Wednesday Words: Abraham Lincoln

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Wednesday Words is a weekly offering of an inspiring, insightful, or temporally relevant quote–given the current state of the USA, this one felt particularly appropriate.

My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.
–Abraham Lincoln

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Evening At Home

Stumbled on this little gem, brewing in the depths of my “drafts” folder, one of 119 forgotten or half-realized old posts. You deserve to read it. It deserves to be read

Watching Wonder Woman with my wife–stir fry & folding TV trays in the living room.Ares

Her: (dismissively) I’m not fully buying Remus Lupin as “Ares, God of War”

Me: (distractedly, Gal Gadot is on the screen) Can’t wait until the Lupine bloom.

Her: What?!

Me: Huh?

Her: David Thewlis. He’s too wistful to be a twisted Greek God of War.

Me: Oh. You knew it would be him, though? Famous actor with a phony limp, helping out our heroes for no reason? If he wasn’t the bad guy, it’s a throwaway role and  they would have hired a cheaper actor. Besides, he rocks a cool look for a villain.

Her: (Incredulous look.)

Me: My grandfather rocked that look as long as I knew him. Mustache, a boar’s bristle brush, and a dab of pomade.

Grandpa 1981ish Crop

This old guy kicked furious Nazi ass. What have you done with your life?

Her: What’s a boar’s bristle brush? Is that really a thing?

Me: Exactly, but that’s what the hipsters say I should have–along with something called beard oil–in my daily beard maintenance ritual.

Her: You don’t even have a daily washing ritual.

Me: Right. All that fussing is anathema to the purpose of facial hair. I’ve got a free range Higginsbeard. My grandfather looked sharp, though. Business suits at work, cardigan sweaters at home. Knee-high dress socks, even with shorts. In the garden he looked just like Higgins from Magnum, P.I.

Her: It sounds like he stuck in the 1940’s and just stayed there.

Me: Exactly. He nailed it early. Kept it nailed. Like Higgins–they both kicked Nazi ass in Africa.

Her: Except Higgins wasn’t real.

Me: He was based on a real person. Probably my grandfather.

Her: (shakes her head) Are we dull? Is this–we’re dull, aren’t we?

Me: Not a chance. We have inconspicuous depths is all.

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So, Who Is Still Out There…

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I was recently described as a “blogger,” but I’ve hardly blogged for a few years ago: is a semi-abandoned blog still a blog, even if there’s no new, real writing inside? Schrödinger would know.

…waiting, watching, listening in the dark? I’ve been a long while gone from WordPress, writing elsewhere, trying not to dwell on politics in these very dark times–a decision that feels more than a little irresponsible, frankly–dealing with some health issues, kicking those health issues’ asses (so far, no need to jinx it), and all the while experiencing a twinge of nostalgia for the web of folks with whom I interacted with throughout the four or five years I threw posts up on this whimsical page.

And yeah, that was one sentence, but remember the essential Old Road Apples theme: write whatever comes to mind and write it in the express lane, no big revisions, no multiple drafts, only the most cursory proofreading, so…insert tongue-sticking out emoticon here. Or “emoji,” if you must.

My point, to make a short story long: I’ve been mulling coming back here to play around. I miss the vibe, the simplicity of it compared to, say, Medium, which sort of sucks, even though there’s a lot of good work getting posted over there. Instagram stinks of art, but is just candy-coated food-porn, travel-porn, and porn-porn. WordPress also satisfies due to the relative rarity of trolls and automated vocabulary censors, being that I’m one foul-mouth mothafucka. But is it worth it to re-invest here? Are folks still hanging around? Should I take the time to find the necessary, compulsory (often hijacked) image required to grab enough attention to score more than a handful of “likes” and soak up the corresponding validation? I guess we’ll see. In the meantime, give me a shout-out if you remember me from a few years back. Reintroduce yourself. Let’s see where this takes us.

And as for Schrödinger, the answer to his philosophical quandary is this: patience. Just wait a day or two and, one way or another, that box is going to smell. Do you dare take a sniff?

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More plastics and petrochemicals for regional progress

An exceptionally relevant and revealing insight into the mindset of development-obsessed planners and community developers.

The HawkEye

The Pennsylvania Shell ethylene cracker plant under construction in Beaver County. Pittsburgh Post-Ga­zette photo.

An opinion

By Byron G. Stauffer Jr.

(and by eight other regional economic-development administrators)

INDIANA — Last week, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto made a very public statement that he opposes any further development of the region’s petrochemical industry.

