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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas from the well.

Had an eye opening experience lately.  Was muddlin' through life like i always do when i fell into an old well.  Now i've fallen into this well afore, honestly, i thought i had the lid on it.  Apparently not, either that or some swell individual of questionable moral character slid the lid off when i weren't looking.  

Hmm.  Weren't looking.

Well, it took a little while to climb up outta there, like it always does.  S'pose i could'a called for help but it's a wee bit embarrassing to be in it at all.  And the bottom's all mucky and the sides are all slick and you get covered in ooze and sulfurous slime from head to toe and no one really laughs but they all kind a shake their heads in a real sad way like their looking at turkeys drowning in the rain by holding their mouths open to the sky.  So, yeah, i always try to scratch me way out unaided.  i think i've actually widened the hole a bit over the years.

Now, the thing about climbing out of this here well is that i might make it all the way to the top, have my head out in the clear and be breathing air at last that don't taste like a dead skunk floating in Kentucky Fried Chicken's grease trap.  Heck and Hackensack, i might even be up and walking around again, stretching the kinks out when, whoops!  Hello!  Darn me.

This could go on for a week or so.  Extricate, slither, ascend, descend.  Climb, scrape, scrabble, sliiiiiiiiiiiide.  Claw, dig, cuss, slip.  Kick, yell, hate, laugh in a bubbly, mucky sort of way.  But in amongst all the furious activity and it's stellar lack of results, there is time to think.  Now thoughts at the bottom of a well are not particularly bright and full of cheer but they can be accurate interpretations of recent events and in this case i think they were.

What i thought about was the nature of holiness.

Maybe it was the play on words, i'm in a hole.  i'm not holy.  Could have been, but since i don't write much when i'm in the well, i sorta doubt it.  No, i think it had more to do with being covered from pumpkin to piddies with the accumulated filth of frickens immemorial.  And the accompanying shame and guilt.  Yeah, guilt.  When we were little fricks, with eggshell behind the ears, Ma would'a wore the feathers off of our fannies if she caught us playing round the well.  Well, i still have this superstitious belief as a full grown fricken that i'm gonna get a comeuppance for falling in it today.  God is gonna getcha.  That was the first realization that dawned on me in the dark.  That i had a really messed up view of God.  

Holiness is one of those words that is usually defined by what it's not.  Holiness is moral purity.  It is the state of being without sin.  It is "CLEAN."  Now i know that only God is holy but pre-this visit to the well, i had been walking around thinking i was holy enough!  Now that i was down in the sleaze i thought i was somehow unapproachable, untouchable.  Unholy.  i couldn't come to the throne, i was cut off from my Father God.  He would get that turkey's-in-the-rain look.

Down there in the hole, covered in shameful snailsnot, i realized that to God, that's how i am all the time!  To a being who is truly holy, any sin is damning.  Now, you may think that's grim and heavy but it was actually a beautiful thing to be thinking at Christmas time.  

God knows that we're all in the well.  A well that we dug.  We're all unable to climb out and we're all drowning in the nastiest, nauseating naphtha that ever flunked a fricken and He didn't balk a bit at it.  He came down into the very hole with us, just a slob like one of us and He who never took one spade to the hole nor added a single drop of ooze to the pit drowned in it for us and then climbed right the hell out cuz the slick can't stick to holy.  He's the Teflon God!  So that now we don't have to struggle to get out or not to fall in.  Nothing i do is gonna work anyway.  Only one person has ever escaped from the well.  He didn't show us the path, He didn't set the bar, He was the bar.  All our striving is our attempts to be Him, to be God.   All we gotta do is take His hand.  

Which brought me to me third realization.  i didn't fall in the well the other day.  i just opened my eyes and realized where i was.  Where i'd been all along.

Monday, December 24, 2007

When am i?

The cat's pooping tinsel.  The checking account is empty and we're going to church twice in one day.  Can only mean one thing...

It's Christmas!

You might think that it should have been obvious before now but then again, ye don't live at the Coop.  Here the changing of the holidays is marked with a little less punctuality.  Ye might say we're a might slow round here, that is, if ye was inclined to gross understatement.  F'rinstance, (that's a word, where i come from,) with the headless scarecrow at the end of the drive, the moldering Christmas lights from eight years ago still listlessly hanging from the sagging gutters and Easter candy in the cupboards, it's not always readily apparent what season it is round here, period.  Then again, with the weather obscenely streaking up into the sixties, how's a fricken to know what blamed season it is, if the doggone atmosphere don't know?

Guess we'll just have to keep checking the cat's stool.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Don't ask

In all the wide world,
Nothing will draw the stares,
Like a Pennslobovian girl,
Feeding a plumpkin pears.

Chuckin' Nuts

It is a fricken coop tradition to write a Thanksgiving post. In fact, one could say the fricken coop began on a thanksgiving lost in the slurpy slime of antiquity. When Pappy sat his rheumatic rump down at a keyboard for the first time and flogged the easternet with the whip of his wit. With reckless abandon he flung his thoughts and thanks willy-nilly into the deep and found a few of them washed back up in his inbox the following day. That's not the first time he realized he wasn't the only castaway from society sittin' on an island of isolation, tending nothing but their own coconuts, but it is the first time he realized he had a way of launching his nuts at those other archipelagos. Sometimes he even gets a nut or two heaved back. For a while there was a brisk nut trade going on. Lately, not so much. Mostly he just sloughs around the trebuchet, loads in a few of his heavier nuts, the kind he couldn't finish by himself, and trips the trigger. He watches them disappear into the distance and says a little prayer that each one finds a home and a heart aching for coconut milk.

It is also a fricken coop tradition to let analogies spin off into a bizarre life of their own until they finally mutate into staggeringly irrelevant stories. For those of you suddenly finding yourselves in a freak barrage of coconuts, that is known as a "Voorlooper." We grow those here at the coop.

So, on an equally freakishly mild and beautiful Thanksgiving morn here in the Pennslobovian Archipelago, let's help Pappy chuck some nuts:

  • i's thankeefull for this freakishly mild and beautiful morning.
  • and that i am not standing in a near freezing river in New Yawk with the Duke of Fluke, with aching hands trying to catch a fish that won't bite while the sky makes up its mind whether to rain, freeze the rain or snow on me and finally decides on all three.  Happy hunting, Duke.
  • i's thankful that despite nearly being a hostile, irritable fourteenager, i can still have a conversation with my son Happ.
  • i's tankful for the talents i see's in ma boys.
  • i's tankful for the talents finally being recog-i-nized in my wife.  Always knew she'd succeed.  Now if she'd just make enough so's i could retire...
  • i's mighty thankyfull for sweet potato pie.  yum.
  • i's tankfool for Morgan.  Cute lil' plumpkin.
  • i's thankful that i finally have a callin'.  Now if i could jest hear better.
Hang on, there's one more and it's a doozie.

  • I, Pappy Fricken, am most thankfully thankful that a couple o' thursday's ago, we finally finished the bedrooms in the addition i been building for nigh on eight years and can finally, after a lifetime of makin' do, can move into spaces created just for us.  Foretaste o' heaven is what it is and it tastes like sweet potato pie.  Mmmm.  That's good stuff.
  • Lil bit of spin-off a that last 'un, i might get a Lego lab out of the old cave we vacated.  Maybe i'll call it the ArchipeLego.
Y'all have a good 'un too.

Monday, November 12, 2007

the Ballyhoo Belfry

It was one of those days, one of those rare, precious, chipmunk chirping days that one wakes up, goes outside, takes a deep breath with both the lungs and the eyes and says, "Golly gee, (No really, that's what you say!) What a great day to be in Pennslobovia!" It was the kind of day that makes a guy blow off football in order to be outside. Or just drag the tv out onto the porch, let's not get crazy here. Fortunately, i had pressing carpentry business to keep me from planting my posterior in the flower bed of lethargy.

The Ballyhoo Belfry needed a ladder.

The Belfry has no actual bells in it. It'll soon be home to a couple of ding-a-lings, but no bells. It is the sleeping loft for my boys' room. There being no ladder and gravity being a constant, the Ballyhoo have been sleeping on the floor of the main room, a spacious blank canvass now cramped up with a computer desk, a twin bed, a full size bed, a fusbol table and a full drum kit or as much of the full drum kit that Happ could shoehorn into the corner. Obviously, they are languishing under insufferable conditions and Amnesty International will be holding a concert for rich kids in France any day now to draw awareness to the problem. To avoid this and being villified by the eminent philanthropist Sean Penn, i spent my sabbath day of rest building a means of conveyance from one floor to the next.

The really weird thing is that i enjoyed it. Normally, working on the station in any form is the thirteenth hell. i have often been quoted as saying the station is cursed. That it is a sentient entity actually fighting against being built. That it is murdering me one Saturday at a time, punching a needle in and drawing a little more soul out with each passing week. That it is Sysyphus' labor, pushing forward through blood vessel popping effort only to see the rock roll right over me and back down the hill at the end and force me to start over with nothing but bone cracking fatigue and the whole job to do again tomorrow to show for my pain.

