Sunday, June 12, 2016

GUNFIRE, UMBRELLAS, WEEDS

This isn't exactly a "regular" blog post. Just some unconnected random thoughts that probably shouldn't be written.

A mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL occurred last weekend. Nearly 50 people were killed and many more wounded. The gunman, mercifully, was killed by police. This is purported to be the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

One thing to consider:
The maniac who slaughtered these innocent people wasn't a white, straight, Republican, American male.

He was a so-called "Muslim American" who pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Okay, this remark is purposefully snide  -  - but perhaps we might consider seriously screening the foreign masses who live here and reap the benefits of our country, rather than always trashing the evil white American man. That's the way I feel.
(and you're fortunate I didn't say everything that I'm thinking......)

 






A horrifying freak accident  happened at Virginia Beach, VA last week. Lottie Belk, 55, was killed when she was impaled by an airborne beach umbrella. Ironically, she was celebrating her birthday at the beach with her family. A strong gust of wind sent the umbrella hurling toward her and the sharp handle pierced her torso.

This tragedy ignited a particular memory that I have from long ago. It happened when I was twelve years old in California. My mother and I were spending the day at Huntington Beach (my father hated the beach and seldom went).




We were both laying in the sun, on separate towels, only about a foot or two apart. Suddenly, a fierce gust of wind swept across the beach - launching things into the air. A gigantic beach umbrella was twirling right at us, and the sharply-pointed wooden handle harpooned in the sand directly between our two towels - only inches from us.

I'd never seen anything like it. If it had landed only a few inches to the right or left, one of us would have definitely been impaled. This was no cheap, Chinese plastic parasol from Walmart. It was a massive, very heavy vintage umbrella - and the thick wooden handle had a sharply-pointed end.

The umbrella was retrieved by its owner and he apologized profusely. I think my Mom and I were too stunned to say anything. Twenty or thirty years later we still talked about the incident.
"Remember the time we were almost impaled at the beach?" 

I honestly don't like blogging about news stories, but today I made an exception. I'm not a newsie-type person.

So what else is new? I've sobered up since my trip to town (see previous post). It's still in the 90's and blazingly hot. My back still hurts (screamingly so) but I can crawl around.

Spell Check seems to be intolerant to the word "blazingly" , but I don't give a crap.

I've been trying to tackle the fields of weeds, some of which are nearly as tall as myself. It's really a futile task with the enormous amount of rain here. I'm taking advantage of these rare dry days.

This morning, just before dawn, I sprayed weeds. It was still dark but I was chased by wasps and bees. Coyotes howled in the distance.

My strategy is to spray, then whack with a weed wacker, then mow. If I'm still alive.
Actually, I should probably weed-wack, mow - and then spray.
Whatever. 

 Random glimpse of the back yard - not much to see

This afternoon I was out amongst the weeds again, half-naked, in the blazing sun (I threw in the half-naked part just to enhance your visual imagination).

Spell Check doesn't seem to accept the word "amongst". Tough shit.

I went back to the house sweat-drenched, bug-bitten, and deliciously sun-burned. And extremely queasy. The heat has a nasty way of creeping up on you. Had to drink half a gallon of water and revive by a fan.

This blog post is going nowhere. I had initially planned on writing about music. Maybe next time.

It's sunset right now. I'm going to make some ice tea and homemade potato salad.

29 comments:

  1. Terrible news about Orlando isn't it???? When will these politicians to we need to get to business at hand?!?!?!? The higher power must have the patience of Job, because I would have hurled the Earth into the sun ages ago. Have a good night Jon......I hope you are relaxing and taking it easy now.

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    1. Ps. Thank you for your comment today. I posted those cardinals just for you.

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    2. There are many times when the news is so horrible and immensely depressing that I'd rather not even hear it. What a senseless tragedy. The hate in this world terrifies me.

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  2. Truly, I wish by Noon I'd turned off our television. The vultures (aka journalists) can't get enough. Ironically, knowing you don't have a television, I wondered when and how you'd hear of this morning's events in Orlando. ... and now, the politicians jostle one another for air space.

    Isn't spell-check a b****? I tried using 'amongst' myself today and had my fingers cyber-slapped.

    Your encounter with the airborne umbrella is truly frightening. What touched my heart was you and your mom recalling that incident and chuckling together, years after the fact. Perhaps that's what I miss most about my own mother ... the private, crazy memories which endure.

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    1. That's one of the main reasons I choose not to have a television. Most of the time the entire concept of TV is unbearable. I get all of the news online - and even that's often disconcerting.

      Spell check seems to be getting increasingly annoying - and it is sometimes surprisingly inaccurate. I love the way you described it as having your fingers cyber-slapped.

      My mom and I always had great rapport and enjoyed sharing many memories from the past. The past doesn't seem so long ago.....

