January 30, 2014

A C.M. Classic: Post #515

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls and Childrens of All Ages! Father Nature's Corner is prouder than a rooster who planted his seed in a dozen hens to present to you, a serious blast (like 3 1/4 years old) from G.B. Miller's blogging past.

Cedar Mountain post #515: I Just Wanna Be...

Now, back in them there Springsteen Glory Days, I would write about all kinds of weird things and would often talk in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and sometimes 4th point of view. Yes, 4th point of view does exist Madeline, it's called carrying on a public conversation with yourself.

Anywho, in that particular post, I was carrying on a conversation with myself and bitching about both my sanity, my lack of people skills, my health and my writing, all at the same time.

Strangely enough, it's deja vu all over again, as some 3 1/4 years later, I'm still bitching about the same things. To whit:

1} My sanity. Yeah, working 5 to 6 days a week combined with very long restless nights creates the kind of G.B. where the two initials stand for something other than (hint, one of the words is in the preceding paragraph) his first name.

2} Lack of people skills. Some 3 1/4 years later, my lack of noticeable improvement in that category has caused me to be passed over for a promotion this month for a person who didn't work in payroll for 5 YEARS but has mad people skills. Which naturally should compensate for said lack of PAYROLL SKILLS, right?

Right.

3} My health. 3 1/4 years ago, I was complaining about my CMT flaring up and giving me grief with things related to writing. Well, let's lower that quotient, shall we? We have gone from having the occasional flare up to having a permanent case of the dropsies. You name it, I've had it unexpectedly slip from my hands, often with disastrous consequences. Add into the mix cold weather and chapped/dry skin from washing them too much (no, no OCD, only the issue of using the facilities a lot and thus making sure my personal hygiene is where I want it to be) and cuts that do no heal, and you got someone who can make the Grumpy Cat look like positively angelic. Did I also mention how walking/standing/sitting is more severely overrated than newspapers with screaming headlines about how ObamaCare is really really really good for you? I thought so.

4} Writing and blogging. Well, we all kind of know where my writing has gone in the preceding 3 1/4 years. We have this, this and this, as positive proof that I done good. As for blogging, well, I think we know what's what with what, what with the fact that Cedar's Mountain is now a wonderful archive of 5 1/2 years worth of mildewy strangeness and our current blog, while not the biggie wiggie jiggy hit of yesteryear, but not of yesterme and yesterday, can still pack a punch when it needs to.

5} Publicly talking with myself. Ya know, that hasn't happened on this blog yet and I don't know if it ever will happen. It's been a brutal 2+ months here on the Miller homestead and basically, I just haven't had the gumption to get that vapid politician-style of speaking going again.

And thus my friends, so ends another gooey chewy, but not Huey, Dewey or Louie unless you deep fry those bad boys with Cajun seasonings and Jimmy Beam, post.

Tune in next time when we hear the Swedish Chef say.....



(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

January 28, 2014

Tuesday!

Had a lot stuff happen to me this week, and since music was anywhere from an integral part to only a peripheral player, what better way to tie it all together than to blog about it.

Let's start off this musically flavored kumquat of a post by bringing up the fact that the title of this post is related to music. What, you suffering from seriously short term memory loss?

To refresh, you had Aimee Mann's wonderful one hit band 'til Tuesday.
You had Lynyrd Skynyrd's better played and lesser known death dirge, Tuesday's Gone.
Finally, you have the ultimate space cadety song from the Moody Blues, Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?).

So, moving on to the next topical paragraph, I decided to bit the bullet and program a classic rock station into my radio.

For those of you who are new here, I have a ginormous aversion to classic rock. Granted, I do have some, but to be honest, I don't need to be stuck in my middle school/high school years for long term music listening. However, as much as I can't stand classic rock, I absolutely despise scrubbed music (for the uninitiated, it means a radio station will scrub a song of words that were acceptable on radio when the song was originally released, but now are deemed offensive in today's P.C. world). Fortunately, amongst the few crappy commercial stations on my dial that plays that garbage, I had one already programmed in on my 2nd tier of radio stations, and that was directly due to the fact that they simulcast New England Patriot football games.

