Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Coyote Story

Sitting around the house, minding own business, then the phone rings. An old friend who knows exactly what buttons to push with me says "You gotta come minstrel boy, we're on a mission from god. . ." I will be gone for about a week and nowhere near an internet connection.

Here is one of my favorite Coyote stories.

Coyote Gets Rich Off the White Men

Coyote was wandering around visiting. Most places didn't want to put up with his tricks and his foolishness so he kept at it until he came to Bobcat's place. He ate Bobcat's food, smoked Bobcat's tobacco, but when those things were running low he asked,
"Got any money? I heard from Cougar's wife that he wasn't there because there was a white man over near Cibecue who made some fine whiskey."

Bobcat said, "I don't have any money, besides everytime you get near whiskey I'm the one who ends up in trouble. The last time you drank whiskey I had to shovel out the stables at the fort for a month."

Coyote was insulted and said "You are my cousin. You shouldn't blame me when you get in trouble. I promise I won't do anything. I'm just bored and I haven't had any whiskey for a long time."

Bobcat finally gave in, he knew that he would always lose an argument with Coyote so he rummaged around and found a few silver dollars and some odds and ends to trade and off they went.

They found the whiskey man and traded for a decent jug. They went a short distance away from the white men's camp when Coyote stopped and said "I'm so thirsty! I really need to drink now." Bobcat told him that they were still too close to the white men and that they needed to go further before they stopped to drink. Coyote already had the jug opened and was guzzling down whiskey.

He finally stopped to take a breath and remembered that his cousin Bobcat was there, so he passed the jug. Before Bobcat could even take a sip he said:
"I love whiskey. It makes me feel like hollerin'."

Bobcat took a little sip and said "Don't holler cousin. It will make the white men come and they'll be all mad because you are making noise."

Coyote said "What's the use of drinking any whiskey if you can't have a little holler? Look up there in sky cousin. See that moon? See how lonely the Mooooo- oooo- oooo- oooooooooonnnnnnnnn is? I just want the moon to know that she's not alone. That's all."

Bobcat knew that there wasn't any arguing with Coyote, he figured if he was going to get any whiskey at all before the trouble came he better quit talking and get drinking, so he said "Go ahead and holler cousin, but try not to wake all the white people in the territory up."

Coyote hollered. Then he hollered some more. When he was done hollerin' at the moon he started hollerin' at the stars, one by one, naming them before he hollered.

Pretty soon there were angry, sleepy eyed white men all around them. Coyote was too drunk to notice but Bobcat wasn't. He took one last pull off the whiskey jug, then he threw it at one of the white men and jumped right over them and ran home really fast.

The white men put their chains on Coyote and took him to the fort where the soldiers put him in their stockade. His head hurt, the wasn't anyone to talk to, nothing to do and he only had one window to look out of.

After a few days had passed he saw through the window that Bobcat had brought in a string of horses to the soldier fort. One of them was his very own favorite horse, Ch'osh (gonorrhea). He started throwing things out of the window to catch Bobcat's attention. Pretty soon Bobcat came over to stand under the window. Coyote said "It's bad enough that you abandoned your cousin to be arrested by the white men, but then you steal my favorite horse to give to the soldiers. You make our mothers cry you're so mean and bad to me."

Bobcat said "Everybody knows that only people with horse medicine like yours are able to ride that spotted devil Ch'osh. I figured that when the soldiers are tired of trying to deal with him I could tell them how you have big horse medicine and that you can make the horse into a good army horse. Then they might just let you go."

Coyote thought about that for a while and said "I'm still mad at you."

Ch'osh was keeping the soldiers busy and the fort doctor too. Bobcat finally went to the sergeant and told him about Coyote having horse medicine, he said that horses do things for Coyote because he knows their language. Two more soldiers went to the doctor with broken bones before the sergeant figured out that it was worth giving Coyote a chance.

Coyote made a big deal about walking up to Ch'osh and looking at him all around. Then he told the sergeant "I've always found that the smell of a good cigar can be very calming for a horse. Do you have one?"

