don’t get out of life alive.”  I  also understand his point about both the bank and the mortician- the two inevitabilities of this life are death and taxes.  Nobody escapes either of those.  Nobody escapes the common human dilemma of finding one’s way through life and surviving in the process, either, though some do a better job of it than others.

As far as the wisdom of the concepts of “not getting out of life alive,” and “you can’t take it with you,” go, both sort of go along with the Biblical admonition to give one’s life as an offering. You were created to have a purpose in this life, even if it’s simply one of being an example of what not to do,  or serving to expand others’ vocabularies.  We all came into the world naked and not having any stuff, and we all go out the same way, so what are you going to do with the time in-between?


We all know that our physical bodies are going to become worm food.  There are a few things worth sacrificing and fighting for, precisely because we cannot preserve youth and health and wholeness in these physical bodies, or for that matter, youth and health and wholeness in any aspect of our lives.  Entropy WILL win.  Systems all eventually break down, if you want to frame the inevitability of entropy in tech geek terms.  Life in this world is a finite proposition.

The question is, what do you do with the finite resources you have been given, that you can acquire, that you can pool with others?


It’s great if you can amass all kinds of wealth and get all the best stuff, and prepare for every possible contingency, but in the end, what do you do on that night when your life is required of you? (I’m referring to what Jesus said in Luke 12:13-21.)

If you don’t get what really matters, then who cares about money or power or prestige or stuff?

I’m not going to go on a morality-chastity-clean living rant, because I am no poster child for any of the aforementioned.  I have never been a paragon of virtue.  I am a Christian, but that is only by the grace of God.  He left me to my rebellion and own devices for awhile (about seven years’ worth) so I could see just how much trouble I could get into out there in the pig pen. I got a rather nasty taste of how nasty and depraved I can be apart from a relationship with God.  Finally, I realized, again, by the grace of God, like C.S. Lewis did, that if I were going to be sane and worth anything to myself and others, that it was and is Christ or nothing.

That realization does not make me more virtuous or more moral or  more prudy. It does not make me less human or  less fallible.  It does make me all the more aware that anything good anyone sees in me is not my inherent goodness, but the goodness of God. I fail a lot, but apart from Him I fail and screw up a lot more.



Yes, Christians are hypocrites. Get over it.  So is everyone else.  I can say that, but for the grace of God, I would be a LOT worse.  I need God precisely because I know how depraved and hopeless I am without Him.

All these theological and philosophical observations being said, and back to the assertion that one of my purposes in life is to serve as an example of what not to do, I will give you a heartfelt admonition.

If you are one of those people who are blessed enough to find true love in this life, don’t let it go.  I know that it can and does happen, even if it is too late for me.

true love

Part of the reason why I can be so cynical and snarky when I consider matters of the heart is because true love has always eluded me.  I’ve been used, abandoned, exploited and deeply damaged by people who claimed to “love” me.   My wiring is such that I don’t understand or communicate very well in the emotional realm.  To add insult to injury, most men are intimidated by intelligent women, and most men are not terribly thrilled with plain and frumpy looking women.   I blend in to the wall pretty well.  It’s a survival mechanism.  At no time in my life were dudes ever banging down my door.   If they did talk to me it was to get my phone number- so they could call my sisters.  I was even voted, “Least Likely to Get Laid” in my (unofficial) high school senior will.  So I felt like I had to take what I could get, even if it meant settling for minimum standards such as, “vertical and sucking up valuable oxygen.”


Hair and teeth optional, especially at my age.

I hate to admit it, but all I can say about my own marriage is that at best it’s a symbiotic relationship, but a good deal of the time it’s more like a parasite vs. host relationship.  Maybe it’s harsh to call Jerry a parasite, but he can and does suck the life out of me with his incessant whining and infantile demands.  He didn’t need a wife, he needed a mommy.  And I’m not all that great at playing the mommy role, but it’s all I have to offer.  I haven’t gotten a better offer, and even if I did, I would be morally obligated to decline it.  In Jerry’s defense, he has put up with me for all of these years, as frumpy and plain looking as I am, and as eccentric as I am.  That says something- although in Jerry’s mind it’s probably, “there’s someone in this world who will fetch my beer and smokes for me.”

But if you find true love, that indescribable and blissful universe of two, understand what it is.  Hold it, cherish it, fight for it, and never let it go.  Otherwise you will find yourself in the same predicament I am- either completely alone, or bound by a sense of duty(?) pity (?) desperation (?) to someone who only cares about you as long as you’re useful to them.


I guess I’m good for as long as I can fetch beer and smokes.

I will tell you that expediency and usefulness are not the same as love.  Sex doesn’t necessarily equate to love either.  It’s easy to get caught up in hormones and horniness (been there done that) but when the excitement and lust die down, what do you have?  From my own experience I can say that following the hormones and horniness path has led to a lot of guilt, embarrassment and shattered dreams.  It’s not worth it.  I’m thankful that my past indiscretions didn’t wreak as much havoc as they could have.

Don’t follow in my path.  Don’t let a chance at true love go because of fear or because you need to hold on to perceived obligations.  It sounds trite, but love will find a way.  Unless you’re an eccentric old bat who’s proportioned like a mutant troll.

