Here’s a link:
I don’t keep this page up any more, but I try to check in once a month or so.
Here’s a link:
I don’t keep this page up any more, but I try to check in once a month or so.
Quote of the Day:
|“Hello, I must be going.
I cannot stay,
I came to say
I must be going.
I’m glad I came
but just the same
I must be going.”–Groucho
After three years and three months, 518 posts, 8,286 comments, 28 categories, 1603 tags, and over 128,000 views, I come here today with the bittersweet news of the implosion of the Travellinbaen Universe.
If I had only known back in the early summer of 2008 how much fun I would have from writing and from having the readership the blog came to acquire, there is no doubt I would have started maybe as soon as late winter of that year with the grand experiment. My friends, the TBU has been a major part of my life.
I first felt the calling to write as a somewhat-above-average-yet-by-no-means-scholarly-elite fourth grader at Eastlawn Elementary. That was also the year I found out that writing was damn hard, being criticized for it even harder. I’m not blaming my teacher for a well-deserved “B” by any means, understand, simply saying that her lukewarm opinion was a jarring setback for an aspiring writer who thought he had turned in a masterpiece.
Fear of rejection, along with more than a few other distractions in life, some of which have been described in this space, kept me from publishing anything for public consumption for many years. Even then, I was hesitant at first to let many of my old friends in on the news of the TBU’s birth. It was your judgment I feared most of all. From the heart, I say to you now, and only this once, that your acceptance and encouragement has been far more important to me than you can ever know and that I can ever describe. Thank you.
So, what now? Well, I’m glad you asked. The TBU may be put to pasture, but Thursday Pickin’ and blank starin’ and not pigeonholin’ and what not live on. The next part of the journey for me is a new blog–Missing the Ground. Writing and maintaining a blog is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. I would like to see if I can make a buck or two in the process. On Missing the Ground, you will see much of the same sort of content from me that I have done here in the TBU. I’m probably going to let my inner rage escape a bit too and dive back in to politics. After all, you can’t blog if you are to ignore Palin and Bachman and all the other loonies providing such excellent fodder day in and day out, right? As for other changes, you can expect to see more content, more often and from more perspectives. In fact, if anyone wants to join the flight crew over at MTG, just let me know–the more the better.
If you have enjoyed Travellinbaen please migrate over to the new site. Update your RSS feeds. Not to put a guilt trip on you, but hey, if it works that’s cool, if you want to continue to support my goal of becoming a “real” writer, keep reading over at MTG. And if you really like me, and you want an acknowledgement in my future masterpiece (guilt, bribery, as I said, whatever it takes), click on an ad that interests you from time to time, buy a t-shirt when I get them ready, or just link some posts on Facebook when you see one you like and tell your friends they ought to come check out the site. You could be a bona fide patron of the arts (guilt, bribery and a title!).
So, it’s farewell. Hope to see you soon. Like real soon. Click this link and we can say hello again in like a second or two.
Bonus Quote of the Day:
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter S. Thompson
Quote of the Day:
” …look, man, I’ve got certain information, all right? Certain things have come to light. And, you know, has it ever occurred to you, that, instead of, uh, you know, running around, uh, uh, blaming me, you know, given the nature of all this new shit, you know, I-I-I-I… this could be a-a-a-a lot more, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, complex, I mean, it’s not just, it might not be just such a simple… uh, you know? ” –The Dude
TB’s on hiatus. That much you have already figured out. But I will be back come August. Things are happening. Wheels are in motion. Horizons and such. Thursday Pickin’ will continue as always. And more. I’ve stared blankly into the future and what I’ve seen, well, the look on my face is unchanged.
Hang with me friends. It’s time for something new. Prepare yourselves. Just a bit more hammock time for TB’s weary medulla oblongata.
Quote of the Day:
What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it. –Gabriel Garcia Marquez
It seems to lean the direction of gluttony to be packin’ up the hi-tech duffel again so soon…..nevertheless…..
