Archive for the ‘Mood Indigo’ Category

Back to the Salt Mine

February 20, 2008

Have you ever had a dream that was so amazing that you were pissed off when you woke up from it and realized that you were back in your crummy life and had to get up and go to your crummy job?

That would be how I feel today.  If we could have figured out a way to stay on the Forgotten Coast permanently, we would have.

We always have the hope that by the time we retire, government entitlements will be in place to buy every senior citizen a home in Florida.

Sunrise at St. George Island

They Say Dogs Resemble Their Owners

November 6, 2006

Sgazzetti sifted through his voluminous archives and found this great shot of Maggie towards the tail end of a New Year’s Eve party.

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In the wee small hours of the morning of the first day of 1993, Maggie was sufficiently lubricated to howl along to Auld Lang Syne.

Unfortunately, she was our designated driver that night.

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“Oh Maggie, I wished I’d never seen your face”

November 1, 2006

In late 1991, there was a lot going on. Bill Clinton announced he was going to run for President. The Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill sleazefest was in full swing. Saturday Night Live was in one of its increasingly rare good phases. Nirvana had just released Nevermind. Kenny Rogers opened a chain of chicken restaurants. Life was good.

To celebrate our good fortune at being at this point in history, and to fill our home with the pitter-patter of tiny feet, the (then) Mrs. Sarcastro and I decided to get a puppy. It couldn’t just be any mutt, mind you. This dog was to be not only our surrogate child, but a living symbol of what sort of pet defined us as people. Much like so many others have become a slave to the IKEA nesting instinct.

Being practical and sensible people, we opted for a Siberian Husky. After all, we were living in the swampy lowlands of the South Georgia coastal region. Shouldn’t everyone below the Gnat Line have a sled dog? It was to be our first dog as full-grown adults.

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We picked out a feisty bitch with beautiful blue eyes. The amount we paid for our AKC registered new pet, was in retrospect, an outrageous amount of money for a dog. We named her Sugar Magnolia, as we were in a Grateful Dead phase at the time. More commonly, we called her Maggie.

Maggie was a handful as a puppy. We trained her as best as one could train a Husky. They are fairly independently minded dogs. The Wikipedia says, ” Siberian Huskies can be challenging to train due to their strong will and stubborn nature. Many times they will refuse to perform a task until they see a greater reason than simply appeasing their owner.” If there was ever a more apt description of not only the dog, but of the relationship between me and (then)Mrs. Sarcastro, I haven’t heard it.

Another description of the breed’s temperament was, ” They should be kept in secure enclosures as they will not always come to call and will often disappear on long hunting trips; they cannot be allowed to run loose.”

That, I can say without exaggeration, is the greatest understatement since Veni, Vidi, Vici.

This damn dog would not come when called if there was another option. In the house, she was as obedient and compliant as any well trained dog. She was also an accomplished escape artist. If you combined Snake Plissken, Steve McQueen and Houdini, you would have some idea of what sorts of daring skill she possessed. Once out of the house and running around on the street, she would make it a point to run away farther if her foolish family tried to approach. Usually, the kindness of strangers and clandestine trickery would have to be employed to get her back in the house. This used to cause me great stress given the amount of money that I paid for the damn dog. I wasn’t about to let this $250 dog go running wild and get hit by a car.

When I was discharged from the Army, we were moving to Atlanta. The movers had our stuff and were headed towards our little rental house in Forest Park. It was up to Maggie and I to finish cleaning up the house in Ft. Stewart and drive up to meet the movers and (then) Mrs. Sarcastro.

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I had only traveled a couple of miles down desolate I-16, when my left rear tire blew out. No sooner had I opened the door and planted my boot on the pavement, did Escape-O The Wonder Dog shoot out into interstate traffic. She was gallivanting across lanes of traffic and onto the grassy median without a care in the world. My heart was in my throat as she dodged in between oncoming cars in a 70 mph zone.

After what seemed like hours of trying to coax her into the car without either bursting into tears or going on a dog killing spree, I got her back in the Buick by opening a can of dog food. The changing of the tire is a story for another time. Suffice it to say, one shouldn’t drive from Statesboro to Atlanta on one of those poker chip spare tires.

Maggie went with us on camping trips and vacations. One trip along the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail, she literally wore herself out. I had one of those doggie saddlebag deals and made her carry her own food. We went up and down some mountains, getting several miles in that day. Once we made camp, she was too tired to walk. She dragged herself along on her belly to get around the campsite, unable to support herself on her exhausted legs. I took her off the tether as she obviously wasn’t going anywhere. Five minutes later she was hauling ass down the trail, laughing that we had fallen for such an obvious ruse. I chased her until she collapsed, unable to go any farther.

