A Little Humor Please…!

I yearn for the days when Chevy Chase fell…and everyone laughed.  Mr. Chase, a comedian, was poking fun at one of the most athletic presidents in our history, Gerald Ford.  Athletic, but a bit of a klutz.  Something I can relate to…the klutzicism, not the athleticism.  Wow, I just invented a word.  The thing is, when Chase fell, everyone laughed…including President Ford.  Our politicians, and “the two sides of one bird” aren’t making us laugh very much…nor are they laughing.

Are things so bad that we can’t laugh at ourselves?  Just look for a little humor.  Does everything have to be so serious…morbidly serious.  Do all jokes have to be divisive?  Must we insist that every political statement is followed by insistence we boycott the poor stiff who made it?

I know there are subjects we shouldn’t poke fun at but after seeing the American political experiment in action for over sixty years…the President ain’t one of those subjects.  I would say anyone involved in politics ain’t one of them.  Hey, remember President Johnson and his “Johnson?”  That was a real knee slapper.  Double entendre?  Possibly, I wasn’t there.

Just saw a news report stating that a train carrying GOP congressmen ran into a garbage truck.  Wish one of the passengers on the truck hadn’t died for many reasons, one of which is there is something humorous about boarding the “Trump Train” and hitting a garbage truck.  Am I terrible?  I’m sorry…for their loss.

It’s either humorous or President Obama owned the trash company, purchased through several shell companies, and bought with money loaned to him by Hillary from the bribes she received from the sale of the Uranium One business.  Again, I am sorry someone died. (Special thanks to Max Holland for starting me on this runaway train.)

I have hopes that when we elect a new president, he or she is a comedian…not red nose or floppy shoes funny, but funny…maybe Gerald Ford funny.

If you take offense to my humor I suggest you go look for yours and come back later.  Love and Kisses.

If you aren’t going to boycott me and are interested in reading more of Don Miller’s wanderings, try https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

 

Advertisements

Matilda Waltzing….

The haunting melody of the Australian ballad, Waltzing Matilda, the unofficial Australian national anthem, has been waltzing through my mind all day. Blame it on a 5:30 post celebrating Australia Day 2018…or if the news is to be believed, protesting it. Think of a “Downunder” Columbus Day with similar protests.

“Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled:
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

The old folk song is about neither dancing nor a woman named Matilda but that is a different story.

I remember when I first heard the tune, during the ending of the scariest movie I ever saw, “On The Beach.” It was a Cold War doomsday movie starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. It ended badly, very badly, with everyone dead from radiation poisoning caused by a nuclear war that didn’t even take place in their hemisphere. Hum mm, I hope there is nothing timely about this.

I’ve carried on nearly a lifetime love affair with all things Australian. I’m sure a romanticized and glorified Australia although the Aussies might disagree. Odd for someone who rarely sets foot out of the Carolinas much less the United States. Blame it on my grandmother and her subscription to National Geographic. I was thumbing through her old issues in search of an education…not one she would have approved of. I was searching for scantily clad native girls and found an article on the island continent. It even had a pullout…not the kind you might find in a Playboy…a pullout map. Serendipity ensued, and I read it along with any other offerings National Geographic had published. One offering even had a picture of scantily clad sunbathers on a Sydney beach. Much like the jolly jumbuck in the swagman’s Tucker bag, I was ensnared.

Not long after, I would read a Zane Grey oater, “The Wilderness Trek,” again my grandmother’s fault. I had two choices as a child. Sit under a tree and perfect my reading skills or go out into the sunlit, humid fields and chop weeds. While I had ample opportunities handling a hoe, I became an avid reader.

Grey’s tale was the story of two American cowboys helping to lead a “mob” of cattle on the first “trek” through the Outback and three years’ worth of foul weather, fouler “cattle duffers”, crocodile-infested river crossings, and marauding aborigines. I reread the book online a week ago after making contact with a WordPress follower who is from Australia. I am so sorry I told her about the book. It is sooooo not politically correct. Well, it was written in 1929. At least it ended well. Ole Curly and Sterl led them to safety and sloped off with the cattlemen’s daughters to boot. Boy Howdy!

The Australia of my youthful mind has followed me. I even have two Australian Cattle Dogs, Madaline and Matilda. Briefly, in 1973, I considered traveling to Australia when I found that teachers would receive land in exchange for five years of service. Seemed like a great adventure until life intervened along with my first ex-wife.

I guess I’ll never make it…maybe. As long as there are programs like Animal Planet and movies like Quigley Down Under, I’ll keep the romantic dream alive. Until then I guess I will just keep humming Waltzing Matilda.

If you are unsure of the song, Waltzing Matilda, this is one of my favorite versions from the 2009 Australia Day celebration…they are all my favorite versions.

For more of Don’s “Waltzings”, please go to https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM and at least like his page.

Birds of a Feather?

