North Texas University, Denton, Texas, 1965. Heartbroken, after running off my high-school sweetheart, envious met her new flame, a boisterous trumpet player driving a red MGB.
Shortly thereafter when crazy Becky Jarvis said, “You ought to get a Morgan.” I said huh? And then …
I bought a Morgan Motor Car in Dallas from a garage guy named Big John, who imported them and raced them. This one was blue, with tan upholstery and black top. Three thousand dollars.
Built with a wooden frame atop a steel z-frame, whatever that might be. The whole car flexed. Weighted 1400 pounds and had a 1.5 liter engine, hopped-up Ford Cortina with Lotus modifications, Jaguar trannasaurus, ran like hell, whining high-pitched, a redline at 9000. About four inches from the ground. That would be your butt, flying above your asphalt.
The first night, driving it home, in the dark, was terrifying. It was so fast. Seemed like piloting the bolt from a crossbow, rocketing down that dark backwoods highway. Later discovered it had the wrong speedometer; and my highway trip at 65 was really around 90. It did seem sprightly.
The jack arrangement was to insert the jack through a hole in the floor. This hole normally was covered by the rubber floor mat. However, on rainy Dallas days I have seen the puddle splash up through the hole, lifting the floor mat, to spash against the windshield, on the passenger side. Kind of a defroster system.
Paul Miner drew up cartoons of our gang at that time. Mine was ‘Richard, the sports car nut’. It showed me in riding pants, saying “Of course, she won’t start on cold mornings, but at $2999, she can afford to be a little temperamental.”
Paul was right on the money. One of my proudest moments at that time was during an astounding snowstorm. On Dallas freeway and headed back to Denton, I let the air out of the tires down to about 15 pounds. Then, my 1400 pound car could walk up the icy hills where the big sedans just skidded and spun. Got me through. Good thing. That heater. I probably would have died out there.
A year or so later, living in Dallas in an apartment rented from Dunia Bean, which had a swimming pool, driving to work at the Cabana. And a fool oncoming lost it and bent my car. That was the end of the Morgan.
Regarding that swimming pool. It had an underwater light. Have you ever, at night, on LSD, opened your eyes underwater to look at a light? No?
Well, that Morgan was something.
North Texas State University, Denton Tex 1965as, Fall: Just north of town was a super-secret Nike missile launching facility, and nobody was supposed to know about it. Here’s a picture of it —
The road at the top of the picture is “Locust Street,” or as locals called it “Missile Base Road.” Because how could you not know? I knew, and I was just an undergraduate.
You see, an engineer was brought in because it turns out that the missile pad was actually just a tiny bit too low for proper launching so as to wipe out some foreign city far away. And this guy needed to figure out how to raise is very slightly.
He stayed at the Holiday Inn, where I worked the night shift, and that’s how I know. After all, it was a secret but he told me because I was a trusted motel employee, right?
Then, a couple of days later, he came in to check out, with a huge bag of nickels. They were left-over nickels he explained. He was real happy. Turns out that the thickness of a nickel was exactly the amount they needed to raise the floor.
So he’d gone down to the bank downtown on the square, [Read more…]
Medford, Oregon, July 14, 2016 — News Flash! I have upgraded to Windows 10 … and I am still alive … and so is my computer.
I was scared to do this. But finally I figured … what could be worse than that little popup nagging me worse than my mother ever did?
So finally I took the plunge, clicked the button that promised that all my files would be right where I left them. (Franky, that idea of leaving all my files was pretty scary, too.)
And then I watched it for about two hours, while it chugged away. Well actually I watched Limitless, almost three episodes.
And then it was done, and it looks a lot … like windows.
Go eat a fig.
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
— Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate
Dallas, Texas, 1966 — I was living in Dallas when the Beach Boys released their song “Good Vibrations.” Here’s a video of them performing the song …
And I have a little story.
As it happens, when this song was just about to come out, I was living in a rather Deco white apartment building at Lemmon and Oak Lawn in Dallas. I was also, for the first time, reading Lord of the Rings, and I had almost reached the end of the third book — spoiler alert — where Frodo and Gollum will struggle above the chasm of Mount Doom in Mordor.
As you will recall, Gollum called the One Ring his “precious,” and as he and Frodo struggle, Gollum suddenly bites off Frodo’s finger with the ring, and dancing and holding it up and exclaiming “My precious! My precious!” Gollum slips and falls to his death into the chasm, which also destroys the One Ring.
By an amazing co-incidence, as I sat alone in my small apartment that afternoon, at the very moment that I was reading this scene, on the radio I heard, for the very first time, the song “Good Vibrations,” and at the very moment that I read of Gollum falling into the chasm, in the song, I heard (for the first time) the song’s lyrics, and they were singing … “Good … good … good … good-bye precious … Good … good … good … good-bye precious.”
The hair stood up on the back of my neck.
And to this day, whenever I hear this song, they are singing “Good … good … good … good-bye precious”
As you listen to the video, I’ll bet that you can also, if you want to, hear them singing “goodbye precious.” See what you think.
For myself, I think these little coincidences are God’s jokes, and I’m glad to know that God has a sense of humor. And it is my hope that He/She will perhaps forgive some of my stupider moments, for this reason.
One can always hope. Right?
Medford, Oregon, November 15, 2015 — A week ago, I had a lucid dream that went on for hours. I wondered if I could do it again. And the answer is yes and no.
No, I was not able to recreate the state — being conscious in the middle of a dream, knowing that I was dreaming, able to do whatever I wanted as the dream unfurled — at least, not the next night, nor the next.
And then last night, again I awoke around 3:30 and went to sit in the front room and there my meditation activities calmed the body and lower me down toward sleep, and soon enough I grew sleepy and trundled back to get comfy in my bed, and then …
… as I drifted down, down, down I felt a very-specific shift as I had felt a week ago. It’s hard to explain. The closest I can come is that it felt like a window was in front of me, and then the window opening moved toward me and went around me, and as the window opening enclosed my body, there was a warm feeling-shift of relaxation. As quick as the click of a lock, I’d changed from one being-state into another, as immediate as walking through a door. A door of wonder. And there I was, inside the dream, and knew it.
It Was Fun!
It mutated around like dreams do, with irrational changes of scene, and things mutating as you look away and look back. But it’s so much more fun when you KNOW it’s a dream! OK, so here’s what happened — [Read more…]