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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

I Think I'm Liking The Chances

For me, the past year was been one of both terrible loss and wonderful gain. 

I lost my Mother, who was the only parent I ever knew, in the Summer, and I lost a few close friends as well. I am a fairly emotional man, I will not deny that, so it was tough to deal with it all.

However, I also enjoyed the company of many old friends and some new ones too, and while those friendships cannot compensate for the losses, they have indeed helped to alleviate some of the pain.

There were more than a few things worth celebrating in this past year as well, probably more than a man like me could ever hope to expect, truth be told.

I'm looking forward to next year. For reasons I'll keep under my hat. Things are going to be picking up, lots of changes are in the air for a number of people around here, and it will be real interesting to see how it all shakes out.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Uncertainty Enters The Room

Not sure of anything 
Not sure of everything
Is an ugly way to go about life

Straddlin' the fence
Tryin' hard to make sense
Of a world full of strife

There is a price to pay for indecision
There is a price to pay for doubt
You can try to deflect blame, make up an excuse
But when you fail to make a choice you lose

Freedom of choice makes one responsible
Failing to chose makes one wholly liable
For any and all choices thrust upon you

Friday, December 29, 2017

Come On, Give It All You've Got...But Make It Cheap

Every so often a product comes to the attention of the general public that is of an unusually high quality. 

Such a high quality in fact that what most people think when they initially encounter the item is, "Damn, someone gave this all they had - every bit of skill, talent, and effort at their disposal went into this! This is truly the product of a dedicated artisan!"

Then the general public gets a look at the price and they invariably think, "Whoa, that is way too high! Who the hell would pay that much for this!?"

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Built On A Foundation Of Carefree Serenity

"I do not," she said, eyes staring far off into the distance, "live in a rat-infested tenement on the lower east side. I live in a nice, clean apartment in one of the safer areas of the city - which is far more than my grandmother could ever even dream of."

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The First Fifteen Lines Of Something Less Than Epic

Miranda and Jay sat next to each other in the dimly lit bar 
Telling each other stories of who they used to be
Yeah, just a couple of burnt-out superstars
Lying about the lives of spectacular excess
They used to lead

"See this scar?" Miranda said
Pointing to a wicked little "S" of hard flesh
That trailed down her left arm
"I got that from my second husband"
Tracing her finger over it as she spoke

Jay watched her, nodding his head to let her know
He knew she still could feel the pain
"I had a girlfriend once who could handle a knife"
And he lifted his shirt to show the results
A  lopsided smile healed into his right side

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Nothing says Merry Christmas better than a houseful of grown-ass men, all of whom claim to be at the very least agnostic, giddily opening Christmas presents...

Saturday, December 23, 2017

All The Murkiest Characters

The Defrocked Priest

The Nurse who lost her registration

The Excommunicated Rabbi

The Disbarred Lawyer

The Doctor who lost his license

The Police Officer who had to turn in his badge

One Foot In The Door, The Other One On A Banana Peel

The party was a terrific affair. The hostess had obviously put a lot of effort into every aspect of the bash - the decorations were perfect, the food was perfect, the entertainment was perfect, even the games that had been organized for the kids were perfect - a mini Olympiad with bronze, silver, and gold medals awarded on a podium.

So why, thought Mrs Merriman, had the hostess disappeared soon after the band started playing? Why had the oldest son of the next-door neighbors also disappear? And why, pondered Mrs Merriman, were there three plainclothes Detectives mingling among the guests? 

Several ideas flitted through her very fertile imagination as Mrs Merriman sipped the chilled champagne from the slim glass flute. Most of the other guests appeared oblivious to even a hint of anything being awry, but there most certainly was something awry.

Of that, Mrs Merriman was certain.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Troops From Camp Kearny

Another photograph of WW I era troops that trained at Camp Kearny in north San Diego.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Life In The Disastrous Options Lane

He had no answer for her. It was all he could do to keep his head up, to look her...well, in the face, if not the eye.

He heard every word she said/yelled at him, in spite of her insistence that he was not listening to her. 

He heard every single word, loud and clear.

And as he digested those words, processed exactly what she was saying, he kept repeating to himself a name.


He would not speak the name aloud. He would not throw it back at her. He would not use it as a shield.

At least not yet.

Her voice rose to a shrill crescendo and then dropped to a whispered cry, again and again, as she at first lambasted him with insults and then pleaded with him to tell her how he could treat her like this, tell her how he could betray her like this.