True Love Quotes and Pictures (5)









Am I the Only One Who Notices? and Final Send Off Faux Pas

The other day I commented that I don’t consider items that feature either Dale Earnhardt or Elvis to be art.  That reminded me of Dad’s buddy who used to own the Certified station in Marion.  This guy lived alone, but for a dude he had a rather bizarre decor.  Most of Dad’s single male friends’  homes  were decorated in the “Late 70’s Flea Market Meets Soft Porn” mode.  Many automotive supply companies (since they were marketing to almost exclusively men back then) gave out free nudie calendars and posters.  These freebie nudies made perfect wall hangings for these guys, and they also doubled to cover up the holes in the walls from their drunk and stupid adventures with dart games, beer bottle tossing, or target practice with the BB gun gone terribly awry.  But this guy was different.  His house was spotlessly clean and by some unnatural miracle of nature, it was actually color coordinated.  The fact that it didn’t smell like a barroom and there was a strange absence of filled up ashtrays, beer cans all over the floor, and various filth and detritus everywhere as is found in a typical man-cave, did not mean this place was in any way aesthetically pleasing.

Elvis was pictured on almost every item in his house- including the toilet seat.  The only difference between the one pictured above and Dad’s buddy’s Elvis toilet seat is that his Elvis was surrounded with powder blue instead of powder pink.

His lamps were ceramic Elvis busts, also poorly airbrushed.

If only I’d had a camera with me (photography was not nearly as quick and easy before the days of the digital camera and the USB cable) the pictures could have said it all.  Deep blue shag carpet in every room (including the kitchen!)  Elvis decals affixed to each of the kitchen cabinet doors and to the front of the fridge.  All the clocks had Elvis on them.  The pillows and throws on the couch had Elvis on them.  His drinking glasses and coffee mugs had Elvis on them. This place could have been confused with the Church of the High Holy Elvis- and it probably had more badly made, tawdry Elvis kitsch in it than Graceland.  Elvis was the King in this joint, alright- King of the potholders, the crapper, the Kleenex cover on the toilet tank, the lamps and the curtains, ad nauseam.  My retinas were so traumatized that I can never view an object with Elvis on it without either laughing my ass off or wanting to retch.

I had to speculate that perhaps this guy inherited the house with all the Elvis junk. I thought perhaps it was his Mom’s, and then maybe his Mom died and he just left the place the way she left it.  But I soon learned that his Mom lived a few houses down and (though I never got the opportunity to peruse it) legend had it that she had even more Elvis crud in her house.  Then I thought perhaps the Elvis decor was the doing of an ex-wife or ex-girlfriend, but his girlfriend had been in prison in Arizona for the past four years.  So this guy was decorating his home in this bizarre fashion on purpose. 

Maybe I’m being  a bit critical, but I don’t think I can afford to be a big enough fan of anything to decorate my entire house with it.  Maybe when I am old and live alone I can get away with painting every room pink and filling my home with as much Hello Kitty kitsch as I can possibly find.  My friends (the few I have) know how weird I am so it won’t matter.  But I am not a big fan of all the home improvement type stuff.  If it doesn’t need replacing or painting, etc. I am not going to replace stuff just to replace it. 

One thing I did observe yesterday that I thought was kind of cool was as I drove by the beauty academy I saw one of the girls leaving with what looked like one of those Barbie makeover heads you used to be able to buy for little girls so they could learn to put makeup on them and do their hair.  “Angelica” (my sadistic oldest sister) had one of these.  I inherited it from the dog when she (the dog) was done with it, but the dog’s attempts at beautification left Barbie Head snatched nearly bald and rather toothmarked. 

Anyway, for a split second I thought I’d like to have one of these, only with short black hair and a pale white complexion, so I can experiment with makeup before I actually try it on my own face.  Then I realized that it would just be easier to cut out the middleman.  I only wear makeup to keep people from trying to bury me anyway.

Ironically my poor Aunt Ellen never wore makeup until she was dead. 

The whole business of dolling up a deceased loved one for the viewing reminds me of my poor Aunt Ellen.  She was my great-grandmother’s sister, and was 84 when she died back in the late ’80’s.  Unlike my great-grandmother, she was one of those very conservative old ladies who belonged to one of those Pentecostal churches that forbade women to wear makeup or even to wear pants. I think when funeral people dolled her up for the Final Ride, either death had not done her appearance any favors, and/or they really got confused.  Her face was so heavily orangey-pancaked and rouged that it looked as if they were making her up to look like one of the Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 


To make it even worse, they put some sort of orange day-glo lipstick on her that I swear was so bright it would have fluoresced if someone would have turned on a black lite. (This was a woman who never even wore lipstick until she was dead!)  And she was decked out in one of those Horrible Pink Nighties that funeral homes typically put on old women- the ones that look like someone’s prom dress gone seriously wrong, to boot.  I’m just glad they didn’t try to dye her hair green.

The icing on the cake (and as potentially disrespectful as it was, I could barely keep from explosive laughter by this time) was when my remaining elderly relatives filed by the coffin and remarked, “Doesn’t Ellen look goooood?”  All I could think was – “Have you guys been to LensCrafters lately?”  Ellen looks pretty dead to me!

I’m thinking at best, Ellen looked like an escapee from the Oompa-Loompa Prom, but what do I know?  There’s only so much that mortuary science can do. 

That’s one of the reasons why I want to be cremated.  I don’t want anyone filing past my coffin and commenting, “She looks better dead.”