But all that changed a couple of Thursdays ago.

Friday, November 09, 2007

a bit o' stuff

So the coop was getting a bit run down. That might actually be a bit of an understatement. Sort of like saying Hiroshima got a bit blown up. To say it better, the coop is a bit like Shaq's movie career, sad and pitiful. To be honestly honest, the coop was already in this state when we stumbled up the drive for the first time. We were more interested in the poison ivy infested clay surrounding the coop than the actual structure. No one entertained notions of actually living in the coop for any extended period of time. The thing about notions, turns out they're pretty good at entertaining themselves. You don't have to invite them in, they just pick the lock, bribe the dog and set up a boutique for hard truths.

So for a bit of time now i've been building a bit of an addition to the coop. Yeah, it's taken a little while, the Taj Mahal wouldn't have taken longer if it have been built by a blind carpenter and his deaf laborer. You would think this was a union job. Or that i was getting time and materials instead of paying time and materials. And maybe that's been the problem, outside of a cool place to barbecue and practice the art of drunken monkey philosophy when we finished the veranda, the rewards have all been of the vague, spiritual kind. A bit on a par with building character. Only not as rewarding. In fact, at times, it's been a bit of a drag. In the sense that the black plague was a bit of a cold going around.

But all that changed a couple o' Thursdays ago.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Drei Fragen: part 'ew'

There are times when i stray so far from the point that i actually circle back around to it...

this is not one of those times. i actually had to go back to the beginning of this thread and remind myself where i was going with all this scruffilosophy. To quickly review, no, to sum up, we discussed why God made us, we briefly touched on why he made us two genders, we went back to why God made us and now here we are, outside the castle guarded by thirty men and all we have is a Fezzik's strength, my sword and your brains. Oh yeah, and a wheel barrow and a holocaust cloak.

So, two genders, man and woman, why? i can almost hear Larry King interviewing God. From the number of divorces he's had he may really want to know. But think about it. What's the practical purpose behind splitting us up? It's like a built in fault line. Maybeit it is inseperable from the third question: why did God create sex? When i put the question to Happ, he supposed that procreation was the idea. We're two different genders with sex so that we can keep making more of ourselves on our own. But why? There are other ways. He just grew one of us from dirt, why didn't he make more like that or teach us to. Nice field Adam, real bumper crop of youngin's sprouting there. He pulled Eve from his rib. We could have sprouted little pods and divided like amoebas. Don't 'ew' me, if that's all you knew, you'd think it was cute. The idea of a person growing inside and squishing out in a gush of blood and amniotic fluid isn't gross? C'mon!

No. God, who for the sake of argument or lack of argument, we are presuming is flawless, created two genders and gave those two genders sex. Go play.

Two people, separate, different, yet the more they learn of each other, the less separate they want to be. Time passes and their desire to be together increases until they are willing to commit to it. To commit to loving and being with no one else. They become naked together, exposing themselves, making themselves vulnerable, helpless, completely at the other's mercy and they come together and in their desire to meet the other's needs, to fulfill the other, they find their own needs met, and somewhere along the line, they become one, comfortable, secure with each other.

Naked. Known. Accepted.


You can't reach this state by yourself. You can't be loved by a stranger because they don't know you. You can't love someone who exposes themselves as part of a financial conract or a power struggle. You can't find love and security by flitting from one bed to the next. You can't maintain an intimate relationship by guarding yourself or ignoring the other or dividing your affections. You can't serve others if serving yourself is your highest priority. You will have good times. You may enjoy these things and you may even work out a system that works for you but you will never know the intimate love of another and you will never understand how God loves you. And without that relationship with Him, it might be very easy to reject him and find god in cold strangers or contracts or power struggles or magazines or serving yourself for in the end don't we all serve the god of our own will?

We don't just reject God. We divorce Him.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Drei Fragen: part drei, part two

tomorrow, tomorrow, i love ya, tomorrow, you're only a couple of days baaaaack.

Time moves in jerks and spurts here at the Fricken Coop. Some days last a week, some weeks last a couple of minutes, you learn to work with it without ever really getting used to it.

This is a continuation of Drei Fragen, part drei or part "why" as i over dubbed it. i'm gonna see how confusing and cumbersome i can make the titles. Cuz that's fun to me.

Why, why, why did God, holy and infinite make people? Cuz He wanted kids and He loved us. This was never a mistake, He knew exactly what Adam and Eve were gonna do the moment he "turned His back," so to speak. He knew exactly what kind of life i or you would lead long before He said, "Let there be Light." My own kids aren't always angels, in fact they can be insufferable twits but i would never choose to have not made them in the first place. He wasn't making a zoo or a terrarium to scientifically experiment with little pink, yellow, black, brown and red lab mice. He was making a nursery where he could raise His kids.

Yeah right. So explain Noah. We're not even out of the first book of the Bible and Dad is slaughtering nearly the whole brood. Some dad, huh?

Okay, here we go... first thing you gotta know bout Dad is that He is perfectly fair. That's a difficult concept for those of us who have only ever dealt with really, horrendously, imperfectly fair people for our short durations. Dad knows that all things, all choices have consequences. Dad knows that there are only, really, when it all boils down to the salt and minerals at the bottom of the pan, two choices. Black and White. No gray. Either you accept that He is Holy, another difficult word, either you accept that He is Good, Clean, Pure, Unalterable, Unchangeable, Without an Evil Notion or Intent, Perfectly Fair, Perfectly Correct, Really, Really accept that He is Holy and the only source of mercy to you...(believe me, when you finally confront a Holy being you will not have to wonder about your own condition anymore. Imagine crawling out of the Great Dismal Swamp after seventy years without a shower, deoderant or a dentist visit and stumbling into the penthouse suite of the Waldorf-Astoria. Trust me, you'll know the difference between Holy and blameless and your own condition, noooo problem.) Sloppy, drippy, dirty meets Holy and either accepts His Mercy as He offers it or doesn't. That's it. Your choice. He holds out Mercy and you can either accept it or walk away. All those folk that didn't get on the Ark with Noah, they said, "no thanks," and God the Father loved them enough to honor their choice. Knowing God, it wasn't just the one time he asked either. He tends to give us lots of chances to choose. If my kids ever got so bad, that i seriously thought they were a danger to other kids, i would take drastic steps too. There are parents who have had to turn their children over to the powers that be for justice and punishment. God IS the power that be, so He has to do it Himself. i'd be willing to bet that rain that fell was mingled with His own tears. i'd also bet that you wouldn't want to be living with those folk or a few thousand years of their progeny.

i have no proof for this outside of Him telling us so through the Bible and my own observations. Obviously that means it's just taken on faith and you may have a problem believing it. That's fine too. But if you don't want to believe that God is a loving father that knows you and loves you anyway and pursues you and your love i'd kind of wonder why? Whatcha got that's better than that? i'm curious.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Drei Fragen: part why?

Somehow, some way, some why God the Father saw and knew us and loved and likes us anyway and so he made us. So here we are, ta-da! So why did he create us in separate genders?

This question seem especially poignant as i sit and hear the gentle strains of Seether coming from Happ's radio singing, "[have sexual intercourse] me like you hate me..." With all the problems inherent in relations between the genders, why did an omniscient Father create two genders in the first place?

Dismissive, cynical response: to let us feel His pain.

Hoping for a more hopeful answer we shall forge ahead past all common sense and flippant inner voices. According to Genesis, God made man and then made woman as a helper to him. Important to note, this was not a subservient position. She was his equal until the fall when God said, "your desire will be for the man and he will rule over you." Men trying to lord it over women is part of the curse, not the blessing.

Another part of the curse is painful toil in order to eat. Which i must attend to now.
Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Drei Fragen: part zwei

So yesterday's homework was to find out why people have kids. So what did we learn? i myself work with a confirmed bachelor and in the evening accosted my thirteen year old son, Happ. i learned exactly squat. You see, this is why i philosophize. There's a blight on hard evidence around the coop.

In his defense, Happ did try to answer. Happ likes babies, thinks their cute and fun. Happ is obviously suffering from dementia but since he's the only witness we have we shall continue. Happ's guess was that folk have kids so that they can have someone they like around. Or at least that's my best attempt at summarizing what he mumbled. It's been a while since i translated teenish. To which i asked him, "well, how do you know you're going to like them before their born?"


i couldn't tell you why people decide to have kids and i have two. Humans being inherently selfish, i would guess that most of our reasons for having them are as noble and romantic as shoplifting. But somewhere in us there must be the kernal of the right reason to procreate. i think i've felt it when i'm having a pretty good discussion with the Ballyhoo gang, my own progeny or when i see them do something amazing or cool or when they make me laugh or when Rascal comes down stairs in the morning and wants to snuggle or when i watch Happ draw. In those moments, i can see how God the Father might have wanted to make us, selfish ingrates that we are. Particularly since He did know us before we were born!

