Monthly Archives: August 2017

What’s Mine is Urine

 Took the first pee test of my life yesterday; a new requirement for re-upping a low-level security clearance. And… well, I needn’t have studied all night for it!
All that Grey’s stuff on ureters, bladders, kidney function? It wasn’t on the test! Jus’ kidding of course.
But seriously, I hadn’t much clue going in about the ‘depth’ of the inquiry. Maybe I expected an exhaustive work-up on kidney function, creatine and Billy Rubin, stuff like that there? Didn’t happen.
Luckily I don’t use any drugs, so no need to frantically drink Drano (or other internet advice) to ‘cleanse’ my piss.
One thing I did do was to studiously not drink a beer for 24 hours (!). Took a bit of will-power, but then that’s what they need in an occasionally ‘life-and-death’ operative, no?

Four Panel Strips:


After waiting two hours, all the time afraid to ‘drain my radiator’, I was invited to fill a plastic cup. Un-watched. (OK, I was too busy to look for sneaky cameras)
The pleasant official then dipped the ‘miracle of chemistry’ labelled strip into the cup for ten seconds, and that was it. Asked me to dump the rest of the precious data into the toilet. End of Test?

Came home and, as is my wont, became, within an hour, an arm-chair Googlexpert on drug-test-tech:
The four carefully-prepared ‘fingers’ of the test strip are each ready to scream ‘Gevalt!’ upon detecting their own family of false drugs: opiates, THC, benzo-diazopines, amphetemines, etc. Companies and agencies who are willing to fork over bigger bucks can buy strips which also look for alcohol and the wide range of synthesized drugs folks apparently take these days.
I now doubt that my test gave a hoot about ethanol, but no big deal, my abstinence saved a meaningful pile of shekels in any event.
Looking for a truly salient point here:
Yo, I can buy the goddamn strip myself, online!
And I’m seriously considering it.
Next time someone asks me to sign off on a lucrative (for me or for him?) construction contract…
Or I’m being accused by a deranged Israeli motorist who just plowed into my rear bumper of having ‘you backed into me in Reverse!’
Or, hey, who knows, even a predatory woman declaring love at first sight.. (Not one of my immediate problems; this example included as a pubic-service announcement)

I shall pull out my handy test kit. (25 units fot $49.95)
And request, nay ‘require‘ an on the spot urine sample!
Hey ‘Go with the flow’. In today’s drug-addled world, I at least have a right to know what my adversary was high on.
Please, someone tell me where I’m wrong here?



My new Orange friend

This little mouse-sized kitten was actually dropped squarely on my head from the roof over my back porch by its stupid(?) mother.
Child of a second-litter-in two-months from a truly  horrid feline, who breaks into the house nightly to savage my shelves and overturn the trash-can. A few nights ago she pried open the refrigerator door and took one rabid bite out of each hot dog, along with doing an un-planned ‘de-frost’.

So I wasn’t in the mood to meet her progeny. Even thought of desperate measures, but wisely relented . I don’t need any more Manson murders on ‘repeat’ when I try to sleep these days.


The mother totally ignores the waif, and realizing that it will die on my watch without intervention… hey, I had a choice?
An hour or so in my lap and we were already ‘bonded‘. And ten minutes ago I watched the miracle of life as the junior carnivore learned, in ‘real time’ to eat canned chicken hearts(!) This event has got to be one that the little bugger will tell its grandchildren: he went from ‘Oy!’ to ‘Oh boy!’ in the span of one smoke and a quarter can of beer.
(Yes, he might as well get used to the ‘micro-environment’ and his Savior’s time-keeping system.
Purring ensued (probably another ‘first’ for the guy, and he is as we speak sleeping like the baby he is. The End (for now).

ADD: maybe the impetus for my burst of inter-species compassion was noting, this morning, yet another ‘Cute Kitty Pix’ Word Press site’s subscribing here. I now have about 20 of them. I don’t know, I fantasize that this last ‘random fan’ knew somehow that Jxsolberg was a sucker for lost little furry orange purr-balls. And I damn well don’t want to disappoint her. ‘Her’?    Guess that’s another stereotype I need to work on overcoming.