I actually listened to the station a few decades ago when it used to play up-to-date rock. I got away from it when they switched formats, but since I need something to listen to on the drive home when AM doesn't cut it and the programming on the college stations is lacking (classical anyone?), this is the next best thing.

Next up, writing.

Yes, I said writing. Over the weekend, I finally found enough quiet time to have a serious discussion with myself about my writing. When all was said and done, I turned on my turntable and played the following albums:

Van Halen's Fair Warning (eh) and AC/DC's Back In Black (still kicks ass).

That, my friends, got me into the rhythm of writing and I managed to churn out 2,000 words with my latest writing project. Amongst those 2,000 words I managed to actually complete a chapter that I started some two months ago. And not only did I feel good about myself, but for the first time in a long while, I had no hand fatigue/pain while typing those words out.

Yay!!!

To a small degree, I have been suffering through music withdrawal at work. There's actually a few college radio shows that I make a point of listening to during the week. While both shows play an eclectic mix of rock, the Wednesday show plays rock from the late 60's thru today, while the Thursday show does mostly hardcore alternative rock that pushes the boundaries of what is allowable on daytime radio. For the past few weeks though, when both of those shows come on, I have been preoccupied doing other things that requires radio silence. Which in turns makes me a grumpy person.

Friends, seeing me as a grump at work can be a truly traumatic experience for all involved. However, not all is lost. Because of the way the week is unfolding and the way I planned it out, I have a good chance of catching the Wednesday show in its entirety. Thursday's is a no go as I plan on taking that day off, partially to decompress and partially to gear up to work the following Saturday. Again.

Finally, I leave you with this mid 80's flashback gem from Wang Chung.



(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

January 25, 2014

Toasted.

Work, to put it mildly, has tied me to a tree, pulled down my pants, paddled my butt with a cricket bat until it turned cherry red, then poured Kentucky bourbon on it to accentuate the pain.

I have been toasted to the point where you take the butter knife to scrape off the black in order to find me.

Long story short, I have been psychotically working 5 to 6 day weeks since early November, covering (among other things) 3 payrolls (soon to increase) and my spirit and soul has finally reached that level of comparison to a chocolate bar on a hot summer day. It has taken quite a while to reach that stage and sadly, everything has now suffered because of it.

Like writing. Well, we won't go there 'cause I whined enough about it already. But blogging, ahhhh there's the rub. Or rube in this particular case.

My brain/body currently is in a perpetual state of yecccchhh and as such, my blogging has become extremely scattershot. I'm hoping to get back into some peculiar state of sanity, but frankly, I don't see that happening anytime soon unless I switch jobs. Or my current job hires more staff, whichever comes first.

While this post is nowhere near being a throwaway, neither is it anything of substance other than letting everyone know just exactly what the hell has been going on with me and future state of my blogging.

In a nutshell, my blogging will be scattershot and/or sporadic until things start lighten up at work, which with the way things are going now, should be happening around March. Maybe.

However, on the bright side, I decided to make my profile avatar match my Facebook avatar, and thus the gentleman that you see pictured is my late father, Professor G.B. Miller, Sr.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

January 22, 2014

I Reserve The Right Not Reward Bad Service

This past Monday, we celebrated my mother's 73rd b'day at a local restaurant here in town. We, as in a baker's dozen of us. While the food was pretty decent (huge portions as benefiting an Italian restaurant),  the service left a lot to be desired.

Now normally, when I go to one of these family b'day get togethers, I usually put my food order before everyone else's. That way, not only do I eat at a reasonable hour, but I can take my meds at a reasonable hour as well (I do bend the times when I take my meds, but it usually has to start in the morning in order to have things balance out). Afterwards, I can socialize a bit while everyone else eats (no one in my family is punctual, save myself and the wife when we're together). This time, since we got there early enough (4:30p) to get a large table, I decided to go along with the program and eat when everyone else ate.

