Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012

Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012
Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas at Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, March 2012

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Case Of The Familiar Fatality

He knew more ways to finagle money out of a person than the slickest politician. His repertoire included everything from just a few bucks until Friday to a fiver for a hot tip on a horse in the sixth race. 

One sunny afternoon his body was found floating in the south bay, the only item of interest in his wallet being a water-logged, unreadable drivers license and a small metal tag stamped with the number twenty-seven. He was placed on a slab in the morgue with a tag tied to his toe upon which the name "John Doe" was scribbled.

The man was of interest to one Detective however, a thin, lanky former Army Ranger who looked at the photos taken by the Coroner for the case file and fought back a tear. Though the salt water had done quite a job of distorting the man's features and it had been nearly fifteen years since he had last seen the man, the Detective knew who the John Doe was. 

No man ever forgets the face of his father, no matter how long it's been since he last saw him. For the Detective it was like looking in a mirror...and it felt like being hit with a wrecking ball.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

And She Would Dance To Any And Every Song On The Radio

She had an energetic walk
With a quick little bounce in every step
The mature curves of her body perfectly balanced
On a stout frame that evidenced an easy confidence
In who and what she was

No apologies for lapses in femininity
She was as much at home in a church 
As she was in a den of iniquity

Her face boasted a wide mouth with full but delicate lips
That could make even an ascetic shake
Needless to say that also applied to her hips

Her hands and feet were large
Though with slender tapering fingers and toes
Her voice was at times thin and high
And at times husky and low

Oftentimes every word she spoke
Was well thought out, rational
Though she was also known to occasionally let loose
With a waxing explosion of poetic tragical

Above all, however, was her intellectual curiosity
That lead her down paths both dark and bright
And sparked creative fires that made her eyes shine 
As if with a deep internal light

Monday, December 28, 2015

Seven Miles East Of Bezdonys

A slight, older Belarusian man sat hunched over a game of chess. His brow furrowed as he analyzed the consequences of the various moves available to him. 

His attention however, was suddenly diverted from the chessboard by a loud clamor that came from directly outside the small cafe he and his opponent and the game they had been playing for nearly two hours was located in.

Looking over his spectacles he saw the figures of five young men through the dirty glass of the windows. The men all seemed to be waving flags or banners of some sort that had been attached to tall poles. 

"Hmmm..." he mused to himself. "More earnest young men caught up in the rapture of what is no doubt a great cause..." He returned his attention to the board and castled queenside, thinking to himself, "Poor fools, cursed by the courage of immature convictions."

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Going Out For A Ride

Some guys, they climb to the top of a water tower
To spraypaint the name of their crush
Other guys, they write lovey-dovey poems
Full of melodramatic romantic mush

Friday, December 25, 2015

Enjoying Breakfast At The Smallest Cafe In The World

Seamus and Jane were lost in their individual thoughts while the cook prepared their breakfast. The cook, who was also the host, waiter, server, busboy, dishwasher, and of course sole proprietor of the establishment, carefully seasoned the omelet Jane had ordered with just the slightest hint of oregano.  

The cook, now in the guise of server, bought Seamus and Jane their order, smiling with the satisfaction of an accomplished professional who knew he had done a job well.

Jane took a bite of her omelet, and for possibly the thousandth time she thought to herself, "Damn, this is good, but I sure wish I had told him garlic instead of oregano."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sketching From Old Pics On A Wednesday Afternoon

You Have To Celebrate Every Moment You Can

Throughout the course of our lives we will have opportunities to celebrate various milestones. It is my opinion that too many people ignore these opportunities, writing them off as events that "happen every day."

To those people I say you do not have any guarantee to "another day," not for yourself, not for anyone you may know.

Life is a crap shoot, and while circumstances or good fortune may allow you to hedge your bets, nothing is certain.

The end could come at any moment. You have an obligation to yourself to enjoy, to celebrate, every moment you can.

While it is pragmatically impossible to enjoy every moment of every day, it is quite possible to enjoy the vast majority of them. Life at times can be difficult, life at times can be a challenge, life at times can even seem to be too horrible, too untenable, too unbearable, to be worth continuing...but that is only you lying to yourself.

Life can be, or will be, or is, good. 

You may think that you are suffering through the worst circumstances that anyone could imagine, but chances are, if you are reading this you are not living life in a concentration camp, you are not living life in a gulag, you are not living life in a refugee camp, you are certainly not being restricted in your access to the internet...

...in all probability, you are free, you are able, and you are capable, of living your life as you see fit.

