the cassette and the valiant

court and spark

I don’t know if it’s context …or if the strength of the songwriting is the “thing”…but some albums, and some songs in particular, stick with me like a brand on my spirit.

The first time I heard this album, other than the random “Help Me” or “Free Man in Paris” on FM radio, I was sitting in my friend Ben’s old Plymouth listening to a cassette that he’d gotten somewhere.  We were probably talking about what we thought the future might hold…or maybe women…or any of the other things that young men might talk about in old cars. Who knows what we were talking about…we talked about a lot of things and figured out very little…but this song, this one song, has really stuck with me over the years

This whole album is one of the greats….but this song on the cassette really hit me hard when it came over the cheap Jensen speakers

I don’t think it was ever even close to being a hit on the radio…I don’t remember ever hearing it played over the air…but what a beautiful song.

Still I sent up my prayer
Wondering who was there to hear
I said “Send me somebody
Who’s strong, and somewhat sincere”
With the millions of the lost and lonely ones
I called out to be released
Caught in my struggle for higher achievements
And my search for love
That don’t seem to cease

The Same Situation lyrics © Joni Mitchell/Crazy Crow Music/Siquomb Music, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

That’s just an excerpt of the lyric…just the part that hit me the hardest for some reason.

05 The Same Situation

Like I’ve already said…I don’t know if it was just the context or a combination of a lot of things that made this song and this lyric embed themselves so completely in my head.

I guess that’s the beauty of a piece of art …it is “what it is”…but there is so much more to a really good piece.  It is “what it was”,too…and you pull all the old feelings and memories along with you to some extent when you listen to it.

I shouldn’t try to “get deep” or over think any of this…I just think that it’s one of the most beautiful lyrics in a giant group of really amazing lyrics that Joni Mitchell has written.

‘Nuff said.

off brand bands

Your “hipness quotient” always goes up if you like bands that no one’s ever heard of.

I was never so hip that I really went off the radar…no punk bands from the South of France…no South African pan steel bands with a really hot zither player…nothing like that.

But I did like some bands that I’d read about somewhere or found their music in the 25 cents bin at the pawn shop.  If it was obscure and reasonably good….I was all over it.

Bands like the Strawbs, Gentle Giant…Domenic Troiano…David Lasley (I have a buddy who used to get physically sick when I played one of this guy’s albums)….the Souther/Hillman/Furay band…I can’t even remember most of the other ones.

I guess my point is that some of the stuff that was most interesting to me, even as a pretty young music listener, was the music that was happening on the fringes.

The thing about music in the 1970’s was that you stood a pretty good chance of hearing some of it on mainstream radio.  Nothing was “computer programmed”…if a DJ had an eclectic taste, he’d play whatever he wanted to. It was easy to hear some of this stuff back when it was getting played on the radio.


I look at some of the stuff that I was listening to at the time and it was all pretty safe…nothing too challenging or strange.  Lots of singer songwriters…it was kind of a high water time for that style of music…so I couldn’t go too far off the rails if I was buying music by an artist I’d never heard of as long as he had an old Gibson or Martin with him on the cover of the album.

Good gosh…I just realized that some of my tastes were the “edgy” alternative to Chicago and Air Supply….holy smokes…I wasn’t nearly as cool as I thought I was.

And another thing…this YouTube thing…I don’t think that there’s ever been a time in history when it’s easier to discover new bands.  Forget everything I said about the radio…the internet is where it’s really at.

I guess that like a lot of things…it’s not really how hip you actually are, it’s how hip you think you are that really matters.  If you can carve some strange little niche out in your mind because you like some music that doesn’t jibe with everyone else’s tastes…well…more power to us all.





God doesn’t have call waiting*

Sun-behind-cloudsHaving a power outage gives you time to talk to your spouse.

There’s no television, no computer, no cordless telephone…there’s no distractions.

So my wife and I had a conversation down in the kitchen about a lot of things.  We usually talk about everything under the sun anyway…it just was a little quieter than usual without the Autobots to supply the soundtrack.

One of the topics we touched on was…God.  How can you not talk about God?  He’s a big topic.

