apocalypse twice

I was fascinated by this post: Sign of the Apocalypse.

Blogidaho says,

“On Wednesday, April 5th, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00
in the morning, the time and date will be

01:02:03 04/05/06.

That won’t EVER happen again!”

But this misses the fact that the European style of writing dates is to put the day before the month. To an American, 04/05/06 means April 5, 2006. In Germany it means 4 May, 2006. Thus IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN!!! This Thursday, in fact.

And I wouldn’t say it’s the sign of the Apocalypse, rather it’s a good excuse for a drink. Go ahead, open up your best bottle and toast Blogidaho and Stoneunhinged for bringing you useful drinking information.

WordPress bloggers are here to serve!



a new look!

Y’all like it?


another post lost…

I was writing a beautiful post on how I taught my son to play poker yesterday, and I hit the wrong button on my keyboard—apparently some kind of hot key/shortcut bullshit—which wiped it out.

I’ll write it again tomorrow, but not tonight.

This happens to me WAY too often.

I love WordPress, by the way…it’s not their fault. But I’m still quite irritated.

Till later.


…and hungry like a lamb

I'm very, very hungry.  And angry and depressed.  I'm unhinged.  Exactly why I am waiting to tell y'all in a week or two, if I ever do.

But for now, I'll say just this:  something is fundamentally wrong with me, I think.  I was thinking about my "death on the brain" mood, and I realized that this is not normal.  There is nothing wrong with being compassionate and empathetic and concerned; but with me, I spend all my time being comassionate and empathetic and concerned, and NOT happy and active and involved with life.  I look around and see a world of pain, sadness, and my own frustration; others look around and see mountains to climb and lakes to swim in and parties to go to.

My son learned to ride a bike this week.  I'm very proud.  But why didn't I jump up and down and hug him and tell him that this was one of the greatest moments in my life?

Because something's wrong with me.

And I'm hungry as a lamb, and there are no cherry pies in sight.  Only the pictures on my own damn blog, teasing and tormenting me, telling me that my priorities are entirely screwed up.

But at least I've got my similes.


I’m as fit as a snake…

Having had death on my mind, I thought I should go get a check-up. Once you’re over 35, the health insurance companies in Germany pay for a free check-up once a year. It’s called “Check-up 35”. Not very good German, but there you have it. (This increasingly annoying use of English phrases could be the subject of a blog entry by itself, but not today).

Anyway, I’m fit as a snake. But what did I expect?

I’m gonna go take a nap.


cowboy music last month: nice people in east Germany

I never got around to blogging about last month’s gig in eastern Germany.

We were here: Zum Pappenheimer, in Saalfeld, a town in Thuringen. This is in what used to be the German Democratic Republic. For all you kiddies out there, that was the official name of East Germany, back when there was a wall running through Berlin and they would shoot you if you tried to cross over into the west without getting permission first.

The bar has a super bar atmosphere. To play there, however, is not to play in perfect conditions. There is no stage—they just clear away a few tables in the corner—so you never really get the feeling you have an audience, which I find important. A few people at a few tables act like they are there for the music; the rest just occasionally look over and applaud at the end of songs.

We played well, I think.

But the evening was terrific. The people there at Zum Pappenheimer are world-class in hospitality. We got to use one of the guestrooms for free (you can look at it on the web site, actually. Click “unsere Zimmer” and then “west”. You can also see that the room normally cost 50 euros a night. For small time acts like ourselves, this is luxurious.) For dinner before we performed they handed us a menu and let us pick anything we wanted. I had steak and home-fried potatoes with salad and beer. Breakfast the next day was so large it seemed like a buffet.

Hans and I try to keep alcohol intake to a bare minimum while performing. Then, after the show, we pack up all the equipment, sit and the bar, and order a shot of some kind of spirit. Han always orders something called “Williams”, a pear-flavored liquor of some sort. I always order a bourbon. Usually I’m not choosy, except to avoid Jack Daniel’s. But this place is special. This place—these unbelievably good hosts—held up a bottle of Maker’s Mark and Woodford’s Reserve and gave me a choice of the two. I went for the Woodford. An excellent choice. Excellent whiskey. Excellent.

Anyway, we’ve played this bar twice, and my experience there and other experiences I’ve had in the ex-GDR have given me the same impression: the people there are just extra nice. They may have had to endure over a half a century of dictatorial government, but they seem folksier and friendlier than their more “sophisticated” western kinsmen.

I hope we play there again next year. I think I’ll have the lamb instead of beefsteak. But I’m sticking to the Woodford’s Reserve.



I've had death on my brain for some time now.

Back up about a year. One of my softball players, a woman of 28, was diagnosed with colon cancer. No one deserves such a diagnosis, to be sure: but you know how it is: some people you meet in life are somehow extra special. This woman is one of those extra special people. She radiates enthusiasm and lust for life. She's full of energy, pretty and flirtatious, loving to her teammates and friends, and just a joy to be around. Every time I see her I feel a sense of joy.  She makes me smile.

They removed a good two feet or so of her colon, but found metastatis in her liver. After two rounds of chemo, they removed a third of her liver. This was good news—they might have had to remove up to 7/8ths, the most you can remove and still have some liver function. But then there were cancer cells in her lymphnodes. Another round of chemotherapy.

Then more good news. Blood tests were very positive. Then more bad news. Metastastis in the liver again.

More chemotherapy—but she's still playing in games this season, with more elan than the others, and with physical skill and strength, and still radiating with life and love and friendship.

I admire her greatly.

But I wouldn't trade places with her. Oh, I'd give her blood or one of my organs, maybe even a leg or an eye, so she could live. But I wouldn't want to be in her place.

I know that in some ways her closeness to death is an illusion, and I've tried to tell her this to give her hope. People drop dead at the age of 20 (more on this later) with no previous signs of illness, or they die in a car accident or even kill themselves; while sometimes people with cancer are operated on, just for the doctors to discover that the cancer has disappeared. We NEVER know how close death is. Never. It's just a guess.

But the presence of cancer brings the closeness of death to your mind, and weighs heavily. It weighs heavily on me, and the cancer is not mine, and the life is not mine. And while in a certain sense I love all of my players, I love her especially (I love her as a woman, and not just as one of my players), and struggle with the idea that she herself is struggling for her life.

And yes, she was one of those sitting in the car when I was having my "oh I feel sorry for myself" session in Holland.

I am ashamed.

She is another of my 72 heroes.