Friday, January 28, 2011

St.L. vs. K.C.

Once when coming home on Amtrak, before the 19th-century (era) Union Station was turned back into a train depot from a shopping mall (ah, the '80s; what had developers been thinking?), and the terminal was a 12-by-10-foot structure underneath the multiple interstates (ah, we were thinking about cars, indeed!), we came across a man a few blocks later who said, "Do you know where they can stick it?"

He was referring to the Gateway Arch. I won't mention how it's undergoing structural failure. Another whole cultural conversation, that one …

My reason is to say that my hometown has a claim of being the "Gateway to the West," yet this other town (once known simply by its port-name) claims also to have been the true starting point of those heading on the Santa Fe and other trails. The last outpost.

Well, that makes plenty of sense to me now.

Here, things were truly rough. There, they truly thought they were the last of civilization. I agree. Kansas City has the second-largest rail hub (after Chicago … both seem related to the nation's lust for bovine meat), but St. Louis is perched on one of the world's largest rivers and once was a typography titan.

Both cities did pretty well with (German-American) beer manufacturers.

Today, I summed up my sentiments once again when asked to compare this Missouri border town/city to the other one: I greatly prefer the original architecture in St. Louis, but people in Kansas City are much more approachable and far less racist.

Those factors seem to be consistent with the cities' relative age and cultural heritage, even if Kansas-proper still remembers how people this side of the state line fought tooth-and-nail to keep slavery solvent.

We used to sing "John Brown" in Kindergarten, but nothing about Jayhawking ever came up … just something about his baby and a cough, which I never understood.

I saw my first Space Shuttle launch in that room.

Upstairs in that same school, apparently 25 years ago, I watched Christa McCauliff and everyone else there show me what hope was all about. I'm glad that private enterprise is taking over space travel. It was so precious then. Now, any millionaire can do it.

Still, doesn't Kansas City have clay? Choosing to forage porous calcium carbonate instead strikes me as an example of what's wrong with "Americans."

This is all just my way of tilting at windmills, hating on my own house.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Birds Can Have Cones Too

Hi, my name is CB.
It used to stand for something else, but now it means Cone Bird.
I was obsessive about an itch on my back a while ago …
It turned into a scabby sore amid an infected bald patch.
Now I have been wearing this cone for 4 days.
As you can see, I do not like it.

They clipped my wings, too, so getting around has been hard.
I'm really tired of falling on my face and head.
I'm also really tired of being grabbed twice a day to get antiseptic swabbed on my back.
Haven't I done a really good job of chewing off the band-aid pads on the cone?
I think I ate that stuff, though my owner cut some off the other day during "us time."
When this thing comes off in 3, 4 … who knows … weeks, I'm going to be so mad that I plan to start tearing up my back immediately.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Two Years Ago

We had the same amount of annoying snow (and I seemed as motivated and in the same in most, if not all, recorded/perceived ways):

Friday, January 18, 2008

No matter how late

Even when I decide to miss a ride with earlier-than-nine-working spouse and don't get my chilblained face to the office until 9:45, I am still first.

It's about 25ºF, but yesterday, the Walt Bodine Show had on two men who had recently run a marathon in Antarctica, where the headwinds are 35 mph and a temperature I never want to experience.

My 10 block "trek" over patchy ice and still-fluffy snow is nothing special.

Another person showed up…but they do not work here (in that sense)…another, but they are meeting someone who does work here who has not arrived…and then a staff person. The other should be here soon, apparently.

Ah, Friday.

I'm leaving at 3 p.m. anyhow.

You know that we work on weekends, right? And after hours?

Yes, we do.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'Letters Never Sent'

I posted an R.E.M. reference on Facebook (today, yesterday, recently), and none of my faithful commenters / FB Friends / friends called out the attribution.

Instead, they made humorous statements (thank you!) based on a literal interpretation of the statement.

I am sure I have done the same thing to others. (Maybe not as funny, though.)

Punctuation in the header / title is meant to provide a hint, though, after that introduction, it is merely a hammer-blow to the proverbial dead horse.

Alzheimer's disease has been in the free media lately; Ronnie Jr. speaks out about his father on ABC … Bob Newhart guest stars on NCIS as Ducky's ailing predecessor … on a related note, PBS is re-airing their ___ Friendly roundtable discussion about mental health services.

It is a grim story. (I'm rocking with the non-links, right? I link all day; I trust you all are hearty enough to use a search engine. I don't feel like it all the time, you know?)

One of the symptoms of developing this brain disorder associated with aluminum exposure, perhaps, and definitely old age, even though the late Missouri Senator Karen McCarthy succumbed to it at a relatively young age (not too long after the dear and effective alcoholic tripped on the stairs and went dry and public about it), is taking ridiculous jumps from subject to subject (using a free-association that is usually not apparent to anyone but the speaker).

So, umm, like, sea turtles and whatnot : )

A quote I recall from one of the shows (one was only a segment they dumped into PBS NewsHour … self-promotion — though I will say we saw a commercial for a new PBS program air during prime-time CBS; that was weird) is similar to: "If you forget where your keys are, you are just getting old; if you forget what they are for, that's a problem."

Off the hook for now!!

I do wonder about another phenomenon. I think everyone hoards something. I have a theory that excessive collection that threatens your living space and life is related to procrastination (another disorder, but it might not be listed in the DSM-IV).

