Mind Your Tongue

Some people do not understand that it is not only rude to yell at people you do not know, but it can also be bad for one’s health. And I’m tired of being yelled at and too damned old to put up with it to boot.

Being a sunny and warm morning yesterday, I decided to take Buddy for a walk. We followed the sidewalk to the far east end of our street, where it dead ends.

There are two barriers there to keep motor vehicles from passing. However, it does not stop off-road motorcyclists, bicyclists, or people on foot from going beyond them.

As I stood looking at how the construction of the new homes was progressing, this 30-something man suddenly started yelling at me from his porch for “trespassing.” With my PTSD triggered, I turned on him in the most unchristian way imaginable.

“If you don’t change your tone and stop yelling at me, I’m gonna come over there and cut your effing tongue outta your empty head,” I said. “I’ve lived on this street for 23-years and been in that field more times than the number of days you’ve been living in your house. So shut up and mind your own business.”

He’s only lived in that house for a couple of months. And this isn’t the first I have heard of him yelling a people, especially youngsters.

Without another word, he went back inside and closed his door. Quite possibly the most intelligent thing he could have done.

Best walk ever.

Mercy

Fellow blogger Allen Rizzi posted a few days back about Don Williams. One of the songs he listed was “What Do You Do with a Good Ol’ Boy Like Me.” While it was released in March 1980, I never heard it until about two years later.

What fighting-hole I was in at the time, I cannot recall. What I do remember is that I was in a foreign and hostile land, homesick and that the family of my childhood was gone because of divorce and I plagiarized the lyrics to fit my life at the time.

When I was a kid, Momma would come put us to bed,
With a figure of Jesus on the cross above our head.
Then Daddy came in to kiss his little men,
With beer on his breath, a Louis L’amour in hand,
And he talked about honor and things we should know.
Then he would leave, quietly walking on tip-toe.

I can still see those tall Redwood trees creating awe
And those Darby boys, the ones in my memory raw,
William O. in Arkansas.
I guess we’re all gonna be what we’re gonna be,
So what do you do with silly little boys like me?

Nothing makes a sound in the night as the rain does,
But you ain’t afraid if you’re washed in the blood like I was.
The smell of the salt air from that green Pacific sea,
K-P-O-D kept me company
By the light of the radio by my bed,
With Jack London whispering in my head.

I can still see those tall Redwood trees creating awe
And those Darby boys, the ones in my memory raw,
William O. in Arkansas.
I guess we’re all gonna be what we’re gonna be,
So what do you do with ignorant boys like me?

When I was in school, I ran with a kid down the street,
And I watched him burn himself up on emerald weed,
But I was quicker than most, and I could choose.
I learned to talk like the man on the radio news.
When I was eighteen, lord, I hit the road
But it really doesn’t matter how much I know.

I can still see those tall Redwood trees creating awe
And those Darby boys, the ones in my memory raw,
William O. in Arkansas.
I guess we’re all gonna be what we’re gonna be,
Yeah, what do you do with a U.S. Marine like me?

Yeah, shame on me for stealing the lyrics, but I knew I would never try to make money off of it. Later, I admitted to Mr. Williams in a radio interview what I had done and how his tune and my rework of the moment got me through some rough times.

His response: “Mercy.”

Beyond The Purple Sage

It has been at least twenty years since I have read “Riders of the Purple Sage,” by Zane Grey. It is a great book, full of adventure, and fills one’s head with all sorts of imaginings and pictures.

One thing the book is not – sexual. I hate seeing reviews where the person pulls a word like ‘undulate,’ and turns it in some creepy term with sex-ridden overtones. My opinion is that the person doing the reviewing ain’t been laid in a while, so everything they see, touch, smell, or hear is all about the sex they ain’t getting.

Opinion aside, purple sage is a real thing. I bring this up because, with the first drizzle of spring rains in the high deserts of Nevada, the sage is blooming.

Usually, a dull brown with very little going for it in color throughout the year, sage is generally only good as shade for the rabbit and the snake. And once lit ablaze, it burns quickly, giving off a thick creosote smoke.

My favorite is the naturally occurring wild variety, with its thicker stock and branches, rather than the domesticated sage, which is whispy and thin. With its blooming comes the annual sneeze-fest with the accompanying runny nose, watering eyes, and scratchy throat.

But if you’re fortunate enough to go where the plant grows free, you’ll see acres, upon miles of purple sage clear to the far horizon. It is akin to an ocean of azure, only this sea is an undulating purple.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

When Fiction Becomes Reality

On March 22, I posted a fiction story called “Consent,” about the US Postal Services app, “Informed Delivery,” spying on a person. Now, this has come to light, as reported by Yahoo News.