Barely a week home from TB’s Bermuda cruise, time enough to endure several workaday crises, I’m back on the road again tomorrow. Chicago this time with Sweet and a player to be named later. I’m flying solo tomorrow for the first time in years. Already missing the Scamp and Rock Star, but also relishing the opportunity to get in some good old-fashioned airplane book readin’ time.
Speakin’ a-which, I picked up One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez whilst cruisin’. I have seen this novel listed on many “must-read” lists over the years but due to Oprah’s stamp of approval I have never been tempted to dive in. Without digressing this digression too far, it’s mainly that I always associated anything Oprah-endorsed as being for chicks. Turns out, like most ill-informed stereotypical assumptions, I was wrong. This book is hard. I mean page after page of dancin’ around the thin red line separatin’ sanity and not, everybody is screwin’ everybody, politics and killin’ and death and suicide and war and murder and unfocused anger; all in all, some really hilarious passages. The laughing takes the sting out some of the dark epiphanies the book inspires. I am only half-finished so far. I may try to post more thoughts on it when I get back from Chi-town if I can piece together anything in the vicinity of cohesive. Suffice to say, not a chick book. It is for anyone, Oprah endorsed or not. Oh, one more thing. The gypsy Melquiades–he already died, sadly–is one of my favorite characters ever.
I think maybe ol’ TB is part gypsy. I could see myself travellin’ the world, never plantin’ roots. I would want to be like old Melquiades, seeking out the best new contraptions, the ones that really worked and finding like-minded fellows along the trade routes to visit and philosophize with for a few days every couple of years.
So it’s off to Chicago. Two days with Sweet, then I join up with the Scamp and Rock Star for some July 4th weekend excitement. Be sure to watch my Twitter feed for pithy, possibly witty, and occasional photographic, real-time updates of the adventure. But first, a little slide show of the sights in beautiful Bermuda. See y’all next week.
Quote of the Day:
“He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher… or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.” –Douglas Adams
On TB’s tombstone they will etch, “Here lies TB. Raconteur. Gadabout. Free thinker. Ne’er-do-well. Idiot.” (and then at the bottom of course, “ps, you couldn’t pigeonhole him.”)
When I was a sophomore in high school I had a date for homecoming with a great girl. I had been nursing a crush on her off and on for several years. I was dressed up, lookin’ sharp, brought my A-game wit and deftly employed my best supercharmer smile with perfect timing and prudent restraint. Things were moving along pretty well; she subtly edged her chair over closer to mine than it really needed to be when we sat down to dinner at the Tiki Restaurant. Then dinner was served in the semi-darkness of the supper club and I looked down at a baked potato and a huge hunk of Texas toast, but saw no steak. I asked about it, losing the supercharmer and going with incredulity. How could they serve everyone’s food, after a very long wait I might add, and forget my steak? Turns out they didn’t. It was there. Somehow I just didn’t see it. That nice girl went on to consider me a dear, trusted, and completely un-kissworthy friend. Before that though, she scooted her chair back over. For I exposed myself in that single moment as the idiot I truly was.
Time passes, thankfully and for years I was able to conceal the true extent of my idiocy from most of the outside world. After all, I was surrounded by ARB’s who at times made me look like James freakin’ Bond by comparison. And most of the time my idiocy was committed only in their presence. I got myself educated up, became a member of a respected profession and, not counting a few isolated incidents, probably seemed to the outside world as more or less NOT a complete imbecile. Then I went to trial in Austin, Texas. For four days I performed superbly and our case was going very well. We were ready for the kill on Friday, to be followed by a weekend party where all idiotic behavior would be not only tolerated, but forgotten by Monday. I packed my bags for the flight home, saving out only my best suit. The gray one with stripes on the jacket. And slightly darker gray pants. Without stripes. As we got off the plane that evening to celebrate, I found the light gray jacket and knew it wasn’t mine, since I was wearing dark gray pants. I asked around, “is this yours? Is this yours?” Like a damn monkey or something. Everybody laughed. I was exposed. I pounded my forehead with my palm. “Idiot!” So I left town a few years later.
