Tuesday, July 31, 2012


So, leaving our hospital sockies behind, I proceed to try and find an empty chair, preferably one up front, close to where the nurses will call the patients and I don’t have to run the Obstacle Course of the Dead to get to the Nurses’ station. No joy there. All empty seats are in the back. Now, this is not laid out like the DMV, airline style waiting area, with row upon row of seats, due to the fact that everyone in this room is either on crutches, in a wheel chair, has a cane, missing an appendage, an eye, or is crazy, or barfing, or any of the afore mentioned  combination. No, the seats abut the walls of the room, and there are vast amounts of space to traverse, just what the lame and the halt ordered. At times it resembles buzkashi, what with canes and wheel chairs, people trying to dodge one another; the only thing lacking is a head.

So I proceed to cram myself into the one chair that lacks a (hopefully live) body in a corner that’s next to the phone. I’m there about 10 minutes, and it rings. It startles me. It’s one of those square, flesh-beigy phones that looked dirty when it was 5 minutes old. It rings again and not one person is paying attention to it. I start to wonder if I’m in one of those creepy movies where I’m dead and everyone is alive. I can scream my head and… Well, I pick up the phone. “Hello? Hello?” I say this in my quasi-Llily Tomlin and Terry Jones voice, because I’m traveling incognito. Dead air.

I hang up. “Hell called. I’m next.” I announce loudly to no one. I’m starting to get looks from some of the other patients. Okay, I’ve been sitting here for about 6 or 7 hours now. I don’t go to the nurses’ station. The nurses’ station comes to you. Not a whole lot has happened. We have TV. Dr. Phil, Puke. I can’t stand that phony. The people across from me get the Olympics. My one chance, and I wouldn’t even have to steal it, but no. They don’t have the wit to see I’m gymnastics-deprived, but I can't turn my head because of this cursed neck-thingy. Oh good, here comes Brad, the Vitals-taker, or RN. I’m bored. Me bored in public is never a good mix. “Hey Brad, you know the only difference between this place and Steerage on the Titanic, is the TGH waiting room has TVs here.” Brad’s a sparrer, I find to my delight. He never bats an eye, as he jams that clothes-pin air doo-dad on my finger “Oh, well wait, the lower decks get the organ grinders and the monkeys, later.”  “Hmm, are they re-arranging the deck chairs, yet, up top?” “not yet, miss.” “cool.” He turned to walk away. I stopped him. “Hey, Brad,” He turned. “Up on the Lido Deck for a waltz later?” He grinned and went on his rounds. A little play at work.

Well, it must be getting late. We’ve had the news. Or talking heads So now David Letterman is on. And he’s got one of my all time favorite guests, Jack Hanna.
Jack has brought out 2 little baby jaguar kittens they look like and they are so tiny they don’t have fur, they’re still in the wool stage. David is trying to feed one and accidentally pokes the bottle nipple in the kitten’s eye. The kitten doesn’t even notice, so intent on his dinner. Cute, cute. Then, Jack brings out some Pelican-looking birds. I can't really tell from my vantage point. There seems to be a lot of flapping and hopping and then they go away. 

Now, here’s where this whole narrative takes a giant left turn and in planning this out, I’m beginning to think there will probably be a Part 3 to this, too. To properly do this insanity justice, I have to go back more than 50 years. Whether the trip is worth it, only you can tell, dear readers. I have some of my better ideas during idleness and this was a very (for me) prolonged period of idleness, coupled with the fact that I had some not insignificant drugs running around in my system battling a pretty nasty headache. So let me “walk this back” as the current Romney phrase seems to be every time he makes a gaffe. Why in hell they just don’t face north on a south-running people-mover and call it a day and save time is beyond me, but I digress.

Over 50 years ago, my parents were quite the bon vivants for the Muskegon, Michigan “in” crowd, whatever that was. The hung around with people who were accomplished, educated and very witty. Most of those people had one or two children or quite possibly, none. I, being an only child, was never left out. My parents also never adhered to that adage “seen but not heard,” and I think, they got some marvelous stories out of this later, but must have certainly questioned their own possible serious deranged attitudes at the time, and may have been partially responsible for their rather (for our families) fairly early demises. Nevertheless they stood by their choice. But I spent a lot of time around adults from babyhood and was never a distraction; quite the contrary it was a good education. Interestingly, today, I find I mingle very easily with young people.

I am telling you this, because I’ve often wondered why it is I have just never given a damn if I got up in a public venue and made a complete ass out of my self. And never mind if I know anything about the subject or not. Of course, playing in public, and soloing in public is different; it was my job. Likewise, working in the IT industry. The fact that I was highly successful in a man's world didn't hurt either. But, I will get up and with the same bravado, do something for which I have no business doing. Like mimic John Wayne and I do a really bad John Wayne and fall flat on my face. Case in point. When I was about 4, my folks took me to an afternoon party after church to a friend’s house. He played piano quite well. 

I didn’t. At 4 years old, I could fumble through a couple of tunes I learned through osmosis. I didn't learn how to read music until I started violin at the ancient age of 11. I still don’t "play piano" at 56. I can plunk out some Beethoven, and Chopin and "read piano" music akin, to how someone reads Spanish after 30 years of not picking up their text book. I love the chord changes and the harmonies, but I truly, truly suck at piano. I believe I mentioned I had to take a year in college, What a waste. I‘ll never get those notes back. Anyway, the host was playing piano. I, at 4, did what any well-behaved child would do. I interrupted him, climbed up next to him, and said “I can play piano, wanna hear a song? Any requests?” Somebody shouted out “Moonglow,” whereupon I proceeded to play “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” Horribly, I’m sure. I got all done, and hollered out, “okay, any other requests?” My father, being the wit that he is said “Sure, St. Louis Blues,” “Okay!” “Onward Christian Soldiers,” again, about 4 bars. ...And then my mother came in from the kitchen and retired me from my first music career.

