Sunday, July 30, 2006

In the dark

You guard your hopes
And you pocket your dreams
You'd trade it all
To avoid an unpleasant scene
Can you face the fire when you see me there
Can you feel the fire will you love me
In the dark...

Billy Squire's "In The Dark" was going through my head last night as I waited for the electricity to come back on. Most of the north side of O'Fallon had no electricity, after yet ANOTHER storm blew through and knocked out juice to 40,000 customers. This, just one day after they restored power from the last outage of over a half-million houses.

Of course I had my laptop with full batteries and a Cingular air card, so I didn't miss any internet time. I wonder what that says about me...

Anyway, power's back on now. Trees are still down all over and if you step outside, you can hear the sound of a hundred chainsaws drifting across the countryside.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Weekend in Morris-ville

Breakfast of champions:

A fajita omelette featuring lean steak, green and red peppers, onions and fresh grated mozarella. Topped with spicy habanero salsa, and served with a steaming cup of freshly ground french roast coffee.

Music playing at the moment: Sting, "My One and Only Love"

Weather: Sunny, no clouds in sight, temperature already 94 (current heat index 106) in St. Louis.

Today's agenda: One load of laundry, including folding and putting away. Balancing of all bank accounts in preparation for quarterly tax return Monday. Drive to my buddy Gary's parents for a family get-together in the back yard while watching the Cardinals play the dreaded, shitty Cubs. Maybe a trip to the bar for cigars afterward, before heading home for the evening.

Tonight: A martini (with bleu cheese-stuffed olives) on my deck, watching the neighbor fish the lake behind my house. Maybe some tilapia sizzling on the grill.

Sunday is an open slate - maybe a bike ride... or a mega-nap under the ceiling fan with Van Morrison in the CD player. Decisions, decisions.

Have a great weekend, wherever you are.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Pass me the pills, please

"We've been advised by our attorney that you should pay us $1,200, or we will be forced to contact our local news channels and provide them pictures."
This is an exerpt of a letter that a friend was going to send to the Hunts food company, because a foreign substance was found in a cup of pudding recently. I warned them that if they sent this letter, they would be guilty of attempted extortion. They reluctantly agreed not to mail it... they hadn't even received a lab report identifying the substance, so it was premature to demand anything.

This is the mindset of the public today... frivolous litigation, in an attempt to receive unearned income. McDonalds knows only too well with their infamous "hot coffee" lawsuit, that many in America are looking for their fortune, and are completely willing to steal to get it. Too-hot gravy can mean a "gravy train" in our society.

The government is complicit. It takes the FDA forever to approve new treatments, research projects, etc. because of fear that, if there are negative side-effects, there will be lawsuits.

Please understand, I realize how important it is that the medications we receive are safe. There should be a good amount of evidence that they will perform as expected.

But honestly, Europe, China and Japan are passing America in the field of medical research. If there is a breakthrough made with cancer treatment or cure, it's less and less likely everyday that it will happen here. In real life, the tortoise never really wins.

I'm tired of the government holding up the process. The FDA makes us wait for treatments that have long been approved in Europe. There are tremendous strides being made, in various fields of medicine, with drugs that are still considered "experimental..." but can we get them here? Usually, no.

Why? Like over-protective parents, the government coddles us, belts us in, ties us down, forces the helmet and pads on us (secured with copius amounts of red tape) until we're so "safe" that it's impossible to breathe.

To add insult to injury, this week George W. Bush decided that the FIRST veto of his presidency would be to strike down federal funding of... medical stem-cell research. There have been hundreds of bills introduced over the past five years calling for spending increases, more funding for war, more funding for faith-based services, more funding for prevention of terrorism... all FLYING past the president's desk.

Yet now, when it comes to funding one of the most promising medical research projects in history... a field of medicine that by most accounts, will be our best hope of finding cures for cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, and countless other diseases, the US government has decided again to bury its head and let the rest of the world pass us by. Seventy-five percent of Americans feel this bill should have passed. So this is our "representation?"

