Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rant: Government and Mandatory Evacuation

I've been reading about the mandatory evacuations ordered by our iron fisted government officials who are ostensibly concerned about public safety, and whose Draconian orders are carried out by enthusiastic police who are concerned about making the sheeple obey orders for their own good.  Having lived in Florida and been through a few hurricanes and the inevitable mandatory evacuation orders, I decided to sound off.

Monday, August 29, 2011

When Lawyers Go Bad

A long time ago when I was a noisome, recalcitrant little snot nose my parents sent me to school.  They said it was the law that made them do it.  I had a few other ideas about just why they were so happy to see school start every year.  Anyway, back then there was an area of Sylvania Township (Ohio) known locally as Dogpatch.  The area was defined geographically as being North of Alexis Road and West of Whiteford Road.  The residents were mainly Appalachian immigrants who came up North for the good jobs in the automobile factories.  Living in the Township, which is outside the city and the city's laws, agreed with them.  They could work all week and cut loose on Friday night, when the whole family would get full of whiskey and play with their gun collection, get into fights, get the police involved, maybe get thrown in the hoosegow (or not) and then get out and get sober enough to go to work Monday morning.  Dogpatch was a right lively place, and being in Sylvania the children of these families went to the same school I did, which provided me with broader horizons and a colorful vocabulary that was sharply curtailed by my Mother.

Not all of these folks were bad or even overtly morally corrupt, although you wouldn't catch many of them singing in the Sunday choir.  Many of their children grew up to be very successful people, and generally dropped their old manners and customs like a live grenade.  One of this moonshine to middle class group is (was?) Linda S. Cook, whom I used to know and who proved that you can take the girl out of the hood but you can't take the hood out of the girl.  Linda became an attorney and now faces over a year in the Big House.  I do not recommend any leniency in this case.  Continue reading to find out why.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Restaurant Review: Kabob It

Kabob It!

Kabob It
Westfield Franklin Park Mall Food Court
5001 Monroe Street
Toledo OH 43623
Level 1, Store FC3
Phone: (419) 720-7899
No Web Site Found

The user Zach_baroudi over on Toledo Talk (a local forum based site) started a thread about his father's restaurant, Kabob It, which (according to Zach_baroudi) has everything – incredibly low prices, the best Lebanese food in town, friendly service and grape leaves to die for.  How could I resist?  I went to see a movie this afternoon and had lunch afterward.  Consider this before you read my review: The phrase shish kabob is defined as “A dish consisting of pieces of seasoned meat and sometimes vegetables roasted on skewers and served with condiments.”  The word kabob meaning cooked, or burnt lamb (or meat) and shish meaning skewer. As usual, the people in the United States got hold of it and screwed it up royally, switching the meanings of the two words so as to create such authentic Mediterranean dishes as chicken kabobs, turkey kabobs and veggie kabobs. Somewhere there's a Bedouin turning over in his grave.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Worthy Reads: Scribbler to Scribe Book Review

Stephanie Lorie over at Scribbler to Scribe has written a review of The Left Hand of God By Paul Hoffman:
Genre: Fantasy (dark, epic, primary-world)
Series: Thomas Cale / Left Hand of God Trilogy
Publication: Dutton Adult (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 384 pages
ISBN # 10/13: 0525951318 / 9780525951315

I haven't read the book, but I read Stephanie's review and she does a good job without resorting to spoilers. Plus she's offering a chance at winning a free copy - how can you beat that?  The link to Stephanie's site is below.

Stephanie M. Loree - Scribbler to Scribe: Book Review: Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman

Monday, August 22, 2011

Film Review: The Help (2011)

The Help (2011)
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 146 min
Genres: Drama

Emma Stone as Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan (Our Main Heroine)
Viola Davis as Aibileen Clark (Heroine)
Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly Holbrook
Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson (Heroine)
Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote (Another Heroine, but Red Hot and Drunk)
Ahna O'Reilly as Elizabeth Leefolt
Allison Janney as Charlotte Phelan
Anna Camp as Jolene French
Eleanor Henry as Mae Mobley
Emma Henry as Mae Mobley
Chris Lowell as Stuart Whitworth
Cicely Tyson as Constantine Jefferson
Mike Vogel as Johnny Foote
Sissy Spacek as Missus Walters
Brian Kerwin as Robert Phelan

