They say it’s our birthday. Well, just missed it.

Our fair blog quietly celebrated 10 years of existence on Tuesday, April 21. Happy B-day!

All this, meaning eightfeetdeep, started as something to entertain myself as well as a daily writing exercise. This was while I was on unemployment from my last full-time job. I had worked as a newspaper reporter, columnist and editor for the previous 15 years at five different Texas newspapers (One doesn’t count.) I had kind of tentatively planned to try my hand at freelancing by the time I was 50 years old. As it turned out I was about six months ahead of schedule.

I have kept up with turning out a daily blog for most of the past 10 years. However, I also have worked a decent-paying part-time job for about seven of those years. During the last year or so as I was given a steady dose of 32-hours a week, as well as serving free now for a few years as a regional vice president of my union local. Consequently, my output slowed down. The same can be said of my paying freelance jobs.

For a couple of years I made money as a freelance journalist. When I say “I made” money, I don’t mean I came out ahead. Neither did I “make” money, as in printing up my own $20-bills. Now what made me think of that? Uh, nothing Secret Service Special Agent Whatshisname.

All of the previous happened as I have become older and developed a few health problems, diabetes the most serious one. I really have improved my health as for Type II diabetes, my A1C falling on a downward trend to 7.1. I also had surgery on my toe Tuesday that was spurred by my diabetes. I developed a ulcer on my left second toe and it never healed completely. So my podiatrist suggested about a month ago that he do hammertoe surgery on that toe in order to keep from striking the injured toe and in doing so allowing my toe to “all hang out” so to speak.

I have a bandage on my foot that I was told to stay off of except for going to the bathroom or kitchen. I have had to do a bit more than that, though carefully, because I am a (confirmed or unconfirmed, I’m not quite sure which one) bachelor.

So, I don’t know what my toe is doing, if anything, and will not know until Doc unwraps it on Monday.

I have tried mostly through using my blog name as my identity to, not shield it, but to not necessarily expose it. I certainly am fooling nobody because so many of my stories have been spread among folks I know, who at the very least, can put two plus two together gets something between three and five.

This past decade has exposed me to some very interesting experiences. Some — like Hurricanes Rita and Ike — were exciting. Others, like living in my truck for about a month at one time, and losing two brothers last year were sad. Those hurricanes were a source of income for awhile, as I freelanced for a major metropolitan newspaper. I freelanced in suburbia for about six months as well while staying in the Dallas area with a friend.

I am in the beginning stages of gathering then culling some of my favorite posts over the last 10 years and, most likely, adding to them for a book. Whether it will be hardcover, e-book, or body art, I don’t know. I need a publisher. If you are a publisher and are not trying to scam me — I will check you out scrupulously — send me an e-mail to the address on the blog.

Looking at my Statcounter stats, I am pleased to see I still get an average of 20 page views per day. Only one or two are return visits, but that is understandable due to my recent lack of output. Most recently, those page views came from the United States and 20 other countries including Iran, Russia, Mexico, Vietnam and, oh, Canada.

By the way, the name, “eightfeetdeep,” yes, it did come in part from the HBO series “Six Feet Under.” I decided not to go along with convention by saying why six feet when you can go eightfeetdeep?

I have thought at times trying to make money through a blog, not especially this one. I do still take donations. But I don’t know what’s to come in the future. I certainly never planned on blogging for 10 years.

“Justified” end worthy of its motivator

WARNING: IF YOU HAVE YET TO WATCH TUESDAY’S SERIES FINALE OF “JUSTIFIED” YOU DESERVE A SPOILER. BUT I WILL STILL AVOID MENTIONING THE CONCLUSION BECAUSE THAT’S THE KIND OF GOOD PERSON THAT I AM.  –Dick, efd creator, producer, writer, director and King of eightfeetdeep.

