Always On The Run

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Chewing my breakfast in the car, I ignored apple Danish smudge my thumb left on the phone screen. I typed good luck with first day of college classes to my oldest daughter while my middle one waved goodbye and walked into school.

 

http://yeahwrite.me/gargleblaster-176/

The ultimate question

Lace up those sneakers – this week’s ultimate question is designed to get you moving.

What are we running for?

Never Said

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It is a 20-year-old tale told by a fool, full of drunkenness and pity, signifying something, and when the Facebook friend request popped up I ignored her on instinct. The following message made me grin, wide, but guilt as cargo. My wife sat three feet away on the family living room sofa as I read.

What is the airspeed velocity of a flying monkey?

I remembered. Two decades earlier the person behind the message and I sat on a sad, yellowed couch watching The Simpsons. It was the episode where Mr. Burns unleashes his flying monkeys. We quoted every line, laughed at each joke, and plotted our own entertainment successes that never happened. Against better judgment, I answered.

Fly my pretties! Fly!

I didn’t wait for her response. I shut my laptop and walked into the kitchen to look for a diet soda. I opened the refrigerator, popped the top, and drifted into a memory.

I stood in front of a dirty fridge looking at a twelve pack of beer, a pack of cheese, some condiments and left over pizza. She had followed me into the kitchen, chattering about our plans.

“When we make it as comedy writers and stand ups, we’re never drinking cheap beer from a can.”

I swigged a Natural Light while tossing her one as she leaned against the lime green wall phone with a cord that could stretch into all five rooms; kitchen, bathroom, living room and two bedrooms. She caught it with her left hand and said.

“Tell me your first joke you’re going to do at the open mic tomorrow.”

I frowned at the thought of performing in front of just her. As close as we were, it was a competitive relationship. I didn’t trust her. If she liked my material, she’d downplay her delight. If she didn’t like it, she’s patronize my feelings. I took the bait like a hungry catfish.

“Hey, how’s everyone doing? I just graduated college and my post graduate work is making strangers laugh enough so that the important guy in the back running this place gives me a break and I’ll have my own sitcom by Christmas. So please, for the love of poverty, don’t forget to tip your waitresses. I plan on sweet talking one for a twenty buck loan at the end of the night.”

She drank her beer, then grinned. I fumed.

“What?” I demanded.

She stepped toward me, tossed back another drink, and answered.

“That’s so adorable, you’ll get laughs and get laid by the waitress.”

She patronized me. I knew her so well. I walked past her and looked for the black spiral notebook that contained my best stuff. I felt her hand on my back as I reached the bedroom.

“Who is she?”

The refrigerator door shut and I was back. My wife stood a few feet away with her arms crossed, holding her cell phone with raised eyebrows and a mischievous smile.

“Somebody I used to know from my stand up comedy days. I denied the friend request. answered her message, then walked away. I was going to tell you.”

She met me in front of the fridge and leaned in for a kiss. She brushed away strands of brown but gray-tinged hair from my eyes.

“I know, but I was bad. I looked her up on my phone. She’s not as pretty as me, and it looks like she’s unhappy with her life. If she messages you again, tell me, and I’ll have her killed by the end of  the day.”

We both broke into loud laughter. I composed myself, kissed her, then said.

“You’re the funny one, these days. Maybe I should take you to an open mic.”

I followed her into the living room. We never said anything else, about her, or my life, back then.

http://youtu.be/RCP-UIs2kpM

100 Word Song – Worrisome Heart

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No lead in or exposition, just a song, more Silas and Olive, and a request to go see my sometimes writing partner, Tara aka @Tara_R from http://www.thinspiralnotebook.com. She chose today’s 100 word tune, a jazzy number from Melody Gardot called Worrisome Heart.

Here’s my 100.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/100-word-song-wish-i-could-fly-like-superman/

Silas swallowed, thought about Olive, then his hand shook. His finger was close to the trigger. He dropped it on the ground. Archie smiled. Kenny and Roscoe ran next to him, but Archie stopped them with one sentence.

“I know what it’s like to be surrounded by people with troubling ways and worrisome hearts.”

