Skip to main content

 Join us every Tuesday afternoon at the Daily Kos community political poetry club.
                    Your own poetry is always welcome in the comments.
                       Bongos, berets & turtle neck sweaters optional.                                
                            The keyboard is mightier than the sword.    

Readers & Book Lovers Schedule (note; new series by Brecht debuted on the 22nd!):

DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
MON 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery Susan from 29
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUE (alternating Tuesdays) 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
Tue 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views Brecht, bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
Thu (third each month - on hiatus) 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
Fri 6:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 4:00 PM Daily Kos Political Book Club Freshly Squeezed Cynic
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Here's the hosting schedule,
which is wide open,
for March.

5th      open
12th    open
19th    open
26th    open

When I was a kid,
and I told my father about something I did,
something that seemed hard to do,
he often said,
"Are you bragging or complaining?"

Back then,
I didn't take such things seriously;
I didn't understand,
and I didn't try to figure it out;
I thought my father was just trying to be funny.

And maybe he was,
but I'm about to write about the day I had,
the 25th of February, 2013.

And the whole idea
of telling you how hard I worked,
brings my father's words to mind.

(And the answer is,
complaining a little,
but mostly bragging.)

I got up at noon,
after about four hours sleep,
and went to work in a snowstorm,
with my wife's Uncle Randall,
so he could drive our car back to the house,
in case it might be needed by someone there.

The snow was light;
my little Mazda Tribute,
a small SUV,
cruised the ten miles or so easily.

I dropped myself off right at the door,
in the fire lane;
Uncle Randall,
who looks like a black Santa Clause,
with cheeks very chubby when he smiles,
which is often,
and a salt and pepper beard,
Uncle Randall walked around the car,
and took the driver's seat,
and I thanked him,
and he drove away in the light snow.

I walked quickly,
not even wearing a coat,
(my coat was stuffed into my small carry-on,
along with my pills and food and book and such)
into the large Walmart Supercenter where I work,
all the way to the back,
into the endless hallways of the mystical Back Room,
(as in, "Do you have any more of this particular kind of coffee maker
in the Back Room?),
past the time punching computer terminal,
(I was 20 minutes early),
and into the break room.

I sat down and ate some crackers and cheese,
and took my blood pressure pill,
(my grandmother lived to be 94,
and took her blood pressure pill every day)
and I took some vitamin pills,
with extra doses of vitamin C and magnesium,
with a cinnamon and chromium supplement,
to help me deal with my pre-diabetes condition.
(My mother died at 74, from diabetes.)

I punched in,
just a few minutes late,
and went down the back room hallway to the pick carts,
a row of two or three of our six-wheeled flat carts,
loaded with items that the computer said
would fit on the shelves.
(The computer was sometimes wrong,
because it was given the wrong information,
but usually the stuff would go out.)

I found two carts loaded high,
with signs dated the day before.

That's unusual,
but the day before,
the 24th,
the store was jammed with customers,
some of which had had trouble getting out of their driveways,
starting Wednesday night,
the night of our previous snow storm,
and some of which were worried,
since the forecast was for more snow on Monday,
so they were in the store,
stocking up on soup and chili.

With a foot of snow on the ground,
and more coming down,
we had to tell our customers,
we sold out of
snow shovels,
ice melting compound,
and gloves,
on Wednesday,
and we're not getting more in.

Because we were so swamped with customers Sunday,
no one had had time to work on those carts of items to put out.

I rolled out a cart that had furniture items on it,
some folding chairs,
and when I got to the furniture area,
I saw that the butterfly chairs were low.

I remembered we had seven cases of them,
in the Back Room,
so I headed back to get them.

They were on a pallet that was located way up top,
on top of the steel racks,
but rather than get it down with a fork lift,
since there were pallets I'd have to move,
blocking the way for the lift,
I just got a ladder,
and started carrying them down on my shoulder,
box by box.

