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Number of posts: 84
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Posts by Will Cantrell:
pain in the ass
I’ve been getting older for awhile now. The whole thing starts happening around the time I’m six years old, though truthfully, it’s entirely possible that my aging could have started earlier. (But since this is my account of the story, we’ll agree it started on my sixth birthday, the one where I was all dressed up in new Roy Rogers regalla as I blew out candles and wished for a birthday pony that never showed up.) For years, ‘my aging’ rolled along in more or less an orderly fashion and at fairly comfortable pace. I paid scant attention to it — except for birthdays, of course. Truth be told, even at an early age, I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the concept of relentlessly getting older.
One wryly fascinating aspect of achieving “seniority” is that my senses have become more adept at finding free entertainment. Locating alternative sources of amusement has become almost a necessity these days. Daytime television remains abominable, cable TV is objectionally priced (probably by those same pirates who sell inkjet print cartridges) and the ransom one has to give up for seats to professional sporting events is unconscionable. Also, our local news daily, though not unreasonably priced is but a shell of its former self. It is no longer a joy to read.
Mankind has made remarkable progress in every arena of human endeavor except possibly getting Congress to do anything, getting women as hosts on late night tv and getting speedy service from the local pharmacy. Even in this Twenty-First Century, the time it takes to get a fill or refill of a script can take “from here to eternity.”
Recently, I trudged up to the neighborhood apothecary for a prescription re-up. It’s toward the end of the work day, the place is crowded and I’m at the end of a long line of folks waiting to be served. None of the folks waiting appears to be in a festive mood.
If you ask me what makes the world spin around, I’ll tell you it ain’t love or money or even oil from the Middle East. I swear to God, it’s irony — sheer good old-fashioned, unadulterated irony. Sometimes I get the impression the thing has jumped on my back, attached itself like a leech and hung on like the hot Georgia sun in the Dog Days of summer. Irony seems to stalk me wherever I go. Of course, I’m getting a little ahead of myself… Man, I wish I could take credit for that look on her face! I’d like to say it was because of something I’d said that was righteously clever. I can’t though. But, I swear, the look on her was all quirky and bizarre and priceless at the same time…
Hollywood died last week. No, not that Hollywood, not that Hollywood of a lesser kind–that Hollywood out in La La Land. Rather, it was the real Hollywood, the iconic cherub-cheeked, perpetually smiling man, who cut hair and worked magic over at Murden’s Barber Shop in southwest Atlanta, Ga for almost forty years. Even for some of the legions who know him, ‘Charles Allen Lattimore, Sr.’ could be the answer to a trivia question on TV’s Jeopardy quiz show: ‘What is Hollywood’s real name?’
long in the tooth
“Blah, blah, blah…, sir.” All I really hear is the “sir.” It’s the cashier at a sparkling new CVS who first catches my ear. ‘Course, she’s wearing glasses. Maybe the lenses are fogged over and her vision’s obscured, I wonder. She’s mistaken me for someone older. “Honest mistake…could happen to anybody,” I mumble under my breath.
world cup futbol
Dear Soccer: Congratulations! The World Cup has been truly great. You`ve really outdone yourself this time around. As it turns out, you really ARE a ‘beautiful game.’ You’ve had boffo TV ratings and you’ve inspired a resurgence of U.S. national pride. You’ve even raised our awareness of geography — such as the fact that South America is not really “… Alabama, Mississippi and the parts of Georgia that ain’t Atlanta” as many Americans previously thought. We learned other things too, such as…
duck and cover
If there’s one thing that scares me to death, it’s death.
There’s other stuff that terrifies me too, such as going to sleep and waking up as a giant insect, or waking up Republican, but the visit by the Grim Reaper has always been The Big Magilla. The straight up truth is I’m not exactly thrilled none of us is going to live forever.
computer blues - part II
Just like my neighbor Carlos’ ferocious, man-eating cocker spaniel — or my Sixth Grade nun — Internet password strength checkers can smell fear on a man: Gotta’ get by me first punk, before you can do anything,” each one of them barks. But again, I’m getting ahead of myself…
“What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?” The statement is made by the head of the Credit Card Fraud Department of my current bank and former longtime employer. His cramped office is located in the bowels of the bank headquarters building in midtown Atlanta…
computer blues - part 1
The truth was that I’d have ponied up a week’s pay to watch the guy — if it was a guy — roll those two monster truck tires on board that Jet Blue flight to California’, two week’s pay to watch him stuff both the behemoths into the overhead baggage compartment. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…
Every time me and my computer get to a place where we finally understand each other, where we get things worked out between us, something goes awry. The honeymoon does not last for long. The threat to happiness ever after often comes from the outside, in the form of a new and ‘even worse than ever before’ computer virus…
a brief & sordid history
You promised yourself you would not get involved this time. You knew all about the probabilities … the impossibilities, really. You knew all about the odds against success, heard Nate Silver — or somebody — use five dollar words like “implacable,” “infinitesimal” and “asymptotic” to assure Charlie Rose the odds were ridiculous. And yes, you knew it was a Fool’s Notion for a grown man — someone who should know better — to think he had even a ghost of a chance of predicting the outcome of a 63 game string. There were too many X-factors a mere mortal couldn’t possibly know. Even the players and the hangers-on had no clue. Not even that Neil DeGrasse Tyson guy or Johnny Cochran, if he were still alive, could manage it.