So do it.

Monday, December 21, 2015

You Play The Odds, You Take Your Chances

Upon reflection, working up the nerve to undertake some of what I thought would be the grandest of adventures may have been a tad reckless....said the man who has rarely played the lottery.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

One Sunny Day On Mt Olympus...

He raised his fist to the sky and yelled at the top of his lungs, "I want answers! I demand answers! I don't give a damn about the meaning of life, but I do want answers!"

Amused, one of the old gods looked down from his lofty perch and then turned to his wife, who just happened to be the Goddess of Wisdom, and asked, "Well, what do you think, should we give the mortal a few answers?'

The Goddess of Wisdom chuckled under her breath. "Dear," she said with a smile, "You know full well how that always turns out. We give him the exact same answers we gave the last few hundred mortals and he'll do the exact same thing the last few hundred mortals did - twist the answers until they fit his preconceived notions of what the answers should be, then run around proclaiming himself to be a god-appointed messiah and demanding that everyone should follow and abide by his teachings. Do you really think that planet needs another one of those?"

"Hmmm,,," her husband mused. "No, I would say not. You're right as usual Pumpkin."

Unintentionally Beautiful

Friday, December 18, 2015

You Could Call Them Whimsical, I Suppose

                                            A few odd things made of metal

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Something Yolanda Mentioned Reminded Doug Of The Generation of '27

At first he was certain she had let slip a reference to Alberti, but then, after a few minutes of listening to more of her conversation, he realized she had been talking about an argument between two fascists who both wore the clothing of enlightened liberals that she had met at an after-party following an off, off Broadway show.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Snowiest December 15th In 118 Years

    The plows moving north and south pushed the snow from the streets into the center, creating               almost impassable berms in the turn lanes

     All it took was one driver in a vehicle incapable of handling the conditions to muck up the onramp

              Once on I-25 though, it was an easy drive, a million tons of snow not-withstanding

                          The plows were out in force...at least for the main roads

                    Parking lot didn't get a lot of attention until much later in the afternoon

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Bold And The Trivial

This planet may not be all that it's cracked up to be, but it has possibilities.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

Why Don't I Have Children?

Today I was asked why I was afraid of children. I looked at the questioner, a person I have known for quite some time, and asked them why they thought I was a afraid of children.

The questioner replied, "Because you are one of the only men I know over forty who does not have at least one kid, and I've noticed you never want to hold or play with any of the number of young children that our mutual friends have."

I mulled that statement over for awhile before retorting, "You are both right and wrong in your observations. First off, I won't hold babies because I simply don't know how. I always feel awkward when someone hands a baby off to me, and I can't help but think I'm likely to drop them or somehow cause them to cry."

"Second, being a big guy, playing with little kids is a bit tricky for me. Just bending down to get to their level is a pain, and being careful not to accidentally knock one of the tykes over takes a lot of energy and luck - they always seem to be running around like little Tasmanian Devils."

I left it at that, and the questioner wandered off without pursuing the issue any further. However, I continued to mull it over, and thought about a few more things I could have mentioned.

Such as, I do not have children because I was not raised by parents, plural - I was raised by a parent, singular, as in single mother. Even though she did the best she could with what meager resources she had, and the help of my three older sisters - she was still over-matched, as there was a total of six of us kids and only one of her.

She did an incredible job as a single mom but when it comes right down to it, not having a male presence around in my childhood was a bit crippling (My older brother had left for the Army before I was 8).

Because of that particular circumstance of my upbringing, I did not learn what it is that a father is expected to be. I also did not learn what it means to be a responsible man.

If you do not believe that is a big deal, you need to take a closer look at the children of single parents, especially the children of single parents that had multiple siblings.

Being raised by a single mom did not make me afraid of children. Rather, it made me afraid of being a father. 

Something More Than Just A Jason Isbell Concert

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Couple Of Wontons & A Bowl Of Chili

Somehow she had gotten the idea
That I was building the house just so
She could burn it down

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Bears Of A Feather

Have you ever acted so out of character that for a brief moment you felt like a completely different person than you know yourself to be? I don't mean in a Sybil-like multiple personality type (aka dissociated Identity disorder) fashion, where there are allegedly a whole group of different people somehow inhabiting a single body, and I don't mean in a sudden mood-swing or distortion of manner caused by the consumption of intoxicants fashion either. What I mean is, for a minute or two, or maybe even a bit longer, you just behaved in a way that was far out of the ordinary for you?

