The high five of a cosmic smile

As far as serendipitous involvements are concerned, there are few cooler moments than tuning in to someone’s hum of a song that was busy playing through your head moments earlier. Unfiltered, unfettered and so very fine. As in . . all feng shui with none of the aforethought. That’s how it happened for me yesterday afternoon, after work; as I waited on my pal so’s we could get busy with some much needed java whilst ruminating on the carnival of NFL free agency buzz.

I was busily strutting through the big fat middle of freshly pressed varietals when I passed this kindly looking retiree aged woman who was throwing down on some Gladys Knight. She was wearing an olive green turtleneck sweater and a white beaded necklace and a hat straight out of Carly Simon’s closet- a brown cowgirl hat with figure eight patterned leather hugging its waist.

“Save the Overtime” is what this lady was humming, and I just locked in. It was a metaphysical evaluation, gone to the solid quick of my way back in time preferences. And by the time it was too late to turn back, I was already digging in.

“Gladys Knight.” I said.

“What?”

“You’re humming Gladys Knight.”

“Yes.”

“Save the Overtime For Me.”

“Yes!” She smiled.

“Love it.”

There’s a definite restorative quality to such a simple thing as this. And especially so when the song in question wasn’t plucked off the FM dial. And it wasn’t fiddling off the roof of this Starbucks coffee bar. And it sure as hell wasn’t something easily found on the A side of an album’s 9-5. Nope. This was solid gold, half court prayer, power ball chance. It was solid? Meeting gold. Yeah it was.

So from there, I had to share something, anything.

“I saw her in Vegas back in 2005.” I said.

“Oh, I’ve seen her live . . like everywhere. It’s my church time.” She giggled. And she pulled this amazing fucking laugh all the way from the ’70’s, and the smile that lit her face in the doing left my skin bristling with the kind of harmony that is far too brilliant for a price tag.

“Thats . . . some crazy stuff right there.”

“Yes!” She laughed. A laugh so resonant that it will reside in my noggin for a spell. And I thought to myself that I might remember this particular occurrence that long, and longer. To the benefit of absolutely no one but me and this wonderful lady dressed in Gloria Steinem. It was a mighty fine place to find myself in the middle of a Thursday afternoon.

“Thank you.” I said.

“Oh, honey . . that was fun.”

A few moments worth of magical trespass, sent straight from the cosmos and delivered right to the tip of my nose- betwixt my moon risen eyes and my slack lower lip that was too busy chewing on the some kind of wonderful to worry about manners.

It was found money. No, fuck that. It was so much better than found money, because with found money you’re just gonna end up blowing it on stupid shit because . . . it’s found money. This moment was more similar in nature to found bacon (the gold standard of delicious occurrences). Found bacon . . attached to a humongous breakfast spread . . . no, wait . . brunch. On Sunday. With Bobby Flay at the wheel and candles spiraling in perfumed agony, with the moon’s silhouette going all last chance opera. And, of course, with Gladys Knight peeling away the innocence of a vinyl wrapped prayer.

My pal arrived and I shared the story with him, and then we were making Darth Vader jokes and then he was trying to convince me to go see the movie Logan sometime and then everything else got lost again. Gone to the hard burn of a still happening day. But not forgotten so easily, or at all.

I’m still smiling.

(This just felt like the musical spill to hop on. Because this is what drove me home, and it’s got a supernatural fix on me currently. Yes, I’m that easy.)

 

 

Making America Grate Again

I can’t bring myself to do a Trump blog post.

Because it would need to have a satirical payoff (for me), and I just can’t replicate the humor that happens on a weekly, daily and even hourly basis with this guy. I stopped reading opinion pieces on the new President, simply because they all read basically the same way- regardless of political affiliation. The piece begins hopefully enough, before caving in on itself with self inflicted parody.

The entire spectrum has become infected with this disease and unfortunately, Mark Twain isn’t walking through that door.

