I’m a Neat Freak!: Real Neat Blog Award

Didi Oviatt recently nominated me for The Real Neat Blog Award, and I am honored to accept. Because it means I’m real and I’m neat, which are two very fine qualities to be in possession of.

As for Didi Oviatt, she’s a blogger with plenty of boom. She writes, she reviews and she presses the virtual flesh with bloggers from all around the world and back again. She does all this with a charismatic flair that has her readers begging for more. To which she always provides.

Thank you so very kindly, Ms. Oviatt, for the award; for taking the time. Both.

Now, as per the rules of my award . . I got a few questions to answer:

1. If your voice could sound like any artist, who would you want it to sound like?- This was a really difficult one, but I would have to say Mariah Carey. Reason being, I love singing her tunes in the car but I know I ain’t doing her justice. I want justice for Mariah.

2. What is your favorite recipe?- This is another really difficult one but if I HAVE to choose I am going to go with a lamb roast. For one thing, it allows me to play with some of my favorite ingredients such as garlic, thyme, rosemary and dijon. And for another, it’s a simple dish that feels elegant and I like that. I refer to it as provincial simplicity.

3. Do you have a favorite genre to read?- No. I don’t. Historical fiction . . . Maybe. But no, I really don’t. An example? Why not. I just finished reading Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. Before that it was Shutter Island . . Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden and The Prophet (For the thousandth time . . I think). And I am currently engrossed in The Alchemist. 

4. What is your favorite movie?- Of all time? The Godfather. There are so many life lessons to be culled from this masterpiece. I could have gone with Godfather 2 because it’s probably a better movie, but my favorite will always be the original. Interestingly, my least favorite movie is Godfather 3. 

5. What did you do today to improve your future self?- Today? I didn’t murder the asshole who cut me off on the way to breakfast with my kids. Hey, it means I don’t have to get used to wearing an orange jumpsuit and catching up on my smoking habit whilst guarding my ass as if it were the Mona Lisa. Yesterday was a bit more constructive, because I spent some time with pit bulls. As far as God’s creatures go, they are severely misunderstood. I was hand feeding a pit bull yesterday, who only a couple weeks earlier was unapproachable and had been designated as “Staff Only”. As a volunteer, I still can’t walk Maximus, but thanks to some wonderful people who’ve been working with him, I learned the color of his beautiful eyes- hazel with a touch of vermilion. And now he doesn’t bark at me, and now he doesn’t charge. Now, we just sit together. These people reached him with patience and love and understanding, and I became the lucky recipient of their dedication. It is in these small victories where I find God.

As to who I nominate for the Neat Blogger Award?

Every single blogger who visits this place. I know, it’s not exactly in keeping with the rules, but I won’t choose. Because I am thankful for each and every one of you. To take the time from your busy day to venture over here, it’s more appreciated than you know. You make this blog what it is- a neat place to come to. Without you . . . there’s no Cayman Thorn.

To peace and love, and to you.

 

 

 

When you come to the fork in the road? Eat.

As most of you who read this outpost of a blog are well aware, I do so enjoy being an envoy for the absurdities that define our doomed existence. I dabble in all manner of trouble. So you don’t have to.

And . . . you’re welcome.

So it was that this afternoon, I was having a legit conversation as per my latest storytelling idea with a dude who used to do Summer Stock, all over the map. Richard is sixty-ish, semi-retired and he lives in a condo. He’s also fairly ambivalent when it comes to his live-in girlfriend. The dude is loose threads in the cosmic sense, but he’s why I love actors. Because they jump first and ask the more pertinent questions later on.

“I’m going with my undertow story.” I say.

It takes a few moments for words to catch up with what’s left of his cerebral cortex- which no doubt resembles a taco stand. But when he finally gets around to collating, it’s Climax Blues Band on methamphetamine sprinkled chalupas. Which means, it’s delicious sounding shit.

“Oh shit yeah that’s a funny story! The waving? Priceless. You have to go with that one. Shit yeah!”

If I had a dollar for every time Richard says “Shit, yeah.”, I would own the New York Yankees, have PSL’s to Golden State Warriors games and Oprah would be on speed dial. Richard may speak in clipped appraisals, but when he throws a Hallelujah at you, it’s as if you just watched Jesus in a fist fight.

From there, I go long form with him. I spill a few loose thought ideas so’s he can reduce the elements whilst identifying the cutting room floor material. Dude has a sixth sense about these things. He’s a modern day proverb dressed in stage lights. I love the systemic advancement he uses in order to shelter the wild nature of feral thoughts.

The moments are so very elegant and purposed, and then Sesame Street goes drive by on my ass.

“What are you talking about?”

