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Numbers, Wainers, and Boobies, Oh My!

At the risk of presenting myself as a total nut job, I going to talk about numbers and how we see them in our heads. As long been able to count (a good ten or twelve years now), a sequence of numbers has always had certain trail it follows in my head. I would guess that’s the way it is for everyone, but I’m curious how it is for other people. So after reading this, I hope you’ll play along and humor me with what you see in your head.

 
When I start counting from one, the numbers go upward (like north on a map), up to thirty. At thirty-one, they take a left turn and keep going in a straight line all the way to 100. At 101, they take a right turn, upward again, and travel in a line up to 130, just like they do from one to thirty, except over a level. Then at 131, they take another left until they get to 200. This repeats itself from there on. It looks like this:

WCM0007

The trail does the same thing, but in reverse, if I’m counting backwards. If someone says, or I read, a number, say 42, I picture it in the same “location” every time. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone’s age, a ranking, or if I’m calculating a 6% restaurant tip.

 
The question is why. Why do my numbers do a lefty at thirty-one? Maybe somebody studies this stuff. Before I wrote this post, I googled a few phrases but couldn’t find anything that relates to this. This all has nothing to do with anything, except perhaps, that this sort of thinking also brought my novel into the world.

 

By the way, my I drew those numbers with a contraption called “Bamboo” that my daughter, Katie, gave to me for my birthday. It’s about the size of an Ipad, and looks like a paper note pad but it uses a special paper and pen that create a digital image which you can text, email, or whatever. I used it to insert a drawing into my novel because my keyboard didn’t have the characters that I needed. I suppose it could be used to draw wainers and boobies, but I choose not to. Oh, what the hell.

WCM0009

So, let’s see yours. No, not your wainers and boobies. Tell me where the numbers go in your head. Do they start at one and spiral outward into infinity? Do they do a kind of cha-cha, going forward two, then right three? Or am I just the lone oddball that shouldn’t have let this notion escape my mind?

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Waiting For a Body

The author C.S. Lewis is sometimes credited with the quotation, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” I like that notion. There’s some debate about the origin of the quotation, and I don’t particularly care who gets credit, but this idea is a thread that runs through my upcoming novel, Camelot’s Misplaced Son, and I’d like to kick it around a bit.
I don’t pretend to be a deep thinker of profundities. I’m doing well to come up with a four-syllable word like “profundities”. But Mr. Lewis’s thesis does beg the question, “How are bodies assigned to souls?” We know who does the assigning – insert your deity here – but what’s the process? How is it decided which soul gets which shell to use while they’re here, and what parents?
That’s one that goes unanswered, I suppose, but for the sake of making up a wild-ass theory, let’s just say there’s a line – actually, a line and a list of parents. Please refer to the Table 4A below:

 

 

Soul                       Parents
Pat           Howard and Joan Paxton
Davis      John F. and Jacquelyn Kennedy
Joe          Clem and Clara Doe

 

As you can see in the list above, the next soul in line for distribution is Pat, who has the wonderful good fortune of being assigned to Howard and Joan. Total fluke. He gets to be assigned to loving parents in a relatively safe part of the world during a time of prosperity. Pat’s given the further advantage of having parents whose shell looks a lot like the overwhelming majority of shells in his part of the world. He is being set up quite nicely. Being born to a middle-class family, he’ll still need to work to create a comfortable life in his adulthood, but will have an advantageous foundation from which to launch.
Next comes Davis. He appears to be the most fortunate of this lot of souls. Davis has received the coveted assignment to occupy the fourth and final shell of the Siblings of American Camelot. Like every soul traipsing around this little part of the universe, Davis will have his problems. Everyone, no matter how fortunate, does. However, concerns caused by a lack of resources or uncaring parents will not be among them.
Next in line behind Davis, is Joe, who just missed out on a life full of advantages. When he was further back, Joe suppressed the urge to jump out of line and take a leak because chances looked good for him to land in Hyannis Port. However, when his turn arrived, he was hopping around on one foot only to find he would be put in the care of Clem and Clara Doe. Joe gets to look forward to watching Clem get drunk and take out his frustrations on Clara and the kids. Before Clem leaves the family entirely, he so discourages Joe and his siblings of there being any good in the world, that Joe’s prospects for any type of normalcy are severely diminished.
I was led to this way of thinking about twenty or so years ago, after seeing a homeless man – like our friend Joe – and wondering how close he might have been to receiving a better shell assignment. Any of us could have been Joe. Any of us Davis. I’m thankful to have been Pat.
I’ve tried to resist the urge to want to trade places with anyone. No matter how grand someone else’s life appears, you never know what they’re dealing with, or what problems they may have beneath the surface. I know my problems and can deal them, and I’m not willing to trade the two hundred bucks handed to me by Monty Hall (now, Wayne Brady) for what’s behind Door Number 1. Whether my two hundred bucks looks to others like fifty cents or million bucks, there’s nothing I would trade it for.
My point: being born at all – at all – is such an incredible long shot, that every one of us really is incredibly special. You are the result of one little swimmer, beating out about fifty million others to be the first one to the egg and plant his flag. If only one other swimmer got there first, a completely different person is created – not you. I just wish everyone felt as special as they really are, and maybe there wouldn’t be the people in the world acting out in violence and other ways to get attention.
I acknowledge all of this optimism is coming from a guy who, after all, gets to be me. If I were prone to using emogis, here’s where I’d insert a smiley facing, winking.  I, like everyone, speak from a certain perspective, a perspective which I’m thankful to occupy. So, I won’t sit here and tell everyone they should cheer up. I can’t see the view from where you sit – but I’ll give it a try if you will.

