Every moment holds promise for unexpected productivity, finding the opportunity is the dance.
I am grateful to Maggie LaNoue for providing this website.
I am grateful for the Meloney hospitality that I received during a time of crisis this past spring.
I am grateful to my health insurance for the excellent care they give me.
I am grateful to be here in this residence and to have an automobile.
I am grateful for the support of my friends.
I am grateful for the part time job at the radio station KXXO Mixx 96 FM.
I am grateful to live in a community where I can grow and learn new things.
I am grateful for my own mysterious creative talents and abilities.
I am grateful for history and the lessons available to us by remembering the truth.
I am grateful for all mercy shown to our homeless sisters and brothers, they will teach us how to live without our ordinary comforts.
I am grateful for the off button so that I can turn off the bad news that seems to be increasing constantly.
I am grateful for the ability to create better circumstances every day.
I am grateful for electricity, we must remember that without it we all will have to learn again how to survive the same perils our ancestors did.
I am grateful to my parents for all they left me with and the upbringing to always see the best in the future ahead.
I am grateful that you are reading this now.
Thank you. I wish you peace and prosperity ahead.
Next I hope to find a great job, even better than the past ones, and to be open for romance. I will learn to help others more. I will lift others up in any way I can.
To be an artist usually means that you work all the time and especially when you are dreaming, but you rarely get paid for it.
It all started when we were having trouble getting young Bucky to brush his teeth. He does like candy, and bubble gum is a favorite. So when the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste came out we bought some and it sat around for weeks before we could get Bucky to even try it. He did eventually, and guess what — he liked it!
Did he ever. Soon it was no problem getting him to brush his teeth, and he began to use larger and larger amounts squeezed out onto his toothbrush. We had to watch him and restrain him from piling on way too much. In no time we went through that first tube. So we bought another. We began to suspect that he was brushing his teeth quite a bit after school. We were buying a new huge family-sized two pound tube of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste every time we went shopping. Soon it was a whole gigantic tube each week. Then it was two tubes. We found a place that sells it by the case. He was just wild about the stuff and was brushing his teeth five and six times a day, sometimes he would have an extra snack so he would have to brush his teeth again.
Normally we give him an allowance; if he saves it up he can buy a new video game, or a treat like candy, or whatever he wants to buy. He has an asthma problem, so if he saves up for three weeks he can renew his prescription for an inhaler. His doctor gave us a prescription for an extra strong inhaler so he can breathe at night and when running around playing with his friends. But it’s his money and he has to decide what he does with it, we are very strict. He must learn about managing his own resources.
We decided to try to confront him about his strange alarming enthusiasm for the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste, and sure enough he yelled. After school he would break all the windows in the house and car, as well as all the mirrors in the bathrooms, loudly complaining that he just wanted to brush his teeth so he would not have any more cavities. How could we argue with that logic? Dental health is very important of course.
Anyway, we began to suspect something was going terribly wrong when we found piles of dried up empty squeezed out tubes of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste under his bed. He denied everything and began to keep his door locked all the time. I hear its normal for kids to act that way, so we know he is just going through a phase.
We got a call from the Seven Eleven next to the school, he was not buying candy with his allowance, he was buying more and more tubes of the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste. At this point we were hardly shocked. Right about then a newspaper article came out about a clerk who used to work there but who disappeared one day and was never seen again. Little Bucky just turns red and goes out into the yard whenever we try to talk about it with him. The police were not helpful at all, but they soon stopped coming around so often. They still park out in front most evenings.
Anyway, we just did not know what else to do, and when we tried to talk to him about it he would fly into a rage and demand that we stop bothering him. All he said was that he wanted good teeth and a nice Yummy-bright smile. We would peek at him brushing his teeth and find him sucking it right out of the tube. He would go over to his friend’s houses and have their moms buy tubes of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste, and then secretly suck down whole tubes at a time. We were getting more calls from his friend’s parents. They were alarmed and they wanted us to do something about it, or at least pay them for all the tubes of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste that he gobbled down. Soon they would not allow him to come over to visit any more.