Since Tuesday evening when the FX channel’s Elmore Leonard-inspired “Justified” played out after a six-season run I have seen the show mentioned in critiques as a “Western.” I find that quite puzzling from the somewhere after the show’s beginning. That is when the theme song cues up called “Long Hard Time To Come” which — recorded by a group named Gangstagrass — is about equal parts bluegrass and rap.

I have read a fair number of Western-themed books and watched even more television and movie “Westerns” for almost five decades. Likewise, I have read most of everything Elmore Leonard has written with the exception of “Raylan,” which I bought as an e-Novel last night from Amazon. Raylan, of course, is the deputy U.S. Marshal protagonist in the now completed series “Justified.” The character also appeared in some four of Leonard’s novels during this century.

A Long Hard Time To Come. Photo appears by Fair Use.

A Long Hard Time To Come. Photo appears by Fair Use.

Maybe it is the fact that Raylan Givens appears like a deputy marshal from the old West by mostly wearing a cowboy hat. Or perhaps the fact the series is set in Eastern Kentucky, which is west of the center of the universe New York City, that makes it a so-called “Western.”

Leonard was listed as an executive producer of the show so the series certainly bears his stamp of approval and his influence. If you have read any of the tons of Leonard novels — especially his crime novels mostly set in South Florida and Detroit — you will likely find violence, general criminality and humor in addition to exquisite writing. Likewise, there is often odd-ball, ignorant and just generally some very poor human specimens who chose crime for their careers. The series “Justified” fits all those identities including the marvelous writing.

Everyone has their own reason for liking or disliking television shows. Sometimes both come into play. Take for instance the legal drama “The Good Wife.” The show, to me, has a great story line and interesting characters. I do ask myself each week, though, why am I watching the show, mainly because the plot line, particularly around the star Julianna Margulies character never seems to come out ahead. Sometimes she wins. But never, or so it seems, that she emerges as a clear victor. Maybe I’m wrong, but the show is named “The Good Wife.” Of course, I know the title means she has been the good wife for her husband, played by Chris Noth, who was states attorney, then locked up, only to emerge as Illinois governor. But still …

Most comedies, dramas or combinations that I most favor are those with a strong ensemble cast. “Justified” has filled that bill with the central characters Raylan (Timothy Olyphant,) Boyd (Walton Goggins,) Art (Nick Searcy) and Boyd’s wife Ava (Joelle Carter.)

A sometime dizzying array of secondary, though not “one-and-done” characters, populated Harlan County in the story or elsewhere over the past six seasons. This also made for a strong story lines that fit seemingly seamless.

The series-ender — titled “The Promise” brought closure as I preferred. It didn’t all come from a dream like “Dallas” or whatever the hell it was that happened in “The Sopranos.” It certainly didn’t end with the whole cast in jail, as was in the unsatisfying end to “Seinfeld.”

But there was violence and and a little mayhem. Even some folks who ended up in the slammer. That’s all of the ending I shall tease.

Now if you have recorded “Justified” you best go ahead and watch it because the end won’t be hidden for long. It’s kind of like something you might find with an Elmore Leonard book.

I have one book to finish on Kindle and I will then read the last work of Elmore and Raylan.

 

 

Justin Bieber, go talk to the Argentinian judges

Well at least one country will need not worry about their society going straight into the crapper due to Justin Beiber’s appearance.

Multiple news sources report that an Argentinian judge has issued a warrant for the arrest of the Canadian waste of global space singer. The judicial order is a result of an alleged assault of a photographer outside a Buenos Aires nightclub in 2013.

Diego Pesoa said Bieber and a bodyguard assaulted him after Pesoa tried to photograph him.

Bieber failed to answer questions about the incident. This week a judge ordered immediate detention of the 21-year-old who has been in a number of scrapes with the law.

Should Bieber feel as if he might want to jet down to Buenos Aires to make a fool of the Argentinian justice system, perhaps he should read this. (Warning: Graphic pictures and descriptions.)

