Jesus Loves You

I have a brother, almost three years younger than me. When I was seven and eight, he was only four and five, and almost a full-time job for my mother. In the summertime, in my little town, even full of tourists, I was free to get out from under foot, and go wherever I wanted, as long as I didn’t get into trouble, and was home for supper.

Roll out of bed in the morning, pull on a bathing suit instead of underwear, shorts, tee-shirt, runners, a towel around my neck, and I spent large portions of my days at the beach. With almost two miles of warm, white sand, I attended different sections on different days. One day, about two blocks off the main street, I saw something intriguing. Six or seven twenty-somethings marched out onto the sand. Two of them were toting a pump-organ. The rest had shovels, bamboo poles, a rolled-up banner, and a bunch of books.

Watcha doin’? They were a Christian outreach group for youngsters, labelled C.S.S.M. – Children’s Special Service Mission. We’re having a meeting. Go gather up all the kids. Me like a damned fool, I did it. They put up the banner on the poles, dug trenches and piled the sand behind – instant pews. Got a kid to pump the organ. Evangelism lite – handed out songbooks – a few hymns, a bit of sermon, believe in God, obey Jesus, a little homily. 40/45 minutes, we were done, same time, same place tomorrow.

The seeds of individualism already growing strongly, along with cynicism, I didn’t see this as missionary Christianity. I was just fascinated with the social aspects. The next day, and the next – two weeks on the beach, I put up poles, strung the banner, dug the pews, pumped the organ, and helped them carry stuff to and from the beach.

Soon there were afternoon get-togethers – hikes, scavenger hunts, badminton games. Although we had a net, and acres of sand, apparently volleyball had not been invented. I learned discriminatory thinking. An item for ten grains of sand in the scavenger hunt didn’t mean only ten, very carefully counted, grains. Lean down and pick up a handful – there must be ten grains there!

Then, before the town got all pissy about them, we cleaned the driftwood off the beach, and had evening campfires and sing-alongs. Silly camp songs, a few hymns, an uplifting story, roast some marshmallows, a quick benediction prayer, and off home you go kids, it’s getting late. I was part of a group!

Next year, they came back. Same hymn, different verse. I was ten, and it wasn’t a bad way to spend two supervised weeks. The following year, they returned again. I was eleven, they were nice, and I was learning interpersonal relation stuff.

On the day they left, I had my Dad drive me to the cottage they used, to say goodbye. At a time when two dollars would gas the car for most of a week, my Dad dug out and donated $5.00, to help repay for all the things they’d done for me and given to me. By the time they returned the next year, my Dad said that he should have put his hand in his pocket, and just left it there. They had spent $10 on paper, envelopes and postage, beseeching him to donate more, and more, and even more.

The next summer, I was 12, going on almost mature. I hadn’t even thought about them coming back. I headed downtown one July Saturday. I was just in front of the Baptist Church we infrequently attended, a block off the commercial district, when a sedan and a station wagon rolled in and parked in front. Out piled most of my old faces, along with a couple of new ones.

Hi! How are you? How was your winter? You’re looking good! Hail-fellow-well-met! These people remember me. They missed me. They love me! We’re so proud of you! Oh, what for? Well, we heard that, over the winter, you were baptised here at the church.

There were three Smith families in town, no two related. One had an only-child son, with the same first name as mine. They religiously (every pun intended) attended the same church we occasionally hit. It musta been the other “John Smith” – and the shades came down, and the lights went off. They couldn’t dump me on the sidewalk fast enough.

If you’re donating money, they can’t get enough of you. If you jump through all their strangely-shaped hoops, recite their magical words, and make their particular mystical gestures, you will be adored and supported. If you have the temerity to tell them that you have opinions about other ways of living your life, these Good Christians will treat you like a fur-ball the cat hacked up, and Jesus will be the only one who loves you.

I’ve met some very Spiritual Christians, loving, forgiving, inclusive, acceptant. These weren’t them! Sadly, I’ve met many of their compatriots over the years. Christ drove the money lenders from the temple, but the “business” of religion marches on.

300 – The Rise Of Curmudgeon!

So, here it is, ten months later, and we meet again at Insecurity Junction. I made it to my 300th post, and all you lovely people accompanied me.

Despite it being intended as an ongoing retirement project for me, when I began this, I never “thought” that it would go on forever, because, as usual, I didn’t think about it at all. I just unconsciously assumed that I was full of snakes and snails, and rants and tales, and could blather forever.

LIFE HAPPENS

Being retired, whether I publish or not, there will be no great changes in my life, until something other than life, happens. I’ll keep you posted on that. Maybe I should get at that obituary blog, just in case. Perhaps I could bare my soul to Benzeknees, and convince her to format one for me, or at least provide an outline.

