Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No rest ...

... My daddy worked all night in the Van Lear Coal Mines,
All day long in a field a-hoein' corn,
-- Loretta Lynn

Okay, so my miseries don't exactly compare.

But why precisely on the night my Beloved and I determined to go to bed early and catch up on a little sleep, did my dear brother have to call just as we climbed into bed, needing a shoulder to cry on ...

... and why, as soon as I finally hung up, did a pack of idiots have to start hooting and hollering next door, riding their motorcycle around their back yard until I finally stumbled outside and threatened them in the most savage terms I could formulate from the cobwebs in my brain?

Of course, Sweetie is now convinced that they will plot revenge and burn our house down or something.

There is no rest for the weary.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

She is amazing

"I don't want to go out for dinner tonight or anything like that," She said to me.

And She explained. She wanted to spend Her Valentine's Day evening with me visiting a lonely, house-bound friend.

So we had a quick dinner from Wendy's in our car along the way and then spent the rest of the time with this friend, who has medical procedures scheduled tomorrow.

When my eyes were opened as a boy to the magic of Womankind, to the sparkle in Her eyes and the sweet music of Her voice, the power and complexity of Her intelligence, and the intoxicating, exhilarating joy of simply being in Her presence, and I realized, firmly and unshakeably, that the highest and most sublime destiny of a man is to find the Woman meant for him and devote his life utterly to Her, in sickness and health, richer or poorer, come what may, from days of youth until death parts us, hopefully but for a moment ...

... yes, when my eyes were opened and I began my quest, I couldn't even begin to imagine that the One who would consent to journey with me through the remainder of my life and beyond, would be even this utterly incredible.

I am humbled. Blessed. So very happy.

Happy Valentine's Day, my Beloved. You inspire me.

Friday, February 11, 2011



Thank heaven.

Who invented work anyway?

I hope he got kicked over a cliff by an irritated mastodon.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Deals with the devil ...

It is so very, very easy to be a critic, as I so often am. It takes little intelligence, very little creativity -- nothing but an inflated sense of self-righteousness, especially when you don't have a horse in the race.

How richly ironic that in the very week that on this blog I have chided my country for making deals with the devil and stood on my soapbox again against the developers of housing projects, I have received an email at my job, from the representatives of a local housing development that last year burned up a beautiful forest in our city, to clear the ground -- choking our air with smoke for days, and whose greed I cursed bitterly and still do, each time I pass the desolation they call development.

Yes, how ironic that they want to talk to me about partnering with our schools, as they are having trouble selling the homes they have built, and they blame it on the perception our schools have in the region.

How ironic, because of course I will meet with them and shove my personal disgust for them deep down into some closet of my soul and pretend like they are Girl Scouts selling my favorite cookies, not rapists of Mother Nature.

I suppose that makes me a laughable, pitiful hypocrite.

Termites chewing, chewing

The news reporter stood at the edge of a subdivision last night and pointed at a forest just beyond.

"Soon," he said, "this wooded area will be cleared for 80 new homes, the first application in this part of the county in over a year ...."

The whole story was presented as a great thing, a sign that the economy is turning around.

I shook my head in sorrow for the box turtles, deer, wild pogonia, oaks, maples, pines, bluets, wild azalea, butterflies, black snakes, birds, tree frogs and countless other wild things that will not be consulted in the developers' plans.

And I wondered again: When every last acre of the United States outside of our national parks has been plundered, raped and paved over, when our insatiable greed has spread a dreary shroud of "development" from sea to oil-slicked sea, when Los Angeles borders Boston, when no more "development" is possible because nothing outside of our national parks is left to destroy, how will we keep our sacred economy afloat?

How much longer until Egypt explodes?

Ever try to hold the lid down on a boiling pot?

I wouldn't recommend it. Eventually it will explode in your face.

Mubarak must go. He will go. If he does not go soon on his own two feet, he will be carried out in a coffin. That is obvious to everyone in the world but him.

What will come after him will probably not be orderly. Democracy, it has famously been said, is messy by nature. It will certainly not be very friendly to the United States. But we made that bed for ourselves propping up a dictator for 30+years, simply because he said the right words to us while standing on the neck of his people; now we must lie in the bed we have made.

There are casualties great and small in this struggle. Obviously, those who have died or been wounded. Those who will die or be wounded in coming days. Another likely casualty: The long struggle of Egypt to have its ancient antiquities returned from the various museum collections of the world. No sane museum curator with a love of the ancient, will take those requests seriously for a long time to come, not after the heartbreak of the shattered wooden artifacts from King Tut's tomb, now smashed by looters.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Patch on the Quilt

What an incredible, heart-rending short story, by H.C. McNeile. Read on my lunch break today.

