Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Long Lost Friend, Gone for the Duration

My friend, Pat, from back in when I last lived in Miami kicked the damned bucket.  I only found out because I had an impulse to, once again, see if I could find him from online search.  That search had been futile in the past.

This time the search pulled up his obituary.   It went into very little detail.  At least survivors were listed. It said he died in a particular hospital in GA., but did not give cause or illness.  Nothing.  Very strange.  No idea when they moved to Georgia.

He was a real estate broker turned lawn maintenance entrepreneur in the late 80's, early 90's.  My first full time job after quitting drinking.  One of my favorite of all time.  We did a lot of large condo complexes and such.  He would always vary where we started and such until he hit the optimal plan, often cutting a day, or half a day off the 2 or 3 day job.  It did not seem like it would make a difference, but it did.

I only left that job because I was getting migraines and couldn't handle the sun.  And I kind of felt under-employed when I considered how others must view me.  (One or more girlfriends looked down on it, I could tell--always ignore snobby chicks or status fools) In reality I thoroughly enjoyed the hard work, being in shape, and Pat's ever present humor and wisdom.  The kindness and friendship he showed were big influences on my life at that time.

It never ceases to amaze me how slow I am to catch on to things with people.  Anyway, you would have had to be there to see how he ran things differently from any lawn operation I'd seen.  We were like the Florida A & M Rattlers band and the competition was like a normal high school marching band.

I had no idea running a weed eater could be such an art, and that you could literally run with it once you became good.  I had no idea of any of it.  I thought I was in fair shape the first day.  I was addressing some kind of block long hedge in a sidewalk.  Either I was to use the weed whacker to shape the hedge or to edge, or both--don't recall.  I remember him laughing at my first efforts, showing me how you do it.  How he discovered this is beyond me.  I was heavily winded all day.  Soon, I was an ace, not winded, but always drenched in sweat. Miami.

He got out of the real estate brokering for a developer gig because he'd burned out, and likely alcohol didn't help.  He enjoyed the lawn business, especially getting commercial accounts.  And in Miami he said it was like shooting fish in a barrel.  I never tried that but I hear it is easy.

I remember him saying, as we were hanging out at place where you achieve and maintain sobriety, if you can, "You know anyone looking for a job?".  I said I was.  He couldn't believe I would do such work.  He had no idea how lost and frazzled I was, I guess.  Anyway, he really did like my contribution to the success of his company.

I'm sure he had little idea how much I admired him.  I do think his wife considered anyone from the getting sober world a bit below her.  She also seemed to think the landscape biz was below her too.  I get it.  Especially in Miami I always felt that kind of attitude; ridiculing and status bullying.   But Pat seemed to love it.  In the few cases where we did residences, Pat spent more time with his ubiquituous cup of coffee and cigarette, schmoozing the owners, than he did working.  But our job was to make him and his business look good.  It turns out most of the residential clients had bought their houses from him.

As much as I try to pretend I would never be ashamed of honest work, I often felt I was hitting rock bottom and was somehow sabotaging myself into humiliation of under employment, and blablabla.  Nonsense though it is, I used that to torture my mind I guess.  Pat was a good lesson.  He had a nice house, boat, family, cold though his wife seemed, stability.  Never have I had that for any length of time.  He was only a few years older than I am.   Maybe lung cancer, or melanoma from the Miami sun, got him.

Another of those amazing teachers in life, gone.  I lost contact long ago, and tried now and then to reconnect.  Of course, it has often been tough for others to find me.  Odd, since I am all over the danged interweaving.

You had it more together than I realized.  It has taken me a lifetime to even begin to get what is really important.   Thank you, friend, for all of it.   You were the real deal.

dear joel, re-read, there will be a reading comprehension test---fail it again and you'll have to repeat a grade

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Well, it's five six seven eight, open up the Pearly Gates..

Here we go again, in so many ways.  Syria, schmyria, that is what I say.  But not when I am in Syria.   Or even when confined in a room with Syrians.  Could happen.

I am almost sure the bombing was the wrong thing to do.  I base that purely upon the favorable press the move garnered from both repub and demos.  If they agree, then it is probably a thing of deception and evil. Just is.

Then there is all the false flag speculation. Maybe one of the theories of inside job will be accurate. One says that Putin staged it all so that Trump could look good like he was standing up to Russia.  Seems to be a stretch, but that hasn't stopped the ongoing press for the last three months.  Relentless and often transparently biased but very lame in the attacks.  You run out of ammo if you never take your finger off the trigger and you are wielding an automatic.

I get the same feeling as when Clinton bombed weird stuff and found Bosnia worth going to war over.  I still think that may be debatable.  Anyway, democrats love war.  Yet they successfully claim to be the outfit of peace.  Like how Vietnam worked.   I take it back.  They only love wars that never end and which give them a chance to harass those fighting.  Rules of engagement, second guessing why a terrorist got shot.  In a war zone.  I do not know how the military manages to take orders from these nitwits and narcissists.  Two in a row.  But one at least likes them.  Still.  I couldn't do it under the circumstances, even though  I'm beginning to understand those who do.

