Tuesday, November 21, 2017

THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH



Even in the sexually repressed era of 1960-1966, with Rob and Laura sleeping in separate beds, I was quite aware of Marilyn Monroe.
In the first grade, I didn’t know what sex was, but I knew there was something there that I was SUPPOSED to like. It went on between men and women, and I was supposed to like it a lot. Even at the age of eight I had some awareness of what "The Seven Year Itch" was about. There were several movie titles that set my imagination running wild.
All you really had to do was watch one Elvis movie.

Like these famous guys getting caught these days, there are probably a few girls, even dating back to about the fifth grade, that would tell you stories about me that I would find embarrassing. 
What stories? Well, lets see.

In the fifth grade there was  playground game we played for a day or two.  A bunch of us guys chased a couple of the girls and eventually cornered two by the fence. Everyone was pawing at them. Somehow I managed to get my hand up a skirt, if only briefly. After recess, I was invited to the principals office and quizzed about this episode. Like President Trump I denied any wrong doing and it was my word against hers. maybe all the guys got invited, I don't quite remember. It seemed like harmless fun back then. 
How terrifying this must have been for those girls.

I was 23 and had just broke up with a girl I went with for two years.
To put it plain, I nearly fucked a 16 year old.
One summer night I was standing in my driveway, smoking a cigarette, forlorn over my lost love. Two young girls wearing skinny little halters, and them cut off britches came walking by the house. They stopped and talked a bit. 
The next night they came by again. 
About the third for fourth night (like clockwork I was hanging out hoping they would) just one came by. Next thing I knew we were in my bed and I was just about to stick her. Another half inch would have been past the point of no return. I stopped. Got her dressed and out of there. Didn't hang out in the driveway after dark. You don’t have to be a predator to get your ass in a sling. 
I pretty well have that episode blocked from my memory mostly. 
It takes a lot to shake it loose.
Judge Roy Moore, he shakes it loose.
His accuser says he had her down to bra and panties. I believe her. Its not that hard to do. And just like me, I bet he got to just about there and thought "What the fuck are you doing, Steve" and let her pass.

I guess if I was running for senator, I'd have a hard time admitting to it if this young lady were to suddenly surface.
Shit, would I even consider putting this on Facebook?
I think probably not.
Not at this time.


Friday, November 17, 2017

THE FITBIT



My doctor threatened me last month with some kind of diet.
All I really heard was “Protein Bars”.
I said “Give me a month Doc, I’ll lose some weight. I’ll get the amount of my diabetes medicine I take down some”.
I bought $100 pair of shoes. I was invested.
But I hate walking.
After a month I’d lost two pounds. That’s not much on a 280 pound guy.

“How’d you do?” he asked.
“Two pounds Doc, but I reduced my medicine by 15%”
He laughed.
“You need to get a Fitbit”
“Will that help?”
“Yes, 10,000 steps a day” he says.

What we are doing is avoiding the elephant in the room. The protein bars, the diet.

I break the ice.
“What about that diet thing with the candy bars?” I say.
“Protein bars.” He laughs and looks at me. “If you aren’t into it, it won’t work”
I say “Doc, I like good food. I cook a lot and eat real well. No junk food, REAL food and lots of it”
He says “If you like to cook, this diets for you. Its real food, with the protein bars supplement. No junk food”
I think about it a minute.
“I just have one question Doc. Will I be able to still have my pancakes with real maple syrup on Saturday and Sunday? Its kind of a tradition.”
You should have seen his face.
“Steve, I want you to go get a Fit bit and start waking 10,000 steps a day”



Next time I go in I'll have to tell him about "The Bulletholes Ten". Its a ten minute loop around my apartment. If I'm feeling frisky, I'll do two laps.
I always think about my nephew Dave, and what it takes to do one of these ultras he runs. An Ultra is an 80 mile jog over mountains and rivers and stuff, and you have like 24 hours to do it. I wonder how long it will take me to achieve the mindset of the ultra runner.
I had told Dave about "The Bulletholes Ten" last month. I said "The great thing about "The Ten" is that if I decide I need to bail, I'm never more than 10 minutes from home".
Dave looked at me, pitifully.
"You mean five. You are never more than five minutes from home" he said.
I paused a moment, quickly reviewed my calculations, rocked back on my heels a bit and grinned.
"Right, Dave my boy! Only five minutes from home!"
Dave is not just a great Ultra runner. He's a damn fine mathematician as well.

Monday, November 13, 2017

I MIGHT NOT SAY NO



I’ve had girls make unwanted sexual advances to me. Some fairly flagrant, even after being told no. Like maybe I’ll change my mind. I’ve used the same tactic. Its very uncomfortable, especially when they look like Harvey Weinstein.
Why can’t it ever be Scarlett Johansson?

