Dec 21 2007

Metaphoric Lumps of Coal

Category: The Transcendental CowboyRandall Kelley @ 12:56

As the holidays press down upon us like a cold snowy front moving in, it brings to some faces broad and toothy smiles. Like skiers who see the approach of snow as a blessing, they giggle and hop, and clap their little hands.

But to others it feels more like the cold snowy front of a killer storm, bound to leave the dead in it’s wake. Unstoppable and relentless.

Who can say what childhood events trigger these two reactions? Each is very real and visceral, untempered by logic or reason, except in the meaningless rationalizations that follow after the humbugger meets the caroler. Then each side tries to convert the other with reams of trumped up “reasons” that their feeling are the right feelings.

Both are wrong. Each day is a day and should be seen as such. Shouldn’t you give whatever you can whenever you can? Shouldn’t you express care for your fellow earthlings on every day and in every way? So I say “Humbug!” to the revelers, and “Lighten up!” to the grim.

I hope you all make a great haul this holiday season. If you are one of the lucky ones, it will be a spiritual treasure trove. If not… then it’s lumps of coal in the stockings of your soul.


Dec 04 2007

"I must not think bad thoughts."

Category: The Transcendental CowboyRandall Kelley @ 11:06

“I must not think bad thoughts.”
“I must not think bad thoughts.”

The Transcendental Cowboy is hearing this admonishment (from the Eighties L.A. Band X) jingle repeatedly through his brain, every time the idea tries to pop up in his mind.

“What,” you may ask, “is this idea that must not be thought?”

Well, it appears the Cowboy overheard a conversation as he lurked in the toilet stall in his building. Two men were discussing travel plans. One of them was lamenting the length of his flight to Indonesia, and the long layovers. “Who is that?” the Cowboy had thought.

The Cowboy had rushed his visit in order to exit his stall in time to see who it was. He hoped it would be someone he knew and liked well enough to wish them a great and happy trip. Instead, much to his dismay, it was his bosses’ bosses’ boss.

The man he has come to loath for his weaselly ways will be flying to the far East. The man he disdains for his lack of balls will be flying on numerous flights. The man whose presence in the room causes the hairs on the back of his neck to stand up is flying half way around the world, probably on dodgy airlines into questionable airports. The man…

“I must not think bad thoughts.”
“I must not think bad thoughts.”


Nov 27 2007

Necktie Party

Category: The Transcendental CowboyRandall Kelley @ 16:02

So what is it about the monkey suit that puts the Transcendental Cowboy into such a tizzy? The Cowboy can’t quite put his finger on it as he ponders the wardrobe he has and the wardrobe he needs. Can a man be a “sharp dressed man” if he doesn’t don the full fur regalia? What if he gets into the monkey outfit but the tail is shorter than the other monkeys like? Will they sniff his butt, make that face they always¬†make just before they start to scream, and then start a huge ruckus in the trees?

After finally calming himself down, the Transcendental Cowboy decides, “Perhaps it’s the lingering cultural memory of the ‘necktie party’ that gives me the willies!”


Nov 21 2007

Obligation of Success

Category: The Transcendental CowboyRandall Kelley @ 13:47

Take a look at our history. Oh, we have history. But our history is on another continent, across a sea, thousands of miles and years away. There are people here with thousands of years of history in this place. But just because we dominate this continent does not mean we are of this place. We are refugees. The conquistadores came and they did, as the name says, conquer. But the conquistadores did not stay, they just stole away with the goods, allowing us to come here and seek refuge.

But travel to those other lands so far from here, and study our own history, and suddenly we realize the childish ways of our existence. We find, in seeing the long line of our ancestors, that we have been liberated by our transplantation. Free from the bonds of experience, we could try anything we wanted. But our experience is behind us. Like looking in a second mirror and discovering our back, we see in far off places the rest of ourselves that we forgot when we crossed those seas.

We thought that we had left our past, and that the leaving had freed us. But we are as free to fail as we are to succeed, and finding ourselves nearing maturity we must learn to make bigger decisions. The world has shrunken in our hands and now the entirety of it will suffer from the mistakes we make. It is time to see this, and start the serious study of our whole history. It is no longer just our few hundreds of years in this place that matter. It is the whole past of all mankind that must set the course.

Time to end the bellowing bullying of the adolescent nation and become the leader needed by this moment in history. If we fail to see, the problems of our age we will be crushed into dust, and we will be replaced by those who do see. The correction of mistakes is not failure, it is an obligation of success.

Texas T.

Nov 18 2007

A Picture from Dublin

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 13:06

A nice shot up the Liffey River with the Half Penny bridge in the shot.

Liffey River, Dublin

High Resolution Image Here

I’m sorting through the lot of them now, so I’ll post a few as I go. RKK

Nov 14 2007

Oddball Crapgame

Category: The Transcendental CowboyRandall Kelley @ 17:07

The cards had dealt a two day dry spell to the Cowboy. Loss after loss, failure after failure, he had struggled to find a ray of optimism to no avail. Then by chance, at a meeting with no real potential of it’s own, he transformed his attitude. Standing for a brief moment on the metaphoric soapbox and delivering his rant on righting the wrongs of the universe he suddenly created a charge within himself again.

With energy now flowing in a new direction, he tried his hand once more. Sure enough, a single play landed him on top of the world again. Sitting there, taking in the view, he connected again with the flow. And the Transcendental Cowboy says, “‘Always with the negative waves, Moriarty.’… Oddball was right!”


Oct 25 2007

Looking for the Big Boss

Category: The Transcendental CowboyRandall Kelley @ 14:55

The Cowboy holds the elevator for a gentleman who is approaching just a bit later than himself. This alone is abnormal, as normally the Cowboy hates to have his aura crowded in so close with someone else’s. Especially if it is one on one. It strikes him that many different auras seem to blend the way colors of the rainbow make white light. But just two together often blur into a hinkey brown or odd fuchsia.

Something makes him break his pattern this morning and in an instant he has overridden his “aura logic”. As the doors close the Cowboy realizes this person is befuddled, if not lost. The Transcendental Cowboy adds this to the equation in trying to determine the cause of his lapse. “Karma points for helping a lost soul.” he notes.

“I’m looking for The Company.” the wayward man states. Asking, “Is it on the fourth floor?”

The Cowboy tries to pin him down a bit, “Which department?”

The gentleman replies, “I’m looking for Trevor’s office!”

The reply doesn’t really surprise the Cowboy, much, considering the attire of the stranger. So his answer is ready immediately. “Yes. Fourth floor, go to the right.”

As the stranger turns right to head for his meeting with destiny, and the Cowboy turns left to go meet his, he thinks to himself that he feels oddly disappointed. Then he realizes that the disappointment comes from the demeanor of the stranger. The Cowboy notes that he seemed subdued and submissive. “The Big Boss” is the Cowboy’s boss, but only indirectly. He is in fact the boss of his boss’s boss. Or his boss’ boss’ boss.

Everyone just calls “The Big Boss” by his first name, like he’s some loveable mug. This is of course, a ruse. And the hang tail demeanor of the suit on its way to his office is typical for those going to meet with him. The Cowboy prefers the moniker “The Big Boss” as he has noted that when he calls “The Big Boss” by his name, those around him never get the sneer of sarcasm in his inflection. He doesn’t want to fall into the morass of deferential demeanor with the rest of his lot. And so the repeats it to himself, again. “The Big Boss.”

Just as the Cowboy realizes the source of his disappointment, he is suddenly taken over by a brief vision of an alternate reality, where things are more in jibe with the Cowboy’s own personal feelings. In the vision, it is not a solitary stranger he holds the elevator for, but three angry young men with baseball bats.

The Transcendental Cowboy, instantly realizing their intent, calmly directs them off the elevator, “Through the double doors and straight on back to the corner, boys. And give “Trevor” a lick for me!”


Oct 15 2007

Reviewing Belfast

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 18:04

Looking through the pictures of our day in Belfast, I found a few to post that cover the brief impression we were able to get in such a short visit. Our tour bus guide talked to us about how many cab drivers were killed at one particular intersection where you had to turn to enter the segregated neighborhoods. He himself had been shot and stabbed on multiple occasions. Considering the length and violence of “the troubles” it is amazing they are where they are today in progressing toward peace.

But the difference between the world view of the two sides is as obvious as ever, and I suspect it will be some time before they even consider tearing down the walls that make up “the peace line” between them. Here are some sample murals from each side. First, the Unionist or Loyalist side. These are protestants, but religion was not the issue.

UFF Mural

UYM Mural

Even the graffiti is supportive of continuing the divisions.


And the Republican side is all about the independence of peoples from outside governments.

Republican Mural #1

Republican Mural #2

Republican Mural #3

Republican Mural #4

Republican Mural #5

Or, about people they see as martyrs.

Republican Mural #6

This one on Sinn Fein Headquarters.

Republican Mural #7, on Sinn Fein Headquarters

But the Unionist side has martyrs to match.

UVF Martyrs Mural #1

UVF Martyrs Mural #2

However, when you get away from the neighborhoods, the city has many pretty parts where you would never suspect the violence of the past. Some beautiful buildings for the government. National…

Government Building

And City…

City Hall #1

City Hall #2

And statues ranging from political realism to the more allegorical.

Statue of politician

Allegorical Political Statue

And some art that (at least on first look) doesn’t appear politically motivated, thrown in for good measure.

non Political Statue #1

non Political Statue #2

Some interesting highlights were the “leaning tower of Belfast”

leaning Tower

A shopping mall that must have started as something else. (the spire in the background is on an indoor shopping mall)

Churchy Mall

A beautiful river front.

River Front

We stayed in the Europa, at one time the most bombed hotel in the world (bombed forty some odd times during “the troubles”).

Europa Hotel

Rita got a kick out of the cabs, which look older than they are.


Hopefully the peace will last and the tourist will continue to come. Maybe someday memories of “the troubles” will be found only in museums and not on the streets. In any case, it was an interesting visit.

Thanks for following along. I am going to try to post travel related pictures and plans here even when we are not on the road. See you soon. RKK

Oct 12 2007

Last day Before travel

Category: TravelRandall Kelley @ 09:08

I’m just going to write a quick note now. We are packing for our return, and I will ruin out of internet soon.

We took the tour this morning, and it was very interesting. I don’t know yet how the pictures will turn out (we were mostly moving), but I will post some once we are home and have time to look through them.

Karen and Mike have headed out for an Airport hotel in Dublin, and will fly out for Malaga, Spain, early tomorrow. The rest of us will do our last dinner, and drive to the airport in the morning. Mary, Delmer, Rita, and I fly to Chicago at 11:50 AM. Steve and Diane have a day before she flies to DC and then after that Steve flys to Lisbon, Portugal. My, aren’t we an international lot!

Rita and I get into Seattle later in the evening Saturday. Fortunately we have a bit of recovery time before returning to work. Considering how we have killed our feet the last few days, we will need the R&R.

More coming, after I view our pictures from the last couple of days.
Till then, RKK

Next Page »