Our talk got me thinking…I bet that God doesn’t have call waiting.  Now…I’m not sure…there’s a lot about God that I don’t understand….but I bet there isn’t a time when He says, “can you hold on a second?  I’ve got a call coming in on the other line…Oh…it’s the new Priest.  Can I call you back?  Where are you going to be in a couple of minutes?”

I just can’t picture Him putting us off like that.

Now, I do think that we suppose that if we get a form down right…or pick the right context…or clean our prayer closet…or do anything that we feel is going to open the channels of communication a little better…that He’s going to hear us and respond.

My first year working at summer camp in the NC mountains, a friend fell down a waterfall on the camp property.  He got hurt pretty badly and eventually died.

I remember we had prayer vigils.  I was out in the woods,in the dark… praying so hard that I thought I’d give myself a stroke.  My efforts could be the thing that saved him.  I guess that’s what faith is all about…even if I didn’t really understand anymore about it than I do now. I know my prayers were heard…my friend was just too damaged to survive the fall.

There’s a lot of disappointment in watching a friend die after you’ve pleaded with God for things to be alright.  I don’t think that we’re really allowed to be disappointed with God…so we move it all onto ourselves.  “I must not have done something right”.  It had to be me…some shortcoming on my part that didn’t allow the miracle to take place.

That’s a big, ego-fueled burden to take on.

Anyway…enough stories.  I guess that what I’m mulling over is that God answers prayer in his own way.  That’s not a great revelation…nothing that a kazillion people through time haven’t concluded already.

I think that what I have realized is that if we can’t get out of our own heads a little…can’t quiet the noise within and around us down a little…we can’t ever see the answers that He does provide because we’re too busy looking for the answers that we expect.

Our only reference is this earthly one…blood and bone, earth and sky…so to suspect that we’re even close to understanding God is misinformed…(or should I say Gaawwwwwwwddddduh…that’s how the preachers around here might yell it).

We, hopefully, do the best we can.  We seek God …always knocking on doors, missing some openings because we’re too scattered and busy looking for the next door to knock on.

I suspect that God must cut us a lot of slack.


*God probably has whatever package He wants…probably has Caller ID, too…I just don’t think that He screens his calls.


comfort and habit

We had an ice storm today.

At 4:30 in the morning, I noticed the lights flickering when I went downstairs to make some coffee…and shortly after that we lost power for the day.

The whole day.

Good grief…we are creatures of habit and comfort.  It was inconvenient.  It wasn’t as much fun as it usually is at our house…kind of dark…but it wasn’t all that bad.

I delivered the mail on wet but traction filled roads.

I was able to maneuver around all the downed limbs.

It was more interesting than devastating.

Check out this video of what a really horrible ice storm looks like.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

full viking

They say that it’s probably smart to play your hand close to your vest.

When it’s a bunch of hair growing out of your face, that’s a hard thing to do.

I’m growing my beard out as we speak.

I am letting it grow…it’s not a SpongeBob situation where I can make it pop out with supreme effort….it just grows on its own.

I know what kind of beard I want to grow this time.

It’s the beard that dare not speak its name at my house.

This time, I’m going FULL VIKING.DAVE_-MEAD_BEARD_01

Isn’t that the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?

Just look at that hat. I’d be the most styling mailman in the world if I could pull off that look.







I’ve worn a beard off and on for years…had little short groomed ones…and rascally inappropriately ungroomed ones…but I’ve never gone FULL VIKING before.

I think it may be like some sort of mid-life crisis (that’s cool…do the math…52 times two is 104.  I can live with that)…no fast cars or anything like that…just a monstrously huge ball of fur sitting up low on my face.

I am excited.

My wife will be horrified.

I should have done the smart thing and just let it creep up on her.  It’s easier to take in small increments of growth than it is to see the desired result all at once…and I should never have shown her the “planned for” hat so soon, either.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I do know that I don’t want the little metro sexual ultra groom that looks like it was airbrushed on.  What’s the point of that?  Maybe it looks good in the board room with all the other fine dandies…but step up and out into the real world….stand on your hind legs and BE A MAN already.

just for men

My wife says that I have a lot of grey in my beard now.

