Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Archive for the month “February, 2015”

Opening Up A Sequel

sequelI’VE BEEN HEMMING AND HAWING about writing a sequel to my novel, “And Pull The Hole In After You.”  It has been a couple of years and, after writing about 30K words that just didn’t work, I’m trying again.

Here is an opening to the new story. I need you to read it and tell me if it works. Does it grab your interest or just confuse you? Is there too much backstory too soon?

I really need some feedback on this, and then I promise that on Monday this blog will return to its usual nonsense.

Thanks.

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Somehow I Don’t See This Working Out

Workout

I WENT TO SEE MY DOCTOR the other day. This particular doctor is a Nutritionist. He has a bunch of letters after his name, but I don’t recall the letters “M” and “D” being among them. But he’s a nice guy.

One of my other doctors sent me to see this doctor last autumn. He was all over my case about how I needed to lose weight. I couldn’t very well argue with him about that. I’ve been hearing that same complaint since I was six years old. That was during the Korean War. (For those of you with public school educations – look it up in a book called an Encyclopedia.)

The last time I saw Dr. Nutritionist he gave me a three page printout with the title, “The Seven Minute Workout.” He was pleased that I had managed to lose about 35 pounds, but not pleased that I done that without doing any exercises. He was not amused when he asked me what I did for exercise and I relied, “I stumble.”

He said that he wanted me to look over the printout and see what exercises I could do. Let me tell you right now – I ain’t Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarz…Shwartze…the former Governor of California, or some guy who spends his day working out and lifting weights in the prison yard.

Jumping Jacks: That requires more synchronization of body parts than I can manage.

Wall Sits: The last time I did one of those I was 22 years old and very drunk.

Push-Ups: I’ve seen Marines do that using one arm. I’m not a Marine.

Ab Crunch: No relation to Nestles Crunch.

Step-up: Usually preceded by some nitwit at the Motor Vehicle Bureau shouting, “Next!”

Squat: First thing every morning after I turn on the “Today Show.”

Triceps Dip On Chair: See “Wall Sits.”

Plank: What the f***k? If you see me doing that call 911.

High Knees: With my legs, anything above six or seven inches constitutes “high.”

Lunges: Sounds like an Interpretive Dance move. It refers to my “front and back knees.” My knees are next to each other. I want to keep them that way.

Push-Ups and Rotation: If I am doing a push-up and I rotate – see advice for “Plank.”

Side Plank: Here we go with that Plank business again! I’m sorry, but all my planks are warped.

I know he was disappointed, but I did tell him that once the weather improves I intend to get out there and do some walking. I will. I promise. They are opening a new Meijer Super Store nearby and it will take a heap of walking to get around that place. That counts, doesn’t it?

Getting Into The Groove

typewriter

I’VE RECENTLY DONE SOMETHING that I’ve done only once before. I hope it goes better this time. I’ve joined a Writer’s Group.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term – A Writer’s Group is a gathering of writers who come together to help and support each other with constructive criticism and encouragement. At least that is how I’ve always thought of a group. In my past it hasn’t worked out that way.

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It’s Nice To Be Missed

Coffee Loves You

I CAN’T SPEAK FOR ANYONE ELSE – I have enough trouble just speaking for myself, but I am moved when a commercial venture actually cares about me.

Let me explain.

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I Have A New Hero

snowblower

 

WE GOT DUMPED ON the other night with about 5” of the white fluffy stuff (not marshmallows).  The snow started about midnight and by morning it had turned our cars into large white lumps.

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If Things Don’t Go Well

Thumbs up

YOU ARE READING THIS on Monday. I am typing this on Friday afternoon. Knowing that might help you to understand what follows.

As I type this the sun is shining and the temperature in beautiful Terre Haute, Indiana is 13 degrees, Fahrenheit. I might look back on that as the high point of this weekend.

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Summer Magic

Blue Swing

Today’s posting is a short story I wrote about ten years ago

“Lightning bolts are all around, but don’t worry folks. I’ll land this plane. I can’t see because of the clouds and one engine is about to breakdown, but I’ll get us home.

Co-Pilot Smitty – radio my Mom and tell her I might be late for supper.”

Co-Pilot Smitty barked in acknowledgement and wagged his tail as the jetliner disappeared into a froth of dark clouds.

Danger was everywhere and only the best and most courageous pilot could get them down safely before Daddy got home.

***

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Oh Happy Day!

spring training 2015

 

I have to admit it – despite the fact that there are several inches of snow on the ground just outside our window – I am walking around with a smile on my face. The first sign of Spring has appeared – Baseball Spring Training has begun.

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Will You Make Up Your Mind!

Firing-Squad

 

SOME PEOPLE ARE NEVER HAPPY. For example – the State of Utah. The legislature there has passed a bill that authorizes the use of a firing squad for executions. They have done this because there have been problems with the “lethal injection” method of offing the bad guys.

