A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Not fair at all

It looked like we would miss the Bloomsburg Fair for the first time in several dog ages. It’s a bookend of the year for us and I was kind of bummed out by the prospect of not eating my way into oblivion around the 234 acres and 20 buildings. But then a narrow window opened up in my schedule. Sunday morning I could spare a few hours if we arrived at gates open time, which we were sure was seven AM.
The long suffering wife had childhood memories of arriving that early and being greeted by a bustling, busy and more importantly, cooking fair. So we skipped breakfast and made tracks west.
We arrived just before 7am. Bonus number one for early birds – Free Parking. We headed for the ticket booth and got bonus number two – free admission before 7am! This is something I am sure the fair would rather not advertise but there you go. It seemed too good to be true. And like most things in life that seem that way, there was a catch. The Bloomsburg Fair at 7am on Sunday resembles nothing so much as a refugee camp. Lots of tents, many booths shuttered with colorful canvas and no signs of life. We walked all of the 234 acres and only found a handful of food vendors open. None of them the horrible for you greasy cholesterol infused ones I wanted. Wait what’s this? A stand opens and advertises Jambalaya, my idea of fair food. The lady behind the counter just looked at me and said “Try back at eleven.” We heard that a lot. After an hour of this it began to rain. Not hard rain, just the kind that makes you miserable walking around 234 acres. Walking around hungry. Did I mention we had no breakfast? We ended up eating bean soup at a sit down joint. Bean soup? It was good but it wasn’t greasy in the least. Finally around nine the place began to act like it was open. The buildings with the thousand pound squashes and guys selling wonder mops gave us brief but welcome shelter. A few food vendors that had actual unhealthy junk got our business. But too soon it was time to go. The list of things we didn’t get to force down our throats includes too many items to mention here. I never got my jambalaya, not to mention we had to rush through the agricultural exhibits so fast that I didn’t get to truly appreciate the rows of jewel-like glass jars with preserved everything in them. I love the Bloomsburg Fair, but like fine greasy wine, it takes time to savor it. Or then again…

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thank you Aldous Huxley

It’s a brave new world, folks. Every day we are breaking new ground, discovering new things, learning more about the universe and in general improving the human condition. I am told that soon we will have the internet wired directly to our toenails. Yeah, it’s grand time to be alive. And it’s especially good to be alive in the good old US of A. This is after all the greatest country in the world. A country so great that you can stand up and call the President a liar, offer to shove a tennis ball down a referee’s throat and interrupt an acceptance speech on national TV to act like a spoiled child that didn’t get his way. Whew! And that was just last week. I am of course referring in order to the shout out of “You lie!” to President Obama. by Rep. Joe Wilson R-(SC), the threat by Serena Williams "I'm going to shove this ball down your f------ throat", and the rapper Kanye West storming the stage at the VMA’s grabbing the mic from Taylor Swift and protesting in support of Beyoncé. Rep. Joe Wilson was of course only using our right to freedom of speech, albeit in a somewhat crude fashion. He had every right but he is lucky he lives here in the US. He should think about Muntadhar al-Zaidi’s fate. Muntadhar al-Zaidi is the Iraqi broadcast journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference. Al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years of prison for assaulting a foreign leader. He served nine months and said he was tortured in prison. But of course Joe didn’t throw anything but insults. He was punished by getting a "resolution of disapproval." Oooooh. Slap my wrist. Serena on the other hand had a tennis ball and racquet in her hand. In her possession those are deadly weapons. Serena Williams has been known to hit the ball around 129mph. She probably should have been arrested for a terroristic threat because if you saw her interaction with the referee you could clearly see she had murder on her mind. She got a fine and lost the game. But Kanyne West, after ruining the night of Taylor Swift and generally behaving like he was raised by wolves, Kanye got to go on Jay Leno’s new show. He made a pathetic attempt at an apology and then mumbled something about how he was going to “take some time off and just analyze how I'm going to make it through the rest of this life, how I'm going to improve.” Good idea. Take a long vacation. May I suggest an Iraqi resort? Or then again I could be wrong.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Howard Stern?