So, this is kind of setting us up for what transpired last night in the waiting room in TGH. Bear in mind; I’ll make an ass out of myself and pretty much talk to anyone


I had some vague idea when I went to bed Sunday night of following up my epic Check in blog with.... something. Possible even something more knee-slappier than the boffo ending, I left you all with regarding my Runescape exchange with my ultra-suave friend Bryan. I am having trouble remembering what it was now, because I was getting a headache. I don't get many headaches, thank God, but when I do, they tend to be strange and weird, and I get stranger and even more psychotic than normal. I should have known this was going to be bizarre. I stepped outside for a breath of fetid, dumpster air, and the putative Spike and Angel were patrolling for vampires and demons out behind the La Ideal Meat Market. I accepted this as perfectly normal. They must have had Protect-a-Wino duty tonight.

Anyway, I was feeling tired and stiff and went to bed. I woke up at 4 am with the absolute worst nest pain on the left side of my neck, along with this really swell headache. This is either the spinal meningitis or the brain tumor I fear has lurked and eluded every MRI and voodoo spell for the last 50 years. Alarmed, I proceeded to burrow back into the pillows and sleep until abou1 pm.

Of course, it’s not one whit better when I wake up. So, I climb into some clothes, deputize JC to watch the house, so it's not completely denuded by crack hos and meth addicts, grab whackamole, glasses and crawl off to the bus stop. Only in this case, being Nebraska, it's all about the presentation, so I pretend to look like my head is not being riven in two by a wedge. Thank God, it's a short walk and a short wait.

By the time I get to TGH, I'm starting to get confused. I get off the bus and I have to get across a cross walk and I'm having trouble seeing it. A police officer noticed my difficulty and flagged down this doofy little card that runs around the campus, hauling people to and fro. People were getting in his way in the crosswalk, both pedestrians and some cars were just being impatient driving around him, a Tampa Police Office. He was getting impatient; a white pick up truck started to pass, but he looked at the woman's face and asked if she was all right. I was trying to get in this little cart and I heard "he's having chest pains." The officer instructed the woman to follow us. We zipped around the rear of the hospital and up a hill. The triage people tried to take me first. I said, "I'm doin' my own triage, get that guy there, ha may be having a heart attack." The attendants ran off after the lady and her husband. I got in the door and got in line. Typical TGH hurly burly. I worked in a teaching hospital for 5 years. This is nothing new to me.

Okay, let the festivities begin. Sign in, with a bunch of poorly scrawled information. God bless the intake people. They must have crystal balls and some kind of thought-detection. I can't even read my own runic output. Yet I'm always "Mary Wallace" " Mvxs Tcpldee." I was "Mary TGH" for a while once, but they could still find me. Now. the fun part. Find a chair in the waiting room. I look around. Just about every chair is taking. It looks like the Ship of the Damned. And nearly everyone has one of those charming Hospital Blankets. This is where normal blankets go before they die. This is blanket Purgatory. If you're a good blanket here, you may actually get out of here and go to blanket Heaven. I haven't formulated that part of the Theology yet. If you fail here in blanket Purgatory, you are made into those nasty little Hospital Socks. You know, the kind with non-skid crosses, and tight-ass collars, or whatever the hell those rings of death are called to keep them form slipping off your feet. They also come in either the most eye-blindingly shades of color known to man or the dreariest.

I have a theory about this; the violent chartreuse, reds, purples, blues, yellows are all given to the schizophrenic, bipolar mental patients. The dull, dull, dull, blah, dreary, brown, green, gray, lilac shades are given to the depressed people to ensure repeat business. The only thing that is even remotely “PC” are the fuzzy pink ones given to the people who are having breast biopsies, and those suckers could have been manolo blahniks and I wouldn't have noticed when I had a biopsy there.

These blankets however do not do one thing to keep anyone warm. When I was a patient here for 2 months, I weighed about 70 lbs at one point. I counted. I had 14 blankets. The damned blankets had to weigh more than I did. They did not keep me warm They would have made swell windows. These blankets have been washed and bleached so many times they don't even feel like normal material anymore. I bet if you stretched those bastards really tight you could file through metal. Those damn things are rough. And everybody's wrapped up in them. The blanket girl came around "Cigar? cigarette? Blanket o Death?" and asked me if I wanted one. I told her to bring me some Saran Wrap. That'd be warmer. Geeze.

But, once again, I'm off on a tear. This is a good place to stop, so I can launch into tomorrow's tear, which is actually today now. Shit, Like I'm not confused enough.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


For something new and different last night, I decided to waste some time. I know you all will say, "But Mary, not you. You are all about purpose, drive and manufacturing heavy machinery." You wouldn't be far wrong. Balls. After we have some pastrami sandwiches, at least my 874th in a row, we watched a little "Angel," on Hulu. This was after a heavy day spent fiddling around trying to see if I could get Bright House to believe that I have Cable as well as Internet (I don't) and could we possibly watch more than 3 minutes of herky-jerky badly-streamed Olympic boxing. We couldn't.

Thus thwarted, I turned to the riotous goings on on Twitter, which is a combination of Comedy Central, smoke-filled back room and Ronco Warehouse, complete with raunch. There, I pretended to be witty for an hour or two, answering such plaintive messages as "I'm going to Hell in every religion" (thanks @hangglidded) with "at least you're ecumenical." to the moment Twitter went Boom! and disappeared. I was talking to @SomethingsomethingAtheist. She had said "as long as you're okay with this." I tweeted back, "Yes, I had teaching from Jesuits, they're pretty much okay with everything, including aliens." BANG! There went Twitter. We concluded that the universe couldn't handle that exchange after Twitter came back and thus, we tee-heed, giggle-giggled, were punished. This exchange occurred among the 8 bajillion Tweets bitching about Twitter being down, as if Twitter will never, ever do that again and is sorry. So, this has been quite the arduous day, and it isn't even half over yet! Actually, the Twitter thing happened Thursday or Friday, but my days being as busy as they are, it's all a whirl of social activity and business meetings. I'll have my people call yours and we'll do lunch.

