Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Five

 

Day 2/Part 2 – Wheeling To Wheeling

When we last left our hero and heroine, they were dashing west, across the New York Turnpike, towards Erie, PA. Safely reaching there, they quickly turned south, for another 3 ½ hour drive, just past Wheeling, WV.  Being at the top of the rapidly narrowing panhandle, Wheeling is a place where you can be in three states in under a half-hour.  We did the same kind of thing a few years ago, on our way to Front Royal, VA, coming out of PA, across 18 miles of Maryland panhandle, and into Virginia.

Traffic was light, so I was running on autopilot. Soon though, we came up behind a minivan moving erratically – slow down, speed up, trouble staying between the lines.  I thought maybe someone was drunk or stoned, but it had a fish-shaped plastic sticker on the back, indicating that it was owned/operated by a “Good Christian.”  Drugs apparently are a big problem.  Signs all along the highway urge anyone with concerns, or information, to call #799.

When I finally felt it was safe to pass, I found it driven by a big-haired blonde, with a cell phone jammed in her ear. Way to go, bitch!  Obey church rules, but ignore State legislation against distracted driving.  It would have produced a very non-porn meaning to the phrase, “Oh God, I’m coming.”  I just didn’t want to be around for either version.

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St. Clairsville, OH, where our Red Roof Inn was located, is at the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, and the motel is perched almost at the top of a steep little hill. I missed the easily accessible, but unmarked side driveway, and had to drive down the hill, and turn and climb back up to the aerie.  At the bottom of the hill, I gunned the engine – and blew the entire back end off the exhaust system.

The wife was mortified by the roar, but the locals, in their Ford F250s and Dodge Rams never even noticed. They probably thought I was there to compete in the tractor pull.  You know you’re staying in YeeHawville, when the young man, carrying a baby, in front of you in line at the WalMart, adds a six-pack tube of Copenhagen snuff to his order, and the most often-shown ad on TV is for an on-line dating service – FarmersOnly.Com.

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We checked in, and the room clerk told me that there was a Meineke Muffler shop somewhere in the plaza across the street. I said I’d walk over to check out opening times, after supper.  “Oh, it’s too far to walk!”  I could have seen it, if I knew where to look.

With roads hanging off the sides of hills, I walked a block down the hill, to the main road, and a block back up a hill, to the plaza entrance, then a block back down, into the actual parking area. I could have hit it with a thrown stone from the motel, but it was the best part of a mile to actually get there.

A clerk at the Kroger didn’t know of any Meineke shop, but one at the WalMart told me that it was really a Monroe Muffler shop, located in the farthest corner. The sign in the window said they opened at 7:30 AM, and I was there as the mechanic arrived.  Sadly, there were cars left for service, overnight, and people with appointments.  They would get to mine as soon as possible, perhaps by noon, perhaps by closing.

I barely had time to walk back to the motel, when the phone rang. The guy with the 7:30 appointment hadn’t stopped in.  They had looked at my car, and he rattled off a list of items which needed replacing.  For the mere sum of $358.79US ($400 Can), I could have the car back in time to attend the knife show.  Did I wish to proceed? Did I have any choice??!

But, these are tales of tomorrow, to be told in the next episode, when the car moves much faster, not having to drag all that heavy cash around. Y’all come back now!   🙂

Mental Health

The voice-mail menu at the Board of Mental Health lists;

If you are obsessive/compulsive, press #1 repeatedly.
If you are co-dependent, have someone press #2 for you.
If you have multiple personalities, press #3, 4 or 5.
If you are possessed by Satan, press #666.
If you have gambling problems, press #7 – 11
If you hear voices, press whatever number they tell you to.
If you are paranoid, just hang up. We know who you are, and are coming to get you.

***

A high school science teacher standing in front of a class of seniors, suddenly asks, ‘What part of the human body is seven times as strong as steel, pound for pound? Miss Johnson??”

Startled, Southern Belle, Miss Johnson replies, “Well, I’m sure I don’t know. I can’t understand why you would ask me a question like that!”

The teacher says, “The answer is, a human hair. And you, Miss Johnson, are an optimist.”

****

If the world is my oyster, I think I’m allergic to shellfish.

The difference between genius and stupidity, is that genius has its limits.