I’ll know more, perhaps, after I send the person a nice thank-you and a link to this post.
Dumb Word-play Department: The kitten above, quite the precocious type, sent me a LETTER, explaining that she was from a LATER LITTER, and, knowing her criminal Mom, decided that she could either become just another LOOTER, or, alternatively, LOITER around until she caught my attention (and my heart.) She confided that she much preferred the LATTER, and awaited my response.
Like I wrote in a song here a while back: “What was I supposed to do?”
(Think I’ll tag this as ‘Cute Kitty Pix’, just for kicks. )

Fluffy Derivative post: “My Mission”

Growing up surrounded mainly by cows, I surveyed the marketing landscape and developed eventually an intuitive feel for “derivative: what’s this?”
My Theoretical model, astonishingly close the those of Newton and Leibnitz, had “Us” as the Prime Movers, followed by the Dairy, which came and emptied the 8000 gallon milk tank for some poorly-understood financial gain, and at the bottom, the Hush-Puppy-ied parasites in New Jersey ‘ranch homes’ who parasitically profited by betting on the ups and downs of the price of milk. I called these human losers ‘second derivative-niks’. Zappa, famous for ‘They can only Edit, they can’t Create’, must have had an even-more derogatory name for them.
Update: the cows themselves, in a policy statement, have now shifted the derivative statuses left-ward; In their pantheon, we farmers were the first-order parasites, they claimed, disingenuously side-stepping the question of what they intended to do  with the tons of milk left after feeding 1/100th of it to their stupid calves.
And all this above aside is simply a preface to my ‘derivative’ post here, which is not ‘Content’, but rather ‘Talking about marketing Content’. Could be worse; I could ‘talk about talking about..’ Oops, I already did!

The Post:
I shall now peek briefly through the ‘fourth wall’ here to share my personal thoughts on blogging with Word Press.
For you lucky Readers, this is the equal of having the actor playing Hamlet suddenly ‘break character‘, turn to the gathered rabble, and confess:
“Yeah, man, I say ‘go with…um… ‘Not to Be’, End of story, and I get to go home early and play with my Nintendo!”
I am blessed with a trio of delightful readers/commenters here. One could do far worse: (I recently came upon a lovely site, a fellow from Pakistan, who has posted careful and thoughtful articles for ‘Five Years!’ with only one Comment. ) Needless to say I am, as we speak, working to address that “got to be frustrating” situation.
El, who has saved me from suicide during equally dark times on Xanga, would likely say something true and wall-hanging-ready: “Get used to it,”
Still, I can’t help but wonder where the community of inspired and empathetic ‘content-creators’ hangs out these days?
‘Arse-buch?’ ‘Twatter’? ‘Instagrum’?
‘Yes, Johnny, this is not your Momma’s Xanga-daze’, I tell myself. No more seeing my face daily in the Front Page, and knowing that folks were, at least, aware that I’d had something new to say.
Here I could announce my death and it would be years until someone would suggest at least putting the sun-bleached bones in, like, a box.
So, what motivates a fellow to continue to write?
Three perfectly fine reasons:
1) The joy of seeing one’s creation formatted and preserved for posterity.
2) The feeling of obligation toward anyone enamored of your persona to continue to broadcast ‘vital signs’. Heaven knows we lose contact with so many once-vital cyber-acquaintances here daily; my job is to not be among those ‘RIP?’ statistics.
And 3) “So what else ya gonna do with yer ‘killer’ neologisms, palindromes, ‘hit’ songs? Stuff ’em in a bottle to toss into the polluted Mediterranean?”

And finally (sarcasm alert) Donnie Drumpf, my hero on all things metaphysical, pointed out a few days ago that every issue has two side, each bearing equal blame.
(To paraphase Wm. F. Buckley, who was being equally sarcastic:
‘What’s the big difference between a guy pushing a cripple into the path of an on-coming truck.. and the guy who frantically pulls her out of danger’s path? After all, both of them are “Pushing ladies in wheel-chairs around.”

Trying to go with the flow here, I’ll state on the record that, while all the absent ‘Non-Readers’ are guilty of a real ‘sin of omission’. (SAD!’) I am of course just as culpable for having deviously provided reading material for them not to read.
For that I do apologize. Perhaps my scheduled lobotomy will help to still my verbal demons.
Update: I may even cancel the procedure if I hear from enough appreciative readers.
Wow, what a perverted ‘site-optimization’ strategy I’ve embraced!