Just as I had the last box down,
a low level boss,
came up and asked what I was doing,
I told him,
he said,
set those chairs aside,
and help us get the Back Room ready for unloading a truck.

I asked,
only one truck?
a small one,
only 1,300 pieces,
but some of the unloaders called in,
so we need your help,
Pat said.

We spent the next almost two hours
clearing pallets of freight off the area of the Back Room
we call the dance floor,
and we brought in carts from the grocery side,
and I took a short break,
and came back,
and started helping unload the truck.

I'm an old dude,
born in 1955,
but I'm strong enough,
with no serious physical limitations,
and when I'm unloading a truck,
I feel as if I'm doing it well,
walking with a certain flow,
grabbing a box off the line,
stepping over to the pallet,
setting the box in a good position,
so the boxes stacked there won't fall.

It only seems hard
when I go to my meal break,
and I feel so tired that it's hard to get up off my chair.

That's why I don't want to be a full time truck unloader,
but I don't mind substituting,
one or two days a week,
so that I can brag and complain.

When the truck was done,
about six PM,
I went on my meal break.

I had butter and cheese soup and hot dogs.

To make butter and cheese soup,
using a one quart plastic storage container,
half full of water,
microwave for six minutes,
and set the plastic bowl in front of you at the table,
sit down,
and add one half stick of real butter,
your seasoning packet from your chicken flavored ramen package,
the ramen noodles,
and eight slices of pasteurized process cheese slices.

Stir and stir.

Heat your package of eight hot dogs on a paper plate,
with another paper plate over the hot dogs,
for four minutes.

Put mayo and relish over the hot dogs.

This meal,
butter and cheese soup,
and four of the eight hot dogs,
with mayo and relish,
that's a truly satisfying meal.

Makes me doze off in the break room.

After my meal break,
one of the night time bosses,
a smart young man who went to college,
got a degree in business,
and hired on as a salaried assistant manager,
Trenton told me the usual,
go work on department 17.

I've been working five years
in department 17.

Department 17 includes
picture frames,
curtain rods,
and curtains,
along with a nice selection of couch pillows.

That day's load for department 17 was small;
I put it up in a reasonable time;
it was mostly curtain rods.

I dragged the pallet to the Back Room,
and took off the cardboard,
and put it in the baler,
and cut the UPC barcode label off a broken mirror,
and put the mirror in the trash compactor,
and ran the compactor several cycles,
since a previous worker had dropped off garbage from the deli,
chicken nuggets and other foods,
too old to sell,
and that worker failed to cycle the machine,
and push it forward with a broom,
to get it smashed into the compact bale of garbage.

I got off the clock,
and called Uncle Randall,
and called my wife, Tonia,
and she said, get bread,
since I want more bologna and cheese sandwiches,
and I'm out of bread.

When we headed for home,
we were following a semi,
a tanker truck,
and Randall said,
he's making deep tracks,
almost all the way to the concrete road surface.

It was another matter when we got to the driveway;
Randall had to give it three or four tries,
to get into our parking spot.

I'm getting tired now,
and I don't want to write any more;
I don't want to tell you about Terrell,
my brother-in-law,
and his arrival in the driveway with his little car,
and the shoveling of the driveway,
by Terrell,
and by me,
more bragging and complaining:
I'm too tired to explain it all.

Now is the time to get on my soapbox,
and preach the gospel,
the gospel of the end of our world,
the world as we know it.

During that break at work,
and during my breaks at home,
I've been reading a book,
The Long Emergency,
by James Howard Kunstler.

They say,
follow the money,
to see who is lying,
and what kind of lies they're telling,
and from that,
you might find the truth,
by realizing that an idea that seems sensible,
but would cost the big boys money,
is likely true,
while the alternate narrative,
is likely not true at all.

All the big boys,
who are getting the big bucks,
from oil and natural gas and coal,
they are telling us,
as long as we let them do what they want,
let them frack,
let them drill offshore,
let them strip mine at will,
there is hundreds and hundreds of years worth of fossil fuels,
and no need to panic,
no need to change our way of living.