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Poofy Wigs and Posts For the Sake of Posting.

Sleepy Hollow pic

I don’t often prance about in a poofy white wig and knickerbockers, but when I do, it’s on national television. Facebook, with its “memory” reminders, has cruelly brought to my attention that my fifteen minutes of fame expired four years ago. Season 1, Episode 11 of the Fox television show Sleepy Hollow was my vehicle to stardom. The series was set up as a showcase to catapult me into a career in the insurance industry. Worked perfectly. Those guys really know their stuff.

This was my one and only foray into acting. Hadn’t tried it before. Haven’t tried it since. Thought I’d retire while I’m batting a thousand. While living in the Wilmington, North Carolina area, I answered a call on a Facebook page called the Wilmington Casting Call, fooled them in to choosing me, did the job, and collected the envy-inducing sum of $109, plus free breakfast and lunch. All of those years of experience lounging around my house in a big, poofy wig finally paid off.

Despite their pressuring, I told them I wouldn’t do nudity. So they used a butt double – for my face. What appears to by my face in the photo above, is the makeup-enhanced ass of a ninety-two year old man. I’m thankful for the upgrade.

Sleepy Hollow was filmed in Wilmington, an east coast hotbed of film and television production at the time, thanks in part to favorable tax treatment for the film industry by the State of North Carolina. In 2014, a new law was put in place, drastically reducing the tax benefit of film production in the state, so Sleepy Hollow left town, relocating to Georgia.

When you’re a first-time author, and your novel isn’t quite out yet, you’re looking for things to talk about. Even though this blog post doesn’t pertain to my novel, JFK, or much of anything, the picture was just too funny to pass up. Thanks for reading.

 

music, Uncategorized

Buried Treasure and Music Snobs

 
Every so often, I’m going to post songs that interest me, mostly songs that weren’t particularly chart climbers or received much radio play, but should have. I’ve listened to a ton of music over the years, and still do. I promise I’m not one of those music snobs that John Cusack and his record shop buddies admitted to being in the movie “High Fidelity” – good movie, by the way. We all know folks that won’t admit to liking anything that sounds mainstream or commercial, because if so many people like it, then it must only appeal to commoners. Snobs. And once everybody likes a song that they liked first, they don’t like it anymore. I like a lot of different kinds of music, some of it weird, some of it not. But I have a special fondness for well-crafted, hooky, music, even if it does appeal to the masses. I like bringing attention to songs that should have been bigger than they were. Here’s one such tune from the 90’s by the Scottish band, Del Amitri, who were bigger in the UK, but did have a song, Roll to Me, that faired well in the US. This song, “Not Where It’s At”, used to play on the Muzak in an office I worked in, and back in the days before Shazam,  it took me a while to know who performed it because there was no DJ. Never once heard it on the radio. Anyway, please enjoy. Feel free to post your own favorite from YouTube in the comments. Thanks.

 

movies

Non Rom-Com

I like movies, especially in a theater. Polly, my lovely wife,  has never been much interested in going to the movies. When I can get her to go, she doesn’t like anything scary, stupid, or with an unhappy ending. So that means about the only films I see at a theater are romantic comedies.

A few, I’ve found enjoyable. Most, though, not so much. But I’ve seen enough of them now to be able to officially label a movie a chick-flick if any two of the following take place in the film:

1)  Two or more people break into song.
2)  The sister / best friend of the female lead is a Joan Cusak-like character.
3)  Someone cries within the first thirty minutes (not counting the husbands in  the audience).

With all of that said, I will go see such films with my wife because I enjoy her company, and like going to the movies. It’s also the only place I can find Goobers.

But I want to talk about a movie I saw on TV last night. Whenever, I get a free HBO / Cinemax weekend on DirecTV, I wade through the guide and usually record seven or eight movies. Some I watch, some I delete without watching. One that I watched last night, is “500 Days of Summer”. Came out in 2009, and I’d never heard of it, although I did recognize the lead actors (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel). I won’t tell you what it was about, other than to say it was half romance and half comedy, but NOT a romantic comedy. Didn’t meet the criteria:

  1. No group singing. There was singing (Karaoke), but only one person at a time. And it was acceptable Karaoke, if there’s such a thing, because good songs were chosen, one of which is in my ITunes collection, “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies.
  2. No Joan Cusak (or more modern-day equivalent). Nothing against her at all. She’s made me chuckle plenty of times. I’m sure she’s a perfectly lovely person and competent actress. That character, however, is a bellwether.
  3. And no crying whatsoever.

Good movie, with a good soundtrack. Bitter-sweet. Zooey Deschanel alone, makes it worth watching, at least for a geezer like myself. More movies like this, please.