Everyone eventually arrived by 5:15 or so, and we put our orders in by 5:30p. Around six o'clock, my sister in-law inquired about the status of her youngest son's meal (he being 5 so patience is truly impossible at the age). When the waitress said it would be coming right out, I happen to ask about the status of our food. The waitress said, "Oh, I put your order in about 10 minutes ago."

To which I replied, "Are you shittin' me?"

The waitress went slack jaw with surprise, and while my mother tried to make light of the situation, I gave off body language that said in no uncertain terms just how upset I was with her answer. So upset, in fact, that I took a walk outside the restaurant (mind you, it was only in the hi-20's Monday night) sans jacket, to calm down.

My food actually came out a few minutes later, but for the rest of the meal, she pointedly ignored me and I ignored her as well. Afterwards, I showed my displeasure with her flippant answer by leaving a $3 tip on $46 check. I found out afterwards that my mother told my wife who told me that she overheard the waitress complaining to a co-worker about the size of my tip.

I'm not apologizing for what I said, in fact I have never in all my decades of eating out in regular restaurants swear at waitstaff, because what got me upset was the fact that she said that my order was put in (separate checks that night as I was paying for four) some 20 minutes after it was taken. Nor am I apologizing for leaving a 6% tip, because frankly, I wasn't going to reward what I thought was bad service.

I've only experienced bad service like this only two other times in my life: the 2nd time, strangely enough, was during my mother's 72nd b'day at the Olive Garden, when I put my order in early (and it took me quite a while to find something on the menu I could eat) and they promptly lost it. I wound up receiving my meal when everyone else got theirs; the 1st time was during a family vacation in 1999, when at a Bob Evans in Jefferson, Missouri our breakfast order got completely lost (another couple got seated right after us, they ordered after us, got their food, ate it, and left, all while we were still waiting for our order, which got lost. The manager wound up comping our meal that day.

I actually got some decent feedback on this incident when I'd posted it on Facebook, but I'm curious on what your opinion of this might be. Was I wrong for being upset? Was I wrong for giving her a tip at all? Do you think I acted like jerk about my order supposedly being put in late? Inquiring minds do want to know.

I will add one salient point. One, while the food was decent, there is a very slim-to-zero chance I will ever go back to that restaurant again.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

January 20, 2014

The Truth Will Set You Free....Maybe

While I was trolling around the Internet for ideas on something to blog about today (yeah, it's going that bad 'cause the Patriots lost to the castrated Broncos) I came across this meme in my newsfeed, in which people who are tagged must say 14 things about themselves.

So I figure, why not. I'll say 14 things about myself and maybe, just maybe, I'll be either stretching the truth or actually telling the truth. Nah....I got a better idea. Instead of pumping up my ego until my house can no long hold my head, I'll just come up with 14 things about my writing and my stories. Things that have been cultivated over the past 8 years or so of me semi-successfully stringing all kinds of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, participles, clich├ęs, commas, periods, question marks, exclamation points, ellipses, etc. etc. etc.

So, without further ado and to seriously waste a holiday (MLK day here in most of the United States), here are 14 things about my writing that you may or may not know or even care to know about anymore.

1} I started writing in 2006 because it was the absolute cheapest form of therapy that money could buy.

2} Between 2006 and 2009, I churned out almost one dozen novellas of assorted lengths and styles. All but two have been locked away in the black hole of nothingness that is my slush bin.

3} Novella number one that survived the cut.

4} Novella number two that survived the cut.

5} Without really knowing what the hell I was doing, I actually submitted all of those early stories as is to various literary journals, publishers and agents during those years.

6} Spending money unwisely (Eaton Literary Agency, ASI) was an early component of my writing.

7} Between 2009 and 2010, the flash fiction bug bit me and I churned out almost 6 dozen short stories. All but one were posted to a now closed short story blog, and that one story plus two others can found here.