Pondering the imponderable

This afternoon I am sitting here pondering my own little mind full of hobgoblins as well as studying just what my foolish consistency did to bring about such a state.

The Texas Legislature is in session so don’t get me started on states.

No, really. I think about the great questions that have come to haunt me from the many years past. For instance:

Where did all the yellow go?

I refer to the jingle Pepsodent toothpaste ran on the TVs and radios of the 50s and 60s which goes like this:

“You’ll wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.”

Where is all that yellow? What’d they do with it? It’s hard to hide something that has to be exceedingly large.

  Photo: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

Jonathan Goldsmith, The Most Interesting Man In The World. Photo: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

And that person purported to be “The Most Interesting Man In The World,” why is it with every possible delight seemingly at his disposal would he settle for a Mexican beer? You know there is a reason why lime slices are given with south-of-the-border brew? Because most of those cervezas taste like crap!!! Well Dos Equis isn’t really too bad compared to some of the others. But this most interesting amigo also admonishes us to “stay thirsty.” Humans normally can survive three-to-five days without drinking water. I don’t know how beer figures into this. But going without something to drink is downright insane not to mention uncomfortable as hell. So why would one want to stay thirsty? Oh well, the ad just says their pitchman is interesting, not “the smartest man in the world.”

Those points I ponder are not limited to jingles and other crapola of the ad world. What about songs?

What about songs. Now if you want to travel down that road of no return absurdity, you will have no further to go than the lyrics of the 60s Jimmy Webb song MacArthur Park.

It is bad enough to consider:

  “Between the parted pages and were pressed/In love’s hot, fevered iron/Like a striped pair of pants”

Okay. I have no idea what the symbolism means. Sure, I can read, but if one wants a pressed pair of striped pants it sounds like those buddies need to be dry cleaned.

And,

  “MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark/All the sweet, green icing flowing down/Someone left the cake out in the rain

  “I don’t think that I can take it/’Cause it took so long to bake it/And I’ll never have that recipe again, oh noooooo”

  You bet your ass “oh noooooo.” Though this was hardly considered an example of the “psychedelic” music genre of rock, one wonders whether Webb had been trampling through the cow dung patch and came upon those little “magic” mushrooms.

  Don’t get me wrong. Webb is a very talented songwriter. He has written some of my favorite tunes, largely ones with a country bent or in between. For instance, the Glen Campbell hit “Galveston” and the country superstar collaboration “Highwaymen” — Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings — took its name from the Webb tune they recorded “Highwayman.” Webb also wrote pop hits such as the 5th Dimension’s “Up Up and Away.”

  So Jim Webb deserves my What Was He Thinking award — although Webb has said everything in the song was really there, cake and all.

  It is when a person ponders the larger-than-life matters in life, that he or she is on the road to something, well, at least larger than half-life. Sorry. I think next time we have spring showers I will go buy a cake and put it in the rain.

Bad Boys better hide, COPS is coming again

Last week the Beaumont City Council approved an agreement with Langley Productions “related to the filming of the Beaumont Police Department for the television show ‘COPS.'”

If you live on Pluto, COPS is the show on which police from various cities and counties throughout the country exhibit scads of police officers encountering mostly law-breakers. Many of those perps seem to either wear no shirt or a sport a “wife-beater.” Some of those suspects may even be wife-beaters.

This is the second time the long-running TV show has visited Beaumont. While the folks from COPS stayed for whatever period, the previous stay only resulted in a small chase in a neighborhood which resulted in one friendly perp was arrested.

I watch the show every now and then, such as now when the satellite system here is acting strangely. I have to admit they encounter the interesting, the pathetic, everyone it seems other than the innocent. Always at the end of every encounter, it seems, the police officers appear to impart a “moral of the story.” That is among the outcomes of the show that I really dislike. I also do not like the actions of a great many officers. This is specifically related to their command-giving and their telling suspects not to “resist” when sometimes it appears the police officers’ actions may lead to “resisting.” Police chases are also a subject that I could pontificate on from here to then.