Where’s Solberg? Maps plus scary Zoom-out

 I arrived late for the party.

Slightly embarrassed, I lingered on the front porch a minute preparing my defense/excuse. (For ‘flat tire‘ I usually ‘oil and soot’ my hands a bit on the car’s undercarriage; works every time; plausible veracity.)

Though distracted, I none-the-less clearly heard a group of my acquaintances inside asking each other: ‘Where’s Solberg?’
And as luck (or fiction) would have it, I wuz ready!

“Here”, I declaimed, pulling out Map One.

sollberg composite map

After a quick pass-around, the gang was divided:

“Germany?”, one fellow ventured.
“No, asshole, it’s Austria”, ‘Bucky’ corrected him.

“Zoom out, an’ I’ll tell you if I wuz right..”, was the quiet challenge from ‘Asher, something of a world-traveler by local standards.
Map Two:



My next ‘Exhibit’ proved him right. “I knew it was Switzerland!” he almost yelled triumphantly.
A few of the other guests approached, smelling an interesting debate.

“So where the fuck is Switzerland?”, asked ‘Bob’, an American tourist just in from Omaha, dressed so perfectly in ‘period-accurate’ that central-casting couldn’t have out-done his costume.

“It’s, like, ‘over there’, Bucky, feeling somewhat re-invigorated taunted him.

“It’s like ‘not in Kansas'” he added, feeling his oats.

“Omaha’s in Nebraska!”, the tourist retorted, defending his honor.

“Europe, the ‘Eastern Hemisphere” I said calmly, feeling like the ‘student teacher’ who hadn’t been warned that his class was ‘problem-cases’.

I ‘solved’ Bob’s ‘East of what? ‘question with my next Map Three:

from moon

“Nice picture.” Asher asserted, “Who took it?”

“I don’t know, to tell the truth,” I replied, “maybe Buzz Aldrin?”

At that mention, everything changed!
I hadn’t known that this was to be a ‘costume party’!
The guests, those with recognizable arms and legs oozed in my direction, eyes (stalked or otherwise) focused on my sheaf of maps.



“Aha, finally, that one looks familiar!” a synthesized voice poured from the chest-mounted implanted speaker of a creature who tested my ‘nerves-of-steel upon meeting aliens. At least he was green. Somehow comforting, in the absence of other re-assuring familiar signs, like, oh, a ‘Lee Cooper’ tee-shirt.

“I watched you-uns guys with my Predecessor, on the beach, back when I was just a Naiad“. He mused out loud. “Never had the ‘constituents’ to afford a better-resolution See-er. The long-delayed thrill here cause me almost to urinate in my suit.” he shared, and I learned on the spot, blindingly, that some emotions are galactic-universal.

OK, I saw the tentacles slithering toward us from the dining room. Unbelievably, I felt no fear. The host, walking right behind ‘him’/ ‘her’/ ‘it‘, in jeans and cut-offs, hand-signaled me that ‘It’s OK’.
Shaking, I managed to pull out the next map:

milky way

“So where’s Solberg?” the creature asked, in a voice which entered my brain clearly, just not precisely through my ears.
“Kinda right ‘here’!” I said, and felt, before I finished the sentence, that the sentient being had already ‘groked’ me.
Why, you-uns guys is right next door” his speech-creator came up with the perfect colloquialism. “Back in Andromeda we’ve been watching you spin for fucking zoubles!” he joked (?).
Seeing me somewhat mystified by the terminology, he tentacled a button on his right ‘shoulder; that’s what they’re called?‘ and explained, suddenly a bit emotion-less:
“A ‘zouble’ is 10 to the 90th power Hydrogen transitions.”
Well, that cleared ‘that’ up!, I thought. Jezuz, I wonder what they call Pi?
Ok, brave as I am, I left before the‘Dust’ on the floor reached my shoes . The host, proud of my sturdy demeanor in the face of truly WTF? exposure, gave me a small salute as he saw me inch carefully, backward, out the door.
Bucky and Asher were almost finished puking on the lawn as I ran to my car.
Ever the masochist, I did have a fleeting chance to ask the host, waving good-bye at the door: ‘What’s with the Dust, bro?”

