Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

If it wasn’t for mothers, kindness would not exist. Simple. Other things like devotion, dedication, the cornerstone of love, tenderness, would all have some skewed and distorted view of the world. A child will run to their father not a bad thing and far missing from our current world, but it’s the tender hug of the mother that cures the illness, broken heart, fear of the dark.

It’s the mother we call to in the night, in the throes of battle, on our cot while life drains from us. If our mother was non-existent, it is that hole we spend a lifetime trying to fill and never succeeding fully. But when they are there-with us, if we can move away from what ‘dumb’ thing mother said or did, we find ourselves smiling softly at her, looking at the heart of love while we know, deeply, she lives in us.

So today, hold your mother close, if not physically, then in your heart. She is the best in us.

Happy Mother’s Day

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Good morning, Good night, I love you

Every morning and every night, my mother and father, told me they loved me. It was mostly my father in the morning because he was up when I went to school, sometimes driving me there, and he came in for prayers at night with my mother. At each end of the day, one or both of them said those words. Whether he dropped me off at school or said goodbye to me before I rode my bike to school, he said those words.

Love is a funny word. We said it for how we feel about the pizza we're eating. We say it with our favorite baseball team, music, food. We say it to people so they think we care, when all we really want is to convince them we 'care' enough so they will give us their bodies. Its a word sometimes used to bait what we want to catch. Especially as the night grows later at the bar we're sitting in.

Or, its a word that means-love. Men say it a lot. They need to mean it more.

It should be said in the morning to start the day and said to those we would take the hit for. We say it in the morning because we don't know what the day will bring, if that person we think of will ever be seen again.

We should say it at night, because the dawn is a long ways off. They should be the first words we hear and the last words before we slumber. We just don't know. You know?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

If we can do this.....

I just heard this piece of equipment, Explorer I, just left the solar system last week. I also heard the computer system used to launch and run this baby in 1971 had less computer power than my cell phone. Scientist who did this used slide rules. For those of you that don't know what that is, when you look it up, the first thought you could have is WTF??

Now, here's a question, If we can send something like this across our known space, using gravity from planets to slingshot its way until it hit the edge of the block and then keep going, why do we struggle, even after all these years, with some other issues, such as-

  • Couldn't we find a way to keep us from losing socks in the dryer? We put in two, get back one.

  • This satellite was build when D cell batteries were in. Its traveled a gazzilion miles and its still running yet we can't build a battery for that computer size phone that fits in our pocket to last past noon.

  • Along those same lines, can't we build a car that can go from here to our rental in San Diego on one battery charge?

  • We still have floods and weather that wipe out cities and towns in low areas---then we build them back up in the same low areas----to get washed away again.

  • They still haven't made an ice cream cone that doesn't leak from the bottom.

  • A weed killer for that weed in your yard that has the little burr on it, which won't kill the other grass. The burr gets in  your socks and the bare feet of your dog.

  • A washing machine that will wash the burr out without getting it stuck to your under dainties and the next time you put them on, the dog's foot is not what the burr is stuck to.

  • We've all but done away with monkey bars on play grounds, the steel ones that leave a mark on an Arizona summer day. We need to bring those back.

  • Tuna fish in a can WITH mayonnaise all mixed in.

  •  A good fifty cent beer.
There are a few things that have been discovered or overused since 1971 that we really could do without.

  • The Point after Touchdown.

  • Men's make up. We are suppose to look like we've been in a bar fight with the ugly stick.

  • Anything from Carl's Jr. $6 menu.

  • And my top of the list item-Country Rap songs.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

If I was President

‘If I was President,’ is a term we hear a lot these days. Frankly, I’ve heard it a lot throughout my years. Everyone has an opinion about what they would do if they were in charge of these here United States. It kind of depends what kind of mood I was in that would dictate what or how I would act. Yesterday, when I got home from work, I cut the lawn and worked out a bunch of stuff on the world level. An hour before that, a pitcher of beer was involved and the end of a week from hell at work doing whatever I do there was the start of the thought process.  

This morning, after a good night sleep, walking the dogs, and two cups of coffee, things seem a little more peaceful. Sure, there are world events, domestic issues, foreign policies that need work, but not this morning.

If I was President, I would get up and walk my dogs in the backyard in my sweats, under which I still have on my jammies. Secret Service would welcome me, standing right outside the door. “Good morning Mr. President,” Paul would say, all bundled in his winter coat. Paul pulled the night shift since he has only been with the Service for two years. He got the short straw.

