You know by now if you have read what I’ve written, or been around me when people make the mistake of letting me talk about what I want to talk about, that I am a kook. Yes, I believe things that you have been told that only crazy people believe. Why would you want to read any more of that nonsense now? Because it is true and it will impact our future.
I came into a wealth of secret knowledge when I wrote and published my first good novel, Catch a Falling Star. Of course, like most of the things you research on the internet, ninety-nine per cent of everything is big, black rubber hoo-haw lies. I researched a lot of things that I have always been fascinated by, but specifically I investigated UFO phenomenon. I already followed author Stanton Friedman and knew who Bob Lazar was before starting my research, but I wanted to dig deeper and find the truth. My novel, after all, is about close encounters of the third, fourth, and fifth kinds… including an invisible invasion of Earth from outer space. I wanted to portray such events as alien contact and alien abduction as realistically as possible. But then I found stuff like the Disclosure Project headed by Doctor Steven Greer. Did you know he has been collecting eye-witness and whistle-blower information in written and video form since the 1990’s and presenting it to members of congress? There is an immense database of information about contact with UFO’s and the government’s response to it that can be cross-referenced and even corroborates itself. There come a point at which eye-witness testimony, even loony-sounding testimony, has to be accepted when there is a preponderance of evidence.
The thing that makes the case most strongly for me is the provable amount of cover-up and misdirection that the government has applied to this body of knowledge. They are still doing it. NASA footage and photographic records are open to the public and available online. Lots of people have examined the wealth of evidence very closely and have found things that the government apparently overlooked. There are also an even more impressive number of identified re-touched and faked photos of the Moon and Mars and especially the Earth from space. Things have been removed so that we the people will not see. Some nut-cases even believe we never actually went to the moon. Some of the moon footage and photos are provably fake. (But you can also spot the landing sites of the Apollo missions on the surface of the moon with some of the very good telescopes available now… The proof of our moon landings is there. The stuff was redacted and faked for different reasons… a different cover-up.)
So, why does this matter? Maybe we are better off being protected from this secret knowledge. We are too fragile to take it. There will be riots in the street and the economy will crash. We are safer being ignorant of all of this.
It’s time we were given the straight poop (because everybody hates crooked poop… at least they should.) Our world is dying from pollution and global warming, yet the alien technology can provide clean, free energy. Rich people are exploiting the poor and the middle class and so much suffering occurs that doesn’t have to happen if we embrace the potential for taking our place in a galactic community that apparently already exists and that we are excluded from solely on the basis of how dangerous our own ignorance makes us.
Down again… oh, oh, oh, down deep and so blue again…
They did it to me again this year.
Since 1967 when the St. Louis Blues were a first year expansion NHL hockey team, I have loved and lived for the Blues. Their first three years in the league they were in the Stanley Cup finals. I got to watch them play on my family’s old black-and-white Motorola against the Boston Bruins, their third try at winning the cup. (My best friend preferred the Bruins and every other kid in town who could even stand hockey sided with them… Hence old Tiger Bates crooning at me “St. Louie is gonna be Blue tonight!” after every single game.) They didn’t realistically have a chance. They were the representative from the expansion half of the league. They dominated teams like the Minnesota North Stars, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Philadelphia Flyers, and the California Golden Seals because they managed to land aging Hall-of-Famers like goalies Glenn Hall, Jaques Plante, and scorers like Dickie Moore and Doug Harvey in the expansion draft… there’s more to read about their history here;
I also loved the next generation of heroes, like Red Berensen here, the old Red Baron of Hockey, and future Hall of Famers like Bernie Federko, Brett Hull, and did you know that the Great Wayne Gretzky played a season with the Blues before he retired? Almost every year of their existence since that fateful first three years of Stanley Cup play they have been a legitimate contender to go back and actually win the cup. Philadelphia did it in the 70’s, Pittsburgh in the 80’s and 90’s, the Stars did it after moving to Dallas. But the Blues have never made it back to the Stanley Cup Finals. Something always goes wrong.
photos from the St. Louis Blues home page and Arch City Sports
We never seem to be able to get past arch rivals. The Chicago Blackhawks beat us and go on to win the cup. The Los Angeles Kings beat us and go on to win the cup. The last three years in a row we’ve been taken out in the very first round of the playoffs… This year, despite winning the toughest division in hockey, they lose to the Minnesota Wild (the team that filled the hole the North Stars left when they moved to Dallas). I am totally confusticated and fristumbobulated… and I mean in the worst possible way! (Those are bad words in the language of the fairy-folk from Iowa… terrible curse words.) It couldn’t be worse… well… except, of course for being a fan of Chicago Cubs baseball. (Yeah, I guess it could be worse.)
