let it grow until peace comes

“If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid.”
— the prophet bill cunningham

I wake up in my bed next to a teenage couple.

This is odd, because I never woke up in bed next to a teenage couple even when I was a teenager. I once woke up next to an elderly woman on a Greyhound bus during an icy Christmas holiday, but this seems different. Very different.

I get up, brush my teeth and get back in bed, assuming they will be gone, but they are not. They appear to be 18, thin and bohemian, the Generation Whatever equivalent of presenting themselves as “hippies.” Fallout from the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, I suppose.

They seem annoyed that I have come back. They say they’re staging a Bed-In for Peace, having seen it done once by some musician and his weird artist wife. They don’t offer a reason as to why my bed is their staging ground. They are surprised there is no media at the event. I consider pointing out that I AM the media, but mostly I just want to go back to sleep. I ask if they might try a Go Somewhere Else for Peace instead. Given the lack of hoopla currently surrounding them, they grudgingly agree.

Standing at the doorway, the guy wants me to flip him off for a photo for his Instagram account. I do not want to flip him off for a photo, given that I no longer have an Instagram account. I flash a peace symbol instead. He flips me off.

They get in a huge, purple bicycle-like vehicle constructed of tubing, a towering contraption which appears to be a discard from Burning Man. They do wheelies in my yard, which is odd because I don’t have a yard.

Turning to go back in, I notice a pizzeria has appeared, built into the apartment. It’s doing spectacular business despite the early morning hours. There is also a small convenience store, which seems convenient. I suspect this is why they are called convenience stores.

I buy a Dr Pepper, not because I want one but because I want to lecture the clerk on how Dr Pepper does not have a period. Style is important, I tell him. Google Bill Cunningham sometime, I add. And get off my lawn, you kids. Which is odd, because I don’t have a lawn. He appears to be staging an I Don’t Care Leave Me Alone for Peace.

I chug the Dr Pepper as I walk back to the bedroom. I pull the blanket over my head, only to realize I can no longer sleep because of the caffeine, and because of a lingering doubt as to whether I should have caught a ride to Burning Man. Oh, well. There’s always the Greyhound bus.

And then I wake up.

I should probably stage a Bed-In for Peace. But only after I get some pizza.

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living with an artist yin/yang

Yin: Mo sees my news budget is full of death and tragedy. Draws squirrel on it to cheer me up.

Yang: I hate squirrels.

Always something …

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yeah. what he said.

Wildness is not a luxury,
but a necessity of the human spirit.

— the prophet edward abbey

If you want to get away from the world sometime, go stick your feet in a tiny lake. Look up at the towering trees. Marvel over a single flower. Worry about getting lost on a virtually non-existent trail. Shield your face from the sun despite having an inadequate hat. Listen intently to the glorious sound of perfect silence. Spend a day with your best friend. Have ice cream. Be. Just be.

It’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity.








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hat’s that

“We were never friends. Not for a second. I loved you.”
— the prophet piper kerman

Love is a funny thing. You see a photo. You know nothing about the subject of the shot, but you instantly picture yourself together — walking along a deserted beach, sitting on a quiet mountain top, buying a Medium Chocolate Frosty together. You’re smitten.

But you remind yourself. It’s just a photo. Things would be different in real life. You had only stumbled across the photo on Facebook or Instagram, those evil places that sort through your posts and likes so they can play Matchmaker with you. Evil Bastards. (For the sake of brevity and to avoid repetition, I will in subsequent references say “evil bastards” instead. But you will know what I mean.)

And so you put the photo out of your head, content in the knowledge that your paths could never possibly cross in real life. You move on.

But love doesn’t care. You can’t just say “Don’t fall in love.” to yourself.  “Life is like a melody, it never lasts for long,” the prophet smelly dog once said. “But when it stops, the memory lingers on.” Which doesn’t apply here at all, but the prophet smelly dog needs the royalty money.

And then.

You’re walking through the Peace Surplus store in Flagstaff. It’s one of the obligatory stops on every visit: Macy’s, courthouse, Babbitt’s, Macy’s again, art joints, muffin store, Macy’s one last time, Beaver Street Brewery, Peace Surplus on the way out of town. But you can’t remember ever buying anything there.

Until today.

It’s sitting in the front of the store, staring eagerly at the door, waiting for someone to walk in and give it a Forever Home. It’s Mo’s Worst Nightmare. She has seen the photo for weeks now, but smugly assumed we would never come across it in real life. And. Now. We. Have. It’s the beloved KAVU hat. The greatest running hat ever made, other than, of course, Rick’s pith helmet.

You try it on, assuming it’s futile because it will be too small for your Gigantic Smith Boy Head. But it fits like a glove. Actually, it doesn’t fit like a glove at all, since gloves don’t fit that well on one’s head. although they never asked O.J. to try in the courtroom, thus letting the case slip away.*

You take a selfie to admire how the two of you go together like peas and carrots, except  that peas are too hard to eat with a knife, and carrots always make you think of Bugs Bunny in a dress.  Damn Wayne’s World.