So, the rest of my "typical" day after the disappointment of not being able to steal the Olympics, and doing fuck-all on Twitter is to go and look at the same 3 pictures that have been over on FB for some reason. I really think my Facebook is broken at certain times of the day. And there are people I've never seen or heard of before. They loom up out of the Cyber-ether. post incomprehensible I know not what messages and slip off the bottom of my monitor, never to be seen again.

These are interspersed with all my old familiar friends and pages, so I skip about commenting on this, liking that. If I find anything offensive I either ignore it, or if it's truly mean-spirited I eviscerate the writer. Why people have to be so mean is beyond me. I know it's a frightening time and that we are truly not in a good place econimically, socially, politically and especially spiritually. That is most important to me. Why we feel so compelled to be so cutting and hurtful to one another when we all are really at our most vulnerable just baffles me. At the risk of sounding horribly naive and just out of it, I have been around long enough and been in enough different places to realize it really is just as simple as opening your heart. It is just as easy as putting your hand out. If every one did that, there would be no conflict, no need for difference. Yeah, wish on, Mary That's how I spend my days sometimes.

Not to switch gears, but that's exactly what I'm going to do. After the fooling around with Olympic non-stealing, Twittering, FB'ing, eating, Angel-ing and general blabbering, JC went to sleep. I was still wide-awake and I decided to cap off a perfect day with... Runescape! Other than getting my free "spins." which is a bunch of stupidity right there, I've been trying to get this whole blogging, social-networking thing going, so I haven't 'scaped much lately. When I play Runescape, I tend to play it for days on end. Yeah, more no-lifing. So, I get my two free spins, which are tantamount to getting more free useless shit to stuff in my bank, that is already full of useless shit. Great. Now, I'm back to killing level 83 cockroaches. I was chopping Magic Trees, but all the assholes in Runescape were taking my trees. I was mining coal, but all the coal assholes showed up too, so back to killing bugs. Fuck me. My friend Bryan is on, and he's one of my best friends. Good hearted soul and just an all around great guy. He's also possibly more profane than I am. I was talking to him about how I didn't have a topic for today. He said "Well, sure you do. You can even type 4500 words." I thought he meant a choice of words:

I didn't realize he meant only one word. Asshole.

Saturday, July 28, 2012



...zzzz.....squeeeeeennnn...........blorp...snap!...crackle!....pop!.... oooweeeooooo...(sound of channel changing)

Captain: Scotty, get those damn Blarves out of the warp drive chamber! They're eating the dilithium crystals!

Scotty: I'll trrrry, Cap'n! She's givin' me all she'ssss got! I canna do verrrra much with the likes o' this!

Captain: McCoy, stand by with the stun guns.

Dr: Dammit, Jim! I'm a Doctor! Not an exo-exterminator!

(sound of channel changing...)

(...to a lone man on screen. He has a suspicious green cast to his rhomboid-shaped face.)... Ladies and Genomes, I, Ambassador Infun Krull want to welcome you to the SETI@Home Hemi-Demi-Semi Finals! 

That's right! The show you've all been waiting for! This match will determine  the winner of the "Most Obfuscated Batch of Data and Incomprehensible Conclusions in the Array Field" for the SETI@Home Division 3D Outer Quadrant Regionals! 

The roster includes four very competitive teams; first, the rough and tough veteran group of the "SwissNavyCurrentlyinaFjord@Home.bern.edu" team. 

Second, the legendary fighting group once feared as the "FormerlyKnownAsSovietArmySynchronizedBalalaika@Home.moscow.ru" team. 

Third, the flashy, glitzy, rich, corporate and snobby sophomore team of HelloKittyWeRuleTheWorld@Home.tokyo.ja" team.

And fourth, the curmudgeonly old creeps from the quaint hamlet in Central Florida,  "TheOldMIBandSpooksandKnittingClubattheVillages@Home.florida.net team.

Ambassador Krull: Let's get acquainted with our competitors, shall we?
Team One, the Swiss blah blah:

Corporal Spaeckel: Booyah!

Sergeant Neeck Furor: That's the Marines, you dolt! And not even the Marines of this here fighting Swiss Country!

Corporal Spaeckel (chastened): I forgot our motto, sir.

Sergeant Furor: That's why you're fit for this Man's Navy! Carry on, Corporal!

Ambassador Krull: Okay! Thanks! I can see you all have interesting jobs! Team Two? The Russian etceteras?

Captain Geyer: Go Stalingrad!

Fulgencio Muldrayavich (sotto voce): I believe is now Volgograd. In fact, I want to believe. The troot is out t'ere.

Captain Geyer (casting a sidelong look at Muldrayavich): Da, Tovarisch. Volgo-, Stalin-, is same city. Troot is troot.

Ambassador Krull (beginning to sweat under his green makeup): Sweet! I didn't know you all had such varied, er, uh... opinions in Russia! It's nice to see freedom of expression! Team three? The HelloKittyHell... er, drivel team?

Tokugawa Hijiro Kitty-San: Yes! Thanks! We have many kitties in Hello Kitty Land. Our kitties are pink and bright and amorphous blobs! Our Hello Kitty AK-47s match our pink Hello Kitty laptops! Perfect for any Shopping Mall! We are one step closer to franchising the entire world with Hello Kitty! MUUUUHAHAHAHHA It will be Happy!

Deputy Sanjiro Hai (smoothly interrupting): ... of course, this will occur only after complete consensus from the entire planet. This should occur no later than December 21, 2012. If not, the Mayans will curse us all-

Ambassador Krull (mopping forehead; gapes at green hankie) -Well! That is certainly ambitious. But it sounds as if you all have the world's best interests at heart! Team 4? The Old Creeps? Er, the VillagePeople la la la?