I’ve plodded my way to the 300 mark, much slower and more markedly than many bloggers whose posts I read (semi)regularly, but I am finding many of them slowing down, some from lack of further inspiration, but many, because life has happened.

Sparklebumps is on her third job since I met her. She started a bit before I did, and posted more often, though now they’re farther apart. Her blog count must near 400, and she just mentioned that her followers finally equalled her posts. I guess I eventually learned how to attract attention – and followers. Mine equalled out at number 273, and are now well above 300.

BrainRants lacked bandwidth, and personal time, for a year in The Suck, and has been spotty since his return. An impending transfer, and the possible need to find financial support in the civilian sphere will do that to you. We’re all gonna miss him greatly, if he has to go dark.

H E Ellis’ big promotion, and the need to keep writing on her several books, has her posting far less often, and often reruns, and others’ work. Life seems to keep Sandylikeabeach off the grid for a month at a time, and John Erickson drifts in and out of medical and weather-induced blog-coma.

On the other hand, I have recently discovered, not one, but two, bloggers who have been at this for ten years. Not posting every day, mind you, but ten years! I asked one lady how many posts she’d published in that time. She didn’t reply, but I know it’s a lot more than my paltry 300.

New bloggers continue to make the scene, and old reliables slow down, or disappear altogether. AFrankAngle commented that the number of his followers continues to rise, but the visits, likes and comments don’t seem to increase.

I was set on this course by my wife and daughter, who saw it as a way to keep my aging brain sharp through composition and curiosity – that, and keeping me out from underfoot during my retirement. I have vapidly ranted and rambled about so many different things, that you, my beloved followers and readers, must be almost as addled as I am.

I don’t have the oomph and pizzazz to have things like being invited to join Stuphblog, or Long Awkward Pause, happen to me. I have been polluting Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site by submitting little, hundred-word stories, based on her weekly photo prompts. I’ve surprised myself, if no-one else, with my concise brevity, and have attracted several new readers and followers. It’s been fun.

New thoughts slowly form. New viewpoints, sometimes of old happenings, are found. Occasionally, old vignettes, or pieces of my childhood history, are dug out of the memory vault. I continue to enjoy assembling chunks of the language to offer them to you, and I very much enjoy when you visit, and read, and comment, and discuss.

Like Erickson, sometimes I am distracted and don’t do the visiting and reading that my interest and good manners says I should. I am very happy that so many of you forgive that, and make my self-imposed seclusion less secluded.

If you good folks feel that you can continue to follow in my doddering footsteps, I am pretty sure I can get to 400, my next plateau. 400??! Pah! The sky’s the limit. Onward and upward. Excelsior!

Do not use with alcohol. May cause dizziness, confusion or blurred vision. Your senility may vary.

Flash Fiction – Part 5

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple blog-site, and look at the weekly picture. Use it as a prompt, and write a complete, 100 word story.

 

Solitary Confinement

achoo

 

 

 

 

 

Kachoo-oo-oo….   Bless you.  Kachoo-oo-oo….    Bless you.

Mom-m-m – it’s only allergies!

Mom-m-m – I don’t have a cold!

Mom-m-m – I’m not infectious!

Where did you get this stupid thing, anyways?? If I take an antihistamine, and stop sneezing, can I take it off and go outside? I’ll mow the lawn. (No, wait! That’s probably why I’m sneezing in the first place.) It’s a nice day. I want to go surfing with the guys.

How come I have to stay in here? I’m bored! There’s nothing in here except Rory’s stuffed toys. Can I at least have my tablet and game console? Mom-m-m?!

 

March Madness

I know it’s April! I’ll get to that.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana

Of all the things I wanted to be when I grew up, a wrinkled sack of aches and pains wasn’t on my list.

I can’t brain today. I have a bad case of the dumb.

It’s finally Spring here in Southern Ontario. I know this, not because the robins are back. I’ve heard them for almost a month, but actually saw one on March 31. Not because the little kids have their skateboards and bicycles out, and the bigger kids, me excluded, finally have their motorcycles out, but because, on March 31, as I saw my first robin, I was on my way to the supermarket two blocks away – and they have their Garden Center set up in the parking lot.

And just to show how pissed Mother Nature can be when you don’t get her a nice enough card for Earth Day….  After a week of 60s and even 70s F temperatures, last night she put a big cloud over my total Lunar eclipse, and dumped an inch of snow on my driveway and deck.

The Ode to CWC6161 post, which I published last August 10th, was found by her younger sister, who left a lovely comment on April 11th, thanking me for my friendship and concern for Candice, as well as the tribute I posted. While not a happy thought, she provided closure, and confirmation of The Kindly Hermudgeon’s death. As a sad irony, she died on September 21, 2012, my 68th birthday. The sister must have informed friends/family. By the end of day, I had had 4 views of that post.

