Bits And Pieces Of Life

Forty-Two and Forty-three weren’t particularly good birthdays and there was a moment where I wondered if forty-four was going to imitate the previous two but things took a turn I went to bed with a big smile on my face.

It wasn’t the perfect ending but I don’t know that I could have told you exactly what that would have been and I am ok with that. I kind of enjoy and appreciate how predictably unpredictable life can be and have grown accustomed to just rolling with things.

Forty-four years has taught me a lot about life and how much can change in a moment. I have seen friends humbled by moments no one expected and stood graveside as we buried brothers, sisters, moms and dads.

The experiences have changed me and I am not who I once was. Don’t take that as me sounding wistful or upset because I am not. These experiences as the cliche goes truly have helped to make me who I am.

It is how I learned 567 Ways To Tell A Better Story.

Life Happens

Life happens and you take your experiences to build stories you might one day turn into a book. You write about characters and questions and ask yourself if you are telling a good story or not.

You wonder if people appreciate the story about how you knew Sister Mary in the biblical sense and how you helped make her see god. Not everyone can say that nor can they talk about how they made the atheist reconsider their position and not because your hands were on their hips.

Sometimes you just write because it is what you love to do and you figure those who enjoy it will keep hanging around and those who don’t will leave no matter what you do.

That is ok, people come and people go.

Let ‘Em In

It has been a Paul McCartney weekend. Been listening to Band on The Run and Let ‘Em since last night for no other reason than I heard the songs in my head. Heard a few others too and listened to them as well.

Sometimes I think of a song and I go listen because I am curious.

Some people would say it is the universe sending me a message while others classify it in a different way. As for me, well I don’t spend a ton of time wondering or worrying about why the songs pop into my head.

I love music and I find it is a very useful tool for writing. It helps set a tone and spurs my imagination. Sometimes a song will remind me of something or someone and I use that as inspiration for some of my fiction.

Goodbye MCA

It is almost a year since MCA died. Can’t say I was ever the biggest Beastie Boys fan but I have a million memories tied up in a few of those songs and let’s face it Adam Yauch was a contemporary and musician.

But unlike other musicians he didn’t kill himself or die from a drug overdose. His death was different because of that.

And now I have some links to share with whomever wishes to read them:

  1. Do What You Were Born To Do
  2. A Work In Progress
  3. 163 Reasons Why Successful Businesses Are Not Based Upon User Experiences
  4. Can You Write a Funny Post
  5. I Wish Some Of You Would Just Shut Up
  6. 7 Things You Never Say To Mean Moms
  7. Can You Build Community Without Comments?
  8. Write Now The Tales That Should Be Told
  9. There is No Relationship Between Your Bank Account & Your IQ
  10. Do You Ever Delete Posts You Have Published?
  11. What Is The Value of A Comment?
  12. The Ancient Art of Blogging
  13. Writing Is Not The Hardest Part Of Blogging
  14. Children Shouldn’t Be On Facebook- Dad Said No
  15. Be A Better Blogger- Sustain Your Effort Edition

Got to run now For The Night Is Dark and Full or Terrors. Be good kids, Winter is Coming.

Is It Fact or Fiction

I have received more than one email asking for explanations about these posts:

I Had a Dream
The Story of Two Souls
My Brother- A Lesson in Simple Physics
A Boy Named Mookie

Here is an assortment of songs to go along with those:

This Time– John Legend
Crazy Love (Live)-Ray Charles & Van Morrison
Do Ya Think I’m Sexy– Rod Stewart
The Rising– Bruce Springsteen
Whiskey Lullaby– Brad Paisley & Allison Krauss
City of Blinding Lights– U2
Live Like You Were Dying– Tim McGraw
Secret World– Peter Gabriel
Hard to Handle– Otis Redding
What’s Going On– Marvin Gaye
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough– Marvin Gaye Tammi Terrell
Telephone Line– ELO
If I Needed Someone– The Beatles
The Fire Inside– Bob Seger

Posts About Faith, Blogging & Stuff

Spent more time cleaning out the closet and decided to share some of what I found lying there:

A Question of Faith
The Sign Said Ten Items or Less
The Long And Winding Road
Daddy, They Have Mommy’s Purse
Jack And The Missionary

A Walk Through The Mall Part II

A quick comment about this post. Given the activities of the past day I hesitated on writing such fluff but decided that it was time for something a bit lighter. For more background you can read Walking Through The Mall Part I.