We tried stopping his purchases at the source; we talked to all of the new staff at the Seven Eleven over by his school and told them not to sell him any more tubes of the stuff. At first they were not convinced, but soon they too became concerned about his special appetite. Next he was just stealing boxes of the stuff, walking out with several tubes at a time and taking them to a wooded area where the bigger kids go to smoke after school. After we put our foot down over that he was soon just sucking down whole tubes right there in the store. He really loves the stuff, to this day. Its toothpaste, so what could be the harm in it?
After lots of struggling and much acrimony over the kitchen table day after day, we decided to talk to a professional. We talked to several child therapists and psychologists and they all gave us different explanations of what was going on. We finally found one who told us what we wanted to hear. It was not easy to find this angel. Persistence is rewarded.
Well, to make a long story short, we decided that it was not doing our family any good to be fighting about it all the time. My blood pressure was getting dangerously high and every weekend was ruined by all of the trouble over Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste. All that broken glass was getting expensive but we found a place to buy glass in bulk and I learned to replace it myself. For the bathroom we bought some unbreakable steel mirrors so that problem was easily solved. My wife was constantly sobbing and would lock herself in the bathroom for days at a time. She was on her way to a Nyquil drinking problem and God only knows what else she was doing in there. Something had to be done before little Bucky had one or maybe two dead parents. The neighbors kept calling various social services organizations in the area and we were in and out of court constantly during this time.
For his next birthday we decided to try another approach. His favorite cake is called “confetti”, which is an angel food cake with colorful candy sprinkles all through it. We decided to frost the cake with his favorite flavored sweet goo, Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste, of course. It takes more than one large sized tube for a two layer cake, with extra thick coverage in the middle and on top. Because you can squeeze it directly onto the cake in interesting and decorative patterns, and that makes clean-up so much easier. Have you ever tried to wash a knife with dried Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste on it? Soaking or chipping with a chisel does not help. It takes special solvents that we have to order directly from the toothpaste company, but it’s just easier to throw everything away and buy new cutlery.
The glitter sprinkles really add a nice touch and I bought a special light which really sets off the whole presentation. We are experimenting with different kinds of glitter.
Now we just have large crates of Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste delivered directly to our door in bulk each week, and there is peace in our house once again. It’s a family favorite and we always have a cake or two in the pantry, as well as all the ingredients to make more. His teeth have not actually shown much improvement though. In fact, he has so many cavities that we had to shop around to find a willing dentist who offered us a special deal on a full set of juvenile crowns. When his adult teeth do come in they will be immediately replaced with some kind of new special superior designer artificial teeth that the dentist has been telling us about, paid for by the Yummy Bubble Gum Flavored Toothpaste Customer Service Representatives and the American Orthodontic Products Advisory Board, but that is our little secret and we are not supposed to be talking to anyone about all that. Bucky just got a call today about being in some advertisements for their product; it’s quite a lot of money, more than enough for his special new teeth. They want to send a photographer and put his adorable face on the new label design.
These pictures were taken by me walking around Schuylkill County in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the Halloween season of 2009. These folks have a very special tradition of celebrating the season, each borough has its own parade and they coordinate with each other so during the week of Halloween the kids can go to a parade every night. That is a LOT of candy. Most of the decorations have been on display for generations. Some of the pictures were taken through glass and have strange superimpositions.
PETOSKEY MICHIGAN 1979
The Theater of Transformations, me with Lorraine M. Tong. This photograph by Jan Nagel was taken in the Spectrum Center located in Petoskey, Michigan above the old Food Coop and Mercado restaurant.
Frank Zappa died because he did not get a timely check up. That does not mean I think of me and Frank, it means the world lost Frank Zappa due to this oversight. Some kinds of cancer have no symptoms until it’s too late, and the early stages are usually most successfully treatable. Frank left way too soon. Now you all are stuck with me instead.
Agreeing to do it was probably the hardest part, I did it because of Frank. I did it because the insurance covered it. I did it because I had no conflicts to argue with. I did it to get it over with.
The next hardest part is the preparation. They gave me two pieces of paper, detailing what needed to be done. Acquire specific and inexpensive laxatives and gatorade, no red gatorade no red dye anything and there is fasting so the system is empty and most easily examined. I put some effort into considering the aftermath, what I would do after the procedure, what I would eat after such a long fast, I do not fast often. I decided on yogurt and nuts and berries for my first meal after its over.