The US Postal Service is tracking social media posts as part of a secret program searching for “inflammatory” messages. The program, known as the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) had not been made public and involves analysts combing through social media sites looking for “inflammatory” postings and then sharing those posts with government agencies.

ICOP specifically tracks protests across the country. A March 16 government bulletin, marked as “law enforcement sensitive,” shows that “analysts with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021.”

“iCOP analysts are currently monitoring these social media channels for any potential threats stemming from the scheduled protests and will disseminate intelligence updates as needed,” the bulletin says.

So much for fiction and freedom.

Reality

This world is not my reality. I come from another time, another place, different from this one.

First, let me say that I use the words “man,” “his,” and “he,” because from where I originate, those are proper pronouns for the male of my species. Please feel free to substitute the ‘pronoun’ of your liking while reading this.

Also, where I am from, a man carries a wallet, his keys, sometimes a pocket knife, sometimes a handkerchief, a pocket watch, or wears a wristwatch. In this reality, however, he is almost always forced to have a cellphone on his person.

The cellphone throws everything off balance. It throws me off balance.

Perhaps if I got rid of it, I could return to where I belong.

Accomplished

It doesn’t take very much to leave me feeling accomplished.

It was early still when I began working on the front yard sprinklers, which still need more adjusting before they stop watering the sidewalk and driveway. By the time the sun fully crested the mountains to my east, it was time to head inside and get another cup of coffee.

No longer wet or chilled, I started rewriting and editing all four news stories I had put together from the night before. It’s a great feeling to have my weekly assignments finished and ready for publishing.

Once I finished that task, I grabbed the four weeks’ worth of past newspapers and started cutting them up. Before long, I had all my stories clipped and the ten pages they filled glue into my scrapbook.

At lunchtime, I got caught up in my journal. I had worked on my news stories for so long last night that I went to bed without writing anything about yesterday’s events.

Finally, Buddy (our dog) and I took a walk through the neighborhood. He was so excited, he forgot his leash training.

The walk was good for me too, as I can always use the exercise.

Call Her ‘Lime Lady’ No More

Though hundreds of miles and four-and-a-half decades from where I am now, this tale of murder and the hunt for justice within one family hits close to my childhood.

Mummified remains, covered in a quicklime mixture, were found along the North Canadian River, near Jones, Oklahoma, on April 18, 1980. Investigators learned that the victim, a female, had been shot three times elsewhere, then discarded by the riverbank.

The medical examiner estimated that she was between 18 and 25, five feet six inches tall, and weighed between 115 and 120 pounds. She had a heart and ribbon tattoo above her left breast and an appendectomy scar and was dead about ten days.

One of the wounds contained clothing fiber and a dime, driven into her chest by a .45 caliber bullet. Because quicklime was spread over her in a possible attempt to accelerate decomposition, she became known as the Lime Lady.

Investigators used traditional techniques to attempt to identify her, but all efforts failed. Finally, in 2014, viable DNA was extracted and the Doe Project began testing in 2019, generating a usable profile by year’s end.

On January 30, 2020, Tamara Lee Tigard finally got her name back.

Tamara was born in Alameda, California, on April 18, 1959. Incidentally, that is the date on which she was first found dead in 1980.

She joined the U.S. Army following high school, attaining the rank of Specialist E-4. It remains unclear if she had already been mustered from the Army or was still in.

She married Chadwick Ryan Carr, who was last known to be living in Tennessee, on February 24, 1979, in Las Vegas. Accounts vary as to whether they were divorced or not.

She was seen last on March 21, 1980, in Las Vegas, on a walk.

Her immediate family, Patsy and James Tigard, and sister, Cynthia Butts are deceased. Meanwhile, Tamara is interred in an Oklahoma Cemetery under a brass marker that, aside from her name, year of birth and death, and branch of service, “Beloved Daughter and Sister.”

Tamara is a cousin of Patricia Ann Tigard, a woman I grew up with and who was found murdered in October 1976 and left like so much trash near the Smith River along Hwy 199, between Crescent City and Hiouchi, California. Her murder remains unsolved because her killer is widely believed to be already dead.

Today is Tamara’s birthday. She would be 62-years-old.

The investigation into Tamara’s murder is ongoing. If you have any information, call the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office at (405) 713-1017.

Duel

My wife sleeps in the master bedroom, I sleep in the second guest room across the hallway. Before you ask, let me explain – I have night terrors that are often violent, and I have come close to physically injuring her while in this state.

We get up at about the same time each morning and join one another at the kitchen table for breakfast, her cereal, and juice, me a cup of coffee. This is also when we catch up, reminding each other of things needing to be done and where we share our nightly dreams or terrors if either of us can recall them.