Moving to a new town gives one the opportunity to reinvent oneself. Outwardly, anyhow. And so I projected an image of competence. Faked it so well I even tricked someone far better looking and infinitely less imbecilic to marry me. Fathered the beautiful Scamp, who, though destined by nature to one day know better than anyone the extent of my idiocy, would for the early part of her life be under the misimpression that I could do no wrong. I think perhaps it might be our trip to the Bermuda Triangle that she someday recollects as the premature time of enlightenment as to her old man’s true condition.
Many of you may know that on a cruise there is an outdated, frivolous and unnecessary ritual of dressing for dinner. Our voyage scheduled two “elegant” nights where gentlemen were expected to wear a coat and tie, at least. For a variety of reasons, not least of which is having to pack too many shoes, I think the tradition is garbage and I expressed this opinion to my dear sister-in-law before we left. She, however, was looking forward to getting the extended family all gussied up, for a variety of reasons I am sure, and was crestfallen at my objections and at my clear intent to challenge the Man and show up on elegant night in cruise-wear. I encouraged this because, you see, I had a plan.
I was near giddy at the chance before me to show an example of just how it was I managed to trick my lovely bride into thinking I was in fact NOT an idiot, but to the contrary a gentleman, sophisticated, hip, full of surprises, un-pigeonhole-able. So as “elegant night” was about to begin I retreated to my cabin after once more growling about how stupid it was being forced to pack all the accoutrements needed for dinner and how my khaki’s and button-down and tennis shoes would be fine and if the maître d’ didn’t like it he could kiss my ass. Inwardly I howled with delight at my dear sister-in-law’s sad expression and in anticipation of unleashing my display of cool.
I could not suppress a grin as I donned my tuxedo for the first time in a decade. I looked in the mirror and approved of what I saw. “Lookin’ good, Old Sport,” thought I. Not counting a few old geezers, I’d be the sharpest dressed man on the ship, turning all the ladies’ heads, earning sneers and maybe even a few appreciative nods from the gents, being led to the finest table on the ship by an approving maître d’.
By now I expect you have deduced that things did not go as I had envisioned.
In the bottom of my bag lay a newly shined left black Bostonian. Beside it was another polished shoe. A left shoe. Burgundy. Florsheim. There was no pair of rights to match, teleported back to Mississippi, I desperately hoped, by the strange powers of the Triangle. Nah, that wasn’t it. I knew the genuine, scientific explanation. Now it was TB crestfallen. Exposed. I pounded my palm into the well-worn groove of my forehead. “Idiot!”
The element of surprise lost, I slinked over to Flyin’ J’s cabin where my tux was greeted with relief and admiration. My idiocy was greeted with something more akin to elation. Luckily Flyin’ J had some black shoes to fill in for the night, a size too small, but I felt the pain was deserved. We dined. We were photographed. I looked good, all in all, and felt marvelous, discounting the toes. Had a nice steak, even saw it on the plate. Swirled my wine like a connoisseur. Told a few well-received anecdotes. Flashed the supercharmer once or twice.
As we took our after dinner constitutional on the starlit promenade I held my wife’s hand on the left and cradled the bleary-eyed Scamp in my right. A peaceful, beautiful moment, in spite of the missing Bostonian, and I quietly reflected on the blessings in life and a fine evening of travellin’ on the open sea. We stopped to gaze out at the full moon over the ocean. As the Scamp listened carefully my wife, clued in long ago about my condition, staring blankly into my eyes, broke the silence. “So, why did you decide to wear the sport coat instead of your tux jacket tonight.” I was vaguely aware of the sound of a second pop in my right ear, a tiny palm impacting an heretofore pristine forehead.
Quote of the Day:
“You know whats going on in that Bermuda Triangle?
Down in the Bermuda Traingle
Elvis needs boats.
Elvis needs boats.