I do have some grey in my beard now.

I do.

No one will notice the beard when I start wearing the giant fur hat, anyway.

FULL VIKING….that’s the way to go.





my big world

earth globe

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.  Arthur  Shopenhauer

Arggghhh…driving the mail 6 days a week is too challenging.

I don’t mean that it’s a job I can’t do….nothing like that.

What I mean is that because I listen to motivational audio books, I hear things that challenge me.  I suppose that there’s a big difference.

It’s a big world out there.  It’s a big, small world out there.  Everything is accessible…and really, everything is attainable.  That is a large and crazy thought and fact to wrap my head around.

There isn’t a thing in the world that I can’t attain.


What a dangerous and painful conclusion to arrive at.

I don’t want the responsibility of potential hanging over my head…it’s a lot easier to just go back to bed or watch another rerun of The Big Bang Theory.

We make our world so small.  We make our world small in a bad way.  It’s not a recognition that it’s a small and accessible world…it’s more a belief that the fence line is close and that’s as far as we can go.

I feed dogs on the route.  I carry a box of cheap big box store brand bones to give out to my dog customers along the way as I deliver the mail.

I have one house with a white german shepherd and a big chocolate lab that is early on the route.  These two dogs are crazy excited when I pull up to deliver at their address.  They both know that something good is coming…and that he is going to have a bone for them to gobble down.

I’ve noticed some days that the chocolate lab sticks close to the house…won’t come off the covered porch when I drive up…won’t come running out to get his bone.  I wondered about this…wondered if he was o.k…..and then I realized….

It was raining.   The crazy dog didn’t like to get out in the rain…so he wasn’t going to run out to get his bone.

The big white shepherd didn’t care…I think she’d jump through fire for an imitation milk bone.

But…the lab knew that wasn’t going to happen…he knows that rain means to stick close to home…and he doesn’t change the pattern even if it means missing out on a treat.

(I put a bone in his mailbox for him for later anyway).

I wonder how many times I put up some weird conditional excuse for not doing something that would have been exciting or rewarding?

(One of my daughter’s early phrases…sadly enough and all my fault….was “too ‘spensive”.  What the heck?  I should be ashamed of myself.)

Like I said earlier…it’s a big world out there.  But…I’m starting to figure out that it’s big in the potential for adventure and opportunity….but not big enough to make anything unattainable.

I rode around at Disneyland and heard that cliché’ over and over…but until I can start putting it into practice…until I start believing that “small world” doesn’t mean a world of limits, just an opportunity to explore and attain…I’ll be just another dog who won’t get off the porch when it’s raining.




don’t go swimming with the ducks

We feed the ducks at Lake Julian.

It’s the lake where this plant is.  It’s the lake with the signs that say something like “No Swimming.  No Wading.” etc.

We always wondered just what the heck they produced at that factory across the lake…the big one with the huge smokestacks.  Just what was going on there that we couldn’t get in the water?

It turns out it’s where the electricity for Asheville and the surrounding areas is produced.

I don’t think it would have been all that hard to figure out what was going on at the plant…I guess we were always too busy enjoying feeding the ducks to go much farther than wondering what all the smoke from the smokestacks was about.

I was going to write a post this morning about the “final destruction” comments that North Korea made about South Korea.  North Korea is getting more confident about its nuclear abilities…and of its ability to blow South Korea off the map.

I was going to find a YouTube video of the news and write my post…

and then I got sidetracked by a video of a guy singing Sinatra songs on America’s Got Talent, saw this commercial about Asheville and coal…and decided to write about it instead.

There isn’t any malice intended by getting distracted by life.  I don’t know what the heck that little Korean guy is up to with his bombs and all…until I saw this video, I didn’t know for certain just what the smokestacks across the lake were up to, either.

All I do know is that it is really pleasant to take a bag of stale bread with you when you go to Lake Julian so you can feed the ducks.

There are always going to be bad situations…there will be bombs and crazy leaders…there will be mysterious smokestacks pouring white smoke into the sky.