***

Ol’ Fred had been a faithful Christian and was in
the hospital, near death. The family called their
pastor to stand with them. As the pastor stood
next to the bed, Ol’ Fred’s condition appeared to
deteriorate and he motioned frantically for
something to write on. The pastor lovingly handed
him a pen and a piece of paper, and Ol’ Fred used
his last bit of energy to scribble a note, then
he died. The pastor thought it best not to look
at the note at that time, so he placed it in
his jacket pocket.

At the funeral, as he was finishing the message,
he realized that he was wearing the same jacket
that he was wearing when Ol’ Fred died. He said,
“You know, Ol’ Fred handed me a note just before
he died. I haven’t looked at it, but knowing
Fred, I’m sure there’s a word of inspiration
there for us all.”

He opened the note, and read, “Asshole, you’re
standing on my oxygen tube!”

***

The nude model climbed up the ladder,
As the painter, Titian, had bade her.
The position, to Titian
Suggested coition,
So he climbed up the ladder, and had her.

The was a young lady from Bright,
Who could travel faster than light.
She set off one day,
In a relative way,
And returned the previous night.

Minutia IV

During the recent Provincial election, I saw two high school students vandalizing an election sign at the side of the road. I know they were high school students because they were wearing the red plaid kilts of the nearby Catholic school.  That’s right ladies and germs, two teenage, female, Catholic students, kicking the shit out of a sign of some candidate who they, and presumably their parents, disapprove of.

Defacing election signs is a federal offence! That’s how Charley Manson got his start.  He obtained a blank Department of Interior check, and made it out to himself for $5, and did time in a federal prison.  Once released, he broke into a Post Office and stole the “leave a penny” tray, netting 98 cents, and did time in a federal prison.

Released again, he convinced a young female to “work” for him, transported her across a State line to provide her services, ran right into the Mann Act, and did more time in a federal prison.  So, if you’d like your Good Christian daughter to be Charley’s girlfriend in prison, send her to a Catholic School and urge her to freely express her political opinions.

We used to hang a bird feeder on the fence near the back of the property. The birds we attracted would eat seeds like sunflower, but would throw on the ground, all the millet.  As a result, I have about 200 square feet of lawn that’s millet plants.  It’s soft, it’s green, it covers, but it’s not grass!

The wife planted a couple of chive plants in a small bed just beyond. Over the years, the chive has seeded itself further and further into this bed of millet. I mowed the lawn the other day, and when I reached this area, it smelled like I had a gasoline-powered salad shooter.

I have found two new ways to irritate telemarketers. They’re easy to identify.  The phone rings, I pick it up and say Hello, nothing happens for a second or two, then suddenly the line opens on their end and you can hear30 or 40 voices babbling in the background, and somebody starts to say, Hello, Hello??, usually in a Paki accent.

Previously, when this happens, I just say nothing and make a game of how many desperate Hellos I get before they finally hang up.  Recently, two cats climbed into my recliner and poured a bucket of soporific on me, and we all had an hour’s nap.  I awoke, partly because I had to pee, but more urgently, because the plate of nachos I had for lunch, c/w refried beans, was starting to rock and roll in my digestive tract.

Just as I decided I could extend the nap another half hour, the phone rang, and I got to hear “Kevin” (Gupta) babble. Too tired to even reach to hang the phone up, I just laid it face down on my stomach, and let him talk to my borborygmus – Hello? (rumble, rumble) Hello? (gurgle, gurgle).  After a while he went away, and I pushed Off.  Now I worry that my stomach may have ordered something from him in Paki, and I’ll receive a lifetime supply of curried chicken and basmati rice.

More recently, I was in the kitchen, trying to accomplish two simultaneous chores and arguing with a cat who wanted to drink from the filtered faucet, Meow, Meow, Meow. In the midst of all this, suddenly the phone rang, and I was treated to “Kevin’s” brother “David” (Sanjit).  As soon as Mr. Hello came on the line, I laid the phone, face-up on the table in front of the thirsty cat and let him explain, Hello….Meow, Meow, Hello??….Meow, Meow!  Let Paki “David” figure out how the cat answered the phone.