You turn to Mo, awaiting her enthusiastic approval. She answers in one word. “No.” Actually it’s a bunch of words. “No no no no no no no no no no no no.” Also, “no.” Of the ad that brought the hat to your heart and both of you to this place, she thinks Evil Bastards. (For the sake of brevity and to avoid repetition, I will in subsequent references say “evil bastards” instead. But you will know what I mean.)

Sensing an impasse, you send the photo to your sister Jami, the voice of reason, for the tiebreaker vote. She responds with something to the effect of, “mmmmmmm, well, MAYBE, if it is free and you wear it only in the dark and ps I’m removing you from my phone contact list but this has nothing to do with the hideous hat you are wearing in the photo.”

You consider her emphatic “maybe” to be a positive response. Win! But Mo disagree. She turns to the guys behind the store’s cash register and asks what they think.

It’s hard to hear their response amid the muffled laughter. They appear to think you are joking about the hat. But you just read that Bob Dylan pitched two songs to the Everly Brothers in 1969 and they said no, thanks. There is no accounting for taste. Also, I dropped out of accounting in my third semester, back before the Supreme Court banned accounting after the first semester. Evil Bastards. (For the sake of brevity and to avoid repetition, I will in subsequent references say “evil bastards” instead. But you will know what I mean.)

And so you leave it behind. You move on.

And then.

The next day on her Instagram account, you see a photo of Flagstaff resident and world-class runner Sara Hall WEARING THE HAT while running her long run on Lake Mary Road. She must have found it just after we left. In her defense, she has adopted a lot of kids.

And then, the photo disappeared. You assume Ryan saw it and had the same reaction as Mo. You suppose some relationships are better left without bringing in a third party.

You kill your Facebook and Instagram accounts so that you never have to see another photo of the hat or the halls or Grumpy Cat, who seems to have gone into seclusion.

Social media is the biggest curse facing our country, other than global warming and squirrels. Evil Bastards. (For the sake of brevity and to avoid repetition, I will in subsequent references say “evil bastards” instead. But you will know what I mean.)

And that was that. So long, hat. We were never friends. Not for a second. I loved you. Please tell Sara and Ryan hey, and thanks for the green bean.

* As a working journalist, I am not allowed to express an opinion as to whether or not O.J. Simpson was guilty.

OK, he was guilty. Evil Bastard.

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just another morning conversation, part 76

mo: hold still. i need to take a photo of your chest.

me: my eyes are up here.

mo: it’s for michelle. she’ll laugh.

me: glare.

mo: snaps photo anyhow.

women have no idea what it’s like to be objectified like this.

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i have no idea where my beanie is

By the time we found the muskrat
it was smelling pretty strong
we were running in a thong
that caused abrasion.
— the prophet joni mitchell

There has been much hoopla in the Mainstream Media recently about some concert that happened 50 years ago this weekend, an event to commemorate a bird in a popular comic strip. Good grief, indeed.

But apparently falling through the cracks of the Fake Media’ is an event truly worth commemorating: The Fifth Anniversary of The 72 Hours of Muskrat.

A hardy band of runners spanning the planet, or at least a couple of suburbs, gathered to celebrate the country’s independence, safe in the knowledge that we would never elect a lunatic to lead our nation.

We ran for three days, give or take a fireworks display. Sure, Hendrix didn’t burn a guitar. But Gumbo made fun of Selena, we ran in extreme heat wearing  only Day-Glo Orange Lightweight Alpaca Racing Beanies, and we posed next to the genitalia of a buffalo. What more could you ask for in an event?

Sometimes I think about bringing back the muskrat. But I learned a lesson from Woodstock founder Michael Lang, who tried to stage a 50th anniversary show only to discover you have to have stuff like a place and permits and insurance and bands and backers and Beenee Weenee GU and the will to live.

Maybe some things are better left as memories. Particularly buffalo genitalia. The prophet Neil Young said it best: “Funny how things that start out spontaneously, end that way. Eat a Peach.” If we ever hold another one, Stills is not invited,

Eating peaches. That would make a good blog name. Long live the muskrat. ay he whirl and twirl and tango forever. But maybe not for 24 hours …

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Review: New Balance Beacon vs. Hoka Carbon X

I have been rotating these shoes, pausing only to allow them to be serenaded by a plaster frog. So which one is better?

New Balance Beacon: An incredible shoe. It’s light, breathable, extremely comfortable. There’s plenty of room in the toe box. It offers an amazing amount of cushion, but not in a mushy way. I still feel the surface I’m running on, but my knees don’t. Short runs, long runs, runs that go on rocks. Fast runs, slow runs, even runs with chicken pox. I couldn’t be happier with these shoes. I’m on my third pair and may buy a storage room to stockpile more.

Hoka One One Carbon X: Mo drew cats on top of the shoes. They watch me when I run, which amuses me greatly.

The winner: Duh. Clearly, the Hokas. Never question a cat. They’ll kill you in your sleep. Plus, they only cost 180 bucks. How can they make them so cheap? And Walmsley is cute as a button. So there’s that.

Glad I could help.

Next week: Armour hot dogs vs. the KAVU solar hat.

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