I took Mom and Main Lady out to see The Help last Saturday night, and it was the smartest money I'll spend on a film this year. As usual, Roger Ebert disagrees with me, but I think his discomfort is due to some preternatural sense of guilt over his being a white, wealthy celebrity whose feelings are catalyzed by a dysfunctional digestive tract.  How do you like that, Roger?  (I'm thinking of retitling my film reviews as Roger 'n Me, but I'm afraid of lawsuits.)  Enough.  Here's my opinion, without spoilers.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Worthy Reads: Fantasy and Science Fiction

Bayou Renaissance Man points to a post on Mostly Cajun who notes that National Public Radio (NPR) has published a reader selected list of the Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books.  Although I'm a prolific reader I haven't read them all, nor have the other two notables.  However, here is the list of Cajun's Top 100 indicating the books he's actually read, and the Renaissance Man's follows suite with his own list - How Many Have You Read?

Clicked all that?

Here's my own list with the books I've read highlighted.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Film Review: Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Rated: R
Running Time: 112 min
Genres: Action | Adventure | Fantasy

Jason Momoa as Conan (Our Hero)
Stephen Lang as Khalar Zym (Our Villain)
Rachel Nichols as Tamara (Our Heroine)
Ron Perlman as Corin (Our Hero's Father)
Rose McGowan as Marique (Our Villainess)
Leo Howard as Young Conan (Our Hero as a Boy)
and a host of others.

I watched both Conan and Fright Night the same day, and I saw Conan first.  Like Fright Night, I was undecided as to whether or not I should spend my money to put up with the rude commercials and ruder audience found in any theater these days just to watch a multimillion dollar turkey, but it was a week day matinee and besides, Roger Ebert gave it a bad review.  I was glad I went, and here's why (without spoilers).

Friday, August 19, 2011

Film Review: Fright Night (2011)

Fright Night (2011)

Rated: R
Running Time: 106 min
Genres: Comedy | Horror

Anton Yelchin as Charley Brewster (Our Hero)
Colin Farrell as Jerry (The Villian)
Toni Collette as Jane Brewster (Our Hero's Mom)
David Tennant as Peter Vincent (Our Hero's Reluctant Sidekick)
Imogen Poots as Amy (Our Heroine and The Girl)
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Ed (An Unfortunate Casualty)
along with Dave Franco, Reid Ewing, Will Denton, Sandra Vergara, Emily Montague, Chris Sarandon, Grace Phipps, Chelsea Tavares and a bunch of other people who are easily interchangeable for unknown actors who would give three years off the back of their life for the part, but who were passed over in favor of these people.

I saw the original Fright Night back in 1985 and liked it, so I was reluctant to see this one.  I was bored today and so decided to watch and write a review.  Here's my own not so humble opinion in several hundred words or less without spoilers.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Life: Writer's Block

I am suffering a bad case of writer's block. I have several stories I'm working on (fiction) and I cannot for the life of me get any of them to progress. Drat! Tonight I'm going to try a perfect manhattan and see if that helps. It may.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Worthy Reads

Idly sipping my morning snort while I peruse the latest news via the Internet, I've found a few things worth reading.  Maggie Thurber provided a link to an article that give some insight into the London riots written by someone who knows what he's talking about and can actually write.  A second link that Maggie passed along deals with small business regulations, such as the pet ambulance service started in Louisville, Kentucky.  And, well, there's more.  See for yourself.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cleland's Outdoor World: Range Report

As I promised, Big Mike and I went over to Cleland's last weekend to check out the new pistol range and see if there was anything under the chicken wire that we couldn't live without.  As it turned out, the new store is very nice in many respects and could use a little work in others.  Here's the latest news.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Law and Disorder

I wonder just where the hell our society is these days. We fail to persecute the right people and when we do find some moral leper, we spend over half a million dead presidents making sure he's guilty and trying to find a way not to kill him. Take Anthony Sowell, for instance.

Likely at the behest of his attorney, Sowell made an attempt at an appology. Give me a break. I don't believe that Sowell has ever felt so much as a twinge of remorse or guilt in his entire twisted life. Those in law enforcement know this as fact, and that includes the lawyers and the judge. Still the trial drags on, and on, and on...