There is a shortage of doctors in Ontario. Most doctors are turning away potential patients.  Recently, I heard the female brains behind the Money Mill,  advertising on the radio.  Here, slightly paraphrased, is what I heard.

“Hello, I’m Doctor Packrat. I operate a cosmetic clinic in Cambridge.  Other clinics have estheticians and technicians.  If you’d like to safely increase your beauty, please come to our clinic.  We have only doctors and nurses.  None of them is actually trained in cosmetology.

We have Internists with queasy stomachs, Pediatricians unable to treat children any longer because of convictions and restraining orders, and Ob/Gyns who were too lazy to get out of bed to deliver babies. You are guaranteed to lose weight because all of them have been extensively trained in surgically extracting every last dollar from your wallet.”

We recently attended the Free Thinkers meeting at the new venue. While the food, choices, price and access are all good, I am not thrilled with the room.  It’s all flat, hard, walls and windows.  The reverberations quickly raise the noise level to intolerable.  I took along the son, daughter, grandson and fiancée.

Since I can talk to any of them, any time I want, when I entered, I quickly sat on the far side of the table next to a new female. It turned out that the reason she had attended was that she was angling for the Liberal nomination in the next Provincial election, and was out shaking babies and kissing hands, as well as taking the measure of various local groups.

Perhaps because it was me sitting beside her, but she was surprised and impressed at the depth and breadth of knowledge of politics, history, psychology, sociology and religion. This was not a group that she could bullshit to.

She wants to work to oust the Federal Conservatives, “Because they’ve had their time.” without offering any other reason or alternative. Like the Religionists, it’s because, “We’re entitled – and they’re not.”

Let’s End It All

There I was, sitting at the bar, staring at my drink, when a really big, trouble-making biker steps up next to me, grabs my drink, and gulps it down in one swig.


“Well, whatcha gonna do about it? ” he says menacingly, as I burst into tears.  “Come on, man,” the biker says, “I didn’t think you’d cry. I can’t stand to see a man crying. “


“This is the worst day of my life,” I said. “I’m a complete failure. I was late to a meeting and my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car had been stolen and I don’t have any insurance. I left my wallet in the cab I took home. I found my wife in bed with the gardener, and then my dog bit me, so I came to this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all. I buy a drink, drop the capsule in it, and was sitting here watching the poison dissolve when you show up and drink the whole thing!!

But enough about me, how’s your day going? ”

****

The 36 Rules of Life

 

1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

2. Don’t worry about what people think, they don’t do it very often.

3. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.

4. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

5. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before.

6. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

7. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

8. A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

9. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

10. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.

12. A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good.

13. Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.

14. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.

15. No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.

16. A balanced diet is a muffin in each hand.

17. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.

18. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

19. Junk is something you’ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

20. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

21. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

22. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

23. Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.

24. Someone who thinks logically provides nice contrast to the real world.

25. It ain’t the jeans that make your butt look fat.

26. If you had to identify in one word the reason why the human race has not achieved its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings’.

27. There is a very fine line between ‘hobby’ and ‘mental illness.’

28. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

29. You should not confuse your career with your life.

30. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.

31. Never lick a steak knife.

32. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.

33. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight saving time.

34. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she’s pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

35. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that deep down inside we ALL believe we are good drivers.

36. Your friends love you anyway.

 

 

“Heaven’s For Real” Rant

In my Jesus Loves You post of April 22, I mentioned how exclusionary and judgemental many “Good Christians” can be if you don’t exactly match their idiomatic religious expectations.  The more extreme the group, the more difficult that can be, since they almost contend with each other to be more rigid and unforgiving.  Several years ago, a Palestinian terrorist group began killing members of other Palestinian terrorist groups – because they weren’t killing enough Jews and Christians.

When I used WordPress to see what others were writing about “Christian”, I found this review rant about a feel-good little movie – titled, Heaven’s For Real- EXPOSED!

The Uber-Christians complain so often about Hollywood not presenting Christianity in a positive light.  I thought that a movie validating one of its basic precepts would be happily accepted and celebrated.  Once again I overestimated.  This sad little man’s screed was disturbing and depressing.