It’s Danielle. She’s all of twenty one and her interests include Instagram, breaking up with boyfriends, Snap-chat, breaking up with boyfriends and Taco Bell. I’m sure there’s more where that came from, but really . . that’s enough.

“My story.”

“For what?”

“Story Slam.”

“Oh my Gawd! Your video was soooo funny. Is that like stand up?”

I explain to her what storytelling is all about as if I was a human GIF, because that’s the language she speaks. While I’m attempting to send her on her way, she asks if I heard the news about Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington.

“Yes, he committed suicide.”

Richard chimes in with, “Strange day, Chester Bennington hangs himself and O.J. Simpson gets cut loose.” The man has a chime to his rhyme, tell you what.

“Who’s O.J.?” Danielle asks.

Not that long ago, this was a two syllable trivial pursuit question with one hell of a racial slip-switch. (Not that long ago? Meet a million years ago. And even though the two of you have absolutely nothing in common, go have sex. And make babies that ask questions like this.)

“Simpson.” I replied. “O.J. Simpson.”

Her hesitation was a notarized reminder of how quickly time flies. And it signaled my removal from this Bermuda Triangle of crimes and misdemeanors. Hey man, I can run five miles on a ninety five degree afternoon, but I just don’t have the patience for this. It’s fucking exhausting.

“Go with that undertow story, Marc.” Richard winked.

The universe came calling, and it was dressed in a ponytail with yellow colored shades and a forever sounding reminisce of big mistakes dressed in fine solutions.

I winked back.

The aFrank Angle Challenge- Day Late/Dollar Short Edition!

Okay, so Frank over at aFrank Angle gave his readers a challenge.  Or in WordPress parlance (?) a ‘prompt’. He supplied an image, which I have included below and he asked his readers to create a fictional piece out of it. In 150 words or less.

Truthfully, I haven’t done a ‘prompt’ in ages. But hey, if our President can settle the country’s business in 150 characters or less, I think I can handle a fiction challenge.

I realize this entry will not be considered by the Academy due to the late nature of its submission. Ironic that I’m calling it a ‘prompt’, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

            Footprints in the Sand – by Cayman Thorn

Taylor’s feet scalloped the minute shards of ocean glass into small indentations whose evidence was being stolen with each musical sway of the tides. His roam transformed inside the short walk- from confusion to recognition, and finally to a seething rage.

He dropped to his knees at the sight of the oxidized wreckage whose spires fought the darkness but whose symbolism had long since been stolen away in the name of a manifest power whose intention had never been to serve better angels.

“Trump did it . . he finally, really did it. You maniac! You blew it up! God damn you!” He screamed, as if his lungs could reach the wicked depths and all those long lost souls.

Nova gripped the reins of their horse and stared silently into the face of a murdered ideal, whose body was being interred by the fates.

They had reached the end of the world.

(Muchisimas gracias to Frank for allowing me to stay after school and finish this assignment. The link to his challenge is below just in case you didn’t click on my hyper-link up top.)

https://afrankangle.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/on-footprints-in-the-sand/

When Show Meets Tell, Good Things Happen

Storytelling has always been second nature for me. From the time I was a wee lad and my parents would ‘spotlight’ me for their dinner company, I’ve been entertaining peeps with tales. It’s not about the instant gratification though. Nope, it’s about the connection that is achieved in this particular relationship. When you write, the comments arrive in dotted arrangements of time and space, if at all. And I dig that just fine, because to write is the thing for me.

Storytelling simply validates my idea about making whatever form you wish to express yourself in, the thing. You understand it to be all that matters, because in the cosmic way of doing business, it is. To live by any other mandate is to enslave the very thing you’re trying to achieve. Voice. It’s just that, unlike most forms of expression, storytelling is uniquely efficient. Because when you tell a story to a group of people, it’s all right there. No delays. Just boom. These are characteristics to which I abide- creativity, passion and boom.

I got to thinking about this connection after taking in an art show recently. I dig artists, mostly because they conceptualize reality without restraints. There is a thrust to their cultivation that I have always been in love with. Good art is pleasing to the senses. Great art? It’s every single other thing. It’s one of the purest forms of provocative thought, and I’m always inspired by its refusal to play by rules or precepts.

And so it goes with storytelling in real time. I write to achieve peace, but I tell stories to achieve everything else. For me, writing a story is like paddling a canoe across a pond. Telling a story is white water rafting.

A top 5 of my recent Hall of Fame storyteller listens? Sure, why not . . .

Sheryl Sandberg- When she speaks on how she coped with overwhelming grief, I’m awed. When she talks about the voice we all have, I’m floored. She is the quintessential Wonder Woman of the spoken word.

Louis C.K.- He speaks on the unpleasant realities of our everyday lives with all the subtlety of a jackhammer. In an age of stylized irreverence- where backbone goes to die- he deals up the truth, with no apologies.