Anthony Sowell offers apology to victims' families
Sowell, 51, was convicted in July of killing 11 women and leaving them in and around his Imperial Avenue home. He was arrested on Oct. 31, 2009.
Anthony Sowell trial: Day 15 morning update
Testimony began on June 27. On Tuesday, after more than $600,000 of taxpayer money had been spent on Anthony Sowell's defense team, the accused serial killer's lawyers rested their case without presenting a single witness.
The taxpayers, that would be the Great Unwashed, spent over six hundred grand and the defense failed to present a case.  Where did the money go?

Here's a timeline for the Sowell case which is pretty good.  I listed a few of the events below.  My comments are in italics.

Anthony Sowell timeline

Aug. 19, 1959: Sowell is born.  He is a poster child for State funded abortion and mandatory testing of parents for fitness to raise a child.

May 27, 1988: Rosalind Garner is found strangled in her home...  The killing begins.

Feb. 27, 1989: Carmella Prater is found dead

March, 28, 1989: Mary Thomas is found strangled

July 28, 1989: A woman tells police that Sowell took her into his home on Page Avenue, bound and gagged her and raped her.

The whole thing could have been stopped right here, but it wasn't.

June 24, 1990: A Cleveland woman tells police that Sowell choked and raped her inside her home
Another opportunity to stop a serial killer passes by.

June 20, 2005: Sowell... is released from prison. He registers with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office as a sex offender and is required to check in with them once a year.
So now we can see just how effective the registered sex offender law really is. People in the area supposedly know there is a sex offender in their neighborhood, but do any of these sheep alter their behavior? Do you think Bishop Law alters the ceremony for Mass just because Father Gerald Robinson is in the congregation?

June 29, 2007: A woman who lives across the street from Sowell calls City Hall to complain about a foul odor in the neighborhood, which she said smells like a dead person or animal.
And there we have it. I'm a member in good standing of the Great Unwashed and know very little of police work, but don't the police have cadaver dogs that track foul odors like this? Why isn't officialdom nosing around a little?  You know what I really think?  I think that most all cops who write police blogs wouldn't have missed this.  My reasoning goes to detail and a history of busting people.  You cops can sound off or not as you like, but did you ever find someone that you knew was dirty as hell and kept an eye on him or her until they either moved away, straightened up or got busted - maybe by you?  What the hell happened here?

Dec. 8, 2008: A bleeding woman runs up to a police car at East 116th Street and Kinsman. She tells police that Anthony Sowell asked her if she wanted to drink beer with him. When she said no, he punched her, choked her and tried to rip off her clothes. Police went to Sowell's home, went to the third floor and arrested him. Police later said no charges were filed because the woman did not want to talk to detectives.
Didn't police notice a stench in the house? Why wasn't the house searched?

Oct. 31, 2009: Sowell is arrested walking down Mount Auburn Avenue, about one mile from his home.
Okay, now police have Sowell safely tucked away in jail.

August 9, 2011: The State has spent about $600,000 on Sowell's trial.

This money is used to prosecute Sowell as well as defend him. There is no end to the spending in sight. What I cannot understand is why, with all the resources at the State's disposal, the State can't ascertain that Sowell is:
1. Legally sane, meaning that even though Sowell is mentally screwed up Sowell knew the difference between right and wrong at the time of the crime.
2. Able to assist in his own defense, meaning Sowell is not mentally retarded.

Because if the State in its infinite wisdom can assertain these two facts are absolutely true beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt (or whatever legal jargon should go in here) then take the son of a bitch out back and shoot him.  A firing squad is quick, easy and cheap.  In this case I don't think the State will have trouble finding volunteers.

Then down in Fort Lauderdale we have a 79 year old man shooting a 12 year old boy. Sounds kind of open and shut, until you read about it.

Police: Man, 79, Opens Fire On Boy, 12

Police: Man, 79, Who Shot Boy Was Trying To Scare Him

From the article: Jasmine Louis, Neal's [TJ Neal, the boy who was shot] cousin, said she wished McIvery had tried talking to the children's families before resorting to violence.
"If he had a problem he should have came to somebody's residence and said, 'Your children is knocking on my door,'" she said.

Oh yeah, that's really going to work out well. Take a look at the family on one of the film clips and just imagine what their reaction would be to a polite request to control their chimpanzees children. Beat and Release coined the term Shaniqua Theater for a reason.