The movie kid claimed that Jesus had a rainbow horse, with lots of colors. Well, that sort of thinking just can’t be allowed.  To these Ultra-Christians, rainbow means gay, and gay is simply unacceptable.  This over-serious Bible-thumper claimed Christ has a “pure, white horse” to battle the Antichrist.  Apparently the thought that Jesus might possess more than one horse in Heaven, including a pretty, rainbow horse to please a six-year-old boy, wouldn’t fit into his narrow little mind.

The kid claimed that Jesus had a pink crown with a diamond in the middle, and wore purple.  The thumper insisted Christ would have seven stars in his right hand and a sword coming from his mouth.  He didn’t say whether the point was in or out, but declared that Christ would not wear pink, or purple – because they’re effeminate, and Christ can’t be effeminate.  He claims that Christ-in-Heaven wears gold, although the Bible passage he quoted only says that Christ has a golden sash across his robe.

He rails that the kid says that Christ has “markers.”  “What use would Christ have for markers?  They weren’t even invented!”  When?  The movie is set in the present day!  Not having read the book or seen the movie, I don’t know if he (again, narrow-mindedly) can only imagine felt-tip ink markers, but I can think of a couple of types of markers Jesus might use.

I know I shouldn’t bait the trolls, but I asked if Jesus was a sword-swallower in a carnival.  He came charging back with two more “sword from the mouth” Biblical references – one from the Old Testament, before Christ was even born.  He averred that, “Since Jesus is God; His word is the sword to cleave unbelievers.”

I replied that, since Bob is Richard, he hadn’t understood, but did now.  It was obvious that the Bible was not a book to be taken literally, since there were passages where what was clearly written was not what was meant.

I would have liked to be in the room with him, just to see steam spew from his ears.  It might have been dangerous though.  If the pressure was too much, his head might have exploded.  He didn’t exactly accuse me of misinterpreting.  What he said was, “So, you’re going to send me a $50 donation?  If words don’t mean what they say, then I can interpret your comment any way I want.”

Might as well, you’ve got this interpret-it-as-you-please thing going pretty well.  This is where the cognitive dissonance, and refusal to see – or think, kicks in.  He said: that a sword coming from the mouth was actually the word of God.  He said: that Jesus – is God.  Did The Kid get a promotion, or did he bump the Old Guy off?  He said: that the Word Of God was actually delivered by Jesus.

By his own editing and interpretation, he has said that the words he quoted don’t mean what they say – therefore, the Bible can not be taken literally, but he’s angry at me for pointing this out!

He admitted to another less-strenuous Christian commenter, that there is a Bible passage which describes a rainbow around God’s throne, but rainbow horses must be Satan’s work.  There’s a rainbow horse in The Wizard of Oz, and that’s an occult movie.  He claims that there is also a sodomite lion.  I don’t remember either of those.  Maybe I didn’t get the XXX version that he rented.

I am still bewildered by what purpose such unremitting negativity serves.  He’s in for a surprise when he gets to Heaven and finds that he’s not on the guest list, but assigned to the serving staff, holding the kid’s rainbow horse, and fetching him markers.

🙂

😯

 

Don’t Be Sad

The Toronto Sun has a regular columnist who writes about a variety of issues.  When he writes about politics or social concerns, he is as clear as crystal.  Occasionally though, he strays off the well-traveled road, and into the religious minefield, where his work immediately resembles Beijing smog.

Several years ago, he wrote of being Jewish.  Six months later, he claimed that he was Catholic.  When called on it by several readers, he “explained” that his family had Jewish ancestry, but he had converted to Catholicism.  Oh good, just what we need, another gung-ho turncoat.

He quickly learned the Catholic method of the straw-man argument, to belittle those who did not agree with him.  Call them names; assign a definition, then make fun of them, to justify making himself feel better.

Just before Christmas, he took a swing at committed atheists.  He called them the most unhappy, lugubrious, neurotic special-interest group he’d ever encountered.  Then he corrected his accusation, and listed feminists and socialists first, truly an all-you-can-offend-buffet bigot.

He has decided to call atheists, Sads.  They must be sad; it’s an atheist’s nightmare, Christmas coming just two weeks after Pope Whasshisname was named Time’s Man of the Year.  He is convinced, that atheists are convinced, that the world is a dark, hateful place, where everyone is against you.