Miss Honey West: Hello, be right back. Snookums needs her mousey treat and her nappy, and Fluffums just horked up a hairball. Besides, our visitor from Deneb would like its lunch and I promised Vigo I would help him surveil the spy cell from... (suddenly realizes where she is) Uh... dear Miss Skola - (an aside to Ambassador Krull - our beautiful new intern), would you be so kind...?

Miss Mana Skola: Oh, of course, Miss West. We at the Villages believe that there is a most probable certainty, a veritable surety, that even given the millions of  hits or occurrences, the chances of decoding, tabulating and massaging a hit that hints at extra terrestrial intelligent life in the universe, is so teeny weeny as to be... (flings arms wide) beyond miniscule. We aren't even talking about proof of ETI. The odds for that occurrence can only be calculated in a simultaneous processor and Cray has been hogging it for three weeks for Florida Lotto. Anyway, I digress.

Ambassador Krull (visibly relaxing): No mottoes? No mission statements, Miss Skola?

Miss Skola: Of course, Ambassador, but being the rational, science-types we are, plus with our secretive natures and faint paranoia, we choose to keep that to ourselves. I am a Medical Doctor. We feel that as long as we cannot hold it, whatever it may be, smell it, see it, possibly taste it and even eat it, it may not exist, and then we shred what is left of our already tattered careers and go off and become crazy cat people.

Ambassador (looking streakily green, as makeup begins to run;  says, bewildered): I see... A very er, interesting, weltanschauung, or uh, world view, um... crackpot paranoia? (sotto voce) no fear, the cat people are here. (More brightly now) Well! Let's get going, shall we?

...crackle..... eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhheeeeeeeee.....zzzzzzzzzzz

Relentlessly cheerful music, Leroy Anderson's "Syncopated Clock" screeches along in the background for 15 minutes

(...Clicking of channel being changed)

News Announcer Verniel Bugspit (stock footage of a Detroit Assembly line from 1940 rolls behind Bugspit): Lights were reported today over the Superstition Mountains of New Mexico. This is the fifth sighting of unexplained light displays this week and there is again speculation among the Astronomical and Scientific Communities that the announcement from the CERN commission of Bern, Switzerland, visiting Alamagordo, New Mexico has somehow spurred this activity. 

As viewers will remember, the CERN commission declared, in a joint statement from top world scientists and religious leaders, including Vatican representatives that policies regarding suppression of any information about extra terrestrial intelligence by governments would be met with resistance. Although CERN stopped short of saying that it would employ any violence or subversion, it is widely believed that the full weight and reputation of the men and women of the commission will be influential.

This has given rise to the rumors that the increased activity in the skies is a sign of new attempts at contact, now that the welcome mat has come out.

Next up: the Cat Who Drove to Albuquerque. Our own Velma Bung has an up-to-the-minute-blow-by-blow report.

Velma: Thanks to Verniel Bugspit for that Intro. Be sure and read my Book, "the Cat Who Drove to Albuquerque" and my sequel, "The Cat Who Drove Home."

(...Clicking channel)

Ambassador Krull: This program is brought to you by U.F.O Sponges! When ordinary sponging just won't do!

U.F.O. sponges can't be beat!
They'll help clean your satellite seat!
When you scour the rust and bust the dust, 
Your U.F.O Sponge becomes the U.F.O. bus!

(voice over) Disclaimer: Remember, only use U.F.O Sponges according to directions. Side effects include, but are not limited to: hot dog fingers, sprouting tails, horns, cloven hooves and sightings of the dead. Sponge will not allow wearer to fly. Do not immerse in water. If you experience bleeding from the gums for more than four years, be sure and call your Health Care Professional right away! U.F.O. Sponges!

Ambassador Krull: Now the moment you have all been waiting for. It's time to get this show on the road, run it up the flagpole, and jump the gun. On the signal from the official timekeepers, our intrepid teams will launch their arrays!

Timekeeper: 3... 2... 1... GO!

Swiss Sgt. Furor: Okay, we're going in. Breaker, breaker! Ricky Redshirt, you lead off; you're the obligatory dead guy. Sulu, grab your sword; whoops, wrong team. Go, go, go!! 

(Computers power up) Whinnneeee. Pockata-pockata

Kitty Tokugawa: Hellllooooooooooo Kittyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Bonzai!

Deputy Kitty Hai: Bonzai! Aw, somebody please tell him. Bonzai, sheesh. This isn't "What's Up Tiger Lily, moron!" Launch, launch, launch!!!!

(Computers power up): "We Are Siamese, If You Please... We Are Siamese if you don't please...."

Deputy Kitty Hai: That's the wrong theme song! I told our esteemed Social Director to change our theme song to "Cherry Blossom Time!" And what in hell is that supposed to be, our team flag? 

(Camera pans to University of Southern Florida flag)

Village Idiot West: Come on Fluffs, Pickles, Trotsky, and Casper! Time to launchy-launchy! 

(Computers power up; four cats hork up hairballs)

Russo Balalaika Geyer: Please to launch! There Computer Tovarisch 
Muldrayavich. For the Motherland, Pushkin, and Kruschev! And save Kiev!

Russo Balalaika Muldrayavich (rolls eyes): Power CPUs now!! Nyet, nyet, nyet. Stoy, stoy, stoy!!

Swiss Sgt Furor: Is there an echo in here?

Russo Balalaika Muldrayavich: Gruschenko, please to turn on damn wall switch! Go, go, go!

(Computers power up; F-18 fighter sounds heard)

Ambassador Krull: Annndddd, they're off! Out in front is the Swiss team, followed closely by Kitty. Russo Balalaika running third. It Takes a Village is stalled; still cleaning hairballs out of power sink!

Swiss Sgt Furor: Right declension at 90" altazimuth working and X, Y, Z axes holding steady at 90 degrees. Van Allen belt having minimal effect on array at this point.

Swiss Corporal Spaeckle: I have to go to the potty.

Village Skola: Declension at 47.5" altazimuth varying in performance. X and Y axes at 90 degrees. Z axis at 84 degrees. Powering auxiliary to compensate. Sunspots playing hell with the stabilizers.