When police chase a subject, he may not know who the person is that is running. Sure, the person chased might be a murderer. But in some cases, the person runs for what he or she may perceive is a large jam to avoid. Of course, once the officer starts chasing, then technically the offense increases.

I’ve said it before and I know law enforcement officers who admit that it is a personal affront for some one to run away from then. This is especially the case when officers have to chase someone on foot.

Oh and something else that drives me up a wall is what I am watching. A suspected prostitute they arrest her for DWI after failing a couple of sobriety tests by a narrow margin. I just hope I am not suspected of DUI because, even sober and I no longer drink and drive, I would definitely fail these stupid field tests. My diabetes has taken a toe-hold on me, no pun intended, but I have hammertoes on my left feet. One has an ulcer that I have tried to clear up for two months. That’s just not working and I will have surgery next month on my toes to hopefully correct them. Either way, there is no way in hell I’d pass any kind of “roadside gymnastics,” as Gary Trichter, a certified DUI/DWI attorney in Houston, calls it.

I would raise the thought that problems now faced in the country with what seems to be an explosion of police shootings could be due to the COPS factor. I can’t prove it. And it may be years before that is either proved or disproved.

Please don’t think I dislike cops or cop shows. Some of my favorite shows are police-oriented, some live, some recreated and some pure fiction.

Nevertheless, COPS will be back on our streets sometime soon for better or worse. Our police will continue you their often dangerous jobs perhaps playing for the camera, but hopefully not.

Law and disorder

A mean streak is running through society. That happens now and again. Remember the hardhats of the 60s and its unofficial anthem, “Okie From Muskogee?” No matter that Merle Haggard who co-wrote and performed the popular C & W tune insists it was a satire on the “America Love it Or Leave it crowd.”

That is as good as any reason for what seems to be non-stop flailing of young black men by police. Right now I’m hearing on CNN about a black man being found hanging from a tree in Mississippi. What is this, the 1920 Cracker South? We don’t know why the man, a convicted felon, was found hanging from a tree. Is it an old-fashioned lynching or some pissed off gang members of color?

Don’t get me wrong. Those of us happy, misguided, optimists who thought the warm fuzzy feeling just after Barack Obama was elected the first black American president certainly have the reason to feel let down. The right-wing sound machine and the Internet has managed to make the angry white Americans even more pissed off. I see it. It can’t be denied.

But why cops are beating the crap out of or shooting dead young black men may not be what it seems. Oh yeah, some cops equate young black men with “perps.” You don’t see that on “Cops” where a cop tells a perp he is cuffing “don’t resist” even though the suspect is so powerless underneath the police that he has no opportunity to resist. But read this disturbing story about mean police who, if their actions weren’t so deadly would be called “Keystone Cops.” Sorry for the very dated reference but you can get the drift.

These guys are equal opportunity thugs who happen to wear uniforms. They are generally the dullest pencils in the box, hired for political reasons. Add in some instances are taught by trained killers who have left the military for greener — as in money — pastures.

The 24-hour media focuses solely on black men or rather black kids because it raises hackles. And it should.

But there is something even more sinister than racist cops, if you can imagine it. These are cops, some of whom are serial killers and they still ride in their cruisers carrying their high-powered weapons.

I’ll stop here. Just read the excellent Rolling Stone story about a very disturbing American police department. I read it and I was shocked. I mean, seriously. I was so pissed. If you have half a soul you will feel that way as well.

Poor impulse control? No impulse control? Whatever!

Impulse is a word that appears as imparting more bad than good. It would be my guess that people these days seem to associate the word in its psychological form and specifically dealing with “poor impulse control” as in criminal acts. Specifically, the criminal acts – thanks to TV programs such as “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” associated with sex.

But impulse, that dealing with human behavior, is not always negative. Indeed there are some wonderful aspects of life that are constructed due to impulse. Of course, circumstances in which impulse may be great in the same manner may be, well, let’s say not so good. Take for instance life in one of its basic forms: birth.