Think about it this way:
The Earth is laid out mostly in horizontal layers,
yes, I know, tectonic plate folding moves the layers at angles,
but the fact remains,
any thing we want,
iron ore,
natural gas,
all these things are there,
under the ground,
in horizontal zones that are the size they are,
north to south,
east to west,
measuring however many square whatevers,
and they are where they are,
and they are not where they are not.

There is no technological device
that can make the desired substance
magically appear in our possession,
for our use,
when it's simply not there.

We are running out of oil,
natural gas,
and we may not have even one hundred years worth of dirty coal.

I predict we will find out how many years our coal will last.

I predict we will build more coal fired power plants,
after it's pretty much too late,
we'll build a lot of nuclear power plants.

By that time,
folks will starve to death and die,
since we do not,
right now,
and will not,
within the next fifty years,
have a plan for producing enough food for 300 million Americans,
with no fossil fuels.

No natural gas for making the fertilizer,
no oil for making the pesticide,
no diesel fuel for the tractors
to plow and plant and harvest,
no diesel fuel for the trucks
to bring the soup and chili to my Walmart store.

No diesel fuel for the trucks to bring bacon and eggs
to my Walmart store.

No gasoline for Randall and I
to put in the little Mazda,
to take me to work.

I have ideas for nuclear power plants,
and electric trolley cars,
for me to get to work,
and electric or steam engine trains,
to get the food to my home city of Wichita, Kansas.

But how can I get my ideas out there?

I could put them in a poetry blog.

Thanks for reading.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  As a geologist, I have to say (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac, Portlaw, Brecht

    that your explanation of the occurrence of mineral wealth below is very apt indeed. Afghanistan - a place fraught with peril - is also the geologic host to many very valuable strategic metals. Some have estimated $3 billions worth, but that's only based on known exploration. What keeps those metals in the ground is political strife, lack of infrastructure such as rail and roads, and lack of local technological resources. So in essence:

    In Afghanistan's lands buried deep
    Great resources quietly sleep
    While above, war is waged
    These great treasures are caged
    And until peace breaks out, they will keep

    It's ironic to think that a war
    With its violence, bloodshed, and gore
    Could keep miners at bay
    'Til some far future day
    When technology opens that door.

    Think about it this way:
     The Earth is laid out mostly in horizontal layers,
     yes, I know, tectonic plate folding moves the layers at angles,
     but the fact remains,
     any thing we want,
     iron ore,
     natural gas,
     all these things are there,
     under the ground,
     in horizontal zones that are the size they are,
     north to south,
     east to west,
     measuring however many square whatevers,
     and they are where they are,
     and they are not where they are not.

    Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

    by cassandracarolina on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 02:18:18 PM PST

    •  You're a geologist? Nice to know! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassandracarolina, Brecht

      This anonymous blogging is a little strange at times;
      I interact with folks here,
      confident that I know them,
      in the sense that I know their levels of maturity and intelligence,
      and the way they see the world,
      all that,
      from words on my computer screen.

      But I truly don't know,
      unless a username or an announcement tells me,
      if a fellow blogger here is:
      well paid professional,
      soccer mom,
      or what.

      For example,
      two of my old buddies here,
      it turns out,
      are female Anglican priests.

      I mean,
      I knew they were female,
      but after twenty years as a Roman Catholic,
      (I'm now an adamant non-believer)
      seeing only male priests,
      I find myself trying to visualize my buddies here at Daily kos,
      wearing their ecclesiastical robes,
      and presiding over mass,
      at a big church.

      I'm so glad you like my way of describing minerals
      in the Earth.

      Every time,
      so far,
      that I've approached this topic in my face-to-face world,
      the person I speak with says something dismissive,
      and says something that indicates
      that he or she does not see mineral deposits that way.

      I'm glad to see an actual formally educated geologist
      backing up my view.

      Someone I only knew as a fan of poetry.