(Grinding sound)

Deputy Kitty Hai: Color-coordinated pink right declension at -90" altazimuth powered down and put in reverse. X, Y, and Z at 3.1417. Moon affecting readouts! We're going down in flames! Pink kitty flames!

(whistling sound)

Russo Balalaika Muldrayavich: All is true; true is to believe, belief makes all possible.

Russo Balalaika Geyer: Is true lunacy reigns in head.

Russo Balalaika Muldrayavich: You sound like fortune cookie. Why we talking like fortune cookie?

Ambassador Krull: And just like that, Russo Balalaika has pulled ahead by three little furry points on array over Swiss to.... win!!!! Balalaikas win!

Swiss Sgt Furor (sotto voce): This thing is rigged.

Corporal Speackle: Back from potty! What'd I miss?

Kitty Tokugawa: Hellllooooooooooo Kittyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Bonzai! Hellllooooooooooo Kittyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Bonzai! Hellllooooooooooo Kittyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Bonzai! Hellllooooooooooo Kittyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Bonzai!...

(Robot innards fall out of Tokugawa)

Deputy Kitty Hai: Evil robot! No friend of Hello Kitty!

Village Nonsense West (to sleeping cats): There, there Fluffs, Trotsky, Pickles and Casper, try not to be upset, there's always next year, my dears.      

Ambassador Krull: And that's all the time we have! Be sure to tune in next week when Astropulse@Home competes in the Hemi-demi-meme finals for the title of "Best Smile in Senior High." It should be riveting! And know a word from Area 51 Chamber of Commerce:

Where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars...literally.

Blakely Dimbulb: Are you missing your home planet? Your city of birth? Well, come on down to the Chamber of Commerce. In a partnership with the good quadrupeds down at Area 51 Hangar, now you too can visit home any time you want! Yes, that's right! A new technological breakthrough will allow you to visit Alpha Centauri, Outer Mongolia or even San Francisco! We can't tell you about the secret technology, but it involves the U.F.O. SpongeBus. Time travel is no problem either. Just be sure to book your trip last week and we'll do the rest! So, visit our friendly silicon-based life-forms at Chamber of Commerce today!

(sound of channel changing...)

...zzzz.....squeeeeeennnn...........blorp...snap!...crackle!....pop!.... oooweeeooooo

Captain: Sulu, McCoy, Spock, to the transporters, gentlemen.

Spock: One would suppose that these incursions into our space frequencies are from an alternate reality. That inference might lead one to believe that all things are possible.

McCoy: All I know is, it's possible, if not downright probable that my molecules will get scrambled if I get on that mix-master. 

(sound of channel changing...)

Scully: Did you see that, Mulder?

Mulder: What is your explanation for it Scully?

Scully: I've read and researched articles that describe very concrete reasons for this type of phenomenon. Maybe the transmission is a pirated signal as an elaborate joke. I  have also read about how radio waves bounce-

Mulder: -Scully?

Scully: Yes, Mulder?

Mulder: Put a sock in it.

"We now return control of your computer screen until next week... on the Outer Limits"

SETI@Home is an actual project run by Berkeley University and I do belong to the Villages team, out of Central Florida. I got the idea for this post from a friend who asked me if my team were retired CIA or did they just knit a lot. Interestingly enough, the teams members are made up of a high percentage of retired Military people.

I have always been fascinated by the stars. My father introduced me to the heavens; SETI@home is a marvelous way to feel a part of something that is so, so much more vast than my puny self. The connection between music and the heavens is so obvious and intuitive to me as well. There has never been any doubt in my mind that there is a God, and that He has brought us these wonderments. I do urge anyone who is interested to visit http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ and explore the website and join. I find this fascinating and it is wondrous to behold when compiling the arrays. Oh and learn to play and instrument or sing. That's a bit of heaven brought to earth.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I was planning on waxing ecstatic about my new group of victims, er,  friends, that I have joined. Triberr! Yes, I am in a very prestigious tribe, with Head Chief of none other than Andi-roo herself, along with my swell Bonfire mates, Amberr Meadows, DadBlunders, Lottie Nevin and last, but definitely not least, the estimable, Jesse Libecap or "Hubz". In honor of this fine occasion, I hereby  dub Andi-roo "Grand Duchess of Dialog." Well, at least until I think up something less hokey. Anyway, after I admired my new Tribe and read all the cute little comments, I checked in on my own blog. Actually, I read my email.

Disaster! Well, kind of. Or, actually some of my Mary Confuse-a-(fill in the blank) struck a hapless reader. A very kind lady and a fine writer was confused by my timeline or description, or perhaps my life, and for that I apoligize, Michelle G. I kind of picked on all of my readers a few posts ago, indicating that I don't get much feedback from you, so I'm not sure what you all are reading or not reading. If this were in the daily paper, I could inveigh heavily on how this was mighty fine toilet paper, or bird-cage liner, but the culture has changed; we all know that. In my post-analytical, pray to the God of logic and sense, I am at last comfortable with the fact that I sow confusion at least as much as I am confused and am unbothered by it. Some people are bothered by it though and still appreciate some rational behavior. However, most of my readers are familiar with my rather free-wheeling approach after everything went to hell. I have a decent rein on my circumstances; my bills are paid, I have a roof over my head and I'm pretty healthy. Just about all my readers know why I blog now and why I'm no longer in the concert halls or working for IBM or Verizon anymore. Let me recap, quickly.

I became homeless after a lengthy hospitalization. I'm not anymore, but live across the street and over one block. I see lots of the same people. I'm glad that I am here. I can write about these folks and maybe be of some help to them.