He stepped toward Silas. The gun was equal distance from both men.

“Everybody wants the short cut get to where they’re going. We’re not like that.”

Silas stared at the money in his other hand, then dropped it to the garage floor, too.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

As always, you have 7 days from NOW, to write 100 words off Melody Gardot’s Worrisome Heart, Use the media that are social to advertise your magic. Also link up to the green Mr. Linky button, below.

100 Word Song – Wish I Could Fly Like Superman

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Sorry for the lateness of this week’s 100 word song. Between work, being featured on my first ever podcast interview, and some Lefty Pop aka http://www.leftypop.com business, it was an overwhelming day. Wait, what? Podcast interview? Oh, yeah. If you do this blogging thing long enough, hit a BlogHer conference and treat people decently, someone will hand you a small snack of internet fame. My writer friend Poppy Marler aka aka @poppyjmarler hit me up in San Jose and asked me to do a Skype interview last Wednesday. It ran today. I wouldn’t shut up and used the phrase “be a whore” professionally. Here’s the link to Poppy and her friends Tammy and Vanita’s site Blogging Betties. They do a great job and were very nice to me. Hope you have 45 minutes.

http://bloggingbetties.com/episode23/

Today’s 100 word song was chosen by Dawn of The Dawnie Project http://www.thedawnieproject.com/ . She suggested 1979’s Wish I Could fly like Superman by The Kinks.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/between-something-and-nothing/

Silas scanned the garage. He saw nothing that Roscoe, Archie or Kenny could use as a weapon. Archie spoke.

“There’s 300 dollars on the red toolbox to your left. That’s what these two owe you from the deal with Bart and that shiner.”

Silas walked over, then picked up the cash. Kenny and Roscoe took several steps toward him. Archie shouted.

“No!”

Archie approached.

“I know who you are, Silas Royster, of Daily, Georgia. You’re better than this. But you’ve got fly away like Superman from those two girls.”

Silas pulled the gun and aimed it at Archie.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

As always, you have 7 days to give up 100 words inspired by The Kinks Wish I Could Fly Like Superman. Use the media that are social to advertise you magic and the green Mr. Linky button to link up.

Between Something And Nothing

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You’ll see some changes to this space as weeks progress. I learned from my BlogHer trip that I must more organized and focused in what posts here so you can know what to expect and grow along with the content. My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog will be a platform for my serialized fiction, subsequent published books, and other writing. This has always been a writing blog by a writer who likes to write.

Lefty Pop, aka http://www.leftypop.com or @lefty_pop or http://www.facebook.com/leftypop will be the destination for my opinions, politics, and pop culture material. My partner, Linda Roy aka @modmomelleroy of http://www.elleroywashere.com and I are planning some changes there that will feature more video and podcast blogging. We’re very excited about all of this.

I will write about music here, because a) that’s my gimmick b) you can’t stop me.

I’ve neglected my serialized short story, Light Of Day, about Silas and Olive, two 19-year-old lovers on the run in 1989 Florida. It’s coming to an end, sometime in the next two to three months.  So, let’s get on with it. Here’s a new story episode, no prompts or tie ins, just a several hundreds words of the inevitable confrontation.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/100-word-song-best-day-of-my-life/

There was a party of four riding in the Cutlass as Silas drove from The Jade strip club to Finn Brothers Garage. Zola and Olive shared the backseat as Olive changed clothes and chattered about her shift as a waitress among nude dancers and grabby men. Silas drove while a stark disquiet rode shotgun. As he pulled the car to a stop in an alley between the garage, Olive blurted.

“What the hell did you tell him, Zola? He hasn’t looked at me once since I got in the car.”

Silas parked, took the keys from the ignition, and tossed them over his right shoulder. Without turning around he delivered the plan.

“I’m going inside and getting the money. Zola, if they don’t have the two thousand you said they’d have, I’m taking whatever I can get. If something happens, let Olive drive, she knows how jacked up the brakes are on this car. If, I’m not out in five minutes, get the hell out of here.”

He walked past the passenger side window as Olive rolled it down and stuck her head out.