The grandson phoned to ask for a ride the other day. On Saturday, May 10, he and his fiancée have a chance to enroll in a one-day Introduction to Falconry seminar. This will be a full day, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Not being a driver, he thought it was near Hamilton, ON, an hour drive. Actually, my research shows that it is just off the main highway, about halfway there – only a half-hour drive, so I won’t have to get up quite as early.

Falconry??!….WOW. They may never use what they learn, but still, a very interesting day. It’s way out in the country. I may catch up on my sleep in the car, and might have to drive somewhere to score a lunch, but I just couldn’t deny them this opportunity.

At the recent Detroit gun/knife show, one of the exhibitors had an old, original movie poster as part of his decoration. From the days when the western was king, this 1951 movie was titled “Snake River Desperadoes.” It was populated with never-really-made-it, C-list actors.

The only name I might expect even my older readers to recognize and remember, was Smiley Burnette, who went on to fame and fortune as the engineer of the train that pulled into Hooterville, on the Petticoat Junction TV show.

The name on the poster that caught my eye, was Tommy Ivo. Tommy was a showboating, California drag racer in the ‘50s and ‘60s. He helped form the sport as it was becoming organized and sanctioned. I thought that his nickname, “TV Tommy” had been because his fame got drag racing televised.

Research shows, however, that he was a teen actor, as taken with racing as he was by the silver screen and the new boob-tube. He used some of his acting income to hire expert mechanics to build engines and bodies, which he and his youthful reflexes piloted.

He was a showman, and a forward thinking racer. Understanding the Power to Weight Ratio idea, he was one of the first to install two smaller engines in one car, while others were striving for bigger power-plants. He first placed them one behind the other, and then in subsequent vehicles, learned how to synchronize them side by side.

Despite the death of James Dean, most studios didn’t have forbidden-pastimes contract clauses. His employers didn’t seem to realize what dangerous ways he was spending his off time. Finally, just as he was 20, they caught on. That was the year he produced the aptly-named “Showboat” race car.

Taking the power to weight thing to the max, he built a 4-engine, 4-drive wheel dragster, with big drag slick tires on all four corners. Sadly, the initial thrust of acceleration torqued the front two off the pavement just enough to lose traction and spin the front tires uselessly. Instead of getting added traction and speed, all he got was a crowd-pleasing cloud of smoke, and slow times.

The studios ordered him not to race anymore. The racing body were afraid that his crazy contraption would injure him or someone else, and refused to let him compete in it, and only allowed single-car, display runs. His racing year ended when a small-block, Pontiac-engined, single-motor dragster defeated him for the top prize.

Its top speed was 179 MPH. The same scientists who mathematically “proved” that the bumblebee can’t fly, insisted that the theoretical top speed in the quarter mile was 177 MPH, and dismissed it as an optical illusion, or equipment failure. When it happened again and again, they learned about “directional friction.”

Tommy did a few more resoundingly forgettable movies and TV shows. Unlike many, he wisely invested his income, and used the dividends to become a racing developer and sponsor, helping to make drag racing into the profitable spectator sport it is.

Oh yeah, why March Madness in April?? Because it’s a great title. Because I’m fractured and forgetful, and because, as usual, I’m late and behind on things. “Scuse me, I gotta go have a talk with the Easter Bunny about some more of those Easter Creme eggs.

Self Improvement Courses

Once again, the female staff will be offering courses for men of every marital status. Please note: the name of some of the courses have been changed. Attendance in at least 10 of the following is mandatory.

  1. Combating Stupidity
  2. You Can Do Housework Too
  3. PMS – Learning When To Keep your Mouth Shut
  4. How to Fill The Icecube Tray
  5. We do not want sleazy underthings for Xmas. Give Us Money!
  6. Understanding the female response to your coming in drunk at 4 AM
  7. Wonderful Laundry Techniques – Formerly titled “Don’t Wash My Silks”
  8. Parenting – NO, It Doesn’t End With Conception
  9. Get A Life – Learn To Cook
  10. How Not To Act Like An Asshole When You’re Obviously Wrong
  11. Spelling – Even You Can Get It Right
  12. Understanding Your Financial Incompetence
  13. You – The Weaker Sex
  14. Reasons To Give Flowers
  15. How To Stay Awake After Sex
  16. Why It Is Unacceptable To Relieve Yourself Anywhere But The Washroom
  17. Garbage – Getting It To The Curb
  18.  #101 – You Can Fall Asleep Without It – If You Try

    #201 – The Morning Dilemma – I Don’t care If “It’s” Awake, I’m Not – Take A Shower