It’s sad that he doesn’t see, that atheists enjoy the commerce and conviviality of the season, without the need for a supernatural crutch.  He says they don’t grasp irony, but it’s ironic that atheists don’t care that the Pope received this honor. (?)  It’s much like Clay Aiken winning the American Idol crown, nobody with a three-digit IQ, and a life of their own, really gives a damn.

People in the past have sent him “misspelt emails” and they really should learn to master the apostrophe.  He’s a master at turning the subject from criticism to punctuation.  He’s heard the one about God being like the Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny, that Hitler was a Christian, that Jesus didn’t exist, bad things happen to good people, and more wars have been fought in the name of religion than anything else – blah, blah, blah.  Doesn’t sound like blah, blah, blah to me, and many others.  It sounds serious.

He has dismissed these claims in, not one, but three, books; not “dealt with”, dismissed!  Yet Hitler was a Catholic, bad things do happen to good people, prayers are unanswered, and religious wars are still fought.  He wants critics to come up with something new, and challenging; religion is a game to be won, to him.  How about admitting to, and dealing with the old problems first?

It apparently makes him feel good to think that those who disagree with him feel bad.  Not exactly a loving Christian outlook, but then, he’s not exactly loving – or loved.  He admits that Easter is more theologically significant, that Christ probably wasn’t born late in December, and that the whole thing has been clumsily commercialized and secularized, but says he cherishes and believes in it because the show supports his “faith.”  That’s it fella, don’t let reality get in the way.

He would be sad to admit that Atheists quietly, happily, productively, co-operatively, are getting on with their lives, and making of them, as much as they can, without a vague promise of a second chance on the other side of the great divide.  He speaks of “all that is the pure, sparkling joy of the season, gloriously plump with giving, loving, forgiving, enjoying, rethinking and celebrating,” but then denies that they are available to any but his Good Christian compatriots.

He thinks nothing of launching attacks like this, but, should anyone have the temerity to express different thoughts, he falls back on another “Definition” defense – Religism.  This is defined as an attack on any or all organized religions, but, in his case, simply means somebody said he might be wrong in his heart and head.

A Protestant New York minister played this game recently.  He raised such a fuss that he was allowed to be on The View, where he railed to Liz Hasselbek that a bookstore had a shelf label on The Bible, showing it as “fiction!”  After his televised furor, he admitted that “it might have been a simple clerical error.”

The Sun columnist is a sad, shrivelled soul!  It is sad that he gains so much twisted happiness in spewing his bigoted hatred, and taking so much joy in his belief in the imagined pain and suffering of others he deems unworthy.  It is sad that he is not unique, and that there are so many more judgmental, condemnatory Christians like him.

I, on the other hand, would be very happy if you drop lots of likes and comments in the collection plate.

 

BTW, FYI – Lugubrious means mournful, dismal, gloomy, sorrowful or melancholy, especially in an affected, exaggerated, or unrelieved manner.  Sounding pompous doesn’t make you right.

Teleology

The title is a word which means assigning invalid motives and results.  It is done far too often.  It can range from the small to the large.  A guy says to his woman, “Gee honey, that outfit looks great on you.” and she replies, “Well, if you think you’re getting lucky tonight, you’ve got another think coming.”  Maybe he was hoping to get lucky.  Maybe he was just trying to be the thoughtful, caring, supportive mate she says she wants.  Either way, it might be a long time before he compliments anything of hers again.

The small stuff can just be irritating, but this process is often carried on by politicians and religious rulers.  It can be most dangerous when the two come together.  It is usually driven by egotism and insecurity.  After the recent meteor which streaked over Russia, the leader of the opposition party (Who apparently is the majority stockholder in a vodka firm.) released a statement saying that the phenomenon was caused by “a secret American weapon”.

So, this couldn’t be just a case of God shaking the dust from His sandals over Russia.  Something that left only a dust trail in the sky, and an ice-fishing hole in a frozen lake, had to be a weapon, an American weapon, and a secret weapon.  It would break Igor’s ego heart to know that the Americans haven’t taken Russia seriously since 1991.

Two recent related political/religious stories have me gnashing my teeth.  Two insecure, egotistical pols in North Carolina are trying to establish Christianity as the State Religion.  Ignoring the edicts and directions of the founders of a country offering freedom and tolerance, they are using the best psychological bases to achieve their ends, by wrapping this endeavor in the name, Defense Of Religion.