The sergeant dug around his pockets and found a cigar which he lit and gave to Coyote. Coyote smoked and was walking closer and closer to Ch'osh who was starting to calm down. Coyote whispered "Ch'osh my old friend, I need your help, I need to you start acting crazy for a little bit." Ch'osh reared up and pawed the air right in front of Coyote's face. Coyote didn't flinch even a little bit. He just stood there smoking the cigar. Then he walked over to the sergeant and said "The horse says that your water here is filthy. It's not fit to piss in, much less drink. He says that he likes a little beer now and then." The sergeant had heard of horses who drank a little beer and sent one of the soldiers to fetch a bucket of it. When the beer came Coyote told Ch'osh to keep with the crazy act a little longer. Ch'osh took a little sip of the beer then he reared up at Coyote and knocked the whole bucket over. Coyote went to the sergeant and said "The horse says that it's rude and stupid to drink alone. He will only drink if I have some with him." The sergeant sent a soldier to bring back two buckets of beer.

Coyote and Ch'osh stood there calmly drinking their beer for a little bit. Coyote made a big show of checking out the feet and saddle rig the soldiers had put on Ch'osh. He went over to the sergeant again and said "The horse told me that he's ashamed for people to see him in that breaking saddle. He said it hurts his feelings to have something that shabby on his back. He said that he saw the soldier captain's saddle in the barn and that it was a beautiful thing. He wants to be the soldier captain's horse and if you put that nice saddle on him he will show you how good he is."

The sergeant sent the soldiers to bring the captain's saddle. It had silver fittings instead of brass and it was truly a beautiful thing. They put the saddle on Ch'osh and Coyote leaped up on his back. They began to prance around the fort. Ch'osh started to really show off. Every now and then Coyote would lean over close to the horse's ears and fill him in on the rest of the plan. The soldiers were very impressed with the way Coyote was handling Ch'osh. The soldier captain came out of his office to watch. The sergeant told the captain how Coyote was training that beautiful horse especially for him. The captain was so impressed he sent out for some beers for all the soldiers. After a little bit Coyote rode over to where the sergeant was drinking his beer and said "The horse says that he would feel even better if someone would go to the trading post and get that silver and turquoise bridle. The one with the nice braided horsehair reins. When that's on he wants to give the soldier captain a really nice ride around the town to show off for the pretty girls."

The sergeant sent for the bridle and they put it on Ch'osh. When the soldier captain got up on his back though, Ch'osh just stood there still. Then he snorted real loud and stomped his feet a couple times. Coyote told the sergeant, "The horse says that the bit you have in tastes like pigshit. He says that the trader has a nice silver one in his window. He wants the silver bit."

They got the silver bit on and Ch'osh started to prance around the fort with the captain on his back. The captain was very happy. Coyote told the captain "The horse says that he wants to ride around the town and show off for the pretty girls." The captain wanted to show off too. He gave the order to the men at the fort's gate and they opened it up wide. The captain went off riding through the town. Everybody came out to watch the show, the sergeant was so happy and busy thinking about all the good things the captain was going to do for him that he didn't even notice when Coyote and Bobcat went right along with him through the gate.

As soon as Ch'osh saw that Coyote was outside the fort's gate he dumped the soldier captain into the mud and ran over to them. Coyote and Bobcat both jumped up on his back and they went off like a flash.

They dropped Bobcat off at his house and Coyote thought it would a good idea if he went down to the Dragoons to visit his Chiricauhua cousins. Bobcat gave Coyote the money he had gotten from the soldiers for the horses, he said "It's only fair, most of them were your horses anyway." He had been riding for a few days when Ch'osh told him that they were being followed by some soldiers.

Coyote thought real fast and started to tie all the soldier money up in the branches of a big tree. Then he found himself a great big rock. The soldiers came riding up and Coyote told them "I'm tired of this place. There's nothing to do. This stupid tree doesn't grow any nuts or peaches. All that happens is these stupid paper things. Every day at noon I come here and throw a rock at the tree. I keep hoping that something good to eat will shake down but all that I get is this paper stuff."