Elvis Elvis Elvis
Elvis Elvis Elvis
Elvis needs boats.“
Every kid at Eastlawn Elementary School saw In Search Of…..the Bermuda Triangle some time around 1977. TB did. Scared the hell right outta me, for a day or maybe two. Seeing the episode was bad enough. But when you mixed up the actual content of the show with a bunch of wild ‘goula boys’ imaginations, then eliminated any hint of editorial equivocation or doubt, well, it’s the sort of thing that’ll stay with a body through the years. As I understood it, after consultation with the fellas at recess, every airplane, ship, or radio transmission that EVER crossed one of the invisible lines forming the Triangle simply disappeared, like to outer space or the fifth dimension or underneath Giants Stadium or some such. There was disagreement as to whether anyone actually could live within the fearsome Triangle, but consensus as to the certainty that if they did, it was because they had always been there, forever, or like, a hundred years prolly.
So anyway, now “they” tell me it’s really safe to go in there. And, well, I guess you might say I’m breaking a promise that seven year old TB thought would hold. Hell, he prolly figured it was inconceivable I’d grow up and even think about such a thing. Yet here I am, on the eve of a cruise into the teeth of the nefarious coordinates. So if you don’t hear from me for a week or ten days, don’t fear. I’ll be drinking a few umbrella drinks and mass quantities of Caribbean beer, working on gettin’ some sun on my gut, ’cause tan fat beats white fat as a wise man once counseled, and generally livin’ the good life, travellin’. It’s what I do. If two weeks or more pass call Leonard Nimoy to get the old gang back together for a sequel, or if he’s dead, call in and see what Mojo has to say about it on Sirius/XM.
I ain’t sayin’ I’m scared or nuthin, hell I’m goin’ ain’t I? Just that the number one attraction on Bermuda is diving/snorkeling. They take you out to the shipwrecks. (Blank Stare). At least them ships ain’t in no fifth dimension or some such.
On a related note, the In Search Of…..series had a profound effect on several TBU-ARB’s.
Everybody at The Daily Wit’s school saw the Bigfoot episode. At MD’s cult compound they screened “the Coming Ice Age” over and over and MD is still verily pissed about being misled on the issue. Sweet didn’t get spooked by a single episode. He made through three in fact, before being scarred for life: “Nostradamus,” “UFO’s,” and “the UFO alien body cover-ups.” No six to ten year old could have been expected to survive three “In Search Ofs.” Yet Sweet did it. And bears the scars. Smily only made it through “King Tut” which is prolly why he’s such a wuss. BR’s episode was “DB Cooper” and I guess that’s why he had the compulsion to disappear around 11 pm on weekend nights from 1991-2002. Mac saw Jim Jones and the kool-aid drinkers. He’s a big Ron Paul guy nowadays. Say your prayers, everyone, that Ron Paul never starts pushing Amway. Zeek saw “Sodam and Gomorrah,” bless his soul.” Flyin’ J musta seen “Dracula” since he’s always asking me “have you read it yet? have you read it yet? have you read it yet?” Freak. Flyin’ J is accomp–accomp–accom–goin’ with TB to Bermuda. Says he heard you can’t see yourself in mirrors down there in the Triangle. (sigh) Went to Catholic school for elementary.
And one more, for Little Boy, who at the age of 40 is to be declared a gentleman on Wednesday. I truly wish I could be there to witness the event. He obviously saw the episode “Siberian Fireball.” In Search Of…..postulated that an atomic explosion occurred there in 1907. ’Course, considering what he voluntarily put his old ass through for the last six months, he may also have seen at least part of the “Immortality/Prolonging Life” show or perhaps the (possible) finding of “the Holy Grail.”
Quote of the Day:
“Mr. Fox: [sighs] Who am I, Kylie?
Kylie: Who how? What now?
Mr. Fox: Why a fox? Why not a horse, or a beetle, or a bald eagle? I’m saying this more as, like, existentialism, you know? Who am I? And how can a fox ever be happy without, you’ll forgive the expression, a chicken in its teeth?
Kylie: I don’t know what you’re talking about, but it sounds illegal.
–The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Any lawyer with an intact, or even yet functioning soul will freely tell you they dream of chucking it all, starting over and leaving “the law” behind forever. For some, the urge is only occasional, for many others it is a drumbeat waxing and waning in urgency, but constantly rising in overall intensity.