Yeah, yeah, i hear the naysayers with their, "Why did He make Hitler then?" Once again, stating the obvious disclaimer: 'that i don't actually know' but i'd have to guess that Hitler made the rest of us what we were too. The greatest generation couldn't have been the greatest without something to test themselves against. Sometimes i think you gotta take a big picture view.

So, a human or in most cases, a pair of humans decides to have a child in the hope that said red, wrinkly poop machine will be someone they can like and love and might just like and love them in return. Acceptable? Which brings us to the original question, "Why did God make us?" While i'm sure there are myriad and vague answers i think the simplest is that He already knew and loved us. Too bad we so rarely return those feelings.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Drei Fragen

Alright. Standby for some heavy-duty scruffilosophizing. Got some major league questions to pondificate today. Before you may pass by me, you must answer my questions three...

*Why did God make us? ("us" being used here to encompass all humanatees)

*Why did He make us two distinct and different genders?

*What is the capitol of Assyria? No, wait, aaaaaaaaaaaaargh! Why did He create sex?

Now, if you don't believe in God then i guess you could still play along but i'm not sure it'll have the same ring to it to say, "Why did an indifferent and uncaring universe evolve a species of satient beings? Why did those satient beings evolve into two separate and distinct genders? And why did they evolve a method of procreating that could also be used recreationally?" Kind of different questions but you have fun with those. i'm not making fun of you for believing that, i just wonder why you would want to?

Today maybe we could just delve into the first one. ("Today" being used here to denote the thirty minutes before daylight and merciless whip of the world coming down on the scruffy puppy.) Why did the Lord God, the Autonomous and perfectly complete King of the Universe decide to make peops? i haven't done a scrap of actual research, this is philosophy after all, but i'd venture to say that we'll never have the answer to that until we can ask the Man his own righteous self. But! We may have many of the clues we need already.

Why do people have kids? Go ahead, ask some parents why they decided to have wee bairns. i'll wait. i guess you'd have to find folk who made the conscious decision to have the tricycle motors in the first place, unlike the Mynk and i who sort of got a surprise a couple of months into the grand adventure. Once again, i haven't done a shred of research here but i'm guessing the answers are all myriad and vague. In fact, that can be our assignment for the day. ("Day" being used here to refer to a period of time marked from now to whenever i can get my lazy butt in gear and write the next post in this series.)

Go forth and ask why we multiply!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Filth and excrement

Seasons and cycles.

Such is life. And as you may have noticed, "you" being the one reader i have, i have been going through a season of drought. The muse has not struck with anything heavier than a tack hammer in some time. And i can take a few whacks with a tack hammer before i take to the digital thermometer of my soul. But when the wee little beastie starts digging through the tool shed for larger mallets then i know it's time to 'boy up, drop your drawers and grab your ankles. Time to plunge the depths and see what's down in the deep, dark recessess of my abscessed soul...other than disgusting metaphors.

My season of contentment, my drought of distraction is coming to a close and i heard it's death knell clearly yesterday. The pastor pointed out that Jesus when approaching an invalid who had been so for thirty-eight years actually asked the guy if he wanted to be well before healing him. Now, this seems a bit overly polite for a pre-litigation crazy society, "excuse me, i couldn't help but notice you there lying in what appears to be thirty-eight years of your own filth and excrement and apparently unable to move by your own volition and was wondering if you'd perhaps, like to be healed?" I mean really. How long did the guy have to deliberate? "Yeah, lemme think about that one. Are you coming by tomorrow? Could I sleep on it?" Duh!

But wait. Let's give this a bit more thought that in merits. Thirty-eight years. Being a beggar was all this guy knew by this point. He had no friends, the text says so. We can assume he was homeless. If he was suddenly whole and healthy, where was he supposed to go? What was he going to eat? He was going to have to get a job. He was going to have to reenter society. Infinitely better choices than he had yesterday but how often do we wallow in our own filth even when offered a way out because we're too afraid to make the changes, accept the help, do the things that will alter our conditions because we're afraid? Afraid of the unknown, afraid of being "on our own?" Afraid of what new responsabilities we will have to face? If i quit being a hired hammer for someone else and strike out for real on a writing career, how will i make money? How will i support my wife and children? That would require research and stuff and what if i can't sell anything? What if nobody likes the crap i write, i mean, have you read it? i make rectal thermometer metaphors for cryin' out loud! Whoa! What if i have to spend my sunday's writing instead of watching football?

It's actually not that hard to see why we might tell Jesus, "nah, you know, just lying here hoping someone will drop a quarter or a crust of bread ain't that bad a gig. i think i'd rather stay down here on the bottom rung, folk don't expect that much from me here." It's a heck of a lot easier to just get up and go to the mill where all the decisions are made for me, or at least i've gotten used to the ones they expect me to make.

"Do you want to be well?"

i dunno. I think i want to want to be well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dr. Agitation will see you now.

Contentment, while restful and perhaps a healthier state of mind than the alternative, is not good for producing art. At least not in this puppy. When all is well or as well as can be imagined, i tend to adopt a certain mode that can best be described as Reading-a-halfway-decent-magazine-on-a-reasonably-comfortable- couch-in-the-waiting-room mode. i'm not sure what i'm waiting for... probably the same thing i'm always waiting for, divine intervention, but that's how it comes across. Days fly by and the only thing that marks them is the week of the football season or the next month showing up on our schedule board at work. This is the time of year when i want everything to slow down, my favorite stretch from the Archer's moon to Christmas and instead it's whizzing on past with nary a look up from my National Geographic. i gotta go camping and knock this thing on it's ear. Course, there's a lot to do, maybe in a couple of weeks.

Hmm, think i got that contentment thing licked.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

a sad truth

The main problem i see with having nothing remotely interesting to say is the vast amount of time it takes to reach this conclusion. The mind just rejects it. It keeps poring over the last few day's events combing for some shred of insight gleaned or humorous moment enjoyed to share. And the fact is that while stuff has happened, i can't in the ten minutes i have compose it in such a way that it will be remotely interesting stuff. So...

heck with it, i'm gonna go iron some cuffs.
be well.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Seeing the Capybara

Now Paintball, for those of you who might not know, is what guys who always thought or dreamed of being soldiers but never were do to make themselves feel more manly. Those of us who haven't joined the fraternity of the psychologically-scarred-for-life-by-war always seem to think we missed out on something. Like we're somehow less of men because we never had to prove ourselves in that way. And i'm sure there are fellas out there who feel that paintball is an acceptable substitute for military training, if not service. They can swagger around now because they have a .68 caliber bruise on their arm. They've seen the elephant.

Well, no, no they haven't. i've been on the 'battlefield' and that wasn't an elephant. It was more of a capybara.

Here's a little hint, if it has the word "ball" in it, it isn't a real war. Football is a derivative of war. It has lines, the obect is to get beyond your enemies lines through deception, speed and force. Battles take place all over the field. Generals on the sidelines call in strategies to the commander in the field and he implements the tactics. Heck, folk who have nothing to do with the engagement sit around analyzing it over and over and criticizing every move. But for all that, it is a game. The combatants get to go home afterwards, sore, possibly injured but relatively alive and well.

Paintball while bearing some resemblace to armed combat is not war. For cryin' out loud, i will purposefully step into a stream of 'bullets' because i know the shooter is too far away and his rounds aren't going to break. Take that mentality onto the streets of Bagdad and see how long you last. Just make sure you tattoo your blood type and next of kin somewhere on your body first.

In fact, that's a good indicator for war and real war-like activities. Do you feel the need to tattoo your blood type and next of kin on your person before doing it? Then maybe you are getting ready to see the elephant. Then again, in this age of extreme sports, maybe not.

But for those of us who have seen the capybara, i salute thee. It's a hoot! You know, there's something to be said for a battle where both sides, "Dead" and quick alike, can come together afterwards and talk over, laugh over and generally kibitz about the last "battle." A lot of times, a meal follows and every one is friends. Any PTSD's are usually cured by the next game and most wounds will heal by next week. i think the Vikings called that Valhalla, it was their version of heaven. A fellowship of the brawl.

And that brings me to why i'm not keen on being a soldier anymore. i've seen the capybara and that was real enough for me to realize that in a real war, sticking your head around the wrong corner results in a letter to your spouse and a closed casket, not a bruise on your forehead. War divides. War scars. War creates silences that no one can speak into. It digs holes, craters that no one can fill. War is a necessity that only fools wish for. For those who've seen the elephant, I send a little, humble, pre-Veterens day thanks and prayer.

The rest of us should Praise God and pass the paintballs.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

We were young once...and soldiers.

I don't want to be a soldier anymore. While this might be the most noodle-twitchingly obvious sentiment in the world to you it comes as somewhat of a shock to me for as a child growing up, that is all i wanted to be. We had toy soldiers, GI Joe's and an arsenal of plastic guns in the shed. We wore camoflage long before it was fashionable. Our favorite shows were Rat Patrol and any WWII movie that happened to be on. Star Wars wasn't our favorite because of the Star, but because of the Wars. Even Japanese Anime first caught my attention because of Star Blazers; a ship of soldier/sailors running off in a last ditch mission to save the world. My buddy Panzer and i memorized military hardware and battles,argued over tactics, went out and bought Axis and Allies as soon as we discovered it's existance. We looked up every time we heard a jet and drew enough battle machines and war scenes to fill the Library of Congress. Oh those poor trees.