While my professional colleagues and I respect the mayor’s view and his right to set policy for the city of Pittsburgh, he does not speak for this region.

We, as members of the region’s economic development community, would offer a different perspective.

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Email Excerpts–A Joke

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I’ve saved a lot of email over the years–sort of an electrical pack rat, I guess (put on your Philip Dick and think on that for a nano). I’ll be cleaning up and sharing the best of it with you. I made this as a draft six years ago. No idea why I didn’t click “publish” before today.

On 6/13/2005 11:32 AM, (redacted) wrote:

I was depressed last night so I called Lifeline.
Got a call center in Pakistan.
I told them I was suicidal.
They got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

Ouch.

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Knock On My Door, Will You?

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A True Story. Mostly.
A knock on the door last week, too damned early in the morning…an older middle-aged woman with pamphlets and a bible in a floral dress and sensible shoes bearing close resemblance to Mrs. C, my tenth-grade typing teacher.
“Hello, I’m spreading the good word about a 3-day conference in–”
“Is this a god thing?” That momentum needed to be checked.
“Why yes, it is a 3-day conference in–”
“We’ve already got a grail!” Dodge. Parry. Non sequitur!
“What? I’d like to invite you to a three–”
“Not interested. Do you have encyclopedias?”
“But…huh?”
“Vacuum cleaners? Brushes? Steak?”
(Confused) “Ummm?”
“Can you get students to paint my house real cheap?”
“I don’t think you understand.”
(Leaning into her space a little bit.) “Are you saying I’m stupid? I think I do pretty well with what I’ve been given. You don’t need to be mean about it.”
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to–”
“Maybe you should just try the neighbors; they’re real zealots. I hear they drowned a witch, last place they lived.” I lower my voice and whisper, conspiratorially, “It’s Texas. That’s where they’re from, and they definitely burn books–religiously, you might say.”
“What?”
“Did you see what I did there?
It’s a pun. They religiously burn books. Get it? I told you I was smart. Not that I’m an angel myself. I’ve done awful things. I’ve danced a bunch, and listened to Led Zeppelin records backwards, and between you and me, I’ve eaten more than my fair share of owls.”
“Owls?”
“Yup. Lots of them. The small ones, particularly.”
“Owls?”
“They’re fuzzy and sweet. A lot like peaches, really. They’re great on waffles, with some cinnamon and maple syrup.”
She looks over her shoulder at the street–no backup there–and turns back to me, squints a little, then opts to scurry away, looking worriedly over her shoulder, and skitters up the street, ignoring my “Have a nice day!”
Knock on my door, will you?

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Christmas Dinner–A Timeless Tale of The Season

Seemed like a good time to recycle this little Christmas bauble….

Old Road Apples

This internet classic isn’t for children, the overly sensitive, or those lacking a fundamental sense of humor.  I’ve seen it around in various forms–no idea who the original author might be, or if the “Louisville Sentinel” aspect of the story is true.

Christmas Dinner With Louise…

This is an article submitted to a 1999 Louisville Sentinel contest to find   out who had the wildest Christmas dinners.  It won first prize.

As a joke, my brother Jay used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas.  He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them.

What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay’s kids’ stockings overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty.

One year I decided to make his dream come true.  I put on sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. …

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Rudolph’s North Pole: Bastion of Oppression?

I keep threatening to come back here on a regular basis, and I don’t, but every once in a great while I’m reminded how the world suffers from my waning vigilance and gross inattention, and I’m ashamed to realize how bad things have gotten. And I’m not talking just about President Orangutrump and his bilious lackeys. Most of this I can swallow. I take a pill that helps. (No, not Xanax). But sometimes, things get too far and I need to step in.

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I found this little gem on Facebook this morning. You can read it on your own time, but the gist is that Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer has “triggered” a whole bunch of melodramatically over-sensitive little flowers and the only solution to their vexing, simmering itch is to light up Twitter with indignation–to delightfully entertaining ends.

First off, this isn’t new. Who above the age of seven has watched this heart-warming holiday tradition without chuckling over what a complete asshole Santa, Coach and Rudolph’s Dad are at the beginning of the movie. But come on, they’re no different than everyone else’s republican dad ever, their love submerged beneath a suffocating preoccupation with social status, a concern about what might be whispered behind their backs at church, or how the guys “down at the club” are going to give them a razzing, even if only to use pseudo-dominant behavior as a means to distract from their own senses of unfulfilled dreams and inadequacy. I mean: come on. Why is the patriarchy such a bunch of jerks? Because they’re miserable, and deep down they know it–perhaps not consciously, but certainly at a deeper, cellular level–with absolute certainty, just as they know they’ll never fill that dark, beckoning void in their souls. Has no one ever read Updike? Not that I’d encourage anyone to do such a thing.