It simply is no such thing!  It is not defense of Islam, or Judaism, or Shinto!  It might be Defense of a Particular Religion – Christian – but it’s not even that.  As in my Aug. 14/12 post, A Gored Ox, they had been asked nicely, not to begin State Legislature meetings with a Christian-only prayer, in legal contravention of the “Separation of Church and State” directive.  Now they want to pass a law which allows them to do just that.  The only thing that this law will defend is Christian religious monopoly.

I can smell the insecurity from here.  People like this amaze and anger me.  If they are as sure of the monopolistic validity of their beliefs as they would have us believe, why are they so adamant to silence opposing views?  If you ain’t one of us, you ain’t welcome!

The other legal/religious situation which irks me, is the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA!  Like the above, this is a carefully crafted psychological crusade to conceal the fact that it isn’t what it says it is.  If two homosexual men are allowed to marry, not one heterosexual couple will be forced to divorce.  If two lesbians are allowed to marry, not one heterosexual couple will be prevented from marrying.  No man will be forced to marry another man!  No woman will be forced to marry another woman!  In other words, if gays are allowed to marry, the only change – the only thing that Bible-thumping, Good Christian, heterosexuals will lose – is the morally highjacked right to the monopolistic use of the term, married.

I am glad to see that the American Supreme Court has finally ruled against DOMA.  This is not the end.  The Westboro Baptists and their like will still need their daily doses of ego and insecurity to feel good about themselves, but it is, perhaps, the beginning of the end of this moralistic bitching.

To justify not allowing gays to call their unions a marriage, they say, “We never have in the past.”  I’d like to call this circular logic, but there’s no logic applied, just exclusionary emotion.  There is no need to Defend Marriage!  It is not under attack.  Many gays, having been clearly and pointedly shown that they are not welcome within their previous religious groups, opt for a civil ceremony.  Others marry in churches with more open, accepting rules.

As citizens of democratic countries, they want what all other citizens of the same country legally receive.  Why don’t they call it a Civil Union?  It’s the same thing.  If it’s the same thing, why don’t you let them call it a marriage?  Civil unions, especially in areas controlled by moralists like these, do not always accrue the same benefits as marriages.  Companies do not provide spousal benefits.  Long-term partners are not granted care decision-making in hospitals, or burial arrangements for deceased partners. Unlike even common-law partners, in the event of a split or death they do not receive a fair portion of shared assets.

Many of these same Good Christians rail against the attempted application of Sharia law for Muslims, yet feel they are justified in forcing their opinions into law against those they morally resent.  They want to apply religious law in countries which are supposed to be secularly governed.

Not letting you push Christianity and your, perhaps mistaken, opinion of Christian morals, down my throat is not an attack on your religion.  It is my Defence of Freedom!  Christ was accepting and inclusive of many who might be called fallen.  It would honor Him and His teachings to do the same!  Let some of the pressure out of your self-important ego, stop jumping at every imagined religious slight, and get on with it.  I’ll let you do your thing, as long as you let me do mine.

Old Faithful

I can’t even rely on the Federal Government to be unreliable.  I posted on the 13th that the office was to mail the son’s passport out on the 21st.  On the 14th, the dog raised a ruckus at an ungodly hour, 11:45 AM.  Well, that’s early for me.  By the time I had on enough clothes to beat an exposure charge, and got to the front door, all that was there was a notice to pick up the envelope the next day.  Not at the postal depot a kilometer down the street, the one four kilometers away, on the edge of town.

Why couldn’t it have been left in our SuperMailbox, a half a block away?  It got mailed early, but these are the people who put the “Self Service” in Postal Service.  I guess this means we’re destined for a trip to the States.  I’ve already booked a room, and paid for it to get a reduced rate.  We’ll be staying 20 miles south of Detroit for a weekend, just to prove we’re Canadians.

The son had an interesting thing happen at his plant the other night.  A guy got locked in a car.  Two well-tanned recent hires come in the same vehicle.  Ahmed drives his friend Abou, in his, new-to-him, van.  When they got to work, Ahmed left the van unlocked.  At first break, Abou wanted to smoke.  Not being a Canadian, to whom 2 C is “a little chilly”, he climbed into Ahmed’s van, and hit the lock button, perhaps to keep the smoke in.