The soldier in charge asked Coyote if that was his tree. Coyote said "It has been my family's tree for many generations. It used to give peaches to my grandfather, then it gave nuts to my mother. Now all it gives me is paper. I hate that tree."

The soldier told Coyote that he would trade for the tree. Coyote said "Ok, I'll just try one more time to get some nuts or some peaches out of it and if all I get is the paper stuff I'll trade you the tree for those two pack mules of yours."

Coyote threw the big rock at the tree and it shook and shook. All the money he had put up in the branches fell down. Coyote started cussing a blue streak while he gathered up the money and started to stick it in his saddlebags. He told the soldier "You can have that stupid tree. I'm going to go up on the rim country to do some hunting. I will use this stupid paper to light fires and wipe my ass."

Then he took the pack mules and rode off. Ch'osh didn't like mules at all. He was always teasing them and making them mad enough to bray and kick all the time. Coyote was getting real tired of this but he knew he had Ch'osh to thank for his good fortune so he just kept his big mouth shut for once. After a while they met a miner who had a burro and Coyote traded both of the mules, their packs and the contents of the packs for the miner's burro and a sack of gold dust. They rode off a little way and Coyote started to laugh and laugh. Ch'osh asked him what was so funny and Coyote said "That miner is really stupid. There wasn't anything in those soldier packs but uniforms and sacks of flour. All the whiskey is in the burro's panniers. I snuck it out while he was looking the mules over."

They kept riding, but Ch'osh was getting real tired of having the burro tagging along. He told Coyote "The whiskey is almost all gone, let's get rid of that burro to your Chiricauhua cousins and go hunting."

Coyote thought for a while and came up with a plan. Right before they got to the Chiricauhua camp he took a couple of the big money bills and rolled them up real tight. Then he stuck the rolled up bills up the burro's butt. When Coyote's cousins came up he hauled off and kicked the burro right in the stomach. Poof! Out shot the money. Coyote told his cousins "This is such a stupid burro. Every five miles or so I have to stop and kick this stuff out of his butt. I'll trade you this burro for a jug of good whiskey and two good rifles. I want to go hunting but I don't want to take this burro with us. He's noisy and no good for nothing. Can you help me out cousin?"

Coyote's cousins ran fast and got a big jug of good whiskey and two brand new rifles. Coyote handed over the burro's rope and said "You just walk him for five or so miles and give him a good kick, then that paper stuff will shoot out of his butt and he'll be good for another five miles of work." Then Coyote rode off to go hunting on the back of Ch'osh. He was laughing so loud that the canyons echoed like crazy people lived there or something like that.

I gotta go and make some money off the white men myself. Have a good week folks.


Finally, Something Besides Conjecture Gets Said

Yesterday, in a comment that I requested, Oddjob, was totally correct when he pointed out that I took the events of Monday, then wrote about myself. Today is different. This except comes from the Baltimore Sun.

Professor Liviu Librescu was a survivor of the Holocaust, who then escaped from Romania. He was teaching a class when:
In Monday morning's lecture on solid mechanics, all was quiet except for the sound of Professor Liviu Librescu's voice.
Then came the gunshots -- in the classroom next door. In an instant, Virginia Tech's Norris Hall, a building dedicated to the science of engineering, was torn apart by the worst shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.

Junior Richard Mallalieu said he and about 20 classmates instantly dropped to the floor, ducking under and behind desks for what sounded like the first 10 shots.

"It wasn't like an automatic weapon, but it was a steady 'pow,' 'pow,' 'pow,' 'pow,' " Mallalieu, 23, said in a phone interview with The Sun. "We didn't know what to do at first." Then the sound of the gunshots shifted. Coming closer.

Their next move became instantly clear: Get out.

