Obladi

I ran into a friend at the local coffee shop.

I asked – What’s this I hear about your band breaking up?  Can we blame it on Yoko?

She said nope.

The drummer quit and one of the guitar players got a gig as a mailman so we decided to bag the whole thing.

Maybe the guitar player quit and the drummer is now a mailman.  I don’t recall.

Too bad – Good Band

Oblada.

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Is This True?

Maybe or maybe not.  I heard or read or imagined the following:

When someone you don’t know calls your phone and asks” Am I speaking to Joe Shlabotnik” and you say Yes they are secretly recording your own voice saying yes and they will use that recording at a point sometime in the future to impersonate you and  charge a boatload of expensive things to your credit card.

And then you won’t have a leg to stand on because it is or was your voice and you might fall into a perjury trap.  It could happen.

Bonus points if you know who Joe Shlabotnik is without doing a web search.

For the Third Time…

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I’m reading ” Catch -22″ again for, as the title suggests the third time.  Or maybe it’s the fourth time.  The first time was when I was in high school and I had to read it, second time was when my kid was in high and she had to read it.  Third time was sometime later and maybe this is really the fourth time.

The first time I didn’t get it, the second time it made sense and subsequent readings now horrify me.

I saw the movie sometime in the early 1970’s at Penn State during a visit.  It may have been the highlight of the weekend.

On page nine of this paperback version I stumbled upon the following line… ( no apologies to the author and I have not received permission to reprint this so don’t turn me in to the whoever literary police one turns someone in to for just passing along a great line and a slightly prescient one at that.)

Page nine – ” There was the educated Texan from Texas who looked like someone in Technicolor and felt, patriotically that people of means – decent folk – should be given more votes than drifters, whores, criminals, degenerates, atheists and indecent folk- people without means.”  End quote.

That’s page nine in the Simon and Schuster 2004 paperback edition.  You could look it up.

There are books and movies and songs we read, see and hear in our impressionable years that imprint on our minds, never leave you and sometimes come in handy somewhere down the dusty roads you take.  Catch – 22  has come in very handy many times

Even if this the third time or fourth time it remains Catch – 22 and it’s still the best Catch there is.

Any similarities between my own style of writing and Joseph Heller’s are strictly intentional.

Thank you  Mr. Heller.

 

 

 

 

 

New Haven, Connecticut, 1974

The house was on north side of Whalley Avenue although I can’t recall if it was between Norton and Ellsworth or Norton and Carmel.  Whalley was and probably still is the main drag from out there to downtown.  I remember several liquor stores in the area.

It was a railroad apartment carved out on the first floor of what probably had been a grand mansion many years ago.  I have no idea what went on upstairs on the second floor or if that floor too was laid out railroad style.

There was a front porch that was always dark and seemed to be painted in flaking green paint.

From somewhere further back in the apartment “After the Goldrush” was playing and the music drifted out to the front room which was used as the living room.

The furniture was old.  The seat cushions had long ago given up any pretense of cushioning anything and blankets took the place of slipcovers.

She said she was a witch.  She was pretty sure she was though I did not ask for proof for fear that maybe she really was a witch.  Neil dreamed he saw the knights in armor coming saying something about a queen.

It was dark, depressing and disorienting.  The light in the room was like the artwork on that album, gray and black with an angry looking Neil staring off one way and an old woman  I never really noticed before directly behind him looking in the other direction.

I don’t remember why I was there.

It all made no sense.  I have been writing this story since 1974.

 

 

 

Season’s Gertings Y’all

Yeah, I misspelled it on purpose but I will say that as we crawl into the new year I am happy for a couple of things:

The Happy Honda Days are over.  The Lexus December to Remember is but a memory.  Any and all car commercials with a Christmas/Holiday/Employee pricing/ Year End Event theme have finally vanished from the tube until next Halloween.

Adioski to Toyotathon.  And how can that be a thing anyway?

According to the commercial algorithm on my Pandora channel I am:

Bald and need the next generation of skin tightener for men.  I am either soon to be retired, retired, not retired or have no chance of ever retiring.  Pick one.

Note to self: When I become CEO of Verizon I will fire the geniuses in the marketing department thereby saving millions upon millions of dollars.

I’ll cut all our prices since we won’t have to support the bloated and self serving marketing boys and girls anymore.

Once word of mouth spreads about how inexpensive we are we’ll have more customers than we know what to do with.  We will be the only phone company left standing.

 

One Adam 12 – See the Man…

Obscure TV show reference but if you are a certain age you might get the point.

It’s another way of saying of a police dispatcher broadcasting ” Calling all Cars, Or Car 54 Where are You?”  Ok, so here we go:

Last evening I get a knock on my front door around 10pm from one of my local police officers asking if I had seen or heard anything on the street earlier around 7pm.  I say no- What’s up?