The woman probably was just having a senior moment. I have many myself. I walk into a room and for the life of me I can not remember why. Or things that should not go into the refrigerator end up in there. So far not my shoes but occasionally the car keys. But I digress. Also a part of that whole deal, digressing. In any case she looked at my t-shirt and said “Who is that on your shirt?”

I had to think about what I had on. Summer uniform for me is t-shirts and shorts and I have a lot of shirts. I am particularly fond of my Dale Earnhardt shirts, Junior and Senior so I thought maybe she was not a NASCAR fan. But on this day I had another shirt on. While I was looking down to see whose face was on my chest the woman said “I know! It’s Howard Stern. Right?” Um… well no. The lady had confused the famous photo of John Lennon wearing a New York City t-shirt for “How Weird.” Now I have nothing against Howard Stern. I would certainly enjoy sharing the numbers on his paycheck. But mistaking John Lennon for him? Just not right. The Beatles have been around since 1963. That’s 46 years if my weak math skills don’t fail me. Certainly enough time to know and recognize John Winston on sight. Lately the Beatles have been pushed back up the top of public consciousness. First of all the CD’s that were horribly made 20 years ago have finally been remastered. They sound so good that there is every good chance that the Beatles will top the sales charts again. At Amazon.com during the release day the entire top-10 list of bestselling music was Beatles albums. I think it’s great. I never thought that Beatles ever sounded as good as they did on my record player. Now I know it’s not just nostalgia. The other big Beatle news is that they have now released the Fab Four as a Rock Band title. I don’t know how to feel about that. I have never played Rock Band. I am not sure that if I ever do the first thing I would choose to fumble around with would be one of their songs. I still don’t particularly like it when someone covers a Beatles tune. Seeing a ten year old take on “I am the Walrus” just seems inappropriate. Goo goo gajoob ga goo goo ga joob indeed. But I guess if it turns another generation on to the magical mystery tour that is the Beatles collected work, then maybe it’s alright after all. Am I wrong?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tears of rage

It will be eight years this Friday. Eight years since the thousands perished, some in an instant, some that lived to die in unspeakable agony. Two thousand nine hundred and twenty two days if you want to count it, and that includes a couple of leap years that have passed. Almost a day for each life lost.
Remember what that day felt like? Do you? Do you really? It still brings a lump to my throat when I see a picture of the towers enveloped in smoke. It still pisses me off. I can’t help it. I just get consumed with rage when I think about. So I do what I guess most people do. I don’t think about it much. But this week I have to pick at that scab of a memory for a just a bit. There is a school of thought about the grieving process. Perhaps you have heard of this? Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote about it in a book called On Death and Dying. Without going into great detail it involves five stages: #1. Denial ,# 2. Anger, # 3. Bargaining, #4. Depression and # 5. Acceptance. Some people have said that you don’t go though all the stages. There is also the possibility that you can get stuck in one stage or go back and forth between stages. I’ll tell you this about me. I have gotten past denial. I was deep into that for a while but a visit the New York City and a look at ground zero fixed that up for me. As far as bargaining and acceptance that isn’t in the cards for me. I will never be able to accept what happened that day. NEVER. Now the last two. Depression. Yeah, that’s for sure. I think in some ways the whole country has been depressed since that day. The basic feeling for me is one of shame, helplessness, the sick feeling that we haven’t learned our lesson and that we will never be safe again from madmen with evil intent. And then there is anger. Forgive me if I say that every time I hear Toby Keith sing “Courtesy Of The Red, White, And Blue (The Angry American)” when he gets to the part that says “we'll put a boot in your ass
It's the American way” I end up pounding the air with my fist.
Impotent rage.
Another person once told me that time heals all wounds. I guess in a way that is true. I don’t think about September 11th 2001 every day. But I know I will take a few minutes
This Friday at 8:46 to think about it. I can’t help but not.