Jeremiah's School of Levitation


Monday, July 31, 2006

yeah, right

So, I go on vacation with the idea that I'll be able to post daily, but, yeah right. I was in a place where the internet is an afterthought, and this old geek learned that SOME PEOPLE go on vacation just so that they can avoid being connected with the outside world. Therefore, a lot of beach establishments don't give a whooping poop about the interweb, therefore, access is limited. If you are a geek like me, that makes you rip your pocket protector from your shirt and wave it in anger at the nearest smiling resort host. Doing that doesn't help you get internet access, by the way.

Anyhow, I return, ready to contribute daily, and I apologize to those who came by and found cobwebs here. I've got my broom out now.

Meanwhile, speaking of internet access, you've gotta see this hilarious little explanation of the net, courtesy of The Daily Show.

See you on the tubes!
Jeremiah, 9:35 AM | link | 2 Hit the roof |

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dispatch from Florida, Part 1

We're vacationing in Florida. No, Did-ney World is not in the plans. I'm visiting the in-laws. Here I'll post my daily findings:

Had frog legs last night, the first time in a year. The interesting thing about frogs legs is that they look just like frogs' legs. You pick one up and you can bend the joints just like they used to bend while they were still on the frog. You can provide minutes of entertainment to the kids by making the frogs legs jump across the plate and then into your mouth. And, yes, they taste like chicken, but like chicken breast more than chicken leg and yet are far more entertaining than chicken legs. I also had a bowl of crawdads, or "mudbugs" with Old Bay spice on them. For you who haven't seen a bowl of crawdads, the word "bugs" is quite appropos. I've heard that crustaceans and insects are not too far apart on the evolutionary chain. To see a bowl of crawdads, a bowl that is larger than my head, that is, makes you believe that you are looking at a gaggle of bugs, should bugs be so inclined to form gaggles.

Speaking of bugs, this is the land of mosquitoes. I have been in the Great Northwest for 14 years and have been bitten by mosquitoes about once a year, on average. Down here, on an hourly basis, I am in danger of being completely consumed by mosquitoes, in convenient bug-bite-sized pieces. And, as learned from my growing up in the South years, I have particularly mosquito-friendly blood. Once I get bitten, the lucky mosquito apparently spreads the news throughout the mosquito community that there is a stepping piece of filet mignon at whatever mosquito coordinates they've figured out, and to begin attack manouvers immediately. Within five minutes, I have more bumps than pores. I tried Off, but I have to take a bath in the stuff for it to be effective because, if I miss so much as a square centimeter of skin, then that's where I get ten thousand bites. I went out and got some citronella candles and that keeps them off, that is, if I surround myself with about a dozen candles and end up looking like I'm performing some sort of satanic poolside ritual.

But there is sun. And, as those from my corner of the world know, sunshine is a massage, a gentle kiss in when you don't expect it, and a lovely gift of heart-warm.

Oh, but there's more...
Jeremiah, 4:19 AM | link | 2 Hit the roof |

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hell Comes to the Great Northwest

Before I get to the poetry word, I need to say something.

We lost our school librarian, a person I've known for five years, to a fucked up crime. She and her daughter went hiking two days ago, in one of the many remote and stunningly beautiful places here in the Great Northwest, to enjoy the grandeur and spectacle of life, and they met up with someone who was out for apparently the opposite reason. This maggot, this person who I would COMPLIMENT by calling a piece of crap, shot her and her daughter to death. No apparent motive. Right on the trail. Right under the sun. I am so goddammned mad that I can barely breathe.

Our librarian was the most positive person I've yet known. I never saw her without a smile on her face. Never. She exuded love. To stand near her was to be re-energized. She genuinely loved the children. She knew, by memory, which book every kid checked out. She didn't just appear in their world every day, she attempted to enrich their world every day. She was the brightest light. She was walking sunshine. If this whole vicious fucking planet had just 100 souls like hers, then there would be no problems.

Her daughter worked for many environmental groups, was an avid activist, and also gave the bulk of her time to growing the spirits of children, teaching them how to love and respect the outdoors. She was her mother's spiritual twin.

How do our children deal with this? How can a pillar of love, support, optimism, and learning be taken like this? How do you explain to your children that, no matter how amazingly good and influential you try to be, this cannibalistic world will still devour you? It's not surprising, really, that these sorts of outrageous things happen. I spend my breath telling my boys that violence is ALWAYS an unacceptable alternative and that society won't tolerate it, and then they turn on the TV or read the paper and they see that the highest authority in our land condones reckless killing. When we've asked that man point blank when we'll end the killing, he shrugs and says that we will not end the killing. We will stay the course, and we will continue the killing.