8} I got the idea for my first commercial published novel during the weekend of Super Bowl 2010. I was semi-asleep Super Bowl Sunday when the idea took root and slapped me awake. It took me about 2 1/2 months to write the first draft.

9} Roughly 97% of my stories have either a Connecticut based setting or uses something from Connecticut. Even point #4 and point #8 has either a Connecticut based setting or something from Connecticut.

10} The inspiration for my second published short story was a female cashier at my local supermarket who was dressed up as a cat during the week of Halloween 2009. I actually completed writing that story while manning the door Halloween night.

11} I sold my debut novel on my 13th query attempt.

12} The inspiration for the novella that I want to self-publish this year, Shadow's Vengeance, came from this particular blog post.

13} I have written short stories that cover such diverse subjects as: the four seasons and the four stages of man, stop signs, junkies, alien life forms, live sex show, cooking, punk rock, summer romance, best friends/friends with benefits and the government.

14} I have written exactly one G-rated story, which was published in late 2009. Sadly, I do not have the link as the e-zine that published it is still recreating its vast archive of previously published stories. Once it becomes reposted, I will post the link on my "Published Stories" page. The reason why I have exactly one G-rated story is that some 7 years ago, I decided to challenge myself by writing something out of my comfort zone, and for those of you who are familiar with either my writing or my blogging, can appreciate how difficult that was for me to write.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

January 17, 2014

Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace

Note: it has been a brutal time-consuming-spirit-crushing-soul-squashing month for me and as such we have been slug nutty (to coin a Frank Burns comment) to the point of not caring five cents of what other people think, do, or say, nor particularly caring on who I offend or why. You have been duly warned.

Happy Friday to one and all!

I have been for the most part, simply going through the motions of my day-to-day existence for the past few months. Because of that I have been pretty much on autopilot with my blogging and my lack of writing. But, since we're heading into a long holiday weekend coupled with the fact that I'm taking a vacation today has inspired me to take a crack at writing a halfway decent blog post.

So, here we go.

The other day, I happened to be reading one of my fave blogs Joey's Pad and for that particular post, he had asked the question: If you see/read something that annoys you greatly, do you speak up and say something, or do you keep quiet?

For those of you who are long time readers of my previous blog, you know the answer to this question. For those of you who aren't, the short version is that I have been known to speak up and voice my opinion on something that really bugs me.

Whether it's politics on the local scene, the national scene, crime fiction or gay marriage (to name just a few), I'm more than willing to voice my opinion and take those body shots that people throw at me for voicing my opinion. Afterwards, I'll hoist myself up by my own petard, and continuing traveling along the same road of weirdness that I've always travel on.

Anywho, the reason why he asked the question had to do with gender stereotypes, specifically pics of a boy's room and pics of a girl's room. Personally, I didn't agree with his well thought out opinion on gender stereotypes, but that's just me.

However, here's a question for everyone who has an issue with gender stereotypes. If you have a problem with gender stereotypes, would you have a problem with a country that by law enforces a gender neutral society. In other words, you aren't allowed to use the male/female pronouns nor are you allowed to correct someone who chooses to identify themselves as a gender other than what they actually are (assume for the sake of this post that we are talking about being naturally male and female, i.e. I'm a man, and if you're a female, you're a girl), and if you choose to correct or not go along with the program, you are harassed and threatened because of it (kind of like militant gay marriage advocates, eh?).

And no, I'm not making this up. This takes place in one of the Scandinavian countries although for the moment, the country's name escapes me.

To me, this is simply progressiveness/correctness run completely amok, turned upside and have its collective head driven deep into the sand like the old cliche of an ostrich sticking its head into the sand. Now, as an average person, do you speak up about something like this, or do you keep your mouth shut and live for another day?

For me, its a no-brainer. I'll offer my opinion, although it will fall on deaf ears simply because I live here in the States and this is happening overseas. But if you either live in the country in question or nearby, do you speak up, or do you stay quiet?

So even though you might have an issue with traditional gender role models, do you think this is small potatoes compared to what I just offered up that is a troubling offshoot to the non-traditional gender role models?