You know those little aptitude tests they gave you which were designed to help you find a goal for your life and pursue it? A sluagh of questions that were just about your likes and dislikes; would you prefer to work outside or inside? What are your hobbies? What phrase most describes you: a. i like to lead, b. i prefer to be told what to do, c. people suck, i prefer to work alone, or d. work?

i used to flunk those. Yeah, i know, you can't flunk them, they're not being graded. Well, believe it sister, i flunked 'em. Everyone would be eagerly reading and comparing what three choices the computer had spat back at them based upon the numeric data that represented their souls and the teacher would come over to me and say something along the lines of, "Yours didn't turn out. You filled out the questions wrong. Did you not understand how this worked? In one place you said you wanted to work outside and over here you talk about working at a desk? You can't do both? Which do you prefer?" i'd snifflingly explain that i loved to draw so i figured that had to be at a desk, but i hated being inside and loved the outdoors, the more wild the better. She would shake her head as if i was somehow a strange little bone that didn't fit her theory of evolution but a bone that she couldn't ignore and was messing up her thesis and then she'd ask, "well, what do you want to be when you grow up?" And i'd invariably answer, "i dunno. i'll probably just go in the army." i can still see her shaking her head with that pursed little grimace.

Coincidentally, i am writing this from my laptop on the deck overlooking my rather woodsy backyard where as we digitally converse, a red tail hawk is preening itself not twenty feet away. And if i wanted to, i could get a cellular card for this puppy and write to you from the back country of Hardtaggithere, Montana! i wasn't backwards, Mrs. Clewliss, i was ahead of the technology! So pblpblat!

It was true, i didn't know what i wanted to do with my life but the military always beckoned. It seemed like the only sure bet. And when highschool started winding to it's inevitably longed-for yet somehow disappointing end, i started realizing that i had to do something about whatever it was i was going to do when no one was telling me what to do anymore. And turning my life over to people who would tell me what to do again seemed to make sense, particularly if they would give me a gun to carry.

Now, i grew up the sailor's son of a soldier's son of a soldier's son. i had no delusions about military service. i'd seen it. Heck, i went to sea with my dad for a week when i was twelve. i had seen the chiseled jarheads that guarded the ship and i had talked to the greasy line cooks. Both had once been wide-eyed kids who had enlisted in military service but somewhere along the line their paths diverged. And i figured the only way i was going to get to wield a rifle instead of a spatula was if i joined the most elite force i could. So i set my sights on the marines. Figuring, they're smaller so the soldier to line cook ratio was probably better to start with and they had really, really high standards still whereas the army was beginning it's trend of watering itself down in order to meet some sort of meat quota. My mom would be holy disappointed if i didn't go to college so i tried to get in on an ROTC type scholarship. They send me to school and when i'm done, i sign up as an officer for the rest of whatever. Well, the school rejected me. Apparently you have to have good grades and stuff for that. Who knew?

So, sorry mom, i tried and now there's nothing left to do but enlist. So i signed up. Aced my ASVABs which hauntingly reminded me of aptitude tests. Sailed through the physical. Told the recruiter i wanted to be a line soldier. "You don't want to learn electronics or some other trade related skill that you can barter into a career when you get out?" He asked, probably with the results of my ASVAB in his hands. Nope. Unless the Marines start driving tanks. That looks cool. So he shook his head like i was some sort of thesis on evolution that didn't come with pictures and was too long to read for him and filled out my paperwork. Barring the medical, i was in. i was a marine.

Turns out that the marines won't take you if you've had a major head injury in the last five years. Who knew?

So, wiser about what to admit to and what to gloss over i started talking to the Army.

After two pointless conversations with the same Pennslobvian State Trooper, a speeding ticket and an I.O.U. for twenty-five cents to the state of New Jersey all on the way to take some sort of entrance exam for the Army, i decided that i flat out wasn't meant to be a soldier.

Life happened after that, as did time. My little brother joined the marines, made Marksman, got made an airplane mechanic and went off to the Persian Gulf, twice. i'm glad he is a mechanic, he's much safer that way and my three adorable little nieces still have their daddy. All my friends that wished they had been soldiers too still play Axis and Allies every now and then. They almost always kick my butt, i have the strategizing capabilites of a dollop of mashed potatoes. We all got too old to play 'guns.'

And then we discovered paintball.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Labor, we don't need no stinking Labor!

Fshyeeeewww! Must a got a bad batch of feed here lately. Cuz the last two eggs smelt a sulfur. We frickens here at the coop strive to lay nothing but quality, grade A blarghs that leave the customer with a pleasantly full feeling in their tummy and something hopefully to chew on for a little while. And when we're really on our bandbox, maybe a chuckle as it goes down the gullet. Life's too short, in my humble and often misled opinion to read depressing blarghs.

So with that thought firmly fixed in our knobby nugget we slog forward into the murky future!
And slap face first right into fall! Ahh yes! There is no finer time of year here in Pennslobovia, my friends. The glorious weekend that recongizes the fact that weekends are at least one day too short has ended and the lows are dropping down into temperatures that just beg for a fan in the window. It has been the rare weekend that included an event of note on every thrice blessed day.

Friday was buffalo wings (extra hot) with Nanna, Nonno and my very own grandmama who i haven't seen in a Rascal's age. By that i mean we had to reintroduce her to her great-grandpunks. Grandmama, this is Happ Hazzard and the little guy there is Rascal. Perhaps i should go visiting more often.

Satiddy, we went down to the river to be laughed at by fish and tourist alike as we fed chicken livers and rubber worms to the manitous of the Delaware. i did manage to tie into a bridge but i didn't set the hook and it got away. But it was huge! No really!

That evening we spent in our Satiddy ritual of hangin over at Shultzschloss reminding ourselves why it is so akin to pulling your heart out through your navel, throwing it onto the floor and grinding it into the carpet, then picking it up, dusting it off and swallowing it while suppressing the gag reflex for next game to be Philadelphia sports fan.

All healed up for Sunday and the little family get together down at the church. After which, which i have a strong desire to write as one word...afterwich. Can't decide if that sounds like a sandwich you eat after your main course or a town in northern England. After said weekly reunion of the children of the Almighty a bunch of us frickens got together for food, family and flingin. There was a little flingin of eqine footwear which there often is here at the coop but there was also the flingin of taters. The infamous tatermortar was back and the ducks down in carcass basin know it...and tremble. Muhahahahaha! Ah, who knew PVC pipe could be so useful?

Course, it just now occurred to me that i should have filmed it. Feel free to thump me in the thinker next time i'm within reach.

Finally on the day of laborless labor itself, we suited up for the first time this year and got back down to the very serious business of playing war. And that may deserve it's own posting.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cliff diving

i hate vacations.

i'm not sure why i keep taking them. No, i do not have a job that i love so much that i can't leave it. Quite the opposite in fact. No, i don't vacation in Kirkut, Beirut or Somalia. No, that second beer while overpowering the handful of cookies in my stomach at the moment is not enough to bring more than a flush to my ears, it is in no way effecting my ability to form coherent thought, though i'm glad small children aren't darting in front of my keyboard. Impairment begins at the first drink you know. That just leaves the Sanity Clause, but you can't fool me, i'm too old to believe in Sanity Clause.

Besides which, my viewpoint of vacations might just make me the only sane person on this here rock. How? Lemme zplain it to you, Loocy.

Vacations suck for the very simple reason that they show you, for a very, very, very, very, excrutiatingly brief period of time how life should be and then... just when you are starting to settle into it, just starting to believe the fiction, just when you are starting to let that small spring at the back of your neck, the one that tightens with each person you do not kill that oh soooooo desperately needs to be beaten to death with whatever blunt object happens to be nearest to hand when they cut you off, say something totally rude or utterly ridiculous or just happen to breath the same air as decent folk, the one that winds a skootch tighter every time something ELSE breaks in the house you will never finish paying for, the little spring at the back of your neck that cranks down just another notch on your spine every time you wake up to the alarm clock and realize that that wretched audibilized version of a hernia that is yanking you from the four hours sleep you so desperately needed means you are NOT beginning another day pursuing the thrice blessed dreams that are rapidly running for cover in the cursed light of day like the cockroaches that they are but instead will be throwing your body, soul, strength, will and creative energy into the chipper/shredder that will crank out someone else's inane, self-serving dreams for another day, just when that spring starts letting out a little of the accumulated tension of a month's, year's, lifetime's worth of tightening and you are finally, FINALLY able to hear your own heart sing a Jimmy Buffettesqe tune of que sera sera without a moment's panic as to just que the hell is gonna sera, right at that moment, that moment before you throw all caution, luggage, barking rottweilers and mother's lectures to the wind and quit the path your on for the mad path conjured by that same tune and finally find out if it's possible to live like a man or woman created in the image of God...

you come back, sit back down, plug in, bow your head and retake the yolk that society has chained you to.