When Mrs. Sarcastro became Ex-Mrs. Sarcastro, she got the dogs. We had added another to our family in the interim. She wound up with the house and yard. So it was for the best. One of Maggie’s better qualities was her ability to sense when we were unhappy. Whenever the fighting between us got ugly, as it did with increasing frequency towards the inevitable end of the marriage, she would insinuate herself in between us and put her head in one of our laps. It broke my heart to leave that dog.

Whenever I would come to visit, she seemed to recognize her old Daddy. She would always come up and hang out with me exclusively during anythime I happened to be at my former home. The last time I saw her she was blind in one eye and moving pretty slow.

Not slow enough that she didn’t get out the back door and run off down the road. Her new dad and I tracked her down at the neighbors and cornered her so she couldn’t get away. I took a certain amount of evil glee in winning the unspoken competition of who would get Maggie first.

A week or so ago, Ex-Mrs. Sarcastro had to put Maggie down. It was time. Maggie had become incontinent, deaf and lethargic. She was at the end of her string. The Ex, who was totally overcome with the thought, couldn’t bear to take her in and had her husband (which makes him my ex-husband-in-law or something) do it. He has been with Maggie for the last six years. He couldn’t stop weeping either. Maggie would have turned fifteen this week.

Nothing would make me happier than to chase her one more time.

When you get home, give your dog a treat and rub her belly. Maggie loved that.

The photos above are not really of Maggie.  They aren’t even the same dog.  I don’t have any pictures of her in digital form and these are the next best thing.

Not Our Finest Hour

September 11, 2006

Not everyone is a hero.  We can’t all rise to the occasion.  Sometimes tragedies bring out the best in people; more than likely we see the worst.  We’ve seen it happen in New Orleans.  We’ve seen it happen countless other times.

I’m not going to bash the current administration or the previous one.  The current glut of 9/11 movies will be safe from any sort of review from me.  I’m not interested in anything they have to say.  Several of the surviving spouses of those killed may want to take a long look in the mirror and figure out what their priorities are.  But, I’m not the one to tell them what is wrong with their values.

Five years ago, my day started like any other day.  I got up early and enjoyed catching Imus before work.  In the middle of an Imus rant about how people who tail gate at football games are the biggest losers you would ever want to see, MSNBC broke in to show the North Tower on fire.  Conjecture ran from a large electrical fire to a private plane accidentally crashing into the building.  The word "terrorist" had yet to be uttered.  This was about 7:45.  When the Today show reruns the morning in its entirety, see if you catch the part where Katie Couric argues with an eyewitness about what she saw.  Katie, being a network journalist, had a far better sense of the unfolding events than some goddamn cleaning woman who saw it with her own goddamn eyes, but didn’t have her own television show.

Fifteen minutes later, I’m still trying to believe that it was an accident, when the next plane careened into the South Tower on live television.  It happened so fast that MSNBC cut away right after it happened.  Lester Holt had to say something like, "Hey, did another plane just hit the building?"

If ever in life you wished that you had super powers, it was probably that moment.

I went to work.  Nothing got done.  Everyone was glued to a radio or trying to get news online.  All the servers for the networks and cable news channels had crashed in the rush for information.  The horrors escalated the longer we listened.  I told my Pakistani boss he may want to lay low for a couple of days.

A friend who was with the Red Cross had coincidentally scheduled a blood drive over at Meharry.  I got over there once it became clear that there was nothing we could do.  The line was out the door and down the block.  My friend told me that there was no way she could get me in any time soon.

So, I went to my bartending night job.  By now the crazy rumors had hit a crescendo.  People were stuck in town as their flights had been cancelled.  Someone said a bomb threat had been called in downtown.  Al-Qaeda was determined to blow up The Wildhorse Saloon.  All kinds of crazy shit.  Everyone was on edge.

The bar was packed at 4 pm.  People had nowhere to go.  A few of my regulars and I started to discuss the death toll.

"There has to be at least 50,000 dead," Tony declared.

"You are out of your fucking mind," I shot back.  "They got a lot of people out before the towers came down.  No way it is that many."

Philip joined in, "Yeah, there has to be only, like 10,000 dead."

"No.  Five Thousand Dead.  Tops," I declared as keeper of the bar and resident know-it-all.

Tony was adamant that the death toll was extremely high, "I’m telling you, 25-50 thousand!"

This went on for a while.  Others at the bar started to listen in and give their two cents here and there.  It got to the point where we were arguing and I started throwing out crazy death tolls from Antietam to Vietnam.  Finally, I had enough of the conjecture without consequence.  "I got a hundred bucks that says the death toll isn’t more than five thousand!"

"I’ll take that action!!"

"Yo, I’m in for that!"

That’s when the two guys at the other end of the bar couldn’t take it any more.  Apparently, they were New Yorkers.  They had friends who worked at the WTC.  They didn’t know if their friends were dead or alive.  They did not appreciate our tone or our ghoulish betting pool.  I apologized profusely.  We meant no disrespect.  After a day full of unrelenting horror and an uncertain future, this was just our way of blowing off a little steam.