“Good morning Paul,” I would say back. Juggling my dogs on leashes, the plastic grocery bag for the poo, and my coffee cup. I’m not sure why I have them on the leash. It’s not like they’re going anywhere and I wouldn't have anyone else pick up my dogs poo. What, the 'President can't pick up his own poo?' What kind of Italian roast would I be.? We would wander to the back lawn area, Paul already notifying the rest of the early morning crew that ‘Single-Malt One’ was on the move, heading to the back yard to throw the balls for Buckethead and Doc, two female rescued mutts.

The Service wants me to stay behind the bushes, standing out in the open allows for an easy shot from the street. I keep telling them I can’t get a good throw from there and it forces me to stand in the tulip bed. But I try to comply. But they know I have to go out and get the poo the dogs planted. I told the National Park Service guy, Teddy I think his name was, to leave a shovel by the hedge so I could pick the stuff up and put it in the bag. He told me he would get it. "You ain't picking up my dogs crap unless I'm not home and then only if I'm gone for a few days. I'll get it when I come back." The Service goes 'Yellow' when Single-Malt One goes out from cover to get the steamers in the yard. Paul wants me to run in a serpentine pattern. He rolls his eyes and tries not to laugh when I tell him to 'cover me.' He notifies the boys on the roof and they really are covering me. I drop the bag in the trash can on the way back in and put the shovel back.

There is a protester who is always there on closed off Penn Avenue between the perimeter gate and Lafayette Park, almost always living in his cardboard box with protest slogans written all over the outside. His been there for the last three presidents so I don’t take him too personally. “How you doing this morning Buck,” I yell. “You sleep okay last night?”

He waves back. He never says much, just waves, That’s pretty good.

I don’t stay long, much to the relief of the Service. After about three throws, the balls are so dog saliva slippery, it’s miserable to try to throw them. I come back inside and pour another cup then walk down to the Oval Office. I haven’t changed and I’m carrying the newspaper. I like reading at the desk,  splaying it out, seeing what Garfield’s doing today. That darned cat!  

I would go to the outer office where my secretary sits. She isn’t in yet. It’s too early. But I would start the coffee. They never figured out why the coffee was always made when the early office workers got there. They kept thinking it was each other. That is so funny.

I then would read something in the paper and want to make a phone call. Like this stuff going on in Kiev. I would call Vladimir. “Hey, Vladimir—Mark. I know you’re still pissed at the hockey outcome—what? Hey, ya hairless bastard, quit your crying, a bet is a bet. You kick our ass for years in that sport and we win one game and you go all French. Stop it. Hey, why don’t you call those protest leaders and tell them you want to talk? Because it’s the right thing to do, that’s why. Do you see the press you’re getting? Okay, yeah, I’m at my desk drinking coffee, so?” I would then call the North Korean kid and when he answered, hang up. That just cracks me up. Sometimes, I would call him just to say 'hi' and ask him how his meal the night before was. I would always make sure I mentioned what it was. Just as he was screaming into his phone at me asking me how I knew what he had, I would hang up again.

After the calls, I would see what was on sale at Target, but only if it was the Sunday paper. By then, it would be time for a little private time in the bathroom. I would use the one right off the Oval Office. I don’t want to walk all the way back to the apartment.

By the time I was done, the coffee would be done and I'd go get another cup for the walk back. It’s time to change for the day. I’m sure there is a bunch to do. My advisors keep wanting me to quit swearing so much. I tell them I am trying, but sometimes people groups just need to be told their stupid. They didn’t like it when the National Organization of Benevolency in Government said they were ‘personally appalled’ at what I said earlier in the year about something that escapes me now and my response was I was sorry their mothers had collectively dropped them too many times on their heads when they were young. My advisors wanted me to watch those kinds of comments. It made their jobs kind of messy.

Yeah, so, that’s kind of what I would do, at least in the early morning, if I was president. Now, for the morning and afternoon. Hmmm


Sunday, December 29, 2013

A demand for equal rights!!!!

Tomorrow, I am having a ‘surgical procedure.’ I have found, in this society, we have political names for things, things we don’t want to call what they really are. For example, in the military, we call it an ‘insertion’ when we land ten divisions of heavily armed combat troops into someone’s back yard. An ‘extraction’ is when we take more than one, but less than everyone out. ‘Surgery’ is a term for a full blown ‘we are going inside with a plan. Not sure if the plan will work but it looks good on paper, hopefully while you stay in a twilight state of not caring.’ A ‘surgical procedure’ is somewhere between ‘hey, let me give you a shot for what’s wrong’ and ‘what the hell is that?’ I’m having one of those tomorrow morning.
Funny thing about these things, we will call it ‘SP’ since I don’t want to keep spelling it out, there is a lot more preparation before said procedure than other medical events. For example, if you needed a new knee, they would tell you to pack a bag and don’t eat before the schedule event. Boom! Easy peasy. But with these ‘SP's’ you need to start days before, getting your body ready for the event.