The Tweet-storm at #RudolphTheRednosedReindeer has been impressive; much of it, fortunately, tongue in cheek. But there is not shortage of self-defined social reformers eager to protect us from the Scourge of Bitter Santa–just as they leapt to shout “date rape,” however belatedly, over that steamy holiday icon, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” That essay, and its dirty-minded revisionism, will find it’s way around the interwebs any day now, as it does each year. But that’s another story. Or is it?

The theme here is outrage junkies leaping to (often self-aggrandizing) accusations or offense or inappropriateness without regard for context. The question is: why do we have to be so candy-assed about our grievances, regardless of substance? I poke at the leftists because they’re “my people” despite how little they want to do with me, but it’s the same on the conservative side of things, where knickers are forever twisted by all matters associated with veterans, guns, flags, and–worst of all–the Dixie Chicks. Thanks, Obama.

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Oh, no.

Maybe…just maybe…this show is about ignorance ceding to understanding and acceptance? But that doesn’t fit with the undercurrent of vindictiveness inherent in revisionist post-modernist extremism. The agitated and aggrieved (i.e. “triggered”) aren’t looking for tolerance and a better world so much as they’re salivating for revenge. They don’t want to propagate understanding and unity–they want things to burn, presumably because they were unhappy in high school. Some people get it:

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To me, and any rational, functional human, Rudolph is nothing less than a tale of the triumph of those who live outside orthodoxy, and to those who strive to shatter the concept of “normal” without name-calling and retaliatory reverse discrimination. But if we’re going to play these games, consider cool Cornelius; what’s he but an earth-raping prospector eager to strip mine the north the moment he finds a lick of treasure. Or the sweet little gay elf whose toxic self-loathing leads him to cripple the noble wild Bumble Beast by yanking out all his teeth and dooming the once proud king of the north to a lifetime of servitude in chains? Metaphor for conservative environmental policy? Cautionary tale on the tenuous nature of freedom and democracy 120 years after the supposed end of slavery? I think so. And what about these bigots branding Cornelius as a hipster? Because he’s got a beard and earmuffs and liked corn meal? Well, I can’t be the only bearded misanthrope out there who puts down his johnny cake to wave a hearty “fuck you” at those appearance-based presumptions.

I find the whole lot of you problematic.

 

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You Made This.

How does this happen? 14 Months Ago White Supremacists Marched Through Charlottesville, Virginia chanting “Jews will not replace us” and President of The United States Donald Trump chastised those who called the vile bastards out, saying “THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES,” encouraging and validating far right extremists of every ilk. Today, in the wake of yet another tragic instance of hate and violence, he reads words of shock and indignation from a teleprompter and wonders how this could happen. This is Trump’s America, and if you support him, his race-baiting dog whistles, and his brand of vitriolic hate-mongering, THIS IS YOUR AMERICA. You made this.

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Officer Involved Shooting – 1210 S. Lamar

So if I walk into a stranger’s apartment and shoot him dead, I get handcuffed and perp-walked in front of cameras, my name disseminated to the media and all the details of my life excavated while I sit in a holding cell. An off-duty police officer gets a shroud of secrecy and “administrative duty?” Is it any wonder why people are scared and distrustful of police. The double standard must be apparent. The difference in protocols, selective enforcement of relevant laws, undermines all efforts to bridge the ever-widening gap between authority figures and civilians.

DPD Beat

On September 6, 2018 at about 9:59 p.m., an off duty Dallas Police officer called police dispatch and said she was involved in a shooting at the apartments located at 1210 S. Lamar.

Preliminary information suggests that the officer arrived home in full uniform after working a full shift. The officer reported to the responding officers that she entered the victim’s apartment believing that it was her own. At some point, the officer fired her weapon striking the victim. Responding officers administered aid to the victim, a 26-year-old male, at the scene. The victim was then transported to the hospital and pronounced deceased. Next of kin notification has not been made at this time.

The officer was not injured and will be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The Dallas Police Department is conducting a joint investigation with the District Attorney’s Office. This investigation is ongoing…

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