79-year-old suspect in boy's shooting wants to go home

The kids were pestering and harassing the old man all day and he finally snapped. Here's a quote from his neighbor:
"That man has never bothered anyone," said Sara Dees, who lives next door. "I am not saying what he did was right, but those kids were bothering him all day."
His public defender asked for his release but the judge refused saying that he, the judge, has no choice but to keep the old guy incarcerated. This is bull fucking shit. The judge can do what ever he wants.  Who will gainsay the judge?  Besides, by the time the Reverend Al Sharpton and Jessee Jackson get wind of this and head into Fort Lauderdale to offer support for the victim's family, James McIvery will already be home.  Oh, but wait!  It seems that since McIvery is Black, that may present a problem for Sharpton and Company.  After all, if Whitey isn't involved, how can we successfully persecute anyone?  Of course McIvery did work all his life and continues to work as the primary care giver for his disabled daughter, so he's clearly a member of the capitalist pigs who are oppressing the underprivileged minority.  Any bets on Sharpton?

Moving right along, here's a nice road rage shooting.

Two teens shot in apparent act of road rage

Two teens shot and lightly wounded in a road rage incident. The story doesn't mention much about the events that lead up to the shooting, which is not unusual. Want to bet the kids in the Mitsubishi started a fracas they couldn't finish?  I could see this happening after a chorus of fuck you's, one finger salutes and threats with one car against the other.  And then, in a complete and final 'fuck you with a bucket of sand' one shot is fired at the car.  I hope the shooter gets away with it.

Here's one in my State, Ohio.  Seems some screwball got off his meds and went on a rampage, killing seven before he was stopped by an armed civilian.

Ex-cop says acting to stop Ohio gunman was natural From the article:
A former police officer credited with helping stop a gunman who police say killed seven people described feeling terrified but said he reacted the way he was trained.
"It just comes down to part of my DNA," Michael Lavery said in an interview Monday with WKYC-TV of Cleveland. He lives in the suburban Akron neighborhood where police said Michael Hance stalked people — including an 11-year-old boy — and gunned them down late Sunday morning. The rampage ended in a shootout with Lavery and police in which Hance, who had no previous criminal record before the outburst, was killed.
Pardon me. This does not involve an armed civilian - he's actually a former police officer. Note that the paper emphasizes the training, while Lavery says it's in his DNA.  Read the story and tell me if you think the description of the events may have been altered a little to protect Michael Lavery.  I agree with this, by the way, and I'd cheerfully buy Michael Lavery a drink and a dinner to go along with it.  What gets under my skin is the reference to his being a former police officer and not just an armed civilian who takes his civic duty seriously.

I hate commercial media.

If I haven't mentioned it, in my estimation:
Sowell should be taken out and ceremoniously executed, providing that he is adjudged legally sane and competent to stand trial (not retarded).
James McIvery should have his pistol returned to him and be sent home with a can of pepper spray - the large economy size can, good for crowd control and bar room brawls.  He should have to attend a CCW class that covers Florida law concerning when you can shoot and when you cannot.  At the same time, the Judge should tell Neal's family he was lucky this time, and to stay away from McIvery's house in the future or they can all go to jail for child neglect and the kids can get picked up by animal control.
Lean on the kids in the Mitsubishi until they come clean, then tell them they were lucky and to stop screwing around with people.  The next guy might have a shorter fuse and a better aim.  If the other driver can be found, tell him not to shoot at people without good reason.
Give Michael Lavery blanket immunity from persecution along with a gift certificate to a good restaurant for him and his family.

And that's my own opinion.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cleland's Outdoor World

Sometime in July, 2010 Cleland's Outdoor World was destroyed by fire, thus eliminating one of the few handgun ranges in the area.  I suspect the fire was deliberately set by The Brady Bunch, but so far the evidence is inconclusive.  Cleland's is a proprietorship and rather than throw in the towel they decided to rebuild in the same location.  Cleland's is currently having their grand re-opening, and the new store is nice.

I want to thank Maggie Thurber at Thurber's Thoughts for writing about Cleland's, Union Labor and Hypocrites.  I read Maggie Thurger's blog on a regular basis but rarely leave comments as I agree with almost everything she writes about and I have little or nothing meaningful to add.  The short of it is that the Cleland family gave the construction job for their new building to a relative who is in the construction business, but who uses non-union labor.  This caused the local labor unions to picket Cleland's new store, but I'm told they gave it up - possibly because the picketers felt it might be hazardous to their health to continue marching and blocking the driveway.  Did I mention that Cleland's is a gun store with an indoor pistol range?