One guy was cool with that.  The other one wasn’t.  He started calling into question our manhood, parentage and patriotism.  Which is not a cool thing to do.  Not just because I had apologized for our thoughtless outburst, but because Tony used to fight in those Tough Man competitions and does not appreciate having his manhood, parentage and patriotism called into question.  He had a bout scheduled in Murfreesboro the next week, and wouldn’t have minded a tune up fight in the bar.  When it became clear he was going to beat them both down if they said another word, I was able to defuse the situation and they paid their tab and left. 

Fast forward to the next weekend.  A group of us guys had a kayak/canoe/camping trip planned for the Buffalo River.  We were in Kroger on Friday after 9/11, I guess. Getting all the food stuffs we would be taking down the river with us.  It seemed like as good a time as any.  The television had been telling us for days that one of the other signs of the Apocalypse was nigh.  Getting out in the woods and away from any sources of news would be a good way to de-stress for a couple of days.  As we did our shopping, the store intercom started saying something about remembering the victims and something, something something.  I really didn’t catch it all.  I was there to buy food, not to listen to Kroger pat themselves on the back by telling me that 5% of their after tax profits today were going to be donated to the Red Cross or whatever.

We completed our shopping and joking about.  The girl at the register was giving me the stink eye as she rang us up.  As I paid, she spit out, "I don’t really appreciate you disrespecting our moment of silence for the victims of 9/11."

"I’m here to buy groceries.   If you are in the "moment of silence" business, maybe you should change your signs," my inner monologue said.  However, the words that actually came out were more like, "Um, yeah? Well, we…uh…you know…this isn’t…we didn’t…so what!"  Which wasn’t the snappy comeback I obviously wished for.

Five years later I can’t watch those towers come down again.  I can’t think about the people on the planes.  I can’t watch the Pentagon burning.  I saw it then and I don’t want to see any of it again.  The deaths of those people will not be forgotten, but they don’t need to be constantly relived.  I’ll pass on all the the remembrances and tributes this week.  

I realize now that I’ve hardened my heart to the events of September 11, 2001 because I can’t take watching those people die like that.  I couldn’t take it then and I still don’t like to think about it.

We can’t all be heroes.

In Memoriam

December 31, 2005

A lot of good folks left us this past year.  No, I don’t mean victims of natural disasters, soldiers and civilians in war-torn corners of the globe, or celebrities whose stars have shone brightly then faded to black.  Well, maybe a form of local celebrity is what I mean.  There have been some folks who have shuffled off the blogger coil and gone to join the choir of commenters invisible.

Mr. Roboto of Thursday Night Fever:  He is a class act and still appears on the web every now and again.  Personal and professional obligations put him off blogging about the Nashville nightlife (for now).  So his site is down, but hopefully not out.  The people he entrusted the TNF franchise with failed him and failed us all.

Jon Jackson of Crap and Drivel:  This guy who I’ve never met got me into blogging.   I would comment here and there, but needed to figure out how I could set up my own site and such.  I came across Jon’s rants and immediately knew what needed to be done.  His stuff was so good and funny and raw that I got to be envious of his talents.  He was fearless in his scathing commentaries about everyday life.  Whether he was in the office, sitting at home or going out to grab a beer, there was always amazingly hilarious material that he could mine from that daily mundane existence.  Aunt B and I have discussed starting a Jon Jackson creative writing contest.  It would be like those Bad Hemingway or Faux Faulkner contests.   But, with Jon’s site down, we don’t have many good example of his stuff lying around.  Maybe there is some Jacksonian gold buried at the NiT archives.

The Saucy Librarian:  Some say she got married, others say she still haunts the periodicals section.  Whatever became of her, she is missed.  Plus, there is just something hot about the librarian looking chicks.  Like Caroline Munro in that Adam Ant video.

Huck of What The F…Huck? :  My man, you haven’t posted since early November.  What kind of shit is that?   Sure you are busy with work and the family and all, but damn.

Pith In The Wind:  Yes, technically they are still a going concern.  But there isn’t a lot of anything worth reading,  recently.  Roger Abramson rarely posts anything anymore.  Bruce Barry will post maybe one thing a day.  Anyone remember when PITW was the place to get into a good discussion about several different topics at once?  It seems to have degenerated into a pit of name calling and flame wars about polarized politics and boring wonky talk.   Not that I would know anything about such rude behavior.  Nashville is Talking has picked up a lot of the slack.  It is kind of sad that we can’t have two healthy forums for topical conversation in this town. 

Damn, I know I’m leaving someone out.  

Episode of Blonde

October 31, 2005

For some reason this Elvis Costello lyric won’t get out of my head today:

Did her green eyes seduce you and make you get so weak?
Was there fire engine red that she left upon your cheek?
It’s such a shame you had to break the heart
You could have counted on but the last thing you need is another
…Episode of blonde

 

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