Now if you can come up with a cognizant defense for this madness then i'll laud you with the title of Less Crazy Than Me.

Ah, who'm i kiddin'? i'll just laugh and tell you why you're wrong. And it might begin with the popularity of alcohal. Pass the bottle will ye?

Monday, August 13, 2007

What'd you do with your day?

Six hours of toil.
Twenty-four buckets of sweat.
Fourteen thousand four hundred and seventy-two shovel loads to pile up ...
One metric ton of sand.
Three hundred and five trips to bring up water.
One debate over the nature of trying your best with each of two kids.
Five dips in the ocean to cool off.
One sunburn.
A couple of compliments.
One very long and painfully extracted apology from the little kid who touched it when his mom told him not to.
All of my creative bent,
all of my will,
all of my energy,
all of my feeble mental ingenuity.
All to produce this one, painstakingly crafted pile of sand that was washed away by the ocean before dinner time.
Think there's a lesson in there somewhere.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why i won't ever have a guglezillion gabookas.

Allrighty then. We need a conclusion. A decisive, incisive, insightful, delightful snickers bar of wisdom that we can chew on and pick peanuts out of our teeth from for the next couple of days and think back on and say, "hmm, you know, that's absolutely righty-o!" This thread of Trust needs closure. Nay! It deserves closure. It demands closure! It whispers sulkily for closure. It weeps for lack of closure. It begs. It pleads. It tries to manipulate by offers of sweets and comic books. It mopes off to sit in the corner for a while.

Yeah, i'm stalling. Gimme a second will ya?

So how does God show Himself to be trustworthy to a battered and bruised heart? Or as we left it two days ago...How does God show He is willing to "bury the revenooer man," for you? He can't very well do it in times of plenty. The fat, dumb and happy are too self assured in whatever it is that made them fat, dumb and happy. He has to be there for you in a time of lean, miserable and acutely aware. As the Maestro Supremo for the Universe that means that He has to orchestrate those lean times, those miserable times, those times that life just seems plain unfair. God has to make you miserable in order to get your attention. And, let's face facts, He has to put you through Hell to get you to face Heaven and Him in the first place. Granted, it could backfire. A person could realize all of this and curse God to His face for sticking them in a time of tragedy, misery, a time of loneliness, a time of hunger, pain, for time lost in the desert, a time of rising seas, burning lands, storms, floods, plagues of locusts, a time of death. Pharoah did. How much would his story have been different if he had instead of taking offense to a God that stood in the path of his plans and power, a God who wounded his pride, how much different would it have been if he had repented of said pride, realized his true place in the universal heirarchy and hit his knees before true Power. God could have poured out blessings on such a king and has. Egypt might still be the greatest nation in the world. Instead of a third world holder of some crumbling bricks and past glory.

Nearly everyone i know plays the lottery. Nearly all of them sit around and dream at times when it's well over a guglezillion gabookas about what they would do with the money. Nearly all of them have a disclaimer they like to throw into their list of luxuries and indulgences about the good they could do with that kind of cash. "If God would just let me win that i could do so much good with it..." i don't play myself and here's why:

God ain't gonna let me win.

God knows that what i'm saying when i wish for all those gabookas is, "i wish i didn't need to trust You but could be completely independent and self reliant and henceforth, self-indulgent. i wish i could cater to every fantasy, dream and idle whim that pops into my own head. i wish i could act without consequence or at least have enough money to bribe off the consequences." God doesn't give me a guglzillion gabookas for the same reason i don't give my sons a flame-thrower. Sure they would love to play with one, sure it would make them powerful and self reliant but i know that it would not actually make them better people. My desire for my sons is for them to be great but humble men, kind and funny, strong in what they know and always willing to learn what they don't. I want them to be leaders who lead by example. i want them in short to be people i would love to love. The gifts i give them reflect this: Books, time, hugs, sports equipment. If i, being by nature steeped in sin can do even this, how much more can our Father in Heaven do for us? How much more pure are His intentions and gifts? If when i send my boys out to work around the house and they curse me for a tyrant and yet learn skills and the knowledge that life requires toil and they benefit from the fact that garbage isn't just piling up into a festering mound, how much better can it be that God sends you what feels like the short end of the shaft at times? What is He setting you up for? How much better are His rewards? How much greater is His love for you? Bad times are gonna come, but they're not random acts of an uncaring universe, they are invitations to come to your Father, not for help but for saving. Saving from the bad times yes, but mostly saving from ourselves. The only question then becomes...

do you trust Him?

Astonishinly Pointless Interlude

Deserts are swallowing arable land every year.
The Caps are melting.
The oceans are rising.
Here in the States the Mid-west is drowning in rain, the West is on fire. The South gets pounded every fall by more frequent hurricanes that are taking performance enhancing drugs.
All we need is a chicken running around singing REM.

...but here in Pennslobovia it's the height of summer and it's fifty-nine degrees and lovely. Sun's a shining, birds are a twitter and there's a gentle breeze tickling the tree tops. Couldn't stay cooped up in the Coop any longer so i'm writing from the front porch. Go fig. Brr. Need another cup of coffee.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jump! I'll catch you. No really.

So how do we learn to trust? Some folk are just trusting by nature. We call them "young." The mere act of living should dispense with that character trait in the first few feet of human interaction. But it brings up an interesting point. We don't initially learn to trust, we just do it. Infants aren't particular, they may feel most comfortable with mom but any lap that cradles them is okay in their book. Toddlers reach out their pudgy little paws fully expecting to be caught. And boy isn't it precious, the look on their face when you go, "Whoops, missed ya!" Ah, priceless. i would submit then that we don't learn to trust, we learn Not to trust. Hearts and heads start off soft and gain layers of bone, callous and chobham, laminated armor plate through time, bruising and bitter experience.

So how do we figure out who we can lower the shields around? Who gets inside the armor? There seems to this corn fed country boy to be only two ways to earn such an exalted position: One: by exemplary character shown over great duration in which truthfulness, honesty and integrity are stressed above all. And Two: by extreme display of devotion durning a time of utmost crisis. Or in less awards ceremonial mumbo-gumbo, yer mah bud cuz y'all never lied to me nor took advantages of mah sister. And dood, last week when i called'ja to help me bury that revenooer man you wuz right dere with the shovel. Your my brudder man, and i love a purely tectonic fashun of course.

Oooooookay. So, how does God show He is willing to 'bury da revenooer man' for you?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Trust God?

Trust is not an easy thing to come by. How much more difficult must it be to obtain if you are, say, the Supreme Ruler and Architect of the Universe. i mean, talk about a guy that gets blamed for a lot. Two hundred Brazillians cross The River in what should have been a routine landing and i'm guessing there's about two hundred Brazillian families having a crisis of faith tonight. How does one trust a God who freely admits that there is nothing outside of His control and then look around and see so much bad stuff going down? Part of this can be covered by our limited understanding. Death to us is the end of life. Game over, leave your cash and jewlery at the door. But to God it is the unveiling of our true selves. It is the chrysalis that finally frees the creature within, the body that we will wear for eternity. Being beings governed by the steady ticking off of hours, seconds and minutes with a constant rate of decay we have a Lot of trouble imagining eternity. And so we come back to trust. We have to trust God when he tells us that there is an eternity, that through death we get there and that it is something to aspire to.

So how can He do that? How can He earn our trust? Every critter on this planet has one choice to make for all of eternity. No matter what creed, color or favorite flavor of ice cream: whether to trust God or not. That is the only true choice. God says he has provided an eternity for you and a means for you to obtain it no matter what your track record. Do you trust Him? As the Canuckleheads in Rush say, "If you chose not to decide you still have made a choice." It really is that simple. One pass/fail question on the questionaire at the end of the line which is really the beginning of the line. And God will honor whichever choice you choose to choose.

Now, that said, How does God, who loves His children, despite the plain fact that they are more unlovable than a rabid skunk with fleas and irritable bowel syndrome, earn their fickle trust? How does He prove that He is trustworthy?

He could make life easy for you, lots of money, gifts, talent, friends, everything you ask for but i'm guessing you can think of a few parents who have tried that route with their kids and would possibly chose the leaky skunk for a companion on a long car ride than that person's progeny. The tabloids are full of people who have every earthly comfort and i'm guessing that most of them are not really thanking any unseen deity for their fame and fortune. Much less, in response to such and outpouring of gifts on themselves, are turning it back around and pouring out love and affection in said deity's direction. Some are doing arguably noble things, Mrs. Pitt for instance seems determined to save the world single handedly and far be it from me to dissuade nor degrade her, but i wonder from things she has said if that comes from wanting to save the world single handedly. Given the questionaire would she be able to check, "Yes, i trust God to save me." It seems to me from things Mrs. Pitt has said, that Mrs. Pitt tends to trust Mrs. Pitt.