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  3. Green weeds are harder to weedwhack than dry weeds. You did right. When the herbicide dries them out in a couple weeks, whack and mow them then. Then, if anything green is under them, repeat the spray. I tried to write today but thought of all those people dancing and having fun then getting shot and it just took the tuck right out me. I can't solve nuts --that's too tough an enigma-- but I can shed a tear in private and always give gardening advice.

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    1. I'm glad you said that, Geo. I know absolutely nothing about weeds, but I figured they'd be easier to whack if they were dried out. It's not supposed to rain again until Wednesday, so I suppose I have a fighting chance.

      The news is often so depressing that I have a hard time dealing with it. I probably sounded harsh with my Muslim statement - - you can't blame all Muslims for one insane person. I'm simply disgusted with all the hate and violence.

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  4. The canvas umbrellas were a problem to be reckoned with every summer at the beach, I remember. Though I've seen them fly, I never got close to being impaled. You and your mother were lucky as evidenced by Lottie Belk. Orlando was just such a sad commentary on where we are at in this country right now. So many innocent lives lost.

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    1. The tragic story about Lottie Belk really hit home, when I thought about how close my Mom and I came to being impaled. I don't know how beach umbrellas are made nowadays, but those old ones with the sharp handle points were extremely dangerous.

      Nowadays it seems to be risky no matter where you go (I'm talking about gunfire). These mass shootings are terrifying.

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  5. I hope that Trump does not capitalise on this dreadful event

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    1. I don't know if Trump will be brash enough to mention it, but I have a gut feeling that he will.

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    2. he already did yesterday and made an ass of himself, as usual.

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    3. that's like every fives minutes now isn't it Anne Marie?

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  6. I haven't watched television in almost a decade, so I go online to find out what's happening in the world. It's usually a mass shooting, the recent death of a celebrity, or how lost we've become as a nation.

    I don't recall the world being this bleak when I was growing up, and I lived in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago. I'm happy to say that I am now a recluse: It's much better than getting shot in cold blood. Safety in numbers is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.

    On a more positive note: Good luck with those wretched weeds! I never knew they could become so numerous and tall. This too shall pass...

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    1. Totally get up your saying. I don't remember seeing all this bleak stuff either growing up. A recluse....sounds good. I keep telling Jon I'm going to go live in an abandoned house in the mountains somewhere and live the other half my life as the Beales.

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    2. Grey Gardens is my all time favorite documentary! I've even watched the movie version, plus found something on YouTube about how the house appears today (fantastic!). It's been restored to its original grandeur. Alas, as beautiful as it is, it's just not the same now that the Beales are no longer with us.

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    3. I certainly don't remember the world being this bleak when I was growing up, either. There are so many mass shootings that I can't even keep track of them. It must be EXTREMELY easy for these cold-blooded murderers to get guns. The world is often a hostile and chilling place, and a reclusive life is sounding better and better.

      Actually, I am reclusive here in the wilderness. It's a far cry from my previous lifestyle but I truly savor the peace and privacy.

      I would have never thought of "Grey Gardens" if you didn't mention it. It's available online, so I plan to watch it again soon - - after many years.

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  7. Yup, Roundup first. It can't work if the weeds are cut first.

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  8. I only get my news online, too--but mostly from bloggers talking about stuff. I did go look up what happened in Orlando and read a bit this morning. The man's own father said this had nothing to do with religion. That he'd been upset because two men had kissed each other in front of his wife and child. So, it was probably even more pathetically personal hate.

    I didn't hear, either, about the lady being impaled on her birthday. (I try to avoid reading news online, too.) Makes your story with your mother even more frightening!! Whew!

    Good luck with your weeds. I know nothing about them, either. Hope your back will stop screaming so loudly this week. Take care.

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    1. I was literally stunned when I heard about the lady being impaled by the umbrella - because I immediately thought about that long-ago bizarre incident that my mom and I experienced.

      There is so much bad news lately ( not to mention all the political crap) that I'm glad I no longer have a TV. I get enough news online.....and the less, the better...

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    2. Rita,
      It is all about religion since Islam forbids homosexuality.

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  9. Back-hoe! (not, on your back hoe!)

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    1. I've always been a hoe at heart.

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  10. Jon,

    Maybe you won't get my comment, but I was very moved by your post. There was something human, artistic and elegant about it.

    Larry

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    1. Thank you. One sometimes has to read between the lines to understand me....

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  11. I only read the headline about the umbrella impalement. I am 5'7" and the weeds in my backyard were over my head. I have a bagger on my lawnmower that helps keep the yard clean after weeds that high.

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    1. Wow, I'm surprised that a mower can cut weeds that high. I'm 6'1" and some of the weeds are up to my chest.

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  12. Every time I see another newspaper article, or hear another TV news reporter call this the "worst mass shooting in U.S. history," I shudder. Not because it isn't true, but because I worry that some other wacko will take that as a challenge.

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