Mallalieu said his professor held the door shut while students darted to the windows. Some climbed on desks, ledges and a radiator cover to pull down the screens and kick at the metal-framed glass, Mallalieu said. Three windows easily gave way and swung open on hinges as the gunshots got louder.


"It sounded like he was going out into the hallway," said Mallalieu, a civil engineering major from Luray, Va.

Once the windows for the sec ond-floor classroom were open, Mallalieu and most of his classmates hung out of them and dropped about 10 feet to bushes and grass below, he said.

Some students ran to a nearby building. Others waited to help students who had been injured in the fall, Mallalieu said.

But then the sound of gunfire filled their classroom, sending all who had escaped toward nearby Patton Hall, he said.

Mallalieu said he never saw Librescu escape. "I don't think my teacher got out."

I do not approve of those who are suggesting that any of the victims brought about their own deaths by their behaviors at this moment of surprise and extreme pressure. I have felt those pressures enough to know that there isn't anyone who can predict in a rational manner what the response to something that is unimaginable might be. Miltary training consists of repeating things over and over so that when that moment comes the soldier, will hopefully be able to override every fiber of human instinct screaming at him to do something else. The nature of courage is something that philosophers and poets have been exploring since the beginning. I think that it is this. What makes someone courageous is not the absence of fear. The courageous people that I have known all felt fear, often felt fear deeply. What made the difference, what set them apart is that they found things that matter more than their fear. I have never felt brave myself. I was, at times, able to pretend like I was brave, for the sake of the guys around me.

"The Way of the Warrior" will be said tonight, to honor a brave man.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How To Make A Loner

While the news reports from Virginia are falling all over themselves trying to figure out the senseless, trying to perform "psychological autopsies" and wrap their minds around an act of wild insanity, one thing keeps leaping out over and over again.

By talking and filling the airwaves with bullshit when they really know jack shit from shinola, the F.B.I. profile asshole especially has been running down every single racist and cultural cliché I have ever heard.

When the shooter was thought to be Chinese we were learning all about the finer points of "face" and how Chinese folks don't think about life like we do. Korea same same, I was suprised they don't pull down the corners of their eyes while they do that, after all, T.V. lives on visuals.

Then they go off into talking about "loners." Well, you want to know something? I am a loner. I don't like people. I don't like crowds (although I will make exceptions for Sun's games). I don't have a whole shitload of friends.

When I was a kid I knew that I wasn't "full blooded" anything. I knew very well that I was a "halfbreed" and therefore was not worthy to participate in the full benefits of any culture anywhere. I knew this because all you pedigreed assholes kept telling me this. You told me at school, you told me at church, you told me everywhere I went. You told me all about how halfbreeds are untrustworthy (because of their mixed allegience), you told me how halfbreeds were volatile and moody (and I proved you right by going off on your asses at the drop of a hat).

You want loners? It's easy. Make sure that the kids from somewhere else who look a little different know for certain that your society has no place waiting for them. Tell them if they want a slice of the pie, they are going to have to fight their way through the kitchen and to the table. Tell them if they get to the table they are going to have to fight to stay there. Make sure they know that they are not "one of us" and that they are "different" and have "strange customs." It also helps if you get a pained expression on your face if they talk in a language you don't speak. Tell them that if they don't have anything to hide they should "speak a real langauge" or even better, "learn how to talk right." If loners are what you want, make sure that you are smugly certain in the superiority that is your particular birthright. Make sure that they know that the bloody cheek they displayed merely by being born is an offense to your society and probably to almighty god. It helps if you can throw in eternities in hells and shit like that.

You want loners? You want desperate individuals who find nowhere to turn in their moments of despair? Keep doing what you're doing folks. Keep being afraid of "the others" among you. Be proud of who you are and suspicious of everybody who isn't like you. Read your bibles and remember the Phineas priesthoods. It will keep you all pure.

It won't keep you safe. Locking doors won't stop them. The classics geeks out there will remember this one. I did.

Com on wanre niht scridan sceadugenga. . .

(out of the wan night slides the shadow walker)

from Beowulf. I read that and understood exactly what they were talking about.