For instance, maybe you are out with some friends and you are introduced to a new person, and in the first few minutes of the meeting you say or do something so extraordinarily different than what you would normally do your friends all stop what they are doing and look at you as if you were growing a flower out of the top of your head.

And when you regain your senses, get back on your usual tack, you even question yourself; "What the hell? Why did I say that to that person? Have I gone completely off my nut?"

Well, if you haven't, it's a weird feeling, let me tell you. If you have, well then, I need say no more.

Simple Irony For Complicated Philosophers

Nothing in this world 
Could make him laugh. No humor
Dry or rye, slapstick or farce
Self-effacing or observational
Ever tickled his funny bone

Oh, he had tried to find the humor
In the pratfalls of practiced clowns
And the sarcastic retorts of angry wits
But not one single chuckle

He read books that boasted of laughs on every page
And watched films that advertised
To make you laugh until you cried
Once, he listened to 8 hours of live comedy
Which failed to elicit even the smallest of smiles

The world was too black, he lamented
To anyone who would lend an ear
The world was soulless, he persisted
Full of nothing but dread and fear

Eventually, his dreary demeanor
Drove away each and everyone he knew
And when he realized he was all alone
In a world he saw as hostile, cold and dark
The world finally made him laugh

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Automata In Art

Infatuation, a decidedly interesting metal sculpture by artist Rod Ford

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I'm No Legal Beagle, But...

Okay, it's not like I'm an attorney (though I have played one in a few courtrooms), but I'm willing to bet good money that driving around on a public highway with your vehicle literally falling apart is not quite legal.

Seriously, gotta be just a tad dangerous - but hey, at least the taillights work.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Rethink The Puzzle

Okay, so you've got this thing about alligators. You hate them, you fear them, you think each and every alligator on the planet should be eliminated.

And yet you keep going out to where all the alligators gather, where all the alligators congregate.

It may take a little while but eventually it will dawn on you...it's not the alligators that are the problem...it's you.

Something Ugly, Something Dreadful

He found himself standing alone on a railroad platform in Auckland New Zealand, holding a note from his ex-wife in one hand and a red soft-sided briefcase in the other. 

From his vantage point he could see the pedestrian footbridge that he had crossed over to get to the platform from the shopping center. He glanced once more at the note in his hand, and then up at the train schedule posted above the metal bench where he had set his luggage. If this train was anything like all the other trains he had waited on, it would be at least five minutes late.

With that potential delay in mind he reached into the right side pocket of his jacket and pulled out the pack of cigarettes he had bought at the convenience shop near the car park by the shopping center. It had been decades since he had last had a cigarette, but considering his circumstances, worrying about the long-term effects cigarettes might have on his health was an extremely low priority.

His death sentence had already been handed down, and with the ease of mind that those who already consider themselves dead know, he placed the cancer stick to his lips and lit it with a cheap disposable lighter.The first drag instantly took him back to the halcyon days of his youth, when the thought of living forever was real, tangible. He laughed inwardly as he recalled those thoughts...inwardly and ruefully.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Night In Denver

Helluva game tonight, helluva win for the Broncos. Cold, snowy, hostile weather for a visiting team. The officiating didn't make it any easier. A W is a W though, according to the hardcore fans I was watching the game with.

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Chair Worth Remembering

A large, comfortable easy chair
From which one could take the world at ease
Capable of fully reclining, it was great for naps
Or reading short stories published 
                                       In quarterly fantasy magazines
Or even weighty tomes on evolutionary psychology
It was upholstered in a soft leather 
                                     That boasted a hand-rubbed finish
Over the years it began to take on the shape 
Of the weighty man who sat in it for hours a day
And of the weighty dog who curled up in it
When the weighty man was away

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Only Real History Is That Which You Experience

It never fails to amaze me how readily people believe what they hear or read, especially if what they hear or read fits their own preconceived notions of what is true, or rather, what they believe should be true.

All The World Needs Is A Slice Of Ice Cream Cake


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pacific Beach Post Card

                                              The view south from the Crystal Pier

Prospering Through Simplicity

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Passionate,Fevered Youth

There may one day be a person, or perhaps several people, who will comment on a failure on your part to accomplish something, or maybe just falling short of achieving some long sought after goal with the words, "Forget about it kid, you have your whole life ahead of you."

Ignore that person or persons. Those people are pure poison to those who wish to succeed on a high level. Start associating with people who, in the exact same circumstances say the words, "Don't let that set you back. Figure out what you did wrong and then try again, eliminating whatever mistakes you made."