As you may recall on my way through the parking lot I encountered a number of different people. The last was the Crazy Broad whose driving skills rivaled a drunk blind man. The brief transcript of our conversation doesn’t quite do justice to her, or should I say that it doesn’t begin to describe how fast she spoke.

Her comments came out in great bursts that were accompanied by exaggerated hand gestures. I imagine that had I grabbed her hands it would have served the same function as a mute button, but I digress.

In spite of the challenges presented by the various denizens who haunt the parking lot I managed to enter the mall. Once inside I strode purposefully towards Macys. I knew that somewhere inside the belly of the beast I’d find what I had come for.

What I didn’t count on was being waylaid again and again by mall people. More specifically I was captured by different members of the Salesraeli tribe. In spite of my best efforts to avoid them their tractor beams grabbed a hold of my ship and pulled me in.

Salesraeli: Sir, do you have a girlfriend?
Me: I have many friends who are girls.

Salesraeli: Have you ever thought about getting them a very nice gift?
Me: I give them the gift of me.

Salesraeli: Look at these products. They are amazing. They are from an amazing place called The Dead Sea.
Me: You want me to give them something that will kill them. Why? Do you want to be my girlfriend?

Salesraeli: Sir, you are very funny.
Me: So is George Carlin, but he is dead now.

Salesraeli: I don’t understand.
Me: Neither do I. What are we talking about.

Salesraeli: Sir, let me show you what these amazing products can do for your nails.
Me: Wow, you are right. That is amazing. The nail that I chew on is really shiny.

Salesraeli: Your girlfriend will love it.
Me: How do you know?

Salesraeli: Because I am a woman and we like to look beautiful.
Me: Wait, are you going to ask me if those jeans make you look fat.

Salesraeli: Look what else I have for you. Amazing mud from the Dead Sea.
Me: Give me a hose and some dirt and I can make amazing mud from America.

Salesraeli: Dead Sea mud is different.
Me: Because it is dead.

Salesraeli: No, because it has special things in it that help your skin.
Me: Boy, I should really give her a special gift for her skin.

Salesraeli: If you buy this for your girlfriend she’ll give you a special gift.
Me: I don’t know.

Salesraeli: This normally sales for $50.00, but for you I’ll give you a special price.
Me: Ok, how does five bucks sound.

Salesraeli: Sir, you really do like to play jokes.
Me: I stopped playing jokes years ago. Too hard on the remains of my intellect.

Salesraeli: I am sorry, sometimes my English is not too good.
Me: That is ok, sometimes my Hebrew isn’t too good.

Oy, this is too painful to continue. Perhaps we’ll pick it up at a later date.

Walking Through The Mall Part I

Background notes: (Believe it or not there are many times that I censor myself on this blog. There are stories that I do not tell, things that are not shared with the denizens of the Shack.

Sometimes those stories are kept to myself because they are too embarrassing to be shared. Sometimes they are hidden in the dark recesses of my mind because at my advanced age I just plain forgot that they ever happened. And sometimes they are blogged about but never published because I can’t find a proper way to tell the tale.

You know how it goes, you try to tell someone a funny story but find yourself resorting to the old “you had to be there to appreciate it” line. If the post doesn’t pass that test than I won’t press publish, at least I try not to. Truth is that there are more than one or two posts that probably shouldn’t be live, but that is story for a different day.)


Today’s story comes to you courtesy of the fine people that populate our roads, freeways and shopping malls. You see I recently had need of some new attire so I decided to frequent one of the local shopping malls as I felt that it offered the best selection of fashions that Jack might choose to wear.

Who know that an attempt go Beau Brummeling could or would lead to so much nonsense. With great anticipation I jumped into the Jack Mobile and began my journey to the mall. While safely cocooned inside my vehicle I noticed that people were exceptionally friendly. Every mile or so they’d stick their hands outside of their cars and wave their fingers at me.