He remained silent, and that infuriated her further. He knew he had no choice but to remain quiet. Any excuse he could pro offer would sound just like that, an excuse.

And if he spoke the truth, it would most likely destroy their relationship.

And he didn't want to do that. 

Despite what he knew about her and Rudy, and especially despite what others, mutual friends and acquaintances, knew about her and Rudy, he did not want to utter one single word about it.

For he still loved her, still believed she was the one, still believed the two of them had a grand and glorious future together.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary.

So he kept his mouth shut and listened to what she knew, and what she thought she knew, about his relationship with the woman she would only refer to as "that Tramp!" and hoped against all odds that this would be a situation he could take care of without having to resort to revealing that he knew what he knew...about her and Rudy.

But it wasn't looking good.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Only Moment In Time You Have

This moment 
The one in which you are choosing to read this sentence
This is the only moment in time you have
The next moment 
May be the one in which you have a heart attack
Or the one in which you step off the ledge
There is no guarantee 
That you will ever have another moment
After this

Friday, December 15, 2017

Neo-Classical Glass

I'm not one who has a need for a glass pipe, but I know skilled artistic craftsmanship when I see it. 

Denver has, for obvious reasons, quite a few glass blowers creating some fairly unique pipes and bubblers, as well as sculptures and jewelry, so while I don't indulge in what many of these pieces are designed for, I do indulge in admiration for art.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Somethin' Goin' Down

Generally speaking, if you are standing in a parking lot in the dark of night and a reporter has a microphone in your face as a cameraman is filming the interaction, something went down and you probably witnessed it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The List

From the very back of the file drawer he pulled out the large manila envelope. He carefully pulled up the two metal prongs that had been butterflied open and gently pulled the small hole in the envelope flap over the straightened prongs.

Once the envelope was open he grasped the seven sheets of paper inside and pulled them out, placing them on the small table just to the right of the chair.

He lifted the small glass of whiskey that rested on the same table and took a quick sip from it, then returned the glass to the embossed cork coaster that boasted of being reserved for only the finest Ireland had to offer the world.

With his left hand he picked up the receiver of the old fashioned landline phone, and with the index finger of his right hand he punched in *67, then the telephone number that followed the first name listed on the sheet of paper that rested on top of the short stack of paper on the table.

The telephone on the other end of the line rang. It rang twice, then a male voice answered, asking "Hello?"

"Hello," he responded, "Would this be Mr. Kenneth Messinger?"

"Yes, this is he - who is this?"

"Mr. Messinger, it is doubtful if you will remember me. Several years ago you and your now ex-wife shopped at a small home furnishings store that I was an employee of, and you placed an order for a few pieces of furniture. Do you recall that?"

"Furniture? Was it that place in New Castle? Gillman's? That had to be nearly 20 years ago. What about it?"

"If you do recall the purchase Mr. Messinger, perhaps you also recall that your order arrived at our warehouse three weeks late due to a shortage of drivers for the trucks - a major storm had caused severe destruction to the southeastern coast of the country and nearly every truck driver within 500 miles of our warehouse was pressed into service delivering relief supplies to the affected areas. Do you remember that, Mr. Messinger?"

"What? I do remember our furniture got in late, but what the hell are you talking about? What are you calling me for? Is this some kind of insurance pitch?" 

"No, Mr. Messinger, this is not an insurance pitch. Do you recall, by chance, any of the several phone calls you made to the furniture store regarding the delay in your orders' arrival?"

"Look, what is this about? I barely have any recollection of anything about that - it was 20 years ago for chrissakes. What do you want?"

"Well, Mr. Messinger, I want to refresh your memory a bit. You see, I was the employee who was tasked with answering all your calls, and while you may have forgotten those conversations, I have not."

"Huh? Is this some practical joke? What the hell are you talking about?"

"Those calls you placed, Mr. Messinger. That is what I am talking about, the ones in which you cursed and ranted for at least 15 minutes each and every time, accusing me of deliberately holding up your order, of not doing my job, accusing me of being lazy and saying that I was useless, and that you would see to it that I was fired. You don't remember any of that Mr. Messinger?"

"What??!! This is ludicrous! I don't know what you are talking about! Who the hell are you? I will not tolerate such belligerence! I know the Gillmans! I will have you fired!

"Mr. Messinger, the Gillmans passed away a few years ago. Their children sold the store, and I retired. However, I did retain your name and number as I felt it was my duty to call a few of the former customers of Gillman's and relay a most important message."

"This is crazy - what could you possibly have to say to me about a purchase made 20 years ago?"