Richard Harris- He didn’t simply tell stories, he stitched them into our minds with a regal aplomb. Harris used the skeletons in his closet as the scaffolding for the stories he constructed, because it always felt as if you were getting away with something in the listening.

Bob Dylan- He is the emeritus professor of lyrics; the common denominator of so many of the songs that followed him out of the brilliant storm of a musical revolution.

Frank Deford- In this age of disposable journalism, he was a master of erudition and (gasp!) veracity. Godspeed.

Writing will always be a thing I do, because I love turning the hustle into flow. Storytelling is something that happened into being out of the something good of a fresh new perspective on writing. And now? The ‘twain are gonna shack up and have babies. And I have no idea how it’s going to look, and I’m not gonna lie . . . that turns me on.

It’s a very good thing.

 

 

 

Simple Thing

There is something mystical about a simple gesture. I was driving to work yesterday afternoon when I witnessed just such a thing whilst stopped at a red light. It involved a young homeless man, a veteran I think; he takes up residence at a busy intersection near the local mall. I’ve seen him several times over the last week, dressed in his ratty jeans and a cardboard sign asking for help. His belongings fit inside a beat up old backpack, and I am ashamed to admit that yesterday was the first time I took notice of these things. Thanks to an older gentleman who performed a simple and totally random act of kindness on a Thursday afternoon.

It was getting hot and I had the AC pumping and Live humming its way through my sound system, caught inside my titanium sheathed bubble in which the whole wide world was my sovereign child. All that mattered to me was recording a story idea I’d come up with for the local Story Slam, and then reality was smacking me upside the head as I watched this older gentleman doing this kid a favor. Doing the whole world a favor, really.

The kindly old fellow got out of his car and opened his trunk, where he fetched a baseball cap for the kid dressed in struggle who calls the intersection home. That was it, the whole thing, that. The gift of a baseball cap that was making me feel as if a million dollars had just changed hands. And I wondered if the other witnesses to this beautiful moment were paying the same kind of attention as me. I wondered if they saw the purpose of such a thing, and the lessons it was dealing up.

And I stopped recording while Ed Kowalcyk railed on about misery and hope being maternal twins of an earth whose best days are hard to come by. And I cried, a glorious feeling kind of cry that wasn’t ashamed or self conscious. It just was. And I prayed for that kid some, and I gave thanks for that old dude. And the world seemed to make sense, if only for the moment, at that busy intersection . . on a Thursday afternoon in the middle of another working day.

You really shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. You should embrace it.

 

 

Doing my Slim Shady

Yeah, I am.

And while I would love to say this time will be different. Well, I don’t have to say it. It just will be different. Because this time I endeavor on bringing a more personal attache to the proceedings. There’ll be less mystery, just as much hilarity and all of the guilt. For shits and giggles, here’s a “Spoiler Alert!” should you want to live in the Tao of Cayman Thorn for the rest of time. Don’t read the little blurb below. Otherwise, take the red pill and I’ll hold your hand into Wonderland. Coo?

Cayman Thorn is an anagram for Marc Anthony. Which is kind of my name (The first name is correct). It’s as close as I will ever, ever give the world of social media. Mostly because my real last name isn’t my real last name anyway. This is the result of my grandmother having been a slut who wasn’t about to stay at home when mi abuelito went running. She was rocking the power vagina whilst Gloria Steinem still believed aprons to be proprietary accouterments of the X chromosome. As far as Drinks Well With Others? I came up with that unoriginal idea thanks to a fridge magnet I didn’t even know I had until I was fixing up some adult drink or other (2009 was an interesting year, to say the least). This blog was an answer to my last blog, the800lbgorilla, where we specialized in the art of fucking with anything we felt like fucking with. This blog? Wasn’t that blog, and thank God, really.

Now, this is not to say that I’ll be posting on the regular here at Drinks. What it does mean is that I am not going away. Heavens no. This blog will serve as a bridge to a writers blog, which will deal up writing and stories, health tips (just kidding) and semi great feats of strength. There will be special interest posts, links to brand spanking new selections served up at thelovelyfire as well as links to vault pulls from the800lbgorilla (which will include horoscope reinventions!) and there’ll be shit I haven’t even thought about just yet, but will.

Everything will start from scratch at the new crib, so be sure to bring snacks, ideas and any book projects you’ve got cooking and I will promote the hell out of you just because I’m chill like that. Don’t bring weed, since it’s not legal in PA just yet. No wait, that would be a reason to bring the weed . . I forgot. And when the new blog goes proper, you can ditch Cayman and just call me Marc. I mean, I ain’t gonna take it personally if you prefer to stick with Cayman Thorn, mostly because I dig the last name. The Bond vibe is real.

The future? Is coming on.

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.)

 

 

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.