Sunday, March 31, 2019

Rain check

Between grading papers and getting ready to blow town for a couple of days, there's no time for this foolishness.

Will catch you later.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

My Sunday Feeling

My buddy Phil looked beaten unto death.  I was standing in his kitchen as he poured me a glass of amber liquid.  All around us was the detritus of what used to be an orderly home.  He raised his weary eyes to mine as he held out his glass to offer a toast.

"Here's to getting this move over," he muttered.


"And to never moving again."

God how I can relate.  It seems amazing to me now, but this time last year the Deacon and I were looking at houses.  We closed on this, the house in the sky, in May.  She and the kids moved in the last weekend in May and I followed a few months later once our union had been solemnized according to the laws of God, or at least the Formerly United Methodist version of same, and the State of Arkansas.  

Someone once told me that the short moves are the worst.  I didn't really believe that until I moved a couple of miles from the F Street Sports Bar to this house.  Between May and August every day I carried carloads of crap either to the new house or to the Goodwill store.  Some of the crap I hauled over here was rejected by the Deacon and so back to Goodwill I would limp.  

It was simply just about the worst summer I can remember.

Phil and Karen are making a short move to a development on the river in North Little Rock.    They are not content merely with the sheer awfulness that is moving.  They are building their new house.  They have to be out of their old house by the first of the month.  If they play their cards right their home might be ready to move in by then.  The progress reports from their contractor tend to differ on this score, at least to my ears, on a daily basis.  This would drive me crazy.  As flat out horrible as the buying and selling real estate and moving processes were, I at least knew where I was going to land once it was over.

And now that I have landed, nothing short of a goddamn court order or my eventual demise, whichever comes first, will cause me to ever leave.  

I wouldn't have left the F Street Sports Bar if I had not entered into matrimony and acquired 3 people in the transaction.  I don't know why Phil and Karen are moving except that Karen has always had bees in her britches for some reason.  For as long as they have lived up on Rosewood Circle she has had her eye out for real estate.  

There was absolutely nothing wrong with their house except that it is situated on a hill which is impassable during snow and ice storms.  Phil offered to sell it to me and this was one of the reasons I didn't want it.  

So I went and bought a house east of him on the same hill which will be equally impassable in the inevitable event of an ice storm.  Shrewd huh?

I mainly wasn't interested in his house because in my mind it would always be his house.  Perhaps that's why the Deacon wanted a new house.  The other one would always be my house and associated always with the bad juju that had built up there over the years.  Juju being in the eye of the beholder of course.  I think I managed to impart some pretty good if not hilarious juju there.  But I get her larger point.  And I know how to pick my shots.

Still, in retrospect, I don't know why people would willingly enter in to the soul crushing experience of dealing in real estate and moving unless they did so in contemplation of old age or downsizing   Or because of a goddamn court order.  

So I don't much understand why my friends are putting themselves through this misery.  Then again, it ain't none of my bidness.  And while I am no model for right living, I do tend to mind my own bidness.  

As for me, I am content to stay put.  I am happy to be down to one real estate mortgage and to have no debt except my house and my car again.  Solvency is a good thing.  

And I look forward to seeing their new house.  I just hope they are able to occupy it after they hand over the keys to the old place.

At least I managed to get that part right.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

My Sunday-Posting On Saturday Because Blogger Is About to Crash- Feeling

We lost one of the all time great ones a week or so ago.  Dan Jenkins, the Bard of Fort Worth, died March 7, having attained the age of 90 despite consuming a diet, that to hear his daughter Sally Jenkins tell it, consisted mostly of red meat, Winstons, coffee and scotch.  

Jenkins was nothing if not prolific.  Not only did he crank it out about football and golf, he wrote novels and screenplays.  Indeed, in the wonderful tribute to him in the current issue of Golf Digest, it was revealed that he and friend and collaborator Bud Shrake got fired from screenwriting duties on the Eddie Murphy vehicle "Beverly Hills Cop II" because they were too funny.  When Dan pointed out to the producer that he thought that was kind of the point of the enterprise he was told,"You don't have to be funny.  Eddie be funny."

"For the next 20 years," the piece said. "The co-conspirators looked across the room at each other, pronounced "Eddie be funny" and howled."

Jenkins was at his best skewering pomposity, the PGA tour and Tiger Woods.  Regarding the latter, Woods kept ducking him for interviews.  Undaunted Jenkins wrote his own fake interview with Tiger.  Check it out.  It is beyond hilarious.  

On the other hand, he could be borderline racist and sexist.  I reviewed "The Franchise Babe" , a novel about the LPGA, for the local paper.  I panned it.  As I said at the time if you're gonna go blue you better be funny.  And "Franchise Babe" wasn't funny.  

But if he was losing his touch with the novel form, he regained it on Twitter of all places.  His tweets as he followed the events unfolding during major golf tournaments were masterpieces of brevity and wit.  Unlike the usual dispatches from the White House.