A car parked directly across the street from my house was stolen.  Eager to get a handle on an event like this in my neighborhood I ask the cop a couple of questions and he willingly obliges.

Me – What kind of car was it?

P.O. – A 2017 Subaru.

Me – ( Thinking this being 2017 albeit near the end of the real and model year that makes it a pretty new car)  I recall seeing the car and it is, well, was, a pretty nice ride.  Ouch is my reaction.

Me – How was it stolen, did someone break the window and jump it?  A broken window would have triggered an alarm.

The theft took place around 7, it was dark outside, almost 50 degrees but geez, there are still people up and about and outside walking dogs and such and also apparently checking car door handles to see if vehicles are unlocked which is what these two potential felons were doing.

Me again – Did they hot wire the car?  I guess, I don’t know anything about stealing cars or jumping them except way back when I used to own VW’s and if the car was parked facing downhill I could get in, release the e-brake, pop the clutch ( remember those things?) and roll away to start it up.

P.O. – No, the keys were in it. PS – That key ring most certainly includes house keys too.

Me – Thinking … Has the car owner never seen or heard of McGruff the crime dog?  Apparently not.  I quickly recap the event in my minds eye… Two guys walking down the street lifting car door handles checking to see if cars are unlocked probably looking for pocket change, maybe a cell phone or a backpack.  The hit the Subaru’s doors and the jackpot all at the same time.

What do you think? – Maybe 20 seconds to grab the door, find the keys, hop in, start it up and drive away?  Probably closer to 10 seconds I’d say.  Cars are pretty quiet these days, I’m sure the Subaru hummed and purred as it left the scene of the crime.

It’s a shame, someone is the victim of a pretty serious crime that is eminently preventable.  And someone else ruined the day and made someone’s life pretty miserable and complicated in a hurry.

Stay tuned for updates.

 

 

 

 

 

A Day in the Life – Sort of…

A quick trip through the local newspaper pages this morning reveals the following in no particular order of importance, horror, shock, whimsy or newsworthiness:

New Jersey expores passing legislation to ban ” Drunk Droning.”

Man accused of killing neighbor’s chicken with his walking stick.  A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

A local bank advertises a ” Relationship Strategist” in the Wealth Management Department.  The ad is right above an ad for Sprint featuring the guy who used to shill for Verizon only now he shills for Sprint.

As a career move I sense his switch was a bad one – Who would ever hire this guy to advertise anything knowing he could one day work for your competitor.  Stick a fork in this fellow cause he’s done.

And in truly horrible news Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices amid feud.

Yawn.

Gas Station TV

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How could I make that up?

Yesterday afternoon I’m on my way from somewhere to somewhere else.  I need gas.  I see a station.  Quick and decisive I turn into the driveway.

I swipe my card – Gas Station TV asks if it’s a debit or credit card.  I say if you’re so smart why don’t you tell me?  GSTV is silent so I have to touch the credit key.

After my card is approved GSTV asks if I also want to play the Pennsylvania lottery.  Say what?

Now that my card number is on file I have a blank check for buying lottery numbers.  Really, I can gamble at the pump as if the guy on his cell phone pumping gas 10 feet away from me is not gambling anyway with my life.

A side note, my state, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania might or might have an unfunded budget – who can tell anymore?  The legislators still get paid and also get automatic pay raises even if we have no budget and no way to pay for anything.

One solution to the state’s funding crisis is to expand that ever shrinking cash cow – Gambling or as the gambling industry calls it ” Gaming.”  Gambling sounds so dirty but Gaming?  It’s got most of the letters found in Gambling except no one ever asks if you have a Gaming Addiction?  It’s always a Gambling Addiction.  Yes it is.

Remember when Gambling, excuse me Gaming was going to put Atlantic City on the map big time, pave the streets with gold and put a chicken in every pot?

Yeah, me neither but that was the promise.  Just ask the former employees of any of the President’s former casinos.

I decline to play the daily number opting to only get gas with my credit or is it debit card.

Gas Station TV thanks me and asks if I want a receipt.  I politely decline but maybe the next time I need the official fuel of NASCAR I’ll take them up on it.

Miguel

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On Saturday morning I found myself handing out winter coats and clothing to people who really need them at this time of year.

The deal was that each person who came to the warehouse would have one volunteer help that person shop.  The hope was that no one would get grabby and take more than they needed or that a fight would break out.

My first customer was Miguel.

I asked him what he was looking for and he said he needed a winter coat.  We found a big ski jacket on the rack.  I asked Miguel if he wanted to try it on.  He just slipped the jacket over the coat he was wearing.  We picked up gloves, socks, a scarf, two hats and a pair of boots.  And then he was done.

He thanked me, we said a prayer and he left the building going back out into the chilly morning.

And for the rest of the morning it was just like that.

That’s all I got.