In a desk drawer are cards and stationery decades old. Newer ones represent intentions not carried out:

a sympathy card, chosen after 26 minutes of deliberation at a poorly stocked national chain drug store in the mid-from-downtown urban core — they all were terrible, and later, thank goodness, I realized how terrible this one was and never sent it. You don't want to hear that, in the end, a text message actually was the best solution, avoided it as I did, when the situation was more acute … because that would have been insensitive and tacky;

a belated birthday card; a standard plain calm birthday card (blank); a MOM card; dozens of envelopes that don't match anything (much like having a metric wrench to work on a 1970 Chevy); post cards from places no one wants this city's postmark on; provocative notes written in illicit tones and sealed without issue for good; stickers …

I am the one who still has a very fun 2010 Japanese cat illustration calendar, an item I meant 13 months ago to send to a friend who, if reading, might know who s/he is. You do!

Talk about procrastination …

In the impossible closet in the original bathroom of the house of unmentionable difficulties is a Rubbermaid-type bin of letters I have received, along with copies (hand-written drafts!) of ones I have sent. Weighing far less than the practically useless 33s, 45s, and mostly 78s in a bin below them, this substantial collection of paper represents thoughts I don't remember and that I have not visited in decades. There they are, though, just like the IBM 486 (that's right — look at my 2400 modem, b___es! Going on the World Wide Web should be marked by uproarious clamor that sounds like locusts stuck in a blender : ), which holds years or written expression and that I likewise have not tried to access in years.

For some reason, I presume that those e-thoughts are more useful and less disgusting than the ones that were committed to paper-based journals. Many are school essays and papers and research projects, only a few are confessional, and others, hundreds of pages in .SAM format (whaaa?) are my impressions, decision points (I am Bush), traumas, and joys experienced while living in Japan for 11 months (a year with an American holiday hiatus — a vacation of which I remember very little except that I had to rent a car for four weeks and it cost me $1,000); others are letters, too.

Audience is one of the cardinal factors my excellent English instructors instilled in me. You tell me how I'm doing.

I try to follow rules, like: don't go spilling your guts to strangers (unless you are deranged; think about it — if some of the things people vomit onto these blogs came out of someone's mouth directly into your ears, say, on a bus or in the grocery store, for instance, would you stand there and listen to the whole gruesomely self-confessional and often nauseating story? ; )

Another blog rule is that you can save face by using metaphors that are not as personal and delightfully ticklish as the ones you have in your dreams. No one wants certain personal things unless there is meaning.

For example, if someone talks about her sex life and/or hygiene issues but is not fighting cancer … then person A is not interesting except to ridicule as self-indulgent.

Again, you let me know.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Just Like When I Watched Ernie

Ernie was a roundish goldfish who fell ill long before the skinnier Bert died suddenly and, for us, more peacefully.

I have a budgie whose leg-band says 2001, who is mostly yellow and who used to enjoy a decent life of free-range hall-fun before we moved to this house.

This bird is in the obvious process of dying.

Ernie chose to swim obsessively around and around the bowl, while tilting toward its center.

I cried a number of tears into the water.
The kitchen table at that time was a bench-like affair.
My enormous, and, in retrospect, disproportionate,
Grief, was disparaged after a number of hours by my mother.
It was hours; I have cried out similar amounts for anyone I've lost.

Watching anyone suffer is simply the worst.
Instincts make us try to shut it down or
To use any incident to expiate all woes wholesale.
Hence, some of us cry for days about a bird.
Some of us also dream excessively about these same animals.

The parakeet has been slowing down over the past 18 months.
Molting, a known stressor, has been visibly difficult lately.
And, within the past week, a remarked seeking and need of heat has developed.

Birds that hide under paper or scraps of cloth as if they are mice are not long for the land of branches.
But, Superlemon is sitting on perches again; the room is full of excessive heat and all the humidity a plugged-in machine can provide.

There was a distinct and new spot of blood on the cage-paper. I can not find where it came from. The bird is still eating. His digestive system seems the most affected anyway, due to other symptoms. Very picky about seeds.

Want to discover what he wants to eat.

Just want to make him comfortable.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Midwest Offers Weather Conducive to Death Year-Round

If it is not a storm with knock-things-down winds and broil-it lightning,
It is an actual tornado, ice storm, and frequently amid temperatures extreme enough
In either direction to kill you if you sit still or move too much, depending.

This is why I do not leave the house for days at a time,
Several times a year. I do not keep track.
Things I used to tabulate included sex and alcohol portions.
Food diaries were always two-day failures.
However, statistics never proved valuable enough to balance the tedium of
Manual data entry.

The returns of knowledge were worthless,
And when a purpose did once arise, the data proved incomplete,

I do know that I drove to a friend's birthday,
After a parental birthday we hosted,

Then, you know, it snowed;
People cancelled their F2Fs with me,
So there.

Our car has a questionable tire now, after being punctured by an unretrieved screw or something, and who wants to brave "this patch might not work because there was some oily substance, we don't know what, inside the tire?"

I don't like having to rely on things that might fail and leave me stranded metaphorically or actually. The bus is fairly trustworthy, though there are incidents of violence. Actual shootings, I've missed out on, but I have been aisle-side when two youngish women started punching and yelling at each other. Nice. Hence, going out requires extreme motivation. Something like money, perhaps.