Can you blame her? What earthly model of a father did she have? Rather absent from what i've heard and not a particularly good actor. How does God prove to her that He really does love her and always has?

To be continued, Lord willing.

Monday, July 09, 2007

No worries

I have twenty-two minutes...

Twenty-two minutes, and at the rate i typo that leaves me with possibly twelve words that i can commit to print. What to say? What to say? How can i leave you, dear Hypothesus, with an offering worthy of your time?

A cow climbs up a tree. (This is best said in a Moldovan accent.) Cow climbs up tree. Crow in next tree said to him, "Hey cow! Why you climb tree?" Cow said to him, "I wish to eat apple." Crow said back to him, "yeah, but that is not apple tree. That is oak."

"Is okay," cow says, "I bring apple with me."

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Someone back East is saying, "Why don't he write?"

There are two doors that leave the Coop. One is labeled simply, “The Way.” This simplicity belies the danger of heading out this portal. For “The Way” is sorta like sitting down in your hairstylist’s chair and saying, “I dunno, surprise me.” You may love it, you may not. Either way you’re darn sure gonna have to live with it for a while.

The Way is easy like a rollercoaster. You have little to do but hang on and yet when (and if!) you arrive back at your door you are often out of breath and more than a little shaken. In short, The Way does what it wants to, goes wherewithal it whims and in no wise, at any time, does it seek your permission. The Way is totally independent and in control of itself. The Way is scary. I need only put my hand to this door’s latch to hear the clickety-clack of its ascent to the first drop.

That’s assuming that I can reach the latch at all. The Coop is roughly eight by twelve with the doors at either end. And yet, the distance to “The Way” is always longest and strewn with a million distractions. Innocent at first, an old toy, a comfy chair and then, part way, there’s a shift. The distractions become bolder, more provocative. Dark and sticky, like an old spilled soda pop and boiled down to nothing but syrup. Get a little closer to the door however and they turn nasty. Scurrying little beasts with pincers hungry for flesh, low hanging, hooked and barbed vines, shifting shadows with toothless maws and fixed glares. There is a minefield of debris, a barrier of clutter that I strongly suspect I put there myself. Whether to keep something out or myself in however I no longer recall.

By comparison, the other door is rather ordinary. The latch seems to be always greased, the hinges, while a bit ominous in their creak, always swing wide. It is only after one commits the first foot over this threshold that one gets the first inkling of what lies beyond.

The first clue is the smell. The miasma of rot hits the cringing nostrils just a half second before the signal from the leading leg that the brain has just ordered the body into a gaping abyss. It is as they say, all downhill from there into…

The Great Dismal Slump.

This friends and cohorts is where yours truly has spent the last several months. Which is all the explanation one is likely to get for why this blog hasn’t been updated in two months. Lord willing, if there’s another such lull, it will be whilst I clear a path to “The Way.”

Friday, April 27, 2007

Something in the Air

It's like finals week for my soul. i'm being tested left and right. Today's, and by that sobriquet i in no uncertain terms mean to imply that these dilemmas are confined to calendar days. Quite the contrary, i assure you, they're running all over each other like kittens trying to get out of the pet store. i need TIVO for my life! "Today's" merely refers to the forty-five minutes i have to try and put the particulars of one of these tests down in print. Which would go a lot smoother if i didn't have the wordy habit of spinning off on blinkin' tangents!

"Today's" trial is summed up by a little brown bottle on my counter. And whether or not i'm going to start consuming once per day on an empty stomach for the rest of my life, the contents of said bottle. It is a titanic struggle with life and death in the scales and what's mostly at stake is my philosophy.

i am not a big believer in 'better living through chemicals.' In my humble and superstitious serf's opinion, the pharmaceutical companies are money making empires bent on world domination. If they accidentally invented a pill today that suppressed the urge to breathe you can bet all the lint in your jean pockets that tomorrow the marketing hordes would be laying seige to the atmosphere with "Air will kill you, stop breathing today! Ask your doctor if Damnitall is right for you!"

So when the kindly old Imperial ambassador at the local embassy tells me that i have high blood pressure and that it could, over time, lead to a condition known as death i start wondering... which am i more afraid of:

  • That he really is a well intentioned, kindly old man who is afraid that i might drop dead at forty-two from stroke or heart attack?
  • Or that he's the updated version of the pusher in a lab coat who is selling me a bill of goods so that i develop all kinds of conditions (that oh, by the way, we have other little pills to cure) by living in fear of another so called condition that is known as life?

My fatalism tells me that what i've been handed is the murder weapon in my own homicide. When God decides that it's finally time to release me from this prison, i stand a very good chance of knowing what M.O. the Grim Reaper will be using. My cynicism tells me that when man tries to avoid fate he most often gets a new and usually worse one. You know, Monty, i'm going to trade door number one and the sixty year life span that ends suddenly on a hike for what's behind door number two. Okay, let's see what you've won: Weeeeelllll Mr. Dogg, you've won a lifetime of battling a runny nose, hacking cough, blurry vision, insomnia, erectile disfunction and dementia to finally waste away to nothing on a hospital gurney at the age of ninety-eleven lying in a steamy vat of your own juices! Congratulations!

After all this you would think that it would be pretty easy decision for me and the bottle and its genie would already be in the trash. One thing stays my hand. One thing causes a little tremor when i walk past it in the morning...

The thought of a stroke that only paralyzes one side of my body. Death is a bad car ride to the best vacation spot in the universe. But the thought of living on with the prison cell half caved-in, that scares me. i mean, i'd have to learn to type with only one hand. t wd e ts ("It would look like this.") i mean it's enough to drive a guy to stop breathing.

Pass the Damnitall.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bad Ideas

You'll be glad to know that i took a stand. Yes, i bravely, steadfastly refused to go along with my better judgement. Whew! It's hard work beating down your inner voice, little bugger puts up quite the battle. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, the deed is done. May God have mercy on their souls.

And speaking of mercy, i've decided that i'm not a big fan of being drunk. The inappropriate statements, the stumbling, the fever dreams, the brain swelling, kneeling at the altar, yeah, that's all a lot of fun but the whole thing tends to ruin my appetite for the next day or so and darn it, sometimes there's good things to eat that day!

And maybe it is just the sautee'd mushrooms talking but i'm rather tired of not knowing how to dance. There are really only two things to do at weddings and one of them ruins my appetite for the next day. A few folk have told me to forget it, that you've either got it or you don't. Lovely reasoning. By that standard we would all still be crawling, cuz i don't know anyone who walked all that well the first time they tried it.

i've also reached the conclusion that i may never again go in a heated pool. They're just icky wrong. Why did that thing taste like salt?

Nevermind, i don't want to know.

All this has also given me a bit of an idea. We need to have a ball. That's not something folks of my financial bracket usually contemplate but my wife's closet now has three or four bride's maid's dresses in it that will never, ever be used again and it occurs to me that this may be a common condition. It could be a lot of fun to have a big ol' informal formal for no apparent reason whatsoever, where everybody gets all dooded up as much as they wanna and ruins their appetites while learning to walk. Yeah, and the guys should all dress up as if going to a duel. i've always felt that men's formal wear was missing three things: a cloak, gauntlet gloves and weaponry. Hats with long feathers in them are optional.

i'm also not sure that family reunions are done quite right. It seems to me that while a few of the more bold and chatty members will wade right into the tepid gene pool, the vast majority of the baboon troop remain firmly on their own branches of the family tree. That said, it's still a good thing.

And one last disjointed sign of the apocalypse...

snow in april. i think i actually heard a robin say, "What the #%(< ?!"

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Goring the ooze

At times like these i find my encouragement in the words of every great mad scientist to his latest creation, "Go, fulfill the design i created you for! Let nothing stand in your way! Muhahahahahahahahahahahahah!" Now usually this involves kidnapping a particularly screechy member of the fair sex (i guess mad scientists have trouble getting dates) or stealing some item the heroes have in their possession that the mad scientist can then use to take over the world (they're probably thinking that it is easier to get dates with "Grand Potentate of the World" under occupation in your singles resume than "Local Mad Scientist.") or my personal favorite: destroy the village! (Probably in revenge for getting dumped, stood up and basically not called back after dates)

Now i'm all for destroying the village, those little cretins got it coming, but that's not what i'm talking about. i'm talking 'bout writing. Near as i can tell, if i was designed for any specific purpose, other than destroying the village, it would be writing. So even though i have no single, driving theme today, i do have an overriding urge. Like the mindless ogre, the doomsday machine or the amorphous ooze i shall fulfill my master's purpose. Destroy!

And i shall do it with a question? A moral conundrum if you like. If you think, nay, are near sure that a friend is about to make a terrible mistake which said friend believes will make him or her delirously happy do you A) go along with it? B) try to talk them out of it or at least take no part in it? or C) destroy the village?