Normally I don’t use the word blessing when talking about this time of year, but this Saturday was one of those wondrous days we occasionally have in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Warm and bright for a late January day. Warm and bright enough to melt the left-over snow and ice from a few days ago…I hope. The sky a brilliant blue and there is not a cloud in the sky. A great day for a walk…or a great day to sit in the backyard with a Blue Moon and a Dutch Master contemplating nothing of any importance. I did both instead of gathering up and disposing of the winter yard waste from the wildlife refuge that is my backyard. My wife is out visiting…hopefully, she won’t notice that I have done nothing except deal with my own mental self-health.

I’m watching my birds now. I can claim them as my own…I feed them, and they live close by. They love the black sunflower seed I dutifully put in my bird feeders and are flitting hither and yon. The squirrels and chipmunks like it too…and I don’t care. Redbirds, titmice, chickadees, wrens and my favorite, the little upside-down birds, the nuthatch and downy woodpeckers all visit, eat their fill and fly off to who knows where. There is a redhead woodpecker and a pileated woodpecker that visits occasionally. The pileated woodpecker seems to laugh at me with its distinctive and goofy call.

Underneath the feeders, I see robins, their red chests lying about the nearness of spring. They are joined by brown thrashers, mourning doves and an occasional tanager. The cooing sounds made by the doves are somewhat forlorn but not so forlorn it ruins my bright mood. I’m also sure the tanager will tell his friends.

Occasionally I see an indigo bunting or a bluebird, the reflected sun flashing blue off its tiny body as it zips through my yard. For the life of me, I can’t entice them to stay. I see them on the fence looking in at the free-for-all at the feeders. Are they resting or trying to make up their minds about the food I am offering? They seem to prefer the open, flat area around my garden. Oh well.

It won’t be long until the feeders draw the gold and purple finches. I’ll start adding thistle to the feeding area when I see my first one. I thought I saw a male goldfinch this morning except for the red topnotch. Turns out it is a refugee from more northern climes called a redpoll. I guess he was lost or just looking for warmer temperatures.

With the spring, if it ever gets here, there will be others making their presence known. The whistle of “my” redtail hawks, the clucking of turkeys, the lonesome calls of the whippoorwills along with owls hooting from the hillsides behind my house. Even with the hum of mosquitoes, I can’t wait.

My grandmother was a lover of birds, watching the feeder as she made biscuits in her kitchen or listening to their calls while working in the field. Telling her oldest grandson that we were hearing a mockingbird or a catbird. She loved them, filling up spiral bound notebooks with descriptions, buying stamps with images of birds and painting pictures of the birds that populated her environment. It has taken me to my autumn years to appreciate the birds that populate my environment. One more connection I have with my grandmother I guess.

I don’t reckon my birds are very concerned about government shutdowns, Dreamers or border security. A wall is probably not going to keep them out…the birds I mean. I think I’ll try to be more like my birds. If it’s not a sweet sound, I’m probably not going to make it or allow myself to hear it.

Don Miller is a multi-genre writer who has written two fictional novels and four books of non-fiction. If you are interested in further readings, please access his writer’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

The picture of the pileated woodpecker came from the National Wildlife Federation at https://www.nwf.org/Garden-for-Wildlife/Food/Supplemental-Feeders. It was taken by Beau Liddell.

Walkin’ in the Snow

There was a time…a time when I ran in the snow.  We don’t get much snow here in the foothills of the South Carolina Blue Ridge.  You Yankees think we are crazy, running out and grabbing all the bread, milk and toilet paper we can carry.  Don’t tell anyone, I think we’re crazy too.  Why grab milk and bread when you can just as easily grab Jack Daniels and pulled pork barbeque.  I just got off subject, but I do agree with the toilet paper part of the equation.

We are lucky (unlucky?) to receive one or two four-inch snows a year…if that…and we go batshit crazy when we get it.  Few of us really know how to drive in it and those who do have to worry about those who don’t.  Don’t worry too much though.  If you find yourself in the ditch a “good ole” boy with a four by four and a tow rope will be by directly.

I go crazy too but for other reasons.  I enjoyed going out in it and running.  Years ago, before retirement, I would go out before sunup and tackle it…getting a run in before getting the word school had been canceled.  Snowflakes reflecting in the light of my running lamp against the backdrop of the darkness.  The way the snow seemed to glow on its own when I cut the lamp off.  A man against the elements…no.  Putting on my running shoes and going out on a cold morning was “against the elements” enough.  There was something about sticking my tongue out allowing snowflakes to land., the muted sounds of the event, even the frozen toes due to the ice buildup on the toes of my shoes.

I can’t run anymore…maybe…I still have hopes and dreams that cause me to hobble out daily.  Today I went out and walked my old running trail, up to the top of the hill, down to and around the lake before reversing again.  I DID wait until several hours after sunup.  It was colder without the exertion of my running but at least my toes didn’t freeze, my thermal hiking boots made sure of that.  Sounds were still muted, and I still caught snowflakes on my tongue.  The snow was powdery and light, easy to walk in…not good for snowmen or snowball fights but enjoyable to walk in.