Monday, November 06, 2017

"I promised the good Lord not to dig no coal" Blind Willie McTell


WAYNESBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - When Mike Sylvester entered a career training center earlier this year in southwestern Pennsylvania, he found more than one hundred federally funded courses covering everything from computer programming to nursing.
He settled instead on something familiar: a coal mining course.
”I think there is a coal comeback,” said the 33-year-old son of a miner."



“The Stone Age didn’t end from a lack of stone. And the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil.”
Some kid on a skateboard at the Mall

Sunday, November 05, 2017

FATE



"Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?"

~from New And Selected Poems
by Mary Oliver

Statue~ "Fate", by Hugo Lederer
Ohlmsdorf Cemetary, Hamburg Germany

Friday, November 03, 2017

A WITCH HUNT


1. George P. is a 29 year old man who joins the Trump campaign as a foreign policy advisor, cultivates Russian contacts in order to get dirt on Hillary Clinton and to secure a meeting between Putin and Trump, then lies to the FBI saying he did all this before joining the Trump Campaign. When charged, George pleads guilty. Is this:
A. A witch hunt
B. A fair accusation.

2. In the year 1693 in Salem Village, Sarah Good is a woman living in poverty and disliked by the townspeople. A jury of men decide that she was a witch after forcing her to confess that she signed her name in the “Devil’s book,” a thing that does not exist. She is hanged several days after giving birth to a daughter. Is this:
A. A witch hunt
B. A fair accusation

3. Paul M. is Donald Trumps Campaign Manager. Paul holds fake passports and accounts, funnels money from shady Russians with ties to Putin and has it laundered offshore. Paul uses his hidden overseas wealth to buy property and avoid taxes, then secures loans on fraudulent loan applications and uses the money for purposes other than stated on the applications. While investigating these transgressions it was found that Paul knowingly and willfully made false and misleading statements regarding his work for the Ukrainians.
A. A witch hunt
B. A fair accusation

4. Sarah Osborne doesn’t go to church like the townspeople of Salem expect her to. Because of this, a group of men decide she is a witch and is accused of using dark magic to pinch several young girls in town with invisible knitting needles. They arrest her, put her in prison, where she dies. Is this:
A. A witch hunt
B. A fair accusation

5. Under the direction of Vladmir Putin, Russia creates 200,000 Facebook and Twitter accounts and floats a campaign of disinformation and fake news designed to manipulate the 2016 Election. These posts, ranging from reports of Hillary’s declining health to the idea she had given up Top Secret Nuclear Launch preparedness times, spread like wildfire on the pages of the more easily duped participants on Social Media. Easily debunked, yet picked up by Right Wing news organizations, hundreds of Russian sponsored fake news stories were then used by Donald Trump in speech after speech. Its hard to tell if he is plain stupid, a savvy ruthless unscrupulous opportunistic blowhard, or in bed with Putin. This is:
A. A witch hunt
B. A fair accusation

6. Tituba is a woman from Barbados, but is now enslaved by white people in the town of Salem. She continues to practice her religion, which the people of Salem don’t understand. They assume it means she is a witch and beat her until she confesses and rambles about black dogs and riding on sticks, then imprison her, despite no evidence that witches actually exist. Is this:
A. A witch hunt
B. A fair accusation

Inspired by and partly stolen from McSweeny’s.

And much thanks to Arthur Miller

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

OLD FLAME

A restaurant I used to work at 40 years ago had a reunion. It got me to reminiscing about my old girlfriend Kristi. I hadn’t talked to her since 1982 or so. We went together for about a year and a half.
So I thought I’d look her up, see where she is. I found a likely candidate, way out in Santa Monica. That’s where she was from originally. And it seems she is a Doctor of Psychology, which also made sense.
Kristi had wanted to be a Doctor.

Her Website had a message center, where you could set up an appointment by message, and a phone number, and also a picture of Dr. Kristi, which was a dead ringer for her in my opinion.

It took a few hours to screw up my courage and send her a message. I cant recall exactly what I wrote. And the pity is --what tortures me is—that after sending the message you have no copy of whatever idiot thing you might have written!
Agghhh! What have I done?

A day went by. No return message. Did I give her my correct email? A week went by. How dumb was that message I sent. Then two weeks gone; she must hate my guts, even after all these years. But on the sliding scale of breakups it wasn’t nasty, it wasn’t dramatic, it probably fell somewhere between the thrill is gone and disappointment.