There will always be alternatives, too.

I hope I can focus long enough to help any of them get implemented….

Those ducks really do enjoy that bread, though…

“they” only talk about the weather

power pole ice storm

I think mailmen must be like farmers.

My life is becoming more and more ruled by the weather.

It’s not a case of bad weather ever stopping me from getting out and sliding around on the roads…it’s just a matter of me losing sleep when some apocalyptical weather man says that this might be the big one.

That wasn’t the case last night.  They predicted light ice (which in my mind is just as bad as if the world was covered with a three-foot crust)…so it wasn’t the armageddon of weather or anything…it was just another scary “maybe”.

So…I guess I’m like a farmer…one of the “theys” who only wants to talk about the weather.

It’s raining hard this morning.  Usually, I’d bemoan all the water…”gadss…it’s going to be a wet crappy day delivering mail…how’m I gonna make it through this one?”…but…it’s not ice so my perspective is a lot better than usual.

And what is it about a bad situation that when a less appealing possibility comes along…and then doesn’t materialize… we rejoice that things didn’t get any worse?

Ice…rain…clear skies…the only thing consistent is how I respond to any of it….and how I respond seems to be only determined by how I frame the situation.

The weather man said just now that it’s going to get a lot worse by noon…chance of light ice, etc.

What was I saying about attitude?

there’ll be knock-offs at the flea market


“Say…have you heard anything about five day delivery?”

That’s my new running joke that I ask customers out on the mail route these days.  It’s pretty hilarious.

We (Postal workers) are always the last to know.  I have to watch Entertainment Tonight or TMZ to find out any of the hard news concerning the Post Office’s plans.

Yesterday, the media announced that the USPS was going to start its own line of clothing.

When it appears that things are really hitting the fan…and the stuff is already all over the map…why not throw another stinking shovel full into the blades?

Holy Smokes!

One of the perks of being a rural carrier is that we don’t have to wear a uniform.  Of course, we drive our own cars on a variety of different road conditions, too…but it’s pretty cool that we get to wear the clothes we’re comfortable delivering the mail in.

I doubt that they’ll supply any of the new clothes to us and require us to wear it.  From what I read, it sounds like the new clothing is going to be pretty high tech…ready for Walkmen and other electronic devices.

I doubt they’ll require us to purchase any of it and bail out the USPS, either…I hope.

Here’s a link to one of the articles…I’m not just making this up…

My children have to sell BOGO books for school.

I hope we don’t have to bring a clothing catalog around and hawk the new line out on the mail route.

Maybe that’s what they’re going to have us do on Saturdays.

my Mail Jeep update

83_USPS_4x4(this isn’t a picture of my jeep…it just made me wonder  how big a tire I could put on mine if I chopped some stuff and put a lift kit on it?  I could be a stylin’ mailman, for sure….)

So…we went and bought the (relatively, I was to find out) cheap part at a local auto parts store and rushed home to fix the Jeep before the long holiday weekend.

I thought that it looked a little different at the parts store …it wasn’t the same part as what was on it…but, heck, I thought for sure they knew what I needed.

The thing about a little part is that a “little different” makes a big difference when you try to install it.

It was the wrong part.

So I puzzled over it for a couple of seconds and then I realized what was going on….


If you ever have a reason to own a right hand drive vehicle, you’ll discover what I mean.  Maybe you move to England…maybe you have a really upscale paper route….it really doesn’t matter what the reason is going to be…you’ll know it when you feel it.

Long story short…RHD parts are a lot more expensive than parts for the more common left hand drive…like 5 times more expensive.  A…R…G….H….H….H…h….h…..h…h…

20 minutes after getting the correct and much more expensive part (from the dealer…even they had to order it) , I had the car back in driveable condition and was ready to roll.

It’s funny trying to keep a Mail delivery vehicle on the road…I don’t know anybody who hasn’t spent a bundle trying to keep their rig rolling.

I did drive the old Toyota LHD truck that I used for years to deliver out of…it’s a great truck and I love driving it but…once you’ve had a right hand drive, you’ll never go back.

I’m glad my Jeep is fixed.