Even with the most extensive testing, some failures will occur, some risk will be present. (see: Celebrex) But the public needs to remember that with every advance, there WILL be risk. We need to see the big picture... and not pay so much attention to the pixels.

I have no desire to die by asphyxiation... to be smothered in "protective" red tape.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


One morning, my daughter and I sat in a little obscure diner just off the highway, and had breakfast. I told her about an idea I had for a book, which would be to seek out these little off-the-beaten-path places, choose one interesting person, and interview them about their life. Where they've been, what they've done, who they've met, their highest point, lowest point... and write a two to three page vignette about them. Their "chapter" would include a picture of them sitting at the diner table.

I'm not saying every person would make it in the book, but people with stories are fascinating. There's nothing I'd rather do than sit with a fellow human-racer and a cup of java, and listen to what they have to say. Wisdom doesn't come from college, it comes from coffee. From listening. From living.

Another idea involves moving to the beach somewhere, getting a part-time job as a bartender at a nice resort, and spending most of my on-duty time talking with people who happen upon one of my barstools. I'm sure I would hear some interesting tales of adventure, intrigue... good girl stories, bad boy stories... it's amazing what people will share with their bartender. The book title? "Stories From Behind Bars."*

I've been fortunate, in that I'm a person with lots of stories. Many good, a few not-so-good... some uplifting, some depressing, but it's been a pretty good mix. The lowest lows make the highest highs appreciable. How boring it would be to have never been poor, sick, sad...

Anyway, as I sit here on my laptop in a little coffee house on Missouri Route K, I've decided that I will begin seeking the stories. Not the huge headlines or sensational exposé, but the real, meaningful ones. Those which truly define who we human racers really are.

You might have noticed the new header on my blog. Thoreau said it best when he said, "How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."

*if I see this in Borders anytime soon, I'll know where it came from. This blog is copyrighted dammit. :)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pray all you want, you're still going to die

While I'm not particularly afraid of many things, I am disturbed by scorpions, trains and sewing machines.*

NOT on that list, but one of the things that make my skin crawl, are praying manti. (is that plural for mantis?)

In the open-air courtyard at Norton's Cafe in Soulard, I noticed a praying mantis crawling along the railing. He stopped and cocked his head to look at me.

This freaked me right out.

First, I should explain my issue with insects - they don't bother me unless they exhibit non-insect tendencies. For instance, the mantis can turn his head. That is an animal characteristic! The scorpion looks like a lobster, and the little bastard stings with that "tail." ONLY ANIMALS have tails!

Jesus, I get the heebie jeebies just writing about it.

So back to Norton's. I flicked the praying mantis through the air really hard. Enough, I thought, that he would lose that swivelling little freakish head of his. No such luck, but I watched where it landed, walked over to check it out, and realized I was standing at the base... of a huge PRAYING MANTIS SCULPTURE.

It was an eerie moment, one of those times when you think: "Now I've done it, I've killed a mascot and the entire staff will soon arrive at my table, stab me to death and bury me in a shallow grave by the railroad tracks."

What kind of place exhaults the goddamn praying mantis??? They aren't even really praying, which is clearly sacrilege.

I'm not too sure I'll be going back to Norton's.

*sewing machines appear to be the only fear I've not explained here. I have this unrealistic feeling that the pedal will stick, my finger will get tangled in the fabric and be drawn into the workings of the machine, where the huge needle will drive itself through my finger and I will bleed to death because nobody is near. Yes, it is a real fear. No, I've never even used a sewing machine. Don't judge me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Poetic justice

Life is short?
Not really.
Life is the longest thing
You’ll ever know.
Contentment is short.
Sunsets are short.
Sandboxes with colorful toys
Are short.
Relationships are short.
Beach walks with your dog,
The taste of lobster and butter,
A first kiss,
A last kiss,
A crackling campfire,
A rainy Sunday,
The first warm day of the year…
Those are short.

But life is long.

And no matter how long it is,
it’s better to be alone,
Than to be
Not quite enough.