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

January 15, 2014

B(ooks) A(lready) R(ead) V

Continuing with our occasional series of books that I've read in 2013, we bring you another fun filled post of what books tickled my fancy last year.

25} Surgeon In Blue: Jonathan Letterman, the Civil War Doctor Who Pioneered Battlefield Care by Scott McGaugh. I've always been an aficionado of the US Civil War and read most everything that has been written about it. However, this book intrigued me, simply because I knew quite a bit about the medical/living conditions and I was always interested in learning more (side note: I did a report on Andersonville in my high schools days. Didn't get a good grade due to more how it was written than anything else). This well written biography is a must for those interested in learning how today's battlefield medicine got its start during America's bloodiest conflict.

26} The Food Police: A Well Fed Manifesto About the Politics of Your Plate by Jayson Lusk. I have a soft spot for bizarre non-fiction, and this one is about as bizarre as it gets. This book is a fine example on how good intentions manufactured by people with rose colored glasses have wrecked havoc on the economy and helped contribute the current debacle that is our nanny state.

27} The Forest by Edward Rutherford. My preference for historical fiction has basically dwindled down to anything/everything written by Edward Rutherford. There isn't much that I can add beyond the fact that just like his previous novels that I've read (Sarum and Russka), this one has been meticulously researched and even though it clocks in near 800 pages, it does not drag at all. If you have the time, check out all of his novels (11 written so far). Someday, I do plan on delving back into his books.

28} Full Service: My Adventures In Hollywood and The Secret Sex Lives Of the Stars by Scotty Bowers. This one is self explanatory. If you know even a little bit about the various Hollywood stars of the 40's and 50's, and I'm not talking about the average stuff that everyone knows, then this book is for you. I've read/seen quite a bit about the Hollywood celebs from that time period, so this book really intrigued me. For what its worth, this book is a very fascinating read. Whether it's true or not depends on what you already know about a given celebrity from that time period. From what I've learned over the years (note: I dig pop culture and history), I gave Mr. Bowers the benefit of the doubt. A very enjoyable read.

29} Prairie Tales by Melissa Gilbert. Having read Alison Anrgrim's excellent memoir a couple of years ago, I was very interested in reading about what Melissa Gilbert had to say about the show and herself. And let me tell you, just like the memoir by Sissy Spacek, this one did not let me down. A fantastic look at what a child actor went through in the 70's & 80's, as well as the usual trials and tribulations that she went through as an adult. If you like memoirs, this one is for you.

30} Mop Men: Inside the World of Crime Scene Cleaners by Alan Emmins. Yes, I realize that the title probably reflects a thoroughly crass book, but contrary to popular opinion, it does not. Alan Emmins decided to expand on a story he did as for a magazine and for those of you think that this is as disgusting as it sounds, it is. But the person who runs the company profiled does a masterful job of handling people when they've hit rock bottom. Intriguingly enough, Alan also weaves a criminal case connected to one of the crimes scenes that he happened to profile in the book. Not necessarily an entertaining read, but if you're a writer who does crime novels or you just enjoy reading about all facets of true crime, then this book is for you.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

January 13, 2014

Rage Against The Rage!

I was thinking about writing a throwaway post for today, but alas, I respect you too much to do that to you. So without further ado, or fanfare, we present to you, not the Monday Morning anthem, which in my world is this:


but a post about rage.

That's right boys and girls rage.

We've all experienced rage from time to time, but did you know that there's all kind of rage that you can bath in and experience? Rage that is custom designed for whatever you do during your hour-to-hour existence.

We'll skip the traditional road rage as most of us know what the serious end result of road rage can be, but suffice to say, we have involuntarily experienced it throughout our lives. We'll also skip 'roid rage too, since I don't think anyone here has experienced that frightening prospect up close and personal.

As for everything else, let me expound and expand on what kind of rage you can experience and claim for your very own.