Three days out: no more nuts and berries. Certain meds get discontinued. You tend to wonder what is going to happen, but nothing short of cancelling will halt the countdown. I waited and distracted myself. Working is best for that. There are other options, I tried my favorites. Writing. Sleeping perchance to dreaming.
Two days out: dinner tonight will be the last meal I eat. Sounds final doesn’t it. The Last Meal.
One day out: no solid food, instead drink salty broth. The salt causes water retention, that will be handy later in the laxi-fast when things are flooding out. Next comes the beginning of the laxative regiment. Three PM take the two tiny laxative pills. Four PM mix the powder laxative with the gatoraid. Chugalug one of the two bottles.
The morning of the procedure: There Must be a Designated Driver Present. The patient will not be able to drive or navigate reliably after the procedure, so there must be someone to get The Patient safely home. At 7 AM comes the second round of powder laxative and gatoraid. I felt no specific discomfort, but there was lots of talk to read in my instructions about nausea and how to get that gatoraid laced with laxative down the hatch. I rushed it, it was done in 30 minutes, and they allowed two hours. There was no advantage in chugging it in 30 minutes.
Belly feels full, and there is lots of pooping starting shortly after the first laxatives were taken, and it just keeps on going but not in a messy way. I had no close calls because I stayed close to the you know what. They suggest a moist “wipe” rather than paper to ease the skin around the opening. The Opening. The procedure is to send a camera with special tools up through The Opening. I hope it’s a small camera. What about lights?
The doctor needs a clear view, hence the massive laxatives so things will be clean and simple in there. The procedure I experienced started with a long wait in the waiting room after check-in at the desk. I was light headed from the fasting, so I pity my poor driver, I probably chattered like a nervous monkey between long silent staring trances. They called my name and I went with them.
They put me to bed and attached stuff, most notably a needle and tube taped to my arm, try not to think about bumping it or tearing it out, or having it accidentally caught on someone passing by. They added the drug through that portal and I actually remember the whole thing. The doctor introduced herself, she seemed perfect for the role. She was magnificent. I seem to have survived, unless of course all this is just a dream as I now lie there dying.
I watched it all on TV as I lay on my side and they drove the camera and tool pack up the dark wet tunnel. I felt nothing THANK GOD. To get a better view they inflate the entire chamber (the colon) which is painless but does require extensive expulsion for the next twelve hours or so. Who is counting? It’s noisy.
I got home and enjoyed that yogurt with nuts and berries. I listened to Peaches En Regalia. Now I am all weepy, I miss Frank.
UPDATE Mr Zappa died of prostate cancer, not colon cancer, same neighborhood, different house. The lesson remains, get that check-up! Thanks HMV for this correction.
I left Detroit around 3pm on Saturday (the last Saturday of July 2018) after a brief visit with an old friend in Plymouth. Well, he really isn’t old, actually he is younger than me, by about 130 days.
After going over the Mackinaw bridge traffic slowed way down. There was not much time before dark and I will do anything to avoid driving at night these days. This is one of the distinctions of my getting older, which is hardly an excuse.
Looking for a motel on a Saturday night is always tough, but this area has lots and lots of little cheap motels. Pretty much all of them are now closed down and boarded up. I drove on and on into the night.
Until I came to Dreamland. It was perfect (there was a no-show, who for all I knew would be arriving in the wee hours to be turned away, no rooms for 80 miles said the proprietor of Dreamland. I love that name. There never was a peep from the no-show, as it turned out therefore it was all good, I got a room!), and I got my oatmeal at the Dreamland café, where the hummingbirds put on an excellent show of high speed death defying stunts.
Day 2: Michigan to Wisconsin and then deep into Minnesota.
Stayed at a little place in Crookston.
Day 3: Minnesota, North Dakota and into Montana.
Saco is where I landed, the only thing worse than night driving might be driving West at sunset.
Now I am in Libby Montana, home of the ongoing vermiculite disaster. I have always enjoyed visiting this area, nice trails in the forested hills.
Tomorrow, Sandpoint Idaho to visit with my cousin, with whom I spent the summer of 1963 at the home of my Aunt Mary and Uncle Tommy in McComb Mississippi.
From there Home to Olympia, where I will immediately get a job and live happily ever after.
The main thing I accomplished was to close out my storage locker. That was very difficult.