Anyway… after such high hopes… I am once again singing the Blues.
There comes a time in every career when the career is over and it has to end. I spent 310 years teaching in Middle School and High School and loved every minute of it. (Okay, divide the years by ten and subtract about twelve thousand minutes from the love… but I did love it.) And I was good at it. (At least, in my own confused little mind… I have photographic proof that I did help students get some quality sleep time in, but… hey, English is supposed to be boring.)
A year ago I was forced to make the decision to leave the job I loved. Failing health and failing finances made it increasingly hard to do the job. I was never a sit-behind-the-desk teacher. I had to do the dance… up this row, down that one… lean over the spit-wad shooter before he could adequately aim and pull the stray cafeteria straw out of his mouth… suggest the verb needs to have an “s” on it if the subject of the sentence the student just wrote for me is singular… stand in front of the boy who can’t listen to my wonderful teaching because the girl across the room is wearing a dress and block his view… and he doesn’t even like that girl, but she’s wearing a dress… you can see her legs… and he’s a teenager… you know, the dance of teaching. When you walk with a cane and have a back brace on every single work day, the dance becomes harder and harder as the year wears on. I got to spend my days with Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut and Maya Angelou and Robert Frost… and even more important I got to spend my days with Pablo and Sofie and Ruben and Rita and Keith… I had so many more favorite students than I ever had those black-banes-of-a-teacher’s-existence kids that other teachers were always talking about in the faculty lounge. (I rarely hung out in the faculty lounge because they tended to talk bad about kids I really loved and enjoyed teaching… and besides, I had crap to actually do before the next class came in. Lounging was rarely an option.)
I confess that I have spent a good deal of this school year depressed and feeling sorry for myself. No kids to talk to on a daily basis except my own, and even with them, only after school. My wife is still teaching… so I rarely see her. (Am I married? I need to double-check.) I fill the lonely hours with writing and story-telling and recollections of days past… and I am beginning to come to terms with my loss. In retirement I can do more of the things that I always wanted to do… but never had time for. I can draw and paint and write and sing (pray hard I don’t start posting videos of me singing!) and play with my toys… I have even decided to write a novel about people playing with toys. Would I ever teach again if suddenly I was healthy and could do it again…? YOU BETTER BELIEVE I WOULD!
In Fontaine Fox’s Toonerville Trolley comics there is one old flivver-driving fool named Grandpa Futty. He is the slowest driver on the road. Rarely does he go over the breakneck speed of two miles per hour. He is so overly cautious, that if there are two lanes going his way, he takes the middle of the road and effectively moseys along in his putter-banger taking up both lanes. What is that you say, young whipper-snapper? You don’t know what a putter-banger is? Great galloping goat galoshes! It’s a car, dang it! You see them all over the metroplex. They are so ancient that when you start it up with the hand crank, the engine coughs and the muffler falls off in back. They were purchased as a used car two decades ago. The only thing more miraculous than the fact that the car still runs is the fact that the old goat driving it is still alive (though the local police routinely have to stop him to check and see if his heart is actually still beating. If it isn’t they have to fight with him about dropping him off at the nearest funeral home.)
So, if you haven’t guessed already, this post is about the generically named drivers I refer to as a Grampa Futty, and they are the exact opposite of the Texas Killer Grandmas I wrote about yesterday. Believe it or not, I think I have graduated into the Grandpa Futty class of driver. I can still see more than three feet in front of my car, but I do have a dumpy-lumpy body that hobbles around with a cane, and I do smell like Ben Gay Ointment and Vick’s Vapo-rub. (…And no, you can’t say Ben Queer Ointment and have it mean the same thing, young whipper-snapper! That joke is nearly as old as I am!) I am not entirely in that category of driver, though, because I still curse them with gusto and interjections like “dang it!” whenever I am behind one of that breed. And besides, the last time the cop stopped me to check my heartbeat, it was going strong.