Welcome to the American legacy.

I choose to remember our librarian, and her daughter, as the fleeting glints that catch our eye as we stroll amongst the shit. At an impromptu memorial at the school last night, many lay flowers at the doorstep, as did I. I also contributed a book to the gifts. I placed a copy of The Giving Tree among the flowers. That's what she was. This world has lost one of its saviours. It isn't fair.

I was going to contribute a poem for the word today, which is "patient." I think all I'll do is use that word to assuage my grief. I must remain patient with this world. I must continue to patiently preach good to my kids, even as the news reports of their beautiful librarian and her daughter being murdered echo in the background. I must stay patient with myself and not go raging through the rest of my life, spitting on the ground and kicking out at nothing. I need to know that the lessons of our librarian's life must have to overshadow the grim lesson of her death. I need a whole fucking lot of patience right now. Because, otherwise, I will scream for days.
Jeremiah, 8:50 AM | link | 4 Hit the roof |

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I Admit, I Used to (Be) Like This

A friend of mine sent me a link to this Journey video from '83 and, once I stopped laughing, it set off a question in my head: With this video, was Journey actually clever enough to create a sharp rock and roll satire piece (a' la Spinal Tap) which sailed over my head back in my twinkly-eyed, my-life-is-for-forever 80's youth, or could it be that they were really this corny?

I asked this question in my humor email group, which is just comprised of a bunch of old college buddies who are now shackled to desks in cold concrete phalluses, but who could, at the cliche-ical drop of a hat, still do tequila shots from shot glasses that were pulled off the holster of some slinky female waitress at a dirty Mexican bar while chanting "Woo! Woo! Woo!" (read: we never really grew up), and they all thought that Journey was actually really ridiculous. One of them said "For Journey to have released satire, one would have to assume that they would have a sense of humor."

For me, I'll admit that Journey's Escape album got me through a prepubescent, "girls hate me and will forever, but Journey understands" summer and that their melodrama had a place. When I look at this video, which I used to like, I shudder at how melodramatic my own self must have been and, it also makes me thankful that there is no video or audio record of my behavior back then. Whew.
Jeremiah, 9:54 AM | link | 9 Hit the roof |

Monday, July 10, 2006

Shaking It Off

Some days, the minor league feelings I deal with fall all over me, and some days, I could take it like a man and stand up straight as you please and walk into nothingness.

The world looks like this most of the time: a bad boy, a bad bad use of my time, a good dog, a rainy Sunday, a slippery slope, a super duper Dagwood Bumstead sub sandwich, and, on a few occasions, a tidal wave. But, that is just philosophy talking. Philosophy talks a whole hell of a lot and has nothing to say. It's all just a ramble and a proclamation that is meant to just serve yourself, or at least make yourself look good amongst ramblers and proclaimers.

I am the waterway, the place of least resistance. Ride my waves, or cut right through them, doesn't matter to me at all. No, not at all. But, seemingly, from above, I look calm, but all that talk about still waters running deep and tumultuous under the gentle ripples is not so true. I don't run any deeper than quiet love, on average. Nope, no deeper than that.
Jeremiah, 2:36 AM | link | 3 Hit the roof |

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Rock

The word that we are to study on was "rock." Here's my bit, in the form of a 15-minute free write.


"They've changed all the rules," said Grandpa, quite suddenly, his face getting screwed up and strange. I gasped.

Grandpa, you understand, don't say so much anymore. He had that thing go wrong in his head four years ago, that stroke, and he pretty much shut up from then on. Used to be he'd talk a hole in a wall, as daddy used to say, but now, he is just a wall, like daddy says now. The old rock of the family is now just really a rock.

We were visiting him, on his farm in Alabama. He had about 8 acres that he used to plow and raise chickens and cows and pigs on, but now, he can't do none of that work, so my dad's brothers have taken over and a couple of his brothers sit on computers in the house all day and don't do much work on the land. The other two brothers have put up trailer homes on the lot, drink a lot of alcohol, entertain dirty women, and sometimes, they do some of the work, but not near as much as Grandpa used to do.

The feel of the air was the same these days, the sun still shining the same as I remember when I was younger, the heat simmering around the dirt and grass, and I can still hear the stream splooshing from down the way, where we used to get our pure spring water, but, these days, things have changed and although the air feels almost the same as before, the feeling on Grandpa's farm seems different now that he can't tend to it. Half the pigs and cows and chickens are dead and eaten up, and the grass gets too big in some places and the vegetables bolt all the time.