The last several years have been tough on TB, the lawyer, not so much in my day to day output or results, but in factors beyond my control ranging from the surreal to the sinister to the sickening–politics, corruption and sometimes just bad luck. Suffice it to say, while I still believe the system is necessary, and even that there is no better alternative, the American justice system is a damn mess. And hey, I just settled a big case, so I say this at a time when the coffers are stocked.
But this post is not about that. Maybe some day I will compile the bloody timeline of my gradual disillusionment with the legal business. Probably not. But maybe. No, TB, believe it or not is an optimist. I look forward always to better days. I cannot ignore what I see, much as I would like, and I cannot deny that I am burdened by that which I cannot ignore. Nonetheless, as an optimist at heart, beneath the layers of cynicism, the strata of distrust and disgust and disdain, lies the forever young and hopeful engine of my soul, churning out hope that somehow always manages to seep up to the surface.
Today a conversation with The Daily Wit indirectly created a fissure for those rays of hope to rush out in a flurry. As we finished our discussion I suddenly thought, “I can do lots of things. If I chucked it all today, me and mine, we’d be just fine.”
Why, I still know how to throw a helluva knuckleball and not many people can do that. I could become an instructor in the dark art.
Many of you have never met Vacationbaen. Well, I’ll have you know there are probably less than a dozen travellers in the universe who have more fun on a trip than moi. I could hire myself out as a trip companion; people would pay me to summer in the Pyrenees with them, right?
Lots of companies are probably looking for someone who can turn a pleasant pun. They probably pay well too. And just wait ’til they find out I’m pretty good at trivia–that’s not even on my (current) resume. Nor is my propensity for delivering the occasional bon mot, merci beaucoup. Which reminds me of my culture. (Came back negative.) (ba-dum-dum).
Perhaps I could make money with a secret recipe I’ve carried with me since childhood–Ben and Jerry’s could make an ice cream flavor with it, Nabisco could do a snack product, or maybe some swanky New York eatery could use it to replace Krispy Kremes on their dessert menu ’cause that fad is long dead. It’s so simple, just get some club crackers, slather on some peanut butter, top with marshmallows and toast under the broiler. Sublime.
Oh, and that reminds me of how good I am at keeping secrets. I could set up an office on Capitol Hill and consult on keeping, shall we say, matters of delicacy, off the internet for our political elites. Note how I phrased that sentence so as to convey the immense delicacy with which I would treat such matters. Not everyone knows how to put “shall we say” in a sentence. Also note how I tactfully repressed the urge to (cough) insert a pun there. It was hard. I just don’t believe in hot doggin’.
So, yeah. I can do lots of things. Just thinking about them sort of makes me feel a little better. Nice to know I have options. Just in case I decide to chuck it all.
Quote of the Day:
“There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable and nothing but inconvenience will be suffered by the passengers.” -Phillip Franklin, White Star Line Vice-President
In all the TBU, there are only six known users of Twitter–TB, TDW, Mac, Irv, Barista and RockStar. TD has an account, but I don’t know if she uses it. The rest of you, I’ll call you the “Twitless,” probably fall into one of several main categories–disinterested, unaware, or convinced it’s just another passing internet fad, like Facebook. Well friends, if you fall into categories two or three, it’s time for you to sign up and start chirping. Twitter is here to stay. It is awesome. It is addictive. It will soon be essential. It is only going to get better and it will be with us forever. For-Ev-er.
TB was late to the Tweet party and I cannot even say I’ve yet wholly embraced it. Unequivocally, I can assert I do not yet fully understand it. Oh, a complete imbecile I am not. I get the whole 140 characters thing and I even now know what “smh” means. I know what a #hashtag is. But there is plenty of shorthand and some stylistic techniques and some basic etiquette I have yet to grasp–sort of like TB in the physical universe. Ironically, “the real” TB is a list-making fiend while the Twitterati TB cannot seem to figure that skill out. (Little help Wit?)
No matter. If you fancy yourself an aficionado of the “bon mot” you must Tweet. A punnist, you say? Then Tweet. Get bored in waiting rooms? Not if you Tweet. Want news in real time? The best bargains on the web? Near-celebrity-interaction? Participate in a revolution? Tweet, dammit! How else are you gonna find out where I have coffee each day? Alas, Tweet. It is the future.