While it is true that birth control has slowed down the numbers of babies resulting from the impulsive act of, as Bob Seger so aptly put it, “the Horizontal Bop.” So called “unprotected sex” not to mention faulty birth control methods still produce the little “surprise.” Some might see that little surprise as surprise!:) or as surprise:/OMG!

Not to get off the point, but doesn’t unprotected sex seem as quite a harsh expression? The phrase evokes showing up to the bed encased in a latex body suit. Or maybe a suit of armor. Let’s say you are just sitting there slowly rusting away from the humidity of the room while awaiting for the fair damsel to arrive with the key to her chastity belt. Quaint.

It also would be interesting to see studies of children of those with “poor” impulse control. Do they have a plan for everything ranging from taking a shit to having the car serviced?

I heard the Steve Winwood song “Roll With It” today while sitting in the IHOP and the title made me think of my impulsive life, good and bad, but mostly good. I never suspected, by the way, that I would do a phone interview with one of that song’s writers. Will Jennings has written or co-written for what seems like a “Who’s Who” of popular music. He co-wrote most popular songs recorded by Winwood, after the artist’s younger years spent with the group Traffic. I interviewed Jennings after he received Song of the Year honors at the Grammys for “Tears In Heaven,” which he co-wrote with Eric Clapton. Jennings came across as warm and unpretentious, which his friends from the college he attended and taught – my alma mater Stephen F. Austin — said were typical.

Oh, while I’m name dropping, most who know me understand I was far from a George Dubya Bush fan. However, I am proud of having interviewed him when he was head of the Texas Rangers baseball team. I was unmolested by handlers and Secret Service, which were prevalent while covering several events while he was president. I was actually part of the press pool a couple of times during visits he made home to Crawford, Texas. And I did get wet once. Pool, wet, get it? That was from waiting in the rain for the Secret Service to do their sweep of the church where I would attend services with the first family. In between baseball and the presidency, I also covered I don’t know how many events while GWB was governor. The same goes for Ricky Bob Perry.

I have had many good times doing the impulsive. And I never did anything to land me in prison. Well, let me rephrase that. I was never imprisoned for anything and kind of leave it at that.

And I did a few impulsive acts I wish I hadn’t. They mostly cost me money or made me feel awkward the next day. I will kind of leave that at that.

Just remember, my friends, there is no explanation better than leaving matters at that. Or maybe that isn’t so. It’s all according to how your boogaloo situation stands, you understand, as if you ever heard “Clap for the Wolfman.”

Some thoughts on feet n’ football

Welcome back. I suppose that is a correct expression. I welcome myself back. I am trying very hard to stay off my left foot. That is where I have a toe wound and it is linked to diabetes. The wound became infected and my podiatrist was like “Holy shit!” He didn’t say that. But his expression said it for him.

I have the inclination to ask him why he wanted to study podiatry. One immediately thinks — at least those of us with somewhat perverted minds — “foot fetish.” But feet stank. Yes I know that isn’t the right word but to get a little OG into it. I’m talking “Original Gangster” but some of you, perhaps it is just I, probably think I was recalling that dirty little short ditty sang by Dr. Hook called “Monterrey Jack.” You know:

“You mean OD/No OG/That’s when you OD and you say Oh gee … ”

I tell you what, for the acclaimed writer of children’s books and poems that Shel Silverstein was, he sure wrote some bawdy songs full of sex and drugs and rock and roll, such as this song. The guy was a f***ing genius.