"Well, to get right to the point Mr. Messinger, I wanted to let you know that it was me who called your now ex-wife a few years after you had placed those many, many calls to Gillman's that I had to answer."

"You called my wife?" 

"Your now ex-wife, Mr. Messinger, the one the judge ordered you to pay the princely sum of eleven million dollars."

"...Why? Why did you call my ex-wife?"

"How do you think she found out about your dalliances with her friend Mr. Messinger? Where do you think she got the photos?"

"What! You sunuvabitch! I'll kill you!"

"No Mr. Messinger, you won't. And it is you who are the sunuvabitch. Have a nice day, and thank you for shopping at Gillman's."

The receiver of the phone was placed back into the cradle. With an orange highlighter he drew a line through the name and number he had just called. Smiling, he looked at the next name and number on the list.

He took another quick sip of Ireland's finest, looked down at the list again, then picked up the phone.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Statistical Correlation

Somewhere in a dark corner of one of Academia's lesser known halls, a student is working out what advantage a person of a shorter than average stature has over a person of a taller than average stature in becoming a successful comedian, and if their is somehow a corresponding relationship to the circumference of said successful comedians of a shorter than average stature's girth. 

And if there isn't, why then do there appear to be so many more successful comedians of shorter than average stature and larger than average girth?

As opposed to taller, thinner comedians.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

An Early Contender

The Christmas house decorating competition has gotten underway in my neighborhood. This is one of the early contenders for Best in Show, string lights division

Monday, December 4, 2017

Not So Super Super Moon

 All I could get was a light flare. Might as well be a train in the distance

Not Quite The Gateway To The Beyond

With nothing left to lose he decided it was time to strike the bargain. So he pulled out the ancient, grime-encrusted book and opened it to the chapter on summoning.

Carefully but quickly following the instructions to the letter he was soon sitting in the center of a pentagram drawn on the floor in his own blood, the two points facing north. Ten candles, one at each intersection of the five vectors, lit up the room with a warm yet somewhat off-putting glow.

For a few minutes he sat stock still, working up the courage to speak the words that would bring the demon forth. 

Then he spoke, at first chanting the incantation in a low, barely audible whisper but soon in a loud, confident voice, as if he was delivering a proclamation instead of making a request.

For almost an hour he sat on the floor and repeated the same four lines that were said to have been written before the dawn of civilization. The room appeared to grow smaller with the passing minutes, but that was, he eventually realized, only due to the light of the candles slowing beginning to dim.

Then he began to feel it. 

A cramp, in his left thigh, no doubt caused by the nearly full hour of sitting Indian style. He knew then that he would have to stand up and stretch soon, or he was going to be in serious pain.

"Damn," He thought to himself, "this conjuring crap is for the birds. Screw this."

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Falling Between

Fortune and misfortune.

Fate is fickle...and a bastich.

There are some who appear to have all the luck, who are born to privilege and will never know want.

Then again, there are some who appear to have been born cursed, who are born on the wrong side of everything, and will always know want.

Millions upon millions have pondered the whys and hows of the accidents of birth that place some on a pedestal the second they are born and condemn others to a life of pain, frustration, and possibly worse, in the very same second.

It's one of the many mysteries of life, and one on the most frustrating, or at least the most challenging. The mystery of why, contrary to egalitarian thought, all human kind is not born equal.

Sure, I understand the whole "in the eyes of the law" dealio, huge farce that it is, but that's not the nail I'm hammering here.

I'm hammering the truth of life nail, the one that seems to be casually ignored by the million billions.

And that is the reality that is, for the million billions, most of the time life is going to be a freakin' hassle, a challenge, a trial by fire.

And that, for an incredibly small percentage, less than 1/1000,000 of a percent, life is going to be a walk.

Which is where the weird part kicks in. 

The weird part is physical resemblence.

For reasons beyond the keen, people who physically resemble the extremes at both ends of the spectrum, either the very lucky or the very unfortunate, often find themselves either benefiting or suffering for that physical resemblance. 

It's a truth that cannot be avoided, especially in non-homogeneous areas of the world.

That's all I've got on that for the moment, but there will be more...much more.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Embracing The Eccentric

When I was younger I was told on a pretty consistent basis to calm down, stop acting out, and above all else, to stop embarrassing myself.

All because I was a loud, somewhat outlandish, occasionally over-the-top, goofy, unashamed, extrovert.

So I worked hard to reign myself in, tried and tried and tried to keep my mouth shut when someone left an opening you drive a very large truck through, and made a monumental effort to conform to the quiet norm.