Anyway, when I read the story on Maggie's blog I didn't see any way out of taking a run over to Cleland's and buying something, and I encourage everyone else to do the same.  These people are entrepreneurs (which the economy needs) and operate against political correctness every single day.  Please do what you can to support them.

Cleland's Outdoor World
In defiance of local labor unions and in the name of good clean fun, I think it's likely Big Mike and I will shoot at Cleland's this weekend.  I'll write a range report on the new facilities, which look very nice from the outside.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Legislature Averts Mistake

I was surfing around the web in an attempt to located a few old skeletons and found this gem hidden in the back pages somewhere: Florida Lawmakers Move to Repeal Buyer Protections. From the article:
They targeted ballroom dance instructors who preyed on lonely widows, a car repair industry that topped the state's consumer complaint list and sketchy movers holding possessions hostage for higher fees.
Ballroom dance instructors? Really? I'm incredulous.
With deregulation fever sweeping the state Capitol, movers, dance studios and car mechanics are among more than a dozen professions — many with checkered histories — included in a controversial bill reducing business licensing requirements.
Checkered history my grandmother's venochie. Let me tell you a little about that 'checkered' history.

I was 21 when I started in the dance business (teaching ballroom dancing) and I went to work for the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Toledo, Ohio.  After about ten months I was fired, mainly because I wasn't a homosexual and would not be converted by the staff and manager, all of whom were more than a little light in the loafers.  I went to work down the street for a rival franchise, Fred Astaire Dance Studio and the one thing they wanted to know was did I have a girlfriend.  I did, in fact, have three at the time.  They hired me and I stayed for a year or so before I got the itch to travel.  I headed to Florida for a few months where I met James R. Banta, President of Arthur Murray, Inc. and owner of about 30 dance studios across the country.  He and his wife Leona invited me and my girlfriend Migraine One over to their mansion in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where I learned that Jim and Leona had the Arthur Murray logo engraved on their doors, that they had two artificial hills in their front yard and that they were self-proclaimed good and honest people.  Jim Banta was a small man, about 5'10" or so, maybe 135 with rocks in his pockets.  He was affable and easy going.  Jim offered us a job at a studio he owned in Colorado Springs, Colorado and we accepted.  This is the same studio that is mentioned in his obituary (here's the obituary):
The last of the Bantas` dance studio franchises was sold in Colorado Springs, Colo., last year, [Jim's son] Bradford Banta said.
Indeed, and I know why it was the last to go.

I was about 24 years old when I headed West to Colorado Springs with Migraine One riding shotgun.  Once I arrived and started work at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Colorado Springs I damned near got more than I bargained for.  For openers the studio was on the second floor in a building at the edge of the downtown area.  There was a greasy spoon on the first floor and a four star restaurant across the street.  Physically, the studio looked a little strange to me.  You walked up the stairs and into the ballroom, which was normal, but then there were a dozen small rooms all around the perimeter of the ballroom, each having a door with a lock on it.  One of the rooms had a shower in it, but since the shower leaked into the kitchen of the restaurant it couldn't be used.  I worked there about a month before it dawned on me just exactly what had been here before: a massage parlor.  Colorado Springs is a military town, and I was working in what used to be a whore house.  Wonderful.  Now, I didn't know much about business back then, but even I could understand that having a dance studio in a closed up whore house was not going to be good for business.  And, by the way, Jim Banta knew about this situation and let it continue.

The students at Arthur Murray's were mainly women with an average age of about 70 and somewhere between 1000 and 3000 hours of instruction remaining.  That's right, I had a dozen or so old ladies, each with well over 1000 hours left to service out.  When I asked about this situation I was told that the previous owner of the franchise (whose name I don't remember) sold a bunch of lessons all in one year, maxed out his credit all over town - and by that I mean all over town, Arthur Murray's couldn't get credit anywhere and the existing debts remained unpaid - and then this entrepreneur packed his dance shoes and stole away quietly into the night.  Contractually, Arthur Murray, Inc. in Miami, Florida was liable to service out the lessons, but it took them two years and a credible threat from the attorney general of Colorado to get them to reopen the studio, which they finally did but in a new location - the deserted brothel.  The amount of liability in untaught lessons was staggering.  Even if a student took three hours a week in private lessons, that's over six years of lessons for 1000 hours of instruction remaining.  Most took one or two hours per week, and so were not likely to live long enough to actually use all the lessons they bought.  As president of Arthur Murray, Inc. Jim Banta either knew this situation was going on and approved of it, or should have known it was going on and was remiss in his duty to prevent it.