You have to drink stuff. You have to drink stuff at the same time you are not suppose to be eating and drinking other stuff. Of course, the stuff you have to consume is manufactured to elicit a certain result. If it doesn’t work you got to do it that hard way, which of course, no one wants to talk about, but it involves the doctor in hip boots and a full helmet complete with splash guard. So? Isn’t that what we are paying him for? Just because he doesn’t want to get a little splash on his Cole Haan’s doesn’t mean I should be drinking and doing stuff that really does not fit into any goodwill movie.  
And what’s with the name of these things? Sure, I understand seriousness. No one wants to really joke around when you are trying to link up two railroads like the Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory Summit, one from the east and one from the west if you get my metaphor. But come on, how about a little levity? Instead of something so pompous as ‘Sup-prep, notric preparation kit, 800mg sodiumtasteslikemyass, we could give the client the same head’s up as well as probably being more clear about the events to come. The label above gives you no indication of what this SP involves. But there are other names that really describe life yet to come,  a name like ‘My God, What’s happening to Me!, Colon Blo, Shipwreck Island, Turn Me Inside Out,’ or my favorite ‘Get Out of My Way’, something that mimics the taste and actions that occur twenty four hours in front of a very expensive nap. Sure, they tell you nothing about the taste, other than you might want to drink lots of water with the chemical put together by a group of scientists from MIT who were all diagnosed with Asperger’s. They avoid the description of it tasting like rancid bull urine.

Look, all I’m saying is have some equal time, okay? If you were having a bunion taken from the side of your big toe, the doctor isn’t going to tell you he is using a hammer and chisel and he wouldn’t make you bring your own Stanley claw hammer with rubberized Sur-Grip@ and, depending on your insurance, your own chisel. Nope, so why can’t we just show up and let things ‘fly?’

Now, if you wouldn’t mind getting out of my way, I need another cup of green jello.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I know this is long. I know some of you, if you see ‘cont’d’ you dump it, but hang in there. It’s the holidays. It’s not like you have anything else going on.
Christmas is a funny time of year. It is designed to be one of the two happiest seasons for ‘Christians.’ For the rest, it’s all about family, friends, shopping, singing, sweaters, and kisses under the mistletoe. It’s to never be alone and to have someone you care about, care about you, touch you, be with you, focus on, well, you.

Christmas is also one of the highest time for suicides because all that stuff listed doesn’t happen, not the way we think and we blame each other, god, or worse—ourselves for it. People’s reality do not live up to their expectations. When you think about it, it never really does.  If we just had a better upbringing, one more break, straighter teeth, we would have made our dreams come true. Then, we can’t carry that flaw in the plan ourselves so we look around and say ‘see? its that IRA you made me invest in, that truck we bought, mother's death, or that god you made me believe in and pray chants to as a kid and he had all these expectations of me and I so lost it.' The god that punished us, had us wear tight shoes, recite versus’ to make us holy, and was always----always, disappointed in us. At least that’s what our ministers, parents, friends always told us. ‘God is so disappointed in you. He is shaking his big white wigged head. You make him so sad.’
No wonder people flee religion. They should when it teaches that.

There are just a couple of things, so stay with me. First, have a nice Christmas. Understand it will not go according to your plan. Be fluid. Be flexible. Find someone worse off and reach out and help them-but do it coolly---don’t let them know it was you when you pay their gas bill, buy them groceries, or fix something broken! This will give you a feeling like what my friend Cyrano said “…I have the heart of ten men….”
Second, when you get sad or melancholy, which I do—a lot, wait on it. Take a walk, go for a run, bike ride, talk to someone. Dogs are perfect for this. They have the perfect heart to hear all your stuff and love it when you share. They will listen to every word and even answer. Don’t go smoke a crack pipe and peyote with a gin shooter. All that does is make you throw up. Christmas is not about buying crap. The stores want us to think so, but it’s really about looking around and seeing what is there. There was a sunrise two days ago that was the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen—ever. Of course that means there is likely xylene or benzene or something in the air that will shorten your life span or at least your height, but don’t think about that. At that moment, I was glad the toxins were there. It was pretty.