Imagine my surprise when my wife starts telling me about a dream that grew into a nightmare, where we were trying to pass an 18-wheeler, and the truck sped up jus’ as we came even with the cab. She said we were on the wrong side of the road, forcing other vehicles into the ditch.

Then I tell her about mine. We were being chased by an 18-wheeler we had passed, and no matter how hard I pushed the car or how well I drove, we could not shake the truck as it tried and tried to run us off the road.

It is the only time we have ever had duel nightmares.

Fuji Film Moments

Sorting out my mind is how I’ve spent this morning. It began when I woke and clawed from between the sheets.

It’s what I call a ‘Fuji Film moment;’ bright, vivid colors that are not there but real nonetheless. I say Fuji Film because before digital, there was only emulsion film, and the one that always stood out for its color was Fuji.

When printing a roll of Fuji Film, one always had to double-check the standards. It wouldn’t do using Kodak standards for Fuji, as the print would come out a blaze of off-key colors.

Anyway, that’s how I awoke. Somewhere in my brain, the same place as my manic-depression resides, I suspect, a chemical misfiring happened, and I had to let it fade away naturally.

When this happens, it also makes it hard to think clearly. I end up with all sorts of words racing through my head that I cannot keep up with them.

Some phrases I can hold onto, like, “We all have a touch of madness in us, that is to say, we’re each are mentally ill in our own way.”

“I don’t want to paint slowly. It feels more real when I move quickly. The faster, the better.”

“The ocean is eternity, and I’m simply going with the flow in the river of life. Some get to float along and never seem to find a snag or white water. Others, like me, have to dog-paddle, haul out, portage from rock bar to rock bar, and struggle to keep our head above the surface.”

“People tell me to share the fact that I have a case mental illness, but when I do, they call me ‘crazy.'”

It’s not all as dismal as it sounds.

It’s taken time, but I’ve learned to embrace my Fuji Film moments. For instance, I find that I do a lot of painting (something that I only really started doing in the early 2000s) when in this frame of mind.

So this is where I am right now, and though disorientating, it is another superpower, and I cannot be otherwise convinced.

Imbecile Child

The farmer looked at his son, knowing the boy had no future. He’d been starved for air at birth, leaving him slow-in-the-head.

It was the year 1892, modern times, with places one could leave an imbecile child. Family, town folk, preachers, and doctors all said to put the child away, but he couldn’t, such was his love for the boy.

“Don’t know what he’s yammering on about now,” he said to his wife.

“You know he has a strong imagination,” she said. “You recall how he spent months talking on and on about the bird that laid an egg on an island and it bloomed like the sunrise.”

“Yeah,” he said. “Guess it ain’t nothing then. Still, I wish I understood what it was about alabaster twins turning to dust. Sounds like a nightmare or something.”

“Go wash up,” she said, “Suppers nearly ready.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said.

The backdoor screen slapped shut as the boy came running in.

“What does certificate of vaccination identification mean, Momma?” he asked.

“It means you best go wash up,” she said. “It’s nearly time to eat.”

“Hope it’s fried chicken,” he said, racing to join his father at the washbasin, “I love fried chicken.”

You Can’t Help

You can’t help my isolation
You can’t help the fear that it brings
You can’t help yourself by seeing me
You can’t help my fucking want
You can’t help my wanting to fuck

You can’t help our social distancing
You can’t help the hurt that it brings
You can’t help your helpless can’t
You can’t help touching my human needs
You can’t help not wanting inside me

You can’t help my need to be inside you
You can’t help hurting me deeply
You can’t walk away on your knees
You can’t help my isolation
You can’t help the anger it breeds

You can’t help touching my body
You can’t help washing your hands
You can’t help beating me senseless
You can’t help my need to beat-off
You can’t help my wanting to fuck

You can’t your fucking turning away
You can’t help my breaking heart
You can’t help this romantic disease
You can’t help not wanting to fuck me
You can’t help having not seen the real me

You can’t help feed my isolation
You can’t help fuck my only fear
You can’t help but tease me
You can’t help my need to be teased
You can’t help your helpless can’t

You can’t help watch my death throes
You can’t help to wait and what to see
You can’t help explain your desire to me
You can’t help not acting on your dream
You can’t help believing in romantic death

Sam Clemens, the Dog and a Pig in a Blanket

As a kid, reading Mark Twain’s, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,” lead to “Treasure Island” and eventually “Lord of the Flies.” But somehow, I always returned to Twain, especially to his shorter tales.