Top Dog

Doing a little web-surfing on my lunch break y'day, I hit upon a site for Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer. Great eye-opener. Reminder that humans and our canine buddies, much as we love each other, are partners hailing from different countries on the globe of evolution.

Quite simply, a dog pack has a dominant dog. His or her job is, not surprisingly, rather stressful. If a human unwittingly promotes their dog-pal to top dog, that dog will therefore be stressed -- especially if their human sends mixed signals.

So, no more letting our little pup stand and put her legs against us, something we thought was just her being cute. I am to go out the door first on our walks. She is to walk beside me, never in front. If she pulls on the leash, I don't pull back but to the side, throwing her slightly off balance as a reminder to heel.

I put what I learned into practice last night. Immediately, I had a calmer dog on my hands -- she didn't even growl as she used to at a neighbor we passed.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Science and Engineering

"Science is the study of what is. Engineering is the study of what is to be."
So said a certain professor at a training session I went to the other day.
Very succinct.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Treacherous words ...

As my clumsy fingers dance around the computer keyboard like an old man trying to do the jitterbug, I am both mildly amused and annoyed, once again, by their insistence on typing the word "signing" as "singing." Wouldn't that look great on the press release I am preparing!

Some words are dangerous that way. Perhaps none is more deadly than "public." Curse the old Latin smarty-pants who came up with that word so perilously close to a verbal cousin who is generally kept locked in the closet -- er, bedroom.

Certainly there are others, not helped by the artificial set-up of the "qwertyuiop" keyboard, which rumor has it was put together to SLOW down the earliest typists, rather than to be helpful.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dueling proverbs ...

"He that meddleth with strife, is like one who seizes a dog by the ears."
"Who knoweth but that thou art come ... for such a time as this."

Confidential things said, situation needing resolution, I could step back and stay uninvolved, or take ownership and try to resolve it.

On Smell

I am about halfway through Bonnie Blodgetts's "Remembering Smell" -- the author's personal account of the nightmare of life without the sense of smell, following a reaction to Zicam, a medicine.

I read several online reviews of the book, some attacking Blodgett as a whiner deserving of very little if any sympathy for insinuating that being scentless might be even more traumatic than being blind.

It seems they missed a very important point in the book. The primal sense of smell is so deeply ingrained into our brains that its loss utterly confounds our perceptions and attacks our mental health in ways that science does not yet fully understand.

An enlightened 21st century person no longer recoils from, or mocks a sight or hearing impaired person or someone who is wheelchair-bound. But when it comes to mental health, we have a long way to go, don't we? "Crazy" is still funny, or disturbing.

And when mental illness is not in-your-face visible, such as with clinical depression, which Blodgett says is very typical of anosmia (loss of sense of smell) it becomes even harder for someone not suffering from it to understand or to sympathize.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

400 for the KJV

I have just a few chapters left to read in St. Augustine's "City of God," the literary colossus of the 5th Century. Then, before diving into the Byzantine era, I plan a temporary detour. For the United States, 2011 marks the 150th Anniversary of our Civil War and I will spend the remainder of this year reading, studying and visiting the sites of this moment in history.

Of course, the journey begins with Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, credited by Pres. Lincoln himself as the book that finally brought on the storm of war that had, in reality, been stirring since the foundation of our republic.

Contemplating history this morning, I realized that this year also marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible. Believers and non-believers alike cannot deny the impact this translation had upon the English-speaking world ... certain Christian sects today still insist that no other version is "inspired."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Off the wagon ...

Sweetie bought me an e-reader for Christmas.

Last weekend, I finally cleared the last surface remaining in my study room upon which no books reside, to make room for a stack of books that has lived in a corner of the floor for years.

So I have no excuse, no rationale, no reason, no justification for what I did today.

Why did I make a left out of the parking lot on my lunch hour, southward towards the local college, instead of right?

Oh pathetic addict that I am, who shall deliver me out of this body of bibliomania?

Perhaps I convinced myself that I would find no books worth buying. Or that I could just look and carry none away. The devil sat upon my shoulder and flipped pages in my ear.

The evidence of my shameful deed is in a paper bag in my car, eight more books to cram into the confines of my home. Sweetie will not be pleased.

But they looked so good! I nabbed books of poetry, books about places and old books long out of print and not likely ever to land in an e-reader. I couldn't help myself.

The library enables, that wicked place. Four dollars is a steal for a whole shelf of great literature. Yes, a whole shelf that I surely will never have time to read until I am dead. But you see, that's my plan. Whilst other departed souls are tapping on tables and making cold spots in old houses, I shall finally have time to sit down and read all the books I hoarded in my life, reveling in my spectral opportunity to peruse pages instead of running errands and making a living.