Moments before, I’d accidentally dropped the TV remote. The thing must’ve flopped on the floor at some crazy-ass angle and flipped the channel to something else. I’d been laughing at a Saturday afternoon Three Stooges Marathon. Now, at the very top of the hour, an announcer, Jim McKay tells me I am about to enjoy “…the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
Every Blue Moon or so, comes another heretofore unfathomable, unthinkable, damn near frightening moments that causes me to come to the stark realization that life as we know it has very likely just changed forever — and nothing will ever be the same. The first of these moments I remember came in the Seventies when somebody came up with the bright idea you could actually charge people fees for stuff that had previously been free forever…
The Hawk has come South and Hell has frozen over.
I can’t prove these two events scientifically but I am very sure both happened in the last few days. Suddenly, the area to the south of the Mason-Dixon line is the freeze-framed Land of Petrified Cold. Mother Nature has turned into a frigid, heartless, cold-blooded shrew.
It hasn’t been this cold since…
Dear Fate (aka Pure Dumb Luck): A few days back, out of what must have been millions upon millions of contest entrants, you choose to smile broadly on a lady living in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Statisticians tell us that ‘Ms. Stone Mountain Big Winner Lady’ (not her real name) has a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the Powerball Lottery. Ms. Lady is extraordinarily lucky TWICE last week then. First, she doesn’t get struck by an electric bolt out of the blue yonder and second, she wins ONE HUNDRED TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS!
in these crazy days
I’ve been doing the grocery shopping at my place for awhile now. An arrangement that came about when ‘the management’ (as I sometimes call her) grew weary of me carping about the monthly food bill. So I take her’ double-dog dare’ to”… see if you can do any better, Buster” And of course, the way these kind of things always go, I couldn’t. But I did learn a few things…
Roger’s Fine Foods (not it’s real name) is one of those bigger box national grocery stores located in close proximity to Atlanta’s Little Five Points area.
Who'll Be Infallible?
Black Pope Cometh? Yankee Pope Goeth?
Lately, I am especially intrigued by odds and probabilities. This recent fascination can be traced back to last December when I was pondering whether to pay bills or buy Christmas gifts. The ultimate decision hinged on the odds of the Mayans being right in their prediction of an upcoming Apocalypse. Not long into the deliberations, I was poking around one of those gambling websites that handicaps various events. When it came to Mayan’s predictions, the site promised there “…is a better chance of the Pope quitting or a meteor hitting Russia next February than the chances of…
Real Life Tales
“It’s 12:00 noon for crying out loud. What do you mean; I’ve got to wait for my fries? How can you be out of fries…at this time of the day,” I asked the young woman barking orders behind the service counter at BigBuckle’s, where they boast over 30 billion served.
BigBuckle’s Burgers and Fries Fast Food are nearly ubiquitous as pine trees or television evangelists.
Confession. I’m a junkie. There, I’ve said it. I’ve bared my soul. But it’s the truth, I’m addicted to print. I’ll read anything that happens to be in my line of sight no matter who put it there: bestsellers, bathroom walls, drug store rags, Proust, skywriting and self-help books (though it’s arguable any of these have ever worked on me). Non-fiction works, the works of Scott Turow, the fine print on bottles of analgesics…
Certified Funny by Trevor
That damn cat is back.
I spied the black and grey stray lurking about the backyard on the first morning of the New Year. I’d seen him months before and shooed him off any number of times, but he’s back again. I bet he thinks I wouldn’t notice, the same bet I have about the latest ‘just under the radar news’ story. Maybe the ones who make the Rules of the Road thought we wouldn’t notice…
It's Better To Give
“Not bad,” I say to myself, taking inventory of this year’s Christmas spoils. It’s the “night after” and I’m standing next to the nine-foot loblolly pine felled from the woods out back. I’d had my eye on the thing since the dog days of summer and finally gave it the axe the day after Thanksgiving. After a good, proper and practiced “TIM-BERRRR”, I managed to wrestle the tree along with its sticky, cumbersome limbs through the front door to a spot inside, a few feet from the fireplace.