Then there was the current manager who was personally interviewed and hired by Jim Banta.  Dave Calle had been in the dance business for over twenty years and had a personal history that went back to the bad old days.  He knew several people from that era, including Mister San Diego who, coincidentally, I knew pretty well.  One afternoon I made a phone call on the Q.T. and asked San Diego about Calle and his history.  Uncharacteristically San Diego hedged around a little, which was not like him at all.  I continued to press for information.  Finally he told me that "There's nothing really wrong with hiring a guy like that, but you have to keep an eye on him."

"Keep an eye on him?  What do you mean, keep an eye on him?"

"Well, you just gotta keep an eye on him, that's all.  Hey, what the fuck, right?  Keep an eye on him."

I thanked him and hung up the phone.  I pondered this for a few days, then I nosed around a little, aided and abetted by Migraine One who loves to discover dirty laundry.  I'm not kidding about this, either.  She really gets off on it.  Anyway, I discovered that Calle was selling stock in a corporation named Acme One to the students in the studio.  Since I didn't know anything about stock I made another phone call, this time to my attorney Art Cline, the main attorney of what was then Cline, Bishoff and Cook, Attorneys at Law.  I spoke with Art for twenty minutes or so and learned that all corporations have to be registered to be legitimate, and I also learned who to call in Denver, Colorado to find out if the corporation in question was actually legitimate or not.  Surprise, surprise - Acme One turned out to be a figment of someone's imagination, which made the sale of stock in Acme One fraud.  That's a crime, by the way.  Then I called James Banta in Florida and told him what was going on. 

James complemented me on my probity and intestinal fortitude, and told me that he'd be sending his son Brad down to handle the problem.  He did, too, as Brad arrived the next day and fired poor Dave Calle without warning.  Then the county prosecutor's office got involved, and after talking to Calle for several hours the prosecutor stated that, "I deal with this kind of person every day, and after talking to David Calle for four hours I couldn't believe he'd actually done anything wrong.  He's good."  However, hard evidence is hard evidence.  The prosecutor did a basic background check on Calle and discovered, much to his surprised, that there were four outstanding warrants out for David Calle's arrest in Houston, Texas.  The charge?  Fraud.  It seems that this was not the first time Calle ever pulled a stunt like this one and got caught at it.

This kind of crime is much rarer today than it used to be, but the people are not.  Confidence men still exist, and although the law won't stop them before the fact it will make arrest and prosecution possible after the fact.  Any legislator who wants to remove buyer protections doesn't know what the hell he's talking about, or doesn't care.  Either way you look at it, that is one legislator that should be replaced as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Life: Mad Jack's Sunday Morning Service

I am a great fan of T.S. Elliot (Thomas Stearns for anyone who is idly curious) and my favorite poems feature Elliot's character Apeneck Sweeney, truly a man's man. I still occasionally read Mr. Elliot’s Sunday Morning Service. It cheers me up and helps me along my way. If you are serious about reading it I recommend a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, patience and time to think about the poem and what Elliot might have been driving at. Never mind what the critics say he meant – likely he didn't, and all critics are envious of Elliot anyway, mainly due to his vocabulary and complete disregard for anything someone who couldn't write thought about what he, Elliot, had written.