This is one of those days when I just can't scrape up the enthusiasm, to be cheerful, insightful and breathtakingly witty. I know it's temporary, but everything seems so bleak. I hate being blind, it fucking sucks. I run into walls, doors. I jump because something the size of a mouse seems the size a car and cars are the size of mice; it's always DefCon5 in my head. I hate having to plan my goddamned day around the St. Vitus' Dance thing. I wonder how long it will be before I have to get rid of things I can't button. How long will it be before someone has to feed me? I haven't been able to drive for several years. I have trouble cooking now and pretty much don't now. I blame it on the heat. This is the down side to the bipolar thing. I'll take the up thing. I'd rather stay up for a month and forget August. I can wake up in September in the hospital again and call it a month.

Jesus, I'm sorry. I have no one to talk to, really. I love JC beyond measure, but we are worlds apart in so many things. He has no concept what I've been through and where I'm going. The only reason I pour this out to you, is because I have been caught at a low point in this instant. And why? Who knows? I don’t feel ill, I don't believe there are any celectial bodies in some kind Szyzygy thing, I took my meds. It's just that every so often... I don't feel right. I don't think we're meant to walk around in some kind of happy haze and I'm not that type anyway. I usually walk around in a froth of righteous anger, ready to punch out the lights of any Simon Legree who dares to cross paths with me. I will hurt you in a heart beat if you take on the weak, defenseless, young, halt, lame and I have.

Well, that must have been just a melancholy instant. I feel better now. Ready to see what is going on out in the world. Ready to figure out this Triberr thing. I think I'm going to be the Critic/Cheerleader of the outfit. I can't write fiction. It's like when I was in music school. We had to actually compose music. I can play music, just don't ever, ever ask me to write the stuff. If something diabolical happened and every piece of sheet music ever written disappeared and everyone who ever remembered a piece of music or played by ear forgot how to do that, it would be unanimous. "Mary is not allowed to put pen to paper."

When I was in Music Composition II in college and struggling, my professor said, "here's a fool-proof method," whereupon he had me map out a bunch of triads, tonic, subdominant, dominant, tonic, something simple. Then he had me circle one of the notes in each triad and draw a line from each note, a musical sort of connect-the-dots, "fool-proof," if you will. I did as he instructed. He played what I had written. He sat there, at the piano for a minute. He said, "God, that's horrible." So, Mary doesn't write music. And Mary will not be writing fiction.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I'm not very good at coming up with titles, catchphrases or any of that kind of thing. I tend to label something according to its contents and leave it at that. I hope that the things that are memorable are the contents themselves, not the label. If I had to depend on labels I would have disappeared into a fog of forgetfulness ages ago; I don't have a spectacularly memorable name. The one saving grace is that my name is the same as the one who bore Jesus. That's good enough for me.

Anyway, notes from Nebraska can kind of be a semi-recurring thing. Stuff happens here, has happened, or is about to happen. Imagine that. Nowhere else in the world does any of that go on. Well, I was thinking about this and I'll get to that in a moment, but first I ran across something that just amused me mightily:

I made this all by myself, from memory. My father had this "business card" that he lugged around in his wallet for as far back as I remember, up until he passed on; it was in his effects when he died. He would pull his business card out with glee and cackle over it every so often and then squirrel it away again. He was one of those people that you laughed along with. He told awful jokes, stunningly bad stories, but had one of those laughs. My mother used to holler along with him and then just stop and say, "but, that's not funny," and start laughing again. Actually, it was. They were both hysterical. I was the straight man in the outfit.

So, I thought of this because of some bonehead on Facebook who got caught doing some pinheaded thing, AGAIN, and I thought, "well, ya dumshit!" hmm. I learned that from my daddy. Understand something. Being very good Scots, my parents had me swearing at a very early age. Not just the h-e-double-hockey-sticks swears, oh no, we went whole hog. The first time I said "shit" I was probably seven. No one ran around saying "um, Mary's not supposed to say shit is she? Shit's a bad word isn't it? I'm good, because I don't say shit," and so on. Besides, who were my parents going to tell? Each other? No, it was a day of pride. Little Mary said her first dirty word.

Well, it wasn't quite a day for celebration, but I didn't go to the wood shed either; they pretty much just ignored it. I was warned not to unleash my newfound vocabulary in the school yard or the classroom. Didn't want to get notes and calls from those assholes now, did we? Just kidding. Nevertheless, it is true, that there is a European's tolerance of profanity that is not generally shared by Americans, but when in Rome, do, blah blah. I appreciate that and try to not inflict vulgarity on tender ears. I can be a salty bitch.

Time to jump the tracks and I'll try to behave. It has been brought to my attention that there is going to be a new homeless center built about 2 blocks from where I am living. There are 2 churches close by here who feed the homeless, one of them feeds once a week and the other feeds 3 times a day, but people who eat at that church are required to go to one of their services. At 45 minutes a service, that's not too painless. Those 2 churches are north of me. The new center which will have no church affiliation is 2 blocks south. Ground has not yet been broken, so it will be some time before there are any people helped there.

Several people around here have told me that "there will be homeless people all over the place! It will be terrible!" The implication being that the homeless will be sleeping under the trees, in doorways, in the trees, under cars, peeing behind buildings, in short, pretty much what they are doing now. I looked at the people who were saying this. I get it. I'm kind of afraid and I see fear in their eyes. Should we draw ourselves in? Pull up the drawbridge? Man the ramparts?

Instead, I said, "hey guys. We've been there. They have to be somewhere; some of them are here. It'll be okay; we'll make 'em feel wanted. It won't be terrible. It's not now, is it?" The problem is? We've all been through so goddamned much. We all thought none of any of this could ever happen to any of us. And it did. And when we thought it would stop, it didn't. For some of us, it just keeps on coming. We're afraid this might be more of it. But it really isn't. It's an opportunity; for us and for those homeless out there that think nobody wants them and nobody cares.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Here I was this morning, rummaging around on the internet. Oh! Look at the picture of this cat; he's sitting in a recliner and he's apparently unraveled an electric blue sweater someone had knitted. The sweater appears to have been the size of Missouri from all the yarn strewn around. The caption reads, "Yeah, I didn't know I could knit, either." Ho ho ha ha. High hilarity indeed. I just love shit like that.