  19. I’ll Wear It If I Damn Well Please
  20. How To Put The Toilet Lid Down – Formerly Titled, “No, It’s Not A Bidet”
  21. The Weekend and Sports Are Not Synonymous
  22. Give Me A Break – Why We know Your Excuses Are Bullshit
  23. How To Go Shopping With Your Mate Without Getting Lost
  24. The Remote Control – Overcoming Your Dependency
  25. Romanticism – Other Ideas Besides Sex
  26. Helpful Postural Hints For Couch Potatoes
  27. Mothers-In-Law – They Are Human Too
  28. How Not To Act Younger Than Your Children
  29. You Too Can Be A Designated Driver
  30. Male Bonding – Leaving Your Friends At Home
  31. Honest, You Don’t Look Like Mel Gibson, Especially When Naked
  32. Changing Your Underwear – It Really Works
  33. The Attainable Goal – Eliminating %$#@ From Your Vocabulary
  34. Fluffing The Covers After Farting is Not Necessary

Please register immediately, as courses are in great demand – as if there were any doubt.

**

Once upon a time, long, long ago and far, far away in the South Seas, there was a small island, ruled over by a great king. Also on the island lived a native who was very jealous of the great king, and his power and wealth. This man wanted very much to be the king and have all the wealth and power. He wished and wished and wished that he could be king, to no avail.

The king was young and strong and healthy, and even if he were to be killed accidentally, there were other members of the king’s family who would take over as ruler. One day though, this young man had a thought. Even if he couldn’t be the king, he could at least have the king’s throne.

So, one night, when it was very dark, he managed to break into the palace and stole the throne. He carried it home to his little grass shack on the beach, and very carefully concealed the throne high up on the rafters, under the roof.

The next day, the king’s men came around to search for the throne, but failed to find it hidden in the roof, and went away to look elsewhere. The young man stood at the front door of his hut, and watched them disappear down the beach.

As they went out of sight, he shouted exultantly, “I’ve done it! I’ve done it!” He stepped back into the hut and slammed the front door. Unfortunately, the vibration of the slamming door dislodged the throne from its hiding place, and it fell down and landed right on his head, killing him instantly.

The moral of this tale is, “People who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.”

Flash Fiction – Part 4

All Dressed Up – and Everyone’s Gone

Streamers

 

 

 

 

I stared at the picture, waiting for it to say something to me, so that I could say something about it.

I thought and thought – but nothing! Gahh, writer’s block.

It should be easy. Pretty little plaza, decorated for a celebration of some sort….but wait, where are all the gaily-dressed people? Oh dear, I’ve seen all these movies, the UFO just landed, the rebels launched poison-gas shells, the drug cartel took hostages.

No, no, it’s just siesta time. Soon, as it cools, Mariachis will play, children will cavort, senoritas will swirl and tequila will flow. Ay caramba, all’s well, ole!

 

Some Atheist Thoughts

JESUS
Jesus wasn’t gay! He just hung around with twelve other guys. He was a radical, non-violent Revolutionary who hung around with lepers, hookers and crooks; wasn’t American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth, anti death penalty, anti-public prayer (M. 6-5); but was never anti-gay, anti-abortion or birth control, never called the poor lazy, never justified torture, never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, never asked a leper for a co-pay, and was a long-haired, brown-skinned, homeless, community-organizing, anti-slut-shaming, Middle Eastern Jew.

***
A young truck-driver who regularly attends the Free Thinkers meetings is as aggressively Atheist as many Christians, to the point that, if someone were to bless him, a fist-fight might occur. He is religiously confrontational and wears a variety of printed tee-shirts, such as one which says, “Abortion just means babies’ souls get to meet God earlier.”

Tattoo

Like many truckers, he has several tattoos. He recently added this Atheist one, on the inside of his right forearm.

 
That’s what it looks like on the skin. The picture below is clearer, taken right from the online tattoo catalog. Like the brands in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons book, it is an ambigram, reading the same thing, both right side up, and upside down. You can prove this by standing on your head, but I want photos of you doing it. He says it means that, coming or going, he’s a good Atheist.
atheist tattoo
The following is another, more triangular ambigram version of the word atheist.
triangle-atheist

 

 

This picture is of a two-word ambigram. One way, it says Atheist, the other, it reads Godless.
godless-atheist
Many Good Christians, consciously or unconsciously, hypocritically believe that, simply by dint of being Christian, everything atheist-i-amthey do is somehow Good and Honorable. Ergo, they also believe that anything done by non-Christians, is Mean and Evil. I am much tempted to purchase this tee-shirt to remind them they may be wrong, but I don’t go out enough to justify the expense. Maybe the trucker has one – or would like one. Hmmm, must talk to him about it.