As alienated and angry a kid as I was it was probably a good thing that there was a stupid and senseless war out there so I could find an approriate place to vent my rage.

Today, I'm pretty well off and am considered to be eccentric rather than weird. Mainly I just don't care whether or not you think I belong. I have made my journey of self discovery and liked what I found.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Since I Have No Better Ideas

I am totally bugged out emotionally. Our attorney general has been in rehearsals for over a week so that he can tell the truth. Iraq is a clusterfuck which is rapidly and violently getting worse by the minute. I'm tired of Imus. I'm tired of Anna Nicole's baby stuff.

A couple of friends maurinsky and konagod did this fifty question test thing so here goes. Without rehearsal, without rewrites, just straight through.

1. How tall are you barefoot? 5'8" (although I cheated a bit to make the minimum height requirement for my unit in the service, I cheated, I got in, I've owned it since)

2. Have you ever smoked heroin?
Yeah, but it started to really bother me wasting all that good dope each time I exhaled so I fully embraced my inner junkie and got down.

3. Do you own a gun? As a matter of fact I own several.

4. Who is your best friend? My dogs. I won't pick just one. People? My friend Thunderbyrd in California.

5. Do you get nervous before "meeting the parents"? Only when they're younger than me.

6. What music are you embarrassed to admit that you listen to?
I adore silly, meaningless bubblegum pop. I have stacks and stacks of 45's which I play from time to time.

7. What's your favourite Christmas song?
FairyTale of New York - - - The Pogues.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Black coffee.

9. Can you do push-ups?

10. Why does one question always disappear?
That one's just stupid.

11. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?
I have an antique silver and turquoise squash blossom necklace. It's very understated but gorgeous. It was made by the Zuni.

12. Do you like painkillers?
I believe that there's no such thing as painkillers, there are only pain postponers. Sooner or later you gotta feel that shit.

13. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
Harp music and chocolate. Singly they are formidable, together they are devastating.

14. Do you own a knife?
Several. Kitchen, hunting, and other varieties.

15. Do you have A.D.D.?

16. Middle Name?

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
How much longer will this take? Why did I get started? What's the fucking point?

18. Name the last 3 things you have bought:
Eggs, gasoline, cigarettes.

19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink
Coffee, ice tea, fresh orange juice.

20. What time did you wake up today?
5:30 a.m. The dogs woke up first and needed to go outside. The horses heard the door and began to make noise.

22. Current worry?
What happened to question 21?

23. Current hate?
Vigilantes on the border who trash water stations.

24. Favourite place to be?
Right here.

25. Least favourite place to be?
Any big city.

26. Where would you like to go?

27. Do you own slippers?

28. What shirt are you wearing?
Beat up old t-shirt that says "I'm Only Wearing Black Until They Make Something Darker"

29. Do you burn or tan?

30. Favorite colour(s)?
Quiet colors.

31. Would you be a pirate?

32. Last time you had an alcoholic drink?
April 24, 1991 on my way to rehab again.

33. What songs do you sing in the shower?
Depends on the company.

34. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child?

35. What's in your pockets right now?

36. Last thing that made you laugh?
My niece.

37. Best bed sheets you had as a child?
yeah, right, like I paid attention to thread count back then.

38. Worst injury you've ever had?
Dropped a lung, lost a lot of blood and broke my hip in Viet Nam. It later infected and damn near killed me.

40. How many TVs do you have in your house?

41. Who is your loudest friend?
Don't like loud people, don't have any loud friends.

42. Who is your most silent friend?
My English Mastiff Butch. He's quietly huge and cool.

43. Does someone have a crush on you?
Don't know.

44. Do you wish on shooting stars?

45. What is your favourite book?
That would take a whole post just by itself. I have an entire room of books.

46. What is your favorite candy?
Home made marshmallows

47. What song do you want played at your wedding?
No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

48. What song do you want played at your funeral?
What ever anybody else wants, I'll be past caring.

49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night?

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning?
Let the dogs out.