Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Truth is stranger than fiction...

Am I the only one who thinks it bizarre that counterculture hero Dennis Hopper is shilling for a financial services/retirement planning company? It seems a tad bit disconnected, sort of like Dr. Josef Mengele pitching for the Red Cross.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gray weather, random thoughts and nostalgia...

Like it's prone to do, the weather in Lubbock took a rapid turn for the worse today. The promise of a sunny weekend broken by one of those late-arriving cold fronts that turns the sky all battleship gray. This put a serious crimp in my plans as I envisioned a day gleefully spent working in the yard, hitting a few golf balls, and generally shaking off the layer of rust accumulated over a winter of inactivity, neglect, and the occasional bout of over-indulgence.

Call it what you want; Spring-Fever, Cabin-Fever, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Winter Madness, but make no mistake, I've got it bad. So, despite having little to do, my restlessness will not abate although some of that may also be attributable to my frenzied, caffeine-fueled state of mind.

My wife and I are both coffee-snobs and hopelessly addicted. We like it strong, flavorful, and served in mammoth sized proportions to rationalize the fact we "only" drink 4-5 cups per day. We purchase whole-bean coffees from Starbucks and remain proud, card-carrying members of Gevalia's Coffee of the Month Club, where for the bargain base price of $40 every three months, we get a sampling of whole-bean coffees from exotic, far away lands. We find ourselves using similar terminology in describing coffee that we used in the halcyon days of our youth while sampling various weed offerings. I'm reasonably certain Starbucks had as it's origin the owner's nostalgia and pining for the social theater of the drug deal. A business built specifically for those of us who over time, lost our connections.

So now we gather in dimly-lit coffee grottos with hipsters of all ages, listen to melodic pop and jazz recordings from artists we've never heard of, and engage in scenes such as the one I experienced at a coffeehouse while living in Atlanta. I placed my order and stepped aside to bide my time by looking at their whole-bean products. One of the java gurus working there, a young, tattooed guy with mini-dreadlocks, comes up and opens one of the canisters sitting on the shelf. He puts it under my nose and with his hand, fans the top of the canister to let me catch a whiff of the earthy, dark-roasted Sumatran.

“Guaranteed to stimulate your central nervous system at a much faster rate than Colombian,” he boasted. “Just wait till those catecholamines are released from the adrenal medulla, you’ll feel like you've ingested crystal meth.”

It sounded promising, so I purchased a ten-pound sack of the pseudo-amphetamine and raced home, eager to do some grinding. Yep, I like coffee and I like big coffee cups. Not the size you get at restaurants or the size included with dinnerware or fine china. I want a big-ass cup of coffee, one that takes two hands to hold; a colossal, man-sized, blood-vessel constricting, catecholamine-releasing ‘sumbitch.

Then another one, if you please.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Call me subversive but......

I abhor politics. For the record, I'm also against seven-year auto financing, baseball on television, American flag lapel pins, apple pie (especially if coconut cream is available), and last but not least, hot dogs. On the latter, you'll just have to trust me. Having had the immeasurable privilege of touring a meat processing plant and actually seeing how they're made, I immediately went home and discarded every processed meat product in my refrigerator. I realize these particular affectations might make me appear to be less of an American, but I'm comfortable with that burden and shall endeavor to persevere.

I became a card-toting member of the politically disaffected several years ago upon having an epiphany of sorts while under the influence of certain illegal substances. I believe my position to be supported by irrefutable logic and a healthy dose of common sense. First, I'm of the belief that no one should have priority when it comes to fucking things up, and second, there's just something inherently wrong about giving a job to the candidate who proves themselves to be the most proficient liar. The second part really baffles me inasmuch as the general population is seemingly aware of the fact they're all lying but is somehow able to look past this in continuing to support a process that by all appearances is irreparably damaged.

Yeah, I'm that guy......the one in the corner office who doesn't have an "I Voted Today" sticker on the lapel of my jacket, subject to the scorn of greater patriots who taunt me with tired cliches like "It doesn't matter who you vote for as long as you vote," and "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain," and my personal favorite "it's your duty to vote." I've heard them all and have snappy comebacks for each but my rapier-like wit seems to be lost on such serious minded folks.

Despite my disregard for the political process, I do find that it makes for great entertainment. I'm inexorably drawn to debates, analysts, wonks, liberal and conservative pundits, and biased news programming like a moth to a street lamp, repeatedly bashing myself against the glow until my wings are tattered and torn, left to die a slow, agonizing death in my futile search for the truth, the way, and the light.

Damn it all, I have questions and I need some answers!

Is Barack Obama black enough? I saw him dancing on the Ellen DeGeneres show and it just made me sad. I'm pretty sure Don Cornelius, the former host of Soul Train, would've escorted his ass to the door. His attempt to find a groove looked eerily like my late, Great-Uncle Vernon dancing to "Ball of Confusion" at a family wedding. It's an image that for the longest time was deeply embedded in my mind and required multiple sessions of therapy to remove. From my chair, Bill Clinton is much blacker than Barack...for Christ Sake, he at least played the saxophone. As an aside, to this day I consider Don Cornelius to be perhaps the baddest mofo to ever grace this planet.

