Fortune

A long time ago the Good Lord and I made a deal. Mostly the deal involved trading happiness for good luck. Then I got greedy and thought I could have happiness and luck and the Lord decided I might not deserve either.

Case in point: I decided I’d take my time today at lunch so I could eat outside, relax and enjoy the bee-yoo-tee-full day. I wandered up the road to have a meal at Sonic and felt pretty damned mellow at the end. Mellow enough that I thought I’d use the five minutes or so left on my lunch break to browse the liquor store next door. Been reading some books on booze and wine and thought I’d take a look around and see what there was to see.

On my exit, I find an old dude passed out on the ground next to my car, bleeding from the head and elbow with a cluster of folks around him and paramedics on the way. Thirty minutes or so later, they have him loaded up and on his way and I’m about ready to sneak out around the ambulance when some other ass clown parks directly in front of my egress. So I sit a while longer and wait.

This is how my luck works. I have a rough morning, I take a little break to improve my mood and the Lord throws something in my path calculated to send my mood plummeting to the depths. It’s some kind of big cosmic joke. Let’s try to find out where the man’s limits are. Let’s take him right up to the edge of the abyss and give him a titanic kick in the pants to see if he can keep his balance.

Well it ain’t goddamned funny. I don’t drink much anymore. Can’t take as much as I used to.

So knock it the hell off.

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Northeast

I’ve been struggling with my impending move to northeastern Pennsylvania. I don’t much like the Philadelphia/South Jersey axis that I live in now but can’t generate much enthusiasm for the northeastern corridor and I can’t figure out why. There are a hell of a lot less people. Traffic isn’t nearly as bad. There are nice towns and good restaurants, plenty of stores and cheaper prices. Taxes are lower, insurance is cheaper, rents are reasonable. All in all there isn’t much reason to dislike living up that way compared to, say, Gettysburg. Where I was relatively happy and content.

Then I realized – nothing happened up there. Allentown and the Lehigh Valley have no direct ties to any of the historical events that I groove on. There’s no Civil War battlefield, no Revolutionary War connection, no historical event of any significance. Just a whole lot of flat-ass normal people living their normal lives in normal times. I’ve never lived anywhere momentous things didn’t happen. Everywhere I lived had an energy in the air. But up there, there’s nothing. No entrepreneurial spirit. No drive. No sense that great things are or were in the offing. Just a plodding determination to keep on living where you live and doing what you’ve always done.

In short, it’s boring. Oh well.

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Nashville

It didn’t take more than a couple of hours in Nashville and a short walk to a bar I’d only visited once before to remember why I love this place so much. Put simply, it’s the center of the Universe.

Sitting at the bar and staring at the taps I’m presented with my choice of: Yazoo Pale Ale, Shiner Bock, Fat Tire, and Abita Purple Haze. Toss in a PBR pounder and the occasional pint of Yuengling Lager and a man could die happy.

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Travel

Here’s something I haven’t done in a while – launched myself on successive weeks halfway across a continent with a job to do and a limited amount of time in which to do it. Five cities, five teams in five days over two weeks. What a trip!

The feeling is a lot different than it used to be. In the old days my motto was “Anywhere but Here.” Get me out of here, get me gone, go somewhere and milk somewhere else for all it is worth. Now I have a family left behind struggling with my absence and wishing I was there. Now I keep the trips short and sweet, do the job, pack in as much fun as possible and get home.

So I get to miss my family but still see a lot of beautiful Kansas City, ride up the St. Louis Arch, visit friends in Chicago, drive through Indiana and spend another night in Nashville.

It ain’t all pain and suffering, my friends. Just mostly.

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Europe

Two years ago today I woke up with one of the more painful hangovers in my life. Despite the sickness I had to haul myself 90 minutes across the state of Pennsylvania, book a London hotel, secure passage on a ferry to Normandy and wait for my late-night ride to the airport for the start of the grand adventure. By 11 o’clock that evening I had the last piece of kit I needed (a USB phone charger) and was aboard a Virgin jet non-stop to Heathrow Airport, London, UK.

Whee!

What started out years ago as a desire to visit the Norman landing beaches on D-Day turned into a month-long odyssey through England, France and Italy with stops in London, Portsmouth, Caen, Cherbourg, Paris, Rome, Florence, and a number of other small towns along the way. I saw Utah, Omaha, Juno, Sword and Gold Beaches along with Pointe-du-Hoc, the Merville Battery, Pegasus Bridge, Ouistreham, the Arromanches Mulberry and St Mere Eglise. I saw the RAF Memorial, Apsley House, Duxford Airfield, the National Army Museum, the Cabinet War Rooms, the British Museum, and the HMS Victory. I saw Notre Dame, Napoleon’s Tomb, Montmartre, Saint Chappele, the Louvre, Versailles, and Euro Disney. I saw the Pantheon, Coliseum, Circus Maximus, Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Duomo, and Vatican City.

Hell, I covered so much ground I even got to see two old friends and a cousin!

After all that, I came back to the dear old United States of America and turned a number of good ideas into a five month circumnavigation of the entire country.

That’s a story for another day a month, a week and a day from now when that anniversary occurs.

I’ll leave you with the highlights of the trip.

Europe_2008

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