Hell, surround yourself with those people. Those are the people who understand failure is just a lesson to be learned and then applied, Those people who tell you to quit while you're ahead, who say you have your whole life ahead of you, they are wrong.

There are no guarantees. The only thing you have ahead of you is the next moment, Tomorrow may ever come. If you keep quitting every time someone makes a disparaging or discouraging comment regarding your efforts, you may soon find yourself saddled with too much doubt to ever try to pursue your ambitions again.

Do what it is you want to do, and do it to the best of your ability.

Unless what you want to do involves hurting or taking advantage of other people, Don't do that to the best of your ability - Don't do that at all.

The Quandry

My head is feeling a mile thick  

                                         Denser than concrete brick 
      This brain o'mine has gone numb 
                                   Every thought is coming out dumb


    I'm shamelessly begging for some 
                                            But it just won't come...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

On The Right Foot

The Reverend Jesse Jackson paid a visit to the High School I was enrolled at when I was 16 years old. He was there promoting "Operation PUSH," an organization he was part of that promoted racial harmony.

He singled me out in the crowd at the assembly (which wasn't hard as I was one of nineteen or twenty white kids there, in a sea of 1,000 or so African Americans kids.

He said to me, our hands gripping each other, "I appreciate your support."

Back then I beamed, proud to have had a momentary contact with a man that had a large influence on the community in which I lived.

It took me years to realize he says that to everyone.

The Young World, The Young Time

Friday, November 13, 2015

I Stand With France

Days like today, when you hear and read about the horror in Paris, knock the breath right out of you. 

Six different locations targeted, 128 people confirmed killed. The work of "extremists". "terrorists."

I cannot even comprehend what the good people of Paris are going through right now. The people of France, much maligned and negatively stereotyped, are wonderful people, people who, like you and I, believe in freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of being.

And those beliefs have earned them the wrath of a band of religious zealots who do not believe in freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of being.

The French and Americans are kindred spirits. I stand with France.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Unfortunate Tango

Pete took a seat at the end of the bar
He had his sights set on Gina
But everyone knew he wouldn't get very far

Gina was in the cantina looking for a fix
She had tried hard to kick it
But now to get it she was turning tricks

Carlos was dealing kilos from the trunk of his car
He cut his junk with Ajax
And still dressed like an '80's Pop Star

Karen wasn't into sharing any of her blow
She was a selfish little nymph
Everything was a bargain, everything was quid pro quo

They all sought shelter together
Not from the weather, not from a storm
The shelter they sought was from life itself
From the daily struggle of life itself

In time Pete would either move on or suck on the barrel
Of a Colt .45
Gina dreamed she would either wind up in Beverly Hills
Or be taken out on a gurney
Carlos didn't fool himself, he knew it would catch up to him
He had a reservation on a slab
Karen held out hope she would be able to shake the dragon
Unfortunately that was not to be

They all sought shelter together
Not from the weather, not from a storm
The shelter they sought was from life itself
From the daily struggle of life itself

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

At Least The Dentist Was Happy

Today's words of advice: Take care of your teeth. Brush and floss daily, and for the love of Pete, see your Dentist, or any Dentist for that matter, at least twice a year.

Those are words of advice I really wish I had listened to on at least one of the bazillion times various Dental professionals had spoken them to me over the years.

But I didn't, and now I have to pay the piper.

If I had to rate my desire to visit the Dentist on a scale of 1 to 100, with one being a feeling of slight inconvenience and 100 being a life sentence in a Stalinist era Soviet Gulag...then my desire would be in the mid '90's at the very least.

To say I dread going to the Dentist would be a gross understatement. Dread is simply trepidation. This is full-blown fear.  

It stem's from bad childhood experiences, of course. Truth be told, I haven't had an especially bad visit at the Dentist in at least three decades, but those visits have been, unfortunately, too few and much too far in between.

Much, much too few and much, much too far in between. My last visit to the Dentist was...July or August of 2008.

Seven years between visits to the Dentist is not good by any measure, even with regular brushing and sporadic flossing. The glorious result of that level of helter-skelter tooth care is this:

Yeah, I'm an idiot...and today (and probably for the next few days) I'll be an idiot who can't drink or eat anything I like to drink or eat. Applesauce and Hummus, oh yay.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Less Than Funny Bit

"Why," He asked, "Would you want to move to Connecticut?" She stared at him momentarily, as if the question he had posed had the most obvious answer. "Lewis, you have to be the biggest idiot I have ever known. Your brother lives in Connecticut, and despite his marriage to Clara Enright, I have every intention of making him mine. You can take that to the bank."