Dave Morris, July 2006

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fading cognizance

I had a client tell me once that I took too much time off for vacation. He was sort of joking, but I could tell there was an underlying truth to his feelings. I told him how I had actually not taken that much time at all, that I was dedicated to being in the studio consistently for my clients, and that if he just watched for the next 6 months, he would see that I don't take much vacation at all.

I hadn't hung up the phone for ten seconds when I realized I had just paid for a trip to Mexico, and it was coming up in three weeks. After I had told my client how little vacation time I took, I had to write an email memo to all my clients, telling them I was taking a week off. Copulate a mallard!

Do I really take too much vacation time? No, probably not. But I told him I hardly ever take time off, then took a week. It was a coincidence, sure... but my client chose not to renew my contract when it came time.

Moral of the story? There is none, except that a person's perception is their reality... sometimes we inadvertently reinforce that perception... and timing sucks.

What's with the whole "ice and fuel" thing? I've heard of several businesses called _____ Ice & Fuel, but they sell neither ice, nor fuel. One is a restaurant, and the other is a siding and window company. I just don't get it. It would be akin to renaming my blog "Dave's Dignity and Self Respect Page."


When you're on a float trip down a shallow river with sharp rocks, it's never good if you lose your creek shoes. Ask me how I know.

There are few lonelier feelings than when your MSN Messenger says none of your friends or family are online and you are listening to old Frankie Laine music on a Tuesday night in St. Louis. And that's why god made scotch.

Dedicated to my representation, the William Morris Agency of New York.

And to my friend Dr. Mike. And my friend Gary. Oh, and Ron. And Blogaritaville, Nowhere Girl, Lightning Bug's Butt, Weary Hag, Steve Mays, everyone else linked on my side bar, and quite possibly, you.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Pitiful pussy

A few weeks ago, Kramer the cat got dirty. He was outside and got some tangles in his fur that he refused to allow to be removed because he's an old guy, set in his ways and not open to new ideas. (gee, who does that sound like?)

So I had him shaved.

Yes, it was the only solution, my groomer is an accomplished groomodontist with credentials out the ass. (accreditation is so important in a groomer)

So how he's the only shaved... um, you know... in the neighborhood. (go ahead, insert all your juvenile toilet humor here - "hey, a brazilian cat," "where's the landing strip," etc. I'll wait)



Okay. Before:

Aaaaand... after:

Viola. No more tangles, the only hair left... is on his head and tail. He looks like a genetic science experiment gone horribly wrong.

He should be back to "normal" in a month or two. Until then, it will be puns-aplenty around here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sundry fleeting nonsensical ponderings, cleverly disguised as a blog entry

Went to check out "Click," starring Adam Sandler last night. It was okay, but the first two thirds of the movie were mostly comprised of horrible acting, completely improbable situations (as if having a remote control which can control the world around you is probable) and cheesy dialogue. The final thirty minutes were at times moving, sometimes a bit maudlin. It was "It's a Wonderful Life" all over again... and that wouldn't be so bad, except Adam Sandler is no Jimmy Stewart.

Two out of five stars.

Freakin' national league. Will we ever win an All Star game again?

I finally have a grip on my workload, after a few days off for the holiday last week. I should be able to breathe in a few hours, I have one last big burst of catching up to do. I have no stress compared to some, I am a lucky son-of-a-bitch.

Are you organized? If so, can you teach me? Can it even BE taught?

After chatting with a friend who has similar challenges, I realized recently that I am a piler... not a filer. If it sounds like psychology mumbo jumbo, that's because it is. Isn't it great how shrinks have all these rhyming terms that help us understand ourselves? So very catchy... and I pay 150 an hour to hear them.

I used to be married to a filer - and in retrospect, that was probably one of the (few) things we had going for us. You should see my office. I MUST get things unpiled... and filed. If anyone would like to volunteer to help, I am so very, very open to that. I'll buy the pizza and beer. And xanax.

Otherwise, I've found that the trash can is a great organizer...

Cut/pased from an email I just received:
Coastal cities from only $54/night, act now! New York, San
Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston and other favorites are all on sale!