Grandpa Futtys are a real road hazard in the obstacle-filled world of Texas city driving… if it were a video game like Super Mario Brothers, they would not be Bowser, but rather that annoying Koopa Troopa that you just can’t bounce on hard enough to get past. They are in the way, endearingly cute in an ugly-old-fart sort of manner, and potentially deadly as they put you in line for the easy kill by the nearest Texas Killer Granny. So I am seriously studying now how to avoid Grandpa Futty on the road next time I see him, and I am definitely studying how not to become him.
You can probably tell that the photo Paffooney is totally staged. I am not a good enough actor to manage the look of absolute blood-curdling horror that would be on my face if I were actually driving in the Dallas Metroplex. My gray Gandalf-hair would be standing on end more, and my eyes would be more popped with horror… especially if I had really seen Suicide Sadie in her death-dealing super-WASP-rocket. Honestly, I’m risking my life to reveal it, but one of the greatest perils of life in the suburbs in Texas is running afoul of the Texas Killer Grannies. Yes, there is a secret, Illuminati-like organization of blue-haired old menaces driving big, expensive black battle-boats that try to kill as many other Texas drivers as they can… as well as pedestrians, cop cars, squirrels, poor-people’s children, and ceramic lawn gnomes as they can focus their myopic old granny glasses on.
To Texas Killer Grandmas, slaughtering the innocent on the roadways while your back seat is full of knitting baskets and tins of cat food is a Satanic ritual that gives them special and unnatural powers over life and death.
They all drive at least five-miles-an-hour faster than the speed at which they can actually control the vehicle. For some of the most deadly grannies like Suicide Sadie and End-It-All Emma that is between 95 and 205 miles-per-hour, though the nearly-as-deadly Grandma McGillicuddy can be almost as guaranteed fatal at only about 35 miles an hour. They cut in front of you without signalling, and traffic lights are interpreted far differently than normal in the presence of a Texas Killer Grandma. Green means go. Yellow means go faster. And red means floor it and brace for impact. Now, of course that is the granny interpretation of the light. For me, green means proceed ultra-cautiously while scanning for hurtling BMW’s, Cadillacs, or Lincoln Town Cars with old ladies at the wheel and skulls painted in white on the driver’s door. Yellow means pull over to the side of the road at a dead stop and make myself the smallest target possible. And red means park on somebody’s lawn and wait for the intersection to become clear of all vehicles for several blocks all around. Sidewalks are not safe either with a Texas Killer Grandma around. You’re safer walking if you walk down the center of the road. Of course, the more normal drivers will squish you like road-kill then, and the Texas Killer Grandma knows she was ultimately the cause of this suicidal death, so if they are close enough to see it in any sort of blurred clarity, they automatically count it as a kill.
You never see a Texas Killer Grandma charged with anything in the local media or even in court records. They are not old ladies unconnected to persons of power. Rich husbands, rich children, and sometimes even rich boyfriends see to it that they are never prosecuted. They are immune to the wheels of justice. Crazy Cat-Lady Clarice is immune to prosecution even though she doesn’t own even a nickel. We think it is because she is so supremely skilled at vehicular homicide that even the police are afraid of her. And how does she pay for gas in that 1965 Chevy Impala SS she drives with a blood-smeared hood and the driver’s side of the car painted completely white with skulls?
A year ago, I had to make the tough decision to end my teaching career of thirty-one years. I had a run of about three months where the sick days were costing me $330 apiece and my monthly paycheck kept sinking lower and lower. It was a choice between continuing to work hard, catch every virus that germy school kids carried into my classroom every day, and end up owing the school money at the end of the month. Teacher paychecks are earned during the nine months of teaching time, but spread over the twelve actual months (actually we work for ten and a half months because holiday breaks are always filled with paperwork, homework, and preparation, but you don’t actually get paid for that… eleven and a half months if you teach summer school for $20 an hour), and retiring on a fixed income that would turn out to be more each month than I was taking home each month while working.