And so it goes. Linda Ellerbee used to say that when she signed off each episode after the excellent show NBC News Overnight she co-anchored with Lloyd Dobbins. This was an experimental new show that was on after David Letterman around 2 am-ish, on NBC back during the Piltdown Man era, whenever that was. All I remember is that it was summer and I was between semesters in school. It was a bit more in-depth and off the wall. Of course, it lasted about 4 minutes and was whisked off to TV Heaven, where Good Shows Go To Disappear.

So, while I was traipsing around the internet this morning I ran across a fascinating article regarding Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy. I happen to be a Batman fanatic. I'm not going to get into the horror in Aurora. Journeyman wordsmith that I am, I cannot get close to describing what I feel at all. Complex feelings, especially ones on this horrific a scale take me a long time to process and define, if I ever am able to. I like to be able to clarify and this I just can't sorry. It's sufficient enough for me to say it's on a par with JFK, MLK Jr., Challenger, 9/11,  and all the other "where were you's when it happened?" It's that indelible.

Language is a funny thing and once again, the language has transported me somewhere I hadn't anticipated on being. I wanted to talk about the beauty of language. I was reminded of it when I was reading the article, in today's The Daily Beast, regarding the Nolan Batman films. The author Richard Rushfield praises Christopher Nolan's cinematic trilogy, while explaining that the fanboy approach of donning a mask and wading into violence doesn't exorcise the demons, but rather, may invite them in. All pretty and florid enough and I'm paraphrasing a bit here. I like playing with verbiage. Always have. Anyway, that wasn't the phrase that tickled me. Farther on in the article, this jumped out at me:

“and orphan boys can romp in a great big mansion, unafraid.”

No matter how much I tried to concentrate on the rest of the article and it's a fine one, I kept looking back up: “and orphan boys can romp in a great big mansion, unafraid.” I can see, carefree boys, once hungry, shoeless, circa 1930s, which is when I always picture these nameless kids in Batman: “and orphan boys can romp in a great big mansion, unafraid.” They are having the times they should have had, before they lost their parents.

My father lost his father at age 11, during the Depression. I think he sublimated most of his feelings and memories. He was my primary parent for a number of years, as my mother worked several jobs as he finished school and she also worked nights for many years, so I got to know him better than anyone. In retrospect, like everything else, I'm better at knowing what he was about than I knew him face to face.

My father was like a big kid. I do not remember him talking about his young life. He had two sisters who were several years older and he lived on a farm as a youngster, but he must have felt a lack. I'm probably grabbing at a straw that has been stretched from here to Jupiter but I bet my Daddy was a frightened little boy at the tail end of that Depression. He never said anything about it, but we carry echoes and feelings from our parents' pasts. I feel some loss, even though I never was without a parent, and it resonates in a way that it doesn't to me if I substitute "girl" for "boy." "And orphan girls can romp in a great big mansion, unafraid.”  Hell, they'd probably eat me alive. I cannot put my finger on it and I have no one to ask. So, in my Mary Confuse-a-Story way, I just make shit up. Or do I?

My father's mother was a wonderful woman, a stout Wallace, born in 1890, died in 1985, remembered Kitty Hawk and marveled at Man walking on the moon and felt bad about the Challenger, but she was very, very pragmatic and had no time for children's fears or vapors. They were crofters and I remember her killing a chicken on Sundays for dinner. When we visited, I think we had electricity, but there was no running water and we had to use chamber pots. What an adventure. What a pain, my mother said.

When we moved to California in 1962, I didn't see Daddy's Ma again until I returned to Ann Arbor in 1979. She was tough. She still lived near the upper peninsula of Michigan in Indian River to be near my Aunts, Mary and Shirley; she didn't care for California. She thought it was too "bright and fast." I think my father thought so, too. Anyway, this is probably my worst all over post ever, from a writerly point of view. I just can't seem to get it organized. But you know what? This whole thing has been a crap shoot from the beginning. I'm not going to stress. I'm still embryonic and I have a long way to go before I start thinking about Pulitzers or Peabodys. Yeah, I know; I'm delusional. So, while I know this isn't my best effort and I apologize, I know it's probably not the bottom of the worst slush pile you've ever read.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


After the rigors of the last several days, it seems as if I've been all too serious, or at least that is the overall, vague impression I have if I reminisce for a few seconds, deep thinker that I am. So, I figure it's high time for some good old fashioned slap-stick, with my patented confusion as usual imprimatur stamped on this here post. This is going to be one patched together mess of a post. Be warned. I seem to be doing that more often lately. Warning, I mean. I hope I am not developing sloppy habits. Yeah, snort. As if I ever had any other sorts of habits.

Anyway, I've been gradually developing some kind of reader base. Of what, and how many I am not certain, but enough folks on Twitter and my dear Facebook family are reading this blog and responding, sort of. So, I owe it to you, my dear readers to "change it up" once in a while. Balls. I am using you all as my guinea pigs; I am not earning a farthing and I bounce my half-baked ideas off your patient craniums. We have an "understanding," you and I. I blather endlessly and you all play clams. So, now that we all know where we stand, let's move ahead.

One of the things that I have discovered in my new life as a blogger, is that you have to have readers. Wow, what a shock! No, you have to track your readership and you have to try and figure out what they want to read and tailor your writing to them or tailor your readers to your writing or some shit. I don't know. It sounds like running for president to me. If you have to tailor your writing to your readership, everybody gets short shrift. The readers know you're a phony and you aren't going to be happy writing horse dukey.

So, to help us achieve this ephemeral goal of keeping track of our readers, we have an ever-changing batch of tools and by "ever-changing" I mean just that. I see ads for Hoot Suite, Google Metrics, Blogger, WordPress and I know I'm probably wrong about most of this stuff. There's RSS something or other, Reddit, which has a Spaceman. Today, I got the email about Triberr going Atomic. Triberr is an application where you connect with, or recruit, bloggers who share your interests and blog like you do, or something. At first, I kind of thought, "well, isn't this like Coke recruiting Pepsi?" but then; you know how you think you've seen and done it all and you're jaded to the world? Well, this experience has shown me that the complete opposite holds true. So I took a flyer. I went to sign up for Triberr. Maybe I could get in a Tribe or something, with bloggers who are kind of like me (yeah, that's happening.)