Didn't work.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Big Bad Ms Escalate

She's not satisfied with his acquiescence to her demand
She's got to rub it in his face, make him understand
Gonna emasculate him, cut his balls right off
Gonna make sure he knows she's got the upper hand

And if that is not enough
If that does not entertain her
She's gonna have to escalate the situation
She's gonna have to let him know she's no amateur

She might decide right then and there
That this would be the best time to tell the world
That her man can't get it up
Irregardless of the fact
That all she has ever had to do is lay back

Big bad Ms Escalate
She flirts with those she actually hates
The blind, the easily deceived
The dumb mofos 
Who cannot see

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Quiet, Modest Life

What is this desire that seems to have taken root in my mind? I speak not of desire for love (or lust, for that matter), or for wealth, or even things.

What I desire is a less technology centered, less convenience driven, and far, far slower pace to life.

It's not that I'm a Neo-Luddite - I've stated this quite a few times in the past, but just to be clear, I love computers and the Internet and all that they have made possible. I love my smart phone, and I love my flat screen TV and the service provider that allows me to surf 500 channels.

The rejection of technology is not what I mean when I say less technology. What I mean with that statement is that I want to rely on technology less, for communication, for education, and especially for entertainment,

I want more face-to-face communication, more exploring, more adventuring, and much more interaction with other humans doing things like playing softball or fixing up an old barn.

And what I mean by less convenience is, I want to stop taking all the short cuts that the modern age affords me - I want to stop microwaving my meals, I want to stop using a remote control to change channels and open doors and turn off the lights, and I want to stop driving to a store that is only 6 blocks away.

As for the far slower pace of life, that is fairly self-explanatory.

Every time I drive along I-70 or I-80 through the Midwest and I speed past small town after small town, I wonder how great it must be to live in a place where traffic isn't backed up for hours every single morning and every single evening. I wonder what it must be like to be able to walk into a store and be greeted with a real welcome by a person who knows your name, and is actually grateful for your patronage.

Those thoughts fill my mind for hours as I drive through eastern Colorado, or Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and just about every other state that is located in what is commonly referred to as the heartland of America.

It may seem as if I've gone off the deep end to some of my family and friends, but there burns in me a desire to live in a small town, one where people are easygoing, casual, and friendly to everyone. I want live in a town where people not only know one another, they actually care about one another.

And yes, I'm aware that means I'd be living in a place where everybody knows my business, but in this day and age, where Facebook and Twitter are de rigueur, what difference does that make?

The Search For A Quiet Place

This is the story of a dream. The dream is one that features finding a place that is satisfying to the body, mind, and spirit - a place that offers fresh, unsullied air to the lungs, wide-open vistas featuring nature's beauty for the eyes, and rich, dark soil for the feet to trod upon.

But first a word from our sponsor.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The 14.5 Million Dollar Ribbon Of Light Welcome Sign At D.I.A.



You read that right...14.5 million dollars for a ribbon of light Welcome To Denver / Welcome To D.I.A. sign (depending upon whether or not you're coming or going to the airport...)

To be clear, it's only 11.5 million for the actual ribbon of light sign structure - the other 3 million is for 12 years of operation and maintenance.

One thousand feet of lighted poles and a couple of signs for 14.5 million. What a bargain.

Especially when the complete and total lack of any form of impressive light show in the area where D.I.A. is located is taken into consideration...


Spent Saturday night in Littleton...which was experiencing a bit of an elfestation...

Elfvis Presentsly I presume

                                          Someone was making a few pennies selling Elf hats

                                        Definitely the most elves I've ever personally seen

                            Don't have a clue what this was, but it looked cool and belched fire

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Rough-And-Tumble Daze Of Shopping

There were at least 150 to 200 people in the store when I entered, and this was in the afternoon, well after the crowds that formed outside the store at 5:00am had begun to dissipate.

The desire for a deal, especially a deal on an item that is not only worth having, but actually a pragmatic acquisition, is powerful, especially when all that is required to take advantage of the deal is a bit of patience.

Okay, maybe that should read a ton of patience. A metric tonne. Getting to the tool kit was easy enough, but the standing in line...for over 45 minutes...that was a trial.

But stand in line I did, and when it all was over I was happy with the results. It was as close as I was going to get to being a hunter-gatherer anytime soon, and satisfying in that primitive fashion that seems to be part of the shared human memory dealio.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Not The Best Decision I've Made The Day Before Thanksgiving...

Nope, not even close...though it will probably save me from the gluttony of the day.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017