After a year of headaches and breathing trouble… visits to the heart doctor… dealing with family bouts of social anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder… along with the resulting depression and physical pain… I am beginning to believe I made a good decision. I never could’ve weathered another year of teaching. I would’ve physically given out. But I have had ample time to write, to talk with and spend time with my children, and heal. I am still not well enough to get a part time job to supplement my income… but the chance to achieve good health again is closer now than it would’ve been if I hadn’t retired. Goofing off and playing with my toys has been good for me.
During the school day, with my kids in school, I can sit and write stark naked. (I know that sounds kinda perverted, but with psoriasis chewing my skin up in all the covered parts, that is far more comfortable than wearing clothes. Sitting in a hot bath is even better.) I have taken up Facebooking and WordPressing and playing Facebook games like Magecraft (I am now level 35 and gaining). I can’t keep playing and wasting time for too much longer, but I have never been more creative than I have in the last year. I wrote and finished four novels.
So, why am I telling you this instead of creating some humorous post about city driving or why bankers are better pirates than Blackbeard ever was? (Hmm… I think I better write those topics down). Because I can. I have recently undergone several setbacks with family and health, and that takes some meditation and healthy thinking to recover from (especially when you don’t have enough money to get help from the doctor). And besides, you all read my posts and offer words of comfort and pity… and I have a perverse need to write things that elicit comment and other proof that readers are actually reading what I write. Most of my fiction-writing life has been addressed to the unseen ghosts of future readers… and I’m always a little bit afraid of ghosts.
If it is inevitable that I will surely drop dead some day, and if it is likely that it will come sooner rather than later, then I hope to go out with a bit of style and leave something behind that speaks not only to my own children, but to anybody searching for truth and beauty, people of the future that I will never know who are living beyond the confines of my little life. What makes me think that I can do it? Well, I’m a writer… and Mark Twain did it… and I don’t have to be vain or loopy or maniacal or delusional to make the same thing happen.
On this day one-hundred-and-five years ago, April 21, 1910, Mark Twain left the world of the living. He caught a ride on Halley’s Comet (It deposited him on Earth in 1935, appearing in the sky when he was born, and took him away when it appeared in the sky again in 1910… He didn’t have to be some kind of suicidal Heaven’s Gate nut to manage that.) But it wasn’t the comet that showed me the truth… it was his books. I learned to take a wry view of a complex world that I could do nothing to change and tweak it with intelligence and understanding from the story of racism and justice he left behind in Pudd’nhead Wilson. I learned the value of ingenuity and opportunity and how to use them properly from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. I also learned a profound love and understanding for small town people like me and the people of my little hometown in both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Samuel Clemens, Mr. Mark Twain, left himself behind in stories to speak to the ages. He spoke to me… directly to my heart, and he had been dead for 46 years before I was even born. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.
Now, I am not a fool (wait a minute! I know you have proof to the contrary if you read my blog posts, but I am not an UNINTENTIONAL fool), so I do not think that my words and wisdom are ever going to have any sort of effect on the entire world the way Mark Twain’s have. I can accept reality. This whole world is dying and may not long outlive me. There are a large number of talented fools… er, I mean writers, out there who have put out a number of published good books, and have, like me, made diddly-zero-bupkiss in dollars on the deal. I have no delusions. My work is good enough to turn into a best-seller or maybe two, but I do not have the time or the backing to make it happen. If anything other than obscurity embraces my books, I won’t live to see it. Only eleven per cent of published authors make a livable wage from writing and I will never be one of them. But I have ideas that resonate. I can write in ways that touch the heart (as you may have seen if you have read my post “When Compassion Fails” that was a minor hit with the 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion group).
So, I am satisfied to confess my girly addiction to Barbie Dolls and My Little Pony… talk about cartoons and cartoonists on WordPress… make people giggle a bit… or even guffaw, and put together books that my family will read, and only be mildly embarrassed by, and maybe one day will reach and touch the heart of some boy or girl who really needs to read what I wrote at a time in their lives when it can actually help… the way so many other philosophers, wits, and word-wizards have helped me. (How’s that for some prime purple-paisley prose?)