“Honey, I love you, forever, okay?”

The pacing of her words were typical Olive, Silas thought to himself. Quick, deliberate, and with emphasis on forever and okay. Everything he’s learned about her over the past few hours from Zola told him to not answer, keep walking, and perhaps, not come back. He gave in, one more time.

“I love you too, Liv. He felt tears well, so he squeezed his eyes shut and pivoted. By the time he got to the window, Olive was smiling. He leaned in and kissed her, tasting liquor, lipstick, and lies. He put his left hand in the waist of his blue jeans and adjusted the gun so he could draw if necessary.

He walked into the auto body shop, let the metal door slam shut, then looked over the empty bays as the echoes died down. Both Finn Brothers and their cousin, Kenny, stood thirty feet in front of him. None of them were holding money.

Here’s The Ocean Blue with their alternative 1989 hit, Between Something And Nothing.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

bookcoverpicajjhkasfpaperbackpicturesad

My Hero

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Why do we insist on heroes being perfect? That’s a rhetorical question, unless you’re a Superman person, then congrats on liking a boring alien who does anything wrong. I prefer mine to be incredibly flawed, like the sarcastic, tortured Spider-man or the brooding, borderline anti-hero, Batman.

When it comes to real life, isn’t it time to admit that there aren’t heroes who aren’t flawed? Some of you will leap up to your screens and shout, policemen, firemen, teachers, and those who serve in the armed forces! Okay, but are they perfect like Superman or flawed like Spider-man and Batman?

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For the past few months I’d attached the word hero to a man named Chris Kluwe. He’s the former punter for the Minnesota Vikings who last kicked in the NFL on the Oakland Raiders practice squad in 2013. In January, he accused his former special teams coach Mike Priefer of making homophobic remarks and admonishing him in front of the team for his same-sex marriage advocacy. Starting the 2012, Kluwe publicly declared support of LGBT rights, including marriage, writing a letter to the editor that appeared in several media outlets countering former Viking Matt Birk’s anti-gay marriage video statement. Kluwe later appeared in a pro-LGBT rights documentary and rallied against California’s Proposition 8 bill. Kluwe and former Baltimore Ravens Brendon Ayanbadejo are the only NFL players to make public stands on these issues. Neither are currently employed by NFL Teams. While Mike Priefer, proven to be a homophobe and a bully, is only suspended 3 games by the team.

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Chris Kluwe’s twitter account @chriswarcraft is pretty amazing. It’s a mixture of video gaming nerd culture, social justice advocacy, goofiness, and various rants. Yesterday, when a 29-page Minnesota Vikings internal report was released, with 3 pages vindicating everything Kluwe ever said about Priefer, Kluwe’s twitter account went off the deep end. The Vikings spent the other 26 pages covering their butts while exposing Kluwe’s. According to the report, he participated in inappropriate jokes regarding the Penn State rape scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky, going as far as cutting a hole in his pants and taunting a coach who went to the school with assault remarks.  On his Twitter account, Kluwe responded with an unsubstantiated claim that two Vikings players were caught with an underage girl and threatened to escalate his grievances with the Vikings, further.

The response to Kluwe from sportswriters is both typical and sad. They were looking for a Superman to take down the NFL’s hideous jock culture, but they got a Spider-Man, who’s on the right side of history, but his mouth and fingers are troublesome.

chrisklueellendeg Kluwe with Ellen

No one in this Vikings vs. Chris Kluwe vs. Mike Priefer vs. sportswriters is likable or wise. The Vikings are a team with a recent history of awfulness from a “Sex Boat” scandal where players rented a houseboat, hired strippers and “things” happened, to employing a bigot who helped blackball the team punter. Kluwe may want to take a week or so away from the media that are social and think about how to present himself before the LGBT community tells him to get lost. His voice is needed, but his image needs rehabilitation because the anti-gay crowd will just use his flaws as ammunition. He also should apologize if the Vikings’ allegations are true.