So I wondered should I inflict myself on her further by calling? Perhaps when I sent the message, I messed up on my return  email address.
And then the dreams started…

I was sitting at a bus station, phone in hand. I called and left a message. A few minutes later a woman is walking by me. Its Kristi! Wearing the cranberry floweredy knee length skirt she used to wear
I said “Kristi” and she turned and looked, but didn’t notice me and turned away.
"Kristi!" again, and she turns, and turns away again.
So I said “Kristi! “ a third time, and she turned and this time she saw me.
She came over where I was and started explaining that she didn’t want me to try to contact her any more.
“Hi Steve! I got your message at the office. And I saw you called a while ago” she said and smiled “but you shouldn’t call again”


She wasn’t rude, she wasn’t mad, she was just…Kristi.
Her voice was perfect, her mannerism’s, just like Kristi.
Kristi was really cool, California cool and laid back. I never saw her mad, but she was excitable in a happy kind of way, and really really mature for her age. Somehow after all these years I still remember her birthday as being March 16, 1961.

You would think a dream like that would prevent you from calling, right? Not me baby. In for a dime, in for a dollar. I came this far so what the hell…
It went to a recorder. “Dr. Kristi cannot take your call right now but if you leave your name a number we’ll be glad to get right back with you….BEEP” and so I left my message.
Unlike my written message (from what I recall) I kept it shorter and sweeter. A keyboard is a dangerous thing in my hands. God only knows how creative I got. How charmingly idiotic I might have tried to be.

Its been a month or so. I guess that would be the end of it. Of all my girlfriends in the past, there is only her and one other that is not still a friend that I see and talk with from time to time.
~But I did have one more dream.

I was cooking for Kristi. A pasta dish, glasses of wine poured, flowers on the counter, silverware and china on the table. She was Kristi from 1981, 20 years old. I was Steve of present day, 60 years old. But she didn’t seem to notice. As we were talking I wanted to reveal to her that I wasn’t present day Steve, that I had come from a dream, I had come from a future, and started to speak.
“You are going to have a great life. You’ll meet lots of men. You’ll stop playing with frogs, except in school. You’ll give up golf, and tour the Alps. You’ll trade fishing from my piece of shit boat for scuba tanks and Cozumel. You’ll go to France. You’ll study hard. You’ll be a doctor.”
“How do you know all this?” she asked.
And I knew better. I knew I’d gone as far as you can go in a dream. I knew I wasn’t supposed to say, not in a dream, but I couldn’t help it. I looked deep, deep into her eyes, then down at the ground.
“Because I’m not really here, Kristi. I’m just visiting in a dream” and I looked back up to her…
And she was gone.
Just me, the steam from the pasta, and the Cabernet.

Two Thngs
Never revael that its a dream to some one you are dreaming of, and not all who are lost want to be found.



I never realized how much Kristi looked like Catherine Deneuve until I found this picture of Deneuve.
And here is Kristi with me as scarecrow, Halloween, 1981

Monday, October 23, 2017

THE PLEDGE DRIVE

Every year I’ll be watching something on PBS and it will hit me. I’ll make the call. Time to support Public Television. Its not out of a sense of duty. Its always because I’m moved by what I am watching. And every year when I make the call I always end up with a lump in my throat. Two years ago the gift was Louis Gates “Many Rivers to Cross” the story of black history in America. It was an 80 dollar donation. With a cracking voice I asked the lady if we could just go ahead and make it an even $120. “Are you OK?” she asked. “Yeah, I’m fine “ I said, but I had tears streaming down my face. Last year the offer was Ken Burns “Baseball” “Jazz” and “The Civil War” for a $240 donation. It was during a commemoration piece on the 25th Anniversary of Burns heroic Civil War series. I pick up the phone. They answer. What is wrong with me? I can barely say it, I’m so choked up with emotion. “I-I-I’d like t-t-to pled-pledge t-t-wohunderedandf-f-forty…..dollars, for the K-K-Ken Burns package” Whew, I managed to get through that. ‘Thank you Mr. Renfro, that’s wonderful” And that’s all it took. The floodgates opened. Now I’m bawling, and tell the lady: ‘It j-j-just means s-s-s-o m-m-m-uch to me” I can barely get it out. ‘That’s OK” she says. “Does this ever happen to anyone else calling in? Where they end up crying on the phone?” “No Mr. Renfro, I don’t think so. But I’ve only been doing this a week” “Well that makes me feel better” There must be something wrong with me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE U.N.

"Right now we're living in what Carl Sagan correctly termed a demon-haunted world. We have created a Star Wars civilization but we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. That's dangerous."
- E. O. Wilson


Image~President Donald Trump mocks and threatens North Korea during speech at UN General Assembly while Secretary of State listens intently.

Friday, October 13, 2017

FOUR ARRESTED IN EMPATHY TENT RUCKUS


“If you look at them, it’s ridiculous,” Sgt. Marquis told the Los Angeles Times. “You’ve got a guy with purple hair with a fucking lightsaber talking about Hitler to a guy dressed in a banana suit. Then someone takes a knee, allegedly just to tie their shoe and all hell breaks loose. It’s hard for me to take any of this seriously but I'm sworn to protect the peace and dignity of the community.”
Good luck, Sgt. Marquis