Anyway, I register and look around this website. Oh goody. I'm in a tribe and I have 100 bones! A tribe of one! What's a bone? Yup. This is the way to get myself out there and join up with others of my kind. So, because I never read anything instructional anyway, (seriously, I never opened a computer textbook) I proceed to poke around on the interface. I wind up at "Bonfires" which looks suspiciously like the old "Lonely Hearts" section in the printed Want Ads of the newspaper, with snappy messages and coy photographs attached. After I blundered around in here for a while and decided that, no, I did not want Techno-Geeky 12 year olds bloggy-blogging their way to fame and fortune with me riding uneasily on their shoulders while I wore a Princess Leia harem outfit. I hope and pray that this is only in the fevered imaginations of their cyber-minds. After what seemed like 40 pages of this, I decided I wasn't going to find "my peoples" going about it this way, so I backed out of Bonfire of the Inanities and went back to the home page. I studied the Tribe menu for a minute and chose some categories:


Oh my. I think I broke an algorithm.

After that little eye-opener, I decided to find my kind of writers the old-fashioned way. I'd backtrack to them. I rooted around until I found these guys: TheAnonBloggers. They're pretty anarchic and fun. They don't seem to take anything too seriously and they write a variety of stuff. Okay, that part of it fits, so I can hang with them for the fun parts. 

Monday, July 23, 2012


Warning what follows becomes a true diatribe at some point. I go from "rant", pass "screech", and go to full-throttle "diatribe" followed by stupid story. Poseurs and hypocrites piss me off.

I was out playing on Facebook this morning like I do every morning. Making fun of the goons of the GOP, laughing at ee Cards, and bouncing over to Twitter, Tweet-bombing friends. My usual productive start to the day. My dear friend, Mr. Robert Lee Haycock proceeded to pop out one of his posts regarding the goings on in the art world of the San Francisco Bay Area. I lived there, once upon a once and have kept up with some of my homies. I have kept up with them; not the art world so much. It has always baffled me. I just know that the creative process in art is much the same as in music. The same rules apply. That is my disclaimer for the bashing that follows.

Anyway, here's the article. Per Robert Lee, just read the first 3 paragraphs.

Yipes, not knowing all that much about the SF art scene at the top, but suspecting it is much like all others, this reminds me primarily of the very heady days in St. Petersburgh and Moscow, Russia, in 1917 prior to the successful Russian Revolution. I don't know why, but it does. Probably because the Russian Aristocracy gave not a whit of care for the peasantry and well, look what happened there.

If MOMA dearest cares not one whit for the press and by extension the public, should she continue to endow her syphil... er, sybaritic family? As to exploring or expressing "anxiety of self"? Oh, go break a leg, anxious one. The most anxiety the scion feels is when the hair gel runs out, I am sure. Artists, or composers such as Bedřich Smetana, ("The Bartered Bride") who wrote buoyant and sparkling music went deaf, as did my true love, Beethoven. Bedřich was sick and broken physically. He ended a horrific life and died insane in awful conditions. He would be qualified to depict "anxiety of self." Ken Russell portrayed this heartbreakingly in his movie  "Mahler." When Gustav visits Bedřich in the asylum, the portrayal of the depth and the height of man's humanity in one scene is shattering. Gustav caring for Bedřich and Bedřich knowing that he is not an animal still haunts me. Anyway, that's an anxiety, as well as pain, suffering and grace.

But, how dare some spoiled, pampered poseur mount this kind of puffery? Oh wait. The nattering nabobs of mediocrity feast on the Emperor's New Clothes. The people line up and come to see and be seen. They fawn over things and daubs of paint that make no sense. I've been to exactly one "art opening." This was at the Detroit Museum of Art. I am still scratching my head over that and I went to it in 1979. I don't remember much about it, except that there was a very cool Diego Rivera mural. It's probably very famous. It shows a bunch of men working on an assembly line, being Detroit and all. That's probably the best thing there, in my admittedly, philistine-like opinion.

Anyway, I seem to recall lots of space; empty space. This was during the time where there were "installations." The placement of the art was as important (and this says what about the quality of the "art"?) as the art itself. One huge room had a regulation-sized boxing ring with a TV inside that was displaying a... boxing ring. Yup, that's right. A boxing ring. I looked around, very alertly to see if Alan Funt was around, but I was all alone (Gee, I wonder why?)

Passing along to the next room, there were a bunch of dummies in a heap. I can't remember if that was a display, or if I had somehow wandered into the ass-end of a storage room of the old Hudson's department store. I kept on going into another room. Of course, by this time, I'm hungry and disoriented, but I soldier on. I found myself in yet another "display" room and see a bunch of people jammed around a bird cage. I cram myself into this little group to see what's so damned interesting. It's a pair of those praying hands that us superstitious Catholic types used to put on our dashboards along with our 57 St. Christopher Medals hanging from the visor and rearview mirror, until some crabby-pants told us he wasn't a saint, and we were all going to die mid-journey, probably when our St. Chris medals impeded our views. Anyway, the hands are holding 5 playing cards, but the backs are facing towards the "audience," with the card faces towards the wall. I wait my turn patiently (I know, I hardly believe it myself) to crane my head around to see: a royal flush, but for a 2 of spades. One really had to work to see this non-irony.

I really hope and pray whoever did that art show thing didn't make a dime. I didn't pay for my admission. It was some "art enrichment" thing at college, whereby we would become better musicians if exposed to inexplicable crap. I guess it worked, as I played innumerable gigs for Garfield, C3PO, Luke Skywalker and channeled Elvis. It was important for us to expand our horizons. This is one horizon where I was fine with it being as expansive as the concert hall.