When I lived in Jacksonville my Saturday night was set aside for bacchanalias, and I was accompanied on my soirée dansante by two women I met in a Chinese laundry while I was in search of a unicycle. We'd finish the evening when the last club closed down, then we'd have breakfast and go swimming to cool off, as the nights can be quite warm in Jax. I'd sleep for a while and then get up an hour before dawn and drive to the beach where I'd watch the sun rise, and if you've never seen the sun rise over the ocean on a clear morning, it is truly worth seeing. I'd walk the beach a little, then I'd head down to the Sea Turtle Inn, a hotel on Jax beach. You see, the Sea Turtle had an outdoor veranda where you could enjoy your breakfast in the shade and be kept cool by a steady breeze from the ceiling fans. I could usually steal a Sunday paper from the stack carefully positioned for hotel guests as I made my way to the veranda, and the hotel had a breakfast bar that was in the process of being set up. I didn't mind; I'd get coffee and wait for Wilbur to get his omelet station assembled, and for Rob-Oh to get the side dishes laid out. They were good men, and Wilbur made the best omelets in Jacksonville. Marie would wait on me. She was a good waitress and good company. Marie's husband was retired military and they had lived in the Bahamas while he was in the service. They raised miniature pinschers, and Marie liked to search through the advertisements of my paper looking for dog food coupons and other deals.

Breakfast and my paper would occupy my time and energies until around 9:00 AM, when the Church people would arrive. Mr. and Mrs. Church and the 2.5 little Churches would invade en masse. The kids would arrive scrubbed within an inch of their young lives, and the little girls would all have their hair curled into fifty pound springs, light colored frilly dresses and patent leather mary jane shoes. The cute little boys would wear ill-fitting suits with white shirts containing enough starch to let the shirt double as aluminum siding and a tie that had been surreptitiously loosened all through Church service and was now resting askew under their collar. All the kids had been rousted out early and fed candy and caffeine all through service, then forced to sit still under penalty of extreme death. Serves them right, the nasty little animals.

The Church families were always surprised to see each other. “Oh, we didn't know you were going to be here!” and “Oh, you'll have to come and sit with us!” What's the surprise? They just left the same Church, they know the other family usually comes here, so what's the deal? By the time the second family decides to sit outside, I collect my things and head for the men's room where I change into my swim suit and swap my beach towel for my Levis, shirt and shoes. Sometimes the men's room is closed to keep the bums out and I have to get it opened. Other times the janitor is pretending to clean it – I threw him out on one occasion. I use sun screen with an SPF of 2500 and plenty of it, and I'm still careful of the Florida sun. I've seen some nasty burns and being in the shade does not always help.

Some days I would rent two beach chairs and an umbrella from the hotel, and other days I'd just set up my own chair on the beach. Either way I'd settle back with a nice book and some water and alternate reading with people watching. Young girls would walk along the water's edge, eying the life guards and trying not to be self-conscious about the new bikini they hadn't had the courage to wear until today. Usually the bottom didn't quite fit correctly, so they'd reach back and pull it down over the buns every dozen strides or so, and spend a lot of time looking behind them as if they were expecting to see someone who never quite materialized. Others would try talking to the life guards, but when it was discovered that the life guards were serious about having some quick, recreational sex, they'd back off and keep walking down the beach. Older girls would either wear bikinis that fit or the girls knew the bikini didn't fit and was fine with that. Occasionally the life guard would radio the police about a bathing beauty exposing too much skin for the Florida law. Bastards.

I'd take a swim every hour or so and reapply the sun screen. Around 1:00 PM I'd start getting too warm and so would ambulate up to the hotel cabana and have a beer at the Tiki bar. The bartender was a good guy and there were sometimes women around the pool who could be induced to come over and socialize. I was generally mildly interested, but the bartender was a real hound and needed a wing man. After one or two beers, I'd head out and drive back to Jax, stopping at my favorite marina along the way, Harbor Lights. The live aboards would be up and have accomplished whatever they were going to do for the day and so would congregate at the Tiki bar outside. These people were interesting to talk to. One man I met was gearing up for a trip to China, and another had been sailing most of his adult life. He'd been around the world several times and didn't mind talking about it. I have a drink and some food and stay a couple hours, then finally head home and take a nap.

These days my Saturday night ends earlier, about 11:00 or so. I don't get up as early in the morning, I don't see the sun rise. I sometimes go to adult Sunday School with Mom, and I almost always go to Church with her. Mom likes that, and making Mom happy is important to me. That said, I wonder if I'm better off with my current routine. I kind of think I'm not.

Along the garden-wall the bees
With hairy bellies pass between
The staminate and pistilate,
Blest office of the epicene.

Sweeney shifts from ham to ham
Stirring the water in his bath.
The masters of the subtle schools
Are controversial, polymath.