Where was I any way? Oh yeah, my cousin just emailed me about a Facebook post where I explained a little of what’s going on with my left, second toe. You see, it has a wound partially started via diabetes and the adjacent hammer toes I have. Fortunately, X-rays found no infection in the bone. So if I stay off the foot for awhile in order to heal, perhaps I want have to worry about amputation. As it is, I say a better than even chances. I hate thinking about it. Best not to think about it. So keep it clean, unlike what Shelly did when he wasn’t writing enchanting literature like “I’m being swallowed by a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor … ” And even PG tunes such as “A Boy Named Sue.” Yes, yes, I know Johnny Cash sang it, or whatever he did with it, but he didn’t write it. Neither did Cash write Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” Johnny made other folks’ songs breathe more feeling.

You know something, people tend to overlook the poetry with music of people like Kristofferson, Billy Joe Shaver, Willie Nelson and others of their ilk. They are all Texans, of course. Kristofferson was a Texan by virtue of Army bratdom. I’m just saying.

And also I’m just saying, what’s up with that Marshawn Lynch? These pro football players, some of them, are just trying to be cute. Of course, that wouldn’t be how they would describe it.

Some folks will chalk it up to disadvantaged youths with no father figure at home and 24/7 rap music and drugs and so forth. Do that if you will. But there are people who turn out just fine. I know a couple of former pro football players these days. Then I also was acquainted with a couple of other former pros, both Dallas Cowboys from the early 60s, but I didn’t hold that against them. One was an Episcopal priest and the other married to a Methodist minister. Both nice guys.

Really, if there is blame to go around for people like Lynch acting like buttholes then a share goes to you and me. Well, the literal me not the figurative me. We make these young men big heroes and like to watch them dance in the end zone and make fools of themselves. We buy their crap and like to see them stick it to the man. That’d be the rich ol’ white man.

Over the last few years the Super Bowl has been pretty uninteresting to me. Even the commercials I usually value more than the game itself. So it is likely to be this year. I don’t give a damn who wins. If there was some way both teams could lose, that would be a great outcome in my mind.

Cheating bastards versus arrogant a**holes. Katie Perry “Roars” in between. Come one, come all!

Go out to the parking and get in your car and drive real far … it all makes sense

In my research of commercial spots for the upcoming Super Bowl XLIX — which of this weekend will be Seattle Seahawks facing the New England Patriots — did I find no mention of the hilarious Acura RDX commercial. I won’t give much away except it features an attractive woman who goes on speaker phone in her car without knowing, or apparently caring, that her bosses are listening. The woman is rocking out and singing along to, especially the rap portion, of the 1980 Blondie hit “Rapture.”

YouTube Preview Image

The sing-a-long may not be one of the $4.5 million spots seen on the Super football game but surely it will make it at least once in the hours-long hype leading up to the 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time game on Sunday, Feb. 1.

Of course, we all know the Super Bowl is all about the TV commercials. Well, mostly. I am not a big fan of the Seahawks although a local boy, Earl Thomas, the ‘Hawks Pro Bowl defensive back, from nearby Orange, Texas, is about the biggest thing in Southeast Texas right now since the Valero Refinery. Fellow Seattle DB and Pro Bowler Richard Sherman and Thomas were both injured in their come-from-behind win against Green Bay yesterday for the NFC Championship. Sherman sprained an elbow yesterday though continued playing despite that even I could see him wincing on TV and not using that left hand. Thomas had a dislocated shoulder. Both are expected to play in the world championship in two weeks.

Thomas is, understandably a hometown hero, he apparently spends a lot of time back home in Orange during the off season, doing good works for the community. So, if even half of what I hear about Thomas is true, it certainly speaks well of the young man. Sherman, obviously loves his mother and Campbell Soup. That, and being one of the best cornerbacks in the game, doesn’t prevent his generally being regarded as one who regularly engages in dirty play.

I didn’t intend to spend so much time writing about the upcoming Super Bowl. I just found the Acura ad amusing and liked that it used what is probably the only “rap” song I like even though it isn’t totally rap. I just have not liked rap or hip hop all that much. I suppose the major difference between “Rapture” and the rest of rap is Blondie vocalist Debbie Harry’s sexy voice — now 30-something years later —  as well as the rock and funk that underlies the tune. A couple of hip-hop pioneers, Fab Five Freddy and Grandmaster Flash, are also name-dropped in the song.