Look, guys. Paint it however you like, but unless you're calling Savannah a suburb of Atlanta, it isn't a "coastal city." And would you really pay 70 dollars a night for Atlanta (as the ad says) when you could have Frisco for 84 dollars a night?

Maybe Atlanta is your thing, I happen to like it too... but not this time of year. It's 130 heat index. SF is about 78 degrees and clear, for 14 bucks a day more.

And don't you love how just because I checked rates ONE time for a flight to Las Vegas, they email me every time there's a two-percent-off sale for that route? Thanks for the spam, assholes, I went to Vegas seven years ago. I don't need those figures now.

End travel rant.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Motorcycle Morons

The helmet law simply isn't working. When you have a helmet on... but practically nothing else... you're still gonna die.

Here's a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Genius.

If you look closely, you can see little Genius, Jr. wedged in between! Such a warm fuzzy family photo. Simultaneously, I was both deeply disturbed and laughing hysterically. It's hard to reconcile those two feelings, but I managed.

For some strange reason, it DID make me hungry for a sandwich.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Stream of consciousness while I'm working

My printer guzzles ink. I've replaced the cartridge about once a month for the past year, those goddamn things are pricey.

I just called my daughter, and she was still in bed. It's 11:15 am. God am I envious.

I have to host the afternoon show on 93.7 The Bull this afternoon. I have voice over work stacked a mile high right now and no time to prepare anything for the show. I guess it's better to be busy than bored.

I'm writing these between recording sessions, while my audio files are saving. I have about 20-30 seconds to write each thought, so none of them will be very long.

The Carolina Concert Superstation, 103.7 WSOC Family Reunion is back!!! I just thought you should know.

My coffee cup is empty. What the hell is that about? Where's my servant??? Oh, yeah. I forgot.

I am looking out across my well manicured (by some of the best illegal immigrants money can buy) back yard outside the studio right now, and I realize that I miss doing my own yard work. It's hard sweaty work, but it's a good kind of sweat, getting out there and mowing, trimming, edging, mulching, fertilizing, raking...

Who am I kidding? I'm not that crazy about yard work.

I got hit on at the grocery store yesterday. It was the first time it ever happened to me, although I've always heard it was a "meat market." (yeah, bad pun) I didn't care for her melons, so there's no chance she'll ever get to see my bratwurst. (that was quite possibly the most stupid thing I've ever written on this blog) (and I didn't even reference buns)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

How I wanna go

As I was lying quietly on the beach last week, considering my life and what's next... I found myself considering, of all things, what's last.

A couple of years ago, upon the death of a dear friend, I wrote down my feelings on the subject. I won't commit much space to it, since I am not expecting a piano to fall on me or anything. But I figured it would be a good idea to post it up front in my blog, so anyone who might someday be charged with the task of burying me will know what to do. Courtney, Ron, Gary, Mike... are you listening?

Ever heard of those celebratory funerals... the kind some black folks (and the most fun-loving of white folks) have? The ones attended by friends, neighbors, family, and anyone looking for a good plate of casserole afterward... and where folks lean back and practically shout the songs? It's like a party - an utter, all-out celebration of the person's life - and the biggest of tears are usually balanced by a good belly laugh from way down deep. Anyone who feels like it can stand up and say how they feel... and stories of the deceased are retold one more time...

And you can almost feel the person's soul in the room.

THAT is the kind of funeral I want. Let the attendees decide what's next... an open schedule and open hearts. Play some loud classic rock, throw in a country song, some jazz and blues and maybe a little reggae... and dance.

At the end of the night, I want people to go away with a warm feeling - and I want them to know how much I cared for them. The first one to leave is a rotten egg.

No plan... just a party.

Kind of like my life.

I saw it

In person.

It was up there with the most fantastic things I've ever experienced, I now know why people flock to the "space coast," park the car and sit for hours watching the horizon.

I'm back in the saddle, playing catch up. I'm trying to figure out how to post the video that I took. I will write more tomorrow, after I've caught up a little. Hope you had a great 4th.