You’re concerned. And you have every right to be. Every right.
You feel threatened.
You figure even though bin Laden is dead and no matter how good Obama is at aiming those predator drones, there’s still plenty of stuff making you lose sleep at night: Iran, North Korea, deep space asteroids that could be headed for Earth, rising tensions in the Gulf, the Kardashians and the Republican Party just to name a few. You worry about global warming. You’re also terrified that those people over at Microsoft will go through with their threat to roll-out a new version of Windows soon.
Finding anything named after the Deity ought to be easy… very easy… a lead pipe cinch, you say to yourself. After all, its namesake is rumored to be… well… EVERYWHERE. You figure globs of the stuff to be dripping from the branches of trees, oozing from swamplands, being swept from concrete carport floors and dusted from the tops of wing-tipped shoes, like pollen during the high season. The Bohemian side of your nature – and everyone has at least a little – hints you might even find… some of ‘em frolicking, like hippies, in a nearby meadow,“nekid” as jaybirds and “up to sumthin’.” It will be easy, you again say to yourself.
For the record, Don Cornelius danced down the precocious gauntlet of the famed Soul Train line exactly once, in 1973. Mary Wilson, then of the Supremes, was his partner.
You’d think that the man who invented the idea would’ve more frequently joined the festivities. But that was not Don’s way …
He was lyrical, emphatic, ‘to the point’ and above all, ‘too cool for school.’ I also noticed, at least I did at certain times, that he had a gleam in his eye that conveyed, not arrogance but the idea that ‘I know something that you don’t (…and I’m still the coolest cat in the room’).
I confess, I took Etta James for granted. I mean it seems like she’d always been around. Like the Moon. Like the Ocean. Or maybe like that monument out on Easter Island. Then comes the sad news: she’d passed away.
The news of her death wasn’t a complete shock, of course. She was ill and had been hospitalized for awhile. I guess that I just subconsciously assumed that she’d pull through. Then I remember the old adage we’ve all heard by now about what happens when one ‘assumes’. Still, I am a little brokenhearted.
Even all these weeks and days later, I can think of him only as “Red.”
It’s one of those “days after.” The market has misbehaved and the Dow is down a gazillion points.
I am at Five Points Station and not far away approaches a man who is anonymous except that he is covered from head to foot in the blood red clay-turned-to-dust of the Georgia drought. The man wears no hat and no boots, but from the look and smell of him, he’s been working hard at something.
Stuff Found Under A Tree
So, for Christmas I get one of those spiffy new E-readers. The gift box just materialized under the small Douglas fir that is this year’s Christmas tree, left there by some Secret Santa.
Several days later, no one has claimed responsibility for the gift though I have a short list suspects.
My new prize was wrapped in a small book-sized (ironic, hunh?) box, cleverly enveloped in gun-metal red gift foil and tied with a wide green felt ribbon complete—and I swear this is true– a bough of holly.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Those are some of the emotions I feel after hearing of the way the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States has treated people in detention in the War on Terror. For this to be happening in a nation that says that all individuals have certain human rights, no matter what their station, the CIA actions are the highest of hypocrisy, which also goes against the basic principles that the American people hold high. On top of that, the prolonged detention of these detainees, some later found not to be terrorists at all, shows what can go wrong when a unit Read on →
Sure, it can be fun. Dede, for instance, is a terrific hater. Her favorite verb is “hate.” I hate winter. I hate the Falcons (not just this year). I hate this sink. I hate all the fiction in The New Yorker. But none of this hating amounts to anything. It’s just her vivacious way of expressing herself. My guess is that most of us take our hating a little more seriously, a little more warily. We’ve seen the power and the glory, you might say. I hated a guy I was in graduate school with. No reason. I just did. And I mean Read on →
It's the second week of January 1999 and the McCartneys are visiting Atlanta. But not for a concert. On this trip, Heather McCartney is unveiling her line of houseware items at the America's Mart, and Paul is there to guarantee his daughter ample media play. After helping to promote Heather's rugs, cushions and other items arrayed with designs inspired by the Huichol and Tarahumara tribes of Mexico, Paul and his son, James, make a smooth exit to explore the side streets of Atlanta. According to Paul, James, then 21, wanted to "visit the funky side of town." So into the Read on →
I arrived in Beijing on an old Boeing 707 China Air flight in November 1978 after a week in Japan. The entry formalities at Beijing Airport were slow but considerably quicker than the Shenzhen Railway Station where I had previously entered China from Hong Kong. I caught a taxi from the airport to the Beijing Hotel on Dongchangan Jie. Taxis were a new experience for me in China, previously it was the “foreigners bus”. The Beijing Hotel had a long and fascinating history. It was built as a five-story brick building in 1915 and two years later a seven-story French sty Read on →