This is where confidence comes into play. i am not one who is virtually assured of my own infallibility. When i finally make a decision it is usually because i'm forced. i make snap judgements all the time and many of them prove to be correct but i very rarely act on them. i'm what you might call wishy-washy. i'm not proud of this, i'm merely stating the facts as i see 'em. A confident person may see their friend making said mistake and take a moral stand. "This is wrong and i will not be party to it!" they might shout with their powdered wig flying and their left hand stuck firmly in their waistcoat. A hard line to follow, it may create a rift in the friendship. The confident person may have the salve of knowing they were right but it's a cold salve and the only card game salve knows is solitaire. It becomes that much more difficult to take a stand when the rest of the herd is galumphing along with the friend's decision.

Don't believe me? Go get into your preferred mode of transportation and go to Yellowstone Nat'l Park. Right now. When you get there, just drive, pedal or scoot around for a few minutes until you spy a herd of Bison. That's all it should take is a few minutes, the place is lousy with 'em. Now, all warnings and common sense to the contrary, get out or off of your preferred mode of transportation and wade into the middle of said herd. Then stop. Take a stand. Don't let them tell you where to go! You are your own person. You are strong. You are taking the moral highground. You are probably seconds away from a medical evac flight to the nearest trauma unit and the next most popular grainy video on youtube.

So there it is, i like you, am gored on horns, mine being a completely metaphyisical dilemma and yours being a two thousand pound bison's but i'm sure mine hurt every bit as much.... spiritually. i'm there for you pal. Unable to make a decision, there's only one thing left to do: take along a bottle of rum and destroy the village! Muhhahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

a Glimpse of Hell

i think i had a glimpse of hell this Saturn's day past and no, it wasn't my house. As the savvy might guess, the portal for the glimpsing was in New Jersey. More specifically the gambling mecca of the Eastern Seaboard: Atlantic City. i would ordinarily be more likely to duck under a government quarentine plastic bubble and try and bum a smoke off the machine gun toting gentleman in the bright yellow biohazzard suit and mask than willingly set foot in Jersey, much less AC, much, much less a casino. But you do these things for family and it's good to expose yourself to cultures foreign to your own now and again. Can't find the lost if you never go looking for them.

But these aren't the lost we're talking about here, these are the damned. They bore a lot less in common with the Samaritan woman by the well with whom Jesus struck up a conversation than they did the man posessed by Legion. i could very easily imagine that if Jesus walked into the main floor of one of these joints, kind of an interesting thought in itself, that these folk would have jumped up, ran to him screaming, "What do you want with us, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Swear to God you won't torment us!"

Then again i have an active imagination. Though, it's completely stumped by the slot machine. i just don't get the attraction. The only other time i've seen a critter of flesh and blood just sit at something and push a button that mechanically was in an experiment done on rats. Hmm, or me playing solitaire, maybe it's not so weird after all? Oh i understand the theory...sell the fantasy. Glitz, glamour, the chance to win fortune and fame, that's what the casino's are selling. You are James Bond, you are a movie star, a gangster, you are one pull, one card, one toss of the dice away from dining with the gods. And for some folk it seems to work, you see them walking around like kids in Disney World.

But the shades i see the world in are blue, not rose colored. i see the cocktail waitresses with mascara so dark they might be covering black eyes who can barely walk anymore in their ridiculous heels. i see the wolves, most of them married, who prowl around ogling the women like God and their wives gave them a three day pass. i see stumbling drunks, children who should be in bed, people betting the grocery money to win back the rent money. I see flesh peddlers and girls who for some reason, maybe competition, decided to dress like flesh peddlers. i see the homeless, maybe just trying to get warm or a free drink or find a machine with one more pull on it that will change their fate. But most of all, i see sheep, looking for the very things they were designed to find--meaning, love, glory, an escape from this present darkness and Satan distracting them with colored lights and empty promises to keep them from looking in the right place.

i take heart however in the fact that whether they are seeking Him or not, whether they are more like the woman by the well or the demon possessed man, Jesus saved them both.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A calling?

Crikey! The month of war. Boreas blows against Persephone and the Coop is a drafty shelter from their battle. Thank the Creator for Prometheus. More to the point however, the Coop is severely lacking in eggs. The last one was almost a month ago. Time to motivate the hens. Time to cattle prod the muse. Time to take the sledge to the writer's block and wring out the pen. In the words of the great television philosopher Hurley, "Time to look Death right in the face and say, 'whatever, dude.'" Time to put on the blues and hit the keys.

Only one problem, i got nothing all that particularly interesting to say.

It's not that i haven't been writing, Lord knows. No i mean that, the Lord knows. Cuz nearly all of my creative juices have been flowing into the Holy Grail of late. The good Reverend William Senyard or as i refer to him, P-Billy has been working through a four part sermon series on J.R.R. Tolkien's four key elements to good story telling and how the Bible has them all. Check them out Mp3 style at the getting Spirtual link. To help illustrate his point i have been taking certain familar bible stories and immersing myself in them. Like a travel writer, a journalist, a tourist, a seeker, a crazy uncle with more time to travel than you, i wander freely over the cobblestones, meet the locals, test the cuisine, feel the heat of the desert sun, snap my fingers out of time to the music and bring all that to the congregation through the medium of spoken word. Think a kid's Bible story book for adults. What the heck, let's throw in an example...

It was the seventh day of the siege. Not very long as sieges go, there was still plenty of food and water within the bolted walls of the city, the fighting men were still at their posts but hope had withered. Fighting spirit had all but wasted away. Rahab could see some of Jericho’s mighty men from her roof and the fists that clutched the spears trembled and worried the wooden shafts smooth. One that she recognized, a frequent customer of hers and a man she had always known to be fearless to the point of recklessness now sat hugging his knees and swaying like a lost child, his cheeks smeared with dust and tears. As she watched him, trying to recall his name the dread horns blew again.
Seven ram’s horns born by seven priests of the invaders. They weren’t even on this side of the city but that was the measure of the crushing pall that had closed over them: the silence of Jericho. On the first days the crowds had gathered at the walls to ogle these scruffy nomads that had wandered out of the great desert and miraculously crossed the Jordon river at its spring flood. They were such a ragtag mob of tent dwellers that the city atmosphere had become one of carnival and comedy. “How many Israelites does it take to change an oil lamp?” had become the question of the day with unnumbered demeaning answers. But the mocking and the jeering were never answered by the marching camp outside the walls. The entire population: fierce eyed fighting men, stern, somehow otherworldly priests in white, bearing an incongruous, ornate chest rumored to hold the relics of the one true God, their womenfolk, strangely hushed children, even the aged and infirm, some born on litters, all marched a single circuit of Jericho’s walls in a totality of silence. Like a company of ghosts they appeared every morning, as if revealed by dawn’s light and marched, the dust raised from their feet the only proof that the earth felt their sandals at all and they were not indeed forlorn specters of the night. That silence had crept like a living thing, a disease passed through the eyes for those first infected with it were those on the walls. But they slunk home they bore it to the heart of the city and now Jericho was ruled by the premature silence of the tomb. So that the threadbare bleat of seven ram’s horns could pierce walls of stone and rattle the bones of empty streets and make grown men whimper and hide their tear stained faces.

Just a slice off the whole but you get the idea.

Which brings me to the closest thing i have to a point...i had a blast doing this. People seemed to really respond to it. Maybe there's a need for just this, a Bible story book that assumes the reader has a pulse and an imagination. Said person may not even be a believer, the Bible is literature. If the story isn't written as a fable with the moral spelled out in italics at the end it could still be good narrative in it's own right. It's something to look into anyway.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Welcome to Weekend's

Welcome to Weekend's, can i help you?

Yeah, i dunno. i don't really know what i'm looking for.

That's quite alright, sir. Easily eighty percent of our customers have no clue what they're looking for when they come in but we always help them spend their valuable time.

Yeah, that's just it. i just have the sixty hours and i was looking for so much. i need a lot of stuff too.

I see you have a list with you. We could start there. First let's put you into the system and see what we get. Ah, I see you will be redeeming a coupon for Monster Truck Jam purchased by a friend of yours here a couple of weeks ago. That should be fun.

Hope so.

Would you like to add a stop afterwards for appetizers, beer and conversation? It's a great cap to an otherwise less than interactive event.

Well, i did get the two hour commute with the Monster Jam package.

Oh, so i see. Plenty of time for conversation in the mini-van, well, it's up to you.

You know, what the heck, let's throw in the appetizers!

Excellent choice, i personally never miss a really good appetizer and if i may be so bold, i would recommend the veggie pizza tortillas. The look on your kids faces will be priceless. Now that does come with a late bedtime. Were you hoping to get any sleep this weekend?

That was the first thing on my list. i was hoping for twenty-four hours at the least.

Hmm. Well, it'll really depend on what else you buy with your time. Let's save the sleep for last and see where we can fit it in, okay? What else was on your list?

Um, some errands, a birthday party for a friend that i reserved two weeks ago, working on the house is always on here and you know, i'd like to spend some time with my boys.

Well, let's see what we can do. The party i see is Saturday night. That again comes with the late bedtime penalty, were you going to drink at this party?

i ...might.

How much?

Well, i haven't really partied with these folk before.