Looking ‘cosmically sad’ for once, he waved me off: “You don’t wanna know.. “ and added, as I started the Subaru: ‘It’s not on your maps!”
So there, (whew!).
Any Reader who wanted to know ‘Where’s Solberg?’ Hope this answers your question.

What: There never even was an eight-ball???

Ok, I have just now had a rare Eureka moment in connection with the quandary described in the above post!
Dripping wet, I pull on a pair of pants (this time) and, finding no one on the street who cares, return home to at least document it on Word Press:

The problem of Simultaneity, alias “so what time is it ‘really‘ on the Sun right now?” is a simple result of common sense extrapolating into the un-extrapolate-able zone, so to speak.
If we remember the scene above of the poor fellow hammering stakes into the ground on a far-away hill, and the sounds of his hammer-hits being delayed as seen by us the observers, we have no real problem with that. Anymore than we have with thunder following lightning by quite a few seconds. Sound is kinda sluggish, as velocities go these days. And light being faster, indeed ‘instant’ for all practical purposes on the Earth’s surface, we assume that the post-driver we see with ‘our own lyin’ eyes’ is ‘doing-it’ in ‘real time’.
But then Light was discovered to have a finite speed itself. Ugh. The timing of Jupiter’s moons appears to ‘advance’ as the big planet gets closer to the Earth in its travels, among other early hints.
“No problem” we say, “‘what we see is ‘what happened around Jupiter an hour or so ago’.” A simple repeat of the ‘speed-of-sound’ workaround. Everybody’s happy…
Until… ‘A punch in the gut this way comes!’. Maybe from a black hole?

Yes indeed, from a black hole, (or, as they prefer to be called ‘a differently-pigmented hole’)
Hard to say anything nice about a black hole. In fact you can’t (or ‘aren’t allowed‘ to say much at all about ’em. Ha, forget about what’s up over (down? ) there this Tuesday afternoon August 15th 2017. Deep inside the ‘nothingness we ‘see’, other than a froth of doomed matter circling the drain awaiting ‘nothing-i-zation’, well, Time and Space have stopped being and happening.
“Because-a why?” we protest.
“Well”, say the dancing wu-li physicists, “because even information is crushed inside the singularity.” It don’t matter how we feel about it, there no longer any ‘there‘ there. A cosmic ‘nothing-burger, no ketchup, no fries’.
Ok, fighting for naive realism and common sense, I grudgingly agree, but make an exception, un-wisely, for my ‘I still say it moves‘ view of the Sun:
“We’ll know what’s happening on the Sun ‘now’ in about eight minutes”, I declaim. *looks at watch*

A deafening buzzer sounds! I am led out of the Academy of Modern Physics in shackles.
‘About what you cannot know, nothing must be said’, I speed-read the wall-hanging on my way to the paddy-wagon.
“Somewhere in Pennsylvania at this very moment, doves are mourning my incarceration”, I console myself from my cell.
The Warden, a lascivious smirk on his repulsive face, bursts my ‘common sense’ bubble with diabolic glee:
“Sorry, sucka, my brother-in-law  shot ’em all a half a second ago!”

Eight minutes behind the Eight-Ball since the morning I wuz born

Note: This is a serious post about, like, cosmology and shit like that there, once you get past the infantile jokes.
8:13 AM 17 April 1949, Harrisburg, PA. (The Population Registry on the Sun clocked my birth in as “8:21”. We’ll get to that shortly.)

In a recent ‘What’s your favorite star?’ CNN poll our Sun scored a narrow majority, (67%), edging out Vega, Arcturus, and Beetlejuice, (popular these days) which were offered as options. A full 23% of the respondents declined to answer, citing either ‘No opinion’ or their objection to The Sun being included in a ‘star-popularity poll.’
But frankly, deplorables, our beloved solar plexus, without which we’d be toast in a New York minute, is, in fact a star, just like the other quintillion+ burning plasma-bags we see, but from an awesome distance.
Our own BFF star, viewed approx 150,000,000 kilometers from our front-and-center seats, is a reliable sight every morning. Tickets to view the nearest competitive attraction, Proxima Centauri, from the same close-up vantage-point are selling as we speak at a less-than-brisk rate. ‘Price-considerations’ are perhaps the main market factor. Still, with current technology, an investment of merely ‘1000 times the net output of the human race since what’s-her-name, Leaky’s skeleton?’, plus the proviso that for that price you only get a guarantee that your great-great-great-grand-daughter will be able to peer at it kinda wet-blankets the demand.
But that’s not why I’m writing this. No, there is another more immediate (and conceptual) problem an’ it’s keeping me awake nights. Read on:

You’ve all certainly watch as a fellow way off in the distance hammers steel posts into the ground. You hear the clang as metal strikles metal, but with a ‘speed-of’sound’ delay we common-sense Earthlings take for granted. I’ve even seen the poor bloke finish hammering and then heard a series of ‘clangs’ even after he’s already grabbed a beer.
Were he driving posts into the Sun , the delay-calculation might look something like this, assuming sound travelling in a vacuum, which it don’t:

Ok, the distance between the Sun and the Earth, 149.6 million kilometers needs to be divided by the distance sound travels in one second, 344 meters. (of course, in the Earth’s atmosphere, but we’re just having fun here, right?
The result is a time of travel of four hundred thirty-three thousand, one hundred and thirty-nine seconds. (433, 139)
With sixty second to a minute, sixty minutes to an hour, and 24 hours to a day, we can didvide the seconds tally by 60X60X24=86,400 seconds per day.
Thus, the sound of the fellow hammering on the Sun takes 5,013 days to get here. Hmm.. better than the USPS?

But seriously, even the Light, (by which we see, from Earth, the poor sun-burned dim-wit, duh) takes its good old time to reach us.
Or does it?
There are two schools of thought on this, and I can’t decide in which one to enroll.
 The first, (I’ll call it Common sense) simply decides that what we see happening on the Sun is what happened there 8 minutes ago. The fucking thing coulda super-nova-ed already, while you were on the toilet, and, without a proper notice, rendering wiping your butt your last act on the planet.
However…the demi-god Albert Einstein, who was presumably above prosaic ‘calls of nature’, stood on the shoulders of Newton and tried, really tried, to show us the Second school-of-thought, a bitter pill to swallow but mathematically robust and un-arguable.
The speed of Light, he gently implied, is not only ‘as fast as it gets; no, it’s more fundamentally ‘The Speed of Reality'(!)
Take a second here, and a deep breath. He is in fact dis-allowing any naive statements about events separated by distance and time. Which proviso solidly include my ‘I see the Sun as it was 8 minutes ago’. There is no universal ‘Now’, no matter how much our instinct clings to the concept.
At least we are not alone in our misery; the Alpha Centurions, four-plus years of light travel-time from us, are not to be pitied for still dancing in the streets to ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and the ‘now-only-a-fond-memory’ TV broadcasts from Earth of Obama’s re-election.
On the contrary! Their ‘Reality’, as arguably ‘real’ as ours, does not, and cannot, include the disgusting elevation of an illiterate, perverted, racist piece of shit to the United States presidency. Don’t you envy them already?
Disclaimer: who knows what scoundrel those 7-tentacled lizards might have elected by them-selves? But in our Reality, it didn’t happen… yet. Whew!
Finally: So what’s with the eclipse (Aug 21; be there) ? Does it bother anyone but me that the Moon, one ‘light-second’ away is slated to block the light which the Sun sent our way eight minutes ago? Kinda sounds like shooting ahead of a duck in flight.
But then, this whole subject spins me in metaphysical and cosmological circles. Some nights I couldn’t even shoot an elephant in my pajamas. How (when?) he got in there, yeah, that’s an easier question. I envy Groucho.


Meanwhile: Drive-Time Music: ‘Hopalong’, While reading the Paltry Press.

This Instrumental saved us on a ‘Southern-Tier Tour. Anyone know how muggy Alabama nights can get?
I’ll always remember ‘Che’ Cartafalsa‘, the Italian-Catholic drummer, satisfyingly self-taught. We used the tune as an ‘intro’, an ‘outro’, and also, in extremis, a ‘metro’, when he sensed that we had lost connection with the audience, and needed a band-huddle’ to plot resuscitation strategy.
Working title was ‘Hopalong Casualty’, but he just announced into the mike: “Hop! a-one, two, three, four and…”
That’s about it. No words, so I don’t need to psychoanalyze my intentions. Enjoy!