All I’m saying is that it’s a cool song though saddled as both rap and disco tunes. “Rapture” is pretty fly, my man. I gotta figure, that’s a good thing.

 

The sound and smell of Facebook and free speech

Many reasons exist as to why one should avoid Facebook at all costs. Probably just as many reasons are out there why Facebook is a valuable communications platform.

“I don’t use Facebook,” said someone, I don’t know who, during a holiday gathering recently. I remarked that I use it to keep up with my family. I usually check it a couple of times a day.

I disagree with much that I see on Facebook. I see just as much with which I do agree. I take the good, with the bad, relatively speaking.

A friend in Alaska is discovering or perhaps rediscovering her eye for art in the digital photos she takes. Most are of outdoors with her dog. Her dog photographs well. Many of her nature shots are otherworldly. Those I mention are true art.

One of my brothers moderates a group devoted to our hometown. These are thoughts shared about all of our past days in the small East Texas town or within the school district in which many, if not most, shared.

A former student, brother of a classmate of mine and whose mother worked with my mother, hit a Facebook homer over the last couple of days sharing and asking the group to share little giblets of memory. These involved remembrances of sounds and smells. It is so incredibly mind-blowing to me as a journalist to take in all these moments in time. And that is what they are — moments. Add them up in actual time and you might get a couple of hours.

Shared are sounds of screen doors noisily but reassuringly closing. The sound of horse hooves and tack are recalled as the young boys and girls rode in their Texas tradition. Then there is the call of the bird I always thought was the whipoorwill. Turns out, it was a different bird.

The smells included fresh hay in the hot summer sun that teenaged boys sweated while loading up bales on trucks and trailers for the local farmers and ranchers, and rewarding the kids with a little spare change. The honeysuckle that any East Texan must surely smells in the brilliant green of spring.

That particular sense, that of smell, became expanded for me. Certain times that sense will take me to my younger days though not necessarily in my hometown. Instead I remember my young adult days.

The smell of diesel in the morning hits me with a memory of Central Fire Station where I mainly worked at the beginning of my five intense and memorable years as a firefighter. With each snootfull of diesel comes a vision of the wall where helmets and bunker gear were lined up for all the shifts. It is simple enough why it is such a stunning memory. It was where we were gassed with diesel fumes from Engine 310. Here I was a 22-year-old man, making my own way in the world, and where I feared only that which was knowable. That’d mostly be another daunting smell, one of the homes we would encounter fully engulfed in fire, “burners” as we called them.

It was said that the scent of flesh and bones from the “toast” — what we privately called with a macabre sense of humor those unfortunates who were burned up. Perhaps it was an insensitive description but it was one of those mechanisms to prevent our dwelling upon that misfortune.

The sea had its own distinctive smell, or should I say smells. The scent of the Gulf of Mexico beaches and those of Southern California were different. Places such as “the OC’s” Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach in LA County or San Diego’s Pacific Beach sometimes was as much sun screen than marine. But after spending a year on a ship in the Western and Southern Pacific you would sometime forget you were floating out there. Oh, and how could I forget the 2 1/2 years I was only a mile from the man-made beaches of the Mississippi Sound?’

Finally, there is the scent of reefer, so pervasive in the 70s and 80s that it was difficult not to inhale, as a president said he didn’t.

One has to use Facebook wisely. Don’t show those pictures of you passed out in the yard with “dead soldiers” littered all around. Trophies which were exhibited from those days of “partying till you puke.” Some thought should be given how such a powerful platform as Facebook should be used.

Those words written by Ol’ Justice Oliver W. Holmes’ from Schneck v. United States in 1919 are probably a good enough reason to watch one’s P’s and Q’s regardless whether one believes in self-censorship.

“The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic … “

Oh well, I don’t go to theaters much these days anyway.