Speaking up against discrimination isn’t just important, it’s vital to a society that must progress faster. Kluwe is one of 2 people out of the two thousand associated with the NFL, America’s most popular sport and highest rated television show, to show courage. But as Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben once said, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Chris Kluwe says the conflict between him and Vikings is only going to get uglier. My hope, for someone I consider kind of a hero, is that he finds wisdom then figures out his next battle. He won this fight. But heroes also find peace.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

bookcoverpicajjhkasfpaperbackpicturesad

Boys Don’t Cry

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Being a blogger, author, online journalist, and co-owner of the politics and pop culture website Lefty Pop aka http://www.leftypop.com, means I get attention from people who think they know me. Hate mail, or since so many of you tell me I use “love” and “hate” too much, polarizing people, let’s call it Disagreement Mail; is a thing in my life. Between this blog, Lefty Pop, the Twitter, Google + (don’t laugh, there are people on there, sort of) and The Book Of Face, I average about 25 to 35 pieces of Disagreement Mail a day. Recently, I got one from a “Facebook friend”. Let’s call him Stan.

“Your pandering to your female “fans” is getting (freaking) pathetic, don’t you think? We get it, you live with 4 women, they took your balls, and you love gays, and that stupid “war on women bull(crap)”. If you think MSNBC is going to come calling because you’re this put upon (crappy) liberal in the conservative South, then get the (freak) over yourself. You’re just being a (female cat). Be a man! That’s what women want, a man!”

I did some editing because my daughters read this space and we’re all smart enough to see Stan The Man’s world view, or Lance view. This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten this critique. Let’s go hip hop on Stan’s Disagreement Mail and break it down.

1) Pandering to female “fans”. Here’s a factoid about writing online. Females outnumber males 1 gazillion to 1. I suck at math but that’s a fair statistic. I know of maybe 12 guys who blog. Until a year ago, that number was 4, but I started networking. We’re planning a retreat where we’ll meet in an internet café and bang on Starbucks coffee cans and express our feelings. No, not really, that’ll never happen. There many more female bloggers than male. My demographics are identical to other guys’. I never set out to be the dude with a bunch of gals hanging around me, but ’tis my life. This is why I workout and go into an office for my real job away from writing. I get to at least say hello to other XY chromosomes. Also, fighting for equal rights for gay people and women is the decent, correct thing to do. I shouldn’t have to defend that, but I will, forever.

2) My balls. Living with a wife and 3 daughters means I compromise and sacrifice a lot. I find this an endearing quality of mine, because it makes my household run smoothly and my heart, full. My politics proudly lean left. The left is where compromise and sacrifice reside in today’s arena of ideas and political discourse. Whether you and Stan agree with me, so be it. I’m a lefty in a righty culture. Being too punk rock for the room is something I usually enjoy, because it means I’m not lock stepping with the Joneses, whom I can’t even keep up with, anyway.

3) Being a man. If, at the end of the day, my wife and 3 daughters see an example of someone who doesn’t knee-jerk respond to stress with violence, either verbally or physically, then I’m a real man. I ask my wife constantly, “are we okay?” Most of the time she says yes, but when she does say no, it has nothing to do with whether I’m being a rhymes with the watusi, it has to do with me being insensitive, bi-polar, hard to get along with and a cliché “dude” about hating shopping, not wanting to watch the Food Network and soap opera-like shows, and see her and my daughters try on clothes for an hour before we leave the house. Being a real man has more to do with love, care, and hope, not driving a truck with a gun rack and hanging metal nuts.

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There are a lot of Stans out there, perpetuating gender stereotypes out of fear, self-loathing or good old-fashioned, ha.., I mean disagreement. Whether you click on this page, Lefty Pop, or my media that are social, I wish you see someone just trying to figure out how to be a better person, notice I didn’t type “man”, and wanting to do so in a way that sets some sort of example for the next neurotic writer behind me.

I believe in progress. Many years ago, I listened to The Cure, alone, sometimes in tears, afraid of what my “real men” friends or family would think. Now, I can do so with an audience of thousands, mmmm, okay, hundreds, fine, dozens. Screw it, share this and let’s talk, we can make it hundreds, at least. Don’t make me cry.

Here’s The Cure.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

bookcoverpicajjhkasfpaperbackpicturesad