      Thanks again.

      •  Yea, verily, and forsooth... I am a geologist (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht, bigjacbigjacbigjac

        When the truth is laid out, some folks sneer
        "There is plenty of oil, right here!"
        What they mean (but don't say)
        Is "for me", "for today"
        But tomorrow is much more unclear

        They don't care about that, not one bit
        For as long as they've access to it
        Future Earthlings can freeze
        Die from strife or disease
        In a world that their greed turned to sh*t.

        Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

        by cassandracarolina on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 03:09:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for sharing; that's quite a day you had (3+ / 0-)

    No wonder you're tired.

    I added an "R&BLers" tag because there are 2763 of those, and only 66 "R & BLers" in the tag history.

    I hope tomorrow brings more to brag and smile about.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 02:25:44 PM PST

    •  Thanks for reading. And thanks for the tag. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, cassandracarolina, Portlaw

      I'm still learning about the Readers and book lovers group.

      The way I just typed it,
      with the word, 'and,'
      not the '&,'
      I just noticed about an hour ago,
      that is the name of the group,
      as listed in the groups I belong to,
      as included at the top of this diary.

      But all three tags use the '&,'
      not the word, 'and.'

      I'm learning to edit the group schedule with html.

      I enjoy all this,
      or I wouldn't have the patience;
      I wouldn't take the time.

      Thanks again.

      •  I feels to me like you speak a different dialect (3+ / 0-)

        than I do. Of course, you do, you write poetically. But I like the energy of your writing. You overflow with joy - even when your subject doesn't seem joyful, you have an exuberance, like Whitman did.

        html is a long road to travel, and I've only gone a few steps. One day I'll have different fonts, and pictures...until one day I'll make doves fly out of your screen.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 03:16:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Embedding photos is actually quite simple (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, Portlaw, bigjacbigjacbigjac

          Rigs at night Galveston

          If you have them on a photo-sharing site like Flickr. All you need to do is click on the picture of yours, click on "share" which will give you options as to what size you want, copy the code in the box, and paste it in your comment or diary.

          Here's a shot of Galveston with offshore oil drilling rigs towed in for repairs. Some would love to see our entire Gulf Coast and other waters full of these.

          Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

          by cassandracarolina on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 03:26:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  My dear Brecht, seems to me, the reason (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cassandracarolina, Brecht

          I write with a feeling of pleasure
          glowing behind my words,
          is the pleasure I'm hoping for as I write them,
          and I got that pleasure
          when I read these words:

           It feels to me like you speak a different dialect
          than I do. Of course, you do, you write poetically. But I like the energy of your writing. You overflow with joy - even when your subject doesn't seem joyful, you have an exuberance, like Whitman did.  

          So now I'm another Walt Whitman?

          I'm feeling the pleasure,
          flowing from those words,
          into my body.

          I don't think I'll ever desire the drugs others like so much;
          I get high on moments like this.

          Thanks again.

          •  You're welcome. You're very amiable. (2+ / 0-)

            I share your pleasure in communication, and in just juggling with words.

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 06:38:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks again. Yes, word juggling. And, what's (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brecht, cassandracarolina

              fun is,
              choosing words from the toolbox,
              and then juggling them,
              until the holes are drilled,
              just about right,
              and the screws,
              or the bolts,
              are put in place,
              and the nuts are cinched up tight,
              and the whole thing is solid,
              and seems graceful.

              That's one way to look at art.

              I went to auto mechanic's vo-tech school,
              and I got an 'A'.

              I never had a career as an auto mechanic,
              but I feel a strong attraction to the intuitive 'rightness'
              of most machines and tools I've seen.

              That's why I used the tool metaphor for writing.

              Did you read my diary about repairing a table?


              I just realized, I didn't look at your Books Go Boom diary yet.

              in the middle of writing this,
              I opened another window,
              and read your diary.

              I grew up in Salina, Kansas,
              in a nice neighborhood,
              similar to the fictional Leave it to Beaver,
              and similar to your suburb of Cleveland.