There's Dealing With Stupid Rage, which is usually occurs when you're dealing with co-workers who make at least 1 1/2 times your salary yet are dumb as dirt when it comes to understanding basic instructions. You have E-Mail Rage, which goes hand in hand with Dealing With Stupid.  This comes about when your main involuntary choice of work communication is e-mail, and the most visible system is yelling at your computer while composing a response to the e-mail in question. The important thing to remember is that what you're composing should not reflect what you're actually yelling. Failure to follow that rule simply shows that you're stooping down to that level.

You have Phone Rage, which also goes hand in hand with E-Mail Rage and Dealing With Stupid Rage. You have Public Sector Union Rage, which happens when you're dealing with the self centered public sector unions. You have Guv'ment Rage, which happens if your boss is the guv'ment and you're the only one who understands the concept of "fiscal restraint".

You have Fax Machine Rage, Elevator Rage and Parking Lot/Garage Rage.

You have Rage Against The Machine Rage, which happens when  you try to reconcile the decent music that they had with their certifiably reprehensible extreme left of center political viewpoints, such as their support for convicted cop killer and left wing media darling Mumia Abu Jamal. I've always found their support, as well as the Hollywood Left's support of this despicable human being, disgusting. But I suppose they won out in the end as his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

You have Computer Rage, which we've all experienced on almost daily basis. You have Faux Liberal Rage, Faux Conservative Rage and What The Hell Were You Thinking Rage.

You have Rage In The Cage Rage, which is when the radio station that you're listening to plays that song continuously whenever they want to play anything from J. Geils (unless it's Valentine's Day, then they play this):



One of my personal favorite rages is Scrub Rage. This usually comes about whenever I happen to listening to the radio while driving around (which is all the time) and they play a well known song that is at least 25+ years old that they've scrubbed an "offensive" word from. Example, the other day was listening to WHUS (UCONN) 91.7 FM and they were playing the song "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits. Now we all know that back in the 70's/80's/early 90's, certain songs contained certain words that today's wimps find objectionable, so they scrub them out. The problem with scrubbing is that by removing the word you change the rhythm/flow of the song. Such was the case with this song as they removed the word "faggot" from the song. Now, say what you will about that particular word, but to me, by scrubbing the word out, you made that word more powerful than it should be.

Anyways, those are but a few examples of the many, many, many types of rage that you can experience throughout your daily lives. However, you should always be careful if you should happened to be touched by a given type of rage, don't let it take control your life. Instead, embrace it, embalm it, covet it, and swallow it, before getting rid of it by any means necessary, preferably means that don't get you into trouble.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

January 9, 2014

The Man, The Myth, The G.B.

Yeah, I bet you're confused by the post title. Well, have no fear, downing-the-bow-wow is here to explain it all to you (not to be confused by the early Melissa Joan Hart show "Clarissa Explains It All").

I have a co-worker who loves to come up with witty sayings to both explain where he works and my behavior. Among the many gems he has come up with (hey man, it's your world and the friendship's over?) over the years, the one above has resonated the most, simply because it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

So, having said that, we move on the crux of today's post: your need to know about me.

It's been an absolute killer month of January, in which nothing of real importance was completed.

Oh yeah, sure, we interviewed for a shot at two promotional openings at work, but sadly, I came in 3rd in a two horse race. Not that I'm complaining as the people who got it had just a little bit more pizazz than I did and are/were great coworkers, but it does make me pause for a moment as I now must contemplate my future. But, there are no sour grapes to be spilled here, as I rather not have a fine Chianti with my fava beans, but some Jose Cuervo with my bbq baked beans. Yum.

Moving on to the next topic of discussion, my writing, or rather, my complete lack thereof. How lax have I been? I finally completed two pages of chapter six of my latest project and it took me one month to write those two pages (technically, it was one month between the times I saved it to my flash drive as opposed to my floppy and my computer. 3 sources, no waiting). So yeah, one could say I've been extremely lax.

Why? A combination of yummy ingredients (yes, I'm now channeling my inner 20 something female because the next thing out of my mouth will be "that's so cute!") mixed together haphazardly has produced this particular highlight.