Hillary Clinton continues to amaze me with her unbridled zeal in squashing her opponents underneath her heels. She is absolutely ruthless. Make no mistake about it folks, underneath that impeccably tailored pant-suit from Talbot's, you'll find a leather corset, nipple clamps, and a humongous strap-on dildo, ever at the ready to make you submit to her will.

John McCain??? we need another old, white guy? I'll give some credit to John for his better half. She's perhaps the first presidential candidate's wife since Jackie O that qualifies as a MILF and she's rekindled fond memories of an older woman who, in my formative years, was both my muse and the reason I spent an extraordinary amount of time in the bathroom...if you know what I mean.

On the local scene, I give major "WTF?" awards to Roger Settler and Robert Pratt. Mr. Settler has set a new standard for bizarre behavior and to my pleasure, has thrown his hat into the upcoming Mayoral race against incumbent David Miller. Mr. Miller, whose greatest claim to fame is his forced removal of all vibrators from the greater Lubbock metropolitan area, also faces a stiff challenge from Tom Martin who by all appearances, is a desperately unhappy man. Robert Pratt, the local Rush Limbaugh "wannabe" and friend of the buffet, has been scorching Miller on his local radio show. Pratt is an obnoxious ass-clown of monumental proportion. Any hope he had of being taken seriously was cast aside with his decision to attend last years' State of the City address wearing devil horns and tail. I was absolutely stunned by the sight.....I mean, this is a grown man people. Throw all of this into the blender and we get a delectable concoction that should provide enough laughs to carry us well into the summer.

Political question of the day.....

When Delwin Jones dies, what should we do with his body? My suggestion is to take him to a taxidermist, stuff him, enclose him in a glass case, and position him on the steps of the State Capitol. Right beside him, we could place a vending machine to dispense those god-awful emory boards he's been handing out for decades. Lubbock folks could continue to vote him into office and I doubt we'd see much decline in productivity.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

All things in time I suppose...

While perusing a volume of poems by Charles Bukowski this evening, I came across a piece that reminded me of a dear friend who took his life this past summer after a long struggle with depression. He was an extremely gifted artist and my life is diminished by his absence.

I've been unable to grieve for him due to my inability to let go of the anger I felt for his decision. I suppose a certain amount of guilt and regret are at the root of my issues and in time, all things will be what they should be......

To my friend Chris...

unblinking grief

the last cigarettes are smoked, the loaves are sliced,
and lest this be taken for wry sorrow,
drown the spider in wine.

you are much more than simply dead:
I am a dish for your ashes,
I am a fist for your vanished air.

the most terrible thing about life
is finding it gone.

Charles Bukowski
From "Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way"

First things first.........

Well, I've been back in the Hub City for about a year-and-a-half now and I'm amazed by a couple of things; first, there's been a lot of change in the twenty plus years I've been gone and second, some things haven't changed one bit.

To me, Lubbock has always been about contradiction. To wit, it's one of the most conservative places in the entire United States. A place where God is revered, duty and country are honored, and no one, I mean no one, has sex until they get married. Amidst this backdrop of apple-pie America are countless drunken college kids, numerous bars and honky-tonks, a legendary list of musician and artist provocateurs, high rates of child-abuse and sexually transmitted diseases, and last but not least, roving packs of pit-bulls bent on destroying the very fabric of our community.

I began toying with the idea of starting this blog several months ago as a possible way to resuscitate my moribund creativity. My voice had seemingly been lost in the process of moving, buying a new house, starting a new job, and locating the very best spots in town for Tex-Mex, BBQ, Thai, and Vodka martinis. Now that I've got all of those problems behind me and pretty much have my feet planted on terra firma, I find myself with ample time in which to cast my scatalogical observations to the West Texas wind. Hopefully, it will also inspire me to get back on the keyboard and continue doing what a writer should be doing..........namely, WRITE!

Don't get me wrong, I love Lubbock and the people who live here. After traversing the country for over 20 years while chasing the almighty dollar, living in large metropolitan areas and working for the man, my wife and I relished the thought of a simpler life and slower pace. We're absolutely thrilled to be back, but........there's an old saying to the effect of "the same things that'll make you laugh will make you cry." To me, that kind of sums up life in Lubbock.

For purposes of national security, not to mention my continued employment, my identity will remain secret for the time being. Not that I'm a coward or anything like that, I'm just keenly aware of the need for discretion when one lives in the "smallest, big-city in the country." Over time, I will post my observations on a wide array of subjects whether it be politics, religion, music, books, movies and theater, sports, local government, or where to find the best breakfast tacos in town. Nothing is off limits.

So for the time being, I'm the Dharma Bum. My moniker was taken from one of my favorite Jack Kerouac novels. I thought it appropriate given the fact the Beat Generation was searching for the edge and pushing the envelope during a time when every place in America was just like Lubbock. Of course, that was over 50 years ago.

Until next time.