              I've never been outside the USA,
              and the only time,
              since 1965,
              when we moved from Kansas City to Salina,
              the only time I wasn't living literally in Kansas
              was the ten years my first wife, Pam, and I
              lived in the Houston,
              Texas area,
              from 1989 to 1999.

              Thanks for your assessment of Florence;
              I've heard that some of the most beautiful spots in the world,
              as rated by folks who've been all over the world,
              are in Italy.

              as I look at the big picture,
              I put a lot of weight on a study that took some years,
              and rated different places
              on how happy the people are who live there.

              I suppose an American who's new to a place
              might feel happier there than a native,
              but the study rated Italians as the least happy,
              and the Danish as the happiest.

              since my new bride, Tonia, has family here in Wichita,
              and wants to live near family,
              I want to make Wichita more like Copenhagen.

              But I'm fascinated by your story,
              and I'm glad you had a good time in Florence,
              as a child.

              And, The Discoverers sounds more exciting than
              The Creators.

              I like Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein;
              I hope they're in the book.

              I like practical ideas,
              like Franklin's little book,
              for writing goals and organizing thoughts,
              like Einstein's assessment
              that folks tend to use very little of their brain power.

              Thanks again.

              •  I read about strengthening your table. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                It's good you have Tonia to look after you, and vice versa.

                It's not so hard to be happy when you're eight, and haven't learned yet to worry too much. But what went Boom for me about Florence wasn't that the Italians were happier, just that they lived in a richer sensual environment. And I like change and adventure. You probably already got that from the diary.

                I went to Copenhagen one summer, long ago, and it was pretty magical too - and very nice people.

                So I checked The Discoverers & The Creators. They each mention both Einstein and Franklin several times. But the only chunk (eight pages) is on Franklin, in The Creators - because of his autobiography.

                Franklin never finished high-school; he went to work, I think, printing with his brother. So when he got to flying a kite in a storm, he had no book-knowledge of Physics. But for a couple of years he was tinkering, and he made these impressive discoveries about electricity. So all these Europeans, who marveled at what he'd done, sent him physics text-books, to help him out.

                Within a couple of years Franklin caught up with established physics. He no longer had to figure it out for himself. He made no more discoveries after that.

                "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                by Brecht on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:34:52 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thank you. I have a copy of Franklin's (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cassandracarolina, Brecht

                  and a biography of him written recently,
                  The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin.

                  I've only read snippets of either one,
                  but from the little I've read,
                  I gather that he was the equivalent,
                  in his day,
                  of a respected scientist,
                  (although what you just told me puts a different angle on that)
                  and a modern billionaire.

                  As I understand,
                  he owned a paper mill and a printing press,
                  when the printed word was the most advanced media around.

                  As I understand,
                  he persuaded the British colonial government
                  to use paper money,
                  as the Chinese had done long before.

                  I'm supposing he got the contract to print the money.

                  I read somewhere that he was also the innovator
                  responsible for the free standing 'Franklin' stove,
                  of course,
                  and the whole idea of having
                  fire departments,
                  and police departments,
                  and fire insurance for homes.

                  And daylight savings time.

                  It makes sense that his picture is on the one hundred dollar bill,
                  the most popular currency in the world.

                  (Folks around the world use American hundreds when dealing in
                  illegal drugs, guns and sex slaves, so I've heard.)

                  Fascinating character.

                  I wish I could have as much influence on the world,

                  But he was a big fish in a little pond,
                  since all human civilization was a little pond,
                  in the seventeen hundreds.

                  Seems to me.

  •  This is good (0+ / 0-)
    We spent the next almost two hours
    clearing pallets of freight off the area of the Back Room
    we call the dance floor,
    and we brought in carts from the grocery side,
    and I took a short break,
    and came back,
    and started helping unload the truck.
    The language has a great simpleness and a smooth rhythm.

    Are you familiar with Fred Voss?

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site