You have the Fatherland brigade who believe that everything the man does is mandated by a higher power (Who, I can only assume would bear a remarkable resemblance to the love child of Ronald Reagan and Charlton Heston). These peeps believe the sins of progress that forged a new age must be erased. If they had their way, contemporary American history would become a Mandela Effect punchline. Then there’s the other side, the Rise Up battalion. Their hearts are in the right place, but their angst is obvious and predictable stuff. They’re incredulous about the fact that a reality show star with a bumper sticker inspired catchphrase is President. And man . . . do I relate. But it’s why I believe all this sturm and drang they’re putting into angry placards now would’ve been much better served in the lead up to November.

Beyond all that chatter, there exists one very simple truth for me. As much as I love to satirize shit, I just can’t find an opening with Trump. Because you can’t satirize satire.

So I breathed a sigh of relief when Alec Baldwin announced he was hanging up his Trump suit in those SNL sketches. Because those sketches, they never really worked. All I saw was a really bad Gene Rayburn impersonation (which is redundant), a really bad wig, and a really bad marriage of two arrogant personalities who’ve proven quite adept at calling women pigs. There was a satirical quality to Baldwin playing the starring role, even if I’m pretty certain the writers weren’t aware of it.

I’m thinking AB should have been spending less time beating up on paparazzi and more time watching film last summer, because this young man? Nailed it. Ya think SNL has a scouting department?

Going green with my Word of the Day

Nyquillian- The chill feeling that takes hold of your body after you visit the great state of Euphoria (City Limits-None). This feeling is achieved with little more (a little, just a little) than the recommended dose of NyQuil Nighttime Relief in the friendly green bottle. It is heightened exponentially when you administer said groovy at the beginning of your day . . . because you were half asleep . . and you thought it was Day Time Relief . . and the shit worked so well that you didn’t think to check until you were showered and dressed. But then you started wondering what in the hell was up with the live feed of John Malkovich’s mind that was running through your brain . . .

I wasn’t about to stay home just because I’d taken the green bottle and was busy hurtling down the rabbit hole and into the creepy, weepy arms of a Nick Waterhouse song. I mean, he was actually in my living room, and he was strumming his guitar whilst pulling Sleeping Pills from his bag of tricks, making my knees weak in the doing. Or maybe it was the NyQuil talking. Imma go with both.

I was fine to go to work, seeing as how the warning label on the bottle was telling me not to drive, operate heavy machinery or do anything else that could be dangerous until I knew how I was going to react to it. And I figured since Nick Waterhouse was working his magic in my living room, my reaction to the shit was nothing short of amazing. All the same, I did my due diligence. I forced myself to read most of the label, figuring if that didn’t put me to sleep I was good to go. I wasn’t going to take any unnecessary chances, seeing as how a DUI rap involving cold meds will fetch you plenty of attention in prison. And they don’t even bother dropping the soap, because why should they?

With Nick Waterhouse having split the scene, I splashed my face with cold water and grabbed my travel mug and then I walked up and down the driveway while my car seats warmed up. I was feeling comfortable, without the numb. Shaken without the slurred. All the mellow, none of the harsh.

Under the weather? You better believe it.

 

Tuesday Anything Possible – Announcing the Re-Launch of My GRL By John W. Howell #RRBC #ASMSG

If you came here to read up on my latest rant about absolutely nothing at all, have I got a treat for you. You ain’t getting one! Instead, I’m proud to announce John W. Howell’s relaunch day! He’s a mensch. AND a Sheriff. And a mighty fine writer to boot. The man’s a triple threat. Celebrate with him.

Fiction Favorites

Announcing the re-launch of My GRL

My GRL

The cover is new and the book edited once again to enhance the experience. What is really nice is the price has been cut for the introduction. You can buy the kindle version for a special introduction price of

$0.99

Here’s the blurb.