Seriously, I am calling you out TBU. Twitter is great. You are going to have to join eventually, so might as well get on with it. And I’ll follow you if you’ll follow me. Really, that’s not weird in the Twitterverse.
Quote of the Day:
“We don’t need to talk about it anymore…The world has been warned – my it has been warned. We have done our share and the media picked it up. The world has been warned that it is under judgment.” –Entrepreneur, Harold Camping
Seldom is there an event, uh, check that–a non-event more suited to ironic, sarcastic and downright comical commentary more perfect than Harold Camping and his “Family Christian Radio” sponsored Day of Judgement, previously scheduled for May 21, now postponed until October. So “why?” TB asked myself. “Why did I let this momentous (non) occasion pass by the blog unmocked?” The sad truth is, I just didn’t find it all that damn funny.
This conclusion bothered me for several days. I have been struggling lately to find topics I cared enough about, or that I found interesting or funny enough, over which to fire an essay off into the oblivion that is the TBU. This was the perfect subject–idiotic, corrupt, publicized and derided across the American political spectrum, uniting us all in a way even the elimination of Public Enemy number one could not. The quotes given to the media were priceless–not only from the diabolical leader of the doomsday cult, Mr. Camping, but especially those of his “flabbergasted”, “dumbfounded”, and “like a cream pie to the face” followers.
Finally it dawned on me. Hordes of shame-faced Americans believed in Camping’s false prophecy, including many fundamentalists who silently hoped he was right and privately gave it better than even odds of truth. (A hundred-million dollar media empire ain’t built on the backs of (only) a dozen nut-cases my friends.) How can so many be so….so….downright stupid? I cannot answer that part. I can only say they are little different than the rest of us.
If there is one thing that virtually all of us agree with in this strange time and place we share, it is that the train is off the rails. America, probably the whole world, is really screwed up. More than usual, I mean. Many liberals like myself blame this primarily on the actions taken during the George Bush Presidency. Oh, that wasn’t the only thing, but some huge powder kegs were lit by that gang. We rose up and helped elect the most unlikely new leader in, possibly, world history. Barack Obama was going to lead us in a new and hopeful direction, regulating and controlling the huge financial interests that brought our economy to ruins. We were stupid for thinking that. Republicans sent us thousands of chain emails to warn us–and lately to mock us for our hope. ‘Course, every damn one of those emails was wrong in its premise. Just not its conclusion.
Republicans? Stupid. A lot of them voted for George Bush. Twice. Most conservatives begrudgingly realize how bad those eight years were. That’s why now they call themselves “tea partiers” or “libertarians.” They are no less stupid than than they were as Republicans though. Their champions’ answers–cutting taxes on the only people who can afford to pay them, unceasing military spending increases, ever-advancing corporate power and Sarah-freakin’-Palin? Trump? Santorum? Gingrich? If there is one thing I now know for certain, it is that four years from now, no matter whether we are led by Obama or one of the TP’ers we are going to all still be stupid for believing our guy is any better than their guy and that the ones who vote the other way are the only stupid ones. That goes for you Ron Paul backers too.
What I am trying to say is, the doomsday chumps are just like us, except, perhaps, they have gained enough wisdom to see that in this F’d up world of ours, there is no earthly answer in sight. Like angry liberals and apoplectic tea partiers and sneering libertarians, they know something is wrong and just like the rest of us, with available answers ranging from the subliminal to the ridiculous, they thought they’d found the answer. Instead of being merely angry, they are hopeless. So they hope for the end, grasping for an answer. Meanwhile, Exxon and Goldman Sachs and Blue Cross executives all grow fabulously, grotesquely wealthy. Harold Camping hasn’t done to bad for himself either.
Bonus Quote of the Day:
“Now the preacher looked so baffled
When I asked him why he dressed
With twenty pounds of headlines
Stapled to his chest
But he cursed me when I proved it to him
Then I whispered, “Not even you can hide
You see, you’re just like me
I hope you’re satisfied“
–Bob Dylan, Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again