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I Could Use A Half Billion Dollars, Thank You

Powerball

THIS PAST WEDNESDAY the Powerball Lottery drawing Grand Prize had reached 500 million dollars. Wow! Half a billion dollars! That would keep you off of food stamps for a while.

For reasons I’m still not sure of, the State Lottery Commission decided that the drawing needed some additional allure. They set up a publicity stunt here in Terre Haute. I guess they felt that the smell of all that money wasn’t enough.

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Here’s Looking At You, Kid

1984-not-instruction-manual

I WAS WATCHING THE TODAY SHOW the other morning and I saw a most interesting story (Which is odd for the Today Show. Most of the time they present fluff, interspersed with even lighter fluff.) They did a short piece about the new big screen TVs that are now on the market.

It seems that while we are watching them – they are watching us.

They showed a new Samsung television as their example. The TV has a camera and microphone that enables it to take both visual and verbal commands. The catch is, that as it listens and it watches, it is recording as well and, according to the technical info on the TV says, that this recorded info will be transmitted to a third party.

If that’s a party I wasn’t invited.

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Goin’ To The Chapel – Not

Manson and fiancee

INFORMATION HAS REACHED these tender ears that the engagement of Charles Manson and Afton Elaine Burton aka “Star” has been called off. The bride is distraught and the groom has stormed back to the far corner of his cell to be alone.

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It Didn’t Hurt At All

bad haircut

FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS I’ve been putting off getting a haircut. It had gotten to the point that, no matter what I did, my hair was looking like I had stuck my toe into a wall socket or I had inadvertently seen Lady Gaga up close and personal – and mistaken her for Tony Bennett. I was starting to look like an exploding Death Star. I did not like that.

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I Am My Own Bobblehead

bobblehead

I DON’T SEEK OUT those people or situations that turn me into a Bobblehead. They just seem to find me. I must admit that spending too much time in my pew in the Chapel at St. Arbucks exposes me to them.

Let me explain.

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“I’m Gonna Be A Little Late Today”

Indiana_Department_of_Corrections

I HAD TO GO TO THE BANK TODAY. Not everything is done by direct deposit. I get my monthly pension check from the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (rent the movie “Erin Brockovich”), and my wife gets paid with an honest to God paper check. So, once a month or so I toddle off to the bank. It was as I was driving away from the bank that a random molecule of memory bubbled to the surface. This all went down a couple of years before I retired. Let me explain.

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When Sylvie Sang

Microphone LargeThis story was created as a performance piece. I presented it a number of times over the years.

It is longer than my usual posts.  

I hope you enjoy it.

 

WHEN SYLVIE SANG the men at the bar would stop and turn on their stools to listen.  The bartender would dry his hands, move to the end of the bar and light up a cigarette.  The waitresses would huddle by the wall and hug their trays.  And the drunken man who cried softly to himself in the corner by the door would lift his eyes and rub his hands together underneath an invisible spigot.

When Sylvie sang, the room was locked in glass and still – as still as a new widow hearing that first long silence. 

In the spotlight the smoke was frozen.

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It’s Murder, I Tell Ya!

Crows

ALL MORNING I HAVE BEEN TRYING to decide what to write about today. I couldn’t think of anything other than getting the laundry done and what to have for lunch. Not exactly topics of great fascination for me and I’m sure even less for you. So, I scooped up my computer and headed down the street to the nearby Chapel of St. Arbucks. St. Arbuck – the patron saint of jittery people.

On the way down an idea landed right in front of me. Actually, about twenty ideas landed – some crows were disassembling a squirrel.

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I Got Your Measles Right Here

Measles-Quarantine-Sign

Boy, there is a real hoo-haw going on about whether or not kids should be immunized against a number of diseases.

It appears to me that the bulk of the screaming and pontificating about “freedom” is coming from the arugula and quinoa crowd, aka the parents who were themselves immunized as children, but who now think that risking their children is a good way of showing the world their Haight-Ashbury free-spiritedness while thumbing their nose at “The Man.”

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I Am What I Am and That’s All What I Am *

John passport

 

Quick note: If you go to your local post office to renew your passport you might be wise to pack a lunch.

My wonderful wife and I are in the early planning stages of another trip to Ireland. We have been there three times before and there has been no warning from the Irish about making a return visit.

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Today Is Tuesday, Isn’t It?

days of the week

TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE and belief today is Tuesday. Yesterday was Monday and all signs indicate that tomorrow will be Wednesday. OK, I think I’m getting down with this seven days in a week business.

Now, I understand that having trouble with the whole concept of “week” might be of concern and indicative of a more serious and underlying condition, but not with me and not now.

Let me explain.

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