We don’t know if it was a malfunction, or whether it is a childproof feature but, when he went to climb out, the doors wouldn’t unlock, the windows wouldn’t roll down, and the horn wouldn’t sound.  Twenty minutes later, someone found him locked in the van.  They had to find someone to relieve Ahmed on his automatic machine, so that he could go out and unlock.

A 68 year-old female bartender was let go by a hotel chain in Toronto, when they moved operations to a smaller facility.  Her union (which might have been a reason for downsizing) does not have rights at the new operation.  In a fit of entitlement, she now wants to sue the union and the hotel chain for the wages and tips she would have earned until she planned to retire at age 75.

I’d like to feel sympathetic.  I wanted to put in 20 years, and retire at 65 from the auto-plant, but reality intruded.  Not the union, nor the hotel, nor society at large, owes her a job, especially till 75.  Move aside and let someone younger work.  If she’s as good as she thinks she is, and wants to work for sake of the job, I’m sure there is employment somewhere.  If she’s in it for the money, lack of planning on her part, does not constitute an emergency for anyone else.

The East-Indian restaurateur who threw spices in the face of an intruder, bent on assaulting him and his wife and kids, has finally had all charges dismissed.  I saw a lawyer in a TV show the other night, admit that lawyers do not practice justice, they practice law.  The law is a ass, and grinds exceeding slow.

The author of his own misfortune, is an East-Indian import named Sukhvir Sandhu.  This idiot just can’t keep his mouth shut.  He was recently arrested and charged for the sixth time, with drinking and driving.  The last time it happened, he drove away from an accident and into a residential area.  When he was restrained by a retired policeman, he assaulted and threatened him.  In custody, he bragged to police about how much he can drink and still drive, as well as admitting he’d driven away from other crashes.  He blamed his drinking on being bullied in high school because of his name.

In court, he threatened to “hunt down and kill” the police officer who charged him, and warned the court that he would just drink and drive again.  Four months later, he was caught driving while under suspension and impaired.  While in custody he was assaulted by another prisoner.  Gee, I wonder why that happened.  The judge was going to give him a year in jail, but the Crown and the defense agreed to 90 days.  Even knowing that the judge had no sympathy, he still tried to con a better deal.  He tried to talk the judge into giving him 180 days, but served on weekends.  It’s only three months, but I’m glad he’s off the roads, now if we could just get him to shut up.

A “good Christian” in Toronto hit his wife in the head twice with a hammer, and then stabbed a page from the Bible to her chest with a butcher knife.  He stole $200 from her purse and took his girlfriend on a trip.  When arrested, he cursed God for not preventing his homicidal rage.  Just once, I’d like to see one of the “good Christians” either actually be a good Christian, or take personal responsibility for their actions.

The dumb criminal of the week is the genius who took a cab to the Toronto airport, and walked away without paying.  Since there are always lots of cops there, the cabby raised a fuss.  Knowing he was now being pursued, Dumbo ducked into a washroom and tried to conceal an illegal handgun and magazine separately.  They were quickly found.  When he was searched, police seized drugs.  That got them a warrant for his house, where they found ammunition, Tasers, security guard uniforms, and “one gram of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be used as an explosive.”

Timothy McVeigh needed a ton of this stuff to wound the Murrah building.  One gram wouldn’t out-pop a firecracker.  Thanks very much to the Sun Media, Chicken Little, who tried to frighten readers to increase sales.  It’s always about the money!

Published Author

 

That term has a nice feel to it.  I’m a Published Author.  Of course, in my case, it has about the same significance as being the greatest dog-catcher in Enid, Oklahoma.

It all came about because H.E.Ellis solicited (no, not like that), urged and supported me to write my little fractured fairy tale about the hare and the tortoise.  She deemed my short treatise worthy to present with others in the series, on her blog-site.  I am so honored, that I’ve been running around the neighborhood telling both people who will speak to me, all about it.