He died too soon.  Can you imagine what Dan Jenkins would have made of the recent scandal involving those rich folks bribing their kids' way into certain elite institutions?  And USC too?  After all, this is just a sports story.  

As I understand it, the parents hired an application facilitator to help guide the kids through the process.  Which is completely legal.  What wasn't legal is that this guy was the conduit through which applications with faked up athletic accomplishments were passed along leavened in most instances by bribes to college administrators.  

I teach at a local two year school.  We talked about this in class.  Many of my students are of the non-traditional variety.  Many of them hold down jobs.  They don't play intercollegiate sports at our school.  Every one of the ones in my classes got in on their own merit.  At least I am relatively certain none of my kids could come up with bribe money even if they were so inclined.  

The consensus?  It ain't fair.

And that's right.  It isn't fair.  Especially when you consider that some of the ones that got admitted are airheads who couldn't pass the entrance exam during a fair fight and/or could give two hoots in Hell about an education.  

This story has it all.  Social media superstars, bribery, hubris, crooked athletic coaches and administrators.

Ah Dan you died too soon.  You could have hit this one dead solid perfect.  

As for me, I'm taking up Winstons and Scotch.  

Sunday, March 10, 2019


No blogging today.  I'm OBE. Overtaken by events.

Namely the realization that I no longer own two houses.  I'm taking it easy seeing as how I don't think I've actually felt relaxed since last May.  

I shall return.  

Sunday, March 03, 2019

My Sunday Feeling

I'm not ordinarily given to nostalgia.  Or at least not overly much.  But I seem to be finding myself succumbing to it more frequently nowadays despite my best intentions not to.  Then again, as my friend and former colleague Danny said, "You've lived a lot of life lately."

He was in the passenger's seat as we headed to Ft. Smith the beautiful last Friday for a retirement ceremony in honor of another one of our mutual colleagues.  Debbie was hanging it up after 35 years.  Which seemed surreal to me when I pondered that I had been around for @ 30 of them.

I was a prodigy, you see.  That's the ticket.  

And I was down the hall from Danny for the same amount of time.  We hadn't really spent that much time together in recent days what with me living life and him working and being a single dad.  So our trip to the Fort was the first time in years we had really spent any time together.  

So we caught up on old news.  Did some reminiscing about those we loved and those we despised.  And we also spent a good bit of time with the fallback topics of most old guys: money, property and cars.  In our younger days we used to talk about women.  We know as much about them now as we did back in the day.  I guess the clock is ticking faster on the both of us now.  And we don't have the time to waste on issues we understand imperfectly.

The ceremony was in Judge Holmes' ceremonial courtroom.  A good number of our old friends from the Justice Department were there.  Some are still working.  Some aren't. There was much hugging, back slapping and leaning backwards while talking the better to check each other out while wearing bifocals.  

The honoree was positively radiant.  Much to our mutual surprise she acknowledged our presence during her remarks.  Any of a number of the speakers that preceded her pointed out that Debbie didn't have an enemy in the profession.  Which is pretty remarkable given the fact of what we do.  I know I've got them.  And I earned them. 

Speaking of money and property, the sale on my old house is set for next week.  And so I spent a good bit of time yesterday removing boxes and other stuff from the shed.  A couple  of the boxes contained a bunch of stuff from my old office. The one down the hall from Danny.  I hadn't looked at any of it since I left.  I guess I put the boxes of my life in the shed so I wouldn't have to remember some of what went on back in those days.  

After I filled my car up with the last load, I took a final walk around my old house.  Empty as it is now I heard my footsteps echo as I turned on the taps in anticipation of the upcoming freeze.  So the pipes won't blow up for the new owners.  They never blew up for me.  But you never know. 

I looked out the back kitchen window to the deck and cabana in the yard.  All the parties. All the Razorback games.  Back when the Razorbacks actually played down the street at War Memorial. I sat for the last time in the swing where I gave Abigail Straessle her bottle.  

I tossed the keys on the kitchen cabinet.  

"Good bye little house."

Danny's daughter is with him now.  He likes having her around more than he thought he would.  He likes having kids in the house.

I have a daughter now.  We Bowens don't produce girls. I like having Sarah around when she is home from school.  Her brother is still at Hendrix as far as I am made to understand.  That's cool.  I don't get much information. I hear from other Dads that this is not unusual.

I have a beautiful wife who tolerates me.  And you can see the Arkansas River from the front porch on our new house.  All is well.  All is better than I deserve.  I've lived a lot of life the past year.

Danny was momentarily alarmed when we wound up in Oklahoma briefly en route to I-40.  Once we got on the Interstate back around Dora (I actually knew what I was doing) he calmed down.

"Hey," he said. "Ya know?  We did damn good work you and me."

Yeah we did. 

It's enough to make one damn near nostalgic.  Maybe I will open those boxes from my old office one of these days.