And there's discussion that this is a proxy war between the Saudi allies and the Iranian allies.  The Shite Muslims vs the other ones. (I know. It is my prejudice coming through. At least I added the e.)

All I can say is I wish I would have gone into sales for one of the companies who make million dollar bullets.  I handle Tomahawk missile sales.  I always hope they miss the first time, so they have to buy more.  Rumors that my company creates fake targets to deceive our troops into deploying various expensive rockets and missiles and such are totally untrue.

I understand the chemical attack was sadistic and barbaric.  Not sure there is or isn't proof of origin. However we haven't bombed N. Korea, even though that little clown fed his own uncle to hungry dogs.  And has done quite a number on his people.  We did not stop China from murdering millions over the years.  On and on.  I am not buying the story.  But I do not have an alternative.

I do not know what is true, or what our ultimate objectives actually are in foreign policy, but this ain't it.  This just seems contrived.  But that is what I said about Gulf War one.  At least that looked like a quick in and gone operation.  Does seem to have resulted in lasting peace and prosperity except for the arms and bullet salesmen.

It is a relief to see a slight lull in some of the ridiculous, rabid onslaught of anti-Trump press and relentless propaganda.  Ever hear of overkill?  Over the top?   Scary damn people.  Scarier than the people they are screaming about, and I admit there are some scary people in power.  Most people in power do not have the strength of character not to abuse it.  Just look and condo and home owner associations.  Petty power and they go crazy.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Fear Itself

Every once in awhile, if things feel totally out of my control, in certain contexts, I experience a bit of fear.  Odd physical manifestations can do that, as well as governmental presence, whether they are there to help or punish.  Governmental entities and practices probably generate more fear than most other things in life.  Seriously.

A friend of mine was on the streets for well over a decade.  He is intelligent, and everyone likes him.   A Viet Nam vet.   But that is not actually what landed him on the street.  He had a rather creative wife who managed to mangle finances and else prior to divorce.  Then there came tax issues.

Somehow my friend ended up in a catch 22 sort of thing.  If he earned anything on the books, the IRS and his wife took it all, except less than a hundred a month, or something close.  Eventually, he said screw it.  He went to the black market economy trading in black market commodities which left him more spending money.

He finally became a drunk and druggie, eventually becoming a hard core homeless type.  Vestiges of what war does to people, especially the crazy ass way they conducted that war, certainly affected him.  But the real point is that without a workable way to appease that criminal government agency, this guy could no longer cope.

As big a jerk as my father may have seemed, the IRS really did a number on him in his final years.  I find it next to criminal that somehow, maybe 8 years after he died, they decided they'd raped him for close to $100K in excess of what even they thought they were due.  So, they refunded to his re-married widow.  Some reached my brother and I through a technicality.  Nothing she could do about it  

I think it is sick that they reduced him to a miserable existence and then refund the excess after he died.  He was no angel and lacked any sort of tact or diplomatic savvy, but that does not excuse their actions.  He was right to tell that auditor he was "a slimy little man in a slimy little job".  Not a wise utterance but true.  I've met tax auditors and I cannot say I ever met one I respected or liked.  They are vicious and hate the public.

Anyway, my only main fear is if I died before things were in good enough order.  Getting there.  I don't think my music friends realize how it is sometimes very tricky getting to, and through, gigs sometimes.  Overall, I have improved over the past year, but once in awhile I get caught off guard and feel less than well.

I don't even read the MPN updates all the time.  Even though that is my best source of info re treatments, what others experience, doctors  of note, etc.  Great resource, but I can only indulge so much.  It is the complete life of several patients; researching and being involved with all that the condition entails.  Even running around the town to make money for MPN research, whatever it is called.  

I think maybe the MPN non profits are too new and too tied in with patients to be the big scam that most things like Cancer Society and other medical charities are.   They are out of business if major breakthroughs or cures come to fruition.

Fatigue and nausea can be very sneaky.  You cannot rest your way out of fatigue.  Movement, and exercise are the best things to reduce the feeling that your legs are rubber.   Very tough to just ignore the wobbly fatigue feeling and do what needs doing.   Not impossible.

I sometimes have energy.  It is probably the manic cycle.  It does help if I can get myself moving so that the mania kind of picks me up and counters the exhaustion.  

The fact that I am less plagued by the itching attacks and that mess, and am able to do more in some ways, indicates that maybe I am reducing this stuff to whatever its minimal condition is.
Babbling I guess.  Well, if I kick any time, this will be of some interest.  What is annoying is the shooting sensations that hit my legs or feet or arms and hands often at night.  Maybe it is what they mean by bone pain.  It is not like you can touch it and have any influence.  It is deeper or something.


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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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