John J. Cannon successful San Francisco lawyer takes a well-deserved leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. He is unaware that his newly purchased boat had already been targeted by a terrorist group. John’s first inkling of a problem is when he wakes up in the hospital where he learns he was found unconscious next to the dead body of the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now stands between the terrorists and the success of their mission. Amazon for the kindle version

Here is the link to Amazon…

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Wherever you go, you’re there

I had one item on my to-do list this morning and it was simpler than Forrest Gump’s diary. Sleep in. That was it. It’s the kind of thing many government agencies do on a daily basis. Walmart employees get promoted for it. And let’s not forget Tyler Perry’s writers . . . those peeps make a killing.

So of fucking course I was up at four thirty in the morning. Epic? Meet fail. I mean, I was more amped than John Belushi playing a game of cocaine chicken. In lieu of tossing and turning, I got up and began practicing my Tang Soo Do moves to Rob Zombie songs. Because nothing says Sunday morning like chowing down on some piping hot Zombie and tricking out back hand strikes. Hey, if you’re gonna fail? Fail hard.

An hour and a half of that later, I felt the words coming on strong. My neurons started going mad Lincoln on me, and from there the shit just got real and plentiful. So I proceeded to spill my thoughts into the keyboard with words once foreign but now quite close to being found. See, I can’t think too much on ideas that pop into my head or it can send me into a panic (without the disco).

I once had a panic attack while constructing ideas in my head, and before I could fetch a plot for the damn thing, I reached for the old Ctrl-Alt-Del in order to keep myself vertical. I can jot ideas down, sure. But I use a short leash for the ideas that come to me, lest they pick up steam and become a rolling thunder which only serves to piss off my finicky brain. This affliction/curse/blessing has taught me one thing. Ideas are nothing.

While this would seem to run counter to what a writer is taught to believe, lemme ‘splain. An idea, all by itself, is a simple part of a larger construct; on its own, it possesses little value. It’s the piecing together, the advancement of ideas into a mosaic that makes for the bloom. You can’t beat yourself up over losing an idea that was floating around inside your head, because those ideas are like kittens . . there are always more of the little critters, and they have sharp claws. It’s helpful to remember that they will find you, not the other way around.

I got to gift wrapping these ideas once I had a blank canvas to paint, because that’s what I consider myself- a glorified gift wrapper, dressing ideas into nice looking words. And so I wrapped, turning smoke into fire, after which I thought to myself . . . Yanno what self? This would be a fun post. And to which I replied, Self  . . . you’re a bloody fucking genius! . . . And from there we just went back and forth debating who exactly was self and who was the other dude. It got very metaphysical and much coffee was needed since I happen to be plum out of Oxycodone and my supplier is pricing real estate in South America in a futile attempt to stay ahead of Trump’s next big idea.

This morning’s inspiration was rocked into being with some marshaled arts and the book of Rob (Zombie).

Glorious thing.

George Bernard Shaw’s Opine, a Split Decision and The Middle

George Bernard Shaw once wrote that youth is wasted on the young.

No. Shit.

It’s not their fault, really. Most of us did the very same thing and acted the very same way once upon a time. Personally, I’m quite impressed with most of the young people I come across. I dig their angst, the cool economy of their ever changing lexicon and most of all . . their smart phone cases. So I’m willing to give them a hall pass on their whiny bitching about early mornings and their curious addiction to those Godawful energy drinks.

The cynicism of a young person is a mostly fabricated tempest seeing as how they do not yet possess the jaded inlay which provides the fuel that stokes the fire that makes for a legitimately pissed off human being- otherwise known as middle age. Put another way; if your wick is still smooth and waxy then you best acquaint yourself with old George’s opine. And quit your bitching.

I spend half my time around people who are much younger than me and I spend the other half of my time around people who pay very close attention to any and all bright lights. As the middle man in this spectrum, I can say with all honesty that bitching transcends a birth certificate. Young people bitch about having to wake up early, while old people bitch about having to be thankful for such a thing.

Alright, this feels like the middle of my post (pun intended) so here’s my movie review. If you have an issue with the totally unprofessional nature of this review, contact Sean Spicer.