One such short story is “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” In it, the narrator is sent by a friend to interview an old man, Simon Wheeler, who might know the location of an old acquaintance named Leonidas W. Smiley.

Finding Wheeler at Angels Camp, the narrator asks him if he knows anything about Leonidas. Simon appears not to and instead tells a story about Jim Smiley, a man who had visited the camp years earlier.

According to Wheeler, Jim loves to gamble and will bet on anything and everything. He explains that once Jim caught a frog, whom he names Dan’l Webster, and spent three months training it to jump.

When a stranger visits the camp, Jim shows off Dan’l and offers to bet $40 that it can out-jump any other frog in Calaveras County. The stranger, unimpressed, says that he would take the bet if he had a frog, so Jim goes out to catch one, leaving him alone with Dan’l.
While Jim is away, the stranger pours lead shot down Dan’l’s throat. Once Jim returns, he and the stranger set the frogs down and let them loose.

The stranger’s frog jumps away while Dan’l doesn’t budge, and the surprised and disgusted Jim pays the $40 wager. After the stranger leaves, Jim notices Dan’l’s sluggishness and picks the frog up, finding it much heavier than he remembers.

When Dan’l belches out a double handful of lead shot, Jim realizes that he has been had and chases after the stranger but never catches him.

The narrator, understanding that Jim has no connection to Leonidas, gets up to leave. However, Wheeler wants to tell him about a yellow, one-eyed, stubby-tailed cow Jim once owned.

Rather than listening to another pointless tale, the narrator leaves. As he does, he muses that his friend must have fabricated Leonidas Smiley to trick him into listening to Wheeler’s stories.

But how did Twain come up with such a story?

It began in Virginia City, Nevada, with a prospecting pig named John Henry and Towser the Bulldog. Both animals belonged to Twain’s friend, Jim Gillis.

Gillis was not only a teller of tall tales but also a “pocket miner.” He spent his time searching for small hallows in the dirt where he might find ore.

Gillis trained John Henry to dig hardpan. He did this by burying biscuits that the pig could dig up, and in doing so, Gillis would sift through the loose dirt.

One evening after staying past midnight, drinking and swapping stories with Gillis, Clemens decided he would stay over. The cabin had four bunks and two already in use.

Gillis would let the dog and the inside on cold nights, something his guest didn’t know. They slept on the cot which Clemens was currently occupying.

The pair piled on Clemens and began to wrestle as they always did before settling down to sleep. Needless to say, this made Clemens a little more than testy.

Clemens called Gillis every name he could think of, swore off their friendship, and threatened never to speak to him again. But Gillis pulled the cork from another bottle of whiskey, offered Clemens a drink, and proceeded to tell the story about an amphibian from the Golden State that wouldn’t hop.

Sam settled down, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The More They Lie, the Less Safe I Feel

We have a disconnect from logical thought in this country. To wit:

President Biden ordered a missile strike on Syria. Shortly after, a Syrian man went on a shooting rampage in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security claims there is no connection between the two events. And yet…Syria.

It’s as simple as that in my mind as I wait for DHS to avoid the connection between Noah X., the Nation of Islam, and the Washington DC roadblock attack.

It is Done

Thank goodness this week is over. It has been an expensive few days and will probably be worse next week. But for now, the weekend is here, and I can allow myself to relax for a few hours.

It began with shorting the light in my garage. I hunted for the problem but eventually had to call an electrician to repair my mistake. After $140, we have lights once again.

Then the water heater gave out after nearly 23-years. That’s not bad. But it cost $519 for a new one, and fortunately, a friend of ours installed it for us.

When I took the old water heater to the Reno city dump, the Waste Management guy yelled at me. No, I did not see the sign, but posting a sign at the entrance before allowing Joe Public to drive through the lot would have been the better thing to do. Masks make some people so brave.

The next day a Washoe County Library employee got pissed at me because I could not get the frigging book return touch screen to work. The old manual pull-open and push-shut draw worked fine. The third time she yelled at me and walked in front of my truck, I had murder on my mind.

It cost us over $300 for our 20-plus-year-old lawnmower once everything was said and done. I had to put a $125 deposit down because people leave their mowers to be repaired and never return to pick them up once they learn how much the “damage” is. We could have put a downpayment on a riding mower for that expense.

As I was leaving the small engine shop with the mower, my truck took a shit. It is in the shop right now and will be through next week. I have no idea what it will cost us, and I don’t even want to think about it at the moment.

Finally, my son and his wife invited us to dinner at an actual sit-down restaurant for my wife’s birthday. It was a wonderful visit, and we all came away very full. And though I was ready to help pay the bill, “my kids” pick up the entire tab.

Happily, Easter is almost here.