Since I didn’t want to seem unfriendly I made a point to give them the same salute, but since I like to offer my own special touch I made sure to add a little honk of my horn. One lady in a Lexus was especially so touched by my efforts she made a point of following me to the mall parking lot.

Lady: Hey you! Where did you learn to drive?
Jack: In a car. Where did you learn how to drive?

Lady: Very funny smartass.
Jack: I am sorry, I don’t understand.

Lady: What do you mean you don’t understand. Where are you from, Pluto.
Jack: Is that near cleveland?

Lady: Why? Are you from Ohio?
Jack: No way. My parents had enough sense to stay out of that place.

Lady: You are a real winner. Some lady must be ever so proud to have you.
Jack: Proud to have me do what?

The lady must have had a sudden gas pain or headache because she suddenly screamed and called me a couple of names that were not complimentary. And then she up and left, probably to go to the closest psych ward because she was crazy.

With a shrug of my shoulders I prepared to run the gauntlet of people and cars in the parking lot. It is moments like this where I wish that my life was accompanied by a soundtrack. The camera would focus upon me as I gazed out upon the parking lot, searching for the perfect path to the stores. A soft drumbeat would play, growing louder as I walked.

Sadly that is not an option, at least not until I start carrying speakers for my iPod. That could be kind of cool. Any time I have to deal with customer service I could play the theme to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

I hadn’t made it more than a few steps towards the entrance when a man holding a clipboard approached me.

Clipboard Boy: Are you registered to vote?
Me: I am a Taurus.

Clipboard Boy: I am a Gemini.
Me: It must suck to have to deal with that evil twin all day long. I don’t know how you do it.

(A momentary look of confusion passed across his face and then he spoke.)

Clipboard Boy: I’d like to speak with you about your vote in the election.
Me: My erection works just fine, but I have to give credit to the nice man who sends me those great email notes. Those pills really work.

Clipboard Boy: Sir, I didn’t say erection. I want to speak about…
Me: Don’t be shy, from time to time it happens to all of us.

Clipboard Boy: The election isn’t a joke.
Me: Neither is being impotent.

Clipboard Boy: No, you’re right. But I really want to talk to you about the direction our country is going in.
Me: You know you’re only supposed to take one of those little blue pills at a time. The direction of our country, hah! Everyone knows that Europe revolves around the U.S. of A.

Clipboard Boy: While you are making jokes people are dying.
Me: Ok good sir, I wouldn’t want people to die laughing. What is it you need?

Clipboard Boy: This November you have the opportunity to send a message to the people of the U.S. and the world.
Me: Why wait until November. Thanks to the magic of the Internet I can send a message to the world right now.

Oddly enough clipboard boy glared at me and took off in the direction of some other lost soul, and thus my quest to get inside the mall began anew. I’d like to say that it was without incident, but that wouldn’t be true.

There was a brief exchange between myself and the driver of a dinged up Rav-4. The crazy broad behind the wheel forced me to prove that old Jack is still nimble. She came flying around the corner at a speed best not used in the parking lot. With the radio blasting Donna Summer’s Last Dance she was be-bopping behind the wheel and not paying attention to the road.

It forced me to jump out of the way, causing me to crash into a Honda Odyssey. Fortunately the Odyssey had a large dent in the side, which served as a impromptu hidey-hole for me. Had it not I would have been road kill.

That is kind of an ignoble way to die, turned into road kill. Just what I want, to be a human splatter to be wiped up with a hose and cheap shmata. But as I have what some refer to as the P.O.P. I didn’t suffer such a silly fate.

Crazy Broad: Get out of the way, you walk too slow.
Me: Right. If your brushed that frizzy hair out of your eyes and turned off the oldies station you might actually notice the pedestrians.

Crazy Broad: Screw you.
Me: That is quite an offer.

Crazy Broad: I didn’t offer.
Me: That is ok, I didn’t accept.

Crazy Broad: You only wish that you had the chance.
Me: I like a woman who dreams big. Big hair, big mouth….

Stay tuned for Part II