That's right, the human version of a chicken running around with its head chopped off. Between stress at work, stress at home, holidays, health, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc., we have been highly unmotivated to do any kind of writing. And, if you add in the fact that I'm doing a total rewrite of the story and every time I sit down at the computer, or open my notebook and try to remember how I'm re-writing the plot, then you got a guy who winds up doing everything except write

But.....this is a brand new year (for those of you who don't follow the Gregorian Calendar, this is 2014) so it would make sense that I should wipe the slate clean and start at square one. I should, shouldn't I? Perhaps when things calm down at work, then I'll be able to something in that magical realm that is called creativity.

Then again, maybe we'll just bypass the realm of creativity and traipse to the magical realm that is called long memory, because a long memory is something that a person of my age, caliber, sex and tolerance level should have.

This post has been brought to you today by the phrase "mercurial", because being mercurial is about the only way I can keep everyone off-balance until I can figure what direction I should eventually go in.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

January 6, 2014

A C.M. Classic: Post #403

For today's blast from the past, we feature Cedar's Mountain post #403 for your enjoyment. For those of you who are new to Father Nature's Corner, today's post is part of a continuing series (that started on Cedar's Mountain) in which I dig up an old post from Cedar's Mountain (1069 to be exact) and try to put a brand new twist on it.

Prior to dating my wife, I was very much a newbie to the dating game. How new you may ask? Well....I had a date that severely backfired in the very early 80's, and I dated this extremely weird girl that was six years younger than me, but I couldn't take her anywhere 'cause her mother was a vice cop for the city of Hartford. So you can basically count on one hand how many dates I had prior to dating my wife.

Looking back on the two+ years that I spent dating my wife, the one common thread that I found was that a lot of the places we went to for date nights no longer exist.

For instance, on our first date we decided to do dinner and a movie. To get there, we had to cross the river and pay a toll (no longer there). We had dinner at a Denny's in East Hartford (no longer there, is now a bank) and saw a movie at a Showcase Cinema Multiplex (no longer there as the moment General Cinemas built a new theater in Manchester started sending the box office bombs to the one in East Hartford, thus driving it to the ground).

And even the companies that my wife and I worked for while we were dating no longer exist. For example, I used to work for an oil company that had gas stations. The company was initially called Automatic Comfort. Eventually, the owner sold the home heating oil division and kept the gas stations. Eventually changed the name to Convenient Marketeers then Convenient Petroleum. Eventually sold the company to Fas Mart, which was based in Rhode Island (only company I've ever worked for that celebrated VJ Day), who in turn sold a good chunk of the stations to Valero.

She, at various times, worked for The Card Gallery (no long exists per se), Bradlees (no long exists) and Food Mart/Waldbaums (knocking on the gate to businesses be gone).

Even the church that we eventually got married in went belly up. With a dwindling congregation, Trinity United Methodist Church voted to disband. They gave most of the properties to other local churches and sold the main church to the city of New Britain, which turned into this local arts and entertainment place.

But, as I've mentioned in that particular post, it's been a fantastic ride as this year we are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.

Life has definitely been good to me.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

January 3, 2014

How Old Is Too Old?

In mid October '13, there was another fatality featuring an 85 year old driver. This particular individual executed a left turn in front of a mini-van, with the end result being that two people, including a pregnant mother-to-be were killed and four other were injured, including three children who are now motherless.

So besides asking the obvious question as to why this person was even driving to begin with, the next obvious question should be when is our elected representatives going to show some backbone and create a mandatory age that stops people from driving.

If we can shut down businesses because they don't want to violate their personal beliefs, why can't we stop the elderly from driving?

This should be a no brainer. As we age our motor skills and reactions times diminish, thus making us a potential driving hazard. And the whole "we crave our independence" reasoning doesn't work for me. There is no way you can convince me that I should respect an elderly (above the age of 70) person's driving independence when people are dying because of those elderly person's stubborn insistence on driving.