Truth be told, and I do occasionally, while this is the most auspicious occurrence, it is not the first, nor the only time I have been published.  In fact there have been many times I’ve had something printed at this same rate of remuneration.  The first time I had a piece of my prose published, I was almost 18.

I was not directly involved in the submission, so I tend to ignore and forget it.  For a Grade 12 Easter-term English exam I scratched out a little, thousand-word, post-apocalyptic sci-fi piece.  It centered on a bear waking from winter hibernation.  He stood up in his little cave and bumped his head and wondered how he’d managed that.  Then he marveled at the fact that he was thinking at all.  A rabbit hopped in, and greeted him with a non-verbal, “So, you’re finally up.”

It seems, while he slept the winter away, humans had engaged in a terrible war, nukes, biological, and maybe something else.  Every human on the planet was dead, and the animals had all achieved intelligence and telepathy.  I ignored the fact that, despite the sapience and communication, animals weren’t farmers.  Some of them would still have to eat others.  This was 1962.  The Cold War was chilly.

My friend read several sci-fi pulp mags, and urged me to send it in, as a filler.  It was just a school project.  Once done, it was soon forgotten, but not by him.  He believed so strongly that he sent it in under my name….and it got printed.  I had my first job, a hundred miles away, a car I couldn’t take with me, a now-long distance girlfriend.  I came home to visit one weekend, and he excitedly handed me a twenty dollar check.  Long before quick and easy photographic proof, I cashed the check and spent the badly need money.

The Toronto Sun distributes all across Southern Ontario, from Windsor in the west, almost to Montreal.  Years ago, they had a page titled Coffee Break.  This held the comics, the horoscopes, the word jumble, the crossword puzzle and a Poet’s Corner.  Usually just eight, ten, twelve line ditties, often in unrhymed blank verse, eventually they disappeared.  I guess all the poets ran out of themes.  I saw a short poem one day from a woman thinking of leaving her man, because he didn’t express his love often, or strongly enough.  It inspired me to submit the following rebuttal.

The Strong Silent Type

I really like you.
I’m sure that I’ve shown,
And also I love you.
I thought that you’ve known.

I have trouble with words
And what I should say
Is, “I want you!  I need you!
That’s why you should stay!”

Some men speak with their voices,
But it’s a real art.
For a man who cannot,
You must hear with your heart.

Not exactly Shakespeare, more like Edgar Allan Poe,

Quoth the Rave, “Nevermore!”
To his drunken girlfriend on the barroom floor.

I once had a one-third page Second Opinion column printed in the local paper.  So long ago, I don’t remember the theme.  Probably Christian intolerance, that seems to be what I get most, and most often, irked about.  I have trouble keeping my many op-ed submissions under the acceptable 300 word limit, so the editor suggested I expand one of my more insightful, but verbose ones a bit.

Here I am, writing about Christian intolerance and look down to see that my word count is 666!  Satan looked over my shoulder and said, Ah, don’t worry about it!  It don’t mean nothing.

I’ve had hundreds of letters to the Editor published over the years, when I can be concise, as well as informed.  They’ve been on a wide range of subjects, and printed, not only in the local newspaper, but in the Toronto Sun and even in a Knife Makers magazine I subscribe to.  I used to be an opinionated young whipper-snapper.  Now I’m an opinionated old coot.

The opinions Editor at the local paper is a religiously conservative (some kind of) Mennonite.  It’s tough to get a letter printed which is negatively judgemental of Christianity and its purveyors.  At least twice though, once by phone and once by email, I have been contacted by his young assistant to submit a con argument on a religious discussion, when there’s been a week of only pro letters of support published.  I think the kid likes to tweak the old man’s tail once in a while.

I’m confident of my vocabulary and word use, spelling (I’m right nine times to Spell-check’s one), construction and punctuation, even though I’m a little heavy on subordinate clauses and commas.  I just don’t seem to believe I have the creative spark to dream up scenarios.  H.E.Ellis is enthralled by the story-telling abilities of both SightsnBytes and me.  She has suggested that we compile our *Remember When* stories, and produce an autobiographical novel.

With my small but dedicated readership, I’m not sure how large an audience I might get, but I’m starting to think about the idea more seriously.  She must know something.  She’s very small, but a much bigger Published Author than I am.  She’s a trained professional.  Don’t try this at home kids!