So too much. I'll put you down for a hangover on Sunday. Oh. Wow. You have a weekly engagement to sing and perform your writings at church every Sunday, is that right?


Sure you want the hangover?

Well, no. But what does that do to the party?

Not a lot really, though you might be tense and awkward at first.. you could skip the rum?

What kind of rum?

Captain Morgan's Private Stock.

Keep the rum.

Okay, keeping the rum, which causes violent sickness before, it can work. But i don't think you'll be enjoying that morning. And that makes a nap non-negotiable but that works with your plan anyway so i'll put you down for an hour and a half there. Which has priority, the working on the house or the errands?

The errands, one of them is to get a birthday gift for the party.

Ah, nothing like last minute inspiration.

Actually i know what i'm getting him. So it's not that big a deal.

Riiiight, but we'll have to put that in on Saturday, your wife has bought you a trip to the bank as well and your boss purchased a trip to Home Depot for you so i'll just throw those in with the birthday gift safari. Okay, i think we can still get both in on Saturday. The bank has to be done before noon so errands, work, party. Sound good?

Doesn't leave much time for sleep and the boys.

What if you took the boys on the errands? It's less convenient but that's how you got to know your elder son, time alone in the car with dad. Kills two birds, y'know?

Yeah, you know that's a good idea. If they stay home, they'll just play video games all day.

That's what they ordered, pending your signature since they're minors.

Yeah, let's throw the little weasels on with the errands.

Little weasels, errands, got it. I have a special on question and answer periods for an eight year old, could you use that?

Of for sure.

Okay, let's see what's left for sleep. Oh my.

How much?

Well, eighteen hours but they're all Sunday afternoon to Monday morning. Part of which is a required hangover nap. And i see you usually spend three hours on family time with your in-laws on Sunday evenings.


You are a saint. So are we skipping the in-laws then?

No. That's usually a good time and free pizza.

Ah! I didn't see the free pizza. Okay, well then, what else could we cut?

How bout working on the station. Hate to disrupt a thoroughly pleasant weekend.

Bet you don't. So cancel the cursing and tantrum laden housework. That gives you a rather scattered but solid twenty-six hours of sleep.

Y'know, there's this thing for church i wanted to write...

Okay, axe the nap on Saturday, that gives you twenty three hours sleep with the sleep-in option on Saturday morning and an early bed time on Sunday.

i hate early bedtimes during the weekend. 'Specially on Sunday. Makes me feel like my time is up. Do you have any bargain computer time.

Lemmesee. I have three wasted hours playing Jewel Quest while your wife watches the Grammies.

That it?

Fraid so.

Okay i'll take it.

That'll be sixty hours and fourteen minutes, Mr. Dogg. Enjoy your weekend.

Thanks, hey, i realize you work here but .. do you think i'm getting a good deal. I mean, am i really spending my time well?

I'm afraid no one knows that until the Final Audit, sir. For what it's worth I think you'll have a good time. The errands with the boys sounds like a hidden jem.

Yeah. Yeah, i guess so. Course all i'll remember is the Hangover penalty and three hours of Jewel Quest.

Hmm. Y'know, i could throw in a couple of minutes of Shakira dancing at the Grammies, on the house.

Your my hero.

See you next week, sir.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

scatterbrained, incoherent post

And now the fifty meter dash for thoughts with no sense of direction.
On your mark,
Get set,

  • i had a chance to toss the old lacrosse ball around with my eldest son yesterday. It was hard to concentrate because i was repeatedly getting creeped out by a Field of Dreams experience. As if, instead of flingin' and catchin' with my son, a teenage me had come out of the cornstalks. Which is doubly weird since up till he hit gawky pupa i would have said he looked like his mother.
  • hmm. Think i just called myself 'gawky.'
  • 'pupa?' ewww.
  • i have also reached the conclusion that Elwood Station, that's what i call this tumble-down pile of matches, our well ventilated wooden tent, our twin we share with a squirrel in the attic, the bane of my existence, the big, blue box o' belicosity, i have made it as official as such a thing need be that Elwood Station is cursed. Tools secret themselves, even when i buy duplicates. Despite seven years of pouring enough raw materials into this black hole of futility to rebuild a plague-riddled, war-ravaged fourth-world nation, i can still get halfway into a project and be missing the one nail that would have made it a productive day. Techniques that work just fine, nay! bring success and fortune in my professional life as a remodeler bring nothing but abysmal, beard-tearing, sackcloth wearing, self-flagellating, weeping and teeth gnashing failure here. Short of an exorcism on the scale of Operation Overlord i am considering a new name...Sisyphus Station.
  • Friday afternoon i set two goals for myself to accomplish this weekend: one-finish the purchase, packaging and shipping of my long-distance friend's Christmas gifts. (Yes, i am aware it is nearly February. i am somewhat less than punctual and consider it still on time if i get it to him before his birthday in March. Yes, i have often missed this deadline too.) Self-appointed milemarker of self-loathing number two-write next Sunday's worship service. So, here i am, two cups of coffee into Sunday morning, willfully, somewhat guiltily declining my Heavenly Father's invitation to brunch with the family and i have yet to make serious headway into either task. i suck.
  • Rascal, my youngest son, is a video game junkie. In an effort to meet him where he is i sat down to a little EA sports Nascar racing. Three restarts in practice mode later my virtual driver finally unhooked his seatbelt, abandoned his smoking ruin of a car, froggered the pixel crushing river of death of other racers flying past, scaled the outer wall and ran screaming into the stands to get away from me. Apparently my Atari-trained, five thumbed paws can't quite grasp the idea of a nuanced joystick. It ain't Indy 500, that's all i know.
  • Sign that the scruffy puppy is getting to be an old dog. i'm starting to like a nice, hot cup of tea at night before bed.
  • Other signs: my knees, my hands, my sciatic, my elbows, my jaw, my ability to stay awake past eight, scatterbrained, incoherent posts...
  • Since the Mynk has screamed out of pit road and back into the Rat-Race 500 as the manager of an H&R Block office, (all of a sudden i'm picturing a black car with a big, green square on the hood and a pit crew of tax professionals. Go Mynk, Go! ;) ever since then i have taken over the cooking duties here at Sisyphus Station. All hail the crockpot! Preparing a meal at five in the morning before work however has nixed two of my favorite parts of being the chef: Blasting the Blues from the kitchen radio and Shooting the booze. i generally cook with alcohal, some of which goes into the food.
  • Speaking of which, i gotta go get dinner prepped. Today's special: Black Bean soup with a dash of Buddy Guy and shot of Jose' Cuervo 1800. Mangia!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Travel advice

Like a snap shot from a muddy AK-47, today's post is just a quick proverb from the continent of Africa...

"If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together."

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Topic numero zwei

Time to get to that second topic i warned y'all about. Hmm, "y'all" may be presuming too much. On the outside possibility that there is A Reader to this little blog o' blarney, i should probably address it in the singular. How's this...?

Time to get to that second topic i warned you, mom, about. Aww who'm i kidding. Not even my mom would read this rather overripe tripe.

Hello, airwaves, dustmites and neutrinos, me again and while i know you can't read, my rather fragile psyche needs the illusion of being heard. So thank you for just being there.

No wonder no one reads takes three paragraphs just to get to the featherpluckin' topic! Hah! i was going to start this topic with a line like..."it takes me a long time to reach a decision." But i think i've made that abundantly clear. A long time to reach a decision, a conclusion, or for the love of all the infelicitous spirits, a gutdump topic!

Fight or flight? Attack or escape? i've known my share of fighters. Envied no few of them. i, on the other paw, am an escapist. Any problem can be easily solved by never confronting the problem in the first place. And though it is not common knowledge, problems run kinda slow. So you can, when necessary, outrun 'em. Not forever mind you, they tend to be long distance types but over the short track you can leave 'em panting in your dust. i know, i usually have no small pack of the hounds on my trail at any particular moment. Persistant little buggers.

But what do you do when you finally reach the rather obvious brick wall that running away and ignoring your problems has become..a problem? How do you run away from running away? How do you avoid..avoidance? While turning around and fighting like the cornered rat i am may be the only option i have left myself, i'm really not that fond of being a rat.

Y'know, to read this you would think i have a sloppy amount of time to ponder my own inner workings.

How does one change decades of ingrained habit, instinctual tactics and hardwired strategy? Well the answer is obvious to anyone with the mental capacity of a lop eared bunny.

You can't.

Rats don't cease being rats cause they wanna be dogs. Cockroaches are cockroaches, put lipstick and a wig on them and you still got Paris Hilton. Leopards don't wear pinstripe and tiger's stripes go down to the skin. And the Artful Dodger still gets shivved in a dark alley when he's no longer able to out run that last problem. Literary critics will tell you to avoid the Deus ex Machina, the Act of God that saves the hero from his or her literary issues with no help from the hero. It's unfulfilling in a story, it cheats the reader out of their hopes for the main character. For me to just say that the only way for me to change who and what i am is for God to do it may sound like a cop out...

unless, unless i'm not the main character, or the hero, but instead...the problem.