Third, and hear this carefully. I believe in God. Those of you that know me, know this. You also know I don’t beat you up with it. But I want you to hear this with the image of me holding you by your shirt and looking in to your sad, depressed eyes from six inches away. Don’t worry, I Tic-Taced.
There is a God. But here is what you might not believe-he loves you just the way you are, period (insert image of me softly shaking your shirt with both hands). He knows you are screwed up, messed up, and have been so for decades, and will be for decades more—until you die. Get in line with the rest of us. You will fight to the end, that thing you have in the back of your dark closet in your mind. That issue—those issues that have dogged you, He has known since before he spun the planet.

He will wait on you.
If you want or need, he will hold you in His lap for the rest of your life, doing nothing but whispering in your ear “I have you child, I am so in love with you! Stay right here and I will rock you gently in my arms—forever.” You will dare to believe the whisper and begin to sit up, then want to stand—then want to try that bike again, forgetting about Dad and wanting to try it alone.

We run. Sometimes fully knowing we are running from whatever image we have been taught about God. Here’s the problem, He is right at our shoulder, never leaving our side. “So, where are we running to?” He says with a smile as you are trying to run your life, you’re in charge, can’t trust anyone with me, they will screw it up and only I can love me, or something like that. He doesn’t have a ‘making fun of you smile’, just a smile that alone says everything. “How is this sprint going for ya? You tired of carrying this piece of Samsonite on your back while you try to run? I gotta tell ya, that load has to be, well I don’t know if you know it but its full of bricks. Not even nice looking bricks, odd shaped ones, not much good for anything except to, well, maybe fill a hole. How’s that hole fillin’ coming? Wanna run some more? Don’t worry about me, I’m not winded yet. You look a little, well, blue. Actually, it’s kind of a purple hue you got going there. Especially right around the lips. And did you notice you peed your pants a little? Is that ringing in your ears still there? Legs, now they gotta be tired. Want to sit down? No? Okay, you say ‘when.’”
Then you run some more.

It is He who will run next to you and make sure when you do fall, oh and we all fall-=a lot, it isn’t going to destroy you. Day in, day out.
Dare to believe the God of the Universe, the one prophets and historians and theologians have written about more than any other thing in history, is actually true. Dare to believe that God is in love with you, right now, right where you are, in your dirty clothes and runny nose. In all your grossness, He sees only his child, with total, unimaginable love and perfect form.

Yeah, I know, I can’t believe it either at times.    
Merry Christmas

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Really? Do I really need one?

I am sitting at a stop light, in the fifth largest city in the United States (we passed Philadelphia last year), when I looked to my left and there, on the street corner, was the free enterprise system at work. A man was selling ‘cat trees’ out of the back of his truck. These were not your ordinary cat trees-no way. They were the Sequoia of trees, the red wood of cat climbing, well, things. Covered in fine carpet ruminants and containing perches and tunnels two to three meters off the ground to simulate the feline’s prior life as a huntress in the great forests, Serengeti’s,  and apparent living rooms of millenniums past.
Here’s a question, why do we want to promote such behavior with an animal?

Now don’t write hate-o-grams to me about cats being like people and they make great pets. Yes, I admit, I am not a cat lover. But I will defend your rights to own one. But do we really want to allow a cat, who apparently once hunted living things, and apparently lived high enough that when they are on a well, let’s say a book case ‘two to three meters’ high, they apparently can’t be seen by the animal they are hunting and will jump down and smite the passing victim? Do we really want to have this animal get in touch with its ‘roots’ and have that son of a bitch jump out of a used carpet/cardboard thing and have some PTSD thing on our skulls?
If we’re going to do that, we run the risk of being mistaken for some passing water buffalo and Tom thinking it’s a friggin Bengal tiger, not to mention that damn tower falling over when you always least expect it and render us unconscious, thereby allowing Tom to come up and eat our eye balls out, then go lay down and clean himself.

By god my dogs don't do that! You won’t see them jumping out of a bookshelf. No way, they have the recliner or the pillow on the couch next to master. And they don’t clean anything unless 1) it tastes good 2) it feels good and 3) why would they clean it off? They will just have to roll in it again tomorrow?

I was playing golf this morning, early morning and quite badly I might add. I hadn’t killed anyone and was able to keep the ball near the fairway. Here, about one hundred yards out, in the middle of the fifth largest city in the Americas, loped a coyote. At least it looked like a coyote at one hundred yards. When we got closer, it looked like a dog with some coyote in him, a product of some West Virginia/Appalachian relationship. A well fed coyote. Apparently, the coyote found a food supply. He wasn’t jumping out of trees. Nope, he found himself some morning sun and laid in it while watching me slap a little white ball passed him. I think he laughed, while he licked himself and then fell asleep in the warm sun.

There wasn’t a cat tree around.