As Dirty Harry would say, "A person has got to know their limitations, and sadly, that kind of human collateral damage is the only way to effectively neutralize elderly drivers. It's also the only way to get the politicians to stop feeding at the AARP trough and do what their constituents elected them to do.

Now I know some of you may say that I'm full of shit, but really, what if it was your family that gets gravely or mortally injured because an elderly driver who shouldn't have been driving wasn't stopped? Would you still say I was full of shit?

For myself, my mother is 74 and yes, she still drives. And yes, I'm starting to get a little worried about her getting behind the wheel. While her mind is still sharp (sadly), her body is not. There is gonna be a day somewhere down the road, where we're gonna have to do some kind of intervention with her driving.

I know we lost a family friend because of his stubborn insistence that he was okay to drive, in spite of his advanced age (early 80's). He was not and it took both the police and his one remaining family member to take his car keys away.

Sooner or later, people will have to stand up to the pressure of groups like the aforementioned AARP and the pressure of elderly family members and say, "I don't think you can drive anymore", and take the keys away. If they scream about independence, tell then they can always hire some younger persons to drive them around. They can still keep their car, keep it insured, but have someone else drive them.

Controlling one's destiny is always a good thing, but shouldn't you do your damnedest to make sure no one is adversely affected by you controlling your destiny?

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

January 1, 2014

B(ooks) A(lready) R(read) IV

part 1, part 2, part 3

Continuing the occasional series of what I've read for 2013, here is part 4, complete with my brief opinion as well as buy links. Please note, that the majority of the books that you'll be reading about I do not own, but found at my local public library.

19} The Encyclopedia of Reggae: The Golden Age of Roots Reggae by Mike Alleyne. I've always been interested in reggae music and I thought that this would be a great way to read up on it. Sadly, while this encyclopedia is chock full of interesting tidbits/bios of almost every important musician/singer/producer of reggae music, to me it was drier than dirt. I just found it very hard to stay interested. Highly recommend it as a reference/research book, but unless you dig reading encyclopedias as a hobby (I did once. Once), this is one to avoid at all costs.

20} This Will End In Tears: The Miserabilist Guide to Music by Adam Houghtaling. Yes, I have very bizarre/eclectic tastes in books, and this one is no exception. If you've wondered why sad music and its different sub genres and the artists who performed them are so popular, this book is for you. I actually found this to be a very interesting read. Highly recommended if you enjoy traveling the road less traveled when it comes to music.

21} American Sniper by Chris Kyle. Say what you want about the war in Iraq or the military, this (at the time) auto-bio gives a picture of the war/military that is seldom shown on both sides of the political spectrum. I first heard of Chris Kyle when he had made an appearance promoting the book on the O'Reilly Factor, and yes, I found him to be a very likable individual. Found it to be an excellent read and I highly recommend it.

22} Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music by Ricky Skaggs. I came to enjoy bluegrass music extremely late in life and even though I owned a couple of bluegrass c.d.'s (including a live c.d. by Ricky Skaggs), I really didn't know much about the genre. This auto-bio gives a fantastic look at one of country music's most enduring stars (got his start playing with Ralph Stanley). Great read and remarkably candid.

23} Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson. Okay, I'll admit it: I like watching The Cooking Channel and The Food Network. Having said that, what got me to pick this book up (besides being another auto-bio) was the jacket blurb about a young Ethiopian raised in Sweden who became a world class chef. Great read and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys cooking and/or authentic celebrity chefs.

24} Diary of A DA: The True Story of The Prosecutor Who Took On the Mob, Fought Corruption and Won by Herbert Stern. One of my favorite genres to read is True Crime. Whether it's about serial killers, the Mob, gruesome murders, forensics, crime scene cleaning, you name it, if it has to do with true crime, I'll read it. And this book was no exception. A great snapshot about crime in New York during the 1960's and 70's, as well as corruption in New Jersey, this book is a must for anyone who likes to read political history.

(c) 2013 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.