And, usually, Grandpa just sits around, watching television, his head tilting to one side or the other, and he won't say a word. Sometimes, when the news shows war pictures, he points at it. He used to be in a war, he told us, long ago, when he could talk. I asked him if he was just pointing at the TV or is he pretending he has a gun and is fighting the Raquis.

He just shook his head and pointed his finger at his own head. So, I was hoping then he was just pretending he was pointing a finger and not the gun.

I always asked him questions knowing that he wouldn't say nothing anyway. And, my little rotten sister Terri always hushed me, saying "Randolph James Note! You know Grandpa got no words left!" And I tell her to shut all the way up because I know that Grandpa is still thinking the words and I tell her that I wished she would have no words left, at least when she came to talk to me.

But, today, when I was alone with Grandpa, me reading and him watching the TV, I asked Grandpa what he thought about them new folks down past the treeline, who moved in yesterday, with their big Hummer truck that was all shiny and black and, like my daddy said, looked like a shit-eating grin on wheels.

And, Grandpa said, "They've changed all the rules!"

"Grandpa!" I said.

Grandpa looked at me, scratched his forehead, and grunted. Then, he looked away.

"Grandpa!" I said, "Say something else!"

He rolled his big, yellowing eyes over to me and grunted again.

I walked up closer to him. I had been reading a Space Cat book, but I'd dropped it already but I didn't even figure I'd dropped it until I stepped on it as I walked to my grandpa.


"Boy," he said, "They've changed the rules of war. We can't be fighting like we used to fight. War ain't what it used to be. Just like me. I just gotta sit here now. I don't want to fight the world no more. The rules have changed on me! God won't let me die, but, I don't think he has no way of controlling how I live. So, I'm gonna sit here and let everything bust up around me. Go get me some water. And, you better not tell anybody I was talking to you. Like they'd believe it anyway." He rubbed my head, then turned to face the TV, and he let his own head tilt to one side again.

After a second, he glanced over to me.

"Boy, you act like you've never heard a rock talk before! Now go get me some water!"
Jeremiah, 7:55 AM | link | 2 Hit the roof |

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Uh Oh, Looks Like A Meteor Hit Jeremiah On His Head

Retuning, rejuicing, and re-creation. That's what I was doing for the last two weeks of non-blogging. Sometimes, the day to day is draining and looking for something to say gets to me sometimes because I always only want to open my mouth, or drain my pen, or punch the letters on my keyboard, if I have something to put forth. Otherwise, I'm just tossing sand into your eyes, just so that you know I'm here.

Blogging is an interesting thing. A way to create significance. Or, as I want to do, illuminate irrelevance, raise it to the level of relevance, as if what I have to say, or write, can change your mind, enlighten your mind, or make you think in unison with me for a moment, even though, in the scheme of things, all I was saying was that the earth spit another plant out of the ground today. Is that a great thing or is it a mundane thing?

Anyway, if I play my guitar long enough, I get introspective and I get into the sound of things and I think that all that matters is how something sounds. If I can scream in agony in a dulcet, comely way, then what I say makes no difference. It's how what I say sounds to you that makes the difference.

I was camping a few days ago and, on one night, a very large gathering of families near our site began singing some Hebrew hymn that involved both children and adults, and it was a beautiful sound that rose into the stars like butterflies of all different sizes and stages of illumination. A couple of hours later, the park ranger came to my site, brandishing his flashlight, speaking in a controlled drawl, and he told us that he runs a tight camp and that if all that singing bothers us, to not hesitate to come tell him and that he would put a stop to it. I took a shot of my beer (which is against the rules) and I got up an walked past him without a word. I went over to the neighboring campsite and asked one of the campers if they were the ones singing. They said they were. I told them what the ranger said and I told them that I wanted to let them know that I don't mind their singing, and that I would never complain, and that, in fact, I love the sound of joy. I told them to sing without any thought of me, and, if they wanted some bad guitar accompaniment, then come and get me, and we'll do a show. The guy grinned and shook my hand, but he had a look on his face that said, "You know, we don't give a shit anyway. We're just gonna sing."

Dang. I can really honestly call myself a writer if I can make sure that everything I write, relevant or not, is just verses of gratitude, however ribald, ridiculous, or righteous, to the fact that we have managed to exist, despite about a trillion failed attempts at life that the universe tried. And, we only have to notice that the moon, only 239,000 miles away, is a big dead rock. We're damn lucky, huh? And, as profound as that is, it is also pretty funny. On earth, we got rock stars to worship. On the moon, you just get rocks worshipping the stars.

Oh well. Summertime makes me buzzed. Must be the allergies. Here's to getting high on the seasons. Shoo bee doo bee doo.
Jeremiah, 2:15 AM | link | 5 Hit the roof |