Lewis stared after her as she walked down the hall to the front door, stifling a laugh like a schoolboy watching his teacher about to sit on a thumbtack. His brother may be married to Clara, but he knew that marriage for the sham it was.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

All Your Tumultuous Struggling For Recognition

You have a belief system
Based on what you were taught, what you learned
Or maybe even what you discovered

It guides your thoughts, establishes your bounderies
Gives you a moral compass

Regardless, it doesn't matter much to the world
What your belief system is about


The world only judges you on one aspect of your life
You may think it's what you know

But what you know is only what you know

You may think it's what you can imagine
But what you can imagine is only what you can imagine

In the short or the long run
All that really matters to the world
Is what you do

Friday, November 6, 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Political Intrique Story Intro Idea

For the first time in what felt like millennia he found himself alone. The house was library quiet and he relished the serenity of enjoying his coffee uninterrupted. Thoughts of work loomed over his shoulder and tried to crash his idyll, but with an unexpected ease he was able to push those thoughts out the window. There would be plenty of time for work tomorrow, when he would once again have to awake to the blare of an alarm and neurotically carry out the actions that would get him to the office.

Today, this morning, he wasn't having any of it. The issues that would usually crowd his mind and weigh him down like an aircraft carrier's anchor chain were like soap bubbles to him, floating momentarily in the air, then disappearing in a sudden *pop* of dissolution.

It was Fall, Autumn if you will, his favorite season. Not too cold, and not too hot. The trees were alive with color from their dying leaves, an irony that never escaped him. 

From his vantage point in the kitchen he could see squirrels scampering along tree branches, energetically preparing for the  advent of winter. That reminded him too much of his usually daily routine, so he turned toward the small television that his wife had made him install on the wall opposite the stove. 

It wasn't long before he was wishing he was still watching the squirrels, as the news report that was interrupting the rerun he had wished to watch had stabbed him in the heart as sure as any dagger could. It was coverage of an incident in a country on the opposite side of the globe, but which was also one of his countries closest allies.

The smart-phone recorded video that the station had bought off a tourist showed the Prime Minister of the allied country walking out of the entrance of a large government building, and then suddenly collapsing on the staircase, his limp body tumbling down the last three steps before any of his protection detail could react. 

The reaction of everyone in the frame told him all he needed to know - the Prime Minister had been assassinated, and he was going to have to get back to the office immediately.

Sending Crooked Stave Glassware Halfway Across The Country

If you ever find yourself needing to ship a couple of fairly fragile longstem glasses via UPS, here is a bit of advice: Prepare the package so that it will be able to withstand both concussion and compression forces. 

One of the longstem glasses to be shipped

One of the better lightweight materials that can resist moderate compression is Styrofoam. Get your hands on two 3" X 5" X 24" pieces of this wonderful material and do the following: 

Step one, cut the two 24" long pieces exactly (give or take) in half so that you have two 12" long pieces.

Step two, draw out the shape of the glassware on both of the 3" X 5" X 12" pieces of Styrofoam.

Step three, cut out the the shape of half of the longstem glass using a sharp cutting tool - I've found that a Ginsu steak knife is perfect for the job.

Step four, be sure to cut out half of the contours of the glass as true to half of it's shape as possible, as you're going to need to be able to fit half of the glass into each block of the Styrofoam.

Step five, once you have two pieces of the Styrofoam cut out to fit half of a longstem glass, you're ready to place the glass in what is for all intents and purposes a protective shell. 

Step six, place the glass between the two pieces of Styrofoam, being careful to ensure the glass does not rattle around loosely in it's little sarcophagus. 

Step seven, using 2" wide cellophane tape, secure the two pieces of Styrofoam around the glass. You may also want to write a bit of instruction as to where it would be best to cut the tape in order to avoid damage to the glass when the package is opened.  

Step eight, repeat steps 1 through 7 with the other glass.

Step nine, place the two Styrofoam-encased longstem glasses in a box about two inches larger all around than the combined size of the Styrofoam blocks. 

Step ten, get your hands on some bubblewrap, it's a great lightweight material that readily disapates moderate concussive force. Wrap the Styrofoam such that there is a two inch layer of bubblewrap on all sides.

Step eleven, place the Styrofoam and bubblewrap encased longstem glasses in the box.

Finally, step twelve, seal the box shut with the 2" wide cellophane tape and take it on down to the UPS store, Three-day ground will suffice.