Cayman’s Review on Split: 

To those peeps who say M. Night is back, I say the dude never left. Listen, there is a ton of lazy writing out there that gets rewarded with big box office numbers. Any criticism of Shyamalan for his less than stellar performances at the ticket window since his big winner Sixth Sense ignores the ambitious quality of his works. I’m a huge fan who was quick to forgive Lady in the Water, because I know one thing. The dude can write stories. When he comes out to play, it’s gonna be fantastic, be it The Village or The Visit. Both. The former was unfairly panned and the latter put M. back in the good graces of the mainstream movie going public, but rest assured that his fans never left.

Split isn’t about a big twist ending, but man does it have the fingerprints of Hitchcock everywhere you look. See, there’s this guy named Kevin who is playing host to twenty three different people. And oh by the way, they’re inside of him. Hell, I haven’t seen this many people inside one person since Jenna Jamison was still, ahem . . doing movies. James McAvoy as Kevin is, in a word . . . fucking brilliant. I know, that’s two words. And believe me when I tell you he deserves the double down praise. He moves from one person, place and crazy thing to the next at a furious yet diabolically methodical pace. I’m pretty certain his teenage captives (played by Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula and Anya Taylor-Joy) weren’t acting. They seriously were scared shit. I didn’t prepare any sneak treats for this one. The story was the thing.

Anyways . . . being in the middle of these two crazy sides of the same full moon makes me realize how lucky I am to have such a vantage point. I have arrived at a glorious age. On the one hand, I feel much younger than I am (most days), and yet? I can still bitch about, basically . . anything, and it’s expected!

Like, a couple weeks ago I got into a conversation about running with a young (punk) co-worker. I told him about a three mile run I had taken. It was a beautiful run to which I didn’t possess a time stamp because I’m all about the Zen involvement (i.e.-I run slowly, okay?), and I was painting the kind of picture LeRoy Neiman used to rally the guts out of a paintbrush to. And then he proceeded to tell me that he ran a six minute mile the day before. So I ended the conversation with a simple Fuck You. I really did. And he was plenty alright with it . . . downright happy about it, in fact.

Conversely, I found myself in negotiations with a fellow recently who was born in the year of the stock market crash, which resulted in the great depression. It was really kind of frustrating because I had a million Zoloft jokes at the ready and nowhere to go with them.

So this cranky as all get out character gets to talking up this positively righteous piece of furniture. An antique oak chest of drawers, complete with beveled mirror and curlicue accented spins and dovetail work, which is the signature of a craftsman who knew his shit. The old bastard wanted more than I was willing to pay, but he knew I wanted the piece so he was aiming high. What he didn’t know was that I had a buyer in mind who happened to be younger than his entire wardrobe.

You don’t always have to buy low to win the day. And I ended up winning this one, while at the same time making both sides happy. Young. And old. It’s why the middle is a pretty cool place to find myself in. Because I no longer have to be the fastest, and I don’t yet have to drive the hardest bargain. I can be practical with my magic and still come out smiling.

I’d like to think old George would approve.

Sunday Morning Coffee Love (Evening Edition)

I miss church.

Okay, I’m just kidding. But I do miss the softball games that would happen their way into being once the sun came out to play and sneakers replaced galoshes. Once I started lapsing, I always made my way back to church for the spring and summer seasons. The terms of my short term, condition laden contract make me think the pastor was trying to tell me something, because I oftentimes ended up manning the hot corner.

This morning felt like a softball game had come calling. The sun was a classic rock song and the wind was an agreeable push of positive thinking and the air was busy collapsing under aromatic slivers of lavender and grass looking to escape the clutches of its too long prison time. The panorama was a fleeting weep of a Van Gogh spill gone mad to the dark corners.

And it was just an idea- best served on mornings such as this particular one- that got better and smarter with each passing moment. The idea became a run, and it quickly morphed into Zen. The time went still, the movements fluid and easy; fat with the peace of mind a spring day can present . . . even right smack dab in the middle of winter. It was the kind of feeling that helped bring a word like sublime to term.

Church? Yeah, it was in session alright.