A young man riding on his ATV disturbed the silence but was thoughtful enough to stop and ask if would like a ride.  I smiled and thanked him.  I told him I was enjoying my walk too much to spoil it with a ride.  He smiled too before riding on into the white.

If you enjoyed this might like to stop by Don Miller’s writer’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38G

The picture is from Run-Karla-Run and is credited to Phil Hospod.

A Broken Kaleidoscope

One of the reasons I write is due to my depression…it helps give me relief…EXCEPT FOR RIGHT NOW!  Normally writing gives me insights into the broken kaleidoscope that is my mind.  For some reason, it ain’t happnin’.  I find myself in a conundrum?  I write to offset my effects of my depression, yet I’m unable to write or rather finish my writing, because of my depression.  Did I mention I’m tired of winter?  The days are lengthening.  Hey look, there is a spider on the window sill.  Is that Aretha playing…the Godmother of Soul?  I smell peanut butter.  Wow, it’s colder than owl sh!#.

See the problem?  I can’t hold a thought.  Its as if my thoughts are sliding down an iced-over driveway in flat bottom leather soled shoes.  It took twelve minutes to write twenty-seven words…and as I reread, not very good words.  That’s slightly more than two words a minute…correct?  My math skills have all ways been suspect…I did calculate last night’s tip in my head…sh!# I did it again!

I have three “novels” in the can…except I can’t finish them.  I guess that means there really not in the can…STOP IT!  If I were talking to you and I said that I had three novels, I would have probably used air quotes…”Novels.”  Writers go through stages.  I’m in the “Your writing sucks”  stage of being.  I don’t know if it’s because of my depression or is it because my writing “sucks”.  Last week I was thinking, one of these is going to be the breakthrough.  The great American novel.  What happened?

Occasionally I’m introduced as “the author.”  This is usually by caring family members who say it with misplaced pride or those who are attempting to make me feel worthwhile.  I always counter with, no I’m the writer because I think authors must actually sell their books to be considered an author.  I keep telling myself I’m not writing for the money, a good thing because I’m not making any. I’m not writing for the gratification I receive from the adulation of my adoring fans, also a good thing.  Why the f@#$ am I writing?  Look!  There’s a…STOP IT!

Wow!  “The Rantings of a Fractured Mind?”  That might make a good title…I did it again…For those of you who think depression is being a little blue, it’s not even close.  I could stand being blue, it’s the broken kaleidoscope of my mind.  No matter how much I twist it, the patterns don’t quite fit together and there is nothing I can do except wait until it passes…if it passes.  The fear of it being permanent is always there.

Hey, sorry!  I’m Donnie Downer this morning.  As I hit “Publish” I hope my depression will fly off into cyberspace with it.  Have yourself a great day.

Image from Marion Paul Bruin, the Kaleidoscope King at https://www.pinterest.de/pin/118852877642184769/?lp=true

For some of my “more” lucid thoughts try my writer’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

Stumble, Fumble….

I despise the New Year. My birth year ends in a zero so it’s easy to figure out your age and realize the path behind you is significantly longer than the path ahead. I’m not concerned about my age…well…maybe I am since I’m posting about it. Okay, I’m not concerned about my death…unless it is lingering and painful. Okay, okay! So, I’m concerned.

I despise the New Year because of the resolutions I make that I know I’m going to break or stumble over…” stumble, bumble, fart, and fall….” Odd things that stick in your head. It’s the fourth and I’m already stumbling…and I’m always smelly.

I made simple resolutions. Easy to accomplish even if a few roadblocks arise. Maintain or, notice the “or”, improve my fitness. Maintain my 2016 weight which I was unable to maintain in 2017. That means losing the ten pounds from last year that I picked up when I was supposed to be maintaining. Just walk a little more…we got this.

I wish I had told my wife. Obviously, her New Year’s resolution is to cook this year. The veggie and beef homemade soup, following the traditional greens, peas and pork roast on New Year’s Day. Would have been healthy…maybe…but she had to make cornbread. I love her cornbread…did I have to have the second piece? Yes, I did…and the third. I just forgot about her tomato pie…oh my.

Well, I expect her to break her resolution soon, “I’m not cooking anymore this year!”

“But….”

“But nothing!”

My second resolution was also a simple, easy to accomplish, I want to be a better person and make a difference. You know, better for the wife, daughter, grandkids, asshole brother…sorry, non-asshole brother. Not best…just better.

My beloved has thrown a roadblock in front of that too. Thirty-one years together and I still find a way to not be able to get out of my own way.

“I need for you to…” fill in the blank.

A “better person” would simply go do it. A “better person” would not wait until he forgot what she asked him to do in the first place. A “better person” wouldn’t want to hear, “I asked you six months ago to…” fill in the blank. So, with a hand driver, I jumped on it! Bam!

“What are you doing?”

“You asked me to….”

“I didn’t mean now. You are in my way. Go do something else.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Don’t ask me questions now, can’t you see I’m busy?”

A “better person” won’t use the hand driver as a weapon. Great, resolution accomplished! Maybe this isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

For more of Don Miller’s musings, try the following link: https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM