A Ghost Story ...

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Editor's Note: The Admin was recently tapped telepathically by the publisher of The Metaphysical Times for a Ghost Story. At a loss for words on the subject, we wrote one. It's kind of automatic writing, so there are many references to things that actually happened. Turns out, there are plenty of ghosts. At least in The Admin's Life.


Ghosts Can Be Okay

By The Admin

I know there are ghosts. It doesn’t matter if I believe in them or not. A perfectly logical and self-disciplined academic I dated feared them because she made me search my house in every room when we came home at night together — for ghosts.

In truth,  she only insisted on the search — upstairs, basement and closets — because I was sloppy about locking the door to my house. Or didn’t bother to lock the door. Or left a window open for the cats. If anybody came in through a window, they were in big trouble: I had four cats and none of them liked nobody but me. And I am not someone you want to meet if you broke into my house.

That didn’t ease her fears.

In any case, it was very sweet: This beautiful and intelligent child of two atheist parents, raised in the strictest of scientific households, trained to not believe anything you couldn’t prove and what you couldn’t prove didn’t exist maintained, quietly, a healthy fear of ghosts. How refreshing!

Her dad, I imagine he is still alive, was a physicist who studied fluid dynamics. You know, like, what happens to a pig after it is broad-sided by the initial blast of a tactical nuke. That kinda of stuff. She asked her scientific daddy once what existed outside the known universe.


“But what is nothing?”

“It is nothing and there’s no point in talking about it because discussing nothing is a zero sum game.”

This was a terrible way to treat a child who just sat down with you to watch Star Trek episodes. The non-believing father was a fan of the show.

I once told her that if she ever left me or broke my heart, I would come back and bug the shit out of her as a ghost. This really upset her.

“But you don’t believe in ghosts!” I said.

“It doesn’t matter, just promise that you won’t do it.”

I promised. And a promise is a promise. I will not ghost her, scout’s honor.

You see? There ARE ghosts. And even people who are trained to not believe in them know it.

The interesting thing is, I didn’t believe in ghosts, either. Yet when my sweetie demanded that I check all the rooms in the house, my adrenaline kicked in … the attic was a genuinely scary place in the dark; so was the basement. I didn’t want to go up or down there unless I was wearing a full metal jacket.

Not once did I encounter a ghost or an intruder. Still, I stalked each dark corner like an assassin with a telltale heart. My Samurai Louisville Slugger at the ready was, I knew absurdly large to swing in a confined space. I would have to shove it really hard into the forehead of the … ghost? – the burglar hidden behind the gas furnace?

The fact was, she was scared until I did this and so I conducted a through reconnaissance, returning to bed feeling very manly but with a slight tetch of the heebie-jeebies.

Ghosts follow me around. I mean, I’m the corporeal record of my family’s branch: Dad and Mom and deceased bro and all the relatives from kingdoms past course through my body and at any given moment, one might materialize and wanna chat. They mostly wanna chat. The only news they get is from us warm-bloods.

I got ghosted just last August.

I had a sudden desire for some ice cream. Mint ice cream Klondike Bars. Lumbering down the stairway to the freezer I noticed that my footfalls were heavier than usual and my gait, in general, weighty and unfamiliar. I stopped midway down the stairs and the objects along the stairwell, knickknacks and other pentimentoes all shrank away telescopically. I focused on the mini-American flag hanging from a lantern at the landing: It seemed to be flapping. I got it at a Veteran’s Day parade and suddenly there it was again, a psychic anchor of sorts. I saw the collection of my oddities as my father might — weird junk. But the flag was solid and familiar. In a kind of brain cloud I understood I was not just me — the heavy-footfalls, my cumbersome posture, the tunnel vision: I’d crossed over.

“Dad?” I said.

“Down here son. Just me and your brother.”

And there they were. My brother, dead since 1971, sat in the big upholstered chair parked in front of the fake log stove, a glow on his face. He had a mixed drink in a cocktail glass I don’t possess with a glass stir stick I don’t own but I recognized both: They were part of a set belonging to the  boozy relatives who enticed my brother into Sunday debauches.

There wasn’t much conversation. I wasn’t scared. Here, indeed, somehow, was my dad, trying to pick up my cat, who didn’t like to be picked up, yet allowing ghost Dad to lift him up anyway.

“Jaysus, look-at the size of this cat, Dougie (my brother). The boy’s doin’ all right for himself,” My brother replied. “It’s a pretty nice place Frankie. You’re doing okay.”

The heft of the cat was, to my Dad, a measurement of my status in the world: You’re doing okay if you can afford to feed a cat like that. It was the first time I’d seen my dad on his feet since he took to his hospital bed and refused all treatment for his worsening rheumatoid arthritis.

I wasn’t doing okay in my own opinion, but there was no point in debating. I was happy to see them and it was all so … mundane – hardly a supernatural word.

That was about it for the ghosting. Dad wanted some ice cream, too, as he would in life, but there was a problem with getting him to understand it can in square blocks, not a bowl. Besides, he wanted Cherry Vanilla and I didn’t have that. It reminded me of the great “spoon wars” he and I had, a half gallon of ice cream, two spoons, the better man won the lion’s share.

My brother never touched his drink, I noticed. Back in the day he pounded them. He appeared to be serene and distracted. Which is to say, normal.

I bent down to put food in the cat bowls. When I lifted, Ghost Dad and Ghost Bro’ were gone. The parting was not sad nor unpleasant, there was nothing creepy in the wake of their departure. I felt spine shivers, warm ones, nothing like “the willies” I used to get.


That was really my dad. That was really my brother. They were checking up on me. It was so simple and un-ghostly and human, all I could do was walk back upstairs and remember how much I missed them all. I had a good cry. Ghosts can be okay.




The Only Thing to Fear is Dying in the Hands of a Nutjob Extremist

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From The Admin's Desk:

The President of the United States, the country in which we reside, is going to make a special announcement from his safe and secure Oval Office tonight. I don't mind our Presidents being safe and secure, especially one who has received as many death threats as Barack Obama.

What will he say? What does it matter? He might tell us he will be deploying ground troops into another sand trap to fight ISIS; he might say we are beefing up Internet security to root out terrorist use of Facebook ... He might say a little prayer for all who died and their loved ones. He might call it like it is and tell Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell they are under house arrest for co-conspiring with the NRA to spread terrorism within our nation.

He might blow himself up. He might make jokes about The Donald.

One thing he will not do is make anyone feel safe. No one has that power.

Because the notion of safety is personal. We are all responsible to make our immediate environment safe, with or without police protection. That's not a radical idea and that's not an endorsement of guns. It's a call to Americans to grow the fuck-up and take their goddamn medicine straight and stop acting like a bunch of ninnies or war mongers. You want the NRA to run this country but not "big government"? You're pretty hare-brained if you do.

You want a bunch of white plucked chickens in Congress and the Senate, an Oreo and a coupla mix bloods  to amp-up the Fear Factor: You got'm. A more craven batch of traitorous morons have yet to trammel this earth: ISIS is no match for these wingnuts. So I feel safe.

We do a pretty good job of killing ourselves off without help from "Anti-Western Civilization Extremists." Heck, if Americans weren't so good at making babies who have no future, we'd be thin in the ranks by now.

But there is something to really fear: And that's getting oneself into a position of entrapment by an extremist group, be they Tea Party Fascists or crypto terrorists who are just twisted fucks who grew up in countries where women don't count and a beheading is a public spectacle as big as Sunday football. That they can recruit a disenfranchised youth from abroad is no surprise. Capitalism has made mince meat of humanity. So many oppressed people want revenge they don't care how they get it. They hate seeing nice people out having a good time. Why? Because the mind set of a terrorist is basically that of a juvenile delinquent malcontent who just got handed a shitload of killing tools and drugs and an idiotology that, finally, gives them a sense of purpose and discipline. The failure to provide young people of this nation a stern and straight-forward talking to and a sense of direction is the great failing of the Baby Boom generation who turned child-rearing into a fiasco of indulgence. Hence, the Millennials and even the Hipstas who more resemble Goldwater brats than progressive liberals.

You don't want to get caught by any kind of extremist asshole group. Neither do you want your rights stripped by Tea Party fundamentalist racist charlatans.

So the things to Fear are these:

1) Getting yourself into a situation where some extremist fuck, of any persuasion, has you by the shorthairs;

2) Being tortured by these forces for Evil, be they old white Senators or young Tea Party twits or Jihadists;

3) Dying alone with you brain toasted and your bowels nonfunctional;

4) Having this shown on the Internet;

5) Never getting to see the beauty in life, ever again.

These are legitimate fears. They are as likely to happen to Gal Friday as to Joe Bossman as we are to be visited by ET and whisked off to LaLa Land.

But we're all acting as if, at any moment, our bodies will be taken away by horrible people, and destroyed. Our children will be brainwashed, our sense of liberty and justice, as big a dream as ever concocted, eradicated.

Everyone has a choice. You can watch the news, almost of which is calculated to make you even more paranoid than ever, or watch TV shows that likewise ramp-up the terror; or flip through TIME Magazine in the dentist's office and note that, even while the editor-in-chief is so appalled by what happened in Paris, she's happy to run stories about how many "kills" each Bond movie made; the number of victims in the Star Wars series; the rigged and violent reality shows where someone has to die or it isn't entertainment. "Oh, but that's just entertainment."

There's the disconnect, baby. That's where we don't get it. An evening entertainment for us is watching some serial killer flick or crime drama. No wonder ISIS thugs are confused when they catch one of us and we say "but that was just TV."

Don't bug me about gun talk. This culture is simply is wet in the pants for violence and spring loaded in a pissed-off position because somebody else is getting ours. That's capitalism, honey chile. We're as deeply crude and violent in our way as are the Evil ones bred by our collusion with the Saudis.

There's something to be afraid of for sure: No one wants to be dropped in a barrel of crude oil and slow-cooked. Or chopped up with a machete. Or water-boarded.

Take care of your space, your immediate surroundings, your environment. Keep an eye on the shadow government that wants to know what you're doing every minute of the day. Pay attention to what the President says tonight: Is he the aloof Obama talking heads are accusing him of being or a guy who's trying to thread a needle while a bunch of shit-for-brains run him down;  or is he a guy who's not really GI Joe, trying to talk tough?

We at tinytowntimes.com do not want to see what our biggest concern, not fear, concern happens to be: The use of tactical nuclear weapons to eradicate an enemy we created thereby sentencing the world to a hasty end in our time. You think that's crazy talk?

You don't know crazy.

– The Admin.


Last Updated on Sunday, 06 December 2015 17:41

Memory Packet: Slideshow and homage to tiny town

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This is indeed, a memory packet. It is free of the strictures of time, space and season. It was arranged this morning, Dec. 5, 2015, and the music was created to accompany it in the same hour, so there is a coherent feel.
This is for all my friends, FB and otherwise. This is one of my holiday treats for all of you who have been kind enough to stop by and pay some attention. In that way, it is an expression of my love for this place and this area. Not easy for me to concede in these times. The Admin

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 December 2015 11:47

Demo Memo: And this little Piggy Bank went Belly-Up

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Most U.S. Families Can't Take a Financial Hit

DIDN'T MAKE THE CUT: Unemployed father, Boston, Mass. Frankie14850

How much money could the typical household access within 30 days to cover the cost of a financial shock? According to the Survey of American Family Finances, the median household could get its hands on just $3,000 within 30 days. That's not much of a buffer, and it includes credit cards and help from friends and family.

In the second of three reports on the finances of American households, Pew Charitable Trusts examines the financial assets available to families when they experience a financial shock. That's when, not if. Financial shocks are the norm. Fully 60 percent of households experienced a financial shock in the past year, according to the findings of Pew's first report.

One of the most important resources for weathering a financial shock is liquid savings, which Pew defines as money in a checking or savings account, cash saved at home, and the value of unused prepaid cards. The typical household has only $3,800 in liquid savings, and a substantial one in four has less than $400.

Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts, What Resources Do Families Have for Financial Emergencies?

From Demo Memo by Cheryl Russell  http://demomemo.blogspot.com/

Russell is a demographer and the editorial director of New Strategist Publications. She is the former editor-in-chief of American Demographics magazine (then located in Ithaca) and The Boomer Report. She is the author of Bet You Didn't Know and other books on demographic trends. She holds a master's degree in sociology/demography from Cornell University.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 December 2015 06:10

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